The World's Greatest Books, Vol VIII
Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton, Eds.
Part 2 out of 6
I am returning to England. I have lost my hopes of utility and glory.
September 9 the ice began to move, and we were in the most imminent
peril. I had promised the sailors that should a passage open to the
south, I would not continue my voyage, but would instantly direct my
course southward. On the 11th a breeze sprung from the west, and the
passage towards the south became perfectly free. Frankenstein bade me
farewell when he heard my decision, and died pressing my hand.
At midnight I heard the sound of a hoarse human voice in the cabin where
the remains of Frankenstein were lying. I entered, and there, over the
body, hung a form gigantic, but uncouth and distorted, and with a face
of appalling hideousness.
The monster uttered wild and incoherent self-reproaches. "He is dead who
called me into being," he cried, "and the remembrance of us both will
speedily vanish. Soon I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer
He sprang from the cabin window as he said this, upon the ice-raft which
lay close to the vessel, and was borne away by the waves, and lost in
darkness and distance.
* * * * *
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY
Sir Philip Sidney, the finest type of gentleman of Elizabethan
days, was born on November 30, 1554, at Penshurst, Kent, the
eldest son of Sir Henry Sidney, Lord-Deputy in Ireland, and
grandson, on his mother's side, of the Duke of Northumberland,
who was beheaded for complicity in the Lady Jane Grey
conspiracy. Education at Oxford, travel abroad, diplomatic
service, a wise interest in literature, and a singular
graciousness of character made Sidney "a full man." He was
regarded, at home and abroad, as the ideal gentleman of his
time, and a heroic death, at the siege of Zutphen, on October
2, 1586, enhanced his fame. His body was brought home for a
national funeral in old St. Paul's. Sidney's claims as a
writer are based on both prose--"Arcadia" and "An Apologie for
Poetrie"--and verse--"Astrophel and Stella." The elaborate and
artificial romance "Arcadia" was written for his sister Mary,
Countess of Pembroke, probably between 1578-80. It was left
incomplete, and was not published until four years after his
death. It has been described as forming the earliest model for
the art of prose. In our epitome we have followed the central
thread of a story which has innumerable episodic extensions.
_I.--Lost and Found_
It was the time that the earth begins to put on her new apparel against
the approach of her lover, when the shepherd, Strephon, on the sands
which lie against the island of Cithera, called upon him his friendly
rival, Claius, and bewailed their hopeless wooing of the fair
shepherdess, Urania, whose beauty taught the beholders chastity. As they
were going on with their praises, they perceived the thing which floated
nearer and nearer to the shore, by the favourable working of the sea,
till it was cast up hard before them, and they fully saw it was a man.
So they fell to rub and chafe him, till they brought him to recover both
breath, the servant, and warmth, the companion of living. Whereupon,
without so much as thanking them for their pains, he got up and cried,
as he looked round to the uttermost limits of his sight, "What, shall
Musidorus live after Pyrocles's destruction?" Then they, hearing him
speak in Greek, which was their natural language, became the more
tender-hearted towards him.
"Since you take care of me," said he, "I pray you find some bark that
will go out of the haven, that it possible we may find the body of
Pyrocles." So Claius presently went to a fisherman, and having agreed
with him, and provided some apparel for the naked stranger, they
embarked, and were no sooner gone beyond the mouth of the haven than
they discerned the ship burning which had driven both Musidorus and his
friend, rather to commit themselves to the cold mercy of the sea, than
to abide the hot cruelty of the fire. And when they had bent their
course as near up to it as they could, they saw, but a little way off,
the mast, whose proud height now lay along, and upon it a young man who
sat as on horseback, holding a sword aloft which often he waved, which
when Musidorus saw he was ravished with joy. But now the sailors
described a galley which came with sails and oars directly in the chase
of them, and straight they perceived it was a well-known pirate, so
forthwith they set on all the canvas, and flew homeward, leaving in that
poor sort Pyrocles, so near to be rescued. And Musidorus, casting a long
look that way, saw the galley leave the pursuit of them, and turn to
take up the spoils of the wreck; and, lastly, he might well see them
lift up the young man. But the fishermen made such speed into the haven
that they absented his eyes from beholding the issue, and he could
procure neither them, nor any other, to put to sea again.
The honest shepherds, Strephon and Claius, seeing sickness grew
something upon their companion, offered to bring him into their own
country of Arcadia, upon the next confines whereof dwelt a gentleman, by
name Kalander, who for his hospitality was much haunted, and for his
upright dealing beloved of his neighbours. To this Musidorus gave easy
assent; and so they came to Arcadia, which welcomed Musidorus' eyes with
delightful prospects. These were hills garnished with stately trees,
humble valleys comforted with the refreshing of silver rivers, meadows
enameled with eye-pleasing flowers, pastures stored with sheep feeding
in sober security, here a young shepherdess knitting and singing withal,
and there a shepherd boy piping as though he should never be old.
As they came near the house, Claius asked to know something more of
Musidorus and the young man he lamented, that they might inform Kalander
how to proportion his entertainment. Musidorus, according to an
agreement between Pyrocles and himself to alter their names, answered
that he called himself Palladius, and his friend Diaphantus. And
Kalander, judging his guest was of no mean calling, and seeing him
possessed with an extreme burning fever, conveyed him to commodious
lodging in his house, and respectfully entertained him; and the young
shepherds went away, leaving Musidorus loath to part with them.
There Palladius continued some while with no great hope of life, but
youth at length got the victory of sickness. Palladius, having gotten
his health, Kalander, who found in him a piercing wit, void of
ostentation, high-erected thoughts seated in a heart of courtesy, and a
behaviour so noble as gave a majesty to adversity, and enamoured with a
fatherly love towards him, proceeded to tell him of Arcadia.
"Here dwelleth and reigneth Prince Basilius, who being already well
stricken in years married a young Princess, Gynecia, of notable beauty,
and of these two are brought to the world two daughters, the elder named
Pamela, the younger Philoclea, both beyond measure excellent in all the
gifts allotted to reasonable creatures. When I marked them, methought
there was more sweetness in Philoclea, but more majesty in Pamela;
methought Philoclea's beauty only persuaded, but so persuaded as all
hearts must yield; Pamela's beauty used violence, and such violence as
no heart could resist. Philoclea, so bashful as though her excellencies
had stolen into her before she was aware; Pamela of high thoughts, who
avoids pride by making it one of her excellencies to be void of pride.
Now Basilius hath retired himself, his wife, and children, into a forest
hereby, which he calleth his desert, having appointed a nobleman named
Philanax to be Prince Regent--and most worthy so to be--and this
Basilius doth, because he means not, while he breathes, that his
daughters shall have any husbands, but keep them solitary with him."
Some few days afterwards Palladius perceived by the behaviour of
Kalander, who had retired himself to his chamber, that an ill-pleasing
accident had fallen out. Whereupon he called to the steward and desired
the truth, who confessed that his master had received news that his son,
Clitophon, who was near the day of his marriage, had been made prisoner
at a battle between the Lacedaemon and the Helots, when going to deliver
a friend of his taken prisoner by the Helots; and every hour he was to
look for nothing but some cruel death, though he had offered great
ransom for his life, which death, hitherunto, had only been delayed by
the captain of the Helots, who seemed to have a heart of more manly pity
than the rest.
Hearing this, Palladius thanked the steward, and then, well bethinking
himself, called for armour, a horse, and guide, and armed all saving the
head, went to Kalander, who had banished food and sleep as enemies to
mourning, and said, "No more, no more of this, my Lord Kalander, let us
labour to find before we lament the loss." And with those words comfort
seemed to lighten in his eyes; and in his face and gesture was painted
Kalander's spirits were so revived that he himself guided Palladiu to
the place upon the frontiers where already were assembled several
thousand men all well disposed for Kalander's sake to abide any peril.
So Palladius marched on the town of Cardamila, where Clitophon was
captive, and having by a stratagem obtained entry, put the Helots to
flight, but ere the Arcadians could reach the prison, the captain of the
Helots, who had been absent, returned and rallied them. Then the fight
grew most sharp, and the encounters of cruel obstinacy, and such was the
overflowing of the valour of Palladius that the captain of the Helots
saw he alone was worth all the rest of the Arcadians; and disdaining to
fight any other sought only to join with him, which mind was no less in
Palladius. So they began a combat, surpassing in bravery, and, as it
were, delightful terribleness, till, both sides beginning to wax faint,
the captain of the Helots strake Palladius upon the side of the head,
and withal his helmet fell off. Other of the Arcadians were ready to
shield him from any harm which might rise of that nakedness; but little
needed it, for his chief enemy kneeled down, offering to deliver the
pommel of his sword, in token of yielding, withal saying aloud that he
thought it more liberty to be his prisoner than any other's general.
Palladius, standing upon himself, and misdoubting some craft, "What,"
said the Captain, "hath Palladius forgotten the voice of Diaphantus?"
And by that watchword Palladius knew it was his only friend Pyrocles,
whom he had lost upon the sea, and therefore both caused the retreat to
be sounded. And of the Arcadian side the good old Kalander striving more
than his old age could achieve, was taken prisoner, but being led
towards the captain of the Helots, whom should he see next the captain
but his son Clitophon! Then were Kalander and Clitophon delivered to the
Arcadians without ransom, for so the Helots agreed, being moved by the
authority of Diaphantus as much as persuaded by his reasons, and to
Palladius (for so he called Musidorus) he sent word by Clitophon that he
would himself repair to Arcadia, having dispatched himself of the
Helots. Also he assured them he would bring with him Clitophon's friend.
Araglus, till then kept in close prison, or he would die. And this he
did, and was received with loving joy by Kalander.
_II.--The Lovers' Quest_
The two friends having accounted their adventures to each other since
they parted, embraced and kissed each other, and then told Kalander the
whole story; and Palladius recounted also to Pyrocles the strange story
of Arcadia and its king. And so they lived for some days in great
contentment. But anon, it could not be hid from Palladius that
Diaphantus was grown weary of his abode in Arcadia, seeing the court
could not be visited, but was prohibited to all men save certain
shepherdish people. And one day, when Kalander had invited them to the
hunting of a goodly stag, Diaphantus was missed, after death had been
sent to the poor beast with a crossbow, and on returning to the house,
Palladius, greatly marvelling, lighted on a letter written by Pyrocles
before he went a-hunting, in which he said that violence of love led to
his absence. Then Palladius determined never to leave seeking him till
his search should be either by meeting accomplished, or by death ended.
So, in private guise, he directed his course to Laconia, and passed
through Achai, and Sycyonia, and returned after two months travail in
vain. Having already passed over the greater part of Arcadia, one day,
going to repose himself in a little wood, he saw a fair lady walking
with her side towards him, whose sword interested her to be an Amazon,
and following her warily to a fine close arbour, he heard her sing, with
a voice no less beautiful to his ears than her goodliness was full of
harmony to his sight. The ditty gave him suspicion, and the voice gave
him assurance who the singer was, and entering boldly he perceived it
was Pyrocles thus disguised.
Then Pyrocles told him he had been infected by love through a sight of
the picture of the king's daughter Philoclea, and by what he had heard
of her and, in the guise of an Amazon, and under the name of Zelmane,
had come forth to seek her.
As a supposed niece to the Queen of the Amazons he had been gently
received by King Basilius in his sylvan retirement, and introduced to
his Queen and daughters, with the effect that he was more than ever in
love with the Princess Philoclea, while old Basilius, deceived as to his
sex, showed signs of a doting admiration which choked him with its
So Musidorus returned to a village not far off, and Zelmane returned to
the part of the forest where the king kept his seclusion.
When Zelmane next returned to the arbour where she had met Musidorus she
saw, walking from herward, a man in shepherdish apparel, with a
sheephook in his right hand, and singing as he went a lamentable tune.
The voice made her hasten her pace to overtake him, for she plainly
perceived it was her dear friend Musidorus.
Then Musidorus recounted how sojourning in secret, and watching by the
arbour, he had observed and loved the Princess Pamela, and was now under
the name of Dorus, disguised as one of the shepherds who were allowed
the Princess' presence. And so it happened that when Basilius, the
better to breed Zelmane's liking, appointed a fair field for shepherdish
pastimes, Zelmane and Dorus were both of the company, Dorus still
keeping his eye on Pamela, and Zelmane setting the hand of Philoclea to
her lips, when suddenly there came out of a wood a monstrous lion, with
a she-bear not far from him, of little less fierceness. Philoclea no
sooner espied the lion than she lept up and ran lodge-ward, as fast as
her delicate legs could carry her, while Dorus drew Pamela behind a
tree, where she stood quaking like the partridge which the hawk is ready
to seize. The Zelmane, to whom danger was a cause of dreadlessness, slew
the lion and carried the head to Philoclea, while Pamela was seen
coming, and having in her hand the paw of the bear which the shepherd
Dorus had presented unto her. And while Philoclea applied precious balm
to a wound of no importance which Zelmane had received, Pamela's noble
heart would needs make known gratefully the valiant means of her safety.
And now the two friends sought to make known their true estate to
Philoclea and Pamela. So Dorus, feigning a love in attendance on Pamela,
told her, in the presence of her mistress, the story of the two friends,
Pyrocles and Musidorus, but in such words that Pamela understood who it
was that was speaking, and carried to Philoclea the news that her Dorus
had fallen out to be none other than the Prince Musidorus, famous over
all Asia for his heroical enterprises; and, later, Pyrocles, finding
himself in private conference with Philoclea, did avow himself Prince of
Macedon, and her true lover, and they passed the promise of marriage,
and she, to entertain him from a more straight parley, did entreat him
to tell the story of his life, and what he did until he came to the
_III.--Through Perils to Peace_
By the mischievous device of Cecropia, aunt to the Princesses, both were
carried away, with Zelmane, and imprisoned in her castle in the hope
that Philoclea would favour the suit of her cousin Amphialus,
Crecropia's son. But Philoclea remained faithful to her love for
Pyrocles, and Pamela faithful to her love for Musidorus, who brought up
an army and stormed the castle, and rescued the prisoners.
The princes, becoming tired of inaction, and foreseeing no favourable
issue to their concealed suits, persuaded the Princesses to attempt an
escape with them to their own dominions; and such was the trust Pamela
placed in Musidorus and Philoclea in Pyrocles, that they became willing
companions in the flight. But when Musidorus and Pamela had escaped, and
Pyrocles sought Philoclea in her room to carry her away, he found she
was unable to undertake the fatigue of the journey; and Dametas, the
clownish guardian of the princess, discovering the presence of Pyrocles
in the room, locked the door on the inside, and raised an alarm.
Musidorus and Pamela too were surprised, secured, and brought back.
Now, by the laws of the Arcadians, both the princesses and their lovers
had forfeited their lives by their indiscretions, but King Basilius was
removed from the seat of judgement by drinking a potion of drugged wine,
which the Queen, not without warning to the King, had prepared for
Zelmane. It was left, therefore, to Philanax, the regent, to deal with
the difficulties that surrounded the administration of justice--the
offences of Musidorus and Pyrocles, of Philoclea and Pamela, who now
became heir to the throne, and the complicity of the Queen in the death
of the King. At this moment, Euarchus, King of Macedon, arrived with a
small escort, on a visit to his friend, King Basilius, and, by common
consent, was asked to deliver judgement on the several prisoners.
His decisions were, that the Queen should be buried quick with the body
of her husband; that Philoclea should be kept a prisoner as a vestal
nun; that Pyrocles should be thrown out of a high tower to receive his
death by his fall, and that Musidorus should be beheaded.
At this moment a stranger broke through the press and astonished the
multitude with his cries. Then falling at the feet of Euarchus, he told
him those whom he had judged were his own son, the comfort of Macedon,
and his nephew, the only stay of Thessalia, who, during their
wanderings, had grown out of the knowledge of their king.
Then Euarchus, after staying a good while upon himself like a valiant
man that should receive a good encounter, at length said, "O Arcadians,
that what this day I have said, hath been out of my assured persuasion
what justice itself, and your just laws require. Now, contrary to
expectation, I find the guilty to be my only son and nephew. But shall
justice halt? Or rather shall all my private respects give place to that
holy name? Let the remnant of my life be an inward and outward
desolation; but never, never let sacred rightfulness fall. Therefore, O
Philanax, see the judgement rightly performed."
But this pitiful matter was not entered into, for King Basilius, who had
been thought dead, awoke from the sleep into which the potion had cast
him, and there was much ado to make him understand what had fallen out.
Then, having weighed these things, he first sent with all honourable
pomp for his Queen, Gynecia, and told them how she had warned him to
take heed of the drink; and next, with princely entertainment to
Euarchus, and to his inestimable joy the marriage was concluded between
the peerless princes and princesses.
* * * * *
The Adventures of Roderick Random
Tobias George Smollett was born at Dalquhurn, Dumbartonshire,
Scotland, in 1721. He was apprenticed to a Glasgow apothecary,
came to London in 1739, much in the way described in "Roderick
Random," with a tragedy in his pocket, and very little else.
The play, "Regicide," he submitted in vain to various
theatrical managers, and, reduced almost to starvation, during
the same year accepted the post of surgeon's mate on board a
King's ship. In 1746 he returned to England, bent upon another
desperate effort to make a living by his pen. A period of
adverse fortune followed, broken, however, in 1748 by the
publication of "The Adventures of Roderick Random." Two years
later Smollett obtained his M.D. degree, and for a number of
years combined medical work with literature. In 1756 he was
made editor of the "Critical Review," a post which resulted in
a fine of L100 and three months' imprisonment for a libel on
Admiral Knowles. He died on October 21, 1771. Smollett wrote
altogether five novels and a number of historical works and
records of travel. It is impossible to overestimate his
influence on novel-writing. Most of the great Victorian
writers, especially Charles Dickens, owe much to his art.
_I.--My Birth, Parentage, and Childhood_
I was born in the northern part of this United Kingdom, in the house of
my grandfather, a gentleman of considerable fortune and influence, who
was remarkable for his abilities in the law, which he exercised with
great success in the station of a judge.
My father, his youngest son, falling in love with a poor relation, who
lived with the old gentleman in the quality of housekeeper, espoused her
privately; and I was the first fruit of that marriage. On my grandfather
telling my father one day, that he had provided a match for him, the
latter frankly owned what he had done. He added, that no exception could
be taken to his wife's virtue, birth, beauty, and good sense; and as for
fortune, it was beneath his care; he could be in no danger of wanting
while his father's tenderness remained, which he and his wife should
always cultivate with the utmost veneration. "Your brothers and
sisters," said my grandfather, "did not think it beneath them to consult
me in an affair of such importance as matrimony; neither, I suppose,
would you have omitted that piece of duty, had not you some secret fund
in reserve, to the comforts of which I leave you, with a desire that you
will this night seek out another habitation for yourself and wife. Sir,
you are a polite gentleman, I will send you an account of the expense I
have been at in your education--I wish you a great deal of joy, and am
your very humble servant."
So saying, he left my father in a situation easily imagined. However, he
did not long hesitate: for being perfectly well acquainted with my
grandfather's disposition, he knew it would be to no purpose to attempt
him by prayers and entreaties. So without any further application, he
betook himself with his disconsolate bedfellow to a farmhouse, where an
old servant of his mother dwelt. In this ill-adapted situation they
remained for some time, until my mother, hoping that her tears and
condition would move my grandfather to compassion, went, in disguise, to
the house, and implored his forgiveness. My grandfather told her that he
had already made a vow which put it out of his power to assist her; and
this said, he retired.
My mother was so afflicted by this that she was, at once, thrown into
violent pains. By the friendship of an old maidservant she was carried
up to a garret, where I was born. Three days later my grandfather sent a
peremptory order to her to be gone, and weakness, grief, and anxiety
soon put an end to her life. My father was so affected with her death,
that he remained six weeks deprived of his senses; during which time,
the people where he lodged carried the infant to the old man, who
relented so far as to send the child to nurse.
My father's delirium was succeeded by a profound melancholy. At length
he disappeared, and could not be heard of; and there were not wanting
some who suspected my uncles of being concerned in my father's fate, on
the supposition that they would all share in the patrimony destined for
I grew apace; and the jealous enmity of my cousins quickly showed
itself; before I was six years of age their implacable hatred made them
blockade my grandfather, so that I never saw him but by stealth.
I was soon after sent to school at a village hard by, of which my
grandfather had been dictator time out of mind; but as he neither paid
for my board, nor supplied me with clothes, books, or other necessaries,
my condition was very ragged and contemptible; and the schoolmaster gave
himself no concern about the progress I made.
In spite of all this, I became a good proficient in the Latin tongue;
but the contempt which my appearance produced, the continual wants to
which I was exposed, and my own haughty disposition, involved me in a
thousand troubles and adventures. I was often inhumanly scourged for
crimes I did not commit; because having the character of a vagabond in
the village every piece of mischief whose author lay unknown, was
charged upon me. Far from being subdued by this infernal usage, my
indignation triumphed, and the more my years and knowledge increased,
the more I perceived the injustice and barbarity of the treatment I
received. By the help of our usher, I made a surprising progress in the
classics and arithmetic, so that before I was twelve years old I was
allowed by everybody to be the best scholar in the school.
Meanwhile, I took the advantage of every playday to present myself
before my grandfather, to whom I seldom found access, by reason of his
being closely besieged by a numerous family of his grandchildren, who,
though they perpetually quarrelled among themselves, never failed to
join against me, as the common enemy of all. His heir, who was about the
age of eighteen, minded nothing but fox-hunting, and never set eyes on
me, without uncoupling his beagles, and hunting me into some cottage or
other, whither I generally fled for shelter.
About this time, my mother's only brother, who had been long abroad,
lieutenant of a man of war, arrived in his own country; where, being
informed of my condition, he came to see me, and, out of his slender
finances, not only supplied me with what necessaries I wanted for the
present, but resolved not to leave the country until he had prevailed on
my grandfather to settle something handsome on me for the future. To
this end he set out with me for my grandfather's house, and after a few
minutes' pause he was admitted. When we came into the judge's presence
(through a lane of my relations), my uncle, after two or three sea bows,
expressed himself in this manner: "Your servant--your servant, what
cheer?--I suppose you don't know me--mayhap you don't. My name is Tom
Bowling; and this here boy--you look as if you did not know him neither,
'tis like you mayn't. 'Tis my nephew, d'ye see, Roderick Random--your
own flesh and blood; and, if you have any conscience at all, do
something for this poor boy, who has been used at a very un-Christian
rate. Come--consider, old gentleman, you are going in a short time to
give an account of your evil actions. Remember the wrongs you did his
father, and make all the satisfaction in your power before it be too
late. The least thing you can do is to settle his father's portion on
The judge in reply told my uncle he had been very kind to the boy, whom
he had kept to school seven or eight years, although he was informed he
made no progress in his learning, but was addicted to all manner of
vice. However, he would see what the lad was fit for, and bind him
apprentice to some honest tradesman or other, provided he would behave
for the future as became him.
The honest tar answered my grandfather, that it was true he had sent me
to school, but it had cost him nothing; as to my making small progress,
he was well-informed as how Rory was the best scholar of his age in all
the country. "Thank you for your courteous offer of binding the lad
apprentice to a tradesman. I suppose you would make a tailor of him,
would you. I had rather see him hanged, d'ye see. Come along, Rory, I
perceive how the land lies, my boy; let's tack about--i'faith, while I
have a shilling, thou sha'n't want a sixpence. Bye, old gentleman,
you're bound for the other world, but damnably ill provided for the
Thus ended our visit, and we returned to the village, my uncle muttering
curses all the way against the old shark and the young fry that
_II.--I Arrive in London_
A few weeks after our first visit, we were informed that the old judge,
conscious of his approaching end, had made his will, and desired to see
all his descendants. So my uncle set out with me a second time, and when
we entered his chamber we found my grandfather in his last agonies. My
uncle approached him with these words: "How fare ye, old
gentleman?--Lord have mercy upon your poor sinful soul. Here's poor Rory
come to see you before you die, and receive your blessing. What, man!
Don't despair--you have been a great sinner, 'tis true. What then?
There's a righteous judge above--ain't there?--Yes, yes, he's agoing--He
minds me no more than a porpoise, the land crabs will have him, I see
that--his anchor's apeak, i'faith."
In a few minutes we were convinced of my grandfather's decease, by a
dismal yell uttered by the young ladies in his apartment.
It was not till after the funeral that the will was read, and the reader
can scarce conceive the astonishment and mortification that appeared,
when the attorney pronounced aloud, the young squire sole heir of all
his grandfather's estate, personal and real, and that there were no
My uncle at once decided, though he could ill afford it, to give me
university education; and accordingly settled my board and other
expenses at a town not many miles distant, famous for its colleges,
whither we repaired in a short time.
In a few days after, my uncle set out for his ship, and I began to
consider my precarious situation; that my sole dependence was on the
generosity of one man.
I at once applied myself with great care to my studies, and in the space
of three years I understood Greek very well, and was pretty far advanced
Then one day my landlady's husband put two letters in my hand, from my
uncle. The first was to my landlord, explaining that he had fought a
duel with his captain, and in consequence had been obliged to sheer off
from his ship.
The second was to me, assuring me that all would be well some day.
My landlord only shook his head and desired me to provide myself with
another lodging; which I promptly did, and for a time I took service
under a drunken surgeon named Crab. When I deemed myself sufficiently
master of my business, I decided to go to London. "You may easily get on
board of a King's ship in quality of a surgeon's mate," said Crab;
"where you will certainly see a great deal of practise, and stand a good
chance of getting prize money."
In a few weeks I set out for London, my whole fortune consisting of one
suit of clothes, half a dozen ruffled shirts, as many plain, four pair
of stockings, a case of pocket instruments, Wiseman's Surgery, and ten
guineas in cash, for which Crab took my bond.
At Newcastle-upon-Tyne I found an old schoolfellow, named Hugh Strap,
employed in a barber's shop, and we at once embraced cordially. Strap,
having saved sufficient money for the occasion, at once decided to go to
London with me, and we departed next morning by daybreak.
As we travelled mostly in wagons, it was a tedious journey, but at
length we entered the great city. Nothing but disappointment awaited us.
In vain I applied at the Navy Office. I had satisfied the board at
Surgeon's Hall, it seemed nothing but money could help me at the Navy
Office, and by that time I had not wherewithal to purchase a dinner.
Strap obtained employment and generously shared his purse with me,
otherwise I should have starved.
Instead of getting an appointment as surgeon's mate, I was seized, when
I was crossing Tower Wharf, by a press-gang; and on my resistance, was
disarmed, taken prisoner, and carried on board; where, after being
treated like a malefactor, I was thrust down into the hold among a
parcel of miserable wretches, the sight of whom well nigh distracted me.
After we had sailed, I was released from irons by the good offices of a
Surgeon's Mate whom I had met on land, and subsequently I was appointed
to assist the surgeon, and exempted from all other duties.
Our destination was the West Indies, and here I saw active service in
the war with Spain. When the time came to return to England the ship was
wrecked off the coast of Sussex. I got ashore, and in my distress was
glad to be hired by an elderly lady as her footman. I speedily acquired
the good opinion of my mistress, and fell in love with her niece
Narcissa, cursing the servile station that placed me so far beneath the
regard of this amiable and adorable being. I soon learnt that the
brother of my idol was a savage, fox-hunting squire, who had designed
the lovely Narcissa for Sir Timothy Thicket, a neighbouring foxhunter. I
cursed in my heart this man for his presumption, looking upon him as my
Eight months I remained in the station of footman, and then an accident
put an end to my servitude.
I was passing through a wood when I heard the cries of Narcissa, and
rushing to her assistance, rescued her from the brutal familiarities of
Sir Timothy. I struck his weapon out of his hand, and cudgelled him so
that he fell to the ground and lay senseless.
Narcissa thanked me with tender acknowledgements, but I was soon warned
that I should be apprehended and transported for assaulting a
magistrate. I escaped to France by the aid of smugglers, but before I
left I avowed my passion, and explained that I was an unfortunate
gentleman, and the story of my mishandling provoked a sympathetic
_III.--I Recover My Father_
From the Marshalsea Prison, where I had been lodged for debt, some time
after my return from France, I was rescued by my generous uncle, Mr.
Bowling. He told me that he was now in command of a large merchant ship,
and proposed that I should sail with him in quality of his surgeon, with
a share in the profits. I accepted his offer, without hesitation, and
Strap, who had stood by me in so many troubles, at my desire was made
ship's steward by Captain Bowling.
Before we sailed I managed to achieve an interview with Narcissa; and
sure, lovers never parted with such sorrow and reluctance as we.
Our voyage was entirely successful, and while we were at anchor in that
part of South America which is called Buenos Ayres, I amused myself with
the transporting hopes of enjoying Narcissa on our return. I had money
and would marry his sister by stealth if the fox-hunting squire was
still as averse to me as ever.
We were very much caressed by the Spanish gentlemen of the country, and
made the acquaintance of a certain English signior, who had been settled
in those parts many years, and had acquired the love and esteem of the
I had been struck with a profound veneration for this gentleman on first
seeing him; when he spoke I listened with reverence and attention. I
sympathised involuntarily with the melancholy which saddened the face of
Don Rodrigo--for so he was named.
Don Rodrigo, understanding we were his countrymen, desired our company
at his house, and seemed to show a particular regard for me. He made me
a present of a beautiful ring, saying at the same time that he was once
blessed with a son, who, had he lived, would have been nearly of my age.
This observation made my heart throb with violence, and a crowd of
confused ideas filled my imagination. My uncle, perceiving my absence of
thought, tapped me on the shoulder and said: "Odds! are you asleep,
Before I had time to reply, Don Rodrigo said eagerly, "Pray, captain,
what is the young gentleman's name?"
"His name," said my uncle, "is Roderick Random."
"Gracious Powers!" cried Don Rodrigo, starting up--"and his mother's?"
"His mother," answered the captain, amazed, "was called Charlotte
"O Bounteous Heaven!" exclaimed Don Rodrigo, clasping me in his arms,
"my son! my son! have I found thee again?" So saying, he fell upon my
neck and wept aloud for joy. The captain, wringing my father's hand,
cried, "Brother Random, I'm rejoiced to see you--God be praised for this
happy meeting." Don Rodrigo embraced him affectionately, saying, "Are
you my Charlotte's brother? Brother, you are truly welcome. This day is
My father decided to return with us to England, and having learnt from
me of my love for Narcissa, approved of my passion, and promised to
contribute all in his power towards its success. I stayed in his house,
and at his request recounted to him the passages of my life, and he
gratified me with the particulars of his story.
"Careless of life," he said, "and unable to live in a place where every
object recalled the memory of my dear Charlotte, I little suspected that
my father's unkindness would have descended to my innocent orphan, when
I set out for France. From Paris I accompanied a young nobleman as tutor
to the Court of Spain, and from Spain I came to South America, where for
sixteen years heaven has prospered my undertakings. Your fate I could
never learn, notwithstanding all my enquiries."
Presently Strap arrived, whom my father at once took by the hand,
saying, "Is this the honest man who befriended you so much in your
distress? I will soon put it in the power of my son to reward you for
your good offices in his behalf."
Shortly afterwards, Don Rodrigo, who had already remitted twenty
thousand pounds to Holland, settled his affairs, converted his effects
into silver and gold, visited and took leave of all his friends; and,
coming on board of my uncle's ship, with the first favourable wind we
sailed from the Rio de la Plata, and in three months after made the
It is impossible to express the joy I felt at the sight of English
ground! Don Rodrigo was not unmoved, and Strap shed tears of gladness.
My father and I went ashore immediately at Portsmouth, leaving Strap
with the captain to go round with the ship. I rode across country into
Sussex, where I learnt that Narcissa was in London, and that her brother
was married, and vowed his sister should lose her fortune if she married
without his consent.
_IV.--I Am Married_
No sooner was I in London than I sought my charmer in her lodgings. How
was my soul transported, when Narcissa broke in upon my view, in all the
bloom of ripened beauty! We flew into each other's arms. "O adorable
Narcissa," cried I; "never shall we part again."
In the evening I accompanied my father to her lodgings. He embraced her
tenderly, and told her he was proud of having a son who had engaged the
affections of such a fine lady.
Don Rodrigo was, quickly, as much charmed with her good sense as with
her appearance; and she was no less pleased with his understanding and
The following was the squire's answer to a letter from my father,
promising handsome settlements on my marriage to Narcissa:
"Sir--Concerning a letter which I received, subscribed R. Random, this
is the answer. As for you, I know nothing of you. Your son, or pretended
son, I have seen--if he marries my sister, at his peril be it; I do
declare, that he shall have not one farthing of her fortune, which
becomes my property, if she takes a husband without my consent. Your
settlement, I do believe, is all a sham, and yourself no better than you
should be; but if you had all the wealth of the Indies, your son should
never match in our family, with the consent of
My father was not much surprised at this polite letter, after having
heard the character of the author; and as for me, I was very pleased at
his refusal, because I now had an opportunity of showing my
disinterested love. I waited on my charmer; and having imparted the
contents of her brother's letter, the time of our marriage was fixed at
the distance of two days.
My uncle being by this time come to town, I introduced him to my bride,
and he was struck dumb with admiration at her beauty. After having
kissed and gazed at her for some time, he turned to me, saying, "Odds
Bobs, Rory! here's a notable prize, indeed, finely built and gloriously
rigged, i'faith! No offence, I hope, niece; you must not mind what I
say, being, as the saying is, a plain seafaring man."
Narcissa received him with great civility, and told him that she looked
upon him as her uncle, by which name she begged leave to call him for
The honest captain was transported at her courteous behaviour, and
insisted upon giving her away at the ceremony, swearing that he loved
her as well as if she was his own child.
Everything being prepared for the solemnisation of our nuptials, which
were to be performed privately at my father's house, the auspicious hour
arrived. In a little time the clergyman did his office, my uncle, at his
own request, acting the part of a father to my dear Narcissa.
* * * * *
My father, intending to revisit his native country, Narcissa and I
resolved to accompany him; while my uncle determined to try his fortune
once more at sea.
At Edinburgh, Don Rodrigo, having intelligence that the family estate
was to be exposed to sale by public auction, determined to make a
purchase, and actually bought all the land that once belonged to his
In a few days after this bargain was made, we left Edinburgh, in order
to go and take possession; and, by the way, halted one night in that
town where I was educated. Upon inquiry, I found that Mr. Crab was dead;
whereupon I sent for his executor, paid the sum I owed, with interest,
and took up my bond. We proceeded to our estate, which lay about twenty
miles from this place, and were met by a prodigious number of poor
tenants, men, women, and children, who testified their joy by loud
acclamations; so that we were almost devoured by their affection. My
charming Narcissa was universally admired by all our neighbours who
called upon us; and she is so well pleased with the situation of the
place, and the company round, that she has not the least desire of
changing her habitation. If there be such a thing as true happiness on
earth, I enjoy it.
* * * * *
"The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle," published in 1751, is
the second of Smollett's novels. It was written under more
congenial circumstances than "Roderick Random," although it is
admitted that the hero is by no means a moral improvement on
his predecessor. Sir Walter Scott describes him as "the savage
and ferocious Pickle, who, besides his gross and base
brutality towards Emilia, besides his ingratitude towards his
uncle, and the savage propensity which he shows in the
pleasure he takes to torment others by practical jokes,
exhibits a low and un-gentlemanlike way of thinking, only one
degree higher than that of Roderick Random." But the real
interest of the story lies not so much in the adventures of
Peregrine, as in the character of the old Commodore Trunnion.
Thackeray declared Trunnion to be equal to Fielding's Squire
Weston. If in "Peregrine Pickle" Smollett occasionally
exhibits a tendency to secure variety by extravagant
caricature, it is certain that in none of his works, and in
none of those of any of his contemporaries, does a richer and
more various crowd of personalities appear--a crowd at once
quaint and amusing, disgusting and contemptible.
In a certain county of England, bounded on one side by the sea, and at
the distance of 100 miles from the metropolis, lived Gamaliel Pickle,
Esq., the son of a London merchant, who, from small beginnings, had
acquired a plentiful fortune. On the death of his father, Mr. Pickle
exerted all his capacity in business; but, encumbered by a certain
indolence and sluggishness that prevailed over every interested
consideration, he found himself at the end of fifteen years five
thousand pounds worse than he was when he first took possession of his
father's effects. Convinced by the admonitions of his only sister, Miss
Grizzle, then in the thirtieth year of her maidenhood, he withdrew his
money from the trade, and removed to a house in the country, which his
father built near the seaside.
Here, then, Mr. Pickle fixed his habitation for life in the six and
thirtieth year of his age; and before he had been three months settled,
the indefatigable zeal of Miss Grizzle had arranged a match for her
brother with a fair Miss Appleby, daughter of a gentleman who lived in
the next parish.
The following letter was transmitted to Miss Appleby by her brother:
MISS SALLY APPLEBY.
MADAME,--Understanding you have a parcel of heart, warranted sound, to
be disposed of, shall be willing to treat for said commodity on
reasonable terms; doubt not we shall agree for same; shall wait on you
for further information when and where you shall appoint. This the
needful from Yours etc.,
This laconic epistle met with as cordial a reception as if it had been
couched in the terms of passion and genius. Mr. Appleby at once visited
Mr. Pickle, the marriage settlement was determined, and the day
appointed for the wedding,--to which everybody of any fashion in the
neighbourhood was invited. Among these were Commodore Trunnion and
Lieutenant Hatchway, two retired seamen, and the sole companions of the
In due time a fine boy was born, who was christened by the name of
Peregrine, the Commodore assisting at the ceremony as godfather. On Mrs.
Pickle assuming the management of household affairs, Miss Grizzle
directed her operations upon the Commodore, whom she was resolved to
captivate and enslave, in spite of his well-known distrust of matrimony.
Mr. Pickle had early learnt the singular character of his neighbour
Trunnion from a loquacious publican at whose house he was accustomed to
call. "The Commodore and your worship," said he, "will in a short time
be hand in glove; he has a power of money and spends it like a prince;
though, to be sure, he is a little humoursome, and swears roundily,
though I'll be sworn he means no more harm than a sucking babe. Lord
have mercy upon us! he's been a great warrior in his time, and lost an
eye and a heel in the service. Then he does not live like any other
Christian landman; but keeps garrison in his house, as if he were in the
midst of his enemies, and makes his servants turn out in the night,
watch and watch, as he calls it, all the year round. His habitation is
defended by a ditch, over which he has laid a drawbridge, and planted
his court-yard with pateroes continually loaded with shot, under the
direction of one Mr. Hatchway, who had one of his legs shot away, while
he acted as lieutenant on board the Commodore's ship; and now being on
half pay, lives with him as his companion. The Lieutenant is a very
brave man, a great joker, and, as the saying is, hath got the length of
his commander's foot; though he has another favourite in the house,
called Tom Pipes, that was his boatswain's mate, and now keeps the
servants in order. Tom is a man of few words, but an excellent hand at a
song, concerning the boatswain's whistle, husslecap, and
chuck-farthing--there is not such another pipe in the country. So that
the Commodore lives very happy in his own manner; though he be sometimes
thrown into perilous passions and quandaries, and exceedingly afflicted
with goblins that disturb his rest. Bless your honour's soul, he is a
very oddish kind of a gentleman. I don't think he would marry the Queen
of Sheba. Lackaday! sir, he won't suffer his own maids to speak in the
garrison, but turns them into an outhouse before the watch is set."
However, Hatchway entered spiritedly into Miss Grizzle's cause by
working on the fears of the Commodore. He prevailed upon Pipes to get up
on the top of the chimney belonging to the Commodore's chamber at
midnight, and to hollow through a speaking-trumpet, "Trunnion! turn out
and be spliced, or lie still and be damned!" By this, and other
stratagems, Trunnion's obstinacy was overcome. He wiped the sweat from
his forehead, and heaving a piteous groan yielded to the remonstrances
of Hatchway in these words: "Well, since it must be so, I think we must
e'en grapple. But 'tis a hard case that a fellow of my years should be
compelled, d'ye see, to beat up to windward all the rest of his life,
against the current of his own inclination."
Things being brought to this bearing, Miss Grizzle's heart dilated with
joy; the parson was persuaded to perform the ceremony in the garrison,
which all that day was adorned with flags, and at night illuminated by
the direction of Hatchway.
_II.--The Commodore Takes Peregrine Under His Own Care_
Having no hopes of propagating his own name, the Commodore, through his
friendly intercourse with Mr. Gamaliel, contracted a liking for
Peregrine, who, by this time entered the third year of his age, was a
very handsome, healthy, and promising child, with a certain oddity of
disposition for which he had been remarkable even from his cradle.
Almost all his little childish satire was levelled against the
Commodore, but in this he might have been influenced by the example and
instruction of Mr. Hatchway, who delighted in superintending the first
essays of his genius.
One day when the Commodore had chastised the child by a gentle tap with
his cane, Peregrine fell flat on the floor as if he had been deprived of
all sense and motion, to the terror and amazement of the striker; and
having filled the whole house with confusion and dismay, opened his
eyes, and laughed heartily at the success of his own imposition.
A few years later, when Mrs. Pickle decided to send Peregrine to a
boarding-school, her husband not venturing to make the least objection,
the Commodore interested himself so much in behalf of his favourite, as
to fit him out at his own charge, and accompany him in person to the
place of his destination. In less than a twelvemonth the boy was
remarkable for the brightness of his parts, and the Commodore received
with transport an account of his proficiency, and forthwith communicated
the happy tidings to the parents.
Mr. Gamaliel Pickle heard them with a sort of phlegmatic satisfaction,
and the child's mother observed that the truth was always exaggerated by
schoolmasters. Mrs. Pickle being by this time blessed with a daughter,
her affection was otherwise engrossed.
A change of master at the school made the Commodore resolve to fetch the
boy away. He went directly to visit Mrs. Pickle, and desired she would
permit him to take his godson under his own care.
This lady, whose family was now increased by another son, had not seen
Perry during the course of four years, and with regard to him was
perfectly weaned of maternal fondness; she therefore consented to the
Commodore's request with great condescension, and a polite compliment on
the concern he had all along manifested for the welfare of the child.
Trunnion having obtained this permission, that very afternoon dispatched
the lieutenant in a postchaise to the school, from whence in two days he
returned with our young hero; who, being now in the eleventh year of his
age, was remarkable for the beauty of his person. His godfather was
transported with his arrival, and in the afternoon conducted him to the
house of his parents.
Strange to tell, no sooner was Peregrine presented to his mother, than
she eyed him with tokens of affliction and surprise, and bursting into
tears, exclaimed that her child was dead, and this was no other than an
impostor whom they brought to defraud her sorrow. Trunnion was
confounded at this unaccountable passion, which had no other foundation
than caprice and whim; and Gamaliel himself was so disconcerted and
unsettled in his own belief, which began to waver, that he knew not how
to behave towards the boy, whom his godfather immediately carried back
to the garrison, swearing all the way that Perry should never cross
their threshold again with his goodwill. Thus exiled from his father's
house, the young gentleman was left entirely to the disposal of the
Commodore, whose affection for him daily increased.
_III.--First Acquaintance with Miss Emilia Gauntlet_
At the age of twelve Peregrine was sent to Winchester School. A
clergyman named Jacob Jolter was engaged as tutor to superintend the
boy's education, and Tom Pipes, at his own petition, put into livery,
and appointed footman to the young squire. Mr. Pickle approved of the
plan, though he durst not venture to see the boy; so much was he
intimidated by his wife, whose aversion to her firstborn became every
day more inveterate and unaccountable. Her second son, Gam, now in the
fourth year of his age, had been rickety from the cradle, and as the
deformity increased, the mother's fondness was augmented. Though she no
longer retained the notion of Perry being an impostor, she would not
suffer him to approach his father's house, and broke off all commerce
with her sister-in-law and the Commodore because they favoured the poor
Her malice, however, was frustrated by the love and generosity of
Trunnion, who, having adopted him as his own son, equipped him
At school, Peregrine, after two years of mischievous pranks, fixed his
view upon objects which he thought more worthy of his attention than
practical joking. Having contracted intimacies with several youths older
than himself, they, pleased with his address, introduced him into
parties of gallantry; and Peregrine soon found he was by nature
particularly adapted for succeeding in adventures of this kind.
Being one evening at the ball which is always given at the time of the
races, Peregrine was struck with admiration at the beauty of a young
lady, who seemed to be of his own age. He begged she would do him the
honour to walk a minuet with him, and she frankly complied with his
request. If he was charmed with her appearance, he was quite ravished
with her discourse, which was sensible, spirited, and gay. Her mother,
who was present, thanked him for his civility, and he received a
compliment of the same nature from the young lady's brother.
When the company broke up, Peregrine obtained permission to visit her at
her habitation about sixteen miles from Winchester, and was also
informed by her mother that her name was Miss Emilia Gauntlet. He
assured Mrs. Gauntlet that he should not neglect this invitation, and
having learned that his Emilia (for so he already called her) was the
only daughter of a deceased field officer, he set out early one morning
for the village where his charmer lived. He was received with
demonstrations of regard and affection by Emilia and her mother; but his
absence produced great disturbance at Winchester, and finally the
Commodore, having been informed of his nephew's disappearance,
dispatched Hatchway, who traced the truant to the village where he had
taken up his abode, and persuaded him to return to the school.
Shortly afterwards Peregrine was summoned to attend his uncle, and in a
few days arrived with Mr. Jolter and Pipes at the garrison, which he
filled with joy and satisfaction. From a comely boy he was now converted
into a most engaging youth, already taller than a middle-sized man. The
Commodore, who assumed justly the whole merit of his education, was as
proud of the youth's improvements as if he had actually been his own
offspring; but Peregrine could not help feeling the injury he suffered
from the caprice of his mother, and foreseeing the disagreeable
situation he would find himself in if any sudden accident should deprive
him of the Commodore, he therefore accompanied his uncle one evening to
the Club and presented himself to his father, begging pathetically to
know how he had incurred his displeasure.
Mr. Gamaliel was never so disconcerted as at this rencontre. His own
disposition was perfectly neutral, but he was so strongly impressed with
the terror of his wife, that he answered in a peevish strain, "Why, good
now, child, what would you have me to do? Your mother can't abide you."
"If my mother is so unkind, I hope you will not be so unjust," said
Peregrine, tears of indignation starting from his eyes. Before Mr.
Pickle could reply, the Commodore interposed, and Gamaliel at length
surrendered. He acquiesced in the justice of his friend's observations,
and, taking his son by the hand, promised to favour him for the future
with his love and fatherly protection.
But this laudable resolution did not last. Mrs. Pickle, having made him
disclose what had happened, he sustained a most severe rebuke for his
simplicity and indiscretion, and humbled himself so far as to promise to
annul the condescensions he had made, and for ever renounce the
ungracious object of her disgust. This undertaking was punctually
performed in a letter to the Commodore, which Mrs. Pickle herself
dictated: "Sir,--Whereas my good nature being last night imposed upon, I
was persuaded to promise I know not what to that vicious youth whose
parent I have the misfortune to be; I desire you will take notice that I
revoke all such promises, and shall never look upon that man as my
friend, who will henceforth in such a cause solicit,
Yours, etc., GAM. PICKLE."
Trunnion was incensed by this absurd renunciation, nor did Peregrine
bear with patience the injurious declaration.
Meanwhile preparations were made for the youth's departure to the
University, and in a few weeks Peregrine set out for Oxford in the
seventeenth year of his age, accompanied by Mr. Jolter and Pipes, the
same attendants who lived with him at Winchester.
_IV.--Peregrine is Left an Orphan and Marries_
From the University, Peregrine went on a grand tour in Europe, and was
only summoned home by a letter from Lieutenant Hatchway representing the
dangerous condition of the Commodore.
Our hero arrived at the garrison about four o'clock in the morning and
found his generous uncle in extremity. Though the Commodore's speech was
difficult, he still retained the use of his senses, and when Peregrine
approached, stretched out his hand with manifest signs of satisfaction.
In spite of all his endeavours, the tears gushed from the young man's
eyes, and the Commodore, perceiving his distress, made a last effort and
consoled him in these words:
"Swab the spray from your bowsprit, my good lad, and coil up your
spirits. Many a better man has foundered before he has made half my way;
though I trust, by the mercy of God, I shall be sure in port in a very
few glasses, and fast moored in a most blessed riding; for my good
friend Jolter hath overhauled the journal of my sins, and by the
observation he hath taken of the state of my soul, I hope I shall
happily conclude my voyage, and be brought up in the latitude of heaven.
Now while the sucker of my windpipe will go, I would willingly mention a
few things which I hope you will set down in the logbook of your
remembrance, d'ye see. There's your aunt sitting whimpering by the fire;
I desire you will keep her tight, warm, and easy in her old age. Jack
Hatchway, I believe she has a kindness for you; whereby, if you two will
grapple in the way of matrimony I do suppose that my godson for love of
me, will allow you to live in the garrison all the days of your life. I
need not talk of Pipes, because I know you will do for him without any
recommendation. But I hope you'll take care of the rest of my crew, and
not disrate them after I am dead in favour of new followers. As for that
young woman, Ned Gauntlet's daughter, I am informed as how she's an
excellent wench, and has a respect for you; whereby if you run her on
board in an unlawful way, I leave my curse upon you, and trust you will
never prosper in the voyage of life. But I believe you are more of an
honest man than to behave so much like a pirate. As soon as the breath
is out of my body, let minute guns be fired, till I am safe under
ground. Let my pistols, cutlass, and pocket compass be laid in the
coffin along with me. And now I have no more to say, but God in heaven
have mercy on my soul, and send you all fair weather, wheresoever you
may be bound."
The Commodore's voice sunk so low as not to be distinguished, and having
lain about an hour without moving he gave up the ghost with a groan.
Peregrine, having performed the will with a most pious punctuality,
examined the will, and being sole executor, took an account of the
estate to which he had succeeded, which amounted to L30,000.
His domestic affairs being settled, Hatchway remaining in command at the
garrison, Peregrine was visited by almost all the gentlemen in the
country, who endeavoured to effect a reconciliation betwixt his father
and him. Old Gamaliel, at their entreaties, seemed very well disposed to
any accommodation; but his favourable disposition was rendered
altogether ineffectual by his implacable wife, and our hero resigned all
expectations of being reunited to his father's house.
Peregrine, then took leave of all his friends, and repaired to London,
where he made a remarkable appearance among the people of fashion. His
own follies made Mrs. Gauntlet and Emilia hold aloof from him, and
landed him for a time in the Fleet Prison. From this place the good
offices of Emilia's brother, Godfrey Gauntlet, and Hatchway, released
him, and the news of his father's death, who had died without making a
will, hastened his departure. Peregrine, having thus succeeded to his
father's estate, set off at once for the country, and instead of
alighting at the garrison, rode straightway to his father's house,
accompanied by Hatchway and Pipes.
No servants appearing to receive him, Peregrine advanced into the hall
and made immediate application to a bell-rope. This brought two footmen
into his presence, and one of them, in reply to a stern reprimand, said
sullenly that they had been in the service of old Mr. Pickle, and now
that he was dead, thought themselves bound to obey nobody but their
lady, and her son Mr. Gamaliel. Our hero ordered them to decamp without
further preparation, and as they continued restive, they were kicked out
of doors by Hatchway. Young Gamaliel flew to the assistance of his
adherents, and discharged a pistol at his brother, who luckily escaped
the shot and turned him out into the court-yard, to the consolation of
his two dependents.
The noise of the pistol alarmed Mrs. Pickle, who, running down stairs,
would have assaulted our hero, had she not been restrained. The exercise
of her tongue not being hindered, she wagged against him with all the
virulence of malice. She asked if he was come to butcher his brother, to
insult his father's corpse, and triumph in her affliction? And bestowed
upon him the epithets of spendthrift, jail-bird, and unnatural ruffian.
Peregrine calmly replied, that if she did not quietly retire to her
chamber, he should insist upon her removing to another lodging; for he
was determined to be master in his own house.
Next morning the house was supplied with some servants from the
garrison, and preparations were made for the funeral of the deceased.
Gamaliel, having taken lodging in the neighbourhood, was speedily
followed by his mother, to whom Peregrine sent word that a regular
provision should be settled upon her.
No will having been made in favour of the second son, all Mr. Pickle's
property, amounting to more than L80,000, fell to Peregrine, the widow
being entitled to a jointure of L500 a year.
On Peregrine's return to London, Godfrey Gauntlet, knowing his sister's
affections still undiverted from her earliest love, arranged for his
friend to call for him at Emilia's lodgings.
Rushing into her presence, Peregrine was at first so dazzled with her
beauty, that his speech failed, and all his culties were absorbed in
admiration. Then he obeyed the impulse of his love, and circled the
charmer in his arms without suffering the least frown or symptom of
displeasure. Observing Mrs. Gauntlet, he asked pardon for his neglect,
and was forgiven in consideration of the long and unhappy exile which he
"I ought to punish you with the mortification of a twelve months'
trial," said Emilia, "but it is dangerous to tamper with an admirer of
your disposition, and therefore I think I must make sure of you while it
is in my power."
"You are willing, then, to take me for better, for worse, in presence of
heaven and these witnesses?" cried Peregrine, kneeling, and applying her
hand to his lips. She darted a side-glance, while her answer was,
"Why--heaven grant me patience to bear the humours of such a
"And may the same powers," replied the youth, "grant me life and
opportunity to manifest the immensity of my love."
Matters being thus happily matured, the lover begged that immediate
recourse might be had to the church, and set out with Godfrey for Doctor
Commons for a license, having first agreed that the ceremony should be
performed in the lodgings of the bride.
Permission being obtained, they found a means to engage a clergyman, who
undertook to attend them at their own time and place.
The ceremony was performed without delay, Hatchway standing as godfather
to the bride.
Such another couple as Peregrine and Emilia were not to be found in the
whole United Kingdom.
* * * * *
MADAME DE STAEL
Madame de Stael, the most famous and brilliant of the many
famous Frenchwomen of the Revolution and the Empire, was born,
like Bonaparte himself, of alien parents. Her father was
Necker, the eminent Swiss minister of finance under Louis XVI,
whose triumph and exile were among the startling events of the
opening stage of the Revolution; whilst her mother, also
Swiss, had been the lover of the historian Gion and now
presided over one of the most brilliant _salons_ in Paris.
Anne Marie Louise Germaine Necker was born at Paris on April
22, 1766. In 1787 she was married--unhappily--to Baron de
Stael-Holstein, Swedish Ambassador at Paris. She was in peril
during the Terror, but escaped to Switzerland. A few years
afterwards she showed keen political activity against
Napoleon, who respected her hostility so profoundly that he
would not suffer her to approach Paris. Madame de Staels
"Corinne, or Italy," is accounted one of her two masterpieces,
the other one being "On Germany." (See Vol. XX.) It was
published in 1807, and was written at Coppet, in Switzerland,
her place of residence and exile during her many enforced
sojourns from Paris by order of the Emperor. "Corinne" not
only revealed for the first time to the Frenchmen of her day
the grandeur and mystery and charm of Italy, but also showed
the national characteristics of French and Englishmen for the
first time in their respective, and in a European light.
Moreover, as one European critic has pointed out, it is also
one of the first, and still one of the subtlest, studies in
the psychology of sex and emancipation of woman of the
nineteenth century. Madame de Stael's relations with the
clever and ambitious young statesman and writer, Benjamin
Constant, formed the chief source of her inspiration in
writing "Corinne," as it formed his in writing "Adolphe."
Madame de Stael died in Paris, July 14, 1817.
_I.--The Roman Poetess_
When Oswald, Lord Nevil, awoke on his first morning in Rome, he heard
church bells ringing and cannon firing, as if announcing some high
solemnity. He inquired the cause and learned that the most celebrated
woman in Italy would that morning be crowned at the capital--Corinne,
the poetess and improvisatrice, one of the loveliest women of Rome.
As he walked the streets, he heard her named every instant. Her family
name was unknown. She had won fame by her verses five years before,
under the simple name of Coe; and no one could tell where she had lived
nor what she had been, in her earlier days.
The, triumphal procession approached, heralded by a burst of melody.
First came a number of Roman nobles, then an antique car drawn by four
spotless steeds, escorted by white clad maidens. Not until he beheld the
woman in the car did Oswald lay aside his English reserve and yield to
the spirit of the scene. Corinne was tall, robust like a Greek statue,
and transcendently beautiful. Her attitude was noble and modest; while
it manifestly pleased her to be admired, yet a timid air blended with
her joy, and she seemed to ask pardon for her triumph.
She ascended to the capitol; the assembled Roman poets recited her
praises; Prince Castel Forte, the most honoured of Roman noblemen,
uttered a eulogy of her; and, ere she received the destined bays, she
took up her lyre and in accordance with custom gave a poetic
improvisation. The subject of her passionate chant was the glory of
Italy; and amid the impetuous applause that followed, Corinne, looking
round, observed Oswald. She saw him to be English; she was struck by his
melancholy, and by the mourning he wore. Taking up her lyre again, she
spoke some touching stanzas on death and consolation that went straight
to his heart.
The crown of bays and myrtle was placed on her head; she descended from
the Capitol amid a burst of triumphant music. As she passed Oswald, the
crown accidentally fell from her head. He quickly picked it up and
restored it to her, with a few words of homage in Italian. What was his
surprise when she thanked him in perfect English!
On the evening of the next day, Oswald was introduced to Corinne at her
own house by the Count d'Erfeuil, a Frenchman who had been his companion
in the journey into Italy. The Prince Castel Forte and all the other
guests paid her the most assiduous attention; Oswald gazed on her for
the most part in silence, wondering at the mingled sweetness and
vivacity of her conversation, realising that she possessed a grace that
he had never met before. Although she invited him to meet her again, he
did not go on the next evening; he was restrained by a kind of terror at
the feeling which excited him.
"Oh, my father," he sighed, "had you known Corinne, what would you have
thought of her?"
For the mourning that Oswald wore was for his father. A terrible event
in Oswald's life had drawn the two apart; his father had died ere he
could return to ask forgiveness. But his father had blessed him on his
deathbed, and it was Oswald's whole desire in the grief that preyed upon
him, to live in all things as his dead parent would have wished him to
The attraction of Corinne's society soon drew him back to her presence,
and during the next fortnight she, at her own proposal, guided him in
his exploration of Rome. Together they wandered through the ruins, the
churches, the art galleries. Their opinions were seldom in agreement;
Corinne was characteristically and brightly Italian in her views, Oswald
characteristically and sombrely English. But each was conscious, none
the less, of keen intellectual sympathy with the other; and Oswald,
without speaking of the love of which he began to be conscious, made her
sensible of it every hour in the day. His proud retiring attachment shed
a new interest over her life. Accustomed as she was to the lively and
flattering tributes of the Italians, this outward coldness disguising
intense tenderness of heart captivated her imagination.
But one morning she received from him a note saying that indisposition
would confine him to his house for some days. Oswald had made up his
mind to avoid Corinne; he felt too strongly the power of her charms.
What would his father have said of this woman? Could she, the brilliant
poetess, be expected to possess the English domestic virtues which his
father valued above all things in a wife? Besides, there was a mystery
about her; she had not revealed her name and family even to him; nor had
he ever had an explanation of her perfect knowledge of English.
Corinne was terrified, on receiving the note, by the idea that he would
fly without bidding her adieu. Unable to rest in the house where Oswald
came not, she wandered in the gardens of Rome, hoping to meet him. As
she was seated in grief beside the Fount of Trevi, Oswald, who had
paused there at the same moment, saw her countenance reflected in the
water. He started, as if he had seen her phantom; but a moment later
Corinne had rushed forward and seized his arm--then, repenting of her
impetuosity, she blushed, and covered her face to hide her tears.
"Dear Corinne!" he cried, "has my absence pained you?"
"Yes," she replied, "you must have known it would. Why then inflict such
pangs on me? Have I deserved them?"
Her emotion greatly affected Oswald. "I will visit you again to-morrow,
Corinne," he said. "Swear it!" she exclaimed, eagerly. "I do."
_II.--The Living and the Dead_
Oswald's natural irresolution had been augmented by misfortune, and he
hesitated before entering upon an irrevocable engagement. Although he no
longer sought to disguise his affection for Corinne, he did not propose
marriage to her. She, on her part, was mortified by his silence. Often
he was on the point of breaking it; but the thought of his father
restrained him--and the thought of Lucy Edgarmond, the English girl whom
his father had wished him to marry, when she was old enough, and whom he
had not seen since she was a child of twelve. What, he asked himself,
again and again, was his duty?
One day, as he was visiting her at her house at Tivoli, she took her
harp and sang one of those simple Scotch ballads, the notes of which
seemed fit to be borne on the wailing breeze. Oswald's heart was touched
at the memories thus awakened of his own country; his eyes filled with
"Ah, Corinne," he cried, "does then my country affect your heart? Could
you go with me there, and be the partner of my life?"
"Surely I could," she answered, "for I love you."
"In love's name, then, tell me who you are, Corinne; have no more
secrets from me."
"Your will shall be obeyed, Oswald. I only ask that you require not my
story until the religious solemnities of Easter are over; is not the
support of heaven more than ever necessary at the moment which must
decide my fate?"
"Corinne," he said, "if thy fate depends on me, it shall no longer be a
When Easter was over, Corinne set out for Naples, where she had many
friends and admirers; and Oswald accompanied her there. She still feared
to tell the story of her life.
"Who can tell," she said to Oswald, "if, when I have opened my heart to
you, you will remain the same? How can I help trembling beneath such
To encourage her, and to exchange confidences honourably with her, he
told her his own secret He had been skilfully drawn into an intrigue
with a scheming Frenchwoman, utterly against his father's wishes; when
he had escaped from the net that had been cast for him, and was hurrying
homeward, he heard the news that the being whom he loved and revered
most of all mankind was dead. He had knelt at his father's tomb and
sworn in atonement that he would never marry without his consent. But
how obtain the consent of one who was no more? Lucy Edgarmond--Corinne
started at the name--had been destined by his father for his bride. Was
the wish one that could be set aside? He had simply advised the match,
for Lucy was still a child with character unformed.
"Ere I met you," said Oswald, "I meant to fulfil his wish as an act of
expiation; but now," he went on passionately, "you have triumphed over
my whole being. My doubts are over, love; I am yours for ever. Would my
father have had it otherwise had he known you?"
"Hold," cried Corinne, "speak not thus to me yet!"
"Ah, tell me what you have to tell me!"
"Presently I shall; and I shall hear my sentence from your lips
unmurmuringly, even if it be cruel."
Ere she revealed her story, Corinne gave a fete, as if to enjoy one more
day of fame and happiness ere her lover pronounced her doom. It was held
on the cape of Micena. The lovely bay and its islands lay before the
party; Vesuvius frowned in the background. As the party embarked to
return in the glowing calm of the evening hour, Corinne put back her
tresses that she might better enjoy the sea air; Oswald had never seen
her look so beautiful.
"Oh, my love, oh, my love," he whispered, "can I ever forget this day?"
"Alas!" returned Corinne, "I hope not for such another day."
"Corinne!" he cried, "here is the ring my father gave his wife, let me
give it to you, and while you keep it, let me be no longer free."
"No, no! take it back," she answered in a stifled voice.
"I shall not," he replied; "I swear never to wed another till you send
back that ring."
"Perhaps when you have read my history, the dreadful word adieu--"
"Never," cried Oswald, "until my deathbed--fear not that word till
"Alas!" said Corinne, "as I looked at the heavens a minute ago, the moon
was covered by a cloud of fatal aspect. A childish superstition came
back to my mind. To-night the sky condemns our love."
That evening Corinne's maid brought him the papers in which she had
written her story.
"Oswald, I begin with the avowal that must determine my fate. Lord
Edgarmond was my father. I was born in Italy; his first wife was a Roman
lady; and Lucy, whom they intended for your bride, is my sister by my
father's second marriage.
"I lost my mother ere I was ten years old, and remained in the care of
an aunt at Florence until I was fifteen, when my father brought me to
his home in Northumberland. My stepmother was a cold, dignified, silent
woman, whose eyes could turn affectionately on her child Lucy, then
three years old; but she usually wore so positive an air that it seemed
impossible to make her understand a new idea.
"My tastes and talents had already been formed, and they were but
ill-suited to the dismal monotony of my life in Northumberland. I was
bidden to forget Italy; I was not allowed to converse on poetry or art;
I had no congenial friends. Even the sun, that might have reminded me of
Italy, was often hidden by fog. My only occupation was the education of
my half-sister; my only solace, the company of my father.
"'My dear child, he said to me once, it is not here as in Italy; our
women have no occupation save their domestic uses. Your talents may
beguile your solitude; but in a country town like this all that attracts
attention excites envy. One must not combat the habits of a place in
which one is established. It is better to bear a little ennui than to be
beset by wondering faces that every instant demand reasons for what you
"Lord Nevil was my father's intimate friend, and it was yourself of whom
he thought for my husband. Had we then met and loved, our fate would
have been cloudless. But when I was presented to Lord Nevil I desired,
perhaps too ardently, to please him; I displayed all my talents,
dancing, singing, and extemporising before him--I believe, though I am
not certain--that I appeared to Lord Nevil somewhat too wild; for
although he treated me very kindly, yet, when he left my father he said
that he thought his son too young for the marriage in question. Oswald,
what importance do you attach to this confession? I might suppress it,
but I will not. Is it possible that it will prove my condemnation?
"When my father died, my despair was uncontrollable. I found myself
without support. My only adult relation was my stepmother, who was as
frigid as ever towards me. I was attacked by that homesick yearning
which makes exile more terrible than death. All the country around me
was dull and sullen. I longed for the sunshine, the vine, the music, the
sweet language of Italy. At twenty-one I had a right to my mother's
fortune, and whatever my father had left me. Then did I first dream of
returning to Italy, and devoting my life to the arts.
"When I suggested the possibility of my doing so to Lady Edgarmond, she
replied, with dry indifference, 'You are of age, and the mistress of
your conduct; but if you take any step which would dishonour you in the
eyes of the world, you owe it to your family to change your name and be
reported dead.' This heartless scorn helped me to come to a decision. In
less than a week I had embarked on a vessel for Leghorn. I set forth
without warning my stepmother, but left a letter apprising her of my
"For a time I lived in Florence, whither Lady Edgarmond wrote me word of
her having spread the report that I had travelled southwards for my
health and had died on the voyage. During the following five years, as
you know, I won fame as Corinne the poetess.
"And now you know my history--I have concealed nothing. My happiness
depends entirely upon you. When you have read this, I would see you; my
impatience will bring me to your side, and I shall read my fate at a
glance; for grief is a rapid poison--and the heart, though weak, never
mistakes the signal of irrevocable destiny."
_IV.--Parting and Pursuit_
"Well," said Corinne, struggling to appear calm, when she went to Oswald
to learn her fate, "you have had time enough--speak! tell me what you
"Corinne," answered Oswald, "my heart is unchanged. We will both live
for love. I will return."
"Return!" interrupted Corinne; "ah, you leave me then! How all is
changed since yesterday!"
"Dearest love," he replied, "be composed. It is necessary that I should
ascertain my father's reasons for opposing our union seven years ago. I
will hope for the best, Corinne; but if my father decides against you, I
will never be the husband of another, though I cannot be yours."
One night in Venice a few weeks later, when Corinne was leaving a scene
of festivity of which she had been the most brilliant ornament, Oswald
led her aside. She marked his paleness and agitation.
"What has happened?" she cried.
"I must start for England to-night. My regiment is about to embark for
the West Indies, and I am recalled to rejoin it."
"Ah!" moaned Corinne, "when I tell myself to-morrow 'I shall see him no
more,' the thought may kill me; happy am I if it does."
"Why do you fear? Is my solemn promise nothing?"
"Oh, I believe it; but listen--when you are in London, you will discover
that love promises bind not your honour. Will you find excuses in these
sophisms for inflicting a mortal wound on me? Cannot you at least pity
me for loving you thus?"
"Stay!" cried Oswald, seizing her in his arms, "this is too much.
Dearest, I cannot leave you!"
"Nay, you must," replied Corinne, recalled to herself by his words.
"My love," answered Oswald, trying to calm himself, "I shall strive
during my absence to restore to you your due rank in your father's
country. If I fail, I will return to Italy, and live or die at your
A light gleamed through the window, and the gondola that was to take
Oswald away stopped at the door.
"They are here--adieu--all is ended!" sobbed Corinne.
"Oh God! O my father!" he exclaimed, "what do ye exact of me?"
He flung himself once more into her arms and then, trembling and pale,
like one prepared for the torture, he passed from her sight.
On reaching England, he found that his regiment's departure had been
postponed, and, while waiting, he visited Northumberland, told Lady
Edgarmond of his affection for her stepdaughter, and demanded Corinne's
restoration to her rank. Lady Edgarmond unbendingly refused.
"I owe to your father's memory," she added, "my exertion to prevent your
union with her if I can. Your father's letter on the subject is in the
hands of his old friend, Mr. Dickson."
Oswald speedily set out for his ancestral estate in Scotland, anxious to
see Mr. Dickson and read the letter. In Northumberland he had seen
Lucy--a beautiful and sweetly innocent girl, one whom he could plainly
see to be a maiden after his father's own heart.
His father's letter confirmed his worst fears. He had wholly disapproved
of Oswald's union with the girl who afterwards became Corinne. He had
thought her wholly unfitted for domestic English life, and had feared
that she would destroy his son's English character and transform him
into an Italian. Oswald was to be acquainted with his wishes if
necessary; he knew he would respect them.
The irresolution and unhappiness into which Oswald was plunged was
increased by the fact that his letters to Corinne received no replies.
Had her love ceased when his presence was removed? His friends told him
of the fickleness of Italian women, and he began to believe that she had
deserted him. The truth was that Corinne was not in Italy to receive his
letters. She had come to England.
Desolated by his absence, and alarmed by the tone of the letters from
him that had reached her, she had resolved to follow him. On arriving in
London, she had been seized by an illness which prevented her from
seeing him. On her recovery the people with whom she was staying took
her to the theatre where Mrs. Siddons was playing. Oswald was at the
theatre with Lady Edgarmond and Lucy. Corinne observed with a sinking
heart the delicate attention which Oswald paid to her half-sister.
She saw him next at a review, where he appeared at the head of his
regiment. After the march past, he escorted Lucy in a ride on horseback.
Corinne noted his kind solicitude, his promptitude when Lucy was in
danger, the tenderness with which he supported her. What more did
Corinne need to convince her of his love for Lucy?
That evening she went to his door, and learnt that he had left for
Scotland an hour earlier. She felt that she must see him again; so she,
also, departed for Scotland.
Lady Edgarmond gave a ball on her Scottish estate, and among the guests
was Oswald, whose home was near at hand. In the grounds lurked Corinne,
seeking an opportunity of meeting her lover. In the midst of the
festivities, a white-clad figure hurried out alone; Corinne knew it to
be her half-sister. Lucy, believing that no eye was upon her, knelt down
in the grove where stood her father's tomb. "Pray for me, O my father!"
she said; "inspire him to choose me as the partner of his life! Oh God,
render me worthy of the love of Oswald!"
"Grant her prayer," whispered Corinne, "and give her sister a peaceful
She drew out the ring that Oswald had given her, and wrapped it in a
piece of paper on which she wrote the words, "You are free." She thrust
this into the hand of a man near the house with a request that he should
hand it to a servant to be delivered to Lord Nevil. She saw the man give
it to a servant. Then she fled.
_V.--The Clouded Moon_
To Oswald's assured knowledge of his father's wishes, and his fear that
Corinne had been untrue to him, had been added a third consideration,
Lady Edgarmond's health was rapidly declining, and when she died Lucy
would be unprotected in the world. Was it not his duty to protect her?
He resolved to undertake the duty, if he could only be free from his
promise to Corinne.
When his freedom came, with the mysterious return of the ring, all his
doubts were removed. Soon afterwards he married Lucy, and after a short
interval--during which he felt intense anxiety as to whether he had not
wronged Corinne--he went with his regiment to the West Indies.
Ere she had left Scotland, Corinne had heard the announcement of the
proposed marriage. She retired to Florence, and dwelt there in unending
misery. Her poetic faculty, her love of the arts, could not console her,
for they were utterly subjugated by her despair. Her whole soul had been
given to her love for Oswald. And when he had forsaken her, her life had
been broken by the blow.
It was four years ere Oswald returned to England, and soon afterwards he
and Lucy were summoned to the deathbed of Lady Edgarmond. He now had a
dangerous illness; in his delirium he cried for the southern sun. Lucy
heard him, and remembered Corinne. Oswald had striven to forget his
former passion, but could not help at times contrasting Corinne's warmth
of feeling with Lucy's coldness. Lucy had been taught by her mother that
it was immodest to avow affection even for a husband. She loved Oswald,
but her pride concealed her love.
Oswald was ordered to Italy by his physicians, and his wife and child
accompanied him. At Milan the earth was snow-covered; beyond there, the
rivers were in flood, and the land was covered by cold, damp fog.
"Where is your lovely Italy?" asked Lucy.
"I know not where or when I shall regain her," sadly answered Oswald. As
he approached Florence, where he had heard that Corinne was dwelling,
his heart became terribly agitated. He had learnt, through his old
friend d'Erfeuil, that Corinne had been faithful to him, that she had
followed him to England, and sought to see him, that he and not she was
On arriving at Florence, Oswald met Prince Castel Forte, whose faithful,
unrewarded homage to Corinne was still unchanged. Corinne, the Prince
told him, was ill and growing weaker every day. Oswald's desertion, he
said plainly, had mortally wounded her.
Oswald, dismally repentant, handed Castel Forte a letter to Corinne in
which he begged permission to see her. In answer she declined the
permission, but asked to see his wife and child.
The little girl was taken to her; Lucy had resolved not to go, but was
struck with fear lest the child's affection should be won away from her.
She went at length, determined to reproach Corinne, but all her anger
vanished at the sight of the wasted woman on the sickbed. The sisters
embraced in tears.
Castel Forte had told Corinne of the reserve and coldness that separated
Lucy from her husband. Her last wish was to reconcile them, and thus aid
by means of another, the happiness of the man she loved.
"Pride not yourself in your perfections, dear sister," she said; "let
your charm consist in seeming to forget them; be Corinne and Lucy in
one; let not grace be injured by self-respect."
Lucy bore her words in mind; the barriers between herself and her
husband were gradually removed, and Oswald guessed who was removing
At last the end came. Corinne lay on a sofa, where she could gaze upon
the sky. Castel Forte held her dying hand. Lucy entered; behind her came
Oswald. He fell at her feet. She would have spoken, but her voice
failed. She looked up--the moon was covered by just such a cloud as they
had seen at Naples. Corinne pointed to it--one sigh--and her hand sank
powerless in death.
* * * * *
STENDHAL (HENRI BEYLE)
The Chartreuse of Parma
Stendhal is the best-known pseudonym (for there were others)
of the refined, somewhat eccentric, and still distinguished
French author whose real name was C. Marie Henri Beyle. Born
at Grenoble on January 23, 1783, he found his way as a youth
to Milan, and fought with Bonaparte at Marengo. Afterwards he
followed various occupations at Paris and Marseilles; went
through the Russian campaign of 1812; and returned to Italy,
where he began to establish a reputation as a critic of music
and of painting. "La Chartreuse de Parme," his most successful
work of fiction, was written in the winter of 1830. Like his
other novels, it is discursive and formless; but is considered
remarkable alike for its keenness of analysis and its
exposition of the acid, materialistic philosophy of its
author. A friend of that other eclectic, Merimee, Stendhal was
not much thought of in his own time until the profound praises
of Balzac drew all eyes upon him; and in much more recent
times interest in the best of his writings has revived on
account of his keen and impartial analysis of whatever subject
he touched upon. Beyle died on March 22, 1842.
_I. Fabrice del Dongo_
"Three members of your family," said Count Mosca to the Duchess of
Sanseverina, "have been Archbishops of Parma. Could a better career be
open to your nephew Fabrice?"
The Duchess disliked the notion; and indeed Fabrice del Dongo seemed a
person but little fitted for an ecclesiastical career. His ambitions
were military; his hero was Napoleon. The great escapade of his life had
been a secret journey into France to fight at Waterloo. His father, the
Marquis del Dongo, was loyal to the Austrian masters of Lombardy; and
during Fabrice's absence his elder brother Arcanio had laid an
information against him as a conspirator against Austrian rule.
Consequently Fabrice, on his return, found himself exposed to the risk
of ten years in an Austrian prison. By his own address and by the good
offices of his aunt, the Countess Pietravera, Fabrice was able to escape
from Milanese territory.
Immediately afterwards the Countess wedded the aged and wealthy Duke of
Sanseverina, and transferred her beauty and unbounded social talents
from Milan to the court of Prince Ranuce Ernest IV., absolute ruler of
Parma. The Duke had his ambitions gratified by an appointment as
Ambassador to a distant country; the Duchess, left behind at Parma, was
able to devote herself to the interests of Count Mosca, the Prince's
chief Minister, and to counteract the intrigues of the celebrated
Marchioness Raversi, head of the party that sought to overthrow him.
The welfare of her beloved nephew was the most cherished of all the
Duchess's aims, and she succeeded in inspiring Count Mosca with an equal
enthusiasm for the prosperity of that errant youth. But she hesitated
over the project of making him an Archbishop.
"You must understand," explained the Count, "that I do not intend to
make Fabrice an exemplary priest of the conventional kind. No, he will
above all remain a great noble; he may continue to be absolutely
ignorant if he so pleases, and will become a Bishop and an Archbishop
just the same--provided, of course, that I succeed in retaining the
Ultimately the Duchess agreed, and undertook to persuade Fabrice to
enter the Church. The persuasion was not easy; but at length Fabrice,
having been convinced that the clerical yoke would bear but lightly upon
him, consented to the step, and as a preliminary spent three years in a
theological college at Naples.
When at the end of the three years Fabrice, now a Monsignore, returned
to Parma, matters there were at a crisis; the Raversi party were gaining
ground, and Count Mosca was in danger. Nor did the Prince's interview
with the young cleric improve matters. Ranuce Ernest IV. had two ruling
passions--an ambition to become ruler of united Italy, and a fear of
revolution. Count Mosca, the diplomatist, was the only man who could
further his hopes in the one direction; his fears in the other were
carefully kept alive by Rassi, the fiscal-general--to such an extent
that each night the Prince looked under his bed to see if by chance a
liberal were lurking there. Rassi was a man of low origin, who kept his
place partly by submitting good-humouredly to the abuse and even the
kicks of his master, and partly by rousing that master's alarms and
afterwards allaying them by hanging or imprisoning liberals, with the
ready assistance of a carefully corrupted judicial bench.
Towards this nervous Prince, Fabrice bore himself with an aristocratic
assurance, and a promptness and coolness in conversation that made a bad
impression. His political notions were correct enough, according to the
Prince's standard; but plainly, he was a man of spirit, and the Prince
did not like men of spirit; they were all cousins-germane of Voltaire
and Rousseau. He deemed Fabrice, in short, a potential if not an actual
liberal, and therefore dangerous.
Nevertheless Count Mosca carried the day against his rivals--a triumph
due less to his own efforts than to those of the Duchess, to whose
charms as the court's chief ornament the Prince was far from
insusceptible. The Count's success was Fabrice's; that youth found
himself established as co-adjutor to the Archbishop of Parma, with a
reversion to the Archbishopric on the demise of its worthy occupant.
On Fabrice's return from Naples, the Duchess had found him developed
from a boy into a young man, and the handsomest young man in Italy; her
affection for him became sisterly; she was nearly in love with him. She
had no cause for jealousy, for Fabrice, although prone to flirtation,
had no affairs of the heart. The word love, as yet, had no meaning for
One of our hero's flirtations had consequences with a very pronounced
bearing on his after career. During a surreptitious visit to the theatre
he became captivated with the actress, Marietta Valserra. Stolen visits
of two minutes duration to Marietta's lodging on the fourth floor of an
old house behind the theatre were an agreeable variation of the monotony
of Fabrice's clerical duties, and of his visits among the most important
and least entertaining families in Parma. But the trifling little
intrigue came to the ears of Count Mosca, with the result that the
travelling company to which Marietta belonged received its passports and
was requested to move on.
In the affair, moreover, Fabrice had a rival. Giletti was the low
comedian of the company, and the ugliest member of it; he assumed
proprietorship over Marietta, who, although she did not love him, was at
any rate horribly afraid of him. Giletti several times threatened to
kill Fabrice; whereby Fabrice was not disturbed.
Count Mosca was passionately archaeological, and this taste he shared
with Fabrice, who had cultivated the hobby at Naples. It so happened
that the two were engaged in excavations near the bridge over the Po
where the main road passes into Austrian territory at Castel-Maggiore.
Early one morning Fabrice, after surveying the work that was going on in
the trenches, strolled away with a gun, intent upon lark-shooting. A
wounded bird dropped on the road; and as Fabrice followed it he
encountered a battered old carriage driving towards the frontier. In it
were Giletti, Marietta and an old woman who passed as Marietta's mother.
Giletti leapt to the conclusion that Fabrice had come there, gun in
hand, to insult him, and possibly to carry off Marietta. He leapt out of
"Brigand!" he yelled, "we are only a league from the frontier--now I can
Fabrice saw a pistol levelled at him at a distance of three feet; he
knocked it aside with the butt of his gun, and it went off harmlessly.
Giletti then clutched the gun; the two men wrestled for it, and it
exploded close to Giletti's ear. Staggered for an instant, he quickly
recovered himself; drawing from its sheath a "property" sword, he fell
once more upon Fabrice.
"Look out! he will kill you," came an agitated whisper from Marietta;
A sort of hunting knife was flung out of the carriage door. Fabrice
picked it up, and was nearly stunned forthwith by a blow from the handle
of the "property" sword. Happily Giletti was too near to use his
sword-point. Pulling himself together, Fabrice gave his enemy a gash on
the thigh. Giletti, swearing furiously, injured Fabrice on the cheek.
Blood poured down our hero's face. The thought, "I am disfigured for
life!" flashed through his mind. Enraged at the idea, he thrust the
hunting knife at Giletti's breast with all his force. Giletti fell and
"He is dead!" said Fabrice to himself. Then, turning to the coach, he
asked, "Have you a looking-glass?"
His eyes and teeth were undamaged; he was not permanently disfigured.
Hastily, then, he turned to thoughts of escape. Marietta gave him
Giletti's passport; obviously his first business was to get across the
frontier. And yet the Austrian frontier was no safe one for him to
cross. Were he recognised, he might expect ten years in an Imperial
fortress. But this was the less immediate danger, and he determined to
With considerable trepidation he walked across the bridge, and presented
Giletti's passport to the Austrian gendarme.
The gendarme looked at it, and rose, "You must wait, monsieur; there is
a difficulty," he said, and left the room. Fabrice was profoundly
uncomfortable; he was nearly for bolting, when he heard the gendarme say
to another, "I am done up with the heat; just go and put your visa on a
passport in there when you have finished your pipe; I'm going for some
This gendarme, in fact, knew Giletti, and was quite well aware that the
man before him was not the actor. But, for all he could tell, Giletti
had lent the passport for reasons of his own. The easiest way out of the
difficulty was to get another gendarme to see to the visa. This man
affixed it as a matter of course, and Fabrice escaped danger number one.
The rest was very easy, thanks to Ludovico, an old servant of the
Duchess, whom Fabrice met at an eating-house where he had turned in for
some very necessary refreshment. With the aid of this excellent fellow
Fabrice had his wounds attended to, and was safely smuggled out of
Austrian territory into Bologna.
The party opposed to Count Mosca hastened to take advantage of Fabrice's
offence. He was represented as a murderer; the workmen in the trenches
who had seen the affray, and knew that Fabrice had acted in
self-defence, were either bribed or got out of the way. Rassi accused
Fabrice of being a liberal; and since the Prince was ill-disposed
towards the young man, not all the endeavours of Count Mosca could save
him from a sentence of twenty years' imprisonment, should he be so
impudent as to venture upon the territory of Parma.
Just before the sentence was presented to the Prince for final
confirmation, the Prince learnt that the Duchess of Sanseverina sought
an audience with him. He rubbed his hands; the greatest beauty of his
court had come to beg mercy for her nephew; there would be tears and
frantic appeals. For a quarter of an hour the Prince gloated over the
prospect; then he ordered that the Duchess be admitted.
She entered--in travelling costume; never had she looked more charming,
never more cheerful. "I trust your Serene Highness will pardon my
unorthodox costume," she said, smiling archly; "but as I am about to
leave Parma for a very long time, I have felt it my duty to come and
thank you ere I go for all the kindnesses you have deigned to confer
The Prince was astonished and profoundly chagrined. "Why are you going?"
he asked, as calmly as he could.
"I have had the project for some time," she replied, "and a little
insult paid to Monsignor del Dongo has hastened it."
The Prince was beside himself. What would his court be without the
Duchess? At all costs he must check her flight.
At this moment Count Mosca, pale with anxiety, begged admittance. He had
just heard of the Duchess's intention to leave Parma.
"Let me speak as a friend to friends," said the Prince, collecting
himself; "what can I do, Madame, to arrest your hasty resolution?"
"If your highness were to write a gracious letter revoking the unjust
sentence upon Fabrice del Dongo, I might re-consider my decision; and,
let me add, if the Marchioness Raversi were advised by you to retire to
the country early to-morrow morning for the benefit of her health--"
"Was there ever such a woman?" cried the Prince, stamping up and down
But he agreed. At his orders Count Mosca sat down and wrote the letter
required. The Prince objected to the phrase "unjust sentence," and Count
Mosca, courtier-like, abstained from using it. The Prince did not mind
the banishment of the Marchioness Raversi; he liked exiling people.
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