The World's Greatest Books, Vol VI.
Part 3 out of 7
Very quickly Arbaces discerned Julia's secret, and when he heard that
Glaucus and Ione were shortly to be wedded, he gladly availed himself of
this opportunity to rid himself of his hated rival. But he dealt not in
love potions, he said; he would, however, take Diomed's daughter to one
who did--the witch who dwelt on the slopes of Vesuvius.
He kept his promise; but the entire philtre given to Julia was one which
went direct to the brain, and the effects of which--for neither Arbaces
nor his creature, the witch, wished to place themselves within the power
of the law--were such as caused those who witnessed them to attribute
them to some supernatural agency.
But once again, though less happily than on the former occasion, Nydia
was destined to be the means of thwarting the schemes of the Egyptian.
The devotion of the blind flower-girl had deepened into love for her
deliverer. She was jealous of Ione. Now, for Julia had taken her into
confidence, and both believed in the love charm, she was confronted with
another rival. By a simple ruse Nydia obtained the poisoned draught and
in its place substituted a phial of simple water.
At the close of a banquet given by Diomed, to which the Greek was
invited, Julia duly administered that which she imagined to be the
secret love potion. She was disappointed when she found Glaucus coldly
replace the cup, and converse with her in the same unmoved tone as
"But to-morrow," thought she, "to-morrow, alas for Glaucus!"
Alas for him, indeed!
When Glaucus arrived at his own house that evening, Nydia was waiting
for him. She had, as usual, been tending the flowers and had lingered
awhile to rest herself.
"It has been warm," said Glaucus. "Wilt thou summon Davus? The wine I
have drunk heats me, and I long for some cooling drink."
Here at once, suddenly and unexpectedly, the very opportunity that Nydia
awaited presented itself. She breathed quickly. "I will prepare for you
myself," said she, "the summer draught that Ione loves--of honey and
weak wine cooled in snow."
"Thanks," said the unconscious Glaucus. "If Ione loves it, enough; it
would be grateful were it poison."
Nydia frowned, and then smiled. She withdrew for a few moments, and
returned with the cup containing the beverage. Glaucus took it from her
What would not Nydia have given then to have seen the first dawn of the
imagined love! Far different, as she stood then and there, were the
thoughts and emotions of the blind girl from those of the vain Pompeian
under a similar suspense!
Glaucus had raised the cup to his lips. He had already drained about a
fourth of its contents, when, suddenly glancing upon the face of Nydia,
he was so forcibly struck by its alteration, by its intense, and
painful, and strange expression, that he paused abruptly, and still
holding the cup near his lips, exclaimed. "Why, Nydia--Nydia, art thou
ill or in pain? What ails thee, my poor child?"
As he spoke, he put down the cup--happily for him, unfinished--and rose
from his seat to approach her, when a sudden pang shot coldly to his
heart, and was followed by a wild, confused, dizzy sensation at the
The floor seemed to glide from under him, his feet seemed to move on
air, a mighty and unearthly gladness rushed upon his spirit. He felt too
buoyant for the earth; he longed for wings--nay, it seemed as if he
possessed them. He burst involuntarily into a loud and thrilling laugh.
He clapped his hands, he bounced aloft. Suddenly this perpetual
transport passed, though only partially, away. He now felt his blood
rushing loudly and rapidly through his veins.
Then a kind of darkness fell over his eyes. Now a torrent of broken,
incoherent, insane words gushed from his lips, and, to Nydia's horror,
he passed the portico with a bound, and rushed down the starlit streets,
striking fear into the hearts of all who saw him.
_IV.--The Day of Ghastly Night_
Anxious to learn if the drug had taken effect, Arbaces set out for
Julia's house on the morrow. On his way he encountered Apaecides. Hot
words passed between them, and stung by the scorn of the youth, he
stabbed him into the heart with his stylus. At this moment Glaucus came
along. Quick as thought the Egyptian struck the already half-senseless
Greek to the ground, and steeping his stylus in the blood of Apaecides,
and recovering his own, called loudly for help. The next moment he was
accusing Glaucus of the crime.
For a time fortune favoured the Egyptian. Glaucus, his strong frame
still under the influence of the poison, was sentenced to encounter a
lion in the amphitheatre, with no weapon beyond the incriminating
stylus. Nydia, in her terror, confessed to the Egyptian the exchange of
the love philtre. She he imprisoned in his own house. Calenus, who had
witnessed the deed, sought Arbaces with the intention of using his
knowledge to his own profit. He, by a stratagem, was incarcerated in one
of the dungeons of the Egyptian's dwelling. The law gave Ione into the
guardianship of Arbaces. But, for a third time, Nydia was the means of
frustrating the plans of Arbaces.
The blind girl, when vainly endeavouring to escape from the toils of the
Egyptian, overheard, in his garden, the conversation of Arbaces and
Calenus; and she heard the cries of Calenus from behind the door of the
chamber in which he was imprisoned. She herself was caught again by
Arbaces' servant, but she contrived to bribe her keeper to take a
message to Glaucus's friend, Sallust; and he, taking his servants to
Arbaces' house released the two captives, and reached the arena with
them, to accuse Arbaces before the multitude at the very moment when the
lion was being goaded to attack the Greek, and Arbaces' victory seemed
within his grasp.
Even now the nerve of the Egyptian did not desert him. He met the charge
with his accustomed coolness. But the frenzied accusation of the priest
of Isis turned the huge assembly against him. With loud cries they rose
from their seats and poured down toward the Egyptian.
Lifting his eyes at this terrible moment, Arbaces beheld a strange and
awful apparition. He beheld, and his craft restored his courage. He
stretched his hand on high; over his lofty brow and royal features there
came an expression of unutterable solemnity and command.
"Behold," he shouted, with a voice of thunder, which stilled the roar of
the crowd, "behold how the gods protect the guiltless! The fires of the
avenging Orcus burst forth against the false witness of my accusers!"
The eyes of the crowd followed the gesture of the Egyptian, and beheld,
with ineffable dismay, a vast vapour shooting from the summit of
Vesuvius in the form of a gigantic pine-tree; the trunk blackness, the
branches fire--a fire that shifted and wavered in its hues with every
moment, now fiercely luminous, now of a dull and dying red, that again
blazed terrifically forth with intolerable glare. The earth shook. The
walls of the theatre trembled. In the distance was heard the crash of
falling roofs. The cloud seemed to roll towards the assembly, casting
forth from its bosom showers of ashes mixed with fragments of burning
stone. Then the burning mountain cast up columns of boiling water.
In the ghastly night thus rushing upon the realm of noon, all thought of
justice and of Arbaces left the minds of the terrified people. There
ensued a mad flight for the sea. Through the darkness Nydia guided
Glaucus, now partly recovered from the effects of the poisoned draught,
and Ione to the shore. Her blindness rendered the scene familiar to her
While Arbaces perished with the majority, these three eventually gained
the sea, and joined a group, who, bolder than the rest, resolved to
hazard any peril rather than continue on the stricken land.
Utterly exhausted, Ione slept on the breast of Glaucus, and Nydia lay at
his feet. Meanwhile, showers of dust and ashes fell into the waves,
scattered their snows over the deck of the vessel they had boarded, and,
borne by the winds, descended upon the remotest climes, startling even
the swarthy African, and whirling along the antique soil of Syria and of
Meekly, softly, beautifully dawned at last the light over the trembling
deep! The winds were sinking into rest, the foam died from the azure of
that delicious sea. Around the east thin mists caught gradually the rosy
hues that heralded the morning. Light was about to resume her reign.
There was no shout from the mariners at the dawning light--it had come
too gradually, and they were too wearied for such sudden bursts of
joy--but there was a low, deep murmur of thankfulness amidst those
watchers of the long night. They looked at each other, and smiled; they
took heart. They felt once more that there was a world around and a God
In the silence of the general sleep Nydia had risen gently. Bending over
the face of Glaucus, she softly kissed him. She felt for his hand; it
was locked in that of Ione. She sighed deeply, and her face darkened.
Again she kissed his brow, and with her hair wiped from it the damps of
"May the gods bless you, Athenian!" she murmured "May you be happy with
your beloved one! May you sometimes remember Nydia! Alas! she is of no
further use on earth."
With these words she turned away. A sailor, half-dozing on the deck,
heard a slight splash on the waters. Drowsily he looked up, and behind,
as the vessel bounded merrily on, he fancied he saw something white
above the waves; but it vanished in an instant. He turned round again
and dreamed of his home and children.
When the lovers awoke, their first thought was of each other, their next
of Nydia. Every crevice of the vessel was searched--there was no trace
of her! Mysterious from first to last, the blind Thessalian had vanished
from the living world! They guessed her fate in silence, and Glaucus and
Ione, while they drew nearer to each other, feeling each other the world
itself, forgot their deliverance, and wept as for a departed sister.
* * * * *
The Last of the Barons
A romance of York and Lancaster's "long wars," "The Last of
the Barons" was published in 1843, shortly before the death of
Bulwer's mother, when, on inheriting the Knebworth estates, he
assumed the surname of Lytton. The story is an admirably
chosen historical subject, and in many respects is worked out
with even more than Lytton's usual power and effect. Incident
is crowded upon incident; revolutions, rebellions,
dethronements follow one another with amazing rapidity--all
duly authenticated and elaborated by powerful dialogue. It is
thronged with historical material, sufficient, according to
one critic, to make at least three novels. The period dealt
with, 1467-1471, witnessed the rise of the trading class and
the beginning of religious freedom in England. Lytton leans to
the Lancastrian cause, with which the fortunes of one of his
ancestors were identified, and his view of Warwick is more
favourable to the redoubtable "king-maker" than that of the
_I.--Warwick's Mission to France_
Lacking sympathy with the monastic virtues of the deposed Henry VI., and
happy in the exile of Margaret of Anjou, the citizens of London had
taken kindly to the regime of Edward IV. In 1467 Edward still owed to
Warwick the support of the more powerful barons, as well as the favour
of that portion of the rural population which was more or less dependent
upon them. But he encouraged, to his own financial advantage, the
enterprises of the burgesses, and his marriage with Elizabeth Woodville
and his favours to her kinsfolk indicated his purpose to reign in fact
as well as in name. The barons were restless, but the rising
middle-class, jealous of the old power of the nobles, viewed with
misgiving the projected marriage, at Warwick's suggestion, of the king's
sister Margaret and the brother of Louis XI. of France.
This was the position of affairs when young Marmaduke Nevile came to
London to enter the service of his relative the Earl of Warwick; and
some points of it were explained to the young man by the earl himself
when he had introduced the youth to his daughters, Isabel and Anne.
"God hath given me no son," he said. "Isabel of Warwick had been a
mate for William the Norman; and my grandson, if heir to his grandsire's
soul, should have ruled from the throne of England over the realms of
Charlemagne! But it hath pleased Him Whom the Christian knight alone
bows to without shame, to order otherwise. So be it. I forgot my just
pretensions--forgot my blood--and counselled the king to strengthen his
throne by an alliance with Louis XI. He rejected the Princess Bona of
Savoy to marry widow Elizabeth Grey. I sorrowed for his sake, and
forgave the slight to my counsels. At his prayer I followed the train of
the queen, and hushed the proud hearts of the barons to obeisance. But
since then this Dame Woodville, whom I queened, if her husband mismated,
must dispute this royaulme with mine and me! A Neville, nowadays, must
vail his plume to a Woodville! And not the great barons whom it will
suit Edward's policy to win from the Lancastrians, not the Exeters and
the Somersets, but the craven varlets, and lackeys, and dross of the
camp--false alike to Henry and to Edward--are to be fondled into
lordships and dandled into power. Young man, I am speaking hotly.
Richard Neville never lies nor conceals; but I am speaking to a kinsman,
am I not? Thou hearest--thou wilt not repeat?"
"Sooner would I pluck forth my tongue by the roots!" was Marmaduke's
"Enough!" returned the earl, with a pleased smile. "When I come from
France I will speak more to thee. Meanwhile, be courteous to all men,
servile to none. Now to the king."
Warwick sought his royal cousin at the Tower, where the court exhibited
a laxity of morals and a faculty for intrigue that were little to the
stout earl's taste.
It was with manifest reluctance that Edward addressed himself to the
object of Warwick's visit.
"Knowst thou not," said he, "that this French alliance, to which thou
hast induced us, displeases sorely our good traders of London?"
"_Mort Dieu_!" returned Warwick bluntly. "And what business have the
flat-caps with the marriage of a king's sister? You have spoiled them,
good my lord king. Henry IV. staled not his majesty to consultation with
the mayor of his city. Henry V. gave the knighthood of the Bath to the
heroes of Agincourt, not to the vendors of cloth and spices."
"Thou forgettest, man," said the king carelessly, "the occasion of those
honours--the eve before Elizabeth was crowned. As to the rest," pursued
the king, earnestly and with dignity, "I and my house have owed much to
London. Thou seest not, my poor Warwick, that these burgesses are
growing up into power. And if the sword is the monarch's appeal for his
right, he must look to contented and honest industry for his buckler in
peace. This is policy, policy, Warwick; and Louis XI. will tell thee the
same truths, harsh though they grate in a warrior's ear."
The earl bowed his head.
"If thou doubtest the wisdom of this alliance," he said, "it is not too
late yet. Let me dismiss my following, and cross not the seas. Unless
thy heart is with the marriage, the ties I would form are but threads
"Nay," returned Edward irresolutely. "In these great state matters thy
wit is older than mine. But men do say the Count of Charolois is a
mighty lord, and the alliance with Burgundy will be more profitable to
staple and mart."
"Then, in God's name so conclude it!" said the earl hastily. "Give thy
sister to the heir of Burgundy, and forgive me if I depart to the castle
of Middleham. Yet think well. Henry of Windsor is thy prisoner, but his
cause lives in Margaret and his son. There is but one power in Europe
that can threaten thee with aid to the Lancastrians. That power is
France. Make Louis thy friend and ally, and thou givest peace to thy
life and thy lineage. Make Louis thy foe, and count on plots and
stratagems and treason. Edward, my loved, my honoured liege, forgive
Richard Nevile for his bluntness, and let not his faults stand in bar of
"You are right, as you are ever, safeguard of England and pillar of my
state," said the king frankly; and pressing Warwick's arm, he added, "go
to France, and settle all as thou wilt."
When Warwick had departed, Edward's eye followed him, musingly. The
frank expression of his face vanished, and with the deep breath of a man
who is throwing a weight from his heart, he muttered, "He loves me--yes;
but will suffer no one else to love me! This must end some day. I am
weary of the bondage."
_II.--A Dishonoured Embassy_
One morning, some time after Warwick's departure for France, the Lord
Hastings was summoned to the king's presence. There was news from
France, in a letter to Lord Rivers, from a gentleman in Warwick's train.
The letter was dated from Rouen, and gave a glowing account of the
honours accorded to the earl by Louis XI. Edward directed Hastings'
attention to a passage in which the writer suggested that there were
those who thought that so much intercourse between an English ambassador
and the kinsman of Margaret of Anjou boded small profit to the English
"Read and judge, Hastings," said the king.
"I observe," said Hastings, "that this letter is addressed to my Lord
Rivers. Can he avouch the fidelity of his correspondent?"
"Surely, yes," answered Rivers. "It is a gentleman of my own blood."
"Were he not so accredited," returned Hastings, "I should question the
truth of a man who can thus consent to play the spy upon his lord and
"The public weal justifies all things," said Lord Worcester, who, with
Lord Rivers, viewed with jealous scorn the power of the Earl of Warwick.
"And what is to become of my merchant-ships," said the king, "if
Burgundy take umbrage and close its ports?"
Hastings had no cause to take up the quarrel on Warwick's behalf. The
proud earl had stepped in to prevent his marriage with his sister. But
Hastings, if a foe, could be a noble one.
"Beau sire," said he, "thou knowest how little cause I have to love the
Earl of Warwick. But in this council I must be all and only the king's
servant. I say first, then, that Warwick's faith to the House of York is
too well proven to become suspected because of the courtesies of King
Louis. Moreover, we may be sure that Warwick cannot be false if he
achieve the object of his embassy and detach Louis from the side of
Margaret and Lancaster by close alliance with Edward and York. Secondly,
sire, with regard to that alliance, which it seems you would repent, I
hold now, as I have held ever, that it is a master-stroke in policy, and
the earl in this proves his sharp brain worthy his strong arm; for, as
his highness the Duke of Gloucester has discovered that Margaret of
Anjou has been of late in London, and that treasonable designs were
meditated, though now frustrated, so we may ask why the friends of
Lancaster really stood aloof--why all conspiracy was, and is, in vain?
Because the gold and subsidies of Louis are not forthcoming, because the
Lancastrians see that if once Lord Warwick wins France from the Red Rose
nothing short of such a miracle as their gaining Warwick instead can
give a hope to their treason."
"Your pardon, my Lord Hastings," said Lord Rivers, "there is another
letter I have not yet laid before the king." He drew forth a scroll and
read from it as follows.
"Yesterday the earl feasted the king, and as, in discharge of mine
office, I carved for my lord, I heard King Louis say, '_Pasque Dieu_, my
Lord Warwick, our couriers bring us word that Count de Charolais
declares he shall yet wed the Lady Margaret, and that he laughs at your
embassage. What if our brother King Edward fall back from the treaty?'
'He durst not,' said the earl."
"'Durst not!'" exclaimed Edward, starting to his feet, and striking the
table with his clenched hand. "'Durst not!' Hastings, heard you that?"
Hastings bowed his head in assent.
"Is that all, Lord Rivers?"
"All! And, methinks, enough!"
"Enough, by my halidame!" said Edward, laughing bitterly. "He shall see
what a king dares when a subject threatens."
Lord Rivers had not read the whole of the letter. The sentence read: "He
durst not, because what a noble heart dares least is to belie the
plighted word, and what the kind heart shuns most is to wrong the
When Warwick returned, with the object of his mission achieved, it was
to find Margaret of England the betrothed of the Count de Charolais, and
his embassy dishonoured. He retired in anger and grief to his castle of
Middleham, and though the king declared that "Edward IV. reigns alone,"
most of the great barons forsook him to rally round their leader in his
_III.--The Scholar and his Daughter_
Sybill Warner had been at court in the train of Margaret of Anjou. Her
father, Adam Warner, was a poor scholar, with his heart set upon the
completion of an invention which should inaugurate the age of steam.
They lived together in an old house, with but one aged serving-woman.
Even necessaries were sacrificed that the model of the invention might
be fed. Then one day there came to Adam Warner an old schoolfellow,
Robert Hilyard, who had thrown in his lot with the Lancastrians, and
become an agent of the vengeful Margaret. Hilyard told so moving a tale
of his wrongs at the hands of Edward that the old man consented to aid
him in a scheme for communicating with the imprisoned Henry.
Henry was still permitted to see visitors, and Hilyard's proposal was
that Warner should seek permission to exhibit his model, in the
mechanism of which were to be hidden certain treasonable papers for
Henry to sign.
As we have seen, from Hastings' remark to the king, the plot failed.
Hilyard escaped, to stir up the peasantry, who knew him as Robin of
Redesdale. Warner's fate was inclusion in the number of astrologers and
alchemists retained by the Duchess of Bedford, who also gave a place
amongst her maidens to Sybill, to whom Hastings had proffered his
devoted attachment, though he was already bound by ties of policy and
early love to Margaret de Bonville.
Meanwhile, it became the interest of the king's brothers to act as
mediators between Edward and his powerful subject. The Duke of Clarence
was anxious to wed the proud earl's equally proud elder daughter Isabel;
the hand of the gentle Anne was sought more secretly by Richard of
Gloucester. At last the peacemakers effected their object.
But the peace was only partial, the final rupture not far off. The king
restored to Warwick the governorship of Calais--outwardly as a token of
honour; really as a means of ridding himself of one whose presence came
between the sun and his sovereignty. Moreover, he forbade the marriage
between Clarence and Isabel, to the mortification of his brother, the
bitter disappointment of Isabel herself, and the chagrin of the earl.
However, Edward had once more to experience indebtedness at the hands of
the man whom he treated so badly, but whose devotion to him it seemed
that nothing could destroy. There arose the Popular Rebellion, and
Warwick only arrived at Olney, where the king was sorely pressed, in
time to save him and to secure, on specific terms, a treaty of peace.
Again Edward's relief was but momentary. Proceeding to Middleham as
Warwick's guest, when he beheld the extent of the earl's retinue his
jealous passions were roused more than ever before; and he formed a plan
not only for attaching to himself the allegiance of the barons, but of
presenting the earl to the peasants in the light of one who had betrayed
Smitten, too, by the charms of the Lady Anne, he meditated a still more
unworthy scheme. Dismissing the unsuspecting Warwick to the double task
of settling with the rebels and calling upon his followers to range
themselves under the royal banner, he commanded Anne's attendance at
Events leading to the final breach between king and king-maker followed
rapidly. One night the Lady Anne fled in terror from the Tower--fled
from the dishonouring addresses of her sovereign, now grown gross in his
cups, however brave in battle. The news reached Warwick too late for him
to countermand the messages he had sent to his friends on the king's
behalf. And, so rapid were Edward's movements that Warwick, his eyes at
length opened to Edward's true character, was compelled to flee to the
court of King Louis at Amboise, there to plan his revenge, hampered in
doing so by his daughter Isabel's devotion to Clarence, who followed him
to France, and by the fact that, in regard to his own honour, he could
communicate to none save his own kin the secret cause of his open
_IV.--The Return of the King-Maker_
There was no love between Warwick and Margaret of Anjou. But his one
means of exacting penance from Edward was alliance with the unlucky
cause of Lancaster. And this alliance was brought about by the suave
diplomacy of Louis, and the discovery of the long-existing attachment
between the Lady Anne and her old play-fellow, Edward, the only son of
Henry and Margaret, and the hope of the Red Rose.
Coincidently with the marriage of Clarence and Isabel on French soil,
the young Edward and Isabel's sister were betrothed. Richard of
Gloucester was thus definitely estranged from Warwick's cause. And
secret agencies were set afoot to undermine the loyalty of the weak
Clarence to the cause which he had espoused.
At first, however, Warwick's plans prospered. He returned to England,
forced Edward to fly the country in his turn, and restored Henry VI. to
the throne. So far, Clarence and Isabel accompanied him; while Margaret
and her son, with Lady Warwick and the Lady Anne, remained at Amboise.
Then the very elements seemed to war against the Lancastrians. The
restoration came about in October 1470. Margaret was due in London in
November, but for nearly six months the state of the Channel was such
that she was unable to cross it.
Warwick sickened of his self-imposed task. The whole burden of
government rested upon the shoulders of the great earl, great where
deeds of valour were to be done, but weak in the niceties of
The nobles, no less than the people, had expected miracles. The
king-maker, on his return, gave them but justice. Such was the earl's
position when Edward, with a small following, landed at Ravenspur. A
treacherous message, sent to Warwick's brother Montagu by Clarence,
caused Montagu to allow the invader to march southwards unmolested. This
had so great an effect on public feeling that when Edward reached the
Midlands, he had not a mere handful of supporters at his back, but an
army of large dimensions. Then the wavering Clarence went over to his
brother, and it fell to the lot of the earl sorrowfully to dispatch
Isabel to the camp of his enemy.
But Warwick's cup of bitterness was not yet full. The Tower was
surrendered to Edward's friends, and on the following day Edward himself
entered the capital, to be received by the traders with tumultuous
Raw, cold, and dismal dawned the morning of the fateful 14th of March,
1471, when Margaret at last reached English soil, and Edward's forces
met those of Warwick on the memorable field of Barnet. All was not yet
lost to the cause of the Red Rose. But a fog settled down over the land
to complete, as it were, the disadvantages caused by the prolonged
storms at sea. At a critical period of the battle the silver stars on
the banners of one of the Lancastrians, the Earl of Oxford, being
mistaken for the silver suns of Edward's cognisance, two important
sections of Warwick's army fell upon one another. Friend was
slaughtering friend ere the error was detected. While all was yet in
doubt, confusion, and dismay, rushed full into the centre Edward
himself, with his knights and riders; and his tossing banners added to
the general incertitude and panic.
Warwick and his brother gained the shelter of a neighbouring wood, where
a trusty band of the earl's northern archers had been stationed. Here
they made their last stand, Warwick destroying his charger to signify to
his men that to them and to them alone he entrusted his fortunes and his
A breach was made in the defence, and Warwick and his brother fell side
by side, choosing death before surrender. And by them fell Hilyard,
shattered by a bombard. Young Marmaduke Nevile was among the few notable
The cries of "Victory!" reached a little band of watchers gathered in
the churchyard on the hill of Hadley. Here Henry the Peaceful had been
conveyed. And here, also, were Adam Warner and his daughter. The
soldiers, hearing from one of the Duchess of Bedford's creatures whose
chicanery had been the object of his scorn, that Warner was a wizard,
had desired that his services should be utilised. Till the issue was
clear, he had been kept a prisoner. When it was beyond doubt, he was
hanged. Sybill was found lying dead at her father's feet. Her heart was
already broken, for the husband of Margaret de Bonville having died,
Lord Hastings had been recalled to the side of his old love, his thought
of marriage with Sybill being abandoned for ever.
King Edward and his brothers went to render thanksgiving at St. Paul's;
thence to Baynard's Castle to escort the queen and her children once
more to the Tower.
At the sight of the victorious king, of the lovely queen, and, above
all, of the young male heir, the crowd burst forth with a hearty cry:
"Long live the king and the king's son!"
Mechanically, Elizabeth turned her moistened eyes from Edward to
Edward's brother, and suddenly clasped her infant closer to her bosom
when she caught the glittering and fatal eye of Richard, Duke of
Gloucester--Warwick's grim avenger in the future--fixed upon that
harmless life, destined to interpose a feeble obstacle between the
ambition of a ruthless intellect and the heritage of the English throne!
* * * * *
The Man of Feeling
Henry Mackenzie, the son of an Edinburgh physician, was born
in that city on August 26, 1745. He was educated for the law,
and at the age of twenty became attorney for the crown in
Scotland. It was about this time that he began to devote his
attention to literature. His first story, "The Man of
Feeling," was published anonymously in 1771, and such was its
popularity that its authorship was claimed in many quarters.
Considered as a novel, "The Man of Feeling" is frankly
sentimental. Its fragmentary form was doubtlessly suggested by
Sterne's "Sentimental Journey," and the adventures of the hero
himself are reminiscent of those of Moses in "The Vicar of
Wakefield." But of these two masterpieces Mackenzie's work
falls short: it has none of Sterne's humour, nor has it any of
Goldsmith's subtle characterisation. "The Man of Feeling" was
followed in 1773 by "The Man of the World," and later by a
number of miscellaneous articles and stories. Mackenzie died
on January 14, 1831.
_I.--A Whimsical History_
I was out shooting with the curate on a burning First of September, and
we had stopped for a minute by an old hedge.
Looking round, I discovered for the first time a venerable pile, to
which the enclosure before us belonged. An air of melancholy hung about
it, and just at that instant I saw pass between the trees a young lady
with a book in her hand. The curate sat him down on the grass and told
me that was the daughter of a neighbouring gentleman of the name of
Walton, whom he had seen walking there more than once.
"Some time ago," he said, "one Harley lived there, a whimsical sort of
man, I am told. The greatest part of his history is still in my
possession. I once began to read it, but I soon grew weary of the task;
for, besides that the hand is intolerably bad, I never could find the
author in one strain for two chapters together. The way I came by it was
this. Some time ago a grave, oddish kind of a man boarded at a farmer's
in this parish. He left soon after I was made curate, and went nobody
knows whither; and in his room was found a bundle of papers, which was
brought to me by his landlord."
"I should be glad to see this medley," said I.
"You shall see it now," answered the curate, "for I always take it along
with me a-shooting. 'Tis excellent wadding."
When I returned to town I had leisure to peruse the acquisition I had
made, and found it a little bundle of episodes, put together without
art, yet with something of nature.
The curate must answer for the omissions.
_II.--The Man of Feeling in Love_
Harley lost his father, the last surviving of his parents, when he was a
boy. His education, therefore, had been but indifferently attended to;
and after being taken from a country school, the young gentleman was
suffered to be his own master in the subsequent branches of literature,
with some assistance from the pastor of the parish in languages and
philosophy, and from the exciseman in arithmetic and book-keeping.
There were two ways of increasing his fortune. One of these was the
prospect of succeeding to an old lady, a distant relation, who was known
to be possessed of a very large sum in the stocks. But the young man was
so untoward in his disposition, and accommodated himself so ill to her
humour, that she died and did not leave him a farthing.
The other method pointed out to him was an endeavour to get a lease of
some crown lands which lay contiguous to his little paternal estate. As
the crown did not draw so much rent as Harley could afford to give, with
very considerable profit to himself, it was imagined this lease might be
easily procured. However, this needed some interest with the great,
which neither Harley nor his father ever possessed.
His neighbour, Mr. Walton, having heard of this affair, generously
offered his assistance to accomplish it, and said he would furnish him
with a letter of introduction to a baronet of his acquaintance who had a
great deal to say with the first lord of the treasury.
Harley, though he had no great relish for the attempt, could not resist
the torrent of motives that assaulted him, and a day was fixed for his
The day before he set out he went to take leave of Mr. Walton--there was
another person of the family to whom also the visit was intended. For
Mr. Walton had a daughter; and such a daughter!
As her father had some years retired to the country, Harley had frequent
opportunities of seeing her. He looked on her for some time merely with
that respect and admiration which her appearance seemed to demand; he
heard her sentiments with peculiar attention, but seldom declared his
opinions on the subject. It would be trite to observe the easy gradation
from esteem to love; in the bosom of Harley there scarce needed a
Harley's first effort to interview the baronet met with no success, but
he resolved to make another attempt, fortified with higher notions of
his own dignity, and with less apprehensions of repulse. By the time he
had reached Grosvenor Square and was walking along the pavement which
led to the baronet's he had brought his reasoning to the point that by
every rule of logic his conclusions should have led him to a thorough
indifference in approaching a fellow-mortal, whether that fellow-mortal
was possessed of six or six thousand pounds a year. Nevertheless, it is
certain that when he approached the great man's door he felt his heart
agitated by an unusual pulsation.
He observed a young gentleman coming out, dressed in a white frock and a
red laced waistcoat; who, as he passed, very politely made him a bow,
which Harley returned, though he could not remember ever having seen him
before. The stranger asked Harley civilly if he was going to wait on his
friend the baronet. "For I was just calling," said he, "and am sorry to
find that he is gone some days into the country."
Harley thanked him for his information, and turned from the door, when
the other observed that it would be proper to leave his name, and very
obligingly knocked for that purpose.
"Here is a gentleman, Tom, who meant to have waited on your master."
"Your name, if you please, sir?"
"You'll remember, Tom, Harley."
The door was shut.
"Since we are here," said the stranger, "we shall not lose our walk if
we add a little to it by a turn or two in Hyde Park."
The conversation as they walked was brilliant on the side of his
When they had finished their walk and were returning by the corner of
the park they observed a board hung out of a window signifying, "An
excellent ordinary on Saturdays and Sundays." It happened to be
Saturday, and the table was covered for the purpose.
"What if we should go in and dine, sir?" said the young gentleman.
Harley made no objection, and the stranger showed him the way into the
Over against the fire-place was seated a man of a grave aspect, who wore
a pretty large wig, which had once been white, but was now of a brownish
yellow; his coat was a modest coloured drab; and two jack-boots
concealed in part the well-mended knees of an old pair of buckskin
breeches. Next him sat another man, with a tankard in his hand and a
quid of tobacco in his cheek, whose dress was something smarter.
The door was soon opened for the admission of dinner. "I don't know how
it is with you, gentlemen," said Harley's new acquaintance, "but I am
afraid I shall not be able to get down a morsel at this horrid
mechanical hour of dining." He sat down, however, and did not show any
want of appetite by his eating. He took upon him the carving of the
meat, and criticised the goodness of the pudding, and when the
tablecloth was removed proposed calling for some punch, which was
readily agreed to.
While the punch lasted the conversation was wholly engrossed by this
young gentleman, who told a great many "immensely comical stories" and
"confounded smart things," as he termed them. At last the man in the
jack-boots, who turned out to be a grazier, pulling out a watch of very
unusual size, said that he had an appointment. And the young gentleman
discovered that he was already late for an appointment.
When the grazier and he were gone, Harley turned to the remaining
personage, and asked him if he knew that young gentleman. "A gentleman!"
said he. "I knew him, some years ago, in the quality of a footman. But
some of the great folks to whom he has been serviceable had him made a
ganger. And he has the assurance to pretend an acquaintance with men of
quality. The impudent dog! With a few shillings in his pocket, he will
talk three times as much as my friend Mundy, the grazier there, who is
worth nine thousand if he's worth a farthing. But I know the rascal, and
despise him as he deserves!"
Harley began to despise him, too, but he corrected himself by reflecting
that he was perhaps as well entertained, and instructed, too, by this
same ganger, as he should have been by such a man of fashion as he had
thought proper to personate.
_III.--Harley's Success with the Baronet_
The card he received was in the politest style in which disappointment
could be communicated. The baronet "was under a necessity of giving up
his application for Mr. Harley, as he was informed that the lease was
engaged for a gentleman who had long served his majesty in another
capacity, and whose merit had entitled him to the first lucrative thing
that should be vacant." Even Harley could not murmur at such a disposal.
"Perhaps," said he to himself, "some war-worn officer, who had been
neglected from reasons which merited the highest advancement; whose
honour could not stoop to solicit the preferment he deserved; perhaps,
with a family taught the principles of delicacy without the means of
supporting it; a wife and children--gracious heaven!--whom my wishes
would have deprived of bread--!"
He was interrupted in his reverie by someone tapping him on the
shoulder, and on turning round, he discovered it to be the very man who
had recently explained to him the condition of his gay companion.
"I believe we are fellows in disappointment," said he. Harley started,
and said that he was at a loss to understand him.
"Pooh! you need not be so shy," answered the other; "everyone for
himself is but fair, and I had much rather you had got it than the
rascally ganger. I was making interest for it myself, and I think I had
some title. I voted for this same baronet at the last election, and made
some of my friends do so, too; though I would not have you imagine that
I sold my vote. No, I scorn it--let me tell you I scorn it; but I
thought as how this man was staunch and true, and I find he's but a
double-faced fellow after all, and speechifies in the House for any side
he hopes to make most by. A murrain on the smooth-tongued knave, and
after all to get it for this rascal of a ganger."
"The ganger! There must be some mistake," said Harley. "He writes me
that it was engaged for one whose long services--"
"Services!" interrupted the other; "some paltry convenience to the
baronet. A plague on all rogues! I shall but just drink destruction to
them to-night and leave London to-morrow by sunrise."
"I shall leave it, too," said Harley; and so he accordingly did.
In passing through Piccadilly, he had observed on the window of an inn a
notification of the departure of a stage-coach for a place on his road
homewards; on the way back to his lodgings, he took a seat in it.
_IV.--He Meets an Old Acquaintance_
When the stage-coach arrived at the place of its destination, Harley,
who did things frequently in a way different from what other people call
natural, set out immediately afoot, having first put a spare shirt in
his pocket and given directions for the forwarding of his portmanteau.
It was a method of travelling which he was accustomed to take.
On the road, about four miles from his destination, Harley overtook an
old man, who from his dress had been a soldier, and walked with him.
"Sir," said the stranger, looking earnestly at him, "is not your name
Harley? You may well have forgotten my face, 'tis a long time since you
saw it; but possibly you may remember something of old Edwards? When you
were at school in the neighbourhood, you remember me at South Hill?"
"Edwards!" cried Harley, "O, heavens! let me clasp those knees on which
I have sat so often. Edwards! I shall never forget that fireside, round
which I have been so happy! But where have you been? Where is Jack?
Where is your daughter?"
"'Tis a long tale," replied Edwards, "but I will try to tell it you as
Edwards had been a tenant farmer where his father, grandfather, and
great-grandfather had lived before him. The rapacity of a land steward,
heavy agricultural losses, and finally the arrival of a press-gang had
reduced him to misery. By paying a certain sum of money he had been
accepted by the press-gang instead of his son, and now old Edwards was
returning home invalided from the army.
When they had arrived within a little way of the village they journeyed
to, Harley stopped short and looked steadfastly on the mouldering walls
of a ruined house that stood by the roadside.
"What do I see?" he cried. "Silent, unroofed, and desolate! That was the
very school where I was boarded when you were at South Hill; 'tis but a
twelve-month since I saw it standing and its benches filled with
cherubs. That opposite side of the road was the green on which they
sported; see, it is now ploughed up!"
Just then a woman passed them on the road, who, in reply to Harley, told
them the squire had pulled the school-house down because it stood in the
way of his prospects.
"If you want anything with the school-mistress, sir," said the woman. "I
can show you the way to her house."
They followed her to the door of a snug habitation, where sat an elderly
woman with a boy and a girl before her, each of whom held a supper of
bread and milk in their hands.
"They are poor orphans," the school-mistress said, when Harley addressed
her, "put under my care by the parish, and more promising children I
never saw. Their father, sir, was a farmer here in the neighbourhood,
and a sober, industrious man he was; but nobody can help misfortunes.
What with bad crops and bad debts, his affairs went to wreck, and both
he and his wife died of broken hearts. And a sweet couple they were,
sir. There was not a properer man to look on in the county than John
Edwards, and so, indeed, were all the Edwardses of South Hill."
"Edwards! South Hill!" said the old soldier, in a languid voice, and
fell back in the arms of the astonished Harley.
He soon recovered, and folding his orphan grandchildren in his arms,
cried, "My poor Jack, art thou gone--"
"My dear old man," said Harley, "Providence has sent you to relieve
them. It will bless me if I can be the means of assisting you."
"Yes, indeed, sir," answered the boy. "Father, when he was a-dying, bade
God bless us, and prayed that if grandfather lived he might send him to
support us. I have told sister," said he, "that she should not take it
so to heart. She can knit already, and I shall soon be able to dig. We
shall not starve, sister, indeed we shall not, nor shall grandfather
The little girl cried afresh. Harley kissed off her tears, and wept
between every kiss.
_V.--The Man of Feeling is Jealous_
Shortly after Harley's return home his servant Peter came into his room
one morning with a piece of news on his tongue.
"The morning is main cold, sir," began Peter.
"Is it?" said Harley.
"Yes, sir. I have been as far as Tom Dowson's to fetch some barberries.
There was a rare junketting at Tom's last night among Sir Harry Benson's
servants. And I hear as how Sir Harry is going to be married to Miss
Walton. Tom's wife told it me, and, to be sure, the servants told her;
but, of course, it mayn't be true, for all that."
"Have done with your idle information," said Harley. "Is my aunt come
down into the parlour to breakfast?"
"Tell her I'll be with her immediately."
His aunt, too, had been informed of the intended match between Sir Harry
Benson and Miss Walton, Harley learnt.
"I have been thinking," said she, "that they are distant relations, for
the great-grandfather of this Sir Harry, who was knight of the shire in
the reign of Charles I., married a daughter of the Walton family."
Harley answered drily that it might be so, but that he never troubled
himself about those matters.
"Indeed," said she, "you are to blame, nephew, for not knowing a little
more of them; but nowadays it is money, not birth, that makes people
respected--the more shame for the times."
Left alone, Harley went out and sat down on a little seat in the garden.
"Miss Walton married!" said he. "But what is that to me? May she be
happy! Her virtues deserve it. I had romantic dreams. They are fled."
That night the curate dined with him, though his visits, indeed, were
more properly to the aunt than the nephew. He had hardly said grace
after dinner when he said he was very well informed that Sir Harry
Benson was just going to be married to Miss Walton. Harley spilt the
wine he was carrying to his mouth; he had time, however, to recollect
himself before the curate had finished the particulars of his
intelligence, and, summing up all the heroism he was master of, filled a
bumper, and drank to Miss Walton.
"With all my heart," said the curate; "the bride that is to be!" Harley
would have said "bride," too, but it stuck in his throat, and his
confusion was manifest.
_VI.--He Sees Miss Walton and is Happy_
Miss Walton was not married to Sir Harry Benson, but Harley made no
declaration of his own passion after that of the other had been
unsuccessful. The state of his health appears to have been such as to
forbid any thoughts of that kind. He had been seized with a very
dangerous fever caught by attending old Edwards in one of an infectious
kind. From this he had recovered but imperfectly, and though he had no
formed complaint, his health was manifestly on the decline.
It appears that some friend had at length pointed out to his aunt a
cause from which this decline of health might be supposed to proceed, to
wit, his hopeless love for Miss Walton--for, according to the
conceptions of the world, the love of a man of Harley's modest fortune
for the heiress of L4,000 a year is indeed desperate.
Be that as it may, I was sitting with him one morning when the door
opened and his aunt appeared, leading in Miss Walton. I could observe a
transient glow upon his face as he rose from his seat. She begged him to
resume his seat, and placed herself on the sofa beside him. I took my
leave, and his aunt accompanied me to the door. Harley was left with
Miss Walton alone. She inquired anxiously about his health.
"I believe," said he, "from the accounts which my physicians unwillingly
give me, that they have no great hopes of my recovery."
She started as he spoke, and then endeavoured to flatter him into a
belief that his apprehensions were groundless.
"I do not wish to be deceived," said he. "To meet death as becomes a man
is a privilege bestowed on few. I would endeavour to make it mine. Nor
do I think that I can ever be better prepared for it than now." He
paused some moments. "I am in such a state as calls for sincerity. Let
that also excuse it. It is perhaps the last time we shall ever meet." He
paused again. "Let it not offend you to know your power over one so
unworthy. To love Miss Walton could not be a crime; if to declare it is
one, the expiation will be made."
Her tears were now flowing without control.
"Let me entreat you," said she, "to have better hopes. Let not life be
so indifferent to you, if my wishes can put any value on it. I know your
worth--I have known it long. I have esteemed it. What would you have me
say? I have loved it as it deserved."
He seized her hand, a languid colour reddened her cheek; a smile
brightened faintly in his eye. As he gazed on her it grew dim, it fixed,
it closed. He sighed, and fell back on his seat. Miss Walton screamed at
His aunt and the servants rushed into the room. They found them lying
His physician happened to call at that instant. Every art was tried to
recover them. With Miss Walton they succeeded, but Harley was gone for
* * * * *
XAVIER DE MAISTRE
A Journey Round My Room
Count Xavier de Maistre was born in October 1763 at Chambery,
in Savoy. When, in the war and the upheaval that followed on
the French Revolution, his country was annexed to France, he
emigrated to Russia, and being a landscape painter of fine
talent, he managed to live on the pictures which he sold. He
died at St. Petersburg on June 12, 1852. His famous "Journey
Round My Room" ("Voyage autour de ma chambre") was written in
1794 at Turin, where he was imprisoned for forty-two days over
some affair of honour. The style of his work is clearly
modelled on that of Sterne, but the ideas, which he pours out
with a delightful interplay of wit and fancy, are marked with
the stamp of a fine, original mind. The work is one of the
most brilliant _tours de force_ in a literature remarkable for
its lightness, grace, and charm. Being a born writer, de
Maistre whiled away his time by producing a sparkling little
masterpiece, which will be cherished long after the heavy,
philosophical works written by his elder brother, Joseph de
Maistre, have mouldered into the dust. In the lifetime of the
two brothers, Joseph was regarded throughout Europe as a man
of high genius, while Xavier was looked down on as a trifler.
_I.--My Great Discovery_
How glorious it is to open a new career, and to appear suddenly in the
world of science with a book of discoveries in one's hand like an
unexpected comet sparkling in space! Here is the book, gentleman. I have
undertaken and carried out a journey of forty-two days in my room. The
interesting observations I have made, and the continual pleasure I have
felt during this long expedition, excited in me the wish to publish it;
the certitude of the usefulness of my work decided me. My heart is
filled with an inexpressible satisfaction when I think of the infinite
number of unhappy persons to whom I am now able to offer an assured
resource against the tediousness and vexations of life. The delight one
finds in travelling in one's own room is a pure joy, exempt from the
unquiet jealousies of men and independent of ill-fortune.
In the immense family of men that swarm on the surface of the earth,
there is not one--no, not one (I am speaking, of course, of those who
have a room to live in)--who can, after having read this book, refuse
his approbation to the new way of travelling which I have invented. It
costs nothing, that is the great thing! Thus it is certain of being
adopted by very rich people! Thousands of persons who have never thought
of travelling will now resolve to follow my example.
Come, then, let us go forth! Follow me, all ye hermits who through some
mortification in love, some negligence in friendship, have withdrawn
into your rooms far from the pettiness and infidelity of mankind! But
quit your dismal thoughts, I pray you. Every minute you lose some
pleasure without gaining any wisdom in place of it. Deign to accompany
me on my travels. We shall go by easy stages, laughing all along the
road at every tourist who has gone to Rome or Paris. No obstacle shall
stop us, and, surrendering ourselves to our imagination, we will follow
it wherever it may lead us.
But persons are so curious. I am sure you would like to know why my
journey round my room lasted forty-two days instead of forty-three, or
some other space of time. But how can I tell you when I do not know
myself? All I can say is that if you find my work too long, it was not
my fault. In spite of the vanity natural in a traveller, I should have
been very glad if it had only run a single chapter. The fact is, that
though I was allowed in my room all the pleasures and comfort possible,
I was not permitted to leave it when I wished.
Is there anything more natural and just than to fight to the death with
a man who has inadvertently trodden on your foot, or let fall some sharp
words in a moment of vexation of which your imprudence was the cause?
Nothing, you will admit, is more logical; and yet there are some people
who disapprove of this admirable custom.
But, what is still more natural and logical, the very people who
disapprove it and regard it as a grave crime treat with greater rigour
any man who refuses to commit it. Many an unhappy fellow has lost his
reputation and position through conforming with their views, so that if
you have the misfortune to be engaged in what is called "an affair of
honour," it is best to toss up to see if you should follow the law or
the custom; and as the law and the custom in regard to duelling are
contradictory, the magistrates would also do well to frame their
sentence on the throw of the dice. Probably, it was in this way that
they determined that my journey should last exactly forty-two days.
_II.--My Armchair and my Bed_
My chamber forms a square, round which I can take thirty-six steps, if I
keep very close to the wall. But I seldom travel in a straight line. I
dislike persons who are such masters of their feet and of their ideas
that they can say: "To-day I shall make three calls, I shall write four
letters, I shall finish this work that I have begun." So rare are the
pleasures scattered along our difficult path in life, that we must be
mad not to turn out of our way and gather anything of joy which is
within our reach.
To my mind, there is nothing more attractive than to follow the trail of
one's ideas, like a hunter tracking down game, without holding to any
road. I like to zigzag about. I set out from my table to the picture in
the corner. From there I journey obliquely towards the door; but if I
come upon my armchair I stand on no ceremonies, but settle myself in it
at once. 'Tis an excellent piece of furniture, an armchair, and
especially useful to a meditative man. In long winter evenings it is
sometimes delightful and always wise to stretch oneself in it easily,
far from the din of the numerous assemblies.
After my armchair, in walking towards the north I discover my bed, which
is placed at the end of my room, and there forms a most agreeable
perspective. So happily is it arranged that the earliest rays of
sunlight come and play on the curtains. I can see them, on fine summer
mornings, advancing along the white wall with the rising sun; some elms,
growing before my window, divide them in a thousand ways, and make them
dance on my bed, which, by their reflection, spread all round the room
the tint of its own charming white and rose pattern. I hear the
twittering of the swallows that nest in the roof, and of other birds in
the elms; a stream of charming thoughts flows into my mind, and in the
whole world nobody has an awakening as pleasant and as peaceful as mine.
Only metaphysicians must read this chapter. It throws a great light on
the nature of man. I cannot explain how and why I burnt my fingers at
the first steps I made in setting out on my journey around my room,
until I expose my system of the soul and the beast. In the course of
diverse observations I have found out that man is composed of a soul and
It is often said that man is made up of a soul and a body, and this body
is accused of doing all sorts of wrong things. In my opinion, there is
no ground for such accusations, for the body is as incapable of feeling
as it is of thinking. The beast is the creature on whom the blame should
be laid. It is a sensible being, perfectly distinct from the soul, a
veritable individual, with its separate existence, tastes, inclinations,
and will; it is superior to other animals only because it has been
better brought up, and endowed with finer organs. The great art of a man
of genius consists in knowing how to train his beast so well that it can
run alone, while the soul, delivered from its painful company, rises up
into the heavens. I must make this clear by an example.
One day last summer I was walking along on my way to the court. I had
been painting all the morning, and my soul, delighted with her
meditation on painting, left to the beast the care of transporting me to
the king's palace.
"What a sublime art painting is!" thought my soul. "Happy is the man who
has been touched by the spectacle of nature, who is not compelled to
paint pictures for a living, and still less just to pass the time away;
but who, struck by the majesty of a fine physiognomy and by the
admirable play of light that blends in a thousand tints on a human face,
tries to approach in his works the sublime effects of nature!"
While my soul was making these reflections, the beast was running its
own way. Instead of going to court, as it had been ordered to, it
swerved so much to the left that at the moment when my soul caught it
up, it was at the door of Mme. de Hautcastel's house, half a mile from
* * * * *
If it is useful and pleasant to have a soul so disengaged from the
material world that one can let her travel all alone when one wishes to,
this faculty is not without its inconveniences. It was through it, for
instance, that I burnt my fingers. I usually leave to my beast the duty
of preparing my breakfast. It toasts my bread and cuts it in slices.
Above all, it makes coffee beautifully, and it drinks it very often
without my soul taking part in the matter, except when she amuses
herself with watching the beast at work. This, however, is rare, and a
very difficult thing to do.
It is easy, during some mechanical act, to think of something else; but
it is extremely difficult to study oneself in action, so to speak; or,
to explain myself according to my own system, to employ one's soul in
examining the conduct of one's beast, to see it work without taking any
part. This is really the most astonishing metaphysical feat that man can
I had laid my tongs on the charcoal to toast my bread, and some time
after, while my soul was on her travels, a flaming stump rolled on the
grate; my poor beast went to take up the tongs, and I burnt my fingers.
_IV.--A Great Picture_
The first stage of my journey round my room is accomplished. While my
soul has been explaining my new system of metaphysic, I have been
sitting in my armchair in my favourite attitude, with the two front feet
raised a couple of inches off the floor. By swaying my body to and fro,
I have insensibly gained ground, and I find myself with a start close to
the wall. This is the way in which I travel when I am not in a hurry.
My chamber is hung with prints and paintings which embellish it in an
admirable manner. I should like the reader to examine them one after the
other, and to entertain himself during the long journey that we must
make in order to arrive at my desk. Look, here is a portrait of Raphael.
Beside it is a likeness of the adorable lady whom he loved.
But I have something still finer than these, and I always reserve it for
the last. I find that both connoisseurs and ignoramuses, both women of
the world and little children, yes, and even animals, are pleased and
astonished by the way in which this sublime work renders every effect in
nature. What picture can I present to you, gentlemen; what scene can I
put beneath your lovely eyes, ladies, more certain of winning your
favour than the faithful image of yourselves? The work of which I speak
is a looking-glass, and nobody up to the present has taken it into his
head to criticise it; it is, for all those who study it, a perfect
picture in which there is nothing to blame. It is thus the gem of my
You see this withered rose? It is a flower of the Turin carnival of last
year. I gathered it myself at Valentin's, and in the evening, an hour
before the ball, I went full of hope and joy to present it to Mme. de
Hautcastel. She took it, and placed it on her dressing-table without
looking at it, and without looking at me. But how could she take any
notice of me? Standing in an ectasy before a great mirror, she was
putting the last touches to her finery. So totally was she absorbed in
the ribbons, the gauzes, the ornaments heaped up before her, that I
could not obtain a glance, a sign. I finished my losing patience, and
being unable to resist the feeling of anger that swept over me, I took
up the rose and walked out without taking leave of my sweetheart.
"Are you going?" she said, turning round to see her figure in profile.
I did not answer, but I listened at the door to learn if my brusque
departure produced any effect.
"Do you not see," exclaimed Mme. de Hautcastel to her maid, after a
short silence, "that this pelisse is much too full at the bottom? Get
some pins and make a tuck in it."
That is how I come to have a withered rose on my desk. I shall make no
reflections on the affair. I shall not even draw any conclusions from it
concerning the force and duration of a woman's love.
My forty-two days are coming to an end, and an equal space of time would
not suffice to describe the rich country in which I am now travelling,
for I have at last reached my bookshelf. It contains nothing but
novels--yes, I shall be candid--nothing but novels and a few choice
poets. As though I had not enough troubles of my own, I willingly share
in those of a thousand imaginary persons, and I feel them as keenly as
if they were mine. What tears have I shed over the unhappiness of
But if I thus seek for feigned afflictions, I find, in compensation, in
this imaginary world, the virtue, the goodness, the disinterestedness
which I have been unable to discover together in the real world in which
I exist. It is there that I find the wife that I desire, without temper,
without lightness, without subterfuge; I say nothing about beauty--you
can depend on my imagination for that! Then, closing the book which no
longer answers to my ideas, I take her by the hand, and we wander
together through a land a thousand times more delicious than that of
Eden. What painter can depict the scene of enchantment in which I have
placed the divinity of my heart? But when I am tired of love-making I
take up some poet, and set out again for another world.
_V.--In Prison Again_
O charming land of imagination which has been given to men to console
them for the realities of life, it is time for me to leave thee! This is
the day when certain persons pretend to give me back my freedom, as
though they had deprived me of it! As though it were in their power to
take it away from me for a single instant, and to hinder me from
scouring as I please the vast space always open before me! They have
prevented me from going out into a single town--Turin, a mere point on
the earth--but they have left to me the entire universe; immensity and
eternity have been at my service.
To-day, then, I am free, or rather I am going to be put back into irons.
The yoke of business is again going to weigh me down; I shall not be
able to take a step which is not measured by custom or duty. I shall be
fortunate if some capricious goddess does not make me forget one and the
other, and if I escape from this new and dangerous captivity.
Oh, why did they not let me complete my journey! Was it really to punish
me that they confined me in my room? In this country of delight which
contains all the good things, all the riches of the world? They might as
well have tried to chastise a mouse by shutting him up in a granary.
Yet never have I perceived more clearly that I have a double nature. All
the time that I am regretting my pleasures of the imagination, I feel
myself consoled by force. A secret power draws me away. It tells me that
I have need of the fresh air and the open sky, and that solitude
resembles death. So here am I dressed and ready. My door opens; I am
rambling under the spacious porticoes of the street of Po; a thousand
charming phantoms dance before my eyes. Yes, this is her mansion, this
is the door; I tremble with anticipation.
* * * * *
SIR THOMAS MALORY
Little is known of Sir Thomas Malory, who, according to
Caxton, "did take out of certain French books a copy of the
noble histories of King Arthur and reduced it to English." We
learn from the text that "this book was finished in the ninth
year of the reign of King Edward the Fourth, by Sir Thomas
Malory, Knight." That would be in the year 1469. Malory is
said to have been a Welshman. The origin of the Arthurian
romance was probably Welsh. Its first literary form was in
Geoffrey of Monmouth's prose, in 1147. Translated into French
verse, and brightened in the process, these legends appear to
have come back to us, and to have received notable additions
from Walter Map (1137-1209), another Welshman. A second time
they were worked on and embellished by the French
romanticists, and from these later versions Malory appears to
have collated the materials for his immortal translation. The
story of Arthur and Launcelot is the thread of interest
followed in this epitome.
_I.--The Coming of Arthur_
It befell in the days of the noble Utherpendragon, when he was King of
England, there was a mighty and noble duke in Cornwall, named the Duke
of Tintagil, that held long war against him. And the duke's wife was
called a right fair lady, and a passing wise, and Igraine was her name.
And the duke, issuing out of the castle at a postern to distress the
king's host, was slain. Then all the barons, by one assent, prayed the
king of accord between the Lady Igraine and himself. And the king gave
them leave, for fain would he have accorded with her; and they were
married in a morning with great mirth and joy.
When the Queen Igraine grew daily nearer the time when the child Arthur
should be born, Merlin, by whose counsel the king had taken her to wife,
came to the king and said: "Sir, you must provide for the nourishing of
your child. I know a lord of yours that is a passing true man, and
faithful, and he shall have the nourishing of your child. His name is
Sir Ector, and he is a lord of fair livelihood." "As thou wilt," said
the king, "be it." So the child was delivered unto Merlin, and he bare
it forth unto Sir Ector, and made a holy man to christen him, and named
But, within two years, King Uther fell sick of a great malady, and
therewith yielded up the ghost, and was interred as belonged unto a
king; wherefore Igraine the queen made great sorrow, and all the barons.
Then stood the realm in great jeopardy a long while, for many weened to
have been king. And Merlin went to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and
counselled him to send for all the lords of the realm, and all the
gentlemen of arms, to London before Christmas, upon pain of cursing,
that Jesus, of His great mercy, should show some miracle who should be
rightwise king. So in the greatest church of London there was seen
against the high altar a great stone and in the midst thereof there was
an anvil of steel, and therein stuck a fair sword, naked by the point,
and letters of gold were written about the sword that said, "Whoso
pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil is rightwise king born of
And many essayed, but none might stir the sword.
And on New Year's Day the barons made a joust, and Sir Ector rode to the
jousts; and with him rode Sir Kaye, his son, and young Arthur, that was
his nourished brother.
And Sir Kaye, who was made knight at Allhallowmas afore, had left his
sword at his father's lodging, and so prayed young Arthur to ride for
it. Then Arthur said to himself, "I will ride to the churchyard and take
the sword that sticketh in the stone for my brother Kaye." And so,
lightly and fiercely, he pulled it out of the stone, and took horse and
delivered to Sir Kaye the sword. "How got you this sword?" said Sir
Ector to Arthur. "Sir, I will tell you," said Arthur; "I pulled it out
of the stone without any pain." "Now," said Sir Ector, "I understand you
must be king of this land." "Wherefore I?" said Arthur. "And for what
cause?" "Sir," said Sir Ector, "for God will have it so." And
therewithal Sir Ector kneeled down to the earth, and Sir Kaye also.
Then Sir Ector told him all how he had betaken him to nourish him; and
Arthur made great moan when he understood that Sir Ector was not his
And at the Feast of Pentecost all manner of men essayed to pull out the
sword, and none might prevail but Arthur, who pulled it out before all
the lords and commons. And the commons cried, "We will have Arthur unto
our king." And so anon was the coronation made.
And Merlin said to King Arthur, "Fight not with the sword that you had
by miracle till you see that you go to the worst, then draw it out and
do your best." And the sword, Excalibur, was so bright that it gave
light like thirty torches.
_II.--The Marriage of Arthur_
In the beginning of King Arthur, after that he was chosen king by
adventure and by grace, for the most part the barons knew not that he
was Utherpendragon's son but as Merlin made it openly known. And many
kings and lords made great war against him for that cause, but King
Arthur full well overcame them all; for the most part of the days of his
life he was much ruled by the counsel of Merlin. So it befell on a time
that he said unto Merlin, "My barons will let me have no rest, but needs
they will have that I take a wife, and I will none take but by thy
"It is well done," said Merlin, "for a man of your bounty and nobleness
should not be without a wife. Now, is there any fair lady that ye love
better than another?"
"Yea," said Arthur; "I love Guinever, the king's daughter, of the land
of Cameliard. This damsel is the gentlest and fairest lady I ever could
"Sir," said Merlin, "she is one of the fairest that live, and as a man's
heart is set he will be loth to return."
But Merlin warned the king privily that Guinever was not wholesome for
him to take to wife, for he warned him that Launcelot should love her,
and she him again. And Merlin went forth to King Leodegraunce, of
Cameliard, and told him of the desire of the king that he would have to
his wife Guinever, his daughter. "That is to me," said King
Leodegraunce, "the best tidings that ever I heard; and I shall send him
a gift that shall please him, for I shall give him the Table Round, the
which Utherpendragon gave me; and when it is full complete there is a
place for a hundred and fifty knights; and a hundred good knights I have
myself, but I lack fifty, for so many have been slain in my days."
And so King Leodegraunce delivered his daughter, Guinever, to Merlin,
and the Table Round, with the hundred knights, and they rode freshly and
with great royalty, what by water and what by land.
And when Arthur heard of the coming of Guinever and the hundred knights
of the Round Table he made great joy; and in all haste did ordain for
the marriage and coronation in the most honourable wise that could be
devised. And Merlin found twenty-eight good knights of prowess and
worship, but no more could he find. And the Archbishop of Canterbury was
sent for, and blessed the seats of the Round Table with great devotion.
Then was the high feast made ready, and the king was wedded at Camelot
unto Dame Guinever, in the Church of St. Steven's, with great solemnity.
_III.--Sir Launcelot and the King_
And here I leave off this tale, and overskip great books of Merlin, and
Morgan le Fay, and Sir Balin le Savage, and Sir Launcelot du Lake, and
Sir Galahad, and the Book of the Holy Grail, and the Book of Elaine, and
come to the tale of Sir Launcelot, and the breaking up of the Round
In the merry month of May, when every heart flourisheth and rejoiceth,
it happened there befel a great misfortune, the which stinted not till
the flower of the chivalry of all the world was destroyed and slain.
And all was along of two unhappy knights named Sir Agravaine and Sir
Mordred, that were brethren unto Sir Gawaine. For these two knights had
ever privy hate unto the queen, and unto Sir Launcelot. And Sir
Agravaine said openly, and not in counsel, "I marvel that we all be not
ashamed to see and know how Sir Launcelot cometh daily and nightly to
the queen, and it is shameful that we suffer so noble a king to be
ashamed." Then spake Sir Gawaine, "I pray you have no such matter any
way before me, for I will not be of your counsel." And so said his
brothers, Sir Gaheris and Sir Gareth. "Then will I," said Sir Mordred.
And with these words they came to King Arthur, and told him they could
suffer it no longer, but must tell him, and prove to him that Sir
Launcelot was a traitor to his person.
"I would be loth to begin such a thing," said King Arthur, "for I tell
you Sir Launcelot is the best knight among you all." For Sir Launcelot
had done much for him and for his queen many times, and King Arthur
loved him passing well.
Then Sir Agravaine advised that the king go hunting, and send word that
he should be out all that night, and he and Sir Mordred, with twelve
knights of the Round Table should watch the queen. So on the morrow King
Arthur rode out hunting.
And Sir Launcelot told Sir Bors that night he would speak with the
queen. "You shall not go this night by my counsel," said Sir Bors.
"Fair nephew," said Sir Launcelot, "I marvel me much why ye say this,
sithence the queen hath sent for me." And he departed, and when he had
passed to the queen's chamber, Sir Agravaine and Sir Mordred, with
twelve knights, cried aloud without, "Traitor knight, now art thou
But Sir Launcelot after he had armed himself, set the chamber door wide
open, and mightily and knightly strode among them, and slew Sir
Agravaine and twelve of his fellows, and wounded Sir Mordred, who fled
with all his might, and came straight to King Arthur, wounded and
beaten, and all be-bled.
"Alas!" said the king, "now am I sure the noble fellowship of the Round
Table is broken for ever, for with Launcelot will hold many a noble
And the queen was adjudged to death by fire, for there was none other
remedy but death for treason in those days. Then was Queen Guinever led
forth without Carlisle, and despoiled unto her smock, and her ghostly
father was brought to her to shrive her of her misdeeds; and there was
weeping and wailing and wringing of hands.
But anon there was spurring and plucking up of horses, for Sir Launcelot
and many a noble knight rode up to the fire, and none might withstand
him. And a kirtle and gown were cast upon the queen, and Sir Launcelot
rode his way with her to Joyous Gard, and kept her as a noble knight
Then came King Arthur and Sir Gawaine, whose brothers, Sir Gaheris and
Sir Gareth, had been slain by Sir Launcelot unawares, and laid a siege
to Joyous Gard. And Launcelot had no heart to fight against his lord,
King Arthur; and Arthur would have taken his queen again, and would have
accorded with Sir Launcelot, but Sir Gawaine would not suffer him. Then
the Pope called unto him a noble clerk, the Bishop of Rochester, and
gave him bulls, under lead, unto King Arthur, charging him that he take
his queen, Dame Guinever, to him again, and accord with Sir Launcelot.
And as for the queen, she assented. And the bishop had of the king
assurance that Sir Launcelot should come and go safe. So Sir Launcelot
delivered the queen to the king, who assented that Sir Launcelot should
not abide in the land past fifteen days.
Then Sir Launcelot sighed, and said these words, "Truly me repenteth
that ever I came into this realm, that I should be thus shamefully
banished, undeserved, and causeless." And unto Queen Guinever he said,
"Madam, now I must depart from you and this noble fellowship for ever;
and since it is so, I beseech you pray for me, and send me word if ye be
noised with any false tongues." And therewith Launcelot kissed the
queen, and said openly, "Now let me see what he be that dare say the
queen is not true to King Arthur--let who will speak, and he dare!" And
he took his leave and departed, and all the people wept.
_IV.--The Passing of Arthur_
Now, to say the truth, Sir Launcelot and his nephews were lords of the
realm of France, and King Arthur and Sir Gawaine made a great host ready
and shipped at Cardiff, and made great destruction and waste on his
lands. And Arthur left the governance of all England to Sir Mordred. And
Sir Mordred caused letters to be made that specified that King Arthur
was slain in battle with Sir Launcelot; wherefore Sir Mordred made a
parliament, and they chose him king, and he was crowned at Canterbury.
But Queen Guinever came to London, and stuffed it with victuals, and
garnished it with men, and kept it.
Then King Arthur raised the siege on Sir Launcelot, and came homeward
with a great host to be avenged on Sir Mordred. And Sir Mordred drew
towards Dover to meet him, and most of England held with Sir Mordred,
the people were so new-fangled.
Then was there launching of great boats and small, and all were full of
noble men of arms, and there was much slaughter of gentle knights; but
King Arthur was so courageous none might let him to land; and his
knights fiercely followed him, and put back Sir Mordred, and he fled.
But Sir Gawaine was laid low with a blow smitten on an old wound given
him by Sir Launcelot. Then Sir Gawaine, after he had been shriven, wrote
with his own hand to Sir Launcelot, flower of all noble knights: "I
beseech thee, Sir Launcelot, return again to this realm, and see my
tomb, and pray some prayer more or less for my soul. Make no tarrying
but come with thy noble knights and rescue that noble king that made
thee knight, for he is straitly bestood with a false traitor." And so
Sir Gawaine betook his soul into the hands of our Lord God.
And many a knight drew unto Sir Mordred and many unto King Arthur, and
never was there seen a dolefuller battle in a Christian land. And they
fought till it was nigh night, and there were a hundred thousand laid
dead upon the down.
"Alas! that ever I should see this doleful day," said King Arthur, "for
now I come unto mine end. But would to God that I wist where that
traitor Sir Mordred is, which hath caused all this mischief."
Then was King Arthur aware where Sir Mordred leaned upon his sword, and
there King Arthur smote Sir Mordred throughout the body more than a
fathom, and Sir Mordred smote King Arthur with his sword held in both
hands on the side of the head, that the sword pierced the helmet and the
brain-pan. And Sir Mordred fell dead; and the noble King Arthur fell in
a swoon, and Sir Lucan and Sir Bedivere laid him in a little chapel not
far from the sea-side.
And when he came to himself again, he said unto Sir Bedivere, "Take thou
Excalibur, my good sword, and throw it into that water." And when Sir
Bedivere (at the third essay) threw the sword into the water, as far as
he might, there came an arm and a hand above the water, and met and
caught it, and so shook and brandished it thrice; and then the hand
vanished away with the sword in the water.
Then Sir Bedivere bore King Arthur to the water's edge, and fast by the
bank hovered a little barge, and there received him three queens with
great mourning. And Arthur said, "I will unto the vale of Avillon for to
heal me of my grievous wound, and if thou never hear more of me, pray
for my soul." And evermore the ladies wept.
And in the morning Sir Bedivere was aware between two hills of a chapel
and a hermitage; and he saw there a hermit fast by a tomb newly graven.
And the hermit said, "My son, here came ladies which brought this corpse
and prayed me to bury him."
"Alas," said Sir Bedivere, "that was my lord, King Arthur."
And when Queen Guinever understood that her lord, King Arthur, was
slain, she stole away and went to Almesbury, and made herself a nun, and
was abbess and ruler as reason would.
And Sir Launcelot passed over into England, and prayed full heartily at
the tomb of Sir Gawaine, and then rode alone to find Queen Guinever. And
when Sir Launcelot was brought unto her, she said: "Through this knight
and me all the wars were wrought, and through our love is my noble lord
slain; therefore, Sir Launcelot, I require thee that thou never look me
more in the visage."
And Sir Launcelot said: "The same destiny ye have taken you unto I will
take me unto." And he besought the bishop that he might be his brother;
then he put a habit on Sir Launcelot, and there he served God day and
night, with prayers and fastings.
And when Queen Guinever died Sir Launcelot buried her beside her lord,
King Arthur. Then mourned he continually until he was dead, so within
six weeks after they found him stark dead, and he lay as he had smiled.
Then there was weeping and dolor out of measure. And they buried Sir
Launcelot with great devotion.
* * * * *
The Household of Sir Thomas More
Anne Manning, one of the most active women novelists of Queen
Victoria's reign, was born in London on February 17, 1807. Her
first book, "A Sister's Gift: Conversations on Sacred
Subjects," was written in the form of lessons for her brothers
and sisters, and published at her own expense in 1826. It was
followed in 1831 by "Stories from the History of Italy," and
in 1838 her first work of fiction, "Village Belles," made its
appearance. In their day Miss Manning's novels had a great
vogue, only equalled by her amazing output. Altogether some
fifty-one stories appeared under her name, of which the best
remembered is "The Household of Sir Thomas More," an imaginary
diary written by More's daughter, Margaret. After appearing in
"Sharpe's Magazine," it was published in book form in 1860. It
is wonderfully vivid, and is written with due regard to
historical facts. It is interesting to compare it with the
"Life of Sir Thomas More," written by William Roper, Margaret
More's husband, with which it is now frequently reprinted.
Miss Manning died on September 14, 1879.
_I.--Of the Writing of My Libellus_
_Chelsea, June_ 18.
On asking Mr. Gunnel to what use I should put this fayr _Libellus_, he
did suggest my making it a kinde of family register, wherein to note the
more important of our domestic passages, whether of joy or griefe--my
father's journies and absences--the visits of learned men, theire
notable sayings, etc. "You are ready at the pen, Mistress Margaret," he
was pleased to say, "and I woulde humblie advise your journaling in the
same fearless manner in the which you framed that letter which so well
pleased the Bishop of Exeter that he sent you a Portugal piece. 'Twill
be well to write it in English, which 'tis expedient for you not
altogether to negleckt, even for the more honourable Latin."
Methinks I am close upon womanhood. My master Gonellus doth now "humblie
advise" her he hath so often chid. 'Tis well to make trial of his
...As I traced the last word methoughte I heard the well-known tones of
Erasmus, his pleasant voyce, and indeede here is the deare little man
coming up from the riverside with my father, who, because of the heat,
had given his cloak to a tall stripling behind him to bear, I flew
upstairs, to advertise mother, and we found 'em alreadie in the hall.
So soon as I had obtayned their blessings, the tall lad stept forth, and
who should he be but William Roper, returned from my father's errand
overseas! His manners are worsened, for he twice made to kiss me and
drew back. I could have boxed his ears, 'speciallie as father, laughing,
cried, "The third time's lucky!"
After supper, we took deare Erasmus entirely over the house, in a kind
of family procession. In our own deare Academia, with its glimpse of the
cleare-shining Thames, Erasmus noted and admired our cut flowers, and
glanced, too, at the books on our desks--Bessy's being Livy; Daisy's,
Sallust; and mine, St. Augustine, with father's marks where I was to
read, and where desist. He tolde Erasmus, laying hand fondlie on my
head, "Here is one who knows what is implied in the word 'trust.'" Dear
father, well I may! Thence we visitted the chapel, and gallery, and all
the dumb kinde. Erasmus doubted whether Duns Scotus and the Venerable
Bede had been complimented in being made name-fathers to a couple of
owls; but he said Argus and Juno were good cognomens for peacocks.
Anon, we rest and talk in the pavilion. Sayth Erasmus to my father, "I
marvel you have never entered into the king's service in some publick
Father smiled. "I am better and happier as I am. To put myself forward
would be like printing a book at request of friends, that the publick
may be charmed with what, in fact, it values at a doit. When the
cardinall offered me a pension, as retaining fee to the king, I told him
I did not care to be a mathematical point, to have position without
"We shall see you at court yet," says Erasmus.
Sayth father, "With a fool's cap and bells!"
This morn I surprised father and Erasmus in the pavillion. Erasmus sayd,
the revival of learning seemed appoynted by Heaven for some greate
In the evening, Will and Rupert, spruce enow with nosegays and ribbons,
rowed us up to Putney. We had a brave ramble through Fulham meadows,
father discoursing of the virtues of plants, and how many a poor knave's
pottage would be improved if he were skilled in the properties of
burdock and old man's pepper.
Grievous work overnighte with the churning. Gillian sayd that Gammer
Gurney, dissatisfyde last Friday with her dole, had bewitched the
creame. Mother insisted on Bess and me, Daisy and Mercy Giggs, churning
until the butter came. We sang "Chevy Chase" from end to end, and then
chaunted the 119th Psalme; and by the time we had attained to _Lucerna
Pedibus_, I heard the buttermilk separating and splashing in righte
earnest. 'Twas neare midnighte, however. Gillian thinketh our Latin
brake the spell.
Erasmus to Richmond with _Polus_ (for soe he Latinises Reginald Pole),
and some other of his friends.
I walked with William _juxta fluvium_, and he talked not badlie of his
travels. There is really more in him than one would think.
To-day I gave this book to Mr. Gunnel in mistake for my Latin exercise!
Was ever anything so downright disagreeable?
Yesternighte, St. John's Eve, we went into town to see the mustering of
the watch. The streets were like unto a continuation of fayr bowers or
arbours, which being lit up, looked like an enchanted land. To the sound
of trumpets, came marching up Cheapside two thousand of the watch and
seven hundred cressett bearers, and the Lord Mayor and sheriffs, with
morris dancers, waits, giants, and pageants, very fine. The streets
uproarious on our way back to the barge, but the homeward passage under
the stars delicious.
Poor Erasmus caughte colde on the water last nighte, and keeps house. He
spent the best part of the morning in our Academia, discussing the
pronunciation of Latin and Greek with Mr. Gunnel, and speaking of his
labours on his Greek and Latin Testament, which he prays may be a
blessing to all Christendom. He talked of a possible _Index Bibliorum_,
saying 'twas onlie the work of patience and Industrie. Methoughte, if
none else would undertake it, why not I?
Dr. Linacre at dinner. At table discourse flowed soe thicke and faste
that I might aim in vain to chronicle it, and why should I, dwelling as
I doe at the fountayn head?
In the hay-field alle the evening. Swathed father in a hay-rope. Father
reclining on the hay with his head in my lap. Said he was dreaming "of a
far-off future day, when thou and I shall looke back on this hour, and
this hay-field, and my head on thy lap."
"Nay, but what a stupid dream, Mr. More," says mother. "If I dreamed at
all, it shoulde be of being Lord Chancellor at the leaste."
"Well, wife," sayd father, "I forgive thee for not saying at the most."
Erasmus is gone. His last saying to father was, "They will have you at
court yet;" and father's answer, "When Plato's year comes round."
To me he gave a copy--how precious!--of his Greek Testament.
A forayn mission hath been proposed to father and he did accept. Lengthe
of his stay uncertain, which caste a gloom on alle.
_II.--Father Goeth to the Court_
_May 27, 1523_.
'Tis so manie months agone since I made an entry in my _Libellus_, as
that my motto, _Nulla dies sine linea_, hath somewhat of sarcasm in it.
In father's prolonged absence I have toiled at my _Opus_ (the _Index
Bibliorum_), but 'twas not to purpose, and then came that payn in my
head. Father discovered my _Opus_, and with alle swete gentlenesse told
me firmly that there are some things a woman cannot, and some she had
better not do. Yet if I would persist, I shoulde have leisure and quiet
and the help of his books.
Hearing Mercy propound the conditions of an hospital for aged and sick
folk, father hath devised and given me the conduct of a house of refuge,
and oh, what pleasure have I derived from it! "Have I cured the payn in
thy head, miss?" said he. Then he gave me the key of the hospital,
saying, "'Tis yours now, my joy, by livery and seisin."
I wish William would give me back my Testament.
Yesterday, father, taking me unawares, asked, "Come, tell me, Meg, why
canst not affect Will Roper?"
I was a good while silent, at length made answer, "He is so unlike alle
I have been taught to esteem and admire by you."
"Have at you," he returned laughing, "I wist not I had been sharpening
weapons against myself."
Then did he plead Will's cause and bid me take him for what he is.
Will is in sore doubte and distresse, and I fear it is my Testament that
hath unsettled him. I have bidden him fast, pray, and use such
discipline as our church recommends.
I have it from Barbara through her brother, one of the men-servants,
that Mr. Roper hath of late lien on the ground and used a knotted cord.
I have made him an abstract from the Fathers for his soul's comfort.
The king took us by surprise this morning. Mother had scarce time to
slip on her scarlet gown and coif ere he was in the house. His grace was
mighty pleasant to all, and at going, saluted all round, which Bessy
took humourously, Daisy immoveablie, Mercy humblie, I distastefullie,
and mother delightedlie. She calls him a fine man; he is indeed big
enough, and like to become too big; with long slits of eyes that gaze
freelie on all. His eyebrows are supercilious, and his cheeks puffy. A
rolling, straddling gait and abrupt speech.
_Tuesday, October 25_.
Will troubleth me noe longer with his lovefitt, nor with his religious
disquietations. Hard studdy of the law hath filled his head with other
matters, and made him infinitely more rationall and more agreeable. I
shall ne'er remind him.
T'other evening, as father and I were strolling down the lane, there
accosts us a poor, shabby fellow, who begged to be father's fool. Father
said he had a fancy to be prime fooler in his own establishment, but
liking the poor knave's wit, civilitie, and good sense, he agreed to
halve the businesse, he continuing the fooling, and Patteson--for that
is the simple good fellow's name--receiving the salary. Father
delighteth in sparring with Patteson far more than in jesting with the
king, whom he alwaies looks on as a lion that may, any minute, rend him.
_1525, July 2_.
Soe my fate is settled. Who knoweth at sunrise what will chance before
sunsett? No; the Greeks and Romans mighte speak of chance and fate, but
we must not. Ruth's hap was to light on the field of Boaz, but what she
thought casual, the Lord had contrived.
'Twas no use hanging back for ever and ever, soe now there's an end, and
I pray God to give Will and me a quiet life.
Father hath had some words with the cardinall touching the draught of
some foreign treaty. "By the Mass," exclaimed his grace, nettled, "thou
art the verist fool in all the council."
Father, smiling, rejoined, "God be thanked that the king, our master,
hath but one fool therein."
The cardinall's rage cannot rob father of the royal favour. Howbeit,
father says he has no cause to be proud thereof. "If my head," said he
to Will, "could win the king a castle in France, it shoulde not fail to
...I was senseless enow to undervalue Will. Yes, I am a happy wife, a
happy mother. When my little Bill stroaked dear father's face just now,
and murmured "Pretty!" he burst out a-laughing, and cried, "You are like
the young Cyrus, who exclaimed, 'Oh, mother, how pretty is my
I often sitt for an hour or more, watching Hans Holbein at his brush. He
hath a rare gift of limning; but in our likeness, which he hath painted
for deare Erasmus, I think he has made us very ugly.
_III.--The Great Seal is Resigned_
Events have followed too quick and thick for me to note 'em. Father's
embassade to Cambray, and then his summons to Woodstock. Then the fire
in the men's quarter, the outhouses and barns. Then, more unlookt for,
the fall of my lord cardinall and father's elevation to the
On the day succeeding his being sworn in, Patteson marched hither and
thither, in mourning and paper weepers, bearing a huge placard,
inscribed, "Partnership dissolved," and crying, "My brother is dead; for
now they've made him Lord Chancellor, we shall ne'er see Sir Thomas
Father's dispatch of business is such that one day before the end of
term he was told there was no cause or petition to be sett before him, a
thing unparalleled, which he desired might be formally recorded.
Here's father at issue with half the learned heads in Christendom
concerning the king's marriage. And yet for alle that, I think father is
in the right.
He taketh matters soe to heart that e'en his appetite fails.
He hath resigned the Great Seal! And none of us knew it until after
morning prayer to-day, when, instead of one of his gentlemen stepping up
to my mother in her pew, with the words, "Madam, my lord is gone," he
cometh up to her himself, smiling, and with these selfsame words. She
takes it at first for one of his manie jests whereof she misses the
Our was but a short sorrow, for we have got father to ourselves again.
Patteson skipped across the garden, crying, "Let a fatted calf be
killed, for this my brother who was dead is alive again!"
How shall we contract the charges of Sir Thomas More? Certain servants
must go; poor Patteson, alas! can be easier spared than some.
A tearfull morning. Poor Patteson has gone, but father had obtained him
good quarters with my Lord Mayor, and he is even to retain his office
with the Lord Mayor, for the time being.
_1533, April 1_.
The poor fool to see me, saying it is his holiday, and having told the
Lord Mayor overnight that if he lookt for a fool this morning, he must
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