Old Friends - Essays in Epistolary Parody
Andrew Lang

Part 2 out of 2

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

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

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

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


LETTER: From Truthful James to Mr. Bret Harte.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LETTER: From Professor Forth to the Rev. Mr. Casaubon.

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

Bradmore-road, Oxford, May 29.

Dear Mr. Casaubon,--In the course of an investigation which my
researches into the character of the Etruscan "Involuti" have
necessitated, I frequently encounter the root Kad, k2ad, or Qad.
Schnitzler's recent and epoch-making discovery that d in Etruscan =
b2, has led me to consider it a plausible hypothesis that we may
convert Kad or Qad into Kab2, in which case it is by no means
beyond the range of a cautious conjecture that the Involuti are
identical with the Cab-iri (Cabiri). Though you will pardon me for
confessing, what you already know, that I am not in all points an
adherent to your ideas concerning a "Key to All Mythologies" (at
least, as briefly set forth by you in Kuhn's Zeitung), yet I am
deeply impressed with this apparent opportunity of bridging the
seemingly impassable gulf between Etrurian Religion and the
comparatively clear and comprehensible systems of the Pelasgo-
Phoenician peoples. That Kad or Kab can refer either (as in
Quatuor) to a four-footed animal (quadruped, "quad") or to a four-
wheeled vehicle (esseda, Celtic cab) I cannot for a moment believe,
though I understand that this theory has the support of Schrader,
Penka, and Baunder. {10} Any information which your learning can
procure, and your kind courtesy can supply, will be warmly welcomed
and duly acknowledged.--Believe me, faithfully yours,


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

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

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

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


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

From Professor Forth to Rev. Mr. Casaubon.

Will be with you at Cambridge on the third.

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

He goes on Saturday to Cambridge to hear some one talk about the
Hittites and the Asiatics. Did you not say there was a good Sunday
train? They sing "O Rest in the Lord" at Magdalen. I often wonder
that Addison's Walk is so deserted on Sundays. He stays over
Sunday at Cambridge. {11}

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

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


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

Dear Friend,--Your kind letter from Stratford is indeed
interesting. Ah, when shall I have an opportunity of seeing these,
and so many other interesting places! But in a world where duty is
SO MUCH, and so ALWAYS with us, why should we regret the voids in
our experience which, after all, life is filling in the experience
of others? The work is advancing, and Mr. Casaubon hopes that the
first chapter of the "Key to All Mythologies" will be fairly copied
and completed by the end of autumn. Mr. Casaubon is going to
Cambridge on Saturday to hear Professor Tosch lecture on the
Pittites and some other party, I really forget which; {12} but it
is not often that he takes so much interest in mere MODERN history.
How curious it sometimes is to think that the great spirit of
humanity and of the world, as you say, keeps working its way--ah,
to what wonderful goal--by means of these obscure difficult
politics: almost unworthy instruments, one is tempted to think.
That was a true line you quoted lately from the "Vita Nuova." We
have no books of poetry here, except a Lithuanian translation of
the Rig Veda. How delightful it must be to read Dante with a
sympathetic fellow-student, one who has also loved--and RENOUNCED!-
-Yours very sincerely,


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

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

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


From William Ladislaw, Esq., to Mrs.


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


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

From Mrs. Casaubon to Mrs. Forth.

June 5.

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

Some one {13} we both know, a lady, has spoken to me of you lately.
She too, though you did not know it, was in Magdalen Walk on Sunday
evening when the bells were chiming and the birds singing. She saw
you; you were not alone! Mr. Rivers (I am informed that is his
name) was with you. Ah, stop and think, and hear me before it is
too late. A word; I do not know--a word of mine may be listened
to, though I have no right to speak. But something forces me to
speak, and to implore you to remember that it is not for Pleasure
we live, but for Duty. We must break the dearest ties if they do
not bind us to the stake--the stake of all we owe to all! You will
understand, you will forgive me, will you not? You will forgive
another woman whom your beauty and sadness have won to admire and
love you. You WILL break these ties, will you not, and be free,
for only in Renunciation is there freedom? He MUST NOT come again,
you will tell him that he must not.--Yours always,


LETTER: From Euphues to Sir Amyas Leigh, Kt.

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

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

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


From Sir Amyas Leigh to Euphues.

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


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

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

Te-a-Iti, The Pacific.

Dear Maitland,--As my old friend and tutor at Lothian, you ask me
to join the Oxford Home Rule Association. Excuse my delay in
answering. Your letter was sent to that detested and long-deserted
newspaper office in Fleet Street, and from Fleet Street to Te-a-
Iti; thank Heaven! it is a long way. Were I at home, and still
endeavouring to sway the masses, I might possibly accept your
invitation. I dislike crowds, and I dislike shouting; but if shout
I must, like you I would choose to chime in with the dingier and
the larger and the more violent assembly. But, having perceived
that the masses were very perceptibly learning to sway themselves,
I have retired to Te-a-Iti. You have read "Epipsychidion," my dear
Dean? And, in your time, no doubt you have loved? {15} Well,
this is the Isle of Love, described, as in a dream, by the rapt
fancy of Shelley. Urged, perhaps, by a reminiscence of the Great
Aryan wave of migration, I have moved westward to this Paradise.
Like Obermann, I hide my head "from the wild tempest of the age,"
but in a much dearer place than "chalets near the Alpine snow."
Long ago I said, to one who would not listen, that "all the
religions of the world are based on false foundations, resting on
the Family, and fatally unsound." Here the Family, in our sense,
has not been developed. Here no rules trammel the best and
therefore the most evanescent of our affections. And as for
Religion, it is based upon Me, on Rondelet of Lothian. Here nobody
asks me why or how I am "superior." The artless natives at once
perceived the fact, recognised me as a god, and worship me (do not
shudder, my good Dean) with floral services. In Te-a-Iti (vain to
look for it on the map!) I have found my place--a place far from
the babel of your brutal politics, a place where I am addressed in
liquid accents of adoration.

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

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

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


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

P. R.

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

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

Coavins's, Cursitor Street, May 1.

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

And why am I here? Why am I far from landscape, music,
conversation? Why, merely because I will follow neither Fame nor
Fortune nor Faith. They call to us in the market-place, but I will
not dance. Fame blows her trumpet, and offers her shilling (the
Queen's). Faith peals her bells, and asks for MY shilling.
Fortune rattles her banking-scales. They call, and the world joins
the waltz; but I will not march with them. "Go after glory,
commerce, creeds," I cry; "only let Harold Skimpole live!" {16}
The world pursues the jangling music; but in my ear sound the pipes
of Pan, the voices of the river and the wood.

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

My dear Honeyman, you who, as I hear, are about to follow the
flutes of Aphrodite into a temple where Hymen gilds the horns of
the victims {17}--you, I am sure, will hurry to my rescue. You may
not have the specie actually in your coffers; but with your
prospects, surely you can sign something, or make over something,
or back something, say a post obit or post vincula, or employ some
other instrument? Excuse my inexperience; or, I should say, excuse
my congenital inability to profit by experience, now considerable,
of DIFFICULTIES--and of friendship. Let not the sun of May-day go
down on Harold Skimpole in Coavins's!--Yours ever,

H. S.

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

From the Rev. Charles Honeyman to Harold Skimpole, Esq.
Cursitor Street, May 1.

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

Nor is this disappointment my only CROSS. The carrion-birds of
commerce have marked down the stricken deer from their eyries in
Bond Street and Jermyn Street. To know how Solomons has behaved,
and the BLACK colours in which Moss (of Wardour Street) has shown
himself, is to receive a new light on the character of a People
chosen under a very different Dispensation! Detainers flock in,
like ravens to a feast. At this moment I have endured the
humiliation of meeting a sneering child of this world--Mr. Arthur
Pendennis--the emissary of one {18} to whom I gave in other days
the sweetest blossom in the garden of my affections--my sister--of
one who has, indeed, behaved like a brother--IN LAW! My word
distrusted, my statements received with a chilling scepticism by
this NABOB Newcome, I am urged to make some "composition" with my
creditors. The world is very censorious, the ear of a Bishop is
easily won; who knows how those who have ENVIED talents not misused
may turn my circumstances to my disadvantage? You will see that,
far from aiding another, I am rather obliged to seek succour
myself. But that saying about the sparrows abides with me to my
comfort. Could aught be done, think you, with a bill backed by our
joint names? On July 12 my pew-rents will come in. I swear to you
that they HAVE NOT BEEN ANTICIPATED. Yours afflictedly,


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

LETTER: From Miss Harriet to M. Guy de Maupassant.

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

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

Monsieur,--Vous devez me connaitre, quoique je ne vous connais pas
le moins du monde. Il m'est defendu de lire vos romans, je ne sais
trop pourquoi; mais j'ai bien lu la notice que M. Henry James a
consacree, dans le Fortnightly Review, a votre aimable talent.
Vous n'aimez pas, a ce qu'il parait, ni "la sale Angleterre" ni les
filles de ce pays immonde. Je figure moi-meme dans vos romans (ou
moa-meme," car les Anglais, il est convenu, prononcent ce pronom
comme le nom d'un oiseau monstrueux et meme prehistorique de New
Zealand)--oui, "Miss Harriet" se risque assez souvent dans vos
contes assez risques.

Vous avez pose, Monsieur, le sublime probleme, "Comment se
prennentelles les demoiselles anglaises pour sentir toujours le
caoutchouc?" ("to smell of india-rubber": traduction Henry James).
En premier lieu, Monsieur, elles ne "smell of india-rubber" quand
elles se trouvent chez elles, dans les bouges infectes qu'on
appelle les "stately homes of England." {19} C'est seulement a
l'etranger que nous repandons l'odeur saine et rejouissante de
caoutchouc. Et pourquoi? Parce que, Monsieur, Miss Harriet tient
a son tub--ou tob--la chose est anglaise; c'est permis pourtant a
un galant homme d'en prononcer le nom comme il veut, ou comme il

Or, quand elle voyage, Miss Harriet trouve, assez souvent, que le
"tub" est une institution tout-a-fait inconnue a ses hotes. Que
fait-elle donc? Elle porte dans sa malle un tub de caoutchouc,
"patent compressible india-rubber tub!" Inutile a dire que ses
vetements se trouvent impregnes du "smell of india-rubber." Voici,
Monsieur, la solution naturelle, et meme fort louable, d'une
question qui est faite pour desesperer les savants de la France!

Vous, Monsieur, qui etes un styliste accompli, veuillez bien me
pardonner les torts que je viens de faire a la belle langue
francaise. Dame, on fait ce qu'on peut (comme on dit dans les
romans policiers) pour etre intelligible a un ecrivain si celebre,
qui ne lit couramment, peut-etre, l'idiome barbare et malsonnant de
la sale Angleterre. M. Paul Bourget lui-meme ne lit plus le Grec.
Non omnia possumus omnes.

Agreez, Monsieur, mes sentiments les plus distingues.


LETTER: From S. Gandish, Esq., to the "Newcome Independent."


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Thomas Potts, Esq., of the "Newcome Independent," to S.
Gandish, Esq.
Newcome, May 3.

My Dear Sir,--I am truly sorry to have to interrupt a connection
with so old and respected a contributor. But I think you will
acknowledge, on reading the proof of your article on the Academy,
which I enclose, that the time has arrived when public criticism is
no longer your province. I do not so much refer to the old-
fashioned tone of your observations on modern art. I know little
about it, and care not much more. But you have entirely forgotten,
towards the end of the notice, that the "Newcome Independent," as
becomes its name, is a journal of Liberty and Progress. The very
proper remarks on Lord Spencer's portrait elsewhere show that you
are not unacquainted with our politics; but, at the close
(expressing, I fear, your true sentiments), you glide into language
which makes me shudder, and which, if printed in the "Independent,"
would spell ruin. Send it, by all means, to the "Sentinel," if you
like. Send your Tory views, I mean. As for your quotation from
the "Lady of Shalott," I can find it nowhere in the poem of that
name by the author you strangely style "young Mr. Tennyson." {20}

I enclose a cheque for a quarter's salary, and, while always happy
to meet you as man with man, must get the notice of the Academy
written up in the office from the "Daily Telegraph," "Standard,"
and "Times." {21}--Faithfully and with deep regret yours,


LETTER: From Monsieur Lecoq, Rue Jerusalem, Paris, to Inspector
Bucket, Scotland Yard.

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

(Translated.) May 19, 1852.

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

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


From Inspector Bucket to M. Lecoq.
May 22.

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


From Count Fosco to Samuel Pickwick, Esq., G.C.M.P.C., Goswell
5 Forest Road, St. John's Wood, May 23.

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

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


From Mr. Pickwick to the Count Fosco.
May 24.

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


From Inspector Bucket to M. Lecoq.
May 26, 1 A.M.

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


From Mr. Pickwick to Mr. Perker, Solicitor, Gray's Inn.
Sainte Pelagie, May 28.

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


From Monsieur Lecoq to Inspector Bucket.
May 27.

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

Accept, Monsieur, the assurance of my high consideration.


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

LETTER: From Mr. Allan Quatermain to Sir Henry Curtis.

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

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

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

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

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

"Everlasting bosh!" said I; "there is no bird of the kind on the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I stood watching the grand spectacle for some time, rather pitying
the Stranger who was out in it, by no fault of mine. Then I
knocked the ashes out of my pipe, ate a mealy or two, and crept
into my kartel, {22} and slept the sleep of the just.

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

My thoughts went rapidly over the millions of leagues of land and
sea, where life, that perpetual problem, was now awaking to another
day of struggle and temptation. Then the golden arrows of the day
followed fast. The silver and blue sky grew roseate with that wide
wild blush which testifies to the modest delight of nature,
satisfied and grateful for her silent existence and her amorous
repose. I breakfasted, went down into the donga with a black boy,
poor Jim-jim, who was afterwards, as I said, to perish by an awful
fate, otherwise he would testify to the truth of my plain story. I
began poking among the rocks in the dry basin of the donga, {23}
and had just picked up a pebble--I knew it by the soapy feel for a
diamond. Uncut it was about three times the size of the koh-i-
noor, say 1,000 carats, and I was rejoicing in my luck when I heard
the scream of a human being in the last agony of terror. Looking
up, I saw that on either side of the donga, which was about twenty
feet wide, a great black lion and lioness were standing with open
jaws, while some fifty yards in front of me an alligator, in a deep
pool of the flooded donga, was stretching his open snout and
gleaming teeth greedily upwards. Over head flew an eagle, and IN
MID-AIR BETWEEN, as I am a living and honourable man, a human being
was leaping the chasm. He had been pursued by the lion on my left,
and had been driven to attempt the terrible leap; but if he crossed
he was certain to fall into the jaws of the lion on my right, while
if he fell short in his jump, do you see, the alligator was ready
for him below, and the great golden eagle watched the business from
above, in case he attempted to escape THAT way.

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

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

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

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

Ever yours,

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

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

Tully Veolan, May 17, 1747.

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

We encountered betimes next morning, on a secluded spot of the
sands hard by the town, at the Eden-mouth. {24} The weapons were
pistols, Sir Hew, by a slight passing infirmity, being disabled
from the use of the sword. Inchgrabbit was my second, and
Strathtyrum did the same office for my kinsman, Sir Hew. The
pistols being charged and primed, and we aligned forenent each
other at the convenient distance of twelve paces, the word was
given to fire, and both weapons having been discharged, and the
smoke having cleared away, Sir Hew was discovered fallen to the
ground, procumbus humi, and exanimate. The blood was flowing
freely from a face-wound, and my unhappy kinsman was senseless. At
this moment we heard a voice, as of one clamantis in eremo, cry
"Fore!" to which paying no heed in the natural agitation of our
spirits, we hurried to lift my fallen opponent and examine his
wound. Upon a closer search it proved to be no shot-wound, but a
mere clour, or bruise, whereof the reason was now apparent, he
having been struck by the ball of a golfer (from us concealed by
the dunes, or bunkers, of sand) and not by the discharge of my
weapon. At this moment a plebeian fellow appeared with his arma
campestria, or clubs, cleeks, irons, and the like, under his arm,
who, without paying any attention to our situation, struck the ball
wherewith he had felled my kinsman in the direction of the hole.
Reflection directed us to the conclusion that both pistols had
missed their aim, and that Sir Hew had fallen beneath a chance blow
from this fellow's golf-ball. But as my kinsman was still hors de
combat, and incapable of further action, being unwitting, too, of
the real cause of his disaster, Inchgrabbit and Strathtyrum, in
their discretion as seconds, or belli judices, deemed it better
that we should keep a still sough, and that Sir Hew should never be
informed concerning the cause of his discomfiture. This resolution
we kept, and Sir Hew wore, till the day of his late lamented
decease, a bullet among the seals of his watch, he being persuaded
by Strathtyrum that it had been extracted from his brain-pan, which
certainly was of the thickest. But this was all a bam, or bite,
among young men, and a splore to laugh over by our three selves,
nor would I have it to go abroad now that Sir Hew is dead, as being
prejudicial to the memory of a worthy man, and an honourable family
connected with our own. Wherefore I pray you keep a still sough
hereanent, as you love me, who remain--Your loving good father,



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

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

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

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

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

Readers of "Marmion" will remember how

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


{1} Who knows what may happen? I may die before he sees the
light; so I will add among my friends SKALAGRIM LAMB'S-TAIL.

{2} Can Mrs. Gamp mean "dial"?

{3} 1887.

{4} In his familiar correspondence, it will be observed, Herodotus
does not trouble himself to maintain the dignity of history.

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

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

{6} The great intimacy between Mrs. Proudie and Mrs. Quiverful,
indicated by Mrs. Proudie's use of the Bishop's Christian name--and
that abbreviated--has amazed the discoverer and editor of her

{7} This signature of Mrs. Proudie's is so unusual an assumption
of the episcopal style, that it might well cast a doubt on the
authenticity of her letter. But experts pronounce it genuine.
"Barnum," of course, is "Baronum Castrum," the rather odd Roman
name of Barchester.

{8} It has been seen that Mrs. Quiverful did not obey this

{9} This man was well known to Sir Walter Scott, who speaks of his
curious habits in an unpublished manuscript.

{10} Mr. Forth, we are sure, is quite wrong, and none of the
scholars he quotes has said anything of the kind.

{11} "He" clearly means, not Addison, but Professor Forth, the
lady's husband.

{12} It was not Asiatics, but Aztecs; not Pittites, but Hittites!
Woman cares little for these studies!--A.L.

{13} The editor has no doubt that some one was--Miss Watson. Cf.

{14} Owing to the sudden decease of the Dean in well-known and
melancholy circumstances, this letter was not delivered.

{15} Alas, not wisely! But any careful reader of "The Silence of
Dean Maitland" will see that the Baby was an anachronism.--ED.

{16} This appears to have been a favourite remark of Mr.
Skimpole's. It will be noticed that, quite without intending it,
Mr. Skimpole was the founder of our New Cyrenaic School.

{17} Mr. Skimpole's recollections of classical ritual are a little
mixed hereabouts. He refers to Mr. Honeyman's projected union with
the widow of Mr. Bromley, the famous hatter.

{18} Colonel Newcome, indeed.

{19} Non, Monsieur, je ne cite ni "Woodsworth" ni "le vieux

{20} Mr. Potts ought to have consulted the edition of 1833, where
he would have found the verse as quoted by Mr. Gandish.

{21} And a nice mixture it must have been!--A. L.

{22} The wooden bed fastened in an ox-waggon.

{23} Mr. Quatermain has just said that the donga was filled by a
roaring torrent. Is there not some inconsistency here?

{24} At the HIGH HOLE, indeed.--A. L.


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