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Title: Old Friends
       Essays in Epistolary Parody

Author: Andrew Lang

Release Date: March 1, 2013  [eBook #1991]
[This file was first posted on April 16, 1999]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1890 Longmans, Green, and Co. edition by David Price, email

The Baron at St. Andrews.  From an old painting








All rights reserved







The studies in this volume originally appeared in the “St. James’s Gazette.”  Two, from a friendly hand, have been omitted here by the author of the rest, as non sua poma.  One was by Mr. Richard Swiveller to a boon companion and brother in the lyric Apollo; the other, though purporting to have been addressed by Messrs. Dombey & Son to Mr. Toots, is believed, on internal evidence, to have been composed by the patron of the Chicken himself.  A few prefatory notes, an introductory essay, and two letters have been added.

The portrait in the frontispiece, copied by Mr. T. Hodge from an old painting in the Club at St. Andrews, is believed to represent the Baron Bradwardine addressing himself to his ball.

A. L.





From Mr. Clive Newcome to Mr. Arthur Pendennis



From the Hon. Cecil Bertie to the Lady Guinevere



From Mr. Redmond Barry to his Uncle



From Mrs. Gamp to Mrs. Prig



From Herodotus of Halicarnassus to Sophocles the Athenian



From Mrs. Proudie to Mrs. Quiverful


From Mrs. Quiverful to Mrs. Proudie



From Robert Surtees, Esq., of Mainsforth, to Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq., of Monkbarns


From Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq., of Monkbarns, to Robert Surtees, Esq., Mainsforth


From Robert Surtees, Esq., to Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq.



From Nicholas to the Editor of theSt. James’s Gazette



From the Earl of Montrose to Captain Dugald Dalgetty


From Captain Dugald Dalgetty, of Drumthwacket, to the Most Noble and Puissant Prince James, Earl of Montrose, commanding the musters of the King in Scotland



From Mr. Lovelace to John Belford, Esq.



From Miss Catherine Morland to Miss Eleanor Tilney



From Montague Tigg, Esq., to Mr. David Crimp


From Mr. David Crimp to Montague Tigg, Esq.



From Christian to Piscator


From Piscator to Christian



From Truthful James to Mr. Bret Harte



From Professor Forth to the Rev. Mr. Casaubon


From the Rev. Mr. Casaubon to James Forth, Esq., Professor of Etruscan, Oxford


From Professor Forth to Rev. Mr. Casaubon


From Mrs. Forth, Bradmore Road, Oxford, to David Rivers, Esq., Milnthorpe, Yorkshire


From David Rivers, Esq., to Mrs. Forth, Oxford


From Mrs. Casaubon to William Ladislaw, Esq., Stratford-on-Avon


From William Ladislaw, Esq., to the Hon. Secretary of the Literary and Philosophical Mechanics’ Institute, Middlemarch


From William Ladislaw, Esq., to Mrs. Casaubon


From Mrs. Casaubon to Mrs. Forth



From Euphues to Sir Amyas Leigh, Kt.


From Sir Amyas Leigh to Euphues



From Mr. Paul Rondelet to the Very Rev. Dean Maitland



From Harold Skimpole, Esq., to the Rev. Charles Honeyman, M.A.


From the Rev. Charles Honeyman to Harold Skimpole, Esq.



From Miss Harriet to M. Guy de Maupassant



From S. Gandish, Esq., to theNewcome Independent


From Thomas Potts, Esq., of theNewcome Independent,’ to S. Gandish, Esq.



From Monsieur Lecoq, Rue Jérusalem, Paris, to Inspector Bucket, Scotland Yard


From Inspector Bucket to M. Lecoq


From Count Fosco to Samuel Pickwick, Esq., G.C.M.P.C., Goswell Road


From Mr. Pickwick to the Count Fosco


From Inspector Bucket to M. Lecoq


From Mr. Pickwick to Mr. Perker, Solicitor, Gray’s Inn


From Monsieur Lecoq to Inspector Bucket



From Mr. Allan Quatermain to Sir Henry Curtis



From the Baron Bradwardine to Edward Waverley, Esq., of Waverley Honour



Note on Letter of Mr. Surtees to Mr. Jonathan Oldbuck



Every fancy which dwells much with the unborn and immortal characters of Fiction must ask itself, Did the persons in contemporary novels never meet?  In so little a world their paths must often have crossed, their orbits must have intersected, though we hear nothing about the adventure from the accredited narrators.  In historical fiction authors make their people meet real men and women of history—Louis XI., Lazarus, Mary Queen of Scots, General Webbe, Moses, the Man in the Iron Mask, Marie Antoinette; the list is endless.  But novelists, in spite of Mr. Thackeray’s advice to Alexandre Dumas, and of his own example in “Rebecca and Rowena,” have not introduced each other’s characters.  Dumas never pursued the fortunes of the Master of Ravenswood after he was picked up by that coasting vessel in the Kelpie’s Flow.  Sometimes a meeting between characters in novels by different hands looked all but unavoidable.  “Pendennis” and “David Copperfield” came out simultaneously in numbers, yet Pen never encountered Steerforth at the University, nor did Warrington, in his life of journalism, jostle against a reporter named David Copperfield.  One fears that the Major would have called Steerforth a tiger, that Pen would have been very loftily condescending to the nephew of Betsy Trotwood.  But Captain Costigan would scarcely have refused to take a sip of Mr. Micawber’s punch, and I doubt, not that Litimer would have conspired darkly with Morgan, the Major’s sinister man.  Most of those delightful sets of old friends, the Dickens and Thackeray people, might well have met, though they belonged to very different worlds.  In older novels, too, it might easily have chanced that Mr. Edward Waverley of Waverley Honour, came into contact with Lieutenant Booth, or, after the Forty-five, with Thomas Jones, or, in Scotland, Balmawhapple might have foregathered with Lieutenant Lismahagow.  Might not even Jeanie Deans have crossed the path of Major Lambert of the “Virginians,” and been helped on her way by that good man?  Assuredly Dugald Dalgetty in his wanderings in search of fights and fortune may have crushed a cup or rattled a dicebox with four gallant gentlemen of the King’s Mousquetaires.  It is agreeable to wonder what all these very real people would have thought of their companions in the region of Romance, and to guess how their natures would have acted and reacted on each other.

This was the idea which suggested the following little essays in parody.  In making them the writer, though an assiduous and veteran novel reader, had to recognise that after all he knew, on really intimate and friendly terms, comparatively few people in the Paradise of Fiction.  Setting aside the dramatic poets and their creations, the children of Molière and Shakspeare, the reader of novels will find, may be, that his airy friends are scarce so many as he deemed.  We all know Sancho and the Don, by repute at least; we have all our memories of Gil Blas; Manon Lescaut does not fade from the heart, nor her lover, the Chevalier des Grieux, from the remembrance.  Our mental picture of Anna Karénine is fresh enough and fair enough, but how few can most of us recall out of the myriad progeny of George Sand!  Indiana, Valentine, Lélia, do you quite believe in them, would you know them if you met them in the Paradise of Fiction?  Noun one might recognise, but there is a haziness about La Petite Fadette.  Consuelo, let it be admitted, is not evanescent, oblivion scatters no poppy over her; but Madame Sand’s later ladies, still more her men, are easily lost in the forests of fancy.  Even their names with difficulty return to us, and if we read the roll-call, would Horace and Jacques cry Adsum like the good Colonel?  There are living critics who have all Mr. George Meredith’s heroines and heroes and oddities at their finger ends, and yet forget that musical name, like the close of a rich hexameter, Clare Doria Forey.  But this is a digression; it is perhaps admitted that George Sand, so great a novelist, gave the world few characters who live in and are dear to memory.  We can just fancy one of her dignified later heroines, all self-renunciation and rural sentiment, preaching in vain to that real woman, Emma Bovary.  Her we know, her we remember, as we remember few, comparatively, of Balzac’s thronging faces, from La Cousine Bette to Séraphitus Séraphita.  Many of those are certain to live and keep their hold, but it is by dint of long and elaborate preparation, description, analysis.  A stranger intermeddleth not with them, though we can fancy Lucien de Rubempré let loose in a country neighbourhood of George Sand’s, and making sonnets and love to some rural châtelaine, while Vautrin might stray among the ruffians of Gaboriau, a giant of crime.  Among M. Zola’s people, however it may fare with others, I find myself remembering few: the guilty Hippolytus of “La Curée,” the poor girl in “La Fortune des Rougon,” the Abbé Mouret, the artist in “L’Oeuvre,” and the half idiotic girl of the farm house, and Hélène in “Un Page d’Amour.”  They are not amongst M. Zola’s most prominent creations, and it must be some accident that makes them most memorable and recognisable to one of his readers.

Probably we all notice that the characters of fiction who remain our intimates, whose words come to our lips often, whose conduct in this or that situation we could easily forecast, are the characters whom we met when we were young.  We may be wrong in thinking them the best, the most true and living of the unborn; perhaps they only seem so real because they came fresh to fresh hearts and unworn memories.  This at least we must allow for, when we are tempted to say about novelists, “The old are better.”  It was we who, long ago, were young and better, better fitted to enjoy and retain the pleasure of making new visionary acquaintances.  If this be so, what an argument it is in favour of reading the best books first and earliest in youth!  Do the ladies who now find Scott slow, and Miss Austen dull, and Dickens vulgar, and Thackeray prosy, and Fielding and Richardson impossible, come to this belief because they began early with the volumes of the circulating library?  Are their memories happily stored with the words and deeds of modern fictitious romps, and passionate governesses, and tremendous guardsmen with huge cigars?  Are the people of—well, why mention names of living authors?—of whom you will—are those as much to the young readers of 1890 as Quentin Durward, and Colonel Newcome, and Sam Weller, and Becky Sharp, and Anne Elliot, and Elizabeth Bennett, and Jane Eyre were to young readers of 1860?  It may very well be so, and we seniors will not regret our choice, and the young men and maids will be pleased enough with theirs.  Yet it is not impossible that the old really are better, and do not gain all their life and permanent charm merely from the unjaded memories and affections with which we came to them long ago.

We shall never be certain, for even if we tried the experiment of comparing, we are no longer good judges, our hearts are with our old friends, whom we think deathless; their birth is far enough off in time, but they will serve us for ours.

These friends, it has been said, are not such a very numerous company after all.  Most of them are children of our own soil, their spirits were made in England, or at least in Great Britain, or, perhaps, came of English stock across the seas, like our dear old Leather Stocking and Madam Hester Prynne.  Probably most of us are insular enough to confess this limitation; even if we be so unpatriotic to read far more new French than new English novels.  One may study M. Daudet, and not remember his Sidonie as we remember Becky, nor his Petit Chose or his Jack as we remember David Copperfield.  In the Paradise of Fiction are folk of all nations and tongues; but the English (as Swedenborg saw them doing in his vision of Heaven) keep very much to themselves.  The American visitors, or some of them, disdain our old acquaintances, and associate with Russian, Spanish, Lithuanian, Armenian heroes and heroines, conversing, probably, in some sort of French.  Few of us “poor islanders” are so cosmopolitan; we read foreign novels, and yet among all the brilliant persons met there we remember but a few.  Most of my own foreign friends in fiction wear love-locks and large boots, have rapiers at their side which they are very ready to draw, are great trenchermen, mighty fine drinkers, and somewhat gallant in their conduct to the sex.  There is also a citizen or two from Furetière’s “Roman Bourgeois,” there is Manon, aforesaid, and a company of picaroons, and an archbishop, and a lady styled Marianne, and a newly ennobled Count of mysterious wealth, and two grisettes, named Mimi and Musette, with their student-lovers.  M. Balzac has introduced us to mystics, and murderers, and old maids, and doctors, and adventurers, and poets, and a girl with golden eyes, and malefactors, and bankrupts, and mad old collectors, peasants, curés, critics, dreamers, debauchees; but all these are somewhat distant acquaintances, many of them undesirable acquaintances.  In the great “Comédie Humaine” have you a single real friend?  Some of Charles de Bernard’s folk are more akin to us, such as “La Femme de Quarante Ans,” and the owner of the hound Justinian, and that drunken artist in “Gerfaut.”  But an Englishman is rather friendless, rather an alien and an outcast, in the society of French fiction.  Monsieur de Camors is not of our monde, nor is the Enfant du Siècle; indeed, perhaps good Monsieur Sylvestre Bonnard is as sympathetic as anyone in that populous country of modern French romance.  Or do you know Fifi Vollard?

Something must be allowed for strange manners, for exotic ideas, and ways not our own.  More perhaps is due to what, as Englishmen think, is the lack of humour in the most brilliant and witty of races.  We have friends many in Molière, in Dumas, in Rabelais; but it is far more difficult to be familiar, at ease, and happy in the circles to which Madame Sand, M. Daudet, M. Flaubert, or M. Paul Bourget introduce us.  M. Bourget’s old professor, in “Le Disciple,” we understand, but he does not interest himself much in us, and to us he is rather a curiosity, a “character,” than an intimate.  We are driven to the belief that humour, with its loving and smiling observation, is necessary to the author who would make his persons real and congenial, and, above all, friendly.  Now humour is the quality which Dumas, Molière, and Rabelais possess conspicuously among Frenchmen.  Montaigne has it too, and makes himself dear to us, as the humorous novelists make their fancied people dear.  Without humour an author may draw characters distinct and clear, and entertaining, and even real; but they want atmosphere, and with them we are never intimate.  Mr. Alfred Austin says that “we know the hero or the heroine in prose romance far more familiarly than we know the hero or heroine in the poem or the drama.”  “Which of the serious characters in Shakspeare’s plays are not indefinite and shadowy compared with Harry Esmond or Maggie Tulliver?”  The serious characters—they are seldom very familiar or definite to us in any kind of literature.  One might say, to be sure, that he knows Hotspur a good deal more intimately than he knows Mr. Henry Esmond, and that he has a pretty definite idea of Iago, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, as definite as he has (to follow Mr. Austin) of Tito Melema.  But we cannot reckon Othello, or Macbeth, or King Lear as friends; nay, we would rather drink with the honest ancient.  All heroes and the heroines are usually too august, and also too young, to be friendly with us; to be handled humorously by their creators.  We know Cuddie Headrigg a great deal better than Henry Morton, and Le Balafré better than Quentin Durward, and Dugald Dalgetty better than anybody.  Humour it is that gives flesh and blood to the persons of romance; makes Mr. Lenville real, while Nicholas Nickleby is only a “walking gentleman.”  You cannot know Oliver Twist as you know the Dodger and Charlie Bates.  If you met Edward Waverley you could scarce tell him from another young officer of his time; but there would be no chance of mistake about the Dugald creature, or Bailie Nicol Jarvie, or the Baron Bradwardine, or Balmawhapple.

These ideas might be pushed too far; it might be said that only the persons in “character parts”—more or less caricatures—are really vivid in the recollection.  But Colonel Newcome is as real as Captain Costigan, and George Warrington as the Chevalier Strong.  The hero is commonly too much of a beau ténébreux to be actual; Scott knew it well, and in one of his unpublished letters frankly admits that his heroes are wooden, and no favourites of his own.  He had to make them, as most authors make their heroes, romantic, amorous, and serious; few of them have the life of Roland Graeme, or even of Quentin Durward.  Ivanhoe might put on the cloak of the Master of Ravenswood, the Master might wear the armour of the Disinherited Knight, and the disguise would deceive the keenest.  Nay, Mr. Henry Esmond might pass for either, if arrayed in appropriate costume.

To treat a hero with humour is difficult in romance, all but impossible.  Hence the heroes are rarely our friends, except in Fielding, or, now and then, in Thackeray.  No book is so full of friends as the novel that has no hero, but has Rawdon Crawley, Becky, Lady Jane, Mr. Jim Crawley, MacMurdo, Mrs. Major O’Dowd, and the rest.  Even Dobbin is too much the hero to be admitted among our most kindly acquaintances.  So unlucky are heroes that we know Squire Western and the Philosopher Square and Parson Adams far better than even that unheroic hero, Tom Jones, or Joseph Andrews.  The humour of Fielding and his tenderness make Amelia and Sophia far more sure of our hearts than, let us say, Rowena, or the Fair Maid of Perth, or Flora MacIvor, or Rose Bradwardine.  It is humour that makes Mr. Collins immortal, and Mrs. Bennett, and Emma; while a multitude of nice girls in fiction, good girls too, are as dead as Queen Tiah.

Perhaps, after all, this theory explains why it is so very hard to recall with vividness the persons of our later fiction.  Humour is not the strong point of novelists to-day.  There may be amateurs who know Mr. Howells’s characters as their elders know Sophia and Amelia and Catherine Seyton—there may be.  To the old reader of romance, however earnestly he keeps up with modern fiction, the salt of life seems often lacking in its puppets or its persons.  Among the creations of living men and women I, for one, feel that I have two friends at least across the sea, Master Thomas Sawyer and his companion, Huckleberry Finn.  If these are not real boys, then Dr. Farrar’s Eric is a real boy; I cannot put it stronger.  There is a lady on those distant shores (for she never died of Roman fever) who I may venture to believe is not unfriendly—Miss Annie P. Miller—and there is a daughter of Mr. Silas Lapham whom one cannot readily forget, and there is a beery journalist in a “Modern Instance,” an acquaintance, a distant professional acquaintance, not a friend.  The rest of the fictitious white population of the States are shadowy to myself; I have often followed their fortunes with interest, but the details slip my aging memory, which recalls Topsy and Uncle Remus.

To speak of new friends at home is a more delicate matter.  A man may have an undue partiality for the airy children of his friends’ fancy.  Mr. Meredith has introduced me to an amiable Countess, to a strange country girl named Rhoda, to a wonderful old Æschylean nurse, to some genuine boys, to a wise Youth,—but that society grows as numerous as brilliant.  Mr. Besant has made us friends with twins of literary and artistic genius, with a very highly-cultured Fellow of Lothian, with a Son of Vulcan, with a bevy of fair but rather indistinguishable damsels, like a group of agreeable-looking girls at a dance.  But they are too busy with their partners to be friendly.  We admire them, but they are unconcerned with us.  In Mr. Black’s large family the Whaup seems most congenial to some strangers; the name of one of Mr. Payn’s friendly lads is Legion, and Miss Broughton’s dogs, with their friend Sara, and Mrs. Moberley, welcome the casual visitor with hospitable care.  Among the kindly children of a later generation one may number a sailor man with a wooden leg; a Highland gentleman, who, though landless, bears a king’s name; an Irish chevalier who was out in the ’45; a Zulu chief who plied the axe well; a private named Mulvaney in Her Majesty’s Indian army; an elderly sportsman of agile imagination or unparalleled experience in remote adventure. [20]  All these a person who had once encountered them would recognise, perhaps, when he was fortunate enough to find himself in their company.

There are children, too, of a dead author, an author seldom lauded by critics, who, possibly, have as many living friends as any modern characters can claim.  A very large company of Christian people are fond of Lord Welter, Charles Ravenshoe, Flora and Gus, Lady Ascot, the boy who played fives with a brass button, and a dozen others of Henry Kingsley’s men, women, and children, whom we have laughed with often, and very nearly cried with.  For Henry Kingsley had humour, and his children are dear to us; while which of Charles Kingsley’s far more famous offspring would be welcome—unless it were Salvation Yeo—if we met them all in the Paradise of Fiction?

It is not very safe, in literature as in life, to speak well of our friends or of their families.  Other readers, other people, have theirs, whom we may not care much for, whom we may even chance never to have met.  In the following Letters from Old Friends (mainly reprinted from the “St. James’s Gazette”), a few of the writers may, to some who glance at the sketches, be unfamiliar.  When Dugald Dalgetty’s epistle on his duel with Aramis was written, a man of letters proposed to write a reply from Aramis in a certain journal.  But his Editor had never heard of any of the gentlemen concerned in that affair of honour; had never heard of Dugald, of Athos, Porthos, Aramis, nor D’Artagnan.  He had not been introduced to them.  This little book will be fortunate far beyond its deserts if it tempts a few readers to extend the circle of their visionary acquaintances, of friends who, like Brahma, know not birth, nor decay, “sleep, waking, nor trance.”

A theme more delicate and intimate than that of our Friends in fiction awaits a more passionate writer than the present parodist.  Our Loves in fiction are probably numerous, and our choice depends on age and temperament.  In romance, if not in life, we can be in love with a number of ladies at once.  It is probable that Beatrix Esmond has not fewer knights than Marie Antoinette or Mary Stuart.  These ladies have been the marks of scandal.  Unkind things are said of all three, but our hearts do not believe the evil reports.  Sir Walter Scott refused to write a life of Mary Stuart because his opinion was not on the popular side, nor on the side of his feelings.  The reasoning and judicial faculties may be convinced that Beatrix was “other than a guid ane,” but reason does not touch the affections; we see her with the eyes of Harry Esmond, and, like him, “remember a paragon.”  With similar lack of logic we believe that Mrs. Wenham really had one of her headaches, and that Becky was guiltless on a notorious occasion.  Bad or not so bad, what lady would we so gladly meet as Mrs. Rawdon Crawley, whose kindness was so great that she even condescended to be amusing to her own husband?  For a more serious and life-long affection there are few heroines so satisfactory as Sophia Western and Amelia Booth (née Harris).  Never before nor since did a man’s ideal put on flesh and blood—out of poetry, that is,—and apart from the ladies of Shakspeare.  Fielding’s women have a manly honour, tolerance, greatness, in addition to their tenderness and kindness.  Literature has not their peers, and life has never had many to compare with them.  They are not “superior” like Romola, nor flighty and destitute of taste like Maggie Tulliver; among Fielding’s crowd of fribbles and sots and oafs they carry that pure moly of the Lady in “Comus.”  It is curious, indeed, that men have drawn women more true and charming than women themselves have invented, and the heroines of George Eliot, of George Sand (except Consuelo), and even of Miss Austen, do not subdue us like Di Vernon, nor win our sympathies like Rebecca of York.  They may please and charm for their hour, but they have not the immortality of the first heroines of all—of Helen, or of that Alcmena who makes even comedy grave when she enters, and even Plautus chivalrous.  Poetry, rather than prose fiction, is the proper home of our spiritual mistresses; they dwell where Rosalind and Imogen are, with women perhaps as unreal or as ideal as themselves, men’s lost loves and unforgotten, in a Paradise apart.

p. 27I.

From Mr. Clive Newcome to Mr. Arthur Pendennis.

Mr. Newcome, a married man and an exile at Boulogne, sends Mr. Arthur Pendennis a poem on his undying affection for his cousin, Miss Ethel Newcome.  He desires that it may be published in a journal with which Mr. Pendennis is connected.  He adds a few remarks on his pictures for the Academy.

Boulogne, March 28.

Dear Pen,—I have finished Belisarius, and he has gone to face the Academicians.  There is another little thing I sent—“Blondel” I call it—a troubadour playing under a castle wall.  They have not much chance; but there is always the little print-shop in Long Acre.  My sketches of mail-coaches continue to please the public; they have raised the price to a guinea.

Here we are not happier than when you visited us.  My poor wife is no better.  It is something to have put my father out of hearing of her mother’s tongue: that cannot cross the Channel.  Perhaps I am as well here as in town.  There I always hope, I always fear to meet her . . . my cousin, you know.  I think I see her face under every bonnet.  God knows I don’t go where she is likely to be met.  Oh, Pen, hæret lethalis arundo; it is always right—the Latin Delectus!  Everything I see is full of her, everything I do is done for her.  “Perhaps she’ll see it and know the hand, and remember,” I think, even when I do the mail-coaches and the milestones.  I used to draw for her at Brighton when she was a child.  My sketches, my pictures, are always making that silent piteous appeal to her, Won’t you look at us? won’t you remember?  I dare say she has quite forgotten.  Here I send you a little set of rhymes; my picture of Blondel and this old story brought them into my mind.  They are gazés, as the drunk painter says in “Gerfaut;” they are veiled, a mystery.  I know she’s not in a castle or a tower or a cloistered cell anywhere; she is in Park Lane.  Don’t I read it in the “Morning Post?”  But I can’t, I won’t, go and sing at the area-gate, you know.  Try if F. B. will put the rhymes into the paper.  Do they take it in in Park Lane?  See whether you can get me a guinea for these tears of mine: “Mes Larmes,” Pen, do you remember?—Yours ever,

C. N.

The verses are enclosed.


O ma Reine!

Although the Minstrel’s lost you long,
   Although for bread the Minstrel sings,
Ah, still for you he pipes the song,
   And thrums upon the crazy strings!

As Blondel sang by cot and hall,
   Through town and stream and forest passed,
And found, at length, the dungeon wall,
   And freed the Lion-heart at last—

So must your hapless minstrel fare,
   By hill and hollow violing;
He flings a ditty on the air,
   He wonders if you hear him sing!

For in some castle you must dwell
   Of this wide land he wanders through—
In palace, tower, or cloistered cell—
   He knows not; but he sings to you!

The wind may blow it to your ear,
   And you, perchance, may understand;
But from your lattice, though you hear,
   He knows you will not wave a hand.

Your eyes upon the page may fall,
   More like the page will miss your eyes;
You may be listening after all,
   So goes he singing till he dies.

p. 31II.

From the Hon. Cecil Bertie to the Lady Guinevere.

Mr. Cecil Tremayne, who served “Under Two Flags,” an officer in her Majesty’s Guards, describes to the Lady Guinevere the circumstances of his encounter with Miss Annie P. (or Daisy) Miller.  The incident has been omitted by Ouida and Mr. Henry James.

You ask me, Camarada, what I think of the little American donzella, Daisy Miller?  Hesterna Rosa, I may cry with the blind old bard of Tusculum; or shall we say, Hesterna Margaritæ?  Yesterday’s Daisy, yesterday’s Rose, were it of Pæstum, who values it to-day?  Mais où sont les neiges d’automne?  However, yesterday—the day before yesterday, rather—Miss Annie P. Miller was well enough.

We were smoking at the club windows on the Ponte Vecchio; Marmalada, Giovanelli of the Bersaglieri, young Ponto of the K.O.B.’s, and myself—men who never give a thought save to the gold embroidery of their pantoufles or the exquisite ebon laquer of their Russia leather cricket-shoes.  Suddenly we heard a clatter in the streets.  The riderless chargers of the Bersaglieri were racing down the Santo Croce, and just turning, with a swing and shriek of clattering spurs, into the Maremma.  In the midst of the street, under our very window, was a little thing like a butterfly, with yeux de pervenche.  You remember, Camarada, Voltaire’s love of the pervenche; we have plucked it, have we not? in his garden of Les Charmettes.  Nous n’irons plus aux boisBasta!

But to return.  There she stood, terror-stricken, petrified, like her who of old turned her back on Zoar and beheld the incandescent hurricane of hail smite the City of the Plain!  She was dressed in white muslin, joli comme un cœur, with a myriad frills and flounces and knots of pale-coloured ribbon.  Open-eyed, open-mouthed, she stared at the tide of foaming steeds, like a maiden martyr gazing at the on-rushing waves of ocean!  “Caramba!” said Marmalada, “voilà une jeune fille pas trop bien gardée!”  Giovanelli turned pale, and, muttering Corpo di Bacco, quaffed a carafon of green Chartreuse, holding at least a quart, which stood by him in its native pewter.  Young Ponto merely muttered, “Egad!”  I leaped through the open window and landed at her feet.

The racing steeds were within ten yards of us.  Calmly I cast my eye over their points.  Far the fleetest, though he did not hold the lead, was Marmalada’s charger, the Atys gelding, by Celerima out of Sac de Nuit.  With one wave of my arm I had placed her on his crupper, and, with the same action, swung myself into the saddle.  Then, in a flash and thunder of flying horses, we swept like tawny lightning down the Pincian.  The last words I heard from the club window, through the heliotrope-scented air, were “Thirty to one on Atys, half only if declared.”  They were wagering on our lives; the slang of the paddock was on their lips.

Onward, downward, we sped, the fair stranger lifeless in my arms.  Past scarlet cardinals in mufti, past brilliant έτᾶιραὶ like those who swayed the City of the Violet Crown; past pifferari dancing in front of many an albergo; through the Ghetto with its marmorine palaces, over the Fountain of Trevi, across the Cascine, down the streets of the Vatican we flew among yells of “Owner’s up,” “The gelding wins, hard held,” from the excited bourgeoisie.  Heaven and earth swam before my eyes as we reached the Pons Sublicia, and heard the tawny waters of Tiber swaying to the sea.

The Pons Sublicia was up!

With an oath of despair, for life is sweet, I rammed my persuaders into Atys, caught him by the head, and sent him straight at the flooded Tiber!

Va-t-en donc, espèce de type!” said the girl on my saddle-bow, finding her tongue at last.  Fear, or girlish modesty, had hitherto kept her silent.

Then Atys rose on his fetlocks!  Despite his double burden, the good steed meant to have it.  He deemed, perchance, he was with the Quorn or the Baron’s.  He rose; he sprang.  The deep yellow water, cold in the moon’s rays, with the farthest bank but a chill grey line in the mist, lay beneath us!  A moment that seemed an eternity!  Then we landed on the far-off further bank, and for the first time I could take a pull at his head.  I turned him on the river’s brim, and leaped him back again.

The runaway was now as tame as a driven deer in Richmond Park.

Well, Camarada, the adventure is over.  She was grateful, of course.  These pervenche eyes were suffused with a dewy radiance.

“You can’t call,” she said, “for you haven’t been introduced, and Mrs. Walker says we must be more exclusive.  I’m dying to be exclusive; but I’m very much obliged to you, and so will mother be.  Let’s see.  I’ll be at the Colosseum to-morrow night, about ten.  I’m bound to see the Colosseum, by moonlight.  Good-bye;” and she shook her pale parasol at me, and fluttered away.

Ah, Camarada, shall I be there?  Que scais-je?  Well, ’tis time to go to the dance at the Holy Father’s.  Adieu, Carissima.—Tout à vous,


p. 37III.

Mr. Redmond Barry (better known as Barry Lyndon) tells his uncle the story of a singular encounter at Berlin with Mr. Alan Stuart, called Alan Breck, and well known as the companion of Mr. David Balfour in many adventures.  Mr. Barry, at this time, was in the pay of Herr Potzdorff, of his Prussian Majesty’s Police, and was the associate of the Chevalier, his kinsman, in the pursuit of fortune.

Berlin, April 1, 1748.

Uncle Barry,—I dictate to Pippi, my right hand being wounded, and that by no common accident.  Going down the Linden Strasse yesterday, I encountered a mob; and, being curious in Potzdorff’s interest, penetrated to the kernel of it.  There I found two men of my old regiment—Kurz and another—at words with a small, dark, nimble fellow, who carried bright and dancing eyes in a pock-marked face.  He had his iron drawn, a heavy box-handled cut-and-thrust blade, and seemed ready to fall at once on the pair that had been jeering him for his strange speech.

“Who is this, lads?” I asked.

“Ein Engländer,” answered they.

“No Englishman,” says he, in a curious accent not unlike our brogue, “but a plain gentleman, though he bears a king’s name and hath Alan Breck to his by-name.”

“Come, come,” says I in German, “let the gentleman go his way; he is my own countryman.”  This was true enough for them; and you should have seen the Highlander’s eyes flash, and grow dim again.

I took his arm, for Potzdorff will expect me to know all about the stranger, and marched him down to the Drei Könige.

“I am your host, sir; what do you call for, Mr. Stuart of —?” said I, knowing there is never a Scot but has the name of his kailyard tacked to his own.

“A King’s name is good enough for me; I bear it plain.  Mr. —?” said he, reddening.

“They call me the Chevalier Barry, of Ballybarry.”

“I am in the better company, sir,” quoth he, with a grand bow.

When a bowl of punch was brought he takes off his hat, and drinks, very solemnly, “To the King!”

“Over the water?” I asked.

“Nay, sir, on this side,” he said; and I smoked the Jacobite.  But to shorten the story, which amuses my tedium but may beget it in you, I asked him if he knew the cards.

“I’m just daft when I get to the cartes,” he answered in his brogue, and we fell to piquet.  Now my Scot wore a very fine coat, and on the same very large smooth silver buttons, well burnished.  Therefore, perceiving such an advantage as a skilled player may enjoy, I let him win a little to whet his appetite, but presently used his buttons as a mirror, wherein I readily detected the strength of the cards he held.  Before attempting this artifice, I had solemnly turned my chair round thrice.

“You have changed the luck, sir,” says Mr. Breck, or Stuart, presently; and, rising with a mighty grave air, he turned his coat and put it on inside out.

“Sir,” says I, “what am I to understand by this conduct?”

“What for should not I turn my coat, for luck, if you turn your chair?” says he.  “But if you are not preceesely satisfied, I will be proud to step outside with you.”

I answered that we were not in a Highland wilderness, and that if no malice were meant no affront was taken.  We continued at the game till, though deprived of my mirror, I had won some 500 Fredericks.  On this he rose, saying, “Sir, in this purse you will find the exact sum that I am owing you, and I will call for my empty sporran the morn.  It was Rob Roy’s before it was mine.”  Therewith he laid on the table a sort of goatskin pouch, such as Highlanders gird about their loins, and marched forth.

I set to work at opening his pouch, that was fastened by a spring and button, seeming easy enough of access.  But I had scarce pressed the button when lo! a flash, a pistol shot, and my right hand is grazed with a bullet that flew out of the bag.  This Highlander of the Devil had some mechanism in his purse that discharged a small steel pistol when unwarily opened.  My hand is but slightly wounded, yet I cannot hold my sword, nor hath my search brought me any news of Alan Breck.  He has vanished like an emissary of the Devil or the Pretender, as I doubt not he is.  But I will have his blood, if he is not one of their Scotch fairies.—Your loving Nephew,

Redmond Barry, of Ballybarry.

P.S.—The Fredericks were in the bag, all told.

p. 42IV.

From Mrs. Gamp to Mrs. Prig.

Mrs. Gamp nurses an old friend who is under a singular delusion.


My precious Betsy,—Which when last we parted it was not as I could wish, but bearing malice in our hearts.  But, as often and often Mrs. Harris have said it before me, with the tears in her angel eyes—one of them having a slight cast from an accident with the moderator lamp, Harris being quick in his temper—often and often have she said to me: “Ah, Sairey, the quarrels of friends is affection’s best restorer.”  And good reason to know it she have, with a husband as was ever true, and never gave her no cause to form the wish to pizen them as has good looks, but, for I will not deceive you, ready with his hands.

And so, between you and me may it be, Betsy Prig, as was constant partners afore them Chuzzlewidges, and Nadgetts, and Lewsomses, and Tiggses, and Chuffeys got that mixed and that aggerawating that to remember who of them poisoned which or for why in a slime draught, it makes my poor head go round, nor could such be soothing to the temper.  So let bygones be bygones between us.  For, wanting of my Betsy, I am now in a nice state of confusion, with a patient as was well beknown to me in younger days, when there wasn’t so much of a shadder on this mortial vial, [43] meaning Mr. Pecksniff.  Which you will not forget of him, by reason of his daughter as married that Jonadge, and his collars as mints of money must have gone to the getting them up; but is now at Todgers’s, and confused in his poor mind, thinking hisself Somebody else high in Parliament.  And wonder at it I do not, them Chuzzlewidges and Chuffeys being that distracting, and ever proving to be some other pusson in disguise, as would confuge a calkilating boy.

So being applied to for to nightly him, there in that very sick room—for why should I deceive you?—I meets the daily nuss; and, Betsy, I was that overcome to have such a pardner propoged to me as I had to ring and ask the young woman immediate for a small glass of their oldest rum, being what I am not accustomed to but having had a turn.  For, will you believe it, she was not a widger woman as has experience in the ways of men, but a huzzy in a bragian cap like them the Nuns wear in “Mariar Monk,” as you may have seen it in the small sweet-shops, at a penny.  And her hands as white as her papistry cap, and she a turning up of her nose at what I had took, and a presuming to give me advice about nussing, as St. Pancradge’s Churchyard wouldn’t hold them I’ve seen comfortable to their long homes, and no complaints made but ever the highest satigefaction.  So I ups and gives her a bit of my mind; and Mrs. Todgers coming down, “It’s she goes or me,” says I, “for never will Sairey Gamp nuss, sick or monthly, with a pardner as has not confidence in me, nor I in her, but contrary.”  Then she says she’ll go and speak to the doctor about it; and out she tramps with her nose in the air, and sneezing most awful, not being accustomed to that which I take, find it strengthening, but as it have been a cause of sorrow and strife let it be nameless between you and me.  For to have the name “Snuffey” brought forward it is what the heart can forgive, but never forget in this valley of the shaddock.

I have nussed a many lunacies, Betsy, and in a general way am dispoged to humour them rather than set them right up agin the fire when fractious.  But this Pecksniff is the tryingest creature; he having got it in his mind as he is Somebody very high, and talking about the House, and Bills, and clauses, and the “sacred cause of Universal Anarchy,” for such was his Bible language, though meaning to me no more than the babe unborn.  Whereby Mrs. Harris she have often said to me, “What do them blessed infants occupy their little minds with afore they are called into that condition where, unless changed at nuss, Providence have appointed them?” And many a time have I said, “Seek not, Mrs. Harris, to diskiver; for we know not wot’s hidden in our own hearts, and the torters of the Imposition should not make me diwulge it.”

But Pecksniff is that aggravating as I can hardly heed the words I now put on the paper.

“Some of my birds have left me,” says he, “for the stranger’s breast, and one have took wing for the Government benches. [47]  But I have ever sacrificed my country’s happiness to my own, and I will not begin to regulate my life by other rules of conduct now.  I know the purity of my own motives, and while my Merry, my little Sir William, playful warbler, prattles under this patriarchal wing, and my Cherry, my darling Morley, supports the old man’s tottering walk, I can do without my Goschy, my dears, I can do without him.”  And wants to borrer my umbreller for them “to rally round,” the bragian idgiot!

A chattering creature he always were, and will be; but, Betsy, I have this wery momink fixed him up with a shoehorn in his mouth, as was lying round providential, and the strings of my bonnet, and the last word as he will say this blessed night was some lunacy about “denouncing the clogeure,” as won’t give much more trouble now.

So having rung for a shilling’s worth of gin-and-water warm, and wishing you was here to take another of the same, I puts my lips to it, and drinks to one as was my frequent pardner in this mortial vale, and am, as in old days, my Betsy’s own

Sairey Gamp.

p. 49V.

From Herodotus of Halicarnassus to Sophocles the Athenian.

Herodotus describes, in a letter to his friend Sophocles, a curious encounter with a mariner just returned from unknown parts of Africa.

To Sophocles, the Athenian, greeting.  Yesterday, as I was going down to the market-place of Naucratis, I met Nicaretê, who of all the hetairai in this place is the most beautiful.  Now, the hetairai of Naucratis are wont somehow to be exceedingly fair, beyond all women whom we know.  She had with her a certain Phocæan mariner, who was but now returned from a voyage to those parts of Africa which lie below Arabia; and she saluted me courteously, as knowing that it is my wont to seek out and inquire the tidings of all men who have intelligence concerning the ends of the earth.

“Hail to thee, Nicaretê,” said I; “verily thou art this morning as lovely as the dawn, or as the beautiful Rhodopis that died ere thou wert born to us through the favour of Aphrodite.” [50]

Now this Rhodopis was she who built, they say, the Pyramid of Mycerinus: wherein they speak not truly but falsely, for Rhodopis lived long after the kings who built the Pyramids.

“Rhodopis died not, O Herodotus,” said Nicaretê, “but is yet living, and as fair as ever she was; and he who is now my lover, even this Phanes of Phocæa, hath lately beheld her.”

Then she seemed to me to be jesting, like that scribe who told me of Krôphi and Môphi; for Rhodopis lived in the days of King Amasis and of Sappho the minstrel, and was beloved by Charaxus, the brother of Sappho, wherefore Sappho reviled him in a song.  How then could Rhodopis, who flourished more than a hundred years before my time, be living yet?

While I was considering these things they led me into the booth of one that sold wine; and when Nicaretê had set garlands of roses on our heads, Phanes began and told me what I now tell thee but whether speaking truly or falsely I know not.  He said that being on a voyage to Punt (for so the Egyptians call that part of Arabia), he was driven by a north wind for many days, and at last landed in the mouth of a certain river where were many sea-fowl and water-birds.  And thereby is a rock, no common one, but fashioned into the likeness of the head of an Ethiopian.  There he said that the people of that country found him, namely the Amagardoi, and carried him to their village.  They have this peculiar to themselves, and unlike all other peoples whom we know, that the woman asks the man in marriage.  They then, when they have kissed each other, are man and wife wedded.  And they derive their names from the mother; wherein they agree with the Lycians, whether being a colony of the Lycians, or the Lycians a colony of theirs, Phanes could not give me to understand.  But, whereas they are black and the Lycians are white, I rather believe that one of them has learned this custom from the other; for anything might happen in the past of time.

The Amagardoi have also this custom, such as we know of none other people; that they slay strangers by crowning them with amphoræ, having made them red-hot.  Now, having taken Phanes, they were about to crown him on this wise, when there appeared among them a veiled woman, very tall and goodly, whom they conceive to be a goddess and worship.  By her was Phanes delivered out of their hands; and “she kept him in her hollow caves having a desire that he should be her lover,” as Homer says in the Odyssey, if the Odyssey be Homer’s.  And Phanes reports of her that she is the most beautiful woman in the world, but of her coming thither, whence she came or when, she would tell him nothing.  But he swore to me, by him who is buried at Thebes (and whose name in such a matter as this it is not holy for me to utter), that this woman was no other than Rhodopis the Thracian.  For there is a portrait of Rhodopis in the temple of Aphrodite in Naucratis, and, knowing this portrait well, Phanes recognised by it that the woman was Rhodopis. [53]  Therefore Rhodopis is yet living, being now about one hundred and fifty years of age.  And Phanes added that there is in the country of the Amagardoi a fire; and whoso enters into that fire does not die, but is “without age and immortal,” as Homer says concerning the horses of Peleus.  Now, I would have deemed that he was making a mock of that sacred story which he knows who has been initiated into the mysteries of Demeter at Eleusis.  But he and Nicaretê are about to sail together without delay to the country of the Amagardoi, believing that there they will enter the fire and become immortal.  Yet methinks that Rhodopis will not look lovingly on Nicaretê, when they meet in that land, nor Nicaretê on Rhodopis.  Nay, belike the amphora will be made hot for one or the other.

Such, howbeit, was the story of Phanes the Phocæan, whether he spoke falsely or truly.  The God be with thee.


p. 55VI.

Mrs. Proudie, wife of the Bishop of Barchester, admits Mrs. Quiverful into her confidence.  Mrs. Proudie first takes pleasure in a new and pious acquaintance, Lady Crawley (née Sharp), but afterwards discovers the true character of this insidious and dangerous woman.

The Palace, Barchester, July 17.

Dear Letitia,—The appearance of mumps in a small family of fourteen like yours, is indeed one of those dispensations which teach us how mysterious are the ways!  But I need not tell you to be most careful about cold, which greatly adds to the virulence of the complaint, and it is difficult for you, in lodgings at Brighton, to keep a watchful eye on so many at once.  May this discipline be blessed to you, and to the dear children!

I have much to tell you of Barchester.  The light worldly tone of some families in this place (I will not mention the Grantleys nor the Arabins) has been checked, I hope, by one of those accidents which surely, surely, are not to be considered accidents alone!  You know how strong is my objection to fancy fairs or bazaars, too often rather scenes of giddy merriment than exhibitions of genuine Christian feeling.  Yet by means of one of these (how strangely are things ordered!) a happy change, I trust, is being brought about in our midst.

You have heard of Hogglestock, though you may never have visited that benighted and outlying parish.  Indeed, I was never there myself till last week, when Tom felt it his duty (though woefully misdirected, to my mind, but we are fallible creatures) to go and open a bazaar in that place for the restoration of the church. [56]  I accompanied him; for I trusted that an opportunity might be made for me, and that I might especially bear in on the mind of the rector’s wife the absolute necessity of Sabbath-day schools.  The rector is a Mr. Crawley.  He led us on our arrival into a scene of red cloth, wax dolls most indelicately displayed, cushions, antimacassars, and similar idols.  The Bishop’s speech (I composed it myself) you will read in the “Barchester Guardian,” which I send you.  While approving the end he rebuked the means, and took the opportunity to read a much-needed lesson on Jesuitry and the dangers of worldliness in high ecclesiastical places.  Let those wince who feel a sense of their own backslidings.  When the Bishop had ended, I determined to walk once through the bazaar just to make sure that there were no lotteries nor games of chance—a desecration of our mites now too, too frequent.  As I was returning through the throng, alas! of pleasure-seekers, and wishing that I might scourge them out of the schoolroom, Mr. Crawley met me, in company with a lady who desired, he said, to be presented to me.  He is a distant relation of the well-known county family, the Crawleys, of Queen’s Crawley; the present baronet, Sir Rawdon, having recently married Miss Jane Dobbin, daughter of Colonel Dobbin.  The lady who was now introduced to me, and whose still pleasing face wears an aspect of humble devoutness, was Lady Crawley, mother of the present baronet.

“Madam,” she said, “I came here in the belief that I was discharging a pious duty.  My life, alas! has been one of sore trial, and I only try to do good.” . . .

I was going to say that I had seen her name in a score of charity lists, and knew her as a patroness of the Destitute Orange-Girls, the Neglected Washerwomen, and the Distressed Muffin-Men.  But she shook her head; and then, looking up at me with eyes like a saint’s (if our privileges permitted us to believe in these fabulous beings of the Romish superstition), she said, “Ah, no!  I have always been in the wrong.  The beautiful address of the Bishop of Barchester has awakened me, and convinced me that the path does not lie through Fancy Fairs.  I have to begin again.  Who shall guide me?”

I trust I am not subject to vanity; but the news that I (for I composed the Charge, as I may almost call it) had been the instrument of so affecting a change did not fail to please me.  I thanked Lady Crawley, and expressed my deep interest in her altered convictions.  Finally she promised to come on a visit to us at the Palace (she usually resides at Bath or Cheltenham), and has been three days an inmate.  Never have I met a more singular example of what the Truth can do for one who, as she admits, was long ago a worldling.  “I have seen the vanity of it,” she tells me, with tears in her eyes; p. 60and from her example I expect an awakening among our worldlings.  They will follow the path of a titled person.  Tom is much interested in his convert, as he thinks her.  Not to me be the glory!—Your assured friend,

Emily Barnum. [60a]


From Mrs. Proudie to Mrs. Quiverful.

The Palace, Barchester, July 22.

Dear Letitia,—My hand trembles so with indignation that I can hardly direct my pen.  Pray burn my letter of July 17 at once, if you have not already done so. [60b]  We have been deceived in that woman!  She is a brazenfaced, painted daughter of Heth, and has no more right to the title of Lady Crawley than you have.  I am told that she was at one time the paramour of Lord Steyne, and that her conduct made it impossible for her husband to live with her.  And this is the woman who has come within the gates of the palace of a Christian prelate; nay, more, who has secured his signature to a cheque of very considerable value.  I think my suspicions were first excited by the disappearance of the brandy in the liqueur-stand, and by meeting “her ladyship’s” maid carrying the bottle up to her room!  I spoke to the Bishop, but he would not listen to me—quite unlike himself; and even turned on me in her defence.

Entering his study hastily on the following day, I found her kneeling at his feet, her yellow hair (dyed, no doubt, for she must be sixty if she is a day) about her shoulders, doing what do you suppose—?  Confessing herself to the Bishop of Barchester!

And he was listening to her “confession” with an appearance of interest, and with one of her hands in his.

“Serpent!” I said—and her green eyes glittered just like one—“unhand his lordship!”  She gave a little laugh and said, “Dear Mrs. Proudie, do not let me monopolise the Bishop’s time.  Perhaps I am in the way?”

“And you shall go out of it,” I said.  “You are one of those who cause Israel to sin.  You bring the Confessional, for it is no better, into the house of a Prelate of the Protestant Church of England!”  Would you believe that she had the assurance to answer me with a passage from the Prayer Book, which I have often felt certain must be mistranslated?

“Pack, madam,” said I; “we know who can quote Scripture for his own ends!”

And I pretty soon saw her out of the house, though not in time; for the infatuated Bishop had already given her a cheque for a sum which I cannot bring myself to tell you, for the Funds of the Destitute Orange-Girls.  Not a penny of it will they ever see; nor do I approve of such ostentatious alms in any case.—Yours in haste,

Emily Barnum.

P.S.—I have heard from Lady Courtney all her history.  It is abominable.

p. 64VII.

From Robert Surtees, Esq., of Mainsforth, to Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq., of Monkbarns.

It is well known that Mr. Surtees of Mainsforth not only palmed off on Sir Waiter Scott several ballads of his own manufacture, but also invented and pretended to have found in a document (since burned) the story of the duel with the spectre knight which occurs in Marmion.  In the following letter this ingenious antiquary plays the same game with Mr. Jonathan Oldbuck, of Monkbarns, the celebrated antiquary.  A note on the subject is published in the Appendix.

Mainsforth, May 9, 1815.

Dear Sir,—I am something of the Mussulman’s humour, as you know, and never willingly pass by a scrap of printed paper, however it comes in my way.  I cannot, indeed, like the “Spectator,” “mention a paper kite from which I have received great improvement,” nor “a hat-case which I would not exchange for all the beavers in Great Britain.”  It is in a less unlikely place that I have made a little discovery which will interest you, I hope; for as it chances, not only has a lost ballad been at least partially recovered, but . . . however, I will keep your learned patience on the tenterhooks for a while.

Business taking me to Newcastle of late, I found myself in Bell’s little shop on the quay. [65]  You know the man by report at least; he is more a collector than a bookseller, though poor; and I verily believe that he would sell all his children—Douglas Bell, Percy Bell, Hobbie Bell, and Kinmont Bell—“for a song.”  Ballads are his foible, and he can hardly be made to part with one of the broadsides in his broken portfolios.  Well, semel insanivimus omnes (by the way, did it ever strike you that the Roman “cribbed” that line, as the vulgar say, from an epigram in the Anthology?), and you and I will scarce throw the first stone at the poor man’s folly.  However, I am delaying your natural eagerness.  So now for the story of my great discovery.  As our friend Bell would scarce let his dusty broadsheet lumber out of his hands, I was turning to leave him in no very good humour, when I noticed a small and rather long octavo, in dirty and crumpled vellum, lying on the top of a heap of rubbish, Boston’s “Crook in the Lot,” “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” and other chap-book trumpery.  I do not know what good angel that watches over us collectors made me take up the thing, which I found to be nothing less than a copy of old Guillaume Coquillart.  It was not Galliot du Pré’s edition, in lettres rondes, but, still more precious had it only been complete, an example in black letter.  I give you the whole title.  First the motto, in the frieze of an architectural design, ΑΓΑΘΗ ΤΥΧΗ.  Then, in small capitals—

Les Œuvres
Maistre Gvil
laume Coquil
lart en son vi
vant Official
de Reims.  Nov
vellement Re
veves et Corri


On les vend à Lyon en la
Maison de Françoys Juste,
Demourant devant nostre
Dame de Confort.

By bad (or good) luck this rare piece was imperfect—the back gaping and three sheets gone.  But, in turning over the leaves, I saw something that brought my heart, as they say, into my mouth.  So, beating down Bell from his upset price of fourpence to six bawbees, I pushed the treasure carelessly in my pocket, and never stopped till I was in a lonely place by Tyne-side and secure from observation.  Then, with my knife, I very carefully uncased Maistre Guillaume, and extracted the sheet of parchment, printed in black letter with red capitals, that had been used to line the binding.  A corner of it had crept out, through the injuries of time, and on that, in Bell’s “crame” (for it is more a crame than a shop), I had caught the mystic words Runjt macht Gunjt.

And now, I think, Monkbarns, you prick up your ears and wipe your spectacles.  That is the motto, as every one of the learned family of antiquaries is well aware, and, as you have often told me, of your great forbear, the venerable and praiseworthy Aldobrand Oldenbuck the Typographer, who fled from the Low Countries during the tyrannical attempt of Philip II. to suppress at once civil and religious liberty.  As all the world knows, he withdrew from Nuremberg to Scotland, and set up his Penates and (what you may not hitherto have been aware of) his Printing Press at Fairport, and under your ancestral roof of Monkbarns.  But, what will surprise you yet more, the parchment sheet which bears Aldobrand’s motto in German contains printed matter in good Scots!  This excellent and enterprising man must have set himself to ply his noble art in his new home, and in our unfamiliar tongue.

Yet, even now, we are not at the end of this most fortunate discovery.  It would appear that there was little demand for works of learning and religion in Scotland, or at least at Fairport; for the parchment sheet contains fragments of a Ballad in the Scots tongue.  None but a poor and struggling printer would then have lent his types to such work, and fortunate for us has been the poverty of your great ancestor.  Here we have the very earliest printed ballad in the world, and, though fragmentary, it is the more precious as the style proves to demonstration, and against the frantic scepticism even of a Ritson, the antique and venerable character of those compositions.  I send you a copy of the Ballad, with the gaps (where the tooth of time or of the worm, edax rerum, hath impaired it) filled up with conjectural restorations of my own.  But how far do they fall short of the original simplicity!  Non cuivis contingit.  As the title is lacking, as well as the imprint, I have styled it


O Willie rade, and Willie gaed
   Atween the shore and sea,
And still it was his dead Lady
   That kept him company.

O Willie rade, and Willie gaed
   Atween the [loch and heather],
And still it was his dead Lady
   That [held his stirrup leather].

“O Willie, tak’ me up by ye,
   Sae far it is I gang;
O tak’ me on your saddle bow,
   Or [your day shall not be lang].”

“Gae back, gae back, ye fause ill wife,
   To the grave wherein ye lie,
It never was seen that a dead leman
   Kept lover’s company!

“Gae back, gae back frae me,” he said,
   “For this day maun I wed,
And how can I kiss a living lass,
   When ye come frae the dead?

“If ye maun haunt a living man,
   Your brither haunt,” says he,
“For it was never my knife, but his
   That [twined thy life and thee!]”

* * * * *

We are to understand, I make no doubt, that Willie had been too fortunate a lover, and that in his absence—the frailty of his lady becoming conspicuous—her brother had avenged the family honour according to that old law of Scotland which the courteous Ariosto styles “l’ aspra legge di Scozia, empia e severa.”

Pray let me know, at your leisure, what you think of this trouvaille.  It is, of course, entirely at your service, if you think it worthy of a place in a new edition of the “Minstrelsy.”  I have no room to inflict more ballads or legends on you; and remain, most faithfully yours,

R. Surtees.


p. 72From Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq., of Monkbarns, to Robert Surtees, Esq., Mainsforth.

Monkbarns, June 1.

My Dear Sir,—How kind hath Fortune been to you, and, in a secondary degree, to myself.  Your letter must dispel the unreasoning and I fear envious scepticism of MacCribb, who has put forth a plaunflet (I love that old spelling) in which he derides the history of Aldobrand Oldenbuck as a fable.  The Ballad shall, indeed, have an honoured place in my poor Collection whenever the public taste calls for a new edition.  But the original, what would I not give to have it in my hands, to touch the very parchment which came from the press of my revered ancestor, and, gloating on the crabbed letters, confute MacCribb to his face ipso visu et tactu of so inestimable a rarity.  Exchanges—or “swaps,” as the vulgar call them—are not unknown among our fraternity.  Ask what you will for this treasure, to the half of my kingdom: my gold Aurelius (found at Bermuckety, on the very limits of Roman Caledonia), my “Complaynte of Scotland” (the only perfect copy known),

My copperplate, with almanacks
Engrav’d upon’t, and other knacks;
My moon-dial, with Napier’s bones
And several constellation stones.

Make your choice, in fact, of all my Gabions, as honest old George Ruthven called them.

Nay, excuse the covetousness of an Antiquary, my dear sir; I well know that nothing I could offer were worth a tithe of your priceless discovery, the oldest printed Scots Ballad extant.  It shall suffice for me to look on it, under the roof of Mainsforth, when next I make a raid across the Border.  I have conquered my passions, and can obey the last of the Commandments.  Haud equiden invideo, minor magis.  I need not bid you be watchful of your booty.—Yours most faithfully,

Jonathan Oldbuck.


p. 74From Robert Surtees, Esq., to Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq.

June 11.

My Dear Sir,—Alas, your warning comes too late.  An accursed example of womankind, fit descendant of that unhappy Betty Barnes, cook to Mr. Warburton, who destroyed his ancient manuscript plays, hath invaded my sanctum, and the original black-letter text of the ballad has gone to join Shakspeare’s “Stephen” and “Henry II.”  She hath lit with it my study fire, and it is fortunate indeed that I had made the copy of the ballad for you.  But the volume of Coquillart is alive to testify to the authenticity of the poem; which, after all, is needless evidence, as not even Ritson could suspect of either the skill or the malice of such a forgery, Yours most faithfully,

Robert Surtees.

p. 75VIII.

From Nicholas to the Editor of the St. James’s Gazette.

It is only too probable that a later generation has forgotten “Nicholas,” the sporting Prophet of “Fun,” in the reign of Mr. Hood the younger.  The little work, “Nicholas’s Notes,” in which Mr. W. J. Prowse collected the papers of the old Prophet, is, indeed, not an “edition de looks,” as the aged Seer says, with his simple humour.  From the Paradise of Fiction, however (and the Paradise of Touts), Nicholas has communicated, perhaps to the Psychical Society, the following Epistle.  His friendly mention of a brother journalist speaks well for the Old Man’s head and heart.

The Paradise of Fiction, Feb. 9, 1888.

Sir,—My dear young friend, it is ten to one, and no takers, that the public, than whom, between you and me, I do not think much of them, have forgotten Nicholas, or even never heard of the Prophet.  Youth will be served; and it is now between twenty years since he left off vaticinating in “Fun,” during young Mr. Hood’s time, of future sportive events for to come, and came to live here with the other celebrated characters of Fiction, than whom I am sure a more mixed lot, though perhaps a little gay.  It having come to the Prophet’s knowledge that some of them was writing letters to “The St. James’s Gazette” (than which I am sure none more respectable, though perhaps a little not quite so attentive to sportive interests as it might be), he have decided that Nicholas will take up his pen once more, as of old.

The State of the Turf, my dear young friend, since an old but still handsome bird would freely alight (when not warned off) on Newmarket Heath, have caused Nicholas some anxiety.  Sir, between you and me, it is rapidly getting no better.  Here is Lord — (than whom a more sterling sportsman) as good as saying to Sir — (than whom, perhaps), “Did you ever hear of a sporting character called Swindells?”  And the Prophet have been told that it may furnish matter for the gentlemen of the long robe—which, in my time, many of them was backers of horses.

And all along of what?  Why, of the “inexplicable in-and-out running of horses,” as the “Standard” says, and as will often happen, you, perhaps, having a likely dark one as you want to get light into a high-class autumn handicap.  The days is long past since Nicholas was nuts on the game little Lecturer, but still has the interests of the Turf at heart; and, my dear young friend, if horses never ran in and out, where would be “the glorious uncertainty of the sport”?  On the whole, then, if asked my opinion on this affair, the Prophet would say—putting it ambiguous-like—“Gentlemen, when there’s so much dirty linen to wash, can’t you remember that we’re all pretty much tarred with the same brush?”  A great politician—which a lot of his family is here, Coningsby, and the Young Duke, and many other sportsmen—used to say as what the Turf was “a gigantic engine of national demoralisation;” which Nicholas is not quite sure but what he was right for him, though his language on rather a large scale.  Horses running in and out is inexplicable!  Why, gents all, which of us wouldn’t do it, if he had the chance to put the pot on handsome, human nature being what it is, especially considering the lowness of the market odds as you have often and often to be content with.  In short, the more you stir it the more it won’t exactly remind you of gales from Araby the Blest; than which a more delightful country, only not to be found on any atlas as Nicholas ever cast a glance at the map, however large.

But enough of a subject than which perhaps one more painful to me; the Prophet having often and often, in early days, been warned off Newmarket Heath himself, and called a “disreputable old tout,” though only labouring in his vocation.

(Make a new beginning here, please, Printer.)

It have come to the knowledge of the Prophet that his “Notes” are not quite so much read as they once was, partly owing, no doubt, to the book being not so much an “edition de looks” as rather a low-lived lot, to a casual eye, at fourpence; the picture outside representing Nicholas rather as having had too much for to drink than as a prominent member of the Blue Ribbon Society, which it did not exist in his period, nor would it have enjoyed, to any considerable extent, my personal or pecuniary support, he having something else to do with his money.  (Printer, please put in a full stop somewhere here, Nicholas being a little out of the habit of writing for the periodical press.)  He have also heard that it is proposed in literary circles to start a “Nicholas Society” for the purpose of printing a limited edition of my works including my lost treatise of Knur and Spell, on Japanese paper, illustrated with photo-gravelures; they having come in since the Prophet’s period, though perhaps a little gay.

But, my dear though exquisite young friends, is there no better way of rallying round the Prophet than this?  I have heard, from characters in ancient literature, such as Agamemnon—than whom a more energetic soldier, though perhaps a trifle arbitrary—the Prophet have heard, I say, that a deal of liquor used to be poured on the graves of coves like him and me, and that it did them good.  This may be the case, and anyway the experiment is well worth trying; though, I would say, do not let it be milk, as I gather was customary in early times, as didn’t know any better; but, if possible, a bottle or two of sherry wine, to which, as is well beknown, Nicholas was partial.  He will now conclude; and the Prophet hopes that an experiment, than which, I am sure, one more deeply interesting, will not be deferred; he not much taking to the liquor here, though the company makes up for a great deal, especially an Irish officer by the name of Costigan, than whom a sweeter singer or a more honourable gentleman; and signs himself, with gratitude for past favours, and kind respects to the Editor of the “Guardian,”


p. 82IX.

From the Earl of Montrose to Captain Dugald Dalgetty.

Whoever has read the “Memoirs of Monsieur d’Artagnan”—a Marshal in the French King’s service—as they are published by Monsieur Alexandre Dumas in “Les Trois Mousquetaires,” will not have forgotten that duel behind the Luxembourg, in which, as is declared, an Englishman ran away from the Chevalier d’Herblay, called Aramis in his regiment.  Englishmen have never held that Monsieur Dumas was well informed about this affair.  The following letters of the Great Marquis and Captain Dalgetty from the “Kirkhope Papers” prove that Englishmen were in the right.

—, 164-.

Sir,—Touching that I did, to your apprehension, turn away from you with some show of coldness on your late coming, it may be that you but little misread me.  But, for that no man is condemned without a hearing, I would fain know under your own hand the truth concerning that whereof a shameful report is bruited abroad, even in the “Gallo Belgicus” and the “Fliegender Mercoeur” of Leipsic—namely, that in a certain duel lately fought in Paris behind the Palace of the Luxembourg, four Englishmen encountering as many Musketeers of the French King’s, one out of this realm, to our disgrace, shamefully fled; and he (by report) Rittmaster Dugald Dalgetty.  Till which, bruit be either abolished, and the stain—as an ill blot on a clean scutcheon—wiped away, or as shamefully acknowledged as it is itself shameful, I abide, as I shall hear from yourself,



p. 84From Captain Dugald Dalgetty, of Drumthwacket, to the Most Noble and Puissant Prince James, Earl of Montrose, commanding the musters of the King in ScotlandThese

My Lord,—As touching the bruit, or fama, as we said at the Mareschal College, I shall forthwith answer, and that peremptorie.  For this story of the duello, as a man may say (though, indeed, they that fought in it were not in the dual number, as your Grecian hath it, but eight soldados—seven of them gallant men), truly the story is of the longest; but as your lordship will have it, though more expert with the sword than the goosequill, I must even buckle to.

Let your lordship conceive of your poor officer, once lieutenant and Rittmaster under that invincible monarch, the bulwark of the Protestant faith, Gustavus the Victorious; conceive, I say, Dugald Dalgetty, of Drumthwacket that should be, in Paris, concerned with a matter of weight and moment not necessary to be mooted or minted of.  As I am sitting at my tavern ordinary, for I consider that an experienced cavalier should ever lay in provenant as occasion serveth, comes in to me a stipendiary of my Lord Winter, bidding me know that his master would speak to me: and that not coram populo, as I doubt not your lordship said at St. Leonard’s College in St. Andrews, but privily.  Thereon I rise and wait on him; to be brief—brevis esse laboro, as we said lang syne—his lordship would have me to be of his backers in private rencontre with four gentlemen of the King’s Musketeers.

Concerning the cause of this duello, I may well say teterrima causa.  His lordship’s own sister Milady Clarik was in question; she being, I fear me, rather akin in her way of life to Jean Drocheils (whom your lordship may remember; for, the Baillies expulsing her from Aberdeen, she migrated to St. Andrews, ad eundem, as the saying is) than like, in her walk and conduct, to a virtuous lady of a noble family.  She was, indeed, as current rumour had it, the light o’love or belle amie of Monsieur d’Artagnan, his lordship’s adversary.

But of siclike least said soonest mended.  I take cloak and sword, and follow with his lordship and two other experienced cavaliers unto the place of rencontre, being a waste croft whereon a loon was herding goats, behind the Palace of the Luxembourg.  Here we find waiting us four soldados, proper tall men of their hands, who receive us courteously.  He that first gave cause of quarrel to my Lord Winter bore a worthy name enough out of Gascony, that is arida nutrix, as we said at the Mareschal College, of honourable soldados—to wit, as I said, he was Monsieur d’Artagnan.  To his friends, howbeit, he gave sic heathen titles as I never saw or heard of out of the Grecian books: namely, Monsieur Porthos, a very tall man, albeit something of a lourdaud; Monsieur Athos; and he that was to be mine own opposite, Monsieur Aramis.  Hearing these outlandish and insolent appellations, I thought it becoming me, as an honourable cavalier, to resent this fashion of presenting: and demurred that a gentleman of the House of Dalgetty of Drumthwacket could neither take affront from, nor give honourable satisfaction to, a nameless landlouper.  Wherein your lordship, I doubt me not, will hold me justificate.

Lord Winter homologating mine opinion, he that called himself Athos drew each of us apart, and whispered the true names and qualities territorial of these gentlemen; the whilk, as may befall honourable soldados, they had reason sufficient to conceal while serving as private gentlemen in a regiment, though disdaining to receive halberds, as unbecoming their birth.  He that aligned himself forenenst me was styled the Chevalier d’Herblay; and, the word being given, we fell to.

Now, mine adversary declining to fight comminus gladio, but breaking ground in a manner unworthy of a gallant soldado, and the place, saving your presence, being somewhat slippery and treacherous because of the goats that were fed there, I delivered a sufficient onslaught; and he fell, his sword flying from his hand.  When I had taken his weapon—the spolia opima, as we said at Mareschal College—I bid him rise, and then discoursed him on the dishonour of such a hasty defeat.  Then, he confessing himself to me that, though under arms, he was a young fledgeling priest in Popish orders, I began upon him with such words on his disgracing the noble profession of arms as might have made him choose to return to his cloister; when suddenly he fled, and, being young and light-footed, robbed me, not only of such caduacs and casualties as an experienced cavalier might well take from his prisoner for ransom, but also, as now it appears, of my good name.  For I doubt not that this musketeer priest, Monsieur Aramis, or l’Abbé d’Herblay (for he hath as many names as I have seen campaigns), was the loon that beguiled with a lying tale the newsman of the “Gallo Belgicus.”  And I have ever seen that an honourable soldado will give the go-by to these newsmen and their flying sheets, as unworthy of the notice of honourable cavaliers; of whom (recommending your lordship for the truth of my tale to my Lord Winter, now with his gracious Majesty the King) I am fain to subscribe myself one, and your lordship’s poor officer, as ye shall entreat him,

Dugald Dalgetty, of Drumthwacket,

Late Commander of the whole stift of Dunklespiel
on the Lower Rhine.

p. 90X.

From Mr. Lovelace to John Belford, Esq.

The following letter must have been omitted from the papers to which Mr. Samuel Richardson, the editor of “Clarissa,” had access.  It was written, apparently, after the disgraceful success of Lovelace’s disgraceful adventure, and shows us that scoundrel in company not choice, indeed, but better than he deserved, the society of Mr. Thomas Jones, a Foundling.  Mr. Jones’s admirable wife (née Western), having heard of Lovelace’s conduct, sent her husband to execute that revenge which should have been competed for by every man of heart.  It will be seen that Mr. Jones was no match for the perfidies of Mr. Lovelace.  The cynical reflections of that bad man on Lord Fellamar, and his relations with Mrs. Jones, will only cause indignation and contempt among her innumerable and honourable admirers.  They will remember the critical and painful circumstances as recorded in Mr. Henry Fielding’s biography of Mr. Jones.

Parcius junctas quatiunt fenestras
Ictibus crebris juvenes protervi.

Curse upon thy stars, Jack!  How long wilt thou beat me about the head with thy musty citations from Nat Lee and thy troop of poetical divines?  Thou hast driven me to motto-hunting for the comeliness of mine epistle, like the weekly scribblers.  See, Jack, I have an adventure to tell thee!  It is not the avenging Morden that hath flashed through the window, sword in hand, as in my frightful dream; nor hath the statue of the Commandant visited me, like Don Juan, that Rake of Spain; but a challenger came hither that is not akin to my beloved Miss.  Dost remember a tall, fresh-coloured, cudgel-playing oaf that my Lady Bellaston led about with her—as maids lead apes in hell, though he more of an ape than she of a maid—’tis a year gone?  This brawny-beefed chairman hath married a fortune and a delicious girl, you dog, Miss Sophia Western, of Somerset, and is now in train, I doubt not, to beget as goodly a tribe of chuckle-headed boys and whey-faced wenches as you shall see round an old squire’s tomb in a parish church.  Wherefore does he not abide at this his appointed lawful husbandry, I marvel; but not a whit!

Our cursed adventure hath spread from the flippanti of both sexes down to the heathenish parts of Somerset; where it hath reached Madam Jones’s ears, and inflamed this pretty vixen with a desire to avenge Miss Harlowe on me, and by the cudgel of Mr. Jones, his Sophia having sent him up to town for no other purpose.  De la Tour, my man, came to me yesterday morning with the tidings that the New Giant, as he supposes, waits on me to solicit the favour of my patronage.  I am in the powdering closet, being bound for a rout, and cry, “Let the Giant in!”  Then a heavy tread: and, looking up, what do I see but a shoulder-of-mutton fist at my nose, and lo! a Somerset tongue cries, “Lovelace, thou villain, thou shalt taste of this!”  A man in a powdering closet cannot fight, even if he be a boxing glutton like your Figs and other gladiators of the Artillery Ground.  Needs must I parley.  “What,” says I, “what, the happy Mr. Jones from the West!  What brings him here among the wicked, and how can the possessor of the beauteous Sophia be a moment from her charms?”

“Take not her name,” cries my clod-hopper, “into thy perjured mouth.  ’Tis herself sends me here to avenge the best, the most injured . . . ”  Here he fell a-blubbering!  Oh, Belford, the virtue of this world is a great discourager of repentance.

“If Mr. Jones insists on the arbitrament of the sword . . . ” I was beginning—“Nay, none of thy Frenchified blades,” cries he, “come out of thy earth, thou stinking fox, and try conclusions with an English cudgel!”

Belford, I am no cudgel-player, and I knew not well how to rid myself of this swasher.

“Mr. Jones!” I said, “I will fight you how you will, where you will, with what weapon you will; but first inform me of the nature of our quarrel.  Would you blazon abroad yet further the malignant tales that have injured both me and a lady for whom I have none but the most hallowed esteem?  I pray you sit down, Sir; be calm, the light is ill for any play with cudgel or sword.  De la Tour, a bottle of right Burgundy; Mr. Jones and I have business, and he hath travelled far.”

In a trice there was a chicken, a bottle, a set of knives and forks, a white cloth, and a hungry oaf that did eat and swear!  One bottle followed another.  By the third Mr. Jones embraced me, saying that never had a man been more belied than I; that it was Lord Fellamar, not I, was the villain.  To this effect I own that I did myself drop a hint; conceiving that the divine Sophia must often have regretted our friend Fellamar when once she was bound to the oaf, and that Jones was capable of a resentful jealousy.  By midnight I had to call a chair for my besotted challenger, and when the Avenger was there safely bestowed, I asked him where the men should carry him?  His tongue being now thick, and his brains bemused, he could not find the sign of his inn in his noddle.  So, the merry devil prompting me, I gave the men the address of his ancient flame, my Lady Bellaston, and off they jogged with Jones.

Was there ever, Belford, a stranger amoris redintegratio than this must have been, when our Lydia heard the old love at the rarely shaken doors:

Me tuo longas pereunte noctes,
         Lydia, dormis?

Ah, how little hath Madam Sophia taken by despatching her lord to town, and all to break my head.  My fellow, who carries this to thee, has just met Fellamar’s man, and tells me that Fellamar yesterday went down into Somerset.  What bodes this rare conjunction and disjunction of man and wife and of old affections? and hath “Thomas, a Foundling,” too, gone the way of all flesh?

Thy Lovelace.

No news of the dear fugitive!  Ah, Belford, my conscience and my cousins call me a villain!  Minxes all.

p. 97XI.

From Miss Catherine Morland to Miss Eleanor Tilney.

Miss Catherine Morland, of “Northanger Abbey,” gives her account of a visit to Mr. Rochester, and of his governess’s peculiar behaviour.  Mrs. Rochester (née Eyre) has no mention of this in her Memoirs.

Thornfield, Midnight

At length, my dear Eleanor, the terrors on which you have so often rallied me are become realities, and your Catherine is in the midst of those circumstances to which we may, without exaggeration, give the epithet “horrible.”  I write, as I firmly believe, from the mansion of a maniac!  On a visit to my Aunt Ingram, and carried by her to Thornfield, the seat of her wealthy neighbour, Mr. Rochester, how shall your Catherine’s trembling pen unfold the mysteries by which she finds herself surrounded!  No sooner had I entered this battlemented mansion than a cold chill struck through me, as with a sense of some brooding terror.  All, indeed, was elegance, all splendour!  The arches were hung with Tyrian-dyed curtains.  The ornaments on the pale Parian mantelpiece were of red Bohemian glass.  Everywhere were crimson couches and sofas.  The housekeeper, Mrs. Fairfax, pointed out to my notice some vases of fine purple spar, and on all sides were Turkey carpets and large mirrors.  Elegance of taste and fastidious research of ornament could do no more; but what is luxury to the mind ill at ease? or can a restless conscience be stilled by red Bohemian glass or pale Parian mantelpieces?

No, alas! too plainly was this conspicuous when, on entering the library, we found Mr. Rochester—alone!  The envied possessor of all this opulence can be no happy man.  He was seated with his head bent on his folded arms, and when he looked up a morose—almost a malignant—scowl blackened his features!  Hastily beckoning to the governess, who entered with us, to follow him, he exclaimed, “Oh, hang it all!” in an accent of despair, and rushed from the chamber.  We distinctly heard the doors clanging behind him as he flew!  At dinner, the same hollow reserve; his conversation entirely confined to the governess (a Miss Eyre), whose position here your Catherine does not understand, and to whom I distinctly heard him observe that Miss Blanche Ingram was “an extensive armful.”

The evening was spent in the lugubrious mockery of pretending to consult an old gipsy-woman who smoked a short black pipe, and was recognised by all as Mr. Rochester in disguise.  I was conducted by Miss Eyre to my bedroom—through a long passage, narrow, low, and dim, with two rows of small black doors, all shut; ’twas like a corridor in some Blue Beard’s castle.  “Hurry, hurry, I hear the chains rattling,” said this strange girl; whose position, my Eleanor, in this house causes your Catherine some natural perplexity.  When we had reached my chamber, “Be silent, silent as death,” said Miss Eyre, her finger on her lip and her meagre body convulsed with some mysterious emotion.  “Speak not of what you hear, do not remember what you see!” and she was gone.

I undressed, after testing the walls for secret panels and looking for assassins in the usual place, but was haunted all the time by an unnatural sound of laughter.  At length, groping my way to the bed, I jumped hastily in, and would have sought some suspension of anguish by creeping far underneath the clothes.  But even this refuge was denied to your wretched Catherine!  I could not stretch my limbs; for the sheet, my dear Eleanor, had been so arranged, in some manner which I do not understand, as to render this impossible.  The laughter seemed to redouble.  I heard a footstep at my door.  I hurried on my frock and shawl and crept into the gallery.  A strange dark figure was gliding in front of me, stooping at each door; and every time it stooped, came a low gurgling noise!  Inspired by I know not what desperation of courage, I rushed on the figure and seized it by the neck.  It was Miss Eyre, the governess, filling the boots of all the guests with water, which she carried in a can.  When she saw me she gave a scream and threw herself against a door hung with a curtain of Tyrian dye.  It yielded, and there poured into the passage a blue cloud of smoke, with a strong and odious smell of cigars, into which (and to what company?) she vanished.  I groped my way as well as I might to my own chamber: where each hour the clocks, as they struck, found an echo in the apprehensive heart of

The Ill-Fated

Catherine Morland.

p. 102XII.

From Montague Tigg, Esq., to Mr. David Crimp.

The following letter needs no explanation for any who have studied the fortunes and admired the style of that celebrated and sanguine financier, Mr. Montague Tigg, in “Martin Chuzzlewit.”  His chance meeting with the romantic Comte de Monte Cristo naturally suggested to him the plans and hopes which he unfolds to an unsympathetic capitalist.

1542 Park Lane, May 27, 1848.

My Premium Pomegranate,—Oracles are not in it, David, with you, my pippin, as auspicious counsellors of ingenious indigence.  The remark which you uttered lately, when refusing to make the trumpery advance of half-a-crown on a garment which had been near to the illustrious person of my friend Chevy Slime, that remark was inspired.  “Go to Holborn!” you said, and the longest-bearded of early prophets never uttered aught more pregnant with Destiny.  I went to Holborn, to the humble establishment of the tuneful tonsor, Sweedle-pipe.  All things come, the poet says, to him who knows how to wait—especially, I may add, to him who knows how to wait behind thin partitions with a chink in them.  Ensconced in such an ambush—in fact, in the back shop—I bided my time, intending to solicit pecuniary accommodation from the barber, and studying human nature as developed in his customers.

There are odd customers in Kingsgate Street, Holborn—foreign gents and refugees.  Such a cove my eagle eye detected in a man who entered the shop wearing a long black beard streaked with the snows of age, and who requested Poll to shave him clean.  He was a sailor-man to look at; but his profile, David, might have been carved by a Grecian chisel out of an iceberg, and that steel grey eye of his might have struck a chill, even through a chink, into any heart less stout than beats behind the vest of Montague Tigg.  The task of rasping so hirsute a customer seemed to sit heavy on the soul of Poll, and threatened to exhaust the resources of his limited establishment.  The barber went forth to command, as I presume, a fresher strop, or more keenly tempered steel, and glittering cans of water heated to a fiercer heat.  No sooner was the coast clear than the street-door opened, and my stranger was joined by a mantled form, that glided into Poll’s emporium.  The new-comer doffed a swart sombrero, and disclosed historic features that were not unknown to the concealed observer—meaning me.  Yes, David, that aquiline beak, that long and waxed moustache, that impassible mask of a face, I had seen them, Sir, conspicuous (though their owner be of alien and even hostile birth) among England’s special chivalry.  The foremost he had charged on the Ides of April (I mean against the ungentlemanly Chartist throng) and in the storied lists of Eglinton.  The new-comer, in short, was the nephew of him who ate his heart out in an English gaol (like our illustrious Chiv)—in fact, he was Prince Louis N— B—.

Gliding to the seat where, half-lathered, the more or less ancient Mariner awaited Poll’s return, the Prince muttered (in the French lingo, familiar to me from long exile in Boulogne):

“Hist, goes all well?”

“Magnificently, Sire!” says the other chap.

“Our passages taken?”

“Ay, and private cabins paid for to boot, in case of the storm’s inclemency.”

The Prince nodded and seemed pleased; then he asked anxiously,

“The Bird?  You have been to Jamrach’s?”

“Pardon me, Sire,” says the man who was waiting to be shaved, “I can slip from your jesses no mercenary eagle.  These limbs have yet the pith to climb and this heart the daring to venture to the airiest crag of Monte d’Oro, and I have ravished from his eyrie a true Corsican eagle to be the omen of our expedition.  Wherever this eagle is your uncle’s legions will gather together.”

“’Tis well; and the gold?”

Trust Monte Cristo!” says the bearded man; and then, David, begad!  I knew I had them!

“We meet?”

“At Folkestone pier, 7.45, tidal train.”

“I shall be there without fail,” says the Prince, and sneaks out of the street-door just as Poll comes in with the extra soap and strop.

Well, David, to make it as short as I can, the man of the icy glance was clean-shaved at last, and the mother who bore him would not have known him as he looked in the glass when it was done.  He chucked Poll a diamond worth about a million piastres, and, remarking that he would not trouble him for the change, he walked out.  By this characteristic swagger, of course, he more than confirmed my belief that he was, indeed, the celebrated foreigner the Count of Monte Cristo; whose name and history even you must be acquainted with, though you may not be what I have heard my friend Chevy Slime call himself, “the most literary man alive.”  A desperate follower of the star of Austerlitz from his youth, a martyr to the cause in the Château d’If, Monte Cristo has not deserted it now that he has come into his own—or anybody else’s.

Of course I was after him like a shot.  He walked down Kingsgate Street and took a four-wheeler that was loitering at the corner.  I followed on foot, escaping the notice of the police from the fact, made only too natural by Fortune’s cursed spite, that under the toga-like simplicity of Montague Tigg’s costume these minions merely guessed at a cab-tout.

Well, David, he led me a long chase.  He got out of the four-wheeler (it was dark now) at the Travellers’, throwing the cabman a purse—of sequins, no doubt.  At the door of the Travellers’ he entered a brougham; and, driving to the French Embassy in Albert Gate, he alighted, in different togs, quite the swell, and let himself in with his own latch-key.

In fact, Sir, this conspirator of barbers’ shops, this prisoner of the Château d’If, this climber of Corsican eyries, is to-day the French Minister accredited to the Court of St. James’s!

And now perhaps, David, you begin to see how the land lies, the Promised Land, the land where there is corn and milk and honey-dew.  I hold those eminent and highly romantic parties in the hollow of my hand.  A letter from me to M. Lecoq, of the Rue Jerusalem, and their little game is up, their eagle moults, the history of Europe is altered.  But what good would all that do Montague Tigg?  Will it so much as put that delightful coin, a golden sovereign, in the pocket of his nether garments?  No, Tigg is no informer; a man who has charged at the head of his regiment on the coast of Africa is no vulgar spy.  There is more to be got by making the Count pay through the nose, as we say; chanter, as the French say; “sing a song of sixpence”—to a golden tune.

But, as Fortune now uses me, I cannot personally approach his Excellency.  Powdered menials would urge me from his portals.  An advance, a small advance—say 30l.—is needed for preliminary expenses: for the charges of the clothier, the bootmaker, the hosier, the barber.  Give me 30l. for the restoration of Tigg to the semblance of the Montagues, and with that sum I conquer millions.  The diamonds of Monte Cristo, the ingots, the rubies, the golden crowns with the image and superscription of Pope Alexander VI.—all are mine: I mean are ours.

More, David; more, my premium tulip: we shall make the Count a richer man than ever he has been.  We shall promote new companies, we shall put him on the board of directors.  I see the prospectuses from afar.



His Excellency the Comte de Monte Cristo.  K.G., K.C.B., Knight of the Black Eagle.


Chevy Slime, Esq., Berkeley Square.

Montague Tigg, Esq., Park Lane.

M. Vautrin (Les Bagnes près de Toulon).

M. Jean Valjean.

The Chevalier Strong.  (Would he come in?)

Hon. Secretary.—David Crimp, Esq.

Archæological Adviser.—Dr. Spiegelmann, Berlin.

Then the prospectus!  Treasure-hunting too long left to individual and uneducated enterprise.  Need of organised and instructed effort.  Examples of treasure easily to be had.  Grave of Alaric.  Golden chain of Cuzco.  Galleons of Vigo Bay.  Loot of Delphi.  Straits of Salamis.  Advice of most distinguished foreign experts already secured.  Paid-up capital, a 6 and as many 0’s as the resources of the printing establishment can command.  The public will rush in by the myriad.  And I am also sketching a

‘Disinterested Association for Securing the Rights of Foundlings,’ again with Monte Cristo in the chair.  David, you have saved a few pounds; in the confidence of unofficial moments you have confessed as much (though not exactly how much) to me.  Will you neglect one of those opportunities which only genius can discover, but which the humble capitalist can help to fructify?  With thirty, nay, with twenty pounds, I can master this millionaire and tame this Earthly Providence.  Behind us lies penury and squalor, before us glitters jewelled opulence.  You will be at 1542 Park Lane to-morrow with the dibs?—Yours expectantly,

Montague Tigg.


p. 112From Mr. David Crimp to Montague Tigg, Esq.

The Golden Balls, May 28.

Dear Mr. Tigg,—You always were full of your chaff, but you must have been drinking when you wrote all that cock-and-a-bull gammon.  Thirty pounds!  No; nor fifteen; nor as many pence.  I never heard of the party you mention by the name of the Count of Monte Cristo; and as for the Prince, he’s as likely to be setting out for Boulogne with an eagle as you are to start a monkey and a barrel-organ in Jericho; or may be that’s the likeliest of the two.  So stow your gammon, and spare your stamps, is my last word.—Yours respectfully to command,

D. Crimp.

p. 113XIII.

From Christian to Piscator.

Walton and Bunyan were men who should have known each other.  It is a pleasant fancy, to me, that they may have met on the banks of Ouse, while John was meditating a sermon, and Izaak was “attentive of his trembling quill.”

Sir,—Being now come into the Land of Beulah; here, whence I cannot so much as see Doubting Castle; here, where I am solaced with the sound of voices from the City,—my mind, that is now more at peace about mine own salvation, misgives me sore about thine.  Thou wilt remember me, perchance, for him that met thee by a stream of the Delectable Mountains, and took thee to be a man fleeing from the City of Destruction.  For, beholding thee from afar, methought that thou didst carry a burden on thy back, even as myself before my deliverance did bear the burden of my sins and fears.  Yet when I drew near I perceived that it was but a fisherman’s basket on thy back, and that thou didst rather seek to add to the weight of thy burden than to lighten it or fling it away.  But, when we fell into discourse, I marvelled much how thou camest so far upon the way, even among the sheep and the shepherds of that country.  For I found that thou hadst little experience in conflict with Apollyon, and that thou hadst never passed through the Slough of Despond nor wandered in the Valley of the Shadow.  Nay, thou hadst never so much as been distressed in thy mind with great fear, nor hadst thou fled from thy wife and children, to save, if it might be, thy soul for thyself, as I have done.  Nay, rather thou didst parley with the shepherds as one that loved their life; and I remember, even now, that sweet carnal song

The Shepherd swains shall dance and sing,
For thy delight, each May morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

p. 115These are not the songs that fit the Delectable Country; nay, rather they are the mirth of wantons.  Yet didst thou take pleasure in them; and therefore I make bold to ask how didst thou flee at all from the City of Destruction, and come so far upon thy way?  Beware lest, when thou winnest to that brook wherein no man casts angle, even to that flood where there is no bridge to go over and the River is very deep—beware, I say, of one Vain Hope, the Ferryman!  For I would not have thee lost, because thou art a kindly man and a simple.  Yet for Ignorance there is an ill way, even from the very gates of the City.—Thy fellow-traveller,



From Piscator to Christian.

Sir,—I do indeed remember thee; and I trust thou art amended of these gripings which caused thee to groan and moan, even by the pleasant streams from the hills of the Delectable Mountains.  And as for my “burden” ’twas pleasant to me to bear it; for, like not the least of the Apostles, I am a fisher, and I carried trout.  But I take no shame in that I am an angler; for angling is somewhat like poetry; men are to be born so, and I would not be otherwise than my Maker designed to have me.  Of the antiquity of angling I could say much; but I misdoubt me that thou dost not heed the learning of ancient times, but art a contemner of good learning and virtuous recreations.  Yet it may a little move thee that in the Book of Job mention is made of fish-hooks, and without reproof; for let me tell you that in the Scriptures angling is always taken in the best sense.

Touching my flight from the City of Destruction, I love that place no more than thou dost; yet I fear not its evil communications, nor would I so hastily desert it as to leave my wife and children behind therein.  Nor have I any experience of conflict with the Evil One; wherefore I thank Him that hath set me in pleasant fields, by clear waters, where come no wicked whispers (be they from Apollyon or from our own hearts); but there is calmness of spirit, and a world of blessings attending upon it.  And hence can no man see the towers of Doubting Castle, for the green trees and the hedges white with May.  This life is not wholly vile, as some of thy friends declare (Thou, who makest thy pilgrims dance to the lute, knowest better); and, for myself, I own that I love such mirth as does not make men ashamed to look upon each other next morning.  Let him that bears a heavy heart for his ill-deeds turn him to better, but not mourn as though the sun were taken out of the sky.  What says the song?—nay, ’tis as good balm for the soul as many a hymn:

A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad one tires in a mile-a!

He that made the world made man to take delight in it; even as thou saw’st me joyful with the shepherds—ay, with godly Mr. Richard Hooker, “he being then tending his small allotment of sheep in a common field,” as I recount in a brief life of a good man.  As to what awaits me on the other side of that River, I do expect it with a peaceful heart, and in humble hope that a man may reach the City with a cheerful countenance, no less than through groans and sighs and fears.  For we have not a tyrant over us, but a Father, that loveth a cheerful liver no less than a cheerful giver.  Nevertheless, I thank thee for thy kind thought of one that is not of thy company, nor no Nonconformist, but a peaceful Protestant.  And, lest thou be troubled with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits, read that comfortable sermon of Mr. Hooker’s to weak believers, on the Certainty of Adherence, though they want the inward testimony of it.

But now falls there a sweet shower, “a singing shower” saith old George Chapman, and methinks I shall have sport; for I do note that the mayfly is up; and, seeing all these beautiful creatures playing in the air and water, I feel my own heart play within me; and I must out and dape under yonder sycamore tree.  Wherefore, prithee, pardon me a longer discourse as at this time.—Thy friend,


p. 120XIV.

From Truthful James to Mr. Bret Harte.



      Dear Bret Harte,
                        I’m in tears,
      And the camp’s in the dust,
   For with anguish it hears
      As poor William may bust,
And the last of the Nyes is in danger of
   sleeping the sleep of the just.

   No revolver it was
      Interfered with his health,
   The convivial glass
      Did not harm him by stealth;
It was nary!  He fell by a scheme which
   he thought would accumulate wealth!

   For a Moqui came round
      To the camp—Injun Joe;
   And the dollars was found
      In his pockets to flow;
For he played off some tricks with live
   snakes, as was reckoned a competent show.

   They was rattlers; a pair
      In his teeth he would hold,
   And another he’d wear
      Like a scarf to enfold
His neck, with them dangerous critters
   as safe as the saint was of old.

   Sez William, “That same
      Is as easy as wink.
   I am fly to his game;
      For them rattlers, I think,
Has had all their incisors extracted.
   They’re harmless as suthin’ to drink.”

   So he betted his pile
      He could handle them snakes;
   And he tried, with a smile,
      And a rattler he takes,
Feeling safe as they’d somehow been
   doctored; but bless you, that sarpent awakes!

   Waken snakes! and they did
      And they rattled like mad;
   For it was not a “kid,”
      But some medicine he had,
Injun Joe, for persuadin’ the critters but
   William’s bit powerful bad.

   So they’ve put him outside
      Of a bottle of Rye,
   And they’ve set him to ride
      A mustang as kin shy,
To keep up his poor circulation; and
   that’s the last chance for Bill Nye.

   But a near thing it is,
      And the camp’s in the dust.
   He’s a pard as we’d miss
      If poor Bill was to bust—
If the last of the Nyes were a-sleepin
   the peaceable sleep of the just.

p. 123XV.

From Professor Forth to the Rev. Mr. Casaubon.

The delicacy of the domestic matters with which the following correspondence deals cannot be exaggerated.  It seems that Belinda (whose Memoirs we owe to Miss Rhoda Broughton) was at Oxford while Mr. and Mrs. Casaubon were also resident near that pleasant city, so famed for its Bodleian Library.  Professor Forth and Mr. Casaubon were friends, as may be guessed; their congenial characters, their kindred studies, Etruscology and Mythology, combined to ally them.  Their wives were not wholly absorbed in their learned pursuits, and if Mr. Ladislaw was dangling after Mrs. Casaubon, we know that Mr. Rivers used to haunt with Mrs. Forth the walks of Magdalen.  The regret and disapproval which Mrs. Casaubon expresses, and her desire to do good to Mrs. Forth, are, it is believed, not alien to her devoted and exemplary character.

Bradmore-road, Oxford, May 29.

Dear Mr. Casaubon,—In the course of an investigation which my researches into the character of the Etruscan “Involuti” have necessitated, I frequently encounter the root Kâd, k2âd, or Qâd.  Schnitzler’s recent and epoch-making discovery that d in Etruscan = b2, has led me to consider it a plausible hypothesis that we may convert Kâd or Qâd into Kab2, in which case it is by no means beyond the range of a cautious conjecture that the Involuti are identical with the Cab-iri (Cabiri).  Though you will pardon me for confessing, what you already know, that I am not in all points an adherent to your ideas concerning a “Key to All Mythologies” (at least, as briefly set forth by you in Kuhn’s Zeitung), yet I am deeply impressed with this apparent opportunity of bridging the seemingly impassable gulf between Etrurian Religion and the comparatively clear and comprehensible systems of the Pelasgo-Phoenician peoples.  That Kâd or Kâb can refer either (as in Quatuor) to a four-footed animal (quadruped, “quad”) or to a four-wheeled vehicle (esseda, Celtic cab) I cannot for a moment believe, though I understand that this theory has the support of Schrader, Penka, and Baunder. [125]  Any information which your learning can procure, and your kind courtesy can supply, will be warmly welcomed and duly acknowledged.—Believe me, faithfully yours,

James Forth.

P.S.—I open this note, which was written from my dictation by my secretary, Mrs. Forth, to assure myself that her inexperience has been guilty of no error in matters of so much delicacy and importance.  I have detected no mistake of moment, and begin to hope that the important step of matrimony to which I was guided by your example may not have been a rash experiment.


p. 126From the Rev. Mr. Casaubon to James Forth, Esq., Professor of Etruscan, Oxford.

Dear Mr. Forth,—Your letter throws considerable light on a topic which has long engaged my earnest attention.  To my thinking, the Cab in Cabiri = CAV, “hollow,” as in cavus, and refers to the Ark of Noah, which, of course, before the entrance of every living thing according to his kind, must have been the largest artificial hollow or empty space known to our Adamite ancestors.  Thus the Cabiri would answer, naturally, to the Patæci, which, as Herodotus tells us, were usually figured on the prows of ships.  The Cabiri or Patæci, as children of Noah and men of the “great vessel,” or Cave-men (a wonderful anticipation of modern science), would perpetuate the memory of Arkite circumstances, and would be selected, as the sacred tradition faded from men’s minds, as the guides of navigation.  I am sorry to seem out of harmony with your ideas; but it is only a matter of seeming, for I have no doubt that the Etruscan Involuti are also Arkite, and that they do not, as Max Müller may be expected to intimate, represent the veiled or cloudy Dawns, but rather the Arkite Patriarchs.  We thus, from different starting-places, arrive at the same goal, the Arkite solution of Bryant.  I am aware that I am old-fashioned—like Eumæus, “I dwell here among the swine, and go not often to the city.”  Your letters with little numerals (as k2) may represent the exactness of modern philology; but more closely remind me of the formulæ of algebra, a study in which I at no time excelled.

It is my purpose to visit Cambridge on June 3, to listen to a most valuable address by Professor Tösch, of Bonn, on Hittite and Aztec affinities.  If you can meet me there and accept the hospitality of my college, the encounter may prove a p. 128turning point in Mythological and Philological Science.—Very faithfully yours,

J. Casaubon.

P.S.—I open this note, written from my dictation by my wife, to enclose my congratulations on Mrs. Forth’s scholarly attainments.


From Professor Forth to Rev. Mr. Casaubon.

Will be with you at Cambridge on the third.


From Mrs. Forth, Bradmore-road, Oxford, to David Rivers, Esq., Milnthorpe, Yorkshire.

He goes on Saturday to Cambridge to hear some one talk about the Hittites and the Asiatics.  Did you not say there was a good Sunday train?  They sing “O Rest in the Lord” at Magdalen.  I often wonder that Addison’s Walk is so p. 129deserted on Sundays.  He stays over Sunday at Cambridge. [129]


From David Rivers, Esq., to Mrs. Forth, Oxford.

Dear Mrs. Forth,—Saturday is a half-holiday at the Works, and I propose to come up and see whether our boat cannot bump Balliol.  How extraordinary it is that people should neglect, on Sundays, the favourite promenade of the Short-faced Humourist.  I shall be there: the old place.—Believe me, yours ever,

D. Rivers.


From Mrs. Casaubon to William Ladislaw, Esq., Stratford-on-Avon.

Dear Friend,—Your kind letter from Stratford is indeed interesting.  Ah, when shall I have an opportunity of seeing these, and so many other interesting places!  But in a world where duty is so much, and so always with us, why should we regret the voids in our experience which, after all, life is filling in the experience of others?  The work is advancing, and Mr. Casaubon hopes that the first chapter of the “Key to All Mythologies” will be fairly copied and completed by the end of autumn.  Mr. Casaubon is going to Cambridge on Saturday to hear Professor Tösch lecture on the Pittites and some other party, I really forget which; [130] but it is not often that he takes so much interest in mere modern history.  How curious it sometimes is to think that the great spirit of humanity and of the world, as you say, keeps working its way—ah, to what wonderful goal—by means of these obscure difficult politics: almost unworthy instruments, one is tempted to think.  That was a true line you quoted lately p. 131from the ‘Vita Nuova.’  We have no books of poetry here, except a Lithuanian translation of the Rig Veda.  How delightful it must be to read Dante with a sympathetic fellow-student, one who has also loved—and renounced!—Yours very sincerely,

Dorothea Casaubon.

P.S.—I do not expect Mr. Casaubon back from Cambridge before Monday afternoon.


From William Ladislaw, Esq., to the Hon. Secretary of the Literary and Philosophical Mechanics’ Institute, Middlemarch.

My Dear Sir,—I find that I can be in your neighbourhood on Saturday, and will gladly accept your invitation to lecture at your Institute on the Immutability of Morals.—Faithfully yours,

W. Ladislaw.


p. 132From William Ladislaw, Esq., to Mrs. Casaubon.

Dear Mrs. Casaubon,—Only a line to say that I am to lecture at the Mechanics’ Institute on Saturday.  I can scarcely hope that, as Mr. Casaubon is away, you will be able to attend my poor performance, but on Sunday I may have, I hope, the pleasure of waiting on you in the afternoon?—Very sincerely yours,

W. Ladislaw.

P.S.—I shall bring the ‘Vita Nuova’—it is not so difficult as the ‘Paradiso’—and I shall be happy to help you with a few of the earlier sonnets.


From Mrs. Casaubon to Mrs. Forth.

June 5.

Dear Lady,—You will be surprised at receiving a letter from a stranger!  How shall I address you—how shall I say what I ought to say?  Our husbands are not unknown to each other, I may almost call them friends, but we have met only once.  You did not see me; but I was at Magdalen a few weeks ago, and I could not help asking who you were, so young, so beautiful; and when I saw you so lonely among all those learned men my heart went out to you, for I too know what the learned are, and how often, when we are young, we feel as if they were so cold, so remote.  Ah, then there come temptations, but they must be conquered.—We are not born to live for ourselves only, we must learn to live for others—ah! not for Another!

Some one [133] we both know, a lady, has spoken to me of you lately.  She too, though you did not know it, was in Magdalen Walk on Sunday evening when the bells were chiming and the birds singing.  She saw you; you were not alone!  Mr. Rivers (I am informed that is his name) was with you.  Ah, stop and think, and hear me before it is too late.  A word; I do not know—a word of mine may be listened to, though I have no right to speak.  But something forces me to speak, and to implore you to remember that it is not for Pleasure we live, but for Duty.  We must break the dearest ties if they do not bind us to the stake—the stake of all we owe to all!  You will understand, you will forgive me, will you not?  You will forgive another woman whom your beauty and sadness have won to admire and love you.  You will break these ties, will you not, and be free, for only in Renunciation is there freedom?  He must not come again, you will tell him that he must not.—Yours always,

Dorothea Casaubon.

p. 135XVI.

From Euphues to Sir Amyas Leigh, Kt.

This little controversy on the value of the herb tobacco passed between the renowned Euphues and that early but assiduous smoker, Sir Amyas Leigh, well known to readers of “Westward Ho.”

(He dissuadeth him from drinking the smoke of the Indian weed.)

Sir Amyas,—Take it not unkindly that a traveller (though less wide a wanderer than thou) dissuadeth thee from a new-found novelty—the wanton misuse, or rather the misuseful wantonness, of the Indian herb.  It is a blind goose that knoweth not a fox from a fern-bush, and a strange temerity that mistaketh smoke for provender.  The sow, when she is sick, eateth the sea-crab and is immediately recovered: why, then, should man, being whole and sound, haste to that which maketh many sick?  The lobster flieth not in the air, nor doth the salamander wanton in the water; wherefore, then, will man betake him for nourishment or solace to the fire?  Vesuvius bringeth not forth speech from his mouth, but man, like a volcano, will utter smoke.  There is great difference between the table and the chimney; but thou art for making both alike.  Though the Rose be sweet, yet will it prove less fragrant if it be wreathed about the skunk; and so an ill weed from the land where that beast hath its habitation defileth a courteous knight.  Consider, if this practice delights thee, that the apples of Sodom are outwardly fair but inwardly full of ashes; the box-tree is always green, but his seed is poison.  Mithridate must be taken inwardly, not spread on plasters.  Of his nature smoke goeth upward and outward; why wilt thou make it go inward and downward?  The manners of the Cannibal fit not the p. 137Englishman; and this thy poison is unlike Love, which maimeth every part before it kill the Liver, whereas tobacco doth vex the Liver before it harmeth any other part.  Excuse this my boldness, and forswear thy weed, an thou lovest



From Sir Amyas Leigh to Euphues.

Whereas thou bringest in a rabble of reasons to convince me, I will answer thee in thine own kind.  Thou art like those that proffer a man physic before he be sick, and, because his pleasure is not theirs, call him foolish that is but early advised.  Nature maketh nothing without an end: the eye to see with, the ear to hear, the herb tobacco to be smoked.  As wine strengtheneth and meat maketh full, tobacco maketh the heart at rest.  Helen gave Nepenthe to them that sorrowed, and Heaven hath made this weed for such as lack comfort.  Tobacco is the hungry man’s food, the wakeful man’s sleep, the weary man’s rest, the old man’s defence against melancholy, the busy man’s repose, the talkative man’s muzzle, the lonely man’s companion.  Indeed, there was nothing but this one thing wanting to man, of those that earth can give; wherefore, having found it, let him so use as not abusing it, as now I am about doing.—Thy servant,

Amyas Leigh.

p. 139XVII.

From Mr. Paul Rondelet to the Very Rev. Dean Maitland. [139]

That Dean Maitland should have taken the political line indicated in Mr. Rondelet’s letter will amaze no reader of ‘The Silence of Dean Maitland.’  That Mr. Paul Rondelet flew from his penny paper to a Paradise meet for him is a matter of congratulation to all but his creditors.  He really is now in the only true Monastery of Thelema, and is simply dressed in an eye-glass and a cincture of pandanus flowers.  The natives worship him, and he is the First Æsthetic Beach-comber.

Te-a-Iti, The Pacific.

Dear Maitland,—As my old friend and tutor at Lothian, you ask me to join the Oxford Home Rule Association.  Excuse my delay in answering.  Your letter was sent to that detested and long-deserted newspaper office in Fleet Street, and from Fleet Street to Te-a-Iti; thank Heaven! it is a long way.  Were I at home, and still endeavouring to sway the masses, I might possibly accept your invitation.  I dislike crowds, and I dislike shouting; but if shout I must, like you I would choose to chime in with the dingier and the larger and the more violent assembly.  But, having perceived that the masses were very perceptibly learning to sway themselves, I have retired to Te-a-Iti.  You have read “Epipsychidion,” my dear Dean?  And, in your time, no doubt you have loved? [140]  Well, this is the Isle of Love, described, as in a dream, by the rapt fancy of Shelley.  Urged, perhaps, by a reminiscence of the Great Aryan wave of migration, I have moved westward to this Paradise.  Like Obermann, I hide my head “from the wild tempest of the age,” but in a much dearer place than “chalets near the Alpine snow.”  Long ago I said, to one who would not listen, that “all the religions of the world are based on false foundations, resting on the Family, and fatally unsound.”  Here the Family, in our sense, has not been developed.  Here no rules trammel the best and therefore the most evanescent of our affections.  And as for Religion, it is based upon Me, on Rondelet of Lothian.  Here nobody asks me why or how I am “superior.”  The artless natives at once perceived the fact, recognised me as a god, and worship me (do not shudder, my good Dean) with floral services.  In Te-a-Iti (vain to look for it on the map!) I have found my place—a place far from the babel of your brutal politics, a place where I am addressed in liquid accents of adoration.

You may ask whether I endeavour to raise the islanders to my own level?  It is the last thing that I would attempt.  Culture they do not need: their dainty hieratic precisions of ritual are a sufficient culture in themselves.  As I said once before, “it is an absurdity to speak of married people being one.”  Here we are an indefinite number; and no jealousy, no ambitious exclusiveness, mars the happiness of all.  This is the Higher Life about which we used ignorantly to talk.  Here the gross temporal necessities are satisfied with a breadfruit, a roasted fish, and a few pandanus flowers.  The rest is all climate and the affections.

Conceive, my dear Dean, the undisturbed felicity of life without newspapers!  Empires may fall, perhaps have fallen, since I left Fleet Street; Alan Dunlop may be a ditcher in good earnest on an estate no longer his; but here we fleet the time carelessly, as in the golden world.  And you ask me to join a raucous political association for an object you detest in your heart, merely because you want to swim with the turbid democratic current!  You are an historian, Maitland: did you ever know this policy succeed?  Did you ever know the respectables prosper when they allied themselves with the vulgar?  Ah, keep out of your second-hand revolutions.  Keep your hands clean, whether you keep your head on your shoulders or not.  You will never, I fear, be Bishop of Winkum, with all your historical handbooks and all your Oxford Liberalism.

But I am losing my temper, for the first time since I discovered Te-a-Iti.  This must not be.—Yours regretfully,

Paul Rondelet.

P.S.—Don’t give any one my address; some of these Oxford harpies are still unappeased.  The only European I have seen was not an University man.  He was a popular Scotch novelist, and carried Shorter Catechisms, which he distributed to my flock.  I only hope he won’t make “copy” out of me and my situation.

P. R.

p. 144XVIII.

From Harold Skimpole, Esq., to the Rev. Charles Honeyman, M.A.

These letters tell their own tale of Genius and Virtue indigent and in chains.  The eloquence of a Honeyman, the accomplishments of a Skimpole, lead only to Cursitor Street.

Coavins’s, Cursitor Street, May 1.

My Dear Honeyman,—It is May-day, when even the chimney-sweeper, developing the pleasant unconscious poetry of his nature, forgets the flues, wreathes the flowers, and persuades himself that he is Jack-in-the-Green.  Jack who?  Was he Jack Sprat, or the young swain who mated with Jill!  Who knows?  The chimney-sweeper has all I ask, all that the butterflies possess, all that Common-sense and Business and Society deny to Harold Skimpole.  He lives, he is free, he is “in the green!”  I am in Coavins’s!  In Cursitor Street I cannot hear the streams warble, the birds chant, the music roll through the stately fane, let us say, of Lady Whittlesea’s.  Coavins’s (as Coavins’s man says) is “a ’ouse;” but how unlike, for example, the hospitable home of our friend Jarndyce!  I can sketch Coavins’s, but I cannot alter it: I can set it to music, on Coavins’s piano; but how melancholy are the jingling strains of that dilapidated instrument!  At Jarndyce’s house, when I am there, I am in possession of it: here Coavins’s is in possession of me—of the person of Harold Skimpole.

And why am I here?  Why am I far from landscape, music, conversation?  Why, merely because I will follow neither Fame nor Fortune nor Faith.  They call to us in the market-place, but I will not dance.  Fame blows her trumpet, and offers her shilling (the Queen’s).  Faith peals her bells, and asks for my shilling.  Fortune rattles her banking-scales.  They call, and the world joins the waltz; but I will not march with them.  “Go after glory, commerce, creeds,” I cry; “only let Harold Skimpole live!” [146]  The world pursues the jangling music; but in my ear sound the pipes of Pan, the voices of the river and the wood.

Yet I cannot be in the playground, whither they invite me.  Harold Skimpole is fettered—by what?  By items!  I regret my incapacity for details.  It may be the tinker or the tailor at whose suit I am detained.  I am certain it is not at that of the soldier, or the sailor, or the ploughboy, or the thief.  But, for the apothecary—why, yes—it may be the apothecary!  In the dawn of life I loved—who has not?—I wedded.  I set about surrounding myself with rosy cheeks.  These cheeks grow pallid.  I call for the aid of Science—Science sends in her bill!  “To the Mixture as Before,” so much to “the Tonic,” so much.  The cheeks are rosy again.  I pour forth the blessings of a father’s heart; but there stands Science inexorable, with her bill, her items.  I vainly point out that the mixture has played its part, the tonic has played its part; and that, in the nature of things, the transaction is ended.  The bill is unappeasable.  I forget the details; a certain number of pieces of yellow and white dross are spoken of.  Ah, I see it is fifteen and some odd shillings and coppers.  Let us say twenty.

My dear Honeyman, you who, as I hear, are about to follow the flutes of Aphrodite into a temple where Hymen gilds the horns of the victims [147]—you, I am sure, will hurry to my rescue.  You may not have the specie actually in your coffers; but with your prospects, surely you can sign something, or make over something, or back something, say a post obit or post vincula, or employ some other instrument?  Excuse my inexperience; or, I should say, excuse my congenital inability to profit by experience, now considerable, of difficulties—and of friendship.  Let not the sun of May-day go down on Harold Skimpole in Coavins’s!—Yours ever,

H. S.

P.S.—A youthful myrmidon of Coavins’s will wait for a reply.  Shall we say, while we are about it, Twenty-five?


p. 149From the Rev. Charles Honeyman to Harold Skimpole, Esq.

Cursitor Street, May 1.

My Dear Skimpole,—How would I have joyed, had Providence placed it within my power to relieve your distress!  But it cannot be.  Like the Carthaginian Queen of whom we read in happier days at dear old Borhambury, I may say that I am haud ignarus mali.  But, alas! the very evils in which I am not unlearned, make it impossible for me to add miseris succurrere disco!  Rather am I myself in need of succour.  You, my dear Harold, have fallen among thieves; I may too truly add that in this I am your neighbour.  The dens in which we are lodged are contiguous; we are separated only by the bars.  Your note was sent on hither from my rooms in Walpole Street.  Since we met I have known the utmost that woman’s perfidy and the rich man’s contumely can inflict.  But I can bear my punishment.  I loved, I trusted.  She to whose hand I aspired, she on whose affections I had based hopes at once of happiness in life and of extended usefulness in the clerical profession, she was less confiding.  She summoned to her council a minion of the Law, one Briggs.  His estimate of my position and prospects could not possibly tally with that of one whose hopes are not set where the worldling places them.  Let him, and such as he, take thought for the morrow and chaffer about settlements.  I do not regret the gold to which you so delicately allude.  I sorrow only for the bloom that has been brushed from the soaring pinions of a pure and disinterested affection.  Sunt lacrymæ rerum, and the handkerchief in which I bury my face is dank with them.

Nor is this disappointment my only cross.  The carrion-birds of commerce have marked down the stricken deer from their eyries in Bond Street and Jermyn Street.  To know how Solomons has behaved, and the black colours in which Moss (of Wardour Street) has shown himself, is to receive a new light on the character of a People chosen under a very different Dispensation!  Detainers flock in, like ravens to a feast.  At this moment I have endured the humiliation of meeting a sneering child of this world—Mr. Arthur Pendennis—the emissary of one [151] to whom I gave in other days the sweetest blossom in the garden of my affections—my sister—of one who has, indeed, behaved like a brother—in law!  My word distrusted, my statements received with a chilling scepticism by this Nabob Newcome, I am urged to make some “composition” with my creditors.  The world is very censorious, the ear of a Bishop is easily won; who knows how those who have envied talents not misused may turn my circumstances to my disadvantage?  You will see that, far from aiding another, I am rather obliged to seek succour myself.  But that saying about the sparrows abides with me to my comfort.  Could aught be done, think you, with a bill backed by our joint names?  On July 12 my pew-rents will come in.  I swear to you that they have not been anticipated.  Yours afflictedly,

Charles Honeyman.

P.S.—Would Jarndyce lend his name to a small bill at three months?  You know him well, and I have heard that he is a man of benevolent character, and of substance.  But “how hardly shall a rich man”—you remember the text.—C. H.

p. 153XIX.

From Miss Harriet to M. Guy de Maupassant.

This note, from one of the English damsels whom M. Guy de Maupassant dislikes so much, is written in such French as the lady could muster.  It explains that recurrent mystery, why Englishwomen abroad smell of gutta-percha.  The reason is not discreditable to our countrywomen, but if M. de Maupassant asks, as he often does, why Englishwomen dress like scarecrows when they are on the Continent, Miss Harriet does not provide the answer.

Miss Pinkerton’s, Stratford-atte-Bowe, Mars 12.

Monsieur,—Vous devez me connaître, quoique je ne vous connais pas le moins du monde.  Il m’est défendu de lire vos romans, je ne sais trop pourquoi; mais j’ai bien lu la notice que M. Henry James a consacrée, dans le Fortnightly Review, à votre aimable talent.  Vous n’aimez pas, à ce qu’il paraît, ni ‘la sale Angleterre’ ni les filles de ce pays immonde.  Je figure moi-même dans vos romans (ou moâ-même, car les Anglais, il est convenu, prononcent ce pronom comme le nom d’un oiseau monstrueux et même préhistorique de New Zealand)—oui, ‘Miss Harriet’ se risque assez souvent dans vos contes assez risqués.

Vous avez posé, Monsieur, le sublime problème, ‘Comment se prennentelles les demoiselles anglaises pour sentir toujours le caoutchouc?’ (‘to smell of india-rubber’: traduction Henry James).  En premier lieu, Monsieur, elles ne ‘smell of india-rubber’ quand elles se trouvent chez elles, dans les bouges infectes qu’on appelle les ‘stately homes of England.’ [154]  C’est seulement à l’étranger que nous répandons l’odeur saine et réjouissante de caoutchouc.  Et pourquoi?  Parce que, Monsieur, Miss Harriet tient à son tub—ou tôb—la chose est anglaise; c’est permis pourtant à un galant homme d’en prononcer le nom comme il veut, ou comme il peut

Or, quand elle voyage, Miss Harriet trouve, assez souvent, que le ‘tub’ est une institution tout-à-fait inconnue à ses hôtes.  Que fait-elle donc?  Elle porte dans sa malle un tub de caoutchouc, ‘patent compressible india-rubber tub!’  Inutile à dire que ses vêtements se trouvent imprégnés du “smell of india-rubber.”  Voici, Monsieur, la solution naturelle, et même fort louable, d’une question qui est faite pour désespérer les savants de la France!

Vous, Monsieur, qui êtes un styliste accompli, veuillez bien me pardonner les torts que je viens de faire à la belle langue française.  Dame, on fait ce qu’on peut (comme on dit dans les romans policiers) pour être intelligible à un écrivain si célèbre, qui ne lit couramment, peut-être, l’idiôme barbare et malsonnant de la sale Angleterre.  M. Paul Bourget lui-même ne lit plus le Grec.  Non omnia possumus omnes.

Agréez, Monsieur, mes sentiments les plus distingués.

Miss Harriet.

p. 156XX.

From S. Gandish, Esq., to theNewcome Independent.’

The Royal Academy.

It appears that Mr. Gandish, at a great age—though he was not older than several industrious Academicans—withdrew from the active exercise of his art and employed his learning and experience as Art Critic of the “Newcome Independent.”  The following critique appears to show traces of declining mental vigour in the veteran Gandish.

Our great gallery has once more opened her doors, if not to the public, nor even to the fashionable élite, at least to the critics.  They are a motley throng who lounge on Press Days in the sumptuous halls; ladies, small boys, clergymen are there, and among them but few, perhaps, who have received the training in High Art of your correspondent, and have had their eye, through a lifetime more than commonly prolonged, on the glorious Antique.  And what shall we say of the present Academy?  In some ways, things have improved a little since my “Boadishia” came back on my hands (1839) at a time when High Art and the Antique would not do in this country: they would not do.  As far as the new exhibition shows, they do better now than when the century was younger and “Portrait of the Artist, by S. Gandish”—at thirty-three years of age—was offered in vain to the jealously Papist clique who then controlled the Uffizi.  Foreigners are more affable now; they have taken Mr. Poynter’s of himself.

To return to the Antique, what the President’s “Captive Andromache” must have cost in models alone is difficult to reckon.  When times were cheaper, fifty years since, my ancient Britons in “Boadishia” stood me in thirty pounds: the central figures, however, were members of my own family.  To give every one his due, “Andromache” is high art—yes, it is high—and the Antique has not been overlooked.  About the back-view of the young party at the fountain Mr. Horsley may have something to say.  For my part, there seems a want of muscle in vigorous action: where are the biceps, where are the thews of Michael Angelo?  The President is a touch too quiet for a taste framed in the best schools.  As to his colour, where is that nutty brown tone of the flesh?  But the designs on the Greek vase are carefully rendered; though I have heard it remarked by a classical scholar that these kind of vases were not in use about Homer’s time.  Still, the intention is good, though the costumes are not what we should have called Ancient Roman when the President was a boy—ay, or earlier.

Then, Mr. Alma-Tadema, he has not turned his back on the glorious Antique.  “The Roses of Heliogabalus” are not explained in the catalogue.  As far as I understand, there has been an earthquake at a banquet of this unprincipled monarch.  The King himself, and his friends, are safe enough at a kind of high table; though which is Heliogabalus (he being a consumptive-looking character in his coins in the Classical Dictionary) your critic has not made out.  The earth having opened down below, the heads of some women, and of a man with a beard and his hair done up like a girl, are tossing about in a quantity of rose-leaves, which had doubtless been strown on the floor, as Martial tells us was the custom, dum regnat rosa.  So I overheard a very erudite critic remarking.  The composition of the piece would be thus accounted for; but I cannot pretend that Mr. Tadema reminds one of either Poussin or Annibale Carracci.  However, rumour whispers that a high price has been paid for this curious performance.  To my thinking the friends of Heliogabalus are a little flat and leathery in the handling of the flesh.  The silver work, and the marble, will please admirers of this eccentric artist; but I can hardly call the whole effect “High.”  But Mr. Armitage’s “Siren” will console people who remember the old school.  This beautiful girl (somewhat careless in her attitude, though she has been sensible enough not to sit down on the damp rock without putting her drapery beneath her) would have been a true gem in one of the old Books of Beauty, such as the Honourable Percy Popjoy and my old friend, Miss Bunnion, used to contribute to in the palmy days of the English school.  Mr. Armitage’s “Juno,” standing in mid-air, with the moon in the neighbourhood, is also an example to youth, and very unlike the way such things are generally done now.  Mr. Burne-Jones (who does not exhibit) never did anything like this.  Poor Haydon, with whom I have smoked many a pipe, would have acknowledged that Mr. Goodall’s “David’s Promise to Bathsheba” and “By the Sea of Galilee” prove that his aspirations are nearly fulfilled.  These are extremely large pictures, yet well hung.  The figure of Abishag is a little too much in the French taste for an old-fashioned painter.  Ars longa, nuda veritas!  I hope (and so will the Liberal readers of the “Newcome Independent”) that it is by an accident the catalogue reads—“The Traitor.”  “Earl Spencer, K.G.”  “The Moonlighters.”  (Nos. 220, 221, 225.)  Some Tory wag among the Hanging Committee may have taken this juxtaposition for wit: our readers will adopt a different view.

There is a fine dog in Mr. Briton Riviere’s “Requiescat,” but how did the relations of the dead knight in plate armour acquire the embroidery, at least three centuries later, on which he is laid to his last repose?  This destroys the illusion, but does not diminish the pathos in the attitude of the faithful hound.  Mr. Long’s large picture appears to exhibit an Oriental girl being tried by a jury of matrons—at least, not having my Diodorus Scriblerus by me, I can arrive at no other conclusion.  From the number of models engaged, this picture must have been designed quite regardless of expense.  It is a study of the Antique, but I doubt if Smee would have called it High Art.

Speaking of Smee reminds me of portraits.  I miss “Portrait of a Lady,” “Portrait of a Gentleman;” the names of the sitters are now always given—a concession to the notoriety-hunting proclivities of the present period.  Few portraits are more in the style of the palmy days of our school (just after Lawrence) than a study of a lady by Mr. Goodall (687).  On the other hand, young Mr. Richmond goes back to the antiquated manner of Reynolds in one of his representations.  I must admit that I hear this work much admired by many; to me it seems old-fashioned and lacking in blandness and affability.  Mr Waterhouse has a study of a subject from a poem that Mr. Pendennis, the novelist (whom I knew well), was very fond of when he first came on the town: “The Lady of Shalott.”  It represents a very delicate invalid, in a boat, under a counterpane.  I remember the poem ran (it was by young Mr. Tennyson):—

They crossed themselves, their stars they blest,
Knight, minstrel, abbot, squire, and guest.
There lay a parchment on her breast
That puzzled more than all the rest
         The well-fed wits of Camelot:
“The web was woven curiously,
The charm is broken utterly;
Draw near and fear not, this is I
         The Lady of Shalott.”

I admit that the wonder and dismay of the “well-fed wits,” if the Lady was like Mr. Waterhouse’s picture of her, do not surprise me.  But I confess I do not understand modern poetry, nor, perhaps, modern painting.  Where is historical Art?  Where is Alfred and the Cake—a subject which, as is well known, I discovered in my researches in history.  Where is “Udolpho in the Tower”? or the “Duke of Rothsay the Fourth Day p. 164after He was Deprived of his Victuals”? or “King John Signing Magna Charta”?  They are gone with the red curtain, the brown tree, the storm in the background.  Art is revolutionary, like everything else in these times, when Treason itself, in the form of a hoary apostate and reviewer of contemporary fiction, glares from the walls, and is painted by Royal—mark Royal!—Academicians! . . .


From Thomas Potts, Esq., of theNewcome Independent,’ to S. Gandish, Esq.

Newcome, May 3.

My Dear Sir,—I am truly sorry to have to interrupt a connection with so old and respected a contributor.  But I think you will acknowledge, on reading the proof of your article on the Academy, which I enclose, that the time has arrived when public criticism is no longer your province.  I do not so much refer to the old-fashioned tone of your observations on modern art.  I know little about it, and care not much more.  But you have entirely forgotten, towards the end of the notice, that the “Newcome Independent,” as becomes its name, is a journal of Liberty and Progress.  The very proper remarks on Lord Spencer’s portrait elsewhere show that you are not unacquainted with our politics; but, at the close (expressing, I fear, your true sentiments), you glide into language which makes me shudder, and which, if printed in the “Independent,” would spell ruin.  Send it, by all means, to the “Sentinel,” if you like.  Send your Tory views, I mean.  As for your quotation from the “Lady of Shalott,” I can find it nowhere in the poem of that name by the author you strangely style “young Mr. Tennyson.” [165]

I enclose a cheque for a quarter’s salary, and, while always happy to meet you as man with man, must get the notice of the Academy written up in the office from the “Daily Telegraph,” “Standard,” and “Times.” [166]—Faithfully and with deep regret yours,

Thomas Potts.

p. 167XXI.

From Monsieur Lecoq, Rue Jérusalem, Paris, to Inspector Bucket, Scotland Yard.

This correspondence appears to prove that mistakes may be made by the most astute officers of police, and that even so manifest a Briton as Mr. Pickwick might chance to find himself in the toils of international conspiracy.


May 19, 1852.

Sir and Dear Fellow-Brother (confrère).—The so cordial understanding between our countries ought to expand itself into a community of the political police.  But the just susceptibilities of the Old England forbid at this moment the restoration to a friendly Power of political offenders.  In the name of the French police of surety I venture to present to the famous officer Bucket a prayer that he will shut his eyes, for once, on the letter, and open his heart to the spirit of the laws.

No one needs to teach Monsieur Bucket that a foreign miscreant can be given up, under all reserves, to the justice!  A small vial of a harmless soporific, a closed carriage, a private cabin on board a Channel steamer—with these and a little of the adroitness so remarked in the celebrated Bucket, the affair is in the bag! (dans le sac).  All these things are in the cords (dans les cordes) of my esteemed English fellow-brother; will he not employ them in the interest of a devoted colleague and a friendly Administration?  We seek a malefactor of the worst species (un chenapan de la pire espèce).  This funny fellow (drôle) calls himself Count of Fosco, and he resides in Wood Road 5, St. John’s Forest; worth abode of a miscreant fit for the Forest of Bondy!  He is a man bald, stout, fair, and paying well in countenance (il paie de mine), conceiving himself to resemble the great Napoleon.  p. 169At the first sight you would say a philanthrope, a friend of man.  On his right arm he bears a small red mark, round, the brand of a society of the most dangerous.  Dear Sir, you will not miss him?  When once he is in our hands, faith of Lecoq, you shall tell us your news as to whether France can be grateful.  Of more words there is no need.—I remain, all to you, with the assurance of my most distinguished consideration,



From Inspector Bucket to M. Lecoq.

May 22.

Dear Sir,—Your polite favour to hand, and contents noted.  You are a man of the world; I am a man of the world, and proud to deal with you as between man and man.  The little irregularity shall be no consideration, all shall be squared, and the man wanted run in with punctuality and despatch.  Expect him at Calais on the 26th current,—Faithfully yours,

C. Bucket.


p. 170From Count Fosco to Samuel Pickwick, Esq., G.C.M.P.C., Goswell Road.

5 Forest Road, St. John’s Wood, May 23.

Dear Sir,—When we met lately at the hospitable board of our common friend, Benjamin Allen, Esq., lately elected Professor of Chemistry in the University of London, our conversation turned (if you can pass me the intoxicating favour of remembering it) on the glorious science of chemistry.  For me this knowledge has ever possessed irresistible attractions, from the enormous power which it confers of heaping benefits on the suffering race of mankind.  Others may rejoice in the advantages which a knowledge of it bestows—the power which can reduce a Hannibal to the level of a drummer boy, or an all-pervading Shakspeare to the intellectual estate of a vestryman, though it cannot at present reverse those processes.  The consideration of the destructive as compared with the constructive forces of chemistry was present, as I recollect, to your powerful intellect on the festive occasion to which I refer.  “Yes!” you said (permit me to repeat your very words)—“Yes, Count Fosco, Alexander’s morning draught shall make Alexander run for his life at the first sound of the enemy’s trumpet.  So much chemistry can achieve; but can she help as well as harm?  Nay, can she answer for it that the lemon which Professor Allen, from the best and purest of motives, has blended with this milk-punch, shall not disagree with me to-morrow morning?  Can chemistry, Count Fosco, thus thwart malign constitutional tendency?”

These were your words, sir, and I am now ready to answer your deep-searching question in the affirmative.  Prolonged assiduous application to my Art has shown me how to preserve the lemon in Milk Punch, and yet destroy, or disengage, the deleterious elements.  Will you so greatly honour science, and Fosco her servant, as to sup with me on p. 172the night of the twenty-fifth, at nine o’clock, and prove (you need not dread the test) whether a true follower of knowledge or a vain babbler signs—in exile—the name of

Isidor Ottavio Baldassare Fosco?


From Mr. Pickwick to the Count Fosco.

May 24.

My Dear Sir,—Many thanks for your very kind invitation.  Apart from the interests of science, the pleasure of your company alone would be more than enough to make me gladly accept it.  I shall have the enjoyment of testing your milk-punch to-morrow night at nine, with the confident expectation that your admirable studies will have overcome a tendency which for many years has prevented me from relishing, as I could wish, one of the best things in this good world.  Lemon, in fact, has always disagreed with me, as Professor Allen or Sir Robert Sawyer will be able p. 173to assure you; so your valuable experiment can be put, in my case, to a crucial test.—Very faithfully yours,

Samuel Pickwick.


From Inspector Bucket to M. Lecoq.

May 26, 1 A.M.

My Dear Sir,—We have taken your man without difficulty.  Bald, benevolent-looking, stout, perhaps fancies himself like Napoleon; if so, is deceived.  We nabbed him asleep over his liquor and alone, at the address you meant to give, 5 Forest Road, St. John’s Wood.  The house was empty, servants out, not a soul but him at home.  He speaks English well for a foreigner, and tries to make out he is a British subject.  Was rather confused when took, and kept ejaculating “Cold Punch,” apparently with the hope of persuading us that such was his name or alias.  He also called for one Sam—probably an accomplice.  He travels to Calais to-day as a lunatic p. 174patient in a strait-waistcoat, under charge of four “keepers” belonging to the force; and I trust that you have made preparations for receiving your prisoner, and that our management of the case has given satisfaction.  What I like is doing business with a man like you.  We may not be so smart nor so clever at disguises as the French profession, but we flatter ourselves we are punctual and cautious.—Faithfully yours,

C. Bucket.


From Mr. Pickwick to Mr. Perker, Solicitor, Gray’s Inn.

Sainte Pélagie, May 28.

Dear Perker,—For heaven’s sake come over here at once, bringing some one who can speak French, and bail me out, or whatever the process of their law may be.  I have been arrested, illegally and without warrant, at the house of a scientific friend, Count Fosco, where I had been supping.  As far as I can understand, p. 175I am accused of a plot against the life of the Emperor of the French; but the whole proceedings have been unintelligible and arbitrary to a degree.  I cannot think that an English citizen will be allowed to perish by the guillotine—innocent and practically unheard!  Please bring linen and brushes, &c., but not Sam, who would be certain to embroil himself with the French police.  I am writing to the Times and Lord Palmerston.—Sincerely yours,

Samuel Pickwick.


From Monsieur Lecoq to Inspector Bucket.

May 27.

Sir,—There has arrived a frightful misunderstanding.  The man you have sent us is not Fosco.  Of Fosco he has only the baldness, the air benevolent, and the girth.  The brand on his right arm is no more than the mark of vaccination.  Brought before the Commissary of Police, the prisoner, who has not one word of French, was heard through an interpreter.  He gives himself the name of Piquouique, rentier, English; and he appeals to his Ambassador.  Of papers he had letters bearing the name Samuel Pickwick, and, on his buttons, the letters P.C., which we suspect are the badge of a secret society.  But this is not to the point; for it is certain that, whatever the crimes of this brigand, he is not Fosco, but an Englishman.  That he should be found in the domicile of Fosco when that droll had evaded is suspicious (louche), and his explanation does not permit itself to be understood.  I have fear that we enjoy bad luck, and that M. Palmerston will make himself to be heard on this matter.

Accept, Monsieur, the assurance of my high consideration.


P.S.—Our comrade, the Count Smorltork, of the Police of Manners (police des moeurs), has come to present himself.  Confronted with the bandit, he gives him reason, and offers his faith that the man is Piquouique, with whom he encountered himself when on a mission of secrecy to England it is now some years.  What to do?  (Que faire?)

p. 178XXII.

From Mr. Allan Quatermain to Sir Henry Curtis.

Mr. Quatermain offers the correct account of two celebrated right and left shots, also an adventure of the stranger in the Story of an African Farm.

Dear Curtis,—You ask me to give you the true account, in writing, of those right and left shots of mine at the two lions, the crocodile, and the eagle.  The brutes are stuffed now, in the hall at home—the lions each on a pedestal, and the alligator on the floor with the eagle in his jaws—much as they were when I settled them and saved the Stranger.  All sorts of stories have got into the papers about the business, which was simple enough; so, though no hand with a pen, I may as well write it all out.

I was up on the Knobkerry River, prospecting for diamonds, in Omomborombunga’s country.  I had nobody with me but poor Jim-jim, who afterwards met with an awful death, otherwise he would have been glad to corroborate my tale, if it needed it.  One night I had come back tired to camp, when I found a stranger sitting by the fire.  He was a dark, fat, Frenchified little chap, and you won’t believe me, but it is a fact that he wore gloves.  I asked him to stay the night, of course, and inspanned the waggons in laager, for Omomborombunga’s impis were out, swearing to wash their spears in the blood of The Great White Liar—a Portuguese traveller probably; if not, I don’t know who he can have been; perhaps this stranger: he gave no name.  Well, we had our biltong together, and the Stranger put himself outside a good deal of the very little brandy I had left.  We got yarning, so to speak, and I told him a few of the curious adventures that naturally fall to the lot of a man in those wild countries.  The Stranger did not say much, but kept playing with a huge carved walking-stick that he had.  Presently he said, “Look at this stick; I bought it from a boy on a South African Farm.  Do you understand what the carvings mean?”

“Hanged if I do!” I said, after turning it about.

“Well, do you see that figure?” and he touched a thing like a Noah out of a child’s ark.  “That was a hunter like you, my friend, but not in all respects.  That hunter pursued a vast white bird with silver wings, sailing in the everlasting blue.”

“Everlasting bosh!” said I; “there is no bird of the kind on the veldt.”

“That bird was Truth,” says the Stranger, “and, judging from the anecdote you tell me about the Babyan woman and the Zulu medicine-man, it is a bird you don’t trouble yourself with much, my friend.”

This was a pretty cool thing to say to a man whose veracity is known like a proverb from Sheba’s Breasts to the Zambesi.

Foide Macumazahn, the Zulus say, meaning as true as a yarn of Allan Quatermain’s.  Well, my blood was up; no man shall call Allan Quatermain a liar.  The fellow was going on with a prodigious palaver about a white feather of Truth, and Mount Sinai, and the Land of Absolute Negation, and I don’t know what, but I signified to him that if he did not believe my yarns I did not want his company.  “I’m sorry to turn you out,” I said, “for there are lions around”—indeed they were roaring to each other—“and you will have a parroty time.  But you apologise, or you go!”

He laughed his short thick laugh.  “I am a man who hopes nothing, feels nothing, fears nothing, and believes nothing that you tell me!”

I got up and went for him with my fists, and whether he feared nothing or not I don’t know; but he scooted, dropping a yellow French novel, by one Catulle Mendes, that I could make neither head nor tail of.  I afterwards heard that there was something about this stranger in a book called “The Story of an African Farm,” which I once began, but never finished, not being able to understand most of it, and being vexed by the gross improbability of the girl not marrying the baby’s father, he being ready and willing to make her an honest woman.  However, I am no critic, but a plain man who tells a plain tale, and I believe persons of soul admire the book very much.  Any way, it does not say who the Stranger was—an allegorical kind of bagman I fancy; but I am not done with him yet.

Out he went into the dark, where hundreds of lions could be plainly seen making love (at which season they are very dangerous) by the flashes of lightning.

It was a terrific yet beautiful spectacle, and one which I can never forget.  The black of night would suddenly open like a huge silver flower, deep within deep, till you almost fancied you could see within the gates of heaven.  The hills stood out dark against the illimitable splendour, and on every koppie you saw the huge lions, like kittens at play, roaring till you could scarcely hear the thunder.  The rain was rushing like a river, all glittering like diamonds, and then, in the twinkling of an eye, all was black as a wolf’s mouth till the next flash.  The lightning, coming from all quarters, appeared to meet above me, and now was red, now golden, now silver again, while the great cat-like beasts, as they leaped or lay, looked like gold, red, and silver lions, reminding me of the signs of public-houses in old England, far away.  Meantime the donga beneath roared with the flooded torrent that the rain was bringing down from the heights of Umbopobekatanktshiu.

I stood watching the grand spectacle for some time, rather pitying the Stranger who was out in it, by no fault of mine.  Then I knocked the ashes out of my pipe, ate a mealy or two, and crept into my kartel, [184] and slept the sleep of the just.

About dawn I woke.  The thunder had rolled away like a bad dream.  The long level silver shafts of the dawn were flooding the heights, raindrops glittered like diamonds on every kopje and karroo bush, leaving the deep donga bathed in the solemn pall of mysterious night.

My thoughts went rapidly over the millions of leagues of land and sea, where life, that perpetual problem, was now awaking to another day of struggle and temptation.  Then the golden arrows of the day followed fast.  The silver and blue sky grew roseate with that wide wild blush which testifies to the modest delight of nature, satisfied and grateful for her silent existence and her amorous repose.  I breakfasted, went down into the donga with a black boy, poor Jim-jim, who was afterwards, as I said, to perish by an awful fate, otherwise he would testify to the truth of my plain story.  I began poking among the rocks in the dry basin of the donga, [185] and had just picked up a pebble—I knew it by the soapy feel for a diamond.  Uncut it was about three times the size of the koh-i-noor, say 1,000 carats, and I was rejoicing in my luck when I heard the scream of a human being in the last agony of terror.  Looking up, I saw that on either side of the donga, which was about twenty feet wide, a great black lion and lioness were standing with open jaws, while some fifty yards in front of me an alligator, in a deep pool of the flooded donga, was stretching his open snout and gleaming teeth greedily upwards.  Over head flew an eagle, and in mid-air between, as I am a living and honourable man, a human being was leaping the chasm.  He had been pursued by the lion on my left, and had been driven to attempt the terrible leap; but if he crossed he was certain to fall into the jaws of the lion on my right, while if he fell short in his jump, do you see, the alligator was ready for him below, and the great golden eagle watched the business from above, in case he attempted to escape that way.

All this takes long to tell, though it was passing in a flash of time.  Dropping the diamond (which must have rolled into a crevice of the rock, for I never saw it again), I caught up my double-barrelled rifle (one of Wesson & Smith’s), aimed at the lion on the right hand of the donga with my right barrel, and then hastily fired my left at the alligator.  When the smoke cleared away, the man had reached the right side of the donga safe and sound.  Seeing that the alligator was dying, I loaded again, bowled over the lioness on the left, settled the eagle’s business (he fell dead into the jaws of the dying alligator, which closed on him with a snap).  I then climbed the wall of the donga, and there lay, fainting, the Stranger of last night—the man who feared nothing—the blood of the dead lion trickling over him.  His celebrated allegorical walking-stick from the African Farm had been broken into two pieces by the bullet after it (the bullet) had passed through the head of the lion.  And, as the “Ingoldsby Legends” say, “nobody was one penny the worse,” except the wild beasts.  The man, however, had had a parroty time, and it was a good hour before I could bring him round, during which he finished my brandy.  He still wore gloves.  What he was doing in Omuborumbunga’s country I do not know to this day.  I never found the diamond again, though I hunted long.  But I must say that two better right and left shots, considering that I had no time to aim, and that they were really snapshots, I never remember to have made in my long experience.

This is the short and the long of the matter, which was talked of a good deal in the Colony, and about which, I am told, some inaccurate accounts have got into the newspapers.  I hate writing, as you know, and don’t pretend to give a literary colour to this little business of the shots, but merely tell a “plain, unvarnished tale,” as the “Ingoldsby Legends” say.

As to the Stranger, what he was doing there, or who he was, or where he is now, I can tell you nothing.  He told me he was bound for “the almighty mountains of Dry-facts and Realities,” which he kindly pointed out to me among the carvings of his walking-stick.  He then sighed wearily, very wearily, and scooted.  I think he came to no good; but he never came in my way again.

And now you know the yarn of the two stuffed lions and the alligator with the eagle in his jaws.

Ever yours,

Allan Quatermain.

p. 189XXIII.

From the Baron Bradwardine to Edward Waverley, Esq., of Waverley Honour.

The Baron explains the mysterious circumstances of his affair with his third cousin, Sir Hew Halbert.—“Waverley,” chap. xiv.

Tully Veolan, May 17, 1747.

Son Edward,—Touching my quarrel with Sir Hew Halbert, anent which I told you no more than that it was “settled in a fitting manner,” you have long teased me for an ampler explanation.  This I have withheld, as conceiving that it tended rather to vain quolibets and jesting, than to that respect in which the duello, or single combat, should be regarded by gentlemen of name and coat armour.  But Sir Hew being dead, and buried with his fathers, the matter may be broached as among friends and persons of honour.  The ground of our dispute, as ye know, was an unthinking scoff of Sir Hew’s, he being my own third cousin by the mother’s side, Anderson of Ettrick Hall having intermarried, about the time of the Solemn League and Covenant, with Anderson of Tushielaw, both of which houses are connected with the Halberts of Dinniewuddie and with the Bradwardines.  But stemmata quid faciunt?  Sir Hew, being a young man, and the maut, as the vulgar say, above the meal, after a funeral of one of our kin in the Cathedral Kirkyard of St. Andrews, we met at Glass’s Inn, where, in the presence of many gentlemen, occurred our unfortunate dissension.

We encountered betimes next morning, on a secluded spot of the sands hard by the town, at the Eden-mouth. [190]  The weapons were pistols, Sir Hew, by a slight passing infirmity, being disabled from the use of the sword.  Inchgrabbit was my second, and Strathtyrum did the same office for my kinsman, Sir Hew.  The pistols being charged and primed, and we aligned forenent each other at the convenient distance of twelve paces, the word was given to fire, and both weapons having been discharged, and the smoke having cleared away, Sir Hew was discovered fallen to the ground, procumbus humi, and exanimate.  The blood was flowing freely from a face-wound, and my unhappy kinsman was senseless.  At this moment we heard a voice, as of one clamantis in eremo, cry “Fore!” to which paying no heed in the natural agitation of our spirits, we hurried to lift my fallen opponent and examine his wound.  Upon a closer search it proved to be no shot-wound, but a mere clour, or bruise, whereof the reason was now apparent, he having been struck by the ball of a golfer (from us concealed by the dunes, or bunkers, of sand) and not by the discharge of my weapon.  At this moment a plebeian fellow appeared with his arma campestria, or clubs, cleeks, irons, and the like, under his arm, who, without paying any attention to our situation, struck the ball wherewith he had felled my kinsman in the direction of the hole.  Reflection directed us to the conclusion that both pistols had missed their aim, and that Sir Hew had fallen beneath a chance blow from this fellow’s golf-ball.  But as my kinsman was still hors de combat, and incapable of further action, being unwitting, too, of the real cause of his disaster, Inchgrabbit and Strathtyrum, in their discretion as seconds, or belli judices, deemed it better that we should keep a still sough, and that Sir Hew should never be informed concerning the cause of his discomfiture.  This resolution we kept, and Sir Hew wore, till the day of his late lamented decease, a bullet among the seals of his watch, he being persuaded by Strathtyrum that it had been extracted from his brain-pan, which certainly was of the thickest.  But this was all a bam, or bite, among young men, and a splore to laugh over by our three selves, nor would I have it to go abroad now that Sir Hew is dead, as being prejudicial to the memory of a worthy man, and an honourable family connected with our own.  Wherefore I pray you keep a still sough hereanent, as you love me, who remain—Your loving good father,



Note on Letter of Mr. Surtees to Mr. Jonathan Oldbuck, p. 64.

No literary forgeries were ever much better done than the sham ballads which Surtees of Mainsforth imposed on Sir Walter Scott.  The poems were spirited and good of their kind; and though we wonder now that some of them could take in an expert, it is by no means assured that we are even to-day acquainted with the whole of Surtees’ frauds.  Why a man otherwise honourable, kindly, charitable, and learned, exercised his ingenuity so cruelly upon a trusting correspondent and a staunch friend, it is hardly possible to guess.  The biographers of Surtees maintain that he wanted to try his skill on Scott, then only known to him by correspondence; and that, having succeeded, he was afraid to risk Scott’s friendship by a confession.  This is plausible; and if good may come out of evil, we may remember that two picturesque parts of “Marmion” are due to one confessed and another certain supercherie of Surtees.  It cannot be said in his defence that he had no conception of the mischief of literary frauds; in more than one passage of his correspondence he mentions Ritson’s detestation of these practices.  “To literary imposition, as tending to obscure the path of inquiry, Ritson gave no quarter,” says this arch literary impostor.

A brief account of Surtees’ labour in the field of sham ballad writing may be fresh to many people who merely know him as the real author of “Barthram’s Dirge” and of “The Slaying of Anthony Featherstonhaugh.”  In an undated letter of 1806, Scott, writing from Ashestiel, thanks Surtees for his “obliging communications.”  Surtees manifestly began the correspondence, being attracted by the “Border Minstrelsy.”  Thus it appears that Surtees did not forge “Hobbie Noble” in the first edition of the “Minstrelsy”; for he makes some suggestions as to the “Earl of Whitfield,” dreaded by the hero of that ballad, which Scott had already published.  But he was already deceiving Scott, who writes to him about “Ralph Eure,” or “Lord Eure,” and about a “Goth, who melted Lord Eure’s gold chain.”  This Lord Eure is doubtless the “Lord Eurie” of the ballad in the later editions of the “Border Minstrelsy,” a ballad actually composed by Surtees.  That wily person immediately sent Scott a ballad on “The Feud between the Ridleys and Featherstones,” in which Scott believed to the day of his death.  He introduced it in “Marmion.”

      The whiles a Northern harper rude
      Chaunted a rhyme of deadly feud,
How the fierce Thirlwalls and Ridleys all, &c.

In his note (“Border Minstrelsy,” second edition, 1808, p. xxi.) Scott says the ballad was taken down from an old woman’s recitation at the Alston Moor lead-mines “by the agent there,” and sent by him to Surtees.  Consequently, when Surtees saw “Marmion” in print he had to ask Scott not to print “the agent,” as he does not know even the name of Colonel Beaumont’s chief agent there, but “an agent.”  Thus he hedged himself from a not impossible disclaimer by the agent at the mines.

Readers of “Marmion” will remember how

Once, near Norham, there did fight
A spectre fell, of fiendish might,
In likeness of a Scottish knight,
      With Brian Bulmer bold,
And trained him nigh to disallow
The aid of his baptismal vow.

This legend is more of Surtees’ fun.  “The most singular tale of this kind,” says Sir Walter, “is contained in an extract communicated to me by my friend Mr. Surtees, of Mainsforth, who copied it from a MS. note in a copy of Burthogge “On the Nature of Spirits, 1694, 8vo,” which had been the property of the late Mr. Gill.  It was not in Mr. Gill’s own hand: but probably an hundred years older, and was said to be “E libro Convent.  Dunelm. per T. C. extract.;” this T. C. being Thomas Cradocke, Esq.  Scott adds, that the passage, which he gives in the Latin, suggested the introduction of the tourney with the Fairy Knight in “Marmion.”  Well, where is Cradocke’s extract?  The original was “lost” before Surtees sent his “copy” to Sir Walter.  “The notes had been carelessly or injudiciously shaken out of the book.”  Surtees adds, another editor confirms it, that no such story exists in any MS. of the Dean and Chapter of Durham.  No doubt he invented the whole story, and wrote it himself in mediæval Latin.

Not content with two “whoppers,” as Mr. Jo Gargery might call them, Surtees goes on to invent a perfectly incredible heraldic bearing.  He found it in a MS. note in the “Gwillim’s Heraldry” of Mr. Gyll or Gill—the name is written both ways.  “He beareth per pale or and arg., over all a spectre passant, shrouded sable”—“he” being Newton, of Beverley, in Yorkshire.  Sir Walter actually swallowed this amazing fib, and alludes to it in “Rob Roy” (1818).  But Mr. Raine, the editor of Surtees’ Life, inherited or bought his copy of Gwillim, that of Mr. Gill or Gyll; “and I find in it no trace of such an entry.”  “Lord Derwentwater’s Good-Night” is probably entirely by Surtees.  “A friend of Mr. Taylor’s” gave him a Tynedale ballad, “Hey, Willy Ridley, winna you stay?” which is also “aut Diabolus aut Robertus.”  As to “Barthram’s Dirge,” “from Ann Douglas, a withered crone who weeds my garden,” copies with various tentative verses in Surtees’ hand have been found.  Oddly enough, Sir Walter had once discovered a small sepulchral cross, upset, in Liddesdale, near the “Nine Stane Rig;” and this probably made him more easily deceived.  Surtees very cleverly put some lines, which could not have been original, in brackets, as his own attempt to fill up lacunæ.  Such are

   [When the dew fell cold and still,
When the aspen grey forget to play,
   And the mist clung to the hill.]

Any one reading the piece would say, “It must be genuine, for the confessed interpolations are not in the ballad style, which the interpolator, therefore, could not write.”  An attempt which Surtees made when composing the song, and which he wisely rejected, could not have failed to excite Scott’s suspicions.  It ran—

They buried him when the bonny may
   Was on the flow’ring thorn;
And she waked him till the forest grey
   Of every leaf was lorn;

Till the rowan tree of gramarye
   Its scarlet clusters shed,
And the hollin green alone was seen
   With its berries glistening red.

Whether Surtees’ “Brown Man of the Muirs,” to which Scott also gave a place in his own poetry, was a true legend or not, the reader may decide for himself.

Concerning another ballad in the “Minstrelsy”—“Auld Maitland”—Professor Child has expressed a suspicion which most readers feel.  What Scott told Ellis about it (Autumn, 1802) was, that he got it in the Forest, “copied down from the recitation of an old shepherd by a country farmer.”  Who was the farmer?  Will Laidlaw had employed James Hogg, as shepherd.  Hogg’s mother chanted “Auld Maitland.”  Hogg first met Scott in the summer of 1801.  The shepherd had already seen the first volume of the “Minstrelsy.”  Did he, thereupon, write “Auld Maitland,” teach his mother it, and induce Laidlaw to take it down from her recitation?  The old lady said she got it from Andrew Moir, who had it “frae auld Baby Mettlin, who was said to have been another nor a gude ane.”  But we have Hogg’s own statement that “aiblins ma gran’-mither was an unco leear,” and this quality may have been hereditary.  On the other side, Hogg could hardly have held his tongue about the forgery, if forgery it was, when he wrote his “Domestic Manners and Private Life of Sir Walter Scott” (1834).  The whole investigation is a little depressing, and makes one very shy of unauthenticated ballads.




[20]  Who knows what may happen?  I may die before he sees the light; so I will add among my friends Skalagrim Lamb’s-tail.

[43]  Can Mrs. Gamp mean ‘dial’?

[47]  1887.

[50]  In his familiar correspondence, it will be observed, Herodotus does not trouble himself to maintain the dignity of history.

[53]  Mr. Flinders Petrie has just discovered and sent to Mr. Holly, of Trinity, Cambridge, the well-known traveller, a wall-painting of a beautiful woman, excavated by the Egypt Exploration Society, from the ruined site of the Temple of Aphrodite in Naucratis.  Mr. Holly, in an affecting letter to the Academy, states that he recognises in this picture “an admirable though somewhat archaic portrait of She.”  There can thus be little or no doubt that She was Rhodopis, and therefore several hundred years older than she said.  But few will blame her for being anxious not to claim her full age.

This unexpected revelation appears to throw light on some fascinating peculiarities in the behaviour of She.

[56]  The great intimacy between Mrs. Proudie and Mrs. Quiverful, indicated by Mrs. Proudie’s use of the Bishop’s Christian name—and that abbreviated—has amazed the discoverer and editor of her correspondence.

[60a]  This signature of Mrs. Proudie’s is so unusual an assumption of the episcopal style, that it might well cast a doubt on the authenticity of her letter.  But experts pronounce it genuine.  “Barnum,” of course, is “Baronum Castrum,” the rather odd Roman name of Barchester.

[60b]  It has been seen that Mrs. Quiverful did not obey this injunction.

[65]  This man was well known to Sir Walter Scott, who speaks of his curious habits in an unpublished manuscript.

[125]  Mr. Forth, we are sure, is quite wrong, and none of the scholars he quotes has said anything of the kind.

[129]  “He” clearly means, not Addison, but Professor Forth, the lady’s husband.

[130]  It was not Asiatics, but Aztecs; not Pittites, but Hittites!  Woman cares little for these studies!—A.L.

[133]  The editor has no doubt that some one was—Miss Watson.  Cf. ‘Belinda.’

[139]  Owing to the sudden decease of the Dean in well-known and melancholy circumstances, this letter was not delivered.

[140]  Alas, not wisely!  But any careful reader of “The Silence of Dean Maitland” will see that the Baby was an anachronism.—Ed.

[146]  This appears to have been a favourite remark of Mr. Skimpole’s.  It will be noticed that, quite without intending it, Mr. Skimpole was the founder of our New Cyrenaic School.

[147]  Mr. Skimpole’s recollections of classical ritual are a little mixed hereabouts.  He refers to Mr. Honeyman’s projected union with the widow of Mr. Bromley, the famous hatter.

[151]  Colonel Newcome, indeed.

[154]  Non, Monsieur, je ne cite ni “Woodsworth” ni “le vieux Williams.”

[165]  Mr. Potts ought to have consulted the edition of 1833, where he would have found the verse as quoted by Mr. Gandish.

[166]  And a nice mixture it must have been!—A. L.

[184]  The wooden bed fastened in an ox-waggon.

[185]  Mr. Quatermain has just said that the donga was filled by a roaring torrent.  Is there not some inconsistency here?

[190]  At the High Hole, indeed.—A. L.


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