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Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 4 (Homes Abroad, For Each and For All, French Wines and Politics) [1834]

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Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Political Economy (3rd ed) in 9 vols. (London: Charles Fox, 1834). Vol. 4.

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About this Title:

Vol. 4 of 9 in which Martineau writes short “tales” to show ordinary readers how the free market operates.

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The text is in the public domain.

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This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

Printed by William Clowes,
Duke-street, Lambeth.

Edition: current; Page: [iii]


    • 1. Home in a Paradise 1
    • 2. Homes on the Waste 18
    • 3. Going in search of Home . . . . 35
    • 4. New Homes . . 48
    • 5. The Castles at Home 63
    • 6. Law and Justice . 75
    • 7. Christmas Amusements . . . . 85
    • 8. The More the better Cheer . . . . 106
    • 9. True Citizenship . 114
    • 1. Novelty . . . . 1
    • 2. Pastime . . . . 18
    • 3. Discussion . . . 29
    • 4. More Novelty . . 45
    • 5. Observing at hand 62
    • 6. Observing afar . 70
    • 7. One for Himself . 87
    • 8. Consequences . . 108
    • 9. Each for All . . 118
    • 1. Vine-Growing . . 1
    • 2. Signs of the Time . 19
    • 3. The Temper of the Time . . . . 29
    • 4. Deeds of the Time . 50
    • 5. The Philosophy of Bargaining . . 72
    • 6. New Devices . . 82
    • 7. Mob Sovereignty . 99
    • 8. Upshot of Feudalism 122
    • 9. Adjustment . . 134
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Edition: current; Page: [v]
A Tale
Edition: current; Page: [vi]


  • 1. Home in a Paradise . . . . . . . 1
  • 2. Homes on the waste . . . . . . 18
  • 3. Going in search of Home . . . . . 35
  • 4. New homes . . . . . . . . . 48
  • 5. The Castles at home . . . . . 63
  • 6. Law and Justice . . . . . . . 75
  • 7. Christmas amusements . . . . . 85
  • 8. The more the better cheer . . . . 106
  • 9. True citizenship . . . . . . . 114
Edition: current; Page: [1]



The fair and fertile county of Kent has long suffered peculiarly from the poverty of its labouring population. To the traveller who merely passes through it, it looks like a fruitful garden, capable of affording support to as many inhabitants as can gather round its neat towns, or settle on the borders of its orchards, hop-grounds, and corn-fields; yet it is certain that nowhere,— not. in the alleys of Manchester or the cellars of London,—is more abject, hopeless poverty to be found than in some of the country parishes of Kent. One class murmurs about tithes, and rages about poor-rates, while another sets law at defiance, and fills the country with news of murderous poaching expeditions, and of midnight fires;—guilty adventures, of which the first brings in only a precarious and dearly bought advantage, and the other is the most effectual method that could be devised for increasing the very evils under which the people are groaning. Some years ago,—before the first ruffian or fool of a rick-burner had conceived the bright Edition: current; Page: [2] idea of destroying food because the people were starving,— the parish of A——, in Kent, seemed to some of its inhabitants to be sunk into the lowest depth of poverty that could be found in a country like England; though, alas! it has since been proved that more remained to be endured by its population than had yet been experienced. The parish of A——contained at that time about two thousand persons; the number of labourers, including boys, was about 450, of whom upwards of 300 were of the agricultural class. The farmers were doing badly, and could not employ all these people; or, if they employed all, could not sufficiently pay any. They reckoned that there were between fifty and sixty able-bodied men more than were wanted. The burden on the parish of these men and their wives and families was very grievous to the poorer class of ratepayers; and in proportion as it became more difficult to them to pay, the numbers and the wants of the paupers increased; and among the whole body of the population of A——the effects of want showed themselves more and more every day in the spread of recklessness and crime. It mattered not that in spring the orchards were gay with the delicate pink of the apple-blossom, or that flourishing young plantations put forth their early verdure as if the place had been a paradise; for there were theft in the woods, and murmurs of discontent from beneath the hedgerows. It mattered not that in autumn the hop-pickers were busy gathering in their fragrant harvest; for too many of them had fathers, or brothers, or sons Edition: current; Page: [3] looking on idly from a distance, envious of their employed companions, and thankless that the season had been propitious to the ripening of the delicate crop. It mattered not that the sun shone on fertile valleys and snug homesteads: for many a houseless parent scowled upon comforts which he must not share; many a child shivered with disease and hunger amidst the noonday heat. It mattered not even that new dwellings for the poor were rising up here and there; for their creation was no sign of prosperity. They were reared by speculators in pauperism, who depended on the rents being paid out of the rate. From this circumstance, it was easy to guess by what class they would be occupied; — not by such cottagers as England boasted of a century and a half ago, but by reckless youths with their younger wives, who depended on the parish to help out the insufficient resources of their labour.

These new cottages were an eye-sore to some of the once-prosperous inhabitants of the parish, who were for ever complaining that the bread was snatched from their mouths by new comers. Among the grumblers was Castle; a man who, without fault of his own, was, in the full vigour of life, reduced from a state of comfortable independence to the very verge of pauperism. He had married early, and proved himself justified in doing so, having been able, not only to support the two children of his first marriage, but to fit them for maintaining themselves by proper training in their occupations. Frank had served his apprenticeship to a house-carpenter, and was How Edition: current; Page: [4] a skilful and industrious workman of one-and——twenty years of age. His sister Ellen, three years younger, was a neat-handed dairy-maid, whom any farmer might be glad to have in his establishment. That she was out at service, and that Frank had something to do, however little, were the chief comforts of poor Castle at this time; for his own affairs looked dismal enough. He had married a second time, a woman much younger than himself, who had never known hardship, and was little prepared to meet it, however gay her temper seemed before there was any thing to try it. She did nothing for her husband but bring him children and nurse them till they died, which they almost all did as times grew worse and comforts became scarce. Only one little girl, now six years old, remained at home of all his second family. There were indeed two lads who called him father, though he had for some time disowned them as sons. He declared that Jerry and Bob were born rogues and vagabonds; and gave a peevish notice to all whom it might concern that he had cast them off to follow their evil courses, as they were so given to theft that it would ruin him to be made answerable for their misdeeds. Some people thought that fifteen and sixteen were ages at which some hope of reformation was yet left; and saw moreover that the lads had been driven to crime by want, and prevented from returning by dread of their parents tempers. Castle was now almost invariably low and peevish; and at five-and-forty had the querulous tone, wrinkled face, and lagging Edition: current; Page: [5] gait of an old man. The effect of hardship had been even worse upon his wife than upon himself. Instead of being peevish, she seemed to have lost all feeling; and while her husband yet worked as long as he could get any thing to do, she was as lazy as if she had been brought up to live on parish bread. The only person who believed that any good remained in her was her step-daughter Ellen, who never forgot what a trying change of circumstances she had been exposed to, and persisted in saying, whenever she heard her attacked, that a twelvemonth's health and prosperity would show her to be a very different person from what the neighbours supposed. “Give her help and hope,” she said, “give her work and something to work for, and her voice will come down to what it was when she sang her first baby to sleep; and she will clean up her room herself, instead of preventing any one doing it for her. She will go to church again then, and learn to like Frank as she should do, and not curse her own poor boys as she does.” Some of Ellen's neighbours thought this cant; others believed her sincere in her hopes of her stepmother; but all agreed, when the crisis of Castle's affairs arrived at last, that, honestly or hypocritically, Ellen prophesied wrong.

News came that Jerry and Bob had been taken up for robbing and cruelly beating two young gentlemen whom they had decoyed into a wood on pretence of birds-nesting; and that, if not hanged, they would be transported. Castle declared, though with a quivering lip, that this Edition: current; Page: [6] was what he had always expected. His wife went further. She hoped they would be hanged, and put out of the way of being more trouble to any body. She exhorted her husband to take no steps on their behalf, but be thankful that he was rid of them. The neighbours cried “Shame!” and prevailed with Castle so far as to induce him to go to the magistrate who had committed the lads, and swear to their ages; as they were taken by strangers to be much older than they really were, and an explanation on this point might procure a mitigation of punishment. Castle was unwilling to leave home for two days while his wife was hourly expecting her confinement; but a woman who lodged in the same cottage offered to be with her, on condition of receiving the same attention from her when she should want it a short time hence.—Castle was scarcely gone when his wife had to send for assistance; and before her child was born, the neighbour who was with her was in a similar plight. It was the middle of the night; and the parish surgeon who attended them had no help at hand, and could not leave them to call for any. He wrapped up the two infants in the remains of a blanket, and laid them beside the fire he had himself lighted. It very naturally happened that he did not know which was which of the children, and that he had not presence of mind to conceal the difficulty. On taking them up, it was found that one was dead. His horror was great on perceiving that, instead of there being any regret on this account, each mother was anxious to make out that the dead Edition: current; Page: [7] infant must be her own. Neither of them would touch the living one*.

An unobserved or forgotten witness appeared in the person of Castle's little daughter Susan, who had crept out from her dark corner to peep at the babes in the blanket.

“That is the one you wrapped up first, Sir,” she said, pointing to the living infant.

“How do you know, my dear?”

“She knows well enough,” said the neighbour; “she had nothing to do but to watch. She—”

“How do you know, my dear?” persisted the surgeon.

“Because this corner of the blanket fell under the grate, and got all black; and when you brought the other baby you wrapped it up in the black part. Look!”

“'Tis all true,” said Castle's wife, “and her child was born first.”

The surgeon set her right, and considered the matter decided; but it was far from being so. She scolded her little daughter for her testimony till the child slunk out of the room; she pushed the infant roughly from her, and cursed it for its cries. Her neighbour insultingly told her it was certainly sent to make up to her for one of the lads that was going to be hanged, and that it was only a pity she had not had twins. Words, dreadful to hear from a mother's lips, followed. The contention grew louder and more Edition: current; Page: [8] violent, till the surgeon, fearing for their lives and senses, and being unable any longer to bear a scene so unnatural and horrible, left the room, bearing with him the innocent cause of dispute. Little Susan was on the stairs, still sobbing and afraid to go in; so she was also taken home by the surgeon, when he had sent in a neighbour to tend his two patients.

“Here, my dear,” said he to his wife, on entering his own door, “put this child to bed somewhere, and try if you can contrive to keep the infant alive till we can send it to the workhouse in the morning.”

“What has agitated you so much? Whose children are these?”

“The children of Providence only, my dear; for the hearts of parents are turned against their own offspring in these days. — What have I seen! I have seen the contention of mothers for a dead child. I have been with mothers who would thank any Solomon that should order the living child to be cut in two. Solomon himself could not read mothers' hearts in these days.”

“We will not be hard upon them,” said his wife. “It is want that has done this; — want like that which made a mother of Solomon's nation devour her own child. We will not blame them. Would we could help them!”

The matter ended in the infant's being received into the workhouse, little Susan's testimony, though strong, not being so conclusive as to justify tile surgeon's swearing to the parentage of the child; and there was no one else who could. Edition: current; Page: [9] When Castle returned, he observed that it signified little, as the parish must at all events have maintained the babe; neither he nor his neighbours could keep out of the workhouse much longer. This was soon found to be too true, when Ellen came home, being obliged to give up her place to a parish girl, and Frank appeared, with a grave face, to say that he was out of work, and had been so for so long a time, that he was convinced nothing was to be done but to go and seek his fortune elsewhere.

Many were the consultations between himself and his sister as to where he should go. There was but little chance of being better off in England. He mentioned Canada; he rather inclined to the Swan-river settlement; but when news came that Jerry and Bob were sentenced to transportation, the idea struck the brother and sister at once that the whole family might follow, and by settling near the convicts, keep an eye upon them, and possibly recover them when they should be removed from the temptations which had proved too strong for them. Frank had heard much of the advantages of emigrating to New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land; and it appeared to him that no family was ever in circumstances that made the experiment less perilous than his own at this time. While Ellen took upon herself to mention the scheme to her father, Frank went to the curate of the parish, Mr. Jackson, whom he knew to have been employed in forwarding the emigration of some pauper labourers from the neighbourhood; and Edition: current; Page: [10] from this gentleman he learned much of what he wanted to know.

It was to Van Diemen's Land that Mr. Jackson had assisted in sending out some of his parishioners; and thither he advised Frank to go with his family, as there was a great demand for labour, both agricultural and mechanical, and as it would be the best situation for Ellen, from the great scarcity of female servants, especially dairy women. It seemed very possible that interest might be made to get their brothers sent to the same place, as there were many convicts there already, and more were wanted as farm-servants. As to how the means of conveyance were to be raised,—the common method, Mr. Jackson said, was for labourers to bind themselves for five or seven years to some settler in the colony, at a certain rate of wages, from which the expenses of the passage, and of food, clothing and habitation for the term of years, were to be deducted. Castle and his wife might thus bind themselves, the one as a farm, the other as a domestic servant in a family; and Frank's mechanical skill might enable him to make very good terms in the same sort of agreement. For Ellen, a better way still was open, if she could fortunately get included in the number of young women who were to be sent out by government from time to time, to supply the great want of female population in the Australian colonies. Mr. Jackson lent Frank books which informed him of the state and prospects of the country whither he wished to go, and several papers issued by government which explained Edition: current; Page: [11] the terms under which emigration was authorized by them. Frank found that the sum of money necessary to be raised was somewhat larger than he had supposed, but that the means of repayment were certain and easy. If Ellen could obtain a certificate from the clergyman of her parish, that she was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, that her health and character were good, and that half the expense of her passage, namely, 8l., could be advanced by her parents, or friends, or the parish, she might stand her chance of being chosen by the government to be sent out under safe guardianship, and immediately placed in a service on her arrival in the colony. There would be no impediment to her marrying as soon as she chose to do so; for which there were only too many opportunities from the circumstance of there being a very small proportion of women in the colony. If the parish could be prevailed on to advance the necessary sum for the conveyance of the rest of the family, it seemed that the prospects of all would become far better than they could ever grow at home,—better than Frank had dared to imagine since his childhood. It seemed so clearly the interest of the parish to favour the plan, that Frank returned to the consultation with Mr. Jackson, full of hope that a way was opening for finding, in a new country, those due rewards of labour which his native land seemed no longer in a condition to afford.

“What says your father to your scheme?” inquired Mr. Jackson in the first place.

Edition: current; Page: [12]

“Very much what he says to all schemes, Sir, He likes nothing that is proposed, and fears every new plan. But as he dislikes and fears becoming department on the parish more than any thing else, I have great hopes that he will consent to go, if, after further consideration, I view the matter as I do now. We will do nothing hastily; but I certainly feel at present as if redemption was offered from a bondage which wears the soul and sickens the heart of man, There's my poor father——”

“Stay, stay, Frank. What do you mean by bondage?”

“The bondage of poverty, Sir; of hopeless, grinding poverty. What bondage cows a man's spirit more? What sours and debases and goads him more than to work and work from year to year in vain? If it was a curse upon Adam to get bread by the sweat of his brow, what is it to give the sweat of one's brow and get no bread?”

“It is a hardship which ought not to be borne when a fair way is open to shake it off. I only checked you in the fear that you might be laying blame where it is not due. I agree with you as to the evils of your case, and the remedy you would seek.”

“As to where the blame lies, Sir, our institutions must share it among them;—as well those in which the people are concerned, as the government. It is pretty clear, all the while, that the people in this parish are more than can be fed; and so the right way seems to be for some to go Edition: current; Page: [13] where food abounds; and the sooner they are off, the better for themselves and those they leave behind, when once they have settled where to go,”

“And who is to go?—for that is a question of no less importance,” observed Mr. Jackson. “You would not take all your relations, Frank, would you?”

Frank replied that they were all equally in want, his grandfather and grandmother as well as his father.

“But those who will help you to go,” continued Mr. Jackson, “must consider the welfare of the country as well as yours. The parish must pay more for the passage and maintenance of your grandfather than he will probably cost them at home, and this cannot be expected of them if, for the same sum, they could send over a young couple, whose labour is wanted abroad, and whose family will never become burdensome.”

Frank saw at once that in sending over a young couple, the parish sent over also all their descendants, besides supplying a want in the colony abroad. After a few moments' thought, he went on,—

“Surely, Sir, it would relieve the count of its over-fulness at once, to send out a certain number of young people every year, as they become marriageable, instead of spending the same money in giving a passage to old people?”

“It would; and the entire effect of emigration, as a method of relief to the country at large, depends Edition: current; Page: [14] on the selection of those who are to go. The number of persons who become marriageable every year in this country is now 800,000. If these were sent out, it is plain that the country would be depopulated in the course of a single generation; but if we sent out the same number of old persons, it would make a very small difference in the amount of people at home; and it would not be worth the colony's while to receive those who would bring little labour and no population. If, again, we sent out that number of men and boys to a colony where there are too few women already, we should afford ourselves only a half-relief, and give the colony nothing more than the present labour of these men and boys; whereas, by sending equal proportions of men and women, we give the colony all their descendants as well as themselves, and free ourselves from the same amount of labour,—which we do not want,”

“A much smaller number than 800,000 would be enough then, Sir, to thin our population sufficiently?”

“Certainly. If, instead of sending out people of all ages, we were to select those who become marriageable, one-sixth of that number, or about 133,000 persons emigrating annually, would prevent our population increasing; and this might be done at an expense not exceeding a fourth of the sum annually raised for poor-rate, sending half to America and half to Australia. This would be well worth while, even if there were to be no repayment of expenses; which there might and Edition: current; Page: [15] ought to be from colonies where labour is much wanted.”

“I am afraid,” said Frank, “that the parish will refuse to help my father and mother to emigrate, if it would answer so much better to send younger people.”

“Your father is still in the vigour of life, and may benefit the colony by twenty years' active labour yet; and your step-mother is several years younger. The parish sends out many less likely to repay them; but I do think your grandfather and his old lady are quite out of the question, even if they wished ever so much to go. But why should they go where every thing will be strange and therefore uncomfortable to them, and where they must, after all, be quite as dependent as at home? If you mean to maintain them, you can as well send money to them here as carry them over at a great expense, to receive it there; and if you cannot help them, they will be more forlorn there than living on their own parish. But you will he able to help them, since a fourth of your wages is all that the parish will require from you, and this will very soon pay off your debt. Ellen's 8l. will easily be earned; and when she has worked herself free, she will be able to help the old folks.”

“'Tis when I think of her,” said Frank, “that I am most eager to get to a place where toil is not in vain. As often as I hear her laugh, or watch her going about the house with her light step and busy pair of hands, I tremble lest I should see a scowl come over her face by and Edition: current; Page: [16] by, and her gait and actions grow listless, like so many of the women hereabouts. It must be owing to want and helplessness that our girls cannot be merry without being hold; and that they are so given to idleness which has nothing of the nature of play in it. I can remember my step-mother, Sir, just such a pretty, light-hearted woman as Ellen.”

“You will see more such if you go to Van Diemen's Land. There is toil there, and hardship too; but the toil is hopeful, and the hardship not of man's infliction.—I know you do not object to toil and hardship of this kind, Frank, or I should be the last person to encourage you to go. You must give up English likings as to food and lodging, and (what is more difficult) as to ways of doing things. You must bear to be directed what work you are to do, and how you are to do it; you must resolve from the beginning to accommodate yourself to the people and the place, without thinking and talking too much about how things are in England.”

“All this is easy, Sir, for the sake of plenty and independence.”

“I trust you will find it so. But, Frank, there are other things to be considered, both for your own sake and Ellen's. You probably see that in the present state of the colony, particular sobriety and discretion are required in all the young women that go there.”

Frank was quite ready to answer for his sister; and hoped that a settlement with a respectable husband would soon place her out of reach of Edition: current; Page: [17] temptation. He perceived that he would find it less easy to marry than he might wish; and this seemed the greatest drawback to the plan: but, perhaps, when he should be prosperous enough to marry, he might send over for a wife, as he heard some settlers did; or might be fortunate enough so find one that he would like among the new emigrants who would be coming over from time to time.

Mr. Jackson advised him not to think much about this at present, if he really intended to go; and agreed with him that there appeared still less chance of his marrying in England, if he continued to be too conscientious to form such a pauper marriage as many of his neighbours were venturing upon.

From this day, Frank began tutoring himself and his sister for the new way of life they hoped to enter upon. They learned all they could, from books and persons, about the changes they might look for out of their own country. They inured themselves purposely to toil and heat and cold, and strove to bear with patience the trials of temper which continually arose. There was only one thing which they did not try to bear patiently; and that was, receiving parish-pay. Their father was as much disgusted at it as themselves; and this assisted his reconcilement to the emigration plan. He would not give his children the satisfaction of saying that he liked it, or hoped any thing from it; but he vowed he would not stay where he was; but he there was no other place to go to, this implied assent. He looked with sullenness Edition: current; Page: [18] on the preparations that were made; but he did nothing in the way of hinderance; nor did he contradict his neighbours when they took for granted that he was going. So Frank and Ellen considered the matter settled as far as he was concerned; and rather expected to see him much disappointed if any thing should occur to overthrow the plan. His wife seemed utterly indifferent whether she went or staid, or what became of her; and the whole business seemed to rest upon the two young people and their friend, Mr. Jackson.


While the deliberations were going forward, some rumours which arose out of them reached the ears of a very influential gentleman in the neighbourhood, to whom they were not at all agreeable. Mr. Fellowes was a young man of large property, who had just come of age, and whose kindly disposition and activity of observation equally inclined him to make the condition of the surrounding poor one of his first objects of interest. He had for some time been investigating their state and its causes, with a view to doing something for their relief when he should have the control of his fortune. He had fully Edition: current; Page: [19] satisfied himself of the evils of the poor-law system, and that the one thing wanted was an increased production of food,—an object, in his belief, very easy of accomplishment. This he intended to prove by an experiment of his own; or that which his friends called an experiment,— and he a demonstration. His plan became known to Mr. Jackson in due time, as well as to many others less willing to listen to what he had to say, and to regard his exertions with the seriousness and kindness which their importance, and the benevolence of their motives deserved. It was with equal good will that these two gentlemen met at the parsonage-door one day, each having questions to put to the other.

“Pray is it true,” inquired Mr. Fellowes, “that you are encouraging the Castles and others of your parishioners to emigrate?”

“Perfectly true; and I was coming to you to make a request as to something I wish you to do as soon as they are gone.”

“Let us see first whether it is necessary for them us go. Is it quite settled? Are they past being persuaded?”

“Their passage is not taken, but their minds are made up, and Ellen Castle's name is sent in to government.”

“It may be refused; and in that case there is time to save them yet.”

“Save them from what?”

“From what! From the manifold woes of the emigrant. Is it no evil to leave the country, and the kindred, and the father's house? Is it no Edition: current; Page: [20] evil to be severed from old connexions, and wrenched from all that has been beloved from birth? Is it no evil to be set down in a wilderness, where climate, soil, the habits of the people where there are any, and the solitude where there are not, are all uncongenial, and whatever happens is new and strange? Is it no evil to be banished?”

“All these are great evils, I grant: but from which of them are the Castles likely to suffer so much as by remaining here? Their country affords no kindly home for them. They will be disgraced in the eyes of their kindred by becoming a public burden; and their father's house long ago passed into hands better able to keep it up than theirs. They leave little behind that they love; for want has chilled their affections towards their country, and hardship is fast breeding hatred to the powers which have not hitherto succeeded in securing the happiness of the people. As for the rest,—they are going to a fine climate, a fertile soil, and among inhabitants who speak their language, and are under the same government with themselves. While they have plenty and independence before them, and leave only want and woe behind, I cannot think there is any cruelty in assisting them to go whither they wish.”

“But, Sir, you are assuming that they must prosper abroad and be destitute at home; whereas I assert that neither the one nor the other need be the case. Look at the Swan-river settlement! There was no end of the praise we heard of the Edition: current; Page: [21] climate, and the soil, and the facilities of every kind; and yet where was there ever a more complete failure?”

“Through these very facilities the failure happened,” replied Mr. Jackson. “Land was so cheap, and required so little capital to be laid out on it at first, that every labourer chose to have land, instead of letting his labour to capitalists. The consequence was, that capitalists could do nothing for want of labourers; and by the time their goods were rotted on the beach, and their cattle had strayed or died for want of proper care, the provisions they took out with them were consumed, the new crops had not come up, and all were reduced to equal distress. It was because all would be capitalists at first that all became labourers,—and very poor labourers, at last. This need not be the case again; and, in fact, the Castles hire themselves by contract to capitalists long settled in the parts they are going to.— And now tell me why it need not be that these people should be exposed to want and woe at home.”

“Simply because they might be colonized here instead of abroad. I am sure we have waste land enough and to spare for all our population.”

“As to space, undoubtedly; but what say you to its quality? Why is it still waste in the midst of a hungry population, if it is worth being tilled?”

“Let us try whether it is not; that is all I ask. Send the Castles, and twenty other families to me, and let us see whether corn will not come Edition: current; Page: [22] up upon well-dug ground, as it has ever done till now. — Remember that the condition of land varies under the influences of nature, and that soil once barren need not remain barren for ever. Nature works,—more slowly it is true,—but not less surely than man, in preparing the waste for his support; and there is always a point of time, sooner or later, when he may take the work out of her hands and feed upon the fruits of her ministrations. Wherever there are furrows, wherever there are mounds, there is a growth of fertile soil. Particles of sand are brought by the winds to mix with decaying herbage. Minute seeds of plants and the decomposed elements of vegetable substances float in the atmosphere, are arrested by the first elevation they come in contact with, and settle down to enrich the land. The vegetation which springs up attracts the moisture of the air, and thus is fertility again promoted. It spreads and spreads till a desert becomes a field, or in a condition to be made one. O, you may trust to nature to provide for man!”

“I question nothing of what you have said,” replied Mr. Jackson. “On the contrary, when I preach of Providence, I use as arguments whatever processes of co-operation and amelioration we can distinguish among the workings of nature, from the counteracting forces by which the planets are retained in their orbits, to the method by which the crevice of the rock exchanges, in due time, its carpet of moss for a crest of branching oaks. But nature is slow in her workings; and since the life of man is short, his Edition: current; Page: [23] business is to work with her, not to wait for her. Every acre of ground may in course of ages become capable of tillage; but our business meanwhile is to place our hungry brethren where nature's work is forwardest. Among the many grades of fertility prepared by her, it is our wisdom to choose the highest. This is what I preach as the truest gratitude to Providence.”

“I have rather wondered, I own, at the style of your preaching lately. It would strike a stranger as unusual.”

“I do not preach for strangers, but for my own flock; and if they are not enlightened enough to apply abstract principles, I must help them to do so. I must not only tell them to be honest, but show that honesty can scarcely subsist under overwhelming temptations to theft and fraud. I must not only recommend the domestic affections, but warn against turning them to bitterness by rashly incurring the risk of that destitution under which parents and children learn to look coldly on each other. I must not only speak of gratitude to God, but show how it may be made to spring up by distributing to all a share of his gifts, instead of being starved out by want and woe. If, as I believe, it be true that hardness of the lot brings hardness of the heart, and that blasphemy is a disease of the spiritbroken, how can I and other ministers of the gospel promote its influences so well as by teaching how to bring about that state of society which is most congemal to those influences?”

“Yours is a more likely way to gain your object Edition: current; Page: [24] than theirs who carefully separate the interests of the other world from those of the present.—Well! I am about to preach to the same effect by my actions as you from your pulpit.”

“Then, if you would second my doctrines, you must do the thing I told you I meant to ask of you. You must take down the cottages inhabited by those about to emigrate; and it must be done immediately on their departure, or I shall have to publish the banns of nobody knows how many young couples the very next Sunday. Unless you have inquired into the fact, you will hardly believe how many marry just because there is a house ready. We have too many dwellings in proportion to our food.”

“I have had thoughts already of removing to my new farm some cottages that belong to me, and of buying others from the speculators in our parish funds, who are far too ready to build in our neighbourhood. There will be little encouragement for them to build again when all the surplus population of the parish is located on my pauper farm, where no strangers may intermeddle. You must come and see the ground I have laid out.”

Mr. Jackson readily agreed to go, but had great doubts about the final results of the scheme. This seemed to Mr. Fellowes very strange, as they agreed upon the extent of relief at present wanted, and upon the capability of this farm to supply it.

“It was you yourself who told me, Jackson, Edition: current; Page: [25] that it is not the whole of the people now distressed that it is necessary to relieve. It is only the redundancy that we have to take care of.”

“Certainly: but it should be so relieved as not to produce a further redundancy.—We have among us, as we agree, sixty labourers more than we want. Of these none actually starve, and they therefore deprive some others of a portion of necessaries. It appears accordingly that three hundred are insufficiently fed and clothed because there is a redundancy of sixty.”

“Well! my district farm will take off sixty at once, and more afterwards.”

“And will therefore produce an immediate relief, restoring to the remainder of the three hundred their proper share of necessaries; so would the emigration of sixty. But mark the difference three generations hence. Our young people who emigrate carry their descendants with them to a land where they are wanted. The descendants of your pauper cultivators must be turned out upon society after all, in greater numbers than you now abstract from it. It will be well if the grandchildren of your present dependants have not to emigrate at last, after the expenditure of much capital that might have been better employed, and at a much greater ultimate cost than at present.”

“You seem to forget, Jackson, that the capital I am laying out is all to be reproduced, and that the people on my farm are to work themselves free. If any reliance is to be placed on calculations which have been conducted with the Edition: current; Page: [26] utmost care, if experience is to be trusted, if I may believe what I saw last month with my own eyes in the Belgian colonies (which it is worth a long journey to see), a good deal more than the cost of settling my paupers and providing for them will be raised by their labour upon the ground. The best of them will in time repay me, and go out with money in their pockets to make room for others.”

“And where are they to go? To carry more labour and new families into a market which is already overstocked. How much easier to remove them at once to a labour market where they and their children will be permanently welcome!”

“I am for ever met with objections about raising rents and overstocking the labour-market,” cried Mr. Fellowes—“I that take no rent, and bind myself to employ all the labour!”

“I said nothing about rent,” replied the clergyman. “I am quite aware that a farm like yours, made out of a forced application of capital, bears no relation to the natural process of rent. But I do not see how you can escape the charge of ultimately obliging a portion of society to pay too dear for their food.”

“What can you mean, when the very essence of my plan is, ——”

“Tell me your plan, and then I will tell you my meaning”

“My plan is to show, on a small scale, how the charity-funds of this country might be employed productively, and therefore so as to fulfil Edition: current; Page: [27] the ends of charity. I would have the unappropriated wastes of Great Britain, amounting to, some say, 15,000,000 of acres, (and some say much more.) set apart to be the People's Farm. It should be cultivated by means of public funds, say our present poor-rates; and it should be so portioned out as that every pauper should have the interest of private property in his allotment.— The further internal arrangements should be made according to the judgment of the directors. Mine are to be as like as I can make them to those adopted in the pauper farms in the Netherlands. Each family shall have its portion of ground and its cottage, with food and clothing till these can be procured by themselves. The soil shall be improved to the utmost by spadehusbandry, and by preparations of manure requiring more labour than can be devoted to the object in a general way. The productiveness of the ground being usually very great under these methods, I expect a considerable surplus every harvest; of which a part will go to repay the original expenses, and a part to set forward the family when they re-enter the world. Meanwhile, the women and children will spin and weave, and we shall produce within our own bounds all that we want. We shall not even need money: for the people will pay one another in commodities.”

“That is, you are about to carry back a portion of society to a primitive condition;—to delving, and a state of barter. If there was no Edition: current; Page: [28] choice between the starvation of a number and this state of society, I might be brought to look upon it with some degree of complacency: but when other ways are open,—when the question is,— not whether all shall relapse into barbarism or some starve,—but whether multitudes shall pass their lives in unassisted digging at home, or a few wander to distant parts of this fair earth to leave the many in possession of the blessings of advanced civilization,—I am for applying labour to its highest purposes, and for elevating instead of depressing the pursuits of society. No one doubts that if every hand was employed in tillage there would be food enough for all: the question is whether it be not thus obtained at too great a cost,—every higher pursuit being sacrificed to it. Only convey to fertile regions abroad the half of those who are eager to go, and there will be abundance of food for all,—and of many more things equally essential to the full enjoyment of life. If the Greeks had not done so, what would have become of all that they did to enlighten and bless the world? If they had fed their surplus numbers by employing more and more in tillage at home, as their numbers increased and the produce required was greater, there would now have been little of the philosophy, the literature, the fine arts, which have spread from their country over the world; while, after all, fewer would have lived, and fewer of the living would have been fed than under their system of emigration.”

“They seem indeed never to have thought of Edition: current; Page: [29] the more obvious mode of providing for the people. Away they sent them, as fast as they overflowed their bounds.”

“Because they were so circumstanced as to perceive at once the fallacy of the supposed remedies which you and other benevolent persons here are advocating. The great body of the people among the Greeks were slaves, maintained by masters, and not, as with us, free labourers supported by their own toil. The deficiency of food was there first felt by the masters, in the cost of supporting their slaves. Here, it is felt mainly by the labourers in the fall of the real value of wages, In Greece, there was no dispute about the fact, from the moment that food became deficient. Here, such a deficiency is even now questioned by multitudes who declare that we have not a redundant, but only a poor population; that nobody wants food who has enough to give for it; and that therefore it is money, or work that is wanted, and not food. Such observers give alms, or pay their poor neighbours for digging holes and filling them up again, or doing things equally useless; never dreaming that all the while they are taking food from somebody who has earned it by a better kind of toil. Such follies as this could never be suggested by the state of things in Greece; and I see no reason why, because our lower orders are not slaves, we should not abjure our errors, and adopt such parts of the Grecian policy as were wise.”

“Well, but, the long and short of the matter Edition: current; Page: [30] is this. If the quantity of food in Great Britain is too small, cannot it be increased?”

“To be sure it can. If ten thousand individuals can live this year only by taking a portion from their neighbours, we may raise as much food in addition next year as may feed ten thousand people; but if the people at the same time increase still faster, how are we better off than we were before?”

“But cannot we raise enough that year for twenty thousand people instead of ten thousand to meet the difficulty? The People's Farm would admit of this.”

“It would: but here the question recurs, whether it will not answer better to send the ten or twenty thousand people where they may obtain food at much less cost of toil and capital, and where their descendants will not be liable to tax the mother country for food for generations yet unborn. At home it is only by a considerable sacrifice that the growth of food can be made for any length of time to equal,—or by any extraordinary effort to outstrip the demands upon it; while, abroad, it spontaneously keeps ahead of population, and will do so in many parts, till men have grown wise enough to regulate population. Our best present policy, then, is to send our surplus numbers abroad to eat and prosper, instead of obliging more and more of our multitudes to dig of at home. It is on your wish to make them do so much labour for a lesser instead of a greater production, that I Edition: current; Page: [31] founded my charge of your ultimately making a part of society pay too dear for their food.”

“You mean because labour is the price of food?”

“Yes; and food would be almost as much too dear under your system as under the present. At present, the competition for food is so excessive that men bid their labour against each other to desperation. Under your pauper-farm system, the same thing would take place in time; and in the meanwhile, every bushel of wheat would cost twice or thrice as much labour as in Van Diemen's Land; so that both immediately and ultimately, you oblige a certain number to pay higher for their food than they need do and therefore ought to do.—And this without taking into consideration the change in the proportion of capital to population which is caused by emigration,—a change most beneficial to the mother country.”

“And how extensive do you conceive that change to be? There is very little difference between the cost of conveying persons to Van Diemen's Land, and settling them on a pauper farm,—too small a difference to warrant such an expression as yours.”

“In addition to this difference, there is all the increase of production which will take place abroad, and which is so much gained to the mother country, since it maintains her people. Besides this, all that would have been unproductively consumed by the pauper descendants of these emigrants may be considered as so much Edition: current; Page: [32] clear gain to the community. Again,— the thriving population of our colonies will want more and more of our manufactures, and will send us their agricultural produce in exchange; and I suppose you will not question the advantage of investing our capital in manufactures, and receiving wool and wheat of the best quality in return, instead of laying it out on lands of inferior fertility at home, while the people scantily supply themselves with the coarse manufactures of their own firesides? You will not question the duty of availing ourselves of the advantages of division of labour in the case of our greatest need? Yet you would, by your plan of home colonization deprive the people of this reciprocity of benefits. You would set up new manufactures instead of a new market for them; and all for the sake of producing food at a greater cost than under the emigration system. You are clearly wrong, Fellowes, depend upon it. What a pity that you should not turn your zeal and benevolence and your other resources to the best account!”

“The fact is,” replied Fellowes, “that on a matter of so much importance as this, I am anxious to go on sure ground. I have heard so much on good authority of the miseries of emigrants in Canada and elsewhere, and I have seen so much with my own eyes of the benefits of the Home-Colonization system in the Netherlands, that I am induced to do that which I know will produce great and immediate good, instead of that whose consequences I cannot witness or Edition: current; Page: [33] calculate. I want to give our poor neighbours food; and I dare not run the risk of having them perish with cold and hunger in the woods before they can get any.”

“If you mix up the abuses of a system with its principles,—if you take the conduct of a few ignorant adventurers as an example of what is to be done by all emigrants,” continued Mr. Jackson, “I do not wonder at our differing as we do. It is true that too many of our poor neighbours, heartsick at their condition here, have wandered forth with nothing but the clothes on their backs and a hatchet in their hands, without the guidance and assistance which are necessary to their very lives in a new climate and condition of society; but this folly, and the consequent hardship, have nothing to do with emigration. It is to preclude such evils that I would have benefactors like you demonstrate to the people what is essential to a successful emigration, and that emigration is sure to be successful if well conducted. As for its ultimate results, time will teach them to all; but you, my dear Sir, with your objects and your resources, will be inexcusable if you do not endeavour to anticipate them. It will be unpardonable in you to adopt a manifestly short-sighted policy while the philosophy of principles and the evidence of facts lie open before you.”

“Fact is enough for me, romantic as many of my friends think me,” replied Fellowes, smiling. “The fact will be, as you will witness, if we both live, that two years hence our sixty superabundant labourers with their families will have food Edition: current; Page: [34] without burthening the parish. This is enough for me.”

“It will not always be enough. If you should live to see the multiplied descendants of these sixty persons either suffering themselves under pauperism, or displacing an equal number from the ranks of employed labourers, you may wish that they had been located where there was room for all without any arbitrary direction of capital, or factitious employment of labour. If, in your old age, you do not witness this, it will be because Others have repaired your mistake by conveying elsewhere the surplus you have created.”

“If we both live ten years, friend, you shall come and see how I send forth those who once were paupers, with money in their hands, ready to establish themselves reputably in society. There will be nothing in this to make me repent.”

“No; your time for repentance will be when each of these monied men sends two paupers to your gates; —when you find poverty growing up round you, which you can relieve,—if at all,— only by a late emigration. I am sure you will make your confessions to me honestly, if that day should ever come.”

“I will, if you will give me faithful tidings of the Castles, and the others who are going with them. Let me hear of all their struggles and trials, from the outset till the end.”

“You shall, as far as I know them myself. Meanwhile, let us help one another where we agree. Do you be on the watch to lessen the number of dwellings as much as you can, and I Edition: current; Page: [35] will use my pastoral influence in inducing the young folks to delay the publication of their banns till they have secured something besides a bare shelter to begin with.”


Mr. Jackson's interest in the subject of emigration to Van Diemen's Land first arose out of his friendship with a gentleman and lady who were appointed by government to superintend the selection and preparation of the young women who were assisted in their settlement in the way already related. His recommendations were received with the confidence naturally resulting from this intimacy; and he had interest to get arrangements made for Frank's convict brothers to be settled near the rest of the family. In course of time, which seemed very long to impatient paupers, all was settled. Ellen had a summons to be in London by a certain day, with her 8l. in her pocket, and a small sum over for the purchase of such necessaries in the way of clothing as should be provided cheap for her by those who were to receive her, see her safe on board, and furnish her with a letter to the governor, stating her family circumstances.

Frank and his parents, with a few more labourers from the parish, of A——, were to sail in Edition: current; Page: [36] another ship about the same time, proposals having been sent before them to van Diemen's Land, to bind themselves to farmers for a term of years at a certain rate of wages, out of which the parish was to be repaid for the expenses of their passage and outfit.

The outfit was much less expensive in their case than in that of settlers in Canada and the western states of America, both because the climate of Van Diemen's Land is more congenial to English constitutions, and because wearing apparel and other necessaries are much more easy to be had there, even if not supplied by settlers as a portion of the wages of labour. Frank was furnished with a complete set of tools; and the family with a stout suit of clothes each. A stock of plain substantial provisions for six months was added, and this was all. There were a few grumblers about the last-mentioned article. They thought that the parish might, at parting, treat the people with better cheer than they had been accustomed to; but the parish authorities were wiser. They had heard how many live had been lost on the passage to America from the poor Irish, who had been accustomed to nothing better than potatoes, being fed with an abundance of more stimulating diet, under circumstances which prevented their taking their usual exercise; and when, from having nothing to do, they were tempted to eat more than they wanted of good things that t they could not get at home. The nearer the diet on ship-board resembles that in common use, the better for the Edition: current; Page: [37] health of the emigrant; and if he finds himself less disposed to eat than when at the hard labour he has been accustomed to, no harm will come of his temperance.

As the day of departure approached, Frank felt it a positive evil that every thing was done for himself and his family by the parish, as too much leisure was left for very unhappy thoughts. He had no idea till the time came how much there was to be left behind which even he could not help regretting. He had indeed no beloved cottage to quit, no favourite stock to sell off, no circle of attached friends and neighbours to say farewell to; but he would fain have had such regrets as these to bear, for the sake of something to do at the last. He envied his sister at her needle, making a gown for her mother when she had finished her own linen, while he wandered over the hills that looked towards the sea, or watched for the postman who was to bring the final tidings for Ellen, or stood with his arms folded, silently hearing his father's murmurs or his mother's taunts. He was quite angry with himself for selfishly wondering what he should do with the three days that were to pass between Ellen's departure and his own, when he ought to be glad that she would be out of hearing of the uncomfortable sayings that now met her ears continually.

The hour came when the young people ought to be setting out to meet the carrier's cart which was to convey Ellen to London. When Frank thought he had waited long enough before the Edition: current; Page: [38] door, he went in to look for her, and found her with her bonnet on, her bundle by her side, and little Susan on her knee. Her eyes were running over with tears; but she smiled when he tapped her shoulder as a signal that they must go.

“It seems like a long parting, just because I am going a long way,” said she, trying to laugh. “But if we all go to the same place, and there are meadows and cows, and the same sort of life we have been accustomed to, there is little to mind in going, except Mr. Jackson, to be sure, and grandfather, and—and——”

“Where is father?” asked Frank, distressed at her sobs; “surely he is not gone out just now?”

Ellen ran to the door to look about for him, and saw her father leaning against the wall.

“Where's your money?” he asked. You had need take care of money when you have got it. All the rest is moonshine, to my thinking.”

“There is very bright sunshine where we are going, if they all say true,” said Ellen; “and that you will find, father,” before a year is over. You may trust Frank and Mr. Jackson, I am sure; and so——”

“I trust nobody. I have had enough of trusting people,” cried Castle. “All this is your doing, remember, both of you; so never cast it up to me. Go, go. 'Tis getting very late. Where's your money, I ask you, child?”

“Safe, father, sewed into my stays. But, father, what can happen to us so bad as living here, as—as—we have done lately?”

Edition: current; Page: [39]

“Go, children, go, and leave off talking about our meeting again at the other side of the world. If I go to the bottom half-way, Ellen, it will be none the worse for you, but the better, except that Frank must go too, and you would not like that so well.”

“O father——!”

“Well, one kiss more; and God bless you, whatever becomes of me!”

Ellen found her step-mother gossipping with a neighbour as if nothing was happening. Her farewell words were few.

“Goodbye. If I find you an honest woman next time I see you, it's more than I expect, from what people say of the place you are going to. Come, now, Frank, don't be in a passion. Better take care of your sister than look so proud about her.”

Frank now took care of his sister so far as to remove her while she had strength to go.

“O Frank!” she cried, as he put her arm within his own, and led her rapidly on, “what can there be about me that makes them all talk as they do?”

“Nothing about you, dear, but about the place. It is a dangerous place for vain, silly girls; but you need only mind your business, and think of father and mother, and what we have agreed to do for them, and you will do well enough.”

“And of Mr. Jackson, and grandmother, and how she almost broke my heart last night. Look, look! do you see how yondertrees stoop Edition: current; Page: [40] and shiver in the churchyard? What a shower of leaves!”

“'Tis a sudden gust. There have been many such of late.”

“Just so they went when Molly Shepherd's funeral was going under them, and grandmother bade me beware of her shame. 'Tis just like a sign to me now! And here comes Mr. Jackson too.”

Mr. Jackson just stopped her to give her a little book as a remembrance, and to beg her to write to her grandfather, of whom he should inquire for her from time to time. It was now really very late.

“Don't hurry yourself,” said Frank. “Walk quick if you like, but don't be flurried. I'll overtake the cart for you, I'll be bound; and you had better look like yourself as you get in.”

The carrier was just cracking his whip to proceed after a halt, when the brother and sister made their appearance at the end of the lane. Ellen cast one glance back upon the familiar spire and hedgerows and cottage roofs, and summoned up one bright smile and a few more words for Frank.

“'Tis not as if you were to stay behind, Frank.”

“To be sure not! Leave every thing to me, dear, and be steady and easy, that's all; and don't talk of Bob and Jerry, for your own sake. —-All right, carrier?—Well then, good bye!”

And high on the hedge stood Frank, gazing long after he had ceased to distinguish the bright Edition: current; Page: [41] face looking out at the back of the cart. Not till the vehicle had disappeared behind the hill did he descend to the stubble-field below, and pick up straws, and cut hazel switches like a truant boy, muttering to himself “In three days we shall be off.”

The second departure was more public and more painful. The two old folks would come out at the last moment: and their distress moved the gazers to an outcry against the cruelty of deserting them, and the unnatural behaviour of leaving one's country and kindred. A giddy young couple thanked the Castles for vacating their cottage just when others were wanting one; and of the rest, some who were disappointed of going looked on in silent envy, and others were loud in their reports of the dangers of the sea, and the horrors of savage life. Frank had seated his charge in the waggon and walked on, intending to be overtaken out of hearing of these busy tongues. He looked back from the first corner, and seeing that there was great confusion, returned. Castle was motioning away the parish officers and Mr. Jackson, and doggedly refusing to go after all. His wife was laughing, and little Susan crying.

“You must please yourself, father,” said he firmly. “If you put yourself out of the way of being helped by your own children, God help you! I must go, and that this moment.”

“Come along!” cried the wife. “We may as well get out of reach of these plaguy officers, with their talk of our debt to them. Let's be off, Edition: current; Page: [42] and then they may get their money as they can. We shall never drive our carriage here, as they say my boys may do at Botany Bay. Come along!”

Frank would allow of no force, His father should choose for himself. So said Mr. Jackson.

While he was choosing, a ready pauper jumped into his place, and the waggon drove off. Before it had gone two hundred yards, there was a cry to the driver to stop, the new candidate was turned out grumbling, and Castle scrambled in. Twenty times during the journey to London, he asked how he and his were to pay the seventy pounds required to send them out; and as often his wife bade him not mind whether it was paid or not; and Frank assured him that he should not be burdened with debt, if his children lived and prospered. Tears came at last to the unhappy man's relief. As he passed villages and farmsteads where healthy and cheerful faces looked up at the waggon as it went by;—as he heard the saw grinding in the saw-pit, by; and the hammering at the forge, he wept at being reminded of his younger and more prosperous days, and at the thought that while so many were busy and happy in their occupations, there was no room for him, —once as hearty in his toil, and now as willing to work as any of them. Frank contrived to gather what was in his thoughts, and spoke of the saw-pits and forges which are so busy in the land they were going to, and of the increased dignity and profit of such occupations in places where artificers are scarce. His own Edition: current; Page: [43] heart was ready to sink when he fancied, instead of such a busy region as that under his eye, plains and valleys with scarcely a roof visible from end to end: but every glimpse of a workhouse, every notice by the way-side about vagrants restored his courage, and satisfied him that it was best, at all events, to be where, whatever other evils might exist, there was no pauperism.

The departure of Jerry and Bob took place in a somewhat different style. A stranger would hat fancied there was high holiday in Newgate the day before they went. Parties of convicts from the country arrived, and were lodged there previous to embarkation, and the larger proportion were full of congratulations to one another on their fine prospects. This was done in bravado by some, no doubt; and a few looked downcast, and were laughed at by their companions for the shame expressed in their countenances and manners: but it was actually the belief of most that they were lucky fellows to be carried free of expense to a country where they should have little to do but get rich as fast as they liked. Two among them had been transported before, and so wonderful and tempting were the tales they had to tell, that they not only found willing listeners among criminals wherever they went, but had induced more than one of the present company to commit thefts in order to get transported and put in fortune's way. These men, Giles and Green, held forth in all the vanity of superior experience, and in all the pride of Edition: current; Page: [44] having cheated the law; and drew an attentive audience round them while waiting for the cart which was to convey the company to the convictship.

Bob was leaning rather despondingly against the wall, when his brother clapped him on the shoulder, and asked him why he looked so black on this the grandest day of his life.

“You should have said 'thank'ee’ to the judge, Bob, as I did when he finished with us; and so you would if you'd known how we were obliged to him. We'll have each a house and servants, and all handsome about us by the time we're one and-twenty, and meanwhile, there are fine pranks to be played. Come and hear Green, about how he and his set got as much rum in one night as they could drink in a month, and what frolics they had in the woods, before he took it into his head to come back without leave.”

Bob shook himself free of his brother, who however would not long let him alone.

“I say, Bob,” he continued, returning, “they call you sulky; and it will be the worse for you in the colony if they report you sulky. You may as well hear what we are to do when we get there.”

Bob listlessly followed, and took his place among the eager hearers.

“Bet Turner!” cried one. “What is that she that belonged to Greville's gang? She that got transported for shop-lifting?”

“The same. Well; she has a large white house just out of Sidney, on the right hand as Edition: current; Page: [45] you go out of Mount-street. Lord! you should see her driving out, how grand she looks over her servants, and as well behaved to her husband as if she had not left another behind her. They say she sends Turner a bank note every year out of charity. He has married again to give her satisfaction that he won't claim her; so they are both content.”

“Then there is Wilson,” cried Green. “You remember what a poor ragged creature he was while he worked like other honest men, for nine shillings a week. He got sent abroad for the first bad shilling he tried to pass alter he joined us; and all for looking like a bungler at a new trick. He worked his way up into a farm of his own in four years, and he has got his wife and children over, and is very much respected. But Jack Lawe is the finest fellow of them all. He's just past thirty, and he is as rich as a London banker at sixty.”

“What, he that was within an hour of hanging?”

“Aye. They looked pretty close to him for a long while; but he is as sharp in his wits as he is clever at whatever you set him to. He cheated them all round, and got himself free in six years, and now you should see him out hunting or betting at billiards. He is a good-hearted fellow, and does not scorn old friends. Many's the nod and word he has given me from the billiard-room window at Sidney, when I have been passing, let who would be there. Everybody is glad of the prosperity of John Lawe, Esq.'

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Somebody having made inquiry about the voyage, Green went on,

“O, that's the worst part of it. It's horrid enough, to be sure, to be cooped up for months on board, and all so solemn and dull, and no getting out of the way of the clergyman. But it's not so bad as it used to be, when they treated such folks as we like so many wild beasts. They paid the captain so much a head for the people embarked, and never asked how many he landed; so he starved as many as he pleased, and stowed them so close that scores were stifled by the way. It was mighty dull work then for those that got safe; the labour was so hard, and no liberty. There was little encouragement to go to the colonies then. But now that they don't kill one by inches by the way, it is worth putting up with the passage, for the chance of making one's fortune at the end of it.”

“Particularly for them that have friends in power to get fine situations for them,” said Jerry pertly. “Bob and I are going to have good care taken of us, I hear. But it's a great plague that the old ones are going to be spies over us. It will spoil our sport terribly, unless we can manage to cut them.”

“That's better than having them whining and praying after us all the way from here to the ship, as the old folks mostly do,” said Green. “When I went before, my father behaved as if he was following me to the gallows. He knows better now. He gave me the wink yesterday for a sharp chap that knew how to take care of Edition: current; Page: [47] myself. He said,—true enough,—that the worst blunder I ever made was coming back when once I was well off.”

“Aye, aye, Green; a certain person knew how to take care of herself as well as you. She knew better than to keep herself single five years for you. 'Tis a fine feather in her cap to have brought You so far on a fool's errand.”

Green tried to conceal his visible passion under an appearance of indifference, while he muttered that a better one than he came for would follow him out very soon, if the judge did not baulk them of the sentence they meant to get pronounced upon her.

“Here they come, lads!” he cried, interrupting himself. “All is ready: our carriage at the door! Put a bold face upon it, boys! Now for it! Don't have anything to say to the whiners at the gate. Curse all spoil-sports! Give them three cheers, boys! Hurra! hurra! hurra!”

And gibing, jeering, laughing, shouting, went the batch of convicts through a throng of relatives and former companions, and gazing strangers; some of whom were pale and weeping, others signing and winking, and more gaping in wonder and pleasure at the scene; speculating upon whether the largest share of punishment did not rest with those who were left behind. Bob, and one or two other scowlers, were almost overlooked in the company of adventurers, who seemed to be going forth merrily to cheat the law, and seek their fortunes in a land of plenty.

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Chapter IV.: NEW HOMES.

Ellen was the first of the family that arrived at Hobart Town in Van Diemen's Land. Next came the convict-ship, which was sent round to Launceston to disembark its passengers; that port being nearer the district where the convict labour was to be employed. When the batch of parish emigrants arrived, a fortnight afterwards, Frank found, on application to the proper government officer, that his sister had landed in good health, and had received a high character from the clergyman and his lady who had come over as superintendents of the expedition; that Ellen had been forwarded, with a few of her fellow-passengers, to the district where a service had been procured for her as dairy-maid on a settler's farm; and that care had been taken that her parents and brother should be indentured to farmers in the same neighbourhood. So far, all was well. Frank could learn nothing about his brothers, except that they were to be landed at Launceston, and that Launceston was within thirty miles of the spot where he was to be located. The officer he was speaking to had nothing to do with the arrangements respecting convicts: his business was to take care of emigrant labourers on their arrival.

Castle himself could not help being pleased at the appearance of things at Hobart Town, when Edition: current; Page: [49] he and Frank took a walk, the evening after their arrival. The only objections he could think of were, that there were few shops; that it was not at all likely that the country inland should be half so civilized as what he saw; and that it was a thing he had not been used to, to have Christmas fall at the hottest time of the year, and the trees green all the winter through. It was now May; and they told him that winter was coming on, and yet that the woods would look as green as now all the time; and that the snow, if there was any, would not lie more than a day on any ground but the mountain tops, and a bleak common here and there. They told him that for more than three hundred days in the year the sun would shine all day, and the air be dry and pure, and seldom too hot or too cold. All this was what he had not been used to, and did not know how to believe. His son supposed that if it came true, he would not object; as one of the consequences of such a climate is that English people have much better health, and live, on the average, a good deal longer at Van Diemen's Land than at home. Castle peevishly laughed at all talk about life and health, when it was, in his opinion, doubtful whether they might not be starved to death within three months. His son left this point to be demonstrated by time rather than by argument; and meanwhile observed that there were few signs of starvation about Hobart Town, in which, besides the government residence, there are nearly eight hundred houses, most of which are surrounded with Edition: current; Page: [50] gardens; the dwellings having been originally built on separate allotments of land, of a quarter of an acre each. The streets cross at rightangles, and command fine views of the neighbouring country, and afford cheering evidences of the success of the industry which has sought employment there. A dock-yard is seen on the river's brink; and corn-mills, tanneries, breweries, a hat-manufactory, &c., are conspicuous in the midst of the town. An amphitheatre of green hills rises to the westward, the crowning summit of which is 4000 feet high; and from these hills descends a fine stream of water, flowing through the town into the Derwent, which, with its varying expanse and beautifully wooded bays and sloping shores, forms the eastern boundary. This view was little enough like what Castle had fancied in opposition to all that he had been told. He was for ever picturing to himself a region of wild woods, or bleak plains covered with snow; and he was now as much surprised at the sight of meadows, hills, dales, and a thriving town, with a blue sky overhead, as if he might not have known as much before. He had complained of his hard lot in being indentured as a shepherd; and no wonder, while he thought his flocks were to inhabit a dreary wilderness; but now that he found he had nothing to fear from storms and snow-drifts, that the pastures were excellent, the springs plentiful, and the sheep as fine as the world can produce, he began to think he might be worse off in point of occupation; though he would give nobody the Edition: current; Page: [51] satisfaction of hearing him say so. His wife was to be a domestic servant in the same farm where he was shepherd; and even little Susan was carefully stipulated for; the labour of children being valuable at almost any age, in a place where much more assistance is wanted than can be had.

The first part of their journey to the Dairy Plains, (the district where they were to settle,) was through the very choicest portion of the island, both as to beauty and fertility, It is not surprising that those who first surveyed this tract, and took it as a fair sample of the island at large, should have represented Van Diemen's Land as a terrestrial paradise, and been suspected of exaggeration through the favourableness of their report. The fact is, the island is supposed to contain about 15,000,000 acres,—one-third of which is considered arable, another third fit for sheep-pasture, and the rest unprofitable at present. The country between Hobart Town and Launceston consists of green hills and fertile plains, among which towns and villages and solitary dwellings are interspersed. Rivers wind between their wooded banks, and streams flow down from the high grounds. Excellent macadamized roads run through the whole district, and branch off to the growing settlements on either hand of the main track. It was a great amusement to Frank to compare whatever he met with that partook of the civilization of his own country with whatever looked new and strange. Before leaving Hobart Town, he had Edition: current; Page: [52] been all the more struck with its printing establishments, its Mechanics Institute, its Book Society, and schools, from observing the strangeness of the natural productions that he met at every step. In the gardens he beheld tea trees where he had been accustomed to see lilacs and laburnums; and cotton plants, myrtles, and geraniums growing as tall as himself, and spreading out into bushes. The very grass grows differently;—not stringy in the roots and carpetlike in the surface, as in England; but in tufts. Parrots, instead of canaries, were the pets of young ladies; and the bandicoot was offered for sale instead of the rabbit. Cockatoos instead of crows were to be frightened away from the fields and gardens; and flocks of pigeons among the stubble looked as much like partridges as pigeons; only more beautiful,—with their gold-dropped wings,—than either species in England. On the road, in like manner, the freestone bridge over the Jordan, the postman on horseback, the tillage and inclosures, looked British; but the evergreen woods, in the midst of which arose the peppermint tree to a lofty height;—the herds of kangaroos coming out of their covert into the dewy plains at sunrise;—the spotted opossums climbing and descending the forest trees;—the black swans sailing on the lakes, and uttering cries like the creaking of an old sign-board;—all appeared foreign, and scarcely belonging to the people who had settled among them.

A sight of a yet different character met the eyes of the travellers near the close of the second Edition: current; Page: [53] day, when they were drawing near their future abode in the province called Norfolk Plains, in the centre of which lay the Dairy Plains, where Ellen was expecting them. They had for some time quitted the broad road, and were following a track along which their waggon proceeded with tolerable convenience. At last they came to a point beyond which it had not been carried, and where a gang of labourers was at work roadmaking;—not as in England, each man intent upon his own heap of stones, flee in limb and thoughtful in countenance;—not as in Ireland, where some are lounging and all are joking; — but charged with the fetters of felons, and superintended by an armed taskmaster. As Frank looked upon these wretches, with their hardened or woful countenances, he felt indeed that he was not in England, but in one of her penal settlements,— breathing the air of one of the places where her vice and misery are deposited. His very soul became sick when, as the labourers turned to stare at the somewhat uncommon sight of a waggon full of travellers, he met the eyes of his convict brothers. He hoped that his companions would not perceive them; but he soon found that his father did, by his testy complaints of the jolting of the cart, of cold and heat, and what not. The unhappy mother looked on her outcast children with as much curiosity as compassion. Bob turned away, and stooped to his work. never looking up till they were out of sight; but Jerry waved his cap and shouted, and dared Frank to a wager which of them Edition: current; Page: [54] would first be free to work for themselves: whether it would take longest to work out his sentence, or to pay for Frank's passage and settlement. This supplied a new theme of complaint to Castle, who wrought himself up into a passion about his being a slave, with all his family. Frank, who hated bondage as much as any man, thought it could hardly be called slavery to contract to work for one person for a certain time, in return for advantages which could not otherwise be obtained. If disappointed of these advantages,—of sufficient food, clothing, shelter, and money wages,—the contract was void, and no harm done; if not disappointed, the object was gained. The evil lay, not in their case as labourers; but as honest men. Felons ought not to be let off so easily, (because their labour happened to be more valuable than at home,) as to make disgrace, for which many of them did not care, their only punishment; their worldly circumstances being actually bettered by their removal to a new colony. It was not that labourers need be better off than their family would probably be, four or five years hence; but that felons ought not to be placed in as good circumstances as the honest emigrant at the end of the same period.

Frank was not yet aware (as he afterwards became) that, for want of knowing the rate of wages at the colonies, emigrants often bind themselves for a much lower rate than they might obtain if they went free, or if they were properly informed of the existing state of things; and Edition: current; Page: [55] thus think themselves deceived, and are tempted to break their contract when they find how matters stand. This evil is to be referred to the ignorance of emigrant labourers, quite as much as to the close economy of the settlers, and should induce all who have heard of it to obtain such information before concluding their bargain as will save them from repentance afterwards, and guard them against quarrels on this score with their new masters;—quarrels, which, always a great evil, are most so in newly settled countries, where all hands and hearts are wanted to work together for the common good. As it is, a British artisan jumps at the after of a plentiful subsistence and 2s. a-day besides for five years, out of which the expenses of his removal are to be paid; and for this rate he binds himself. When he gets to his destination, he finds that this plentiful subsistence, including meat, bread, beer or spirits, tea, sugar, comfortable clothing, and a convenient dwelling, costs no more than 2s. a-day, and that, if free, he might earn, being a good workman, from 7s. to 12s. a-day, or even 15s., if he be a superior mechanic of a scarce class. It is mortifying to find that he has sold himself, however much higher than formerly, for less than he is worth in his new position; and hence arise discontents which embitter the first years of his new life, if they do not occasion a breach of contract. The friends of a rational plan of emigration should do their utmost to make known to as many as it may concern, to what extent labour is wanted in the colonies,— Edition: current; Page: [56] what is the rate of money wages in each, and what those money wages will procure. The official information on these points transmitted from Van Diemen's Land in 1827, was, that common labourers earn 3s. per day; common mechanics 7s.; better mechanics, from 8s. to 12s.; best ditto, from 12s. to 15s.; and persons of peculiar qualifications, fitted to superintend farms or other undertakings, 1l. a-day. Since that time, wages are understood to have risen. The price of wheat is 7s. a bushel; meat, 2d. or 3d. per lb.; sugar, from 3d. to 6d.; and tea, from 1s. 6d. to 4s. per 1b.—No wonder that, amidst all their gratitude at being well provided for, many such workmen as Frank are vexed and mortified to find how much more they might have made of their labour.

Far other feelings, however, than those of discontent were awakened in Frank by the aspect of his new abode. It was almost in a state of nature, his employer, Mr. Stapleton, having preceded him to take possession only a few days before: but it was far from being a desolate spot in the midst of a waste, as settlers' farms are wont to be in colonies where the unwise object is to disperse the inhabitants, instead of bringing them near to enjoy the advantages of a division of labour and reciprocity of consumption. The Dutch government at the Cape of Good Hope formerly forbade settlers to approach within three miles of each other; and thus effectually prevented the full improvement of the land, the construction of roads, and the opening of a market Edition: current; Page: [57] for exchanges. Hence the Dutch settlers at the Cape are to this day deprived of many advantages of civilized life. They have too much of whatever they grow, and too little of what they would fain buy; and are debarred the comforts of society and mutual help. These evils are likely to be avoided by the method of disposing of land now adopted by our government in Australia; the land being sold on terms which make it the interest of the settler to improve his tract, and to take advantage of a neighbourhood which may relieve him of some of his produce. Mr. Stapleton, having been obliged to choose his land carefully, and to pay 9s. an acre for it, (instead of 6d., or nothing at all, like some of the earlier inhabitants,) was not tempted to wander away into the wilderness, and sit down where he might happen to like the prospect, or to be smitten with some new discovery of fish-ponds, woods, and meadows, He made his choice instead among the lands of a certain district; and selected such, as to extent and quality, as would on the whole best suit his purposes, in conjunction with the privileges of a neighbourhood. His land, though not of the very first quality, was good enough to have fetched 15s. per acre, if it had lain somewhat more to the north or east, where the country was rapidly becoming better peopled; but it stretched towards the unoccupied districts at the foot of the western mountains, and was less valuable than if it had been surrounded by civilization, instead of only bordering upon it.—It consisted,—not of jungle Edition: current; Page: [58] and forest ground, where room must be made by the axe before seed could be sown and sunshine visit it; but of a lightly timbered and undulating surface of grass land, wanting only a single burning to render it fit for the plough, or for a new growth of pasture. The trees were not of the nature of copse and thicket; but growing in clumps a hundred feet apart, and with clear stems, measuring ninety feet or more to the lowest branch; thus affording spots for shade and shelter without interfering with tillage. The boundaries, where not formed by natural streams, were fixed by marking the trees; and there was no immediate need of fences where neither man nor beast was likely to trespass, and where there was at present no live stock that could be in danger of straying. No one was near who could be tempted to steal; for none were poor. The wild cattle, which in former days did great mischief on the grounds of the settler, had long ago been driven among the mountains, where it was supposed the race had died out, as none now appeared. The few oxen and horses that Stapleton brought with him were kept near the dwelling; and the rest of the stock was not to follow till all was in readiness for its reception. A rude shed had been hastily constructed for shelter, under a clump of trees; and a few sawn planks were lying about: by which Frank saw that the materials of his business were ready for him to begin upon without delay. Tools and utensils were stowed away in corners, or heaped under the trees, till their proper places were provided Edition: current; Page: [59] for them; and a goodly row of casks and packages of provision stood in the background. Frank had believed that his spirit of enterprise had died within him under the hardships of his own country; but he now felt it revive in a moment; and was anything but dismayed at the prospect of what he had to do in his capacity of carpenter, before the scene before him could put on the appearance of a snug and well-managed farmstead. He saw in fancy the day when a little hamlet of weather-boarded cottages would be sending up their blue smoke among those trees; when cattle-sheds and sheep-pens would stretch out behind the dwellings, and the busy forge and creaking timber-wain would drown the cry of the quail, and scare away the kangaroos that were now leaping over the plains. He did not forget to add a very superior workshop and timber-yard to his picture of his own dwelling; or to imagine his father looking down from among his flock on the hills, or Ellen within sight, going forth in the bright early morning with her milk-pail.

As if to answer to his thought, Ellen now appeared. She had stolen half an hour to run in search of Mr. Stapleton, to ask once more how soon he thought Frank might possibly arrive. Mr. Stapleton was almost as eager for the event as herself; but he knew no more, and was just dismissing her, disappointed, when the waggon was heard approaching. While she waited a moment, straining her sight to make out whether it was the right party, before she ran to meet them, Edition: current; Page: [60] her brother jumped out, and even Castle started up with more alacrity than he had shown since they landed. Before they could well greet one another, Stapleton came up to ask where Frank's tools were, and to tell him that he was wanted very much indeed. He could not refuse him permission to go forward one mile, in order to deposit Castle and his wife at their new abode; but he lent a hand towards emptying the waggon of his workman's packages, and gave him notice that he should be glad to see him back the first possible moment.

“You will soon find what great people such as we are here,” said Ellen, laughing. “This is the place to grow proud in. No more lounging about the fields, Frank; no more leaning over gates chewing straws, while nobody inquires for one. You will never need to touch your hat and ask for work here; people will come begging you to be so very kind as to put up a door for any pay you please. This is the place to grow proud in.”

Frank observed, with a grave smile, that pride was dangerous to one in Ellen's place.

“Well, then, I will be proud of you, and you shall be proud of me; and no harm can come of that.”

The first time that the brother and sister could obtain few minutes, conversation without being overheard, Frank inquired,

“Now, Ellen, tell me straight forward. How do you like your change?”

“Why, I more than half like it; but there are Edition: current; Page: [61] some things I do not like.—It is a fine thing to be so well off, and to know that I shall be so: hard, do not mind the work, though it is rather and I to be sure; and my cows are nothing but a credit to me, and I have seen no animals to be afraid of when I go out milking, though some of them leap about very strangely indeed; and my mistress makes much of me, as I told you; and her little worries are not much to be wondered at when one thinks of the confusion we live in just now; and I dare say there will be an end of them when we get our soap and candles made out of the house, and another hand or two to help in the brewing and washing. And then to think that father and you are so well off——”

“But tell me what there is that you do not like.”

Ellen almost shuddered when she whispered that her servant, who ate at the same table, and slept in the same room, and was her companion almost all day, was a convict, and had been sent to this country for robbing an aged mistress who had confided in her, and deserved gratitude instead of treachery from her. To be compelled to hold daily and hourly intercourse with such a person was a very great evil, and one which doubled Frank's anxiety about his sister. He was bled to hear that there was a probability of the woman marrying as soon as she could, obtain a remission of her servitude by steady conduct.

A half smile which he perceived on Ellen's lips when this part of the story was being told, made Edition: current; Page: [62] him question her further respecting the evils of her situation, or the trials which she might not be disposed to consider exactly as evils. The idea in her mind was that which he suspected,— that she might quit her service before her convict companion. — Frank looked graver than ever. Who—what—where was he,—the person that seemed to have made advances in Ellen's good graces already? She was eager to explain that there was no one in particular yet. It was too early for her to have looked about and settled her mind yet;—but there was this one, and that one, and the other one, that carried her pail for her, morning and evening, however busy he might be: or was ready to teach her how to clean and card wool; or showed her what a pretty little homestead he was about to have in the neighbourhood, and intimated how happy she might be as the mistress of it.

“They hinder my work sadly, and their own too,” continued she, blushing, “for all I tell them that i have nothing to say to any body yet. I am so afraid any of them should have been convicts, (though I am sure Harry Moore never was;) and I dare not ask mistress any thing about them.”

“Ask her, by all means,” said Frank. “Or I will ask your master, if you wish it. They only can tell us, and it is a point we must find out. Meantime, keep to your business as quietly as you can. What makes you so sure that Moore (is not that his name?) was never a convict?”

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Ellen could give no better reason than that she could wager her life upon it. She thought her brother grown very pertinacious on a sudden, because this was not perfectly satisfactory to him; but Frank was not pertinacious — only wary and affectionate.


It was very well for a man of Castle's irritable temper to be made a shepherd, instead of a labourer at home, within sight and hearing of all the bustle and difficulty occasioned by much pressure of work and few hands to do it. He could not have borne to be, as his wife said, driven from pillar to post,—called off from one thing before he had done it, to do something else to which he was altogether unaccustomed. It suited him much better to be out upon the downs after the sheep; though even in that quiet place he had his troubles. The sheep-walk was too extensive to be under the management of one person; and Castle's brother-shepherd was not a very congenial companion. He was a gentleman convict;—a young man who had gamed away his little fortune, and then taken to swindling, for which he had been transported. Being unequal to hard work, and having no mechanical skill, he was sent out to tend sheep; an employment Edition: current; Page: [64] as little suitable as might be to his social dispositions and active habits. The two reluctant companions agreed only in their inclination to grumble.

“They call this a fine scene,” observed the young man, “but it does not suit my taste. I had rather see our sheep in the Smithfield pens than on these downs. Then one misses the London cries, however much the magpies chatter here. As for the cooing of the doves, It really depresses the spirits. People talk of the stars being so brilliant here,—like golden lamps; but I like real lamps better. A row of them in Pall Mall is worth a hemisphere of stars.”

“I don't know much about lamplight,” replied Castle, “having been too poor to burn candles at home, and so going to bed in the twilight; but this place is so lonesome, I sometimes wonder whether it is in the world or out of it. All this view is like an old deserted park, to be sure; but where is the squire's house, or the church steeple, and the children coming out of school? There is no public-house far or near; and no parson or his lady to speak a word to one: only a young man that comes to read prayers on Sundays in a shed or on the green, and away again to do the same thing somewhere else. Not such a thing have I seen since I came as a carriage with ladies in it; and they say there are no hunts. With all the game there is here, no scarlet jackets ever come in sight from the woods.”

“That is the worst of it,” responded the other grumbler. “We have all the dulness of a country Edition: current; Page: [65] life without its solace of amusement. It was really too tantalizing lately, to see a kangaroo hunt which I could not join. If they would let me take my turn, I might be of some use to them as an experienced huntsman. I should like to hunt opossums till I could get skins enough to make your pretty daughter a cloak worthy to be worn; and——”

Castle here moved off impatiently, having too much paternal pride to listen to convict wooing on Ellen's behalf: The young man followed him, continuing,

“The snipe-shooting is very choice, I'm told, in the marshes yonder. I must have leave when winter comes on, to go and try my luck. But the hunts are the best things,—more spirited perhaps than you are aware of.”

“Hunts! hunts!” cried Castle. “I see neither deer nor fox. An odd sort of hunting, if you mean killing any of these leaping things, with their queer ways. Why, the little ones don't run beside their dams, as is natural, but she pops them into her bag, and off she hops, as if she had only two legs. The first I saw, I thought she had happened an accident, and had her fore legs cut short; and I thought she got on wonderfully well considering; and then in a minute appeared a whole herd of them, with their young in their bags.”

“It is a pretty sight to see them come down from the woods at sunrise to feed in the plains. Then is the time to hide behind a thicket, and make sure of one's game. Which do you prefer, Edition: current; Page: [66] as a bottom dish, kangaroo or bandicoot? In a pie, properly seasoned, it is difficult to say which is the best. I have given many a hint down below that either is much more palatable to me than rations of salt meat.”

Castle, who thought no man need desire more in the way of diet than to eat meat every day, looked with contempt on the grimaces of his companion over his ample supply of beef, wheaten bread, and cider.

“If you want to hunt,” said Castle, “I wish you would kill off the vile beasts that have been making havoc among my lambs. I might have got at one, but I was downright scared with its ugliness.”

“Was it the hyena or the devil?”

“O, the devil, to judge by its looks. It is as big as a middle-sized dog, with the head of an otter, crowded with teeth. It moved very slow, but I could do no better than stare at it.”

“They call it the devil here,” replied the gentleman. “You should dig little pits, and set your dogs upon it when it has fallen in. It will go on worrying your lambs, unless you keep on the watch.”

“Another thing that puts me out,” observed Castle, “is that the beasts are one below another here, as if they were bewitched. In England, we have a horse of one size, and a dog of another, and a rat of another; and none of them is like the rest; but here we have a big kangaroo, and a kangaroo the size of a dog, and another no bigger than a rat and these last are no real Edition: current; Page: [67] kangaroos. I declare it makes my hair stand up to see a rat leaping like a real kangaroo: just as it would to see a mouse shaking its mane and trotting and cantering like a horse. I have not been used to such freaks, and this is a country I can't understand.”

“I hope to understand it better,” replied the convict. “I was always fond of roving, and in time I may have explored farther than we can see from these green hills that we both find so dull. What do you mean to do when you get free?”

“They may settle that that got me bound,” replied Castle, testily. Then, struck with a sense of his own ingratitude, he added, “To be sure, if there is no squire's house, there is no workhouse either; and if I see no acquaintance, there is nobody to taunt me with misfortune; but, on the contrary, they make much of me at home. And there's.——”

“Your daughter.”

“What; my little Susan! Yes, they make a handy little thing of her already, and——”

“I mean the other handy one, Ellen.”

“She will do well enough, Sir, I assure you. She has a fine spirit and a steady mind of her own, and a proud brother to take care of her; and that is better than a broken-down father; though it should go hard with me but I would protect her, Sir, if there was no one to do it better.”

So saying, Castle walked off, showing by his manner that he was not sociably disposed.

His wife was much more altered within a short time by her change of circumstances than he. Edition: current; Page: [68] The first thing that seemed to affect her favourably was the use that was made of her little daughter in the household arrangements. When the farmer's wife found that her new domestic was indolent and indifferent, she endeavoured to make the best of a poor bargain by squeezing as much work as she could out of Susan. The child was willing enough, and proud to find herself of so much use; but her mother was jealous on her account, and began for the first time to show symptoms of tenderness for her. She not only argued in her defence, but helped her when she was more disposed to proceed with her work than to “go and play;” words which had little charm for a child whose associations with play were those of hunger, scolding, mockery, and all the miseries of pauper life. When the farm servants rose at daybreak to go forth for the day, Susan was always ready to jump up at the first word, to replenish the wallets and fill the cans, though her mother turned round in bed, and muttered that it was too soon to get up. She needed no reminding about tending the house-lamb, and feeding the poultry, and dusting as much of the coarse furniture as she could reach. After breakfast, if any one would lift her upon the dresser, or lay the utensils and the bowl of water on the floor, she would wash up without breaking anything: and she was always at hand to carry messages into field or farm-yard, or to help with dinner and supper, or to carry letters to the spot where they were to be deposited in readiness for the postman's weekly call; and when not able to do anything better, she could Edition: current; Page: [69] scare away the crows and cockatoos from the fields and garden. Her mother thought this a hard life for a little girl: but Susan was stout, rosy, and merry; and the farmer himself found a few minutes now and then to take her on his knee and teach her the alphabet, in preparation for the time when a schoolmaster could be brought within reach. The first thing Mrs. Castle did heartily was washing up, one day when Susan had nearly scalded her fingers. She took more and more of the child's work from her, and still Susan turned to something else; so that ere long, both were pretty fully employed; and in proportion as the once reckless and lazy pauper became interested in the occupations going on around her,—in proportion as she bestirred herself to get the baking done while the house was clear of the men, and the washing over in time to have a chat in the evening,—she grew like the active and tidy housewife she would never have become in her own land.

A circumstance which hastened this change was the opportunity she now bad of gratifying one taste,—almost the only taste she ever had, and which seemed to have died out under the hardships of her condition: a taste for gardening. When a girl, she had had a garden; and as long as her husband had owned an acre of ground, she took possession of a corner of it for her pinks and roses, under pretence of growing vegetables for the family. From that time to this, nobody had heard her mention fruit or flowers; but Ellen bore in mind her love for them now when the Edition: current; Page: [70] remembrance might be turned to some purpose. She mentioned, in her step-mother's presence, that her master was trying what he could do in the management of vines, for the growth of which the climate was peculiarly favourable; and that whether he got any wine or not, his trouble would be more than repaid by his profits from his other fruits. The peaches, to be sure, were not of the best sort, though so plentiful as to lie rotting on the ground, alter bushels had been thrown to the pigs; but the apricots, and yet more the raspberries, which grew to such a size and in such quantity as no English person would believe without seeing them, were likely to prove a good speculation, being sent to a distance in the form of jam. Sugar being remarkably cheap in this country, there was little risk in trying a batch of sweetmeats, which were to be sent to India for sale by a vessel from Launceston. The idea was caught up as Ellen expected it would be; and as the farmer and his wife did not take to the scheme of fruit-growing as heartily as was desired, the emigrant family tried whether they could not get a garden of their own. The small part of their wages which they were yet at liberty to use was applied to the purchase of a plot of ground, and Frank found time to work in it, and Ellen procured wherewith to stock it, and their step-mother haunted it early and late, before and after work,—and Castle himself relaxed his brow, and spoke in a tone that was not querulous, as he looked round upon that which, however small, was so much more than he had ever expected to possess again,—a family property.

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“Look at father,” whispered Ellen to her brother. “I have not seen him and her arm-in-arm since I was no bigger than Susan.”

“He is like a prisoner that has been quite shut up coming for the first time into the gaol court,” said Frank. “The feel of the air makes him push his hat up from over his eyes. Only set him quite free, and he will uncover his brows, and lift up his head like a man.”

“And so he ought, “replied Ellen,” since it is for no fault of his own that he has been bound down to poverty.”

“Ah! poverty is a cold and dreary prison, Ellen. That puts me in mind,—have you seen, i wonder, any thing that has surprised you very much lately,—any thing that you would like to tell me if you were sure of not being overheard, or of not being thought fanciful?’

“The word ‘prison’ put me in mind of something that I have been wanting to talk to you about almost this month past.—I don't know how to believe my own eyes about it, but I am sure I have seen Jerry in our farm-yard at night, and lurking about among the sheds before most of our folks are stirring in the morning.”

“Aye; but was he all alone, Ellen?”

“Bob was never with him, that I could see; but he seemed to me to be waiting for somebody off our premises, and I thought it must naturally be me. So twice I ran out to catch him; but once I was crossed by two of our people that I don't choose to come in the way of; and the other time he was whispering with the same two, Edition: current; Page: [72] so that I dared not go near. How could he get liberty? and what could he be about?”

“Something very deep, I am afraid,” replied her brother. “As to the liberty,—it is no difficult matter for convicts who behave pretty regularly to get hours of liberty at the beginning and end of the day; and the lads being employed on roadmaking so near, accounts for our getting a glimpse of them sometimes. But what I am uneasy about is Jerry's having so much to say to the convicts at your place and mine;—for I have seen him at Stapleton's oftener than you have among your people. I am afraid of some plot—”

“O, mercy!” cried Ellen; “what sort of a plot?”

“That is more than I can say. Sometimes they plot, I hear, for nothing worse than to escape; but some have had to do with the natives, (who are little better than wild beasts), and have brought them down upon the farms, setting them to steal and even to murder; for which they pay the poor savage creatures by helping themselves with their wives.”

Ellen trembled while she asked whether any of the natives could be in the neighbourhood.— Her brother hoped not, as the government had declared that they were driven back among the mountains, where they must soon die out as their wild cattle had done: but as long as any convicts were disposed to bush-ranging,—and some did actually escape every year,—he could not, for his part, feel quite secure. He thought he should Edition: current; Page: [73] speak to Stapleton about it. Meanwhile, he desired Ellen to drop not a syllable that should alarm her father, or anybody else.

“I hope, sister,” he continued with some hesitation, “I hope Harry Moore has no acquaintance, more or less, with Jerry, or any other such people.”

Ellen's eyes flashed as they used to do when she was a passionate little girl at school.

“Harry!” she cried. “Harry Moore have any sneaking doings! Harry Moore keep bad company! You don't know Harry a bit better than tile very first day,—the day when you thought he might be a convict himself.”

“No need to be angry, Ellen. He might just know him enough, you see, to say ‘How d'ye do?’ when they meet, and to judge how often Jerry might fairly be here.”

“After all,” said Ellen, sighing, “it is my father's own son that I flew off about his being acquainted with; so there is no need for me to be so proud. No; Harry does not know either of the lads, even by sight; but I shall tell him what you have been saying, though nobody else, Frank.”

“Certainly. Conceal nothing that weighs upon your mind from Harry, any more than if he was your husband already. I look to him to help me to keep an eye upon Bob, who may be made something of, they say, little hope as there is for Jerry. Bob works, within bounds at spare hours, instead of roving into the bush, or prowling about the settlers farms, where he has no Edition: current; Page: [74] business. Bob must be saving money fast, unless he has unseen ways of spending it. He works hard, and is well paid for his extra labour. He may have the advantage of me, after all; and settle on a place of his own before me.”

“Because he got a free passage as a punishment. That is really very hard, Frank.”

“Harry Moore will be the first at liberty, however, Ellen; and that I am glad of on your account. I am soon to begin building you a house, at over hours; and you may depend on my doing my best to have it all complete by the time the six months are gone.”

“Six months!” cried Ellen.

“Why, I do not mean that you need wait till then. You may fairly marry as soon as you like;—and many in our own country would be glad to have that said to them. I only mentioned six months as the time when Harry would be all his own master. Then I shall hope to see you milking a cow of your own.——Meantime, till I have found out more about Jerry, be cautious how you get out of reach of those that will take care of you.”

Ellen sighed, and smiled, and wondered which was the strangest world,—the one she had left behind, or the new one which seemed, after several months, nearly as foreign as when she had entered it. She had no doubt which was the pleasantest. How could she, when a vague fear and thorough dislike of some of the people in the neighbourhood were the only set-off against the prosperity of all whom she loved, and her own Edition: current; Page: [75] bright prospects with such a husband as Harry Moore had promised to be?


Though convicts were unhappily supplied at an increasing rate from the mother-country, the demand for free labourers throughout Van Diemen's Land became more urgent continually. The young men who settled either as wool-growers, farmers, or labourers, wanted wives. All above the lowest rank needed servants. The sheep were too many for the shepherds. There was too little produce in proportion to the land; and too few dwellings in proportion to the produce; too much or too little of almost everything, for want of a due proportion of labour. The same thing is the case at home; only here the proportions are exactly reversed. It will be very strange if in a short time we do not rectify the condition of each country by the exchange which would be equally beneficial to both.

Ireland and Van Diemen's Land are islands of about the same size. They are each favoured by nature in an unusual degree, having all the requisites of fertility, variety and beauty which can fit them to be the abodes of a thriving and happy population. The arable lands and pastures Edition: current; Page: [76] of both are excellent. The one has fisheries of salmon, herring and cod; the other of whales, and seals for export, and of a large variety of fish for home consumption. Both have fine natural harbours, ridges of protecting mountains, stores of mineral treasure, inland lakes, and fresh springs wherever man may incline to fix his abode. Both have, with all these advantages, their natural hardships and social troubles.

The natural hardships of each might be almost entirely removed by a well-conducted reciprocity of assistance. Ireland has a population of eight million; Van Diemen's Land of only twenty-five thousand. In Ireland, multitudes of half-starved wretches pine in idleness, and many die by the way-side, of that wasting of limb and heart and life which is the form in which poverty perpetrates murder. In Van Diemen's Land, the labourer is liable to be worn out by toil, and fretted by seeing half his produce rotting on the ground, or wastefully bestowed on swine; while articles which he has always considered almost articles necessary as food cannot by any means be procured. With him, abundance is not wealth, and plenty brings not the happiness for which he looked. If the wide sea did not lie between, he would beckon to a dozen Irishmen to come and nourish themselves with his superfluity, while he gathers about him the comforts which spring out of their industry, and solaces himself with a due portion of that repose, without a certain share of which the best ends of life cannot be attained. Why should not a bridge be built across this wide Edition: current; Page: [77] sea with the capital which is now unproductively expended on the maintenance of these paupers? Why should not the charity which cannot in Ireland give subsistence to one without taking it from another, be employed in a way which gives support to many, to tile benefit of many more? Whatever funds are judiciously employed on emigration are used as if to bring to a junction with the over-peopled country a rich region, into which a hungry multitude may be poured, to the relief of the old, and the great advantage of the new land. If the wealthy among the inhabitants of the old country would gladly if they could, call up such a new region, drest in fertility, from the surrounding sea, why do they delay effecting what is to their purpose the same thing? Since they cannot move the land to their poor, why do they not agree to devote what they now give in baneful charity to removing their poor to the new land? Till such a general agreement is arrived at, why do not individuals thus apply their charity, knowing that thus they not only relieve, for a time, but establish for life;-—that they not only assist the immediate objects of their bounty, but provide for their descendants of many generations? The rich should choose for their almoners the agents of emigration. Those who have little to give should unite their resources to send abroad a few of the young labourers of both sexes who are eager to go. Those who have no money to give, should bestow their services in spreading the knowledge of the facts how poorlaws Edition: current; Page: [78] aggravate, and emigration alleviates, if it does not remove, pauperism.

If this had been done long ago, the places whither we now transport our criminals might at present have been as remarkable for the good moral condition of their inhabitants as they actually are for the reverse. If it were now to be done effectually, it is yet possible that Botany Bay may in time outgrow the odium attached to its name, and become the chosen resort of the upright and industrious. Indigence causes crime; and by the prevention of indigence and its consequent crime, we may become better able than we now fancy ourselves to dispense with the institution of penal settlements;—whose results are as disgraceful to British wisdom as that of a legal pauper provision.

When Jerry and Bob were landed at Launceston, they were as unable as those who sent them were disinclined, to reflect on the difference between their being sent there, innocent, to provide an honest livelihood for themselves, and being deposited as a curse upon this new region,—both guilty and one hardened, proscribed by the old country and dreaded by the new, and prepared to baffle all the professed objects of their punishment. The guilt of these lads was distinctly referrible to indigence. Their parents could give them little wherewith to provide for their bodies, and nothing of that care and instruction which were peculiarly needful to them in their circumstances of temptation. Being thus made outcasts, Edition: current; Page: [79] they acted as outcasts; from which time it became a struggle between themselves and society which could inflict the most misery upon the other. They put society in fear, violated its rights, mocked its institutions, and helped to corrupt its yet innocent members. Society inflicted on them disgrace, bondage, and banishment; and from all this misery no good resulted, however much was proposed.

The judge who pronounced sentence on Jerry and Bob told them that it was necessary to the security of society that they should be prevented from inflicting any further injury by their evil deeds.—There are two ways by which such prevention may be accomplished; one by the death, the other by the reformation, of the offender. Death was too severe a punishment for the offence of these lads; the judge must therefore have contemplated their reformation, or have thought only of England when he spoke of society. Did the law gain its object?

“I say, Bob,” said Jerry one evening, when they had got the leave it is so easy to obtain to go out of bounds, and work for themselves overhours,— “I say, do you remember what that fellow in Newgate read us about that cursed gaol where the people are mewed up as close as if they were in a school, and closer?”

“What that where they are shut in by themselves all night, and hard worked all day, and nobody may speak but the parson, and he praying and preaching night and morning, till a fellow's spirit is downright broken? Remember it! aye; Edition: current; Page: [80] and glad enough I have been many a time that we are not there. I'd rather be banged twice over.”

“Hanged! Yes: there's not much in hanging. I have seen it several times, and thought to myself, ‘if that's all, I should not mind it.’ But we are the best off, after all. I was horribly afraid, when old wiggy began to whimper, that it was to be tile hulks, or a long prison, instead of going abroad; for one never knows what they mean when they say ‘transportation.’ You would not have looked so downcast as you did if you had known what was before you.”

“Not I. I never thought to be made of so much consequence. 'Tis good fun to see them quarrel which shall have us, and to get them to bid rum and brandy against each other to seduce us away. We that could not get dry bread at home,—how easy it is for us to fill our stomachs with the choice of the land, and get drunk with our masters at the end of the day,—our masters being luckily of our own sort!”

“Yours, that is, Bob; not mine. But I don't know but I like mine as well. He gives me plenty of spare hours, on condition of my bringing back what I earn. You should have seen what a fright he looked in when somebody said the folks were growing moral at home, and no more convicts were to be sent out.”

“He was as sorry as some honester folks would be glad, Jerry. But as for dividing your earnings with your master,—they are a queer sort of earnings, I have a notion.”

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“Easily got enough. 'Tis only just prowling on the downs in a dark night to meet a stray sheep; or making a venture into the fold. Then, if one gets so far as into the bush, there are other ways that you know nothing of yet, Bob.”

“I never can make out how you get seal oil from the woods; being as we are thirty miles from the sea.”

Jerry laughed, and offered to introduce his brother one day to somebody in the bush he little dreamed of.

“Do you mean, Frank, poor fellow, or Ellen.? They would not go so far to meet you.”

“Do you think I would ask them? It will be time enough for me to notice Frank when I have a house of my own to ask him into. I shall be the master of such as he before his time is out.”

“You need not carry yourself so high, Jerry. You are in a worse bondage than he just now.”

“Curse them that put me into it, and let them see if I bear it long! However, hold your tongue about it now. There is the moon through the trees, and the free turf under our feet. What a pity there is nobody with a heavy purse likely to pass while we are resting in the shadow under this clump! 'tis such dull work when there is nothing better to be had than sheep and poultry, and so many of them that they are scarcely worth the taking!”

“I like roving for the sake of roving,” said Bob. “I have plenty of mutton without stealing it.”

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“I like robbing for the sake of robbing,” replied his brother; “and the mutton is only the price of my frolic. But there is something I like better. Let us be off, and I will show you, (if you'll swear not to blab,) how you may get such sport as you little think for. Learn to handle a gun, and to cross a farm-yard like a cat, and to tap at a back-door like a mouse within a wainscot, and you may laugh at the judge and the law, and all the dogs they have set to worry us.”

“Why no, us.” thank'ee, replied Bob. “I am trying after a character, you know, so I shall stay where I am. I'll light my pipe; and I shall I've got rum enough to last till morning both for myself and somebody I rather expect to meet me.”

“Take care she be not too deep for you, Bob. If ever you want a wife with no more sense than a monkey, and not half as many tricks, ask me, and I will show you how to get one.”

So much for the reformation of the offender. The other kind of security on which the judge expatiated was that afforded by the criminal being made a warning.

A waggon load of new convict-labourers arrived at the Dairy Plains one day, when the accustomed gang was at work on the road which was not yet completed. The masters who happened to he present were too much taken up with observing the new-comers to pay any attention to the looks of their labourers. They did not see the winks, and the side-long smiles, they did not hear the snapping of fingers behind their backs; Edition: current; Page: [83] they had no suspicion that some in the waggon were old acquaintances of those on the road. On the first opportunity after the fresh men were left with the others, and only one or two overlookers near, there was a prodigious hand-shaking and congratulation, and questioning. “How did you get over?” “How did you manage to get sent here?” “How do you like transportation?” “You'll soon learn to know your own luck.” —This is a fine country, is it not?’ &c. &c.

“I was so cursedly dull after you all went away,” observed one of the new-comers, “there was nothing to stay for: but I very near got sent to Sidney.”

“Well; you could soon have got away, either home or here. But how do you find yourself off?”

“With a bed to myself and a blanket, and rare good living to what I had when I was an honest man. The thing I don't like is the work; but they say we are to have plenty of spirits.”

“To be sure; and as to the work,—-what do the poor wretches at home do but work as hard as you, and for less than you can get in spare hours. But where's Sam? Why did not he come too?”

“He got baulked, as he deserved for being a fool. What, did he do but send his sister to the justice to know how much he must steal to be transported, and no more? The justice set the parson at him; and between the two, they have cowed him, poor fellow, and he will never better his condition.”

“Perhaps he is afraid. Perhaps he believes Edition: current; Page: [84] what the judge said about our being a warning. And yet he tipped me the wink when that was said, and When some of the pretty ones in the gallery began to cry.”

“He knows better than you think. If you were as moped as a linnet in a cage, he would know nothing of it; because you are too far off for him to see what became of you, in that case; but, being as you are, a merry, rollicking set, he would like to be among you; and that sort of news travels last.”

Another of the party did not like his lot so well. He said nothing of the disgrace, though he felt it; but he complained of the toil, of the tyranny of the masters, of the spite and bickerings of his companions.

“If you don't like your company, change it,” replied one to whom he had opened his mind. “Such a good hand as you are at a burglary, I don't wonder that you had rather steal enough in one night to live upon for a month, than work as commoner hands do. You had better go back. Jerry will tell you how. Nothing is easier.”

“Well; but there is my little woman yonder, that they were so kind as to send over at the same time; how is she to get back? She can't turn sailor, and get her passage home in that way.”

“Trust her for making terms with some gull of a sailor,” replied the other, laughing. “It is only following an old trade for a particular reason; and you'll give her leave till you touch land again. But let me hear before you go; there are some Edition: current; Page: [85] acquaintance of mine in London that will be glad to know you; and you may chance to help one another; though; to be sure, you take a higher line.”

“Are you thinking of sending over the fee they raised for your defence?”

“I did intend it, as a point of honour; but they assure me they made a good bargain of it as it was. They could have paid the fee three times over out of the plate-chest they stole for it. So I don't know that I need trouble myself.”

“So while Counsellor H—was preaching about your being tried that people might be safe, there was another robbery going on to pay him his fees. That's rare! You should go back, (since the way is so easy,) and pick Counsellor II—'s pocket. That will mend the joke.”

So much for the security to society from the exhibition of this kind of warning.


Ellen's wedding day drew near. Frank and Harry Moore had toiled together at spare hours to erect and fit up a convenient dwelling; and there was no fear whatever but that she and her husband would be amply supplied with all the necessaries and many of the comforts of life. Her father began to smile upon her, though he Edition: current; Page: [86] muttered complaints of there being so many changes always going on that none of them ever knew when they were settled. Her step-mother, though still hinting that the girl knew what she was about when she was in such a hurry to come away from a poor parish, seemed very well satisfied to have matters so arranged, and rather proud than otherwise of belonging to Ellen. The farmer and his wife whom Ellen served sighed when they found she was going to leave them, and observed that it was always the way, as soon as they got suited with a dairy maid; but as she agreed to go on taking care of their cows till they could obtain another damsel in her place from Hobart Town, they treated her very graciously. The only serious drawback to her comfort was that Harry's fellow-labourers would go on courting her, though they knew she was engaged, and that this caused Harry to be more jealous than she felt there was any occasion for, or than she could easily excuse. She had no other fault to find with Harry; but she was more than once on the point of breaking off the match on this account, and if it had not been for Frank's interposition, and his assurances that such feelings were very natural in Harry, she would have thrown away her own happiness for want of being sufficiently aware of the danger of such a position as hers to a girl of less principle than herself.—A circumstance happened, a few days before her marriage, which everybody else thought very disastrous; but which she could not think so, since it established a perfect understanding between Harry and herself.

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On the morning of the 21st of December,—the height of summer in Van Diemen's Land,—Frank appeared, breathless, in the farm-yard whither Ellen was just going to milk her cows; Castle at the same moment was seen at some distance, hastening from the downs where he ought to have been tending his sheep at this hour; Harry Moore next leaped the gate and wiped his brows, seeming too much agitated to speak; the farmer pulled his hat over his eyes, in anticipation of the news that was coming, and the women crowded together in terror.—Ellen was the first to ask what was the matter.

“Have your men decamped, farmer?” inquired Frank.

“Yes, almost to a man. Have Stapleton's?”

“Two out of four; and every settler in the neighbourhood misses more or less this morning.”

“Now the devil and his imps will be on us in the shape of a gang of bush rangers,” muttered the farmer.

“Not on us, farmer. They will more likely go to some distant part where their faces are strange.”

“If they do, they will send strange faces here, which comes to the same thing; for one bushranger's face is as devilish as another. One of us must be off in search of a guard, and our shepherds, and indeed all of us, must carry arms.”

Ellen turned pale at the mention of arms. Harry drew to her side, and told her in a tone of Edition: current; Page: [88] forced calmness that three of her lovers were gone.

“Gone!” cried Ellen joyfully. “Gone for good?”

“Gone for ever as lovers of yours.”

“Thank God!” said she. “Better watch night and day with arms in our hands than have your head full of fancies, Harry. You will never believe again that I can like such people: and you shall teach me to fire a gun, so as to defend the house while you are away; and I shall not be afraid of anything when you are at home.”

Harry was so alert and happy from this moment that one would have thought there had been a certainty that no bush-rangers would ever come again, instead of a threatening that those who had till now been servants would soon reappear as enemies.

Whatever arms could be found up were put into the hands of the shepherds, as they were most in danger from violence for the sake of their flocks. They were desired to keep in sight of one another so far as that each should be able to make a certain signal agreed on, in case of his having reason to suppose that there were enemies at hand. Frank departed immediately for Launceston, for powder and ball, and a further supply of labourers to fill the places of those who had eloped. Another messenger was sent to the seat of government to give information of what had happened. During the absence of her brother, Ellen heard enough of the evils inflicted by runaway convicts to alarm a stouter heart than any Edition: current; Page: [89] young girl devotedly attached to her lover ever had; and to add to her uneasiness, her father once more became gloomy, and poor little Susan clung to her side wherever she went. Harry left his work twenty times a day to tell her that all was quiet, and bid her not be alarmed. During the day, she followed his advice pretty well; but in the evenings, so many tales of horror went round that, though she did not believe the half of them, her confidence was shaken; and she went to bed shuddering to think of what might have happened before morning.

The bush-rangers seemed to be less dreaded by the settlers than the natives. The bushrangers came down in a troop, carried off what they wanted, occasionally shooting a man or two during the process, and then went completely away. The warfare of the natives was much more horrible,—their movements being stealthy, their revenge insatiable, their cruelty revolting. They would hover about for days or weeks before committing an outrage, planning the most wicked way of proceeding, and seizing the most defenceless moment for pouncing on their victims. Castle asked aloud, what Ellen inquired in her heart, why all this was not told them before they came, and what there was in wealth which could compensate for such alarms as they were now suffering under? Frank satisfied her, in some degree, when he returned on the 24th, —the day before her wedding. He told her that though the first settlers had suffered dreadfully from the murders and plunder of the hostile Edition: current; Page: [90] natives and runaway convicts, this was not a sufficient reason to deter other settlers from following, since, owing to the vigorous measures of the Australian government, such outrages had been repressed and nearly put an end to. He pointed out to her that the horrible tales she had been told related to former times, and assured her that, except in some districts near the wilder parts of the island, the face of a savage had not been seen for years.—Ellen pointed to the mountain wastes on which their settlement bordered, and Frank acknowledged that the Dairy Plains lay as open to an attack as most newlysettled districts; but he had been assured at Launceston that there was no need to terrify themselves with apprehensions as long as they were armed and properly careful in their movements; since the sound of a musket would disperse a whole troop of savages, and they attacked no place that was not left absolutely defenceless. He had distinctly ascertained what he had before conjectured,—that it was not the practice of runaway convicts to plunder settlements where their faces were known, and that the only danger therefore arose from the probability that they might injure the savages, who might come down to wreak their revenge upon the innocent settlers.

“If this is all,” sighed Ellen, “there is nothing—”

“To prevent your being married to-morrow, Ellen. So I have been telling Harry.”

“There Was no occasion, thank you. I never Edition: current; Page: [91] meant to put it off. The more danger, the more reason for our being together. Besides, it will help to take father's mind off from his discontent. He has been wishing himself back in Kent every hour since you went.”

“Indeed! Well now, I think that such an occasional fright as this is little to the hardship of living as we did at A—, to say nothing of the certainty of there soon being an end to it. The only two evils our settlers suffer from will grow less every year the scarcity of labour, and danger of theft. To make up for these, we have the finest climate in the world, abundance of all that we at present want, and the prospect of seeing our children, and their children again, well provided for.—But you must be in a hurry now, dear, considering what has to be, lone to-morrow. So go, and cheer up, and trouble your head no more about black or white thieves.”

Ellen had, however, little more than usual to do this day, as hers was not the kind of wedding to require preparation. The travelling chaplain who was to come and perform the Christmas service, was to marry the young people, and thus only was the day to be marked as different from any other. The settlers, no doubt, thought much of their friends in England, and of the festivities which are there enjoyed by all but those whose poverty deprives them of the means: but the seasons are so entirely reversed in Van Diemen's Land,—it is so impossible amidst the brilliant verdure, the heat and long days of the Christmas season there, to adopt the festivities Edition: current; Page: [92] carried on at home beside the hearth and over the punch-bowl, that Christmas-day was allowed to pass quietly, and the grand holidays of the year were wisely made on the anniversaries of their settlement in their present abodes,—of their entrance on a life of prosperity.

No fairer morning ever dawned than that on which Ellen arose very early, and stole out to find that refreshment in the open air which she was not disposed to seek in more sleep. She had rested well for a few hours, but the first rays of the sun finding their way into her chamber, (which was more like a clean loft than an English bedroom), roused her to thoughts that prevented her sleeping again. It was too soon to be looking after her cows; so she took her knitting, and sat on the bench outside the house, whence she could look over a vast tract of country, and where she was pretty sure of an hour's quiet. She had some thoughts to spare for her old Kentish neighbours; and began to fancy how her grandmother would be getting up three hours after, when it would be scarcely dawning, to make the room tidy, and light the fire to boil the kettle; and how the old couple would put on their best,; and draw over the hearth with their Christmas breakfast. Then she thought of the many boys and girls she knew who would be going to church, with red noses, and shivering in their scanty clothing. Then she sighed when she remembered that she might never more hear psalms sung in a church; and again she smiled while fancying Mr. Fellowes's great dinner to Edition: current; Page: [93] half the parish,—a dinner of roast beef and ale and plum puddings, and Mr. Jackson there to say grace, and the clerk to sing a Christmas carol, and every old man giving a toast by turns, and some one perhaps to propose the healths of their friends far away. She blushed, all alone as she was, when she wondered what they would say if they knew she was to be married so soon, especially if they could see Harry. It was strange, while her mind was thus full of pictures of a frosty day, of a smoking table, of a roaring fire, lamps, and a steaming punch-bowl, to took up and observe what Was before her eyes. The scene was not even like a midsummer morning in Kent. It was not dotted with villages: there were no hop-grounds, and all the apples grown within five miles would hardly have made an orchard. There were no spires among the trees; nor did the morning mists rise from the dells or hover over the meadows. All was clear and dry and verdant under the deep blue sky. No haze hung over the running streams that found their way among the grassy hillocks. Neither oak nor beech grew on the hill side, nor pines on the ridges of the mountains behind; but trees to whose strange foliage her eye was yet unaccustomed reared their lofty stems where it did not appear that the hand of man was likely to have planted them; and myrtles and geraniums grew up roof-high, like the finest monthly roses in England. Instead of the little white butterflies flitting over the daisied turf, there were splendid ones alighting here and there in the neighbouring Edition: current; Page: [94] garden, larger and gayer than the finest of the flowers they fed upon. Instead of the lark rising from her dewy nest into the pink morning cloud, there were green and crimson parrots glancing among the lofty evergreens. Instead of flickering swarms of midges, flies shone like emeralds in the sun. Instead of a field-mouse venturing out of its hole, or frogs leaping across the path, speckled and gilded snakes (of which Ellen had learned not to be afraid) wriggled out into the sunshine, and finding that the world was not all asleep, made haste to hide themselves again.

“If I could fancy any part of this to be England,” thought Ellen, “it would be yonder spot behind the range of woodland, where the smoke is rising. If that were but grandfather's cottage, how I would run and bring them here before any body else was up. They will be so sorry not to have seen me married, and not to know Harry! But I cannot make out that smoke. I did not know that anybody lived there, and it looks more than enough to come from a single chimney. Perhaps the man that found the brick clay, and talked of having a kiln, may have settled there. I will ask Harry. I wonder what o'clock it is now! He said he should finish his morning's work first, that he might stay when he did come. How odd it seems that there are so few people to do things here, that a man can scarcely be spared from his work on his wedding day! They must be all over-sleeping themselves, I think. I'll just get the milk-pails, and that may wake them; and if the cows are milked a little earlier than Edition: current; Page: [95] usual it will not signify. I only get fidgetty, sitting here, and fancying noises; from missing the singing-birds, I dare say, that are busy among the boughs on such a morning as this in England. It was an odd squeak and whistle that I heard just now; perhaps a quail or a parroquet, or some other bird that I dont know the note of yet. Or it might be one of those noisy black swans on the lake yonder. I will not stay any longer to be startled. That was only a butterfly that flew dazzling before my eyes; and these flies do not sting, so I need not mind their buzzing. There! I had rather hear that lowing that. I have been used to from a child than any music in the. world. I should be sorry indeed to give up these cows, for all I am going to have one of my own.”

Ellen purposely made some noise in getting her pails, that she might wake somebody and find out how time went. She could not account for the sun being so low in the sky till she heard the farmer growl that he wished people would be quiet till it was time to get up; which it would not be for two hours yet.

After pausing before the door to watch the distant smoke, which had much increased, Ellen repaired to the cow-yard, immediately behind the dwelling. She stumbled on something in the litter which she mistook for a little black pig, till its cry made her think it was something much less agreeable to meet with. Stooping down, she saw that it was certainly a black baby; ugly and lean and dirty; but certainly a baby. She did Edition: current; Page: [96] not scream; she had the presence of mind not to touch the little thing, remembering that, for aught she knew, the parents might be lurking among the sheds, and ready to spring upon her if she should attempt to carry away the infant, which had probably been dropped in the hurry of getting out of her way. Trembling and dreading to look behind her, she stepped back into the house, and now roused the farmer in good earnest. In a few minutes, the whole household was ill the cow-yard; the men not choosing to separate, and the women being afraid to leave their protectors. The child was still there, and nothing was discovered in the general search of the premises which now took place. When the farmer saw the smoke at a distance, he ascribed it at once to a party of natives having set the grass on fire in cooking their kangaroo repast. He thought it probable that two or three spies might be at hand, and the rest of the party ready for a summons to fall on the farm as soon as it should, by any accident, be left undefended. He would not have the child brought into the house, but fed it himself with milk, and laid it on some straw near where it was found, in a conspicuous situation. Beside it he placed some brandy, and a portion of food for the parents, if they should choose to come for it.

“There is no knowing,” said he, “but they may be looking on; and one may as well give them the chance of feeling kindly, and making peace with us.” And he silenced one of his men who began to expatiate on the impossibility Edition: current; Page: [97] of obtaining any but a false peace with these treacherous savages.

Nothing could satisfy Harry but standing over his betrothed with a musket while she was milking. As for her, every rustle among the leaves, every movement of the cow before her, made her inwardly start; though she managed admirably to keep her terrors to herself.

The arrival of the chaplain happened fortunately for collecting the neighbouring settlers; and, by the farmer's desire, nothing was said of what had happened till the services he came to perform were ended. Harry and Ellen were married, amidst some grave looks from the family of which they had till now made a part, and the smiles of all the guests. Ellen's disappointed lovers,—the only people who could possibly disapprove of the ceremony, —were absent; and she tried not to think about what they might be doing or planning.

The barking of the dogs next drew the party to the door, and they saw what was a strange sight to many of the new-comers. A flock of emus, or native ostriches, was speeding over the plain, almost within shot.

“What are they?” inquired one.

“'Tis many a month since we have seen an emu,” observed another. “I thought we had frightened away all that were left in these parts.”

“What are you all about,” cried a third. “Out with the dogs and after them! Make chase before it is too late!”

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“A decoy! a decoy!” exclaimed the farmer. “Now I am certain that mine is a marked place. These savages have driven down the emus before them, to tempt us men out to hunt, and they are crouching near to fall on while we are away.”

He was as bold, however, as he was discerning. He left three or four men to guard the women and stock at home, and set off, as if on a sudden impulse, to hunt emus with the rest of his company, determining to describe a circuit of some miles, (including the spot whence the smoke arose) and to leave no lurking place unsearched. Frank went with him. Castle insisted on following his usual occupation on the downs, declaring himself safe enough, with companions within call, and on an open place where no one could come within half a mile without being seen. This was protection enough against an enemy who carried no other weapons than hatchets and pointed sticks, hardly worthy of the name of spears.—Harry remained, of course, with his bride.

The day wore away tediously while the homeguard now patrolled the premises, now indolently began to work at any little thing that might happen to want doing in the farm-yard, and then came to sit on the bench before the door, complaining of the heat. The women, meanwhile, peeped from the door, or came out to chat, or listened for the cry of the dogs, that they might learn in which direction the hunting party was turning.

“Ellen,” said her husband, “I do wonder you can look so busy on our wedding day.”

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“O, I am not really busy! It is only to drive away thought when you are out of sight.”

“Well then, come with me across the road,—just to our own cottage, and see how pretty it was made for us to have dined in to-day, if all this had not happened. Frank was there after you left it last night; and there is more in it than you expect to see.—Now, don't look so afraid. It is no further than yonder saw-pit; and I tell you there is not a hole that a snake can creep into that we have not searched within this hour. —I do not believe there is a savage within twenty miles.—O, the baby!—Aye. I suppose it dropped from the clouds, or one of the dogs may have picked it up in the bush. 'Tis not for myself that I care for all this disturbance: 'Tis because they have spoiled your wedding day so that you will never bear to look back to it.”

Ellen wished they were but rid of their black foes for this time, and then she should care little what her wedding day had been. They said that one sight of a savage in a life-time was as much as most settlers had.—She must step in passing to see what ailed the poor infant, which was squalling in much the same style as if it had had a white skin;—a squall against which Ellen could not shut her heart any more than her ears.

“I must take it and quiet it,” said she. “I can put it down again as we come back in ten minutes.”

So lulling and rocking the little woolly-headed savage in her arms, she proceeded to her own Edition: current; Page: [100] cottage, to admire whatever had been suggested by her husband, and added by her neat-handed brother.

“What bird makes that odd noise?” inquired Ellen presently. “A magpie, or a parrot, or what? I heard it early this morning, and never before. A squeak and this a sort of and Whistle Hark!”

“Tis no bird,” said Harry in a hoarse whisper. Shut and bird, “bar the door after me!”

And he darted out of the cottage. Instead of shutting the door, Ellen flew to the window to watch what became of Harry. He was shouting and in full pursuit of something which leaped like a kangaroo through the high grass. He fired, and, as she judged by his cry of triumph, reached his mark. A rustle outside the door at this moment caught her excited ear; and on turning, she saw, distinct in the sunshine on the door-sill, the shadow of a human figure, as of some one lying in wait outside. Faint with the pang of terror, she sunk down on a chair in the middle of fire room, with the baby still in her arms, and gazed at the open doorway with eyes that might seem starting from their sockets. Immediately the black form she dreaded to see began to appear. A crouching, grovelling savage, lean and coarse as an ape, showing his teeth among his painted beard, and fixing his snakelike eyes upon hers, beard, came creeping on his knees and one hand, the other holding a glittering hatchet. Ellen made neither movement nor sound. If it had been a wild beast, she might Edition: current; Page: [101] have snatched up a loaded musket which was behind her, and have attempted to defend herself; but this was a man,—among all his deformities, still a man; and she was kept motionless by a more enervating horror than she would once have believed any human being could inspire her with. It was well she left the weapon alone. It was better handled by another. Harry, returning with the musket he had just discharged, caught a full view of the creature grovelling at his door, and had the misery of feeling himself utterly unable to defend his wife, In a moment, he bethought himself af the back window, and of the loaded musket standing beside it. It proved to be within reach; but his wife was sitting almost in a straight line between him and the savage. No matter! he must fire, for her last moment was come if he did not. In a fit of desperation he took aim as the creature was preparing for a spring. The ball whistled past Ellen's ear, and lodged in the head of the foe.

They were indeed safe, though it was long before they could believe themselves so, or Ellen could take courage to cross to the farm to tell what had happened. As there were no more traces of lurkers in the neighbourhood, it was supposed that the one shot in the grass was the mother, the one in the door-way, the father of the infant which no one now knew what to do with. It might be dangerous to keep it, whether it flourished or died under the care of the settlers; and there seemed to be no place where it could be deposited with the hope of ira being found by its Edition: current; Page: [102] own tribe. When Frank and his companions returned from the hunt, they threw light on this and other curious matters, and brought comfortable tidings to the inmates of the farm. The Castles, indeed, and they alone, found as much matter of concern as of comfort in what Frank had to tell.

In following the emu hunt, the farmer and his party had skirted a tract of woodland, called the bush, within which they perceived traces of persons having lately passed. On searching further, they came upon a scene rather different from what they had expected, and not the most agreeable in the world, though it fully accounted for the visit of the natives.—Under a large mimosa, which waved its long branches of yellow flowers over tile turf, and made a flickering shade, lay Jerry, enjoying the perfection of convict luxury; that is, smoking his pipe, drinking rum, and doing what he pleased, with a black wife, who, having skinned the kangaroo and lighted the fire, squatted down on the turf, waiting for further orders. If it had not been for the child she carried in a hood of hide on her shoulders, she would, have been taken for a tame monkey, so little was there human in her appearance and gestures; but the tiny face that peeped over her shoulder had that in it which bespoke humanity, however soon the dawning rationality might be destined to be extinguished.—On seeing the hunting-party, Jerry sprang to his feet, seized his arms, and whistled shrill and long; whereupon so many hootings and whistlings were heard Edition: current; Page: [103] through the wood, so many ferocious faces appeared from among the brakes on every hand that it became prudent to explain that no war was intended by the hunting-party. Frank and Jerry were the spokesmen; and the result of their conference was the communication of news of much importance to both parties. Jerry learned that the settlements below were so well guarded and reinforced that any attempt at plunder must fail; and he assured Frank that he was about to depart at once with his band to one of the islands in Bass's Strait, to live among, or reign over the natives, as many a convict had done before him. He owned that his black wife was stolen, and that her husband having been knocked on the head in the scuffle, tile rest of the savage party had gone down to wreak their revenge on the first whites they could meet with. He was really sorry, he declared, to hear how Ellen's wedding-day had been disturbed; and solemnly promised to draw off the foe to a distant quarter, and watch that riley did not again molest the Dairy Plains. Frank could trust to these promises, as poor Jerry, amidst all his iniquities, retained a rude sense of honour, and a lingering attachment to his family,—especially a pride in his sister Ellen.—Frank learned with great satisfaction that Bob's disappearance from the neighbourhood was not owing to his having run away. He had refused to do so, his ambition being to become a great man in the settlement, provided he could accomplish his object without too much trouble and self-denial. He Edition: current; Page: [104] had made a merit of remaining at his work when his comrades eloped, and had, in consequence, got promoted to a better kind of employment, by which he had it in his power to make a good deal of money.

“And now, Ellen,” said Frank, on concluding the story of his morning's adventures, “I must go and bring you the wedding present poor Jerry left behind for you.” And he explained that a sun-dial was hidden in a secure place, whence it should be brought and put up immediately.

“Is it stolen, do you think?” inquired Ellen timidly. “Indeed, I had rather not have it.”

“It is not stolen. A watch-maker, a clever man enough, came over in the same ship with the lads, and Jerry paid him for making this dial for you, knowing you had no watch. He could easily have sent you money, he said, but thought you would like this better, since there is little that can be bought in these parts that you have not without money.”

“I don't know how it is,” observed Ellen; “but though it is very shocking that Jerry has got among these people, and into such a brutal way of life, I feel less afraid of them now that he is there. If it were not for this, I should feel that such a fright as we have had will set against a great deal of the good we have fallen in with here.”

“It always happens, Ellen, all through life, and all over the world, that, there is something to set against other things; and never more so than when people leave their own country. If a man Edition: current; Page: [105] quits England through intolerable poverty, he must not expect to find everything to his mind, and abundance besides. If he goes to Canada, he may gain what he emigrates for,—food for himself and property to leave to his children; but he must put up with tremendous toil and hardship till he can bring his land into order, and with long, dreary winters, such as he had no notion of before. If he goes to the Cape, he finds a better climate and less toil; but from the manner of letting land there, he is out of the way of society and neighbourhood, and cannot save so as to make his children richer than himself. If he comes here, he finds the finest climate in the world, and an easy way of settling; but then there is the plague of having convicts always about him, and the occasional peril of being robbed;—and in some few of the wilder parts of the island, of an individual here and there being murdered. But this last danger is growing less every year, and cannot exist long.—Now, since there is evil everywhere, the question is what is the least? I, for one, think them all less than living in England in hopeless poverty, or even than getting a toilsome subsistence there with the sight of hopeless poverty ever before one's eyes, and the groans or vicious mirth of pauperism echoing through the alleys of all the cities of England. I, for one, feel it well worth anything troublesome we have met with, or can meet with here, to plant my foot on this hill, and look down upon yonder farmsteads, and over all these plains and hills and dales, with smoke rising here and Edition: current; Page: [106] there, and say to myself ‘There is not so much as one pauper within a hundred miles.’”

When, after a few days, the black baby had, by Jerry's means, been restored to his tribe, when the country was known to be clear of such unwelcome intruders, and Harry and Ellen were therefore at liberty to settle down at length in their own house, the bride was quite of her brother's opinion respecting the goodliness of the exchange from pauperism in Kent to plenty in Van Diemen's Land.


Frank kept his promise of writing to his friend Mr. Jackson, from time to time, as he had opportunity. One of his letters, written four years after his arrival in the Dairy Plains, contained the most important news he had yet had occasion to send of the state of himself and his family.

“Respected Sir,

“I have often thought and called myself bold in what I have said to you in my letters, but you have always taken it kindly. This kindness makes me more bold than ever, especially as to two things that I am going to write about, when I have a little explained our present condition.

“My employer and I are about to part; which Edition: current; Page: [107] you will be surprised to hear, as there is a full year remaining of the time I bound myself to serve. It is through no quarrel, however; Mr. Stapleton having been a good master to me, unless for wanting more work out of me than mortal arm could do; for which, however, he was always willing to pay me well. The fact is, sir, he is a daring and a bustling man, such as they say are always to be found in new countries, wanting, as soon as they have got all pretty comfortable about them, to go further into the wilds and begin again. I see the good of there being such men, but do not wish to be one; so, when Stapleton offered me any wages I liked to go with him, I said ‘No,’ having only engaged to serve him on this spot; and thus I find myself at liberty a year sooner than I expected. He offered me an introduction that would get me good terms from the gentleman that has taken his pretty place; but not knowing yet what sort of person he is, and there being, thank God! far more work in my way to be done at any price than I can get through, I wish to keep myself free. To finish about myself first,—I am building a sort of double house, in the middle of a very pretty piece of land. One end of the house is for myself, and the other for my father, against his time is up. It would do your heart good, sir, to see how he has everything comfortable about him, though he goes on complaining, to be sure, that this is not the old country. My step-mother too has succeeded finely with her fruit this year, and there is as good cider of hers Edition: current; Page: [108] in every cottage as any in Worcestershire, and such flowers as she grows make the place look like a paradise.

“Allow me now, sir, to go on as if we were talking as we have often done over the churchyard gate, or by your door; and not as if this letter had to travel over the wide sea before it reaches you. I should like to know whether it has ever happened to you to fancy gentlemen like yourself coming over to this place? I am sure, if such would think of it, it would be the best thing for the society here, and might prove so to themselves, in cases where they are not very well off, and have little to leave that they care for. You make no secret, sir, of its being difficult for your family to live on such a curacy as yours, and you have even talked of settling your sons abroad as they grow up. If you would send them,—or (what is better) bring them here,—they shall be made welcome, and watched over and taken care of as they ought to be by those who owe so much to their father. Indeed, sir, this might prove a pleasant settlement in a very few years to you and yours. There are now eleven farms and other dwellings within three miles, and more building every year; and Launceston is within reach. The people about us are mostly very intelligent, and it is a good sign that they are crying out continually for a settled clergyman and a school; and, if we cannot get so much, for a library. You would find a good house, with a stable, and a horse in it; a garden, and two or three fields; a school-room Edition: current; Page: [109] with five-and-twenty scholars, whose parents would pay you well both for your teaching and your Sunday services. We should ask you too, to choose a little library at our expense, and should add to it, under your direction, every year; so that your children as well as those of the settlers should have every advantage. You will find further particulars of what we can offer you in the public letter which accompanies this.

“My fear is, that the consideration of the young ladies will deter you, should yon otherwise be disposed to listen to our plan; and, indeed, England seems at first sight the best place for daughters that have lost their mother. But I have great hopes that these plains may be like an English county before your young ladies have grown up. When once gentlemen, especially clergymen, begin to come, more follow; and this is all we want to make the Dairy Plains' like parts of Sussex or Dorsetshire. We have specimens of each class, up to the thriving farmer and wool-grower. There is also a surveyor, and a surgeon is coming, they say; though he is the last person wanted, except for an accident now and then, for we really have no sickness. If, in addition to these, we could have over a tanner or two, a coal-master, a vine-grower, a store-keeper, and so on, each with his proper labourers, ours would be as flourishing a settlement as any in the world. There is coal in plenty, and a fine market in every direction, if we had but people to work it; and the same may be said of slate, and bark, and hides. Some Portuguese vinedressers Edition: current; Page: [110] are making a fine thing of a vineyard in the south of the island; and why not here, instead of our having to import spirits in such quantities as make drunkards of too many of our labourers? The commoner sorts of wine we might make would soon drive out spirits, to our great benefit in every way. As for clothing, utensils, and other things that are brought to great perfection and cheapness in England, we had better go on buying there; and I have no doubt they will be as glad of our productions as we of heir manufactures. You will be pleased to hear that there are already twenty-six vessels belonging to the island, and that upwards of thirty traded with us from Great Britain last year; and that l,000,000 lbs. of wool were sent there within the twelve months. All these things I mention to show what a rising country this is, and how well worth tide while of many a man above the rank of labourers and artizans to come to. If you should think of doing so, sir, would be the best piece of news that could reach the Dairy Plains from any part of the world. You should have the heartiest welcome from some whom you are pleased to call old friends.

“Perhaps, sir, you may remember saying something to me about the difficulty of getting a wife here. I have never tried, because there was one in England, as you know, that I always hoped might keep herself single till we should hoped that she should follow me out. Through all these long four years we have had this in Edition: current; Page: [111] view, and now I shall have a house ready for her by the time she can come; and this is the other liberty I told you I was about to take. If you shoul'd really come, perhaps, knowing her steadiness so well, you would let her cross with you, waiting on the young ladies during the voyage, for the expense of which I will be answerable. Whether you join us or not, I have little doubt you will kindly put her in the way of coming with the least possible delay; and you may depend on my meeting her before she lands.

“I have said nothing of Ellen, because you will see her letter to grandfather. I have left it to her to send money this time, as I have other use, you see, for my own.

“It is a load off my mind, sir, to have written what has been deep down in it for so long. It is a great while to wait for an answer; and if there should be disappointment both ways, I hardly know how I shall bear it. But I am pretty sure of what is to me the chief thing; and if you come too, I wonder what we can manage to find to wish for next. It pleased God to give Ellen and me our hardships early, and to take us out of them before our hearts and tempers were hurt; like so many at home, better perhaps than ourselves. If He should try us any more, we have good reason now to be patient; and in the meanwhile, we desire to save others from what we had to go through for a short time, and therefore write as we do about coming over.

“Frank Castle.

“P.S. There are fine downs here for the young Edition: current; Page: [112] gentlemen to fly their kites, just behind the house you would have. Ellen will take care that Miss Maria shall have a pretty poultry-yard; and Susan is taming an opossum mouse for the other little lady.”

The many months which necessarily elapsed before an answer to the above could be received did indeed seem long; almost as much so to Frank's family as to himself. Ellen had made a request scarcely less important than Frank's to the happiness of her parents, if not to her own. She had always been convinced that the child which had been sent to the workhouse by the parish surgeon of A——was her stepmother's; and it had ever been her resolution to yield a sister's protection to it. Harry Moore was as willing as herself to have the child over; and as the boy was now only five years old, there was hope that he might prove an exception to the general rule of the corruption of parish-bred children. Frank's betrothed was requested to bring him out with her; and if Mrs. Castle was still disinclined to own him, he was to take his place as the eldest of Harry Moore's children. There was not a man, woman, or child in the neighbourhood that did not see the importance of having a clergyman's family come among them; and by all, therefore, Mr. Jackson's reply was looked for as the oracle which was to decide whether their settlement might immediately rise to that degree of prosperity which is caused by the union of high civilization with universal plenty, or whether Edition: current; Page: [113] it must remain for some time longer in the rude state which is ever the consequence of a scarcity of knowledge and of leisure. The parents began already to teach their children the alphabet and the multiplication table, during the evenings of the week, and as many hymns as they could recollect on Sundays. The little ones already began to play keeping school; and the travelling chaplain was told, week by week, how much pleasanter he would find his occasional visits when there should be a resident pastor on the spot, more worthy to converse with him than any of his flock. A part of the Sunday leisure was spent by many in repairing to the field where Mr. Jackson's house was to be; and then what planning there was about the garden, and the stand of bee-hives, and the paddock, and every other appendage to the parsonage! Some of the lads were training a pony for the young Jacksons, and the rarest and finest plants were destined for their flower-beds.

The answer was expected to arrive in May, and every one hope it would be before the anniversary;—that celebration of the arrival of the emigrants in a land of plenty which has already been spoken of as the best of their festivals. It happened to arrive on that very day.

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Bright and busy were the mornings of these anniversaries;—each busier and brighter than the last, as the families of the settlers grew in numbers and prosperity. The labourers and mechanics who had arrived in the same waggon with the Castles had found wives or had them over, and now came thronging with their infants, bringing also the new comers of their craft, or in their employ; so that it was found necessary to spread a greater length of table every year under file shade where length they dined, and to provide a larger treat of game.

There was more bustle than usual this time, from Stapleton having chosen this very morning for his departure to the new territory where he meant to establish a lodge in the wilderness. As it was a holiday, several neighbours followed in his train for a few miles; and when obliged to turn back, gave three cheers to their departing neighbour, and three to him who was to be his successor in the abode which had grown up flourishing before their eyes, and was the chief ornament of their settlement. Frank joined in these cheers, and then told his companions that he would follow them home in an hour, as Mr. Stapleton had still some more directions to give, and wished for his company a little farther.—When Frank reappeared at noon, he looked so grave and had Edition: current; Page: [115] suddenly become so silent that everybody was struck, and his sister alarmed. He hastily reminded her that it was post-day; and said he was going himself to meet the postman, and would be back before dinner was on table. Three or four holiday-folks went with him; and none wondered that he looked grave on hearing tile sentence “No letters for the Dairy Plains.” Before they were halfway back, some of the acuter ears among the party caught the welcome and very rare sound of waggon wheels in their rear. In course of time, the vehicle appeared briskly approaching on the Launceston road, and Frank sprang eagerly forward to gaze in the faces of the passengers. All were strange; and these repeated disappointments left him no heart to hail the travellers. His companions did so, however; and the reply was that these were labourers from England, some bound to Stapleton's successor, and others on their way to a settlement further on.

“What part of England were they from?” “Kent and surrey.” “Did they bring letters for the Dairy Plains?” “Plenty; and something besides letters.” So saying: they exhibited a little boy, the very image of Jerry at five years old. Frank silently caught him up in his arms, and carried him on without asking another question; the dreary conviction having struck him that as this child was sent alone, none of the others he wished for were coming.

Little passed between himself and Ellen, who was on the watch.

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“Here is the child, Ellen. May he be a blessing to yon!”

“Is he alone? No letters? No message? Or worse than none?”

“There are letters, but I have not got them from these people yet. They cannot be good, you know, or why——”

He could not go on. Ellen ran to beg the particular favour of the travellers to get out the letters immediately. This was easily done, the packages of the labourers being small; and before Frank was called upon to carve for a few dozen hungry people, he had satisfied himself that it was very childish and ungrateful to have been so soon cast down; and his gravity was seen by those who watched him to be of a very different character from that which had seized him three hours before.

It was not Ellen's wish that the little workhouse child should meet his parents for the first time in the presence of strangers. Knowing that Castle and his wife were gathering fruit in their garden, she took the boy there, (after having brushed the dust from his clothes, and set him off to the best advantage,) and put him in at the gate, bidding him not to be frightened if he was spoken to, but say where he came from. The little fellow made no advances. He stood in the middle of the walk, with a finger of each hand in his mouth, and his chin upon his breast. He had not yet learned work-house impudence.

Castle was the first to see him, after stooping so long over his peaches that Ellen began to Edition: current; Page: [117] fear the blindness was wilful. “Wife! Eife!”she at length heard him call. “He is come! The boy is come!”Ellen just staid to hear the words “my boy”from both, and stole away. Tile next time she saw him was as he came between his parents to the dinner table, chattering in his Kentish dialect, and asking to sit on his father's knee, and be treated with fruit by his mother.

“You must be satisfied with being his brother, Harry,”said Ellen to her husband. “He does not need to go begging for a father.”

Among the toasts which were given after dinner, some one proposed Mr. Stapleton's successor, whose name it was strange enough that nobody had been able to learn till this day; and perhaps it was not less remarkable that the name was the same with that of some respected persons now present. They would all fill their cans to the health of Mr. Robert Castle, about to become their neighbour.

It did not seem to occur to anybody who this Robert Castle was, till the gloom was seen to have settled over Frank's countenance as black as ever. Then the rest of the family looked at one another in wonder and dismay. Frank's companions on either hand asked him if he was asleep, or what had come over him that he did not fill his can. He immediately addressed the party, relating that he had been requested by Mr. Stapleton to inform the present company that the proprietor who was coming among them did not approve of such festivals as they were now holding; that he had purposely kept away till the Edition: current; Page: [118] present one was over, and hoped to hear of no more anniversaries.—This announcement occasioned a great uproar, which Frank quieted by observing that so absurd an interference as this need not be regarded otherwise than with silent contempt; that, whatever reasons the person in question might have for disliking such a celebration as theirs, he had nothing to do with the way in which they chose to remember the country of their birth, and to be thankful for the blessings of that in which they now lived. He therefore proposed, sure of being cheerfully pledged by every one around him, “Many happy returns to all Present of this remarkable festival.”

No wonder Frank had looked grave after bidding farewell to Stapleton, when the last news he heard from him was, that his successor was no other than Bob the convict, whose ambition was so far gratified that he was able to take on lease the little estate on which his virtuous elder brother had till now worked for hire. So much, as he observed, for his having been favoured with a free passage! His family were obliged to reconcile themselves to seeing him climb over their heads in this way. They reminded one another that they had made up their minds to the presence of convicts, as the one great evil attending emigration to Van Diemen's Land, and that they must not now begin to complain because one of these convicts was a son and brother. What their intercourse with him was to be, or whether there was to be any, they left to be decided by circumstances when he should appear.

A hearty welcome being offered to the Kentish Edition: current; Page: [119] and Surrey folks just arrived, they gave some account of themselves. They had all suffered from want of demand for their labour; an evil which had gone on to increase in the face of the promises that had been made to them about providing for all who were out of work on farms prepared for their advantage alone. A young labourer from the parish of A—stated that his

father and mother and their seven children had been located on such a farm by Mr. Fellowes, with sixty other families; that it was difficult to provide for all tile young people as they grew up, and would become more so still when they came to have families of their own, unless indeed they spent their whole lives in getting food and food only. Mr. Fellowes was now anxious to take in more paupers upon his farm, and was unwilling, in order to make room for them, to turn out labourers upon the parish where there were already too many; and he had therefore advised the sons and daughters of his home-settlers to lose no opportunity of getting well placed either in Canada or Australia. “So,” concluded the speaker, “I moved off to make room for two elderly folks, seeing, as Mr. Fellowes himself said, that I can raise a better living with less toil here than there, and be much sooner free; and so, here I am. But Mr. Jackson will tell you all about it, when he comes, better than 1 can.”

It was now Frank's turn to explain that the clergyman and his family were really coming, and to read that part of his long letter which concerned the present company.—He had often Edition: current; Page: [120] thought of coming, the gentleman wrote, and had nearly made up his mind to it before the invitation arrived from some of his former flock; and the inducements held out by them had quite decided him.—And now what cheering, what long and loud congratulation followed!

“What are you shaking your head for, Castle?” inquired one who sat opposite to him. “You cannot altogether help smiling; so why spoil sport with shaking your head? What are you sorry for?”

“I am not sorry. I am very glad. I am only afraid of Mr. Jackson's growing sorry, and that in a very little while. After all, you see, this is not the old country.”

“No more in the coat on your back an old coat; and how is it the worse for that?”

“Tush! Stuff! One's coat has nothing to do with one's happiness, as one's country has. England is one's home after all.”

“Not mine, I am sure. It was a dreary place enough to me,—nothing like a home. I and mine were neglected or oppressed at every turn; not because anybody meant us harm; but like starving people who happen to be just so many more than are needed. Here I have all I want without begging or returning thanks; and this is my home. Wherever I have a dwelling and food, wherever I have comfort and safety within doors, and can step abroad among friends, there is my home. Put me under a parish roof in the very spot I was born in, and I should feel like a banished man. Set me down independent, Edition: current; Page: [121] with my family about me, in any part of the world,—in the middle of a forest or on the wildest sea-shore, and, be it north, south, east, or west, that place is a home to me.”

Castle still shook his head, saying that there was no place like England to an Englishman.

“Aye; if you could be as welt off in England as you are here, I grant you. But just answer me this,—if you and your family could be set down this very day before the workhouse at A—, in the condition in which you drove away from it, would you go?”

Castle stole a glance at his children and hesitated to reply.—To spare his father, Frank observed that Mr. Jackson had a good deal to say on this subject, and proceeded to finish the letter, the auditory showing by their silence during its progress and their enthusiasm at its conclusion, that they were partly sensible of the greatness of the occasion, as well as prepared to enter into his opinions and feelings. Several of them, besides Frank and others who personally knew Mr. Jackson, felt that a new era in the prosperity of the settlement at Dairy Plains was likely to begin from this day;—for their correspondent might be said to be already among them.

After discussing the details of his removal, his letter proceeded thus:—

“My first consideration was, as you suppose, for my children; and long and anxiously did I consider, as it will be a comfort to as many of you as have families to know. The only way to settle such a question is, to ascertain what are Edition: current; Page: [122] the objects of human life. This done, it is easy to settle where those objects may be best attained. What I desire for my sons and daughters is that life should train them to the greatest degree of benevolence and integrity, out of which is sure to spring the highest kind of piety; and these things, with out, yard plenty, make happiness. Now, it seems to me that that benevolence is of the most kindly and abundant sort which subsists among happy people; and that integrity is most secure where the interests of all are the same, instead of being opposed, I think that not all the advantages of society and what is commonly called education, which my children could have in England, will set against the freedom from temptation and from the corrupting sights of human misery which must there come in their way; poor as they must be here, and condemned to jostle their way in the world, and probably to lose a step or two of the rank which their father's profession leads them to consider as their own. Education is made up of many things besides books, and even cultivated society; and I am much mistaken if, with such a field of exertion before them, and such motives to it, with abundance of God's blessings and beauties poured out around them, in the midst of an affectionate and thriving people, and with their father at hand to teach much which they could not otherwise learn, the intellects of my sons and daughters may not become of a much higher order than they could amidst the struggle for subsistence which they must sustain at home. I judge for none but Edition: current; Page: [123] those who are circumstanced like myself; but I certainly feel that those who have several children for whom they can provide nothing more than that sort of education which will not be of use to them in a competition for bread, are the right persons to go abroad and make their home where, at the sacrifice of some of the privileges of high civilization, none of the troubles and moral evils of poverty can enter.

“You will have heard that Mr. Fellowes finds his well-meant plans somewhat difficult to manage, from the vast increase of claimants. I believe he still thinks that if there were People's Farms enough, the relief might be made effectual, though he cannot explain what is to be done with so many delvers a hundred years hence, and will not say whether we are all to become delvers and spinners rather than a few of us cross the world to a more fruitful land. Your grandparents seem to like their settlement on his farm, and their employment of looking after some of the orphan children, and teaching them to dig and spin. Your presents and Ellen's give them great pleasure, presents and add to their stock of little comforts. They sigh for you sometimes; and no wonder: but they console themselves with saying that your father will end his days among a thriving set of grandchildren who need never fear want. Mr. Fellowes is glad, I am pleased to see, to have some of his farm labourers go abroad as opportunity offers; and some of these will convey this letter to you.—So many inquiries have already been addressed to me since my determination Edition: current; Page: [124] was known, that I have strong hopes that persons of various classes will soon be on their way to tile Dairy Plains.—Wherever colonization has succeeded best, the emigrating party has been composed of specimens of every rank and class; so that no one felt stripped of the blessings of tile mother-country, but rather that lie moved away in tile midst of an entire though small society. If gentlemen go to one place, and labourers to another, the settlement is sure to pine, like that at the Swan River, and like too many more of the same kind. Whatever expense and trouble may be incurred in locating such imperfect materials of society must be well nigh lost. The true economy, the true benevolence, the true wisdom, of emigration is to send out a company as a swarm of bees goes forth,—under proper leaders, and in a state of organization. This is the doctrine I declare as often as I am questioned; and I am trying to convince such capitalists as talk of emigrating that, if done in such a mode as this, their removal becomes most like a removal from one county to another; —as if they went from Norfolk into Cumberland, or from Lancashire into the new scenery of Devonshire. Let us hope that some of them will make the trial.

“The greatest surprise to me is that some still go on talking of its being unpatriotic to leave one's country. Surely it is patriotic to do whatever most benefits one's country; and it is pretty clear that it is a benefit to rid ours of thousands of her burdensome children, to the Edition: current; Page: [125] great advantage, instead of injury, of her colonies After all, a state is made up of individual members; and, therefore, whatever most benefits those individuals must benefit the state. Our duty to the state and our duty to ourselves are not opposing duties; if they were, there would either be no patriots, or no one would thrive. On the contrary, a man's chief duty to his country is to provide honestly and abundantly, if he can, for himself and his family; and when this cannot be done at home, it is a breach of duty to stay and eat up other men's substance there, if a living can be had elsewhere. But I need not argue this matter with you, who have seen and adopted the true patriotism. I and mine will come and try what we can do to make the name of our native land honoured in distant regions as it is in our own hearts: and when the reckoning comes to be made of what, as a community, we of the Dairy Plains have dolce for the state of which we arc members, let it be clear that we have loved and served her all the better for being removed from the gates of her workhouses into one of the palaces which God himself has built for her.”

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Summary of Principles illustrated in this Volume.

Two kinds of colonization have been adopted by the British Empire;—Colonization for the reduction of our home-population,—or Voluntary Emigration;—and Penal Colonization.

The term Colonization is by some applied to a third process, which they wish to see introduced into this country; viz.—Home Colonization.

The objects of Voluntary Emigration, directed by the state, are threefold.

1st. To improve the condition of those who emigrate, by placing them where they may obtain subsistence at less cost than at home.

2d. To improve the condition of those who remain, by increasing the ratio of capital to population.

3d. To improve the condition of the colonized region.

To fulfil the 1st of these objects, the colony must be so located as to insure health and abundance to its members; and it must be so organized as to secure tile due co-operation of labour and capital.

To fulfil the 2d object, the removal of each individual must be less costly than his maintenance at home would be; and the selection must be made with a view to lessening the amount of human productiveness at home.

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To fulfil the 3d object, the colonists must be selected with a view to their productiveness, both as regards capital and population; which includes a moral fitness to compose an orderly society.

It follows from all these considerations that a new settlement should be composed of young, healthy, and moral persons; that all should not be labourers, nor all capitalists; and that there should be a sufficient concentration of their numbers on the new lands to insure a facility of exchanges.

Home colonies may afford a temporary relief to a redundant population, and also increase the productiveness of the lands which they appropriate; but this is done by alienating capital from its natural channels; and with the certainty of ultimately injuring society by increasing the redundancy of population over capital.

Home colonization then, though less injurious than the unproductive distribution of the Charityfund, is inferior to foreign colonization, inasmuch as the one yields temporary benefit to a few at the expense of ultimate injury to many; and the other produces permanent benefit to all.

The objects of Penal Colonization are,

1st. The security of society by the removal of the offender.

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2d. The security of society by the effect of his example.

3d. The reformation of the offender.

There has hitherto been an entire failure of all these objects. And no wonder; since,

1st. The offender is only transferred from one portion of society to another: and besides, frequently returns to his old haunts.

2d. His punishment, as far as it is punishment, takes place at too great a distance to be conspicuous as a warning; and in as far as his lot does not involve punishment, the effect of his example is precisely the reverse of what is desired.

3d. Our convict arrangements tend to the further corruption of the offender, by letting him experience a great improvement in his condition as a direct consequence of his crimes.

The junction of penal with voluntary emigration tends equally to disappoint the purposes of the one, and to extinguish the benefits of the other; since convict labourers find themselves in a state of privilege, in a region where their labour procures them large rewards; and new settlers find their community deeply injured by the vice and disease consequent on the introduction of a convict population.

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A Tale
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  • 1. Novelty . . . . . . . . . . 1
  • 2. Pastime . . . . . . . . . 18
  • 3. Discussion . . . . . . . . . .29
  • 4. More Novelty . . . . . . . . 45
  • 5. Observing at hand . . . . . . . 62
  • 6. Observing afar . . . . . . . . . 70
  • 7. One for himself . . . . . . . 87
  • 8. Consequences . . . . . . . . 108
  • 9. Each for All . . . . . . . . 118
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Chapter I: NOVELTY.

The season was more than half over, and was about to be pronounced remarkably dull, when a promise of novelty was given out in the shape of a rumour that lord F——and his lady, who had been travelling abroad from the day of their marriage, had arrived in town, and that the bride's first appearance would take place at the Duke of A——'s ball on the 20th. This information was circulated in various forms of words, all bearing a relation to what lady F——had been before she was lady F——. At the clubs, in the shops, in drawing-rooms and boudoirs, it was related that lady F——'s debut would take place on the 20th. Her first appearance on a new stage,—her return from a tour in the provinces,—her first night in a new character, all were referred to the 20th, in a manner which should prevent any one forgetting that lady F——had quitted a profession on her marriage. The curiosity Edition: current; Page: [2] was not confined to mothers aud daughters, to whose observation au extraordinary marriage is the most exciting circumstance that life affords in this case, the interest was shared by their husbands and fathers. Some wondered how the proud old earl would stand the introduction of his daughter-in-law into his own society; and others, who had told lord F—— that he was a lucky fellow to have won such a glorious creature, speculated, notwithstanding, on the awkwardnesses and difficulties which must hourly arise from the choice o one so far below him in rank. He was an odd personage, however,— lord F——; and there was no telling how he would think and feel on occasions when everybody else felt alike. On the whole, greater sympathy was expressed for his sister, lady Frances, who was more likely to be mortified, —who certainly was more mortified at the connexion than the rest of her family. Her father was understood to have insisted on her making the best of the affair, since it could not be helped; but, whatever her outward demeanour might appear, it would be too hard upon her to suppose that she could do more than barely keep on terms with a sister-in-law who had been on the stage. A solitary voice here and there reminded the speculators how it was that lady F——had adopted a profession, and asked whether the connexion would have been thought very preposterous if she had been known only as the highly educated daughter of an eminent merchant; or whether the marvellousness of the case rested on Edition: current; Page: [3] her father's misfortunes, and her choice of a way of life when he was no longer living to support and protect her: but these questions met with no other answer than that such a marriage was so very strange an one that the speculators longed to see how all the parties carried it off; though, to be sure, such beauty as lady F——'s went a great way towards making tile thing easy;— almost as far as her husband's carelessness of the opinion of the world.—Meanwhile, who had seen her riding in the park? Was she more or less beautiful than on the stage? Was lady Frances with her? Who had called, and who had not? How was it to be the fashion to treat her? And so forth.

How much did all this signify to lord and lady F——, to the earl, and to lady Frances? The bride fancied little, and feared nothing. She had been conversant with many ranks of society, and had found them all composed of men and women; and she never doubted that in that with which she was about to become acquainted, she should also have to deal with men and women. Her husband guessed what speculations were going on, and did not care for them. The earl also knew, and did care, as did lady Frances; but they disposed differently of their anxieties; the earl repressing them in order to the best disposition of circumstances which he could not prevent; his daughter allowing them to fill her mind, appear in her manners, and form a part of her conversation with her intimate friends.

Lady F—— and her husband dined alone on Edition: current; Page: [4] the day of the Duke of A——'s ball. As the bride entered her dressing-room, she met her lady's-maid fidgeting about near the door.

“O, dear, my lady,”said Philips, “I am glad you are come. I was just going to take the liberty of venturing to send Thérèse, to remind your ladyship how very late it is growing. It would scarcely be justice, either to myself or your ladyship, to cramp us for time in our first toilet; and I was not able so much as to lay out your dress; for Thérèse was so idle, I find, as not to have ascertained what your lady ship intends to wear.”

“I have been so idle as not to have made up my own mind yet, Philips. There is abundance of time, however, if you are no longer dressing my hair than Thérèse and I shall be about the rest.”

Philips immediately looked very solemn; and though the toilet lamps were duly lighted, and all was ready for her operations, she stood with her arms by her side in the attitude of waiting.

“Well, Philips, I am ready.”

“Will you please, my lady, to send Thérèse and her work elsewhere? It cannot be expected that I should exhibit my ways so as a mere novice may supplant me any day, my lady.”

“This is Thérèse's proper place, and here she shall stay,” replied the lady. “However, she shall read to us; and then, you know, she cannot be a spy upon your doings.”

Thérèse read accordingly till the hair was dressed. At the first pause; Philips observed that Edition: current; Page: [5] she must brush up her French, her fluency in which she had lost from having missed the advantage of visiting Paris last year.

“Thérèse will be obliged to any one who will talk with her in her own tongue, Philips. Suppose, instead of having fancies about supplanting one another, you make the best use you can of each other, since you must be a good deal together.”

“I will do my best, I am sure, my lady, to instruct the girl in all that relates to her own sphere, without encroaching on mine. I will do my best to reform her dress, which really bespeaks her to be a green-grocer's daughter, if I may venture to say so. But as to dressing hair,—allow me to appeal to lady Frances whether it can be expected that I should disseminate my principles out of my own sphere.”

“See who knocks, Thérèse.”

The earl and lady Frances were below, and lady Frances would be particularly glad to speak to Mrs. Philips, if not engaged with my lady. Mrs. Philips, at her lady's desire, went to receive her late mistress's commands, and Théré.se enacted the lady's-maid, as she had done from the time she had left Paris in lady F''—s train.

“Come, Thérèse, let us have dune before anybody arrives to criticise us novices. How nervous you look, child! What is the difference between dressing me to-day and any other day?”

“There is no toilet in travelling, madame,—no fêtes like this; and in the inns there was so much less grandeur than here. I have not been Edition: current; Page: [6] educated to serve you, like Mrs. Philips, or to live in a great house.—I am more fit to sew for you, madame, or read to you, than to help you instead of Mrs. Philips.”

“I do not want two Mrs. Philipses, you know; and as for the grandeur you speak of,—if we do not find it comfortable, we will have done with it. What have we too much of,—of light, or of warmth, or of drawers and dressing boxes, or of books? You like old china, and I like old pictures, and here are both. Which of all these things do you wish away”

“O, none of them, I dare say, when I grow used to them: but they are so little like my father's house! I felt the inns very grand at first, but they are bare and tarnished, compared with what we have here.”

“Yes. You would have been glad of such a rug as this under your feet in those cold rooms at Amiens; and I should have liked such a mirror as this instead of one so cracked, that one half of my face looked as if it could not possibly fit the other. I see much to like and nothing to be afraid of in rugs and mirrors.”

“You, madame, no! You are made to have the best of everything come to you of its own accord; and you know how to use everything. You. . . .”

“And yet, Thérèse, I was once as poor as you, and poorer. If I know how to use things, and if, as you say, they come to me of the best, it is because I think first what they were made for, and not what they are taken as signs of. If, Edition: current; Page: [7] instead, of enjoying the luxuries of my house, I were to look upon them as showing that I am lady F—, I should be apt to try to behave as people think lady F—should; behave; and then I should he awkward. Now, if you consider all the pretty things you have to use, not as pointing you out as lady F,—'s lady's-maid, but as intended to make me and my little friend comfortable, you will not be distressed about being unlike Philips: you will know that I had rather see you the same Thérèse that I always knew you.”

“O, madame, this is being very good. But then, I cannot feel as you do, because there is more occasion for me to think about the change. There is my lord to take off your thoughts from such things; he is with you in every new place, and you see how accustomed he is to everything that is strange to you.”

“That does make some difference certainly,” said the lady, smiling, “but then you should consider how many more new places and people I have to make acquaintance with than you. Except Philips, or two or three of the servants below, you have nobody to be afraid of, and I am never long away. You will feel yourself at case in one room after another, and with one person after another, till you will learn to do all your business, and speak all your thoughts, as simply and confidently as you once watered the salads in your father's shop, and made your confession to good old father Bénoit.”

Thérèse sighed deeply, as she finished her task Edition: current; Page: [8] and withdrew to the fireside, as if no longer to detain her lady about her own affairs.

“I have not forgotten, Thérèse, about finding a confessor for you. I am only cautious lest we should not observe exactly your father's directions.”

“Madame—they are so very particular!—that the priest should be a devout man, and very old and experienced in the confession of girls like me.”

“I know; and we thought we had found such an one; but he has forgotten almost all his French, and you could hardly confess in English. But make yourself easy; your conscience shall soon be relieved.—Good night. Philips will sit up .... More work, do you want?—You may give Philips a French lesson. O, you have read all these books. Well: come with me into the library, and I will find you more.”

On the stairs they met lord F—.

“Where are you going, Letitia? Frances is closeted with Philips in the library.”

Thérèse immediately stole back to the dressingroom; but before the carriages drove off, she was furnished with a fresh volume wherewith to be occupied when she should have made tea for Mrs. Philips and herself.

The earl had dreaded lest he should find Letitia nervous at the prospect of the formidable evening she was about to pass. His visit was meant to reassure her, and she understood the kindness of the intention, and showed that she did. When lady Frances came in from her conference with Edition: current; Page: [9] Philips, she found them side by side on the sofa, —Letitia quiet and self-possessed, and the earl regarding her with as much admiration as kindness.

“I am sure you may be obliged to me for giving up Philip's to you,” said lady Frances to Letitia. “She has dressed you beautifully tonight. Is not she a treasure?”

“A great treasure to you, Frances,” said her brother, “so pray take her back again. Letitia has one treasure of a maid in her dressing-room already, and it is a pity she should rob you of yours.”

“Indeed it is,” said lady F—. “Philips's accomplishments are thrown away upon me, I am afraid. If you wilt allow her to give my little French girl a few lessons, I shall be just as much obliged to you, and shall not deprive you of your servant.”

Lady Frances protested; but her brother was peremptory, to her utter astonishment, for she had never known him speak of lady's maids before and would not have believed that he could ever learn one from another. She did not perceive that he did not choose that his wife's beauty should be attributed to the art of her toilet.

Not the slightest trace of trepidation was observable in the bride when she alighted from her carriage, when her name was shouted up the staircase, or when all who were within hearing turned to gaze as she entered the crowded saloon, leaning on the arm of the earl. There was Edition: current; Page: [10] something much more like girlish glee than fear in her countenance; for, the truth was, Letitia had a taste for luxury, as all simple-minded persons would have, if their simplicity extended as far as a disregard of the factitious associations by which luxury is converted into an incumbrance. Having been early accustomed to so much of it as to excite the taste, then deprived of it, then baulked and tantalized with the coarse and tinsel imitation of it which had met her during her short professional course, it was with lively pleasure that she now greeted the reality. The whole apparatus of festivity inspired her with instantaneous joy:—the bowers of orange and rose trees, light, warmth and music together, the buzz of voices, and above all the chalked floor,— all these set her spirits dancing. A single glance towards her husband told him enough to have placed him perfectly at ease respecting the affairs of the evening, even if he had been a man who could be otherwise than at his ease. He knew perfectly well that it was impossible for any one of good sense and taste not to admire and respect Letitia, and he cared little under what pretence others might depreciate her accomplishments.

“Lady F—is the star of the night, as every one is observing,” said an old friend of the earl's, who was absorbed in watching the dancers, among whom was Letitia. “The brightest star, we all agree, and shining as if in her native sphere.”

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“This is her native sphere,” replied the earl. “She is in her own sphere wherever there is grace, wherever there is enjoyment.”

“True: so young, so simple as she appears! She seems perfectly unspoiled.”

“Perfectly. She has gone through too much to be easily spoiled. Change,—anything more than modification impossible in her ease, do with her what you will. You are an old friend, and I have no objection to let you see that I am proud of Letitia.”

“I am truly glad.... I felt uncertain.... I did not know . . . .”

“Nor I till to-night,” said the earl, smiling. “But I find I have no more wish than right to question my son's choice.”

“But you must expect the world to criticise it.”

“Certainly. If my son acts so as to imply contempt of conventional marriages, there will be contempt cast on his marriage of love. If both parties carry off their contempt inoffensively, both are welcome to their opinions.”

“Well! there are many here whose parents have had occasion to use your philosophy, or some other to answer the same purpose.”

“Lady F—is the star of the night,” observed lady Frances's partner, gazing at Letitia through his glass. “Peerless indeed!”

Lady Frances made no answer, which emboldened the gentleman to proceed.

“The star of the night, as she has often been vailed, and never more justly. Never, in the Edition: current; Page: [12] proudest moment of her glory, was she more lovely.”

Still lady Frances was silent.

“Perhaps your ladyship feels this to be the night of her glory; and, indeed, it is a triumph to have risen, through her own radiance, into a higher sphere.”

“I question whether she feels it so,” replied lady I Frances. “Letitia is very proud, and her pride takes rather an odd turn. She would tell you that site considers it a condescension to come among us, who are only born to our station.”

“Surprising! And what inspired her condescension”

“O, love, of course; pure love. Nothing else could have prevailed with her to submit to marriage. You should hear her talk of the condition of wives,—how she pitied all till she became one herself. You cannot conceive what poor slaves she thinks them.”

“And what says lord F—?”

“He is fired by her eloquence. You have no idea how eloquent she is. She pours it out as if . ...”

“It was in her heart, as well as by heart. How will she keep it up, now she has no practice?”

“They will have private theatricals down at Weston, I have no doubt.”

“I beseech your ladyship's interest to get me invited. It will be such a new thing to see lord F—on the stage. Of course he will play the heroes to his wife's heroines. Whatever may Edition: current; Page: [13] have been hitherto, he will scarcely like, I should think.... he is scarcely the man .... Faith! if she is proud and high-spirited, as you say, she has met her match.”

Lady Franees smiled; and as she was led away to supper, assured her partner that nothing could be pleasanter than the terms they were all on with lady F—; for she was, after all, a noble creature; which information was received with a deferential bow.

In every group of talkers, lady F—'s merits were canvassed. Some ladies would give any thing in the world for her courage, till reminded by their mammas that she had been trained to self-confidence, when they suddenly became contented w;th their own timidity. Others would have supposed her not out of her teens, by the girlish enjoyment she seemed to feel; but these were reminded that this kind of scene was as new to her as if she had not been seen and heard of in public for nearly four years. Everybody agreed that she was beautiful, and very amiable, and astonishingly simple, and conducting herself with wonderful propriety: and everybody admired the good-natured earl's manner towards her, and wondered whether it was lady Frances's own choice to come with her, and conjectured what lord F—'s happiness must be to witness his bride's flattering welcome to the rank the had given her.

Lord F—'s happiness, though as great as these kind friends could wish, was not altogether of the character they supposed.

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“You have enjoyed yourself, Letitia,” he observed, as they were going home in the grey of the morning, and when she made the first pause in her remarks to let down the glass, as a market cart, laden with early vegetables and flowers, passed for a few moments alongside the carriage.

“How sweet!—O how sweet those violets are!” she exclaimed, as a whiff of fragrance was blown in. “Enjoyed myself! Yes,—it is a new page,—quite a new page of human history to me.”

“Your passion is for turning over such pages, What next”

“If I had a market-woman's cloak and bonnet, I should like to step into that cart and go to Covent-Garden, to see the people dressing it up against sunrise. I should like, some morning, to go into the city when the sun is just touching the steeples, and see life waken up in the streets.”

“I wonder you did not stand in the door-way to night,” said her husband, smiling, “to see the contrast between speculating life on the pavement and polished life in the saloon.”

“I saw enough, without standing in the doorway,” replied Letitia, gravely. “It was more different than I had supposed from something of the same kind that I had seen often enough before. I had seen the great and the humble throng about our theatre doors; but then there was room for each, though far apart. All went to share a common entertainment, —to be happy at the same time, though not side by side. Here Edition: current; Page: [15] there were peers within and paupers without; careless luxury above, and withering hardship below. This is too deep a page for my reading, Henry; and not the easier for my having been in both conditions myself.”

“Why wish then for more experience, till you have settled this matter?”

“Because we cannot tell, till we have tried, what we may find in any matter to throw light upon any other matter.”

“Suppose you should find all wrapped in darkness at last, as Faust did when he had gratified his passion for experience.”

“Impossible,—having Faust before me for a warning. He kindled his altar fire from below when the sun was high, and he let somebody put it out when both sun and moon were gone down. Where was the use of his burning-glass then? How should he be otherwise than dark?”

“True; but how would you manage better?”

“I would never quit stability for a moment. Faust found out that the world rolled round continually. He jumped to the conclusion that there was no such thing in nature as a firm footing, and so cast himself off into perdition. If he had taken his walks in God's broad sunshine, he would have found that the ground did not give way under him, nor ever would, he was etherealized enough to stand on air.”

“So instead of speculating on the incompatibilities of human happinesses, and concluding that there is no such thing as a common welfare, you Edition: current; Page: [16] would make trial of all conditions, and deduce the, summum bonum from your experience.”

“Yes; that is the way; and if you would help me, the thing would be done twice as well. If we were each to go a pilgrimage through the ranks of society, (for we would settle the affairs of the moral world before we began upon the natural.) . . . .”

“Very reasonably, certainly,” replied her husband, smiling, “since it is easier to get into palaces and hovels, than into thunder-clouds and sea-caves.”

“Well;—if you began at the top and I at the bottom, if we were to meet in the middle, I do think we might see how all might dance amidst fragrance and music, and none lean starving on the frosty area-rails. You should be king, minister, peer, and so on, down to a tradesman; and I would be a friendless Italian boy with his white mouse, and a pauper, and a cotton-spinner, and a house-servant, and so upwards, till I met you at the tradesman's we spoke of.”

“My dear, why do you put yourself at the bottom instead of me?”

“Because you would be longer in learning what to make of poverty than I. I know a good deal about it already, you are aware.”

“Since we cannot rove up and down as we will through the mazes of society, Letitia, we will do what we can by varying our occupations. Variety of research may partly stand in the stead of migration Edition: current; Page: [17] from rank to rank.—You spoke at random just now, of my being minister. What would you say if I were to become a servant of the crown;—that is, in other words, a servant of the people?”

“That I would serve you,—O how humbly, how devotedly!—as the servant of the people,” cried Letitia, colouring high. “You know. ...”

“I know that in marrying me you dreaded, above all things, falling into the routine of aristocratic idleness. I know that you felt it a sacrifice to surrender your public service and influence; and this is one reason among many, Letitia, why I should like to accept office;—that you might espouse another kind of public service in espousing me. But here we are at home. I shall be able to tell you more after dinner to-morrow than I know at present of this matter.”

Letitia's experience of this day was not yet over. She found it very painful to be undressed by a yawning, winking lady's-maid; and she resolved that her engagements should never more deprive Mrs. Philips of her natural rest, however lady Frances might teach Mrs. Philips herself to laugh at the absurdity of a lady of rank troubling herself to lay aside her own trappings.

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Lady F—'s “experience” might have been of a very different kind from that which now lay in her way, if her regard to “stability” hail been less. When very young,—at the period of her father's misfortunes and death,—she had been strongly tempted to marry Mr. Waldie, a merchant, who was thought by the few friends of the destitute girl to have done her great honour by offering her his hand at such a crisis, and to have proved the disinterestedness of his attachment in a way which should have ensured it a better return. Letitia refused him, however; giving to her protectors the very sufficient reason that she did not love Mr. Waldie; and keeping to herself the further justification that she had no confidence in the steadiness of his principles and conduct. His impulses were generous, but fitful; and there was an excitement about him which had never yet been absorbed by any pursuit, or allayed by any possession. This might take any turn as he grew older,—either benevolent or selfish. It might be philanthropy,— but it might also be wine, billiards, roving, or many other things which would involve the slavery of his wife;—and Letitia, unblinded by passion, was able to perceive that there is little enough of rational freedom at the best in the condition of a Edition: current; Page: [19] wife, and that a woman's only hope of that which the marriage law at present denies her rests in the steady principle as well as the enlightened views of her husband. Her friends soon after exclaimed against Mr. Waldie's fickleness in a case which did not, in her opinion, testily fickleness of affection so much as rashness of conduct. He offered (as soon as he found his cause hopeless with Letitia) to her elder sister; and Maria, being really, and having been long, attached to him, married him, not unwarned by her sister of the tendency of his failings. The tenderest affection henceforth subsisted between the sisters. Maria was full of gratitude to Letitia for having refused Mr. Waldie; and Letitia as full of respectful compassion for Maria when she witnessed her devotion to her husband, and could not stifle the conviction that that husband's first affection had not died out the more rapidly for being too suddenly repressed. Maria was satisfied that she had as much of Mr. Waldie's affection as he would ever have to bestow on one permanent object; and that she was much happier than she could ever have been without him, so that she called herself, and all who spoke on the matter called her, a very fortunate wife.

Mr. Waldie had begun life as a rich man. His business was almost as considerable as any in the city; his abode on the Surrey side of London was elegant, and beautifully situated, and he kept two carriages. The wonder had been, during all the four years of Letitia's professional career, why so rich a brother-in-law Edition: current; Page: [20] should have allowed her to live by any such means. Mr. Waldie incessantly and truly pleaded that he could not help it; and much was said of her unconquerable love of the fine arts, and of the eccentricities into which her passion for independence led her. The sisters knew of very good reasons besides these why Letitia should not submit to live on the bounty of a brother-in-law, even if he were as generous as Mr. Waldie; and when the matter ended in Letitia becoming lady F—, her eccentricities met with all due respect.

Lady Frances never could conceive why Letitia called her present life an idle one, and seemed to think entertaining her sister's children the most serious business she had. Lady Frances thought no life so busy as that of persons of rank during the season. For her part, she saw tradespeople loiter about much more than she had time to do. Did not the baker's man stop for a few minutes' talk with the kitchen-girl in the area? Were not fishmongers seen leaning with folded arms against their stalls? Did not shopmen read newspapers behind the counter, and merchants' clerks stop in the Strand to look at caricatures? All this while, ladies of her rank never could get through all the shopping they planned for a morning, unless they gave up one or two of the exhibitions; and nobody ever went down Regent-street in such a hurry as lord B. or the duke of C.; unless it was the newsman or letter-carrier. She, for one, had been intending for weeks to call on poor old lady Y., and Edition: current; Page: [21] had never found time; while Letitia, who had such superior tastes too, complained (if you asked her) that she had not enough to do. With her books, and her harp, and her singing, —she was very careful to keep up her singing,— with all these in addition to her “social duties,” so engrossing during the season, one would have thought she had had enough on her hands; but she had asked her husband to read German with her; and they actually sat down, like school children, with a dictionary between them, every morning before his lordship went out. Moreover, she was polishing up her little French girl, —perhaps for a governess for her sister's children. Very sweet children those were; and it was natural that Letitia should love them, as being her sister's; but it seemed realty to be giving up too much to them to refuse a sweet spring ride to Hampton Court, because she had promised to take the little things into the park with her, that particular day. The worst of it was, Letitia was infecting her husband with this notion of not having enough to do. He ....

“You will hear no more of that,” quietly observed the earl. “Henry will have quite enough on his hands henceforward. He has accepted office.”

“Poor Letitia!” exclaimed lady Frances, laughing. “She will have more time hanging heavy than ever, unless, indeed, Henry makes her his private secretary.”

“He might do worse,” observed the earl.

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“And, proud as you think Henry, he will not disdain to let his wife cast many lights into the affairs he is taking in hand. If he knows most of the theory and practice of trade, she has had the most to do with individual and social character.”

“Of course, sir, as she had to make human nature a professional study. When Henry has to do with bonds and liabilities, she can enact Portia; when he studies insurance, she will find something à propos in the Tempest; and she must have many a fine smuggling scene at her tongue's end.”

“True. It is a happy thing for a man of business, as Henry will find, to have an accomplished wife to lighten and recompense his toil.”

This was one of the many thoughts in lord F—'s mind when he sought Letitia to tell her that the negociation was concluded, and that he was to take office immediately. He found her and Thérèse in the music-room, busy with the three little Waldies. The youngest was sitting on the table, clutching aunt Letitia's curls, while she was explaining to the eldest what Bewick's old man was doing in the churchyard. The second kneeled on Thérèse's lap, babbling French, of which she knew about as much as of English. A charming discord of sweet sounds greeted lord F—'s ears as he entered the room. The “Da, da, da,” of the baby; the coqueting in French about a kiss between Thérèse and her charge; and the anxious questions Edition: current; Page: [23] and explanations of the two engaged upon Bewick, made the uncle prefer looking on in silence, till Letitia turned to him with,

“It will not do. We must give it up at present. There is no making little children understand about old age, and death, and churchyards.”

The child turned her frowning face upon her uncle, as if appealing to him for light. He could not but try. He found she had seen Brixton church, seen something there this very morning; whether a wedding or a funeral, it required some time to find out; and this involved a description of each. Then came the question.

“Why are people white when they are married, and black when they are buried?”

In the middle of the explanation, she turned to the picture,

“Is that little boy with his hoop going to be buried? Is that old man going to be buried?”

No: they were neither of them dead yet; but the old man would be before very long, for he was very, very old ....

“Then, was he rather new once?”

Uncle could no longer keep so grave as the subject required, and besides, did not know how to convey that old and new would not do in all cases so well as old and young. He too gave up.

“Shall we ride?” asked Letitia, as lord F—looked at his watch. “I can send Thérèse home with the children.”

“Suppose we take them ourselves. This may Edition: current; Page: [24] be the last morning for some time that I shall be able to devote to you and yours.”

“It may be the last time we shall see Maria for some weeks,” replied Letitia. “I am glad you can go.”

As soon as they were seated in the carriage, lady F—explained that Waldie was so much out of spirits, and looked so wretchedly ill, that his wife was bent on getting him from home. She was sure he must have overworked himself at business, and he did not attempt to account for his depression in any other way.

“You had better take them down to Weston with you,” said lord F—. “It will be a comfort to you to have your sister with you till I can join you.”

“None whatever,” said Letitia, smiling. “While you are a man of business, I will not be a woman of pleasure. I will stay in town till you can introduce Weston and me to each other.”

And Letitia would hear nothing about the heat, the emptiness of the town, the solitude to which she would be doomed while her husband was being initiated into his office. In town she would stay while her husband remained; and so it was settled, as this happened not to be one of the points which his lordship had fixed unalterably within himself.

“There is papa!” exclaimed the eldest child, quitting her stand at the carriage window, and clinging to her aunt's neck, as soon as they Edition: current; Page: [25] entered the sweep which led up to Mr. Waldie's door.

“Yes; it is your papa. I wonder what brings him home so long before dinner to-day.”

Waldie had been standing with his hands in his pockets, gazing on vacancy, till the sound of the carriage wheels roused him. When he saw who was come, he appeared suddenly busy among his shrubs, and turned his back towards the house door.—Maria appeared, with a smile; but there was discomposure under it.

“Go and tell papa, my dear. He did not see the carriage. Go and ask him to come in.”

But the child for once was slow to obey. She clung closer to her mamma the more she was bid to go.

“We will go together,” said Letitia, leading the way to where Waldie was half buried among the shrubs. When he could no longer pretend not to see them, he came forward and shook hands; but his countenance was black as night. His anxious wife busied herself in pointing out how grievously the Portugal laurels were blighted.

“Blighted! aye, look! Not a leaf that does not crumble like ashes in my hand,” said Waldie, twitching off a spray and crumbling the leaves. “I had set my heart upon these laurels, and now to see them ruined in this way .... Damn the blight!” muttered he between his teeth.

“I hear there is much mischief done in Kent,” observed lord F—.

“in Kent! Yon would think there had been Edition: current; Page: [26] a shower of Gomorrah rain by the look of the place. Young ash plantations, miles long, with their shoots crisped and black, worse than my laurels. Curse the blight!”

“And the hops . . . .” lord F—was going on to inquire; but Mrs. Waldie held up her finger to stop him. He broke off suddenly, and Waldie turned round upon his wife with a look which made her change colour. In order to relieve everybody, lord F—summoned up all his experiences of the mischiefs done by blight at Weston, diverging gradually upon topics nearly related,—modes of improving, embellishing, &c., and ending with an invitation to the Waldies to go down and occupy the place for the few weeks of its greatest beauty. Waldie glanced quickly from one to another, as if suspicious of some plot to humour and amuse him, and then bluntly intimated that his going from home at present was out of the question. Scarcely another word could be got out of him, even when the ladies had walked away into the greenhouse, and the children had tried who could run fastest from papa, leaving him alone with lord F—.

“Do not you think him looking very ill, —very much altered.” inquired Maria of her sister, with a quivering lip.

“Very unlike himself to-day, certainly. Something has discomposed him. But you must not fancy him more ill than he is. No man varies more from hour to hour, you know. He may be quite a different man to-morrow.”

Maria shook her head, and then asked Letitia Edition: current; Page: [27] to observe what they came to see, without delay. She should not like her husband to think they were consulting about his looks. Letitia snatched up the plant in question, and carried it to lord F—to ask whether there were any of the kind in the Weston greenhouses.

“You had better take it with you,” said Waldie. “It requires a greenhouse, and we shall have no greenhouses when we remove.”

“Remove!” said his wife faintly.

“Remove! yes, my dear. You would not stay here, would you? The blights ruin everything I set my heart upon; and you know I cannot bear to see a house so exposed as ours, with not a tree to cast a particle of shade on any part of it. There is Erpingham's house, down below, with those fine spreading sycamores beside it.... that is something like a house. We could live there for a lifetime, and never grow tired of it. But you see it will take a lifetime for our clumps to grow roof-high. I shall move into the city.”

“Nevertheless we shall find you still here, five years hence,” said lord F—, smiling. “When the blights are over, you will love this pretty place too well to leave it.”

“Curse the blights!” was the reply.

“You have not been in town to-day, Waldie?” said lord F—. “Then you have probably not heard that I have taken office . . . .”

“At the Board of Trade?—Well! I suppose one ought to be glad of it, —I suppose you Edition: current; Page: [28] expect to be congratulated; but, upon my soul, I do not know how to feel upon it. There is such a curse clinging to trade. People talk of the honour and glory of being a British merchant, and of legislating for British merchants. I wish both you and I, my lord, may not find more plague than profit in it.”

“I know I am about to encounter much perplexity,“Waldie—perhaps some abuse, and certainly, much painful knowledge about the distresses of the country. Nevertheless, I have accepted office—or I should the say, we have taken office; for Letitia remains in town as long as business detains me here.”

“I am glad you allow wives to be official too,” said Letitia, smiling. “Come plague, come profit, brother, it is hardly fair that they, should have double the one and only half the other; which is the case when they are shut out from that department of their husbands' concerns.”

“‘Double, double toil and trouble’....” said lord F—.

“And watchfulness, and struggle, and woe,” continued Letitia, “when they feel they could solace and help, and are not allowed. When I find I can do neither, I will go down to Weston without another word.”

“My dear,” said Waldie, “would you like to take the children down to Weston? I must stay in town, but . . . .”

“O, indeed, we want no change. Unless you .... you . . . .”

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“Then we will remain at home this summer, lord F—, thank you. Our wives both prefer it, I see.”

And Mr. Waldie put some cheerfulness into his manner as he handed lady F—into the carriage. At the first opening in the trees, Letitia saw him draw his wife's arm within his own, and walk with her towards the house.

“It cannot be the blight that has soured him so,” observed lady F—to her husband. “That must be a mere pretence.”

“Blights destroy other things besides Portugal laurels,” replied her husband. “Did not you see how I was forbidden to enlarge upon hops?”

“What can he have to do with hops? O! I begin to see. Speculation is to be his ruin,—not wine, or gaming.”

“Must he he ruined?” enquired lord F—.

“Yes. There is wide ruin in success, where it comes from speculation. Ruin of peace.—Who would possess paradise, if it were on an island which might be sunk in the sea at any moment? O! poor Maria!”


Week after week the steward sent reports from Weston of the beauty of the place, and the high Edition: current; Page: [30] order it was kept in for its lady's approval, and the impatience of the tenants and the villagers for my lord and lady's arrival. Week after week did friends and acquaintance leave town, till it became what the inhabitants of Westminster call a desert, though it would still puzzle a child to perceive the resemblance between it and the solitary places where lions await the lonely wayfarer. Week by week did Mrs. Philips expatiate on the delights of watering-places, and the charms of the country, and the intolerableness of town in the summer,—and still neither master nor mistress seemed to dream of stirring. “A few weeks in the autumn! Was that all the change they were to have? And how were they to exist till the autumn, she should like to know?” Lady F—was so far from wishing that Philips should not exist, that on learning her discontents, she took immediate measures for forwarding her to her dear lady Frances, more than half of whose pleasure at Brighton had been spoiled by her having no one to manage her toilet on whose taste she could rely as a corroboration of her own. The day which saw Philips deposited in a Brighton coach brought ease not only to herself, but to those who lost, and her who gained her. Philips was certainly right. Her talents were not appreciated in her new home; and she would indeed never be able to make anything of her new lady. Like other persons of genius, mere kindness was not enough for Philips; she pined for sympathy, congeniality, and applause, for which London affords no scope in the summer season.

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How Thérèse sang as she watered her lady's plants, that day! How many confessions had she to pour forth to her old priest of feelings in which he traced incipient envy and jealousy, but in which she acknowledged only fear and dislike! How long a letter did she write to her father to inform him of her promotion to Mrs. Philips's place, and consequent increase of salary;—of her intention to take a few lessons in hair-dressing, now that she could afford it, and felt it to be due to her mistress; and how happy she should be, when this duty to madame was provided for, to send money enough to put Annette to school, and perhaps even to place a new hotbed at her father's disposal!—How charming a variety was made in the household by a passing visit from the earl! And how pleased he looked when, on popping his head in at the library-door, late one evening, he found Letitia acting as secretary to her husband, looking over books, making notes, and preparing materials for a reply to a deputation which was to wait on him the next morning.

“I hope you like hard work as well as you thought you should,” said he, laughing. “Have you begun to think yet of petitioning for a more equal division of it,—for a multiplication of places?”

“Heaven forbid!” exclaimed Letitia. “A multiplication of places now, when there is such an outcry against places and placemen! It would be as much as our lives are worth.”

“And, what is more to the purpose,” said Edition: current; Page: [32] lord F—, “it is unnecessary. It matters little that it is the fashion to mix up in ignorant minds the odium of holding a sinecure, and the honour of filling a laborious office;—it matters little that all the people have not yet learned to distinguish the caterpillars from the silk-worms of the state; for they will soon learn to hold the servants of the nation in due honour. Meanwhile, all that we want is a more equal distribution of the toils of government.”

“All that we want, son! It is much to want. What an absurdity it seems that a nobleman should, from having merely his private affairs to manage, be suddenly burdened with the responsibilities of an empire;—a burden, under which how many have been crushed! Again, there is your old school-fellow, lord H—, yawning half the day on the pier at Brighton, and airing his horses the other half, while you are sitting here, pen in hand, from morning till night.”

“I have no objection to it, sir. “It has been a serious grievance to me, ever since I returned from my travels, that I had nothing better to do than what I have been doing.”

“Studying, growing accomplished, falling in love, and marrying,” replied the earl, laughing. “What would you have been doing more?”

“As it happens, sir, all this proves an excellent preparation for my present business. But I did not know that it would; and I was perpetually asking myself,—moreover, Letitia was perpetually asking me, —the end and aim of my employments.”

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“That was the secret, I dare say,” said the earl, “of your difficulty in winning her. Eh, Letitia?“

“Indeed it was,” replied Letitia, blushing. “God knows what difficulty I found in making it a difficulty; but I dared not at once give up the calling which nature had sanctified to me, without providing for my race being served in an equal proportion in some other way. If there be one note sooner than another to which conscience awakes in these times, it is to the cry of unserved humanity; and mine, having been once thus awakened, could not be lulled asleep again; and even your son could not soothe it till he began to promise that we should labour together for all, as well as for each other.”

“So you married to be useful;—for no other reason on earth, my dear?”

“No, no, no. I was useful before. I married .... for the same reason as your son. But this reason did not make me forget my responsibilities; that is all.”

“Ah, my dear: you do not know,—highly as you rate your art,—what you have deprived society of by shutting yourself up here. Why,—I saw that sot, colonel Bibber, turned into a patriot for full three hours under your influence; and poor little lord H. that we were speaking of just now, grew almost magnanimous for the same space of time. These, and hundreds more, owe to you, my dear, the greater part of whatever virtue has visited them for the last five years.”

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“If so.” said lord F—, “what was the effect on better people?”

“The effect that the fine arts are ordained to produce,” said Letitia. “They have much to answer for who defame them,—who perceive nothing in them besides colours, and sounds, and motion,—who put a kaleidoscope and Raphael's Transfiguration on a level, and recognize nothing more in a symphony of Mozart than in an Eolian harp and see no matter of choice between a merry Andrew and Kean in Hamlet. They who perceive not that the fine arts are the fittest embodiments of truth and beauty are unconscious of the vastness of the department in which they would have man remain unserved. Such would wonder or laugh at my view of my profession, and discredit my hesitating to leave it for lord F—.”

“You were satisfied that you held a commission to serve man, by means of the fine arts; you were right, my dear, as is proved by your having made the colonel a patriot, and the little lord a hero.”

“That it was only for three hours at a time,” said Letitia, “was not my fault, but that of the arrangements by which means and ends are sometimes separated as far asunder as if the world would be perilled by their coming together. In this, we might wisely copy from man In his state of nature. Indian savages have their songs and dances immediately before have battles; and, as long as prayers imply devotion, Edition: current; Page: [35] they are everywhere used in senates as a prelude to the business of the nation. But we go straight from an oratorio to dinner, from a tragedy to sleep, from the Elgin marbles to shopping in Regent-street; while, on the other hand, if a great national question has to be debated, a mighty national achievement to be wrought, the last thing its conductors would think of would be to spiritualise the passions, and elevate the emotions, and animate the faculties by the most appropriate means which Providence has given for that end —I know that this union can be only partially effected yet. I know that the passage of the Reform Bill would have been but little helped by any such appliances as we can at present exhibit; but it will be different hereafter, when men have learned the true office of the fine arts, and the ultimate objects of political reforms. Then, hundreds of years hence, it may be,—if a new question of national renovation should be brought forward, the senate to whom it is committed may lay hold, with one accord, on whatever prior observance may best soothe down their animosities, and banish their petty self-regards, and establish their minds in that state of lofty tranquillity which alone beseems the master-spirits of an empire.”

“In those days,” said lord F—, “there will be an end of the absurdity of admitting the ennobling influence of the fine arts, and at the same time holding its professors in contempt.”

“Is it, even now, anything more than a nominal contempt?” asked Letitia. “Do not Edition: current; Page: [36] people mix up the profession and the vices of its professors together, and then talk of contempt?”

“But those very vices are caused by the treatment of the profession.”

“True; like all other professional vices—like all the peculiar failings of certain classes,— like the avarice of Jews, the romancing of travellers, the spiritual pride of sectaries, the vanity of authors. When prejudices are so far surmounted as that no class shall he regarded with factitious deference or contempt, there will be an end of all occasion to reproach painters, musicians and actors with their tendency to selfindulgence, at the same time that proverbs and by-words against Jews, methodists, travellers, and poets, will fall into oblivion.”

“In those days,” said lord F—, “perhaps our peerage may honour itself by taking up the profession of the fine arts. The time is coming when no class of society may be idle; and if the aristocracy plumes itself upon its refinement, this seems to be the pursuit most congenial to its constitution.”

“If you preach your doctrine,—that all must work,——to those of your own condition,” said the earl, “they will ask you where you got the notion,—whether you are intimidated by the clamours of the lower classes.”

“Not intimidated by their clamours, but moved by their condition, I would tell them, sir; and that I derive my notion from the nature of man and of society, and not from the dictation of any class whatever. It is enough to Edition: current; Page: [37] melt a heart of stone to read and hear of such distresses as have come to my knowledge since I entered office; but I am convinced that many of the sufferers look in the wrong direction for the causes.”

“Yet there must be much cause for complaint,” said Letitia, “when our institutions lead to such an opposition of interests as there now is between different ranks. They should surely work together . . . .”

“The present opposition of interests, my dear, arises from a scarcity of the prime necessaries of life. If there were food enough for our people, their occupations and interests, be they as various as the minds that adopt them, would assist and promote each other from end to end of society. If there be a scarcity of food, men will snatch from one another's mouths, be they huddled together in our manufacturing cities, or duly distributed in a Moravian settlement. Where there is plenty, there will be a harmony,—Where there is want, there will be an opposition of interests; and it is folly to assign co-operation and competition as the remedy and cause of distress.”

“Nay; but can it be right that starving thousands should bid their labour against one another for bread? Can it be right that whole families should, at this moment, be crouching down supperless in their litter of straw, while we.... O, I am ashamed of our luxuries!.... our mirrors, and harps, and lamps,—and my very dress. I am ashamed of them all.”

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“If we gave them all away this moment, my dear, they would not be food; and if exchanged for bread, they would only take food from the mouths of some who want it, to give to those who cannot want it more. Believe me, the inequality of condition we are complaining of is rather checked than promoted by competition. Competition equalizes the profits of industry, and increases instead of lessening its productiveness.”

“Whence, then, comes all this misery? all this tremendous inequality?”

“The misery arises from a deficiency of ood. . . .”

“Well; whence this deficiency of food?”

“From the tendency of eaters to increase faster than the supply of food.”

“But if we can raise more food by co-operation than without it . ...”

“Even supposing we could, — unless co-operation also checked the increase of numbers, it could prove no more than a temporary alleviation of our grievances. In my opinion, it would, if it included equality of condition, leave us in a worse state than it found us, in as far as it would relax the springs of enterprise and industry, and, in time, bring the community down into a deplorable state of sameness; it would, if persevered in, make us into a nation of half-naked potatoe eaters, and water-drinkers.”

The earl inquired whether anything had been heard lately of the co—operative society formed in the neighbourhood of Weston. Edition: current; Page: [39] “O yes!“replied lord F—. “They are enjoying the benefits of competition to the utmost. They ascribe their prosperity to their co-operation; but they are, in fact, a large partnership in competition with smaller ones. They do not see how their relative position would be altered by their absorbing all their competitors into their firm, with no cheek to their numbers, while nature has imposed perpetual checks upon the growth of their capital.”

“But cannot numbers be checked,—cannot the checks upon the growth of capital be evaded, while we have such a wide world to move about in?”

“Certainly, my dear: but there is no need of equality of condition to help us to do this. Competition is more likely than co-operation to induce prudence and foresight; and it will quicken our activity in carrying our surplus numbers to distant fer tile lands, or in bringing the produce of distant fertile lands among our own people, instead of tempting us to waste more and more of our capital continually in turning up inferior lands at home, as the co-operatives would have us do.”

“But were not you telling me that your rentroll becomes more valuable as time passes? Are not landholders' incomes increasing perpetually under the present system?

“They are; but this is the consequence, not of competition, but of the varying qualities of the land, the tillage of every new grade of which tends to lower profits and raise rents. No plan Edition: current; Page: [40] for the distribution of home produce can affect the law by which the returns to capital are perpetually diminished.”

“But what will be the end of it under the present system?”

“There are two extremes to which the systems of equality and inequality of distribution respectively tend, in as far as they involve restriction upon food by using only the produce of our own lands. Under the equality system, there would be an ultimate scramble for potatoes, or a worse diet still, if there were such a thing. Under our present system, the whole produce must in time be in the hands of the land-owners and tax-takers. we must change our system; not, however, Of course, by discouraging competition, or abolishing private property, but by removing all artificial restrictions upon food, and by regulating our numbers according to our resources. The way to bring down landlords' rents, and to increase the profits of cultivators, is to procure food from some better source, than our own inferior lands; and this I will prove to you by figures, the next time my steward brings me the accounts of my farms.”

“O, that Moravian village!” exclaimed Letitia “How often I think of the day we spent there! There was comfort, there was abundance, there was mutual assistance and agreement.”

“Are you quite sure, Letitia, that there was nothing in the situation and peculiarities of the place which called off your attention from the principle on which the society was constituted? Edition: current; Page: [41] Remember the sunset, that evening; the golden light on the green hill side, above the rows of Moravian dwellings. Remember your admiration of the internal regulations,—of the women's uniform, of the music in their church, of the simplicity of their way of life. Remember that all this has nothing to do with their principle of association.”

“You must no more set the accomplishments of the Moravians to the account of community of goods, than the absurdities of the Shakers,” observed the earl.”That some sing beautifully, and others dance ridiculously, has nothing to do with the distribution of their wealth.”

“No more than the ordinances of the Harmonites,” continued lord F—. “Mr. Owen's followers very properly refuse to be mixed up with Moravians, Shakers, and Harmonites. Superstition has no part in their system, either under the form of ritual observance or celibacy. Yet they are apt to incorporate extraneous matters with their system, which serve as allurements to a greater extent, I doubt not, than they intend. They owe more converts than they suppose to their promises of mansions, pleasure-grounds, coffee, alabaster lamps, and so on. My wonder is that more are not enticed by descriptions like these, accompanied with promises of ease, and leisure, and many other things to be obtained in a short time, which the poor man now sees little chance of his children's children ever enjoying.”

“There might be alabaster lamps and damask Edition: current; Page: [42] furniture in every house under the present system,” observed the earl, “if food enough could be got to keep the production of capital going at its natural rate; aye, and ease and leisure too, if our numbers were kept within bounds. It is not so very long since shoes and stockings were worn only in courts; and that they are now worn by peasants proves that our capital has grown under a system of competition. That multitudes have little ease and no leisure is the fault of overpopulation, which would be rather aggravated than lessened under a system whose very essence it is to cast each man's burdens upon all. No man need scruple to have twenty of his children gracing the dinner-table of a co-operative establishment, till he should find, too late, that not all the savings caused by extensive association can compensate for the falling off in the produce of inferior lands, and for the new impulse given to population. His sons and his sons” sons must add more and more labour to the common stock; must give up, first, damask and alabaster, then broadcloth and glass; then descend to sackcloth and wooden trenchers, then to tatters, potatoes and water, and trenchers, then . . . .”

“Then would ensue a scramble; if anything should be left, competition would come into play again; society would rise by its means, and might possibly attain once more to a state in which they might speculate on the universality of damask and alabaster.”

“Well!” exclaimed Letitia, “I shall ask to look at your steward's accounts, and to have an Edition: current; Page: [43] explanation of them; for I do not at all like our present position, We must reach the extreme, you say, of having our whole produce in the hands of land-owners and tax-takers, unless we change our system.”

“Yes, my dear: but by change of system, I do not mean convulsion. All might be set on a safe footing by timely care, the removal of restrictions, the diffusion of intelligence. There is nothing in all this, threatening to public dignity or private safety. There is nothing to lessen the security of property, or to endanger the rights of any class; but quite the contrary: for property is never so secure as when it most abounds; and rights are never so well respected as in the absence of temptation to infringe upon them.”

“By change, then, you mean progression, without fear of subversion.”

“Just so; the progression of society from an advanced into a higher state. What is there in such progression that is not as beautiful in theory as it is found to be necessary in practice?”

From this hour, the progression of society, of which Letitia had long dreamed, on which she had often speculated, began to assume distinctness in her mind, and to form a large part of her conversation when she happened to be with those to whom she could speak most of what was most in her thoughts. Whenever she heard of misery and crime on a large scale, she satisfied herself that the national demand of progression had not yet been sufficiently attended to. When she heard Edition: current; Page: [44] that her lord's rents ought to be more, but were, from the difficulty of collecting them, less than formerly, she sighed for the time when an unrestricted provision of food (unrestricted by state-laws) should check the rise of rents. Whenever she sat down by her husband's side to hear curious tales of the doings of large speculators or eminent merchants, or of the sufferings of large classes of agricultural or manufacturing labourers, she learned something that made her wonder and lament, that, while the natural laws of production and distribution work out evenly their balance of results, the tendency of legislation thus far seems to be to clog and thwart them, and delay the progression in intelligence and comfort which must arise out of their unobstructed operation. She saw that, if the universal interest of society was allowed to be the moving spring of the social economy, all would be served; and that if many yet remain unserved, it is on account of other movements being made to interfere with it—the petty springs of narrow and mistaken interests; so that partial protection brings on general hardship, and arbitrary stimulus, a condition of general suffering.

Before going down to Weston, Letitia had become prepared to make her way with the steward, the co-operating workmen in the village, and all who could throw light on the past and present state of property in the place. Many a conversation and calculation had she also gone through with Thérèse on the subject of shopkeeping in Paris; and all that Maria told of Edition: current; Page: [45] Waldie's business went to the same account of information. It made poor Maria smile sometimes in the midst of a fit of anxiety to find that her children's babble savoured of political economy, when they had been spending a morning with their aunt. They were more ready then than at other times to wonder why they had dolls in the nursery, and picture-books in the parlour, and a shell-grotto in the garden, when many other little children had no playthings; and why poor Ned who swept the crossing was so much more ragged than their errand boy, when Ned worked the hardest of the two, and was often out in the cold and the rain besides. Almost babies as they were, they could sometimes find out very sage little reasons for these things, when put on the right scent by aunt Letitia or her pupil Thérèse.


At length came September, with its utter dulness in town, and its busy brightness in the country. No parliament, no ministry, no court, with whose proceedings to diversify the daily papers; but instead, a reporting of the progress of certain noble lords and patriotic gentlemen from one Edition: current; Page: [46] country seat to another, with accurate calculations of the quantity of game bagged by each. Now were expresses hurrying to and for in search of the runaway men in power. Now were ancient ladies proudly leaning on the arms of sons, who were happy in being allowed breathing time to watch the autumn sunsets from the terraces of their stately castles. Now were the young heirs of rank and wealth initiated by playful papas into the mysteries of riding and sham shooting. Many a little lord was now mounted on his pony to adventure forth as far as the park gates, while mamma and sisters waved their handkerchiefs from afar, and careful grooms waited to lead him back safe. Many such a little rogue carried his mimic fowling-piece into the stubble, and learned not to wink or flinch when papa brought down a bird, or coaxed the gamekeeper to lend him a brace or two to carry when they should come in sight of home and the girls. Many a tenant now put himself in the way of a greeting from his landlord, resting on a stile, or pacing his way slowly th, rough a field. Many a state secret, that the public would fain have known, was dismissed for some such freak as snatching at a high hazel twig, or leaping a gate. Many a fair family group of riders was seen threading green lanes, or cantering over downs, or appearing and disappearing in the clumpy drives of a park,—graceful boys, and high-born girls, leading their father in search of some new beauty which it turns out he discovered in like manner, when he was a pleasure-loving youth instead of a statesman. Edition: current; Page: [47] Now, in the golden noon, was the boat seen to unfurl its snowy sail, noon, and glide in rivalship of grace with the swans which diverged on either hand to let the vessel have its way without disturbing their serenity. He who has guided, or may guide, the helm of the state, now condescends to steer a less majestic bark on a calmer element; and instead of the prayers, threats and blessings of an empire, bends his ear to the prattle of his little ones, or to the rustling of a startled deer, bounding from the thicket as the vessel nears the shore. Not now too busy to observe whether rain or sunshine be without, the recreated statesman finds in either case equal pleasure and repose. His lady's nursery lan boudoir, his sons' classics, his daughters' music, his library, his billiard table, and withal some peculiar and long relinquished pet pursuit, give him as much pleasure on a rainy day, as the flower-garden, the fish-pond and poultry-yard when the sky is blue overhead. He sighs over his past toils, reminds his spouse of their wedding sojourn at Chamouni, and at intervals quotes Virgil to the lad behind his chair, and whispers Pope to the little lady netting at his elbow. Statesmanship should have pleasures worthy of its toils; and so thought Letitia when her husband first mutely pointed out to her the woods of Weston.

Sweet was the leisure of the first afternoon, which gave promise of what should be done at future intervals of leisure;—intervals not likely to be too frequent to retain their charm. His Edition: current; Page: [48] lordship had brought his business and its apparatus with him; but for this day all was laid aside. Within half an hour after alighting from the carriage, and while dinner was being served up, my lord and lady were in the rosery, observing on what must have been its beauty a few weeks before, and the one pointing out and the other following with eager eyes the tracts among the hanging woods which had to be explored, the points of view which must be visited, one at sunrise, one in the glowing noon, another in the still evening. As soon as dinner was over, they were out again, that Letitia might see the ruins of the old, abbey before the sunlight should have departed. Her heart melted within her when she saw the long shadows of the lofty arch extended on the velvet turf, motionless except when a bird took wing from among the ivy, and set its boughs dancing. The rooks sailed in circles above the stately ruin, and the thrush piped from the evergreen covert which shut in the retired nook in which it stood. The sun-dial also marked the silent lapse of time, although there was usually none to lay the lesson to heart.

“This is the place, love,” said lord F—.

“And you would have had me come without you,” said Letitia, after a long pause.

“We have some weeks yet, to be sure, to enjoy it. This is the last spot that looks desolate as winter comes on. No leafless trees, no strewn blossoms! The wall-flowers there on the pinnacle flourish late; and all is green and bright till the snow falls.”

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“And after, surely,” said Letitia. “I should like to see icicles glistening on these arches, springing grey from the sheeted snow. I should like to see the ivy sprays bending under their white burden, or shaking it off in a shower of sparkles at the breeze's bidding. O let us come here at Christmas!”

“If we do, you may chance to see another sight. You will see tracks of small feet in the snow, and catch some little girl, in her red cloak, stealing from the Wishing-Well.”

“The Wishing-Well! O where?”

“It springs from under an old stump behind this wall. Have you any wishes?”

“I will make some for the superstition's sake.”

And immediately Letitia might be seen unbonneted, kneeling on the consecrated stone, and drinking the draught her husband had filled for her. Thus was she seen, as presently appeared. A voice reached them from one side, praying that her ladyship's wishes might come to pass, be they what they might, as they must be for good and no harm to the people under her. Letitia sprang up, laughing, and her husband replaced her hat, calling to the well-wisher to show himself. He did so, not in the shape of a hardy labourer, with his farming or gardening tools on his shoulder; nor yet of a picturesque old man bending beneath his faggot. Such might better have beseemed the place: but this was a middle-aged, shrewdlooking little man, whom one would have guessed to be town-.bred. He came forward, saying that Edition: current; Page: [50] he had a message for her ladyship from his wife; —my lord knew his wife.

“Not I,” said his lordship. “I did not know you had a wife.”

“May be not, my lord; but you know the woman. She that keeps the grocery shop, as you turn the corner in the village, your lordship remembers.”

“What! Nanny Sweet? So you have taken her to wife since I saw you last.”

“Yes, my lord. She has a very good business, or had before the equality folks set up a store against us. I don't like equality, not I. But my wife sends word, my lady . . . .”

“You do not like equality!” interrupted Letitia. “If there was equality, you know, you would not need to mind who set up a store, and what came of your wife's grocery business.—And do not you like this place too,—these woods, and the deer, and the lake?”

White lauded the grandeur and beauty of Weston.

“Well; this place would be as much yours as ours if there was equality. You might fish on the lake, and shoot in the preserves, and . . . .”

“And lie down to sleep in the sun here beside the well,” continued lord F—;and all without asking anybody's leave.”

“I thank you kindly, my lord; but I like sleeping in my bed, if I sleep at all, unless it be dozing over my pipe, while Jack is reading the news at the Duke's Head. The only time I Edition: current; Page: [51] went fishing, I fell into the water; so you'll not soon find me in a boat again. My wife and I like a chicken now and then, on Sundays; so a share of your poultry-yard would be welcome perhaps; and, as for the deer and game, I leave it to other folks to get out of their warm beds for the sake of it. It would not answer to me to be laid by with the rheumatism for such a cause, you see.”

“But there would be no poaching if there was equality,” said Letitia, laughing. “Cannot game be shot in the daytime?”

“By none but gentlemen, my lady, as I have always heard. However, the equality folks have no more game, as far as I know, than other people. The most they pretend to is to have plenty of butcher's meat.—What I pretend to, and Nanny too, is to get our bread honestly; and so, my lady, she bade me tell you that she has laid in a new stock, hearing your ladyship was coming, and has lost already by its being September instead of June. Light ginghams for morning wear . . . .”

“I thought your wife was a grocer.”

“Grocer and draper, my lady. If your ladyship should find the mornings chilly, as they will be soon, perhaps you would look at her stuffs;— a very pretty variety of browns, as you will see, my lady. And her tea and sugar is of the best and as for her snuffs . . . .”

“O, I must make acquaintance with her snuffs, of course. Have you a pinch about you?”

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“And what is your occupation now, White?” inquired lord F——.

“The last thing I had to do, my lord, was lining your lordship's pew at church, and covering the hassocks.”

“And what did your priest say to that.?”

“Lord, sir, I cleared scores with the priest long ago; ever since I was employed to whitewash the Baptist chapel.”

“Were you once a Catholic?” inquired Letitia.

“Yes, my lady. There was carving work to do at Sir William's chapel, and I got a good long job.”

“And were a Catholic while it lasted, and a Baptist after white-washing the meeting-house?”

“To be sure, my lady; I took a part in the week-day meetings after that.”

“Till you were employed to line my pew; and now, I dare say, you are a very good churchman?”

“I hope to be so, my lord. Your lordship may laugh, but I know what manners is. I wouldn't be so unhandsome as to take work at one place, and attend at another.”

“So your interest has nothing at all to do with it, White; only manners. But I'wonder now what you think your religion is worth, if you can change and change again as you have done?”

“Why, my lord, I think religion is a very good thing, as long as it does not come in one's way: but one must make sacrifices to duty, as all the clergy tell us; and is it not my duty to get my living the best way I can?”

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“Well, White; tell your wife I will step down to see her stock, some day soon. I do not at present take snuff'; but whenever I do, I will be her customer.”

Thérèse and her mistress kept one another waiting this night. The housekeeper, who was much amused with Thérèse's broken English and unbroken simplicity, invited her out to a turn in the shrubberies when tea was sent in, and she was sure of not being wanted for an hour or two. When they came in again, they found that their master and mistress had once more wandered forth, tempted by the rising of the clear full moon behind the woods. After sitting nearly an hour in the dressing-room, Thér`se put faith in the housekeeper's prophecy that her master would stay abroad till after midnight, like a child as he always was, or one that lived on air, the first few days after his coming down from town. Thérèse looked out and longed for another ramble. The dressing-room lamp shed a pearly light through the room; but a golden planet hung over the opposite beechen grove: a small bright fire burned in the grate; but it was less cheering than the bracing evening air: the time-piece ticked drowsily amidst the silence; but it was less soothing than the coming and going of the night-breeze among the elms in the green walk. Thérèse could not resist. Once more she ran out, promising herself that she would be back in ten minutes,—long before her mistress should be ready for her. In an hour, startled by the striking of the village clock, Edition: current; Page: [54] she returned, and found Letitia, half undressed, still gazing from the window.

“Ah, madam!” cried Thérèse, terrified; “I am very, very wrong . . . .”

As she hastened, with trembling hands, to throw off her cloak, and arrange the toilet-table, appealing the while to the moon and other temptations, Letitia, under a sudden impulse, ran and kissed the astonished Thérèse, crying, “O Thérèse, how happy we shall be here!” Thérèse returned the kiss again and again before she stopped to consider what she was about. As soon as Letitia could repress her inclination to laugh, she observed that they seemed all to have set aside common rules to-day, and to have their heads turned alike by coming into the country. After this, Thérèse would be in waiting at the proper hour, and she herself ....

“And you, madam . . . .” said Thérèse, half smiling. “You will not make me forget that there is one in this country who loves me as some love me at home; but this will redouble my respect, madam.”

“I hope it will, Thérèse; for I need to be reminded now and then .... I was not always lady F——, you know; and a moon-light night makes me forget these things sometimes. We are all equal in reality, except when ignorance, and all that comes of ignorance, separates us from one another; so there may be friendship,—there is friendship between you and me, Thérèse.”

“The knowledge which you have given me, Edition: current; Page: [55] madam, will make this friendship my secret treasure. No one will know it who cannot also be your friend.—But many ladies put confidence in their maids, and tell them such things as I have never heard from you. Mrs. Philips . . . .”

“Mrs. Philips, I suspect, Thérèse, had much more to tell than she ever was told; at least, her secrets were of a kind that will never be known to come from me. Your confessor shall never have to warn you against me,—unless, indeed, it be my heresy. I would not spoil you, my dear; and that is the reason why I keep you so much with me. It would be hard if I did not love you and let you love me. Now go to bed; and when the sun shines, instead of the moon, we must forget all the wild things we have done this first day.”

“I shall never be fit to be a countess,” was her confession to lord F——; “I kissed my maid last night.”

“What, Philips!”

“O no, no. That would be idiotcy. Philips is at Brighton, you know, where lady Frances spoils her by a more pernicious familiarity than mine with Thérèse. But really this girl wins one's heart as if she had been born one's younger sister.”

“I dare say she is some countess, or countess's daughter in disguise; or so some romantic ladies might fancy.”

“Ladies who think that nobility is only hereditary. There is disguised nobility in Thérèse; but her patent is sealed with an impress which Edition: current; Page: [56] there are few to recognize, and it is deposited where not many trouble themselves to look for it.”

“Side by side with yours, love. Happily, your nobility of that better kind needs be disguised no more than the lesser which you have acquired. This was the chief satisfaction I had in giving you the lesser.”

“We will look among the equality folks, as White calls them, for specimens of natural nobility. According to their theory, such always assumes its rank among them, does it not?”

“This is one of the professed objects of their system; but it is not fair to look for its fulfilment in such small societies as they have yet been able to form. Master minds are thinly sown.”

“There needs not equality of outward condition,” observed Letitia, “to make the best minds master minds. Those who, by virtue of a patent of mental nobility, have held sway over the national mind, have been of all ranks.”

“And will so continue to be; for, as long as men are unlike one another, there will be a distinction of ranks, though the distinction may be maintained by a better principle than heritage. Rank and wealth will, I trust, be in time distributed according to natural laws; but degrees of rank and wealth there will always be; and the advocates of a system of equality would greatly promote their cause by a frank recognition of this truth. While all evidence from which a judgment can be formed is before them, and they come Edition: current; Page: [57] to a conclusion in direct opposition to the evidence, I cannot, however much I may respect them on some accounts, think them wise and safe guides of the people. The necessity of inequality of condition may be established thus.”

“But first tell me whether their favourite principle of co-operation necessarily involves equality of condition.”

“They would tell you ‘yes’. I say ‘no.’ They hold that competition is both the cause and effect of inequality of condition; whereas certain advocates of co-operation in another country hold, (and I think wisely,) that their principle stands a better chance where a gradation of rank and property is allowed. I so far agree with these last as to believe the time to be discernible when co-operation, in a certain sense, shall prevail,—meaning thereby, when all interests shall be harmonized instead of opposed; but that this includes equality of condition, I cannot allow, since varieties of character seem to me to forbid such equality.”

“There must be an inequality of physical and mental powers, at all events.”

“Surely; and therefore an inequality in the produce of individual labour. No one labours, or ever will labour, without a view to the fruits; and those fruits, however appropriated, are property. If a giant produces ten times as much as a dwarf, and each is allowed the same middle portion of the fruits, for his maintenance and enjoyment, is it to be supposed that the giant Edition: current; Page: [58] will trouble himself henceforth to produce more than the dwarf?”

“He will be more likely to seize some of the dwarf's portion.”

“Certainly; and hence it is clear that the only security of society lies in awarding to all their rights, and enforcing upon all their duties; and what are rights but a man's exclusive power over his own produce? What are his duties but allowing to others the possession of their produce?”

“You do not think then that the giant and the dwarf would be alike contented with having everything they could want or wish for administered to them in return for a certain Portion of their labour. You do not look forward to the lion dandling the kid.”

“I should be afraid the lion would be dandling the kid when he ought to be out in quest of food. If there was no inducement to giants to produce more than dwarfs, there would soon be little to administer to anybody. The consumption of giants would soon have to be provided for by the labour of a community of dwarfs.”

“The giants would foresee this, and then . . . .”

“Instead of working harder for no recompense, they would withdraw,— the mightiest first, and then the next strongest, and so on, till the weakest of the dwarfs would be left to shift for themselves as they best might.”

“And then would come the days of potatoes Edition: current; Page: [59] and wooden trenchers, of which you were speaking one day.—But this is supposing men to have the same passions and desires that they have now; whereas they are to be educated into a better state.”

“With all my heart: but the utmost that education can do is to extend man's views, to exalt his aims, to strengthen and vivify his powers,— not to change his nature. His nature involves inequality of powers; and this decree of Providence can never be set aside, or its operation neutralized by any decree of man that the fruits of those powers shall be equally divided.”

“Certainly not; for such a decree of man involves injustice. If the giant feels it to be unjust that he must give to others the fruits of his labour, the dwarf may also complain that he enjoys no more than the giant, though he works ten times as hard.”

“The dwarf's complaint would thus be against Providence, and the giant's against man; but both show that equality is an arbitrary state, good neither for each nor for all. Nothing but compulsion would retain the giant in it long; and thus it is clear that, where there is liberty, there cannot be equality.”

“What becomes of the old cry of Liberty and Equality?”

“It relates, I imagine, to an equality of rights; It means an open field and fair play to every one. This kind of equality I am doing all I can in my office to procure, by doing away with the protection to some which imposes burdens upon others. By the same principle I am bound to Edition: current; Page: [60] oppose that arbitrary equality which enriches the weak with the fruits of the strong man's labours.”

“But there is no force used. All who bind themselves to equality do it voluntarily.”

“Certainly. The only applicable force is force of argument, and the opposition I bring is an opposition of reasons. If these should not prevail, a little experience will soon finish the business. I am only sorry that any should be dazzled with a delusive prospect of ease and luxury, when their efforts should be guided in another direction for the relief of their grievous burdens. At a time when every one should be bent on regulating the labour market, providing for the utmost permanent growth of capital, and lessening the burdens of taxation, we cannot spare any from these grand objects to be urging on the increase of capital at the expense of a much greater increase of population, and amusing themselves with visions of what can never be achieved by the means they propose. Man must and will be better served as the world grows older; but it will be by giving the eternal laws of society fair play, and not by attempting to subvert them. I shall be surprised if you hear anything from our neighbours in the village which will not bear the construction I have put upon the system as laid down by its originators.”

“Suppose I make myself popular among them at once by telling them my tale of last night.”

“There is no need, my dear. I trust they do us the justice to believe that our affections graduate Edition: current; Page: [61] according to a truer scale than that of hereditary rank.”

“You have shown that they do by marrying me.”

“All people show it in the most important circumstances of their lives,—in their attachments. Alas for man, if the movements within must correspond with the outward state! Whom then would kings love?”

“And (what is more important) how should the poverty-stricken look up through the ranks above him, and say, with hope in his eye and assurance in his voice, ‘I am a brother?’ How else should the stirring thought be kept alive in him that his rights will not be for ever overlaid, his claims not be for ever incompatible with those of his brethren? Natural affinities are ever acting, even now, in opposition to circumstance. They will in time direct us to the due control of circumstance. Meanwhile, let no class imagine that any other class denies the existence of these affinities, or resists their workings..—I will go and see how they are acting in the village.—Shall I bring you some of Mrs. White's snuff?”

“Why, thank you, I am not aware of any affinity between a rappee canister and my nostrils. But the old sexton is a snuff-taker. Call upon him by all means, and show him that you understand his likings. He will gratify some of yours, if you find him in a talkative mood.”

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A tribe of little children had gathered round Mrs. White's windows before Letitia and Thérèse arrived at the shop; the reason of which was that the grocery and drapery goods were disposed in a new style of elegance, in honour of her ladyship. Such tempting candies in the one window; such shining pins, such a rainbow box of cottons, such rolls of ribands, stuffs, calicoes, and flannels in the other! The little things could not be persuaded to move off even when White, who was on the watch, bustled about to make a clear path for the lady. There was plenty of bobbing from the girls, and pulling of forelocks from the boys; plenty of elbowing, and pushing, and signing, when it became necessary for somebody to speak in answer to her kind questions; but there was no inclination to make way. They were even rude enough to crowd about the door and peep in, while she was buying snuff and sugar-candy.

Letitia soon found that if White was shrewd in changing his occupation and profession according to circumstances, his wife was no less shrewd in understanding and conducting her own. It would be a wonder, the lady thought, if between them, they did not prove a match for their co-operative neighbours Edition: current; Page: [63] “I charge you the lowest, ma'am, the lowest, I assure you; and as low as is fair . . . .”

“O, I have no doubt of it, Mrs..... White. I am not going to dispute your prices, I assure you.”

“Indeed, my lady, I don't go by the rules of the folks over the way; and why? Because they talk of charging only the interest of what their stock costs them; while I must have profit too, and that is interest twice over.”

“The other half is what you live on, Mrs. White, instead of consuming part of their stock, you know.”

“True, madam. Double interest is fair profit, as my father used to say; and he, being a schoolmaster, knew the right of such things.”

“And taught them to you, it seems. But you do not mean to say that all profit is double interest. There is your neighbour, the apothecary, he charges at a much higher rate for his medicines.”

“Aye,” said White. “His is a fine conjuring trade. He shakes up three or four things in a bottle, and what was worth twopence is directly charged two shillings.”

“But consider, John, this is not all profit. Think what he paid for his learning, and what time he gives up to his patients. He has to pay himself for all this out of his drugs.”

“Then why not call some of his gains wages at once, and charge his patients for such, instead of pretending to give his time and labour, and Edition: current; Page: [64] charging his medicines ten times dearer than he need?”

“Many wish to be allowed to do this, I understand,” said Letitia. “They dislike the temptation to cram their patients with medicine, in order to repay the expenses of their education; and they wish it to be understood, that when we pay for a blister or a powder, we pay for medical skill and aid, as well as for Spanish flies or bark. In the same way, nobody supposes that great physicians charge guineas for writing five lines of a prescription, or lawyers for reading over a sheet of parchment.”

“There is the risk in their case,” observed White, “as well as the education. For one that gets rich in their profession, there are many that make but little; and this uncertainty ought to have a large reward.”

“If it was not for such uncertainty, my lady, I could sell some of my goods cheaper. But in a place like this, I can never make sure of selling a new article, as I could in a large town; so, when I venture upon any thing new, I must charge it high to make up for my money being locked up, perhaps, and for the damage of the goods from lying by.”

“Like a hackney coachman in a town,” observed Letitia. “Coach fares are complained of, as if a driver had to charge only for driving from one point to another; but besides the interest of the money his coach and horses cost him, and the expense of repairs, he must charge Edition: current; Page: [65] the wages of the many hours and days that he and his horses are idle on the stand.”

“Well now, ma'am, there is one set of people whose gains make me more angry than almost any thing I can mention; and they are the public players and singers, and such like folks.”

White here came round the counter to his wife's side, and kicked, and winked, and coughed, till Nanny and Thérèse were amazed, and Letitia laughed. Nanny went on,

“Lord, John, I know more about that sort of people than you think, from there being a company playing in Mr. Jarvis's barn; and I assure you, ma'am, the satins they pretended to wear were all glazed calico; and the jewels, my lady, were all made of tinfoil. Well; they got, even in a poor place like this, ever so much more than their living could have cost them; and I have heard of some of the better sort,—London actresses, and such,—making more in a night than an apothecary in a whole year. Why now, John, what should you know about it, to object in this way? I tell you . . . .”

“I can tell you that is true,” said Letitia; “and I can tell you the reason. Besides the uncertainty, which is much greater in those professions than in any other, there is a kind of discredit belonging to them; so that it requires a very strong inducement to tempt people of great talent to engage in them. When the time comes,—and I expect it will come,—for public singers and actors to be treated with proper respect, the best of them will not be paid extravagantly, Edition: current; Page: [66] and the inferior ones will not be half starved, as they are now. There will be no disgrace, and less uncertainty; and payment will therefore be more equal.”

“Then perhaps scavengers will be paid no more than plough-boys; for really, it seems to me wrong that there should be any reproach against scavengers on account of their occupation. You ladyship will excuse my mentioning them before you.”

“To be sure, Mrs. White, since we both think them a respectable class, in as far as they are useful. But they are paid high, as much on account of the disagreeableness of their business as its being ill thought of. Plumbers, and gilders, and miners, and distillers are paid more than shepherds and gardeners, because their business is less healthy and agreeable than those which are carried on in the open air, and in perfect safety.”

“Well, ma'am, I suppose it is all fair and even in the end; but it seems very much like chance; for people do not stop to consider the pleasantness, or the easiness, or the constancy, or the certainty of the business of the person they are paying, or the trust they put in him. They think of no such things when they go to the play, or buy early strawberries.”

“True; there are no such nice distinctions on all occasions; nor are they necessary; but yet there is no chance in the matter. When a duke fees l, his physician, and his duchess pays her jeweller's bill, the nobleman does not calculate Edition: current; Page: [67] the expense at which his physician acquired his profession, and the long time he waited for practice; nor does the lady think of the costly stock of her tradesman, and the delicate nature of his workmanship; and yet, these are the circumstances which determine the recompense of each. If it was as easy to be a physician as a ploughboy, there would be as many physicians as ploughboys; and if a diamond necklace required no more capital and skill than a bunch of asparagus, there would be as many jewellers as greengrocers; and then physicians and jewellers would be paid no more than ploughmen and green-grocers.”

“But, my lady, we do not want so many physicians as ploughmen.”

“True: and it is therefore a very happy thing that fewer can be the one than the other. If we leave the rewards of labour to take their natural course, we shall find that there always turns up a larger quantity of the sort we want most, and a lesser quantity of the sort we want least. In profits, I suppose, Mrs. White, you find less variety than in wages. It is of wages, you know, that we have been talking since we began about the apothecary.”

“Why, my lady, there is a disagreeable and an agreeable way of making profits of stock; and there is, I am sure, much more risk in some cases than others.”

“Yes; but there is no consideration of the easiness or the difficulty of selling things, or of the trust put in the seller, as there is in the manufacture Edition: current; Page: [68] of the thing sold. A smuggler, or any other kind of speculator, may make more one month, and lose more the next, than the regular trader pretends to calculate; but, I fancy, if we were able to see into the affairs of all the people in this village, or in any town, we should find less difference in what people make from an equal amount of stock, than from an equal quantity of labour. Your rule, of double interest being fair profit, shows this.”

“Certainly, my lady; or there would not be steady sellers of so many kinds of stock. People would choose the most profitable; which they might do more easily in selling goods than making them. My husband shifts his labour, as I believe he told you, from one employment to another;—(well for him that he can!) And I should shift my little capital from one kind of goods to another, if there was any real and lasting difference in the profits they would bring. But I don't find that crockery would bring higher profits than grocery, and so I go on being a grocer; and the butcher down the street finds he makes as much of his joints as I of my stuffs, one time with another; and if he did not, I suppose his wife would turn draper.—We all find means to live; though I am sorry to say our profits are lower than they were; and if all my good father said be true, they will be lower still ten years hence.”

“Is that the sexton?” inquired Letitia, seeing an old man pass with a large key in his hand. It was, and John White must be going Edition: current; Page: [69] to see if all was right in his lordship's pew, as the sexton was evidently about to open the church. Letitia paid for her purchases and followed, as one of her objects was to see the church as well as the sexton. Several neighbours popped into Nanny's shop before she had cleared her counter, to hear what the lady could have been saying and doing all this while. Nanny looked rather grand and mysterious, chiefly observing upon the comfort of having got somebody into the neighbourhood that one might speak to with some chance of being understood. She was a lady of sense and learning ....

“Though she did not go to school to your father, Nanny.”

“If she did not, she went to school to somebody that taught her to respect what my father taught me, neighbour; and so far, there are some folks that might take a lesson from her.”

On this, the wink went round, and the neighbours dropped off, leaving Nanny to muse on what fancy could have possessed her husband to tread on her toes and twitch her gown when she spoke of the strolling players.

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The old sexton pursued his way to the church without looking behind him, though made aware by the bustle around that strangers were in his rear. It was not old Joel's way to alter his pace or his purposes for man or woman, be they who they might. Children only had any power over him: and they only as long as they were unconscious of it.

“is the sexton one of the equality folks?” asked Letitia of White.

“What, old Joel? Really, madam, there is no saying what he is, further than that he is discontented with everybody's ways of thinking in turn.—Joel! Joel!” he cried, as the sexton was busied in unlocking the white gate of the churchyard, “my lady asks if you are an equality man”.

The old man muttered something unintelligible while engaged with the lock; but when he looked up and met Letitia's eye, her countenance,—not its beauty, but the sincerity of its expression,— acted as a charm upon his reserve, They exchanged smiles, and understood one another immediately. Joel did not, like Nanny White, congratulate himself aloud on having met with a congenial, companion, but he felt himself happy in having done so.

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“Will you please to tell me, madam, what you are here for?”

“To see the church, and to make acquaintance with you, Joel.”

“Because you are curious about my way of thinking?”,

“I have no idea what your way of thinking is; but I should certainly like to know, because it is the first tiling I try to find out when I make new acquaintances.”

“Then, madam, you and I shall suit. If such is your custom, you will not do as the world for the most part does; you will not first suppose that a man must be wise for having gone through all the chances and changes that can be crowded into a long life, and then think his opinions very wicked or very foolish because they may be such as you did not look for. Why, say I, should I feel and think like you.? Have you been first young and then old? Have you been looked upon as a scholar in your prime and an oddity in old age? Have you been on the other half of the world, and have you now only the sunny side of a churchyard for your range? Have you had ten children round your table, and do you now come to eat your solitary crust upon their graves? If not, why should you expect me to think like you? And how will you dare to point at me and pity me because pain and pleasure have sharpened my mind's sight to pierce further into things than you, who, may be, see only the outsides of them, or, may be, only the mists that cover them? Follow me, madam, unless your Edition: current; Page: [72] limbs are more feeble than all old man's, as many a fine lady's are.”

As Joel turned to lead the way, White ventured upon a sly wink to the lady, but presently fell behind, abashed by the steady gravity with which it was met.

The church stood on a mound, and its tower, therefore, though of moderate height, rose conspicuously above the trees which belted the churchyard; and from its parapet might be obtained a glorious view of the surrounding country. Joel did not pause or speak till he had conducted Letitia and Thérèse out upon the leads. —Instead of fixing her attention on the nearer beauties of the park and village which lay stretched beneath, the uplands that rose beyond, and the towers and spires of the great city which might just be discerned on the western horizon, Letitia gazed eagerly towards the south, where a dim haze stained the blue of an autumn sky.

“It is .... is it possible? .... yes, it must be the sea!”

“What is it you see, my lady?”

“I see a faint yellow strip of beach, and an even grey line which must be the ocean. O yes! there is a sparkle, and no other light or motion can be seen so far.”

“Aye,” said Joel, laughing, “that is ever the way those pronounce who have seen little. What think you of volcano fires, my lady, quivering over two hundred miles of a midnight sea? What think you of an avalanche sparkling as it slides from the highest pinnacle of the Edition: current; Page: [73] Andes? There are things, for that matter, that you have seen. What think you of the northern lights, or of our own shining, changing moon? Is she not so far off as yonder sea?”

“I was rash in what I said, Joel. But I wish that mist was away that I might find a sail. Look, look, Thérése! Is there anything?. . . . Do you see any form come out from amidst the haze?”

Théèse not having fixed her sight so long, could discern nothing; but her mistress satisfied herself that a vessel was visible, and at length, by dint of attention, could make out first the hull, then the sails, then one, then two more vessels in its train, and at last, a whole fleet.

“Why do you not insist on your servant seeing them too?” asked the old philosopher. “‘Twould be just as reasonable as quarrelling, as the people do down below, about what they see with their minds’ eyes. Bring them up here. One will say that yonder haze is nothing more than a blotch upon a bright sky; another won't trouble himself to look, but believes it is a mountain, or a city, or whatever other folks tell him it is. You, madam, see that within the mist which interests you more than the whole landscape besides; but, depend upon it, you will find plenty of people to assure you that 'tis all fancy that you perceive anything.”— Turning to Thérèse, he said, “Now you believe the lady that she sees a fleet, I dare say?”

“I do. Madame is not apt to see vision, and she ever speaks truth. Do not you believe?”

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“I do. What a world of trouble it would save if we had a few people that could discern as far off, and tell what they saw as faithfully about things that will outlast the sea; or even about some notions that will pass away long before yon fleet has all been sunk, or beaten to pieces, or decayed!”

“You mean,” said Letitia, anxious to prove the old man's scholarship, “what a pity it is that there is nobody to look out and tell us what truths there are holding their course within the mists in which our systems of religion, and politics, and science, and—above all—of society, are shrouded.”

“Yes, madam: but, after all, if there were such, would any believe them? Or, if some did and others did not, would there not follow a quarrel? Believe me, madam, (for I know every man, woman, and child, that lives beneath the roofs we are looking down upon,) there is not a spot beyond the belt of this churchyard,— bright and quiet as all looks, with not a leaf stirring in yonder woods,—there is not a spot where human beings are content with each other,—not a place above the sod where they can dwell side by side in perfect peace.—Some even quarrel about what is to become of themselves and their neighbours when they are laid under the sod. The children, indeed, tell one another such tales as it is pleasant to hear about the pretty place under ground, all cool and green and daisied, where they are to lie and sleep till all are gathered together; but as they grow up Edition: current; Page: [75] and are taken, one to Sir William's chapel on the hill there, and another to the meeting-house in the village below, and another here . . . .”

Letitia, perceiving that Thérèse began to look alarmed about what might be coming, interrupted Joel with the remark that it would be surprising if there were not difference of opinion on a subject so remote from human ken as the modes of future being. It was far more desirable that there should be agreement as to what should be done above ground to make life peaceful and happy; the most to be enjoyed in itself, and the fittest possible preparation for a higher and better.

“There is full as much quarrelling about this as about the other matter,” said old Joel. “There is your own mansion, madam. There, if I am rightly told, sits lord F—, sighing over the distresses-of thousands, and finding fault with the management of those that have held his office before him. In yonder new farm lives a man who is annoyed by the complaints of his neighbours on account of his having undertaken the tillage of some inferior lands, owing to which, the profits of their several occupations must fall. In the old abbey farm below, there is discontent at rents being raised by the same means. In our village shop, there is jealousy of the neighbouring co-operatives; and these co-operatives themselves, congratulating one another as they do on having found out the road to prosperity, shake their heads in a very melancholy way over the impiety of holding lands, and the injustice of rewarding labour in such a faulty manner as by Edition: current; Page: [76] paying coin. There are much worse things than these. There is life lost in smuggling contests on the coast you are looking at; and life wasted and worn in ill-paid labour in the rich fields below; and life embittered by hunger and cold in yonder hovels where the jolly hunt is now sweeping by. Everybody sees all this, and everybody boasts that he could cure it. All set about it in different ways, and nothing is done.”

“I would scarcely say that nothing is done,” said Letitia. “Though labour-notes may not prove so good a circulating medium as gold and silver, it is something done for any body of men to have become practically convinced that it is labour which gives value to what we would exchange. Though it is not at all likely that property in land will be given up because the Jews, peculiar in all their institutions, held theirs under a peculiar tenure, it is something gained that common attention is turned upon the tendency of our present system of land-holding, that so the causes of the increase of this species of property may be discovered in time to remove the impediments to a just distribution. Depend upon it, something is gained by these divisions of opinion; and the more various they become, the nearer we are to a better plan of society. The more quickly opponents demolish the hinderances set up by one another, the sooner will the natural laws of distribution be left free to work.”

“Why should they not do the thing more quickly still, madam, by watching the natural Edition: current; Page: [77] course of things? There might be an old man found in every village able to tell the changes that have come to pass since his boyhood in the value of the property, and the prosperity of the people around him, and wise enough to separate what belongs to the matter from what does not. I, for my part, can prove that our people here would not have been richer if they had paid one another ill labour-notes or goods, had instead of coin; and that if all the people within five miles round had made an agreement fifty years ago to have everything in common, there would now have been less wealth within these bounds, and far more people to consume it,—though we have too many already.”

“Point out to me, Joel, any spot within sight where you have watched the operation of the natural laws of distribution, of which we hear so much.”

“Alas! madam, there is no such spot in this kingdom. If there were, there would be abundance and content everywhere, instead of the differences we have been talking of. What is the first of these laws? That all labour should be free and voluntary.—Well; our people are not slaves, it is true; but can labour be called voluntary as to its amount, when a man must work sixteen hours a day to get just enough to keep him from starving?”

“This comes of there being more labour than food; and this therefore cannot be remedied by equalization of property, since the rich man consumes little more food than the poor man. Edition: current; Page: [78] It can be remedied only by bringing in more corn, or by sending out a portion of our surplus labour from among us.”

“True. Well; the second law is that all the fruits of labour should be secured to the producer. This is not done; for taxation swallows up a grievous portion of what is produced.”

“But the labourer chooses to exchange part of the fruits of his labour for the sake of protection of a government.”

“The third law,” interrupted Joel, “is that all exchanges of these fruits ought to be free and voluntary. Let our labourers give something in exchange for social protection, and welcome; but never tell me that they would willingly give as much as is now required from them in taxes, unless food was allowed so to abound as to afford a better recompense to their toil. While government checks tile supply of food, the labourer cannot think tiletile wealth he creates naturally distributed between the government and himself.”

“Tile co-operatives propose, I believe, to go on tilling more and more land as more food is wanted, and to give a sufficiency of its produce to every labourer.”

“Aye, madam, and many besides the co-operatives; but it would puzzle the wisest man among them to say where tile sufficiency is to come I?om, after a time; the return from land. being less and less as time passes on. Take the worst soil at present tilled. . . .”

“Or a better soil, subtracting the rent; for Edition: current; Page: [79] the return from all land is equal when the rent is deducted.”

“Very true, madam. Tile produce is to be shared between the cultivator and his labourers, rent having nothing to do with the profits of the one or the wages of the other,—being the consequence entirely of the different qualities of the land. Well; let this produce be divided into wages and profits ill what proportion you will, both decline as numbers increase and more food is wanted.”

“How is it then that farmers' labourers have many things in their possession that farmers' labourers used not to have? More shoes and stockings, and cloth coats, and other manufactured articles?”

“Because these things are more easily made, and cost less. A labourer may now have a pair of shoes for half as much corn, we will say, as he must have given for them some years ago. The same is the case with the farmer who employs him; so, though each may receive double the quantity of certain goods that they did some years ago, it does not follow that the rate of profits and wages is increased. If you reckoned the labourer's gains in shoes, you might say that his wages are doubled; but if you reckon them in relation to the farmers' profits, you may find them at the same time lowered; or that both wages and profits have in one sense increased; in another not. This blinds many people to the fact that wages and profits are continually declining.”

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“Of course, if land produces less and less, there must be a smaller produce to divide between the capitalist and his labourers; and on the whole, they must share the decline pretty equally; since the farmer would not farm unless he could make some profit, and the labourers would not labour but for subsistence. But I am afraid this decline pulls down the profits of manufactures too; for farmers would turn manufacturers if they could make higher profits thereby; and then there would be a new demand for corn; the price would rise; farmers would return to farming, and would take in new land, the diminished produce of which would lower profits again.”

“Yes, madam: this is the way that agricultural profits determine all profits; and that all are perpetually sinking. You see labour becomes dearer when corn is; that is, the labour must have a certain quantity of corn in return for his labour, bc its price what it may; and these higher wages lessen profits again, without any advantage to the labourer.”

“Well, but the corn the farmer retains is higher in price.”

“But less in quantity, my lady; and he has the prospect of employing dearer labour for a less return.”

“It seems, then, as if wages determined profits, instead of profits determining wages. But I suppose it comes to the same thing where there are only two shares to depend on each other.”

“There are greater changes, madam, in the Edition: current; Page: [81] supply of labour than in the manner of using it; and while there are multitudes of eager, hungry labourers, they will take care that the profits of stock shall not commonly rise higher than just to make it answer to the capitalist to carry on his business.”

“But do these things actually take place? Do farmers turn manufacturers, and turn back again into farmers? and have you known any cases of their profits falling?”

“I am as sure of it, my lady, as the co-operatives themselves, whose theme it constantly is. As for farmers changing,—you must remember that almost all capitalists use borrowed capital, and that this capital floats about continually, and is taken in where it is most wanted: so that capital may be largely invested in one concern at one time, and another at another, without much visible change in the occupations of capitalists. As for the other matter,—I know a manufacturer in yon city, and the farmer in the abbey farm to have each employed ten men at 25l. wages per annum, the highest they could afford to give, they said, since they had now to pay 250l. instead of 200l., as formerly . A new man came and took new land of the old farmer's landlord; and he had to employ eleven men to raise the same produce as the abbey farm yielded, and the price of corn rose. When the old farmer's lease expired, he was charged 25l. more rent to make him equal with the new farmer.”

“So they paid 275l.,—one for wage only, Edition: current; Page: [82] and tile other for wages and the additional rent; while the manufacturer paid only 250l.”

“Yes; but it was made up to them by the increased price of their produce; so tile profits of all were still equal. When labour should become dearer in consequence of this rise of price, the profits of all three would fall together.”

“And the labourer would not be better off, after all, Joel: only the land-owner, whose rent is incessantly rising. All this is exactly what the co-operatives are complaining of, is it not?”

“Yes, madam. But how would co-operation mend the matter? However the total produce is divided, it still goes on lessening, while numbers increase. This is the point, my lady. Do away as you will with the very names of rent, profits, and wages,—throw all together in a lump into a public treasury,—and there will still be less and less return to capital, and more and more consumers to divide it. Co-operation, equalization, and all those things, cannot make all lands equally fertile, they cannot make capital grow as numbers grow; and unless they could do these things, they can make no permanent provision for unlimited numbers; they cannot prevent tile decline of profits, whether those profits are taken by individuals, or thrown into the common stock.”

“But how do you answer these co-operatives, Joel, “when their complaints of the distresses of our peasantry are undeniably true?”

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“I answer by agreeing with them so far. Who can help it, for that matter? Where is the town in this wide kingdom where hunger does not stalk ferociously through the streets, and howl in the dark alleys? Where is the village where want does not wet the mother's pillow with tears, and open untimely graves for the gentle and the manly? No, no! I have seen too much to deny what so many are suffering: but this only makes me the more anxious that false means of relief should not be tried. W hen I hear some crying out for this park of yours, my lady, to be cut up into corn-fields and potato-gardens, or for cultivation to be carried to the tops of yonder hills, for all property to be held in common, I see that all this would only le ad to tenfold misery, and I cry,—but nobody listens to an old man,—get corn whence you can get it cheapest;—send away as maul: of your people as you do not want to where they are wanted;—and take care so to manage matters as that you may never be overburdened with numbers again.—Often as I have said this, madam, I never before said it with so much hope of being attended to. My lord can speak so as to be heard from one end of the empire to the other, and . . . .”

“And he likes to hear whatever is said from one end of the kingdom to the other on these matters, Joel. He would fain have a wise old man out of every town and village, as you say, to relate the changes he has seen from boyhood till now. You must come one day soon, when Edition: current; Page: [84] lord F—is at leisure, and tell us more of what you have seen at home and abroad.”

As they descended into the church, John White was seen standing at the entrance to the gallery in a state of great impatience. He had been kicking his heels, tapping the door-posts with his rule, and amusing himself in sundry such ways for half an hour, while waiting for the party, and now hastened forward to do the honours of her pew to lady F—, pointing out the comforts and elegancies of fire-place, cushioned chairs, curtain, &c.

“Is this our seat.?” said Letitia. “I do not like it at all.”

White stared in amazement. Thérèse was too busy remarking the bareness of a Protestant church to take notice of what was going on.

“It is a small, inconvenient church,” added Letitia, “and by no means made the most of, Where do the school children sit?—What! down in that narrow corner? This gallery is the proper place for them. After all your trouble, White, we must have another arrangement.”

“And where will your ladyship have all these things shifted?”

“Nowhere,” replied she, smiling. “If a fireplace is wanted here at all, it is for the half-clad, and not for those who can wrap themselves in furs; and this show of damask furniture does not beseem the place. I will speak to lord F— about a pew for us next that of the curate's family, and fitted up in the same way.”

“With matting underfoot, my lady, and dark Edition: current; Page: [85] green cushions, and below stairs too? Well to be sure! But your ladyship will have a curtain hung round?”

“I see no use in it. Lord F— does not sleep at church, or wish to be supposed present when he is not.”

“And the earl, and lady Frances,” said Joel, in a whisper. “What will they think, my lady?”

“They will, as our guests, be satisfied with our accommodations, Joel. And now show me down, that I may go and arrange this with lord F—, that our pew may be ready by Sunday.”

“The old family monuments, my lady.”

“I will wait to see monuments, those till lord F— is with me. We will call for you, the first morning he is at liberty. Meanwhile, there is much to study in the churchyard. We shall meet there sometimes, Joel.”

The lady and the old sexton did often meet there. Sometimes she went, sketch-book in hand, to sit in the porch or on the tombs; and then old Joel kept on the watch, just within sight, in hopes of being beckoned and invited to a conversation. At other times he would be there first in the performance of his duty; and the lady, warned by the passing bell, would come down and watch the process of grave-digging, gathering from him many a tale of joy and sorrow; many a touching notice of repented sin; many an animating narrative of struggling virtue. Severe as old Joel was on the follies of the pre sent times, no one could review the past more tenderly. It was soon perceived, however, that Edition: current; Page: [86] he became less reserved in his conduct, and less severe in his judgments towards the neighbours, as his friendship with lady F— ripened. By

the time he got to call her “my dear,” lie had grown so familiar with one and another as to express his admiration of her. It was a pretty sight, he observed, to see her out riding with a train of noble guests about her, and a pleasant thing to hear that she was the gayest and fairest at all the lordly festivals in the country round; but it did an old man's heart good to have her come and watch the opening of graves, in which she never forgot that the young and graceful are often laid before the old and weary. She ever kept herself in mind of this, by coming as she did, to mourn at every funeral. It was not idle curiosity, as some people might think. There was her face to read her thoughts in; and where were thoughts ever written plainer? Let the train behind the coffin be as long as it might, there was not a face more serious, there were not any tears more ready than hers. The very children that used to be sporting upon the graves at such times, had learned to he quiet without her even holding up her finger. Who should dig his grave, the old man did not know; but tie prayed his hour might come when the lady should be at the hall. She would see him laid under the sod, he was sure; and perhaps, at the moment, some things might come into her mind that they had said together at times when things are said that are worth remembering.

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Lord and lady F— found, as all people find, that drawbacks and trials attend the most exact fulfilment of wishes. Lord F— had power, was conscious of usefulness, and was therefore freed from the discontent with himself and his position which had tormented him from his college days till now; but new trials came with office. Not only toil, perplexity, and difficulty, but the relinquishment of pursuits which lie loved, and the deprivation of much of his wife's society. She felt this deprivation yet more. It was painful to know that he was in his study, and to be obliged to spend three-fourths of the day alone; but she had also to bear to have him called away suddenly, and to be disappointed of his return day after day.

On one occasion, some weeks after they settled themselves at Weston, this happened while their abode was full of guests, among whom were the earl and lady Frances. Lord F— was called to town,—believed he might have to go farther,—could not tell how soon he should be able to return. The first two days passed heavily away,—not to the guests, who enlivened the country round with their outdoor sports, and the rumours that went abroad of their indoor revelry,—but to the wife who was far more busy watching for Henry's return than playing Edition: current; Page: [88] the hostess, gracefully as she filled her office. The happiest part of her day was when shut ill with her father-in-law in the library, or reading in her boudoir, or taking her solitary morning walk when her guests were dispersed whithersoever their pleasures led them.

One day, about noon, having watched for the cessation of a heavy shower, she went out with the first returning sunbeams, and took her way towards the ruin, with her sketch-book in her hand, as usual. She was quite alone, this being the hour for Thérèse to go to her priest, and Letitia not caring to be attended by any one with whom she could not converse. The grass was too wet to allow her to sit down to sketch, and the place too beautiful, glowing in the mellow light of an October noon, to allow her to wander elsewhere in search of a subject for her pencil. She seated herself on a stone in a sheltered corner of the ruin, and began, while studying the perspective of an arch, to take notice of the trilling of a thrush which was hid among the ivy. As often as the bird ceased, she mimicked its note, to incite it to begin again; and with such success, that the bird and the lady were presently engaged in a very noisy and merry duet, answering, following one another, outtrilling each other, till the nook rang again. In the midst of this, Letitia suddenly stopped, fancying she saw a slow-moving shadow among the ivy at some distance. She sprung up, and looking through the arch, saw that some one was leaning on the sun-dial, with his face buried Edition: current; Page: [89] in his hands. She retreated, without another look, further into the recess where she had been sitting, believing the stranger more likely to think himself unobserved than if she were to show herself in the open space round the ruin. Hearing no sound of footsteps near, she hoped, after a few minutes, that he was gone, and began to draw; but, before long, she perceived that lie was leaning against the wall at some distance, and gazing fixedly at her. The moment she saw his face, she knew him, though he stood within the shadow.

“Mr. Waldie!” she exclaimed, “what brings you here?

He approached, and sat on the ground at her feet, without answering.

“What brings you here?” repeated Letitia, in her quietest tone, perplexed by the expression of his countenance.

“Indeed, I scarcely know. I can get no rest. I felt I must go somewhere, so I came here. I thought I should find you; and it was just what I wished, to meet you without going to the house.”

“Maria—the children—are they well, or has anything happened?”

“All well yet: but something will happen soon. Letitia, I am on the verge of ruin.”

“I thought as much. Then why are you here? Lord F— is absent, and I cannot help you. Away and be doing, Mr. Waldie! Do you quit your home, and saunter about here, when you are on the verge of ruin? Is this wide? Is this manly?”

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“I cannot conceive what made me come,” cried Waldie, starting up. “But I suppose it was because I was afraid to stay where I was. O Letitia, tell me what to do, for my head is so confused, I can devise nothing;—go with me and I will hasten home!”

“What are your difficulties? What way of escape is there? Tell me all, or I will advise nothing.”

“Tell you all! When have I not done so? Do not you— are not you— have not you always....”

“Tell me the whole, brother, as you would tell your wife; or hasten hack, and save her if there be yet time.”

With more distinctness than Letitia had hoped, Waldie explained to her that he had been engaged in several speculations, all of which, except one, the largest, and still undecided, had turned out badly. Upon this one, everything now depended; and its only chance of success rested upon several thousand pounds being raised within two days. He had bought up tile whole of certain kinds of India spices which had vet arrived in the market; another cargo, the last of the season, was daily expected to arrive; and upon its purchase depended tile price of the commodity, and the returns to the capital he had invested in it. This was no time for reproaching him with the folly of such a speculation, or his weakness in wandering down into the country, and leaving his fate to be decided by chance. His credit, he declared, was exhausted; he had no further securities Edition: current; Page: [91] to offer; he did not know which way to turn himself; and so he had left the whole affair behind him. “O for lord F—!” thought Letitia: but she did not even know where he was this day and would be the next; and the post which was to tell her would not arrive till the evening. She suggested all the ways she could think of to raise money; some of which were received with a melancholy smile, some with a painful laugh. Confused as Waldie seemed to be, he admitted clearly and repeatedly that if furnished with securities for the amount required by noon the next day, he had great hope of being able to obtain it at more or less cost. This decided Letitia what to do. Site made distinct memoranda of the particulars, promising that they should be communicated to no more than one adviser; she desired Waldie to hasten back to town, without a moment's delay, in order to commence the negotiation for funds, and promised that some one from her should meet him at his office in towel at two o'clock the next day, with the necessary securities, if they could be obtained, and with news of failure if they could not. She did not tell him that she meant to go herself; but the hope of obtaining her husband's assistance, and the conviction that Maria must stand in need of her support, determined her to undertake the journey. Having, by dint of peremptoriness, got rid of Waldie, she walked rapidly towards the house, gave her orders to Thérèse to prepare for their journey, and to the housekeeper to provide for the comfort of her guests during the Edition: current; Page: [92] three days of her absence; desired the carriage to take her up at the east gate in twenty minutes, and proceeded to seek the earl in that part of the grounds towards which he was seen last to wander. She found him reading the newspaper in the sun, ready to welcome her as he saw her approach, but struck silent when he observed the expression of anxiety in her flushed countenance. She rapidly charged him with her apologies for leaving home so suddenly and strangely, and begged to depute her office of hostess to lady Frances. She then inquired, to the astonishment of the earl, how she might best obtain legal advice in a hurry, if it should be necessary, and whether the earl could put her in the way of obtaining securities for the required amount within a few hours. On her promise to take no step without the advice of her husband or of the lawyer to whom he would give her an introduction, the earl furnished her with some valuable information, wondering all the while what sudden fancy had possessed her; for he had no idea that she could have seen any one, or received any letter, since they parted in the breakfast-room an hour before.

“Time was,” said she, while the earl wrote a few lines to his lawyer, “when I could have raised this money by pledging my own exertions. Now, not all my jewels,—not all my resources of every kind will avail me so well as three months of my old profession would do. It is well Henry has gained power; for I have lost much.”

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“Take care you are not tempted to resume it,” replied tile earl, smiling. “You want money, and the way to get it is open. If you are tempted, remember how it would dismay Henry at his breakfast-table to see the announcement of lady F—'s reappearance. Remember that though we talked of the peerage taking up that the profession of the fine arts, that day is not come yet;—nor will it have arrived by the time you enter the peerage, my dear. Which will be home first, you or Henry?”

Letitia tore a leaf out of her sketch-book, which she still carried, and wrote a note for her husband in case of his immediate return. The earl charged himself with it, as she had no time to go back and seal it; and putting her ann within his own, led her to the gate where the carriage was to meet her. He thought, as she did, that it was best to avoid the risk of encountering anybody who might look for an explanation.

“Farewell, my dear,” said he, as the carriage stopped. “We shall be glad to see you back again; meanwhile, all success to your measures!”

“How good you are to trust me for meaning something better than folly, as I see you do!” said Letitia, with tearful eyes. “This looks so like a madcap expedition!”

“When I have seen you do a foolish thing, my dear, I will believe that you may do another. Till then, my faith is strong. Nay, give me a happier smile before you go. Has your power ever failed you at need? I do not know what Edition: current; Page: [94] you expect from it, but I will venture to predict that it will not now fail you for the first to time.”

Before the carriage had well cleared the gate, it stopped again at the earl's command. He appeared at the window to say,

“It never occurred to me to ask whether I can be of use by going with you. Say that you wish it, and I am ready, this moment.”

“You are kind; but I do not wish it:” and again the carriage rolled on.

With a beating heart, Letitia made her inquiry at the door of her town-house. Lord F—was not there. He had gone down into the country,—(not to Weston),—that afternoon, leaving a letter to be forwarded to her, which had been put into the post-office some hours before. Letitia's best hope was over. It was midnight;—too late to go to her lawyer. She gave orders to be driven to her sister's, thinking it better to alarm her a few hours sooner than to risk any loss of time or of counsel.

She carried little new alarm into Maria's abode. There were lights seen in the windows, and Maria herself was up and dressed. This was the second night that she had not gone to rest, for it was the second that Waldie was absent without notice, or any intimation where he might be found. notice, The unhappy wife flew to the door on hearing the carriage-wheels. When she saw her sister and Thérèse alone alight, she assumed a forced calmness of manner, as if bracing herself up to bear the worst. Letitia judged it best to use no disguise, from which Maria had suffered Edition: current; Page: [95] all too much already. Inwardly moved by the downcast look of perplexity with which the tidings were received, she told of Waldie's appearance at Weston, of his errand,—if errand it might be called,—and intended return. It was some relief to Maria to suppose him engaged in town, providing for the approaching crisis, instead of being kept away by any of the horrible causes which she could not prevent from filling her imagination by turns.

The lawyer, Mr. Bland, was—not much to his content — called away from his breakfast and newspaper, the next morning, by tile ladies, whom, being ladies, he could not think of keeping in waiting till he had made himself master of all the news. Coldly and solemnly he sat himself down to listen to their affair, and prepared himself with his snuff-box to get over as well as he could the tedium of hearing a business statement from women. He would have cut the matter short near the beginning, with assurance of the impossibility of raising securities for so large an amount before two o'clock; but Letitia would not be silenced. She showed that she understood the case, pointed out the advantage that might accrue to all parties from the transaction, and indicated such satisfactory means of ascertaining whether the speculation could in reality fail, if the proper funds were provided, that the surly Mr. Bland was won over to promise that he would see what could be done; whereupon the ladies immediately left him, promising to return in four hours, to convey him Edition: current; Page: [96] and his securities to the place where tile business was to be transacted.

“Where shall we go?” asked Maria. “What can we do with ourselves for these long four hours?”

“If you have courage to go with me,” replied her sister, “you will find ample employment for the time. If not, we part here, and I advise you to take a country drive to refresh yourself. I am going into the depths of the city to find up a money-lender, who has proved a very convenient help to certain young gentlemen of lord F—'s acquaintance. One may as well try to have two strings to one's bow, since the worst that can happen is to be laughed at, as women are every day when they propose to meddle with business.”

“Is this the worst that can happen?” asked the timid Maria. “Do you understand the law in such matters? I would not have you involved, Letitia, even to save us.”

“Trust me for doing nothing that my husband would not have me do,” replied Letitia. “Will you come? Our dress tells nothing, does it? It might belong to anybody, from a milliner to a maid of honour. Will you trust yourself with me?”

Maria gave herself up to her sister's guidance, They quitted the carriage about half a mile from the house they were in search of.

“I know the lane,” observed Letitia, “but not the number. We must venture a guess upon the house. I wilt make no inquiries.”

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They walked two or three times along the narrow and dark lane, all the dwellings of which appeared to Maria equally desolate and unpromising; but her sister, who had fixed on one from the beginning, was confirmed in her opinion by seeing half a pint of blue milk taken in at the front door, while a fruiterer's boy, taken carrying a covered basket, through whose sides might be discerned the richest of grapes, sides turned into a court which led to tile back of the premises.

“Blue milk in public for the serving man's breakfast,” said Letitia, “and purple grapes in private for the master's luncheon. This suits the man exactly. This must be the place.”

So saying, she walked up as the milkman made way, and asked for Mr. Simeon. The wizened, sly-looking old serving-man replied that Mr. Simeon was engaged on business. Perhaps the ladies had mistaken this place for the shop in — street. Only the wholesale jewellery business was carried on here. No; they wanted Mr. Simeon, and would wait till he was at liberty. After several messages backwards and forwards, the ladies were beckoned in, with apologies for the parlour not being at liberty. A dingy wareroom having been passed, it was next required of them to mount a sort of ladder into what they supposed would prove a loft, but was in reality a counting-house, so dark that it appeared questionable whether any business could be carried on at any hour of any season without lamps. Maria would have sunk down on the first chair, if chair there had been: Edition: current; Page: [98] and in the absence of any, was fain to perch herself on the high stool, which afforded little rest for want of a footstool. Letitia, who was always conscious of inward enjoyment when in strange scenes and circumstances, peered round in the gloom to make her observations. It was well that she kept to herself her remarks on chests and padlocks, on the flask which stood on a corner shelf, and on the bareness of the whole place, which left nothing but the said flask which could be carried away: it was well that she made no audible remarks on these things, as some one was present before either she or her sister was aware. Mr. Simeon had entered by an unseen door, and his compliments to the ladies were the first intimation of his presence. She observed a manoeuvre to get them placed opposite the little light throe was, and disappointed it: being disposed to reconnoitre the person with whom she was about to deal. She was surprised to find him a well-made, middle-aged man, whose countenance, as far as she could see, corresponded with his address, which was mild and courteous. She explained, without delay, that her business was to ascertain on what terms so many thousand pounds could be borrowed for a month.

On no terms which were not sanctioned by the law of the realm. Perhaps the ladies were aware of the law?

Letitia replied that the same terms might suit the present ease as had been agreed upon by Mr. Simeon for loans of five, ten, and forty thousand pounds, at such, and such and such dates.

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This proof of some knowledge of his transactions. This caused the money-lender to pause and attentively consider his guests; after which he observed, consider as if half to himself, that debts of honour were troublesome things, and especially to ladies, to whom ways and means were less open than to gentlemen. Letitia supposed that Mr. Simeon knew best, from the nature of his business; but she had believed that gaming was obsolete among ladies. She knew no ladies who were addicted to play. Simeon's further remarks glanced upon unpaid jewellery, the flight of Chancery-wards to the continent, and divers other suppositions, all of which were baffled by one or other sister, who did not choose to allow occasion for any scandal against themselves, in case of the present transaction becoming known. Letitia cut the investigation short by requesting to look at the statute which regulates the rate of interest on monies lent, and which she concluded to be in the possession of a money-lender. It was brought, and with it a taper, by whose light Mr. Simeon was enabled to perplex himself still further about the quality of his fair visitors.

“It is an unjust law, madam, a cruel law, worthy only of the Mahomedans, who call it a sin to lend monies on interest; but it is the law....”

“And must therefore be obeyed, Mr. Simeon. The forfeit—' the treble value of the monies, or other things, so lent, bargained, &c.'—I wonder they do not ordain the treble value of silks and Edition: current; Page: [100] sugars to be forfeited when the price rises. As well one commodity as another.”

“Ah, madam, that would raise the prices unconscionably. People must have commodities; and if they cannot get them by a straight-forward course, they must have their little plans and managements. There is risk and trouble in such plans; and for this the planners must be paid. So much being added, the prices would rise unconscionably.”

“That is to say, sir, that we are to pay you unconscionably, if you can make a little plan to furnish us with this money. Let us hear your terms, supposing we can furnish you with unquestionable security.”

Mr. Simeon seemed disposed, however, to descant a little longer on the hardship of the law, which not only, he observed, obliged him to be wary and even apparently rigid in his proceedings,—not only was a perpetual and most injurious hinderance in the way of commerce,— not only showed that the makers of the statute did not understand the office of a circulating medium,—not only brought the holy law of Moses (by which the taking of interest was falsely supposed to be forbidden) into contempt,—but had actually brought two charming ladies from their native regions of refinement into a dark hole quite unworthy of their presence! He was recalled to business, and obliged to state the rate of interest he would receive through one of the circuitous and safe methods which necessity has Edition: current; Page: [101] invented. He was not sufficiently aware with whom he had to deal.

“Your terms, Mr. Simeon, would suit a time when money is scarce; whereas you know as well as I that it is plentiful, and that the rate of profit has not for many years been so low as at present.”

Mr. Simeon endeavoured to mystify her by pointing out that the kind of profit in question had nothing to do with other profits, the lending of money being an unique ease. It would not do.

“Consider interest in what light you will, sir, it comes to tills. Interest is the nett profit on capital, and that nett profit cannot but be low in the present state of the market. There is a money-lending market, as you well know, though your department of it is discountenanced; and we are not in such a hurry but we can walk through it and learn what terms some of your neighbours have to offer. Our object is gained in finding that you can advance what is wanted.”

Mr. Simeon shook his head, and observed that the securities were not yet before him, that he had entered into large engagements already this morning, and that there were sundry other difficulties in the way of a conclusion of the bargain. To which the ladies replied that both parties had better take time to consider; and that a messenger should wait on Mr. Simeon at three o'clock to put an end to the treaty, or conduct him to the place where the securities would be waiting for him. To this the man of money Edition: current; Page: [102] agreed, only requesting to appoint a later hour, on account of prior engagements.

The ladies were urged to refresh themselves with some rare foreign wine, to accept an escort home, and to do or permit many other things which might afford a chance of their revealing themselves: but in vain.

On leaving tile place, Maria proposed making a circuit to join the carriage.

“Why?” asked her sister. “We have done nothing to be ashamed of.”

“Why then conceal your name?”

“Simply because it had nothing to do with the business, our errand being merely exploratory; and it might have altered the terms ill a way injurious to your husband. Now that our errand is done, let them follow us and see who we are, if they like.”

“But tile errand itself!”

“Is anything but a pleasant one, certainly; but my conscience is at ease as to my share of it. We keep the letter of the statute, you know, and that is enough. No one is bound to keep the spirit of a bad law, since evasion is the only means of bringing on its repeal. As for the usury laws,—they have been repeatedly condemned by committees of the legislature; and the more they are evaded, the better is the chance of getting rid of them. Do not you see this? Do not you see that perpetual evasion of any law is a sufficient proof of its badness?”

“You have such courage!” exclaimed Maria. “All I wish for is to get through life as quietly Edition: current; Page: [103] as I can, and bring up my children to do the same.”

“Beware of teaching them blind obedience, Maria,” said Letitia, when once more seated in the carriage; “your girls equally with your son. Obedience, by all means; but a rational, discriminating, and therefore loving and hearty obedience to the public laws as well as to those of your own house. Your little ones will learn hereafter that your object in forbidding them to set foot on the hearth-rug in your absence, is to guard them from being burned. Let them learn at the same future time the purposes of the laws under which they live, that they may be ready to do their part in that renovation of the system which is required as years roll on. If you would not have your children retain a superstitious dread of a hearth-rug through life, neither would you have them cling to laws enacted in the infancy of the state, and inappropriate to its present condition,”

“Implicit obedience is at least safe,” observed Maria.

“Safe to a certain point, but no father. If you continue the law of the hearth-rug for twenty years to come, your obedient children will never be burned by crossing it; but do you suppose they will not by that time have discovered other means of getting the warmth they wish for? They will creep under it; they will creep round it; they will jump over it. So is it, and so should it be with absurd, antiquated laws.”

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“Who is to judge which are absurd and which sound?”

“The bulk of tile subjects of them. A sound law can never be evaded by more than a solitary simpleton here and there, against whom society will rise up; since it is the paramount interest of society to keep good laws in effectual operation. When the time comes for the bulk of society to approve and enforce the usury laws, you and I will pay no more visits to Mr. Simeon. Till then, or till their repeal, let there be opposition to the spirit and grudging obedience to the letter, unless we are prepared for the consequences of a breach of both.”

“Not I, nor, I hope, anybody belonging to me,” replied Maria. “O, Letitia, what o'clock is it? I cannot trust my watch.”

“Far enough from two o'clock, my dear. So you will not be amused, even with talk about the usury laws. Well? I will keep all drowsy subjects to lull you to sleep with to-night, when all will be settled;— all redeemed, I trust; and when you will own at last that watching has nearly worn you out.”

Mr. Bland looked as immitigably solemn as ever, when he appeared at his own door on the carriage stopping. He would have had the ladies wait the result at his house; but Letitia's business was not finished till she had ascertained whether Simeon's help would be wanted or not. Mr. Bland was obliged to let his law papers be tossed into her lap, and to edge in his stick and Edition: current; Page: [105] portly person as well as he could. He had been busy since the morning interview, and had fully satisfied himself in the matter of the spices; but he said to himself, while being whirled along, that the affair could hardly be brought to a satisfactory conclusion, since a woman had so much to do in it. If it had not been for the Earl's recommendation of the case, he would have eschewed the whole matter; and the oddest thing was that his lordship did not say whether he was himself informed of the particulars.

“Is Mr. Waldie here?” inquired the trembling wife, in a choking voice, of one of the clerks who appeared when the carriage stopped.

“He is, madam; but particularly engaged at present, except—”

“Except to this gentleman,” said Letitia, handing Mr. Bland's card with her own, which brought an immediate request that the party would alight.

Mr. Waldie was in the act of shutting somebody into an inner room when his wife appeared at the door. He looked pale and worn, but composed and active. He received his wife and her sister as if nothing extraordinary had happened, stated that the money would be forthcoming if the securities were so; and went straight to business with Mr. Bland.

As soon as satisfied that all was likely to be well, the ladies proposed to withdraw into the inner room, and await the issue.

“That room? No; not there, my dear,” said he. “Yet you will not mind my other man of Edition: current; Page: [106] business being there. He will not be in your way long.”

So they were ushered into the apartment where stood—Mr. Simeon.

“You will be saved the trouble of another excursion at four o'clock, Mr. Simeon, observed Letitia.” We have only to regret having consumed some of your time already this day. You will hardly see us again till we have debts of honour to pay, or a Chancery elopement to provide for.”

Mr. Simeon considered himself a gainer by the transaction in proportion to the honour his poor counting-house had enjoyed; an honour the more precious for its being confined within his own breast. He knew his duty too well to reveal what had passed.

“Do as you please about that,” replied Letitia. “You and Mr. Waldie must agree about your keeping Mr. Waldie's secrets; but, for my part, I have none. You owe neither honour nor duty to me, aware, as you no doubt are, that I did not come to borrow money on my own account.”

Mr. Simeon merely mentioned the temptation of talking about the affair, because it was really an extraordinary case. Not that it was a rare thing for ladies to want money; but that they usually employed agents to procure it., How indeed should it be otherwise? since not one woman in five thousand understood even the forms of business; and these solitary exceptions were in a class which had no dealings with moneylenders. On this, followed a meries of narratives Edition: current; Page: [107] of fair ones' difficulties for want of cash, which amused Letitia exceedingly, from the romance of adventure which was mixed up with the most sordid borrowing transactions. Tile heroines were only A. B. and C.; but they became real personages in Letitia's imagination on the instant; and she was almost sorry when Mr. Simeon was called into the next room to review his securities and perform his promises.

It seemed an age before Mr. Waldie threw open the door, announcing that all was well. tie briefly thanked Letitia for having saved him; urged them to return home and rest from their anxieties; and was only sorry that he could not accompany them, or even promise to follow them for some days, as he should be incessantly occupied till the expected cargo was secured. He perceived that his wife's countenance fell on hearing this, and rallied her; asking what there was now left to be afraid of?—She did not know, but—

“She is worn out,” said Letitia. “I will take care that she shall recruit herself, and wait patiently, unless you try her too long.—You may he quite easy,” she continued to her sister, when Waldie's last grave smile dismissed them. “All is safe, with him as well as with his affairs. How calm he is! How entirely himself! He will speculate no more, believe me.”

Maria shook her head, as her tears fell fast. It was not only that her nerves and spirits were shaken by what she had gone through. Her confidence was utterly overthrown, and she felt the present relief to be no more than a respite.

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Those who had educated Waldie were partly answerable for his propensity to speculation, which arose more from a restless ambition than from a desire of overgrown wealth. The foundation of the fortunes of his family was laid by an ancestor who, a few hundred years ago, introduced a new manufacture, which he had learned abroad, into this country. Though, from having to take workmen away From other manufactures, and to engage them to learn his own, he gave higher wages than any of his neighbours, his profits were also very great, as his article bore a high price in the market, in the way that new articles of convenient manufacture generally dr. If profits may be said (as they are by some said) to be as much the reward of labour as wages,— that is, the reward of present superintendence, and of the labour out of which arose the capital employed, it is certain that this first rich member of the Waldie family reaped as large a proportionate reward as his workmen; for long after their wages and his profits were lowered by his silk stuffs becoming more common, and the difficulty of getting workmen being less, he continued to grow rich from his having more capital to employ in bringing him profits. If every hundred pounds did not produce seventy-five, he had, Edition: current; Page: [109] in course of time, for every such hundred, five that brought 50 per cent., and afterwards fifteen that brought 25 per cent.; so that he continued to grow rich, just as individuals and countries may in these days, if accumulation proceeds faster than profits fall. His descendants for some generations carried on this manufacture, for which there was a permanent demand, and so steady a one that the variations in its price arose only from the variations in the prices of other things, and not from changes of fashion. Now and then the price of provisions fell, which enabled these manufacturers to lower their men's wages, these and enjoy larger profits, till the time came for profits to fall also; and sometimes the reverse happened, when the price of provisions rose. Sometimes complaints were made against the largeness of their profits, when the fact was that largeness they gave precisely the same proportion of their produce to their workmen as before, but there were more workmen to divide this proportion; which was no fault of their masters. With these few variations, the family continued to prosper, being for the most part content with the ordinary rate of profits, and making up by continual accumulation for their gradual fall;—that fall which must take place wherever the supply of food is restricted. They were all proud of the ancestor who had founded the wealth of their family, and sent his praises down from generation to generation. The present Mr. Waldie had been early accustomed to listen to them, and impressed with the idea that it was time for somebody else to be adding glory Edition: current; Page: [110] to the family, as it had become much less distinguished in these times of improvements than in the first days of its wealth. He quitted the manufacture, and became a merchant, thinking that this occupation would afford better opportunities for the gratification of his ambition than the straightforward old manufacture. No wonder he was tempted by schemes which promised a higher than extraordinary rate of profits! No wonder he dealt in articles whose extremely varying prices were determined by other than the usual circumstances,—which prices he hoped to catch at the highest, and then to have done with the article! No wonder that he guessed respecting such uncertain circumstances as the changes of fashion, wet and dry seasons, the extent of particular crops on the other side the globe; and then proceeded to act upon these guesses! Sometimes he was right, sometimes wrong. Sometimes he made five thousand pounds at a stroke, sometimes lost ten in a season. Much as his capital was lessened on the whole by his speculations, this was by no means the worst result of his proceedings. Like all other gamesters, he became so fond of the excitement, that, much as he often suffered from it, he could no longer live without it; and the domestic influence which is tile most powerful means of winning a man from bad habits of any kind, was not so powerful in Waldie's case as if his first affections had not been disappointed. Attentive as lie always was to his wife when with her, kind as he had till lately been to his children, vehement as were the fancies he took, now to Portugal laurels, now to Edition: current; Page: [111] tall trees, now to bay-windows or new drawingroom furniture, his happiness was not in his home, but in the heats and chills of his hopes, in city news of disasters at sea, of changeable weather, of new inventions or improvements of manufactured articles, and of political changes,—of anything that might affect his speculations. His poor wife knew nothing for a long while of his unfortunate ventures, though she heard enough of exultation over his good ones. She believed that he must be growing enormously rich, and sighed over the idea, since it seemed that the richer he became, the less pleasure he took in his home. When he first began to alter his tone, (which he did very suddenly,) when he talked one day of bringing up their children to provide for themselves, and moving into a small house in the city, and the next of purchasing some splendid estate, and again of giving up his carriages and sending away half his servants, she was confounded; not knowing how much to believe, or to wish to believe; whether to suppose poverty to be in prospect, or her husband to have lost the soundness of his judgment. It was now some comfort to know how their affairs stood, though she would rather have heard it from her husband than from Letitia. She had long seen that Waldie's family ambition could not be gratified. Whichever way the scale might turn at last, whether he left his family in poverty or magnificence, it was impossible that his memory should be honoured like that of the ancestor who had prospered by uniting prudence and industry Edition: current; Page: [112] with his zeal of enterprise. Whether all was to be swallowed up in Kentish hops and Russian tallow, or all redeemed and even doubled by India spices, those of Waldie's descendants who knew his history, would, in either case, pity or despise him as a gambler.—How much of pity his fate would call for, not even the most alarmed imaginations of his timid wife had fully conceived. She had fancied him, over and over again, in gaol, in poverty; the idea of suicide even had flashed across her mind; but that which actually happened took her more by surprise than arrest, or ruin, or death by his own hand.

Two anxious days were passed by the sisters in expectation of the decision of Waldie's affairs, and still he did not appear. Notes came two or three times a day from himself or from his clerk, who wrote at his desire, requesting Mrs. Waldie not to leave home, as her husband did not know how soon he might be with her, to take a few days' repose on the conclusion of his business. Letitia heard from her husband also on his arrival at home, and from the earl, both desiring her not to leave her sister till she could do so with comfort; which, in Letitia's mind, meant till Waldie should have come home. On the third morning arrived this extraordinary note.

“My own dearest Maria” (substituted for “Letitia,” scratched out)

Coming, coming, coming, as rich as Croesus! Light tile bonfire. Ring the bells. Hurrah! Spices for ever! Coming, coming, coming!

F. W.”

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“I do wish Waldie would control his spirits a little,” said Maria, showing the note to her sister, and then looking as if she would fain have withdrawn it. “How can he bring himself to write in such a way?”

Letitia had nothing to say at the moment; not even congratulations on the wealth of Croesus having crowned all these vicissitudes. She asked for the children. They were gone out with Thérèse and their own nurse-maid. She offered a turn in the shrubbery; but Maria was not, she presently saw, strong enough to walk. She threw open the bay-windows, and beckoned her sister to come and be refreshed by the feel of the mild autumn air, the bloom of the autumn roses, and the tranquil beauty of the green prospect. There they sat, watching and working, letting drop a few words now and then, but keeping up nothing like conversation, and looking out as often as a horseman might be seen through the trees, or a carriage heard in the road. At last, the sound of a horse's hoofs reached them, far too rapid for safety, they were sure; and immediately Waldie was seen on horseback, approaching at tremendous speed, with something white before him, which proved to be his two elder children.

“Mercy! Mercy!” cried his wife, putting her hands before her eyes.

“Thank God! the gate is open. They are in! Safe!” exclaimed Letitia, as the horseman wheeled round the corner and up to the window, checking his steed so suddenly as to throw it Edition: current; Page: [114] on its haunches, setting the pebbles flying in all directions, and mingling his loud hurrah with the laughter of the younger child, who saw nothing but fun in all this. The elder one was convulsed with terror.

It was well some one was on the spot; for Waldie threw down both the children as if they had been mere bundles of clothes. They were caught,—not, however, without so much slight bruising as called forth their cries to add to the confusion.

“O Waldie,” shrieked his wife, “what are you about?”

“Look, look, look!” he cried, flourishing his whip over his head, clapping spurs to his horse, and trampling the beds, walks, and lawn alike, and finishing by making his horse leap high and still higher shrubs. He finished by fixing his eye upon the greenhouse, as if he contemplated a leap there too.

“Mr. Waldie,” said Letitia, in her steadiest tone, “what are you doing?”

In a moment he was oil had flung the bridle on the neck of the sweating and trembling horse, and was by her side, swearing deep oaths that she had ever governed his life and ever should govern it. With her in wealth, as with her in poverty, he would. . . .

Maria had rushed into the house upon this, but not the less did Letitia by eye, and gesture, and word, command him from her, and prevail for the moment. He obeyed when she pointed his way into the house, and she was still standing, Edition: current; Page: [115] faint in body and spirit, with the poor children clinging to her, when Thèrése came in from the road, breathless, and sinking with terror. When she saw the children safe, she burst into tears: she had feared that she might have to answer for their lives, from not having had presence of mind to evade Waldie's vehement desire that the children should have a ride.—Her mistress gave her a few directions, which she hastened into the house to execute, and Letitia, after giving the servants a charge to take the children into the nursery and keep them there, repaired to her sister. She found Maria lying across the bed, groaning in heart-breaking grief.

“Sister!” said she, gently, after watching silently beside her for a few moments—“Sister, your husband wants you. He is ill, fearfully ill; and who should tend him but you?—Nay; why this despair? A brain fever, all may be well. . .”

“Letitia; do not deceive me. it is mockery to attempt it.”

“Maria, if I wished to deceive you, I dare not. What I have done will prove this. Thèrése is packing up, and I am going in half an hour. It grieves me to leave you; but I must

“O yes, yes; you must go.”

At this moment, there was a tremendous knocking at the room door, which was luckily fastened. It was Waldie, still calling upon Letitia, who would not answer. Maria dared not. The knocking went on till there seemed some probability of the door giving way, when,

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perhaps from having his attention diverted by the servants, the madman quitted his object, and ran down stairs.

“Yes, yes: you must go,”ted Maria, bitterly.

Letitia could forgive the tone in which this was spoken,

“Listen, Maria, what you must do. Command yourself, and go and tell the butler that his master has a brain-fever, and desire him not like yourself, till some one comes to relieve you of your charge. I will immediately send proper advice and help from town.—Farewell, sister. I shall not come again till you send for me. As soon as I can be of any comfort, send. My husband will wish it.”

“But Waldie will insist on going with you. He will never let you drive off. He will. .. .”

“All this is provided against. I can plead an errand near the turnpike, and shall go out with Thèrése by the little shrubbery gate. The carriage will overtake us. Do not detain me. Farewell.”

Letitia said nothing about removing the children. She thought that if, as was probable, Waldie's state should prove such as to render Maria's presence improper, her children would be her best comfort.— in a few minutes, Maria saw, but diverted her husband from seeing, Letitia and Thèrése hastening from the back of Edition: current; Page: [117] the house through the shrubbery, and disappearing down the road. It was with a strange mixture of bitter and yearning feelings that the unhappy wife witnessed such a conclusion as this of a visit which had been planned and endured for her sake.

There was ample time in after years for the sisters to explain, and forgive, and renew the confidence which had been unshaken till this day. Waldie was never more an impediment to their intercourse. He was kept under close restraint from the hour after Letitia's departure, when he insisted on searching every corner of the house for her, and was frantic at having sought in vain, up to the moment when, after years, first of madness and then of imbecility, death released himself and his friends from the burden of his existence.

More than once Maria tremblingly asked the confidential physician whether her sister's presence was likely to be of any service; and almost rejoiced to be answered with a decided negative.

It was perfectly true that Waldie had become, as is commonly said, as rich as Croesus. But what to Maria was all the splendour in which she might have henceforth lived, if she had so chosen? What to her was the trebling of the fortunes of her children? As a compensation for the love which had been disappointed, the domestic hopes which had been rudely overthrown, these things were nothing, though there were some in the world who called them prosperity.

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Lady F——remained a few hours in London to learn the physician's opinion of Waldie's state, and to give notice at home of her approach. She had no rest, in town or on the road, from the visions which haunted her of what she had lately seen. Waldie's countenance of fierce glee was for ever before her; his raised voice startled her imagination perpetually. She had no repose till her husband met her some miles from Weston, suffered her to alight at the parkgates, and invited her to wander with him to the ruin, and through the autumnal woods, to her beloved seat beside the stream that fed the lake. Refreshed aud composed, she joined her guests at the dinner table, and was warmly welcomed back again: not the less so for no one but the earl and lady Frances having an idea what had caused her'absence. All were ready with that delicate homage which may be supposed to have been as gratifying in its way to Letitia as, it is to many who relish a grosser flattery than she would ever endure. All were ready with tidings of her protegés, from pheasants to men and women. One could assure her that a very favourite plant had not suffered from the frosts of the night after she left Weston. Another had tasted the cream of her dairy; a third admired Edition: current; Page: [119] her bantams; a fourth amused himself with Nanny White; a fifth conversed with the old sexton; and lady Frances herself condescended to hope that that good girl, Thèrése, had not been left behind in London. She was such a treasure! Thereby hung a confession, afterwards given in private, that Philips was really very much spoiled, and becoming a great trouble. Her manners were anything but improved, to say nothing of her temper. Miss Falconbridge, whom she knew to be as intimate as a sister with lady Frances, had taken a fancy to lady Frances's style of hair; and as the easiest way of gratifying her, lady Frances had ordered Philips to dress Miss Falconbridge's hair the day before; whereupon Phitips sent word through Miss Falconbridge's maid that she must beg to decline the honour! Lady Frances had insisted, and her maid in some sort obeyed: but never was anything seen so absurd as the young lady's head. What was lady Frances to do? To part with Philips was altogether impossible; and to bear with her now was scarcely less so. Letitia could not answer for what she should do if compelled to retain such a person as Philips: she could only appeal to her own management of Thèrése as a proof of how easy a matter it is to make a valuable friend out of a hired attendant.

“O yes! by taking the trouble of educating her,”no doubt. But that is a task I could not submit to. That reminds me—how does Thèrése get on with politics? I remember her one day, Edition: current; Page: [120] so eloquent about the revolution her father remembers, and the prospect of another revolution, and the glory of having seen Lafayette.”

“She knows more than she would probably have learned in the very heart of Paris. She has left off assuring me that all the kings of France have been royalists.”

“I suppose it is for the sake of keeping her innocent of some things which lady's maids learn soon enough that you let her read and talk politics as she does?”

“Partly; and partly with a more direct view to my own interest. It will be of very great consequence to me that she should be, not only pure in her conduct, but well educated up to as high a point as I can carry her.'

“Ah! you mean for the sake of your little heir. I see Thèrése is as busy about the preparations as if she had taken her office upon her already. But you began your care of Thèrése from the day you knew her, she tells me.”

“I did; and so I should do still, if there were no heir in prospect. Should I be justified, think you, in placing any one where I myself order the circumstances which are to form her character, and at tile same time neglecting to order those circumstances well?—It is perfectly true that, those in engaging servants, we undertake a great task. In the case of Thèrése, however, the task has been all pleasure.”

“Well, for your reward, I suppose you will keep her always. You will not let her marry, I Edition: current; Page: [121] conclude; or, if she marries, will insist on her remaining with you. It would be too hard to lose all your pains.”

“Whenever Thèrése loves,—and I think I can trust her to commit no folly with that sound heart of hers,—she shall marry; and she shall enter upon her new state as I entered upon mine. with the view of being all and doing all for society of which that state admits. This may best be done by being wholly her husband's, and a fixture in his home. I shall surrender my part in her on her marriage day.”

“By Which, I suppose, you hope to retain at least half her heart, if none of her services. But, my dear, what a prospect for you!”

“A goodly prospect indeed, either way. Either a friend at hand, and a fit guardian of my children in my absence; or a successful experiment in happiness-making, ever before my eyes. 1 hope ever to rejoice in Thèrése.”

Lady Frances sighed, and began to ponder whether, even if she could learn to live without Philips, she could make to herself a maid in whom she might rejoice.

Not only from her husband did Letitia learn how welcome she was back to Weston. The days of her absence had passed like other days, when people who prefer the town, and whose lives are formed for that destination, are thrown together in the country. There were means of enjoyment in abundance; but not of a kind to be permanently relished by those before whom they lay. Letitia's music was wanted in the evenings; Edition: current; Page: [122] Letitia's conversation, artless and sprightly as a girl's, rich as a matured woman's, and entertaining enough to suit everybody, was sighed for at table, and when it rained, and especially when the ladies were called upon to amuse each other in the absence of the gentlemen. It was only on rare occasions, however, that she relinquished her privilege of reserving several hours of the morning for herself and her husband. On one desperately rainy day, she was found ready for chess or music before dinner; and at another time, when all tile gentlemen were absent for the whole day at a political meeting in the neighbouring city, she did not leave her guests at all. But these occasions were rare. On the last mentioned one, she had some view to her own interest as well as that of her guests. Lord

F——meant to speak at the meeting; his speech

must, from his office, be one of the most important of the day; and he was doubtful both how he should accquit himself, and how that which he had to say would be received. Letitia was, of course, far from being at ease, and was glad to conceal, and to carry off some of her anxiety at the same time by being “on hospitable thoughts intent.” It was the last day of the last of her visiters; the gentlemen having waited only for this meeting. Their carriages were ordered for the next morning, and they did not return till late at night.

They were nearly as eloquent in describing the effect of lord F——'s speech, as, by their account, had been the speech itself.—One swore Edition: current; Page: [123] by his soul that it was the most good-natured sort of thing he had ever heard in his life: another, that the government and the government candidate ought to feel themselves much obliged to him; another, ought that lord F—'s constituents would be more proud of trim than ever; another, an M.P., a representative of the commercial interest, that lord F—— had enlightened the people not a little on the question when low profits were harmless, and when bad things, and why; and all, with the earl among them, that this day might prove the beginning of a new era in lord F——'s public life. He would now have as potent a voice out of the house as his friends had ever hoped he would in time have in it.

“How happens all this, Henry?” asked Letitia, aside, with a glowing smile. “You gave me no expectation of anything like this.”

“Because I had none myself. The charm lay in the burden which I adopted from our neighbours down in the village;— ' for each and for all.'”

“I see; I understand. Now leave the rest till you can give it me all in order.”

It was accordingly given, all in order, when the last carriage had driven off, the next morning, and Henry and Letitia shut themselves into the library, to enjoy the uninterruptedness of the first fall of snow. This was no day for the approach of deputations, for the visits of clergyman, lawyer, lady callers, gentleman loungers, or even petitioners from the village. The guests had been urged to stay for finer weather; Edition: current; Page: [124] but, as peremptory in their plans as people of real business, provided change of place is the object, business, they could on no account delay an hour; and, to be sure, the snow signified little to any but the postilions and the horses.

“Well, now, the speech, the speech!” cried Letitia.

“I told the people that nobody doubts that changes”are wanted, in order to remedy the evils so large a portion of society is justly complaining of; and that the thing needed is a wider agreement as to what those changes must be, and therefore a sounder and more general knowledge of the causes of existing evils. I led them, as an instance, into the consideration of the common complaint of low profits and low wages, and showed them, I hope, that proportional wages are much higher at present than some complainers suppose; the fact being lost sight of from the enormous increase of those among whom the wages -fund in divided. However little each labourer may, from this cause, obtain for his own share, the division of produce between capitalist and labourer, —that is, the proportion of profits and wages, is more equable than is supposed by capitalists who more equable of their low profits, and labourers of their l wages. Neither of them will gain by demanding a larger share of the other, which neither can afford. They must look elsewhere for a remedy; and I directed them where to look by giving them the example of Holland and its commercial vicissitudes.”

“Rich to overflowing in the fifteenth century; Edition: current; Page: [125] since, well nigh ruined. How was this? From too much capital leaving the country?”

“From the causes which led to such transfer of capital. While Holland was accumulating its wealth, profits were first high, and then gradually lowered in proportion to wages, though still increasing in total amount. It was not till heavy taxation reduced the rate of profits below that of other countries . . . .”

“But does not taxation affect wages too?” “Assuredly; but the labourer uses fewer commodities than the capitalist, and therefore there is a limit to the labourer's taxation, beyond which taxes must fall on profits, and reduce them as effectually as a deterioration of the land could do. Well; this being the case in Holland, more than in the neighbouring countries, Dutch capital flowed into those countries; and the Dutch have engaged largely in the carrying trade, in foreign funds, and in loans to the merchants of other countries, because all this capital could be less advantageously employed at home. No country need or ought to come to such a pass as this; for, where there is an economical government, taxation may be a trifle compared with what it was in Holland after the wars of the Republic; and where there is a liberal commercial system, —that is, no unnecessary check upon the supply of food, accumulation may proceed to an undefinable extent without an injurious fall of wages and profits. Thus may the cultivation of poor soils be rendered needless, the consequent rise of rent be checked, and the fall of profits and wages obviated.”

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“What we want then is, a regulation of the supply of the labour market, a lightening of taxation, and a liberal commercial system. But, Henry, where is the eloquence of all this?—that which is commonly called eloquence? It seems to me more like a lecture than a speech.”

“And so it was; but these are days when, to the people, naked truth is the best eloquence. They are sufferers; they look for a way out of their sufferings; and the plainest way is to them the fairest. However, I said to them much that there is no need to say to you,—because you know it already,—of my views of what the spirit of society ought to be, in contrast with what it is. I enlarged,—whether eloquently I know not,— but I am sure fervently,—as fervently as ever any advocate of co-operation spoke,—on the rule 'for each and for all;' showing that there is actual co-operation wherever individual interests are righteously pursued, since the general interest is made up of individual interests. I showed that justice requires the individual appropriation of the fruits of individual effort; that is, the maintenance of the institution of property; and that producers do as much for all, as well as for each, by carrying their produce to market themselves, as by casting it into a common stock.”

“For instance, that A. does as great a public service by bringing a hundred hats to exchange for tables and stockings, and whatever else he may happen to want, as B. by letting the exchange be conducted as an affair of partnership.”

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“Yes. Let people have partnerships as large as they like, and make savings thereby, if they find they can. But let them beware of the notion that any competition but the struggle for food is the cause of hardship; and that struggle must take place under both systems, unless the same means are used by both to prevent it. As for the question of time, the struggle will take place soonest under that system which affords the least stimulus to productive industry. “And, now, love, you have the pith of my speech, except of those best parts which you have many a time rehearsed to me, and I to you. Of the ' hear, hears,' and clappings, you learned enough last night.”

“I wish I could have been there,” sighed the wife.

“So do I. Well as you know the aspect of an attentive crowd, you can have little idea of the stimulating excitement of political meetings just now.”

“I can imagine it. The true romance of human life lies among the poorer classes; the most rapid vicissitudes, the strongest passions, the most undiluted emotions, the most eloquent deportment, the truest experience are there. These things are marked on their countenances, and displayed by their gestures; and yet these things are almost untouched by our artists; be they dramatists, painters, or novelists. The richest know best what is meant by the monotony of existence, however little this may appear to their poor neighbours who see them driving about as if life depended of their speed, and traversing Edition: current; Page: [128] kingdoms and continents. Yet from the upper and middling classes are the fine arts mainly furnished with their subjects. This is wrong; for life in its reality cannot become known by hearsay; and by hearsay only is there any notion of it among those who feel themselves set above its struggles and its toils: that is, by the greater part of tile aristocracy.”

“Thank heaven! not by you or me,” replied her husband. “An uninformed observer might think that there is monotony before us at present, sitting as we are, watching the snow-flakes fall with tile few leaves which had lingered aloft till now,—with weeks of retirement in prospect, and nothing apparent to wish or work for. Yet you have had enough, love, of struggle and toil to know what real life is; and I have, of late, begun to learn the same lesson. No fear of monotony for us!”

“No fear; since there are all to live for as well as each, and each other. But, Henry, how is it that there is so little made known where it most wants to be known, of what real life is when trained by that best of educations, vicissitude?”

“Because our painters of life do not take into the account,—in fact know little of,—some of the most important circumstances which constitute life, in the best sense of the word. They lay hold of the great circumstances which happen to all, the landmarks of universal human existence, and overlook those which are not less interesting, though not universal. They take Love; and think it more becoming to describe a Letltia going to the altar with a lord F——, than a Edition: current; Page: [129] weaver and his thoughtful bride taking possession of their two rooms, after long waiting and anxiety. They take Bereavement; and think it the same thing whether they describe the manly grief of an Ormond for his gailant Ossory, or the silent woe of a poverty-stricken widow for her laborious and dutiful son. They take Birth; and would rather have a lady F——bending over tile infant heir of a lordly house, with a Thèrése in waiting .... (My dear, why not describe that which shall be as well as that which has been?)—a lady E——and her infant, I say, than some rustic Mary holding up her boy to smile in father's face when he comes home from the plough. There is no harm in all this, provided the mighty remainder is not overlooked, which is at the bottom of the most portentous heavings of society, —which explains all that is to many unaccountable in the doings of the world they live in. If the aristocracy cannot, by their own experience, get to know all that life is,—though they are born, love, marry, suffer, enjoy, and die, let some idea be given them of it by true images held up in the mirror of their studies.”

“Yes; let humble life be shown to them in all its strong and strange varieties; not only in faithful butlers and housekeepers,—in pretty dairy-maids and gossiping barbers. Let us have in books, in pictures, and on the stage, working men and women, in the various periods of their struggles through life. In the meanwhile, these people should in fairness know that the aristocracy are less aware than is supposed,— Edition: current; Page: [130] less than they will be,—of what is being done and suffered on each side of their smooth and dull path.”

“Let the artists be compassionately considered too, I pray,” said lord F——, smiling. “Granting all that can be urged about their limiting their choice of objects, let us be considerate till they have placed themselves at large. What, for instance, could a weaver of fiction make of our present life?”

“Nothing of a story; only a picture; there being, as you said just now, apparent monotony without, and deep stirrings within. Such a writer, if wishing to make a narrative, must take either my former life, — its perplexities, its poverty, its struggles under its first publicity, its labours, its love, and migration into a new state; —or your future one,—the statesman's honourable toils, joined with the patriot's conflicts and consolations.”

“But if there was good reason for taking up precisely the interval,—-from our marriage till this hour;—what then?”

“Then writer and readers must be contented with little narrative; contented to know what passes within us, since so little happens to us. Would there be nothing to instruct and gratify in pictures of our position, in revelations of our hearts, and records of our conversations?”

“Let us comfort ourselves, Letitia, with deciding that it must be the fault of the recorder if there were not.”

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Summary of Principles illustrated in this volume,

The produce of labour and capital, after rent has been paid, is divided between the labourer and the capitalist, under the names of Wages and Profits.

Where there are two shares, each determines the other, provided they press equally upon one another.

The increase of the supply of labour, claiming reward, makes the pressure in the present case unequal, and renders wages the regulator of profits.

The restriction of the supply of food causes the fall of both profits and wages.

The increased expense of raising food enhances its price: labour, both agricultural and manufacturing, becomes dearer, (without advantage to the labourer:) this rise of wages causes profits to fall; and this fall brings after it a reduction of the labourer's share, or a fall of wages.

The fall of profits and wages is thus referrible to the same cause which raises rent;-—to an inequality in the fertility of soils.

It is supposed by some that these tendencies to the fall of wages and profits may be counteracted by abolishing the distinctions of shares, and casting the whole produce of land, capital, and labour, into a common stock. But this is a fallacy.

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For, whatever may be the saving effected by an extensive partnership, such partnership does not affect the natural laws by which population increases faster than capital. The diminution of the returns to capital must occasion poverty to a multiplying society, whether those returns are appropriated by individuals under the competitive system, or equally distributed among the members of a co-operative community.

The same checks to the deterioration of the resources of society are necessary under each system.

These are, (in addition to the agricultural improvements continually taking place,)—

  • 1. The due limitation of the member of consumers.
  • 2. The lightening of the public burdens, which at present abstract a large proportion of profits and wages.
  • 3. A liberal commercial system which shall obviate the necessity of bringing poor soils into cultivation.

London: printed by W, Clowes, Stamford Street.

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A Tale
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  • 1. Vine-Growing . . . . . . . . 1
  • 2. Signs of the Time . . . . . . . . 19
  • 3. The Temper of the Time . . . . . 29
  • 4. Deeds of the Time . . . . . . . 50
  • 5. The Philosophy of Bargaining . . . 72
  • 6. New Devices . . . . . . . 82
  • 7. Mob Sovereignty . . . . . . . 99
  • 8. Upshot of Feudalism . . . . . . 122
  • 9. Adjustment . . . . . . . . 134
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It was on a glorious afternoon in July, 1788, that an Englishman, named Steele, landed on the banks of the Garonne, a few miles south of Bordeaux, whence he had come up in a boat on an excursion of part business, part pleasure. Steele was settled as a factor at Bordeaux, and his business was to purchase wines from the growers, and ship them to his employers in England. His occupation had brought him acquainted with almost every vine-grower within fifty leagues of Bordeaux; and in the case of one of these, Antoine Lnyon, the acquaintance had ripened into a friendship. Antoine was part owner of some vineyards on the western bank of the Garonne, one of which produced claret of a singular'y, fine quality,—too good to command an advantageous sale at Paris, where second and third-rate wines are in nearly equal esteem with the first. The produce of this small and rich Edition: current; Page: [2] vineyard was therefore set apart for English sale, and had been bargained for by the house which Steele represented, and the terms agreed upon for the vintage of the five next seasons. Other vineyards belonging to the same parties touched upon this peculiarly favoured one; but not all the care and pains that could be taken availed to make their produce better than second or third rate. Their aspect was a little more to the east and less to the south; they were not so perfectly sheltered behind; and no art could temper their soil to the exact point of perfection enjoyed by La Haute Favorite, as this distinguished vineyard was called. Their produce was, however, as valuable as that of most of the estates around, and was in good esteem at Paris, where Antoine's partner, his brother Charles, was settled as a wine-merchant; and where he bestowed as much pains on the maturing of the stock in his cellars as Antoine did on its first ripening in the form of grapes, or their friend Steele on the processes of fining, racking, and mixing, which were carried on at his employers' depôt at Bordeaux. Much care and skill were required in all these departments of business; and the young men were exemplary in both, pursuing their occupation as a matter of taste as well as of necessity. Steele watched the thermometer in his cellars as carefully as Antoine observed winds and clouds; and their common interest in the welfare of Favorite quickened their friendship, in one way among many, by occasioning more frequent meetings than, they would otherwise have thought practicable. Edition: current; Page: [3] Many a trip to Bordeaux did Antoine contrive to ascertain the effects of heat or cold on the wines in their third or fourth season; or to give the alarm if he heard rumours of buildings being pulled down or erected so near the premises as to have any influence over the temperature within: and during the summer, Steele was wont to go up the river on Saturdays, and spend the Sunday with his friend Antoine for the avowed purpose of paying his devoirs to La Favorite.—There was much to tempt him to these excursions, if wine had made no part of his interest, for a fairer territory than that through which the Garonne held its course was seldom seen. There were harvests of a more picturesque growth than even those which embellished the vineyards. Interspersed with the meadows which sloped down to the river, were groves of olives and forests of chestnuts, and in due season, the almond trees put forth their pink blossoms amidst the dark shadows of the evergreen woods. Boats heavily laden with the merchandise of the Levant, brought hither by means of the grand Languedoc canal, passed down the blue and brimming river, or returned, borne rapidly on the tide, and empty of all but the boatmen in their red jackets, whose snatches of song reached the shore on the fragrant breeze. The cottages of the peasantry were indeed few, and comfortless in appearance; but the chateaux of the gentry arose here and there, not half buried in woods, like English mansions, but conspicuous on terraces, and rendered in some degree imposing Edition: current; Page: [4] by the appliances of art, which did not, however, in the eye of the Englishman, compensate for the natural attractions which a fine taste would have gathered round them. Even stone balustrades and fountains, and artificial terraces, however, as long as they were intermixed with corn-fields and olive groves, had charms for one whose residence was commonly in the city; and in process of time, he began to contemplate the chateau of the marquis de Thou, which commanded the vicinity of Antoine's residence, with something of the admiration, though with nothing of the awe, with which it was regarded by the peasantry round.

Whether this admiration was increased or lessened by the glimpses he occasionally obtained of its inhabitants, he could himself have hardly determined. The first time he saw the marquis he was moved to laughter; but then the marquis was alone (except the laquais in his rear) sitting bolt upright on his horse, with his enormous qucue reaching down to the little skirts of his coat, and his large light blue eyes and pursed-up mouth giving a ludicrous mixture of vacancy and solemnity to his countenance. But when the marquis de Thou was seen parading the terrace with his beautiful daughter, the lady Alice, by his side, or following the sports of the field with a train of the noblesse, assembled in all the grandeur of feudal array, he who looked insignificant in his individuality gathered some advantage from the grace or splendour around him. He was regarded as the father and protector of the fair Edition: current; Page: [5] creature who seemed to tread on air within the vast circumference of her hoop, and whose eyes shone forth from beneath her enormous headdress like glow-worms in a thicket; and again, the marquis was the host of the wealthy and the gay who held sway in the land which was for ever boasting its own likeness to Paradise: so that, in time, the marquis became mixed up with his connexions even in the mind of the Englishman; and instead of laughing, Steele learned to uncover and bow low at the approach of the great man, in the same manner as Antoine. If he had known as much as the natives of the territory of certain deeds which were done, and certain customs which were prevalent there, his English heart might have forbidden his raising his hand to his head in token of respect; but though he disliked the French peasantry, he was not fully aware how many of their bad qualities were directly attributable to the influence of the order of which the marquis de Thou was one of the representatives.

On the present occasion, Antoine awaited on the bank the landing of his friend.

“Ah ha!” cried the Frenchman, as soon as he could make himself heard; “you look up into our blue sky with the same admiration as when you first saw it, four seasons ago. Well; even Bordeaux has its smoke, and now and then a sea haze.”

“So thick an one this morning,” replied Steele, “that I could have fancied myself in an English port.”

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“Do the captains foretell a change of wind?” inquired Antoine. “I rather apprehend one; and it is a pity that Favorite should risk losing a particle of her beauty. Come and see her,—as bright as a May morning; as rich and mellow as an autumn noon. It would grieve my soul if an unkind wind should hurt her; but there are signs of a change.”

The young men turned their steps towards the vineyards, instead of to Antoine's dwelling, as Steele needed no refreshment but that of seeing how his dearly-beloved vines flourished, and enjoying the beautiful walk which led to the enclosures. On this occasion, he looked about him more than usual as he passed, as the peasantry were abroad, and evidently in a state of excitement and uneasiness. One and another stopped the young men to ask if they knew what direction the hunt had taken, and whether it could be conjectured how long a chase the boar might cause the gentry. Steele now learned for the first time, how eminently a boar hunt was an occasion of terror and hardship to the country people. He saw them mount the highest trees to look out, and lay their ears to the ground to detect the distant tread of horses. He heard them mutter prayers that their fences might remain unbroken, and their crops untrodden.

“I should not have thought your peasants could be so anxious about their little harvests,” he observed to Antoine. “Judging from the state of their plots of land, I should suppose them careless about their tillage. How weedy this Edition: current; Page: [7] field is! And the hay in that meadow was, as I remember, not cut for weeks after the proper time.”

“It is no fault of theirs,” replied Antoine.” The law forbids hoeing and weeding, lest the young partridges should be hurt; and the hay must not be cut before a certain day, let the season be what it will, lest the game should be deprived of shelter. Many crops are thus spoiled.”

“What tyranny!” exclaimed the Englishman. “But some fault seems still to remain with the cultivators. They do not use half the manure at their disposal, while their land evidently wants it much. Yonder field is an instance.”

“Certain sorts of manure are thought to give an unpleasant flavour to the birds which subsist on the grain which springs from them,” replied Antoine. “Such manure is not allowed to be used.”

On Steele's exclaiming again that such prohibitions were too arbitrary to be endured, Antoine laughed, and wondered what he would say to certain other regulations, in comparison with which these were trifles. What did he think of the lot of those who were sent to the galleys for having entered or approached the groves where the wild pigeons of the marquis were appointed to breed undisturbed; or of such as were ruined by being taken from their tillage to make for him ornamental roads which led nowhere; or by the fines which they had to pay in commutation of the service of keeping the frogs quiet by night? On one side the chateau, a marsh extended for Edition: current; Page: [8] some distance, and its frogs greatly annoyed a former marquis by their croaking. His peasantry were employed to beat the ponds. By degrees, as the nuisance decreased, this service was commuted for a fine,—and a very oppressive one it was found at this day. Antoine was proceeding to describe another grievance of great magnitude, when his description was superseded by an example.

The young men were now in a chestnut grove, within which the distant sounds of the hunt were beginning to be heard. A figure of a peasant crossed the glades at intervals, and an occasional voice hailed them from overhead, where lookers out were perched on the loftiest trees to watch what course the devastation of the boar and its hunters would take. After a few moments of quiet, a cry burst forth, and was echoed from mouth to mouth through the wood, a heavy plunging tread was heard, and a rushing and crashing in the thicket, which warned Steele to fly to the protection of the largest trunk at hand, while Antoine climbed a tree as nimbly as a squirrel. The ferocious, clumsy animal immediately appeared, its small eyes red and flaming, its coarse hide bristling, and its terrific tusks looking as if they could plough up the very ground over which it rushed headlong. The moment the danger was past, Antoine descended, and followed at full speed to see the issue of the chase; Steele keeping up with his companion as well as he could, but not without some qualms lest the beast should be met at the extremity of Edition: current; Page: [9] the wood, and driven back upon his steps. The hunt was a little too late, however, to accomplish this manoeuvre, and Steele began to feel himself somewhat more comfortable, when a cry of horror from Antoine, who was a little way in advance, renewed all his fears.

“O, Favorite! O La Haute Favorite!” cried he. “She is spoiled,—she will be wholly desolated by the monster and the hunters!” And poor Antoine threw himself down at the foot of a tree, and would look no more. His companion saw one horseman after another leap the fence which had been kept in such perfect repair, watched them wheeling round and round among the choice vines, which they must be treading like so much common grass, and finally follow the boar out at the opposite side, while the servants who attended in the rear wantonly rode over the same ground, when they might just as easily have kept the road. In a great passion, Steele flew to warn, and threaten, and scold; but before he had time to commit himself, Antoine was at hand to interpose, and silence the indignant Englishman.

“I cannot conceive what you mean, Antoine,” cried Steele, the moment they had the place to themselves. “You flung yourself upon the ground in as great an agony as if your bride had been snatched from you; and presently you come to speak these rascals as fair as if they had done you a favour!”

“It is the only way to keep what we have left,” replied Antoine, mournfully. “There is Edition: current; Page: [10] no use, but much peril, in complaint. Redress there is none; and ill-will towards the lord's pleasure is resented more deeply and lastingly than injury to his property. You may rob his chateau of its plate, and be more easily forgiven than for repining at anything which happens in the course of his sports.”

Steele was ready to burst with indignation against the people which permitted such usages to endure. He was answered by a reference to the cruel old forest laws of England, and certain national blemishes of an analogous character which still remained; and the friends were in danger of quarrelling, for the first time, when they remembered that it would be more to the purpose to contemplate the present than the past and the absent, and to help one another under the vexatious event which had befallen them.

It was mournful to look around, and see what had been done within a few minutes;—the clean soil trodden and strewed, the props thrown down, the laden branches snapped off, the ripening fruit crushed and scattered, and the whole laid open to intruders; whether men to steal, or troops of deer to browze. If, by any exertion, these intruders could be kept out, there was hope that some, even a considerable portion, of the expected vintage might be saved, as some rows of vines had not been touched, and others had fallen merely from their supports being removed. Antoine set off in search of labourers. Not one would follow him till the issue of the hunt was known, and it became certain whose fields would Edition: current; Page: [11] be devastated before the sun went down, and whose not; but when the boar's head was at length carried towards the chateau, with the usual honours, and the proud train returned to their stately festivities, a gang of peasants, safe for this bout, set to work, under Antoine and Steele, to stop up the fences till they could be properly repaired; while their less fortunate neighbours hid themselves to groan over the destroyed harvests which were their only hope; —hid themselves, because if their own little children had spoken of their grief, the galleys would infallibly be their destination ere long. Neither those who chaunted over their work, however, nor those who brooded over wrongs within, nor the two young men who toiled, went home, and retired to rest in gloomy silence, anticipated what would be their relative position at the same hour the next evening. Nothing could now appear more certain to Antoine than that he and his brother had sustained a great loss in the destruction of half the crop of their best vineyard, or to Steele than that it would be a misfortune to his employers to be disappointed of half the quantity of that superlative wine which they were to have on favourable terms, and might sell at almost any price they might choose to set upon it: yet another turn of fortune happened within a few hours which promised to do more than repair the pecuniary damage, though it still remained to be lamented that La Haute Favorite should have been exposed to wanton devastation.

The next day was the day of the extraordinary Edition: current; Page: [12] hurricane which spread affright through various regions of France, where there was want and woe enough before to shake the courage and perplex the judgment of rulers, and to appal the hearts of the ruled. The timid had long been inquiring how the national burdens were to be borne for the future, and the popular discontents much longer soothed. When this dreadful tempest came, extinguishing the light of day like an eclipse, changing the aspect of the scenery like an earthquake, and convulsing the atmosphere like a hurricane, mere timidity became deepened into a superstitious horror, and the powers of hell were thought to be let loose against the devoted land. Few could wonder much at this who knew the people in their state of ignorance and hardship, and who witnessed the ravages of the storm.

The morning had risen fair and bright, though cold, from the change of wind which Antoine had predicted. The clouds soon began to gather, with an appearance of unusual blackness; but this did not prevent the country people from setting out for church, and making their way thither in defiance of the rising blasts. When assembled, however, they found it perilous to remain under the shelter of a roof which threatened to fall in upon them; and they rushed out into the road, where, carefully avoiding the neighbourhood of trees, they supported one another during the dreadful hour that the storm lasted. Cries of grief and despair broke from them at every step as they returned homewards. Drifts of hail stopped up their path. The corn-fields were one Edition: current; Page: [13] vast morass. The almond groves were level with the ground; and of the chestnut woods nothing remained but an assemblage of bare poles. The more exposed vineyards were so many quagmires, and many dwellings were mere heaps of ruins. All who witnessed were horror-struck at the conviction of general, immediate, pressing want; and the more thoughtful glanced forwards in idea to the number of seasons that must pass away before all this damage could be repaired. Not a few, in the midst of their own distress, however, jested on the fate of the marquis's partridges, and consoled one another with the certainty that it would be long before the lord's game could trouble them again.

As for Antoine, he hurried past his ruined garden to La Favorite, gloomily followed by the Englishman, who could not be comforted by his companion's suggestion, that, at the worst, the soil would be finely manured by its produce being beaten into it. This was not exactly the object for which Steele had anticipated the fine crop would be used, and he could not, so rapidly as a Frenchman, acquiesce in so complete a change of purposes. It would be difficult to say which was the most astonished and the most joyful when they found their beloved Favorite smiling amidst the general devastation, and scarcely more injured than when they had left her the night before. Sheltered by the hill behind, and by a wood on the side whence the hurricane approached, she had escaped its worst fury; and a few torn branches, a few scattered hailstones, Edition: current; Page: [14] were the only witnesses of the storm which had passed over her.

“My beauty! My beloved!” exclaimed Antoine; “though man and beast have dared to insult thee, the elements have known how to respect thy beauty. They just paid thee a gentle homage as they passed, and left thee serene and verdant, while all besides is prostrated before them. My homage shall restore the few charms that have been defaced.”

And, somewhat to Steele's surprise, Antoine began the homage he spoke of, reverentially lifting the trailing branches, coaxing the battered bunches of grapes, and restoring props with a sort of joyful solemnity, as if rendering service to one who could appreciate his devotion. The cooler Englishman meanwhile looked abroad into the neighbouring vineyards, and saw with concern that the losses of Antoine and his brother must be great. Antoine would scarcely allow this, however, not only because the safety of Favorite had filled him with joy, but because he believed that his fortunes would be rather amended than the contrary by what had happened.

“How should that be?” inquired Steele. “The enormous rise in value of the produce of this vineyard will not benefit you, but my employers, as our terms are fixed for five years to come. How can you gain by being deprived of the rest of your vintage?”

“We shall gain by others being deprived of theirs Vast labour will be required to render Edition: current; Page: [15] these lands productive once more, and the price of wines will therefore be much raised.”

“But you will have to employ and pay for this labour as well as others.”

“True; but meanwhile, we have a large stock of wine at Paris and Bordeaux. For some little time there has been no demand; for the country is troubled, and no one will buy more than cannot be avoided. This has made Charles uneasy, and he has often lately complained of the largeness of our stock. Now that there will be a failure in the supply of wines, our stock will be in request, and at such prices as shall pay all the labour of repairs in our vineyards, and leave no small advantage besides. And then,—how our grounds are manured! What crops they will yield!”

“Aye; but when?—You never will see the dark side of an affair, Antoine. It will be three or four years before yon quagmires can become a firm soil, full of well-settled and bearing vines.”

“Meantime, things will become more tranquil at Paris, perhaps, so that people may enjoy their wine as formerly.”

“Some persons,” observed Steele, “would repine at the terms we have fixed beyond recall for the produce of Favorite; but I hear no complaints from you of the large profits which will be made by my employers.”

“Where would be the use?” replied Antoine. “Since the bargain is, as you say, beyond recall, it is no longer my affair. On the contrary, I Edition: current; Page: [16] congratulate your gentlemen with all my heart. —There is but one thing that I would suggest;— that if their gains prove great, they should purchase the blessing of heaven on them by devoting some small portion to the peasants here who are ruined by the same cause which brings your friends prosperity.”

“There will no doubt be a general subscription,” observed Steele; “and it is fitting that those foreigners should give who will profit by the disasters of your country.”

“If your gentlemen,” replied Antoine, “will do it in the form of remitting a portion of Favorite's wealth, they will add grace to their bounty. How graceful will it be in this, our beauty, to thank heaven for having spared her charms by giving in alms a portion of her dowry!”

“Will your people distinguish, think you,” asked Steele, laughing, “between alms issuing from an English merchant's pocket, in his own name and in the name of a personified vineyard?”

Antoine warmly replied that no people on earth had so nice a sense of the morally graceful and sublime as the French; and offered a wager that in the straightforward case, plain thanks in prose would be all that Messrs. Mason and Co. would receive; while, if the moral grace he recommended were put into the act, La Haute Favorite would be celebrated in song under many a clump of elms.

“Meanwhile,” said Steele, “what measures Edition: current; Page: [17] will you take about your private affairs, and how can I help you?”

“I will this day write to Charles tidings of what has happened. To-morrow I will see what portion of the crops out of this enclosure can be saved. The produce must be housed at Bordeaux, and no more transported to Paris this year.—You can aid me no otherwise than in the care of Favorite, and in soothing the poor whom I dread to meet on my way home. Exhort them, as I ever do, to make the best of inevitable evils.”

“Your example will do more than my exhortations. But what is left to make the best of?”

“The marquis and his daughter. They can no longer be a torment, and may be a help. The new works, for which he oppressed the people, are destroyed. His pigeons are blown away, and his partridges are drowned; and even the frogs may be found to be eternally silenced by this excessive beating of their ponds: while still the people have an equitable claim for food. Let us go and comfort them thus.”

And the good-natured Antoine carried his cheerful countenance among the shivering and dismayed peasantry who were waiting for advice and guidance, and led them to the chateau to ask for relief.

The marquis laid his hand upon his heart, and the lady Alice took trinkets from her hair to give to the hungry people before her, who were loud in their praises of her condescension; though, to Edition: current; Page: [18] be sure, as trinkets could not be eaten, and there was nothing eatable for them to be exchanged against, they only served at present to hush little crying babies for a minute or two. In time it was clearly conveyed to the lady that a more effectual measure would be to order the housekeeper to distribute the contents of the larder among the hungry; and to the gentleman, that now was the occasion for his steward to unlock the granary. These stores being soon exhausted, and no more being at once procurable, from the whole neighbouring country having been laid waste, the cottagers were obliged to subsist themselves as well as they could on boiled acorns, stewed nettles, and on the lord's frogs; a race which seemed destined to extermination, man and the elements having apparently combined against them.

As many of the sufferers as yet survive look back upon that dreadful time with a horror which is not lessened even by the political horrors which ensued. Throughout Guienne, the Orleannois, and other provinces, not a score of revolutions could efface the recollections and traditions of the hurricane of July, 1788. Perhaps it may be still a subject of dispute a century hence whether it was charged, in addition to the natural agents of destruction, with a special message to warn the French nation of their approaching social convulsion. Superstition has not yet been abolished in France, any more than in some other countries which have suffered less deplorably from its sway.

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Charles Luyon was wont to hasten home at dinner-time with as much cheerfulness in his countenance as alacrity in his gait. He always had a smile ready when his timid wife looked anxiously in his face, and generally some tidings which were not bad, when her aged father, M. Raucourt, asked his invariable question,—“What news, Charles?” Times were now, however, altering so speedily that it was evident that Charles must vary his entré. His smile he was likely enough to preserve, happen what might; but in the article of news he began to be perplexed; for whatever was now stirring was of a kind with which it was painful to confuse and trouble a very old man, who never went abroad, but yet managed to know something of what was going on by fixing his seat constantly at the window, and using his eyes, which were less infirm than his understanding. The children too, who were old enough to be inquisitive, began to be very pertinacious in their questions why their walks were circumscribed, and what was the meaning of various strange sights and sounds which they met at every turn. In satisfying them why the drums beat, and why orators talked so loud in the mobs, Charles never used the word riot,—much less rebellion, or revolution, either of which might have been fatal to his Edition: current; Page: [20] wife's peace; for she had been bred a royalist by her father, and had a perfect horror of even a disrespectful word against the royal family or the noblesse. What Charles was in politics, she could never tell. He seemed to adopt no party, to talk sensibly on what took place before his eyes, and (judging' by what had already come to pass) to prophecy clearly respecting the future. He pointed out to her that the people were starving, and of course disaffected; but he did not say where the blame rested, contenting himself with hoping the best, as he did on all occasions.

On the day that he received the tidings of the ravages of the storm in Guienne, Marguerite did, for once, perceive a slight shade on her husband's brow. The family were standing at the window, beside the old man's easy chair, eagerly gazing into the street, which was filled from end to end with a mob. The aspect of the people was terrific, and their clamour, compounded of the shrill voices of the fishwomen and the more deep-toned yells of haggard and half-famished men, was deafening. The old gentleman looked full of glee, for he had contrived to persuade himself that all this was rejoicing for some royal festival. The wiser children looked in their mother's face for an explanation; but she could attend to nothing else when she saw her husband enter.

“Thank God, Charles, you are home! How did you get in?”

“I have been in this half hour.'

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“And shut up by yourself? There is something the matter, Charles.”

Charles gave in brief the story of the storm, which included the tidings that certain olive and almond groves, her own property, were utterly destroyed.

“Charles, Charles,” interrupted the old man, as soon as the mob had passed; “what news to-day?”

“I am afraid what you have just seen tells only too plainly, sir. The people are gone to the palace to vociferate for bread.”

“Well, well, fashions change,” observed M. Raucourt. “In my days the king gave away wine instead of bread.”

“If he did so now, sir, it would be a good thing for my trade. It would empty my cellars to supply such a crowd as has just gone by.”

“Does not your wine sell, this year?”

“Not very well, sir. People buy little of anything at present; but better times will certainly come.”

“But, papa, why do not all these people buy bread, if they want it so very much?” asked Julien.

“Because there is very little to be bought; and that little is too dear for poor people to buy.”

“So they want the king to buy it for them?”

“Yes; but the king says he has no money. He is borrowing some, however, and I hope the people will soon be relieved, somehow or other.”

“Who lends the king money, papa?”

“I am going to lend him some; and so will verybody else that has any.”

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Little Pauline thought it would be the better and quicker way for her papa to buy the bread himself for the poor, instead of lending money to the king to do so. She was told that perhaps the people might begin to love the king again if he tried to relieve them; and that his majesty would be much pleased at this, for they had not been at all fond of him lately. This news set Marguerite sighing, and the children thinking what they had that they could lend the king. Grandpapa was consulted, while his son and daughter retired from the window to read Antoine's letter. M. Raucourt thought the king would not wish for Julien's bird-organ, as he often heard finer music than it could make, and it would now buy very little bread; but why it would buy so little, he could not tell. He recommended Pauline's making her offering to the queen;—that beautiful, graceful lady that every Frenchman worshipped when she became his queen, and whom every Frenchman would mourn in the dust when the time must come for her to die. The old man was entering upon his favourite long story of the queen's entry into her capital, when Pauline stopped him with an enquiry whether this beautiful lady would like to have her silk-worms, and how much bread they would buy. As soon as grandpapa could speak for laughing, he told the child that the queen carried more silk on her head at that moment than these worms would spin in a hundred years. The little dog Joli, with his collar and silver bell, was next proposed, and thought more eligible. Joli was called, and looked for in vain under sofa, and chairs, and Edition: current; Page: [23] behind mamma's harp. While Pauline went in search of him, Julien interrupted papa to know why his bird-organ would buy very little bread, when it had once cost so much money.

“Money enough, papa, to buy many loaves of bread.”

“Yes, my dear; because the men who made that organ ate up several loaves of bread while they were at work upon it; and it was necessary to pay themselves for that bread, as well as for the wood, and the steel, and the brass, and the wear of their tools.”

“Then would not people eat as much bread if they made another bird-organ to-day?”

“Yes; and such an organ would cost me twice as much money as I gave for yours last year. It would buy only the same number of loaves, however, because each loaf costs twice as much money as it used to do.”

“But grandpapa says my organ will buy very little bread.”

“True; because it was made when bread was cheap; and an organ made to-day would be made when bread is very dear. I gave the organmaker money enough to buy twelve loaves; and now the same money would buy only six loaves.”

“And perhaps six loaves would not be enough for the people while they were making the organ?”

“Certainly not. They must have twelve; and so I should have to pay twice as much for another organ made to-day as you could sell yours for, supposing it as good as new.”

“But why is not there more bread, papa? I Edition: current; Page: [24] should like that there should be so much that I might give the people twenty-four loaves when I give the king my organ.”

“When that time comes, my dear, the people will not want to beg bread, and you shall have a better present to offer at court.—But, do you know, Julien, there is going to be less bread than ever, I am afraid.”

Marguerite drew her little son to her, and described to him the state of the peasantry round uncle Antoine's vineyards; and how grandpapa's olives were all blown down, and everything eatable destroyed, except what had hitherto been considered food for swine.

“One woman,” she continued, “offered a comfortable coat of her husband's to several shivering people who would have liked it very much; but they could not give so much as a single handful of barley for it. There were some who would have given a whole field for a sack of wheat; but they could not get it.”

“One miserly person,” observed Charles, “happened to save a small stock of cabbages, of which he was willing to sell three. He was offered a blanket, and would not take it; and then a pretty crucifix; and then a clock——”

“But perhaps he did not want any of these things.?”

“Neither could he be said to want what he took at last. When he found that the highest price was offered that he was likely to get, he accepted it; and it was a diamond pin, given by lady Alice de Thou to a destitute family.”

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“Was it like the diamond in mamma's watch?”

“Much larger. It was so valuable that, a month ago, it would have bought uncle Antoine's best vineyard.—It bought only three cabbages now, because the people must have cabbages and did not want diamonds.”

“Then the very poor people pay much more than the rich, I suppose? The poorer they are, the more they pay?”

“Not when there is enough of what they want. The baker over the way knows that if he charged a poor man too high, the man would go to some other baker to buy; so they keep their prices pretty equal. But as soon as there is too little of what everybody wants, every one is eager to get his share, and promises more than his neighbour; till, as we see, a diamond pin may be given for three cabbages. There is too little corn in France now; and that is the reason why we give more for it than will pay the baker, and the miller, and the farmer, and his labourers for what it cost them to prepare it for us.”

“The same will be the case with your papa's wine,” added Marguerite. “He charged yesterday as much as it had cost him to cultivate the ground, and ripen the wine, and pay for having it brought here, and for the use of his cellars, and a certain sum over for us to live upon. After to-day, everybody will know how the storm has ruined the vineyards; every one will be afraid that there will not be wine enough, and they will offer more and more for it, till—”

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“Till papa is rich enough to take Pauline and me to Versailles, to see the court.”

Charles told how much money he should want to get his vineyards into repair again, and what high wages he must pay the country people, while provisions continued as dear as at present. —Marguerite meanwhile sighed, and observed that there was little pleasure now in going to Versailles, to hear people, even of the better classes, criticise the expensiveness of the queen's dress, and the haughtiness of her air, as often as she appeared.

Pauline now burst into the room in a state of wonder and consternation. She had not been able to find Joli anywhere about the house, and on employing the servants in the search, had recovered her favourite in a somewhat different condition from that in which she had last seen him. He was found crouching in the street, just outside the door, no longer the beautiful animal, with a silky white coat, enamelled collar and silver bell, but actually dyed, the hind part red, the fore part blue, with a stripe of white left in the middle. Instead of the collar, were bands of ribbon of the same three colours. The poor animal and its mistress seemed equally terrified, and both perhaps felt themselves insulted when everybody laughed. Pauline cried, and Joli whined.

“Is he hurt, my love?” inquired mamma.

Julien waved his handkerchief, and Joli jumped and snapped at it as usual; and even Edition: current; Page: [27] Pauline laughed through her tears, when she saw the gaudy little creature frisking about in masquerade.

“Since he is safe,” said Charles, “never mind the collar and bell. We will get another when times are better, and there are fewer thieves about.”

“There is something worse than theft here,” observed Marguerite, sadly. “I abhor those colours.”

“Then let us wash them off, if we can; and mind, Pauline, if you wish your dog to be safe, you must keep him within doors till his coat is perfectly white again.”

The washing availed little, as the dog was not besmeared but dyed. To get rid of as much red and blue as possible, mamma cut off the new collar, and gave Pauline a piece of white satin ribbon. Grandpapa helped the child to tie it on, and sent her also for a white lily,—his favourite flower, —and fastened it where the bell had been; and then Joli looked something like a royalist dog again.

“I do wonder, Charles,” said his wife, while this was doing, “that you go on always talking of better times coming, and of the fine things that are to happen by and by. You have done so ever since I knew you; ever since——”

“Yes, love, ever since the days when you were so very sure that your father would never approve me; that my business would never flourish; that, for one reason or another, we should never come together.”

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“Ah! I was not a cool judge in that case.”

“Nor I, I am sure, my dear.”

“You seldom are, if there is any room at all for hope. Plunge you into an abyss of distress, and you are the calmest of judges. I would trust you to find your way in utter darkness; but the least glimmering you take for daylight. At this very moment, when you know that all affairs have been looking more and more gloomy for these ten years past; when the people are starving and rebellious, when your trade is almost annihilated, and my dowry destroyed, with that of thousands of your neighbours, you still talk of the good times that are coming”

“You think this very senseless, my love, I dare say?”

“It is very provoking, Charles. At first it was always said in the spring that things would be better in the autumn; and in the autumn, that all would come right in the spring. Now, you have somewhat extended your hope: it is either next year, or by and by, or hereafter; but still you go on hoping, when everybody else is preparing.”

“Cannot one hope and prepare at the same time?” asked Charles. “It seems to me that it is for want of this that so much evil now threatens us. The court goes on hoping without making any preparation; and the people, having no hope from the present system, are preparing to overthrow it too completely and too suddenly.”

“Mercy!” cried Marguerite; “what will become of us?”

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“We shall live to grow wise in the experience of a state of transition, or die, leaving this wisdom to be inherited by others. In either case, the wisdom will remain; and the world (including our children) will be the better for it. Meanwhile, there is dinner waiting below for those who are hungry. Do not let the thoughts of to-morrow spoil the comfort of to-day.”

Before the day was over, however, its comfort was spoiled, and even Charles was compelled to look anxiously to the morrow. After dinner, a shriek of anguish was heard from the children. They had forgotten to secure Joli; and he was found hung up on the next lamp-post, strangled in his new white collar, and the lily stuck insultingly in his mouth. There was no use now in blaming the folly and carelessness which had occasioned tile catastrophe. The only thing to be done was to impress upon the entire household the necessity of parading no more lilies, and avoiding all ornaments of white, red, or blue.


The stagnation of trade was now a serious evil to Charles, not only as it occasioned his capital to be locked up, and his income to be impaired, nor because he was of so active a temperament Edition: current; Page: [30] that nothing troubled him like the having no business to do,—but because those were the safest amidst the troubles of the times who were supposed to be fully occupied in their private concerns. There was no lack of interest, indeed, for the most restless seeker of excitement; and Charles might have busied himself from morning to night of every day in tracking the progress of the public discontent, if such had been the species of employment he had desired or approved. He might, like other people, have shouted the praises of Necker in every street and square. He might have amused himself with watching with how many different airs the passengers on the Pont Neuf submitted to bow uncovered before the statue of Henry IV., under the penalty of having squibs let off in their faces. He might have witnessed the burning in effigy of obnoxious ministers, and have stood by the great fire into which the king's decrees for suspending the parliament were cast, and have listened, through the live-long day, to the harangues of popular orators, or joined in the midnight processions by which the repose of all quiet citizens was disturbed. But Charles did not see that such attendance on his part could do any good at present, however the case might hereafter be altered. Whether or not he was turning over in his mind plans for his conduct when the time should come for him to act, he now appeared to direct his attention to private affairs, and talked more of wine and olives than of political matters.

He had been accustomed to furnish a large Edition: current; Page: [31] proportion of the home supply of olives and almonds for which there was a demand in Paris, from the produce of the estates of his wife and father-in-law; and now he had applications, day after day, for fruits which he might have sold at a high price, while scarcely a customer came for wine. He had already invested the little floating capital he could spare from the restoration of his vineyards in fruits from Italy and the Levant, which his brother purchased for him as they came up the great canal and the Garonne, on their way to Bordeaux. He now began to wish that he could exchange a part of his large stock of wine for fruits. He knew that wines would rise enormously in price, as soon as the demand should revive; but fruits had already risen enormously, and he wished to turn some of his capital into money by their means. It was easy to do this by extending his transactions with Steele, who purchased fruit in large quantities at Bordeaux to send to England. The demand for fruit in London being at present insignificant in comparison with that for claret, and the direct reverse being the case at Paris, it was Steele's interest to transmit more wine and less fruit, and Charles's to take fruit in exchange for his wine. It was therefore settled that, in addition to their standing bargain for first-rate wine, Steele should have a large choice of second-rate claret, in payment for chestnuts from Spain, oranges and citrons from the Madeiras, olives from the Levant, and almonds from Italy. The terms of exchange were the only difficulty.

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Neither Steele nor Charles were speculators, in the common sense of the term, They were prudent men of business, attached to one line of occupation, and in no particular hurry to be richer than everybody else. They now, however, found themselves obliged to speculate, and became more fully aware than they had been before that all trading for purposes of sale is, in fact, speculation. It is necessary for traders not only to take into account all the past and present circumstances which affect the value of the article in which they deal, but to look forward to such as may influence its sale. Their success depends on the foresight which they have exercised, and the sagacity with which they have calculated: in other words, on their skill in speculation. When they extend their views to a further extent than they can command, and found their calculations on contingencies, they become gamesters of that class which is held in horror under the name of speculators: and hence arises a somewhat indistinct dread and dislike of all speculation; while the fact is, no exchange whatever could go on without more or less real speculation. The farmer must speculate on the seasons; the manufacturer on tastes and fashions, and on the supply of raw material; the merchant must speculate on war and peace, and all domestic and much foreign policy. In ordinary times, Charles must speculate on the increase or decline of the taste for claret, or of the number of claret-drinkers in Paris; and now, a new and wide field of calculation was opened Edition: current; Page: [33] before him, on which he must enter if he meant to prosecute his business at all.

From the time that the brothers had entered into business till now, there had been established a tolerably steady rate of understood value, at which goods had been exchanged for one another. There had been occasional and slight variations, according to seasons, and other fluctuating circumstances; so that four pipes of wine might at one time exchange for the same quantity of fruit as three and a half would buy at another; but the circumstances which determined these variations in value being usually foreseen by all parties concerned, their vigilance prevented any very sudden and perplexing convulsions in trade. As long as there were average seasons, an average supply of food, an average quantity of labour to be had, wages and profits (on which price depends) could be calculated, and relied on for remaining nearly at the average rate. But now, there had been both natural and political disasters, whose consequences defied all calculation. There was an over-supply of labour,—as far as the number of labourers went; for thousands of the peasantry had been stripped of all they had, and rendered dependent on neighbouring capitalists for employment and support. At the same time, food was dreadfully deficient, and therefore enormously dear; so that to what price labour would rise, in spite of the over-supply, it was impossible to guess.—The same cause rendered the amount of profits uncertain. Unless it could be settled how Edition: current; Page: [34] much the labourers would appropriate, it must continue unsettled how much would remain over for the capitalist,—even if it could be ascertained how extensive would be the demand for the article. This, again, was doubtful, from the uncertainty of political affairs, which impaired the security of property, and stopped up the channels of mutual exchange. Thus, not only was the permanent original element of exchangeable value,—cost of production,—rendered incalculable, in the case both of wine and fruits, but all the causes which occasion temporary fluctuations were violently at work; and it required a clear head and a strong heart to anticipate and rely upon their issues. Steele's part was the less perplexing of the two. He knew no more than Charles, it is true, how the sudden rise in the value of labour, from the scarcity of food, would affect the price of the stock laid in before labour became so dear; and he could not therefore judge of the probable amount of Charles's profits; but on the head of his employers' profits he felt very secure. The English market was steady: the demand could be nearly estimated, and if it was pretty sure to be good with an abundant supply of wine in the market, it was certain to be very brisk as soon as the supply was known to be deficient. Though, therefore, he might ask less than he need in exchange for his fruit, there was every probability of his gaining more than the usual profit on the wine thus purchased. —Charles, on the other hand, had not only to discover what expense his brother and other Edition: current; Page: [35] vine-growers were at in maintaining labourers, and how much of this was to be charged by tacit agreement upon their present stock, and the same facts with regard to the fruit; but to speculate on the ability and disposition of the people of Paris to buy either wine or fruit, and how much the demand for the one was likely to fall short of, or exceed, the demand for the other.— The result was that the two parties to the bargain fixed upon an exchange which appeared likely to be mutually advantageous, but which proved the value of their commodities to have deviated widely from the ordinary proportion. Setting off an equal expense of labour, and an equal amount of profit, on each side, fifty chests of fruit (from almonds and citrons down to chestnuts) would exchange for a pipe of claret, in ordinary times. Now, twenty chests were all that such a pipe would buy; and yet Charles believed he had made a good bargain, as the demand of thirsty orators for juicy fruits, and of loungers in the streets for chestnuts, was extraordinarily great, while wine was, just then, little in request. His wife, knowing that he had lately been rather pressed for money, watched with interest the process by which it began once more to flow in. By half emptying a cellar in Bordeaux, fruit was made to arrive in Paris by waggon loads, and these were presently converted into cash. But there was one point on which she was not satisfied.

“I see,” said she, “the convenience to us and to the Englishmen of our mutual exchange. It is really charming; as welcome as the traffic Edition: current; Page: [36] between the first maker of weapons and the hunter, when the one had more bows and fishlines than he could use, and the other more venison and trout than he could eat while they were good. But, Charles, are you either of you just in taking advantage of the vengeance of heaven, he to enrich himself, and you to repair your losses? Ought you not to sell wine at the price it professed to bear in your cellars before the hurricane happened? And why is Italian fruit dear, when in Italy there has been no storm?”

“If we sold our goods at last year's prices,” replied Charles, “all our wine and our fruit would be exhausted long before we should have a further supply. Is it not better that they should bear such a price as will make people sparing in their use till we have once more an abundance?”

“And is this the reason why there are granaries not yet exhausted, amidst the cries of the people for bread?”

“It is; and if bread had borne its usual price all this time, there would now be absolute famine in every street of Paris. If the people understood this, they would not storm the flour mills, and throw hundreds of sacks into the Seine, in their rage against the owners. These owners, by causing a gradual distribution, are the best friends of those who are their own bitter enemies; — who waste bread now, because they were not permitted to waste it before.”

“But why should the corn-owners be enriched Edition: current; Page: [37] by scarcity of bread, and you by the destruction of vineyards? You tell me that your gains by this storm will nearly compensate the losses it has cost you. Is this fair?”

“Perfectly so. You know that the value of every thing that is exchanged depends on the labour required to produce it.”

“Yes, yes: and therefore the wine that is to be grown in your desolated vineyards will justly be dear, because much and dear labour will be needed to restore your estates to fertility. But I speak of your present stock, prepared when labour was not particularly high priced, and when only the ordinary quantity of it was wanted.”

“The plain fact is, that labour is now very dear, everywhere; my cellar-full of it, as well as that which is now active in La Favorite. You will hardly wish, my dear, that I should present the public with a portion of it, in the present state of my affairs. I am not exactly in a condition to give away my substance unnecessarily; especially to buyers of wine, who are, for the most part, richer than myself. If harps were suddenly to become doubled in value, you would not sell yours for what you gave for it, would you?”

“No; harp-buyers would be better able to give the market-price than I to do without it.


“Yet we have not considered that your case would be stronger still if it was necessary for you to buy another harp immediately, at the advanced price. Such is my case. I sell my Edition: current; Page: [38] cellar-full of labour in order to purchase a further supply at the present high price. Since I must buy, and must pay dear for what I buy, would it not be folly to sell the same article cheap?”

“The same article! I do not understand you. You would be wrong to hire yourself out for the money wages of a year ago:—to give the strength of your arm for what would buy much less bread: but——”

“But the wine in my cellars and the strength of my arm are equally labour, possessed by me. You may call the one primary, and the other secondary, if you like; but they are equally labour. Yes: all the capital we have,—whether the furniture of this room, or your olive presses, or my wine, is hoarded labour: the labour of the work-people from whom we purchased it.”

“That is curious. Then the price depends upon the labour——O no, there are your profits to be considered. The price depends upon the cost of production; which includes your capital as well as your men's labour.”

“Call it all labour at once, if you like. Profits are the recompense of labour as much as wages: wages of primary, and profits of secondary or hoarded labour; whichever you please to call it.”

“Then why have you been perplexing yourself all this time about this exchange of goods with Steele? Cannot you reckon easily enough the present value of the labour contained in a pipe of wine? and will not this serve as a perfect measure?”

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“Nothing ever served as a perfect measure of value yet; or ever will, in my opinion,” replied Charles. “Labour regulates the relative value of Steele's fruit and my wine: but it can never measure the one against the other, or both against houses, or furniture, or money, or any other commodity. Do not you see that, while labour varies as it does, it can never serve as a measure?”

“To be sure, it is very different in its value this winter from what it was the last.”

“Suppose our milk-woman exchanged a quart of cream daily for a pint of coffee, at the coffeeshop opposite; and that the quart and pint pots grew larger or smaller according as the air was damp or dry. These pots would regulate the quantity of cream and coffee; but it would be absurd to call them measures, while the quantity they yield is incessantly varying.”

“Labour is affected by the seasons, I know; and it seems as if it must always be so, and as if there could therefore never be a fixed measure of value.”

“Not only does primary labour produce more at some times, and under some circumstances, than others, but it is impossible to tell beforehand what will be the return to secondary labour; and from this it follows that the shares of the capitalist and the labourer rise and fall against one another, so that neither can be depended upon for steadiness.”

“Well: I suppose we can do without a fixed measure of value, since we cannot get one; but Edition: current; Page: [40] it does seem as if it would be convenient to know always exactly how much food and clothing one might have in exchange for so much money.”

“I am afraid it would be as mischievous in one way as having no regulator would be in another.”

“O, if there were no regulator, men would snatch from one another like wild beasts; and they would soon be in a very beast-like state as to property. Food for the hour would be all any one would think of, if the chances were that he would get nothing by his labour, or be unable to keep what he might obtain.”

“On the other hand, if there were an unvarying measure, men would be a wholly different race from what they are created to be. There is no anticipating the consequences of withdrawing all the discipline by which their faculties are exercised, sharpened, and strengthened. The very supposition is absurd, however, for it includes the absence of all human vicissitudes. Before there could be a true measure of the relative value of human possessions, man must have power to keep the whole surface of the globe in a state of equal fertility, to regulate the sunshine and the rain, and to ordain all who are born to have an equal share of strength, both of limbs and faculties. All lives must also be of the same length, and even sickness would affect his measure. No: that degree of sagacity which can abstract averages is enough of a guide for practical purposes, while it affords a fine exercise for the intellect and the moral nature of man.”

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Marguerite shook her head mournfully, asking how much the moral nature of their neighbours was likely to be benefited by the present uncertainty of affairs.

“Infinitely more than we can estimate,” replied Charles, eagerly. “I see every day, not only splendid instances of intellectual effort, applied to the most important departments of social philosophy, but moral struggles and selfsacrifices which dispose me more than ever to bow the knee to human nature.”

“And, as usual, you overlook whatever would not please you. You hear the patriotic harangues of our new mob orators, but not the abominable commentaries of those who stand at your elbow. You join in the shouts with which the national colours are hailed as often as they appear, but are not aware how the white cockade is trodden under foot. You are so taken up with making your obeisance to the parliament you think so virtuous, that you disregard the cruel irreverence with which our anointed sovereigns are blasphemed. This is not just, Charles; it is foolish; and, what is worse, it is disloyal.”

“Nay, my love ——”

“It is not enough that, by your way of regarding public affairs, you amuse my father, and tranquillize me, and encourage in our children a temper like your own. All this is well in ordinary times: but these are days for higher objects and a more intrepid conduct.”

Charles looked steadily at his wife, but she would not yet let him speak. She went on,—

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“These are days when the true should pray day and night for vengeance on the false, instead of excusing them: when loyalty should weep in dark corners, since it cannot show its face in the daylight without being profaned. These are days when our children should see a solemn sadness in our countenances; and if they ask why, they should be told in mournful mystery what sympathy is due to suffering royalty.”

“And not to a suffering nation, Marguerite? Is there to be no pride in intrepid patriotism? No joy in public virtue? Shall the birth of liberty be looked upon as an evil omen? If the king had chosen to stand its sponsor, the whole of our mighty people might have peaceably rejoiced together. His disowning it is no reason why others should not hail its advent. His choosing the part of Herod is reason enough why there should be priests waiting and watching in the temple.”

“You are speaking treason!” cried the terrified Marguerite.

“By no means. I am ready to struggle for the king and the throne till death; but it must be for a wise king, and a throne founded in justice. As it is, all things are made to bear two aspects, and it is too much to require all to perceive only one. A forcible division has been made between the past and the future, and no wonder that some incline to look forward, while others persist in a reverted attitude.”

“Ah! how will you reconcile duties in this perverse state of affairs?”

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“Very easily. When I am in the mob, I refer the patriotic sentiments of the orators to the new era of freedom, and pity the indecent violence of the hearers as the result of their prolonged subjugation. When heads are uncovered before La Fayette, my heart glows as in the very presence of liberty; when the queen is insulted in the streets of her capital by the refuse of her own sex, I sigh over the mischiefs the oppression of ages has wrought, but still hope that the day of their decline has arrived.”

“And what when Orleans sneaks away from the rabble he has maddened? What when every lamp-post in the Place de Grêve bears its strangled victim?”

“I see in one the monstrous offspring of a deformed and an unformed system. Such a birth can take place but once, and its life must be as brief through want of vigour, as it is hateful from its ugliness. The practice of slaughter too belongs to the old time. The more degraded slaves are, the more certain is it that their emancipation will be signalized by murder.”

“Why then not control, or at least resist them? Is it not dastardly to sit smiling at home, while the loyal and the noble——”

Charles lifted up his finger in token of silence, and rose from his seat, saying,

“Your reproaches impel me to a confidence with which I did not intend to disturb your tranquillity. Follow me.”

Marguerite did so, suspecting that she might soon wish to retract some things which she had Edition: current; Page: [44] said. Her husband led her to his wine-cellars, which were at the back of the house, separated from it by a small court, from which there was an opening through a wide gateway into the street. The few servants who remained at this slack time on the premises were employed about the fruit-store. The keys of the wine-cellars were kept by a confidential clerk, who was always on the spot, and was the only person besides Charles who now ever entered the place.

“Remember,” said Charles to his wife, as he put the key into the first lock; “remember that you have brought this disclosure upon yourself. This will enable you to bear it well. The best thing we can hope is that you may have to bear it long. If calamity should shortly release you from apprehension, you will see that the hopefulness you complain of in me does not arise from levity. Pierre, bring the lantern, and lock us in.”

Marguerite felt half-stifled between her fear of what was to come next, and the close air of the cellars. Her husband held up the light, and she saw that the door had been newly plated with iron. The next thing she was shown was a long train of gunpowder winding among the stores of wine and brandy.

“O, Charles!” she cried; “are you going to blow us up?”

“Not ourselves, or the house either,” he replied. “You see here is not enough to do any great mischief;—only enough to bring down the ceiling upon my wine-casks, and spoil Edition: current; Page: [45] the wine. There are no buildings over this cellar, you know; so there is no danger to human life.”

He then explained that, finding how invariably the worst excesses of the mob were to be traced to their being plied with drink, it had occurred to him to engage all the wine-merchants of Paris in an agreement to refuse, on some pretence or other, to sell wine or spirits to any but private gentlemen who wanted it for their own consumption. Some agreed, and others did not; and these latter, when they had sold all their stock, and could, from the scarcity, get no more, had maliciously whispered in the mobs the secret with which they had been entrusted. One after another of the merchants, knowing the danger to which they were exposed, had fallen off from the agreement; and Charles, whose stock was the largest now remaining in the city, was left almost alone in his determination to refuse the means of intoxicating the mob. He was aware that his wine was longed for, and his life threatened. He could not remove his stock to a distance, for his premises were evidently watched by spies. He had reason to believe that, on the first occasion when the people were to be excited to an extraordinary act of violence, they were to be brought hither to burst open his stores, and be plied with brandy and wine. He did not choose to be thus made the means of promoting riot and murder, and determined on blowing up his stock, if matters came to extremity. On the first alarm of the approach of a Edition: current; Page: [46] mob, he should fire the train, and bring down the roof; making a pit of what was now level ground. Or, if he should be absent, Pierre knew how to do it.

“But how?” asked Marguerite, with as much voice as she had left. “Must it not be fatal to the one who fires?”

“I trust not,” he replied; “though, if it were, my purpose would stand. It is better to sacrifice one life thus, than to make murderous fiends of many thousands. But, look here, this is our contrivance.”

And he showed her how a very small trap-door had been made of one of the stones in the pavement above, through which a light might be let down immediately upon the tram, and from any distance, if the line were of sufficient length.

“It is but little that a quiet citizen can do in times when men of a different make are sure to gain the ascendency,” observed Charles: “but no one is absolved from doing what he can. I am no orator to rouse the people to patriotism, or to soothe their madness; but here I have power in having something like a monopoly of the poison which helps to madden them; and it shall be kept from inflaming their brains, whether they tear me limb from limb, or compel me to drown myself in my own wine, or let me live till the days when they shall thank me for crossing their will.”

Marguerite's terror was aggravated by a sense of shame for having failed to anticipate her husband's heroism, and being now unable to share Edition: current; Page: [47] it. Her thoughts were ready to veer any way in hope of escape, rather than anchor themselves upon her husband's determination, and await the event. No wonder, since she had so much at stake, and was a very simpleton in political matters. She had all possible fears, and no wishes. A miserable state to be in, in such times!

Could not the whole family remove? Could not her husband, at least, slip away by night? Must they remain in the neighbourhood of gunpowder, and in daily expectation of the mob?— actually within hearing of the hated drums?

They must; her husband replied. Any attempt to fly, or to alter their manner of living, would be immediately detected, and would bring a worse destruction than that which they might possibly escape by remaining. Had not Marguerite observed spies about the house?

O yes: every day since poor Joli was found hanged. That was a sad piece of carelessness. Charles thought so too, and even with more reason than his wife. He knew that the dressing up of that dog was set down in the list of his sins against his country. If it had taken place eighteen months later, it would have brought upon him an immediate sentence of death: but matters not having yet gone so far as they were destined to proceed, the fact was only recorded against him.

“Let us go,” said Marguerite, faintly, when she found her husband bent on adhering to his Edition: current; Page: [48] plans, for reasons which she could not gainsay. “I cannot bear the air of this place.”

“We will go presently, love,” replied Charles.

“The first moment that I see you look like yourself, I will call to Pierre to unlock the door. Meanwhile, here is a seat; and I will give you air and something to revive you.”

Having seated her where a breath of fresh air from the little trap-door might blow upon her face, he brought a flask of rich wine, in a full glass of which he pledged her, assuring her, with a smile, that it did not yet taste of gunpowder. His pledge was,—

“Marguerite, my wife,—life and safety to ourselves and our household! If not these,—at least the peace of our enlightened and steadfast will!—Will you not pledge me?”

She bowed her head upon his shoulder, and wept her shame at being unworthy of him,— unfit to live in such times.

“Then preserve yourself, love, to live in better times. They will come; they must come; and steady hopefulness will be our best security till they arrive.”

Marguerite so far succeeded in her endeavour to adopt her husband's principle, that she returned with a smile the searching gaze which Pierre fixed upon her as she issued from the cellar: but her countenance fell at the first words with which he answered her intimation that she now knew the great secret, and would guard it carefully.

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“Alas! Madame. I fear it has ceased to be a secret——That is,” he added, changing his tone when he perceived her alarm,—“our men yonder cannot but observe how carefully we keep the place locked, and how many customers we send away; and nothing escapes suspicion in these times. But your having been down is a happy circumstance, Madame; especially as you emerge with an air so charmingly serene.”

This hint to look composed was not lost upon the lady, who tripped across the court with a demeanour of assumed gaiety. It presently vanished; and she looked with astonishment on her husband when at play with the children after dinner. It rent her heart to hear her father inquire perpetually how early in the spring they should set out for Guienne, that he might delight himself in his beloved olive-groves once more, with the children by his side: but Charles answered as if there had still been olive-groves; and as if the family were at liberty to go whither they pleased in their beautiful country. When, at intervals, she saw him whipping his little girl's wooden horse, and practising battledore with his young son, laughing all the while as merrily as either, she could scarcely believe him to be the same who had so lately solemnly pledged her over a train of gunpowder laid by his own resolute hands.

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M. Raucourt had abundance of leisure to repeat his question about journeying southwards, and to describe to his grandchildren the wealth of fruitgrounds that they would inherit from him. Month after month, as the days grew longer, and the weather became hotter, he told them that, when spring came, they should go with him to groves where pink blossoms came out before the green leaves, and where the young oranges grew more golden amidst the verdure as the season drew on.

“But, grandpapa,” objected Julien, “the spring is going away very fast already.”

“Ah! well, then, we shall be too late for the almond blossoms, but the oranges and the grapes will be all the more beautiful.”

“But,” observed Pauline, when two more months had passed away, “the vintage will be all over now before we can get there, mamma says.”

“Well, my dear, but there is a spring every year, and I am talking of next spring.”

And so the matter was settled for this year. Marguerite began to hope that the affair of the cellars would be so likewise, as Charles had of late been less importuned to sell, and there had been no fresh evidences, amidst the increasing discontents of the people, that he was held in suspicion. There was even a hope of removing Edition: current; Page: [51] a large part of his stock openly and safely. Steele wanted more wine, and Antoine, having none left at Bordeaux, referred him to his brother; and the Englishman arrived in Paris to see whether he could enter into another negociation with the house with which he had already dealt so extensively. He took up his abode in Charles's house, and consulted with him, and also with some of the authorities of the city, as to the best mode of removing his purchases, without exciting the rage of the mob, who by this time had taken upon themselves to decide the right and wrong of all matters that passed before their eyes, whether of the nature of public or private business. The magistrates, who politicly adopted the tone of the people as often as they could, sighed over the anomaly of a foreigner purchasing wine in Paris, while there was too little left for Frenchmen; and Steele wondered as emphatically at the state of affairs which obliged two merchants to call in the interference of the magistracy to repel that of the mob, while they settled their private bargains. Marguerite thought little of the one anomaly or the other, in her strong wish to have her husband's cellars emptied at all events. The greatest happiness she could imagine was that of helping him and Pierre to sweep away the gunpowder, and throw open the doors of the vacant place to any one who chose to enter. There was much to be done, however, before they could arrive at this fortunate issue.

One day, while Steele's business was pending, Edition: current; Page: [52] a carriage drove up to the door, with considerable state, and the Marquis de Thou, having ascertained that the wine-merchant was at home, alighted, and requested to speak with him on business. While Charles waited on him, Marguerite anxiously inquired of Steele respecting the marquis's politics; for she apprehended a snare in every transaction. She thought it strange that so stout an old royalist should have any dealings with her husband, and was not comforted by what she learned from Steele: namely, that being forced by the hatred of his country neighbours to leave his chateau in Guienne, and take refuge in Paris in the middle of summer, he seemed disposed to trim between the two parties, and was therefore likely to be a dangerous person to have dealings with. Immediately on his arrival, he had contrived to place his daughter in the queen's train, while he kept upon terms with the duke of Orleans. Pleading to himself, and bidding lady Alice plead to the queen, if called upon, his old companionship with Orleans, he did much of the duke's dirty work, very unconsciously, very complacently, and with the comfortable conviction that his loyalty remained unblemished, while he attended no public meetings, and managed to be within the palace walls whenever a popular movement was likely to take place. While Steele was explaining what was reported of the marquis at Bordeaux, Charles appeared.

“The marquis wants to make large purchases of wine,” he said. “Do you conceive he can Edition: current; Page: [53] have occasion for a fourth part of my stock for his own use?”

“His chateau is shut up,” replied Steele; “and he is not occupying his hotel in Paris. Depend upon it, he is shopping for Orleans, as usual.”

“He shall not have enough to intoxicate a single bravo with,” cried Charles. “Come with me, Steele, and find some objection to every sample. Claim as much as you please, and disgust him with as much more as you can.”

Pierre was called in to help, and among the three, all as solemn as himself, the marquis was more eminently bamboozled than he had ever been before in his life; which is saying a great deal. He protested every sample to be better than the last, whatever might have been mixed with it by Pierre in the fetching. He made half a hundred low bows when Steele claimed all that was tolerable: and declared his admiration of Charles's magnanimity in pointing out the defects of his own commodity. The civility of M. Pierre also in vowing that the marquis should have no wine but the best, which was all, unhappily, sold already, was worthy of much acknowledgment. Being under promise, however, to purchase such and such quantities of wine, he must waive their polite scruples, and obviate all others by referring M. Charles Luyon to the most wealthy nobleman in the kingdom for payment. This avowal decided the matter. Charles shirked the marquis all the more speedily for his having owned that he came from the Duke of Orleans, and the Edition: current; Page: [54] carriage conveyed away the messenger without his errand.

From day to day other customers came: but, as all might be traced as instruments of the duke, they were all dismissed in the same way as the marquis. Charles was convinced that some popular commotion was at hand. He perceived that the truly patriotic movers in the revolution were more and more hated by Orleans, as his purposes degenerated more and more from the purity of theirs; and he could not restrain his indignation at the efforts that were made to infatuate and brutalize the people, that they might disgrace or interrupt the measures of the enlightened of their leaders, and bring down a nation worthy of freedom to bow the knee to one who nourished the passions of a tyrant in the coward heart of a slave. “He shall not madden the people with my wine. Whatever they do shall be done in a state of sanity, as far as I can contribute thereto,“was still Charles's resolution; and he declined prices on which the hand of many a brother in trade would have closed without a question. He had too humble an idea of his own consequence to adopt his wife's opinion that it was designed to attach him to the Orleans party by making him the creditor of its chief. She was confirmed in her notion, however, by a very disagreeable circumstance, —the appearance of Orleans himself;—to purchase fruit, as he declared.

From fruit the negociation presently turned to wine, as Charles expected; and for which he had prepared himself with a somewhat desperate Edition: current; Page: [55] intent. Knowing the faint heart which his new customer hid under his impudent address, he thought he might calculate on the effect which would be produced by a sight of his underground preparations; and he accordingly requested his Grace, with a compliment to his well-known condescension, to enter the cellar. As soon as they were fairly in, he called to Pierre to be very careful of the lantern, as a single spark might be fatal; invited the duke, unless he objected to approach so near to the magazine, to inspect the date of a certain curious old wine; begged to go first among the fireworks for fear of an accidental explosion, and so forth; expatiating con amore on his commodity, in the intervals.

“Bless my soul, M. Luyon!” cried the duke, “what can you mean by making a fortress of your cellars? It is dangerous to set foot in them, by your own account.”

“Only to those who have no business here,” replied Charles. “My man and I can tread in security.”

And he coolly gave his reasons for rendering his wine inaccessible; pointing out no party, but merely with a reference to the perpetual danger of disturbance in the present times.

“But it is absolutely a fortress,” repeated the duke. “Your door is massive. Is there no way of escape?——I mean, no other entrance?”

“None whatever,” replied Charles; and at this moment, Pierre, having set down the lantern, slammed the plated door, and barred and cross-barred Edition: current; Page: [56] it with a diligence which the guest by no means approved.

“A fortress is perfectly harmless when in friendly hands, and unless attacked,” observed Charles. “Here are no weapons of offence, you observe; and it is far from being my interest to blow up my stock, unless driven to it.”

“Or even then,” argued the duke. “Supposing your premises were attacked,—an idle anticipation;—but supposing they were, it would answer better to yon to have them stripped than destroyed.”

“To my pocket, doubtless,” answered Charles, occupying himself with opening a flask; “but not to my conscience. If by my means a mob, or any individual of a mob, were to be incited to party violence,—if I were so treacherous as to allow their impulses of patriotism to be corrupted into licentiousness,—I should feel the manliness within me melting away. I should start at shadows for the rest of my days. No, sir; perish my possessions, rather than they should go to corrupt public virtue.—Taste this, I advise you, my lord duke.”

“Do not you think the air rather close here?” asked Orleans, in his smoothest manner. “Are not the fumes of this wine——”

“And of the gunpowder, my lord? They are no doubt oppressive to those who are unused to them. Open the door, Pierre.”

The duke found hm faculty of taste more to be relied upon in the open air; and took his Edition: current; Page: [57] stand accordingly in the portal, where he stood negociating and gossiping for an unconscionable time, till first one or two people appeared in the court, then more, and more still, and in an instant the well-known drum was heard close by, and the shouts of a rabble which poured in without the slightest warning. Orleans looked as if he was going to be very angry; but Charles had no time to parley with his hypocrisy.

It was too late to fasten the portal on the outside, and run to the house. Pierre's motion was to pull the duke with them into the cellar; but his master forbade. He thrust Orleans out of the portal, calling out,

“see, we carry a light in with us; and remember you tread on hollow ground,”—and retreated, not allowing even his faithful Pierre to enter the place of danger with him. He locked, bolted, barred and double barred the door, went and placed the lantern close by the train, looked to his matches and tinder, and then sat down, with folded arms, to await the issue of the expected siege. He was fully resolved to sacrifice his life and property rather than be aiding and abetting with Orleans in giving a licentious character to the great act (whatever it might be) which the people were evidently contemplating. The more he had thought of the events of the preceding day, when arms had been seized and cannon laid hold of by the people, the more convinced he had been that the present would not pass away without being signalized by Edition: current; Page: [58] some extraordinary deed, and the more resolutely determined he felt to use such power as he had, for the safety and honour of the state. The fierce yells of the mob outside had no effect but to increase his courage, as they served to justify his object to himself; and as he looked through the dim vault, from the further end of which came the dull echo of the blows upon the door, as he observed that the one feeble light did not so much as flicker in the socket while all was tumult outside, he felt a thrilling consciousness of power which was not gloomy, though it was fearful, and might involve his own destruction. Whether it would involve any other life, he had considered much and long; he believed not; or that if one or a few should be injured by the slight explosion which would effect his purpose, this would be a less evil than would be perpetrated by a drunken mob in possession of such means of destruction as they had seized the day before.

One circumstance nearly unnerved him. He had prevented Pierre from entering with him, under the idea of saving his life from the peril in which his own was placed; but the sudden outcry which presently arose, the oaths evidently directed at an individual, the cries of shrill female voices,—“To the lamp-post with him!”— agonized Charles with the idea that the vengeance of the mob for his opposition was to fall upon his unfortunate servant. He felt a momentary impulse to throw open the door and take Edition: current; Page: [59] all the consequences, the first of which would undoubtedly be that he would be taken to the lamp-post,——

“Not instead of Pierre, but with him,” he thought, however, in another moment. “No. I cannot save him; so I will persevere. And may heaven hold me guiltless of his blood; for I meant well towards him!—But what now?—What a silence!—Have they sent for fire to smoke me out? I will throw up a thicker smoke presently, if that he it.—O, what a horrible cry! What can have put them in a new rage?”

If Charles could have looked through the thick walls of his vault, he would have seen that which might well have called down an immediate sentence of death on all his household; that which added new horrors to his wife's suspense, and increased the agony of poor Pierre, standing as he was in the grasp of two of the enemy, and assured by the fish-women about him that he was to be hanged as soon as they could find a cord. He forgot his own situation for a moment when he looked up to the balcony, and saw the deplorable mistake which was likely to prove the destruction of the whole family. Nobody within doors had thought of M. Raucourt, whom no event was now ever known to bring from his easy chair at the front window. He was left alone while the back of the house was being barricaded with all speed, and messengers put out upon the roof to find their way, if possible, to the authorities; or at least to make signals for assistance. But the children came in a state Edition: current; Page: [60] of amazement to grandpapa, and the shouts reached even his dull ear, and recalled the associations which in the old royalist were always the first to be awakened. He had no other idea than that the people were hailing the royal family, and he resolved not to be behind others in his duty. He sent Pauline for the white cockade he had given her, tottered to his chamber, got out, under a new impulse of strength, upon the balcony, and waved his white favour. It was this which had silenced the mob with astonishment; and in the depth of this silence, the feeble, cracked voice of the old man was heard trying to shout “Vive le Roi!”

The horrible burst of passion which followed was not directed against him. The helplessness of his attitude as he stood supporting himself with both hands, and the gleam of foolish pleasure which came over his countenance, showed his real state; and even the lowest of the mob did not yet make war against dotards. It was because his act was supposed to betoken the politics of the family that it excited such an outcry; and there seemed some reason for Pierre's fears that the very house would be presently levelled with the ground. It made his heart sick within him to see the old man smiling and bowing, and trying to induce the shrinking children to come and stand beside him, and resisting his wretched daughter's attempts to withdraw him. Pierre struggled fiercely, but in vain; he implored, more humbly than he would have stooped to do for his own life, to be allowed Edition: current; Page: [61] two minutes' speech to the people. He met only threats and laughter. The threats mattered little to a man who expected to be hanged in a few minutes, but the laughter stung him to the soul. He cursed himself for the folly of having appealed to those who could mock the innocence of dotage and childhood, and disregard the agony of a woman: and he recalled the words in which he had at first spoken to them as the French people.

Pierre was right. These were no sample of the French people who had begun to cast off the yoke of tyranny. These were a portion of the brutalized class who, in using the word tyranny, thought only of the difference between suffering and inflicting it: who, when they talked of liberty, asked for license to plunder palaces and riot in wine-cellars. These were, in short, the Orleans mob, and not the real authors of the political changes now taking place. They aided these changes at the time, indeed, by testifying to the degree of oppression which the lower orders had till now suffered; and they furnish, to this day and for ever, an instructive commentary upon these changes, in as far as they exhibit the operation of despotism in preparing its own downfall by at once brutalizing and exasperating its victims. But still these were perfectly distinct from the true protectors of liberty, the wise and steady opponents of despotism. These last were very differently employed this morning, and tidings of their doings came just in time to preserve Charlea and his family.

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The children had already been sent away by the roof, in charge of the servants, and Marguerite had sat down alone beside the chair of her father, (whom it was impossible to remove, and whom she would not leave,) when sounds reached her which gave her back a little of the hope she had wholly surrendered. It was not the approach of soldiers, nor the potential voices of magistrates, nor any of the welcome intimations of help at hand which conclude a riot and disperse a rabble in an orderly country, and under ordinary circumstances. Neither soldiers nor magistrates could be depended upon, or had any power in Paris at this time but that which the outrageous mob chose to allow them. Marguerite knew this so well, that, though she took all precautions in sending for aid, she expected none but that which might arise from accident. Such a diversion of the people's rage as actually happened was beyond her hopes.

While her father was still talking about the king, and she was holding him down in his chair, in opposition to his complaints of not being allowed to go to the window to pay his duty, the fearful sound of the tocsin was heard above all the uproar in the court and street. One cry seemed to come on the four winds,—“To the Bastille! to the Bastille!” At first confused and reiterated, the clangor and the shout echoed noisily from street to street, from steeple to steeple. Presently the cry became more concentrated, as if the city sent up but one mighty Edition: current; Page: [63] voice. Marguerite sank down on her knees, overcome with the hope of deliverance for her husband; but the mob did not yet cease to batter the door which shielded him, and the fierce women cried out that they would not be decoyed away by a false alarm. Alter a few more moments came the booming of cannon on the ear, and a pause followed in the court. Again it came, and again, and the windows rattled, and there was in the intervals quiet enough for the rushing of a steady stream of people to be heard from the streets, from whom arose, in alternation with silence, the deep and steady cry, “To the Bastille!” The mob in the court mixed with this stream, eager to learn what new scene was to be enacted, what better hope of plunder was presented than that afforded by the stores of an obstinate and insignificant wine-merchant, who had already caused them more trouble than he and his goods were worth. They looked round for a signal from their leader, but Orleans had disappeared some time before, not choosing to be held responsible for the violence to which he had tempted his followers. They went to look for him at the Bastille, where he was indeed present, to help, as usual, to disgrace a work set on foot by better men.

As soon as the court was empty, Marguerite flew to release her husband. Charles was listening intently to ascertain whether this hush was a treacherous calm, or whether he was indeed safe for the present, when he felt a breath of fresh air, and saw a glimmer of daylight fall Edition: current; Page: [64] into the midst of the vault, and heard a faint voice calling to him,—

“Come out, love! If you are safe, all is safe.”

Not all, Charles remembered, when he had time to think of any one but his wife. Before he even went to seek his children, and to recal the servants, he ascertained that Pierre had disappeared, and hurried out to learn his fate, bending his steps to the Place de Grêve, where he feared he was most likely to find his faithful servant, dead or alive. He found two bodies hanging, and cries of murderous exultation, which made his blood run cold, still echoing through the place; but Pierre was nowhere to be seen, and the bodies were those of soldiers. He saw more victims brought to the foot of the lampposts; but they came from the direction of the Bastille, and were evidently members of the invalid garrison. Through some unseen influence exerted in the crowd, these men were spared, which gave Charles the hope that Pierre, if yet living, would escape. In fact, he was safe enough, being at this moment employed in drawing the people to the attack upon that gloomy fortress, which was regarded with more detestation by Frenchmen than if it had been a pest-house. When Pierre had by his energy sufficiently attested his good citizenship to be allowed to depart whither he would, he ran homewards met his master in search of him, embraced the children, kissed Marguerite's hand, and hastened back again to assist the siege, as Edition: current; Page: [65] if nothing had happened to himself that morning. Charles did the same, having persuaded his wife that he should be safer before the Bastille than at home, and left her in the protection of Steele, who had returned from his fruitless errand to the magistrates: fruitless, because they could listen to no petitions for private succour while the grand work of the demolition of the statefortress was going on under their sanction, and the control of their forces.

Steele had no more idea of remaining with the women and children on such an occasion, than his friend Charles. As soon as he had persuaded Marguerite to lie down, and had seen grandpapa and the children at play together again, and called in two stout porters of the establishment to keep watch below, he also disappeared. Often and vehemently did he protest in after years that he would not for any consideration have been absent from that siege; and of all his possessions, none were so valued by him as a link of the chain from which one of the captives had been released by Steele's own hands; which link the Englishman carried about him to the day of his death.

While Marguerite slept, through pure exhaustion, occasionally starting at the sound of cannon, or scared with visions of the horrible faces she had seen in the court so lately, her husband was actively disproving, to as many as might observe him, his being a royalist. He lent a helping hand to one work after another; now assisting in letting down the drawbridges successively; Edition: current; Page: [66] now in hauling forward the cannon; now in demolishing the guard-houses; now in foreign an entrance into the gloomy place itself; and finally, shouting for the release of the prisoners. Everything was forgotten but the work before his eyes: hours flew like minutes, amidst the intenseness of the occupation; and yet, if his thoughts reverted for a moment to the events of the morning, they seemed of ancient date,—as if he had lived a lifetime in this one day.

The spectacles of a lifetime were indeed to be beheld within the compass of this one scene. The most vivid emotions to which all ranks and all ages are subject were here in full play: all the various grouping which life affords was here presented; the entire elements of the scenery of human character were here congregated in infinite and magnificent combinations. The appeals to eye and ear alone were of unprecedented force; those addressed to the spirit equalled in stimulus the devotion of Leonidas in his defile, and excelled in pathos the meditation of Marius among more extensive ruins than those which were now tumbling around. From the heights of the fortress might be seen a heaving ocean of upturned faces, when the breeze dispersed at intervals the clouds of smoke which veiled the sun, and gave a dun and murky hue to whatever lay beneath. If a flood of sunshine now and then poured in to make a hundred thousand weapons glitter over the heads of the crowd, the black row of cannon belched forth their red fires to extinguish the purer light. Edition: current; Page: [67] The foremost of the people, with glaring eyes, and blackened and grinning faces, looked scarcely human, in their excess of eagerness, activity, and strength. Yet more terrific were the sounds: the clang of the tocsin at regular intervals the shouts of the besiegers, the shrieks of the wounded, the roar of the fire which was consuming the guard-houses, the crash of the ruins falling on all sides, a heavy splash in the moat from time to time, as some one was toppled from the ramparts to be smothered in its mud,— and above all these, the triumphant cries of victory and liberty achieved,—these were enough to dizzy weak brains, and give inspiration to strong ones. Here were also the terrors which sooner or later chill the marrow of despotism, and the stern joy with which its retribution fires the heart of the patriot. Here were the servants of tyranny quailing before the glance of the people; kneeling soldiers craving mercy of mechanics, of women, of some of every class whom, in the execution of their fancied duty, they had outraged. Here were men shrinking from violence with a craven horror, and women driven by a sense of wrong to show how disgusting physical courage may be made. Here were also sons led on to the attack by their hitherto anxious fathers; husbands thrust forward into danger by their wives; and little children upreared by their mothers amidst the fire and smoke, to take one last look of the hated edifice which was soon to be levelled with the ground. The towers of palaces might be seen afar, where Edition: current; Page: [68] princes were quaking at this final assurance of the downfall of their despotic sway, knowing that the assumed sanctity of royalty was being wafted away with every puff of smoke which spread itself over the sky, and their irresponsibility melting in fires lighted by the hands which they had vainly attempted to fetter, and blown by the breath which they had imagined they could stilie. They had denied the birth of that liberty whose baptism in fire and in blood was now being celebrated in a many-voiced chaunt with which the earth should ring for centuries. Some from other lands were already present to hear and join in it; some free Britons to aid, some wondering slaves of other despots to slmk homewards with whispered tidings of its import; for from that day to this, the history of the fall of the Bastille has been told as a secret in the vineyards of Portugal, and among the groves of Spam, and in the patriotic conclaves of the youth of Italy, while it has been loudly and joyfully proclaimed from one end to the other of Great Britain, till her lisping children are familiar with the tale.

The congregation would not have been complete without the presence of another class of witnesses whose very existence will perhaps be matter of incredulity in some future age of the world;—that class which man has taken upon himself to institute, and which will one day rise up against him in judgment of his abused power. There were captives present in this scene of lawless freedom,—or rather of freedom above Edition: current; Page: [69] the law. They were there, first trembling before the assailants, and then marvelling at the treatment they received, as the kid would marvel at being dandled by the lion. So it appeared to be with most of them, while one or two caught the tone of popular triumph before the doors of their cells were opened, and others received their deliverance in a manner that rent the heart of the deliverers.

When the capture of the place was complete, and its defenders had been carried off, some to be sacrificed for the sins of the government, and others to meet with mercy, Charles pressed forward, with a multitude of companions, to release the captives. It was hard labour to pull the clenched doors from their staples and hinges; and in some cases it was found easier to effect the work in a yet more irregular manner: as in one to which Steele called Charles's attention when they accidentally met in the centre of the fortress, where the light of day, however, streamed upon them through the demolished roof. Steele's face was working in strong emotion, and he appeared speechless while he seized his friend an the arm, and drew him to gaze on what made his heart's blood boil. Steele pointed through a breach in the enormous wall, whose thickness shut out all sound from the inmate of the dungeon it inclosed; and there, with eyes drooped before the unwonted light,—a light which, however, only half displayed the squalid sickness of his countenance, sat one who seemed to take no heed of any human presence, His expanded Edition: current; Page: [70] nostrils and half-opened mouth seemed to betoken that there had been passion and expectation within him; but the apathy and despondency of his attitude exhibited a strange contradiction to these evidences. When the first face appeared through the opening, he fumbled uneasily with his hands in his coarse dungeon dress; and when he was hailed, more and more loudly, under the idea that he was deaf, his beard was seen to stir upon his breast, and his lips to move, as if he was attempting in vain to articulate a sound. The endeavour presently ceased, though voice after voice was heard in importunity, — sometimes endearing, sometimes rallying, —that he would rise and help to free himself. It was a work of time to make a breach large enough to admit his deliverers; and at last, just before the first of them clambered in, the captive uplifted his broken and unmodulated voice in a few words, one or two of which Steele recognized to be English.

“O! he is a Briton!” cried he, clenching his hands above his head in the extremity of passion; and, staggering against the wall, he uttered a deep curse on the tyranny by which a countryman had been goaded into madness far from his own land, and from all who could know or avenge his state. Again and again he looked; again and again he withdrew, unable to bear the alternating aspects of idiotcy and gibbering madness. At last, he made trial of a new kind of stimulus; leaning through the breach, and calling to the captive,—

“O come, and take the hand of a brother Edition: current; Page: [71] once more! Look up, and tell us that your deliverers arc welcome! Let it be crime, or let it be misery that has stricken you so deeply, the last day of your dungeon life is over. Come, and hear about England! Come and feel the fresh air——”

The prisoner here shivered, as if already chilled by the air of a warm July day. Encouraged by this sign of attention, Steele went on.

“Only tell us whom you fear, and we will carry you far from them. Only name those you love, and I will get you tidings of them. Come and help us to free yourself and others; for you know more of the secrets of this horrible place than we.”

He would not move, however; and when they got to him, they found that he was chained by the middle to the wall behind him, It was impossible to learn from him his name, alleged offence, or period of imprisonment.

It was not till the Count de Solages was also liberated that it was ascertained that his name was White; that he had been confined for some unknown offence for many years in the castle of Vincennes, whence he was removed, in company with the count, to the Bastille, seven years before.

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The people carried away all the prisoners on their shoulders, intending to make them tell their stories in the coffee-houses of Paris; but Steele could not bear to see his countryman,—such a mere wreek of humanity as he was,—thus exhibited. He thankfully accepted his friend Charles's invitation to bring him first to his house, and try whether the intellects of the sufferer could be restored by any method of treatment—treatment which was more likely to be efficacious if administered by one who could speak his own language than by strangers. Fired as Steele had been in the achievement of the great work of the day, he now left the completion of it to others. While the mayor and executive were sending forth their popular decrees,—while the king was informed for the first time that his realm was in a state of revolution,—while the helpless ministry looked in one another's dismayed faces,—while the city architects were employed under a regular commission to make a perfect blank where the Bastille had stood, Steele was watching over his released countryman, fondly hoping that he traced an hourly growing resemblance to manhood, not only in external appearance, but in thought and action. He tried to make him vary his posture, and to Edition: current; Page: [73] walk;—an exercise to which he was as much averse as one who has taken laudanum. The next thing was to induce him to speak, which proved less difficult, provided he was permitted to mix up French and English after his own fashion. There was sometimes more and sometimes less sense in what he said, and it was occasionally interrupted by fits of impotent passion, for which no immediate cause could be assigned. These, however, came on only after his new way of life had continued for some time, and were indeed stages in the growth of the unmanageable madness which sent him, after all remedial means had been tried, to end his days in the lunatic asylum at Charenton.

Before these had become terrifying to Charles's children, they did not shrink from talking to him, and were encouraged to do so, as he spoke more, and more sensibly to them than to any one else.

“Why are you so very fond of water, I wonder?” exclaimed Julien, one day, laughing, when White held out his hand to snatch some which looked cool and clear in the boy's hand. “0 yes, you may have it. I can get plenty more. Why do you want so much water?”

“I drink water. And my rat—Where is my rat?”

None of the family could make out why he looked about him for a rat: but Steele's conjecture was that such an animal might have found its way out of the moat of the prison into the cell where no other living thing could enter but Edition: current; Page: [74] the silent turnkey. On inquiry, this was found to be the case; and the circumstances were touching in the extreme to those who had never known what it was to want such a resource. It was observed that White was as greedy of bread as of water, though not always for the purpose of eating it. Nothing could tempt him from it when there was any in the room; and whatever was offered in exchange for a crust, however delicate to the taste, or glittering to the eye, was rejected. “Bread, bread. Water, water,” was for ever his cry.

“He likes to play on my bird-organ,” observed Julien, “and I told him he might keep it: but he thrust it back upon me for a piece of bread. He sold it much cheaper, papa,—for far less bread,—than the people that made it. I think that is very silly.”

“It depends upon the value he puts upon what he has in exchange,” answered papa.

“Well, you told me how much bread was worth this organ; and it was much more than I gave him.”

“Yes; but you might happen to be shut up, as he has been, where one loaf of bread would be more useful to you than ten such at home.”

“Why more useful? I can but eat bread anywhere.”

“Yes; you can give it away,” interposed mamma. “If you were shut up for several years in a silent and nearly dark place, where nobody ever came to you, and were to hear a noise one day, and to see something moving, and to Edition: current; Page: [75] find out that it was a rat which had made its way to your cell; and if you wished that the rat should come again, and learn to know you, and feed tamely out of your hand, would you not desire to have some food to give it?”

“O yes: I would give it part of my dinner.”

“But if you had very little dinner, scarcely enough to satisfy your own hunger, you would buy more bread for your rat if you could. If your jailer asked you much more than the bread would be worth out of prison, you would give it him rather than your rat should not come and play with you. You would pay him first all your copper, and then all your silver, and then all your gold.”

“Yes, because I could not play with money so pleasantly as with a live animal, and there would be nothing else that I could buy in such a place. I had rather have the company of my rat than a pocket full of gold.”

“So White thought,” observed Marguerite, “and he gave the turnkey every thing he had left for bread, till his buttons, and his pencil case, and even his watch were all gone. It was a long time before he could bring himself to part with his watch; for the moving of the wheels was something to look at, and the ticking kept his ears awake, and made him feel less desolate: but when it came to giving up his watch or his rat, he thought he could least spare his live companion: so he carefully observed for some time the shifting of the glimmering light upon the wall, as the the morning passed into Edition: current; Page: [76] noon, and noon into afternoon and evening, and then he thought this sort of dial might serve him instead of a watch, and he gave it to the turnkey on condition of having an ounce more bread every day for a year.”

“He must have been pleased to have made his bargain for a whole year.”

“His pleasure lasted a very short while. The turnkey came earlier than usual one day when the rat was there, and twisted its neck before White could stop him.”

Juhen stamped with grief and anger when he heard this; but presently supposed the turnkey was honest enough to restore the watch. Charles shook his head in answer, and told his little son that poor White had been quite crazy since that day, and had talked about nothing but a rat, and shown no desire for any thing but bread and water since, though it was six years ago that his misfortune had happened.

“Did you ever hear of paying for water, Julien; or for air?”

No: Julien thought that God had given both so freely that it would be a sin to sell them. His father thought this not a good reason; for it seemed to him fair that men should buy and sell whenever one wanted something that another person had too much of; as much air and water as corn and flax, which were also given by God.

“Ah, but, papa, it costs men a great deal of trouble to prepare corn and flax.”

“True; and now you have hit upon the right reason. If corn and flax grew of themselves on Edition: current; Page: [77] land which belonged to nobody, would you pay for them, or just gather them without paying?”

“I should be very silly to pay when I might have them without.”

“So I think: but would corn and flax be less valuable then than now, when we have to pay very dear for them?”

“The corn would be just as good to eat, and the flax to make linen of: but they would not to change away.”

“No more than the air, which is very useful in breathing, or water which we could not do without, and which yet would be a very poor thing to carry to market. Now, would you call water a valuable thing or not, Julien?”

“No, not at all, because it will buy nothing ——O yes, but it is though; because we could not do without it.—Mamma, is water valuable or not?”

“Very valuable in use, but not usually in exchange. When things are valuable in exchange, it is either because they cost labour before they could be used, or because they are very scarce.”

“So,” observed Charles, “if a mine should ever be dug so deep that the air is not fresh at the bottom where the miners work, the owner of the mine would be very glad to buy air of any one who could convey it down by a machine. Such an one would be wise to charge so much a gallon for the fresh air he supplied, to pay for the labour and expense of his machine, and for the trouble of working it.”

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Marguerite then mentioned that she once staid in a small country town during a drought. There was no reservoir of water, and all the pumps and cisterns were dry. The poor people went out by night into the neighbouring country, and watched the springs; and any one who was fortunate enough to obtain a gallon of fresh water was well paid for it. The price rose every day, till at last one woman gave a calf for a pailfull of water, hoping to save her cow, it being certain that both must die without this supply.

“And did she save her cow?”

“Yes. While the woman was anxiously sitting up in bed, planning what she should change away next, she fancied there was a different feel in the air; and on looking out of the window, she found the sky covered with black clouds; and before morning, the trade in water was over. There was nobody to give a doit for a cistern-full.”

“It was just so with me,” observed Charles, “when I was besieged in the cellar. I was parched with thirst, and would have given a pipe of my best wine to any one who would have let me down a quart of water through the trapdoor. Three hours after, I myself threw hundreds of gallons on the fire at the guard houses, when the order was given to take them down in an orderly way; and I did not consider such use of the water any waste. So much for the value which is given by scarcity.”

“But, papa, though things are more valuable Edition: current; Page: [79] to people when there is a scarcity of them, the people are less rich than they were before. That seems to me very odd.”

“Because you have been accustomed to consider value and wealth as the same things, which they are not. Our wealth consists in whatever is valuable in use as well as in exchange. Owing to the storm of last year, I have less wealth in my possession now than I had then, though what I have may, perhaps, exchange for more wealth still I have as much furniture, and as many clothes and luxuries, and as much money; but I have fewer growing vines, and much less wine. If I were to use up my own grapes and wine instead of selling them, they would last a much shorter time than my stock of the former year would have lasted. So I have less wealth in possession. But the value of wine has risen so high, in consequence of scarcity, that I can get as much now of other things in exchange for a pint, as I could, fourteen months ago, in exchange for a gallon.”

“But that is partly because the wine is older. Mr. Steele is very particular about the wine being old, and he pays you much more, he told me, the longer it has been kept.”

“And it is very fair he should, for reasons which you can hardly understand yet.”

“Try him,” said Marguerite.

“It is impossible, my dear. I refer to the charges I am at for the rent of my cellar, the wear of my casks, and the loss of interest upon the capital locked up in the wine. All this must Edition: current; Page: [80] be paid out of the improvement in the quality of the article; and all this, Julien mutt wait a few years to understand.

“Now tell me, my boy, whether you think it a good thing or not that there should be a scarcity of wine?”

“Why, papa, as we do not want to drink all you have ourselves, and as people will give you as much for it as they would for twice as much, I do not think it signifies to you; but it must be a bad tiling for the people of Paris that there is so little wine to be had. At least you said so about the bread.”

“But if my wine should be as dear next year, and I should have no more losses from storms, and no more expense than in common years, in growing my wine, would the high price be a good thing for me or not?”

“It would be good for you, and bad for your customers; only I think they would not give you so much for your wine. They would remember that there had been no more storms, and they would find people that had cheaper wine to sell, and then they would leave off buying of you.”

“And they would be very right, if there was anybody to sell cheaper; as there would be, if labourers had less wages, and so made it less expensive to grow and prepare wine. But if some way was found of making more wine than ever, in a cheaper way than ever, who would be the better for that?”

“The people that buy of you, because I suppose you would let them have it cheaper.”

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“And papa too,” said Marguerite, “for many people would buy wine who cannot afford it now.”

“Therefore,” concluded Charles, “a high exchangeable value is not at all a good thing for everybody, though it may be for a time to some few. Aud a low exchangeable value is a very good tiling to everybody, if it arises from the only cause which can render it permanent,—a diminution of the cost of production.”

“But if this happened with every article,” pursued Marguerite, “there would be an end of the cheapness, though not of the plenty. As many of one thing would exchange for a certain number of other things as before.”

“True; but less labour would purchase them all; and this is the grand consideration. As less labour will now purchase a deal table than was once necessary to procure a rough hewn log in its place, less labour still may hereafter buy a mahogany one; and this is a desirable thing for the purchasers of tables, and no less for the makers, who will then sell a hundred times the number they can dispose of now.”

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The Parisians soon after showed that they knew little of the resources on which the supply of the wants of the state should depend, by having recourse to a measure which, however popular, was one of great folly;—folly to be exceeded only by an act of the populace which took place nearly at the same time.

The coffers of the government had long been empty. Loans of almost every kind, and under every species of pretence, had been raised upon the suffering nation, some of which proved failures in their primary object, while others, however great the proceeds in amount, seemed to be exhausted with somewhat the same speed as water that is poured into a sieve. Never money went away so fast before; and whilst the government was dismayed at its magic property of disappearance, the people grew more and more angry at what they thought the extravagance of their rulers. Neither of them took into the account the scarcity of most of the necessaries of life, and both regarded money as having the same value as ever,—as being, in itself, the thing required to supply the necessities of the state. To both it was equally inconceivable why, if so much had defrayed such and such expenses in former years, double the sum would go no way at all at Edition: current; Page: [83] present. The ministers and the court could only tremble at the necessity of owning the truth, while the people raged, and could be appeased only by court largesses for the relief of the starving: which largesses went as little way when they had changed hands as before. Neither party suspected that money, although scarce, had be come very cheap through the still greater scarcity of other things; and in the absence of this necessary knowledge, everybody was eager about gold and silver.

The National Assembly had tried all means, first by themselves, and then with the assistance of Necker, to raise a supply, without which the affairs of the state could not, they believed, proceed; and all in vain. Then Necker had leave given him to pursue his own methods; and, popular as he was, no one had a doubt that he would succeed. But he failed, though he issued the most tempting proposals; offered the high est interest that ever was heard of, even in such an emergency; and exerted his utmost personal influence in favour of the loan. The subscription was not half filled: the reason of which was that many had no money, having spent it all in buying necessaries; and as many in France as had taken their money (much of it had gone into other countries) expected to want it themselves for the same purposes, or had not confidence enough in the stability of the government to take it for a creditor. So the king's horses went on to eat borrowed hay or to want it; and the king's servants to clamour for their wages; and Edition: current; Page: [84] the king's tradesmen to decline orders on one pretence or another; and the police threatened to leave the home minister to keep order by him self; and state couriers went unwillingly forth on their journies; and business lagged in every department of the administration.

At this moment, it entered some wise head that, if people would not lend money, they might lend or give something else; not corn or hay, or any of the necessaries of life; for every one knew there was still less of these things than of money; but gold and silver in any form. It would have been hard to say what lasting good this could do amidst the impossibility of procuring the necessaries of which gold and silver are only the re presentatives: but no matter for that. Nobody was asked to explain the affair, and apparently none troubled themselves to think about it; so delighted were all with the new notion of giving away trinkets to save the state. The idea of a patriotic contribution was charming,—a contribution in which almost everybody could join; women and children, and persons of many degrees below the class of capitalists. The court joined: the gentlemen sacrificing nearly half their watches and seals, and the ladies adopting simplicity as a fashion, and sending away the jewellery they could not wear as Arcadian shepherd esses and Sicilian nymphs. The Assembly fol lowed, every member thereof stooping down at the same moment to strip his shoes of their buckles, so that their act of patriotic devotion made really a very fine show. This gave the Edition: current; Page: [85] signal to the whole country, and all France was forthwith unbuckled in respect of the feet. She became also quakerlike as to the hands, for not a maiden but took out her lover's hair from his parting gift, and flung the ring into the lap of the nation; not a wife that did not part with the token of her wifehood in the cause. Pecks of gold rings, bushels of silver buckles, with huge store of other baubles, were at once in the possession of the state; and the people no longer doubted that all would henceforth be well.

And what was really the event?—The gold answered the same purpose as it does when a basin full of it coined stands on the banker's counter during a run. It satisfied the ignorant that all must be safe where there is so much wealth actually before one's eyes. It hushed the clamours of the people for a little while; and made the servants of the government willing to go on somewhat longer upon credit; so that more industry and briskness prevailed for a time, at the risk of ultimate disappointment, and an aggravation of popular fury,—now diverted but not dispersed. A mob went about to levy these voluntary offerings, an act ludicrously inconsistent with their next proceeding; if, indeed, any of the events of this extraordinary time could be regarded as ludicrous.

They called at Charles's house among others, whence, as it happened, no such offerings had yet gone forth. Charles had resisted Pauline's wish to lend the queen her thimble, and Julien's offer to pay his first tax with the silver-tipped Edition: current; Page: [86] riding-whip grandpapa had given him. Neither would he allow Marguerite's few ornaments, all keepsakes, to be thrown away in any such manner. He would give the coat off his back to the state, he said, when it could do any service: but the proposed gifts could only help to make jewellery a drug, without supplying one more person with bread, or lessening by so much as one scruple the burdens of the state. He was disposed to be vexed when he came home one day, and found a short allowance of spoons at the dinner-table, the clock on the mantel-piece gone, and his wife as destitute of external ornament as any Areadian shepherdess at Versailles. He laughed, however, at his wife's apologies for having made a voluntary offering against her own will as well as his, and hoped that she would be as little the worse as the state would be the better for the sacrifice. Goldsmiths and jewellers of enterprise and capital would profit by the fancy, he observed, if nobody else did; and the many losers might find some comfort in sympathy with the very few winners.

The people, meanwhile, were bitterly com plaining of famine, and the more gold was carried to the treasury, the more bread was bought up before the eyes of those who were deprived of it from its increased price. It mattered not that some was given away in charity by the king, and more, to suit his own purposes, by the duke of Orleans; the people were rendered unable to purchase it, and furnished with the plea of want, wherewith to make the streets of Paris echo. It Edition: current; Page: [87] would have been better to have let the exchange of wedding rings for bread be made without the interposition of the king or his ministers, even without taking into consideration the events which followed. A report was soon industriously spread that the bread furnished by court charity was of a bad quality. It was believed, like every thing that was then said against the court; and the consequence was that an anomalous and me laneholy sight was seen by as many as walked in the city. Clamorous, starving crowds be sieged the bakers' shops, and carried off all the bread from their ovens, all the flour from their bins; while the discontented among the mob politicians of the Orleans faction were on the way to snatch the food from the mouths of the hungry and throw it into the river, and to cut the sacks, and mix the flour with the puddles of the streets. Want and waste, faction and delusion were here seen in their direct extremes.

At this time, Charles and Marguerite did not allow their children to go out under any guardianship but that of their father, as it was impossible to foresee what might happen in the streets before they could get home again. They were as safe as any count be at such a time; — safer than the few who ventured abroad in carriages at the risk of insult wherever they turned; safer than the sordidly fed and clad, who were seized upon by the agents of faction to augment their mobs, and be made the instruments of violence under the penalty of suffering it themselves. The parents and children were also safer together Edition: current; Page: [88] than separate; as a domestic party, abroad to take the air, presented as unsuspicious a group, and one as likely to pass unnoticed, as could well be imagined. Yet they had their occasional alarms; and when there was no cause to fear for themselves, were too often grieved and shocked at what they beheld inflicted on others.

“O papa!” cried Julien, one day, as they were walking; “what are they doing at Maigrot's shop? I do believe the crowd is coming there next.”

Maigrot was a baker, well known to Charles's family, and much beloved by the children, on account of the little hot cakes which seemed to be always ready to pop out of the oven and into their mouths, when they went with the servant to deliver orders or pay bills.

Instead of his usual smiling face, Maigrot was now seen in a state of desperate anxiety, as well as could be judged from the glimpse of him at his door, trying first to slip out, and then to force his way between the two men who were evidently placed at the entrance as guards till the mob should come up. Foiled in his attempt, Maigrot disappeared, and Charles thought that it might depend on whether there was a way of exit at the back of the house, whether his head would presently be carried on a pike, between two loaves of his own bread, or whether he would be kneading and baking in peace ten years hence. There seemed to be just time to run and give a word of advice to whomsoever might be waiting Edition: current; Page: [89] in the shop, and Charles ran forward to do so. He was prevented entering; but seeing Maigrot's wife sinking and trembling behind the counter, and looking absolutely incapable of any resolution whatever, he called out to her to assist in emptying the flour bins and distributing the bread, and to fear nothing, and all would be well. The woman tossed off a glass of water which stood beside her, and rallied for the effort. In such effort lay the only resource of sufferers under violence in those days; for the magistracy were unable to afford assistance; or, if able, were not to be depended on. The shop was presently emptied and gutted, and its stock car tied away, without, however, being in this instance preceded by the horrible display of a human head. Maigrot had escaped and actually joined in with the mob in time to see his own flour cast into the Seine. Nobody thought more of the baker, and he took advantage of this disregard to learn a great deal of his own doings which he did not know before. He now overheard that his flour was mixed with hurtful ingredients by order of his customer, the king; that an inferior kind was sold at high prices as the best; and that there were stores of meal concealed somewhere about his premises, to victual the soldiers who were to be brought to rule the city, and give the king his own way. All this was news to Maigrot, who was compelled to listen to these false Loods in silence: more fortunate than many who had lost their lives as well as their good name Edition: current; Page: [90] under similar charges. A defender sprang up, however, when he least expected it.

Charles and his little son could not help following to look on, when the mob proceeded with the flour down to the river. They stood on the outskirts of the crowd, watching sack after sack as, with hoarse shouts, it was heaved into the water so as to make the heaviest splash possible. A new amusement presently occurred to some of the leaders; that of testing the political opinions of the passers by the judgment they should pronounce on the quality of the flour. Those who declared it good must, of course, be parasites of the court; those who made mouths at it were the friends of the people; and the moment this point was settled, every gazer from a distance was hauled to the water's edge to undergo the test; every approaching carriage was waylaid and stopped, and its inmates brought on the shoulders of the mob. Of course, all gave judgment on the same side;—a thing likely to happen without much dishonesty, when the raw flour was crammed into the mouth by foul and sometimes bloody hands. It would have been difficult to pronounce it very good under such circumstances of administration.

Among the most piteous looking of those under test was the marquis de Thou, who was taken from a non-descript sort of carriage, on his way, as he vowed, to the duke of Orleans, but certainly attended by more than one servant of the royal household. While prosecuting his Edition: current; Page: [91] explanations with gesture and grimace, uplifted as he was above the crowd, he looked so like a monkey riding a bear that a universal shout of mockery arose. He was lowered for a moment, out of sight; and the laugh rose louder than ever when be reappeared, held at arms' length by a hundred hands, powdered all over like a miller. His position made the judgment he had to give all the more difficult, for it enabled him to perceive the royal servants watching him on one side, the duke of Orleans and some of his fiercest followers on another, and the pitiless mob around.

“Ah! it is very, very good food for the poor, without doubt,” he declared, while in full view of the court party, and with his mouth stuffed with a compound which had just been taken from a puddle underfoot. “Very fine nourishment for a good king to buy dear, and give away to a hungry people.—Ah! no more,— no more, I pray you! I shall presently dine, and it is enough. I cannot praise it more than I have done.—Ah! but” (seeing the duke frowning) “I do not say but it may be a little sour,— and somewhat bitter,—yes, O yes, and gritty,— and, O do not murder me, and I will also say hurtful.—And poisonous? Yes, no doubt it is poisonous,—clearly poisonous.—But, how bountiful of the king to think of how the poor should be fed!”

The marquis might think himself fortunate in getting off with a ducking in the yeasty flood, into which he was let down astride on a flour Edition: current; Page: [92] sack. While sneaking away through the crowd, after shaking his dripping queue, and drawing a long breath, he encountered Charles, whom he immediately recognised, and with inconsiderate selfishness, exposed to the notice of the crowd by his appeal.

“Ah, my friend, here is a condition I am in! For our old friendship's sake,—for the sake of our vicinity in Guienne, aid me!”

“Do not answer him. Take no notice,” whispered Maigrot from behind; “'tis as much as your life is worth.”

But Charles could not be inhuman. He gave the old man his arm to conduct him to the carriage which he intended to order to his own house. Before he had well turned his back, however, a piercing shriek from Julien made him look round. The mob were about to carry the boy towards the sacks.

“Do not be alarmed, my dear,” said he. “Taste the flour, and say whether you think it good; and I will come to you in a moment to do the same.”

Julien shrieked no more, but he looked ruefully in his father's face, when Charles returned. As soon as he had gulped down his share and could speak, he said he had never tasted raw flour before, but it was not so good as the hot cakes that were made of it sometimes.—The boy escaped with being only laughed at.—His father's turn came next.

Charles stipulated, when laid hold of, to be allowed to feed himself, and refused laughingly to Edition: current; Page: [93] taste what came out of the puddle till his neighbours should have separated the mud from the flour. With a very oracular look, he then proceeded from sack to sack, tasting and pronouncing, apparently unmoved by the speculations he heard going on all round him as to whether he was a royalist from about the court, or a spy from Versailles, or only an ignorant stranger from the provinces. When he had apparently made up his mind, he began a sort of conversation with those nearest to him, which he exalted by degrees into a speech.

“When I,” he observed, “I, the very first, opened a prisoner's cell in the Bastille—”

He was interrupted by loud cheers from all who heard; and this drew the attention of more.

“— I found,” continued Charles, “a mess of wholesome food in that horrible place. Every other kind of poison was there,—the poison of damps and a close atmosphere; the poison of inactivity which brings on disease and death; the poison of cruelty by which all the kindly feelings are turned into bitterness in the soul of the oppressed; and the poison of hopelessness, by which the currents of life are chilled, and the heart of the captive is sunk within him till he dies. All these poisons we found in every cell; but to all their inmates was denied that quicker poison which would have been welcome to end their woes. Some, we know, have lived thirtyfive years under this slow death, while a very small mixture of drugs with their bread would have released them in fewer hours. That this quicker method was ever used, we have no proof; Edition: current; Page: [94] that it was not used in the case of those whom we released, we know, not by their state of health alone; for that, alas! was not to be boasted of;—but by the experience of some of us. When we were heated with toil and choked with dust, we drank the draughts which the prisoners left untasted in their cells. When a way was made among the ruins, women came to see what a work their husbands had achieved; and when their children craved food, rather than return home before all was finished, they gave their little ones the bread which the captives had loathed. Many thus ate and drank; and I appeal to you whether any evil came of that day; whether the sleep of the next night was not sound as became the rest which succeeds to an heroic effort. No one was poisoned with the food then provided by the government; and yet that horrible dungeon was the place, if there be any, for poison to do its work. And if not attempted there, will it be here? Here, where there are a million of eyes on the watch to detect treasons against the people? Here, where there are hundreds of thousands of defenders of the public safety? No, fellow citizens: this is not the kind of treason which is meditated against us. There are none that dare practise so directly on your lives. But there is a treason no less fatal, though more disguised, which is even at this moment in operation against you. You ask me two questions; — whether this food is of a bad quality; — and whether you are not half starved; and both these evils you ascribe to your rulers. —To the first I answer, that this Edition: current; Page: [95] food is, to the best of my judgment, good; and, whether good or bad, that the government has nothing to do with it, since it forms no part of the stores that the king has bought up for distribution. It is flour of the same harvest, the same field, the same mill, the same bin, that I and mine have been supplied from; and it has nourished me well for the work I have had to do; for letting in the light of day upon the foulest dungeon that ever deformed the earth,—for watching over those who have been released from it,—for attending to the proceedings of the Assembly, —for meditating by might and consulting by day how the rights of the people may best be attained and secured. Keep the same food to strengthen you for the same purposes. Do not forget your other complaint;—that you are starving: and remember that however much this may be owing to the misrule and courtly extravagance you denounce, the grievance will not be removed by your feeding the fishes with that which your children are craving. I spoke of another kind of treason than that which you suspect, and I see about me too many tokens of its existence;—the treason which would not poison but starve you.

“Of the motives of this treason I have nothing to say, for I am wholly ignorant of them. I only insist that there can be no truly patriotic aim under the project of depriving you of the food which is at best but scantily supplied. Do you find in the most plentiful seasons that we have corn enough to make sport with in the Edition: current; Page: [96] river? Are your houses even then so filled with grain that, after feeding your children and domestic animals, you have enough left for the cels of the Seine? Is it to give you this oversupply that the peasantry of the provinces live under roofs of rushes, and couch upon beds of straw? Tell me,—is there ill the happiest of times such a superfluity that no Frenchman has a want or wish for more?”

Furious cries of denial rose from all sides, joined with curses upon the government which year by year, by its extravagance, snatched the hard-earned bread from the labourer's hands.

“This is all true,” replied Charles, “and is in course of being reformed: but when did even a tyrannical government inflict upon you such evils as you are this day inflicting upon your selves? When has it robbed the shops of one of the most useful class of men among you, and carried away boat-loads of the food for which thousands are pining, and destroyed your means of life before your eyes? A worse enemy than even a weak king and a licentious court is making sport of your miseries, and overwhelming you with such as cannot be repaired. Yes! let it not hurt your pride to hear of woes that cannot be repaired; for even the power of the sovereign people is not unlimited, great as you have proved it to be. You have abolished servile parliaments, and obtained a virtuous assembly of representatives. You have swept away the stronghold of oppression, and can tread with free steps the turf from which its very Edition: current; Page: [97] foundations have been extracted. You have rejected a constitution which was all insufficient warrant for your liberties, and are in the way to obtain universal assent to that noble Declaration of Rights which shall become the social contract of every civilized nation.—All these things, and others which would have been called impossibilities ten years ago, you have achieved. But there are impossibilities remaining which more truly deserve the name. You cannot prevent multitudes dying when famine is in the land; you cannot call up a new harvest before the seed has sprouted; you cannot insist upon supplies from other lands which are already drained. You can waste your resources, but you cannot recall them. With however much pride or levity you may at this hour fling away the staff' of your life, you cannot retard the day when you will sink for want of it,—when you will kneel in the mud by the brink of this very current, and crave the waters to give up what you have buried in them, or to drown your miseries with your life. —Will you suffer yourselves thus to be made sport of? Will you permit yourselves to be goaded into madness, in order that you may be ready for madmen's deeds? ' Will you throw away what is in your own hands, that others may reduce you to crave the small pittance which will remain in theirs? Those who have incited you to the deeds of this day take very good care that all our granaries shall not be emptied. They reserve a few, that you . at length,—when all their schemes are ripe,—be Edition: current; Page: [98] their tools through your literal dependance on them for bread.—Disappoint this plot as far as you can. It is now too late to keep plenty in your own hands; but baffle the approaches of famine to the last moment; for with hunger comes slavery; or, if you will not have slavery, death; and in either case, your country must surrender your services at the very moment when she wants them most.—Where is the patriotism of bringing things to this pass?— Where also is the justice of condemning unheard so useful a class of men as those from whom you have taken their property without accusation, and, in many cases, their lives, on nothing better than suspicion of their having communicated with the court?—We must respect rights, as well as frame a Declaration of them. We must cherish the innocent and useful of society, if we wish to restrain those who are neither the one nor the other. Let there be a contrast between the oppressors and the friends of the people. Let tyrants tremble, while industrious citizens dwell in peace.”

It was now easy to wind up the discourse to the point contemplated. Charles proposed that Maigrot should be permitted, under proper guardianship, to bake a provision of loaves out of this very flour; and if they proved good, that all that remained of his property should be restored to him. The crowd rather relished the idea of waiting the operation, in full prospect of a batch of hot rolls gratis as the result, and the proposal was received with acclamations.— Edition: current; Page: [99] Charles immediately singled out Maigrot, as he stood on the outskirts of the mob, requested him to lead the way homewards, put a loaf into each arm of his little son, swung a sack of flour on his own shoulders, and headed the most singular of all the extraordinary processions which attracted the gaze of Paris in those times.

The duke of Orleans made no opposition. He saw that the game was up for this day, and departed in an opposite direction, having no particular wish to hear the verdict which he knew would be passed upon the bread, or to witness the exultation of the baker.—Before night, Maigrot not only felt his head safe upon his shoulders, but was the most eminent baker in Paris; and, if he had but had any flour remaining, might have boasted such a business as he had tilt now never thought of aspiring to.


The endeavours of individuals like Charles to make the people wise were of little avail, how ever successful at the moment, in opposition to influences of a different character which were perpetually at work upon the mob of Paris. The obstinacy of the king in refusing to sign the declaration of rights, the imbecility of the ministry, the arts and clamours of the leaders of Edition: current; Page: [100] different parties, and, above all, the destitution of which they took advantage, overcame all principles of subordination, all sentiments of loyalty, and filled the people with a rage which rendered them as blind to their own interests as unjust towards those of the ranks above them. Riot and waste spread and grew from day to day, and the wise saw no more prospect of relief than the foolish of danger.

The king had been told, on the day the Bastille was taken, that his capital was in a state of revolution; but, nearly three months afterwards, he was still wondering what the event might mean; talking over with the queen the kindnesses he had always intended showing to his people, and assuring the people's parliament that the best thing he could do for them was to preserve his dignity and prerogative. He could still at Versailles ride abroad unmolested in the mornings, feast his body-guard in the middle of the day, and look on while the ladies of the court were dancing in the evening, and sleep the whole night without hearing the drums and larums which kept all Paris awake; and could not therefore believe that all would not come right, when the people should have been persuaded of the atrocious unreasonableness of the Declaration they wanted him to sign. When he heard that they drowned their flour in hatred of him, he did all he could think of in ordering that more should be given them; and when the queen discovered that which every one would have kept from her,—that she was hated,—she curled her Edition: current; Page: [101] proud lip, and reared her graceful head, and thought that the citizens must be ignorant indeed if they fancied they could understand her springs of action, or believed that they could intimidate her. With the dauphin at her knee, she expatiated to the ladies of her court on the misfortune of kings and queens having any connexion at all with the people beneath them, whom it was at all times difficult to manage, and who might, as now, cause serious trouble, and interfere materially with the peace of royalty. She had at that moment little idea how the peace of royalty was to be invaded this very day.

A murmur of horror and looks of dismay penetrated even into the presence of her majesty, when tidings arrived of the approach of an army of women from Paris.

“Of women!” cried the gouvernance of the dauphin. “Is it because they can crave bread with a shriller wail?”

“Of women!” exclaimed the lady Alice de Thou. “They come to plead for the rights of their children. I remember when they brought the little ones in their arms after the storm, and we gave them all we had.”

“Of women!” said the queen, thoughtfully. Then, with fire in her eyes, she continued, looking steadfastly on the trembling chamberlain who brought the news, “Since they are women, it is my head they want. Is it not so? Speak. Are they not come for me?”

As soon as the chamberlain could speak, he Edition: current; Page: [102] muttered that he feared they were indeed not women, but ruffians in disguise.

“Aye, just so,” observed the queen. “Their womanhood is emblematical; and the hint of their purpose is not lost upon me. I hope they are indeed men, and can handle arms. I would take my death more willingly, being shot at as a mark, than being torn to pieces by the foul hands of the rabble. A death-blow from afar rather than a touch from any one of them!”

All present, except the chamberlain, were loud in their protestations against the possibility of any such danger. It was inconceivable; it was barbarous; it was horrific; it was a thing unheard of; in short, it was absolutely inconceivable. The chamberlain mournfully admitted that the whole was indeed inconceivable to all who had not witnessed the procession, like a troop of furies from the regions below, taking their way through every savage district on the earth, and swelling their ranks with all that could be gathered up of hideous and corrupt. That her majesty's sacred person should fall into such hands——

All now began to urge flight, and the queen was for a moment disposed to listen; but finding that the king was out shooting, had been sent for, and was expected every instant, she resolved to wait his arrival, and then it was too late. The poissardes, real and pretended, had by that time rushed into the place, filled the streets, stopped up the avenue, and taken up a position Edition: current; Page: [103] of control in the Chamber of Assembly. The king reached the palace through a back entrance, in safety, but it was in vain to think of leaving it again.

A hasty council was summoned, consisting of the royal family, and a few confidential servants, whose attachment to the persons of majesty might set against the enervating terror which had seized upon the ministers, and prevented their exerting any influence over these new and appalling circumstances. Within the circle, rapid consultation went on in low voices, while some kept watch at the doors. When discussing the necessity of signing the declaration of rights, —which was one of the demands of the mob without,—the queen's manner and tone were perceived suddenly to change, and she appeared to make light of the danger under which even her spirit had quailed but just before.

“Be careful;” she whispered to the person next her. “There is a creature of the duke of Orleans in the room. I wonder how he got in.”

The lady Alice, who was watching her, followed the glance of her eye, and saw that it rested on one whom she little expected to see.

“Madam!” she exclaimed, “it is my father!”

“Yes, my child; come to share your loyalty, now that the women below have made him afraid. If the palace is stormed, he must find a refuge once more under the Orleans provisioncarts, which are, i suppose, in waiting, as usual. We must give him no news to carry; and Alice, as soon as he is gone, I must have your head-dress Edition: current; Page: [104] to wear, as the best protection while your father points the way to us. I would not, however, be so cruel, my child, as to deck you with mine. You would lose your pretty head in a trice, and then the marquis would altogether go from us. It is through you that we are still favoured with his countenance occasionally.”

Alice's tearful eves had besought mercy for her parent long before the queen seemed disposed to yield it. While the adherence of the noblesse to the royal cause was regarded as a matter of course, and therefore not rewarded with extraordinary gratitude, all symptoms of halting or deflection were observed with scorn, and commented on without reserve by the haughty woman who regarded her rank and empire as natural, instead of conventional, and would as soon have dreamed of being denied the use of her limbs and senses as the privileges of royalty.

It was through her influence that the king refused to sign the declaration till the last moment,—when he was compelled to do so at a tremendous sacrifice of regal dignity;—at the bidding, namely, of twelve poissardes who forced their way into the presence with the deputies from the Assembly, and under the compulsion of threats of what might be expected from the army of eighteen thousand men who had marched from Paris during the afternoon, under the enforced command of Lafayette.

Never was anything beheld more dreary than the aspect, more disgusting than the incidents of this day and night. The skies frowned upon Edition: current; Page: [105] the scene, and wind and rain added to the difficulty of what was achieved, and the horror of what was witnessed. The deputies and their attendants, the poissardes, appeared in the king's presence, covered with mud and drenched with ram; the House of Assembly was crowded with women, who came in for shelter, taking their seats, among the members, now eating and drinking, and now lifting up an outcry to drown the voice of all unpopular deputy; the fires of the bivouacs in the streets were quenched with torrents of rain, again and again, and the peaceable inhabitants were in fear of being compelled at length to throw open their gates to the rabble. The leading figure of the mob, however, had a peculiar reason for disliking the weather, as he took care to show everybody. He was a gaunt looking ruffian, with a high pointed cap, and grotesque garb, well armed, but especially proud of an axe which he carried, ready for immediate use at the slightest hint from the leaders of the mob. With all his fear,—the only fear he seemed capable of,—that it should be rusted with the wet, and he thus delayed in his vocation, he could not refrain from brandishing it over his head, and displaying it in sight of the sentinels, and such of the body-guards as looked out now and then from the palace. This ruffian took his stand immediately under the king's window, prepared a cannon as a convenient block, and wanted impatiently for victims. He could not be persuaded to quit his post for shelter; but he did once step aside for brandy. Edition: current; Page: [106] On his return, he found two poissardes sitting astride on his cannon, face to face, tossing off their drams, and devouring the rations which their prompting demon had taken care to provide. The executioner warned them off, and prevailed by the offer of a better seat within five minutes. A hint was enough to show them his meaning. He just pointed towards an approaching group, consisting of an unfortunate soldier with whom some of the mob had picked a quarrel as he was going to his post for the night,— and his captors. The victim looked dogged. He saw the cold metal block on which the axe was presently to ring his death-stroke: he saw the fidgetty executioner, and the fierce women, gathering round, munching their suppers as if his life-blood was the draught they looked for to wash down the last mouthful he saw that no help was within reach or call. He saw all this, and seemed disposed to take quietly, though sullenly, what was inevitable. He stood firm while they pulled off his stock; he moved forwards when they pushed him; he kneeled when they pressed upon his shoulders; but some impatience in their manner of doing so excited his passions in a moment to their utmost strength. Before they could keep him down, he was not only on his feet again, but bounding high in the air, grappling with the executioner for the axe, kicking, trampling, buffeting all who laid hands on him, and creating a hubbub which brought the king to the window above, and conveyed to the senses of the ladies a knowledge of what was Edition: current; Page: [107] passing. It was a short struggle; but a struggle it was to the last, and force alone could subdue the victim. One virago clutched the hair of his head, and others held down his feet. When his blood flowed on the ground, and mixed with the puddles of rain, one or two stooped down to see how the eyes rolled and the nostrils yet quivered, while, on the other side the block, the executioner, mindful of his promise, tossed the headless body to a little distance, so that his friends might sit on it to finish their meal, What are the invisible issues of life there was no one present to think, during the whole scene, unless the victim himself might have been conscious of his thoughts darting that way; but such was the visible issue of a life which a stupendous and delicate natural apparatus had been appointed to create, sustain, and develop. It had originated in the deepest passions of human nature; been maintained by appliances, both natural and moral, which the keenest powers can barely recognize, and not estimate; and developed for objects of which man has only the remotest ken. Such was the visible issue of this mighty series of operations. That the handy work of Providence should ever have been thus crushed, and its mysteries thus boldly made sport of, may in time appear as incredible as it would now seem that children had ever been encouraged to pull planets from their spheres in mockery, and quench the milky way,—supposing, such power to have been left in their hands. In the latter case, who would be answerable for the profanation Edition: current; Page: [108] ? Surely those who taught mockery in the place of reverence. Who then was answerable in the former case? Those who made the perpetrators ignorant through oppression, and savage by misrule. The responsibilities of a certain order through many centuries were called to judgment during the brief period before us; and the sentence of condemnation not only went forth on the four winds to the farthest corners of the globe, but shall be repeated down to those remote ages when it shall be forgotten on earth, though recorded in heaven, that man ever shed the blood of man.

One or two more such murders on the cannon and at the palace gates had not the effect of alarming the court or the really patriotic leaders of the people so far as to keep them on the watch through the night. The king believed that all was safe when he had given the signature which it was the professed object of the expedition to obtain. The queen was assured by Lafayette that the people were wearied, and that nothing was to be apprehended till morning; and the general himself reposed in his hotel in full confidence of the security of all parties. All were not, however, thus satisfied. Some of the deputies refused to withdraw from their chamber; and while all was sleep and silence in the palace, except where some watchful ear caught the soft tread of the sentinels in the corridors, and the pattering of the rain without, and at intervals, some tidings from the passing gust, of revelry in the streets,—while armed ruffians sang their Edition: current; Page: [109] songs, or snored in their dreams round the watch-fires where the shrill-voiced poissardes were broiling their rations, or heating their strong liquors,—a few of the wiser deputies sat, each in his place, with folded arms, and in perfect silence, while the light of a single lamp fell on their uncovered heads and thoughtful countenances, and foresight was invisibly presenting to each pictures of that which was about to befall their monarchy and themselves. Revellers, legislators, and sentinels were not the only ones who watched. One or two, who did not partake the general's confidence in the people thus strangely congregated, wandered from watch-fire to watch-fire, and about the precincts of the palace, to be in readiness to warn Lafayette of the first symptoms of movement.

Among these was Charles, whose anxiety had been awakened by the aspect of Paris after the departure of the army for Versailles. It was well known that Lafayette's generalship on this occasion was enforced; and not all the apparatus of triumph amidst which the troops marched out, —not all the drumming, and military music, and display of flags amidst the rain, and echo of shouting heard above the strong winds, could remove the impression of the hollowness of all this rejoicing,—the desperation of this defiance. When the sights and sounds were gone, a deep gloom settled down upon Paris. The shops were shut, the streets were silent, except where the waggons, laden with meat, bread, and brandy, converged towards the Versailles road, or where groups of Edition: current; Page: [110] two or three observers whispered their anticipations to each other, mindful of none but political storms, and questioning only whether the sun of royalty would not this night have a crimson setting, to rise upon their state no more.

Charles had been among these observers, and the tidings he brought home made his wife anxious to depart from this revolutionary city, and take refuge in their country possessions. She would be ready to go at any moment, she declared, and when would there be so favourable a time as when the place was half emptied of its inhabitants, the police otherwise engaged than in watching the proceedings of private individuals, and all fear at an end of any attack upon the wine-stores? Charles was half disposed to listen to the scheme, though his views of what was likely to happen differed as widely from his wife's as the prevailing tone of mind by which they were influenced. Marguerite feared the worst: her husband hoped all might yet be well, and thought it, at all events, a good thing that something decided must arise out of the present crisis. He determined to follow the march to Versailles, and to return as soon as he could anticipate the event, to bid Marguerite stay and make herself easy, or to carry her, her father and children into Guienne. While she was packing up the few necessaries she meant to take with her, and persuading all the household but her self to go early to rest, Charles was reconnoitring the proceedings of such as were preparing a Edition: current; Page: [111] terrible retribution for those under whose tyranny they had suffered.

He was no spy; being devoted to no party, and acting for his own honest purposes; and he therefore used no concealment. He conversed with the riotous poissardes on public injuries, conferred with the deputies on public order, injuries, and exchanged a few words with the sentinels on the probability of an attack on the palace in the morning. The horrible threats breathed over the fires against the queen, the brutal exultation which appeared through mysterious and slang expressions respecting the royal household, made him wonder at the apparent defencelessness of the palace. He was by no means satisfied that all was safe till morning, and said so to a little muffled up man whom he found standing in the shadow, close by the great iron gates. He could not make out whether this man was a mere looker on, like himself, or a watch appointed by either party.

“Is it your own choice to be out to-night, sir; or are you occupying a post? Because, in the first case I would direct you where you might see more of the state of things than here; and, in the other, I would strongly recommend your appealing to the general for support.”

“Alas! yes. I am sent hither,” replied the quavering voice of the muffled up person. “None would willingly be abroad this night, and all my desire is to be left unobserved in this shadow at present;—unless, indeed, some friend should pass who might protect me, and from Edition: current; Page: [112] whom I might learn that which I am sent to ascertain.—You seem, sir, to be an orderly, honest man. Can you tell me whether the duke,—whether Orleans is at hand?”

“Orleans being the most honest and orderly of men, hey, marquis?” said Charles, laughing. “So you are sent out by lady Alice for tidings, and you wait here for them till Orleans passes by—Is it not so?”

“Ah! what can I do? These canaille will smother me again with flour, or drag me to the cold cannon;” and here the little man shivered, and his teeth chattered. “Do but bring me to Orleans, my good' sir, or get me a re-entrance into the palace, and I will—I will—This, morning air is so raw! and I am—I am—not fit for enterprise.”

Charles fully agreed with him; but having no interest to get a royal spy housed before his errand was done, he could only tell him that, to the best of his belief, Orleans was lingering about the road between Versailles and Paris, or hanging somewhere on the outskirts of the encampment to witness the issue, without being implicated.

“Ah! how he is happy in comparison with me!” cried the poor marquis. “I have never, sir, meddled with politics——”

“Further than as all the noblesse have operated,” interrupted Charles. “I mean in stimulating the people to meddle with politics. You have wrought at second hand, marquis, hitherto. Now is your time for taking your part finally, and acting in it,”

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“Alas! what evils come of any one interfering in such affairs but ministers and deputies! Let them act, and let us be neutral. This is all I ask.”

“Aye, but, marquis, it is too late to ask this; because there has been great mistake about what is, and what is not, being neutral. I dare say you believed yourself neutral when you lay sleeping in bed, while your peasantry were keeping the frogs quiet in your ponds. I dare say you had no thought of politics in your boar hunts, or when three fathers of families were sent to the galleys for alarming the lady Alice's brooding doves. Yet you were all the while——”

The marquis's light blue eyes were now seen by the lamp light to be opened upon Charles with such an expression of vacant wonderment that it was plain there was no use in proceeding. He evidently had yet to learn the true province of politics; and, for his part, he thought the merchant must have drunk a little too deep in his own wine, to be talking of peasants and pigeons in connexion with an insurrection in Paris.—He would never have had courage to leave his nook by himself; but now that he had met a face that he knew, it required more courage to remain there by himself, and he therefore hooked Charles by the arm, and said he would be wholly guided by him. Charles would rather have dispensed with his attachment, but could not shake off the old man into darkness and Edition: current; Page: [114] helplessness, if he himself preferred venturing into the light of the watch-fires, and upon the threshold of Lafayette's lodging, whither he was warned he would be conveyed.

If the marquis had carried a bold front, nothing would have happened to him, any more than to his companion; but his slouched hat, halting gait, and shrinking deportment at once drew attention upon him. The consequence was that he heard double the number of threats, and imprecations ten times more horrid than had met Charles's ears before. If he had now regained entrance into the palace, he could have told that which would have made even the queen's fiery blood run cold, and have given the whole household a foretaste of worse horrors than even those of the ensuing day.

When they had arrived at the last of the line of fires, the marquis believed his purgatory to be nearly over, and indulged himself in a few ejaculations of thankfulness on the occasion. He was overheard, seized, dragged to the light, his coat torn open, and his hat pushed back. The queue looked suspicious; the manner of speech, mixed up, as even these people could perceive, of high breeding and imbecility, gave assurance that he was a court adherent; to which there was to be opposed only his own and Charles's assurance that he was a companion and friend of Orleans. The knot of drinkers hesitated whether to cut off his head or let him go, and the marquis stood panting with open lips and Edition: current; Page: [115] closed teeth, when an amiable creature, partly masculine in her attire, and wholly so in her address, proposed a half measure.

“If he is one of them,” she observed, “we shall find him again in the palace presently; so let us mark him.”

With the word, she seized the poor man's nose with the left hand, a burning stick with the right, and branded his forehead with a cross; then pushed him away, and turned to Charles, offering to drink to him in his own liquor, the choicest in Paris, if Orleans said true. She pointed at the same time to a waggon near, on which, to his amazement, Charles saw piled wine-casks with his own mark, and brandy-bottles sealed with his own seal.

Perceiving at a glance that his cellars must have been forced since he left home, and that all further resistance would be useless, he determined to yield to his wife's desire to quit Paris; and he hastened to discharge his duty of rousing and warning the general, before turning his back on this scene of disorder.

Lafayette was up in a moment, and, though still trusting in the peaceable disposition of the people, dressed himself hastily, that he might be among them by daybreak. Before he could leave his hotel, however, warning sounds came from the direction of the palace, and messengers succeeded one another rapidly, stating that an attack was being made on the great iron gates, that blood had already been shed, and that the lives of the, whole royal family seemed to be at the Edition: current; Page: [116] people's mercy. The general threw himself upon a horse which happened to be standing saddled below, and galloped off, before Charles could recommend the marquis de Thou to his protection, should he happen to find him in the hands of the populace. His own anxiety to get home was such as ill to brook any delay, and to admit little other interest of any kind; but chance threw him once more in the path of the old man.

As he was making the best of his way towards the Paris road, stemming the tide of people that was rushing towards the palace, he was suddenly jostled and thrown down by an impulse in the contrary direction. Nor was he the only one. Many were bruised, some trampled, while a fugitive burst through the throng, followed by a knot of pursuers, who overthrew all that came in their way, while their mingled curses and laughter contrasted strangely with the panting cry of the pursued. Some cried out that it was the king; others uttered imprecations against him as one of the hated guards; while Charles saw, amidst his tattered, seared, and helpless condition, that it was no other than the poor marquis. His desperation gave the hunted man strength to clear the mob, and to fly some way beyond, till he reached the trees of the avenue, where there was an end of his safety unless some better aid was brought him than his own failing strength. His enemies dogged him, surrounded him;— some brandishing pitchforks, others large knives, and not a few firing off their muskets to give a Edition: current; Page: [117] new impulse to his terror. This sight was intolerable to Charles, who saw in such cruelty none of the palliations which he had admitted in the case of some former acts of violence. Forgetting all but what was before his eyes, he snatched a pike, threw himself in front of the pursuit, reached the victim just as he fell exhausted at the foot of a tree, and stood astride over him, with one hand in an attitude of defence, while the other beckoned to the people to listen. He shouted amid the din, and the few words which were heard by those nearest to him served his purpose of diverting their thoughts from immediate murder. He told them that, in the name of the marquis's tenantry, he demand ed that the marquis should be placed in the custody of the Assembly of deputies, to answer for an infringement of the new laws by which the property of the peasantry was protected. He told them that the general was gone to the palace, to mediate between the queen and the poissardes, and as it would be a pity that those who heard him should be absent from so interesting a spectacle, he and one or two more would take charge of the criminal, and convey him before the sitting deputies. A well-timed roll of the drums and discharge of musketry confirmed his appeal, and drew away his auditors, so that in a few moments, when the last lingerers had gratified themselves with pricking their victim a little with the points of their various weapons, Charles found himself alone with the almost lifeless old man.

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On hearing that his further existence probably depended on his reaching the assembly while the mob was engaged elsewhere, the marquis made an effort to rise and walk, and found himself so much less hurt than frightened that he accomplished the transit with small difficulty. Such a deplorable object was never before presented to the Assembly, at least under the title of a marquis. He had scarcely a shred of clothing under the soldier's cloak which Charles had borrowed from a sentinel at the door. His powdered hair was dripping with rain, and his face smeared with blood. He wept bitterly; murmuring, in the tones of a woman, his wonder as to what he could have ever done to offend the people, and how the world could have grown so cruel and ungrateful. The Assembly had little leisure at this time, and were glad to accept Charles's offer of conveying the prisoner away, and his guarantee that the marquis should set out for his estate in the provinces without delay, and not return till the troubles of the capital were at an end. The marquis was little disposed to make opposition.

“Take me away,” he said, “though I only fly from one doom to another. You say my tenants are enraged against me; and I say that they will drink my blood. The vile are sovereigns in these days, and the noble have the knife at their throats, from day to day. O, if they had killed me under the tree, it would have been over; but now it is still to come. O save me! Do not leave me! Make me your servant. Edition: current; Page: [119] Employ me as you will; but do not let them kill me!”

Charles recommended that the old man should in fact travel into Guienne as his servant, and take possession of his chateau or not, according to the apparent disposition of the peasantry when they should arrive.—Not a moment was to be lost in proceeding to Paris, if the departure of the family was to take place while the populace and the troops were engaged at Versailles, and the whole attention of the magistracy was directed upon what was passing there.

An empty cart was found in which to stow the marquis, while his protector walked by its side. They left behind them the most fearful spectacles of that day,—the murder of some of the guards, the narrow escape of the queen, the brutal joy of the mob at the enforced consent of the royal family to be conveyed to Paris, and the beginning of that dreadful march itself, as anomalous, as disgusting, as any spectacle that was ever presented as a pageant. But, one circumstance which signalized that march, they were also witnesses to. Half-way between Versailles and Paris, on a mound planted with trees, a figure was seen, moving behind the stems, and peeping forth at every sound of wheels or footsteps. It was Orleans, who had stationed himself here to watch the issue of his plot,—the return of the expedition, with the bodies of his royal cousins, dead or alive.

With some difficulty, he was persuaded to come down and speak to his humble servant the marquis Edition: current; Page: [120] ; and when he did greet him, it was with something very like a smile at his crest-fallen appearance, and querulous complainings.

“My good friend, these are strange times,” he observed. “I should think your valet has hardly had time to attend to you this morning. However, you will find plenty unoccupied at Paris to renew your powder.—O, you wish to go at once, and shoot on your own territory. Well; perhaps you are wise, since our kind of shooting here is not exactly to your taste. You must take care, however; for I hear that more bullets fly from behind the hedges there than in the open fields. Farewell, my dear sir, for I see your companion is impatient. He wants to be keeping guard over his wine-cellars. I wish him an ample fortune out of the wines therein contained at this moment.”

Charles's impatience was not only on account of his own affairs. He distrusted Orleans so far as to be vexed that the marquis whispered to him their plan of escape. There was no particular sign of interest in the duke's countenance at the relation; and it only remained to be hoped that no harm would come of this unnecessary confidence. The marquis was far from thinking it unnecessary, as a word from the duke would procure passports for the whole family. This word Orleans was prevailed upon to write, and furnished with it, the marquis poured out his gratitude more vehemently than, but a few months before, before would have supposed possible; and then bade his vehicle proceed, watching from Edition: current; Page: [121] a distance how the duke once more passed the enclosure, and took his station among the trees as before.

The cellars were found to be indeed more than half emptied; and of the casks that remained, one or two were staved, to drown the gunpowder and other combustibles. No attack had been made upon the house, and Marguerite had sufficiently got the better of her terrors, to be ready for' immediate departure. No obstacle arose, and Steele, with Pierre under him, consented to remain in charge of the property till Charles could return, after having deposited his family in security.

The marquis made a rather singular-looking valet, with a manner alternating between superciliousness and awkward deference,—a strutting gait when he forgot what he was about, and a cringing one when he happened to cast a glance upon his dress. He passed muster very well, however, as a battered old soldier turned valet; his strut passing for regimental paces, and his cringe being ascribed to the honourable wounds he was supposed to bear. M. Raucourt took off the attention of all who might be disposed to make remarks, by telling every body that he was going to see his olive groves. The party travelled with more speed than the dismal procession from Versailles; so that before the royal family was mournfully ushered into the Hotel de Ville at dusk, Charles and his household were some leagues on their journey southwards.

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The hopeful disposition of both Charles and Antoine was remarkable at all times, and in whatever society they were. When they were together, it became well nigh excessive, and occasioned no little amusement to their friends in happy times, and much sighing from the apprehensive Marguerite in such evil days as they were now fallen upon. Each excited the other to perceive bright specks on the dark horizon, aud neither would lag behind the other in discerning cause for encouragement, and in pointing out that, as good had issued from apparent evil in some former analogous instance, it would be a sin to doubt that the same thing might happen again. Marguerite was almost offended that, while she looked tremblingly around as the dancing waters of the Garonne first flashed upon their sight under the gleam of an October sun, her husband encouraged the joyous gestures of the children standing on his knee, and burst out singing one of the popular provincial airs to which the banks of that river so often echo. But when Antoine came forth to meet them as they alighted, in high spirits, though he had actually nothing good to tell them, however disposed to hope for everything blissful, Marguerite turned from him to her father, as the most reasonable personage of the two.

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Antoine was beginning a laugh at his brother's first choice of the luxury of a valet, but checked himself instantly on hearing who it was, and wherefore.

“Do you suppose tie may safely dress himself, and appear to arrive at his chateau to-morrow?”

“Why, scarcely yet, perhaps,” replied Antoine, gravely. “The peasantry are in an uncomfortable, irascible state, and the poor man would hardly have fair play among them; but it cannot last long, and then we shall have him trampling our crops again as solemnly as ever; perched, like a wax figure, on horseback, and utterly unable to comprehend such a thing as a curse against himself; or to bestow a thought as to whose ground he is trespassing upon.”

“Let us hope he has learned more consideration by his misfortunes,” said Charles. “At any rate, he may yet learn it by using his eyes and ears in the interval between this hour and his restoration to his honours and privileges,— which I suppose will happen by the time he has learned to tie his own queue according to his own fancy. Meanwhile, how is Favorite?”

“O, our beauty! She has rather languished this season; but she will be all the more brilliant next year; for two bad seasons give a pretty fair security that the third will be good. It is as if the steam of blood had come from your city, Charles, like a blight, and shrivelled her swelling fruit. The crisis is come, you say. There will soon be no more blood, and wine will gush Edition: current; Page: [124] instead. Yes, yes, next season all will be well.”

“But our peasant neighbours, Antoine. Has their condition improved as you were confident it would?”

“How should it yet? the time is not come. They have not vet got over the scarcity of last year. But the woodcocks will soon be here; and the lady Alice's doves multiply all the faster now they are left to themselves; and in the spring, there will be a greater resource of cattle, and of their milk; and the bad seasons have not destroyed our fish. We are planning to get larger and larger supplies from Bordeaux, as well as to send out more boats upon the river.”

“Corn is too dear, at present, I suppose, for the poor, if indeed, you have enough for the rich?”

“We are all somewhat better off in that respect than we were; but a great part of the discontent arises from the incessant changes in the value of whatever we get to eat, as long as the supply is turned out of its usual course. When we can no longer depend on an article whose supply is usually pretty regular, and its price not very variable, we are subject to a perpetual rise and fall which we cannot calculate, and which brings disappointments to the people which they are ill able to bear.”

“How do you mean? I thought our poor helped out their subsistence by nettle broth and frog stew; and for these, I suppose, they pay neither labour nor money?”

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“No; but they must have something in addition. Presently it will be woodcocks—the most uncertain article of food that can be. If there should be a fine flight of them to be had for the killing, labour will become cheaper to us capitalists, while the labourers will be better rewarded: that is, it will cost us less to feed our labourers, while they will get more food for an equal quantity of labour. This, while it lasts, lessens the cost of production, and if it went on a whole year, would cheapen our corn considerably next harvest. But the resource lasts a very short time, and the reduction of the price of corn, therefore, is only of that temporary kind which proceeds from a relaxation of demand. Before the people well understand how this is, the cattle begin to come in from the woods,—more numerous than ever, from so much arable land having, since the storm, yielded a kind of rude pasture. This is a some what less uncertain resource than the woodcocks, and lowers the value of corn for a longer period. What I want, to fill up the intervals of these uncertain supplies, is a permanent provision of fish.”

“How strangely the values of things are turned topsy-turvy!” exclaimed Charles. “Time was when our peasantry would no more have thought of dining off woodcocks than I of giving my servants a daily dessert of pine-apples. Dainty game of that sort is commonly thought to rise in value with the progress of improvement.”

“And so it does; and that it now exchanges Edition: current; Page: [126] for less either of money or bread, than the commonest sorts of meat did three years ago, is a proof that our condition has gone back instead of improving. It is a proof that the produce of our toil is scantier than it was; that the produce which we cannot command—that which comes and goes without our will and pleasure—exchanges for less when there are more to demand it.”

“We may say the same of cattle.”

“Just at present; because our cattle is for the most part wild, having got abroad into the woods at the time of the hurricane. But when we have collected our flocks and herds again, and can attend to their breeding, so as to proportion the supply to the demand, we shall find their value permanently depend, like that of the crops with which they will then be fed, on the cost of production.”

“Of course, if they feed on crops grown for their use. At present, when they pasture them-selves on land which would otherwise lie waste, they are cheap when there happens to be, a sufficient supply of fish and woodcocks, because there is little cost of production;—no rent, little capital, and less labour. Any sudden rise of value proceeds from a temporary increase of demand. It is to equalize the demand for butcher's meat, that I and some of my neighbours want to procure a regular supply of fish.”

“Yet fish is an article whose value rises with the progress of improvement. It must do so in Edition: current; Page: [127] proportion as more labour is required to procure an equal supply for an extended market. As years pass on, Antoine. we shall have to fit out more boats for the river, and to build them larger, and man them better, as we have to send them out farther. But then there will be more of other things to give in exchange for fish.”

“True; but at present we cannot give our fishermen what they think a fair premium upon their cost of production, because our cost of production, the cost of the labour we give in exchange, is extraordinarily high.”

“Do they complain of the price you give?”

“Very much, but that cannot be helped. We complained of their social price in old days,—of having to pay, not only the profits and wages necessary to procure the article, but the market dues, which were very oppressive. They answered that they did not pocket the dues, and could not help the high price. Now they complain that (the dues being lately remitted) they cannot even secure their natural price,—that is, a reasonable profit in addition to the cost of the labour.”

“If they cannot do this, why do they supply you? They will not surely go on furnishing the market with fish at prime cost.”

“Certainly not, for any length of time; but, till the woodcocks come, they must submit to wear out their boats a little, without an equivalent, looking forward to the time when we may again afford them a fair market price,—which will, by that time, be a money price; for then we Edition: current; Page: [128] shall be able to get out of our present inconvenient state of barter, and the coin which has disappeared will have found its way back.”

“Meanwhile, the people, you say, are discontented as much at the fluctuations in their affairs as at their absolute want of many comforts.”

“Yes; we hear perpetual complaints that no man can now calculate how much his labour is worth. So many hours' work will one week bring him two good meals, and at another, not half an one. If they go into the woods for game, so many head may to-day exchange for a coat,—to-morrow for a house.”

“Much of this hap-hazard must also be owing to the uncertainty of public affairs. If we could but foresee whether we really have arrived at the crisis,—whether trade will probably flow into its natural channels again after a certain fixed period, our condition would immediately improve. There is no other such effectual regulator of price as clear anticipation, because it enables us to calculate the ultimate cost of production, on which exchangeable value finally depends.”

Antoine observed, in a low voice, that the most suffering of his poor neighbours had lately begun to indulge in a new sort of anticipation. They had been told,— and nobody was aware whence the report arose, that there was a room full of coin in the chateau of the marquis de Thou. Their own coin had somehow gone away from them, and they fancied that, if they could but get any instead of it, all their woes Edition: current; Page: [129] would immediately cease. Antoine had reason to believe that the chateau would soon be attacked, unless some means of undeceiving the poor creatures could be discovered.

The brothers comforted themselves, according to their wont, that such means could not fail soon to present themselves. It was impossible that so gross an error could long subsist. Their confidence did not make them the less watchful to aid the enlightenment of the people around them; for their hopefulness was of that kind which stimulates instead of superseding exertion. La Favorite experienced this; for, amidst all their hopes of what her beauty would be next year, they toiled to repair her losses and renovate her vegetative forces. Charles could not have brought himself to return to Paris till this was done, even if he had been satisfied to leave Marguerite in charge of the marquis.

This gentleman chose soon to free the family from his presence, against their advice; even in the face of their strong remonstrances. Like many who are deficient in physical courage and mental strength, he was rash and obstinate. As soon as he had recovered from his astonishment at not being killed on the day of his arrival, he began to be certain that there was no further danger, and, blind to the manifold tokens of his extreme unpopularity, which might have greeted his senses and understanding at any hour of any day, he determined on secretly quitting his disguise, without troubling his kind friends to reason any further with him. One morning, accordingly, Edition: current; Page: [130] his valet's dress was found on the floor of his chamber, and on his table, a note of ample, though haughty thanks to his preservers; and by noon, the marquis's old steed, bearing a rider whose skirts, blue eyes, and entire deportment could not be mistaken, was seen to trample new ploughed fields, and give promise of riding over heedless children, as before.

The last thing that entered the old man's head was altering his modes of procedure in any one respect. He could not escort lady Alice, because she was not there; but he paced the terrace, in an afternoon, with his head half turned, as if he saw her ghost beside him. He could not lead a long train of hunters, because some of them were in Austria, some in England, and one or two already laid headless in a bloody grave; but he galloped forth on the same routes, making the most of the two or three servants who followed him still, and returning in state to sit solitary at the head of a long table, and toast his own loyal sentiments. What was worse,—he trampled his poor neighbours when they came in his way, and overlooked them when they did not, as if he had never been branded by a poissarde, or hunted in the avenue at Versailles.

All this, it may be supposed, soon came to an end,—and by means which proved the error of the popular belief about the chamber full of gold at the chateau. Out of pure humanity, Charles repeatedly vanquished his resentment at the marquis's supercilious treatment of him, and Edition: current; Page: [131] offered warnings of the blackening gloom which settled in the faces of the peasantry when the little great man came in sight; but the marquis had got it into his head that Charles had an interest in frightening him. He thought he had been more frightened than most men al ready, and wisely determined to be so no more. He bowed, laid his hand on his heart, disengaged his rein from the friendly grasp, and passed on.

“My hopefulness is nothing to his, Marguerite, after all,” observed Charles. “You say I hope against hope. He hopes against reason. The difference is that the one hope will vanish when most wanted, and the other, I trust, never wear out.”

One night, when there was no moon,—one of the longest winter nights,—no moon was wanted for a space of some miles on the banks of the Garonne. Instead of the boats sailing black in the silver beam, they passed crimson in the fiery glare. The sheeted snow glittered and sparkled as if it had been noon instead of midnight: the groves dropped their melted burden, and stood stiff and stark in wintry bareness, stripped of the feathery lightness in which they had risen against the evening sky. Cries which ill beseem the hour of sleep roused the night-birds, and volumes of red smoke spread themselves abroad to eclipse the stars. Charles's steps were directed towards the chateau before he had received any notice, but from his own apprehensions, whence the fire proceeded which had scared his children from their beds. He arrived Edition: current; Page: [132] in the court-yard,—not in time to save the marquis, but to speak with him once more.

The old man was bound to the balustrade of his own terrace; and an executioner stood beside him with an upraised and gleaming sword. His appearance was much what it had been on a nearly similar occasion before. He attempted to spring forward, and a gleam of hope shot across his countenance when the brothers appeared: but there was a something in their faces which checked the emotion, and his jaw dropped once more.

All efforts, all stratagems were vain. The people declared themselves unpitying to tyrants, and resolved to do away with despotism in their quarter of the land, in like manner with their brethren in Paris. Five minutes for preparation was all they would allow, and even Charles at length despaired of further favour. He approached the victim with a calm and serious countenance. The old man looked up.

“Is there no hope?”

“There is always hope. Let us hope that in another state we shall better know how to love and forgive one another. Here, we have a poor understanding of this; but even here we can forgive. They will not now forgive you; but you will leave them that which will make them do so hereafter. Leave them your pardon.”

“O, Alice,—my daughter! Not if they murder Alice.”

“They shall not. I promise you——”

“But I did not expect this,” uttered the shivering prisoner. “I went to bed——”

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“Then collect yourself now. A few minutes' resolution.—One effort at calmness——”

“But is there no hope?”

“None whatever. Settle your mind to your fate. There is only misery in struggling against it.”

“I will. I will. Only stay by me.”

“What a confidence for such a moment!” thought Charles, as he saw the tractable expression which the countenance assumed. It was some comfort, however, that there was any confidence which could give decency to his dying deportment.

The people around grew impatient. The executioner lifted his sword. The victim looked up at it, half fearfully, half meekly, like a penitent child at the impending rod. He fell, without a sign or a cry; and at the moment, the flames burst forth from the lower windows, as if to lick up, in as summary a vengeance as they had been guilty of, the perpetrators of this murder. All rushed from the terrace, with a yell of consternation, leaving the body alone, its unclosed eyes shining in the glare, as if gazing unmoved on that violence which could no longer reach it in the shape of injury.—When the gust fell, and the flames retired some space, the ruffian who held the sword returned to the place of execution, severed the head, tossed the body into the flames, and returned with his trophy to the cheering mob.

There was nothing for Charles and Antoine to stay for. They could neither save property, Edition: current; Page: [134] nor prevent crime. There was no purpose to be answered by an attempt to do the first; for the lady Alice could never return hither, or probably find any corner of her native land in which to dwell in peace. Any endeavour to check the people's rage would only have brought on more murders. It was better that they should occupy themselves with destroying inanimate things than have their wrath directed upon human objects. The brothers therefore left them endeavouring to discover the treasure-chamber, and paced silently homewards, trying whether, after such a spectacle, as this, their hopefulness could get the better of their heart-sickness.


Marguerite began to think that she and her family had better have staid in Paris, since violence as foul as any there, with less chance of redress, took place in the country. But as there were fewer marked for destruction in a thinly peopled than in a crowded district, the work of horror was sooner over; and within a few weeks, all was quiet around her dwelling. No judicial inquiry whatever mad made into the fate of the marquis; and night after night, ominous gleams were seen from afar, marking where life and property Edition: current; Page: [135] were being offered up in expiation of former tyranny. When every neighbouring chateau that was empty had been sealed up and guarded by the people from being entered by its owners; and when every inhabited one had been dismantled or converted into a pile of blackened ruins, there was a truce. The gentry sighed over the abolition of feudalism; the peasantry gloried in the destruction of the aristocracy; and both, looking no farther than their own borders, supposed that all was over, and the state of the country,—miserable as it was,— settled.

Charles and his brother knew too well what was passing in Paris to acquiesce in this belief; but they were glad of the good effects it seemed to produce in quieting the minds, and therefore fixing the outward circumstances of their neighbours. People went about their regular business once more, prices grew steady in the markets, and the mysterious, dishonest sort of bargaining which had gone on immediately after the destruction of the chateaux, was seen no more. No golden timepieces now passed from hand to hand, in exchange for the coarsest articles of clothing or furniture; and if polished tables, or morsels of curious old china were seen here and there in the hovels of half-starved peasants, they were not put up for sale, and did not answer the purpose 'of further perplexing the values of things. Seeing that Marguerite began to feel pretty much at her ease once more, going to rest without presentiments of being roused by fire, and venturing, with only the children, to transact Edition: current; Page: [136] her necessary purchases among the peasantry, Charles began to try whether he could make anything of his business at Paris; and set out, in order that he might be on the spot to take advantage of the first symptoms of tranquillity to meet the demand which would then certainly arise.

He went to Paris before winter was quite over; and found more promise of a settlement of public affairs than at any time since the commencement of the revolution. Yet he would not hear of his family joining him, till it should be known whether or not king, parliament, and people would cordially agree in the new constitution which was then in preparation. When there was not only a promise of this, but all arts and artificers were actually put in requisition to render the spectacle of taking the oath as magnificent as the occasion required, there was no further pretence for Charles's prudence to interfere with the hopefulness which now seemed rational enough. He sent a summons to Marguerite to return and witness the festival from which her loyalty and his patriotism might derive equal gratification. But Marguerite was detained in the country by her father's illness,— his last; and the children were deprived of the power of saying afterwards that they had witnessed in Paris the transactions of that day which was regarded at the time as the most remarkable in the annals of France.

That day, the 14th of July, 1790, was appointed to be a high festival throughout the kingdom: Charles passed it in the Champ de Edition: current; Page: [137] Mars; Marguerite by the dying bed of her father; the children, under the guardianship of their uncle Antoine, among the rejoicing peasantry; and Steele, who had returned to Bordeaux when Charles settled himself again in Paris, took the opportunity of visiting La Haute Favorite for the first time after so many vicissitudes.

It seemed to them all a strange,—to the superstitious among them, an ominous circumstance that they should be thus separated on the occasion when all were called upon to recognize the social agreement under which they and their successors were to live.

A gleam of the afternoon sun shone in upon the face of Marguerite's father as he dozed, and made him turn restlessly on his couch. His daughter hastened to shut it out, and the movement awoke him.

“One is fit only for the grave,” he said, “when the light which shines on all above it becomes painful.”

“Father! you are better,” said Marguerite, turning round astonished.

“No,” said he, faintly, “not better. I can not bear this light,—or this heat,—or—but no matter; it will presently be over.: But where is Charles .

“He will be here very soon; but it is only two days since you became worse; and there has been no time for him to come yet. To-day he is waiting upon the king, and next he will wait on you.”

“On the king!” and the old man was roused Edition: current; Page: [138] at once. “And all the people? I fancied they had left off their duty. Who waits upon the king?”

“The whole nation,” Marguerite replied, sighing to herself, nation,”however, over her own view of the matter—that the king was, in fact, waiting upon the nation. She proceeded to tell what was doing in Paris, and remarked that she hoped they had finer weather there than here, where it had been a day of continued rain, till the gleam came which had wakened her father.

M. Raucourt was too ignorant of the events of the last two years to be able to comprehend the present proceeding. He could not see what the people had to do with the constitution; but laid the blame on his own weak brain, when assured that the loyal men of France were all consenting to the measure. Other tokens of ignorance were much more affecting to his daughter. He wished to be raised in bed, so that he might see his olive woods in the evening glow. They were no longer there, and his attention must be diverted to something else. He wished to behold the marquis de Thou passing the house for his daily ride.—The bones of him he asked for were mouldering under the ruins of his own abode.— “At least,” said M. Raucourt, “let me be carried to the window, that I may see the chateau. It looks so finely on the terrace! and it is so long since I saw it!”—Grass was growing on its hearths, and the peasants' children were playing hide and seek among its roofless halls.

“You have not asked for the children,” said Edition: current; Page: [139] Marguerite. “If you are so strong this after noon, perhaps you can bear to speak to them.” And they were sent for, and presently made their appearance from the river-side, full of what they had been seeing and doing. They told how one cannon was fired when the hour struck at which the royal procession was to set out, and another when the whole array was to be formed in the Champ de Mars, and others to represent the taking of the oath by the king, by the representatives of the parliament, and by Lafayette in the name of the people.

“And what is all this for?” asked the old man. “It is a beautiful spectacle, no doubt; but there were no such things in my time as the king and the people swearing at the same altar.”

“The people make the king swear, and some of them do not think he likes it,”—observed Julien, unmindful of his mother's signs. Pauline went on,

“No more than he liked being brought prisoner from Versailles, and having his guards' heads cut off.”

The little girl was terrified at the effect of her words. She in vain attempted to make up for them by saying that the king and queen were very well now; and that the people did not expect to be starved any more, and that every body was to be very happy after this day. The loyal old man said he should never be happy any more; and groaned and wept himself into a state of exhaustion from which he did not Edition: current; Page: [140] revive, though he lived two or three days longer.

“I wish,—I wish—” sobbed poor Pauline, “that the people had never meddled with the king——”

“Or the king with the people,” said Julien, “for that was the beginning of it all.”

“I am sure so do I,” said Marguerite, sighing. “It is little comfort to say, as Antoine does, that the world cannot roll on without crushing somebody.”

“If that somebody puts himself in the way, uncle said,” observed Julien.

“Everybody has been in the way, I think, my dear. All France is crushed.”

“Not quite, mamma. Uncle Antoine and Mr. Steele are sitting between the two big vines, and they say that everybody will be buying wine now that buying and selling are going to begin again.”

It was very true that the young men were enjoying their favourite retreat to the utmost; gilding it with the sunshine of their expectations, and making it as musical with the voice of hope as with the gay songs which were wafted from the revellers below.

They were not a little pleased when their anticipations were countenanced by a letter from Charles which reached his wife on the day of her father's death, and was not the less in accordance with her feelings for having been written before tidings of the old man's illness had reached Paris, and being, as usual, hopeful and happy.

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“I have written to Antoine,” he said, “to urge all care in the approaching vintage, and all dispatch in the management of our immediate business. Good days are coming at last, unless despotism should bring on itself a new punishment, and rouse once more the spirit of faction, which has been laid to rest this day by that powerful spell, the voice of a united nation. It would astonish you to see how commercial confidence has already revived; and, as a consequence, how the values of all things are becoming fixed; and, again, as a consequence of this, how the intercourses of society are facilitated, and its peace promoted. It was the perception and anticipation of this which to me constituted the chief pleasure of the magnificent solemnity of this day. It was a grand thing to behold the national altar in the midst of an amphitheatre filled with countless thousands; but it was a grander to remember that these thousands were only the representatives of multitudes more who were on tiptoe on all our hills, in all our valleys, watching and listening for the token that they may trust one another once more, and exchange, for their mutual good, the fruits of their toil. It was touching to see the battalion of children,— ‘the hope of the nation,’ —coming forward to remind the state that it sways the fate of a future age; but it was more touching to think of our own little ones, and to believe that, by the present act, the reward of the social virtues we try to teach them is secured to them,—It was imputing to see one Edition: current; Page: [142] golden flood of light gush from a parting cloud, giving an aspect of blessing to what had before been stormy; but it was as an analogy that it struck us ail, and impelled us to send up a shout like the homage of worshippers of the sun. Has not a light broken through the dreariness of our political tempests? There may be,—let us hope there will be, from this day, order in the elements of our social state. Let but all preserve the faith they have sworn, and there will be no more sporting with life and property, no absurd playing with baubles while there is a craving for bread, no ruin to the industrious, and sudden wealth to such as speculate on national distress. We may once more estimate the labour of our peasantry, and the value of our own resources, and fix and receive the due reward of each. We may reach that high point of national prosperity in which the ascertainment and due recompense of industry involve each other; when the values of things become calculable, and mutual confidence has a solid basis.—I do not say that this prosperity will come, but I hope it will; and if all others have the same hope, it certainly will. It may be that the sovereign will lose his confidence, and go back. It may be that the parliament or the people will do the same; and then may follow worse miseries than we have yet known. But if they see how much social confidence has to do with social prosperity, they will refuse to disturb the tranquillity which has been this day established.

“And now, however you may sigh or smile a Edition: current; Page: [143] the spirit of hope which is in me and Antoine, what say you to it in the case of a nation? Are not its commercial exchanges a most important branch of its intercourses? Must not those exchanges be regulated by some principle of value, instead of being the sport of caprice? Is not that principle the due and equable recompense of labour, or (in business-like terms) the cost of production? Is not this recompense secured by the natural workings of interests—and can these interests work naturally without an anticipation of recompense—that is, without hope, inspiring confidence? Depend upon it, hope is not only the indispensable stimulus of individual action, but the elastic pressure by which society is surrounded and held together. Great is the crime of those who injure it; and especially heinous will be the first trespass on public confidence of any who have been in the Champ de Mars this day. As that which is national springs from that which is individual, I will add that Antoine and Steele are patriotic if they exult in the ripening beauties of Favorite; and if you would be patriotic too, gladden yourself with the promise of our children, and tell me, when we meet, that you trust with me that all will be well both with oar wines and our politics.”

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Summary of Principles illustrated in this Volume.

There are two kinds of Value: value in use, and value in exchange.

Articles of the greatest value in use may have none in exchange; as they may be enjoyed without labour; and it is labour which confers Exchangeable Value.

This is not the less true for capital as well as labour being employed in production; for capital is hoarded labour.

When equal quantities of any two articles require an equal amount of labour to produce them, they exchange exactly against one another. If one requires more labour than the other, a smaller quantity of the one exchanges against a larger quantity of the other.

If it were otherwise, no one would bestow a larger quantity of labour for a less return; and the article requiring the most labour would cease to be produced.

Exchangeable value, therefore, naturally depends on cost of production.

Naturally, but not universally; for there are influences which cause temporary variations in exchangeable value.

These are, whatever circumstances affect demand and supply.

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But these can act only temporarily; because the demand of any procurable article creates supply; and the factitious value conferred by scarcity soon has an end.

When this end has arrived, cost of production again determines exchangeable value.

Its doing so may, therefore, stand as a general rule.

Though labour, immediate and hoarded, is the regulator, it is not the measure of exchangeable value: for the sufficient reason, that labour itself is perpetually varying in quality and quantity, from there being no fixed proportion between immediate and hoarded labour.

Since labour, the primary regulator, cannot serve as a measure of exchangeable value, none of the products of labour can serve as such a measure.

There is, therefore, no measure of exchangeable value.

Such a measure is not needed; as a due regulation of the supply of labour, and the allowance of free scope to the principle of competition ensure sufficient stability of exchangeable value for all practical purposes.

In these requisites are included security of property, and freedom of exchange, to which political tranquillity and legislative impartiality are essential.

Price is the exponent of exchangeable value.

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Natural or necessary price, — regulated by cost of production,—includes the wages of the labourer, and the profits of the capitalist.

Market price varies from natural price with variations of demand and supply, and in proportion to the oppressiveness of public burdens and commercial restrictions.

The more nearly and permanently market prices approach natural prices, the more prosperous is the state of commerce; and the two most essential requisites to this prosperity are social tranquillity and legislative impartiality.

the end.
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london: printed by william clowks, Stamford Street.