Part 3 out of 4
"I can 'tend to my own affairs," said Emarine, fiercely.
"Well, don't flare up so. Here comes Orviile. Land, but he does look
* * * * *
After supper, when her mother had gone home for the night, Emarine put
on her hat and shawl.
Her husband was sitting by the fireplace, looking thoughtfully at the
bed of coals.
"I'm goin' out," she said briefly. "You keep the fire up."
"Why, Emarine, it's dark. Don't choo want I sh'u'd go along?"
"No; you keep the fire up."
He looked at her anxiously, but he knew from the way she set her heels
down that remonstrance would be useless.
"Don't stay long," he said, in a tone of habitual tenderness. He loved
her passionately, in spite of the lasting hurt she had given him when
she parted him from his mother. It was a hurt that had sunk deeper
than even he realized. It lay heavy on his heart day and night. It
took the blue out of the sky, and the green out of the grass, and the
gold out of the sunlight; it took the exaltation and the rapture out
of his tenderest moments of love.
He never reproached her, he never really blamed her; certainly he
never pitied himself. But he carried a heavy heart around with him,
and his few smiles were joyless things.
For the trouble he blamed only himself. He had promised Emarine
solemnly before he married her, that if there were any "knuckling
down" to be done, his mother should be the one to do it. He had made
the promise deliberately, and he could no more have broken it than he
could have changed the color of his eyes. When bitter feeling arises
between two relatives by marriage, it is the one who stands between
them--the one who is bound by the tenderest ties to both--who has the
real suffering to bear, who is torn and tortured until life holds
nothing worth the having.
Orville Palmer was the one who stood between. He had built his own
cross, and he took it up and bore it without a word.
Emarine hurried through the early winter dark until she came to the
small and poor house where her husband's mother lived. It was off the
There was a dim light in the kitchen; the curtain had not been drawn.
Emarine paused and looked in. The sash was lifted six inches, for the
night was warm, and the sound of voices came to her at once. Mrs.
Palmer had company.
"It's Miss Presly," said Emarine, resentfully, under her breath. "Old
"--goin' to have a fine dinner, I hear," Miss Presly was saying.
"Turkey with oyster dressin', an' cranberries, an' mince an' pun'kin
pie, an' reel plum puddin' with brandy poured over 't an' set afire,
an' wine dip, an' nuts an' raisins, an' wine itself to wind up on.
Emarine's a fine cook. She knows how to git up a dinner that makes
your mouth water to think about. You goin' to have a spread, Mis'
"Not much of a one," said Orville's mother. "I expected to, but I
c'u'dn't git them fall patatas sold off. I'll have to keep 'em till
spring to git any kind o' price. I don't care much about Christmas,
though"--her chin was trembling, but she lifted it high. "It's silly
for anybody but children to build so much on Christmas."
Emarine opened the door and walked in. Mrs. Palmer arose slowly,
grasping the back of her chair. "Orville's dead?" she said solemnly.
Emarine laughed, but there was the tenderness of near tears in her
voice. "Oh, my, no!" she said, sitting down. "I run over to ask you to
come to Christmas dinner. I was too busy all day to come sooner. I'm
goin' to have a great dinner, an' I've cooked ev'ry single thing of it
myself! I want to show you what a fine Christmas dinner your
daughter-'n-law can get up. Dinner's at two, an' I want you to come at
eleven. Will you?"
Mrs. Palmer had sat down, weakly. Trembling was not the word to
describe the feeling that had taken possession of her. She was
shivering. She wanted to fall down on her knees and put her arms
around her son's wife, and sob out all her loneliness and heartache.
But life is a stage; and Miss Presly was an audience not to be
ignored. So Mrs. Palmer said: "Well, I'll be reel glad to come,
Emarine. It's offul kind o' yuh to think of 't. It 'u'd 'a' be'n
lonesome eatin' here all by myself, I expect."
Emarine stood up. Her heart was like a thistle-down. Her eyes were
shining. "All right," she said; "an' I want that you sh'u'd come just
at eleven. I must run right back now. Good-night."
"Well, I declare!" said Miss Presly. "That girl gits prettier ev'ry
day o' her life. Why, she just looked full o' _glame_ to-night!"
* * * * *
Orville was not at home when his mother arrived in her rusty best
dress and shawl. Mrs. Endey saw her coming. She gasped out, "Why, good
grieve! Here's Mis' Parmer, Emarine!"
"Yes, I know," said Emarine, calmly. "I ast her to dinner."
She opened the door, and shook hands with her mother-in-law, giving
her mother a look of defiance that almost upset that lady's gravity.
"You set right down, Mother Parmer, an' let me take your things.
Orville don't know you're comin', an' I just want to see his face when
he comes in. Here's a new black shawl fer your Christmas. I got mother
one just like it. See what nice long fringe it's got. Oh, my! don't go
to cryin'! Here comes Orville."
She stepped aside quickly. When her husband entered his eyes fell
instantly on his mother, weeping childishly over the new shawl. She
was in the old splint rocking-chair with the high back. "_Mother!_" he
cried; then he gave a frightened, tortured glance at his wife. Emarine
smiled at him, but it was through tears.
"Emarine ast me, Orville--she ast me to dinner o' herself! An' she
give me this shawl. I'm--cryin'--fer--joy--"
"I ast her to dinner," said Emarine, "but she ain't ever goin' back
again. She's goin' to _stay_. I expect we've both had enough of a
lesson to do us."
Orville did not speak. He fell on his knees and laid his head, like a
boy, in his mother's lap, and reached one strong but trembling arm up
to his wife's waist, drawing her down to him.
Mrs. Endey got up and went to rattling things around on the table
vigorously. "Well, I never see sech a pack o' loonatics!" she
exclaimed. "Go an' burn all your Christmas dinner up, if I don't look
after it! Turncoats! I expect they'll both be fallin' over theirselves
to knuckle down to each other from now on! I never see!"
But there was something in her eyes, too, that made them beautiful.
THE SUN'S HEAT.
BY SIR ROBERT BALL,
Lowndean Professor of Astronomy and Geometry at Cambridge, England;
formerly Royal Astronomer of Ireland.
There is a story told of a well-intentioned missionary who tried to
induce a Persian fire-worshipper to abandon the creed of his
ancestors. "Is it not," urged the Christian minister, "a sad and
deplorable superstition for an intelligent person like you to worship
an inanimate object like the sun?" "My friend," said the old Persian,
"you come from England; now tell me, have you ever seen the sun?" The
retort was a just one; for the fact is, that those of us whose lot
requires them to live beneath the clouds and in the gloom which so
frequently brood over our Northern latitudes, have but little
conception of the surpassing glory of the great orb of day as it
appears to those who know it in the clear Eastern skies. The Persian
recognizes in the sun not only the great source of light and of
warmth, but even of life itself. Indeed, the advances of modern
science ever tend to bring before us with more and more significance
the surpassing glory with which Milton tells us the sun is crowned. I
shall endeavor to give in this article a brief sketch of what has
recently been learned as to the actual warmth which the sun possesses
and of the prodigality with which it pours forth its radiant
I number among my acquaintances an intelligent gardener who is fond of
speculating about things in the heavens as well as about things on the
earth. One day he told me that he felt certain it was quite a mistake
to believe, as most of us do believe, that the sun up there is a hot,
glowing body. "No," he said; "the sun cannot be a source of heat, and
I will prove it. If the sun were a source of heat," said the rural
philosopher, "then the closer you approached the sun the warmer you
would find yourself. But this is not the case, for when you are
climbing up a mountain you are approaching nearer to the sun all the
time; but, as everybody knows, instead of feeling hotter and hotter as
you ascend, you are becoming steadily colder and colder. In fact, when
you reach a certain height, you will find yourself surrounded by
perpetual ice and snow, and you may not improbably be frozen to death
when you have got as near to the sun as you can. Therefore," concluded
my friend, triumphantly, "it is all nonsense to tell me the sun is a
scorching hot fire."
[Illustration: THE SUN: FROM A PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN BY LEWIS M. RUTHERFURD
IN NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 22, 1870.
Professor C. A. Young, writing to the editor of MCCLURE'S MAGAZINE,
pronounces this "still the best photograph of the entire sun" with
which he is acquainted.]
I thought the best way to explain the little delusion under which the
worthy gardener labored was to refer him to what takes place in his
own domain. I asked him wherein lies the advantage of putting his
tender plants into his greenhouse in November. How does that preserve
them through the winter? How is it that even without artificial heat
the mere shelter of the glass will often protect plants from frost? I
explained to him that the glass acts as a veritable trap for the
sunbeams; it lets them pass in, but it will not let them escape. The
temperature within the greenhouse is consequently raised, and thus the
necessary warmth is maintained. The dwellers on this earth live in
what is equivalent, in this respect, to a greenhouse. There is a
copious atmosphere above our heads, and that atmosphere extends to us
the same protection which the glass does to the plants in the
greenhouse. The air lets the sunbeams through to the earth's surface,
and then keeps their heat down here to make us comfortable. When you
climb to the top of a high mountain you pass through a large part of
the air. This is the reason why you feel warmer on the surface of the
earth than you do on the top of a high mountain. If, however, it were
possible to go very much closer to the sun; if, for example, the earth
were to approach within half its present distance, it is certain that
the heat would be so intense that all life would be immediately
It will be remembered that when Nebuchadnezzar condemned the unhappy
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be cast into the burning fiery
furnace, he commanded in his fury that the furnace should be heated
seven times hotter than it was wont to be heated. Let us think of the
hottest furnace which the minions of Nebuchadnezzar could ever have
kindled with all the resources of Babylon; let us think indeed of one
of the most perfect of modern furnaces, in which even a substance so
refractory as steel, having first attained a dazzling brilliance, can
be melted so as to run like water; let us imagine the heat-dispensing
power of that glittering liquid to be multiplied sevenfold; let us go
beyond Nebuchadnezzar's frenzied command, and imagine the efficiency
of our furnace to be ten or twelve times as great as that which he
commanded--we shall then obtain a notion of a heat-giving power
corresponding to that which would be found in the wonderful celestial
furnace, the great sun in heaven.
[Illustration: SIR ROBERT BALL. From a photograph by Russel & Sons,
Ponder also upon the stupendous size of that orb, which glows at every
point of its surface with the astonishing fervor I have indicated. The
earth on which we stand is no doubt a mighty globe, measuring as it
does eight thousand miles in diameter; yet what are its dimensions in
comparison with those of the sun? If the earth be represented by a
grain of mustard seed, then on the same scale the sun should be
represented by a cocoanut. Perhaps, however, a more impressive
conception of the dimensions of the great orb of day may be obtained
in this way. Think of the moon, the queen of the night, which circles
monthly around our heavens, pursuing, as she does, a majestic track,
at a distance of two hundred and forty thousand miles from the earth.
Yet the sun is so vast that if it were a hollow ball, and if the earth
were placed at the centre of that ball, the moon could revolve in the
orbit which it now follows, and still be entirely enclosed within the
For every acre on the surface of our globe there are more than ten
thousand acres on the surface of the great luminary. Every portion of
this illimitable desert of flame is pouring forth torrents of heat. It
has indeed been estimated that if the heat which is incessantly
flowing through any single square foot of the sun's exterior could be
collected and applied beneath the boilers of an Atlantic liner, it
would suffice to produce steam enough to sustain in continuous
movement those engines of twenty thousand horse-power which enable a
superb ship to break the record between Ireland and America.
The solar heat is shot forth into space in every direction, with a
prodigality which seems well-nigh inexhaustible. No doubt the earth
does intercept a fair supply of sunbeams for conversion to our many
needs; but the share of sun-heat that the dwelling-place of mankind is
able to capture and employ forms only an infinitesimal fraction of
what the sun actually pours forth. It would seem, indeed, very
presumptuous for us to assume that the great sun has come into
existence solely for the benefit of poor humanity. The heat and light
daily lavished by that orb of incomparable splendor would suffice to
warm and illuminate, quite as efficiently as the earth is warmed and
lighted, more than two thousand million globes each as large as the
earth. If it has indeed been the scheme of nature to call into
existence the solar arrangements on their present scale for the
solitary purpose of cherishing this immediate world of ours, then all
we can say is that nature carries on its business in the most
outrageously wasteful manner.
What should we think of the prudence of a man who, having been endowed
with a splendid fortune of not less than twenty million dollars, spent
one cent of that vast sum usefully and dissipated every other cent and
every other dollar of his gigantic wealth in mere aimless
extravagance? This would, however, appear to be the way in which the
sun manages its affairs, if we are to suppose that all the solar heat
is wasted save that minute fraction which is received by the earth.
Out of every twenty million dollars' worth of heat issuing from the
glorious orb of day, we on this earth barely secure the value of one
single cent; and all but that insignificant trifle seems to be utterly
squandered. We may say it certainly is squandered so far as humanity
is concerned. No doubt there are certain other planets besides the
earth, and they will receive quantities of heat to the extent of a few
cents more. It must, however, be said that the stupendous volume of
solar radiation passes off substantially untaxed into space, and what
may actually there become of it science is unable to tell.
And now for the great question as to how the supply of heat is
sustained so as to permit the orb of day to continue in its career of
such unparalleled prodigality. Every child knows that the fire on the
domestic hearth will go out unless the necessary supplies of wood or
coal can be duly provided. The workman knows that the devouring blast
furnace requires to be incessantly stoked with fresh fuel. How, then,
comes it that a furnace so much more stupendous than any terrestrial
furnace can continue to pour forth in perennial abundance its amazing
stores of heat without being nourished by continual supplies of some
kind? Professor Langley, who has done so much to extend our knowledge
of the great orb of heaven, has suggested a method of illustrating the
quantity of fuel which would be required, if indeed it were by
successive additions of fuel that the sun's heat had to be sustained.
Suppose that all the coal seams which underlie America were made to
yield up their stores. Suppose that all the coal fields of England and
Scotland, Australia, China, and elsewhere were compelled to contribute
every combustible particle they contained. Suppose, in fact, that we
extracted from this earth every ton of coal it possesses, in every
island and in every continent. Suppose that this vast store of fuel,
which is adequate to supply the wants of this earth for centuries,
were to be accumulated in one stupendous pile. Suppose that an army of
stokers, arrayed in numbers which we need not now pause to calculate,
were employed to throw this coal into the great solar furnace. How
long, think you, would so gigantic a mass of fuel maintain the sun's
expenditure at its present rate? I am but uttering a deliberate
scientific fact when I say that a conflagration which destroyed every
particle of coal contained in this earth would not generate so much
heat as the sun lavishes abroad to ungrateful space in the tenth part
of every single second. During the few minutes that the reader has
been occupied over these lines, a quantity of heat which is many
thousands of times as great as, the heat which could be produced by
the ignition of all the coal in every coal-pit in the globe has been
dispersed and totally lost to the sun.
But we have still one further conception to introduce before we shall
have fully grasped the significance of the sun's extravagance in the
matter of heat. As the sun shines to-day on this earth, so it shone
yesterday, so it shone a hundred years ago, a thousand years ago; so
it shone in the earliest dawn of history; so it shone during those
still remoter periods when great animals flourished which have now
vanished forever; so it shone during that remarkable period in earth's
history when the great coal forests flourished; so it shone in those
remote ages many millions of years ago when life began to dawn on an
earth which was still young. There is every reason to believe that
throughout these illimitable periods which the imagination strives in
vain to realize, the sun has dispensed its radiant treasures of light
and warmth with just the same prodigality as that which now
We all know the consequences of wanton extravagance. We know it spells
bankruptcy and ruin. The expenditure of heat by the sun is the most
magnificent extravagance of which human knowledge gives us any
conception. How have the consequences of such awful prodigality been
hitherto averted? How is it that the sun is still able to draw on its
heat reserves from second to second, from century to century, from eon
to eon, ever squandering two thousand million times as much heat as
that which genially warms our temperate regions, as that which draws
forth the exuberant vegetation of the tropics, or which rages in the
Desert of Sahara? This is indeed a great problem.
It was Helmholtz who discovered that the continual maintenance of the
sun's temperature is due to the fact that the sun is neither solid nor
liquid, but is to a great extent gaseous. His theory of the subject
has gained universal acceptance. Those who have taken the trouble to
become acquainted with it are compelled to admit that the doctrine set
forth by this great philosopher embodies a profound truth.
[Illustration: A TYPICAL SUN-SPOT.
By permission of Longmans, Green & Co., from "Old and New Astronomy,"
by Richard A. Proctor.]
Even the great sun cannot escape the application of a certain law
which affects every terrestrial object, and whose province is wide as
the universe itself. Nature has not one law for the rich and another
for the poor. The sun is shedding forth heat, and therefore, affirms
this law, the sun must be shrinking in size. We have learned the rate
at which this contraction proceeds; for among the many triumphs which
mathematicians have accomplished must be reckoned that of having put a
pair of callipers on the sun so as to measure its diameter. We thus
find that the width of the great luminary is ten inches smaller to-day
than it was yesterday. Year in and year out the glorious orb of heaven
is steadily diminishing at the same rate. For hundreds of years, aye,
for hundreds of thousands of years, this incessant shrinking has gone
on at about the same rate as it goes on at present. For hundreds of
years, aye, for hundreds of thousands of years, the shrinking still
will go on. As a sponge exudes moisture by continuous squeezing, so
the sun pours forth heat by continuous shrinking. So long as the sun
remains practically gaseous, so long will the great luminary continue
to shrink, and thus continue its gracious beneficence. Hence it is
that for incalculable ages yet to come the sun will pour forth its
unspeakable benefits; and thence it is that, for a period compared
with which the time of man upon this earth is but a day, summer and
winter, heat and cold, seedtime and harvest, in their due succession,
will never be wanting to this earth.
STORY OF HIS LIFE AND WORK, DERIVED FROM CONVERSATIONS.
BY ROBERT HARBOROUGH SHERARD.
Extreme dignity is the leading characteristic of Thomas Henry Hall
Caine as a man, just as extreme conscientiousness is his leading
characteristic as a writer. He possesses in a high degree the sense of
the responsibility which an author owes to the public and to himself.
It is on account of these facts that the story of his uneventful life
and brilliant literary career is a highly interesting one. It shows
how, by firmness of principle and a high respect of the public and
himself, a man of undoubted genius has been enabled to raise himself
to a position in the English-speaking worlds to which few men of
letters have ever attained--a position which may be compared to that
of a _vates_ amongst the Romans, of a prophet in Israel.
Hall Caine, as his double name implies, comes of the mixed Norse and
Celtic race which constitutes the population of the Isle of Man. Hall,
his mother's name, is Norse, and is common to this day in Iceland,
from which the Norsemen came to Manxland. Caine, which means "a
fighter with clubs," is Celtic. Hall Caine himself, with his ruddy
beard and hair and distinctive features, has inherited rather the
physical characteristics of his maternal ancestors, the Norsemen.
[Illustration: BALLAVOLLEY COTTAGE, BALLAUGH, ISLE OF MAN, WHERE HALL
CAINE LIVED AS A LITTLE BOY.]
He comes of a stock of crofters, or small farmers, who for centuries
had supported themselves by tilling the soil and fishing the sea. He
is the first of all his line who ever worked his brain for a living.
His grandfather, who had a farm of sixty acres in the beautiful parish
of Ballaugh, which lies between Peel and Ramsey, was a wastrel, fond
of the amusements and dissipations to be found in Douglas, and
alienated his small property, so that, at the age of eighteen, his
son, Hall Caine's father, was for a living obliged to apprentice
himself to a blacksmith at Ramsey. When he had learned his trade he
removed, in the hopes of finding more remunerative employment, to
Liverpool. Here, however, he found it so hard to support himself as a
blacksmith that he set to work to learn the trade of ship's smith--a
remunerative one in those days, when Liverpool was the centre of the
ship-building trade. He became a skilled worker, and at the time of
his marriage was able to command a wage of thirty-six shillings a
week, in addition to what he was able to earn by piece work. It was
whilst engaged on a piece of work on a ship at Runcorn, in Cheshire,
that on May 14, 1853, the child was born--his second son--to whom he
gave the names of Thomas Henry Hall. Runcorn can thus claim to be the
birthplace of the famous writer, although his birth there was a mere
accident, and not more than ten days of his life were spent there.
[Illustration: From a photograph by Barraud, London.]
[Illustration: FACSIMILE OF HALL CAINE'S MANUSCRIPT, FROM "THE
MANXMAN." AN ADDITION MADE IN REVISING PROOFS.]
Hall Caine has no remembrance of the first years which he spent in
Liverpool, and his earliest recollections are of life in his
grandmother's cottage of Ballavolley, Ballaugh, in the Isle of Man, a
house set in a wooded plain surrounded by high mountains which glow,
here yellow with the gorse, there purple with the heather. In the
foreground is the beautiful old church of Ballaugh, in the cemetery of
which many generations of Caines lie at rest; and between the old
church and the village lies the curragh land, full of wild flowers and
musical with the notes of every bird that uplifts its voice to heaven.
Far off can be descried, across the sea, the Mull of Galloway. It is
in its rare beauty a spot than which, for a poet's childhood, no
fitter could be found.
[Illustration: MRS. HALL CAINE. From a photograph by Alfred Ellis,
CHILDHOOD IN A MANX COTTAGE.
The Ballavolley cottage was a typical Manx cottage. On one side of the
porch was the parlor, which also served as a dairy, redolent of milk
and bright with rare old Derby china. On the other side was the
living-room, with its undulating floor of stamped earth and grateless
hearthstone in the ingle, to the right and left of which were seats.
Here in the ingle-nook the little boy would sit watching his aunts
cooking the oaten cake on the griddle, over a fire of turf from the
curragh and gorse from the hills, or the bubbling cooking-pot slung on
the slowrie. One of his earliest recollections is of his old
grandmother, seated on her three-legged stool, bending over the fire,
tongs in hand, renewing the fuel of gorse under the griddle. The walls
of this room were covered with blue crockery ware, and through the
open rafters of the unplastered ceiling could be seen the flooring of
the bedrooms above. These were very low dormer rooms, with the bed in
the angle where the roof was lowest. One had to crawl into bed and lie
just under the whitewashed "scraa" or turf roofing, which smelt
deliciously with an odor that at times still haunts the cottage lad in
[Illustration: HALL CAINE'S LIBRARY. From a photograph by Barton.]
Hall Caine's impressions of his life at Ballavolley are vivid--the old
preacher at the church, the drinking-bouts of "jough"-beer by the
gallon amongst the villagers, the donkey rides upon the curragh. But
what it best pleases him to remember are the times when, seated in the
ingle-nook, he used to listen to his grandmother telling fairy
stories, as she sat at her black oak spinning-wheel, bending low over
the whirling yarn. "Hommybeg"--it was a pet name she had given to
him--"Hommybeg," she would say, "I will tell you of the fairies." And
the story that he liked best to listen to, though it so frightened him
that he would run and hide his face in the folds of the blue Spanish
cloak which Manx women have worn since two ships of the Great Armada
were wrecked upon the island, was the story of how his grandmother,
when a lass, had seen the fairies with her own eyes. That was many
years before. She had been out one night to meet her sweetheart, and
as she was returning in the moonlight she was overtaken by a
multitude of little men, tiny little fellows in velvet coats and
cocked hats and pointed shoes, who ran after her, swarmed over her,
and clambered up her streaming hair.
[Illustration: GREEBA CASTLE, ISLE OF MAN, WHERE MR. CAINE WROTE MOST
OF "THE MANXMAN."
From a photograph by Abel Lewis, Douglas, Isle of Man.]
He was a precocious lad, and knew no greater delight than to read. The
first book that he remembers reading was a bulky tome on the German
Reformation, about Luther and Melancthon, which he had found. He spent
weeks over it, and, staggering under its weight, would carry it out
into the hayfield, where, truant to the harvest, he would lie behind
the stacks and read and read. One night, indeed, his interest in this
book led him to break the rules of his thrifty home--where children
went to bed when it was dark, so that candles should not be
burned--and light the candles and read on about Luther. He was found
thus by one of his aunts as, pails in hand, she returned home from
milking the cows. Her anger was great. "Candles lit!" she cried.
"What's to do? Candles! Wasting candles on reading, on mere reading!"
He was beaten and sent to bed, bursting with indignation at such
injustice, for he felt that candles were nothing compared to
knowledge. He was a bookish boy, wanting in boyishness, and never
played games, but spent his time in reading, not boyish books, indeed,
but books in which never boy before took interest--histories,
theological works, and, in preference, parliamentary speeches of the
great orators, which he would afterwards rewrite from memory. At a
very early age he showed a great passion for poetry and was a great
reader of Shakespeare. His talent for reading passages of Shakespeare
aloud was such that at the school at Liverpool, where he was educated,
his schoolmaster, George Gill, used to make him read aloud before all
the boys. This caused him great nervous agony, he says, and he
suffered horribly. He was a favorite pupil, and, in a school where
corporal punishment was inflicted with great severity, was never once
beaten. He left school at the age of fifteen and was apprenticed by
his father to John Murray, architect and land-surveyor. The lad had no
special faculties for architecture beyond possessing a fair knowledge
of drawing. When only thirteen he drew the map of England which
appeared in the first edition of "Gill's Geography." At this time he
had shown no bent for authorship beyond making the transcriptions from
memory of the speeches he had read, and writing, for a school
competition, a "Life of Joseph," which was not even read by the
arbitrator, because it was much too long. It is noticeable, however,
that on this "Life of Joseph" he had worked with the same
conscientiousness which has distinguished his literary activity
through all his career. "I read everything on the subject that I could
lay my hands upon," he says, "and spent day and night in working at
it." To-day, as then, when Hall Caine has a book to write, he reads
every book bearing on his theme which he can obtain--"a whole library
for each chapter"--and will work at his subject day and night,
all-absorbed, wrapped up, concentrated.
[Illustration: PEEL CASTLE, ISLE OF MAN.]
John Murray was agent for the Lancashire estates of W.E. Gladstone,
and it was in this way that Hall Caine first became known to the
statesman, who from the first has been amongst his keenest admirers.
One of the first occasions on which he attracted Mr. Gladstone's
attention was one day when he was superintending the surveying of
Seaforth, Gladstone's estate. Gladstone was surprised to see so small
a lad in charge of the chainmen, and began to talk with him. He must
have been impressed by the lad's conversation, for he patted his head
and told him he would be a fine man yet. Mr. Gladstone has never
forgotten this incident. Some time later, John Murray having failed in
the meanwhile, an offer was made to Hall Caine, from the Gladstones,
of the stewardship of the Seaforth estate at a salary of one hundred
and twenty pound a year. "Although the thought of so much wealth," he
relates, "overwhelmed me, I did not see in this offer the prospect of
any career--indeed this had been pointed out to me--and I determined
to continue in the architect's office." He accordingly attached
himself as pupil or apprentice to Richard Owens, the architect.
[Illustration: PEEL, ISLE OF MAN, WHERE MR. CAINE FINISHED "THE
MANXMAN." THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, IN THE ROW FRONTING ON THE WATER
AT THE LEFT OF THE PICTURE, IS THE ONE MR. CAINE OCCUPIED.]
FIRST WRITINGS FOR THE PUBLIC.
Hall Caine's first writings for the public were done in the Isle of
Man, at the age of sixteen, when he had come over to recruit his
health at the house of his uncle, the schoolmaster at Kirk Maughold.
At that time the island was divided by a discussion as to the
maintenance or abolition of Manx political institutions, and the boy
threw himself into this discussion with characteristic ardor. His
vehement articles in favor of the maintenance of the political
independence, published each week in "Mona's Herald," were full of
force. They attracted, however, little notice beyond that of James
Teare, Caine's uncle, the great temperance reformer, who admired them
justly. He encouraged the boy to write, and told his skeptical
relations that if Hall Caine failed as an architect he would certainly
be able to make a living with his pen.
A visit to Kirk Maughold will afford to the observer the best insight
into Hall Caine's literary temperament. The spirit of the place
expounds his spirit; its genius seems to have entered into him. There
are seasons when this headland height lies serene and calm, wrapped in
such loveliness of light on sea and land that the heart melts for very
ecstasy at the beauty of all things around, the glowing hills, the
flowers that are everywhere, the sea beyond, the tenderness, the
color, the native poetry of it all. There are seasons, too, of strife
and hurricane, of titanic forces battling in the air, when vehement
and irresistible winds burst forth to make howling havoc on the
bleakest heights--so they seem then--that man's foot ever trod. There
are times when not one harebell nods its head in the calm air, not one
seed falls from the feathered grass, in the tender serenity of a quiet
world; and there are times, too, when Nature aroused puts forth her
terrible strength, so that man ventures abroad at his great peril, and
ropes must be stretched along the roads by which the unwary wanderer
may drag his storm-tossed body home. In Hall Caine's work we also
find these extremes of tenderness and its calm, of passion and its
On his return to Liverpool, encouraged by what James Teare had said,
Hall Caine continued to write. No longer, however, on political
questions, but on the subjects with which his profession had
familiarized him. Between the ages of sixteen and twenty this boy
wrote learned leading articles on building, land-surveying, and
architecture for "The Builder." George Godwin, the editor of this
leading periodical, could not believe his eyes when he first met his
contributor. Hall Caine was then nineteen. "I felt terribly ashamed of
being so young," he says, in speaking of this interview.
It was about this time that he returned to the Isle of Man, tired of
architecture. His uncle died, and there was no schoolmaster at Kirk
Maughold school. So Hall Caine became schoolmaster, and for about six
months kept a mixed school on the bleak headland. He is still
remembered as a schoolmaster, and last year, when "The Manxman" was
appearing in serial publication, his grown-up scholars used to gather
at a farm near Kirk Maughold school and listen to the schoolmaster
reading the story as each instalment came out.
The six months of his schoolmastership were a period of great
activity. It was the time of the Paris Commune, and, a rabid
Communist, Hall Caine read Communist and socialistic literature with
avidity. He contributed violent propagandist articles to "Mona's
Herald," in which three years previously he had preached the virtues
of conservatism, and attracted the attention of John Ruskin by his
eulogies of Ruskin's work with his recently founded Guild of St.
George. His leisure was spent in his workshop, and during this period
he not only carved a tombstone for his uncle's grave, but built a
house--Phoenix cottage--both of which are still standing and may be
seen. It was a happy time, a time of inspiration; and it may be, from
the sympathy between the man and the place, that Hall Caine would have
stayed on at Kirk Maughold had not a most imperative letter from
Richard Owens, which said that it was deplorable that he should be
throwing his life away in such occupations, recalled him to Liverpool.
To Liverpool accordingly he returned, to work as a draughtsman, and
fired withal with a double ambition--for one thing to win fame as a
poet, for another to succeed as a dramatist. Already in 1870 he had
written a long poem, which was published in 1874 anonymously by an
enterprising Liverpool publisher. About this poem George Gilfillan, to
whom Hall Caine sent it in 1876, wrote that there was much in it that
he admired, that it had the ring of genius, but that in parts it was
spoiled by affectations of language which could, however, be remedied.
Of the same poem, Rossetti, to whom it was also sent, wrote that it
contained passages of genius. As a dramatist, Hall Caine wrote, at
this period in his career, a play called "Alton Locke." founded on
Kingsley's story. It was shown to Rousby, the actor-manager, who liked
"the promise that it showed" and asked Hall Caine to write a play to
his order. At that time he looked upon himself as a dramatist, and
indeed still hopes to achieve as such--when he shall have tired of the
novel as a vehicle and shall have learned, the present object of his
closest study, the technicalities of the stage--a success as great as
that which has attended his novels. Many of his friends, indeed, hope
for even better things from him as a dramatist; and Blackmore, for
instance, hardly ever writes to him without repeating that, great as
has been his success as a novelist, it will be nothing to his success
when he gets possession of the stage.
[Illustration: R.E. MORRISON. R.H.SHERARD. HALL CAINE.
From a photograph taken specially for MCCLURE'S MAGAZINE, by George B.
Cowen, Ramsey, Isle of Man. Mr. Morrison is an artist who has lately
painted a portrait of Mr. Caine.]
CAINE'S ASSOCIATION WITH ROSSETTI.
Till the age of twenty-four he remained in Liverpool, earning his
living in a builder's office, lecturing, starting societies, working
as secretary of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings,
and writing for the papers. His lectures on Shakespeare attracted the
attention of Lord Houghton, who expressed a desire to meet him. A
meeting was arranged at the house of Henry Bright (the H.A.B, of
Hawthorne); and the first thing that Lord Houghton, the biographer of
Keats, said when Hall Caine came into the room was: "You have the head
of Keats." He predicted that the young author would become a great
critic. Another of Hall Caine's lectures, delivered during this
period, "The Supernatural in Poetry," brought a long letter of eulogy
from Matthew Arnold. His lecture on Rossetti won him the friendship of
this great man, a correspondence ensued, and when Caine was
twenty-five years old, Rossetti wrote and asked him to come up to
London to see him. Caine went and was received most cordially.
[Illustration: BISHOP'S COURT, WHERE DAN MYLREA IN "THE DREMSTER" WAS
[Illustration: SIR W.L. DRINKWATER, THE PRESENT FIRST DREMSTER OF THE
ISLE OF MAN.
From a photograph by J. E. Bruton, Douglas, Isle of Man.]
"He met me on the threshold of his house," he relates, "with both
hands outstretched, and drew me into his studio. That night he read me
'The King's Tragedy.'"
During the evening Rossetti asked him to remove to London and invited
him to his house; at the same time--it may be to prepare him for their
common life--he showed him, to Caine's horror, what a slave he had
become to the chloral habit.
It was not until many months later that Hall Caine determined to
accept Rossetti's invitation, and went to share his monastic seclusion
in his gloomy London house. In the meanwhile, and in this Rossetti had
helped him by correspondence, he had edited for Elliot Stock an
anthology of English sonnets, which was published under the title of
"Sonnets of Three Centuries." For his work in connection with this
volume Hall Caine received no remuneration. Indeed, at this period in
his career the earnings of the writer who can to-day command the
highest prices in the market, were very small indeed. His average
income was two hundred and sixty pounds (thirteen hundred dollars),
and of this two hundred pounds was earned as a draughtsman. When he
went to live with Rossetti he had about fifty pounds (two hundred and
fifty dollars) of money saved, to which he was afterwards able to add
a sum of one hundred pounds, which Rossetti insisted on his accepting
as his commission on the sale of Rossetti's picture, "Dante's Dream."
It may be mentioned, to dispel certain misstatements, that this was
the only financial transaction which took place between the two
friends. His life in Rossetti's house was the life of a monk, seeing
nobody except Burne-Jones (whom, as Ruskin will have it, he resembles
closely), going nowhere and doing little. "I used to get up at noon,"
he says, "and usually spent my afternoon in walking about in the
garden. I did not see Rossetti till dinner-time, but from that hour
till three or four in the morning we were inseparable." It has been
stated that Caine owed much of his success in literature to Rossetti.
This is only partly true. His introduction to literary society in
London under Rossetti's wing was harmful rather than advantageous to
him, for it prejudiced people against him; and his connection with
Rossetti, which was that of a spiritual son with a spiritual father,
was misrepresented. He was spoken of as Rossetti's secretary, even as
Rossetti's valet. On the other hand, so young a man could not but
derive benefit from the society of so refined an artist, who had no
thought nor ambition outside his art. And, in a practical way,
Rossetti also benefited him. When he first came to Rossetti's house he
was under an engagement to deliver twenty-four lectures on "Prose
Fiction" in Liverpool, and in preparation of these lectures began
studying the English novelists.
[Illustration: KIRK MAUGHOLD, WHICH FIGURES IN "THE BONDMAN" AND "THE
"One day Rossetti suggested that, instead of reading these novels
alone, I should read them aloud to him. From that day on, night after
night, for months and months, I used to read to him. I read Fielding
and Smollett, Richardson, Radcliffe, 'Monk' Lewis, Thackeray, and
Dickens, under a running fire of comment and criticism from Rossetti.
It was terrible labor, this reading for hours night after night, till
dawn came and I could drag myself wearily upstairs to bed. But it was
a very useful study, and this is indeed the debt which I owe to
Rossetti died on Easter Day, 1882, at the seashore, near Margate, in
Hall Caine's arms. It shows the extent of their friendship that, the
bungalow being crowded that night, Caine readily offered to sleep in
the death-chamber. "It is Rossetti," he said.
HALL CAINE'S FIRST NOVEL.
Hall Caine then returned to London, and whilst continuing to
contribute to various papers, and notably to the "Liverpool Mercury,"
to which he was attached for years, he wrote his "Recollections of
Rossetti," which brought him forty pounds (two hundred dollars) and
attracted some attention in literary circles, without, however,
enhancing his reputation with the general public. This was followed by
"Cobwebs of Criticism," the title he gave to a collection of critical
essays, originally delivered as lectures. This book did nothing for
him in any way. All this while he had been hankering after
novel-writing, and, though Rossetti had always urged him to become a
dramatist, he had also encouraged him to write novels, advising him to
become the novelist of Manxland. "There is a career there," he used to
say, "for nothing is known about this land." The two friends had
discussed Hall Caine's plot of "The Shadow of a Crime," which Rossetti
had found "immensely powerful but unsympathetic," and it was with this
novel that Hall Caine began his career as a writer of fiction. He had
married in the meanwhile, and with forty pounds (two hundred dollars)
in the bank and an assured income of a hundred (five hundred dollars)
a year from the "Liverpool Mercury," he went with his wife to live in
a small house in the Isle of Wight, to write his book. "I labored over
it fearfully," he says, "but not so much as I do now over my books. At
that time I only wanted to write a thrilling tale. Now what I want in
my novels is a spiritual intent, a problem of life." "The Shadow of a
Crime" appeared first in serial form in the "Liverpool Mercury," and
was published in book form by Chatto & Windus in 1885. For the book
rights Hall Caine received seventy-five pounds (three hundred and
seventy-five dollars), which, with the one hundred pounds (five
hundred dollars) from the "Liverpool Mercury," is all that he has ever
received from a book which is now in its seventeenth edition. "It had
a distinguished reception," he says. "Indeed, it was received with a
burst of eulogy from the press; but at the time it produced no popular
success, and made no difference in my market value."
There is no man living, perhaps, who has more contempt for money than
Hall Caine, revealing himself in this also a true artist; yet to
exemplify to a _confrere_ the practical value of what he calls the
"literary statesmanship" which he has practised throughout his career,
he will sometimes show the little book in which are entered the
receipts from his various works. No more striking argument in favor of
conscientiousness and literary dignity could be found than that
afforded by a comparison between the first page of this account book
and the last.
[Illustration: LEZAYRE CHURCH, WHERE PETE AND KATE WERE MARRIED IN
BEATING THE STREETS OF LONDON IN SEARCH OF WORK.
A time of need followed, during which Hall Caine beat the streets of
London in search of work. He offered himself as a publisher's reader
in various houses, and was roughly turned away. He suffered slights
and humiliations; but these only strengthened his resolve. In this
respect he reminds one of Zola, whom slights and humiliations only
strengthened also; and in this connection it may be mentioned that
there hangs in Hall Caine's drawing-room, in Peel, a pen-and-ink
portrait which one mistakes for that of Emile Zola, till one is told
that it is the picture of Hall Caine.
The reverses, which it now pleases him to remember, in no wise daunted
him. There was his wife and "Sunlocks," his little son, to be provided
for; and with fine determination he set to work. In the year 1886 he
wrote a "Life of Coleridge" and finished his second novel, "A Son of
Hagar." On the fly-leaf of his copy of the "Life of Coleridge" are
written the words: "N.B--This book was begun October 8, 1886. It was
not touched after that date until October 15th or 16th, and was
finished down to last two chapters by November 1st. Completed December
4th to 8th--about three weeks in all. H.C." It is an excellent piece
of work, but Caine regrets now that he threw away on a book of this
kind all his knowledge of his subject. "_I_ could have written _the_
Life of Coleridge," he says.
"A Son of Hagar" produced three hundred pounds (fifteen hundred
dollars), and has now achieved an immense success, but its reception
at the time was a feeble one. Hall Caine ground his teeth and clenched
his fist and said: "I will write one more book; I will put into it all
the work that is in me, and if the world still remains indifferent and
contemptuous, I will never write another." In the meanwhile he had
decided to follow Rossetti's advice, to write a Manx novel; and having
thought out the plot of "The Deemster," went to the Isle of Man to
write it. It was written in six months, in one of the lodging-houses
on the Esplanade at Douglas, in a fever of wounded pride. "I worked
over it like a galley-slave; I poured all my memories into it," he
says. In the meanwhile he maintained his family by journalism, being
now connected with the best papers in London. "The Deemster" was sold
for one hundred and fifty pounds (six hundred dollars), the serial
rights having produced four hundred pounds (two thousand dollars). He
would be glad to-day to purchase the copyright back for one thousand
pounds. He had great faith in this book.
"Long after we are both dead," he said to his publisher, when they
were discussing terms, "this book will be alive." "I was indifferent
to its reception," he relates; "I said, that if the public did not
take it, that would only prove its damnable folly," Its reception was
immense, and "then began for me something like fame."
THE BEGINNING OF PROSPERITY.
[Illustration: INTERIOR OF "THE COTTAGE BY THE WATER-TROUGH," KIRKNEO,
NEAR RAMSEY, ISLE OF MAN, WHERE LIVED "BLACK TOM," THE GRANDFATHER OF
PETE, IN "THE MANXMAN."]
Offers came in from all sides; the little house in Kent, where he was
then living, became the pilgrimage of the publishers. Irving read the
book in America, and seeing that there was here material for a
splendid play, with himself in the part of the Bishop, hesitated about
cabling to the author. In the meanwhile Wilson Barrett had also read
the book, and had telegraphed to Kent to ask Hall Caine to come up to
London to discuss its dramatization. Hall Caine started, but was
forced to leave the train at Derby because a terrible fog rendered
travelling impossible. He spent the next ten days in the Isaac Walton
Inn, at Dovedale, near Derby, waiting for the fog to lift, and whilst
so waiting wrote the first draft of the play, which he entitled
"Ben-my-Chree," Barrett was enthusiastic about it, and "Ben-my-Chree"
was duly produced for the first time at the Princess Theatre, on May
14, 1888, before a packed house, in which every literary celebrity in
London was present. "The reception was enthusiastic; the next day I
was a famous man." Notwithstanding its great success on the first
night and the splendid eulogies of the press, "Ben-my-Chree" failed to
draw in London, and after running for one hundred nights, at a great
loss to the management, was withdrawn. It was then taken to the
provinces, and was very successful, both there and in America, holding
the stage for seven years. It was afterwards reproduced, with some
success, in London. This play brought Hall Caine in a sum of one
thousand pounds (five thousand dollars), and out of this he bought
himself a house in Keswick, where he remained in residence for four
years. Having now given up journalism, he devoted himself entirely to
fiction and play-writing.
[Illustration: THE ORIGINAL OF KATE IN "THE MANXMAN."]
In 1889, he went with his wife to Iceland and spent two months there,
for the purpose of studying certain scenes which he wished to
introduce into "The Bondman," on which he was then working.
Documentation is as much Hall Caine's care in his novels as it is
Emile Zola's. "The Bondman," which had been begun in March, 1889, at
Aberleigh Lodge, Bexley Heath, Kent, a house of sinister memory--for
Caine narrowly escaped being murdered there one night--was finished in
October, at Castlerigg Cottage, Keswick, and was published by
Heinemann in 1890, with a success which is far from being exhausted
even to-day. In this year Hall Caine experienced a great
disappointment. He had been commissioned by Sir Henry Irving to write
a play on "Mahornet," and had written three acts of it, when such an
outcry was made in the press against Irving's proposal to put
"Mahomet" on the stage, to the certain offence of British Mohammedans,
that Sir Henry telegraphed to him to say that the plan could not be
carried out. He offered to compensate Hall Caine for his labor. "I
refused, however, to accept one penny," says Caine, "and after
relieving my feelings by spitting on my antagonists in an angry
article in 'The Speaker,' I finished the play." It was accepted by
Willard for production in America, but has not yet been played. "This
was a great disappointment," says Caine, "and I had little heart for
much work in 1890. I did nothing in that year beyond a hasty 'Life of
Christ,' which has never been printed. I had read Renan's 'Life of
Christ,' and had been deeply impressed by it, and I had said that
there was a splendid chance for a 'Life of Christ' as vivid and as
personal from the point of belief as Renan's was from the point of
unbelief." This book he wrote, but was not satisfied with it, and has
refused to publish it, although only last year a firm of publishers
offered him three thousand pounds (fifteen thousand dollars) for the
manuscript. "No, I was not satisfied, though I had brought to bear on
it faculties which I had never used in my novels. It was human, it was
most dramatic, but it fell far short of what I had hoped to do, and I
put it away in my cupboard. I hope to rewrite it some day."
In 1891 Hall Caine began to work on "The Scapegoat," and in the spring
of that year went to Morocco to fit the scenes to his idea. He
suffered there from very bad health, from severe neurosthenia. "I was
a 'degenerate,' he says, "a la Nordau." No sooner had "The
Scapegoat" been published, than the chief rabbi wrote to him to ask
him to go to Russia, to write about the persecutions of the Jews in
that country, and in 1892 he started on this mission, which he
fulfilled entirely at his own expense, declining all the offers of
subsidies made to him by the Jewish Committee. He carried with him for
protection against the Russian authorities, a letter from Lord
Salisbury to H. M.'s Minister at St. Petersburg, to be delivered only
in case of need; and as an introduction to the possibly hostile Jewish
Communities, a letter in Hebrew to be presented to the rabbis in the
various towns. Lord's Salisbury's letter was never used, but the chief
rabbi's introduction secured him everywhere a most hospitable
[Illustration: "BLACK TOM" BEFORE "THE COTTAGE BY THE WATER-TROUGH."]
"I went through the pale of settlement," he relates, "and saw as much
of frontier life amongst the Jews as possible and found them like
hunted dogs. I, however, got no further than the frontier towns, for
cholera had broken out, numerous deaths took place every day, my own
health was getting queer, and, to speak plainly, I was frightened. So
we turned our faces back and returned home. On my return to London I
delivered a lecture before the Jewish Workmen's Club in the East End,
in a hall crammed to suffocation. I shall never forget the enthusiasm
of the audience, the tears, the laughter, the applause, the wild
embraces to which I was subjected."
This was the only use that Hall Caine ever made of all his experiences
of his tour in Russia in 1892, which had lasted many months, for when
he returned to Cumberland to write the story which was to be called
"The Jew," he found the task impossible. "I worked very hard at it, I
turned it over in every direction in my mind, but I felt I could not
do it. I wanted the experience of a life; I could not enter into
competition in their own field with the great Russian novelists. I
found it could not be done."
THE WRITING OF "THE MANXMAN."
In the meanwhile, circumstances had obliged him to give up Castlerigg
Cottage in disgust, and he accordingly removed to the Isle of Man,
with the determination of fixing his residence there definitely. For
the first six months he lived at Greeba Castle, a very pretty but very
lonely house, about half-way between Peel and Douglas, on the Douglas
road--and it was there that most of "The Manxman" was written.
"I turned my Jewish story into a Manx story, and 'The Jew' became 'The
Manxman.' In my original scheme, Philip was to be a Christian,
governor of his province in Russia; Pete, Cregeen, and Kate were to be
Jews. I thought that the racial difference between the two rivals
would afford greater dramatic contrast than the class difference, and
it was only reluctantly that I altered the scheme of my story."
Hall Caine, in speaking of the genesis of "The Manxman," may be
induced to show his little pocket-diary for 1893. Against each day
during the whole of January and part of February are written the
words: "The Jew."
"That means," he will explain, "that all those days I was working at
my story in my head."
"The Manxman" was finished at the house in Marine Parade in Peel where
Hall Caine is now temporarily residing--a large brick house, which was
built for a boarding-house and is certainly not the house for an
artist. As he has determined to make his home in the island, he is at
present hesitating whether to purchase Greeba Castle, or to build
himself a house on the Creg Malin headland at Peel, than which no more
wondrous site for a poet's home could be found in the Queen's
dominions, overlooking the bay, with the rugged pile of Peel Castle,
memory haunted, beyond.
He loves the Manx and they love him. At first "society" in the island
objected to his disregard of the conventions. Now he is as popular at
Government House, or at the Deemster's, as he is in Black Tom's
cottage. But his warmest friends are amongst the peasants and
fishermen, from one end of the island to the other. "They are such
good fellows," he says, "and such excellent subjects for study for my
books. They are current coin for me." So he asks them to supper, and
visits them in their houses, and has taught himself their language and
their strange intonations as they speak.
In June and July of 1894, whilst in London, Hall Caine wrote a
dramatic version of "The Manxman" and offered it to Tree, who,
however, refused it, as unlikely to appeal to the sympathies of the
fashionable audiences of the Haymarket Theatre. In this version Philip
was the central figure. The version which has been played with much
success both in America and in the provinces, was written by Wilson
Barrett, with Pete as the central figure. It was originally produced
in Leeds, on August 20, 1894, and has met with a good reception
everywhere except in Manchester and New York. The critics in the
latter city wrote that it was a disgrace to the book.
For some years past, Hall Caine has devoted himself to literary public
affairs. He is Sir Walter Resant's best supporter in his noble efforts
to protect authors and to advance their interests. His ability as a
public speaker and a politician of letters is great, and in
recognition of this he was asked--a most distinguished honor--in
November of last year to open the Edinburgh Literary and Philosophical
Institution for the winter session, his predecessors having been John
Morley and Mr. Goschen. He is at this writing in America on behalf of
the Authors' Society, in connection with the Canadian copyright
difficulty. He possesses in a marked degree that sense of solidarity
amongst men of letters in which most successful authors are so
singularly lacking, and the great power with which his world-wide
popularity has vested him is used by him rather in the general
interest of the craft than to own advantage.
His life in his home in Peel, in the midst of his family--the old
parents, the pretty young wife, and the two bonny lads--is noble in
its simplicity, a life of high thinking, when, his success and
personal popularity being what they are, he has many temptations to
He attributes his success in part to the fact that he has always been
a great reader of the Bible.
"I think," he says, "that I know my Bible as few literary men know it.
There is no book in the world like it, and the finest novels ever
written fall far short in interest of the stories it tells. Whatever
strong situations I have in my books are not of my creation, but are
taken from the Bible. 'The Deemster' is the story of the prodigal son.
'The Bondman' is the story of Esau and Jacob, though in my version
sympathy attaches to Esau. 'The Scapegoat' is the story of Eli and his
sons, but with Samuel as a little girl. 'The Manxman' is the story of
David and Uriah. My new book also comes out of the Bible, from a
perfectly startling source."
Hall Caine does not begin his books with a character or group of
characters, like Dickens or Scott, nor with a plot, like Wilkie
Collins, nor with a scene, like Black, but with an idea, a spiritual
intent. In all his books the central motive is always the same. "It
is," he says, "the idea of justice, the idea of a Divine Justice, the
idea that righteousness always works itself out, that out of hatred
and malice comes Love. My theory is that a novel, a piece of
imaginative writing, must end with a sense of justice, must leave the
impression that justice is inevitable. My theory is also--on the
matters which divide novelists into realists and idealists--that the
highest form of art is produced by the artist who is so far an
idealist that he wants to say something and so far a realist that he
copies nature as closely as he can in saying it."
His methods of work are particular to himself. It is difficult for a
visitor in Hall Caine's house to find pens or ink. As a matter of
fact, his writing is done with a stylograph pen, which he always
carries in his pocket.
"I don't think," he says, "that I have sat down to a desk to write for
years. I write in my head to begin with, and the actual writing, which
is from memory, is done on any scrap of paper that may come to hand;
and I always write on my knee. My work is as follows: I first get my
idea, my central moral; and this usually takes me a very long time.
The incidents come very quickly, for the invention of incidents is a
very easy matter to me. I then labor like mad in getting knowledge. I
visit the places I propose to describe. I read every book I can get
bearing on my subject. It is elaborate, laborious, but very
delightful. I then make voluminous notes. Then begins the agony. Each
day it besets me, winter or summer, from five in the morning till
breakfast time. I awake at five and lie in bed, thinking out the
chapter that is to be written that day, composing it word for word.
That usually takes me up till seven. From seven till eight I am
engaged in mental revision of the chapter. I then get up and write it
down from memory, as fast as ever the pen will flow. The rest of the
morning I spend in lounging about, thinking, thinking, thinking of my
book. For when I am working on a new book I think of nothing else;
everything else comes to a standstill. In the afternoon I walk or
ride, thinking, thinking. In the evenings, when it is dark, I walk up
and down my room constructing my story. It is then that I am happiest.
I do not write every day--sometimes I take a long rest, as I am doing
at present--and when I do write, I never exceed fifteen hundred words
a day. I do not greatly revise the manuscript for serial publication,
but I labor greatly over the proofs of the book, making important
changes, taking out, putting in, recasting. Thus, after 'The
Scapegoat' had passed through four editions and everybody was praising
the book, I felt uneasy because I felt I had not done justice to my
subject; so I spent two months in rewriting it and had the book reset
and brought out again. The public feeling was that the book had not
been improved, but I felt that I had lifted it up fifty per cent."
"I am convinced," he continued, "that my system of writing the book in
my head first is a good one. It shows me exactly what I want to say.
The mental strain is, of course, immense, and that forces you to go
straight to your point; for the mind is not strong enough to indulge
in flirtations, in excursions at a tangent, as the pen is apt to do."
Hall Caine was accused, when he began writing, of obscurity, of a
predilection for tortuous phrases. "I think that now I have almost
gone too far in the other direction," he says; "the critics blame me
for a neglect of style. But--you remember the story of Gough and his
diamond ring--I am determined not to let any diamond ring get between
me and my audience. Writing should not get between the reader and the
picture. I take a great joy in sheer lucidity, and if any sentence of
mine does not at the very first sight express my meaning, I rewrite
it. Obscurity of style indicates that the writer is not entirely
master of what he has to say."
When my husband, Micah Pyncheon, died he left me alone with our baby
girl, the farm, an' the grasshoppers. It happened in Kansas, in '76.
You don't mind my crying now, do you? 't seems as though I'd never get
the tears all out of me. The time ain't so far away, nor me so old,
but that those days spread out before me like a panorama, nat'ral as
life. I can feel that hot summer sun, not a cloud in the sky, an' the
smell of the bakin' earth movin' all the time in waves of heat until
you got dizzy with the motion an' the scent. An' the grasshoppers! You
can't know how they came a-flyin' by day an' by night in great brown
clouds; how they crept an' crawled an' squirmed through the wheat an'
the corn an' the grass, bitin' an' chewin' every green thing, leavin'
nothin' but black an' dry shreds, an' the earth more desolate than if
a fire had swept over it. They were everywhere out-of-doors; they came
into the house--down the chimney when they couldn't get in through the
door--an' I've picked their bony bodies out of my pockets many a time,
an' knocked 'em off the table so as I might put down a dish. If you
killed one, a thousand came to the funeral. All day an' all night you
heard the click, click, click of their bodies as they walked about,
jumped here an' there, or rubbed against one another. An' poor Micah's
body under the blanket--they were all about it, an' I havin' to brush
'em away. Anybody would 'a' cried if they'd been in my place, such a
dreary day was that--me an' baby all alone, with the village ten miles
off, an' not a soul nearer than neighbor King, three miles away.
Seems to me I don't know how Micah died, it was all so sudden like.
All day he'd been out in the sun a-fightin' the hoppers, an' tryin' to
work when he wasn't fightin'; an' he came in with his head a hangin'
forward an' not a smile on his lips as he put up his hat an' rolled
down his sleeves.
"I'm downright discouraged, Miranda," he said at last, lookin' out of
the window. "There's no use in standin' up agin natur an' the hoppers.
They eat faster'n I can kill 'em, an' in a week the crops 'ull be
about all gone. It looks as though when winter comes we won't have
anythin' to eat. I b'lieve I've killed ten thousand of those creatures
to-day, an' yet they came faster'n drops in a rain-storm."
Then he picked up little Hannah an' lay down on the bed with her in
his arms, sayin' no more. I bustled 'round--speakin' nothing, an' as
quiet as possible, knowin' how tired in mind an' body the poor man
was--an' fixed up a nice supper. When the table was all set, an' the
food on it, an' everything as cheerful an' encouragin' as the hoppers
would let me make it, I called Micah. But he didn't answer; so I
stepped across the room an' put my hand on his face, so as to wake him
gently, as I was used to doin'.
Oh, dear! Oh, dear! The loved face was cold and white, an' I give one
scream an' fell beside him, knowin' nothin'. Yes, Micah was
dead--gone to sleep never to waken, passed from life with little
Hannah snuggled in his arms.
No wonder I cry when I remember that lonesome night, holdin' the
little one in my arms an' watchin' the still face on the bed, knowin'
that nevermore those eyes would look into mine, nevermore those cold
lips would speak to me. An' when the mornin' came, gray an' hopeless,
there was no one but me an' the baby an' poor Micah's body; an' the
hoppers a-creepin' an' a-crawlin' all through the house as if they
were a-buyin' of it at auction, a-rustlin' their wings an' a-hustlin'
their bodies until I thought theie was a cool wind instead of a hot,
breathless mornin'. I covered up the dear face, an', kneelin' by his
side, prayed an' cried, an' cried an' prayed. It was all I could do
for my husband of three years. I don't know what else I did, what else
I thought. I saw nothin', heard nothin', until somebody's hand fell
upon my shoulder.
"Why, Mrs. Pyncheon!" was the cry, an' lookin' up through my tears I
saw neighbor King a-standin' by me. "I was goin' up the road," he
said, "an' thought I'd stop an' say good-mornin'. Where's Micah? In
the field, an' you a-cryin' for lonesomeness?"
I answered nothin'; but put up my hand an' pulled back the sheet from
the dear dead face.
"My God!" was all he said, an' he staggered back to a chair an' sat in
it for five minutes without a word, his face in his hands.
"Madam, forgive me! I never dreamed of such a thing," he cried at
last, recoverin' himself; "an' when an' how did it happen?"
I told him the story between sobs, breakin' down every few words.
Thank Heaven! it wasn't a long story, or I should have gone crazy
before it was told. He was silent for quite a spell, as if he was
a-meditatin' over the situation, lookin' mostly at poor Micah as if
drawin' ideas from the cold lips.
"Now, Mrs. Pyncheon!" he said finally, in his solemn voice an' grave,
slow way of talkin',--"now, Mrs. Pyncheon, you must trust everythin'
to me. You're beat out. I've no women folks in my house, as you know;
but I'll ride to town an' get an old lady, a friend of mine, to come
out an' help you through. I'll see, too, that poor Micah has a coffin
an' a minister. Be the brave little woman, Mrs. Pyncheon, that Micah
would tell you to be, if he could speak. By sun-down I'll have
somebody you can talk to an' who'll cheer you up better than I can.
To-morrow--to-morrow we'll bury the poor man!"
When he said this it set me to cryin'. Then it was so still that I
looked up an' found myself alone. A-down the road was a line of dust,
an' I heard the muffled footfalls of neighbor King's horse on his way
to the village.
An' "to-morrow we'll bury him" were words that all that long,
lonesome, hot day kept soundin' in my ears as if some one was callin'
'em out with the tickin' of the clock. "Bury him"--an' Micah dead only
a few hours! I couldn't believe it, an' would stop an' listen for his
whistle at the barn, his talk to the horses, his rattle at the pump,
his footfall at the door, until, crazy with waitin,' I'd go over to
the bed, pull back the sheet, an' in the still face read why I should
never hear those happy sounds again--never again.
Ah, well! The sun went down at last; the long, dreary day was ended,
an' in the twilight came back my good neighbor with motherly Mrs.
Challen--an'--an'--it hurts me even now to tell it--the coffin for.
Micah. In it those two good people softly placed him, an' all that
night I watched its shape between me an' the window.
[Illustration: "MRS. CHALLEN HELD ME IN HER ARMS."]
The next day, in the mornin', under the trees in the little grove
across from the house, my Micah was laid to rest forever--placed so
that when I looked out of the window or the door I could see the mound
of earth between the fence of tree limbs woven around it, an' seem'
it, know that in that spot was buried one who in my young life was
more to me than earth or heaven. I never understood how I got through
those two terrible days. I can't remember distinctly. It's all
dream-like, as if in a thin, grayish fog. I know that Mrs. Challen
held me in her arms--for I was a fragile, girlish thing--like a
mother; that the minister said words I never heard; that the strange
faces of a few farm people from miles away looked at me; that the
grasshoppers were under foot an' in the air an' even on the coffin;
but, above all else, I recall, movin' among the other people like
somebody from another world, the tall, straight form and sad face of
neighbor King. It was neighbor King who managed everything from the
minute his hand fell upon my shoulder that mornin' until the last limb
was knit into the rough fence around the lonely grave. What would have
happened to me without him?
I'm only a woman--one of the weak ones, I s'pose--for I broke down
entirely the night after poor Micah was buried, Mrs. Challen said I
went crazy; that I'd kneel down at the side of the bed an' cry as if
my heart would break; that again an' again I went to the front door
an' looked up an' down the lonely, treeless road, an' then to the back
door, where I would call "Micah!" "Micah!"--just as I'd been used to
callin' him to his meals, an' I'd listen, with my hand to my ear, to
hear him answer. Last of all, worst of all, she said, I went
staggerin' across the street, an', pushin' through the rough fence,
threw myself upon the grave an' begged of the Great Father to give me
back the dead that had been so much to me when he was living. I don't
wonder at my losing my head. Micah an' I were both so young, an' we
had loved each other so much, as common folks often do, that to lose
him was robbin' my life of all its brightness an' sweetness.
The mornin' after the funeral neighbor King was round bright an'
early, findin' me red-eyed an' weakly.
"Well! well! Mrs. Pyncheon," he began, in what was for him a cheery
voice, "what are we a-goin' to do now besides summin' up a little? Are
we goin' to our relations?"
"No, Mr. King," I answered, havin' thought over the matter a little,
"no, I'm goin' to stay here. I have no relation I want to bother.
Here's the place for me an' Hannah. The farm is paid for, an' all I
have is here an'--an' over there," turnin' my face to the spot where
Micah lay. "If the grasshoppers 'ull let me, I stay."
[Illustration: "THE MORNIN' AFTER THE FUNERAL NEIGHBOR KING WAS ROUND
BRIGHT AN' EARLY."]
"Quite right, madam. Very sensible. But, of course, while you can do a
good deal, you can't work the farm all alone. That's impossible. I've
been givin' the matter some thought, an' intend to help you out, if
you'll let me. Suppose we work it on shares? You name my share, ma'am,
an' I'll take care that my men look after the hard work for you. The
hoppers won't leave much for this year; but what there is you shall
have, an' I'll get my share for this year out of next year's crops.
I'm glad that suits you. Now, you must not live here alone. One of my
men has a sister in the village, a stout, healthy, willin' girl, who
wants a home. She'll be glad to come here. I'll try to superintend
affairs for you, if you're willin', an' make the best of everything.
Oh, we'll keep you in good shape, never fear; but you mustn't mind my
askin' questions, so that I can get a knowledge of affairs. Now, don't
thank me. I'd rather you wouldn't. Just keep cheerful, an' as long as
we've got to live, let's make the best of life."
[Illustration: "THERE WAS HARDLY A DAY HE DID NOT RIDE OVER THE LITTLE
FARM TO SEE HOW THINGS WERE GOIN'."]
This was very good from neighbor King--somethin' you wouldn't expect
from such a sad or solemn-lookin' man, a man so quiet, so reserved,
appearin' always as if he had some grief of his own, so that he could
sympathize with others in misery. He must have been forty years old,
for his dark brown hair was showin' gray around the temples, an' there
were deep wrinkles around the corners of his mouth, an' lots of little
ones around his deep, sunken brown eyes. It always seemed to me as if
he'd been constructed for a minister or a lawyer, an' stopped half way
as a farmer. He was no half-acre farmer, but a worker of hundreds of
acres; an' my little homestead was only a potato patch alongside of
his. The queerest thing about his place was that there wasn't a woman
on it. All the work, cookin' an' everything was done by men. Well,
girls was scarce in those days an' those parts, an' perhaps that was
the reason. Maybe, again, he was afraid of women, an' didn't want 'em
bossin' around his work. I didn't know an' didn't care. It was no
concern of mine. I only knew he was mighty good to me in my
affliction--the truest, steadiest, most unselfish friend a forlorn
woman could have; an' every night I prayed for that same neighbor
King, askin' the Lord to bless him for the goodness an' kindness he
had shown to me.
True enough, the grasshoppers didn't leave me much that year, just
enough to keep soul and body together, with economy. The pesky things
eat everything from pussly to leaves. I b'lieve they'd 'a' eaten the
green out of the sky if they could 'a' got at it. Why, the earth
looked as if the devil had gone over it with a brush of brown paint,
missin' a spot here an' there that come up green after the critters
had got away. There was only one thing they didn't eat, an' that was
themselves--more's the pity!
Neighbor King (his other name was Horace, I found out afterwards)
watched my farm matters pretty closely the second year. He tended to
my interests before his own, because, as he said, I was a widow an'
must not suffer. There was hardly a day he did not ride over the
little farm to see how things were goin', always stopping at the door
to have a cheerful talk, or to give me, when comin' from the village,
a crumb or two of news of the big world so far away; an' often he left
a newspaper, that I might read myself what was a-goin' on. This man
did everything, in his grave, soothin' way, to smooth down my
sorrow--not to lead me to forget, for that was impossible--an' make
the roadway of my life as pleasant as a country lane hedged in with
sweet-smellin' flowers an' alive with birds nestlin' and twitterin'
among the buds and blossoms. In this quiet, restful, peaceful way
neighbor King came, in three years, to build his life into mine,
until, thinkin' matters over, I realized that he was necessary to make
that life pleasant. I didn't forget poor Micah--how could I? At the
same time I felt that I could not go on alone the balance of my life
with the hunger in my heart for some one to love an' to love me. An'
he? Well, not a word out of line had been spoken; but I read the
change in his eyes, his looks, his manners, in the tones of his voice.
Women read where there's neither print nor writin'. I couldn't tell
why he should love me, though as women go I was young--fifteen years
younger than he, an' fair lookin', an' a worker. I was companionable
an' in sympathy with him. Put yourself in my place an' be the
lonesome, forlorn creature I was, an' see if you wouldn't love the man
who put aside the dark clouds an' gave you sunshine to drown despair,
an' a cheerful voice instead of silence. Neither of us spoke. It
wasn't necessary. We understood. An' because of that to me the skies
were brighter, an' the earth more beautiful, the days fuller of
nature's music, an' there was hope an' quiet joy everywhere.
[Illustration: "HE DIDN'T STOP, AS WAS HIS HABIT, BUT CANTERED BY,
HEAD DOWN AND REINS LOOSE."]
Ah, me! I didn't know it; but behind this sunny life, back of this bit
of heaven that came down all around me, was a big, black cloud full of
storm. I remember well the evenin' it first began to show itself. I
saw neighbor King comin' down the road from the village, on his pony.
He didn't stop, as was his habit, but cantered by, head down and reins
loose. Then, as if he'd forgotten somethin', he wheeled the horse
sharp around, trotted back, threw the bridle over a fence-post, an'
came in. I saw somethin' was the matter from the absent-minded way he
talked an' by his lookin' mostly at the floor.
Strange, too, he began about crops an' prices; then he had somethin'
to say about the village, and from that to livin' in big cities, an'
how such places changes people's natures, makin' women different
creatures--more bold, more forgetful of friends, less kindly to their
sex, than those of the country; an' he said it all as slowly an'
softly an' solemnly as those ministers pray who don't think the Lord's
deaf. He seemed to be tryin' to get at somethin' by goin' round it;
an' I thought that somethin' was me.
"Neighbor King," I said finally, "you always speak so kindly of women
folks that it seems odd to me that you never have a woman on your
farm; an' odder still that you've never married."
"Mrs. Pyncheon," his face lightin' up like the sky just before
sunrise, "you an' I are old an' tried friends, an' I know you'll
respect an' keep secret what I'm going to tell you, an' what, to be
plain, I came to tell you. I knew, an' I didn't wonder, that you
thought it strange I'd never married. The Lord only knows how I hunger
for a woman's love, a woman's talk, a woman's presence where I can see
her. I would give all I am worth if I could take a good woman by the
hand as my wife, an' go forth even to begin life over again. Hunger
an' thirst are terrible; but they are easily borne in comparison with
the hunger an' thirst for a woman's love that I have endured for
years. No one can realize my lonesomeness, Mrs. Pyncheon;" an'
reachin' out he caught my hands in his. "I've been your friend for
years. You know it. I believe you've been mine. Will you continue such
when I keep from you a truth I dare not tell, an' give you in its
place a fact that you must know? I know you to be brave an' strong.
You'll be so now, an' secret, too--for no one here knows what I'm
goin' to tell you. Mrs. Pyncheon, I am a married man."
I couldn't help it; but the news was so sudden an' so startlin' that
my hands came away from his with a wrench, an' I drew away, feelin'
hurt an' shamed, if not guilty; an' I felt a flush of anger burnin' my
"There! there! don't misjudge me, Mrs. Pyncheon. Pity me, instead.
I've made no attempt to deceive you. I've been silent, because I could
not talk about a matter that was sad an' sacred. Yes, I'm married;
but"--an' great tears came into his eyes--"my wife has been hopelessly
insane for ten years. You buried Micah an' mourned for him, knowin' he
was dead; I buried my wife alive, God knows whether I've grieved for
her. She is in an insane asylum. For years I could not break away an'
leave her; it seemed so heartless to desert one who had been the joy
an' pride of my youth. But the doctor told me that it was death for me
if I stayed; that I could not last more than a year goin' on as I'd
been livin'. Now you can understand why I am here, solitary an'
hopeless, without a friend--unless I can call you one?"
"You never had a truer one, neighbor King," my heart speakin' out its
gratitude. "When I think of what you've done for me, an' how you've
thought of me, all when the world was the darkest,--why, it seems as
if my life was too short in which to say all my prayers for you."
Perhaps I spoke particularly quick an' spirited, an' perhaps my eyes
showed more'n I spoke; for he looked very queerly at me for a minute,
his face lightin' up in a way it was unused to, an' then he said,
"Thank you, Mrs. Pyncheon; I think I understand. I shall not forget
this meetin'. Good-by." An', before I knew what he meant to do, he
stooped an' kissed my forehead, an' was out of the house before I
I wasn't angry; I wasn't hurt. If the truth was given, I was
delighted; for I, too, was hungry an' thirsty for a little love. I was
woman enough to know what that kiss meant. At the same time I grieved
for the poor man, chained, so to speak, to a crazy person, bearin' his
unseen burden so uncomplainingly, an' doin' God-like work all the
year round. But the more I thought over that kiss, the more I realized
that between neighbor King an' myself had been suddenly put up a high
wall, he on one side, I on the other; an' that in the future I should
see him very seldom.
It happened as I thought. Days passed, an' neighbor King came not. The
thumpety-thump of his pony no longer sounded along the road. Mornin's
and evenin's came an' went, an' not a "howdy-do" in his pleasant
voice. I wasn't surprised; I expected as much for a time. Finally, one
of the hired men said he'd gone away. Then I put my lips together in a
dogged way an' settled down to a lonesome life, cheered a little by
the prattle of little Hannah, an' kept from rustin' by the farm work.
I was lonesome, very lonesome, when the evenin' shadows crept over the
ground, an' the crickets began to sing, the katydids to scold, an' the
hoot owl to give his mournful cry over in the grove where Micah lay.
[Illustration: "ONE OF HIS MEN BROUGHT ME A LETTER--THE FIRST I'D HAD
There was daybreak at last, though nearly a month after neighbor King
had gone. One of his men brought me a letter--the first I'd had for
years--an' I looked at it a long time before I opened it, wondering
what strange news it had for me to know, why I should have it, an'
what I should do with it now it had come. I knew the writin'. It was
neighbor King's. Was it good news, or news to shrivel my heart up as
with fire? I tore off an end an' pulled out the sheet. It didn't take
long to read it.
CHICAGO, _August 17, 187-._
MRS. PYNCHEON: I find that my wife has been dead a year.
The letter dropped from my hand. It was the heart-breaking end of a
love story--the closin' up of one of those little tragedies which the
world seldom hears about. Such love stories are happening all the
while among poor people, an' so are too common for the way-up world;
yet they are full of heartaches, an' hot, droppin' tears, an' great
sobs that are like moans. An' so my neighbor King had come to the end
of his tragedy; had found the idol of his young life an' love put away
in her grave, an' the waitin' an' hopin' was at an end. What that good
man must have suffered durin' those ten long years, nobody but himself
could know. Now that he was free, possibly he would sell his farm an'
go back to the city to live, an' I, to whom he had been so good an'
grand, would soon be forgotten. Ah! that was a bitin' thought. It
almost crazed me, now that I knew how much I loved him, to think of
being left alone to grow old an' wrinkled an' withered, an' no words
of comfort to cheer me up along the path walked by nobody but myself.
I knew he was too great a man to plough his talents into the soil or
to hide the light of his intellect in the jungles of his fields of
wheat or corn. That letter made me feel, somehow, that everything was
suddenly changed; that my little world was not the same as it had been
ten minutes before. The tears came into my eyes, an' I'm not sure but
I was sobbin' under a forlorn, lonesome feelin', when I heard a step
behind me, an' before I could put away the letter or wipe my eyes, a
hand was softly laid upon my shoulder. I sprang to my feet, too
frightened to speak. Instantly there was an arm around my neck an' a
kiss upon my cheek, an' I heard neighbor King say, with a happy laugh,
"It's only me, Miranda. I find I'm here as soon as my letter."
"I thought, you might not be comin' back," I whispered, with quiverin'
"Why, my darling, I've come back for you," he said, bendin' over an'
kissin' me again. "Didn't you understand me when I was here last?"
"I thought I did, but wasn't sure. The kiss was a sort of mystery. But
it's all plain now, an' I'm so happy;" an' like a little fool was off
to cryin' again, this time for gladness, an' he a-holdin' me close in
This may not read like much of a love story, yet it was a bitter story
for me, all in all, during the years from Micah's death to the golden
mornin' that brought such sweet relief an' rest. The thought troubles
me now an' then, but I don't believe that Micah, if he sees from the
other world what I've done, blames me for the change. He knows I can't
forget him, an' would not if I could.
Through months an' years of loneliness, of heartaches, of hopin' an'
expectin', of draggin' along for no particular purpose, save to keep
body an' soul together; with few joys, an' but little else than
sighin'; an' the great world made no more for me than a little farm, a
little house, an' a voiceless sky above me--what blame, then, have I,
if I brightened an' happified my life an' his by makin' neighbor King
THROUGH THE DARDANELLES.
BY CY WARMAN,
Author of "A Thousand-mile Ride on the Engine of a 'Flyer.'"
Soul of Sappho, if, to-night,
When my boat is drifting near
Your fair island, spirit bright--
If I sing, and if you hear,
From your island in the sea,
Soul of Sappho, speak to me.
Soul of Sappho, they have said
That your hair, a heap of gold,
Made a halo for your head;
And your eyes, I have been told,
Were like stars. Oh, from the sea,
Soul of Sappho, speak to me!
Constantinople may be considered as the end of the railway system of
the earth. Here, if you wish to see more of the Orient, you must take
to the sea. There is, to be sure, a projected railway out of the
Sultan's city into the interior, but only completed to Angora, three
hundred and sixty-five miles. The intention of the projectors was to
continue the road down to Bagdad, on the river Tigris, through which
they could reach the Persian Gulf.
[Illustration: SACRED DOGS, CONSTANTINOPLE.]
I had arranged to go to Angora, but found a ten-days' quarantine five
miles out of Constantinople, and backed into town, and then made an
effort to secure from the office of the titled German who stands for
the railway company, some idea of the road, its prospects, probable
cost, and estimated earnings, but had my letters returned without a
To show them that I was acting in good faith, and willing to pay for
what I got, I went with Vincent, the guide (the only guide I ever
had), and asked them for some printed matter or photographs, or
anything that would throw a little light along the line of their
plague-stricken railway; but they still refused to talk. No wonder it
has taken these dreamers ten years to build three hundred and sixty
miles of very cheap railroad.
It was my misfortune to fall into a little old Austrian-Lloyd steamer
called the "Daphne." Before we lifted anchor in the Golden Horn I
learned that her boilers had not been overhauled for ten years; and
before we reached the Dardanelles I concluded that the sand had not
been changed in the pillows for a quarter of a century. I have slept
in the American Desert for a period of thirty nights, between the
earth and the heavens, and found a better bed than was made by the
ossified mattress and petrified pillows of the "Daphne." It was bad
enough to breathe the foul air that came up from the camping pilgrims
on the main deck; but the first day out we learned that these ugly
Armenians, greasy Greeks, and buggy Bedouins would be allowed to come
up on the promenade deck and mingle with those who had paid for
first-class passage. Poorly clad, half-starved, poverty-stricken
people, headed for the Holy Land, came and rubbed elbows with American
and European women and children. Of course one sympathizes with these
poor, miserable people, but one does not want their secrets.
[Illustration: THE RAILROAD STATION AT CONSTANTINOPLE.]
We left the Bosporus at twilight, crossed the Sea of Marmora during
the night, and the next morning were at Gallipoli, where the
bird-seeds come from. The day broke beautifully, and the little sea
was as calm as a summer lake. By ten o'clock we were drifting down the
Dardanelles, which resembles a great river, for the land is always
near on either side.
The ship's doctor, who was my guide, at every landing-place kindly
pointed out the many points of interest.
"Those pyramids over there," he would say, "were erected by the Turks,
to commemorate a victory. Here is where Byron swam the sea from Europe
to Asia; and over there is where King Midas lived, whose touch turned
piastres to napoleons, and flounders to goldfish. Here, to the left,
on that hill, stood ancient Troy."
All things seemed to work together to make the day a most enjoyable
one, and just at nightfall the doctor came to me and said:
"See that island over there? That was the home of Sappho."
An hour later we anchored in a little natural harbor, and five of us
went ashore. Besides the ship's doctor (whose uniform was a sufficient
passport for all), there were in our party a Pole and a
Frenchman--both inspectors of revenue for the Turkish government, and
splendid fellows--a Belgian, and the writer. We entered a _cafe_
concert, where one man and five or six girls sat in a sort of balcony
at one end of the building and played at "fiddle." The main hall was
filled with small tables, at which were Greeks, Arabs, Armenians,
Turks, and negroes as black as a hole in the night. Between acts the
girls were expected to come down, distribute themselves about, and
consume beer and other fluid at the expense of the frequenters.
The girls were nearly all Germans, plain, honest, tired-looking
creatures, who seemed half embarrassed at seeing what they call
Europeans. One very pretty girl, with peachy checks, who, as we
learned, had for several evenings been in the habit of drinking beer
with a Greek, sat this evening with a dark Egyptian, almost jet-black.
The Greek--a hollow-chested, long-haired fellow--came in, and, the
moment he saw the girl with the chalk-eyed Egyptian, turned red, then
white, and then whipping out a pistol levelled it at the girl. Nearly
all the lights went out, and the girl dropped from the chair. When the
smoke and excitement cleared away, it was found that the bullet had
only parted the girl's hair, and she was able to take her fiddle and
beer when time was called.
At midnight we were rowed back to the boat, with all the poetry
knocked out of the isle of Sappho, hoisted anchor, and steamed away.
On the whole, however, the day had been most delightful. To me there
are no fairer stretches of water for a glorious day's sail than the
When we dropped anchor again, ten hours later, it was at Smyrna, the
garden of Asia Minor. Here I went ashore with my faithful guide the
doctor, and found a real railway.
THE FIRST RAILROAD IN ASIA MINOR.
The Ottoman Railway, whose headquarters are at Smyrna, was the first
in Asia Minor, and was begun by the English company which continues to
do business, thirty-six years ago. William Shotton, the locomotive
superintendent, showed us through the shops and buildings. One does
not need to be told that this property is managed by an English
company. I saw here the neatest, cleanest shops that I have ever seen
in any country. There were in the car shops some carriages just
completed, designed and built by native workmen who had learned the
business with the company, and I have not seen such artistic cars in
England or France.
Mr. Shotton explained to me that they found it necessary to ask an
applicant his religion before employing him, so as to keep the Greeks
and Catholics about equally divided; otherwise, the faction in the
majority would lord it over the weaker band to the detriment of the
service. An occasional Mohammedan made no difference, but the Greeks
and Catholics have it "in" for each other.
The Ottoman Railway Company has three hundred and fifty miles of good
railroad, and hope some day to be able to continue across to Bagdad,
though it is hinted by people not interested that the Sultan's
government favors the sleepy German company, to the embarrassment of
the Smyrna people, who have done so much for the development of this
marvellously blessed section.
We spent a pleasant day at Smyrna, with its watermelons, Turkish
coffee, and camels, and twenty-four hours later we were at the Isle of
Rhodes, where the great Colossus was. It was a dark, dreary, windy
night, and the Turks fought hard for the ship's ladder; for we had on
board a wise old priest from Paris, with a string of six or eight
young priests, who were to unload at Rhodes. Despite the cold, raw
wind and rain, men came aboard with canes, beads, and slippers made of
native wood--for there is a prison, here--and offered them for sale at
very low prices.
For the next forty-eight hours our little old ship was walloped about
in a boisterous sea, and when we stopped again it was at Mersina,
where a little railway runs up to Tarsus. As we arrived at this place
after sunset, which ends the Turkish day, we were obliged to lie here
twenty-four hours to get landing. An hour before sunset it is
twenty-three o'clock, an hour after it is one. That's the way the
Turks tell time.
[Illustration: JAFFA FROM THE HARBOR.]
On the morning of the second day after our arrival at this struggling
little port, our anchor touched bottom in the beautiful bay of
Alexandretta. Here they show you the quiet nook where the whale
"shook" Jonah. That was a sad and lasting lesson for the whale, for
not one of his kind has been seen in the Mediterranean since. All day
we watched them hoist crying sheep and mild-eyed cattle, with a
derrick, from row-boats, up over the deck, by the feet, and drop them
down into the ship just as carelessly as a boy would drop a string of
squirrels from his hand to the ground. The next morning we rode into
the only harbor on the Syrian coast, and anchored in front of the
beautiful city of Beyrout.
It would take too long to describe this place, even if I had the
power. To tell of the road to Damascus, the drives to the hills of
Lebanon, through the silk farms; the genial and obliging American
consul, and the American college. Here, after nine days and nights, we
said "good-by" to the obliging crew of the poor old "Daphne."
[Illustration: A CREW OF JAFFA BOATMEN.]
For nearly a week the steamers had been passing Jaffa without landing,
and the result was that Beyrout and Port Said were filled with
passengers and pilgrims for the Holy Land. All day the Russian
steamer, which we were to take, had been loading with deck or steerage
passengers, poorer and sicker and hungrier, if possible, than those on
the "Daphne." It was dark when they had finished, and when we steamed
out of the harbor we had seven hundred patches of poverty piled up on
It began to rain shortly, that cold, damp rain that seems to go with a
rough sea just as naturally as red liquor goes with crime. For a week
or more these miserable, misguided beggars had been carried by Jaffa,
from Beyrout to Port Said, then from Port Said to Beyrout, unable to
land. The good captain caused a canvas to be stretched over the
shivering, suffering mob that covered the deck, but the pitiless rain
beat in, and the wind moaned the rigging, and the ship rolled and
pitched and ploughed through the black sea, and the poor pilgrims
regretted the trip, in each other's laps. All night, and till nearly
noon the next day, they lay there, more dead than alive, and the
hardest part of their pilgrimage was yet before them.
If you have ever seen a flock of hungry gulls around a floating
biscuit, you can form a very faint idea of a mob of native boatmen
storming a ship at Jaffa. Of course, the ladders are filled first,
then those who have missed the ladders drive bang against the ship,
grab a rope or cable, or anything they can grasp, and run up the iron,
slippery side of the ship as a squirrel runs up a tree.
[Illustration: A STREET SCENE IN JERUSALEM.]
From the top of the ship they began to fire the bags, bundles, and
boxes of the deck passengers down into the broad boats that lay so
thick at the ship's side as to hide the sea entirely. When they had
thrown everything overboard that was loose at one end, they began on
the poor pilgrims.
Women, old and young, who were scarcely able to stand up, were dragged
to the ladders and down to the last step. Here they were supposed to
wait for the boat into which the Arabs were preparing to pitch them,
for the sea was still very rough. Now the bottom step of the ladder
was in the water, now six feet above, but what did these poor ignorant
Russians know about gymnastics? When the rolling sea brought the
row-boats up, the pilgrim usually hesitated, while the bare-armed and
bare-legged boatmen yelled and wrenched her hands from the chains. By
the time the Mohammedans had shaken her loose, and the victim had
crossed herself, the ladder was six or eight feet from the small boat;
but it was too late to stay her now, even if the Arabs had wished to,
but they did not. When she made the sign of the cross, that decided
them, and they let her drop. Some waiting Turks made a feeble attempt
to catch the sprawling woman, but not much. Sometimes, before one
could rise, another woman--for they were nearly all women--would drop
upon her bent back. Sometimes, when the first boat was filled, an Arab
would catch the pilgrim on his neck, and she could then be seen riding
him away, as a woman rides a bicycle. From one boat to another he
would leap with his helpless victim, and finally pitch her forward,
over his own head, into an empty boat, where she would lie limp and
helpless, and regret it some more.
I saw one poor girl, with great heavy boots on her feet, with
horse-shoe nails in the heels, fall into the bottom of a boat, and,
before she could get up, three large women were dropped in her lap.
Just then the boat, being full, pulled off, and I saw her faint; her
head fell back, and her deathlike face showed how she suffered. It was
rare sport for the Mohammedans.
"Jump," they would say to the Christians; "don't be afraid; Christ
will save you!"
It was four P.M. when the last of these miserable people, who ought to
have been at home hoeing potatoes, left the ship. An hour later a long
dark line of smoke was stretching out across the plain of Sharon,
behind a locomotive drawing a train of stock cars. These cars held the
seven hundred pilgrims bound for Jerusalem. It will be midnight when
they arrive at the Holy City, and they will have no money and no place
to sleep. Ah, I forgot. They will go to the Russian hospice, where
they will find free board and lodging. It is kind and thoughtful in
the Russian church people to care for those poor pilgrims, now that
they are here, but it is not right nor kind to encourage them to come.
It will be strangely interesting to them at first, but when they have
seen it all, there will be nothing for them but idleness. Nothing to
do but walk, walk, up the valley of Jehoshaphat and down the road to
Nearly all the "places of interest" in and about Jerusalem have been
collected together, and are now exhibited under one roof, in the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Most travellers go there first, but they
should not. One should go first to the Mount of Olives, survey, and
try to understand the country. It is easy to believe that this is the
original mount. There, at your feet, is the Garden of Gethsemane, and
beyond the gulch of Jehoshaphat (for it is not a valley) is the dome
of the marvellous Mosque of Omar. It is easy to believe, also, that
the dome of this mosque covers the rock where Abraham was about to
offer up his son, for it is surely the highest point on Mount Moriah.
Looking along the wall you can see the Golden Gate, with the decay of
which, the Mohammedans say, will come the fall of Islam, just as the
Sultan's power shall pass away when the last sacred dog dies. Looking
down the canon you see the old King's Garden, the pool of Siloam, the
Virgin's Well, and, farther down, some poor houses where the lepers
live. Still farther, fourteen miles away, and four thousand feet below
you, lies the deep Dead Sea, beyond which are the hills of Moab. If
you have been lucky enough to come up here without a guide or dragoman
with a bosom full of ivory-handled revolvers and long knives, you will
sit for hours spellbound. The guide tries too hard to give you your
money's worth. He will not allow you to muse over these things, which
are reasonably real and true, but will tell you the most marvellous
stories, which you cannot believe. He will show you the grave of
Moses, and I am told that the Scriptures say, "No man knoweth where
his grave is;" yet, if you doubt, the guide feels hurt. He will ask
you to harken to the "going in the mulberries," and if you say you
don't hear he is surprised.
[Illustration: LEPERS IN JERUSALEM.]
I made no notes of Jerusalem, for I did not and do not intend to write
of it. It was well done long ago by a man equally innocent and more
abroad, and has not changed much since. The Turks are still on guard
at the cradle and the grave of Christ, to try and keep the devout
Christians from spattering up the walls with each other's blood. The
lamps have been carefully and nearly equally divided between the
Greeks, Catholics, and Armenians, as well as the space around and the
time for worship.
What strikes the traveller most forcibly on seeing Jerusalem for the
first time is the littleness of everything. The Mount of Olives is a
little mound; Mount Moriah is a scarcely perceptible rise of ground;
Mount Zion is a gentle hill; the valley of Jehoshaphat is a deep, ugly
gulch, with scarcely enough water in it to wet a postage stamp: and
the Tyropoeon Valley is an alley. Then you look at the unspeakable
poverty, the dreariness, the miles of piles of hueless rocks, and are
interested. The desert is interesting because it is desolate, but it
is an awful interest. The people--the beggars that hound you--are as
poor, as dwarfed and deformed as the gnarled trees that try to live on
the naked rocks.
One day in a narrow street we met two women who nearly blocked the
"They are lepers!" cried the guide, pushing me by them. I started to
run, for never had the voice of man thrilled and filled me with such
fear; but, remembering my photographic machine, I had the guide throw
them some coin, and made a picture, but not a good one. I was
surprised that the poor beggar near whose feet the money fell made no
effort to pick it up, but continued to pray to us, and waited for her
companion. Then I saw that there were no fingers on her hands.
THE EARLIEST PORTRAIT OF LINCOLN
LETTERS IN REGARD TO THE FRONTISPIECE OF THE NOVEMBER MCCLURE'S.
FROM THE HON. THOMAS M. COOLEY, for many years Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of Michigan, and the first Chairman of the Inter-State
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN, _October 24, 1895._
MR. S.S. MCCLURE, _New York City_.
_Dear Sir_: I have received the daguerreotype likeness you sent me on
the 19th inst., and which you understand to be the first ever taken of
Mr. Lincoln. I am delighted to have the opportunity to see and inspect
it. I think it a charming likeness; more attractive than any other I
have seen, principally perhaps because of the age at which it was
taken. The same characteristics are seen in it which are found in all
subsequent likenesses--the same pleasant and kindly eyes, through
which you feel, as you look into them, that you are looking into a
great heart. The same just purposes are also there; and, as I think,
the same unflinching determination to pursue to final success the
course once deliberately entered upon. And what particularly pleases
me is that there is nothing about the picture to indicate the low
vulgarity that some persons who knew Mr. Lincoln in his early career
would have us believe belonged to him at that time. The face is very
far from being a coarse or brutal or sensual face. It is as refined in
appearance as it is kindly. It seems almost impossible to conceive of
this as the face of a man to be at the head of affairs when one of the
greatest wars known to history was in progress, and who could push
unflinchingly the measures necessary to bring that war to a successful
end. Had it been merely a war of conquest, I think we can see in this
face qualities that would have been entirely inconsistent with such a
course, and that would have rendered it to this man wholly impossible.
It is not the face of a bloodthirsty man, or of a man ambitious to be
successful as a mere ruler of men; but if a war should come involving
issues of the very highest importance to our common humanity, and that
appealed from the oppression and degradation of the human race to the
higher instincts of our nature, we almost feel, as we look at this
youthful picture of the great leader, that we can see in it as plainly
as we saw in his administration of the government when it came to his
hands that here was likely to be neither flinching nor shadow of
turning until success should come.
Very respectfully yours,
THOMAS M. COOLEY.
* * * * *
FROM HERBERT B. ADAMS, Professor of History in Johns Hopkins
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, _October 24, 1895._
S.S. MCCLURE, ESQ., 30 _Lafayette Place, New York City_.
_My Dear Mr. McClure_: I thank you for a copy of the new portrait of
Abraham Lincoln, which I shall promptly have framed and exhibited to
my historical students. Indeed, I called it to their attention this
morning, and they are all greatly interested in this remarkable
likeness of the Saviour of his Country. The portrait indicates the
natural character, strength, insight, and humor of the man before the
burdens of office and the sins of his people began to weigh upon him.
The prospect of a new life of Lincoln, revealing the Man as well as
the Statesman, is most pleasing. From the previous work of Miss
Tarbell on Napoleon, and from her preliminary sketches of Lincoln's
boyhood, I am confident that this new series which you have undertaken
to publish will have unique interest for the American people, and
prove an unqualified success. The illustrations of the first number
are worthy of the subject-matter. You have secured a wonderful
combination of literary skill and artistic excellence in the
presentation of Lincoln's life.
Very sincerely yours,
* * * * *