The World's Greatest Books, Vol VIII
Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton, Eds.
Part 3 out of 6
At seven o'clock next morning the Prince summoned Rassi, and dictated to
him another letter. The sentence of twenty years, upon the criminal del
Dongo was to be reduced by the Prince's clemency, at the supplication of
the Duchess Sanseverina, to twelve years; and the police were instructed
to do their utmost to arrest the offender.
The only difficulty was that of tempting Fabrice into the territory of
Parma. A hint to the Marchioness Raversi and her associates removed the
obstacle. A forged letter, purporting to be from the Duchess, reached
Fabrice at Bologna, telling him that there would be little danger in his
meeting her at Castelnovo, within the frontier. Fabrice repaired
joyfully to Castelnovo. That night he lay a prisoner in the citadel of
Parma; while the Duchess, alone in her room with locked door, sobbed her
heart out and raved helplessly against the treachery of princes.
"So long as her nephew is in the citadel," said the Prince to himself,
"the Duchess will be in Parma."
The citadel of Parma is a colossal building with a flat roof 180 feet
above the level of the ground. On this roof are erected two structures:
one, the governor's residence; the other, the Famese tower, a prison
specially erected for a recalcitrant prince of earlier days. In this
tower Fabrice, as a prisoner of importance, was confined; and as he
looked from the window on the evening of his arrival and beheld the
superb panorama of the distant Alps, he reflected pleasantly that he
might have found a worse dungeon.
On the next morning his attention was absorbed by something nearer at
hand. His window overlooked one belonging to the governor's palace; in
this window were many bird cages, and at eleven o'clock a maiden came to
feed the birds. Fabrice recognised her as Celia Conti, the governor's
daughter. He succeeded in attracting her attention; she blushed and
withdrew. But next day she came again at the same hour. On the third
day, however, a heavy wooden shutter was clapped upon the window.
Nothing daunted, Fabrice proceeded patiently to cut a peep-hole in the
shutter by aid of the mainspring of his watch. When he had succeeded in
removing a square piece of the wood, he looked with delight upon Clelia
gazing at his window with eyes of profound pity, unconscious that she
Gradually he broke down the maiden's reserve. She discovered the secret
of the peep-hole; she consented to communicate with him; finally the two
conversed by a system of signals. Fabrice even dared to tell Clelia that
he loved her--and truly he was in love, for the first time in his life.
The worst of it was that these declarations were apt to bring the
conversation to an end; so Fabrice was sparing of them.
Clelia, meanwhile, was in sore perplexity. Her father, General Fabio
Conti the governor, was a political opponent of Count Mosca, and had
ambitions of office. These ambitions might be forwarded, he deemed, by
the successful marriage of his daughter. He did not desire that she
should remain a lovely recluse, feeding birds on the top of the citadel.
Accordingly he had presented to her an ultimatum; either she must marry
the Marquis Crescenzi, the wealthiest nobleman of Parma, who sought her
hand, or she must retire to a convent.
The signalled conversations with Fabrice, therefore, could not last
long. And yet she had beyond doubt fallen deeply in love with Fabrice.
She knew he was her father's prisoner, and belonged to the party hostile
to her father; she was ashamed, as a daughter, of her love for him. But
she admired him, and pitied him; she was well aware that he was a victim
of political intrigue, for why should a nobleman of Fabrice's standing
be thus punished for killing a mere actor? The stolen interviews with
the captive were as dear to her as to him; and so dear were they to him
that, after months of imprisonment he declared that he had never been so
happy in his life.
One night, as Fabrice looked through his peep-hole, he became aware of a
light flashing from the town. Obviously some attempt was being made at
signalling. He observed the flashes, counting them in relation to the
order of the letters in the alphabet--one for A, two for B, and so on.
He discovered that the message was from the Duchess, and was directed to
himself. He replied, on the same system, by passing his lantern in front
of the peep-hole. The answer from the distance was important;
arrangements were being made for his escape. But he did not want to
Next day he told Clelia of his message, and of his unwillingness to
leave the prison. She gave no answer, but burst into tears. How could
she tell him that she herself must presently leave--for marriage or a
Next day, Fabrice, by his gaoler's connivance, received a long letter
from Clelia. She urged him to escape, declaring that at any time the
Prince might order his execution, and in addition that he was in danger
of death by poison. Straightway he sought an interview with Clelia, with
whom he had not hitherto conversed save by signals from their windows.
The gaoler arranged that they should meet when Fabrice was being
conducted from his cell to the roof of the Farnese tower, where he was
occasionally allowed to take exercise.
"I can speak but few words to you," she said trembling, with tears in
her eyes. "Swear that you will obey the Duchess, and escape when she
wishes and as she wishes."
"And condemn myself to live far away from her whom I love?"
"Swear it! for my sake, swear it!" she implored hint.
"Well then, I swear it!"
The preparations were quickly advanced. Three knotted ropes were
smuggled with Clelia's aid into Fabrice's cell--one for descending the
35 feet between his window and the roof of the citadel; another for
descending the tremendous wall of 180 feet between the roof and the
ramparts; a third for the 30 feet between the top of the ramparts and
A feast-day, when the garrison of the citadel would presumably be drunk,
was chosen for the attempt. Fabrice spent the time of waiting in cutting
a hole in his shutter large enough to enable him to get through.
Fortunately, on the night of the feast-day a thick fog arose and
enveloped the citadel. The Duchess had seen to it that the garrison was
plentifully supplied with wine.
Fabrice attached one of the shorter ropes to his bed, and struggled
through the shutter--an ungainly figure, for round his body was wound
the immense rope necessary for the long descent. Once on the
roof-platform he made his way along the parapet until he came to a new
stove which he had been told marked the best spot for lowering the rope.
He could hear the soldiers talking near at hand, but the fog made him
invisible. Unrolling his rope, and fastening his rope to the parapet by
threading it through a water-duct, he flung it over; then, with a prayer
and a thought of Clelia, he began to descend.
At first he went down mechanically, as if doing the feat for a wager.
About half-way down, his arms seemed to lose their strength; he nearly
let go--he might have fallen had he not supported himself by clinging to
the vegetation on the wall. From time to time he felt horrible pain
between the shoulders. Birds hustled against him now and then; he feared
at the first contact with them that pursuers were coming down the rope
after him. But he reached the rampart undamaged save for bleeding hands.
He was quite exhausted; for a few minutes he slept. On waking and
realising the situation, he attached his third rope to a cannon, and
hurried down to the ground. Two men seized him just as he fainted at the
A few hours afterwards a carriage crossed the frontier with Ludovico on
the box, and within it the Duchess watching over the sleeping Fabrice.
The journey did not end until they had reached Locarno on Lake Maggiore.
To Locarno soon afterwards came die news that Ranuce Ernest IV. was
dead. Fabrice could now safely return, for the young Ranuce Ernest V.
was believed to be entirely under the influence of Count Mosca, and was
an honest youth without the tyrannical instincts of his father.
Nevertheless the Duchess returned first, to make certain of Fabrice's
security. She employed her whole influence to hasten forward the wedding
of Clelia with the Marquis Crescenzi; she was jealous of the ascendancy
the girl had gained over her beloved nephew.
Fabrice, on reaching Parma, was well received by the young Prince.
Witnesses, he was told, had been found who could prove that he had
killed Giletti in self-defence. He would spend a few days in a purely
nominal confinement in the city gaol, and then would be tried by
impartial judges and released.
Imagine the consternation of the Duchess when she learnt that Fabrice,
having to go to prison, had deliberately given himself up at the
She saw the danger clearly. Fabrice was in the hands of Count Mosca's
political opponents, among whom General Conti was still a leading
spirit. They would not suffer him to escape this time. Fabrice would be
Clelia, too, knew that this would be his fate. When she saw him once
again at the old window, happily signalling to her, she was smitten with
panic terror. Her alarm was realised when she learnt of a plot between
Rassi and her father to poison the prisoner.
On the second day of his confinement Fabrice was about to eat his dinner
when Clelia, in desperate agitation, forced her way into his cell.
"Have you tasted it?" she cried, grasping his arm.
Fabrice guessed the state of affairs with delight. He seized her in his
arms and kissed her.
"Help me to die," he said.
"Oh, my beloved," she answered, "let me die with you."
"Let me not spoil our happiness with a lie," said he as he embraced her.
"I have not yet tasted."
For an instant Clelia looked at him in anger; then she fell again into
At that instant there came a sound of men hurrying. There entered the
Prince's aide-de-camp, with order to remove Fabrice from the citadel and
to seize the poisoned food. The Duchess had heard of the plot, and had
persuaded the Prince to take instant action.
Clelia, when her father was in danger of death on account of the plot,
vowed before the Virgin Mary never again to look upon the face of
Fabrice. Her father escaped with a sentence of banishment; and Clelia,
to the profound satisfaction of the Duchess, was wedded to the Marquis
Crescenzi. The Duchess was now a widow, Count Mosca a widower. Their
long friendship, after Fabrice's triumphant acquittal, was cemented by
The loss of Clelia left Fabrice inconsolable. He shunned society; he
lived a life of religious retirement, and gained a reputation for piety
that even inspired the jealousy of his good friend the Archbishop.
At length Fabrice emerged from his solitude; he came forth as a
preacher, and his success was unequalled. All Parma, gentle and simple,
flocked to hear the famous devotee--slender, ill-clad, so handsome and
yet so profoundly melancholy. And ere he began each sermon, Fabrice
looked earnestly round his congregation to see if Clelia was there.
But Clelia, adhering to her vow, stayed away. It was not until she was
told that a certain Anetta Marini was in love with the preacher, and
that gossip asserted that the preacher was smitten with Anetta Marini,
that she changed her mind.
One evening, as Fabrice stood in the pulpit, he saw Clelia before him.
Her eyes were filled with tears; he looked so pale, so thin, so worn.
But never had he preached as he preached that night.
After the sermon he received a note asking him to be at a small garden
door of the Crescenzi Palace at midnight on the next night. Eagerly he
obeyed; when he reached the door, a voice called him enter. The darkness
was intense; he could see nothing.
"I have asked you to come here," said the voice, "to say that I still
love you. But I have vowed to the Virgin never to see your face; that is
why I receive you in this darkness. And let me beg you--never preach
again before Anetta Marini.
"My angel," replied the enraptured Fabrice, "I shall never preach again
before anyone; it was only in the hope of seeing you that I preached at
During the following three years the two often met in darkness. But
twice, by accident, Clelia again broke her vow by looking on Fabrice's
face. Her conscience preyed upon her; she wore away and died.
A few days afterwards Fabrice resigned his reversion to the
Archbishopric, and retired to the Chartreuse of Parma. He ended his days
in the monastery only a year afterwards.
* * * * *
A more uncanonical book than the Rev. Laurence Sterne's "Life
and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman," has never been
printed since the monk Rabelais gave to the world his
celebrated masterpiece. "Shandy" made its first appearance in
1757 at York, whose inhabitants were greatly shocked,
generally, at its audacious wit; and particularly at the
caricature of a local physician. But the success of "Shandy"
was pronounced: it spread to the southern counties and to
London, where a second edition was published in 1760. "Parson
Yorick," as he styles himself in the book, was continually
invited to add to it, with the result that between 1761 and
1767 eight more numbers were added to the original slim
volume. There are many imperfections in "Tristram Shandy,"
both from the standpoint of art and taste; yet withal it
remains one of the great classics in English literature, its
many passages of genuine humour and wit ensuring an
immortality for the wayward genius of Laurence Sterne.
(Sterne, biography: See Vol. XIX.)
On the fifth day of November, 1718, was I, Tristram Shandy, gentleman,
brought forth into this scurvy and disastrous world of ours. I wish I
had been born in the moon, or in any of the planets (except Jupiter or
Saturn), because I never could bear cold weather; for it could not well
have fared worse with me in any of them (though I will not answer for
Venus) than it has in this vile dirty planet of ours, which of my
conscience with reverence be it spoken I take to be made up of the
shreds and clippings of the rest; not but the planet is well enough,
provided a man could be born in it to a great title or to a great
estate, or could anyhow contrive to be called up to public charges and
employments of dignity and power; but that is not my case; and therefore
every man will speak of the fair as his own market has gone in it; for
which cause I affirm it over again to be one of the vilest worlds that
ever was made; for I can truly say, that from the first hour I drew
breath in it, to this--I can now scarce draw it at all, for an asthma I
got in skating against the wind in Flanders--I have been the continual
sport of what the world calls Fortune, and though I will not wrong her
by saying she has ever made me feel the weight of any great and signal
evil, yet with all the good temper in the world, I affirm it of her,
that in every stage of my life, and at every turn and corner where she
could get fairly at me, the ungracious duchess has pelted me with a set
of as pitiful misadventures and cross accidents as ever small hero
"I wonder what's all that noise and running backwards and forwards for
above stairs?" quoth my father, addressing himself after an hour and a
half's silence to my Uncle Toby, who, you must know, was sitting on the
opposite side of the fire, smoking his pipe all the time in mute
contemplation of a new pair of black plush breeches which he had got on.
"What can they be doing, brother?" quoth my father; "We can scarce hear
"I think," replied my uncle Toby, taking his pipe from his mouth and
striking the head of it two or three times upon the nail of his left
thumb as he began his sentence; "I think," says he--but to enter rightly
into my Uncle Toby's sentiments upon this matter, you must be made to
enter just a little into his character.
The wound in my Uncle Toby's groin, which he received at the siege of
Namur, rendering him unfit for the service, it was thought expedient he
should return to England, in order, if possible, to be set to rights.
He was four years totally confined, partly to his bed and all of it to
his room; and in the course of his cure, which was all that time in
hand, suffered unspeakable misery.
My father at that time was just beginning business in London, and had
taken a house, and as the truest friendship and cordiality subsisted
between the two brothers, and as my father thought my Uncle Toby could
nowhere be so well nursed and taken care of as in his own house, he
assigned him the very best apartment in it. And what was a much more
sincere mark of his affection still, he would never suffer a friend or
acquaintance to step into the house, but he would take him by the hand,
and lead him upstairs to see his brother Toby, and chat an hour by his
The history of a soldier's wound beguiles the pain of it--my uncle's
visitors at least thought so, and they would frequently turn the
discourse to that subject, and from that subject the discourse would
generally roll on to the siege itself.
When my Uncle Toby got his map of Namur to his mind he began immediately
to apply himself, and with the utmost diligence, to the study of it. The
more my Uncle Toby pored over the map, the more he took a liking to it.
In the latter end of the third year my Uncle began to break in upon
daily regularity of a clean shirt, and to allow his surgeon scarce time
sufficient to dress his wound, concerning himself so little about it as
not to ask him once in seven times dressing how it went on, when, lo!
all of a sudden--for the change was as quick as lightning--he began to
sigh heavily for his recovery, complained to my father, grew impatient
with the surgeon; and one morning, as he heard his foot coming upstairs,
he shut up his books and thrust aside his instruments, in order to
expostulate with him upon the protraction of his cure, which he told him
might surely have been accomplished at least by that time.
Desire of life and health is implanted in man's nature; the love of
liberty and enlargement is a sister-passion to it. These my Uncle Toby
had in common with his species. But nothing wrought with our family
after the common way.
When a man gives himself up to the government of a ruling passion, or,
in other words, when his hobbyhorse grows headstrong, farewell cool
reason and fair discretion. My Uncle Toby's wound was near well; he
broiled with impatience to put his design in execution; and so, without
consulting further, with any soul living, which, by the way, I think is
right, when you are predetermined to take no one soul's advice, he
privately ordered Trim, his man, to pack up a bundle of lint and
dressings, and hire a chariot and four to be at the door exactly by
twelve o'clock that day, when he knew my father would be upon change.
So, leaving a banknote upon the table for the surgeon's care of him, and
a letter of tender thanks for his brother's, he packed up his maps, his
books of fortification, his instruments, and so forth, and by the help
of a crutch on one side and Trim on the other, my Uncle Toby embarked
for Shandy Hall.
The reason, or rather the rise, of this sudden demigration was as
The table in my Uncle Toby's room, being somewhat of the smallest, for
that infinity of great and small instruments of knowledge which usually
lay crowded upon it, he had the accident in reaching over for his
tobacco box to throw down his compasses, and in stooping to take the
compasses up, with his sleeve he threw down his case of instruments and
snuffers; and in his endeavouring to catch the snuffers in falling, he
thrust his books off the table. 'Twas to no purpose for a man, lame as
my Uncle Toby was, to think of redressing all these evils by himself; he
rung his bell for his man Trim,--"Trim," quoth my Uncle Toby, "prithee
see what confusion I have been making. I must have some better
I must here inform you that this servant of my Uncle Toby's, who went by
the name of Trim, had been a corporal in my Uncle's own company. His
real name was James Butter, but having got the nickname of Trim in the
regiment, my Uncle Toby, unless when he happened to be very angry with
him, would never call him by any other name.
The poor fellow had been disabled for the service by a wound on his left
knee by a musket bullet at the Battle of Landen, which was two years
before the affair of Namur; and as the fellow was well-beloved in the
regiment, and a handy fellow into the bargain, my Uncle Toby took him
for his servant, and of excellent use was he, attending my Uncle Toby in
the camp and in his quarters as valet, groom, barber, cook, sempster,
and nurse; and indeed, from first to last, waited upon him and served
him with great fidelity and affection.
My Uncle Toby loved the man in return, and what attached him more to him
still, was the similitude of their knowledge; for Corporal Trim by four
years occasional attention to his master's discourse upon fortified
towns had become no mean proficient in the science, and was thought by
the cook and chambermaid to know as much of the nature of strongholds as
my Uncle Toby himself.
"If I durst presume," said Trim, "to give your honour my advice, and
speak my opinion in this matter"--"Thou art welcome, Trim," quoth my
Uncle Toby. "Why then," replied Trim, pointing with his right hand
towards a map of Dunkirk: "I think with humble submission to your
honour's better judgement, that the ravelins, bastions, and curtains,
make but a poor, contemptible, fiddle-faddle piece of work of it here
upon paper, compared to what your honour and I could make of it were we
out in the country by ourselves, and had but a rood and a half of ground
to do what we pleased with. As summer is coming on," continued Trim,
"your honour might sit out of doors and give me the nography"--(call it
icnography, quoth my uncle)--"of the town or citadel your honour was
pleased to sit down before, and I will be shot by your honour upon the
glacis of it if I did not fortify it to your honour's mind."--"I dare
say thou wouldst, Trim," quoth my uncle. "I would throw out the earth,"
continued the corporal, "upon this hand towards the town for the scarp,
and on the right hand towards the campaign for the counterscarp."--"Very
right, Trim," quoth my Uncle Toby.--"And when I had sloped them to your
mind, an' please your honour, I would face the glacis, as the finest
fortifications are done in Flanders, with sods, and as your honour knows
they should be, and I would make the walls and parapets with sods
too."--"The best engineers call them gazons, Trim," said my Uncle Toby.
"Your honour understands these matters," replied corporal Trim, "better
than any officer in His Majesty's service; but would your honour please
but let us go into the country, I would work under your honour's
directions like a horse, and make fortifications for you something like
a Tansy with all their batteries, saps, ditches, and pallisadoes, that
it should be worth all the world to ride twenty miles to go and see it."
My Uncle Toby blushed as red as scarlet as Trim went on, but it was not
a blush of guilt, of modesty, or of anger--it was a blush of joy; he was
fired with Corporal Trim's project and description. "Trim," said my
Uncle Toby, "say no more; but go down, Trim, this moment, my lad, and
bring up my supper this instant."
Trim ran down and brought up his master's supper, to no purpose. Trim's
plan of operation ran so in my Uncle Toby's head, he could not taste it.
"Trim," quoth my Uncle Toby, "get me to bed." 'Twas all one. Corporal
Trim's description had fired his imagination. My Uncle Toby could not
shut his eyes. The more he considered it, the more bewitching the scene
appeared to him; so that two full hours before daylight he had come to a
final determination, and had concerted the whole plan of his and
Corporal Trim's decampment.
My Uncle Toby had a neat little country house of his own in the village
where my father's estate lay at Shandy. Behind this house was a kitchen
garden of about half an acre; and at the bottom of the garden, and cut
off from it by a tall yew hedge, was a bowling-green, containing just
about as much ground as Corporal Trim wished for. So that as Trim
uttered the words, "a rood and a half of ground, to do what they would
with," this identical bowling-green instantly presented itself upon the
retina of my Uncle Toby's fancy.
Never did lover post down to a beloved mistress with more heat and
expectation than my Uncle Toby did to enjoy this self-same thing in
"Then reach my breeches off the chair," said my father to
Susanah.--"There's not a moment's time to dress you, sir," cried
Susanah; "bless me, sir, the child's in a fit. Mr. Yorick's curate's in
the dressing room with the child upon his arm, waiting for the name; and
my mistress bid me run as fast as I could to know, as Captain Shandy is
the godfather, whether it should not be called after him."
"Were one sure," said my father to himself, scratching his eyebrow,
"that the child was expiring, one might as well compliment my brother
Toby as not, and 'twould be a pity in such a case to throw away so great
a name as Trismegistus upon him. But he may recover."
"No, no," said my father to Susanah, "I'll get up."--"There's no time,"
cried Susanah, "the child's as black as my shoe."--"Trismegistus," said
my father: "but stay; thou art a leaky vessel, Susanah; canst thou carry
Trismegistus in thy head the length of the gallery without
scattering?"--"Can I," cried Susanah, shutting the door in a huff.--"If
she can, I'll be shot," said my father, bouncing out of bed in the dark
and groping for his breeches.
Susanah ran with all speed along the gallery.
My father made all possible speed to find his breeches. Susanah got the
start and kept it. "'Tis Tris something," cried Susanah.--"There is no
Christian name in the world," said the curate, "beginning with Tris, but
Tristram."--"Then 'tis Tristram-gistus," quoth Susanah.
"There is no gistus to it, noodle; 'tis my own name," replied the
curate, dipping his hand as he spoke into the basin. "Tristram," said
he, etc., etc. So Tristram was I called, and Tristram shall I be to the
day of my death.
_VII.--The Story of Le Fevre_
It was some time in the summer of that year in which Dendermond was
taken by the Allies, which was about seven years after the time that my
Uncle Toby and Trim had privately decamped from my father's house in
town, in order to lay some of the finest sieges to some of the finest
cities in Europe, when my Uncle Toby was one evening getting his supper,
with Trim sitting behind him at a small sideboard, when the landlord of
a little inn in the village came into the parlour with an empty phial in
his hand, to beg a glass or two of sack: "'Tis for a poor gentleman, I
think, of the Army," said the landlord, "who has been taken ill at my
house four days ago, and has never held up his head since, or had a
desire to taste anything, till just now, that he has a fancy for a glass
of sack and a thin toast: 'I think,' says he, 'it would comfort me.' If
I could neither beg, borrow nor buy such a thing," added the landlord,
"I would almost steal it for the poor gentleman, he is so ill. I hope in
God he will still mend, we are all of us concerned for him."
"Thou art a good-natured soul, I will answer for thee," cried my Uncle
Toby, "and thou shalt drink the poor gentleman's health in a glass of
sack thyself, and take a couple of bottles with my service and tell him
he is heartily welcome to them, and to a dozen more if they will do him
"Though I am persuaded," said my Uncle Toby, as the landlord shut the
door, "he is a very compassionate fellow, Trim, yet I cannot help
entertaining a high opinion of his guest too; there must be something
more than common in him, that in so short a time should win so much upon
the affections of his host."--"And of his whole family," added the
Corporal, "for they are all concerned for him."--"Step after him," said
my Uncle Toby; "do, Trim, ask if he knows his name."
"I have quite forgot it truly," said the landlord, coming back to the
parlour with the Corporal, "but I can ask his son again."--"Has he a son
with him, then?" said my Uncle Toby.--"A boy," replied the landlord, "of
about eleven or twelve years of age; but the poor creature has tasted
almost as little as his father; he does nothing but mourn and lament for
him night and day. He has not stirred from the bedside these two days."
My Uncle Toby lay down his knife and fork, and thrust his plate from
before him, as the landlord gave him the account; and Trim, without
being ordered, took it away without saying one word, and in a few
minutes after brought him his pipe and tobacco.
"Trim," said my Uncle Toby, after he had lighted his pipe and smoked
about a dozen whiffs; "I have a project in my head, as it is a bad
night, of wrapping myself up warm and paying a visit to this poor
gentleman." "Leave it, an' please your honour, to me," quoth the
Corporal; "I'll take my hat and stick and go to the house and
reconnoitre, and act accordingly; and I will bring your honour a full
account in an hour."
_VIII.--The Story of Le Fevre (continued)_
It was not till my Uncle Toby had knocked the ashes out of his third
pipe that Corporal Trim returned from the inn, and gave him the
"I despaired at first," said the Corporal, "of being able to bring back
any intelligence to your honour about the Lieutenant and his son; for
when I asked where his servant was, from whom I made myself sure of
knowing everything which was proper to be asked,"--("that's a right
distinction, Trim," said my Uncle Toby)--"I was answered, an' please
your honour, that he had no servant with him; that he had come to the
inn with hired horses, which, upon finding himself unable to proceed (to
join, I suppose the regiment) he had dismissed the morning after he
came. 'If I get better, my dear,' said he, as he gave his purse to his
son to pay the man, 'we can hire horses from hence'--'but, alas! the
poor gentleman will never get from hence,' said the landlady to me, 'for
I heard the deathwatch all night long; and when he dies, the youth, his
son, will certainly die with him, for he's broken-hearted already.' I
was hearing this account, when the youth came into the kitchen, to order
the thin toast the landlord spoke of. 'But I will do it for my father
myself,' said the youth.--'Pray let me save you the trouble, young
gentleman,' said I, taking up a fork for that purpose.--'I believe,
sir,' said he, very modestly, 'I can please him best myself.'--'I am
sure,' said I, 'his honour will not like the toast the worse for being
toasted by an old soldier,' The youth took hold of my hand and instantly
burst into tears." ("Poor youth," said my Uncle Toby, "he has been bred
up from an infant in the army, and the name of a soldier, Trim, sounded
in his ears like the name of a friend. I wish I had him here.")
"When I gave him the toast," continued the Corporal, "I thought it was
proper to tell him I was Captain Shandy's servant, and that your honour
(though a stranger) was extremely concerned for his father, and that if
there was anything in your house or cellar,"--("And thou mightest have
added my purse, too," said my Uncle Toby)--he was heartily welcome to
it. He made a very low bow (which was meant to your honour) but no
answer, for his heart was full; so he went upstairs with the toast. When
the lieutenant had taken his glass of sack and toast, he felt himself a
little revived, and sent down into the kitchen to let me know that he
should be glad if I would step upstairs. He did not offer to speak to me
till I had walked up close to his bedside. 'If you are Captain Shandy's
servant,' said he, 'you must present my thanks to your master, with my
little boy's thanks along with them, for his courtesy to me: if he was
of Leven's,' said the Lieutenant,--I told him your honour was. 'Then,'
said he, 'I served three campaigns with him in Flanders, and remember
him; but 'tis most likely that he remembers nothing of me. You will tell
him, however, that the person his good nature has laid under obligations
to him is one Le Fevre, a lieutenant in Angus'--'but he knows me not,'
said he a second time, musing. 'Possibly he may know my story,' added
he. 'Pray tell the Captain I was the ensign at Breda whose wife was most
unfortunately killed with musket-shot as she lay in my arms in my tent'"
"I remember," said my Uncle Toby, sighing, "the story of the ensign and
his wife. But finish the story thou art upon."--"'Tis finished already,"
said the Corporal, "for I could stay no longer, so wished his honour
good night; young Le Fevre rose from off the bed, and saw me to the
bottom of the stairs, and, as we went down, he told me they had come
from Ireland and were on their route to join the regiment in Flanders.
But, alas!" said the Corporal, "the lieutenant's last day's march is
_IX.--The Story of Le Fevre (concluded)_
"Thou hast left this matter short," said my Uncle Toby to the Corporal,
as he was putting him to bed, "and I will tell thee in what, Trim. When
thou offeredst Le Fevre whatever was in my house, thou shouldst have
offered him my house, too. A sick brother officer should have the best
quarter's, Trim, and if we had him with us, we could tend and look to
him. Thou art an excellent nurse thyself, Trim, and what with thy care
of him, and the old woman's, and his boy's, and mine together, we might
recruit him again at once and set him upon his legs. In a fortnight or
three weeks he might march."
"He will never march, an' please your honour, in this world," said the
Corporal.--"He will march," said my Uncle Toby, rising up from the side
of the bed with one shoe off. "An' please your honour," said the
Corporal, "he will never march but to his grave."--"He shall march,"
cried my Uncle Toby, marching the foot which had a shoe on, though
without advancing an inch, "he shall march to his regiment." "He cannot
stand it," said the Corporal.--"He shall be supported," said my Uncle
Toby. "He'll drop at last," said the Corporal.--"He shall not drop,"
said my Uncle Toby, firmly.--"Ah, well-a-day, do what we can for him,"
said Trim, "the poor soul will die."--"He shall not die, by G----,"
cried my Uncle Toby.
The Accusing Spirit which flew up to Heaven's chancery with the oath,
blushed as he gave it in; and the Recording Angel, as he wrote it down,
dropped a tear upon the word, and blotted it out for ever.
* * * * *
The sun looked bright the morning after to every eye in the village but
Le Fevre's and his afflicted son's. My Uncle Toby, who had rose up an
hour before his wonted time, entered the lieutenant's room, and sat
himself down upon the chair by the bedside, and opened the curtain in
the manner an old friend and brother officer would have done it.
There was a frankness in my Uncle Toby--not the effect of familiarity,
but the cause of it--which let you at once into his soul, and showed you
the goodness of his nature. The blood and spirits of Le Fevre, which
were waxing cold and slow within him, and were retreating to the last
citadel, the heart, rallied back. The film forsook his eyes for a
moment. He looked up wistfully in my Uncle Toby's face, then cast a look
upon his boy. Nature instantly ebbed again. The film returned to its
place: the pulse fluttered, stopped, went on--throbbed, stopped
My Uncle Toby, with young Le Fevre in his hand, attended the poor
lieutenant as chief mourners to his grave.
* * * * *
HARRIET BEECHER STOWE
Uncle Tom's Cabin
When the authoress of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," Harriet Elizabeth
Beecher Stowe, visited the White House in 1863, President
Lincoln took her hand, and, looking down from his great
height, said, "Is this the little woman who brought on so
great a war?" But, strangely enough, the attitude of the
writer was thoroughly misunderstood. A terrible indictment
against the principle of slavery the story certainly is.
"Scenes, incidents, conversation, rushed upon her," says one
of her biographers, "with a vividness that would not be
denied. The book insisted upon getting itself into print." Yet
there is no trace of bitterness against those who inherited
slaves throughout the story. The most attractive personages
are Southerners, the most repulsive Northerners. No more
delightful a picture of conditions under slavery has ever been
drawn as that with which the book opens--on the Shelby estate
in Kentucky. Mrs. Stowe was born at Litchfield, Connecticut,
on June 14, 1812. Her father was the Rev. Lyman Beecher, her
brother Henry Ward Beecher. She died on July 1, 1896. "Uncle
Tom," published in book form in 1852, is one of the most
successful novels of modern times. In less than a week of its
appearance, 10,000 copies were sold, and before the end of the
year 300,000 copies had been supplied to the public. It was
almost at once translated into all European languages. Mrs.
Stowe wrote about forty other stories, but posterity will know
her as the authoress of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" only.
Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February two gentlemen were
sitting over their wine, in a well-furnished parlour in the town of
P---- in Kentucky in the midst of an earnest conversation.
"That is the way I should arrange the matter," said Mr. Shelby, the
owner of the place. "The fact is, Tom is an uncommon fellow; he is
certainly worth that sum anywhere; steady, honest, capable, manages my
farm like a clock. You ought to let him cover the whole of the debt; and
you would, Haley, if you'd got any conscience."
"Well, I've got just as much conscience as any man in business can
afford to keep," said Haley, "and I'm willing to do anything to 'blige
friends; but this yer, ye see, is too hard on a feller, it really is.
Haven't you a boy or gal you could thrown in with Tom?"
"Hum!--none that I could well spare; to tell the truth, it's only hard
necessity makes me sell at all." Here the door opened, and a small
quadroon boy, remarkably beautiful and engaging, entered with a comic
air of assurance which showed he was used to being petted and noticed by
his master. "Hulloa, Jim Crow," said Mr. Shelby, snapping a bunch of
raisins towards him, "pick that up, now!" The child scampered, with all
his little strength after the prize, while his master laughed. "Tell you
what," said Haley, "fling in that chap, and I'll settle the business, I
At this moment a young woman, obviously the child's mother, came in
search of him, and Haley, as soon as she had carried him away, turned to
Mr. Shelby in admiration.
"By Jupiter!" said the trader, "there's an article now! You might make
your fortune on that one gal in Orleans, any way. What shall I say for
her? What'll you take?"
"Mr. Haley, she is not to be sold. I say no, and I mean no," said Mr.
"Well, you'll let me have the boy, though."
"I would rather not sell him," said Mr. Shelby; "the fact is, I'm a
humane man, and I hate to take the boy from his mother, sir."
"Oh, you do? La, yes, I understand perfectly. It is mighty unpleasant
getting on with women sometimes. I al'ays hates these yer screechin'
times. As I manages business, I generally avoids 'em, sir. Now, what if
you get the gal off for a day or so? then the thing's done quietly. It's
always best to do the humane thing, sir; that's been my experience."
"I'd like to have been able to kick the fellow down the steps," said Mr.
Shelby to himself, when the trader had bowed himself out. "And Eliza's
child, too! I know I shall have some fuss with the wife about that, and
for that matter, about Tom, too! So much for being in debt, heigho!"
* * * * *
The prayer-meeting at Uncle Tom's Cabin had been protracted to a very
late hour, and Tom and his worthy helpmeet were not yet asleep, when
between twelve and one there was a light tap on the window pane.
"Good Lord! what's that?" said Aunt Chloe, starting up. "My sakes alive,
if it aint Lizzy! Get on your clothes, old man, quick. I'm gwine to open
the door." And suiting the action to the word, the door flew open, and
the light of the candle which Tom had hastily lighted, fell on the face
of Eliza. "I'm running away, Uncle Tom and Aunt Chloe--carrying off my
child. Master sold him."
"Sold him?" echoed both, holding up their hands in dismay.
"Yes, sold him!" said Eliza firmly. "I crept into the closet by
mistress's door to-night, and I heard master tell missus that he had
sold my Harry and you, Uncle Tom, both to a trader, and that the man was
to take possession to-day."
Slowly, as the meaning of this speech came over Tom, he collapsed on his
old chair, and sunk his head on his knees.
"The good Lord have pity on us!" said Aunt Chloe. "What has he done that
mas'r should sell him?"
"He hasn't done anything--it isn't for that. I heard Master say there
was no choice between selling these two, and selling all, the man was
driving him so hard. Master said he was sorry; but, oh! missis! you
should have heard her talk! If she ain't a Christian and an angel, there
never was one. I'm a wicked girl to leave her so--but then I can't help
it, the Lord forgive me, for I can't help doing it."
"Well, old man," said Aunt Chloe, "why don't you go too? Will you wait
to be toted down river, where they kill niggers with hard work and
starving? There's time for ye; be off with Lizzy, you've got a pass to
come and go any time."
Tom slowly raised his head, and sorrowfully said, "No, no: I aint going.
Let Eliza go--it's her right. 'Tan't in _natur_ for her to stay, but you
heard what she said. If I must be sold, or all the people on the place
and everything to go to rack, why let me be sold. Mas'r aint to blame,
Chloe; and he'll take care of you and the poor--." Here he turned to the
rough trundle-bed full of little woolly heads and fairly broke down.
"And now," said Eliza, "do try, if you can, to get a word to my husband.
He told me this afternoon he was going to run away. Tell him why I went,
and tell him, I'm going to try and find Canada. Give my love to him, and
tell him, if I never see him again--tell him to be as good as he can,
and try and meet me in the kingdom of heaven."
A few last words and tears, a few simple adieus and blessings, and she
glided noiselessly away.
It is impossible to conceive of a human being more wholly desolate and
forlorn than Eliza as she left the only home she had ever known. Her
husband's sufferings and danger, and the danger of her child, all
blended in her mind, she trembled at every sound, and every quaking leaf
quickened her steps. She felt the weight of her boy as if it had been a
feather, he was old enough to have walked by her side, but now she
strained him to her bosom as she went rapidly forward; and every flutter
of fear seemed to increase the supernatural strength that bore her on,
while from her pale lips burst forth, in frequent ejaculations, "Lord
Still she went, leaving one familiar object after another, till
reddening daylight found her many a long mile, upon the open highway, on
the way to the village of T---- upon the Ohio river, when she
constrained herself to walk regularly and composedly, quickening the
speed of her child, by rolling an apple before him, when the boy would
run with all his might after it; this ruse often repeated carried them
over many a half-mile.
An hour before sunset she came in sight of the river, which lay between
her and liberty. Great cakes of floating ice were swinging heavily to
and fro in the turbid waters. Eliza turned into a small public house to
ask if there was no ferry boat.
"No, indeed," said the hostess, stopping her cooking as Eliza's sweet,
plaintive voice fell on her ear; "the boats has stopped running."
Eliza's look of dismay struck her and she said, "Maybe you're wanting to
get over? anybody sick? Ye seem mighty anxious."
"I've got a child that's very dangerous," said Eliza, "I never heard of
it till last night, and I've walked quite a piece to-day, in hopes to
get to the ferry."
"Well, now, that's unlucky" said the woman, her motherly sympathies
aroused; "I'm rilly concerned for ye. Solomon!" she called from the
window. "I say Sol, is that ar man going to tote them bar'ls over
"He said he should try, if 'twas any ways prudent," replied a man's
"There's a man going over to-night, if he durs' to; he'll be in to
supper, so you'd better sit down and wait. That's a sweet little fellow"
added the woman, offering him a cake.
But the child, wholly exhausted, cried with weariness.
"Take him into this room," said the woman opening into a small bedroom,
and Eliza laid the weary boy on the comfortable bed, and held his hands
till he was fast asleep. For her there was no rest, the thought of her
pursuers urged her on, and she gazed with longing eyes on the swaying
waters between her and liberty.
She was standing by the window as Haley and two of Mr. Shelby's servants
came riding by. Sam, the foremost, catching sight of her, contrived to
have his hat blown off, and uttered a loud and characteristic
ejaculation. She drew back and the whole train swept by to the front
door. A thousand lives were concentrated in that moment to Eliza. Her
room opened by a side door to the river. She caught her child and sprang
down the steps. The trader caught a glimpse of her as she disappeared
down the bank, and calling loudly to Sam and Andy, was after her like a
hound after a deer. Her feet scarce seemed to touch the ground, a moment
brought her to the water's edge. Right on behind they came, and nerved
with strength such as God gives only to the desperate, with one wild and
flying leap, she vaulted sheer over the current by the shore, on to the
raft of ice beyond. It was a desperate leap--impossible to anything but
madmen and despair. The huge green fragment of ice pitched and creaked
as her weight came on it, but she stayed there not a moment. With wild
cries and desperate energy she leaped to another and still another cake;
stumbling, leaping, slipping, springing upwards again. Her shoes were
gone--her stockings cut from her feet--while blood marked every step;
but she saw nothing, felt nothing, till dimly she saw the Ohio side, and
a man helping her up the bank.
"Yer a brave girl, now, whoever ye are!" said he. Eliza recognised a
farmer from near her old home. "Oh, Mr. Symmes! save me! do save me! do
hide me!" said Eliza.
"Why, what's this?" said the man, "why, if 'taint Shelby's gal!"
"My child!--this boy--he'd sold him! There is his mas'r," said she,
pointing to the Kentucky shore. "Oh, Mr. Symmes, you've got a little
"So I have," said the man, as he roughly but kindly helped her up the
bank. "Besides, you're a right brave gal. I'd be glad to do something
for you. The best thing I can do is to tell you to go _there_," pointing
to a large white house, standing by itself, "they're kind folks. There's
no kind o' danger but they'll help you--they're up to all that sort of
"The Lord bless you!" said Eliza earnestly, and folding her child to her
bosom, walked firmly away.
* * * * *
Late that night the fugitives were driven to the house of a man who had
once been a considerable shareholder in Kentucky; but, being possessed
of a great, honest, just heart, he had witnessed for years with
uneasiness the workings of a system equally bad for oppressors and
oppressed, and one day bought some land in Ohio, made out free passes
for all his people, and settled down to enjoy his conscience. He
conveyed Eliza to a Quaker settlement, where by the help of these good
friends she was joined by her husband and soon landed in Canada. Free!
_III.--The Property Is Carried Off_
An unceremonious kick pushed open the door of Uncle Tom's cabin, and Mr.
Haley stood there in very ill humour after his hard riding and ill
"Come, ye nigger, ye'r ready. Servant, ma'am!" said he, taking off his
hat as he saw Mrs. Shelby, who detained him a few moments. Speaking in
an earnest manner, she made him promise to let her know to whom he sold
Tom; while Tom rose up meekly, and his wife took the baby in her arms,
her tears seeming suddenly turned to sparks of fire, to go with him to
the wagon: "Get in," said Haley, and Tom got in, when Haley made fast a
heavy pair of shackles round each ankle; a groan of indignation ran
round the crowd of servants gathered to bid Tom farewell. Mr. Shelby had
gone away on business, hoping all would be over before he returned.
"Give my love to Mas'r George," said Tom earnestly, as he was whirled
away, fixing a steady, mournful look to the last on the old place. Tom
insensibly won his way far into the confidence of such a man as Mr.
Haley, and on the steamboat was permitted to come and go freely where he
pleased. Among the passengers was a young gentleman of New Orleans whose
little daughter often and often walked mournfully round the place where
Haley's gang of men and women were chained. To Tom she appeared almost
divine; he half believed he saw one of the angels stepped out of his New
Testament, and they soon got on confidential terms. As the steamer drew
near New Orleans Mr. St. Clare, carelessly putting the tip of his finger
under Tom's chin, said good-humouredly, "Look up, Tom, and see how you
like your new master."
It was not in nature to look into that gay, handsome young face without
pleasure, and Tom said heartily, "God bless you, Mas'r."
Eva's fancy for him had led her to petition her father that Tom might be
her special attendant in her walks and rides. He was called coachman,
but his stable duties were a sinecure; struck with his good business
capacity, his master confided in him more and more, till gradually all
the providing for the family was entrusted to him. Tom regarded his airy
young master with an odd mixture of fealty, reverence and fatherly
solicitude, and his friendship with Eva grew with the child's growth;
but his home yearnings grew so strong that he tried to write a
letter--so unsuccessfully that St. Clare offered to write for him, and.
Tom had the joy of receiving an answer from Master George, stating that
Aunt Chloe had been hired out, at her own request, to a confectioner,
and was gaining vast sums of money, all of which was to be laid by for
About two years after his coming, Eva began to fail rapidly, and even
her father could no longer deceive himself. Eva was about to leave him.
It was Tom's greatest joy to carry the frail little form in his arms, up
and down, into the veranda, and to him she talked, what she would not
distress her father with, of these mysterious intimations which the soul
feels ere it leaves its clay for ever. He lay, at last, all night in the
veranda ready to rouse at the least call, and at midnight came the
message. Earth was passed and earthly pain; so solemn was the triumphant
brightness of that face it checked even the sobs of sorrow. A glorious
smile, and she said, brokenly, "Oh--love--joy--peace" and passed from
death unto life.
Week after week glided by in the St. Clare mansion and the waves of life
settled back to their usual flow where that little bark had gone down.
St. Clare was in many respects another man; he read his little Eva's
Bible seriously and honestly; he thought soberly of his relations to his
servants, and he commenced the legal steps necessary to Tom's
emancipation as he had promised Eva he would do. But, one evening while
Tom was sitting thinking of his home, feeling the muscles of his brawny
arms with joy as he thought how he would work to buy his wife and boys;
his master was brought home dying. He had interfered in an affray in a
cafe and been stabbed.
He reached out and took Tom's hand; he closed his eyes, but still
retained his hold; for in the gates of eternity the black hand and the
white hold each other with an equal grasp, and softly murmured some
words he had been singing that evening--words of entreaty to Infinite
Mrs. St. Clare decided at once to sell the place and all the servants,
except her own personal property, and although she was told of her
husband's intention of freeing Tom, he was sold by auction with the
rest. His new master, Mr. Simon Legree, came round to review his
purchases as they sat in chains on the lower deck of a small mean boat,
on their way to his cotton plantation, on the Red River. "I say, all on
ye," he said, "look at me--look me right in the eye--straight, now!"
stamping his foot. "Now," said he, doubling his great heavy fist, "d'ye
see this fist? Heft it," he said, bringing it down on Tom's hand. "Look
at these yer bones! Well, I tell ye this yer fist has got as hard as
iron knocking down niggers. I don't keep none of yer cussed overseers; I
does my own overseeing and I tell ye things _is_ seen to. You won't find
no soft spot in me, nowhere. So, now, mind yourselves; for I don't show
no mercy!" The women drew in their breath; and the whole gang sat with
downcast, dejected faces. Trailing wearily behind a rude wagon, and over
a ruder road, Tom and his associates came to their new home. The whole
place looked desolate, everything told of coarse neglect and discomfort.
Three or four ferocious looking dogs rushed out and were with difficulty
restrained from laying hold of Tom and his companions.
"Ye see what ye'd get!" said Legree. "Ye see what ye'd get if you tried
to run off. They'd just as soon chaw one on ye up as eat their supper.
So mind yourself. How now, Sambo!" to a ragged fellow, who was officious
in his attentions, "How have things been goin' on?"
"Fust rate, mas'r."
"Quimbo," said Legree to another, "ye minded what I tell'd ye?"
"Guess I did, didn't I?"
Legree had trained these two men in savagery as systematically as he had
his bulldogs, and they were in admirable keeping with the vile character
of the whole place.
Tom's heart sank as he followed Sambo to the quarters. They had a
forlorn, brutal air. He had been comforting himself with the thought of
a cottage, rude indeed but one which he might keep neat and quiet and
read his Bible in out of his labouring hours. They were mere rude sheds
with no furniture but a heap of straw, foul with dirt. "Spec there's
room for another thar'," said Sambo, "thar's a pretty smart heap o'
niggers to each on 'em, now. Sure, I dunno what I's to do with more."
* * * * *
Tom looked in vain, as the weary occupants of the shanties came flocking
home, for a companionable face; he saw only sullen, embruted men and
feeble, discouraged women; or, those who, treated in every way like
brutes, had sunk to their level.
"Thar you!" said Quimbo throwing down a coarse bag containing a peck of
corn, "thar, nigger, grab, you won't get no more _dis_ yer week."
Tom was faint for want of food, but moved by the utter weariness of two
women, whom he saw trying to grind their corn, he ground for them; and
then set about getting his own supper. An expression of kindness came
over their hard faces--they mixed his cake for him, and tended the
baking, and Tom drew out his Bible by the light of the fire--for he had
need of comfort.
Tom saw enough of abuse and misery in his new life to make him sick and
weary; but he toiled on with religious patience, committing himself to
Him that judgeth righteously. Legree took silent note, and rating him as
a first-class hand, made up his mind that Tom must be hardened; he had
bought him with a view to making him a sort of overseer, so one night he
told him to flog one of the women. Tom begged him not to set him at
that. He could not do it, "no way possible." Legree struck him
repeatedly with a cowhide. "There," said he stopping to rest, "now will
ye tell me ye can't do it?"
"Yes, mas'r," said Tom, wiping the blood from his face. "I'm willin' to
work, night and day; but this yer thing I can't feel it right to do; and
mas'r, I never shall do it, never!"
Legree looked stupefied--Tom was so respectful--but at last burst forth:
"What, ye blasted black beast! tell _me_ ye don't think it right to do
what I tell ye. So ye pretend it's wrong to flog the girl?"
"I think so, mas'r," said Tom. "'Twould be downright cruel, the poor
critter's sick and feeble. Mas'r, if you mean to kill me, kill me; but
as to my raising my hand against anyone here, I never will--I'll die
first." Legree shook with anger. "Here, Sambo!--Quimbo!" he shouted,
"give this dog such a breakin' in as he won't get over this month."
The two seized Tom with fiendish exultation, and dragged him
unresistingly from the place.
* * * * *
For weeks and months Tom wrestled, in darkness and sorrow--crushing back
to his soul the bitter thought that God had forgotten him. One night he
sat like one stunned when everything around him seemed to fade, and a
vision rose of One crowned with thorns, buffeted and bleeding; and a
voice said, "He that overcometh shall sit down with Me on My throne,
even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father upon His
From this time an inviolable peace filled the lowly heart of the
oppressed one; life's uttermost woes fell from him unharming.
* * * * *
Scenes of blood and cruelty are shocking to our ear and heart. What man
has nerve to do, man has not nerve to hear.
Tom lay dying at last; not suffering, for every nerve was blunted and
destroyed; when George Shelby found him, and his voice reached his dying
"Oh, Mas'r George, he ain't done me any real harm: only opened the gate
of Heaven for me. Who--who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"
and with a smile he fell asleep.
* * * * *
As George knelt by the grave of his poor friend, "Witness, eternal God,"
said he, "Oh, witness that, from this hour, I will do what one man can
to drive out the curse of slavery from my land!"
* * * * *
Mysteries of Paris
Joseph Marie Sue, known as Eugene Sue, is the most notable
French exponent of the melodramatic style in fiction. Sue was
born in Paris on December 10, 1804 He was the son of a
physician in the household of Napoleon, and followed his
father's profession for a number of years. The death of his
father brought him a handsome fortune, upon the receipt of
which he devoted himself exclusively to literature. His first
novel, "Kernock, the Pirate," which appeared in 1830, was only
in a small measure successful. It was followed in quick
succession by four others, but with like results. His next
attempt was the quasi-historical "Jean Cavalier." About this
time Sue became imbued with the socialistic ideas that were
then spreading through France, and his attempt to express
these in fiction produced his most famous work, "The Mysteries
of Paris," which was published in 1842. The story first
appeared as a feuilleton in the "Journal des Debats." Its
success was remarkable, exceeded only by its tremendous
popularity in book form. "The Mysteries of Paris" is partly
melodrama; it has faults both in construction and in art; its
characters are mere puppets, dancing hither and thither at the
end of their creator's string. Yet withal the novel brought
about many legislative changes in Paris through the light
which it cast on existing legal abuses. Sue died on August 3,
One cold, rainy evening towards the end of October-1838, a man of
athletic build wearing an old straw hat and ragged serge shirt and
trousers dived into the City ward of Paris, a maze of dark, crooked
streets which spreads from the Palace of Justice Notre Dame. This
district is the Mint, or haunt of a great number of low malefactors who
swarm in the low drinking-dens.
The man we noticed slackened his pace, feeling that he was "on his own
ground." It was very dark and gusts of rain lashed the walls.
"Good arternoon, La Goualeuse (Sweet-Throat)" said he to one of a group
of girls sheltering under a projecting window. "You're the very girl to
stand some brandy."
"I'm out of money, Slasher," said the girl trembling; for the man was
the terror of the neighbourhood.
He grasped her arm, but she wrenched herself loose and fled down a dark
alley, pursued by the ruffian.
"I'll have you," he exclaimed after a few seconds as he seized in his
powerful hand one altogether as soft and slight.
"You shall dance for it," a masculine voice broke in, and under the soft
delicate skin of the hand the Slasher felt himself grasped by muscles of
iron. For some seconds nothing was heard save the sounds of a deadly
The struggle was short, for the ruffian, although of athletic make and
of first rate ability in rough and tumble fights, found he had met his
master; he measured his length on the ground.
Burning with rage the Slasher returned to the charge, whereupon the
defender of La Goualeuse showered upon the cut-throat's head a
succession of blows so weighty and crushing and so completely out of the
French mode of fighting that the Slasher was mentally as well as bodily
stunned by them and gave up, muttering, "I'm floored. Except the
Skeleton with his iron bones and the Schoolmaster, no one till now could
brag of having set his foot on my neck."
"Well, come and drink a glass and you shall know who I am," said the
Unknown. "Come, don't nurse a grudge against me."
"Bear malice? Not a bit of it! You're best man, make no mistake!"
The three, now upon the best terms, directed their steps towards a
tavern. As the Unknown followed his companions a charcoal-seller
approached him and whispered in German, "Be on your guard, _Your
Highness_!" The Unknown waved his hand carelessly and entered the
Over their drinks the three related to each other their histories.
The Slasher was a man of tall stature, with light hair and enormous red
whiskers. Notwithstanding his terrible surname his features expressed
rather brutal hardihood and unconquerable boldness, than ferocity. In
his childhood he had strolled about with an old rag and bone picker, who
almost knocked the life out of him. He had never known his parents. His
first employment was to help knockers cut horses' throats at Montfaucon
till cutting and slashing became a rage with him and he was turned out
of the slaughter-house for spoiling the hides. Later he enlisted and
served three years. Then one day the bullying of the sergeant roused the
old rage and he turned on him and cut and slashed as if he had been in
the slaughter-house. That got him fifteen years in the hulks. Now he was
a lighterman on the Seine rafts.
Sweet-Throat was not over sixteen and a half. A forehead of the whitest
surmounted a face perfectly oval and of angelic expression, such as we
see in Raphael's beauties. She was also called "Fleur-de-Marie,"
doubtless on account of the maiden purity of her countenance. She, too,
had never known her parents. When she was about seven years of age she
lived with an old and one-eyed woman, called Screech-Owl because her
hooked nose and round green eye made her resemble an owl that had lost
its eye. She taunted the child with being picked up from the streets and
sent her out begging, rewarding her with beatings if she did not bring
her at least six pence at night, until at last she ran away from
Screech-Owl and hid in a wood-yard for the night. Next day she was
found, taken before a magistrate and sent to a reformatory as a vagrant
until she was sixteen. It was a perfect paradise compared to
Screech-Owl's miserable roost. But when she came out she fell into the
hands of the Ogress who kept the inn they were now in. The clothes she
stood in belonged to the Ogress, she owed her for board and lodgings and
could not stir from her or she must be taken up as a thief.
Rudolph (for so we shall call the defender of La Goualeuse) listened
with deep interest to her recital, made with touching frankness. Misery,
destitution, ignorance of the world, had destroyed this wretched girl,
cast alone and unprotected on the immensity of Paris. He involuntarily
thought of a beloved child whom he had lost, who had died at six, and
would have been, had she lived, like Fleur-de-Marie, sixteen and a half
Rudolph appeared to be about thirty-six, tall, graceful, of a
contemplative air, yet with a haughty and imperious, carriage of the
head. In other respects he sported with ease the language and manners
which gave him a perfect resemblance to the Ogress's other guests. He
represented himself as a painter of fans.
Presently the Schoolmaster entered the inn, with a woman. He was a
powerful, fleshy fellow with a face mutilated and scarred in a most
horribly repugnant fashion. The woman was old and her green eye, hooked
nose, and countenance, at once reminded Rudolph of the horrible woman of
whom Goualeuse had been the victim. Suddenly seizing his arm, Goualeuse
whispered "Oh! The Owl! The one-eyed woman!"
At this moment the Schoolmaster approached the table and said to Rudolph
"If you don't hand the wench over to me, I'll smash you."
"For the love of heaven, defend me," cried Goualeuse to Rudolph.
He rose and was about to attack the Schoolmaster when the
charcoal-dealer rushed into the inn, and coming up to him whispered in
German, "Your Highness, the countess and her brother are at the end of
At these words, Rudolph threw a louis on the counter and hurried towards
the door. The Schoolmaster attempted to stop him but fell heavily under
two or three blows straight from the shoulder.
Soon after he had gone two strangers entered, one in a military
frock-coat, the other easily detected as a woman in male attire. She was
the Countess Sarah Macgregor. They ordered drinks and proceeded to make
inquiries after Rudolph. When they left, the Schoolmaster and the
Screech-Owl followed them and robbed them in a dark street. But they
suffered the robbery quietly and even offered the ruffian and his woman
more to lay a trap for M. Rudolph. They parted, but an invisible
witness--the Slasher--had been present. Alarmed at the perils which
threatened his new friend, he resolved to warn him.
On the morrow Rudolph again made his way to the tavern and met the
Ogress, with whom he had a short conversation which resulted in his
paying La Goualeuse's debts to the old hag and taking the girl for a
drive in the country. They spent the day roaming about the fields.
Towards evening the carriage stopped at a farm near a pretty village and
to her amazed delight Rudolph told Fleur-de-Marie that she might stay
there with Mrs. George, the mistress of the farm. He explained his
sympathy for her in the loss of the child who would have been her age.
Fleur-de-Marie could not reply. She seized his hand, and before he could
prevent her, raised it to her lips with an air of modest submission;
then she followed Mrs. George, who was to play the character of her
Before he left, Rudolph said to Mrs. George, "Marie will at least find a
corner in your heart?"
"Yes, I shall devote my time to her as I should be giving it to _him_,"
she said with emotion.
"Come, do not be again discouraged. If our search has been unsuccessful
"May the good God help you, M. Rudolph. My son would now be twenty. His
father would never reveal whether he lives. Since he was condemned to
the galleys, entreaties, prayers and letters have all been unanswered."
The next day Rudolph heard from the Slasher of the plot against him and
arranged to meet the Schoolmaster on the pretext of having a profitable
business on hand. The prospect of gain overcame the Schoolmaster's
suspicions and he and Screech-Owl met Rudolph in an inn. Rudolph
unfolded his scheme of entering a house in the Allee des Veuves, the
residence of a doctor gone into the country. The Schoolmaster agreed,
but insisted on their remaining together till the evening. On leaving
the inn Rudolph dropped a note, which he saw picked up by the
pseudo-charcoal-dealer, now attired as a gentleman.
The three retired to an inn of evil appearance, while Screech-Owl went
out to reconnoitre the house and grounds. She returned to the inn with a
favourable report. Suddenly the Schoolmaster threw himself on Rudolph
and hurled him into the cellar, locking the door behind him.
Rudolph's efforts to free himself were in vain. For hours he lay there,
gasping for breath. Suddenly, when he was about to suffocate, the door
was broken open, and he found himself fainting in the arms of the
When Rudolph recovered consciousness he was in his house, attended by
his doctor, a negro and the Slasher.
The Schoolmaster and the Screech-Owl had come to enter the house. The
Screech-Owl had remained at the gate to watch, but the Slasher, who had
observed all, had silenced her with a blow. Following the Schoolmaster
in, he came upon him as he was overcoming one of Rudolph's men and
downed him with another blow. Then the two robbers, being bound, were
"Order them to bring him here," said Rudolph calmly, and the
Schoolmaster was carried in, bound with ropes. Rudolph addressed him.
"Escaped from the hulks, to which you were sentenced for life, you are
the husband of Mrs. George. What have you done with her son?"
Believing his hour was come he trembled and whimpered "mercy." He
confessed all, even his crimes, his murders, speaking now in the
grammatical French of his guiltless days.
"He lived in the Rue du Temple, where he passed as Francois Germain. He
left there; now I do not know where he is."
"Good; your life shall be spared. But I will paralyse the strength you
have criminally abused. Doctor David, do as I have told you."
The Schoolmaster was seized by two servants and carried into another
room. A few minutes later he was brought back.
"You are free," said Rudolph. "Go and repent. Here are five thousand
francs. You are harmless."
The two men loosened the cords which bound him, then took a bandage from
his eyes. He sprang up in rage and terror; then falling back, cried in
agony and fury, "I am blind!"
Rudolph was the reigning Duke of the German State of Gerolstein. While
he was a boy a Scotch adventuress, Lady Sarah MacGregor, and her
brother, Sir Thomas Seyton, had appeared in the little German court and
begun an intrigue that resulted in a secret marriage between Sarah and
Rudolph. The old duke, then alive, on hearing of this annulled the
marriage. To his son he gave a letter from Sarah to her brother,
betraying her cold-blooded ambitions. The young prince's love had
frozen. Sarah gave birth to a child in England, whither she had fled. To
all Rudolph's appeals for this child she gave no answer. She had turned
it over to Jacques Ferrand, a notary in Paris. Six years later he
reported the child's death, and both parents believed their unhappy
daughter to be dead, though she was, in fact, the unfortunate
It was Sarah who now, having learned of Rudolph's presence in Paris, had
hurried hither to seek an interview with him, hoping to effect a
reconciliation, now that the old Grand Duke was dead and Rudolph
sovereign Prince of Gerolstein. Rudolph was known for his fondness for
strange adventures, and Lady Sarah had hoped to catch him during one of
his visits to the lower quarters of the city, seeking any aid, however
Rudolph, grateful to the Slasher for saving his life, presented him with
an estate in Algiers; and the following day he set out for Algeria.
Rudolph was determined to find the son of Mrs. George, the unfortunate
wife of the Schoolmaster. He had saved her from starvation and he meant
to satisfy the great longing that still possessed her, but for some
while he had no real success.
Meanwhile, unknown to Rudolph, a misfortune had come to Fleur-de-Marie.
While on a visit to a neighbouring farm one evening she was suddenly
seized by Screech-Owl and the blind Schoolmaster and carried off to
Paris. They forced an oath of secrecy from her and liberated her near a
police station. Screech-Owl then informed the police that a vagrant had
passed down the street, and Fleur-de-Marie was arrested and sent to St
Lazare. A forged note was sent to Mrs. George, appearing to be signed by
Rudolph. Fleur-de-Marie's abduction had been caused by Sarah, who,
believing Rudolph too much interested in her, decided to rid herself of
a possible rival. Screech-Owl was her tool.
Rudolph learned of Germain's address through a second-hand dealer who
had bought his furniture. He was employed as cashier in the office of a
notary, Jacques Ferrand. Rudolph had heard evil reports of this man,
though he was highly respected and known as a pious man. When Rudolph
finally attempted to communicate with Germain he learned that the young
man had been accused of theft from notary Ferrand and imprisoned.
Screech-Owl conceived of a scheme to blackmail the notary Ferrand. His
housekeeper, ten years before, had turned over to her a child which she
was to care for in consideration of one thousand francs. She obtained an
interview with Ferrand, but he denied all knowledge of the child.
Ferrand was, in fact, thoroughly frightened. He learned that
Fleur-de-Marie was in St. Lazare, and determined to paralyse
Screech-Owl's threats by removing Fleur-de-Marie.
On an island in the Seine lived a criminal family, the Martials, who
throve by thieving and murder. With Nicholas Martial, Ferrand arranged
that Marie was to be conducted across the river and upset. His
housekeeper met the girl at the prison door after the notary had
procured her release and, pretending she had come from Mrs. George,
brought her down to the river.
Once on the shore, the old woman signalled, and two boats came from the
island. Fleur-de-Marie felt an instinctive uneasiness on beholding the
foul face of Nicholas Martial. But she seated herself in the boat with
the old woman, and they shot out into the stream.
Half an hour later two gentlemen strolling along the opposite river-bank
saw the body of a young girl floating by and rescued it. One was a
doctor. Discovering signs of life, he set to work and presently a faint
glow of vitality revived. Then she was carried to his home.
That same night Screech-Owl appeared at the home of Countess Sarah,
keeping an appointment. Lady Sarah took the creature into her private
room and locked the door, leaving open only the passage from the garden
whence they had entered.
"Listen," said the Countess, "I want you to find me a girl of about
seventeen, one who has lost her parents very early, of agreeable face,
and a sweet temper."
Screech-Owl showed her astonishment.
"My little lady, have you forgotten La Goualeuse?"
"I have nothing to do with her," said Lady Sarah impatiently.
"But listen a moment. Take La Goualeuse; she was only six years old when
Jacques Ferrand gave her to me, with a thousand francs, to get rid of
"Jacques Ferrand!" cried Sarah, "the notary?"
"Yes, what of it?"
"Ten years ago? Fair? With blue eyes?
"Ah, Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu!" cried Sarah, falling on her knees. Suddenly
she rose. Hastily opening a secretary, she took from it an ebony casket,
which she opened. She took from it diamond necklaces and bracelets,
throwing them on the table in her hurry to reach the bottom.
"Is this she?" she cried, producing a small miniature.
Sarah took out paper and pen and began writing.
"Come," she said, "as you dictate, so I write. A written declaration--"
She did not finish. Screech-Owl brought down her arm and her dagger
entered Sarah's back between the shoulder-blades. She threw out her
hands and fell forward on the table.
Hastily gathering the jewels, the murderess slipped through the door
into the garden and escaped into the dark streets.
That night the police made one of the most notable hauls of the year;
they captured a group of notorious criminals in the act of murdering a
diamond-agent in a low-class resort on the banks of the Seine, among
them all the Martial family. In the cellar they found the blind
Schoolmaster chained to a pillar. He had been confined there by his
former comrades, who feared that in his helpless state he might fall
under the care of honest people and reveal to them the habits of his
associates. He was mad; in his arms he gripped, almost crushed, the dead
and mangled body of Screech-Owl, who, seeking to escape down the cellar,
had stumbled within the captive's reach.
For some days Jacques Ferrand's clerks noticed in the notary a curious
change. He denied admission to his clients, though they knew his
interests suffered heavily thereby. His face thinned, his temples
hollowed, his complexion became ghastly yellow. In constant company with
him was a red-bearded man, known as Brodamonte.
Then came the announcement that Germain had been freed from prison, the
charges against him being dropped. Also that Monsieur Ferrand gave a
million francs to found a workingmen's bank where the poor could borrow
without paying interest. Germain was to be cashier.
Ferrand's sufferings were intense. Brodamonte, discovered in a criminal
act by Rudolph, was now his slave, and acted as his agent. Both were
watched by a well-concealed circle of spies. Brodamonte forced Ferrand's
system of restitution, under Rudolph's directions, who had succeeded in
obtaining from the notary by a trick papers which proved his crimes and
guilt. This was his punishment. A miser, he must give; and, always a
pious fraud, he was now compelled to place all his money in trust with
the good, simple old abbe he had long deceived.
By chance Rudolph now learned of the absence of the girl and the
deception that had caused Madame George to make no inquiries. He
suspected truly that La Goualeuse's abduction had been instigated by
Suddenly an idea burst upon him. Looking over the papers taken from
Ferrand, he saw that the notary had reason to fear the existence of a
certain child he had turned over to Screech-Owl ten years previously.
These suspicions changed to conviction when e learned that on the day of
Marie's release a woman had been drowned in the Seine. So great was his
rage that he now determined to revenge himself doubly on the criminal
The Countess Sarah was recovering slowly. Rudolph, believing her to be
dying, consented to visit her. He found her dressed and decked in her
jewels, but pale and weak.
"Rudolph, I am dying," she said; "I have something of great importance
to tell you." Her agitation was intense.
"Our child is not dead!" burst from her suddenly.
"I tell you, she lives!"
"Enough, madame, you cannot deceive me. I know your schemes."
"But listen, I have proof!" she cried eagerly. "I have told you the
truth. You remember I had left the child with my notary to superintend
her education. He was false to me. She had not died, but was disposed of
to a woman known as the Screech-Owl, and----"
"No! No! I do not believe you--I do not wish to believe you!"
"See," she continued, "here is her portrait."
He seized the miniature. Yes, in the child's face were recognizable the
blue eyes, the oval face, the fair hair, so familiar to him in
"God!" he cried, "you wretched woman! La Goualeuse our daughter! Found,
only to lose her again. Dead!"
"No, she lives, Rudolph. Pity! I die!"
"Your child is dead, murdered. May the knowledge curse your last
moments!" And he rushed from the house, leaving Sarah in a fainting
Meanwhile, the Marquise d'Harville, a friend of Rudolph's, learned by
chance of the presence of La Goualeuse in the house of the doctor who
had rescued her from the Seine. Knowing Rudolph's keen interest in La
Goualeuse, Madame d'Harville determined to take her with her in her
carriage to convey the good news to Rudolph in person.
Some days later she appeared at Rudolph's magnificent apartments and
announced to him that Fleur-de-Marie was below in the carriage. Rudolph
rose, pale, supporting himself by the table. Madame d'Harville's
surprise restrained him.
"Ah, Clemence," he murmured, "you do not know what you have done for me.
Fleur-de-Marie is--my daughter!"
"Your daughter, your Highness?"
Then suddenly she understood. Fleur-de-Marie was brought up, and it
required Clemence to restrain Rudolph so that he broke the news gently.
Fleur-de-Marie was even then overcome, for she had loved Rudolph as she
would have loved her god.
Sarah died soon afterward. Rudolph asked Clemence d'Harville to become
mother to Marie, now the Princess Amelia, and they returned to Germany.
On setting out they passed in their carriage through a crowd attending
an execution. Several criminals in the crowd, recognising Rudolph,
attempted to attack him. Suddenly a man sprang forward in his defence,
but was stabbed by one of the crowd and fell dying. It was the Slasher.
"I could not go to Algiers," he murmured. "I wished to be near you,
A noble prince sought the hand of the Princess Amelia, but she, feeling
her past degradation, retired to a convent, where she died, beloved by
all, mourned deeply by Rudolph and Clemence.
Ferrand, the notary, died in convulsions, killing Brodamonte with a
poisoned dagger. Germain, restored to his mother, married happily, his
wife's dowry coming from the prince.
* * * * *
Gulliver's Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World
Jonathan Swift, the greatest and most original satirist of his
own, or perhaps of any age, was born in Dublin, Ireland, of
English parents, November 30, 1667. His poverty and abject
dependence upon his relatives in his early youth may have
given the first impetus to that bitter resentment and haughty
spirit of pride which characterized him through life. After a
somewhat troubled career in Trinity College, Dublin, he
removed to England, where he entered the household of the
retired English statesman, Sir William Temple, whose literary
executor he became ten years later. The advertisement which
this connection, and the performance of its final office, gave
him, led to his appointment to a small living and certain
other church emoluments in Ireland. In the following years he
paid several protracted visits to London, where by the power
of his pen and his unrivalled genius as a satirist of the
politics of his time, he rapidly rose to a most formidable
position in the State,--the intimate of poets and of
statesmen. And yet, owing to the opposition which his claims
met with at court, he derived no higher preferment for himself
than the deanery of St. Patrick's, Dublin, in 1713. In time
Swift reconciled himself to this change by vehemently
espousing the cause of the Irish against their English rulers,
and by his writings made himself as famous in that country as
he had formerly done in England. Gradually the gloom of
cerebral decay descended upon his magnificent intellect, and
he died October 19, 1745. "To think of his ruin," said
Thackeray, "is like thinking of the ruin of an empire." No
more original work of genius than Swift's "Gulliver's Travels"
exists in the English language. For sheer intellectual power
it may not be equal to the "Tale of a Tub," but as it has more
variety, so it has more art. "Gulliver" was published in 1726,
at a period when life's disappointments had ceased to worry
Swift. It is probable, however, that the book was planned some
years previously, the keenness of the satire on courts and
statesmen suggesting that his frustrated aims still rankled in
his mind. Curious is it that so perfect an artist should
nevertheless have missed the main purpose which he set himself
in this book, namely, "to vex the world rather than divert
it." The world refused to be vexed, and was hugely diverted.
The real greatness of "Gulliver" lies in its teeming
imagination and implacable logic. Swift succeeded in endowing
the wildest improbabilities with an air of veracity rivalling
Defoe himself. (See also Vol. X, p. 282.)
_I.--A Voyage to Lilliput_
My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire, but the charge of
maintaining me at Cambridge being too great, after three years there I
was bound apprentice to an eminent surgeon in London; in my spare time I
studied navigation, and mathematics, useful to those who travel, as I
always believed, at some time, it would be my fortune to do.
After studying physics in Leyden for two years, I became surgeon to the
Swallow, and made a voyage or two in the Levant. I then settled in
London, married, but after some years, my business beginning to fail,
having consulted with my wife, I determined to go again to sea and made
several voyages to the East and West Indies, by which I got some
addition to my fortune.
In 1699, being on a voyage in the South Seas, we were driven on a rock,
and the ship immediately split. I conclude my companions were all lost;
for my part, I swam as fortune directed me, and being pushed forward by
wind and tide, found myself at last within my depth, and had to wade
near a mile before I got to shore. I was extremely tired, and lay down
on the grass and slept soundly until daylight. I attempted to rise, but
found myself strongly fastened to the ground, not able to turn even my
head. I felt something moving gently up my leg, and over my breast, when
bending my eyes downward, I perceived a human creature, not six inches
high, with a bow and arrows in his hand; and felt a number more
following him. I roared so loud, they all fell off in a fright, but soon
returned. I struggled, and broke the strings that fastened my left hand,
but the creatures ran off before I could seize them, and I felt about a
hundred arrows discharged into my left hand, which pricked like so many
needles. I lay still, groaning with grief and pain, till some of the
inhabitants came and cut the strings that fastened my head, when turning
it a little I saw one, who seemed to be a person of quality, who made me
a long speech, of which I understood not one word; but in which I could
observe many periods of threatening, and others of pity and kindness.
I answered in the most submissive manner, and being famished with hunger
(perhaps against the strict rules of decency), put my finger in my
mouth, to signify I wanted food. He understood me very well. Several
ladders were applied to my sides, and a hundred of the inhabitants
mounted, laden with food and drink, and supplied me as fast as they
could, with marks of wonder at my bulk and appetite.
It seems that at the first moment I was discovered, the Emperor had
notice by an express, and it was determined in council that I should be
secured and fed, and at once conveyed to the capital city.
A sleepy potion having been mingled with my wine, I again slept. These
people have arrived to a great perfection in mechanics, and by means of
cords and pulleys, in less than three hours, I was raised and slung on
to the largest of their machines, used for the carriage of trees and
other great weights. Fifteen hundred of the largest horses, each about
four and a half inches high, were employed to draw me towards the
metropolis. The Emperor and all his Court came out to meet us. In the
largest temple in the kingdom, disused because polluted by a murder some
years before, I was to be lodged, secured by fourscore and eleven chains
locked to my left leg. They were about two yards long and being fixed
within four inches of the gate of the temple, allowed me to creep in and
lie on the ground at my full length.
The Emperor is taller, by almost the breadth of my nail, than any of his
court, his features strong and masculine, and his deportment majestic.
He had reigned for seven years in great felicity, and generally
victorious. I lay on my side, for the better convenience of beholding
him, but I have had him many times since in my hand, and therefore
cannot be deceived in this description. He held his sword drawn in his
hand to defend himself, if I should happen to break loose, and spoke to
me many times, and I answered, but neither of us could understand a
The Emperor had frequent councils to debate what course should be taken
with me; they apprehended I might break loose; or might cause a famine;
but my behaviour had made a favourable impression, and his Majesty made
provision for me out of his own Treasury, and coming frequently to see
me, I soon learnt to express my desire for liberty, which was after a
time granted on certain conditions.
I soon learnt, in spite of its flourishing appearance, this country
laboured under two evils; a violent faction at home, and the danger of
invasion, by a most potent enemy, from abroad. The two parties in the
kingdom were distinguished by the high or low heels of their shoes. The
high heels were most agreeable to their ancient constitution, but the
present Emperor was determined only to make use of low heels in the
administration of the government--but the heir apparent seemed to have
some tendency to high heels.
They were threatened with an invasion from the Island of Blefusco, which
had been engaged in an obstinate war with Lilliput for a long time, on a
question of a schism in religion. They had now prepared a numerous
fleet, and were about to descend upon us, and his Majesty, in his
confidence in my strength and valour, laid this account of his affairs
_II. I Depart from Blefusco_
Having ascertained the depth of the channel between the two countries,
and viewed the enemy's fleet through my perspective glass, I obtained a
great quantity of cable and bars of iron. I twisted the bars into hooks
which I fixed to fifty cables, and walked into the sea, wading with what
haste I could, swam about thirty yards in the middle, and arrived at the
fleet in about half an hour.
The enemy were so frightened when they saw me that they fled, and swam
to shore. I then took my tackling, fixed a hook to each vessel, and tied
all my cords together at the end; but not a ship would stir, they were
held too fast by their anchors. The enemy's arrows disturbed me much,
but I resolutely cut all the cables, and with the greatest ease drew
fifty of the largest men of war with me. The tide had now fallen, and I
waded safe to the royal port of Lilliput, where the Emperor received me
with the highest honour. So immeasurable is the ambition of princes,
that he thought now of nothing less than the complete submission of
Blefusco; but I plainly protested "that I would never be an instrument
of bringing a free and brave people into slavery"; and the wisest part
of the Council were of my opinion.
His Majesty never forgave me, and an intrigue began which had like to
have been my utter ruin; but a considerable person at Court informed me
of the schemes against me, and I resolved at once to pay a visit to
Blefusco, whose Emperor had sent a solemn embassy to Lilliput with
humble offers of peace, and who received me with the generosity suitable
to so great a Prince.
Three days after my arrival I observed a boat overturned on the coast,
which with great difficulty I managed to get to the royal port of
Blefusco; I told the Emperor that my good fortune had thrown this boat
in my way, to carry me towards my native country, and begged his orders
for materials to fit it up, together with his license to depart, which,
after some kind expostulation, he was pleased to grant.
His Majesty of Lilliput had sent an envoy, to ask his brother of
Blefusco to have me sent back to be punished as a traitor with the loss
of my eyes; so that I resolved to "venture myself on the ocean rather
than be an occasion of difference between two such mighty monarchs."
I stored the boat with the carcasses of sheep and oxen, and with bread
and drink proportionable, and as much ready-dressed meat as four-hundred
cooks could provide. I took with me cows and bulls, and rams and ewes,
intending to propagate the breed in my own country; and would gladly
have taken a dozen or two of the natives, but this his Majesty would not
permit. Besides making a diligent search in my pockets, his Majesty
engaged my honour "not to carry away any of his subjects, although by
their own desire."
I set sail, and on the third day descried a sail steering to the
south-east. I made all the sail I could, and in half an hour she espied
me and flung out her flag and fired a gun.
My heart leaped within me to see her English colours, and putting my
cows and sheep into my pockets, I soon got on board with all my
The Captain, a very civil man, and an excellent sailor, treated me with
kindness, and we arrived in England with only one misfortune: the rats
carried off one of my sheep. The rest I got safely ashore, and made a
considerable profit in showing them to persons of quality, and before I
began my second voyage I sold them for six hundred pounds.
I stayed but two months with my wife and family, for my insatiable
desire of seeing foreign countries would suffer me to stay no longer. I
left fifteen hundred pounds with my wife; my uncle had left me a small
estate near Epping of about thirty pounds a year, and I had a long lease
of the Black Bull in Fetter Lane; so that I was in no danger of leaving
my wife and family upon the parish. My son Johnny was at the grammar
school, and a towardly child. My daughter Betty (who is now well
married) was then at her needlework.
I took leave of them with tears on both sides, and went on board the
Adventure, a merchant ship of 300 tons, bound for Surat.
_III.--A Voyage to Brobdingnag_
We made a good voyage, until we had passed the Straits of Madagascar,
when the southern monsoon set in, and we were driven many leagues out of
our course. Being in distress for water, and coming in sight of land,
some of us went on shore in search of it. I walked alone about a mile,
when, seeing nothing to satisfy my curiosity, I was returning when I saw
our men already in the boat, and rowing for life to the ship, with a
huge creature walking after them, the sea up his knees.
I ran off as fast as I could, up a hill, and along what I took for a
highroad, but could see little, on either side the corn rising at least
forty feet, until I came to a stone stile, which it was impossible for
me to climb. I was looking for a gap in the hedge, when I saw one of the
inhabitants in the next field. He seemed as high as an ordinary spire
steeple, and took about ten yards at each step. I ran to hide myself in
the corn, whence I saw him at the stile calling out in a voice which at
first I certainly took for thunder. Seven monsters like himself then
came, and began to reap the field where I lay. I made a shift to get
away, squeezing myself between the stalks, till I came to a part laid by
the rain and wind. It was impossible to advance a step, and I heard the
reapers not a hundred yards behind me. Being quite dispirited with toil,
I lay down and began to bemoan my widow and fatherless children, when
one of the reapers came quite near me, and I screamed as loud as I
could, fearing I should be squashed to death by his foot. He looked
about, and at last espying me, took me carefully behind, between his
finger and thumb, as I myself had done with a weasel in England.
I resolved not to struggle, but ventured to put my hands together in a
supplicating manner, and say some words in a humble, melancholy tone,
and letting him know by my gestures how grievously he pinched my sides.
He seemed to apprehend my meaning, and put me gently in the lapel of his
coat, and ran along to show me to his master, the substantial farmer I
had first seen in the field.
He placed me gently on all fours on the ground, but I immediately got
up, and walked slowly backwards and forwards to let those people see I
had no intent to run away. They all sat down in a circle round me, and
the farmer was soon convinced I was a rational creature, but we were
quite unintelligible to one another. He put me gently in his
handkerchief and took me to show to his wife. She at first screamed, as
women do at a toad, but seeing how well I observed the signs her husband
made, she, by degrees, grew extremely fond of me.
A servant brought in dinner, and the farmer put me on the table. The
wife minced some bread and meat and placed it before me. I made her a
low bow, took out my knife and fork, and fell to eating, which gave them
great delight. The farmer's youngest son, an arch boy of ten, took me up
by the legs and held me so high in the air, that I trembled in every
limb; but the farmer snatched me from him and gave him such a box on the
ear, as would have felled a European troop of horse to the earth.
I fell on my knees, and pointing to the boy made my master understand I
desired his son to be pardoned. The lad took his seat again and I went
and kissed his hand, which my master took and made him stroke me gently
When dinner was almost done, the nurse came in with a child of a year
old in her arms, who at once began to squall to get me for a plaything.
The mother, out of pure indulgence, held me up to the child, who seized
me by the middle and got my head into his mouth, where I roared so loud,
the urchin was frightened, and let me drop, and I should have infallibly
broke my neck, if the mother had not held her apron underneath.
My mistress, perceiving I was very tired, put me on her own bed after
dinner, and covered me with a clean white handkerchief; I slept, and
dreamed I was at home with my wife and children, which aggravated my
sorrows when I awoke, to find myself alone in a bed twenty feet wide.
Two rats had crept up the curtains, and had the boldness to attack me,
but I had the good fortune to rip one up with my hanger, before he could
do me any mischief, and the other ran away; though not without one good
wound. These creatures were the size of a large mastiff, and infinitely
more nimble and fierce. My mistress was extremely rejoiced to find I was
not hurt, and with her little daughter fitted me up the baby's cradle
against night, which was then placed on a shelf for fear of rats.
The daughter, nine years old, and not above forty feet high, was very
good natured, became my schoolmistress, and called me Grildrig, which
imports in English, mannikin. To her I chiefly owe my preservation: I
called her Glumdalclitch, or Little Nurse, and I heartily wish it was in
my power to requite her care and affection as she deserves, instead of
being, as I have reason to fear, the innocent unhappy instrument of her
My master, being advised to show me as a sight in the next town, I was
carried there in a box by Glumdalclitch on a pillion behind her father,
who, after consulting the inn-keeper, hired the crier to give notice to
the town of a strange creature to be seen not six feet long, resembling
in every part a human creature, could speak several words, and perform a
hundred diverting tricks.
I was shown that day till I was half dead with weariness and vexation,
for those who had seen me made such wonderful reports that the people
were ready to break down the doors to come in.
My master, finding how profitable I was likely to be, showed me in all
the considerable towns in the kingdom, till observing that I was almost
reduced to a skeleton, concluded I must soon die, and sold me to the
Queen for a thousand pieces of gold. Her Majesty asked me "whether I
should be content to live at Court?" I bowed down to the table, and
humbly answered, "I should be proud to devote my life to her Majesty's
service," and begged the favour that Glumdalclitch might be admitted
into her service and continue to be my nurse and instructor.
_IV.--At the Court of Brobdingnag_
Her Majesty agreed, and easily got the farmer's consent, and the poor
girl herself was not able to hide her joy.
The Queen was surprised at so much wit and good sense in so small an
animal, and took me in her own hand to the King, who, though as learned
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