Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXXIX. by Various

Part 3 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

in the vale, on all around, lay passion slumbering. What could I find on
such a night, but favour and incitement, support and confirmation,
flattery and delusion? Every object ministered to the imagination, and
love had given that wings. I trembled as I pursued my road, and fuel
found its unobstructed way rapidly to the flame within. Self-absorbed, I
wandered on. I did not choose my path. I believed I did not, and I
stopped at length--before the house that held her. I gazed upon it with
reverence and love. One room was lighted up. Shadows flitted across the
curtained window, and my heart throbbed sensibly when, amongst them, I
imagined I could trace her form. I was borne down by a conviction of
wrong and culpability, but I could not move, or for a moment draw away
my look. It was a strange assurance that I felt--but I did feel it,
strongly and emphatically--that I should see her palpably before I left
the place. I waited for that sight in certain expectation, and it came.
A light was carried from the room. Diminished illumination there, and
sudden brightness against a previously darkened casement, made this
evident. The light ascended--another casement higher than the last was,
in its turn, illumined, and it betrayed her figure. She approached the
window, and, for an instant--oh how brief!--looked into the heavenly
night. My poor heart sickened with delight, and I strained my eyes long
after all was blank and dark again.

Daylight, and the employments of day, if they did not remove, weakened
the turbulence of the preceding night. The more I found my passion
acquiring mastery, with greater vigour I renewed my work, and with more
determination I pursued the objects that were most likely to fight and
overcome it. I laboured with the youths for a longer period. I undertook
to prepare a composition for the following day which I knew must take
much thought and many hours in working out. I armed myself at all
points--but the evening came and found me once more conscious of a void
that left me prostrate. Mr Fairman was again absent from home. I could
not rest in it, and I too sallied forth, but this time, to the village.
I would not deliberately offer violence to my conscience, and I shrunk
from a premeditated visit to the distant house. My own acquaintances in
the village were not many, or of long standing, but there were some half
dozen, especial favourites of the incumbent's daughter. To one of these
I bent my steps, with no other purpose than that of baffling time that
hung upon me painfully and heavily at home. For a few minutes I spoke
with the aged female of the house on general topics; then a passing
observation--in spite of me--escaped my lips in reference to Miss Ellen.
The villager took up the theme and expatiated widely. There was no end
to what she had to say of good and kind for the dear lady. I could have
hugged her for her praise. Prudence bade me forsake the dangerous
ground, and so I did, to return again with tenfold curiosity and zest. I
asked a hundred questions, each one revealing more interest and ardour
than the last, and involving me in deeper peril. It was at length
accomplished. My companion hesitated suddenly in a discourse, then
stopped, and looked me in the face, smiling cunningly. "I tell you what,
sir," she exclaimed at last, and loudly, "you are over head and ears in
love, and that's the truth on't."

"Hush, good woman," I replied, blushing to the forehead, and hastening
to shut an open door. "Don't speak so loud. You mistake, it is no such
thing. I shall be angry if you say so--very angry. What can you mean?"

"Just what I say, sir. Why, do you know how old I am? Seventy-three. I
think I ought to tell, and where's the harm of it? Who couldn't love the
sweetest lady in the parish--bless her young feeling heart!"

"I tell you--you mistake--you are to blame. I command you not to repeat
this to a living soul. If it should come to the incumbent's ears"--

"Trust me for that, sir. I'm no blab. He shan't be wiser for such as me.
But do you mean to tell me, sir, with that red face of your'n, you
haven't lost your heart--leave alone your trembling? ah, well, I hopes
you'll both be happy, anyhow."

I endeavoured to remonstrate, but the old woman only laughed and shook
her aged head. I left her, grieved and apprehensive. My secret thoughts
had been discovered. How soon might they be carried to the confiding
minister and his unsuspecting daughter! What would they think of me! It
was a day of anxiety and trouble, that on which Miss Fairman returned to
the parsonage. I received my usual invitation; but I was indisposed, and
did not go. I resolved to see her only during meals, and when it was
impossible to avoid her. I would not seek her presence. Foolish effort!
It had been better to pass hours in her sight, for previous separation
made union more intense, and the passionate enjoyment of a fleeting
instant was hoarded up, and became nourishment for the livelong day.

It was a soft rich afternoon in June, and chance made me the companion
of Miss Fairman. We were alone: I had encountered her at a distance of
about a mile from the parsonage, on the sea-shore, whither I had walked
distressed in spirit, and grateful for the privilege of listening in
gloomy quietude to the soothing sounds of nature--medicinal ever. The
lady was at my side almost before I was aware of her approach. My heart
throbbed whilst she smiled upon me, sweetly as she smiled on all. Her
deep hazel eye was moist. Could it be from weeping?

"What has happened, Miss Fairman?" I asked immediately.

"Do I betray my weakness, then?" she answered. "I am sorry for it; for
dear papa tells all the villagers that no wise man weeps--and no wise
woman either, I suppose. But I cannot help it. We are but a small family
in the village, and it makes me very sad to miss the old faces one after
another, and to see old friends dropping and dropping into the silent

As she spoke the church-bell tolled, and she turned pale, and ceased. I
offered her my arm, and we walked on.

"Whom do you mourn, Miss Fairman?" I asked at length.

"A dear good friend--my best and oldest. When poor mamma was dying, she
made me over to her care. She was her nurse, and was mine for years. It
is very wrong of me to weep for her. She was good and pious, and is

The church-bell tolled again, and my companion shuddered.

"Oh! I cannot listen to that bell," she said. "I wish papa would do away
with it. What a withering sound it has! I heard it first when it was
tolling for my dear mother. It fell upon my heart like iron then, and it
falls so now."

"I cannot say that I dislike the melancholy chime. Death is sad. Its
messenger should not be gay."

"It is the soul that sees and hears. Beauty and music are created
quickly if the heart be joyful. So my book says, and it is true. You
have had no cause to think that bell a hideous thing."

"Yet I have suffered youth's severest loss. I have lost a mother."

"You speak the truth. Yes, I have a kind father left me--and you"--

"I am an orphan, friendless and deserted. God grant, Miss Fairman, you
may be spared my fate for years."

"Not friendless or deserted either, Mr Stukely," answered the young lady
kindly; "papa does not deserve, I am sure, that you should speak so

"Pardon me, Miss Fairman. I did not mean to say that. He has been most
generous to me--kinder than I deserve. But I have borne much, and still
must bear. The fatherless and motherless is in the world alone. He needs
no greater punishment."

"You must not talk so. Papa will, I am sure, be a father to you, as he
is to all who need one. You do not know him, Mr Stukely. His heart is
overflowing with tenderness and charity. You cannot judge him by his
manner. He has had his share of sorrow and misfortune; and death has
been at his door oftener than once. Friends have been unfaithful and men
have been ungrateful; but trial and suffering have not hardened him. You
have seen him amongst the poor, but you have not seen him as I have; nor
have I beheld him as his Maker has, in the secret workings of his
spirit, which is pure and good, believe me. He has received injury like
a child, and dealt mercy and love with the liberality of an angel. Trust
my father, Mr Stukely."--

The maiden spoke quickly and passionately, and her neck and face
crimsoned with animation. I quivered, for her tones communicated
fire--but my line of conduct was marked, and it shone clear in spite of
the clouds of emotion which strove to envelope and conceal it--as they
did too soon.

"I would trust him, Miss Fairman, and I do," I answered with a faltering
tongue. "I appreciate his character and I revere him. I could have made
my home with him. I prayed that I might do so. Heaven seemed to have
directed my steps to this blissful spot, and to have pointed out at
length a resting place for my tired feet. I have been most happy
here--too happy--I have proved ungrateful, and I know how rashly I have
forfeited this and every thing. I cannot live here. This is no home for
me. I will go into the world again--cast myself upon it--do any thing. I
could be a labourer on the highways, and be contented if I could see
that I had done my duty, and behaved with honour. Believe me, Miss
Fairman, I have not deliberately indulged--I have struggled, fought, and
battled, till my brain has tottered. I am wretched and forlorn--but I
will leave you--to-morrow--would that I had never come----." I could say
no more. My full heart spoke its agony in tears.

"What has occurred? What afflicts you? You alarm me, Mr Stukely."

I had sternly determined to permit no one look to give expression to the
feeling which consumed me, to obstruct by force the passage of the
remotest hint that should struggle to betray me; but as the maiden
looked full and timidly upon me, I felt in defiance of me, and against
all opposition, the tell-tale passion rising from my soul, and creeping
to my eye. It would not be held back. In an instant, with one
treacherous glance, all was spoken and revealed.

* * * * *

By that dejected city, Arno runs,
Where Ugolino clasps his famisht sons.
There wert thou born, my Julia! there thine eyes
Return'd as bright a blue to vernal skies.
And thence, my little wanderer! when the Spring
Advanced, thee, too, the hours on silent wing
Brought, while anemonies were quivering round,
And pointed tulips pierced the purple ground,
Where stood fair Florence: there thy voice first blest
My ear, and sank like balm into my breast:
For many griefs had wounded it, and more
Thy little hands could lighten were in store.
But why revert to griefs? Thy sculptured brow
Dispels from mine its darkest cloud even now.
What then the bliss to see again thy face,
And all that Rumour has announced of grace!
I urge, with fevered breast, the four-month day.
O! could I sleep to wake again in May.


* * * * *



_Sandt_.--Generally men of letters in our days, contrary to the practice
of antiquity, are little fond of admitting the young and unlearned into
their studies or their society.

_Kotzebue_.--They should rather those than others. The young _must_
cease to be young, and the unlearned _may_ cease to be unlearned.
According to the letters you bring with you, sir, there is only youth
against you. In the seclusion of a college life, you appear to have
studied with much assiduity and advantage, and to have pursued no other
courses than the paths of wisdom.

_Sandt_.--Do you approve of the pursuit?

_Kotzebue_.--Who does not?

_Sandt_.--None, if you will consent that they direct the chase, bag the
game, inebriate some of the sportsmen, and leave the rest behind in the
slough. May I ask you another question?


_Sandt_.--Where lie the paths of wisdom? I did not expect, my dear sir
to throw you back upon your chair. I hope it was no rudeness to seek
information from you?

_Kotzebue_.--The paths of wisdom, young man, are those which lead us to
truth and happiness.

_Sandt_.--If they lead us away from fortune, from employments, from
civil and political utility; if they cast us where the powerful
persecute, where the rich trample us down, and where the poorer (at
seeing it) despise us, rejecting our counsel and spurning our
consolation, what valuable truth do they enable us to discover, or what
rational happiness to expect? To say that wisdom leads to truth, is only
to say that wisdom leads to wisdom; for such is truth. Nonsense is
better than falsehood; and we come to that.


_Sandt_.--No falsehood is more palpable than that wisdom leads to
happiness--I mean in this world; in another, we may well indeed believe
that the words are constructed of very different materials. But here we
are, standing on a barren molehill that crumbles and sinks under our
tread; here we are, and show me from hence, Von Kotzebue, a discoverer
who has not suffered for his discovery, whether it be of a world or of a
truth--whether a Columbus or a Galileo. Let us come down lower: Show me
a man who has detected the injustice of a law, the absurdity of a tenet,
the malversation of a minister, or the impiety of a priest, and who has
not been stoned, or hanged, or burnt, or imprisoned, or exiled, or
reduced to poverty. The chain of Prometheus is hanging yet upon his
rock, and weaker limbs writhe daily in its rusty links. Who then, unless
for others, would be a darer of wisdom? And yet, how full of it is even
the inanimate world? We may gather it out of stones and straws. Much
lies within the reach of all: little has been collected by the wisest of
the wise. O slaves to passion! O minions to power! ye carry your own
scourges about you; ye endure their tortures daily; yet ye crouch for
more. Ye believe that God beholds you; ye know that he will punish you,
even worse than ye punish yourselves; and still ye lick the dust where
the Old Serpent went before you.

_Kotzebue_.--I am afraid, sir, you have formed to yourself a romantic
and strange idea, both of happiness and of wisdom.

_Sandt_.--I too am afraid it may be so. My idea of happiness is, the
power of communicating peace, good-will, gentle affections, ease,
comfort, independence, freedom, to all men capable of them.

_Kotzebue_.--The idea is, truly, no humble one.

_Sandt_.--A higher may descend more securely on a stronger mind. The
power of communicating those blessings to the capable, is enough for my
aspirations. A stronger mind may exercise its faculties in the divine
work of creating the capacity.

_Kotzebue_.--Childish! childish!--Men have cravings enow already; give
them fresh capacities, and they will have fresh appetites. Let us be
contented in the sphere wherein it is the will of Providence to place
us; and let us render ourselves useful in it to the utmost of our power,
without idle aspirations after impracticable good.

_Sandt_.--O sir! you lead me where I tremble to step; to the haunts of
your intellect, to the recesses of your spirit. Alas! alas! how small
and how vacant is the central chamber of the lofty pyramid?

_Kotzebue_.--Is this to me?

_Sandt_.--To you, and many mightier. Reverting to your own words; could
not you yourself have remained in the sphere you were placed in?

_Kotzebue_.--What sphere? I have written dramas, and novels, and
travels. I have been called to the Imperial Court of Russia.

_Sandt_.--You sought celebrity.--I blame not that. The thick air of
multitudes may be good for some constitutions of mind, as the thinner of
solitudes is for others. Some horses will not run without the clapping
of hands; others fly out of the course rather than hear it. But let us
come to the point. Imperial courts! What do they know of letters? What
letters do they countenance--do they tolerate?




_Sandt_.--On their business. O ye paviours of the dreary road along
which their cannon rolls for conquest! my blood throbs at every stroke
of your rammers. When will ye lay them by?

_Kotzebue_.--We are not such drudges.

_Sandt_.--Germans! Germans! Must ye never have a rood on earth ye can
call your own, in the vast inheritance of your fathers?

_Kotzebue_.--Those who strive and labour, gain it; and many have rich

_Sandt_.--None; not the highest.

_Kotzebue_.--Perhaps you may think them insecure; but they are not lost
yet, although the rapacity of France does indeed threaten to swallow
them up. But her fraudulence is more to be apprehended than her force.
The promise of liberty is more formidable than the threat of servitude.
The wise know that she never will bring us freedom; the brave know that
she never can bring us thraldom. She herself is alike impatient of both;
in the dazzle of arms she mistakes the one for the other, and is never
more agitated than in the midst of peace.

_Sandt_.--The fools that went to war against her, did the only thing
that could unite her; and every sword they drew was a conductor of that
lightening which fell upon their heads. But we must now look at our
homes. Where there is no strict union, there is no perfect love; and
where no perfect love, there is no true helper. Are you satisfied, sir,
at the celebrity and the distinctions you have obtained?

_Kotzebue_.--My celebrity and distinctions, if I must speak of them,
quite satisfy me. Neither in youth nor in advancing age--neither in
difficult nor in easy circumstances, have I ventured to proclaim myself
the tutor or the guardian of mankind.

_Sandt_.--I understand the reproof, and receive it humbly and
gratefully. You did well in writing the dramas, and the novels, and the
travels; but, pardon my question, who called you to the courts of
princes in strange countries?

_Kotzebue_.--They themselves.

_Sandt_.--They have no more right to take you away from your country,
than to eradicate a forest, or to subvert a church in it. You belong to
the land that bore you, and were not at liberty--(if right and liberty
are one, and unless they are, they are good for nothing)--you were not
at liberty, I repeat it, to enter into the service of an alien.

_Kotzebue_.--No magistrate, higher or lower, forbade me. Fine notions of
freedom are these!

_Sandt_.--A man is always a minor in regard to his fatherland; and the
servants of his fatherland are wrong and criminal, if they whisper in
his ear that he may go away, that he may work in another country, that
he may ask to be fed in it, and that he may wait there until orders and
tasks are given for his hands to execute. Being a German, you
voluntarily placed yourself in a position where you might eventually be
coerced to act against Germans.

_Kotzebue_.--I would not.

_Sandt_.--Perhaps you think so.

_Kotzebue_.--Sir, I know my duty.

_Sandt_.--We all do; yet duties are transgressed, and daily. Where the
will is weak in accepting, it is weaker in resisting. Already have you
left the ranks of your fellow-citizens--already have you taken the
enlisting money and marched away.

_Kotzebue_.--Phrases! metaphors! and let me tell you, M. Sandt, not very
polite ones. You have hitherto seen little of the world, and you speak
rather the language of books than of men.

_Sandt_.--What! are books written by some creatures of less intellect
than ours? I fancied them to convey the language and reasonings of men.
I was wrong, and you are right, Von Kotzebue! They are, in general, the
productions of such as have neither the constancy of courage, nor the
continuity of sense, to act up to what they know to be right, or to
maintain it, even in words, to the end of their lives. You are aware
that I am speaking now of political ethics. This is the worst I can
think of the matter, and bad enough is this.

_Kotzebue_.--You misunderstand me. Our conduct must fall in with our
circumstances. We may be patriotic, yet not puritanical in our
patriotism, not harsh, nor intolerant, nor contracted. The philosophical
mind should consider the whole world as its habitation, and not look so
minutely into it as to see the lines that divide nations and
governments; much less should it act the part of a busy shrew, and take
pleasure in giving loose to the tongue, at finding things a little out
of place.

_Sandt_.--We will leave the shrew where we find her: she certainly is
better with the comedian than with the philosopher. But this
indistinctness in the moral and political line begets indifference. He
who does not keep his own country more closely in view than any other,
soon mixes land with sea, and sea with air, and loses sight of every
thing, at least, for which he was placed in contact with his fellow men.
Let us unite, if possible, with the nearest: Let usages and
familiarities bind us: this being once accomplished, let us confederate
for security and peace with all the people round, particularly with
people of the same language, laws, and religion. We pour out wine to
those about us, wishing the same fellowship and conviviality to others:
but to enlarge the circle would disturb and deaden its harmony. We
irrigate the ground in our gardens: the public road may require the
water equally: yet we give it rather to our borders; and first to those
that lie against the house! God himself did not fill the world at once
with happy creatures: he enlivened one small portion of it with them,
and began with single affections, as well as pure and unmixt. We must
have an object and an aim, or our strength, if any strength belongs to
us, will be useless.

_Kotzebue_.--There is much good sense in these remarks: but I am not at
all times at leisure and in readiness to receive instruction. I am old
enough to have laid down my own plans of life; and I trust I am by no
means deficient in the relations I bear to society.

_Sandt_.--Lovest thou thy children? Oh! my heart bleeds! But the birds
can fly; and the nest requires no warmth from the parent, no cover
against the rain and the wind.

_Kotzebue_.--This is wildness: this is agony. Your face is laden with
large drops; some of them tears, some not. Be more rational and calm, my
dear young man! and less enthusiastic.

_Sandt_.--They who will not let us be rational, make us enthusiastic by
force. Do you love your children? I ask you again. If you do, you must
love them more than another man's. Only they who are indifferent to all,
profess a parity.

_Kotzebue_.--Sir! indeed your conversation very much surprises me.

_Sandt_.--I see it does: you stare, and would look proud. Emperors and
kings, and all but maniacs, would lose that faculty with me. I could
speedily bring them to a just sense of their nothingness, unless their
ears were calked and pitched, although I am no Savonarola. He, too, died

_Kotzebue_.--Amid so much confidence of power, and such an assumption of
authority, your voice is gentle--almost plaintive.

_Sandt_.--It should be plaintive. Oh, could it be but persuasive!

_Kotzebue_.--Why take this deep interest in me? I do not merit nor
require it. Surely any one would think we had been acquainted with each
other for many years.

_Sandt_.--What! should I have asked you such a question as the last,
after long knowing you?

_Kotzebue_, (_aside_.)--This resembles insanity.

_Sandt_.--The insane have quick ears, sir, and sometimes quick

_Kotzebue_.--I really beg your pardon.

_Sandt_.--I ought not then to have heard you, and beg yours. My madness
could release many from a worse; from a madness which hurts them
grievously; a madness which has been and will be hereditary: mine, again
and again I repeat it, would burst asunder the strong swathes that
fasten them to pillar and post. Sir! sir! if I entertained not the
remains of respect for you, in your domestic state, I should never have
held with you this conversation. Germany is Germany: she ought to have
nothing political in common with what is not Germany. Her freedom and
security now demand that she celebrate the communion of the faithful.
Our country is the only one in all the explored regions on earth that
never has been conquered. Arabia and Russia boast it falsely; France
falsely; Rome falsely. A fragment off the empire of Darius fell and
crushed her: Valentinian was the footstool of Sapor, and Rome was buried
in Byzantium. Boys must not learn this, and men will not. Britain, the
wealthiest and most powerful of nations, and, after our own, the most
literate and humane, received from us colonies and laws. Alas! those
laws, which she retains as her fairest heritage, we value not: we
surrender them to gangs of robbers, who fortify themselves within walled
cities, and enter into leagues against us. When they quarrel, they push
us upon one another's sword, and command us to thank God for the
victories that enslave us. These are the glories we celebrate; these are
the festivals we hold, on the burial-mounds of our ancestors. Blessed
are those who lie under them! blessed are also those who remember what
they were, and call upon their names in the holiness of love.

_Kotzebue_.--Moderate the transport that inflames and consumes you.
There is no dishonour in a nation being conquered by a stronger.

_Sandt_.--There may be great dishonour in letting it be stronger; great,
for instance, in our disunion.

_Kotzebue_.--We have only been conquered by the French in our turn.

_Sandt_.--No, sir, no: we have not been, in turn or out. Our puny
princes were disarmed by promises and lies: they accepted paper crowns
from the very thief who was sweeping into his hat their forks and
spoons. A cunning traitor snared incautious ones, plucked them, devoured
them, and slept upon their feathers.

_Kotzebue_.--I would rather turn back with you to the ancient glories of
our country than fix my attention on the sorrowful scenes more near to
us. We may be justly proud of our literary men, who unite the suffrages
of every capital, to the exclusion of almost all their own.

_Sandt_.--Many Germans well deserve this honour, others are manger-fed
and hirelings.

_Kotzebue_.--The English and the Greeks are the only nations that rival
us in poetry, or in any works of imagination.

_Sandt_.--While on this high ground we pretend to a rivalship with
England and Greece, can we reflect, without a sinking of the heart, on
our inferiority in political and civil dignity? Why are we lower than
they? Our mothers are like their mothers; our children are like their
children; our limbs are as strong, our capacities are as enlarged, our
desire of improvement in the arts and sciences is neither less vivid and
generous, nor less temperate and well-directed. The Greeks were under
disadvantages which never bore in any degree on us; yet they rose
through them vigorously and erectly. They were Asiatic in what ought to
be the finer part of the affections; their women were veiled and
secluded, never visited the captive, never released the slave, never sat
by the sick in the hospital, never heard the child's lesson repeated in
the school. Ours are more tender, compassionate, and charitable, than
poets have feigned of the past, or prophets have announced of the
future; and, nursed at their breasts and educated at their feet, blush
we not at our degeneracy? The most indifferent stranger feels a pleasure
at finding, in the worst-written history of Spain, her various kingdoms
ultimately mingled, although the character of the governors, and perhaps
of the governed, is congenial to few. What delight, then, must overflow
on Europe, from seeing the mother of her noblest nation rear again her
venerable head, and bless all her children for the first time united!

_Kotzebue_.--I am bound to oppose such a project.

_Sandt_.--Say not so: in God's name, say not so.

_Kotzebue_.--In such confederacy I see nothing but conspiracy and
rebellion, and I am bound, I tell you again, sir, to defeat it, if

_Sandt._--Bound! I must then release you.

_Kotzebue_.--How should you, young gentleman, release me?

_Sandt_.--May no pain follow the cutting of the knot! But think again:
think better: spare me!

_Kotzebue_.--I will not betray you.

_Sandt_.--That would serve nobody: yet, if in your opinion betraying me
can benefit you or your family, deem it no harm; so much greater has
been done by you in abandoning the cause of Germany. Here is your paper;
here is your ink.

_Kotzebue_.--Do you imagine me an informer?

_Sandt_.--From maxims and conduct such as yours, spring up the brood,
the necessity, and the occupation of them. There would be none, if good
men thought it a part of goodness to be as active and vigilant as the
bad. I must go, sir! Return to yourself in time! How it pains me to
think of losing you! Be my friend!

_Kotzebue_.--I would be.

_Sandt_.--Be a German!

_Kotzebue_.--I am.

_Sandt_, (_having gone out_.)--Perjurer and profaner! Yet his heart is
kindly. I must grieve for him! Away with tenderness! I disrobe him of
the privilege to pity me or to praise me, as he would have done had I
lived of old. Better men shall do more. God calls them: me too he calls:
I will enter the door again. May the greater sacrifice bring the people
together, and hold them evermore in peace and concord. The lesser victim
follows willingly. (_Enters again_.)

Turn! die! (_strikes_.)

Alas! alas! no man ever fell alone. How many innocent always perish with
one guilty! and writhe longer!

Unhappy children! I shall weep for you elsewhere. Some days are left me.
In a very few the whole of this little world will lie between us. I have
sanctified in you the memory of your father. Genius but reveals
dishonour, commiseration covers it.

* * * * *



When the Empecinado, after escaping from the Burgo de Osma, rejoined his
band, and again repaired to the favourite skirmishing ground on the
banks of the Duero, he found the state of affairs in Old Castile
becoming daily less favourable for his operations. The French overran
the greater part of the province, and visited with severe punishment any
disobedience of their orders; so that the peasantry no longer dared to
assist the guerillas as they had previously done. Many of the villages
on the Duero had become _afrancesados_, not, it is true, through love,
but through dread of the invaders, and in the hope of preserving
themselves from pillage and oppression. However much the people in their
hearts might wish success to men like the Empecinado, the guerillas were
too few and too feeble to afford protection to those who, by giving them
assistance or information, would incur the displeasure of the French.
The clergy were the only class that, almost without an exception,
remained stanch to the cause of Spanish independence, and their purses
and refectories were ever open to those who took up arms in its defence.

Noways deterred by this unfavourable aspect of affairs, the Empecinado
resolved to carry on the war in Old Castile, even though unaided and
alone. He established his bivouac in the pine-woods of Coca, and sent
out spies towards Somosierra and Burgos, to get information of some
convoy of which the capture might yield both honour and profit.

It was on the second morning after the departure of the spies, and a few
minutes before daybreak, that the little camp was aroused by a shot from
a sentry, placed on the skirt of the wood. In an instant every man was
on his feet. It was the Empecinado's custom, when outlying in this
manner, to make one-half his band sleep fully armed and equipped, with
their horses saddled and bridled beside them; and a fortunate precaution
it was in this instance. Scarcely had the men time to untether and
spring upon their horses, when the sentry galloped headlong into the

"_Los Franceses! Los Franceses_!" exclaimed he, breathless with speed.

One of the Empecinado's first qualities was his presence of mind, which
never deserted him even in the most critical situations. Instantly
forming up that moiety of his men which was already in the saddle, he
left a detachment in front of those who were hastily saddling and
arming, and with the remainder retired a little to the left of the open
ground on which the bivouac was established. Almost before he had
completed this arrangement, the jingling of arms and clattering of
horses' feet were heard, and a squadron of French cavalry galloped down
the glade. The Empecinado gave the word to charge, and as Fuentes at the
head of one party advanced to meet them, he himself attacked them in
flank. The French, not having anticipated much opposition from a foe
whom they had expected to find sleeping, were somewhat surprized at the
fierce resistance they met. A hard fight took place, rendered still more
confused by the darkness, or rather by a faint grey light, which was
just beginning to appear, and gave a shadowy indistinctness to
surrounding objects. The Spaniards were inferior in number to their
opponents, and it was beginning to go hard with them, when the remainder
of the guerillas, now armed and mounted, came up to their assistance. On
perceiving this accession to their adversaries' force, the French
thought they had been led into an ambuscade, and retreating in tolerable
order to the edge of the wood, at last fairly turned tail and ran for
it, leaving several killed and wounded on the ground, and were pursued
for some distance by the guerillas, who, however, only succeeded in
making one prisoner. This was a young man in the dress of a peasant, who
being badly mounted, was easily overtaken. On being brought before the
Empecinado, the latter with no small surprize recognized a native of
Aranda, named Pedro Gutierrez, who was one of the emissaries he had sent
out two days previously to get information concerning the movements of
the enemy.

With pale cheek and faltering voice, the prisoner answered the
Empecinado's interrogatories. It appears that he had been detected as a
spy by the French, who had given him his choice between a halter and the
betrayal of his countrymen and employers. With the fear of death before
his eyes, he had consented to turn traitor.

The deepest silence prevailed among the guerillas during his narrative,
and remained unbroken for a full minute after he had concluded. The
Empecinado's brow was black as thunder, and his features assumed an
expression which the trembling wretch well knew how to interpret.

"_Que podia hacer, senores_?" said the culprit, casting an appealing,
imploring glance around him. "The rope was round my neck; I have an aged
father and am his only support. Life is very sweet. What could I do?"

"_Die_!" replied the Empecinado, in his deep stern voice--"Die like a
man _then_, instead of dying like a dog _now_!"

He turned his back upon him, and ten minutes later, the body of the
unfortunate spy was dangling from the branches of a neighbouring tree,
and the guerillas marched off to seek another and a safer bivouac.

A few days after this incident the other spies returned, and after
receiving their report, and consulting with his lieutenant, Mariano
Fuentes, the Empecinado broke up the little camp, and led his band in
the direction of the _camino real_.

Along that part of the high-road, from Madrid to the Pyrenees, which
winds through the mountain range of Onrubias, an escort of fifty French
dragoons was marching, about an hour before dusk, on an evening of early
spring. Two carriages, and three or four heavily-laden carts, each drawn
by half-a-dozen mules, composed the whole of the convoy; the value of
which, however, might be deemed considerable, judging from the strength
of the escort, and the precautions observed by the officer in command to
avoid a surprise--precautions which were not of much avail; for, on
reaching a spot where the road widened considerably, and was traversed
by a broad ravine, the party was suddenly charged on either flank by
double their number of guerillas. The dragoons made a gallant
resistance, but it was a short one, for they had no room or time to form
in any order, and were far overmatched in the hand-to-hand contest that
ensued. With the very first who fled went a gentleman in civilian's
garb, who sprang out of the most elegant of the two carriages, and
mounting a fine Andalusian horse led by a groom, was off like the wind,
disregarding the shrieks of his travelling companion, a female two or
three-and-twenty years old, of great beauty, and very richly attired.
The cries and alarm of the lady thus deserted were redoubled, when an
instant later a guerilla of fierce aspect presented himself at the

"Have no fear, senora," said the Empecinado, "you are in the hands of
honourable men, and no harm shall be done you." And having by suchlike
assurances succeeded in calming her terrors, he obtained from her some
information as to the contents of the carts and carriages, as well as
regarding herself and her late companion.

The man who had abandoned her, and consulted his own safety by flying
with the escort, was her husband, Monsieur Barbot, jeweller and diamond
merchant to the late King Charles the Fourth. Alarmed by the unsettled
state of things in Spain, he was hastening to take refuge in France,
with his handsome wife and his great wealth--of the latter of which no
inconsiderable portion was contained in the carriage, in the shape of
caskets of jewellery, diamonds, and other valuables.

Repairing to the neighbouring mountains, the guerillas proceeded to
examine their booty, which the Empecinado permitted them to divide among
themselves, with the exception of the carriage and its contents,
including the lady, which he reserved for his own share.

On the following day came letters from the French military governor of
Aranda del Duero, and from Monsieur Barbot, who had taken refuge in that
town, and offered a large sum as ransom for his wife. To this
application the Empecinado did not vouchsafe any answer, but marched off
to his native village of Castrillo, taking with him jewels, carriage,
and lady. The latter he established in the house of his brother Manuel,
recommending her to the care of his sister-in-law, and commanding that
she should be treated with all possible respect, and her wishes attended
to on every point.

The Empecinado's exultation at the success of his enterprize was great,
but he little foresaw all the danger and trouble that his rich capture
was hereafter to occasion him. He had become violently enamoured of his
fair prisoner, and in order to have leisure to pay his court to her, he
sent off his partida on a distant expedition under the command of
Fuentes, and himself remained at Castrillo, doing his utmost to find
favour in the eyes of the beautiful Madame Barbot. He was then in the
prime of life, a remarkably handsome man, and notwithstanding that the
French affected to treat him as a brigand, his courage and patriotism
were admitted by the unprejudiced among all parties, and his bold and
successful deeds had already procured him a degree of renown that was an
additional recommendation of him to the fair sex. It may not, therefore,
be deemed very surprising that, after the first few days of her
captivity were passed, and she had become a little used to the novelty
of her position, the lady began to consider the Empecinado with some
degree of favour, and seemed not altogether disposed to be inconsolable
in her widowhood. He on his part spared no pains to please her. His very
nature seemed changed by the violence of his new passion; and so great
was the metamorphosis that his best friends scarcely recognized him for
the same man. He seemed totally to have forgotten the career to which he
had devoted himself, and the hatred and war of extermination he had
vowed against the French. The restless activity and spirit of enterprize
which formed such distinguishing traits in his character, were
completely lulled to sleep by the charms of the fair Barbot. Nor was the
change in his external appearance less striking. Aware that the rude
manners and attire of a guerilla were not likely to please the
fastidious taste of a town-bred dame, he hastened to discard them. His
rough bushy beard and mustaches were carefully trimmed and adjusted by
the most expert barber of the neighbourhood; his sheepskin jacket, heavy
boots, and jingling double-roweled spurs thrown aside, and in their
place he assumed the national garb, so well adapted to show off a
handsome person, and which, although now almost disused throughout
Spain, far surpasses in elegance the prevailing costumes of the
nineteenth century: a short light jacket of black velvet, and waistcoat
of the richest silk, both profusely decorated with gold filigree
buttons; purple velvet breeches fastened at the knee with bunches of
ribands; silk stockings, and falling boots of chamois leather, by the
most expert maker in Cordova; a crimson silk sash round his waist, and
round his neck a silk handkerchief, of which the ends were drawn through
a magnificent jewelled ring. A green velvet cap, ornamented with sables
and silver, and an ample cloak trimmed with silver lace, the spoil of a
commandant of French gendarmes, completed this picturesque costume.

Thus attired, and mounted on a splendid horse, the Empecinado escorted
the object of his new flame to all the fetes and merry-makings of the
surrounding country. Not a _romeria_ in the neighbouring villages, not a
fair or a bull-fight in all the valley of the Duero, but were graced by
the presence of Martin Diez and his dulcinea, whose fine horse and
gallant equipment, but more especially the beauty of the rider, inspired
universal admiration. As might be expected, many of those who had known
the Empecinado a poor vine-dresser, became envious of his good fortune,
and others who envied him not, were indignant at seeing him waste his
time in such degrading effeminacy, instead of following up the career
which he had so nobly begun. There was much murmuring, therefore, to
which, however, he gave little heed; and several weeks had passed in the
manner above described, when an incident occurred to rouse him from the
sort of lethargy in which he was sunk.

A despatch reached him from the Captain-General, Don Gregorio Cuesta,
requiring his immediate presence at Ciudad Rodrigo, there to receive
directions concerning the execution of a service of the greatest
importance, and which was to be intrusted to him.

This order had its origin in circumstances of which the Empecinado was
totally ignorant. The jeweller Barbot, finding that neither large offers
nor threats of punishment had any effect upon the Empecinado, who
persisted in keeping his wife prisoner, made interest with the Duke of
Infantado, then general of one of the Spanish armies, and besought him
to exert his influence in favour of the captive lady, and to have her
restored to her friends. The duke, who was a very important personage at
the court of Charles the Fourth, and the favourite of Ferdinand the
Seventh at the beginning of his reign, entertained a particular
friendship for Barbot; and, if the _chronique scandaleuse_ of Madrid
might be believed, a still more particular one for his wife. He
immediately wrote to General Cuesta, desiring that the lady might be
sent back to her husband without delay, as well as all the jewels and
other spoil that had been seized by the Empecinado.

With much difficulty did the guerilla make up his mind to abandon the
inglorious position, and to go where duty called him. Strongly
recommending his captive to his brother and sister-in-law, he set out
for Ciudad Rodrigo, escorted by a sergeant and ten men of his partida.
They had not proceeded half a mile from Castrillo, when, from behind a
hedge bordering the road, a shot was fired, and the bullet slightly
wounded the Empecinado's charger. Two of the escort pushed their horses
through the hedge, and immediately returned, dragging between them a
grey-haired old man, seventy years of age, who clutched in his wrinkled
fingers a rusty carbine that had just been discharged.

"He is surely mad!" exclaimed the Empecinado, gazing in astonishment at
the venerable assassin. "_Dime, viejo_; do you know me? And why do you
seek my life?"

"_Si, si, te conozes_. You are the Empecinado--the bloody Empecinado.
Give me back my Pedro, whom you murdered. _Ay di me! mi Pedrillo, te han

And the old man's frame quivered with rage, as he glared on the
Empecinado with an expression of unutterable hate.

One of the guerillas stepped forward--

"'Tis old Gutierrez, the father of Pedro, who was hung in the Pinares de
Coca, for betraying us to the French."

"Throw his carbine into yonder pool, and leave the poor wretch," said
the Empecinado; "his son deserved the death he met."

"He missed his aim to-day, but he may point truer another time," said
one of the men, half drawing a pistol from his holster.

"Harm him not!" said the Empecinado sternly, and the party rode on.

"_Maldito seas_!" screamed the old man, casting himself in the dust of
the road, in a paroxysm of impotent fury. "_Maldito! Maldito! Ay de mi!
mi Pedrillo!_"

And his curses and lamentations continued till the guerillas were out of

On arriving at Ciudad Rodrigo, the Empecinado went immediately to
General Cuesta, who, although he did not receive him unkindly, could not
but blame him greatly for the enormous crime he had committed in
carrying off a lady who was distinguished by so mighty a personage as
the Duke of Infantado. He told him it was absolutely necessary to devise
some plan by which the Duke's anger might be appeased. Murat also had
sent a message to the central junta, saying, that if satisfaction were
not given, he would send troops to lay waste the whole district of
Penafiel, in which Castrillo was situated; and it was probable, that if
he had not done so already, it was because a large portion of the
inhabitants of that district were believed to be well affected to the
French. Without exactly telling him what he must do, the old general
gave him a despatch for the _corregidor_ of Penafiel, and desired him to
present himself before that functionary, and concert with him the
measures to be taken.

The Empecinado took his leave, and was quitting the governor's palace
when he overtook at the door an _avogado_, who was a countryman of his,
and whom he had left at Castrillo when he set out from that place. The
sight of this man was a ray of light to the Empecinado, who immediately
suspected that his enemies were intriguing against him. He proposed to
the lawyer that they should walk to the inn, to which the latter
consented. They had to traverse a lonely place, known by the name of San
Francisco's Meadow, and on arriving there, behind the shelter of some
walls, the Empecinado seized the advocate by the collar, and swore he
would strangle him if he did not instantly confess what business had
brought him to Ciudad Rodrigo, as well as all the plans or plots against
the Empecinado to which he might be privy.

The lawyer, who had known Diez from his childhood, and was fully aware
of his desperate character and of his own peril, trembled for his life,
and besought him earnestly to use no violence, for that he was willing
to tell all he knew. Thereupon the Empecinado loosened his grasp, which
had wellnigh throttled the poor avogado, and cocking a pistol, as a sort
of warning to the other to tell the truth, bade him sit down beside him
and proceed with his narrative.

The lawyer informed him that the _ayuntamiento_ or corporation of
Castrillo, and those of all the towns and villages of the district,
found themselves in great trouble on account of the convoy he had
intercepted, and more particularly of the lady whom he kept prisoner,
and whose friends it appeared were persons of much influence with both
contending parties, for that the junta and the French had alike demanded
her liberty; and while the latter were about to send troops to put the
whole country to fire and sword, the former, as well as the Spanish
generals, had refused to afford them any protection against the
consequences of her detention, and accused the ayuntamiento and the
priests of encouraging the Empecinado to hold her in captivity. He
himself had been sent to Ciudad Rodrigo to beg General Cuesta's advice,
and the general had declared himself unable to assist them, but
recommended them to restore the lady and treasure, if they did not wish
the French to lay waste the country, and take by force the bone of

The Empecinado, suspecting that General Cuesta had not used all due
frankness with him in this matter, handed to the lawyer the letter that
had been given him for the corregidor of Penafiel, and compelled him,
much against his will, to open and read it. Its contents coincided with
what the avogado had told him; the general advising the corregidor to
use every means to compromise the matter, rather than wait till the
French should do themselves justice by the strong hand.

Perceiving that, from various motives, every body was against him in
this matter, the Empecinado bethought himself how he should get out of
the scrape.

"As an old friend and countryman, and more especially as a lawyer," said
he to the avogado, "you are the most fitting man to give me advice in
this difficulty. Tell me, then, what I ought to do, in order that our
native town, which is innocent in the matter, should suffer no

"You speak now like a sensible man," replied the other, "and as a friend
will I advise you. Let us immediately set off to Penafiel, deliver the
general's letter to the corregidor, and take him with us to Castrillo.
There, for form's sake, an examination of your conduct in the affair can
take place. You shall give up the jewels, the carriage, and the lady,
and set off immediately to join your partida."

"To the greater part of that I willingly agree," said the Empecinado.
"The jewels are buried in the cellar, and the carriage is in the stable.
Take both when you list. But as to the lady, before I give her up, I
will give up my own soul. She is my property; I took her in fair fight,
and at the risk of my life."

"You will think better of it before we get to Castrillo," replied the

The Empecinado shook his head, but led the way to the inn, where they
took horse, and the next day reached Penafiel, whence they set out the
following morning for Castrillo, which is a couple of leagues further,
accompanied by the corregidor, his secretary, and two alguazils. The
Empecinado was induced to leave his escort at Penafiel, in order that
the sort of _pro forma_ investigation which was to be gone through might
not appear to have taken place under circumstances of intimidation. The
avogado started a couple of hours earlier than the rest of the party, to
have things in readiness, so that the proceedings might be got through
as rapidly as possible.

It was about eight o'clock on a fine summer's morning that the
Empecinado and his companions reached Castrillo. As they entered the
town, an old mendicant, who was lying curled up like a dog in the
sunshine under the porch of a house, lifted his head at the noise of the
horses. As his eyes rested upon Diez, he made a bound forward with an
agility extraordinary in one of his years, and fell almost under the
feet of the Empecinado's horse, making the startled animal spring aside
with a violence and suddenness sufficient to unhorse many a less
practised rider than the one who bestrode him. The Empecinado lifted his
whip in anger, but the old man, who had risen to his feet, showed no
sign of fear, and as he stood in the middle of the road, and immediately
in the path of the Empecinado, the latter recognized the wild features
and long grey hair of old Gutierrez.

"_Maldito seas_!" cried the old man, extending his arms towards the
guerilla. "Murderer! the hour of vengeance is nigh. I saw it in my
dreams. My Pedrillo showed me his assassin trampled under the feet of
horses. _Asesino! Venga la hora de tu muerte!_"

And the old man, who was half crazed by his misfortunes, relapsed into
an incoherent strain of lamentations for his son, and curses upon him
whom he called his murderer.

The Empecinado, who, on recognizing old Gutierrez, had lowered his
riding-whip, and listened unmoved to his curses and predictions, rode
forward, explaining as he went, to the astonished corregidor, the scene
that had just occurred. A little further on he separated from his
companions, giving them rendezvous at ten o'clock at the house of the
ayuntamiento. Proceeding to his brother's dwelling, he paid a visit to
Madame Barbot, breakfasted with her, and then prepared to keep his
appointment. He placed a brace of pistols and a poniard in his belt, and
taking a loaded _trabuco_ or blunderbuss, in his hand, wrapped himself
in his cloak so as to conceal his weapons, and repaired to the

He found the tribunal already installed, and every thing in readiness.
Saluting the corregidor, he began pacing up and down the room without
taking off his cloak. The corregidor repeatedly urged him to be seated,
but he refused, and continued his walk, replying to the questions that
were put to him, his answers to which were duly written down. About a
quarter of an hour had passed in this manner, when a noise of feet and
talking was heard in the street, and the Empecinado, as he passed one of
the windows that looked out upon the _plaza_, saw, with no very
comfortable feelings, that a number of armed peasants were entering the
town hall. He perceived that he was betrayed, but his presence of mind
stood his friend, and with his usual promptitude, he in a moment decided
how he should act. Without allowing it to appear that he had any
suspicion of what was going on, he walked to the door of the audience
chamber, and before any one could interfere, shut and locked it. Then
stepping up to the corregidor, he threw off his cloak, and presented his
trabuco at the magistrate's head.

"Senor Corregidor," said he, "this is not our agreement, but a base act
of treachery. Commend yourself to God, for you are about to die."

The corregidor was so dreadfully terrified at these words, and at the
menacing action of the Empecinado, that he swooned away, and fell down
under the table--the escribano fled into an adjoining chamber, and
concealed himself under a bed--while the alguazils, trembling with fear,
threw themselves upon their knees, and petitioned for mercy. The
Empecinado, finding himself with so little trouble master of the field
of battle, took possession of the papers that were lying upon the table,
and, unlocking the door, proceeded to the principal staircase, which he
found occupied by inhabitants of the town, armed with muskets and
fowling-pieces. Placing his blunderbuss under his arm, with his hand
upon the trigger, "Make way!" cried he; "the first who moves a finger
may reckon upon the contents of my trabuco." His menace and resolute
character produced the desired effect; a passage was opened, and he left
the house in triumph. On reaching the street, however, he found a great
crowd of men, women, and even children, assembled, who occupied the
plaza and all the adjacent streets, and received him with loud cries of
"Death to the Empecinado! _Muera el ladron y mal Cristiano_!" The armed
men whom he had left in the town-house fired several shots at him from
the windows, but nobody dared to lay hands upon him, as he marched
slowly and steadily through the crowd, trabuco in hand, and casting
glances on either side that made those upon whom they fell shrink
involuntarily backwards.

On the low roof of one of the houses of the plaza, that formed the angle
of the Calle de la Cruz, or street of the cross, old Gutierrez had taken
his station. With the fire of insanity in his bloodshot eyes, and a grin
of exultation upon his wasted features, he witnessed the persecution of
the Empecinado, and while his ears drank in the yells and hootings of
the multitude, he added his shrill cracked voice to the uproar. When the
shots were fired from the town-hall, he bounded and capered upon the
platform, clapping his meagre fingers together in ecstasy; but as the
Empecinado got further from the house, and the firing was discontinued,
an expression of anxiety replaced the look of triumph that had lighted
up the old maniac's face. Diez still moved on unhurt, and was now within
a few paces of the house on which Gutierrez had perched himself. The old
man's uneasiness increased. "Va a escapar!" muttered he to himself;
"they will let him escape. Oh, if I had a gun, my Pedrillo would soon be

The Empecinado was passing under the house. A sudden thought struck
Gutierrez. Stamping with his foot, he broke two or three of the tiles on
which he was standing, and snatching up a large heavy fragment, he
leaned over the edge of the roof to get a full view of the Empecinado,
who was at that moment leaving the plaza and entering the Calle de la
Cruz. In five seconds more he would be out of sight. As it was, it was
only by leaning very far forward that Gutierrez could see him, walking
calmly along, and keeping at bay the angry but cowardly mob that yelped
at his heels, like a parcel of village curs pursuing a bloodhound, whose
look alone prevents their too near approach.

Throwing his left arm round a chimney, the old man swung himself
forward, and with all the force that he possessed, hurled the tile at
the object of his hate. The missile struck the Empecinado upon the
temple, and he fell, stunned and bleeding, to the ground.

"_Viva_!" screamed Gutierrez; but a cry of agony followed the shout of
exultation. The chimney by which the old man supported himself was loose
and crumbling, and totally unfit to bear his weight as he hung on by it,
and leaned forward to gloat over his vengeance. It tottered for a
moment, and then fell with a crash into the street. The height was not
great, but the pavement was sharp and uneven; the old man pitched upon
his head, and when lifted up was already a corpse.

When the mob saw the Empecinado fall, they threw themselves upon him
with as much ferocity as they had previously shown cowardice, and beat
and ill-treated him in every possible manner. Not satisfied with that,
they bound him hand and foot, and pushed him through a cellar window,
throwing after him stones, and every thing they could find lying about
the street. At last, wearied by their own brutality, they left him for
dead, and he remained in that state till nightfall, when the corregidor
and the ayuntamiento proceeded to inspect his body, in order to certify
his death, and have him buried. When he was brought out of the cellar,
however, they perceived he still breathed, and sent for a surgeon, and
also for a priest to administer the last sacraments. They then carried
him upon a ladder to the _posito_, or public granary, a strong building,
where they considered he would be in safety, and put him to bed, bathed
in blood and covered with wounds and bruises.

The corregidor, fearing that the news of the riot, and of the death of
the Empecinado, would reach Penafiel, and that the escort which had been
left there, and the many partizans that Diez had in that town, would
come over to Castrillo to avenge his death, persuaded one of the cures
or parish priests of the latter place, to go over to Penafiel in all
haste, and, counterfeiting great alarm, to spread the report that the
French had entered Castrillo, seized the Empecinado, and carried him off
to Aranda. This was accordingly done; and the Empecinado's escort being
made aware of the vicinity of the French and the risk they ran,
immediately mounted their horses and marched to join Mariano Fuentes,
accompanied by upwards of fifty young men, all partizans of the
Empecinado, and eager to revenge him. This matter being arranged, the
corregidor had the jewels that were buried in the cellar of Manuel Diez
dug up, and having taken possession of them, and installed Madame Barbot
with all due attention in one of the principal houses of the town, he
forwarded a report to General Cuesta of all that had occurred. The
general immediately sent an escort to conduct the lady and the treasure
to Ciudad Rodrigo, and ordered that as soon as the Empecinado was in a
state to be moved, he should also be sent under a strong guard to that

Meanwhile, the Empecinado's vigorous constitution triumphed over the
injuries he had received, and he was getting so rapidly better, that for
his safer custody the corregidor thought it necessary to have him
heavily ironed. Deeming it impossible he should escape, and there being
no troops in the village, no sentry was placed over him, so that at
night his friends were able to hold discourse with him through the
grating of one of the windows of the posito. In this manner he contrived
to send a message to his brother Manuel, who, having also got into
trouble on account of Madame Barbot's detention, had been compelled to
take refuge in the mountains of Bilbuena, three leagues from Castrillo.
Manuel took advantage of a dark night to steal into the town in
disguise, and to speak with the Empecinado. He informed him that the
superior of the Bernardine Monastery, in the Sierra de Balbuena, had
been advised that it was the intention of the Empecinado's enemies to
deliver him over to the French, in order that they might shoot him. The
Empecinado replied, that he strongly suspected there was some such plot
in agitation, and desired his brother to seek out Mariano Fuentes, and
order him to march his band into the neighbourhood of Castrillo, and
that on their arrival he would send them word what to do.

Eight days elapsed, and the Empecinado was now completely cured of his
wounds, so that he was in much apprehension lest he should be sent off
to Ciudad Rodrio before the arrival of Fuentes. On the eighth night,
however, his brother came to the window, and informed him that the
partida was in the neighbourhood, and only waited his orders to march
upon Castrillo, rescue him, and revenge the treatment he had received.
This the Empecinado strongly enjoined them not to do, but desired his
brother to come to his prison door at two o'clock the next morning with
a led horse, and that he had the means to set himself at liberty. Manuel
Diez did as he was ordered, wondering, however, in what manner the
Empecinado intended to get out of the posito, which was a solidly
constructed edifice with a massive door and grated windows. But the next
night, when the guerilla heard the horses approaching his prison, he
seized the door by an iron bar that traversed it on the inner side, and,
exerting his prodigious strength, tore it off the hinges as though it
had been of pasteboard. His feet being fastened together by a chain, he
was compelled to sit sideways upon the saddle; but so elated was he to
find himself once more at liberty that he pushed his horse into a
gallop, and with his fetters clanking as he went, dashed through the
streets of Castrillo, to the astonishment and consternation of the
inhabitants, who knew not what devil's dance was going on in their
usually quiet town.

At Olmos, a village a quarter of a league from Castrillo, the fugitives
halted, and roused a smith, who knocked off the Empecinado's irons.
After a short rest at the house of an approved friend they remounted
their horses, and a little after daybreak reached the place where
Fuentes had taken up his bivouac. The Empecinado was received with great
rejoicing, and immediately resumed the command. He passed a review of
his band, and found it consisted of two hundred and twenty men, all well
mounted and armed.

Great was the alarm of the inhabitants of Castrillo when they found the
prison broken open and the prisoner gone; and their terror was increased
a hundred-fold, when a few hours later news was brought that the
Empecinado was marching towards the town at the head of a strong body of
cavalry. Some concealed themselves in cellars and suchlike
hiding-places, others left the town and fled to the neighbouring woods;
but the majority, despairing of escape by human means from the terrible
anger of the Empecinado, shut themselves up in their houses, closed the
doors and windows, and prayed to the Virgin for deliverance from the
impending evil. Never had there been seen in Castrillo such a counting
of rosaries and beating of breasts, such genuflexions, and mumbling of
aves and paters, as upon that morning.

At noon the Empecinado entered the town at the head of his band,
trumpets sounding, and the men firing their pistols and carbines into
the air, in sign of joy at having recovered their leader. Forming up the
partida in the market-place, the Empecinado sent for the corregidor and
other authorities, who presented themselves before him pale and
trembling, and fully believing they had not five minutes to live.

"Fear nothing!" said the Empecinado, observing their terror. "It is
certain I have met foul treatment at your hands; and it was the harder
to bear coming from my own countrymen and townsfolk. But you have been
misled, and will one day repent your conduct. I have forgotten your ill
usage, and only remember the poverty of my native town, and the misery
in which this war has plunged many of its inhabitants."

So saying, he delivered to the alcalde and the parish priests a hundred
ounces of gold for the relief of the poor and support of the hospital,
and ten more to be spent in a _novillada_, or bull-bait and festival for
the whole town. Cutting short their thanks and excuses, he left
Castrillo and marched to the village of Sacramenia, where he quartered
his men, and, accompanied by Mariano Fuentes, went to pay a visit to a
neighbouring monastery. The monks received him with open arms and a
hearty welcome, hailing him as the main prop of the cause of
independence in Old Castile. They sat down to dinner in the refectory;
and the conversation turning upon the state of the country, the
Empecinado expressed his unwillingness to carry on the war in that
province, on account of the little confidence he could place in the
inhabitants, so many of whom had become _afrancesados_; and as a proof
of this, he related all that had occurred to him at Castrillo. Upon
hearing this the abbot, who was a man distinguished for his talents and
patriotism, recommended Diez to lead his band to New Castile, where he
would not have to encounter the persecutions of those who, having known
him poor and insignificant, envied him his good fortune, and sought to
throw obstacles in his path. He offered to get him letters from the
general of the order of San Bernardo to the superiors of the various
monasteries, in order that he might receive such assistance and support
as they could give, and he might chance to require.

"No one is a prophet in his own country," said the good father; "Mahomet
in his native town of Medina met with the same ill-treatment that you,
Martin Diez, have encountered in the place of your birth. Abandon, then,
a province which does not recognize your value, and go where your
reputation has already preceded you, to defend the holy cause of Spain
and of religion."

Struck by the justice of this reasoning, the Empecinado resolved to
change the scene of his operations, and the next morning marched his
squadron in the direction of New Castile.

* * * * *



After Jack and Martin parted company, you may remember that Jack, who
had turned his face northward, got into high favour with the landlord of
the North Farm Estate, who, being mightily edified with his discourses
and sanctimonious demeanour, and not aware of his having been mad
before, or being, perchance, just as mad himself--took him in, made much
of him, gave him a cottage upon his manor to live in, and built him a
tabernacle in which he might hold forth when the spirit moved him. In
process of time, however, it happened that North Farm and the Albion
Estates came into the possession of one proprietor, Esquire Bull, in
whose house Martin had always been retained as domestic chaplain--at
least, ever since that desperate scuffle with Lord Peter and his crew,
when he tried to land some Spanish smugglers on the coast, for the
purpose of carrying off Martin, and establishing himself in Squire
Bull's house in his stead. Squire Bull, who was a man of his word, and
wished to leave all things on North Farm as he found them, Jack and his
tabernacle included, undertook at once to pay him a reasonable salary,
with the free use of his house and tabernacle to him and his heirs for
ever. But knowing that on a previous occasion, (which you may
recollect,[46]) Jack's melancholy had gone so far that he had hanged
himself, though he was cut down just before giving up the ghost, and by
dint of bloodletting and galvanism, had been revived; and also that,
notwithstanding his periodical fits and hallucinations, he could beat
even Peter himself, who had been his instructor, for cunning and
casuistry, he took care that, before Jack was allowed to take possession
under his new lease, every thing should be made square between them. So
he had the terms of their indenture all written out on parchment,
signed, sealed, and delivered before witnesses, and even got a private
Act of Parliament carried through, for the purpose of making every thing
between them more secure. And well it was for the Squire that he
bethought himself of his precaution in time, as you will afterwards

[46] John Bull, Part IV. ch. ii.

This union of the two entailed properties in the Bull family, brought
Jack and Martin a good deal more into one anothers' company than they
had formerly been; and 'twas clear, that Jack, who had now got somewhat
ashamed of his threadbare raiment, and tired of his spare oatmeal diet,
was mightily struck with the dignified air and comfortable look of
Martin, and grudged him the frequency with which he was invited to
Squire Bull's table. By degrees, he began to conform his own uncouth
manner to an imitation of his. He wore a better coat, which he no longer
rubbed against the wall to take the gloss from off it; he ceased to
interlard all his ordinary speech with texts of Scripture; his snuffle
abated audibly; he gave up his habit of extempore rhapsody, and lost, in
a great measure, his aversion to Christmas tarts and plum-pudding. After
a time, he might even be seen with a fishing-rod over his shoulder; then
he contrived sundry improvements in gun-locks and double-barrels, for
which he took out a patent, and in fact did not entirely escape the
suspicion of being a poacher. He held assemblies in his house, where at
times he allowed a little singing; nay, on one occasion, a son of
his--for he had now a large family--was found accompanying a psalm-tune
upon the (barrel) organ, and it was rumoured about the house, that Jack,
though he thought it prudent to disclaim this overture, had no great
objection to it. Be that as it may, it is certain, that instead of his
old peaked hat and band, Jack latterly took to wearing broad-brimmed
beavers, which he was seen trying to mould into a spout-like shape, much
resembling a shovel. And so far had the transformation gone, that the
Vicar of Fudley, meeting him one evening walking to an assembly arrayed
in a court coat, with this extraordinary hat upon his head, and a pair
of silver buckles in his shoes, pulled off his hat to him at a little
distance, mistaking him for a near relation of Martin, if not for Martin

There was no great harm you will think in all these whims, and for my
own part, I believe that Jack was never so honest a fellow as he was
during this time, when he was profiting by Martin's example. He kept his
own place, ruling his family in a quiet and orderly way, without
disturbing the peace of his neighbours: and seemed to have forgotten his
old tricks of setting people by the ears, and picking quarrels with
constables and justices of the peace. Howbeit, those who knew him
longest and best, always said that this was too good to last: that with
him these intervals of sobriety and moderation were always the prelude
to a violent access of his peculiar malady, and that by-and-bye he would
break out again, and that there would be the devil to pay, and no pitch

It so happened that Squire Bull had a good many small village schools on
his Estate of North Farm, to which the former proprietors had always
been in the custom of appointing the ushers themselves; and much to
Jack's annoyance, when Squire Bull succeeded, the latter had taken care
in his bargain with him, to keep the right of appointment to these in
his own hand. But, at the same time, he told Jack fairly, that as he had
no wish to dabble in Latin, Greek, or school learning himself, he left
him at full liberty to say whether those whom he appointed were fit for
the situation or not--so that if they turned out to be ignoramuses,
deboshed fellows, or drunken dogs, Jack had only to say so on good
grounds, and they were forthwith sent adrift. Matters went on for a time
very smoothly on this footing. Nay, it was even said that Jack was
inclined to carry his complaisance rather far, and after a time seldom
troubled himself much about the usher's qualifications, provided his
credentials were all right. He might ask the young fellow, who presented
John's commission, perhaps, what was the first letter of the Greek
alphabet? what was Latin for beef and greens? or where Moses was when
the candle was blown out?--but if the candidate answered these questions
correctly, and if there were no scandal or _fama clamosa_ against him,
as Jack in his peculiar jargon expressed it, he generally shook hands
with him at once, put the key of the schoolhouse in his hand, and told
him civilly to walk up-stairs.

The truth was, however, that in this respect Jack had little reason to
complain; for though the Squire, in the outset, may not have been very
particular as to his choice, and it was said once or twice gave an
ushership to an old exciseman, on account of his skill in mensuration of
fluids, he had latterly become very particular, and would not hear of
settling any body as schoolmaster on North Farm, who did not come to him
with an excellent character, certified by two or three respectable
householders at least. But, strangely enough, it was observed that just
in proportion as the Squire became more considerate, Jack became more
arrogant, pestilent, and troublesome. Now-a-days he was always
discovering some objection to the Squire's appointments: one usher, it
seemed, spoke too low, another too loud, one used an ear-trumpet,
another a pair of grass-green spectacles; one had no sufficient gifts
for flogging; another flogged either too high or too low--(for Jack was
like the deserter, there was no pleasing him as to the mode of
conducting the operation;) and, finally, another was rejected because he
was unacquainted with the vernacular of Ossian--to the great injury and
damage, as was alleged, of two Highland chairmen, who at an advanced
period of life were completing their education in the school in
question. At first Squire Bull, honest gentleman, had given in to these
strange humours on the part of Jack, believing that this new-born zeal
on his part was in the main conscientious, though he could not help
thinking it at times sufficiently whimsical and preposterous. He had
even gone so far, occasionally, as to send Jack a list of those to whom
he proposed giving the usherships, accompanied with a polite note, in
some such terms as these, "Squire Bull presents his respects, and begs
his good friend Jack will read over the enclosed list, and take the
trouble of choosing for himself;" a request with which Jack was always
ready to comply. And, further, as Jack had always a great hankering
after little-goes and penny subscriptions of every kind, and was
eternally trumpeting forth some new nostrum or _scheme_ of this kind, as
he used to call it, the Squire had been prevailed upon to purchase from
him a good many tickets for these schemes from time to time, for which
he always paid in hard cash, though I have never heard that any of them
turned up prizes, except it may have been to Jack himself.

Jack, as we have said, grew bolder as the Squire became more complying,
thinking that, in the matter of these appointments, as he had once got
his hand in, it would be his own fault if he could not contrive to
wriggle in his whole body. It so happened, too, that just about the very
time that one of John's usherships became vacant, one of those
atrabilious and hypochondriac fits came over Jack, with which, as we
have said, he was periodically afflicted, and which, though they
certainly unsettled his brain a little, only served, as in the case of
other lunatics, to render him, during the paroxysm, more cunning,
inventive, and mischievous. After moving about in a moping way for a day
or two--mumbling in corners, and pretending to fall on his knees, in his
old fashion, in the midst of the street, he suddenly got up, flung his
broad-brimmed beaver into the kennel, trampled his wig in the dirt, so
as to expose his large ears as of old, ran home, pulled his rusty black
doublet out of the chest where it had lain for years, squeezing it on as
he best could--for he had got somewhat corpulent in the mean time--and
thus transfigured, he set out to consult the village attorney, with whom
it was observed he remained closeted for several hours, turning over
Burns' Justice, and perusing an office-copy of his indenture with the
Squire--a planetary conjunction from which those who were astrologically
given boded no good.

What passed between these worthies on this occasion--whether the
attorney really persuaded Jack that, if he set about it, he would
undertake to find him a flaw in his contract with Squire Bull, which
would enable him to take the matter of the usherships into his own hand,
and to do as he pleased; or whether Jack--as he seemed afterwards to
admit in private--believed nothing of what the attorney told him, but
was resolved to take advantage of the Squire's good-nature, and to run
all risks as to the result, 'tis hard to say. Certain it was, however,
that Jack posted down at once from the attorney's chamber to the village
school, which happened to be then vacant, and gathering the elder boys
about him, he told them he had reason to believe the Squire was about to
send them another usher, very different from the last, who was a mortal
enemy to marbles, pitch-and-toss, chuck-farthing, ginger-bread, and half
holydays; with a corresponding liking to long tasks and short commons;
that the use of the cane would be regularly taught, along with that of
the globes, accompanied with cuts and other practical demonstrations;
that the only chance of escaping this visitation was to take a bold
line, and show face to the usher at once, since otherwise the chance
was, that at no distant period they might be obliged to do the very

Jack further reasoned the matter with the boys learnedly, somewhat in
this fashion--"That as no one could have so strong an interest in the
matter, so no one could be so good a judge of the qualifications of the
schoolmaster as the schoolboy; that the close and intimate relation
between these parties was of the nature of a mutual contract, in the
formation of which both had an equal right to be consulted; so that,
without mutual consent, or, as it were, a harmonious call by the boys,
there could be no valid ushership, but a mere usurpation of the power of
the tawse, and unwarrantable administration of the birchen twig; that,
further, this latter power involved a fundamental feature, in which they
could not but feel they had all a deep interest--and which, he might
say, lay at the bottom of the whole question; that he himself perfectly
remembered that, in former days, the schoolboys had always exercised
this privilege, which he held to be equally salutary and constitutional;
and that he would, at his leisure, show them a private memorandum-book
of his own, in which, though he had hitherto said nothing about it, he
had found an entry to that effect made some thirty years before. In
short, he told them, if they did not wish to be rode over rough-shod,
they must stand up boldly for themselves, and try to get all the schools
in the neighbourhood to join them, if necessary, in a regular
barring-out, or general procession, in which they were to appear with
flags and banners, bearing such inscriptions as the following: "_Pro
aris et focis_"--"Liberty is like the air we breathe," &c. &c., and,
lastly, in large gilt capitals--"_No usher to be intruded into any
school contrary to the will of the scholars in schoolroom assembled_."
And, in short, that this process was to be repeated until they succeeded
in getting quit of Squire Bull's usher, and getting an usher who would
flog them with all the forbearance and reserve with which Sancho
chastised his own flesh while engaged in the process of disenchanting
Dulcinea del Toboso. At the same time, with that cunning which was
natural to him, Jack took care to let the scholars know that _his_ name
was not to be mentioned in the transaction; and that, if they were asked
any questions, they must be prepared to say, nay, to swear, for that
matter, that they objected to John's usher from no personal dislike to
the man himself, and without having received fee or reward, in the shape
of apples, lollypops, gingerbread, barley-sugar, or sweetmeats
whatever--or sixpences, groats, pence, halfpence, or other current coin
of the realm.

It will be readily imagined that this oration of Jack, pronounced as it
was with some of his old unction, and accompanied with that miraculous
and subtle twist of the tongue which we have described in a former
chapter,[47] produced exactly the effect upon his audience which might
be expected. The boys were delighted--tossed up their caps--gave Jack
three cheers, and told him if he stood by them they would stand by him,
and that they were much mistaken if they did not contrive to make the
schoolhouse too hot for any usher whom Squire Bull might think fit to
send them.

[47] Tale of a Tub. Sect. xi.

It happened not long after, as Jack had anticipated, that one morning a
young man called upon with a letter from the Squire, intimating that he
had named him to the vacant ushership; and requesting Jack to examine
into his qualifications as usual. Jack begged him to be seated, and
(having privately sent a message to the schoolboys) continued to
entertain him with enquiries as to John's health and the state of the
weather, till he heard, by the noise in the court, that the boys had
arrived. In they marched accordingly, armed with horn-books, primers,
slates, rulers, Gunter's-scales, and copy-books, taking up their station
near the writing-desk. The young usher-elect, though he thought this a
whimsical exhibition, supposed that the urchins had been brought there
only to do honour to his examination, and accordingly begged Jack, as he
was in a hurry, to proceed. "Fair and softly, young man," said Jack, in
his blandest tones; "we must first see what these intelligent young
gentlemen have got to say to that. Tom, my fine fellow, here is a
gentleman sent by Squire Bull to be your usher. What do you say to him?"
"I don't like him," said Tom. "May I venture to ask why?" said the
usher, putting in a word. "Don't like him," repeated Tom. "Don't like
him neither," said Dick. "And no mistake," added Peter, with a grin,
which immediately circulated round the school. "It is quite impossible,"
said Jack, "under existing circumstances, that the matter can proceed
any further; it is plain the school can never be edified by such an
usher. But, stop, that there may be no misconception on the subject.
Here you, Smith--do you really mean to say, on soul and conscience, you
don't think this respectable gentleman can do you any good?" Of course,
Smith stated that his mind was quite made up on the subject. "Come here,
Jenkins," said Jack, beckoning to another boy; "tell the truth
now--honour bright, remember. Has any body given or promised you any
apples, parliament, or other sweetmeat unknown, to induce you to vote
against the usher?" Jenkins, who had just wiped his lips of the last
remains of a gingerbread cake, which somehow or other had dropped into
his pocket by accident, protested, on his honour, that he was quite
above such a thing, and was, in fact, actuated purely by a conscientious
zeal for the cause of flogging all over the world. "The scruples of
these intelligent and ingenuous youths," said John, turning to the
usher, "must, in conscience, receive effect; the law, as laid down in my
copy of Squire Bull's own contract, is this--'That noe ushere be
yntruded intoe anie schoole against ye wille of ye schooleboys in
schoole-roome assembled.' So, with your permission, we will adjourn the
consideration of the case till the Greek Calends, or latter Lammas, if
that be more convenient." And, so saying, he left John's letter lying on
the table, and shut the schoolroom door in the face of the astonished

Squire Bull, as may be imagined, was not a little astonished and
mortified at hearing from the usher, who returned looking foolish and
chop-fallen, of this outbreak on the part of Jack, for whom he had
really begun to conceive a sort of sneaking kindness; but knowing of old
his fantastical and melancholic turn, he attributed this sally rather to
the state of his bowels, which at all times he exceedingly neglected,
and which, being puffed up with flatulency and indigestion to an
extraordinary degree, not unfrequently acted upon his brain--generating
therein strange conceits and dangerous hallucinations--than to any
settled intention on Jack's part to pick a quarrel with him or evade
performance of the conditions of their indenture, so long as he was not
under the influence of hypochondria. And having this notion as to Jack's
motives, and knowing nothing of the private confab at the village
lawyer's, he could not help believing that, by a brisk course of
purgatives and an antiphlogistic treatment--and without resorting to a
strait-waistcoat, which many who knew Jack's pranks at once recommended
him to adopt--he might be cured of those acrid and intoxicating vapours,
which, ascending into the brain, led him into such extravagant vagaries.
"I'faith," said the Squire, "since the poor man has taken this mad fancy
into his head as to the terms of his bargain, the best way to restore
him to his senses is to bring the matter, as he himself seemed to desire
it, before the Justices of the Peace at once: 'Tis a hundred to one but
he will have come to his senses long before they have come to a
decision; at all events, unless he is madder than I take him to be, when
he finds how plain the terms of the indenture are, he will surely submit
with a good grace.'"

So thought the Squire; and, accordingly, by his direction, the
usher-elect brought his case before the Justices at their next sittings,
who forthwith summoned Jack before them to know why he refused
performance of his contract with the Squire. Jack came on the day
appointed, attended by the attorney--though for that matter he might
have safely left him behind, being fully as much master of all
equivocation or chicanery as if he had never handled anything but quills
and quirks from his youth upward. This, indeed, was probably the effect
of his old training in Peter's family, for whose hairsplitting
distinctions and Jesuistical casuistries, notwithstanding his dislike to
the man himself, he had a certain admiration, founded on a secret
affinity of nature. Indeed it was wonderful to observe how, with all
Jack's hatred to Peter, real or pretended, he took after him in so many
points--insomuch that at times, their look, voice, manner, and way of
thinking, were so closely alike, that those who knew them best might
very well have mistaken them for each other. The usher having produced
the Squire's copy of the indenture, pointed out the clause by which Jack
became bound to examine and admit to the schools on North Farm any
qualified usher whom the Squire might send--as the condition on which he
was to retain his right to the tabernacle and his own mansion upon the
Farm--at the same time showing Jack's seal and signature at the bottom
of the deed. Jack, being called upon by the justices to show cause,
pulled out of his pocket an old memorandum-book--very greasy, musty, and
ill-flavoured--and which, from the quantity of dust and cobwebs with
which it was overlaid, had obviously been lying on the shelf for half a
century at least. This he placed in the hands of his friend Snacks the
attorney, pointing out to him a page or two which he had marked with his
thumb nail, as appropriate to the matter in hand. And there, to be sure,
was to be found, among a quantity of other nostrums, recipes, cooking
receipts, prescriptions, and omnium-gatherums of all kinds, an entry to
this effect:--"That no ushere be yntruded intoe anie schoole against ye
wille of ye schooleboys in schoole-roome assembled." Whereupon the
attorney maintained, that, as this memorandum-book of Jack's was plainly
of older date than the indenture, and had evidently been seen by the
Squire at or prior to the time of signing, as appeared from some of the
entries which it contained being incorporated in the deed, it must be
presumed, that its whole contents, though not to be found in the
indenture _per expressum_, or _totidem verbis_, were yet included
therein _implicitly_, or in a latent form, inasmuch as they were not
_per expressum_ excluded therefrom;--this being, as you will recollect,
precisely the argument which Jack had borrowed from Peter, when the
latter construed their father's will in the question as to the
lawfulness of their wearing shoulder-knots; and very much of the same
kind with that celebrated thesis which Peter afterwards maintained in
the matter of the brown loaf. And though he was obliged to admit (what
indeed from the very look of the book he could not well dispute) that no
such rule had ever been known or acted upon--and on the contrary that
Jack, until this last occasion, had always admitted the Squire's ushers
without objection whatsoever; yet he contended vehemently, that now that
his conscience was awakened on the subject, the past must be laid out of
view; and that the old memorandum-book, as part and parcel of the
indenture itself, must receive effect; and farther, that whether he,
Jack, was right or wrong in this matter, the Justices had no right to
interfere with them.

But the Justices, on looking into this antiquated document, found that,
besides this notandum, the memorandum-book contained a number of other
entries of a very extraordinary kind--such, for instance, as that Martin
was no better than he should be, and ought to be put down speedily: that
Squire Bull had no more right to nominate ushers than he had to be Khan
of Tartary: that that right belonged exclusively to Jack himself, or to
the schoolboys under Jack's control and direction: that Jack was to have
the sole right of laying down rules for his own government, and of
enforcing them against himself by the necessary compulsitors, if the
case should arise; thus, that Jack should have full powers to censure,
fine, punish, flog, flay, banish, imprison, or set himself in the stocks
as often as he should think fit; but that whether Jack did right or
wrong, in any given case, Jack was himself to be the sole judge, and
neither Squire Bull nor any of his Justices of the Peace was to have one
word to say to him or his proceedings in the matter: on the contrary,
that any such interference on their part, was to be regarded as a high
grievance and misdemeanour on their part, for which Jack was to be
entitled at the least to read them a lecture from the writing-desk, and
shut the schoolroom door in their own or their children's face.

There were many other whimsical and extravagant things contained in this
private note-book, so much so, that it was evident no man in his senses
could ever have intended to make them part of his bargain with Jack. But
the matter was put beyond a doubt by the usher producing the original
draft of the indenture, on which some of these crotchets, including this
fancy about the right of the schoolboys to reject the usher if they did
not like him, had been _interlined_ in Jack's hand: but all of which the
Squire, on revising the deed, had scored out with his own pen, adding in
the margin, opposite to the very passage, the words, in italics--"_See
him damned first.--J.B._" And as it could not be disputed that Jack and
the Squire ultimately subscribed the deed, omitting all this
nonsense--the Justices had no hesitation in holding, that Jack's private
memorandum-book, even if he had always carried it in his breeches
pocket, and quoted it on all occasions, instead of leaving it--as it was
plain he had done--for many a long year, in some forgotten corner of his
trunk or lumber-room, could no more affect the construction of the
indenture between himself and Squire, or afford him any defence against
performance of his part of that indenture, than if he had founded on the
statutes of Prester John, on the laws of Hum-Bug, Fee-Faw-Fum, or any
other Emperor of China for the time being. And so, after hearing very
deliberately all that the attorney for Jack had to say to the contrary,
they decided that Jack must forthwith proceed to examine the usher, and
give him possession, if qualified, of the schoolhouse and other
appurtenances; or else make up his mind to a thundering action of
damages if he did not.

The Justices thought that Jack, on hearing the case fairly stated, and
their opinion given against him, with a long string of cases in point,
would yield, and give the usher possession in the usual way; but no: no
sooner was the sentence written out than Jack entered an appeal to the
Quarter-sessions. There the whole matter was heard over again, at great
length, before a full bench; but after Jack and his attorney had spoken
till they were tired, the Quarter-sessions, without a moment's
hesitation, confirmed the sentence of the Justices, with costs.

Jack, who had blustered exceedingly as to his chances of bamboozling the
Quarter-sessions, and quashing the sentence of the Justices, looked
certainly not a little discomfited at the result of his appeal. For some
days after, he was observed to walk about looking gloomy and
disheartened, and was heard to say to some of his family, that he began
to think matters had really gone too far between him and his good friend
the Squire, to whom he owed his bread; that, on second thoughts, he
would give up the point about intruding ushers on the schools, and see
whether the Squire might not be prevailed on to arrange matters on an
amicable footing; and that he would take an opportunity, the next time
he had an assembly at his house, of consulting his friends on the
subject. And had Jack stuck to this resolution, there is little doubt
that, by some device or other, he would have gained all he wanted; for
the Squire, being an easy, good-natured man, and wishing really to do
his duty in the matter of the ushership, would probably, if Jack had
yielded in this instance with a good grace, have probably allowed him in
the end to have things very much his own way. But to the surprise of
everybody, the next time Jack had a party of friends with him, he rose
up, and putting on that peculiarly sanctimonious expression which his
countenance generally assumed when he had a mind to confuse and mystify
his auditors by a string of enigmas and Jesuitical reservations, made a
long, unintelligible, and inconsistent harangue, the drift of which no
one could well understand, except that it bore that "both the Justices
and the Quarter-sessions were a set of ignoramuses who could not
understand a word of Jack's contract, and knew nothing of black-letter
whatever; but that, nevertheless, as they had decided against him, he,
as a loyal subject, must and would submit;--not, however, that he had
the least idea of taking the Squire's usher, or any other usher
whatsoever, on trials, contrary to the schoolboys' wishes; _that_, he
begged to say, he would never hear of:--still he would obey the law by
laying no claim himself to the usher's salary, nor interfering with the
usher's drawing it; and yet that he could not exactly answer for others
not doing so;"--Jack knowing all the time, that, claim as he might, he
himself had no more right to the salary than to the throne of the
Celestial Empire; while, on the other hand, by locking up the
schoolroom, and keeping the key in his pocket, he had rendered it
impossible for the poor wight of an usher to recover one penny of
it--the legal condition of his doing so being his actual possession of
the schoolhouse itself, of which Jack, by this last manoeuvre, had
contrived to deprive him. But, as if to finish the matter, and to prove
the knavish spirit in which this protestation was made, he instantly got
a _private_ friend and relative of his own, with whom the whole scheme
had been arranged beforehand, to come forward and bring an action on the
case, in which the latter claimed the whole fund which would have
belonged to the unlucky usher--in terms, as he said, of some old
arrangement made by the Squire's predecessor as to school-salaries
during vacancy; to be applied, as the writ very coolly stated it, "for
behoof of Jack's destitute widow, in the event of his decease, and of
his numerous and indigent family."

Many of Jack's own family, who were present on this occasion,
remonstrated with him on the subject, foreseeing that if he went on as
he had begun and threatened to proceed, he must soon come to a rupture
with the Squire, which could end in nothing else than his being turned
out of house and hall, and thrown adrift upon the wide world, without a
penny in his pocket. But the majority--who were puffed up with more than
Jack's own madness and had a notion that by sheer boldness and bullying
on their part, the Squire would, after a time, be sure to give way,
encouraged Jack to go on at all hazards, and not to retract a hair's
breadth in his demands. And Jack, who had now become mischievously
crazed on the subject, and began to be as arrogant and conceited of his
own power and authority, as ever my Lord Peter had been in his proudest
and most pestilential days, was not slow to follow their advice.

'Twas of no consequence that a friend of the Squire's, who had known
Jack long, and had really a great kindness towards him, tried to bring
about an arrangement between him and the Squire upon very handsome
terms. He had a meeting with Jack;--at which he talked the matter over
in a friendly way--telling him that though the Squire must reserve in
his own hands the nomination of his own ushers, he had always been
perfectly willing to listen to reason in any objections that might be
taken to them; only some reason he must have, were it only that Jack
could not abide the sight of a red-nosed usher:--let that reason, such
as it was, be put on paper, and he would consider of it; and if, from
any peculiar idiosyncracy in Jack's temperament and constitution, he
found that his antipathy to red noses was unsuperable, probably he would
not insist on filling up the vacancy with a nose of that colour. Jack,
who was always more rational when alone than when he had got the
attorney and the more frantic members of his family at his elbow,
acknowledged, as he well might, that all this seemed very reasonable;
and that he really thought that on these terms the Squire and he would
have little difficulty in coming to an agreement. So they parted,
leaving the Squire's friend under the impression that all was right, and
that he had only to get an agreement to that effect drawn out, signed
and sealed by the parties.

Next morning, however, he received a letter by the penny-post, written
no doubt in Jack's hand, but obviously dictated by the attorney, in
these terms:--

"Honoured Sir--Lest there should be any misconception between
us as to our yesterday's conversation, I have put into writing
the substance of what was agreed on between us, which I
understand to be this: that there shall be no let or impediment
to the Squire's full and absolute right of naming an usher in
all cases of vacancy; that I shall have an equally full right
to object to the said usher for any reasons that may be
satisfactory to myself, and thereupon to exclude him from the
school; leaving it to the Squire, if he pleases, to send
another, whom I shall have the right of handling in the same
fashion, with this further proviso, that if the Squire does not
fill up the office to my satisfaction within half-a-year, I
shall be entitled to take the appointment into my own hands. I
need hardly add that no Justices of the Peace are to take
cognizance of anything done by me in the matter, be it good,
bad, or indifferent. Hoping that this statement of our mutual
views will be found correct and satisfactory--I remain, your
humble servant,


The moment the Squire's friend perused this missive, he saw plainly that
all hope of bringing Jack to his senses was at an end; and that under
the advice of evil counsellors, lunatic friends, and lewd fellows of the
baser sort, Jack would shortly bring himself and his family to utter

And now, as might be expected, Jack's disorder, which had hitherto been
comparatively of the calm and melancholy kind, broke out into the most
violent and phrenetic exhibitions. He sometimes raved incoherently, for
hours together, against the Squire; often, in the midst of his speeches,
he was assailed with epileptic fits, during which he displayed the
strangest contortions and most laughable gestures; he threw entirely
aside the decent coat he had worn for some time back, and habitually
attired himself in the old and threadbare raiment, which he had worn
after he and Martin had been so unceremoniously sent to the right-about
by Lord Peter, and even ran about the streets with his band tied round
his peaked beaver, bearing thereon the motto--"_Nemo me impune
lacessit_." If his madness had only led him to make a spectacle and
laughing-stock of himself, by these wild vagaries and mountebank
exhibitions, all had been well, but this did not satisfy Jack; his old
disposition for a riot had returned, and a riot, right or wrong, he was
determined to have. So he set to work to frighten the women of the
village with stories, as to the monsters whom the Squire would send
among them as ushers, who would do nothing but teach their children
drinking, chuck-farthing, and cock-fighting; to the schoolboys
themselves, talked of the length, breadth, and thickness, of the usher's
birch, which he assured them was dipped in vinegar every evening, in
order to afford a more agreeable stimulus to the part affected; he plied
them with halfpence and strong beer; exhorted them to insurrections and
barrings-out; taught them how to mock at any usher who would not submit
to be Jack's humble servant; and by gibes and scurril ballads, which he
would publish in the newspapers, try to make his life a burden to him.
He also instructed them how best to stick darts into his wig, cover his
back with spittle, fill his pockets with crackers, burn assafoetida in
the fire, extinguish the candles with fulminating powder, or blow up the
writing-desk by a train of combustibles. Above all, he counselled the
urchins to stand firm the next time that John sent an usher down to that
quarter, and vehemently to protest for the doctrine of election as to
their own usher, and reprobation as to the Squire's; assuring them, that
provided they took his advice, and followed the plan which he would
afterwards impart to them in confidence at the proper time, he could
almost take it upon himself to say, that in a short time, no tyrannical
usher, or cast-off tutor of the Squire, should venture to show his face,
with or without tawse or ferule, within the boundaries of North Farm.

It was not long before an opportunity offered of putting these precious
schemes in practice; for shortly afterwards, the old usher of a school
on the northermost boundary of the North Farm estates having died, the
ushership became vacant, and John, as usual, appointed a successor in
his room. Being warned this time by what had taken place on the last
occasion, the Squire took care to apply beforehand to the Justices of
the Peace--got a peremptory _mandamus_ from them, directing Jack to
proceed forthwith, and, after the usual trials, to put the usher in
possession of the schoolhouse by legal form, and without re-regard to
any protest or interruption from any or all of the schoolboys put
together. So down the usher proceeded, accompanied by a posse of
constables and policemen of various divisions, till they arrived at the
schoolhouse, which lay adjacent to the churchyard, and then demanded
admittance. It happened that in this quarter resided some of Jack's
family, who, as we have already mentioned, differed from him entirely,
thinking him totally wrong in the contest with the Squire and being
completely satisfied that all his glosses upon his contract were either
miserable quibbles or mere hallucinations, and that it was his duty, so
long as he ate John's bread, and slept under John's roof, to perform
fairly the obligations he had come under:--and so, on reading the
Justices' warrant, which required them, on pain of being set in the
stocks, and forfeiture of two shillings and sixpence of penalty, besides
costs, to give immediate possession to the Squire's usher, they at once
resolved to obey, called for the key of the schoolhouse, and proceeded
to the door, accompanied by the usher and the authorities, for the
purpose of complying with the warrant and admitting the usher as in
times past. But on arriving there, never was there witnessed such a
scene of confusion. The churchyard was crowded with ragamuffins of every
kind, from all the neighbouring parishes; scarcely was there a sot or
deboshed fellow within the district who had not either come himself or
found a substitute; gipsies, beggarwomen, and thimbleriggers were thick
as blackberries; while Jack himself--who, upon hearing of what was going
forward, had come down by the night coach with all expedition--was
standing on a tombstone near the doorway, and holding forth to the whole
bevy of rascals whom he had assembled about him. It was evident from his
tones and gestures that Jack had been exciting the mob in every possible
way; but as the justices and the constables drew near, he changed the
form of his countenance, pulled a psalm-book out of his pocket, and,
with much sanctity and appearance of calmness, gave out the tune; in
which the miscellaneous assemblage around him joined, with similar
unction and devotion. When the procession reached the door, they found
the whole inside of the schoolhouse already packed with urchins and
blackguards of all kinds, who, having previously gained admission by the
window, had forcibly barricaded the door against the constables, being
assisted in the defence thereof by the mob without, who formed a double
line, and kept hustling the poor usher and the constables from side to
side, helping themselves to a purse or two in passing, and calling out
at the same time, "take care of pickpockets"--occasionally amusing
themselves also by playfully smashing the beaver of some of the justices
of the peace over their face, to the tune of "all round my hat," sung in
chorus, on the Mainzerian system, amidst peals of laughter.

Meantime Jack was skipping up and down upon the tombstone, calling out
to his myrmidons--"Good friends! Sweet friends! Let me not stir your
spirits up to mutiny. Though that cairn of granite stones lies very
handy and inviting, I pray you refrain from it. Touch it not. I humbly
entreat my friend with the dirty shirt not to break the sconce of the
respectable gentleman whom I have in my eye, with that shillelah of
his--though I must admit that he is labouring under strong and just
provocation." "For mercy's sake, my dear sir!" he would exclaim to a
third--"don't push my respected friend the justice into yonder
puddle--the one which lies so convenient on your right hand there;
though, to be sure, the ground _is_ slippery, and the thing _might_
happen, in a manner without any one's being able to prevent it." And so
on he went, taking care to say nothing for which the justices could
afterwards venture to commit him to Bridewell; but, in truth, stirring
up the rabble to the utmost, by nods, looks, winks, and covert speeches,
intended to convey exactly the opposite meaning from what the words

At last by main force, and after a hard scuffle, the constables
contrived to force the schoolhouse door open, and so to make way for the
justices, the usher, and those of Jack's family who, as we have seen
already, had made up their minds to give the usher possession, to enter.
But having entered, the confusion and bedevilment was ten times worse
than even in the churchyard itself. The benches were lined with a pack
of overgrown rascals in corduroy vestments, and with leather at the
knees, from all the neighbouring villages; in a gallery at one end sat a
Scotch bagpiper, flanked by a blind fiddler, and an itinerant performer
on the hurdygurdy, accompanied by his monkey--who in the course of his
circuit through the village, had that morning received a special
retainer, in the shape of half a quartern of gin, for the occasion;
while in the usher's chair were ensconced two urchins of about fourteen
years of age, smoking tobacco, playing at all fours, and drinking purl,
with their legs diffused in a picturesque attitude along the
writing-desk. One of the justices tried to command silence--till the
Squire's commission to the usher should be read; but no sooner had he
opened his mouth than the whole multitude burst forth as if the
confusion of tongues had taken place for the first time; twenty spoke
together, ten whistled, as many more sang psalms and obscene songs
alternately; the bagpiper droned his worst; the fiddler uttered notes
that made the hair of those who heard them stand on end; while the
hurdygurdy man did his utmost to grind down both his companions, in
which task he was ably assisted by the grinning and chattering of the
honourable and four-footed gentleman on his left. Meantime stones,
tiles, and rafters, pewter pint-pots, fragments of slates, rulers, and
desks, were circulating through the schoolhouse in all directions, in
the most agreeable confusion.

One of the justices tried to speak, but even from the first it was all
dumb show; and scarcely had he proceeded through two sentences, when his
oration was extinguished as suddenly and by the same means as the
conflagration of the Royal Palace at Lilliput. After many attempts to
obtain a hearing, it became obvious that all chance of doing so in the
schoolhouse was at an end; and so the usher, the justices, and the rest,
adjourned to the next ale-house, where they had the usher's commission
quietly read over in presence of the landlord and the waiter, and handed
him over the keys of the house before the same witnesses; of all which,
and of their previous deforcement by a mob of rapscallions, they took
care to have an instrument regularly drawn out by a notary-public.
Thereafter they ordered a rump and dozen, being confident that as the
day was bitterly cold, and the snow some feet deep upon the ground, the
courage of the rioters would be cooled before they had finished dinner;
and so it was, for towards evening, the temperature having descended
considerably beneath the freezing point, the mob, who had now exhausted
their beer and gin, and who saw that there was no more fun to be
expected for the day, began to disperse each man to his home, so that
before nightfall the coast was clear; on which the justices, with the
_posse comitatus_, escorted the usher to the schoolhouse, opened the
door, put him formally in possession, and, wishing him much good of his
new appointment, departed.

But how did Jack, you will ask, bear this rebuff on the part of his own
kin? Why, very ill indeed; in truth, he became furious, and seemed to
have lost all natural feelings towards his own flesh and blood. He
summoned such of his family as had given admission to the usher before
him, called a sort of court-martial of the rest of his relations to
enquire into their conduct; and, notwithstanding the accused protested
that they had the highest respect and regard for Jack, were his humble
servants to command in all ordinary matters, and only acted in this
instance in obedience to the justices' warrant, (the which, if they had
disobeyed, they were certain to have been at that moment cooling their
heels in the stocks,) Jack, who was probably worked up to a kind of
frenzy by his more violent of his inmates, kicked them out of the room,
and sent a set of his myrmidons after them, with instructions to tear
their coats off their backs, strip them of their wigs and small-clothes,
and turn them into the street. Against this the unlucky wights appealed
to the justices for protection, who, to be sure, sent down some
policemen, who beat off the mob, and enabled them to make their doors
fast against Jack and his emissaries. But beyond that they could give
them little assistance; for though Jack and his abettors could not
actually venture upon a trespass by forcing their way within doors, they
contrived to render the very existence of all who were not of their way
of thinking miserable. If it was an usher who, in spite of all their
efforts to exclude him, had fairly got admittance into the schoolhouse,
they set up a sentry-box at his very door, in which a rival usher held
forth on Cocker and the alphabet; they drew off a few stray boys from
the village school, and this detachment, recruited and reinforced by all
the idlers of the neighbourhood, to whom mischief was sport, was
studiously instructed to keep up a perpetual whistling, hooting,
howling, hissing, and imitations of the crowing of a cock, so as to
render it impossible for the usher and boys within the school to hear or
profit by one word that was said. If the scholars within were told to
say A, the blackguards without were bellowing B; or if the usher asked
how many three times three made, the answer from the outside would be
"ten," or else that "it depended upon circumstances." Every week some
ribald and libellous paragraph would appear in the county newspaper,
headed "Advertisement," in such terms as the following:--"We have just
learned from the best authority, that the usher of a school not a
hundred miles off from Hogs-Norton, has lately been detected in various
acts of forgery, petty larceny, sedition, high treason, burglary, &c.
&c. If this report be not officially contradicted by the said usher
within a fortnight, by advertisement, duly inserted and paid for in this
newspaper, we shall hold the same to be true." Or sometimes more
mysteriously thus:--"Delicacy forbids us to allude to the shocking
reports which are current respecting the usher of Mullaglass. Christian
charity would lead us to hope they were unfounded, but Christian verity
compels us to state that we believe every word of them." And though Jack
and his editor sometimes overshot their mark, and got soused in damages
at the instance of those whom they had libelled, yet Jack, who found
that it answered his ends, persevered, and so kept the whole
neighbourhood in hot water.

You would not believe me were I to tell you of half the tyrannical and
preposterous pranks which he performed about this period; but some of
them I can't help noticing. He had picked up some subscriptions, for
instance, from charitable folks in the neighbourhood, to build a school
upon a remote corner of North Farm, where not a single boy had learned
his alphabet within the memory of man; and what, think ye, does he do
with the money, but insists on clapping down the new school exactly

Book of the day: