The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Strand Magazine, Vol. 01, No. 03, March 1891

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Title: The Strand Magazine, Vol. 01, No. 03, March 1891

Author: Various

Editor: George Newnes

Release date: June 26, 2012 [eBook #40084]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Dianna Adair, Jonathan Ingram, Ernest Schaal,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


Drawn and Etched by Her Majesty the Queen.

Pictures with Histories.


A PICTURE within a picture—there is a romance surrounding every canvas, a story hidden away with every product of the pencil or brush. Our frontispiece, "The Queen's First Baby," provides an excellent example. During the first few years of Her Majesty's married life a room in Buckingham Palace was fitted up with all necessities for printing etchings, and here the Queen and Prince Consort would come and take impressions of their own work from the printing press. It is such a one that we are enabled to reproduce—a fac-simile of an etching, sketched in the first place, prepared and put on the press, and finally printed by the Royal mother of the little one it represents. The original etching is now in the possession of the writer. It is probably the earliest picture known of the Empress Frederick of Germany, Princess Royal at the time—for the etching bears date February 22, 1841, when the Princess was but three months old. Every line, every item betokens how anxious the Royal artist was to obtain a faithful drawing of her first child, whose name, "Victoria," is written under it. The little Princess is so held that the nurse's face is quite concealed, and in no way divides the attention the mother was desirous of winning for her little one. When the Queen was making the sketch, a cage with a parrot had been placed on a table near at hand, in order to rivet the child's attention. The whole thing is suggestive of the simplicity and homeliness which characterised the dispositions of the Royal workers at the press; and we think the picture tells its own history of life in the Palace fifty years ago.

The first portrait painted after her Coronation.

The history as to how the first portrait of Her Majesty after her coronation was obtained is also full of interest. The Queen is represented in all her youthful beauty in the Royal box at Drury Lane Theatre, and it is the work of E. T. Parris, a fashionable portrait painter of those days. Parris was totally ignorant of the fact that when he agreed with Mr. Henry Graves, the well-known publisher, to paint "the portrait of a lady for fifty guineas," he would have to localise himself amongst the musical instruments of the orchestra of the National Theatre, and handle his pencil in the immediate neighbourhood of the big drum. Neither was he made aware as to the identity of his subject until the eventful night arrived. Bunn was the manager of Drury Lane at the time, and he flatly refused to accommodate Mr. Graves with two seats in the orchestra. But the solution of the difficulty was easy. Bunn was indebted to Grieve, the scenic artist, for a thousand pounds. Grieve was persuaded to threaten to issue a writ for the money unless the "order for two" was forthcoming. Bunn succumbed, and the publisher triumphed; and whilst the young Queen watched the performance, [pg 228] she was innocently sitting for her picture to Parris and Mr. Graves, who were cornered in the orchestra. Parris afterwards shut himself up in his studio, and never left it until he had finished his work. The price agreed upon was doubled, and the Queen signified her approval of the tact employed by purchasing a considerable number of the engravings. The reproduction of the picture in these pages becomes the more interesting from the fact that it is done by permission of the still living occupant of one of the two orchestra seats—Mr. Henry Graves.


Much might be said regarding missing and mutilated pictures. The story as to how Gainsborough's "Duchess of Devonshire" was cut from the frame a few days after 10,100 guineas had been paid for it is well known, but we may add a scrap of information hitherto unpublished, which will, we think, add somewhat to the value of the work as a picture with a history. The ingenious thief knew very well that in order to get his prize in safety through the streets it would be necessary to roll it up. This, of course, could not be done without cracking the paint. Accordingly, he had provided himself with paste and paper to lay over the picture. But when he came to lay the paper on the canvas, he found that he had forgotten—a brush! The people who flocked to see the beautiful "Duchess" were kept at a respectful distance by the customary barrier of silken rope. The clever purloiner cut off a few inches of the thick cord, and, fraying out one of the ends, improvised a really excellent substitute wherewith to lay on the paste. The brush of rope was found next morning on the floor, where he had left it, and told a story of such ingenuity as certainly demands a word of recognition.

It is probable that were a novelist to concoct a plot out of the story surrounding a certain Sir Joshua Reynolds in the possession of Lord Crewe, the public would snap their fingers at it and dub the whole thing ridiculous and impossible.

A former Lord Crewe had a picture painted of his son and daughter. Though the faces were faithful, the attitudes of the figures were somewhat fanciful; the daughter is holding a vase, and the boy is posing as a cupid. When the son had grown to manhood he quarrelled with his father, and he, to mark his extreme anger, caused the cupid to be cut out of the canvas, giving instructions for it to be destroyed, and a tripod painted in its place. Thus it remained for over a hundred years. But the little cupid was not lost. It had, by some mysterious means, after this lapse of time, found its way into the hands of a dealer, who recognised it, having seen an engraving of the original before it was cut. He immediately communicated with the present Lord Crewe, who still had the picture. It was found that the cupid fitted exactly into the space where the tripod stood. Lord Crewe not only caused the cupid to be restored to its proper place, but, in order to commemorate this remarkable incident, took out the now historical tripod, had a piece of canvas with appropriate scenery painted, and caused the tripod to be inserted therein. The cupid now hangs in his house as a memento of a strange act on the part of one of his ancestors.

By Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Lord Cheylesmore, well known as having [pg 229] one of the finest collections of Landseers in the world, has a dog painted by this great artist, with a curious story attached to it. After Charles Landseer had all but completed the painting of his celebrated picture of "Charles I. at Edge Hill," he persuaded his brother Edwin to paint in a dog. This Sir Edwin consented to do; and, after the work was engraved, the original got into the hands of a dealer, who cleverly cut out the dog, and had another put in place of it. He secured the services of an able artist to paint a background for the animal which had been so ignominiously deprived of the honour of reclining in the presence of Charles I. This he sold as a Landseer—as, indeed, it was; and this highly interesting little creature is the one now owned by Lord Cheylesmore. As regards that of "Charles I. at Edge Hill," we believe we are correct in saying that it was recently purchased by the Walker Art Gallery at Liverpool.

A somewhat similar circumstance befell Holbein's famous picture of "The Field of the Cloth of Gold," which hangs at Hampton Court Palace. After the execution of Charles I., Cromwell proposed to sell many of the late monarch's pictures to dealers and others who approached him on the subject, and amongst others that painted by Holbein. Negotiations for the purchase concluded, the time came round for its delivery. On examining "The Field of the Cloth of Gold" it was discovered that one of the principal faces—that of Henry VIII.—had been cut out in a complete circle. Naturally, the dealer—a foreigner—declined to conclude the bargain, and the mutilated Holbein was stowed away. After the Restoration, a nobleman appeared at court and begged Charles II. to graciously accept an article which the king might possibly be glad to know was still preserved to the English nation. It proved to be a circular piece of canvas, representing the robust countenance of Henry VIII., which the nobleman had himself cut from the picture in Cromwell's time. This great work was seen at the Tudor Exhibition last year, the mark of the circle being plainly visible.


The fact of a picture worth £10,000 being converted into a sort of bullseye mark for schoolboys' marbles is a little history in itself. The work, by Gainsborough, is that of the Honourable Miss Duncombe—a renowned beauty of her day, who lived at Dalby Hall, near Melton Mowbray. She married General Bowater. For over fifty years this magnificent work of art had hung in the hall of this old house in Leicestershire, and the children, as they played and romped about the ancient oaken staircases, delighted to make a target of the Gainsborough, and to throw their marbles at the beauty. It hung there year after year, full of holes, only to be sold under the hammer one day for the sum of £6, a big price for the torn and tattered canvas. The owner of the bargain let it go for £183 15s., the lucky purchaser this time being Mr. Henry Graves. The day it came into the famous printseller's shop in Pall Mall, Lord Chesterfield offered 1,000 guineas for it, at which price it was sold. But romances run freely amongst all [pg 230] things pertaining to pictures, for before the work was delivered a fever seized Lord Chesterfield and he died. Lady Chesterfield was informed that, if she wished, the agreement might be cancelled. Her ladyship replied that she was glad of this, as she did not require the picture, which accordingly remained in Mr. Graves' shop waiting for another purchaser. It had not long to wait. One of the wealthiest and most discriminating judges of pictures in England, Baron Lionel Rothschild, came in search of it, and the following conversation between him and the owner, Mr. Graves, ensued:


"You ask me fifteen hundred guineas for it?" exclaimed the great financier, when he was told the price; "why, you sold it the other day for a thousand!"

"Yes, I know I did," replied the dealer, "but that was done in a hurry, before it had been restored."

"Well, now I'll give you twelve hundred for it—twelve hundred," said the Baron, looking longingly at the work.

"Now, Baron," said Mr. Graves, good-humouredly, though firmly, "if you beat me down another shilling, you shan't have the picture at all."

"Very good—then send it home at fifteen hundred guineas." It is now amongst the most valued artistic treasures of the Rothschilds, and £10,000 would not buy it to-day.

The two illustrations we now give of pictures—one of which is still missing and the other recovered after a long lapse of time—are both after Sir Joshua Reynolds. It is certain that the missing one will never be seen again. Reward after reward has been offered, but all to no avail—"The Countess of Derby," by Sir [pg 231] Joshua, so far as the original goes, is a thing of the past. The mystery as to its sudden disappearance has never been fully cleared up, but it is indisputable that the Earl of Derby of the period had this picture painted of his wife, that he quarrelled with her, and that just at this time the picture vanished. Little room is left for doubt that the Earl himself destroyed the work.

THE COUNTESS OF DERBY. By Sir Joshua Reynolds.

The other is that of Miss Gale, painted when she was fifteen, a canvas worth at least £5,000 (page 232). She married Admiral Gardner, who was so much attached to his wife, that whenever he went to sea he always took the picture with him, and had it conspicuously hung up in his cabin. His vessel was wrecked off the West Indies, and though the Admiral was saved, the ship, with "Miss Gale" in the cabin, went down. There it lay at the bottom of the ocean for a considerable period, until at last attempts were made to recover it. This was successfully accomplished, though the canvas was much damaged, and was afterwards reduced in length and breadth. The picture seems to have been peculiarly unfortunate, both on land and sea, for in 1864 it was damaged again by the Midland Railway. Until recently it was in the possession of the Rev. Allen Gardner Cornwall.

MISS GALE. By Sir Joshua Reynolds.

The fact of a picture of fabulous value being picked up in a pawnbroker's shop, or veritable gems being discovered fastened with tin-tacks to the wall of a servant's bedroom, is alone sufficient cause to rank them among pictures with a history. But surely no such remarkable instance of innocence regarding the real value of a work has been known for a long time as that which came to light in a West End picture dealer's shop a few weeks ago. The story is a simple one. A painter—presumably an amateur—ran short of canvas, and, living in the country, some days must needs elapse before he could get a fresh supply. Hanging up in his house was an old work, representing an ancient-looking gentleman. He had hung there a long time, practically unnoticed. To meet the emergency, the painter conceived a happy thought, and one which he immediately proceeded to carry into effect. Why not paint on the back of the ancient-looking gentleman who had hung uncared-for for so long? The canvas was taken off the stretcher, turned round, and re-stretched, the back of the picture being used on which to paint a copy of Sir Joshua Reynolds' "Age of Innocence." Innocence there truly was—for the painting which the amateur had screened from view turned out to be a Gainsborough. The original Gainsborough is at the present moment at the back of the newly-painted picture, and is partly hidden by the stretcher, as shown in the sketch (page 233), made as it lay by the counter in the dealer's shop.


One artist might be singled out of whom it may safely be said that he never painted [pg 232] a picture without a history attached to it. Landseer's works abound in suggestive incident and delightful romance. He would paint out of sheer gratitude a picture worth £10,000 simply because an admirer, for whom he had executed a commission, had expressed his approval of the artist's genius, by paying him more money than that originally agreed upon. Such an incident as this was the means of bringing Landseer's brush to work on "The Maid and the Magpie," now in the National Gallery.

There are two or three anecdotes—hitherto unpublished, we believe—relating to pictures with histories, and associated with Landseer's name.

It is said—and results have proved how justly—that Landseer never forgot a dog after once seeing it. "The Shepherd's Bible" is a rare instance of this. Mr. Jacob Bell referred to this work as "the property of a gentleman who was for many years a candidate for a picture by Sir E. Landseer, and kept a collie dog in the hope that he might some day be so fortunate as to obtain his portrait." The collie, however, died. Some two years afterwards, its owner received a note from Sir Edwin appointing a day for a sitting. Fortunately, he had provided himself with another dog, hoping yet to secure the services of the greatest of all animal painters, and taking the creature with him, kept the appointment on the day named. He told Landseer that the old favourite was dead, and gave a description of his colour and general appearance.

"Oh! yes," the painter replied, "I know the dog exactly," and he made a sketch which proved the truth of his words. The picture was painted in less than two days, and the portrait of the dead animal was exact, even to the very expression of the dog's eye.

Landseer, too, was often very happy in his choice of a subject. "Dignity and Impudence" is one of the treasures of the National Gallery, and though the one is a fine bloodhound named "Grafton," and the other a little terrier called "Scratch," it is likely that two gentlemen innocently suggested the whole thing to him. It seems that one day Landseer entered a picture shop, and was annoyed at the way in which he was treated by one of the assistants, who mistook him for a customer, and who addressed him in a style a trifle too pushing and businesslike to suit his taste.

Just then the proprietor entered, a fine, handsome, dignified man.

"Well, have you got anything new in the way of a picture?" he asked.

"No," replied Landseer, "but I've just got a subject. I'll let you know when it is [pg 233] finished." The result was the picture referred to, and it is said that the grand bloodhound bore a striking resemblance to the picture dealer, whilst the little terrier, presumably, was suggested by the assistant; whose manner, after all, was simply that of a sharp man of business.

"There's Life in the Old Dog Yet," another fine work, was, in 1857, the property of Mr. Henry McConnell, for whom it was painted in 1838. Mr. McConnell was asked if he would lend it to the Art Treasures Exhibition at Manchester. He had a very great horror of railway travelling, but agreed to grant the request on one condition, that the picture, with the others asked for, should be sent down by road. Everything was packed up, and the precious load started on its journey. The van had got about half-way to Manchester, when, in passing over a level crossing—common enough in those days—the horses were startled by an approaching train. It was impossible to get across the lines in time, and the engine dashed into the van, shattering many of the pictures, including "There's Life in the Old Dog Yet." So great was the destruction that when the driver went to the front wheel of the engine, he found entwined round it a piece of the canvas of this famous picture.

An anecdote might be told regarding "The Cavalier's Pets," further illustrating the rapid rate at which Landseer worked, and the fate which seemed to hang over his canine subjects. The dogs were pets of Mr. Vernon's, and a sketch was made in his house as a commission to Sir Edwin. It seems, however, that Landseer forgot all about it, until some time afterwards he was met by the owner of the pets in the street, who gently reminded him of his little commission. In two days the work as it is now seen was completed and delivered, though not a line had been put on the canvas previous to the meeting. Both the beautiful creatures came to an untimely end. The white Blenheim spaniel was killed by a fall from a table, whilst the King Charles fell through the railings of a staircase at his master's house, and was picked up dead at the bottom of the steps.

We cannot do better than conclude with an anecdote which connects this great painter with the early life of Her Majesty.

That the Queen has always displayed a marked interest in works of art is indisputable. Her collection of pictures, many of them of the Flemish and Dutch schools, her Vandykes and Rubens, are almost priceless. But Her Majesty's favours bestowed on matters artistic have also drifted into home channels, as witness her generous spirit shown at all times towards Sir Edwin Landseer.

Amongst all the priceless works to be found in the Royal galleries, one picture may here be singled out with a pleasing story attached to it. "Loch Laggan" shows the Queen in a quiet and unassuming gown, beside her camp-stool, at which she has a few moments before been sketching. The Princess Royal and the Prince of Wales are there as children. In the centre stands a pony with a burden of deer on its back, its owner, a stalwart Highlander, at its head, with an expression of countenance half-amused, half-surprised.

Sir Edwin Landseer—who painted the picture—was at the time in Scotland giving lessons to the Queen. Whilst on his way to Balmoral he wandered in the direction of Loch Laggan, and became perplexed as to which path to take. Espying the Highlander, he bade him hasten to find the Queen, and say that Sir Edwin would reach her ere long. The man needed no second bidding, and jumped on the pony's back. He had not proceeded far round the lake before he drew up his pony in front of a lady, who was sketching, whilst her two [pg 234] children were busying themselves by handing her the various drawing implements as required.

Respectfully removing his cap, he asked if she could tell him where he might possibly find the Queen.

"Oh, yes," replied the lady, turning from her drawing, "I am the Queen."

This was too much for the worthy Scot. He could not associate the great stone on which Her Majesty had been sitting with all the splendour of a throne. All he could do was to put his hands upon his knees and suggestively utter the single word—"Gammon!"

By this time Sir Edwin had arrived. He drew the picture with the Highlander in the very act of relieving himself of an expression not often heard in the presence of Royalty. Our drawing is a sketch of the figures in the painting of this highly interesting scene.


Making an Angel.

By J. Harwood Panting.


GROTESQUE—yes, that is the word for the gathering.

An ogre cannot always enjoy the regal society of a king; nor can it be said that the features of Hodge are usually to be seen glancing, with grinning condescension, upon a grave Prime Minister. There were other anomalies, too numerous to mention, in the room; for this was one of the workshops of the curious Kingdom of Make-Believe, of which, at the present time, if we may except the aforesaid company, John Farley was the solitary occupant.


John Farley, nicknamed "Daubs," was scene-painter of the Comedy Theatre, Porchester, and this was the room whence proceeded those marvellous designs that stirred the gallery to enthusiastic applause, the boxes to derisive laughter.

It was the season of pantomime. The curtain had been rung down upon the "grand phantasmagorical, allegorical, and whimsicorical" legend of "King Pippin," and the denizens of that monarch's court—or, rather, their faces—were resting peacefully from their labours on the wall. John Farley, too, was presumably resting from his labours, for he was sitting upon a wooden stool, smoking vigorously, and gazing, with a far-away glance, into the region of Nowhere. It was not a satisfied expression, this of John Farley's—no, decidedly not. It appeared to have a quarrel with the world, but did not seem to know precisely at which quarter of it to commence hostilities. Truth to tell, he was a disappointed man. He had started life, as many another, with high aims and ambitions, and they had brought him no better fruit than scene-painter to the Porchester Theatre, with, instead of academic diplomas and honours, the unflattering title of "Daubs!" Do you wonder, then, that sitting there, a man verging upon the "thirties," he looked upon life with little love, and upon the constituents of its big constituency with little admiration?

John had a private grievance as well as a public. He lived in a flat of a block of houses situate in Seymour-street, about a quarter of an hour's walk from the theatre. For some days past he had determined on making another bid for fame and fortune by painting a grand picture. He had commenced various designs for this "masterpiece," but none [pg 236] of them had proved entirely satisfactory. And now, as though to frustrate all his hopes, a new source of disturbance had arisen. John possessed one of those mercurial, nervous temperaments, born principally of a morbid, solitary life, which demanded absolute quiet for any profitable employment of the intellect. For this reason he detested the atmosphere of a theatre, and for this reason he yet more detested the fate that had cast his fortunes in its midst. In the apartments where he lived, mean as they were, he usually found tranquillity. He could at least think, smoke, sketch, or write, as the fit took him, without disturbance. But now, just at the time when he most desired and needed quiet, the bugbear he fled had attacked him in his very stronghold.

In the rooms beneath those he occupied lived a poor widow with her two children, a boy and girl. John knew this much from the landlady. He knew, too, that the boy was employed at the Comedy Theatre. Further than this he had not cared to inquire. Usually they were as quiet as the proverbial mouse, but latterly John's ears had been afflicted with groans and cries of pain, proceeding from the widow's apartments, and kept up with aggravating regularity throughout the night. They were the cries of a child—no doubt about that—and a child in great suffering. A person less centred in his own projects than John might have at least felt some sympathy with the sufferer, but John had evidently lost kinship with the deeper emotions, and instead of sympathy he experienced only a feeling of annoyance and keen resentment against the widow and "her brats," as he styled them. Thus it was that, think as he would, the subject of this grand picture which was to take the world by storm and out-Raphael Raphael, persisted in evading him; and thus it is we find him, in a more cynical mood than usual, at the Comedy Theatre, in no haste to return to the scene of his failures.

"What is the use of striving?" mused John, as he slowly puffed his pipe. "One might as well throw up the sponge. Fate is too much for me. He follows at my elbow everywhere. His usual running-ground is not enough for him. Now he follows me home, and gives me a solo of his own peculiar music through one of his imps."

A timid knock sounded upon the door. John was busy with his thoughts, and did not hear it.

"That theory of Longfellow's is correct—art is long. In what sphere could you find a longer? Supportable might this be, but cold indifference to a poor devil aching for a gleam of sympathy is insupportable."

The knock at the door was repeated, but with the same effect as before.

"The grinning public—just tickle its side: that is all it needs. He who caters most to its stupidity in life is he who gains the proud distinction of a public mausoleum [pg 237] at his death. I have not got quite into the way, but still I see in perspective a monument dedicated to—'Daubs.'"

A sound, light as gossamer wing, was heard in the room. John Farley turned his head. Then he stared; then he rubbed his eyes; then he stared again. Well he might. Was this an offspring of the immortal whom he had just been apostrophising?

It was decidedly an imp—at least it had the apparel of one. It was clothed in scarlet; dependent from its haunches was a tail; on its head a Satanic cowl. But there was melancholy rather than mischief in its eye, and it was of a restful, confiding brown rather than an unrestful, flashing black.


John again inserted his knuckles in his eyes, and waved off the smoke from his pipe. And then he recognised his uncanny visitor. It was the little son of the widow who lived under his flat. He was one of the imps of King Pippin's kingdom in the pantomime, and doomed for a small pittance to indulge his apish tricks nightly with the gnomes and fairies of that fanciful realm.

"Daubs!" said the imp.

Yes, only that was necessary to incite John's wrath. A nickname that was supportable from the actors and scene-shifters was insupportable from a child.

"Daubs" therefore turned sharply upon the boy:—

"Are you referring to me?"

"Yes, sir."

John was on the point of brusquely informing the lad that he was not acquainted with a gentleman of the name of Daubs, and peremptorily showing him the door. A glance from the honest brown eyes, however, restrained him. It told him that what he had at first assumed to be impudence was really the result of ignorance—that, and only that.

"I would like to know you, Mr. Daubs. You don't mind knowing a little boy—do you?"

John opened his eyes in astonishment. What a curious imp! John was not aware that anybody had any particular desire for his society; in fact, the reverse had hitherto seemed the case. He was usually regarded as an unsociable being.

"I have not the least objection to making your acquaintance," said he, unreluctantly, it must be confessed.

"Oh, thank you," said the little fellow, drawing nearer, and putting his hand confidingly in John's, and looking up at him with bright, happy eyes. "Then perhaps I may—may I?"

What "may I" meant was a gentle pressure of the lips upon the smoky cheek of John. If John had been astonished before he was still more astonished now—so much so that the pipe he was smoking fell from his fingers, and was broken into fragments on the floor. What had he, a grumpy bachelor, to do with kissing? Twenty years had passed since his cheek had felt the pressure of lips, and then they were the death-cold lips of a younger brother—surely about the size of this strange imp—who had left him with that dumb farewell for ever.

"What is your name, my lad?" said he, softly.

"Willie Maxwell. Mother calls me 'her Willie.' Dodo—that is my sister, you know—when she is well" (here the little fellow sighed) "says that I'm her pet. But at the theatre I'm only known as 'Fourth Imp.' Mr. Billings"—Mr. Billings was the stage-manager of the Comedy—"has promised that, if I'm a good boy, I shall some day be First Imp!"

"That will be a rise in the world, and no mistake," remarked John.

"Well, Mr. Daubs, it will be a little more money for mother—threepence extra a night—but I shouldn't like to push out Teddy Morris. You know Teddy?"

John was obliged to confess that he had not the honour of that young gentleman's acquaintance. He never troubled himself with anything or anybody outside his own department.

"Teddy Morris is First Imp. He doesn't like me, you know, because he thinks I'm—what do you call it, Mr. Daubs?"


"Yes, 'bitious, that's the word."

John's crusty humour was gradually melting, and he smiled—first, at anyone disliking this frank, affectionate boy; next, at the rivalry of the imps. "All the world," thought he, "is indeed a stage, and the struggle for a position on it extends to strange quarters."

"But I'm not 'bitious, Mr. Daubs"—here Willie paused, and deliberately climbed on John's knee—"no, I really ain't, 'cept of you!"

John started at this bold confession. He was on the point of exploding into loud laughter, but the brown eyes were looking earnestly into his, and with these searching [pg 238] witnesses before him John thought that such an ebullition of mirth would be little short of profanation.

"Oh, you're ambitious of me, are you? Well, my little man, if it's your intention to supplant me as scene-painter to the Comedy Theatre, I'm exceedingly grateful to you for giving me due notice of the fact. Only let me know when you think I ought to resign my position, won't you?"

"Yes," assented Willie, with childish naïveté; and then, putting his head nearer to John's, as though to take him into still closer confidence—"Do you know, I've often seen you, and wanted to speak to you, but somehow I've not liked to. I've watched you when you weren't looking, and you've always seemed to look like—you don't mind a little boy saying it, Mr. Daubs—like that." Willie pointed to a mask of one of the ogres. John did not think the comparison very flattering, and felt very uncomfortable. The next instant the child was nestling closer to him; a pair of thin arms were clasped tightly round John's neck; and the lips which again pressed his whispered softly: "But you're not a bit like that now, Mr. Daubs."

Then the comparison was forgiven, but not forgotten.

"Tell me, Willie, why you are ambitious of me? Ambitious of me," John mentally added, "who thought myself the least envied mortal in the world!"

Willie's only answer was to take John's big hand into his small one; then he instituted a minute comparison between the two; then he patted it fondly; then he dropped it suddenly, and remained buried in deep thought. John gave himself up to the child's whim. It was a delicious experience—the more delicious because unexpected. This was an infantile world, made up of quaint ideas and actions, of which even the memory had been almost obliterated from his mind. Thought took him back to its last link—that which had been rudely snapped by the death of his brother. He sighed, and the sigh was echoed.

"It will be a long while—many years, I suppose, Mr. Daubs—before my hand gets like yours?"

Mr. Daubs thought it would be. Willie sighed again. "Painting's very hard, sir—ain't it?"


"Oh, no, my boy; it's the easiest thing in the world," said the artist bitterly; "and the world accepts it at its right value, for it is never inclined to pay very dearly for it. Just a few paints, a brush, and there you are."

"Well, Mr. Daubs, I hardly think that's quite right—you don't mind my saying so, do you?—'cause I saved up a shilling and bought a paintbrush and some paints, and tried ever so hard to make a picture, but it was no use. No, it was nothing like a picture—all smudge, you know—so I thought that p'raps God never meant little boys should make pictures, and that I would have to wait till I grew up like you, Mr. Daubs."

"It's as well somebody should think I can paint pictures; but do you know, my young art critic, that many persons have no higher estimate of my efforts than you have of yours—that is to say," seeing the eyes widening in astonishment, "their term for them is 'smudge!'"

"No, do they say that? No, Mr. Daubs, they wouldn't dare," said Willie, indignantly. "Why, you paint lovely horses [pg 239] and flowers, and trees, and mountains, and your birds, if they could only sing, like the little bird Dodo once had, they would seem quite alive."

John had never had so flattering, nor so unique a criticism of his art. "Molière," thought he, "used to read his plays to the children, and gather something from their prattle. Why should I disdain opinion from a like source, especially as it chimes in so beautifully with what my vanity would have had me acknowledge long since?"

"Well, youngster, admitting that I am the fine artist you would make of me, what then? In what way do you expect to convert a world which prefers real horses, real trees, and real birds? See, now, even here—at the Comedy Theatre—we have only to announce on the playbills that a real horse, a real steam-engine, or a real goose or donkey, for that matter, will be exhibited, and the best efforts of my artistic genius are thrown into the shade. You are a case in point. Could I draw an imp that would meet with half the success that you do? But what nonsense I am talking—you don't understand a word of it."

"Oh, yes, Mr. Daubs, I do—something. Do you know what I think?"

"Say on, youngster."

"I think we don't often know or think what is best for us. Mother says little boys don't always know what is best for them. 'Real' is a live thing—ain't it? I used to think, Mr. Daubs, you were a real live ogre once. But now I know you ain't—are you?" This with a pressure of the arms again round John's neck. What could the "real live ogre" say to such an appeal? After a pause: "Mr. Daubs, can I tell you something—may I?"

John assented, wondering what was the next strange thing this curious sprite would ask.

"And will you say 'yes' to what I ask?"

John again assented, though he thought that possibly his assent might necessitate a journey to Timbuctoo.

"Well, I want you to make me—an angel!" And then he quickly added, seeing the startled expression on John's face, "You are so clever!"

"An angel!"

"Yes, an angel. You won't say no?" There was a quiver of anxiety in the boy's tones. "It's for Dodo."

"For Dodo! But, child, I'm not a manufacturer of angels!"

"But you can draw birds. Birds have wings, and so have angels, and it's for Dodo," he again repeated.

The logic of Willie's reasoning was irrefutable. Where was John standing? He scarcely knew. He had caught the boy's conception. This, then, was the reason of his anxiety to become an artist. Never imp was surely such a seraph! The angel was for his sister. They were her moans and cries John had heard in his lonely chamber these three nights past, and it was with an angel her brother hoped, in his childish imagination, to bring relief from pain and suffering. With one quick flash of inspiration John saw it all—the intense longing, the all-embracing love, the unselfishness, the exquisite sense of bringing to suffering its one great alleviation. And as he thought, John's head dropped, and a tear fell on the eager, youthful face upturned to his.

"Mother says that all angels are in heaven, and Dodo's always talking about angels. She says she wants to see one, and would like one to come to her. But they can't, Mr. Daubs, unless we first go to them. And I don't want—no, no, I don't want"—with a big sob—"Dodo—to—go—away. If I could take it to her she would stay here."

John's heart was full—full to overflowing. He could scarcely speak.

"Go—go, and change your clothes, youngster, and we will try to make you an angel."

"Oh, thank you so much."

In a flash Willie was gone, and John was left alone. "Heaven help me!" he said, with a tender, pathetic glance in the direction whence the little figure had vanished; "Heaven help me!" and John did what he had not done since his own brother died. He fell upon his knees, and sent a hasty prayer heavenward for inspiration. Then he took a large piece of cardboard, and some crayons, and commenced—making an angel! He worked as one inspired. With nervous, skilful fingers he worked. All was silent in the great city below; the stillness lent inspiration to the artist's imagination. Never had he seemed in closer touch with Heaven. To give John his due, the petty contentions of men had always been beneath him, but the "peace which passeth understanding" had never been his, because of the selfishness by which his better nature had been warped. Now, through this child's unselfishness, he almost heard the flapping of angelic wings, [pg 240] and he depicted them, in all their softened beauty, upon his cardboard, with a face between that seemed to look out in ineffable love upon a guilt-laden world. This was what the artist wrought.

"Oh, Mr. Daubs!"

The exclamation was pregnant with meaning. Willie had returned, and was devouring with open mouth and eyes the sketch of the angel.

"Well, youngster, do you think that will do for Dodo?"

"And that's for Dodo?" was the only answer, for the boy was still absorbed in the artist's creation.

"Have you ever seen an angel, Mr. Daubs? Ah, you must have. I knew you were clever at horses, and trees, and birds, and skies, but I didn't guess you were so good at angels. It's just what mother said they were!"

"There, don't make me vain, but take it; and"—added John partly to himself, "may the King of Cherubim hold in reserve his messenger, not for a death-warrant, but a blessing!"

"Thank you, so much. But I'm going to pay you, you know." And Willie drew out proudly an old pocket-handkerchief, and, applying his teeth vigorously to a special corner of it, took therefrom a sixpence.

John smiled, but took the coin without a word. Then he lifted the boy up, and kissed him tenderly. The next moment he was alone; Willie had departed with his angel. The artist listened to the pattering footsteps as they descended the stairs, then bowed his head upon his arms, and what with his three nights of unrest, and thinking over what he had been and might have been, fell into a profound sleep.

Not long had he been in the land of counterpane, when of a sudden there was a stir from without.

The night air was quick with cries, and a childish treble seemed to echo and re-echo above them all. There was something familiar in this latter sound. It was as a harsh note on a diapason that had but recently brought him sweetest music.

In a moment John had gained the street. He had connected the cry with one object—Willie. That object had for him a value infinite, so quick in its power of attraction is the spark of sympathy when once kindled. John's view of life had seemed, in this last half-hour, to have greatly widened. It took account of things previously unnoticed; it opened up feelings long dormant. His ear was strangely sensitive to the beat of this new pulse—so much so that a vague terror shaped itself out of that night-cry. It seemed to him to portend disaster.

But surely his worst fears are realised! What is that moving mass away in the distance? Soon John has reached the spot. He hears a hum of sympathy, and then there is a reverential silence: John's ears have caught the pitying accents of a bystander, "Poor lad! Heaven help him!"


"Help him! Help whom?"

John's mind is quick at inference. He parts the crowd, and with certain glance looks upon its point of observation. He knew it: no need of words to tell him. A little form is there, mangled with the hoofs of a horse. Its life-blood is slowly oozing out on the pavement. The face has the hue of death—no mistaking that—and yet it has around it something of the halo of saintship. John gazes as one distraught. The face he sees, now pinched with the agonies of death, is that of Willie Maxwell!

"Good God, is it possible?"

But a brief moment or two since, it seemed to John, this poor boy was [pg 241] in the bloom of health, full of the radiant sunshine of life. Now the finger of death had touched him, and he stood on the threshold of the Kingdom of Shadows.

For an instant John was ready to launch again his maledictions against Fate. The presence of this child had cast a ray of sunshine on a sunless existence—had given to it a brief gleam of happiness, which was flickering out in this tragic way on the roadside. John had so frequently taken a selfish estimate of life, that even in this supreme crisis that feeling was momentarily uppermost, but only momentarily. The child was resting in the arms of a rough carman, and as John looked a spasm of returning consciousness passed over the little sufferer's frame. Then there was a faint moan. Was there a chance of saving the boy's life? John came closer, and as he did so a light seemed to radiate from the child's face on to his.

Now the eyes are looking at him in a pained, dazed way. There is a gleam of recognition, and about the mouth flickers a smile of content.

"Mr. Da—Da—Daubs,—I'm—so—glad-you've —come."

John kneels on the ground, and kisses the pale, cold lips of the sufferer. The little arms are nervously at work; then with an effort they are extended towards him: "Will you please take this, Mr. Daubs?"

John looked. It was the sketch of the angel! "I'm so glad I didn't drop it. I held it tight, you see, Mr. Daubs—oh, so tight! I was afraid Dodo wouldn't get it. No one knows Dodo, you see. I can't—take—it—to her—to-night; so—will you—please?"

John's tears are falling fast upon the pavement. He seems to hear the stifled sobs of the bystanders as he takes in his hand the sketch of the angel. "I shall—see her—again—when the—light comes. Now—it is—so dark—and cold—so cold!" John mechanically takes off his coat, and wraps it around the little form.

"Thank you—Mr. Daubs—you're—a—kind—gentleman. May I—may I?"——John had heard a similar request before that evening, and thanked God that he knew what it meant. He bent his face forward. "That for dear—dear mother, and that for—darling—sister—sister Dodo."

As John's lips received the death-cold kisses, a strange thing happened. The picture of the angel was suddenly wrested from his grasp, and flew upward and upward, in shape like a bat. There was a moment of mystery—of intense darkness and solemn silence. Then the heavens were agleam with sunshine, and John seemed to see radiant forms winging their way earthward. One of these outsped the rest. Nearer and nearer it came, and John in wonderment fixed his gaze intently thereon. He had never seen a real angel before, but he recognised this one. It was the angel he had sketched, transfigured into celestial life. It came to where the child rested, and John fell backward, dazzled with its light. When he looked up again the child and the angel had both vanished, and all was again dark.


"Daubs, Daubs! Wake up, wake up!"

John looked up with sleepy eyes. Where the deuce was he? Not in any angelic presence, that was certain. The voice was not pitched in a very heavenly key, and wafted odours of tobacco and beer rather than frankincense and myrrh. John pinched himself to make sure he was awake. This was assuredly no celestial visitor, but Verges—that was his theatrical nickname—the Comedy Theatre watchman.

"Is it you, Verges? Will you have the kindness to tell me where I am?" John looked around him in bewilderment. The masks seemed grinning at him in an aggravating way.

"Well, you are at present, Mister, in the Comedy Theatre; but you was just now very soundly in the land of Nod, I guess. You'd make a splendid watchman, you would!"

Verges' denunciation came with beautiful appropriateness, as he had just come from the public-house opposite, where he had been indulging in sundry libations for this hour past at the expense of some of its customers.

"It is a dream, then—not a hideous reality? Thank God, thank God!"

"What's a dream?" said Verges, looking with some apprehension at John. When he saw that gentleman begin to caper round the room his fears were not lessened, for he thought that John had taken leave of some of his senses.

"Am I awake now, Verges?"

"Well, you look like it."

"You are certain?" and he put a shilling into Verges' hand.

"I never knew you to be more waker. [pg 242] You can keep on being as wide-awake as you please at the same price, Mister!"

"Give me my hat and coat, Verges. Thank you," and John passed rapidly out at the door with a hasty "Good night!" Verges looked after him with wide-mouthed astonishment; then he looked at the piece of money in his hand; then he tapped his forehead, and shook his head ominously, muttering, "Daubs is daft—clean daft!"

John would not trust his waking senses till he reached the corner of the street at which he had seen so vividly in his dream the incidents just recorded. A solitary policeman was walking up and down, and not so much as a vehicle was to be seen. And then another fear took possession of John. Was his dream a presentiment of danger, and had an accident befallen Willie in some other form?

He soon reached his lodgings, hurried up the staircase, and listened fearfully outside the widow's door. Nobody seemed astir, but he could see that a light was burning within. Should he knock? What right had he, a perfect stranger, to intrude at this unreasonable hour? He remembered, too, his bitter thoughts and words about the widow and her children—her "brats!" So he mounted reluctantly to his apartments. How the silence—previously so much desired—oppressed him! He would eagerly have welcomed at that moment a cry, a sob, or any sound of life from the room below. But the sufferer gave no token, and John, in turn, became the sufferer in the worst form of suffering—that of mental anguish.

He could stand it no longer. John determined, at any cost, to see whether or not Willie had returned in safety. So he descended, and knocked at Mrs. Maxwell's door.

"Come in," said a quiet voice, and John opened the door. The first thing that met his gaze was his picture of the angel hanging at the head of a child's cot. Beneath it, calmly asleep, was Dodo—Willie's sister. A frail morsel of humanity she seemed, with pale, almost transparent, complexion—the paler by its contrasting framework of golden hair. Mrs. Maxwell was busily engaged at needlework. She hastily rose when she saw her visitor. "I thought it [pg 243] was Mrs. Baker" (Mrs. Baker was the landlady), she said. "She usually looks in the last thing."

"Pardon me for intruding, but I was anxious to know whether your son had arrived here in safety?"

"Yes, oh yes; some time since. Are you the gentleman who gave him the angel?"

"Yes," said John, simply.

"Thank you so much; you have made my little girl so happy. Children have strange fancies in sickness, and she has been talking about nothing but angels for days past. See," pointing to the sleeping child, "it is the first night she has slept soundly for a whole week."

The holiest feeling John had ever experienced since he knelt as a child at his mother's knee passed over him. He had never before felt so thoroughly that a good action was its own reward.

"May I crave one great favour as a return for so trivial a service? Will you let me see your son?"

The widow immediately arose, took a lamp, and beckoned John to follow her into the next room. There was little Willie fast asleep in his cot. His lips, even in his sleep, were wreathed in a happy smile, and as John bent and reverently kissed them, they murmured softly: "Mr. Daubs!"

When John again mounted to his chamber it was with a light heart. His evil angel—dissatisfaction—had gone out of him, and his good angel—contentment—reigned in its stead.

From that time forth he shared the widow's vigils; he was to her an elder son—to the children, a loving brother. His heart, too, expanded in sympathy for his fellows, and under this genial influence his energies, previously cramped, expanded also. The best proof I can give of this, if proof be necessary, is that the picture which he shortly afterwards exhibited, entitled "The Two Angels," was the picture of the year, and brought to him the fame which had previously so persistently evaded him. One of the happiest moments in his life was when he took Dodo—now quite recovered—and Willie to view his "masterpiece."



THE birthday card, as we know it now, can scarcely have been with us more than fifty or fifty-five years, and there is very little doubt that the more ancient reminder of St. Valentine's Day suggested the idea of putting a verse, appropriate to a birthday, in the place of the often far-fetched sentiments of February the fourteenth. Nearly all our later poets have contributed to birthday literature, and we may presume that the delightful morceaux which came from their pens were written on a card or sheet of paper, and quietly dispatched to the recipient. Eliza Cook, Tom Moore, Burns, Cowper, Johnson, Tom Hood, Charles Lamb, and Mrs. Hemans have given to the world the most beautiful of thoughts within the limits of a four-line verse. Where is a more suggestive sentiment—considered by many the finest of all such verse—than that which Pope addressed to Martha Blount?—

Is that a birthday? 'Tis, alas! too clear
'Tis but the funeral of the former year.

Thackeray, too, could write delightful lines. His daughter—Mrs. Thackeray-Ritchie—sent the following to the writer, written by her father to Miss Lucy Batler in America:—

Lucy's Birthday.

Seventeen rosebuds in a ring,
Thick with silver flowers beset
In a fragrant coronet,
Lucy's servants this day bring.
Be it the birthday wreath she wears,
Fresh and fair and symbolling
The young number of her years,
The sweet blushes of her spring.
Types of youth, and love, and hope,
Friendly hearts, your mistress greet,
Be you ever fair and sweet,
And grow lovelier as you ope.
Gentle nursling, fenced about
With fond care, and guarded so,
Scarce you've heard of storms without,
Frosts that bite, and winds that blow!
Kindly has your life begun,
And we pray that Heaven may send
To our floweret a warm sun,
A calm summer, a sweet end.
And where'er shall be her home,
May she decorate the place,
Still expanding into bloom,
And developing in grace.

To-day our birthday poets are limited—not in numbers, for the publishers of cards are inundated with verses—but in those of merit. One firm, indeed, during the last twelve or thirteen years has received no fewer than 150,000 compositions, of which number only some 5,600 have been found usable; not a very great number, when it is remembered that something between ten and twelve millions of cards pass between well-wishers in this country alone every year, and that a similar [pg 245] quantity are exported to the United States, India, China, and the Colonies. From five shillings to two or three guineas represents the market value of a birthday poem, and the shorter such expressions are, the greater is their value. But eminent writers of course obtain much more. Lord Tennyson was once asked to pen a dozen birthday poems of eight lines each. A thousand guineas were offered for the stanzas—but, alas for birthday literature, the great poet declined to write verse on order, even at the rate of ten guineas a line.

The Bishops, too, have been approached on the subject, for verses of a religious tendency are more sought after than any others; those of the late Frances Ridley Havergal are an instance. But the worthy bishops frankly admitted that the gift of poetry had not been allotted to them. The late Bishop of Worcester said: "I have not poetical talent enough to write short poems." Dr. King, Bishop of Lincoln, said: "I am sorry, but I am not a poet." The Bishops of Manchester and Liverpool also honestly confessed to being no poets, whilst Dr. Temple, Bishop of London, said: "I am afraid I should make a great mistake if at my age I began to write short poems;" generously adding, "the Bishop of Exeter is a genuine poet."


Perhaps the most popular writer to-day is the lady whose initials—H. M. B.—have been appended to many millions of cards—Miss Helen Marion Burnside, of whom we give a portrait. Miss Burnside was born at Bromley Hall, Middlesex, in 1843, and at twelve years of age was seized with a severe attack of scarlet fever, the result of which was that she lost her hearing. A year later she commenced to write birthday poetry, and her prolific abilities will be understood, when we mention that she has written, on the average, two hundred birthday poems yearly ever since. Miss Burnside, too, is clever with her brush, and before she was nineteen years of age the Royal Academy accepted one of her pictures of fruit and flowers, and, later, a couple of portraits in crayons.

We now turn to the designs for birthday cards—for though the motto is the principal [pg 246] consideration, a pretty and fanciful surrounding is by no means to be despised.

Royal Academicians really do little in this branch of art. Though both Mr. Poynter and Mr. Sant have applied their brushes in this direction, and Sir John Millais has before now signified his willingness to accept a commission, it is presumed that R.A.'s prefer not to have their work confined to the narrow limits of a birthday card. An R.A. could ask a couple of hundred pounds for a design, and get it. Mr. Alma Tadema, when asked what he would charge to paint a pair of cards, replied—£600. Ordinary designs fetch from three to six guineas, though a distinctly original and novel idea, be it only in the shape of a score of splashes from the brush, is worth from ten to fifteen guineas.

Both the Princess Louise and Princess Beatrice have done some really artistic work, but their efforts have not been made public—save in the instance of the Princess Beatrice, whose Birthday Book is well known. Cards designed by Royalty have passed only between members of the Royal Family. They are very simple and picturesque, flowers and effective landscapes with mountain scenery figuring prominently. It is indisputable that women excel in such designs. Theirs seems to be a light, airy, graceful, and almost fascinating touch; there appears to be no effort—they seem only to play with the brush, though with delightful results. Amongst those ladies who are just now contributing excellent work might be mentioned the Baroness Marie Von Beckendorf, a German lady, whose flowers are delicate and fanciful to a degree. Miss Bertha Maguire is also gifted in the way of flower-painting, whilst Miss Annie Simpson paints many an exquisite blossom combined with charming landscape.

The illustrations we give show a page of what have now become ancient cards, and another of the very latest modern styles.


[pg 247] It will at once be seen how the birthday card has grown out of the valentine. The two designs in the top corner of the first are essentially of a fourteenth of February tendency. Note the tiny god of love, that irrepressible mite of mischief, Cupid, playing with a garland of roses; and there, too, is the heart, a trifle too symmetrical to be natural, with the customary arrow, almost as big as young Cupid himself, cruelly thrust through the very middle of it. The centre card is a French design, embossed round the edges with lace paper, with a silken cross and hand-painted passion flowers laid on the card proper, which is of rice-paper. The remaining specimen is exceedingly quaint in the original, and has passed through more than forty birthdays. It is almost funereal in appearance, as indeed were most of those made at that period; indeed, many of the specimens of old-time birthday cards we have examined are made up of weeping willows, young women shedding copious tears into huge urns at their feet, and what, to all appearance, is a mausoleum in the distance. And above all is written, "Many happy returns of the day!"


The other set of cards, the modern ones, are all suggestive of the good wishes they carry with them. Many of them are of satin with real lace, delicately hand-painted marguerites, pansies, and apple-blossoms, whilst the elaborate fan, with its flowing ribbons, is edged with white swan's-down and gaily decorated with artificial corn and poppies. These are from designs kindly placed at our disposal by Messrs. Raphael Tuck & Sons. The printing of the cards is in itself an art. One of the largest printing establishments in the world devoted to this purpose is that of Messrs. Raphael Tuck & Sons, in Germany, whence comes the greater portion of those required for the English market. In the little village of Rendnitz, just outside Leipsic, from a thousand to twelve hundred people find employment. Here may be found a room containing no fewer than thirty-two of the largest presses, on which colour-lithography is being printed. Every machine does its own work, and the amount of labour required on a single birthday card is such that many cards pass through eighteen or twenty different stages of printing, and in some exceptionally elaborate instances the number has run up to thirty-seven.

The cards are printed on great sheets of board, and from a thousand to fifteen hundred such sheets, so far as one colouring is concerned, constitute a good day's work. These sheets measure 29 inches by 30 inches, and when the various colours are complete, they are cut up by machinery into some twenty or more pieces, according to the size of the card. Nor is the printing of birthday cards confined to cardboard. Effective work has been of late years produced on satin, celluloid, and Japanese paper; and prices range from as low as twopence half-penny a gross to as much as seven and eight guineas for each card. The production of a birthday card, from the time it is designed to the time when it is laid before the public, generally occupies from eight to nine months.

The Architect's Wife.

From the Spanish of Antonio Trueba.

[Antonio Trueba, who is still alive, was born on Christmas Eve, 1821, at Sopuerta, in Spain. As in the case of Burns, his father was a peasant, and Antonio, as a child, played in the gutters with the other village urchins, or worked with his father in the fields. But at fifteen, one of his relations, who kept a shop at Madrid, made him his assistant. By day he waited on the customers; by night he studied in his room. Genius like that of Burns and of Trueba cannot be kept down. Like Burns, the boy began to put forth songs, strong, sweet, and simple, which stirred the people's hearts like music, and soon were hummed in every village street. His fame spread; it reached the Court; and Queen Isabella bestowed upon him the lofty title of Queen's Poet. He wrote also, and still writes, prose stories of all kinds, but mostly such as, like the following, belong to the romance of history, and are rather truth than fiction.]



TOWARDS the middle of the fourteenth century, Toledo was laid under siege by Don Enrique de Trastamara; but the city, faithful to the King surnamed "the Cruel," offered a brave and obstinate resistance.

Often had the loyal and valiant Toledans crossed the magnificent bridge of San Martin—one of the structures of greatest beauty of that city of splendid erections—and had cast themselves on the encampment of Don Enrique, which was pitched on the Cigarrales, causing sad havoc to the besieging army.

In order to prevent the repetition of these attacks, Don Enrique resolved upon destroying the bridge.

The Cigarrales, upon which the army was encamped, were beautiful lands enclosing luxuriant orchards, pleasure gardens, and summer residences. The fame of their beauty had inspired Tirso and many Spanish poets to sing its praises.

One night the luxuriant trees were cut down by the soldiers of Don Enrique, and heaped upon the bridge. At day-dawn an immense fire raged on the bridge of San Martin, which assumed huge proportions, its sinister gleams lighting up the devastating hordes, the flowing current of the Tagus, the Palace of Don Rodrigo, and the little Arab Tower. The crackling of the strong and massive pillars, worked with all the exquisite skill of the artificers who created the marvels of the Alhambra, sounded like the piteous cry of Art oppressed by barbarism.

The Toledans, awakened by this terrible spectacle, ran to save the beautiful erection from the utter ruin which menaced it, but all their efforts were unavailing. A tremendous crash, which resounded throughout the creeks and valleys watered by the Tagus, told them that the bridge no longer existed.

Alas! it was too true!

When the rising sun gilded the cupolas of the Imperial City, the Toledan maidens who came down to the river to fill their pitchers from the pure and crystal stream, returned sorrowfully with empty [pg 249] pitchers on their heads; the clear waters had become turbid and muddy, for the roaring waves were carrying down the still smoking ruins of the bridge.


Popular indignation rose to its highest pitch, and overflowed all limits; for the bridge of San Martin was the only path that led to the lovely Cigarrales.

Joining their forces for one supreme effort, the Toledans made a furious onslaught on the camp, and, after blood had flowed in torrents, compelled the army to take flight.


Many years passed since the bridge of San Martin had been destroyed.

Kings and Archbishops had projected schemes to replace it by another structure, of equal strength and beauty; but the genius and perseverance of the most famous architects were unable to carry out their wishes. The rapid, powerful currents of the river destroyed and swept away the scaffolding and framework before the gigantic arches could be completed.

Don Pedro Tenorio, Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, to whom the city owes her glory almost as much as to her Kings, sent criers throughout the cities and towns of Spain, inviting architects, Christian and Moorish, to undertake the reconstruction of the bridge of San Martin; but with no result. The difficulties to be encountered were judged insurmountable.

At length one day a man and a woman, complete strangers to the place, entered Toledo through the Cambron Gate. They carefully inspected the ruined bridge. Then they engaged a small house near the ruins, and proceeded to take up their quarters there.

On the following day the man proceeded to the Archbishop's Palace.

His Eminence was holding a conference of prelates, learned men, and distinguished knights, who were attracted by his piety and wisdom.

Great was his joy when one of his attendants announced that an architect from distant lands solicited the honour of an audience.

The Cardinal Archbishop hastened to receive the stranger. The first salutations over, his Eminence bade him be seated.

"My Lord Archbishop," began the stranger, "my name, which is unknown to your Eminence, is Juan de Arèvalo, and I am an architect by profession."

"Are you come in answer to the invitation I have issued calling upon skilful architects to come and rebuild the bridge of San Martin, which in former times afforded a passage between the city and the Cigarrales?"

"It was indeed that invitation which brought me to Toledo."

"Are you aware of the difficulties of its construction?"

"I am well aware of them. But I can surmount them."

"Where did you study architecture?"

"In Salamanca."

"And what erection have you to show me as a proof of your skill?"

"None whatever, my lord."

The Archbishop made a gesture of impatience and distrust which was noticed by the stranger.

"I was a soldier in my youth," continued he, "but ill-health compelled me to leave the ardous profession of arms and return to Castille, the land of my birth, where I dedicated myself to the study of architecture, theoretical and practical."

"I regret," replied the Archbishop, "that you are unable to mention any work of skill that you have carried out."

"There are some erections on the Tormes and the Duero of which others have the credit, but which ought to honour him who now addresses you."

"I do not understand you."

"I was poor and obscure," rejoined Juan de Arèvalo, "and I sought only to earn bread and shelter. Glory I left to others."

"I deeply regret," replied Don Pedro Tenorio, "that you have no means of assuring us that we should not trust in you in vain."

"My lord, I can offer you one guarantee which I trust will satisfy your Eminence."

"What is that?"

"My life!"

"Explain yourself."


"When the framework of the centre arch shall be removed, I, the architect, will stand upon the keystone. Should the bridge fall, I shall perish with it."

"I accept the guarantee."

"My lord, trust me, and I will carry out the work!"

The Archbishop pressed the hand of the architect, and Juan de Arèvalo departed, his heart full of joyous expectation. His wife was anxiously awaiting his return. She was young and handsome still, despite the ravages of want and suffering.

[pg 250] "Catherine! my Catherine!" cried the architect, clasping his wife to his arms, "amid the monuments that embellish Toledo there will be one to transmit to posterity the name of Juan de Arèvalo!"


Time passed. No longer could the Toledans say, on approaching the Tagus across the rugged cliffs and solitary places where in former times stood the Garden of Florinda, "Here once stood the bridge of San Martin." Though the new bridge was still supported by solid scaffolding and massive frames, yet the centre arch already rose to view, and the whole was firmly planted on the ruins of the former.

The Archbishop, Don Pedro Tenorio, and the Toledans were heaping gifts and praises on the fortunate architect whose skill had joined the central arch, despite the furious power of the surging currents, and who had completed the gigantic work with consummate daring.

It was the eve of the feast of San Ildefonso, the patron saint of the city of Toledo. Juan de Arèvalo respectfully informed the Cardinal Archbishop that nothing was now wanting to conclude the work, but to remove the woodwork of the arches and the scaffolding. The joy of the Cardinal and of the people was great. The removal of the scaffolding and frames which supported the masonry was a work attended with considerable danger; but the calmness and confidence of the architect who had pledged himself to stand on the keystone and await the consequences of success or lose his life, inspired all with perfect trust.

The solemn blessing and inauguration of the bridge of San Martin was fixed to take place on the day following, and the bells of all the churches of Toledo were joyously ringing in announcement of the grand event appointed for the morrow. The Toledans contemplated with rejoicing from the heights above the Tagus the lovely Cigarrales, which for many years had remained solitary and silent—indeed, almost abandoned—but which on the day following would be restored to life.

Towards nightfall Juan de Arèvalo mounted the central arch to see that all was ready for the opening ceremony. He went humming to himself as he inspected all the works and preparations. But, suddenly, an expression of misgiving overspread his countenance. A thought had struck him—a thought that froze his blood. He descended from the bridge and hastened home.

At the door his wife received him with a joyous smile and a merry word of congratulation. But on beholding his troubled face she turned deadly pale.

"Good heavens!" she cried, affrighted, "are you ill, dear Juan?"


"No, dear wife," he replied, striving to master his emotion.

[pg 251] "Do not deceive me! your face tells me that something ails you?"

"Oh! the evening is cold and the work has been excessive."

"Come in and sit down at the hearth and I will get the supper ready, and when you have had something to eat and are rested you will be at ease again!"

"At ease!" murmured Juan to himself, in agony of spirit, whilst his wife busied herself in the preparation of the supper, placing the table close to the hearth, upon which she threw a faggot.

Juan made a supreme effort to overcome his sadness, but it was futile. His wife could not be deceived.

"For the first time in our married life," she said, "you hide a sorrow from me. Am I no longer worthy of your love and confidence?"

"Catherine!" he exclaimed, "do not, for heaven's sake, grieve me further by doubting my affection for you!"

"Where there is no trust," she rejoined in feeling tones, "there can be no true love."

"Then respect, for your own good and mine, the secret I conceal from you."

"Your secret is a sorrow, and I wish to know it and to lighten it."

"To lighten it? That is impossible!"

"To such a love as mine," she urged, "nothing is impossible."

"Very well: then hear me. To-morrow my life and honour will be lost. The bridge must fall into the river, and I on the keystone shall perish with the fabric which, with so much anxiety and so many hopes, I have erected!"

"No, no!" cried Catherine, as she clasped her husband in her arms with loving tenderness, smothering in her own heart the anguish of the revelation.

"Yes, dear wife! When I was most confident of my triumph, I discovered that, owing to an error in my calculations, the bridge must fall to-morrow when the framework is removed. And with it perishes the architect who projected and directed it."

"The bridge may sink into the waters, but not you, my loved one. On bended knees I will beseech the noble Cardinal to release you from your terrible engagement."

"What you ask will be in vain. Even should the Cardinal accede to your entreaty, I refuse life destitute of honour."

"You shall have life and honour both, dear husband," replied Catherine.


It was midnight. Juan, worn out with grief and anxious work, at last had fallen asleep; a feverish [pg 252] sleep that partook more of the character of a nightmare than of Nature's sweet restorer.

Meanwhile his wife had for some time made a show of sleeping. But she watched her husband anxiously. When she felt certain that he had at length succumbed to a deep sleep, she softly rose, and scarcely daring to breathe, crept out into the kitchen. She opened the window gently and looked out.

The night was dark; now and again vivid flashes of lightning lit up the sky. No sound was heard save the roar of the rushing currents of the Tagus, and the sighing of the wind as it swept in and out among the scaffolding and complicated framework of the bridge.

Catherine noiselessly closed the window. From the hearth she took one of the half-burnt faggots which still smouldered, and throwing a cloak over her shoulders went out into the silent streets, her heart beating wildly.

Where was she proceeding? Was she carrying that burning faggot as a torch to light her path in the dense darkness of a moonless night? It was indeed a dangerous track, covered as it was with broken boulders, and uneven ground. Yet she strove rather to conceal the lighted wood beneath her cloak.

At last she reached the bridge. The wind still sighed and whistled, and the river continued to break its current against the pillars, as though irritated at meeting obstacles which it could no longer sweep away.

Catherine approached the buttress of the bridge. An involuntary shudder of terror passed through her frame. Was it because she stood on the edge of that abyss of roaring waters? Or was it because her hand, only accustomed hitherto to deeds of goodness, was now brandishing the torch of destruction? Or rather did she tremble because a tremendous peal of thunder at that moment resounded through the vault of heaven.

Waving the torch to kindle it afresh, she applied it to the dry, resinous wood of the scaffolding. The wood quickly ignited, and the flame, fanned by the wind, ascended with fearful rapidity, spreading and involving arches and framework and the whole structure of the bridge.


Then she quitted the scene swiftly. Aided by the glare of the conflagration and the vivid flashes of lightning which lit up the sky, Catherine soon traversed the space which separated her from her home. She entered as noiselessly as she had left it, and closed the door. Her husband still slept soundly, and had not missed her. Catherine again pretended to be fast asleep, as though she had never left her bed.

[pg 253] A few moments later, a noise of many people running arose within the city, while from every belfry the bells rang forth the terrible alarm of fire. A tremendous crash succeeded, followed by a cry of anguish such as had been uttered years before, when the besieging army wrecked the former bridge.

Juan awoke in terror; Catherine lay at his side, apparently sleeping calmly. He dressed himself in haste, and ran out to learn the reason of the uproar. To his secret joy he beheld the ruin of the burning bridge.

The Cardinal Archbishop and the Toledans attributed the disaster to a flash of lightning which had struck the central arch, and had, moreover, ignited the whole structure. The general sorrow was intense. Great also was the public sympathy with the despair which the calamity must have caused the architect, who was on the eve of a great triumph. The inhabitants never knew whether it was fire from heaven, or an accident that had caused the conflagration; but Juan de Arèvalo, who was good and pious, and firmly believed in the protection of heaven, never wavered for an instant in the belief that the bridge had really been destroyed by lightning.

The destruction of the bridge, however, only retarded Juan's triumph for a twelve-month. On the following year, on the same festival of San Ildefonso, his new bridge was solemnly thrown open by the Cardinal; and the joyous Toledans once more crossed the Tagus to visit the lovely grounds of the Cigarrales, which they had been deprived of for so many years. On that auspicious day the Cardinal celebrated the event by giving a magnificent banquet. At his right hand sat the architect and his noble wife; and after a highly complimentary speech from the Cardinal, the whole company, amidst a tumult of applause, conducted Juan and Catherine to their home.


Five hundred years have passed since then, but Juan's bridge still stands secure above the rushing waters of the Tagus. His second calculation had no error. The following illustration shows its appearance at the present day.

St. Martin's Bridge TOLEDO

On the Decay of Humour in the House of Commons.

By Henry W. Lucy ("Toby, M.P.").


THERE is no doubt—it is not feigned by tired fancy—that the present House of Commons is a less entertaining assembly than it was wont to be. This is partly due to the lack of heaven-born comedians and largely to the curtailment of opportunity. The alteration of the rules of time under which the House sits for work was fatal to redundancy of humour. The House of Commons is, after all, human, and it is an indisputable fact that mankind is more disposed to mirth after dinner than before. If the record be searched it will be found that ninety per cent. of the famous scenes that have established its reputation as a place of public entertainment have happened after dinner.

Under the new rules, which practically close debate at midnight, there is no "after dinner." Mechanically, apparently involuntarily, the old arrangement of debate has shifted. Time was, within the memory of many sitting in the present House, when the climax of debate was found in its closing hours. The Leader of the House rose at eleven or half-past, and before a crowded and excited assembly cheered on his followers to an impending division. When he sat down, amid thundering cheers from his supporters, the Leader of the Opposition sprang to his feet, was hailed with a wild cheer from his friends, struck ringing blows across the table, and then, at one o'clock, or two o'clock, or whatever hour of the morning it might chance to be, members poured forth in tumultuous tide, parting at the division lobby.


This was the period of the evening when chartered libertines of debate appeared on the scene and the fun grew fast and furious. It was Mr. O'Donnell's pleasing habit to rise when the duel between the Leaders was concluded, and the crowded House roared for the division like caged lions whose feeding-time is overstepped. Pausing to recapture his errant eyeglass, Mr. O'Donnell was accustomed to gaze round the seething mass of senators with admirably-feigned surprise at their impatience. When the uproar lulled he began his speech; when it rose again he stopped; but the speech was inevitable, and members presently recognising the position, sat in sullen silence till he had said his say.

This was comedy, not highly conceived it is true, but worked out with great skill, the enraged House chiefly contributing to its success. It was varied by the tragedy of the desperate English or Scotch member who, striving vainly night after night to catch the Speaker's eye, made a mad plunge at his last chance, and was literally howled down. It was a favourite hour for the late Mr. Biggar's manifestations, and the lamented and immortal Major O'Gorman never failed to put in an appearance at eleven o'clock, ready for any fun that might be going or might be made.

Now, when members slowly fill the House after dinner, dropping in between ten and eleven o'clock, they know there is no time for anything but business. If a division is imminent the debate must necessarily stop before midnight for the question to be put. If it is to be continued, it must be adjourned sharp on the stroke of midnight. As the House rarely refills much before eleven o'clock, there is not opportunity after dinner for more than one set speech from a favourite orator. The consequence is that the plums of debate are in these days all pulled out before dinner; and though at this period, the withers of the House being unwrung it is ready for a brisk fight, it is not in the mellow mood that invites and encourages the humorous.


Whilst the opportunities of the Parliamentary Yorick are thus peremptorily curtailed, he is at a further disadvantage in [pg 255] view of the personality of the Leadership. It is impossible that a House led by Mr. W. H. Smith can be as prone to merriment as was one which found its head in Mr. Disraeli. When, in the Parliament of 1868, Mr. Gladstone was Premier and Mr. Disraeli Leader of the Opposition, or in the succeeding Parliament, when these positions were reversed, the House of Commons enjoyed a unique incentive to conditions of humour. Mr. Gladstone, with his gravity of mien, his sonorous sustained eloquence, and his seriousness about trifles, was a superb foil for the gay, but always mordant humour of Mr. Disraeli.

From the outset of his career that great Parliamentarian enjoyed extraordinary advantage by reason of the accident of the personality against which, first and last, he was pitted. Having had Sir Robert Peel to gird against through the space of a dozen years, it was too much to hope that for fully a quarter of a century he should have enjoyed the crowning mercy of being opposed to and contrasted with Mr. Gladstone. Yet such was his good fortune. How little he did with Lord Hartington in the interregnum of 1874-7, and how little mark he made against Lord Granville when he met him in the Lords, brings into strong light the advantage fortune had secured for him through the longer period of his life.


Whilst the tone and habit of the House of Commons in matters of humour are to a considerable extent conformable with the idiosyncrasy of its leaders, it will sometimes, in despair of prevailing dulness, assume a joke if it has it not. There is nothing more delightful in the happiest efforts of Mr. Disraeli than the peculiar relations which subsist between the present House of Commons and Mr. W. H. Smith. On one side we have a good, amiable, somewhat pedagogic gentleman, unexpectedly thrust into the seat haunted by the shades of Palmerston and Disraeli. On the other side is the House of Commons, a little doubtful of the result, but personally liking the new Leader, and constitutionally prone to recognise authority.

At first Mr. Smith was voted unbearably dull. His hesitating manner, his painful self-consciousness, his moral reflections, and his all-pervading sense of "duty to his Queen and country" bored the House. In the first few months of his succession to Lord Randolph Churchill, there was seen the unwonted spectacle of members getting up and leaving the House when the Leader presented himself at the table. But Mr. Smith plodded on, patiently, pathetically, trolling out his moral reflections, and tremulously preserving what with full consciousness of the contradiction of words may be described as an air of submissive authority. Members began to perceive, or perhaps to invent, the fun of the thing. Mr. Smith realised their boyhood's idea of Mr. Barlow conversing with his pupils; only he was always benevolent, and though he frequently shook his ferule with threatening gesture, Sandford and Merton felt that the palms of their hands were safe.


Mr. Smith is, however, peculiarly a House of Commons' possession. No one out of the House can quite understand how precious he is, how inimitable, how indescribable. To the outsider he makes poor amends for the Irish Members of the Parliament of 1874, or the Fourth Party that played so prominent a rôle in the House that met in 1880. The Fourth Party, like the Major, Mr. Biggar, Mr. Delahunty, Mr. McCarthy Downing, and the famous Lord Mayor of [pg 256] Dublin—who warned Mr. Forster what would happen in the event of an (absolutely uncontemplated) attempt on the part of the Chief Secretary to drag his lordship's spouse out of her bed in the dead of the night—are with us no more. Gone too, faded into dreamland, are the characters who made up the Fourth Party. Happily three of them remain with us, though in strangely altered circumstances. Two sit on the Treasury Bench, and one watches it from behind with friendly concern that adds a new terror to Ministerial office.


Each in his way brilliantly sustains the reputation of the famous school in which he was trained. There is in the House only one possibly superior combination of debaters to Lord Randolph Churchill, Mr. Arthur Balfour, and Sir John Gorst. In the quality of humour especially under consideration, this combination carries away the palm from the other. I think it is untrue to say, as is commonly accepted, that Mr. Gladstone is devoid of the sense of humour, though it must be admitted that it does not predominate in his House of Commons speeches. Mr. Chamberlain is even more conspicuously lacking in this commanding quality. On the other hand, Mr. Balfour in his House of Commons addresses does not shine as a humorist. He is in his public character (in strange contrast, by the way, with his personal habitude) not sufficiently genial. But he has a pretty wit of the sarcastic, poisoned-dagger style, which, differing from the effects of humour, makes everybody laugh, save the object of the attack. He writhes.

Mr. Balfour's Parliamentary style, doubtless unconsciously, perhaps for reasons connected with heredity, is shaped upon his distinguished uncle's. He lacks the grave ponderosity which gives the finishing touch to Lord Salisbury's occasional trifling with public questions. But he is still young, and his style inchoate.

The Minister who answers for India in the House of Commons cannot fairly be expected to contribute to the hilarity of its proceedings. Yet occasionally Sir John Gorst, more particularly at question-time, standing at the table with almost funereal aspect, drops a parenthetical remark that convulses the House with laughter. Lord Randolph Churchill, since he has taken to racing, has assumed a gravity of manner which militates against repetition of his old successes in setting the table in a roar.


But the gloom under which he has enveloped himself is, like that which just now obscures the sunlight of laughter over the House generally, only a temporary condition. The present House has accidentally run into a groove of gloom, which will probably outlast its existence. But there is no reason to believe that the decay of humour noted will be permanent. There is no assembly in the world so pathetically eager to be amused as is the House of Commons. It sits and listens entranced to bursts of sustained argument. It follows with keen intellectual delight the course of subtle [pg 257] argument. It burns with fierce indignation at a story of wrong-doing. It flashes with generous impulse at an invitation to do right. But it likes, above all things, to be made to laugh. In its despair of worthier efforts, almost anything will do. An agitated orator rounding off his peroration by sitting down on his hat; a glass of water upset; or, primest joke of all, an impassioned oratorical fist brought down with resonant thud on the hat of a listener sitting attentive on the bench below—these are trivial, familiar accidents that never fail to bring down the House.


So persistently eager is the House to be amused that, failing the gift of beneficent nature, it will, as in the case of Mr. W. H. Smith, invent a humorous aspect of a man, and laugh at its own creation. There are many cases where a man has commenced his Parliamentary career amidst evidences not only of personal disfavour, but of almost malignant animosity, and has finished by finding his interposition in debate hailed by hilarious cheering. Such a case was that of the late Mr. Biggar, who for fully ten years of his Parliamentary career was an object of unbridled execration. He lived to find himself almost a prime favourite in the House, a man who, when he had not got further in his speech than to ejaculate "Mr. Speaker, sir," found himself the focus of a circle of beaming faces, keenly anticipatory of fun. Mr. Biggar in the sessions of 1886-9 was the same member for Cavan who, in the Parliament of 1874, was a constant mark of contumely, and even of personal hatred. The House had grown used to him, and had gradually built up round his name and personality an ideal of eccentric humour. But the creative power was with the audience—a priceless quality that remains with it even in these dull times, and though temporarily subdued, will presently have its day again.

The Snowstorm.

From the Russian of Alexander Pushkin.


TOWARDS the end of 1811, at a memorable period for Russians, lived on his own domain of Nenaradova the kind-hearted Gavril R. He was celebrated in the whole district for his hospitality and his genial character. Neighbours constantly visited him to have something to eat and drink, and to play at five-copeck boston with his wife, Praskovia. Some, too, went to have a look at their daughter, Maria; a tall pale girl of seventeen. She was an heiress, and they desired her either for themselves or for their sons.

Maria had been brought up on French novels, and consequently was in love. The object of her affection was a poor ensign in the army, who was now at home in his small village on leave of absence. As a matter of course, the young man reciprocated Maria's passion. But the parents of his beloved, noticing their mutual attachment, forbade their daughter even to think of him, while they received him worse than an ex-assize judge.


Our lovers corresponded, and met alone daily in the pine wood or by the old roadway chapel. There they vowed everlasting love, inveighed against fate, and exchanged various suggestions. Writing and talking in this way, they quite naturally reached the following conclusion:—

If we cannot exist apart from each other, and if the tyranny of hard-hearted parents throws obstacles in the way of our happiness, then can we not manage without them?

Of course, this happy idea originated in the mind of the young man; but it pleased immensely the romantic imagination of Maria.

Winter set in, and put a stop to their meetings. But their correspondence became all the more active. Vladimir begged Maria in every letter to give herself up to him that they might get married secretly, hide for a while, and then throw themselves at the feet of their parents, who would of course in the end be touched by their heroic constancy and say to them, "Children, come to our arms!"

Maria hesitated a long while, and out of many different plans proposed, that of flight was for a time rejected. At last, however, [pg 259] she consented. On the appointed day she was to decline supper, and retire to her room under the plea of a headache. She and her maid, who was in the secret, were then to go out into the garden by the back stairs, and beyond the garden they would find a sledge ready for them, would get into it and drive a distance of five miles from Nenaradova, to the village of Jadrino, straight to the church, where Vladimir would be waiting for them.

On the eve of the decisive day, Maria did not sleep all night; she was packing and tying up linen and dresses. She wrote, moreover, a long letter to a friend of hers, a sentimental young lady; and another to her parents. Of the latter, she took leave in the most touching terms. She excused the step she was taking by reason of the unconquerable power of love, and wound up by declaring that she should consider it the happiest moment of her life when she was allowed to throw herself at the feet of her dearest parents. Sealing both letters with a Toula seal, on which were engraven two flaming hearts with an appropriate inscription, she at last threw herself upon her bed before daybreak, and dosed off, though even then she was awakened from one moment to another by terrible thoughts. First it seemed to her that at the moment of entering the sledge in order to go and get married, her father stopped her, and with cruel rapidity dragged her over the snow, and threw her into a dark bottomless cellar—down which she fell headlong with an indescribable sinking of the heart. Then she saw Vladimir, lying on the grass, pale and bleeding; with his dying breath he implored her to make haste and marry him. Other hideous and senseless visions floated before her one after another. Finally, she rose paler than usual, and with a real headache.

Both her father and her mother remarked her indisposition. Their tender anxiety and constant inquiries, "What is the matter with you, Masha—are you ill?" cut her to the heart. She tried to pacify them and to appear cheerful; but she could not. Evening set in. The idea that she was passing the day for the last time in the midst of her family oppressed her. In her secret heart she took leave of everybody, of everything which surrounded her.

Supper was served; her heart beat violently. In a trembling voice she declared that she did not want any supper, and wished her father and mother goodnight. They kissed her, and as usual blessed her; and she nearly wept.

Reaching her own room, she threw herself into an easy chair and burst into tears. Her maid begged her to be calm and take courage. Everything was ready. In half an hour Masha would leave for ever her parents' house, her own room, her peaceful life as a young girl.


Out of doors the snow was falling, the wind howling. The shutters rattled and shook. In everything she seemed to recognise omens and threats.

Soon the whole home was quiet and asleep. Masha wrapped herself in a shawl, [pg 260] put on a warm cloak, and with a box in her hand, passed out on to the back staircase. The maid carried two bundles after her. They descended into the garden. The snowstorm raged; a strong wind blew against them, as if trying to stop the young culprit. With difficulty they reached the end of the garden. In the road a sledge awaited them.

The horses, from cold, would not stand still. Vladimir's coachman was walking to and fro in front of them, trying to quiet them. He helped the young lady and her maid to their seats, and packing away the bundles and the dressing-case, took up the reins, and the horses flew forward into the darkness of the night.

Having entrusted the young lady to the care of fate and of Tereshka the coachman, let us return to the young lover.

Vladimir had spent the whole day in driving. In the morning he had called on the Jadrino priest, and, with difficulty, came to terms with him. Then he went to seek for witnesses from amongst the neighbouring gentry. The first on whom he called was a former cornet of horse, Dravin by name, a man in his forties, who consented at once. The adventure, he declared, reminded him of old times and of his larks when he was in the Hussars. He persuaded Vladimir to stop to dinner with him, assuring him that there would be no difficulty in getting the other two witnesses. Indeed, immediately after dinner in came the surveyor Schmidt, with a moustache and spurs, and the son of a captain-magistrate, a boy of sixteen, who had recently entered the Uhlans. They not only accepted Vladimir's proposal, but even swore that they were ready to sacrifice their lives for him. Vladimir embraced them with delight, and drove off to get everything ready.

It had long been dark. Vladimir despatched his trustworthy Tereshka to Nenaradova with his two-horsed sledge, and with appropriate instructions for the occasion. For himself he ordered the small sledge with one horse, and started alone without a coachman for Jadrino, where Maria ought to arrive in a couple of hours. He knew the road, and the drive would only occupy twenty minutes.

But Vladimir had scarcely passed from the enclosure into the open field when the wind rose, and soon there was a driving snowstorm so heavy and so severe that he could not see. In a moment the road was covered with snow. All landmarks disappeared in the murky yellow darkness, through which fell white flakes of snow. Sky and earth became merged into one. Vladimir, in the midst [pg 261] of the field, tried in vain to get to the road. The horse walked on at random, and every moment stepped either into deep snow or into a rut, so that the sledge was constantly upsetting. Vladimir tried at least not to lose the right direction; but it seemed to him that more than half an hour had passed, and he had not yet reached the Jadrino wood. Another ten minutes passed, and still the wood was invisible. Vladimir drove across fields intersected by deep ditches. The snowstorm did not abate, and the sky did not clear. The horse was getting tired and the perspiration rolled from him like hail, in spite of the fact that every moment his legs were disappearing in the snow.


At last Vladimir found that he was going in the wrong direction. He stopped; began to reflect, recollect, and consider; till at last he became convinced that he ought to have turned to the right. He did so now. His horse could scarcely drag along. But he had been more than an hour on the road, and Jadrino could not now be far. He drove and drove, but there was no getting out of the field. Still snow-drifts and ditches. Every moment the sledge was upset, and every moment Vladimir had to raise it up.

Time was slipping by; and Vladimir grew seriously anxious. At last in the distance some dark object could be seen.

Vladimir turned in its direction, and as he drew near found it was a wood.

"Thank Heaven," he thought, "I am now near the end."

He drove by the side of the wood, hoping to come at once upon the familiar road, or, if not, to pass round the wood. Jadrino was situated immediately behind it.

He soon found the road, and passed into the darkness of the wood, now stripped by the winter. The wind could not rage here; the road was smooth, the horse picked up courage, and Vladimir was comforted.

He drove and drove, but still Jadrino was not to be seen; there was no end to the wood. Then, to his horror, he discovered that he had got into a strange wood! He was in despair. He whipped his horse, and the poor animal started off at a trot. But it soon got tired, and in a quarter of an hour, in spite of all poor Vladimir's efforts, could only crawl.

Gradually the trees became thinner, and Vladimir drove out of the wood; but Jadrino was not to be seen. It must have been about midnight. Tears gushed from the young man's eyes. He drove on at random; and now the weather abated, the clouds dispersed, and before him was a wide stretch of plain covered with a white billowy carpet. The night was comparatively clear, and he could see a small village a short distance off, which consisted of four or five cottages. Vladimir drove towards it. At the first door he jumped out of the sledge, ran up to the window, and tapped.

After a few minutes a wooden shutter was raised, and an old man stuck out his grey beard.

"What do you want?"


[pg 262] "How far is Jadrino?"

"How far is Jadrino?"

"Yes, yes! Is it far?"

"Not far; about ten miles."

At this answer Vladimir clutched hold of his hair, and stood motionless, like a man condemned to death.

"Where do you come from?" added the man. Vladimir had not the courage to reply.

"My man," he said, "can you procure me horses to Jadrino?"

"We have no horses," answered the peasant.

"Could I find a guide? I will pay him any sum he likes."

"Stop!" said the old man, dropping the shutter; "I will send my son out to you; he will conduct you."

Vladimir waited. Scarcely a minute had passed when he again knocked. The shutter was lifted, and a beard was seen.

"What do you want?"

"What about your son?"

"He'll come out directly: he is putting on his boots. Are you cold? Come in and warm yourself."

"Thanks; send out your son quickly."

The gate creaked; a youth came out with a cudgel, and walked on in front, at one time pointing out the road, at another looking for it in a mass of drifted snow.

"What o'clock is it?" Vladimir asked him.

"It will soon be daylight," replied the young peasant. Vladimir spoke not another word.

The cocks were crowing, and it was light when they reached Jadrino. The church was closed. Vladimir paid the guide, and drove into the yard of the priest's house. In the yard his two-horsed sledge was not to be seen. What news awaited him!

But let us return to the kind proprietors of Nenaradova, and see what is going on there.


The old people awoke, and went into the sitting-room, Gavril in a night-cap and flannel jacket, Praskovia in a wadded dressing gown. The samovar was brought in, and Gavril sent the little maid to ask Maria how she was and how she had slept. The little maid returned, saying that her young lady had slept badly, but that she was better now, and that she would come into the sitting-room in a moment. And indeed the door opened and Maria came in and wished her papa and mamma good morning.

"How is your head-ache, Masha?" (familiar for Mary) inquired Gavril.

"Better, papa," answered Masha.

"The fumes from the stoves must have given you your headache," remarked Praskovia.

"Perhaps so, mamma," replied Masha.

The day passed well enough, but in the night Masha was taken ill. A doctor was sent for from town. He came towards evening and found the patient delirious. Soon she was in a severe fever, and in a fortnight the poor patient was on the brink of the grave.

No member of the family knew anything of the flight from home. The letters written by Masha the evening before had been burnt; and the maid, fearing the wrath of the master and mistress, had not breathed a word. The priest, the ex-cornet, the big moustached surveyor, and the little lancer were equally discreet, and with good reason. Tereshka, the coachman, never said too much, not even in his drink. Thus the secret was kept better than it might have been by half a dozen conspirators.

But Maria herself, in the course of her long fever let out her secret. Nevertheless, her words were so disconnected that her mother, who never left her bedside, could only make out from them that her daughter was desperately in love with Vladimir, and that probably love was the cause of her illness. She consulted her husband and some of her neighbours, and at last it was decided unanimously that the fate of Maria ought not to be interfered with, that a woman must not ride away from the man she is destined to marry, that poverty is no crime, that a woman has to live not with money but with a man, and so on. Moral proverbs are wonderfully useful on such occasions, when we can invent little or nothing in our own justification.

Meanwhile the young lady began to recover. Vladimir had not been seen for a long time in the house of Gavril, so frightened had he been by his previous reception. It was now resolved to send and announce to him the good news which he could scarcely expect: the consent of her parents to his marriage with Maria.

But what was the astonishment of the proprietors of Nenaradova when, in answer to their invitation they received an insane reply. Vladimir informed them he could never set foot in their house, and begged [pg 263] them to forget an unhappy man whose only hope now was in death. A few days afterwards they heard that Vladimir had left the place and joined the army.

A long time passed before they ventured to tell Masha, who was now recovering. She never mentioned Vladimir. Some months later, however, finding his name in the list of those who had distinguished themselves and been severely wounded at Borodino, she fainted, and it was feared that the fever might return. But, Heaven be thanked! the fainting fit had no bad results.

Maria experienced yet another sorrow. Her father died, leaving her the heiress of all his property. But the inheritance could not console her. She shared sincerely the affliction of her mother, and vowed she would never leave her.

Suitors clustered round the charming heiress; but she gave no one the slightest hope. Her mother sometimes tried to persuade her to choose a companion in life; but Maria shook her head, and grew pensive.

Vladimir no longer existed. He had died at Moscow on the eve of the arrival of the French. His memory was held sacred by Maria, and she treasured up everything that would remind her of him: books he had read, drawings which he had made; songs he had sung, and the pieces of poetry which he had copied out for her.

The neighbours, hearing all this, wondered at her fidelity, and awaited with curiosity the arrival of the hero who must in the end triumph over the melancholy constancy of this virgin Artemis.

Meanwhile, the war had been brought to a glorious conclusion, and our armies were returning from abroad. The people ran to meet them. The music played by the regimental bands consisted of war songs, "Vive Henri-Quatre," Tirolese waltzes and airs from Joconde. Nourished on the atmosphere of winter, officers who had started on the campaign mere striplings, returned grown men, and covered with decorations. The soldiers conversed gaily among themselves, mingling German and French words every moment in their speech. A time never to be forgotten—a time of glory and delight! How quickly beat the Russian heart at the words, "Native land!" How sweet the tears of meeting! With what unanimity did we combine feelings of national pride with love for the Tsar! And for him, what a moment!


The women—our Russian women—were splendid then. Their usual coldness disappeared. Their delight was really intoxicating when, meeting the conquerors, they [pg 264] cried, "Hurrah!" And they threw up their caps in the air.

Who of the officers of that period does not own that to the Russian women he was indebted for his best and most valued reward? During this brilliant period Maria was living with her mother in retirement, and neither of them saw how, in both the capitals, the returning troops were welcomed. But in the districts and villages the general enthusiasm was, perhaps, even greater.

In these places the appearance of an officer became for him a veritable triumph. The accepted lover in plain clothes fared badly by his side.

We have already said that, in spite of her coldness, Maria was still, as before, surrounded by suitors. But all had to fall in the rear when there arrived at his castle the wounded young captain of Hussars—Bourmin by name—with the order of St. George in his button-hole, and an interesting pallor on his face. He was about twenty-six. He had come home on leave to his estates, which were close to Maria's villa. Maria paid him such attention as none of the others received. In his presence her habitual gloom disappeared. It could not be said that she flirted with him. But a poet, observing her behaviour, might have asked, "S'amor non è, che dunque?"

Bourmin was really a very agreeable young man. He possessed just the kind of sense that pleased women: a sense of what is suitable and becoming. He had no affectation, and was carelessly satirical. His manner towards Maria was simple and easy. He seemed to be of a quiet and modest disposition; but rumour said that he had at one time been terribly wild. This, however, did not harm him in the opinion of Maria, who (like all other young ladies) excused, with pleasure, vagaries which were the result of impulsiveness and daring.

But above all—more than his love-making, more than his pleasant talk, more than his interesting pallor, more even than his bandaged arm—the silence of the young Hussar excited her curiosity and her imagination. She could not help confessing to herself that he pleased her very much. Probably he too, with his acuteness and his experience, had seen that he interested her. How was it, then, that up to this moment she had not seen him at her feet; had not received from him any declaration whatever? And wherefore did she not encourage him with more attention, and, according to circumstances, even with tenderness? Had she a secret of her own which would account for her behaviour?

At last, Bourmin fell into such deep meditation, and his black eyes rested with such fire upon Maria, that the decisive moment seemed very near. The neighbours spoke of the marriage as an accomplished fact, and kind Praskovia rejoiced that her daughter had at last found for herself a worthy mate.

The lady was sitting alone once in the drawing-room, laying out grande-patience, when Bourmin entered the room, and at once inquired for Maria.

"She is in the garden," replied the old lady: "go to her, and I will wait for you here." Bourmin went, and the old lady made the sign of the cross and thought, "Perhaps the affair will be settled to-day!"

Bourmin found Maria in the ivy-bower beside the pond, with a book in her hands, and wearing a white dress—a veritable heroine of romance. After the first inquiries, Maria purposely let the conversation drop; increasing by these means the mutual embarrassment, from which it was only possible to escape by means of a sudden and positive declaration.


It happened thus. Bourmin, feeling the awkwardness of his position, informed Maria that he had long sought an opportunity of opening his heart to her, and that he begged for a moment's attention. Maria closed the book and lowered her eyes, as a sign that she was listening.

"I love you," said Bourmin, "I love you passionately!" Maria blushed, and bent her head still lower.

"I have behaved imprudently, yielding as I have done to the seductive pleasure of seeing and hearing you daily." Maria recollected the first letter of St. Preux in "La Nouvelle Heloise." "It is too late now to resist my fate. The remembrance of you, your dear incomparable image, must from to-day be at once the torment and the consolation of my existence. I have now a grave duty to perform, a terrible secret to disclose, which will place between us an insurmountable barrier."

"It has always existed!" interrupted Maria; "I could never have been your wife."

"I know," he replied quickly; "I know that you once loved. But death and three years of mourning may have worked some change. Dear, kind Maria, do not try to deprive me of my last consolation; [pg 265] the idea that you might have consented to make me happy if——. Don't speak, for God's sake don't speak—you torture me. Yes, I know, I feel that you could have been mine, but—I am the most miserable of beings—I am already married!"

Maria looked at him in astonishment.

"I am married," continued Bourmin; "I have been married more than three years, and do not know who my wife is, or where she is, or whether I shall ever see her again."

"What are you saying?" exclaimed Maria; "how strange! Pray continue."

"In the beginning of 1812," said Bourmin, "I was hurrying on to Wilna, where my regiment was stationed. Arriving one evening late at a station, I ordered the horses to be got ready quickly, when suddenly a fearful snowstorm broke out. Both station-master and drivers advised me to wait till it was over. I listened to their advice, but an unaccountable restlessness took possession of me, just as though someone was pushing me on. Meanwhile, the snowstorm did not abate. I could bear it no longer, and again ordered the horses, and started in the midst of the storm. The driver took it into his head to drive along the river, which would shorten the distance by three miles. The banks were covered with snowdrifts; the driver missed [pg 266] the turning which would have brought us out on to the road, and we turned up in an unknown place. The storm never ceased. I could discern a light, and told the driver to make for it. We entered a village, and found that the light proceeded from a wooden church. The church was open. Outsides the railings stood several sledges, and people passing in and out through the porch.

"'Here! here!' cried several voices. I told the coachman to drive up.

"'Where have you dawdled?' said someone to me. 'The bride has fainted; the priest does not know what to do; we were on the point of going back. Make haste and get out!'

"I got out of the sledge in silence, and stepped into the church, which was dimly lighted with two or three tapers. A girl was sitting in a dark corner on a bench; another girl was rubbing her temples. 'Thank God,' said the latter, 'you have come at last! You have nearly been the death of the young lady.'

"The old priest approached me, saying,

"'Shall I begin?'

"'Begin—begin, reverend father,' I replied, absently.

"The young lady was raised up. I thought her rather pretty. Oh, wild, unpardonable frivolity! I placed myself by her side at the altar. The priest hurried on.

"Three men and the maid supported [pg 267] the bride, and occupied themselves with her alone. We were married!

"'Kiss your wife,' said the priest.

"My wife turned her pale face towards me. I was going to kiss her, when she exclaimed, 'Oh! it is not he—not he!' and fell back insensible.


"The witnesses stared at me. I turned round and left the church without any attempt being made to stop me, threw myself into the sledge, and cried, 'Away!'"

"What!" exclaimed Maria. "And you don't know what became of your unhappy wife?"

"I do not," replied Bourmin; "neither do I know the name of the village where I was married, nor that of the station from which I started. At that time I thought so little of my wicked joke that, on driving away from the church, I fell asleep, and never woke till early the next morning, after reaching the third station. The servant who was with me died during the campaign, so that I have now no hope of ever discovering the unhappy woman on whom I played such a cruel trick, and who is now so cruelly avenged."

"Great heavens!" cried Maria, seizing his hand. "Then it was you, and you do not recognise me?"

Bourmin turned pale—and threw himself at her feet.

A Night at The Grand Chartreuse.

By J. E. Muddock.

"La vie d'un bon Chartreux doit être
Une oraison presque continuelle."
Entrance Court to La Grande Chartreuse

THE above is the legend that is painted on the door of every cell occupied by a monk of the silent Order of Carthusians. To pray always for those who never pray; to pray for those who have done you wrong; to pray for those who sin every hour of their lives; to pray for all sorts and conditions of men, no matter what their colour, no matter what their creed; to pray that God will remove doubt and scepticism from the world, and open all human eyes to the way of faith and salvation. Such is the chief duty of the Chartreux. That the lives of these men is a continual prayer would seem to be an undoubted fact; but they are more than that—they are lives of silence, that must not be broken, save under exceptional circumstances. Time has been when they were surrounded by their families, their friends, when perhaps they had ambitions like other men, hopes like other men, and, it may be, have given their love to women. But then something has happened to change the current of their lives, the course of their thought: the mundane world has become distasteful, and with heavy hearts and weary feet they have sought the lonely monastery, and, having once entered, the door has closed upon them for ever. Henceforth the horizon of their world is the monastery wall; and the only sounds they will hear save the wind when it howls, or the thunder when it rolls, are the eternal tolling of the bell, and the wail and chant of the monotonous prayers. It is difficult to understand how men, young, rich, well-favoured, can seclude themselves in this busy and wonderful age; and, renouncing all the pleasures and gaiety of the world, take upon themselves solemn vows of chastity and silence, which, once [pg 269] taken, are devoutly kept. To God and God's service they dedicate themselves; and though on the earth, they are scarcely of it. They live, but for them it is the beginning of eternity; the passion and fret of the world will never more disturb them, and their one longing is to change the finite for the infinite. It is surely no ordinary faith that impels men to enter into a living death of this kind, nor is it fanaticism, but a devotion too deep for words, too mysterious for ordinary comprehensions to grasp. One must go back to the eleventh century for the beginning of the history of this strange Order. It was founded by St. Bruno, of Cologne, who imposed upon his votaries "Solitude," "Silence," and "Fasting." For above eight hundred years the Carthusians have been true to their saint, and wherever they have established themselves they have lived their lives of silence, knowing nothing of the seductive and tender influence of women, or the love and sweetness of children; dying, when their time came, without a pang of regret at leaving the world, and with nothing to perpetuate their memories, save a tiny wooden cross, on which a number is painted. But in half a dozen years or so the cross rots away, and is never renewed, and the dead brother is referred to no more.

The lonely convent of the Grande Chartreuse is as old as the Order, although it has undergone considerable change. It is now a great building, occupying a considerable extent of ground, but originally it must have been a single small house. It stands in a defile, in a region of utter loneliness. Gradually it has grown and expanded, and in order to protect it against the attacks of thieves and marauders, it is surrounded by a massive wall that is loopholed and embrasured. For what purpose it is difficult to say, for these monks would never take human life, not even to save their own. So far, however, as I have been able to learn there is no record of the convent having been seriously attacked during any period of its history. But in the Revolution of 1792 the monks were cruelly expelled, and their most valuable library was destroyed. They separated in little groups, and found refuge in holy houses of their order in different parts of Europe, until the restoration of 1815—that memorable year—when they reunited and returned to their beloved monastery amid the solitude of the eternal mountains.

La Grande Chartreuse is situated amidst scenes of savage grandeur, 3,800 feet above the sea, at the foot of the Mont Grand Som, which reaches a height of 6,668 feet, and commands a view of surpassing magnificence. It is in the Department of Isère, France, and eight hours' journey from Grenoble, which is the capital of the Department, and famous for its gloves. The nearest railway station is a five hours' journey away, and there is no other human habitation within many miles of the convent. The approaches are by wild and rugged gorges, through which excellent roads have of late years been made, but formerly these gorges might have been held by a handful of men against a host. In the winter the roads are blocked with snow, and between the lonely convent and the outer world there is little communication. In summer the pine woods look solemn and dark, and the ravines are filled with the music of falling waters. There is a strange absence of bird melody, and the wind sighs amongst the pines, and moans around the rocks. And yet the region is one of entrancing beauty, and full of a dreamy repose that makes its influence felt.

To this lonely convent I travelled one day in the late autumn, when the falling leaves spoke sadly of departed summer glories, and the shrill blasts that came down the glens were messengers from the regions of ice and snow. I had gone by train to Voiron, between Rives and Grenoble, and thence had tramped through the beautiful gorges of Crossey for five hours. The afternoon had been sullen, and bitterly cold, and the shades of night were fast falling as, weary and hungry, I rang the great bell at the convent gate, and begged for hospitality. A tall, cowled monk received me, but uttered no word. He merely made a sign for me to follow him, and, closing the gate and shooting the massive bolts, he led the way across a court, where I was met by another monk, who was allowed to break the rigid vow of silence so far that he could inquire of strangers what their business was. He asked me if I desired food and rest, and on my answering in the affirmative he led me to a third and silent brother, and by him I was conducted to a cell with whitewashed walls. It contained a small bed of unpainted pine wood, and a tiny table, on which was an iron basin and a jug of water. A crucifix hung on the wall, and beneath it was a prie-dieu. The [pg 270] cell was somehow suggestive of a prison, and yet I am not sure that there was as much comfort to be found in it as a prison cell affords in these humanitarian times. Everything about the Grande Chartreuse is of Spartan-like simplicity. There the body is mortified for the soul's sake, and nothing that could pander in the least degree to luxurious tastes is allowed. As I was to learn afterwards, even such barren comfort as is afforded by this "Visitor's Cell" is unknown in the cells occupied by the monks.


When I had somewhat freshened myself up by a wash, I went into the corridor where my attendant was waiting, and, following him in obedience to a sign he made, I traversed a long, lofty, cold passage, with bare walls and floor. At the end of the passage there was carved in the stone the Latin inscription, Stat crux dum volvitur orbis. Passing through an arched doorway we reached the refectory. The great hall or supper room was cold, barren, and dismal. Everything looked ghostly and dim in the feeble light shed by two small swinging lamps, that seemed rather to emphasise the gloom than dispel it. Comfort there was none in this echoing chamber, with its whitewashed walls and shadowy recesses, from which I half expected to see the spirit forms of dead monks glide. Taking my seat at a small, bare table, a silent brother placed before me a bowl of thin vegetable soup, in which some chopped eggs floated. Fish followed, then an omelette, and the whole was washed down with a bottle of excellent red wine. It was a frugal repast, but an Epicurean spread as compared with the dietary scale of the monks themselves. Meat of every kind is rigorously interdicted, that is, the flesh of animals in any form. Each brother only gets two meals a day. They consist of hot water flavoured with egg; vegetables cooked in oil; while the only drink allowed is cold water. The monks do not eat together except on Sundays and religious fête days, when they all sup in the refectory.

On other days every man has his meals alone, in the solitude of his cell, and but a brief time is allowed him, for it is considered sinful to spend more time in eating and drinking than is absolutely necessary to swallow down so much food as will hold body and soul together. That men may keep themselves healthy, even on such meagre diet as that I have mentioned, is proved by the monks of the Grande Chartreuse, for they enjoy excellent health, and generally live to a green old age. Even the weak and delicate grow strong and hardy under the severe discipline. The rasping friction of the nervous system, which annually slays its tens of thousands in the outer world, is unknown here. All is calm and peaceful, and the austerity of the life led is compensated for by the abiding and hopeful faith. It is a brief preparation for an eternal life of unsullied joy in a world where man's sin is known no more. [pg 271] Surely nothing else but such a faith could sustain mortal beings under an ordeal so trying.


This strange community of Carthusians is divided into categories of "Fathers" and "Brothers." The former wear robes of white wool, cinctured with a girdle of white leather. Their heads and faces are closely shaven, and the head is generally enveloped in a cowl, which is attached to the robe. They are all ordained priests, and it is to them the rule of silence, solitude, and fasting, more particularly applies. The fasting is represented by the daily bill of fare I have given, and it never varies all the year round, except on Fridays and certain days in Lent, when, poor as it is, it is still further reduced. The solitude consists of many hours spent in prayer in the loneliness of the cell, and the silence imposed is only broken by monosyllabic answers to questions addressed to them. Sustained conversation is a fault, and would be severely punished. Aspirants for the Fatherhood have to submit to a most trying novitiate, which lasts for five full years. After that they are ordained, and from that moment they renounce the world, with all its luring temptations and its sin. Their lives henceforth must be strictly holy in accordance with the tenets of their religion. The Brothers are the manual labourers, the hewers of wood and drawers of water. They do everything that is required in the way of domestic service. They wear sandals on their bare feet, and their bodies are clothed in a long, loose, brown robe, fastened at the waist by a rope girdle. On both branches of the Order the same severe régime is compulsory, but on Fridays the Brothers only get a morsel of black bread and a cup of cold water. The attention to spiritual duties is all-absorbing, and under no circumstances must it be relaxed. Matins commence in the chapel at twelve o'clock at night, and continue until about two o'clock. After a short rest, the Divine service is resumed at six o'clock. But all the monks do not attend the matins at one time. While some sleep others pray. And it is doubtful if amongst the religious orders of the world anything more solemn and impressive than this midnight service could be found. To witness it was my chief aim in going to the convent, and so I left my cell after a short sleep, and proceeded to the chapel as the deep-toned bell struck twelve with sonorous sounds that rolled in ghostly echoes along the lofty corridors. The passage through which I made my way was a vast one, and a solitary lamp ineffectually struggled to illumine the darkness. I groped along until I reached a door that swung silently open to my touch. Then I stood within the chapel, where all was silent, and a Cimmerian gloom reigned. Far in the depths of the darkness was a glimmering, star-like lamp over the altar, but its beams, feeble and straggling, revealed nothing, it only accentuated the pitchy blackness all around. The feeble lanterns of the monks, one to every third stall, were invisible from my position. Everything was suggestive of a tomb far down in the bowels of the earth—the silence, the cold, the damp earthy smell that filled one's nostrils, all seemed to indicate decaying mortality. Suddenly, with startling abruptness, a single voice broke into a plaintive, monotonous chant. Then others took up the cadence [pg 272] with a moaning wail that gradually died away until there was unbroken silence again. There was something strange and weird in this performance, for the impenetrable darkness, the star-like lamp, the wailing voices of unseen figures, seemed altogether unnatural. It begot in me a shudder that I could not repress, for the moaning and wailing appeared to be associated with death rather than life. There was nothing in the whole ceremony indicative of joy or hope, but rather their converse—sadness and despair. Throughout those weary hours the wailing chant and the silence alternated. I wanted to go away, but could not. Some strange fascination kept me there, and I recalled some of the wonderful descriptive scenes in Dantè which were irresistibly suggested. My imagination was wrought on to such an extent that I pictured that vast gloomy space as filled with unquiet spirits condemned to torture; and the lamp as typical of the one ray of hope that told them that after a long period of penance they should pass from the gloom of woe to the lightness and joy of eternal day, when their anguish should cease for ever and rest be found. At last, to my great relief, I saw the beams of a new morn steal in at the chapel windows. The bowed forms of the cowled monks were faintly discernible, kneeling before the altar, where still burned the watch-lamp. One by one they rose and flitted away like shadows; no sound came from their footfalls, no rustle from their garments. Warmly clad though I was, I shivered with the cold, and was cramped with the position I had maintained for hours; for I had been fearful of moving lest any harsh, grating noise should break in upon that solemn and impressive silence. When all had gone I too went, and made my way back to the cell, where I tried to snatch a few hours' sleep, but it was all in vain, for my mind seemed as if it had been upset by a strange and terrible dream. Although I have had a wide and varied experience of men and manners in all parts of the world, I never witnessed such a strange scene before as I witnessed that night. It was like a nightmare picture, a poem evolved from a distorted imagination. I say a poem because it had the elements of poetry in it, but it was the poetry of ineffable human sadness.


Truly it is singular that men can so strengthen their faith, so enwrap themselves, as it were, in a gloomy creed, that they are willing to deny themselves every pleasure in life, to shut themselves off from all that is joyous and beautiful in the world, in order to submit to an endless sorrowing [pg 273] for human sins; a sorrowing that finds expression every hour of their lonely, saddened lives. For from sunset to sunrise, and sunrise to sunset again, they are warned by the mournful tolling of the iron bell, every quivering stroke of which seems to say "death," to pray without ceasing.


Many of the monks at the Grande Chartreuse are still in the very prime of their manhood, and not a few of them are members of distinguished and wealthy families. Yet they have renounced everything; all the advantages that influence and wealth could give them; all the comforts of home; the love of wife and children; the fascination of travel and of strange sights—every temptation that this most beautiful world could hold out has been resisted, and they have dedicated themselves to gloom, fasting, and silence. Verily, human nature is an unfathomable mystery. One may well ask if these monks are truly happy? If they have no longings for the flesh-pots of Egypt? If they do not sometimes pine and sigh for the busy haunts and the excitement of the great towns? Such questions are not easily answered, unless we get the answer in the fact that the monastic vows are faithfully and religiously kept; and there is no record of a Carthusian monk ever having broken his vow. Surely then there must be something strangely, even terribly attractive in that stern life which is so full of hardship and trial, and from year's end to year's end knows no change, until the great change which comes to us all, sooner or later, whether we be monks or revellers.

I have already mentioned that notwithstanding their sparse and meagre diet, which seems to us ordinary mortals to lack nutriment and sustaining power, the monks of the Grande Chartreuse are healthy and vigorous. The Brothers labour in their fields and gardens, and they cultivate all the vegetables that they use, as well as grow most of their own corn for the bread. They do any bricklaying, carpentering, or painting that may be required, as well as all the washing and mending of the establishment, for a woman is never allowed to enter the sacred precincts. The furniture of each cell consists of a very narrow bed as hard as a board, and with little covering; a small stove, for the rigours of the climate [pg 274] render a fire indispensable at times, and yet the fires are used but sparingly; a little basin, with a jug of water for ablutions; and of course there is the prie-dieu, and the image of a saint. Attached to the convent is a cemetery, which cannot fail to have a very melancholy interest for the visitor. It is divided into two parts, one being for the Fathers, the other for the Brothers, for as the two branches of the Order are kept distinct in life, so they are separated in death. No mounds mark the last resting-places of the quiet sleepers; but at the head of each is a wooden cross, though it bears no indication of the name, age, or date of death of the deceased—only a number. Having played his little part and returned to the dust from whence he sprang, it is considered meet that the Carthusian should be forgotten. And the cross is merely an indication that beneath moulder the remains of what was once a man.

As is well known, the monks distil the famous liqueur which finds its way to all parts of the world, and yields a very handsome revenue. The process of its concoction is an inviolable secret, but it is largely composed of herbs and cognac. It is said that the recipe was brought to the convent by one of the fathers, who had been expelled in 1792, and that at first the liqueur was used as a medicine and distributed amongst the poor. In the course of time, however, it was improved upon, for its fame having spread a demand for it sprang up, and it was resolved to make it an article of commerce. For this purpose a separate building was erected apart from the monastery, and placed in charge of one of the Fathers, who has a staff of brothers under him. The basis of the liqueur is supposed to be an indigenous mountain herb combined with the petals of certain wild flowers. These are macerated with honey until fermentation takes place. The liquid is then refined and brandy is added. Formerly it was made without brandy. The "green" is most favoured by connaisseurs, and its exquisite, delicate fragrance and flavour have never been imitated. More care is bestowed upon the "green" than the "yellow," which is somewhat inferior in quality and of a coarser flavour. On several occasions very large sums have been offered for the right to manufacture the chartreuse by financial speculators, but all such offers have been resolutely refused. Although I believe that the greater part of the income of the convent is spent in deeds of charity, it may be doubted by some people whether it is not a somewhat questionable way for a religious Order to augment its funds by the preparation of an intoxicating liquor for which, according to their own doctrine, there is absolutely no need. The chartreuse has a strong rival in the well-known benedictine, made by the Benedictine Monks; and which, while being similar in character, is said by some to be superior. There is little doubt, however, that the chartreuse has much the larger sale of the two. Many attempts have been made from time to time by outsiders to manufacture both these liqueurs, but without success, and the exact secret of their decoction is as religiously preserved as are the secrets of Freemasonry.

Like the Great St. Bernard, the Grande Chartreuse, though not to the same extent, is a show place in summer. Perhaps this is hardly a fair way of putting it, for it would be a cruel injustice to let it be supposed that the Chartreux had the slightest desire to make an exhibition of their lonely convent. But the travelling facilities afforded the tourist nowadays enable him to penetrate to the remotest recesses of the earth. No place is sacred to him; and as he thinks nothing of going into a Continental theatre dressed in a tweed suit, so he does not hesitate, garbed in hob-nailed boots and knickerbockers, to demand entrance into the Grande Chartreuse, whose mystery he does not understand and cares nought for, and whose solemnity does not awe him. To refuse hospitality even to the irreverent curiosity-monger would be contrary to the Carthusian's creed, which teaches charity to all men, and to "turn no deaf ear to him who asks for bread and succour." And so anything of the masculine gender is admitted and fed with the frugal fare that is now specially provided for visitors; and very properly he who partakes of this hospitality, not being in actual want of it, is required to pay for his entertainment. The ordinary visitor is not allowed to pass the night under the roof of the convent, and therefore that strange and ghostly service in the chapel during the hours of darkness is rarely witnessed. The Grande Chartreuse boasts of a magnificent library, which numbers upwards of 20,000 volumes, for the most part of a theological nature. Many of these books are unique and of great age, [pg 275] and to the theological student would probably prove a mine of wealth. Amongst the volumes are some very rare Bibles and Prayer-books of nearly every civilised country in the world. This library replaces the one that was destroyed, and has been collected during the present century.


What is known as the Chapter-room is an exception to the rest of the place, inasmuch as it is hung with portraits of the Father Superiors from the very foundation of the Order. There are about fifty of these portraits altogether, and some of the earlier ones are more curious than artistic. The "Superiors" are the only men of the Order whose memory is thus kept alive.

The Grand Cloister is the largest apartment in the building. It is a not quite perfect square, and is lighted by a hundred and thirty windows. A portion of this cloister dates back to the early part of the thirteenth century. There are two main corridors, seven hundred and twenty-two feet long, and abutting on these corridors are the cells, thirty-six in number. There is also a Chapelle des Morts, built about the end of the thirteenth century. Here the bodies of the dead monks rest during the religious services that are held over them before they are finally consigned to the little cemetery to which I have already made reference. Nor must I forget to mention what is known as the Map-room, where there is a very valuable collection of maps of different parts of the world, but particularly of France. There is also a small museum of insects and butterflies indigenous to the mountains of the region in which the convent is situated. That region is the southern group of the singularly interesting limestone Alps of Savoy, and the convent stands in about the middle section of the group which culminates in the Pointe de Chamchaude, 6,845 feet high.

In choosing the site for the convent, there is little doubt that isolation as well as a position of natural defence were aimed at. Isolated it truly is, and up to a couple of hundred years ago it must have been absolutely impregnable. But it is well known that the monks of old had an eye also to beauty of surroundings, and it is doubtful if the faithful followers of St. Bruno could have found a site commanding a view of more magnificent beauty in all France than that which the Grande Chartreuse occupies, and by ascending to the summit of the Grand Som, which throws its shadow over the convent, a panorama of unsurpassed grandeur is unfolded to the wondering gaze. To the west it embraces the valley of the Rhône, the town of Lyons, and the mountains of Ardèche and Forez; to the east the chain of glittering Alps that stretches from Mont Visio to Mont Blanc; to the north is the Mont du Chat of Chambéry, the Lake of Bourget, and that part of the Rhône Valley which is bounded by the rugged peaks of the purple Jura, while to the south are smiling valleys and rolling uplands.

[pg 276] This view of the outer world is all the monks ever obtain, for, having once taken the vows, they leave the convent no more; and they know little of what goes on in the busy haunts of men, where the passion of life reaches fever heat, save what they gather from the chattering of the throngs of summer idlers. In winter they live in a silent, white world, and the face of a stranger is very rarely seen.

Before leaving the neighbourhood I paid a visit to the Chapelle de St. Bruno, which is within half an hour's walk of the monastery. It is erected in a very wild spot, said to be the site of the saint's original hermitage. There is nothing particularly interesting in the chapel, which is in a state of dilapidation. But it is curious to speculate that here dwelt, in what was little more than a cavern, the man who, by the austerity of his life and his gloomy views, was able to found a religious Order which has endured for many ages, and is one of the few that escaped destruction during the revolutions and upheavals of the last century. The situation of the Chapelle is one of singular loneliness and desolation, and for eight months of the year at least it is buried in snow.

As I turned my back upon the Grande Chartreuse, after that memorable night spent under its roof, and feeling grateful for the shelter and refreshment it had afforded me, the morning sun was gilding the glorious landscape, and I breathed a sigh of relief and gladness, for I seemed to have come from a region of sorrow and gloom, where the coldness of death was ever present, into the healthy, joyous life of the throbbing, breathing world.


Portraits of Celebrities at different times of their Lives.

From a Drawing by Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A. AGE 6 MONTHS.
From a Painting by] AGE 45. [A. Gracfle.
From a] AGE 8. [Miniature.
From a Photo. by] PRESENT DAY. [Wallery.
From a Drawing by] AGE 18. [R. Lane, A.R.A.



WE here present a series of portraits of the Queen, which, together with the portrait given on our first page, completely represent the features of Her Majesty from baby-hood until the present day.

[pg 278]

From a] AGE 4. [Photograph.
From a Painting by] AGE 7. [Lauchert.
From a Lithograph by Maclure & Macdonald. AGE 17.
From a Photo. by] PRESENT DAY. [Messrs. Elliott & Fry.

Born 1857.


IT is fitting that next the portraits of Her Majesty the Queen should be placed those of the daughter who has been her most constant companion of late years.

[pg 279]

From a Miniature by W. C. Ross, A.R.A., Miniature Painter to the Queen. AGE 12 MONTHS.
From a] AGE 6. [Painting.
From a Picture by] AGE 18. [F. Winterhalter.
From a Photo by] PRESENT DAY. [Byrne & Co., Richmond.



BABY, child, bride, and widow—such are the four portraits of the Queen's eldest daughter which we give above. An earlier portrait even than the first of these, and one of the most interesting in existence, is that which the Queen with her own hand depicted of her baby while it was still in swaddling-clothes, and which we have the pleasure of presenting to our readers as the frontispiece of the present number.

[pg 280]

From a Drawing by] AGE 28. [J. E. Swinton.
From a Photo. by] AGE 45. [Messrs. Elliott & Fry.
From a Photo. by] AGE 67. [Messrs. Elliott & Fry.

Born 1823.


AT the age of eight-and-twenty the Duke of Argyll, who had succeeded to the dukedom four years earlier, was already well known as a writer, a politician, and a public speaker, and as one who took keen interest in all Scottish questions which came before the public. At this age, also, he was elected Chancellor of the University of St. Andrews, and was already, what he has since remained, one of the most prominent figures in the House of Lords. The Duke, who has held many of the highest offices, in various Governments, was, at the age at which he is represented in our second picture, Secretary of State for India under Mr. Gladstone. But as a politician the Duke's position is not easy to define; he has been described as "Whig by family, Liberal by intellect, Independent by nature, and Conservative by inclination." But it is in questions of science and theology rather than in politics that the Duke's name is known, and his most celebrated book, "The Reign of Law," was considered by Darwin himself so powerful an attack upon the Theory of Descent as to call for special refutation.

[pg 281]

From a>] AGE 5.  [Photograph.
From a Photo. by] AGE 17. [The Stereoscopic Co.
From a Photo. by] AGE 29. [A. Bassano.
From a Photo. by] AGE 36. [The Stereoscopic Co.



THE first photograph we give of Mr. Herbert Beerbohm Tree, shows him at the age of five, then a cherubic and rosy boy of seemingly serious disposition. The second likeness represents him at seventeen, soon after he had left the college of Schnepfenthal in Thuringia, where he received his education, but where, according to his own modest statement, he acquired no distinction in the walks of learning. But so great was his evident talent for acting that he was persuaded to adopt the stage as a profession, with what instant success we all know. He became manager of the Haymarket in 1887. As a manager he has shown not only enterprise, but an almost quixotic liberality. His latest Monday night venture has proved one of the happiest of his many happy thoughts.

For leave to reproduce these portraits we have to thank the kindness of Mr. Beerbohm Tree.

[pg 282]

From a Photo. by] AGE 20. [Cramb Bros., Glasgow
From a Photo. by] AGE 30. [Sarony, Birmingham.
From a Photo.] by AGE 45. [Messrs. Elliott & Fry.

Born 1841.


MR. BLACK'S ambition as a boy was to become an artist, and he studied for a short time in the School of Art at Glasgow, in which city he was born. "As an artist," he tells us, "I was a complete failure, and so qualified myself for a time in after life as an art critic." Yet in feeling for the beauty of sea, forest, moor, and hill, and in graphic power of painting them in words, Mr. Black has rarely had a rival. At twenty, the age at which our first portrait shows him, he had already turned to journalism, and was writing in the Glasgow Weekly Citizen. Three years afterwards he came to London, where he wrote for newspapers and magazines. During the Prusso-Austrian War of 1866 he acted as the Special Correspondent of the Morning Star. Scenes taken from his adventures appeared in his first novel, "Love or Marriage," which he wrote on his return. Several other novels followed during the next four or five years, none of which had any great success; but in 1871, just at the age depicted in our second portrait, Mr. Black produced the striking story—"A Daughter of Heth." Since then, his books have become household words, and probably no living author has given pleasure to so many readers by means at once so simple and so fine. With less of plot and startling incident than almost any novelist, Mr. Black has two points of excellence in which he stands alone—in power of painting scenery and of depicting charming girls.

We are indebted for these portraits to the courtesy of Mr. Black.

[pg 283]

From a] AGE 18. [Miniature.
From a Photo. by] AGE 22. [Purviance, New York.
From a Photo. by] PRESENT DAY. [Vernon Heath.



MR. CHARLES WYNDHAM was, at eighteen, the age at which our first portrait represents him, a medical student at Liverpool, at which city he was born; but having taken his degrees of L.R.C.S. and L.S.A., he went, at twenty-one, to America, and made his first appearance as an actor at Washington, with John Wilkes Booth, to whose Hamlet he played Osric. Booth, who perhaps was never wholly sane, and who three years later made himself a name of world-wide infamy by shooting President Lincoln in a theatre-box, saw so little sign of genius in the new actor that he discharged him for incompetency. Mr. Wyndham then served as surgeon to the 19th Army Corps, and was present at some of the most deadly battles of the Civil War. His appearance at that time was that of our second portrait, which represents him in his uniform. Two years later, on his return to England, he again went on the boards, and entered at once upon the career which has long been recognised as that of the finest light comedian at present on the stage.

[pg 284]

From a] AGE 19. [Photograph.
From a] AGE 22. [Photograph.
From a Photo. by] AGE 26. [Rockwell & Co., New York.
From a Photo. by] AGE 31 [The Stereoscopic Co.
From a Photo. by] PRESENT DAY. [John Fergus, Cannes.



AT 19, John Rowlands, a poor Welsh boy, had emigrated to America, had been adopted by a merchant of the name of Stanley, and had assumed the latter name. At 22, his adopting father having died without a will, young Stanley was serving as a petty officer on board the war-ship Minnesota. At 26 he had become a journalist, and was about to represent the New York Herald with the British army in Abyssinia. On returning from this expedition he delivered lectures on his adventures, a handbill of which we reproduce on the page opposite, as a veritable curiosity. At 31 he had discovered Dr. Livingstone, and had returned with glory. What Mr. Stanley has done recently is known to all the world.

Fac-simile of Handbill of Mr. H. M. Stanley's first Lecture in America.

(Half original size.)

Stories of the Victoria Cross: Told by Those who have Won it.


NO tales of heroism are more thrilling and exciting than the narratives of the exploits which have gained the coveted reward of the Victoria Cross; and a story never has so much reality and vividness as when it comes first-hand from the performer of the deed. Accordingly, we have asked a number of the heroes of the Victoria Cross—a truly noble army—to relate in their own language how they came to win the most glorious decoration open to a soldier, the plain bronze cross "For Valour." The narratives which follow require no further introduction, and will, we think, be found to possess an interest which is all their own—the interest and impression of reality.

Sergeant Ablett.

One of the most gallant acts which can be conceived is the seizing a live shell and casting it away, so as to prevent mischief from its explosion. A second's delay may be fatal, and the man who picks up the shell cannot tell whether the second in question will be allowed him. If it bursts in his hands it means certain death. Not only the greatest, but also the promptest, courage is needed for such an act of courage. Among the few who have performed such a feat is Sergeant Ablett, late Grenadier Guards, whose own modest account is as follows:—

On the 2nd September, 1854, when in the trenches before Sebastopol, the sentries shouted "Look out there!" a shell coming right in the trenches at the same moment and dropping amongst some barrels of ammunition. I at once pulled it from them. It ran between my legs, and I then picked it up and threw it out of the trench; it burst as it touched the ground. From the force of it I fell, and was covered by its explosion with gravel and dirt.

Sergeant Baker and others picked me up, and asked if I was hurt. I said, "No; but I have had a good shaking." There was a great number in the trenches at the time, but I am glad to say no one was hurt. The Sergeant reported the circumstances to the officer in charge.

On coming off duty I was taken before the commanding officer, and promoted to the rank of Corporal, and then Sergeant. He also presented me with a silk necktie made by her most gracious Majesty. I was at the battles of Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman, and the capture of Sebastopol after eleven months' siege. This is all I think I need say as to myself and the Victoria Cross. My likeness is to be found in Victoria Cross Picture Gallery, Crystal Palace, and Alexandra Palace.


[pg 287]

Major John Berryman.

Among those who won the Victoria Cross at Balaclava none gained it more worthily than Major John Berryman, who served in the Crimea as Troop-Sergeant Major in the 17th Lancers. This is how Major Berryman describes the charge of the Light Brigade:—

"Gallop!" was the order as the firing became general. And here a discharge from the battery in our front, whose guns were doubly shotted, first with shot or shell, and then with case, swept away Captain Winter and the whole division on my right. The gap was noticed by Captain Morris, who gave the order, "Right incline," but a warning voice came from my coverer in the rear rank (Corporal John Penn), "Keep straight on, Jack; keep straight on." He saw what I did not, that we were opposite the intervals of the guns, and thus we escaped, for the next round must have swept us into eternity. My attention here was attracted to James Melrose, a Shakespearian reciter, calling out, "What man here would ask another man from England?" Poor fellow, they were the last words he spoke, for the next round from the guns killed him and many others. We were then so close to the guns that the report rang through my head, and I felt that I was quite deaf for a time. It was this round that broke my mare's off hind leg, and caused her to stop instantly. I felt that I was hit, but not till I dismounted. Seeing that the mare's leg was broken, I debated in my own mind whether to shoot her or not, when Captain Webb came up to me, and asked me, was I wounded? I replied, "Only slightly, I thought, in the leg, but that my horse was shot." I then asked, "Are you hurt, sir?" He said that he was, and in the leg, too; what had he better do? "Keep to your horse, sir, and get back as far as you can." He turned, and rode back. I now caught a loose horse, and got on to his back, but he fell directly, the brass of the breast-plate having been driven into his chest. Seeing that there was no hope of my joining the regiment in the mêlée, and the 11th Hussars being close upon me, I moved a little to the right, so as to pass through the interval between the squadrons. Both squadrons closed in a little, and let me pass through. I well remember that Sergeant Gutteridge was the right guide of the 2nd squadron. Finding that Captain Webb had halted, I ran to him, and on inquiries found that his wound was so painful that he could not ride any further. Lieutenant George Smith, of my own regiment, coming by, I got him to stand at the horse's head whilst I lifted the captain off. Having accomplished this, I assisted Smith to mount Webb's horse, and ride for a stretcher, taking notice where we were. By this time the Russians had got back to their guns, and re-opened fire. I saw six men of my own regiment get together to recount to each other their escapes. Seeing their danger, I called to them to separate, but too late, for a shell dropped amongst them, and I don't think one escaped alive. Hearing me call to these men, Captain Webb asked what I thought the Russians would do?

"They are sure to pursue, sir, unless the Heavy Brigade comes down."

"Then you had better consult your own safety, and leave me."

"Oh no, sir, I shall not leave you now."

"Perhaps they will only take me prisoner."

"If they do, sir, we will go together."

"Don't mind me, look to yourself."

"All right, sir; only we will go together, whatever happens."

Just at this time I saw Sergeant Farrell coming by. I called to him. He asked, "Who is it?" When told, he came over. I said, "We must get Captain Webb out of this, for we shall be pursued."

He agreeing, we made a chair of our hands, lifted the Captain up, and found that we could carry him with comparative ease. We had got about 200 yards in this manner, when the Captain complained that his leg was very painful. A private of the 13th being near, Malone, I asked him would he be good enough to support Captain Webb's legs, until we could procure a stretcher? He did so, and several of the officers passed us. Sir G. Wombwell said, "What is the matter, Peck?" (Captain Webb's nickname.)

"Hit in the leg, old fellow. How did you escape?"

"Well, I was unhorsed and taken prisoner, but when the second line came down, in the confusion I got away, and, seizing the first horse I could, I got away, and I find that it is Morris's."

Sir W. Gordon made the same inquiry, and got the same answer. He had a very nasty cut on the head, and blood was then running down his face. He was carrying [pg 288] his dress cap in his hand. We had now reached the rear of the Greys, and I procured a stretcher from two Infantry band boys, and a young officer of the "Greys" gave me a "tourniquet," saying that he did not know how to apply it, but perhaps I might. I put it on the right thigh, and screwed it up. Doctor Kendal came here, and I pointed out what I had done, and asked was it right?

"I could not have done it better myself; bring him along."


I and Farrell now raised the stretcher and carried it for about fifty yards, and again set it down. I was made aware of an officer of the Chasseurs d'Afrique being on my left by his placing his hand upon my shoulder. I turned and saluted. Pointing to Captain Webb, but looking at me, he said:—

"Your officer?"


"Ah! and you sergeant?" looking at the stripes on my arm.


"Ah! If you were in French service, I would make you an officer on the spot." Then, standing in his stirrups and extending his right hand, said:—

"Oh! it was grand, it was magnifique, but it is not war, it is not war."

This officer was General Morris. We resumed our patient, and got to the doctors (Massy and Kendal). I saw the boot cut off and the nature of the wound, the right shin bone being shattered. Farrell made an exclamation, and I was motioned to take him away. I told him that I should go and see the end of it. He said that he was too exhausted to do any more. Finding a horse in the lines, I mounted him, although the animal belonged to the 4th Light Dragoons, and thus dropped in behind [pg 289] the Duke of Cambridge, and heard what passed. The Duke, speaking to Lord Cardigan, said:—

"Cardigan, where's the Brigade, then?"

"There," said Cardigan.

"Is that all of them? You have lost the finest Brigade that ever left the shores of England."

A little further on he spoke to Captain Godfrey Morgan (Lord Tredegar):—

"Morgan, where's the regiment, then?"

"Your Royal Highness, that is all of them!"

"My poor regiment, my poor regiment!"

I now took my place in the ranks, and, in numbering off, being on the extreme left, I counted 22. We fell back during the night, and, being dismounted, I, with my servant, was left behind. I suffered intensely with my head, and got a napkin and tied it as tightly as possible round my brows. I also had time to examine my wound, which was inside the calf of my leg. A small piece about the size of a shilling had been cut clean out of my leg; but except that the blood had run into my boots, I felt but very little inconvenience from it. Cold water bandage was all I used; but, unfortunately, scurvy got to it, and it was a long time healing.

Private William Norman.

Private William Norman, of the 7th Regiment, in a true modest and soldier-like style thus describes the exploit which won for him the Victoria Cross:—

On the night of December 19, 1854, I was placed on single sentry at some distance in front of the advanced sentries of an out-lying picquet in the White Horse Ravine—a post of much danger, and requiring great vigilance. The Russian picquet was posted 300 yards in our front. Three Russian soldiers advanced under cover of the brushwood for the purpose of reconnoitring. I immediately fired my rifle, which was the signal of alarm, and then jumped into the trench almost on the top of the three Russians, two of whom I succeeded single-handed in taking prisoners, and marched them into our lines, the other one having fled back to the Russian lines.


My feelings I can hardly describe, as what I did was on the spur of the moment. But [pg 290] it was no doubt the means of saving our position.

Private James Davis.

The attack on Fort Ruhiya on April 15, 1858, gave an opportunity for much display of courage and devotion. Among those who conspicuously distinguished themselves was Private James Davis, of the 42nd Highlanders. This gallant soldier, who had previously served throughout the Crimean War, also saw much fighting during the Indian Mutiny, and for his conduct at Fort Ruhiya was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The following is his account of the feat which won for him the much-prized honour:—

I belonged to the Light Company, under the command of Captain (now Sir John) Macleod. We got orders to lie down under some trees for a short time. Two Engineer officers came up and asked for some men to come with them to see where they could make a breach with the artillery. I was one who went. There was a small garden ditch under the walls of the fort, not high enough to cover our heads. After a short time the officers left. I was on the right of the ditch with Lieut. Alfred Jennings Bramley, of Tunbridge Wells, as brave a young officer as ever drew sword, and saw a large force coming out to cut us off. He said, "Try and shoot the leader. I will run down and tell Macleod." The leader was shot, by whom I don't know. I never took credit for shooting anyone. Before poor Bramley got down he was shot in the temple, but not dead. He died during the night.


The captain said, "We can't leave him. Who will take him out?" I said, "I will." The fort was firing hard all the time. I said, "Eadie, give me a hand. Put him on my back." As he was doing so he was shot in the back of the head, knocking me down, his blood running down my back. A man crawled over and pulled Eadie off. At this time I thought I was shot, the warm blood running down my back. The captain said, "We can't lose any more lives. Are you wounded?" I said, "I don't think I am." He said, "Will you still take him out?" I said, "Yes." He was such a brave young fellow that the company all loved him. I got him on my back again, and told him to take me tight round the neck. I ran across the open space. During the time his watch fell out; I did not like to leave it, so I sat down and picked it up, all the time under a heavy fire. There was a man of the name of Dods, who came and took him off my back. I went back again [pg 291] through the same fire, and helped to take up the man Eadie. Then I returned for my rifle, and firing a volley we all left. It was a badly managed affair altogether.

Private Robert Jones.


At the gallant defence of the fort at Rorke's Drift, every man fought like a hero, but some were fortunate enough to attract the particular attention of their superiors. Among these was a private of the 24th Regiment, named Robert Jones, who obtained the Victoria Cross for his conduct on the occasion. His story is as follows:—

"On the 22nd January, 1879, the Zulus attacked us, we being only a small band of English soldiers and they in very strong and overwhelming numbers. On commencing fighting, I was one of the soldiers who were in the hospital to protect it. I and another soldier of the name of William Jones were on duty at the back of the hospital, trying to defeat and drive back the rebels, and doing our endeavours to convey the wounded and sick soldiers out through a hole in the wall, so that they might reach in safety the small band of men in the square. On retiring from one room into another, after taking a wounded man by the name of Mayer, belonging to the volunteers, to join William Jones, I found a crowd in front of the hospital and coming into the doorway. I said to my companion, 'They are on top of us,' and sprang to one side of the doorway. There we crossed our bayonets, and as fast as they came up to the doorway we bayoneted them, until the doorway was nearly filled with dead and wounded Zulus. In the meanwhile, I had three assegai wounds, two in the right side and one in the left of my body. We did not know of anyone being in the hospital, only the Zulus, and then after a long time of fighting at the door, we made the enemy retire, and then we made our escape out of the building. Just as I got outside, the roof fell in—a complete mass of flames and fire. I had to cross a space of about twenty or thirty yards from the ruins of the hospital to the leagued company where they were keeping the enemy at bay. While I was crossing the front of the square, the bullets were whishing past me from every direction. When I got in, the enemy came on closer and closer, until they were close to the outer side of our laager, which was made up of boxes of biscuits on sacks of Indian corn. The fighting lasted about thirteen hours, or better. As to my feelings at the time, they were that I was certain that if we did not kill them they would kill us, and after a few minutes' fighting I did not mind it more than at the present time; my thought was only to fight as an English soldier ought to for his most gracious Sovereign, Queen Victoria, and for the benefit of old England."

[pg 292]

Gunner James Collis.

Gunner James Collis tells his story in these words:—

On the twenty-seventh of July, 1880, we were encamped at Khushk-i-Nakhud, in Afghanistan. At 4 a.m. that day we—Battery E, Battery B Brigade—marched with the rest of the force on Maiwand to meet Ayub Khan. About 9 a.m. we came in sight of him in position under the hills. We were on the open plain. Major Henry Blackwood, commanding my battery, gave the order "Action front." I was a limber gunner that day. We began firing with common shell from the right of the battery. After we had fired a few rounds, their artillery replied. The first shot struck the near wheel of my gun, killing a gunner, wounding another, and Lieutenant Fowler.

The limber box upon my gun was smashed by a shell which also killed the wheel horses, but did not touch the driver. Several riding horses of my battery were killed, and a good deal of damage done to guns and carriage. Four gunners and Sergeant Wood, the No. 1 of my gun, were killed, and two men wounded, leaving only three men to work the gun. I took Sergeant Wood's place.

At about 1.30 p.m., some of Jacob's Rifles, who were lying down about ten yards in rear of the trail, began to be panic-stricken, and crowded round our guns and carriages, some getting under the carriages. Three got under my gun. We tried to drive them away, but it was no use. About that time we ceased firing a little, the enemy having set the example. During that pause the enemy on the left got pretty close. To check them, General Nuttall formed up the 3rd Bombay Cavalry and the 3rd Scinde Horse to charge. Gunner Smith of my gun, seeing what was going to be done, mounted his horse and joined the cavalry. General Nuttall led the charge, Gunner Smith being at his side. After going about 300 yards, the enemy being about 200 yards off, the whole line, with the exception of the General, the European officers, and Gunner Smith, turned tail, forming up when in line with the guns. General Nuttall with the officers, finding themselves deserted, returned, General Nuttall actually crying from mortification. Gunner Smith dashed on alone, and was cut down.

About 4 p.m. a large body of the enemy's infantry charged the left of the battery, the men of the left division 5 and 6 being compelled to use their handspikes and charge staves to keep them off. Major Blackwood on this ordered the battery to limber up and retire. When Lieutenant Maclaine heard this order he said, as I was afterwards informed, "Limber up be damned! Give them another round." We limbered up and retired at a gallop about 2,000 yards. In the meantime Major Blackwood remained behind with Lieutenant Maclaine's guns and was killed, Lieutenant Osborne by his side, Lieutenant Maclaine fighting to the last. At length, seeing no use in stopping, he galloped after us—we had got separated from the right division—and called out to us, only two guns, "Action, rear." We fired two rounds with shrapnel. Captain Slade, who had been in temporary command of the smoothbores, finding Major Blackwood dead, came up with his smoothbores and took command of all the guns. Colonel Malcolmson a moment later ordered Captain Slade to retire, saying, "Captain Slade, if you and the Lieutenant keep those two guns, he will lose them the same as he has lost his own." We then limbered up and went off. Just then a shell burst open our treasure chest. Many of the troops and camp followers stopped to pick up the money and were overtaken and killed. Just after that some of the enemy's cavalry caught up the guns. One of them wounded me on the left eyebrow as he passed. He wheeled round and came at me again; I took my carbine, waited till he was within four or five yards, and let drive, hitting him on the chest and knocking him off his horse. As he fell his money fell out of his turban, and Trumpeter Jones jumped off his horse and picked it up. He escaped, and is now corporal R.H.A., and wears the Distinguished Service medal for his conduct at Maiwand.

It was now beginning to get dusk, and I got off to walk by the side of my gun. Seeing a village close by, and some men at a well, I followed them and got some water. Just as we got to the well the enemy charged and drove us off, killing a good many.

On my return I missed my gun, and picked up with No. 2, which I stuck to till I reached Candahar. It was now dark, and we were with a stream of men of all regiments, camp followers, camels, and waggons. Going along I saw a lot of sick and wounded lying by the side of the road, and I picked them up and put them on the gun and [pg 293] limber. I had about ten altogether; they were all 66th men, and a colonel whose name I do not know and never heard of.

We had been fighting all day, marching all night and next day without a bit of food or a drink of water. I did not feel it so much, as I was so occupied, but I saw several dying by the roadside from thirst and fatigue. About four in the afternoon of the 28th, we came to a place called Kokeran, 7-1/2 miles from Candahar; I saw a village where I could get water for the men who were with me. I went off and brought the water back and the men with me. On going to the village I saw Lieutenant Maclaine mounted; when I came back I saw two horses without a rider. I then went again for more water. I was about 150 yards from the gun when I saw ten or twelve of the enemy's cavalry coming on at a slow pace towards the gun. The gun went off and I lay down and allowed the gun to pass me, and began firing with a rifle which I had got from a wounded 66th man, in order to draw their fire upon myself, and stop them from going forward with the gun. I was concealed in a little nullah, and I fancy they thought there was more than one man, for they stopped and fired at me from the saddle. I shot one horse and two men. After firing about thirty-five rounds General Nuttall came up with some native cavalry, and drove them off. When I first saw the enemy they were about 300 yards off, when they left they had got 150 yards. General Nuttall asked me my name, saying, "You're a gallant young man, what is your name?" I said, "Gunner Collis, of E. of B, R.H.A." He entered it into a pocket-book and rode off. I then followed up my gun, which I found some 500 yards distant by the side of a river. The enemy's fire, which had been going on all the way from Maiwand, now became hotter, the surrounding hills being full of them. Some of the garrison of Candahar met us about four miles from the Fort and escorted us in. I arrived about seven p.m.


On the occasion of the sortie from Candahar in the middle of August, 1880, the fighting was going on in the village situated about 200 yards from the edge of the ditch of the fort. I was standing by my gun on the rampart, when General Primrose, General Nuttall, and Colonel Burnet came up. I heard them talking about sending a message to General Dewberry, [pg 294] who had succeeded General Brooke, who had been killed. I spoke to Colonel Burnet and said that I would take the message over the wall. After a little hesitation General Primrose gave me a note. I was let down a distance of about thirty or forty feet to the bottom of the ditch by a rope. When half down I was fired at but not hit by matchlock men about 250 yards distant, and I scrambled up the open side of the ditch and ran across to the village. I found the officer commanding in the middle of it, and fighting going on all round. I delivered the note and returned. When half way up the rope I was fired at again, one bullet cutting off the heel of my left boot. General Primrose congratulated me and Colonel Burnet gave me a drop out of his flask, for what with not having recovered from the fatigues of Maiwand and the exertion and excitement of this trip, I was a bit faint.

I was recommended for the Victoria Cross without my knowledge about September 10, by Sir F. Roberts, on the report of General Nuttall and Colonel Burnet. It was given to me July 28, 1881.

(To be continued.)

How Novelists Write for the Press.


HOW authors work—what methods are peculiar to each individual in preparing MS. for the printer—is a question on which, we think, the following fac-similes, of the same size as the originals, of the work of four representative novelists of the present day, will throw an interesting light. William Black, Walter Besant, Bret Harte, and Grant Allen—here is a page from the manuscript of each. Mr. Black's, with which we commence, fine and careful as it is, is however only a rough draft, which is afterwards re-copied, with slight alterations, for the press.

Fac-simile of a page of MS. from Mr. WILLIAM BLACK'S Prince Fortunatus.

[pg 296]

Fac-simile of the last page but one of the MS. of Mr. WALTER BESANT'S novel, Children of Gibeon.

[pg 297]

Fac-simile of a page of the MS. of Mr. BRET HARTE'S story, The Twins of Table Mountain.

[pg 298]

Fac-simile of a page of the MS. of Mr. GRANT ALLEN'S story, Jerry Stokes (see next page).

Jerry Stokes.

By Grant Allen.


JERRY STOKES was a member of Her Majesty's civil service. To put it more plainly, he was the provincial hangman. Not a man in all Canada, he used to boast with pardonable professional pride, had turned off as many famous murderers as he had. He was a pillar of the constitution, was Jerry Stokes. He represented the Executive. And he wasn't ashamed of his office, either. Quite on the contrary, zeal for his vocation shone visible in his face. He called it a useful, a respectable, and a necessary calling. If it were not for him and his utensils, he loved to say to the gaping crowd that stood him treat in the saloons, no man's life would be safe for a day in the province. He was a practical philanthropist in his way, a public benefactor. It is not good that foul crime should stalk unpunished through the land; and he, Jerry Stokes, was there to prevent it. He was the chosen instrument for its salutary repression. Executions performed with punctuality and despatch; for terms, apply to Jeremiah Stokes, Port Hope, Ontario.


Not that philanthropy was the most salient characteristic in Jerry's outer man. He was a short and thick-set person, very burly and dogged-looking; he had a massive, square head, and a powerful lower jaw, and a coarse, bull neck, and a pair of stout arms, acquired in the lumber trade, but forcibly suggestive of a prize-fighter's occupation. Except on the subject of the Executive, he was a taciturn soul; he had nothing to say, and he said it briefly. Silence, stolidity, and a marked capacity for the absorption of liquids without detriment to his centre of gravity, physical or mental, were the leading [pg 300] traits in Mr. Stokes' character. Those who knew him well, however, affirmed that Jerry was "a straight man"; and though the security was perhaps a trifle doubtful, "a straight man" nevertheless he was generally considered by all who had the misfortune to require his services.

It was a principle with Jerry never to attend a trial for murder. This showed his natural delicacy of feeling. Etiquette, I believe, forbids an undertaker to make kind inquiries at the door of a dying person. It is feared the object of his visits might be misunderstood; he might be considered to act from interested motives. A similar and equally creditable scruple restrained Jerry Stokes from putting in an appearance at a court of justice when a capital charge was under investigation. People might think, he said, he was on the look-out for a job. Nay, more; his presence might even interfere with the administration of justice; for if the jury had happened to spot him in the body of the hall, it would naturally prejudice them in the prisoner's favour. To prevent such a misfortune—which would of course, incidentally, be bad for trade—Mr. Stokes denied himself the congenial pleasure of following out in detail the cases on which he might in the end be called upon to operate—except through the medium of the public press. He was a kind-hearted man, his friends averred; and he knew that his presence in court might be distasteful to the prisoner and the prisoner's relations. Though, to say the truth, in thus absenting himself, Mr. Stokes was exercising considerable self-denial; for to a hangman, even more than to all the rest of the world, a good first-class murder case is replete with plot-interest.


Every man, however, is guilty at some time or other in his life of a breach of principle; and once, though once only, in his professional experience, Jerry Stokes, like the rest of us, gave way to temptation. To err is human; Jerry erred by attending a capital trial in Kingston court-house. The case was one that aroused immense attention at the time in the Dominion. A young lawyer at Napanee, it was said, had poisoned his wife to inherit her money, and public feeling ran fierce and strong against him. From the very first, this dead set of public opinion brought out Jerry Stokes' sympathy in the prisoner's favour. The crowd had tried to mob Ogilvy—that was the man's name—on his way from his house to jail, and again on his journey from Napanee to Kingston assizes. Men shook their fists angrily in the face of the accused; women surged around with deep cries, and strove to tear him to pieces. The police with difficulty prevented the swaying mass from lynching him on the spot. Jerry Stokes, who was present, looked on at these irregular proceedings with a disapproving eye. Most unconstitutional, to dismember a culprit by main force, without form of trial, instead of handing him over in due course of law to be properly turned off by the appointed officer!

So when the trial came on, Jerry Stokes, in defiance of established etiquette, took his stand in court, and watched the progress of the case with profound interest.

The public recognised him, and nudged one another, well pleased. Farmers had [pg 301] driven in with their waggons from the townships. All Ontario was agog. People stared at Jerry, and then at the prisoner. "Stokes is looking out for him!" they chuckled in their satisfaction. "He's got no chance. He'll never get off. The hangman's in waiting!"

The suspected man took his place in the dock. Jerry Stokes glanced across at him—rubbed his eyes—thought it curious. "Well, I never saw a murderer like him in my born days afore," Jerry philosophised to himself. "I've turned off square dozens of 'em in my time, in the province; and I know their looks. But hanged if I've come across a murderer yet like this one, any way!"

"Richard Ogilvy, stand up: are you guilty or not guilty?" asked the clerk of assigns.

And the prisoner, leaning forward, in a very low voice, but clear and distinct, answered out, "Not Guilty!"

He was a tall and delicate pale-faced man, with thoughtful grey eyes and a high white forehead. But to Jerry Stokes' experienced gaze all that counted for nothing. He knew his patients well enough to know there are murderers and murderers—the refined and educated as well as the coarse and brutal. Why, he'd turned off square dozens of them, and both sorts, too, equally. No; it wasn't that—and he couldn't say what it was—but as Richard Ogilvy answered "Not Guilty" that morning a thrill ran cold down the hangman's back. He was sure it was true: he felt intuitively certain of it.

From that moment forth, Jerry followed the evidence with the closest interest. He leaned forward in his place, and drank it all in anxiously. People who sat near him remarked that his conduct was disgusting. He was thirsting for a conviction. It was ghastly to see the hangman so intent upon his prey. He seemed to hang on the lips of the witnesses for the prosecution.

But Jerry himself sat on, all unconscious of their criticism. For the very first time in his life, he forgot his trade. He remembered only that a human soul was at stake that day, and that in one glimpse of intuition he had seen its innocence.

Counsel for the Crown piled up a cumulative case, very strong and conclusive against the man Ogilvy. They showed that the prisoner had lived on bad terms with his wife—though through whose fault they had lived so, whether his or hers, wasn't very apparent. They showed that scenes had lately occurred between them. They showed that Ogilvy had bought poison at a chemist's in Kingston on the usual plea, "to get rid of the rats." They showed that Mrs. Ogilvy had died of such poison. Their principal witness was the Napanee doctor, a man named Wade, who attended the deceased in her fatal illness. This doctor was intelligent, and frank, and straightforward; he gave his evidence in the most admirable style—evidence that told dead against the prisoner in every way. At the close of the case for the Crown, the game was up: everybody in court said all was finished: impossible for Ogilvy to rebut such a mass of damning evidence.

Everybody in court—except Jerry Stokes. And Jerry Stokes went home—for it was a two days' trial—much concerned in soul about Richard Ogilvy.

It was something new for Jerry Stokes, this disinterested interest in an accused criminal; and it took hold of him with all the binding and compelling force of a novel emotion. He wrestled and strained with it. All night long he lay awake, and tossed and turned on his bed, and thought of Richard Ogilvy's pale white face, as he stood there, a picture of mute agony, in the court-house. Strange thoughts surged up thick in Jerry Stokes' soul, that had surged up in no other soul among all those actively hostile spectators. The silent suffering in the man's grey eyes had stirred him deeply. A thousand times over, Jerry said to himself, as he tossed and turned, "That man never done it." Now and again he dozed off, and awoke with a start, and each time he woke he found himself muttering in his sleep, with all the profound force of unreasoned conviction, "He never done it! he never done it!"

Next morning, as soon as the court was open, Jerry Stokes was in his place again, craning his bull-neck eagerly. All day long he craned that bull-neck and listened. The public was scandalised now. Jerry Stokes in court! Jerry Stokes scenting blood! He ought to have kept away! This was really atrocious!

Evidence for the defence hung fire sadly. To say the truth, Ogilvy's counsel had no defence at all to offer, except an assurance that he didn't do it. They confined themselves to suggesting a possible alternative here, and a possible alternative there. Mrs. Ogilvy might have taken the rat-poison by mistake; or this person might have given [pg 302] it her somehow unawares, or that person might have had some unknown grudge against her. Jerry Stokes sat and listened with a sickening heart. The man in the dock was innocent, he felt sure; but the case—why, the case was going dead against him!


Slowly, as he listened, an idea began to break in upon Jerry Stokes' mind. Ideas didn't often come his way. He was a thick-headed man, little given to theories, and he didn't know even now it was a theory he was forming. He only knew this was the way the case impressed him. The prisoner at the bar had never done it. But there had been scenes in his house—scenes brought about by Mrs. Ogilvy's conduct. Mrs. Ogilvy, he felt confident from the evidence he heard, had been given to drink—perhaps to other things; and the prisoner, for his child's sake (he had one little girl of three years old), was anxious to screen his wife's shame from the public. So he had suggested but little in this direction to his counsel. The scenes, however, were not of his making, and he certainly never meant to poison the woman. Jerry Stokes watched him closely as each witness stood up and told his tale, and he was confident of so much. That twitching of the lips was no murderer's trick. It was the plain emotion of an honest man who sees the circumstances unaccountably turning against him.

There was another person in court who watched the case almost as closely as Jerry himself, and that person was the doctor who attended Mrs. Ogilvy and made the post-mortem. His steely grey eyes were fixed with a frank stare on each witness as he detailed his story; and from time to time he gave a little satisfied gasp, when anything went obviously against the prisoner's chances. Jerry was too much occupied, however, for the most part, in watching the man in the dock to have any time left for watching the doctor. Once only he raised his eyes and caught the other's. It was at a critical moment. A witness for the defence, under severe cross-examination, had just admitted a most damaging fact that told hard against Ogilvy. Then the doctor smiled. It was a sinister smile, a smile of malice, a smile of mute triumph. No one else noticed it. But Jerry Stokes, looking up, observed it with a start. A shade passed over his square face like a sudden cloud. He knew that smile well. It was a typical murderer's.

"Mind you," Jerry said to himself, as he watched the smile die away, "I don't pretend to be as smart a chap as all these crack lawyer fellows, but I'm a straight man in my way, and I know my business. If that doctor ain't got a murderer's face on his front, my name isn't Jeremiah Stokes; that's the long and the short of it."

He looked hard at the prisoner, he looked hard at the doctor. The longer and harder he looked, the more was he sure of it. He was an expert in murderers, and he knew his men. Ogilvy hadn't done it; Ogilvy couldn't do it; the doctor might; the doctor was, at any rate, a potential murderer. Not that Jerry put it to himself quite so fine as that; he contented himself with saying in his own dialect, "The doctor was one of 'em."

Evidence, however, went all against the [pg 303] prisoner, and the judge, to Jerry's immense surprise, summed up upon nothing except the evidence. Nobody in court, indeed, seemed to think of anything else. Jerry rubbed his eyes once more. He couldn't understand it. Why, they were going to hang the man on nothing at all but the paltry evidence! Professional as he was, it surprised him to find a man could swing on so little! To think that our lives should depend on such a thread! Just the gossip of nurses and the tittle-tattle of a doctor with a smile like a murderer's!


At last the jury retired to consider their verdict. But they were not long gone. The case, said everybody, was as clear as daylight. In the public opinion it was a foregone conclusion. Jerry stood aghast at that. What! hang a man merely because they thought he'd done it! And with a face like his! Why, it was sheer injustice!

The jury returned. The prisoner stood in the dock, now pale and hopeless. Only one man in court seemed to feel the slightest interest in the delivery of the verdict. And that one man was the public hangman. Everybody else knew precisely how the case would go. But Jerry Stokes still refused to believe any jury in Canada could perpetrate such an act of flagrant injustice.

"Gentlemen of the jury, do you find the prisoner, Richard Ogilvy, Guilty or Not Guilty of wilful murder?"

There was a slight rhetorical pause. Then the answer rang out, in quietly solemn tones: "We find him Guilty. That is the verdict of all of us."

Jerry Stokes held his breath. This was appalling, awful! The man was innocent. But by virtue of his office he would have to hang him!


If anybody had told Jerry Stokes the week before that he possessed an ample, unexhausted fund of natural enthusiasm, Jerry Stokes would have looked upon him as only fit for Hatwood Asylum. He was a solid, stolid, thick-headed man, was Jerry, who honestly believed in the importance of his office, and hanged men as respectably as he would have slaughtered oxen. But that incredible verdict, as it seemed to him, begot in him suddenly a fierce outburst of zeal which was all the more violent because of its utter novelty. For the first time in his life he woke up to the enthusiasm of humanity. You'll often find it so in very phlegmatic men; it takes a great deal to stir their stagnant depths; but let them once be aroused, and the storm is terrible, the fire within them burns bright with a warmth and light which astonishes everybody. For days the look on Richard Ogilvy's face, when he heard that false verdict returned against him, haunted the hangman's brain every hour of the twenty-four. He lay awake on his bed and shuddered to think of it. Come what might, that man must never be hanged. And, please heaven, Jerry added, they should never hang him.

The sentence, Canadian fashion, was for six clear weeks. And at the end of that time, unless anything should turn up meanwhile to prevent it, it would be Jerry's duty to hang the man he believed to be innocent.

For all those years, Jerry had stolidly and soberly hanged whomever he was bid, taking it for granted the law was always in the right, and that the men on whom he operated were invariably malefactors. But now, a great horror possessed his soul. The revulsion was terrible. This one gross miscarriage of justice, as it seemed to him, raised doubts at the same time in his [pg 304] startled soul as to the rightfulness of all his previous hangings. Had he been in the habit of doing innocent men to death for years? Was the law, then, always so painfully fallible? Could it go wrong in all the dignity of its unsullied ermine? Jerry could hang the guilty without one pang of remorse. But to hang the innocent!—he drew himself up; that was altogether a different matter.

Yet what could he do? A petition? Impossible! Never within his memory could Jerry recollect so perfect a unanimity of public opinion in favour of a sentence. A petition was useless. Not a soul would sign it. Everybody was satisfied. Let Ogilvy swing! The very women would have lynched the man if they could have caught him at the first. And now that he was to be hanged, they were heartily glad of it.

Still, there is nothing to spur a man on in a hopeless cause like the feeling that you stand alone and unaided. Jerry Stokes saw all the world was for hanging Ogilvy—with the strange and solitary exception of the public hangman. And what did the public hangman's opinion count in such a case? As Jerry Stokes well knew, rather less than nothing.

Day after day wore away, and the papers were full of "the convict Ogilvy." Would he confess, or would he not? that was now the question. Every second night the Toronto papers had a special edition with a "Rumoured Confession of the Napanee Murderer," and every second morning they had a telegram direct from Kingston jail to contradict it. Not a doubt seemed to remain with anybody as to the convict's guilt. But the papers reiterated daily the same familiar phrase, "Ogilvy persists to the end in maintaining his innocence."

Jerry had read these words a hundred times before, about other prisoners, with a gentle smile of cynical incredulity; he read them now with blank amazement and horror at the callousness of a world which could hang an innocent man without appeal or inquiry.

Time ran on, and the eve of the execution arrived at last. Something must be done: and Jerry did it. That night he sat long in his room by himself, in the unwonted throes of literary composition. He was writing a letter—a letter of unusual length and surprising earnestness. It cost him dear, that epistle; with his dictionary by his side, he stopped many times to think, and bit his penholder to fibre. But he wrote none the less with fiery indignation, and in a fever of moral zeal that positively astonished himself. Then he copied it out clean on a separate sheet, and folded the letter when done, with a prayer in his heart. It was a prayer for mercy on a condemned criminal—by the public hangman.


After that he stuck a stamp on with trembling fingers, and posted it himself at the main office.

All that night long Jerry lay awake and thought about the execution. As a rule, executions troubled his rest very little. But then, he had never before had to hang an innocent man—at least he hoped not—though his faith in the law had received a severe shock, and he trembled to think now what judicial murders he might have helped in his time unconsciously to consummate.

Next morning early, at the appointed hour, Jerry Stokes presented himself at Kingston jail. The sheriff was there, and the chaplain, and the prisoner. Ogilvy looked at him hard with a shrinking look of horror. Jerry had seen that look, too, a hundred times before, and disregarded it utterly: it was only the natural objection [pg 305] of a condemned criminal to the constitutional officer appointed to operate on him. But this time it cut the man to the very quick. That an innocent fellow-creature should regard him like that was indeed unendurable, especially when he, the public hangman, was the only soul on earth who believed in his innocence!

The chaplain stood forward and read the usual prayers. The condemned man repeated them after him in a faltering voice. As he finished, the sheriff turned with a grave face to Jerry. "Do your duty," he said. And Jerry stared at him stolidly.

"Sheriff," he began at last, after a very long pause, bracing himself up for an effort, "I've done my duty all my life till this, and I'll do it now. There ain't going to be no execution at all here this morning!"

The sheriff gazed at him astonished.

"What do you mean, Stokes?" he asked, taken aback at this sudden turn. "No reprieve has come. The prisoner is to be hanged without fail to-day in accordance with his sentence. It says so in the warrant: 'wherein fail not at your peril.'"

Jerry looked round him with an air of expectation. "No reprieve hasn't come yet," he answered, in a stolid way; "but I'm expecting one presently. I've done my duty all my life, sheriff, I tell you, and I'll do it now. I ain't a-going to hang this man at all—because I know he's innocent."


The prisoner gasped, and turned round to him in amaze. "Yes, I'm innocent!" he said slowly, looking him over from head to foot; "but you—how do you know it?"

"I know it by your face," Jerry answered sturdily; "and I know by the other one's face it was him that did it."

The sheriff looked on in puzzled wonderment. This was a hitch in the proceedings he had never expected. "Your conduct is most irregular, Stokes," he said at last, stroking his chin in his embarrassment; "most irregular and disconcerting. If you had a conscientious scruple against hanging the prisoner, you should have told us before. Then we might have arranged for some other executioner to serve in your place. As it is, the delay is most unseemly and painful: especially for the prisoner. Your action can only cause him unnecessary [pg 306] suspense. Sooner or later this morning, somebody must hang him."

But Jerry only looked back at him with an approving nod. The sheriff had supplied him, all inarticulate that he was, with suitable speech. "Ah, that's just it, don't you see," he made answer promptly, "it's a conscientious scruple. That's why I won't hang him. No man can't be expected to go agin his conscience. I never hanged an innocent man yet—least-ways not to my knowledge; and s'help me heaven, I won't hang one now, not for the Queen nor for nobody!"

The sheriff paused. The sheriff deliberated. "What on earth am I to do?" he exclaimed, in despair. "If you won't hang him, how on earth at this hour can I secure a substitute?"

Jerry stared at him stolidly once more, after his wont. "If I don't hang him," he answered, with the air of one who knows his ground well, "it's your business to do it with your own hands. 'Wherein fail not at your peril.' And I give you warning beforehand, sheriff, if you do hang him—why, you'll have to remember all your life long that you helped to get rid of an innocent man, when the common hangman refused to execute him!"

To such a pitch of indignation was he roused by events that he said it plump out, just so, "the common hangman." Rather than let his last appeal lack aught of effectiveness in the cause of justice, he consented so to endorse the public condemnation of his own respectable, useful, and necessary calling!

There was a pause of a few minutes, during which the sheriff once more halted and hesitated; the prisoner looked around with a pale and terrified air; and Jerry kept his eye fixed hard on the gate, like one who really expects a reprieve or a pardon.

"Then you absolutely refuse?" the sheriff asked at last, in a despairing sort of way.

"I absolutely refuse," Jerry answered, in a very decided tone. But it was clear he was beginning to grow anxious and nervous.

"In that case," the sheriff replied, turning round to the jailor, "I must put off this execution for half an hour, till I can get someone else to come in and assist me."

Hardly had he spoken the words, however, when a policeman appeared at the door of the courtyard, and in a very hurried voice asked eagerly to be admitted. His manner was that of a man who brings important news. "The execution's not over, sir?" he said, turning to the sheriff with a very scared face. "Well, thank heaven for that! Dr. Wade's outside, and he says, for God's sake, he must speak at once with you."

The sheriff hesitated. He hardly knew what to do. "Bring him in," he said at last, after a solemn pause. "He may have something to tell us that will help us out of this difficulty."

The condemned man, thus momentarily respited on the very brink of the grave, stood by with a terrible look of awed suspense upon his bloodless face. But Jerry Stokes' lips bore an expression of quiet triumph. He had succeeded in his attempt, then. He had brought his man to book. That was something to be proud of. Alone he had done it! He [pg 307] had saved the innocent and exposed the guilty!

As they stood there and pondered, each man in silence, on his own private thoughts, the policeman returned, bringing with him the doctor whose evidence had weighed most against Ogilvy at the trial. Jerry Stokes started to see the marvellous alteration in the fellow's face. He was pale and haggard; his lips were parched; and his eyes had a sunken and hollow look with remorse and horror. Cold sweat stood on his brow. His mouth twitched horribly. It was clear he had just passed through a terrible crisis.


He turned first to Jerry. His lips were bloodless, and trembled as he spoke; his throat was dry; but in a husky voice he still managed to deliver himself of the speech that haunted him. "Your letter did it," he said slowly, fixing his eyes on the hangman; "I couldn't stand that. It broke me down utterly. All night long I lay awake and knew I had sent him to the gallows in my place. It was terrible—terrible! But I wouldn't give way: I'd made up my mind, and I meant to pull through with it. Then the morning came—the morning of the execution, and with it your letter. Till that moment I thought nobody knew but myself. I wasn't even suspected. When I saw you knew, I could stand it no longer. You said: 'If you let this innocent man swing in your place, I, the common hangman, will refuse to execute him. If he dies, I'll avenge him. I'll hound you to your grave. I'll follow up clues till I've brought your crime home to you. Don't commit two murders instead of one. It'll do you no good, and be worse in the end for you.' When I read those words—those terrible words!—from the common hangman, 'Ah, heaven!' I thought, 'I need try to conceal it no longer.' All's up now. I've come to confess. Thank heaven I'm in time! Sheriff, let this man go. It was I who poisoned her!"

There was a dead silence again for several seconds. Jerry Stokes was the first of them all to break it. "I knew it," he said solemnly. "I was sure of it. I could have sworn to it."

"And I am sure of it, too," the condemned man put in, with tremulous lips. "I was sure it was he; but how on earth was I to prove it?"

The sheriff looked about him at all three in turn. "Well," he said deliberately, with a sigh of relief, "I must telegraph for instructions to Ottawa immediately. Prisoner, you are not reprieved; but under these peculiar circumstances, as Dr. Wade makes a voluntary confession of having committed the crime himself, I defer the execution for the present on my own responsibility. Jailer, I remit Mr. Ogilvy to the cells till further instructions arrive from the Viceroy. Policeman, take charge of Dr. Wade, who gives himself into custody for the murder of Mrs. Ogilvy. Stokes, perhaps you did right after all. Ten minutes' delay made all the difference. If you'd consented to hang the prisoner at first, this confession might only have come after all was over."

The doctor turned to Jerry, with the wan ghost of a grim smile upon his worn and pallid face. The marks of a great struggle were still visible in every line. "And you won't be baulked of your fee, after all," he added, with a ghastly effort at cynical calmness; "for you'll have me to hang before you have seen the end of this business."

But Jerry shook his head. "I ain't so sure about that," he said, scratching his thick, bullet poll, and holding his great square neck a little on one side. "I ain't so sure of my trade as I used to be once, sheriff and gentlemen. I always used to hold it was a useful, a respectable, and a necessary trade, and of benefit to the community. But I've began to doubt it. If the law can string up an innocent man like this, and no appeal, except for the exertions of the public executioner, why, I've began to doubt the expediency, so to speak, of capital punishment. I ain't so certain as I was about the usefulness of hanging. Dr. Wade, I think somebody else may have the turning of you off. Mr. Ogilvy, I'm glad, sir, it was me that had the hanging of you. An unscrupulous man might ha' gone for his fee. I couldn't do that: I gone for justice. Give me your hand, sir. Thank you. You needn't be ashamed of shaking hands once in a way with a public functionary—especially when it's for the last time in his official career. Sheriff, I've had enough of this 'ere work for life. I go back to the lumbering trade. I resign my appointment."

It was a great speech for Jerry—an oratorical effort. But a prouder or happier man there wasn't in Kingston that day than Jeremiah Stokes, late public executioner.

The Piece of Gold.

From the French of François Coppée.

[François Coppée, who was born in January, 1842, is known chiefly as a poet, and is, indeed, considered by some critics as the greatest poet now alive in France. For many years he acted as librarian to the Senate, but since 1878 he has held the post of Keeper of the Records at the Comédie-Française, at which theatre several of his plays have been produced. His poems have gained for him the glory of the Legion of Honour; but his short prose tales are full of the same fine qualities which are conspicuous in his verse.]



WHEN Lucien Hem saw his last hundred-franc note gripped by the bank-keeper's rake, and rose from the roulette-table, where he had lost the last fragments of his little fortune, collected for this supreme struggle, he felt giddy, and thought he was going to fall.

With dizzy head and tottering legs, he went and threw himself down upon the broad leathern settee surrounding the play-table.


For some minutes he gazed vacantly on the clandestine gambling-house in which he had squandered the best years of his youth; recognised the ravaged faces of the gamblers, crudely lit by the three large shaded lamps; listened to the light jingle of gold on the cloth-covered table; felt that he was ruined, lost; recollected that he had at home the pair of regulation pistols which his father, General Hem, then a simple captain, had used so well in the attack of Zaatcha; then, overcome by fatigue, he sank into a profound sleep.

When he arose, with a clammy mouth, he saw by the clock that he had slept for barely half an hour, and felt an imperious need for breathing the night air. The clock-hands marked a quarter before midnight. While rising and stretching his arms, Lucien remembered that it was Christmas Eve, and, by an ironic trick of memory, he saw himself a little child, putting its shoes into the chimney before going to bed.

At that moment old Dronski—a pillar of the gaming house, the classic Pole, wearing the threadbare hooded woollen cloak, ornamented all over with grease stains—approached Lucien, and muttered a few words in his grizzled beard: "Lend me a five-franc piece, monsieur. It's now two days since I have stirred out of the club, and for two days the 'seventeen' has never turned up. Laugh at me, if you like, but I'll suffer my hand to be cut off if that number does not turn up on the stroke of midnight."

Lucien Hem shrugged his shoulders. He had not even enough in his pocket to meet this tax, which the frequenters of the place called "The Pole's hundred sous." He passed into the antechamber, took his hat and fur coat, and descended the stairs with feverish rapidity.

Since four o'clock, when Lucien had shut himself up in the gaming-house, snow had fallen heavily, and the street—a street in the [pg 309] centre of Paris, very narrow, and built with high houses on either side—was completely white.

In the calm sky, blue-black, the cold stars glittered.

The ruined gambler shuddered under his furs, and walked away, his mind still teeming with thoughts of despair, and more than ever turning to the remembrance of the box of pistols which awaited him in one of his drawers; but after moving forward a few steps, he stopped suddenly before a heart-wringing sight.

On a stone bench, placed according to old custom near the monumental door of a mansion, a little girl of six or seven years of age, dressed in a ragged black frock, was sitting in the snow. She was sleeping, in spite of the cruel cold, in an attitude of frightful fatigue and exhaustion: her poor little head and tiny shoulder pressed as if they had sunk into an angle of the wall, and reposing on the icy stone. One of her wooden shoes had fallen from her foot, which hung helplessly and lugubriously before her.

With a mechanical gesture, Lucien put his hand to his waistcoat pocket, but a moment afterwards he recollected that he had not been able to find even a forgotten piece of twenty-sous, and had been obliged to leave the club without giving the customary "tip" to the club attendant; yet, moved by an instinctive feeling of pity, he approached the little girl, and might, perhaps, have taken her in his arms and given her a night's lodging, when in the wooden shoe which had slipped from her foot he saw something glitter.

He stooped: it was a gold coin.


Some charitable person, doubtless some lady, had passed by, had seen on this Christmas night the little wooden shoe lying in front of the sleeping child, and, recalling the touching legend, had placed there, with a secret hand, a magnificent offering, so that this poor abandoned one might believe in presents made for the infant Saviour, and preserve, in spite of her misfortune, some confidence and some hope in the goodness of Providence.

A gold piece! It was several days of rest and riches for the beggar, and Lucien was on the point of waking her to tell her this, when he heard near his ear, as in an hallucination, a voice—the voice of the Pole, with its coarse drawling accent, almost whispering: "It's now two days since I stirred out of the club, and for two days the 'seventeen' has never turned up; I'll suffer my hand to be cut off, if that number does not turn up on the stroke of midnight."


Then this young man of three-and-twenty, descended from a race of honest men, who bore a proud military name, and who had never swerved from the path of honour, conceived a frightful idea; he was seized with a mad, hysterical, monstrous desire. After glancing on all sides, to make sure that he was alone in the deserted street, he bent his knee, and carefully out-stretching his trembling hand, he stole the gold piece from the fallen shoe!

Hurrying then, with all his speed, he returned to the gambling-house, scaled the [pg 310] stairs two and three at a stride, and entering the accursed play-room as the first stroke of midnight was sounding, placed the piece of gold on the green cloth, and cried:—

"I stake on the seventeen!"

The seventeen won.

With a turn of the hand Lucien pushed the thirty-six louis on to the "red."

The "red" won.

He left the seventy-two louis on the same colour; the "red" again won.


Twice he "doubled"—three times—always with the same success. He had now before him a pile of gold and notes, and began to scatter stakes all over the board; the "dozen," the "column," the "number," all the combinations succeeded with him. His luck was unheard of, supernatural. It might have been imagined that the little ivory ball dancing in the roulette was magnetised, fascinated by the eyes of this player and obedient to him. In a dozen stakes he had recovered the few wretched thousand-franc notes, his last resources, which he had lost at the beginning of the evening.

Now, punting with two or three hundred louis at a time, and aided by his fantastic vein of luck, he was on the way to regaining, and more besides, the hereditary capital he had squandered in so few years, and reconstituting his fortune.

In his eagerness to return to the gaming-table, he had not taken off his fur coat. Already he had crammed the large pockets with bundles of notes and rouleaux of gold pieces; and, not knowing where to heap his winnings, he now loaded the inner and exterior pockets of his frock-coat, the pockets of his waistcoat and trousers, his cigar-case, his handkerchief—everything that could be made to hold his money.

And still he played, and still he won, like a madman, like a drunken man! And he threw handfuls of louis on to the "picture," at hazard, with a gesture of certainty and disdain!

Only something like a red-hot iron was in his heart, and he thought of nothing but of the little mendicant sleeping in the snow whom he had robbed.

"Is she still at the same spot! Surely she must be still there! Presently—yes, when one o'clock strikes—I swear it! I will quit this place. I will take her sleeping in my arms and carry her to my home; I will put her into my warm bed; I will bring her up, give her a dowry, love her as if she were my own daughter, care for her always, always!"


But the clock struck one, and then a quarter, and then a half, and then three-quarters.

And Lucien was still seated at the infernal table.

At length, one minute before two o'clock, the keeper of the bank rose abruptly, and said in a loud voice:

"The bank is broken, gentlemen—enough for to-day."

With a bound Lucien was on his feet. Roughly pushing aside the gamblers who surrounded him and regarded him with envious admiration, he hurried away quickly, sprang down the stairs and ran all [pg 311] the way to the stone bench. In the distance, by the light of a lamp, he saw the little girl.

"God be praised!" he said; "she is still there."

He approached her, he took her hands.

"Oh! how cold she is, poor little one!"

He took her under the arms and raised her, so that he might carry her; her head fell back without her awaking.

"How soundly children of her age sleep!"

He pressed her against his bosom to warm her, and, seized by a vague inquietude, and, with a view to rousing her out of this heavy slumber, he kissed her eyelids.

Then it was that he perceived with terror that these eyelids were half open, showing half the eyeballs—glassy, lightless, motionless. Upon his brain flashed a horrible suspicion. He placed his mouth close to that of the little girl; no breath came from it.

While with the gold piece which he had stolen from this mendicant, Lucien had won a fortune at the gaming table, the homeless child had died—died of cold!


Seized by the throat by the most frightful of agonies, Lucien tried to utter a cry, and, in the effort which he made, awoke from his nightmare on the club settee, on which he had gone to sleep a little before midnight, and where the attendant who had quitted the house last had left him out of charity.

The misty dawn of a December morning was greying the window-panes.

Lucien went out into the street, pledged his watch, took a bath, breakfasted, and then went to the recruiting-office, and signed an engagement as volunteer in the 1st Regiment of Chasseurs d'Afrique.

At the present time Lucien Hem is a lieutenant; he has only his pay to live upon, but he contrives to make it suffice, being a very steady officer and never touching a card. It appears even that he has found the means of saving, for the other day, at Algiers, one of his comrades who was following him, at a few paces distant, in one of the hilly streets of the Kasba, saw him give something in charity to a little Spanish girl sleeping in a doorway, and had the indiscretion to see what it was that Lucien had given to the child.

Great was his surprise at the poor lieutenant's generosity.

Lucien Hem had put into the hand of the poor child a piece of gold!

The Voice of Science.


MRS. ESDAILE, of the Lindens, Birchespool, was a lady of quite remarkable scientific attainments. As honorary secretary of the ladies' branch of the local Eclectic Society, she shone with a never-failing brilliance. It was even whispered that on the occasion of the delivery of Professor Tomlinson's suggestive lecture "On the Perigenesis of the Plastidule" she was the only woman in the room who could follow the lecturer even as far as the end of his title. In the seclusion of the Lindens she supported Darwin, laughed at Mivart, doubted Haeckel, and shook her head at Weissman, with a familiarity which made her the admiration of the University professors and the terror of the few students who ventured to cross her learned but hospitable threshold. Mrs. Esdaile had, of course, detractors. It is the privilege of exceptional merit. There were bitter feminine whispers as to the cramming from encyclopædias and text-books which preceded each learned meeting, and as to the care with which in her own house the conversation was artfully confined to those particular channels with which the hostess was familiar. Tales there were, too, of brilliant speeches written out in some masculine hand, which had been committed to memory by the ambitious lady, and had afterwards flashed out as extempore elucidations of some dark, half-explored corner of modern science. It was even said that these little blocks of information got jumbled up occasionally in their bearer's mind, so that after an entomological lecture she would burst into a geological harangue, or vice versâ, to the great confusion of her audience. So ran the gossip of the malicious, but those who knew her best were agreed that she was a very charming and clever little person.


It would have been a strange thing had Mrs. Esdaile not been popular among local scientists, for her pretty house, her charming grounds, and all the hospitality which an income of two thousand a year will admit of, were always at their command. On her pleasant lawns in the summer, and round her drawing-room fire in the winter, there was much high talk of microbes, and leucocytes, and sterilised bacteria, where thin, ascetic materialists from the University upheld the importance of this life against round, comfortable champions of orthodoxy from the Cathedral Close. And in the heat of thrust and parry, when scientific proof ran full tilt against inflexible faith, a word from the clever widow, or an opportune rattle over the keys by her pretty daughter Rose, would bring all back to harmony once more.

Rose Esdaile had just passed her twentieth year, and was looked upon as one of the beauties of Birchespool. Her face was, perhaps, a trifle long for perfect symmetry, but her eyes were fine, her expression kindly, and her complexion beautiful. It was an open secret, too, that she had under her father's will five hundred a year in her own right. With such advantages a far plainer girl than Rose Esdaile might create a stir in the society of a provincial town.

A scientific conversazione in a private house is an onerous thing to organise, yet mother and daughter had not shrunk from the task. On the morning of which I write, they sat together surveying [pg 313] their accomplished labours, with the pleasant feeling that nothing remained to be done save to receive the congratulations of their friends. With the assistance of Rupert, the son of the house, they had assembled from all parts of Birchespool objects of scientific interest, which now adorned the long tables in the drawing-room. Indeed, the full tide of curiosities of every sort which had swelled into the house had overflowed the rooms devoted to the meeting, and had surged down the broad stairs to invade the dining-room and the passage. The whole villa had become a museum. Specimens of the flora and fauna of the Philippine Islands, a ten-foot turtle carapace from the Gallapagos, the os frontis of the Bos montis as shot by Captain Charles Beesly in the Thibetan Himalayas, the bacillus of Koch cultivated on gelatine—these and a thousand other such trophies adorned the tables upon which the two ladies gazed that morning.

"You've really managed it splendidly, ma," said the young lady, craning her neck up to give her mother a congratulatory kiss. "It was so brave of you to undertake it."

"I think that it will do," purred Mrs. Esdaile complacently. "But I do hope that the phonograph will work without a hitch. You know at the last meeting of the British Association I got Professor Standerton to repeat into it his remarks on the life history of the Medusiform Gonophore."

"How funny it seems," exclaimed Rose, glancing at the square box-like apparatus, which stood in the post of honour on the central table, "to think that this wood and metal will begin to speak just like a human being."

"Hardly that, dear. Of course the poor thing can say nothing except what is said to it. You always know exactly what is coming. But I do hope that it will work all right."

"Rupert will see to it when he comes up from the garden. He understands all about them. Oh, ma, I feel so nervous."

Mrs. Esdaile looked anxiously down at her daughter, and passed her hand caressingly over her rich brown hair. "I understand," she said, in her soothing, cooing voice, "I understand."

"He will expect an answer to-night, ma."

"Follow your heart, child. I am sure that I have every confidence in your good sense and discretion. I would not dictate to you upon such a matter."

"You are so good, ma. Of course, as Rupert says, we really know very little of Charles—of Captain Beesly. But then, ma, all that we do know is in his favour."

"Quite so, dear. He is musical, and well-informed, and good-humoured, and certainly extremely handsome. It is clear, too, from what he says, that he has moved in the very highest circles."

"The best in India, ma. He was an intimate friend of the Governor-General's. You heard yourself what he said yesterday about the D'Arcies, and Lady Gwendoline Fairfax, and Lord Montague Grosvenor."

"Well, dear," said Mrs. Esdaile resignedly, "you are old enough to know your own mind. I shall not attempt to dictate to you. I own that my own hopes were set upon Professor Stares."

"Oh, ma, think how dreadfully ugly he is."

"But think of his reputation, dear. Little more than thirty, and a member of the Royal Society."

"I couldn't, ma. I don't think I could, if there was not another man in the world. But, oh, I do feel so nervous; for you can't think how earnest he is. I must give him an answer to-night. But they will be here in an hour. Don't you think that we had better go to our rooms?"

The two ladies had risen, when there came a quick masculine step upon the stairs, and a brisk young fellow, with curly black hair, dashed into the room.

"All ready?" he asked, running his eyes over the lines of relic-strewn tables.

"All ready, dear," answered his mother.

"Oh, I am glad to catch you together," said he, with his hands buried deeply in his trouser pockets, and an uneasy expression on his face. "There's one thing that I wanted to speak to you about. Look here, Rosie; a bit of fun is all very well; but you wouldn't be such a little donkey to think seriously of this fellow Beesly?"

"My dear Rupert, do try to be a little less abrupt," said Mrs. Esdaile, with a deprecating hand outstretched.

"I can't help seeing how they have been thrown together. I don't want to be unkind, Rosie; but I can't stand by and see you wreck your life for a man who has nothing to recommend him but his eyes and his moustache. Do be a sensible girl, Rosie, and have nothing to say to him."

"It is surely a point, Rupert, upon which [pg 314] I am more fitted to decide than you can be," remarked Mrs. Esdaile, with dignity.

"No, mater, for I have been able to make some inquiries. Young Cheffington, of the Gunners, knew him in India. He says—"

But his sister broke in upon his revelations. "I won't stay here, ma, to hear him slandered behind his back," she cried, with spirit. "He has never said anything that was not kind of you, Rupert, and I don't know why you should attack him so. It is cruel, unbrotherly." With a sweep and a whisk she was at the door, her cheek flushed, her eyes sparkling, her bosom heaving with this little spurt of indignation, while close at her heels walked her mother with soothing words, and an angry glance thrown back over her shoulder. Rupert Esdaile stood with his hands burrowing deeper and deeper into his pockets, and his shoulders rising higher and higher to his ears, feeling intensely guilty, and yet not certain whether he should blame himself for having said too much or for not having said enough.


Just in front of him stood the table on which the phonograph, with wires, batteries, and all complete, stood ready for the guests whom it was to amuse. Slowly his hands emerged from his pockets as his eye fell upon the apparatus, and with languid curiosity he completed the connection, and started the machine. A pompous, husky sound, as of a man clearing his throat proceeded from the instrument, and then in high, piping tones, thin but distinct, the commencement of the celebrated scientist's lecture. "Of all the interesting problems," remarked the box, "which are offered to us by recent researches into the lower orders of marine life, there is none to exceed the retrograde metamorphosis which characterises the common barnacle. The differentiation of an amorphous protoplasmic mass—" Here Rupert Esdaile broke the connection again, and the funny little [pg 315] tinkling voice ceased as suddenly as it began.

The young man stood smiling, looking down at this garrulous piece of wood and metal, when suddenly the smile broadened, and a light of mischief danced up into his eyes. He slapped his thigh, and danced round in the ecstasy of one who has stumbled on a brand-new brilliant idea. Very carefully he drew forth the slips of metal which recorded the learned Professor's remarks, and laid them aside for future use. Into the slots he thrust virgin plates, all ready to receive an impression, and then, bearing the phonograph under his arm, he vanished into his own sanctum. Five minutes before the first guests had arrived the machine was back upon the table, and all ready for use.

There could be no question of the success of Mrs. Esdaile's conversazione. From first to last everything went admirably. People stared through microscopes, and linked hands for electric shocks, and marvelled at the Gallapagos turtle, the os frontis of the Bos montis, and all the other curiosities which Mrs. Esdaile had taken such pains to collect. Groups formed and chatted round the various cases. The Dean of Birchespool listened with a protesting lip, while Professor Maunders held forth upon a square of triassic rock, with side-thrusts occasionally at the six days of orthodox creation; a knot of specialists disputed over a stuffed ornithorhynchus in a corner; while Mrs. Esdaile swept from group to group, introducing, congratulating, laughing, with the ready, graceful tact of a clever woman of the world. By the window sat the heavily-moustached Captain Beesly, with the daughter of the house, and they discussed a problem of their own, as old as the triassic rock, and perhaps as little understood.

"But I must really go and help my mother to entertain, Captain Beesly," said Rose at last, with a little movement as if to rise.

"Don't go, Rose. And don't call me Captain Beesly; call me Charles. Do, now!"

"Well, then, Charles."

Call me Charles. Do now.

"How prettily it sounds from your lips! No, now, don't go. I can't bear to be away from you. I had heard of love, Rose; but how strange it seems that I, after spending my life amid all that is sparkling and gay, should only find out [pg 316] now, in this little provincial town, what love really is!"

"You say so; but it is only a passing fancy."

"No, indeed. I shall never leave you, Rose—never, unless you drive me away from your side. And you would not be so cruel—you would not break my heart?"

He had very plaintive, blue eyes, and there was such a depth of sorrow in them as he spoke that Rose could have wept for sympathy.

"I should be very sorry to cause you grief in any way," she said, in a faltering tone.

"Then promise——"

"No, no; we cannot speak of it just now, and they are collecting round the phonograph. Do come and listen to it. It is so funny. Have you ever heard one?"


"It will amuse you immensely. And I am sure that you would never guess what it is going to talk about."

"What then?"

"Oh, I won't tell you. You shall hear. Let us have these chairs by the open door; it is so nice and cool."

The company had formed an expectant circle round the instrument. There was a subdued hush as Rupert Esdaile made the connection, while his mother waved her white hand slowly from left to right to mark the cadence of the sonorous address which was to break upon their ears.

"How about Lucy Araminta Pennyfeather?" cried a squeaky little voice. There was a rustle and a titter among the audience. Rupert glanced across at Captain Beesly. He saw a drooping jaw, two protruding eyes, and a face the colour of cheese.


[pg 317] "How about little Martha Hovedean of the Kensal Choir Union?" cried the piping voice.

Louder still rose the titters. Mrs. Esdaile stared about her in bewilderment. Rose burst out laughing, and the Captain's jaw drooped lower still, with a tinge of green upon the cheese-like face.

"Who was it who hid the ace in the artillery card-room at Peshawur? Who was it who was broke in consequence? Who was it——?"

"Good gracious!" cried Mrs. Esdaile, "what nonsense is this? The machine is out of order. Stop it, Rupert. These are not the Professor's remarks. But, dear me, where is our friend Captain Beesly gone?"

"I am afraid that he is not very well, ma," said Rose. "He rushed out of the room."

"There can't be much the matter," quoth Rupert. "There he goes, cutting down the avenue as fast as his legs will carry him. I do not think, somehow, that we shall see the Captain again. But I must really apologise. I have put in the wrong slips. These, I fancy, are those which belong to Professor Standerton's lecture."

Rose Esdaile has become Rose Stares now, and her husband is one of the most rising scientists in the provinces. No doubt she is proud of his intellect and of his growing fame, but there are times when she still gives a thought to the blue-eyed Captain, and marvels at the strange and sudden manner in which he deserted her.


From the French of Alfred de Musset.

[Alfred de Musset was born in the middle of old Paris, in the year 1810. Musset is the Byron of the French; but at the age when Byron was playing cricket in the grounds of Harrow, Alfred and his brother Paul were poring day and night over old romances, and dressing themselves up as knights and robbers, to represent the characters of whom they read. At nineteen he began to write, and, unlike Byron, his first book of poems was a complete success. At twenty-three he went to Italy, in the capacity of George Sand's private secretary, fell passionately in love with her, was jilted, and returned home broken-hearted. This, however, did not prevent him from falling in love, and out again, like Byron, at constant intervals throughout his life, and celebrating the event in verses infinitely sweet and bitter. From Louis Philippe, who had been his school-fellow, he received the post of Librarian to the Minister of the Interior, which, however, he lost at the Revolution of 1848. In 1852 he was elected to the French Academy; but, though only forty-two, his health was already breaking. Like Byron, who loved to write at midnight with a glass of gin-and-water at his elbow, Musset used to prime himself with draughts of the still deadlier absinthe. He sank, and died in May, 1857, leaving the greatest name of all French poets except Victor Hugo, and a reputation as a writer of prose stories which may be very fairly estimated by the specimen which follows—the charming little story of "Camille."]



THE Chevalier des Arcis was a cavalry officer who, having quitted the service in 1760, while still young, retired to a country house near Mans. Shortly after, he married the daughter of a retired merchant who lived in the neighbourhood, and this marriage appeared for a time to be an exceedingly happy one. Cécile's relatives were worthy folk who, enriched by means of hard work, were now, in their latter years, enjoying a continual Sunday. The Chevalier, weary of the artificial manners of Versailles, entered gladly into their simple pleasures. Cécile had an excellent uncle, named Giraud, who had been a master-bricklayer, but had risen by degrees to the position of architect, and now owned considerable property. The Chevalier's house (which was named Chardonneux) was much to Giraud's taste, and he was there a frequent and ever welcome visitor.

By and by a lovely little girl was born to the Chevalier and Cécile, and great at first was the jubilation of the parents. But a painful shock was in store for them. They soon made the terrible discovery that their little Camille was deaf, and, consequently, also dumb!


The mother's first thought was of cure, but this hope was reluctantly abandoned; no cure could be found. At the time of which we are writing, there existed a pitiless prejudice against those poor creatures whom we style deaf mutes. A few noble spirits, it is true, had protested against this barbarity. A Spanish monk of the sixteenth century was the first to devise means of teaching the dumb to speak without words—a thing until then deemed impossible. His example had been followed at different times in Italy, England, and France, by Bonnet, Wallis, Bulwer, and Van Helmont, and a little good had been done here and there. Still, however, even at Paris, deaf mutes were generally regarded as beings set apart, marked with the brand of Divine displeasure. Deprived of speech, the power of thought was denied them, and they inspired more horror than pity.

A dark shadow crept over the happiness of Camille's parents. A sudden, silent estrangement—worse than divorce, crueller than death—grew up between them. For the mother passionately loved her afflicted child, while the Chevalier, despite all the efforts prompted by his kind heart, could not overcome the repugnance with which her affliction affected him.

The mother spoke to her child by signs, and she alone could make herself understood. Every other inmate of the house, even her father, was a stranger to Camille. The mother of Madame des Arcis—a woman of no tact—never ceased to deplore loudly the misfortune that had befallen her daughter and son-in-law. "Better that she had never been born!" she exclaimed one day.

[pg 319] "What would you have done, then, had I been thus?" asked Cécile indignantly.

To Uncle Giraud his great-niece's dumbness seemed no such tremendous misfortune. "I have had," said he, "such a talkative wife that I regard everything else as a less evil. This little woman will never speak or hear bad words, never aggravate the whole household by humming opera airs, will never quarrel, never awake when her husband coughs, or rises early to look after his workmen. She will see clearly, for the deaf have good eyes. She will be pretty and intelligent, and make no noise. Were I young, I would like to marry her; being old, I will adopt her as my daughter whenever you are tired of her."

For a moment the sad parents were cheered by Uncle Giraud's bright talk. But the cloud soon re-descended upon them.


In course of time the little girl grew into a big one. Nature completed successfully, but faithfully, her task. The Chevalier's feelings towards Camille had, unfortunately, undergone no change. Her mother still watched over her tenderly, and never left her, observing anxiously her slightest actions, her every sign of interest in life.

When Camille's young friends were of an age to receive the first instructions of a governess, the poor child began to realise the difference between herself and others. The child of a neighbour had a severe governess. Camille, who was present one [pg 320] day at a spelling-lesson, regarded her little comrade with surprise, following her efforts with her eyes, seeking, as it were, to aid her, and crying when she was scolded. Especially were the music-lessons puzzling to Camille.

The evening prayers, which the neighbour used regularly with her children, were another enigma for the girl. She knelt with her friends, and joined her hands without knowing wherefore. The Chevalier considered this a profanation; not so his wife. As Camille advanced in age, she became possessed of a passion—as it were by a holy instinct—for the churches which she beheld. "When I was a child I saw not God, I saw only the sky," is the saying of a deaf mute. A religious procession, a coarse, gaudily bedizened image of the Virgin, a choir boy in a shabby surplice, whose voice was all unheard by Camille—who knows what simple means will serve to raise the eyes of a child? And what matters it, so long as the eyes are raised?


Camille was petite, with a white skin, and long black hair, and graceful movements. She was swift to understand her mother's wishes, prompt to obey them. So much grace and beauty, joined to so much misfortune, were most disturbing to the Chevalier. He would frequently embrace the girl in an excited manner, exclaiming aloud: "I am not yet a wicked man!"

At the end of the garden there was a wooded walk, to which the Chevalier was in the habit of betaking himself after breakfast. From her chamber window Madame des Arcis often watched him wistfully as he walked to and fro beneath the trees. One morning, with palpitating heart, she ventured to join him. She wished to take Camille to a juvenile ball which was to be held that evening at a neighbouring mansion. She longed to observe the effect which her daughter's beauty would produce upon the outside world and upon her husband. She had passed a sleepless night in devising Camille's toilette, and she cherished the sweetest hopes. "It must be," she told herself, "that he will be proud, and the rest jealous of the poor little one! She will say nothing, but she will be the most beautiful!"

The Chevalier welcomed his wife graciously—quite in the manner of Versailles! Their conversation commenced with the exchange of a few insignificant sentences as they walked side by side. Then a silence fell between them, while Madame des Arcis sought fitting words in which to approach her husband on the subject of Camille, and induce him to break his resolution that the child should never see the world. Meanwhile, the Chevalier was also in cogitation. He was the first to speak. He informed his wife that urgent family affairs called him to Holland, and that he ought to start not later than the following morning.

Madame understood his true motive only too easily. The Chevalier was far from contemplating the desertion of his wife, yet felt an irresistible desire, a compelling need of temporary isolation. In almost all true sorrow, man has this craving for solitude—suffering animals have it also.

His wife raised no objection to his project, but fresh grief wrung her heart. Complaining of weariness, she sank upon a seat. There she remained for a long time, lost in sad reverie. She rose at length, put her arm into that of her husband, and they returned together to the house.


The poor lady spent the afternoon quietly and prayerfully in her own room. In the evening, towards eight o'clock, she rang her bell, and ordered the horse to be put into the carriage. At the same time she sent word to the Chevalier that she intended going to the ball, and hoped that he would accompany her.

An embroidered robe of white muslin, small shoes of white satin, a necklace of American beads, a coronet of violets—such was the simple costume of Camille, who, when her mother had dressed her, jumped for joy. As Madame was embracing her child with the words, "You are beautiful! you are beautiful!" the Chevalier joined them. He gave his hand to his wife, and the three went to the ball.

As it was Camille's first appearance in public, she naturally excited a great deal of curiosity. The Chevalier suffered visibly. When his friends praised to him the beauty of his daughter, he felt that they intended to console him, and such consolation was not to his taste. Yet he could not wholly suppress some emotion of pride and joy. His feelings were strangely mixed. After having saluted by gestures almost everybody in the room, Camille was now resting by her mother's side. The general admiration grew more enthusiastic. Nothing, in fact, could have been more lovely than the envelope which held this [pg 321] poor dumb soul. Her figure, her face, her long, curling hair, above all, her eyes of incomparable lustre, surprised everyone. Her wistful looks and graceful gestures, too, were so pathetic. People crowded around Madame des Arcis, asking a thousand questions about Camille; to surprise and a slight coldness succeeded sincere kindliness and sympathy. They had never seen such a charming child; nothing resembled her, for there existed nothing else so charming as she! Camille was a complete success.


Always outwardly calm, Madame des Arcis tasted to-night the most pure and intense pleasure of her life. A smile that was exchanged between her and her husband was well worth many tears.

Presently, as the Chevalier was still gazing at his daughter, a country-dance began, which Camille watched with an earnest attention that had in it something sad. A boy invited her to join. For answer, she shook her head, causing some of the violets to fall out of her coronet. Her mother picked them up, and soon put to rights the coiffure, which was her own handiwork. Then she looked round for her husband, but he was no longer in the room. She inquired if he had left, and whether he had taken the carriage. She was told that he had gone home on foot.


The Chevalier had resolved to leave home without taking leave of his wife. He shrank from all discussion and explanation, and, as he intended to return in a short time, he believed that he should act more wisely in leaving a letter than by making a [pg 322] verbal farewell. There was some truth in his statement of that business affair calling him away, although business was not his first consideration. And now one of his friends had written to hasten his departure. Here was a good excuse. On returning alone to his house (by a much shorter route than that taken by the carriage), he announced his intention to the servants, packed in great haste, sent his light luggage on to the town, mounted his horse, and was gone.

Yet a certain misgiving troubled him, for he knew that his Cécile would be pained by his abrupt departure, although he endeavoured to persuade himself that he did this for her sake no less than for his own. However, he continued on his way.

Meanwhile, Madame des Arcis was returning in the carriage, with her daughter asleep upon her knee. She felt hurt at the Chevalier's rudeness in leaving them to return alone. It seemed such a public slight upon his wife and child! Sad forebodings filled the mother's heart as the carriage jolted slowly over the stones of a newly-made road. "God watches over all," she reflected; "over us as over others. But what shall we do? What will become of my poor child?"

At some distance from Chardonneux there was a ford to be crossed. There had been much rain for nearly a month past, causing the river to overflow its banks. The ferryman refused at first to take the carriage into his boat; he would undertake, he said, to convey the passengers and the horse safely across, but not the vehicle. The lady, anxious to rejoin her husband, would not descend. She ordered the coachman to enter the boat; it was only a transit of a few minutes, which she had made a hundred times.

In mid-stream the boat was forced by the current from its straight course. The boatman asked the coachman's aid in keeping it away from the weir. For there was not far off a mill with a weir, where the violence of the water had formed a sort of cascade. It was clear that if the boat drifted to this spot there would be a terrible accident.


The coachman descended from his seat, and worked with a will. But he had only a pole to work with, the night was dark, a fine rain blinded the men, and soon the noise of the weir announced the most imminent danger. Madame des Arcis, who had remained in the carriage, opened the window in alarm. "Are we then lost?" cried she. At that moment the pole broke. The two men fell into the boat exhausted, and with bruised hands.

The ferryman could swim, but not the [pg 323] coachman. There was no time to lose. "Père Georgeot," said Madame to the ferryman, calling him by his name, "can you save my daughter and myself?"

"Certainly!" he replied, as if almost insulted by the question.

"What must we do?" inquired Madame des Arcis.

"Place yourself upon my shoulders," replied the ferryman, "and put your arms about my neck. As for the little one, I will hold her in one hand, and swim with the other, and she shall not get drowned. It is but a short distance from here to the potatoes which grow in yonder field."

"And Jean?" asked Madame, meaning the coachman.

"Jean will be all right, I hope. If he holds on at the weir, I will return for him."

Père Georgeot struck out with his double burden, but he had over-estimated his powers. He was no longer young. The shore was farther off, the current stronger than he had thought. He struggled manfully, but was nearly swept away. Then the trunk of a willow, hidden by the water and the darkness, stopped him suddenly with a violent blow upon the forehead. Blood flowed from the wound and obscured his vision.

"Could you save my child if you had only her to convey?" asked the mother.

"I cannot tell, but I think so," said the ferryman.

The mother removed her arms from the man's neck, and let herself slip gently into the water.

When the ferryman had deposited Camille safely on terra firma, the coachman, who had been rescued by a peasant, helped him to search for the body of Madame des Arcis. It was found on the following morning, near the bank.



Camille's grief at her mother's loss was terrible to witness. She ran hither and thither, uttering wild, inarticulate cries, tearing her hair, and beating the walls. An unnatural calm succeeded these violent emotions; reason itself seemed well-nigh gone.

It was then that Uncle Giraud came to his niece's rescue. "Poor child!" said he, "she has at present neither father nor mother. With me she has always been a favourite, and I intend now to take charge of her for a time. Change of scene," said Uncle Giraud, "would do her a world of good." With the Chevalier's permission (obtained by letter), he carried off Camille to Paris. The Chevalier returned to Chardonneux, where he lived in deepest retirement, shunning every living being, a prey to grief and keen remorse.

A year passed heavily away. Uncle Giraud had as yet failed utterly to rouse Camille. She steadily refused to be interested [pg 324] in anything. At last, one day he determined to take her, nolens volens, to the opera. A new and beautiful dress was purchased for the occasion. When, attired in this, Camille saw herself in the glass, so pleased was she with the pretty picture that, to her good uncle's intense satisfaction, she actually smiled!


Camille soon wearied of the opera. All—actors, musicians, audience—seemed to say to her:—"We speak, and you cannot; we hear, laugh, sing, rejoice. You rejoice in nothing, hear nothing. You are only a statue, the simulacrum of a being, a mere looker-on at life."

When, to exclude the mocking spectacle, she closed her eyes, the scenes of her early life rose before the eyes of her mind. She returned in thought to her country home, saw again her mother's dear face. It was too much! Uncle Giraud observed, with much concern, tears rolling down her cheeks. When he would have inquired the cause of her grief, she made signs that she wished to leave. She rose, and opened the door of the box.

Just at this moment, something attracted her attention. She caught sight of a good-looking, richly-dressed young man, who was tracing letters and figures with a white pencil upon a small slate. He exhibited this slate now and then to his neighbour, a man older than himself, who evidently understood him at once, and promptly replied in the same manner. At the same time the two exchanged signs.

Camille's curiosity and interest were deeply stirred. She had already observed that this young man's lips did not move. She now saw that he spoke a language which was not the language of others, that he had found some means of expressing himself without the aid of speech—that art for her so incomprehensible and impossible. An irresistible longing to see more seized her. She leaned over the edge of the box, and watched the stranger's movements attentively. When he again wrote something upon his slate, and passed it to his companion, she made an involuntary gesture as if to take it. Whereupon the young man, [pg 325] in his turn, looked at Camille. Their eyes met, and said the same thing, "We two are in like case; we are both dumb."


Uncle Giraud brought his niece's wrap, but she no longer wished to go. She had reseated herself, and was leaning eagerly forward.

The Abbé de l'Epée was then just becoming known. Touched with pity for the deaf and dumb, this good man had invented a language that he deemed superior to that of Leibnitz. He restored deaf mutes to the ranks of their fellows by teaching them to read and write. Alone and unaided he laboured for his afflicted fellow-creatures, prepared to sacrifice to their welfare his life and fortune.

The young man observed by Camille was one of the Abbé's first pupils. He was the son of the Marquis de Maubray.


It goes without saying that neither Camille nor her uncle knew anything either of the Abbé de l'Epée, or of his new method. Camille's mother would assuredly have discovered it, had she lived long enough. But Chardonneux was far from Paris; the Chevalier did not take The Gazette, nor, if he had taken it, would he have read it. Thus a few leagues of distance, a little indolence, or death, may produce the same result.

Upon Camille's return from the opera, she was possessed with but one idea. She made her uncle understand that she wished for writing materials. Although the good man wanted his supper, he ran to his chamber, and returned with a piece of board and a morsel of chalk, relics of his old love for building and carpentry.

Camille placed the board upon her knee, then made signs to her uncle that he should sit by her and write something upon it. Laying his hand gently upon the girl's breast, he wrote, in large letters, her name, Camille, after which, well satisfied with the evening's work, he seated himself at the supper-table.

Camille retired as soon as possible to her own room, clasping her board in her arms. Having laid aside some of her finery, and let down her hair, she began to copy with great pains and care the word which her uncle had written. After writing it many times, she succeeded in forming the letters very fairly. What that word represented to her, who shall say?


It was a glorious night of July. Camille had opened her window, and from time to time paused in her self-imposed task to gaze out, although the "view" was but a dreary one. The window overlooked a yard in which coaches were kept. Four or five huge carriages stood side by side beneath a shed. Two or three others stood in the centre of the yard, as if awaiting the horses which could be heard kicking in the stable. The court was shut in by a closed door and high walls.

Suddenly Camille perceived, beneath the shadow of a heavy diligence, a human form pacing to and fro. A feeling of fear seized her. The man was gazing intently at her window. In a few moments Camille had regained her courage. She took her [pg 326] lamp in her hand, and, leaning from the casement, held it so that its light illumined the court. The Marquis de Maubray (for it was he), perceiving that he was discovered, sank on his knees and clasped his hands, gazing at Camille meanwhile with an expression of respectful admiration. Then he sprang up, and nimbly clambering over two or three intercepting vehicles, was in a few minutes within Camille's room, where his first act was to make her a profound bow. He longed for some means of speaking to her, and, observing upon the table the board bearing the written word Camille, he took the piece of chalk, and proceeded to write beside that name his own—Pierre.


"Who are you? and what are you doing here?" thundered a wrathful voice. It was that of Uncle Giraud, who at that moment entered the room, and bestowed upon the intruder a torrent of abuse. The Marquis calmly wrote something upon the board, and handed it to Uncle Giraud, who read with amazement the following words: "I love Mademoiselle Camille, and wish to marry her. I am the Marquis de Maubray; will you give her to me?"

The uncle's wrath abated.

"Well!" remarked he to himself, as he recognised the youth he had seen at the opera—"for going straight to the point, and getting through their business quickly, I never saw the like of these dumb folk!"


The course of true love, for once, ran smooth. The Chevalier's consent to this highly desirable match for his daughter was easily obtained. Much more difficult was it to convince him that it was possible to teach deaf mutes to read and write. Seeing, however, is believing. One day, two or three years after the marriage, the [pg 327] Chevalier received a letter from Camille, which began thus:—"Oh, father! I can speak, not with my mouth, but with my hand."

She told him how she had learned to do this, and to whom she owed her new-born speech—the good Abbé de l'Epée. She described to him the beauty of her baby, and affectionately besought him to pay a visit to his daughter and grandchild.

After receiving this letter, the Chevalier hesitated for a long time.

"Go, by all means," advised Uncle Giraud, when he was consulted. "Do you not reproach yourself continually for having deserted your wife at the ball? Will you also forsake your child, who longs to see you? Let us go together. I consider it most ungrateful of her not to have included me in the invitation."

"He is right," reflected the Chevalier. "I brought cruel and needless suffering upon the best of women. I left her to die a frightful death, when I ought to have been her preserver. If this visit to Camille involves some pain to myself, that is but a merited chastisement. I will taste this bitter pleasure; I will go and see my child."


In the pretty boudoir of a house in the Faubourg St. Germain, Camille's father and uncle found Camille and Pierre. Upon the table lay books and sketches. The husband was reading, the wife embroidering, the child playing on the carpet. At sight of the welcome visitors the Marquis rose, while Camille ran to her father, who, as he embraced her tenderly, could not restrain his tears. Then the Chevalier's earnest look was bent upon the child. In spite of himself, some shadow of the repugnance he had formerly felt for the infirmity of Camille stirred afresh at sight of this small being who had doubtless inherited that infirmity.

"Another mute!" cried he.

Camille raised her son to her arms; without hearing she had understood. Gently holding out the child towards the Chevalier, she placed her fingers upon the tiny lips, stroking them a little, as if coaxing them to speak. In a few moments he pronounced distinctly the words which his mother had caused him to be taught:—

"Good morning, papa!"

"Now you see clearly," said Uncle Giraud, "that God pardons everything and for ever!"

The Stone Breaker

A Story for Children. From the French of Quatrelles.

[Quatrelles' real name is Ernest Louis Victor Jules L'Épine. He lives at Paris—a grey old gentleman of sixty-five, who during the greater part of his life has held a post in the French Government, who wears in his button-hole the rosette of the Legion of Honour, and who can do almost anything delightful—whether it be to paint a picture, or to compose a piece of music, or (as in the following example) to tell a charming little story to amuse the children.]


THERE was once, in Japan, in times so far away that the learned hardly now dare speak of them, a poor little stone-breaker who worked on the highways.

He worked on the highways as long as the day lasted, in all weathers, in all seasons, in rain, in the burning sunshine, and in snow. He was always half dead with fatigue and three-quarters dead with hunger; and he was not at all contented with his lot. "Oh! how I would bless heaven," he said, "if one day I became rich enough to sleep far into the morning, to eat when I was hungry, and drink when I was athirst. I am told that there are people so blessed by fate as always to be gay and full of food. Stretched at ease upon thick mats before my door, my back covered with soft silken vestments, I would take my afternoon nap, wakened every quarter of an hour by a servant, who should remind me that I had nothing to do, and that I might sleep without remorse."

A passing angel overheard these words, and smiled.

"Be it according to your wish, poor man!" the angel said. And, suddenly, the [pg 329] stone-breaker found himself before the door of a splendid dwelling of his own, stretched at his ease upon a pile of thick mats and dressed in sumptuous garments of silk. He was no longer hungry, no longer thirsty, no longer tired—all of which appeared to him as agreeable as it was surprising.


He had feasted for half an hour on these unknown enjoyments, when the Mikado passed by. The Mikado! It was a great thing to be the Mikado. The Mikado was Emperor of Japan, and the Emperor of Japan was, especially in those far-off times, the most powerful of all the emperors of the East.

The Mikado was travelling for his pleasure, preceded by couriers, surrounded by cavaliers more embroidered and belaced than the Grand Turk of Turkey, followed by famous warriors, escorted by musicians, accompanied by the most beautiful women in the world, who reclined in howdahs of silver borne on the backs of white elephants.

The Mikado lay upon a bed of down in a palanquin of fine gold, decked with precious stones. His prime minister had the unequalled honour of holding above his master's head a large umbrella fringed all round with tiny jingling bells.

The enriched stone-breaker followed the imperial procession with an eye of envy.

"Much advanced I am!" he said to himself. "Shall I be happy with the few paltry indulgences I am able to give myself? Why am I not the Mikado? I could then traverse the highways in a splendid carriage, in a golden palanquin powdered with precious stones, followed by my prime minister, under the shade of a great umbrella fringed with jingling bells, while my second minister refreshed my visage with the waving of a fan of peacocks' feathers. Ah, I wish I were the Mikado!"

"Be as you wish to be!" said the angel.


And instantly he found himself stretched on the down bed of the golden palanquin powdered with precious stones, surrounded by his ministers, his warriors, his women and his slaves, who said to him, in Japanese:

"Mikado, you are superior to the sun, you are eternal, you are invincible. All that the mind of man can conceive you can execute. Justice itself is subordinate to [pg 330] your will, and providence waits on your counsels tremblingly."

The stone-breaker said to himself:

"Very good! these people know my value."

The sun, which had been shining very ardently for some days, had parched the country. The road was dusty, and the glare from it fatigued the eyes of the apprentice Mikado, who, addressing his minister, the bearer of the jingling umbrella, said:

"Inform the sun that he is incommoding me. His familiarities displease me. Tell him that the great Emperor of Japan authorises him to retire. Go!"

The prime minister confided to a chamberlain the honour of carrying the jingling umbrella, and went on his mission.

He returned almost instantly, his face expressing the utmost consternation.

"Great Emperor, sovereign of gods and men, it is inconceivable! The sun pretends not to have heard me, and continues to burn up the road!"

"Let him be chastised."

"Certainly! such insolence deserves it; but how am I to get hold of him to administer his punishment?"

"Am I not the equal of the gods?"

"Assuredly, great Mikado, at least their equal."

"You told me, just now, that nothing is impossible to me. Either you have lied, or you resist me, or you have badly executed my orders; I give you five minutes to extinguish the sun, or ten to have your head chopped off. Go!"

The prime minister departed, and did not return.

The exasperated stone-breaker was purple with anger.

"This is a pretty sort of a dog's business, upon my word, to be emperor, if he has to submit to the familiarities, caprices, and brutalities of a mere circulating star. It is plain that the sun is more powerful than I. I wish I were the sun."

"Be it as you wish!" said the angel.

And the little stone-breaker sparkled in the highest heavens, radiant, flaming. He took pleasure in scorching trees, withering their leaves, and parching up springs; in [pg 331] covering with perspiration the august visages of emperors as well as the dusty muzzles of the wayside stone-breakers—his companions of the morning.


But a cloud came between the earth and him, and the cloud said:

"Halt, my dear fellow; you can't come this way!"

"By the moon, that's too much! A cloud—a poor little misty, bodiless cloud—calls me familiarly, 'my dear fellow,' and bars my way! Clouds, it is plain, are more powerful than I. If I do not become a cloud, I shall burst with jealousy."

"Don't burst for so trifling a cause," said the angel, always on the watch. "Be a cloud, since you prefer to be so."

Proudly the new cloud planted himself between the earth and the resplendent planet.

Never, in the records of memory, did so much rain fall. The transformed stone-breaker took pleasure in launching rain and hail upon the earth, and that in such a terrible fashion that the uprooted trees found nothing left but mud in which to hold on to the ground. Under his aquatic reign of several hours, streams became floods, floods became torrents, the seas were confounded with each other, and dreadful waterspouts whirled in every direction, wringing and destroying whatever was above the surface of the waters.


A rock, however, made head against the force of the hurricane. In spite of all, it remained unmoved. On its granite sides the waves broke in frothy showers, the waterspouts sank at its feet, and the thunder made it laugh every time it burst against its unyielding flanks.

"I am at the end of my powers!" said the cloud; "this rock defies me, masters me, and fills me with envy."

"Take its place!" said the angel, "and let us see whether, at last, you are satisfied."

The transformed cloud did not yet feel at his ease. Immovable, inaccessible, insensible to the burning caresses of the sun and to the booming of the thunder, he believed himself to be the master of the world. But at his feet a sharp hammering sound attracted his attention. He stooped and beheld a wretched being covered with rags, thin and bald, as he had been in the time of his deepest poverty, who, with a heavy hammer in his hand, was engaged in chipping off pieces of the granite for the purpose of mending the neighbouring road.


"What is the meaning of this?" cried the haughty rock; "a poor wretch—wretched amongst the most wretched—mutilating [pg 332] me, and I cannot defend myself! I am profoundly humiliated—reduced to envy the lot even of this wretched being!"

"Take his place!" said the angel, smiling.

And the insatiate personage became again what he had been before—a poor little stone-breaker. As in the past, he worked on the highways as long as day lasted, in all weathers, in all seasons, in rain, in the burning sunshine, and in snow. He was always half dead with hunger, three-quarters dead with fatigue. But that did not prevent his being perfectly contented with his lot.


Transcriber Notes:

Throughout the dialogues, there were words used to mimic accents of the speakers. Those words were retained as-is.

The illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up paragraphs and so that they are next to the text they illustrate. In the article Pictures With Histories, there are two internal references to "page 232" (for a painting of Miss Gale) and to "page 233" (for a sketch of hidden Gainsborough). The hyperlinks are to the illustrations rather than the pages.

Errors in punctuations and inconsistent hyphenation were not corrected unless otherwise noted.

On page 234, the single quotation mark after "DAUBS" was replaced with a double quotation mark.

On page 255, "idosyncrasy" was replaced with "idiosyncrasy".

On page 263, an apostrophe before "Tsar" was deleted.

On page 307, "custudy" was replaced with "custody".

On page 307, "onscrupulous" was replaced with "unscrupulous".

On page 320, "hnsband" was replaced with "husband".