Old Friends - Essays in Epistolary Parody
by Andrew Lang
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This etext was prepared by David Price, email from the 1890 Longmans, Green, and Co. edition.



The studies in this volume originally appeared in the "St. James's Gazette." Two, from a friendly hand, have been omitted here by the author of the rest, as non sua poma. One was by Mr. RICHARD SWIVELLER to a boon companion and brother in the lyric Apollo; the other, though purporting to have been addressed by Messrs. DOMBEY & SON to Mr. TOOTS, is believed, on internal evidence, to have been composed by the patron of the CHICKEN himself. A few prefatory notes, an introductory essay, and two letters have been added.

The portrait in the frontispiece, copied by Mr. T. Hodge from an old painting in the Club at St. Andrews, is believed to represent the Baron Bradwardine addressing himself to his ball.

A. L.


Every fancy which dwells much with the unborn and immortal characters of Fiction must ask itself, Did the persons in contemporary novels never meet? In so little a world their paths must often have crossed, their orbits must have intersected, though we hear nothing about the adventure from the accredited narrators. In historical fiction authors make their people meet real men and women of history—Louis XI., Lazarus, Mary Queen of Scots, General Webbe, Moses, the Man in the Iron Mask, Marie Antoinette; the list is endless. But novelists, in spite of Mr. Thackeray's advice to Alexandre Dumas, and of his own example in "Rebecca and Rowena," have not introduced each other's characters. Dumas never pursued the fortunes of the Master of Ravenswood after he was picked up by that coasting vessel in the Kelpie's Flow. Sometimes a meeting between characters in novels by different hands looked all but unavoidable. "Pendennis" and "David Copperfield" came out simultaneously in numbers, yet Pen never encountered Steerforth at the University, nor did Warrington, in his life of journalism, jostle against a reporter named David Copperfield. One fears that the Major would have called Steerforth a tiger, that Pen would have been very loftily condescending to the nephew of Betsy Trotwood. But Captain Costigan would scarcely have refused to take a sip of Mr. Micawber's punch, and I doubt, not that Litimer would have conspired darkly with Morgan, the Major's sinister man. Most of those delightful sets of old friends, the Dickens and Thackeray people, might well have met, though they belonged to very different worlds. In older novels, too, it might easily have chanced that Mr. Edward Waverley of Waverley Honour, came into contact with Lieutenant Booth, or, after the Forty-five, with Thomas Jones, or, in Scotland, Balmawhapple might have foregathered with Lieutenant Lismahagow. Might not even Jeanie Deans have crossed the path of Major Lambert of the "Virginians," and been helped on her way by that good man? Assuredly Dugald Dalgetty in his wanderings in search of fights and fortune may have crushed a cup or rattled a dicebox with four gallant gentlemen of the King's Mousquetaires. It is agreeable to wonder what all these very real people would have thought of their companions in the region of Romance, and to guess how their natures would have acted and reacted on each other.

This was the idea which suggested the following little essays in parody. In making them the writer, though an assiduous and veteran novel reader, had to recognise that after all he knew, on really intimate and friendly terms, comparatively few people in the Paradise of Fiction. Setting aside the dramatic poets and their creations, the children of Moliere and Shakspeare, the reader of novels will find, may be, that his airy friends are scarce so many as he deemed. We all know Sancho and the Don, by repute at least; we have all our memories of Gil Blas; Manon Lescaut does not fade from the heart, nor her lover, the Chevalier des Grieux, from the remembrance. Our mental picture of Anna Karenine is fresh enough and fair enough, but how few can most of us recall out of the myriad progeny of George Sand! Indiana, Valentine, Lelia, do you quite believe in them, would you know them if you met them in the Paradise of Fiction? Noun one might recognise, but there is a haziness about La Petite Fadette. Consuelo, let it be admitted, is not evanescent, oblivion scatters no poppy over her; but Madame Sand's later ladies, still more her men, are easily lost in the forests of fancy. Even their names with difficulty return to us, and if we read the roll-call, would Horace and Jacques cry Adsum like the good Colonel? There are living critics who have all Mr. George Meredith's heroines and heroes and oddities at their finger ends, and yet forget that musical name, like the close of a rich hexameter, Clare Doria Forey. But this is a digression; it is perhaps admitted that George Sand, so great a novelist, gave the world few characters who live in and are dear to memory. We can just fancy one of her dignified later heroines, all self- renunciation and rural sentiment, preaching in vain to that real woman, Emma Bovary. HER we know, her we remember, as we remember few, comparatively, of Balzac's thronging faces, from La Cousine Bette to Seraphitus Seraphita. Many of those are certain to live and keep their hold, but it is by dint of long and elaborate preparation, description, analysis. A stranger intermeddleth not with them, though we can fancy Lucien de Rubempre let loose in a country neighbourhood of George Sand's, and making sonnets and love to some rural chatelaine, while Vautrin might stray among the ruffians of Gaboriau, a giant of crime. Among M. Zola's people, however it may fare with others, I find myself remembering few: the guilty Hippolytus of "La Curee," the poor girl in "La Fortune des Rougon," the Abbe Mouret, the artist in "L'Oeuvre," and the half idiotic girl of the farm house, and Helene in "Un Page d'Amour." They are not amongst M. Zola's most prominent creations, and it must be some accident that makes them most memorable and recognisable to one of his readers.

Probably we all notice that the characters of fiction who remain our intimates, whose words come to our lips often, whose conduct in this or that situation we could easily forecast, are the characters whom we met when we were young. We may be wrong in thinking them the best, the most true and living of the unborn; perhaps they only seem so real because they came fresh to fresh hearts and unworn memories. This at least we must allow for, when we are tempted to say about novelists, "The old are better." It was we who, long ago, were young and better, better fitted to enjoy and retain the pleasure of making new visionary acquaintances. If this be so, what an argument it is in favour of reading the best books first and earliest in youth! Do the ladies who now find Scott slow, and Miss Austen dull, and Dickens vulgar, and Thackeray prosy, and Fielding and Richardson impossible, come to this belief because they began early with the volumes of the circulating library? Are their memories happily stored with the words and deeds of modern fictitious romps, and passionate governesses, and tremendous guardsmen with huge cigars? Are the people of—well, why mention names of living authors?—of whom you will—are those as much to the young readers of 1890 as Quentin Durward, and Colonel Newcome, and Sam Weller, and Becky Sharp, and Anne Elliot, and Elizabeth Bennett, and Jane Eyre were to young readers of 1860? It may very well be so, and we seniors will not regret our choice, and the young men and maids will be pleased enough with theirs. Yet it is not impossible that the old really are better, and do not gain all their life and permanent charm merely from the unjaded memories and affections with which we came to them long ago.

We shall never be certain, for even if we tried the experiment of comparing, we are no longer good judges, our hearts are with our old friends, whom we think deathless; their birth is far enough off in time, but they will serve us for ours.

These friends, it has been said, are not such a very numerous company after all. Most of them are children of our own soil, their spirits were made in England, or at least in Great Britain, or, perhaps, came of English stock across the seas, like our dear old Leather Stocking and Madam Hester Prynne. Probably most of us are insular enough to confess this limitation; even if we be so unpatriotic to read far more new French than new English novels. One may study M. Daudet, and not remember his Sidonie as we remember Becky, nor his Petit Chose or his Jack as we remember David Copperfield. In the Paradise of Fiction are folk of all nations and tongues; but the English (as Swedenborg saw them doing in his vision of Heaven) keep very much to themselves. The American visitors, or some of them, disdain our old acquaintances, and associate with Russian, Spanish, Lithuanian, Armenian heroes and heroines, conversing, probably, in some sort of French. Few of us "poor islanders" are so cosmopolitan; we read foreign novels, and yet among all the brilliant persons met there we remember but a few. Most of my own foreign friends in fiction wear love-locks and large boots, have rapiers at their side which they are very ready to draw, are great trenchermen, mighty fine drinkers, and somewhat gallant in their conduct to the sex. There is also a citizen or two from Furetiere's "Roman Bourgeois," there is Manon, aforesaid, and a company of picaroons, and an archbishop, and a lady styled Marianne, and a newly ennobled Count of mysterious wealth, and two grisettes, named Mimi and Musette, with their student-lovers. M. Balzac has introduced us to mystics, and murderers, and old maids, and doctors, and adventurers, and poets, and a girl with golden eyes, and malefactors, and bankrupts, and mad old collectors, peasants, cures, critics, dreamers, debauchees; but all these are somewhat distant acquaintances, many of them undesirable acquaintances. In the great "Comedie Humaine" have you a single real friend? Some of Charles de Bernard's folk are more akin to us, such as "La Femme de Quarante Ans," and the owner of the hound Justinian, and that drunken artist in "Gerfaut." But an Englishman is rather friendless, rather an alien and an outcast, in the society of French fiction. Monsieur de Camors is not of our monde, nor is the Enfant du Siecle; indeed, perhaps good Monsieur Sylvestre Bonnard is as sympathetic as anyone in that populous country of modern French romance. Or do you know Fifi Vollard?

Something must be allowed for strange manners, for exotic ideas, and ways not our own. More perhaps is due to what, as Englishmen think, is the lack of HUMOUR in the most brilliant and witty of races. We have friends many in Moliere, in Dumas, in Rabelais; but it is far more difficult to be familiar, at ease, and happy in the circles to which Madame Sand, M. Daudet, M. Flaubert, or M. Paul Bourget introduce us. M. Bourget's old professor, in "Le Disciple," we understand, but he does not interest himself much in us, and to us he is rather a curiosity, a "character," than an intimate. We are driven to the belief that humour, with its loving and smiling observation, is necessary to the author who would make his persons real and congenial, and, above all, friendly. Now humour is the quality which Dumas, Moliere, and Rabelais possess conspicuously among Frenchmen. Montaigne has it too, and makes himself dear to us, as the humorous novelists make their fancied people dear. Without humour an author may draw characters distinct and clear, and entertaining, and even real; but they want atmosphere, and with them we are never intimate. Mr. Alfred Austin says that "we know the hero or the heroine in prose romance far more familiarly than we know the hero or heroine in the poem or the drama." "Which of the serious characters in Shakspeare's plays are not indefinite and shadowy compared with Harry Esmond or Maggie Tulliver?" The SERIOUS characters—they are seldom very familiar or definite to us in any kind of literature. One might say, to be sure, that he knows Hotspur a good deal more intimately than he knows Mr. Henry Esmond, and that he has a pretty definite idea of Iago, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, as definite as he has (to follow Mr. Austin) of Tito Melema. But we cannot reckon Othello, or Macbeth, or King Lear as FRIENDS; nay, we would rather drink with the honest ancient. All heroes and the heroines are usually too august, and also too young, to be friendly with us; to be handled humorously by their creators. We know Cuddie Headrigg a great deal better than Henry Morton, and Le Balafre better than Quentin Durward, and Dugald Dalgetty better than anybody. Humour it is that gives flesh and blood to the persons of romance; makes Mr. Lenville real, while Nicholas Nickleby is only a "walking gentleman." You cannot know Oliver Twist as you know the Dodger and Charlie Bates. If you met Edward Waverley you could scarce tell him from another young officer of his time; but there would be no chance of mistake about the Dugald creature, or Bailie Nicol Jarvie, or the Baron Bradwardine, or Balmawhapple.

These ideas might be pushed too far; it might be said that only the persons in "character parts"—more or less caricatures—are really vivid in the recollection. But Colonel Newcome is as real as Captain Costigan, and George Warrington as the Chevalier Strong. The hero is commonly too much of a beau tenebreux to be actual; Scott knew it well, and in one of his unpublished letters frankly admits that his heroes are wooden, and no favourites of his own. He had to make them, as most authors make their heroes, romantic, amorous, and serious; few of them have the life of Roland Graeme, or even of Quentin Durward. Ivanhoe might put on the cloak of the Master of Ravenswood, the Master might wear the armour of the Disinherited Knight, and the disguise would deceive the keenest. Nay, Mr. Henry Esmond might pass for either, if arrayed in appropriate costume.

To treat a hero with humour is difficult in romance, all but impossible. Hence the heroes are rarely our friends, except in Fielding, or, now and then, in Thackeray. No book is so full of friends as the novel that has no hero, but has Rawdon Crawley, Becky, Lady Jane, Mr. Jim Crawley, MacMurdo, Mrs. Major O'Dowd, and the rest. Even Dobbin is too much the hero to be admitted among our most kindly acquaintances. So unlucky are heroes that we know Squire Western and the Philosopher Square and Parson Adams far better than even that unheroic hero, Tom Jones, or Joseph Andrews. The humour of Fielding and his tenderness make Amelia and Sophia far more sure of our hearts than, let us say, Rowena, or the Fair Maid of Perth, or Flora MacIvor, or Rose Bradwardine. It is humour that makes Mr. Collins immortal, and Mrs. Bennett, and Emma; while a multitude of nice girls in fiction, good girls too, are as dead as Queen Tiah.

Perhaps, after all, this theory explains why it is so very hard to recall with vividness the persons of our later fiction. Humour is not the strong point of novelists to-day. There may be amateurs who know Mr. Howells's characters as their elders know Sophia and Amelia and Catherine Seyton—there may be. To the old reader of romance, however earnestly he keeps up with modern fiction, the salt of life seems often lacking in its puppets or its persons. Among the creations of living men and women I, for one, feel that I have two friends at least across the sea, Master Thomas Sawyer and his companion, Huckleberry Finn. If these are not real boys, then Dr. Farrar's Eric IS a real boy; I cannot put it stronger. There is a lady on those distant shores (for she never died of Roman fever) who I may venture to believe is not unfriendly—Miss Annie P. Miller—and there is a daughter of Mr. Silas Lapham whom one cannot readily forget, and there is a beery journalist in a "Modern Instance," an acquaintance, a distant professional acquaintance, not a friend. The rest of the fictitious white population of the States are shadowy to myself; I have often followed their fortunes with interest, but the details slip my aging memory, which recalls Topsy and Uncle Remus.

To speak of new friends at home is a more delicate matter. A man may have an undue partiality for the airy children of his friends' fancy. Mr. Meredith has introduced me to an amiable Countess, to a strange country girl named Rhoda, to a wonderful old AEschylean nurse, to some genuine boys, to a wise Youth,—but that society grows as numerous as brilliant. Mr. Besant has made us friends with twins of literary and artistic genius, with a very highly- cultured Fellow of Lothian, with a Son of Vulcan, with a bevy of fair but rather indistinguishable damsels, like a group of agreeable-looking girls at a dance. But they are too busy with their partners to be friendly. We admire them, but they are unconcerned with us. In Mr. Black's large family the Whaup seems most congenial to some strangers; the name of one of Mr. Payn's friendly lads is Legion, and Miss Broughton's dogs, with THEIR friend Sara, and Mrs. Moberley, welcome the casual visitor with hospitable care. Among the kindly children of a later generation one may number a sailor man with a wooden leg; a Highland gentleman, who, though landless, bears a king's name; an Irish chevalier who was out in the '45; a Zulu chief who plied the axe well; a private named Mulvaney in Her Majesty's Indian army; an elderly sportsman of agile imagination or unparalleled experience in remote adventure. {1} All these a person who had once encountered them would recognise, perhaps, when he was fortunate enough to find himself in their company.

There are children, too, of a dead author, an author seldom lauded by critics, who, possibly, have as many living friends as any modern characters can claim. A very large company of Christian people are fond of Lord Welter, Charles Ravenshoe, Flora and Gus, Lady Ascot, the boy who played fives with a brass button, and a dozen others of Henry Kingsley's men, women, and children, whom we have laughed with often, and very nearly cried with. For Henry Kingsley had humour, and his children are dear to us; while which of Charles Kingsley's far more famous offspring would be welcome— unless it were Salvation Yeo—if we met them all in the Paradise of Fiction?

It is not very safe, in literature as in life, to speak well of our friends or of their families. Other readers, other people, have theirs, whom we may not care much for, whom we may even chance never to have met. In the following Letters from Old Friends (mainly reprinted from the "St. James's Gazette"), a few of the writers may, to some who glance at the sketches, be unfamiliar. When Dugald Dalgetty's epistle on his duel with Aramis was written, a man of letters proposed to write a reply from Aramis in a certain journal. But his Editor had never heard of any of the gentlemen concerned in that affair of honour; had never heard of Dugald, of Athos, Porthos, Aramis, nor D'Artagnan. He had not been introduced to them. This little book will be fortunate far beyond its deserts if it tempts a few readers to extend the circle of their visionary acquaintances, of friends who, like Brahma, know not birth, nor decay, "sleep, waking, nor trance."

A theme more delicate and intimate than that of our Friends in fiction awaits a more passionate writer than the present parodist. Our LOVES in fiction are probably numerous, and our choice depends on age and temperament. In romance, if not in life, we can be in love with a number of ladies at once. It is probable that Beatrix Esmond has not fewer knights than Marie Antoinette or Mary Stuart. These ladies have been the marks of scandal. Unkind things are said of all three, but our hearts do not believe the evil reports. Sir Walter Scott refused to write a life of Mary Stuart because his opinion was not on the popular side, nor on the side of his feelings. The reasoning and judicial faculties may be convinced that Beatrix was "other than a guid ane," but reason does not touch the affections; we see her with the eyes of Harry Esmond, and, like him, "remember a paragon." With similar lack of logic we believe that Mrs. Wenham really had one of her headaches, and that Becky was guiltless on a notorious occasion. Bad or not so bad, what lady would we so gladly meet as Mrs. Rawdon Crawley, whose kindness was so great that she even condescended to be amusing to her own husband? For a more serious and life-long affection there are few heroines so satisfactory as Sophia Western and Amelia Booth (nee Harris). Never before nor since did a man's ideal put on flesh and blood—out of poetry, that is,—and apart from the ladies of Shakspeare. Fielding's women have a manly honour, tolerance, greatness, in addition to their tenderness and kindness. Literature has not their peers, and life has never had many to compare with them. They are not "superior" like Romola, nor flighty and destitute of taste like Maggie Tulliver; among Fielding's crowd of fribbles and sots and oafs they carry that pure moly of the Lady in "Comus." It is curious, indeed, that men have drawn women more true and charming than women themselves have invented, and the heroines of George Eliot, of George Sand (except Consuelo), and even of Miss Austen, do not subdue us like Di Vernon, nor win our sympathies like Rebecca of York. They may please and charm for their hour, but they have not the immortality of the first heroines of all—of Helen, or of that Alcmena who makes even comedy grave when she enters, and even Plautus chivalrous. Poetry, rather than prose fiction, is the proper home of our spiritual mistresses; they dwell where Rosalind and Imogen are, with women perhaps as unreal or as ideal as themselves, men's lost loves and unforgotten, in a Paradise apart.

LETTER: From Mr. Clive Newcome to Mr. Arthur Pendennis.

Mr. Newcome, a married man and an exile at Boulogne, sends Mr. Arthur Pendennis a poem on his undying affection for his cousin, Miss Ethel Newcome. He desires that it may be published in a journal with which Mr. Pendennis is connected. He adds a few remarks on his pictures for the Academy.

Boulogne, March 28.

Dear Pen,—I have finished Belisarius, and he has gone to face the Academicians. There is another little thing I sent—"Blondel" I call it—a troubadour playing under a castle wall. They have not much chance; but there is always the little print-shop in Long Acre. My sketches of mail-coaches continue to please the public; they have raised the price to a guinea.

Here we are not happier than when you visited us. My poor wife is no better. It is something to have put my father out of hearing of her mother's tongue: that cannot cross the Channel. Perhaps I am as well here as in town. There I always hope, I always fear to meet HER . . . my cousin, you know. I think I see her face under every bonnet. God knows I don't go where she is likely to be met. Oh, Pen, haeret lethalis arundo; it is always right—the Latin Delectus! Everything I see is full of her, everything I do is done for her. "Perhaps she'll see it and know the hand, and remember," I think, even when I do the mail-coaches and the milestones. I used to draw for her at Brighton when she was a child. My sketches, my pictures, are always making that silent piteous appeal to her, WON'T YOU LOOK AT US? WON'T YOU REMEMBER? I dare say she has quite forgotten. Here I send you a little set of rhymes; my picture of Blondel and this old story brought them into my mind. They are gazes, as the drunk painter says in "Gerfaut;" they are veiled, a mystery. I know she's not in a castle or a tower or a cloistered cell anywhere; she is in Park Lane. Don't I read it in the "Morning Post?" But I can't, I won't, go and sing at the area- gate, you know. Try if F. B. will put the rhymes into the paper. Do they take it in in Park Lane? See whether you can get me a guinea for these tears of mine: "Mes Larmes," Pen, do you remember?—Yours ever, C. N.

The verses are enclosed.


O ma Reine!

Although the Minstrel's lost you long, Although for bread the Minstrel sings, Ah, still for you he pipes the song, And thrums upon the crazy strings!

As Blondel sang by cot and hall, Through town and stream and forest passed, And found, at length, the dungeon wall, And freed the Lion-heart at last -

So must your hapless minstrel fare, By hill and hollow violing; He flings a ditty on the air, He wonders if you hear him sing!

For in some castle you must dwell Of this wide land he wanders through - In palace, tower, or cloistered cell - He knows not; but he sings to YOU!

The wind may blow it to your ear, And you, perchance, may understand; But from your lattice, though you hear, He knows you will not wave a hand.

Your eyes upon the page may fall, More like the page will miss your eyes; You may be listening after all, So goes he singing till he dies.

LETTER: From the Hon. Cecil Bertie to the Lady Guinevere.

Mr. Cecil Tremayne, who served "Under Two Flags," an officer in her Majesty's Guards, describes to the Lady Guinevere the circumstances of his encounter with Miss Annie P. (or Daisy) Miller. The incident has been omitted by Ouida and Mr. Henry James.

You ask me, Camarada, what I think of the little American donzella, Daisy Miller? Hesterna Rosa, I may cry with the blind old bard of Tusculum; or shall we say, Hesterna Margaritae? Yesterday's Daisy, yesterday's Rose, were it of Paestum, who values it to-day? Mais ou sont les neiges d'automne? However, yesterday—the day before yesterday, rather—Miss Annie P. Miller was well enough.

We were smoking at the club windows on the Ponte Vecchio; Marmalada, Giovanelli of the Bersaglieri, young Ponto of the K.O.B.'s, and myself—men who never give a thought save to the gold embroidery of their pantoufles or the exquisite ebon laquer of their Russia leather cricket-shoes. Suddenly we heard a clatter in the streets. The riderless chargers of the Bersaglieri were racing down the Santo Croce, and just turning, with a swing and shriek of clattering spurs, into the Maremma. In the midst of the street, under our very window, was a little thing like a butterfly, with yeux de pervenche. You remember, Camarada, Voltaire's love of the pervenche; we have plucked it, have we not? in his garden of Les Charmettes. Nous n'irons plus aux bois! Basta!

But to return. There she stood, terror-stricken, petrified, like her who of old turned her back on Zoar and beheld the incandescent hurricane of hail smite the City of the Plain! She was dressed in white muslin, joli comme un coeur, with a myriad frills and flounces and knots of pale-coloured ribbon. Open-eyed, open- mouthed, she stared at the tide of foaming steeds, like a maiden martyr gazing at the on-rushing waves of ocean! "Caramba!" said Marmalada, "voila une jeune fille pas trop bien gardee!" Giovanelli turned pale, and, muttering Corpo di Bacco, quaffed a carafon of green Chartreuse, holding at least a quart, which stood by him in its native pewter. Young Ponto merely muttered, "Egad!" I leaped through the open window and landed at her feet.

The racing steeds were within ten yards of us. Calmly I cast my eye over their points. Far the fleetest, though he did not hold the lead, was Marmalada's charger, the Atys gelding, by Celerima out of Sac de Nuit. With one wave of my arm I had placed her on his crupper, and, with the same action, swung myself into the saddle. Then, in a flash and thunder of flying horses, we swept like tawny lightning down the Pincian. The last words I heard from the club window, through the heliotrope-scented air, were "Thirty to one on Atys, half only if declared." They were wagering on our lives; the slang of the paddock was on their lips.

Onward, downward, we sped, the fair stranger lifeless in my arms. Past scarlet cardinals in mufti, past brilliant [Greek text] like those who swayed the City of the Violet Crown; past pifferari dancing in front of many an albergo; through the Ghetto with its marmorine palaces, over the Fountain of Trevi, across the Cascine, down the streets of the Vatican we flew among yells of "Owner's up," "The gelding wins, hard held," from the excited bourgeoisie. Heaven and earth swam before my eyes as we reached the Pons Sublicia, and heard the tawny waters of Tiber swaying to the sea.


With an oath of despair, for life is sweet, I rammed my persuaders into Atys, caught him by the head, and sent him straight at the flooded Tiber!

"Va-t-en donc, espece de type!" said the girl on my saddle-bow, finding her tongue at last. Fear, or girlish modesty, had hitherto kept her silent.

Then Atys rose on his fetlocks! Despite his double burden, the good steed meant to have it. He deemed, perchance, he was with the Quorn or the Baron's. He rose; he sprang. The deep yellow water, cold in the moon's rays, with the farthest bank but a chill grey line in the mist, lay beneath us! A moment that seemed an eternity! Then we landed on the far-off further bank, and for the first time I could take a pull at his head. I turned him on the river's brim, and leaped him back again.

The runaway was now as tame as a driven deer in Richmond Park.

Well, Camarada, the adventure is over. She was grateful, of course. These pervenche eyes were suffused with a dewy radiance.

"You can't call," she said, "for you haven't been introduced, and Mrs. Walker says we must be more exclusive. I'm dying to be exclusive; but I'm very much obliged to you, and so will mother be. Let's see. I'll be at the Colosseum to-morrow night, about ten. I'm bound to see the Colosseum, by moonlight. Good-bye;" and she shook her pale parasol at me, and fluttered away.

Ah, Camarada, shall I be there? Que scais-je? Well, 'tis time to go to the dance at the Holy Father's. Adieu, Carissima.—Tout a vous,


LETTER: Barry Lyndon

Mr. Redmond Barry (better known as Barry Lyndon) tells his uncle the story of a singular encounter at Berlin with Mr. Alan Stuart, called Alan Breck, and well known as the companion of Mr. David Balfour in many adventures. Mr. Barry, at this time, was in the pay of Herr Potzdorff, of his Prussian Majesty's Police, and was the associate of the Chevalier, his kinsman, in the pursuit of fortune.

Berlin, April 1, 1748.

Uncle Barry,—I dictate to Pippi, my right hand being wounded, and that by no common accident. Going down the Linden Strasse yesterday, I encountered a mob; and, being curious in Potzdorff's interest, penetrated to the kernel of it. There I found two men of my old regiment—Kurz and another—at words with a small, dark, nimble fellow, who carried bright and dancing eyes in a pock-marked face. He had his iron drawn, a heavy box-handled cut-and-thrust blade, and seemed ready to fall at once on the pair that had been jeering him for his strange speech.

"Who is this, lads?" I asked.

"Ein Englander," answered they.

"No Englishman," says he, in a curious accent not unlike our brogue, "but a plain gentleman, though he bears a king's name and hath Alan Breck to his by-name."

"Come, come," says I in German, "let the gentleman go his way; he is my own countryman." This was true enough for them; and you should have seen the Highlander's eyes flash, and grow dim again.

I took his arm, for Potzdorff will expect me to know all about the stranger, and marched him down to the Drei Konige.

"I am your host, sir; what do you call for, Mr. Stuart of -?" said I, knowing there is never a Scot but has the name of his kailyard tacked to his own.

"A King's name is good enough for me; I bear it plain. Mr. -?" said he, reddening.

"They call me the Chevalier Barry, of Ballybarry."

"I am in the better company, sir," quoth he, with a grand bow.

When a bowl of punch was brought he takes off his hat, and drinks, very solemnly, "To the King!"

"Over the water?" I asked.

"Nay, sir, on THIS side," he said; and I smoked the Jacobite. But to shorten the story, which amuses my tedium but may beget it in you, I asked him if he knew the cards.

"I'm just daft when I get to the cartes," he answered in his brogue, and we fell to piquet. Now my Scot wore a very fine coat, and on the same very large smooth silver buttons, well burnished. Therefore, perceiving such an advantage as a skilled player may enjoy, I let him win a little to whet his appetite, but presently used his buttons as a mirror, wherein I readily detected the strength of the cards he held. Before attempting this artifice, I had solemnly turned my chair round thrice.

"You have changed the luck, sir," says Mr. Breck, or Stuart, presently; and, rising with a mighty grave air, he turned his coat and put it on inside out.

"Sir," says I, "what am I to understand by this conduct?"

"What for should not I turn my coat, for luck, if you turn your chair?" says he. "But if you are not preceesely satisfied, I will be proud to step outside with you."

I answered that we were not in a Highland wilderness, and that if no malice were meant no affront was taken. We continued at the game till, though deprived of my mirror, I had won some 500 Fredericks. On this he rose, saying, "Sir, in this purse you will find the exact sum that I am owing you, and I will call for my empty sporran the morn. It was Rob Roy's before it was mine." Therewith he laid on the table a sort of goatskin pouch, such as Highlanders gird about their loins, and marched forth.

I set to work at opening his pouch, that was fastened by a spring and button, seeming easy enough of access. But I had scarce pressed the button when lo! a flash, a pistol shot, and my right hand is grazed with a bullet that flew out of the bag. This Highlander of the Devil had some mechanism in his purse that discharged a small steel pistol when unwarily opened. My hand is but slightly wounded, yet I cannot hold my sword, nor hath my search brought me any news of Alan Breck. He has vanished like an emissary of the Devil or the Pretender, as I doubt not he is. But I will have his blood, if he is not one of their Scotch fairies.— Your loving Nephew,


P.S.—The Fredericks were in the bag, all told.

LETTER: From Mrs. Gamp to Mrs. Prig.

Mrs. Gamp nurses an old friend who is under a singular delusion.


My precious Betsy,—Which when last we parted it was not as I could wish, but bearing malice in our hearts. But, as often and often Mrs. Harris have said it before me, with the tears in her angel eyes—one of them having a slight cast from an accident with the moderator lamp, Harris being quick in his temper—often and often have she said to me: "Ah, Sairey, the quarrels of friends is affection's best restorer." And good reason to know it she have, with a husband as was ever true, and never gave her no cause to form the wish to pizen them as has good looks, but, for I will not deceive you, ready with his hands.

And so, between you and me may it be, Betsy Prig, as was constant partners afore them Chuzzlewidges, and Nadgetts, and Lewsomses, and Tiggses, and Chuffeys got that mixed and that aggerawating that to remember who of them poisoned which or for why in a slime draught, it makes my poor head go round, nor could such be soothing to the temper. So let bygones be bygones between us. For, wanting of my Betsy, I am now in a nice state of confusion, with a patient as was well beknown to me in younger days, when there wasn't so much of a shadder on this mortial vial, {2} meaning Mr. Pecksniff. Which you will not forget of him, by reason of his daughter as married that Jonadge, and his collars as mints of money must have gone to the getting them up; but is now at Todgers's, and confused in his poor mind, thinking hisself Somebody else high in Parliament. And wonder at it I do not, them Chuzzlewidges and Chuffeys being that distracting, and ever proving to be some other pusson in disguise, as would confuge a calkilating boy.

So being applied to for to nightly him, there in that very sick room—for why should I deceive you?—I meets the daily nuss; and, Betsy, I was that overcome to have such a pardner propoged to me as I had to ring and ask the young woman immediate for a small glass of their oldest rum, being what I am not accustomed to but having had a turn. For, will you believe it, she was not a widger woman as has experience in the ways of men, but a huzzy in a bragian cap like them the Nuns wear in "Mariar Monk," as you may have seen it in the small sweet-shops, at a penny. And her hands as white as her papistry cap, and she a turning up of her nose at what I had took, and a presuming to give ME advice about nussing, as St. Pancradge's Churchyard wouldn't hold them I've seen comfortable to their long homes, and no complaints made but ever the highest satigefaction. So I ups and gives her a bit of my mind; and Mrs. Todgers coming down, "It's she goes or me," says I, "for never will Sairey Gamp nuss, sick or monthly, with a pardner as has not confidence in me, nor I in her, but contrary." Then SHE says she'll go and speak to the doctor about it; and out she tramps with her nose in the air, and sneezing most awful, not being accustomed to that which I take, find it strengthening, but as it have been a cause of sorrow and strife let it be nameless between you and me. For to have the name "Snuffey" brought forward it is what the heart can forgive, but never forget in this valley of the shaddock.

I have nussed a many lunacies, Betsy, and in a general way am dispoged to humour them rather than set them right up agin the fire when fractious. But this Pecksniff is the tryingest creature; he having got it in his mind as he is Somebody very high, and talking about the House, and Bills, and clauses, and the "sacred cause of Universal Anarchy," for such was his Bible language, though meaning to me no more than the babe unborn. Whereby Mrs. Harris she have often said to me, "What DO them blessed infants occupy their little minds with afore they are called into that condition where, unless changed at nuss, Providence have appointed them?" And many a time have I said, "Seek not, Mrs. Harris, to diskiver; for we know not wot's hidden in our own hearts, and the torters of the Imposition should not make me diwulge it."

But Pecksniff is that aggravating as I can hardly heed the words I now put on the paper.

"Some of my birds have left me," says he, "for the stranger's breast, and one have took wing for the Government benches. {3} But I have ever sacrificed my country's happiness to my own, and I will not begin to regulate my life by other rules of conduct now. I know the purity of my own motives, and while my Merry, my little Sir William, playful warbler, prattles under this patriarchal wing, and my Cherry, my darling Morley, supports the old man's tottering walk, I can do without my Goschy, my dears, I can do without him." And wants to borrer MY umbreller for them "to rally round," the bragian idgiot!

A chattering creature he always were, and will be; but, Betsy, I have this wery momink fixed him up with a shoehorn in his mouth, as was lying round providential, and the strings of my bonnet, and the last word as he will say this blessed night was some lunacy about "denouncing the clogeure," as won't give much more trouble now.

So having rung for a shilling's worth of gin-and-water warm, and wishing you was here to take another of the same, I puts my lips to it, and drinks to one as was my frequent pardner in this mortial vale, and am, as in old days, my Betsy's own


LETTER: From Herodotus of Halicarnassus to Sophocles the Athenian.

Herodotus describes, in a letter to his friend Sophocles, a curious encounter with a mariner just returned from unknown parts of Africa.

To Sophocles, the Athenian, greeting. Yesterday, as I was going down to the market-place of Naucratis, I met Nicarete, who of all the hetairai in this place is the most beautiful. Now, the hetairai of Naucratis are wont somehow to be exceedingly fair, beyond all women whom we know. She had with her a certain Phocaean mariner, who was but now returned from a voyage to those parts of Africa which lie below Arabia; and she saluted me courteously, as knowing that it is my wont to seek out and inquire the tidings of all men who have intelligence concerning the ends of the earth.

"Hail to thee, Nicarete," said I; "verily thou art this morning as lovely as the dawn, or as the beautiful Rhodopis that died ere thou wert born to us through the favour of Aphrodite." {4}

Now this Rhodopis was she who built, they say, the Pyramid of Mycerinus: wherein they speak not truly but falsely, for Rhodopis lived long after the kings who built the Pyramids.

"Rhodopis died not, O Herodotus," said Nicarete, "but is yet living, and as fair as ever she was; and he who is now my lover, even this Phanes of Phocaea, hath lately beheld her."

Then she seemed to me to be jesting, like that scribe who told me of Krophi and Mophi; for Rhodopis lived in the days of King Amasis and of Sappho the minstrel, and was beloved by Charaxus, the brother of Sappho, wherefore Sappho reviled him in a song. How then could Rhodopis, who flourished more than a hundred years before my time, be living yet?

While I was considering these things they led me into the booth of one that sold wine; and when Nicarete had set garlands of roses on our heads, Phanes began and told me what I now tell thee but whether speaking truly or falsely I know not. He said that being on a voyage to Punt (for so the Egyptians call that part of Arabia), he was driven by a north wind for many days, and at last landed in the mouth of a certain river where were many sea-fowl and water-birds. And thereby is a rock, no common one, but fashioned into the likeness of the head of an Ethiopian. There he said that the people of that country found him, namely the Amagardoi, and carried him to their village. They have this peculiar to themselves, and unlike all other peoples whom we know, that the woman asks the man in marriage. They then, when they have kissed each other, are man and wife wedded. And they derive their names from the mother; wherein they agree with the Lycians, whether being a colony of the Lycians, or the Lycians a colony of theirs, Phanes could not give me to understand. But, whereas they are black and the Lycians are white, I rather believe that one of them has learned this custom from the other; for anything might happen in the past of time.

The Amagardoi have also this custom, such as we know of none other people; that they slay strangers by crowning them with amphorae, having made them red-hot. Now, having taken Phanes, they were about to crown him on this wise, when there appeared among them a veiled woman, very tall and goodly, whom they conceive to be a goddess and worship. By her was Phanes delivered out of their hands; and "she kept him in her hollow caves having a desire that he should be her lover," as Homer says in the Odyssey, if the Odyssey be Homer's. And Phanes reports of her that she is the most beautiful woman in the world, but of her coming thither, whence she came or when, she would tell him nothing. But he swore to me, by him who is buried at Thebes (and whose name in such a matter as this it is not holy for me to utter), that this woman was no other than Rhodopis the Thracian. For there is a portrait of Rhodopis in the temple of Aphrodite in Naucratis, and, knowing this portrait well, Phanes recognised by it that the woman was Rhodopis. {5} Therefore Rhodopis is yet living, being now about one hundred and fifty years of age. And Phanes added that there is in the country of the Amagardoi a fire; and whoso enters into that fire does not die, but is "without age and immortal," as Homer says concerning the horses of Peleus. Now, I would have deemed that he was making a mock of that sacred story which he knows who has been initiated into the mysteries of Demeter at Eleusis. But he and Nicarete are about to sail together without delay to the country of the Amagardoi, believing that there they will enter the fire and become immortal. Yet methinks that Rhodopis will not look lovingly on Nicarete, when they meet in that land, nor Nicarete on Rhodopis. Nay, belike the amphora will be made hot for one or the other.

Such, howbeit, was the story of Phanes the Phocaean, whether he spoke falsely or truly. The God be with thee.


LETTER: Mrs Proudie

Mrs. Proudie, wife of the Bishop of Barchester, admits Mrs. Quiverful into her confidence. Mrs. Proudie first takes pleasure in a new and pious acquaintance, Lady Crawley (nee Sharp), but afterwards discovers the true character of this insidious and dangerous woman.

The Palace, Barchester, July 17.

Dear Letitia,—The appearance of mumps in a small family of fourteen like yours, is indeed one of those dispensations which teach us how mysterious are the ways! But I need not tell you to be most careful about cold, which greatly adds to the virulence of the complaint, and it is difficult for you, in lodgings at Brighton, to keep a watchful eye on so many at once. May this discipline be blessed to you, and to the dear children!

I have much to tell you of Barchester. The light worldly tone of some families in this place (I will not mention the Grantleys nor the Arabins) has been checked, I hope, by one of those accidents which surely, surely, are not to be considered accidents alone! You know how strong is my objection to fancy fairs or bazaars, too often rather scenes of giddy merriment than exhibitions of genuine Christian feeling. Yet by means of one of these (how strangely are things ordered!) a happy change, I trust, is being brought about in our midst.

You have heard of Hogglestock, though you may never have visited that benighted and outlying parish. Indeed, I was never there myself till last week, when Tom felt it his duty (though woefully misdirected, to my mind, but we are fallible creatures) to go and open a bazaar in that place for the restoration of the church. {6} I accompanied him; for I trusted that an opportunity might be made for me, and that I might especially bear in on the mind of the rector's wife the absolute necessity of Sabbath-day schools. The rector is a Mr. Crawley. He led us on our arrival into a scene of re d cloth, wax dolls most indelicately displayed, cushions, antimacassars, and similar IDOLS. The Bishop's speech (I composed it myself) you will read in the "Barchester Guardian," which I send you. While approving the END he rebuked the MEANS, and took the opportunity to read a much-needed lesson on JESUITRY and the dangers of worldliness in high ecclesiastical places. Let those wince who feel a sense of their own backslidings. When the Bishop had ended, I determined to walk once through the bazaar just to make sure that there were no lotteries nor games of chance—a desecration of our MITES now too, too frequent. As I was returning through the throng, alas! of PLEASURE-SEEKERS, and wishing that I might scourge them out of the schoolroom, Mr. Crawley met me, in company with a lady who desired, he said, to be presented to me. He is a distant relation of the well-known county family, the Crawleys, of Queen's Crawley; the present baronet, Sir Rawdon, having recently married Miss Jane Dobbin, daughter of Colonel Dobbin. The lady who was now introduced to me, and whose STILL PLEASING face wears an aspect of humble devoutness, was Lady Crawley, mother of the present baronet.

"Madam," she said, "I came here in the belief that I was discharging a pious duty. My life, alas! has been one of sore trial, and I only try to do good." . . .

I was going to say that I had seen her name in a score of charity lists, and knew her as a patroness of the Destitute Orange-Girls, the Neglected Washerwomen, and the Distressed Muffin-Men. But she shook her head; and then, looking up at me with eyes like a SAINT'S (if our PRIVILEGES permitted us to believe in these fabulous beings of the Romish superstition), she said, "Ah, no! I have always been in the wrong. The beautiful address of the Bishop of Barchester has awakened me, and convinced me that the PATH does not lie through Fancy Fairs. I have to begin again. Who shall guide me?"

I trust I am not subject to vanity; but the news that I (for I composed the Charge, as I may almost call it) had been the instrument of so affecting a change did not fail to please me. I thanked Lady Crawley, and expressed my deep interest in her altered convictions. Finally she promised to come on a visit to us at the Palace (she usually resides at Bath or Cheltenham), and has been three days an inmate. Never have I met a more singular example of what the Truth can do for one who, as she admits, was long ago a worldling. "I have seen the vanity of it," she tells me, with tears in her eyes; and from her example I expect an AWAKENING among our worldlings. They will follow the path of a TITLED person. Tom is much interested in his CONVERT, as he thinks her. Not to ME be the glory!—Your assured friend,


From Mrs. Proudie to Mrs. Quiverful.

The Palace, Barchester, July 22.

Dear Letitia,—My hand trembles so with indignation that I can hardly direct my pen. Pray BURN my letter of July 17 at once, if you have not already done so. {8} We have been DECEIVED in that woman! She is a brazenfaced, painted daughter of Heth, and has no more right to the title of Lady Crawley than YOU have. I am told that she was at one time the paramour of Lord Steyne, and that her conduct made it impossible for her husband to live with her. And this is the woman who has come within the gates of the palace of a Christian prelate; nay, more, who has secured his signature to a cheque of very considerable value. I think my suspicions were first excited by the disappearance of the brandy in the liqueur- stand, and by meeting "her ladyship's" maid carrying the bottle up to her room! I spoke to the Bishop, but he would not listen to me- -quite unlike himself; and even turned on me in her defence.

Entering his study hastily on the following day, I found her kneeling at his feet, her yellow hair (dyed, no doubt, for she must be sixty if she is a day) about her shoulders, doing what do you suppose -? CONFESSING HERSELF TO THE BISHOP OF BARCHESTER

And he was listening to her "confession" with an appearance of interest, and with one of her hands in his.

"Serpent!" I said—and her green eyes glittered just like one— "unhand his lordship!" She gave a little laugh and said, "Dear Mrs. Proudie, do not let me monopolise the Bishop's time. Perhaps I am in the way?"

"And you shall go out of it," I said. "You are one of those who cause Israel to sin. You bring the Confessional, for it is no better, into the house of a Prelate of the Protestant Church of England!" Would you believe that she had the assurance to answer me with a passage from the Prayer Book, which I have often felt certain must be MISTRANSLATED?

"Pack, madam," said I; "we know who can quote Scripture for his own ends!"

And I pretty soon saw her out of the house, though NOT IN TIME; for the infatuated Bishop had already given her a cheque for a sum which I cannot bring myself to tell you, for the Funds of the Destitute Orange-Girls. Not a penny of it will they ever see; nor do I approve of such ostentatious alms in any case.—Yours in haste,


P.S.—I have heard from Lady Courtney all her history. It is ABOMINABLE.

LETTER: From Robert Surtees, Esq., of Mainsforth, to Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq., of Monkbarns.

It is well known that Mr. Surtees of Mainsforth not only palmed off on Sir Waiter Scott several ballads of his own manufacture, but also invented and pretended to have found in a document (since burned) the story of the duel with the spectre knight which occurs in Marmion. In the following letter this ingenious antiquary plays the same game with Mr. Jonathan Oldbuck, of Monkbarns, the celebrated antiquary. A note on the subject is published in the Appendix.

Mainsforth, May 9, 1815.

Dear Sir,—I am something of the Mussulman's humour, as you know, and never willingly pass by a scrap of printed paper, however it comes in my way. I cannot, indeed, like the "Spectator," "mention a paper kite from which I have received great improvement," nor "a hat-case which I would not exchange for all the beavers in Great Britain." It is in a less unlikely place that I have made a little discovery which will interest you, I hope; for as it chances, not only has a lost ballad been at least partially recovered, but . . . however, I will keep your learned patience on the tenterhooks for a while.

Business taking me to Newcastle of late, I found myself in Bell's little shop on the quay. {9} You know the man by report at least; he is more a collector than a bookseller, though poor; and I verily believe that he would sell all his children—Douglas Bell, Percy Bell, Hobbie Bell, and Kinmont Bell—"for a song." Ballads are his foible, and he can hardly be made to part with one of the broadsides in his broken portfolios. Well, semel insanivimus omnes (by the way, did it ever strike you that the Roman "cribbed" that line, as the vulgar say, from an epigram in the Anthology?), and you and I will scarce throw the first stone at the poor man's folly. However, I am delaying your natural eagerness. So now for the story of my great discovery. As our friend Bell would scarce let his dusty broadsheet lumber out of his hands, I was turning to leave him in no very good humour, when I noticed a small and rather long octavo, in dirty and crumpled vellum, lying on the top of a heap of rubbish, Boston's "Crook in the Lot," "The Pilgrim's Progress," and other chap-book trumpery. I do not know what good angel that watches over us collectors made me take up the thing, which I found to be nothing less than a copy of old Guillaume Coquillart. It was not Galliot du Pre's edition, in lettres rondes, but, still more precious had it only been complete, an example in black letter. I give you the whole title. First the motto, in the frieze of an architectural design, [Greek text]. Then, in small capitals -


On les vend a Lyon en la Maison de Francoys Juste, Demourant devant nostre Dame de Confort.

By bad (or good) luck this rare piece was imperfect—the back gaping and three sheets gone. But, in turning over the leaves, I saw something that brought my heart, as they say, into my mouth. So, beating down Bell from his upset price of fourpence to six bawbees, I pushed the treasure carelessly in my pocket, and never stopped till I was in a lonely place by Tyne-side and secure from observation. Then, with my knife, I very carefully uncased Maistre Guillaume, and extracted the sheet of parchment, printed in black letter with red capitals, that had been used to line the binding. A corner of it had crept out, through the injuries of time, and on that, in Bell's "crame" (for it is more a crame than a shop), I had caught the mystic words Runjt macht Gunjt.

And now, I think, Monkbarns, you prick up your ears and wipe your spectacles. That is the motto, as every one of the learned family of antiquaries is well aware, and, as you have often told me, of your great forbear, the venerable and praiseworthy Aldobrand Oldenbuck the Typographer, who fled from the Low Countries during the tyrannical attempt of Philip II. to suppress at once civil and religious liberty. As all the world knows, he withdrew from Nuremberg to Scotland, and set up his Penates and (what you may not hitherto have been aware of) his Printing Press at Fairport, and under your ancestral roof of Monkbarns. But, what will surprise you yet more, the parchment sheet which bears Aldobrand's motto in German contains printed matter in good Scots! This excellent and enterprising man must have set himself to ply his noble art in his new home, and in our unfamiliar tongue.

Yet, even now, we are not at the end of this most fortunate discovery. It would appear that there was little demand for works of learning and religion in Scotland, or at least at Fairport; for the parchment sheet contains fragments of a Ballad in the Scots tongue. None but a poor and struggling printer would then have lent his types to such work, and fortunate for us has been the poverty of your great ancestor. Here we have the very earliest printed ballad in the world, and, though fragmentary, it is the more precious as the style proves to demonstration, and against the frantic scepticism even of a Ritson, the antique and venerable character of those compositions. I send you a copy of the Ballad, with the gaps (where the tooth of time or of the worm, edax rerum, hath impaired it) filled up with conjectural restorations of my own. But how far do they fall short of the original simplicity! Non cuivis contingit. As the title is lacking, as well as the imprint, I have styled it


O Willie rade, and Willie gaed Atween the shore and sea, And still it was his dead Lady That kept him company.

O Willie rade, and Willie gaed Atween the [loch and heather], And still it was his dead Lady That [held his stirrup leather].

"O Willie, tak' me up by ye, Sae far it is I gang; O tak' me on your saddle bow, Or [your day shall not be lang]."

"Gae back, gae back, ye fause ill wife, To the grave wherein ye lie, It never was seen that a dead leman Kept lover's company!

"Gae back, gae back frae me," he said, "For this day maun I wed, And how can I kiss a living lass, When ye come frae the dead?

"If ye maun haunt a living man, Your brither haunt," says he, "For it was never my knife, but his That [twined thy life and thee!]

* * *

We are to understand, I make no doubt, that Willie had been too fortunate a lover, and that in his absence—the frailty of his lady becoming conspicuous—her brother had avenged the family honour according to that old law of Scotland which the courteous Ariosto styles "l' aspra legge di Scozia, empia e severa."

Pray let me know, at your leisure, what you think of this trouvaille. It is, of course, entirely at your service, if you think it worthy of a place in a new edition of the "Minstrelsy." I have no room to inflict more ballads or legends on you; and remain, most faithfully yours,


LETTER: From Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq., of Monkbarns, to Robert Surtees, Esq., Mainsforth.

Monkbarns, June 1.

My Dear Sir,—How kind hath Fortune been to you, and, in a secondary degree, to myself. Your letter must dispel the unreasoning and I fear envious scepticism of MacCribb, who has put forth a plaunflet (I love that old spelling) in which he derides the history of Aldobrand Oldenbuck as a fable. The Ballad shall, indeed, have an honoured place in my poor Collection whenever the public taste calls for a new edition. But the original, what would I not give to have it in my hands, to touch the very parchment which came from the press of my revered ancestor, and, gloating on the crabbed letters, confute MacCribb to his face ipso visu et tactu of so inestimable a rarity. Exchanges—or "swaps," as the vulgar call them—are not unknown among our fraternity. Ask what you will for this treasure, to the half of my kingdom: my gold Aurelius (found at Bermuckety, on the very limits of Roman Caledonia), my "Complaynte of Scotland" (the only perfect copy known),

My copperplate, with almanacks Engrav'd upon't, and other knacks; My moon-dial, with Napier's bones And several constellation stones.

Make your choice, in fact, of all my Gabions, as honest old George Ruthven called them.

Nay, excuse the covetousness of an Antiquary, my dear sir; I well know that nothing I could offer were worth a tithe of your priceless discovery, the oldest printed Scots Ballad extant. It shall suffice for me to look on it, under the roof of Mainsforth, when next I make a raid across the Border. I have conquered my passions, and can obey the last of the Commandments. Haud equiden invideo, minor magis. I need not bid you be watchful of your booty.—Yours most faithfully,


From Robert Surtees, Esq., to Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq.

June 11.

My Dear Sir,—Alas, your warning comes too late. An accursed example of womankind, fit descendant of that unhappy Betty Barnes, cook to Mr. Warburton, who destroyed his ancient manuscript plays, hath invaded my sanctum, and the original black-letter text of the ballad has gone to join Shakspeare's "Stephen" and "Henry II." She hath lit with it my study fire, and it is fortunate indeed that I had made the copy of the ballad for you. But the volume of Coquillart is alive to testify to the authenticity of the poem; which, after all, is needless evidence, as not even Ritson could suspect of either the skill or the malice of such a forgery, Yours most faithfully,


LETTER: From Nicholas to the Editor of the St. James's Gazette,

It is only too probable that a later generation has forgotten "Nicholas," the sporting Prophet of "Fun," in the reign of Mr. Hood the younger. The little work, "Nicholas's Notes," in which Mr. W. J. Prowse collected the papers of the old Prophet, is, indeed, not an "edition de looks," as the aged Seer says, with his simple humour. From the Paradise of Fiction, however (and the Paradise of Touts), Nicholas has communicated, perhaps to the Psychical Society, the following Epistle. His friendly mention of a brother journalist speaks well for the Old Man's head and heart.

The Paradise of Fiction, Feb. 9, 1888.

Sir,—My dear young friend, it is ten to one, and no takers, that the public, than whom, between you and me, I do not think much of them, have forgotten Nicholas, or even never heard of the Prophet. Youth will be served; and it is now between twenty years since he left off vaticinating in "Fun," during young Mr. Hood's time, of future sportive events for to come, and came to live HERE with the other celebrated characters of Fiction, than whom I am sure a more mixed lot, though perhaps a little gay. It having come to the Prophet's knowledge that some of them was writing letters to "The St. James's Gazette" (than which I am sure none more respectable, though perhaps a little not quite so attentive to sportive interests as it might be), he have decided that Nicholas will take up his pen once more, as of old.

The State of the Turf, my dear young friend, since an old but still handsome bird would freely alight (when not warned off) on Newmarket Heath, have caused Nicholas some anxiety. Sir, between you and me, IT IS RAPIDLY GETTING NO BETTER. Here is Lord — (than whom a more sterling sportsman) as good as saying to Sir — (than whom, perhaps), "Did you ever hear of a sporting character called Swindells?" And the Prophet HAVE been told that it may furnish matter for the gentlemen of the long robe—which, in my time, many of them was backers of horses.

And all along of what? Why, of the "inexplicable in-and-out running of horses," as the "Standard" says, and as will often happen, you, perhaps, having a likely dark one as you want to get light into a high-class autumn handicap. The days is long past since Nicholas was nuts on the game little Lecturer, but still has the interests of the Turf at heart; and, my dear young friend, if horses never ran in and out, where would be "the glorious uncertainty of the sport"? On the whole, then, if asked my opinion on this affair, the Prophet would say—putting it ambiguous-like— "Gentlemen, when there's so much dirty linen to wash, can't you remember that we're all pretty much tarred with the same brush?" A great politician—which a lot of his family is here, Coningsby, and the Young Duke, and many other sportsmen—used to say as what the Turf was "a gigantic engine of national demoralisation;" which Nicholas is not quite sure but what he was right for him, though his language on rather a large scale. Horses running in and out is inexplicable! Why, gents all, which of us WOULDN'T do it, if he had the chance to put the pot on handsome, human nature being what it is, especially considering the lowness of the market odds as you have often and often to be content with. In short, the more you stir it the more it won't exactly remind you of gales from Araby the Blest; than which a more delightful country, only not to be found on any atlas as Nicholas ever cast a glance at the map, however large.

But enough of a subject than which perhaps one more painful to me; the Prophet having often and often, in early days, been warned off Newmarket Heath himself, and called a "disreputable old tout," though only labouring in his vocation.

(Make a new beginning here, please, Printer.)

It have come to the knowledge of the Prophet that his "Notes" are not quite so much read as they once was, partly owing, no doubt, to the book being not so much an "edition de looks" as rather a low- lived lot, to a casual eye, at fourpence; the picture outside representing Nicholas rather as having had too much for to drink than as a prominent member of the Blue Ribbon Society, which it did not exist in his period, nor would it have enjoyed, to any considerable extent, my personal or pecuniary support, he having something else to do with his money. (Printer, please put in a full stop somewhere here, Nicholas being a little out of the habit of writing for the periodical press.) He have also heard that it is proposed in literary circles to start a "Nicholas Society" for the purpose of printing a limited edition of my works including my lost treatise of Knur and Spell, on Japanese paper, illustrated with photo-gravelures; they having come in since the Prophet's period, though perhaps a little gay.

But, my dear though exquisite young friends, is there no better way of rallying round the Prophet than THIS? I have heard, from characters in ancient literature, such as Agamemnon—than whom a more energetic soldier, though perhaps a trifle arbitrary—the Prophet HAVE heard, I say, that a deal of liquor used to be poured on the graves of coves like him and me, and that it did them good. This may be the case, and anyway the experiment is well worth trying; though, I would say, do not let it be milk, as I gather was customary in early times, as didn't know any better; but, if possible, a bottle or two of sherry wine, to which, as is well beknown, Nicholas was partial. He will now conclude; and the Prophet hopes that an experiment, than which, I am sure, one more deeply interesting, will not be deferred; he not much taking to the liquor here, though the company makes up for a great deal, especially an Irish officer by the name of Costigan, than whom a sweeter singer or a more honourable gentleman; and signs himself, with gratitude for past favours, and kind respects to the Editor of the "Guardian,"


LETTER: From the Earl of Montrose to Captain Dugald Dalgetty.

Whoever has read the "Memoirs of Monsieur d'Artagnan"—a Marshal in the French King's service—as they are published by Monsieur Alexandre Dumas in "Les Trois Mousquetaires," will not have forgotten that duel behind the Luxembourg, in which, as is declared, an Englishman ran away from the Chevalier d'Herblay, called Aramis in his regiment. Englishmen have never held that Monsieur Dumas was well informed about this affair. The following letters of the Great Marquis and Captain Dalgetty from the "Kirkhope Papers" prove that Englishmen were in the right.

-, 164-.

Sir,—Touching that I did, to your apprehension, turn away from you with some show of coldness on your late coming, it may be that you but little misread me. But, for that no man is condemned without a hearing, I would fain know under your own hand the truth concerning that whereof a shameful report is bruited abroad, even in the "Gallo Belgicus" and the "Fliegender Mercoeur" of Leipsic—namely, that in a certain duel lately fought in Paris behind the Palace of the Luxembourg, four Englishmen encountering as many Musketeers of the French King's, one out of this realm, to our disgrace, shamefully fled; and he (by report) Rittmaster Dugald Dalgetty. Till which, bruit be either abolished, and the stain—as an ill blot on a clean scutcheon—wiped away, or as shamefully acknowledged as it is itself shameful, I abide, as I shall hear from yourself,


From Captain Dugald Dalgetty, of Drumthwacket, to the Most Noble and Puissant Prince James, Earl of Montrose, commanding the musters of the King in Scotland. These -

My Lord,—As touching the bruit, or fama, as we said at the Mareschal College, I shall forthwith answer, and that peremptorie. For this story of the duello, as a man may say (though, indeed, they that fought in it were not in the dual number, as your Grecian hath it, but eight soldados—seven of them gallant men), truly the story is of the longest; but as your lordship will have it, though more expert with the sword than the goosequill, I must even buckle to.

Let your lordship conceive of your poor officer, once lieutenant and Rittmaster under that invincible monarch, the bulwark of the Protestant faith, Gustavus the Victorious; conceive, I say, Dugald Dalgetty, of Drumthwacket that should be, in Paris, concerned with a matter of weight and moment not necessary to be mooted or minted of. As I am sitting at my tavern ordinary, for I consider that an experienced cavalier should ever lay in provenant as occasion serveth, comes in to me a stipendiary of my Lord Winter, bidding me know that his master would speak to me: and that not coram populo, as I doubt not your lordship said at St. Leonard's College in St. Andrews, but privily. Thereon I rise and wait on him; to be brief- -brevis esse laboro, as we said lang syne—his lordship would have me to be of his backers in private rencontre with four gentlemen of the King's Musketeers.

Concerning the cause of this duello, I may well say teterrima causa. His lordship's own sister Milady Clarik was in question; she being, I fear me, rather akin in her way of life to Jean Drocheils (whom your lordship may remember; for, the Baillies expulsing her from Aberdeen, she migrated to St. Andrews, ad eundem, as the saying is) than like, in her walk and conduct, to a virtuous lady of a noble family. She was, indeed, as current rumour had it, the light o'love or belle amie of Monsieur d'Artagnan, his lordship's adversary.

But of siclike least said soonest mended. I take cloak and sword, and follow with his lordship and two other experienced cavaliers unto the place of rencontre, being a waste croft whereon a loon was herding goats, behind the Palace of the Luxembourg. Here we find waiting us four soldados, proper tall men of their hands, who receive us courteously. He that first gave cause of quarrel to my Lord Winter bore a worthy name enough out of Gascony, that is arida nutrix, as we said at the Mareschal College, of honourable soldados—to wit, as I said, he was Monsieur d'Artagnan. To his friends, howbeit, he gave sic heathen titles as I never saw or heard of out of the Grecian books: namely, Monsieur Porthos, a very tall man, albeit something of a lourdaud; Monsieur Athos; and he that was to be mine own opposite, Monsieur Aramis. Hearing these outlandish and insolent appellations, I thought it becoming me, as an honourable cavalier, to resent this fashion of presenting: and demurred that a gentleman of the House of Dalgetty of Drumthwacket could neither take affront from, nor give honourable satisfaction to, a nameless landlouper. Wherein your lordship, I doubt me not, will hold me justificate.

Lord Winter homologating mine opinion, he that called himself Athos drew each of us apart, and whispered the true names and qualities territorial of these gentlemen; the whilk, as may befall honourable soldados, they had reason sufficient to conceal while serving as private gentlemen in a regiment, though disdaining to receive halberds, as unbecoming their birth. He that aligned himself forenenst me was styled the Chevalier d'Herblay; and, the word being given, we fell to.

Now, mine adversary declining to fight comminus gladio, but breaking ground in a manner unworthy of a gallant soldado, and the place, saving your presence, being somewhat slippery and treacherous because of the goats that were fed there, I delivered a sufficient onslaught; and he fell, his sword flying from his hand. When I had taken his weapon—the spolia opima, as we said at Mareschal College—I bid him rise, and then discoursed him on the dishonour of such a hasty defeat. Then, he confessing himself to me that, though under arms, he was a young fledgeling priest in Popish orders, I began upon him with such words on his disgracing the noble profession of arms as might have made him choose to return to his cloister; when suddenly he fled, and, being young and light-footed, robbed me, not only of such caduacs and casualties as an experienced cavalier might well take from his prisoner for ransom, but also, as now it appears, of my good name. For I doubt not that this musketeer priest, Monsieur Aramis, or l'Abbe d'Herblay (for he hath as many names as I have seen campaigns), was the loon that beguiled with a lying tale the newsman of the "Gallo Belgicus." And I have ever seen that an honourable soldado will give the go-by to these newsmen and their flying sheets, as unworthy of the notice of honourable cavaliers; of whom (recommending your lordship for the truth of my tale to my Lord Winter, now with his gracious Majesty the King) I am fain to subscribe myself one, and your lordship's poor officer, as ye shall entreat him,

DUGALD DALGETTY, of Drumthwacket,

Late Commander of the whole stift of Dunklespiel on the Lower Rhine.

LETTER: From Mr. Lovelace to John Belford, Esq.

The following letter must have been omitted from the papers to which Mr. Samuel Richardson, the editor of "Clarissa," had access. It was written, apparently, after the disgraceful success of Lovelace's disgraceful adventure, and shows us that scoundrel in company not choice, indeed, but better than he deserved, the society of Mr. Thomas Jones, a Foundling. Mr. Jones's admirable wife (nee Western), having heard of Lovelace's conduct, sent her husband to execute that revenge which should have been competed for by every man of heart. It will be seen that Mr. Jones was no match for the perfidies of Mr. Lovelace. The cynical reflections of that bad man on Lord Fellamar, and his relations with Mrs. Jones, will only cause indignation and contempt among her innumerable and honourable admirers. They will remember the critical and painful circumstances as recorded in Mr. Henry Fielding's biography of Mr. Jones.

Parcius junctas quatiunt fenestras Ictibus crebris juvenes protervi.

Curse upon thy stars, Jack! How long wilt thou beat me about the head with thy musty citations from Nat Lee and thy troop of poetical divines? Thou hast driven me to motto-hunting for the comeliness of mine epistle, like the weekly scribblers. See, Jack, I have an adventure to tell thee! It is not the avenging Morden that hath flashed through the window, sword in hand, as in my frightful dream; nor hath the statue of the Commandant visited me, like Don Juan, that Rake of Spain; but a challenger came hither that is not akin to my beloved Miss. Dost remember a tall, fresh- coloured, cudgel-playing oaf that my Lady Bellaston led about with her—as maids lead apes in hell, though he more of an ape than she of a maid—'tis a year gone? This brawny-beefed chairman hath married a fortune and a delicious girl, you dog, Miss Sophia Western, of Somerset, and is now in train, I doubt not, to beget as goodly a tribe of chuckle-headed boys and whey-faced wenches as you shall see round an old squire's tomb in a parish church. Wherefore does he not abide at this his appointed lawful husbandry, I marvel; but not a whit!

Our cursed adventure hath spread from the flippanti of both sexes down to the heathenish parts of Somerset; where it hath reached Madam Jones's ears, and inflamed this pretty vixen with a desire to avenge Miss Harlowe on me, and by the cudgel of Mr. Jones, his Sophia having sent him up to town for no other purpose. De la Tour, my man, came to me yesterday morning with the tidings that the New Giant, as he supposes, waits on me to solicit the favour of my patronage. I am in the powdering closet, being bound for a rout, and cry, "Let the Giant in!" Then a heavy tread: and, looking up, what do I see but a shoulder-of-mutton fist at my nose, and lo! a Somerset tongue cries, "Lovelace, thou villain, thou shalt taste of this!" A man in a powdering closet cannot fight, even if he be a boxing glutton like your Figs and other gladiators of the Artillery Ground. Needs must I parley. "What," says I, "what, the happy Mr. Jones from the West! What brings him here among the wicked, and how can the possessor of the beauteous Sophia be a moment from her charms?"

"Take not her name," cries my clod-hopper, "into thy perjured mouth. 'Tis herself sends me here to avenge the best, the most injured . . . " Here he fell a-blubbering! Oh, Belford, the virtue of this world is a great discourager of repentance.

"If Mr. Jones insists on the arbitrament of the sword . . . " I was beginning—"Nay, none of thy Frenchified blades," cries he, "come out of thy earth, thou stinking fox, and try conclusions with an English cudgel!"

Belford, I am no cudgel-player, and I knew not well how to rid myself of this swasher.

"Mr. Jones!" I said, "I will fight you how you will, where you will, with what weapon you will; but first inform me of the nature of our quarrel. Would you blazon abroad yet further the malignant tales that have injured both me and a lady for whom I have none but the most hallowed esteem? I pray you sit down, Sir; be calm, the light is ill for any play with cudgel or sword. De la Tour, a bottle of right Burgundy; Mr. Jones and I have business, and he hath travelled far."

In a trice there was a chicken, a bottle, a set of knives and forks, a white cloth, and a hungry oaf that did eat and swear! One bottle followed another. By the third Mr. Jones embraced me, saying that never had a man been more belied than I; that it was Lord Fellamar, not I, was the villain. To this effect I own that I did myself drop a hint; conceiving that the divine Sophia must often have regretted our friend Fellamar when once she was bound to the oaf, and that Jones was capable of a resentful jealousy. By midnight I had to call a chair for my besotted challenger, and when the Avenger was there safely bestowed, I asked him where the men should carry him? His tongue being now thick, and his brains bemused, he could not find the sign of his inn in his noddle. So, the merry devil prompting me, I gave the men the address of his ancient flame, my Lady Bellaston, and off they jogged with Jones.

Was there ever, Belford, a stranger amoris redintegratio than this must have been, when our Lydia heard the old love at the rarely shaken doors:

Me tuo longas pereunte noctes, Lydia, dormis?

Ah, how little hath Madam Sophia taken by despatching her lord to town, and all to break my head. My fellow, who carries this to thee, has just met Fellamar's man, and tells me that FELLAMAR YESTERDAY WENT DOWN INTO SOMERSET. What bodes this rare conjunction and disjunction of man and wife and of old affections? and hath "Thomas, a Foundling," too, gone the way of all flesh?


No news of the dear fugitive! Ah, Belford, my conscience and my cousins call me a villain! Minxes all.

LETTER: From Miss Catherine Morland to Miss Eleanor Tilney.

Miss Catherine Morland, of "Northanger Abbey," gives her account of a visit to Mr. Rochester, and of his governess's peculiar behaviour. Mrs. Rochester (nee Eyre) has no mention of this in her Memoirs.

Thornfield, Midnight

At length, my dear Eleanor, the terrors on which you have so often rallied me are become REALITIES, and your Catherine is in the midst of those circumstances to which we may, without exaggeration, give the epithet "horrible." I write, as I firmly believe, from the mansion of a maniac! On a visit to my Aunt Ingram, and carried by her to Thornfield, the seat of her wealthy neighbour, Mr. Rochester, how shall your Catherine's trembling pen unfold the mysteries by which she finds herself surrounded! No sooner had I entered this battlemented mansion than a cold chill struck through me, as with a sense of some brooding terror. All, indeed, was elegance, all splendour! The arches were hung with Tyrian-dyed curtains. The ornaments on the pale Parian mantelpiece were of red Bohemian glass. Everywhere were crimson couches and sofas. The housekeeper, Mrs. Fairfax, pointed out to my notice some vases of fine purple spar, and on all sides were Turkey carpets and large mirrors. Elegance of taste and fastidious research of ornament could do no more; but what is luxury to the mind ill at ease? or can a restless conscience be stilled by red Bohemian glass or pale Parian mantelpieces?

No, alas! too plainly was this conspicuous when, on entering the library, we found Mr. Rochester—alone! The envied possessor of all this opulence can be no happy man. He was seated with his head bent on his folded arms, and when he looked up a morose—almost a malignant—scowl blackened his features! Hastily beckoning to the governess, who entered with us, to follow him, he exclaimed, "Oh, hang it all!" in an accent of despair, and rushed from the chamber. We distinctly heard the doors clanging behind him as he flew! At dinner, the same hollow reserve; his conversation entirely confined to the governess (a Miss Eyre), whose position here your Catherine does not understand, and to whom I distinctly heard him observe that Miss Blanche Ingram was "an extensive armful."

The evening was spent in the lugubrious mockery of pretending to consult an old gipsy-woman who smoked a short black pipe, and was recognised BY ALL as Mr. Rochester in disguise. I was conducted by Miss Eyre to my bedroom—through a long passage, narrow, low, and dim, with two rows of small black doors, all shut; 'twas like a corridor in some Blue Beard's castle. "Hurry, hurry, I hear the chains rattling," said this strange girl; whose position, my Eleanor, in this house causes your Catherine some natural perplexity. When we had reached my chamber, "Be silent, silent as death," said Miss Eyre, her finger on her lip and her meagre body convulsed with some mysterious emotion. "Speak not of what you hear, do not remember what you see!" and she was gone.

I undressed, after testing the walls for secret panels and looking for assassins in the usual place, but was haunted all the time by an unnatural sound of laughter. At length, groping my way to the bed, I jumped hastily in, and would have sought some suspension of anguish by creeping far underneath the clothes. But even this refuge was denied to your wretched Catherine! I could not stretch my limbs; for the sheet, my dear Eleanor, had been so arranged, in some manner which I do not understand, as to render this impossible. The laughter seemed to redouble. I heard a footstep at my door. I hurried on my frock and shawl and crept into the gallery. A strange dark figure was gliding in front of me, stooping at each door; and every time it stooped, came A LOW GURGLING NOISE! Inspired by I know not what desperation of courage, I rushed on the figure and seized it by the neck. It was Miss Eyre, the governess, filling the boots of all the guests with water, which she carried in a can. When she saw me she gave a scream and threw herself against a door hung with a curtain of Tyrian dye. It yielded, and there poured into the passage a blue cloud of smoke, with a strong and odious smell of cigars, into which (and to what company?) she vanished. I groped my way as well as I might to my own chamber: where each hour the clocks, as they struck, found an echo in the apprehensive heart of

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