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Title: The Catholic World, Vol. 19, April 1874-September 1874

Author: Various

Release Date: November 21, 2016 [Ebook #53571]

Language: English

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***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE CATHOLIC WORLD, VOL. 19, APRIL 1874-SEPTEMBER 1874***

The Catholic World

A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science

Vol. XIX.

April 1874 to September 1874

The Catholic Publication House.

New York

1874


Contents

Cover Page
[pg i]

Contents.

Anglican Orders, 467, 610.
Artist's Studio, Visit to an, 273.
Assunta Howard, 765.
Cain, What Hast thou Done with thy Brother? 698.
Charles X. at Holyrood, 419.
Church Music, 654.
Coming Transit of Venus, The, 145.
Comparison of Waves with Flowers, 662.
Craven's The Veil Withdrawn, 162, 333, 454, 597, 741.
Dante Gabriel Rosetti, 263.
Deffand, Mme. du, 693.
Discussion with an Infidel, A, 433, 637, 823.
Education, Self, 198.
Farm of Muiceron, The, 39, 187, 308.
Father Louage's Philosophy, 231.
Female Religious of America, The, 362.
Glimpse of the Green Isle, A, 408, 526, 663.
Grapes and Thorns, 68, 247, 388, 480, 671.
Hello's Cain, What hast thou Done with thy Brother? 698.
Home Rule for Ireland, 54.
Infidel, A Discussion with an, 433, 637, 823.
Ireland, Home Rule for, 54.
Jesuit Martyrs of the Commune, The, 505.
Kathleen Waring, 843.
Looker-Back, A, 102.
Madame du Deffand, 693.
Matter, 578, 721.
Music, Church, 654, 785.
National, A, or State Church, 29.
Odd Stories, 137, 570, 714.
Old versus New, 140.
On the Wing, 15, 209, 347, 541, 622, 807.
Origen: Was he a Heretic? 109.
Philosophy, F. Louage's, 231.
Pius VI., 755.
Principles of Real Being, The, 1, 173, 289.
Public Worship, 322.
Relatio Itineris in Marylandiam, 537.
Rheil's The Farm of Muiceron, 39, 187, 308.
Rosetti, Dante Gabriel, 263.
Self-Education, 198.
Social Shams, 125.
Southern Flight, A, 15, 209, 347, 541, 622, 807.
Switzerland in 1873, 375, 557.
Veil Withdrawn, The, 162, 333, 454, 597, 741.
Visit to an Artist's Studio, 273.
Was Origen a Heretic? 109.
Week in Wordsworth's Haunts, A, 795.
Word for Women, A, 277.

Poetry.

Answered Prayer, 332.
Antar and Zara, 226, 303, 521, 592, 735.
Butterfly, The, 186.
Captive Bird, The, 38.
Cora, 418.
Dante's Purgatorio, 450.
Easter, 246.
Epigram on Abraham Lincoln, 387.
Epigram: The Widow's Mites, 139.
For Ever, 272.
Fragment of Early English Poetry, 197.
Hymn of the Flowers, 841.
Legend of Vallambrosa, The, 710.
Material Faith, 407.
One Corpus Christi, 536.
On Hearing the “O Salutaris Hostia!” 14.
Rock of Rest, The, 609.
Sonnet: Good Friday, 67.
There was no Room for Them at the Inn, 225.
To S. Joseph, 136.
Visions, 276.
Who Will Remember? 653.
[pg ii]

New Publications.

Adeline de Chazal, 860.
Alexander the Great, 859.
Amelia; or, The Triumph of Piety, 858.
Archdall's Monasticon Hibernicum, 719.
Baltimore Gun Club, The, 575.
Bégin's La Sainte Ecriture et La Regle de Foi, 719.
Bellasius' Cherubini, 719.
Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque, 855.
Buckley's Sermons, Lectures, etc., 286.
Castaniza's The Spiritual Conflict, 856.
Catholic Church, The, in its Relations to Human Progress, 575.
Catherine Hamilton, 432.
Catherine of Genoa, 573.
Cherubini: Memorial Illustrative of his Life, 719.
Children of Mary, 576.
Christian Cemetery in the XIXth Century, The, 573.
Church and the Empires, The, 859.
Commonitory, The, of S. Vincent of Lerins, 719.
Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer, A, 720.
Conferences on the Spiritual Life, 143.
Consoling Thoughts of S. Francis of Sales, 286.
Conway's The Sacred Anthology, 574.
Count de Montalembert's Letters to a School-fellow, 281.
Coxe's Catholics and Roman Catholics, 575.
Curtius' History of Greece, 431.
Deharbe's A Full Catechism, 718.
De Vere's Alexander the Great, 859.
Dialogues of S. Gregory, 575.
Dictionary of the English Language, A, 720.
Dr. Coxe's Claims to Apostolicity Reviewed, 281.
Dubois' Madame Agnes, 430.
Ecclesiastical Antiquities of London, 143.
Essay Contributing to a Philosophy of Literature, An, 858.
Fairplay's Notes of the Wandering Jew, 144.
Farm of Muiceron, The, 430.
Favre, B. Peter, The Life of, 142.
Francis of Sales, S., Consoling Thoughts of, 286.
Franco's Tigranes, 575.
French Prisoner in Russia, The, 431.
Full Catechism of the Catholic Religion, A, 718.
Fullerton's Rosemary, 860.
Fullerton's Short Stories, 860.
Garside's B. Margaret Mary Alacoque, 855.
Garside's The Helpers of Holy Souls, 860.
Gaume's The Christian Cemetery, 573.
Glory and Sorrow, 432.
Grapes and Thorns, 856.
Gregory, S., Dialogues of, 575.
Hedley's Who is Jesus Christ? 431.
Helpers of Holy Souls, The, 860.
History of Greece, 431.
Hodge's What is Darwinism? 429.
Holy Places, 718.
In Six Months, 281.
Lancicius' Meditation, 431.
Lasserre's The Month of Mary of Our Lady of Lourdes, 718.
Letter-Books, The, of Sir Amias Poulet, 576.
Letters to a School-fellow, 281.
Lewis' Life of S. John of the Cross, 429.
Life and Doctrine of S. Catherine of Genoa, 573.
Life of B. Peter Favre, S.J., 142.
Life of S. Thomas of Villanova, 573.
McMullen's Snatches of Song, 287.
Madame Agnes, 430.
Manning's Sin and its Consequences, 431.
May Papers, 432.
Meditations for Every Day in the year, 431.
Meditations on the Holy Eucharist, 287.
Meline's In Six Months, 281.
Monasticon Hibernicum, 719.
Montagu's On Some Popular Errors, 573.
Moriarty's The Catholic Church, etc., 575.
Morris' The Letter-Books of Sir Amias Poulet, 576.
Neptune Outward Bound, The, 860.
New Manual of the Sacred Heart, The, 431.
Noel's The Red Flag, etc., 144.
Notes of the Wandering Jew, 144.
Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes, 287.
O'Sullivan's School Hygiene, 576.
Olmstead's De l'Autorité; ou, La Philosophie du Personnalisme. Lettre au Rev. Père J. F. Hecker, etc., 717.
On Some Popular Errors, etc., 573.
Paradise of God, 288.
Personal Reminiscences, 576.
Philippe's, Brother, Meditations, 287.
Pope, The, and the Emperor, 431.
Pride of Lexington, The, 142.
Purbrick's May Papers, 432.
Ramsay's Bishop Grant, 855.
Ravignan's Conferences, 143.
Red Flag, The, etc., 144.
Report of a Committee on a New Bellevue-Hospital, 280.
Rheil's The Farm of Muiceron, 430.
Rivière's Holy Places, 718.
Rosemary, 860.
Ryan's Dr. Coxe's Claims, 281.
Sacred Anthology, The, 574.
School Hygiene, 576.
Selim, Pacha of Salonica, 432.
Seton's The Pride of Lexington, 142.
Short Stories, 860.
Sin and its Consequences, 431.
Sketches of Illustrious Soldiers, 719.
Snatches of Song, 287.
Spiritual Conflict and Conquest, 856.
State Charities Aid Association, 280.
Sweeney's The Pope and the Emperor, 431.
Sylvia, and Other Dramas, 576.
Theologia Moralis Novissimi Ecclesiæ Doctoris S. Alphonsi, in Compendium Redacta, etc., 576.
Thomas and Baldwin's Gazetteer, 720.
Thomas's Dictionary of Biography, 720.
Thomas Grant, First Bishop of Southwark, 855.
Thomas, S., of Villanova, Life of, 573.
Tigranes, 575.
True to Trust, 281.
Twelve Tales for the Young, 576.
Université Laval: Sixième Centenaire de S. Thomas d'Aquin à S. Hyacinthe et à Quebec, 281.
Verne's The Baltimore Gun Club, 575.
Virtues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, The, 288.
What is Darwinism? 429.
Who is Jesus Christ? 431.
Wilberforce's The Church and the Empires, 859.
Wilson's Illustrious Soldiers, 719.
Wood's Ecclesiastical Antiquities, 143.
Worcester's Dictionary, 720.
[pg 001]

The Catholic World. Vol. XIX., No. 109.—April, 1874.

The Principles Of Real Being. IV. Intrinsic Principles of Substance and Suppositum.

We have briefly shown in the preceding article that a complete being, to be a substance and a suppositum, requires no positive addition to its three intrinsic principles, but needs only to be left to itself. This is, in our opinion, an obvious truth. But as there are philosophers of high repute who do not fully share the same opinion, and, on the other hand, the notions of substance and of suppositum are both intimately connected with some theological truths which cannot be well explained without a distinct knowledge of what these two notions really imply, we deem it expedient to enter into a closer examination of the subject, that we may better understand by the light of reason, and confirm by the weight of authority, the traditional doctrine on substance and suppositum, their essential constitution, formal distinction, and supernatural separability.

Substance is very commonly described as “that which is in itself and by itself”quod in se et per se subsistit. This definition exhibits the “predicamental” substance—that is, a substance ultimately complete, which is at the same time a suppositum also, according to Aristotle's comprehensive conception of substance. And it is for this reason that such a definition is made up of two members; of which the first—viz., “that which exists in itself”—strictly applies to substance as such; whilst the second—viz., “that which subsists by itself”—strictly refers to the suppositum as such, and exhibits substance as possessing its own natural subsistence or suppositality.

Philosophers, when speaking of things as existing in their natural state and condition, are wont to say indiscriminately that substance is a being which “exists in itself,” or a being which “subsists by itself.” [pg 002] This they can do without any danger of error so long as they keep within the bounds of pure nature; since, in the natural order, anything that exists in itself subsists by itself, and vice versa. But natural things can, by supernatural interference, be raised to a mode of existence transcending their natural condition, as we know by divine revelation; and in such a case, the mode of substance and the mode of the suppositum must be, and accordingly are, most carefully distinguished from one another. Thus we know by faith that in Christ our Lord there is the true substance of a human body and of a human soul; and nevertheless we know that his human nature does not subsist by itself, but by the Divine Person of the Word. The obvious inference is that a nature which exists in itself does not necessarily subsist by itself; in other terms, the formality of substance and the formality of the suppositum are entirely distinct from one another, and the one can remain without the other. “What makes substance to be essentially a substance,” as Suarez remarks, “is not its subsisting actually by itself, but its having an essence to which subsistence is naturally due—viz., an essence which is of itself a sufficient principle of subsistence.”1 From this we learn that the words per se esse, or “to subsist by itself,” are inserted in the definition of substance, not to show what substance as such is, but only to point out what is naturally due to substance—viz., what accompanies it in its natural mode of existing. Substance as such would therefore be sufficiently characterized by the words, “that which is in itself.”

Let us now inquire what is the legitimate meaning of these last words. A thing is said to exist in itself which not only has in itself what is needed for its own sustentation, but is moreover actually unsustained by anything lying under it, while it is itself the first subject of all its appurtenances. Such is the legitimate and traditional meaning of the words, “to exist in itself.” Hence substance may be legitimately defined as “a being which by its intrinsic constitution has no need of being supported by a subject, and which is not actually supported.”

A living author, however, in a valuable work to which I have no access at this moment, and from which, therefore, I do not make any quotation verbatim, asserts that substance “up to the present day” has always been understood to mean “a thing which by its intrinsic constitution has no need of being supported by a subject,” without taking into consideration its actual mode of existing. We shall presently show that this assertion is not true, and that this pretended definition is essentially incomplete. Meanwhile, let us observe that the precise difference between our definition and this new one consists in this only: that whilst the first presents substance as having no actual support, the second presents it as having no need of actual support, whether it be supported, at least supernaturally, or not. This difference, of course, would amount to nothing, and might be entirely overlooked, if things could not exist but in their natural condition; for anything which is in no need of support will naturally exist unsupported. [pg 003] But as philosophy is the handmaid of theology, we must remember that natural things can be raised to a supernatural state, and thus change their mode of existing; and in such a case the difference between the two said definitions may amount to much; because, if a thing which is naturally in no need of support be actually supported, then, according to the first definition, that thing thus actually supported would cease to exist as a substance, whilst, according to the second definition, it would still continue to exist as a substance, as it would still have no need of support. Hence the importance of ascertaining which of the two definitions we are authorized to hold according to the traditional doctrine of philosophers and theologians.

And first, Aristotle, at the head of the peripatetic school which held its sway for centuries, defines substance to be ultimum subjectum“the last subject”—that is, the undermost subject; by which he unquestionably means that substance is something which not only lies underneath (subjacet), but is moreover the “last” thing which lies underneath. In other terms, substance, according to Aristotle, must have nothing lying under it, and, while supporting all its appurtenances, is itself actually unsupported. Hence it is, that quantity, for instance, though lying under some figure and supporting it, is no substance at all; for, though it is a subject, it is not the undermost.

This definition of the Greek philosopher has been universally accepted and made use of by Christian as well as pagan philosophers of all times, though many of them called the first subject what Aristotle had called the last—a change which does not affect the meaning of the definition, since what is last in the analytic is first in the synthetic process. It is clear, therefore, that both Aristotle and his followers do not define substance simply as that which has no need of support, but as that which is actually unsupported.

S. John Damascene, in the fourth chapter of his Dialectics, defines substance to be “that which is in itself in such a manner as not to exist in anything else”;2 and after a few lines, “Substance,” he says, “is that which has its existence in itself, and not in anything else”;3 and again in another chapter of the same work, “Substance,” he says, “is anything which subsists by itself and has its own being, not in any other thing, but in itself.”4

According to these definitions, which are identical, substance is a thing which not only is able to support itself, but actually supports itself to the exclusion of any other distinct supporter. This is quite manifest; for, if substance, in the opinion of this great doctor and philosopher, had been only a thing having no need of support, how could he require so pointedly and explicitly the actual mode of existing in itself and not in anything else?

S. Ambrose admits a notion of substance quite identical with that of Aristotle and of all the ancients, and employs it even in speaking of God himself. “God,” says he, “inasmuch as he remains in himself, and does not subsist by extrinsic support, is called a substance.”5 [pg 004] God, of course, does not fall under the predicament of substance, as philosophers know; and yet the substantiality even of his nature, according to this holy doctor, implies the actual absence of extrinsic sustentation.6

S. Thomas, as we might expect, teaches the very same doctrine. “Substance,” says he, “is a thing whose quiddity requires to exist unsupported by anything else”cui convenit esse non in alio;7 and he adds that this formality (esse non in alio) is a mere negation; which is evident. And in another place, Substance,” says he, “does not differ from being by any difference which would imply a new nature superadded to the being itself; but the name of substance is given to a thing in order to express its special mode of existing.”8 Two things, then, or two constituents, are needed, according to S. Thomas, that we may have a substance: a physical being and a special mode of existing. The physical being is a positive reality, a nature perfectly constituted, both materially and formally, whilst the special mode is a mere negation; but, though a mere negation, is that which causes the thing to be a substance, as the name of substance is given to the thing in order to express its special mode of existing. Therefore the thing itself apart from such a special mode cannot be a substance, any more than a six-pence apart from its rotundity can be a circle.

Toletus includes in his definition of substance both the thing and the special mode of existing. He says: “The first substance is a sensible nature which is not predicated of any subject nor exists in any subject.”9

Suarez says even more explicitly, “It is not necessary for the essence of substance that it should have its own subsistence, but that it should have the mode of substance.”10 We cannot, then, overlook, and much less discard, this special mode without destroying the essential notion of substance as such. Now, he who defines substance to be simply a thing which has no need of support overlooks and discards this special mode; hence he destroys the essential notion of substance as such.

Balmes, in his Fundamental Philosophy, says: “In the notion of substance, two other notions are implied—to wit, that of permanence and that of non-inherence. Non-inherence is the true formal constituent of substance, and is a negation; it is grounded, however, on something positive—that is, on the aptitude of the thing to exist in itself without the need of being supported by another.”11 This passage establishes very clearly the common doctrine that the aptitude of a thing to exist without being supported is not the formal constituent of substance, but only the ground on which the proper formal [pg 005] constituent of substance (non-inherence) is conceived to be possible.

Ferraris, a modern Italian Thomist, in his course of philosophy, says explicitly that substance is destroyed if its “perseity”per se esse—be taken away.12 The word “perseity” stands here for the “special mode” of S. Thomas, the “mode of substance” of Suarez, the “non-inherence” of Balmes, etc.

Liberatore has the following: “Going back to the notion of substance, we may consider three things which are implied in it: the first, that it exists, not in any manner whatever, but in itself; the second, that it consists of a determinate reality or essence, from which its determinate active powers arise; the third, that it is in possession of itself—sui juris—with regard to its manner of existing. Of these three things, the first exhibits properly and precisely the notion of substance; the second presents the concept of nature; the third expresses the notion of suppositum.”13

The preceding quotations, to which others might be added, are more than sufficient, in our opinion, to refute the assertion that substance at all times was considered simply as a thing having no need of support; for we have seen that the most prominent philosophers and theologians of all times uniformly consider the actual negation of support as an essential principle of substance. Sanseverino, a very learned modern philosopher of the Thomistic school, treating in his Logic of the predicament of substance, establishes the fact that, according to the common teaching of the scholastics, “not the essence of the thing, but its mode of existing, formally constitutes the predicament of substance.” Although that special mode of existing is not implied in the essential concept of the thing, inasmuch as it is a thing, yet, according to the doctrine of the schoolmen, the same special mode is implied, as a formal constituent, in the essential concept of the same thing, inasmuch as it falls under the predicament of substance; so that, in the constitution of substance, the essence of the thing is to be ranked as its material, and the special mode of existing as its formal, principle. And the learned writer sums up all this doctrine in one general conclusion of Henry of Ghent, which runs thus: “Every predicament arises out of two constituents, of which one is the thing which is to be put under the predicament, the other is its mode of being which determines the predicament, and by these same constituents are the predicaments distinguished from one another”14—a doctrine explicitly taught by S. Thomas himself.15 And here let us reflect that, if all the schoolmen, as Sanseverino with the authority of his philosophical erudition declares, affirm that the mode of substance, the non-inherence, the negation of support, is an essential constituent of substance as such, we are free to conclude that to affirm the contrary is to give a false notion of substance; [pg 006] while to say that philosophers have at all times, or at any time, taught the contrary, is to give a very false statement of facts.

This may suffice to convince the student that the essential formality of substance as such is the negation of actual support. And now let us inquire what is the formal constituent of suppositum. Suppositum and substance, though not identical, are similarly constituted. The positive entity of both is the same, and the difference between them arises entirely from the different character of their negative formality, as we are going to explain. For the essence or nature of every created being is naturally accompanied by two negations, of which neither is essential to it, while either of them, absolutely speaking, can be made to disappear. The first is the negation of anything underlying as a supporter and acting the part of a subject; and it is to this negation, as we have proved, that any complete nature formally owes its name and rank of substance. The second is the negation of anything overlying, so to say, and possessing itself of the created being in such a manner as to endue it with an additional complement and a new subsistence; and it is to this negation that a complete nature formally owes its name and rank of suppositum. The complete nature, or the thing in question, when considered apart from these two negations, does not, therefore, convey the idea either of substance or of suppositum, but exhibits a mere potency of being either or both; as it is evident that there cannot be a substance without the formal constituent of substance, nor a suppositum without the formal constituent of suppositum.

This doctrine, which is so simple and clear, and which fully explains the true meaning of those phrases, “it exists in itself,” and “it subsists by itself,” can be confirmed by what S. Thomas teaches on the subject. And since we have already said enough in regard to the mode of substance, we shall give only what he says concerning subsistence or suppositality. That the words per se“by itself”—which strictly exhibit the formality of the suppositum, are the expression of a mere negation, is admitted by S. Thomas in a passage above mentioned. This would lead us immediately to conclude that the formal constituent of suppositum, in the judgment of the holy doctor, is a mere negation. But we may find a more perspicuous proof of this in those passages where he explains how the human nature in Christ subsists without the human personality. The absence of the human personality in Christ does not depend, says he, “on the absence of anything pertaining to the perfection of the human nature—but on the addition of something that ranks above the human nature, to wit, on the union of the human nature with a divine Person.”16 And again: “The divine Person, by his union, prevented the human nature from having its own personality.”17 It is manifest from these two passages that, according to S. Thomas, the absence of the human personality in Christ is to be accounted for by the addition of something above the human nature, and not by the suppression or subtraction [pg 007] of any positive entity belonging to the human nature. If, then, the absence of the human personality entails no absence of positive reality, it is obvious that the human personality is not a positive reality, but a real negation. Such is S. Thomas's doctrine, endorsed by Scotus and many others.

There are, however, some philosophers and theologians, Suarez among others, who consider personality as something positive; and we must briefly discuss the grounds of their opinion.

They say that, if the human personality is nothing positive, human person will be the same reality as human nature, and therefore the one will not be really distinct from the other; and if so, the one cannot be assumed without the other. How, then, can we say that the Eternal Word assumed the human nature without the human person?

We reply that all negation which belongs to a real being is a real negation, and constitutes a real mode of being. Accordingly, although the human personality is only a negation, the nature existing under that negation really differs from itself existing without that negation, no less than a body at rest really differs from itself in movement, although rest is only a negation of movement. And this suffices to show that the objection is wholly grounded on the false supposition that nothing is real which is not positive.

They affirm that subsistence or suppositality gives the last complement to the nature, as it terminates it and makes it subsistent. Hence subsistence, as they infer, must add something positive to the nature; which it cannot do unless it be a positive reality.

We deny the assumption altogether. Subsistence, in fact, gives no complement whatever to the nature, but, on the contrary, presupposes the complete nature, which, when simply left to itself, cannot but be subsistent by itself, and therefore is said to have its own subsistence. It is not subsistence that causes the thing to subsist; it is the thing which abides by itself that, in consequence of this same abiding by itself, has subsistence, and is called subsistent; just in the same manner as it is not rest that causes the body to be at rest, but the concrete resting; as rest is evidently the consequence of the resting. Hence this second objection, too, is based on a false assumption.

Another of their reasons is the following: In God, personality is a positive reality, therefore in creatures also; for the created person is a participation of divine person, which is a positive reality.

We do not see how this assertion can be true. In God there are three Persons, but neither of them is participated or communicated to creatures. Indeed, creatures bear in themselves a faint imitation of the three divine Persons, inasmuch as they involve three intrinsic principles in their constitution, as we have explained in the preceding article; but these three principles are not three persons. Yet, if divine personality were in any way communicable to creatures, creatures would subsist in three persons; for how could the personality of the Father be communicated in any degree without the personality of the Son and of the Holy Ghost being communicated in the same degree? Personality in God is a relative entity, and cannot be conceived without its correlative; and consequently, if the human personality [pg 008] were a participation of divine personality, it would be impossible for man to be a single person; whence it appears that human personality is not a communication of divine personality, and is not even analogous to it. What we call a human person is nothing but a human individual nature which is sui juris—that is, not possessed by a superior being, but left to itself and free to dispose of its acts. It therefore imitates, not the divine Persons, but the divine absolute Being, inasmuch as it is independent in disposing of everything according to his will. Now, independence, even in God, implies the negation or absence of any necessary connection or conjunction with anything distinct from the divine nature. It is but reasonable, then, to hold that the human nature also exists free and independent by the very absence or negation of personal union with a higher being. We remark, however, that such a negation in God is a negation of imperfection, while in creatures an analogous negation is a negation of a higher perfection, since it is the negation of their union with a more perfect nature.

It has been argued, also, that to be a person is better than not to be a person; whence it would follow that personality is a perfection. On the other hand, negations are not perfections; hence personality cannot be a negation.

To this we answer that the proposition, “to be a person is better than not to be a person,” can be understood in two different manners. It may mean that to have a nature which is capable of personality, and is naturally personal, is better than to have a nature incapable of personality; and in this sense the proposition is true, for it is certainly better to have the nature of man than the nature of an ox. This, however, would not show that personality is a positive formality. But the same proposition might be taken to mean that to have one's natural personality is better than to exist without it, in consequence of hypostatic union with a higher being; and in this sense, which is the sense of the objection, the proposition is evidently false. For the whole perfection of the human person is the perfection of its nature; so that human personality, instead of being a new perfection, is only an exponent of the perfection and dignity of human nature, which is such that the same nature can naturally guide itself and control its actions. We therefore concede that human personality is a formality of a perfect nature, but we cannot admit that it is a perfection of itself. If human personality were a perfection of human nature, we would be compelled to say that human nature is less perfect in Christ than in all other men; for, though the Eternal Word assumed the whole human nature, he did not assume that pretended perfection, human personality. But S. Paul assures us that Christ's human nature “is like ours in all things, except sin.” We cannot therefore suppose that the human nature is less perfect in him than in other men; and this leads us to the conclusion that human personality is not a positive perfection.

Some have pretended that the mystery of the Incarnation would become quite inexplicable if the human person were nothing more than the human nature left to itself. Their reason is that by the Incarnation the human nature is separated from the human person; which they deem to be impossible if the [pg 009] person is nothing else than the nature alone.

This is, however, a manifest paralogism. If, in fact, the human person is the human nature left to itself, the nature assumed by the Word will certainly not be a human person, since it is clear that the nature thus assumed is not left to itself. This suffices to show the inconsistency of the objection. Let us add that it is not entirely correct to say that by the Incarnation the human nature is separated from the human person; it would be more correct to say that the human nature is prevented from having that natural subsistence which would make it a human person.

Lastly, it has been said that, if the human nature which has been assumed by the Eternal Word was entirely complete, the union of the Word with it could not be intimate and substantial. Hence, according to this reasoning, there must have been something wanting in the human nature assumed, which something has been supplied by the hypostatic union.

We cannot but repeat, with S. Thomas, that the human nature assumed by the Word is absolutely perfect, and therefore exempt from any deficiency which could have been supplied by the hypostatic union. And as for the reason alleged, we say that it is grounded on a false supposition. The union of the Word with the human nature is not a conspiration of the divine and the human into oneness of substance, for the thing would be impossible; and therefore it is not wholly correct to say that the union is substantial. The proper term is hypostatic—that is, personal; for, in fact, the human nature conspires with the divine Word into oneness of person, the two natures or substances remaining entirely distinct. Now, the oneness of person is not obtained by supplying any deficiency in the human nature, but by adding, as S. Thomas teaches, to the perfect human nature that which is above it—that is, by the Word taking possession of it in his own person.

Such are the principal reasons advanced by those who consider human personality, and suppositality in general, as a positive mode. We think we have answered them sufficiently.

We cannot better conclude this controversy than by inviting the same philosophers to take cognizance of the following argument. The mode of suppositum, as well as the mode of substance, is not an accidental but a substantial mode, as all agree, and every one must admit. Now, no substantial mode can be positive; and therefore neither the mode of suppositum nor the mode of substance can be positive. The minor of this syllogism can be proved thus: Positive modes are nothing but positive actualities or affections of being; and unless they are mere relative denominations (which is not the case with substantial modes), they must result from the positive reception of some act in a real subject. This is an obvious truth, for nothing is actual but by some act; and all acts which are not essential to the first constitution of the being are received in the being already constituted as in a real subject. And since all acts thus received are accidental, hence all the positive modes intrinsic to the being must be accidental modes; and no substantial mode can be positive. Therefore whatever is positive in the suppositum and in the substance belongs to the nature of the being [pg 010] which has the mode of suppositum or of substance, whilst the modes themselves are mere negations.

This truth, however, should not be misunderstood. When we say that “to be in itself” or “to be by itself” is a mere negation, we do not refer to the verb “to be”; we only refer to the appendage “in itself” or “by itself.” To be is positive, but belongs to the nature as such, as it is the essential complement of all being, whether substance and suppositum or not. The negation consists, in the one case, in not being sustained by an underlying supporter, and, in the other, in not being taken possession of by an overlying superior being. Indeed, when we unite the verb to be with either of the two negations, we unite the positive with the negative. But the positive comes in as determinable, while the negative comes in as determinant. Hence the resultant determination or formality is only the actuality of a negation. Now, the actuality of a negation, though it is real inasmuch as it is the affection of a positive being, yet it is negative; for all actuality is denominated by its formal principle, and such a principle, in our case, is a negation.

A writer in a Catholic periodical has ventured to say that if the formality of substance (and the same would also apply to the suppositum) is negative, then substance “will consist merely in a negation.” It is surprising that a philosopher has not seen the absurdity of such a conclusion. Substance is not to be confounded with its formality. There are many positive things which involve a negation. In an empty pocket, emptiness is a negation; ignorance in the ignorant is a negation; and limit in all things finite is a negation. Yet no one will say that an empty pocket, an ignorant pupil, or a finite being “consist merely in a negation”; and therefore, although the formality of substance is a negation, it does not follow that substance is a mere negation.

It now remains for us to show that neither of the two aforesaid negations is essential to any created being, and that a created being can therefore, absolutely speaking, exist, at least supernaturally, without either of them. Our first proof is drawn from the fact that neither the one nor the other negation is reckoned among the essential constituents of created beings. All complete nature, by common admission, consists “of essence and existence”ex essentia et esse—the existence being the formal complement of the essence, and the essence itself involving, as its principles, an act with its corresponding term, as the readers of our last article already know. Accordingly, there is nothing essential in a complete being besides its act, its term, and its complement; and therefore neither the mode of substance nor the mode of suppositum is essential to a complete created being.

Our second proof is drawn from the notion of existence. “To exist strictly and simply,” says Suarez, “means only to have a formal entity in the order of nature; and therefore things existing are equally susceptible of the mode of being which consists in leaning on a supporter, and of the opposite mode which excludes all support.”18 This is a tangible truth; for although a complete being possesses in its [pg 011] own constitution what is required for its own existence, yet it has nothing in its constitution which implies the necessity of existing in itself and by itself. It can indeed, and will naturally, be in itself without anything underlying as a supporter, since it sufficiently supports itself on its own term; but it contains nothing that would make impossible the sub-introduction of a supernatural supporter. And, again, a complete being can subsist by itself without further completion, since it is sufficiently complete by its formal complement; but it contains nothing which would exclude the possibility of its acquiring a further completion and a supernatural subsistence.

A third proof might be drawn from the fact that our own bodies exist indeed in themselves, but do not subsist by themselves, as their material nature is taken possession of by a spiritual being—the soul—and subsists by its subsistence. From this fact, which is alluded to in S. Athanasius' Symbol as an image of the assumption of the human nature by the Word, we might show that suppositality can, even naturally, be supplanted by the union of a lower with a higher nature. But we will not develop this proof, as it requires too long an explanation and many new considerations, which cannot be embodied in the present article.

Last, but not least, it is evident that all negations which are not included in the essence of a thing can be supplanted by the position of their contrary. Hence the mode of substance and the mode of suppositum, which are negations, and are not included in the essence of created things, can be supplanted by the intervention of a supernatural power.

As we must here keep within the bounds of philosophy, we abstain from discussing other cognate questions which can be safely answered only by a direct appeal to dogmatic definitions and theological arguments. We may, however, state that the old scholastic theologians and the fathers of the church, both Greek and Latin, admitted that the mode of substance, as well as the mode of suppositum, can be made to disappear from the thing to which it naturally belongs in the manner above explained. For their common doctrine on the mysteries of the Incarnation and of the Holy Eucharist is, that the two mysteries are analogous to one another,19 and admit of a parallel mode of reasoning for their explanation. The analogy more or less explicitly pointed out by them involves the admission of a principle which may be expressed in the following words: “As the whole human nature can exist in Christ without the mode of human person, which is excluded [pg 012] by the hypostatic union of the Word with it, so can the whole sensible nature (species) of bread exist in the Holy Eucharist without its mode of substance, which is excluded by the substantive presence of Christ's body under it.” This traditional doctrine has been almost ignored in these latter centuries by those who were anxious to explain everything according to a special system of natural philosophy, and who little by little formed a new theory of the sacramental species; but the physical system on which these theologians took their stand having given way, and their new theory having lost its plausibility, we are of opinion that instead of seeking for new explanations, as some do, it is more prudent to fall back on tradition, and take into consideration the authorized teachings of our old polemic writers, of those especially who so valiantly fought against Berengarius and other heretics in behalf of the Eucharistic dogma.

Before we conclude, we wish to make a few remarks on some ambiguous expressions which may be a source of error in speaking of substance and of suppositum. We have said that Aristotle includes in his first category the suppositum as well as the substance, and that for this reason the words, “by itself,” “to support,” “to subsist,” have been promiscuously applied to the substance as well as to the suppositum. This has been done not only in philosophy, but even in theology. Thus we read in good authors that the divine Person of the Word “supports” or “sustains” Christ's human nature. Yet these words, as also “sustentation,” when applied to subsistence, must have a meaning which they have not when applied to substance; and it is plain that to employ the same words in both cases may give rise to serious mistakes. Some authors, besides overlooking the distinction to be made between “existing in itself”esse in se—and “subsisting by itself”per se subsistere—confound also with one another their opposites—viz., “to exist in something else”esse in alio—and “to subsist by something else”per aliud subsistere. Suarez, for instance, though usually very accurate in his expressions, says that “the mode of existing by itself and without dependence on any supporter has for its opposite to exist in something else;”20 which is not correct, for the divinity of Christ exists in his humanity, and nevertheless does not depend on it as a supporter. It would be more correct to say that the mode of subsisting by itself has for its opposite to subsist by something else. And it is evident that to subsist by something else is not the same as to exist in it.

To get rid of all such ambiguous phrases, we observe that the word “sustentation,” as compared with any created nature, can have three different meanings, according as we apply it to the act, the term, or the complement of the created being.

When sustentation is considered in connection with the act or the formal principle of a being, it means positive conservation; for all contingent being comes out of nothing by the positive production of an act, and needs to be kept out of nothing by the positive conservation of the same act, as we know from special metaphysics.

[pg 013]

When sustentation is considered in connection with the intrinsic term of a being, it means underlying; and in this sense we say that substance sustains its accidents. This meaning of the word “sustentation” is most conformable to its etymology; and thus, if anything is lying under any reality in that manner in which substance lies under its accidents, we shall say very properly that it sustains that reality. In this sense, sustentation and support may be taken as synonymous.

When sustentation is considered in connection with the formal complement of a being, it means overlying in such a manner as to superinduce a new complement and a new subsistence. Such is the manner in which the Person of the Word sustains Christ's humanity. This kind of sustentation implies hypostatic union and super-completion.

We might, therefore, divide sustentation into conservative, substantive, and hypostatic. The first is usually called conservation; the second might keep the name of sustentation; whilst the third might perhaps be fitly styled personalization, as this word seems adequately to express the nature of personal sustentation.

As to the phrases, “to be in itself” and “to be by itself,” we have seen that their distinction is most important. It may be useful to add that, even in God, to be in himself and to be by himself are to be distinguished by a distinction of reason indeed, but which is grounded on a real foundation. God is essentially a se, in se, and per se—that is, of himself, in himself, and by himself. These three attributes are absolute, and belong to the divine nature as an absolute reality; but as in this absolute reality there are intrinsic relations of personalities, we may reflect that, in this relative order, to be of himself can be considered as owing especially to God the Father, who does not proceed from any other person, but is himself the first principle of their procession; to be in himself can be considered as having a special reference to God the Son, in whom the whole entity of the Father is found as in the substantial term of his eternal generation; and, lastly, to be by himself can be explained by reference to the Holy Ghost, who is the essential complement of the Blessed Trinity, as that is said to be by itself which is ultimately complete in its own entity.

Accordingly, God, as existing essentially of himself—a se—has no need or capability of conservation; as existing essentially in himself—in se—he has no need or capability of sustentation; and as existing essentially by himself—per se—he has no need or capability of super-completion. But with contingent beings the case is quite different. And first, contingent beings are not “of themselves,” as they are from God; and for this reason they have an essential need of conservation, as we have stated, so far as their essential act is concerned. Secondly, although they naturally exist “in themselves,” yet this their mode of existing is not the result of an essential necessity, but only of a natural ordination, which God can supersede. They exist in themselves when the term of their own essence is their undermost support; for then the whole essence supports itself in a natural manner, and is a natural substance. Thirdly, although created beings naturally “subsist by themselves,” yet this manner of existing is not the consequence [pg 014] of an essential necessity, but only of a natural ordination, which can be superseded by the Creator. They subsist by themselves when the formal complement of their essence is their ultimate complement; for then the whole being is left to itself as a natural suppositum.

These explanations will be of some assistance, we hope, to the philosophical student in forming a correct judgment as to the formal constituents of substance and suppositum, and as to the manner of speaking about them with proper discrimination. We wish we had handled the subject in a better style and a less monotonous phraseology; but it was our duty to aim at preciseness rather than ornament. If there is any part of philosophy in which precision is more necessary than in another, it is that which treats of the principles of things; and if we succeed in presenting such principles in their true light, we shall deem it a sufficient apology for the dryness of our philosophical style.

To Be Continued.

On Hearing The O Salutaris Hostia.21

Song of the soul, whose clearly ringing rhythm
Throbs through the sacred pile,
And lengthened echoes swell thy solemn anthem
Past chancel, vault, and aisle,
An occult influence through thy numbers stealing,
A strange, mysterious spell,
Wakes in the longing heart a wondrous feeling,
A joy no tongue can tell;
A dreamy peace, a sense of unseen glory,
Wells through thy thrilling praise,
And calls a fairy vision up before me,
A dream of brighter days.
I hear the seraphs' sweet-tongued voices pleading,
The cherubim's accord,
And see the sun-robed shadows softly thridding
The gardens of the Lord.
I linger on the sight, and growing weary
Of earthly dross and sin,
Sadly, yet hoping, like the wistful peri,
I long to enter in!
The rolling echoes peal
Whilst glorious above
The face of God smiles on the storied altar,
Well pleased, and rich with love.
And through the living air and slumbrous music,
And through the chancel broad,
The Heart of Jesus glows in mystic splendor,
And lights us unto God!
[pg 015]

On The Wing: A Southern Flight.

What induced us to pick our way on foot from the railway carriage to the Hôtel du Parc et Bordeaux, near eleven o'clock at night, on our arrival at Lyons, I cannot possibly conceive.

It was the 3d of January that we performed this unnecessary penance; and the only explanation I can give is that we were all rather dazed by the long journey from Paris, and had forgotten that of course there was waiting at the station an omnibus to carry on the passengers. We had been silent and sleepy for some hours, when the bright lights twinkling up and down the heights of the city of Lyons, and across the bridges, and, corruscating at the station, had roused us all up, and made us exclaim at the fairy sight. I had seen it again and again; but I always look out eagerly for the first peep at that tossed-about town after night has closed in, and I know none more brilliant and picturesque. I thought we all looked rather rueful as we entered the hotel, and that it suddenly struck us we had come on foot, and might therefore look too economically inclined to suit the views of the buxom lady who advanced to meet us. I saw her cast rather a doubtful eye to the rear; but her face brightened when she found we had at least been able to afford a porter to carry such luggage as we might want for one night. We had no valid reason to give in reply to her anxious enquiries as to why we had not availed ourselves of the hotel omnibus; which very soon afterwards came rattling into the yard, quite empty, the guard and coachman viewing us indignantly. Madame, finding we had nothing to say for ourselves, compassionately furnished each with a candle, and allowed us to gather together our scattered wits in sleep.

The “we” consisted of brother Frank, sister Mary, and I; also of Ann, our maid. I suppose I must describe the party. I wish I could draw them instead. Frank is dressed all over in a gray tweed. I sometimes tell him he looks like a gray parrot; but that is absurd, because he is so extremely taciturn, which gray parrots are not. He makes a capital courier. He always knows what we poor women shall want, and how much we can do, which is a great comfort to me; because, as Mary is delicate, and we are travelling on her account, I should be so worried if Frank insisted on doing fourteen hours of railroad per diem. He is such a good fellow that he would never wish us to overtask ourselves. But then he is so strong that I know it must seem very extraordinary to him that we should be such poor creatures, and get tired out so soon. I sometimes wonder what has made Frank so tender and gentle, and so considerate. Perhaps it is the being so much with Mary. She makes everybody gentle who comes [pg 016] near her. Somehow she seems to stroke everybody's fur the right way, no matter how ruffled they were before. Poor Mary! she has for many years been a widow, after a brief and unhappy married life, and having lost both her children, a girl and a boy. She is the eldest of us three, but has a marvellous knack of looking the youngest and the brightest. She has been very beautiful, and is so still in many ways. Now I come! But how shall I describe myself? The more I think of it, the more impossible I find it. As I am the relater of our adventures, I suppose my readers will form for themselves some idea of what I am like. So I will only say that my name is Jane, and that I am an old maid, but that I do not feel old. As to my looks, I really do not know what to say. I am not always altogether dissatisfied with them; but then, on the other hand, when I am inclined to judge them leniently, the unlucky feeling comes over me that it is solely owing to my hat, or the way my hair is done, or some fortuitous circumstance upon which I cannot reckon as a permanency, and which may be gone before any one else has had the time to observe it. So that though I have my lucky moments, I have little or no capital to go on. Now, Mary, with her large, soft eyes, her exquisite mouth, and beautiful teeth, attracts strangers wherever she goes; although she is always insisting upon it she is quite an old woman. And now comes Ann. She is about my age, but does not at all consider herself an old maid, and therefore always contradicts me when I speak of myself in such disparaging terms. I generally say something in reply about the observation being six for me and half a dozen for herself. But this she does not like. Ann is a very good girl, and a capital maid. She has pretty, fuzzy black hair, and bright though small black eyes; she has a very white skin, and a neat figure. But she does not like travelling, and is especially disgusted when the scenery is very bold and magnificent. Mountains are her abhorrence, distant views her antipathy. This is far from being our first journey; and whenever we have found ourselves in the railway carriage from Dover to London Bridge, Ann invariably remarks how lovely the country is as we dash through the flat green fields and monotonous cherry gardens of simple Kent. And her admiration culminates when we pass any gentlemen's seats. The absence of striking features, the unbroken, unaccidental horizon, the universal green, and the level lines, give Ann a sensation of peace and repose; while I, who have something of an artist's soul, am feeling how very difficult it would be to get an effective subject or a “nice bit of color” out of the platitudes of dear England's quiet homesteads.

We were off the next day by daylight, I feeling like a swallow flying south; and very soon we perceived in the clear air a warmer glow than any to be had the other side of Lyons. Even the desert region of La Crau seemed full of charms to me. The dim, gray expanse of thick-lying stones that Hercules persuaded by his prayers the angry Jove to shower down on the Ligurians, broken only by thin tufts of mint and scant rosemary, themselves also of a gray green, and leading on over thousands of acres to the blue distant hills that were blushing into rosy hues when we crossed the desert, were not without delightful “points,” which I could [pg 017] have transferred to my sketch-book had time allowed me. “La Belle Provence” is a very journalière beauty, and requires a bright sun to clothe her in sparkling jewels, and to dye her dress in blue and violet and rose-madder, to be worthy of the name that centuries have agreed to give her. When there are no lights, there is apt to be an air of desolation and barrenness. Those hills, arrayed in many tints, give back the lights from rocky and unproductive cliffs; but down in the valleys, with the exception of La Crau, the culture is rich and varied. The first stunted olive-trees as we approached Marseilles were welcome less on their own account—for they are miserable specimens—than for the association of ideas connected with their pallid leaves, and because they gave promise of the large ones that would gladden our eyes further on.

The station of Hyères is a few miles from the town. We had ordered a carriage to meet us; and all the way Mary was looking out for the large umbrella pine that she remembered so well years ago, when there was no railway so far south. It had been the great landmark on the road from Hyères to Toulon. We measured our rides and walks in that direction by the great pine. There it stood, the same as ever, and brought back all Hyères and the two winters spent there, besides other shorter visits, to our memory with one rush. All else was changed. New houses had sprung up on all sides. Mme. Susanne's old tumble-down hotel, where Mary had stopped for a few days on her wedding-tour, is changed into a magnificent building with caryatides supporting the façade like a Genoese palace; and the palms on La Place des Palmiers, which I had known in their babyhood, have grown to a size that would not disgrace Arabia. The hotel we went to stands in what used to be Le Jardin Frassinet. It had been full of orange-trees when we first knew it, as had all the other gardens in the place. But one very severe winter having greatly injured the trees, the inhabitants have given up the cultivation of oranges, and have planted peach-trees instead, much to the detriment of the beauty of Hyères. I found Mary, the day after our arrival, gazing wistfully at a group of tall cypress and one palm-tree that had marked the boundary of the gardens belonging to the house where she lived with her children the second time she came here. We missed her soon afterwards, and refrained from following her, for we knew she wanted to visit alone the scenes of some joys and many sorrows long ago passed away—so far as anything is really past which is worthy the name of joy or sorrow. She came back with her hands full of the little, dark, mottled arum and its lance-head leaves that grow so profusely on the hills and by the roadside. They are of a dingy-purple hue, shaded off into white; and we exclaimed against them as she put them in a glass, alleging that they had an unpleasant odor. “I know they have,” she answered; “but their quaint, twisted shape, and blossoms like the head of a snake, are so full of memories that I rather like the smell than otherwise.” After that we let her enjoy her arums alone, for we knew how much that meant. Doubtless she had been wandering about, recalling visions of the past: the dead—the lost, but not dead, that worse separation!—and all the tangled maze of the years that are gone. Mary's [pg 018] bouquet of arums was redeemed by a handful of the sweet white alyssum; and these two flowers, with a few of the bold-faced, unflinching daisies of Provence, so unlike our modest northern flowers, were all the wild blossoms we could hope to find in January.

We could not leave Hyères without performing a pilgrimage to Notre Dame de Consolation, the old church on a hill overlooking the coast. The ascent is marked by the Way of the Cross rudely painted in small niches of masonry by the side of the road. When we were last here, there was a daily Mass said by a hermit-priest. He had some years previously tried his vocation at the Carmelites', and had not succeeded. But the impulse to seek utter solitude was too strong to be resisted; and for a long time he had lived in the surrounding mountains, a veritable hermit, subsisting upon the poorest fare, which was brought to him at regular intervals by the peasants. Whether he had erected a hut for himself, or lived in a cave, I never learnt; but when the bishop of the diocese became aware of the fact, he thought it to be regretted that a priest should not celebrate Mass, and proposed to him that he should live in one of the small rooms of the deserted convent which is attached to the Church of Our Lady of Consolation, take care of the church, and say Mass. This offer he gladly accepted; and there he resided for some time. We used to go sometimes, on a bright spring morning, to attend his Mass. Our breakfast was packed in a basket, and hung to the pommel of my donkey's saddle, to be eaten afterwards on the top of the low, semi-circular wall which encloses a piece of ground in front of the church. I always looked with a special interest, not altogether unmingled with curiosity, at the slight, bent figure of the priest, who could not be more than forty years of age, as he emerged from the door of the sacristy, and, with eyes so cast down that they seemed closed, passed by us to the altar. Who shall say what had called up that deep thirst for utter solitude and silence which had driven him to so extreme a life? Was it some calamity, or some crime, or only—as is far more probable—that strange instinct which is implanted in the nature of some men to flee their kind, and be alone with themselves—an instinct which possibly many have felt stirring within them at odd moments, but which, when touched by divine grace, grows into a wonderful and exceptional vocation; once more common, in the early days of Christianity, when the whole world lay in pagan luxury and gilded vice, and which even our subduing, taming, commonplace civilization fails in some rare cases to smother in the soul?

What became of the hermit of Our Lady of Consolation I could never learn. Perhaps the solitude seemed incomplete when ladies could attend his Mass, and picnic afterwards on his premises. At any rate, he has been gone for many years; and Mass is only said on certain feasts, when the peasantry come in crowds, and bring flowers and offerings to the Madonna, as represented by a peculiarly ugly and dark-colored wooden statue, which has grown to be very precious to those who have obtained special favors in answer to their prayers offered here. Many years ago, Mary, in her Protestant days, had brought a lace veil, the gift of a Russian prince, who was leaving [pg 019] Hyères with a sick wife, and who wanted prayers for their safe journey; thereby producing a curious admixture of heretical, schismatical, and Catholic feeling which no doubt had each their separate value and acceptance before God, being all offered in simplicity and good faith; for it was with no unwilling hands that, mounted on one of the prie-dieux in the church, she had arranged the veil over the statue, and then knelt to say a prayer for the prince's intention.

The church is full of votive offerings. The walls are entirely covered from roof to floor. As many of them have been put up by sailors, they more or less have reference to the dangers of the deep. There is a model of a ship hanging up near the entrance, probably because its larger copy was saved from wreck. The pictures representing recovery from sickness or preservation from peril are often extremely grotesque, and might provoke a smile were it not that they carry one's thoughts direct to the faith and gratitude they represent.

I had often wandered through the deserted rooms and cells of the old convent. There is no glass left in some of the windows; but the weather is kept out by the external wooden shutters which are universal in the south. There is a lovely view from all sides. In front, the sea, with Les Isles d'Or (the Golden Islands) hemming it in as if it were a large lake, save to the left, where it opens out into the wide ocean. These islands form some of those originally called Les Larins, which name included the group before the coast of Cannes. And in most of them the first religious houses for men were established by S. Honorius, though only one island, that on which he and all his monks were martyred by the Saracens, bears his name. Les Isles d'Or, or Les Isles d'Hyères, as they are also called, are now but sparsely inhabited. Years ago, “when we were young,” we had landed on one of these islands, where stands a fort, and a few soldiers are stationed. There are also a half-dozen of cottages, inhabited by fishermen and shepherds. We were a joyous band, and had sailed from the mainland in the admiral's cutter, the French fleet riding at anchor off our coast. As we scrambled up the sandy beach, and pushed our way through the tangled undergrowth of myrtle, heath, cytisus, and leutisca, we found ourselves face to face with the solitary sentinel pacing in front of the blind walls of the low but solid-looking fort. His face broke into smiles, and, with a saucy gleam in his dark eyes, he said to the foremost gentlemen of our party, “Comment, Messieurs! vous nous en menez toutes ces belles dames? Mais vous allez révolutionner notre pauvre curé.”22 We could find no remains of monastic houses on the islands; but there are traces of walls close to the sea, on the mainland, which are said to be the remains of a convent of nuns who met with a severe punishment for an ill-timed jest. Possibly they were not all that as nuns they might have been. At any rate, they seem to have found their life occasionally dull; and when the longing for a little excitement became irrepressible, the abbess would toll the great bell of the convent, which by rights was never used save to ring the Hours and the Angelus, or to summon the neighbors for aid when any of the frequent panics about the landing of [pg 020] the marauding Saracens threatened the safety of the Sisters. The jest had been played too often, and when at length the oft-expected Saracens really came, the poor nuns rang their bell in vain. No one appeared to the rescue, and the Saracens had it all their own way, and the convent was destroyed.

The sea must have encroached since those days, for the waters wash over the scanty ruins, and I have picked my way along the foundations with little salt lakes lying between. Far to the left lie Les Salines, where they evaporize the sea-water in shallow square spaces, and thus obtain a coarse gray salt. They say that sometimes flamingoes may be shot among this marshy land; but I could never obtain one, though I know it abounds in wild fowl of every description. The deep orange-colored boughs of the large willow-trees give a peculiar charm to the distant landscape in the winter when the leaves are off; and close upon the edge of the shore is a fine wood of umbrella pines, whereof three giants, standing apart from the rest, had been great favorites of ours. We had looked out eagerly on our arrival for our three pines. Alas! one was missing. Years ago these three solitary, magnificent trees had had a strange fascination for me. I wanted to find my way to where they stood; but it was beyond the marshes, and near the salines. There was no direct road, and no one could tell me how to get there; not even the young French naval officers, who used to come often and spend the evening with us, and who must have landed not so very far from where they stood. The craving to see my three pines face to face grew, however, too strong to be resisted; and so one day I set off on donkey-back, taking Ann with me, and resolved that I would not return till I had accomplished my end. Great were our difficulties. We had to thread our way along narrow raised paths through the marshes, just wide enough for our donkeys to tread; and as, of course, we dared not leave these paths, which did not wind, but turned at right angles, we as often seemed to be going away from the pines as the reverse. At one moment we were pursued by a couple of savage dogs, who tore after us from the open yard of a farm-house, and who were so very angry at our intrusion that escape along our narrow way, and with our leisurely steeds, seemed questionable. At length I found myself at the base of a high sand-bank, on which the yellow sea-thistle, with its glaucous leaves, found a scanty subsistence and a doubtful root-hold. This I had to scramble up, while for every ten inches I made in advance I slid back six. At last I was at my long-desired goal, and my three giants were really magnificent to behold. It was on my fourth visit to Hyères, with intervals of years between, that I accomplished this feat, and I had always looked at my pines the first thing in the morning, when the strip of sea between the mainland and the isles was still lying gray in the early light. Then, again, I watched for the red glow of the setting sun on their smooth stems, painted, as it were, in burnt sienna. Again, on moonlit nights I had looked for their broad, deep black crests, falling like an ink-spot on the silver sea. And now at last, when they had almost become to me like some mystery, meaning more than met the eye, I could throw my arms [pg 021] about them, and lay my hot cheek on their noble trunks.

It was not till then I knew how tired I was. I could not delay long with my old friends. I do not remember anything about the getting home, save that the dogs who had so guarded my garden of the Hesperides, and stood between me and the fulfilment of my desire, now that I had accomplished the feat, let me return in silence. I was very weary; but I was thoroughly contented and satisfied. And now one of my old friends was laid low! How he came to his end I know not. But I felt that he had died, not that he had been cut down; and for a moment a strange, weird melancholy stole over me at finding I had outlived a noble tree. It seemed as if I must be very old to have done that, and that it was hardly natural. I remember I asked myself then, at the very time of my culte of the pine-trees, and I have repeated the question since, whether there was not in my feelings something of that dim instinct which binds man in an obscure affinity with all nature, down to its lower strata and its primeval developments. As man contains something of all in his own being, so must he have a sympathy with all; for, as has been wisely said, man is a universe in himself, with another universe to wait on him. Most people have a special attraction to some race of animals. Some have a love for, and a power over, the horse and the dog greater than others; and this not always nor only as the results of habit, but as a natural gift. Certain flowers have a peculiar attraction for many people, in preference to others equal in beauty and perfume. All these preferences may point to hidden laws of affinity, of which we know very little more than the bare fact that all in creation finds its portion in each man, and that in his own single self he is chemical, vegetable, animal, and spiritual. I am afraid to say any more, lest my readers should think I believe we are in general descended from the little open-mouthed sea-squirts called ascidians, but that I claim for myself in particular some higher origin in the shape of a conifer great-grandfather. I assure them it is nothing of the kind. With regard to my sympathy with animals, of course, being an old maid, I ought to prefer cats and gray parrots. On the contrary, I prefer dogs, and Frank is the only gray parrot I ever thought of loving.

Before leaving Hyères, I made a sketch from the top of the hill (which in my younger days, for want of knowing better, I used to call the mountain) on which stand the picturesque ruins of the old château which formerly belonged to the French branch of the huge family of Fox; who, varying their name, if not their nature, according to the sky under which they flourished, had taken root in England, France, and Germany in the old feudal times. They possessed certainly a magnificent abode at Hyères, and probably kept all the neighborhood in awe. It is a glorious situation. It overlooks a long stretch of the road to Toulon as that winds through the fertile, well-cultivated valley; and to the right rises the rocky summit of Le Coudon, the point of land that first strikes the sailor's eye as he leaves the coast of Africa, and which on exceptionally clear days is dimly visible even from the coast itself. Next to it comes Le Phare Pharon, a lower mountain crowned by a fort. I know few views which [pg 022] combine such an exquisite variety of form and color as this. The small cork-trees and the stunted oaks, equally beautiful, whether wearing their russet leaves through the brief winter, or almost matching the cork-trees in dark-green foliage; the olives, here of a very respectable size, with their gnarled trunks and fantastic shapes; and then the patches of vivid-green corn, winter peas, and the green artichokes; the undulation of the land, assuming every shade from deep violet to light red—make altogether one of the loveliest views I know anywhere. But then, I am bound to acknowledge that there are not many such in the neighborhood of our much-loved Hyères, and that, on the whole, the simple little place has far less beauty to recommend it than many of the towns along the Riviera. Its great merit for invalids arises from the air being a good deal softer than at most of the sea-coast resorts of the sick. Mary could sit out for hours in the open air at Hyères, when at Cannes, and even at San Remo, she could only have driven in a close carriage; for, in spite of the brilliant sunshine in those places, the air is apt to be too exciting both for irritable lungs and susceptible nerves. One reason—probably the principal reason—for this is that Hyères is three miles from the sea, and more in the mountains than are the towns of the Riviera generally.

We had a lovely afternoon journey from Hyères to Cannes; passing numerous little bays and creeks where the blue waters lay in deep repose, or fringed with tiny wavelets that but kissed the shingly shore, and died in a gleam of light. As you looked down on them from the railway-carriage, you felt you might have seen a mermaid combing her sea-green hair, or a cupid astride a dolphin, as quite an expected vision. The intense blue sky and deeper blue sea, the various-tinted rocks, and perhaps a solitary pine hanging over, and near by a group of the same, with their dense crowns of ever-murmuring boughs, through which the evening air sings like the hum of winged insects, were each so full of harmonious and yet gorgeous color that they leave on the mind the impression of a Greek idyl, full of serene beauty—mere beauty, it may be—but intense, placid, and eternal. There are scenes in nature that are like the forms in Greek art. They are one; and they are typical. No wide view, albeit glorious, can produce this effect, however much it may appeal to the imagination. But a rock-bound cove on the Mediterranean, with its sparse vegetation and its depth of color, is as suggestive of thoughts beyond itself as is the pure grace of a Greek statue. It belongs to another world than ours, and to a region of thought rarely lighted on in these times, and then by a few only. When I question myself of the “why,” I am at a loss to answer. Perhaps it lies in the fact that, to produce this abstract effect on the mind, the objects in nature must be few, simple, and perfectly beautiful of their kind. Then they recall Greek art, in which there is no multiplicity, no overlaying, but which represents as absolutely a pure idea as it is possible for art to do. It is without subtlety, as it is without crowding. It can be felt better than described, for the feeling is too deep for words. Nothing in English scenery, no accidental combination of beauty, has ever brought the Greek geist before my mind. Never for a second, amid [pg 023] the birchen groves and flower-fringed lanes of my own land, had I thought of old Greece and the old Greek feeling. Pantheism would not be the natural religion of our northern skies. Never had I so strongly felt the tie between nature and art, and, as a necessary sequence, between nature and Grecian thought, till I had wandered on the pale sands by the calm blue waters of the tideless sea. It is like a floating essence, too intangible for words. If I could express it, the expression would perforce be brief and veiled. I would sing my idyl to a three-stringed lute, or paint my white nymph against a whiter sky.

It was essential to Mary not to live close to the sea, therefore we engaged apartments at Cannes in one of the hotels situated among the hills, and full a mile and a half from the coast. It so happened that nearly all the people whom we met at the table-d'hôte were English like ourselves, or rather British, for some came from the Emerald Isle; and amongst these a family of three charming girls, full of the spirit and humor of the race. They had with them an elderly maid, who had been their nurse, and whose quaint sayings afforded us much amusement while we were there. She had joined them only just before we arrived, bringing out the third sister, who had shown symptoms of delicacy like the second, and both were under the supreme care of the elder sister. Mrs. O'Brien had managed her journey in foreign parts very cleverly, though making every inch of the way under protest at the heathenish customs and abominable practices of these “foreigners,” as she deigned to call the French in their own land.

It had been with the greatest difficulty that she had, on leaving Ireland, been prevented from taking with her a large boxful of household stores, which, as she expressed it, would be such a comfort to “those poor darlints, just starvin' in foreign parts, with nothing but kickshaws and gimcracks to keep the life in them.” In spite of all the remonstrances of her master, she had actually succeeded in so far cheating the custom-house that she had smuggled “jist a nice little hand of pork, salted down at home,” among the young ladies' linen. Norah flew into our room, amid fits of laughter, to show it to us, and to consult upon how we could possibly get it boiled. We could not insult the hotel by asking that it might appear at the table-d'hôte; and a hand of pork was rather a peculiar dish for three young ladies to keep up in their bedroom for private eating. On the other hand, Mrs. O'Brien would never recover it if her eleemosynary offering were discarded. It ended in my explaining the state of the case, under seal of secrecy, to the landlady; and then we actually held a supernumerary feast in our drawing-room, at a late hour, all to show Mrs. O'Brien that her kindness was appreciated. We did not sleep particularly well that night, and the rest was made into sandwiches and eaten on our next excursion up the mountains.

Mary and Mrs. O'Brien became great friends; for Mary's sympathetic nature and marvellous control of countenance at once drew the old lady out, and prevented her discovering how intensely amused her listener was. Amongst other topics, she was very eloquent upon the subject of the Prince of Wales' recovery from his serious illness, [pg 024] declaring how she, “as is a nurse myself, know well what a fine healthy man he must have been born ever to have got over the like of that. And now, sure, we must pray that nothing may happen to the blessed, darlint prince; for if he were to be taken, the country would be just ruined, and nothing left us but the constitution!”

She would talk by the hour of her “darlint” young ladies, sometimes blaming their conduct, sometimes extolling them to the skies. Occasionally, to tease her, they would pretend to walk lame, and tell her that was all the fashion, and was called the Alexandra limp. “Och! now, honeys, you, with straight limbs as God has made you, mocking at the darlint princess, as may be isn't lame at all. If I saw you mocking at me, as is no princess, but is blind, and me groping round the table, don't you think, honeys, as I should feel it?” Then turning to Mary: “Ah! your honor, they was always as wild as a litter o' pigs on a windy day, good luck to them. I've seen them all come into the world, bless their hearts, one after the other, pretty nigh as fast as nature would let them. And a nice handful I've had wid them, too, bringing the most of them up by hand like a weaned calf. Children's stomachs is just like sponges. But if you overdo the binding, may be you'll give them obdurate bowels.” Mary bore even this without a smile; but we all laughed together when the morning after her arrival she found the nice little boy Celestin, who brought in the lamp and the basket of wood, and helped in the house generally, and who could not have been above fifteen, innocently aiding Marie, the housemaid, in making the beds. She could not understand a word of French, and of course he knew no English; but she seized him by the collar, and ejected him violently from the room, exclaiming, “Get out o' that, you young varmint!” and protesting that he should never touch one of her “darlints' sheets in this heathenish land, where they made no difference between a man and a woman, but put the men to make the beds and the women to tend the cattle.” The end of it was that she took the bed-making into her own hands, though she never got reconciled to the mattresses stuffed with the outer sheaths of the Indian corn, or the pillows with wool. “That pillow is as hard as a dog's head, and won't do for my young lady; and the other's as limp as a dead cat,” she remarked aloud to herself one day that Elina was going to bed early with a bad headache.

By degrees we became rather well acquainted with the other visitors at the hotel, which arose, no doubt, from the fact of our all being fellow-countrymen. For a long time Mary was the only married woman of the party; and with the exception of the three merry Irish girls, the ladies were all old maids like myself. Frank found Cannes rather slow, as he expressed it, and spent the greater part of the six weeks we were there in making excursions in the neighborhood, stopping away three or four days at a time. It was long before we got thoroughly comfortable with any of our fellow-sojourners in a strange land. In the first place, we were the only Catholics, and most of the others were very decided Protestants, and so rather shunned us at first. Some of them especially objected to Mary, and seemed to think that her good looks and her accurate French pronunciation were [pg 025] rather offensive than otherwise. It made no sort of difference to her, and I am sure she never even found it out. One day, as I was coming down-stairs, Miss Marygold was crossing the wide passage which went from the entrance to the dining-room door. As I passed her, she tossed her head, and said, “I have just met your sister, Miss Jane, going out for a walk, and looking about five-and-twenty. I must say I think it must be very inconvenient not to show one's age better than that.” “At any rate,” said I, “it is an inconvenience, Miss Marygold, that many would be happy to share with her.” And I swept along the wide passage lined with oleanders, myrtle, and cypress in large pots, sat down to the piano in the public salon, and dashed through the overture of “Robert le Diable” with much brilliancy of execution. I afterwards found out that both the Miss Marygolds strongly objected to a little red bow which Mary was apt to fasten in her hair when we went down to dinner. Their own coiffures resembled either a doll's apron stuck on the top of her head, or a small “dress-improver” of stiff lace. I suppose they thought there was some virtue in wearing what was at once ugly and ridiculous.

No one, on first arriving at Cannes, can form any idea of the exquisite beauty that will be within their easy reach as soon as they get beyond the long, straight street parallel with the flat coast. The town itself has no pretensions to beauty, except from the picturesque, fortified old church, standing high above the town, and whose mouldering walls assume so many different tints against the dark-violet background of the Estrelle; that beautiful line of mountains that runs far out into the sea, and forms the most prominent object of the scenery. The market is held down the one long street, where it opens on the small garden and esplanade by the shore. This is planted with magnificent plane-trees, and nothing can be more picturesque than the groups of peasant-women, with their bright-colored kerchiefs crossed over their shoulders, and their thick woollen skirts, sitting each at her little booth of cakes, or sweets, or household utensils, and especially the charming little crocks, pots, and pans of native manufacture. At a short distance from Cannes, at Valory, there is a very fine establishment of pottery works, well worthy of a visit. The native clay produces the most beautiful colors; and as the numerous visitors at Cannes have taken pains to supply the manufactory with very good models taken from the antique and from some of the best specimens of Minton and Staffordshire china, the result is most satisfactory. We found that they are in the habit of sending very large crates of garden-vases, besides smaller and more delicate articles, all over Europe. The road along the coast towards Antibes is bordered by beautiful villas with gardens running down towards the sea, and generally laid out in terraces. Even now, in the month of January, they were full of roses, geraniums, ageratum, and violets in bloom. Part of this picturesque spot is called California, on account of the bright yellow blossom of the mimosa, which, when fully out, is truly “a dropping well of gold.” The light, feathery flower covers the whole tree, and there is scarcely a leaf to be seen. The beautiful eucalyptus, or blue gum-tree, is [pg 026] much cultivated here. The peculiar variety of its foliage, the lower and older leaves being almost heart-shaped, and the upper ones often a foot in length, and hardly two inches wide, makes it very remarkable. The lower leaves are of a blue green, shading off into deep bronze, and the new shoots are almost yellow. It is quite recently that this beautiful tree has been transplanted from Australia to Europe; but as it makes twenty feet in a year, there are already magnificent specimens. It has a highly aromatic gum; and it is supposed that in time it will greatly supersede the use of quinine, having medicinal properties which resemble that invaluable remedy, while it will be less expensive. When Mary is suffering from one of her neuralgic headaches, nothing relieves her so much as steeping the long leaves of the eucalyptus in hot water, and holding her head over the perfumed steam. A branch hung near the bed is also, they say, conducive to sleep.

The beauties of the position of Cannes are far outdone by that of the little town of Cannet, distant about three miles, and built among the mountains, and where the air is softer. Nothing can exceed the loveliness of the view from the Place, shaded by splendid plane-trees, of the half-deserted little town, or the same view seen from the terrace of the one Pension, where we found every preparation for receiving guests, but which was locked up and entirely empty. You overlook numerous orange-gardens of the most vivid green, the starry blossoms and golden fruit gleaming amid the foliage. Then, far down the valley, and clothing an amphitheatre of hills and mountains, are groves of olives, with their soft velvet folds, mass overlapping mass of tender, dim green, shimmering all over with silver touches, as the air stirred the branches, and turned upwards the inner lining of the leaves—after which all other foliage is apt to look crude and hard. The blue sea lies beyond, and the sharp, purple outline of the Estrelle; while to the right the mountains fade off further and further, ending in snow-capt heights.

From amid the dense, soft shadows of the valley rise the old tower of the church and the picturesque cupolas of the strange Moorish villa where poor Rachel, the famous French tragedian, breathed her last, and which is fast falling to decay. It is no longer let to strangers; but we made our way through the tangled gardens and wilderness of orange-trees. Everything looked tumbling to pieces. The house itself is in ruin; and being painted in bright colors externally, and chiefly built of wood, at least in the ornamental parts, it looks like the cast-off decorations of a dismal theatre. Two white pigeons were picking up the scattered grain in the little, untidy court. A few mutilated plaster figures of gods and goddesses near the entrance added to the tawdry and unreal aspect of the whole. It was as if the poor actress had selected it to die in for its scenic effect, and so had closed her life on a mute and deserted stage. I fancied I could see her lithe form and her sinuous glide (for she never seemed to walk like a common mortal) along the veranda. I could recall the intense passion of her matchless voice as she thrilled you through with the words:

Je ne me verrai point préférer de rivale.
Enfin, tous tes conseils ne sont plus de saison:
Sers ma fureur, Œnone, et non pas ma raison.
[pg 027]

And then she came here, alone, to die! As I turned away from the place, so beautiful even in its desolation, I wondered if the rumor might be true which was prevalent at the time—that her maid, a French Catholic, seeing her poor mistress in a state of coma just before her death, had dared to baptize her—and thus give us a large-hearted hope for the woman and the Jewess.

We drove through the narrow, sharp-angled streets of the little town of Cannet to the church in the valley. The streets were so narrow, and the turnings were so sharp, that it always seemed that our horses were in one street while we and the carriage were in another. Three little children, with bright, dark eyes and tangled hair, hung over a wall, each with a rose in its mouth. They looked as if they would drop the flowers, and themselves after, into our laps. The church was very clean and well cared for; full of tawdry decorations, but fresh and neat, as if all were often renewed by loving hearts, if not by cultivated taste. M. le Curé is very old, and has not sufficient help for the wants of so large a parish; and there are no Sisters to teach the children. They seem a simple people; and if only there were a habitable house, what pleasure might be found in living in this earthly paradise, and working amongst them!

It is said that the Englishman carries Bass' pale ale and Warren's blacking with him where-ever he goes, to say nothing of Harvey's sauce. At any rate, he has established his own special amusements at Cannes, with no apparent consciousness of their incongruity with the scene around them. Of course we took our share, though denouncing and protesting all the way at the horrors of pigeon-shooting. We drove over sandy lanes close to the shore, through groups of pine-trees on either side; a glorious panorama of mountains and snow-clad peaks beyond, the dark-blue sea, and the purple Estrelle. There was a vulgar booth and a shed, and some rickety benches like those at a country fair. We sat down, facing three boxes, in which the innocent birds were concealed until the moment—unknown, of course, to the sportsman himself—when, bursting open, the pigeons spread their wings at liberty, to be perchance instantly killed by a clever shot. I acknowledge that I tried not to look, and that my heart gave a spasmodic leap every time I heard the clap of the lid of the box and then the sharp shot. I looked at the pine-trees and the far-off mountains, with the many-tinted, undulating middle distances, and tried to forget the coarseness and cruelty of the scene I was supposed to have come to as an amusement. The nuts and the ginger-bread were wanting, and Aunt Sally was distinguished by her absence; but there was nevertheless a milder reflection of everything that might have graced this same kind of scene in England; and so the English gentleman of the XIXth century, brought by fortuitous circumstances into a new and exquisitely beautiful land, was doing his best to make himself “at home,” and to inspire the natives and foreigners with his own tastes. I am fond of sport, though I am but an old maid; but somehow this does not strike me as being sport in the true acceptation of the word. And I sat wondering how long it will be before [pg 028] my own brave countrymen, who are already addicted to battues, will build one-storied, round summer-houses in their woods, painted inside with arabesques, Cupids, Venus, and Diana, and having six or eight small windows all round it; then, seated in a large gilt fauteuil, with a bottle of choice Chambertin by his side, he will languidly pop his short gun at the thrushes or the finches as they flutter from bough to bough before him; and so, at the end of a couple of hours, saunter home with a bagful of “game,” wearied with the exertions of la chasse au tire, like the gentlemen in France in the times of La Régence.

The Duc de P. was there, and the Duc de C., and the Duke of H., and actually one of the men—what may they be called?—who preside over the pigeon-shooting at Hurlingham, and who had been got over to ensure everything being en règle. What more could any one want? I wondered to myself whether the extraordinary beauty and sublime majesty of the surrounding scene had anything to do with enhancing the pleasure of the pigeon-shooters; whether, in short, the successful slaughter of the poor birds was rendered more enjoyable by the fact of its taking place under a sky and in a spot fraught with exquisite beauty; noble and serene, vast and varied.

And if not, why did they not stop among the cockney flats of Hurlingham? When all was over and we returned home, I actually found myself semi-conscious of a sort of pride that the best shot, in this decidedly trying proof of skill, was an Englishman! So much for the inconsistency of human, especially of female, nature.

We are in the land of perfumes. Acres of roses, violets, and other scented flowers are cultivated solely for the perfume manufactories at Grasse, a few miles from Cannes. Of course, this is not the time of year to benefit by this exceptional form of farming; but in the spring it must be lovely.

We are preparing to leave Cannes, and, as I write these lines, Frank silently lays a sheet of paper by my side. And I see—a Sonnet.

The Olive-Tree.

That dusky tree grows in a noted place—
A garden on the rocky mountain's side,
O'erlooking (in the evening of its pride)
The doomèd city of the chosen race.
There, as the swathing evening mists efface
Temple and fane, in sunset glory dyed,
And round the city walls the shadows glide,
Beneath the dappled gloom our hearts may trace
The ling'ring footsteps of the Holy One.
Our Master walks alone; and who can know
All the deep myst'ry of his awful woe,
As on the earth sinks God's eternal Son?
But ever shall the gray-green olive-tree
Recall the image of his agony.
[pg 029]

A National Or State Church.

Fifty-three peers protested against the disestablishment of the Protestant Church in Ireland, “because it is impossible to place a church disestablished and disendowed, and bound together only by the tie of a voluntary association, on a footing of equality with the perfect organization of the Church of Rome.” Mr. Disraeli had previously said the same thing in the House of Commons: “The discipline, order, and government of the Roman Catholic Church are not voluntary. They are the creation of the simple will of a sovereign pontiff” (if he means Jesus Christ, the phrase is Catholic), “and do not depend at all on the voluntary principle.... I maintain that as long as his Holiness the Pope possesses Rome, the Roman Catholic religion, in whatever country it is found, is an establishment.” In fact, there is a great deal of truth in these remarks. How, indeed, can undisciplined guerrillas contend against a well-trained army of veterans? How can a number of voluntary associations, like so many insurance or stock companies, liable at any moment to disband, with no cohesive power, compete with a grand organization whose charter is divine, whose officers are divinely appointed, and whose laws bind in conscience in spite of adverse imperial, royal, or republican legislation? The peers were right; Mr. Disraeli is partially right. No sect or combination of sects can for any length of time, in a fair field, compete with the Catholic Church. Hence the cry of the sects in this country for state aid. The Catholic Church never asked for it except as a matter of justice or restitution. Whenever it was bestowed on her institutions, it was because they deserved it. If much was given to her, it was because her hierarchy or her religious orders, inspired by divine zeal, had founded and organized charitable institutions while the sects were asleep, lacking even in sufficient philanthropy, not to say charity, to provide for the wants of their own suffering members. The Catholic Church built and organized her asylums, schools, and other institutions, tried to support them, and did bravely support them, as she still does in this country, by the voluntary contributions of generous Christians, before the state gave anything. The sects did very little. They were too indolent, too deficient in vitality, to do much. They begged from the state. They threw the burden on the state; so that, whereas in Catholic times there were no state poor-houses, state asylums, or state charities, now they swarm. Protestantism is too cold a system to warm the hearts of men into life-giving charity; so it depends, except in rare cases, on the state for the support of the poor and the orphans. The money is taken from the public treasury for the support of schools, asylums, and kindred institutions.23 Such being [pg 030] the case, who can blame Catholics for receiving a portion of their own taxes to help their own institutions, mainly supported on the voluntary system? Are not the frequenters of Catholic schools and the inmates of Catholic institutions the children and citizens of the state as well as others? Will the state educate or support as cheaply as the church has done, or make as good citizens as she makes? If Catholic charitable institutions are abolished, if Catholic schools are broken up, how much will it annually cost the state for the building of new institutions and for their maintenance? Are the Sisters of Charity as safe custodians of the morality of orphans as the spinsters and political hirelings of the state institutions? Are teachers and matrons who work primarily from a religious motive as apt to discharge their duty faithfully as those who labor primarily for the “consideration” attached to their services? Well do the gentlemen who attack the Catholic Church know how futile it is for any sect to strive against her unless backed up by state aid; and hence, perhaps, the cry which has recently resounded throughout our country for a national or state church—a national Protestant church in opposition to the never-ceasing progress of Catholicity.

The late “Evangelical Alliance” publicly endorsed the cry of a national church. The Rev. W. H. Fremantle, M.A., of London, an ecclesiastical functionary of the national church of England, in “a manner,” as the report in the Tribune has it, “quick and energetic, and, as he warmed to his subject, eloquent to a degree which elicited great applause,” on October 9, 1873, at a meeting of the “Alliance,” urged on his hearers the advantages and necessity of having a national church, “the true ruling elders” of which should be “our statesmen, our judges, and our officers who bear the supreme mandate of the whole Christian community.” With laconic pith, he said: “The Christian nation is a church.” The applause elicited by his remarks was no doubt due to the fact that his auditors remembered how admirably the Christian “statesmen” in Congress and our late Vice-President, some of our “judges,” our “Evangelical” bankers and merchants, represented the interests of the Alliance in their respective avocations! The Rev. W. J. Menzies, of Edinburgh, emissary of the national church of Scotland, seconded and approved the doctrines of his Episcopalian brother. In vain did a sturdy American, the Hon. J. L. M. Curry, LL.D., of Richmond, try to defend the American system and the principles of our Constitution against these well-fed and well-paid gentlemen. The rubicund foreigners of the church establishments of Denmark, Sweden, and Germany came to the rescue of their English and Scottish brethren. They had preached to the “Alliance” in favor of the tithes, taxes, and intolerance of their own establishments, and were not willing to allow Mr. Curry to oppose them. The very president of the “Alliance,” himself an American, was obliged to coerce the honorable gentleman [pg 031] into silence. His voice was drowned in an “evangelical” chorus of national churchmen. We are no longer, then, astonished to read that the Rev. Dr. Stoughton, of England, was greeted in a Protestant Sunday-school in this city with the anthem of “God save the Queen.” It was not a religious hymn, mark it well, but an anthem in praise of the head of a church establishment, who is more than pope, for she is impeccable as well as infallible, according to the axiom of English law that “the king can do no wrong.” No longer are we surprised to learn that the head of another national church, the would-be pope-Emperor of Germany, gave the “Evangelical Council” his blessing; that several of our highest magistrates, unless they are belied, have been secretly leagued against the Catholic Church in favor of a state Protestantism. Newspapers of reputed rank have been continually striving to create a Protestant public spirit in the state, and thus, as it were, to prepare the way for an absolute union of church and state on a Protestant basis. Indeed, we have a national, or at least a state, church already; although it has so far been administered to us only in homœopathic doses. Have we not a state school system with a Protestant Bible on its rostrum? Have we not “Juvenile Asylums,” “Soldiers' and Sailors' Homes,” state charitable institutions all controlled on the Protestant system, conducted to a great extent by Protestant clergymen? Are not the Bibles used in them Protestant? Are not the school-books essentially sectarian in which such expressions as “gor-bellied monks,” the “glorious Reformation,” the “great and saintly Martin Luther,” are frequent? Have we not a Protestant Indian policy and a Protestant “Freedman's Bureau”?

It is true you cannot call the colorless Protestantism of these institutions peculiarly Methodist, or peculiarly Episcopalian, or peculiarly Baptist; but it is nevertheless Protestantism. We have a name for it. The late “Evangelical Alliance” gives it to us. The word “Evangelicalism” will express the Protestantism of our incipient national and state churches. We defy any impartial visitor to the so-called “non-sectarian” state institutions to deny that their chief male officers, superintendents, guardians, and teachers have been chosen on account of their “Evangelicalism.” Every one that knows the inner working of our state institutions for charitable purposes is aware that they are mere pastures in which Evangelical ministers are retired on salaries of thousands a year taken from the state pocket.

The desire for having a state or national church is growing stronger. German imperialism, or pagan Roman Cæsarism revived, has given an impetus to it in Europe, in order to create a foreign public opinion to sanction its own persecutions of the Catholic Church at home. Switzerland has been moved by the pull of the German wire. Perhaps the same influence is at work in our republic. Or is it that a certain class of the Protestant clergy, dreading starvation if left depending on the bounty of flocks that are losing their Christianity and its generous impulses, envious of the portly frames and plethoric purses of the foreigners of the European establishments who lately visited our shores and banqueted at our expense, long to draw nutriment from the bosom of an established mother, rather than risk death from marasmus [pg 032] at the breasts of a dry and barren voluntary system? If this be the cause of the growing “Evangelicalism” of the sects, of their effort to combine for the purpose of giving us a national church, let us devoutly pray that the next delegates from abroad will be as spare in person and purse as our own country parsons. For the sake of our republican institutions, may his divine and imperial majesty of Germany and her gracious ecclesiastical majesty of England send hither no more of their rotund and jocund functionaries, to make the hearts of our Evangelical clergymen yearn after the flesh-pots of Egypt!

Or can it be that the venerable heads of our “Evangelical” mayors, governors, and their compeers, returning in their senility, as is not uncommon with decaying brains, to their early loves, are striving to restore the state establishments of the old Puritan colonies? The recollection that all the original colonies except Catholic Maryland had a state church has not yet died out among these “Evangelical” ancients. They remember that so late even as 1793 an attempt was made even in New York to saddle an Episcopalian establishment on the back of our state, and this, too, at a time when the members of the Holland Reformed Churches were in the proportion of fifteen to one Church-of-Englander! Perhaps Governor Dix has an agreeable recollection of this beauteous trait in the character of his sect. Perhaps he remembers how well she had battened on the flesh and blood of the Irish people for centuries, though her votaries were not one-twentieth part of the Irish population. In 1643, the “orthodox” Episcopalian colony of Virginia expelled two New England Puritan ministers; while the New England Puritans, by way of “Evangelical” retaliation, sent back to Old England two professors of Anglicanism. The poor Quakers were driven out by all the colonies except Catholic Maryland. Indeed, even our modern “Evangelicals” had not the courtesy to invite them to their “Alliance.” In Virginia, the man who refused to have his child baptized was fined two thousand pounds of tobacco. In the colonies of Massachusetts and New Haven, for a time only church members could exercise the full powers of citizenship. The legislatures of the New England colonies convoked even the church synods. These were truly “Evangelical” times, and after these do the “Evangelicals” hanker. So late even as 1779 tithes were collected by law in some of the colonies. In fact, it was only in 1818 that the separation of church and state was effected in Connecticut. But in those days the Catholics were few, and nobody feared them. If they had been as numerous and formidable then as they are now, the disestablishment would never have been accomplished. These were the halcyon days when, in the words of Rev. Mr. Fremantle, already quoted, “the Christian nation was a church,” “the true ruling elders of which were statesmen, judges, and officers who bore the supreme mandate of the whole Christian community.” What a yearning there is for the return of those good times when none but “Evangelicals” may hold office to defraud the revenue, invest in Crédit Mobilier stock, or manage banking houses for the purpose of swindling credulous “Evangelical” depositors!

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It is timely to warn all good citizens against the Protestant effort to restore the state-church system of the early colonies. The Rev. W. H. Campbell, D.D., of New Brunswick, at one session of the “Alliance” said: “Revolution has everywhere borrowed the force of its political ideas from the Protestants of the XVIth century.” Never was language more correct. Rebellion against lawful authority, the overthrow of legitimate governments, the subversion of civil society, the destruction of law and order in modern times, are all traceable to Protestant principles. Nor can you ever tell where they will stop. As there is no fixity or certainty or unalterable code of doctrine or morals in Protestantism, a statesman can never tell when its councils will be impelled by whim, fanaticism, or prejudice. There is no telling but that the Protestant assembly which to-day favors the state to-morrow will be in revolt against it. It has been on the side of unbridled license, of the extreme of liberty; and, again, it has been the creature, the slave, the blind instrument of despotism. A statesman always knows what to expect from the Catholic Church and her assemblies. Her principles are patent, her system plain, her doctrines unchanging, her secondary discipline modifiable according to law or necessity, but only by the spiritual power. She is always conservative, never revolutionary. She gives to Cæsar what belongs to him, but no more. She makes a reserve in her allegiance to the state: she reserves the rights of God, the rights of conscience. She must obey God rather than men when men try to alter or subvert God's revelation. If the state wishes to persecute her, it may begin at once. She has nothing to hide from the state; and she will alter nothing of her doctrines. If the state dislikes her, at any rate she is an open foe. But Protestantism is a fickle subject. Like the ancient pagans, she admits the supremacy of the state over her; admits that the church is only a voluntary corporation subordinate to the state; yet practically she is never to be depended on. Fickle by nature, the state can never tell when a fit of madness may seize on her; when her imagination may be possessed by some idea subversive alike of good order and even of morality. We all know the history of the Anabaptists and Antinomians in Germany; the deeds of violence of the Independents in England. Protestantism, like a wanton filly, carries the state as a rider, but always at the risk of its neck. Let our statesmen, then, beware of the attempt which is being made to give us, if not a national, at least a state church. The threat has been made that when slavery was abolished, the next thing to undertake would be the destruction of the Catholic Church by the establishment of a state church.

It is easy to show that a national church is essentially opposed to our American principles, and that consequently all attempts to establish one are anti-American. On this point many rationalists and infidels agree with Catholics, as they logically must when they argue from sound principles of pure reason or of pure politics. The Catholic religion recognizes the competency of reason in its own sphere, and admits its logical inerrancy. All the principles of the natural, political, metaphysical, or moral order known with certainty even by those who do not believe in revelation at all, are the common property of the [pg 034] Catholic Church; for although she insists on the subordination of reason to faith, she asserts emphatically the autonomy of reason, and condemns those who would abridge its powers. Hence true statesmen who judge our Federal or State constitutions from the viewing-point of reason alone agree with Catholics in opposition to the so-called “Evangelicals,” the chief of whom believe in “total depravity,” the loss of free will, and unmerited damnation. The ablest lawyers in the country teach that the fundamental idea of our civil government is that there shall be no interference of the state in church affairs. Absolute independence of the church; no interference of the state in religious matters—such is the American idea. It is expressly laid down in the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States that Congress shall have no power to legislate on religious questions. The ablest commentary perhaps ever written on the Constitution is the Federalist; some of the best articles in which were written by Alexander Hamilton, whose son has recently published them. The teaching of this great man is that the framers of the Constitution were especially anxious to eschew church establishments or state religions in the policy of our republic. Indeed, some of the leading authors of the Constitution were rationalists, and more afraid of Protestant sectarian interference in state affairs than they were of the Catholic Church, which in their days was not strong enough to be feared. “Our theory is,” writes Gerrit Smith, “that the people shall enjoy absolute freedom in politics and religion.” Of course this freedom could not exist if we had a state church. Mr. Smith, whose intelligence and Americanism no one can dispute, in his celebrated letter on the school question,24 from which the above phrase is taken, adds: “A lawyer than whom there is no abler in the land, and who is as eminent for integrity as for ability, writes me: ‘I am against the government's being permitted to do anything which can be entrusted to individuals under the equal regulation of general laws.’ ” How few of the “Evangelicals” would be willing to act on this correct interpretation of our Constitution? How could they so easily give up the government pap that nourishes the Methodist preachers of the “Freedman's Bureau” and the “Indian Bureau,” not to speak of the other countless branches of our homœopathic national church?

The attempt to establish a state church is also opposed to most of our State constitutions, and notably to that of New York. The first constitution of this State was so essentially hostile to a church establishment that it contained an article incapacitating any minister of the Gospel from holding any office, civil or military. Tradition has it that some Episcopalian minister, playing the political marplot in the preliminary convention, had so annoyed Mr. Jay that he had the article inserted. In 1846, this article was expunged; and ever since our State legislature, our public offices, and even our judiciary, have been afflicted by ambitious, incompetent, sometimes even illiterate, and always bigoted, political preachers. They are always striving to inflict on us more and more of their bigotry, while their acts show that one of their chief [pg 035] aims is to gratify the “Evangelical” appetite for power. We must especially guard our State constitution from the treacherous assaults of the sects. Even now their express provisions are violated or evaded.25 They are easily modified.26 Some of them are not inconsistent with a church establishment, and may at any moment become the prey of “Evangelical” bigotry or fanaticism.

Catholics are by conviction opposed to a change in the character of our Federal and State—we speak of New York—constitutions. They do not conflict with the Catholic idea. There is nothing in or out of the Syllabus that is opposed to our system of government. This we shall now proceed to show. Pius IX., on December 17, 1860, in an allocution condemned a proposition which begins with these words: National churches may be established.” It is number 37 in the Syllabus. We know that it will be objected to us that the Pope also condemns the attempt to separate church and state in countries in which they are by law united, and the abstract principle that they ought to be separate. It is true that where church and state have been united, not by force, but by the nature of things and the sanction of laws, it is condemnable to attack their union as iniquitous or improper; but it is also true that it is not always obligatory or expedient on the part of the state, as such, to establish a church, build its institutions, and salary its clergy out of a common fund. The Roman pontiffs, in the height of their temporal power, never compelled the Jews to build with their money Catholic churches and pay the salaries of Catholic priests. Let us historically examine the character of the union of church and state in the Catholic countries of Europe, and we shall find how just, fair, and honorable such an union becomes. What was the title to most of the Catholic church property in Europe? None better. The barbarian baron or king, grateful to the priest, the monk, or the bishop who had civilized him and taught him to save his soul, generously built a church or a monastery and endowed it. Legacies, donations, free gifts—these were the means by which the bishopric and monasteries grew rich. No title to property is better than this, which a thousand years had sanctioned. Of course every new donation increased the power of the church. The temporalities of the church had natural influence in the state. The abbots and bishops were peers of the realm. The church lived on her own resources—neither asked nor received anything from the state except protection and liberty. Before the Reformation, this was the character of the close union between the church and state. After the Reformation, when the church had lost her power chiefly through the corrupting influence of the kings and barons on the [pg 036] bishops and abbots, despite the protests and the efforts of the popes, the politicians confiscated the church property. This confiscation was simply robbery, for the church corporations, as well as individuals, had rights which the state was bound to respect. But it happened, as it often happens, that wicked kings or mercenary and unprincipled politicians used the political machinery of the state legally to rob the church. They abused the right of eminent domain. Gov. Dix himself, in his annual message for 1874, limits the exercise of this right. “The right,” says he, “of every individual to be secured in the undisturbed enjoyment of his property lies at the foundation of all responsible government. It is, indeed, one of the primary objects for which governments are instituted. To this fundamental rule there is but one proper exception. If private property is needed for public use, it may be taken by making just compensation to the owner; but the use must be one which is common to all, or which is indispensable to the accomplishment of some object of public necessity. This right of eminent domain, as it is denominated, is an incident of sovereignty, and it is one of the most arbitrary of all the powers of government.”27 It is unquestionably the “most arbitrary of all the powers of government,” if we consider how many are the demagogues, political traders, and mercenary corruptionists who help to make the laws in parliaments, congresses, or State legislatures to regulate the property of respectable people; and how often the executive power in the state, be it imperial, regal, presidential, or gubernatorial, is wielded by despotic and corrupt hands. Imagine a parliament of Communists using the right of eminent domain of the state against the lands and tenements owned by the Trinity Church corporation of New York; or an assembly of “Evangelicals” legislating in regard to Catholic church property! The state in France, for instance, during the Revolution stripped the church of her lawful possessions; Napoleon endeavored to bring order back to the Republic by re-establishing the church. But it is plain that the salary allowed by his concordat in a.d. 1801 to the clergy, and the revenue allowed by the state for the maintenance of church edifices, was not a tithe of the interest accruing from the property stolen by the state from the church. The sum now allowed to support the Catholic clergy of France is, therefore, only a fraction of restitution money due to them by the state. So it is in other countries in which the state, after confiscating the church property, salaries the clergy. The church in those countries does not get her due. She asks no favor from them; she does not even get her rights. The propositions in the Syllabus referring to the union of church and state must be explained in the light of these facts. The Catholic Church does not go to China or to Turkey, and say to the governments of those countries: “You must establish me here; you must build my temples and schools and asylums.” No, she claims no right of eminent domain over the pockets of infidels; and even when she converts them, she only asks their voluntary aid. All she asks is liberty to work and protection [pg 037] in her legitimate duties. She and her converts will do the rest. This was all she asked of the Roman emperors; this she asked of the mediæval kings. If they gave her liberty and protection, she thanked them, blessed them, worked for them, and civilized them. If they refused, still she blessed them and worked in spite of them; for she must “obey God rather than men.” She might with justice ask more than this in Prussia or England or Sweden; for there she might ask back her stolen property. But in this country she only asks a fair field and no favor. Contrast her conduct with that of Protestantism. Protestantism goes to the state begging on her knees; admitting the state's supremacy over her; confessing that she is the humble servant of the king; and asks his gracious bounty. She will gladly sit on the foot of his throne as his slave, though a dangerous and treacherous one, if he will only smile on her, clothe and feed her. She will even stoop to become the receiver of stolen goods. Is it not so? Where is there a national Protestant church really established that is not living on property stolen by the state from the Catholic Church? Look to England and Scotland. Are not the Protestant establishments in those lands the possessors of ill-gotten goods—of lands and churches iniquitously stolen from the Catholic Church? Surely the orthodox Catholic laity of the middle ages who gave these demesnes to the monasteries and churches never intended that the king should turn them over to a heretical establishment. The Prussian establishment is a theft from beginning to end; for every one knows that the apostate head of the Catholic religious order which ruled the duchy of Brandenburg, and laid the foundation of the Prussian power, had no right to transfer the property of his order to a Protestant clergy. Who could defend such a proceeding? Would our “Evangelical” brethren approve the conduct of a Protestant board of trustees or vestrymen who, on being converted, or a majority of them being converted, to the Catholic faith, should by a trick transfer the property of their congregation, their church, or college to the Catholic authorities to be used for Catholic purposes? How, then, can they approve the conduct of the English, German, and Scandinavian clergy who have received the lands and buildings taken from the Catholics by violence and regal usurpation? There is truly a very great difference between the Protestant and Catholic church establishments of Europe—a difference in origin, as well as in the manner of their continuance—and this difference is by no means flattering to the honesty or manliness of the sects. Correctly, therefore, did we say that Catholic principles as well as true American principles are opposed to a state church establishment in this country, and that nothing in the Syllabus condemns our system of government.

It is time, therefore, for all true American citizens to unite under the Catholic standard of opposition to national or state church establishments. The rights of conscience, the rights of religion, are the rights of God. They are not national, but universal; that is, catholic. We are not willing to come back to the pagan régime of Roman Cæsarism, and admit the ruler of the state or the state itself as supreme master of religion as well as of politics. The “Evangelical” [pg 038] semi-paganized Protestants of Germany may bow the knee to the modern Cæsar, and admit him to be supreme pontiff; but they must keep their despotism at home. The Swiss “Evangelicals” may revive the ancient Spartan worship of the state, and assert its supremacy in spiritual matters; but they must keep their statolatry from our shores. The true American, like the true Catholic, will bow the knee to no idol, not even to the state, much as he may love it. He adores only his God. The state shall not interfere with his conscience, or dare to come between him and his God, no matter how much these foreign “Evangelical” emissaries may wish it. He is Catholic, even when he least suspects it. He hates despotisms, as the Catholic Church does; he suspects that German “Evangelicalism” is only a livery stolen to cover unbelief, as the Catholic Church knows it to be. He suspects the sincerity of those foreign “Evangelical” emissaries and their native hypocritical associates who preach in favor of state-church establishments; he suspects them as traitors to American liberty or as seekers for notoriety or a full purse. When his suspicions have been clearly proven correct, he will turn from the sects in disgust, to love the grand old church which can be controlled by no national or state limits, and which has been battling all her lifetime against emperors and kings for the very principles of liberty that constitute the glory and the greatness of our republic.

The Captive Bird.

From the French of Marie Jenna.

He is all yours—'tis true—for life or death,
The hollow of your hand contains his fate,
You have the power to still his dulcet breath
And make the grove he dwelt in desolate.
You hold him!—He is weak and you are strong,
But pity may his liberty restore.
Let him to shade and summer still belong,
It is so sweet to live—with wings to soar!
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The Farm Of Muiceron. By Marie Rheil.

From The Revue Du Monde Catholique.

XIX.

Now, to quiet your mind—for you must be as shocked as I am at all these horrors—we will speak, if you please, of our friend Jean-Louis. On the afternoon of the day which proved the last for the innocent Barbette, Jeannet, knowing that the wood-cutters would be dismissed, and that consequently he would have some leisure time, went off to the Luguets' to have a little consoling conversation with good Solange. He kept no secrets from her, and expected great relief in recounting faithfully all that had happened; but, on entering, he instantly perceived something new had occurred in the house. The men were out at work; Mme. Luguet was seated by the fire, weeping bitterly; and Solange, sitting on a stool at her feet, was speaking to her in an angelic voice of her desire to enter a convent. Jeannet discreetly wished to withdraw.

“Don't go,” said Solange to him; “isn't it so, mother? Jeannet will not disturb us?”

“No, dear; on the contrary, my child, I am happy to see you, Jean-Louis. Is it true that you will be free to accompany Solange to Paris?”

“Alas! Mme. Luguet,” replied Jeannet, “why should I not be free, having neither family nor friends, save only you and yours? The only roof that sheltered me from infancy is henceforward forbidden to me, without counting that, before many hours, the only thing that I can call my own—on condition that God leaves it to me—and that is my life, may be taken also.”

“What has happened?” asked Solange. “You speak in a quiet, serious tone that frightens me.”

“I have done my duty, dear Solange, and often in this world, after performing an act of conscience and justice, any consequence may be expected.”

And he related that, having discovered the criminal dealings of Isidore with the brigands of La Martine, he had been obliged to threaten the future husband of Jeannette, and give him warning that he must leave the country.

“But,” cried Solange, “that is just what I hoped; this fortunate event divine Providence has allowed, that Jeannette might be saved. Rejoice, then, Jeannet, instead of indulging in such gloomy ideas.”

“You are very kind to think so,” replied Jean-Louis sadly; “but I, Solange, see things differently. Jeannette, already so irritated, will not pardon me for saving her at the expense of Isidore, who is not the man to let himself be crushed like a wolf caught in a snare. Much will be said against me; I will be rashly judged, and less than ever will I have the right to present myself at Muiceron. No, no; from that dear spot I am for ever separated. I have been already accused of jealousy; shall I expose myself to Jeannette's reproaches that I have denounced Isidore to prevent her marriage?”

“I acknowledge,” said Solange, [pg 040] “that your reflections are just. The truth will one day be known, but it will take time; I see it as well as you.”

“I must expect the vengeance of the Perdreaux,” continued Jean-Louis, “as well as of their friends, whose violent passions I know, and who will not leave me in peaceable possession of their secrets. Michou has discharged the workmen; apparently, they went off contented. But Isidore, meanwhile, received my letter; no doubt before this he has communicated it to his cut-throat companions, and the easiest thing for all of them will be to get rid of me at the shortest notice.”

“My God!” said Solange, “why didn't you think of all that before writing the letter? At least, you need not have signed it.”

“I thought of all that,” replied Jeannet, smiling; “but even if I had been sure of risking my life in saving Jeannette, I would not have stopped. Her father and mother preserved my existence, Solange, and therefore it belongs to them. And as for not signing such a letter, thank God! you think so because you are a woman, that you love me, and that you feel I am in danger; but if you were in my place, you would think as I do.”

“My children,” said Mme. Luguet, “you are both right. But my advice is that just now you had better plan for the future than discuss the past.”

“Tell us what shall be done, mother,” said Solange. “In the first place, Jean-Louis must not return to the wood to-night; isn't that so?”

“Don't think of such a thing,” cried Jeannet, as he rose hastily from his chair. “Did I come here to hide?”

“Be still,” said Solange with authority; “don't be so proud. We all know you are brave, who, then, can accuse you of flying from danger? But courage does not consist in throwing yourself headlong in the midst of it, but in providing against it.”

“I will return,” said Jeannet, “Michou expects me.”

“You will not return, my child,” said Mme. Luguet. “I will direct you for one day; my age and friendship permit me. I order you to remain with us to-night.”

“But,” said Jean-Louis, “tomorrow the danger will be still greater; and, my good mother, you surely cannot count on keeping me a prisoner?”

“When you came in,” said the good woman, “Solange was asking my permission to leave home. It was very painful for me to decide, and I sought to gain time from the good God—a little time only, to become more courageous; for never will I be so bold as to refuse to give my child to the Lord. Well, what you have just related makes me think the good God has directed all with his own voice. My dear children, you will leave tomorrow.”

Solange threw herself on her knees, and laid her head on her mother's hands, which she kissed, weeping. Jean-Louis turned pale. His courage, which prompted him to face the danger, and his desire to oblige his friends, struggled violently in his heart.

“Listen to me,” said he. “I gave my word to Solange that I would accompany her; but circumstances have changed since then. Cannot Pierre take my place? They have gossiped about Solange and me, dear Mme. Luguet; what will they say when they hear we have gone off together?”

[pg 041]

“Pierre!” cried Solange; “but he knows nothing, nor my father either. My mother alone has my secret; otherwise, it would be impossible for me to leave.”

“It is true,” said Mme. Luguet; “my men are good Christians, but not pious enough to understand Solange's wishes. However, with the blessing of God, I will manage them. It is decided that I will tell the father she has only gone for a fortnight, to see how she likes it; there will be a fuss at first, and then we will go to see her; and if, as I believe, the good God will take her entirely to himself, then the sight of her happiness will satisfy all our hearts.”

Thus spoke that good Christian woman; and to the shame of many great ladies of the city, who show themselves so unreasonable under similar circumstances, I must say, with truth, she was not the only one in our village you might have heard speak in the same manner.

Jean-Louis could urge no further objection. The public stage, which would carry them to the nearest railway station, passed the Luguets' house every morning at six o'clock. At that time of year, it was still dark, and the men, who rose at four, that they might go to the barn and comb the hemp, went to bed very early in the evening. Pierre and his father entered and supped, without anything being said before them, and Solange and her mother found themselves again alone with Jeannet as the village clock struck eight.

It was then that Jeannet wrote the short note to Jacques Michou which we have already read; he ran and placed it in the box in the suburbs of the village, and quickly returned, as Solange had told him she would be half dead with fear during his absence, and that she would pass the time on her knees, saying her rosary.

You see it was very evident the Lord and his angels watched over these good people. At this very hour, when it would have been so easy to have attacked Jean-Louis, he came and went through the wood, without incurring any risk, while the unfortunate Isidore uselessly committed a great crime.

Good Mme. Luguet and her daughter remained up until late in the night, busy making up Solange's little bundle, in praying, and often embracing each other, mingling their tender and holy kisses and tears. Jeannet aided them to the best of his ability, admiring the courage of heart, which was worth more than that of the head and arms. Then the two women retired for a little rest, and he, in his turn, ended by falling asleep in his chair.

At five o'clock, Solange came herself to awaken him, and told him, in a low voice, that she had made her poor mother promise the night before not to get up, and so she had just kissed her softly for the last time without disturbing her sleep. At that instant could be seen the heroism of that holy soul in thus wishing to bear alone the weight of the sacrifice. Her face, without ceasing to be calm, was bathed in tears, and from time to time she kissed a little crucifix suspended from her neck, in order to sustain her brave heart.

“Come,” said she at last, “it is time, Jeannet; let us say the Our Father together, and then we will leave.”

“Courage, Solange,” said Jean-Louis, much moved; “the good God will bless you.”

They repeated the prayer, and went out noiselessly, and just then [pg 042] was heard the jingling of the bells on the horses of the country stage.

Solange was well wrapped up in her black cloth cloak, with the hood drawn down over her face. Jean-Louis carried her little bundle, in which she had slipped two of Pierre's shirts; for the good Jeannet carried all his baggage on his back—to wit, a woollen vest, a blouse, and his plaid scarf. But, as we have already seen, it was not his habit to think of himself.

They arrived safely at Paris that very day, rather late in the evening, to be sure; and little did they dream of the great rumpus going on at that very time in our poor neighborhood. All along the route the strong family resemblance between Solange and Jeannet made every one think them brother and sister; and by good luck, owing to the severity of the weather, none of the travellers in the coach belonged to the village or its environs, so that they reached the station without the risk of being recognized.

The Sister-Superior of the Sisters of Charity had been notified several days before of the coming of Solange by our curé, who was the good child's confessor; but they had left home so suddenly, Jeannet was obliged to find a refuge for his companion the first night. Happily, in Paris all is at your service—people and things—where there is money, and our children were rich with Solange's savings; therefore, there was no difficulty in finding respectable lodgings, where they passed the night in two beautiful rooms, well furnished, the like of which they had never thought existed, at least for their use.

The next day their first action was to go and hear Mass, after which, having inquired the way to the Convent of S. Vincent de Paul, which is situated in a very pious quarter of the city, they went there with hearts rather saddened; and one hour later Jeannet found himself alone in the vast city.

But no one is alone in this world when he carries in his heart faith in the Lord. All the children of God belong to one family, and feel in their souls a fraternal tenderness for each other. Jeannet, on taking Solange to the convent, found a mother in the good superioress, who received them both. She made him relate his story to her in a few words, and, learning that he was alone in the world and desirous of some engagement, she gave him the address of a good priest who passed his life in aiding young working-men who, owing to unfortunate circumstances or lack of employment, ran the risk of becoming dissipated from the want of a helping hand.

He was called Abbé Lucas; and as he is now dead, and enjoying, I trust, the celestial happiness well merited by his great devotion, I do not think it indelicate to tell his name.

He received Jeannet with great kindness, and the good boy soon won his heart with his frankness and amiability. The abbé tried his hand, and seeing that he wrote well, and turned off a very good letter under dictation, advised him not to think of joining a regiment, as the conscription would be after him soon enough without his running to seek it. Therefore, he took him in his own house, and employed him with his correspondence, of which there was never any deficiency, owing to the great number of men who daily claimed his charitable assistance.

The arrangement was perfectly [pg 043] to Jeannet's taste, who applied himself to his new occupation with joy and confidence; and you can well imagine that Solange was very happy, and redoubled her prayers that her dear school-fellow might come as triumphantly out of his heart-troubles as he had been preserved from the dangers that threatened his life.

She immediately wrote home, informing M. le Curé of all these little events, but left it to his great wisdom to decide whether he should tell more or less of everything to the Ragaud family, Michou, and M. le Marquis. This should make us thoroughly understand the true virtue of this good child; for she had not been ignorant of the base insinuations made in relation to her and Jean-Louis, and what ugly conjectures would be based upon their departure, Pierre joining with the rest, at least at the first news. These things go straight to the heart of a good, honest girl, and Solange, being of a quick, nervous temperament, had suffered martyrdom from all this gossip without speaking of it, except to God. It was to him, then, that she remitted the care of her full justification, as she knew many persons would not have believed anything she might have said. This beautiful tranquillity of soul is not an ordinary thing, and our curé judged rightly that it proceeded from great holiness, as in the end he did not fail to speak of it, with profit to his hearers, in his Sunday sermons.

This excellent pastor, who had been careful to keep clear of the whole affair before the downfall of the Perdreaux, contenting himself with praying and awaiting the good pleasure of the Lord, reappeared like an angel of consolation when nothing was left but tears to wipe away, hatreds to calm, simpletons to make hold their tongues, and truths to make known. It was wonderful to see how he forgot his great age and infirmities to fulfil his task, which was not the easiest in the world.

With the château it was quickly done. In a conversation of two hours with M. le Marquis, who was a man of great good sense—except in what touched his political hopes—he made the scales fall from his eyes, and decided his departure; and as, after all the villany of the Perdreaux, our master's fortune had not suffered as much as might have been expected—as it was very great, and could have stood a much larger rent—our good pastor reserved his pity and real work for a corner of the country where it was infinitely more needed.

You can guess that I wish to speak of Muiceron. There truly sorrow, shame, and unhappiness were at their height.

So many blows at once had crushed the Ragauds, who no longer dared go out, and remained at home, devoured with grief. The old farmer, struck on the tender side of his pet sin, which was vanity, thought really that heaven and earth had fallen upon his shoulders, and that he should only leave his home for the cemetery. Pierrette, long accustomed to receive implicitly her husband's opinions, thought also nothing wiser could be done; and as for Jeannette, overwhelmed with grief to see herself abandoned by all her friends at the same time, although apparently the strongest, it looked as though she would go the first to the grave, so plainly did her pallor and hollow eyes show the ravages of internal grief.

All the joy and life of rural labor had disappeared from around this [pg 044] house, formerly so happy. The door was closed, the shutters also, save one or two in the back rooms, where these poor people kept themselves hidden, afraid to speak, as they knew one subject of conversation was alone possible, and just then no one would approach it. The passers-by, seeing the house shut up, and not supposing all the inhabitants were dead, ended by feeling uneasy as they passed the buildings, but not one ventured to inquire about them, not even Ragaud's most intimate acquaintances. It is only truth to add that these, understanding well the sorrow that reigned within those silent walls, acted thus from respect, and not from indifference.

Big Marion went twice a week to the market in Val-Saint, to buy provisions needed for immediate use, and returned at a gallop, to shut herself up with her master's family.

Since Muiceron had belonged to the Ragauds, it was certainly the first time any food had been cooked but the beef and poultry raised and killed on the place. Poor Pierrette, like all good housekeepers, had always prided herself upon supplying the table with the fruit of her labors; for with us, a farmer's wife who buys even a pound of butter or loaf of bread passes, with good reason, for a spendthrift; but, alas! self-love was no longer thought of, and La Ragaude cared little what was said of her management, after she knew tongues could wag about affairs of much greater importance. Poor woman! she must have been fearfully depressed. Judge how the chickens ran wild, scratching up the gravel during the day, and perching on the trees, stiff with snow, during the night, at the risk of freezing. The pig, so fat it could no longer stand on its legs—as for a fortnight its true place would have been in the salt-tub—continued uselessly to eat his allowance. The hens that recommenced to lay deposited their eggs at random, without any one taking the trouble to go after them, notwithstanding the little coricoco of warning, which showed that they never failed to cluck at the right time most faithfully. But Marion could not see after everything; and besides, as she had always been very stupid during the time that all were well and happy at Muiceron, she became more and more stupid and bewildered after affairs went so badly.

Such was the miserable condition in which our curé found his old friends on the first visit which he made them, about two weeks after Barbette's funeral, with the sole object of raising them from the deep despondency into which they had fallen since the terrible shock.

Pierrette received him in the big parlor, which was very dark, as the shutters were closed, and for a quarter of an hour he could get nothing out of her but sobs; then Ragaud came in, looking thin and miserable, as much from want of air and exercise as from shame; and finally Jeannette, who, with a remnant of her old pride, tried to keep from weeping, but was nearly suffocated in the effort.

“My children,” said the dear, good man, “God tries those whom he loves, and I certainly do not approve of your shutting yourselves up in this manner, so as to avoid the society of your neighbors and friends, on account of a sentiment which doubtless you think good, but which I call honor ill placed—that [pg 045] is to say, wicked pride, to speak frankly.”

“Alas!” said Pierrette, “who wishes to speak to us now?”

“Whom have you offended?” replied the curé. “And why has the esteem in which you have long been held diminished?”

“Monsieur,” said Ragaud, “my daughter was on the point of marrying a revolutionist and an assassin. That is enough to kill a family like ours.”

“I acknowledge,” said the curé quietly, “you could have made a better choice; but, in reality, since all has ended without your playing any other part in this unfortunate affair than that of victims, I do not see why you should hide yourselves from the eyes of the world as though you were criminals.”

“As for me,” said Ragaud, “I can never reappear again in public, and support the looks and words of the people around, who certainly despise us.”

“Ragaud,” replied the curé, “when a man's shoe hurts him, he usually sits down by the roadside, and looks to see whether it is a thorn or a flint that causes the pain; then he takes it out, and all is over. But if, instead of that, he continues walking, his foot would swell, the wound would inflame, and the cure would no longer be easy. Do you understand me?”

“Not at all,” said Ragaud.

“Nor I either,” added Pierrette, still continuing to weep.

“Well,” said M. le Curé, “it means that a wise man like you who fears anything of that kind should seek after the cause, to see if by chance it would not be as easy to drive such an idea out of his head as to take a thorn out of a shoe. And, between ourselves, it is precisely your case. Far from despising you, each and every one in the neighborhood only feels for you compassion, sympathy, and kindness, which they would willingly show in words and actions. I am constantly asked about you, and all desire you to return to the common life. They do not come to disturb you, through pure discretion; but for which, your house would be well filled. But as long as you live like wolves in their den, the pain increases in your heart, and soon it will be with you as with the man, wounded in the foot, who will continue to walk—you cannot be cured.”

“M. le Curé is right,” said Jeanne; “we must reappear, dear father.”

“Without counting,” resumed the pastor, “that you are not acting as Christians when you show so much pride. A Sunday has passed, and you were not seen at Mass, and nevertheless it is an obligation. Do you, then, intend to neglect your religious duties?”

“I would go to church if no one were there,” said Ragaud.

“Is it you, my friend, whom I hear speak thus?” replied the curé sadly. “So you prefer the esteem of men to the blessing of God? And you, Pierrette, whom I have always known as such a good parishioner, have you the same miserable ideas?”

The Ragauds lowered their heads without replying. They felt they were wrong, especially for the bad example given their daughter. Little Jeanne, on her side, came to a resolute decision.

“Father and mother,” said she, “M. le Curé makes me understand all my sins; for it is on my account you are thus borne down with grief. I, then, must be the first to trample pride under foot. Well, then, I [pg 046] will go to Val-Saint on Sunday, and assist at Mass and Vespers in our usual place.”

“You shall not go alone, my poor child,” said Pierrette.

“That is right,” said the curé; “I expected as much. As for you, my dear Ragaud, as I know you to be truly honorable, you will not, I suppose, allow these two women to bravely fulfil their duty, and leave you behind?”

“I will see; I can't promise any thing,” answered Ragaud.

“I count upon you,” said the curé, pretending to take these words as an engagement, “and I beg that you will come after Mass and dine with me; Germaine will have a nice dish of larks, which will not be much expense, as in this snowy weather they only cost five cents a dozen.”

“Monsieur,” said Ragaud, who felt greatly relieved by this pleasant conversation, which he very much needed, “commence by taking supper with me this evening; it will be a charitable deed to stay with people who are so unhappy.”

“Willingly,” replied the curé; “but with these closed shutters and cold rooms, that make me think of a tomb, I will not have any appetite. You must change all that, and let in some light. Come, madame, show us if you still can turn a spoon in the sauce-pan.”

Pierrette could not repress a pleased smile at this apostrophe, and all her old occupations and favorite habits came back to her at the remembrancer, which tickled her heart. Just as in nursery-tales a wicked fairy enchants a house for a time, and suddenly a good one comes, and with a wave of her wand changes affairs; at Muiceron, which appeared desolate and dead, the words of the curé restored the old life and animation which were so pleasant to behold in the former prosperous days. Ragaud made a great fire to drive out the close, damp smell; Pierrette threw open the shutters with a quick hand, and, seeing her garden ruined by the poultry, she blushed from shame, and grumbled aloud at her neglect. That was a true sign that her courage had returned. During this time, Jeannette and Marion got out the linen for the table, wiped the dishes, gray with dust, and prepared the fricassée, which consisted, for this meal, of a ragout of wild rabbits that M. le Curé looked at with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, as he knew well this game could only be the result of poaching.

“There,” said he, trying to the best of his ability to cheer up his poor friends, “is a dish which does you honor, Mme. Ragaud, and that will be perfectly delicious if you will put a glass of white wine in the sauce. But if you will let me give you a word of advice, don't feed those little animals with cabbage.”

“Why not?” said Pierrette, astonished, thinking that M. le Curé mistook the game for a tame rabbit.

“Oh! yes,” said he, “that animal smells of cabbage, unless I have lost the sense of smelling; and it spoils the taste very much.”

“But, monsieur,” answered Pierrette, half offended, “this is a wild rabbit, caught in the wood of La Sange.”

“Not possible!” cried M. le Curé, feigning great astonishment. “And since when has the farm of Muiceron, which I have always seen the best supplied in the country with poultry, sheep, pigeons, and [pg 047] all other productions, been reduced to buy game stolen from its master for food?”

“Marion bought it,” said Pierrette; “the poor girl goes after provisions, and don't look far; she brings back what she finds, without thinking of evil.”

“So Marion is mistress of the house now?” said the curé. “My dear friends,” he added, “this is a little incident which carries a great moral with it. I wish no further evidence to prove to you how much your grief, just at the bottom, is hurtful and wrong in reality. When I came in, Pierrette, I was pained at the disordered appearance of everything around. In a little while Muiceron will resemble the estate of an idle, lazy man who lets the ground lie fallow. What an example for the neighborhood, who looked upon you as models! Come, come, you must change all this, my good children. Commence your work; there is enough to do. I bet, Ragaud, your horses have not been curried for two weeks?”

“Alas! monsieur, you are half right—not curried as they should be,” answered Ragaud in a penitent tone.

“I must have lost more than six dozen eggs,” said Pierrette, looking down.

“I know nothing about the eggs,” resumed M. le Curé; “but as for your chickens, who have not had a grain of food but the gravel they have scratched, they are so lean I wouldn't eat one of them if you gave it to me.”

These reproaches piqued the self-respect of our good people more than any number of long and learned speeches uttered in a severe tone. Pierrette was deeply contrite for her faults. On setting the table, she could not keep from the eyes of M. le Curé, who spied everything designedly, the six-pound loaf of white bread which Marion had that very morning brought home from the baker's. This loaf, that was long and split in the middle, was not the least in the world like the bread made in the house, and proved that Pierrette had not kneaded the dough for a long time. Our curé would not let the bread pass unnoticed any more than the rabbit-stew, said it was dry and tasteless—which was true—and seized this opportunity also to make his friends promise to resume their ordinary train of life.

The supper was not very gay, it must be acknowledged, but passed off quietly, and thus this visit of the curé, which was followed by many others, began to bring back peace in those hearts so crushed with sorrow.

The following Sunday, Jeannette, according to her promise, went to Val-Saint, accompanied by her parents. She appeared neither too proud nor too subdued, but just between the two—that is to say, she moved along with a look of perfect modesty, which won every one's respect, and made all the hats come off as she approached the church. Unfortunately, it is too true that human nature is apt to rejoice over the misfortunes of others. It is as though each one said, at the sight of a thwack received by his neighbor, “So much the more on his back, so much the less on mine.” And I do not conceal from you that the people of Val-Saint were not exempt from this culpable weakness. On this very occasion even they were disposed to be severe; for, in fact, the Ragauds' misfortunes were a little their own fault; and each one observed that if [pg 048] the parents had not been too proud and ambitious of making their daughter a young lady, she would not have been exposed to choose for husband a scoundrel whom they thought a gentleman. However, sincere pity replaced every other sentiment when they saw this afflicted family reappear in broad daylight in such an humble attitude; and poor Ragaud, who had made a violent effort to come, gradually recovered his ease at the sight of the kind faces that surrounded him. During the Mass, his old heart recovered its balance while praying to God. He felt that affliction is a good means of becoming better, because it draws the soul to its Creator, whom we are too often tempted to forget in the days of uninterrupted happiness; and when the divine office was ended, he could without difficulty stop in the village square, and shake hands with several of his friends.

Then they went to the pastoral residence, where the curé received them joyfully, and they ate with relish the dish of larks, which was done to a turn. At the dessert, the Ragauds looked like people restored to life, so much balm had that genial morning infused into their blood. Jeannette alone did not share the general happiness, and her bitter sadness, which could not be disguised, in spite of the care she took to smile and speak at the right time, was visible to all. It must be said to her praise that her vanity, which had been so crushed, was the least wound of her heart; she felt there another so much deeper, so much more painful, nothing, she thought, could ever cure it.

Where was Jean-Louis? What had become of that brother she had driven out so roughly and unjustly? Her great seclusion since the terrible event had prevented her hearing a single word about him, and she dared not question any one.

As for the Ragauds, father and mother, they never mentioned him either, but for another reason. Ignorant that Jeannette had turned the poor boy out of the house, they were still firmly convinced of his jealousy; and as they believed him to be employed on some farm in the neighborhood, they were very much incensed at his prolonged absence, which, in view of the present circumstances, appeared the act of an ungrateful and hard heart.

M. le Curé, who knew all, and had Solange's letter in his pocket, designedly prolonged the grief of Jeannette and the mistake of the Ragauds, in order that the lesson might be duly profitable to all.

“You see,” said he, “everything has happened as I foresaw. Fearing to displease you, I did not invite any one to our little entertainment; but understand well, my children, if I had had fifty vacant places at my table, I would have had great difficulty in choosing my guests; so many would have desired the pleasure of dining with you, I would have been afraid of exciting jealousy.”

“M. le Curé,” said Ragaud, “I thank you, and hope that your kindness was not mistaken. I speak the truth when I say that, but for you, I would have died rather than ever again have shown my face in public.”

“Well, now that it is all over, let us talk of our friends,” replied the curé. “Are you not curious to hear some news?”

No one replied; the tender chord was again touched.

“I do not conceal the fact,” said [pg 049] Ragaud, “that more than one of those so-called friends have pained us by their neglect.”

“Let us be just,” said the curé; “do you forget that your house was so tightly closed no one dared knock at the door? I even hesitated to visit you, and yet you cannot doubt my affection for you. Why, then, should others have been bolder?”

“Oh!” said Ragaud, “any one that wished could easily have found his way in. You had no difficulty, dear monsieur.”

“That I grant, but I was in the country. Do you know how many of your best friends are here yet? In the first place, the whole of the château are in Paris.”

“Yes, I know it,” said Jeanne. “My godmother did not bid me good-by.”

“She was very sick, my daughter; you must not ill-judge her.”

“And Michou?” asked Ragaud.

“Michou was at Mass, directly behind you,” said the curé; “and if he did not show himself, it was from delicacy; but he is not far off, and will come at the first signal.”

“And Solange?” asked Jeanne, in such a low tone she scarcely could be heard. That was the name the curé was waiting for. He looked at Jeanne in a serious manner.

“Solange,” said he, “left also on that unfortunate day, and knew nothing of it. She, Jeanne Ragaud, was your most faithful friend, and is so still. You have calumniated her, my daughter. I know it; but I hope you have sincerely repented; above all, when you hear that she is now at the novitiate of the Sisters of Charity.”

“Ah! is it possible?” cried she, clasping her hands. “Dear Solange! how unjust I have been to her!”

“Have you not been unjust to others also, my child?” asked the curé with gentleness. “Confess it, Jeannette; you should do so from a sense of justice.”

Jeannette hid her face in her hands, and burst into tears. The question had pierced her soul.

“M. le Curé,” said Pierrette, “I know of whom you wish to speak; but he, I believe, has not left the country, and his conduct, therefore, is scarcely excusable.”

“Ask your daughter,” replied the curé; “she, undoubtedly, can answer that question.”

And as Jeannette could not speak on account of her tears, he continued:

“What could he do, poor boy! but disappear when the only roof that could shelter him refused to receive him. He is no longer here, Mme. Ragaud, that child who loved you so dearly, and who had proved it so well. An inconsiderate word has driven him from your arms, and, having no other resource in this world, he is going to become a soldier, doubtless in the hope of dying honorably in fighting for his country.”

“Never did I drive off Jean-Louis, monsieur,” said good Pierrette; “no, never, I can truly swear.”

“Nor I,” said Ragaud; “and at this very moment I am ready to redeem him from the conscription.”

“However, he is gone,” replied the curé; “and he, like Solange, did not know you were in trouble.”

“Oh!” cried Jeanne, falling on her knees, “I did it all. Heaven has justly punished me. Tell me where he is, M. le Curé; he will not refuse to pardon me, I am so unhappy.”

[pg 050]

“What did you do?” asked Pierrette. “Alas! all this worry has turned the poor child's head. Of what do you wish to accuse yourself, my daughter?”

Old Ragaud, who was not easily moved, approached the little thing and placed his hand on her head. He was very much affected to see her thus, kneeling and weeping, in the posture of a guilty person. He looked at M. le Curé, who looked at Jeannette, and Pierrette looked at all three.

Then that young girl did something very touching and unusual. She wiped her eyes, and, without rising, commenced in a sweet, low voice the true confession of all her past conduct, not sparing herself, as was right and just, and yet neither showing excitement nor too great bitterness against herself, which was the mark of sincere repentance. As she spoke, her face regained its color, and her eyes shone with holy joy; for the Lord, who saw her laudable intention, rewarded her with great interior relief for doing what for many others would have been the greatest mortification. When she had finished, she remained with her hands clasped, and her head bent low, before her parents and M. le Curé; but no person broke the silence. Of the three witnesses of this affecting scene, two wept behind their handkerchiefs, and the third, wishing to preserve his gravity as pastor, was too much moved to articulate a word.

“Father,” continued Jeannette in the same humble and firm tone, “judge me, now that you know how guilty I am. It is to you I speak, in presence of my mother and M. le Curé, and I am ready to submit to whatever punishment you may inflict upon me. I have deprived you of a son who made you happy, that you might keep a daughter who has only drawn misery and sorrow on your house. But that daughter is still capable of loving you; let her remain with you, that she may make reparation for her sins. I know I do not deserve it,” added she after a moment's silence.

“My daughter,” said M. le Curé, “you have done well. Rise; the good God pardons you, and your parents also, very certainly.”

“O my poor darling! most surely,” said Pierrette, pressing her child to her breast.

“And you, Ragaud, will you not embrace your daughter?” asked M. le Curé.

The good farmer, you may well think, had no desire to be severe. He kissed Jeannette with great tenderness, and made her sit down by him. But his heart was much troubled; now that he understood his injustice towards Jean-Louis, and his rash judgment, and remembering how easy it would have been for him to have prevented his departure by speaking a friendly word at the right time, he reproached himself as bitterly as Jeannette had done; and if his paternal dignity had not prevented him from humiliating himself before his child, he would have been tempted to confess in his turn.

“M. le Curé,” said he, “if God one day will let us know where Jean-Louis is, do you think he would consent to return?”

“Hem!” said the curé, “he is proud; that remains to be seen....”

“Oh! I would beg him so hard,” replied Jeanne.

“In the first place, my child, we must put our hands on him; and there is the difficulty. Jeannet is not a boy to change his resolution like a weathercock that turns to [pg 051] every wind. And if he has enlisted, you will have to run after his regiment.”

“Poor child!” said Ragaud, “he don't know that he has a little fortune stowed away in a safe place, and that it increases every year. If it should cost three thousand francs, I will redeem him, no matter where, no matter when.”

“Father,” said Jeanne, “before leaving M. le Curé, let me ask you one favor in his presence.”

“Speak, my child, I promise it to you in advance,” answered the good man.

“That you will never speak to me of marriage,” replied the little thing in a firm voice, “and that you will let me assist my mother in all her labors in the fields.”

“And when mademoiselle comes back?” asked the curé, with a spice of mischief.

“Oh! I understand too well that my place is no longer at the château; all our troubles have come from my having lived there too long,” said she.

“Jeanne Ragaud,” said M. le Curé, “always think so, and conform your conduct to your words; and if you will persevere in your resolution, in the name of the Lord I promise you that these trials will pass, and that you will yet have many happy days.”

M. le Curé pronounced these words in such a serious tone they all three felt wonderfully comforted. We can truly say that this Sunday was one of the happiest days in the life of the Ragauds. They went back to Muiceron with courage and peace in their souls, and on the next day each one set to work to repair the damage that two weeks of discouragement and gloom had introduced into that poor forlorn house.

The days passed rapidly between work and household duties faithfully accomplished. Gradually the remembrance of the recent misfortunes lost its bitterness, and they were even able to speak of them sometimes to Jacques Michou, who came frequently to visit his friends. As the police sought in vain for Isidore, people ended by letting him drop; and, as always happens, each one having resumed his usual course of affairs, they came to the conclusion that perhaps he was not so guilty as had seemed at first sight; so that, but for their ignorance as to the fate of Jean-Louis, one month after the catastrophe the Ragauds appeared as happy and tranquil as before.

M. le Curé was not so ignorant, being kept fully informed by Jean-Louis, who wrote to him regularly, but left to his wisdom to confide what he chose to the family at Muiceron. He preferred to keep a strict silence, for the very good reason that he wished to prove, by a long trial, the sincerity of Jeannette's conversion. Thank God! on that side there was nothing to apprehend. Solange, with her great charity of soul, had not been mistaken in thinking Jeannette's head weaker than her heart.

Misfortune had so purified and strengthened the little creature, Jean-Louis would have loved her more than ever, could he have seen her thus changed; for although nothing is perfect in this world, I can truly say, without exaggeration, she was now as near perfection as could be expected of anything human.

Pierrette, who at first wished to spare her little hands, so unaccustomed to work, did not wish her to undertake any of the heavier labor; but Jeannette was so quick and [pg 052] ready, the hardest and most difficult tasks were always accomplished by the time her mother came to give directions. She was the first at the stables in the morning, which she never left until all was in order, the fresh milk placed aside, and the cream taken off that of the evening before; on churning days she prepared the wheels of the machine, which would afterwards be turned by Marion. It was she also who measured the ashes for the lye used in the big wash the fifteenth of every month; and every week gave out the flour, half wheat, half rye, for the family bread. So great was her zeal she even wished to knead the dough, and put the loaves in the oven, which is terribly hard work; but this time Pierrette showed her authority, and declared she would sooner give up baking at home than see her daughter wear herself out at the kneading-trough like a baker's son-in-law.

From time to time, M. le Curé visited Muiceron at unusual hours, so that his appearance would be entirely unexpected, and always found Jeannette busy with her household labors, or, if it was late in the day, seated by the window, mending the clothes and linen of the family.

Her dress was always very simple, even on Sunday, and you may well think that mademoiselle's beautiful dresses were left hanging in the closet without being even looked at occasionally. For another girl it would have been advisable economy to make some use of them by altering the style, so as to fit them for the farm; but Jeannette was too rich for any one to accuse her of extravagance for not using them, and it was every way better she should not reappear in costumes that would recall a time which, although passed, still left a painful memory.

She generally wore a serge skirt, striped in black and white, with a woollen basque which corresponded; and her Indian neckerchief from Rouen, covered with little bouquets of bright flowers, crossed in front, under her apron, was in no way more pretentious or coquettish than that of her mother Pierrette.

She even wore the cap of our country-girls, which consists of a head-piece of linen, with long ends of lawn, which they cross above the head on the days they wish to appear very fine. Coquettes know how to make themselves very elegant by adding embroidery and lace; but Jeanne Ragaud, who could have bought out a mercer's shop, thought no longer of beautifying herself, much less her cap. Thus dressed, she looked more like a quiet little outdoor sister of some convent than the sole heiress of a large estate. She was told so sometimes, which highly delighted her, as she wished to appear in everything totally different from what she had been.

It needed a little courage to act thus before the eyes of the whole commune. Jeannette knew that after being called for ten years the vainest, silliest little peacock in the country, she was now looked upon as an exaggerated devotee; and, what was worse, some said she had thrown herself into the arms of the good God because her marriage had been broken off.

“Wait and see,” said the busy tongues; “only let her dear Perdreau come back, and all the fine dresses will be taken from the hooks, as before his departure.”

For they were persuaded she [pg 053] adored him, and that she still preserved, in the bottom of her heart, a tender remembrance, mingled with regret, which only waited an opportunity to show itself. Now, one's nature is not changed, no matter how great is the desire to correct it, and you know that Jeannette was passionate and excitable. She therefore had much to suffer, and did suffer in silence, thinking that all these mortifications would aid her to expiate her sins, and to merit from the good God the favor of Jean-Louis' return, which now was the sole object of all her thoughts, desires, and prayers.

To see again the friend of her childhood; to soothe together the declining years of her old parents; to converse with him as in old times; to resume the gentle friendship, which now was so ardently desired by her poor little heart; to ask his pardon; and to make him so happy that he would forget the past—this was what this repentant, loving child thought of by day, and dreamt of all night, waking or sleeping. As her conversion had not deprived her of penetration, she quickly guessed that the good curé knew every movement of Jean-Louis from A to Z; and it was amusing to see the way in which she would turn and turn again her questions, in the most innocent manner, so as to obtain some enlightenment on the subject. But our curé read this young soul like an open book, and, although he admired all that the Lord was working in it for her good, pursued the trial, and, under the manner of an old grandfather, kind-hearted and tender, did not allow her to gain from him one foot of ground. However, occasionally he pretended to be surprised, taken by storm. It was when he would see the little thing sadder than usual, and ready to be discouraged. Then he would loose the string two or three inches—that is to say, he would say a word here and there, to make it appear he would speak openly at his next visit; and when that day came, he played the part of a person very much astonished that anything was expected from him.

However, like everything else, this had to come to an end. Half through pity, half through wisdom, the dear curé thought—as he said himself—that if the bow was too much bent, it would break; so one morning, having finished his Mass and eaten his frugal breakfast, he went to Muiceron, with the intention of conversing seriously with the Ragauds, and telling them all that he knew of good Jean-Louis.

To Be Continued.

[pg 054]

Home Rule For Ireland.

The term Home Rule as applied to British politics, in its local signification, has been a very unfamiliar one to American readers until quite recently, and even yet it is not generally recognized as the watch-word of a powerful and growing political party in and outside of the English Parliament, which has its headquarters in Ireland, and numerous ramifications extending throughout the principal cities and towns of England, Wales, and Scotland. In its leading features and designs this new organization may be said to be in fact the revival by another generation of the one formerly founded and led by O'Connell, and, like its prototype, is established for the purpose of effecting by constitutional means the abrogation of the treaty of union between Great Britain and Ireland, which was so delusively concocted and ratified, in the name of those countries, at the close of the last century; and the consequent reconstruction of the Irish Parliament on a footing of equality with that of England.

It is by no means what might be called a revolutionary movement, for it seeks neither to pull down nor destroy, by force or conspiracy, those bulwarks which society has raised for its own protection against lawless and unscrupulous demagogues; its object is simply to restore, as far as desirable and practicable, the old order of things, and to redress, even at this late day, an act of flagrant wrong and injustice done three-quarters of a century ago to a long misgoverned people, by restoring to them the right and power to regulate their own domestic affairs, subject, of course, to the authority of the common sovereign of the United Kingdoms.

The history of the treaty and acts of legislative union between Great Britain and Ireland, and of the motives which conduced to the formation of the conspiracy against the independence of an entire nation; of the plots formed in the fertile brain of Mr. Pitt against the civil and religious liberties of the sister kingdom, and but too successfully carried out by Castlereagh, Cooke, and other officials in Dublin, has never been sufficiently studied, even in this country, where every measure affecting the freedom of mankind, in what part of Christendom soever, possesses peculiar interest. This defective knowledge of a subject comparatively modern may be attributed partly to the fact that we Americans have been too much in the habit of looking at foreign politics through English spectacles, and in part because there seems to be a principle in human nature which inclines us to ignore, if not despise, the sufferings of the needy and unfortunate. Vanquished nations are regarded generally as are poor relations whom no one cares to know or acknowledge.

And yet the circumstances which eventually led to the destruction of the Irish Parliament were almost contemporary with, and to a certain degree grew out of, our own Revolution. The causes that effected the severance of the North American colonies from the mother country, [pg 055] and facilitated the consummation of our aspirations for independence, operated, paradoxical as it may seem, to bind Ireland firmer in the chains of alien thraldom, as well as to extinguish the last spark of her freedom.

It is generally conceded that the Irish Parliament, from its inception in the XIVth century till 1782, was not only not the legitimate legislative representative of even a moiety of the people of that country, but was actually a very efficient instrument in the hands of their enemies. At first it was merely an irregular gathering of the nobles and chief men of the “Pale”—a term applied for hundreds of years after the invasion to four or five counties on the eastern and southeastern sea-board, over which the Anglo-Normans held sway. Whenever a raid on the native chieftains was projected, or a scheme of spoliation to be adopted, it had long been the custom of the lord deputy, or other representative of English authority, to summon the heads of Anglo-Irish houses and a few of the principal burghers of the larger towns and cities within his jurisdiction, to meet him at Dublin, Drogheda, or Kilkenny, and, having given the motley gathering the sonorous title of parliament, to demand the enactment of new statutes against the “Irish enemy,” or to extort fresh levies of men and money for his incursions into the interior.

Gradually, however, those erratic assemblies began to assume form and regularity, and even to display a certain independence of action distasteful to the governing power. As English conquest in Ireland gradually widened its sphere, particularly in Leinster and Munster, the number of members who attended those sessions increased; and as the descendants of the invaders, having lost the attachment of their forefathers to England, naturally evinced a desire to legislate for themselves, it was thought desirable in London to nip in the bud a flower which might insensibly expand into national independence. Accordingly, in the reign of the seventh Henry, the Irish Parliament being still weak and yielding, a bill was passed by it acknowledging the dependence of that body on the king of England and his council. This act, called after its originator, Poynings, most effectually repressed the aspirations of the only representative body in the kingdom, and produced the desired results. But as if this were not enough, we find subsequently, in the reign of William and Mary especially, instances of the English Parliament legislating directly for Ireland; and in the sixth of George I. there was passed a declaratory act which, if any vestiges of freedom or manhood yet remained in the Irish Parliament, most effectually destroyed them. These efforts, thus made from time to time to destroy the liberty and efficiency of the Parliament, naturally disgusted a great many of its members who had the least spark of self-respect or personal honor left, and drove them from the nation's councils; those who remained being almost without exception government officials or newly-arrived and needy adventurers, ignorant of the character, wants, and wishes of the people, who hoped, by the display of extraordinary zeal and sycophancy, to push their fortunes and find favor in the eyes of the Castle authorities. It is not surprising, then, that a body composed of such elements should have unhesitatingly voted away the royalty of the ancient [pg 056] kingdom to Henry VIII., whose predecessors never claimed a higher title than that of lord; that at the bidding of the same monster, it officially and almost unanimously declared for the Reformation, and with equal alacrity, in the reign of his daughter Mary, explicitly repudiated everything it had done a few years previously.

Yet it still bore the semblance of a national legislature; and, gradually yielding to the influence of a growing public opinion, some good men, Catholics as well as Protestants, were again to be found among its members in the subsequent reigns, until that of William III., when, by an unconstitutional law of the English Parliament, the former were for ever excluded, and never during its existence was one of that proscribed faith allowed to sit on its benches. From this reign also may be dated the many cruel penal enactments, over one hundred in number, which disgraced its statute-books; though, to do its members justice, they never went so far in ferocity and ingenuity as did their brethren of London at the same period and even long previously.

But though four-fifths of the people were disfranchised and their co-religionists denied a seat in the Parliament, that body was again gradually approaching the assertion of its right of self-legislation. A new generation had sprung up during the later half of the XVIIIth century who knew not William of Orange nor the bitter anti-Irish prejudices that characterized his followers. The bold, incisive, and satirical writings of Swift, the learned disquisitions of Molyneux, and the homely but vigorous appeals of Lucas, had not been without their effect on the young students of Trinity and other colleges, fresh from the study of the lessons of human liberty so frequently found in classic lore; and the consequence was that when they entered the Parliament as members, confident in their position as gentlemen of fortune, and self-reliant, not only from their aristocratic connections, but from their innate sense of mental superiority, language began to be heard and applauded which, for elegance, grace, and manliness, had never been equalled in that hall before. The outbreak of our Revolution, the broad principles of justice and humanity laid down in the speeches and writings of our ancestors, and the trumpet-toned Declaration of Independence occurring at the same time, gave an impetus and a clarity of ideas on questions of government which, up to that time, had assumed neither form nor consistency.

The first symptoms of active agitation for their political rights may be said to have sprung up at this period among the Irish of all conditions and creeds, but more especially in Ulster and the cities of Dublin, Cork, and Limerick—the homes of manufactures and the centres of produce, exports, etc. Their grievances were of two classes: restriction on foreign trade, and parliamentary dependence and corruption. Under the first head, it was charged, and with great truth, that Irish merchants were prohibited by English laws from trading with France, Spain, Portugal, Holland, many of the West India Islands, and the whole of Asia, for the purpose of benefiting their rivals in England; thus utterly crippling the manufacturing interests of the country, and completely stopping the exportation to these markets of farm products, of which she had [pg 057] even then a superabundant supply. This limitation of commerce had long been not only the principal cause of the impoverishment of the nation, but a fruitful source of clamor and popular discontent, which had invariably been unheeded by the dominant power as long as it was able to repress them by the strong arm. At length, however, a change was about to take place. Soon after our War of Independence broke out and the French alliance was cemented, England was obliged to withdraw from Ireland nearly the whole of her military and naval forces, thus leaving the latter undefended by either regulars or militia, and at any moment open to attack from the allies. Indeed, Paul Jones several times appeared on the coast, and in 1779-80 the Franco-Spanish fleets were absolute masters of the Channel. The people, kept in a constant state of alarm, at last determined to arm for mutual protection; and thus was originated that short-lived but remarkable body of citizen soldiery known as the Irish Volunteers.

The movement began in Belfast in August, 1778, and before two years elapsed it had spread over the whole country, and counted on its muster-rolls nearly one hundred thousand men, fully armed and equipped at their own expense. Noblemen, judges, magistrates, and prominent members of Parliament were proud to serve in the Volunteers as company or field officers; and Lord Charlemont, one of the most accomplished and liberal members of his order, accepted the office of commander-in-chief.

The external security of the island having thus been amply provided for, attention was naturally turned to internal evils. Various meetings of Volunteers were held in the several counties, and strong resolutions passed in favor of the freedom of foreign trade. The Castle authorities were not in a position to resist a demand so made; the Irish Parliament, led by such men as Grattan, Flood, and other nationalists, voted in favor of the immediate emancipation of commerce; and the British premier, Lord North, in December, 1779, submitted three propositions to the English Parliament to permit the export of glass and woollens from Ireland, and permission for her to trade with the American colonies, Africa, and the West Indies. During the following February, a bill embodying these provisions was introduced by the ministry, and passed with little opposition.

This point gained, the Volunteers set to work to free the Irish Parliament itself from all dependence on the London Privy Council and the Parliament of the sister kingdom. In April, 1780, Grattan moved his Declaration of Rights, which avowed, among other truths, “that his most excellent majesty, by and with the consent of the lords and commons of Ireland, are the only power competent to enact the laws to bind Ireland.” This resolution was, however, opposed on technical grounds, and withdrawn. During the following year, Mr. Yelverton asked leave to bring in a bill virtually repealing Poynings' law, which was granted by a vote of 167 against 37, though later in the session Flood's motion of a similar purport was defeated by a majority of 72. The people, who had anxiously watched the action of their representatives, were now in a ferment of excitement, and numerous meetings of civilians and Volunteers were held throughout the provinces, the most noteworthy of which was the [pg 058] convention of the Ulster Volunteers at Dungannon, February 15, 1782. This powerful assembly passed a series of manly resolutions in favor of the right of the subject to bear arms, to express his opinions freely on political affairs, and to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience; but the one most to the point read as follows: Resolved, unanimously, That a claim of any body of men other than the king, lords, and commons of Ireland to make laws to bind this kingdom is unconstitutional, illegal, and a grievance.” This was followed up by like meetings in the other sections of the country, at which similar resolutions were adopted. A few days after there was a change of ministry in England, and of course a change of policy. Messages were sent in the name of the king to both Parliaments, ordering them to take into their most serious consideration “the discontents and jealousies prevailing among his loyal subjects of Ireland, in order to such a final adjustment as may give mutual satisfaction to both kingdoms.” The answer of the Irish Parliament to this demand met with no opposition on the question of its adoption, though it declared emphatically “that there is no body of men competent to make laws to bind this nation except the king, lords, and commons of Ireland; nor any other parliament which hath any authority or power of any sort whatever in this country save only the Parliament of Ireland.” There was no mistaking or avoiding this expression of public opinion, endorsed as it had been by a national army able and willing to second their demands; so in May, 1782, the act of sixth George I. was repealed in the English Parliament, and the old objectionable law of Poynings simultaneously suffered a similar fate in that of Ireland.

Irish trade was now free, and Irish legislation independent at least of alien dictation; but another great task lay before the Volunteers, which unless accomplished, their well-won victories were likely to prove barren indeed. This was the purification of their own House of Commons, and the right of representation for the people at large. That the popular branch of the legislature wanted reformation badly may be judged from the status of its members as given by contemporary writers. Only seventy-two of them were returned by vote; one hundred and thirty-three sat for “nomination” or “close” boroughs, absolutely controlled by a few peers; ninety-five were similarly sent to the Parliament by about fifty commoners; so that, out of the three hundred members of the house, two hundred and twenty-eight were wholly and solely dependent for their seats on less than half their own number. When we consider, also, that of those creatures at least one-half were officials, pensioners, or expectants of pensions and government favors, we can well imagine how little reliance could be placed on their integrity or honesty in a struggle between a hostile, inimical power and the people; and it must also be remembered that at that time neither the right of representation nor of suffrage was allowed to the Catholics, who comprised seventy or eighty per cent. of the entire population.

The Volunteers, therefore, set to work to do for their countrymen what fifty years afterwards was at least partially effected by the Emancipation and Reform Acts for the United Kingdoms. They again held meetings, passed resolutions, and [pg 059] even called a national convention to meet in Dublin during the Parliamentary session of 1783-4. One hundred and sixty delegates accordingly met in the Rotunda amid the general congratulations of the citizens and the high hopes of the nation. But, alas! this sanguine confidence in the manliness and liberality of the delegates soon received a shock so rude that its effects were felt in the most remote parts of the island, and carried with them gloom and dismay to the masses of the people.

The Volunteers were an essentially, and it might be said an exclusively, Protestant organization from the beginning, but it was earnestly supported by the Catholics from a feeling that unrestricted trade and legislative independence were national boons of the first importance, as well as from an apparently well-founded trust that, these being obtained, the abrogation of the penal laws and the right of representation would speedily follow. They could not believe that an influential but very small minority, seeking liberty for themselves, would persistently deny it to the large majority of their countrymen. They were now about to be undeceived. One of the very first resolutions passed at the convention read as follows: Resolved, That the Protestant inhabitants of this country are required by the statute law to carry arms and to learn the use of them,” etc.; and, lest any doubt should remain of the bigotry and narrow-mindedness which pervaded the representatives of the Volunteers, the plan of reform, as drawn up by Flood and subsequently adopted, was made to read thus: “That every Protestant freeholder or leaseholder, possessing a freehold or leasehold for a certain term of years of forty shillings' value, resident in any city or borough, should be entitled to vote at the election of a member for the same.”

The limitation of the right to bear arms and to vote to Protestants only was the destruction of the moral as well as physical power of the Volunteers, and a death-blow to the longings and aspirations of the patriotic Catholics. It was more than a blunder, it was a crime—a piece of rank, selfish hypocrisy, which ill became men who had the words of freemen on their lips, but, it appears, the feelings of tyrants in their hearts. In vain did the Irish Catholics protest in a series of resolutions; in vain did the Earl of Bristol, then Protestant Bishop of Derry, vehemently advocate the claims of the people to something like religious and social equality. The convention was deaf to all remonstrance and entreaty, and blindly rushed to its own destruction.

It had taken the only step that could have gratified its enemies, and, by throwing away the friendship and support of the vast majority of the population, it left itself exposed and naked to the attacks and machinations of the Castle authorities. Pending the American war, England looked with fear and anxiety on that large body of armed men that could at any time, and with little risk, sever the connection between the two countries, for she was powerless to resist them; yet, when somewhat recovered from her humiliating defeats in her quondam colonies, she turned all her attention and used all her art to destroy not only the Volunteers, but the Parliament that had recognized and fostered them. She was determined, if possible, that such a dreaded contingency should not occur again. The convention, as we have seen, [pg 060] had rejected the moderate demands of the Catholics, many of whom, despairing of justice in that quarter, naturally looked to the government for some modification of their disabilities; while the Parliament, always under official control, took advantage of the occasion to sow division and discord among its members. When Flood, fresh from the Rotunda, moved for leave to bring in a reform bill embodying the plans of the convention, it was refused by a majority of eighty in a total vote of two hundred and thirty-four.

The history of Ireland from this time till the close of the century could well be blotted out, for the sake of human nature, from the annals of the race. The Volunteers, who ought not only to have been the defenders of the country from foreign enemies, but the protectors of the civil rights of their countrymen at home, after the scornful rejection of their claims by Parliament and the adjournment of their convention, ceased to be either feared or respected. Many of their most prominent officers went over to the government, others of more advanced views joined the secret society known as the United Irishmen. The English authorities, having thus succeeded in their first project even beyond their expectations, applied themselves with extraordinary industry to carry out the second. Agrarian outrages became more frequent; “Peep-o'-day boys” and “Defenders” terrified the peaceful farmers of one or other side; Orangemen were petted and armed, while Catholic bishops and priests were deluded with false promises; the royal grant to Maynooth College was increased at the same time that martial law was proclaimed in the most peaceful Catholic districts; and churches were being burned to the ground unrestrictedly by those who wore the king's livery. At the general election, which took place in 1790, the most scandalous means were adopted to secure a thoroughly subservient majority in the lower house; and, lest this should not be sufficient, new peers were created through corrupt influence, in order that the lords might not offer any opposition to the behests of the Castle.

It is difficult to imagine the scenes of outrage, rapine, private revenge, and general consternation which grew out of a persistence in so wily and nefarious a policy. Supported secretly by the authorities, the Orangemen became utterly regardless of the lives of their Catholic neighbors; while they, with a choice only between the oppression of an armed faction of bigots on one side, and the tender mercies of English law on the other, naturally inclined to the latter as the lesser of two evils, and began to long for imperial protection. There were many, however, who joined the United Irishmen, and here again arose another division. That society was a sworn secret organization, and, as such, the hierarchy and the priesthood were bound to condemn it, no matter how much they may have sympathized with its aims, and to denounce all who were in its ranks.

But notwithstanding the state of fear, confusion, and disruption to which the country was reduced, the English officials still feared to bring before the Parliament the question of a union. A blow must first be struck that would drive terror into the hearts of the whole people; so terrible and sanguinary that even the greatest lover of his country's independence would, it was hoped, [pg 061] gladly desire peace and order, even at the price of British connection. This was done in 1798. The United Irishmen proposed to resort to armed insurrection and an appeal for French support, but as yet had committed no overt act of treason. The government, which had all along been cognizant of their schemes and movements, resolved to anticipate them by driving the country into premature rebellion; its tactics differing, however, in various localities. To Wexford, always a very peaceful, Catholic county, where there were very few United Irishmen, they sent the infamous North Cork militia, whose cruelty was only surpassed by their abject cowardice. These miscreants were to a man Orangemen, and their line of march to the town of Wexford, for miles on both sides, was marked by the ruins of burned chapels and the corpses of slaughtered peasantry. It was only then that the people of that country rose up in arms, seeking “the wild justice of revenge,” and waged on the murdrous brood a war which, for bravery and decisiveness during the time it lasted, has few parallels in modern history. In Dublin, the chiefs of the intended insurrection were suddenly seized, imprisoned, and many of them finally executed. The Presbyterians of Ulster, the originators of the United system, were hurried into untimely outbreaks by the knowledge of the discovery of their designs, and, after three or four detached efforts at rebellion, were easily put down by the militia and regular troops. Then came the judicial murders, drum-head courts-martial, torture and death. No man, no matter how innocent, considered himself safe, and no woman was free from insult and outrage. The spirit of the government seemed to be infused into all its officials from the highest judge on the bench to the lowest constable, and that spirit was one of terrorism and slaughter.

Ireland was now prostrate, defenceless, and bleeding from every artery and vein, and this was considered a fitting time to rob her of her Parliament, and snatch from her enervated grasp the last remnant of her independence. The measure was introduced into both Parliaments almost simultaneously, at first with doubtful success, but afterwards carried with little difficulty, except the expenditure of enormous sums by the government in bribing and pensioning members. The most alluring prospects were held out to the Catholics to induce them to support the measure out of Parliament—they had no voice inside of it—but, to their credit be it said, not even a moiety of them were deceived by such treacherous proposals. They were assured that, after the union, English capital would flow free as water into the country; that protection for their persons and property against Orange fanatics would be fully guaranteed; and that many of the more oppressive clauses in the penal code would be repealed—all of which, it is unnecessary to say, were conveniently forgotten by Pitt and his successors once the abominable bargain had been closed. The act of union passed the Irish House of Commons June 7, 1800, and the House of Lords on the 13th of the same month, to take effect on the 1st of January following.

The deed was at last accomplished, and Ireland, deceived, betrayed, and dejected, sank down into the lethargy of despair till once more aroused to action by the magnificent genius of the great agitator, [pg 062] O'Connell. For a long time he dared not hope or ask for a repeal of the union, but confined himself to the removal of Catholic disabilities, as the operation of the nefarious penal laws was elegantly called; though occasionally, in his more comprehensive speeches, he alluded to the future possibility of such a demand. Emancipation gained, the Reform Bill carried, and the tithe, poor law, and other questions of minor importance more or less satisfactorily disposed of, O'Connell turned his serious attention to the restoration of the Irish Parliament.

He initiated the movement in 1840, but for some time with very little appearance of making it in any sense a national one. The people were supine, and those who should have been their leaders rested content with comparative religious equality and the friendship of the Whigs, who, when in power, were always generous of petty offices to the poor relations and dependants of those who could influence elections in their favor. But the great Liberator, though he had nearly reached that term of threescore and ten allotted as the span of man's life, was still full of vigor and determination. He travelled through every part of Ireland, arousing the dormant, reassuring the timid, arguing with the disputatious, and hurling his anathemas against those who, from cowardice or venality, refused to join in the crusade against English influence in Ireland. His success was more than wonderful. The hierarchy unanimously declared in favor of “repeal,” the priesthood almost without exception became his warmest and most efficient supporters, and of course the mass of the people, always on the right side when properly led, greeted him everywhere with the wildest applause. Money poured in from all sides to help the national cause; not Ireland and the British Islands alone contributing their quota, but the continent of Europe and the ever-generous people of America lavishly advanced funds for the purpose of aiding the people in obtaining self-government.

Then came the year 1843—the year of the monster meetings at central and time-honored localities, such as Mallow, Tara, Mullaghmast, and Clontarf, where assembled countless thousands of well-dressed, well-conducted, and unarmed peasantry, to listen to the voice of their champion and his co-laborers, and to demand in peaceful terms the restoration of their filched legislative rights.

The British government was decidedly alarmed, and with good cause. It tried to stem the torrent of popular opinion by the most extravagant distribution of patronage, by landlord intimidation, the denunciations of a venal press, and even by intrigues at the court of Rome; but all to no effect. Rendered desperate, it even projected a general massacre at Clontarf; but this savage project was defeated by the judicious conduct of the repeal leaders. Next it evoked the terrors of the law; for in Ireland, unlike most free or partially free countries, the law has actual terrors for the good, but very little for the wicked. O'Connell and eight of his associates, including his son John, three editors, and two Catholic priests, were arrested, indicted for “conspiracy,” tried, and all, on the 30th of May, 1844, were sentenced to imprisonment, with the exception of F. Tierney, who had died before the trial. The effect on the [pg 063] country was the reverse of what was expected. O'Connell's popularity, if possible, increased, the repealers became more numerous, and several Protestant gentlemen of fortune and influence, who had hitherto held aloof, joined the association. But when three months had elapsed, and the decision of the packed Dublin jury and the rulings of the stipendiary English judges were set aside by the House of Lords, led by Brougham, the enthusiasm of the people knew no bounds.

These indeed were the halcyon days of Ireland. Never were her people so numerous, prosperous, and contented, so full of thankfulness for the present and hope in the future. Of the nine millions of her population, at least two-thirds were active repealers or in sympathy with their cause. No nation, in fact, was ever more unanimous on any public question than were the Irish of the years 1844-5, and never was the country so free from crime of every degree. Much of this enviable condition was to be attributed to the oft-repeated admonition of O'Connell, that “he who commits a crime gives strength to the enemy”; more, perhaps, to the unceasing admonitions and personal presence of the priesthood at the monster gatherings; but most, we think, to the workings of F. Mathew's beneficent projects. It was a fortunate coincidence that the Apostle of Temperance and the great Liberator were contemporaries. For the one teetotaler the first could show, the other could point out an ardent repealer.

But a change was impending that, amid the sunshine and gladness of the hour, was undreamt of—a change that was to spread woe and desolation over the face of the fair island. Famine, gaunt and hideous famine, with her attendants, pestilence and death, was knocking at the door, and would not be denied admittance.

The first symptoms of the failure of the potato crop, then almost exclusively the food of five or six millions of people, appeared as early as 1845, and, though it created much alarm and distress in certain neighborhoods, was not of so widespread a nature as to excite general anxiety till the close of that year and the beginning of the next. O'Connell, the mayors and corporations of the large cities, and many other prominent persons, lay and clerical, having exhausted all the resources of private charity, strenuously but vainly urged on the government the necessity of taking some steps to save the lives of the people. They represented, and truly, that the grain crop alone of the country was sufficient to feed twice the number of inhabitants, and asked that its exportation might be prohibited; that a large portion of the imperial revenue was raised in Ireland, and suggested that a portion of it might be expended there on useful public works, and thus afford employment to the famishing and needy; that a great part of the lands then unproductive might be reclaimed with benefit to the holders, and proposed that the government ought to loan money to the landlords for that purpose, to bear interest, become a first lien on the land, and to be repaid at the expiration of a certain number of years. Their appeals were answered by coercion and arms acts, and by the repeal of the Corn Laws, by which the Irish producer, who was obliged to sell his cereals in English markets in order to pay his rent, found himself undersold by importers from [pg 064] the great grain-producing countries, like Russia and the United States. In truth, England did not want to stay the famine, for it was her best and only ally against the repeal movement; and the “providential visitation,” as it was blasphemously called by her politicians and clerical demagogues, was allowed to take its course. Thus unchecked, the dire destroyer swept on from county to county during the years 1846-7-8-9, till the island, so fair to view in 1844, became almost a deserted graveyard, and its inhabitants who had neither sunk beneath its curse nor fled the country became a nation of paupers. It is now proven by trustworthy statistics that during those five years over one million fled for ever from their homes, and that at least a million and a third perished on their own soil, amid plenty, from want of food and the ravages of the fatal typhus!

No wonder, then, that the great repeal organization drooped, quarrelled, and finally ended a lingering and impotent existence a few years after. The bone and sinew of the land, who had given vitality and strength to its labors, were either far across the Atlantic or rotting in pauper-graves. No wonder, also, that its great founder and chief, overburdened with years, but more by national misfortunes, should have sickened at the sights around him, and, fleeing from the ills he could not cure, should have died on a foreign soil, far from his beloved fatherland.

But though the famine had mortally wounded the repeal movement, its demise was hastened by dissensions among the leaders themselves. In 1846, in a discussion on the expediency of the use of moral force solely as a means of obtaining national redress of grievances, hot and personal remarks fell from the lips of the speakers on both sides; great excitement was created among the audience, and finally O'Brien and many of the ablest and most active of the repeal writers and speakers withdrew, and formed what was called the Confederation or “Young Ireland” party. Though thoroughly honest, high-toned, and brilliant as orators and journalists, the Young Irelanders could never win any appreciable amount of popular support; and though up to February, 1848, when the French Revolution threw Europe into a ferment of excitement, they never contemplated armed resistance, the people generally looked upon them with suspicion, and refused their co-operation. In the summer of that year, however, they did make an attempt at revolution, and, as might have been expected, miserably failed. Thus the “Association” and the “Confederation” disappeared almost at the same time; and now that a quarter of a century has passed, and a new generation has come to the front, we find the principles and aims of the original organization revivified and incorporated into what is called the “Home Rule League.”

In its demands, this association is more moderate than was O'Connell. He wanted repeal of the treaty and act of union, pure and simple, and the restoration of the national legislature as it was in 1782, with the emancipation and other kindred acts superadded. The Home Rulers, if we may judge from the resolutions passed at a very large conference held lately in Dublin, only ask for a parliament to regulate their domestic affairs, leaving to the British imperial Parliament full power and authority over all matters concerning the entire empire, or, in other words, placing Ireland [pg 065] in the same position with regard to the law-making power as that now held by Canada, except the right of Ireland to send a proportional number of members to the imperial assembly. The success of such a scheme in Ireland would naturally lead to the restoration of the old Scotch Parliament, and possibly to imperial representation for Canada and other trans-marine colonies of Great Britain. Hence the widespread interest it has excited throughout the empire.

The objections to the home-rule plan, as far as we can gather them from the English and Tory Irish press—for the politicians have carefully avoided its discussion—are principally three:

I. The confusion and possible conflict of authority which might arise from having two co-ordinate legislative assemblies under the same government.

II. That the people of Ireland are unable to govern themselves, and, as the last Parliament was lost by the corruption and venality of its members, a restored one would be open to the same deleterious influences.

III. That as the Catholics, from their numbers, would necessarily have a majority in the Commons, the rights of property and the guaranteed privileges of their Protestant fellow-subjects would be in danger.

IV. That the granting of legislative power would be only a step to complete independence.

To these objections it is answered, first, that as the advocates of home rule merely require power to regulate affairs purely domestic, and not touch on those within the jurisdiction of an imperial Parliament, there would be little possibility of a collision of the two bodies; secondly, they admit the premises, but deny the conclusion regarding the probability of bribery and corruption, for the conditions are altered. The rotten and presentation boroughs, from whence the tools of the Castle sprung, have been swept away by the Reform Bill, and landlord influence has received a decided check by the adoption of the ballot. They further allege that the Catholics now, particularly since the Encumbered Estates Act was passed, are the most numerous body of landholders in the kingdom, and are consequently conservative, and would be exceeding jealous of any agrarian law that might be proposed; that the late Church Disestablishment and Land Acts have done away with many of the causes of quarrel between Catholics and Protestants growing out of tithes, endowments, etc.; and triumphantly point to the numerous Protestant gentlemen, many of whom are clergymen, who have joined their movement. As to the idea of total separation, they very properly retort that if Ireland will not rest satisfied with the concession of her just demands, it is not likely that she will be more loyal to the crown as long as they are withheld.

This repeal movement, in another shape, like its predecessor, had a very obscure birth and a small christening. About three years ago, a few gentlemen met in a private room in the city of Dublin to chat over political affairs, amongst whom was Isaac Butt, a member of Parliament, and a lawyer of large experience and great eminence in his profession, who suggested the outlines of the present plan of operation. Like most hardy plants, its growth was at first slow, but it has [pg 066] recently sprung up a hale, hearty tree, with boughs overshadowing all classes and creeds at home, and roots extending through the sister island and its dependencies. From the first the leadership has been accorded to Butt, who, though by no means a man of the gigantic calibre of O'Connell, is still a very competent political guide and an energetic organizer. Though a Protestant and a great favorite with the more liberal sectarians, he seems to enjoy the confidence and friendship of many of the Catholic bishops and a large number of the priesthood, particularly those of the venerable Archbishop McHale, whose name we find appended prominently to the call for the late conference in the capital. With Butt are such men as Sir John Gray, Mr. Mitchell-Henry Sullivan, Dease, Major O'Reilly, Digby, Synan, Murphy, Blennerhassett, the O'Connor Don, and other prominent laymen; while the Catholic clergy in great numbers, headed by Dean O'Brien, of Limerick, are active sympathizers. The Home Rulers count in their ranks in Ireland alone about sixty members of Parliament, besides nearly half that number representing English constituencies. Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, one of the most profound and the best organizing minds that Ireland has produced for many generations, is, it is said, about to return from Australia, and again enter the British Parliament as the representative of an Irish constituency. Duffy is a Catholic, a man of varied and remarkable experience in public affairs, and would be a most valuable acquisition to the nationalists in council or Parliament.

The movement, as we have stated, is not merely confined to Ireland. It is nearly as popular and has almost as many supporters in England and Scotland; and in every liberal newspaper published in those countries that reaches us we find reports of numerous meetings in the principal towns and cities, and even villages, of Great Britain. The English Catholic press particularly favor it, and this adds greatly to its strength. A late number of the London Tablet says in reference to the home-rule conference: “We can all know at present what is demanded under the name of home rule; and we may frankly say at once that we have been agreeably impressed by the moderation and evident thoughtfulness which have presided over the preparation and adoption of the various resolutions that embody the proposed home-rule constitution. It is superfluous to say that there is not a trace of revolution about them.... What, however, is not superfluous to say is that the new programme of the Home Rulers appears to us to have discarded with discrimination almost everything which could prejudice their cause, and to have retained almost everything calculated to render their project acceptable to the British public and imperial Parliament.”

The Weekly Register, on the same subject, makes the following sensible remarks:

From Tuesday to Friday, both inclusive, hundreds of Irishmen from the north and from the south, from the east and from the west, Protestants and Catholics, alumni of Maynooth and of Trinity College, met in the Rotunda to discuss the expediency of demanding of the imperial Parliament such a modification of the act of legislative union as will allow the people of Ireland to manage their purely domestic concerns without in the least interfering with matters of an imperial character; and during these memorable four days, as we have already observed, the most admirable temper was manifested and the most perfect order [pg 067]maintained, or rather observed; for the chairman had throughout only to listen like others and put the question. The principal, if not the sole, ground of difference of opinion was the constitution of the domestic Parliament. To some members of the conference the House of Lords seemed a difficulty. Undoubtedly there cannot be in these realms any Parliament without a House of Lords, and there ought not to be. Equally certain is it that differences—serious differences—will sometimes arise between the Irish peers and the Irish commons. But does nothing of the sort ever occur in the imperial Parliament? Yet, notwithstanding the dissensions, occasionally of a very violent character, that happen between the Houses at Westminster, the constitution works and the business of the empire is done, not always in the best fashion, we admit, but still so to keep the vessel of state well afloat.

Many of the bishops and clergy in England, also, are warm sympathizers, if not active advocates, of the proposed repeal, as the following extract from a recent letter of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Turner, late Bishop of Salford, will in part demonstrate. With regard to home rule, writes that prelate, “it seems to me that some measure of home rule for Ireland is certain. It is but a question of time and amount. Parliament will, sooner or later, be obliged to grant it, if only for the despatch of imperial business. A strong feeling prevails in favor of large powers of local and municipal self-government even in England, and the extension of this principle must inevitably come to Ireland.”

We cannot but agree with the good bishop in his views of the necessity of some change in the parliamentary system of the United Kingdoms, at least as far as Ireland is concerned, and trust, sincerely trust, that his predictions will be justified by events, and that very quickly. With a home government, a denominational plan of education, and a fostering public opinion for ability and native genius, which would surely follow, that long-suffering but faithful island might in the near future equal, or even excel, the glories that shone around her in her first ages of Christianity.

Sonnet: Good Friday.

Behold the highest Good! there on the cross
'Tis pictured on a canvas so sublime
That God's own thought, conceived before all time,
Is fitly told; the universe at loss
To fathom it, its mighty forces toss
In darkened struggles that do wildly chime
In thund'rous mutt'rings with the monstrous crime
That man conceives; yet all the varied dross
Of nature's agitations but compose
The adjuncts to that central Form, where God,
Enthroned in pain, all suffering doth enclose
In one brief day, that never might be trod
A path more hard than that did interpose
'Twixt Pilate's hall and Calvary's blood-stained sod.
[pg 068]

Grapes And Thorns. Chapter X. The Descent of Avernus.

By The Author Of “The House of Yorke.”

It was Annette who told Miss Pembroke the result of the trial, taking it on herself as a sort of mission. Without saying a word on the subject to each other, perhaps without defining it clearly in their own minds, they had yet acted on an impression that she was to be treated with peculiar delicacy and tenderness in the matter.

As young Mrs. Gerald came down the street toward her mother-in-law's home, she saw Miss Pembroke approaching her slowly from the opposite direction, a child at either side. She was just coming from her school, and these two little ones lived in the neighborhood, and were privileged to walk home with their teacher, each holding in its little hands, for warmth, a fold of her large sable cloak.

It was a still, frosty day, with a sparkling depth of cloudless blue overhead, and a spotless carpet of newly-fallen snow, white as swan's-down, underneath. But the mid-air, rosy now with sunset, imparted a tinge of violet to the sky and a soft blush to the earth. Sleighs, with their gay bells, flew to and fro, the drivers muffled to the eyes from the stinging cold; and the planks of the sidewalk crackled under the steps that trod them.

“What a motherly look she has!” Annette Gerald said to herself, as she stood waiting at the gate, and watching her friend.

Honora had quite a matronly appearance, indeed, in the thick furs she always wore in winter. She was fond of warmth, and scarcely quick enough in her motions to resist the cold of a northern climate by means of exercise alone, and the cap, muff, boa, and mantle made her look like a Juno exiled to the court of Odin. The cold melancholy of her expression, the face as untouched with color as a white camellia, was in keeping with the fancy.

She did not hasten when she saw a visitor waiting for her, nor give any smile or word of welcome. If there was a sign of emotion, it was in the slight gesture with which she detached herself from her two little attendants, who, for the first time, missed the leave-taking they prized so much. They had been wont to be stroked on the cheeks, with a gentle “Good-by”; and, running, hand in hand, down the street, to turn at the first corner, and see their teacher wave her hand to them as she stood on the piazza.

“My dear Annette, why did you not go in, instead of freezing here in the snow?” she said, and seemed too much occupied in opening the gate to be able to look in her friend's face, though her disengaged hand held that of her visitor closely.

“Oh! I never feel the cold in this still weather,” Annette said lightly. “Besides, I do not like to enter alone a deserted house. There is no one here but the servant. Mamma Gerald is with us, and we persuaded her to stay to dinner. I wish you would go up too.”

[pg 069]

They had entered the house. Miss Pembroke paused a moment at the foot of the stairs, then led the way up to her chamber. Evidently she knew that there were tidings for her, and suspected that they were not good. “I shall not dine at home to-day,” she said, catching sight of the servant.

But she did not, apparently, mean to go out, for she deliberately removed her wrappings, and put them away; then seated herself beside her friend, and looked at her with an expression that bade her speak out her errand, whatever it might be.

“It has gone as badly as it could,” Annette said quickly.

“He is, then, found guilty?” Miss Pembroke asked, without the slightest sign of emotion.

Annette nodded. “He is convicted on circumstantial evidence. It is as plain as such evidence can be, but not plain enough to shake my hope, at least, of his innocence. Lawrence is utterly disgusted and indignant with the whole affair. He says he would at any time head a party to rescue Mr. Schöninger. He felt so angry that he wouldn't stay at home after coming up to tell us, but started off again somewhere.”

“Is he sentenced?” Miss Pembroke asked, speaking with some difficulty.

“Yes!” And since the eyes fixed on her still waited for more, Mrs. Gerald added: “There is a year solitary.”

Honora's eyes opened a little wider. “A year solitary?” she repeated.

“Why, yes, dear. You know it is the custom to give a year of solitary imprisonment before....”

Miss Pembroke put her hand up, and seemed to clear some mist from before her eyes. “Before what?” she asked in a confused way.

“Dear Honora!” exclaimed her friend, “need I say what?” And then started up with a little cry; for Miss Pembroke, without a word or sign of warning, had slipped out of her chair, and fallen heavily to the floor.

It is not necessary to make an outcry because a lady has fainted, unless there is no person of sense present. Annette Gerald did what was needful without calling for help, and her efforts were soon rewarded. The cold hand she held suddenly became warm and moist as the recoiling wave of life rushed back, and in a few minutes Miss Pembroke was able to rise from the floor, and go to the sofa. Annette sat by her in silence, now and then touching her hand or her hair with caressing fingers, and waited for her to speak.

If she had to wait some time, it was not because her friend had not returned to full consciousness. Miss Pembroke was too strong and healthy to creep back to life, even after so violent and unaccustomed an attack. It was, perhaps, the first time she had ever fainted, and she was left almost ignorant of what had happened to her; but of the cause she was not a moment in doubt. It came back clearly on the first wave of returning consciousness. She lay with her eyes closed, and strove to set her mind in order again, and set it so firmly that this terrible and entirely unexpected fact should not again derange its action. She had not once anticipated such a conclusion. Her thoughts had occupied themselves with the horrors of the accusation, and the worst result she had looked for was that, though the prisoner would doubtless be acquitted, [pg 070] he would not be able to shake off the disgrace of having been suspected, and would go out into life branded with an ineffaceable mark—a mark which his name would bear even in her own mind. She had said to herself that, pity him as she might, she desired never to see him again, not because she believed him capable of any great crime, but because his image would always be associated with painful recollections, and because his dignity had been soiled by such circumstances and associations. Now, however, he was presented to her mind in quite a new light, more pitiful, yet with a pity far more shrinking and remote from its object. In this woman, confidence in, and obedience to, authority was an instinct; and as she contemplated the decision of the law against Mr. Schöninger, she began to look on him somewhat as a Catholic looks upon those whom the anathema of the church has separated from the fellowship of the faithful, “so that they are not so much as to say to them, God speed you.” A silent and awful distance grew up between them.

After a while, she sat up, and began calmly to put her hair and dress in order.

“It is very terrible, Annette, and we may as well try to put it quite out of our minds,” she said. “We can do nothing, that I see, but pray for his conversion. I thank you for coming alone to tell me of this, for I would not have had any other person see me so much affected by the news. People imagine things and tell them as facts, and there are many who are capable of believing that I had loved Mr. Schöninger. I never did.”

There were times when Honora Pembroke's soft eyes could give a look that was almost dazzling in its firm and open clearness; and as she pronounced these last words, she looked into her companion's face with such a glance.

Mrs. Gerald rose and walked somewhat impatiently to the window. She had hoped and expected to startle Honora into some generous expression of interest in Mr. Schöninger, and to win from her some word of pity and kindness which, repeated to him, would be like a drop of cooling water in his fiery trial.

“I am sure I should never imagine you capable of having an affection for any one whom the whole world does not approve,” she said rather pointedly, having snatched the curtain up and looked out, then dropped it again. “If you can put the subject out of your mind, and remember Mr. Schöninger only when you are praying for the heathen, so much the better for your tranquillity. I am not so happily constituted. I cannot dismiss the thought of friends because it troubles me, nor because some person, or many persons, may believe something against them.”

“What would you have me do?” Miss Pembroke asked rather loftily, yet with signs of trouble in her face.

“Nothing, my dear, except that you put on your bonnet and come home to dinner with me,” Annette replied, assuming a careless tone.

Miss Pembroke hesitated, then refused. It would be certainly more sensible to go if she could, but she felt herself a little weak and trembling yet, and disinclined to talk. The best distraction for her would be such as she could find in reading or in prayer, if distraction were needed. She felt, moreover, the coldness that had come over her [pg 071] friend's manner more than Annette was aware, and for a moment, perhaps, wrung by a cruel distrust of herself, envied her that independence of mind and ardor of feeling which could at need strengthen her to face any difficulty, and which rendered her capable of holding firmly her own opinions and belief in spite of opposition. Miss Pembroke seemed to herself in that instant weak and puny, not because she did nothing for Mr. Schöninger, but because, had she seen the possibility or propriety of her doing anything, she would have lacked the courage. It was a relief to her, therefore, to find herself alone, though, at the same time, she would gladly have had the support and strength which her friend's presence could so well impart to one in trouble.

The door closed, and she looked from the window and saw her visitor walk briskly away without glancing back.

“I wish I had some one,” she murmured, dropping the curtain from her hand, and looking about the room as if to find some suggestion of help. “I am certainly very much alone in the world. Mother Chevreuse is gone; I cannot go to F. Chevreuse about this; and the others jar a little with me.”

And then, like a ray of soft and tender light coming unexpectedly to show the path through a dark place, came the thought of Sister Cecilia and her gentle companions. They had asked her to come to them, if they could ever be of any use to her, and Sister Cecilia particularly had spoken to her with an affectionate earnestness which was now joyfully remembered. “I cannot hope to be to you what Mother Chevreuse was, but I would be glad if I could in a little, even, supply her loss to you. Come to me, if you ever wish to, quite freely. You will never find me wanting in sympathy or affection.”

And she had scarcely been to them at all!

She dressed herself hastily, and called a carriage. It was too late to walk there, for already the sun was down; and it was nearly two miles to the convent.

The sharp air and brisk motion were restorative. They brought a color to her face, and sent new life through her weakened frame. Besides, when one feels helpless and distressed, rapid motion gives a relieving impression that one is doing and accomplishing something, while, at the same time, it saves the necessity of effort.

Sister Cecilia was in her own room, writing letters, her little desk drawn close to the window for the light. She looked out when she heard the carriage, and beckoned Miss Pembroke to come up-stairs then hurried to meet her half way. She had guessed her visitor's motive in coming, and it needed but a glance into her face to confirm the thought.

“Come into my chamber, dear,” she said. “It is the pleasantest room in the house at this hour. See what a view I have of the city and the western sky. I sit here to write my letters, and every moment have to leave off to admire the beautiful world outside. It is a sort of dissipation with me, this hour of sunset. This arm-chair is for you. It is my visitor's chair. I should feel quite like a sybarite if I were to sit in it.”

She seated Honora by the window, drew up her own chair opposite her, and went on talking cheerfully.

“I sometimes think that all the [pg 072] earth needs to make it heaven is the visible presence of our Lord and his saints. It would require no physical change. Of course I include the absence of sin. There is so much beauty here, so much that we never notice, so much that is everyday, yet miraculous for all that. Look at that sky! Did you ever see such a rich air? It needs the cold purity of the snow to keep it from seeming excessive.”

A long, narrow cloud had stretched itself across the west, and, drawing to its bosom the light of the sun, now hidden behind the hills, reflected it in a crimson flood over the earth. Through this warm effulgence fell, delicately penetrating, the golden beams of the full moon, changing the crimson of the air to a deep-opal color, and putting faint splashes of gilding here and there beside the rosy reflections.

“How the earth draws it in!” said the nun dreamily. “It never wastes the beauties of the sky. It hoards them up, and gives them out long after in marbles and precious stones. Did it ever occur to you to wonder how those bright things could grow in the dark underground? I used to think of it in Italy, where I first saw what marbles can be. I remember my eyes and my mind wandering to that as I knelt before the Confession of S. Matthew the Evangelist, in Santa Maria Maggiore, where the walls of the atrium glow with marbles; and the lesson I learned from it was this: that even though pains and sorrows of every kind should intervene between us and the joy of life as thickly as the clay, and rock, and turf had intervened between the sunshine of heaven and the dark place where those marbles took form and color, we could yet, if we had real faith, be conscious of all the glory and joy taking place overhead, and reproduce them for ourselves down in the dark, and make that beauty more enduring because we were in the dark. At the sunny surface, the brightness slips off and shadows succeed; but that solid jewel in the depths is indestructible. My dear”—she turned to her companion with a soft suddenness which warmed but did not startle—“do you remember S. Paul's recommendation, ‘always rejoice’? It is possible. And now tell me why you do not.”

Her eyes, beaming with religious enthusiasm and tenderest human affection, searched frankly the pale face before her, and her hand was laid lightly on Miss Pembroke's arm. No reserve nor timidity could stand before her. They melted like snowflakes beneath the heavenly summer of her glances. Honora told freely and simply what had distressed her.

How sweet is the friendship of one true woman for another!—sweeter than love, for it is untroubled, and has something of the calmness of heaven; deeper than love, for it is the sympathy of true natures which reflect each the entire being of the other; less selfish than love, for it asks no merging of another into itself; nobler than love, for it allows its object to have other sources of happiness than those it can furnish; more enduring than love, for it is a life, and not a flame.

“But can you not see, my dear,” the nun said presently, “that it would have been better if you had not had any friendly intercourse with him, even though this terrible thing had never happened? The injunction not to be unequally yoked with one another refers, I [pg 073] think, to all ties as well as to marriage. The gulf is too wide between the Christian and the Jew to be bridged over for familiar friendship. It is too wide for anything but prayers to cross. Once admit any intercourse with unbelievers, and you peril your faith; and, besides, you cannot set a barrier firmly anywhere when the first one is down. I have heard it said that this Jew loved you, and even fancied it possible that you would marry him.”

“People ought not to say such things!” exclaimed Miss Pembroke, blushing deeply.

“People ought not to have the chance to say such things, my dear girl,” replied the nun. “It was offering you an insult when he offered you his hand.”

“O dear Sister! is not that too severe?” expostulated Honora. “Setting aside what has happened since, should I not recollect, when a man makes me such an offer, what his intention is, and how the subject looks to him? And cannot I refuse him, and see that it is impossible for me to do otherwise, yet feel kindly toward him, and wish him well, and believe that he has meant to show me both affection and respect?”

“Honora,” said the Sister, “if any man had struck your mother, then turned to offer you his hand, would you not have recoiled from him in disgust and indignation?”

“Surely I would!”

“And is your God and Saviour less dear and sacred to you than your mother?” the other pursued. “Can you allow your thoughts to dwell with kindness and complacency on one who blasphemes the crucified Redeemer, and calls him an impostor? Because you have not heard this man talk against your faith, you forget what he must think of it. I tell you they mock at him, these Jews, and they call us idolaters. And what could he think of you, when, knowing that you adore Christ as God, he asked you to be the wife of one who would laugh, if he did not rave, when he saw you making the sign of the cross? He must have thought your faith so weak that he could in time make you renounce it. And the reason why he thought so was because he saw you receiving him in a friendly way, as if friendship were possible between you. I speak of what he was. What he is, we have nothing to do with.”

Miss Pembroke's eyes were down-cast. “When you place the subject in that light, I am forced to think myself all in the wrong,” she said. “But most people do not think in that clear, positive way. They act on an inherited motive, and their beliefs are moss grown, as it were.”

“They have no faith,” was the quick reply.

Honora was silent a moment, then said, with some hesitation: “I am always afraid of being uncharitable and illiberal, and perhaps I err the other way.”

“My dear, it is easy to make a mistake there, and very dangerous too,” the Sister replied with decision. “What is charity? You must first love God with all your heart; and if you do that, you will be very shy of the enemies of God. You cannot serve two masters. As to liberality, there is no greater snare. It is not liberal to squander the bounty and honor of God; it is not ours to spend. It is not liberal to praise those whom he condemns, and bless those whom he curses. It is not liberal to love those who refuse to acknowledge and obey [pg 074] him, and to contradict what he has clearly said. Or if these things are liberal, then liberality is one of the worst of vices, and one of the most futile too. Why, if I were to desire the reputation of being generous, and, having nothing of my own, should take what is not mine and give it away, I have stolen, it is true, and I have obtained a reputation that I do not deserve, but, also, I have enriched some one; whereas, if I put my hand into the treasury of God, and try to bestow on another what he has denied, the hand comes out empty. I have insulted the Almighty, and have not benefited any one. Do not suffer yourself to be deceived by sounding phrases. What are these people who talk so much of liberality? Are they liberal of what is theirs to give? Far from it. Do they give away all they have to the poor? Do they forgive their enemies? Do they give up their pride and vanity, and spend their lives in laboring for the needy? Quite the contrary. They are lavish only of what is not theirs to give. It has been reserved for those whom they call bigots to show an ardent and unsparing liberality in sacrificing their private feelings, their wealth, their comfort, their reputation, their lives even, for the glory of God and the saving of souls. There is the true liberality, my dear, and all other is a snare.”

“I wish I could shut myself up with God, and get into the right path again. I am all wrong.”

“Why not come here and make a retreat?” the Sister asked.

It was so precisely and unexpectedly what she needed that Honora clasped her hands, with an exclamation of delight. “The very thing! Yet I had not thought of it. When may I come? Very soon? It was surely an inspiration, my coming here to-night.”

Immediately her troubles began to lift themselves away, as fogs begin to rise from the earth even before the sun is above the horizon. The certainty of approaching peace conferred a peace in the present. She was going to place herself in the hands of Him who can perform the impossible.

Sister Cecilia had supplied her need perfectly. Hers was not one of those impassioned natures which need to be, soothed and caressed into quiet. A certain vein of gentle self-sufficiency, and a habit of contentment with life as she found it, prevented this. She wanted light more than warmth.

It was already dark when they went down-stairs, and since, from economy, the nuns did not have their entries lighted, the two had to go hand-in-hand, groping their way carefully, till they came to a turn in the lower passage; and there, from the open door of the chapel at the further end, a soft ray of light shone out from the single lamp that burned before the altar. By daylight both chapel and altar showed poor enough; but in the evening, and seen alone by this small golden flame, the imperfections were either transformed or hidden. Dimly seen, the long folds of drapery all about gave a sense of seclusion and tenderness; one seemed to be hiding under the mantle of the Lord; and the beautiful mystery of the burning lamp made wonders seem possible. Kneeling there alone, one could fancy all the beautiful legends being acted over again.

Sister Cecilia and Honora, still hand-in-hand, knelt in the entry the moment they saw that light.

“You remember the chalice of the bees?” whispered the nun.

[pg 075]

“I never come here in the evening, and see that bright little place in the darkness, but I think of that sweetest of stories. And I would not be surprised to hear a buzzing of bees all about the sanctuary, and see the busy little creatures building up a chalice of fine wax, as clear as an alabaster vase with a light inside.”

They walked slowly and noiselessly by the door, and, as they passed it, saw beside the altar what looked almost like another lamp, or like that illuminated vase the Sister had fancied. It was the face of Anita, which reflected the light, her dark dress rendering her form almost invisible. That face and the two folded hands shone softly, with a fixed lustre, out of the shadows. No breath nor motion seemed to stir them. The eyes fixed on the tabernacle, the lips slightly parted where the last vocal prayer had escaped, she knelt there in a trance of adoration. But one could see, even through that brightening halo and sustaining peace, that a great change had taken place in the girl during the last few weeks. Her face was worn quite thin; and the large eyes, that had been like dewy violets bending ever toward the earth, burned now with a lustre that never comes from aught but pain.

“How the innocent have to suffer for the sins of the guilty!” sighed the nun, as she led her visitor away. “That child has received a blow from which I am afraid she will never recover. She is like a broken flower that lives a little while when it is put in water. Her conscience is at rest; she does not say now that she is sorry for having had anything to do with that trial; she does not complain in any way. She seems simply broken. And here she comes now! She has heard our steps, and is afraid she has stayed too long in the chapel.”

The young girl came swiftly along the passage, and held out her hands to Miss Pembroke. “I knew you were here,” she said, “and I was waiting to hear you come down. Mother told me I might come and say good-by to you.”

“But you have not yet said a word of welcome,” Miss Pembroke replied, trying to speak cheerfully.

“Oh! yes, when I saw you come, I welcomed you in my own mind,” she replied, without smiling.

Honora waited an instant, but Anita seemed to have nothing to say except the good-by she had come for. “Our whispering did not disturb your prayers?” she asked, wishing to detain her a little longer.

“Oh! no.” She glanced up at Sister Cecilia, as a child, when doubtful and lost, looks into its mother's face, then dropped her eyes dreamily. “I do not say any prayer but ‘amen.’ Nothing else comes. I kneel down, thinking to repeat, perhaps, the rosary, and I am only silent a while, and then I say amen. It is as well, I suppose.”

Honora kissed the child's thin cheek tenderly. “Good-by, dear,” she whispered softly. “Say one amen for me to-night.”

She went out into the still and sparkling night, and was driven rapidly homeward. On her way, she passed the prison, and, looking up, saw over the high wall a light shining redly through the long row of grated windows. It was a painful sight, but no longer unendurable. “No prayer but amen,” she repeated. “What does it matter by what road we go, so long as we reach heaven at last; whether it be in peaceful ways, or through sin and suffering?”

[pg 076]

Another carriage drew up at the gate as she reached home, and Mrs. Gerald descended from it, having just returned from Mrs. Ferrier's.

“Upon my word, young woman!” Annette's voice called out from a pile of furs in the carriage. “We have been saying our good-nights in whispers, and hushing the very sleigh-bells, so as not to disturb your slumbers; and here you are out driving.”

Her bright and cheerful voice broke strangely into Honora's mood. Was there, then, anything in the world to laugh about, anything that could possibly excite a jest?

“Good-night, Mother Gerald!” the young woman added. “Don't stand there taking cold. And if you do not see Honora in the house to-night, make up your mind that I have carried her off with me, as I shall try to. Come here, my dear, and give an account of yourself. Where have you been?”

As Honora reached the carriage door, young Mrs. Gerald leaned out and caught both her hands. “Come with me to find Lawrence,” she whispered hurriedly. “He has not been home yet, but he will go for you.”

Though recoiling from the errand, Miss Pembroke would not refuse it. She stepped into the carriage, and suffered herself to be driven away. It was the first time such a service had ever been demanded of her. “Where is he? Do you know?” she asked.

“Oh! yes. He is only playing billiards,” the young wife answered, and a sharp sigh seemed to cut the sentences apart. “It is the first time for a long while, and I want to break it up in the beginning. John went down and told him that his mother was dining with us, but Lawrence paid no attention.”

She leaned back a little while without saying a word as they sped over the smooth snow. “It seems a shame to drag you into such an affair, Honora,” she said presently; “and I had not thought of it till I saw you, and then it came like a flash that you could help me. What I want of you is to write on a card that you and I are waiting for him. John will carry it in to him, and he will recognize your writing.”

The horses were drawn up before a large marble hotel, lighted from basement to attic. The shops underneath were all closed; but from three broad lower windows a bright light shone around the heavy lowered curtains, and in the stillness they could hear the faint click of billiard-balls. There was no sound of voices from inside, and it was impossible to know if the players were few or many.

Honora wrote hastily, by the moonlight, as she was bid, “Annette and I are waiting for you,” and John took the card.

“Why doesn't he go to this door?” she asked, seeing the man disappear around a corner of the house.

“You child!” said her friend compassionately; “are you so innocent as to suppose that any one can walk into one of those places when he pleases? These charming réunions are held with locked doors, and one has to have the password to go in.”

Honora was silent with indignation. To her mind, Lawrence could not do his wife a greater injury than in allowing her to become acquainted with such places, and she was half disposed to be vexed with Annette for not leaving him to himself, and refusing to be drawn into any objectionable scenes and associations.

[pg 077]

Annette divined the last thought, and replied to it.

“It is impossible for a wife to be scrupulous as to the means by which she shall withdraw her husband from danger,” she said with quiet coldness. “They are one. If he is soiled, she cannot be quite clean, except in intention, unless she is very selfish; and then her intention is not good, which is worse yet. Of course she should be careful not to draw others into her affairs.”

“You must know far better than I, Annette,” her friend said quickly, feeling as though she must have spoken her thought. “At all events, you cannot be called selfish. And, indeed, if the angels of heaven were over-scrupulous with regard to their associations, we should lack their guardianship.”

Here John appeared, walking briskly round the corner of the hotel, and immediately after Lawrence Gerald came to the carriage-door.

“You here, Honora!” he exclaimed. “What could have induced you?”

“We had better not ask each other questions,” she replied coldly. “It is late. Will you come home with us?”

She drew back into a corner, and made room for him, with an air almost of disgust; for the moonlight showed his face flushed with drinking, and, as he spoke, a strong odor of brandy had been wafted into her face.

He was too much confused for anything but simple obedience, and in rather a stumbling way took the seat assigned him.

“Honora has been driving this evening, and is sleepy and chilly,” his wife made haste to say in explanation, inwardly resenting her friend's hauteur, and regretting having brought her. “She is going home to stay all night with us. I am sure you did not know how late it is.”

She furtively picked up his hat, that had fallen off, went on talking lightly, to cover his silence or prevent his saying anything senseless, and tried in every way to screen him from the scorn that she had exposed him to. He leaned back in the carriage, and took no notice of her. The presence of Honora Pembroke had confounded him, and he had just sense enough left to know that he could not keep too quiet. What had stirred her to interfere in his affairs he could not guess, for Annette had always so screened him that it never occurred to him she could have asked her friend to come. Had he known, it would have fared hard with his wife. He had, however, prudence and temper enough to keep him from making any disagreeable demonstration. John was at hand when they reached home, and, as the ladies went hastily up the steps and into the house, they were not supposed to be aware that it was his arm which enabled Mr. Gerald to go in without falling. Then Mrs. Ferrier stood in the open drawing-room door, and, under cover of her welcome to Honora, he managed to get up stairs unnoticed, fortunately for all.

For the truce between Annette's husband and her mother was over, and their intercourse was assuming a more unpleasant character than ever. Now, it was nearly always Lawrence who was the aggressor. Even when Mrs. Ferrier showed a disposition to conciliate, he found something irritating in her very good-nature. Partial [pg 078] as his mother was, she was moved to expostulate with him after witnessing two or three of these scenes.

“You ought to recollect her good intention, Lawrence, and try to overlook her manner,” she said. “I know well she does not show very good taste always; but you cannot criticise a woman in her own house.”

“I am seldom allowed to forget that it is her house,” returned the son rather sulkily.

“At least, my dear, do not provoke her into reminding you of that,” Mrs. Gerald urged.

Lawrence wished to stand well with his mother, and had, indeed, improved in his behavior toward her in proportion as he had grown more impatient with Mrs. Ferrier. He seemed now to regret having answered her unpleasantly. “If you knew, mother, all the little annoyances I have to bear from her, you wouldn't blame me so much,” he said coaxingly. “With other frets, she has a habit of asking any of us who may be going out where we are going, and when we are coming back; and Annette has humored her in that till she thinks she has a right to know. Teddy always tells her, too; but then he tells lies. That makes no difference, though, to her. Well, I have broken her of asking me when I am alone; but if Annette is with me, she asks her. Can't you imagine, mother, that it would get to be irritating after a while? It makes me so nervous sometimes that I have really skulked out of the house slyly, as if I had no right to go. And then, when I come in, she will say, ‘Why, where have you been, Lawrence? I didn't hear you go out.’ If a door opens anywhere, she goes to see who is about. I believe if I should get up in the middle of the night, and try to creep out of the house without being heard, I should see her head poked out of the chamber-door before I'd got half-way down-stairs. Then she peers and finds out everything. Annette and I had a bottle of champagne the other night in our room, and the next morning she spied out the bottle, and spoke of it. I suppose she heard the cork pop when I drew it. You never looked after me half so closely when I was a little boy, always in mischief, as she does now I am a man. She knows what my clothes cost, every rag of them, and how many clean collars and handkerchiefs I have in the week.”

“I am sure she need not trouble herself about how much your clothes cost, since you pay for them yourself,” Mrs. Gerald said, her face very red. “And if she grudges you clean collars, send your linen home, and I will have it washed there.”

“Oh! she has no such thought,” Lawrence made haste to say. “She doesn't mean to be cross about any of these things, but only prying. She wants to overlook everybody and everything in the house, and it annoys me. I only tell you so that you may not wonder if I do speak out now and then about some small thing. Then what do you think she has proposed about my going into business?”

“Well?” Mrs. Gerald said uneasily.

“She has selected a partner for me.”

His mother waited for an explanation.

“And who should it be but John!”

“John who?” asked Mrs. Gerald wonderingly, trying to recollect [pg 079] some notable person of that name among her youthful acquaintances.

“Why, I do not know that he has any other name. The big English fellow who lets you in here, and waits at dinner, and opens and shuts the carriage-door.”

“What! you do not mean the footman?” Mrs. Gerald cried.

Her son laughed bitterly. “I asked her if he was to open the shop-door, and carry parcels, and if he would have the same sort of cockade on his hat, and she got quite angry about it. She says he has saved a good deal of money, and means to go into business, and she thinks I couldn't have a better partner. What do you think of it, mother?”

Mrs. Gerald leaned back in her chair, and put her hand up to her face, half hiding a blush of vexation.

She was not willing to tell Lawrence all she thought of the matter. “What does Annette say?” she asked.

“Annette vetoed the proposal up and down. I've heard nothing of it for a week or more. I only told you because you seem to think me too difficult.”

Mrs. Gerald sighed. She had hoped to see her son busy and contented after his marriage, and she found him only more idle and dissatisfied than before. With the partiality of a mother, she tried still to find him unfortunate instead of blameworthy, and, rather than see any fault in him, looked only at his difficulties, refusing to recollect how easily he could now overcome them all. She fancied erroneously that to suggest to him that his trials had a good deal of brightness to relieve them, would be to show a lack of sympathy and tenderness, and that the best way to comfort him was to let him see that his annoyances showed in her eyes as misfortunes. It was a mistake which, in her over-sensitive affection, she had always made with him.

His wife acted otherwise. “There is no use in anticipating evil, Lawrence,” she said. “Perhaps that may be the means of bringing it about. Fortune loves a smiling countenance. As to mamma's plans and wishes with regard to John, the best way for us is to assume that it is impossible she should ever regard him as anything but a servant. And, indeed,” she concluded with dignity, “I think she never can do otherwise.”

But this assumption did not prevent young Mr. Gerald from going privately to F. Chevreuse, and begging him to interfere and try to bring her mother to reason; and perhaps Mrs. Ferrier was never so near being in open revolt against her pastor as when he undertook to show her that there were certain social distinctions which it was her duty to recognize and respect.

“I think, F. Chevreuse,” she said stiffly, “that a priest might do better than encourage pride and haughtiness.”

“He could scarcely do worse than encourage them,” he replied calmly; “and it is precisely against these sins that I would put you on your guard. Persons are never more in danger of falling into them than when they are complaining of the pride of others, and trying to reform what they conceive to be the abuses of society and the world. The only reformer whom I respect, and who is in a thoroughly safe way, is that one who strives to reform and perfect himself. When he is perfect, then he can begin to correct the faults of others. Moreover, the established customs and distinctions of society have often a [pg 080] good foundation, and are not lightly to be set aside. What would you say if your chambermaid should insist on sitting down to dinner with you and driving out with you?”

Mrs. Ferrier found herself unprepared to answer. Indeed, no lady could be more peremptory and exacting than she was with all her servants except John. She was not yet ready to explain that her generalities all had reference to one exceptional case.

“But John is not at all a common servant,” she ventured to say. “He never lived out but once before, and then it was with a very grand family in England; and he wouldn't have come here with us, only that he wanted to look round a while before setting up business. I had to coax him to come, and give him the very highest wages. And Annette did all she could to persuade him.”

“John is an excellent man, I am sure,” F. Chevreuse replied. “I hope he will succeed in whatever good work he attempts. But we were speaking of your daughter's husband. My advice is that he return to the office where he was before, and remain there till something better presents itself. I do not approve of any large and showy enterprise for him. It would not suit him. In that office his salary would be enough to render him quite independent, and leave him a little to lay up.”

“Lay up!” repeated Mrs. Ferrier, with an incredulous circumflex.

“He will put one-half his income into his wife's hands, and she can do as she will with it,” F. Chevreuse replied. “Annette has spoken to me about it, and it is his own proposal. She will put the money in bank every month. What he keeps will be his own affair, and what she takes will be a small fund for the future, and will relieve a little that painful feeling he must have in living here without paying anything. It is decidedly the best that can be done at present. Besides,” he added, seeing objection gathering in her face, “it may save you something. The young man is not to blame that he is not rich, and he is quite ready to take his wife home to his own mother, and Annette is quite willing to go, if necessary. They might live there very happily and pleasantly; but as, in that case, Lawrence would be the one on whom all the expense would fall, I presume you would make your daughter an allowance which would place her on an equality with him.”

Mrs. Ferrier was forced to consent. Nothing was further from her wish than to be separated from her daughter, not only because she was more than usually solicitous for Annette's happiness, and wished to assure herself constantly that her husband did not neglect her, but because she had an almost insane desire to watch Lawrence in every way. Nothing so piques the curiosity of a meddlesome person as to see any manifestation of a desire to baffle their searching. The annoyance naturally felt and often shown by one who finds himself suspiciously observed is always taken by such persons as a proof that there is something wrong which he is desirous to conceal. Moreover, John had let fall a word of advice which she was not disposed to disregard.

She had been complaining of her son-in-law.

“You had better let him pretty much alone, ma'am,” the man replied. “You'll never drive him to being a sober fellow, nor industrious. Scolding doesn't mend [pg 081] broken china. I have a plan in my mind for them which I will tell you after a while, when the right time comes. He wouldn't thank me for it now; but by-and-by, if he doesn't drink himself to death first, he may think my advice is worth listening to.”

John had a quiet, laconic way which sometimes impressed others besides his mistress, and she did not venture to oppose him openly, nor even to insist on hearing what his mysterious plan might be.

It was, altogether, a miserable state of affairs, one of those situations almost more unbearable than circumstances of affliction, for the cares were mean, the annoyances and mortifications petty; and the mind, which is ennobled by great trials, was cramped and lowered by the constant presence of small troubles which it would fain disregard, but could not. For, after all, these small troubles were the signs of a great one threatening. It was plain that Lawrence Gerald, if not stopped, was going to kill himself with drinking. His frame was too delicately organized to bear the alternate fierce heats and wretched depressions to which he was subjecting it, and more than one sharp attack of illness had given warning that he was exhausting his vitality.

F. Chevreuse came upon him suddenly one day when he was suffering from one of these attacks. The priest had called at Mrs. Ferrier's, and, learning that Lawrence was in his room, too unwell to go out, went up-stairs to him somewhat against Annette's wish.

“I will take the responsibility,” he said laughingly. “The boy wants me to wake him up; you women are too gentle. You are petting him to death. No, my lady, I do not want your company. I can find my own way.”

And accordingly Lawrence opened his eyes a few minutes later to see F. Chevreuse standing by the sofa where he lay in all the misery of a complete physical and mental prostration.

The priest drew a chair close to him, taking no notice of the evident disinclination of the young man to his society. “Now, my boy,” he said, laying a hand on the invalid's shrinking arm, “are you dosing yourself up to go through the same bad business again? What has come over you? Come! come! Wake up, and be a man. You are too good to throw away in this fashion.”

The young man turned his face away with a faint moan of utter discouragement. “I am not worth bothering about. I've played my stake in life, and lost, and what is left is good for nothing. Besides, if I tried, I shouldn't succeed. Why do you trouble yourself about me? I tell you that what there is left of me isn't worth saving.”

He spoke with bitter impatience, and made a gesture as if he would have sent his visitor away.

F. Chevreuse was not so easily to be dismissed.

“The devil thinks differently,” he remarked, without stirring. “He is fighting hard for you. Rouse yourself, and join with those who are fighting against him! You have an idea that, because you have made mistakes and committed sins, you must lay down your arms. Nonsense! There are all the lives of the saints against you. Some of them never began to try till they found themselves on the brink of destruction. You fancy, too, that because you and your family have had misfortunes, and because you [pg 082] have not been very successful in trying to become a rich man, you must stand humbly aside for cleverer men, and ask no favors. You're all wrong. God made you, and put you into the world, just as he has the rest of us, and you have a right to the light and air, and to repair your mistakes and repent of your sins, without troubling yourself too much about what people say and think, and to do the best you can in worldly affairs without being humbled or ashamed if you can't fill your pocket with money quite as readily as some can. Let the money go, but don't let your manliness go, and don't throw away your soul. You are talking nonsense when you say that you are worthless. Respect yourself, and compel others to respect you, Lawrence. Nerve yourself, call up your good resolutions, and ask God to help you. Despair is a crime!”

The young man put his arm up, and covered his face with it, as though to hide an emotion he was ashamed of; or, perhaps, because the light hurt his eyes. “If I could forget everything, and sleep for a month without waking, I don't know but I could begin again and try to do better,” he said faintly. “But there is no life in me now for anything.”

F. Chevreuse rose immediately. “Rest, then, if that is what you need,” he said kindly. “Rest, and forget everything painful. If any tormenting thought comes, say a little prayer, and tell it to begone. Don't drink any liquor to quiet your mind. Let Annette get you some gentle sedative. I'll tell her to keep everybody away from you, and let you lie here six months, if you want to. But when you are better, come to see me.”

He was standing, ready to go, but waited for an answer. There was none. He spoke more earnestly.

“You know well it is for the best, Lawrence; and I want you to promise to come to me when you are able to go out, before you go to see any one else.”

“Well, I will. I promise you.”

But the promise was given, apparently, only to get rid of the subject, and F. Chevreuse went away feeling that he had accomplished nothing.

Annette went directly to her husband, somewhat timid as to the reception she might meet with; but if he was displeased at having had a visitor, he did not seem to hold her responsible. He took the glass containing the opiate from her hand, and set it down beside him. “After a while,” he said. “And now I am going to lock every one out of the room, and try to go to sleep. If I want anything, I will ring.”

She began to make some little arrangements for his comfort, but, perceiving that they irritated him, desisted, and left him to himself. As she went along the passage, she heard the lock click behind her. Oddly enough, this little rudeness gave her a feeling of pleasure, for it showed that he felt at home there, and claimed a right to all that was hers.

“If only he will sleep!” she thought.

He did not sleep. His first act was to throw away the opiate she had brought. “Some such dose as they give to teething babies, I suppose,” he muttered. Then he seated himself on the sofa, and, clasping his hands over his head, as if to still the bursting pain there, remained buried in thought. One [pg 083] could see that he was trying to study out some problem in his mind, but that difficulties presented themselves. More than once his eyes wandered to a little writing-desk opposite him, and fixed themselves there. “It would remove the only obstacle,” he said; “and yet how can I? That would be going over it all again. Now I am not to blame, but only unfortunate; but if I do that....”

It was pitiable to see a young face so distorted by pain of mind and body, and to see also that the pain was stinging him into still more angry revolt.

He began pacing up and down the room, and, in his doubt and distress, seized upon one of those strange modes of solving the question in his mind which, trivial as they are, most persons have at some time in their lives had recourse to.

“If there is an odd number of squares in the carpet from corner to corner of the room, I will do it,” he said, and began to count them. The number was odd. But, apparently, he wished to make assurance doubly sure, for he next counted the stucco ornaments on the ceiling. “Odd again! Now for the third trial.” He glanced about in search of the object which was to decide his fate, and spied a large patriarchal fly that had crawled out of its winter hiding-place, and was clumsily trying its wings.

“If he can fly over that cord, I will go,” he said; and since this was the last trial, and the poor insect seemed to him something like himself at that moment, he watched with breathless interest its efforts to surmount the great obstacle of the curtain-cord that lay in its path. The little creature attempted to crawl over, but, losing its balance, tumbled off and lay helplessly on its back. The young man set it carefully and tenderly on its feet once more. “Now do your best,” he said. “You and I have made a failure, but we will try once again.”

Inspired, it would seem, by this encouragement, the fly put out its wings, gathered all its energies, and flew over the cord, tumbling ignominiously on its back again at the other side.

Lawrence Gerald did not give himself the trouble to assist again his fallen friend, but went promptly to pull the bell-tassel. He had thrown off all responsibility, and, choosing to see in these trivial chances the will and guidance of some intelligence wiser than his own, resolved instantly on following where they pointed.

“I dare say I shall stumble like that clumsy fly, but I shall succeed in the end. At all events, I will try. I can't and won't stay here any longer. It is torment for me, and I don't do any one else any good.” He seemed to be arguing with some invisible companion. “They will be better without me. Besides, it was not I who decided. I left it to chance. If it was....”

His wife entering interrupted the soliloquy. She found him lying down, as she had left him, but with a color in his face that would have looked like returning health, if it had not been a little too deep.

He stretched his hand out, and drew her to the footstool by his side. “Now, Ninon,” he said coaxingly, “I want you to be a good girl, and arrange something for me so that I shall not be annoyed by questions nor opposition. It's nothing but a whim; but no matter for that. I want to go to New York for a day or two, by myself, you know, and I must start to-night. [pg 084] I'm not going to do any harm, I promise you. I feel a good deal better, and I believe the little journey will cure me. The train starts at eight o'clock, and it is now five. It won't take me half an hour to get ready. Will you manage it for me, and keep the others off my shoulders?”

She consented promptly and quietly, asking no questions. If he should choose to tell her anything, it was well; if not, it was the same. She knew the meaning of this coaxing tenderness too well to presume upon it. It meant simply that she could be useful to him.

“What is he going to New York for?” demanded Mrs. Ferrier, when Annette made the announcement down-stairs.

“Mamma, you must not expect me to tell all my husband's business,” the young woman answered rather loftily.

Poor Annette did not wish to acknowledge that she knew no more of her husband's affairs or motives than her mother did.

“Then he will want his dinner earlier?” was the next question, Mrs. Ferrier having, by an effort, restrained her inclination to make any further complaints.

No; all he wanted was luncheon, and his wife had ordered that to be carried up-stairs.

“I suppose I am not allowed to ask how long he will be gone?” remarked the mother.

“Oh! certainly, mamma; but that is not quite settled,” Annette said pleasantly. “It depends on circumstances. A few days, probably, will be the most.”

When Annette went up-stairs again, her husband was dressed for his journey. A valise, locked and strapped, lay on the sofa at his elbow, and his wrappings were strewn about. She observed that the oak writing-desk, that had not been opened for months, to her knowledge, had been opened now. The key was in the lock, and the lid was slightly raised. She noticed, too, that a little inner cover had been torn out, and lay on the carpet, broken in two.

“The carriage will be round in a few minutes,” she said. “I thought you would want plenty of time to buy your ticket and get a good seat.”

He merely nodded in reply, but looked at her wistfully, as if touched by her ready compliance with his wishes, and desirous to see if any pain or displeasure were hidden under her quietness.

But he detected no sign of any such feelings. She was merely examining his fur gloves, to make sure that the buttons were on, looking narrowly to the strap of his cloak, busying herself in the most commonplace manner with his preparations.

“Shall I go to the station with you?” she asked carelessly.

“I wish you would.” His tone was quite earnest.

Annette had arranged it so that they went down-stairs while her mother was at dinner; and though the dining-room door had been left ajar, before Mrs. Ferrier had time to leave her seat or call out, the two had left the house, and were driving through the clear starlight.

“Annette,” her husband said suddenly, “I've been thinking that if I had a boy, I would bring him up very strictly. No matter how much I might wish to indulge him, I would resist the wish. He should be taught to control himself from fear, if he had no other motive. He should be made hardy, and healthy, and active. I wouldn't [pg 085] allow him much time to dream and think of himself; he should be kept busy; and I would never let him depend on any one, or sit still and fancy that some great fortune were going to drop into his hands without any effort on his part.”

Mrs. Gerald was silent, astonished by this unexpected lecture, of which she quite well understood the meaning. He would have no child of his brought up as he had been. But why should he speak of it now?

“There's too much liberty and recklessness among young men,” he went on. “They have too much their own way. Parents ought to see what misery it will lead to. If they don't care for what the child may make them suffer, they ought to recollect what the child has got to suffer when at last it wakes up to life as it is, and finds itself with ruinous tastes and habits, and not one right idea of anything. I am inclined to believe that it would be better for half the children in the world if they were brought up and trained by the state instead of by their own parents.”

They had reached the station, and he stepped slowly out of the carriage. His wife ventured to ask how long he would stay away.

“Oh! I've nothing to do in New York,” he said carelessly. “I shall not stay there more than two or three days.”

He leaned into the carriage, and took her hands. In the darkness she could not see his face, though the light from outside shone in her own; but his voice was tender and regretful, even solemn. “Good-by, dear,” he said. “You have been only too good to me. May God reward you!”

He bent to kiss the hands he held, then hurried away before she had recovered herself sufficiently to speak.

“What a good-by it was!” she thought with a startled heart. “One would think he were never coming back again.”

He did come back, though, and sooner than he was expected. He appeared at the door the next evening, nearly falling in, indeed, so that John had to steady him. Annette had run out of the drawing-room on hearing the servant's exclamation, but, at sight of her husband in such a state, was about to turn back in disgust.

“It isn't liquor, ma'am,” John said. “Something's the matter with him. I told you yesterday that he wasn't fit to go away. Just push that chair this way for him to sit down in, and bring him a glass of wine.”

“I had to come back,” the young man said. “I was sicker than I thought, and not able to go on. I don't know how I reached Crichton; and just now, walking up from the station, the cold wind on my forehead made me dizzy. I thought I should feel better to walk. Don't be frightened, Annette. I can go up-stairs now.”

He had every symptom of fever, and before morning had grown so much worse that a doctor was sent for, though much against his will.

“I don't believe in doctors,” he protested. “My mother always cured me when I was sick without sending for a doctor. It's all guess-work. They only know what you tell them, and they sit and stare at you, and ask you questions when you don't want to speak a word. I hate to have a doctor look at me.”

Mr. Gerald was indeed a very difficult patient for both doctor and nurse, irritable beyond expression, and nervous to the verge of delirium. [pg 086] At first no one was allowed near him but his mother. Then he found her tender sadness depressing, and insisted on having his wife in her place. Finally he begged John to take care of him.

“Keep the women away, if you don't want me to lose my senses,” he said to the man. “They start and turn pale or red every time I cough or speak in my sleep; and even when they pretend not to notice, I know they are watching me all the time. I don't dare to groan, or sigh, or rave, though it would sometimes do me good. I want somebody by me who doesn't care whether I live or die, but who just does what I ask him to. Let Louis open the door and sit up in the dicky. It's what he was made for. He's far more of a footman than you.”

“I wouldn't give either of you your salt as footman,” John retorted, smiling grimly. But he did not refuse to assume the post of nurse, and, having undertaken it, rendered himself so useful and unobtrusive that the others all gave way to him, and the sick man had no disposition to change again. He seemed a rather hard, dry man, but he was patient, and showed none of that obtrusive attention which is sometimes more troublesome to an invalid than neglect. If Lawrence groaned and tossed about, the attendant took no notice of him; if he said, “John, don't leave me alone a minute,” the man would sit by his side all night, as untired, apparently, as a man of wood.

So three nights passed, and still the invalid grew worse.

“Wouldn't you like to have me read some prayers to you, sir?” the watcher asked one night. “They might quiet you.”

Lawrence broke out impatiently:

“Do you think I am going to die? I am not. That is what the women are all crying about. Mrs. Ferrier came in to-day, and told me she was having Masses said for me, and sprinkled me with holy water till I was drenched. And Bettie, when she sat here to-day while you were away, rattled her beads and cried all the time, till I told her to get out of the room. That's the way with some people. The minute a fellow is sick, they try their best to scare him to death. Why don't you offer to read the paper to me, or tell me an amusing story? Give me the opiate now.”

“The doctor said you were not to take another till twelve o'clock,” the attendant said.

“I don't care for the doctor's orders. Give it to me now. I know best what I need.”

“I believe you do,” John said quietly, and gave him the opiate.

But in spite of care, and of a determination to recover, the illness grew upon him, till finally the physicians intimated that if he had any religious preparations to make, they had better not be delayed any longer, for his strength was rapidly wasting, and they could not promise that the result would not be fatal.

Mrs. Ferrier went in great distress to F. Chevreuse.

“What shall we do?” she asked. “After having refused to see a priest, and flown into a rage whenever we mentioned the subject, at last he is willing to have one. But he will see no one but F. O'Donovan; and F. O'Donovan is laid up with gout, so that he cannot move hand or foot. I went out to him to-day, and I thought that if he could possibly be wrapped up and brought in in a carriage, I would ask him; but, father, I couldn't have the face to [pg 087] speak of it. The doctor doesn't allow him to stir out of his room. Even Mrs. Gerald sees that it can't be done. I've begged Lawrence to listen to reason, but he is so set that if he had asked to have the Pope himself, he'd be mad if we didn't send a messenger to Rome. I could send to L—— for a priest, but that might be too late. He is failing very much. I do wish you'd go once again, father.”

F. Chevreuse had already been twice, and had been denied admittance in terms anything but respectful.

“Certainly I will go,” he said. “I should have come up this evening, if I had not been sent for. Poor Lawrence! I cannot understand why he should have such a prejudice against me.”

It was early twilight when they reached the house, and, as they entered, the lamps burned with a faint ray, as if they, like all sounds and sights in that place, had been muffled.

“You go right up and tell him there's no one to be got but me,” F. Chevreuse said.

But Mrs. Ferrier shrank back. “He never will consent if I ask him.”

“Annette, then.”

“He won't allow Annette near him,” the mother sighed.

“John,” said the priest, “will you go up and tell Mr. Gerald that I am here to see him?”

“I wouldn't venture to, sir,” John answered. “I don't believe it's of any use; and if you'd take my advice, sir....”

Even Mrs. Ferrier was scandalized by the man's presumption, and faltered out an “O John!”

“I will go myself,” F. Chevreuse interrupted. “Stay down here, all you people, and say the rosary for my success. Say it with all your hearts. And don't come up-stairs till you are called.”

As he went up, a door near the landing softly opened, and in it stood the young wife with a face so woful and deathlike that tears would have seemed joyful in comparison. She said not a word, but stood and looked at the priest in a kind of terror.

“My poor child!” he said pityingly, “why do you stay here alone, killing yourself with grief? Go and stay with your mother and Honora till I come down.”

She made that painful effort to speak which shows that the mouth and throat are dry, and, when words came, they were but a whisper. “O father!” she said, “don't go in there if you have any human weakness left in you! You have to be an angel and not a man to hear my husband's confession. Find some one else for him. He will not speak to you.”

“Never fear, child!” he answered firmly. “I may have human weakness, but I have the strength of God to help me resist it.”

She watched him as he softly opened the door of the chamber where her husband lay, heard the faint cry that greeted him: “Not you! not you!” then the door closed, and she was alone again.

The priest approached the bed, and spoke with gentleness, yet with authority: “F. O'Donovan is too sick to come; and if you wait for another to be sent for, it will be too late. Think of your soul, and let everything else go. In a few hours you may be in the presence of God, listening to your eternal doom. What will you care then, my poor boy, who helped you to loosen from your conscience the sins you have committed in this [pg 088] miserable world? It cannot be because you hate me so much, this unwillingness. Is it because your sins have been so great? There is no sin that I have not heard confessed, I think; and the greater it was, the greater was my comfort and thankfulness that at last it was forgiven. Come, now, I am putting on my stole. Ask the help of God and of our Blessed Mother, and forget who I am. Remember only what I am—the minister of the merciful God—and that I have no feeling, no thought, no wish, but to save you.”

The bed-curtains made a still deeper shade in that shadowed room, and out from the dimness the face of the sick man gleamed white and wild.

“I cannot!” he said. “You would not want to hear me if you knew. You would never give me absolution. You do not know what my sins are.”

The priest seated himself by the bedside, and took in his strong, magnetic hand the thin and shaking hand of the penitent. “No matter what you may tell me, you cannot surprise me,” he said. “Though you should have committed sacrilege and every crime, I cannot, if I would, refuse you absolution. And I would not wish to. I have only pity and love for you. Tell me all now, as if you were telling your own soul. Have no fear.”

“No priest ever before heard such a confession!” The words came faintly. “You do not know.”

“Confess, in the name of God!” repeated the priest. “The flames of hell are harder to bear than any anger of mine can be. God has sent me hither, and I have only to obey him, and listen to your confession, whatever it may be. It is not my choice nor yours. We are both commanded.”

“Promise me that I shall have absolution! Promise me that you will forgive me!” prayed the young man, clinging to the hand that he had at first shrunk from. “I didn't mean to do what I have done, and I have suffered the torments of the damned for it.”

“I have no right to refuse absolution when you are penitent,” was the answer. “The person who repents and confesses has a right to absolution.”

“You will give it to me, no matter what I may tell you?”

“No matter what you may tell me,” repeated the priest. “The mercy of God is mighty. Though you should hem yourself in with sins as with a wall of mountains, he can overlook them. Though you should sink in the lowest depths of sin, his hand can reach you. A sinner cannot be moved to call on the name of the Lord, unless the Lord should move him and have the merciful answer ready. I have blessed you. How long is it since your last confession?”

The sick man half raised himself, and pointed across the room.

“There is a crucifix on the table,” he said. “Go and kneel before that, and ask God to strengthen you for a hard trial. Then, if you come back to me, I will confess.”

F. Chevreuse started up, and stood one instant erect and rigid, with his face upraised. Then he crossed the room, knelt before the crucifix, and held it to his breast during a moment of wordless prayer. As a sigh reached him through the stillness of the chamber, he laid the crucifix down, and returned to the bedside.

“In the name of God, confess, [pg 089] and have no fear,” he said gently. “Have no fear!”

The penitent lay with his face half turned to the pillow, and the bed was trembling under him; but he no longer refused to speak.

To the company down-stairs it seemed a very long interview. Mrs. Ferrier, Mrs. Gerald, and Miss Pembroke, kneeling together in the little sitting-room near the foot of the stairs, with the door open, had said the rosary, trying not to let their thoughts wander; then, sitting silent, had listened for a descending step, breathing each her own prayer now and then. Their greatest trouble was over. Evidently F. Chevreuse had overcome Lawrence Gerald's unwillingness to confess to him; and the three women, so different in all else, united in the one ardent belief that the prayer of faith would save the sick man, and that, when his conscience should be quite disburdened, and his soul enlightened by the comforts and exhortations which such a man as F. Chevreuse could offer, his body would feel the effects of that inward healing, and throw off its burden too.

In an adjoining room sat Louis Ferrier, biting his nails, having been forbidden by his mother to seek distraction in more cheerful scenes. He watched the women while they knelt, and even drew a little nearer to listen to their low-voiced prayer, but lacked the piety to join them. He was both annoyed and frightened by the gloomy circumstances in which he found himself, and, like most men of slack religious belief and practice, felt more safe to have pious women by him in times of danger.

John had taken his place on a low stool underneath the stairs, and had an almost grotesque appearance of being at the same time hiding and alert. With his head advanced, and his neck twisted, he stared steadfastly up the stairway at the door within which the priest had disappeared.

For nearly an hour there was no sound but the small ticking of a clock and the occasional dropping of a coal in the grate. Then all the waiting ones started and looked out eagerly; for the chamber-door opened, and F. Chevreuse came out.

One only did not lift her face to read what tidings might be written in the face of him who came forth from the sick-chamber. Kneeling, almost prostrate on the floor, Annette Gerald still remained where F. Chevreuse had left her. She did not look up even when he paused by her side, and she felt that he was blessing her, but only bowed still lower before him.

“Take comfort, my child,” he said. “You have no reason to despair.”

She looked up quickly into his face, with an almost incredulous hope in her eyes.

He was pale, but some illumination not of earth floated about him, so that she could easily have believed she saw him upborne in air with the buoyancy of a spirit. The heavenly calm of his expression could not be described; yet it was the calm of one who, reposing on the bosom of God, is yet aware of infinite sin and suffering in the world. It was such a look as one might imagine an angel guardian to wear—heavenly peace shorn of heavenly delight.

He motioned her to rise, and she obeyed him. She would not then have hesitated, whatever he had bade her do. His imposing calm pressed her fears and doubts to a perfect quiet. There was nothing possible but obedience.

[pg 090]

“Go to your husband, and see if he wants anything,” he said. “Let him be very quiet, and he may sleep. To-morrow morning I shall bring him the Viaticum; but I think he will recover.”

She went toward the chamber, and he descended the stairs. John, bending forward eagerly, caught sight of his face, and drew quickly back again, blessing himself. “The man is a saint!” he muttered, and took good care to keep himself out of sight.

F. Chevreuse was met in the sitting-room door by Mrs. Gerald, and the other two pressed close behind her; and when they saw him, it was as though a soft and gentle light had shone into their troubled faces.

“You are afraid that so long an interview has exhausted him,” he said. “It has not. The body is seldom any worse for attending to the affairs of the soul, and a tranquil mind is the best rest. Annette is with him now, and, if left undisturbed, I think he will sleep. Pray for him, and do not lose courage. God bless you! Good-night.”

Not one of them uttered a word. The questions they would have asked, and the invitation they would have given the priest to remain with them, died on their lips. Evidently he did not mean to enter the room, and they felt that his doing so was a favor for him to offer, not for them to ask.

They glanced at each other as he went away, and Honora Pembroke smiled. “He looks as though he were gazing at heaven through the gate of martyrdom,” she said.

But the next morning, after seeing Gerald, he stopped a few minutes to talk with the family, and still they found that indefinable air of loftiness lingering about him, imposing a certain distance, at the same time that it increased their reverence and affection for him. The familiar, frequently jesting, sometimes peremptory F. Chevreuse seemed to have gone away for ever; but how beautiful was the substitute he had left, and how like him in all that was loftiest!

Lawrence was better that morning, and gained steadily day by day. Nothing could exceed the care and tenderness with which F. Chevreuse watched over his recovery. He came every morning and evening, he treated him with the affection of a father, and seemed to have charged himself with the young man's future.

“I think you should let him and Annette go to Europe for a year,” he said to Mrs. Ferrier. “It would be better for him to break off entirely from old associations, and have an entire change for a while. His health has not been good for some time, and his nerves are worn. The journey would restore him, and afterward we will see what can be done. I am not sure that it is well for him to live here. When a person is going to change his life very much, it is often wiser to change his place of abode also. The obstacles to improvement are fewer among strangers.”

The young man received this proposal to go abroad rather doubtfully. He would not go away till spring, and was not sure that he would go then. As he grew better in health, indeed, he withdrew himself more and more from the priest, and showed an uneasiness in his society which not all F. Chevreuse's kindness could overcome.

“You must not shun me, Lawrence,” the priest said to him one day when they were alone. “You have done that too long, and it is not well. Try to look on me as [pg 091] very firmly your friend. Let me advise you sometimes, and be sure that I shall always have your good in view.”

Lawrence had been very nervous and irritable that day, and was in no mood to bear expostulation. “You can't be my friend,” he replied with suppressed vehemence. “You can only be my master. You can only own me body and soul.”

“That is a mistake,” was the quiet answer. “I do not own you any more than I do others.”

But he patiently forbore to press the question then.

“Encourage him to come to me whenever you think I can benefit him,” he said to Annette. “You can tell best. He has not quite recovered his spirits yet, and it will do no good for me to urge him. Make everything as cheerful as you can for him. It sometimes happens that people get up from sickness in this depressed state of mind.”

“Yes!” she replied, looking down.

She also had grown shy of F. Chevreuse, and seemed willing to keep out of his sight.

But to others she was perhaps rather more gay than they had known her for some time. Her mother found her at once kinder and more exacting, and complained that they seemed now to have become strangers.

“And how nervous you have grown, Annette!” she said. “You crush everything you take hold of.”

“What have I crushed, mamma?” asked the daughter, with a light laugh. “Have I made havoc among your bonnets or wine-glasses?”

“It isn't that,” Mrs. Ferrier said fretfully. “You squeeze people's hands, instead of touching them. Look at that baby's arm!” They were entertaining a baby visitor.

Annette Gerald looked as she was bid and saw the prints of her fingers on the soft little arm she had held unconsciously, and caught an only half-subsided quiver of the baby lip as the little one looked at her, all ready to cry with pain.

Every woman knows at once how she atoned for her fault, by what caresses, and petting, and protestations of sorrow, and how those faint red marks were bemoaned as if they had been the stripes of a martyr.

“If you touch any one's arm, you pinch it,” the elder lady went on. “And you take hold of your shawl and your gloves and your handkerchief as if somebody were going to pull them away from you. I've seen your nails white when you held the evening paper to read, you gripped it so; and as to taking glasses and cups at the table, I always expect to see them fly to pieces in your hands.”

“Isn't she an awful woman?” says Mrs. Annette to the baby, holding it high and looking up into its rosy, smiling face. “Isn't Annette a frightfully muscular and dangerous person, you pink of perfection? What shall we do with her? She pinches little swan's-down arms, and makes angelic babies pucker up their lips with grief, and sets tears swimming in their blue violets of eyes. We must do something dreadful to her. We must forgive her; and that is very terrible. There is nothing so crushing, baby, as to be forgiven very much.”

And then, after one more toss, the infant was let suddenly and softly down, like a lapful of roses, over the face of its friend, and for an instant Annette Gerald's eyes were hidden in its neck.

[pg 092]

“Come and have a game of chess, Annette,” her husband called out across the room.

“Yes, dear!” she responded brightly; and, setting the child down, went to him at once, a red color in her cheeks.

“Why do some people always notice such little things,” he said frowningly, “and, instead of attending to themselves, watch how people take hold of cups and saucers, and all that nonsense, and fancy that some wonderful chance hangs on your eating butter with your bread, or preferring cheese?”

Annette was engaged in placing the men, and did not look in her husband's face as she answered in a gentle, soothing voice:

“It is rather annoying sometimes, but I find the best way is to treat the whole jestingly. If one shows vexation, it looks serious. But you can ridicule a person out of hanging mountains by threads.”

He was going to answer, when something made him notice her face. The color was still bright there, but the cheeks were hollow, and dark circles had sunk beneath her eyes.

“Why, you are not looking well,” he said, only just aware of the fact. “Are you sick? Did you get worn out taking care of me?”

She waited an instant till the others, who were leaving the room, should be out of sight, then leaned across the table, careless that her sleeve swept away the two armies she had just placed, and took her husband's hand in hers, and bowed her cheek to it with a sob.

“O Lawrence! Lawrence!” she whispered.

He made a motion to draw his hand away, but let it remain. “My God! what is the matter with you?” he exclaimed.

She leaned back instantly, and made an effort to control herself. “It must be that I am not well. Don't mind me. And now, you will have to place your own men, and give me the first move.”

He placed the men, and appeared to be thinking pitifully of his wife as he glanced now and then into her face. “It seems selfish of me not to have taken better care of you, Annette,” he said.

“Oh! you needed care yourself,” she replied lightly. “Don't imagine that I am sick, though. It is nothing. You didn't marry me to take care of me, you know, and I am not very exacting.”

She would have caught back the last words, if she could, before it was too late. They escaped her unawares, and were a remembered, rather than a present, bitterness.

He blushed faintly. “Whatever I married you for, I have no desire to exchange you now for any one else,” he said, moving a pawn sideways instead of forward. “If you were ever so poor, I wouldn't want a rich girl in your place. But then, you know, I'm not sentimental. I never was much so, and it's all over now. I'm thirty years old, and I feel a hundred. I can't remember being young. I can't remember being twenty years of age. I wish to God I could!” he burst forth.

His wife made a careful move, and said, “I have a presentiment that I shall give you check in three moves more. Look out for your queen.”

“My only romance,” he went on, “was about Honora. I thought that I could do and be anything, if she would only care about me. What a stately, floating creature she always was! I used to think she looked as if she could walk on clouds and not fall through. Yes,” [pg 093] he sighed, “that is where she belongs—among the clouds. I never blamed her for not having me; she was too good. I never was worthy of such a woman.”

Slowly, while he spoke, the bright blood had deepened in his wife's face, and swept over her forehead. Had he been less preoccupied, he would have seen the slight, haughty movement with which she drew herself up. It was only when he had waited a moment for her to move that he glanced up and met her eyes fixed on him with an expression very like indignant scorn.

“By what strange contradiction is it, I wonder,” she said coldly, “that the woman who does most for a man, and is most merciful and charitable toward him, is never too good for him, while the one who scorns him, and will not come a step off her pedestal to save him, is always the ideal woman in his eyes?”

Bitter tears of utter grief and mortification welled up and wet her eyelashes. “In another world,” she said, “when the faults and mistakes of this are set right, you may think yourself worthy of the companionship of Honora Pembroke, and of any union and closeness of affection which that life may know. And then she may be given to you. And, Lawrence, if she would and could consent to take you now, I would not refuse to give you up. At this moment, if, without any wrong, I could see her enter the room, and hold out her hand to you, and tell you that she was ready to take what she had refused, and be to you all that you could wish—if it could be right that it should happen so, I would not utter one word of objection. I would leave you to her without a moment's hesitation.”

While she spoke, his hand had played tremblingly with the chessmen before him. “So you give me up too,” he said in a low voice.

Her proud face softened. She looked at him, and recollected herself and him, and pity sprang up again and effaced indignation. “I do not give you up, Lawrence,” she said gently. “I cannot and have no wish to; I only spoke of what I would do in circumstances which cannot take place. You had insulted me, without intending to, I know, and it was but natural that I should retort. You know that I would not leave you, nor give you up on any provocation. If you should leave me, I should follow you, because I should feel sure that you would sooner or later need me. We are one. You are mine; and I always stand by my own.”

He looked at her with an expression at once penetrating and shrinking. “You would stand by me, Annette, whatever should happen?” he asked.

“Certainly!” she replied, but did not meet his eyes. “There is no imaginable circumstance which could make me desert you. And now, what of this game? To your queen!”

He made a motion to save his queen, then pushed the board aside. “I cannot play,” he said; “I cannot confine my mind to it. Sing me something. It is long since I have heard you sing.”

He threw himself into a deeply-cushioned chair, and leaned his head on his hands while she sang to him—knowing, how well! that a cheerful song would not cheer him nor a pious song soothe—of

Waters that flow
With a lullaby sound,
From a spring but a very few
Feet under ground—
From a spring that is not very
Far under ground.
[pg 094]

She was a magical singer, surely; and the still, cold melancholy of her tones was the very spirit and essence of death; and, like death, it pierced to the heart. She sang:

And, oh! let it never
Be foolishly said
That my room it is gloomy,
And narrow my bed.
For man never slept
In a different bed;
And to sleep, you must slumber
In just such a bed.

She turned quickly at a sound behind her, and saw that her husband had buried his face in the cushions of the chair, and was trembling violently. She went to him, but there was no comfort to give nor to receive. Death alone could bring release for him and for her. She could only surround him with her arms while he sobbed with the terrible hysterical sobbing of a man utterly broken down, and let him feel that he was not alone and unpitied.

“I don't know what ails me,” he said at length, trying to control himself. “Don't mind me, Annette. My nerves seem to be all unstrung. It must be that fever.”

“Oh! don't, Lawrence; please don't!” she said faintly.

He became silent all at once, and it seemed as though a chill had passed over him. She sighed drearily, and smoothed his hair with her hand. “Trust your wife,” she said. “I am by you always.”

“You are not afraid of me?” He seemed to ask the question with a kind of terror.

“My poor Lawrence! no. I do not fear you as much as you do me. Don't have such fancies.”

She did not explain in what confessional she had learned his secret; in what troubled sleep wherein the unwary tongue speaks; in what more troubled waking, when the eyes and actions speak; or in what sudden suspicion and enlightenment, coming she knew not whence. She told nothing, and he asked nothing, only leaned on her bosom, and wept again as though all his manhood had departed.

“O Annette!” he said, “I dreamed last night that I was a little boy, and that I stood by my mother while she brushed my hair into curls round her finger. I thought I had been away a long distance, and come back again, and I stood quite still, and remembered another childhood before I took that journey. I was so glad to be back—as glad as I should be now if I could go back. Some way I could see that my hair was golden, and that my mother smiled as she brushed it, though I did not look at her. Such dreams are always coming to me now. As soon as I go to sleep, I am a child that has been away and is solemnly glad to be back again. And then I wake, and am in hell!”

She went on smoothing his hair steadily.

“Some time soon the dream will come true,” she said. “Do the best you can. Do justice to the wronged. Come away with me, and we will hide ourselves somewhere in the world, and try to find peace for the days that are left. And by-and-by, Lawrence, will come the day when we shall both be as little children again, and all our terrible burdens will slip off. You must do justice to the wronged.”

“In some way, yes!” he said. “I have tried to think. He must be saved. But I cannot go away. Do you remember ever having been afraid to go up-stairs in the dark, of having felt sure that there was some one behind just ready to grasp you, till you screamed out in [pg 095] terror? It would be like that with me. If once I turn my back on this place, my life will become a crazy flight.”

“The world is wide,” she urged, “and there are safe places enough in it. Besides, money can buy anything; and he has forgiven you. He will screen you.”

“My mother!” he exclaimed. “Who will screen and save her? I will not destroy her, Annette. No, everybody in the world may perish first. I never will destroy my mother. I have done harm enough.”

“He will die in prison,” she whispered. “He has sent to Germany for help, and it did him no good. He has demanded a new trial, and there was not enough to justify them in granting it. He is in a net from which there seems to be no escape. They say that he will die.”

“You want to make me crazy!” her husband cried out, pushing her fiercely from him. “Go away! You are worse than the rest.”

There was no way but to yield to him. “Well, well, Lawrence! I will try to think of some other means.”

The season had reached early spring, and one tempestuous evening in March, as F. Chevreuse sat at home, making up some church accounts, feeling quite sure that he should not be interrupted, he heard the street-door softly open and shut, then a tap at the door of the room.

“Strange that Jane should leave that street-door unlocked!” he thought, and at the same moment heard the servant coming up-stairs from the kitchen. Her quick ear had caught the sound, and she, too, was wondering how she could have omitted to fasten the house up.

The door of F. Chevreuse's sitting-room was quickly opened, and shut again in Jane's face, and a woman stood inside. It was Annette Gerald, wrapped in a large waterproof cape, with the hood over her head.

“Send Jane away!” she said hurriedly. “Don't let her in here! Don't let her see me!”

Here Jane opened the door and put her head in, eyeing curiously the visitor, whose back was turned to her. “I'm sure I shut the door and bolted it, father,” she began, and took a step into the room. “I....”

“No matter! I'll see to it,” the priest said, waving her away.

“Oh! well, only I'm sure I locked it. And perhaps you'd like to have this lamp....”

“Jane!” he exclaimed, standing up, “when I dismiss you, you are to go.”

Jane retired, grumbling.

“She will listen at the door,” his visitor said.

F. Chevreuse flung the door open, and discovered his domestic lingering about the head of the stairs, affecting to examine an imaginary hole in the carpet.

“Once for all, Jane,” he said, “if you wish to remain in my house, you must not presume, nor show any curiosity about my affairs, nor the affairs of those who come to me. Go down into the kitchen, and shut the door, and stay there.”

Jane, albeit not very subordinate, was completely awed by a display of authority such as she had never seen before. She did not venture to resist nor complain, but returned without delay to her own place.

F. Chevreuse waited till he heard the kitchen-door close with somewhat unnecessary force, then returned to his visitor.

“What has brought you out to-night?” he asked in a low voice.

[pg 096]

“Let me get my breath!” She was almost gasping. “Jane gave me such a fright that my heart is in my mouth.”

He set a chair for her, and seated himself near, waiting till she should be able to speak. “You had better shake the snow off your cloak,” he said.

She made a gesture of impatient refusal.

The rude mantle had slipped aside, and revealed a strangely contrasting toilet beneath. There was a shining of lustrous pale-green silk with delicately-wrought laces, a glimmer of emeralds and diamonds, and glimpses of pink roses set in bunches of green grass.

“I have been to the prison,” she whispered.

F. Chevreuse frowned, and dropped his eyes.

“The man is a fool!” she exclaimed. “He will not be saved. I had bought one of the guard. It was the hour for supper, and the man let me in, and promised that for ten minutes I might do as I pleased, and he would see and know nothing. I went into the corridor, and found the cell-door unlocked. Everything was ready, was perfect; for the storm would prevent any loungers from coming about the prison or the guard-room, and would give an excuse to any one who wanted to muffle up and cover their face. I had a large cloak all ready. But he would not go. He will not fly as though he were guilty, he said.”

“What did you say to him?” the priest inquired, without looking up.

“I told him that he could save himself, and prove his innocence afterward. I said that may be the real criminal would some day confess, and then he could come out before the world more than justified. I said that we loved and pitied him, and were unhappy at the thought of him there, and would do anything for him. He was to be secreted in our house till a way could be got for him to escape. I had left the carriage just round the corner, and John would have thought that it was Lawrence who got in with me. Mamma and Louis have gone to the President's dinner, and Gerald was to watch and let us in, and afterward come out again with me. But, no; the stubborn simpleton would not be saved. I went on my knees to him, and he was like a rock. Then the watchman knocked at the door, and I had to run. The other guard were coming in from their supper, and, if I hadn't hid behind a door, they would have seen me face to face. Oh! why did he not consent?”

She wrung her hands slowly till the jewels on them twinkled in the lamp-light.

F. Chevreuse still sat with his eyes downcast. “My poor child!” he said, “your pity for this man has led you into an almost fatal error. Never attempt such a thing again. It is not for you to cast yourself under the wheels of Juggernaut. I command you to try no such experiment again. Pray to God. That is all that you can do.”

“Yes, I know that now,” she answered despairingly. “I am utterly helpless. It is your turn. You must save him.”

“What can I do?” he asked wonderingly. “I have tried all I could, but in vain, as you know. I have left no stone unturned, and the only good result I can see is a probability that the sentence will not be executed to the utmost, and that in time something may happen to bring his innocence to light.”

[pg 097]

“In time!” she repeated. “Have you seen the man? Why, I did not know him till he spoke. He will not live. No, there must be no delay. What you must do is this: You must go to the authorities, and say that you know who the true criminal is, but cannot tell, at least not now, and that Mr. Schöninger is innocent.”

The priest looked in her face with a gaze of calm surprise. “You mistake,” he said. “I do not know who the criminal is. If I did know, I should immediately go to the authorities, and denounce him.”

She looked him steadfastly in the face, but his calmness baffled her. He showed only a cool and dignified surprise.

“Oh! these men,” she muttered. “I feel as if I were being ground between stones.”

She stood, and the shining folds of her dress, that had been gathered up in her arms, dropped about her, and lay on the floor.

“Have you been walking through the snow in a ball-dress?” the priest asked. “Have you anything to protect your feet?”

“Oh! I have fur shoes, and my carriage is near by,” she said absently, and seemed to be considering what to do next.

“Go home now, my child, and try to put all this wild work out of your mind,” F. Chevreuse said with emotion. “Perform your own duty simply and in the fear of God, and do not try to take the burden of others on those shoulders of yours. Go home and warm yourself well, or you will be sick.”

“Oh! I am not going home,” she said, her glance caught by the sparkling of a bracelet on her arm. “To-night is a dinner and ball given to the President, you know; and since he is going away to-morrow it couldn't be put off. It must be time I was there, and I have to go home after Lawrence.”

“What! you will go to a dinner and ball to-night?” exclaimed the priest. “You feel yourself fit for company?”

She smiled faintly. “I shall doubtless be the gayest of the gay. There is not much danger of my feeling sleepy.”

“Well, women are wonderful beings,” remarked F. Chevreuse to himself.

The young woman drew her wrappings about her, and gathered up again her flowing skirts, looking to see that no stain had fallen on them; and, in arranging her toilet for a new scene, she appeared to arrange her mind also. A gentle tranquillity settled upon her face, and her head was slightly lifted, as though she were already the centre of observation to a brilliant throng.

“But you are looking very pale,” the priest objected.

“That always mends itself,” she answered carelessly. “When I have need of color, it usually comes.”

Some way, in this firm self-control, he found her more pitiful than in any abandonment of sorrow. She accepted the situation uncomplainingly, since she could do no more, and steeled herself to bear what she must.

“God bless you!” he said, when she was ready to go.

Her face stirred a little at the words. It seemed that she would rather not listen to anything of serious kindness then. Yet at the door she hesitated, and turned back. For once it was necessary that she should speak.

“I have no difficulty about company or anything but silence and darkness,” she said hurriedly, looking [pg 098] down. “I like a crowd, though I am always on the lookout for something to be said I will not wish to hear. When he and I are alone, I turn cold and creeping, for fear he should speak; and I keep close and cling to him, lest, if I should get a little way off, I should grow afraid of him. If we were to be separated for one week, I think we would never again dare to approach each other. But recollect”—she lifted her eyes for one quick glance—“I have told you nothing.”

“Certainly not,” he replied gravely.

In a moment she had gone out, and was running through the flying snow to find her carriage, left in the next street to baffle some possible watcher.

Young Mrs. Gerald was quite right in saying that she should probably be the gayest of the gay that night; and if any other person appeared to enjoy the scene more than herself, it was, perhaps, her husband.

“A very happy couple,” remarked a sympathizing friend to Mrs. Ferrier.

“Oh! yes,” the mother sighed, nodding her head. “He is always gay when he is doing no good, and as glum as a spade when he is behaving himself. I was in hopes that his sickness would sober him, but he is wilder than ever. You should see him drive my horses!”

Her son-in-law, passing by at that moment, caught the last words, and immediately joined the two ladies. “I know that Mrs. Ferrier is complaining of me,” he said gaily. “She will never forgive me for putting her precious bays out of breath. But the truth is, I am trying to save their lives; for they are so fat now that you could drive them to death at six miles an hour.”

“O Lawrence!” Annette said at his elbow—she was always hovering near when he spoke with her mother—“they say that Strauss, the composer, you know, is really coming to America next year, and will lead his own waltzes at the concerts.”

“And, by the way, Ninon,” said her husband, “is that the Strauss who always was? I have had a waltz-writing, violin-playing Strauss in my mind ever since I was born, and he had lived ages before, and was something like Mephistopheles, to my fancy. Perhaps he is the Wandering Jew.”

“Speaking of Jews—” began Mrs. Ferrier's companion.

And here Annette drew her husband away, hanging on his arm, smiling and whispering to him, the brightest, prettiest woman in the room.

“And yet last night he was off somewhere, and she sat up for him till a quarter before two o'clock,” Mrs. Ferrier said, looking after them. “I looked to see what time it was when I heard him come in. It is wearing her out. I shall not allow her to do it again.”

It was easier for Mrs. Ferrier to say what should not be than to find herself obeyed, for the next night her daughter again kept vigil. “All I ask of you, mamma, is to let me attend to my own business,” she said decidedly.

So “mamma” toiled up-stairs to bed, and the daughter lowered the lights, took out her rosary, and began her nightly task of fighting away thought, and trying to fix her mind on the future.

After an hour or two, John, the footman, put his head in at the door. “You'd a great deal better go to bed, ma'am, and leave me to let Mr. Gerald in,” he said. “I've something that will keep me up to-night, [pg 099] and it's a pity two should lose their rest. It is past twelve now.”

She felt faint and weary, and sleep was beginning to steal over her. “I believe I will go, then,” she said. “I have not slept for three nights.”

She went, with a dragging step, over the bright carpet roses. “What would become of him if I were to break up?” she thought.

When she had gone, the man put out the hall gas, opened the doors of the vestibule, and set himself to wait. He meant to have speech of Mr. Gerald that night without Mr. Gerald's wife for a witness or any likelihood of other interruption.

About one o'clock he heard unsteady steps on the sidewalk, and, as he went to the door, Lawrence Gerald came reeling up the steps, and almost fell into his arms.

“Come into the sitting-room, sir, and lie down on the sofa. It will be easier than going up-stairs,” he said.

When he had been drinking, the young man was easy to lead, and he now submitted readily, and was in a few minutes in a deep sleep.

John locked the street-door, shut the door of the sitting-room behind him, and, seating himself, waited for the sleeper to wake.

A nervous man might have grown uneasy during that watch. There is something not always pleasant in hearing one's own breathing, and the faint occasional sounds in floor and wall, and at one's elbow, even, which, in the stillness of night, seem like the movements of unseen beings drawing near. Besides, there is a terror in the thought that we are going to terrify another.

But this man was not nervous. He was made of wholesome though rough material, and he had a strong will. He had been waiting for others to act, and had waited in vain, and now he had made up his mind that it was for him to act. Justice was strong in him, where he had the ability to perceive what was just, and he would no longer see the innocent suffer for the guilty. Besides, he reflected, there was no one else who could speak. Self-defence, or the defence of one dearly loved, or a yet more sacred motive, sealed the lips of all who knew. His lips were not sealed, and justice commanded him to speak.

Three o'clock came and went, and still the young man slept. The other sat and studied him, noting how slight and elegant was his form, how fine the hands and feet, how daintily he was dressed and cared for.

John was stout and heavy, a man of delf, and the size of his boots had once provoked from Lawrence a very provoking quotation:

What dread hand formed thy dread feet?

and more than once the young man had mockingly pushed his two white hands into one of John's gloves.

This sleeper's hair was glossy, scented, as soft as floss, and curled in many a wilful ring; John's was coarse and straight, and he wisely wore it closely cropped. Lawrence Gerald's face was delicately smooth; the lines melted harmoniously into each other; his brows were finely drawn; the teeth, that showed through his parted lips, were pearly white; and as he lay with closed eyes, the lashes made two exquisitely curved shadows on his cheeks. John's face was plain, he had no eyebrows nor eyelashes to speak of, his eyes were more for use than ornament, and his nose went about its business straight from end to end, stopping [pg 100] rather bluntly, and utterly ignoring that delicate curve which made this man's profile so perfect.

This man? This drunkard, rather, John thought; this spendthrift, and gambler, and robber. This murderer!

The nerves of the serving-man stiffened; and if he had felt any relenting, it was over. The insolent daintiness before him stirred all his bitterness. It was for such men as this that humbler honest folks were to bow and serve, and women's hearts to break!

It must be nearly four o'clock, he thought, and glanced round at the clock. Looking back again, he met Lawrence Gerald's eyes fixed on him steadily, and he returned the look with as immovable a stare. In that instant the meaning of each leaped out of his face as clearly as lightning from a cloud. Young Gerald's eyes began to shrink in their depths, and still the other held them; he drew slowly back on the sofa, cowering, but unable to turn away.

And here John's eyes released him, for another object drew them up to the mirror that hung over the sofa. Reflected there he saw that the door was partly open, and Annette Gerald's white face looking in. She came swiftly gliding toward them, silent as a ghost, and melted, rather than fell, on to her knees before her husband, between him and the other. Her arms and bosom hid him from that relentless gaze which told that all was known, and her own face turned and received it instead, firmly and almost defiantly.

“Well, John?” she said. “Speak out what you have to say.”

“This can't go on any longer, ma'am,” he whispered; “and I should think you would have the sense to see that. If you're willing to let an innocent man suffer for him, even that won't serve you long, for he will betray himself yet. You must go.”

“Yes, yes, we will go!” she replied hurriedly. “It is the only thing to do. We will go right away.”

“I will give you three weeks to get out of danger,” he went on; “or, if that isn't enough, a month. But you mustn't lose a day. I won't see that man down in the prison die for nothing. After the four weeks from to-morrow morning are up, I shall go to F. Chevreuse with a paper that your husband will write. He may tell his own story, and make what excuses he can for himself, and it shall be for everybody to read. F. Chevreuse will carry the paper to the judges, and take that man out of prison. That is all I've got to say,” he concluded. “Four weeks from to-morrow morning!”

Annette made no further reply, only watched the man out of the room, and locked the door after him. Then she returned to her husband, and, for the first time since she had entered the room, looked in his face. He was lying back with his eyes closed, as though from faintness. She brought him a glass of wine, knelt by his side while he drank it, then took his hand in hers.

“There is no other way, Lawrence,” she said.

He was sitting up now, but kept his eyes closed, as if he could not meet her glance, or could not endure to look upon the light. He answered her quietly, “Yes, it is the only way.”

“And now,” she continued, “since there is no time to lose, you will tell me the whole, and I will [pg 101] write it down. You can sign it afterward.”

He nodded, but did not speak. The blow had fallen, and its first effect was crushing.

She brought a writing-table close to the sofa, and seated herself before it. As she arranged the paper, pens, and ink, heavy tears rolled down her face, and sigh after sigh struggled up from her heart; but she did not suffer them to impede her work—scarcely seemed, indeed, conscious of them. Everything was arranged carefully and rapidly. “Now, Lawrence!” she said, and seemed to catch her breath with the words.

He started, and opened his eyes; and when he saw her, with eyes uplifted, making the sign of the cross on her forehead and bosom, he knelt by her side, and, bowing his head, blessed himself also with the sacred sign.

Then he began his confession, and she wrote it as it fell from his lips. If now and then a tear, not quickly enough brushed away, fell on the paper, it only left its record of a wife's grief and love, but did not blot out a word of the clear writing.

When the last word had been written, and the name signed, a long ray of white morning light had pierced through a chink in the shutter, and lay across the red lamp-light.

Annette Gerald took the pen from her husband's hand. “My poor Lawrence!” she said, “you and I have got to be saints now. There is no medium for us. Pleasure, ease, all hope of earthly peace—they are far behind us. We must go out into the world and do penance, and wait for death.”

“Annette,” he exclaimed, “let me go alone! Give me up now, and live your own life here. I will never come near you again.”

She shook her head. “That is impossible. The only consolation I can have is to stay with you and give you what little help I can. You could not live without me, Lawrence. Don't speak of it. I shall stand by you.”

She opened the shutters and the window, and let the fresh morning light into the close room and over their feverish faces.

The town was waking up to a bright sunshiny day, its many smokes curling upward into the blue, its beautiful vesture of snow still clinging here and there, all its busy life beginning to stir joyfully again. They stood before the window a minute looking out, the same thought in both their minds. Then the wife leaned forward. “Good-by, Crichton!” she said, and took her husband's hand. “Come, Lawrence! we have no time to lose. The sword has been set over the gate.”

To Be Continued.

[pg 102]

A Looker-Back. III. The Temple.

Those bricky towers,
The which on Themme's brode aged back do ride,
Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers:
There whilom wont the Templar Knights to bide.

Perhaps there is no place in London that appeals to so many instincts of the soul as the Temple. Religion, valor, romance, and literature have all lent enchantment to the place. Built and inhabited by the Knights Templars, the resort of kings and nobles of highest lineage, the home of generations of law-students and literary men like Burke, Johnson, Goldsmith, and Lamb, and associated with Shakespeare and many a romance, who could enter its quiet alleys, and ramble about its courts and gardens, without being stirred to the depths of his soul? Fact and fiction are here so mingled together that one is unable to disentangle them, and the visitor says, as he roams about: Here was the place of Lamb's “kindly engendure”; yonder Eldon lived; up in that third story was Arthur Pendennis' sick-chamber, where his mother and Laura went to nurse him; in that court were Goldsmith's chambers, where he loved to sit and watch the rooks; and in those gardens walked Sir Roger de Coverley, discussing the belles, with patches and hoops, strolling across the green once used by the Red-Cross Knights for martial exercises; and yonder is the ancient church, patterned after that of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem.

The church must be visited first, for it is the most beautiful and perfect in existence that belonged to the Knights Templars, and stood next in rank to their temple in the Holy City. Within half a century it has been restored to something of its ancient glory, and is substantially the same as when consecrated by Heraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in the year 1185. The entrance is a beautiful Norman arch, deeply recessed, with elaborately wrought mouldings, and columns between which are figures of saintly forms, some with rolls in their hands, and some in the attitude of prayer. These stone faces at the entrance of churches are a wonderful check to worldly thoughts. They communicate something of their own solemnity and ineffable calmness. Through this door-way used to pass the valiant knights of the cross who came here with their banner—the glorious Beau-seant—to have their swords blessed on the altar before departing for

Those holy fields
Over whose acres walked those blessed feet
Which, fourteen hundred years ago were nail'd
For our advantage on the bitter cross.

This is the entrance to the Round Church. A circular tower rests on six clustered columns of marble, each composed of four shafts, which run into each other at base and capital so as to form but one. And around [pg 103] these is a circular aisle. Six pointed arches spring from these beautiful pillars, above which is an arcade of Norman arches so interlaced as to form a combination of round and pointed arches—a fine example of the transition to the Gothic style of architecture. Parker says this Round Church is one of the best authenticated instances of the earliest use of the pointed arch in England, though the choir of Canterbury Cathedral is usually considered so. Over this arcade are six clerestory windows, between which rise slender shafts that support the groined ribs of the roof.

At the sides of the circular aisle are sedilia formed of masonry projecting from the wall, with slightly arched recesses, in the spandrels of which are grotesque faces in alto-relievo, carven in stone, each of which has an extraordinary character of its own, and is well worth studying. Some are distorted with pain; some look up appealingly; here the tongue protrudes and the eyeballs are glaring; there is a look of unutterable horror; one sets his teeth hard as an unclean animal bites his ear; another shows two fang-like teeth, while a vicious-looking creature is gnawing the corner of his mouth, and the furrowed brow expresses awful agony; here is one with his long tongue run out sideways; there is another bellowing with his mouth wide open, the nostrils dilated and the forehead all puckered up; some have ultra-Roman noses, some sharp, and others flat and broad, as if reflected from a convex surface. One grins and shows all his teeth broad and uniform. The sexton says these faces are supposed to depict the tortures of the suffering souls in purgatory. Grotesque as most of them are, there is a certain awful solemnity, even in the most hideous, that is impressive. Thank God! a few are calm and serene, with their crown of sorrow on their heads. An arcade, similarly decorated, has been found in the ruined Temple Church at Acre, and at the famous Castel Pellegrino, erected by the early Templars to command the shore-road from Acre to Jerusalem.

The first thing that strikes the attention on entering this solemn church is the group of old Crusaders lying on the pavement with their legs crossed, in token that they had served in the Holy Land.

The knights are dust,
And their good swords are rust,
Their souls are with the saints, we trust.

These are not effigies of the Knights Templars—for they do not wear the mantle of that order—but knights associated with them in defence of the Holy Land. One of them represents William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, and Protector of England during the minority of Henry III., one of the greatest warriors and statesmen of the middle ages. Matthew Paris describes his burial here in 1219. Here he lies, carven in stone, clad from head to foot in armor of chain-mail, in the act of sheathing his sword. His legs are crossed, for he had borne the cross of Prince Henry, eldest son of Henry II., to Jerusalem. On his feet are spurs, and at his side a shield with the lion rampant of the Marshalls. This stout-hearted supporter of the Plantagenets was one of the council appointed by Richard Cœur de Lion to govern the kingdom during his absence. It was he, together with Americ, Master of the Temple, who at last induced King John to sign the Magna Charta, and he accompanied the king to Runnymede.

[pg 104]

He it was, too, that, while protector in the next reign, offered pardon to the disaffected barons, and confirmed the Magna Charta. He also extended its benefits to Ireland, and commanded the sheriffs to read it publicly at the county courts, and enforce its exact observance.

It was this same Earl of Pembroke whom Shakespeare represents pleading so eloquently for the enfranchisement of the unfortunate Prince Arthur:

If what in rest you have, in right you hold,
Why then your fears (which, as they say, attend
The steps of wrong), should move you to mew up
Your tender kinsman, and to choke his days
With barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth
The rich advantage of good exercise?
That the time's enemies may not have this
To grace occasions, let it be our suit
That you have bid us ask his liberty:
Which for our goods we do no further ask,
Than whereupon our weal, on you depending,
Counts it your weal, he have his liberty.

This great statesman was a benefactor to the Templars, and, when he died, his body was borne here in state and buried with great pomp on Ascension Day, 1219.

Here, too, are the monumental effigies of his sons—William Marshall, the younger, one of the bold barons of Runnymede, to whom we are indebted for the Magna Charta; and Gilbert Marshall, “the flower of the chivalry of that time,” who married a Scotch princess, and went to the defence of the sacred tomb.

Although the elder Marshall was just enough to extend the benefits of the Magna Charta to Ireland, we are told that, during his campaign in that country, he seized the lands of the Bishop of Fernes, and kept them, in spite of a sentence of excommunication. After the earl's death, the bishop came to London, and laid the case before the king, who, alarmed for the weal of his old guardian's soul, accompanied the bishop to his tomb.

Matthew Paris says that, as they stood by it, the bishop solemnly apostrophized the departed earl: “O William! who lyest here interred and held fast by the chain of excommunication, if those lands which thou hast unjustly taken from my church be rendered back to me by the king, or by your heir, or by any of your family, and if due satisfaction be made for the loss and injury I have sustained, I grant you absolution; but if not, I confirm my previous sentence, so that, enveloped in your sins, you stand for evermore condemned to hell!”

However alarmed the king might have appeared about his guardian's soul, restitution was not made, and the stout old bishop, who seems to have been soundly orthodox as to the temporal rights of the church, denounced the earl and his race in right Scriptural phrase: “His name shall be rooted out in one generation; and his sons shall be deprived of the blessing, Increase and multiply. Some of them shall die a miserable death; their inheritance shall be scattered; and this thou, O king! shalt behold in thy life-time; yea, in the days of thy flourishing youth.”

This fearful prophecy was fulfilled in a remarkable manner. The five sons of the protector died one after another without issue in the reign of Henry III., and the family became extinct.

There are eight of these monumental effigies lying in the centre of the Round Church. It is to them Butler refers in his Hudibras, speaking of the profanation of the place by the lawyers of his time and their clients—

That ply in the Temple under trees,
Or walk the Round with knights of the posts
About the crossed-legged knights, their hosts.
[pg 105]

In the round walk of this church there is on one side a coped tombstone, in the style of the XIIth century, of a prismatic, coffin-like shape. On the other side

You see a warrior carven in stone
Lying in yon dim aisle alone,
A warrior with his shield of pride
Cleaving humbly to his side,
And hands in resignation prest
Palm to palm on his tranquil breast.

This is Lord Robert de Ros, another of the bold barons of Runnymede—a knight whose career was one long romance. Beautiful in person, the successful wooer of the Princess Isabella of Scotland, and “one of those military enthusiasts whose exploits form the connecting link between fact and fiction, between history and the fairy tale,” one cannot look at his figure here without interest and emotion.

O death! made proud with pure and princely beauty.

In fact, there is a wonderful air of mystery and romance about the whole of this solemn church. Here the young aspirant to knighthood used to come to keep his long vigil before the altar, and here gathered the Crusaders before setting off for the tomb of Christ. And chief among them the valiant Templars, in their long, flowing mantles, “whose stainless white their hearts belied not,” with the mystic cross upon their breasts, which Pope Eugenius had authorized them to wear.

And on his brest a bloodie crosse he bore,
The deare remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweet sake that glorious badge he bore,
And dead (as living) ever him adored.
Upon his shield the like was also scor'd,
For sovereign hope which in his helpe he had;
Right faithful true he was in deed and word;
But of his cheer did seem too solemn sad,
Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was ydrad.

We can never believe that, as a body, the early Templars were not worthy of their white garments. A bishop of Acre, who frequently accompanied them on their military expeditions, said of them: “Lions they are in war, gentle in the convent, fierce soldiers in the field, hermits and monks in religion; to the enemies of Christ ferocious and inexorable, but to Christians kind and gracious. They carry before them to battle a banner, half black and white, which they call Beau-seant—that is to say, in the Gallic tongue, Bien-seant, because they are fair and favorable to the friends of Christ, but black and terrible to his enemies.”

While this vision of the past was crossing the inward eye, a strain of music, as of some holy chant, came floating softly out from some inner recess, sweetly adding to the enchantment. It was only the choir practising in the vestry, but it was just far enough away to give a certain mystery and softness to their psalmody that was delightful at that vesper hour. One needs a service for such memories, and alone in this rotunda of the Templars, where

Watching and fast, and prayer, and penance,
And sternly nursed affections,

once heavenward soared, the pilgrim knelt awhile in the dim round aisle to say a Requiescant for those that once worshipped here according to God's appointed ordinances, and then went his way—in pace.

The next day brought him back to complete his survey. Churches like this, in imitation of that of the Holy Sepulchre, were frequently built in the time of the Crusades. The Milanese built one in their city after returning from the holy war. Peter Adornes made three journeys from Flanders to Jerusalem to obtain an exact copy of the Holy Sepulchre for the church at Bruges; and at Abbeville, the beautiful Church of the Holy Sepulchre [pg 106] was built on the very spot where Godfrey of Bouillon and the Crusaders assembled before going to Palestine. In it was built a tomb before which the solemn Office of the Holy Sepulchre was celebrated annually. Sometimes the Crusaders brought back with them some of the dust of the Holy City. At Pisa, and in Sicily, there were cemeteries filled with that sacred soil. It seemed less repulsive to lie for ever down in dust perhaps the Saviour's feet had trod.

The London temple has therefore something of the sacred character of the Orient about it; that is, the Rotunda. And it was dedicated to that holy Oriental maiden whom all nations unite in calling Blessed. The following inscription is over the door of entrance:

“On the 10th of February, in the year from the Incarnation of our Lord 1185, this church was consecrated in honor of the Blessed Mary, by the Lord Heraclius, by the grace of God Patriarch of the Church of the Resurrection, who hath granted an indulgence of fifty days to those yearly seeking it.”

Heraclius had come to Europe to preach the Third Crusade. In Paris he was the first to officiate at Notre Dame. His special mission to England was to induce Henry II. to fulfil his vow of going to the succor of the Holy Land by way of penance for the murder of Thomas à Becket. Finding his efforts in vain, the patriarch at last said to the king: “Hitherto thou hast reigned gloriously, but hereafter thou shalt be forsaken of Him whom thou at this time forsakest. Think on him, what he hath given to thee, and what thou hast yielded to him again; how first thou wert false to the King of France, and, after, slew that holy man, Thomas of Canterbury, and, lastly, thou forsakest the protection of Christ's faith.” The king, vexed at such frankness, said: “Though all the men of my land were one body, and spake with one mouth, they durst not speak to me such words.”

“No wonder,” replied the patriarch, “for they love thine and not thee; that is to mean, they love thy goods temporal, and fear thee for loss of promotion, but they love not thy soul.” And so saying, he bowed his head before the king, and continued: “Do by me right as thou didst by that holy man, Thomas of Canterbury; for I had rather be slain of thee than of the Saracens, for thou art worse than any Saracen.”

The king, restraining himself, said: “I may not wend out of my land, for mine own sons will rise up against me when I were absent.”

“No wonder,” responded the patriarch, “for of the devil they come, and to the devil they shall go;” and so departed, as Abbot Brompton records, “in great ire.”

In the wall of the Round Church is a winding staircase of stone leading to the triforium. Part way up it opens into what is called “the penitential cell”—a recess in the thick wall four feet and a half long, and two and a half wide, with two squints to admit air and light, and enable the penitent to witness the divine service. It would seem, however much an active knight might chafe in such restricted quarters, as if he had much to console and support him in looking down into such a church. In the triforium are gathered together monuments that were formerly scattered about the church. Among them is a tablet to Edmundus Gibbon, an ancestor of the historian, who died in 1679.

[pg 107]

The Round Church opens by three lofty arches into the rectangular church, consisting of a nave and two aisles, formed by clustered pillars of marble, supporting a groined vault covered with rich arabesques. This church is a beautiful specimen of the early English style. The lawyers of Cromwell's time whitewashed the pillars, and did all they could to obscure the beauty of the building; but now it is restored to somewhat of its former richness. It is paved with tiles bearing the arms of the Outer and Inner Temple, and on its triple lancet windows are emblazoned the arms of the Templars—the lamb and flag and the ruby cross. That red cross, in the very church where it gleamed seven hundred years ago, says volumes to the heart. Where are the Knights Templars now to assume it again, and go to the rescue of the Holy City, bereft of its sovereign lord? Do we not need a new S. Bernard to preach a new crusade in behalf of the captive daughter of Zion, that she may be delivered from the ungodly oppressor, and her anointed one set free?

It was an old English prelate—S. Anselm—who said: “God loves nothing in the world better than the liberty of his church.... He does not wish a servant for his spouse.”

This rectangular church was consecrated in 1240, in presence of the king and a vast number of nobles. In one corner is a beautiful old marble piscina, lately brought to light, where the priest, before the holy oblation, purified the hands that were to touch the Body of the Lord.

On a terrace to the north of the church is Goldsmith's grave, marked by a coped stone. On one side is graven: “Here lies Oliver Goldsmith”; and on the other: “Born 10 Nov., 1728. Died 4 April, 1774.” The row of houses close by is marked “Goldsmith's Buildings.” Perhaps on this very terrace he walked up and down in his bloom-colored coat, dreading to have the bill sent in. There are Johnson's buildings also. And in Inner Temple Lane, Lamb lived at No. 4, which “looks out on Hare Court, with three trees and a pump,” where he used to drink when he was “a young Rechabite of six years” of age. As he says, “it is worth something to have been born in such a place.” It was here the spirit of the past was infused into his mind, moulding it in antique fashion, and planting the germs of the quaint conceits and humorous fancies that so delight us all, and giving him a love for the old dramatists which we have all learned to share in.

Of course every one goes to drink at the fountain which Lamb, when a boy, used to make rise and fall, to the astonishment of the other urchins, “who, nothing able to guess at its recondite machinery, were almost tempted to hail its wondrous work as magic.” Miss Landon thus celebrates it:

The fountain's low singing is heard on the wind,
Like a melody bringing sweet fancies to mind,
Some to grieve, some to gladden; around them they cast
The hopes of the morrow, the dreams of the past.
Away in the distance is heard the vast sound.
From the streets of the city that compass it round,
Like the echo of fountains, or ocean's deep call;
Yet that fountain's low singing is heard over all.

And yonder are the sun-dials, on which Lamb so sweetly moralizes—the inscriptions no longer half effaced, but bright with the gilding of 1872. Pereunt et imputantur; Discite justitiam moniti; Vestigia [pg 108]nulla retrorsum; and “Time and tide tarry for no man,” are some of the mottoes on them. It is rather a disappointment to find them looking so new and fresh, as if no longer “coeval with the time they measure.” There is something wonderfully poetical about a sun-dial, which derives its revelations of time's flight “immediately from heaven, holding correspondence with the fountain of light.” It has a kind of relationship to nature, and is, therefore, the very thing to have in gardens and groves and green fields “for sweet plants and flowers to spring up by, for the birds to apportion their silver warblings by, for flocks to pasture and be led to fold by.” It has a “heart-language” not heard from a clock, with “its solemn dulness of communication.” When we give up modern artificial life, and return to our primitive relationship with nature, we shall only measure the flight of time by a sun-dial, or an hour-glass, or the opening and shutting of flowers.

It is delightful wandering around the Temple gardens, with their shrubbery and flowers and fountains, and especially along the terrace overlooking the Thames. Here one naturally looks around for the old benchers of Lamb's time, half expecting to be greeted by the pensive gentility of Samuel Salt, or the quadrate person of Thomas Coventry, coming along with “step massy and elephantine, his face square as the lion's, his gait peremptory and path-keeping,” the terror of children, who flee before him as from an “Elisha bear.” One can also “fancy good Sir Roger de Coverley and Mr. Spectator, with his short face, pacing up and down the road, or dear Oliver Goldsmith in the summer-house, perhaps meditating about the next Citizen of the World, or the new suit that Mr. Filby, the tailor, is fashioning for him, or the dunning letter that Mr. Newbury has sent. Treading heavily on the gravel, and rolling majestically along in a snuff-colored suit and a wig that sadly wants the barber's powder and irons, one sees the great doctor, with Boswell behind him, a little the worse for the port-wine they have been taking at the Mitre, to ask Goldsmith to come home and take a dish of tea with Mrs. Williams.”

It is in the Temple gardens that Shakespeare makes York and Lancaster pluck the red and white roses which became the badges of their rival houses. It is here Plantagenet says:

Let him that is a true-born gentleman,
And stands upon the honor of his birth,
If he suppose that I have pleaded truth,
From off this brier pluck a white rose with me.
Somerset.Let him that is no coward, nor no flatterer,
But dare maintain the party of the truth,
Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me.
Warwick.And here I prophesy—this brawl to-day.
Grown to this faction in the Temple garden,
Shall send, between the red rose and the white,
A thousand souls to death and deadly night.

There are no red or white roses blooming here now, but quantities of chrysanthemums grow along the paths under the elms and lime-trees. An enormous basket, overrun with ivy, handle and all, stands near the old Elizabethan Hall where Shakespeare's Twelfth Night was performed during the author's lifetime, and where the benchers of the Middle Temple now dine off long oaken tables in the light of emblazoned windows, and beneath the eyes of kings depicted by Vandyck and other great painters.

A company of volunteers are drilling on the green, perhaps in the same place where the Knights [pg 109] Templars had their military exercises; children are playing in the gravelled walks; and groups of gentlemen and ladies, and here a lone pilgrim, are sauntering about, enjoying the calm bright evening and the view of the Thames, with little steamers rushing up and down among all sorts of craft; and beyond, the great city with its countless spires, the bells of which seem to be all ringing. Perhaps the cheerful notes of that psalm come from S. Clement's in the Strand, which Dr. Johnson used to frequent—notes that will sound as cheerfully when we are no more as they do now over the tombs of past generations who likewise have paced up and down this terrace listening to them.

The boat, and the barge, and the wave have grown red,
And the sunset has crimsoned the boughs overhead;
But the lamps are now shining, the colors are gone,
And the garden lies shadowy, silent, and lone.

Was Origen A Heretic?

Origin has been pronounced by the verdict of ages a genius of the first order. But on this man there has also been pronounced another verdict of still greater importance: “No one has surpassed him either in good or in evil”Ubi bene nemo melius, ubi male nemo pejus. Terrible words on a man who was the wonder of his age, and an uncompromising father of the church! We propose to set forth in this article some of the reasons tending to prove that this sentence is an unjust one, and that Origen was a faithful child of the church—faithful, too, at a time when fidelity was tried by the fire, the sword, or the cold, damp dungeon. We bring forward the reasons of our opinion, suppressing none of the accusations that have been brought against this great man at sundry times, but refuting them by arguments which are at least extremely probable, and have convinced some very eminent scholars.

The orthodoxy of Origen is presumptively established from the pure sources from which he received the rudiments of the Christian faith, from the soundness of the doctrines he is known to have taught during his public ministry, from his saintly associations, from his undoubted works, and from his heroic virtues.

Born in the bosom of the church, of noble and virtuous parents, in the year 185, he drank in with the nutriment of his infancy the pure and saving doctrines of Christianity. As his powers of reason expanded, the beauty and splendor of the new but persecuted religion were laid open before him by S. Leonides, his father, whose celebrity as a philosopher was only equalled by his proficiency in profane and sacred sciences. Under such fostering care and parental cultivation, Origen received the most careful training, the wisest instructions, and most virtuous examples. So deeply did this pious and excellently versed man plant the germs of Catholic [pg 110] truth in the heart of his eldest son that the most flattering promises of Roman governors, the most subtle reasonings of philosophers, were alike unable to entice him into the paths of error at an age when the passions are strongest and the glittering tinsel of worldly honors exerts so powerful an influence on the mind. S. Leonides, aware of the necessity and value of religious education in youth, took every precaution to instil virtue into the heart while profane learning entered into the mind. Each day he required Origen to commit to memory certain parts of the Old and New Testaments, and, after their recital and an invocation of the Holy Ghost, he explained the sense of the Scripture. A plant reared in such soil, and impregnated with an atmosphere so holy, must be beautiful to the sight in its maturity. Advanced in the liberal arts to a degree far beyond his years, Origen made those studies only accessories to a more complete attainment of sacred knowledge. His progress in the sciences was only rivalled by his increase in piety. What a deep root religion had taken in his nature may be known from his burning ardor to win the glorious crown of martyrdom when the bloody persecution of Septimius Severus raged with unequalled fury in his native city, Alexandria. Among its victims was his father. Deprived of the boon of losing his life for Christ in his company, he wrote letters of encouragement and exhortation that S. Leonides would endure his torments heroically, looking only to the future life and its incorruptible inheritance. It was painful for Leonides to leave behind him seven orphan children; but, to alleviate his sorrows in this direction, Origen, upon whom he looked as a living tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, sent him words of cheer: “Be sure, dear father, that on our account you do not alter your mind”; and in another part of the same letter we read words which appear almost incredible coming from one so young: “Have confidence, father; leave all for Jesus Christ; he will be your reward.” S. Leonides was beheaded, his property confiscated, according to the laws, and Origen, at seventeen years of age, found himself and the rest of his family reduced from abundance to poverty for the sake of Christ. Next to dying in the faith, there is no greater blessing than to have been born in it. From a martyr and a bishop28 Origen learned the rudiments of the faith, and it grew with his growth and strengthened with his strength. Those who had charge of his education at the most critical juncture were still more eminent in letters and sanctity than Leonides.

He was placed under Titus Flavius Clemens, generally known as S. Clement of Alexandria, whom S. Jerome29 considered “the most learned of our authors,” and who, Theodoret believed,30 “surpassed all others in the extent of his learning.” The erudition of Flavius Clement found in Origen a worthy receptacle, and the Christian morality taught in his lectures and practised in his life were truly reflected in the rising glory of the East. Clement, drinking from the crystal fountain of truth that issued from the evangelist Mark, who had made, by the order of the prince of the apostles, Alexandria his apostolic seat, imbibed its saving [pg 111] waters in all their purity. In his Stromata, as well as on the authority of Eusebius, we learn that the immediate successors of the apostles, preservers of the true doctrine of S. James, S. John, S. Paul, were still in existence and teaching the Gospel in its entirety. “They have lived down to our times,” says Clement,31 “and scattered in our hearts the seed of truth which they had received of their predecessors, the apostles.” It was from this beautiful and fertile garden that Origen culled the flowers of Christianity that ornamented his soul, that bloom in his luminous works, that preserve their fragrance and throw around sacred studies an imperishable lustre. While Origen was pursuing his studies under Clement, he did not fail to engraft upon himself the holiness and sanctity of his teacher—the Pedagogue of the master was transformed into the life of the scholar. The holy practices running through the Pedagogue, its inculcation of austere morals and inexhaustible charity, became to Origen, through his long and arduous career, hand-posts pointing to solid grandeur, durable happiness, and supreme good.

On leaving this famous catechetical school, he perfected himself under Ammonius Saccas, whose celebrity among pagans for the reconciliation he effected between jarring philosophical systems was only eclipsed by the esteem in which he was held by the infant church, to whose cause he brought the aid of philosophy and the requirements of the times. Among all those who attended the lectures of Ammonius, the most remarkable was young Origen, though he had for rivals no less famous persons than Plotinus, the philosopher and teacher of Porphyry, and the critic Longinus. All eyes were centred on Origen, and his name was in every mouth—his mind a prodigy of letters, his soul a temple of the Holy Ghost. The vast amount of erudition now acquired by Origen, not only by reason of his extraordinary abilities, but also on account of his eminent preceptors, whose sanctity of life imparted to their expositions of religion the irresistible authority of example, attached him with unshaken firmness to the infallible truths which were sealed by his father's blood. No other belief could satisfy his yearnings, no other creed answer to the wide comprehensions of his conceptions and the loftiness of his aspirations.

The completion of his studies found him versed in astronomy, the higher mathematics, thoroughly acquainted with the sentiments and theories of the different philosophical schools, and more or less familiar with the construction of languages and the leading issues of the times. Reduced to straitened circumstances in consequence of the persecution, he opened, on his own responsibility, an institution for dialectics, music, and profane sciences.

This was a dangerous enterprise for one so young, but it was the only alternative to avoid a life of dependency and association with heretics, as well as to assist a helpless mother and a large family. He felt bound to shun the enemies of the church; he refused to mingle in their company, save when the necessity of their spiritual welfare demanded it, or the exigencies of the occasion prevented his escape. Scrupulous even to the spirit of the apostolic teachings, rather than associate with the opponents of [pg 112] Christianity, he preferred to sacrifice the friendships of his youth and the liberality of his patroness, at a time, too, when he stood most in need of assistance. His reputation attracted large numbers to his lectures, and the applause he received, while it elevated him in popularity, was the source of interior humiliation, the antidote of pride. Demetrius, Bishop of Alexandria, moved by the superior attainments, the fervent piety and unswerving orthodoxy in faith, of the young Christian, appointed him regent of the famous catechetical school, a.d. 203. The course of studies taught in this institution comprised, aside from secular pursuits, theology and Scriptural expositions. Origen32 was only eighteen years of age when he assumed this responsible charge—a charge that, in the history of the province, had never been committed but to persons of advanced years. This appointment, then, was an exception, strange in the extreme; but Origen was an exceptional scholar—so exceptional, indeed, that history has failed to record his compeer at that time of life in any other person. But, as St. Jerome33 remarks, “From his childhood he was a great man.” And Bossuet, admiring the young Alexandrian, towering in intellect above those of his day, like Saul above his brethren, declares: “Il se rendit célèbre par toute l'Eglise des sa première jeunesse et enseigna de grandes vérités.”34 The violence of the persecution under Septimius Severus had interrupted the Christian school of Alexandria, and forced its president, Clement, to fly from his murderers. It was during his retirement and under the uplifted sword that Origen assumed the regency—a position as precarious and laborious as it was honorable. It required varied knowledge, uncommon prudence, and unswerving adhesion to the traditions of Christ's ambassadors.

For more than one hundred years Catholic blood, “the secret power and seed of Christianity,”35 had flowed through the Roman provinces; Catholic heads been decapitated by the sword of the executioner. Every method of destruction and annihilation that human artifice and cruelty could devise was brought into play to sweep from the world the new religion; but the kingdom of Christ emerged from the contest more glorious and powerful, and asserted in bolder terms the divinity which was emblazoned on its standard. The saying of Gamaliel was verified: Man cannot stop the accomplishment of God's designs. Then the pagans felt convinced that some other means should be employed against the Christians, whom the emperors and governors had in vain sought to extinguish in blood. To this end, they had recourse to the schools, to the philosophers, to men skilled in the oracles; the followers of the different systems of belief, to preserve the existence of their body, girded on their helmets of sophistry and raillery; the pagan writers dealt in flings of irony and the gall of mockery; wit and sarcasm, powerful weapons, were handled with remarkable ingenuity. The life-blood of mythology, sanctioned for ages by the devotion of its victims, was on the eve of ebbing from its very arteries; polytheism, rooted in the manners of the multitude, supported by legislation, [pg 113] upheld in literature, protected by the sympathies of all, was losing ground at every step that Christianity was making upon its domains; idolatry saw its statues fall one by one, its members disappearing like vapor beneath the absorbing rays of light; and all these forms of superstition joined hands and allied their forces to impede the onward and irresistible march of Catholic truth. Alexandria, cradle of Eastern genius at that time, became the Christian Thermopylæ, and Origen the Christian Leonidas. It was he who headed the forces, and, by the splendor of his genius, prepared in his school illustrious men to lead on the van. He vindicated the truth from calumny, supported it by facts, disengaged it from the sophisms in which enemies had obscured it, and held it up to view in all its natural beauty and attraction. His learning became telling in a short time upon the prejudices of the people in regard to his despised religion, and gradually inspired a kinder feeling towards the misrepresented Christians in the minds of the cultivated. His fame drew to his auditory persons who had studied under other masters, desirous of listening to his wisdom, and of the honor of calling him their teacher. Heathens were delighted with his language, full of unction and charm, and the literati of the age, who had been lost in the intricacies of Aristotle, the obscurities of Plato, and the absurdities of Epicurus, wondered at the young Christian philosopher. His name was asked by authors for dedicatory purposes, and works were subject to his judgment for their circulation.

To give an insight into the system of education adopted by Origen, and which produced so many great men in the IIId century, we will quote from the writings of S. Gregory Thaumaturgus, who was under the direction of Origen for five years, the method employed by the philosopher to win him to Christ. The extract will also show the clearness of his ideas, the thoroughness and universality of his knowledge. The reader, if he chooses, may compare the plan of education followed by Origen with that pursued in our colleges and universities in the XIXth century, and judge for himself of the progress civilization has made in this direction. “Like a skilful agriculturist,” says S. Gregory,36 “who examines in all its aspects the land which he intends to prepare for cultivation, Origen sounded and penetrated the sentiments of his disciples, making inquiries, and reflecting upon their replies. When he had prepared them to receive the seed of truth, he instructed them in various branches of philosophy—in logic, to form their judgment, by teaching them to discriminate between solid reasonings and the specious sophisms of error; in physics, to make them admire the wisdom of God, by an analytic knowledge of his works; in geometry, to habituate their minds to rectitude, by the rigor of mathematical propositions; in astronomy, to elevate and extend their thoughts, by giving them immensity for a horizon; finally, in morals—not those of the philosophers, whose definitions and sterile divisions give birth to no virtue, but practical morals, making them study in themselves the movements of the passions, so that the soul, seeing itself as in a mirror, may extirpate every vice, even to the roots. He then approached theology, or [pg 114] the knowledge of God. He made them read on Providence, which has created the world and governs it, all that has been written by the ancients, philosophers or poets, Greeks or barbarians, without otherwise minding their systems, their sects, or their particular opinions. In this labyrinth of pagan philosophy he served as their guide to discern whatever might be really true and useful, without allowing them to be fascinated by the pomp and ornaments of language. He laid it down as a principle, that, in whatever regards God, we must trust only God and the prophets inspired by him. And then he commenced the interpretation of the Scriptures, which he knew thoroughly, and which, by the grace of God, he had penetrated in all their most secret depths.”

The magnitude of his intellectual powers excited no less interest than his manner of life; and it is not without reason that his friends allege the sanctity of his life as the best interpreter of the few objectionable passages in his gigantic works, and no weak argument for the purity of his faith. Surrounded by eminent savants, and in correspondence with others in distant countries, he found himself hard pressed to accommodate the former and answer the communications of the latter. He was obliged to engage several secretaries to write out his discourses on the arts and sciences in conjunction with his explanations of Christianity. Their assistance afforded him better opportunities of enriching his stock of knowledge. He realized what Trithemius,37 Abbot of Spanheim, repeated to himself every day: “To know is to love.” His insatiable thirst for learning left him plodding among manuscripts through the day into the long hours of the night; and when nature, succumbing under the severe stress of exhaustion, would demand rest, he would make the bare ground his bed, and the books his pillow. Simple in his dress, the mortifications he imposed upon himself on several occasions threatened his life. Temperate in all things, he was particularly so in drink. Wine he never used.

While his prodigious talents and able discourses brought within the true fold large numbers from among the most distinguished learned men and philosophers, his virtues and sublime renunciation of the world produced so many holy men that his school has been deservedly termed the school of martyrs.” More than once he accompanied his disciples to the place of execution, and exhorted them, in the very face of the instruments of torture, to endure death with fortitude for the cause of truth and the eternal inheritance promised to those who wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb. He stood by at the martyrdom of S. Plutarch, brother of S. Heraclas, Bishop of Alexandria, both catechumens under himself, administering consolations and pouring into his soul words of hope and encouragement. A martyr's crown he courted from infancy, and from sickness and infirmities contracted in the persecutor's dungeon, it is reasonably supposed, his life went out. It could only have been divine interposition that rescued him from the numerous assaults made upon his life. When permission was refused him to visit the Christians in chains, he made incredible efforts to convey to them words of sympathy and articles of comfort. His solicitude and bearing on the [pg 115] eve of the martyrdom of his disciples, SS. Heron, Potamiæna, Herias, Sereni, and Heraclides, is conclusive proof of Origen's ardor to seal with his blood the divinity of the cause he advocated with his eloquence, and evidence of the falsity of the notorious slander which represents him yielding to the wishes of the persecutors in the midst of his torments, and offering sacrifice to the gods. The first trace we meet with in history of this accusation is in the Treatise against Heresies,38 by S. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, and given to the world one hundred years after the death of Origen. This slander, never repeated by the learned—if we except Petavius, in the XVIIth century, while employed on the works of Epiphanius—has been wiped out of ecclesiastical history by the weight of such writers as Baronius, Halloix,39 Raynaudet, Henry Valois, Vincent de la Rue, and Frederic Spanheim.40 This defamation of his character, unfounded as it is, though so much like other insinuations against the noble Alexandrian, was not even alluded to in the Justinian age, in which he was so violently and bitterly opposed. Had S. Jerome credited this monstrous fabrication, had it rested upon anything but a sandy foundation, the literary war between the lifelong friends, Jerome and Rufinus, would have terminated at the first volley from the pen of the learned scriptural writer. It would have been a crushing argument against Rufinus, and S. Jerome was the person to turn it to advantage. In those times, it was a common thing to be reproached if one, arrested for the faith, escaped death. Some of the greatest saints, S. Cyprian, S. Gregory Thaumaturgus, and others, suffered not a little from calumnies of like import. Origen's behavior, on the occasion to which the allusion refers, was honorable, heroic, and in entire harmony with his life-long fidelity to principle. He was seized, and—whether it was the design of the magistrates to draw many Christians back to the gods of the empire by circulating the fall of Origen, or their admiration of the genius of their noble victim that prevented his summary decapitation—was thrown into a cold cell, bound in an iron collar, with heavy shackles to his feet, and his legs drawn apart to a painful degree.

It appears that during the first years that Origen filled the regency of the Alexandrian theological seminary, he experienced no small amount of inconvenience, in his controversial discourses with Jews and pagans, in consequence of the different versions of the Holy Scriptures. In their inspired pages he found true wisdom and spiritual life: “Oh! how have I loved thy law, O Lord! It is my meditation all the day.”41 In this sacred department he stands without a rival, if we except S. Jerome, “the greatest doctor, divinely raised up to interpret the Sacred Scriptures.”42 Yet to Origen the indebtedness of S. Jerome is very great. He borrowed43 from him, studied him,44 followed him,45 admired him,46 and then attacked him.47 S. Jerome declares that in reading the Twelve Prophets by Origen, in the works of S. Pamphilus, he saw in them the wealth of [pg 116] Crœsus; and, as far as our judgment goes, we never read a higher eulogium than the one S. Jerome pays to the genius of Origen on his two homilies in Cantica Canticorum.

It was Origen's love of the Scriptures that gave birth to the grand idea of compiling the sacred books of the different versions into one work—the Octapla, a legacy to posterity more than sufficient to support his reputation and endear it to all succeeding ages. For this purpose, he decided, in 212, to travel through different countries, and collect the most recognized and authentic copies of the Scriptures. Those travels opened to his view the pages of nature, on which he read the customs and habits of men, religions and governments, arts and sciences. Aside from those motives, he had another reason for travelling. He longed to see Rome, the chair of Peter,48 “upon whom, as on a rock, Christ built his church”; he desired to pay his homage in the “principal church”49 to the successor of S. Peter, “against whom the gates of hell shall not prevail.”50 He arrived at Rome about the close of the pontificate of S. Zephyrinus, to whom his presence and devotion must have been a source of consolation, as the saintly pontiff, at that time, was pained to the heart by the fall of the great Tertullian and the deplorable perversions in the African Church.

The travels of Origen are full of interest and instruction. Each journey was a crusade against heathenism, and a glorious triumph for the Gospel; like S. Paul, he wandered over sea and land to make profit for Christ, strengthening the weak and marshalling the strong; the power of his pen was felt where his voice failed to reach. As a comet that illumines its course with darting rays of light, and obscures the flickering stars, such were the brilliant tours of Origen, leaving the light of faith and the fire of charity behind them. Wherever heresy raised its head in the church, there was Origen to batter it with reason and tradition; wherever the faithful were wavering, there was Origen cheering and rallying the forces; wherever the enemy made an onslaught on Christianity, it found Origen in the breach; like an Agamemnon or a Hector, wherever battle raged the fiercest, Origen took the front. Now he is in the presence of the governor of Arabia, enlightens him on scientific subjects, and gradually raises his mind to nature's God; then he traverses through Palestine, expounding the Scriptures in the assemblies of the faithful; at one time he is at Antioch before the royal family, pleading for the liberty and free exercise of Christian worship; at another in Nicomedia, maintaining the canonicity of certain parts of the inspired writings; now he is in Greece, thundering against the Montanists; and again in Arabia, at Bozra, reclaiming fallen prelates, and defending the divinity and humanity of the second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity.

There is a point in the preceding sentence worthy of more than passing notice—namely, Origen's visit to Mammæa, mother of Emperor Alexander Severus. This estimable lady, who afterwards, in all probability, embraced the Christian religion, desirous of seeing so illustrious a doctor as Origen, sent her retinue to escort him to her palace. She was pleased with her learned guest, and her son, the future ruler of the empire, listened with delight [pg 117] to the great prodigy of learning. The virtues that characterized the reign of Severus, in contradistinction to the licentiousness, cruelty, and extortion of his predecessors, have been, not without justice, attributed to the influence exerted on him by lessons of morality given in the discourses of Origen. It is not improbable that the law he presented, soon after his ascension to the throne, to the Roman senate for its sanction, whereby the religion of Christ would be incorporated among the others of the empire, had for its source Origen's instructions to him about the divinity of the Catholic faith, its purity and sanctity. Dom Gueranger, in his Life of S. Cecilia,51 adduces monuments of antiquity going to prove the protection and favors extended to the infant church by Alexander; and Origen himself,52 in his Apology, chronicles the abatement of the persecution shortly after his return from the imperial court. On this part of his work a writer very felicitously adds: “If he modestly declines telling us the part he bore in it, we owe him so much the more honor the less he seems to claim.”53

During the comparative peace obtained under Alexander, the church made incredible efforts to fill up her shattered ranks, restore order, and produce scholars. She succeeded, for never was she more fruitful in great men than at this epoch. Origen had reconciled her, in the opinion of philosophers, to genius, adorned her with intellectual wealth, and introduced her to the occupants of the throne she was soon to fill with so much glory; and, what is still more, he had disciplined a galaxy of scholars, who were about to dazzle the world by the grandeur of their minds, and beautify the church by the holiness of their lives.

Origen's brilliant career, like the career of all great men, was not allowed to end without its trials. Aside from the assaults of the professed enemies of the church, he met with severe annoyances from the jealousy of those whose interests he had studied to further. The trouble came from a quarter he least expected. Demetrius, Bishop of Alexandria, during the early part of his episcopate entertained for Origen the highest esteem; and there is no ostensible motive to believe that Origen, throughout all his relations with the patriarch, gave him any cause of offence, or else this prelate would not have retained him in the presidency of his theological school till the year 230—a period of twenty-seven years. The humility of the regent and his innate respect for authority held his tongue in silence, whatever may have been his opinion of the conduct of Demetrius as a prelate. Still, we may conjecture Demetrius was not far from the mind of Origen when, in speaking of disorders and irregularities in the church, he wrote of bishops: “We would almost have guards like kings; we make ourselves terrible and difficult of access, chiefly to the poor; we treat them who speak with us and ask for some favor in a manner which the most cruel tyrants and governors would not assume towards suppliants.”54 It is not wrong to look upon Demetrius as a man who consulted with the general interests of Christianity his own popularity, the extension of his diocese, [pg 118] and the increase of his subjects; perhaps he was of the opinion that the advancement of religion in Alexandria and its suffragan dependencies, his own juridical district, was of more importance than its dissemination in other places. It was interested motives of this sort that led him to disapprove of Origen's evangelical missions, by which his invaluable services were temporarily withdrawn from his native city. Origen, being a layman, free from any obligations to Demetrius, except in a spiritual point of view, possessed the individual right of travelling from country to country, and of delivering lectures without the permission of any authority. If he spoke before the congregations of the faithful, it was only at the urgent solicitation of the prelates, whose jurisdiction within their respective provinces was recognized and unquestioned; champion of the faith in the East, he was waited upon by delegations from pious bishops, entreating him to come to their dioceses. Those missions Origen, in his love for the glory of God, felt conscientiously bound to perform. On a journey to crush by his eloquence the heresy of the Valentinians, that had made lamentable ravages in Greece, he paid a visit to S. Alexander of Jerusalem and Theoctistus of Cæsarea, by whom he was ordained priest. This act, irreprehensible in itself, entailed upon Origen serious difficulties, and became the groundwork upon which his enemies fabricated the most severe accusations.

Demetrius, taking to heart the course of conduct of the great philosopher, and assured, by the aspect of things, of his speedy disconnection with the interests of Alexandria, sent letters to the bishops, containing bitter recriminations for imposing hands on Origen. He did not stop at this point. He also despatched to the prelates of Asia letters full of invectives and animosity, requiring them to hold no communion with Origen, who had violated the disciplinary canons. The respite that ensued on his return to Alexandria was of short duration. A council was “assembled by the care, and under the presidency, of Demetrius,” for the purpose of examining the legality and validity of Origen's ordination. In this council we can only discover two things laid to his charge—namely, that he had made himself a eunuch, and had been ordained without the consent of Demetrius, his ordinary. Those charges, if we take into consideration the customs of the times and the imperfections of ecclesiastical discipline during the persecutions, contain in themselves very little upon which a grievous censure of Origen could be founded. In the language of the church, they are irregularities; one ex defectu, the other ex delicto. Let us for a moment concede that there were such canons in existence at the time of Origen's ordination, by the violation of which irregularities were incurred, what then follows? In that age of the church, bishops enjoyed great privileges, discretionary powers—far more discretionary than even the bishops of the United States enjoy nowadays in this missionary country—and pre-eminently so the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Patriarch of Antioch, and the Metropolitan of Palestine, who was Bishop of Cæsarea. These prelates could dispense, in nearly all emergencies, the violators of the ecclesiastical ordinances; other prelates in the East were more or [pg 119] less restricted in their functions, and in matters of moment could do nothing detrimental to those sees. What authority, then, prevented Theoctistus from pronouncing Origen released from the irregularities, and canonically qualified for the reception of orders? Had any other ordinary imposed hands on him except the Metropolitan of Palestine, the objections of the Patriarch of Alexandria would undoubtedly have carried with them more weight. But the Metropolitan of Cæsarea, while respectfully acquiescing in the priority of the See of Alexandria, through reverence of its princely founder, always exercised his own jurisdiction without the permission or consultation of Alexandria. Theoctistus of Cæsarea was not even under Demetrius, but under the Patriarch of Antioch, and these provincial and patriarchal boundaries as well as episcopal relations were only finally authoritatively adjusted by the Council of Nice.55 In the second place, the Metropolitan of Cæsarea, who always exercised more than ordinary episcopal functions, which were afterwards approved and sanctioned by œcumenical councils,56 deemed it not a usurpation of power to impose hands on Origen without the direct consent of his bishop, inasmuch as he was personally acquainted with the subject of the sacrament, morally certain of his piety and learning. If we add to those reasons the surrounding circumstances stated in the reply of S. Alexander of Jerusalem to Demetrius, it becomes patent that neither Origen was to blame in the premises nor Theoctistus for the exercise of his jurisdiction and powers. Demetrius had given Origen commendatory letters on his departure for Greece, and, on the strength of these commendations, Theoctistus and S. Alexander conferred on him holy orders. His services had been valuable as a layman; they would become still more valuable as a cleric, and, actuated by those pure motives, they ordained him.

Now, is it historically true that in the year 230, or previous to that time, there were any such canons framed by the church as excluded eunuchs from the reception of holy orders? It will be difficult to come across statutes of this nature in canon law or ecclesiastical history. We will find such acts of discipline framed years after the death of Origen, but none previous to that epoch.

The other accusation, that he was ordained without the permission of his bishop, has a weaker foundation even than the preceding one. According to the practice of the church in our day, every candidate for the sacred ministry who is not a religious must be ordained by his own bishop (titulo nativitatis, domicilii, beneficii, seu familiaritatis prout accidit), or possess the written consent of his own ordinary, if ordained by another. Origen, viewed from a modern stand-point, contracted an irregularity ex delicto; but, judged in the century in which he lived—the only one in which he must be judged—was as regular in his ordination as the young men who are semi-annually ordained in our provincial seminaries. Origen transgressed no ecclesiastical injunction by receiving orders at the hands of a foreign bishop, because it was only under S. Anastasius that this restriction was placed on aspirants to the priesthood. The [pg 120] Council of Nice, embodying the canons of Arles, Ancyra, and Gangres, passed laws prohibiting clerics from attaching themselves at will to different churches and dioceses; this prohibition affected clerics alone, and in no way referred to laics, who were at perfect liberty to be ordained by any prelate upon testimonials of worthiness. It was only during S. Ambrose's time that this abuse became offensive, and that the Roman pontiff deemed it proper to eradicate it. To this end, in the year 400 a canon was enacted by the pope, which forbade any prelate ordaining the subjects of another, unless such subjects had permissive letters bearing the signature of the bishop who had authority over them. From this sprang dimissorial letters. Indeed, whatever view an impartial and competent person takes of the whole affair, Origen and the saintly bishops who ordained him appear innocent, and seem to have acted with the best intentions. Nevertheless, the decision arrived at by Demetrius' council was that Origen should be dismissed from the theological school, upon which his learning had reflected so much glory, and that he should also withdraw himself from Alexandria, retaining, however, his priesthood.

Origen, anticipating the result of the council “assembled by the care of Demetrius,” quietly retired to Cæsarea. Matters did not end here. The immense amount of writings that the unwearied industry of Origen had contributed to the literature of the church offered a wide field in which his adversaries might search for something reprehensible. His works would form in themselves a rare library, had the fall of empires not entombed a large portion of them in their ruins. No less than six thousand books did his indefatigable application produce: “Sex millia Origenis tomos non poterant quipiam legere.”57 In the copying, revision, and compiling of these manuscripts, he employed twenty, at other times twelve, but always more than eight, amanuenses. As this article has no reference to his writings, their merits, or the influence they exerted upon church learning, we must make this cursory allusion to his gigantic labors sufficient for our present purpose. It will lay before the reader the great mass of matter his enemies had at hand to examine, the possible mistakes that might have crept into his works by the carelessness of so many secretaries, the possible corruptions they might have suffered at the hands of heretics or jealous rivals. Not a finger could be raised against his spotless and ascetic life in the council; the teacher of martyrs and companion of saints, his character was irreproachable.

Demetrius, not unlikely hearing of the warm reception extended to Origen in Palestine, convened, after a short interval, another council. The works of Origen were subjected to the sharpest examination. One instinctively inquires why Demetrius, if he were simply actuated by zeal for the preservation of ecclesiastical discipline and the purity of revealed truth, did not introduce those serious charges in the former council. To resort to the non-publication of the Periarchon and Dialogues at the time of the first convocation of bishops, in order to remove the suspicions that point to the malice of Demetrius, is an ingenious special plea, unsupported by facts and testimonies. S. Jerome, [pg 121] studying this question learnedly, defends Origen and censures Demetrius. Why did the Patriarch of Alexandria, next in hierarchical honor to the Bishop of Rome, permit Origen for over a quarter of a century to expound within his own hearing the sublime dogmas of Christianity, if his conceptions of those dogmas were radically false? Can we suppose that the few months between the assembly of the two councils were spent by the bibliophilist in composing a work that would give the lie to the glorious achievements of thirty years? Or can we allow the conviction to settle in our minds that he, so remarkable in virtue, would deliver in the pulpit one doctrine, and write in his books another? Will we find fault with saints and illustrious doctors of the church, who, by the nature of their high calling, are bound to avoid false teachers, for extending to Origen the warmest hospitalities, or acknowledge, with Eusebius of Cæsarea and S. Pamphilus, the severe and unjustifiable measures adopted by Demetrius? Whatever secret motives guided Demetrius in the prosecution of the inquisition, his course, disapproved of by his contemporaries, has never secured a sincere advocate of ordinary importance. The errors which he imagined he had detected in the writings assumed, in the eyes of Demetrius' council, sufficient gravity to cause the deposition and excommunication of Origen.

Never did an imperial edict, suddenly proclaimed in the midst of peace, sanctioning the indiscriminate massacre of Christians, produce greater consternation in the church than the announcement of Origen's deposition. The report of the fall of the great Tertullian had scarce died away, when the faithful were filled with alarm at the momentary expectation of its echoes being taken up by the fall of Origen, and resounding throughout Christendom. But there was a vast difference between these two great men. Quintius Tertullianus, while the superior of Origen in eloquence, style, and strength of language, was at the same time his inferior in the sacred sciences and in humility, the safeguard of Origen's genius. The one blended with Christianity the elegance and wisdom of the pagans, the other the beauty and inspiration of the prophets. Both the brightest ornaments of the church in their day, they no less adorned her sanctity by their lives than enriched her treasures by their genius. Tertullian, a pagan by the prejudices of birth and education, unaccustomed to religious authority, could not endure the correction of superiors; and wounded pride, inflamed by impatience and an ambitious nature, gave way to impious belief, and Tertullian, the fallen genius, dwindles into a fanatical heretic. It was not so with Origen. Having received information of the action of the council, with real humility equalled only by that of the meek Fénelon, Origen wrote58 to Alexandria that he had never taught such doctrine as was imputed to him, and, if contained in his works, it was through the machinations of heretics. Then follows, in the same document, a clear and orthodox exposition of his belief upon the contested points—an exposition that will satisfy a modern theologian, with all his precise distinctions and scholastic definitions. As long as this monument of antiquity, this spontaneous proof of his adhesion to apostolic truth, this undeniable [pg 122] evidence of the absence of all pertinacity, exists, so long will those to whom his memory is dear love to look upon him as sincere in his protestations and sincere in his faith. Here was the rule of his belief, and according to this rule his works should be interpreted: “That alone must we believe to be the truth which differs in nothing from the ecclesiastical and apostolical tradition.”59 A noble rule of faith, truly Catholic and orthodox! Words appropriate for an Origen, who caught up, as it were, the traditions of the apostles, and echoed them into Nicene times. What cause have we of refusing credence to Origen when he tells us that the errors attributed to him were the interpolations of heretics? Every intelligent reader of history knows that his works were corrupted, shamefully corrupted, at the close of the IVth century. In substantiation of this, we have only to refer to the learned Rufinus and S. Jerome. Each of these translated into Latin the Periarchon of Origen and many other works of the same author; and what do we find? Why, S. Jerome accuses Rufinus of altering, inverting, suppressing the sense of the original; and, in turn, Rufinus charges Jerome with malicious perversion of the meaning of the learned Alexandrian, wilful corruption of the text, and personal jealousy of the fame of Origen. S. Augustine, an intimate friend of S. Jerome, used his influence to reconcile those two great personages disputing about Origen; and from his letter to S. Jerome, it appears to us that his sympathies were with Rufinus. Indeed, in the first ages of the church, it was no uncommon thing for great men to have not only their works interpolated, but entire books circulated under their name, S. Cyprian60 complained that works that he had never seen were issued in his name. S. Jerome61 testifies that the letters of S. Clement, Pope, were interpolated, as well as the writings of S. Dionysius and Clement of Alexandria; the same trustworthy author was very much annoyed that the people of Africa in his day were reading a supposititious volume bearing his name. We see no reason, then, why heretics would not tamper with Origen's productions, when they had the audacity to corrupt such public and sacred documents as those we have mentioned, some of which were read in the religious assemblies of the people. It is the misfortune of exalted persons to be cited as authorities for opinions they never maintained. Indeed, when we perceive how the teachings of men amongst us are misrepresented, notwithstanding the assistance of the press, the telegraph, and other modern detectives, we can understand with what facility opinions could have been accredited to Origen which were not his. Well might S. Jerome with the works of Origen scattered around his room, perhaps under his very elbows, write: “O labores hominum! semper incerti; O mortalium studia! contrarios interdum fines habentia.”62

The acts of Demetrius' council, we are informed, were forwarded to S. Pontianus, whose short pontificate of a few years spent in exile, as well as the still shorter reign of his successor, S. Anterus, which lasted only a month, was absorbed in the discharge of duties more vital to the church than the Alexandrian [pg 123] inquisition. Ere Rome took any steps in this matter, or sanctioned the proceedings by her silence, the discussion ended by the death of Demetrius, 231.

It is probable that Origen indulged in conceptions or hypotheses not altogether in accordance with Catholic doctrine; but we must keep before our minds the circumstances in which he was situated, the persons with whom he disputed, and the noble aim he had in view. The philosophy of Aristotle, whom Tertullian calls the “patriarch of heretics,” was very unpopular in Alexandria at the opening of the IIId century. The neo-Platonic system was the prevalent philosophy of the day at Alexandria. The issue of the day was, Is the religion of Christ philosophical? Can it with safety be subjected to logical rules? Does it not contradict the reasonings of Plato? To meet this issue, so important to the spread of the Gospel among the enlightened class, Origen had recourse as much as was possible to the tenets of the Platonic school for arguments. With Platonic philosophers he had his controversies; and his language, the more Platonic it was, the more power it exerted; the more he reconciled revelation with reason, in their estimation, the more entered within the pale of the church. Just as in our times able writers use the popular issues, because the most intelligible and taking, to dissipate the clouds of ignorance that bigotry has thrown around the public mind in regard to Catholicity, to show the natural compatibility of the church with all legal forms of government, her inexhaustible resources for meeting the requirements of society, and her sacred and impartial maintenance of true liberty; so, too, did Origen turn to advantage the doctrines of the schools in demonstrating the love of the church for sound philosophy, her adaptability to the sciences, and her divine mission as regenerator of the world. This tincture of Platonism pervading his early productions, combined with the mysterious figures under which Eastern nations convey sacred truths, the allegorical style, and the Discipline of the Secret, which was in active force, rendered Origen obscure, and his works susceptible of doubtful interpretation.

Though his admirers go so far as to exculpate him from every error, we are not prepared to accompany them to that distance. We are willing to concede that Origen may have advanced some erroneous opinions, but error without contumacy does not entail the sin of heresy, which is a wilful rejection of any revealed truth authoritatively proposed. “I may fall into a mistake,” says the learned S. Augustine, “but I will not be a heretic.” The fathers of the church were only men, subject to human weakness, liable to err. The doubtful and obscure speculative hypotheses of the Alexandrian's fertile imagination, then, should in no way darken the splendor of his genius or belittle his devotion to Catholic truth. F. Petau, his declared enemy, followed by Huet, who gave his learning to this controversy, refuses to believe Origen obstinate. Halloix, Charles Vincent de la Rue, Tillemont, Witasse, Ceillier, and other erudite scholars, who studied with care and impartiality this whole matter, unite in the emphatic declaration that Origen “died in the bosom of the Catholic Church.”

This is the verdict of great men [pg 124] in modern times. It was also the verdict of the century in which he lived—the IIId—as may be seen in the apology of S. Pamphilus, composed in defence of Origen's orthodoxy, and extant in the works of S. Gregory Nyssen; also in that beautiful monument of antiquity, the panegyric over Origen by S. Gregory Thaumaturgus, given in full in the works of Gerard Vossius. This verdict was confirmed in the IVth century by the catalogue of orthodox ecclesiastical writers, published by S. Gelasius, pope, among which is the name of Origen; and in the following century, in a profession of faith drawn up by Pope S. Hormisdas, and sent by Germanus, Bishop of Capua, to be signed by the Patriarch of Constantinople, the heretics condemned by the church are enumerated, but in this enumeration we can discover no allusion to the great Scripturist.

Indeed, it has always been a source of surprise to us how Origen, a fallible creature, a man like other men, unaided by any divine assistance, could have written in several thousand volumes so much truth, and so little error. There were but few Encyclical Letters, no Index, no decisions of Sacred Congregations, no Syllabus, in the days of Origen; and yet his enemies will measure the length of his definitions with theirs, compare his expressions with the theological niceties of the present, and, should a word be wanting or a synonymous one substituted, exclaim: “There is an error; Origen is a heretic!” The body of infallible definitions from popes and councils which we now possess did not exist at this early epoch; to write then orthodoxically, to justify the Christian belief in the Trinity, to explain the hypostatic union, the generation of the Son, and the procession of the Holy Ghost, to expound the Scripture and the other sublime mysteries of religion, and escape with one or two mistakes, was simply marvellous. Thus Origen, born in the true faith, reared in a religious atmosphere, educated under pious men, the intrepid defender of truth and meek retractor of error, the teacher and companion of saints, the prisoner for Christ, has impressed on his life, in golden letters, the best defence of his orthodoxy. And if the saintly Origen be distinguished from the abominable Origenians; if the allowances due to the age in which he lived be accorded him, an injustice to the works of Origen—a valuable legacy to posterity—will be removed, and the injury done to a reputation obscured by the malice of some and the misapprehension of many others will in part be repaired.63

[pg 125]

Social Shams.

There is no axiom more fraught with meaning than the old Scripture promise, “The truth shall make you free.” But there is also no fact better authenticated in the civilized world of to-day than the practical nullification of this very promise. We speak as regards things human; for in spiritual matters, the home of truth is, to our belief, a fixed one, and the road to it staked out by a divine leader, that has power to find an unerring path in what otherwise seems but an ocean of shifting sand. We propose to apply this axiom to social life, and it is our complaint that it is not free. The pivot on which “society,” properly so called, turns is conventionality—a polite term for untruth.

The original Christian ideal of society was of course based on charity. It has been truly said that a perfect Christian is instinctively a finished gentleman. Courtesy is but an adaptation of charity; and the height of good-breeding (recognized as being the faculty of setting every one at his ease, and of saying the right thing at the right time to the right person) must answer to the Christian principle that to wilfully wound your neighbor in the slightest degree is a sin. But all this, call it tact or charity, as you will, is not in itself inconsistent with truth. The French have a proverb that Toute vérité n'est pas bonne à dire“Every untruth is not necessarily expedient to all men;” but even that is not a declaration of war against the principle of truth in the main. Yet what is the reality, the thing constantly before our eyes, the fact of which no one can doubt who has ever lived beyond the strictest limits of home—nay, beyond the limits of his own mind? One in a thousand fulfils the ideal of Christian courtesy, while the other nine hundred and ninety-nine wear the regulation-mask prescribed by fashion. Some wear it of iron, so that, in the intercourse of a lifetime, you would never feel that you knew them any better than on the first day of acquaintance; some only of wire, so that the natural personality behind it is but partially hidden even from perfect strangers; some of silk, so cunningly painted that it betrays you into thinking it nature, until, by repeated experience, you discover the imposture. Again, some wear it as the women of Constantinople wear the yashmak, so filmy as only to veil, not to conceal, the features. Lord Lytton, in his romance, A Strange Story, speaks of the “three women” which exist in the single personality of every woman; this applies to men almost equally. There is, he says, the woman as she really is, the woman as she thinks herself to be, and the woman as she appears to the world—the conventional woman. This is by far the most curious product of natural history, or, more appropriately, of the history of mechanics. The human being under social manipulation is a study for philosophers. Conventional standards of human beauty, such as the compressed [pg 126] foot of the Chinese lady, or the artificially stimulated rotundity of form among the women of some of the Central African tribes, the staining of the finger-nails with henna among the Persians, etc., are as nothing and involve no deformation or suffering compared with that among the wholesale machine-products of civilized society.

Spiritual systems of penance have sometimes been impugned for aiming at subduing nature: taming the passions, restraining the expression of strong emotion, weaning the body from innocent indulgences, and so forth. But is there any more barefaced destroyer of nature than “society” as at present constituted? Are there any penances harder, any restraints stricter, than those imposed by our conventional code? The spiritual struggle with nature is voluntary, and aims at subduing our lower nature, only the more to honor the intellectual principle, and render its exercise freer from clogging and degrading influences. The conventional struggle with nature, on the contrary, is a compulsory one, into which you are thrust by others in early and unconscious childhood; it is, moreover, a deceptive one, as it tends to produce mere appearances—not to tame passion, but restrain its outward expression; not to elevate the mind, but to give it the semblance of those gifts most profitable in the social estimation of the day. It does not tend to make man supernatural, but unnatural. It takes from him even the freedom of the savage, without giving him in exchange the freedom of the Christian. It aims not at virtue, but at decorum. Its morality skips the whole of the Ten Commandments, but insists upon what facetious Englishmen sometimes call the eleventh—i.e., “Thou shalt not be found out.” It has rites and ceremonials of its own, more arbitrary than the law of the land, and, in the same breath, more lax; it has beliefs and formulas more binding outwardly than those of any religion; it has its own oracles, its own language, its own tribunals. It is a state within a state, condoning many moral delinquencies, exalting some into meritorious deeds, smoothing others over as pardonable follies. Where it is not wicked, it is inane or spiteful. Slander and gossip are its breath of life, except in the few instances where intrigue sweeps away such second-rate passe-temps.

Yet its wickedness is a subject that touches us less than its stupidity; for it is less of a daily experience, and has more denouncers to lash it. We also know less of its brilliancy than of its meanness; for the latter is visible in the smallest gathering and in the most insignificant place, while the former exists but in half a dozen great capitals, and even there only among one or two circles or strata of society. Paris and Vienna have their dull and respectable society, as well as other places, and they are by far the most numerous, and, we will venture to say it, the meanest. Downright license seems, strangely enough, to carry with it a certain reckless bonhomie which, while it is far from Christian charity, yet has many outward signs of it. The most abandoned are often found to be the most generous, or even philanthropic, while the pharisaical little-mindedness of many eminently “respectable” members of society is a constant reproach to the faith on which they pride themselves. The “milk of human kindness” is often [pg 127] scarce amid “saints” of a certain school. Noli me tangere is their motto, and an appropriate one, indeed; for you might tap their hearts till doomsday, and never draw from them one drop of the generous wine of sympathy.

Not that all persons whose path of life crosses your own by the chances bred of social conventionalities are of this type; many are generous, kind-hearted, impulsive; but it is part of the indictment we bring against “society” that its rules so smother this amiable individuality as seldom to allow it to be revealed to you save by some chance occurrence. You may have a “calling acquaintance” with a woman apparently frivolous (though obviously good-natured), and whose mind you judge to be probably as shallow as her conversation. Some sudden misfortune comes upon you, and, of all your acquaintances, this is, perhaps, the only one who will blossom into a friend. In emergencies, her native good sense and affectionate heart burst their artificial bonds, resume their proper place, and flow out in deeds of refined and considerate kindness. She will prove to have presence of mind, delicacy of heart, an active power of sympathy. This is the sort of woman you would choose to have by your dying-bed, or to whom you would consign the care of your children under unhappy circumstances, whether of poverty or absence—the woman whose nerve would not fail her in a hospital, and who would march boldly into a prison with bright looks and cheerful words, ever thinking of others before herself. But had it not been for an untoward accident, you might never have distinguished her from the herd of ordinary morning-callers. She goes through her part in society as glibly and cheerfully as your gray parrot, who is ever ready to repeat his lesson when the proper cue is given him, or as readily as your pet lap-dog, which has no objection to stand on its hind legs in a corner, and beg as long as you choose to hold the titbit up before it. What chance have you of recognizing a soul behind all that mass of conventionality? About as much as you would have of seeing the “angel imprisoned in the marble” in a sculptor's studio, or as much as Dante had of knowing the tormented souls hidden in the trunk of those grisly bleeding trees of the Inferno.

The more frequently and familiarly you mix with the world, the more your path is strewn with shattered ideals; for it is almost impossible to retain an ideal of anything which you see daily as a misshapen and blurred reality. Practical experience seems to coarsen and cheapen everything, and there never was yet a more melancholy truth than that of the old adage, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Professional life as well as domestic furnishes lamentable instances of this. In commerce, where it is very difficult for poetry and ideals to find room, the reality is hardly obnoxious to the thoughtful looker-on; for what refining influence could be expected from the perpetual jar and clash of engines, the constant chaffering, the feverish life, of the exchange? It is the realm of purely earthly, material influences, and naturally dwarfs the sympathies, while it concentrates the thoughts on one narrow point of selfish interest, if pursued for its own sake. But in the learned professions, whose aims are intellectually superior, and whose special province it is to elevate the human [pg 128] mind above selfish and individual interests, leading it, on the contrary, to the contemplation of abstract principles, and to the furtherance of the public weal, the ideal should be more apparent. And yet, in most cases, it is not so. There is no reverence left for a pursuit the trivial details of which are grown too familiar; petty jealousies take the place of scientific or philosophic emulation; man's innate vanity soon narrows the circle of interest round the ego, and subordinates the progress of the world to personal advancement. There is scarcely anything less venerable in a man's eyes than the particular branch of knowledge in which he is most proficient; and if it be with him a hobby, the love he bears to it is rather a shadow of the good opinion he holds of himself than a genuine devotion to science in the abstract. Of course, there are exceptions, numerous and honorable, but such are the plain facts in the ordinary, every-day experience of which life is in the main composed. “No one is a hero to his valet.” Home life is another ideal destroyed by society, with its arbitrary rules and its hard, practical axioms. The peace and holiness of home are rudely jarred by the demands which fashion makes on the time of its members. We have sometimes been tempted to think that this would be a very pleasant world to any one who could go through it as a spectator only. To act a part in it yourself means to subject yourself to one disenchantment after another. You see a family group at a distance—say through a street-window in a large city, or on the porch of a country villa. Old and young are mingled together; there may be beauty among the girls, there is refinement in their surroundings; they seem as thrifty as they are comfortable, for some are reading and some sewing: perhaps the tea-table is spread and housewifely treasures displayed; as a picture, it is perfect. But as a drama? Are you quite sure that you would like to see the real state of mind of each person there? If so, prepare yourself for almost inevitable disappointment. It will not be a safe investigation, and the ideal you may have formed will probably come out of the trial as an angel might if he trusted himself to the rough handling of common men.

No real happiness can exist in a life of perpetual excitement; and this a fashionable life can hardly fail to be. There is an intoxication of the mind as well as of the senses. The whirl of so-called pleasure never satisfies, but stimulates. More is required, and yet more, till, like the drunkard, you are a living paradox, never at peace unless in an atmosphere of excitement, just as he may be said to be never sober—or at least capable—unless when drunk. In the whirl of society, the mind withers; there is no time for thought, for study, for application. How many young girls there are who tell you candidly, “Oh! I have no time to practise my music. I used to do so four hours a day; but since I am in society, I can never find an hour to myself.” Then you inquire into this multiplicity of engagements, and you find—perhaps some religious occupation, some charitable work? Oh! no; only a call to be returned, cards to be left, a new toilet to be tried on, a little shopping, and a drive in the park. Pressing business, truly!

In great cities, during the season of balls and parties, a girl's life is one unbroken round of dissipation [pg 129] two-thirds of the day, and recuperation for coming “pleasure” during the remaining third. At the end of four or five months of this life, vitality is half extinct, the cheeks are pale, the mouth drawn, the eyes violet-circled; and against all this what prize is there to set? A bubble burst, a shadow vanished! These continual festivities, beginning late, ending in the early dawn, when the poor are just waking to their toil, and servants of God are rising to praise him—these repeated gatherings called “society” entirely upset the routine of domestic life. Instead of the blithe, healthy face sparkling at the head of the breakfast-table, there is a jaded, weary countenance, pale with a floury paleness, or flushed by late and disturbed slumbers; instead of the brisk tread and ringing voice that cheer the home, there is the listless step of the worn-out dancer, the peevish tone that tells plainly of bodily fatigue. In the evening there is no time for a cosy gathering round the hearth, a quiet game or chat, the reading aloud of some interesting book, or the simple delights of old-fashioned national airs. The dressing-room absorbs all that time—the choice of flowers or jewels takes long; the last finishing touches to the toilet must not be given in a hurry. The event of the day is about to begin; and so it will be to-morrow and the day after, and for an interminable tread-mill of days. If there is innate talent, there is no time to develop it; or, if it is cultivated at all, that, too, is distorted into a mere social “accomplishment,” the sole object of which is to add to the value of the possessor in the social market. The champion piece of embroidery is framed and pointed out as the work of the daughter of the house; the solitary basket of wax flowers is displayed in a conspicuous manner on an elaborate étagère; the water-colors are studiously hung in the best-lighted part of the drawing-room; the overture of William Tell is invariably called for on the slightest provocation, and played off indiscriminately before the least appreciative as well as the most artistic of the family's visiting list. And, by the way, what more egregious sham can there be than the conventional interest in music so universally professed? It is a matter of course to exclaim, “Oh! I dote on music”; and, on the basis of this broad assertion, what ludicrous exemplifications one is condemned to listen to! One will add, “Oh! yes, and I do so love Strauss' valses”; another will tell you there is no music like the bagpipes, and no dance like an Irish jig or an old-time Virginia reel. One gushing young lady will call the “Maud Valse” and the “Guards' Polka” “perfectly divine,” while her sentimental friend will murmur that “Home, Sweet Home” is her favorite. With many people, a collection of ballads is identical with the whole science of music; their sympathies and comprehension can go no further.

To many, again, music stands for comic songs and Christy's Minstrels. If an instrumental piece takes more than five minutes to get through, people begin to shift their feet and whisper to their neighbors; of course, when it is over, they will turn round and sweetly simper: “Oh! do play us something more; that last was so lovely.” In ninety-nine out of a hundred houses where you are doomed for your sins to hear music, you hear trash. It is hardly worth criticising, either in the choice or in the execution, and, one [pg 130] would therefore think, hardly worth telling a lie for. And yet this conventional admiration, what is it but a lie pure and simple?

To return to our belles and their murdered home-life. Not only is their time so mortgaged that they have none left for the joys of the family hearth, but they have none to spare for self-culture. A woman's education does not close on the threshold of the school-room. Every advance made later by voluntary application to study is a greater stride than all the compulsory teaching she receives in her school-life. If society materially interferes with this self-development, it has a heavy responsibility to bear. Each mind thus stunted, crude, and unevenly balanced reduces the sum total of usefulness in this world, and adds to the dead-weight of shiftless beings whose room would be decidedly better than their company in the scheme of human advancement. A frivolous, fashionable man or woman is a monster upon earth, a being whom nature certainly does not recognize, and whom religion reprobates.

The most satisfactory reflection whereby to dispel the effect of this dismal picture is this: the thing carries its antidote with it to all but hopelessly narrow minds. The pleasures of dancing within an area of a yard square, and of listening night after night to the same insipid gallantries and insincere congratulations, cannot fail to pall after a time. A French author says that after the age of thirty, a woman of any account does not dance; she leaves this pleasure to those who have no other.64 As with all pleasures which address the senses rather than the intellect, a surfeit often proves a cure. You have tasted all the delights to be got from certain things, and the sameness at last begins to pall. There could be no more effectual check on the levelling spirit of the age than a voluntary renunciation for a time on the part of the possessors of wealth and power, and a temporary enjoyment of these honors on the part of those who envy them. How soon should we see the harassed artisan fly from the post he once coveted, the working-girl tear off the finery she envied, the millionaire pro tem. entreat his coachman to change places with him! Those who, in the midst of their grinding toil, envy the man in broadcloth, the woman in her barouche, whom they pass and repass day by day, quite leave out of the scales the weight of inner anxiety, grief, or often only ennui, which burdens the rich and fashionable. If they could tell how this one's heart is devoured by jealousy, how that one's home is rendered gloomy by his too plodding ambition, or unhappy by his wife's irritable temper! If they could guess how that sickly, white child, seated among its furs in that dark, handsome clarence, causes sleepless nights and heavy fears to that anxious mother in velvet robe and seal-skin cloak! If they only knew the secret remorse for ever gnawing at the heart of this exquisite of the clubs, whispering the name of a girl once happy and innocent—a name now to him the synonym of a crime; or if they could tell the thoughts of the substantial merchant, as he turns away with heavy steps from a counting-house which, the more astounding is its financial success, the more it resembles, in all but in name, a [pg 131] gambling-den! And, above all, did they but know how often the sad votary of fashion, in some moment of long-repressed but untamable natural emotion, cries out for the freedom of the poor and their robust health! That is the saddest part of this grim masque—no one is contented, no one believes in himself or in his fellow-man; it is a drama in which the actors know full well that when the foot-lights are put out and the curtain of night falls, they will no longer be what they seem. So the gigantic sham grows day by day, stifling nature, burying the intellect, blurring the moral sense, fossilizing the whole being. Outward shapes of humanity remain, but, by some fell enchantment, the spiritual essence is sucked away, and an automaton, skilfully contrived, represents what once was a man.

Even pleasure no longer lurks in its outward forms when “society” has thus worked its will on men. The real enjoyment is gone, but its dismal appearance must be assumed. Not to shock the world—your world—the flavorless fruit must be eaten with a good grace, the graceful draperies of social decorum must be hung on the skeleton. The wheel goes round, and it is so long since you have trusted to your own feet for guidance that you must needs keep hold of the conventional support. It is very difficult to win back your independence once it has been surrendered. The world—your world—is a pitiless task-master, and does not pension off its former servants. If you leave it, you do so at your own risk; and if you can conquer no position which merit and your own individuality are enough to gain, you may resign yourself to the rôle of a dummy. We are not sure that some of the happiest people on earth are not, socially speaking, dummies. But when you come to think of it, what a strange, magnetic power has the little circle that forms your world! When a lady has crowded from five to six hundred guests in her narrow drawing-rooms, she sees before her all the persons who, to her, constitute society. Of these, perhaps one-third are of hazy position; they are but outsiders, candidates for the social honors which will only be bestowed fully and ungrudgingly on their grandchildren. Their opinion is not of much value. When you dissect the remaining thirds, you mentally check off many a respectable and amiable person as incapable of forming any independent opinion; others you secretly stigmatize as gossips, shallow-minded, or spiteful; and the circle of responsible people becomes gradually narrower and narrower. Hardly a score do you credit with sound judgment and discriminating sense. But these are precisely the judges you do not fear, unless your conscience pricks you. They are generous and large-minded; they stand apart from the crowd, with wider sympathies and larger appreciation; they see beyond the present, and unconsciously you find yourself classing them as exceptions to the rule. They do not form the impalpable social tribunal, then? It must be, therefore, the mediocre company of gossips. Search a little into your consciousness or your memory, and you will doubtless find it is so. A recent novelist gives an apt illustration of the relative proportion, in the eyes of an old English country gentleman, between his county, England, and the world. A diagram contains, first, a large, irregular outline representing the county; [pg 132] a round ball ten times smaller typifies England, and an infinitesimal point in space denotes the whole civilized world. This is the way we all look at things. No doubt it is instinctive. To us, “the world” consists of a hundred old women, eminently respectable and unctuously compassionate, who gossip about our private affairs over their tea and hot rolls. This is the core of that dread tribunal which we tremble to offend. It is indeed a hard tyrant, if it can succeed in chaining us to its car, after the pleasures which it dispenses have lost their flavor for us. But, unfortunately, half mankind acknowledge this species of bondage, and we must presume voluntarily, or at least passively.

Were it not that this thraldom is so unspeakably sad, it would seem such a farce, if looked upon dispassionately from without! One might almost liken a ball or great official reception in one of the capitals of fashion to the mediæval Dance of Death. The scene is brilliant with deceptive gaiety; the whole surface of society ripples with smiles; the maskers all wear their brightest garments and their stereotyped badges of mirth. There, in the doorway, stands a lovely woman, in rose-color from head to foot—a cherub's face enshrined in a sunset cloud, so perhaps an artist would fancy. She smiles bewitchingly, and coquets with her fan, while talking to a gray-bearded hero from India. But she has made up her mind to sacrifice her honor to her love; tomorrow, at dawn, she will leave her husband's home and her baby's cradle; and, poor victim! she is panting under the weight of this wretched secret even while she listens to old-world gallantry from her fatherly admirer. Not far from her stands another fair form, not more pure in outward semblance, hardly less beautiful—a gifted woman, a true wife, smiling and conversing as calmly as any one in the room; but she knows that she has a fatal internal disease, and that at any moment death might suddenly overtake her. Not to alarm her husband, she joins in every festivity, carrying her secret with her as the Spartan did the fox who was gnawing at his bosom. Amid the whirl of the dance, you perhaps single out that young girl, fair, fresh, seventeen. She is not as happy as she seems; her eyes roam shyly around; there is one whom she both longs and dreads to see, for she is not sure whether she will not find him by the side of her school friend, now her rival. And among the men, how many, beneath their masks, bear sorrowing or anxious hearts! That elderly man, so calmly listening to a fluent diplomate, knows that to-morrow it will be noised abroad that he is bankrupt—utterly ruined. When he leaves this gay scene to-night, it will be for the railway, which will bear him out of the country in a few hours. Yonder pale man, who wears his regulation smile so listlessly that you cannot help likening it to a garment loosely hung, is here in the interest of a friend, and is waiting an opportunity to speak a word of cordial recommendation to a ministerial acquaintance, formerly a college friend, now a power in the cabinet. His heart is heavy with a private grief; his child lies dangerously ill at home, and his poor distracted wife needs his comfort and support; but, true to his word, he forgets himself for an hour or two, that he may not miss the golden opportunity on which [pg 133] hang the hopes of his friend's whole future. In the centre of the dance, the tall form of a Life-guardsman is prominent; to-morrow he will have disappeared from the world, and only his intimates will know that he had long determined to enter a Catholic seminary, and study for the priesthood. He did not want his decision discussed beforehand, and took the best means of silencing curiosity by appearing the gayest of the gay. Every one here to-night has a long record oppressing his heart—something that makes the present scene quite secondary in his thoughts, and that causes in his breast a bitter feeling of reaction against the mockery of which he forms a part. And this is the thing called pleasure! How little we know of the people with whom we spend our lives—those that touch our hands daily, and speak to us commonplace words of courtesy! Surely the bees in their hive, the ants on their hill, the beavers and prairie-dogs of a “village,” know each other better than we do our next-door neighbors! We cut the thread of a guilty reverie by some observation about the weather, or we laugh the unmeaning laugh that supplies the place of an answer, perhaps inconvenient to ourselves, and this laugh jars on the tenderest memories of a sorrowful past uppermost just then in our neighbor's mind. There is something appalling in all this—the tragedy lies so near the surface, and we tread upon it so often!

The trivial aspect of society is oftener still before us—the inanity of morning calls, the gossip of a provincial town, the petty local interests that absorb three-fourths of mankind. Why, we wonder, should general conversation invariably breed gossip, while a tête-à-tête sometimes elicits real information and rational interchange of ideas? The same person who in a company of five or six has nothing but commonplace remarks to offer, often opens out in private though yet only ceremonial conversation, and startles you by original opinions and valuable suggestions. The French are perhaps the only people who shine in mixed conversation; they have the talent of causerie—a thing that with us hardly exists; the very word is untranslatable. A Frenchwoman can be sparkling where we can only be dull; she can dance on a cobweb, while we should break down on a cart-rope. Gallic vivacity can make even the details of the kitchen amusing, while we should be insufferably prosy on the same subject.

How well we remember the ponderous magnates of our neighborhood in the county! The stately morning calls, the inevitable topics of local interest, the solemnity of that “quarter of an hour” which we were fain to liken to that rendered famous by an old author. Unfailing resources, O Court Journal! the royal visit to such and such a place, the marriage of so-and-so, etc., etc. Then the flower-garden and the poultry-yard (hereditary hobbies with English ladies), the agricultural show, the coming election. And then the formidable ordeal comes to an end, probably to the great relief of both parties. Neither of the two cared for the subjects discussed or for the interlocutor discussing them; but etiquette demanded the waste of fifteen minutes, and the laws of society are as those of the Medes and Persians. In a lower rank of life, the proprieties are perhaps still more rigidly enforced, and the only [pg 134] difference would be in the choice of topics. George Eliot's inimitable gossip in The Mill on the Floss describes that to a nicety, and indeed, although written in England, might do duty almost as well anywhere else. The quality of the house linen, the antiquity of the silver spoons, the solemn conclave over a new bonnet, and the delinquencies of the maid-servant—such would be the staple. In every case you see the mask is on, it fits close, and no form of “society” is disregarded!

Staying for a few days at a friend's house is a terrible trial in polite society. You are never a moment off duty; you have to change costumes as often as an actress in a play where the “unities” are “nowhere”; and, above all, if you are a woman, you have the dismal prospect of three hours' morning talk with a bevy of your own sex, your hands meanwhile engaged in some useless piece of fancy-work. The topics of conversation may be guessed, their range not being very extensive; of course, somebody's marriage or probable engagement is discussed, silks and laces are made up into imaginary toilets with surprising rapidity, the history of some refractory scholar and the details of the clothing club are next drawn upon, and it is very seldom that the talk glides into any interesting or rational channel. It really is a pity that people will persist in talking of each other and not of things. So much might be altered for the better in society, if conversation were not so exclusively personal. Mutual improvement is a thing altogether overlooked in the civilized world. Even men succumb to gossip; for what is the staple of club-talk? So-and-so has “sold out,” and gone into a less expensive regiment; such an one seems very attentive to Miss So-and-so; such another was deeply offended because he was not asked to Lady So-and-so's party; the shooting in Lord C——'s preserves is confoundedly bad this year; Mr. A—— thinks of contesting the next election at B——. Interminable waves of gossip flood the world from the club as from the boudoir, though the latter certainly does by far the most mischief.

We are told that “no man can serve two masters.” In all relations in life this is eminently true. Intellect and Mammon scarcely agree better than God and Mammon. The proper atmosphere of intellectual life is peace, and a student's career should be blameless in morals as well as tranquil in experience. Fashion and society forbid this; they necessitate loss of time, and unsettle the even balance of the mind. For one who values his calmness of spirit and his health of body there is a golden rule, which, if he weigh all external pleasures by it, will infallibly secure him the peace he needs: No pleasure is safe but that which leaves no regret behind it on the morrow. Who has not felt the wretched sensation left by pleasures not fulfilling this condition? Who does not remember the feverish pulse, the troubled dreams, the vague uneasiness, the sickly apathy that follow on a night spent in violent and unnatural amusement? One wiser than our generation has said:

“The desires of sensuality draw thee abroad; but, when the hour is past, what dost thou bring home but a weight upon thy conscience and a dissipation of heart? A joyful going abroad often brings forth a sorrowful coming home, and a [pg 135] merry evening makes a sad morning.”65

These words, written centuries ago, contain volumes, and are not less applicable now than in the middle ages.

We often hear it said that man is a gregarious animal. He needs companionship, and clings to his kind. This it is that induces that more stirring life which distinguishes the city from the province; which quickens the perceptions and enlarges the sympathies. But the perfection of the intellectual life is not found in cities. The world-wide influences that stir great centres have locomotive powers that are superior to the channels of human contrivance. It needs not the friction of mind with mind to originate great ideas or engender great deeds. The companionship needful for men of talent lies not in the social circle, but in the library. As Ruskin has said in one of his lectures, we should each of us be proud of being admitted to the friendship of some great poet, artist, or philosopher; and yet we neglect that inner communion which is open to us at any moment with the spirits of all the departed heroes of the mind, whose choicest thoughts are stored on the shelves of our libraries. It is true that the straitened circumstances of many a scholar keep him chain-bound within the limits of great, black, smoky cities; for, since he cannot possess individually the literary treasures that are the necessary food of his intellectual life, he is obliged to slake his thirst at the common fountain of the public libraries and lecture-rooms. But we were speaking rather of the ideal, the perfect scholarly life, which implies a combination of pursuits. The mind which looks to the highest products of ancient and modern thought for its legitimate pabulum can never be but half satisfied with anything less than perfection in its accessory surroundings. Such a mind is naturally allied to a sensitive and imaginative organization, and the coarse contrasts between the peaceful study and the common street-sights of every large city must necessarily be painful to it. Even so the petty gossip and “storms in a tea-cup” of a rural centre; for all that is mean and small is foreign to that calm atmosphere in which sages and poets live. Those sages, those poets, in their day, may have lived, it is true, among the turmoil and strife of small interests; but death and the lapse of time seem to have bereft them, in our eyes, of any such disenchantments; we see them transformed and idealized, and we gladly aim at reproducing, not their commonplace lives, but their spiritual existence. This existence still survives, and it is to this that we wish to ally our own. For this perfection of lofty companionship, the solitude of a country life is most conducive, but it must be a solitude of leisure, of freedom from conventionalities, and, unluckily, of at least some degree of wealth. This latter condition is fulfilled in so few cases that our ideal remains but too often unrealized in this work-a-day world, yet none the less is it the true and only dignified ideal of the intellectual life. The instinct of those born with a spark of genius will bear us out in this assertion; no miser longs for wealth more thirstingly than a book-worm. There is an innate sympathy with the outward beauties of nature which distinguishes the scholar even more than it does the gipsy.

[pg 136]

But, as a crowning condition to the enjoyment of these beauties, he must be free from the common cares and interests of men; he must walk in a higher sphere than those whose sympathies cannot mingle with his; he must walk alone in spirit, even though his body may jostle the unthinking crowd. Have we made our scholar a misanthrope? Yes, if thereby is meant a hater of society, with its shams and its stage-like scenery; no, if you understand thereby a hater of humankind. But be sure of one thing: a man learns to love men more the less he sees of them, and the more, by their absence, they leave him his charitable estimate of their probable good qualities. No doubt the earth itself looks fairer from the standpoint of a fixed star than it does to-day to any toiling wayfarer on its rough pathway.

To S. Joseph: On The Day Of My First Mass.

Type of the Priesthood with its Virgin Spouse,
The Immaculate Church, our Mother ever fair!
Since even to me God's wondrous grace allows
An office more than seraphim may share,
I kneel to thee, most gentle Saint, and dare
To choose thee patron of the trust. Oh! make
My evermore fidelity thy care,
And keep me Mary's, for her own sweet sake!
Her knight before, and poet, now her priest
(Nor less her slave—a thousandfold the more),
I glory in a bondage but increased,
And kiss the chain her dear De Montfort wore,
With “Omnia per Mariam” mottoed o'er:
Which seals me her apostle, though the least.
Feast of the Seven Dolors, March 31, 1871.
[pg 137]

Odd Stories. VI.—King Ruli.

Once upon a time there was, on this side of the Hartz Mountains, a secret place, where, touching a hidden spring, you found yourself in a trice between immense walls of rock, whence a mysterious person, dressed in red from top to toe, took you into a great cavern, the first of a series of vast caves filled with hogsheads and tuns of wine and beer, and lighted up in such a manner that the brilliant stalactites with which it was hung sparkled and flashed like the most precious gems in a jeweller's dream. The awe inspired by this scene hardly left you a moment to observe that the nose of your guide was even redder than his body, when you were ushered through another secret door into the domain of a grand old castle, the battlements of which, covered with moss, overlooked a pastoral valley and its white flocks, and seemed to rule the landscape, notwithstanding the presence of many other castles, as if it were the house of a monarch. And so it was. Here dwelt King Ruli, the patron of minnesingers and jolly cavaliers—that stalwart king whose brow, and beard, and port were the very signs of genial majesty. Pleasure ruled the board where he sat; and when the juice of the Weinberg warmed up in the blood of the lords and minstrels in Weinbergland, the ten noble companions of King Ruli swept the mystic chords of the harp, and with voices free sang in echoing strain their merry roundelay:

We're rovers all, we're singers five
And rhymers five; come round, come round;
Ye five shall give us honest rhyme,
And we shall give you sound.
Let laurels crown his great gray head,
A big arm-chair his throne be made.
Then sing:
Ruli, King Ruli! And he shall be our king.

To sounds of cheerful thoughts like these each royal night wore on, while the castled lords of hill and valley feasted at the king's table, and made merry over jest and story, to the clinking of many glasses and in the pleasant uproar of many voices. Seated in his chair at the head of the table, he drank from a great flagon of crystal, or smoked from a pipe as long as his body, the bowl of which required a page-in-waiting to support it, lest, in a drowsy moment, it should drop from the mouth of the king. Below him were ranged the ten minnesingers, who smoked from one immense bowl of tobacco, having long stems that led to all their mouths, whence issued a volume of smoke, which, as it rose around the great burning bowl, was like the fume of a conflagration; and thus betimes the merry minnesingers sang:

Ah! never once so jolly face
In green old Arcady appeared;
And as he drinks, the drink flows down
His flowing, streaming beard.
He's six feet high, his beard is long,
And broad his body is and strong.
Then sing:
King Ruli, King Ruli! He shall be our king.

No king could resist such flattery as this, and it was with truth that his minstrels pictured him standing, and, in a tone of majestic joviality, wishing the health of the whole company:

True liegemen all, I give ye joy,
For I am host and landlord here;
Ho! varlets, bring me Rhenish wine,
And flagons fill of beer!
Right red Rhine wine! right red Rhine wine!
Was ever glass so clear and fine?
So sing:
Ruli, King Ruli! And he shall be our king!
[pg 138]

Late in the night the sound of song and story made for the gentle monarch a lullaby, and his head rested on his bosom in slumber, as he laid down his flagon. Had his chief minstrel then tickled his great ear, it would not have waked him up; and so, seeing that the king had filled himself with slumber as with the drugs of Morpheus, his lieges sang:

But, hold! the monarch's sleepy grown;
His pipe has dropt, he's drowsed and sped.
Hark! how he snores! Wide open doors;
We'll bury him in bed.
Then, while our loyal shoulders bear
His burden, thus our burden hear:
King Ruli!
The king is dead; long live the king!
And live again, King Ruli!

But as night after night of song and wine went by, the king grew older and older in his cups. Little he saw or cared that new revellers, new minstrels, new lords, had one by one taken the places of old ones, and that the speech of the new-comers was loud and hoarse, and their song ribald and discordant. Those who remained with him of his old friends and retainers had gradually imbibed the character of the latest revellers, and their potations were deeper and their jests broader than ever. Once in a while the king groaned and complained that his beer was too bitter; but they so flattered his jokes, and praised his beard, and spoke of his noble brow, and his royal blood, and his glorious voice, that he sang and roared as of old, and swallowed his beer without further complaint. On such an occasion as this it required the cynical courage of the minstrel Knipfenbausenstein to sing, as he did, from the end of the hall, which he had just entered after a long absence:

There were ten vintners old and sick,
And all their wine had gone to lees;
Of empty casks they made them cells:
Oh! very bitter folks were these.
Misgives me now, good friends, to think
A king should be a king of drink.
But sing:
Ruli, King Ruli! this night shall be our king!

The minstrel doubtless had in mind the ten companions of the king, who, being no longer able to keep up with the stalwart Ruli in the vigor of his potations, had cried out as with one voice against their sovereign, declaring that his beer was bitter beyond endurance, and his pleasures a gilded despotism. For this offence the king, swearing roundly that they were traitor knights, who knew not how to be moderate drinkers or loyal feasters, consigned them to his darkest wine caverns, where they were doomed to dwell in empty hogsheads for many a year.

Now, after a life of good living, the rare old king sat in his great velvet-cushioned chair, warming his legs, which were rather swollen, and his feet, which were encased in large slippers, before a fire sufficient to cook an ox. Glided to his side his eldest child, the queenly Hermengilde, and said softly: “Alas! sire, and hast thou not heard that my first-born has killed young Siegbert of Bierhalle, in a drunken brawl, and wilt thou persist in these foolish feasts?”

“Tut, tut, silly girl! This feasting hurts not thy fasting. 'Twere better to kill his man in drink than sober; and, tut, tut! we must not grieve for ever, child. Wine is for the drinking, and life for the living. Heaven send thee luck!” With this the jovial king took a draught from his flagon.

Ere he had smoked his pipe, the fair Joanna, second princess of the blood, whose wont it was to fill the king's pipe with affectionate care, said to him musingly: “Methinks it is the night when our brother Max fell over into the chasm and was killed. Ill befits that its peace be marred by roysterers whom, say they, he had most to blame for his death.”

“What! and have ye turned dames [pg 139] of the cloister, that ye seek to make crows' nests of my beard and gray hairs? Umph! my lady counsellors; and ye would have no more wine drank because rocks are steep! Did not sober Hans fall into the well, and ere thou wast born? Ay, but a brave lad was Max, and a merry one. A glass to his memory!”

The king was unaware, as he thus spoke, of the near presence of a reverend and noble matron, whose face bore marks of care and grief. It was the queen Roxalana. A child of tender years ran from her side to climb her grandsire's knee, but, seeing that the royal flagon stood in the way, exclaimed: “O grandfather! that horrid drink!” The king, with a majestic motion, waved the child away, and she returned in tears to the side of the mute queen.

“So, my lady, queen of woebegones and nurse of whimperings, thou art here to tease thy lord and trouble his gout. 'Tis well. Train the brats of the land to do imps' work to their fathers, and make your daughters have long faces; but have a care, goodwife, lest an old man's patience be too weak for this old maid's gossip. Pray, what new worm is in thy brain, that thou tellest we must not drink the cup of our fathers?”

Not long after this scene, a loud clash of arms was heard in the court, and the debauched minnesinger, Wittekind, staggered into the hall, his face stained with blood as with wine. The king's guests had just drunk their tenth glass, when a crowd of rioters, armed to the teeth, rushed in upon them, and, breaking glasses right and left, proclaimed the downfall of King Ruli. With a bitter and heavy heart, the king recognized among the crowds who now drank to his perdition many of his old revellers; and, seizing a favorable moment, fled totteringly into the wine mountain. There, to his great surprise, he found that all the tuns and hogsheads of wine and beer which had been stored away were quite empty. Once more he joined his ten companions locked up in the wine caves, lamenting bitterly that the wine of his life had gone to lees, and much tormented by the man in red, whose nose was like fire.

Epigram. The Widow's Mites.

Two mites, two drops—yet all her house and land—
Falle from a steady heart though trembling hand.
The others' wanton wealth foams high and brave.
The others cast away; she only gave.
Crashaw.
[pg 140]

Old Versus New.

One pleasant afternoon, in the autumn just passed, I lay stretched out lazily on a mow of new-mown hay, in a large, old-fashioned country barn.

It was still redolent with that odor peculiar to hay newly cut, having been placed in the barn but a few hours before.

In the work of cutting, raking, and storing, patent machines of every description had assisted; and, lying there cosily enjoying the effect, I had plenty of leisure to think upon the cause.

With my mind full of reflections on the wonderful improvements of the age, and vague thoughts of labor-saving machines, it was not long until I was off in a sound slumber, to which a hearty dinner had by no means indisposed me. I was soon in the theatre of dreams, and the first actor whose voice I heard was an old scythe. Apparently, the peg on which he hung was rotten, and, giving way, let the old fellow fall with a shock that seemed to stir up what little life yet remained in him; for I soon heard, in a queer, cracked voice, the following complaint:

“Well, here I am at last! Hung up on the wall years ago, like an old coat that's put aside for a rainy day, my master couldn't even see to it that I had a safe peg; but, hanging me on that old rotten thing, I've got a fall that my poor bones won't be the better of for a month to come.”

With that, one of the patent mowers, showing his polished teeth, gruffly asked: “What are you growling about? What's that you're saying about the master?”

“It ill suits you,” said the scythe, “to put on airs, though you are rubbed and polished, and, drawn by a dashing team, ride about on wheels. Upstarts always assume great importance, and the latest converts are the most zealous partisans; when you have served the master as long and as faithfully as I have, you may have some right to maintain his cause.”

“Why,” said the mower, “you're quite a preacher, to be sure; pray tell us what cause you have for grievance? Is it, forsooth, because your peg gave way you are so highly incensed? Even if you did get a fall, I think you ought to be grateful that you are housed high and dry, and not left out in the rain to rust.”

“My fall is a small matter indeed,” said the scythe, “compared with my other wrongs. When I see you, with your gay paint and glittering teeth, eating up the food that I enjoyed for years; when I see fair meadows of clover, and valleys filled with golden grain, all given over to your rapacious maw, and I, I who once received all this as my just right, allowed but the little scraps that grow around a stump—when I see all this, my temper is tried to the utmost at the injustice that is done me.”

“Yes,” chimed in an old and well-nigh toothless rake, “you may well complain of the scanty share that is doled out to you; I [pg 141] too, hang here neglected, and, when I am taken down, get equally tough morsels for my poor teeth.”

Whereupon several hoes, filled with deadly hate against their enemies of the plough family, now took courage, as they heard the boldly uttered words of their companions, and, speaking up with one voice, said: “We likewise have reason to complain of our master. There was a time when we were thought fit for any labor; we turned up the earth to support the potato-vines; we loosed the earth around the corn; and that splendid vegetable, the cabbage, was tended by our trusty blades; now we are deemed fit for scarce anything but to clean out manure, to scrape offal from the yard, and, in fact, do all the dirty work of the place.” It seemed as if the spirit of rebellion was abroad; for at this, the flail that hung idly on a spike followed with a long speech.

“You have all,” said the flail, “good reasons for being indignant with the master of this farm; my friend, the scythe, may justly complain of the rich harvests given over to his rival, the patent mower; our old companion, the rake—an exceptional rake, by the way—may consistently inveigh against the master for giving him in his old age naught but the hardest morsels of food; and our worthy associates, the hoes, may well be indignant, and look with contempt and scorn on the foul legacy bequeathed to them—a legacy which hoes of their stamp should disdain to embrace. But he has treated none of you so cruelly as he has treated me; forced into a disagreeable union with what he calls my handle, battered almost to pieces in battering out his grain, I yet respected him for the care he took of me in the months when I was useless to him. But now he has new-fangled machines to do his work, and, uncared for and unnoticed, dust covers me so completely that I can scarce open eyes or mouth. Base ingratitude has been my portion, and I certainly may be excused if I feel displeased, ay, enraged. I may be pardoned if I seek not simply redress, but revenge.” As the flail ended, a deep murmur of assent filled the whole place; and the patent mower, who had kept strict silence since his last question to the scythe, now spoke up.

“My worthy friends,” said he, “I am indeed very sorry to be, with my companions, the innocent cause of all your troubles. I have listened to your complaints, and cannot deny that they are, in the main, just. But you should know that the master seeks only his own comfort, and, whatever care he takes of us, it is only to relieve himself from labor. As I reflect upon your present position, I see myself similarly situated; for the time will come when I and my associates will have to stand aside for newer and more vigorous servants of toil.

“The master, too, will one day find himself in the same condition. He also will become old, and will look around on younger and heartier hands doing his work; and, as he grows still older, he must suffer many a slight, for the world wants nothing it cannot use.

“Now that the period of your usefulness has gone by, strive to become reconciled to your fate; murmur no more, accept your lot with resignation, be satisfied with the work you have done, and patiently wait for the end.”

Curious to hear how the malcontents would take this bit of philosophy, [pg 142] I leaned over to catch the first word; but, leaning too far, I slid off the mow, and falling, not on the floor, fortunately, but on some bundles of straw, was rudely awakened to find that I had been asleep some hours; for evening had come on, and it was now so dark in the barn that I could see nothing of the bold disputants of my dream.

Hastening to the house, I amused the family by the recital of this contest of the old against the new; and, profiting by my dream, I have since resolved to accept the mower's advice, and be always reconciled to time's changes.

New Publications.

The Life of the Blessed Peter Favre, S.J., First Companion of S. Ignatius. (Vol. VIII. of F. Coleridge's Quarterly Series.) London: Burns & Oates. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)

The history of the Society of Jesus is rich in abundant materials of untiring interest. The Blessed Peter Favre's apostolic career was short, having been but of seven years' duration, yet crowded with astonishing results. The particular fact most strikingly brought into view in this Life is the one which of all others is the most shameful for the Reformation—viz., that it had no intellectual or moral origin or character, but sprang merely from the sins and vices which had so frightfully corrupted a vast number of all classes of Christians in the miserable XVIth century. F. Favre saw this clearly, and often said that if Luther himself could have been brought to sincere contrition and repentance for his sins, his errors in doctrine would have disappeared without any argumentation. Accordingly, he set himself to preach like a missionary, to exhort and win persons to a reformation of life, and to labor with wonderful success to convert sinners to God, as the shortest and surest way to check the progress of heresy.

The present volume is, like all those which have preceded it, carefully and neatly prepared as a book of choice reading for persons of cultivated spiritual and literary tastes.

The Pride of Lexington: A Tale of the American Revolution. By William Seton, author of Romance of the Charter Oak, The Pioneers, etc., etc. New York: P. O'Shea. 1874.

Mr. Seton is a nephew of the celebrated foundress of the American branch of the institute of the Daughters of Charity, and a brother of the Rt. Rev. Monsignor Seton. He served with honor as an officer of one of our New York regiments during the late war, and since that time has especially devoted himself to the study of early New England history, which he has illustrated by his historical novels. Our first impression respecting the merits of a previous novel by Mr. Seton, in which he took great pains to depict the manners and customs of the early Puritan inhabitants of Connecticut and Massachusetts (the Romance of the Charter Oak), was not very favorable. We have since been disposed to think that we did not duly appreciate the skill and talent of the author, and have found other persons, well qualified to judge of such matters, who have considered the Charter Oak as a remarkably successful effort of its kind. Both that novel and the present one are characterized by a marked realism, like that of a certain Dutch and Flemish school of painting. Probably they do present a more correct and faithful picture of those old times than that given by writers who have more idealism and romance in their delineation, like James F. Cooper. We confess to a taste, [pg 143] nevertheless, for these more romantic authors. And, speaking in cool criticism, we think a novelist, in following the highest principles and ends of his art, ought to idealize more than Mr. Seton is disposed to do. He has a broad sense of the humorous and ridiculous in commonplace characters and actions. The absurdities and trivialities of common life are too faithfully represented in his pages, and there is frequently a degree of coarseness in the description of vulgar persons which is disagreeable. Yankee children, however, devour Mr. Seton's stories with avidity, which is a good proof of their naturalness. And, putting aside the peculiarity which we have noticed, the story lately published, The Pride of Lexington, is, even more than the first one, a composition of real originality and power, establishing fully the author's ability as a historical novelist. The battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill are well described; the heroes, and especially the heroine, of the story, with the plot of private incidents and events that make the filling up of the historical scenes, are interesting; there is much genuine comic humor in the by-play, especially in the episode of Billy Smith and the black coon, called “the parson,” and we are quite sure that the genuine, unsophisticated children of the by-gone generation of New England forefathers, if they get hold of The Pride of Lexington, will pay the author the tribute of an oft-repeated and delighted perusal.

Conferences on the Spiritual Life.By the Rev. Father de Ravignan, S.J. Translated from the French by Mrs. Abel Ram. London: R. Washbourne. 1873. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)

F. de Ravignan was undoubtedly an orator. The impression which he made upon his hearers is enough to justify us in making this assertion. The orator must be heard; when his words are written, their fire is gone, and they no longer burn. In the case of F. de Ravignan especially, there must have been much in the magnetism of the man, in his earnestness, in his deep religious feeling, in the firm conviction and strong love, shown in the manner in which he spoke; for in his printed conferences and sermons we do not find great eloquence or beauty of diction or depth of thought. There are none of those bursts of passion, of those profound thoughts and comprehensive views, in which a whole subject is condensed into a single phrase, as strong as it is striking, which we so often meet with in the conferences of Lacordaire. Nor yet is there that stately flow of language, at once simple and majestic, that evenness of style and unbroken sequence of thought, which characterize the discourses of F. Felix. And yet neither Lacordaire nor Felix excited greater enthusiasm or made a profounder impression in the pulpit of Notre Dame than De Ravignan.

If he had not the depth and comprehensiveness of thought of the one, or the sonorous diction and lofty manner of the other, he must have been, in some respects at least, a greater orator than either. The conferences contained in the volume now before us were preached to the “Enfants de Marie,” in the Convent of the Sacred Heart, in Paris, during the years 1855, 1856, and 1857. They were not written out by F. de Ravignan, but were compiled by one of his hearers from notes taken at the time of their delivery, and are, we think, equally as good as the conferences preached in Notre Dame from 1837 to 1846, which were published in four volumes shortly after his death. They are simply familiar discourses to ladies in the world on the most important subjects connected with their duties as Christians; in which we find all the best qualities that distinguished F. Ravignan as a preacher—sincere piety and much earnestness, united with delicacy and refinement both of thought and language. He does not inveigh against the vices of society, but rather seeks to describe the beauties of the Christian life; to show its dignity and responsibilities, its perfect harmony with the highest aspirations of the soul and the soundest dictates of reason.

The name of F. de Ravignan will of itself be sufficient to obtain a wide circulation for this English version of his conferences.

Ecclesiastical Antiquities of London.By Alex. Wood, M.A. Oxon. London: Burns & Oates. 1874. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)

This book is quite a storehouse of curious and valuable information—just the kind of matter that would be overlooked by the civil historian, and which the reverent [pg 144] chronicler (alas! an almost extinct species, now) alone would be apt to take cognizance of.

It doubtless surprised many intelligent readers to find what interesting facts even a cursory investigation would bring to light, while reading what our “Looker-Back” saw while in London. This work is a treat of a similar character. It is constructed on the plan of an itinerary, and divided into nine “walks,” in which the most notable localities are looked at from an archæological point of view, re-peopled by the actors on the stage at the respective dates, and reanimated by the deeds then being performed.

Notes of the Wandering Jew; or, The Jesuits and their Opponents. Edited by John Fairplay, Esq. Dublin: McGlashan & Gill. 1873. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)

We are doubtless indebted to the famous romance of Eugene Sue for these notes of the Wandering Jew, in which this extraordinary personage, after his ceaseless journeyings for more than eighteen hundred years, finally turns up as an author, and, surprising as it may seem, a defender of the Jesuits.

The first part of the little volume is devoted to S. Ignatius. The Wandering Jew had seen him on two occasions—first in Spain, in his hot youth, with his light, graceful form clad in a page's rich attire, with the plumed cap and velvet mantle, the hawk upon his wrist, the hounds following at his heels, whilst his foot seemed hardly to touch the ground as he walked; and again, at Rome, he saw him in his old age, arrayed in the flowing gown of the priest, with the calm of deliberate wisdom on his high forehead, advancing with a sweet and awful majesty to the altar.

“I loved and revered him then,” says the Jew, “albeit a stranger to his communion; and I cannot recall the memory of that marked and expressive countenance, whether in the gallant boy or the venerable and saintly old man, without feeling some interest in the fate of that illustrious order which he alone created, and which still bears the impress of his character and genius.”

The remaining chapters are devoted to The Spiritual Exercises, “The Constitutions of the Order,” “The Missions and Schools of the Jesuits,” and, finally, to answering some of the charges which Protestants and infidels have brought against the Society. There is a very good chapter on the Provincial Letters, in which Pascal, with a wit and power of sarcasm surpassed only by the artful unfairness with which he treats the subject, has sought to make the whole order responsible for the extravagant opinions of some few Spanish and Flemish Jesuits.

The author, who is evidently not a Catholic, has written with great fairness and good sense, and we most willingly recommend his book to our readers.

The Red Flag, and Other Poems. By the Hon. Roden Noel. London: Strahan & Co. 1872.

We have been asked to notice this book. But how are Catholics to regard it with favor, when, before they have read far in the poem of “The Red Flag,” they come upon a passage containing an insult too gross and slanderous, we should have thought, for even Exeter Hall? We forbear to quote the words. Suffice it to say that the author, ignoring the martyred archbishop and priests, represents the church as gloating over the execution of the communists in Paris.

Affectation, verboseness, and sensuous description characterize these poems as works of art; while the metre of “The Red Flag” is in the worst taste, and the lyrics are spoilt by all sorts of quirks and the clumsiest divisions of stanzas.

 

The Catholic Publication Society has in press, and will soon publish, The Life of St. John of the Cross, 1 vol. 12mo, and The Farm of Muiceron and Madame Agnes, in 1 vol. 8vo.

[pg 145]

The Catholic World. Vol. XIX., No. 110.—May, 1874.

The Coming Transit Of Venus.

This year, 1874, bids fair to be memorable in the annals of astronomy. A subject which has long occupied our students of that venerable and now gigantic science is gradually passing from their closets and their scientific discussions into reviews and newspapers, and is forcing itself on the attention of the world at large. At first sight the matter seems a very trivial one. On the 8th of next December, keen eyes in certain parts of the world may, if the sky be clear, and if they look closely, notice that a small, dark spot, a mere speck, will flit across the face of the sun. Examined through a telescope, it is seen to have an appreciable diameter—about 1'. It is not half as interesting to look at as ordinary solar spots, with their jagged edges, their umbra and penumbra, their changing forms, and their whirling faculæ. It has not, as they seem to have, some vague connection with the magnetic disturbances, the auroral lights, or any other atmospheric changes of this sublunary world of ours. It simply passes across the sun in something less than six hours, leaving no trace behind, and producing, so far as would appear, no appreciable effect of any kind. It occurs but rarely—twice in a century; in some centuries, not at all. Small as it is, it can be foretold and calculated beforehand. Except as a verification of such calculations, ordinary minds might think it singularly unimportant—scarcely more important than the gleam in the heavens at night of an occasional and isolated falling star, which glides along its shining path for an instant, and then disappears never more to be seen.

Yet for the last ten—we might, with more truth, say for fifty—years back, the best astronomers have been preparing to observe, with unequalled care, the passage of that little black spot. Some have again and again gone over the records of the observations made in 1761 and 1769, when it was last seen, criticising what was then done, distinguishing what was well done from what they judge to have been faulty, [pg 146] and tracing these faults back to their sources—either to the imperfection of the instruments used, to personal errors, or to mistakes or omissions of the observers themselves. In the observations now to be made, all these sources of error will, as far as possible, be excluded. Others have spent years in patiently going over the long calculations connected with those observations, detecting and eliminating any errors they find, and introducing such corrections as the subsequent advance of astronomical science demands. The amended results thus obtained are ready for comparison, at their proper value, with the additional and, it is hoped, better results to be obtained from the observations of next December. Still others have used, and are now using, their utmost skill in constructing instruments of hitherto unequalled excellence for the great occasion. Besides great improvements in the instruments known in 1769, they have devised others, perhaps more valuable, and of a character then not dreamed of. Others, again, have devoted months to the nicest and most intricate calculations of the movements of the earth and the planets, in order to know in full time beforehand what special stations on the surface of the earth will, that day and at the required hours, afford the most eligible positions from which to make the desired observations.

Finally, governments have been appealed to, to aid in preparing the means and in bearing the expense; and they have responded. Every civilized nation is acting in the matter. Russia leads off with, as we are assured, twenty-seven stations, mostly on her own territory, all duly provided with instruments and observers. France, England, and Germany will have ten or a dozen each. Austria will have her quota. Belgium, Holland, Denmark, and Italy will establish stations and send observers and instruments. Even distracted Spain is at least talking of it. From the Western World, the United States will send eight corps. Nor will Brazil, Peru, and Chili prove laggard. The whole civilized world seems to move in this undertaking with a singular unanimity, doing what only governments can do. Many of the stations must be in bleak and inhospitable lands beyond the confines of civilization. They will be furnished with all that is needful, and thousands of miles of telegraphic wires will be stretched to put them in connection with the observatories of Europe. Other stations will be on distant islands in mid-ocean. Thither national vessels will bear the observers and their instruments. It were well for the world if governments would manifest such generous rivalry in doing good when other and more important interests than those of astronomy are in question.

What, then, is that little black spot which they are so anxious to examine as it passes across the sun next December? How comes it to be of such importance that all these mighty efforts are made to have it fully and correctly observed? To what great results, scientific or other, will a correct knowledge of everything about it lead the world?

That little black spot is the planet Venus, then passing directly between the earth and the sun, and producing an homœopathic solar eclipse, just as, under similar circumstances, the moon might produce an annular or a total solar eclipse. As ordinarily seen in her [pg 147] character of morning or evening star, Venus shines more brightly and joyously in the heavens than any other star. But on this occasion the whole of her illuminated half is turned towards the sun. Towards the earth she shows only her dark, unillumined half, which even looks darker by contrast with the bright face of the sun, on which it is projected. This passage across the sun is called the transit of Venus. If the observations are successfully made, they will give us the means of ascertaining with sufficient precision what as yet is not so known—the actual distance of the earth from the sun.

This knowledge is all-important in a scientific point of view. From it we can deduce the distance of every other planet of the solar system. With it we can carry our survey beyond that system into the stellar world. The distance of our earth from the sun—the orbital radius of the earth, is, for the astronomer, his unit of measure—his yard-stick, as it has been termed—when he would estimate or measure stellar distances or velocities. Any error in it is multiplied millions of times in such surveys. Any uncertainty or reasonable apprehension of error about it casts a cloud of embarrassment over almost every portion of the newly acquired domain of astronomy. No wonder, then, that no effort is spared to secure as soon as possible, and in the easiest and most certain way we know of, an accurate solution of the question. This, more than anything else, is the spring of the whole movement.

The earth, as all know, revolves, as do the other planets, round the sun, not precisely in a circle, but in an oval or ellipse not differing much from a circle. The length of our year, or time of one complete revolution of the earth around the sun, is 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 49.657 seconds.

Inside the earth, and next to us, among the planets, comes Venus, revolving around the sun in her elliptical orbit in 224 days, 16 hours, 48 minutes, and 42 seconds.

Were both orbits on the same level, in the same plane, Venus and the earth would come to be in the same direction or line from the sun as often as Venus, moving on her inner and shorter course, and more rapidly, would overtake the more sluggish earth. Such conjunctions would happen once in every 584 days nearly; and every such conjunction would show a transit, and Venus could be seen between the earth and the sun. But the orbits, though both around the same sun, are not on the same level. That of Venus is somewhat tilted up or inclined, so that one-half of it lies above the level of the earth's orbit, and the other half sinks correspondingly below. The line where the orbits cross or intersect each other is the nodal diameter, the only one common to both orbits. Venus overtakes the earth regularly, but ordinarily elsewhere than on or in the immediate vicinity of this nodal line. The planet then, in her apparent journeying from one side of the sun to the other, generally seems to pass near that luminary, either to the north or the south of it. But whenever, as sometimes happens, Venus overtakes the planet on the line of the nodes, either as she is descending on her orbit on one side, or ascending on the other, then the planet is seen to pass across the sun, and there is a transit. It is not necessary that Venus should be precisely on the line uniting the earth's centre to [pg 148] the sun's centre. The apparent size of the sun, 32' in diameter, and the size of the earth, and the smallness of the angle of inclination between the orbits, all combine to give a little latitude in the matter. The earth arrives punctually every year at one end of this line in June, and at the other in December. The astronomical question is, When will Venus be there also at the same time? To answer requires a calculation which appalls. First, there is the planetary velocity proper of Venus, varying according as in the various parts of her elliptical orbit she is nearer to or further from the sun. Then there are the influences of planetary attraction—the earth and the other planets acting on Venus, accelerating or retarding her movements, and tending sometimes to draw her to one side of her orbit. Then there is or may be question of that nodal diameter shifting its position, and trying, as it were, to swing round the circle of the earth's orbit. When all these calculations have been made, the diurnal movement of the earth must be taken into account, and the geography of her surface must be duly studied, to determine finally when the transit will take place, across what portion of the sun's face the planet will be seen to travel, and from what portion of the earth's surface that transit can be seen, and where in that portion stations for observing it can be placed with the greatest probability of success.

It is a fearful sight even to look over a seemingly endless series of pages all bristling with serried columns of figures, broken every now and then by mysterious formulas of higher calculus, like a group of officers commanding a brigade. Mathematicians and astronomers may delight in them; we shall be satisfied to take the results.

The transits of Venus go in pairs eight years apart. There can be only one pair to a century; some centuries will have none. The pairs occur alternately in June, as Venus descends from the upper to the lower half of her orbit, and in December, as she ascends again from it. Thus there were transits in December, 1631, and December, 1639. A second pair occurred in June, 1761, and June, 1769. A third pair is near at hand, in December, 1874, and December, 1882. The next century will have none. The fourth pair will appear in June, 2004, and June, 2012.

So much on the character of that dark little round spot, the passage of which across the sun hundreds of astronomers, with all manner of telescopes, spectroscopes, and photographic instruments, will watch, examine, measure, and record, as they see it sweeping on in its course on the 8th of next December. What will be the special purpose animating observers as they view the transits of 2004 and 2012—if, despite the prophetic and apocalyptic Dr. Cumming, the world lasts till then—no one can now tell. Astronomy by that time may be advanced as far beyond the present state of the science as the present state surpasses the state of two centuries ago. It is probable that new and, to that generation, most interesting questions may have then arisen, which they will strive to solve by their observations of the transits—questions now perhaps undreamed of. But at present our astronomical world is deeply impressed with the advantage and necessity of definitely ascertaining the distance of the earth from the [pg 149] sun. This is the paramount, though by no means the only, purpose of all this expenditure of time and skill and money in preparing for, in making the observations, and afterwards in laboriously working out the results.

How, by merely looking never so attentively at an object whose distance you do not know, as it stands in a line with, and perhaps far in front of, another, likewise of unknown distance, you can tell how far off that second object is, may seem as difficult as the king's requirement of the prophet first to tell him the dream he had forgotten, and then to explain its meaning. It might seem almost an impossibility; but a few words will explain how the difficulty is turned by availing ourselves of other data.

When two planets, as is the case with the earth and Venus, both revolve in elliptical orbits around the sun, in virtue of the law of gravitation, then their respective times of orbital revolution are to each other as the cubes of their respective mean distances from the sun.

This is one of the laws of Kepler. It was announced by him as the wonderful result of seventeen long years of calculations. He took the data given by the observations of Tycho Brahe and of others, and those made by himself. He tried, by every imaginable form of arithmetical supposition, to combine them together somehow, and under the form of some mathematical law. This was his last result, perhaps the most surprising result of hard plodding, long-continued labor in the field of science. All honor to his memory. There are few discoveries in the mathematics of astronomy to be compared to this and the other laws of Kepler. He established them as experimental facts. The mathematical reason of them he did not learn.

Since his day, gravity has been discovered to be the bond which binds the solar system together, and its laws have been studied out. The differential and integral calculus, also discovered and perfected since his day, has enabled the scholar to grapple with intricate questions of higher mathematics, which, without its aid, would have remained insoluble. Availing themselves of the laws of gravity and of the aid of the calculus, astronomers have been able to give us a mathematical demonstration of Kepler's laws, which, from being mere isolated facts or numerical coincidences, have passed into the realm of scientific truths.

Now, we know the length of our own year—365.2422414 days; we know also the length of the year of Venus—224.70048625 days. If we divide the former by the latter, square the quotient, and then extract the cube root of this quotient, we shall obtain the number which indicates the proportion between the two mean distances. Applying this, we learn that if the distance of the earth from the sun be taken as 100,000,000 miles, the mean distance of Venus will be 72,333,240 miles. And consequently, when they are in the same direction from the sun, and supposing both to be at their mean distances from that luminary, the distance between them must be, according to the same proportion, 27,666,760 miles. It is obviously enough to know the actual value of either of those three distances to learn very easily the other two. The observations of the transit are intended to ascertain the last and smaller one. How this is done, and what [pg 150] difficulties are to be surmounted in doing it, we shall see further on. Just now we will remark that supposing the observer to have ascertained to the very furlong this distance, during the transit, between the planets, he must still do much before he can apply his proportion. That holds good only for the mean distances. There are only two points in the orbit or ellipse of each planet around the sun which are at the mean distance from that focus. Were those points for both planets to be found on the lines of the nodes, the matter would be easy. But it is not so. In June, the earth is approaching her greatest distance; in December, she is nearing her smallest distance from the sun. A similar embarrassment exists for the orbit of Venus. But the astronomer can bravely grapple with this double difficulty. He has learned the eccentricity and consequent shape of each ellipse, and he can calculate how far, proportionately, the actual distance of either planet, at any given point of its orbit, exceeds or falls short of the true mean distance. Such calculations have to be made for the earth and for Venus as they will stand on the 8th of next December. When this is done, the astronomer is at liberty to make use of the actual distance learned by observation, and to apply the Keplerian formula.

But perhaps the question suggests itself, why take all this trouble of a circuitous route? Why not measure the distance of the sun directly, if such things can be done at all? If it is possible to measure the distance of Venus by observations, surely the sun, which has an apparent diameter thirty times as great, and which can be seen every day, and from any accessible point of the earth's surface, gives a far ampler field for such observations. If we have instruments so delicate as to disclose to us the presence in the sun of iron, copper, zinc, aluminium, sodium, manganese, magnesium, calcium, hydrogen, and other substances, surely it will be possible to determine that comparatively gross fact—its distance from the earth. And, in truth, what becomes of the lesson we learned in our school-days, that the sun was just ninety-five millions of miles away from us?

And yet, strange as it may seem to those unacquainted with the subject, it has been found impossible to decide, by direct observations, the actual distance; and the distance usually accepted was not derived from such observations. As for our lately acquired knowledge of some of the constituent substances of the sun, that is derived from the spectroscope, which as yet throws no light on the question of distance.

How do we ascertain the distance of bodies from us? Practice enables us to judge, and judge correctly, of the distance and size of things immediately around us almost without any consciousness of how we do it. But if we analyze the process, it will be found that we do it chiefly by using both eyes at the same time. They are separated by an interval of two and a half to three inches. As we look at an object near to us, the rays from each visible point of it must separate, in order to enter both eyes. The images thus formed on the retina of each eye differ sensibly, and we instinctively take cognizance of that difference. Speaking mathematically, the interval is a base line, at each end of which a delicate organism takes the angle [pg 151] of the object viewed, and our conclusion is based on our perception of the difference between them. Ordinarily, we estimate distances by the cross-sight thus obtained. When, however, the body is so far off that the lines of light from it to the eyes become so nearly parallel that the eyes fail to perceive the minute difference between the representations formed on the retina, then we must recur to the results of past experience, and judge, as best we may, of the distance from other data than that given us at the moment by our eyesight. Thus a sailor at sea judges of the distance of a vessel on the horizon from the faintness with which he sees her; for he knows that the intervening atmosphere absorbs some of the light, so that distant objects are dim. He judges from the fact that a vessel of the form and rig of the one he is looking at is usually of a given size, and a certain distance is required to cause the entire vessel to look so small, and certain portions, the size of which he is familiar with, to become indistinguishable. He is guided, also, by the amount to which, on account of the earth's curvatures, the vessel seems to be sunk below the horizon. These are data from experience. It is wonderful with what accuracy they enable him to judge. A landsman by the seaman's side, and without such aid, could give only the most random guesses as to the distance of the vessel.

That we really do make this use of both eyes in judging of the distance of bodies near us will be evident if we bandage one eye and try to determine their distances, only using the other. It will require caution to avoid mistakes. We knew an aged painter, who had lost the sight of one eye, but still continued to play, at least, with his brush. He had to use the finger of his left hand to ascertain by touch whether the tip of his brush, loaded with the proper color, was sufficiently near the canvas or not. If he relied on his eye alone, it often happened that when he thought it near, not the eighth of an inch away, it failed in reality by an inch and a half to reach the canvas. He would ply the brush, and, noticing that the color was not delivered, would smile sadly at what he called his effort to paint the air. So long as he had retained the use of both eyes, this mishap, of course, had never occurred to him.

When a surveyor desires to ascertain the distance of a visible object which he cannot approach, he must avail himself of the same principle of nature. He measures off on the ground where he is a suitable baseline, and takes the angle of the object from each end of it, not vaguely by his unaided eyesight alone, but with a well-graduated instrument. It is, as it were, putting his eyes that far apart, and taking the angles accurately. From the length of the measured base-line and the size of the two angles he can easily calculate the distance of the object. In taking such measurements, the surveyor must make his base sufficiently large in proportion to the distance sought. If the base be disproportionately small, the angles at the extremities will not serve. Their sum will be so near 180° that the possible errors which are ever present in observations will more than swallow up the difference left for the third angle, and the distance is not obtained. In our excellent Coast Survey, which, in exactness of working, is not surpassed anywhere in the world, the bases [pg 152] carefully measured may be five or seven miles long, and angles under 30° are avoided when possible.

From such measuring of distant objects on the surface of the earth, the passage was easy to an attempt to measure the distance of heavenly bodies. How far is the moon from us? It was soon found that a base of ten miles or of a hundred miles was entirely too short to give satisfactory angles. The moon was too distant. A far larger base was required. Suppose two places to be selected on the same meridian of longitude, and therefore agreeing in time, and situated sixty degrees of latitude apart. The distance between them will be equal to a radius of the earth. At each station, and at the same hours, the angles are taken which the moon makes with the zenith, or, better still, with some star near it, coming to the meridian at the same time. In such a case, the angles are, satisfactory. The base is large enough. The result of such observations, and of others which we need not dwell on, is that, when nearest to us, the centre of the moon is distant from the centre of the earth 222,430 miles; when at her greatest distance, 252,390 miles. These numbers are based on the fact that the equatorial radius or semi-diameter of the earth is 3962.57 miles. This value, however, may in reality be a quarter of a mile too short. The mean distance of the moon is roughly stated at 60 semi-diameters of the earth.

When observers essayed to apply to the sun the same procedure which had proved so successful in regard to the moon, they encountered disastrous failures, partly because the base, even the largest practicable one, was found to be comparatively very small; partly because, when the sun shines, no star is visible near by from which to measure an angle; and also because the atmosphere is so disturbed by the rays of solar heat that, when seen through a large telescope, the sun's edge is quite tremulous. Hence a very large element of uncertainty is introduced when angles are taken with the zenith. No astronomer would look with confidence on the result obtained under such circumstances. Two hundred years ago, their instruments were much less perfect than those we now have; yet, even with our best instruments, to-day, too much uncertainty remains. That mode of ascertaining the sun's distance has been abandoned.

Ancient astronomers, long before the invention of telescopes, and before the discovery of the Copernican system, devised an ingenious method of getting some light on the distance of the sun. It is attributed to Aristarchus of Samos. They reflected that, when the moon appeared precisely half full, this arose from the fact that the sun and the earth were at right angles to her; the sun illumining the half turned to him, and the plane of division between the illumined and unillumined portions extended stretching directly to the earth. They conceived the three bodies to stand at the angles of a right-angled triangle, of which the distance of the moon from the earth was the base, and the distance of the sun was the hypothenuse. Hence they had only to measure the angle at the earth, which they could do, and then take into account their estimate of the moon's distance, to arrive at the result sought. The plan is ingenious, and taught them that the sun was at least twenty times further off than the moon. But their estimate [pg 153] of the moon's distance was altogether wide of the mark. They had no means of correctly estimating it. Moreover, even keen eyesight is a bad judge of whether the moon is precisely half full or not. The error of half a dozen hours would give a large mistake. Even with instruments such as we have, it cannot be precisely determined by direct observations; for the surface of the moon, as developed in a powerful telescope, is so uneven, jagged, and volcanic that the division between light and shade is a line too uneven and broken to be determined except by guessing at its mean course.

Another method has been also used in these later centuries. Kepler's law applies to all the planets. The planet next outside the earth is Mars, whose mean distance from the sun is about one-third greater than that of the earth. It periodically happens that Mars is in opposition—that is, is precisely on the other side of the earth from the sun. In that case, he makes his nearest approach to our planet. Cannot his distance from the earth be then observed and determined, so that he will give us the means of calculating by Kepler's formula the distance of the sun? It was tried, and with some success. The base-line was found large enough; the observations were made at night, when the atmosphere is comparatively quiescent, and when fixed stars may be seen in the vicinity of the planet, to aid in taking the requisite angles. Yet, as in the case of Venus, there are, as we have stated, subsidiary calculations to be made on account of the eccentricity of his orbit and his varying velocity. In the case of Mars, these variations were too full of anomalies to allow confidence in the calculations. When afterwards these anomalies were understood to proceed from interplanetary attraction, they were so complicated that their numerical value almost escaped calculation. The whole subject has been gone over in our own day under the light of more perfect observations, and with the aid of the highest calculus. We doubt, however, if even now the results are sufficiently established to warrant a calculation as to the sun's distance to which reasonable exception may not be taken.

Anyhow, this method cannot compare, either in facility of calculation or in accuracy of result, with the method of determining the solar distance by observations for the transit of Venus.

Of the theory and mode of such observations we will now say a few words.

In 1677, while Halley, the great English astronomer, was at St. Helena, for the purpose of observing and cataloguing stars south of the equator, he observed a transit of Mercury across the face of the sun, and, from his efforts to measure its positions and movements, was led to believe that a transit of Venus could be so accurately observed and measured as to yield a precise and definite determination of the sun's distance. From the knowledge he had of the movements of Venus, he knew that there had been a transit of Venus in 1631, as Kepler had predicted, although no eye in Europe had seen it; and another in 1639, which had been observed, but, of course, not for this purpose, which in 1639 was yet unthought of. The next transit would be in 1761. He could not hope to live to see it. But he did the next best thing. He studied out all the conditions of the question, published his plans, and made all the preliminary [pg 154] calculations required, so as to aid in securing, as far as possible, good observations and good results when the time came.

As the year 1761 was approaching, the scientific world was astir, pretty much as it is now. Halley's computations were again gone over, and such corrections and improvements were introduced as the advance of astronomy since his day warranted and required. Governments gave their aid and supplied means liberally. One hundred and twenty positions had been carefully chosen, and the best results were confidently expected. The grand problem was about to receive a final and definite solution. The error in the ultimate result would certainly not exceed one-fifth of one per cent.

The astronomers were doomed to a sad disappointment. Wars then waging prevented some of the most important positions from being occupied by the observers. It was bitter for a well-appointed party to sail for months and months over two oceans, only to see a hostile flag floating over the port they were about to enter. Sadly they sailed away, and could only see the transit from the rolling deck of their ship. Cloudy weather rendered other positions valueless. And even where everything seemed to promise success, an unforeseen phenomenon interfered to mar their work. The astronomer might have his best telescope duly mounted, and directed to the proper point of the heavens, and carefully adjusted; his eye might be glued to the instrument, as he watched on one side of his field of vision a portion of the circular edge of the sun's disk, and on the other the round, black spot gradually approaching. As they drew near, his hand was raised to give the signal; his assistant stood ready to mark the very second when the two edges, coming nearer and nearer, would at last just touch. They hoped to seize the time of that first contact so accurately as to escape even the one second of error or doubt which Halley thought unavoidable. Vain hope! Before the contact, while Venus was still distant about two-thirds of her own diameter from the edge of the sun, a dark streak or band seemed to interpose between them like a black cushion or wedge. As they pressed against it, the curved outlines of their edges seemed to be pressed back or flattened, as if by the resistance of the cushion, and to lose their normal shape. There was a pause in the onward movement, a quivering, a struggle, and then, by an irregular, convulsive jump, like that of two drops of water coalescing into one, Venus was seen to have already entered some way on the disk of the sun. The discomfited and astonished observer was forced to record that his uncertainty as to the precise time of the contact was not of one second only, but of at least twelve or fifteen seconds. Was it the defect of the instrument, or the fault of his own eye, over-strained by long use, by the brilliant light, or by his intense anxiety? Or was there some unknown atmospheric cause at work producing this band? Anyhow, he might hope that other observers would be more fortunate than he had been. Again he was in error. Everywhere the same unexpected and puzzling phenomenon appeared. There was trouble in the astronomical world. The fault was generally thrown on the instruments. But whatever the cause of the mishap, there was some room for consolation. They would soon have another opportunity, and [pg 155] might make another trial. In 1769, only eight years off, there would be another transit, and by that time some means would certainly be devised for escaping the evil.

In 1769, the stations were as numerous, the governmental aid fully as great, the instruments, they said, more perfect, and the observers, we may be sure, as earnest and as careful as before. Perhaps they were more skilful because of their previous experience. But again all in vain. The same evil reappeared. The resulting uncertainty was even greater. It was held to reach fully twenty seconds. When they undertook to calculate, from such observations, the distance of the sun, some made it not more than 87,890,780 miles, while, according to others, it reached 108,984,560 miles, the majority finding intermediate values. On the whole, it did not appear that there was much improvement on the estimate made by Cassini a century and a half before, that it was not less than 85,000,000 miles. Again and again were the records of the observations studied, scrutinized, and weighed, and the calculations based on them repeated and criticised. Finally, in 1824, Encke, after several years of special study of them, summed all up, and gave, as the best result attainable, 95,274,000 miles. The scientific world, hopeless of anything better, seemed for a time to acquiesce. Some even upheld the estimate of Encke as “so successfully determined as to leave no sensible doubt of its accuracy.”

But, despite this, its accuracy has since been impugned, and on very strong grounds. It was known that light travels from the sun to the earth in about 8 minutes 13 seconds. Experiments carefully and ingeniously made by Arago, Foucault, and Fizeau show that light travels with a velocity of nearly 186,000 miles a second. This would give the distance of about 91,400,000 miles.

The irregularities of the moon and of Mars have been studied out and calculated on the theory of interplanetary attraction modifying the attraction of the sun. Though the results vary somewhat, yet they all tend in the same direction. Leverrier found 91,759,000 miles; Hansen, the Dane, found 91,659,000 miles; Airey, the Astronomer-Royal of England, whose earlier opinion of Encke's estimate we quoted above, has changed his opinion, and now proposes 91,400,000 miles.

A fact in practical optics, calculated to affect some observations rather seriously, has been discovered within the last few years. It is this: When a white body is viewed on a dark ground, its size is exaggerated by some illusion of our vision; and, on the contrary, a dark body seen on a bright ground appears smaller than it would were the ground of a dark color, differing from that of the body only as much as is required to render them distinguishable. Now, in the transit, a dark body is seen on an intensely bright ground. It becomes necessary, therefore, to bring in a correction which will compensate for the error arising from this optical illusion. This has been done by Stone, who studied out the whole matter, arrived at certain modes of correction, applied them to Encke's calculation, and maintains that the true result of the observations of 1761 and 1769 should be 91,730,000 miles.

Thus all seem to agree that the sun's distance must be less than 92,000,000 miles, and that Encke's [pg 156] estimate was too great by 3 or 4 per cent.

This is the stage at which our astronomers now take up the question, and aim to obtain a yet more definite and precise result. Will they succeed? They are full of confidence now; what they will say after their observations we may know a year hence.

Some of our readers may like to know what is the course followed in making the observations and in calculating the results. We will give a slight account of the chief points, sufficiently detailed to enable one with an ordinary knowledge of trigonometry to understand how the conclusion is reached.

The astronomers will follow two methods, known as those of Halley and of Delisle. They each require two suitable stations, so far apart on the surface of the earth as to give a satisfactory base-line. In fact, the further apart, the better, all things else being equal. For Halley's method, the two stations lie as nearly north and south as may be. For Delisle's, they lie east and west.

Let us suppose two such stations to be chosen on or nearly on the same meridian of longitude, and 6,000 miles apart. From each of these stations the planet is seen to traverse the disk of the sun, like a dark spot moving steadily across an illuminated circular dial-plate. The lines as seen from stations so far apart are sensibly different. What the observers first seek to know is the apparent distance between these lines, the angle they form, when seen from the earth. Were both visible at once from the same station, through the same telescope, it would not be difficult for a skilful observer to measure the angle directly. But at each station only one line is seen, if, indeed, we may properly give that name to the course of the dark spot that passes on and leaves no trace behind. Each observer must determine correctly the position of his line on the face of the sun, in order that it may be afterwards compared with the other line similarly determined at the other, and the apparent distance between them is then determined by calculation.

How to determine the true position of such a line is the delicate and difficult task. One mode is to take the measurements in two directions on the face of the sun, northward and eastward, from the position of the planet to the edge of the solar disk. This must be done for a number of positions which the planet occupies successively as it moves onward. But such measurements are very hard to be obtained with the desired precision. The edge of the sun, viewed in a large telescope, appears always tremulous, on account of the action of solar heat on our own terrestrial atmosphere. The better and larger the telescope, and the brighter the day, the greater and the more embarrassing does this tremulousness appear. Such measurements are difficult, and are open to too much uncertainty.

There is another mode, which, if successfully used, is far more accurate. The lines or paths which the planet, viewed from the observatories, is seen to follow are chords across a circle—largest when they pass through the sun's centre and become diameters, smaller as their course is more distant from the sun's centre. Being both due to the motion of the same body moving at what we may hold to be a uniform velocity, their lengths must [pg 157] be proportional to the times required for tracing them. Being chords, a knowledge of their relative lengths determines with accuracy their position on the circular disk of the sun, and consequently their distance apart. Hence the importance of catching, with the utmost exactness, the beginning and the ending of the transit. The first exterior contact is noted when the circular edge of Venus just touches the circular edge of the sun; then the first interior contact when the entire little, dark circle of Venus is just fully on the sun. Midway between the two, the centre of Venus was just on the edge of the sun. Similarly, the second interior contact and the second exterior contact, if accurately and successfully observed, will show the instant of time when the centre of Venus passed off from the sun's surface. It was, as we saw, in making these delicate observations, that the observers of 1761 and 1769 failed, to a great extent, on account of the mysterious appearance of the black band, of which we gave an account. Will this embarrassing phenomenon again make its appearance next December? If it be due, as some think, to an aberration of sphericity in the lenses of the instruments, it may not be seen. For our telescopes are far more perfect than those of 1769. If it is due, as others maintain, to an interference of light in the observation, a more delicate manipulation of the instrument may, it is hoped, avoid it. If it is due to some optical illusion in our own eye, it will, of course, appear again, and must be grappled with. The observers now being trained at Greenwich, in preparation for the grand day, have a facsimile of the sun and Venus, which are made to move in such manner as to give as exact a representation of the transit as is possible; and they practise observations on this artificial transit. It is said that even in this fac-simile the black band has shown itself, and that one important lesson now being learned is how to judge of the instant of contact, despite of this obstacle.

There is, however, a still better safeguard—the use of photography. The transit will record itself more minutely and more accurately than any ordinary observations for measurement could do. Various plans will be used. One proposed is to have one hundred and eighty prepared and highly sensitive plates along the circumference of a suitable wheel made to revolve regularly by clock-work. During three minutes, these plates come, one every second, successively into position to receive and record the images of the transit, as the planet for those three minutes is entering on the sun. Other plates, at stated and accurately measured intervals of time, will similarly record its regular progress across the sun; and another wheel, with one hundred and eighty other plates, will record the successive changes each second for the three minutes occupied by its exit over the sun's border. These are all, of course, negatives on glass. From them any number of impressions can be taken, in the usual way, for general distribution among the scientists. In order that such impressions may still serve for the finest measurements, despite of any variations of expansion, contraction, or warping which the atmospheric changes may produce, a system of fine, spider-web lines is placed inside the telescope, producing on the photograph itself a network of fine lines, some running north and south, others crossing them east [pg 158] and west. These lines are at equal distances apart, and serve admirably for measuring the position of the planet on the solar face. If the photographic sheet should become quite distorted, these lines would show it; for they would of course follow the distortion, and yet, after that distortion, they would still guide us to accurate measurements. It is hoped that this means and the many other photographic devices to be used will secure a degree of accuracy far beyond what Halley anticipated and would have been satisfied with.

The spectroscope comes in also to aid in determining the contacts with the utmost precision. The light of the solar photosphere, or body of the sun, when made to pass through the prisms of a spectroscope, spreads into a continuous band of various colors, and crossed by many faint, dark lines. Other bodies, raised to a certain heat, and emitting light, give a spectrum of a totally different character. We see only bright upright lines. There is no continuous band or spectrum of prismatic colors. Now, just outside the solar photosphere, and between it and the chromosphere, is a layer of solar atmosphere which gives just such upright, bright lines. This was first discovered not many years ago during a total solar eclipse, when the direct light of the photosphere was cut off by the interposing moon. Knowing what to look for, the astronomers have since been able so to manipulate their telescopes as to catch these bright lines, even when there is no eclipse. They find them, of course, as they examine, a narrow ring apparently encircling the sun, and immediately around his circumference. Now, when the moment of the beginning of the transit is at hand, the spectroscope is turned to the precise point where Venus will touch the sun's rim, and these lines are clearly brought into vision. So long as they shine, the way is open for the light of that narrow layer or belt to reach the earth. The instant their bright flash disappears, the observer knows that the planet has so moved as to intercept the rays of light, and is just in contact. Their reappearance, at the proper time, on the other side of the sun, will indicate the instant when Venus will have quitted the disk and the transit is over.

It is confidently expected that by some one or by all of these methods the uncertainties of 1761 and 1769 will be avoided, and that the instants of the commencement and the conclusion of each line of the transit may be so accurately determined that for neither of them will the error as to their duration exceed one second. Did the time occupied by Venus in making the transit, as seen from one station, differ from the time as seen at the other by only one minute, the uncertainty of one second would be less than two per cent. But, in fact, the times will differ by fifteen minutes, and, by skilfully choosing the places, a difference of twenty minutes may be obtained. In that case, the error or uncertainty would be less than one-tenth of one per cent. For the present, the scientific world will be satisfied with that degree of exactness.

Let us return to our supposition of two stations north and south, 6,000 miles apart. The two lines of transit, as seen from them, are separated about 35 of an arc. This is as the lines are seen from the earth. If we recur to Kepler's proportion, as stated before—that the distance of the earth from the sun [pg 159] is to the distance of Venus from the sun as 10,000,000 is to 7,233,324—we can make use of a trigonometrical calculation, and easily ascertain that those same lines on the sun, seen by an observer on Venus, would appear about 48-½" apart. Moreover, the lines from the sun to Venus, forming this angle, cross each other at the planet, and, if prolonged, will reach the two stations on the earth. Hence, since opposite interior angles are equal, this (48-½") must be the angle at which the same observer on Venus, turning towards the earth, would see the two stations. We arrive thus at a triangle, in which the base is known—6,000 miles; the angle at the vertex on Venus is also known—48-½"; and the angles at the base are easily ascertainable. A simple calculation leads to the distance of Venus from the earth—about 25,300,000 miles. Again, applying Kepler's formula to this number, we obtain as the result, for the earth's distance from the sun, about 91,450,000 miles. If we give here only rough approximations, we are, after all, as near the truth as the astronomers of to-day can boast of being. In a minute calculation, subsidiary but important points are to be brought in, complicating the calculation and influencing the result.

After this statement of the general character of Halley's method, we may be brief in our notice of the yet more beautiful mode of Delisle. He proposed it before the transits of the last century. But its efficiency so entirely depends on an accurate knowledge of the longitudes of the stations, and the longitudes of distant stations were then so uncertain, that it could not then be used with success.

In this mode, two stations are necessary, east and west, or, rather, along that line on the earth's surface from all points of which the transit will show the same line on the solar disk. The further apart the stations are, the better; for the base between them will be larger. To know the distance between them, we must know their longitudes as accurately as their latitudes. From the longitudes we ascertain with precision the difference of time between them. At one of those stations, the first exterior contact is seen, and the exact time is noted. As Venus moves on, the shadow of this first contact flies along that line of the earth's surface like the shadow of a cloud in spring traversing the fields. It is only after the lapse of a certain length of time that the contact is seen and timed at the other station. This certain length of time is the key to the solution. It may be determined by observations on any one or on all the contacts, or by the observation of any other points of the transit examined and timed at both stations. It is obvious that the contacts, being the most unmistakable in their character, will be all used to check and control each other; the more so, as they serve also, as we saw, for Halley's method. The most careful use of the telescope will be supplemented by the photograph and the spectroscope.

Let two such stations be chosen which, by their longitudes and latitudes, we know to be 5,000 miles apart. It will be found that the transit, or any special point of it, will be seen at the second station about three minutes of time later than at the first. This means that the shadow of Venus travels 5,000 miles in three minutes on the earth's surface or at the earth's distance from the sun. Applying Kepler's formula, we find that, to [pg 160] produce this effect, Venus herself must have travelled about 3,860 miles in those three minutes. There-fore in 224.7 days—her solar year—she would travel about 416 millions of miles, supposing that, during the transit, she was moving at her mean velocity. This, then, is the length of her periphery of her orbit around the sun. Observations have determined its shape. Now that we know its size, it is not difficult to ascertain what her mean distance from the sun must be. It is about 66,300,000 miles. From this, the usual formula leads us to the earth's distance from the sun—91,650,000 miles. We merely indicate the salient points of the process, and that with summary numbers. An astronomer would enter into minor questions: how far the earth had travelled in her orbit during those three minutes, and what had been the special motion of the second station during the same time, on account of the diurnal revolution of the earth on its axis. He would carefully establish the proportion of the distances between the sun and Venus and the earth, during the transit, to their mean distances as contemplated in Kepler's law, and he would compare the velocity of Venus at that time with her mean velocity. Other points, too, would have to be brought in, complicating the whole process to an extent that would soften the brain of any one but a calculating astronomer.

In Halley's method, the effort is to obtain two transit lines on the sun as widely apart as possible. For that purpose, the stations must differ in latitude as widely as possible. In Delisle's method, on the contrary, the longitude becomes of primary importance. The latitude can be easily determined. Hence, in the last century, Halley's method was almost exclusively adopted. But now we can use both; for we have better instruments and better star catalogues, and can determine longitudes by astronomical observations much more accurately than could ordinarily be done a century ago. In addition, we have now almost faultless chronometers. Besides all these means, we have, and will use to a great extent, the grand American invention of determining the longitude by the electric telegraph with an accuracy which leaves nothing to be desired.

While each method requires at least two stations, a greater number would support and control each other, and allow us to take the average result of a greater number of observations. Four stations at the corners of a large quadrangle on the surface of the earth might give two sets of stations for each method. But this year the stations may be nearer a hundred.

Careful preliminary studies have already determined on what portion of the earth the transit will be visible. The most available points will be turned to account for stations. We say available; for, unfortunately, much of that space is occupied by oceans, while astronomical stations must perforce be situated on firm land. Some of the best points, too, seem almost inaccessible. Still, there is a vast line of posts determined on in the northern hemisphere, and quite a number, to correspond with them, in the southern. Beginning at Alexandria, in Egypt, the line stretches northward and eastward through Palestine, Georgia, Tartary, Middle Asia, and Northern China to Yeddo, in Japan, perhaps to Honolulu, in the Sandwich Islands. Along a great part of this line, the Russian [pg 161] telegraphic wires will give exact longitudes, thus affording a fine field for the use of Delisle's method. In the southern hemisphere, the line may be set down as commencing near the Cape of Good Hope, bending southeastwardly to the lately discovered Antarctic lands, passing south of Australia, then turning upwards towards the equator, and terminating at Nukahiva, in the Sandwich Islands, in the South Pacific Ocean. Along this line, at Crozet Island, at St. Paul's, at Reunion, at Kerguelen Land—further south, if the southern summer will have sufficiently melted the snows and driven back the ice-barrier to allow the observers to land and work—at Campbell Land, in New Caledonia, and in other places, stations will be established, between which and corresponding stations in the northern line Halley's method may be used.

Time, learning, skill, energy, money, everything that man can give, will be devoted to ensure success in the astronomical work to be done on the 8th of December next. Such earnestness commands respect, and wins our sympathy and best wishes.

May the day itself—the festival of the Immaculate Virgin Mother—be an augury of success! Astronomers, as a body, are less infected with the virus of modern scepticism and materialism than any other class of our scientists of to-day. On the contrary, not a few, standing in the front rank among them, are devout children of the church. Some of their chiefs are even numbered among her clergy. They will not omit on that day to invoke the blessing of heaven and the intercession of their Holy Mother. May their fervent prayers be heard, and may He who “has ordered all things in measure and number and weight”66 bless and give success to their labors!

Yet they can only look for an approximation to the truth, not the truth itself. They will see more clearly than before how the heavens declare the glory of God. But there will remain obscurity and uncertainty enough to teach them humility in his presence. For “God hath made all things good in their time, and hath delivered the world to the consideration of the sons of men, so that man cannot find out the work which God hath made, from the beginning to the end.” This was true when the inspired Ecclesiastes wrote, and is still, and must ever be, true. The history of the progress of physical sciences is practical, tangible evidence of it. Each generation has to correct the mistakes and discard the errors of a preceding generation, and must acknowledge the uncertainty of much that it continues to hold or boasts of having discovered.

No greater absurdity is conceivable than that of a man puffed up with pride because of the little knowledge he has gained—little indeed, though he may think it a great deal—who sets his intellect against the infinite wisdom and the revelation of God. The more man really knows, the more conscious he becomes of his own failures in many things, and of the vast extent of his ignorance.

[pg 162]

The Veil Withdrawn.

Translated, By Permission, From The French of Madame Craven, Author Of “A Sister's Story,” “Fleurange,” Etc.

“The one thing worth showing to mankind is a human soul.”Browning

I.

September 1, 1871.

It was at Messina, July 15, 18—. I have never forgotten the date. It was just after my fifteenth birthday. The balcony of the room where I was sitting overlooked the sea. From time to time, but more and more faintly, could be heard the noise of the waves breaking against the shore. It was the hour called in Italy the contr' ora—the hour when, in summer, the whole horizon is aflame with the scorching rays of the already declining sun, which are no longer tempered by the gentle wind from the sea that every morning refreshes the shore. The windows, that had been open during the earlier part of the day, were now shut, the blinds lowered, and the shutters half closed. Profound silence reigned within doors and without. For many, this is the hour of a siesta; and for all, a time of inaction and repose.

I was holding a book in my hand, not from inclination or pleasure, but simply through obedience, because I had a lesson to learn. But that was no task. I took no pleasure in studying, nor was it repugnant to me, for I learned without any difficulty. The chief benefit of study was therefore lost on me. It required no effort.

I had not yet even taken the trouble to open my book, for I saw by the clock I had ample time. At six I always went into the garden, which I was not allowed to enter during the heat of the day. There was still an hour before me, and I knew that a quarter of that time would be sufficient to accomplish my task. I therefore remained indolently seated on a low chair against the wall, near the half-open shutter, motionless and dreaming, my eyes wandering vaguely through the obscurity that surrounded me.

The room I occupied was a large salon. The ceiling covered with frescos, and the stuccoed walls brilliantly ornamented with flowers and arabesques, prevented this vast apartment from seeming gloomy or ill-furnished. And yet, according to the tastes I have since acquired, it was absolutely wanting in everything signified by the word “comfort,” which, though now fully understood in our country, has nevertheless no corresponding term in our language. A clumsy gilt console, on which stood a ponderous clock, with an immense looking-glass above, occupied the further end of the room; and in the middle stood a large, round, scagliola table under a magnificent chandelier of Venetian glass. This chandelier, as well as the mirrors that hung around, not for use, but to ornament the walls with their handsome gilt frames and the figures painted on their surface, were the richest [pg 163] and most admired objects in the room. A few arm-chairs systematically arranged, a long sofa that entirely filled one of the recesses, and here and there some light chairs, were usually the only furniture of this vast apartment; but that day a small couch stood near the window, and on it reclined my mother—my charming young mother!—her head resting on a pillow, and her eyes closed. On her knee lay a small book, open at a scarcely touched page, which, with the ink-stand on a little table before her, and the pen fallen at her feet, showed she had been overpowered by sleep or fatigue while she was writing.

My mother at that time was barely thirty-two years of age. People said we looked like sisters, and there was no exaggeration in this. I was already taller than she, and those who saw me for the first time thought me two years older than I really was; whereas my mother, owing to the delicacy of her features and the transparency of her complexion, retained all the freshness of twenty years of age. I looked at her. Her beautiful hair, parted on her pale brow, fell on the pillow like a frame around her face, which looked more lovely than ever to me. There was a deeper flush than usual on her cheeks, and her half-open lips were as red as coral.... I smilingly gazed at her with admiration and love! Alas! I was too much of a child to realize that this beauty was ominous, and that I had much more reason to weep!...

My mother was left an orphan at fifteen years of age without any protector, and poverty would have been added to her other privations had not Fabrizio dei Monti, a friend of her father's, and a celebrated lawyer, succeeded in snatching the young heiress' property from the hands of a grasping relative who had been contending for it. This law-suit had been going on several years, and the result was still doubtful when Count Morani, Bianca's father, died.

He who rendered the young orphan so signal a service was then about thirty-five years old. He was a widower, and the father of two children, to whom he devoted all the time left him by his numerous clients, whom his reputation for ability brought from all parts of Sicily—famed, as every one knows, for the most complicated and interminable law-suits. Fabrizio, after his wife's death, had given up all intercourse with society, except what was imposed on him by the obligations of his profession. With this exception, his life was spent in absolute retirement with an austerity as rare among his fellow-citizens as his long fidelity to the memory of the wife he had lost.

But when, after advocating Bianca's cause, he found himself to be her only protector, he at once felt the difficulty and danger of such a situation, and resolved to place her, without any delay, under the guardianship of a husband of her own choice. He therefore ran over the names of the many aspirants to the hand of the young heiress, and gave her a list of those he thought the most worthy of her.

“You have forgotten one,” said Bianca in a low tone, after glancing over it.

“Whom?” ... inquired Fabrizio in an agitated tone, not daring to interpret the glance that accompanied her words.

Bianca still retained all the simplicity [pg 164] of a child, and the timidity of womanhood had not yet come over her. Accordingly, she said, as she looked directly towards him, that she should never feel for any one else the affection she had for him; and if he would not have her, she would go into a convent, and never be married.

It was thus my mother became Fabrizio dei Monti's wife, and, in spite of the difference of their ages, there never was a nobler, sweeter union. A happier couple could not have been found in the world during the fourteen years that followed my birth. But for several months past, my father had appeared depressed and anxious. Sometimes I could see his eyes blinded by tears as he looked at my mother, but the cause I did not understand. It is true, she often complained of fatigue, and remained in bed for hours, which became more and more prolonged. And now and then she passed the whole day there. But when she was up, as she had been that day, she did not look ill. On the contrary, I never saw her look more beautiful than while I was thus gazing at her with admiration and a love amounting to idolatry....

After remaining for some time in the same attitude, I at length took my book, and endeavored to give my whole attention to my lesson. But the heat was stifling, and, after a few moments, I was, in my turn, overpowered by an irresistible drowsiness, to which I insensibly yielded without changing my position, and soon sank into a profound slumber.

I had been asleep some time, when I was suddenly awakened by a remote, indistinct sound that seemed like the continuation of the dream it had interrupted. This sound was the footsteps of a horse....

I sprang up without taking time for a moment's reflection. I raised the blinds, hurriedly opened the shutters and the window, and sprang out on the balcony.... The room was at once flooded with light and filled with the evening air. The sun had just disappeared, and a fresh breeze fanned my cheeks.... I heard my mother cough feebly, but did not turn back. I was overpowered by one thought, which made me forget everything else—everything!—even her!... I leaned forward to see if I was mistaken. No, it was really he!... I saw him appear at the end of the road that connected our house with the shore. He rode slowly along on his beautiful horse, which he managed with incomparable grace. As he came nearer, he slackened his pace still more, and, when beneath the balcony, stopped, and, taking off his hat, bowed profoundly, the wind meanwhile blowing about the curls of his jet-black hair. Then he raised his eyes, of the color and tempered clearness of agate, and with a beseeching, passionate look seemed to implore me for some favor.... I knew what he meant.... Foolish child that I was! I snatched from my hair the carnation I had placed there an hour before, and threw it towards him!...

At that instant I heard a piercing cry—a cry that still rings in my heart, and the memory of which will never be effaced—“Ginevra!”.... Hurrying in, I found my mother standing in the floor, pale and gasping for breath, with her arms extended towards me.... I instantly realized I had been guilty of an indiscretion which had afflicted and displeased her. I [pg 165] was at once filled with sorrow, and on the point of throwing myself at her feet to beg her forgiveness; but before I had time to speak, or even reach her, she fell back on her couch in a semi-unconscious state that I should have thought a swoon, had not a spasmodic groan from time to time escaped from her breast, and when I did prostrate myself, had she not seized one of my hands, which she continued to hold with a strong grasp in hers....

We remained thus for some minutes without my being able to leave her to call for assistance, though the frightful change in her face filled me with inexpressible terror as well as the keenest anguish. I withdrew my hand at last, and threw my arms around her neck, exclaiming repeatedly amid my sobs: “Forgive me! Answer me! Oh! tell me that you forgive me!...” She made no reply, however, but by degrees she returned to herself and grew calm. Then, taking me in her arms, she held me a long time closely embraced, as if she felt there was no safety for me anywhere else, and longed in some way for the power of taking me once more into her maternal breast, that I might live with her life, or die if she died!...

O Almighty God! the prayer that then rose from her heart in behalf of her poor child thou alone didst hear! But when I recall all the errors of my past life and thy wonderful mercy towards me, I feel it was in answer to that prayer thou hast bestowed on me so many benefits! I know that at that instant a new source of grace was opened to me never to be exhausted—a look of mercy vouchsafed that nothing has ever extinguished!...

My mother still remained speechless, but her respiration became more and more regular, though, alas! still too rapid, and her features resumed their usual appearance. But her bright color had given place to a deadly paleness, and a large dark ring encircled her sweet, expressive eyes, now fastened on me with a look I had never read there before. She bent down and kissed me, and I felt two great tears fall on my forehead, as her pale lips murmured these words:

“O my God! since it is thy will I should die and leave her behind me, I commit her to thy care. Watch over her, I pray thee, better than I have done.”

“Die!” ... my mother die!... I sprang up with a sudden, violent bound, as if smitten to the heart, and stood motionless like one petrified. A frightful vision appeared before me!... a vision I had not been prepared for by the slightest apprehension, or anxiety, or suspicion. Notwithstanding the too precocious development of my sensibilities, there was something child-like in my peculiar temperament that had blinded my eyes, now so suddenly opened! I tried to recall the words I had just heard, but my mind grew confused, and was conscious of nothing but a sharp pang I had never yet experienced, but the cause of which had faded from my remembrance. I turned away, perhaps with the vague thought of calling assistance, perhaps to close the window, but staggered, as if dizzy, and fell to the ground behind the curtain of the window.

At that instant the door opened. I heard the mingled voices of my father and several other persons. Some one sprang forward, exclaiming: “The window open at this late hour!... Who could have [pg 166] been so imprudent?” Then I was conscious that they were gathering around my mother. My father took her up in his arms, and carried her out of the room.... No one had perceived me in the increasing obscurity, as I lay on the floor, half concealed by the curtain. I had not fainted, but I was in a partially insensible state, incapable of any clear notions except the wish to lose all consciousness of suffering in a sleep from which I should never awake!...

II.

I know not how long I remained in this condition. When I opened my eyes, the moon was shining so brightly that the room was as light as day. I rose up, and threw a terrified glance around. Everything in the moonlight wore an ominous aspect, and I shuddered as my eyes fell on the couch and the white pillow on which I had seen my mother's face resting. What had happened?... A long time seemed to have elapsed, and I felt as if on the edge of an abyss—an abyss of sorrow into which I was about to be precipitated. O my God! was it a mere dream, or was it a frightful reality? I could not tell. I soon became conscious of an excruciating pain in my head, and my teeth began to chatter with a violent chill. I rose up to go out, but it was only with the greatest difficulty that I reached my mother's couch, on which I threw myself in despair, burying my face in the pillow where she had reposed her dear head. I burst into sobs, and this explosion of grief afforded me momentary relief.

I then attempted to leave the room, and was proceeding towards the door, when my attention was attracted to something that had fallen on the floor. It was my mother's little book, the silver clasp of which glittered in the light of the moon. I picked it up, and had just concealed it, when the door opened, and my sister Livia (my father's [pg 167] oldest daughter) appeared with a light in her hand.

“Gina!” she exclaimed, “how you frightened me! What are you doing here, child, at this late hour? I thought you were in the garden. How long have you been here?”

I made no reply. I felt as if I should die of mortification, should any one learn what had taken place before my mother's ill turn; but Livia did not repeat her question. She was pale and preoccupied, and her eyes were red with weeping.

What could have happened? My heart throbbed with suspense, but I had not courage enough to ask a single question. She had come for the pillow left on the couch, and seemed to be hunting for something she could not find. Perhaps it was my mother's note-book, which at night she always laid on a table beside her bed. But I did not give it to her. I wished to restore it myself, and, though generally frank with Livia, said nothing about finding it. Agitated as I was, I felt that this little book was a treasure that belonged solely to me—a treasure of which I must never allow any one to deprive me. She made me hold a light to aid her in her vain search, but, not finding it, she took the rest of the things on the stand, and left the room. I followed her, and we walked along together through the gallery that led to my mother's chamber, which was at the end.

This gallery, or, rather, open loggia, looked down on the inner court of the old palace we lived in, and extended entirely around it. The landing of the principal staircase to the first story connected with the gallery, was precisely opposite the place where we were, when, all at once, we heard in that direction a sound—confused at first, and then more distinct—of chanting and the measured steps of several people, mingled with the constant ringing of a bell. Presently a bright light shone through all that side of the gallery, and through the arches we saw a long procession appear, and proceed around towards the door directly before us, ... the door of my mother's chamber.... Livia knelt down, and made a sign for me to do the same, but I remained standing, my eyes staring wide open before me in a kind of stupor. I saw the long file of white penitents as they came with lighted torches in their hands; then appeared the canopy under which walked Don Placido, my mother's aged confessor, carrying the Divine Host in a silver Ciborium.... I could see his long, white beard, his bowed head, his sad, recollected look, and that was all. In an instant the truth flashed across my mind; then everything vanished.

This new shock followed the other so quickly that it caused a deeper and more dangerous swoon; and when I was taken up senseless, and carried to my chamber, it was with the fear that this fatal night would be the last for the daughter as well as the mother....

I have no recollection of what took place for a long while after. I only remember that, opening my eyes one day, I saw Ottavia (my mother's nurse, who had brought me up) beside my bed. I recognized [pg 168] her, and stammered a few words.... She murmured: “Blessed be God!” but did not add another word. A thousand thoughts rushed across my mind, but I could not analyze them, and the one which might seem of the least importance was that which I gave utterance to first.

“My mother's book,” ... I said repeatedly.

Ottavia, without speaking, at once raised the lid of a large ebony coffer that stood on the table not far from my bed, and took out the little book with the silver clasp. She held it up, and then replaced it in the box, which she locked. Turning to me, she put her finger on her lips. I obeyed the sign, and remained silent, but I slept no more till evening. By degrees my mind grew clear, and my confused recollections distinct. The fever that had brought me so near to death's door now abated, and from that day my convalescence was rapid. But the chief thing that renewed life and strength restored, was the faculty of suffering, and comprehending in all its fulness the reality of my misfortune.

My mother was no more. She did not live to see the morrow of the day when she embraced me for the last time. My father's agitated face revealed this terrible fact more clearly even than the mourning he wore.... But I did not learn the details of her last hours till a long time after the day when, for the second time, he lost the light of his fireside. Knowing the keen impetuosity of my disposition, a violent explosion of grief had been anticipated. But it was not so. On the contrary, I fell into a state of gloomy silence that gave rise to fresh anxiety to those who had so long trembled for my life.

The physician, however, advised my father, my sister Livia, and Ottavia, who took turns at my bedside, to leave everything to time without attempting to oppose me. I therefore passed day after day without appearing to notice their presence. But on other days, I silently made some sign of gratitude, which would bring a smile to my father's pale face. Then Livia would embrace me, saying: “Courage, bambina!67 Try to love God's holy will.” Or Ottavia, as she used to do when I was only four years old, would hold up the silver cross on her cornelian rosary, which I always looked at with pleasure. And when they saw me kiss it for the first time, they began to hope, in spite of my silence, for the return of my reason. But my eyes would become fixed again, and I would cease to recognize any one. And when my pillow was found wet with my tears, as was often the case, the physician would say: “That is a good sign; let her weep. It is a relief she needs.” But days passed, and my mental condition remained the same.

My strength nevertheless returned. I was able to get up, and several times I walked a few steps on the terrace leading from my chamber without any injury. But nothing could break the unnatural silence that transformed into an inanimate statue the girl whose excessive vivacity and unrestrained liveliness had sometimes disturbed, sometimes enlivened, the whole house, filling it throughout with the sense of her presence.

One day I was sitting on my terrace, looking off over the gulf, when Ottavia approached, and, as usual, began to talk with the vain hope of [pg 169] drawing forth some reply. I generally listened in silence, but that day a new train of thought came into my mind, which I felt the power of pursuing clearly, calmly, and with a certain persistence that proved my physical strength was at last beginning to triumph over the kind of mental paralysis which made my convalescence seem like a new phase of my disease.

Ottavia had placed a number of books on a small table beside me. She knew nothing of them but the covers, but she offered them to me one by one, hoping to induce me to read—a diversion it was desirable I should take to. At last I shook my head, and for the first time pushed away the book she offered me. Then I spoke, and the sound of my voice was a joyful surprise to my faithful attendant:

“No, Ottavia, not that one. I want another book, and that alone—the one you put away there,” with a gesture and glance towards the further end of my chamber.

Ottavia understood me, but hesitated between the joyful hope of my cure awakened by my reply, and the fear of causing fresh excitement which might bring on another relapse. But after all the means that had been used to rouse me from the state of apathy into which I had fallen, it did not seem prudent to oppose that which I had chosen myself. She therefore obeyed my request, and, without any reply, opened the ebony coffer where she had put my mother's book, as if it were a relic, and placed it in my hands.

“Thank you, Ottavia,” I said. And putting my arms around her neck, I kissed her, causing big tears of joy to roll down her cheeks. “And now leave me, I beg of you; leave me alone for an hour.”

She hesitated a moment, and looked at me uneasily, but then complied as before with my wish, and, after seeing that I was sheltered from the sun and wind, noiselessly left the balcony through my room.

I then kissed the cover of the book I held in my hand, and opened it with awe. It seemed to me I was about to hear my mother's voice from the depths of the tomb!

III.

May 15, 18—

——Ginevra! It is to her I consecrate these pages—the child that at once fills my heart with inexpressible anxiety and the tenderest affection—the child whom I love so dearly, but whom my hands perhaps are too feeble to guide. And yet I shudder at the thought of leaving her behind me. My strength, however, is rapidly failing, and I feel that my poor child will soon be left alone.

Alone! This word may seem harsh to you, Fabrizio mio, and, lest this should meet your eye, I will explain my meaning.

I know you have as tender a heart as mine, and your prudence is far greater; but, to tell you the truth, you likewise are too fond of her! You know how many times I have taken her from your arms to make room for poor Livia, so often grieved by your involuntary forgetfulness, but not offended with her little sister, because she too, like every one else, felt that Ginevra from her infancy had the power of charming every eye and heart around her!...

But though to Livia you were sometimes indifferent, you were never severe, whereas, though generally too indulgent to Ginevra, when you detected some fault in her, I have often seen you inclined to go from one extreme to another, and been obliged to beg you to leave the correction to time or to her mother.

She has grown up, as she is, in our midst, like one of the flowers of our clime which put forth their beauty almost without cultivation, rejoicing our hearts and our eyes, and intoxicating us all with the perfume of her grace and caressing affection.

O yes! it is nothing but intoxication, and I have perhaps yielded to it with too much delight; but I repeat it, it is I alone, among all who have loved her, whose delight has been unmingled with blindness.

Perhaps this was because (pardon me, Fabrizio) I loved her more than any one else, and because the affection of a mother has something divine in its clearness of vision. I see this charming child, to whom I have given birth, as she is. I understand her real nature. I look into her pure soul as into the limpid waters of some beautiful lake. But clouds are now passing over its surface. Others are rising and gathering, and I tremble to think a storm may some day rise up to overwhelm and crush her!

June 1.

This is Ginevra's fifteenth birthday. I will describe her, not only as she appears to me, but to every one else.

She is slender and graceful in form, and an inch or two taller than I. There is an habitual sweetness and languor in her large, brown eyes; but when they are suddenly lit up with surprise, wonder, or any other unexpected emotion, they glow with wonderful expression [pg 170] and brilliancy. Her hair, of a golden hue which is as beautiful as it is rare in our country, parts on a pure white brow which forms almost a continued straight line with a nose of perfect regularity, so that her profile would be quite faultless were not her mouth larger than is consistent with the standard of classical beauty. But this blemish is redeemed by the expression of her mouth, sometimes grave and thoughtful enough to excite anxiety, sometimes half open with a child-like smile, and often extended with hearty laughter, like that of a peasant, displaying two beautiful rows of small, white teeth.

And now, O my child! I would with the same sincerity describe the lineaments of your soul, which is far dearer to me than your face—yes, dearer to me than my own life, or even than yours!

In the inner recesses of this soul—and I thank God for it!—is hidden, even from her, a jewel of purity and truth which it would be far easier to crush than deface. Then, like a strong wind that cannot shake this foundation, but seeks entrance through every pore, beats a loving nature that cannot be denied its food, which is the predominant trait in her character. Passing over her other good qualities and her defects, and speaking merely of her outward appearance, it must be confessed that she manifests the excessive vanity of a child, and a want of reflection that would be surprising in a girl of ten years old, mingled with a passionate ardor that would excite anxiety in one of twenty!

Such is my poor child—such are the attractive but alarming traits that constitute the peculiar nature she has inherited.

O Almighty God! ... two more years of life, ... that I may watch over her till the day I am able to entrust her to the care of some one she can regard with the true devotion of a wife!

Alas! this desire is consuming my life. It is shortening my days. It is hastening my end, which I regard with calmness when I merely consider myself, but which fills me with terror when I think only of her.

June 15.

It was your wish, Fabrizio, and I yielded to it. But it was not without repugnance I saw her go to this ball. You say your sister will watch over her; but I know Donna Clelia better than you. She has no eyes but for her own daughters, and will think she has done her duty to Ginevra by seeing, when she arrives, that her dress has not been crumpled on the way, and, at her return, that she has lost none of her ribbons. She will separate her from her own daughters, you may be sure, lest she eclipse them, and leave her alone—alone in the gay world where she appears for the first time.... You smiled when you saw her ready to start. You whispered with pride that a lovelier creature never was seen.... Ah! Fabrizio, at that moment how I wished she were less charming, or, at least, that her beauty could be hidden from every eye!...

Do you remember the assertion of a queen of France about which we were conversing only a few days since? You thought it too severe, but to me it only seems reasonable; for it gives expression to the most earnest wish of my heart. O yes! like her, I would rather see the child I love so passionately—a thousand times [pg 171] rather—see her die than contract the slightest stain!...

The hours are passing away, and I must seek calmness in prayer. I feel as if in this way I shall still be able to protect her....

Clelia promised to bring her home at eleven. The clock has just struck twelve, and she has not yet arrived....

June 25.

I have been ill for a few days past, and unable to write. To-day I feel somewhat better, and, though my mind has been greatly disturbed, will try to collect my thoughts.

I was not deceived in my presentiment. I thought the day of the ball would be a fatal one, and I was not mistaken. As I said, at midnight she had not returned. I awaited her arrival with increased anxiety of mind, lying awake a whole hour after that, listening to every sound, and repeatedly mistaking the noise of the sea for that of the carriage bringing her home.... At last, about half-past one, I heard the rumbling of the wheels, and presently recognized her light step in the gallery. She passed my door without stopping, and had arrived at her own chamber, when Ottavia, who had been sitting up with me, went after her to say I was not yet asleep, if she wished to come and bid me good-night. As she entered the door, the light in Ottavia's hand shone across her face. It was by no means the same as at her departure. The excitement of dancing, and the fatigue of remaining up to so unusual an hour, were doubtless sufficient to account for her disordered hair, her pale face, and the striking brilliancy of her eyes; but her troubled look, her trembling lips, and the care she took to avoid looking me in the face when she fell on my neck, showed there was something more which I must wait till another day to question her about....

July 1.

To continue the account interrupted the other day:

I know everything now, for she never deceives me. She is always as sincere as she is affectionate. Yes, she had scarcely entered the ball-room before she was, as I foretold, separated from her cousins, and left in a group of young ladies, who, treating her as a mere child, immediately proposed she should take a seat at a table where there were sweetmeats and games. Just then the orchestra began a dance, and the two oldest of the group stationed themselves in front to attract the attention of those in search of partners, while a third kept Ginevra in her seat by showing her pictures, and patronizingly promising in a whisper to dance with her presently. But at the sound of the music, Ginevra could not be restrained from springing up and advancing to look at the preparations for the dance. This change of position attracted the observation of a young gentleman who was slowly entering the room with an absent air without appearing to wish to take any part in the dance.

“There is Flavio Aldini,” said one of the young ladies; “he will not condescend to come this way. He looks upon us as mere school-girls, and only dances with those ladies whose elegance has already made them the fashion.”

“I never saw him before, but he looks very much as I supposed from the description I had of him. Is he not said to be engaged to a rich heiress?”

“He? No; he does not dream of marrying, I assure you. I tell you he never looks at us young ladies.”

[pg 172]

“And yet, my dear, he seems to be looking rather earnestly in this direction now.”

She was right. At that very moment, the person of whom they were speaking eagerly approached the place where Ginevra was standing, and, without glancing at her companions, accosted her, begging she would give him the pleasure of being her partner in the quadrille about to begin.

This was a triumph for my poor Ginevra, and all the greater after the vexation caused by her companions' patronizing airs. She went away radiant—intoxicated.... Hitherto she had been petted as a child; now she suddenly realized how much admiration a woman can inspire, and this knowledge, like a mischievous spark, fell from the look and smile of Flavio Aldini into her very heart!

Flavio Aldini! You will understand, Fabrizio, the terror I felt at the mere name of this presuming fellow; so well calculated, alas! to please young eyes like hers, and capable of taking advantage of the impression he could not help seeing he had made on her inexperience....

How agitated the poor child was in repeating all his dangerous compliments! And how flattering to her pride a success that attracted the attention of every one in the room, and made her an object of envy to those who had just humiliated her by their condescension!... I allowed her to go on.... I was glad, at all events, to see she did not manifest the least shade of deception—the usual consequence of vanity—but I trembled as I listened!

He begged for the little bunch of flowers she wore in her bosom. She was strongly tempted to grant his request, and was only prevented from doing so by the fear of being observed.

July 5.

I have not been able to continue. I have been growing weaker and weaker, and can only write a few lines at a time without fatigue. Since the 15th of June, I have been constantly worried and anxious. I cannot bear for her to leave me now for a single instant. I want to keep her constantly under my eyes and near my heart. Yesterday I saw her start at the sound of a horse passing under the balcony. To-day she was standing there with her eyes dreamily turned towards the road that connects our house with the shore.... I called her, and she listened as I talked kindly to her, hoping to give a new turn to her thoughts, instead of trying to check them by remonstrances. She is easily influenced and guided by kindness but it is difficult to make her yield to authority. Oh! there never was a child who needed more than she the tender guidance of a mother!...

But let thy will, O God! be done. Help me to say this without a murmur. Let me not forget that my love for her is nothing—nothing at all—in comparison with that.

July 15.

It is only with great effort I can write to-day. I do not know as I shall be able to write more than a few lines. But I wish to remind you once more, Fabrizio, of the conversation we had yesterday evening. Who knows but it was the last we shall ever have in this world! My time here is short. Do not forget my request. Lose no time in uniting her to some one she can love and will consent to [pg 173] be guided by. Though still young, he should be several years older than she, in order to inspire her with respect, which is so sweet when mingled with affection, as no one knows better than I, Fabrizio. Has not the mingled respect and love with which you have filled my heart constituted the happiness of my life? I would bless you once more for this, as I close. I have not strength enough to continue.... I must stop.... And yet I would speak once more of her—of my Ginevra—my darling child. I would implore you to be always mild and patient with her, and if ever....

 

Here the journal ended!... Oh! what a torrent of recollections rushed across my mind at the sight of this unfinished page! This little book falling from her hand, ... her slumbers, ... her terrible awakening, ... her incoherent words, her last embrace, my despair! All this I recalled with poignant grief as I pressed my lips to the lines written by her dying hand. I shed a torrent of tears, but this time they were salutary tears. I had already severely expiated my error, for it was only my deep sorrow for having embittered the last hours of my mother's life, and perhaps, O fearful thought! of hastening her end, that had given so dark a shade to my grief, and filled me with a despair akin to madness. I was now stronger, calmer, and wiser, and felt I could yet repair my fault by fulfilling my mother's wishes, and this thought brought the first ray of comfort that penetrated my heart. I made many new resolutions in my mind, and felt I had firmness enough to keep them.

To Be Continued.

The Principles Of Real Being. V. Intrinsic Principles Of Complex Beings.

The primitive beings of which we have treated in a preceding article imply nothing in their constitution but what is strictly necessary in order to exist in nature; and therefore they are physically simple—that is, not made up of other physical beings, though they are metaphysically compounded, because their intrinsic principles are so many metaphysical components. Those beings, on the contrary, the entity of which is not strictly one, besides the three principles common to all primitive beings, involve in their constitution other components, either physical or metaphysical. Such complex beings are either substantial or accidental compounds. We propose to investigate in the present article the general constitution of substantial compounds, then of accidental compounds; and lastly we shall inquire into the principles of the attributes and properties of complex, as well as primitive, beings.

[pg 174]

Principles of substantial compounds.

By substantial compound we mean a compound of which the components are distinct substances uniting in one essence or nature. Such a compound is a physical one, inasmuch as it is made up of physical components; for substances are complete beings, and each of them has its own distinct and individual existence in the physical order of things.

This definition of substantial compound is very different from that which the scholastics drew from their theory of substantial generations. But since chemistry has shown, and philosophical reasoning based on facts confirms, that what in such a theory is called the “generated substance” is only a compound of substances, it must be evident that our substantial compound, as above defined, does not, in fact, differ from theirs, but is the same thing viewed under a different light. Perhaps, if the schoolmen had thought that bodies were possibly but the result of the composition of many permanent substances, they would not have called them substantial, but only natural, compounds; yet, since the epithet “substantial” has been originally adopted, and is still commonly applied to compounds which we know actually to contain many distinct substances, we cannot keep the word “substantial” without giving it such a meaning as will answer to the real nature of the things it qualifies. Nevertheless, should the reader prefer to apply the epithet “substantial” to that compound only which consists of matter and substantial form interpreted in accordance with the Peripatetic system, then the compounds of which we treat might be called natural, or essential, compounds, or compound natures. So long, however, as such compounds are called “substances,” we think we have the right to apply to them the epithet “substantial.”

The immediate principles of substantial compound are three, as in the primitive being: to wit, act, term, and complement; but they are of a different nature, as we are going to explain. Two cases are to be examined. For the physical parts, which unite to make one compound nature, sometimes rank all alike as material constituents of the compound, as in water, iron, silver, and other natural bodies; but at other times one of the constituent substances stands forth in the character of a form, as the human soul in the body, all the parts of the body remaining under it, and making up the complete material constituent of the compound nature.

In the first case, the physical components taken together constitute the adequate potential term or the compound nature; because, as they are all alike material constituents, they are all alike potential respecting their composition; and thus they are all equally liable to be tied together by physical action. The specific composition will be the act of the compound essence; for it is such a composition that formally binds together those physical components into one specific compound. Finally, the actual bond of the components, brought about by their composition, will be the actuality of the compound nature—that is, its formal complement.

That these three constituents differ very materially from those of a primitive being is evident: for, in a primitive being, the term is a pure potency that receives its first actuation; whilst in the compound nature it consists of a number of actual beings which are no longer potential respecting their first actuation, but only with regard to [pg 175] their composition, which gives them a second and relative actuation in the compound. Again, the act, in the primitive being, is a product of creation, calculated to give the first existence to its term; whilst in the compound nature it is the product of actions interchanged between the components, and gives them, not to exist, but to be united so as to form a new specific essence. Lastly, the complement, in a primitive being, is the existence of a thing absolutely one, whilst in the compound nature it is the existence of a thing whose oneness is altogether relative.

In all compounds of this kind—viz., whose form is their composition—the components are, of course, physical beings, as we have stated; but their composition is only a metaphysical entity. Indeed, we are wont to call it “physical composition”; but we do not mean that it is a physical being; we only mean that it is the composition “of physical beings.” We know that formal composition is that by which the components are formally bound with one another; and we know also that the components are thus bound in consequence of their mutual actions, and that such actions cannot be conceived to be complete in nature, except inasmuch as they are received in their proper subjects—viz., in the components themselves. And therefore the composition which is styled “physical” is, of its own nature, only an incomplete and metaphysical entity; and, in a like manner, the actuality of the physical compound is not a physical being, as it cannot be found outside of that of which it is the result.

But a compound of the kind just mentioned is sometimes intended for an end which cannot be attained without the concurrence of a higher principle. Then, by the introduction of this new principle, a second kind of substantial compound arises, in which one of the components (the higher principle) ranks as the formal, and the others as the material, constituent of the compound nature. Such is the case with our own bodies; which, to fulfil the ends for which they are organized by nature, besides their bodily constitution and organism, require the infusion of a distinct principle of life. Hence the formal constituent of man, and of all animals too, is the principle of life, or the soul; whilst his material constituent is the body, with its organic constitution.

That the body is a physical being and a substance there is no doubt; and that the soul also is a physical being and a substance distinct from the body is conclusively shown in all good treatises of anthropology. The soul and the body are therefore two physical components, and make up a physical compound. The animal life, however, which is the result of the animation of the body by the soul—and is, therefore, the complement of the compound—is not a third physical component, but a metaphysical entity; and thus of the three principles which constitute the animal, the first and the second only are to be reckoned as physical parts.

And now, since we have stated that the constituents of compound natures may have either a physical or only a metaphysical entity, we must further inform our readers that a great number of authors are wont to consider all the real constituents of physical beings as so many physical entities. But we would say that in this they are mistaken; for although it is evidently true that the constituent principles of a physical [pg 176] being have a physical existence in the being to which they belong, it cannot be inferred that therefore all such principles must be called physical beings; as some of them can neither have an independent existence nor be even conceived without referring to their correlative principles. Thus the act and the term of a primitive being are both entitatively less than physical beings; for the first being we find in the physical order is that which arises out of them. It is not, therefore, the same thing to say that a being is physically real, and to say that it is made up of physical realities. The first assertion may be true, and the second false; because a thing which is one has only one existence, and nevertheless implies three principles; whence it appears that it is impossible to conceive each of the three principles as having a distinct existence. And since that which has no distinct existence in nature is not a physical being, accordingly the principles of primitive physical beings are not physical, but only metaphysical, realities.

We have further to remark that the act and the term, even when they are complete physical entities, in their manner of principiating the compound nature always behave towards one another as incomplete entities, inasmuch as their principiation is always of a metaphysical, and never of a physical, character. To speak first of those compound essences whose form is composition, we observe that the physical components of such essences are indeed in act, absolutely speaking, but, with regard to the composition, they are simply in potency: and since it is in this last capacity that they enter into the constitution of the compound nature, it is evident that they contribute to its constitution only inasmuch as they have a claim to further actuation. For to be potential respecting any kind of composition means not only that the parts might be duly disposed to undergo such a composition, but moreover that they are already disposed and related to each other in that manner which imperatively calls for such a composition. Consequently, the components, when thus disposed, constitute a potency which needs actuation, and stands, with respect to the form of composition, in the same relation in which any term stands with respect to its essential act. It is, therefore, manifest that the said components, though they are physical entities, behave as metaphysical principles in their material principiation of a compound essence. As for the composition itself, we have already seen that it is always a metaphysical constituent.

In the same manner, the soul and the body are indeed physical beings, absolutely speaking, and, therefore, independent of one another so far as their existence is concerned; but the body is informed and vivified, not inasmuch as it exists in its absolute actuality, but inasmuch as it is potential respecting animal life—that is, inasmuch as its organic composition imperatively claims a soul. And similarly the soul is a vivifying form, not inasmuch as it is something absolute in nature, but inasmuch as it naturally requires completion in the body for which it is created and to which it is actually terminated. It therefore appears that the soul and the body, in their principiation of the animal, behave towards one another as metaphysical principles.

[pg 177]

Hence all composition of act and potency is, properly speaking, a metaphysical composition; though, when the compound is resolvable into physical parts, the same composition may also, from the physical nature of the components, be rightly styled physical. The difference between a metaphysical and a physical compound does not, therefore, consist in the character of the composition itself, which is always metaphysical, but in this: that the latter can be resolved into physical parts which may and will exist after their separation, whereas the former can be resolved only into metaphysical constituents which are utterly incapable of separate existence.

What precedes refers to the immediate constituents of compound essences. It is evident that every immediate principle, which is a complete being, involves other principles. Hence all compound essences imply some principles which are proximate, and others which are remote. The remote are those by which every primitive component is itself constituted in its individual reality, and from which the components derive their real aptitude to become the material, the formal, or the efficient principle of the compound essence.

Principles of accidental compounds.

We have hitherto shown that all physical beings, whether physically simple or physically complex, involve in their constitution an act, a term, and a formal complement. Nothing more is required to conclude that no physical being can be conceived of as an act without its term, or a term without its act, or a formal actuality not resulting from the concurrence of an act and its suitable term. From this it immediately appears that accidents and accidental modes are not physical beings, and that their existence is necessarily dependent on the existence of some other thing of which they are the appurtenances.

An accident, properly so called, is an act having no term of its own, and, therefore, having no metaphysical essence and no possibility of a separate existence. Accordingly, the term of which it is in need must be supplied by a distinct being already existing in nature; and this is called the subject of the accidental act. Hence no accidental act can be conceived to be without a subject.

And here we must reflect that, as the first actuation of an essential term by its essential act has for its result the actual existence of the individual being, so also any second, or accidental, actuation of the term by an accidental act has for its result an actual mode of existing of the same individual being. From this plain truth we infer that a distinction is to be made between accidental acts, which are properly accidents, and accidental modes, which are only accidentalities. An accident, properly speaking, is that which causes the subject to acquire an accidental actuality, and is always an act; whilst the accidental mode is not an act, but an accidental actuality which results in the subject from the reception of the accidental act.

These general notions being admitted, let us inquire into the principles of accidental compounds. An accidental compound is either a compound of substance and accident or a compound of real essence with something superadded. In the first case, “accidental” means the opposite of “substantial”; in the second case, “accidental” [pg 178] means the opposite of “essential.” Thus a falling body is an accidental compound of substance and its momentum, the momentum being a real accident; whereas a man clothed is an accidental compound of individual human nature and dress; the dress being considered as something accidental as compared with the essence of man, though it is a real substance. And in the same manner a mass of gold is an accidental compound of golden molecules, because each molecule fully possesses the essence of gold independently of any other molecule; whence it follows that the addition of other molecules is accidental as compared with the essence of gold, and only increases the quantity without altering the specific nature of gold. Of course, these other molecules are substances, and it is only their concurrence into one mass that is accidental.

It is plain that the constituent principles of an accidental compound are three—viz., the accidental act which entails a modification of the subject; the subject which receives the modifying act; and the accidental mode of being, or the modification, which results from the reception of the act in the subject.

The subject is always a complete physical being, and, therefore, has its own essential act, term, and complement, independently of all things accidental. It becomes the subject of an accidental act by actually receiving it.

The accidental act which is received in the subject must proceed immediately from the action of some natural or supernatural agent. This is evident; for real receptivity is real passivity, and therefore reception is passion. Now, no passion can be admitted without a corresponding action. Hence all accidental act that is properly and truly received in a subject is the immediate product of action, and its production exactly coincides and coextends with its reception.

Lastly, the mode of being which results from the accidental actuation of the subject is only an accidentality, or an accidental actuality, as we have already remarked, and is predicated of the subject, not as something received in it, but as something following from the actual reception of the accidental act. Hence the substance, or the nature, which is the subject of such accidental modes lies under them, not on account of its receptivity, but on account of the resulting potentiality, which is a proper appurtenance, not of the material term, but of the formal complement of the substance. And, in fact, the complement of all created essence always arises from the actuation of a potential term, and therefore is itself necessarily potential—that is, liable to such accidental changes as may result from any new actuation of the essential term. This resulting potentiality is commonly styled mobility, changeableness, or affectibility, and may be called modal potentiality in opposition to the passive potentiality which is the characteristic of the essential term.

Hence a subject is said to receive the accidental act, but not the accidental mode; and, on the contrary, is said to be affected by the accidental mode, but not by the accidental act. We may say, however, that a subject is modified as well by the act as by the mode, because this expression applies equally to the making of the change (mutatio in fieri) and to the state that follows (mutatio in facto esse).

[pg 179]

A subject has, therefore, two distinct manners of underlying: the one on account of its receptivity, the other on account of its affectibility; the one by reason of the passive potentiality of its term, the other by reason of the modal potentiality of its complement. Thus a body, according to its passive potentiality, underlies the act produced in it by a motive power, because it passively receives the motive determination, and, according to its modal potentiality, it underlies local movement, this movement being the immediate result of the determination received. And in a similar manner our soul, inasmuch as it is receptive or passive, underlies the act produced or the impression made in it by a cognizable object; and inasmuch as it is affectible, it underlies the feeling or affective movement, which immediately results from the cognition of the object.

We have said that every accident which is received in a subject and inheres in it must be produced by the action of some agent; and this being the case, it follows that the quantity of the mass of a body, and the quantity of its volume, which are not the product of action, cannot be ranked among the accidents received and inhering in the body; and generally all the accidental modes which arise in the subject, in consequence of the reception of accidental acts, are intrinsic modes indeed, but are not received, and do not properly inhere in their subject; they only result in the subject. Moreover, as all such intrinsic modes immediately arise from the intrinsic reception of accidental acts, it follows that those accidental modes which do not arise in this manner must be extrinsic; and therefore such modes, though they are predicated of their subject, do not inhere in the subject, but only in a certain manner adhere to it. All accidental connotations and relativities belong to this last class.

Hence we gather that predicamental accidents are of different species, and accordingly demand distinct definitions. The accidental act, or accident strictly, is an act received in the subject and inhering in it; the intrinsic mode is an accidental actuality or modification resulting in the subject; the extrinsic mode is a simple connotation or respect arising between the subject and some correlative term. Accordingly, accidental being in general cannot be defined as “that which inheres in a subject”quod inhæret alteri tamquam subjecto—for this definition does not embrace all accidentalities, but should be defined as “that which clings to a subject”quod innititur alteri tamquam subjecto, the phrase “to cling to” being understood in a most general sense. This last definition covers all the ground of predicamental accidentalities; for it is, in fact, applicable to all accidental acts, intrinsic modes of being, and extrinsic connotations.

For the same reason, the subject is not to be defined as “that which receives within itself an accidental entity,” but as “that to which an accidental entity belongs,” and, taking the word “subject” in its most general sense, we may also define it, as Aristotle did, to be “that of which anything is predicated.” It is only by this last definition that we can explain the general practice of predicating of everything, not only its accidentalities, but also its attributes and essential properties. Such predications would be impossible, if the notion of subject were restricted to that which receives on [pg 180] itself accidental entities; for attributes are not accidents, and are not received in their subject, but spring forth from its very essence, as we are going presently to show.

When the thing predicated of any subject is an accidental act, then its subject is a subject of inhesion. When the thing predicated is an intrinsic mode, no matter whether essential, substantial, or accidental, then its subject is a subject of attribution. And when the thing predicated is only a connotation or a respect (modus se habendi ad aliud), then its subject is a subject of mere predication.

As we have stated that natural accidents cannot exist without a subject, the reader may desire to know how we can account for the accidents which, in the Holy Eucharist, exist without their substances. As a lengthy discussion of this philosophico-theological question would be here quite out of place, we will content ourselves with remarking that the Eucharistic species of bread, as described by S. Thomas and by the ancient scholastics, is not a natural and predicamental accident; and that, therefore, many things may be possible with the Eucharistic species which are not possible with natural accidents. It is not true, in fact, what some have maintained, that in the Holy Eucharist each of the accidents of bread exists without any subject. Theologians acknowledge that the quantity of the bread fulfils the duty of subject with regard to all the other accidents, and consequently that all the other accidents, after the consecration as before, cling to quantity. There is no need, therefore, of assuming color without a subject, or figure without a subject, or weight without a subject. This would simply mean color of nothing, figure of nothing, weight of nothing; which is not a miracle, but an absurdity. To account for the sacramental species, theologians need only to show that the quantity of the bread can exist miraculously without the substance of the bread. This is the only accident which remains without any subject whatever; for the Sacred Body, which ad modum substantiæ—that is, substantively, replaces the substance of the bread—is indeed under that quantity, but it is not affected nor modified by it, and therefore cannot be called its subject in the ordinary sense of the word, though some writers have called it a sacramental subject.

To show that quantity without the substance of which it is the quantity is not an impossibility, we must leave aside the idea that such a quantity is a form inherent in the substance. For the quantity of the mass which alone is destined to become the first subject of all the other accidents is made up of a number of material parts, and therefore is not a form, but a certain amount of actual matter, and fulfils the office of matter, as S. Thomas recognizes, and not that of form, as Suarez and others after him have erroneously assumed. Now, it is evident that as no number can be conceived without units, so neither can a quantity of mass be conceived without its parts; and that, if such parts or units are substances, the quantity of the mass will be nothing less than a number of substances. So long, then, as such a quantity remains, it cannot cease to be a number of substances, unless, indeed, each of the units of which it is made up, and which must always remain, be supernaturally deprived of that which places them formally in the rank of substances. [pg 181] This is, therefore, what must be done, and what is really done by transubstantiation. When, in fact, the words of the consecration are pronounced, and the Sacred Body of our Lord is constituted under the sensible symbol ad modum substantiæ (that is, not only substantially, but substantively), then the substantiality of every particle of the bread is superseded, and, so to say, supplanted by the new substance which lies under each of them, but which leaves intact the constituents of concrete quantity; for “the act and the power of substance,” and “whatever belongs to matter,” remains in each of them, as S. Thomas teaches, in accordance with the common doctrine of the ancient scholastics and of the fathers of the church.

Thus the quantity of the bread remains the same as before, and retains its formal and material constitution, notwithstanding the substantial conversion of the bread into the Sacred Body of our Lord. Had the modern scholastics paid more attention to this last point, they would have seen that the species of bread is none of those natural accidents, whether forms or formalities, which found a place in Aristotle's categories, but is a supernatural accident as perfectly constituted, in its own way, as substance itself, and therefore capable of being kept in existence by God without the help of a natural subject. The reader may infer from these remarks that the philosophical questions about natural or predicamental accidents are altogether distinct from, and independent of, those concerning the sacramental species; and that therefore nothing that philosophers may say about natural accidents can have any direct bearing on the explanation of the Eucharistic mystery.

One thing remains to be said regarding the distinction between accidental and substantial compounds. We have defined the first to be a compound “of substance and accident,” or a compound “of essence and something accidentally superadded to it.” The second we defined to be a compound “of substances uniting in one essence or nature.” But, as we noticed, the authors pledged to the theory of substantial generations admitted of no “substantial” compound but that which was believed to consist of matter and substantial form; and accordingly all compounds the form of which was an accidental entity, say composition, were considered by them as accidental. We observe that composition, though an accidental entity, is nevertheless the “essential” form of the compound, and gives it its “first” actuality. If, then, the compound is a distinct essence, and has a distinct name, and is called a distinct “substance,” as water, iron, gold, etc., its form, though an accident, is an essential constituent of the specific substance.

We cannot at present discuss the question of substantial generations; we only remark that, to avoid all useless disputes about words, a physical compound, when it contains nothing but what is needed for the constitution of its specific nature, may be called Unum per se naturalei.e., a being essentially one; and when it has something accidentally superadded, it may be called Unum per accidensi.e., a being accidentally one. This distinction of names, which is familiar to all philosophers, expresses the distinction [pg 182] of the things without having recourse to the terms of “substantial compound” and “accidental compound,” taken in the Peripatetic sense of the words. Thus, whilst the Peripatetics based their distinction between these compounds on a presumed difference between their forms, we draw our own from the presence or absence of anything not belonging to the specific nature of the compound. This we do in accordance with the true spirit of scholastic philosophy, not to say compelled by a philosophical necessity; for we know that the constituent form of a purely material compound, though essential with respect to the compound itself, is only an accident received in the substance of the components, as we may hereafter have an occasion to show. And now let us come to the attributes of complete beings.

Principles of attributes and properties.

All complete beings possess attributes and properties called essential—that is, invariably following the essence to which they belong. It is therefore necessary for us to inquire whether, to account for them, any special principles must be admitted. We can easily show that no new real principle is required besides the principles of the essence, as all the essential attributes and properties68 of a complete being are fully contained in the real essence of the same as in their fountain-head, inasmuch as they are nothing else than the actuality of the essence considered under different aspects or connotations. It is known, in fact, that the essential attributes of things are said by all philosophers to emanate from the essence, to flow from the essence, to follow from the essence, without any other thing being ever mentioned as their principle; which shows the universality of the doctrine that the essence alone is the adequate source of all its attributes.

And here let us observe that the words principle and source are not synonymous; for a principle is not sufficient, of itself, to principiate anything without the concurrence of other principles, as it does not perfectly contain in itself the whole reality of which it is a principle. The source, on the contrary, contains totally and adequately within itself whatever emanates from it; so that any such emanation, taken separately, is only an imperfect exhibition of the reality from which it emanates, as it presents it only under one out of the many different points of view under which it may be regarded. To say, then, that the essence of a thing is the source of all its attributes is to say that the essence itself alone sufficiently accounts for their origin, their necessity, and their distinction.

That such is the case we shall easily understand by reflecting that all the essential attributes and properties of a thing express the being or actuality of the thing under some special aspect; as to be active, to be passive, to be one, to be simple, etc. Now, to be, or actuality, immediately results from the principles of the essence alone, as we have proved in our last article. Consequently, the essential attributes and properties of anything immediately result from the essential principles of the thing—that is, from its real essence. Thus a being is active inasmuch as the act [pg 183] by which it is can be further terminated; and therefore to be active is nothing more than to have in itself an act further terminable; and activity, or active power in the abstract, is nothing more than the further terminability of the same act. In like manner, a being is passive inasmuch as its intrinsic term is still capable of further actuation; and therefore to be passive is nothing more than to have in itself a term which can be further actuated; and passivity, or passive potentiality in the abstract, is nothing more than the further actuability of the same term. The like may be said of every other attribute. Meanwhile, if we inquire what does terminability, or actuability, add to the thing, we shall soon see that it adds nothing real, but only exhibits the reality of the thing under a special formality as connoting something either intrinsic or extrinsic to it. Thus the terminability of the act simply connotes some term capable of actuation, and the actuability of the term simply connotes an act by which it can be actuated.

From this it follows that the essential attributes of being are nothing but distinct abstract ratios having their foundation in the principles of the complete being, and presenting its actuality under different aspects. In fact, it is because such a being contains the foundation of all those ratios that our intellect, by looking upon it, is enabled to discover them, and to trace them distinctly to their distinct principles. It thus appears that the true reason why no new real principles are needed to account for the essential attributes of things consists in this, that the whole reality of the attributes already pre-exists in the thing, and that nothing further is necessary, that they may be distinctly conceived, but intellectual consideration.

What we have said of the attributes that have their foundation in the essential principles of being applies equally to qualities which are the immediate result of accidental actuation. Thus, if a material point be acted on, the result of the determination it receives will be velocity. Of course, velocity is an accidental attribute, since it follows from the termination of an accidental act; yet it results as perfectly from that termination as the essential attributes result from the termination of the essential act.

In general, all the objective ratios which immediately follow the constitution of a concrete being need no additional principles, because they are already contained in the entity of the concrete being, in which the intellect finds its ground for their distinct conception. And here let us add two remarks. The first is that all such intelligible ratios identify themselves really, though inadequately, with the concrete entity of which they are predicated; so that between the attribute and its concrete subject there can be but the slightest of metaphysical distinctions. The second is that the essential attributes of a simple being are never really distinct from one another. The reason of this is evident; for such attributes are the simple actuality of a simple being, which does not cease to be identical with itself when it is viewed from different points of view. They admit, however, of a distinction of reason; for when the same thing is considered under different aspects, the distinct concepts that are then formed by the mind evidently exhibit [pg 184] distinct objective ratios, every one of which corresponds to one of those aspects without formally implying the others.

Though we have hitherto spoken of the essential attributes and properties of primitive beings, the doctrine we have expounded is also applicable to those of all substantial compounds. Thus the attributes and properties of a molecule of hydrogen, oxygen, or any other specific compound have the reason of their being in the essential principles of their respective compound, and nothing else is required to account for them, as is evident from the preceding explanations. It is to be observed, however, that in such compounds as owe their being to material composition only, as it is the case with all the molecules of natural bodies, the composition which is the essential form of the compound is not a substantial, but an accidental, determination of the components; and hence it is that each such molecule involves in its essential constitution both substance and accident, and therefore is not exactly a substance, but a natural compound essence. The consequence is that its essential attributes, too, owe their being not only to the component substances, but also to such accidents as are essentially implied in the constitution of the compound. Thus, porosity, compressibility, bulk, etc., which are essential attributes of each molecule as such, have the reason of their being partly in the elements of which they are made up, and partly in the specific form of their composition. Now, this specific form may undergo accidental changes without trespassing the bounds of its species; and those essential attributes which depend on the specific composition may consequently undergo a change in their degree; and since none of those changeable degrees are determinately required by the essence of the molecular compound, it follows that the essential attributes and properties of each molecule, in so far as their actual degree is concerned, are accidental; and accordingly such attributes and properties by their degree belong to the predicament of accidental quality. Such is the case with the attributes of every single molecule of a natural substance.

As for bodies made up of a number of molecules of the same kind, it is evident that all such bodies are accidental compounds, and none of them can have any other essential attributes besides those which are common to their molecules. For the union of equal molecules is the union of integrant parts, and gives rise to no new species, but only to accidental relations, quantity of mass, and quantity of volume; and consequently all the attributes and properties originating in the agglomeration of such integrant parts are simply accidental qualities. Thus liquidity is an accidental quality of water, because it exhibits only the mutual behavior of distinct molecules which, of themselves, and apart from one another, are not liquid, though they have all that is needed to unite in the liquid state. And indeed, if each molecule contains the true essence of water, and yet is not actually liquid, actual liquidity has nothing to do with the essence of water, and therefore is not an essential attribute of water, but an accidental mode resulting from mutual accidental action between neighboring molecules.

There are two cases, however, in [pg 185] which new essential attributes may be found in a body without being found in the component molecules. The first is when the component molecules undergo chemical combination; for in this case such molecules are not merely integrant but constituent, and by their combination a new essence is formed. Now, a new essence gives rise to new essential attributes. Thus sulphuric acid, for instance, has attributes which do not belong to its components.

The second case is when the whole body is only a part of the compound essence—that is, when the specific form of that essence is a distinct substance, as in man and all animals, whose bodies are informed by a soul. In this case, the whole body and all that belongs to its organic constitution is involved in the essence of the perfect compound of which it is a part; and therefore some among the essential attributes of the compound must depend on the very constitution of the body. Thus stature follows from the essential constitution of man, which includes a body having dimensions. But here, again, we must observe that, although to have some stature is an essential attribute of man, to have this stature rather than that is an accidental quality; it being evident that human nature can exist without this determinate stature.

By the preceding remarks we are led to conclude, 1st, that all essential attributes originate in the essential constituents of the nature of which they are the attributes; 2d, that all the accidental attributes or qualities originate in the accidental determinations of the nature of which they are the accidental qualities; 3d, that, in material compounds, those essential attributes which depend on the composition admit of different accidental degrees.

We have only to add that the abstract ratios, through which the attributes and properties of things are conceived, are very frequently styled formalities. Formalities are, generally speaking, either real or logical. A real formality is that which has its being in the reality of things; a logical formality, on the contrary, is that which has no being in real things, but only in our conception.

Real formalities are also called metaphysical degrees. Thus, in Socrates, animality, rationality, individuality, personality, etc., are so many metaphysical degrees. All such degrees express the being of the thing under some particular aspect; as to be animated, to be rational, to be an individual, etc., as we have above remarked.

Real formalities are either absolute or respective. The absolute are those which belong to the thing considered in itself absolutely; as substantiality, oneness, singularity. The respective are those which imply a connotation of something else; as terminability, passivity, cognoscibility. The absolute formalities correspond to the absolute attributes of beings; the respective correspond to the relative attributes—that is, to the properties and qualities of beings.

Real formalities are either positive, negative, or privative. The positive are directly founded on the act, term, and complement of the being; as activity, passivity, and inertia. The negative are real negations affecting the thing; as the mode of substance, which is a negation of sustentation. The privative are real privations, as blindness in man.

[pg 186]

We may observe, by the way, that the logical formalities are likewise either positive, negative, or privative. The positive exhibit the thing as a positive element of logical thought; as when man is said to be the subject of a proposition. The negative exhibit the thing as affected by a negation which is not in the thing, but only in our conception of it; as when we say that God's immensity and eternity are distinct; for distinction is a negation of identity, but the distinction in this case is only mental, because those two attributes are the same thing in reality. The privative exhibit the thing as mentally stripped of that which is due to it; as when we consider color, figure, velocity, etc., as formally universal, and therefore as deprived of a subject; for they cannot be deprived of a subject except in our conception.

This is what we had to say about attributes and properties. As we have here and there mentioned inadequate identity, metaphysical distinction, distinction of reason, etc., we will take care to have the meaning of these words accurately explained in our next article, in which we hope to end this our cursory survey of the principles of real being.

To Be Continued.

The Butterfly.

From The French Of Marie Jenna.

Why silently draw near
And menace my joyous flight?
What is there in my gay career
That can offend your sight?
I am only a vivid beam,
Flitting now here, now there,
A wingéd gem, a fairy dream,
A flower that the breeze may bear.
The brother of the rose,
In her breast I shun the storm;
On her soft bosom I repose,
And drink her perfume warm.
My life is a transient thing,
Why mar its glad estate?
Answer me, O creation's king!
Art envious of my fate?
Nay, hear me while I pray:
Elsewhere thy footsteps bend;
Let me live at least one happy day,
Thou that shalt never end!
[pg 187]

The Farm Of Muiceron. By Marie Rheil.

From the Revue Du Monde Catholique.

XX.

That day was February 25, 1848. If you remember, there had never been seen, at that season, such mild weather and such brilliant sunshine. But that the trees were without leaves, it seemed like May; and in the orchards exposed to the south, the almond-trees were even covered with big buds ready to flower.

This beautiful, early spring rejoiced all on the earth, both men and beasts; the peasants were heard singing in the fields, the horses neighing at the plough, the hens clucking, the sparrows chirping, the lambs bleating; and down to the babbling brooks, that flowed and leaped over the stones with more than ordinary rapidity, each creature, in its own way, appeared happy and glad.

The curé walked along slowly, a little fatigued by the heat, to which he was not yet accustomed. He closed his Breviary, and thought of the dear family he was about to rejoice with his good news, and doubtless, also, of the exile, who only waited for one word to return to his beloved home.

When he reached the right of the barns at Muiceron, he paused a moment behind the cottage to take breath and wipe his forehead. From that spot he could see into the courtyard without being seen; and what he saw, although very simple, moved him to the bottom of his soul.

Jeanne Ragaud was drawing water from the well; but, instead of carrying off the buckets already filled, she deposited them on the ground, and, resting her elbows on the curbstone of the well, covered her face with her hands in the attitude of a person completely overcome.

He knew she was weeping, and certainly her poor heart must have been full of sorrow that she should give way to such silent grief. The good curé could no longer restrain himself; he advanced gently behind her, and, when quite near, touched her on the shoulder, just as he had done in former days, when he wished to surprise her in some school-girl's trick.

Jeanne turned around, and he saw her pretty face bathed in tears.

“Oh! oh!” said the kind pastor, smiling, “what are you doing, my daughter? I wager you are the only one who is not rejoicing to-day in the bright sunshine that the good God gives us.”

“Father,” said the little thing, who always thus addressed our curé when they were alone, “it is perhaps very wrong, but it is precisely all this joy I see around me that breaks my heart. When I reached the well, I thought how often Jean-Louis had come to this very place to draw water for us, and how displeased he was when my mother wished to do it herself. Poor Jeannet! he was so gentle and kind! Oh! I am sure he is unhappy away from home.”

[pg 188]

“That is not doubtful,” replied the curé; “but perhaps one day we will see him again.”

“I begin to despair of it,” said she. “He left heart-broken, and perhaps now he detests me.”

“Perhaps? Perhaps, my daughter, can mean yes as well as no; why should it not be no?”

“Ah! if I only knew!” said she.

“Well, what would you do?”

“I would write to him that I love him,” she cried, clasping her hands; “and I would beg him to come and tell me that he pardons me, and take his place again at home; for the house will always be his, whether I live or die; and although I have done very wrong, he would listen to me, don't you think so, father?”

“Yes,” said the curé, much touched; “he is a person who never cherished rancor against any one. Write to him, my child, and tell him all you wish; your letter will reach him.”

“Ah! you know where he is? I thought so,” said she joyfully.

“Yes, indeed! I know where he is, and I will now tell you, my dear daughter. He is in Paris, where he wants for nothing; and if you are good, if you will stop crying, I will read you some of his letters, which will make you happy.”

“Oh! I promise you that I will be good. I will not cry any more—never again,” cried the poor little creature, who instantly began to sob, by way of keeping her promise.

But they were tears of joy this time, and the curé let them flow without reproof. They entered Muiceron together, and Jeannette, without any preambulation, threw herself on her mother's breast, crying out that Jeannet was coming back. Pierrette, who desired it as ardently as she, asked to be excused for one moment, that she might run off and tell Ragaud, who was sowing clover near the house. It was right that they should be all together to hear such welcome news; but scarcely had the good woman reached the door, than she knocked against Jacques Michou, who had just crossed the threshold.

“Jean-Louis! Jean-Louis is coming back!” said Pierrette, as she passed him. “Come in, Jacques Michou; I will be back in a second.”

Michou entered in his usual tranquil manner. He saluted the curé and Jeanne without showing the least excitement.

“Who says that Jeannet is coming back?” he asked.

“We don't say he is coming back,” replied the curé, “but that he will return home.”

“All very well,” answered Michou; “but, for the present, that is not to be thought of.”

“My God!” cried Jeanne, “what has happened?”

“The revolution in Paris,” said Michou; “and this time it is real. Here is a letter from M. le Marquis, who tells me that in three days from now all will be fire and blood. He orders me to join him—Jeannet is with him—and I will take guns for everybody.”

Jeannette fell fainting in a chair. M. le Curé conversed with Michou; and, meanwhile, Ragaud and Pierrette entered, and learned, in their turn, the event, which was very true, as we all know. I leave you to think if there were ahs! and ohs! and exclamations of all kinds. For a full hour there were so many contradictory statements you would have thought the revolution at Paris transported to Muiceron. Several peasants, returning from the [pg 189] city, stopped at the farm, and reported there was agitation everywhere; that a great number of workmen in the factories had decamped; and, as under similar circumstances all sorts of stories are told and believed, it was added that half the capital was already burnt, and that smoke was seen in all the other parts of the city. At that, Michou shrugged his shoulders; but he was anxious about his master, whom he knew to be the man to do a thousand imprudent things, so he took a hasty farewell of his friends, and that very evening passed Muiceron in full rig, armed and equipped, ready for his post.

So once again everybody at Muiceron became gloomy and miserable, as each day brought its fresh contingent of sad news. For if, in the city and among learned men, where there is every chance of correct information, every one appears half crazy in time of public calamity, and in a fever to talk all kinds of nonsense, you can imagine what it is in a village, where one is obliged to listen to the neighbors and gossips, who always improve on the most absurd reports. It is true, also, that they never see a paper, and it is lucky if they preserve a few gleams of good sense; but what each one draws from his own private source amply suffices to bewilder everybody.

I, who speak to you, and who was very young at the time of this revolution, remember well to have heard it positively affirmed that the king, Louis Philippe, and his family had been crucified in front of their château, then cut in little pieces, boiled, and eaten by the people! And when, in addition, it was said that the waters of the Seine had formed a magnificent cascade from the heaped-up corpses, and were red with blood as far as the bridge at Rouen, I did not think the thing incredible, and, with great simplicity, I always awaited still more extraordinary news.

I remember, also, that a band of our most respectable young men took turns every night in mounting guard around the château of Val-Saint, because it was known, from a trustworthy source, that the cellars contained more than a hundred barrels of powder, ready to blow up at the shortest notice. Now, to ask how so many barrels, the least of which weighed as much as a tun of wine, could have been placed there without being seen, is what no person thought of; and the reflection, what man, sufficiently desirous of putting an end to his days by bringing that enormous building down upon him (a thing which could profit no one), would be capable of setting fire to the powder, still less entered their heads; and yet terror was at its height at the mere thought of an explosion so tremendous that it would have broken all windows for two leagues round. And thus it is that good people, without wishing it, lend their hands to the revolution.

It was not that all this was believed at Muiceron as readily as I swallowed it, but, in reality, they were very anxious, and ardently desirous of hearing news. A long week passed. M. Michou wrote a short letter, in which he said everybody was well, that M. le Marquis and Jean-Louis were always together, and cried out, “Long live the king!” in the streets while carrying a white flag, which made the boys of the street laugh, but at which no one took any exception. He added that King Louis Philippe was driven out, and that for the present the republic was much spoken of. Thereupon [pg 190] Ragaud declared that all was lost; for he, like all those of his age, only understood the republic as accompanied by scaffolds, drownings, and robberies, as in that of 1793, which he well remembered.

Jeannette, then, with the consent of M. le Curé, wrote a long and touching letter, which she addressed to Solange, in which she poured forth all the warmth and fire of her little heart. The poor child dared not write directly to Jeannet, in the fear that new events might prevent his receiving the missive; but she did not doubt that Solange would find means to read it to him who would receive so much consolation from its contents. The misfortune was that, in the midst of the fray, that good girl could hear nothing about her old friend; and, between ourselves, it was, I believe, because she had no permission to mix herself up in the affair, as she lived retired and absorbed in prayer with the other young sisters of the novitiate. It therefore followed that when Jeannet, in his turn, wrote to M. le Curé, it seemed, from the quiet, sad, and cold tone of his letter, that he knew nothing of this step of Jeannette's, or, if he knew it, he attached no importance to it, and wished them to understand it was too late to repair matters.

It was this last idea which fastened itself in the child's head as firmly as a nail in the wood. She became profoundly sad, which, according to her habit, she concealed as much as possible; and thus passed weeks and months without anything further being said of the return of the dear boy, so fondly desired by all at Muiceron.

So far affairs in Paris went on quietly, and the people who believed in scaffolds began to think they might sign the lease between their shoulders and heads. For now that all this fine story is over, it must be avowed the first part of the revolution was more laughable than terrible. I had it from Michou, who was present and witnessed many things in detail, which were served up for our amusement during many of the following winters. The good man never wearied of relating how the great city of Paris, that had driven off a king from a desire of giving herself a hundred thousand in his place, played at comedy for three months, for the sole purpose, I suppose, of affording other countries a perpetual diversion. Once, for example, in remembrance of spring-time, a crowd of little trees were planted at all the corners, as signs of liberty; and as, for this amusement, each man became a gardener on his own hook, without ever having learned the trade, you can imagine what chance these precious emblems of freedom had of flourishing. It is not necessary to say that they fell down and were trodden under foot in a very short time, so that the beautiful green ornaments were renounced at the end of a few days!

Another time, the street-boys assembled and formed the brilliant resolution that they would have a general illumination. And then—I really would not have believed it, if Jacques Michou had not vouched for the truth—these ragamuffins ran in troops through the streets, hand-in-hand, shouting out a song which had but two words, always sung to the same tune.

“Light up! light up!” they cried at the top of their voices; upon which, all classes, rich and poor, high and low, obediently placed candles in the windows, without daring to utter a word [pg 191] against the decree; and this lasted more than a fortnight.

I will only ask, if the king or our holy father, the Pope, had exacted such a thing even once, what would have been said? There was also the farce of the laborers, who were out of work, taking the air, and marching by thousands along the quays to the great château, where five or six fine men who were called the government resided, and who were very brave in words, but became half crazy when it was time to act; which must not be wondered at, as their task was none of the easiest. The men arrived, they would send one of their number to ask some little favor, which was sure to be promised for next day. Then they returned the same as they came, and so much the worse for those who were found in their way that day; for not a cat could have come out alive among so many legs. This amusement was called “a manifestation.” But to say what was ever manifested except want and misery in every house—for when such promenades are made, no work is done—is what you may learn, perhaps, sooner than I, if the day of discovery will ever come.

During this time, they pretended to make laws for the country, in a large building where a great number of men from the provinces talked themselves hoarse every day, insulting each other, and even, I have been told, flung whatever they happened to have near at hand at one another's heads; so that he who appeared the master of all, and was called president, was forced to speak with a great bell, as he could no longer make his voice heard. For those who liked noise all this row was very amusing; but quiet people were obliged to shut their eyes and stop up their ears. In my opinion, instead of being contented with that, they should have descended into the streets, and enforced order with heavy blows of the cudgel; but, if they thought of that later, for the time being good people seemed asleep, which emboldened the rabble to such a degree they thought themselves masters of the situation.

You doubtless think our dear good master, M. le Marquis, was discouraged at seeing the republic established in place of his cherished hopes. Not at all. On the contrary, he was as ardent and fiery as ever, assured that it was “a necessary transition”—a phrase which I repeat as I heard it, without pretending to explain it, and which, probably, was profoundly wise. He was very busy coming and going with his friends, and arranging all, in words, for the approaching arrival of the young legitimate prince, who remained near the frontier with a large army, invisible for the time, but ready to march at a moment's notice.

Jean-Louis and Michou allowed themselves in secret to be rather doubtful of these fine assertions, but, respectful and devoted as they were to that excellent gentleman, they made the agreement to follow him about like his shadow, and to shield him whenever he might incur any risk. Thus, whenever M. le Marquis was seen, near him was always the handsome, brave Jeannet, with his pale, serious face, or the old game-keeper, looking very jaunty, but with such fierce eyes and strong arms a man would think twice before attacking him. Dear mademoiselle, who was half dead with fear for her father's life, confided him entirely to his village [pg 192] friends, and begged them every morning to be faithful to their trust. Besides, this good soul, formerly so desirous of seeing and living in Paris, yawned there almost as much as at Val-Saint.

There was not much amusement going on in society. Rich people stayed at home, and guarded their money, which was carefully concealed in some secure place, ready to fly in case of necessity; as for out-door amusements, none were thought of. M. le Marquis had something else to do than drive out with his daughter; and to circulate around among the manifestations was not the most pleasant performance—far from it. Poor mademoiselle seemed doomed to the miserable fate of always running after some distraction, fêtes, and other disturbances of that kind, without ever finding them. Add to all this, she was in a constant state of fear, as she was little accustomed to the cries, songs, patrols, and threats which filled the capital. Her only consolation was to hope that there would soon be an end of all this; and Dame Berthe encouraged her to be patient, showing herself all the while full of the idea of the near triumph of the cause, as she said. And mean-time, while waiting for it, she embroidered little strips of white satin by the dozen, to decorate the belts of the king's officers when the triumphal entry would be made into Paris.

Their happiest moment was in the evening, when these five persons, drawn together through friendship and devotion, were reunited to talk over the events of the day, and to plan for the next. M. le Marquis ordered the servants off to bed—for they were not sure but there might be spies among them—and, keeping Jeannet and Michou, he joyfully laid before them all his plans and hopes. Jean-Louis listened with one ear; and fortunate was it that respect prevented him from joining in the conversation, as his remarks might have been very malàpropos. Can you guess why? He thought of other things; and while his master soared away in imagination to the frontier, where the invisible army of the king manœuvred, in heart and soul he was in the beloved spot, where he lived over again the happy days of his childhood.

And thus they advanced, without knowing it, to the terrible days which gave the death-blow to the republic, in the midst of the blood of so many honest men, which flowed and mingled with that of the rabble, for love of good order, which could easily have been established without so much suffering. Alas! it was not the first time in our gay, beautiful France that things have begun with songs and pleasant jokes, and ended amid the noise of cannon and the cries and lamentations of the wounded.

Before relating this last part of my story, I must tell you that our curé, always in correspondence with Jean-Louis, was much astonished at the uniform coolness of his letters. At last he thought best to ask an explanation during the month of May, advising him to go and see Solange, who for a long time had had good news for him. Do you think it was long before Jeannet ran quickly to the convent? When he read that Jeannette loved him and desired his return, he nearly became wild with joy. Solange let him have the precious letter, which he read and re-read all one night, so as to be better able to reply to it. It was time for [pg 193] things to change, as Jeannette declined visibly from the pain she suffered in believing herself disdained.

It is always so with women (I must make the remark); they torture without mercy, or at least with very little thought, the poor hearts which become attached to them; and then the day they feel pain in their turn all must end in the quickest manner, otherwise they will die; and then, again, they will have all the pity and sympathy on their side. So our two dear children made up and became friends with a few words written on paper; and enchanted were they both, I can assure you. Now it was easy to wait. Jean-Louis, in his answer, showed the same heart, the same tenderness, as formerly. He wished no excuses from his sister, saying that all the fault was on his side—which was a big story, as every one could see but himself, and made them both laugh and weep at Muiceron. As for his return, it was not necessary to promise anything. They knew well that the day duty would no longer detain him he would take the first train and our good friends, the Ragauds, while not wishing him to leave M. le Marquis, commenced to prepare for the happy moment, so ardently desired by all.

Ragaud told the women it was not the time for economy, and the following week he called in the painters and the masons to replaster all the house, and to give it an air of freshness inside, which, I must acknowledge, was very much needed. Jeannette directed the changes in Jean-Louis' room, and I can assure you she spared nothing, and spent at least fifty francs of her father's crowns in a splendid paper for the walls, which was yellow, covered with large bouquets of bright flowers that had the most beautiful effect. The month of June found them busily occupied; and then they began to count, not the days, but the hours, that would separate Jean-Louis from the dear home that had adopted him.

His last letter announced his speedy departure. The joy at Muiceron, and its holiday look, was touching to see. Jeannette, pink and white, like an eglantine rose, had never looked prettier.

Suddenly, one morning, M. le Curé entered the farm, and, in the midst of all this happiness, pronounced these terrible words:

“My children, they are fighting in Paris, and we must pray to God, for the danger has never been greater; happy those who will come safe out of it!”

XXI.

I shudder when I speak of that horrible time. Alas! we all know about the fearful struggle of blood and tears called “The days of June, 1848.”

Never did the lowering storm-clouds more quickly burst, and never did a great city, in all the pride of her beauty and wealth, come nearer complete ruin. Each quarter, each place, each cross-way, were battle-fields. Houses were demolished, that barricades might be erected across the streets; and this time, if extravagant accounts went abroad, not one appeared exaggerated in face of the real truth.

For three long, weary days—why, no one ever knew—the army kept hidden; then the sovereign people were masters of the situation, and acted as best pleased their capricious will; and I rather think nobody but a fool could have helped [pg 194] being disgusted with serving such kings.

At the end of these three days, at last the cry was heard from all the barracks, “Forward!” And as in the time of the great Napoleon, generals in fine uniforms and waving plumes dashed about on horseback, and there was a terrific noise of cannon and musketry. How terrible was the anger of the Lord! For these enemies, who grappled in the fierce death-struggle, were children of the same mother, and yet forgot it in the midst of their senseless fury and thirst for vengeance, when, in truth, they had nothing to avenge.

What more shall I tell you? You know it all better than I; perhaps you were there; and, besides, it is not so long ago that you cannot remember it; and when you recall it, pray fervently to the good God such a time may never again be ours.

When the battalions moved, every honest citizen left his bed, and armed, to be ready to assist the army. M. le Marquis was one of the first on the scene, accompanied by his two body-guards. Mademoiselle, when she saw them leave, wept, and threw herself on her knees in her room, unwilling to listen to Dame Berthe, who still could have the heart to speak of “the triumph of the right,” so rooted in her head was this fixed idea. Leave these poor women, more to be pitied than blamed, lamenting and praying to God, while listening, with hearts half dead with agony, to the noise of the battle, and we will see what became of the combatants.

When they left the house, there was no appearance of extraordinary excitement, and even the quarter where M. le Marquis lived, very quiet at all times, seemed calmer even than usual, for the very good reason that, of all who occupied it, those that were brave ran elsewhere, and the cowards buried themselves, like moles, in the cellars. Our friends first went down one long street, crossed a second, a third, and only then, when coming up to a great bridge with a Prussian name very difficult to spell—and therefore I cannot write it—began to see and hear the horrors of the deadly combat.

M. le Marquis stopped.

“Friends,” said he, “let us make the sign of the cross; perhaps one of us will not return to sleep in his bed, but may be killed, wounded, or made prisoner. It is well to provide ourselves with a passport for the other world, and one more blessing for this one.”

And this excellent gentleman instantly put in practice what he preached, pronouncing aloud the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

“Come,” said he joyously, “I feel younger by ten years. Ah! while I think of it, have you white cockades in your pockets?”

“Faith! no,” said Michou; “I confess to M. le Marquis I did not dream of taking that precaution. But we need not worry about that; if we want them, I will tear off an end of my shirt.”

Jean-Louis had been equally forgetful of the white cockades; M. le Marquis told them their heads were turned, but forgot to add he was in the same fix; for they had rushed to arms in such a hurry, each one had only taken time to dress quickly and seize his gun, so ardently desirous were they to see the end of the masters of Paris.

Soon they were in the midst of the troops and a crowd of volunteers like themselves.

[pg 195]

The fight was hot. The height and solidity of the barricades, for the most part cemented with stone and mortar like ramparts, forced them to establish a siege; and the thick walls that sheltered the rioters were only destroyed with the aid of cannon, and after many deaths. I must be frank, and say it was not a war very much to the taste of our soldiers, who like to see the faces of the enemies at whom they aim; neither, as a first effort, was it very amusing for our friend Jeannet, who had never before seen any fire but that in the chimney at Muiceron. So when he found himself in the midst of the scuffle, surrounded with dead and wounded, smoke in his eyes, loud oaths and curses in his ears, without counting the whistling of the balls, which I have been told produces a very droll effect when not accustomed to it, he stopped short, and looked so stupefied Michou laughed at him. That old soldier had been present at the battle of Wagram, and, being very young at the time, was at first half crazy with fear, which did not prevent him from showing great bravery when he recovered his senses. He therefore understood from experience precisely how Jeannet felt, and, giving him a hard blow on his shoulder, shook the young fellow's gun, which he was carelessly pointing at random.

“Are you going to let yourself be killed like a chicken?” he cried to him, swearing tremendously; “be quick, my boy; you can sleep to-morrow.”

Jean-Louis jumped; he drew himself up to his full height, and his handsome face reddened with shame, although he had done nothing dishonorable.