The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Catholic World, Vol. 21, April, 1875,
to September, 1875, by Various

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Title: The Catholic World, Vol. 21, April, 1875, to September, 1875
       A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science

Author: Various

Release Date: March 17, 2017 [EBook #54377]

Language: English

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General Literature and Science.

APRIL, 1875, TO SEPTEMBER, 1875.

9 Warren Street.


Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by
in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.








VOL. XXI., No. 121.—APRIL, 1875.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by Rev. I. T. Hecker, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.


“No member of this State shall be disfranchised or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizens thereof, unless by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers.”

“The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall for ever be allowed in this State to all mankind.”—Constitution of the State of New York, Art. i. Sects. 1 and 3.

The first article of all the old English charters which were embodied in, and confirmed by, the Great Charter wrung from King John, was, “First of all, we wish the church of God to be free.” In the days when those charters were drawn up there was no dispute as to which was “the church of God.” The religious unity of Christendom had not yet been reformed into a thousand contending sects, each of which was a claimant to the title of “the church of God.” The two sections of our own constitution quoted from above, which establish in their fullest sense the civil and religious liberty of the individual, are taken from those grand old charters of Catholic days. The only thing practically new in them is the substitution, for the “church of God,” of “the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference.” The reason for this alteration is plain. Civil liberty is impossible without religious liberty. But here the founders of our constitution were confronted with a great difficulty. To follow out the old Catholic tradition, and grant freedom to the “church of God,” was impossible. There were so many “churches of God,” antagonistic to one another, that to pronounce for one was to pronounce against all others, and so establish a state religion. This they found themselves incompetent to do. Accordingly, leaving the title open, complete freedom of religious profession and worship was proclaimed as being the only thing commensurate with complete civil liberty and that large, generous, yet withal safe freedom of the individual which forms the corner-stone of the republic.

This really constitutes what is commonly described as the absolute separation of church and state, on[2] which we are never weary of congratulating ourselves. It is not that the state ignores the church (or churches), but that it recognizes it in the deepest sense, as a power that has a province of its own, in the direction of human life and thought, where the state may not enter—a province embracing all that is covered by the word religion. This is set apart by the state, voluntarily, not blindly; as a sacred, not as an unknown and unrecognized, ground, which it may invade at any moment. It is set apart for ever, and as long as the American Constitution remains what it is, will so remain, sacred and inviolate. Men are free to believe and worship, not only in conscience, but in person, as pleases them, and no state official may ever say to them, “Worship thus or thus!”

Words would be wasted in dwelling on this point. There is not a member of the state who has not the law, as it were, born in his blood. No man ever dreams of interfering with the worship of another. Catholic church and Jewish tabernacle and Methodist meeting-house nestle together side by side, and their congregations come and go, year in year out, and worship, each in its own way, without a breath of hindrance. Conversion or perversion, as it may be called, on any side is not attempted, save at any particular member’s good-will and pleasure. Each may possibly entertain the pious conviction that his neighbor is going directly to perdition, but he never dreams of disputing that neighbor’s right of way thither. And the thought of a state official or an official of any character coming in and directly or indirectly ordering the Catholics to become Methodists, or the Methodists Jews, or the Jews either, is something so preposterous that the American mind can scarcely entertain it. Yet, strange as it is painful to confess, just such coercion of conscience is carried on safely, daily and hourly, under our very noses, by State or semi-state officials. Ladies and gentlemen to whom the State has entrusted certain of its wards are in the habit of using the powers bestowed on them to restrain “the free exercise of religious profession and worship,” and not simply to restrain it, but to compel numbers of those under their charge to practise a certain form of religious profession and worship which, were they free agents, they would never practise, and against which their conscience must revolt.

This coercion is more or less generally practised in the prisons, hospitals, reformatories, asylums, and such like, erected by the State for such of its members or wards as crime or accident have thrown on its hands. Besides those mainly supported by the State, there are many other institutions which volunteer to take some of its work off the hands of the State, and for which due compensation is given. In short, the majority of our public institutions will come within the scope of our observations. And it may be as well to premise here that our observations are intended chiefly to expose a wrong that we, as Catholics, feel keenly and suffer from; but the arguments advanced will be of a kind that may serve for any who suffer under a similar grievance, and who claim for themselves or their co-religionists “the free exercise of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference.” If the violation of this article of the constitution to-day favors one side under our ever-shifting parties and platforms, it may to-morrow favor the other. What we[3] demand is simply that the constitution be strictly maintained, and not violated under any cover whatsoever.

The inmates of our institutions may be divided into two broad classes, the criminal and the unfortunate. From the very fact of their being inmates of the institutions both alike suffer certain deprivation of “the rights and privileges” secured to them as citizens. In the case of criminals those rights and privileges are forfeited. They are deprived of personal liberty, because they are a danger instead of a support to the State and to the commonwealth. The question that meets us here is, does the restriction of personal involve also that of religious liberty and worship?

Happily, there is no need to argue the matter at any length, as it has already been pronounced upon by the State; and as regards the religious discipline in prisons, our objection is as much against a non-application as a misapplication of the law. “The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship” is never debarred any man by the State. On the contrary, it is not only enjoined, but, where possible, provided. Even the criminal who has fallen under the supreme sentence of the law, and whose very life is forfeit to the State, is in all cases allowed the full and free ministry of the pastor of his church, whatever that church may be. Nothing is allowed to interfere with their communion. Even the ordinary discipline of the prison is broken into in favor of that power to which, from the very first, the State set a region apart. And it is only at the last moment of life that the minister, be he Catholic, Methodist, or Jew, yields to the hangman.

Is it possible to think that the State, which, in the exercise of its last and most painful prerogative, shows itself so wise, just, tender even, and profoundly religious—so true, above all, to the letter and the spirit of the constitution—should, when the question concerns not the taking, but the guarding, of the criminal’s life, and, if possible, its guidance to a better end, show itself cruel, parsimonious, and a petty proselytizer? Does it hold that freedom of religious profession and worship is a privilege to be granted only to that superior grade of criminal whose deeds have fitted him before his time for another world, and not to the lesser criminal or the unfortunate, who is condemned to the burden of life, and who has it still within his power to make that life a good and useful one? Such a question is its own answer. And yet the system of religious discipline at present prevailing in many of our prisons, as in most of our institutions, would seem to indicate that the State exhausts its good-will over murderers, and leaves all other inmates, in matters of religion, to the ministry of men in whom they do not believe and creeds that they reject. A certain form of religious discipline is provided, which is bound to do duty for all the prisoners, Jew and Gentile, Catholic and Protestant alike. If that is not good enough for them, they may not even do without it; for all are bound to attend religious worship, which, in the case of Catholic prisoners at least—for we adhere to our main point—is beyond all doubt the severest coercion of conscience. The worst Catholic in this world would never willingly take part in the worship of any but his own creed. It is idle to ask whether some worship is not better for him than none at all.[4] The fact remains that he does not believe in any other but his own church, in the sacredness of any other ministry but his own, in the efficacy of any means of grace save those that come to him through the church of which he is a member. More than this, he knows that it is a sin not to approach the sacraments and hear Mass, and that, without frequenting them, he cannot hope to lead a really good life. The perversion of discipline prevents him either hearing Mass or frequenting the sacraments, often even from seeing a priest at all.

There is no need to dwell on the fact that of all men in this world, those who are in prison or in confinement stand most in need of constant spiritual aid and consolation. Indeed, in many cases the term of imprisonment would be the most favorable time to work upon their souls. The efficacy of religion in helping to reform criminals is recognized by the State in establishing prison chaplains, and even making attendance at worship compulsory. But this compulsion is not intended so much as an act of coercion of conscience as an opportunity and means of grace. As seen in the case of murderers, the State is only too happy to grant whatever spiritual aid it can to the criminal, without restriction of any kind.

Laying aside, then, as granted, the consideration that spiritual ministry is of a reforming tendency in the case of those who come freely under its influence, we pass on at once to show where in our own State we are lamentably deficient and unjust in failing to supply that ministry.

In this State there are three State prisons: those of Sing Sing, Auburn, and Clinton. In no one of them is there proper provision for the spiritual needs of Catholic prisoners.

There are also in this State seven penitentiaries: Blackwell’s Island, New York; Kings County, Staten Island, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo. Of these seven, in three only is Mass celebrated and the sacraments administered, viz., Blackwell’s Island, Kings County, and Albany.

The State boasts also of four reformatories: the Catholic Protectory, Westchester County; House of Refuge, New York; Juvenile Asylum, New York; Western House of Refuge, Rochester. Of these, at the first named only is Mass celebrated and the sacraments administered.

This is a very lamentable state of affairs, and one that ought to be remedied as speedily as possible. It is being remedied in many places, for it prevails practically throughout the country. Catholics, unfortunately, add their quota to the criminal list, as to every grade and profession in life. But there is no reason why Catholic criminals alone should be debarred the means which is more likely than the punishment of the law to turn their minds and hearts to good—the sacraments and ministry of their church. But the fault, probably, in the particular case of prisons, consists in the fact that the grievance has not hitherto been fairly set before the authorities in whose hands the remedy lies. The application of the remedy, indeed, is chiefly a question of demand, for it consists in conformity to the constitution.

The Catholic Union of New York has been at pains to collect testimony on this subject, and the testimony is unanimous as to the advisability of allowing Catholic prisoners free access to priests, sacraments, and Mass. In Great Britain, where there really is a state religion, Catholic as well as Protestant chaplains[5] are appointed to the various prisons and reformatories, as also to the army and navy. In answer to an inquiry from the Catholic Union respecting the system on which British reformatories are managed in regard to the religious instruction afforded to their Catholic inmates, the following letter was received:

Office of Inspector of Reformatory and Industrial Schools, No. 3 Delahay Street, December 7, 1874.

Sir: In reference to your letter of the 20th ultimo, I beg to forward you a copy of the last report of the Inspector of Reformatory and Industrial Schools.

“You will observe that almost all the schools are denominational; one reformatory (the Northeastern) and one or two industrial schools alone receiving both Protestant and Roman Catholic children.

“In these cases the children of the latter faith are visited at stated times by a priest of their own religion, and allowed to attend service on Sundays in the nearest Catholic chapel.

“The Catholic schools are solely and entirely for Catholics.

“I am, sir, your faithful servant,

William Costeker.

Dr. E. B. O’Callaghan.

In the British provinces on this continent the same system prevails. Equal religious freedom is guaranteed in all reformatories and prisons. In the Province of Quebec, where the French population and Catholic religion predominate, the system is the same. Throughout Europe it is practically the same. Rev. G. C. Wines, D.D., the accredited representative of our government to the International Penitentiary Congress at London, in his report to the President, February 12, 1873, gave most powerful testimony on this point. A few extracts will suffice for our purpose.

In England “every convict prison has its staff of ministers of religion. For the most part, the chaplains are not permitted to have any other occupations than those pertaining to their office, thus being left free to devote their whole time to the improvement of the prisoners.”

In Ireland, in this respect, “the regulations and usages of the convict prisons are substantially the same.”

In France, in the smaller departmental prisons, “some parish priest acts as chaplain.” In the larger, as well as in all central prisons, “the chaplain is a regular officer of the establishment, and wholely devoted to its religious service.” “Liberty of conscience is guaranteed to prisoners of all religions.” If the prisoner, who must declare his faith on entering, is not a Catholic, “he is transferred, whenever it is possible, to a prison designed to receive persons of the same religious faith as himself.”

In Prussia “chaplains are provided for all prisons and for all religions. They hold religious service, give religious lessons, inspect the prison schools,” etc.

In Saxony “the religious wants of the prisoners are equally regarded and cared for, whatever their creed may be.”

In Würtemberg “in all the prisons there are Protestant and Catholic chaplains. For prisoners of the Jewish faith there is similar provision for religious instruction.”

In Baden “chaplains are provided for all prisons and for all religions.”

In Austria, “in the prisons of all kinds, chaplains and religious teachers are provided for prisoners of every sect.”

In Russia “in all the large prisons there are chapels and chaplains. Prisoners of all the different creeds[6] receive the offices of religion from ministers of their own faith, even Jews and Mussulmans.”

In the Netherlands, “in all the central prisons, in all the houses of detention, and in the greater part of the houses of arrest, the office of chaplain and religious services are confided to one of the parish ministers of each religion, who is named by the Minister of Justice.”

In Switzerland “ministers of the reformed and of the Catholic religion act as chaplains in the prisons. The rabbi of the nearest locality is invited to visit such co-religionists as are occasionally found in them.”

Is it not sad, after testimony of this kind, to come back to our own country, and, with the law on the point so plain, to find the practice so wretchedly deficient? In New York State Mass is celebrated in three penitentiaries and one reformatory only, and that solitary reformatory is denominational. It was only last year that a Mass was celebrated for the first time in a Boston prison, and a chaplain appointed to it. In Auburn prison a priest has only recently been allowed to visit the Catholic prisoners, hear confessions, and preach on Sunday afternoons. But the prisoners are compelled to attend the Protestant services also.

In the State prison at Dannemora, Clinton Co., N. Y., where a Catholic chaplain has only of late been appointed, the prisoners hear Mass but once a month.

In the Western House of Refuge, a branch house of an establishment in this city, to which attention will be called presently, it was only after a severe conflict[1] that in December of last year permission was granted “to Catholic and all ministers” of free access to the asylum “to conduct religious exercises, etc.,” and that Catholic children be no longer compelled “to attend what is called ‘non-sectarian’ services.” Such testimony might be multiplied all over the country. Indeed, as far as our present knowledge goes, the State of Minnesota is the only State wherein “liberty of conscience and equal rights in matters of religion to the inmates of State institutions” have been secured, and they were only secured by an act approved March 5, 1874.

Catholics are content to believe that the main difficulty in the way of affording Catholic instruction to the Catholic inmates of such institutions has hitherto rested with themselves. Either they have not sufficiently exposed the grievance they were compelled to endure, or, more likely, such exposure was useless, inasmuch as the paucity of priests prevented any being detailed to the special work of the prisons and public institutions. This, too, is probably the difficulty in the army and navy of the United States, which boast of two Catholic chaplains in all, and those two for the army only. But the growth of our numbers, resources, dioceses, and clergy is rapidly removing any further obstruction on that score; so that there is no further reason why Catholic priests should not be allowed to attend to and—always, of course, at due times—perform the duties of their office for inmates of institutions who, by reason of their confinement, are prevented from the free exercise of their religious profession and worship laid down and guaranteed in the constitution to all mankind for ever.


But over and above the strictly criminal class of inmates of our State institutions there is another, a larger and more important class, to be considered—that already designated as unfortunate. Most of its members, previous to their admission into the institutions provided for their keeping, have hovered on that extreme confine where poverty and crime touch each other. Many of them have just crossed the line into the latter region. Inmates of hospitals and insane asylums will come, without further mention, within the scope of our general observations. Our attention now centres on those inmates of State or public institutions who, for whatever reasons, in consequence either of having no home or inadequate protection at home, are thrown absolutely upon the hands of the State, which is compelled in some way or other to act towards them in loco parentis. In the majority of cases there is hope that they may by proper culture and care be converted, from a threatened danger to the State, to society at large, and to themselves, into honest, creditable, and worthy citizens.

This class, composed of the youth of both sexes, instead of diminishing, seems, with the spread of population, to be on the increase. From its ranks the criminal and pauper classes, which are also on the increase, are mainly recruited. The criminal, in the eye of the law, who has led a good life up to manhood or womanhood, is the exception. Crime, as representative of a class, is a growth, not a sudden aberration. It is, then, a serious and solemn duty of the State to cut off this criminal growth by converting the class who feed it to good at the outset. At the very lowest estimate it is a duty of self-preservation. This being so, there is no need to dwell on the plain fact that it is the duty of the State to do all that in it lies to lead the lives of those unfortunates out of the wrong path into the right. Every means at its disposal ought to be worked to that end. There is still less reason to dwell on the fact, acknowledged and recognized by the State and by all men, that, in leading a life away from evil and up to good, no influence is so powerful as that of religion. The fear of man, of the power and vengeance of the law, is undoubtedly of great force; but it is not all, nor is it the strongest influence that can be brought to bear on the class indicated, not yet criminal. At the best it represents to their minds little more than the whip of the slave-driver—something to be feared, but something also to be hated, and to be defied and broken where defiance may for the time seem safe. But the moral sense, the sense of right and wrong, of good and evil, which shows law in its true guise as the benignant representative of order rather than the terror of disorder, is a higher guide, a truer teacher, and a more humane and lasting power.

This sense can only come with religion; and so convinced is the State of this fact that, as usual, it calls in religion to its aid, and over its penitentiaries and reformatories sets chaplains. It goes further even, and, as in prisons, compels the inmates of such institutions to attend religious services, practise religious observances, and listen to religious instruction. There is no State reformatory—it is safe to say no reformatory at all—without such religious worship and instruction.

This careful provision for the spiritual wants of so extensive and important a class we of course approve[8] to the full. The idea of a reformatory where no religious instruction is given the inmates would be a contradiction. The State empowers those into whose hands it entrusts the keeping of its wards to impart religious instruction—in short, to do everything that may tend to the mental, moral, and physical advancement of those under their charge. All that we concede and admire. But the State never empowers those who have the control of such institutions to draw up laws or rules for them which should in any way contravene the law of the State, least of all that article of the constitution wherein the free exercise of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, is allowed to all mankind in this State for ever. But it is just in this most important point that our public institutions signally fail.

Here is our point: In our public institutions there is, in the case of Catholic inmates, a constant and persistent violation of the constitution of the State regarding freedom of religious profession and worship. In those institutions there is a stereotyped system of religious profession and worship, which all the inmates, of whatever creed, are compelled to accept and observe. They have no freedom of choice in the matter. They may not hold any religious intercourse with the pastors of their church, save, in impossible instances, on that stereotyped plan. Practically, they may not hold any such intercourse at all. Once they become inmates of these institutions, the freedom of religious profession and worship that they enjoyed, or were at liberty to enjoy, before entering, is completely cut off, and a new form of religious profession and practice, which, whether they like it or not, whether they believe it or not, they are compelled to observe and accept as their religion until they leave the institution, is substituted. No matter what name may be given this mode of worship and instruction, whether it be called “non-sectarian” or not, it is a monstrous violation of human conscience, not to speak of the letter and the spirit of the constitution of this State. Its proper name would be the “Church Established in Public Institutions.” From the day when a Catholic child crosses the threshold of such an institution until he leaves it, in most cases he is not allowed even to see a Catholic clergyman; he is certainly not allowed to practise his religion; he is not allowed to read Catholic books of instruction; he is not allowed to hear Mass or frequent the sacraments. For him his religion is choked up and dammed off utterly, and his soul left dry and barren. Nor does the wrong rest even here; for all the while he is exposed to non-Catholic influences and to a direct system of anti-Catholic instruction and worship. He is compelled to bow to and believe in the “Church Established” in the institution.

There is, unfortunately, a superabundance of evidence to prove all, and more than all, our assertions. There will be occasion to use it; but just now we content ourselves with such as is open to any citizen of the State, and as is given in the Reports of the various institutions. Of these we select one—the oldest in the State—the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents, which has this year published its fiftieth Annual Report. Within these fifty years of its life 15,791 children, of ages ranging from five to sixteen, of both sexes, of native[9] and foreign parentage, of every complexion of color and creed, have passed through its hands. The society has, on more than one occasion, come before the public, more especially within the last two or three years, in anything but an enviable light. But all considerations of that kind may pass for the present, our main inquiry being, What kind of religion, of religious discipline, instruction, and worship, is provided for the hundreds of children who year by year enter this asylum?

The “Circular to Parents and Guardians,” signed by the president, Mr. Edgar Ketchum, sets forth the objects of the institution and the manner in which it is conducted. “For your information,” says Mr. Ketchum to the parents and guardians, “the managers deem it proper to state that the institution is not a place of punishment nor a prison, but a reform school, where the inmates receive such instruction and training as are best adapted to form and perpetuate a virtuous character.” An excellent introduction! Nothing could be better calculated to allay any scruples that an anxious parent or guardian might entertain respecting the absolute surrender of a child or ward to the institution, “to remain during minority, or until discharged by the managers, as by due process of law.” Of course the Catholic parent or guardian who receives such a circular will have no question as to the “instruction and training best adapted to form and (above all) to perpetuate a virtuous character”! The training up of “a virtuous character” is, by all concession, mainly a purely religious work, and the Catholic knows, believes in, and recognizes only one true religion—that taught by the Catholic Church. Whether he is right or wrong in that belief is not the question. It is sufficient to know that the constitution recognizes and respects it.

A few lines lower the Catholic parent or guardian receives still more satisfactory information on this crucial point. After a glowing description of the life of the inmates, he is informed that they, “on the Sabbath, are furnished with suitable religious and moral instruction.” Just what is wanted by the child! “Sabbath,” it is true, has come to have a Protestant sound; but as for “suitable religious and moral instruction,” there can be no doubt that the only religious instruction suitable for a Catholic child is that of the Catholic religion, and such as would be given him outside in the Sunday-school by the Catholic priest or teacher. He is just as much a Catholic inside that institution as he was outside; and there is no more right in law or logic to force upon him a system of non-Catholic and anti-Catholic instruction within than without its walls. Let us see, then, of what this moral and religious instruction consists; if Catholic, all our difficulties are over.

Turning a few pages, we come to the “Report of the Chaplain.” The chaplain! The chaplain, then, is the gentleman charged with furnishing “on the Sabbath” the “suitable religious and moral instruction” of the Catholic child. The chaplain is the Rev. George H. Smyth, evidently a clergyman of some denomination. His name is not to be found in the Catholic directory. He is probably, then, not a Catholic priest. However, his report may enlighten us.

It occupies five and a half pages, and renders an admirable account[10] of—the Rev. George H. Smyth, who, to judge of him by his own report, must be an exceedingly engaging person, and above all a powerful preacher. No doubt he is. He informs us that the children have shown, among other good qualities, “an earnest desire to receive instruction, both secular and religious.” That is cheering news. It is worthy of note, too, the distinction made between the secular and religious instruction of the children. That is just the Catholic ground. Children require both kinds of instruction—instruction in their religion, as well as in reading, writing, ciphering, and so on. The Catholic parent or guardian congratulates himself, then, on the fact that his child or ward will not be deprived of instruction in his religion while an inmate of the institution. All satisfactory so far; but let us read Mr. Smyth a little more.

“Often have the chaplain’s counsel and sympathy been sought by those striving to lead a better life.” Very natural! “And as often have they been cordially tendered.” Still more natural. Then follow some pleasing reminiscences from the boys and girls of the chaplain’s good offices. He even vouchsafes, almost unnecessarily, to inform us that “the children have it impressed on them that the object of the preaching they hear is wholly to benefit them.” It could not well be otherwise. And Mr. Smyth’s preaching evidently does benefit them, for one of the boys remarked to him, casually: “Chaplain, you remember that sermon you preached”—neither the sermon nor its text, unfortunately, is given—“that was the sermon that led me to the Saviour.” Happy lad! It is to be regretted that he ever came back. We are farther informed of “the close attention given by the children to the preaching of the Gospel Sabbath after Sabbath.” “On one occasion a distinguished military gentleman and statesman—an ambassador from one of the leading courts of Europe—was present. The sermon was from the text Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” So powerful was Mr. Smyth’s sermon on that occasion that the reverend gentleman graciously informs us it so moved the “distinguished military gentleman and statesman” from Europe that at the close he rose, and, “taking the chaplain by the hand, said with great warmth of feeling, ‘That sermon was so well suited to these children they must be better for it. I saw it made a deep impression upon them; but I rose to thank you for myself—it just suited me.’”

And there the story ends, leaving us in a painful state of conjecture respecting the state of that “distinguished military gentleman and statesman’s” conscience. These little incidents are thrown off with a naïve simplicity almost touching, and are noticed here as they are given, as establishing beyond all doubt the clear and marked distinction in nature and grace between the Rev. Mr. Smyth and the dreadful characters, whether ambassadors or youthful pickpockets, with whom Mr. Smyth is brought in contact. But the main question for the Catholic parent or guardian is, What religious and moral instruction is my child to receive? For it is clear that Mr. Smyth is not a Catholic clergyman. It seems that Mr. Smyth being “the chaplain,” there is no Catholic chaplain at all, and no Catholic instruction at all for Catholic children. Are the Catholic children compelled, then, to attend[11] Mr. Smyth’s preaching and Mr. Smyth’s worship, and nothing but Mr. Smyth, excellent man though he be? Mr. Ketchum has already, in the name of the managers, informed us that the institution is not “a place of punishment.” Far be it from us to hint, however remotely, that it is a punishment even to be compelled to listen to the preaching of such a man as Mr. Smyth. With the evidence before us, how could such a thought be entertained for a moment? But at least how is this state of things reconcilable with that solemn article of the constitution already quoted so often?

However, let us first dismiss Mr. Smyth, after ascertaining, if possible, what it is he does teach. Here we have it in his own words: “The truths preached to these children [all the inmates of the institution] have been those fundamental truths held in common by all Christian communions, and which are adapted to the wants of the human race, and must ever be the foundation of pure morals and good citizenship. Studious care has been taken not to prejudice the minds of the inmates against any particular form of religious belief.”

Here lies the essence of what we have called the “Church Established in Public Institutions.” The favorite term for it is “non-sectarian” teaching; and on the ground that it is “non-sectarian,” that it favors no particular church or creed, but is equally available to all, it has thus far been upheld and maintained in our public institutions. It is well to expose the cant and humbug of this non-sectarianism once for all.

In the first place, no such thing exists. Let us adhere to the case in point. Mr. Smyth, who is styled “reverend,” is the chaplain of the society we are examining. What is the meaning of the word chaplain? A clergyman appointed to perform certain clerical duties. Mr. Smyth is a clergyman of some denomination or other, we care not what. He is not a self-appointed “reverend.” He must have been brought up in some denomination and educated in some theological school. There is no such thing as a “reverend” of no church, of a non-sectarian church. Every clergyman has been educated in some theological school, or at least according to some special form of doctrine and belief, and has entered the ministry as a teacher and preacher of that special form of belief and doctrine. If he leaves it, he leaves it either for infidelity—in which case he renounces his title as a clergyman—or for some other form of doctrine and belief to which he turns, and of which, so long as he remains in the ministry, he is the teacher, propagator, and upholder. If he is not this, he is a humbug. To say that he is or can be non-sectarian—that is, pledged to preach no particular form of doctrine, or a form of doctrine equally available for all kinds of believers or non-believers—is to talk the sheerest nonsense. In all cases a clergyman is, by virtue of his office and profession and belief, pledged to some form of doctrine and faith, which unless he teaches, he is either a coward or a humbug. Anything resembling a “non-sectarian” clergyman would be exactly like a soldier who bound himself by oath to a certain government, yet held himself free not to defend that government, or, when he saw it attacked, to be particularly careful not to do anything that might possibly offend or oppose the foe. The world and his own government would stamp such[12] a man as the vilest of beings—a traitor. The union of such diametrically opposite professions is a sheer impossibility.

Let us test the doctrine Mr. Smyth himself lays down here, or which the managers of the institution have laid down for him, and show how sectarianism, which is the one thing to be avoided, or, to use a kinder term, denominationalism, must inevitably meet the teacher or preacher at every turn. “The truths preached to these children have been those fundamental truths held in common by all Christian communions.” Mr. Smyth has told us already that “the chaplain’s counsel and sympathy are sought by those striving to lead a better life, and with good results.” There must, then, be questioning on the part of the children. Indeed, how could instruction possibly go on without question, explanation, objection, and answer? Let us begin, then, with the very foundation of his doctrine. The first question that would occur to any one would be, What are “those fundamental truths held in common by all Christian communions”? Mr. Smyth does not mention one. Where shall we find one? A fundamental truth held in common by all Christian communions might at least be supposed to be a belief in Christ. Very well. Then who is Christ? Where is Christ? Is Christ God or man, or both? How do we come to know him? Is Christ not God, is he not man? What is his history? Where is it found? In the Bible? What is the Bible? Who wrote the Bible? Why must we accept it as the Word of God? Is it the Word of God? Why “all Christian communions” are at war right on this “fundamental truth,” from which they derive their very name of Christian, and not a single question can be put or answered without introducing denominationalism of some kind or another, and so at least prejudicing the minds of the inmates against some particular form of religious belief.

Take another supposition. Surely, belief in God would be “a fundamental truth held in common by all Christian communions.” Here we begin again. Who is God? What is God? Where is God? Is God a spirit? Is God a trinity or a unity? Is there only one God? Do all men believe in and worship the same God? All at sea again at the very mention of God’s name!

Take the belief in a future. Does man end here? Does he live again after death? Will the future be happy or miserable? Is there a hell or a heaven? Is there an everlasting life? What is Mr. Smyth’s own opinion on such “fundamental truth”? There is not a single “fundamental truth” “held in common by all Christian communions.” What is truth itself? What is a fundamental truth? Fundamental to what? Why, there is not a single religious subject of any kind whatever that can be mentioned to “Christian communions” of a mixed character which will not on the instant create as many contentions as there are members of various Christian communions present. Let Mr. Smyth try it outside, and see. Let him preach on “fundamental truth” to any mixed congregation in New York; let there be free discussion after, and what would be the result? It is hard to say. But in all probability the discussion would end by the State, in the persons of its representatives, stepping in to eject the fundamental truths from the building.

One need not go beyond this to[13] show how necessarily sectarian must Mr. Smyth’s religious instruction and preaching be. But the very next sentence bristles with direct antagonism to Catholic teaching: “What delinquent children need is not the mere memorizing of ecclesiastical formularies and dogmas, which they can repeat one moment and commit a theft the next.” In plain English, Catholic children do not need to learn their catechism, which is the compendium of Christian doctrine. What is the use of learning it, asks Mr. Smyth, when they can “commit a theft the next moment”? He had better go higher, and ask Christian members of Congress how they can address such pious homilies to interesting Young Men’s Christian Associations, while they know they have been guilty of stealing. He might even ask the Rev. George H. Smyth how he could reconcile it with his conscience to take an oath or make a solemn promise on entering the ministry to preach a certain form of doctrine, and profess to throw that oath and promise to the winds immediately on being offered a salary to teach something quite different on Randall’s Island. “But they do need, and it is the province of the State to teach them that there are, independent of any and all forms of religious faith, fundamental principles of eternal right, truth, and justice, which, as members of the human family and citizens of the commonwealth, they must learn to live by, and which are absolutely essential to their peace and prosperity. These principles are inseparable from a sound education, and must underlie any and every system of religion that is not a sham and a delusion.”

That sounds very fine, and it is almost painful to be compelled to spoil its effect. One cannot help wondering in what theological school Mr. Smyth studied. He will insist on his “fundamental principles,” which, in the preceding paragraph, are “common to all Christian communions,” but have now become “independent of any and all forms of religious faith.” Is there any “fundamental principle of eternal right, truth, and justice” which, to “members of the human family,” is “independent of any and all forms of religious faith”? Is there anything breathing of eternity at all that comes not to us in and through “religious faith”? If there be such “fundamental principles of eternal right, truth, and justice,” in God’s name let us know them; for they are religion, and we are ready to throw “any and all forms of religious faith” that contradict those eternal principles to the winds. This we know: that there is not a single “principle of eternal right, truth, and justice” which, according to Mr. Smyth, “it is the province of the State to teach delinquent children,” that did not come to the State through some form or another of religious faith; for in the history of this world religion has always preceded and, in its “fundamental principles of eternal right, truth, and justice,” instructed and informed the state. The Rev. George H. Smyth is either an infidel or he does not know of what he is writing.

What kind of “moral and religious instruction” is likely to be imparted to all children, and to Catholic children of all, by the Rev. George H. Smyth, may be judged from the foregoing. Whether or not his teaching can approve itself to a Catholic conscience may be left to the judgment of all fair-minded men. His report is only quoted[14] further to show how completely subject the consciences of all these children are to him:

“The regular preaching service each Sabbath morning in the chapel has been conducted by the chaplain, one or more of the managers usually being present; also, the Wednesday lecture for the officers. In the supervision of the Sabbath-schools in the afternoon he has been greatly aided by managers Ketchum and Herder, whose valuable services have been gratefully appreciated by the teachers and improved (sic) by the inmates.

The course of religious instruction laid down in the by-laws and pursued in the house for fifty years has been closely adhered to.” That is to say, for fifty years not a syllable of Catholic instruction has been imparted to the Catholic inmates of the House of Refuge. The number of those Catholic inmates will presently appear.

Among the gentlemen to whom the chaplain records his “obligations” for their gratuitous services in the way of lectures are found the names of nine Protestant clergymen and two Protestant laymen. No mention of a Catholic. The Sabbath-school of the Reformed Church, Harlem, is thanked for “a handsome supply” of the Illustrated Christian Weekly. The librarian reports that one hundred copies of the Youth’s Companion are supplied weekly, one hundred copies of the American Messenger, and one hundred and twenty-five copies of the Child’s Paper. There is no mention of a Catholic print of any kind. The chaplain and librarian are under no obligations for copies of the Young Catholic, or the New York Tablet, or the Catholic Review, or any one of our many Catholic journals. They are all forbidden. Yet they are not a whit more “sectarian” than the Christian Weekly. In addition, the Bible Society is thanked “for a supply of Bibles sufficient to give each child a copy on his discharge.”

We turn now to the report of the principal of schools. It is chiefly an anti-Catholic tirade on the public school question, but that point may pass for the present. What we are concerned with here is the species of instruction to which the Catholic children of the institution are subjected. Mr. G. H. Hallock, the principal, is almost “unco guid.” A single passage will suffice. “But underneath all this intellectual awakening there is a grander work to be performed; there is a moral regeneration that can be achieved. Shall we stand upon the environs of this moral degradation among our boys, and shrink from the duty we owe them, because they are hardened in sin and apparently given over to evil influences? Would He who came to save the ‘lost’ have done this?

Nothing can supply the place of earnest, faithful religious teaching drawn from the Word of God. I have the most profound convictions of the inefficacy of all measures of reformation, except such as are based on the Gospel and pervaded by its spirit. In vain are all devices, if the heart and conscience, beyond all power of external restraints, are left untouched.”

It were easy to go on quoting from Mr. Hallock, but this is more than enough for our purpose. Catholics too believe in the efficacy of the Word of God, but in a different manner, and to a great extent in a different “Word” from that of Mr. Hallock. It is plain that this man is imbued with the spirit[15] of a missionary rather than of a principal of schools, though how Catholic sinners would fare at his hands may be judged from the tone of his impassioned harangue. The missionary spirit is an excellent spirit, and we have no quarrel with Mr. Hallock or with his burning desire to save lost souls; we only venture to intimate that Mr. Hallock is even less the kind of teacher than Mr. Smyth is the kind of preacher to whom we should entrust the spiritual education of our Catholic children. By the bye, this excellent Mr. Hallock’s name occurred during the trial of Justus Dunn for the killing of Calvert, one of the keepers of this very institution, in 1872. One of the witnesses in that eventful trial, a free laborer in the house, testified on oath concerning the punishment of a certain boy there:

Q. What was the boy punished for?

A. For not completing his task and not doing it well. He was reported for this to the assistant-superintendent, Mr. Hallock. He (Mr. Hallock) carried him down to the office by his collar, and there punished him for about fifteen minutes with his cane, so that the blood ran down the boy’s back; then the assistant-superintendent brought him back into the shop to his place, and there struck him on the side of the head, telling him that if he did not do his work right, he would give him more yet. Then the boy cried out, ‘For God’s sake! I am not able to do it.’ So he took him by his neck, and carried him to the office, where he caned him again. After that he brought the boy back to his place in the shop, and treated him then as he did on the other occasion. The boy could not speak a word after that. Then the assistant carried him down to the office, and caned him for the third time. After this caning the boy could not come upstairs, so they took him to the hospital, where he died in about four days. After his death a correspondent wrote a letter to the New York Tribune, stating the facts, and asking for an investigation, which took place. The punishment of Mr. Hallock was his deposition from his office as assistant superintendent, and installation as teacher of the school. The eye-witnesses of the occurrence were not examined, but the whole matter was settled in the office of the institution.”

This en passant. It is pleasing, after having read it, to be able to testify to Mr. Hallock’s excellent sentiments, as shown in the extract already given from his report, which concludes in this touching fashion: “We are left to labor in the vineyard amid scenes sometimes discouraging, severe, and depressing even. But, amid all, the sincere and earnest worker may hear the voice of the Great Teacher uttering words of comfort and consolation: Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Those words of consolation may be read in more senses than one.

In keeping with all this is the report of the president, Mr. Edgar Ketchum. He also has the Catholics in his eye. He is strong on the moral training of the children and “the mild discipline of the house,” of which the public knows sufficient to warrant our letting Mr. Ketchum’s ironical expression pass without comment. He is “far from discouraging any effort to extend Christian sympathy and aid to a class who so deeply need them.” He believes that “religion, in her benign offices, will here and there[16] be found to touch some chord of the soul, and make it vibrate for ever with the power of a new life.” What religion and what offices? He is of opinion that “the interests of society and the criminal concur; and if his crimes have banished him from all that makes life desirable, they need not carry with them also a sentence of exclusion from whatever a wise Christian philanthropy can do in his behalf.”

We quite agree with Mr. Ketchum. Christian philanthropy, as far as it extends in this world, with the solitary exception of this country, has, as already seen, by unanimous action, annulled, if ever it existed, that “sentence of exclusion” which shut off the criminal, or the one whom Mr. Ketchum designates as “the victim of society,” from the free profession and practice of his religion, whether he were Catholic, Protestant, Jew, or Mahometan. That same “Christian philanthropy,” as Mr. Ketchum is pleased to call it, never peddled over by-laws, or rules, or regulations, or “difficulties” whose plain purpose was to hinder Catholic children, confined as are those in the house of which he is president, from seeing their priest, hearing their Mass, going to confession, frequenting the sacraments, and learning their catechism. The same wise Christian philanthropy framed that section of the constitution, binding alike on Mr. Ketchum and his charges, that was precisely framed to prevent the “sentence of exclusion” which Mr. Ketchum so justly and with such eloquence denounces. Christian philanthropy can do no work more worthy of itself than allowing these unfortunate children, foremost and above all things, the practice of that form of Christianity which, were they free agents, they would undoubtedly follow; nor could it do anything less worthy of itself than force upon them a system of worship and religious training which their hearts abhor and their consciences reject. It could not devise a more heinous offence against God and man, or a more hateful tyranny, than that very “sentence of exclusion” which, under the “mild discipline of the house,” prevails in the society of which Mr. Ketchum is president.

There is nothing left now but to turn to the superintendent’s report, in order to ascertain the number of Catholic children who, for the last fifty years, have suffered this “sentence of exclusion” from their faith, its duties, and its practices. We are only enabled to form a proximate idea of their number, but sufficiently accurate to serve our purpose. The superintendent’s figures are as follows:

Total number of children committed in fifty years, 15,791

Of these, 12,545 were boys and 3,246 girls. The statistics for the first four decades are more accurate than for the last, and show the relative percentage of the children of native and foreign parents, as follows:

1st Decade:
Native, 44 per cent.
Foreign, 56
2d Decade:
Native, 34½
Foreign, 65½
3d Decade:
Native, 22
Foreign, 78
4th Decade:
Native, 14
Foreign, 86
5th Decade:
Native, 13⁶/₁₀
Foreign, 86⁴/₁₀

It will be seen from this that the percentage of the entire number is enormously in favor of the children born of foreign parents. This is only natural from a variety of reasons,[17] chief among which is that the foreign-born population, including their children in the first degree, has, within the last half-century, been vastly in excess of the native, in this city particularly. Full statistics of the various nationalities of the children are only given for the last year (1874). Of the 636 new inmates received during the year, a little more than half the number (334) were of Irish parentage; 8 were French; 3 Italian; 1 Cuban. All of these may be safely set down as Catholics. There were 88 of German birth, of whom one-third, following the relative statistics of their nation, might be assumed as of the Catholic faith. The remainder, whom we are willing to set down in bulk as non-Catholic, were divided as to nationality as follows:

American, 96
African, 35
English, 26
Jewish, 3
Scotch, 6
Bohemian, 1
Welsh, 1
Mixed, 34

At all events, figure as we may, it may be taken as indisputable that more than one-half the children committed during the past year to the House of Refuge were of Catholic parents. Their average age, according to the statistics, was thirteen years and eight months. Consequently, the children were quite of an age to be capable of distinguishing between creed and creed, and six years beyond the average age set down by the Catholic Church as a proper time to begin to frequent the sacraments of Confession and Communion, to prepare for Confirmation, and to hear Mass on all Sundays and holydays of obligation, under pain of mortal sin. From the moment of their entering the institution the “wise Christian philanthropy” of which Mr. Edgar Ketchum is so eloquent an exponent has pronounced against them a dread “sentence of exclusion” from all these practices of faith and means of grace, as well as from instruction of any kind whatever in their religion. And not only has this been the case, but they have been subjected to the constant instruction of such men as Mr. Smyth and Mr. Hallock. Multiply these children throughout the last fifty years, as far as the relative percentage given will allow us to form an opinion of their creeds, and the picture that presents itself of these poor little Catholics is one that rends the heart. In the present article we are only presenting the general features of the case, basing our argument for the admission of a Catholic chaplain to this and all similar institutions from which a Catholic chaplain is excluded, on the law of the land, on the letter and spirit of the constitution, which we Catholics love, revere, and obey. We simply set the case in its barest aspect before our fellow-citizens, of whatever creed, and ask for our children what they would claim for their children—the right of instruction in the religion in which they were born; the right of the free practice and profession of the religion in which they believe; the right to repel all coercion, in whatever form, of conscience, whether such coercion be called sectarian or non-sectarian. In a word, we ask now, as at the beginning, what we ask for all, and what Catholics, where they have the power, as already seen, freely and without compulsion, or request even, grant to all—that great privilege and right which the constitution of this State guarantees to all mankind: “the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference.”






This was the spring of the year 1859. In spite of the retirement in which we lived and Lorenzo’s assiduous labors, which deprived him of the leisure to read even a newspaper, the rumors of a war between Austria and Italy had more than once reached us and excited his anxiety—excited him as every Italian was at that period at the thought of seeing his country delivered from the yoke of the foreigner. On this point public sentiment was unanimous, and many people in France will now comprehend better than they did at that time, perhaps, a cry much more sincere than many that were uttered at a later day—the only one that came from every heart: Fuori i Tedeschi. But till the time, when the realization of this wish became possible, it was only expressed by those who labored in secret to hasten its realization; it seemed dormant among others. Political life was forbidden or impossible. An aimless, frivolous life was only embraced with the more ardor, and this state of things had furnished Lorenzo with more than one excuse at the time when he snatched at a poor one.

I had often heard him express his national and political opinions, aspirations, and prejudices, but these points had never interested me. I loved Italy as it was. I thought it beautiful, rich, and glorious. I did not imagine anything could add to the charm, past and present, which nature, poetry, religion, and history had endowed it with. From time to time I had also heard a cry which excited my horror, and conveyed to my mind no other idea than a monstrous national and religious crime: Roma capitale! These words alone roused me sufficiently from my indifference to excite my indignation, and even awakened in me a feeling bordering on repugnance to all that was then called the Italian resorgimento.

Stella did not, in this respect, agree with me. It was her nature to be roused to enthusiasm by everything that gave proof of energy, courage, and devotedness—traits that patriotism, more or less enlightened, easily assumes the seductive appearance of, provided it is sincere. No one could repeat with more expression than she:

Italia! Italia!
De’h fossi tu men bella! O almen piu forte!”[2]

Or the celebrated apostrophe of Dante:

“Ahi serva Italia! di dolore ostello!”[3]

Never did her talent appear to better advantage than in the recitation of such lines; her face would light up and her whole attitude change. Lorenzo often smilingly said if he wished to represent the poetical personification of Italy, he would ask Stella to become his model. As to what concerned Rome, she did not even seem to comprehend my anxiety. If a few madmen[19] already began to utter that ominous cry, the most eminent Italians of the time declared that to infringe on the majesty of Rome, deprive her of the sovereignty which left her, in a new sense, her ancient title of queen of the world—in short, to menace the Papacy, “l’unique grandeur vivante de l’Italie,” would be to commit the crime of treason against the world, and uncrown Italy herself.

Alas! now that the time approached for realizing some of her dreams and the bitter deception of others, Stella, absorbed in her grief, was indifferent to all that was occurring in her country, and did not even remark the universal excitement around her! As for me, who had always taken so little interest in such things, I was more unconcerned than ever, and scarcely listened to what was said on the subject in Mme. de Kergy’s drawing-room. I was far from suspecting I was about to be violently roused from my state of indifference.

It was Easter Sunday. I had been to church with Lorenzo. We had fulfilled together the sweet, sacred obligations of the day; the union of our souls was complete, and our hearts were at once full of joy and solemnity—that is, in complete harmony with the great festival. At our return we found breakfast awaiting us. Ottavia, who, with a single domestic, had the care of our house, had adorned the table with flowers, as well as with a little more silver than usual, in order to render it somewhat more in accordance with the importance of the day. By means of colored-glass windows and some old paintings suspended on the dark wainscotting, Lorenzo had given our little dining-room an aspect at once serious and smiling, which greatly pleased me, and I still remember the feeling of happiness and joy with which, on my return from church, I entered the little room, the open window of which admitted the sun and the odor of the jasmine twined around it. The three conditions of true happiness we did not lack—order, peace, and industry—and we were in that cheerful frame of mind which neither wealth, nor gratified ambition, nor any earthly prosperity is able to impart.

We took seats at the table. Lorenzo found before him a pile of letters and newspapers, but did not attempt to open them. He sat looking at me with admiration and affection. I, on my part, said to myself that moral and religious influences had not only a beneficial effect on the soul, but on the outward appearance. Never had Lorenzo’s face worn such an expression; never had I been so struck with the manly beauty of his features. Our eyes met. He smiled.

“Ginevra mia!” said he, “in truth, you are right. The life we now lead must suit you, for you grow lovelier every day.”

“Our life does not suit you less than it does me, Lorenzo,” said I. “We are both in our element now. God be blessed! His goodness to us has indeed been great!”

“Yes,” said he with sudden gravity, “greater a thousand times than I had any right to expect. I am really too happy!”

This time I only laughed at his observation, and tried to divert his mind from the remembrances awakened.

“Where are your letters from?”

He tore one open, and his face brightened.

“That looks well! Nothing could suit me better. Here is an American who wishes a repetition of my Sappho, and gives me another order of importance. And then what? He wishes[20] to purchase the lovely Vestal he saw in my studio. Oh! as for that, par exemple, no!… The Vestal is mine, mine alone. No one else shall ever have it. But no matter, Ginevra; if things go on in this way, I shall soon be swimming in money, and then look out for the diamonds!”

He knew now, as well as I, what I thought of such things. He laughed, and then continued to read his letters.

“This is from Lando. It is addressed to us both.”

He glanced over it:

“Their honeymoon at Paris is still deferred. They cannot leave Donna Clelia.”

After reading for some time in silence, he said in an animated tone:

“This letter has been written some time, and it seems there were rumors of war on all sides at the time, and poor Mariuccia, though scarcely married to her German baron, had to set out for her new home much sooner than she expected.”

I listened to all this with mingled indifference and distraction, when I suddenly saw Lorenzo spring from his seat with an exclamation of so much surprise that I was eager to know what had caused his sudden excitement.

He had just opened a newspaper, and read the great news of the day: the Austrians had declared war against Italy. The beginning of the campaign was at hand.

Alas! my happy Easter was instantly darkened by a heavy cloud!

Lorenzo seized his hat, and immediately went out to obtain further details concerning the affair, leaving me sad and uneasy. Oh! how far I lived from the agitations of great political disturbances! How incapable I was of comprehending them! For a year my soul had been filled with emotions as profound as they were sweet. After great sufferings, joys so great had been accorded me that I felt a painful shrinking from the least idea of any change. But though the power of suffering was still alive in my heart, all anxiety was extinguished. Whatever way a dear hand is laid on us, we never wish to thrust it away. I remained calm, therefore, though a painful apprehension had taken possession of my mind; and when Lorenzo returned, two hours later, I was almost prepared for what he had to communicate.

Yes, I knew it; he wished to go. Every one in the province to which his family belonged was to take part in this war of independence. He could not remain away from his brothers and the other relatives and friends who were to enroll themselves in resisting a foreign rule.

“It is the critical moment. Seconded by France, the issue cannot be doubtful this time. You know I have abhorred conspiracies all my life, and my long journeys have served to keep me away from those who would perhaps have drawn me into them. But now how can you wish me to hesitate? How can you expect me at such a time to remain inactive and tranquil? You would be the first, I am sure, to be astonished at such a course, and I hope to find you now both courageous and prompt to aid me, for I must start without any delay. You understand, my poor Ginevra, before to-morrow I must be on my way.”

He said all this and much more besides. I neither tried to remonstrate nor reply. I felt he was obeying what he believed to be a call of duty, and I could use no arguments to dissuade him from it. What could I do, then? Only aid him, and bear without shrinking the unexpected blow which had come like a[21] sudden tempest to overthrow the edifice, but just restored, of my calm and happy life!

The day passed sadly and rapidly away. I was occupied so busily that I scarcely had time for reflection. But at last all I could do was done, and Lorenzo, who had gone out in the afternoon, found, on returning at nightfall, that everything was ready for his departure, which was to take place that very night.

We sat down side by side on a little bench against the garden-wall. Spring-time at Paris is lovely also, and everything was in bloom that year on Easter Sunday. The air even in Italy could not have been sweeter nor the sky clearer. He took my hand, and I leaned my head against his shoulder. For some minutes my heart swelled with a thousand emotions I was unable to express. I allowed my tears to flow in silence. Lorenzo likewise struggled to repress the agitation he did not wish to betray, as I saw by his trembling lips and the paleness of his face.

I wiped my eyes and raised my head.

“Lorenzo,” said I all at once, “why not take me with you, instead of leaving me here?”

“To the war?” said he, smiling.

“No, but to Italy. You could leave me, no matter where. On the other side of the Alps I should be near you, and … should you have need of me, I could go to you.”

He remained thoughtful for a moment, and then said, as if speaking to himself:

“Yes, should I be wounded, and have time to see you again, it would be a consolation, it is true.”

We became silent again, and I awaited his decision with a beating heart. Finally he said in a decided tone:

“No, Ginevra, it cannot be. Remain here. It is my wish. You must.”

“Why?” asked I, trying to keep back the tears that burst from my eyes at his reply—“why? Oh! tell me why?”

“Because,” replied he firmly, “I have no idea what will be the result of the war in Italy. Very probably it will cause insurrections everywhere, perhaps revolutions.”

“O my God!” cried I with terror … “and you expect me not to feel any horror at this war! Even if it had not come to overturn my poor life, how can I help shuddering at the thought of all the misery it is about to produce?”

“What can you expect, Ginevra? Yes, it is a serious affair. God alone knows what it will lead to. You see Mario writes Sicily is already a-flame. No one can tell what will take place at Naples. I should not be easy about you anywhere but here.… No, Ginevra, you cannot go. You must remain here. I insist upon it.”

I knew, from the tone in which he said this, it was useless to insist, and I bent my head in silence. He gently continued, as he pressed my hand in his:

“The war will be short, I hope, Ginevra. If I am spared, I will hasten to resume the dear life we have led here. But if, on the contrary.…”

He stopped a moment, then, with a sudden change of manner and an accent I shall never forget, he continued:

“But why speak to you as I should to any other woman? Why not trust to the inward strength you possess, which has as often struck me as your sweetness of disposition? I know now where your strength comes from, and will speak to you without any circumlocution.”


I looked at him with surprise at this preamble, and by the soft evening light I saw a ray of heaven in his eyes; for they beamed with faith and humility as he uttered the following words:

“Why deceive you, Ginevra? Why not tell you I feel this is the last hour we shall ever pass together in this world?”

I shuddered. He put his arm around my waist, and drew me towards him.

“No, do not tremble!… Listen to me.… If I feel I am to die, I have always thought a life like mine required some other expiation besides repentance. The happiness you have afforded me is not one, and who knows if its continuation might not become a source of danger to me? Whereas to die now would be something; it would be a sacrifice worthy of being offered … and accepted.”

My head had again fallen on his shoulder, and my heart beat so rapidly I was not able to reply.

“Look upward, Ginevra,” said he in a thrilling tone; “raise your eyes towards the heaven you have taught me to turn to, to desire, and hope for. Tell me we shall meet there again, and there find a happiness no longer attended by danger!”

Yes, at such language I felt the inward strength he had spoken of assert itself, after seeming to fail me, and this terrible, painful hour became truly an hour of benediction.

“Lorenzo,” said I in a tone which, in spite of my tears, was firm, “yes, you are right, a thousand times right. Yes, whatever be your fate and mine, let us bless God!… We are happy without doubt; but our present life, whatever its duration, is only a short prelude to that true life of infinite happiness which awaits us. Let God do as he pleases with it and with us! Whatever be the result, there is no adieu for us.”

Do I mean to say that the sorrow of parting was extinguished? Oh! no, assuredly not. We tasted its bitterness to the full, but there is a mysterious savor which is only revealed to the heart that includes all in its sacrifice, and refuses nothing. This savor was vouchsafed us at that supreme hour, and we knew and felt it strengthened our souls.


The two weeks that succeeded this last evening seem, as I look back upon them, like one long day of expectation. Nothing occurred to relieve my constant uneasiness. A few lines from Lorenzo, written in haste as he was on the point of starting to join the army, where the post of aide-de-camp to one of the generals had been reserved for him, were the last direct news I received. From that day I had no other information but what I gathered from the newspapers, or what Mme. de Kergy and Diana obtained from their friends, who, though most of them were unfavorable to the war in which France was engaged, felt an ardent interest in all who took part in it. But there were only vague, confused reports, which, far from calming my agitation, only served to increase it.

One evening I remained later than usual at church. Prostrate before one of the altars, which was lit up with a great number of tapers, I could not tear myself away, though night had come and the church was almost deserted. It was one of those dark, painful hours when the idea of suffering fills us with fear and repugnance, and rouses every faculty of[23] our nature to resist it; one of those hours of mortal anguish that no human being could support had there not been a day—a day that will endure as long as the world—when this agony was suffered by Him who wished us to participate in it in order that he might be for ever near us when we, in our turn, should have to endure it for him!…

Oh! in that hour I felt in how short a time I had become attached to the earthly happiness that had been granted me beyond the realization of my utmost wishes. What tender, ardent sentiments! What sweet, delightful communings already constituted a treasure in my memory which furnished material for the most fearful sacrifice I could be called upon to make! Alas! the human heart, even that to which God has deigned to reveal himself, still attaches itself strongly to all it is permitted to love on earth! But this divine love condescends to be jealous of our affection, and it is seldom he spares such hearts the extreme sacrifices which lead them to give themselves to him at last without any reserve!

When I left the church, I saw a crowd in the street. Several houses were illuminated, and on all sides I heard people talking of a great victory, the news of which had just arrived at Paris.

I returned home agitated and troubled. At what price had this victory been won? Who had fallen in the battle? What was I to hear? And when would the anguish that now contracted my heart be relieved … or justified? Mme. de Kergy, who hastened to participate in my anxiety, was unable to allay it. But our suspense was not of long duration. The hour, awaited with the fear of an overpowering presentiment, was soon to arrive!…

Two days after I was sitting in the evening on the little bench in the garden where we held our last conversation, when I received the news for which he had so strangely prepared me. His fatal prevision was realized. He was one of the first victims of the opening attack. His name, better known than many others, had been reported at once, and headed the list of those who fell in the battle.

No preparation, no acceptation of anticipated misfortune, no effort at submission or courage, was now able to preserve me from a shock similar to the one I have related the effects of at the beginning of this story. As on that occasion, I lost all consciousness, and Ottavia carried me senseless to my chamber. As then, likewise, I was for several days the prey to a burning fever, which was followed by a weakness and prostration that rendered my thoughts confused and incoherent for some time. And finally, as when I was but fifteen years old, it was also a strong, sudden emotion that helped restore my physical strength and the complete use of my senses and reason.

The most profound silence reigned in the chamber where I lay, but I felt I was surrounded by the tenderest care. At length I vaguely began to recognize voices around me; first, that of Ottavia, which made me shed my first tears—tears of emotion, caused by a return to the days of my childhood. I thought myself there again. I forgot everything that had happened since. But this partial relief restored lucidness to my mind, and with it a clear consciousness of the misfortune that had befallen me. Then I uttered a cry—a cry that alarmed my faithful nurse. But I had the strength to reassure her at once.


“Let me weep, Ottavia,” said I in a low tone—“I know, … I recollect. Do not be alarmed; I am better, Ottavia. God be blessed, I can pray!”

I said no more, and closed my eyes. But a little while after I reopened them, and eagerly raised my head. What did I hear? Mme. de Kergy and Diana were there. I recognized their voices, and now distinguished their faces. But whose voice was that which had just struck my ear? Whose sweet face was that so close to mine? Whose hand was that I felt the pressure of?

“O my Stella!” I cried, “is it a dream, or are you really here?” …


No, it was not a dream. It was really Stella, who had torn herself from her retreat, her solitude and her grief, and hastened to me as soon as she heard of the fresh blow that had befallen me. She had not ceased to interest herself in all that concerned my new life, and the distant radiance of my happiness had been the only joy of her wounded heart. Now this happiness was suddenly destroyed.… I was far away; I was in trouble; I was alone; the state of affairs, which became more and more serious, detained my brother in Sicily; but she was free—free, alas! from every tie, from every duty, and she came to me as fast as the most rapid travelling could bring her. But when she arrived, I was unable to recognize her, and, when I now embraced her, she had watched more than a week at my bedside!

This was the sweetest consolation—the greatest human assistance heaven could send me, and it was a benefit to both of us. For each it was beneficial to have the other to think of.

My health now began to improve, and my soul recovered its serenity. I felt a solemn, profound peace, which could not be taken from me, and which continually increased; but this did not prevent me from feeling and saying with sincerity that everything in this world was at an end for me.

Yes, everything was at an end; but I resigned myself to my lot, and when, after this new affliction, I found myself before the altar where I prayed that evening with so many gloomy forebodings, I fell prostrate, as, after some severe combat or long journey, a child falls exhausted on the threshold of his father’s house, to which he returns never to leave it again!

If I had then obeyed my natural impulse, I should have sought some place of profound seclusion, where I could live, absorbed and lost in the thought continually present to my mind since the great day of grace which enabled me to comprehend the words: God loves me! and to which I could henceforth add: And whom alone I now love!

But it is seldom the case one’s natural inclinations can be obeyed, especially when they incline one to a life of inaction and retirement. There is but little repose on earth, and the more we love God, the less it is permitted to sigh after it. I was forced to think of others at this time, and, above all, of the dear, faithful friend who had come so far to console me.

It did not require a long time for Mme. de Kergy to discern the heroic greatness of Stella’s character,[25] and still less for her maternal heart, that had received so many blows, to sympathize with the broken heart of Angiolina’s mother. The affection she at once conceived for Stella was so strong that I might have been almost jealous, had it not exactly realized one of my strongest desires, and had not Mme. de Kergy been one of those persons whose affection is the emanation of a higher love which is bestowed on all, without allowing that which is given to the latest comer to diminish in the least the part of the others.

She at once perceived the remedy that would be efficacious to her wounded heart, and what would be a beneficial effort for mine, and she threw us both, if I may so express myself, into that ocean of charity where all personal sufferings, trials, and considerations are forgotten, and where peace is restored to the soul by means of the very woes one encounters and succeeds in relieving.

No fatigue, no fear of contagion, the sight of no misery, affected Stella’s courage; no labor wearied her patience, no application or effort was beyond her ability and perseverance. For souls thus constituted it is a genuine pleasure to exercise their noble faculties and be able to satisfy the thirst for doing good that devours them. Her eyes, therefore, soon began to brighten, her face to grow animated, and from time to time, like a reflection of the past, her lips to expand with the charming smile of former days.

There is a real enjoyment, little suspected by those who have not experienced it, in these long, fatiguing rounds, the endless staircases ascended and descended, in all these duties at once distressing and consoling, and it can be truly affirmed that there is more certainty of cheerfulness awaiting those who return home from these sad visits than the happiest of those who come from some gay, brilliant assembly. It is to the former the words of S. Francis de Sales may be addressed: “Consider the sweetest, liveliest pleasures that ever delighted your heart, and say if there is one worth the joy you now taste.…”

Thus peace and a certain joy returned by degrees, seconded by the sweetest, tenderest, most beneficial sympathy. Notwithstanding the solitude in which we lived, and the mourning I never intended to lay aside, and which Stella continued to wear, we spent an hour every evening at Mme. de Kergy’s, leaving when it was time for her usual circle to assemble. This hour was a pleasant one, and she depended on seeing us, for she began to cling to our company. Diana, far from being jealous, declared we added to the happiness of their life; and one day, in one of her outbursts of caressing affection, she exclaimed that the good God had restored to her mother the two daughters she had mourned for so long.

At these words Mme. de Kergy’s eyes filled with tears, which she hastily wiped away, and, far from contradicting her daughter, she extended her arms and held us both in a solemn, tender, maternal embrace!


What Stella felt at that moment I cannot say. As for me, my feelings were rather painful than pleasant. I comprehended only too well the sadness that clouded the dear, venerable brow of Gilbert’s mother, and his prolonged absence weighed on my heart like remorse. Of course I[26] did not consider myself the direct cause. But I could not forget that he merely left his country for a few weeks, and it was only after his sojourn at Naples he had taken the sudden resolution to make almost the tour of the world—that is, a journey whose duration was prolonged from weeks into months, and from months into years. I felt that no joy could spring up on the hearth he had forsaken till the day he should return, and it seemed to me I should not dare till that day arrived enjoy the peace that had been restored to my soul.

Months passed away, however, autumn came for the second time since Stella’s arrival, and the time fixed for her departure was approaching. I had made up my mind to accompany her, and pass some time at Naples with her, in order to be near my sister; but various unforeseen events modified her plans as well as mine.

I went one day to the Hôtel de Kergy at a different hour from that I was in the habit of going. Diana and her mother had gone out. I was told they would return in an hour. I decided, therefore, to wait, and, as the weather was fine, I selected a book from one of the tables of the drawing-room, and took a seat in the garden.

While I was looking over the books, my attention was attracted to several letters that lay on the table awaiting Mme. de Kergy’s return, and, to my great joy, I recognized Gilbert’s writing on one of them. His long absence had this time been rendered more painful by the infrequency and irregularity of his letters. Whole months often elapsed without the arrival of any. I hoped this one had brought his mother the long-wished-for promise of his return, and cheered by this thought, I opened my book, which soon absorbed me so completely that I forgot my anxiety, and hope, and everything else.…

The book I held in my hand was the Confessions of S. Augustine, and, opening it at hazard, the passage on which my eyes fell was this:

“What I know, not with doubt, but with certainty; what I know, O my God! is that I love thee. Thy word penetrated my heart and suddenly caused it to love thee. The heavens and the earth, and all they contain, do they not cry without ceasing that all men should love thee? But he on whom it pleaseth thee to have mercy alone can comprehend this language.”[4]

O words, ancient but ever new, like the beauty itself that inspired them! What a flight my soul took as I read them again here in this solitude and silence. Though centuries had passed since the day they were written, how exactly they expressed, how faithfully they portrayed, the feelings of my heart! How profound was the conviction I felt, in my turn, that, without the mercy and compassion of God, I should never have been able to understand their meaning!

I was deeply, deeply plunged in these reflections, I was lost in a world, not of fancy, but of reality more delightful than a poet’s dreams, when an unusual noise brought me suddenly to myself. First I heard the rattling of a carriage which I supposed to be Mme. de Kergy’s. But I instantly saw two or three servants rush into the court, as if some unexpected event had occurred. Then the old gardener, at work in the parterre before me, suddenly threw down his watering-pot and uttered a cry of surprise and joy:

“O goodness of God!” exclaimed[27] he in a trembling voice, “there is Monsieur le Comte!”

“Monsieur le Comte?” cried I, hastily rising.…

But I had not time to finish my question. It was really he—Gilbert. He was there before me, on the upper step of the flight that led to the drawing-room. I sprang towards him with a joy I did not think of repressing or concealing, and, extending both hands, I exclaimed:

“Oh! God be blessed a thousand times. It is you! You have returned! What a joyful surprise for your mother! For Diana! For me also, I assure you!…”

I know not what else I was on the point of adding when, seeing him stand motionless, and gaze at me as if incapable of answering a word, a faint blush rose to my face. Was he surprised at such a greeting, or too much agitated? Perchance he was deceived as to its signification. This doubt caused a sudden embarrassment, and checked the words I was about to utter.

At length he explained his unexpected arrival. His letter ought to have arrived before. He supposed his mother was notified.… He wished to spare her so sudden a surprise.…

“I knew you were at Paris,” continued he, in a tone of agitation he could not overcome. “Yes … I knew it, and hoped to see you again. But to find you here … to see you the first, O madame! that was a happiness too great for me to anticipate, and I cannot yet realize it is not, after all, a dream.…”

While he was thus speaking, and gazing intently at me as if I were some vision about to vanish from his sight, my joyful greeting and cordiality were changed into extreme gravity of manner, and I looked away as his eyes wandered from my face to my mourning attire, and for the first time it occurred to me he found me free, and perhaps was now thinking of it!

Free!… Oh! if I have succeeded in describing the state of my soul since that moment of divine light which marked the most precious day of my life; if I have clearly expressed the aspect which the past, the present, the future, and all the joys, all the sufferings, in short, every event of my life, henceforth took in my eyes; if, I say, I have been able to make myself understood, those who have read these pages are already aware what the word free now signified to me.

Free! Yes, as the bird that cleaves the air is free to return to its cage; as the captive on his way to the shores of his native land is free to return and resume his chains; so is the soul that has once tasted the blessed reality of God’s love free also to return to the vain dreams of earthly happiness.

“I would not accept it!” was the exclamation of a soul[5] that had thus been made free, and it is neither strange nor new. No more than the bird or the captive could it be tempted to return to the past.…

I did not utter a word, however, and the thoughts that came over me like a flood died away in the midst of the joyful excitement that put an end to this moment of silence. Mme. de Kergy and Diana, who had been sent for, arrived pale and agitated. But when I saw Gilbert in his mother’s arms, I felt so happy that I entirely forgot what had occurred, and was not even embarrassed when, as I was on the point of leaving, I heard Diana say to her brother that her mother had two new[28] daughters now, and he would find three sisters instead of one in the house.

I returned home in great haste. It was the first time for a long while my heart had felt light. I searched for Stella. She was neither in the house nor garden. I then thought of the studio, where, in fact, I found her. Everything remained in the same way Lorenzo had left it, and Stella, who had a natural taste for the arts, knew enough of sculpture to devote a part of her time to it. She had succeeded in making a bust of Angiolina which was a good likeness, and she was at work upon it when I entered.

She looked at me with an air of surprise, for she saw something unusual had taken place.

“Gilbert has returned!” I exclaimed, without thinking of preparing her for the news, the effect of which I had not sufficiently foreseen.

She turned deadly pale, and her face assumed an expression I had never known it to wear. I was utterly amazed. Rising with an abrupt movement, she said, in an altered tone:

“Then I must go, Ginevra!” And, suddenly bursting into tears, she pressed her lips to the little bust, the successful production of her labor and grief.

“O my angel child!” said she, “forgive me. I know it; I ought to love no one but thee. I have been punished, cruelly punished. And yet I am not sure of myself, Ginevra. I do not wish to see him again. I must go.”

It was the first time in her life Stella had thus allowed me to read the depths of her heart. It was the first time the violence of any emotion whatever broke down the wall of reserve she knew how to maintain, and made her rise above her natural repugnance to speak of herself. It was the first time I was sure of the wound I had so long suspected, but which I had never ventured to probe.

God alone knows with what emotion I listened to her. What hopes were awakened, and what prayers rose from my heart during the moment’s silence that followed these ardent words. She soon continued, with renewed agitation:

“Yes, I must start at once. I had no idea he would arrive in this way without giving me time to escape!…”

Then she added, in a hollow tone:

“Listen, Ginevra. For once I must be frank with you. He loves you, you well know, and now there is nothing more to separate you; now you are free.…”

But she stopped short, surprised, I think, at the way in which I looked at her.

“She also! Is it possible?” murmured I, replying to my own thoughts.

And my eyes, that had been fixed on her, involuntarily looked upward at the light that came from the only window in the studio. I soon said in a calm tone:

“You are mistaken, Stella. I am not free, as you suppose. But let us not speak of myself, I beg.…”

She listened without comprehending me, and her train of thought, interrupted for a moment, resumed its course. I was far from wishing to check a communicativeness her suffering heart had more need of than she was aware. I allowed her, therefore, to pour out without hindrance all that burdened her mind. I suffered her to give way to her unreasonable remorse. I did not even contradict her when she repeated that her sweet treasure would not have been ravished from her, had[29] she been worthy of possessing it, if no other love had been allowed to enter her heart. I did not oppose this fancy, which was only one of those perfidies de l’amour, as such imaginary wrongs have been happily styled, which, after the occurrence of misfortune, often add to one’s actual sorrow a burden still heavier and more difficult to bear.

On the contrary, I assured her we would start together, and she herself should fix the day of our departure.

I only begged her not to hasten the time, and, by leaving Paris so abruptly, afflict our excellent friend at the very hour of her joy, and make Diana weep at the moment when she was so pleased at the restoration of their happiness. At last I induced her to consent that things should remain for the present as they were. She would return to the Hôtel de Kergy, and Gilbert’s return should in no way change the way of life we had both led for a year.


Nothing, in fact, was changed. Our morning rounds, our occupations in the afternoon, and our evening reunions, all continued the same as before. Apparently nothing new had occurred except the satisfaction and joy which once more brightened the fireside of our friends, and things were pleasanter than ever, even when Gilbert was present. This time he seemed decided to put an end to his wandering habits, and settle down with his mother, never to leave her again.

Nothing was changed, therefore. And yet before the end of the year I alone remained the same as the day of Gilbert’s arrival, the day when Stella was so desirous of going away that she might not meet him again; the day when (as I must now acknowledge) he thought if he was deceived by the pleasure I manifested at seeing him again, if my sentiments did not respond to his, if some new insurmountable barrier had risen in the place of that which death had removed, then he would once more depart, he would leave his country again, he would exile himself from his friends … and—who knows?—perhaps die—yes, really, die of grief with a broken heart!…

It was somewhat in these terms he spoke to me some time after his return, and I looked at him, as I listened, with a strange sensation of surprise. He was, however, the same he once was, the same Gilbert whose presence had afforded me so much happiness and been such a source of danger. There was no change in the charm of his expression, his voice, his wit, the elevation of his mind and character, and yet … I tried, but in vain, to recall the emotions of the past I once found so difficult to hide, so painful to combat, so impossible to overcome. I could not revive the dreams, the realization of which was now offered me, and convince myself it was I who had formerly regarded such a destiny as so happy a one and so worthy of envy—I, who now found it so far below the satisfied ambition of my heart. Ah! it was a good thing for me to see Gilbert again; it was well to look this earthly happiness once more in the face, in order to estimate the extent the divine arrow had penetrated my soul and opened the only true fountain of happiness and love!

It was not necessary to give utterance to all these thoughts. There was something inexpressible in my eyes, my voice, my language, my tranquillity in his presence, in my[30] friendship itself, so evident and sincere, which were more expressive than any words or explanation, and by degrees produced a conviction no man can resist unless he is—which Gilbert was not—blind, presumptuous, or inflated with pride.

“Amor, ch’ a null’ amato amar perdona,”[6]

says our great poet. But he should have added that, if this law is not obeyed, love dies, and he who loves soon grows weary of loving in vain.

Gilbert was not an exception to this rule. The time came for its accomplishment in his case. The day came when he realized it. It was a slow, gradual, insensible process, but at length I saw the budding, the progress, the fulfilment of my dearest hopes.

The “sang joyeux” which once enabled my dear Stella to endure the trials of her earlier life now diffused new joy and hope in her heart, brought back to her eyes and lips that brilliancy of color and intensity of expression which always reflected the emotions of her soul, and made her once more what she was before her great grief!…

I saw her at last happy—happy to a degree that had never before been shed over her life. I should have left her then, as I intended, to see Livia again; but, while the changes I have just referred to were taking place around me, the heavy, unmerciful hand of spoliation had been laid on the loved asylum where my sister hoped to find shelter for life. Soldiers’ quarters were needed. The monastery was appropriated, the nuns were expelled. A greater trial than exile was inflicted on their innocent lives—a trial as severe as death, and, in fact, was death to several of their number. They were separated from one another; the aged were received in pious families; some were dispersed in various convents of their order still spared in Italy by the act of suppression; others, again, sought refuge in countries not then affected by the tempest which, from time to time, rises against the church and strikes the religious orders as lightning always strikes the highest summits, without ever succeeding in annihilating one, but leaving to the persecutors the stigma of crime and the shame of defeat!

My sister Livia was of the number of these holy exiles. A convent of her order, not far from Paris, was assigned her as a refuge, and it was there I had the joy of once more seeing her calm, angelic face. How much we had to say to each other! How truly united we now were! What a pleasure to again find her attentive ear, her faithful heart, and her courageous, artless soul! But when, after the long account I had to give her, I asked her to tell me, in her turn, all she had suffered from the sudden, violent invasion, the profanation of a place so dear and sacred to her, and the necessity of bidding farewell to the cloudless heavens, the beautiful mountains, and all the enchanting scenery of the country she loved, she smiled:

“What difference does all that make?” said she. “Only one thing is sad: that they who have wronged us should have done us this injury. As for us, the only real privation there is they could not inflict on us; the only true exile they could not impose. Domini est terra et plenitudo ejus! No human power can separate us from him!”

And now there remains but little to add.

The happiness of this world, such[31] as it is, in all its fulness and its insufficiency, Gilbert and Stella possess. Diana also, without being obliged to leave her mother, has found a husband worthy of her and the dear sanctuary of all that is noble. Mario makes frequent journeys to France to visit his sisters, each in her retreat, and his former asperities seem to grow less and less. Lando and Teresina also come to see me every time they visit Paris, and I always find in him a sincere and faithful friend; but it is very difficult to convince him I shall never marry again, and still more so to make him understand how I can be happy.

Happy!… Nevertheless I am, and truly so! I am happier than I ever imagined I could be on earth; and if life sometimes seems long, I have never found it sad. Order, peace, activity, salutary friendship, a divine hope, leave nothing to be desired, and like one[7] who, still young, likewise arrived through suffering to the clearest light, I said, in my turn: Nothing is wanting, for “I believe, I love, and I wait!

Yes, I await the plenitude of that happiness, a single ray of which sufficed to transform my whole life. I bless God for having unveiled the profound mystery of my heart, and enabled me to solve its enigma, and to understand with the same clearness all the aspirations of the soul which constitute here below the glory and torment of our nature! I render thanks to him for being able to comprehend and believe with assurance that the reason why we are so insatiable for knowledge, for repose, for happiness, for love, for security, and for so many other blessings never found on earth to the extent they are longed for, is because “we are all created solely for what we cannot here possess!”[8]


Ready is Time beneath her brooding wing
To break with swelling life the brown earth’s sheath;
And fondly do we watch th’ expectant heath
For bloom and song the days are ripe to bring.
Our heralds even vaunt the birth of spring,
While yet, alack! the winter’s blatant breath
Defieth trust, and coldly shadoweth
With drifts of gray each hope that dares to sing.
Yet still we know, as deepest shades foretell
The coming of the morn, and lovely sheen
Of living sunshine lies asleep between
A snow-bound crust and joys that upward well,
So, sure of triumph o’er the yielding shell,
Are ecstasies of song and matchless green!




Villemain, in his Lectures on the Literature of the Middle Ages, while speaking of the Mysteries performed by the Confrères de la Passion, exclaims, “It is to be regretted that at that period the French language was not more fully developed, and that there was no man of genius among the Confrères de la Passion.

“The subject was admirable: imagine a theatre, which the faith of the people made the supplement of their worship; conceive religion, with the sublimity of its dogmas, put on the stage before convinced spectators, then a poet of powerful imagination, able to use freely all these grand things, not reduced to the necessity of stealing a few tears from us by feigned adventures, but striking our souls with the authority of an apostle and the impassioned magic of an artist, addressing what we believe and feel, and making us shed real tears over subjects which seem not only true, but divine—certainly nothing would have been greater than this poetry!”

Such a poet and such poetry Spain possesses in Calderon and his Autos Sacramentales, which may be regarded as the completion and perfection of the religious drama of the Middle Ages.

Of the modern nations which possess a national popular drama, Spain is the only one where, by the side of the secular stage, there has grown up and been carefully cultivated a religious drama; for this, in England, died with the Mysteries and Moralities.

The persistence of the religious drama in Spain is to be explained by the peculiar history of the nation, especially the struggle of centuries with the Moors—a continual crusade fought on their own soil, which inflamed to the highest degree the religious enthusiasm of the people.

The Reformation awoke but a feeble echo in Spain, and only served to quicken the masses to greater devotion to doctrines they saw threatened from abroad.

The two dogmas of the church which have always been especially dear to the Spaniards are those of the Immaculate Conception and Transubstantiation.

The former, as more spiritual and impalpable, remained an article of faith, deep and fervent, only represented to the senses by the mystic masterpieces of Murillo. Transubstantiation, on the other hand, was embodied in a host of symbols and ceremonies, and had devoted to it the most gorgeous of all the festivals of the church—that of Corpus Christi, established in 1263 by Urban IV., formally promulgated by Clement V. in 1311, and fifty years later amplified and rendered more magnificent by John XXIII.

This festival was introduced into Spain during the reign of Alfonso X., and its celebration there, as elsewhere, was accompanied by dramatic representations.

In Barcelona, even earlier than 1314, part of the celebration consisted in a procession of giants and ridiculous figures—a feature, as[33] we shall afterwards see, always retained.

It seems established that from the earliest date dramatic representations of some kind always accompanied the celebration of Corpus Christi.

These plays, constituting a distinct and peculiar class, received a name of their own, and were at first called autos (from the Latin actus, applied to any particularly solemn act, as autos-da-fe), and later more specifically autos sacramentales.

We infer from occasional notices that these religious dramas were performed without interruption during the XIVth and XVth centuries. What their character was during this period we do not know, as we possess none earlier than the beginning of the XVIth century.

From this last-named date notices of the secular drama begin to multiply, and we may form some idea of the early autos sacramentales from the productions of Juan de la Enzina and Gil Vicente.

The former wrote a number of religious dialogues or plays, which he named eclogues, probably because the majority of the characters were shepherds.

One of these eclogues is on the Nativity, another on the Passion and Death of our Redeemer.

The word auto, as we have stated, was applied to any solemn act, and did not at first refer exclusively to the Corpus Christi dramas, so we find among the works of Gil Vicente an auto for Christmas, and one on the subject of S. Martin, which, although having nothing to do with the mystery of the Eucharist, was performed during the celebration of Corpus Christi in 1504, in the vestibule of the Church of Las Caldas in Lisbon.

These sacred plays were undoubtedly at first represented only in the churches by the ecclesiastics; they were not allowed to be performed in villages (where they could not be supervised by the higher clergy), or for the sake of money.

The abuses in their performance, or perhaps the large number of spectators, afterwards led to their representation in the open air.

The stage (as in the beginning of the classical drama) was a wagon, on which the scenery was arranged; when the autos became more elaborate, three of these wagons or carros were united.

We may see what these primitive stages were like in Don Quixote (part ii. chap. 11), the hero of which encountered upon the highway one of these perambulating theatres:

“He who guided the mules and served for carter was a frightful demon. The cart was uncovered and opened to the sky, without awning or wicker sides.

“The first figure that presented itself to Don Quixote’s eyes was that of Death itself with a human visage. Close by him sat an angel with painted wings. On one side stood an emperor, with a crown, seemingly of gold, on his head.

“At Death’s feet sat the god called Cupid, not blindfolded, but with his bow, quiver, and arrows.

“There was also a knight completely armed, excepting only that he had no morion or casque, but a hat with a large plume of feathers of divers colors.

“With these came other persons, differing both in habits and countenances.”

To Don Quixote’s question as to who they were the carter replied:

“Sir, we are strollers belonging to Angulo el Malo’s company. This morning, which is the octave of Corpus Christi, we have been performing, in a village on the other side of yon hill, a piece representing the Cortes or Parliament of Death, and this evening we are to play it again in that village just before us; which being so near, to save ourselves the[34] trouble of dressing and undressing, we come in the clothes we are to act our parts in.”

The character of the autos changed with the improvements in their representation; from mere dialogues they developed into short farces, the object of which was to amuse while instructing.

Like the secular plays, they opened with a prologue, called the loa (from loar, to praise), in which the object of the play was shadowed forth and the indulgence of the spectators demanded.

The loa was originally spoken by one person, and was also called argumento or introito, and was in the same metre as the auto; although it consisted sometimes of a few lines in prose, as in the auto of The Gifts which Adam sent to Our Lady by S. Lazarus:

Loa.—Here is recited an auto which treats of a letter and gifts which our father Adam sent by S. Lazarus to the illustrious Virgin, Our Lady, supplicating her to consent to the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“In order that the auto may be easily heard, the accustomed silence is requested.”

Still later the loa was extended into a short, independent play, sometimes with no reference to the auto it preceded, and frequently by another author.

During Lope de Vega’s reign over the Spanish stage an entremes or farce was inserted between the loa and auto.

These entremeses are gay interludes, terminating with singing and dancing, and having no connection with the solemn play which follows, unless, as is the case with one of Lope de Vega’s (Muestra de los Carros), to ridicule the whole manner of celebrating the festival.

With the increase in wealth and cultivation the performance of the autos had lost much of its primitive simplicity, and was attended with lavish magnificence.

The proper representation of these truly national works was deemed of such importance that each city had a committee, or junta del corpus, consisting of the corregidor and two regidores of the town, and a secretary.

This committee in Madrid was presided over by a member of the royal council (Consejo y Cámera real) who was successively called the “commissary, protector, and superintendent of the festivals of the Most Holy Sacrament.”

The president of the junta was armed with extraordinary powers, frequently exercised against refractory actors. It was his duty to provide everything necessary for the festival: plays, actors, cars, masked figures for the processions, decorations for the streets, etc.

As there were at that date no permanent theatrical companies in the cities, it was necessary to engage actors for the autos early in the year, in order that there might be no risk of failure, and to afford the necessary time for rehearsals.

The necessary preparations having been made, and an early Mass celebrated, a solemn procession took place, followed by the representation of the autos in the open air.

The best descriptions of the manner of representation are found in the travels of two persons who witnessed the performance of the autos in Madrid in 1654 and 1679.

The second of the two was the Comtesse d’Aulnoy, whose account of her travels was always a popular book.[9] The writer was a gossipy[35] French lady, who disseminated through Europe many groundless scandals about the Spanish court.

Here are her own words about the autos:

“As soon as the Holy Sacrament is gone back to the church everybody goes home to eat, that they may be at the autos, which are certain kinds of tragedies upon religious subjects, and are oddly enough contrived and managed; they are acted either in the court or street of each president of a council, to whom it is due.

“The king goes there, and all the persons of quality receive tickets overnight to go there; so that we were invited, and I was amazed to see them light up abundance of flambeaux, whilst the sun beat full upon the comedians’ heads, and melted the wax like butter. They acted the most impertinent piece that I ever saw in my days.… These autos last for a month.…”

We shall see why the flippant Parisian was shocked when we consider the subject-matter of these plays.

The whole ceremony is much better described by the earlier traveller, Aarseus de Somerdyck, a Dutchman, who was in Madrid in 1654.

His account is so long and minute that we have been obliged to condense it slightly:

“The day opened with a procession, headed by a crowd of musicians and Biscayans with tambourines and castanets; then followed many dancers in gay dresses, who sprang about and danced as gayly as though they were celebrating the carnival.

“The king attended Mass at Santa Maria, near the palace, and after the service came out of the church bearing a candle in his hand.

“The repository containing the Host occupied the first place; then came the grandees and different councils.

“At the head of the procession were several gigantic figures made of pasteboard, and moved by persons concealed within. They were of various designs, and some looked frightful enough; all represented women, except the first, which consisted only of an immense painted head borne by a very short man, so that the whole looked like a dwarf with a giant’s head.

“There were besides two similar figures representing a Moorish and an Ethiopian giant, and a monster called the tarrasca.

“This is an enormous serpent, with a huge belly, long tail, short feet, crooked claws, threatening eyes, powerful, distended jaws, and entire body covered with scales.

“Those who are concealed within cause it to writhe so that its tail often knocks off the unwary bystanders’ hats, and greatly terrifies the peasants.

“In the afternoon, at five o’clock, the autos were performed. These are religious plays, between which comic interludes are given to heighten and spice the solemnity of the performance.

“The theatrical companies, of which there are two in Madrid, close their theatres during this time, and for a month perform nothing but such religious plays, which take place in the open air, on platforms built in the streets.

“The actors are obliged to play every day before the house of one of the presidents of the various councils. The first representation is before the palace, where a platform with a canopy is erected for their majesties.

“At the foot of this canopy is the theatre; around the stage are little painted houses on wheels, from which the actors enter, and whither they retire at the end of every scene.

“Before the performance the dancers and grotesque figures amuse the public.

“During the representation lights were burned, although it was day and in the open air, while generally other plays are performed in the theatres in the daytime without any artificial light.”

Sufficient has now been said in regard to the history and mode of representation of the autos to enable us to understand the essentially popular character of these plays—a fact very necessary to be kept in mind, and which will explain, if not palliate, the many abuses which gradually were introduced, and which led to their suppression by a royal decree in 1765.


They have, however, left traces of their influence in plays still performed on Corpus Christi in some parts of Spain, and in the sacred plays represented during Lent in all the large cities.[10]


We have seen the primitive condition of the autos when Lope de Vega took possession of the stage. He did for the autos what he did for the secular drama: with his consummate knowledge of the stage and the public, he took the materials already at hand, and remodelled them to the shape most likely to interest and win applause.

The superior poetic genius of Calderon found in the autos the field for its noblest exercise, and it is now admitted that he carried the secular as well as the religious drama to the highest perfection of which it was capable.

It is perhaps not generally remembered that Calderon, in common with many men of letters of that day, took Holy Orders when he was fifty-one years old (1651), and was appointed chaplain at Toledo.

This, however, involved his absence from court, and twelve years later he was made chaplain of honor to the king; other ecclesiastical dignities were added, which he enjoyed until the close of his life, in 1681.

Mr. Ticknor (Hist. of Span. Lit., ii. 351, note) says: “It seems probable that Calderon wrote no plays expressly for the public stage after he became a priest in 1651, confining himself to autos and to comedias for the court, which last, however, were at once transferred to the theatres of the capital.”

For nearly thirty-seven years he furnished Madrid, Toledo, Granada, and Seville with autos, and devoted to them all the energies of his matured mind.

Solis, the historian, in one of his letters says: “Our friend Don Pedro Calderon is just dead, and went off, as they say the swan does, singing; for he did all he could, even when he was in immediate danger, to finish the second auto for Corpus Christi.

“But, after all, he completed only a little more than half of it, and it has been finished in some way or other by Don Melchior de Leon.”

Calderon evidently based his claim for recognition as a great poet on his autos; of all his plays he deemed them alone worthy of his revision for publication, and he would now without doubt be judged by them, had not the spirit in which and for which they were written passed away, to a great extent, with the author.

Before we examine his autos in detail we must notice some of their most striking peculiarities, and see in what respect they differ from plays on religious subjects.

The intensely religious character of the Spaniards led, at an early date, to their consecrating to religion every form of literature; and plays based on the lives of the saints, miracles of the Blessed Virgin, etc., are very common.

Almost every prominent doctrine of the church is illustrated in the dramas of Lope de Vega and Calderon.

Their plays differ not at all in form from those of a purely secular character; they are all in three acts, in verse.

The autos, on the other hand, are restricted to the celebration of one doctrine—that of Transubstantiation;[37] consist of but one act (that one, however, nearly equal in length to the three of many secular plays); and were performed on but one solemn occasion—the festival of Corpus Christi.

The most striking peculiarity of the autos consists in the introduction of allegorical characters, which, however, were not first brought before the public in autos, nor was their use restricted to that class of dramatic compositions.

The custom of personifying inanimate objects is as old as the imagination of man, and has been constantly used since the days of Job and David; and Cervantes, in his interesting drama, Numancia, introduces “a maiden who represents Spain,” and “the river Douro.”

It is not easy to see how the introduction of allegorical personages could have been avoided.

The leading idea in all the autos is the redemption of the human soul by the personal sacrifice of the Son of God—that great gift of himself to us embodied in the doctrine of the Real Presence.

The plot is the history of the soul from its innocence in Eden to its temptation and fall, and subsequent salvation; the characters are the soul itself, represented by human nature, the Spouse Christ, the tempter, the senses, the various virtues and vices.

These constitute but a small minority of the whole number, as will be seen by the following list, which might easily be expanded:

God Almighty as Father, King, or Prince, Omnipotence, Wisdom, Divine Love, Grace, Righteousness, Mercy; Christ as the Good Shepherd, Crusader, etc., the Bridegroom—i.e., Christ, who woos his bride, the Church—the Virgin, the Devil or Lucifer, Shadow as a symbol of guilt, Sin, Man as Mankind, the Soul, Understanding, Will, Free-will, Care, Zeal, Pride, Envy, Vanity, Thought (generally, from its fickleness, as Clown), Ignorance, Foolishness, Hope, Comfort, the Church, the written and natural Law, Idolatry, Judaism or the Synagogue, the Alcoran or Mahometanism, Heresy, Apostasy, Atheism, the Seven Sacraments, the World, the four quarters of the globe, Nature, Light symbol of Grace, Darkness, Sleep, Dreams, Death, Time, the Seasons and Days, the various divisions of the world, the four elements, the plants (especially the wheat and vine, as furnishing the elements for the Holy Eucharist), the five Senses, the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles and their symbols (the eagle of John, etc.), and the Angels and Archangels.

Anachronisms are not regarded, and the prophets and apostles appear side by side on the same stage.

Although the plot was essentially always the same, its development and treatment were infinitely varied.

The protagonist is Man, but under the most diversified forms, from abstract man to Psyche or Eurydice, representatives of the human soul.

The essential idea of man’s fall and salvation is entwined with all manner of subjects taken from history, mythology, and romance.

The first contributed The Conversion of Constantine, the second a host of plays like The Divine Jason, Cupid and Psyche, Andromeda and Perseus, The Divine Orpheus, The True God Pan, The Sacred Parnassus, The Sorceries of Sin (Ulysses and Circe). Romance contributed the fables of Charlemagne and the Twelve Peers, etc.


It is almost needless to say that the most important sources of the autos are the Scriptures and Biblical traditions.

Examples of the former are: The Brazen Serpent, The First and Second Isaac, Baltassar’s Feast, The Vineyard of the Lord (S. Matt. xx. 1). Gedeon’s Fleece, The Faithful Shepherd, The Order of Melchisedech, Ruth’s Gleaning, etc.

An interesting example of the use of tradition is the auto of The Tree of the Best Fruit (El Arbol del Mejor Fruto), embodying the legend that the cross on which Christ died was produced from three seeds of the tree of the forbidden fruit planted on the grave of Adam. There yet remains a large number of plays which cannot be referred to any of the above-mentioned classes.

These are the inventions of the poet’s brain, some of them but a recast of secular plays already popular;[11] others are fresh creations, and are among the most interesting of the autos. Among these are The Great Theatre of the World (El Gran Teatro del Mundo, partly translated by Dean Trench), The Poison and the Antidote (El Veneno y la Triaca, partly translated by Mr. MacCarthy), etc.

No idea, however, can be formed of the autos from a mere statement of their form and subjects; they must be examined in their entirety, and the reader must transport himself back to the spirit of the times in which they were written.

What this spirit was, and how the autos are to be regarded, is admirably expressed by Schack, in his History of the Spanish Drama (iii. p. 251), and of which Mr. MacCarthy has given the following spirited translation:

“Posterity cannot fail to participate in the admiration of the XVIIth century for this particular kind of poetry, when it shall possess sufficient self-denial to transplant itself out of the totally different circle of contemporary ideas into the intuition of the world, and the mode of representing it, from which this entire species of drama has sprung. He who can in this way penetrate deeply into the spirit of a past century will see the wonderful creations of Calderon’s autos rise before him, with sentiments somewhat akin to those of the astronomer, who turns his far-reaching telescope upon the heavens, and, as he scans the mighty spaces, sees the milky-way separating into suns, and from the fathomless depths of the universe new worlds of inconceivable splendor rising up.

“Or let me use another illustration: he may feel like the voyager who, having traversed the wide waste of waters, steps upon a new region of the earth, where he is surrounded by unknown and wonderful forms—a region which speaks to him in the mysterious voices of its forests and its streams, and where other species of beings, of a nature different from any he has known, look out wonderingly at him from their strange eyes.

“Indeed, like to such a region these poems hem us round.

“A temple opens before us, in which, as in the Holy Graal Temple of Titurel, the Eternal Word is represented symbolically to the senses.

“At the entrance the breath as if of the Spirit of eternity blows upon us, and a holy auroral splendor, like the brightness of the Divinity, fills the consecrated dome.

“In the centre, as the central point of all being and of all history, stands the cross, on which the infinite Spirit has sacrificed himself from his infinite benevolence towards man.

“At the foot of this sublime symbol stands the poet as hierophant and prophet, who explains the pictures upon the walls, and the dumb language of the tendrils, and the flowers that are twining[39] round the columns, and the melodious tones which reverberate in music from the vault.

“He waves his magic wand, and the halls of the temple extend themselves through the immeasurable; a perspective of pillars spreads from century to century up to the dark gray era of the past, where first the fountain of life gushes up, and where suns and stars, coming forth from the womb of nothing, begin their course.

“And the inspired seer unveils the secrets of creation, showing to us the breath of God moving over the chaos, as he separates the solid earth from the waters, points out to the moon and the stars their orbits, and commands the elements whither they should fly and what they are to seek.

“We feel ourselves folded in the wings of the Spirit of the universe, and we hear the choral jubilation of the new-born suns, as they solemnly enter on their appointed paths, proclaiming the glory of the Eternal.

“From the dusky night, which conceals the source of all things, we see the procession of peoples, through the ever-renewing and decaying generations of men, following that star that led the wise men from the east, and advancing in their pilgrimage towards the place of promise; but beyond, irradiated by the splendors of redemption and reconciliation, lies the future, with its countless generations of beings yet unborn.

“And the sacred poet points all round to the illimitable, beyond the boundaries of time out into eternity, shows the relation of all things, created and uncreated, to the symbol of grace, and how all nations look up to Him in worship.

“The universe in its thousand-fold phenomena, with the chorus of all its myriad voices, becomes one sublime psalm to the praise of the Most Holy; heaven and earth lay their gifts at his feet; the stars, ‘the never-fading flowers of heaven,’ and the flowers, ‘the transitory stars of earth,’ must pay him tribute; day and night, light and darkness, lie worshipping before him in the dust, and the mind of man opens before him its most hidden depths, in order that all its thoughts and feelings may become transfigured in the vision of the Eternal.

“This is the spirit that breathes from the autos of Calderon upon him who can comprehend them in the sense meant by the poet.”

With this preparation we can now examine in detail one or two of the most characteristic of Calderon’s autos, selecting from the class of Scriptural subjects Baltassar’s Feast, and from the large class of allegories invented by the poet the Painter of his own Dishonor, which is of especial interest, as being the counterpart of a secular play.

Note.—Those who desire a better acquaintance with Calderon’s autos than they can form from the above very imperfect sketch and analyses will find the following list of authorities of interest:

The autos were not collected and published until some time after the poet’s death, in 1717, six vols. 4to, and 1759-60, six vols., also in 4to, both editions somewhat difficult to find. In 1865 thirteen were published in Riradeneyra’s collection of Spanish authors in a work entitled Autos Sacramentales desde su origen hasta fines del siglo XVII., with an historical introduction by the collector, Don Eduardo G. Pedroso.

The autos have never been republished, in the original, out of Spain.

The enthusiasm in regard to the Spanish drama aroused by Schlegel’s Lectures, early in this century, bore fruit in a large number of excellent German translations of the most celebrated secular plays.

The autos were neglected until 1829, when Cardinal Diepenbrock published a translation of Life is a Dream (counterpart of comedy of same name); this was followed in 1846-53 by Geistliche Schauspiele, von Calderon (Stuttgart, two volumes), containing eleven autos translated by J. von Eichendorff, a writer well known in other walks of literature. In this translation the original[40] metre is preserved, and they are in every way worthy of admiration.

In 1856 Ludwig Braunfels published two volumes of translations from Lope de Vega, Iviso de Molina, and Calderon; the second volume contains the auto of Baltassar’s Feast.

In 1855 Dr. Franz Lorinser, an ecclesiastic of Regensburg, an enthusiastic admirer of Spanish literature, began the translation of all of Calderon’s autos, and has now translated some sixty-two of the seventy-two into German trochaic verse, without any attempt to preserve the original asonante.

This translation is accompanied by valuable notes and explanations, very necessary for the non-Catholic reader, as these plays are in many instances crowded with scholastic theology.

If the Germans, with their genius for translation, shrank from the labor necessary for the faithful rendering of the autos, the English, with their more unmanageable language, may well be excused for suffering these remarkable plays to remain so long unknown.

Occasional notices and analyses had been given in literary histories and periodicals, but the first attempt at a metrical translation was by Dean Trench in his admirable little work (reprinted in New York 1856) on Calderon, which contains a partial translation of The Great Theatre of the World.

It is needless to say it is beautifully done, and on the whole is the most poetical translation yet made into English.

The first complete translation of an auto was made by Mr. D. F. MacCarthy, published in 1861 in London, under the title, Three Dramas of Calderon, from the Spanish, and containing the auto, The Sorceries of Sin.

The author was favorably known for his previous labors in this field, which had won him the gratitude of all interested in Spanish literature.

He has since published a volume, entitled Mysteries of Corpus Christi, Dublin and London, 1867, containing complete translations of Baltassar’s Feast, The Divine Philothea, and several scenes from The Poison and the Antidote, in all of which the original metre is strictly preserved. There are few translations in the English language where similar difficulties have been so triumphantly overcome.

The asonante can never be naturalized in English verse, but Mr. MacCarthy has done much to reconcile us to it, and make its introduction in Spanish translations useful, if not indispensably necessary.

It may be doubted whether in any other way a correct idea of the Spanish drama can be conveyed to those unacquainted with the Spanish language.






My first step was to pay a visit to the Préfecture de Police. I was received with the utmost courtesy and many half-spoken, half-intimated expressions of sympathy that were touching and unexpected. All that my sensitive pride most shrank from in my misfortune was ignored with a tact and delicacy that were both soothing and encouraging. I had felt more than once, when exposing my miserable and extraordinary situation to the police agents at home, that it required the strongest effort of professional gravity on their part not to burst out laughing in my face. No such struggle was to be seen in the countenances of the French police. They listened with interest, real or feigned, to my story, and invited what confidence I had to give by the matter-of-fact simplicity with which they set to work to put the few pieces of the puzzle together, and to endeavor to read some clew in them. I returned to my hotel after this interview more cheered and sanguine than the incident itself reasonably warranted.

It was scarcely two years since I had been in Paris, yet since that first visit I found it singularly altered. I could not say exactly how; but it was not the same. It had struck me when I first saw it as the place above all I had yet seen for a man to build an earthly paradise to himself; the air was full of brightness, redolent of light-hearted pleasure; the aspect of the city, the looks of the people, suggested at every point the Epicurean motto, “Eat, drink, and be merry; for to-morrow we die!” But it was different now. Perhaps the change was in me; in the world within rather than the world without. The chord that had formerly answered to the touch of the vivacious gayety of the place was broken. I walked through the streets and boulevards now with wide-open, disenchanted eyes, critical and unsympathetic. Things that had passed unheeded before appeared to me with a new meaning. What struck me as most disagreeable, and with a sense of complete novelty, was the widespread popularity which the devil apparently enjoyed amongst the Parisians. If, as we may assume, the popularity of a name implies the popularity of the person or the idea that it represents, it is difficult to exaggerate the esteem and favor which Satan commands in the city of bonnets and revolutions. You can scarcely pass through any of the thoroughfares without seeing his name emblazoned on a shop-window, or his figure carved or bedaubed in some grotesque or hideous guise on a sign-board inviting you to enter and spend your money under his patronage. There are devils dancing and devils grinning, devils fat and devils lean, a diable vert and a diable rose, a bon diable, a diable à quatre—every[42] conceivable shape and color of diable, in fact, in the range of the infernal hierarchy. He stands as high in favor with the literary guild as with the shop-keepers; books and plays are called after him; his name is a household word in the press; it gives salt to the editor’s joke and point to his epigram. The devil is welcome everywhere, and everywhere set up as a sign not to be contradicted. Angels, on the other hand, are at a discount. Now and then you chance upon some honorable mention of the ange gardien, but the rare exception only serves as a contrast which vindicates the overwhelming popularity of the fallen brethren. Is this the outcome of the promise, “I will give my angels charge over thee”? And does Beelzebub’s protection of his Parisian votaries justify their interpretation of the message? I was revolving some such vague conjectures in my mind as I turned listlessly into the Rue de Rivoli, and saw a cab driving in under the porte cochère of my hotel. I quickened my pace, for I fancied I recognized a familiar face in the distance. The glass door at the foot of the stairs was still swinging, as I pushed it before me, and heard a voice calling my name on the first floor. “Hollo! here you are, uncle!” I cried, and, clearing the intervening stair at three bounds, I seized the admiral by both arms, as he stood with his hand still on my bell-rope.

“Come in, my boy. Come in,” he said, and pushed in without turning his head towards me.

“You have bad news!” I said. I read it in his averted face and the subdued gravity of his greeting. He deliberately took off his hat and flung his light travelling surtout on the sofa before he answered me. Then he came up and laid his hand on my shoulder. “Yes, very bad news, my poor fellow; but you will bear up like a man. It doesn’t all end here, you know.”

“My God! It is all over, then! She is dead!” I cried.

He made a gesture that signified assent, and pressed me down into a chair. I do not remember what followed.

I recollect his standing over me, and whispering words into my ear that came like the sound of my mother’s voice—words that fell like balm upon my burning brain, and silenced, as if by some physical force, other words that were quivering on my tongue. I never knew or cared before whether my uncle believed in anything, whether he had faith in God or in devils; but as he spoke to me then I remember feeling a kind of awe in his presence—awe mingled with surprise and a sense of peace and comfort; it was as if I had drifted unawares into a haven. He never left me for a moment till the hard dumbness was melted, and I let my head drop on his shoulder, and wept.…

He told me that the day I left Dieppe news came of the wreck of a fishing-smack having floated into the harbor of St. Valéry. The police were on the alert, and went at once to inspect the boat. It had capsized, and had drifted ashore, after knocking about on the high seas no one could say how many days; but it bore the name of a fisherman who had been seen in the neighborhood about ten days before. There was nothing in the boat, of course, that could give any indication as to what had become of its owner or how the accident had occurred. About two days later the body of a woman was washed ashore almost on the[43] same spot; the police, still on the qui-vive, went down to see it, and at once telegraphed for my uncle. The body was lying at the morgue of St. Valéry; it was already decomposing, but the work of destruction was not far enough advanced to admit of doubt as to the identity. The long, dark hair was dripping with the slime of the sea, and tangled like a piece of sea-weed; but the admiral’s eyes had no sooner glanced at the face than he recognized it.

I can write this after an interval of many months, but even now I cannot recall it without feeling, almost as vividly as at the moment, the pang that seemed to cleave my very life in two. My uncle had said: “It doesn’t all end here!” and those words, I believe, preserved me from suicide. They kept singing, not in my ears, but within me, and seemed to be coming out of all the common sounds that were jarring and dinning outside. The very ticking of the clock seemed to repeat them: “It does not all end here.” It did, so far as my happiness went. I was a blighted man for ever. The dark mystery of the flight and the death would never be solved on this side of the grave. The sea had given up its dead, but the dead could not speak. I was alone henceforth with a secret that no fellow-creature could unriddle for me. I must bear the burden of my broken life, without any hope of alleviation, to the end. The name of De Winton was safe now. No blot would come upon it through the follies or sins of her who had beamed like a sweet, sudden star upon my path, and then gone out, leaving me in the lonely darkness. Why should I chronicle my days any more? They can never be anything to me but a dreary routine of comings and goings, without joy or hope to brighten them. The sun has gone down. The stone has fallen to the bottom; the trembling of the circles, as they quiver upon the surface of the water, soon passes away, and then all is still and stagnant again.

So Clide lapses into silence again, and for a time we lose sight of him. He is roving about the world, doing his best to kill pain by excitement, and soothe memory with hope; and all this while a new life is getting ready for him, growing and blossoming, and patiently waiting for the summer-time, when the fruit shall be ripe for him to come and gather it. The spot which this new life has chosen for its home is suggestive rather of the past than of the future. A tiny brick cottage, with a thatched roof overgrown with mosses green and brown, a quaint remnant of old-fashioned life, a bit of picturesque long ago forgotten on the skirts of the red-tiled, gas-lit, prosperous modern town of Dullerton. The little brick box, smothered in its lichens and mosses, was called The Lilies from a band of those majestic flowers that dwelt on either side of the garden-wicket, like guardian angels of the place, looking out in serene beauty on the world without.

It was a nine days’ wonder to Dullerton when the Comte Raymond de la Bourbonais and his daughter Franceline came from over the seas, and took up their abode at The Lilies with a French bonne called Angélique. There was the usual amount of guessing amongst the gossips as to the why and the wherefore a foreign nobleman should have selected such a place as Dullerton, when, as was affirmed by those who knew all about it, he had all the world before[44] him to choose from. The only person who could have thrown light upon the mystery was Sir Simon Harness, the lord of the manor of Dullerton. But Sir Simon was not considerate enough to do so; he was even so perverse as to set the gossips on an entirely wrong scent for some time; and it was not until the count and his daughter had become familiar objects to the neighborhood that the reason of their presence there transpired.

The De la Bourbonais were an old race of royalists whose archives could have furnished novels for a generation without mixing one line of fiction with volumes of fact. They had fought in every Crusade, and won spurs on every battle-field wherever a French prince fought; they had produced heroes and heroines in the centuries when such things were expected from the feudal lords of France, and they had furnished scapegraces without end when these latter became the fashion; they had quarrelled with their neighbors, stormed their castles, and misbehaved themselves generally like other noble families of their time, dividing their days between war and gallantry so evenly that it was often difficult to say where the one began and where the other ended, or which led to which. This was in the good old times. Then the Revolution came. The territorial importance of the De la Bourbonais was considerably diminished at this date; but the prestige of the old name, with the deeds of prowess that had once made it a power in the camp and a glory at the court, was as great as ever, and marked its owners amongst the earliest victims of the Terror. They gave their full contingent of blue blood to the guillotine, and what lands remained to them were confiscated to the Regenerators of France. The then head of the house, the father of the present Comte Raymond, died in England under the roof of his friend, Sir Alexander Harness, father of Sir Simon. The son that was born to him in exile returned to France at the Restoration, and grew up in solitude in the old castle that had withstood so many storms, and—thanks partly to its dilapidated condition, but chiefly to the fidelity and courage of an old dependent—had been rescued from the general plunder, and left unmolested for the young master who came back to claim it. Comte Raymond lived there in learned isolation, sharing the ancestral ruin with a population of owls, who pursued their meditations in one wing while he pondered over philosophical problems in another. It was a dreary abode, except for the owls; a desolate wreck of ancient splendor and power. We may poetize over ruins, and clothe them with what pathos we will, the beauty of decay is but the beauty of death; the ivy that flourishes on the grave of a glorious past is but a harvest of death; it looks beautiful in the weird silver shadows of the moon, but it shrinks before the blaze of day that lights up the proud castle on the hill, standing in its strength of battlement and tower and flying buttress, and smiling a grim, granite smile upon the gray wreck in the valley down below, and wondering what poets and night-birds can find in its crumbling arches and gaping windows to haunt them so fanatically. Raymond de la Bourbonais was contented in his weather-beaten old fortress, and would probably never have dreamed of leaving it or changing the owl-like routine of his life, if it had not[45] entered into the mind of his grand-aunt, the only remaining lady of his name, to marry him. Raymond started when the subject was broached, but, with the matter-of-fact coolness of a Frenchman in such things, he quickly recovered his composure, and observed blandly to the aged countess: “You are right, my aunt. It had not occurred to me, I confess; but now that you mention it, I see it would be desirable.” And having so far arranged his marriage, Raymond, satisfied with his own consent, relapsed into his books, and begged that he might hear no more about it until his grand-aunt had found him a wife.

The family of the De Xaintriacs lived near him, and happened just at this moment to have a daughter to marry; so the old countess ordered out the lumbering family coach that had taken her great-grandmother to the fêtes given for Marie de Medicis on her marriage, and rumbled over the roads to the Château de Xaintriac. This ancestral hall was about on a par with its neighbor, De la Bourbonais, as regarded external preservation, but the similarity between the two houses ended here. The De Xaintriacs’ origin was lost in the pre-historic ages before the Deluge, the earliest record of its existence being a curious iron casket preserved in the archives, in which, it was said, the family papers had been rescued from the Flood by one of Noe’s daughters-in-law, “herself a demoiselle de Xaintriac”—so ran the legend. The papers had been destroyed in a fire many centuries before the Christian era, but happily the casket had been saved. It was to a daughter of this illustrious house that the Comtesse de la Bourbonais offered her grand-nephew in marriage. Armengarde de Xaintriac was twenty-five years of age, and shadowed forth in character and person the finest characteristics of her mystic genealogy. In addition to the antediluvian casket, she brought the husband, who was exactly double her age, a dower of beauty and sweetness that surpassed even the lofty pride that was her birthright. For four years they were as happy as two sojourners in this valley of tears could well be. Then the young wife began to droop, perishing away slowly before her husband’s eyes. “Take her to the Nile for a year; there is just a chance that that may save her,” said the doctors. Armengarde did not hear the cruel verdict; and when Raymond came back one day after a short absence, and announced that he had come in unexpectedly to a sum of money, and proposed their spending the winter in Egypt, she clapped her hands, and made ready for the journey. Raymond watched her delight like one transfigured, while she, suspecting nothing, took his happiness as a certain pledge of restored health, and went singing about the house, as if the promise were already fulfilled. The whole place revived in a new atmosphere of hope and security; the low ceilings, festooned with the cobwebs of a generation, grew alight with cheerfulness, and the sunbeams streamed more freely through the dingy panes of the deep windows. It was as if some stray ray from heaven had crept into the old keep, lighting it up with a brightness not of earth.

Angélique was to go with them in charge of little Franceline, their only child.

It was on a mild autumn morning, early in October, that the travellers set out on their journey[46] toward the Pyramids. The birds were singing, though the sun was hiding behind the clouds; but as Raymond de la Bourbonais looked back from the gate to catch a last glimpse of the home that was no longer his, the clouds suddenly parted, and the sun burst out in a stream of golden light, painting the old keep with shadows of pathetic beauty, and investing it with a charm he had never seen there before. Sacrifice, like passion, has its hour of rapture, its crisis of mysterious pain, when the soul vibrates between agony and ecstasy. A sunbeam lighted upon Raymond’s head, encircling it like a halo. “My Raymond, you look like an angel; see, there is a glory round your head!” cried Armengarde.

“It is because I am so happy!” replied her husband, with a radiant smile. “We are going to the land of the sun, where my pale rose will grow red again.”

The sacrifice was not quite in vain. She was spared to him four years; then she died, and he laid her to rest under the shade of the great Pyramid, where they told him that Abraham and Sara were sleeping.

When M. de la Bourbonais set foot on his native soil again, he was a beggar. The money he had received for the castle and the small bit of land belonging to it had just sufficed to keep up the happy delusion with Armengarde to the last, and bring him and Franceline and Angélique home; the three landed at Marseilles with sufficient money to keep them for one month, using it economically. Meantime the count must look for employment, trusting to Providence rather than to man. Providence did not fail him. Help was at hand in the shape of one of those kind dispensations that we call lucky chances, and which are oftener found in the track of chivalrous souls than misanthropes like to own. About three days after his arrival in the busy mercantile port, M. de la Bourbonais was walking along the quay, indulging in sad reveries with the vacant air and listless gait now habitual to him, when a hand was laid brusquely on his shoulder. “As I live, here is the man,” cried Sir Simon Harness. “My dear fellow, you’ve turned up in the very nick of time; but where in heaven’s name have you turned up from?”

The question was soon answered. Sir Simon gave his heartiest sympathy, and then told his friend the meaning of the joyous exclamation which had greeted him.

“You remember a villain of the name of Roy—a notary who played old Harry with some property in shares and so forth that your father entrusted to him just before he fled to England? You must have heard him tell the story many a time, poor fellow. Well, this worthy, as big a blackguard as ever cheated the hangman of his fee, was called up to his reckoning about a month ago, and, by way, I suppose, of putting things straight a bit before he handed in his books, the rascal put a codicil to his will, restoring to you what little remained of the money he swindled your poor father out of. It is placed in bank shares—a mere pittance of the original amount; but it will keep your head above water just for the present, and meantime we must look about for something for you at headquarters—some stick at the court or a nice little government appointment. The executors have been advertising for you in every direction; it’s the luckiest chance, my just meeting you in time to give the good news.”


Raymond was thankful for the timely legacy, but he would not hear of a stir being made to secure him either stick or place. He was too proud to sue at the hands of the regicide’s son who now sat on the throne of Louis Seize, nor would he accept an appointment at his court, supposing it offered unsolicited. The pittance that, in Sir Simon’s opinion, was enough to keep him above water for a time, would be, with his simple habits, enough to float him for the rest of his life. He had, it is true, visions of future wealth for Franceline, but these were to be realized by the product of his own brain, not by the pay of a courtly sinecure or government office. Finding him inexorable on this point, Sir Simon ceased to urge it. He was confident that a life of poverty and obscurity would soon bring down the rigid royalist’s pride; but meantime where was he to live? Raymond had no idea. Life in a town was odious to him. He wanted the green fields and quiet of the country for his studies; but where was he to seek them now? He had no mind to go back to Lorraine and live like a peasant, in sight of his old home, that was now in the hands of strangers. “Come to England,” said Sir Simon. “You’ll stay with me until you grow home-sick and want to leave us. No one will interfere with you; you can work away at your books, and be as much of a hermit as you like.” Raymond accepted the invitation, but only till he should find some suitable little home for himself in the neighborhood. Within a week he found himself installed at Dullerton Court with Franceline and Angélique. The same rooms that his father had occupied sixty years before, and which had ever since been called the count’s apartments, were prepared for them. They were very little changed by the wear and tear of the intervening half-century. There were the same costly hangings to the gilt four-post beds, the same grim, straight-nosed Queen Elizabeth staring down from the tapestry, out of her stiff ruffles, on one wall; the same faded David and Goliath wrestling on the other. Raymond could remember how the pictures used to fascinate him when he was a tiny boy, and how he used to lie awake in his little bed and keep his eyes fixed on them, and wonder whether the two would ever leave off fighting, and if the big man would not jump up suddenly and knock down the little man, who was sticking something into his chest. Outside the house the scene was just as unchanged; the lake was in the same place, and it seemed as if the swan that was sitting in the middle of it, with folded sails and one leg tucked under his wing, was the identical one that the young countess used to feed, and that Raymond cried to be let ride on. The deer were glancing through the distant glade, just as he remembered them as a child, starting at every sound, and tossing their antlers in the sunlight; the gray stone of the grand castellated house may have been a tinge darker for the smoke and fog of the sixty additional years, but this was not noticeable; the sunbeams sent dashes of golden light across the flanking towers with their dark ivy draperies, and into the deep mullioned windows, where the queer small panes hid themselves, as if they were ashamed to be seen, just as in the old days; the fountain sent up its crystal showers on the broad sweep of the terrace, and the lime and the acacia trees sheltering the gravel walks that[48] led through grassy openings into the enclosed flower-garden were as dark and as shady as of yore; the clumps on the mounds swelling here and there through the park had not outgrown the shapes they were in Raymond’s memory; the lawn was as smooth and green as when he rolled over its mossy turf, to the utter detriment of fresh-frilled pinafores and white frocks.

It was a pleasant resting-place, a palm-grove in the wilderness, where the wayfarer might halt peacefully, and take breath for the rest of the journey. Yet Raymond was determined not to tarry there longer than was absolutely needful. Sir Simon did all that a host could do to make him prolong his stay; but he was inexorable. He spied out a tiny brick cottage perched on a bit of rising ground just below the park, half-smothered in moss and lichens. It was beautifully situated as to view; flowing meadows sloped down before it towards the river; beyond the river corn-fields stretched out towards the woods, that rose like dark waves breaking at the foot of the purple hills; the cottage was called The Lilies, and contained six rooms, three above and three below, including the kitchen. When Raymond offered himself as a tenant for it, the baronet burst into a ringing laugh that scared the stately swan out of his dignity, and sent him scudding over the water like a frightened goose. But Raymond was not to be laughed out of his purpose; he should have The Lilies, or he would go away. He must have it, too, like any ordinary tenant, on the same conditions, neither better nor worse. The lease was accordingly drawn out in due form, and M. de la Bourbonais entered into possession after a very short delay. The room that was intended for a drawing-room was fitted up with the count’s books—the few special treasures he had rescued from the fate of all his goods and chattels four years ago—and was called the library. It was not much bigger than a good-sized book-case, but it would answer all the purposes of a sitting-room for the present; Franceline would never be in his way, and might sit there as much as she liked. The landlord had had a little scheme of his own about the furnishing of the cottage, and had sent for a London tradesman to this effect, intending to surprise Raymond by having it all ready for him. But Raymond was as impracticable here as about the lease. Sir Simon was annoyed. Raymond contrived to foil him and have his own way in everything. He seemed to be half his time in the moon; but when you wanted him to stay there, he was suddenly wide-awake and as wilful as a mule. There was a substratum of steel somewhere in him, in spite of his gentleness; and though it never hurt you, it repelled you when you came against it every now and then, and it was provoking. There was altogether something about Raymond that mystified Sir Simon. To see a man as refined and sensitive as he was, endowed with the hereditary instincts that make affluence a necessity of existence to a gentleman, settling down into the conditions and abode of the smallest of small farmers, and doing it as cheerfully as if he were perfectly contented with the prospect, was something beyond Sir Simon’s comprehension. To him life without wealth—not for its own sake, but for what it gives and hinders—was merely a sentence of penal servitude. Raymond had always been poor, he knew; but poverty in the antique splendor of decayed ancestral[49] halls, with the necessaries of life provided as by a law of nature, and in the midst of a loyal and reverent peasantry, was a very different sort of poverty from what he was now embarking on. He would sometimes fix his eyes on Raymond when he was busying himself, with apparently great satisfaction, on some miserable trifle that Angélique wanted done in her room or in the kitchen, and wonder whether it was genuine or feigned, whether sorrow or philosophy had so deadened him to external conditions as to make him indifferent to the material meanness and miseries of his position. He never heard a word of regret, or any expression that could be construed into regret, escape him in their most familiar conversations. Once Raymond, in speaking of poverty, had confessed that he had never believed it had any power to make men unhappy—such poverty as his had been—until he felt the touch of its cruel finger on his Armengarde; then he realized the fact in its full bitterness. But he had foiled the tormenter by a sublime fraud of love, and saved his own heart from an anguish that would have been more intolerable than remorse. Sir Simon remembered the expression of Raymond’s face as he said this; the smile of gentle triumph that it wore, as if gratitude for the rescue and the sacrifice had alone survived. He concluded that it was so; that Raymond had forgiven poverty, since he had conquered her; and that now he could take her to live with him like a snake that had lost its sting, or some bright-spotted wild beast that he had wrestled with and tamed, and might henceforth sport with in safety.

Sir Simon found it hard to reconcile this serene philosophical state of mind with his friend’s insurmountable reluctance to accept the least material service, while, on the other hand, he took with avidity any amount of affection and sympathy that was offered to him. It was because he felt that he could repay these in kind; whereas for the others he must remain an insolvent debtor. “Bourbonais, that is sheer nonsense and inconsistency. I wouldn’t give a button for your philosophy, if it can’t put you above such weakness. It’s absurd; you ought to struggle against it and overcome it.” This was the baronet’s pet formula; he was always ready with this advice to his friends. Raymond never contested the wisdom of the proposition, or Sir Simon’s right to enunciate it; but in this particular at least he did not adopt it.

The gentry of the neighborhood called in due course at The Lilies, and M. de la Bourbonais punctiliously returned the civility, and here the intercourse ended. He would accept no hospitality that he was not in a position to return. He was on very good terms with his immediate neighbors, who were none of them formidable people. There was Mr. Langrove, the vicar of Dullerton, and Father Henwick, the Catholic priest, and Miss Bulpit and Miss Merrywig, two maiden ladies, who were in their separate ways prominent institutions of the place. These four, with Sir Simon, were the only persons who could boast of being on visiting terms with the shy, polite foreigner who bowed to every old apple-woman on the road as if she were a duchess, and kept the vulgar herd of the town and the fine people of the county as much at a distance as if he were an exiled sovereign who declined to receive the homage of other subjects than his own.


Franceline had been eight years at Dullerton, and was now in her seventeenth year. She was very beautiful, as she stood leaning on the garden-rail amongst the lilies, looking like a lily herself, with one dove perched upon her finger, while another alighted on her head, and cooed to it. She was neither a blonde nor a brunette, as we classify them, but a type between the two. Her complexion was of that peculiar whiteness that we see in fair northern women, Scandinavians and Poles; as clear as ivory and as colorless, the bright vermilion of the finely cut, sensitive mouth alone relieving its pallor. Yet her face was deficient neither in warmth nor light; the large, almond-shaped eyes, flashing in shadow, sometimes black, sometimes purple gray, lighted it better than the pinkest roses could have done; and if the low arch of the dark eyebrows gave a tinge of severity to it, the impression was removed by two saucy dimples that lurked in either cheek, and were continually breaking out of their hiding-places, and brightening the pensive features like a sunbeam. Franceline’s voice had a note in it that was as bright as her dimples. It rang through the brick cottage like the sound of running water; and when she laughed, it was so hearty that you laughed with her from very sympathy. Such a creature would have been in her proper sphere in a palace, treading on pink marble, and waited on by a retinue of pages. But she was not at all out of place at The Lilies; perhaps, next to the palace and pink marble, she could not have alighted in a more appropriate frame than this mossy flower-bed to which a capricious destiny had transplanted her. She seemed quite as much a fitting part of the place as the tall, majestic lilies on either side of the garden-gate. But as regarded Dullerton beyond the garden-gate, she was as much out of place as a gazelle in a herd of Alderney cows. Dullerton was the very ideal of commonplace, the embodiment of respectability and dulness—wealthy, fat-of-the-land dulness; if a prize had been set up for that native commodity, Dullerton would certainly have carried it over every county in England. There was no reason why it should have been so dull, for it possessed quite as many external elements of sociability as other provincial neighborhoods, and the climate was no foggier than elsewhere; everybody was conscious of the dulness, and complained of it to everybody else, but nobody did anything to mend matters. There was, nevertheless, a good deal of intercourse one way or another; a vast amount of food was interchanged between the big houses, and the smaller ones periodically called in the neighbors to roll croquet-balls about on the wet grass, and sip tea under the dripping trees; for it seemed a law of nature that the weather was wet on this social occasion. But nothing daunted the good-will of the natives; they dressed themselves in muslins, pink, white, and blue, and came and played croquet, and drank tea, and bored themselves, and went away declaring they had never been at such a stupid affair in their lives. The gentlemen were always in a feeble minority at these festive gatherings, and, instead of multiplying themselves to supplement numbers by zeal, they had a habit of getting together in a group to discuss the crops and the game-laws, leaving their wives and daughters to seek refuge in county gossip, match-making, or parish[51] affairs, according to their separate tastes. Dullerton was not a scandal-mongering place. Its gossip was mostly of an innocent kind; the iniquities of servants the difficulties of getting a tolerable cook or a housemaid that knew her business, recipes for economical soups for the poor, the best place to buy flannels, etc., formed the staple subjects of the matrons’ conversation. The young ladies dressed themselves bravely in absolute defiance of the rudiments of art and taste; vied with each other in disguising their heads—some of them very pretty ones—under monstrous chignons and outlandish head-gears; practised the piano, rode on horseback, and wondered who Mr. Charlton would eventually marry; whether his attentions to Miss X—— meant anything, or whether he was only playing her off against Miss Z——. Mr. Charlton was the only eligible young man resident within a radius of fifteen miles of Dullerton, and was consequently the target for many enterprising bows and arrows. For nine years he had kept mothers and daughters in harassing suspense as to “what he meant”; and, instead of reforming as he grew older, he was more tantalizing than ever now at the mature age of thirty-two. Mothers and maidens were still on the qui-vive, and lived in perpetual hot water as to the real intentions of the owner of Moorlands and six thousand a year. He had, besides this primary claim on social consideration, another that would in itself have made him master of the situation in Dullerton: he had a fine voice, and sang a capital song; and this advantage Mr. Charlton used somewhat unkindly. He was as capricious with his voice as in his attentions, and it was a serious preoccupation with the dinner-givers whether he would make the evening go off delightfully by singing one of his songs with that enchanting high C, or leave it to its native dulness by refusing to sing at all. The moods and phases of the tyrannical tenor were, in fact, watched as eagerly by the expectant hostess as the antics of the needle on the eve of a picnic.

The one house of that side of the county where people did not bore themselves was Dullerton Court. They congregated here, predetermined to enjoy something more than eating and drinking; and they were never disappointed. There was nothing in the entertainments themselves to explain this fact; the house was indeed on a grander scale of architecture, more palatial than any other country mansion in those parts; but the people who met there, and chatted and laughed and went away in high satisfaction with themselves and each other, were the same who congregated in the other houses to yawn and be bored, and go away grumbling. The secret of the difference lay entirely in the host. Sir Simon Harness came into the world endowed with a faculty that predestined him to rule over a certain class of men—the dull and dreary class; people who have no vital heat of their own, but are for ever trying to warm themselves at other people’s fires. He had, moreover, the genius of hospitality in all its charms. He welcomed every commonplace acquaintance with a heartiness that put the visitor in instantaneous good-humor with himself and his host and all the world. Society was his life; he could not live without it. He enjoyed his fellow-creatures, and he delighted in having them about him; his house was open to his friends at all[52] times and seasons. What else was a house good for? What pleasure could a man take in his house, unless it was full of friends? Unhappily for Dullerton, Sir Simon was a frequent absentee. Some said that he could not stand its dulness for long at a time, and that this was why he was continually on the road to Paris and Vienna and the sunny shores of Italy and Spain. But this could not be true; you had only to witness his mercurial gayety in the midst of his Dullerton friends, and hear the ring of his loud, manly voice when he shook them by the hand and bade them welcome, to be convinced that he enjoyed them to the full as much as they enjoyed him. It is true that since M. de la Bourbonais had come to be his neighbor, the squire was less of a rover than formerly. When he was at home, he spent a great deal of time at The Lilies—a circumstance which gave Dullerton a great deal to talk about, and raised the reserved, courteous recluse a great many pegs in the estimation of the county. The baronet and his friend had many points of sympathy besides the primary one of old hereditary friendship, though they were as dissimilar in tastes and character as any two could be. This dissimilarity was, however, a part of the mutual attraction. Sir Simon was an inexhaustible talker, and M. de la Bourbonais an indefatigable listener; he had what Voltaire called a talent for holding his tongue. But this negative condition of a good listener was not his only one; he possessed in a rare degree all the merits that go to the composition of that delightful personage. Most people, while you are talking to them, are more occupied in thinking what they will say to you than in attending to what you are saying to them, and these people are miserable listeners. M. de la Bourbonais gave his whole mind to what you were saying, and never thought of his answer until the time came to give it. He not only seemed interested, he really was interested, in your discourse; and he would frequently hear more in it than it was meant to convey, supplying from his own quick intelligence what was wanting in your crude, disjointed remarks. There was nothing in a quiet way that Sir Simon liked better than an hour’s talk with his tenant, and he always came away from the luxury of having been listened to by a cultivated, philosophical mind in high good-humor with himself. His vanity, moreover, was flattered by the fact beyond the mere personal gratification it afforded him. Everybody knew that the French emigré was a man of learning, given to abstruse study of some abstract kind; the convivial squire must therefore be more learned than he cared to make believe, since this philosophical student took such pleasure in his society. When his fox-hunting friends would twit him jocosely on this score, Sir Simon would pooh-pooh them with a laugh, observing in a careless way: “One must dip into this sort of thing now and then, you see, or else one’s brain gets rusty. I don’t care much myself about splitting hairs on Descartes or untwisting the fibres of a Greek root, but it amuses Bourbonais; you see he has so few to talk to who can listen to this sort of thing.” It was true that the conversation did occasionally take such learned turns, and equally true that M. de la Bourbonais enjoyed airing his views on the schools and dissecting roots, and that Sir Simon felt[53] elevated in his own opinion when the count caught up some hazardous remark of his on one of the classic authors, and worked it up into an elaborate defence of the said author; and when, on their next meeting, Raymond would accost him with “Mon cher, I didn’t quite see at the moment what you meant by pointing that line from Sophocles at me, but I see now,” Sir Simon would purr inwardly like a stroked cat. Every now and then, too, he would startle the Grand Jury by the brilliancy of his classical quotations, and the way in which he bore down on them with a weight of argument worthy of a Q.C. in high practice; little they dreamed that the whole case had been sifted the day before by the orator’s learned friend, who had analyzed it, and put it in shape for the rhetorical purpose of the morrow. The baronet was serenely unconscious of being a plagiarist; he had got into a way of sucking his friend’s brains, until he honestly thought they were his own.

This intellectual piracy is not so rare, perhaps, as at first sight you may imagine. It would be a curious revelation if our own minds could be laid bare to us, and we were enabled to see how far their workings are original and how far imitative. We should, I fancy, be startled to find how small a proportion the former bears to the latter, and how much that we consider the spontaneous operation of our minds is, in reality, but the reflex of the minds of others, and the unconscious reproduction of thoughts and ideas that are suggested by things outside of us.

Franceline’s bonne, as she still called her, though Angélique had passed from that single capacity into the complex position of butler, cook, housemaid, lady’s maid, and general factotum at The Lilies, was as complete a contrast to a name as ever mortal presented. A gaunt, high-cheek-boned, grizzly-haired woman, with a squint and a sharp, aggressive chin, every inch of her body protested against the mockery that had labelled her angelic. She had a gruff voice like a man’s, and a trick of tossing her head and falling back in her chair when she answered you that had gained her the nickname of the French grenadier amongst the rising generation of Dullerton. Yet the kernel of this rough husk was as tender and mellow as a peach, and differed from the outer woman as much as the outer woman differed from her name. When the small boys followed her round the market, laughing at her under her very nose, and accompanying their vernacular comments with very explicative gestures, the French grenadier had not the heart to stop the performance by sending the actors to the right-about, as she might have done with one shake of her soldier-like fist; but if they had dared to look crooked at Franceline, or play off the least of their tricks on M. de la Bourbonais, she would have punched their heads for them, and sent them off yelling with broken noses without the smallest compunction. Angélique had found a husband in her youth, and when he died she had transferred all her wifely solicitude to her master and his wife and child. She could have given him no greater proof of it than by leaving her native village and following him to his foreign home; yet she never let him suspect that the sacrifice cost her a pang. She was of a social turn, and it was no small trial to be shut out from neighborly chat by her ignorance of the language.[54] She took it out, to be sure, with the count and Franceline, and with the few intimates of The Lilies who spoke French; but, let her improve these opportunities as she might, there was still a great gap in her social life. Conversation with ladies and gentlemen was one thing, and a good gossip with a neighbor was another. But Angélique kept this grief to herself, and never complained. With M. le Curé, as she dubbed Father Henwick, the Catholic priest of Dullerton, she went the length of shaking her head, and observing that people who were in exile had their purgatory in this world, and went straight to heaven when they died. Father Henwick had been brought up at S. Sulpice, and spoke French like a native, and was as good as a born Frenchman. She could pour her half-uttered pinings into his ear without fear or scruple; her dreams of returning dans mon pays at some future day, when M. le Comte would have married mademoiselle. She could even confide to this trusty ear her anxieties on the latter head, her fear that M. le Comte, being a philosopher, would not know how to go about finding a husband for Franceline. She could indulge freely in motherful praises of Franceline’s perfections, and tell over and over again the same stories of her nurseling’s babyhood and childhood; how certain traits had frightened her that the petite was going to turn out a very Jezabel for wickedness, but how she had lived to find out her mistake. She loved notably to recall one instance of these juvenile indications of character; when one day, after bellowing for a whole hour without ceasing, the child suddenly stopped, and Mme. la Comtesse called out from her pillows under the palm-tree: “At last! Thank goodness it’s over!” and how Franceline stamped her small foot, and sobbed out: “No-o-o, it’s not over! I repose myself!” and began again louder than ever. And how another day, when a powerful Arab who was leading her mule over the hills suddenly lashed his whip across the shoulders of a little boy fast asleep on the pathway, waking him up with a howl of pain, Franceline clutched her little fist and struck the savage a box on the ear, screaming at him in French: “O you wicked! I wish you were a thief, and I’d lock you up! I wish you were a murderer, and I’d cut your head off! I wish you were a candle, and I’d blow you out!” Father Henwick would listen to the same stories, and delight Angélique by assuring her for the twentieth time that they were certain pledges of future strength and decision in the woman. And when Angélique would wind up with the usual remark, “Ah! our little one is born for something great; she would make a famous queen, Monsieur le Curé,” he would cordially agree with her, revolving, nevertheless, in his own mind the theory that there are many kinds of greatness, and many queens who go through life without the coronation ceremony that crowns them with the outward symbols of royalty.

Miss Merrywig was another of Angélique’s friends; but she had not been educated at S. Sulpice, and so the intercourse was sustained under difficulties. Her French was something terrific. She ignored genders, despised moods and tenses; and as to such interlopers as adverbs and prepositions, Miss Merrywig treated them with the contempt they deserved. Her mode of proceeding was extremely simple: she took a bundle of infinitives in one hand, and pronouns[55] and adjectives in another, and shook them up together, and they fell into place the best way they could. It was wonderful how, somehow or other, they turned into sentences, and Angélique, by dint of good-will, always guessed what Miss Merrywig was driving at. A great bond between them was their love of a bargain. Miss Merrywig delighted in a bargain as only an old maid with an income of two hundred pounds a year can delight in it. She had, moreover, a passion for making everybody guess what she paid for things. This harmless peculiarity was apt to be a nuisance to her friends. The first thing she did after investing in a remnant of some sort, or a second-hand article, was to carry it the rounds of Dullerton, and insist on everybody’s guessing how much it cost.

“Make a guess! You know what a good linsey costs, and you see this is pure wool; you can see that? you have only to feel it. Just feel it! It’s as soft as cashmere. That’s what tempted me. I don’t want it exactly, but then I mightn’t get such a bargain when I did want it; and, as the young man at Willis’ said—they’re so uncommonly civil at Willis’!—a good article always brings its value; and there was no denying it was a bargain, and one never can go wrong in taking a good thing when one gets it cheap; and they do mix cotton so much with the wool nowadays that one can’t be too particular, as my dear mother used to say, though in her time it was of course very different. Now you’ve examined it, what do you think I gave for it?” There was no getting out of it: you might try to fight off on the plea that you had no experience in linseys, that you were no judge—Miss Merrywig would take no excuse.

“Well, but give a guess. Say something. What would you consider cheap? You know what a stuff all pure wool ought to be worth. Just give a guess. Remember, it was a bargain!” Thus adjured and driven into a corner, you timidly ventured a sum, and, whether you hit it or not, Miss Merrywig was aggrieved. If you fell below the mark, there was no describing her astonishment and disappointment. “Fifteen shillings! Dear me! Why, that’s the price of a common alpaca! Fifteen shillings! Good gracious! Oh? you can’t mean it. Do guess again.”

And when, to console her, you guessed double, and it happened to be right, she was still inconsolable.

“So you don’t think it was a bargain after all! Dear me! Well that is a disappointment. All I can say is that my dear mother had a linsey that was not one atom softer or stronger than this, and she paid just double for it—three pounds; she did indeed; she told me so herself, poor soul. I often heard her speak highly of that linsey when I was a child, and I quite well remember her saying that it had cost three pounds, and that it had been well worth the money.”

You might cry peccavi, and eat your words, and declare your conviction that it was the greatest windfall you ever heard of; nothing would pacify Miss Merrywig until she had carried her bargain to some one else, and had it guessed at a higher figure, which you were pretty sure to be informed of at the earliest opportunity, and triumphantly upbraided for your want of appreciation. Angélique was a great comfort to Miss Merrywig on this head. She loved a bargain dearly, and was proud of showing that she knew the difference[56] between one that was and one that was not; accordingly, she was one of the first to whom Miss Merrywig submitted a new purchase. “Voyons!” the grenadier would say, and then she would take out her spectacles, wipe them, adjust them on her nose, and then deliberately rub the tissue between her finger and thumb, look steadily at Miss Merrywig, as if trying to gather a hint before committing herself, and then give an opinion. She generally premised with the cautious formula: “Dans mon pays it would be so-and-so. Of course I can only make a guess in this country; prices differ.” She was not often far astray; but even when she was, this preface disarmed Miss Merrywig, and, when Angélique hit the mark, her satisfaction was unbounded. Other people might say she had been cheated, or that she had paid the full value of the thing. There was Comte de la Bourbonais’ French maid, who said it was the greatest bargain she had ever seen; and being a Frenchwoman, and accustomed to French stuffs, she was more likely to know than people who had never been out of England in the whole course of their lives.

The other old maid who occupied a prominent position at Dullerton, and was on friendly terms with the grenadier, was Miss Bulpit. It would be difficult to meet with a greater contrast between any two people than between Miss Bulpit and Miss Merrywig. The latter talked in italics, emphasizing all the small words of her discourse, so as to throw everything out of joint. Miss Bulpit spoke “in mournful numbers,” brought out her sentences as slowly as a funeral knell, and was altogether funereal in her aspect. She was tall and lank, and wore a black silk wig, pasted in melancholy braids on either side of her face—a perfect foil to the gay little curls that danced on Miss Merrywig’s forehead like so many little bells keeping time to her tongue. Miss Bulpit was enthroned on a pedestal of one thousand five hundred pounds a year, and attended by all the substantial honors that spring from such a foundation. She was fully alive to the advantages of her position, and had never married from the fear of being sought more for her money than for herself. So, at least, rumor has it. Mr. Tobes, the Wesleyan clergyman of the next parish, whose awakening sermons decoyed the black sheep of the surrounding folds to him, had tried for the prize for more than seven years, but in vain. Miss Bulpit smiled with benevolent condescension on his assiduities, allowed him to meet her at the railway station and to hand her a bouquet occasionally; but this was the extent of his reward. He persevered, however; and, when Miss Bulpit shook her black silk head at him with a melancholy smile and a reproof for wasting on her the precious time that belonged to his flock, Mr. Tobes would reply that the laborer was worthy of his hire, and that no man could live without an occasional recompense for his labors.

Miss Bulpit was the lowest of the Low-Church, so zealous in propagating her own views as to be a severe trial to the vicar, Mr. Langrove. The vicar was a shy, scholarly man and a great lover of peace, but he was often hard pushed to keep the peace with Miss Bulpit. She crossed him in every way, and defied him to his very face; but it was done so mildly, with such an unction of zeal and such a sincere desire to[57] correct his errors and make up for his shortcomings, that it was impossible to treat her like an ordinary antagonist. She had a soup-kitchen and a dispensary in her own house, where the poor of his parish were fed and healed; and if Miss Bulpit made these material things the medium of dealing with their souls, and if they chose to be dealt with, how could Mr. Langrove interfere to prevent it? If she had a call to break the word to others, why should she not obey it just as he obeyed his? He had his pulpit, which she did not interfere with—a mercy for which the vicar was not, perhaps, sufficiently grateful. Miss Bulpit was limited to no restriction of place or time; she could preach anywhere and at a moment’s notice; the water was always at high pressure, and only wanted a touch to set it flowing into any channel; the cottages, the wards of the hospital, the village school, the roadside, any place was a rostrum for her. If she met a group of laborers going home with their spades over their shoulders, Miss Bulpit would accost them with a few good words; and if they took them well, as their class mostly do from ladies, she would plunge into the promiscuous depths of that awful leather bag of hers that was Mr. Langrove’s horror, and evolve from a chaos of pill-boxes, socks, spectacles, soap, black draughts, buns, and bobbins, a packet of tracts, and, selecting an appropriate one, she would proceed to expound it, and wind up with a few texts out of the little black Testament that lived by itself in an outside pocket of the black leather bag. This state of things would have been bad enough, even if Miss Bulpit had held sound views; but what made it infinitely worse was that her orthodoxy was more than doubtful. But there was no way of putting her in her place. She was too rich for that. If she had been a poor woman, like Miss Merrywig, it would have been easy enough; but Miss Bulpit’s fortune had built a bulwark of defence round her, and against these stout walls the vicar’s shafts might be pointed in perfect safety to the enemy. It was a great mercy if they did not recoil on himself. Some persons accused him of being ungrateful. How could he quarrel with her for preaching in the school when she had re-roofed it for him, after he had spent six months in fruitless appeals to the board to do it? How could the authorities of the hospital refuse her the satisfaction of saying a few serious words to the inmates, when she supplied them with unlimited port-wine and jellies, and other delicacies which the authorities could not provide? It was very difficult to turn out a benefactor who paid liberally for her privileges, and had so firm a footing in every charitable institution of the county. The vicar was not on vantage-ground in his struggle to hold his own. Miss Bulpit was a pillar of the state of Dullerton. There were not a few who whispered that if either must go to the wall, it had better be the parson than the parishioner. Coals were at famine prices; soup and port-wine are comforting to the soul of man, and the donor’s strictures on S. James and exclusive enthusiasm for S. Paul were things that could be tolerated by those whom they did not concern.

Franceline had been to see Miss Merrywig, who lived like a lizard in the grass, with a willow weeping copious tears over her mouldy little cottage. The cheerful old lady always[58] spoke with thankfulness of the quiet and comfort of her home, and believed that everybody must envy her its picturesque situation, to say nothing of the delights of being wakened by the larks before daylight, and kept awake long after midnight by the nightingales. The woods at Dullerton were alive with nightingales. On emerging from the damp darkness after an hour with Miss Merrywig, Franceline found that the sun had climbed up to the zenith, and was pouring down a sultry glow that made the earth smoke again. There was a stile at the end of the wood, and she sat down to rest herself under the thick shade of a sycamore. The stillness of the noon was on everything. A few lively linnets tried to sing; but, the effort being prompted solely by duty, after a while they gave it up, and withdrew to the coolest nooks, and enjoyed their siesta like the lazy ones. Nobody stirred, except the insects that were chirping in the grass, and some bees that sailed from flower to flower, buzzing and doing field-labor when everybody else was asleep or idle. To the right the fields were brimful of ripening grain of every shade of gold; the deep-orange corn was overflowing into the pale amber of the rye, and the bearded barley was washing the hedge that walled it off from the lemon-colored wheat. To the left the rich grass-lands were dotted with flocks and herds. In the nearest meadow some cattle were herding. It was too hot to eat, so they stood surveying the fulness of the earth with mild, bovine gaze. They might have been sphinxes, they were so still; not a muscle in their sleek bodies moved, except that a tail lashed out against the flies now and then. Some were in the open field, holding up their white horns to the sunlight; others were grouped in twos and threes under a shady tree; but the noontide hush was on them all. Presently a number of horses came trooping leisurely up to the pond near the stile; the mild-eyed kine moved their slow heads after the procession, and then, one by one, trooped on with it. The noise of the hoofs plashing into the water, and the loud lapping of the thirsty tongues, was like a drink to the hot silence. Franceline watched them lifting their wet mouths, all dripping, from the pool, and felt as if she had been drinking too. There was a long, solemn pause, and then a sound like the blast of an organ rose up from the pond, swelling and sweeping over the fields; before it died away a calf in a distant paddock answered it.

If any one had told Franceline, as she sat on her stile, thinking sweet, nothing-at-all thoughts, under the sycamore tree, that she was communing with nature, she would have opened her dark eyes at them, and laughed. It was true, nevertheless. She might not know it, but she drew a great deal of her happiness from the woods and fields, and the birds and the sunsets. Her life had been from its babyhood, comparatively speaking, a solitary one, and the want, or rather the absence, of kindred companions had driven her unconsciously into companionship with nature. Her father’s society was a melancholy one enough for a young girl. Raymond’s mind was like an æolian harp set up in a ruin; every breath of wind that swept over it drew out sounds of sweet but mournful music. Even his cheerfulness—and it was uniform and genuine—had a note of sadness in it, like a lively air set in a minor key;[59] there was nothing morbid or harsh in his spirit, but it was entirely out of tune with youth. He was perfectly resigned to life, but the spring was broken; he looked on at Franceline’s young gayety, as he might do at the flutterings and soarings of her doves, with infinite admiration, but without the faintest response within himself. So the child grew up as much alone as a bird might be with creatures of a different nature, and made herself a little world of her own—not a dream world, in the sense of ordinary romance; she had read no novels and knew nothing about the great problem of the human heart, except what its own promptings may have whispered to her. She made friends with the flowers and the birds and the woods, and loved them as if they were living companions. She watched their comings and goings, and found out their secrets, and got into a way of talking to them and telling them hers. As a child, the first peep of the snowdrop and the first call of the cuckoo was as exciting an event to her as the arrival of a new toy or a new dress to other little girls. She found S. Francis of Assisi’s beautiful hymn to his “brother, the sun, and his sisters, the moon and the stars,” one day in an old book of her father’s, and she learned it by heart, and would warble it in a duet with the nightingale out of her lattice-window sometimes when Angélique fancied her fast asleep. As she grew up the mystery of the poem grew clearer to her, and she repeated it with a deeper sense of sympathy with the brothers and sisters that dwell in the sky, and the clear, pure water, and everywhere in the beautiful creation. I am sorry if this sounds unnatural, but I cannot help it. I am describing Franceline as I knew her. But I don’t think it will seem unnatural if you notice the effect of surroundings on delicate-fibred children; how easily they follow the lights we hold out to them, and how vibratile their little spirits are. There was no absolute want of child society at Dullerton, any more than grown-up society; but Franceline de la Bourbonais did not care for it somehow. She felt shy amongst the noisy, romping children that swarmed in the nurseries of Dullerton, and they thought her a queer child, and did not get on well with her. The only house where she cared at all to go in her juvenile days was the vicarage; but the attraction was the vicar himself, rather than his full home, that was like an aviary of chattering parrots and chirping canaries. Now that the parrots were grown up and “going out,” Franceline saw very little of them. They were occupied making markers on perforated card-board for all their friends, or else “doing up” their dresses for the next dinner or croquet party; the staple topic of their conversation after these entertainments was why Mr. Charlton took Miss This down to dinner, instead of Miss That; whether it was an accident, or whether there was anything in it; and how divinely Mr. Charlton had sung “Ah, non giunge.” These things were not the least interesting to Franceline, who was not “out,” or ever likely to be. Who would take her, and where could she get dresses to go? She hated perforated card-board work, and she did not know Mr. Charlton. It was no wonder, therefore, she felt out of her element at the vicarage, like a wild bird strayed into a cackling farmyard, and that the Langrove girls thought her dull and cold.

It would be a very superficial observer,[60] nevertheless, who would accuse Franceline of either coldness or dulness, as she sits there on this lovely summer day, her gypsy hat thrown back, and showing the small head in its unbroken outline against the sky, with the red gold hair drifting in wavy braids from the broad, ivory forehead, while her dark eyes glance over the landscape with an intense listening expression, as if some inaudible voices were calling to her. It was very pleasant sitting there in the shade doing nothing, and there is no saying how long she might have indulged in the delicious far niente, if a thrush had not wakened suddenly in the foliage over her head, and reminded her that it was time to be stirring. It was nearly three hours since she had left home, and Angélique would be wondering what had become of her. With a fairy suddenness of motion she rose up, vaulted over the stile with the agility of a young kid, and plunged into the teeming field. There was a footpath through it in ordinary times, but it was flooded now, and she had to wade through the rye, putting her arms out before her, as if she were swimming; for a light breeze had sprung up and was blowing the tawny wave in ripples almost into her face. She shut her eyes for a moment, and, opening them, suddenly fancied she was in the middle of the sea, the sun lighting up the yellow depths with myriads of scarlet poppies and blue-bells, that shone like fairy sea-weed through the stems. She had not got quite to the end of the last field when she heard a sound of voices coming down the park toward a small gate that opened into the fields. She hurried on, thinking it must be Sir Simon, and perhaps her father; and it was not until he was close by the gate that she discovered her mistake. One of the voices belonged to Mr. Charlton, the other to a young man whom she had never seen before. Franceline knew Mr. Charlton by sight. She had met him once at Miss Merrywig’s, who was a particular friend of his—but then everybody was a particular friend of Miss Merrywig’s—and a few times when she was out walking with Sir Simon and her father, and the young man had stood to shake hands; but this had not led to anything beyond a bowing acquaintance. That was not Mr. Charlton’s fault. There were few things that would have gratified him more than to be able to establish himself as a visitor at The Lilies; but M. de la Bourbonais had not given him the smallest sign of encouragement, so he had to content himself with raising his hat instinctively an inch higher than to any other lady of his acquaintance when he met Franceline on the road or in the green lanes—he on horseback, she, of course, on foot; and when the young French girl returned his salute by that stately little bend of her head, he would ride on with a sense of elation, as if a royal princess had paid him some flattering attention. This was the first time they had met alone on foot. Mr. Charlton’s first impulse was to speak; but something stronger than first impulse checked him, and, before he had made up his mind about it, he had lost an opportunity. The stranger, whose presence of mind was disturbed by no scruples or timidity, stepped quickly forward, and lifted the latch of the heavy wooden gate, and swung it back, lifting his hat quite off, and remaining uncovered till Franceline had passed in. It was very vexatious to Mr. Charlton to have missed[61] the chance of the little courtesy, and to feel that his companion had the largest share in the bow that included them both as she walked rapidly on. Franceline’s curiosity, meanwhile, was excited. Who could this strange gentleman be, who looked so like a Frenchman, and bowed like one? If he was a guest of Mr. Charlton’s, she would never know, most likely; but if he was staying at the Court, she would soon hear all about him. She wondered which way they were going. The gate had clicked, so they were sure to have gone on. Franceline scarcely stopped to consider this, but, obeying the impulse of the moment, turned round and looked. She did so, and saw the stranger, with his hand still upon the gate, looking after her.






It is time that our notice of this subject drew towards its close. The return of the Russian Church to Catholic unity is the dearest wish of our heart. A brother in religion (in which we love each other as perhaps nowhere else in the world, because we love each other for eternity) drew us, during the few months we spent together in Italy, to share in his longings and aspirations for the religious future of Russia, his native country. Before quitting Italy Father Schouvaloff went to Rome, and presented himself before the Pope. The Holy Father, Pius IX., engaged him to make a daily offering of his life to God to obtain the return of his country to the unity of the Catholic Church. Father Schouvaloff joyfully obeyed, and God, on his part, accepted the offering. Being sent to Paris towards the end of the year 1857, Father Schouvaloff died there on the 2d of April, 1859.

Upon his tomb we promised to continue, in so far as it would be granted to us under religious obedience, our feeble co-operation in his work; and our writings are in part the fulfilment of this promise.

Father Schouvaloff’s confidence in the return of Russia to Catholic unity was very great; we have fully shared in this confidence, and everything that, since his death, has taken place in Russia, has but served to augment it. This may appear strange, but perhaps more than one among our readers will share it with us when we have said in what manner we look forward to this happy event.

A return of the Russians en masse to Catholic unity we scarcely contemplate. This could not happen except under the hypothesis of political interests which appear to us inadmissible. And even should we, in this matter, be mistaken, and from political interests the Russian people were to accept union with Rome, would a union thus brought[62] about be desirable? Unless we mistake, the words of Jesus Christ might be applied to a faith thus created when he said, Omnis plantatio quam non plantavit Pater meus eradicabitur—“Every plant which my Heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up” (S. Matt. xv. 13). Was it by promising the Jewish nation to deliver it from the Roman yoke that Jesus Christ taught his heavenly doctrine? Was it by promising independence, honors, temporal advantages, that the apostles persuaded the pagans to believe in the Crucified? Again, is it by pointing to a perspective of material advantages that any Catholic priest, however moderately cognizant of his own duty and the good of souls, seeks to induce any one to become a Catholic? If to those who aspire to follow Jesus Christ was always held the same language as that which he himself used to them, there might, perhaps, be fewer conversions, but they would be true conversions, and each one would lead on others, as true as themselves. No; a faith created by political interests would never be a real and solid faith, and other political interests would cause it to be cast aside as easily as it had been accepted; it is the tree which the Father has not planted, and which will be rooted up. Besides, history proves it. More than once have the Greeks momentarily reunited themselves to the Catholic Church; their defection has been explained by the fides Græca, and that is all. But let us be just; Greek faith is pretty much the faith of every nation. If we take into account the circumstances under which these reunions were accomplished, the motives which led the Greek bishops, whether to Lyons or to Florence, and the small care they took to cause that that which had agreed happily with their presence in the council—the discussion of the contested points—should remain always the principal end, we shall perceive that the duration of the reunion would have been a prodigy.

In not effecting this prodigy our Lord has perhaps willed to hinder men from finding in history a denial given to his words: Omnis plantatio quam non plantavit Pater meus eradicabitur—“Every plant which my Heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up.”

Neither have we by any means an unlimited confidence in the action which might be exercised by the emperors of Russia on the bishops and clergy of their church. While retaining the hope that the czars may understand that it is to their interest to dispossess themselves, in great part at least, of the religious power, and not even despairing of their favoring the reunion of the Russian bishops with Rome, our confidence is not based upon their actions. It is difficult for us to believe that they could be moved by other than political interests; that which we have said, therefore, respecting a return en masse of the Russian people, would consequently here again find its application. Besides, if formerly the word of a czar was that of Russia, and his will the will also of his subjects, it is no longer the same in the present day. When Peter I. accepted the scheme of reunion proposed by the doctors of the Sorbonne of Paris, and consented to have it examined by his bishops (1717); when Paul I. took into consideration the plan suggested by Father Gruber (1800), one might truly have said, Russia promises fair to become Catholic. At this present[63] time, however, an emperor of Russia might probably speak and promise for himself alone. We must add that at a period when changes in popular opinion and sympathies are as frequent as they are sudden, the simple fact that the reunion with Rome had been promoted and favored by a czar might, in certain circumstances, furnish an additional pretext for disavowing it afterwards.

But what is it, then, which induces us to hope, which sustains our confidence, and which emboldens us to manifest it openly, though we should seem to be following an utopian idea?

In the first place, we have hope in a change which, grace aiding it, the events recently accomplished, and those which are continuing to take place in Europe, will work on the minds of men. Events have their logic, and it imposes itself also upon the nations. The alternative indicated above, and which will force minds to recognize the divinity of the Catholic Church, will become an evident fact, and God will do the rest.

We hope because Alexander II. has emancipated the peasantry, and we may be allowed to see in the emancipation of the peasantry the prelude to the emancipation of the Russian Church. We shall return to this point.

We hope because the spirit of apostolate, by faith and charity, is now more powerful than ever in the Catholic Church. As soon as the doors of Russia shall be open to her, and she can there freely exercise her action, her priests, her missionaries, her religious orders, her Sisters of Charity, her Little Sisters of the Poor, will present themselves of their own accord. God will do the rest.

Again, we hope because of the “Associations of Prayer,” which have already preceded and powerfully prepared the way for the return of Russia to the Catholic faith. The favor demanded is a great one, and therefore we have chosen all that Christian piety, the church, God himself, offers us as having most power to prevail with him. Rather than depend alone on disseminating leaflets of prayers, or engaging pious souls to remember Russia, thus giving to these associations a form which, in one way or another, might injure their character of universality, we have endeavored to obtain the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. For this intention we have asked for Masses.[12] In the Holy Mass it is Jesus Christ himself who prays, and he is always heard.

A plenary indulgence, attached to these Masses, invites the faithful to unite their prayers with those of the divine Intercessor. If the faithful fail, still Jesus pleads; for faith this is enough.

Lastly, we hope because eighteen centuries which have passed away since Jesus Christ quitted the earth in human form have not been able to diminish in anything the creative power of his words. Jesus Christ promised to faith—and to faith possessed in the measure of a grain of mustard-seed—that it should move mountains (S. Matt. xvii. 19; S. Luke xvii. 6). Thus it was with happiness, at the last General Congress at Mechlin, in 1867,[64] we made a public act of faith in proclaiming our unlimited confidence in prayer, and, we added, “in prayer presented to God by Mary.”[13] This public act of faith we here repeat.

At the same Congress of Mechlin we also spoke of our confidence in the special benediction which His Holiness Pius IX. had deigned to grant to us, and which is thus expressed: Benedicat te Deus et dirigat cor et intelligentiam tuam.

This confidence has assuredly not diminished since that time. Far from this, if there is one teaching which imposes itself with an irresistible force upon our mind, it is this: that in the Vicar of Jesus Christ, no less than in Jesus Christ himself, is fulfilled the declaration of our divine Saviour, “He that gathereth not with me, scattereth” (S. Luke xi. 23).

And further, Jesus Christ spoke thus to his disciples: When you shall have done all the things that are commanded you, say: We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which we ought to do (S. Luke xvii. 10). After this it is not even humility, but simple Christian logic, to attach a high value to the works of the apostolate, to the benediction of the pope; lest we should be not only unprofitable servants—which is always the case—but dangerous servants.

It is that, in the first place, the benediction of the pope, while it encourages zeal, requires that we should correct whatever there may be of human or of reprehensible in the manner in which our zeal expresses itself and the means which it employs. The Vicar of Jesus Christ cannot and does not bless anything but what is pleasing to Jesus Christ and conformable to his will. That which is not conformable to these, far from participating in this benediction, dishonors and in some sort vilifies it. The benediction of the pope imposes an obligation.

It is, in the second place, that the mission of the priest is not to preach according to his own ideas; to exercise the ministry according to his own ideas; to aid the church according to his own ideas; but to preach, to exercise the ministry, to aid the church, after the manner indicated by God, who is the Master of the church, who knows her needs better than we do, and who has no need of us. And who will inform us of his will, if not his legitimate representatives, the bishops, and, above them, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the pope? All those who, however slightly, have studied the mysteries of the human heart, the relations existing between faith and reason, and the powerlessness of all human means to produce one single act of faith, will, we are certain, partake in the sentiment which we have just expressed. Hence it is that we are happy here to proclaim again our confidence in the benediction of Pius IX.

Thus, therefore, the logic of events, the spirit of the apostolate, the emancipation of the serfs, the efficaciousness of prayer, the power of faith, the benediction of Pius IX.—these are the things which support our confidence; these are our motives for hope.

Are we the plaything of an illusion,[65] and is our confidence the effect of religious excitement? Not in any wise; for we are now about to indicate where lies the principal obstacle in the way of reunion, and what is the objection which will have the most effect upon the minds of men. It is in the fear that the popes may overstep the limits of their authority; that the religious power may absorb that of the state; and that Russia would only become Catholic to the detriment of the national spirit.

In fact, we cannot deny the teaching of history, which shows us, almost always and everywhere, conflicts between the civil and religious power. More than in the conduct of the popes, the true cause of these will be found, we believe, in the fact that Cæsarism—that is to say, the tendency of sovereigns to obtain an empire entire and absolute over their subjects—is to be found in human nature itself. To avoid the possibility of conflicts between Rome and the various governments, it would be necessary to change human nature. Perhaps it may be allowable to say that, in the difficulty which stands in the way, practically to define in an absolute manner the limits of the two powers, we must recognize a providential disposition which has permitted this in order to open a wider field for the exercise of virtue. That which was said by S. Augustine, Homines sumus, fragiles, infirmi, lutea vasa portantes; sed si angustiantur vasa carnis, dilatentur spatia charitatis, may find here its application, at least, if from the supreme representatives of the two powers, the pope and the sovereign, we descend to those who exercise these powers in their name in less elevated spheres and in the ordinary details of life. These smaller and subordinate authorities, charged to represent power, and carrying into their representation of power their personal character, their private views, at times their prejudices and their interests, may be well compared to those vases of which S. Augustine speaks—vases of capacity and of varied form, and which must be made to occupy a certain fixed space. Let only charity intervene, round the angles, shape the lines, adapt the prominences to the sinuosities, determine the length, shorten where needful, obtain even the sacrifice of some superfluous ornaments, these vases will then all find their place; space is multiplied by miracle; that which has effected it is the spirit of Jesus Christ, which is charity.

This solution of the difficulty by charity is not, however, the only one which we propose. Without speaking of the concordats which prove that an amicable understanding may be entered into with Rome, and also not to mention those great sovereigns of various countries whose history proves that to live in peace with the church is by no means hurtful to the prosperity of the state, the Russians will allow us also to reckon in some degree upon the intellectual progress to which, no less than other nations, they attach a great value. Now, to advance intellectually is to perceive that which was previously hidden from the mind, and to discern clearly that which was only half guessed at before. Why, then, not hope that the Russians will now see more clearly than in the time when Peter I. treated them so contemptuously what must be expected or feared from the religious and civil power; that is to say, that if conflicts appear inevitable, the alternative, for them as well as for[66] other peoples, is this: conflicts with Rome, or slavery to their sovereigns. Let them make their choice.

Much is said about the providential mission of Russia in Asia. Why not also in Europe? Of all the nations of Europe, the Russian people is that which more than all others knows by experience what serfdom really is, under the empire of a sovereign ruling at the same time bodies and souls. Their submission has been called “the heroism of slavery.” “Whoever has seen Russia,” it has also been said, “will find himself happy to live anywhere else.” Well! at the risk of provoking a smile of incredulity, we express the hope that there will be found amongst the Russians sufficient intelligence to comprehend that God is offering to them the most sublime mission with which he can honor a nation. A people only now freed from religious slavery, and consecrating the first exercise of its liberty to hinder other nations from falling into the same slavery, will be worthy of true admiration, so much would there be in this conduct of nobleness, of self-denial, and of disinterestedness! Now, all this is what Russia can do. But in order to do it, she must break with the past; she must disavow her acts; she must acknowledge with humility her faults, which she must hasten to repair. If those who hold in their hands the destinies of Russia were not czars, that would offer no difficulty. The czars are not the Russian people. If they have reparation to make, they have nothing to disavow. In the situation in which Russia has been up to the present time the faults of the czars have been personally their own; no responsibility could rest upon the Russian people.

But Russia is still governed by the czars. Will they be asked to break with their past? Will it be expected that they will disavow the acts of their dynasty; that they will acknowledge their faults; that they will repair them? It is to require of them a more than heroic virtue. Are they capable of it? Why not?

The czar who at this time governs Russia has emancipated the Russian peasants, he has abolished the servitude of the glebe. He has had to break with his past, disavow the acts of his ancestors, acknowledge their faults, and repair them. He has had to struggle against immense interior difficulties, against the interests of the lords, against routine, against the spirit of domination, against cupidity. In spite of all this, Alexander II. is emancipator of the serfs—a title far more glorious than those given by flattery to Peter I.

When the servitude of the peasantry was still in existence in Russia, lords were not wanting who held to their serfs the following kind of language: “How happy you are! You are delivered from all care for your own existence or for that of your families! When you have finished the work which you owe to me, you can do whatever you think best. You enjoy in peace the fruits of the earth, the pleasures of the country, the free air of the fields. I consider you as my children. I take care of you. Your interests are mine. Your family joys are mine, and mine also are your pains. How happy you are!” In fact, if we are to believe certain authorities, nothing was wanting to the happiness of the Russian peasant, serf of the glebe; it was a perpetual idyl. In spite of that, all Europe pitied him. And why?[67] Because the peasant could not go whither he would, and because, if he were not sensible of the privation of this liberty, it was because he had been rendered incapable of appreciating it.

Now, there are peoples who are chained to the glebe, not by the body, but by the soul.

They have each their lord, and, provided that they accomplish the work which their lord imposes upon them, they are, for the rest, free to employ their time as they please. Care is taken of them, of their families, of their material interests, and especially they are unceasingly reminded that they are free, and that their lord has nothing more at heart than their liberty. They are indeed free to do many things; but one liberty is wanting to them—their body may go whither they desire it, but their soul is chained to the glebe. Study being granted to them, and the knowledge of that which is passing in the world being no longer refused to them, they discover on the earth a church which calls herself divine, and charged to conduct all souls to heaven. They study her; they are not alarmed at objections; they know how to make allowance for human weakness in her children, and even in her ministers. They find in this weakness itself one argument more in favor of the divinity of this church. They admire the courage, full of gentleness, of these bishops. It is truth, it is God, who speaks by her. These souls desire God, and they are therefore drawn towards her, because they lift themselves up to God. At this moment a heavy weight holds them back; wishing to soar towards heaven, they find themselves chained to the glebe.

Yes, for the souls who desire God the false interests of the state are but a glebe—a glebe the laws to which the conscience refuses to submit—a glebe the will of the sovereign, and a glebe also the traditions of his dynasty.

These people, let others call them free, and, on the faith of their lords, let them also call themselves free; they are none the less people in serfdom—souls chained to the glebe.

What glory for Alexander II., if, after having delivered bodies from the servitude of the glebe, he would also deliver souls! What glory, if, after having delivered his own subjects from it, he would labor also to set others free!




It was one of those golden November mornings that throw a mystic glamour over New York. A warm haze draped the great city, softening its deformities, blending its beauties. In its magic light the very street-cars took on a romantic air, as they sped along loaded with their living freight. The bales of goods on the sidewalk, huddled together in careless profusion, were no longer the danger which they are generally supposed to be by elderly gentlemen who have due regard for life and limb, but gracious droppings rather from Pandora’s box, raining down fresh and bright from the hands of the genial goddess. What in the garish sun were vulgar business houses filled with sober goods and peopled with staring and sleek-combed clerks, assumed under this gorgeous drapery the aspect of mystic temples of commerce, where silent and solemn-eyed priests stood patiently all the day long to call in the passers-by to worship. The lofty policeman, looming like a statue at the corner, was not the ferocious, peanut-chewing being that he is commonly supposed to be, but a beneficent guardian of the great temple of peace. The busy crowds of brisk business men that hurried along, untouched as yet by the toil and the soil of the day, were fresh-faced and clear-eyed, chatty and cheerful. Thompson stepped out as cheerily as though he were just beginning that strange task, on which so many ambitious mortals have gone down, of performing his thousand miles in a thousand hours; for Thompson, happy man! knew not as yet what was so calmly awaiting him on his desk—that heavy bill that he was bound to meet, but which, strange to say, had quite slipped his memory. And there is Johnson walking arm-in-arm with Jones, Johnson’s face wreathed in sunny smiles the while. Johnson’s heart is gay and his step light, and he feels the happy influence of the morning. Jones is sadly in want of a confidential clerk, and his friend is dilating on the treasure that he himself possesses—that very clerk who, he learns on reaching his office, absconded last night with a fearful amount of Johnson’s property. Nor, on the other hand, does that eager-faced youngster, the shining seams of whose garments tell of more years than his seamless face and brow, know that at last the gracious answer that he has so longed for awaits his arrival, and that the bright opening at length lies before him that is to lead him on to fortune, if not to fame, more than the five hundred and forty-six rival applicants know that their addresses have been rejected. As yet the day is marked with neither white bean nor black, and so let us hope, with this mighty stream pouring on and on and on down the great thoroughfares of the city, that the white beans may outnumber the black when the day is done, and that[69] what is lost here may be gained there; for we are of them, brethren of theirs, and joyous hopes of this kind cost little, while, at least, they harden not the heart. And so the whole city, with its hopes and fears, its life and its death, moved out under the November haze that morning, and with it, as the central figure in the vast panorama, he whose stray leaves, it is hoped, may prove at least of passing interest to the many of whom he is one.

My special point of attraction that day was the office of The Packet, “a monthly journal of polite literature,” to quote the prospectus, which was supported by “the ablest pens of both hemispheres,” as the same prospectus modestly admitted. As at this time I was a pretty constant contributor to The Packet, I suppose that, according to the prospectus, I was fully entitled to take my stand among “the ablest pens of both hemispheres,” whether I chose to insist on my literary rank or not. And as I contributed occasionally to other journals which were respectively, according to their several prospectuses, “the leading weekly,” “the greatest daily,” “the giant monthly,” “the only quarterly,” “the great art journal,” etc., there could not possibly be any doubt as to my literary position. For all that, I confess I was still among the callow brood, and fear that, if any person had referred to me in public as “a literary man,” the literary man would have blushed very violently, and felt as small as a titmouse. Still, I had that delicious feeling of the dawning of hope and the glorious uncertainty of a great ambition that always attend and encourage the first steps of a new career, whatever be its character. It was natural enough, then, that I should step out lustily among my fellows, my head high in air, and my heart higher still, drinking in the inspiration of the morning, piercing the golden mist with the eye of hope, feeling a young life throbbing eagerly within me, feeling a mysterious brotherhood with all men, gliding as through a fairy city in a gilded dream.

As I had several places to call at, it was late in the afternoon when I arrived at The Packet office to draw my little account. On entering I found an unusual commotion; something had evidently gone very wrong. Mr. Culpepper, the experienced editor of the journal of polite literature, was, to judge by the tones of his voice, in a towering rage. I fancied that I caught expressions, too, which were not exactly in accordance with polite literature. When Mr. Culpepper’s temper did happen to fail, it was an event to be remembered, particularly as that event took place, on an average, some two or three times a week. Everything and everybody in the office was in a turmoil; for Mr. Culpepper’s temper had an infectious quality that affected all its immediate surroundings. An experienced eye could tell by the position of the dictionary, the state of the floor, the standing of the waste-basket, the precise turn of the editor’s easy-chair, how the wind blew to Mr. Culpepper. On this mild November afternoon it was clear that a terrific gale had sprung up from some unexpected quarter. It had ruffled what was left of Mr. Culpepper’s hair, it blew his cravat awry, it had disarranged his highly intellectual whiskers, it spared not even his venerable coat-tails. His private office showed the effects of a raging tornado. Pigeon-holes had been ransacked;[70] drawers had been wrenched open and rifled of their contents; Webster and Worcester lay cheek-by-jowl in the waste-basket; the easy-chair had a dangerous crick in the back; Mr. Culpepper himself was plunged ankle-deep in manuscripts that strewed the floor in wild confusion; while Mr. Culpepper’s hands were thrust in his cavernous pockets, as he stood there on my entrance, a very monument of editorial despair.

Mr. Culpepper, like most men, was preferable when good-tempered. Indeed, though his opinions at times, particularly on the merits or demerits of my own compositions, were apt to be more emphatic than polished, Mr. Culpepper, when good-tempered, was by no means an unpleasant companion. In his stormy periods I always coasted as clear of him as I could; but it was now too late to sheer off. So, making the best of a bad bargain, I advanced boldly to meet the enemy, when to my surprise he greeted me with the exclamation,

“Oh! you are just the man I wanted. Can you tell a story—a good, lively Christmas story, with a spice of fun, a dash of love, a slice of plum-pudding, a sprinkling of holly and ivy, with a bunch of mistletoe thrown in? And, by the bye, if you have genius enough, a good ghost. Yes, a good, old-fashioned ghost would be capital. They are dying out now, more’s the pity. Yes, I must have a ghost and a country churchyard, with a bowl of punch, if you want it. There are your materials. Now, I want them fixed up into a first-class Christmas story, to fill exactly eight pages, by four o’clock to-morrow afternoon at the latest. Must have it to fit this illustration. Clepston was to have done it, but he has failed me at the last hour. Just like him—he must go and get married just when I want my story. He did it on purpose, because I refused to advance his pay—married out of revenge, just to spite me. Well, what do you say?”

I said nothing; for Mr. Culpepper’s rapidity and the novelty of his proposal fairly took my breath away. I had never yet attempted fiction, but there was a certain raciness in Mr. Culpepper’s manner of putting it that urged me to seize my present opportunity. A good ghost-story within just twenty-four hours! A pleasant winter tale that should be read to happy families by happy firesides; by boys at school, their hair standing on end with wild excitement, and their laughter ringing out as only boys’ laughter does; by sweet-faced girls—by everybody, in fact, with a vast amount of pleasure and not a twinge of pain. Thousands whom I should never know would say, “What a dear fellow this story-teller is!” “What a pleasant way he has of putting things!” “What—”

“Well, what do you say?” broke in Mr. Culpepper rudely; and I remembered that the story which was to win me such golden opinions from all sorts of people was yet to be written.

“I hardly know. Four o’clock to-morrow afternoon? The time is so very short. Could you not extend it?”

“Not a moment. Printers waiting now. If I can’t have yours by that time, I must use something else; and I have not a thing to suit. Just look here,” he said pointing to the floor, and glancing ruefully around; “I have spent the day wading through all these things, and there is nothing among the pile. A mass of rubbish, all of it!”


My resolution was made; I started up.

“Mr. Culpepper, I will try. I will stay up all night; and if there be a ghost yet unlaid, a pudding yet unmade, a piece of holly yet ungathered, or a bunch of mistletoe that has not yet done duty, you shall have them all by four o’clock to-morrow afternoon.”

“Now, I rely on you, mind. Four o’clock sharp. Let it be brisk and frosty, bright as the holly-berries, and soothing as a glass of punch! We owe you a little account, I believe. Here it is, and now good-by till to-morrow afternoon.”

Who has not experienced that half-fearful and yet wholly pleasant feeling of setting foot for the first time in a new and strange land? It was with some such feeling that my heart fluttered as I left the office of The Packet that afternoon. Yet what was I to achieve within the next four-and-twenty hours? An eight-page Christmas story of the approved pattern, with the conventional sauces and seasonings—nothing more. The thing had been done a thousand times before, and would be done a thousand times again, as often as Christmases came round, and thought nothing of. Why should I be so fluttered at the task? Was this to be the great beginning at last of my new career? Was this trumpery eight-page story to be the true keynote to what was to make music of all the rest of my life? Nonsense! I said to myself; and yet why nonsense? Did not all great enterprises spring from small and insignificant beginnings? Were not all great men at some time or another babies in arms, rocked in cradles, fed on soothing syrups, and carried about in long clothes? Did not a falling apple lead Newton on to the great discovery of gravitation? Was it not a simmering kettle that opened Watt’s eyes to steam, and introduced the railway and the packet? Did not a handful of sand reveal the mines of California? Must not Euclid have started with a right reading of axioms as old as the world? Who shall fix the starting-point of genius? And why should not my first fictitious Christmas pudding contain the germ of wonders that were to be?

I can feel the astute and experienced reader who has been gracious enough to accompany me thus far already falter at the very outset of the short excursion we purposed taking together. I can feel the pages close over me like a tomb, while a weary yawn sings my death-dirge. But allow me, my dear sir, or my dear madam, or my much-esteemed young lady, to stay your hands just one moment, until I explain matters a little, until I introduce myself properly; and I promise to be very candid in all I have to say. You see—indeed, you will have seen already—that the gentleman who has just left Mr. Culpepper’s presence was at this period of his life very young indeed, and proportionately ambitious. These two facts will explain the fluttering of his heart at the cold-blooded proposal of spending an entire night at his writing-desk, delving his brain for the materials of a silly little story, while you, dear sir, have drawn over your ears, and over that head that has been rubbed into reverent smoothness by the gentle hand of time, the sleep-compelling night-cap; and while you, dear madam, while you have—done nothing of the kind. I plead guilty, then, at this time, to the twofold and terrible charge of outrageous youth and still more outrageous[72] ambition. But I have long since contrived to overcome the disgrace of excessive youth; while, as regards ambition, what once happened to a literary friend of mine has never happened to me: that morning I have been waiting for so long, so long, when I was to wake up and find myself famous, has not yet arrived—looks even as though it never meant to dawn. Literature was to me an unknown sea, upon which I had not fairly embarked. I had paddled a little in a little cockleshell of my own in sunny weather around friendly coasts, but as yet had not ventured to launch out into the great deep. The storm and the darkness and the night, the glory and the dread of the tempest, the awful conflicts of the elements, were as yet unknown to and unbraved by me. Indeed, as I promised to be candid, I may as well whisper in your ear that the main efforts of my pen at this precise period of my life were devoted to meeting with a calm front and easy conscience the weekly eye of Mrs. Jinks. Mrs. Jinks was my boarding-house keeper, a remarkable woman in her way, and one for whom I entertained an unbounded respect; but she was scarcely a Mme. de Staël, unless in looks, still less a Mme. de Sévigné. Mme. Jinks’ encouragement to aspiring genius was singularly small when aspiring genius could not pay its weekly board—a contingency that has been known to occur. Mrs. Jinks never fell into the fatal mistake of tempting the man to eat unless the man was prepared to pay. But even Mrs. Jinks could not crush out all ambition, so that I hugged Mr. Culpepper’s proposal, as I went home that evening, with a fervor and enthusiasm that I had never before experienced; for it seemed to open up to me a new vista of bright and beautiful imaginings.

For all that, I could not strike the clew. It seems a very easy thing, does it not, to concoct a passable enough Christmas story out of the ample materials with which Mr. Culpepper had so lavishly supplied me? Just try; sit down and write a good, short, brisk Christmas story, out of all the time-honored materials, and judge for yourself what an easy task it is, O sapient critic! a line from whose practised pen stabs to death a year of hopes, and projects, and labor. Strange to say, my immediate project dissolved and faded out of my mind, as I plodded homewards along the great thoroughfare I had trodden so serenely in the morning. The little Christmas story gave place to something new, something larger, something vague, indefinable, and mighty. A great realm of fiction unfolded itself before me—a realm all my own, a fairy island in a summer sea, peopled with Calibans and dainty Ariels, Mirandas and Ferdinands, and a thousand unseen creatures, waiting only for the wave of my magic wand to be summoned into the beauty of life, to bring sweet songs down from the clouds of heaven, and whisperings of spirits far away that the earth had never yet heard. A mist sprang up around me as I walked, and through it peered a thousand eyes, and from it came and went a thousand shapeless forms, whose outlines I could half discern, but hold not. I could not bid them stay until I grasped them. Something was wanting, a touch only, a magic word, but I could not find it. A charm was on me, and more potent than I. It was there, working, working, working, but I could not master it. I[73] walked along in a dream. Men in throngs passed me by in what seemed a strange and awful silence. If they spoke, never a word heard I. Carriages and vehicles of every description I felt rolling, rolling past; but their wheels were strangely muffled, for never a sound fell on my ear. The fair, bright city of the morning was filled now with silent shadows, moving like ghosts in a troubled dream. Lights sprang up out of the mist as I passed along, but they seemed to shine upon me alone. Intensely conscious of my own existence, I had only a numb feeling of other life around me. At last I found myself at Mrs. Jinks’ door. I took a letter from her hand, and seated at length in my own room, with familiar objects around me, the shadows seemed to lift, and I was brought back to the subject of my proposed night’s work.

Still, I could not collect my thoughts sufficiently to bring them to bear, in a practical way, on the central idea around which my fiction was to take body and shape. The sudden strain on my imagination had been too severe; a kind of numbness pervaded my whole being, and the moments, every one of which was precious as a grain of gold, were slipping idly away. The feeling that all the power to achieve what you desire lies there torpid within you, but too sullen to be either coaxed or bullied into action, laughing sluggishly at the most violent effort of the will to move it, is, perhaps, one of the most exasperating that a man can experience. It is like one in a nightmare, who sees impending over him a nameless terror that it only needs a wag of a little tongue to divert, and yet the little tongue cleaves with such monstrous persistency to the roof of the parched mouth that not all the leverage of Archimedes himself could move it from its place. That fine power of man’s intellect, that clear perception and keen precision which can search the memory, and at a glance find the clew that it is seeking; that can throw out those far-reaching fibres over the garden of knowledge, gathering in from all sides the necessary stores, was as far away from me as from a madman’s dream. I could fasten upon nothing; my brain was in disorder, while the moments were lengthening into hours, and the hours slipping silently away.

In despair I tried a cigar—a favorite refuge of mine in difficulties; and soon light clouds, pervaded with a subtle aroma, were added to those thinner clouds of undefined and indefinable images that floated around me, volatile, shadowy, intangible; mysterious, nebulous. Mr. Culpepper’s “materials” had quite evaporated, and I began to think dreamily of old days, of anything, everything, save what was to the point. I remember how poor old Wetherhead, of all people in the world—“Leatherhead” we used facetiously to style him at college—came up before me, and I laughed over the fun we had with him. What a plodder he was! When preparing for his degree, he took ferociously to wet towels. He had the firmest faith in wet towels. He had tried them for the matriculation, and found them “capital,” he assured us. “Try a towel, Leathers,” we would say to him whenever we saw him in difficulties. Poor fellow! He was naturally dull and heavy, dense and persistent as a clod. It would take digging and hoeing and trenching to plant anything in that too solid brain; and yet he was the most hopeful fellow alive. He was possessed with the[74] very passion of study, without a streak of brightness or imagination to soften and loosen the hopeless mass of clay whereof his mind seemed composed; and so he depended on wet towels to moisten it. He almost wore his head out while preparing for the matriculation examen. But by slow and constant effort he succeeded in forcing a sufficient quantity of knowledge into his pores, and retaining it there, to enable him to pass the very best-deserved first class that ever was won. The passage of the Alps to a Hannibal or a Napoleon was a puny feat compared with the passing of an examination by a Wetherhead. We took him on our shoulders, and bore him aloft in triumph, a banner-bearer, with a towel for banner, marching at the head of the procession. “You may laugh, but it was the towels pulled me through, old fellow,” he said to me, smiling, his great face expanding with delight. “Stay there, and don’t go any farther, Leathers,” I advised, when he proclaimed his intention of going up for the degrees. “Nonsense!” said he, and, in spite of everybody’s warnings, Wetherhead “went in” for the B.A. It was a sight to see him in the agonies of study; his eyes almost starting out of his head as the day wore on, and around that head, arranged in turban fashion, an enormous towel reeking with moisture. “How many towels to-day, Leathers?” “How’s the reservoir, Leatherhead?” those impudent youngsters would cry out. As time went on and the examination drew near the whole college became interested in Wetherhead and his prospects of success. Bets were made on him, and bets were made on his towels. The wit of our class wrote an essay—which, it was whispered aloud, had reached the professors’ room, and been read aloud there to their intense amusement—on “Towels vs. Degrees; or, The probabilities of success, measured by the quantity of water on the brain.” He bore it all good-humoredly, even the threat to crown him with towels instead of laurel if he passed and went up for his degree. A dark whisper reached me, away in the country at the time, that he had failed, that the failure had touched his brain, and that he was cut down half-strangled one morning from his own door-key, to which he had suspended himself by means of a wet towel; which, instead of its usual position around his brow, had fastened itself around his throat. Of course that was a malicious libel; for I met the poor fellow soon after, looking the ghost of himself. “How was it, Wetherhead?” I asked. “I don’t know, old fellow,” he responded mournfully. “I got through splendidly the first few days; but after that things began to get muddled and mixed up somehow, so that I could hardly tell one from another. It was all there, but something had got out of order. I felt that it was all there, but there was too much to hold together. The fact is, I missed my towel. A towel or two would have set it all right again. The machine had got too hot, and wanted a little cooling off; but I couldn’t march in there, you know, with a big towel round my head; so I failed.”

The clock striking twelve woke me from my dream of school-days. I had just sixteen hours and a half left to complete the story that was not yet begun. Whew! I might as well engage to write a history of science within the appointed time. It was useless. My cigar had gone out, and I gave up the idea of writing a story at all. And yet surely[75] it was so easy, and I had promised Culpepper, and both he and The Packet and the public were awaiting my decision. And this was to be the end of what I had deemed the dawn of my hope and the firstling of my true genius!

“Roger Herbert, you are an ass,” spake a voice I knew well—a voice that compelled my attention at the most unseasonable hours. “Excuse me for my plainness of speech, but you are emphatically an ass. Now, now, no bluster, no anger. If you and I cannot honestly avow the plain truth to each other, there is no hope for manhood. Mr. Culpepper and the public waiting for you! Ho! ho! Ha! ha! It’s a capital joke. Mr. Culpepper is at this moment in the peaceful enjoyment of his first slumbers; and the public would not even know your name if it were told them. Upon my word, Roger, you are even a greater ass than I took you to be. Well, well, we live and learn. For the last half-a-dozen hours or more where have you been? Floating in the clouds; full of the elixir of life; dreaming great dreams, your spirit within you fanned with the movement of the divinus afflatus, eh? Is not that it? Nonsense, my dear lad. You have only once again mounted those two-foot stilts, against which I am always warning you, and which any little mountebank can manage better than you. They may show some skill, but you only tumble. So come down at once, my fine fellow, and tread on terra firma again, where alone you are safe. You a genius! Ho! ho! Ho! ho! ho! And all apropos of a Christmas pudding. The genius of a Christmas pudding! It is too good. Your proper business, when Mr. Culpepper made his proposal to you this afternoon, was to tell him honestly that the task he set you was one quite beyond your strength—altogether out of your reach, in fact. But no; you must mount your stilts, and, once on them, of course you are a head and shoulders above honest folk. O Roger, Roger! why not remember your true stature? What is the use of a man of five foot four trying to palm himself off and give himself the airs of one of six foot four? He is only laughed at for his pains, as Mr. Culpepper will assuredly laugh at you to-morrow. Take my advice, dear boy, acknowledge your fault, and then go to bed. You are no genius, Roger. In what, pray, are you better, in what are you so good, as fifty of your acquaintances, whom I could name right off for you, but who never dream that they are geniuses? The divinus afflatus, forsooth! For shame, for shame, little man! Stick to your last, my friend, and be thankful even that you have a last whereto to stick. Let Apelles alone, or let the other little cobblers carp at him, if they will. The world will think more of his blunders than of all your handicraft put together, and your little cobbler criticisms into the bargain. And now, having said my say, I wish you a very good-night, Roger, or good-morning rather.”

So spake the voice of the Daimon within me; a very bitter voice it has often proved to me—as bitter, but as healthy, as a tonic. And at its whisper down tumbled all “the cloud-capt towers and gorgeous palaces” that my imagination had so swiftly conjured up. It was somewhat humiliating to confess, but, after all, Roger Herbert, Senior, as I called that inner voice, was right. I resolved to go to bed. Full of that practical purpose, I went to my desk to close it up for the night, and all dreams of a[76] momentary ambition with it, when my eyes fell upon a letter bearing the address:

Roger Herbert, Esq.,
Care of Mrs. Jinks,
—— Street,
New York,
United States,

What a quantity of writing for so small an envelope! One needed no curious peep within, nor scarcely a second glance at the neat-pointed hand, with the up-and-down strokes of equal thickness, to guess at the sex of the writer. I remembered now; it was the letter Mrs. Jinks gave me at the door, and, good heavens! it had been lying there disregarded all these hours, while I was inflated with my absurd and bombastic thoughts. The writing I knew well, for my hand had been the first to guide the writer through the mazes and the mysteries of chirography. One sentence from the letter is sufficient to give here. “Dear, dear Roger: Papa is sick—is dying. Come home at once.” It was signed “Fairy.”

“Home at once!” The post-marks said London and Leighstone. London, it may be necessary to inform the reader, is the capital of a county called Middlesex, in a country called England, while Leighstone is a small country town some thirty miles out of London. From Leighstone writes “Fairy” to “Dear, dear Roger” some thousand—it seems fifty thousand—odd miles away. The father reported dying is my father; Fairy is my sister. It is now nearly two in the morning, and by four in the afternoon Mr. Culpepper and the printers expect that brisk, pleasant, old-fashioned Christmas story that is to make everybody happy, and not a hint at pain in it! And I have been puzzling my brains these long hours past trying to compose it, with that silent letter staring me in the face all the time. A pleasant Christmas story, a cheery Christmas story! How bitterly that voice began to laugh within me again! Oh! the folly, the crime, of which I had been guilty. It was such vain and idle dreams as these that had lured me away from that father’s side; that had brought me almost to forget him; that, great God! perhaps had dealt the blow that struck him down. Merciful heavens! what a Christmas story will it be mine to tell?

At four in the afternoon a steamer sailed for Liverpool, and I was one of the passengers. Years have passed since then, and I can write all this calmly enough now; but only those—and God grant that they may be few!—who at a moment’s warning, or at any warning, have had to cross more than a thousand miles of ocean in the hope of catching a dying parent’s last breath, can tell how the days pall and the sleepless nights drag on; how the sky expands into a mighty shroud covering one dear object, of which the sad eyes never lose the sight; how the winds, roar they loud or sing they softly, breathe ever the same low, monotonous dirge.

It was scarcely a year since I had parted from my father, and our parting had not been of the friendliest. He was a magnate in Leighstone, as all the Herberts before him had been since Leighstone had a history. They were a tradition in the place; and though to be great there in these days did not mean what it once meant, and to the world outside signified very little indeed, yet what is so exacting or punctilious as the etiquette[77] of a petty court, what so precise and well preserved as its narrow traditions and customs? Time did not exist for Leighstone when a Herbert was not the foremost man there. The tomb of the Herberts was the oldest and grandest in the churchyard that held the ashes of whole generations of the Leighstone folk. There had been Crusading Herberts, and Bishops Herbert, Catholic and Protestant, Abbots Herbert, Justices Herbert, Herberts that had shared in councils of state, and Herberts that had been hanged, drawn, and quartered by order of the state. Old townsfolk would bring visitors to the churchyard and give in their own way the history of “that ere Harbert astretched out atop o’ the twomb, wi’ a swoord by his soide, and gluvs on his hands, the two on ’em folded one aginst t’other a-prayin’ loike, and a cross on his buzzum, and a coople o’ angels wi’ stone wings a-watchin’ each side o’ ’im. A had fowt in the waars long ago, that ere Harbert had, when gentle-folk used to wear steel coats, a used, and iron breeches, and go ever so fur over the seas to foight. Queer toimes them was. Whoi, the Harberts, folks did say, was the oldest fam’ly i’ the country. Leastwoise, there was few ’uns older.”

My father was possessed with the greatness of his ancestry, and resented the new-fangled notions that professed to see nothing in blood or history. Nurtured on tradition of a past that would never reappear, he speedily retired from a world where he was too eager to see that a Herbert was no more than a Jones or a Smith, and, though gifted with powers that, rightly used, might have proved, even in these days, that there was more in his race than tradition of a faded past, he preferred withdrawing into that past to reproducing it in a manner accommodated to the new order of things. In all other respects he was a very amiable English gentleman, who, abjuring politics, which he held had degenerated into a trade unbecoming a gentleman’s following, divided his time between antiquarian and agricultural pursuits, for neither of which did I exhibit so ardent an admiration as he had hoped. As soon as I could read, and think, and reason in my own way, I ran counter to my father in many things, and was pronounced by him to be a radical, infected with the dangerous doctrines of the day, which threatened the overthrow of all things good, and the advent of all things evil. He only read in history the records of a few great families. For me the families were of far less interest than the peoples, historically at least. The families had already passed or were passing away; the peoples always remained. To the families I attributed most of the evils that had afflicted humanity; in the peoples I found the stuff that from time to time helped to regenerate humanity. I do not say that all this came to me at once; but this manner of looking at things grew upon me, and made my father anxious about my future, though he was too kind to place any great restrictions in the way of my pursuits, and our disputes would generally end by the injunction: “Roger, whatever you do or think, always remember that you represent a noble race, and are by your very birth an English gentleman, so long as such a being is permitted to exist.”

As I grew older problems thickened around me, and I often envied the passive resignation with which[78] so spirited a temperament as my father’s could find refuge from the exciting questions of the day in the quiet of his books and favorite pursuits. Coming home from college or from an occasional excursion into the great world without, Leighstone would seem to me a hermitage, where life was extinct, and there was room for nothing save meditation. And there I meditated much, and pondered and read, as I then thought, deeply. The quaint, old churchyard was my favorite ground for colloquy with myself, and admirably adapted, with its generations of silent dead, was it for the purpose. In that very tomb lay bones, once clothed with flesh, through which coursed lustily blood that had filtered down through the ages into my veins. In my thoughts I would question that quiet old Herbert stretched out there on his tomb centuries ago, and lying so still, with his calm, stony face upturned immovably and confidently to heaven. The face was not unlike my father’s; Leighstone folk said it was still more like mine. That Herbert was a Catholic, and believed earnestly in all that I and my father as earnestly disbelieved. Was he the worse or the better man for his faith? To what had his faith led him, and to what had ours led us? What was his faith, and what was ours? To us he was a superstitious creature, born in dark ages, and the victim of a cunning priestcraft, that, in the name of heaven, darkened the minds and hearts of men; while, had he dreamed that a degenerate child of his would ever, even in after-ages, turn heretic, as he would say, the probabilities were that in his great-hearted earnestness, had it rested solely with him, he would rather have ended the line in his own person than that such disgrace should ever come upon it. The man who in his day had dared tell him that flesh of his would ever revile the church in which he believed, and the Sacrament which he adored, would likely enough have been piously knocked on the head for his pains. What a puzzle it all was! Could a century or two make all this difference in the manner of regarding the truths on which men professed to bind their hopes of an eternal hereafter?

One afternoon of one of those real English summer days that when they come are so balmy and bright and joyous, while sauntering through the churchyard, I lighted upon a figure half buried in the long grass, so deeply intent on deciphering the inscription around the tomb of my ancestor that he did not notice my approach. There he lay, his hat by his side, and an open sketch-book near it, peering into the dim, old, half-effaced characters as curiously as ever did alchemist of eld into an old black-letter volume. His years could not be many more than mine. His form would equally attract the admiration of a lady or a prize-fighter. The sign of ruddy health burned on the bronzed cheek. The dress had nothing particular in it to stamp the character of the wearer. The sketch-book and his absorbing interest in the grim old characters around a tomb might denote the enthusiasm of an artist, or of an antiquarian like my father, though he looked too full of the robust life of careless youth for the one, and too evidently in the enjoyment of life as it was for the other. Altogether a man that, encountered thus in a country churchyard on a warm July afternoon, would at once excite[79] the interest and attract the attention of a passer-by.

While I was mentally noting down, running up, and calculating to a nicety the sum of his qualities, the expression of his face indicated that he was engaged in a hopeless task. “I can make all out about the old Crusader except the date, and that is an all-important point. The date—the date—the date,” he repeated to himself aloud. “I wonder what Crusade he fought in?”

“Perhaps I could assist you,” I broke in. “Sir Roger Herbert followed the good King Edward to the Holy Land, and for the sake of Christ’s dear rood made many a proud painim to bite the dust. So saith the old chronicle of the Abbey of S. Wilfrid which you see still standing—the modernized version of it, at least—on yonder hill. The present abbot of S. Wilfrid is the florid gentleman who has just saluted me. That handsome lady beside him is the abbot’s wife. The two pretty girls seated opposite are the abbot’s daughters. The good and gentle Abbot Jones is taking the fair abbess, Mrs. Jones, out for her afternoon airing. She is a very amiable lady; he is a very genial gentleman, and the author of the pamphlet in reply to Maitland’s Dark Ages. Mr. Jones is very severe on the laziness and general good-for-nothingness of the poor monks.”

My companion, who still remained stretched on the grass, scanned my face curiously and with an amused glance while I spoke. He seemed lost in a half-revery, from which he did not recover until a few moments after I had ceased speaking. With sudden recollection, he said:

“I beg your pardon, I was thinking of something else. Many thanks for your information about this old hero, whom the new train of ideas, called up by your mention of the Abbot Jones and his family, drove out of my mind a moment. The Abbot Jones!” he laughed. “It is very funny. Yet why do the two words seem so little in keeping?”

“It is because, as my father would tell you, this is the century of the Joneses. Centuries ago Abbot Jones would have sounded just as well and as naturally as did Queen Joan. But, in common with many another good thing, the name has become vulgarized by a vulgar age.”

My companion glanced at me curiously again, and seemed more inwardly amused than before, whether with me or at me, or both, it was impossible to judge from his countenance, though that was open enough. He turned from the abbot to the tomb again.

“And so this old hero,” said he, patting affectionately the peaked toe of the figure of Sir Roger, “drew his sword long ago for Christ’s dear rood, and probably scaled the walls of Damietta at the head of a lusty band. What a doughty old fellow he must have been! I should have been proud to have shaken hands with him.”

“Should you, indeed? Then perhaps you will allow a remote relative of that doughty old fellow to act as his unworthy representative in his absence?” said I, offering my hand.

“Why, you don’t mean to say that you are a descendant of the old knight whose ashes consecrate this spot!” he exclaimed, rising and grasping me by the hand. “Sir, I am happy to lay my hand in that of a son of a Crusader!”

“I fear I may not claim so high[80] a character. There are no Crusaders left. Myself, and Sir Roger here, move in different circles. You forget that a few centuries roll between us.”

“Centuries change the fashion of men’s garments,” he responded quickly, “not the fashion of their hearts. Truth is truth, and faith faith, and honor honor, now as when this warrior fought for faith, and truth, and honor. The crusades end only with the cross and faith in Christ.”

So spake with fervent accent and kindling glance the gentleman whom a few moments before I had set down as one eminently fitted to attract the admiration alike of lady or prize-fighter. The words struck me as so strange, spoken in such a place and by such a person, that I was silent a little, and he also. At length I said:

“You are like my father. You seem to prefer the old to the new.”

“Not so; I am particularly grateful that I was born in this and in no other century. But I object to the enthusiasm that would leave all the dead past to bury its dead. There were certain things, certain qualities in the centuries gone by, a larger faith, a more general fervor, a loyalty to what was really good and great, more universal than prevails to-day, that we might have preserved with benefit to ourselves and to generations to come. But pardon me. You have unfortunately hit upon one of my hobbies, and I could talk for hours on the subject.”

“On the contrary, I ought to feel flattered at finding one interested even in so remote a relative of mine as Sir Roger. As I look at him this moment the thought comes to me, could he bend those stiff old knees of his, hardened by the centuries into triple stone, rise up and walk through Leighstone, live a week among us, question us, know our thoughts, feelings, aspirations, religions, ascertain all that we have profited by the centuries that have rolled over this tomb, he would, after one week of it all, gather his old joints together and go back to his quiet rest until that

‘Tuba mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulchra regionum
Coget omnes ante thronum.’

“I can’t help laughing at the conceit. Imagine me escorting this stiff and stony old Sir Roger through the streets of Leighstone, and introducing him to my relations and friends as my grandfather some six centuries removed. But the fancy sounds irreverent to one whom I doubt not was as loyal-hearted a gentleman as ever clove a Turk to the chine. Poor old Sir Roger! I must prevent Mattock making such constant use of his elbow. It is getting quite out of repair.”

“Who is Mattock, may I ask?”

“Mattock is a character in his way. He is the Leighstone grave-digger, and has been as long as I can remember. He claims a kind of fellowship with those he buries, and he has buried a whole generation of Leighstonites, till a contagious hump has risen on his back from the number of mounds he has raised. He is a cynic in his way, and can be as philosophic over a skull as Hamlet in the play. He has a wonderful respect, almost a superstitious regard, for Sir Roger. Whenever he strips for a burial, he commends his goods to the care of my ancestor, accompanied always by the same remark: ‘I wonder who laid thee i’ the airth? A weighty corpse thou, a warrant. A deep grave thine, old stone-beard.[81] Well, lend’s your elbow, and here’s to ye, wherever ye may be.’ Mattock takes special care to fortify himself against possible contingencies with a dram. ‘Cold corpses,’ he says, ‘is unhealthy. They are apt to lie heavy on the stomick, if ye doant guard agin ’em; corpses doos. So doos oysters. A dram afore burial and another dram after keeps off the miasmys.’ Such is Mattock’s opinion, backed up by an experience of a quarter of a century. You are evidently a stranger in this neighborhood?”

“Yes, I was merely passing through. I am enjoying a walking tour, being a great walker. It is by far the best method of seeing a country. When in the course of my wanderings I come across an old tomb such as this, an old inscription, or anything at all that was wrought or writ by reverent hands centuries ago, and has survived through the changes of time, I am amply repaid for a day’s march. Doubly so in this instance, since it has been the fortunate means of bringing me in contact with one whose opinions I am happy to think run in many things parallel with my own. And now to step out of the past into the very vulgar present, I am staying at the ‘Black Bull.’ The ‘Black Bull,’ I am assured, is famous for his larder, so that, if you feel inclined to ripen the acquaintance begun by the grave of your ancestor, in the interior of the ‘Black Bull,’ Kenneth Goodal will consider that he has fallen on an exceptionally happy day.”

“Kenneth Goodal?” The name struck me as familiar; but I could not recollect at the moment where I had heard it before. I repeated it aloud.

“It sounds quite a romantic name, does it not? It was my absurd mother who insisted on the Kenneth, after a Scotch uncle of mine. For that matter I suppose it was she who also insisted on the Goodal. At least my father says so. But she is the sweetest of women to have her own way, Heaven bless her! Of course I had no voice in the matter at all, beyond the generic squeal of babyhood. Had I been consulted, I should have selected Jack, a jolly, rough-and-ready title. It carries a sort of slap-me-on-the-back sound with it. One is never surprised at a Jack getting into scrapes or getting out of them. But it would cause very considerable surprise to hear that a Kenneth had been caught in any wild enterprise. However, Kenneth I am, and Kenneth I must remain, as staid and respectable as a policeman on duty by very force of title.”

“Now I remember where I heard the name. There were traditions at Dr. Porteous’, at Kingsclere, of a Kenneth Goodal who had just left before I went there. But he can’t have been you.”

“No? Why not?”

“He was an awful scape-grace, they told me. He used to play all kinds of tricks on the masters, though as great a favorite with them as with the boys. He was a great mimic, and Dr. Porteous, who is as solemn as an undertaker at a rich man’s funeral, and as pompous as a parish beadle, surprised Kenneth Goodal one day, surrounded by a delighted crowd, listening with such rapt attention to a highly wrought discourse, after the doctor’s best manner, on the history and philosophy of Resurrection Pie, that it required the unmistakable ‘ahem!’ of the doctor at the close to announce to actor and audience the presence of the original.[82] The doctor in the grand old-school manner congratulated the youthful Roscius on talents of whose existence he had been hitherto unaware, and hinted that a repetition of so successful a performance might encourage him to seek a wider field for so promising a pupil. And when the same Kenneth thrashed the Kingsclere Champion for beating one of the youngsters, bribing the policeman not to interfere until he had finished him, the doctor, who was a model of decorum, had him up before the whole college, and delivered an address that is not quite forgotten to this day; acknowledging the credit to the establishment of such a champion in their midst; a young gentleman who could mimic his superiors until his identity was lost, and pummel his inferiors until their identity was lost, was wasting his great natural gifts in so narrow an arena; and so on—all delivered in the doctor’s best Ciceronian style. It took a deputation of all the masters and all the boys together to beg the delinquent off a rustication or worse. In fact, the stories of him and his deeds are endless. How odd that you should have the same name!”

My new acquaintance laughed outright.

“I fear I must lay claim to more than the name; that historical personage stands before you. I was with Dr. Porteous for a couple of years, and had no idea that I left such fame behind me. The doctor and I became the best of friends after my departure. And so you and I are, in a manner, old school-fellows? How happy I am to have fallen across you. But, come; the ‘Black Bull’ is waiting.”

“By the elbow of mine ancestor, nay. Such dishonor may not come upon the Herberts. Why, Sir Roger here would rise from his tomb at the thought and denounce me in the market-place. You must come with me. Dinner is ready by this time. Come as you are. My father will like you. He likes any one who is interested in his ancestors. And my sister, who, since my mother’s death, is mistress of the house and mistress of us all, shall answer for herself.”

“So be it,” he said, and we passed under the yews, their sad branches flushed in the sun, out through the gate, under the old archway with its mouldering statues, up the pretty straggling road that formed the High Street of Leighstone, arm in arm together, fast friends we each of us felt, though but acquaintances of an hour. The instinct that out of a multitude selects one, though you may scarcely know his name, and tells you that one is your friend, is as strange as unerring. It was this unconscious necromancy that had woven a mesh of golden threads caught from the summer sunlight around us as we moved along. Its influence was upon us, breathing in the perfumed air. I had never had a real friend of my own age before, and I hailed this one as the discovery of a life-time. We should strike out together, tread the same path, be it rough or smooth, arm in arm until the end come. Damon and Pythias would be nothing to us. The same loves, the same hates, the same hopes, were to guide, animate, and sustain us. Castles in the air! Castles in the air! Who has not built them? Who among the sons of men in the neighborhood of twenty summers has not chosen one man out of thousands, leant upon him, cherished him, made him his idol, loved[83] him above all? And so it goes on, until some day comes a laughing eye peeping from under a bonnet, and with one dart the bosom friendship is smitten through and through, and Damon is ready to sacrifice a hecatomb of his Pythiases on the altar of the ox-eyed goddess.


E. T.

Who says she has wither’d, that little White Rose?
She has been but remov’d from the valley of tears
To a garden afar, where her loveliness glows
Begemm’d with the grace-dew of virginal years,
I knew we should lose her. The dear Sacred Heart
Has a nook in earth’s desert for flowerets so rare;
And keeps them awhile in safe shelter, apart
From the wind and the rain, from the dust and the glare;
But all to transplant them when fairest they bloom,
When most we shall miss them. And this, that our love
May be haunted the more by the fadeless perfume
They have left us to breathe of the Eden above.
Farewell, happy maiden! Our weariest hours
May gather a share of thy perfect repose.
And fragrantly still with the Lord of the flowers
Thou wilt plead for thy lov’d ones—our little Saint Rose.[14]
February 27, 1875.[15]



History is like a prison-house, of which Time is the only jailer who can reveal the secrets. And Father Time is slow to speak. Sometimes he is strangely dumb concerning events of deep importance, sometimes idly garrulous about small matters. When now and then he reveals some long-kept secret, we refuse to believe him; we cannot credit that such things ever happened on this planet of ours, so respectable in its civilized humanity, so tenderly zealous for the welfare and freedom of its remotest members. But this same humanity is a riddle to which our proudest philosophers have not yet found the clew. It moves mountains to deliver an oppressed mouse, and sits mute and apathetic while a nation of weak brothers is being hunted to death by a nation of strong ones in the midst of its universal brotherhood; seeing the most sacred principles and highest interests of the world attacked and imperilled, and the earth shaken with throes and rendings that will bring forth either life or death, exactly as humanity shall decide, and yet not moving a finger either way. Then, when the storm is over and it beholds the wreck caused by its own apathy or stupidity, it fills the world with an “agony of lamentation,” gnashes its teeth, and protests that it slept, and knew not that these things were being done in its name.

Sometimes the funeral knell of the victims goes on echoing like a distant thunder-tone for a whole generation, and is scarcely heeded, until at last some watcher hearkens, and wakes us up, and, lo! we find that a tragedy has been enacted at our door, and the victim has been crying out piteously for help while we slumbered. History is full of these slumberings and awakenings. What an awakening for France was that when, after the lapse of two generations, the jailer struck the broken stones of the Temple, and gave them a voice to tell their story, bidding all the world attend!

The account of the imprisonment and death of Louis XVII. had hitherto come down to his people stripped of much of its true character, and clothed with a mistiness that disguised the naked horror of the truth, and flattered the sensitive vanity of the nation into the belief—or at any rate into the plausible hope—that much had been exaggerated, and that the historians of those times had used too strong colors in portraying the sufferings of the son of their murdered king. The Grande Nation had been always grand; she had had her hour of delirium, and run wild in anarchy and chaos while it lasted; but she had never disowned her essential greatness, never forfeited her humanity, the grandeur of her mission as the eldest daughter of the church of Christ, and the apostle of civilization among the peoples. The demon in man’s shape, called Simon the Cordwainer, had disgraced his manhood by torturing a feeble, inoffensive child committed to his mercy, but he alone was responsible. The governing powers of the[85] time were in total ignorance of his proceedings; France had no share in the blame or the infamy. The sensational legend of the Temple was bad enough, but at its worst no one was responsible but Simon, a besotted shoemaker. It was even hinted that the Dauphin had been rescued, and had not died in the Tower at all, and many tender-hearted Frenchmen clung long and tenaciously to this fiction. But at the appointed time one man, at the bidding of the great Secret-Teller, stood forth and tore away the veil, and discovered to all the world the things that had been done, not by Simon the Cordwainer, but by the Grande Nation in his person. M. de Beauchesne[16] was that man, and nobly, because faithfully and inexorably, he fulfilled his mission. It was a fearful message that he had to deliver, and there is no doubt but that his work—the result of twenty years’ persevering research and study—moved the hearts of his countrymen as no book had ever before moved them. It made an end once and for ever of garbled narratives, and comforting fables, and bade the guilty nation look upon the deeds she had done, and atone for them with God’s help as best she might.

In reading the records of those mad times one ceases to wonder at recent events. They give the key to all subsequent crimes and wanderings. A nation that deliberately, in cold, premeditated hate and full wakefulness of reason, decrees by law in open court that God does not exist, and forthwith abolishes him by act of parliament—a nation that does this commits itself to the consequences. France did this in the National Convention of 1793, and why should she not pay the penalty?

Of all the victims of that bloody period, there is none whose story is so touching as that of the little son of Louis and Marie Antoinette. He was born at Versailles on the 27th of March, 1785. All eye-witnesses describe him as a bright and lovely child, with shining curls of fair hair, large, blue eyes, liquid as a summer sky, and a countenance of angelic sweetness and rare intelligence—“a thing of joy” to all who beheld him. Crowds waited for hours to catch a glimpse of him disporting himself in his little garden before the palace, a flower amidst the flower-beds, prattling with every one, making the old park ring with his joyous laughter. One day, when in the midst of his play, he ran to meet his mother, and, flinging himself into a bush for greater haste, got scratched by the thorns; the queen chided him for the foolish impetuosity. “How then?” replied the child; “you told me only yesterday that the road to glory was through thorns.” “Yes, but glory means devotion to duty, my son,” was Marie Antoinette’s reply. “Then,” cried the little man, throwing his arms, round her knees, “I will make it my glory to be devoted to you, mamma!” He was about four years old when this anecdote was told of him.

It is rather characteristic of the child’s destiny that two hours after the bereavement which made him Dauphin of France, and while his parents were breaking their hearts by the still warm body of his elder brother, a deputation from the Tiers Etat came to demand an audience of the king. Louis XVI. was a prey to the first agony of his paternal grief, and sent to entreat the[86] deputies to spare him, and return another day. They sent back an imperious answer, insisting on his appearing. “Are there no fathers amongst them?” exclaimed the king; but he came out and received them. The incident was trifling, yet it held one of those notes of prophetic anticipation which now first began to be heard, foretelling the approaching storm in which the old ship of French royalty was to be wrecked.

On the 6th of October the palace of Versailles was stormed by the mob; the guards were massacred, the royal family led captives to Paris amidst the triumphant yells of the sans-culottes. Then followed the gilded captivity of the Tuileries, which lasted three years; then came the 10th of August, when this was exchanged for the more degrading prison of the Temple; then the Conciergerie—then the scaffold.

The Temple was a Gothic fortress built in 1212 by the Knights of the Temple. It had been long inhabited by those famous warrior-knights, and consisted of two distinct towers, which were so constructed as to resemble one building. The great tower was a massive structure divided into five or six stories, above a hundred and fifty feet high, with a pyramidal roof like an extinguisher, having at each corner a turret with a conical roof like a steeple. This was formerly the keep, and had been used as treasury and arsenal by the Templars; it was accessible only by a single door in one turret, opening on a narrow stone stair. The other was called the Little Tower, a narrow oblong with turrets at each angle, and attached, without any internal communication, to its big neighbor on the north side. Close by, within the enclosure of the Temple, stood an edifice which had in olden times been the dwelling-house of the prior, and it was here the royal family were incarcerated on their arrival. The place was utterly neglected and dilapidated, but from its construction and original use it was capable of being made habitable. The king believed that they were to remain here, and visited the empty, mouldy rooms next day, observing to Cléry what changes and repairs were most urgently required. No such luxurious prospect was, however, in store for them. They were merely huddled into the Prior’s Hotel while some preparations were being made for their reception in the tower. These preparations consisted in precautions, equally formidable and absurd, against possible rescue or flight. The heavy oak doors, the thick stone walls, which had proved safe enough for murderers and rebel warriors, were not considered secure for the timid king and his wife and children. Doors and windows were reinforced with iron bars, bolts, and wooden blinds. The corkscrew stair was So narrow that only one person could pass it at a time, yet new iron-plated doors were put up, and bars thrown across it at intervals, to prevent escape. The door leading from it into the royal prisoners’ apartment was so low that when Marie Antoinette was dragged from her children, after the king’s death, to be taken to the Conciergerie, she knocked her head violently against the upper part of it, exclaiming to some one who hoped she was not hurt, “Nothing can hurt me now!” The Abbé Edgeworth thus describes the access to the king’s rooms: “I was led across the court to the door of the tower, which, though very narrow and very low, was so overcharged[87] with iron bolts and bars that it opened with a horrible noise. I was conducted up a winding stair so narrow that two persons would have had great difficulty in getting past each other. At short distances these stairs were cut across by barriers, at each of which was a sentinel; these men were all true sans-culottes, generally drunk, and their atrocious exclamations, re-echoed by the vast vaults which covered every story of the tower, were really terrifying.” For still greater security all the adjoining buildings which crowded round the tower were thrown down. This work of destruction was entrusted to Palloy, a zealous patriot, whose energy in helping to pull down the Bastile pointed him out as a fit instrument for the occasion. These external arrangements fitly symbolized the systematic brutality which was organized from the first by the Convention, and relentlessly carried out by its agents on each succeeding victim, but by no one so ferociously as Simon the shoemaker. The most appalling riddle which the world has yet set us to solve is the riddle of the French Revolution. The deepest thinkers, the shrewdest philosophers, are puzzling over it still, and will go on puzzling to the crack of doom. There are causes many and terrible which explain the grand fact of the nation’s revolt itself; why, when once the frenzy broke out, the people murdered the king, and butchered all belonging to him, striving to bring about a new birth, a different order of things, by a baptism of blood, the death and annihilation of the old system—many wise and solemn words have been uttered concerning these things, many answers which, if they do not justify the madness of the Revolution, help us to pity, and in a measure excuse, its actors; but the enigma which no one has ever yet solved, or attempted to solve, is the excess of cruelty practised on the fair-haired child whose sole crime was his misfortune in being the descendant of the kings of France.

The Princesse de Lamballe fell on the 3d of September at the prison of La Force. The National Guards carried the head on a pike through the city, and then hoisted it under the windows of the king, and clamored for him to come out and show himself. One young officer, more humane than his compeers, rushed forward and prevented it, and saved Louis from beholding the dreadful spectacle. The king was deeply grateful for the kind action, and asked the officer’s name. “And who was the other who tried to force your majesty out?” enquired M. de Malesherbes. “Oh! I did not care to know his name!” replied Louis gently. That was a night of horrors. The two princesses, Mme. Royale and Princess Elizabeth, could not sleep; the drums were beating to arms, and they sat in silence, “listening to the sobs of the queen, which never ceased.” But more cruel days were yet in store. Before the month was out the Commune de Paris issued a decree for the separation of the king from his wife and children. “They felt it,” says this curious document, “their imperious duty to prevent the abuses which might facilitate the evasion of those traitors, and therefore decree, 1st, that Louis and Antoinette be separated.

“2d. That each shall have a separate dungeon (cachot).

“3d. That the valet de chambre be placed in confinement, etc., etc.”

That same night the king was removed[88] to the second story of the great tower. The room was in a state of utter destitution; no preparations of the commonest description had been made for receiving him. A straw bed was thrown down on the floor; Cléry, his valet, had not even this, but sat up all night on a chair. A month later (October) the queen and her children were transferred to the story over that now occupied by Louis in the great tower. On the 26th the Dauphin was torn from his mother under the pretence that he was now too old to be left to the charge of women, being just seven years and six months. He was therefore lodged with his father, who found his chief solace in teaching the child his lessons; these consisted of Latin, writing, arithmetic, geography, and history. The separation was for the present mitigated by the consolation of meeting at meal-times, and being allowed to be together for some hours in the garden every day. They bore all privations and the insults of their jailers with unruffled patience and sweetness. Mme. Elizabeth and the queen sat up at night to mend their own and the king’s clothes, which the fact of their each having but one suit made it impossible for them to do in the daytime.

This comparatively merciful state of things lasted till the first week in December, when a new set of commissaries were appointed and the captives watched day and night with lynx-eyed rigor. On the 11th the prince was taken back to his mother, the king was summoned to the bar of the Convention, and on his return to prison was informed that he was henceforth totally separated from his family. He never saw them again until the eve of his death. The Duchesse d’Angoulême (Mme. Royale) has described that interview to us with her usual simplicity and pathos: “My father, at the moment of parting with us for ever, made us promise never to think of avenging his death. He was well satisfied that we should hold sacred his last instructions; but the extreme youth of my brother made him desirous of producing a still stronger impression upon him. He took him on his knee, and said to him, ‘My son, you have heard what I have said, but, as an oath is something more sacred than words, hold up your hand and swear that you will accomplish the last wish of your father.’ My brother obeyed, bursting into tears, and this touching goodness redoubled ours.”

The next day Louis had gone to receive the reward promised to the merciful, to those who return love for hate, blessings for curses. When the guillotine had done its work, the shouts of the infuriated city announced to the queen that she was a widow. Her agony was inconsolable. In the afternoon of this awful day she asked to see Cléry, hoping that he might have some message for her from the king, with whom he had remained till his departure from the Temple. She guessed right; the faithful servant had been entrusted with a ring, which the king desired him to deliver to her with the assurance that he never would have parted with it but with his life. But Cléry was not allowed the mournful privilege of fulfilling his trust in person; he was kept a month in the Temple, and then released. “We had now a little more freedom,” continues Mme. Royale. “The guards even believed that we were about to be sent out of France; but nothing could calm the agony of the queen. No hope could touch her heart;[89] life was indifferent to her, and she did not fear death.”

Her son, meanwhile, had nominally become King of France. The armies of La Vendée proclaimed him as Louis XVII., under the regency of his uncle, the Comte de Provence. He was King of France everywhere except in France, where he was the victim of a blind ferocity unexampled in the history of the most wicked periods of the world.

The “freedom” which the Duchesse d’Angoulême speaks of lasted but a few days; the royal family were all now in the queen’s apartment, but kept under, if possible, more rigid and humiliating supervision than before. Their only attendants were a certain Tison and his wife, who had hitherto been employed in the most menial household work of the Temple. They were coarse and ignorant by nature, and soon the confinement to which they were themselves condemned so soured their temper that they grew cruel and insolent, and avenged their own privations on their unhappy prisoners. They denounced three of the municipals whom they detected in some signs of respect and sympathy for the queen, and these men were all guillotined on the strength of the Tisons’ evidence. The woman went mad with remorse when she beheld the mischief her denunciations had done. At first she sank into a black melancholy. Marie Antoinette and the Princess Elizabeth attended on her, and did their utmost to soothe her during the first stage of the malady; but their gentle charity was like coals of fire on the head of their persecutor. She soon became furious, and had to be carried away by force to a mad-house.

About the 6th of May the young prince fell ill. The queen was alarmed, and asked to see M. Brunier, his ordinary physician; the request was met with a mocking reply, and no further notice taken of it, until the child’s state became so serious that the prison doctor was ordered by the Commune to go and see what was amiss with him. The doctor humanely consulted M. Brunier, who was well acquainted with the patient’s constitution, and otherwise did all that was in his power to alleviate his condition. This was not much, but the queen and Mme. Elizabeth, who for three weeks never left the little sufferer’s pillow, were keenly alive to the kindness of the medical man. This illness made no noise outside the Temple walls; but Mme. Royale always declared that her brother had never really recovered from it, and that it was the first stage of the disease which ultimately destroyed him. The government had hitherto been too busy with more important matters to have leisure to attend to such a trifle as the life or death of “little Capet.” It was busy watching and striving to control the struggle between the Jacobins and the Girondists, which ended finally in the overthrow of the latter. On the 9th of July, however, it suddenly directed its notice to the young captive, and issued a decree ordering him to be immediately separated from Antoinette, and confided to a tutor (instituteur), who should be chosen by the nation. It was ten o’clock at night when six commissaries, like so many birds of ill-omen, entered the Temple, and ascended the narrow, barricaded stairs leading to the queen’s rooms. The young prince was lying fast asleep in his little curtainless bed, with a shawl suspended by tender hands to shade him from the light on the table, where his mother and aunt[90] sat mending their clothes. The men delivered their message in loud tones; but the child slept on. It was only when the queen uttered a great cry of despair that he awoke, and beheld her with clasped hands praying to the commissaries. They turned from her with a savage laugh, and approached the bed to seize the prince. Marie Antoinette, quicker than thought, flew towards it, and, clasping him in her arms, clung despairingly to the bed-post. One of the men was about to use violence in order to seize the boy, but another stayed his hand, exclaiming: “It does not become us to fight with women; call up the guard!” Horror-stricken at the threat, Mme. Elizabeth cried out: “No, for God’s sake, no! We submit, we cannot resist; but give us time to breathe. Let the child sleep out the night here. He will be delivered to you to-morrow.” This prayer was spurned, and then the queen entreated as a last mercy that her son might remain in the tower, where she might still see him. A commissary retorted brutally, tutoyant her, “What! you make such a to-do because, forsooth, you are separated from your child, while our children are sent to the frontiers to have their brains knocked out by the bullets which you bring upon us!” The princesses now began to dress the prince; but never was there such a long toilet in this world. Every article was passed from one to another, put on, taken off again, and replaced after being drenched with tears. The commissaries were losing patience. “At last,” says Mme. Royale, the queen, gathering up all her strength, placed herself in a chair, with the child standing before her, put her hands on his little shoulders, and, without a tear or a sigh, said with a grave and solemn voice, “My child, we are about to part. Bear in mind all I have said to you of your duties when I shall be no longer near to repeat it. Never forget God, who thus tries you, nor your mother, who loves you. Be good, patient, kind, and your father will look down from heaven and bless you.” Having said this, she kissed him and handed him to the commissaries. One of them said: “Come, I hope you have done with your sermonizing; you have abused our patience finely.” Another dragged the boy out of the room, while a third added: “Don’t be uneasy; the nation will take care of him!” Then the door closed. Take care of him! Not even in that hour of supreme anguish, quickened as her imagination was by past and present experience of the nation’s “care,” could his mother have pictured to herself what sort of guardianship was in preparation for her son. That night which saw him torn from her arms and from beneath the protecting shadow of her immense love, beheld the little King of France transferred to the pitiless hands of Simon and his wife.

Simon was a thick-set, black-visaged man of fifty-eight years of age. He worked as a shoemaker next door to Marat, whose patronage procured for him the office of “tutor” to the son of Louis XVI. His wife is described as an ill-favored woman of the same age as her husband, with a temper as sour and irascible as his was vicious and cruel. They got five hundred francs a month for maltreating the “little Capet,” whom Simon never addressed except as “viper.” “wolf-cub,” “poison-toad,” adding kicks and blows as expletives. For two days and nights the child wept unceasingly, refusing to eat or sleep, and crying out continually[91] to be taken back to his mother. He was starved and beaten into sullen silence and a sort of hopeless submission. If he showed terror or surprise at a threat, it was treated as insolent rebellion, and he was seized and beaten as if he had attempted a crime. All this first month of Simon’s tutorship the child was so ill as to be under medical treatment. But this was no claim on the tutor’s mercy; if it had been, he would have been unfitted for his task, and would not have been chosen for it. He was astonished, nevertheless, at the indomitable spirit of his victim, at the quiet firmness with which he bore his treatment, and at the perseverance with which he continued to insist on being restored to his mother. How long would it take to break this royal “wolf-cub”? Simon began to be perplexed about it. He must have advice from headquarters, and fuller liberty for the exercise of his own ingenuity. Four members of the Committee of Sûreté Générale betook themselves to the Temple, and there held a conference with the patriot shoemaker which remains one of the most curious incidents of those wonderful days. Amongst the four councillors was Drouet, the famous post-master of Sainte Ménéhould, and Chabot, an apostate monk. One of the others related the secret conference to Sénart, secretary of the committee, who thus transcribed it at the time: “Citizens,” asks Simon, “what do you decide as to the treatment of the wolf-cub? He has been brought up to be insolent. I can tame him, but I cannot answer that he will not sink under it (crever). So much the worse for him; but, after all, what do you mean to do with him? To banish him?” Answer: “No.” “To kill him?” “No.” “To poison him?” “No.” “But what, then?” “To get rid of him” (s’en défaire).

From this forth the severity of Simon knew no bounds but those of his own fiendish powers of invention. He applied his whole energies to the task of “doing away with” the poor child. He made him slave like a dog at the most laborious and menial work; he was shoe-black, turnspit, drudge, and victim at once. Not content with thus degrading him, Simon insisted that the boy should wear the red cap as an external badge of degradation. The republican symbol was no doubt associated in the child’s mind with the bloody riots of the year before; for the mere sight of it filled him with terror, and nothing that his jailer could say or do could persuade him to let it be placed on his head. Simon, exasperated by such firmness in one so frail and young, fell upon him and flogged him unmercifully, until at last Mme. Simon, who every now and then showed that the woman was not quite dead within her, interfered to rescue the boy, declaring that it made her sick to see him beaten in that way. But she hit upon a mode of punishment which, though more humane, proved more crushing to the young captive than either threats or blows. His fair hair, in which his mother had taken such fond pride, still fell long and unkempt about his shoulders. Mme. Simon declared that this was unseemly in the little Capet, and that he should be shorn like a son of the people. She forthwith proceeded to cut off the offending curls, and in a moment, before he realized what she was about to do, the shining locks lay strewn at his feet. The effect was terrible; the child[92] uttered a piteous cry, and then lapsed into a state of sullen despair. All spirit seemed to have died out of him; and when Simon, perceiving this, again approached him with the hated cap, he made no resistance, gave no sign, but let it be placed on his little shorn head in silence. The shabby black clothes that he wore by way of mourning for his father were now taken off, and replaced by a complete Carmagnole costume; still Louis offered no opposition. He was taken out for exercise on the leads every day, and, to prevent the queen having the miserable satisfaction of catching a glimpse of him on these occasions, a wooden partition had been run up; it was loosely put together, however, and Mme. Elizabeth discovered a chink through which it was possible to see the captive as he passed. Marie Antoinette was filled with thankfulness when she heard of this, and overcoming her reluctance to leave her room, from which she had never stirred since the king’s death, she now used every subterfuge for remaining on the watch within sight of the chink. At last, on the 20th of July, her patience was rewarded. But what a spectacle it was that met her gaze! Her beautiful, fair-haired child, cropped as if he had just recovered from a fever, and dressed out in the odious garb of his father’s murderers, driven along by the brutal Simon, and addressed in coarse and horrible language. She was near enough to hear it, to see the look of terror and suffering on the child’s face as he passed. Yet, such strength does love impart to a mother in her most trying needs, the queen was able to see it all and remain mute and still; she did not cry out, nor faint, nor betray by a single movement the horror that made her very heart stand still, but, rising slowly from the spot, returned to her room. The shock had almost paralyzed her, and she resolved that nothing should ever tempt her to renew it. But the longing of the mother’s heart overcame all other feelings. The next day she returned to her watch-point, and waited for hours until the little feet were heard on the leads again, accompanied as before by Simon’s heavy tread and rough tones. What Marie Antoinette must have suffered during those few days, when she beheld with her own eyes and heard with her own ears the sort of tutelage to which her innocent child was subjected, God, and perhaps a mother’s heart, alone can tell. That young soul, whose purity she had guarded as the very apple of her eye, was now exposed to the foulest influences; for prayers and pious teachings he heard nothing but blasphemy and curses; his faith, that precious flower which had been planted so reverently and watered with such tender care, what was to become of it—what had become of it already? None but God knew, and to God alone did the mother look for help. He who saved Daniel in the lions’ den and the children in the fiery furnace was powerful to save his own now, as then; he would save her child, for man was powerless to help. One of Simon’s diabolical amusements was to force the prince to use bad language and sing blasphemous songs. Blows and threats were unavailing so long as the boy caught any part of the revolting sense of the words; but at last, deceived no doubt by the very grossness of the expressions, and unable to penetrate their meaning, he took refuge from blows in compliance,[93] and with his sweet childish treble piped out songs that were never heard beyond the precincts of a tavern or a guard-house. The queen heard this once. Angels heard it, too, and, closing their ears to the loathsome sounds, smiled with angels’ pity on the unconscious treason of their little kindred spirit.

But this new crisis of misery was not of long duration to Marie Antoinette. About three days after her first vision of Simon and his victim, the commissaries entered her room in the dead of the night, and read a decree, ordering them to convey her to the Conciergerie. This was the first step of the scaffold. The summons would have been welcome to the widow of Louis XVI., if she had not been a mother; but she was, and the thought of leaving her son in the hands of men whose aim was not merely to “slay the body,” but to destroy the soul, made the prospect of her own deliverance dreadful to contemplate. But God was there—God, who loved her son better and more availingly than even she loved him. She committed him once more to God, and commended her daughter to the tender and virtuous Elizabeth, little dreaming that the same fate which had befallen the brother was soon to be awarded to the gentle, inoffensive sister.

On the same day that the queen was sent to the Conciergerie, preparatory to her execution, a member of the Convention sent a toy guillotine as a present to “the little Capet,” doubtless with the merciful design of acquainting the poor child with his mother’s impending fate. A subaltern officer in the Temple, however, had the humanity to intercept the fiendish present, for the young prince never received it. It was the fashion of the day to teach children to play at beheading sparrows, which were sold on the boulevards with little guillotines, by way of teaching them to love the republic and to scorn death. It is rather a curious coincidence that Chaumette, the man who sent the satanic toy to the Dauphin, was himself decapitated by it a year before the death of the child whom he thought to terrify by his cruel gift.

While the mock trial of the queen was going on, Simon pursued more diligently than ever his scheme of demoralization. A design which must first have originated in some fiend’s brain had occurred to him, and it was necessary to devise new means for carrying it into execution. He would make this spotless, idolized child a witness against his mother; the little hand which hers had guided in forming its first letters, and taught to lift itself in prayer, should be made an instrument in the most revolting calumny which the human mind ever conceived. Simon began to make the boy drink; when he attempted to refuse, the liquor was poured into his mouth by force; until at last, stupefied and unconscious of what he was doing, unable to comprehend the purpose or consequence of the act, he signed his name to a document in which the most heinous accusations were brought against his august mother. The same deposition was presented to his sister for her signature; but without the same success. “They questioned me about a thousand terrible things of which they accused my mother and my aunt,” says Mme. Royale; “and, frightened as I was, I could not help exclaiming that they were wicked falsehoods.” The examination lasted three hours, for the deputies hoped that the extreme[94] youth and timidity of the princess would enable them to compel her consent to sign the paper; but in this they were mistaken. “They forgot,” continues Mme. Royale, “the life that I had led for four years past, and, above all, that the example shown me by my parents had given me more energy and strength of mind.” The queen’s trial lasted two entire days and nights without intermission. Not a single accusation, political or otherwise, was confirmed by a feather’s weight of evidence. But what did that signify? The judges had decreed beforehand that she must die. Hébert brought forward the document signed by her son; she listened in silent scorn, and disdained to answer. One of the paid assassins on the jury demanded why she did not speak. The queen, thus adjured, drew herself up with all the majesty of outraged motherhood, and, casting her eyes over the crowded court, replied: “I did not answer; but I appeal to the heart of every mother who hears me.” A low murmur ran through the crowd. No mother raised her voice in loyal sympathy with the mother who appealed to them, but the inarticulate response was too powerful for the jury; they dropped the subject, and when the counsel nominally appointed for her defence had done speaking, the president demanded of the prisoner at the bar whether she had anything to add. There was a moment’s hush, and then the queen spoke: “For myself, nothing; for your consciences, much! I was a queen, and you dethroned me; I was a wife, and you murdered my husband; I was a mother, and you have torn my children from me. I have nothing left but my blood—make haste and take it!”

This last request was granted. The trial ended soon after daybreak on the third day, and at eleven o’clock the same forenoon she was led to the scaffold.

Seldom has retribution more marked ever followed a crime, than that which awaited the perpetrators of this legal murder. Within nine months from the death of Marie Antoinette every single individual known to have had any share in the deed—judges, jury, witnesses, and prosecutors—all perished on the same guillotine to which they condemned the queen.

The captives in the Temple knew nothing either of the mock trial or the death which followed it. It is difficult to understand the motive of this silence, especially as concerns Simon. Perhaps it was owing to his wife’s influence that the young prince was spared the blow of knowing that he was an orphan. If so, it was the only act of mercy she was able to obtain for him. The brutalities of the jailer rather increased than diminished after the queen’s death. The child was locked up alone in a room almost entirely dark, and the gloom and solitude reduced him to such a point of despondency and apathy that few hearts, even amongst the cruel men about him, could behold the wretched spectacle unmoved. One of the municipals begged Simon’s leave to give the poor child a little artificial canary bird, which sang a song and fluttered its wings. The toy gave him such intense pleasure that the man good-naturedly followed up the opportunity of Simon’s mild mood to bring a cage full of real canaries, which he was likewise allowed to give the little Capet. The birds were tamed to come on his finger and perch on his shoulder, and had other pretty tricks which amused and delighted the poor little fellow[95] inexpressibly. He was very happy in the society of his feathered friends for some time, until one unlucky day a new commissary came to inspect his room, and, expressing great surprise at “the son of the tyrant” being allowed such an aristocratic amusement, ordered the cage to be instantly removed. Simon, to atone for this passing weakness towards the wolf-cub, set himself to maltreat him more savagely than ever. The child, in the midst of the revolting atmosphere which surrounded him, still cherished the memory of his mother’s teaching; he remembered the prayers she had taught him, the lessons of love and faith she had planted in his heart. Simon had flogged him the first time he saw him go down on his knees to say his prayers, so the child ever after went to bed and got up without repeating the offence. We may safely believe that he sent up his heart to God morning and night, nevertheless, though he did not dare kneel while doing so. One night, a bitter cold night in January, Simon awoke, and, by the light of the moon that stole in through the wooden blind of the window, beheld the boy kneeling up in his bed, his hands clasped and his face uplifted in prayer. He doubted at first whether the child was awake or asleep; but the attitude and all that it suggested threw him into a frenzy of superstitious rage; he took up a large pitcher of water, icy cold as it was, and flung it, pitcher and all, at the culprit, exclaiming as he did so, “I’ll teach you to get up Pater-nostering at night like a Trappist!” Not satisfied with this, he seized his own shoe—a heavy wooden shoe with great nails—and fell to beating him with it, until Mme Simon, terrified by his violence and sickened by the cries of the victim, rushed at her husband, and made him desist. Louis, sobbing and shivering, gathered himself up out of the wet bed, and sat crouching on the pillow; but Simon pulled him down, and made him lie in the soaking clothes, perishing and drenched as he was. The shock was so great that he never was the same after this night; it utterly broke the little spirit that yet remained in him, and gave a blow to his health which it never recovered.




The spring-time has come,
But with skies dark and gray
And the wind waileth wildly
Through all the drear day.
Few glimpses of sunshine,
No thought of the flowers,
No bird’s songs enliven
These chill, gloomy hours.
The snow lieth coldly
Where lately it fell,
The crocus and daisy
Yet sleep in the dell;
The frost yet at evening
Falls softly and chill,
And scatters his pearls
Over meadow and hill.
But April, sweet April—
Her tears bring no gloom—
Will pour on the zephyr
A violet perfume;
Will bid the rill glance
In the sunlight along,
And waken at morning
The bird’s gushing song.
I am thinking of one
Who oft sought for the flowers
In the sunlight and shadow
Of April’s bright hours.
But when winter’s bleak winds
Sang a dirge for the year,
With pale lips, yet smiling,
She lay on her bier.
The flowers then that died
Will awaken again,
But her we have loved
We shall look for in vain;
Yet, though we have laid her
Beneath the dark sod,
She bloometh this spring
In the garden of God.



We have shown that the intrinsic principles of the primitive material substance are the matter and the substantial form; and we have proved that in the material element the matter is a mere mathematical point—the centre of a virtual sphere—whilst the substantial form which gives existence to such a centre is an act, or an active principle, having a spherical character, and constituting a sphere of power all around that centre, as shown by its exertions directed all around in accordance with the Newtonian law. Hence the nature of the matter as actuated by its substantial form, and the nature of the substantial form as terminated to its matter, are fully determined.

It would seem that nothing remains to be investigated about this subject; for, when we have reached the first constituent principles of a given essence, the metaphysical analysis is at an end. One question, however, remains to be settled between us and the philosophers of the Aristotelic school concerning the mutual relation of the matter and the substantial form in a material being. Is such a relation variable or invariable? Is the matter separable from any given substantial form, as the Aristotelic theory assumes, or are the matter and its form so bound together as to form a unit substantially unchangeable? Can substantial forms be supplanted and superseded by other substantial forms, or do they continue for ever as they were at the instant of their creation?

Some of our readers may think that what we have said in other preceding articles suffices to settle the question; for it is obvious that simple material elements are substantially unchangeable. But the peripatetic school looked at things from a different point of view, and thought that the question was to be solved by the consideration of the potentiality of the first matter with respect to all substantial forms. Hence it is under this aspect that their opinion is to be examined, that a correct judgment may be formed of the merits and deficiencies of a system so long advocated by the most celebrated philosophers. For this reason, as also because some modern writers have resuscitated this system without taking notice of its defects, and without making such corrections as were required to make it agree with the positive sciences, we think it necessary to examine the notions on which the whole Aristotelic theory is established, and the reasonings by which it is supported, and to point out the inaccuracies by which some of those reasonings are spoiled, as well as the limits within which the conclusions of the school can be maintained.

Materia prima.—The notion of “first matter,” which plays the principal part in the theory of substantial generations, has been the source of many disputes among philosophers.[98] Some, as Suarez, think that the materia prima is metaphysically constituted of act and potency; others consider the materia prima as a real potency only; whilst others consider it as a mere potency of being, and therefore as a non-entity. The word “matter” can, in fact, be used in three different senses.

First, it is used for material substance, either compound or simple; as when steel is said to be the matter of a sword, or when the primitive elements are said to be the matter of a body. When taken in this sense, the word “matter” means a physical being, substantially perfect, and capable of accidental modifications.

Secondly, the word “matter” is used for the potential term lying under the substantial form by which it is actuated. In this sense the matter is a metaphysical reality which, by completing its substantial form, concurs with it to the constitution of the physical being—that is, of the substance. It is usually called materia formata, or “formed matter.”

Thirdly, the word “matter” is used also for the potential term of substance conceived as deprived of its substantial form. In this sense the matter is a mere potency of being, and therefore a being of reason; for it cannot thus exist in the real order: and it is then called materia informis, or “unformed matter.” It is, however, to be remarked that the phrase materia informis has been used by the fathers of the church to designate the matter as it came out of the hands of the Creator before order, beauty, and harmony were introduced into the material world. Such a matter was not absolutely without form, as is evident.

Of the three opinions above mentioned about the nature of materia prima, the one maintained by Suarez is, in the present state of physical science, the most satisfactory, though it can scarcely be said to agree with the Aristotelic theory, as commonly understood. Indeed, if such a first matter is metaphysically constituted of act and potency, as he maintains, such a matter is nothing less than a primitive substance, as he also maintains; and we may be allowed to add, on the strength of the proofs given in our preceding articles, that such a first matter corresponds to our primitive unextended elements, which, though unknown to Suarez, are in fact the first physical matter of which all natural substances are composed. But, if the first matter involves a metaphysical act and is a substance, such a matter cannot be the subject of substantial generation; for what is already in act is not potential to the first act, and what has already a first being is not potential to the first being. Hence we may conclude that the first matter of Suarez excludes the theory of rigorously substantial generations, and leads to the conclusion that the generated substances are not new with respect to their substance, but only with regard to their compound essence, and that the forms by which they are constituted are indeed essential to them, but not strictly substantial, as we intend hereafter to explain.

The second interpretation of the words materia prima is that given by S. Thomas, when he considers the first matter as “matter without form,” and as a mere potency of being. “The matter,” he says, “exists sometimes under one form, and at other times under another; but it can never exist isolated—that is, by itself—because, as it does not[99] involve in its ratio any form, it cannot be in act (for the form is the only source of actuality), but can merely be in potency. And therefore, nothing which is in act can be called first matter.”[17] From these words it is evident that S. Thomas considers the first matter as matter without form; for, had it a form, it would be in act, and would cease to be called “first” matter. In another place he says: “Since the matter is a pure potency, it is one, not through any one form actuating it, but by the exclusion of all forms.”[18] And again: “The accidental form supervenes to a subject already pre-existent in act; the substantial form, on the contrary, does not supervene to a subject already pre-existent in act, but to something which is merely in potency to exist, viz., to the first matter.”[19] And again: “The true nature of matter is to have no form whatever in act, but to be in potency with regard to any of them.”[20] And again: “The first matter is a pure potency, just as God is a pure act.”[21]

From these passages, and from many others that might be found in S. Thomas’ works, it is manifest that the holy doctor, in his metaphysical speculations, considers the first matter as matter without a form. In this he faithfully follows Aristotle’s doctrine. For the Greek philosopher explicitly teaches that “as the metal is to the statue, or the wood to the bedstead, or any other unformed material to the thing which can be formed with it, so is the matter to the substance and to the being”;[22] that is, as the metal has not yet the form of a statue, so the first matter still lacks the substantial form, and consequently is a pure potency of being.

Nevertheless, the Angelic Doctor does not always abide by this old and genuine notion of the first matter. When treating of generation and corruption, or engaged in other physical questions, he freely assumes that the first matter is something actually lying under a substantial form, and therefore that it is a real potency in the order of nature, and not a mere result of intellectual abstraction. Thus he concedes that “the first matter exists in all bodies,”[23] that “the first matter must have been created by God under a substantial form,”[24] and that “the first matter remains in act, after it has lost a certain form, owing to the fact that it is actuated by another form.”[25] In these passages and in many others the first matter is evidently considered as matter under a form.

It is difficult to reconcile with one another these two notions, matter without a form, and matter under a form; for they seem quite[100] contradictory. The only manner of attempting such a conciliation would be to assume that when the first matter is said to be without a form, the preposition “without” is intended to express a mental abstraction, not a real exclusion, of the substantial form. Thus the phrase “without a form” would mean “without taking the form into account,” although such a form is really in the matter. This interpretation of the phrase might be justified by those passages of the holy doctor in which the first matter, inasmuch as first, is presented as a result of intellectual abstraction. Here is one of such passages: “First matter,” says he, “is commonly called something, within the genus of substance which is conceived as a potency abstracted from all forms and from all privations, but susceptible both of forms and of privations.”[26] It is evident that, by this kind of abstraction, the matter which is actually under a form would be conceived as being without a form. As, however, the conception would not correspond to the reality, the first matter, thus conceived, would have nothing common with the real matter which exists in nature. For, since the whole reality of matter depends on its actuation by a form, to conceive the matter without any form is to take away from it the only source of its reality, and to leave nothing but a non-entity connoting the privation of its form. Hence such a materia prima would entirely belong to the order of conceptual beings, not to the order of realities; and therefore the matter which exists in nature would not be “first matter.” It is superfluous to remark that if the first matter does not exist, as first, in the real order, all the reasonings of the peripatetic school about the offices performed by the first matter in the substantial generation are at an end.

The confusion of actuated with actuable matter was quite unavoidable in the Aristotelic theory of substantial generations. This theory assumes that not only the primitive elements of matter, but also every compound material substance, has a special substantial form giving the first being (simpliciter esse, or primum esse) to its matter. Hence, in the substantial generation, as understood by Aristotle, the matter must pass from one first being to another first being. Now, the authors who adopted such a theory well saw that the matter which had to acquire a first being, was to be considered as having no being at all; else it would not acquire its first being. On the other hand, the matter which passed from one first being to another was to be considered as having a first being; or else it would not exchange it for another. Hence the first matter, as ready to acquire a first being, was called a pure potency—that is, a potency of being; whilst, as ready to exchange its first being for another, it was called a real potency—that is, an actual reality. That a pure potency can be a real potency, or an actual reality, is an assumption which the peripatetic school never succeeded in proving, though it is the very foundation of the theory of strictly substantial generations as by them advocated.

Before we proceed further we[101] have to mention S. Augustine’s notion of unformed matter, as one which contains a great deal more of truth than is commonly believed by the peripatetic writers. This great doctor admits that unformed matter was created, and existed for a time in its informity. “The earth,” says he, “was nothing but unformed matter; for it was invisible and uncompounded, … and out of this invisible and uncompounded matter, out of this informity, out of this almost mere nothingness, thou wast to make, O God! all the things which this changeable world contains.”[27] Some will ask: How could such a great man admit the existence of matter without a form? Did he not know that a potency without an act cannot exist? Or is it to be suspected that what he calls unformed matter was not altogether destitute of a form, but only of such a form as would make it visible as in the compound bodies?

S. Thomas believes that S. Augustine really excluded all forms from his unformed matter, and remarks that such an unformed matter could not possibly exist in such a state; for, if it existed, it was in act as a result of creation. For the term of creation is a being in act; and the act is a form.[28] Thus it is evident that to admit the existence of the matter without any form at all is a very gross blunder. But, for this very reason that the blunder is so great, we cannot believe that S. Augustine made himself guilty of it. We rather believe that he merely excluded from his unformed matter a visible shape, and what was afterward called “the form of corporeity” by which compound substances are constituted in their species and distinguished from one another. Let us hear him.

“There was a time,” says he, “when I used to call unformed, not that which I thought to be altogether destitute of a form, but that which I imagined to be ill-formed, and to have such an odd and ugly form as would be shocking to see. But what I thus imagined was unformed, not absolutely, but only in comparison with other things endowed with better forms; whilst reason and truth demanded that I should discard entirely all thought of any remaining form, if I wished to conceive matter as truly unformed. But this I could not do; for it was easier to surmise that a thing altogether deprived of form had no existence, than to admit anything intermediate between a formed being and nothing, which would be neither a formed being nor nothing, but an unformed being and almost a mere nothing. At last I dropped from my mind all those images of formed bodies, which my imagination was used to multiply and vary at random, and began to consider the bodies themselves, and their mutability on account of which such bodies cease to be what they were, and begin to be what they were not. And I began to conjecture that their passage from one form to another was made through something unformed, not through absolute nothing. But this I desired to know, not to surmise. Now, were[102] I to say all that thou, O God! hadst taught me about this subject, who among my readers would strive to grasp my thought? But I shall not cease to praise thee in my heart for those very things which I cannot expound. For the mutability of changeable things is susceptible of all the forms by which such things can be changed. But what is such a mutability? Is it a soul? Is it a body? Is it the feature of a soul or of a body? Were it allowable, I would call it a nothing-something, and a being non-being. And yet it was already in some manner before it received these visible and compounded forms.”[29]

The more we examine this passage, the stronger becomes our conviction that the word “form” was used here by S. Augustine, not for the substantial form of Aristotle, but for shape or geometric form, and that “unformed matter” stands here for shapeless matter. For, when he says that “reason and truth demand that all thought of any remaining forms should be discarded,” of what remaining forms does he speak? Of those “odd and ugly forms” which he says would be shocking to see. But it is evident that no substantial form can be odd and ugly or shocking to see. Moreover, S. Augustine conceives his “unformed matter,” by dropping from his mind “all those images of formed bodies” by which his imagination had been previously haunted. Now, it is obvious that substantial forms are not an object of the imagination, nor can they be styled “images” of formed bodies. Lastly, the holy doctor explicitly says that the matter of the bodies “was already in some manner before it could receive these visible and compounded forms,” which shows that the forms which he excluded from the primitive matter are “the visible and compounded forms” of bodies—that is, such forms as result from material composition. And this is confirmed by those other words of the holy doctor, “The earth was nothing but unformed matter; for it was invisible and uncompounded”—that is, the informity of the earth consisted in the absence of material composition, and, therefore, of visible shape, not in the absence of primitive substantial forms.

It would be interesting to know why S. Augustine believed that his readers would not bear with him (quis legentium capere durabit?) if he were to say all that God had taught him about shapeless matter. Had God taught him the existence of simple and unextended elements? Was his shapeless matter that simple point, that invisible and uncompounded potency, on account of which all elements are liable to geometrical arrangement and to physical composition? The[103] holy doctor does not tell us; but certainly, if there ever was shapeless matter, it could have no extension, for extension entails shape. It would, therefore, seem that S. Augustine’s shapeless matter could not but consist of simple and unextended elements; and if so, he had good reason to expect that his readers would scorn a notion so contrary to the popular bias; as we see that even in our own time, and in the teeth of scientific and philosophical evidence, the same notion cannot take hold of the popular mind.

If the unformed matter of S. Augustine is matter without shape and without extension, we can easily understand why he calls it pene nullam rem, viz., scarcely more than nothing.[30] Indeed, the potential term of a primitive element, a simple point in space, is scarcely more than nothing; for it has no bulk, and were it not for the act which gives it existence, it would be nothing at all, as it has nothing in itself and in its potential nature which deserves the name of “being”; but it borrows all its being from the substantial act, as we shall explain later on. It is, therefore, plain that the matter of a simple element, and of all simple elements, is hardly more than nothing, and that it might almost be described as a nothing-something, and a being non-being, as S. Augustine observes. But when the primitive matter began to cluster into bodies having bulk and composition, then this same matter acquired a visible form under definite dimensions, and thus one mass of matter became distinguishable from another, and by the arrangement of such distinct material things the order and beauty of the world were produced.

Thus S. Augustine did not admit the existence of matter deprived of a substantial form, but only the existence of matter without shape, and therefore without extension. And for this reason we have said that his doctrine contains more truth than is commonly believed by the peripatetic writers. His uncompounded matter can mean nothing else than simple elements; and since the components are the material cause of the compound, and must be presupposed to it, the simple elements of which all bodies consist are undoubtedly those material beings which God must have created before anything having shape and material composition could make its appearance in the world. Hence S. Augustine’s view of creation is, in this respect, perfectly consistent with sound philosophy no less than with revelation. His shapeless matter must be ranked, we think, with the first matter of Suarez above mentioned, under the name of primitive material substance.

As to the first matter of S. Thomas and of the other followers of Aristotle, it is difficult to say what it is; for we have seen that it has been understood in two different manners. If we adopt its most received definition, we must call it “a pure potency” and “a first potency.” According to this definition, the first matter is a non-entity, as we have already remarked, and has no part in the constitution of substance, any more than a corpse in the constitution of man; for, as the body of man is not a living corpse, so the matter in material substance is not a pure potency in act, both expressions implying a like[104] contradiction. Hence the first matter, according to this definition, is not a metaphysical being, but a mere being of reason—that is, a conception of nothingness as resulting from the suppression of the formal principle of being.

From our notion of simple elements we can form a very clear image of this being of reason. In a primitive element the matter borrows all its reality from the substantial form of which it is the intrinsic term—that is, from a virtual sphericity of which it is the centre. To change such a centre into a pure potency of being, we have merely to suppress the virtual sphericity; for, by so doing, what was a real centre of power becomes an imaginary centre, a term deprived of its reality, a mere nothing; which however, from the nature of the process by which it is reached, is still conceived as the vestige of the real centre of power, and, so to say, the shadow of the real matter which disappears. Thus the materia prima, as a pure potency, is nothing else than an imaginary point in space, or the potency of a real centre of power. This clear and definite conception of the first matter is calculated to shed some additional light on many questions connected with the peripatetic philosophy, and, above all, on the very definition of matter. The old metaphysicians, when defining the first matter to be “a pure potency,” had no notion of the existence of simple elements, and knew very little about the law of material actions; and for this reason they could say nothing about the special character of such a pure potency. For the same reason they were unable also to point out the special nature of the first act of matter; they simply recognized that the conspiration of such a potency with such an act ought to give rise to a “movable being.” But potency and act are to be found not only in material, but also in spiritual, substances; and as these substances are of a quite different nature, it is evident that their respective potencies and their respective acts must be of a quite different nature. Now, the special character of the potency of material substance consists in its being a local term, whilst the special character of the potency of spiritual substance consists in its being an intellectual term. And therefore, to distinguish the former from the latter, we should say that the matter is “a potential term in space” and the first matter “a potency of being in space.” The additional words “in space” point out the characteristic attribute of the material potency as distinguished from all other potencies.

Moreover, our conception of materia prima as an imaginary point in space may help us to realize more completely the distinction which must be made between the non-entity of the first matter and absolute nothingness. Absolute nothingness is a mere negation of being, or a negative non-entity; whereas the non-entity of the first matter is formally constituted by a privation, and must be styled a privative non-entity. For, as the matter and its substantial form are the constituents of one and the same primitive essence, we cannot think of the matter without reference to the form, nor of the form without reference to the matter. And therefore, when, in order to conceive the first matter, we suppress mentally the substantial form, we deprive the matter of what it essentially requires for its existence; and it is in consequence of[105] such a process that we reduce the matter to a non-entity. Now, to exclude from the matter the form which is due to it is to constitute the matter under a privation. Therefore the resulting non-entity of the first matter is a privative non-entity. Indeed, privation is defined as “the absence of something due to a subject,” and we can scarcely say that a non-entity is a subject. But this definition applies to real privations only, which require a real subject lacking something due to it; as when a man has lost an eye or a foot. But in our case, as we are concerned with a pure potency of being, which has no reality at all, our subject can be nothing else than a non-entity. This is the subject which demands the form of which it is bereaved, as it cannot even be conceived without reference to it. The very name of matter, which it retains, points out a form as its transcendental correlative; while the epithet “first” points out the fact that this matter is yet destitute of that being which it should have in order to deserve the name of real matter.

But, much as this notion of the first matter agrees with that of “pure potency” and of “first potency,” the followers of the peripatetic system will say that their first matter is something quite different, as is evident from their theory of substantial generations, which would have no meaning, if the first matter were not a reality. Let us, then, waive for the present the notion of “pure potency,” and turn our attention to that of “real potency,” that we may see what kind of reality the first matter must be, when the “first matter” is identified with the matter actually existing under a substantial form.

The matter actuated by a form is a real potency, and nothing more. It is only by stretching the word “being” beyond its legitimate meaning that this real potency is sometimes called a real being. In fact, the potential term of the real being is real, not on account of any real entity involved in its own nature, but merely on account of the real act by which it is actuated. How anything can be real without possessing an entity of its own our reader may easily understand by recollecting what we have often remarked about the centre of a sphere, whose reality is entirely due to the spherical form, or by reflecting that negations and privations are similarly called real, not because of any entity involved in them, but simply because they are appurtenances of real beings.

We have seen that S. Augustine would fain have called the primitive matter a nothing-something and a being non-being, if such phrases had been allowable. His thought was deep, but he could not find words to express it thoroughly. Our “real potency” is that “nothing-something” which was in the mind of the holy doctor. S. Thomas gives us a clew to the explanation of such a “nothing-something” by remarking that to be and to have being are not precisely the same thing. To be is the attribute of a complete act, whilst to have being is the attribute of a potency actuated by its act. That is said to be which contains in itself the formal reason of its being; whilst that is said to have being which does not contain in itself the formal reason of its being, but receives its being from without, and puts it on as a borrowed garment. Of course, God alone can be said to be in the fullest meaning of the term, as he alone contains in himself the adequate[106] reason of his being; yet all created essence can be said to be, inasmuch as it contains in itself the formal reason of its being—that is, an act giving existence to a potency; whereas the potency itself can be said merely to have being, because being is not included in the nature of potency, but must come to it from a distinct source. And therefore, as a thing colored has color, but is not color, and as a body animated has life, but is not life, so the matter actuated by its form has being, but is not a being.

Some philosophers, who failed to take notice of this distinction, maintained that the matter which exists under a substantial form is an incomplete being, and an incomplete substance. The expression is not correct. For, if the matter which lies under the substantial form were an incomplete being, it would be the office of the form to complete it. Now, the substantial form can have no such office; for the form always inchoates what the matter completes. It is always the term that completes the act, whilst the act actuates the term by giving it the first being. Hence the matter which lies under its substantial form is not an incomplete entity. Nor is it an entity destined to complete the form; for, if the term which completes a form were a being, such a term would be a real subject, and thus the form terminated to it would not be strictly substantial, as it would not give it the first being. Moreover, the matter and the substantial form constitute one primitive essence, in which it is impossible to admit a multiplicity of entitative constituents; and therefore, since the substantial form, which is a formal source of being, is evidently an entitative constituent, it follows that the matter lying under it has no entity of its own, but is merely clothed with the entity of its form.

But, true though it is that the matter lying under a substantial form has no entity of its own, it is, however, a real term, as we have already intimated; hence it may be called a reality. And since reality and entity are commonly used as synonymous, we may admit that the formed matter is an entity, adjectively, not substantively, just as we admit that ivory is a sphere when it lies under a spherical form. Nevertheless the ivory, to speak more properly, should be said to have sphericity rather than to be a sphere; for, though it is the subject of sphericity, it is not spherical of its own nature. In the same manner, a body vivified by a soul is called living; but, properly speaking, it should be styled having life, because life is not a property of the body as such, but it springs from the presence of the soul in the body. The like is to be said of the being of the matter as actuated by the substantial form. It is from the form alone that such a matter has its first being; and therefore such a matter has only a borrowed being, and is a real potency, not a real entity. Such is, we believe, the true interpretation of S. Augustine’s phrase: “nothing-something” and “being non-being”—Nihil aliquid, et est non est.

Nor is it strange that the matter should be a reality without being an entity, properly so called; for the like happens with all the real terms of contingent things. Thus the real term of a line (the point) is no linear entity, though it certainly belongs to the line, and is something real in the line; the real term of time (the present instant, or the now) is no temporal entity,[107] as it has no extension, though it certainly belongs to time, and is something real in time; the real term of a body (the simple element) is no bodily entity, as it has no bulk, though it certainly belongs to the body, and is something real in it; the real term of a circle (the centre) is no circular entity, though it certainly belongs to the circle, and is something real in it. And in like manner the real term of a primitive contingent substance (its potency) is no substantial entity, though it evidently belongs to the contingent substance, and is something real in it. In God alone, whose being excludes contingency, the substantial term (the Word) stands forth as a true entity—a most perfect and infinite entity—for, as the term of the divine generation is not educed out of nothing, it is absolutely free from all potentiality, and is in eternal possession of infinite actuality. Hence it is that God alone, as we have above remarked, can be said to be in the fullest meaning of the term.

As the best authors agree that the matter which is under a substantial form is no being, but only “a real potency,” we will dispense with further considerations on this special point. What we have said suffices to give our readers an idea of the materia prima of the ancients, and of the different manners in which it has been understood.

Substantial form.—Coming now to the notion of the substantial form the first thing which deserves special notice is the fact that the phrase “substantial form” can be interpreted in two manners, owing to the double meaning attached to the epithet “substantial.” All the forms which supervene to a specific nature already constituted have been called “accidental,” and all the forms which enter into the constitution of a specific nature have been called “substantial.” But as the accident can be contrasted with the essence no less than with the substance of a thing, so the substantial form can be defined either as that which gives the first being to a certain essence, or as that which gives the first being to a substance as such. The schoolmen, in fact, left us two definitions of their substantial forms, of which the first is: “The substantial form is that which gives the first being to the matter”; the second is: “The substantial form is that which gives the first being to a thing.” The first definition belongs to the form strictly substantial, for the result of the first actuation of matter is a primitive substance; whereas the second has a much wider range, because all things which involve material composition, in their specific nature, receive the first specific being by a form which needs not give the first existence to their material components, and which, therefore, is not strictly a substantial form. Thus a molecule of oxygen, because it contains a definite number of primitive elements, cannot be formally constituted in its specific nature, except by a specific composition; and such a composition is an essential, though not a truly substantial, form of the compound, as we shall more fully explain in another article.

The strictly substantial form contains in itself the whole reason of the being of the substance; for the matter which completes it does not contribute to the constitution of the substance, except as a mere term—that is, by simply receiving existence, and therefore without adding any new entity to the entity of the form. Whence it follows that the[108] form itself contains the whole reason of the resulting essence. “Although the essence of a being,” says S. Thomas, “is neither the form alone nor the matter alone, yet the form alone is, in its own manner, the cause of such an essence.”[31] It cannot, however, be inferred from this that the strictly substantial form is a physical being. Physical beings have a complete essence and an existence of their own; which is not the case with any material form. “Even the forms themselves,” according to S. Thomas, “have no being; it is only the compounds (of matter and form) that have being through them.”[32] And again: “The substantial form itself has no complete essence; for in the definition of the substantial form it is necessary to include that of which it is the form.”[33] It is plain that a being which has no complete essence and no possibility of a separate existence cannot be styled a physical being, but only a metaphysical constituent of the physical being.

The schoolmen teach that the substantial forms of bodies are educed out of the potency of matter. This proposition is true. For the so-called “substantial” forms of bodies are not strictly substantial, but only essential or natural forms, as they give the first existence, not to the matter of which the bodies are composed, but only to the bodies themselves. Now, all bodies are material compounds of a certain species, and therefore involve distinct material terms bound together by a specific form of composition, without which such a specific compound can have no existence. The specific form of composition is therefore the essential form of a body of a given species; and such is the form that gives the first being to the body. To say that such a form is educed out of the potency of matter is to state an obvious truth, as it is known that the composition of bodies is brought about by the mutual action of the elements of which the bodies are constituted, which action proceeds from the active potency, and actuates the passive potency of the matter of the body, as we shall explain more fully in the sequel.

But the old natural philosophers, who had no notion of primitive unextended elements, when affirming the eduction of substantial forms out of the potency of matter, took for granted that such forms were strictly substantial, and gave the first being not only to the body, but also to the matter itself of which the body was composed. In this they were mistaken; but the mistake was excusable, as chemistry had not yet shown the law of definite proportions in the combination of different bodies, nor had the spectroscope revealed the fact that the primitive molecules of all bodies are composed of free elementary substances vibrating around a common centre, and remaining substantially identical amid all the changes produced by natural causes in the material world. Nevertheless, had they not been biassed by the Ipse dixit, the peripatetics would have found that, though accidental forms, and many essential forms too, are educed out of the potency of matter, yet the strictly substantial forms cannot be so educed.


The matter may be conceived either as formed or as unformed. If it is formed, it is already in possession of its substantial form and of its first being, which it never loses, as we shall prove hereafter. Therefore such a matter is not in potency with regard to its first being; and thus no strictly substantial form can be educed from the potency of the formed matter. If, on the contrary, the matter is yet unformed, it is plain that such a matter cannot be acted on by natural agents; for it has no existence in the order of things, and therefore it cannot be the subject of natural actions. How, then, can it receive the first being? Owing to the impossibility of explaining how the unformed matter could be actuated by natural agents, those who admitted the eduction of substantial forms out of the potency of matter were constrained to assume that the first matter had some reality of its own, and consisted intrinsically, as Suarez teaches, of act and potency. But, though it is true that the matter must have some reality in order to receive from natural agents a new form, it is evident that such a new form cannot be strictly substantial; for it cannot give the first being to a matter already endowed with being. Hence no strictly substantial form can be naturally educed out of the potency of matter.

If, then, a truly substantial form could in any sense be educed out of the potency of matter, such an eduction should be made, not by natural causes, but by God himself in the act of creation; for no agent, except God, can bring matter into existence. But we think that even in this case it would be incorrect to say that the substantial form is educed out of the potency of matter. For, although the unformed matter, and the nothingness out of which things are educed by creation, admit of no real difference, yet the unformed matter, as a privative non-entity, involves a formality of reason, which absolute nothingness does not involve; and hence to substitute the unformed matter for absolute nothingness as the extrinsic term of creation, is to present the fact of creation under a false formality. God creates a substance, not by educing its form out of a privative non-entity—that is, out of an abstraction—but by educing the substance itself out of nothingness. And for this reason it would be quite incorrect to call creation an eduction of a substantial form out of the potency of matter.

There is yet another reason why creation should not be so explained. For the philosophers who admit the eduction of substantial forms out of the potency of matter, assume, either explicitly or implicitly, that such a potency is real, though they often call it “a pure potency,” as we have stated. Their matter is therefore a real subject of substantial generations. Now, it is obvious that creation neither presupposes nor admits a previous real subject. Hence, to say that creation is the eduction of a substantial form out of the potency of matter, would be to employ a very mischievous phrase, with nothing to justify it, even if no other objection could be raised against its use.

We conclude that strictly substantial forms are never educed out of the potency of matter, but are simply educed out of nothing in creation. As, however, every such form gives being to its matter, without which it cannot exist, we commonly say that the whole substance, and not its form as such, is educed[110] out of nothing. S. Thomas says: “The term of creation is a being in act; and its act is its form”[34]—the form, evidently, which gives the first being to the matter, and which is therefore truly and properly substantial. Hence, before the position of this act, nothing exists in nature which can be styled “matter,” whilst at the position of this act, and by virtue of it, the material substance itself is instantly brought into existence. Accordingly, the position of an act which formally gives existence to its term is the very eduction of the substance out of nothing; and the strictly substantial form is educed out of nothing in the very creation of the substance, whereas the matter, at the mere position of such a form, and through it immediately, acquires its first existence. The matter, as the reader may recollect, is to its form what the centre of a sphere is to the spherical form. Hence, as the centre acquires its being by the mere position of a spherical form, so the matter acquires its being by the mere position of the substantial form, without the concurrence of any other causality.

This last conclusion may give rise to an objection, which we cannot leave without an answer. The objection is the following: If the matter receives its first being through the substantial form alone, it follows that God did not create the matter, but only the form itself.

We answer that when we speak of the creation of matter, the word “matter” means “material substance.” For the term of creation, as we have just remarked with S. Thomas, is the being in act—that is, the complete being, as it physically exists in the order of nature. Now, such a being is the substance itself. On the other hand, to create the being in act is to produce the act which is the formal reason of the being; and since the position of the act entails the existence of a potential term, it is evident that God, by producing the act, causes the existence of the potential term. But as this term is not a “real being,” but only a “real potency,” and as its reality is merely “borrowed” from the substantial form, it has nothing in itself which requires making, and therefore it cannot be the term of a special creation.

The old philosophers, who admitted the separability of the matter from its substantial form, and who were for this reason obliged to grant to such a matter an imperfect being, were wont to say that the matter was con-created with the form, and thus they seem to have conceived the creation of a primitive material substance as including two partial creations. But, as a primitive being includes but one act, it cannot be the term of two actions; for two actions imply two acts. On the other hand, the matter which is under the substantial act has no entity of its own, as we have shown to be the true and common doctrine, and therefore has no need of a special effection, but only of a formal actuation. Hence the creation of a primitive material substance does not consist of two partial creations. We may, however, adopt the term “con-created” to express the fact that the position of the act entails the reality of the potential term, just as the position of sphericity entails the existence of a centre.

The preceding remarks have[111] been made with the object of preparing the solution of a difficulty concerning the creation of matter. For matter is potential, whilst God is a pure act without potency; but a pure act without potency cannot produce anything potential, since it does not contain in itself any potentiality nor anything equivalent to it. Therefore the origin of matter cannot be accounted for by creation.

The answer to this difficulty is as follows: We grant that the matter, as distinguished from the form which gives it the first being, and therefore as a potential term of the primitive substance, cannot be created, for it is no being at all, but only a potency of being; and yet it does not follow that the material substance itself cannot be created. Of course God does not contain in himself, either formally or eminently, the potentiality of his own creatures, but he eminently contains in himself and can produce out of himself an endless multitude of acts giving existence to as many potential terms. And thus God, by producing any such act, causes the existence of its correspondent potency, which is not efficiently made, but only formally actuated, as has been just explained. Creation is an action, and action is the production of an act; hence “the term of creation is a being in act, and this act is the form,” as St. Thomas teaches; the matter, on the contrary, or the potency of the created being, is a term coming out of nothingness by formal actuation, and consequently having no being of its own, but owing whatever existence it has to the act or form of which it is the term; so that, if God ceased to conserve such an act, the term would instantly vanish altogether without need of a special annihilation. Nothingness is the source of all potentiality and imperfection, as God is the source of all actuality and perfection. Hence even the spiritual creatures, in which there is no matter, are essentially potential, inasmuch as they, too, have come out of nothing. This suffices to show that God, though containing in himself no formal and no virtual potentiality, can create a substance essentially constituted of act and potency. For we have seen that, to create such a substance, God needs only to produce an act ad extra, and that such an act contains in itself the formal reason of its proportionate potency; because “although the essence of a being is neither the form alone nor the matter alone, yet the form alone is in its own manner (that is, by formal principiation) the cause of such an essence.”

And let this suffice respecting the general notions of first matter and substantial form.




The Catholics of Germany have suffered a great loss in the death of Herman von Mallinkrodt, deputy to the Reichstag. Germany now realizes what he was, and it is indeed a pleasure for us to honor in this periodical the memory of this extraordinary man by giving a short sketch of his life.

Herman von Mallinkrodt was born in Minden (Westphalia), on the 5th of February, 1821. His father, who was of noble birth and a Prussian officer of state, was a Protestant; his mother, née Von Hartman, of Paderborn, was an excellent Catholic. All the children of this marriage were baptized Catholics—which is very seldom the case in mixed marriages—and were filled with the true Catholic spirit.

Like Herman, so also did his brother and sister, who were older than he, distinguish themselves by their decidedly Catholic qualities. George, who had become the possessor of the old convent of Boeddekken, founded in the year 837 by S. Meinulph, cherished a special devotion towards this the first saint of Paderborn, and rebuilt the chapel, destroyed in the beginning of this century by the Prussian government. This chapel is greatly esteemed as a perfect specimen of Gothic architecture, and is now held in high honor, as being the final resting-place of Herman von Mallinkrodt. His sister, Pauline, the foundress and mother-general of the sisterhood of “Christian Love,” has become celebrated by the success she has achieved in the education of girls. (The principal teacher of Pauline was the noble convert and celebrated poetess, Louisa Aloysia Hensel, in whose verses, according to the criticism of the Protestant historian Barthel, more tender and Christian sentiments are expressed than are to be found in any German production of modern times.) These excellent Sisters were also expelled, as being dangerous to the state, and sought as well as found a new field of usefulness in America, the land of freedom.

The true Catholic discipline of these three children they owe to the careful training of their mother and the pure Catholic atmosphere of Aix-la-Chapelle, to which city their father was sent as vice-president of the government. Herman followed the profession of his father, and studied jurisprudence. The interest felt by the young jurist in whatever concerned the church is seen in the following incident, which had an important influence on his whole life: When the time had arrived for him to pass his state examination, he retired to the quiet of Boeddekken. From different themes he selected the one treating on the judicial relations between church and state. Not being satisfied with the view taken by certain authors, he endeavored to arrive at a knowledge of the matter by personal investigation, and after fourteen months of close application[113] he succeeded in establishing a system which proved itself on all sides tenable and in harmony with the writings of the old canonists of the church. The person to whose judgment the production was submitted declared that the treatise, although excellent, was too strongly in favor of the church, but that the author had permission to publish it, which, however, was not done. Herman, nevertheless, as he afterwards told one of his friends, had never to retract one of the principles he then maintained; he had only to let them develop themselves more fully. As he in his youth did not rest until he had become perfect master of any theme he had to discuss, so also did he never in afterlife ascend the tribune, upon which he won imperishable honors, until he had digested the whole matter in his mind. We make no mention of the positions which Mallinkrodt occupied as the servant of the state. It is well known that his strong Catholic sentiments were for the Prussian government an insurmountable objection to his being elevated to a post corresponding with his eminent ability, until he, as counsellor of the government at Merseburg, left the ungrateful service of the state. It was, however, his good fortune to apply the talents which Almighty God had given him in so full a measure, to his parliamentary duties for eighteen years, from 1852 to 1874, the short interruption from 1864 to 1868 excepted.

In his life his friends recognized his merits, and in his death even his enemies confessed that a great man had passed away.

This prominent leader Almighty God has taken from us in a sudden and unexpected manner. The last Prussian Diet, at whose session he was more conspicuous than ever before, had adjourned, and in paying his farewell visits before his return to his home in Nord-Borchen, where he possessed a family mansion, he contracted a cold, which finally developed itself into an inflammation of the lungs and of the membrane covering the thorax. On the fifth day of his sickness the man who, by his indefatigable public labors and the grief he felt for the afflictions undergone by the church, had worn out his life, passed to his eternal reward, on the 26th of May, in the 53d year of his age. He had married Thecla, née Von Bernhard, a step-sister of his first wife, several months before his death, and she was present when he died. Placing one hand in hers, he embraced with the other the cross, which in life he had always venerated and chosen as his standard.

No pen can describe the heartfelt anguish which the Catholic people of Germany felt at their loss. At the funeral services in Berlin the distinguished members of all parties were present. The government alone failed to acknowledge the merit of one who had so long been an eminent leader in the Reichstag. Paderborn, to which city the body was conveyed, has never witnessed such a grand funeral procession as that of Von Mallinkrodt. From thence to Boeddekken, a distance of nine miles, one congregation after the other formed the honorary escort, not counting the crowd of mourners who had gathered together at Boeddekken, where the deceased was to be buried in the chapel of S. Meinulph. A large number of members of the Centrum party, nearly all the nobility of Westphalia, were here assembled, and many cities of Germany sent deputies, who deposited[114] laurel wreaths upon the coffin. It was an imposing sight when his Excellency Dr. Windthorst approached the open grave to strew, as the last service of love, some blessed earth upon the remains of his dear friend, the tears streaming meanwhile from his eyes. During the funeral services the bells of the Cathedral of Münster tolled solemnly for two hours, summoning Catholics from the different districts to attend the High Mass of Requiem for the beloved dead; so that the words of the Holy Scriptures applied to the hero of the Machabees can be truly applied also to Von Mallinkrodt: “And all the people … bewailed him with great lamentation” (1 Machabees ix. 20). It is a remarkable fact that even his opponents, who during his lifetime attacked him with all manner of weapons, could not but bestow the most unqualified praises upon him in death. It would seem that the eloquence of Von Mallinkrodt during his latter years had been all in vain; for although every seat was filled as soon as he ascended the tribune to speak, and he was listened to with profound attention, yet he exercised no influence upon the votes, for the reason that they had previously been determined upon. No one was found who could reply to his forcible arguments, for they were unanswerable. Not only his graceful oratory, but the very appearance of a man so true to his convictions, had its effect even upon his opponents. It will not be out of place for us to give a few of the tributes paid to his memory by those who differed from him in politics. Even in Berlin, where titles are so plentiful, the general sentiment was one of sorrow. “With respectful sympathy,” writes the Spener Gazette, “we have to announce the unexpected death of a man distinguished not only for talent, but for integrity—Herman von Mallinkrodt, deputy to the Reichstag. He was sincerely convinced of the justice of the cause he espoused. Greater praise we cannot bestow upon a friend, nor can we refrain from acknowledging that our late adversary always acted from principle.” “Von Mallinkrodt,” says the correspondent of the Berlin Progress, “stood in the first rank when there was question regarding the policy of the government against the church; no other orator, not only of his own party, but even of the opposition, could compare with him in logical reasoning or in rhetorical skill. His speeches give evident proof of the rare combination of truth and ability to be found in this great man.” The fault-finding Elberfelder Gazette testifies as follows to the eloquence of our deputy: “Who that has listened to even one of Von Mallinkrodt’s speeches can ever forget the fascinating eloquence or the picturesque appearance of the orator—reminding one of the Duke of Alba, by the perfect dignity of his manner and the classic form of his discourse?” The Magdeburg correspondent almost goes further when he says: “He served his party with such disinterestedness, and was so indifferent to his own advancement, that it would be well if all political parties could show many such characters—men who live exclusively for one idea, and sacrifice every temporal advantage to this idea. The Reichstag will find it difficult to fill the vacuum caused by the death of Von Mallinkrodt. In this all parties agree; and members who combated the principles of the deceased with the greatest earnestness, nevertheless[115] confess that in energy and vigor of expression he was seldom equalled and never excelled by any one.” “In regard to his exterior appearance,” the Magdeburg Gazette says: “Von Mallinkrodt, with his erect person, beautifully-formed head, stern features, and flashing eyes, was a fine specimen of a man who knew how to control his temper, and not give way to an outburst of passion at an important moment. He was a leader who, in the severest combat, could impart courage and confidence to his followers, and he stood as firm as a rock when any attempt was made to crush him.… He will not be soon forgotten by those with whom he has had intellectual contests. Of Von Mallinkrodt, who stands alone among men, it can be truly said: ‘He was a great man.’”

The reader will pardon us for selecting from among the many tributes of respect paid to the memory of Von Mallinkrodt one taken from the democratic Frankfort Gazette, edited by Jews, which journal at other times keeps its columns open to the most outrageous attacks upon the Catholic Church. It says with great truth: “The single idea of the church entirely filled the mind of this extraordinary and wonderful man; and firmly as he upheld the system of Mühler-Krätzig, as steadfastly did he oppose the policy of Falk. In this opposition he grew stronger from session to session, the governing principle of his life developed itself more and more fully, and he became bolder in his attack upon the ministers and their parliamentary friends. Talent and character were united in him; a true son of the church, he was at the same time a true son of mother earth, and his healthy organization had its effect upon his disposition. The last session of the Reichstag saw him at the height of his usefulness; his last grand speech, in reference to the laws against the bishops, was, as his friends and opponents acknowledge, the most important parliamentary achievement since the beginning of the conflict.… In him the Reichstag loses not only one of its shining lights, but also a character of iron mould, such as is seldom found preserved in all its strength in the present unsettled state of public affairs. We cannot join in the requiem which the priests will sing around his catafalque, but his honest opponents will venerate his memory, for he was, what can be said of but few in our degenerate times—a true man.”

With these noble qualities Von Mallinkrodt possessed the greatest modesty; he was accessible to every one, cheerful and familiar in the happy circle of his friends, respectful to his political opponents, just and reasonable to Protestants, and devoted to his spiritual mother, the Catholic Church. Like O’Connell, during his parliamentary labors he had constant recourse to prayer. “Pray for me!” were his farewell words to his sister when he went to Berlin to enter the arena of politics. When he had concluded the above-mentioned last and grand speech in the Reichstag, in regard to the laws against the bishops, with the words, Per crucem ad lucem, which he himself translated, “through the cross to joy,” and when he descended the tribune, he went directly to the seat of Rev. Father Miller, of Berlin, counsellor of the bishop, stretched out his hand to him, and said, “You have prayed well!” It is said of him that before any important debate in the chambers he went in the[116] morning to Holy Communion. The people of Nord-Borchen tell one another with emotion how, without ever having been noticed by him, they have observed their good Von Mallinkrodt pass hours in prayer in the lonely chapel near Borchen. What pious aspirations he made in that secluded spot God alone knows. He was always very fond of reciting the Rosary, which devotion displayed itself particularly upon his death-bed. He asked the Sister who nursed him to recite the beads with him, as his weakness prevented him from praying aloud. When his wife approached his couch of pain, after greeting her affectionately, he told her to look for his rosary and crucifix, which she would find lying beside him on the right. The following day, when his sister, the Superioress Pauline, had arrived in Berlin, after a friendly salutation, he said to her: “It is indeed good that you are here; say with me another decade of the Rosary.” It is related of O’Connell that in a decisive moment he would always retire to a corner in the House of Parliament, in order to say the Rosary; it was also the habit of Von Mallinkrodt.

The same living faith which animated him in life gave him also consolation in death. “Think of S. Elizabeth,” said he to his wife, Thecla; “she also became a widow when young.” When his wife, the day previous to his death, spoke to him of the love and grief of his five children, tears filled his eyes; but he wiped them quietly away without uttering a word, and looked up to heaven. He explained to the Sister who attended him why during his whole illness he had never felt any solicitude concerning his temporal or family affairs; for, said he, “I have confidence in God.”

Another remarkable feature of his last sickness, which testifies to the peaceful state of mind of this Christian warrior, who fought the cause, but not the individual, was the fact that he evinced real satisfaction that his personal relations toward his political opponents had become no worse, but even more friendly. It was this sentiment which, when the fever had reached its height, caused him to exclaim: “I was willing to live in peace with every one; but justice must prevail! Should Christians not speak more like Christians when among Christians?” As Von Mallinkrodt lived by faith, so also did he die, embracing the sign of redemption; and thus he passed away per crucem ad lucem—through the cross to joy.



“These are not the times to sit with folded arms, while all the enemies of God are occupied in overthrowing every thing worthy of respect.”—Pius IX., Jan. 13, 1873.

“Yes, this change, this triumph, will come. I know not whether it will come during my life, during the life of this poor Vicar of Jesus Christ; but that it must come, I know. The resurrection will take place and we shall see the end of all impiety.”—Pius IX., Anniversary of the Roman Plébiscite, 1872.


The Catholic Church throughout the world, beginning at Rome, is in a suffering state. There is scarcely a spot on the earth where she is not assailed by injustice, oppression, or violent persecution. Like her divine Author in his Passion, every member has its own trial of pain to endure. All the gates of hell have been opened, and every species of attack, as by general conspiracy, has been let loose at once upon the church.

Countries in which Catholics outnumber all other Christians put together, as France, Austria, Italy, Spain, Bavaria, Baden, South America, Brazil, and, until recently, Belgium, are for the most part controlled and governed by hostile minorities, and in some instances the minority is very small.

Her adversaries, with the finger of derision, point out these facts and proclaim them to the world. Look, they say, at Poland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Bavaria, Austria, Italy, France, and what do you see? Countries subjugated, or enervated, or agitated by the internal throes of revolution. Everywhere among Catholic nations weakness only and incapacity are to be discerned. This is the result of the priestly domination and hierarchical influence of Rome!

Heresy and schism, false philosophy, false science, and false art, cunning diplomacy, infidelity, and atheism, one and all boldly raise up their heads and attack the church in the face; while secret societies of world-wide organization are stealthily engaged in undermining her strength with the people. Even the Sick man—the Turk—who lives at the beck of the so-called Christian nations, impudently kicks the church of Christ, knowing full well there is no longer in Europe any power which will openly raise a voice in her defence.

How many souls, on account of this dreadful war waged against the church, are now suffering in secret a bitter agony! How many are hesitating, knowing not what to do, and looking for guidance! How many are wavering between hope and fear! Alas! too many have already lost the faith.

Culpable is the silence and base the fear which would restrain one’s voice at a period when God, the church, and religion are everywhere either openly denied, boldly attacked, or fiercely persecuted. In such trying times as these silence or fear is betrayal.

The hand of God is certainly in these events, and it is no less certain[118] that the light of divine faith ought to discern it. Through these clouds which now obscure the church the light of divine hope ought to pierce, enabling us to perceive a better and a brighter future; for this is what is in store for the church and the world. That love which embraces at once the greatest glory of God and the highest happiness of man should outweigh all fear of misinterpretations, and urge one to make God’s hand clear to those who are willing to see, and point out to them the way to that happier and fairer future.

What, then, has brought about this most deplorable state of things? How can we account for this apparent lack of faith and strength on the part of Catholics? Can it be true, as their enemies assert, that Catholicity, wherever it has full sway, deteriorates society? Or is it contrary to the spirit of Christianity that Christians should strive with all their might to overcome evil in this world? Perhaps the Catholic Church has grown old, as others imagine, and has accomplished her task, and is no longer competent to unite together the conflicting interests of modern society, and direct it towards its true destination?

These questions are most serious ones. Their answers must be fraught with most weighty lessons. Only a meagre outline of the course of argument can be here given in so vast a field of investigation.


One of the chief features of the history of the church for these last three centuries has been its conflict with the religious revolution of the XVIth century, properly called Protestantism. The nature of Protestantism may be defined as the exaggerated development of personal independence, directed to the negation of the divine authority of the church, and chiefly aiming at its overthrow in the person of its supreme representative, the Pope.

It is a fixed law, founded in the very nature of the church, that every serious and persistent denial of a divinely-revealed truth necessitates its vigorous defence, calls out its greater development, and ends, finally, in its dogmatic definition.

The history of the church is replete with instances of this fact. One must suffice. When Arius denied the divinity of Christ, which was always held as a divinely-revealed truth, at once the doctors of the church and the faithful were aroused in its defence. A general council was called at Nice, and there this truth was defined and fixed for ever as a dogma of the Catholic faith. The law has always been, from the first Council at Jerusalem to that of the Vatican, that the negation of a revealed truth calls out its fuller development and its explicit dogmatic definition.

The Council of Trent refuted and condemned the errors of Protestantism at the time of their birth, and defined the truths against which they were directed; but, for wise and sufficient reasons, abstained from touching the objective point of attack, which was, necessarily, the divine authority of the church. For there was no standing-ground whatever for a protest against the church, except in its denial. It would have been the height of absurdity to admit an authority, and that divine, and at the same time to refuse to obey its decisions. It was as well known then as to-day that the keystone of the whole structure of the church was its head. To[119] overthrow the Papacy was to conquer the church.

The supreme power of the church for a long period of years was the centre around which the battle raged between the adversaries and the champions of the faith.

The denial of the Papal authority in the church necessarily occasioned its fuller development. For as long as this hostile movement was aggressive in its assaults, so long was the church constrained to strengthen her defence, and make a stricter and more detailed application of her authority in every sphere of her action, in her hierarchy, in her general discipline, and in the personal acts of her children. Every new denial was met with a new defence and a fresh application. The danger was on the side of revolt, the safety was on that of submission. The poison was an exaggerated spiritual independence, the antidote was increased obedience to a divine external authority.

The chief occupation of the church for the last three centuries was the maintenance of that authority conferred by Christ on S. Peter and his successors, in opposition to the efforts of Protestantism for its overthrow; and the contest was terminated for ever in the dogmatic definition of Papal Infallibility, by the church assembled in council in the Vatican. Luther declared the pope Antichrist. The Catholic Church affirmed the pope to be the Vicar of Christ. Luther stigmatized the See of Rome as the seat of error. The council of the church defined the See of Rome, the chair of S. Peter, to be the infallible interpreter of divinely-revealed truth. This definition closed the controversy.

In this pressing necessity of defending the papal authority of the church, the society of S. Ignatius was born. It was no longer the refutation of the errors of the Waldenses and the Albigenses that was required, nor were the dangers to be combated such as arise from a wealthy and luxurious society. The former had been met and overcome by the Dominicans; the latter by the children of S. Francis. But new and strange errors arose, and alarming threats from an entirely different quarter were heard. Fearful blows were aimed and struck against the keystone of the divine constitution of the church, and millions of her children were in open revolt. In this great crisis, as in previous ones, Providence supplied new men and new weapons to meet the new perils. S. Ignatius, filled with faith and animated with heroic zeal, came to the rescue, and formed an army of men devoted to the service of the church, and specially suited to encounter its peculiar dangers. The Papacy was their point of attack; the members of his society must be the champions of the pope, his body-guard. The papal authority was denied; the children of S. Ignatius must make a special vow of obedience to the Holy Father. The prevailing sin of the time was disobedience; the members of his company must aim at becoming the perfect models of the virtue of obedience, men whose will should never conflict with the authority of the church, perinde cadaver. The distinguishing traits of a perfect Jesuit formed the antithesis of a thorough Protestant.

The society founded by S. Ignatius undertook a heavy and an heroic task, one in its nature most unpopular, and requiring above all on the part of its members an entire abnegation of that which men hold[120] dearest—their own will. It is no wonder that their army of martyrs is so numerous and their list of saints so long.

Inasmuch as the way of destroying a vice is to enforce the practice of its opposite virtue, and as the confessional and spiritual direction are appropriate channels for applying the authority of the church to the conscience and personal actions of the faithful, the members of this society insisted upon the frequency of the one and the necessity of the other. In a short period of time the Jesuits were considered the most skilful and were the most-sought-after confessors and spiritual directors in the church.

They were mainly instrumental—by the science of their theologians, the logic of their controversialists, the eloquence of their preachers, the excellence of their spiritual writers, and, above all, by the influence of their personal example—in saving millions from following in the great revolt against the church, in regaining millions who had gone astray, and in putting a stop to the numerical increase of Protestantism, almost within the generation in which it was born.

To their labors and influence it is chiefly owing that the distinguishing mark of a sincere Catholic for the last three centuries has been a special devotion to the Holy See and a filial obedience to the voice of the pope, the common father of the faithful.

The logical outcome of the existence of the society founded by S. Ignatius of Loyola was the dogmatic definition of Papal Infallibility; for this was the final word of victory of divine truth over the specific error which the Jesuits were specially called to combat.


The church, while resisting Protestantism, had to give her principal attention and apply her main strength to those points which were attacked. Like a wise strategist, she drew off her forces from the places which were secure, and directed them to those posts where danger threatened. As she was most of all engaged in the defence of her external authority and organization, the faithful, in view of this defence, as well as in regard to the dangers of the period, were specially guided to the practice of the virtue of obedience. Is it a matter of surprise that the character of the virtues developed was more passive than active? The weight of authority was placed on the side of restraining rather than of developing personal independent action.

The exaggeration of personal authority on the part of Protestants brought about in the church its greater restraint, in order that her divine authority might have its legitimate exercise and exert its salutary influence. The errors and evils of the times sprang from an unbridled personal independence, which could be only counteracted by habits of increased personal dependence. Contraria contrariis curantur. The defence of the church and the salvation of the soul were ordinarily secured at the expense, necessarily, of those virtues which properly go to make up the strength of Christian manhood.

The gain was the maintenance and victory of divine truth and the salvation of the soul. The loss was a certain falling off in energy, resulting in decreased action in the natural order. The former was a permanent and inestimable gain. The latter was a temporary, and[121] not irreparable, loss. There was no room for a choice. The faithful were placed in a position in which it became their unqualified duty to put into practice the precept of our Lord when he said: It is better for thee to enter into life maimed or lame, than, having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire.[36]

In the principles above briefly stated may in a great measure be found the explanation why fifty millions of Protestants have had generally a controlling influence, for a long period, over two hundred millions of Catholics, in directing the movements and destinies of nations. To the same source may be attributed the fact that Catholic nations, when the need was felt of a man of great personal energy at the head of their affairs, seldom hesitated to choose for prime minister an indifferent Catholic, or a Protestant, or even an infidel. These principles explain also why Austria, France, Bavaria, Spain, Italy, and other Catholic countries have yielded to a handful of active and determined radicals, infidels, Jews, or atheists, and have been compelled to violate or annul their concordats with the Holy See, and to change their political institutions in a direction hostile to the interests of the Catholic religion. Finally, herein lies the secret why Catholics are at this moment almost everywhere oppressed and persecuted by very inferior numbers. In the natural order the feebler are always made to serve the stronger. Evident weakness on one side, in spite of superiority of numbers, provokes on the other, where there is consciousness of power, subjugation and oppression.


Is divine grace given only at the cost of natural strength? Is a true Christian life possible only through the sacrifice of a successful natural career? Are things to remain as they are at present?

The general history of the Catholic religion in the past condemns these suppositions as the grossest errors and falsest calumnies. Behold the small numbers of the faithful and their final triumph over the great colossal Roman Empire! Look at the subjugation of the countless and victorious hordes of the Northern barbarians! Witness, again, the prowess of the knights of the church, who were her champions in repulsing the threatening Mussulman; every one of whom, by the rule of their order, were bound not to flinch before two Turks! Call to mind the great discoveries made in all branches of science, and the eminence in art, displayed by the children of the church, and which underlie—if there were only honesty enough to acknowledge it—most of our modern progress and civilization! Long before Protestantism was dreamed of Catholic states in Italy had reached a degree of wealth, power, and glory which no Protestant nation—it is the confession of one of their own historians—has since attained.

There is, then, no reason in the nature of things why the existing condition of Catholics throughout the world should remain as it is. The blood that courses through our veins, the graces given in our baptism, the light of our faith, the divine life-giving Bread we receive, are all the same gifts and privileges which we have in common with our great ancestors. We are the children of the same mighty mother, ever fruitful of heroes and great[122] men. The present state of things is neither fatal nor final, but only one of the many episodes in the grand history of the church of God.


No better evidence is needed of the truth of the statements just made than the fact that all Catholics throughout the world are ill at ease with things as they are. The world at large is agitated, as it never has been before, with problems which enter into the essence of religion or are closely connected therewith. Many serious minds are occupied with the question of the renewal of religion and the regeneration of society. The aspects in which questions of this nature are viewed are as various as the remedies proposed are numerous. Here are a few of the more important ones.

One class of men would begin by laboring for the reconciliation of all Christian denominations, and would endeavor to establish unity in Christendom as the way to universal restoration. Another class starts with the idea that the remedy would be found in giving a more thorough and religious education to youth in schools, colleges, and universities. Some would renew the church by translating her liturgies into the vulgar tongues, by reducing the number of her forms of devotion, and by giving to her worship greater simplicity. Others, again, propose to alter the constitution of the church by the practice of universal elections in the hierarchy, by giving the lay element a larger share in the direction of ecclesiastical matters, and by establishing national churches. There are those who hope for a better state of things by placing Henry V. on the throne of France, and Don Carlos on that of Spain. Others, contrariwise, having lost all confidence in princes, look forward with great expectations to a baptized democracy, a holy Roman democracy, just as formerly there was a Holy Roman Empire. Not a few are occupied with the idea of reconciling capital with labor, of changing the tenure of property, and abolishing standing armies. Others propose a restoration of international law, a congress of nations, and a renewed and more strict observance of the Decalogue. According to another school, theological motives have lost their hold on the people, the task of directing society has devolved upon science, and its apostolate has begun. There are those, moreover, who hold that society can only be cured by an immense catastrophe, and one hardly knows what great cataclysm is to happen and save the human race. Finally, we are told that the reign of Antichrist has begun, that signs of it are everywhere, and that we are on the eve of the end of the world.

These are only a few of the projects, plans, and remedies which are discussed, and which more or less occupy and agitate the public mind. How much truth or error, how much good or bad, each or all of these theories contain, would require a lifetime to find out.

The remedy for our evils must be got at, to be practical, in another way. If a new life be imparted to the root of a tree, its effects will soon be seen in all its branches, twigs, and leaves. Is it not possible to get at the root of all our evils, and with a radical remedy renew at once the whole face of things? Universal evils are not cured by specifics.



All things are to be viewed and valued as they bear on the destiny of man. Religion is the solution of the problem of man’s destiny. Religion, therefore, lies at the root of everything which concerns man’s true interest.

Religion means Christianity, to all men, or to nearly all, who hold to any religion among European nations. Christianity, intelligibly understood, signifies the church, the Catholic Church. The church is God acting through a visible organization directly on men, and, through men, on society.

The church is the sum of all problems, and the most potent fact in the whole wide universe. It is therefore illogical to look elsewhere for the radical remedy of all our evils. It is equally unworthy of a Catholic to look elsewhere for the renewal of religion.

The meditation of these great truths is the source from which the inspiration must come, if society is to be regenerated and the human race directed to its true destination. He who looks to any other quarter for a radical and adequate remedy and for true guidance is doomed to failure and disappointment.


It cannot be too deeply and firmly impressed on the mind that the church is actuated by the instinct of the Holy Spirit; and to discern clearly its action, and to co-operate with it effectually, is the highest employment of our faculties, and at the same time the primary source of the greatest good to society.

Did we clearly see and understand the divine action of the Holy Spirit in the successive steps of the history of the church, we would fully comprehend the law of all true progress. If in this later period more stress was laid on the necessity of obedience to the external authority of the church than in former days, it was, as has been shown, owing to the peculiar dangers to which the faithful were exposed. It would be an inexcusable mistake to suppose for a moment that the holy church, at any period of her existence, was ignorant or forgetful of the mission and office of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit established the church, and can he forget his own mission? It is true that he has to guide and govern through men, but he is the Sovereign of men, and especially of those whom he has chosen as his immediate instruments.

The essential and universal principle which saves and sanctifies souls is the Holy Spirit. He it was who called, inspired, and sanctified the patriarchs, the prophets and saints of the old dispensation. The same divine Spirit inspired and sanctified the apostles, the martyrs, and the saints of the new dispensation. The actual and habitual guidance of the soul by the Holy Spirit is the essential principle of all divine life. “I have taught the prophets from the beginning, and even till now I cease not to speak to all.”[37] Christ’s mission was to give the Holy Spirit more abundantly.

No one who reads the Holy Scriptures can fail to be struck with the repeated injunctions to turn our eyes inward, to walk in the divine presence, to see and taste and listen to God in the soul. These exhortations run all through the inspired books, beginning with that of Genesis, and ending with the Revelations[124] of S. John. “I am the Almighty God, walk before me, and be perfect,”[38] was the lesson which God gave to the patriarch Abraham. “Be still and see that I am God.”[39] “O taste, and see that the Lord is sweet; blessed is the man that hopeth in him.”[40] God is the guide, the light of the living, and our strength. “God’s kingdom is within you,” said the divine Master. “Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”[41] “For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to accomplish, according to his will.”[42] The object of divine revelation was to make known and to establish within the souls of men, and through them upon the earth, the kingdom of God.

In accordance with the Sacred Scriptures, the Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Spirit is infused, with all his gifts, into our souls by the sacrament of baptism, and that, without his actual prompting or inspiration and aid, no thought or act, or even wish, tending directly towards our true destiny, is possible.

The whole aim of the science of Christian perfection is to instruct men how to remove the hindrances in the way of the action of the Holy Spirit, and how to cultivate those virtues which are most favorable to his solicitations and inspirations. Thus the sum of spiritual life consists in observing and fortifying the ways and movements of the Spirit of God in our soul, employing for this purpose all the exercises of prayer, spiritual reading, sacraments, the practice of virtues, and good works.

That divine action which is the immediate and principal cause of the salvation and perfection of the soul claims by right its direct and main attention. From this source within the soul there will gradually come to birth the consciousness of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, out of which will spring a force surpassing all human strength, a courage higher than all human heroism, a sense of dignity excelling all human greatness. The light the age requires for its renewal can come only from the same source. The renewal of the age depends on the renewal of religion. The renewal of religion depends upon a greater effusion of the creative and renewing power of the Holy Spirit. The greater effusion of the Holy Spirit depends on the giving of increased attention to his movements and inspirations in the soul. The radical and adequate remedy for all the evils of our age, and the source of all true progress, consist in increased attention and fidelity to the action of the Holy Spirit in the soul. “Thou shalt send forth thy Spirit, and they shall be created: and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.”[43]


This truth will be better seen by looking at the matter a little more in detail. The age, we are told, calls for men worthy of that name. Who are those worthy to be called men? Men, assuredly, whose intelligences and wills are divinely illuminated and fortified. This is precisely what is produced by the gifts of the Holy Spirit; they enlarge all the faculties of the soul at once.

The age is superficial; it needs the gift of wisdom, which enables the soul to contemplate truth in its[125] ultimate causes. The age is materialistic; it needs the gift of intelligence, by the light of which the intellect penetrates into the essence of things. The age is captivated by a false and one-sided science; it needs the gift of science, by the light of which is seen each order of truth in its true relations to other orders and in a divine unity. The age is in disorder, and is ignorant of the way to true progress; it needs the gift of counsel, which teaches how to choose the proper means to attain an object. The age is impious; it needs the gift of piety, which leads the soul to look up to God as the Heavenly Father, and to adore him with feelings of filial affection and love. The age is sensual and effeminate; it needs the gift of force, which imparts to the will the strength to endure the greatest burdens and to prosecute the greatest enterprises with ease and heroism. The age has lost and almost forgotten God; it needs the gift of fear, to bring the soul again to God, and make it feel conscious of its great responsibility and of its destiny.

Men endowed with these gifts are the men for whom—if it but knew it—the age calls: men whose minds are enlightened and whose wills are strengthened by an increased action of the Holy Spirit; men whose souls are actuated by the gifts of the Holy Spirit; men whose countenances are lit up with a heavenly joy, who breathe an air of inward peace, and act with a holy liberty and an unaccountable energy. One such soul does more to advance the kingdom of God than tens of thousands without such gifts. These are the men and this is the way—if the age could only be made to see and believe it—to universal restoration, universal reconciliation, and universal progress.


The men the age and its needs demand depend on a greater infusion of the Holy Spirit in the souls of the faithful; and the church has been already prepared for this event.

Can one suppose for a moment that so long, so severe, a contest, as that of the three centuries just passed, which, moreover, has cost so dearly, has not been fraught with the greatest utility to the church? Does God ever allow his church to suffer loss in the struggle to accomplish her divine mission?

It is true that the powerful and persistent assaults of the errors of the XVIth century against the church forced her, so to speak, out of the usual orbit of her movement; but having completed her defence from all danger on that side, she is returning to her normal course with increased agencies—thanks to that contest—and is entering upon a new and fresh phase of life, and upon a more vigorous action in every sphere of her existence. The chiefest of these agencies, and the highest in importance, was that of the definition concerning the nature of papal authority. For the definition of the Vatican Council, having rendered the supreme authority of the church, which is the unerring interpreter and criterion of divinely-revealed truth, more explicit and complete, has prepared the way for the faithful to follow, with greater safety and liberty, the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. The dogmatic papal definition of the Vatican Council is, therefore, the axis on which turn the new course of the church, the renewal of religion, and the entire restoration of society.

O blessed fruit! purchased at the[126] price of so hard a struggle, but which has gained for the faithful an increased divine illumination and force, and thereby the renewal of the whole face of the world.

It is easy to perceive how great a blunder the so-called “Old Catholics” committed in opposing the conciliar definition. They professed a desire to see a more perfect reign of the Holy Spirit in the church, and by their opposition rejected, so far as in them lay, the very means of bringing it about!

This by the way: let us continue our course, and follow the divine action in the church, which is the initiator and fountain-source of the restoration of all things.

What is the meaning of these many pilgrimages to holy places, to the shrines of great saints, the multiplication of Novenas and new associations of prayer? Are they not evidence of increased action of the Holy Spirit on the faithful? Why, moreover, these cruel persecutions, vexatious fines, and numerous imprisonments of the bishops, clergy, and laity of the church? What is the secret of this stripping the church of her temporal possessions and authority? These things have taken place by the divine permission. Have not all these inflictions increased greatly devotion to prayer, cemented more closely the unity of the faithful, and turned the attention of all members of the church, from the highest to the lowest, to look for aid from whence it alone can come—from God?

These trials and sufferings of the faithful are the first steps towards a better state of things. They detach from earthly things and purify the human side of the church. From them will proceed light and strength and victory. Per crucem ad lucem. “If the Lord wishes that other persecutions should be sown, the church feels no alarm; on the contrary, persecutions purify her and confer upon her a fresh force and a new beauty. There are, in truth, in the church certain things which need purification, and for this purpose those persecutions answer best which are launched against her by great politicians.” Such is the language of Pius IX.[44]

These are only some of the movements, which are public. But how many souls in secret suffer sorely in seeing the church in such tribulations, and pray for her deliverance with a fervor almost amounting to agony! Are not all these but so many preparatory steps to a Pentecostal effusion of the Holy Spirit on the church—an effusion, if not equal in intensity to that of apostolic days, at least greater than it in universality? “If at no epoch of the evangelical ages the reign of Satan was so generally welcome as in this our day, the action of the Holy Spirit will have to clothe itself with the characteristics of an exceptional extension and force. The axioms of geometry do not appear to us more rigorously exact than this proposition. A certain indefinable presentiment of this necessity of a new effusion of the Holy Spirit for the actual world exists, and of this presentiment the importance ought not to be exaggerated; but yet it would seem rash to make it of no account.”[45]

Is not this the meaning of the presentiment of Pius IX., when he said: “Since we have nothing, or next to nothing, to expect from men, let us place our confidence more and more in God, whose heart is[127] preparing, as it seems to me, to accomplish, in the moment chosen by himself, a great prodigy, which will fill the whole earth with astonishment”?[46]

Was not the same presentiment before the mind of De Maistre when he penned the following lines: “We are on the eve of the greatest of religious epochs; … it appears to me that every true philosopher must choose between these two hypotheses: either that a new religion is about to be formed, or that Christianity will be renewed in some extraordinary manner”?[47]


Before further investigation of this new phase of the church, it would perhaps be well to set aside a doubt which might arise in the minds of some, namely, whether there is not danger in turning the attention of the faithful in a greater degree in the direction contemplated?

The enlargement of the field of action for the soul, without a true knowledge of the end and scope of the external authority of the church, would only open the door to delusions, errors, and heresies of every description, and would be in effect merely another form of Protestantism.

On the other hand, the exclusive view of the external authority of the church, without a proper understanding of the nature and work of the Holy Spirit in the soul, would render the practice of religion formal, obedience servile, and the church sterile.

The action of the Holy Spirit embodied visibly in the authority of the church, and the action of the Holy Spirit dwelling invisibly in the soul, form one inseparable synthesis; and he who has not a clear conception of this twofold action of the Holy Spirit is in danger of running into one or the other, and sometimes into both, of these extremes, either of which is destructive of the end of the church.

The Holy Spirit, in the external authority of the church, acts as the infallible interpreter and criterion of divine revelation. The Holy Spirit in the soul acts as the divine Life-Giver and Sanctifier. It is of the highest importance that these two distinct offices of the Holy Spirit should not be confounded.

The supposition that there can be any opposition or contradiction between the action of the Holy Spirit in the supreme decisions of the authority of the church, and the inspirations of the Holy Spirit in the soul, can never enter the mind of an enlightened and sincere Christian. The same Spirit which through the authority of the church teaches divine truth, is the same Spirit which prompts the soul to receive the divine truths which he teaches. The measure of our love for the Holy Spirit is the measure of our obedience to the authority of the church; and the measure of our obedience to the authority of the church is the measure of our love for the Holy Spirit. Hence the sentence of S. Augustine: “Quantum quisque amat ecclesiam Dei, tantum habet Spiritum Sanctum.” There is one Spirit, which acts in two different offices concurring to the same end—the regeneration and sanctification of the soul.

In case of obscurity or doubt concerning what is the divinely-revealed truth, or whether what prompts the soul is or is not an inspiration of the Holy Spirit, recourse[128] must be had to the divine teacher or criterion, the authority of the church. For it must be borne in mind that to the church, as represented in the first instance by S. Peter, and subsequently by his successors, was made the promise of her divine Founder that “the gates of hell should never prevail against her.”[48] No such promise was ever made by Christ to each individual believer. “The church of the living God is the pillar and ground of truth.”[49] The test, therefore, of a truly enlightened and sincere Christian, will be, in case of uncertainty, the promptitude of his obedience to the voice of the church.

From the above plain truths the following practical rule of conduct may be drawn: The Holy Spirit is the immediate guide of the soul in the way of salvation and sanctification; and the criterion or test that the soul is guided by the Holy Spirit is its ready obedience to the authority of the church. This rule removes all danger whatever, and with it the soul can walk, run, or fly, if it chooses, in the greatest safety and with perfect liberty, in the ways of sanctity.


There are signs which indicate that the members of the church have not only entered upon a deeper and more spiritual life, but that from the same source has arisen a new phase of their intellectual activity.

The notes of the divine institution of the church—and the credibility of divine revelation—with her constitution and organization, having been in the main completed on the external side, the notes which now require special attention and study are those respecting her divine character, which lie on the internal side.

The mind of the church has been turned in this direction for some time past. One has but to read the several Encyclical letters of the present reigning Supreme Pontiff, and the decrees of the Vatican Council, to be fully convinced of this fact.

No pontiff has so strenuously upheld the value and rights of human reason as Pius IX.; and no council has treated so fully of the relations of the natural with the supernatural as that of the Vatican. It must be remembered the work of both is not yet concluded. Great mission that, to fix for ever those truths so long held in dispute, and to open the door to the fuller knowledge of other and still greater verities!

It is the divine action of the Holy Spirit in and through the church which gives her external organization the reason for its existence. And it is the fuller explanation of the divine side of the church and its relations with her human side, giving always to the former its due accentuation, that will contribute to the increase of the interior life of the faithful, and aid powerfully to remove the blindness of those—whose number is much larger than is commonly supposed—who only see the church on her human side.

As an indication of these studies, the following mere suggestions, concerning the relations of the internal with the external side of the church, are here given.

The practical aim of all true religion is to bring each individual soul under the immediate guidance of the divine Spirit. The divine Spirit communicates himself to the soul by means of the sacraments of the church. The divine Spirit acts[129] as the interpreter and criterion of revealed truth by the authority of the church. The divine Spirit acts as the principle of regeneration and sanctification in each Christian soul. The same Spirit clothes with suitable ceremonies and words the truths of religion and the interior life of the soul in the liturgy and devotions of the church. The divine Spirit acts as the safeguard of the life of the soul and of the household of God in the discipline of the church. The divine Spirit established the church as the practical and perfect means of bringing all souls under his own immediate guidance and into complete union with God. This is the realization of the aim of all true religion. Thus all religions, viewed in the aspect of a divine life, find their common centre in the Catholic Church.

The greater part of the intellectual errors of the age arise from a lack of knowledge of the essential relations of the light of faith with the light of reason; of the connection between the mysteries and truths of divine revelation and those discovered and attainable by human reason; of the action of divine grace and the action of the human will.

The early Greek and Latin fathers of the church largely cultivated this field. The scholastics greatly increased the riches received from their predecessors. And had not the attention of the church been turned aside from its course by the errors of the XVIth century, the demonstration of Christianity on its intrinsic side would ere this have received its finishing strokes. The time has come to take up this work, continue it where it was interrupted, and bring it to completion. Thanks to the Encyclicals of Pius IX. and the decisions of the Vatican Council, this task will not now be so difficult.

Many, if not most, of the distinguished apologists of Christianity, theologians, philosophers, and preachers, either by their writings or eloquence, have already entered upon this path. The recently-published volumes, and those issuing day by day from the press, in exposition, or defence, or apology of Christianity, are engaged in this work.

This explanation of the internal life and constitution of the church, and of the intelligible side of the mysteries of faith and the intrinsic reasons for the truths of divine revelation, giving to them their due emphasis, combined with the external notes of credibility, would complete the demonstration of Christianity. Such an exposition of Christianity, the union of the internal with the external notes of credibility, is calculated to produce a more enlightened and intense conviction of its divine truth in the faithful, to stimulate them to a more energetic personal action; and, what is more, it would open the door to many straying, but not altogether lost, children, for their return to the fold of the church.

The increased action of the Holy Spirit, with a more vigorous co-operation on the part of the faithful, which is in process of realization, will elevate the human personality to an intensity of force and grandeur productive of a new era to the church and to society—an era difficult for the imagination to grasp, and still more difficult to describe in words, unless we have recourse to the prophetic language of the inspired Scriptures.

Is not such a demonstration of Christianity and its results anticipated in the following words?


“We are about to see,” said Schlegel, “a new exposition of Christianity, which will reunite all Christians, and even bring back the infidels themselves.” “This reunion between science and faith,” says the Protestant historian Ranke, “will be more important in its spiritual results than was the discovery of a new hemisphere three hundred years ago, or even than that of the true system of the world, or than any other discovery of any kind whatever.”


Pursuing our study of the action of the Holy Spirit, we shall perceive that a deeper and more explicit exposition of the divine side of the church, in view of the characteristic gifts of different races, is the way or means of realizing the hopes above expressed.

God is the author of the differing races of men. He, for his own good reasons, has stamped upon them their characteristics, and appointed them from the beginning their places which they are to fill in his church.

In a matter where there are so many tender susceptibilities, it is highly important not to overrate the peculiar gifts of any race, nor, on the other hand, to underrate them or exaggerate their vices or defects. Besides, the different races in modern Europe have been brought so closely together, and have been mingled to such an extent, that their differences can only be detected in certain broad and leading features.

It would be also a grave mistake, in speaking of the providential mission of the races, to suppose that they imposed their characteristics on religion, Christianity, or the church; whereas, on the contrary, it is their Author who has employed in the church their several gifts for the expression and development of those truths for which he specially created them. The church is God acting through the different races of men for their highest development, together with their present and future greatest happiness and his own greatest glory. “God directs the nations upon the earth.”[50]

Every leading race of men, or great nation, fills a large space in the general history of the world. It is an observation of S. Augustine that God gave the empire of the world to the Romans as a reward for their civic virtues. But it is a matter of surprise how large and important a part divine Providence has appointed special races to take in the history of religion. It is here sufficient merely to mention the Israelites.

One cannot help being struck with the mission of the Latin and Celtic races during the greater period of the history of Christianity. What brought them together in the first instance was the transference of the chair of S. Peter, the centre of the church, to Rome, the centre of the Latin race. Rome, then, was the embodied expression of a perfectly-organized, world-wide power. Rome was the political, and, by its great roads, the geographical, centre of the world.

What greatly contributed to the predominance of the Latin race, and subsequently of the Celts in union with the Latins, was the abandonment of the church by the Greeks by schism, and the loss of the larger portion of the Saxons by the errors and revolt of the XVIth century. The faithful, in consequence,[131] were almost exclusively composed of Latin-Celts.

The absence of the Greeks and of so large a portion of the Saxons, whose tendencies and prejudices in many points are similar, left a freer course and an easier task to the church, through her ordinary channels of action, as well as through her extraordinary ones—the Councils, namely, of Trent and the Vatican—to complete her authority and external constitution. For the Latin-Celtic races are characterized by hierarchical, traditional, and emotional tendencies.

These were the human elements which furnished the church with the means of developing and completing her supreme authority, her divine and ecclesiastical traditions, her discipline, her devotions, and, in general, her æsthetics.


It was precisely the importance given to the external constitution and to the accessories of the church which excited the antipathies of the Saxons, which culminated in the so-called Reformation. For the Saxon races and the mixed Saxons, the English and their descendants, predominate in the rational element, in an energetic individuality, and in great practical activity in the material order.

One of the chief defects of the Saxon mind lay in not fully understanding the constitution of the church, or sufficiently appreciating the essential necessity of her external organization. Hence their misinterpretation of the providential action of the Latin-Celts, and their charges against the church of formalism, superstition, and popery. They wrongfully identified the excesses of those races with the church of God. They failed to take into sufficient consideration the great and constant efforts the church had made, in her national and general councils, to correct the abuses and extirpate the vices which formed the staple of their complaints.

Conscious, also, of a certain feeling of repression of their natural instincts, while this work of the Latin-Celts was being perfected, they at the same time felt a great aversion to the increase of externals in outward worship, and to the minute regulations in discipline, as well as to the growth of papal authority and the outward grandeur of the papal court. The Saxon leaders in heresy of the XVIth century, as well as those of our own day, cunningly taking advantage of those antipathies, united with selfish political considerations, succeeded in making a large number believe that the question in controversy was not what it really was—a question, namely, between Christianity and infidelity—but a question between Romanism and Germanism!

It is easy to foresee the result of such a false issue; for it is impossible, humanly speaking, that a religion can maintain itself among a people when once they are led to believe it wrongs their natural instincts, is hostile to their national development, or is unsympathetic with their genius.

With misunderstandings, weaknesses, and jealousies on both sides, these, with various other causes, led thousands and millions of Saxons and Anglo-Saxons to resistance, hatred, and, finally, open revolt against the authority of the church.



The same causes which mainly produced the religious rebellion of the XVIth century are still at work among the Saxons, and are the exciting motives of their present persecutions against the church.

Looking through the distorted medium of their Saxon prejudices, grown stronger with time, and freshly stimulated by the recent definition of Papal Infallibility, they have worked themselves into the belief—seeing the church only on the outside, as they do—that she is purely a human institution, grown slowly, by the controlling action of the Latin-Celtic instincts, through centuries, to her present formidable proportions. The doctrines, the sacraments, the devotions, the worship of the Catholic Church, are, for the most part, from their stand-point, corruptions of Christianity, having their source in the characteristics of the Latin-Celtic races. The papal authority, to their sight, is nothing else than the concentration of the sacerdotal tendencies of these races, carried to their culminating point by the recent Vatican definition, which was due, in the main, to the efforts and the influence exerted by the Jesuits. This despotic ecclesiastical authority, which commands a superstitious reverence and servile submission to all its decrees, teaches doctrines inimical to the autonomy of the German Empire, and has fourteen millions or more of its subjects under its sway, ready at any moment to obey, at all hazards, its decisions. What is to hinder this ultramontane power from issuing a decree, in a critical moment, which will disturb the peace and involve, perhaps, the overthrow of that empire, the fruit of so great sacrifices, and the realization of the ardent aspirations of the Germanic races? Is it not a dictate of self-preservation and political prudence to remove so dangerous an element, and that at all costs, from the state? Is it not a duty to free so many millions of our German brethren from this superstitious yoke and slavish subjection? Has not divine Providence bestowed the empire of Europe upon the Saxons, and placed us Prussians at its head, in order to accomplish, with all the means at our disposal, this great work? Is not this a duty which we owe to ourselves, to our brother Germans, and, above all, to God? This supreme effort is our divine mission!

This picture of the Catholic Church, as it appears to a large class of non-Catholic German minds, is not overdrawn. It admits of higher coloring, and it would still be true and even more exact.

This is the monster which the too excited imagination and the deeply-rooted prejudice of the Saxon mind have created, and called, by way of contempt, the “Latin,” the “Romish,” the “Popish” Church. It is against this monster that they direct their persistent attacks, their cruel persecutions, animated with the fixed purpose of accomplishing its entire overthrow.

Is this a thing to be marvelled at, when Catholics themselves abhor and detest this caricature of the Catholic Church—for it is nothing else—more than these men do, or possibly can do?

The attitude of the German Empire, and of the British Empire also, until the Emancipation Act, vis-à-vis to the Catholic Church as they conceive her to be, may, stripped of all accidental matter, be stated[133] thus: Either adapt Latin Christianity, the Romish Church, to the Germanic type of character and to the exigencies of the empire, or we will employ all the forces and all the means at our disposal to stamp out Catholicity within our dominions, and to exterminate its existence, as far as our authority and influence extend!


The German mind, when once it is bent upon a course, is not easily turned aside, and the present out-look for the church in Germany is not, humanly speaking, a pleasant one to contemplate. It is an old and common saying that “Truth is mighty, and will prevail.” But why? “Truth is mighty” because it is calculated to convince the mind, captivate the soul, and solicit its uttermost devotion and action. “Truth will prevail,” provided it is so presented to the mind as to be seen really as it is. It is only when the truth is unknown or disfigured that the sincere repel it.

The return, therefore, of the Saxon races to the church, is to be hoped for, not by trimming divine truth, nor by altering the constitution of the church, nor by what are called concessions. Their return is to be hoped for, by so presenting the divine truth to their minds that they can see that it is divine truth. This will open their way to the church in harmony with their genuine instincts, and in her bosom they will find the realization of that career which their true aspirations point out for them. For the Holy Spirit, of which the church is the organ and expression, places every soul, and therefore all nations and races, in the immediate and perfect relation with their supreme end, God, in whom they obtain their highest development, happiness, and glory, both in this life and in the life to come.

The church, as has been shown, has already entered on this path of presenting more intimately and clearly her inward and divine side to the world; for her deepest and most active thinkers are actually engaged, more or less consciously, in this providential work.

In showing more fully the relations of the internal with the external side of the church, keeping in view the internal as the end and aim of all, the mystic tendencies of the German mind will truly appreciate the interior life of the church, and find in it their highest satisfaction. By penetrating more deeply into the intelligible side of the mysteries of faith and the intrinsic reasons for revealed truth and the existence of the church, the strong rational tendencies of the Saxon mind will seize hold of, and be led to apprehend, the intrinsic reasons for Christianity. The church will present herself to their minds as the practical means of establishing the complete reign of the Holy Spirit in the soul, and, consequently, of bringing the kingdom of heaven upon earth. This is the ideal conception of Christianity, entertained by all sincere believers in Christ among non-Catholics in Europe and the United States. This exposition, and an increased action of the Holy Spirit in the church co-operating therewith, would complete their conviction of the divine character of the church and of the divinity of Christianity.

All this may seem highly speculative and of no practical bearing. But it has precisely such a bearing, if one considers, in connection with it, what is now going on throughout[134] the Prussian kingdom and other parts of Germany, including Switzerland. What is it which we see in all these regions? A simultaneous and persistent determination to destroy, by every species of persecution, the Catholic Church. Now, the general law of persecution is the conversion of the persecutors.

Through the cross Christ began the redemption of the world; through the cross the redemption of the world is to be continued and completed. It was mainly by the shedding of the blood of the martyrs that the Roman Empire was gained to the faith. Their conquerors were won by the toil, heroic labors and sufferings of saintly missionaries. The same law holds good in regard to modern persecutors. The question is not how shall the German Empire be overthrown, or of waiting in anticipation of its destruction, or how shall the church withstand its alarming persecutions? The great question is how shall the blindness be removed from the eyes of the persecutors of the church, and how can they be led to see her divine beauty, holiness, and truth, which at present are hidden from their sight? The practical question is how shall the church gain over the great German empire to the cause of Christ?

O blessed persecutions! if, in addition to the divine virtues, which they will bring forth to light by the sufferings of the faithful, they serve also to lead the champions of the faith to seek for and employ such proofs and arguments as the Saxon mind cannot withstand, producing conviction in their intelligence, and striking home the truth to their hearts; and in this way, instead of incurring defeat, they will pluck out of the threatening jaws of this raging German wolf the sweet fruit of victory.

This view is eminently practical, when you consider that the same law which applies to the persecutors of the church applies equally to the leading or governing races. This is true from the beginning of the church. The great apostles S. Peter and S. Paul did not stop in Jerusalem, but turned their eyes and steps towards all-conquering, all-powerful Rome. Their faith and their heroism, sealed with their martyrdom, after a long and bloody contest, obtained the victory. The imperial Roman eagles became proud to carry aloft the victorious cross of Christ! The Goths, the Huns, and Vandals came; the contest was repeated, the victory too; and they were subdued to the sweet yoke of Christ, and incorporated in the bosom of his church.

Is this rise of the Germanic Empire, in our day, to be considered only as a passing occurrence, and are we to suppose that things will soon again take their former course? Or is it to be thought of as a real change in the direction of the world’s affairs, under the lead of the dominant Saxon races? If the history of the human race from its cradle can be taken as a rule, the course of empire is ever northward. Be that as it may, the Saxons have actually in their hands, and are resolutely determined to keep, the ruling power in Europe, if not in the world. And the church is a divine queen, and her aim has always been to win to her bosom the imperial races. She has never failed to do it, too!

Think you these people are for the most part actuated by mere malice, and are persecuting the church with knowledge of what they are doing? The question is[135] not of their prominent leaders and the actual apostates. There may be future prodigal sons even amongst these. Does not the church suffer from their hands in a great measure what her divine Founder suffered when he was nailed to the cross, and cried, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do”?

The persecutors in the present generation are not to be judged as those who were born in the church, and who, knowing her divine character, by an unaccountable defection, turned their backs upon her. Will their stumbling prove a fatal fall to all their descendants? God forbid! Their loss for a time has proved a gain to the church, and their return will bring riches to both, and through them to the whole world; “for God is able to ingraft them again.”[51]

The Catholic Church unveils to the penetrating intelligence of the Saxon races her divine internal life and beauty; to their energetic individuality she proposes its elevation to a divine manhood; and to their great practical activity she opens the door to its employment in spreading the divine faith over the whole world!

That which will hasten greatly the return of the Saxons to the church is the progressive action of the controlling and dissolving elements of Protestantism towards the entire negation of all religion. For the errors contained in every heresy, which time never fails to produce, involve its certain extinction. Many born in those errors, clearly foreseeing these results, have already returned to the fold of the church. This movement will be accelerated by the more rapid dissolution of Protestantism, consequent on its being placed recently under similar hostile legislation in Switzerland and Germany with the Catholic Church. “The blows struck at the Church of Rome,” such is the acknowledgment of one of its own organs, “tell with redoubled force against the evangelical church.”

With an intelligent positive movement on the part of the church, and by the actual progressive negative one operating in Protestantism, that painful wound inflicted in the XVIth century on Christianity will be soon, let us hope, closed up and healed, never again to be reopened.


Christ blamed the Jews, who were skilful in detecting the signs of change in the weather, for their want of skill in discerning the signs of the times. There are evidences, and where we should first expect to meet them—namely, among the mixed Saxon races, the people of England and the United States—of this return to the true church.

The mixture of the Anglo-Saxons with the blood of the Celts in former days caused them to retain, at the time of the so-called Reformation, more of the doctrines, worship, and organization of the Catholic Church than did the thorough Saxons of Germany. It is for the same reason that among them are manifested the first unmistakable symptoms of their entrance once more into the bosom of the church.

At different epochs movements in this direction have taken place, but never so serious and general as at the present time. The character and the number of the converts from Anglicanism to the Catholic Church gave, in the beginning, a[136] great alarm to the English nation. But now it has become reconciled to the movement, which continues and takes its course among the more intelligent and influential classes, and that notwithstanding the spasmodic cry of alarm of Lord John Russell and the more spiteful attack of the Right Hon. William E. Gladstone, M.P., late prime minister.

It is clear to those who have eyes to see such things that God is bestowing special graces upon the English people in our day, and that the hope is not without solid foundation which looks forward to the time when England shall again take rank among the Catholic nations.

The evidences of a movement towards the Catholic Church are still clearer and more general in the United States. There is less prejudice and hostility against the church in the United States than in England, and hence her progress is much greater.

The Catholics, in the beginning of this century, stood as one to every two hundred of the whole population of the American Republic. The ratio of Catholics now is one to six or seven of the inhabitants. The Catholics will outnumber, before the close of this century, all other believers in Christianity put together in the republic.

This is no fanciful statement, but one based on a careful study of statistics, and the estimate is moderate. Even should emigration from Catholic countries to the United States cease altogether—which it will not—or even should it greatly diminish, the supposed loss or diminution, in this source of augmentation, will be fully compensated by the relative increase of births among the Catholics, as compared with that among other portions of the population.

The spirit, the tendencies, and the form of political government inherited by the people of the United States are strongly and distinctively Saxon; yet there are no more patriotic or better citizens in the republic than the Roman Catholics, and no more intelligent, practical, and devoted Catholics in the church than the seven millions of Catholics in this same young and vigorous republic. The Catholic faith is the only persistently progressive religious element, compared with the increase of population, in the United States. A striking proof that the Catholic Church flourishes wherever there is honest freedom and wherever human nature has its full share of liberty! Give the Catholic Church equal rights and fair play, and she will again win Europe, and with Europe the world.

Now, who will venture to assert that these two mixed Saxon nations, of England and the United States, are not, in the order of divine Providence, the appointed leaders of the great movement of the return of all the Saxons to the Holy Catholic Church?

The sun, in his early dawn, first touches the brightest mountain-tops, and, advancing in his course, floods the deepest valleys with his glorious light; and so the Sun of divine grace has begun to enlighten the minds in the highest stations in life in England, in the United States, and in Germany; and what human power will impede the extension of its holy light to the souls of the whole population of these countries?


Strange action of divine Providence in ruling the nations of this earth! While the Saxons are about[137] to pass from a natural to a supernatural career, the Latin-Celts are impatient for, and have already entered upon, a natural one. What does this mean? Are these races to change their relative positions before the face of the world?

The present movement of transition began on the part of the Latin-Celtic nations in the last century among the French people, who of all these nations stand geographically the nearest, and whose blood is most mingled with that of the Saxons. That transition began in violence, because it was provoked to a premature birth by the circumstance that the control exercised by the church as the natural moderator of the Christian republic of Europe was set aside by Protestantism, particularly so in France, in consequence of a diluted dose of the same Protestantism under the name of Gallicanism. Exempt from this salutary control, kings and the aristocracy oppressed the people at their own will and pleasure; and the people, in turn, wildly rose up in their might, and cut off, at their own will and pleasure, the heads of the kings and aristocrats. Louis XIV., in his pride, said, “L’Etat c’est moi!” The people replied, in their passion, “L’Etat c’est nous!”

Under the guidance of the church the transformation from feudalism to all that is included under the title of modern citizenship was effected with order, peace, and benefit to all classes concerned. Apart from this aid, society pendulates from despotism to anarchy, and from anarchy to despotism. The French people at the present moment are groping about, and earnestly seeking after the true path of progress, which they lost some time back by their departure from the Christian order of society.

The true movement of Christian progress was turned aside into destructive channels, and this movement, becoming revolutionary, has passed in our day to the Italian and Spanish nations.

Looking at things in their broad features, Christianity is at this moment exposed to the danger, on the one hand, of being exterminated by the persecutions of the Saxon races, and, on the other, of being denied by the apostasy of the Latin-Celts. This is the great tribulation of the present hour of the church. She feels the painful struggle. The destructive work of crushing out Christianity by means of these hostile tendencies has already begun. If, as some imagine, the Christian faith be only possible at the sacrifice of human nature, and if a natural career be only possible at the sacrifice of the Christian faith, it requires no prophetic eye to foresee the sad results to the Christian religion at no distant future.

But it is not so. The principles already laid down and proclaimed to the world by the church answer satisfactorily these difficulties. What the age demands, what society is seeking for, rightly interpreted, is the knowledge of these principles and their practical application to its present needs.

For God is no less the author of nature than of grace, of reason than of faith, of this earth than of heaven.

The Word by which all things were made that were made, and the Word which was made flesh, is one and the same Word. The light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world, and the light of Christian faith, are, although differing in degree, the same light. “There is therefore nothing so foolish or so absurd,” to use the words of Pius IX. on the same subject,[138] “as to suppose there can be any opposition between them.”[52] Their connection is intimate, their relation is primary; they are, in essence, one. For what else did Christ become man than to establish the kingdom of God on earth, as the way to the kingdom of God in heaven?

It cannot be too often repeated to the men of this generation, so many of whom are trying to banish and forget God, that God, and God alone, is the Creator and Renewer of the world. The same God who made all things, and who became man, and began the work of regeneration, is the same who really acts in the church now upon men and society, and who has pledged his word to continue to do so until the end of the world. To be guided by God’s church is to be guided by God. It is in vain to look elsewhere. “Society,” as the present pontiff has observed, “has been enclosed in a labyrinth, out of which it will never issue save by the hand of God.”[53] The hand of God is the church. It is this hand he is extending, in a more distinctive and attractive form, to this present generation. Blessed generation, if it can only be led to see this outstretched hand, and to follow the path of all true progress, which it so clearly points out!


During the last three centuries, from the nature of the work the church had to do, the weight of her influence had to be mainly exerted on the side of restraining human activity. Her present and future influence, due to the completion of her external organization, will be exerted on the side of soliciting increased action. The first was necessarily repressive and unpopular; the second will be, on the contrary, expansive and popular. The one excited antagonism; the other will attract sympathy and cheerful co-operation. The former restraint was exercised, not against human activity, but against the exaggeration of that activity. The future will be the solicitation of the same activity towards its elevation and divine expansion, enhancing its fruitfulness and glory.

These different races of Europe and the United States, constituting the body of the most civilized nations of the world, united in an intelligent appreciation of the divine character of the church, with their varied capacities and the great agencies at their disposal, would be the providential means of rapidly spreading the light of faith over the whole world, and of constituting a more Christian state of society.

In this way would be reached a more perfect realization of the prediction of the prophets, of the promises and prayers of Christ, and of the true aspiration of all noble souls.

This is what the age is calling for, if rightly understood, in its countless theories and projects of reform.



The sun was setting in the vale of Kashmir. Under the blessing of its rays the admiring fakir would again have said that here undoubtedly was the place of the earthly paradise where mankind was born in the morning of the world. Something of the same thought may have stirred the mind of a dwarfed and hump-backed man with bow-legs, who, from carrying on his shoulders a heavy barrel up the steep and crooked path of a hillside, stopped to rest while he looked mournfully at the sun. Herds of goats that strayed near him, and flocks of sheep that grazed below, might have provoked their deformed neighbor to envy their shapely and well-clad beauty and peaceful movements. Could he have found it in his heart to curse the sun which had seemed to view with such complacency his hard toils amid the burden and heat of the day, the compassionate splendor of its last look upon field, river, and mountain would still have touched his soul. As it was, he saw that earth and heaven were beautiful, and that he was not. Whether he uttered it or not, his keen, sad eyes and thoughtful face were a lament that his hard lot had made him the one ugly feature in that gentle scene. No, not the only one; he shared his singularity with the little green snake that now crawled near his feet. Yet even this reptile, he thought, could boast its sinuous beauty, its harmony with the order of things; for it was a perfect snake, and he—well, he was scarce a man. Soon, however, better thoughts took possession of his mind, and, when he shouldered his barrel to climb the hill, he thought that one of those beautiful peris, whose mission it is to console earth’s sorrowing children ere yet their wings are admitted to heaven, thus murmured in his ear, with a speech that was like melody: “O Kurdig, child of toil! thy lot is indeed hard, but thou bearest it not for thyself alone, and thy master and rewarder hath set thee thy task; and for this thou shalt have the unseen for thy friends, love for thy thought, and heaven for thy solace.” As he ascended the hill it seemed to him that his load grew lighter, as if by help of invisible hands. He looked for a moment on the snake which hissed at him, and though but an hour ago, moved by a feud as old as man, he would have ground it in hate beneath his foot, he now let it pass. The crooked man ascended the hill, while the crooked serpent passed downward; and it was as if one understood the other. At length the dwarf Kurdig reached the yard of the palace, which stood on a shady portion of the eminence, but, as he laid down his burden with a smile and a good word before his employer, suddenly he[140] felt the sharp cut of a whip across the shoulders. He writhed and smarted, feeling as if the old serpent had stung him.

Kurdig was one of those hewers of wood and drawers of water whose daily being in the wonderful vale of Kashmir seemed but a harsh contrast of fallen man with the paradise that once was his home. When he did not carry barrels of wine, or fruit-loads, or other burdens to the top of the hill, he assisted his poor sister and her child in the task of making shawls for one of a number of large shawl-dealers who gave employment to the people of the valley. With them the dearest days of his life were spent. At odd times he taught the little girl the names of flowers, the virtues of herbs, and even how to read and write—no small accomplishments among peasant folk, and only gained by the dwarf himself because his mind was as patient and as shrewd as his body was misshapen. His great desire for all useful knowledge found exercise in all the common stores of mother-wit and rustic science which the unlettered people around preserved as their inheritance. How to build houses, to make chairs, ovens, hats; how to catch fish and conduct spring-waters; how to apply herbs for cure and healing; how to make oils and crude wine—these things he knew as none other of all the peasantry about could pretend to know. He had seen, too, and had sometimes followed in the hunt, the beasts of the forest; nor was he, as we have seen, afraid of reptiles. He could row and swim, and while others danced he could sing and play. This variety of accomplishments slowly acquired for the dwarf an influence which, though little acknowledged, was widespread. In all the work and play of the rude folk around him he was the almost innocent and unregarded master-spirit. The improvement of their houses owed something to his hand, and their feasts were in good part planned by him; for, while he acted as their servant, he was in truth their master. To cure the common fevers, aches, hurts, he had well-tried simples, and his searches and experiments had added something new to the herbal remedies of his fathers. All his talents as doctor, musician, mechanic, and story-teller his neighbors did not fail to make use of, while the dwarf still kept in the background, and his ugliness, whenever accident had made him at all prominent, was laughed at as much as ever. Even the poor creatures his knowledge had cured, and his good-nature had not tasked to pay him, uttered a careless laugh when they praised their physician, as if they said: “Well, who would have thought the ugly little crook-back was so cunning?”

Yet there was one who never joined in the general smile which accompanied the announcement of the name of Kurdig. This was his sister’s child. Never without pain could she hear his name jestingly mentioned; always with reverence, and sometimes with tears, she spoke of him. The wan, slender child had grown almost from its feeble infancy by the side of the dwarf. When able to leave her mother’s sole care, he had taught the child her first games and songs, and step by step had instructed her in all the rude home-lessons prevalent among the country people—how to knit, to weave, to read and to write, according to the necessities of her place and condition. The wonder was that from a pale and sickly infant[141] the child grew as by a charm, under the eye of the dwarf, into a blooming girl, whose quiet and simple demeanor detracted nothing from her peculiar loveliness, and made her habits of industry the more admirable. There was, then, one being in the world whom the dwarf undoubtedly loved, and by whom he was loved in return.


The True and the False Infallibility of the Popes, etc. By the late Bishop Fessler. Translated by Father St. John, of the Edgbaston Oratory. New York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1875.

Dr. Fessler was Bishop of St. Polten in Austria, and the Secretary-General of the Council of the Vatican. He wrote this pamphlet as a reply to the apostate Dr. Schulte. It was carefully examined and approved at Rome, and the author received a complimentary letter from the Pope for the good service he had rendered to the cause of truth. The true infallibility which the author vindicates is that infallibility of the Pope in defining dogmas of Catholic faith and condemning heresies, which was defined as a Catholic dogma by the Council of the Vatican. The false infallibility which he impugns is the travesty of the true doctrine, falsely imputed by Schulte and others to the Catholic Church as her authoritative teaching expressed in the definition of the Vatican Council. This doctrine of infallibility falsely imputed represents the Pope as claiming inspiration, power to create new dogmas, infallibility as a private doctor, as a judge of particular cases, and as a ruler. Such an infallibility was not defined by the Council of the Vatican, has never been asserted by the popes, is not maintained by any school of theologians, and is, moreover, partly in direct contradiction to the Catholic doctrine, partly manifestly false, and as for the rest without any solid or probable foundation. This false infallibility must, however, be carefully distinguished from the theological doctrine which extends the infallibility of the church and of the Pope as to its objective scope and limit; beyond the sphere of pure dogma, or the Catholic faith, strictly and properly so-called; over the entire realm of matters virtually, mediately, or indirectly contained in, related to, or connected with the body of doctrine which is formally revealed, and is either categorically proposed or capable of being proposed by the church as of divine and Catholic faith. Bishop Fessler confines himself to that which has been defined in express terms by the council, and must be held as an article of faith by every Catholic, under pain of incurring anathema as a heretic. This definition respects directly the Pope, speaking as Pope, as being the subject, of whom the same infallibility is predicated which is predicated of the Catholic Church. The object of infallibility is obliquely defined, and only so far as necessary to the precise definition of the subject, which is the Pope speaking ex cathedrâ. As to the object, or extension of infallibility, no specific definition has been made. The definition is generic only. That is, it gives in general terms those matters which are in the genus of faith and morals, as the object of infallible teaching. The truths formally revealed are the basis of all doctrine in any way respecting faith and morals which is theological; and they control all doctrine which is philosophical, concerning our relations to God and creatures, at least negatively. Therefore, taken in its most restricted sense, infallibility in faith and morals must denote infallibility in teaching and defining these formally-revealed truths. So much, then, respecting the object, is necessarily de fide, and is held as such by every theologian and every instructed Catholic.


As to the further extension of infallibility, or the specific definition of all the matters included in the term “de fide et moribus,” the fathers of the council postponed their decisions to a later day, and probably will consider them when the council is re-assembled. In the meantime, we have to be guided by the teaching of the best theologians whose doctrine is consonant to the practice of the Holy See. We may refer the curious reader to Father Knox’s little work, When does the Church Speak Infallibly? as the safest source of information concerning this important point. As a matter of fact, the popes do teach with authority many truths which are not articles of faith, and condemn many opinions which are not heresies. Moreover, they command the faithful to assent to their teaching, and frequently punish those who refuse to do so. It is much more logical, and much more consonant to sound theological principles, to believe that they are infallible in respect to every matter in which they justly command our absolute and irrevocable assent, than to believe that we are bound to render this obedience to a fallible authority. But of the obligation in conscience to submit to all the doctrinal decisions of the Holy See there is no question. And this obligation is very distinctly and emphatically declared by Pius IX., with the concurrence of the universal episcopate, in the closing monition of the First Decree of the Council of the Vatican.

“Since it is not enough to avoid heretical pravity, unless those errors also are diligently shunned which more or less approach it, we admonish all of the duty of observing also those constitutions and decrees in which perverse opinions of this sort, not here expressly enumerated, are proscribed and prohibited by this Holy See.”

The Archbishop of Westminster’s Reply to Mr. Gladstone.

Bishop Ullathorne on the same subject.

Bishop Vaughan on the same.

Lord Robert Montagu on the same, etc.—All published by The Catholic Publication Society. New York: 1875.

The Archbishop of Westminster has the intellectual and moral as well as the ecclesiastical primacy in the Catholic Church of England, and in this controversy he leads the band of noble champions of the faith which Mr. Gladstone’s audacious war-cry has evoked. The illustrious successor of S. Anselm and S. Thomas à Becket has a remarkably clear insight into the fundamental principles of theology and canon law, an unswerving logical consistency in deducing their connections and consequences, a loyal integrity in his faith and devotion toward Christ and his Vicar, a lucidity of style and language, an untiring activity, dauntless courage, tactical skill, and abundance of resources in his polemics, which combine to make him a champion and leader of the first class in ecclesiastical warfare—a very Duguesclin of controversy. In the present pamphlet he has defined the issues with more precision, and brought the main force of Catholic principles more directly and powerfully into collision with his adversary’s opposite centre, than any other of the remarkably able antagonists of Mr. Gladstone.

We refer our readers to the pamphlet itself for a knowledge of its line of argument. We will merely call attention to a few particular points in it which are noteworthy. In the first place, we desire to note the exposition of one very important truth frequently misapprehended and misstated. This is, namely, that the doctrine of Papal Infallibility was not, before the Council of the Vatican, a mere opinion of theologians, but the certain doctrine of the church, proximate to faith, and only questioned since the Council of Constance by a small number, whose opinion was never a probable doctrine, but only a tolerated error. The archbishop, moreover, shows briefly but clearly how this error, whose intrinsic mischief was practically nullified in pious Gallicans by their obedience to the Holy See, and the overpowering weight which the concurrence of the great body of the bishops with the Pope always gave to his dogmatic decrees, was threatening to become extremely active and dangerous if longer tolerated; and that the definition of the Council of the Vatican was therefore not only opportune and prudent, but necessary.

He shows, moreover, that the violent and aggressive party which stirred up the conflict now raging was the party of faithless men who wore the mask of Catholic profession, with their political and anti-Catholic accomplices, whose unsuccessful ruse de guerre, at the time of the council, was only the preliminary manœuvre of a systematic war on the church.


The unchanged position of Catholics since the council, in respect to civil allegiance; the essential similarity of that position, doctrinally, with that of all persons who maintain the supremacy of conscience and divine law; its greater practical security for stability of government and political order over any other position; the firm basis for temporal sovereignty and independence which Catholic doctrine gives to the state; and the great variation of practical relations between church and state from their condition at a former period which altered circumstances have caused, are clearly and ably developed. We are pleased to observe the positions laid down in our own editorial article on “Religion and State in our Republic” sustained and confirmed by the archbishop’s high authority. Americans must be especially gratified at the warm eulogium upon Lord Baltimore and the primitive constitution of the Maryland colony.

Among the numerous other replies to Mr. Gladstone, besides those already noticed in this magazine, the pamphlets of Bishop Vaughan, Bishop Ullathorne, and Lord Robert Montagu are especially remarkable and worthy of perusal. Each of them has its own peculiar line of argument and individual excellence, and they supplement each other.

The want of sympathy with Mr. Gladstone generally manifested in England and America, and the respectful interest shown in the exposition of Catholic principles by his antagonists, are specially worthy of remark. We are under great obligations to Mr. Gladstone for the fine opportunity he has afforded us of gaining such a hearing, and he has thus indirectly and unintentionally done the cause of Catholic truth a very great service, which some of our opponents candidly, though with considerable chagrin, have acknowledged.

The Ministry of S. John Baptist. By H. J. Coleridge, S.J. London: Burns & Oates. 1875. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)

Father Coleridge has devoted himself to very extensive and critical studies, with the intention of publishing a new life of Christ. This volume is the first instalment. It is learned and critical without being dry or abstruse. It can be relied on, therefore, for scholarly accuracy, and at the same time enjoyed for its literary beauties. The author has a felicity of diction and a talent for historical narration, which, combined with his solid learning, make him singularly competent for the important and delightful task he has undertaken and so successfully commenced.

Life of Father Henry Young. By Lady Georgiana Fullerton. London: Burns & Oates. 1875. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)

This remarkable and somewhat eccentric priest lived and died in Dublin, though he exercised his apostolic ministry also in many other parts of Ireland. He was undoubtedly a saint, and in some respects strikingly like the venerable Curé of Ars. The author has written his life in her usual charming style, and it is not only edifying, but extremely curious and entertaining.

The Lily and the Cross. A Tale of Acadia. By Prof. James De Mille. Boston and New York: Lee & Shepard. 1875.

Here we have a kind of quasi-Catholic tale, written by a Protestant. As a story it has a good deal of stirring incident and dramatic power, mingled with a fine spice of humor. The writer shows no unkind or unfair disposition toward Catholics or their religion, and the priest in the story, as a man, is a noble and heroic character. His Catholicity, however, is too weak even for the most extreme left of liberal Catholics.

The Veil Withdrawn (Le Mot de L’Enigme). Translated, by permission, from the French of Mme. Craven, author of A Sister’s Story, Fleurange, etc. New York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1875.

In its didactic aspects we consider The Veil Withdrawn superior to its immediate predecessor, Fleurange, inasmuch as its moral purpose is more decided and apparent; and we believe Mme. Craven has been very opportune in the choice of the principal lesson which her book inculcates, as well as felicitous in the manner in which it is conveyed. There is perhaps no peril to which a frank, confiding young matron is more exposed at the present day than that constituted by the circumstances which formed the temptation of the heroine of this novel, and which she so heroically[144] overcame. And herein we trust the non-Catholic reader will not fail to observe the safeguard which Catholic principles and the confessional throw around the innocent—warning them of the threatened danger, without detracting from the ingenuousness and simplicity which constitute a chief charm of the sex. We purposely avoid being more specific in our allusion to the plot of this story, lest we diminish the pleasure of those who have delayed its perusal until now.

Caleb Krinkle. By Charles Carleton Coffin (“Carlton”). Boston and New York: Lee & Shepard. 1875.

This “Story of American Life,” which would have been more aptly called a “Story of Yankee Life,” is really capital. Linda Fair, Dan Dishaway, and old Peter are excellently-drawn characters, and the others are good in their way. The description of the blacksmith and his daughter is like a paraphrase of Longfellow’s exquisite little poem. The author makes use both of pathos and humor, and although there are rather too many disasters and narrow escapes, yet, on the whole, the story is simple, natural, and life-like, its moral tone is elevated, and it is well worth reading.

Poems. By William Wilson. Edited by Benson J. Lossing, Poughkeepsie: Archibald Wilson. 1875.

He is a bold publisher who sends forth a poetical venture in these prosaic days, backed though it be by a partial subscription list and the favorable reception of a first edition.

We are reminded in looking over this volume, as we have often been before in examining those of the tuneful brethren, how much the world is indebted to the church, consciously or otherwise, for its most refined enjoyments. If “an undevout astronomer is mad,” how can a poet’s instincts be otherwise than Catholic? Were it not for Catholic themes, he would lack his highest inspiration, as well as appropriate imagery to illustrate his thoughts withal. Even that doughty old iconoclast, John Bunyan—every inch a poet, though his lines were not measured—found no relief for his pilgrim-hero till he had looked upon that symbol of symbols—the cross.

The author of the present collection made no permanent profession of literature, and rarely wrote except when the impulse was too strong to be resisted. His impromptu lines were always his best, the Scottish dialect, in which many of them are written, adding not a little to their racy flavor. His verse is characterized by sweetness, beauty, and strength, and he is particularly happy when descanting upon the joys of home, of love and friendship, and the charms of outward nature.

We are not aware that the author ever made a study of the claims of the church, and some passages in his poems give evidence of much of the traditional prejudice against her; but we are confident, from other indications, that his head was too logical and his heart too large to be shut up within the narrow limits of Presbyterian or other sectarian tenets. The final stanza of “The Close”—the last he ever wrote—is touching and suggestive:

“And his pale hand signing
Man’s redemption sign,
Cried, with forehead shining,
‘Father, I am Thine!’
And so to rest he quietly hath passed,
And sleeps in Christ, the comforter, at last.”


VOL. XXI., No. 122.—MAY, 1875.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by Rev. I. T. Hecker, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.


The recent conduct of the Right Honorable William Ewart Gladstone has filled his former friends and admirers with anger and sorrow, and the nobler among his enemies with astonishment and pity. He has done much to convert the defeat of the liberal party in Great Britain, which might have been but temporary, into absolute rout and lasting confusion; for its return to power is impossible as long as the alienation of the Irish Catholic members of Parliament continues. The more generous of Mr. Gladstone’s political foes cannot but deplore that the once mighty opponent, whom they succeeded in driving from office, has, by his own behavior, fallen into something very like contempt. His strictures on the Vatican decrees and the Speeches of Pius IX. possess little merit in a literary point of view, being written in the bad style common to Exeter Hall controversialists, and being full of inaccuracies, misrepresentations, and oversights. They have accordingly received from the leading critical journals in Great Britain either open censure or that faint praise which is equally damning. The Pall Mall Gazette observes that, if Mr. Gladstone goes on writing in a similar strain, no one will heed what he writes. The wild assault made by him upon Catholics is not only perceived by others to be causeless and gratuitous, but is freely confessed by himself to be uncalled for and unwarranted. Speaking of the questions, whether the Pope claimed temporal jurisdiction or deposing power, or whether the church still teaches the doctrine of persecution, he says in his Expostulation (page 26): “Now, to no one of these questions could the answer really be of the smallest immediate moment to this powerful and solidly-compacted kingdom.” Again, in the Quarterly Review article (page 300), he asserts that the “burning” question of the deposing power, “with reference to the possibilities of life and action, remains the shadow of a shade!” Why, then, does Mr. Gladstone apply the[146] torch to quicken the flame of the burning controversy, which he affirms to be beyond the range of practical politics? Why does he summon the “shadow of a shade” to trouble, terrify, or distress his fellow-countrymen? Has he forgotten the history of his country, which teaches him that these very questions were among those which brought innocent men to the block, and caused multitudes to suffer the tortures of the rack and the pains of ignominious death? We read in Hallam (Constitutional Hist. of England) that one of the earliest novelties of legislation introduced by Henry VIII. was the act of Parliament of 1534, by which “it was made high treason to deny that ecclesiastical supremacy of the crown which, till about two years before, no one had ever ventured to assert. Bishop Fisher, almost the only inflexibly honest churchman of that age, was beheaded for this denial.” Sir Thomas More met the same fate. Burleigh, in a state paper in which he apologizes for the illegal employment of torture in Elizabeth’s reign, includes among the questions “asked during their torture” of those “put to the rack,” the question, “What was their own opinion as to the pope’s right to deprive the queen of her crown?” In those days, then, the mere opinions of Catholics concerning papal supremacy were torturing and beheading questions—questions of the rack, the block, and the stake. Now they are “burning” questions, in a metaphorical sense, and lead to wordy strife, polemical bitterness, and to widening the breach between two sections of Queen Victoria’s subjects, which all wise men during late years have deplored and striven to lessen, but which Mr. Gladstone deliberately sets himself to widen.

Into the causes which have provoked Mr. Gladstone to attack Catholics and the Pope it is not necessary to enter. Corrupt or impure motives are not imputed to him. Nor is it here intended to discuss the theological part of the subject, which has already been exhaustively dealt with by Dr. John Henry Newman, Archbishop Manning, Bishops Ullathorne, Vaughan, and Clifford, Monsignor Capel, and others. The aim of the present writer is to point out the inaccuracies of Mr. Gladstone in his Expostulation and his Quarterly Review article on the Speeches of Pius IX., to exhibit his general untrustworthiness in his references and quotations, and to bring forward the real instead of the travestied sentiments of the Pope.

Now, to honest and fair examination of documents which concern their faith Catholics have no objection. On the contrary, they desire sincerely that Protestants should read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them. Nothing but good to the Catholic Church can result from impartial study of such documents as the Vatican decrees, the Encyclical and Syllabus of Pius IX., to which, in his Expostulation, Mr. Gladstone made such extensive reference. Catholics give him a cordial assent when he says: “It is impossible for persons accepting those decrees justly to complain when such documents are subjected in good faith to a strict examination as respects their compatibility with civil right and the obedience of subjects.” But Catholics and all upright Protestants must join in condemning as unjust and unfair that bad habit common to controversialists of a certain class, who aim at temporary victory for themselves and their party, careless[147] of the interests of eternal verity. There are partisan writers who cite portions of a document, in the belief that the mass of readers will have no knowledge of the entire, and who take extracts hap-hazard from secondary sources, without troubling themselves to search the authentic or original documents. Wilful inaccuracy and purposed misquotations are not, as has already been stated, to be imputed to Mr. Gladstone. But it often occurs that carelessness and prejudice lead distinguished writers into errors similar to those produced by malice, and equally or more detrimental. It so happens that Mr. Gladstone, in describing and quoting the Vatican decrees, the words of Pius IX., the Syllabus and Encyclical, has published statements so incorrect and so misleading as to subject the author, were he less eminent for honor and scrupulous veracity, to the charge either of criminal ignorance or of wilful intention to mislead. For example, he cites, at pages 32-34 of his Expostulation, the form of the present Vatican decrees as proof of the wonderful “change now consummated in the constitution of the Latin Church” and of “the present degradation of its episcopal order.” He says the present Vatican decrees, being promulgated in a strain different from that adopted by the Council of Trent, are scarcely worthy to be termed “the decrees of the Council of the Vatican.” The Trent canons were, he says, real canons of a real council, beginning thus: “Hæc Sacrosancta,” etc., “Synodus,” etc., “docet” or “statuit” or “decernit,” and the like; and its canons, “as published in Rome, are Canones et Decreta Sacrosancti Œcumenici Concilii Tridentini, and so forth. But what we have now to do with is the Constitutio Dogmatica Prima de Ecclesiâ Christi edita in Sessione tertia of the Vatican Council. It is not a constitution made by the council, but one promulgated in the council. And who is it that legislates and decrees? It is Pius Episcopus, servus servorum Dei; and the seductive plural of his docemus et declaramus is simply the dignified and ceremonious ‘we’ of royal declarations. The document is dated ‘Pontificatus nostri Anno XXV.,’ and the humble share of the assembled episcopate in the transaction is represented by sacro approbante concilio.” Mr. Gladstone, stating that the Trent canons are published as Canones et Decreta Sac. Œcum. Concilii Tridentini, and particularizing in a foot-note the place of publication as “Romæ: in Collegio urbano de Propaganda Fide, 1833,” leads his readers wrongfully to infer that there exists no similar publication of the Vatican decrees. However, the very first complete edition of the Vatican decrees, printed especially for distribution to the fathers of the council, bears this title: Acta et Decreta Sacrosancti Œcumenici Concilii Vaticani in Quatuor Prioribus Sessionibus—Romæ ex Typographia Vaticana, 1872. What Mr. Gladstone appears to have quoted are the small tracts, containing portions of the decrees, for general use, one of which is entitled Dogmatic Constitution concerning the Catholic Faith, Published in the Third Session, while another is entitled The First Dogmatic Constitution of the Church of Christ, Published in the Fourth Session. Mr. Gladstone has not scrupled to take one of these tracts as his text-book, misstating its very title; for he quotes it as “edita in sessione tertia” instead of “quarta,” and deriving from it, instead of from[148] the authentic Acta et Decreta, his materials for charging the decrees with a change of form “amounting to revolution.” Had the Acta in their complete version been before him, he could not truthfully have said “the humble share of the assembled episcopate in the transaction is represented by sacro approbante concilio”; for he would have found it distinctly stated, and apparently as reason for their confirmation by the Pope, that the decrees and canons contained in the constitution were read before, and approved by, all the fathers of the council, with two exceptions—“Decreta et Canones qui in constitutione modo lecta continentur, placuerunt patribus omnibus, duobus exceptis, Nosque, sacro approbante concilio, illa et illos, ut lecta sunt, definimus et apostolica auctoritate confirmamus.” Why does Mr. Gladstone call attention to the date as being “Pontificatus nostri Anno XXV.”? Is it in order to show that the Vatican despises the other mode of computation, or is it to exhibit his own minute accuracy in quoting? In either case Mr. Gladstone was wrong, for the date in the Constitutio Dogmatica before him was as follows: “Datum Romæ, etc., Anno Incarnationis Dominicæ 1870, die 18 Julii. Pontificatus Nostri, Anno XXV.” And why should Mr. Gladstone describe as “seductive” the plural of the Pope’s “docemus et declaramus,” and assert that plural form to be “simply the dignified and ceremonious ‘We’ of royal declarations”? Did he mean to impute to the use of the plural number a corrupt intention to make people believe that the ‘we’ included the bishops as well as the Pope? Did he mean also to impute to the use of the plural an arrogant affectation of royal dignity? If such were the purpose of Mr. Gladstone, it can only be said that such rhetorical artifices are unworthy of him and are not warranted by truth. The ‘we’ is simply the habitual form of episcopal utterances, employed even by Protestant prelates in their official acts. It is evident, moreover, that the use of the plural docemus or declaramus, and the employment of the formula sacro approbante concilio, denounced by Mr. Gladstone as innovations, have ancient precedents in their favor. The Acta Synodalia of the Eleventh General and Third Lateran Council, held under Pope Alexander III. in 1179, are thus worded: “Nos … de concilio fratrum nostrorum et sacri approbatione concilii … decrevimus” or “statuimus.” The same form, with trifling variation, was employed in 1225 by Innocent III. in another General Council, the Fourth Lateran. Mr. Gladstone thinks “the very gist of the evil we are dealing with consists in following (and enforcing) precedents of the age of Innocent III.,” so that it may be useless to cite the General Council of Lyons in 1245, under Innocent IV., with its decrees published in the obnoxious strain, “Innocentius Episcopus, servus servorum Dei, etc., sacro præsente concilio ad rei memoriam sempiternam.” The language of another General Council at Lyons, in 1274, under Gregory X., “Nos … sacro approbante concilio, damnamus,” etc., and the language of the Council of Vienne, in 1311, under Clement V., “Nos sacro approbante concilio … damnamus et reprobamus,” come perhaps too near the age of Innocent III. to have weight with Mr. Gladstone. But he cannot object on this score to the Fifth Lateran Council, begun in 1512 under Julius II.,[149] and finished in 1517 under Leo X. In this General Council, the next before that of Trent, Pope Leo was present in person, and by him, just as by Pius IX., in the Vatican Council, all the definitions and decrees were made in the strain which Mr. Gladstone calls innovating and revolutionary, namely, in the style, “Leo Episcopus servus servorum Dei ad perpetuam rei memoriam, sacro approbante concilio.” Leo X. uniformly employed the plural statuimus et ordinamus in every session of that council. Pius IX. followed the example of Leo X., and obeyed precedents set him by popes who presided in person—not by legates, as at Trent—at General Councils held in the years 1179, 1225, 1244, 1274, 1311, and 1517. Accordingly, “the change of form in the present, as compared with other conciliatory (sic) decrees,” turns out on examination to be no revolution, but, on the contrary, appears to have in its favor precedents the earliest of which has seven centuries of antiquity. And yet to this alleged change of form, and to this alone, Mr. Gladstone appealed in evidence of “the amount of the wonderful change now consummated in the constitution of the Latin Church” and of “the present degradation of its episcopal order”!

The Encyclical and Syllabus of 1864 have been treated by Mr. Gladstone in the same loose, careless, and unfair way as he treated the Vatican decrees. He promised, at page 15 of his Expostulation, to “state, in the fewest possible words and with references, a few propositions, all the holders of which have been condemned [the italics are Mr. Gladstone’s] by the See of Rome during my own generation, and especially within the last twelve or fifteen years. And in order,” so proceeds Mr. Gladstone, “that I may do nothing towards importing passion into what is matter of pure argument, I will avoid citing any of the fearfully energetic epithets in which the condemnations are sometimes clothed.” The references here given by Mr. Gladstone are to the Encyclical letter of Pope Gregory XVI. in 1831—a date, it may be noticed, rather more ancient than “the last twelve or fifteen years”—and to the following documents, which at page 16 of his pamphlet are thus detailed: The Encyclical “of Pope Pius IX., in 1864”; “Encyclical of Pius IX., December 8, 1864”; “Syllabus of March 18, 1861”; and the “Syllabus of Pope Pius IX., March 8, 1861.” Here are apparently five documents deliberately referred to, the first an Encyclical of Gregory XVI.; the second an Encyclical of Pius IX., in 1864; the third another Encyclical of Pius IX., dated December 8, 1864; the fourth a Syllabus of March 18th, 1861; and the fifth another Syllabus of the 8th of March, 1861. Yet these apparently five documents, to which reference is made by Mr. Gladstone with so much seeming particularity and exactitude of dates, are in reality two documents only, and have but one date—namely, the 8th of December, 1864—on which day the Encyclical, with the Syllabus attached, was published by Pius IX. At page 67 of his pamphlet Mr. Gladstone “cites his originals,” and curiously enough, by a printer’s error, assigns the Encyclical of Gregory XVI. to Gregory XIV. But he cites from two sources only—namely, the Encyclical and Syllabus of 1864. That Encyclical contains a quotation from an Encyclical of Gregory XVI., which and the Syllabus are positively the only documents actually cited. By a series[150] of blunders, all of which cannot be charged to the printer—and in a work which has arrived at the “sixteenth thousand” edition printers’ errors are hardly allowable—the two documents, with their one date, have been made to do duty for five documents, ascribed gravely to as many different dates!

Moreover, Mr. Gladstone’s assertion that he will state “a few propositions, all the holders of which have been condemned by the Holy See,” is inaccurate, as far as his extracts from the Encyclical and the Syllabus—the only documents to which he appeals—are concerned; for in them no “holders” of any propositions are condemned, nor is there a single anathema directed against any individual. The errors only are censured. Mr. Gladstone cannot illustrate any one of his eighteen propositions by a single epithet which could with truth be called “fearfully energetic.” As a matter of fact, there are no epithets at all attached to any condemnations in the eighty propositions of the Syllabus. When, therefore, Mr. Gladstone professes, in order to do nothing “towards importing passion,” that he will “avoid citing any of the fearfully energetic epithets in which the condemnations are sometimes clothed,” he plays a rhetorical trick upon his readers. In truth, had he quoted the entire of the Encyclical and Syllabus, he would not have been able to make his hypocritical insinuation that he might have culled, if he wished, more damaging extracts. Catholics have to lament, not that he quoted too much, but that he quoted too little; not that he quoted with severe rigor, but that he quoted with absolute unfaithfulness. It is justice, not mercy, which Catholics demand from him, and which they ask all the more imperatively because he has himself laid down the axiom: “Exactness in stating truth according to the measure of our intelligence is an indispensable condition of justice and of a title to be heard.”

It was urged by some persons that Mr. Gladstone gave sufficient opportunities for correcting the effect of his inaccuracies by publishing in an appendix the Latin of the propositions he professed to quote. But so glaring is the contrast between the “propositions” in English and the same in Latin that a writer in the Civiltâ Cattolica exclaims in amazement: “Has he [Mr. Gladstone] misunderstood the Latin of the quoted texts? Has he through thoughtlessness travestied the sense? Or has his good faith fallen a victim to the disloyalty of some cunning Old Catholics who furnished him with these propositions?” Mr. Gladstone has asserted that Pius IX. has condemned “those who maintain the liberty of the press,” “or the liberty of conscience and of worship,” “or the liberty of speech.” On referring to the Latin original of these the first three of his eighteen propositions, it is found that Pius IX. has given no occasion for such a monstrous assertion. The Pope has merely condemned that species of liberty which every man not a socialist or communist must from his heart believe worthy of censure. Gregory XVI. called this vicious sort of liberty by the name of delirium, and Pius IX., in his Encyclical, terms it the “liberty of perdition.” It is a liberty “especially pernicious (maxime exitialem) to the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls,” and the claim to it is based on the error “that liberty of conscience and of worship is the proper right of every man; that it[151] ought to be proclaimed and asserted by law in every well-constituted society; and that citizens have an inherent right to liberty of every kind, not to be restrained by any authority, ecclesiastical or civil, so that they may be able, openly and publicly, to manifest and declare their opinions, of whatever kind, by speech, by the press, or by any other means.” Such is the sort of liberty which the Encyclical condemns, which is not the general liberty of the press, or of conscience and worship, as Mr. Gladstone would have it, but that sort of liberty which might be better termed licentiousness—a liberty, that is, which knows no bridle or restraint, whether human or divine, and which refuses to be kept in check by any authority, ecclesiastical or civil—“omnimodam libertatem nullâ vel ecclesiasticâ, vel civili auctoritate coarctandam.” The Expostulation has been widely circulated among the learned, and also in a sixpenny edition among the masses. It is evident that thousands of persons accustomed to entertain a high opinion of the veracity of great men in Mr. Gladstone’s position will take his statements upon trust, and never dream of testing, even had they the requisite acquaintance with a dead language, the accuracy of his translations and quotations. To abuse the confidence of this section of the public is a sin severely to be reprobated.

The Speeches of Pius IX.—which, it would appear, were not read by Mr. Gladstone until after he wrote the Expostulation—have been by him criticised in the Quarterly Review unmercifully and unfairly. He did not take into consideration the circumstance that these speeches are not elaborate orations, but are merely the unprepared, unstudied utterances of a pontiff so aged as to be termed by the reviewer himself a “nonagenarian,” borne down with unparalleled afflictions, weighted with innumerable cares, and oppressed with frequent and at times serious illnesses. The speeches themselves were not reported verbatim or in extenso. No professional shorthand writer attended when they were delivered, and they were not spoken with a view to their publication. But every word which comes from the lips of Pius IX. is precious to Catholics; and as some of these speeches were taken down by various hands and appeared in various periodicals, it was thought proper to allow a collection of them to be formed and published by an ecclesiastic, Don Pasquale de Franciscis, who himself took notes of the greater number of these Discourses. This gentleman is described by Mr. Gladstone as “an accomplished professor of flunkyism in things spiritual,” and one of the “sycophants” about the Pope who administer to His Holiness “an adulation, not only excessive in its degree, but of a kind which to an unbiassed mind may seem to border on profanity.” Mr. Gladstone is fond of insinuating that his own mind is “unbiassed” or “dispassionate,” and that he would by no means “import passion” into a controversy where calm reasoning alone is admissible. But, in point of fact, as the Pall Mall Gazette has pointed out, he shows himself the bigoted controversialist instead of the grave statesman. Forgetting the genius of the Italian people, and the difference between the warm and impulsive natives of the South and the phlegmatic Anglo-Saxons; forgetting, also, the literary toadyism of English writers not many years ago, and the apparently profane adulation[152] paid to British sovereigns, he attacks Don Pasquale for calling the book of the Pope’s speeches “divine,” and accuses him of downright blasphemy. Dr. Newman, in one of his Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England, has given an humorous account of the way in which foreigners might be induced to believe the laws and constitution of England to be profane and blasphemous. This he did by culling out a series of sentences from Blackstone and others, such as “the king can do no wrong,” “the king never dies,” he is “the vicar of God on earth.” Thus impeccability, immortality, and omnipotence may be claimed for the British monarch! Moreover, the subjects of James I. called him “the breath of their nostrils”; he himself, according to Lord Clarendon, on one occasion called himself “a god”; Lord Bacon called him “some sort of little god”; Alexander Pope and Addison termed Queen Anne “a goddess,” the words of the latter writer being: “Thee, goddess, thee Britannia’s isle adores.” What Dr. Newman did in good-humored irony Mr. Gladstone does in sober and bitter earnest. He picks out epithets here and there, tacking on the expressions of one page to those of another, and then flings the collected epithets before his reader as proof of Don Pasquale’s profanity. The temperament of Italians in the present day may or may not furnish a valid defence, in respect to good taste, for Don Pasquale. But it is certain that the phrases used by the latter, when taken in their context and interpreted as any one familiar with Italian ideas would interpret them, afford slight basis for the odious charge of profanity—a charge which Mr. Gladstone urges not only by the means already pointed out, but by other means still more reprehensible, namely, by fastening on Don Pasquale expressions which he did not employ. Thus, at page 274 of the Review, Mr. Gladstone, in reference to the “sufferings pretended to be inflicted by the Italian kingdom upon the so-called prisoner of the Vatican,” adds, “Let us see how, and with what daring misuse of Holy Scripture, they are illustrated in the authorized volume before us. ‘He and his august consort,’ says Don Pasquale, speaking of the Comte and Comtesse de Chambord, ‘were profoundly moved at such great afflictions which the Lamb of the Vatican has to endure.’” It seems, in the first place, rather strained to term the application of the word “lamb” to Pius IX., or any other person, a “daring misuse of Holy Scripture.” Many a man, when expressing pious hope under disaster, exclaims, “The Lord tempers the wind to the shorn lamb,” using or misusing, as the case may be, not the language of Holy Scripture, but the words of the author of Tristram Shandy, to whose works, we believe, the epithet “holy” is not commonly applied. If Pius IX. had been termed “the lamb of God,” then indeed Holy Scripture might have been used or misused; but the single word “lamb,” even in the phrase “lamb of the Vatican,” is no more an allusion, profane or otherwise, to the Gospels than it is to the Rev. Laurence Sterne. In the second place, the expression, be it proper or improper, was not used by Don Pasquale. Turning to volume ii. of the Discorsi, page 545, as Mr. Gladstone directs us, we find the words were not employed by Don Pasquale, but by the writer of an article in the[153] Unità Cattolica! Pages 545 and 546, the pages cited, contain a notice of the presentation to the Comte and Comtesse de Chambord of the first volume of the Discorsi; for the article is dated in 1872, and the second volume was not printed until 1873. So that it appears the naughty word was not only not used by Don Pasquale, but did not in reality form part of the “authorized volume,” being merely found in a newspaper extract inserted in an appendix. In this same newspaper extract the Comtesse de Chambord is said to have called the first volume of the Discorsi “a continuation of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.” This statement rests on the authority of the writer in the Unità Cattolica, but is brought up in judgment not only against Don Pasquale, but against the Pope himself, who is held by Mr. Gladstone to be responsible for everything stated either by Don Pasquale in his preface or by any other persons in the appendices to the Discorsi!

Concerning the Pope, Mr. Gladstone, at page 299 of the Review, thus writes: “Whether advisedly or not, the Pontiff does not, except once (vol. i. 204), apply the term [infallible] to himself, but is in other places content with alleging his superiority, as has been shown above, to an inspired prophet, and with commending those who come to hear his words as words proceeding from Jesus Christ (i. 335).” At page 268 of the Review it is also said that Don Pasquale, in his preface, p. 17, calls the voice of Pius IX. “the voice of God,” and that the Pope is “nature that protests” and “God that condemns.” If, however, in order to test the worth of these assertions of Mr. Gladstone, we turn to the passages he has cited, it will be discovered that Pius IX. did not even once apply the term infallible to himself; for he, in the passage cited, applied it not to himself individually, but to the infallible judgment (giudizio infallibile) in principles of revelation, as contrasted with the authoritative right of popes in general. Nor did Pius IX. assert any “superiority to an inspired prophet” by saying (Review, p. 276, Discorsi, vol. i. 366): “I have the right to speak even more than Nathan the prophet to David the king.” The right to speak upon a certain occasion does not surely contain of necessity an allegation of superiority nor imply a claim to inspiration! Nor did Pius IX. commend “those who came to hear his words as words proceeding from Jesus Christ”; for he merely said, in reply to a deputation: “I answer with the church; and the church herself supplies to me the words in the Gospel for this morning. You are here, and have put forth your sentiments; but you desire also to hear the word of Jesus Christ as it issues from the mouth of his Vicar.” That is to say: You shall have for answer “the word of Jesus Christ”—meaning this day’s Gospel—spoken by, or as it issues from, or which proceeds (che esce) out of, the mouth of his Vicar. The words, “He is nature that protests, he is God that condemns,” are evidently metaphorical expressions of the editor, harmless enough; for, as Pius IX. cannot be both God and nature literally, the metaphorical application is apparent to the meanest comprehension. It is true that Don Pasquale, in his preface, page 16, ascribes to Pius IX. this language: “This voice which now sounds before you is the voice of Him whom I represent on earth”[154] (la VOCE di colui che in terra Io rappresento); but, turning to Don Pasquale’s reference (vol. i. p. 299) to verify the quotation, it is found that the editor made a serious mistake, by which the entire character of the passage was altered. The Pope had just contrasted himself (the vox clamantis de Vaticano) with John the Baptist (the vox clamantis in deserto). “Yes,” he adds, “I may also call myself the Voice; for, although unworthy, I am yet the Vicar of Christ, and this voice which now sounds before you is the voice of him who in earth represents him” (è la voce di colui, che in terra lo rappresenta). Don Pasquale imprudently put the word “voce” in capital letters, changed “lo” into “Io,” and “rappresenta” into “rappresento.” The Pope simply said that his voice, as it cried from the Vatican, was the voice of the Vicar of Christ. And in the belief of all Catholics so it is.

The charge of “truculence” is brought against the Pope by Mr. Gladstone. “It is time to turn,” he says (Review, p. 277), “with whatever reluctance, to the truculent and wrathful aspect which unhappily prevails over every other in these Discourses.” The first proof of this “truculence” is, it seems, the fact that the “cadres, or at least the skeletons and relics of the old papal government over the Roman states, are elaborately and carefully maintained.” One would suppose that these cadres were maintained with the bloodthirsty intention of making war on Victor Emanuel. But Mr. Gladstone does not say so; nay, he insinuates in a foot-note that their maintenance is for a purpose far from truculent. “We have seen it stated from a good quarter,” so Mr. Gladstone writes, “that no less than three thousand persons, formerly in the papal employment, now receive some pension or pittance from the Vatican. Doubtless they are expected to be forthcoming on all occasions of great deputations, as they may be wanted, like the supers and dummies at the theatres.” It appears from the Discorsi that the Pope received in audience deputations from the persons formerly in the papal employment on twenty-one occasions, between September, 1870, and September, 1873. On fourteen of these occasions the impiegati were received on days when no other deputations attended. On the other occasions, although other deputations were received on the same days, the ex-employees were never mixed up with other deputations, but were always placed in separate rooms for audience. Mr. Gladstone has not the least ground for insinuating that these unfortunate persons, who refused to take the oath of allegiance to Victor Emanuel, and thereby forfeited employment and pay, were ever called upon like supers or dummies to make a show at great deputations. If these ex-employees receive pay from the Pope, it surely is no proof of papal “truculence.” But “none of these,” so asserts Mr. Gladstone (Review, p. 278), “appear at the Vatican as friends, co-religionists, as receivers of the Pontiff’s alms, or in any character which could be of doubtful interpretation. They appear as being actually and at the moment his subjects and his military and civil servants respectively, although only in disponibilità, or, so to speak, on furlough; they are headed by the proper leading functionaries, and the Pope receives them as persons come for the purpose of doing homage to their sovereign.” The[155] references given for this somewhat confused statement are pages 88 and 365 of volume i., where the Pope very naturally speaks of “the fidelity shown by them to their sovereign,” and of their “faith, constancy, and attachment to religion, to God, and to the Vicar of Jesus Christ, their sovereign.” It was in consequence of the introduction by Victor Emanuel, into the several government departments in Rome, of an oath of allegiance to the head of the state—an oath not demanded previously under the Papal rule—that these impiegati resigned their situations, their consciences not permitting them to take the oath. It was no wonder, then, that Pius IX. should notice their fidelity to himself. But he makes no assertion whatever to the effect that these civil and military servants are merely on furlough or in disponibilità. That they do appear as pensioners on the bounty of Pius IX. may be proved, in spite of Mr. Gladstone’s denial, by reference to the Discorsi, at pages 38, 50, 99, 182, 235, 308, 460, and 472 of volume i. and pages 25, 38, and 122 of volume ii. It cannot be expected that we should quote all these passages at length, but we will quote a few of them. The ex-civil servants, on 13th July, 1872, approached His Holiness to express “their sincere devotion and gratitude for what he had done for their sustentation and comfort under most distressing circumstances.” The police officials, seven days afterwards, were introduced by Mgr. Randi; and one of them, the Marquis Pio Capranica, read an address, in which the persons whom Mr. Gladstone calls “the scum of the earth” (Review, p. 278) thank the Pope for extending to them and their “families his fatherly munificence.” On the 27th of December, 1871, the ex-military officials, through Gen. Kanzler, laid at the foot of the Pope their protestations of unalterable fidelity, their prayers for the prolongation of his life, and their gratitude for his generosity in alleviating the distress and misery of many families of his former soldiers. But perhaps the “truculence” of Pius IX. may be discovered, if not in his compassion and generosity to his ex-servants, at least in his admonitions to them to furbish up their arms and keep their powder dry. Mr. Gladstone asserts (Review, p. 297) that “blood and iron” are “in contemplation at the Vatican.” “No careful reader of this authoritative book (the Speeches) can doubt that these are the means by which the great Christian pastor contemplates and asks—ay, asks as one who should think himself entitled to command—the re-establishment of his power in Rome.” Now, the Pope can ask or command this “blood and iron” assistance from none so well as from his ex-soldiers, and from the civil and military officials still loyal to their chief. It happens, however, that no “careful reader” of the Pope’s speeches to his former soldiers or servants can discover a trace of this “truculent” purpose of His Holiness. He rarely mentions a weapon; but when he does, it is to remind his audience (as at p. 197, vol. i.) that “we must not combat with material weapons, but spiritually—that is to say, with united prayers.” He reminds some young soldiers (vol. i. p. 69) that “prayer is the terrible weapon for use specially in the actual grievous condition of affairs, by which weapon alone can the complete triumph of the church and religion be obtained.” When he would place before some of his faithful[156] civil servants the example of the “Hebrews when rebuilding Jerusalem, who held in one hand the working tools and in the other the sword to combat the enemy,” he warns them to imitation by means of “prayer on the one side, and constancy on the other” (vol. i. p. 475). Prayer is the burden of his advice on all these occasions. “Sursum corda! Lift up the thought and the heart to God, from whom only we can expect comfort, help, counsel, or protection now and always” (vol. ii. p. 25). “They have imagined,” says the Pontiff to the Marquis Pio Capranica and other ex-functionaries of the Police Department (vol. ii. p. 36), “that we wish to cause an armed reaction! To think this is folly, and to assert it is calumny. I have made known to all persons that the reaction which I desire is this: namely, to have people who can protect youth, and provide for the good education of the young in the principles of faith, morality, honesty, and respect towards the church and her ministers. This is the reaction which now and always I will say is our desire. As for the rest, God will do that which he wills. Great reactions are not in my hands, but in His upon whom all depends.” There is one passage cited by Mr. Gladstone to show that the Pope would “take the initiative,” if he could, and lead his troops to battle. It occurs in a speech addressed to Gen. Kanzler and the officers of the late pontifical army, and may be found in vol. ii. pages 141 and 142. The Pope says at the beginning of his speech, “You are come, soldiers of honor, attached to this Holy See and constant in the exercise of your duties, to present yourselves before me; but you come without arms, proving thereby how sad are the present times. Oh! would I also could obey that voice of God which many ages ago said to a people, Transform your ploughs and plough-shares and your instruments of husbandry into spears and swords and implements of war; for the enemies are advancing, and there is need of many weapons and of many armed men. Would that God would to-day repeat those same inspirations even unto us. But God is silent, and I, his Vicar, cannot do aught in distinction from him, and cannot do aught save keep silence.” The foregoing paragraph has undoubtedly a warlike sound, and is of course quoted by Mr. Gladstone; but it is immediately followed by another passage which takes from it all its force, and which is not quoted by Mr. Gladstone: “And I will particularly add that I could never desire to authorize an augmentation of arms, because, as Vicar of the God of Peace, who came on earth to bring peace to us, I am bound to sustain all the rights of peace, which is the fairest gift which God can give to this earth.”

Mr. Gladstone notices “the Pope’s wealth of vituperative power,” and refers to various passages for illustrations. A string of references looks convincing, but it has been already shown how little reliance can be placed on Mr. Gladstone in this respect. He who takes the pains to verify these references will find Pius IX. has indeed used hard language, not only towards the Italian government or Victor Emanuel, but towards insidious proselytizers and bad and immoral teachers, spectacles, and publications. But is Mr. Gladstone an unprejudiced judge of the propriety of the pontifical expressions? The late British premier thinks favorably of Victor Emanuel, and imagines[157] Rome to be much improved by the entrance of the Italians. He thinks the Pope “knows nothing except at second-hand, nothing except as he is prompted by the blindest partisans.” But Mr. Gladstone himself is the infallible authority. He has sought and produced, of course from impartial sources, statistics to show that crime has greatly diminished since the termination of the papal régime. The Gladstonian statistics, of course, refute the statements of the Pope, and also, as it happens, those of the law officers of the crown in Italy, one of whom, Ghiglieri, when lately opening the legal year with an elaborate speech, enlarged on the increasing prevalence of crime in the Roman province since 1870—that is, since Rome became the capital. Every visitor at Rome since that date knows that “flower-girls” and other girls have only since 1870 been permitted to infest the Corso and theatres, and that Rome, though not yet as bad as Paris or London in respect to ostensible immorality, is rapidly advancing to equality in vice with rival capitals. But Mr. Gladstone is not averse to vice in certain quarters. He calls the blind Duke of Sirmoneta “able, venerable, and highly cultivated,” and contrasts him (with perfect accuracy, but rather scandalously) with the other members of the Roman aristocracy, who, according to Edmond About, have not even vice to recommend them. The Carnival of 1875 in Rome is itself an illustration of the progress of vice and of crime in what Mr. Gladstone calls the “orderly and national Italian kingdom.”

There is but space left to us to notice the deposing power, “the most familiar to Englishmen” of all the “burning questions.” And the best way to notice this question is to set before our readers the ipsissima verba of Pius IX. on the subject (as far as a translation can pretend to supply them) from the famous speech to the Academia di Religione Cattolica on July 20, 1871. The Pope said:

“But amid the variety of themes presented to you, one seems to me at present of great importance, and this is to repel the attacks by which they try to falsify the idea of the Pontifical Infallibility. Among other errors, that one is more than all others malicious which would attribute to it the right to depose sovereigns and release nations from the bond of fidelity. This right, without doubt, was sometimes in extreme circumstances exercised by pontiffs; but it has nothing to do with the Pontifical Infallibility. Nor is its source the infallibility, but the pontifical authority. The exercise, moreover, of this right, in those ages of faith which respected in the pope that which he is—namely, the Supreme Judge of Christianity—and recognized the advantages of his tribunal in the great contests of peoples and sovereigns, freely was extended (aided, also, as a duty, by the public right and by the common consent of the nations) to the gravest interests of states and of their rulers. But the present conditions are entirely different from those, and only malice can confound things so diverse—as, for instance, the infallible judgment concerning the principles of revelation—with the right which the popes exercised in virtue of their authority when the common good demanded it. As for the rest, they know it better than we, and every one can perceive the reason why they raise at present a confusion of ideas so absurd and bring upon the field hypotheses to[158] which no one gives heed. They beg, that is, every pretext, even the most frivolous and the furthest from truth, provided it be suited to give us annoyance and to excite princes against the church. Some persons wished that I should explain and make more clear the conciliar definition. This I will not do. It is clear in itself, and has no need of further comments and explanations. Its true sense presents itself easily and obviously to whoever reads the decree with a dispassionate mind.”

Doubtless the deposing power is one of the “rusty tools” which Rome, according to Mr. Gladstone, has “refurbished and paraded anew.” But what man with a dispassionate mind can read the authentic version of the words put by Mr. Gladstone incorrectly before the public without coming to the conclusion that the “refurbishing and parading anew” of the deposing power is altogether a creation of Mr. Gladstone’s “brain-power,” and that Pius IX., so far from showing a disposition to employ again “the rusty tool,” actually manifests an intention to undervalue it and lay it aside? Some persons would “refurbish” up the deposing power by connecting it with infallibility, and the Pope denounces their attempt as absurd and malicious. The abstract right of pontiffs to depose princes and release subjects from allegiance is referred by Pius IX. not to the infallibility which would give it new lustre, but to the pontifical authority, which in olden time was strong and powerful, but which at present is scarcely recognized by the kingdoms of the world. The exercise of this right is delicately touched upon, in such a way as to suggest not the least disposition to resume the right by putting it in practice. It was indeed “sometimes, in extreme circumstances”—talvolta in supreme circostanze—exercised by popes in those times when the pontiff was acknowledged “the Supreme Judge of Christianity,” and when the Holy See, by the common consent of nations, was the tribunal to which appeal was made in the great contests of sovereigns and nations. Then indeed this right was extended to “the gravest interests of nations and of rulers”; but now all is different—“aflatto diverse.” So far from “parading anew” the abstract right, and “furbishing” it up for present use, the Holy Father indignantly repudiates the malicious allegation by declaring that the right itself was but seldom exercised in ancient times, and then only under special conditions such as are not likely to be found in modern days. “Hypotheses” may of course be imagined by those who wish “to give annoyance and excite princes against the church.” But these “hypotheses,” as the Pope remarks, are not serious. No one pays heed or attention to them. They are “ipotesi, alle quali niuno pensa.” The limits of the obedience of subjects to sovereigns are clearly set forth by Pius IX. in his address to an Austrian deputation on the 18th of June, 1871. “Submission and respect to authority are the principal duties of truly good subjects. But at the same time I must remind you,” says the Pope, “that your obedience and fidelity have a limit to be observed. Be faithful to the sovereign whom God has given to you, and obey the laws which govern you; but when necessity calls, let your obedience and fidelity not advance beyond, but be arrested at, the steps of the altar.” You have “duties to the laws as subjects, and to your consciences[159] as Christians.” “Unite these duties well, and let your supreme rule be the holy law of God and his church.” The state of mind of that man who can find nothing in the Speeches of Pius IX. save matter for ridicule, sarcasm, and invective is not to be envied. It reminds one of the phrase employed in the consistorial “processus” for the appointment of a bishop to a diocese in which heretics usurped the churches and impeded the profession and practice of true religion: Illius status potius est deplorandus quam recensendus—It is a condition which is rather to be deplored than described.


The sun beams over Laurelside
To Ana-lo-mink water,
And nature smiles in rural pride
At all the gifts he brought her.
The merry greenwood branches hold
More cheer than castle’s rafter,
The gurgling river ne’er is old
With sly and mellow laughter.
How welcome is the soothing sound
Of mingling water speeding
O’er pebbly bed with laugh and bound,
Through wooded banks receding!
Ah! pleasant ’tis to close one’s eyes,
And let the murmurous measure
With liquid tones of gay surprise
Fill up the fancy’s pleasure.
But ere my hooded eyes could wake
Sweet fancy’s happy scheming,
Came Robin Oriole to break
My sleepless, dulcet dreaming.
For Rob outshines the glowing day,
And in the sun’s dominions
Seems like a ball of fire at play
On elfin sable pinions.
He glints the orchard’s dropping dew,
Illumes the maple’s mazes,
Dispels the pine-shade passing through,
And in the sunshine blazes!
And sweeping to a mossy bank,
The wings the flame deliver
Where fern-encloister’d pebbles flank
An eddy from the river.
Here, by the stream-indented path,
As master Rob did spy it,
Thought he, What chance for Sunday bath!
So tempting, cool, and quiet.
He quaintly eyed the little pool,
And hopt so self-confiding,
And peek’d around, like boy from school,
To see none near were hiding.
Then, list’ning, seem’d to mark the tone
Made by the eddies’ patter;
But bravely sprang upon a stone,
And plunged with splash and spatter.
The bath came only to his knees,
But, ducking as he flutters,
Against his throat the water sprees,
And round his body sputters.
It leapt in bubbles, as his crest
And wings were merrily toiling;
You’d think his ruffled, fiery breast
Had set the water boiling.
He stopt short in his merry ways
As coy as any lady,
And, flutt’ring, sent a diamond haze
Around his bath so shady.
Then popt out on the olive moss
So softly deep and luscious;
Then skimm’d the blue-eyed flow’rs across,
And perch’d within the bushes.
He perk’d his head like dandy prig,
Now feeling fine and fresher;
And took the air upon a twig,
That scarcely felt his pressure.
Full suddenly he scann’d his shank,
As though he had not reckon’d
One dip enough, flew to the bank,
And gayly took a second!
Oh! how the jolly fellow dashed
The little waves asunder!
Dove in his head and breast, and splashed
His pinion-feathers under.
Then standing up, as though to rest,
He looked around discreetly;
Again with zest the pool caress’d,
And made his bath completely.
Out hopt he where the sun-fed breeze
Came streamward warmly tender—
A brilliant prince of Atomies
Amid this mountain splendor.
Oh, balmy is the mountain air
Of May with sunlight in it!
And blest is he from town-wrought care
Who can in greenwood win it.
But sun on Robin’s radiant coat,
All drench’d, he fear’d might spoil it,
So to an alder grove did float
To make his feathery toilet.
He pick’d his wings and smoothed his neck,
Arranged his vest’s carnation,
And flew out without stain or speck
To dazzle all creation!





“Here you are, you naughty little maiden, gadding about the country when I want you to be at home to talk to me!” exclaimed Sir Simon, as Franceline burst into the cottage full of her little adventure. “Where have you been all this time?”

“Only to see Miss Merrywig, and then I came home by the fields.”

“And was any poor mortal lucky enough to meet you coming through the rye?” inquired Sir Simon facetiously.

Franceline didn’t see the point a bit; but she blushed as if she did, and Sir Simon was not the man to let her off.

“Oh! so that’s it, is it? Come, now, and tell me all about it,” he said, drawing her to a low seat beside his arm-chair, the only one in the establishment, and which his host always insisted on his taking. “You must let me into the secret; it’s very shabby of you to have got one without consulting me. Who is he, and where did you meet him?”

“One is Mr. Charlton,” replied Franceline naïvely; “but I don’t know who the other is. I never saw him before. Tell me who he is, monsieur?”

“Tell you! Well, upon my word, you are a pretty flirt! You don’t even know his name! A very nice young lady!”

“Is he a Frenchman, monsieur? I think he must be from the way he bowed. Is he a friend of yours? Nobody else knows Frenchmen here but you. Do tell me who he is.”

“He’s not a Frenchman,” said Sir Simon, “and he’ll never forgive you for mistaking him for one, I can tell you. If you were a man, he would run you through the body for it just as soon as he’d look at you!”

“Mon Dieu!” cried Franceline, opening her eyes wide with wonder, “then I don’t care to know any more about him. I hope I shall never see him again.”

“Yes, but you shall, though, and I’ll take care to tell him,” declared Sir Simon.

“What is it? What is it?” called out M. de la Bourbonais, looking up from a letter that he was writing against time to catch the post. “What are you both quarrelling about again?”

“Petit père, monsieur is so unkind and so disagreeable!”

“And Mlle. Franceline is so cruel and so inquisitive!”

“He won’t tell me who that strange gentleman is, petit père. Canst thou tell me?”

“Oh! ho! I thought we didn’t care to know!” laughed Sir Simon with a mischievous look.

“Tell me, petit père!” said Franceline, ignoring her tormentor’s taunt; and going up to her father, she laid her head coaxingly against his.

He looked at her for a moment[163] with a strange expression, and then said, half speaking to himself, while he stroked her hair, “What can it matter to thee? What is one strange face more or less to thee or me?” Then turning to Sir Simon, who was enjoying the sight of the young girl’s innocent curiosity, and perhaps revolving possible eventualities in his buoyant mind, the count said, “Who is it, Harness?”

“How do I know?” retorted his friend. “A strange gentleman that bows like a Frenchman is not a very lucid indication.”

“I met him coming out of your gate, walking with Mr. Charlton,” explained Franceline. “He’s taller than Mr. Charlton—as tall as you, monsieur—and he wore a moustache like a Frenchman. I never saw any one like him in England.”

Franceline’s recollections of France were mostly rather dim, but, like the memories of childhood, those that survived were very vivid.

“If he must be a Frenchman, I can make nothing out of it,” said Sir Simon.

“Voyons, Harness,” laughed the count, “don’t be too unmerciful! Curiosity in a woman once led to terrible consequences.”

“Well, I’ll tell you who he is In fact, I came here to-day on purpose to tell you, and to ask when I could bring him to see you. He’s the nephew of my old school-chum, De Winton, a very nice fellow, but not the least like a Frenchman, whatever his bow and his moustache may say to the contrary.”

“Do you mean Clide De Winton, the poor young fellow who …?”

“Precisely,” replied Sir Simon; “he’s been a rover on the face of the earth for the last eight or nine years. This is the first time I’ve seen him since I said good-by to him on the steamer at Marseilles, and met you on my way back. He’s been all over the world since then, I believe. You’ll find he has plenty to say for himself, and his French is number one.”

“And the admiral—is he with him?” inquired Raymond.

“I’m expecting him down to-morrow. How long is it since you saw him?”

“Hé!… let us not count the years, mon cher! We were all young then.”

“We’re all young now,” protested the hearty baronet. “Men of our time of life never grow old; it’s only these young ones that can afford that sort of thing,” nodding toward Franceline, who, since she found her Frenchman was no Frenchman, appeared to have lost all interest in him, and was busily tidying her father’s table. “As to the admiral, he’s younger than ever he was. By the way, I don’t intend to let him cut me out with a certain young lady; so let me see no flirtation in that quarter. I’ll not stand it. Do you hear me, Miss Franceline?”

“Yes,” was the laconic rejoinder, and she went on fixing some loose papers in a letter-press.

“Yes, Monsieur le Comte is at home; but, as monsieur knows, he never likes to be disturbed at this hour,” replied Angélique, who was knitting the family stockings in the wee summer-house at the end of the garden.

“Oh! I’ll answer for it he won’t mind being disturbed this time,” said Sir Simon. “Tell him it’s his old friend, the admiral, who wants to see him.”

Before Angélique had got her needles under way and risen, a[164] cry of jubilant welcome sounded from the closed shutters of the little room where the count was hard at work in the dark. “Mon cher De Vinton! how it rejoices me to embrace you.” And the Frenchman was in his friend’s arms in a minute. “My good Angélique, this is one of our eldest friends! Where is mademoiselle? Fetch her on the instant! Mon cher De Vinton.”

The four gentlemen—for Clide was there—went laughing and shaking hands into the house, and groped their way as best they could into Raymond’s study. He had the sensible foreign habit of keeping the shutters closed to exclude the heat, and the admiral nearly fell over a stool in scrambling for a chair.

“My dear Bourbonais, we’re none of us bats, and darkness isn’t a help to the flow of soul,” said Sir Simon; “so, by your leave, I’ll throw a little light on the subject.” And he pushed back the shutter.

Before their eyes had recovered the blinding shock of the light coming suddenly on the darkness, a light foot was pattering down the stairs, and Franceline glided into the room. The effect was very much as if a lily had sprouted up from the carpet. An involuntary “God bless my soul!” broke from the admiral, and Clide started to his feet. “My daughter, messieurs,” said M. de la Bourbonais, with a sudden touch of the courtier in his manner, as he took her by the hand, and presented her to them both. Franceline bowed to the young man, and held out her hand to the elder one. The admiral, with an unwonted impulse of gallantry, raised it to his lips, and then held it in both his own, looking steadily into her face with an open stare of fatherly admiration. He had seen many lovely women in his day, and, if report spoke true, the brave sailor had been a very fair judge of the charms of the gentler sex; but he had never seen anything the least like this. Perhaps it was the unexpected contrast of the picture with the frame that took him so much by surprise and heightened the effect; but, whatever it was, he was completely taken aback, and stood looking at it speechless and bewildered.

“Do you mean to tell me that this wild rose belongs to him?” he said at last, addressing himself to Sir Simon, and with an aggressive nod at Raymond, as if he suspected him of having pilfered the article in question, and were prepared to do battle for the rightful owner.

“He says so,” averred the baronet cautiously.

“He may say what he likes,” declared the admiral, “my belief is that he purloined it out of some fairy’s garden.”

“And my belief is that you purloined that!” snubbed Sir Simon. “You never had as much poetry in you as would inspire a fly; had he, Clide?”

Raymond rubbed his spectacles, and put them on again—his usual way of disposing of an awkward situation, and which just now helped to conceal the twinkle of innocent paternal vanity that was dancing in his gray eyes.

“No, you usedn’t to be much of a poet when I knew you, De Vinton,” he said.

“No more he is now,” asserted the baronet. “What do you say, Clide?”

“The most prosaic of us may become poets under a certain pressure of inspiration,” replied the young man, with an imperceptible[165] movement of his head in the direction of Franceline, who blushed under the speech just enough to justify the admiral’s wild-rose simile. She drew her hand laughingly away from his, and then, when everybody had found a seat, she pushed her favorite low stool close to her father’s chair, and sat down by his knee.

The friends had a great deal to say to each other, although the presence of Clide and Sir Simon prevented their touching on certain episodes of the past that were brought vividly to Raymond’s mind by the presence of one whom he had not seen since they had taken place. This kept all painful subjects in the background; and in spite of a wistful look in Raymond’s eyes, as if the sailor’s weather-beaten face were calling up the ghost of by-gone days—joys that had lived their span and died, and sorrow that was not dead, but sleeping—he kept up the flow of conversation with great animation. Meanwhile, the two young people were pushed rather outside the circle. Clide, instead of entering on a tête-à-tête, as it was clearly his right and his duty to do, kept holding on by the fringe of his uncle’s talk, feigning to be deeply interested in it, while all the time he was thinking of something else, longing to go and sit by Franceline, and talk to her. It was not shyness that kept him back. That infirmity of early youth had left him, with other outward signs of boyhood. The features had lost their boyish expression, and matured into that of the man of the world, who had seen life and observed things by the road with shrewd eyes and a mind that had learned to think. Clide had ripened prematurely within the last eight years, as men do who are put to school to a great sorrow. He and his monitress had not parted company, but they had grown used to each other. Sometimes he reproached himself for this with a certain bitterness. It seemed like treason to have forgotten; to have put his grief aside, railed it off, as it were, from his life, like a grave to be visited at stated times, and kept trimmed with flowers that were no longer watered with tears. He accused himself of being too weak to hold his sorrow, of having let it go from want of strength to keep it. Enduring grief, like enduring love, must have a strong, rich soil to feed upon. The thing we mourn, like the thing we love, may contain in itself all good and beauty and endless claims upon our constancy; but we may fail in power to answer them. The demand may be too great for the scanty measure of our supply. It is harder to be faithful in sorrow than in love. Clide had realized this, and he could never think of it without a pang. Yet he was not to blame. What he had loved and mourned was only a mirage, a will-o’-the-wisp the ideal creation of his own trusting heart and generous imagination. He was angry with himself because the thunderbolt that had fallen in his Garden of Eden, and burnt up the leaves of his tree of life, had not torn it up by the roots and killed it. Our lives have deeper roots than we know. Even when they are torn quite up we sometimes plant them again, and they grow afresh, striking their fibres deeper than before, and bringing forth richer fruit. But we refuse to believe this until we have tasted of the fruit. Clide sat apparently listening to the cheery, affectionate talk of his uncle and Raymond; but he was all the while listening to[166] his own thoughts. What was there in the sight of this ivory-browed, mystic-looking maiden to call up so vividly another face so utterly different from it? Why did he hear the sea booming its dirge like a reproach to him from that lonely grave at St. Valery, as if he were wronging or wounding the dead by resting his eyes on Franceline? Yet, in spite of the reproach, he could not keep them averted. Her father sometimes called her Clair de lune. It was not an inappropriate name; there was something of the cold, pure light of the moon in her transparent pallor, and in the shadows of her eyes under the long, black lashes that lent them such a soft fascination. Clide thought so, as he watched her; cold as the face might be, it was stirring his pulse and making his heart beat as he never thought to feel them stir and beat again.

“Are ces messieurs going to stay for supper?” said Angélique, putting her nut-brown face in at the door. “Because, if they are, I must know in time to get ready.”

“Why, Angélique, I never knew you want more than five minutes to prepare the best omelette soufflée I ever get anywhere out of the Palais Royal!” said Sir Simon.

“Ah! monsieur mocks me,” said Angélique, who was so elated by this public recognition of her omelet talent that, if Sir Simon was not embraced by the nut-brown face on the spot, it was one of those hair-breadth escapes that our lives are full of, and we never give thanks for because we never know of them. “Persuade De Vinton and our young friend here to stop and test it, then!” exclaimed M. de la Bourbonais, holding out both hands to the admiral in his genial, impulsive way. “The garden is our salle-à-manger in this hot weather, so there is plenty of room.” There was something irresistible in the simplicity and cordiality of the offer, and the admiral was about to say he would be delighted, when Sir Simon put in his veto: “No, no, not this evening. You must come and dine with us, Bourbonais; I want you up at the house this evening. But the invitation will keep. We’ll not let Angélique off her omelette soufflée; we’ll come and attack it to-morrow, if these rovers don’t bolt, as they threaten to do.”

And so the conference was broken up, and Raymond accompanied his guests to the garden-gate, promising to follow them in half an hour.

It was a rare event for M. de la Bourbonais to dine at Dullerton Court; he disliked accepting its grand-seignior hospitality, and whenever he consented it was understood there should be nobody to meet him. “I have grown as unsocial as a bear from long habit, mon cher,” he would be sure to say every time Sir Simon bore down on him with an invitation. “I shall turn into a mollusk by-and-by. How completely we are the creatures of habit!” To which Sir Simon would invariably reply with his Johnsonian maxim: “You should struggle against that sort of thing, Bourbonais, and overcome it”; and Raymond would smile, and agree with him. He was too gentle and too thoroughbred to taunt his friend with not following it himself, which he might have done with bitter truth. Sir Simon was the slave of habits and of weaknesses that it was far more necessary to struggle against than Raymond’s harmless little foibles. There are some men who spend one-half of their lives in cheating others, and the other half[167] in trying to cheat themselves. Sir Simon Harness was one of these. Cheating is perhaps a hard word to apply to his efforts to keep up a delusion which had grown so entirely his master that he could scarcely see where the substance ended and where the shadow began. Yet his whole life at present was a cheat. He had the reputation of being the largest land-owner and the wealthiest man in that end of the county, and he was, in reality, one of the poorest. The grand aim of his existence was to live up to this false appearance, and prevent the truth from coming out. It would be a difficult and useless undertaking to examine how far he was originally to blame for the state of active falsehood into which he and his circumstances had fallen. There is no doubt that his father was to blame in the first instance. He had been a very splendid old gentleman, Sir Alexander Harness, and had lived splendidly and died heavily in debt, leaving the estate considerably mortgaged. He had not been more than twenty years dead at the time I speak of, so that his son, in coming into possession, found himself saddled with the paternal debts, and with the confirmed extravagant habits of a lifetime. This made the sacrifices which the payment of those debts necessitated seem a matter of simple impossibility to him. The only thing to be done was to let the Court for a term of years, send away the troops of misnamed servants that encumbered the place, sell off the stud, and betake himself to the Continent and economize. Thus he would have paid off his encumbrances, and come back independent and easy in his mind. But, unluckily, strong measures of this sort did not lie at all in Sir Simon’s way. He talked about going abroad, and had some indefinite notion of “pulling in.” He did run off to Paris and other continental places very frequently; but as he travelled with a courier and a valet, and with all the expenses inseparable from those adjuncts, the excursions did not contribute much towards the desired result. Things went on at the Court in the old way; the same staff of servants was kept up; the same number of parasites who, under pretence of payment for some small debt, had lived in the Court for years, until they came to consider they had a vested life-interest in the property, were allowed to hang on. The new master of Dullerton was loath to do such a shabby thing as to turn them out; and they were sure to die off after a while. Then there was the stud, which Sir Alexander had been so proud of. It had been a terrible expense to set it up, but, being up, it was a pity to let it down; when things were going, they had a way of keeping themselves going. There had always been open house at the Court from time immemorial. In the shooting season people had come down, as a matter of course, and enjoyed the jovial hospitalities of the old squire ever since Dullerton had belonged to him. While his son was there he could not possibly break through these old habits; they were as sacred as the family traditions. By-and-by, when he saw his way to shutting up the place and going abroad, it might be managed. Meanwhile, the old debts were accumulating, and new ones were growing, and Sir Simon was beginning less than ever to see his way to setting things right. If that tough old Lady Rebecca Harness, his step-mother, would but take herself to a better world, and leave[168] him that fifty thousand pounds that reverted to him at her demise, it would be a great mercy. But Lady Rebecca evidently was in no hurry to try whether there was any pleasanter place than this best of all possible worlds, and, in spite of her seventy years, was as hale as a woman of forty. This was a trying state of things to the light-tempered, open-handed baronet; but the greatest trial to him was the fear in which he lived of being found out. He was at heart an upright man, and it was his pride that men looked up to him as one whose character and principles were, like Cæsar’s wife, above suspicion. He had lived up to this reputation so far; but he was conscious of a growing fear that with the increase of difficulties there was stealing on him a lessening of the fine moral sense that had hitherto supported him under many temptations. His embarrassments were creating a sort of mental fog around him; he was beginning to wonder whether his theories about honesty were quite where they used to be, and whether he was not getting on the other side of the border-line between conscience and expediency. Outside it was still all fair; he was the most popular man in the county, a capital landlord—in fact, everybody’s friend but his own. The only person, except the family lawyer, who was allowed to look at the other side of the picture, was M. de la Bourbonais. Sir Simon was too sympathetic himself not to feel the need of sympathy. He must occasionally complain of his hard fate to some one, so he complained to Raymond. But Raymond, while he gave him his sincerest sympathy, was very far from realizing the extent of the troubles that called it forth. The baronet bemoaned himself in a vague manner, denouncing people and things in a general sweep every now and then; but between times he was as gay and contented as a man could be, and Raymond knew far too little of the ways of the world and of human nature to reconcile these conflicting evidences, and deduce from them the facts they represented. He could not apprehend the anomaly of a sane man, and a man of honor, behaving like a lunatic and a swindler; spending treble his income in vanity and superfluity, and for no better purpose than an empty bubble of popularity and vexation of spirit. Of late, however, he had once or twice gained a glimpse into the mystery, and it had given him a sharp pang, which Sir Simon no sooner perceived than he hastened to dispel by treating his lamentations as mere irritability of temper, assuring Raymond they meant nothing. But there was still an uneasy feeling in the latter’s mind. It was chiefly painful to him for Sir Simon’s sake, but it made him a little uncomfortable on his own account. With Raymond’s punctilious notions of integrity, the man who connived at wrong-doing, or in the remotest way participated in it, was only a degree less culpable than the actual wrong-doer; and if Sir Simon had come to the point of being hard up for a fifty-pound note to meet a pressing bill, it was very unprincipled of him to be giving dinners with Johannisberg and Tokay at twenty shillings a bottle, and very wrong of his friends to aid and abet him in such extravagance. One day Sir Simon came in with a clouded brow to unburden himself about a fellow who had the insolence to write for the seventh time, demanding the payment of his “little bill,” and, after a vehement tirade, wound[169] up by asking Raymond to go back and dine with him. “We’ll have up a bottle of your favorite Château Margaux, and drink confusion to the duns and the speedy extermination of the race,” said the baronet. “Come and cheer a fellow up, old boy; nothing clears away the blue devils like discussing one’s worries over a good glass of claret.” Raymond fought off, first on the old plea that he hated going out, etc.; but, finding this would not do, he confessed the truth. He hinted delicately that he did not feel justified in allowing his friend to go to any expense on his account. The innocence and infantine simplicity of this avowal sent Sir Simon into such a hearty fit of laughter that Raymond felt rather ashamed of himself, and began to apologize profusely for being so stupid and having misunderstood, etc., and declared he would go and drink the bottle of Château Margaux all to himself. But after this Sir Simon was more reticent about his embarrassments; and as things went on at the Court in the old, smooth, magnificent way, M. de la Bourbonais began to think it was all right, and that his friend’s want of money must have been a mere temporary inconvenience. In fact, he began to doubt this evening whether it was not all a dream of his that Sir Simon had ever talked of being “hard up.” When he entered the noble dining-room and looked around him, it was difficult to believe otherwise. Massive silver and costly crystal sparkled and flashed under a shower of light from the antique branching chandelier; wax-lights clustered on the walls amidst solemn Rembrandt heads, and fascinating Reynoldses, and wild Salvator Rosas, and tender Claudes, and sunny Canalettos. It was not in nature that the owner of all this wealth and splendor should know what it was to be in want of money. Sir Simon, moreover, was in his element; and it would have puzzled a spectator more versed than Raymond in the complex mechanism of the human heart to believe that the brilliant host who was doing the honors of his house so delightfully had a canker gnawing at his vitals. He rattled away with the buoyant spirits of five-and-twenty; he was brimful of anecdote, and bright with repartee. He drew every one else out. This was what made him so irresistibly charming in society; it was not only that he shone himself, but he had a knack of making other people shine. He made the admiral tell stories of his seafaring life, he drew out Clide about Afghanistan, and spirited M. de la Bourbonais into a quarrel with him about the dates of the Pyramids; never flagging for a moment, never prosing, but vaulting lightly from one subject to another, and all the while leaving his guests under the impression that they were entertaining him rather than he them, and that he was admiring them a vast deal more than he admired himself. A most delightful host Sir Simon was.

“Nothing cheers a man up like the sight of an old friend! Eh, De Winton?” he exclaimed, falling back in his chair, with a thumb thrust into each waistcoat pocket, and his feet stretched out to their full length under the mahogany, the picture of luxury, hospitality, and content.

“Much you know about it!” grunted the admiral, filling his glass—“a man that never wanted to be cheered up in his life!”

Sir Simon threw back his head and laughed. It was wine to him[170] to be rated such a good fellow by his old college chum.

They kept it up till eleven o’clock, puffing their cigars on the terrace, where the soft summer moon was shining beautifully on the fawns playing under the silver spray of the fountain.

“I’ll walk home with you, Raymond,” said Sir Simon when the chime of the stable-clock reminded the count that it was time for him to go.

It was about ten minutes’ walk to The Lilies through the park; but as the night was so lovely, the baronet proposed they should take the longer way by the road, and see the river by moonlight. They walked on for a while without speaking. Raymond was enjoying the beauty of the scene, the gold of the fields and the green of the meadows, all shining alike in silver, the identity of the trees and flowers merged in uniform radiancy; he fancied his companion was admiring it too, until the latter broke the spell by an unexpected exclamation: “What an infernal bore money is, my dear fellow! I mean the want of it.”

“Mon Dieu!” was the count’s astonished comment. And as Sir Simon said nothing more, he looked up at him uneasily: “I thought things had come all right again, mon cher?”

“They never were right; that’s the deuce of it. If I’d found them right, I wouldn’t have been such an ass as to put them wrong. A man needn’t be a saint or a philosopher to keep within an income of ten thousand pounds a year; the difficulty is to live up to the name of it when you haven’t got more than the fifth in reality. A man’s life isn’t worth a year’s purchase with the worry these rascally fellows give one—a set of low scoundrels that would suck your vitals with all the pleasure in life, just because you happen to be a gentleman. Here’s that architect fellow that ran up those stables last year, blustering and blowing about his miserable twelve hundred pounds as if it was the price of a cathedral! I told the fellow he’d have to wait for his money, and of course he was all readiness and civility, anything to secure the job; and it’s no sooner done than he’s down on me with a hue-and-cry. He must have his money, forsooth, or else he’ll be driven to the painful necessity of applying through his man of business. A fellow of his kind threatening me with his man of business! The impertinence of his having a man of business at all! But I dare say it’s a piece of braggadocio; he thinks he’ll frighten the money out of me by giving himself airs and talking big. I’ll see the scoundrel further! There’s no standing the impudence of that class nowadays. Something must be done to check it. It’s a disgrace to the country to see the way they’re taking the upper hand and riding rough-shod over us. And mark my words if the country doesn’t live to regret it! We landed proprietors are the bulwark of the state; and if they let us be sent to the wall, they had better look to their own moorings. Mark my words, Bourbonais!”

Bourbonais was marking his words, but he was too bewildered to make any sense out of them. “I agree with you, mon cher, the lower orders are becoming the upper ones in many ways; but what does that prove?”

“Prove! It proves there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark!” retorted Sir Simon.

“But how does that affect the case in question? I mean what[171] has it to do with this architect’s bill?”

“It has this to do with it: that if this fellow’s father had attempted the same impertinence with my father, he’d have been sent to the right-about; whereas he may insult me, not only with impunity, but with effect! That’s what it has to do with it. Public opinion has changed sides since my father lived like a gentleman, and snapped his fingers at these parasites that live by sucking our blood.”

Raymond knew that when Sir Simon got on the subject of the “lower” orders and their iniquities, there was nothing for it but to give him his head, and wait patiently till he pulled up of his own accord. When at last the baronet drew breath, and was willing to listen, he brought him back to the point, and asked what he meant to do about the twelve-hundred-pound bill. Did he see his way to paying it? Sir Simon did not. It was a curious fact that he never saw his way to paying a bill until he had contracted it, and until his vision had been sharpened by some disagreeable process like the present, which forced him to face the alternative of paying or doing worse. These new stables had been a necessary expense, it is true, and he was very forcible in reiterating the fact to Raymond; but the latter had a provoking way of reverting to first principles, as he called it, and, after hearing his friend’s logical demonstration as to the absolute necessity which had compelled him to build—the valuable horses that were being damaged by the damp of the old stables; the impossibility of keeping up a hunting stud without proper accommodations for horses and men; the economy that the outlay was sure to be in the long run, the saving of doctor’s bills, etc.; the “vet.” was never out of the house while the horses were lodged in the old stables—M. de la Bourbonais said: “But, mon cher, why need you keep a hunting stud, why keep horses at all, if you can’t afford it?”

This was a question that never crossed Sir Simon’s mind, or, if it did, it was dismissed with such a peremptory snub that it never presented itself again. It was peculiarly irritating to have it thrust on him now, at a moment when he wanted some soothing advice to cheer him up. The idea, put into words and spoken aloud by another, was, however, not as easily ignored as when it passed silently through his own mind; it must be answered, if only by shutting the door in its face.

“My dear Raymond,” said the baronet in his affectionate, patronizing way, “you don’t quite understand the matter; you look at it too much from a Frenchman’s point of view. You don’t make allowance for the different conditions of society in this country. There are certain things, you see, that a man must do in England; society exacts it of him. A gentleman must live like a gentleman, or else he can’t hold his own. It isn’t a matter of choice.”

“It seems to me it is, though,” returned Raymond. “He may choose between his duty to his conscience and his duty to society.”

“You can’t separate them, my dear fellow; it’s not to be done in this country. But that’s shifting the question too wide of the mark,” observed Sir Simon, who began to feel it was being driven rather too close. “The thing is, how am I to raise the wind to quiet this architect? It is too late to discuss the[172] wisdom of building the stables; they are built, and they must be paid for.”

“Sell those two hunters that you paid five hundred pounds apiece for; that will go a long way towards it,” suggested the count.

The proposition was self-evident, but that did not make it the more palatable to Sir Simon. He muttered something about not seeing his way to a purchaser just then. Raymond, however, pressed the matter warmly, and urged him to set about finding one without delay. He brought forward a variety of arguments to back up this advice, and to prove to his friend that not only common sense and justice demanded that he should follow it, but that, from a selfish point of view, it was the best thing he could do. “Trust me,” he cried, “the peace of mind it will bring you will largely compensate for the sacrifice.” Sacrifice! It sounded like a mockery on Raymond de la Bourbonais’ lips to apply the word to the sale of a couple of animals for the payment of a foolish debt; but Raymond, whatever Sir Simon might say to the contrary, made large allowance for their relative positions, and was very far from any thought of irony when he called it a sacrifice.

“You’re right; you’re always right, Raymond,” said the baronet, leaning his arm heavily on the count’s shoulder, and imperceptibly guiding him closer to the river, that was flowing on like a message of peace in the solemn, star-lit silence. “I’d be a happier man if I could take life as you do, if I were more like you.”

“And had to black your own boots?” Raymond laughed gently.

“I shouldn’t mind a rap blacking my boots, if nobody saw me.”

“Ah! that’s just it! But when people are reduced to black their own boots, they’re sure to be seen. The thing is to do it, and not care who sees us.”

“That’s the rub,” said Sir Simon; and then they walked on without speaking for a while, listening to a nightingale that woke up in a willow-tree and broke the silence with a short, bright cadence, ending in a trill that made the very shadows vibrate on the water. There is a strange unworldliness in moonlight. The cold stars, tingling silently in the deep blue peace so far above us, have a voice that rebukes the strife of our petty passions more forcibly than the wisest sermon. The cares and anxieties of our lives pale into the flimsy shadows that they are, when we look at them in the glory of illuminated midnight heavens. What sheer folly it all was, this terror of what the world would say of him if he sold his hunters! Sir Simon felt he could laugh at the world’s surprise, ay, or at its contempt, if it had met him there and then by the river’s side, while the stars were shining down upon him.

“Simon,” said M. de la Bourbonais, stopping as they came within a few steps of The Lilies, “I am going to ask you for a proof of friendship.” He scarcely ever called the baronet by his name, and Sir Simon felt that, whatever the proof in question was, it was stirring Raymond’s heart very deeply to ask it.

“I thought we had got beyond asking each other anything of that sort; if I wanted a service from you, I should simply tell you so,” replied the baronet.

“You are right. That is just what I feel about it. Well, what I want to say is this: I have a hundred pounds laid by. I don’t want[173] it at present; there is no knowing when I may want it, so I will draw it to-morrow and take it to you.” Raymond made his little announcement very simply, but there was a tremor in his voice. Sir Simon hardly knew what to say. It was impossible to accept, and impossible to refuse.

“It’s rather a good joke, my offering to lend you money!” said Raymond, laughing and walking on as if he noticed nothing. “But you know the story of the lion and the mouse.”

“Raymond, you’re a richer man than I am,” said Sir Simon; “a far happier one,” he added in his own mind.

“Then you’ll take the hundred pounds?”

“Yes; that is to say, no. I can’t say positively at this moment; we’ll talk it over to-morrow. You’ll come up early, and we’ll talk it over. You see, I may not want it after all. If I get the full value of Nero and Rosebud, I shouldn’t want it.”

“But you may not find a purchaser at once, and a hundred pounds would keep this man quiet till you do,” suggested Raymond.

“My dear old boy!” said the baronet, grasping his hand—they were at the gate now—“I ought to be ashamed to own it; but the fact is, Roxham—you know Lord Roxham in the next county?—offered me a thousand pounds for Rosebud only two days ago. I’ll write to him to-morrow and accept it. I dare say he’d be glad to take the two.”

“Oh! how you unload my heart! Good-night, mon cher ami. A demain!” said Raymond.

On his way home Sir Simon looked stern realities in the face, and came to the determination that a change must be made; that it was not possible to get on as he was, keeping up a huge establishment, and entertaining like a man of ten thousand a year, and getting deeper and deeper into debt every day. Raymond was right. Common sense and justice were the best advisers, and it was better to obey their counsels voluntarily while there was yet time than wait till it was too late, and he was driven to extremities. This architect’s bill was a mere drop in the ocean; but it is a drop that every now and then makes the flood run over, and compels us to do something to stem the torrent. As Sir Simon turned it all in his mind in the presence of the stars, he felt very brave about the necessary measures of reform. After all, what did it signify what the world said of him? Would the world that criticised him, perhaps voted him a fool for selling his hunters, help him when the day of reckoning came? What was it all but emptiness and vanity of vanities? He realized this truth, as he sauntered home through the park, and stood looking down over the landscape sleeping under the deep blue dome. Where might he and his amusements and perplexities be to-morrow—that dim to-morrow, that lies so near to each of us, poor shadows that we are, our life a speck between two eternities? Sir Simon let himself in by a door on the terrace, and then, instead of going straight to his room, went into the library, and wrote a short note to Lord Roxham. It was safer to do it now than wait till morning. The morning was a dangerous time with Sir Simon for resolves like the present. It was ever to him a mystery of hope, the awakening of the world, the setting right and cheering up of all things[174] by the natural law of resurrection.

The admiral and Clide had planned to leave next day; but the weather was so glorious and the host was so genial that it required no great pressing to make them alter their plans and consent to remain a few days longer.

“You know we are due at Bourbonais’ this evening,” said Sir Simon. “The old lady will never forgive me if I disappoint her of cooking that omelet for you.”

So it was agreed that they would sup at The Lilies, and M. de la Bourbonais was requested to convey the message to Angélique when, according to appointment, he came up early to the Court. He had no opportunity of talking it over with Sir Simon; the admiral and Clide were there, and other visitors dropped in and engaged his attention. The baronet, however, contrived to set him quite at rest; the grasp of his hand, and the smile with which he greeted his friend, said plainer than words: “Cheer up, we’re all right again!” He was in high spirits, welcoming everybody, and looking as cheerful as if he did not know what a dun meant. He fully intended to whisper to Raymond that he had written about the horses to Lord Roxham; but he was not able to do it, owing to their being so surrounded.

“Do you ride much, Monsieur le Comte?” said Clide, coming to sit by Raymond, who, he observed, stood rather aloof from the people who were chatting together on common topics.

“No,” said Raymond; “I prefer walking, which is fortunate, as I don’t possess a horse.”

“If you cared for it, that wouldn’t be an impediment, I fancy” said the young man. “Sir Simon would be only too grateful to you for exercising one of his. He has a capital stud. I’ve been looking at it this morning. He’s a first-rate judge of horse-flesh.”

“That is the basis of an Englishman’s education, is it not?” said the count playfully.

“Which accounts, perhaps, for the defects of the superstructure,” replied Clide, laughing. “It is rather a hard hit at us, Monsieur le Comte; but I’m afraid we deserve it. You have a good deal to put up with from us one way or another, I dare say, to say nothing of our climate.”

“That is a subject that I never venture to touch on,” said Raymond, with affected solemnity. “I found out long ago that his climate was a very sore point with an Englishman, and that he takes any disrespect to it as a personal offence.”

“A part of our general conceit,” observed Clide good-humoredly. “I’ve been so long out of it that I almost forget its vices, and only remember its virtues.”

“What are they?” inquired Raymond.

“Well, I count it a virtue in a wet day to hold out the hope to you of seeing it clear up at any moment; whereas, in countries that are blessed with a good climate, once the day sets in wet, you know your doom; there’s nothing to hope for till to-morrow.”

“There is something in that, I grant you,” replied Raymond thoughtfully; “but the argument works both ways. If the day sets in fine here, you never know what it may do before an hour. In fact, it proves, what I have long ago made up my mind to, that there is no climate in England—only weather. Just now it is redeeming itself; I[175] never saw a lovelier day in France. Shall we come out of doors and enjoy it?”

They stepped out on to the terrace, and turned from the flowery parterre, with its fountain flashing in the sunlight, into a shady avenue of lime-trees.

Clide felt very little interest in Raymond’s private opinion of the climate. He wanted to make him talk of himself, as a preliminary to talk of his daughter; and, as usual when we want to lead up to a subject, he could hit on nothing but the most irrelevant commonplaces. Chance finally came to his rescue in the shape of a stunted palm-tree that was obtruding its parched leaves through the broken window of a neglected orangery. Sir Simon had had a hobby about growing oranges at the Court, and had given it up, like so many other hobbies, after a while, and the orangery, that had cost so much money for a time, was standing forlorn and half-empty near the flower-garden, a trophy of its owner’s fickle purpose and extravagance.

“Poor little abortion!” exclaimed the count, pointing to the starved palm-tree, “it did not take kindly to its exile.”

“Exile is a barren soil to most of us,” said Clide. “We generally prove a failure in it.”

“I suppose because we are a failure when we come to it,” replied Raymond. “We seldom try exile until life has failed to us at home.” He looked up with a quick smile as he said this, and Clide answered him with a glance of intelligent and respectful sympathy. As the two men looked into each other’s face, it was as if some intangible barrier were melting away, and confidence were suddenly being established in its place.

Clide had never pronounced his wife’s name since the day he had let his head drop on the admiral’s breast, and abandoned himself to the passion of his boyish grief. It was as if the recollection of his marriage and its miserable ending had died and been buried with Isabel. The admiral had often wondered how one so young could be so self-contained, wrapping himself in such an impenetrable reserve. The old sailor was not given to speculating on mental phenomena as a rule; but he had given this particular one many a five minutes’ cogitation, and the conclusion he arrived at was that either Clide had taken the matter less to heart than he imagined, and so felt no need of the solace of talking over his loss, or that the sense of humiliation which attached to the memory of Isabel was so painful to him, as a man and a De Winton, that he was unwilling to recur to it. There may have been something of this latter feeling mixed up with the other impalpable causes that kept him mute; but to-day, as he paced up and down under the fragrant shade of the lime-trees with M. de la Bourbonais, a sudden desire sprang up in him to speak of the past, and evoke the sympathy of this man, who had suffered, perhaps, more deeply than himself. They were silent for a few minutes, but a subtle, magnetic sympathy was at work between them.

“I too have had my little glimpse of paradise, only to be turned out, like so many others, to finish my pilgrimage alone,” said Raymond abruptly.

“No, not alone,” retorted Clide; “you have a daughter, who must be a great delight to you.”

“Ah! you are right. I was ungrateful to say alone; but you can[176] understand that that other solitude can never be filled up. That is to say,” he added, looking up with a brightening expression in his keen eyes, that sparkled under projecting brows, made more prominent by bushy black eyebrows, “not at my age; at yours it is different. When sorrow comes to a man at the close of his half-century, it is too late to plant again; he cannot begin life anew. There is no future for him but courage and resignation. But at your age everything is a beginning. While we are young, no matter how dark the sky is, the future looks bright; to-morrow is always full of hope and glad surprises when we are young.”

“I don’t feel as if I were young,” said Clide; “it seems to me as if I had outlived my youth. You know there are experiences that do the work of years quite as well as time; that make us old prematurely?”

“I know it, I can believe it,” replied Raymond; “but nevertheless the spring of youth remains. It only wants the help of time to heal its wounds and restore its power of working and enjoying.”

The young man shook his head incredulously.

“You don’t believe it yet; but you will find it out by-and-by,” insisted Raymond; “that is, if you wish it and strive for it. We are most of us asleep until sorrow wakes us up and stings us into activity; then we begin to live really, and to work.”

“Then I’m afraid I have been awakened to no purpose,” remarked Clide rather bitterly. “I certainly have not begun to work.”

“Perhaps unawares you have all this time been preparing yourself for work—for some appointed task that you would never have been fitted for without the experiences of the last years.”

“Well, perhaps you are right,” assented his companion. They walked on through the flower-beds for a few moments without speaking. Then Raymond broke the silence: “Why should you go away again, wandering about the Continent, and indulging in morbid memories, when you have such a noble mission before you at home! Youth, intelligence, and a splendid patrimony—what a field of usefulness lies before you! Is it permitted to leave any field untilled when the laborers are so few?” The same thought had occurred to Clide during the last twenty-four hours with a persistency that he was not very earnest in repelling. “Indulging in morbid memories!” That was what his step-mother was now constantly reproaching him with. He resented it from her; but Raymond did not excite his resentment. It was too much as if a father were expostulating with his son. The paternal tone of the remonstrance called, moreover, for fuller confidence on his part, and, yielding to the fascination of the sympathy that was drawing him on and on, he resolved there and then to give it. He told M. de la Bourbonais the history of his life from the beginning: his loveless childhood, his boyhood, starved of all spiritual food, his youth’s wild passion, the loneliness of his later years, and his present dissatisfied longings. He laid bare all that inner life he had never unfolded to any human being before. It was a touching and desolate picture enough, and one that called out Raymond’s tenderest interest and compassion. He listened to the story with that breathless, undivided attention that made Sir Simon so delight in him as a listener;[177] answering by an inarticulate exclamation now and then, interrupting here and there to put in a question that showed how closely he was following every turn in the narrative, and how fully and completely he understood and entered into every phase of feeling the speaker described. When Clide had finished, he seemed to understand himself better than he had ever done before. Every question of the listener seemed to throw a new and stronger light on what he was telling him; it was like a key opening unexpected mysteries in the past and in his own mind, showing him how from the very starting his whole theory of life had been a mistake. Life was now for the first time put under the laws of truth, and through that transparent medium every act and circumstance showed altogether differently; hidden meanings came out of what had hitherto been mere blots, what he had called accidents and mischances; every detail had a form and color of its own, and fitted into the whole like the broken pieces of a puzzle. He had been learning and training all the time while he fancied he was only suffering; he had unawares been drinking in that moral strength that is only to be gained in wrestling with sorrow. The revelation was startling; but Clide frankly acknowledged it, and in so doing felt that he was tacitly committing himself to the new line of conduct which must logically follow on this admission, if it was worth anything. There must be an end of sentimental regrets and morbid despondings. He must, as Raymond said, begin to practise the lesson he had paid so dear to learn; he must begin to live and to work; he must, by faithfulness and courage in the future, atone for the folly and selfishness of the past.

It may appear strange, perhaps incredible, that a mere passing contact with a stranger should have so suddenly revealed all this to Clide, stirred him so deeply, and impelled him to a definite resolution that was to change the whole current of his life. But which of us cannot trace to some apparently chance meeting, some word heedlessly uttered, and perhaps not intended for us, a momentous epoch in our lives? We can never tell who may be the bearer of the burning message to us, nor in what unknown tongue it may be spoken. All that matters to us is that we hearken to it, and follow where the messenger beckons. M. de la Bourbonais had no idea that he was performing this office to Clide; nor did anything that he actually said justify the young man in looking upon him in the light of a herald or an interpreter. It was something rather in the man himself that did it; a voice that spoke unconsciously in his voice. There is a power in truth and simplicity more potent than any eloquence; and truth and simplicity radiated from Raymond like an atmosphere. His presence had a light in it that impressed you insensibly with the right view of things, and dissipated worldliness and selfishness and morbid delusions as the sun clears away the mists. Perhaps along with this immediate influence there was another one which acted unawares on Clide, adding to the pressure of Raymond’s pleading the softer incentive of an ideal yet possible reward.




The author of this volume became known to the public of New York a little over twenty years ago through a hand-book of chemistry, written at a time when that science was emerging into its present maturity. Almost simultaneously appeared from his pen a treatise on Human Physiology, when it likewise was running a swift race to its splendid proportions of to-day, impelled by the labors of Claude Bernard, Beaumont, and Bichat. Those works were received at the time with much favor by American teachers of both named sciences as being clear and succinct compilations of the labors of European investigators, while containing some original observations of undoubted scientific merit. Thus, the perception of the influence of endosmosis and exosmosis on the functions of respiration and circulation, and the reference of pitch, quality, and intensity of sound to different portions of the anatomical structure of the ear, constitute a valid claim, on Draper’s part, as a contributor to modern physiology. As a chemist, though painstaking and observant, he failed to keep pace with European researches, and so his book has been superseded in our schools and colleges by later and more thorough productions. Indeed, it may be said that his work on physiology likewise is rapidly becoming obsolete, its popularity having ceded place to the excellent treatises of Dalton and Austin Flint, Jr.

Had he in time recognized his exclusive fitness for experimental chemistry and physiology, his name might rank to-day with those of Liebig and Lehmann; but some disturbing idiosyncrasy or malevolent influence inspired him with the belief that he was destined for higher pursuits, and he burned to emulate Gibbon and Buckle. On the heels of the late civil war, accordingly, appeared from his ambitious pen a book with the pretentious title of History of the American Civil War, in which he strove to prove that the agencies which precipitated that sad quarrel dated back a thousand years; that thermal bands having separated the North from the South, the two sections could not agree; that the conflict is not yet over, and will be ended only when both sides recognize the East as the home of science, and make their salam to the rising sun. We speak not in jest; the book, we believe, is still extant, and may be consulted by the curious in such matters. Though the History of the American Civil War did not meet with flattering success, the new apostle of Islamism was not discouraged. No more trustworthy as a historian than Macaulay, he lacked the verve and eloquence of that brilliant essayist, and his bantling fell into an early decline.

But there still was Buckle, in another department of intellectual activity, whom it might be vouchsafed him to outsoar; and so, Dædalus-like, having readjusted his wings by means of a fresh supply of wax, he took a swoop into the Intellectual[179] Development of Europe with precisely the results which befell his classical prototype. Here indeed was a wide field for the display of that peculiar philosophy of his which anathematizes the Pentateuch and the pope, and apotheosizes the locomotive and the loom. Accordingly, we find the Development to be a bitter attack on the church and all ecclesiastical institutions, with alternate rhapsodical praises of material progress and scientific discoveries.

In the view taken by Dr. Draper the Papacy defeated the kindly intents of the mild-mannered Mahomet; but with the death of Pio Nono or some immediate successor the pleasant doctrines of Averroës and Buddha will reassert themselves, and we shall all finally be absorbed in the great mundane soul. As we have said, in alluding to the History of the American Civil War, these are not mere idle words; they carry their black and white attestation in every page of the work referred to.

But we must hasten to the volume under review. It is entitled History of the Conflict between Religion and Science. The title of the book is indeed the fittest key to its purpose. It predicates this conflict on the first page; it assumes it from the start, and, instead of proving its existence, interprets statements and misstatements by the light of that assumption. Of this the reader is made painfully aware from the very outset, and his sense of logic and fair play is constantly shocked by the distortion of very many historical facts and the truthful presentment of a few in support of what is a plain and palpable assumption. The book is therefore a farrago of falsehoods, with an occasional ray of truth, all held together by the slender thread of a spurious philosophy.

In the preface the author promises to be impartial, and scarcely has he proceeded eight short pages in his little volume before a cynical and sneering spirit betrays him into errors which a Catholic Sunday-school child would blush to commit. On page 8 he says: “Immaculate Conceptions and celestial descents were so currently received in those days that whoever had greatly distinguished himself in the affairs of men was thought to be of supernatural lineage.” And a little further on: “The Egyptian disciples of Plato would have looked with anger on those who rejected the legend that Perictione, the mother of that great philosopher, a pure virgin, had suffered an immaculate conception.” This is but a forestalment of the wrath held in store by our author for the dogma proclaimed in 1854, a derisive comparison of it with the gross myths of the superstitious Greeks. And yet how conspicuous does not the allusion render his ignorance of the Catholic doctrine! For evidently the reference to a pure virgin subjected to an immaculate conception through the agency of a God reveals Draper’s belief that the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception consists in the conception of Christ in the womb of the Virgin Mary without human intervention. Surely some malign agent had warped his judgment when he assumed to expound Catholic doctrine; had

“Made the eye blind, and closed the passages
Through which the ear converses with the heart.”

But this is not the only point concerning which we would refer persons curious about Catholic doctrines to Dr. Draper, and those who would like to become acquainted[180] with Catholic tenets never promulgated by any council from Nice to the Vatican. On two occasions, speaking of Papal Infallibility, he distinctly avers that it is the same as omniscience! On page 352 he says: “Notwithstanding his infallibility, which implies omniscience, His Holiness did not foresee the issue of the Franco-Prussian war.” And again on page 361: “He cannot claim infallibility in religious affairs, and decline it in scientific. Infallibility embraces all things. If it holds good for theology, it necessarily holds good for science.” Here is Catholic doctrine à la Draper! Presumptuous reader, be not deluded by the belief that the Vatican Council expressly confines infallibility to purely doctrinal matters; it could not have done so! Does not Dr. Draper as explicitly affirm that the dogma of infallibility implies omniscience? His individual experience no doubt had much to do with his extension of the term; for, knowing himself to be a good chemist and physiologist, he doubted not that by the same title he was a sound philosopher and a keen-eyed observer of events. If it holds good in chemistry and physiology, it necessarily holds good in philosophy and history. It is a renewal of the old belief of the Stoics, as expounded by Horace, who says that the wise man is a capital shoemaker and barber, alone handsome and a king. But these are blemishes which assume even the appearance of bright spots shining out by contrast with the deeper darkness which they stud.

The radical error of the book is twofold. It first confounds with the Catholic Church a great number of singular subjects to which that universal predicate cannot be applied, loosely and vaguely referring to this incongruous chimera a great number of acts which cannot be imputed to the church at all in any proper sense. It next makes the mistake of applying the standard of estimation which is justly applicable only to the present time to epochs long past and in many respects diverse from it. For instance, the personal acts of prelates are referred to the church considered as an infallible tribunal. Only an ignoramus in theology needs to be informed that the infallible church is the body of the episcopate teaching or defining in union with the head, or the head of the episcopate teaching and defining, as the principal organ of the body, that which is explicitly or implicitly contained in the revealed deposit of faith. Administration of affairs, decisions of particular cases, private opinions and personal acts, even official acts which are not within the category above stated, do not pertain to the sphere of infallibility; therefore when Dr. Draper charges against the church acts which are worthy of censure, or which are by him so represented, and we detect in the case the absence of some one condition requisite to involve the church in the sense stated, we retort that he either knows not what he says or is guilty of wilful misrepresentation. Yet his book is an unbroken tissue of such charges. And not only are those charges improperly alleged, but they are for the most part substantially false.

At a time, for instance, when the placid influence of Christianity had not supplanted in men’s hearts the fierce passions which ages of paganism had nurtured there, a band of infuriated monks murdered and tore to pieces the celebrated Hypatia, in resentment of some real or fancied affront offered to S. Cyril[181] The crime was indeed unpardonable, and perhaps S. Cyril was remiss in its punishment; but we might as well lay to the charge of the New York Academy of Medicine the revolting deeds perpetrated by individual members of the medical profession, as hold the church accountable for this crime. Both organizations have repeatedly expressed their abhorrence of what morality condemns, and it is only fair that the one as well as the other be judged by its authoritative teachings and practices. Yet Dr. Draper draws from his quiver on this occasion the sharpest of arrows to bury in the bosom of that church which could stain her escutcheon by this wanton attack on philosophy. “Hypatia and Cyril! Philosophy and bigotry! They cannot exist together.” Do not the melodramatic surroundings with which Draper’s graphic pen invests the murder of this woman readily suggest an episode in the history of a certain knight of rueful mien when he charged a flock of sheep, believing that he saw before him “the wealthy inhabitants of Mancha crowned with golden ears of corn; the ancient offspring of the Goths cased in iron; those who wanton in the lazy current of Pisverga, those who feed their numerous flocks in the ample plains where the Guadiana pursues its wandering course—in a word, half a world in arms”? He charges, and behold seven innocent sheep fall victims to his prowess. Flushed with this victory, and covetous of fresh laurels, our author whets his blade for another thrust at that most odious of doctrines—Papal Infallibility. The management of the attack will serve as a specimen of Dr. Draper’s mode of critical warfare; it will show how neatly he puts forward assertion for proof, and in what a spirit of calm and dignified philosophy he concludes the case against the church.

A compatriot of his, who had changed the homely name of Morgan for the more resonant one of Pelagius, feeling that the confines of the little isle which gave him birth were too narrow for a soul swelling with polemics, hied to Rome, where his theological fervor was speedily cooled by Pope Innocent I. Pelagius denied the Catholic doctrine of grace, asserting the sufficiency of nature to work out salvation. S. Augustine pointed out the errors of Pelagius and of his associate, Celestius, which were accordingly condemned by Pope Innocent. If we accept Dr. Draper as an authority in ecclesiastical history, a much-vexed question connected with this very intricate affair is readily solved, and we are taught to understand how indiscreet were the fathers of the Vatican Council in decreeing the infallibility of the pope. He says: “It happened that at this moment Innocent died, and his successor, Zosimus, annulled his judgment and declared the opinions of Pelagius to be orthodox. These contradictory decisions are still often referred to by the opponents of Papal Infallibility.”

Now, so far from this being the case, Zosimus, after a considerable time of charitable waiting, to give Celestius an opportunity of reconsidering his errors and being reconciled to the church, formally repeated the condemnation pronounced by his predecessor, and effectually stamped out Pelagianism as a formidable heresy. But since our weight and calibre are so much less than Dr. Draper’s as not to allow our assertion to pass for proof, we will dwell a moment on the historical[182] details of the controversy. Before the death of Innocent, Celestius had entered a protest against his accuser, Paulinus, on the ground of misrepresentation, but did not follow up his protest by personally appearing at Rome. The succession of the kind-hearted Zosimus and the absence of Paulinus appeared to him a favorable opportunity for doing this, and he accordingly wrote to Zosimus for permission to present himself. Though the pope was engrossed at the time by the weighty cares of the universal church, his heart yearned to bring back the repentant Celestius to the fold of Christ, and he accorded to him a most patient hearing. Only a fragment of Celestius’ confession remains, but we have the testimony of three unsuspected witnesses, because determined anti-Pelagians, concerning the part taken in the matter by the pope. S. Augustine says: “The merciful pontiff, seeing at first Celestius carried away by the heat of passion and presumption, hoped to win him over by kindness, and forbore to fasten more firmly the bands placed on him by Innocent. He allowed him two months for deliberation.” Elsewhere S. Augustine says (Epist. Paulin., const. 693, Labbé, t. 2) that Celestius replied to the interrogatories of the pope in these terms: “I condemn in accordance with the sentence of your predecessor, Innocent of blessed memory.” Marius Mercator, who lived at the time of these occurrences, says that Celestius made the fairest promises and returned the most satisfactory answers, so that the pope was greatly prepossessed in his favor (Labbé, t. 2, coll. 1512). Zosimus at length saw through the devices of the wily Celestius, who, like all dangerous heretics, desired to maintain his errors while retaining communion with the church, and, in a letter written to the bishops of Africa, formally reiterated against Pelagius and his adherents the condemnation of the African Council. Only fragments of the letter remain, but we know that thereafter some of the most violent Pelagians submitted to the Holy See. With what imposing dignity Dr. Draper waves aside these facts, and coolly asserts that Zosimus annulled the judgment of his predecessor, and declared the opinions of Pelagius to be orthodox! But this is only a sample of similar flagrant misstatements in which the book abounds. For even immediately after, referring to Tertullian’s eloquent statement of the principles of Christianity, he says that it is marked by a complete absence of the doctrines of original sin, total depravity, predestination, grace, and atonement, and that therefore these doctrines had not been broached up to this time. Certainly not all of them, for the church does not teach the doctrine of total depravity; but the statement, being of the nature of a negative proof, possesses no value, and only shows on how slender a peg our author is ready to hang a damaging assertion against the church. Having thus triumphantly demonstrated that Tertullian is not the author of the doctrine of the fall of man, he recklessly lays it at the door of the illustrious Bishop of Hippo. He says: “It is to S. Augustine, a Carthaginian, that we are indebted for the precision of our views on these important points.” We wonder did Dr. Draper ever read these words of S. Paul to the Romans: “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world and by sin death: and so death passed upon all men, in whom all[183] have sinned” (Epist. Rom. v. 12). Yet S. Paul lived before Tertullian or S. Augustine. Draper next sententiously adds: “The doctrine declared to be orthodox by ecclesiastical authority is overthrown by the unquestionable discoveries of modern science. Long before a human being had appeared upon the earth, millions of individuals—nay, more, thousands of species, and even genera—had died; those which remain with us are an insignificant fraction of the vast hosts that have passed away.” Admirably reasoned! A million or more megatheria and megalosauri floundered for a while in the marshes of an infant world, and died; therefore Adam was not the first man to die, for through him death did not enter into the world. Had S. Paul anticipated the honor of a dissection at the hands of so eminent a wielder of the scalpel, he no doubt would have stated in his Epistle that when he spoke of death entering into the world through the sin of one man, he meant, not death to frogs and snakes, or bats and mice, but death to human beings alone. He would thus have helped Dr. Draper to the avoidance of one exegetical error at least. Another assertion of illimitable reaches rapidly follows: “Astronomy, geology, geography, anthropology, chronology, and indeed all the various departments of human knowledge, were made to conform to the Book of Genesis”; that is to say, ecclesiastical authority prohibits us from seeking elsewhere than in the pages of Holy Writ such knowledge as is contained in Gray’s Anatomy or Draper’s Chemistry and Physiology. Where are your pièces justificatives for this monstrous assertion, Dr. Draper? Did not the church, in the heyday of her temporal power, warn Galileo not to invoke the authority of the Scriptures in support of his doctrine for the reason that they were not intended to serve as a guide in purely scientific matters? And here indeed is the true key to the conflict between that philosopher and the church. Has not the same sentiment, moreover, been explicitly affirmed by every commentator from S. Augustine himself down to Maldonatus and Cornelius à Lapide, when considering chapter x. verse 13 of the Book of Josue? Not a single document, extant or lost, can be referred to as justifying Draper’s extraordinary assertion that the Book of Genesis, “in a philosophical point of view, became the grand authority of patristic science.” Of course it is readily perceived that the term patristic science, as used by Dr. Draper, is not the science commonly known as patrology, but natural science, as understood and taught by the fathers. Chief among those whose officious intermeddling in scientific matters excites the spleen of Dr. Draper is, as before stated, S. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. “No one,” he says, “did more than this father to bring science and religion into antagonism; it was mainly he who diverted the Bible from its true office, a guide to purity of life, and placed it in the perilous position of being the arbiter of human knowledge, an audacious tyranny over the mind of man.” The rash dogmatism of these words scarcely consists with the spirit Draper arrogates to himself—the spirit of calm impartiality. So far from having striven to make Scripture the arbiter of science, S. Augustine studied to bring both into harmony, and, with this end in view, put the most liberal interpretation on those passages of Holy Writ which might conflict with, as yet,[184] unmade scientific discoveries. For this reason he hints at the possibility of the work of creation extending over indefinite periods of time, as may, he says, be maintained consistently with the meaning of the Syro-Chaldaic word which stands indifferently for day and indefinite duration. The saint’s chief anxiety is to uphold the integrity of the Book of Genesis against the numerous attacks of pagan philosophers and paganizing Christians. The necessity of doing this was paramount at the time, for the Jews and their doctrines were exceedingly obnoxious to Christian and Gentile; and since the church recognized the divine inspiration of the Hebrew Scriptures, the task of vindicating their genuineness devolved on her theologians. But Dr. Draper overlooks this essential fact, and places S. Augustine in the totally false light of wantonly belittling science by making it square with the letter of the Bible. But it is not as a censor alone of S. Augustine’s opinions that Dr. Draper means to figure; he follows him into the domain of dogmatic theology, and, having there erected a tribunal, cites him to its bar. He quotes at length the African bishop’s views on the fundamental dogmas of the Trinity and creation, having modestly substituted Dr. Pusey’s translation for his own. The saint expresses his awe and reverence in face of the wondrous power and incomprehensible works of the Creator, and Dr. Draper calls him rhetorical and rhapsodical. No wonder. The mind becomes subdued to the shape in which it works; and since the vigorous years of Dr. Draper’s life were spent in the laboratory, investigating secondary causes and the properties of matter, it is not to be supposed that he can enter at once into close sympathy with souls which have fed on spiritual truths.

“What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba?”

But the crowding errors of the book warn us to hasten forward.

Having consigned S. Augustine to never-ending oblivion, our untiring athlete of the pen eloquently sketches step by step the progressive paganization of Christianity. The first thing to be done, he says, was to restore the worship of Isis by substituting for that numen the Blessed Virgin Mary. This substitution was accomplished by the Council of Ephesus, which declared Mary to be the Mother of God, and condemned the contradicting proposition of Nestorius. Is it proper to treat this niaiserie with irony or indignation? We will do neither, but will respectfully refer Dr. Draper either to Rohrbacher’s History of the Church, or Orsini’s Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, to convince him of the priority of this devotion to the times of S. Cyril and Nestorius. The matter is too elementary and well known to justify us in occupying more space with its consideration. Therefore, passing over frivolous charges of this sort, let us seize the underlying facts in this alleged paganization of Christianity. The church does not teach the doctrine of complete spiritual blindness, and is willing to admit on the part of pagans the knowledge of many religious truths in the natural order. Prominent among these is a belief in the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and a system of rewards and punishments in the future life. The propositions of De Lamennais, refusing to pure reason the power of establishing these truths, were formally condemned[185] by Gregory XVI. In addition, it is part of theological teaching that certain portions of the primitive revelation made to the patriarchs flowed down through succeeding generations, corrupted, it is true, and sadly disfigured, yet substantially identical, and tinged the various systems of belief in vogue among the nations of the earth. It is almost unnecessary to point out the numberless analogies which exist between the Hebrew doctrines and the myths of Grecian and Roman polytheism. The unity of God was universally symbolized by the admission of a supreme being, to whom the other deities were subject. The fall of man, a flooded earth and a rescued ark find their fitting counterparts in the traditions of most races. Here, then, we find one source of possible agreement between Christianity and the pagan system without resorting to Dr. Draper’s ingenious process of gradual paganization. If, before the Christian revelation, human reason could have partially lifted the veil which hides another life, and if a defiled current of tradition could have borne on its bosom fragments of a primitive revelation, surely it is not necessary to suppose a compromise between Christianity and paganism by virtue of which the former finds itself in accord on certain points with the latter. But a still stronger reason for the alleged resemblances and analogies between the two systems may be found in the common nature of those who accepted them. There is no sentiment in the human heart more potent than veneration, especially as its objects ascend in the scale of greatness. Man’s first impulse is to bow the head before the grandeur of nature’s mighty spectacles, before the rushing cataract and the sweeping storm, and to adore the Being whose voice is heard in the tempest, who dwells in a canopy of clouds and rides on the wings of the wind. Filled with this sentiment, he builds temples, he offers sacrifices, eucharistic and propitiatory, he consecrates his faculties to the service of his God, and applauds those of his fellows who, yielding to a still higher reverential influence, devote themselves in a special manner to the promotion of the divine glory and honor.

For this reason not only the Vestal Virgins themselves deemed celibacy an honorable privilege which drew them nearer to the Deity, and gloried in its faithful practice, if history is at all truthful; but their self-sacrifice invested them with a special halo in the eyes of the multitude. Had Dr. Draper shared the ennobling sentiments of these pagan women, he would never have uttered the base slander on humanity—which puts his own manhood to the blush, and brands the warm-blooded days of his single life—that “public celibacy is private wickedness.”

Animated by the same sentiment of rendering all things subject to the Divinity, men consecrated to him the fruits of the earth, and invoked his blessing on the seedling buried in the soil. Familiar objects became typical of divine attributes, as water of the purity of Diana, and salt of the incorruptibility of Saturn; hence the sprinkling of the aqua lustralis among the Romans on all solemn occasions, and the use of salt in their sacrifices. Even the scattering of a little dust on the forehead was to them expressive of the calm and tranquillity of death succeeding to the storms and passions of life. No doubt, had Dr.[186] Draper recalled those lines of Virgil:

“Hi motus animorum atque hæc certamina tanta
Pulveris exigui jactu compressa quiescunt,”

he would, in accordance with his peculiar logic, have perceived in the ceremonies of Ash-Wednesday another instance of a return to paganism. Without entering at greater length into those spontaneous expressions of reverence towards the Deity which abound in every religious system, and which well up from the human heart as a necessary confession of its dependence on a higher cause, we will hasten to the conclusion, implied in them, that there is an identity of external worship in all religions which, so far, proclaims an identity of origin. What, therefore, Dr. Draper pronounces to be a paganization of Christianity is nothing more than acceptance by it of those features of older creeds which are founded on truth, and spring from the constitution of human nature.

What though the Romans did pay homage to Lares and Penates, to river gods and tutelary deities; should that fact stigmatize as idolatrous or heathenish the reverence exhibited by Christians towards the Blessed Virgin and the saints? Does not the fact rather indicate, by its very universality, that it is part of the divine economy, and that such worship best represents the wants of the human heart? Assuredly, this is not intended as a vindication of pagan practices, but aimed to show that, in the struggles of the human heart to satisfy its cravings, an undeserting instinct guides it along a path which, however tortuous and winding, leads in the end to truth. Draper’s charge of paganization in all respects resembles Voltaire’s assertion that Christianity is a counterfeit of Buddhism.

That noted infidel contended that celibacy, monasticism, mendicity, voluntary poverty, humility, and mortification of the senses, were so many features of Buddhism unblushingly borrowed by the Christian Church. But, like the other misstatements of Voltaire, made through pure love of mischief, this one has been refuted time and again. It has been shown that the ethics of Buddha flow from the dogma that ignorance, passion, and desire are the root of all evil, and, this principle granted, nothing could be more natural than the moral system thence resulting. In the Christian code, on the contrary, purity, voluntary poverty, and mortification of the senses are practised for their own sake; not for the purpose of enlightenment or the extirpation of ignorance, but that our natures may thereby become purified. No matter, therefore, how strong and striking analogies may be, the difference in principle destroys the theories of Voltaire and Draper; for similar consequences often proceed from widely differing premises. We see this fact impressively exhibited in the practice of auricular confession as it exists among the followers of Gautama. According to them, the evil tendencies of the human heart are manifold and varied, and, to be successfully combated, must be divided into classes. Thus the sin of sensuality admits of a division into excess at table and concupiscence of the flesh, the latter being in turn subdivided into lust of the eye and lust of the body, evil thoughts, evil practices, etc. We have here in reality a true system of casuistry. Faults should be confessed with sorrow and an accompanying determination not to[187] repeat them; nay, even wrongs must be repaired as far as possible, and stolen property be restored. Such are the views which have been firmly held by the disciples of Buddha from time immemorial. Thus we find confession and its concomitant practices established among the Buddhists on grounds of pure reason; and surely the fact is no argument against the same practice in the Christian Church, nor does the existence of the practice among Christians necessarily denote a Buddhic origin. The explanation is still the same that practices and beliefs founded on the wants of human nature are universal, circumscribed neither by church nor creed. We believe, therefore, that Dr. Draper’s philosophy of gradual paganization is not tenable; and if we strip it of a certain veneer of elegant verbiage, we shall find a rather dull load of unsupported assertion beneath:

“Desinit in piscem mulier formosa superne.”

The whole account of this pretended paganization breathes a spirit of bitterness and malignity that makes one perforce smile at the title-page of the book, on which is inscribed the name of that sweet daughter of philosophy, Science. The reader is constantly startled by volleys of assertions, contemptuous, blasphemous, ironical, and derisive. Indeed, it may be said that hatred of Catholic doctrine and usages is the attendant demon of Dr. Draper’s life, the wraith that haunts him day and night. He says that it was for the gratification of the Empress Helena the Saviour’s cross was discovered; that when the people embraced the knees of S. Cyril after the Blessed Virgin was declared Mother of God, it was the old instinct peeping out—their ancestors would have done the same for Diana; that the festival of the Purification was invented to remove the uneasiness of heathen converts on account of the loss of their Lupercalia, or feasts of Pan; that quantities of dust were brought from the Holy Land, and sold at enormous prices as antidotes against devils, etc., ad nauseam. Through all this rodomontade we perceive not a single attempt at proof, only an unbroken tissue of unsupported assertion. It is said; it is openly stated; there is a belief that—these are Draper’s usual formularies whenever an obscure but impure and blasphemous tradition is related by him. When, however, he surpasses himself in obscenity, he drops even this thin disguise of reasoning, and boldly asserts. But with matter of this sort we will not stain our pages. Indeed, these vile and obscure traditions seem to have a special charm for our author. Worse, however, than this packing of silly and stupid fables into his book is the implied understanding that the church is answerable for them all. She it is who falsifies decretals, invents miracles, discovers fraudulent relics, beholds apparitions, sanctions the trial by fire, massacres a whole cityful, and perpetrates every crime in the calendar. Surely, she were a very monster of iniquity, the real scarlet lady, the beast with seven heads, were the half true of her which Dr. Draper lays at her door. There is in it, however, the manifest intent and outline of a crusade against the church and the institutions she fosters; the shadowing forth of a purpose to array against her, what is more formidable than Star Chamber or Inquisition—the feelings of unreflecting millions who are allured by the glamour of manner to the utter[188] disregard of matter. But it must be remembered that Exeter Hall fanaticism has never found a genial home on this side of the Atlantic, and we are not afraid that the stupid conglomeration of silly charges brought against the church by Dr. Draper, more akin to fatuous drivel than to the dignified and scholarly arraignment of a philosopher, will do more than provoke a pitying smile. His feeble blows fall on adamantine sides which have oft resisted shafts aimed with deadlier intent than these:

“Telumque imbelle sine ictu

But there is another explanation of the successive accumulation of doctrines and practices in the church which will perhaps come more within the reach of Dr. Draper’s appreciation, as it throws light on the history of science itself, and underlies the growth of every system of philosophy. We speak of the doctrine of development. Draper unfolded, even pathetically, the impressive picture of science springing from very humble beginnings, and growing dauntlessly, despite bigotry and persecutions, into that colossal structure of to-day which, according to him, shelters the highest hopes and aspirations of men, and assures to them a glorious future of absorption into the universal spirit—viz., annihilation. “Ab exiguis profecta initiis, eo creverit ut jam magnitudine laboret sua.” This gradual development he proclaims to be the natural expansion and growth of science, on which theory he predicts for it an unending career of glory—“crescit occulto velut arbor ævo.” But he is indignant that the church did not spring into existence, like Minerva from the brain of Jupiter, armed cap-a-pie, in the full bloom of her maturity and charms. Because she did not do so, every advance on her part was retrogressive, and her growth was the addition of “a horse’s neck to a human head.” She borrowed, compromised, and substituted; so that, if we believe Dr. Draper, no olla podrida could be composed of more heterogeneous elements than the Christian Church.

She placed under contribution not only paganism, but Mahometanism, and filched a few thoughts from Buddha, Lao-Tse, and Confucius. The least courtesy we might expect from Dr. Draper is that we may be allowed to attempt to prove that Christianity, like every system entrusted to the custody of men, is necessarily affected on its secular side by that wardship, and so far is subject to the same conditions. But no; he condemns in advance, and so fastens the gyves of his condemnation on the church as apparently not to leave even a loop-hole of escape, or a possible rational explanation of the successive events of her history.

But enough of this. Even to the most ordinary mind the thin veil of philosophy in which Dr. Draper wraps his balderdash of paganization is sufficiently easy of penetration. And what does he offer to the Christian who would range himself under the new banner? In what attractive forms does Draper present his science to win the sympathies and sentiments of men, and make them forego the hopes of eternal happiness whispered on the cross? Here is one: Ex uno disce omnes. When Newton succeeded in proving that the influence of the earth’s attraction extended as far as the moon, and caused her to revolve in her orbit around the earth,[189] he was so overcome by the flooding of truth upon his mind that he was compelled to call in the assistance of another to complete the proof. A pretty picture, no doubt, and a fit canonization of science. But let us contrast it with a Xavier expiring on the arid plains of an eastern isle, far away from the last comforting words and soothing touch of a friend, yet happy beyond expression in the firmness of his faith, while clasping in his dying hands the crucifix, which to him had been no stumbling-block, but the incitement to labor through ten years of incomparable suffering among a degraded race. Or place it beside a Vincent de Paul, who from dawn to darkness traversed the slums of Paris, picking up waifs, the jetsam and flotsam of society, washing them, feeding them, dressing their sores, and nursing them more tenderly than a mother. Or contrast its flimsy sentimentality with the motives which sped missionaries across unknown oceans, over the Andes, the Himalayas, and the Rocky Mountains, and into the ice-bound wildernesses of Canada, to subdue the savage Iroquois by the mildness of the Gospel; to found a new golden age on the plains of Paraguay; to preach the evangel of peace and purity through the wide limits of the Flowery Kingdom; and to seal with their blood the ceaseless toil of their lives.

“Quæ regio in terris nostri non plena laboris?
Quæ caret ora cruore nostro?”

Dr. Draper, evidently, has not read the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in vain. Not only does the same anti-Christian spirit breathe through his pages, but he has seized the stilted style of Gibbon, deemed philosophical, which is never at home but when soaring amid the clouds. There is a pomp and parade of philosophy, an assumption of dignified tranquillity, a tone of mock impartiality, which vividly recall the defective qualities of Gibbon’s work. But in studying these features of style, which necessitate a deal of dogmatism, Draper has allowed himself to be betrayed into numberless errors in philosophy. Perhaps an illustration or two will help to give point to our remarks. On page 243 he writes: “If there be a multiplicity of worlds in infinite space, there is also a succession of worlds in infinite time. As one after another cloud replaces cloud in the skies, so this starry system, the universe, is the successor of countless others that have preceded it, the predecessor of countless others that will follow. There is an unceasing metamorphosis, a sequence of events, without beginning or end.”

Is not this

“A pithless branch beneath a fungous rind”?

Is Dr. Draper aware that Gassendi, Newton, Descartes, and Leibnitz devoted the highest efforts of their noble intellects to the consideration of time and space, and would long have hesitated before thus flippantly affixing the epithet “infinite” to either? What is space apart from the contained bodies? If it contains nothing, or rather if there is nothing in space, space itself is nothing; it merely represents to us the possibility of extended bodies. And if it is nothing, how can it be infinite? The application of the word infinite to time is still more inappropriate. There can be no such thing as infinite time. Let us take Dr. Draper’s own successive periods, though embracing millions of years, and we contend that there must be some[190] beginning to them. For if there is no beginning to them, they are already infinite in number—that is, they are already a number without beginning or end. But this cannot be. For we can consider either the past series of periods capable of augmentation by periods to come; and what then becomes of Draper’s infinity? For surely that is not infinite which is susceptible of increase. Or we can consider the past series minus one or two of its periods—a supposition equally fatal to the notion of infinity. Time, then, is of a purely finite character, and is nothing else than the successive changes which finite beings undergo. More nonsensical still is the notion of “a sequence of events without beginning or end.” We must discriminate here between an actual series and a potential series of events, which Dr. Draper forgets to do; for on the distinction a great deal depends. An actual series can never be infinite, for we can take it at any given stage of its progress, whether at the present moment or in the past, and consider it increased by one; but any number susceptible of increase can be represented by figures, since it is finite, that is, determinate. It cannot be said that it extends into the past without beginning, for the dilemma always recurs that it is either finite or infinite; if finite, it must be represented by figures, and that destroys the idea of a non-beginning; and if it is infinite, it cannot be increased, which is absurd. And if we ask for a cause for any one event in the reputed unending series, we are referred to the event immediately preceding, which in turn has for its cause another prior event. If, however, we inquire for the cause of the whole series, we are told that there is none such; there is naught but an eternal succession of events. Is not this, as some author says, as if we were to ask what upholds the last link in a chain suspended from an unknown height, and should receive the answer that the link next to the last supports it, and the third supports the two beneath, and so on, each higher link supports a weightier burden? If then we should ask, What is it that supports the whole? we are told that it supports itself. Therefore a finite weight cannot support itself in opposition to the laws of gravitation; much less can another finite weight twice as heavy as the first, and less and less can it do so as the weight increases; but when the weight becomes infinite, nothing is required to uphold it. The reasoning is entirely analogous to Draper’s, who speaks of cloud replacing cloud in the skies without beginning, without end. “Quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat.” Bacon has well said that the exclusive consideration of secondary causes leads to the exclusion of God from the economy of the universe, while a deeper insight reveals of necessity a First Cause on which all others depend. This is exactly the trouble with Dr. Draper. He will not lift his purblind gaze from the mere phenomena of nature to their cause, but is satisfied to revolve for ever in the vicious circle of countless effects without a cause. If we are to judge by the additional glow which pervades what he has written concerning the nebular hypothesis, he unquestionably considers that theory a conclusive proof of the non-interference of the Deity in the affairs of the universe.

Now, we have no particular fault to find with the nebular hypothesis. It is only an explanation of a change which matter has undergone. It[191] does not affect the question of creation whether matter was first in a state of incandescent gas, or sprang at the bidding of the eternal fiat into its manifold conditions of to-day. Indeed, we will grant that there is a plausibility in the theory which to many minds renders it fascinating; but that does not make matter eternal and self-conserving. It is entirely consistent with the dogma of creation that God first made matter devoid of harmonious forms and relations, and that these slowly developed in accordance with the laws he appointed. There is nothing inconsistent in supposing that our terrestrial planet is a fragment struck off from the central mass, and that, after having undergone numerous changes, it at last settled down into a fit abode for man. The church never expressed herself pro or con; for no matter how individual writers may have felt and written, no matter how much they may have sought to place this or that physical theory in antagonism with revealed truth, the church never took action, for the reason that the question lies beyond the sphere of her infallible judgment until it touches upon the revealed doctrine. It is Dr. Draper, therefore, who strenuously seeks to draw inferences from modern physical theories, so as to put them in conflict, not only with revelation, but with the truths of natural theology. After having given an outline of the nebular hypothesis, he says: “If such be the cosmogony of the solar system, such the genesis of the planetary worlds, we are constrained to extend our view of the dominion of law, and to recognize its agency in the creation as well as in the conservation of the innumerable orbs that throng the universe.” Now, what he means by extending our views of the dominion of law is to make it paramount and supreme. But what is this law? If its agency is to be recognized in the creation of the innumerable orbs that throng the universe, it certainly must have existed prior to that event, else Dr. Draper uses the word creation in a sense entirely novel. Now, supposing, as we are fairly bound to do, that Dr. Draper attaches to the term creation its ordinary signification, we will have the curious spectacle of law creating that of which it is but the expression. We cannot perceive what other meaning we are to extract from the saying that we must recognize the agency of law in the creation of the universe. Law is, therefore, the creator of the universe; that is to say, “The general expression of the conditions under which certain assemblages of phenomena occur” (Carpenter’s definition of law) ushered into existence the cause of those phenomena. Can anything more absurd be conceived? But apart from the notion of law being at the bottom of creation, how can Dr. Draper, consistently with his ideas of “infinite space,” “infinite time,” “sequence of events without beginning or end,” admit such a thing as creation at all? Creation is the transition of a portion of the eternal possibles in the divine mind from a state of possibility into one of physical existence, at the bidding of God’s infinite power. Supposing, then, that it is in this sense Dr. Draper uses the word creation, he must of necessity discard the doctrine of the eternity of matter, and his nugæ canoræ concerning “the immutability of law,” “law that dominates overall,” “unending succession of events,” become the frothings of a distempered mind. But when a person writes in[192] accordance with no fixed principles, only as the intellectual caprice of the moment dictates, he necessarily falls into glaring and fatal inconsistencies. For not many pages after this implied admission of creation, even though it be the inane creation by law, he says: “These considerations incline us to view favorably the idea of transmutations of one form into another rather than that of sudden creations. Creation implies an abrupt appearance, transformation a gradual change.” He thus again rejects the doctrine of creation in almost the same breath in which he spoke of it as brought about by the agency of law. The question here occurs, Are the notions of creation and law antipodal? Can they not coexist? For our own part, we see nothing inconsistent in the supposition that God created the universe, under stable laws for its guidance and conservation. The very simplicity of the compatible existence of the two puzzles us to know what objection to it the ingenuity of Dr. Draper has discovered. For it must be understood that his stated incompatibility is a wearisome assumption throughout—wearisome, for the mind, ever on the alert to find a reason for the statement, withdraws from the hopeless task tired and disgusted. For instance, at the close of his remarks concerning the nebular theory he says: “But again it may be asked, ‘Is there not something profoundly impious in this? Are we not excluding Almighty God from the world he has made?’” The words are sneeringly written. They are supposed to contain their own reply, and the writer passes on to something else. He does not attempt to prove that the nebular hypothesis is at variance with creation, except with such a view of the act as he himself entertains. And this brings us to the consideration of his views concerning this sublime dogma. Draper evidently supposes that creation took place by fits and starts, as figures pop out in a puppet-show. Hence he is constantly contrasting the grandeur of a slow development, an ever-progressing evolution, with the unphilosophical idea of sudden and abrupt creations. Though we fail to perceive anything derogatory to the infinite wisdom of the Creator in supposing that he launched worlds into existence perfect and complete, the idea of creation in the Christian sense does not necessarily imply this. We hold that the iron logic of facts forces us to the admission of creation in general, in opposition to the senseless doctrine of unbeginning and unending series and sequences; and while we do not pretend to determine the manner in which God proceeded with his work, we likewise hold that the gradual appearance of planet after planet of the innumerable orbs that stud the firmament, of genus after genus, and species after species, can be far more philosophically referred to the positive act of an infinite power than to the vague operation of law. Draper, therefore, shivers a lance against a windmill when he sets up his doctrine of evolution against a purely imaginary creation. While he thus arraigns the doctrine of creation as shortsighted and unphilosophical, it is amusing to contemplate the substitute therefor which his system offers. On page 192 he says: “Abrupt, arbitrary, disconnected creative acts may serve to illustrate the divine power; but that continuous, unbroken chain of organisms which extends from palæozoic[193] formations to the formations of recent times—a chain in which each link hangs on a preceding and sustains a succeeding one—demonstrates to us not only that the production of animated beings is governed by law, but that it is by law that it has undergone no change. In its operation through myriads of ages there has been no variation, no suspension.” We have already proved that whatever is finite or contingent in the actual order must necessarily have had a beginning—a fact which Draper himself seems to admit when he speaks of the creative agency of law; and the question arises what it is which Dr. Draper substitutes for the creative act. Creation by law is an absurdity, since law is but the expression of the regularity of phenomena, once the fact of the universe has been granted. Unbeginning and unending series are not only an absurdity, but a palpable evasion of the difficulty. We have, therefore, according to Dr. Draper, a tremendous effect without a cause. When we view the many-sided spectacle of nature, the star-bespangled empyrean, the endless forms of life which the microscope reveals, the harmony and order of the universe, we naturally inquire, Whence sprang this mighty panorama? What all-potent Being gave it existence? Draper’s answer is, It had no beginning, it will have no end—i.e., it began nowhere, it will end nowhere. There it is, and be satisfied. The Christian replies that it is the work of an eternal, necessary, and all-perfect Being, who contains within himself the reason of his own existence, and whose word is sufficient to usher into being countless other worlds of far vaster magnitude than any that now exist.

Throughout the whole book are scattered references to this supremacy of law over creation, and the inference is constantly deduced that every curse which has befallen humanity, every retarding influence placed in the way of human progress, has proceeded from the doctrine of creation. Creation alone can give color to the doctrine of miracles, and creation renders impossible the safe prediction of astronomical events. For these reasons Draper condemns it, not only as an intellectual monstrosity, but as morally bad. While we admit that the possibility of miracles does depend on the admission of an intelligent Cause of all things, it by no means follows that the same admission invalidates the safe prediction of an eclipse or a comet. Draper’s words touching the matter are such a curiosity in their way that we cannot forbear quoting them. On page 229 he says: “Astronomical predictions of all kinds depend upon the admission of this fact: that there never has been and never will be any intervention in the operation of natural laws. The scientific philosopher affirms that the condition of the world at any given moment is the direct result of its condition in the preceding moment, and the direct cause of its condition in the subsequent moment. Law and chance are only different names for mechanical necessity.”

Parodying the words of Mme. Roland, we might exclaim, O Philosophy! what follies are committed in thy name. Just think of it, reader, because God is supposed to superintend, by virtue of his infinite intelligence, the processes of universal nature, with the power to derogate from the laws he himself appointed, he must be[194] so capricious that constancy, harmony, and regularity are strangers to him. Supposing we take for granted the possibility of miracles, it does not ensue that God is about to disturb the regularity of the universe at the bidding of him who asks. The circumstances attending the performance of a miracle are so obvious that there can be no room for doubting the constancy of law operation. Thus the promotion of an evidently good purpose, which is the prime intent of a miracle, precludes the caprice which alone could render unsafe the prediction of a physical occurrence. As well might we question the probable course a man of well-known probity and discretion will pursue under specified circumstances, with this difference: that as God is infinitely wise, in proportion is the probability great that he will not depart from his usual course, except for most extraordinary reasons. And if the safety of a prediction depending on such circumstances is not as great as that which depends on mechanical necessity, we must base our scepticism on very shadowy grounds. Father Secchi can compute the next solar eclipse as well as Dr. Diaper; and if he should add, as he undoubtedly would, D. V., nobody will therefore be inclined to question the accuracy of his calculations or doubt the certainty of the occurrence. In preference, however, to the admission of a free agency in the affairs of the universe, he subscribes to the stoicism of Grecian philosophy, which subjects all things to a stern, unbending necessity, and makes men act by the impulse and determination of their nature. “This system offered a support in their hour of trial, not only to many illustrious Greeks, but also to some of the great philosophers, statesmen, generals, and emperors of Rome—a system which excluded chance from everything, and asserted the direction of all events by irresistible necessity to the promotion of perfect good; a system of earnestness, sternness, austerity, virtue—a protest in favor of the common sense of mankind. And perhaps we shall not dissent from the remark of Montesquieu, who affirms that the destruction of the Stoics was a great calamity to the human race; for they alone made great citizens, great men.” Men can therefore be great in Draper’s sense when they can no longer be virtuous; they can acquire fame and win the gratitude of posterity when they can no longer merit; in a word, mechanical necessity; the same inexorable fatality which impels the river-waters to seek the sea, which turns the magnet to the north, and makes the planets run their destined courses, presides over the conduct of men, and elevates, ennobles their actions. Free-will is chance; Providence an impertinent and debasing interference; and virtue the firmness, born of necessity, which made Cato end his days by his own hand. Such is Draper’s substitute in the moral order for the teachings of Christianity—a system inevitably tending to build a Paphian temple on the site of every Christian church, and to revive the infamies which the pen of Juvenal so scathingly satirized, and for which S. Paul rebuked the Romans in terms of frightful severity and reprobation. For what consideration can restrain human passions, if men deem their actions to be a necessary growth or expansion of their nature, if the good and bad in human deeds are as the tempest that wrecks, or the gentle dews[195] that fructify and animate the vegetable world? His whole book is a cumbersome and disjointed argument in favor of necessity, as opposed to free agency; of law, as opposed to Providence. The manner of his refuting the existence of divine Providence is so far novel and original that we are tempted to reproduce it for those of our readers who prefer not to lose time by perusing the work in full. On page 243 he says: “Were we set in the midst of the great nebula of Orion, how transcendently magnificent the scene! The vast transformation, the condensations of a fiery mist into worlds, might seem worthy of the immediate presence, the supervision, of God; here, at our distant station, where millions of miles are inappreciable to our eyes, and suns seem no bigger than motes in the air, that nebula is more insignificant than the faintest cloud. Galileo, in his description of the constellation of Orion, did not think it worth while so much as to mention it. The most rigorous theologian of those days would have seen nothing to blame in imputing its origin to secondary causes; nothing irreligious in failing to invoke the arbitrary interference of God in its metamorphoses. If such be the conclusion to which we come respecting it, what would be the conclusion to which an Intelligence seated in it would come respecting us? It occupies an extent of space millions of miles greater than that of our solar system; we are invisible from it, and therefore absolutely insignificant. Would such an Intelligence think it necessary to require for our origin and maintenance the immediate intervention of God?” That is to say, we are too insignificant for God’s notice, because larger worlds roll through space millions of miles from us, and God would have enough to do, if at all disposed to interfere, in looking after them, without occupying his important time with terra and her Liliputian denizens.

It is evident from this passage that Draper’s mind can never rise to a grand conception. It would not do to tell him that the Intelligence which superintends and controls the universe “reaches from end to end powerfully, and disposes all things mildly”; that his infinite ken “numbers the hair of our heads,” notes the sparrow’s fall, and sweeps over the immensity of space with its thronging orbs, by one and the same act of a supreme mind. The furthest is as the nearest, the smallest as the greatest, with Him who holds the universe in the hollow of his hand, and whose omnipotent will could create and conserve myriad constellations greater than Orion. In the passage just quoted Dr. Draper commits the additional blunder of confounding creation in general with a special view conveniently entertained by himself. His objection to creation, as before remarked, proceeds on the notion that creation is necessarily adverse to slow and continuous development, such as the facts of nature point out as having been the course through which the world has reached its present maturity. He does not seem able to understand that, creation having taken place, the whole set of physical phenomena which underlie recent physical theories may have come to pass, as he maintains; only we must assign a beginning. His whole disagreement with the doctrine of creation is founded on this principle of a non-beginning, though he vainly strives to make it appear that he objects to it as interfering with[196] regular, progressive development. On page 239 he says: “Shall we, then, conclude that the solar and the starry systems have been called into existence by God, and that he has then imposed upon them by his arbitrary will laws under the control of which it was his pleasure that their movements should be made?

“Or are there reasons for believing that these several systems came into existence, not by such an arbitrary fiat, but through the operation of law?” The shallowness of this philosophy the simplest can sound. As well might we speak of a nation or state springing into existence through the operation of those laws which are subsequently enacted for its guidance. Prayer and the possibility of miracles are equally assailed by Draper’s doctrine of necessary law. His argument against the former is very closely akin to J. J. Rousseau’s objection to prayer. “Why should we,” says the pious author of Emile, “presume to hope that God will change the order of the universe at our request? Does he not know better what is suited to our wants than our short-sighted reason can perceive, to say nothing of the blasphemy which sets up our judgment in opposition to the divine decrees?” The opposition of Draper and Tyndall to prayer proceeds exactly on the same notion—the absurdity, namely, of supposing that our petitions can ever have the effect of changing the fixed and unalterable scheme of the universe. Tyndall went so far as to propose a prayer-gauge by separating the inmates of a hospital into praying and non-praying ones, and seeing what proportion of the two classes would recover more rapidly. Those three distinguished philosophers evidently never understood the nature and conditions of prayer, else they would not hold such language. God changes nothing at our instance, but counts our prayer in as a part of the very plan on which the universe was projected. In the divine mind every determination of our will is perceived from eternity, as indeed are all the events of creation. But we admit a distinction of logical priority of some over others. Thus God’s knowledge of our determination to act is logically subsequent to the determination itself, since the latter is the object of the divine knowledge, and must have a logical precedence over it. Prayer, then, is compatible with the regularity of the universe and infinite wisdom, because God, having perceived our prayer and observed the conditions accompanying it, determined in eternity to grant or to withhold it, and regulated the universe in accordance with such determination. Our prayers have been granted or withheld in the long past as regards us, but not in the past as regards God, in whom there is no change nor shadow of a change. It is evident from this how absurd is Tyndall’s notion of testing the efficacy of prayer in the manner he proposed, and how unjust is Draper’s constant arrow-shooting at shrine-cures and petitions for health addressed to God and to his saints. Nor does the granting of a prayer necessarily imply a departure from the natural course of events. The foreseen goodness and piety of a man can have determined God to allow the natural order and sequence of events to proceed in such a manner as to develop conformably to his petition. In this there is no disturbance of the natural order, since the expression means nothing else than the regularity[197] with which phenomena occur in their usual way—a fact entirely consistent with the theory of prayer.

It is true, however, that the history of the church exhibits many well-authenticated examples of prayers being granted under circumstances which implied the performance of a miracle or a suspension of the effects of law. To this Draper opposes three arguments: first, the inherent impossibility of miracles; secondly, the capricious disturbance of the universe which would ensue; and, thirdly, the impossibility of discerning between miracles and juggling tricks or the marvellous achievements of science. To the first argument we would return an argumentum ad hominem. While Dr. Draper sneeringly repudiates a miracle which implies a derogation from physical law, he unwittingly admits a miracle tenfold more astounding. The argument was directed against Voltaire long years ago, and has been repeatedly employed since.

Suppose, then, that a whole cityful of people should testify to the resurrection of a dead man from the grave; would we be justified in rejecting the testimony on the sole ground of the physical impossibility of the occurrence? We would thereby suppose that a whole population, divided into the high and low born, the ignorant and the educated, the good and the bad, with interests, passions, hopes, prejudices, and aspirations as wide apart as the poles, should secretly conspire to impose on the rest of the world, and this so successfully that not even one would reveal the gigantic deception. History abounds in instances of the sort, in recitals of sudden cures witnessed by thousands, of conflagrations suddenly checked, of plagues disappearing in a moment; and if we are pleased to refuse the testimony because of the physical impossibility, we are reduced to the necessity of admitting, not a miracle, but a monstrosity in the moral order. It is true that Dr. Draper quietly ignores this feature of the case, and is satisfied with the objection to the possibility of miracles on physical grounds, without taking the pains to inquire whether circumstances can be conceived in which this physical possibility may be set aside. Complacently resting his argument here, the “impartial” doctor, whose lofty mind ranges in the pure ether of immaculate truth, accuses the church of filling the air with sprites whose duty it is to perform miracles every moment. Recklessly and breathlessly he repeats and multiplies the old, time-worn, oft-refuted, and ridiculous stories which stain the pages of long-forgotten Protestant controversialists, and which well-informed men of to-day not in communion with the church would blush to repeat, as likely to stamp their intelligence with vulgarity and credulity. Not so with Dr. Draper; for not only does he rehash what for years we have been hearing from Pecksniffs and Chadbands usque ad nauseam, but he introduces his stale stories in the most incongruous manner. Shrine-cures, as he calls them, he finds to have gone hand in hand with the absence of carpeted floors, and relic-worship with smoky chimneys, poor raiment, and unwholesome food. No doubt his far-seeing mind has been able to discover a necessary relation between those things which the ordinary judgment would pronounce most incongruous and dissonant. Draper not only refuses to recognize the long and laborious efforts of the church to ameliorate the[198] condition of the masses, to lift them from the misery and insanitary surroundings into which they had sunk during the night of Roman decadence, and in which the internecine feuds of the robber barons and princes, of feudal masters and vassals, had left them, but he impudently charges the church with being the author of their wrongs and wretchedness. It is true the same charge has been made before by vindictive and passionate writers, and it receives no additional weight at the hands of Dr. Draper by being left, like Mahomet’s coffin, without prop or support. Since Maitland’s work first disabused Englishmen of the opinions they had formed concerning mediæval priest-craft and church tyranny, no writer has had the hardihood to revive the exploded slanders of Stillingfleet and Fletcher, till this latest anti-papist felt that he had received a mission to do so.

Draper’s belief that the admitted possibility of miracles would tend to disturb the regular succession of natural phenomena is simply puerile; for miracles occur only under such circumstances as all men understand to preclude caprice and irregularity. Thus the daily-recurring mystery of transubstantiation still takes place upon our altars, and, so far as that tremendous fact is concerned, we might all cling to the idea of necessary, immutable law; for no order is disturbed, no planet fails to perform its accustomed revolution. As for its being impossible for Catholics to distinguish between real miracles and juggleries, it is very evident that, in keeping with his general opinion of believers in miracles, he must rate their standard of intelligence at an exceedingly low figure. A miracle supposes a derogation of the laws of the physical world, and is never accepted till its character in this sense has been thoroughly proved. A Protestant writer of high intelligence, who not long since was present in Rome at an investigation into the evidence adduced to prove the genuineness of certain miracles attributed to a servant of God, in whose behalf the title of venerable was demanded, remarked that, had the same searching scrutiny been employed in every legal case which had fallen under his observation, he would not hesitate to place implicit confidence in the rigid impartiality of the judge, the logical nature of the evidence, and the unimpeachable veracity of the witnesses. Dr. Draper, therefore, supposes, on the part of those whom he claims to be incapable or unwilling to discriminate between miracles, in the sense defined, and mere feats of legerdemain, an unparalleled stupidity or contemptible roguery. Since, however, he constitutes himself supreme judge in the case, we will place in juxtaposition with this judgment another, which will readily show to what extent his discriminating sense may be trusted. On page 298 he says: “The Virgin Mary, we are assured by the evangelists, had accepted the duties of married life, and borne to her husband several children.” As this is a serious accusation, and the doctor, in presenting it, desires to maintain his high reputation as an erudite hermeneutist and strict logician by adducing irrefragable proofs in its support, he triumphantly refers to S. Matt. i. 25. “And he knew her not till she brought forth her first-born.” We are reluctant to mention, when it is question of the accuracy of so learned a man as Dr. Draper, that among the Hebrews the word until denotes only what has occurred, without[199] regard to the future; as when God says: “I am till you grow old.” If Draper’s exegesis is correct concerning S. Matt. i. 25, then we must infer that God as surely implies, in the words quoted, that he will cease to exist at a specified time, as he explicitly states he will exist till that time. But, not satisfied with this display of Scriptural erudition, he refers, in support of the same statement, to S. Matt. xiii. 55, 56; and, because mention is there made of Jesus’ brethren and sisters, the latest foe to Mary’s virginity concludes that these were brothers and sisters by consanguinity. What a large number of brothers and sisters our preachers of every Sunday must have, who address by these endearing terms their numerous congregations! If, however, Dr. Draper desires to ascertain who these brethren and sisters were, he will find that they were cousins to our divine Saviour; it being a favored custom among the Jews thus to style near relatives. S. Matt, xxvii. 56 and S. John xix. 25 will define the exact relation the persons in question bore to the Saviour. Such are the penetration, profundity, and erudition of the man who brands as imbeciles, dupes, and rogues the major part of Christendom! But perhaps it may be said that hermeneutics are not Draper’s forte, owing to his supreme contempt of the New and Old Testaments, and that he has won his laurels in the field of philosophy. We have already hinted that his perspicuity in philosophical discussions is in advance of his subtlety, for the reason that he keeps well on the surface, and exhibits a commendable anxiety not to venture beyond his depth. At times, however, an intrepidity, born of ignorance, overcomes his native timidity, and, with amazing confidence, he plays the oft-assumed rôle of the bull in a china-shop. Mixing himself up with the Arian dispute concerning the Blessed Trinity, he inclines to the anti-Trinitarian view, because a son cannot be coeval with his father! The carnal-minded Arius thus reasoned, and it is no wonder Dr. Draper agrees with him. Had Dr. Draper taken down from his library shelf the Summa of S. Thomas, the great extinguisher of Draper’s philosophical beacon, Averroës, he would have received such enlightenment as would have made him blush to concur in a proposition so utterly unphilosophical. The Father, as principle of the Son’s existence, is co-existent with him as God, and logically only prior to him as father, just as a circle is the source whence the equality of the radii springs; though, given a circle, the equality of the radii co-exists, and, if an eternally existing circle be conceived, an eternal equality of radii ensues. The priority is therefore one of reason, viz., the priority of a cause to a co-existing effect. But we have said satis superque concerning Draper and his book. We deplore, not so much the publication of the volume, as the unhealthy condition of the public mind which can hail its appearance with welcome. As an appetite for unnatural food argues a diseased state of the bodily system, so we infer that men’s minds are sadly diseased when they take pleasure in what is so hollow, false, and shallow as Dr. Draper’s latest addition to anti-Catholic literature. We have been obliged to suppress a considerable portion of the criticisms we had prepared on particular portions of this rambling production, in order not to take up too much space. We consider it not[200] to be worth the space we have actually given to its refutation. And yet, of such a book, one of our principal daily papers has been so unadvised or thoughtless as to say that it ought to be made a text-book. To this proposition we answer by the favorite exclamation of the wife of Sir Thomas More: “Tilley-Valley!”



As we passed up the gravel walk of the Grange a face was trying its prettiest to look scoldingly out of the window, but could not succeed. When the eyes lighted upon my companion, face and eyes together disappeared. It was a face that I had seen grow under my eyes, but it had never occurred to me hitherto that it had grown so beautiful. Could that tall young lady, who did the duties of mistress of the Grange so demurely, be the little fairy whom only yesterday I used to toss upon my shoulder and carry out into the barnyard to see the fowls, one hand twined around my neck, and the other waving her magic wand with the action of a little queen—the same magic wand that I had spent a whole hour and a half—a boy’s long hour and a half—in peeling and notching with my broken penknife, engraving thereon the cabalistic characters “F. N.,” which, as all the world was supposed to know, signified “Fairy Nell”? And that was “Fairy” who had just disappeared from the honeysuckles. Faith! a far more dangerous fairy than when I was her war-horse and she my imperious queen.

I introduced my companion as an old school-fellow of mine to my father and sister. So fine-looking a young man could not fail to impress my father favorably, who, notwithstanding his seclusion, had a keen eye for persons and appearances. How so fine-looking a young man impressed my sister I cannot say, for it is not given to me to read ladies’ hearts. The dinner was passing pleasantly enough, when one of those odd revulsions of feeling that come to one at times in the most inopportune situations came over me. I am peculiarly subject to fits of this nature, and only time and years have enabled me to overcome them to any extent. By the grave of a friend who was dear to me, and in presence of his weeping relatives, some odd recollection has risen up as it were out of the freshly-dug grave, and grinned at me over the corpse’s head, till I hardly knew whether the tears in my eyes were brought there by laughter or by grief. Just on the attainment of some success, for which I had striven for months or years, may be, and to which I had devoted every energy that was in me, while the flush of it was fresh on my cheek and in my heart, and the congratulations of friends pouring in on me, has come a drear feeling like a winter wind across my summer[201] garden to blast the roses and wither the dew-laden buds just opening to the light. Why this is so I cannot explain; that it is so I know. It is a mockery of human nature, and falls on the harmony of the soul like that terrible “ha! ha!” of the fiend who stands by all the while when poor Faust and innocent Marguerite are opening their hearts to each other.

“And so, Mr. Goodal, you are an old friend of Roger’s? He has told me about most of his friends. It is strange he never mentioned your name before.”

“It is strange,” I broke in hurriedly. “Kenneth is the oldest of all, too. I found him first in the thirteenth century. He bears his years well, does he not, Fairy?”

My father and Nellie both looked perplexed. Kenneth laughed.

“What in the world are you talking about, Roger?” asked my father in amazement.

“Where do you think I found him? Burrowing at the tomb of the Herberts, as though he were anxious to get inside and pass an evening with them.”

“And judging the past by the present, a very agreeable evening I should have spent,” said Kenneth gayly.

“Well, sir, I will not deny that you would have found excellent company,” responded my father, pleased at the compliment. “The Herberts. ..” he began.

“For heaven’s sake, sir, let them rest in their grave. I have already surfeited Mr. Goodal with the history of the Herberts.” Kenneth was about to interpose, but I went on: “A strangely-mixed assembly the Herberts would make in the other world; granting that there is another world, and that the members of our family condescend to know each other there.”

“Roger!” said Nellie in a warning tone, while my father reddened and shifted uneasily in his chair.

“If there be another world and the Herberts are there, it is impossible that they can live together en famille. It can scarcely be even a bowing acquaintance,” I added, feeling all the while that I was as rude and undutiful as though I had risen from my chair and dealt my father a blow in the face. He remembered, as I did not, what was due to our guest, and said coldly:

“Roger, don’t you think that you might advantageously change the subject? Mr. Goodal, I am very far behind the age, and not equal to what I suppose is the prevailing tone among clever young gentlemen of the present day. I am very old fogy, very conservative. Try that sherry.”

The quiet severity of his tone cut me to the quick. The spirit of mischief must have been very near my elbow at that moment. Instead of taking my lesson in good part, I felt like a whipped school-boy, and, regardless of poor Nellie’s pale face and Kenneth’s silence, went on resolutely:

“Well, sir, my ancestors are to me a most interesting topic of conversation, and I take it that a Herbert only shows a proper regard for his own flesh and blood if he inquire after their eternal no less than their temporal welfare. What has become of all the Herberts, I should dearly like to know?”

“I know, sir, what will become of one of them, if he continues his silly and unmannerly cynicism,” said my father, now fairly aroused. He was very easily aroused, and I wonder that he restrained himself[202] so long. “I cannot imagine, Mr. Goodal, what possesses the young men of the present day, or what they are coming to. Irreverence for the dead, irreverence for the living, irreverence for all that is worthy of reverence, seems to stamp their character. I trust, sir, indeed I believe, that you have better feelings than to think that life and death, here and hereafter, are fit subjects for a boy’s sneer. I am sure that you have that respect for church and state and—and things established that is becoming a gentleman. I can only regret that my son is resolved on going as fast as he can to—to—” He glanced at Nellie, and remained silent.

“I know where you would say, sir; and in the event of my happy arrival there, I shall beyond doubt meet a large section of the Herberts who have gone before me—that is, if church and things established are to be believed. When one comes to think of it, what an appalling number of Herberts must have gone to the devil!”

“Nellie, my girl, you had better retire, since your brother forgets how to conduct himself in the presence of ladies and gentlemen.”

But Nellie sat still with scared face, and, though by this time my heart ached, I could not help continuing:

“But, father, what are we to believe, or do we believe anything? Up to a certain period the Herberts were what their present head—whom heaven long preserve!—would call rank Papists. Old Sir Roger, whose epitaph I found Mr. Goodal endeavoring to decipher this afternoon, was a Crusader, a soldier of the cross which, in our enlightenment and hatred of idolatry, we have torn down from the altar where he worshipped, and overturned that altar itself. Was it for love of church and things established, as we understand them, that he sailed away to the Holy Land, and in his pious zeal knocked the life out of many an innocent painim? Was good Abbot Herbert, whose monumental brass in the chancel of S. Wilfrid’s presents him kneeling and adoring before the chalice that he verily believed to hold the blood of Christ, a worshipper of the same God and a holder of the same faith as my uncle, Archdeacon Herbert, who denies and abhors the doctrine of Transubstantiation, although his two daughters, who are of the highest High-Church Anglicans, devoutly believe in something approaching it, and, to prove their faith, have enrolled themselves both in the Confraternity of the Cope, whose recent discovery has set Parliament and all the bench of bishops abuzz? Is it all a humbug all the way down, or were the stout, Crusading, Catholic Herberts real and right, while we are wrong and a religious sham? Does the Reformation mark us off into white sheep and black sheep, consigning them to hell and us to heaven? If not, why were they not Protestants, and why are we not Catholics, or why are we all not unbelievers? Can the same heaven hold all alike—those who adored and adore the Sacrament as God, and those who pronounce adoration of the Sacrament idolatry and an abomination?”

My father’s only reply to this lengthy and irresistible burst of eloquent reasoning was to ask Nellie, who had sat stone-still, and whose eyes were distended in mingled horror and wonder, for a cup of coffee. My long harangue seemed to have a soothing effect upon my nerves. I looked at Goodal, who was looking at his spoon. I[203] felt so sorry that I could have wished all my words unsaid.

“My dear father, and my dear Kenneth, and you too, Nellie, pardon me. I have been unmannerly, grossly so. I brought you here, Kenneth, to spend a pleasant evening, and help us to spend one, and some evil genius—a daimon that I carry about with me, and cannot always whip into good behavior—has had possession of me for the last half-hour. It was he that spoke in me, and not my father’s son, who, were he true to the lessons and example of his parent, would as soon think of committing suicide as a breach of hospitality or good manners. Now, as you are antiquarians, I leave you a little to compare notes, while I take Fairy out to trip upon the green, and console her for my passing heresy with orthodoxy and Tupper, who, I need not assure you, is her favorite poet, as he is of all true English country damsels. There is the moon beginning to rise; and there is a certain melting, a certain watery, quality about Tupper admirably adapted to moonlight.”

The rest of the evening passed more pleasantly. After a little we all went out on the lawn, and sat there together. The moonlight nights of the English summer are very lovely. That night was as a thousand such, yet it seemed to me that I had never felt the solemn beauty of nature so deeply or so sensibly before. S. Wilfrid’s shone out high and gray and solemn in the moon. Through the yew-trees of the priory down below gleamed the white tombstones of the churchyard. A streak of silver quivering through the land marked the wandering course of the Leigh. And high up among the beeches and the elms sat we, the odors of the afternoon still lingering on the air, the melody of a nightingale near by wooing the heart of the night with its mystic notes, and the moonlight shimmering on drowsy trees and slumbering foliage that not a breath in all the wide air stirred.

“There is a soft quiet in our English nights, a kind of home feeling about them, that makes them very lovable, and that I have experienced nowhere else,” said Kenneth.

“Oh! I am so glad to hear you say that, Mr. Goodal.”

“May I ask why, Miss Herbert?”

“Well, I hardly know. Because, I suppose, I am so very English.”

“So is Tupper, and Fairy swears by Tupper. At least she would, if she swore at all,” remarked her brother, whose hair was pulled for his pains.

“Were you ever abroad, Miss Herbert?”

“Never; papa wished to take me often, but I refused, because I suppose again I am so very English.”

“Too English to face sea-sickness,” said her brother.

“I believe the fault is mine, Mr. Goodal,” said her father. “You see the gout never leaves me for long together. I am liable at any time to an attack; and gout is a bad companion on foreign travel. It is bad enough at home, as Nellie finds, who insists on being my only nurse; and I am so selfish that I have not the heart to let her go, and I believe she has hardly the heart to leave me.”

“Oh! I don’t wish to go. Cousin Edith goes every year, and we have such battles when she comes back. She cannot endure this climate, she cannot endure the people, she cannot endure the fashions, the language is too harsh and[204] grating for her ear, the cooking is barbarous—every thing is bad. Now, I would rather stay at home and be happy in my ignorance than learn such lessons as that,” said honest Nellie.

“You would never learn such lessons.”

“Don’t you think so? But tell us now, Mr. Goodal, do not you, who have seen so much, find England very dull?”

“Excessively. That is one of its chief beauties. Dulness is one of our national privileges; and Roger here will tell you we pride ourselves on it.”

“Kenneth would say that dulness is only another word for what you would call our beautiful home-life,” said the gentleman appealed to.

“Dulness indeed! I don’t find it dull,” broke in Nellie, bridling up.

“No, the dairy and the kitchen; the dinner and tea; the Priory on a Sunday; the shopping excursions into Leighstone, where there is nothing to buy; the garden and the vinery; the visits to Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Knowles; to Widow Wickham, who is blind; to Mrs. Staynes, who is deaf, and whose husband ran away from her because, as he said, he feared that he would rupture a blood-vessel in trying to talk to her; the parish school and the charity hospital, make the life of a well-behaved young English lady quite a round of excitement. There are such things, too, as riding to hounds, and a ball once in a while, and croquet parties, and picnics, and the Eleusinian mysteries of the tea-table. Who shall say that, with all these opportunities for wild dissipation, English country life is dull?”

“Roger wearies of Leighstone, you perceive,” said my father. “Well, I was restless once myself; but the gout laid hold of me early in life, and it has kept its hold.”

“Now, Mr. Goodal, in all your wanderings, tell me where you have seen anything so delightful as this? Have you seen a ruin more venerable than S. Wilfrid’s, nodding to sleep like a gray old monk on the top of the hill there? Every stone of it has a history; some of them gay, many of them grave. Look at the Priory nestling down below—history again. See how gently the Leigh wanders away through the country. Every cottage and farm on its banks I know, and those in them. Could you find a sweeter perfume in all the world than steals up from my own garden here, where all the flowers are mine, and I sometimes think half know me? All around is beauty and peace, and has been so ever since I was a child. Why, then, should I wish to wander?”

Something more liquid even than their light glistened in Fairy’s eyes, as she turned them on Kenneth at the close. He seemed startled at her sudden outburst, and, after a moment, said almost gravely:

“You are right, Miss Herbert. The beauty that we do not know we may admire, but hardly love. It is like a painting that we glance at, and pass on to see something else. There is no sense of ownership about it. I have wandered, with a crippled friend by my side, through art galleries where all that was beautiful in nature and art was drawn up in a way to fascinate the eye and delight the senses. Yet my crippled friend never suffered by contrast; never felt his deformity there. Knowledge, association, friendship, love—these are the great beautifiers. The little that we can really call our own is dearer to us[205] than all the world—is our world, in fact. An Italian sunset steals and enwraps the senses into, as it were, a third heaven. A London fog is one of the most hideous things in this world; yet a genuine Londoner finds something in his native fog dear to him as the sunset to the Italian, and I confess to the barbarism myself. On our arrival the other day we were greeted by a yellow, dense, smoke-colored fog, such as London alone can produce. It was more than a year since I had seen one, and I enjoyed it. I breathed freely again, for I was at home. You will understand, then, how I appreciate your enthusiasm about Leighstone; and if Leighstone had many like Miss Herbert, I can well understand why its people should be content to stay at home.”

Nellie laughed. “I am afraid, Mr. Goodal, that you have brought back something more than your taste for fogs and your homely Saxon from Italy.”

“Yes, a more rooted love for my own land, a truer appreciation of my countrymen, and more ardent admiration of my fair countrywomen.”

“Ah! now you are talking Italian. But, honestly, which country do you find the most interesting of all you have seen?”

“My own, Miss Herbert.”

“The nation of shop-keepers!” ejaculated I.

“Of Magna Charta,” interposed my father, who, ready enough to condemn his age and his country himself, was Englishman enough to allow no other person to do so with impunity.

“Of hearth and home, of cheerful firesides and family circles,” added Nellie.

“Of work-houses and treadmills,” I growled.

“Of law and order, of civil and religious liberty,” corrected my father.

“Which are of very recent introduction and very insecure tenure,” added I.

“They formed the corner-stone of the great charter on which our English state is built—a charter that has become our glory and the world’s envy.”

“To be broken into and rifled within a century; to be set under the foot of a Henry VIII. and pinned to the petticoat of an Elizabeth; to be mocked at in the death of a Mary, Queen of Scots, and a Charles; to be thrown out of window by a Cromwell. Our charters and our liberties! Oh! we are a thrifty race. We can pocket them all when it suits our convenience, and flaunt them to the world on exhibition-days. Our charter did not save young Raymond Herbert his neck for sticking to his faith during the Reformation, though I believe that same charter provided above all things that the church of God should be free; and a Chief-Justice Herbert sat on the bench and pronounced sentence on the boy, not daring to wag a finger in defence of his own flesh and blood. Of course the Catholic Church was not the church of God, for so the queen’s majesty decreed; and to Chief-Justice Herbert we owe these lands, such of them as were saved. Great heaven! we talk of nobility—English nobility; the proudest race under the sun. The proudest race under the sun, who would scorn to kiss the Pope’s slipper, grovelled in the earth, one and all of them, under the heel of an Elizabeth, and the other day trembled at the frown of a George the Fourth!”

I need not dwell on the fact that in those days I had a particular[206] fondness for the sound of my own voice. I gloried in what seemed to me startling paradoxes, and flashes of wisdom that loosened bolts and rivets of prejudice, shattered massive edifices of falsehood, undermined in a twinkling social and moral weaknesses, which, of course, had waited in snug security all these long years for my coming to expose them to the scorn of a wondering world. What a hero I was, what a trenchant manner I had of putting things, what a keen intellect lay concealed under that calm exterior, and what a deep debt the world would have owed me had it only listened in time to my Cassandra warnings, it will be quite unnecessary for me to point out.

“I suppose I ought to be very much ashamed of myself,” said Kenneth good-humoredly; “but I still confess that I find my own country the most interesting of any that I have seen. It may be that the very variety, the strange contradictions in our national life and character, noticed by our radical here, are in themselves no small cause for that interest. If we have had a Henry VIII., we have had an Alfred and an Edward; if we have had an Elizabeth, we have also had a Maud; if our nobles cowered before a woman, they faced a man at Runnymede, and at their head were English churchmen, albeit not English churchmen of the stamp of to-day. If we broke through our charter, let us at least take the merit of having restored something of it, although it is somewhat mortifying to find that centuries of wandering and of history and discovery only land us at our old starting-point.”

“I give in. Bah! we are spoiling the night with history, while all nature is smiling at us in her beautiful calm.”

“Ah! you have driven away the nightingale; it sings no more,” said Fairy.

“Surely some one can console us for its absence,” said Kenneth, glancing at Nellie.

“I do not understand Italian,” she laughed back.

“Your denial is a confession of guilt. I heard Roger call you Fairy. There be good fairies and bad. You would not be placed among the bad?”

“Why not?”

“Because all the bad fairies are old.”

“And ride on broomsticks,” added I.

Unlike her brother, who had not a note of music in him, Fairy had a beautiful voice, which had had the additional advantage of a very careful cultivation. She sang us a simple old ballad that touched our hearts; and when that was done, we insisted on another. Then the very trees seemed to listen, the flowers to open as to a new sunlight, and shed their sweetness in sympathy, as she sang one of those ballads of sighs and tears, hope and despair and sorrowful lamentation, caught from the heart of a nation whose feelings have been stirred to the depths to give forth all that was in them in the beautiful music that their poet has wedded to words. The ballad was “The Last Rose of Summer,” and as the notes died away the foliage seemed to move and murmur with applause, while after a pause the nightingale trilled out again its wonderful song in rivalry. There was silence for a short time, which was broken by Kenneth saying:

“I must break up Fairy-land, and go back to the Black Bull.”


But of this we would not hear. It was agreed that Kenneth should take up his quarters with us. The conversation outlasted our usual hours at Leighstone. Kenneth sustained the burden; and with a wonderful grace and charm he did so. He had read as well as travelled, and more deeply and extensively than is common with men of his years; for his conversation was full of that easy and delightful illustration that only a student whose sharp angles have been worn off by contact with the world outside his study can command and gracefully use, leaving the gem of knowledge that a man possesses, be it small or great, perfect in its setting. Much of what he related was relieved by some shrewd and happy remark of his own that showed him a close observer, while a genial good-nature and tendency to take the best possible view of things diffused itself through all. It was late when my father said:

“Mr. Goodal, you have tempted me into inviting an attack of my old enemy by sitting here so long. There is no necessity for your going to-morrow, is there, since you are simply on a walking tour? Roger is a great rambler, and there are many pretty spots about Leighstone, many an old ruin that will repay a visit. Indeed, ruins are the most interesting objects of these days. My walking days, I fear, are over. A visitor is a Godsend to us down here, and, though you ramblers soon tire of one spot, there is more in Leighstone than can be well seen in a day.”

Thus pressed, he consented, and our little party broke up.

“Are you an owl!” I asked Kenneth, as my father and sister retired.

“Somewhat,” he replied, smiling.

“Then come to my room, and you shall give your to-whoo to my to-whit. I was born an owl, having been introduced into this world, I am informed, in the small hours; and the habits of the species cling to me. Take that easy-chair and try this cigar. These slippers will ease your feet. Though not a drinking man, properly so called, I confess to a liking for the juice of the grape. The fondness for it is still strong in the sluggish blood of the Norse, and I cannot help my blood. Therefore, at an hour like this, a night-cap will not hurt us. Of what color shall it be? Of the deep claret tint of Bordeaux, the dark-red hue of Burgundy, or the golden amber of the generous Spaniard? Though, as I tell you, not a drinking man, I think a good cigar and a little wine vastly improves the moonlight, provided the quantity be not such as to obscure the vision of eye or brain. That is not exactly a theory of my own. It was constantly and deeply impressed upon me by a very reverend friend of mine, with whom I read for a year. Indeed I fear his faith in port was deeper than his faith in the Pentateuch. The drunkard is to me the lowest of animals, ever has been, and ever will be. Were the world ruled—as it is scarcely likely to be just yet—by my suggestions, the fate of the Duke of Clarence should be the doom of every drunkard, with only this difference; that each one be drowned in his own favorite liquor, soaked there till he dissolved, and the contents ladled out and poured down the throat of whoever, by any accident, mistook the gutter for his bed. You will pardon my air; in my own room I am supreme lord and master. Kenneth, my boy, I like you. I feel as though I[208] had known you all my life. That must have been the reason for my unruly, ungracious, and unmannerly explosion down-stairs at dinner. I have an uncontrollable habit of breaking out in that style sometimes, and the effect on my father, whom I need not tell you I love and revere above all men living, is what you see.”

He smoked in silence a few seconds, and then, turning on me, suddenly asked:

“Where did you learn your theology?”

The question was the last in the world that would have presented itself to me, and was a little startling, but put in too earnest a manner for a sneer, and too kindly to give offence. I answered blandly that I was guiltless of laying claim to any special theology.

“Well, your opinions, then—the faith, the reasons, on which you ground your life and views of life. Your conversation at times drifts into a certain tone that makes me ask. Where or what have you studied?”

“Nowhere; nothing; everywhere; everything; everybody; I read whatever I come across. And as for theology—for my theology, such as it is—I suppose I am chiefly indebted to that remarkably clever organ of opinion known as the Journal of the Age.”

A few whiffs in silence, and then he said:

“I thought so.”

“What did you think?”

“That you were a reader of the Journal of the Age. Most youngsters who read anything above a sporting journal or a sensational novel are. I have been a student of it myself—a very close student. I knew the editor well. We were at one time bosom friends. He took me in training, and I recognized the symptoms in you at once.”

“How so?”

“The Journal of the Age—and it has numerous admirers and imitators—is, in these days, the ablest organ of a great and almost universal worship of an awful trinity that has existed since man was first created; and the name of that awful trinity is—the devil, the world, and the flesh.”

I stared at him in silent astonishment. All the gayety of his manner, all its softness, had gone, and he seemed in deadly earnest, as he went on:

“This worship is not paraded in its grossest form. Not at all. It is graced by all that wit can give and undisciplined intellect devise. It has a brilliant sneer for Faith, a scornful smile for Hope, and a chill politeness for Charity. I revelled in it for a time. Heaven forgive me! I was happy enough to escape.”

“With what result?”

“Briefly with this: with the conviction that man did not make this world; that he did not make himself, or send himself into it; that consequently he was not and could never be absolutely his own master; that he was sent in and called out by Another, by a Greater than he, by a Creator, by a God. I became and am a Catholic, to find that what for a time I had blindly worshipped were the three enemies against whom I was warned to fight all the days of my life.”

“And the Journal of the Age?”

“The editor cut me as soon as he found I believed in God in preference to himself. He is the fiercest opponent of Papal Infallibility with whom I ever had the honor of acquaintance.”

“I cannot say that your words and the manner in which you[209] speak them do not impress me. Still, it never occurred to me that so insignificant a being as Roger Herbert was worthy the combined attack of the three formidable adversaries you have named. What have the devil, the world, and the flesh to do with me?”

“Yes, there is the difficulty, not only with Roger Herbert, but with everybody else. It does seem strange that influences so powerful and mysterious should be for ever ranged against such wretched little beings as we are, whom a toothache tortures and a fever kills. Yet surely man’s life on earth is not all fever and its prevention, toothache and its cure, or a course of eating, doctoring, and tailoring. If we believe at all in a life that can never end, in a soul, surely that is something worth thought and care. An eternal life that must range itself on one side or the other seems worthy of a struggle between the powers of good and evil, if good and evil there be. Nay, man is bound of his own right, of his own free will, of his very existence, to choose between one and the other, to be good or be bad, and not stumble on listlessly as a thing of chance, tossed at will from one to the other. We do not sufficiently realize the greatest of our obligations. We should feel disgraced if we did not pay our tailor or our wine-merchant; but such a thought never presents itself to us when the question concerns God or the devil, or that part of us that does not wear clothes and does not drink wine.”

He had risen while he was speaking, and spoke with an energy and earnestness I had never yet witnessed in any man. Whether right or wrong, his view of things towered so high above my own blurred and crooked vision that I felt myself crouch and grow small before him. The watch-tower of his faith planted him high up among the stars of heaven, while I groped and struggled far away down in the darkness. Oh! if I could only climb up there and stand with him, and see the world and all things in it from that divine and serene height, instead of impiously endeavoring to build up my own and others’ little Babel that was to reach the skies and enable us to behold God. But conversions are not wrought by a few sentences nor by the mere emotions of the heart; not by Truth itself, which is for ever speaking, for ever standing before and confronting us, its mark upon its forehead, yet we pass it blindly by; for has it not been said that “having eyes they see not, and having ears they hear not”?

“Kenneth,” I said, stretching out my hand, which he clasped in both of his, “the subject which has been called up I feel to be far too solemn to be dismissed with the sneer and scoff that have grown into my nature. Indeed, I always so regarded it secretly; but perhaps the foolish manner in which I have hitherto treated it was owing somewhat to the foolish people with whom I have had to deal from my boyhood. They give their reasons about this, that, and the other as parrots repeat their lesson, with interjectory shrieks and occasional ruffling of the poll, all after the same pattern. You seem to me to be in earnest; but, if you please, we will say no more about it—at least now.”

“As you please,” he replied. “Here I am at the end of my cigar. So good-night, my dear boy. Well, you have had my to-whit to your to-whoo.”

And so a strange day ended. I[210] sat thinking some time over our conversation. Kenneth’s observations opened quite a new train of thought. It had never occurred to me before that life was a great battle-field, and that all men were, as it were, ranged under two standards, under the folds of which they were compelled to fight. Everything had come to me in its place. A man might have his private opinions on men and things, as he collects a private museum for his own amusement; but in the main one lived and died, acted and thought, passed through and out of life, in much the same manner as his neighbor, not inquiring and not being inquired into too closely. Life was made for us, and we lived it much in the same way as we learned our alphabet, we never knew well how, or took our medicine, in the regulation doses. Sometimes we were a little rebellious, and suffered accordingly; that was all. Excess on any side was a bore to everybody else. It was very easy, and on the whole not unpleasant. We nursed our special crotchets, we read our newspapers, we watched our children at their gambols, we chatted carelessly away out on the bosom of the broad stream along which we were being borne so surely and swiftly into the universal goal. Why should we scan the sky and search beneath the silent waters, trembling at storms to come and treacherous whirlpools, hidden sand-banks, and cruel rocks on which many a brave bark had gone down? Chart and compass were for others; a pleasant sail only for us. There was a Captain up aloft somewhere; it was his duty and not ours to see that all was right and taut—ours to glide along in slumbrous ease, between eternal banks of regions unexplored; to feast our eyes on fair scenes, and lap our senses in musical repose. That was the true life. Sunken rocks, passing storms, mutinies among the crew, bursting of engines—what were such things to us? Had we not paid our fares and made our provision for the voyage, and was not the Captain bound to land us safely at our journey’s end, if he valued his position and reputation?

The devil, the world, and the flesh! What nightmare summoned these up, and set them glaring horribly into the eyes of a peaceful British subject? What had the devil to do with me or I with the devil? What were the world and the flesh? Take my father, now; what had they to do with him? Or Fairy? Why, her life was as pure as that sky that smiled down upon her with all its starry eyes. Let me see; there were others, however, who afforded better subjects for investigation. Whenever you want to find out anything disagreeable, call on your friends and neighbors. There was the Abbot Jones, now; let us weigh him in the triple scale. How fared the devil, the world, and the flesh with the Abbot Jones? He was, as I said to Kenneth, a very genial man; he had lived a good life, married into an excellent family, paid his bills, had a choice library, a good table, was an excellent judge of cattle, and a preacher whom everybody praised. Abbot Jones was faultless! There was not a flaw to be found in him from the tip of his highly-polished toe to the top of his highly-polished head. He had a goodly income, but he used it cautiously; for Clara and Alice were now grown up, and were scarcely girls to waste their lives in a nunnery, like my cousins, the daughters of Archdeacon Herbert, who adored all that was sweetly[211] mortifying and secluded, yet, by one of those odd contradictions in female and human nature generally, never missed a fashion or a ball. Yes, Abbot Jones was a good and exemplary man. To be sure, he did not walk barefoot or sandal-shod, not alone among the highways, where men could see and admire, but into the byways of life, down among the alleys of the poor, where clustered disease, drunkenness, despair, death; where life is but one long sorrow. But then for what purpose did he pay a curate, unless to do just this kind of dirty, apostolic work, while the abbot devoted himself to the cares of his family, the publication of an occasional pamphlet, and that pleasant drawing-room religion that finds its perfection in good dinners, sage maxims, and cautious deportment? If the curate neglected his duty, that was clearly the curate’s fault, and not the abbot’s. If the abbot were clothed, not exactly in purple, but in the very best of broadcloth, and fasted only by the doctor’s orders, prayed not too severely, fared sumptuously every day of his life, he paid for every inch of cloth, every ounce of meat, every drop of that port for which his table was famous; for he still clung to the clerical taste for a wine that at one time assumed a semi-ecclesiastical character, and certain crumbs from his table went now and then to a stray Lazarus. Yes, he was a faultless man, as the world went. He did not profess to be consumed with the zeal for souls. His life did not aim at being an apostolic one. He had simply adopted a profitable and not unpleasant profession. If a S. Paul had come, straggling, footsore, and weary, into Leighstone, and begun preaching to the people and attacking shepherds who guarded not their fold, but quietly napped and sipped their port, while the wolves of irreligion, of vice and misery in every form, entered in and rent the flock from corner to corner, the abbot would very probably have had S. Paul arrested for a seditious vagrant and a disturber of the public peace.

Take my uncle, the archdeacon; what thought he of the world, the flesh, and the devil? As for the last-named enemy of the human race, he did not believe in him. A personal devil was to him simply a bogy wherewith to frighten children. It was the outgrowth of mediæval superstition, a Christianized version of a pagan fable. The devil was a gay subject with Archdeacon Herbert, who was the wittiest and courtliest of churchmen. His mission was up among the gods of this world; his confessional ladies’ boudoirs, his penance an epigram, his absolution the acceptance of an invitation to dinner. He breathed in a perfumed atmosphere; his educated ear loved the rustle of silks; he saw no heaven to equal a coach-and-four in Rotten Row during the season. It was in every way fitting that such a man should sooner or later be a bishop of the Church Established. He was an ornament to his class—a man who could represent it in society as well as in the pulpit, whose presence distilled dignity and perfume, and whose views were what are called large and liberal—that is to say, no “views” at all. What the three enemies had to do with my uncle I could not see. I could only see that he would scarcely have been chosen as one of The Twelve; but then who would be chosen as one of The Twelve in these days?

I went to the window and looked out. The moon was going down[212] behind S. Wilfrid’s, and Leighstone was buried in gloomy shadow. Down there below me in the darkness throbbed thousands of hearts resting a little in peaceful slumber till the morning came to wake them again to the toil and the struggle, the pleasure and the pain, the good and the evil, of another day. The good and the evil. Was there no good and evil waiting down there by the bedside of every one, to face them in the morning, and not leave them until they returned to that bedside at night? Was there a great angel somewhere up above in that solemn, silent, ever-watchful heaven, with an open scroll, writing down in awful letters the good and the bad, the white and the black, in the life of each one of us? Were we worth this care, weak little mortals, human machines, that we were? What should our good or our evil count against the great Spirit, whom we are told lives up above there in the passionless calm of a fixed eternity? Did we shake our puny fists for ever in the face of that broad, bent heaven that wrapped us in and overwhelmed us in its folds, what effect would it have? If we held them up in prayer, what profited it? Who of men could storm heaven or search hell? And yet, as Kenneth said, a life that could not end was an awful thing. That the existence we feel within us is never to cease; that the power of discriminating between good and evil, define them, laugh at them or quibble about them as we may, can never die out of us; that we are irresistibly impelled to one or the other; that they are always knocking at the door of our hearts, for we feel them there; that they cannot be blind influences, knowing not when to come or when to go, but the voices of keen intelligences acting over the great universe, wherever man lives and moves and has his being; that they are not creations of our own, for they are independent of us; we may call evil good and good wicked, but in the end the good will show itself, and the evil throw off its disguise in spite of us—what does all this say but that there is an eternal conflict going on, and that, will he or will he not, every man born into the world must take a share in it?

That being so, search thine own heart, friend. Leave thy uncle, leave thy neighbor, and come back to thyself. Let them answer for their share; answer thou for thine. Which is thy standard? It cannot be both. What part hast thou borne in the conflict? What giants killed? What foes overcome? Hast thou slain that doughty giant within thee—thine own self? Is there no evil in thee to be cast out? No stain upon the scutcheon of thy pure soul? No vanity, no pride, no love of self above all and before all, no worship of the world, no bowing to Mammon or other strange gods, not to mention graver blots than all of these? Let thy neighbor pass till all the dross is purged out of thee. There is not a libertine in all the world but would wish all the world better, provided he had not to become better with it. Thy good wishes for others are shared by all men alike, by the worst as by the best. Begin at home, friend, and root out and build up there. Trim thy own garden, cast out the weeds, water and tend it well. The very sight of it is heaven to the weary wayfarer who, having wandered far away from his own garden, sinks down at thy side, begrimed with the dust of the road and the smoke of sin. You[213] may tear him to pieces, you may lacerate his soul, you may cast him, bound hand and foot, into the outer darkness, yet never touch his heart. But he will stand afar off and admire when he sees thy garden blowing fair, and all the winds of heaven at play there, all the dews of heaven glistening there, all the sunshine of heaven beaming there; then will he come and creep close up to thee, desiring to take off the shoes from his feet, soiled with his many wanderings in foul places. Then for the first time he feels that he has wandered from the way, will see the stains upon him, and with trembling fingers hasten to cast them off, and, standing barefoot and humble before Him who made thee pure, falter out at length, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.”




Of all Calderon’s autos, this is the one which has been the most generally admired, both on account of its intense dramatic power and popular character.

It has been translated several times into German (see note at end of previous article on the autos), and into English by Mr. MacCarthy.

The latter says in his preface: “This auto must be classed with those whose action relates directly to the Blessed Sacrament, because it puts before us, in the profanation of the vases of the Temple by Baltassar, a type of the desecration of the Holy Sacrament, and symbolizes to us, in the punishment that follows this sacrilege, the magnitude and sublimity of the Eucharistic Mystery. Although this immediate relation between the action of the auto and the sacrament becomes only manifestly clear in the last scene, nevertheless all the preceding part, which is only preparing us for the final catastrophe, stands in immediate connection with it, and, through it, with the action of the auto. The wonderful simplicity of this relation, and the lively dramatic treatment of the subject, allow us to place this auto, justly, in the same category with those that, comparatively speaking, are easy to be understood, and which, like The Great Theatre of the World, have especial claims upon popularity, even if many of its details contain very deep allusions, the meaning of which, at first sight, is not very intelligible.”

The auto opens in the garden of Baltassar’s palace with a scene between Daniel and Thought, who,[214] dressed in a coat of many colors, represents the Fool.

After a long description of his abstract self he states that he has this day been assigned to King Baltassar’s mind, and ironically remarks that he, Thought, is not the only fool, and apologizes for his rudeness in not listening to Daniel:

“It were difficult to try
To keep up a conversation,
We being in our separate station,
Wisdom thou, and Folly I.”

Daniel answers that there is no reason why they should not converse, for the sweetest harmony is that which proceeds from two different chords.

Thought hesitates no longer, and informs Daniel that he is thinking of the wedding which Babylon celebrates this day with great rejoicings. The groom is King Baltassar, son and heir of Nabuchodonosor; the happy bride the fair Empress of the East, Idolatry herself.

That the king is already wedded to Vanity is no hindrance, as his law allows him a thousand wives.

Daniel breaks forth in lamentations for God’s people and the unhappy kingdom; while clownish Thought asks if Daniel himself is interested in the ladies, since he makes such an outcry over the news, and insinuates that envy and his captivity are the causes of his grief.

With a flourish of trumpets enter Baltassar and Vanity at one side, and Idolatry, fantastically dressed, at the other, with attendants, followers, etc.

The king courteously welcomes his new wife, who replies that it is right that she should come to his kingdom, since here first after the Flood idolatry arose.

The king declares that his own idea, his sole ambition, has been to unite Idolatry and Vanity, and then suddenly becomes absorbed in thought while fondly regarding his wives; to their questions as to the cause of his suspense he answers that, fired by their beauty, he wishes to relate the wondrous story of his conquests.

Wonderful indeed is the story which follows, extending, in the original, through three hundred and fifty uninterrupted lines.

In the introduction the king relates the strange fate of his father, Nabuchodonosor, whose worthy successor he declares himself to be, and describes his vaulting ambition, which will not be satisfied until he is the sole ruler over all the region of Senaar, which beheld the building of the Tower of Babel; this leads to an account of the Deluge, so poetical and characteristic that we give its finest portion here:[56]

“First began a dew as soft
As those tears the golden sunrise
Kisseth from Aurora’s lids;
Then a gentle rain, as dulcet
As those showers the green earth drinks
In the early days of summer;
From the clouds then water-lances,
Darting at the mountains, struck them;
In the clouds their sharp points shimmer’d,
On the mountains rang their but-ends;
Then the rivulets were loosened,
Roused to madness, ran their currents,
Rose to rushing rivers, then
Swelled to seas of seas. O Summit
Of all wisdom! thou alone
Knowest how thy hand can punish!
… Then a mighty sea-storm rushed
Through the rents and rocky ruptures,
By whose mouths the great earth yawns,
When its breath resounds and rumbles
From internal caves. The air
… Roared confined, the palpitation
Of its fierce internal pulses
Making the great hills to shake,
And the mighty rocks to tremble.
The strong bridle of the sand,
Which the furious onset curbeth
Of the white horse of the sea
With its foam-face silver fronted,
Loosened every curbing rein,
So that the great steed, exulting,
Rushed upon the prostrate shore,
With loud neighing to o’errun it.”

The ark alone is saved, and Nimrod resolves to anticipate a second Deluge, and erect a more ambitious refuge. The building of the Tower of Babel and the Confusion of Tongues then follow, and the king closes his long monologue with the determination to rebuild Nimrod’s tower, urged to the task by the opportune conjunction of Idolatry and Vanity.

These express their gratification at this lofty scheme, and offer to perpetuate the fame of his great deeds.

The king, exulting, exclaims: “Who shall break this bond?”

Daniel, advancing, “The hand of God!” and returns the same answer to the king’s angry question, “What can save thee from my power or defend thee?”

Baltassar is profoundly moved, but spares Daniel because Vanity loathes the captive and Idolatry disdains his religion.

In the fourth scene the prophet addresses the Most High, and cries: “Who can endure these offences, these pretences of Vanity and displays of Idolatry? Who will end so great an evil?”

“I will,” answers Death, who enters, wearing a sword and dagger, and dressed symbolically in a cloak covered with figures of skeletons.

Daniel. “Awful shape, to whom I bow
Through the shadowy glooms that screen thee,
Never until now I’ve seen thee:
Fearful phantom, who art thou?”

Death’s answer in the following monologue is most impressive and beautiful. Our space, unfortunately, will let us quote but a part:

“Daniel, thou Prophet of the God of Truth,
I am the end of all who life begin,
The drop of venom in the serpent’s tooth,
The cruel child of envy and of sin.
Abel first showed the world’s dark door uncouth,
But Cain threw wide the door, and let me in;
Since then I’ve darkened o’er life’s checker’d path,
The dread avenger of Jehovah’s wrath.
… The proudest palace that supremely stands,
’Gainst which the wildest winds in vain may beat;
The strongest wall, that like a rock withstands
The shock of shells, the furious fire-ball’s heat—
All are but easy triumphs of my hands,
All are but humble spoils beneath my feet;
If against me no palace-wall is proof,
Ah! what can save the lowly cottage-roof?
Beauty, nor power, nor genius, can survive,
Naught can resist my voice when I sweep by;
For whatsoever has been let to live,
It is my destined duty to see die.
With all the stern commands that thou mayst give,
I am, God’s Judgment, ready to comply;
Yea, and so quickly shall my service run
That ere the word is said the deed is done!”

Death then recounts some of his past achievements to prove his readiness to inflict punishment on the king.

Daniel, however, expressly forbids him to kill Baltassar, and gives him leave only to awaken him to a sense of coming woe and the fact that he is mortal.

This Death does by appearing to the king and showing him a small book lost by him some time before (i.e., the remembrance of his mortality, which he had forgotten), in which is written his debt to Death.

He leaves the terror-stricken monarch with an admonition to remember his obligation.

Thought, hovering between Vanity and Idolatry, soon, however, effaces the impression left by the terrible visitor.

The king and Thought, lulled by their combined flatteries, fall asleep, while Death enters and delivers the following monologue, which, as Mr. MacCarthy truly says, “belongs unquestionably to the deepest and most beautiful poetry that has ever flown from the pen of Calderon”:


Death. “Man the rest of slumber tries,
Never the reflection making
That, O God! asleep and waking,
Every day he lives and dies;
That a living corse he lies,
After each day’s daily strife,
Stricken by an unseen knife,
In brief lapse of life, not breath,
A repose which is not death;
But what is death teaches life:
Sugared poison ’tis, which sinks
On the heart, which it o’ercometh,
Which it hindereth and benumbeth.
And can a man, then, live who poison drinks?
’Tis forgetting, when the links
That gave life by mutual fretting
To the Senses, snap, or letting
The imprisoned Five go free,
They can hear not, touch, or see;
And can a man forget this strange forgetting?
It is frenzy, that which moves
Heart and eyes to taste and see
Joys and shapes that ne’er can be:
And can a man be found who frenzy loves?
’Tis a lethargy that proves
My best friend; in trust for me,
Death’s dull, drowsy weight bears he,
And, by failing limb and eye,
Teaches man the way to die:
And can a man, then, seek this lethargy?
’Tis a shadow, which is made
Without light’s contrasted aid,
Moving in a spectral way,
Sad, phantasmal foe of day:
And can a man seek rest beneath such shade?
Finally, ’tis well portrayed
As Death’s Image: o’er and o’er
Men have knelt its shrine before,
Men have bowed the suppliant knee,
All illusion though it be:
And can a man this Image, then, adore?
Since Baltassar here doth sleep,
Since he hath the poison drank,
Since he treads oblivion’s blank,
Since no more his pulses leap,
Since the lethargy is deep,
Since, in horror and confusion,
To all other sights’ exclusion,
He has seen the Image—seen
What this shade, this poison, mean,
What this frenzy, this illusion:
Since Baltassar sleepeth so,
Let him sleep, and never waken:
Be his body and soul o’ertaken
By the eternal slumber.”

(He draws his sword, and is about to kill him.)

Daniel rushes in and saves the sleeper, who is dreaming a mysterious vision, which is visibly represented to the spectators.

The king on awakening is captivated, as usual, by Idolatry, who proposes to him a magnificent feast, in which shall be used the sacred vessels carried away from Jerusalem.

The feast is prepared; the table is brought in, on which are displayed the sacred vessels; the attendants begin serving the banquet, while Thought plays the court-fool.

In the midst of the revelry Death enters, disguised as one of the servants, and, when the king calls for wine, presents him with one of the golden goblets from the table, with a mysterious aside referring to the Lord’s Supper, where the cup contains both death and life, as it is drunk worthily or unworthily.

The king rises and gives the toast: “For ever, Moloch, god of the Assyrians, live!”

A great clap of thunder is heard, darkness settles on the feast, and a fiery hand writes upon the wall the fatal “Mane, Thecel, Phares.”

Idolatry, Vanity, and Thought in turn fail to interpret the mysterious words, and the first named suggests that Daniel should be summoned.[57]

The prophet comes and explains the hidden meaning of the words, declaring that God’s wrath has been aroused by the misuse of the sacred vessels, which, until the law of grace reigns on earth, foreshow the Blessed Sacrament.

Baltassar and his wives tremble at the solemn words. Thought, an expression of the reproaches of his master’s conscience, turns against the king, who laments the desertion of his friends in the hour of need.

Death, during this scene, has been approaching nearer and nearer, and now draws his sword and stabs the unhappy monarch, who cries:

“This is death, then!
Was the venom not sufficient
That I drank of?”
Death. “No; that venom
Was the death of the soul; the body’s
This swift death-stroke representeth.”

The king, struggling with Death, is forced to confess:


“He who dares profane God’s cup,
Him he striketh down forever;
He who sinfully receives
Desecrates God’s holiest vessel!”

These are his last words. Idolatry awakens from her dream, and longs to see the light of the law of grace now while the written law reigns.

Death declares that it is foreshadowed in Gedeon’s fleece, in the manna, in the honey-comb, in the lion’s mouth, and in the shew-bread.

Daniel. “If these emblems
Show it not, then be it shown
In the full foreshadowing presence
Of the feast here now transformed
Into Bread and Wine—stupendous
Miracle of God; his greatest
Sacrament in type presented.”

The scene opens to the sound of solemn music; a table is seen arranged as an altar, with a monstrance and chalice in the middle, and two wax candles on each side.

The auto closes with Idolatry’s declaration that she is transformed into Latria, and the usual personal address to the audience.


We have already remarked that the auto El Pintor de su Deshonra is a replica of a secular play bearing the same title.

It will not be out of place to give a short analysis of the latter, premising that it is one of the greatest of Calderon’s tragedies.

In the first act the Governor of Gaeta welcomes to his residence his friend Don Juan Roca, whose young wife, Seraphine, soon becomes intimate with the governor’s daughter, Portia, to whom she reveals the secret that she has been ardently loved by Portia’s brother, Don Alvaro, whose love she has as ardently returned.

News, however, was received of his shipwreck and death, and she finally yielded to her father’s urgent requests, and gave her hand to Don Juan.

The unhappy lady faints while reciting her griefs, and Portia hastens for aid. At this moment a stranger enters, perceives the unconscious lady, and bends over her with an expression of the warmest interest. Seraphine opens her eyes, and with the cry “Alvaro!” faints again.

Her old lover, saved from the waves, has returned to find her another’s wife.

From this moment begins a struggle between love and duty, depicted with all the tenderness and power of which the poet was capable.

Seraphine attempts with all her strength to master her love for Alvaro, and tells him, with forced coolness, how much she is attached to her husband by duty and inclination.

During this interview a cannon is heard—the signal announcing the approaching departure of Don Juan’s ship. Seraphine withdraws to follow him to their home in Spain, and leaves Alvaro in a state of utter hopelessness.

The second act reveals to us Don Juan (an enthusiastic lover of art) in his home in Barcelona, painting his wife’s portrait.

The remembrance of the past seems banished from Seraphine’s heart, and everything indicates a state of peace and happiness.

Don Juan withdraws a moment, when a sailor enters the room.

It is Don Alvaro, who, unable to forget his love, has followed Seraphine to Barcelona. He overwhelms her with his affection; but she shows him so firmly and eloquently that his pleading is in vain that he in turn resolves to conquer his passion and leave her for ever.


He still lingers near, but makes no attempt to approach her again.

One day, during the Carnival, Don Juan’s villa takes fire. Seraphine is borne insensible from the house by her husband, who confides her to Don Alvaro, whom he does not, of course, recognize, and returns to help the others who are in danger.

Don Alvaro, meanwhile, is left with Seraphine in his arms. His love revives stronger than ever in the terrible temptation, and he bears the still insensible Seraphine to his ship, and makes sail with the greatest haste.

Don Juan does not return until the ship is under way, discovers too late that he has been deceived, and throws himself into the sea in order to overtake the fugitives.

In the last act we find Don Juan at Gaeta, disguised as an artist, in order to obtain more easily access into private houses, and discover who has stolen his wife.

He is introduced to Prince Urbino, who commissions him to paint the portrait of a beautiful woman whom he has seen at a neighboring forester’s house, which he visits in order to meet Portia secretly.

The same place has been chosen by Don Alvaro to conceal Seraphine, who is the beautiful lady who has attracted the prince’s attention.

Don Juan repairs to the appointed spot, and erects his easel near a window, through the blinds of which he can see, unnoticed, the fair one.

The artist discovers, with feelings which can be imagined, his wife asleep in the garden. She murmurs words which prove her innocence. But this cannot save her; she must be sacrificed to remove the stain on her husband’s honor.

Don Juan expresses his feelings in a most powerful soliloquy, when Alvaro enters and embraces the sleeping Seraphine. At that instant two shots are heard, and the innocent and guilty fall bleeding to the ground.

The auto founded on the above play is, in the opinion of no less a critic than Wilhelm Val Schmidt, the first of its class, and withal much less technical than is usual with these plays.

The dramatis personæ include the Artist, the World, Love, Lucifer, Sin, Grace, Knowledge, Nature (i.e., human nature at first in a state of innocence), Innocence, and the Will (i.e., free-will).

The first car represents a dragon, which opens and discloses Lucifer, whose first speech proves the trite remark about the devil quoting Scripture; for he immediately proceeds to cite Jeremias and David, who alluded to him as the dragon.

He then summons Sin, and repeats to her his partly-known history, which contains some singular ideas.

He was the favorite of the Father in his former home, where he saw, before the original existed, the portrait of so rare a beauty that, inflamed with love, and to prevent the Prince from marrying her, he rebelled, and, placing himself at the head of the other discontented spirits, was defeated and doomed to perpetual exile and darkness.

So far Sin is acquainted with the story; but from this point all is new to her.

The greatest of Lucifer’s sufferings arises from his envy of the Prince, who is all that is wise and lovely: a learned theologian, legislator, philosopher, physician, logician, astrologist, mathematician, architect—“witness the palace of[219] the world”—geometrician, rhetorician, musician, and poet.

But none of these qualities so enrages and astonishes Lucifer as the Prince’s talent for painting. He has already been engaged six days on a landscape. At the beginning the ground of the canvas was so bare and rough that he only drew on it the outline in shadowy figures. The first day he gave it light; the second day he introduced heaven and earth, dividing the waters and the firmament; the third day, seeing the earth so arid and bare, he painted flowers in it and fruits, and the fourth day the sun and moon. He filled, the fifth day, the air and waters with birds and fishes; and this sixth day he has covered the landscape with various animals.

Nothing of all this astonishes Lucifer so much as the Prince’s intention to embody in a palpable form the ideal which was the cause of Lucifer’s fall.

The divine Artist has himself chosen the colors and selected clay and occult minerals, which Lucifer fears a breath may animate: “Since if a breath can dissipate dust, I suspect, I lament, I fear, that dust may live by the inspiration of a breath.”

Animated by this fear, Lucifer has summoned Sin to aid him in destroying this image, so that the Prince may be The Painter of his own Dishonor.

A palace appears, and near the entrance the painting on an easel. Lucifer and Sin retire; for the Artist, accompanied by the Virtues, comes to put a careful hand to his work.

Sin knows not where to conceal herself. Lucifer bids her hide in a cave in the bank of a stream.

Sin answers that she is afraid of the water, because she foresees that it is to be (in the water of baptism) the antidote to sin.

The flowers, grain, and vine all terrify her, before which, as symbols of some unknown sacrament, she reverently bows.

She at last conceals herself in a tree, which Lucifer calls from that moment the tree of death.

The Artist enters, Innocence bearing the palette, Knowledge the mall-stick, and Grace the brushes.

He declares his intention to show his power in the portrait his love wishes to paint, and asks the attendant Virtues to add their gifts to Human Nature.

He proceeds to work, while the Virtues call upon the sun, moon, etc., to praise the Lord.

The Artist finishes his work by breathing the breath of life into it. The picture falls, and in its place appears Human Nature, who expresses most vividly her wonder at her creation, and joins in the general anthem, “Bless the Lord.” Lucifer confesses that he and Sin are de trop, and they depart to seek some disguise in which to return and carry out their undertaking. While the chorus repeats the praises of the Lord, Human Nature naïvely asks, “How can I bless him, if I do not know him? Who will tell me who He is or who I am?”

The Artist advances and answers her question. Nature demands who he is. “I am who am, and have been, and am to be; and since thou hast been created for Love’s spouse, let thy love be grateful.”

“What command dost thou lay on me, my Love? I will never break it.”

“All that thou seest here is thine; that tree alone is mine.”

Nature asks who can ever divert her love, and is answered, “Thy Free-will.”

“What new spirit and force was created in my new being by that[220] word, which told me that there was something in me besides myself? Voice, tell me, who is Free-will.”

Free-will appears as a rustic, and answers, “I.”

Nature then proceeds to name the various objects about her, accompanying each name with some appropriate remark, and is led quite naturally to indulge in some boasting at her dominion over such a beautiful and varied kingdom.

This is the moment Lucifer and Sin select to appear in the disguise of rustics. The latter remains concealed in the tree; the former introduces himself to Human Nature as a gardener, and says very gallantly that he lost his last place on her account.

Nature hastens to turn a conversation becoming somewhat personal by asking what he is cultivating.

“That beautiful tree.”

“It is extremely lovely.”

“There is something more singular about it than being merely lovely.”


“Earth, who brought it forth, can tell thee.”

“I am earth, since I was formed of earth; so I will tell the Earth to keep me no longer in suspense.”

“Then speak to her, and thou shalt see.”

“Mother Earth, what is this hidden mystery?”

Sin. “Eat, and thou shalt be as God.”

Then follow the Fall and a powerful scene depicting Nature’s confusion and grief, as she is dragged off by Satan as his slave, while Sin claims Free-will as her prey.

The Artist enters and finds Knowledge, Innocence, and Grace in tears; the latter informs him of the Fall.

He thus reproaches his creation for her ingratitude: “What more could I do for thee, my best design, than form thee with my own hands? I gave thee my image, a soul that cost thee nothing, and yet thou desertest me for my greatest enemy.”

He then pronounces the curse upon Mankind and the Serpent, and declares he will blot out the world, the scene of their sin.

The clouds break and the sea bursts its limits; the Earth trembles and struggles with the waves, and in agony calls on the Lord for mercy.

In the midst of this confusion of the elements Human Nature is heard crying for help.

Lucifer. “Why callest thou for aid, if I, the only one whom it behooves to give it, delight in seeing thee annihilated?”

Sin also makes the same declaration. The World alone attempts to save its queen.

At last the Artist casts her a plank, saying, “Mortal, again see whom thou hast deserted, and for whom; since he whom thou hast offended saves thee, and he whom thou lovest abandons thee! One day thou wilt know of what this plank, fragment of a miraculous ark, is symbol.”

The World, Nature, and Free-will are saved; the latter enters, bound with Sin, who declares that Sin and Human Nature are so nearly the same that one cannot go anywhere without the other.

We have said anachronisms are frequent; the poet here even makes his characters jest about it.

Human Nature. “Since here there are no real persons, and Allegory can traverse centuries in hours, it seems to me that the salute the angels are singing to this celestial aurora declares in resounding words…”


Music. “In heaven and on earth peace to man and glory to God.”

Free-will. “The story has made a fine jump from the Creation to the Flood, and I think there is going to be another, if I understand that song aright—from the Deluge to the Nativity!”

The chant continues, to the infinite discomfort of Lucifer and Sin, who at last determine in their rage to disfigure Human Nature so that her Creator himself could not recognize her.

Lucifer holds her hands, while Sin brands upon her brow the sign of slavery.

Lucifer then commands the World to remain on guard, and let no one enter without careful scrutiny, for fear lest the Artist may attempt to avenge the wrong done him.

The Artist enters, accompanied by Divine Love.

They are soon discovered by the World, who exclaims: “Who goes there?”


“Your name?”

“A Man.”

“And the World, the faithful sentinel of Sin, does not know how thou hast entered here?”

“I did not come that Sin should know me.”

I do not know thee.”

“So John will say.”

“By what door didst thou enter?”

“By that of Divine Love, who accompanies me.”

“What is thy office?”

“I was once an Artist in a certain allegory, and must still be the same.”


“Yes, since I came to retouch a figure of mine which an error has blotted.”

“Since thou art a painter thou canst do me a favor.…”

“What is it?”

The World then informs him that there is a certain Spouse who has been carried away from her husband, and is now in the power of a Tyrant, who is endeavoring to force her to accompany him to another world, the seat of his rule.

The Artist weeps, because he remembers his own Spouse, whose fate is similar to that of this one.

The world begs the Artist to make a portrait of this fair disconsolate one, that he (the World) may wear it on his breast.

The Artist consents, and conceals himself in order to work unobserved.

The World goes in search of Human Nature, while the Artist looks about for some hiding-place. Love points to a cross near by, and says that as the first offence was committed in a tree, this one will witness his vengeance.

The Artist calls for his colors, and Love presents him with a box, in opening which his hands are stained a bloody red.

“Take this!”

“It is all carmine.”

“I have no other color.”

“Do not let it afflict thee, Love, that blood must retouch what Sin has blotted. The brushes!”

Love hands him three nails—“Here they are!”

“How sharp and cruel! What can be the canvas for such brushes!”

Love gives him a canvas in the shape of a heart—“a heart.”

“Of bronze?”


“How I grieve to see it so hardened, when I intended to form in it a second figure! Give me the mall-stick.”


Love presents him with a small lance. “Here it is.”

“The point is steel! Less cruel instruments Innocence, Grace, and Knowledge once gave me!”

“Be not astonished if these are more cruel than those; for then thou didst paint as God, and now as Man!”

While the Artist is working Nature, Free-will, and Sin enter, and later Lucifer, who, wearied of Nature’s continual lamentation, comes to drag her to his realm.

Artist. “Why should I delay my vengeance, seeing them together? Give me, Love, the weapons which I brought for this occasion!”

“Thy voice is the lightning, this weapon only its symbol; but I deliver it to thee with sorrow!”

“When my offended honor is so deeply concerned?”

“I am Love, and she is weeping; but I will direct my gaze to thy wrongs, and without fail shall hit the mark.”

“My hand cannot err, traitrous adulterers, who conspired against me; the honor of an insulted man obliges me to this! I am the Painter of his own Dishonor; die both at one stroke!” (Fires. Lucifer and Sin both fall.)

Love. “Thou hast hit Sin, and not Human Nature!”

The Artist answers that it cannot be said that his shot has failed, since by this tree Nature lives, and Lucifer and Sin are killed.

The Artist points to a fountain of seven streams, and the Virtues, and invites Human Nature to bathe in the blood from his side, and be restored to her original condition.

The auto closes with an expression of gratitude from Nature, and the usual allusion to the Sacrament in whose honor the present festival is celebrated.


“To him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
Truly, I see Thou art!—with nails hinged fast:
Yet faster barred and locked with bolts of love.
I, treasure seeking, through Thee would go past.
Than lock or hinges must I stronger prove?
“A knock will do’t.” A knock! Where durst I, Lord?
“Knock at my heart; there all my wealth is stored.”



While the so-called King of France was thus subjected to the fierce and brutal caprice of one man, there were thousands of loyal hearts beating in pity for him, and longing to liberate and crown him, even at the price of their blood. The faithful army of La Vendée was fighting for him, and with a courage and determination that caused some anxiety among the good patriots as to the possible issue of the campaign. The movement was held up to ridicule; the young prince was mockingly styled King of La Vendée. Nevertheless, the republicans were alarmed, and the hopes of the royalists were reviving. The Simons were discussing these matters one evening over the newspaper, when Simon, looking at the forlorn, broken-spirited little monarch, whose cause was thus creating strife and bloodshed far beyond his dungeon’s walls, exclaimed sneeringly: “I say, little wolf-cub, they talk of setting up the throne again, and putting thee in thy father’s place; what wouldst thou do to me if they made thee king?” The boy raised his dim blue eyes from the ground, where they were now habitually fixed, and replied: “I would forgive thee!” Mme. Simon, in relating this incident long after, said that even her husband seemed for a moment awed by the sublime simplicity of the answer.

They were both of them sick and tired of their office by this time; she of the cruel work it involved, he of the close confinement to which it condemned them. He tried to get released from his post, and after some fruitless efforts succeeded. On the 19th of January, 1794, they left the Temple. The patriot shoemaker died six months afterwards on the guillotine. He had no successor, properly speaking, in the Tower; in history he has neither successor nor predecessor; he stands alone, unrivalled and unapproachable, as a type of the tiger-man, a creature devoid of one humane, redeeming characteristic. Other men whose names have become bywords of cruelty or ferocious wickedness have at least had the excuse of some all-absorbing passion which, stifling reason and every better instinct of their nature, carried them on as by some overmastering impulse; but Simon could not plead even this guilty excuse. His was no mad delirium of passion, but a cold-blooded, deadly, undying, unrelenting cruelty in the execution of a murder that he had no motive in pursuing except as a means of adding a few coins more to his salary. He entered on his task of lingering assassination with deliberate barbarity; he was not stimulated by the sense of personal wrong, by a thirst for revenge, by any motive that could furnish the faintest thread of extenuation. He rose every morning and went to his victim as other men rise and go to their studies or their work. He devoted all his energies, all his instincts, to coolly inflicting torture[224] on a beautiful, engaging, and innocent little child. No, happily for the world, he has no prototype in its history; nor, for the honor of humanity, has he ever found an apologist. He is perhaps the only monster of ancient or modern times who has never found a sceptic or a casuist to lift a voice in his behalf. Nero and Trajan, Queen Elizabeth and Louis XI., have had their apologists; nay, even Judas has found amongst the fatalists of some German school an infatuated fellow-mortal to attempt a defence of the indefensible; but no man has yet been known to utter a word of excuse for the brutal jailer of Louis XVII.

And yet his departure, though it rid the helpless captive of an active, ever-present barbarity, can hardly be said, except negatively, to have bettered his position. The Convention decreed that it was essential to the nation’s life and prosperity that the little Capet should be securely guarded; and as if the insane precautions hitherto used were not sufficient to secure a feeble, attenuated child, he was removed to a stronger and more completely isolated dungeon, where henceforth his waning life might die out quicker and more unheard of. There was only one window to the room, and this was darkened by a thick wooden blind, reinforced by iron bars outside. The door was removed, and replaced by a half-door with iron bars above; these bars, when unlocked, opened like a trap, and through this food was passed to the prisoner. The only light at night was from a lamp fastened to the wall opposite the iron grating.

Mme. Royale thus describes the state of her brother in this new abode, to which he was transferred—whether by accident or design we know not—on the anniversary of his father’s death, January 21: “A sickly child of eight years, he was locked and bolted in a great room, with no other resource than a broken bell, which he never rang, so greatly did he dread the people whom its sound would have brought to him; he preferred wanting any and every thing to calling for his persecutors. His bed had not been stirred for six months, and he had not strength to make it himself; it was alive with bugs and vermin still more disgusting. His linen and his person were covered with them. For more than a year he had no change of shirt or stockings; every kind of filth was allowed to accumulate about him and in his room; and during all that period nothing had been removed. His window, which was locked as well as grated, was never opened, and the infectious smell of this horrid room was so dreadful that no one could bear it for a moment. He might indeed have washed himself—for he had a pitcher of water—and have kept himself somewhat more clean than he did; but overwhelmed by the ill-treatment he had received, he had not resolution to do so, and his illness began to deprive him of even the necessary strength. He never asked for anything, so great was his dread of Simon and his other keepers. He passed his days without any kind of occupation. They did not even allow him light in the evening. This situation affected his mind as well as his body, and it is not surprising that he should have fallen into a frightful atrophy. The length of time which he resisted this treatment proves how good his constitution must have originally been.”

While the boy-king was slowly[225] telling away his remnant of miserable life in the dark solitude of the Tower, thousands were being daily immolated on the public places, where the guillotine, insatiable and indefatigable, despatched its cartloads of victims. On the 10th of May Mme. Elizabeth, the most revered and saintly of all the long roll of martyrs inscribed on that bloody page, was sacrificed with many other noble and interesting women, amongst them the venerable sister of M. de Malesherbes, the courageous advocate of the king. She was seventy-six years of age. By a refinement of barbarity the municipals who conducted the “batch” obliged Mme. Elizabeth to wait to see her twenty-five companions executed before laying her own head on the block. Each of them, as they left the tumbrel, asked leave to embrace her; she kissed them with a smiling face, and said a few words of encouragement to each. “Her strength did not fail her to the last,” says Mme. Royale, “and she died with all the resignation of the purest piety.”

Mme. Royale was henceforth left in perfect solitude like her brother. She thus describes her own and the Dauphin’s life after the departure of her beloved aunt, of whose death she was happily kept in ignorance for a long time: “The guards were often drunk; but they generally left my brother and me quiet in our respective apartments until the 9th Thermidor. My brother still pined in solitude and filth. His keepers never went near him but to give him his meals; they had no compassion on this unhappy child. There was one of the guards whose gentle manners encouraged me to recommend my brother to his attention; this man ventured to complain of the severity with which the boy was treated, but he was dismissed next day. I, at least, could keep myself clean. I had soap and water, and carefully swept out my room every day. I had no light.… They would not give me any more books, but I had some religious works and some travels, which I read over and over.”

The fall of Robespierre, which rescued so many doomed heads from the guillotine, and opened the doors of their prison, had no such beneficent effect on the fate of the two royal children. It gave rise, however, to some alleviation of their sufferings. Immediately on the death of his cowardly and “incorruptible” colleague, Barras visited the Tower, and dismissed the whole set of commissaries of the Commune, who were forthwith despatched to have their heads cut off next day, while a single guardian was appointed in their place.

Laurent was the man’s name. He had good manners, some education, and, better than all, a human heart. The lynxes of the Temple eyed him askance; he was not of their kin, this creole with the heart of a man, and they mistrusted him. It was not until two o’clock in the morning that they conducted him to the presence of his charge. He tells us that when he entered the ante-room of the dungeon he recoiled before the horrible stench that came from the inner room through the grated door-way. Good heavens! was this the outcome of the reign of brotherhood which talked so mightily of universal love and liberty? It was in truth the most forcible illustration of the gospel of Sans-culottism that the world had yet beheld. “Capet! Capet!” cried the municipals in a loud voice. But no answer came. More calling, with threats and oaths, at last[226] brought out a feeble, wailing sound like the cry of some dying animal. But nothing more could threats, or even an attempt at coaxing, elicit. Capet would not move; would not come forth and show himself to the new tutor. Laurent took a candle, and held it inside the bars of the noxious cage; he beheld, crouching on a bed in the furthest corner of the dungeon, the body which was confided to his guardianship. Sickened with the sight, he turned away. There was no appliance at hand for forcing open the door or the grating. Laurent at once sent in an account of what he had seen, and demanded that this remnant of child-life, that he was appointed to watch over, should be examined by proper authority. The next day, July 30, some members of the Sûreté Générale came to the Tower. M. de Beauchesne tells us what they saw: “They called to him through the grating; no answer. They then ordered the door to be opened. It seems there were no means of doing it. A workman was called, who forced away the bars of the trap so as to get in his head, and, having thus got sight of the child, asked him why he did not answer. Still no reply. In a few minutes the whole door was broken down, and the visitors entered. Then appeared a spectacle more horrible than can be conceived—a spectacle which never again can be seen in the annals of a nation calling itself civilized, and which even the murderers of Louis XVI. could not witness without mingled pity and fright. In a dark room, exhaling a smell of death and corruption, on a crazy, dirty bed, a child of nine years old was lying prostrate, motionless, and bent up, his face livid and furrowed by want and suffering, and his limbs half covered with a filthy cloth and trowsers in rags. His features, once so delicate, and his countenance, once so lively, denoted now the gloomiest apathy—almost insensibility; and his blue eyes, looking larger from the meagreness of the rest of his face, had lost all spirit, and taken, in their dull immovability, a tinge of gray and green. His head and neck were eaten up (rongés) with purulent sores; his legs, arms, and neck, thin and angular, were unnaturally lengthened at the expense of his chest and body. His hands and feet were not human. A thick paste of dirt stuck like pitch over his temples, and his once beautiful curls were full of vermin, which also covered his whole body, and which, as well as bugs, swarmed in every fold of the rotten bedding, over which black spiders were running.… At the noise of forcing the door the child gave a nervous shudder, but barely moved, not noticing the strangers. A hundred questions were addressed him; he answered none of them. He cast a vague, wandering, unmeaning look at his visitors, and at this moment one would have taken him for an idiot. The food they had given him was still untouched; one of the commissioners asked him why he had not eaten it. Still no answer. At last the oldest of the visitors, whose gray hairs and paternal tone seemed to make an impression on him, repeated the question, and he answered in a calm but resolute tone: ‘Because I want to die!’ These were the only words which this cruel and memorable inquisition extracted from him.”

Barras, the stuttering, pleasure-loving noble of Provence, “a terror to all phantasms, being himself of the genus Reality”—Barras, who had stood, like a bewildered, shipwrecked[227] man while the storm-wind was whirling blood-waves round about him, now enters and beholds the royal victim whom it has taken nearly eighteen months of Simon the Cordwainer’s treatment “to get rid of”—perishing, but still alive in his den of squalor, darkness, and fright. His knees were so swollen that his ragged trowsers had become painfully tight. Barras ordered them to be cut open, and found the joints “prodigiously swollen and livid.” One of the municipals, who had formerly been a surgeon, was permitted to dress the sores on the head and neck; after much hesitation a woman was employed to wash and comb the child, and at Laurent’s earnest remonstrance a little air and light were admitted into the damp room; the vermin were expelled as far as could be, an iron bed and clean bedding replaced the former horrors in which the boy had lain so many months, and the grated door was done away with. These were small mercies, after all, and to which the vilest criminal had a right. All the other rigors of his prison were maintained. He was still left to partial darkness and complete solitude. Laurent, after a while, wearied the municipals into giving him leave to take him occasionally for an airing on the leads. The indulgence was perhaps welcome, but the child showed no signs of pleasure in it; he never spoke or took the smallest notice of anything he saw. Once only, when on his way to the leads, he passed by the wicket which conducted to the rooms that his mother had occupied; he recognized the spot at once, gazed wistfully at the door, and, clinging to Laurent’s arm, made a sign for them to go that way. The municipal who was on guard at the moment saw what the poor little fellow meant, and told him he had mistaken the door; it was, he said, at the other side. But the child had guessed aright. The kind-hearted Laurent began soon to feel his own confinement, almost as solitary as the prince’s, more than he could bear. He petitioned to have some one to assist him in his duties, and, owing to some secret influence of the royalists, a man named Gomin, who was at heart devoted to their cause, was appointed. The only benefit which the young prisoner derived from the change of his jailers was that civility and cleanliness had replaced insolence and dirt. For the rest, he was still locked up alone, never seeing any one except at meal times, when the two guardians and a municipal were present, the former being often powerless to control the insulting remarks and gratuitous cruelty of the latter. So the wretched days dragged on, silent, monotonous, miserable. Meanwhile, Paris was breathing freely after the long night of Terror. The Fraternity of the Guillotine was well-nigh over, and the Jeunesse dorée had flung away the red caps and the Carmagnole, and was disporting itself with a light heart in gaudy attire of the antique cut. Fair citoyennes discarded the unbecoming and therefore, even to the most patriotic among them, odious costume of the republic, and decked themselves out in flowing Greek draperies, binding their hair with gold and silver fillets like Clytemnestra and Antigone, and replacing the sabots of the people with picturesque sandals, clothing their naked feet only in ribbons, despite the biting cold of this memorable winter. The death-beacons one by one had been quenched, not by nimble hands, like the lights of the ballroom or the gay flame of the street,[228] but in blood dashed freely over their lurid glare. Terrified men were emerging from their holes and hiding-places; nobles were returning from exile; there was a sudden flaming up of merriment, an effervescence of luxury, an intoxicating thirst for pleasure, a hunger to eat of the good things of life, of which the reign of sans-culottism had starved them. There were gay gatherings in all ranks; in the highest the bals des victimes, where the guests wore a badge of crape on their arm, as a sign that they had lost a near relative on the guillotine—none others being admitted. So, while the waltzers spun round to the clang of brass music and in the blaze of wax-lights, and all the world was embracing and exchanging congratulations, like men escaped from impending death, the tragedy in the Tower drew to its end unheard and unheeded. The King of La Vendée ate his dinner of “bouilli and dry vegetables, generally beans”; the same at eight o’clock for supper, when he was locked up for the night, and left unmolested till nine next morning. One day there came a rough, blustering man to the prison, who flung open the doors with much noise, and talked like thunder. His name was Delboy. He chanced to arrive at the dinner-time. “Why this wretched food?” cried the noisy visitor. “If they were still at the Tuileries, I would help to starve them out; but here they are our prisoners, and it is unworthy of the nation to starve them. Why these blinds? Under the reign of equality the sun should shine for all. Why is he separated from his sister? Under the reign of fraternity why should they not see each other?” Then addressing the child in a gentler tone, he said, “Should you not like, my boy, to play with your sister? If you forget your origin, I don’t see why the nation should remember it.” He reminded the guardians that it was not the little Capet’s fault that he was his father’s son—it was his misfortune; he was now only “an unfortunate child,” and the “nation should be his mother.” The only advantage the unfortunate child derived from this strange visit was that the lamp of his dungeon was lighted henceforth at dark. Gomin asked this favor on the spot, and it was granted. The commissioners were continually changed—a circumstance which proved a frequent cause of suffering and annoyance to the captive, who was the victim of their respective tempers, often fierce and cruel as those of his jailers of the earlier days. These accumulated miseries were finally wearing out his little remnant of strength. The malady which for some time past gave serious alarm to his two kind-hearted friends, Laurent and Gomin, increased with sudden rapidity, and in the month of February, 1795, assumed a threatening character. He could hardly move from extreme weakness, and had lost all desire to do so. When he went for his airing, Laurent or Gomin had to carry him in their arms. He let them do so reluctantly; but he was now too apathetic to resist anything. The surgeon of the prison was called in, and certified that “the little Capet had tumors on all his joints, especially his knees; that it was impossible to extract a word from him; that he never would rise from his chair or his bed, and refused to take any kind of exercise.” This report brought a deputation of members of the Sûreté Générale, who were so horrified at the state of things they found that they drew up the following appeal to their[229] colleagues: “For the honor of the nation, who knew nothing of these horrors; for that of the Convention, which was, in truth, also ignorant of them; and even for that of the guilty municipality of Paris itself, who knew all and was the cause of all these cruelties, we should make no public report, but only state the result in a secret meeting of the committee.” This confession is revolting enough; but it might find some shadow of excuse, if, after hiding the cruelties for the sake of shielding the wretches who had sanctioned them, these deputies had taken steps to repair the wrong-doing, and to alleviate the position of the victim; but, as far as the evidence goes, nothing of the sort was done.

The tomb-like solitude to which the young prince had so long been subjected, added to the chronic terror in which he had lived from the time of his coming under Simon’s tutelage, had induced him to maintain an obstinate, unbroken silence. He could not be persuaded to answer a question, to utter a word. Yet it was evident enough that this did not proceed from stupidity or insensibility, but that his faculties still retained much of their native vivacity and sensitiveness. Gomin was so timid by nature that, in spite of his affection for his little charge, he seldom ventured on any outward expression of sympathy, afraid he should be detected and made, like so many others, to pay the penalty of it. One day, however, that he chanced to be left quite alone with him, he felt safe to let his heart speak, and showed great tenderness to the child; the boy fixed a long, wistful look on his face, and then rose and advanced timidly to the door, his eyes still fastened on Gomin with an expression of entreaty too significant to be misunderstood. “No, no,” said Gomin, shaking his head reluctantly; “you know that cannot be.” “Oh! I must see her,” cried the poor child. “Oh! pray, pray let me see her just once before I die!” Gomin made no answer but by his look of pity and regret, and, going up to the child, led him gently from the door. The young prince threw himself on the bed with a gesture of despair, and remained there, senseless and motionless, so long that his guardian at one moment, as he confessed afterwards, feared he was dead. Poor child! The longing to see his mother had of late taken the shape of a hope, and he had been busy in his mind as to how it could possibly be realized; this had been an opportunity, he thought, and the disappointment overwhelmed him. Gomin said that, for his part, the sight of the boy’s grief nearly broke his heart. The incident, he believed, hastened the crisis, that was now steadily advancing. A few days after this occurrence a new commissary came to inspect the prisoner, and, after eyeing him curiously, as if he had been a strange variety of animal, he said out loud to Laurent and Gomin, who were standing by, “That child has not six weeks to live!” Fearing the shock these words might cause the subject of them, the guardians ventured to say something to modify their meaning; the commissary turned on them, and with a savage oath repeated, “I tell you, citizens, in six weeks he will be an idiot, if he is not dead!” When he left the room, the young prince gazed after him with a mournful smile. The sentence, brutally delivered as it was, had no fears for him; presently a few teardrops stole down his cheeks, and[230] he murmured, as if speaking to himself, “And yet I never did any harm to anybody.”

A new affliction now awaited him. The kind and faithful Laurent left him. His post in the Tower, repulsive from the first, had become utterly insupportable to him of late, and on the death of his mother he applied to be liberated from it. When he came to bid farewell to the unhappy child, whose lot he had endeavored to soften as far as his power admitted, the prince squeezed his hand affectionately, looked his regret at him, but uttered no word.

Laurent was replaced by a man named Lasne, formerly a soldier in the old Gardes Françaises, now a house-painter. For the first few weeks after his arrival the young prince was mute to him, as he had been to his predecessor, until the latter’s persevering kindness had disarmed timidity and mistrust. A trifle at last broke the ice. Lasne was in the habit of talking to his little charge, making kindly remarks, or telling stories that he thought might amuse him, never waiting for any sign of response. One day he happened to tell him of something that occurred when he, Lasne, had been in the old guard, and, being on guard at the Tuileries, had seen the Dauphin reviewing a regiment of children which had been formed for his amusement, and of which he was colonel. The boy’s countenance beamed with a sudden ray of surprise and pleasure, and he exclaimed in a whisper, as if afraid of being overheard, “And didst thou see me with my sword?” Lasne answered that he had, and from this forth they were fast friends. Bolder, though scarcely more sympathizing, than either Laurent or Gomin, Lasne determined to apply at headquarters for some decisive change in the prince’s treatment. He induced his colleague to join him in signing a report to the effect that “the little Capet was indisposed.” This was inscribed on the Temple register; but no notice was taken, and in a few days they both again protested in stronger terms: “The little Capet is seriously indisposed.” No notice being taken of this, the brave men wrote a third time: “The life of little Capet is in danger!” This finally brought a response. M. Desault, one of the first physicians in Paris, was sent to visit the young prince. He had come too late, however; the malady which had carried off the elder Dauphin had taken too deep a hold on the child’s life to be now arrested or overcome. Nothing could induce the prince to answer a question or speak a word to the doctor or in his presence; and it was only after great difficulty, and at the earnest entreaties of his two guardians, that he consented to swallow the medicines prescribed. By degrees, however, as it always happened, the persistent kindness and sympathizing looks and words of M. Desault conquered his suspicions or timidity; and though he never plucked up courage to speak to him, the municipals being always present, he would take hold of the doctor’s coat, and thus express a desire for him to prolong his visit. This lasted three weeks.

Among the commissaries there was a M. Bellenger, an artist, who was deeply touched by the pitiable condition of the child, and one day, thinking to give him a moment’s diversion, he brought a portfolio of drawings, and showed them to him while waiting in his room for M. Desault to come. The novel[231] amusement seemed to interest him very little. He looked on listlessly, as M. Bellenger turned over the sketches for his inspection; then, as the doctor did not appear, the artist said, “Sir, there is another sketch that I should have much pleasure in carrying away with me, if it were not disagreeable to you.” The deferential manner, coupled with the title “monsieur,” so long a foreign sound to the captive’s ear, startled and moved him. “What sketch?” he said, for the first time breaking silence. “Your features, if it were not disagreeable to you, it would give me great pleasure.” “Would it?” said the child and he smilingly acquiesced. M. Bellenger completed his sketch, and still no doctor appeared; he took leave of the prince, saying he would come at the same hour the following day. He did so; but M. Desault was again unpunctual. The time for his visit elapsed, and he neither came nor sent a message. The commissary suggested that some one should be despatched to inquire the reason of his absence; but even so simple a step as this Lasne and Gomin dared not venture on without direct orders. They were discussing what had best be done, when a new commissary arrived and satisfied all inquiries: “There is no need to send after M. Desault; he died yesterday.” This sudden death was the signal for the wildest conjectures. It was rumored that the physician had been bribed to poison the prince, and then in remorse had poisoned himself. In times like those such a report was eagerly accepted, fed as it was by the mystery which surrounded the inmate of the Tower, and the vague stories afloat concerning the character of the ill-omened dungeon and the people who now ruled there.

But there was no foundation for the story in actual facts. M. Desault was a man of unimpeachable integrity, whose entire life gave the lie to so odious a suspicion. “The only poison which shortened my brother’s life,” says Mme. Royale, “was filth, made more fatal by cruelty.” The death of the kind and clever physician, from whatever cause it arose, was a serious loss to the forsaken sufferer in the Temple. He remained for several days without medical care of any sort, until, on the 5th of June, M. Pelletan, surgeon of one of the large hospitals, was named to attend him. It would seem as if the race of tigers was dying out, except in the ranks of the patriot municipals; for all who by accident approached the poor child in these last days were filled at once with melting pity, and found courage to give utterance to this feeling aloud. M. Pelletan remonstrated with the utmost indignation on the darkness and closeness of the room where his patient was lodged, and on the amount of bolting and barring that went on every time the door was opened or shut, the violent crash being injuriously agitating to the child. The guardians were willing enough to do away with the whole thing, but the municipals observed that there was no authority for removing the bars or otherwise altering the arrangements complained of. “If you can’t open the window and remove these irons, you cannot at least object to remove him to another room,” said the doctor, speaking in a loud and vehement tone, as he surveyed the horrible precincts. The prince started, and, beckoning to this bold, unknown friend, forgot his self-imposed dumbness, and whispered, drawing M. Pelletan down to him: “Hush![232] If you speak so loud, they will hear you; and I don’t want them to know I am so ill; they would be frightened.” He was alluding to the queen and Mme. Elizabeth, whom he believed still living in the story above. Every one present was moved by the tender thoughtfulness the words betrayed, and the commissary, carried away by sympathy for the unconscious little orphan, exclaimed: “I take it upon myself to authorize the removal, in compliance with Citizen Pelletan’s instruction.” Gomin, nothing loath, immediately lifted the patient in his arms, and carried him off to a bright room in the little tower, which had been formerly the drawing-room of the keeper of the archives, and was now hurriedly prepared for the accommodation of this new inmate. His eyes had been so long accustomed to the gloom that they were painfully dazzled by the sudden change into the full sunshine. He hid his face on Gomin’s shoulder for a while, but by degrees he became able to bear the light, and drew long breaths, opening out his little hands as if to embrace the blessed sunshine, and then turned a look of ineffable happiness and thanks on Gomin, who still held him in his arms at the open window. When eight o’clock came, he was once more locked up alone.

Next day M. Pelletan came early to see him; he found him lying on his bed, and basking placidly in the sunny freshness of the June air that was streaming in upon him. “Do you like your new room?” inquired the doctor. The child drew a long breath. “Oh! yes,” he said, with a smile that went to every heart. But even at this happy crisis the sting of the old serpent woke up, as if to remind the victim that it was not dead. At dinner-time a new commissary, a brute of the name of Hébert, and full worthy of that abominable name, burst into the room, and began to talk in the coarse, boisterous tones once so familiar to the captive. “How now! Who gave permission for this? Since when have carabins governed the republic? This must be altered! You must have the orders of the Commune for moving the wolf-cub.” The child dropped a cherry that he was putting to his lips, fell back on his pillow, and neither spoke nor moved till evening, when he was locked up for the night, and left to brood alone over the terrible prospect which Hébert’s threats had conjured up.

M. Pelletan found him so much worse next day that he wrote to the Sûreté Générale for another medical opinion; and M. Dumangier was ordered to attend. Before they arrived the prince had a fainting fit, which lasted so long that it terrified his guardians. He had, however, quite recovered from it when the physicians came. They held a consultation; but it was a mere form. Death was written on every lineament of the wasted body. All that science could do was to alleviate the last days of the fast-flitting life. The two medical men expressed surprise and anger at the solitude to which the dying child was still subjected at night, and insisted on a nurse being immediately provided. It was not worth the “nation’s” while to refuse anything now. The order for procuring the nurse was at once given; but that night the old rule prevailed, and the patient was again locked up alone. He felt it acutely; the merciful change that had been effected in so many ways had revived his hopes—the one hope to which[233] his young heart had been clinging in silence, fondly and perseveringly.

When Gomin said good-night to him, he murmured, while the big tears ran down his face, “Still alone, and my mother in the other tower!” He was not to be kept apart from her much longer. When Lasne came next morning, he thought him rather better. The doctors, however, were of a different opinion; they found him sinking rapidly, and despatched a bulletin to the Commune to this effect.

At 11 in the forenoon Gomin came to relieve Lasne by the bedside of the captive. They remained a long time silent; there was something solemn in the stillness which Gomin did not like to break, and the child never was the first to speak. At last Gomin, bending tenderly towards him, expressed his sorrow at seeing him so weak and exhausted. “Oh! be comforted,” replied the prince in a whisper; “I shall not suffer long now.” Gomin could not control his emotion, but dropt on his knees by the bedside, and wept silently; the child took his hand and pressed it to his lips, while Gomin prayed. This was the only ministry the son of S. Louis was to have on his deathbed—the tears of a turnkey, the prayers of a poor, ignorant son of toil; but angels were there to supplement the unconsecrated priesthood of charity, weeping in gentle pity for the sufferings that were soon to cease. Bright spirits were hovering round the prisoner’s couch, tuning their harps for his ears alone.

Gomin raising his head from its bowed attitude, beheld the prince so still and motionless that he was alarmed lest another fainting fit had come on. “Are you in pain?” he asked timidly. “Oh! yes, still in pain, but less; the music is so beautiful!” Gomin thought he must be dreaming. There was no music anywhere; not a sound was audible in the room. “Where do you hear the music?” he asked. “Up there,” with a glance at the ceiling. “Since when?” “Since you went on your knees. Don’t you hear it? Listen!” And he lifted his hand, and his large eyes opened wide, as if he were in an ecstasy. Gomin remained silent, in a kind of awe. Suddenly the child started up with a convulsive cry of joy, and exclaimed, “I hear my mother’s voice amongst them!” He was looking towards the window, his lips parted, his whole face alight with a wild joy and curiosity. Gomin called to him, twice, three times, asking him to say what he saw. He did not hear him; he made no answer, but fell back slowly on his pillow, and remained motionless. He did not speak again until Lasne came to relieve Gomin. Then, after a long interval of silence, he made a sign as if he wanted something. Lasne asked him what it was.

“Do you think my sister could hear the music?” he said. “How she would like it!” He turned his head with a start towards the window again, his eyes opening with the same expression of joyous surprise, and uttered a half-inarticulate exclamation; then looking at Lasne, he whispered: “Listen! I have something to tell you!” Lasne took his hand, and bent down to hear. But no words came—would never more come from the child’s still parted lips. He was dead.

So ended the tragedy of the Temple. There is nothing more to tell. Why should we follow the ghastly story of the stolen heart, deposited in the “vase with seventeen[234] stars,” then surreptitiously abstracted by the physician’s pupil, until all faith in the authenticity of the alleged relic evaporates?

Neither is it profitable to discuss the controversy which arose over the resting-place of the martyred child; for even in his grave he was pursued by malignant disputations. Enough for us to hear and to believe that the son of the kings of France was accompanied to the grave by a few humane municipals and by his faithful friend Lasne; and that his dust still reposes in an obscure spot of the Cemetery of S. Margaret, in the Faubourg St. Antoine, undisturbed and undistinguished under its grassy mound beneath the shadow of the church close by.


It is customary with most of the peripatetic writers to assume that the Aristotelic hypothesis of substantial generations, as understood by S. Thomas and by his school, cannot be rejected without upsetting the whole scholastic philosophy. Nothing is more false. Suarez, than whom no modern writer has labored more successfully in defending and developing the scholastic philosophy, rejects the fundamental principle of the Aristotelic theory, and maintains that no generation of new compound substances is possible, unless the matter which is destined to receive a new form possess an entity of its own, and be intrinsically constituted of act and potency, contrary to the universal opinion of the peripatetic school. “The first matter,” says he, “has of itself, and not through its form, its actual entity of essence, though it has it not without an intrinsic leaning towards the form.”[58] And again: “The first matter has also of itself and by itself its actual entity of existence distinct from the existence of the form, though it has it not independently of the form.”[59] That these two propositions clash with the Aristotelic and Thomistic doctrine we need not prove, as we have already shown that neither S. Thomas nor Aristotle admitted in their first matter anything but the mere potency of being; and although Aristotle sometimes calls the first matter “a substance” and “a subject,” he expressly warns us that such a substance is in potency, and such a subject is destitute of all intrinsic act.[60] Hence it is plain that the first matter of Suarez is not the first matter of the peripatetics; whence it follows that the form which is received in such a matter is not a strictly substantial form, since it cannot give the first being to a matter having a first initial being of its own. Hence the Suarezian theory, though full of peripatetic[235] spirit, and formulated in the common language of the peripatetic school, is radically opposed to the rigid peripatetic doctrine, and destroys its foundation. “If the first matter,” says S. Thomas, “had any form of its own, it would be something in act; and consequently such a matter would not, at the supervening of any other form, acquire its first being, but it would only become such or such a being; and thus there would be no true substantial generation, but mere alteration. Hence all those who assumed that the first subject of generation is some kind of body, as air or water, taught that generation is nothing but alteration.”[61] This remark of the holy doctor may be well applied to the Suarezian theory; for in such a theory the first matter is “something in act” and has “a form of its own.” And, therefore, whoever adopts the Suarezian theory must give up all idea of truly substantial generations. Yet no one who has a grain of judgment will pretend that Suarez, by framing his new theory, upset the scholastic philosophy.

The truth is that, as there are two definitions of the substantial form (quæ dat primum esse materiæ: quæ dat primum esse rei), so also there are two manners of understanding the so-called “substantial” generation; and, whilst Aristotle and his followers assumed without any good proof[62] that the specific form of a generated compound gives the first being to the matter of the compound, and is, therefore, a strictly substantial form, the modern school demonstrates from the principles of the scholastic philosophy, no less than from positive science, that the specific form of a physical compound does not give the first being to the matter of the compound, but only to the compound nature itself; and, therefore, is to be called an essential rather than a truly and strictly substantial form.[63]

The primitive material substance, which is constituted of matter and substantial form, cannot but be physically simple—that is, free from all composition of parts—though it is metaphysically compounded, or (as we would prefer to say) constituted of act and potency. This being the case, it evidently follows that all substance physically compounded must involve in its essential constitution something else besides the matter and the substantial form; for it must contain in itself both that which gives the first being to the physical components, and that which gives the first being to the resulting physical compound.

Hence in all substance which is physically compounded of material parts there are always two kinds of formal constituents. The first kind belongs to the components, the second to the compound. The first consists of the substantial[236] forms by which the components are constituted in their substantial being; which forms must actually remain in the compound; for the substantial being of the components is the material cause of the physical compound, and is the sole reason why the physical compound receives the name of substance. The second is the principle by which the first components, or elements, are formed into a compound specific nature. In other terms, the specific compound is “a substance,” because it is made up of substances, or primitive elements, constituted of matter and substantial form; whilst the same specific compound is “a compound” and is “of such a specific nature,” owing to the composition, and to such a composition, of the primitive elements. This composition is the essential form of the material compound.

We may here remark that the substantial forms of the component elements, taken together, constitute what may be called the remote formal principle of the compound essence (principium formale quod, seu remotum), whilst the specific composition constitutes the proximate formal principle of the same compound essence (principium formale quo, seu proximum). For, as each primitive element is immediately constituted by its substantial form, so is the physically compound essence immediately constituted by its specific composition.

It is hardly necessary to add that the matter which is the subject of the specific composition is not the first matter of Aristotle, but a number of primitive substances, and that these substances are endowed with real activity no less than with real passivity, and therefore contain in themselves such powers as are calculated to bind together the parts of the compound system, in this or in that manner, according to the geometric disposition and the respective distances of the same. For, as the power of matter is limited to local action, it is the local disposition and co-ordination of the primitive elements that determines the mode of exertion of the elementary powers, inasmuch as it determines the special conditions under which the Newtonian law has to be carried into execution. On such a determination the specific composition and the specific properties of the compound nature proximately depend.

The composition of matter with matter is confessedly an accidental entity, and arises from accidental action. It would, however, be a manifest error to pretend that such a composition is an accidental form of the compound nature. For nothing is accidental to a subject but what supervenes to it; whereas the composition does not supervene to the compound, but enters into its very constitution. On the other hand, the composition does not deserve the name of substantial form in the strict sense of the word, since it does not give the first being to the matter it compounds. We might, indeed, call it a substantial form in a wider sense; for in the same manner as a compound of many substances is called “a substance,” so can the form of the substantial compound be called “substantial.” But to avoid the danger of equivocation, we shall not use this epithet; and we prefer to say that the specific composition is the natural or the essential form of the material compound, so far at least as there is question of compounds purely material. This essential or natural form may be properly defined as the act by[237] which a number of physical parts or terms are formed into one compound essence, or, more concisely, the act which gives the first being to the specific compound; which latter definition is admitted by the schoolmen, though, as interpreted by them, it leads to no satisfactory results, as we shall see presently.

The first physical compound which possesses a permanent specific constitution is called “a molecule.” Those physicists who assume matter to be intrinsically extended and continuous, by the name of molecule understand a little mass filling the space occupied by its volume, hard, indivisible, and unchangeable, to which they also give the name of “atom.” But this opinion, which is a relic of the ancient physical theories, is fast losing ground among the men of science, owing to the fact that molecules are subject to internal movements, and therefore composed of discrete parts. Such discrete parts must be simple and unextended elements, as we have demonstrated. Hence a molecule is nothing but a number of simple elements (some attractive and some repulsive) permanently connected by mutual action in one dynamical system. We say permanently connected; because no system of elements which lacks stability can constitute permanent substances, such as we meet everywhere in nature. Yet the stability of the molecular system is not an absolute, but only a relative, unchangeableness; for, although the bond which unites the parts of the molecular system must (at least in the case of primitive molecules) remain always the same in kind, it can (even in the case of primitive molecules) become different in degree within the limits of its own kind. And thus any molecule can be altered by heat, by cold, by pressure, etc., without its specific constitution being impaired. A molecule of hydrogen is specifically the same at two different temperatures, because the change of temperature merely modifies the bond of the constituent elements, without destroying it or making it specifically different; and the same is true of all other natural substances.

The material constituent of a molecular system is, as we have said, a number of primitive elements. These elements may be more or less numerous, and possess greater or less power, either attractive or repulsive; on condition, however, that attraction shall prevail in the system; for without the prevalence of attraction no permanent composition is possible.

The formal constituent of a molecular system, or that which causes the said primitive elements to be a molecule, is the determination by which the elements are bound with one another in a definite manner, and subjected to a definite law of motion with respect to one another. Such a determination is in each of the component elements the resultant of the actions of all the others.

The matter of the molecular system is disposed to receive such a determination, or natural form, by the relative disposition of the elements involved in the system. Such a disposition is local; for the resultant of the actions by which the elements are bound with one another depends on their relative distances as a condition.

The efficient cause of the molecular system are the elements themselves; for it is by the exertion of their respective powers that they unite in one permanent system when placed under suitable mechanical[238] conditions. The original conditions under which the molecules of the primitive compound substances were formed must be traced to the sole will of the Creator, who from the beginning disposed all things in accordance with the ends to be obtained through them in the course of all centuries.

Molecules may differ from one another, both as to their matter and as to their form. They differ in matter when they consist of a different number of primitive elements, or of elements possessing different degrees of active power or of a different proportion of attractive and repulsive elements. They differ as to their form, when their constitution subjects them to different mechanical laws; for as the law of movement and of mutual action which prevails within a molecule is a formal result of its molecular constitution, we can always ascertain the difference of the constitution by the difference of the law.

It is well known that the law according to which a system of material points acts and moves can be expressed or represented by a certain number of mathematical formulas. The equations by which the mutual dynamical relations of the elements in a molecular system should be represented are of three classes. Some should represent the mutual actions to which such elements are subjected at any given moment of time; and these equations would contain differentials of the second order. Other equations should represent the velocities with which such elements move at any instant of time; and these equations would contain differentials of the first order. Other equations, in fine, should determine the place occupied by each of such elements at any given moment, and consequently the figure of the molecular system; and these last equations would be free from differential terms. The equations exhibiting the mutual actions must be obtained from the consideration of positive data, like all other equations expressing the conditions of a given problem. The equations exhibiting the velocities of the vibrating elements can be obtained by the integration of the preceding ones. The equations determining the relative position of the elements at any moment of time will arise from the integration of those which express the velocities of the vibrating points. Had we sufficient data concerning the internal actions of a molecule, and sufficient mathematical skill to carry out all the operations required, we would be able to determine with mathematical accuracy the whole constitution of such a molecule, and all the properties flowing from such a constitution. This, unfortunately, we cannot do as yet with regard to the molecule of any natural substance in particular; and, therefore, we must content ourselves with the general principle that those molecular systems are of the same kind whose constitution can be exhibited by mathematical formulas of the same form, and those molecules are of a different kind whose constitution is represented by mathematical formulas of a different form. This principle is self-evident; for the formulas by which the mechanical relations of the elements are determined cannot be of the same form, unless the conditions which they express are of the same nature; whereas it is no less evident that two molecular systems cannot be of the same kind when their mechanical constitution implies conditions of a different nature.


Two molecules of the same kind may differ accidentally—that is, as to their mode of being—without any essential change in their specific constitution. Thus, two molecules of hydrogen may be under different pressure, or at a different temperature, without any specific change. In this case, the mechanical relations between the elements of the molecule undergo an accidental change, and the equations by which such relations are expressed are also accidentally modified, inasmuch as some of the quantities involved in them acquire a different value; but the form of the equations, which is the exponent of the specific nature of the substance, remains unchanged.

From these remarks four conclusions can be drawn. The first is that molecules consisting of a different number of constituent elements always differ in kind. For it is impossible for such molecules to be represented by equations of the same form.

The second is that a molecule is one owing to the oneness of the common tie between its constituent elements, and to their common and stable dependence on one mechanical law. Hence a molecule is not one substance, but one compound nature involving a number of substances conspiring to form a permanent principle of actions and passions of a certain kind. In other terms, a molecule is not unum substantiale, but unum essentiale or unum naturale.

The third is that the specific form of a molecule admits of different degrees within the limits of its species. This conclusion was quite unknown to the followers of Aristotle; and S. Thomas reprehends Averroës for having said that the forms of the elements (fire, water, air, and earth) could pass through different degrees of perfection, whilst Aristotle teaches that they are in indivisibili, and that every change in the form changes the specific essence.[64] Yet it is evident that as there can be circles, ellipses, and other curves having a different degree of curvature, while preserving the same specific form, so also can molecules admit of a different degree of closeness in their constitution without trespassing on the limits of their species. So long as the changes made in a molecule do not interfere with the conditions on which the form of its equations depends, so long the specific constitution of the molecule remains unimpaired. Mathematical formulas are only artificial abridgments of metaphysical expressions; and their accidental changes express but the accidental changes of the thing which they represent. On the other hand, it is well known that the equations by which the specific constitution of a compound system is determined can preserve the same form, while some of the quantities they contain receive an increase or a decrease connected with a change of merely accidental conditions.

The fourth conclusion is that a number of primitive molecules of different kinds may combine together in such a manner as to impair more or less their own individuality by fixing themselves in a new molecular system of greater complexity. Likewise, a molecular system of greater complexity is susceptible of resolution into less complex systems. These combinations and resolutions are the proper object of chemistry, which is the science of the laws, principles, and conditions of[240] the specific changes of natural substances, and to which metaphysicians must humbly refer when treating of substantial generation, if they wish to reason on the solid ground of facts.

We have thus briefly stated what we hold to be the true scientific and philosophic view of the constitution of natural substances; and as we have carefully avoided all gratuitous assumptions, we feel confident that our readers need no further arguments to be convinced of its value as compared with the hypothetical views of the old physicists. As, however, the conclusions of the peripatetic school concerning the constitution and generation of natural substances have still some ardent supporters, who think that the strictly substantial generations and corruptions are demonstrated by unanswerable arguments, we have yet to show that such pretended arguments consist of mere assumption and equivocation.

The first argument in favor of the old theory may be presented under the following form: “Every natural substance is unum per se—that is, substantially one. Therefore no natural substance implies more than one substantial form.” The antecedent is assumed as evident, and the consequent is proved by the principle that “from two beings in act it is impossible to obtain a being substantially one.” Hence it is concluded that all natural substances, as water, flesh, iron, etc., have a substantial form which gives to the first matter the being of water, of flesh, of iron, etc.

This argument, instead of proving the truth of the theory, proves its weakness; for it consists of a petitio principii. What right has the peripatetic school to assume that every natural substance is unum per se substantially? A substance physically simple is, of course, unum per se substantially; but water, flesh, iron, and the other natural substances are not physically simple, since they imply quantity of mass and quantity of volume, which presuppose a number of material terms actually distinct, and therefore possessing their distinct substantial forms. No compound substance can be unum per se as a substance; it can be unum per se only as a compound essence; and for this reason every natural substance contains as many substantial forms as it contains primitive elements, whereas it has only one essential form, which gives the first being to its compound nature. This one essential form is, as we have explained, the specific composition of its constituent elements.

The principle “From two beings in act it is impossible to obtain a being substantially one” is perfectly true; but it will be false if, instead of “substantially,” we put “essentially”; for all essences physically compounded result from the union of a certain number of actual beings, and yet every compound essence is unum per se essentially, though not substantially. For, as unum per accidens is that which has something superadded to its essential principles, so unum per se is that which includes nothing in itself but its essential principles; and consequently every essence, as such, is unum per se, whether it be physically simple or not—that is, whether it be one substance or a number of substances conspiring into a specific compound. Hence flesh, water, iron, and every other natural substance may be, and are, unum per se, notwithstanding the fact that they consist of a number of primitive elements and contain[241] as many substantial forms as components.

It is therefore manifest that this first argument has no strength. No ancient or modern philosopher has ever proved that any natural substance is substantially one. To prove such an assertion it would be necessary to show that the physical compound is physically simple; which, we trust, no one will attempt to show. Even Liberatore, whose efforts to revive among us the peripatetic theory have been so remarkable, seems to have felt the utter impossibility of substantiating such an arbitrary supposition by anything like a proof, as he lays it down without even pretending to investigate its value. “True bodies,” says he—“that is, bodies which are substances, and not mere aggregates of substances—are essentially constituted of matter and substantial form.”[65] Indeed, if a body is not an aggregate of substances, it must be evident to every one that the essence of that body is exclusively constituted of matter and substantial form. But where is a body to be found which is not an aggregate of substances—that is, of primitive elements? The learned author omits to examine this essential point, clearly because there are neither facts in science nor arguments in philosophy by which it can be settled favorably to the peripatetic view. Thus the whole theory of substantial generations, understood in the peripatetic sense, rests on a mere assumption contradicted, as we know, by natural science no less than by metaphysical reasoning.

The second argument of the peripatetic school is as follows: When the matter has its first being, all form supervening to it is accidental; for the matter which has its first being cannot receive but a being secundum quid—that is, a mode of being which is an accident. But the natural substance cannot be constituted by an accidental form. Therefore the form of the natural substance does not supervene to any matter having its first being, but itself gives the first being to its matter, and therefore is a strictly substantial form.

Our answer is very plain. We admit that, when the matter has its first being, all supervening form is accidental to it; and we admit, also, that the composition of matter with matter is an accidental entity, and gives to the matter an accidental mode of being. This, however, does not mean that the specific composition is an accidental form of the compound nature. Composition, as compared with substance, is an accident; but, as compared with the essence of the compound, is an essential constituent, as we have already remarked; for it is of the essence of all physical compounds to have a number of substances as their matter, and a specific composition as their form. In other terms, the essence of a physical compound involves substance and accident alike; but what is an accident of the component substances is not an accident of the compound essence. Hence the proposition, “The natural substance cannot be constituted by an accidental form,” must be distinguished. If “natural substance” stands for the primitive substances that constitute the matter of the compound nature, the proposition is true; for all such substances have their strictly substantial forms, as[242] is obvious. If “natural substance” stands for the compound nature itself, inasmuch as it is a compound of a certain species, then the proposition must be subdistinguished. For, if by “accidental form” we understand an accident of the component substances, the proposition will be false; for, evidently, the compound nature is constituted by composition, and composition is an accident of the components. Whilst, if the words “accidental form” are meant to express an accident of the compound nature, then the proposition is true again; for the composition is not an accidental, but an essential, constituent of the compound, as every one must concede. Yet “essential” is not to be confounded with “substantial”; and therefore, though all natural substances must have their essential form, it does not follow that such a form gives the first being to the matter, but only that it gives the first being to the specific compound inasmuch as it is such a compound. Had the peripatetics kept in view, when treating of natural substances, the necessary distinction between the essential and the strictly substantial forms, they would possibly have concluded, with the learned Card. Tolomei, that their theory was “a groundless assumption,” and their arguments a “begging the question.” But, unfortunately, Aristotle’s authority, before the discoveries of modern science, had such a weight with our forefathers that they scarcely dared to question what they believed to be the cardinal point of his philosophy. But let us go on.

A third argument in favor of the old theory is drawn from the constitution of man. In man the soul is a substantial form, the root of all his properties, and the constituent of the human substance. Hence all other natural substances, it is argued, must have in a similar manner some substantial principle containing the formal reason of their constitution, of their natural properties, and of their operations. “The fact that man is composed of matter and of substantial form shows,” says Suarez, “that in natural things there is a substantial subject naturally susceptible of being informed by a substantial act. Such a subject (the matter) is therefore an imperfect and incomplete substance, and requires to be constantly under some substantial act.”[66] Whence it follows that all natural substance consists of matter actuated by a substantial form.

This argument, according to Scotus and his celebrated school, is based on a false assumption. Man is not one substance, but one nature resulting from the union of two distinct substances, the spiritual and the material; and to speak of a human substance as one is nothing less than to beg the whole question. Every one must admit that the human soul is the natural form of the animated body, and that, inasmuch as it is a substance and not an accident, the same soul may be called a “substantial” form; but, according to the Scotistic school, to which we cannot but adhere on this point, it is impossible to admit the Thomistic notion that the soul gives the first being to the matter of the body, so as to constitute one substance with it; and accordingly it is impossible to admit that the soul is a strictly “substantial” form[243] in the rigid peripatetic sense of the word; and thus the above argument, which is based entirely on the unity of human substance, comes to naught.

This is not the place to develop the reasons adduced by the Scotists and by others against the Thomistic school, or to refute the arguments by which the latter have supported their opinion. We will merely remark that, according to a principle universally received, by the Thomists no less than by their opponents (Actus est qui distinguit), there can be no distinct substantial terms without distinct substantial acts; and consequently our body cannot have distinct substantial parts, unless it has as many distinct substantial acts. And as there is no doubt that there are in our body a great number of distinct substantial parts (as many, in fact, as there are primitive elements of matter), there is no doubt that there are also a great number of distinct substantial acts. It is not true, therefore, that the human body (or any other body) is constituted by one “substantial” form. The soul is not defined as the first act of matter, but it is defined as the first act of a physical organic body; which means that the body must possess its own physical being and its bodily and organic form before it can be informed by a soul. And surely such a body needs not receive from the soul what it already possesses as a condition of its information; it must therefore receive that alone in regard to which it is still potential; and this is, not the first act of being, but the first act of life. But if the soul were a strictly “substantial” form according to the Thomistic opinion, it should be the first act of matter as such, and it would have no need of a previously-formed physical organic body; for the position of such a form would, of itself, entail the existence of its substantial term. We must therefore conclude that the human soul is called a “substantial” form, simply because it is a substance and not an accident,[67] and because, in the language of the schools, all the “essential” forms have been called “substantial,” as we have noticed at the beginning of this article. We believe that it is owing to this double meaning of the epithet “substantial” that both S. Thomas and his followers were led to confound the natural and essential with the strictly substantial forms. They reasoned thus: “What is not accidental must be substantial”; and they did not reflect that “what is not accidental may be essential,” without being substantial in the meaning attached by them to the term.

But since we cannot here discuss the question concerning the human soul as its importance deserves, let us admit, for the sake of the argument, that the human soul gives the first being to its body, and is thus a strictly substantial form in the sense intended by our opponents. It still strikes us that no logical mind can from such a particular premise draw such a general conclusion as is drawn in the objected argument. Is it lawful to apply to inanimate bodies in the conclusion what in the premises is asserted only of animated beings? Or is there any parity between the form of the human nature and that of a piece of chalk? The above-mentioned[244] Card. Tolomei well remarks that “such a pretended parity is full of disparities, and that from the human soul, rational, spiritual, subsistent, and immortal, we cannot infer the nature of those incomplete, corruptible, and corporeal entities which enter into the constitution of purely material things.”[68]

That “all natural substances must have some substantial principle” we fully admit. For we have shown that in every natural compound there are just as many substantial forms as there are primitive elements in it, and therefore there is no doubt that each point of matter receives its first being through a strictly substantial form. But these substantial forms are the forms of the components; they are not the specific form of the compound. Nor do we deny that the properties of the compound must be ultimately traced to some substantial principle; for we admit the common axiom that “the first principle of the being is the first principle of its operations”; and thus we attribute the activity of the compound nature to the substantial forms of its components. But we maintain that the same components may constitute different specific compounds having different properties and different operations, according as they are disposed in different manners and subjected to a different composition. This being evident, we must be allowed to conclude that the proximate and specific constituent form of a compound inanimate nature is nothing else than its specific composition.

Our opponents cannot evade this conclusion, which annihilates the whole peripatetic theory, unless they show either that there may be a compound without composition, or that in natural things there is no material composition of substantial parts. The first they cannot prove, as a compound without composition is a mere contradiction. Nor can they prove the second; for they admit that natural substances are extended, and it is evident that there can be no material extension without parts outside of parts, and therefore without material composition.

As to the passage of Suarez objected in the argument, two simple remarks will suffice. The first is that “the fact that man is composed of matter and substantial form does not show that in other natural things there is a substantial subject naturally susceptible of being informed by a substantial act”; unless, indeed, the epithet “substantial” be taken in the sense of “essential,” as we have above explained. But, even in this case, there will always be an immense difference between such essential forms, because the form of a human body must be a substance, whilst the form of the purely material compounds can be nothing else than composition. The second remark is that, as the first matter, according to Suarez, has its own entity of essence and its own entity of existence, “the substantial subject naturally susceptible of being informed” has neither need nor capability of receiving its first being; whence it follows that such a substantial subject is never susceptible of being informed by a truly and strictly substantial form. We know that Suarez rejects this inference on the ground that the entity of matter, according to him, is incomplete, and[245] requires to be perfected by a substantial form. But the truth is that no strictly substantial form can be conceived to inform a matter which has already an actual entity of its own; for the substantial form is not simply that which perfects the matter (for every form perfects the matter), but it is that which gives to it the first being, as all philosophers agree. On the other hand, it might be proved that the matter which is a subject of natural generations is not an incomplete substantial entity, and that the intrinsic act by which it is constituted, is not, as Suarez pretends, an act secundum quid, but an act simpliciter; it being evident that nothing can be in act secundum quid unless it be already in act simpliciter; whence it is manifest that the first act of matter cannot be an act secundum quid.

It would take too long to discuss here the whole Suarezian theory. Its fundamental points are two: The first, that the matter which is the subject of natural generations “has an entity of its own”; the second, that “such an entity is substantially incomplete.” The first of these two points he establishes against the peripatetics with very good reasons, drawn from the nature of generation; but the second he does not succeed in demonstrating, as he does not, and cannot, demonstrate that an act secundum quia precedes the act simpliciter. For this reason we ventured to say in our previous article that the first matter of Suarez corresponds to our primitive elements, which, though unknown to him, are, in fact, the first physical matter of which the natural substances are composed. What we mean is that, though Suarez intended to prove something else, he has only succeeded in proving that the matter of which natural substances are composed is as true and as complete a substance as any primitive substance can be. And we even entertain some suspicion that this great writer would have held a language much more conformable to our modern views, had he not been afraid of striking too heavy a blow at the peripatetic school, then so formidable and respected. For why should he call “substantial” the forms of compound bodies, when he knew that the matter of those bodies had already an actual entity of its own? He certainly saw that such forms were by no means the substantial forms of S. Thomas and of Aristotle; but was it prudent to state the fact openly, and to draw from it such other conclusions as would have proved exceedingly distasteful to the greatest number of his contemporaries? However this may be, it cannot be denied that the Suarezian theory, granting to the matter of the bodies an entity of its own, leads to the rejection of the truly substantial generations, and to the final adoption of the doctrine which we are maintaining in accordance with the received principles of modern natural science. But let us proceed.

The fourth argument in favor of the old theory is the following: If the components remain actually in the compound, and do not lose their substantial forms by the accession of a new substantial form, it follows that no new substance is ever generated; and thus what we call “new substances” will be only “new accidental aggregates of substances,” and there will be no substantial difference between them. But this cannot be admitted; for who will admit that bread and flesh are substantially identical? And yet who[246] can deny that from bread flesh can be generated?

We concede most explicitly that no new “substance” is, or can be, ever generated by natural processes. God alone can produce a substance, and he produces it by creation. To say that natural causes can destroy the substantial forms by which the matter is actuated, and produce new substantial forms giving a new first being to the matter, is to endow the natural causes with a power infinitely superior to their nature. The action of a natural cause is the production of an accidental act; and so long as “accidental” does not mean “substantial,” we contend that no substantial form can originate from any natural agent or concurrence of natural agents. It is therefore evident for us that no “substance” can ever arise by natural generation.

But, though this is true, it is evident also that from pre-existing substances “a new compound nature” can be generated by the action of natural causes. These new compound natures are, indeed, called “new substances,” but they are the old substances under a new specific composition; that is, they are not new as substances, though they form a new specific compound. To say that such a compound is “a merely accidental aggregate of substances” is no objection. Were we to maintain that one single substance is an accidental aggregate of substances, the objection would be very natural; but to say, as we do, that one compound essence is an aggregate of substances united by accidental actions, is to say what is evidently true and unobjectionable. Yet we must add that the composition of such substances, accidental though it be to them individually, is essential to the compound nature; for this compound nature is a special essence, endowed with special properties dependent proximately on the special composition, and only remotely on the substantial forms of the component substances.

That there may be “no substantial difference” between two natural compounds is quite admissible; but it does not follow from the argument. It is admissible; because a different specific composition suffices to cause a different specific compound; as is the case with gum-arabic and cane-sugar, which consist of a different combination of the same components. Yet it does not follow from the argument; because the specific composition of different compounds may require, and usually does require, a different set of components—that is, of substances; which shows that there is also a substantial difference between natural compounds, although their essential form be not the substantial form of the peripatetics.

Lastly, we willingly concede that bread and flesh are not substantially identical; but we must deny that their substantial difference arises from their having a different substantial form. Bread and flesh are different specific compounds; they differ essentially and substantially, or formally and materially, because they involve different substances under a different specific composition. To say that bread and flesh are the same matter under two different substantial forms would be to give the lie to scientific evidence. This we cannot do, however much we may admire the great men who, from want of positive knowledge, thought it the safest course to accept from Aristotle what seemed to them a sufficient explanation of things. On the other hand, is it[247] not strange that our opponents, who admit of no other substantial form in man, except the soul, should now mention a substantial form of flesh? To be consistent, they should equally admit a substantial form of blood, a substantial form of bone, etc. Perhaps this would help them to understand that the epithet “substantial,” when applied to characterize the forms of material compounds, has been a source of innumerable equivocations, and that the schoolmen would have saved themselves much trouble, and avoided inextricable difficulties, if they had made the necessary distinction between substantial and essential forms.

The arguments to which we have replied are the main support of the peripatetic doctrine; we, at least, have not succeeded in finding any other argument on the subject which calls for a special refutation. We beg, therefore, to conclude that the theory of strictly substantial generations, as well as that of the constitution of bodies, as held by the peripatetic school, rest on no better ground than “assumption,” or petitio principii, as Card. Tolomei reluctantly avows. There would yet remain, as he observes, the argument from authority; but when it is known that the great men whose authority is appealed to were absolutely ignorant of the most important facts and laws of molecular science, and when it is proved that such facts and laws exclude the very possibility of the old theory,[69] we are free to dismiss the argument. “Were S. Thomas to come back on earth,” says Father Tongiorgi, “he would be a peripatetic no more.” No doubt of it. S. Thomas would teach his friends a lesson, by letting them know that his true followers are not those who shut their eyes to the evidence of facts, that they may not be disturbed in their peripateticism, but those who imitate him by endeavoring to utilize, in the interest of sound philosophy, the positive knowledge of their own time, as he did the scanty positive knowledge of his.

But we have yet an important point to notice. The ancient theory is wholly grounded on the possibility of the eduction of new substantial forms out of the potency of matter; hence, if no truly substantial form can be so educed, the theory falls to the ground. We have already shown that true substantial forms giving the first being to the matter cannot naturally be educed out of the potency of matter.[70] This would suffice to justify us in rejecting the peripatetic theory. But to satisfy our peripatetic friends that we did not come too hastily to such a conclusion, and to give them an opportunity of examining their own philosophical conscience, we beg leave to submit to their appreciation the following additional reasons.

First, all philosophers agree that the matter cannot be actuated by a new form, unless it be actually disposed to receive it. But actual disposition is itself an accidental form; and all matter that has an accidental form has also a fortiori a substantial form. Therefore no matter is actually disposed to receive a new form, but that which has actually a substantial form. But the matter which has actually a substantial form is not susceptible of a new substantial form; for the matter which has its first being is not potential with regard to it, but[248] only with regard to some mode of being. Therefore no new form truly and strictly substantial can be bestowed upon existing matter.

Secondly, if existing matter is to receive a new substantial form, its old substantial form must give way and disappear, as our opponents themselves teach, by natural corruption. But the form which gives the first being to the matter is not corruptible. Therefore no truly substantial form can give way to a new substantial form. The minor of this syllogism is easily proved. For all natural substances consist of simple elements, of which every one has its first being by a form altogether simple and incorruptible. Moreover, the substantial form of primitive elements is a product of creation, not of generation; the term of divine, not of natural, action; it cannot, therefore, perish, except by annihilation. The only form which is liable to corruption is that which links together the elements of the specific compound; but this is a natural and essential, not a strictly substantial, form.

Thirdly, the form which gives the first being to the matter is altogether incorruptible, if the same is not subject to alteration; for alteration is the way to corruption. But no form giving the first being to the matter is subject to alteration. For, according to the universal doctrine, it is the matter, not the form, that is in potency to receive the action of natural agents. The form is an active, not a passive, principle; and therefore it is ready to act, not to be acted on; which proves that substantial forms are inalterable and incorruptible. We are at a loss to understand how it has been possible for so many illustrious philosophers of the Aristotelic school not to see the open contradiction between the corruption of strictly substantial forms and their own fundamental axiom: “Every being acts inasmuch as it is in act, and suffers inasmuch as it is in potency.” If the substantial form is subject to corruption, surely the substance suffers not only inasmuch as it is in potency, but also, and even more, inasmuch as it is in act. We say “even more,” because the substance would, inasmuch as it is in act, suffer the destruction of its very essence; whereas, as it is in potency, it would not suffer more than an accidental change. It is therefore manifest that the corruption of substantial forms cannot be admitted without denying one of the most certain and universal principles of metaphysics.

Fourthly, if the natural agents concerned in the generation of a new being cannot produce anything but accidental determinations, nor destroy anything but other accidental determinations, then, evidently, the form which is destroyed in the generation of a new thing is an accidental entity, as also the new form introduced. But the efficient causes of natural generations cannot produce anything but accidental determinations, and cannot destroy anything but other accidental determinations. Therefore in the generation of a new being both the form which is destroyed and the form which replaces it are accidental entities. In this syllogism the major is evident; and the minor is certain, both physically and metaphysically. For it is well known that the natural agents concerned in the generation of a new substance have no other power than that of producing local motion; also, that the matter acted on has no other passive potency than that of receiving local motion. Hence[249] no action of matter upon matter can be admitted but that which tends to give an accidental determination to local movement; and if any cause be known to exert actions not tending to impart local movement, we must immediately conclude that such a cause is not a material substance. On the other hand, all act produced belongs to an order of reality infinitely inferior to that of its efficient principle; so that, as God cannot efficiently produce another God, so also a contingent substance cannot efficiently produce another contingent substance; and a substantial form cannot efficiently produce another substantial form; but as all that God efficiently produces is infinitely inferior to him in the order of reality, so all act produced by a created substance is infinitely inferior to the act which is the principle of its production.[71] It is therefore impossible to admit that the act produced, and the act which is the principle of its production, belong to the same order of reality; in other terms, they cannot be both “substantial”; but while the act by which the agent acts is substantial, the act produced is always accidental. And thus it is plain that no natural agent or combination of natural agents can ever produce a truly substantial form.

A great deal more might be said on this subject; but we think that our philosophical readers need no further reasonings of ours to be fully convinced of the inadmissibility of the Aristotelic hypothesis concerning the constitution and the generation of natural substances. Would that the great men who adopted it in past ages had had a knowledge of the workings of nature as extensive as we now possess; their love of truth would have prompted them to frame a philosophical theory as superior to that of the Greek philosopher as fact is to assumption. As it is, we must strive to do within the compass of our means what they would have done much better, and would do if they were among the living, with their gigantic powers. We cannot hold in metaphysics what we have to reject in physics. To say that what is true in physics may be false in metaphysics is no less an absurdity than Luther’s proposition, that “something may be true in philosophy which is false in theology.”



The history of Russia, during the course of the last twenty years, has entered upon a new era. It also has had its 19th of February,[73] its day of emancipation; and from the hour when it was permitted to treat of the times anterior to the reign of the Emperor Nicholas, although still maintaining a certain reserve, it has lost no time in profiting by the benefit of which advantage has been eagerly taken. A multitude of writings, more or less important, which have since then been published, prove that, in order to become fruitful, it only needed to be freed from the ligatures of the ancient censure; and it is wonderful to note the large number of publications with which the history of the last century finds itself enriched in so short a space of time, besides the documents of every description that were never previously allowed to see the light of day, but from which the interdict has been removed that for so long had condemned them to the dust and oblivion of locked-up archives.

Nor has this been all. The riches of this new mine were sufficiently plentiful to supply matter for entire collections. Societies were formed for the purpose of arranging and publishing them without delay, in order to satisfy the legitimate desire of so many to know the past of their country, not only from official digests, but from the original sources of information. It will suffice to name the principal collections created under the inspiration of this idea, such as the Russian Archives, and also the XVIIIth and XIXth Centuries, of M. Bartenev, guardian of the Library of Tcherkov; the Old Russian Times (Russkaïa Starina), of M. Semevski; the Historical Society of the Annalist Nestor, formed at Kiev, under the presidency of M. Antonovitch; the Collection of the Historical Society of St. Petersburg, under the exalted patronage of the czarovitch; without enumerating the periodical publications issued by societies which were already existing, as at Moscow and elsewhere.

To arrange in some degree of order the rapid notice which is all we must permit ourselves, and laying aside for the present any consideration of periodical literature, we will mention, in the first place, the works upon Russian history in general, ecclesiastical and secular; then the various memoirs and biographies; concluding with bibliography, or the history of literature.

I. General History of Russia.—Amongst the works which treat of this subject, that of M. Soloviev indisputably occupies the first place. His History of Russia from the Earliest Times (Istoria Rossiis drevneichikh vremen) advances with slow but steady pace, and has at this time reached its twenty-third volume,[251] embracing the second septennate of the Empress Elizabeth, which concludes with the year 1755—a year memorable in the annals of Russian literature, as witnessing the establishment of the first Russian university, namely, that of Moscow. It is not surprising that this subject has inspired the author, who is a professor of the same university, to write pages full of interest. With regard to what he relates respecting the exceedingly low level of civilization to which the Russian clergy had at that time sunk, other authors have made it the subject of special treatises, and with an amplitude of development which could not have found place in a general history. M. Soloviev’s method is well known—i.e., to turn to the advantage of science the original documents, for the most part inedited, and frequently difficult of access to the generality of writers. But does he always make an impartial use of them? This is a question. The manner in which he has recounted the law-suit of the Patriarch Nicon—to cite this only as an example—does not speak altogether favorably for the historian; besides, his history is too voluminous to be accessible to the generality of readers; and when it will be finished, who can divine?

For this reason a complete history, in accordance with recent discoveries, and reduced to two or three volumes, would meet with a warm welcome. That of Oustrialov is already out of date; the little abridgment of M. Soloviev is too short; and the work of M. Bestoujev-Rumine remains at its first volume, the two which are to follow, and which have been long promised, not having yet appeared.

M. Kostomarov, who has just celebrated the 25th year of his literary career, is also publishing a History of Russia, Considered in the Lives of its Principal Representatives,[74] of which the interest increases as the period of which it treats approaches our own. Two sections have already appeared. The first, which is devoted to the history of the house of S. Vladimir, embraces four centuries; the second, as considerable as its predecessor in amount of matter, comprises no more than the interval of about a century—that is to say, the reigns of Ivan the Terrible, his father, and his grandfather (1462-1583). Faithful to the plan he has adopted, the author relates the life and deeds of the most remarkable men, whether in the political or social order: thus, in the second section, after the historical figures of Ivan III., Basil, and Ivan IV., we have the Archbishop Gennadius, the monk Nilus Sorski, whom the Russian Church reckons among her saints: the Prince Patrikeïev, the celebrated Maximus, a monk of Mt. Athos, and, lastly, the heretic Bachkine with his sectaries. The first volume will be terminated by the third section, which will conclude the history of the house of Vladimir.

This history meets with a violent opponent and an implacable judge in the person of M. Pogodine, the veteran of Russian historians. The antagonism of these two writers, M. Pogodine and M. Kostomarov, is of long standing. But never have polemics taken a more aggressive tone than on the present occasion; and the aggression is on the part of M. Pogodine, who accuses his adversary of nothing more nor less than mystifying the public and corrupting the rising generation; of having arbitrarily omitted the origin and[252] commencement of the nation; of throwing, by preference, into strong relief all the dark pages of the history; and, lastly, declares him to be guilty of venality. To these charges M. Kostomarov replies that his censor is playing the part of a policeman rather than of a critic; that his arguments, like his anger, inspire him with pity; and that the most elementary rules of propriety forbid him to imitate his language. Coming to historical facts, he explains the reasons for his silence on the pagan period of Russian history; for treating the call of Rurik as a fable, together with a multitude of other stories of the ancient chronicles; for seeing in the Varangian[75] princes nothing but barbarians, and the pagans of this period the same. He also brings proofs to show that Vladimir Monomachus was really the first to seek allies among the tribes of the Polovtsis; that Vassilko caused the whole population of Minsk to be exterminated; and that Andrew Bogolubski was not by any means beloved by the people, as had been stated by M. Pogodine—these three subjects being among the principal points of dispute.

But we have no desire to pursue any further details which cannot in themselves have any interest for the public, although, taken in connection with the histories of the antagonistic authors, they may be suggestive. For instance, it is not easy to forget what the ardent professor of Moscow relates of himself with reference to certain of his fellow-countrywomen who had embraced the Catholic faith. Being at Rome, he tells us (and his words depict in a lively manner the character of his zeal) that he felt himself strongly tempted to seize by the hair two Russian ladies[76] whom he saw crossing the Piazza di Spagna to enter a Catholic church. He is said to be at this time preparing a Campaign against Adverse Powers, in which he combats “historic heresies.”

But the services rendered by M. Pogodine to the national history are undoubtedly great. We may notice a new one in his Ancient History of Russia before the Mongolian Yoke,[77] in which, after grouping the Russian principalities around that of Kiev as their political centre anterior to the invasion of the Mongols, he also gives the separate history of each. In the second volume the church, literature, the state, manners, and customs, are treated upon in turn, and form a series of pictures traced by a skilful hand, closing with a terribly-vivid description of the Tartar invasion.

II. Particular or Individual History.—It is about two years since historical science in Russia sustained a loss in the death of M. Pékarski, who had scarcely reached his forty-fifth year. This laborious and learned writer, who, in so short a space of time, produced an unusual number of important works,[78] died after having just completed his History of the Academy of Sciences.[253] This work contains about eighteen hundred pages. After a solid introduction there follow the biographies of the first fifty members of the Academy, all of whom were foreigners, to which succeed those of Trediakovski and Lomonosov. In glancing over these biographies one is struck with the preponderance of the German element, the Academy, at its commencement, being almost exclusively composed of learned men of that nation. With the reign of Elizabeth the Russian party began to take the lead, and it was Lomonosov, the son of a fisherman of Archangelsk, who was the life and soul of it, as a learned man, an historian, and a poet. Pékarski mentions some curious details respecting the correspondence between Peter I. and the Sorbonne, touching the reunion of the Russian Church with Rome. It is to be wished that the documents treating of this matter, and which are preserved in the archives of the academy, might be published.

III. Ecclesiastical History.—After the History of the Russian Church, by Mgr. Macarius, the present Metropolitan of Lithuania, which has just reached its seventh volume, the first place is due to that by M. Znamenski, entitled The Parochial Clergy in Russia, subsequent to the Reform of Peter I.[79] In presence of the Protestant reforms which are in course of introduction into the official church by the Russian government, M. Znamenski’s book offers an eminently practical interest, and it is greatly to be wished that those in power would profit by its serious teaching. The author advances nothing without producing his proofs, drawn from official documents, which he has taken great pains to search for and consult wherever they were to be found.

His work is divided into five chapters, the first of which treats of the “Nomination of the Parochial Clergy.” Down to the middle of the XVIIIth century its members were chosen on the elective system; it is the ancient mode of nomination, which existed also in the Catholic Church. But from the middle of the XVIIIth century this gave place, in Russia, to the hereditary system, which has become one of the distinctive features of the Russian communion,[80] and in which may be found the cause of the separation and the spirit of caste which from that time began to isolate the clergy from the rest of society, and made them in all respects a body apart.

This spirit of caste still subsists, though not in so perceptible a degree as formerly. One inevitable consequence of this Levitism was the difficulty of quitting the caste when once a person belonged to it, as the author develops in his second chapter (pp. 176-354). In the third, he treats of the “Civil Rights of the Clergy,” and there depicts the revolting abuses in which the secular authorities allowed themselves with regard to the unfortunate clergy. The arbitrary injustice to which they were subjected during the whole of the XVIIIth century, and of which the still vivid traces remained in the time of the Emperor Alexander I., appears almost incredible. For instance, a poor parochial incumbent, having had the misfortune to pass before the house of the principal proprietor of the place without having taken off his hat to that personage, who was on the balcony with company, was immediately seized, thrust into[254] a barrel, and thus rolled from the top of the hill on which the seignorial dwelling was situated, into the river which flowed at its base. His death was almost instantaneous. Justice, as represented in that quarter, being informed of this new species of murder, found itself unequal to touch the little potentate, and hushed up the affair. Similar horrors were by no means rare in the XVIIIth century. In the fourth chapter (pp. 507-617) the author speaks of the “Relations of the Clergy with the Ecclesiastical Authorities”; and although the picture he draws is somewhat less sombre than the preceding, still it is melancholy enough. Venality the most systematic, and rigor that can hardly be said to fall short of cruelty, were, for more than half a century, the most prominent features of the ecclesiastical government. No post, however small or humble, could be obtained without the imposition of a purely arbitrary tax; and these taxes formed in the end a very considerable amount. As for the spirit of the government, its fundamental maxim was to hold down the lower clergy in humility (smirenié)—a formula which was imprinted on the very bodies of the unfortunate victims. The slightest fault or error on their part was punished by corporal chastisements so severe that the sufferer sometimes expired under the blows. Priests were treated by their chief pastors as beings on a level with the meanest of slaves. One of these vladykas (which is the name by which the Russian bishops are designated) condemned his subordinates to dig fish-ponds on his estate, which ponds were to be so shaped as to form on a gigantic scale the initials (E. B.) of his lordship’s name.[81]

The failure of resources, so materially diminished by the cupidity of their superiors, forced the parochial clergy to contrive for themselves an income by means more or less lawful. Besides the legal charges, they invented various small taxes on their own behalf; or, when all else failed, they begged their bread from their own parishioners, who were apt to be more liberal of reproaches than of alms. The well-being of the secular clergy being one of the questions under consideration by the present government, the author has devoted to it much of his last chapter.

Such is the general plan of this book, which must be read through to give an idea of the humiliating degradation to which the hapless clergy were for more than a century condemned, thanks to the anomaly of institutions still more than to the abuses practised by individuals. When the source is corrupt, can the stream be pure?

But all this relates to the “Orthodox” of the empire. That which is more directly interesting to the Catholic reader will be found in works respecting the Ruthenian[82] Church, which is at this time attracting the attention of the West.

The History of the Reunion of the Ancient Uniates of the West,[83] by M. Koïalovitch, Professor of the Ecclesiastical (Orthodox) Academy of the capital, repeats the faults of all the numerous writings, whether books, pamphlets, or articles, which have issued from his pen in the course of the last ten years, and which are painfully remarkable for their spirit of partiality, their preconceived[255] ideas, their self-contradictions, and their hatred of the Catholic faith. An organ of the press of St. Petersburg has expressed a desire that the documents upon which this author professedly rests three-fourths of his last book, while purposely neglecting all extraneous sources whatever, whether political or diplomatic, should be given to the public, which would then be enabled to judge for itself how far the statements based upon them are to be trusted. Nor can any obstacle exist in the way of such publication, as was shown by the work of Moroehkine on the reunion of the Uniates in 1839, equally compiled from official documents of unquestionable importance, which were then edited for the first time.

It is impossible not to be struck with the strange coincidence of so many publications upon union with the painful events which are taking place at the present time in the Diocese of Khelm, and which had evidently been preparing long beforehand. Books have their raison d’être—a reason for their appearance at particular periods. It is said, even, that M. Koïalovitch is at the head of a school of opinion, and that his disciples can be pointed out without difficulty. Thus, Rustchinski is the author of a study on the Religious Condition of the Russian People according to Foreign Authors of the XVIth and XVIIth Centuries; Nicolaïevski has written on Preaching in the XVIth Century; Demaïanovitch, on The Jesuits in Western Russia, from 1569 to 1772, at which latter year the thread of their history is taken up and continued by Moroehkine; Kratchkovski, on the Interior State of the Uniate Church (1872); and Stcherbinski has given the history of the Order of S. Basil. But we must not prolong the catalogue, which, however, is by no means complete. Never has so much literary activity been known in the “Orthodox” communion as now, if, perhaps, we except the first times of the union.

But before passing on to another head we must not fail to mention, as one of the principal representatives of the literary movement of the XVIth century, the celebrated namesake and predecessor of the present Metropolitan of Mesopotamia, i.e., Archbishop Macarius, to whom we are indebted for the monumental work known as the Great Menology, and which is a species of religious encyclopædia, containing, besides the lives of the saints for every day in the year, the entire works of the early fathers, as well as ascetic, canonical, and literary treatises. The Archæographic Commission of St. Petersburg has undertaken the republication, in its integrity, of this colossal work, of which only three quarto volumes in double columns have at present appeared.

IV. Biographies.—As we have already remarked, it is interesting to observe the eagerness with which the Russian people welcome everything that tends to throw light upon their past. For instance, what is usually drier than a catalogue? And yet the one compiled by M. Méjov has already reached four thousand copies. It is true that his Systematic Catalogue (of original documents) combines various qualities that are somewhat rare in publications of this description. It is not, however, desirable that a taste for the mere reproduction of inedited manuscripts should be carried too far; the interests of science demanding rather that they should be made use of in the production[256] of works aspiring to greater completeness, and suited to meet the requirements of modern criticism.

A certain number of works have already been written in accordance with this idea. That of M. Tchistovitch, entitled Theophanes Procopovitch and his Times, may be given as a model, as may also the excellent study of M. Ikonnikov on Count Nicholas Mordinhov, one of the remarkable men who flourished in the reign of the Emperor Alexander I. and Nicholas. Various memoirs of this personage had previously appeared in different collections, but no one before the young professor of Kiev had taken the trouble to study the original sources upon which alone an authentic life could be written, to reduce them to system, and give them a living form. It is not only the opinions and theories of the count which are given, but those also of contemporary society and the persons by whom he was surrounded, those of the latter being occasionally too lengthily developed. M. Ikonnikov was also, some years ago, the author of an interesting work, entitled The Influence of Byzantine Civilization on Russian History (Kiev: 1870). And this leads us to mention a book recently published by M. Philimonov, vice-director of the Museum of Arms, on Simon Ouchakov and the Iconography of his Time.

The name of this artist has scarcely been heard in the West. Born in 1626, he early evinced a talent for painting, and at the age of twenty-two was admitted into the number of iconographists appointed by the czar; his specialty consisting in making designs, more particularly for the gold-work appropriated to religious uses. Of his paintings, the earliest bears the date of 1657. M. Philimonov passes in review all his later productions, accompanying each with a short but careful notice, and dwelling chiefly upon the two which he considers the masterpieces of Russian iconography at that period, namely, the painting of the Annunciation and that of Our Lady of Vladimir. Besides these two principal paintings, Ouchakov left a quantity of others, most of which bear his name, with the date of their completion, although these indications are not needed, his pictures being easily recognizable. He may, in fact, be considered as at the head of a new school of painting, taking the middle line between the conventional Muscovite iconography and the paintings of the West; between the inanimate and rigid formalism of the one and the living variety of the other; and thus inaugurating the new era in religious art which manifested itself in Russia with the opening of the XVIIth century, and permitting the introduction of a realism which the ancient iconographers were wholly ignorant of, and would have considered it detrimental to Oriental orthodoxy to countenance. Ouchakov was ennobled, in honor of his talents, and died in 1656, at the age of sixty, in the full enjoyment of public esteem.

In connection with the subject of art, we may add that M. Philimonov has just issued an elegant edition of the Guide to Russian Iconography, which teaches the correct manner in which to represent the saints. The text of this work, which is for the first time published in Russian, has been furnished by three of the most ancient manuscripts known to exist, one of which formerly belonged to the Church of S. Sophia of Novogorod. Fully to comprehend the text, however, it is[257] necessary to have together with it, for constant reference, some pictorial guide, as, for instance, the one published by M. Boutovski. The two works explain and complete each other, as both alike refer to about the same period; but, also, both should be consulted in subordinate reference to the Greek Guide, if the reader is to be enabled to separate the Byzantine element from that which is specially characteristic of Russian iconography.

In connection with general literature mention must be made of the fabulist, Khemnitzer, whose complete works and correspondence have been edited by Grote, together with a biography, composed from previously-unpublished sources. After the vast labor of editing the works of Derjavine, those of Khemnitzer would be in comparison a mere amusement to the learned and indefatigable academician.

V. Journals and Memoirs.—The Journal of Khrapovski (1782-1793), published by M. Barsoukov, who has enriched it with a biographical notice and explanatory notes, appears for the first time in its integrity, and accompanied by a catalogue raisonné of all the personages who find themselves mentioned in the text. This journal derives its special interest and value from the position of the author, who for ten years was attached to the personal service of the Empress Catherine II. (Chargé des Affaires Personnelles), and who, being thus admitted into the interior and home-life of the court, noted down day by day, and sometimes hour by hour, all that he there saw or heard. This is certainly not history; but an intelligent historian will sometimes find there, in a sentence spoken apparently at random, the germ of great political events which were accomplished later.

The Journal of Lady Rondeau, wife of the English resident-minister at the court of the Empress Anne, is the first volume of foreign writers on the Russia of the XVIIIth century, edited with notes by M. Choubinski. The idea of publishing the accounts of foreigners on the Russian Empire merits encouragement, and, if well carried out, will shed new light on numberless points which an indigenous author would leave unnoticed, but which have a real interest in the eyes of a stranger. If it should be objected that foreigners judge superficially and partially, it is none the less true that the worth of their impressions arises precisely from the diversity of country and point of view. Besides, all strangers could not, without injustice, be alike charged with lightness and inexactitude. The memoirs of Masson on the court of Catherine II. and of Paul I. are quoted by the Russians themselves as a striking proof to the contrary; no single fact which he mentions having been disproved by history. The merit of Lady Rondeau’s book is increased by the notice, in form of an appendix, which is added by her husband, on the character of each of the principal personages of the court.

We conclude this rapid and imperfect summary by mentioning the Catalogue of the Section of Russica, or writings upon Russia in foreign languages—a work of which the initiation is due to the administrators of the Public Library of St. Petersburg, and forming two enormous volumes. To give some idea of the riches accumulated in the section of Russica, perhaps unique in the world, and of which the formation[258] commenced in 1849, it will suffice to say that the number of works enumerated in the catalogue reaches the figures 28,456, without reckoning those composed in Lithuanian, Esthonian, Servian, Bulgarian, Greek, and other Oriental languages, which will together form a supplementary volume. Besides original works, the catalogue indicates all the translations of Russian books, and enumerates all the periodicals which have appeared in Russia in foreign languages.

The works are arranged in alphabetical order; but at the end of the second volume we find an analytical table, commencing with history, the historical portion being the most considerable one in the section of Russica. Thus the literary treasures possessed by the principal library of the empire are henceforward made known with regard to each branch of the sciences in relation to Russia. If to this we add the Systematic Catalogue of M. Méjov, mentioned above, we possess the historic literature of Russia in its completeness.


Almighty God, who has “ordered all things in measure and number and weight” (Wisd. xi. 21), and who teaches us, under the guidance of his church, to observe sacred times and seasons, has brought around again the Holy Year of Jubilee, during which an extraordinary indulgence is granted by the Pope, that sinners being led to repentance, and the just increased in grace, each one can hear it said to himself: “In an acceptable time I have heard thee” (Is. xlix. 8).

We will not touch here upon the nature or doctrine of indulgences, more than to give a definition of our Jubilee, viz., a solemn plenary remission of such temporal punishment as may still be due to divine justice after the guilt of sin has been forgiven, which the Sovereign Pontiff, in the fulness of apostolic power, makes at a stated period to all the faithful, on condition of performing certain specified pious works; empowering confessors to absolve for the nonce in reserved cases and from censures not specially excepted, and to commute all vows not likewise excepted into other salutary matter. Our Holy Father, Pius IX., by an Encyclical Letter dated from S. Peter’s on the vigil of last Christmas, has announced that, the year 1875 completing the cycle of time determined by his predecessors for the recurrence of the Jubilee, he declares it the Holy Year, and sets forth the conditions of the same, with other circumstances of ecclesiastical discipline usual on so rare an occasion of grace.

The origin of the word jubilee itself is uncertain. It is a Hebrew term that first occurs in the twenty-fifth chapter of Leviticus: “And thou shalt sanctify the fiftieth year, … for it is the year of Jubilee.” Josephus (Antiquit., iii. 11) says[259] that it means liberty, by which his annotators understand that discharge among the Jews from debts and bondage, and restitution to every man of his former property, as commanded by the law. The more common opinion derives it from jobel, a ram’s horn, because the Jubilee year was ushered in by the blasts of the sacred trumpets, made of the horns of the ram. Pope Boniface VIII. is erroneously supposed by many to have instituted the Christian Jubilee; for he only restored what had already existed, and reduced it substantially to its present form; inasmuch as there had been from an early period a custom among Christians of visiting Rome at the turn of every succeeding century, in the hope of obtaining great spiritual favors at the tomb of S. Peter, and perhaps also with the idea of atoning in some measure for the superstitious secular games which during the reign of Augustus the Quindecimviri (a college of priests) announced as having been given once in every century in memory of the foundation of the Eternal City, and which, after consulting the Sibylline books in their care, they prevailed upon the emperor to celebrate again. Mgr. Pompeo Sarnelli, Bishop of Bisceglie in 1692, treats of the secular year of the heathen Romans and the Jubilee of their Christian descendants together, as though one were in some respect a purified outgrowth of the other. He says: “But the Christians, to change profane into sacred things, were accustomed to go every hundredth year to visit the Vatican basilica, and celebrate the memory of Christ, who was born for the redemption of the world; so that the Holy Year was the sanctification of the profane centenary in the lapse of time; but in its spiritual benefits it perfected the effects of the Jubilee kept by the Jews every fiftieth year for temporal advantages” (Lettere Ecclesiast., x. 50). Macri also, in his Hiero-lexicon (1768), says: “We believe that the popes who have always endeavored (when the nature of the thing permitted) to alter the vain observances of the Gentiles into sacred ceremonies for the worship of God, in order to eradicate the superstitious secular year of the Romans, established our Holy Year of Jubilee, and enriched it with indulgences.” Of the connection between our Jubilee and that of the Jews Devoti (Inst. Can., ii. p. 250, note) remarks that their fiftieth year “aliquo modo imago fuit Jubilæi, quem postea Romani Pontifices instituerunt—” was in some wise a figure of that Jubilee which, at a later period, the Roman pontiffs instituted.

Benedetto Gaetani of Anagni (Boniface VIII.) had been elected pope at Naples on Dec. 24, 1294, and was residing in Rome at the close of the century, when he heard towards Christmas that many pilgrims were approaching the city, who came, they said, to gain the indulgence which an ancient tradition taught could be obtained there every hundredth year, at the beginning of a new century. Although search was made in the pontifical archives for some record of a concession of special indulgence at such a period, none was found; but witnesses of established veracity assured the pope that they had heard of this indulgence, and that it was connected with a visit to the tomb of S. Peter.

Brocchi in his Storia del Giubbileo, page 6, mentions among the venerable persons examined before the pope and cardinals one man 107[260] years old, and another—a noble Savoyard—over 100 years old, who both made deposition that as children they had been brought to Rome by their parents, who had often reminded them not to omit the pilgrimage of the next century, if they should live so long. Two very aged Frenchmen from the Diocese of Beauvais also deposed to having come to Rome on the strength of a like centennial tradition of which they had heard their fathers speak. The chronicler William Ventura of Asti (born in 1250) writes that at the beginning of the year 1300 an immense crowd of pilgrims, coming to Rome from the East and from the West, used to throng about the pope and cry out: “Give us thy blessing before we die; for we have learnt from our elders that all Christians who shall visit on the hundredth year the basilica where rest the bones of the apostles Peter and Paul can obtain absolution of their sins and the remission of any penance that might still be due for them” (apud Muratori, Rer. Ital. Script., xi. 26). Boniface VIII. then called a consistory, and on the advice of the cardinals determined to issue a bull confirming the grant of indulgence, did such really exist; and in any case offering a plenary indulgence to all who, contrite, should confess their sins and visit at least once a day for thirty days—not necessarily consecutive, if Romans; if strangers, only for fifteen days in the same manner—the two basilicas of the holy apostles SS. Peter and Paul during the course of the year 1300. This interesting bull, which is usually cited by its opening words, Antiquorum habet fida relatio, and may be seen in any collection of canon law among the Extravagantes Communes (lib. v. De Pœn. et Rem., c. 1), is short and elegantly condensed—for which reason, perhaps, an old glossarist calls it “epistola satis grossè composite”—and, although written before the revival of Latin letters, compares favorably with the verbose composition of later documents. It was probably drawn up by Sylvester, the papal secretary, who is named as writer of the circular-letter sent in the pope’s name to all bishops and Christian princes to acquaint them with the measure taken, and invite them to exhort the faithful of their dioceses and their loyal subjects to go on the pilgrimage Romeward. The pope published his bull himself on the 22d of February, 1300, being the feast of S. Peter at Antioch, by reading it aloud from a richly-draped ambon erected for the occasion before the high altar in S. Peter’s, which had a very different appearance from the domed and cross-shaped structure that we now admire, as lovers of architectural elegance; for as antiquarians we must regret the venerable building which was a basilica in form as well as in name. When Boniface had finished, he descended, and went up in person to the altar to deposit upon it the bull of indulgence in homage to the Prince of the Apostles, whose successor he was, and not unworthily maintained himself to be. Then returning to his former place, while the cardinals stood with bended head around it and beneath him, he gave his solemn blessing to an immense number of pilgrims, who, filling the church and overflowing into the square in front, reverentially knelt to receive it. Truly, the hearts of the people were with that man, although the hands of princes were against him. A most interesting memorial of this very scene has been preserved to us through sack[261] and fire for nearly six hundred years in the shape of a painting by the celebrated Giotto—a portrait, too, and not a fancy sketch—which is the only portion saved of the beautiful frescos with which he ornamented the loggia built by Boniface at S. John Lateran. It represents the pope in the act of giving his benediction to the people between two cardinals (or, as some critics think, two prelates), one of whom holds a document in his hand—evidently meant for the bull of Jubilee by an artist’s license, to specify more distinctly the circumstance; for it was then actually on the altar—while the other looks down upon the crowd over the hanging cloth on which the Gaetani arms are emblazoned. This specimen of higher art of the XIVth century was for a long time preserved in the cloister of S. John, until a representative of the Gaetani (now ducal) family had it carefully set up against one of the pilasters of the church, and protected with a glass covering, in 1786, where it may still be seen, although it is not often noticed according to its merits.

Our chief authorities for the details of this Jubilee are the pope’s nephew, James Cardinal Stefaneschi; the Chronicler of Asti (generally quoted as Chronicon Astense); and the Florentine merchant and Guelph historian, John Villani, who died of the plague in 1348. All were eye-witnesses.

The cardinal wrote on the Jubilee in prose and verse. His work, De centesimo, seu Jubilæo anno Liber, is published in the Biblioth. Max. Patrum, tom. xxv. He is the earliest writer to use the word jubilee, which is not found in the pope’s bull, but must have been common at the period, for others use it. A sententious specimen of the cardinal deacon’s prose style may be interesting; it contains a good sentiment, and is not bad Latin, although the German Gregorovius, in his History of Rome in the Middle Ages, speaks of “die barbarische Schrift des Jacob Stefaneschi”—“that barbarous opuscule of James Stefaneschi”: “Beatus populus qui scit Jubilationem; infelices vero qui torpore, vel temeritate, dum alterius sibi forsan ævum Jubilæi spondent, neglexerint” (cap. xv.)—“Blessed is the people that profiteth by this season of remission; but unhappy are the slothful and presumptuous ones who, promising themselves another Jubilee, neglect it.” His hexameters, however, are undoubtedly execrable; for instance:

“Discite, centeno detergi crimina Phœbo, (!)
Discite, si latebras scabrosi criminis ora
Depromunt, contrita sinu, dum circulus anni
Gyrat, perque dies quindenos exter, et Urbis
Incola tricenos delubra patentia Patrum
Ætherei Petri, Pauli quoque gentibus almi
Doctoris subeant, ubi congerit urna sepultos.”

Cardinal James of the Title of S. George in Velabro was one of the most distinguished men of Rome; “famous,” as Tiraboschi says (Letterat. Ital., v. 517), “not less for his birth than for his learning.” His mother was an Orsini. He died in 1343.

As soon as the grant of this great indulgence was noised abroad an extraordinarily large number of pilgrims set out from all parts of Italy, from Provence and France, from Spain, Germany, Hungary, and even from England, although not very many from that country, which was then at war. They came of every age, sex, and condition: children led by the hand or carried in the arms, the infirm borne in litters, the knightly and those of more means on horseback, while not a[262] few old people were seen, Anchises-like, supported on the shoulders of their sons. The Chronicle of Parma (quoted by Gregorovius, Geschichte der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter, v. p. 549) says that “every day and at all hours there was a sight as of a general army marching in and out by the Claudian Way,” which brought the pilgrims into the city after joining the Flaminian Way at the gate now represented by the Porta del Popolo; and the Chronicler of Asti has to use the words of the Apocalypse to describe the throngs that gathered about the roaring gates. “I went out one day,” he says, and “I saw a great crowd which no man could number.” The whole influx of pilgrims, including men and women, during the year, was computed by the Romans at over two millions; while Villani, who was a careful observer, writes that about thirty thousand people used to enter and leave the city every day, there being at no time less than two hundred thousand within the walls over and above the fixed population. But the pilgrimage was especially one of the poor to the tomb of the Fisherman; and all writers on it have remarked, in noticing the fervent enthusiasm of the common people, the cold reserve and absence of their royal masters. Only the Frenchman Charles Martel, titular King of Hungary, came; it is presumable more to obtain the pope’s good-will in the dispute about the succession to the throne than from piety. The nearest approach to royalty after him was Charles of Valois, who came accompanied by his family and a courtly retinue of five hundred knights, and doubtless hoped to receive the crown of Sicily from Boniface, if he could expel the usurping Aragonese.

So many thousands of pilgrims, citizens and strangers, went day and night to S. Peter’s that not a few were maimed, and some even trampled to death, in the struggling crowd of goers and comers that met at the crossing of the Tiber over the old Ælian bridge leading to the Leonine city. To obviate such disasters in future, the wide bridge was divided lengthwise by a strong wooden railing, thus forming two passages, of which the advancing and returning pilgrims took respectively the one on their right. The poet Dante, who is strongly supposed to have been in Rome for the Jubilee, although there is no proof either in the Divine Comedy or the Vita Nuova that he was, may have written as an eye-witness when he describes this very scene of the passing but not mingling streams of human beings in the well-known lines:

“Come i Roman, per l’esercito molto,
L’anno del giubbileo, su per lo ponte
Hanno a passar la gente modo tolto;
Che dall’ un lato tutti hanno la fronte
Verso’l castello, e vanno a Santo Pietro—
Dall’ altra sponda vanno verso’l monte.”[84]
Inferno, xviii.

The castle here mentioned is, of course, Sant’ Angelo; and the hill is probably Monte Giordano, in the heart of the city, which, although, from the grading of the surrounding streets, is now only a gentle rise graced by the Gabrielli palace, was a high and strongly-fortified position in the XIVth century. Among all the relics seen by the pilgrims in Rome, the Holy Face of our Lord, or Cloth of Veronica, which is preserved with so much veneration in S. Peter’s, seems to have attracted the most attention. By order of[263] the pope it was solemnly shown to the people on every Friday and on all the principal feasts throughout the year of Jubilee. The great Tuscan has also sung of this, which he possibly saw himself:

“Quale è colui che forse di Croazia
Viene a veder la Veronica nostra,
Che per l’antica fama non si sazia,
Ma dice nel pensier, fin che si mostra;
Signor mio Gesù Cristo, Dio verace,
Or fu sì fatta la sembianza vostra?”[85]
Paradiso, xxxi.

A modern economist might wonder how a famine was to be averted, with such a sudden and numerous addition to the population of the city. The foresight of the energetic pope, whose family also was influential in the very garden of the Campagna, among those hardy laborers of whom Virgil sung, “Quos dives Anagnia pascit,” had early in the year caused an immense supply of grain, oats, meat, fish, wine, and other sorts of provision for man and beast to be collected from every quarter and brought into the city, where it was stored and guarded against the coming of the pilgrims. The provisions were abundant and cheap. The Chronicler of Asti, it is true, complains of the dearness of the hay or fodder for his horse; but as he thought tornesium unum grossum (equal to six cents of our money) too high for his own daily lodging and his horse’s stabling, without bait, we must think either that the means of living in Italy in those days were incredibly low, or that Ventura was very parsimonious. It is the testimony of all the writers on this Jubilee that, except an inundation of the Tiber, which threatened for a few days to cut off the train of supplies for the city, everything was propitious to the comfort and piety of the faithful. The roads through Italy leading to Rome were safe, at least to the pilgrims, to whom a general safe-conduct was given by the various little republics and principalities of the Peninsula; and if the Romans did grow rich off of the strangers, there was good-humor on both sides, and not the slightest collision. Indeed, the Romans (who perhaps gained the Jubilee before the great body of the pilgrims had arrived; at least we know that those out of the northern parts of Europe timed their departure from home so as to avoid the sweltering southern heat) seem to have shown some indifference to the spiritual favors offered; as Gregorovius—who, however, is anti-papal—with a quiet sarcasm says: “They left the pilgrims to pray at the altars, while they marched with flaunting banners against the neighboring city of Toscanella”; and Galletti, in his Roman Mediæval Inscriptions (tom. ii. p. 4), has published a curious old one on this martial event, the original of which is now encased in one of the inside walls of the Palazzo dei Conservatori (this name may have been changed by the present usurpers) on the Capitoline hill, where it was set up under Clement X. in 1673. As it is most interesting for its synchronism with the first Jubilee, and the insight it gives us into the mixed sort of fines imposed by the descendants of the conquerors of the world upon a subjugated people in the middle ages—bags of wheat, a bell, the city gates, eight lusty fellows to dance while their masters piped, and a gentle hint that there was[264] no salt sown—we think it might well appear (doubtless for the first time) in an American periodical. The original being in the abbreviated style of the XIVth century, we have modernized it to make it more intelligible to the reader:

“Mille trecentenis Domini currentibus annis
Papa Bonifacius octavus in orbe vigebat
Tunc Aniballensis Riccardus de Coliseo
Nec non Gentilis Ursina prole creatus
Ambo senatores Romam cum pace regebant
Per quos jam pridem tu Tuscanella fuisti
Ob dirum damnata nefas, tibi dempta potestas
Sumendi regimen est, at data juribus Urbis
Frumenti rubla bis millia ferre coegit
Annua te Roma vel libras solvere mille
Cum Deus attulerit Romanis fertilitatem
Campanam populi, portas deducere Romam
Octo ludentes Romanis mittere ludis—
Majori pœna populi pietate remissa.
Sunt quoque communis servata palatia Romæ
Dummodo certe ruant turresque palatia muri
Si rursus furere tentent fortassis in Urbem
Vel jam prolata nolint decreta tenere
In æde reponatur sacra pro tempore guerræ
Tempore vel caro servanda pecunia prorsus.”

The meaning of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth lines is that, since the Romans have land enough to give them their daily bread, but do not object to any amount of quattrim (coin), if the vanquished should prefer, they may pay once for all a thousand pounds in money, instead of the annual tribute of two thousand sacks of grain—with freight charges to destination; and the last lines signify that a sum is laid up in the chapel to be used to carry on another war if the Tuscanellans should again machinate against the City—as Rome was proudly called—or refuse to fulfil the stipulations.

The pilgrims of the Jubilee generally made a small offering at the altars of the two basilicas, although no alms were required as a condition of gaining the indulgence; and it is particularly from a naïve passage of one of them in his valuable chronicle that Protestants and Voltaireans have taken occasion to deride the Jubilees as mere money-making affairs; and even the Catholic Muratori (Antichità Italiane, tom. iii. part ii. p. 156) carps at the inimitable description of so Romanesque a scene as that of two chatting clerics raking in the oblations of the forestieri; but Cenni, the annotator of this great work of the Modenese historian in the Roman edition of 1755, which we use, aptly remarks here that if writers will look only at the bad side of the many and almost innumerable events that have occurred in this low world of ours, and illogically conclude from a particular to the universal, they will discover that art of putting things whereby what has generally been considered good and laudable will appear thereafter worthy only of censure. The Chronicler of Asti, certainly with no great thought of what people would think five hundred years after he was mouldering in his grave, simply writes of the pilgrims’ donations: “Papa innumerabilem pecuniam ab eisdem recepit, quia die ac nocte duo clerici stabant ad altare sancti Petri, tenentes in eorum manibus rastellos rastellantes pecuniam infinitam.”

Although we believe that the honest Chronicler of Asti deserves credit for taking notes at the Jubilee, yet this very passage, read in connection with the other one about the dearness of his living, shows us that he was one of those pious but penurious souls who, if he had lived in our day, and a gentleman called on him for a subscription, would beg to be permitted to wait until the list got down very low. The Protestant Gregorovius has shown that these exaggerated offerings “were for the most part only small coin, the gift of common pilgrims”; while the Catholic Von Reumont (Geschichte der Stadt Rom, vol. ii. p. 650) has calculated that this “infinite amount of money” was only[265] after all equal to about two hundred and forty thousand Prussian thalers, which would make no more than one hundred and seventy-five thousand, two hundred dollars. When the pope knew how generous were the offerings of the faithful, he ordered the entire sum to be expended on the two basilicas, in buying property to support the chapter of the one and the monastery attached to the other, and in those thousand and more other expenses which only those who have lived in Rome can understand to be necessary to support the majesty of divine worship within such edifices. Surely, it was better, in any case, that the money of the pilgrims should go for the glory of the saints and the embellishment of God’s temples than be exacted at home by cruel barons and ruthless princes to carry on their petty wars or strengthen their castles.

Mr. Hemans (no friend to our Rome), in his Mediæval Christianity and Sacred Art (vol. i. p. 474), says, after mentioning these “heaps of coins”: “If much of this went into the papal treasury, it is manifest that the expenditure from that source for the charities exercised throughout this holy season must also have been great.” This is a lame statement; because, although on the one hand the large subventions of the pope to the poor pilgrims are certain, on the other there is no proof whatever that any alms they gave went into his “treasury.” The pope, indeed, having at heart the comfort of the strangers and the beauty of the city, put up many new buildings and made other improvements, such as the beautiful Gothic loggia of S. John of Lateran, which the greatest painter of the age was commissioned to decorate with frescos (Papencordt, Rom im Mittelalter, p. 336). It is perhaps from a traditionary knowledge of these architectural propensities of the pope during the Jubilee year, and of his endowments to the basilicas, that so many people have quite erroneously believed the sombre but picturesque old farm-buildings of Castel Giubileo, which crown the green and lonely hill where more than two thousand years ago the Arx of Fidenæ stood a rival to the Capitol of Rome, to be a memorial of, and to get its designation from, this Jubilee of A.D. 1300. Even Sir Wm. Gell (Top. of Rome, p. 552) repeats the old story. But the more careful Nibby (Dintorni di Roma, vol. ii. p. 58) has demonstrated, with the aid of a document in the archives of the Vatican basilica, that the name of this place between the Via Salaria and the Tiber, five miles from Rome, is derived from that of a Roman family which acquired the site (previously called Monte Sant’ Angelo) and built the castle in the XIVth century; and that it did not come into the possession of the chapter of S. Peter until the 16th of December, 1458, when it was bought for the sum of three thousand golden ducats. So much for an instance of jumping at conclusions from a mere similarity of name, put together with something else, which is so common a fault of antiquaries.



Mr. Charles Greville was not a La Bruyère,[86] but, as he appears in his Memoirs, he might have sat very well for that portrait of Arrias which the inimitable imitator of Theophrastus has drawn in his chapter on society and conversation: “Arrias has read everything, has seen everything; at least he would have it thought so. ’Tis a man of universal knowledge, and he gives himself out as such; he would sooner lie than be silent or appear ignorant of anything.… If he tells a story, it is less to inform those who listen than to have the merit of telling it. It becomes a romance in his hands; he makes people think after his own manner; he puts his own habits of speaking in their mouths; and, in fine, makes them all as talkative as himself. What would become of him and of them, if happily some one did not come in to break up the circle and contradict the whole story?”

This exact picture of the late clerk of H.B.M. Privy Council might have been written the morning after his Memoirs appeared in the London bookstores, instead of nearly two hundred years ago. It is at once a proof of the penetrating genius of La Bruyère, and a photograph every one will recognize of the author of the journal which has lately made so much noise in society. This clever Newmarket jockey—rebus Newmarketianis versatus, as he says of himself—to whom every point of the betting book is familiar, carelessly refreshes his jaded intellect with the Life of Mackintosh, as he rides down in his carriage to the races. With affable profusion he scatters broadcast to the mob of readers scraps of Horace and Ovid, mingled with the latest odds on the Derby. He has seen everything from S. Giles’s to S. Peter’s, and, with the blasé air of a man at once of genius and fashion, proclaims “there is nothing in it.” He knows everything, from the most questionable scandal of the green-room to the best plan of forming a cabinet; such second-rate men as Melbourne, Palmerston, and Stanley he sniffs at with easy disdain; and if at times he gently bemoans a few personal deficiencies, it is with a complacent conviction that it needed only a little early training to have made him a Peel, a Burke, or a Chatham! That he would “sooner lie than be silent,” one needs only remember his infamous stories about Mrs. Charles Kean and Lady Burghersh; his calumnies against George IV. and William IV.—the masters whose gracious kindness he repaid by bribing their valets for evidence against them—his unfounded attacks upon Peel, Stanley, O’Connell, and Lyndhurst; his slanders even against obscure men, like Wakley and others. As to his habit of “making people think after his own manner,” and putting “his own mode of speaking in their[267] mouths,” the profanity and vulgarity which disfigure his pages are the best evidence.

That this is a true estimate of the merits of The Greville Memoirs is now generally admitted. The most respectable critical exponents of English opinion have united in condemning the bad taste and breach of trust which made either their composition or publication possible. It needs no refinement of reasoning to prove that the expressions everywhere so freely quoted from this journal are such as could not honorably be uttered by any gentleman holding the office Mr. Greville did. Readers will easily be found for them, either from a love of sensation or because of the illustration they offer of the character of the persons described or the writer; but nothing can condone their real offensiveness. Such, however, was far from being the first opinion of the press. The leading English journal, in two lengthy reviews such as rarely appear in its columns, handled Mr. Greville’s work with a delicacy, an admiration, a regretful and half-tender daintiness of touch for the author, that promised everything to the reader. This criticism was followed by a general outburst of applause on the part of the press, which soon began to waver, however, when it was found that the best section of English society regarded the book with disapproval.

So conscious, indeed, were the American publishers of its intrinsic lack of interest or literary merit that one firm has presented it to the public with nearly all the political portions left out and the private gossip retained. “It is said,” says the Saturday Review not long ago, “that an American compiler has published a pleasant duodecimo volume containing only those passages which may be supposed to gratify a morbid taste.” The London critic intended, no doubt, to be pungent and satirical; but how innocuously does such satire fall upon the head of the average “compiler”!

If Mr. Greville has not made good his claim to stand among the masters of his craft, least of all is he to be named in the same day with the prince of memoir-writers—Saint-Simon; unless, indeed, it be to point the moral that more is needed for excellency in such an art than an inquisitive mind and a biting pen. Yet Mr. Greville’s opportunity was great—greater, probably, than will happen to any other memoir-writer for some generations to come. Like Saint-Simon, he began active life in an age of great events and great men. Whatever may be said of the pettiness of the regency, of its profligacy and mock brilliancy, no one can forget that those were days of great perils; of vast struggles, military and civil; of giants’ wars, and of a race of combatants not unworthy to take part in them. Nor were the twenty years succeeding—which make up, as we may roughly say, that portion of his journal now printed—wanting in great interests and momentous events. The age which gave birth to Catholic Emancipation and the Reform Bill, while it still numbered among its chiefs the veterans of the great Continental war, could not fail to offer subjects for treatment that would be read eagerly by all succeeding times. If Saint-Simon witnessed the culmination of the glories of the reign of Louis XIV., and saw De Luxembourg and Catinat, the last survivors of that line of victorious marshals beginning with the great Condé[268] and Turenne, who had carried the lilies of France over Europe, not less was it Greville’s fortune to converse familiarly with the great duke who, repeating the triumphs of Marlborough, had beaten down the arms of the empire in a later age. And if Saint-Simon lived also to see the disasters, the weakness, the desolation, and bankruptcy of his country which succeeded the long splendor of his youth, Greville too looked on as a spectator, almost, one might say, as a registrar, at the hardly less terrible civil struggles and social depression which threatened to rend the kingdom asunder.

Both were of noble families, although the Duc de Saint-Simon was the head of his house, and Mr. Greville only a cadet of his. Both were courtiers; and although Saint-Simon’s position as a peer of France lifted him far above Greville’s in his day, who was rather a paid servant of the crown than strictly a courtier, yet the very office of the latter gave him advantages which the elder memoir-writer did not always possess. Here, however, all parallel ceases. The radical incapacity of Mr. Greville’s mind to lift him above the common race of diarists prevents all further comparison. He had neither the genius of assimilation nor description to make the portraits of men and manners live, like Saint-Simon’s, in the gallery of history. His informants are valets, his satire mere backbiting, his reflections trivial, his descriptions a confused mass of petty details.

It is not proposed here to weary the reader with long quotations from a work which so many already have read or skimmed over. Nor do we intend, on the other hand, to follow the fashion of some critics, and carefully gather up all the points which might be woven into an indictment against Mr. Greville’s honor or candor or wit. Such a task would be endless; it would take in almost every other page of his volumes. But that it may be seen that the unfavorable opinion which, after a careful examination, we have been led—much to our disappointment—to entertain of his work is not misplaced, we shall proceed to give some passages that sustain, in our judgment, the correctness of the view we have taken.

Charles C. F. Greville was, as his editor, Mr. H. Reeve, informs us, the eldest son of Mr. Charles Greville, grandson of the Earl of Warwick, and Lady Charlotte Bentinck, daughter of the Duke of Portland. He was born in 1794. At the age of nineteen he was appointed private secretary by Earl Bathurst, and almost at the same time family influence procured for him a clerkship in the Board of Trade. Both offices had comfortable salaries attached to them; neither of them any duties. Thus at the outset of his career, fortunate in his family influence and his friends, Mr. Greville was started, fairly equipped, on the road of life. Unencumbered by any responsibility, nor weighed down by that sharp and bitter load of poverty that men of humbler birth have commonly to carry on their galled shoulders, while they strive to gain an insecure foothold on the slippery road to fame or fortune, he had every incentive and every advantage to secure success. A subject for thanksgiving, shall we say, to this accomplished sinecurist? By no means! Years afterwards he bemoans the fact that he had nothing to do, no spur to honorable ambition. He forgot that at the same or an earlier age Saint-Simon, whom[269] he appears to have read only to copy his sometimes coarse language, was handling a pike as a volunteer in the service of his king, and carrying sacks of grain on his shoulders to the starving troops in the trenches at Namur, disdaining those little offices into which Greville insinuated himself as soon as he left college. Or if it be said—what no man could then (1812) predict—that the war was nearly over, and there was little prospect of another, what was there to prevent him from seeking a place in Parliament—not hard to gain with his family influence—and there carving out for himself a place like that of Burke, to whom he sometimes lifts his eyes? The truth is, to use a vulgar phrase, Mr. Greville had “other fish to fry.” He knew well he had other easier and more profitable game to follow. He was scarcely of age when the influence of his uncle, the Duke of Portland, obtained for him the sinecure office of Secretary of Jamaica, a deputy being allowed to reside in the island; better still, the same influential relative secured him the reversion of the clerkship of the Council! Henceforward not the camp nor parliamentary struggles occupied Mr. Greville’s mind; the glorious task of “waiting for a dead man’s shoes,” varied by the congenial study of the stables, occupied that powerful intellect which, in these Memoirs, looks down with contempt on all the names most distinguished in European statesmanship during the first half of this century. The office fell to him in 1821, and he continued to hold it for nearly forty years. The net income of the two offices, we are elsewhere informed, amounted to about four thousand pounds; and as he died worth thirty thousand pounds, the charitable supposition of the Quarterly Review is that “probably he was a gainer on the turf.” He died in 1865.

The bent of Mr. Greville’s genius was early shown.

“Sunt quos curriculo pulverem Olympicum
Collegisse juvat.”

The clerk of the Council was one of them. The blue ribbon of the turf, not parliamentary honors or the long vigil of laborious nights—except over the card-table—was the centre around which his ambition and aspirations circled. Early smitten by the betting fever, he became as nearly a professional turfman as the security of his office would permit; and there is something ludicrous in those expressions of regret, which have drawn such tender sympathy from his critics, that he gave himself up to the passion instead of becoming the scholar or statesman he is always hinting he might have been. Mr. Greville, in fact, makes the blunder of supposing that the craving for fame is equivalent to the faculty for winning it. Not the turf, but original defect of capacity, hindered him from being more than he was—a clerk with a taste for gambling, held in check by a shrewd eye for the odds. His contemporary, the late Lord Derby, whom he seldom lets pass without a sneer in these Memoirs, was an example showing that, had true genius existed, a taste for the turf without participation in gambling, need not have prevented him from becoming both an accomplished scholar and a brilliant statesman.

An early entry in Mr. Greville’s journal gives the measure of the man. Under date of February 23, 1821, he says:

“Yesterday the Duke of York proposed to me to take the management of his horses, which I accepted. Nothing could be more[270] kind than the manner in which he proposed it.”

“March 5.—I have experienced a great proof of the vanity of human wishes. In the course of three weeks I have attained the three things I have most desired in the world for years past, and upon the whole I do not feel that my happiness is increased.”

This is a good example, but far from the best of its kind, of that vein of apparently philosophical reflection running here and there through his journal, with which Mr. Greville deliberately intended, we believe, to hoodwink the critics, and in which anticipation he has been wonderfully successful. Coolly examined, it resolves itself as nearly as possible into a burlesque. His reflections, as La Bruyère says elsewhere of a like genius, “are generally about two inches deep, and then you come to the mud and gravel.” What were the three highest objects of human ambition in the mind of this ardent young man of twenty-seven, with the world before him to choose from? 1st. A berth in the civil service to creep into for the rest of his life. 2d. The place of head jockey and trainer in the prince’s stables. 3d. Unknown.

Alas! poor Greville, that the bubble of life should have burst so soon, leaving thee flat on thy back in a barren world, after having thus airily mounted to such imperial heights! Had either Juvenal or Johnson known thy towering ambition and thy fall, he would have placed thee side by side with dire Hannibal or the venturous Swede “to point a moral or adorn a tale”!

It is wonderful, however, how easily the diarist lays aside his philosophic tone to take up the more congenial rôle of a spy upon the kings whose names are so ostentatiously displayed on his title-page, and from whose service alone he derived all the consideration he had.

On January 12, 1829, Lord Mount Charles comes to him for some information. Thereupon, under the guise of friendship and confidence, he avows with a curious shamelessness that he proceeded to interrogate his visitor about George IV.’s private life and habits. When he has got all he wants out of the unsuspecting Mount Charles, he sets it down in his journal and winds up with this reflection, everywhere quoted: “A more contemptible, cowardly, selfish, unfeeling dog does not exist than this king.” These were strong words to apply to a sovereign whose bread he was eating, and who had always personally treated him with marked confidence and kindness. Perhaps those who read Mr. Greville’s journal with attention, and note the slow portrait he therein unconsciously draws of himself, will be better able to judge where the terms more aptly apply. As a work of art, indeed, the journalist’s picture of himself is far superior to anything else in his book. Touch by touch he elaborates his own character. It is not a flattering one; it was never revealed to the artist. How pitiably does this coarse generalization of Greville’s compare with the fine but vigorous and indelible strokes of Saint-Simon’s pencil in his portrait of Louis XIV.! It is not a character, but a gross and clumsy invective.

But Mr. Greville had already plumbed a lower depth of baseness in his prurient eagerness for details.

August 29, 1828.—“I met Bachelor, the poor Duke of York’s old[271] servant, and now the king’s valet de chambre, and he told me some curious things about the interior of the palace. But he is coming to call on me, and I will write down what he tells me then.” On the 16th of September he sent for Bachelor, and had a long conversation with him, drawing out all he could from the valet about his master’s habits.

May 13, 1829.—“Bachelor called again, telling me all sorts of details concerning Windsor and St. James.”

What a picture for the author of Gil Blas! It reminds one of some of those Spanish interiors the novelist has so deftly painted, where valet and adventurer put their heads together, scheming how best to open some rich don’s purse-strings, or ensnare his confidence before beginning some villanous game at his expense. If these be the springs of history, Clio defend us against her modern sister!

What makes all this prying the more indefensible is that Mr. Greville was without need of it even for the composition of these Memoirs. Elsewhere he boasts of the “great men” he has known. And it is true that he knew them; and had his ability equalled his opportunity, enough sources of information were honorably open to him to have made his journal valuable and interesting. But the truth is, Mr. Greville loved to dabble in dirty waters, as he has elsewhere plainly shown in his book.

A large part of these volumes—the major part of them, indeed—is taken up with political gossip. It would not be correct to give it any higher title. Its weight as a contribution to history, to use La Bruyère’s illustration, would be about two ounces. It consists chiefly of what he gathered at the council-table. But disloyal as this tampering with his oath may have been, his singular inaptitude to gather what was really important hardly offers even the poor excuse of interesting his readers in its results. The consideration of the eccentricities and sarcasms of his bête noir, the chancellor (Lord Brougham), during a large portion of the time covered by this journal, generally puts to flight in Mr. Greville’s mind all other topics. The rest of his political reminiscences are made up of conversations with the actors in the parliamentary scenes here presented; but even these lose the greater part of their value from his inveterate habit of confounding his own opinions and language with those of the person he happens to be “interviewing.” This confusion in Mr. Greville’s mind between what he thought and said and what others thought and said has been fully exposed by the numerous letters which have been drawn forth in England from the survivors of the persons named in his Memoirs or from their friends. Mr. Greville adds very little to our knowledge of the events of the period he treats of. Nearly everything of importance in his journal has been anticipated. The correspondence of William IV. and Lord Grey, the life and despatches of Wellington, and the lives of Denman, Palmerston, and others, have left little to be supplied of this era of English history.

One of the most curious features—we might almost say the distinguishing feature—in a work full of curious traits of levity, conceit, and immature judgment, is the universal tone of depreciation in which the author speaks of the men of his acquaintance. This is not confined to[272] ordinary personages who lived and died obscure, but embraces, as we have heretofore said, a large number of the names most illustrious in statesmanship and diplomacy in his times. Lord Althorpe, Melbourne, the late Earl Derby, Graham, Palmerston, O’Connell, Guizot, Thiers—one scarcely picks out a single name of eminence that he has not attempted to belittle. His opinions and prophecies have been in every instance flatly contradicted by events. Of Palmerston especially—of his stupidity, his ignorance, his lightness, his general want of capacity, and the certainty that he would never rise to be anybody—he is never done speaking slightingly. It is true that the late English premier passed through many years of obscurity in office, making, perhaps, some sort of excuse for Mr. Greville’s blindness; but this example is not an isolated one. The late Lord Derby comes in for an almost equal share of it, although he is allowed the possession of some brains—a claim denied to his after-rival. Mr. Greville is equally impartial in discoursing about crowned heads and plain republicans. His neat and finely-pointed satire stigmatized the king whose paid servant he was as a “blackguard,” a “dog,” and a “buffoon”; and he held his nose, as in the case of Washington Irving, did any “vulgar” American democrat come “between the wind and his nobility.”

Those of Mr. Greville’s subjects who have virtues are imbeciles; those who have talent are adventurers or knaves. He appears to have centred all the admiration of which he was capable upon Lord de Ros, a young nobleman absolutely unknown outside a small English circle. Mr. Greville seems, in fact, to have been one of those men who seek, and sometimes gain, a certain reputation for sagacity by depreciating everybody around them. Of the late Lord Derby he says: “He (Stanley) must be content with a subordinate part, and act with whom he may, he will never inspire real confidence or conciliate real esteem.” In another place, in summing up a conversation with Peel, he accuses him (Stanley), by direct implication, of being “a liar and a coward,” although he puts these ugly words in another’s mouth. How far these predictions and this estimate were just history has already decided. High and low all dance to the same music in Mr. Greville’s journal. On September 10, 1833, speaking of a speech of William IV.—not very wise, perhaps, but natural enough under the circumstances—he says: “If he (William IV.) was not such an ass that nobody does anything but laugh at what he says, this would be important. Such as it is, it is nothing.”

The circumstances that influenced his pique are sometimes of the most trivial character. Under date September 3, 1833, he notes that the king complained that no one was present to administer the oath to a new member of the Privy Council whom Brougham had introduced. “And what is unpleasant,” he says, “the king desires a clerk of the council to be present when anything is going on.” Inde iræ. A few days afterwards, in a notice of the prorogation of Parliament, he thus revenges himself for the king’s implied censure:

“He (William IV.) was coolly received; for there is no doubt there never was a king less respected. George IV., with all his occasional popularity, could always revive the external appearance of loyalty when[273] he gave himself the trouble.” Thus one master, who was a “dog,” is made to do duty on occasion against an other who was an “ass.” But this is not all he has to say of the same monarch. At page 520, vol. ii., summing up his character after his death, he says:

“After his (William IV.’s) accession he always continued to be something of a blackguard and something more of a buffoon. It is but fair to his memory at the same time to say that he was a good-natured, kind-hearted, and well-meaning man, and that he always acted an honorable and straightforward, if not always a sound and discreet, part.”

That this statement, that “never was there a king less respected,” was false, it needs hardly the popular verdict about William IV. to prove. Mr. Greville contradicts himself on page 251 of the same volume, where he notes the “strong expressions of personal regard and esteem” entertained for the king by such competent witnesses as two of his ministers, Wellington and Lord Grey. Even their testimony is not needed. Whatever may have been William IV.’s private weakness and foibles, the regret felt for him was general, and the esteem for his character as a popular sovereign publicly expressed. In any case, the indecency in Mr. Greville’s mouth of the expressions he makes use of is too plain to need argument. Speaking, in one place, of Lord Brougham and referring to the chancellor’s habit of sarcasm, he says:

“He reminds me of the man in Jonathan Wild who couldn’t keep his hand out of his neighbor’s pocket, although there was nothing in it, nor refrain from cheating at cards, although there were no stakes on the table.”

This description is true enough, in another sense, of Mr. Greville himself. A Sir Fretful Plagiary, he could see no man succeed without carping at him, nor resist criticising another’s performance for the sole reason that he had no hand in it. Noting the appearance of a political letter by Lord Redesdale, he says: “There is very little in it.” This single phrase gives the key to his character and the tone of his journal. At page 69, vol. ii., he sums up the whole subject of Irish national education in the profoundly-disgusted remark that there is nothing more in it than “whether the brats at school shall read the whole Bible or only parts of it.”

Page 105, vol. ii.: “O’Connell is supposed to be horribly afraid of the cholera.” “He dodges between London and Dublin” to avoid it, “shuns the House of Commons,” and neglects his duties. On pages 414-15: “He (O’Connell) is an object of execration to all those who cherish the principles and feelings of honor”—a high-toned remark, coming from a man of such delicate honor that, according to his own confession, he had no scruple in greasing the palm of a king’s valet for the secrets of his master’s bed-chamber; who avows without a blush that he deliberately led Lord Mount Charles, and Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence into confidences he there and then meant to betray; who in these Memoirs is continually invading the privacy of homes in which he was a guest; and who, finally, takes advantage of his official position under oath to disclose the conversations of the Privy Council! Surely, no juster piece of self-satire was ever written!

“’Tis a man of universal knowledge,” says La Bruyère. His familiarity with constitutional law[274] would lead him to unseat the bench. Judges Park and Aldersen, famous lawyers, known to all the courts, are “nonsensical” in a decision they come to about the sheriff’s lists. Mr. Justice Park is “peevish and foolish.”

His loose way of damaging private character is not less remarkable. To give a single instance: he gives a bon mot about a certain Mr. Wakley, a parliamentary candidate of the day, who was forced to bring an action against an insurance company, which resisted the claim on the ground that the plaintiff was concerned in the fire. No further information is given—the verdict of the jury or the judgment. But Mr. Greville thus coolly concludes:

“I forget what was the result of the trial; but that of the evidence was a conviction of his instrumentality.” A “conviction” by whom? By Mr. Greville—who “forgets the result of the trial”! There is nothing to show that the friends or family of this Mr. Wakley are not still living to suffer from this unsupported libel. “Jesters,” says a French humorist, “are wretched creatures; that has been said before. But those who injure the reputation or the fortunes of others rather than lose a bon mot, merit an infamous punishment; this has not been said, and I dare say it.”

His “blackguards” are not all seated on a throne. His hatred of the “mob” was greater, if possible, than his envy of his superiors. “Odi profanum vulgus et arceo” is the head-line of all his pages. Look at this entry, where the whole character of the man breaks forth irresistibly:

“Newmarket, October 1, 1831.—Came here last night, to my great joy, to get holidays, and leave reform and politics and cholera for racing and its amusements. Just before I came away I met Lord Wharncliffe, and asked him about his interview with radical Jones. This blackguard considers himself a sort of chief of a faction, and one of the heads of the sans-culottins of the present day.”

From radical Jones to Washington Irving is but a step for Mr. Greville’s nimble pen. The one is—what he says; the other, essentially “vulgar.” The same “vulgarity” offends his delicate taste in Thiers, Macaulay, and a score of others “the latchet of whose shoes he was unworthy to loose.” Is it to be wondered at that the venerable pontiff Pius VIII. (page 325, vol. i.) fails to satisfy this fastidious critic? The pope, however, escapes tolerably well. As a matter of course, “there is nothing in him”; but the distinguished urbanity and refined wit of the condescending Mr. Greville is satisfied to pronounce him a good-natured “twaddle.” These large airs of superior wisdom and refinement, this tone of pitying kindness, which Mr. Greville adopts towards the most illustrious men in Europe of his day, remind us of nothing so much as the majestic demeanor of the burgo, or great lord of Lilliput, who harangued Capt. Gulliver the morning after his arrival in that island. “He seemed to me,” says Capt. Gulliver, “to be somewhat longer than my middle finger. He acted every part of an orator, and I could observe many periods of threatening, and others of promises, pity, and kindness.”

The distinguished author of these Memoirs was not always, however, as we have seen, in the same amiable mood that the burgo afterwards manifested. After lashing each one of the persons he has known, separately and in turn, in the words[275] which we have quoted, in another passage his acquaintances are all collected in a group and dashed off with graphic effect.

October 12, 1832.—Immediately after an entry giving a conversation with the accomplished Lady Cowper, he says: “My journal is getting intolerably stupid and entirely barren of events. I would take to miscellaneous and private matters, if any fell in my way. But what can I make out of such animals as I herd with and such occupations as I am engaged in?” A week after, at Easton, besides Lady Cowper, he names some other “animals”: “The Duke of Rutland, the Walewskis, Lord Burghersh and Hope—the usual party,” he exclaims with a sigh. Sad fate! The adventurous Capt. Gulliver elsewhere, in a letter to his cousin Sympson, says: “Pray bring to your mind how often I desired you to consider, when you insisted on the motive of Public Good, that the Yahoos were a species of animals utterly incapable of amendment by precept or example.”

Such appear to have been the melancholy reflections forced upon the mind of Mr. Houyhnhnm Greville by the Yahoos he tells us he was compelled to “herd with”! Ever and anon he turns a regretful eye to the nobler race he was suited to, and lets us into the secret of the company and occupations that relieved him from the desolating ennui of uncongenial society.

“June 11, 1833.—At a place called Buckhurst all last week for the Ascot races. A party at Lentifield’s; racing all the morning; then eating, drinking, and play at night. I may say with more truth than anybody, Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor.”

“Not at all,” it might have been answered. “A jockey and gamester ab ovo usque ad mala. Fortune has now placed thee in the rank kind nature fitted thee to adorn, had not a too avid uncle snatched thee therefrom, and dry mountains of crackling parchment and red tape crushed thy yearning ardor for the loose boxes and the paddock!”

“March 27.—Jockeys, trainers, and blacklegs are my companions, and it is like dram-drinking: having once entered upon it, I cannot leave it, although I am disgusted with the occupation all the time.” Truly a long and fond “disgust,” since it lasted from his eighteenth year until his death!

“While the fever it excites is raging and the odds are varying, I can neither read nor write nor occupy myself with anything.”

Let us not be unjust to Mr. Greville. Kings, pontiffs, statesmen, and authors may have been “blackguards” or “vulgar buffoons,” the most refined society of both sexes in England a “herd” of Yahoos; but that he was not insensible to real merit, that he had a true appreciation of the good and the beautiful when he found it, one single example, shining out in these many pages of depreciation, proves beyond peradventure. In the flood of universal cynicism that pours over them, one man there is at least who lifts his head above the waters—one other gentle Houyhnhnm, fit companion for Mr. Greville, possessing all that wisdom and discretion denied to the rest of the world, and, more wonderful still, that elegant taste the fastidious critic finds nowhere else. This phenomenon is Mr. John Gully, prize-fighter retired! “Strong sense,” “discretion,” “reserve and good taste”—these are the encomiums[276] heaped upon him; to crown all, “remarkably dignified and graceful in his manners and actions.” Ah! poor Macaulay, or thou, gentle Diedrich Knickerbocker, where wanders now thy ghost, condemned for thy “vulgarity” to pace the borders of the sluggish Styx, while the “champion heavy-weight” is ferried over to immortality by this new Charon of gentility?

We decline to soil our pages with any of Mr. Greville’s impure stories. Those who have seized on the book for the purpose of reading them must have been sadly disappointed if they hoped to find in them a doubtful amusement. Not a scintilla of wit relieves their baseness. Their vileness is equalled only by their dulness. They are simply falsehoods from beginning to end. Where Mr. Greville, with a singular depravity, does not himself admit them to be false while wilfully publishing them, they have been elsewhere fully and indignantly disproved. In a single word, as Mrs. Charles Kean aptly says in her letter published in the Times, “the grossness was in Mr. Greville’s mind,” not in the conduct of those he slanders.

If it be said that our criticism upon these volumes and their author has been too unsparing; that the old saying, De mortuis nil nisi bonum, should have inspired a smoother tone, the answer is given by Mr. Greville himself. “Memoirs of this kind,” he said in a conversation held some time before his death with his editor, Mr. Reeve, “ought not to be locked up till they had lost their principal interest by the death of all those who had taken any part in the events they describe.” In other words, the diseased vanity and cynicism which made him rail at everybody while he lived made him unwilling to lose the pleasure by anticipation of wounding everybody after his death. The shallow eagerness to have himself talked about after he was gone made him insensible to those ideas which seem to have animated Saint-Simon, who was content to look forward to an indefinite time for the publication of his Memoirs, desiring them rather to be a truthful and interesting contribution to history than a hasty means of venting his passing spleen. Mr. Greville has indeed been talked about sufficiently; but that the conversation would be pleasing to him, could he hear it, is more doubtful.

One thing at least is to be commended in Mr. Greville—his style. This, for certain uses, is admirable. It is easy and plain. He is a master of that part of the art of writing which Horace describes in the 10th Satire:

“Interdum urbani, parcentis viribus atque
Extenuantis eas consulto.”

His is “the language of the well-bred man,” the pure English of the society in which he lived. We do not take account here of his occasional coarseness, and even oaths—these were of the character of the man, not of his style. The latter, for purposes of correspondence, or even a short diary, might generally be taken for a model. Any single page will be read with pleasure. But as, on the other hand, he neglects the other side of the Venusian’s advice, seldom rising to “support the part of the poet or rhetorician,” these closely-printed volumes eventually become tiresome to the reader. Even good English will grow monotonous if it has nothing else to sustain it.


Little room is left to speak of the greatest of French memoir-writers, or perhaps of any literature—Saint-Simon. A few remarks may be jotted down, having reference chiefly to the points of contrast suggested by the Greville Memoirs. Of the substance and texture of Saint-Simon’s great and voluminous work, as it unrolls itself slowly before us—the opening splendor, the daring, the eccentricities, the wit, and the vices of the courts under which he lived; the prodigies of baseness and monuments of heroic virtue that rear themselves opposed in that marvellous age; the long line of portraits, dark, lurid, threatening, radiant, gentle, so full of surprises to the student of history as ordinarily written; the turning of the fate of campaigns by the caprice of an angry woman; the crippling of fleets by the jealousy of a minister; the desolation of whole provinces by the corruption of intendants; the closing scenes of profligacy and bankruptcy under the regency—many pages would be required to give even an outline. The analysis of his genius and character would make a distinct essay. Sainte-Beuve and other masters of criticism have labored in the field; yet the soil is so rich that humbler students will still find enough to repay them. We indicate the landmarks of the country, without entering on it. Nor would we be supposed to endorse or give our sanction to many of the opinions and sentiments Saint-Simon so freely gives utterance to. His Gallicanism, which he shared with the court; his sympathy with the Jansenist leaders, if not with their heresy; his violent hatred of the Jesuits—these are blots on his work that cover many pages.

The Duc de Saint-Simon was born in 1675. During the lifetime of his father he bore the name of the Vidame de Chartres, and in a subsequent passage of his Memoirs, relating to the birth of his own eldest son, he gives a highly characteristic account of the title. At his first appearance at court the king was already privately married to Mme. de Maintenon, the widow Scarron, whose character and astonishing fortunes are nowhere more vividly described than in the pages of Saint-Simon. Louis XIV. was at the summit of his glory. Henceforward, though none could then foresee it, the course was all down-hill. Saint-Simon in his first campaigns accompanied the king into Flanders. Some discontent about promotion, to which he believed himself entitled, caused him to retire from the service. Henceforward he continued to live chiefly at court, having already begun the composition of his Memoirs. On the death of his father, the confidential adviser of Louis XIII., even under the ministry of the famous Cardinal Richelieu, he succeeded to the title and the government of Blaye. At this early age he was accustomed secretly to visit the monastery of La Trappe for meditation and retreat. His gravity and seriousness of mind are everywhere felt through his Memoirs, although these qualities do not lessen the pungency of his style, nor blunt the bon mots of the court, or his graphic description of the surprising adventures of the men of his day. He married Mlle. de Durfort, the daughter of Marshal de Durfort. This union was one of singular happiness, interrupted only by her death.

The death of the Dauphin, the pupil of Fénelon, destroyed the hopes that were opening up before Saint-Simon of becoming the chief[278] minister of the next reign. Under the regency he continued to be the intimate and sometimes confidential adviser of the Duke of Orleans, although supplanted in state affairs by Cardinal Dubois. His embassy to Madrid to negotiate the marriage of the young king, Louis XV., with the Infanta of Spain, is well known. After the death of the regent he retired to his château of La Ferté-Vidame, where chiefly he continued henceforward to live in retirement, composing his immortal Memoirs. He died in Paris in 1755. Having known the subtle sway of a Maintenon, he lived to see the audacious empire of the Pompadour; and having served in his first campaigns under Luxembourg, he witnessed before his death the Great Frederick launch his thunderbolts of war, and the rise of Prussia among the great powers of Europe.

To attempt, in these few concluding remarks, to give any criticism of Saint-Simon’s great work would be a hopeless task. Its character is so many-sided, even contradictory, that any single judgment about it would be deceptive. We were impelled to connect the author’s name with that of the later memoir-writer by the contrasts which irresistibly suggested themselves.

Stated broadly, the main distinction between Saint-Simon and such writers as Greville and his kind is this: that Saint-Simon presents a connected narrative, flowing on largely, fully, evenly, abundantly, like a majestic river sweeping slowly past many varieties of scenery; while Greville gives nothing more than a hodge-podge diary, with no connection except the illusory one of dates, a jumble of short stories, petty details, and ill-natured remarks, bubbling like a noisy brook over stones and shingle, often half lost in the mud and sand, and not unlikely to end in a common sewer. It follows that, while it is difficult to remember particular events or conversations in Greville’s journal, many scenes from Saint-Simon remain for ever fixed in the memory. Take, for instance, one—not the most striking—that of the death of Monseigneur. Who can forget the picture of the old king, in tears, only half-dressed, hastening to the bedside of his son; the sudden terror of the prince’s household; the flight of La Choin, hastily gathering up her jewelry; the row of officers on their knees in the long avenue, crying out to the king to save them from dying of hunger; the well-managed eyes of the courtiers at Marly!

Greville is cynical or satirical by dint of the child’s art of using hard words. Saint-Simon seldom, comparatively speaking, puts on the garb of a cynic; but his narrative, with scarcely any obtrusion of the writer, often becomes a satire as terrible as that of some passages of Tacitus, or, in another vein, of Juvenal.

Many of the historical characters introduced into these works are no favorites of ours; but our purpose in this article has been, not to discuss them, but rather the capacity and good taste, or otherwise, of their critics.

Sainte-Beuve, in one of his felicitous periods, expresses the wish that every age might have a Saint-Simon to chronicle it. As a paraphrase of this remark, it might be said that it is to be wished no other age may have a Greville to slander it.




The church in France has just sustained a severe loss in the death of Dom Guéranger, the illustrious Abbot of Solesmes, who, on the 30th of January last, rendered up his soul to God in the noble abbey which he had restored at the same time that he brought back the Benedictine Order to France; and where, during the last forty years of his life, he had lived in the practice of every monastic virtue, and in the pursuit of literary labors which have rendered him one of the oracles of ecclesiastical learning.

We are not about to enter into details of the religious life of the venerable abbot. It belongs rather to those who have been its daily witnesses to trace its history; but we feel that it may be of interest to touch upon certain features of the character and public works of this humble and patient religious, this vigorous athlete, the loss of whom is so keenly felt by the Holy Father, whose friend and counsellor he was, and by the church, of which he was the honor and the unwearied defender.

Dom Guéranger, in mental temperament, belonged to that valiant generation of Catholics who, after 1830, energetically undertook the cause of religion in their unhappy country, more than ever exposed to the attacks of the Revolution. The university had become a source of antichristian teaching; the press everywhere overflowed with evil and daring scandals of every kind were rife. A new generation of Jacobins had sprung from the old stock, and were eager to invade everything noble, venerable, and sacred; legal tyranny threatened to do away with well-nigh all liberty of conscience, while the government, either not daring or not desiring to sever itself from the ambitious conspirators to whom it owed its being, allowed free course to the outrages and persecutions against the church. It was the most critical and ominous period of the century, and French society was rapidly sinking into an abyss.

One man, who had foreseen all this evil, and whose genius would have probably sufficed victoriously to combat it, had he only possessed the virtue of humility, was M. de Lamennais. Happily, the pleiades of chosen minds whom he had gathered around him did not lose courage after the melancholy defection of their brilliant master. The three most illustrious of these shared among them the defence of the faith against the floods of unbelief that threatened to overwhelm the country. Montalembert remained to defend the church in the public assemblies; Lacordaire adopted as his own the words of S. Paul to his disciple, Prædica verbum, insta opportune, importune,[88] and succeeded so effectually that he brought back the robe of S. Dominic into the pulpit of Notre Dame, amid the[280] applause of the conquered multitude; Guéranger felt that prayer and sound learning were the two great wants of society. The number of priests was insufficient for the labors of the sacred ministry. The needs of the time had indeed called forth some few weighty as well as brilliant apologists; but deep and solid learning as yet remained buried in the past, and the patient study so necessary for the polemics of the present and the future threatened indefinitely to languish. It was to this point, therefore, that the Abbé Guéranger directed his especial attention, and he it was who was chosen of God to rekindle the expiring, if not extinguished, flame.

He was led to this sooner than he himself had perhaps anticipated, and by a circumstance which rather appeared likely to have disturbed his projects. Solesmes, which, up to the Revolution, had been a priory dependent on S. Vincent de Mans, had just been sold to one of those “infernal bands” who in the course of a few years destroyed the greatest glories of France. Everything was to be pulled down: the cloister of eight centuries and the church, renowned for the admirable sculptures now doomed to fall beneath the “axe and hammer”; the authorities of the time doing nothing to check the devastation effected by the bandits who were rifling their country after having assassinated her.

The Abbé Guéranger could not endure to witness the annihilation of so much that was sacred and venerable; besides, the ruins of Solesmes were especially dear to him, and had been the favorite haunt of his early childhood and youth, so much so that from this and other characteristic circumstances he was at that period known among his school comrades at Le Sablé as The Monk. In concert with Dom Fontaine and other ecclesiastics of the neighborhood he rescued the abbey from the hands of its intending destroyers. It had already suffered considerably from the Revolution, but remained intact in all essential particulars. He spent the winter of 1833 at Paris, going about the city in his monk’s habit—which at that time had become a novelty—and knocking at every door, without troubling himself about the religious opinions or belief of those to whom he addressed himself. The sceptical citizens of the time amused themselves not a little at his expense; but the learned world received with distinction the energetic young priest who was so bent upon giving back the Benedictine Order to France. He never once allowed any obstacles to hinder or discourage him in the prosecution of his undertaking. In 1836 he repaired to Rome, there to make his novitiate; and, after a year passed in the Benedictine Abbey of San Paolo Fuora Muri, he pronounced his solemn vows, and occupied himself in preparing the constitutions of Solesmes. These, on the 1st of September, 1837, were approved by Pope Gregory XVI., who at the same time raised the Priory of Solesmes into an abbey, and authoritatively nominated Dom Guéranger to be its first abbot.

Solesmes and the grand Order of S. Benedict were thus restored to France. The new abbot was soon surrounded by men nearly all of whom have taken a distinguished rank in learning and science, and during forty years the austere discipline and deep and extensive studies of the sons of S. Benedict flourished under his able rule.

Dom Guéranger, moreover, restored[281] Ligugé, the oldest monastery in France, built in 360 by S. Martin of Tours. He also founded the Priory of S. Madeleine at Marseilles, and at Solesmes the Abbey of Benedictine Nuns of S. Cecilia.

The attention he bestowed upon these important foundations did not hinder this indefatigable religious from amassing the treasures of erudition which he dispensed with so much ability in defence of the truth and of sound doctrine. To the end of his life his pen was active either in writing the numerous works which have rendered his name so well known, or in correcting the errors of polemics and answering his adversaries when the interests of religion required it; habitually going straight to the point in his replies, fearlessly attacking whatever was false or mistaken, and never allowing any approach to a compromise with error. The defence of the church was his constant and engrossing thought, and no important controversy arose but he was sure to appear with the accuracy of his learning and the always serious but unsparing process of a logic supported by a thorough acquaintance with doctrine and facts.

The Abbot of Solesmes was endowed with a large amount of prudence and good sense. When his former companions of La Chesnaie undertook to popularize “liberal Catholicism,” the precise creed of which has never yet been ascertained, and the unfailing results of which have been scandal and division, he undertook to bring back the church in France to unity of prayer by writing his book entitled Institutions Liturgiques, which, exhibiting in all their beauty the forgotten rites and symbols, succeeded in securing for them the appreciation they merit; so that from that time the liturgy in France began to disengage itself from the multiplicity of particular observances.

In this matter Dom Guéranger had engaged in no trifling combat, his opponents being many and powerful; but he energetically defended his ground, and did not die until he had seen his undertaking crowned with full success by the restoration of the Roman liturgy in France.

Besides these liturgical labors, which chiefly occupied him, and his Letters to the Archbishops of Rheims and Toulouse, as likewise to Mgr. Fayet, Bishop of Orleans, in defence of the Institutions, he undertook the Liturgical Year, which, unfortunately, was left unfinished at his death. His Mémoire upon the Immaculate Conception was included among those memorials sent to the bishops by the Sovereign Pontiff on the promulgation of the dogma. His Sainte Cécile, remarkable for its historical accuracy, as well as for its excellence as a literary composition, is a finished picture of Christian manners during the earliest centuries.

When the Vatican Council was sitting, Dom Guéranger appeared for the last time in the breach. Confined a prisoner by sickness, but intrepid as those old captains who insist on being borne into the midst of the fight, he wished to take part in the great debate which was being carried on in the church. He fought valiantly, and answered the adversaries of tradition by his work on The Pontifical Monarchy, defending Pope Honorius against the attacks of an ill-informed academician.

We are unable to give a complete list of the writings of Dom Guéranger,[282] numerous articles having been published by him in the Univers—notably those on Maria d’Agreda and the reply to an exaggerated idea of M. d’Haussonville on the attitude of the church under the persecution of the First Bonaparte. We will only name, in concluding this part of the subject, his Essais sur le Naturalisme, which dealt a heavy blow to free-thinking; his Réponses upon the liturgical law to M. l’Abbé David, now Bishop of St. Brieuc; and a Défense des Jesuites.

Should it be asked how the Abbot of Solesmes could find the time for so many considerable works, the answer is given in the Imitation: Cella continuata dulcescit. He had made retreat a willing necessity for himself, and, being in the habit of doing everything in its proper time, he had time for everything without need of haste.

From the day that he became Abbot of Solesmes he was scarcely ever seen in the world, never absenting himself without absolute necessity or from obedience. Of middle height, decided manner, with a quick eye and serious smile, Dom Guéranger attracted those who came to him by the simplicity and kindness of his reception, and those who sought his advice by the discerning wisdom of his counsels. High ecclesiastical dignities might have been his had he not preferred to remain in the seclusion of his beloved abbey.

He leaves behind him something far better than even his books, in bequeathing to the church and to society a family of monks strongly imbued with his spirit, and destined to perpetuate the holy traditions which he was the first to revive in his native land.

The imposing ceremonies of the funeral of Dom Guéranger, which took place on the 4th of February at the Abbey of Solesmes, were conducted by the Bishops of Mans, Nantes, and Quimper; there were also present the Abbots of Ligugé, La Trappe de Mortagne, Aiguebelle, and Pierre-qui-Vire, besides more than two hundred priests of La Sarthe.

The remains of the reverend father, clothed in pontifical vestments, with the mitre and crozier, were exposed in the church from the evening of the 30th (Saturday) for the visits of the faithful, crowds of whom came from all the country round, in spite of the exceeding inclemency of the weather, to pay their last respects and to be present at the funeral of the illustrious man, who, during his forty years’ residence among them, had made himself so greatly beloved. Just before the close of the ceremony, when the Bishop of Mans invited those present to look for the last time upon the holy and beautiful countenance of the departed abbot, who had been a father to many outside as well as within the cloister walls, a general and irrepressible burst of sobs and tears arose from the multitude which thronged the church.

Among those present were many noble and learned friends of the deceased, besides the mayor and municipal council of Solesmes, and also of Sablé (Dom Guéranger’s native place), a deputation of the marble-workers of the district, and people of every class.


“La voyez vous croitre,
La tour du vieux cloitre?”

Before concluding our notice we must devote a page or two to the “Old Cloister Tower,” which is[283] discernible from a considerable distance, with its four or five stories and its heraldic crown rising above the walls of the ancient borough of Solesmes. The abbey itself next appears in sight, majestically seated on the slope of a wide valley, through which flows the Sarthe, on a level with its grassy borders.

The locality, which is pleasing rather than picturesque, is fertile, animated, and cheerful. Besides several châteaux of recent construction, which face the abbey from the opposite side of the river, may be seen, at some distance off, the splendid convent of Benedictine Nuns, built some years ago by a lady of Marseilles, and on the horizon appears the Château of Sablé, with its vast terraces and (according to the country-people) its three hundred and sixty-five windows.

The Abbey of Solesmes, founded about the year 1025, has preserved, in spite of several reconstructions, the architectural arrangement, so suitable for community life, copied by its first monks from the Roman houses of the order. The enclosure consists of a quadrangle, with an almost interminable cloister, out of which are entrances into the church, the chapter-house, the refectory, the guest-chamber, and all the places of daily assembly. There silence and recollection reign supreme. Excepting only during the times of recreation, no sound is to be heard save the twittering of birds, the sound of the Angelus or some other occasional bell, or the subdued voice of a monk who, with some visitor, is standing before a sculptured saint, or examining the fragments of some ancient tomb.

It is chiefly the abbey church which attracts the curiosity and interest of artists and antiquaries. There is not an archæologist who has not heard of the “Saints of Solesmes,” as the groups of statues and symbolic sculptures are called which fill the chapels of the transept from roof to pavement. These wonderful works, executed for the most part under the direction of the priors of Solesmes, form one of the finest monuments of mediæval sculpture to be found in France. They are mystic and somewhat mannered in style, but of bold conception, vigorously expressed.

A multitude of personages, sacred, historical, or allegorical, intermingle with coats-of-arms, heraldic devices, bandrols, and all the details of an ornamentation of which the skilfully-studied arrangement corrects the redundance, which would otherwise be confused. This, however, is but the purely decorative portion; the principal works being enshrined in deep niches or recesses, in which may be seen groups of seven or eight figures, the size of life, and wonderfully effective in attitude and action.

In a low-vaulted crypt resting on pillars, to the right, is represented the Entombment. This group, which is the earliest in date, having been executed in 1496 under the direction of Michel Colomb, “habitant de Tours et tailleur d’ymaiges du roy,” is the most considerable, and perhaps also the most striking. All the figures, ten in number, have impressed on their countenances and movements the feeling of the dolorous function in which they are engaged. Most of them are represented in the costume, and probably with the features, of persons of the time. Joseph of Arimathea in particular has the look[284] and bearing of the lord of the place, or, it may be, of the prior of the monastery. But nothing attracts the attention more than a little statue with features so refined that it might have descended from the canvas of Carlo Dolci. It is the Magdalen, seated in the dust; the elbows supported on the knees, the hands joined, the eyes closed. All her life seems concentrated in her soul; and that is absorbed in penitence and prayer, grief, love, and resignation—she is as if still shedding her sanctified odors at the Saviour’s feet.

The left transept is devoted to the honor of the Blessed Virgin. She has fallen asleep in the Lord, surrounded by the apostles. Then follow her burial, her Assumption, and finally her glorification. She tramples under foot the dragon, who, with bristling horns and claws, vainly endeavors to reach her. He is bound for a thousand years. This subject, rarely attempted, is here powerfully treated; all these heads, with horrible grimaces, appear to be howling and blaspheming in impotent fury—Et iratus est draco in mulierem[89]—but the Woman is raised on high, and with her virginal foot tramples on the enemy of mankind. Facing this subject are the patriarchs and prophets, in niches royally decorated. This work was executed in 1550 by Floris d’Anvers, after the plan given by Jean Bouglet, Doctor of the Sorbonne, and Prior of Solesmes.

But time would fail us to describe all these remarkable sculptures, which so narrowly escaped destruction or desecration at the hands of the revolutionists. The First Napoleon had the idea of transporting them to some museum as curiosities of art. It would have been a sacrilege, and one which, alas! has been too often perpetrated in other countries besides France. But what Catholic that visits the garden even, to say nothing of the museum, of the ancient monastery of Cluny (now Musée de Cluny, at Paris), is not pained at seeing saints and virgins, angels and apostles, more or less shattered and dismembered, torn from their places in the sanctuary, and figuring as statues on the lawn, or mere groups of sculpture picturesquely placed to assist the effect of the gardener’s arrangement of the shrubs and flower-beds?

Bonaparte, however (after testing with gimlet and saw the hardness of the stone), found himself obliged to leave the “Saints of Solesmes” where they were, as, unless the whole were to be ruined, the entire transept would have had to be transported all in one piece, every part of this immense sculptured fresco being connected and, as it were, enwound with the other portions, and each detail having only its particular excellence in the completeness of the rest.

It is amid the ceremonies of Solesmes that those who enter into the spirit of Christian art can penetrate more deeply into the meaning of the vast poem carved upon the walls of the church. During the simple recital of the psalms, as in the most solemn and magnificent ceremonies, there is a striking harmony between the decoration and the action, the one being a commentary on the other. The monks, motionless in their carven stalls, or disposed on the steps of the altar, seem to make one with the Jerusalem in stone, while the saints in their niches may almost be imagined to sing with the psalmody and meditate during the solemn rites at[285] which they are present. At the most solemn moment of the Mass, when clouds of incense are filling the holy place, the mystic dove descends, bearing between her silver wings the Bread of Heaven, and, when it is deposited in the pyx, mounts again into her aerial shrine, which is suspended from a lofty cross.

This custom of elevating the tabernacle between heaven and earth was not the only one in which the venerable abbot exactly copied the ancient rites. The ceremonies of Solesmes are full of the spirit of the church’s liturgy, and the community formed by his teaching and example will not fail to perpetuate the pious and venerable observances which he was the first to restore in France.


There was a time when around this mountain, now covered with perpetual snow, swarms of bees produced aromatic honey; fine cows, pasturing the entire year in the green fields, filled the dairy-women’s pails with rich milk; and the farmer by trifling labor obtained abundant harvests. But the inhabitants of this fertile country, blinded by the splendor of their fortune, became proud and haughty. They were intoxicated with the charms of wealth; they forgot that there are duties attached to the possession of wealth—the duties of hospitality and of charity. Instead of using their treasures judiciously, they employed them solely in ministering to a more luxurious idleness, and in a continual succession of festivities. They closed their ears to the supplications of the unfortunate, and sent the poor from their doors; and God punished them.

One of these proud, rich men built on the verdant slopes of the Blumisalpe a superb château, intending to reside there, surrounded by his unworthy associates. Every morning their baths were filled with the purest milk.

The terraced steps of the gardens were made, according to the legend, of finely-cut blocks of excellent cheese. This Sardanapalus of the mountains had inherited all his father’s vast domains, and, whilst he revelled in this manner in his rich possessions, his old mother was living in want in the seclusion of the valley. One day the poor old woman, suffering from cold and hunger, supplicated his compassion. She told him that she was living alone in her cabin, unable to work; indigent, without assistance; infirm, without support. She begged him to grant her the fragments of his feast, a refuge in his stables; but, deaf to her entreaties, he ordered her to leave. She showed him her cheeks, wrinkled by grief more than by age; her emaciated arms, that had carried him in his infancy; he threatened to command his attendants to drive her away.

The poor woman returned to her cabin, overwhelmed with grief by this cruel outrage. She tottered[286] through his beautiful grounds with bowed head, and sighs that she could not restrain burst from her oppressed heart, and bitter tears streamed from her eyes. God counted the mother’s tears.

She had scarcely arrived at her hut when the avenging storm came.

The château of the ignominious son was struck by lightning, his treasures were consumed by the flames, from which he himself did not escape, and his companions perished with him.

Those fields, that once yielded so abundantly, are now covered with a mass of snow that never melts. On the spot where his mother vainly implored his compassion, the rent earth has opened a frightful abyss; and where her tears then flowed now, drop by drop, fall the tears of the eternal glaciers.


The Young Catholic’s Illustrated Fifth Reader. Pp. 430, 12mo. The Young Catholic’s Illustrated Sixth Reader and Speaker. By Rev. J. L. Spalding, S.T.L. Pp. 477, 12mo. New York: The Catholic Publication Society, 9 Warren Street. 1875.

These books have been prepared with great care and rare tact. We have examined, from time to time, the various Readers which are used in this country, and the Young Catholic’s Series is certainly the best which we have seen. But the Fifth and Sixth Readers of this series are especially good, and we are confident that they are destined to become the standard Readers of the Catholic schools of the United States. They are indeed more than reading-books: they are collections of choice specimens of English literature, in prose and poetry, so arranged as to present every variety of style, that opportunity may be given to the pupil to cultivate all the different forms of vocal expression.

In the Fifth Reader the attention of the young Catholic is called to the history of the church in the United States by the attractive biographical notices of some of the most distinguished bishops and archbishops of this country; and, as an introduction to the Sixth, we have a brief but exhaustive treatise on elocution. We have not the space to enter into a minute criticism of these books; but we have expressed our honest conviction of their excellence, and we are quite sure that their own merits will open for them a way into Catholic schools throughout the land.

Pax. The Syllabus for the People: A Review of the Propositions condemned by His Holiness Pope Pius IX., with Text of the Condemned List. By a Monk of S. Augustine’s, Ramsgate, author of The Vatican Decrees and Catholic Allegiance. New York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1875.

This is an almost necessary complement to the publications forming the Gladstone controversy, the original being so frequently referred to by Mr. Gladstone and his reviewers.

We cannot do better than quote the editor’s preface, by way of comment:

“The Syllabus of Pius IX. has been the subject of so many misconceptions that a plain and simple setting forth of its meaning cannot be useless. This is what I have tried to do in the following pages. A vindication or defence of the Syllabus was, of course, out of the question in so small a compass; but I think that more than half the work of defence is done by a simple explanation. During the ten years just completed since its promulgation, much has occurred to show the wisdom that dictated it. The translation I have given is the one authorized by His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Dublin.”


Postscript to a Letter addressed to His Grace the Duke of Norfolk, on Occasion of Mr. Gladstone’s Recent Expostulation, and in Answer to his “Vaticanism.” By John Henry Newman, D. D., of the Oratory. New York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1875.

In this Postscript Dr. Newman pulverizes the different statements of Mr. Gladstone’s rejoinder, one by one. The blunders of the ex-Premier are not surprising, seeing that he attempts to write about matters in which he is not well informed, but they are certainly very gross. Dr. Newman has taken him by the hand with a very gentle smile on his countenance, but he has broken his bones as in a vise.

Personal Reminiscences. By Moore and Jerdan. Edited by Richard Henry Stoddard. New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Company. 1875.

This small and dainty-looking little volume is one of the “Bric-a-Brac” Series. Its two hundred and eighty-eight pages profess to give us the “personal reminiscences” of Moore and Jerdan. They give nothing more than such extracts from the original as have taken the fancy of the editor. Whether that fancy has always been wise in its choice is fairly open to question. There is much of Moore’s reminiscences omitted that might have been very profitably inserted, at least in exchange for many things which have found their way into the volume. It is Moore “bottled off,” so to say, and given out in small doses. The experiment is not very satisfactory. Moore suffered irretrievably in his biographer, Lord John Russell, of whose “eight solid volumes,” as Mr. Stoddard says, “the essence is here presented to the reader.” Lord Russell will be credited with many blunders in after time, and very grave ones some of them; but never did he make a more exasperating mistake than in undertaking the editing of Moore’s Memoirs, Journal, and Correspondence, in rivalry of Moore’s own admirable biography of Byron. Readers of Personal Reminiscences must be prepared to meet with a vast quantity of nonsense and trash. But much of this constitutes the chief value of such works. In the jottings down of daily journals no one expects to meet with profound reflections and labored thoughts. They are rather, in the hands of such men as Moore, “the abstract and brief chronicle of the time” in which they are made. Moore’s witty and graceful pen was just adapted to such work as this. Whoever or whatever was considered worth seeing in the world in which he lived and moved as one of its chief ornaments, he saw, and set down in his private journal. Bits of this Mr. Stoddard gives us in the present volume; but those who care for this kind of literature at all will prefer the whole to such parts as have pleased the editor; and the whole does possess an intrinsic value to which the present volume does not pretend. Mr. Stoddard’s preface is not encouraging. He seems to write under protest that his valuable time should be consumed in this kind of work. “I cannot put myself in the place of a man who keeps a journal in which he is the principal figure, and in which his whereabouts, and actions, and thoughts, and feelings are detailed year after year,” says Mr. Stoddard; and the obvious comment is: “Very probably; but no one has asked Mr. Stoddard to do anything so foolish.” Persons who keep “journals,” however, are not in the habit of keeping them for other people. “I cannot put myself in the place of Moore,” insists Mr. Stoddard, with unnecessary pertinacity, “who seems to have never lost interest in himself.” The comment again is very obvious: Mr. Stoddard is a very different man from Mr. Moore. The truth is, Mr. Stoddard does not like either Moore or his poetry. “The reputation which had once been his had waned.” “A new and greater race of poets than the one to which he belonged had risen.” “Lalla Rookh was still read, perhaps, but not with the same pleasure as The Princess or The Blot on the Scutcheon. Moore had ‘ceased to charm.’” Such statements as these Mr. Stoddard would seem to consider self evident facts of which no proof is needed. And he would be astonished were some one to ask him to point out the “new and greater race of poets” which has arisen since Moore’s death. Still more would he be astonished if asked to point out, not “a race of poets,” but a single member of the race whose writings are more read, whose name and fame are better known, who is “greater,” than Moore. He would be thunderstruck were he informed that for a hundred who had read Lalla Rookh not twenty had read The Princess, knew its author or of its existence, and not ten knew even of the name of the other[288] poem mentioned. Altogether, though Mr. Stoddard’s preface is short, it is certainly not sweet, and both himself and the reader are to be congratulated at his not having extended it.

Our Lady’s Dowry; or, How England Gained and Lost that Title. A compilation by the Rev. T. E. Bridgett, of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. London: Burns & Oates. 1875. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)

This book is among the most delightful and the most valuable which it has been our good-fortune to meet with. It establishes not only the fact of England having been called “throughout Europe Our Lady’s Dowry,” but her right to the glorious title.

Those who imagine what is known to-day as Catholic devotion to Our Lady a thing of comparatively modern growth, or, again, that it can only bloom luxuriantly in the sunny climes of Spain and Italy, will find both illusions dispelled in these pages. The old Anglo-Saxon love of Mary was as warm and tender as any of which human hearts are capable. And instead of finding our English ancestors behind us in this devotion, we must rather own ourselves behind them.

We would gladly give our readers an analysis of Father Bridgett’s “compilation,” but this cannot be done except in an elaborate review. Suffice it to say that never was a “compilation” (as the author modestly calls it) less like what is ordinarily understood by the term—we mean in point of interest and style.

We subjoin a passage from Chapter V. on “Beads and Bells” (p. 201). We think the information it contains will be new to almost all:

“The word ‘bead’ has undergone in English a curious transformation of meaning. It is the past participle of the Saxon verb biddan, to bid, to invite, to pray. Thus in early English it is often used simply for prayers, without any reference whatever to their nature or the mode of reciting them. To ‘bid the beads’ is merely to say one’s prayers. ‘Bidding the beads’ also meant a formal enumeration of the objects of prayer or persons to be prayed for. Beadsmen or beads-women are not necessarily persons who say the Rosary, but simply those who pray for others, especially for their benefactors.

“But as a custom was introduced in very early times of counting prayers said, by the use of little grains or pebbles strung together, the name of prayer got attached to the instrument used for saying prayers; and in this sense the word beads is commonly used by Catholics at the present day.

“Lastly, the idea of prayer was dropped out altogether in Protestant times, and the name of ‘beads’ was left attached to any little perforated balls which could be strung together merely for personal adornment, without any reference to devotion.”

Bulla Jubilæi 1875; seu, Sanctissimi Domini nostri Pii Divina Providentia Papæ IX. Epistola Encyclica: Gravibus Ecclesiæ, cum Notis, Practicis ad usum Cleri Americani. Curante A. Konings, C.SS.R. Neo-Eboraci: Typus Societatis pro Libris Catholicis Evulgandis. MDCCCLXXV.

The reverend clergy will be grateful to Father Konings for this convenient and beautiful edition of the text of the bull announcing the present Jubilee, and for the accompanying notes.

Seven Stories. By Lady Georgiana Fullerton. Baltimore: Kelly, Piet & Company. 1875.

This is a handsome reprint of a work the English edition of which was noticed, on its first appearance, in these pages.

Readings from the Old Testament. Arranged with Chronological Tables, Explanatory Notes, and Maps. For the Use of Students. By J. G. Wenham, Canon of Southwark. London: Burns & Oates. 1875. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)

The title of the work is almost a sufficient description of its contents. The primary object of the book is to give a consecutive history of the events related in the Old Testament, in the words of Holy Scripture. It includes a history of the patriarchs from the beginning to the birth of Moses; of the Israelites from the birth of Moses to the end of the Judges; of the Kings from the establishment of the kingdom to its end; and of the Prophets from B.C. 606 to the birth of Christ, embracing an account of the prophetic writings.


VOL. XXI., No. 123.—JUNE, 1875.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by Rev. I. T. Hecker, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington D. C.


Charity is generally acknowledged to be, particularly by those who do not practise it, the greatest of the virtues. Judged by this standard, everything connected with it ought to command a special interest. Among ourselves the most practical form of it is exhibited in the institutions provided for the care of that large section of society that may be classed as the unfortunate. It is only natural to suppose, then, that the reports of these institutions would be caught up and studied with avidity by the public, who in some shape or form pay for and support them. Nothing, however, is further from the truth. It is safe to say that not one man out of every hundred ever sees a report of any single institution, or ever dreams even of the existence of such a thing.

This indifference to how our money goes is one of the chief causes of the gross peculations and frauds that startle and shock the public mind from time to time. Where scrutiny is not close and constant, the conduct of those who have reason to expect scrutiny is apt to be proportionately loose and careless. There is no intention in saying this to arraign the managers of public institutions with loose and careless conduct in the discharge of their duties and the dispensing of the large sums of money confided to their care. All that we would say is that the public is too inert in the matter. A sharp lookout on officials of any kind never does harm to any one. It will be courted by honest men, while it hangs like the sword of Damocles over the heads of the dishonest. At all events, it is the safest voucher for activity, zeal, and honesty on all sides.

The reports of several of the institutions best known to the public in this city have been examined, and the result of the investigation will be set forth in this article. It may be said here that perhaps a chief reason for the general apathy of the public regarding these reports is due to the reports themselves.[290] As a rule, they seem to be drawn up with the express purpose of giving the least possible information in the most roundabout fashion. The very sight of them warns an inquirer off. While he is solely intent on finding out what such and such an institution does for its inmates, what it has done, what it purposes doing, how it is conducted, what it costs, what it produces, what success it can point to in plain black and white, and not in general terms, he is almost invariably treated to homilies on charity; to dissertations on the growing number of the poor and the awfulness of crime; to tirades on the public-school question; to highly-colored opinions on the duty of enforcing education; to extracts from letters that, for all he can determine, date from nowhere and are signed by no one. Such is a fair description of the average “report” of any given charity or public institution, as any conscientious reader who is anxious for a sleepless night and morning headache may convince himself by glancing at the first half-dozen that come in his way.

This is much to be regretted. Little more than a year ago public inquiry was stimulated by the public press to examine into the record of the institutions that for years and years have been absorbing vast sums of money, with no very apparent result. Grave charges were then made and substantiated by very ugly figures, showing that the cost of the majority of institutions was enormously in excess of the good effected. It was charged that the statistics were not clear, that the managers shirked inquiry, that the salaries were enormously disproportionate to the work done—in a word, that the least benefit accrued to those for whom the institutions were founded, erected, and kept a-going. Suspicion speedily took possession of the public mind that what went by the name of public charity was nothing more nor less than a system of organized plunder.

That opinion is neither endorsed nor gainsaid here. The result of such investigations as have been made of reports drawn up for the past year have been simply set forth, so that every reader may judge for himself as to the benefits accruing to the public from the institutions in their midst which every year absorb an aggregate of several millions of public and private funds.

The institutions whose reports have been examined are for children of both sexes and of all creeds. Some of them are more, some less, directly under State control. All, at least, are under State patronage. Their aim and purport is to relieve the State of a stupendous task—the care and future provision for children who, without such care and provision, would in all probability go astray, and become, if not a danger, at least a burden, to the State. On this ground the State or city, or both together, make or makes to each one certain apportionments and awards of the public moneys. Those apportionments and awards are not in all cases equal either in amount or in average. It is not claimed here that they are necessarily bound to be equal either in amount or in average. The gift is practically a free gift on the part of the State, although between itself and the institutions the award made partakes of the nature of a contract. So much is allowed for the care of State wards. What may be fairly claimed, however, is that the awards of the State should be regulated by justice and impartiality. Most money ought to be given where it is clear that most good[291] is effected by it. This system of award does not prevail.

Again, as these institutions undertake the entire control of their inmates, and to a great extent their disposal after leaving, they are charged with the mental, moral, and physical training of those inmates. A vast number of the children are in all cases of the Catholic faith.

As the general question of religion in our public institutions was dealt with at length in the April number of The Catholic World, there is no need of returning to it here further than to remind our readers that the moral training of Catholic children in public institutions is utterly unprovided for. Our main questions now are: What do our public institutions do for the public? What do they do for the inmates? How much does it cost them to do it? Whence does the money that sustains them come, and whither does it go?

It is far easier to put these questions than to obtain a satisfactory answer to them. Of the fitness of putting them and the importance of answering them fully and fairly no man can doubt. They are equally important to the public at large, to the State, and to the institutions themselves. It is fitting and right that we know which institutions do the best work in the best way; which merit the support of the public and of the State; which, if any, are concerned chiefly about the welfare of their inmates; which, if any, are concerned chiefly about the welfare of their officers and directors. Let us see how far the Fiftieth Annual Report of the Managers of the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents may enlighten us on these interesting points.

In this institution there were received during the year (1874) seven hundred and twenty-four children, of whom six hundred and thirty-six were new inmates. The total number in the institution for the year was one thousand three hundred and eighty-seven. The average figure taken on which to calculate the year’s expenditure is seven hundred and forty. Whence the children come may be inferred from the words of the superintendent’s report (page 38): “By its charter the House of Refuge is authorized to receive boys under commitment by a magistrate from the first three judicial districts, and girls from all parts of the State. The age of subjects who may be committed is limited to sixteen years.[90] State Prison Inspectors have power to transfer young prisoners from Sing Sing prison, under seventeen years of age, to this institution, if in their judgment they are proper subjects for its discipline.… Prior to 1847 this was the only place, except the prisons, in the State, authorized to receive juvenile delinquents. At that time the Western House of Refuge was organized at Rochester, and boys from the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth judicial districts were directed, by the act under which that institution was organized, to be sent there. The State Prison Inspectors may transfer young prisoners from the State prisons of Auburn and Dannemora to the Western House, the same as from Sing Sing here. The United States courts, sitting within the State, may commit youthful offenders under sixteen years of age to either institution. The expense for the[292] support of these is paid by the United States government. Girls from all parts of the State are sent to this house, there being no female department at the Western House.”

The expenses for support of the (average) seven hundred and forty children for 1874 amounted to $103,524 23, according to the superintendent’s report. To defray this, there was contributed in all $74,968 61 of public moneys, in the following allotments:

By Annual Appropriation, $40,000 00
By Balance Special Appropriation, 10,500 00
On account Special Appropriation, 1874, 10,000 00
By Board of Education, 7,468 61
By Theatre Licenses, 7,000 00
$74,968 61

There is one remark to be made on these figures, which have been copied item by item from the report. They do not tally with the report of the State Treasurer. In his report the award to the society is set down as $66,500. There is evidently a mistake somewhere. A small item of $6,000 is missing from the report of the society. Where can it have gone? The president himself, Mr. Edgar Ketchum, endorses the figures of the superintendent and treasurer. He tells us (page 14) that the receipts for 1874, “from the State Comptroller, annual and special appropriations,” are $60,500; but there is that page 34 of the annual report of the State Treasurer, which sets it down plumply at $66,500. There will doubtless be forthcoming an excellent explanation of this singular discrepancy between the reports. The State Treasurer may have made the mistake; but, if not, one is permitted to ask, is this the kind of arithmetic taught in the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents?

The remaining deficit is covered by “labor of the inmates”—which is rated at $41,594 48—sale of waste articles, etc. There is no mention whatever made of private donations. With an exception that will be noted, there is not a hint at such a thing throughout the sixty-eight pages of the report. If private donations were received at this institution during the year, the donors will search the fiftieth annual report in vain for any account of them. Attention is called to this point, because in every other report examined the private donations have been ample, duly acknowledged, and accounted for; but the managers of the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents observe silence on this subject.

Looking to see how the money went, we find the largest item of the expenses set down as $44,521 62, for “food and provisions.” The next largest item is $34,880 52, for salaries—as nearly as possible one-third of the whole expense. This is a very important item. One-third of the entire expenses, and considerably over half the net cost for the support of the institution during the year, was consumed in salaries. Into the various other items it is not necessary to go, as in these two by far the largest portion of the expenses is accounted for. The sum of the remainder for “clothing,” “fuel and light,” “bedding and furniture,” “books and stationery for the schools and chapel,” “ordinary repairs,” and “hospital,” amounts only to $27,555 84, or over $7,000 less than the salaries; while “all other expenses not included” in what has already been mentioned amount only to $23,339 23.


As this is the fiftieth annual report, the managers of the institution have thought it a fitting time to publish a review of the work done during the last half-century and of the cost of its doing. The “financial statement for fifty years” informs us that “the cost for real estate and buildings for the use of the institution, including repairs and improvements,” was $745,740 31. This amount was paid “in part by private subscriptions and donations”—the solitary mention to be found of anything of the kind throughout the report—and the remainder “by money received for insurance for loss by fires, money received from sale of property in Twenty-third Street, New York, and by State appropriations.” The amount of private subscriptions and donations was $38,702 04; thus leaving $707,038 27, by far the greater portion of which, it is to be presumed, was paid by State appropriations.

So far for the real estate and buildings for fifty years. Let us now look at the cost of support for the same period.

Including every item of expense, except for the grounds and buildings, the sum total is $2,106,009 16. Of this $767,189 31 was paid from labor of the inmates and sale of articles; the remaining $1,338,819 85 was paid “from moneys received from appropriations made by the State and by the city of New York, from the licenses of theatres, from the excise and marine funds.” In short, with the exception of the $38,702 04 already mentioned as coming from private subscriptions and donations, of the money received from sale of property in Twenty-third Street, New York, and the amount earned by the inmates, the State has covered the entire expenses of the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents since its founding, fifty years ago. Those expenses, according to their own showing, were $2,045,868 12. Thus it is within the truth to say that this society has received $2,000,000 from the State within the last fifty years, one-third of which amount, if the figures for last year be a fair gauge, was consumed in salaries.

Such has been the cost—a weighty one. What is the result? What has been achieved by this immense outlay?—for immense it is. We are informed (p. 39) that “when a child is dismissed from the house, an entry is made under the history, giving the name, residence, and occupation of the person into whose care the boy or girl is given. Pains are taken, by correspondence and otherwise, to keep informed of their subsequent career as far as possible, and such information when received, whether favorable or unfavorable, is noted under the history.”

The result may be given briefly: Fifteen thousand seven hundred and ninety-one children have passed through the institution in fifty years. Of these thirty-eight per cent. have been heard from “favorably,” fourteen per cent. “unfavorably,” while forty-eight per cent. are classified as “unknown.” Thus it is seen that not nearly one-half have turned out well; a very considerable number have turned out badly; and of a larger number than either—of almost half, in fact—nothing is known. And it has taken about three millions of dollars (a far higher figure if the private donations, of which no account is given, ranked for anything) to achieve this magnificent result!

We have only one comment to offer. If, with the practically unlimited[294] means at their disposal, the managers of the society can do nothing better for and with the children than they have done after fifty years of trial, the experiment is, to say the least, a costly failure. Indeed, it is not at all extravagant to assert that, taking into consideration the migratory habits of our people and the ups and downs of life, these children, if allowed to run their own course, would, were it possible to follow up their histories, probably show as high a percentage of “favorable” as this society has been able to show. In the proud words of the superintendent’s report, “The results of half a century of labor in the cause of God and humanity are now before us!”[91]

An institution similar to the one just examined is the New York Juvenile Asylum, whose Twenty-second Annual Report is published. Unlike its predecessor, it acknowledges “the readiness with which the necessary funds, beyond those received from the public treasury, are supplemented by private beneficence.” It has a Western agency, whose business it is to “procure suitable homes for children placed under indenture, and conduct the responsible work of perpetuated guardianship, which forms the distinguishing feature of our chartered obligations” (Report, p. 12). We are informed that “an analysis of the treasurer’s report confirms the uniform experience of the board, that the appropriations from the city treasury of $110, and from the Board of Education of about $13 50, per annum, for each child, are inadequate to the support of the institution on its present required scale of superior excellence.”

The treasurer’s report is a study. The expenses for the year (1874) were $95,976 83. Of this sum $67,452 05 is set down plumply as for “salaries, wages, supplies, etc., for Asylum.” How much of it was devoted to “salaries,” how much to “wages,” how much to “supplies,” and how much to “etc.,” whatever that financial mystery may mean, is left to conjecture. A similar entry for the House (connected with the asylum) amounts to $16,875 59; and a third, for the Western agency, to $5,303 18. By this happy arrangement there only remain some two thousand odd dollars to be accounted for, and[295] the balance-sheet pleasantly closes, leaving the reader as wise as ever on the important query, Who gets the lion’s share of the money, the children or the managers?

To cover the expenses of the year, the corporation gave $68,899 40; the Board of Education, $8,833 23. Thus public moneys covered the great bulk of the annual expense. The carefully-confused figures of the treasurer make it impossible to say whether or not a judicious paring of the “salaries, wages, etc.,” might not have enabled the same moneys to cover it all and still leave a balance in the bank.

As it is hopeless to investigate how the money went, item by item, let us turn to the children for whose benefit it was given.

The whole number in the Asylum and House of Reception at the beginning of the year was 617; received during the year, 581; discharged, 585; average for the year, 617. Of the discharged, 9 were indentured, 103 sent to the Western agency, 466 discharged to parents and friends.

The managers are very strongly in favor of placing the children in “Western homes,” and doubtless most persons interested in the question of caring for these children would agree with them, could satisfactory evidence only be given of the actual advantages of the plan. But such evidence is not furnished by any of the reports we have examined. This asylum, for instance, has been sending children West year after year, and yet the superintendent informs us, as a piece of special news, that “in the early part of November last the superintendent went to Illinois, for the purpose of becoming better acquainted with the practical workings of the agency, and visiting the children sent West in their new homes.” This is given as an event in the workings of the institution. In other words, the children sent out were left absolutely to the Western agent, who may have been a very worthy and conscientious person, or who may have been nothing of the kind. The amount expended on the Western agency would not seem to indicate any very extensive or arduous labors. The result of the superintendent’s trip was a visitation of twenty-five children, and, on the strength of that very limited number of visits and the representations of the agent, he states that “it was evident that great care was taken and good judgment exercised in providing children with the best of homes and looking after their general welfare.”

The Western agent himself reports: “For sixteen years the Asylum has been sending to Illinois, and placing in families as apprentices, those who have become permanently its wards, and during that time two thousand three hundred and ninety-nine have been thus cared for. Their employers have been required to make a legal contract in writing, binding themselves to provide suitably for their physical comfort during their minority, instruct them in a specified trade, allow them to attend school four months in each year, give them moral and religious training, and make a stipulated payment of clothing and money at the expiration of their apprenticeship.… The Asylum is required by its charter to see that the terms of every contract are faithfully performed throughout the entire period of the apprenticeship.”

Of course these conditions are very favorable to the children, provided[296] only that they are carried out. That they are always carried out is doubtful, and the number of complaints made by both children and employers, mentioned incidentally, tend to strengthen this doubt. Then as regards the “moral and religious training”: What in the case of Catholic children such training is likely to be may be inferred from the fact that the Catholic religion is proscribed in the Asylum and House, as also from the fact mentioned by the agent himself (p. 42) that among the employers “prejudiced against indentures,” “occasionally one objects to them on the ground of conscientious scruples;” “but,” he adds, “it rarely occurs that they cannot be prevailed upon to comply with our regulations in this particular.”

What the Western “Home” is may be judged from the following pregnant sentence of the agent’s report: “I am not instructed by the committee, nor would it be well to make it an attractive rendezvous, and the children are neither drawn to it by factitious allurements nor encouraged to make a protracted stay.” The unsolicited testimony on this point may be taken as unimpeachable. He admits that “instances of wrongs frequently come to our knowledge, and doubtless many others exist of which we have not been made aware.” Accordingly, “to prevent such abuses,” “an additional agent has recently been engaged, who will be employed exclusively as a visitor.” Thi