Part 5 out of 7
for auction, buying the whole cargo for 10,000 gulden. "You will do the
poor orphan a good turn if you buy it," said the lieutenant. "Otherwise,
the value of the cargo will all go in salvage."
Timar at once made arrangements for hauling up the sacks, and for the
immediate drying and grinding of the corn, and all day labourers were at
work on the wreck.
At nightfall Timar, left alone, noticed one sack differently marked from
the rest--marked with a red crescent! Within this was a long leathern
bag. He broke it open and found it full of diamonds, emeralds, and
sapphires richly set in girdles and bracelets and rings. A whole heap of
unset diamonds were in an agate box. The whole treasure was worth at
least 1,000,000 gulden. The St. Barbara had carried a million on board!
"To whom does this treasure belong?"
Timar put the question to himself, and answered it.
"Why, whom should it belong to but you? You bought the sunken cargo,
just as it is, with the sacks and the grain. If the treasurer stole the
jewels from the sultan, the sultan probably stole them in his
"Timea would not know how to use the treasure, and her adopted father
would absorb it, and get rid of nine-tenths of it. What would be the
result if Timea gets it? She would be a rich lady, and would not cast a
look at you from her height. Now things are the other way--you will be a
rich man and she a poor girl. You do not want the treasure for yourself.
You will invest it profitably, and when you have earned with the first
million a second and a third, you will go to the poor girl and say,
'There, take it--it is all yours; and take me, too.' You only wish to
become rich in order to make her happy."
The moon and the waves cried to Timar, "You are rich--you are a made
But when it was dark an inward voice whispered,
"You are a thief!"
From that day all Timar's undertakings flourished, and step by step he
reached the summit of an ordinary successful business man's ambition--
the title of nobility. At the same time Brazovics, who had treated Timar
with brutal inconsiderateness because of the wreck of the St. Barbara,
went steadily down-hill, borrowing and embezzling trust monies in his
Lieutenant Katschuka had declared all along that he could not marry
Athalie without a dowry, and when the wedding day arrived, Brazovics,
unable to face his creditors, and knowing himself bankrupt, penniless,
and fraudulent, committed suicide. Katschuka immediately declared the
engagement at an end. In his heart he had long wearied of Athalie, and
looked with desire on Timea. The orphan girl from the first had loved
the lieutenant with silent, unspoken affection.
When the Brazovics' house was put up for sale Timar bought it outright,
furniture and all, and then said to Timea, "From this day forth you are
the mistress of this house. Everything in it belongs to you, all is
inscribed in your name. Accept it from me. You are the owner of the
house, and if there is a little shelter for me in your heart, and you
did not refuse my hand--then I should be only too happy."
Timea gave her hand to Timar, and said in a low, firm voice, "I accept
you as my husband, and will be a faithful and obedient wife."
This man had always been so good to her. He had never made sport of her
nor flattered her, and he had saved her life on the Danube when the St.
Barbara was sinking. He had given her all her heart could desire except
one thing, and that belonged to another.
_III.--The Ownerless Island_
On his betrothal to Timea a great burden was lifted from the soul of
Timar. Since the day when the treasure of Ali Tschorbadschi had enabled
him to achieve power and riches, Timar had been haunted by the voice of
self-accusation; "This money does not belong to you--it was the property
of an orphan. You are a man of gold! You are a thief!"
But now the defrauded orphan had received back her property. Only Timar
forgot that he had demanded in exchange the girl's heart.
Timea promised to be a faithful and obedient wife, but on the wedding-
day when Timar said, "Do you love me?" she only opened wide her eyes,
and asked, "What is love?"
Timar found he had married a marble statue; and that all his riches
would not buy his wife's love. He became wretched, conscious that his
wife was unhappy, that he was the author of their mutual misery.
Then, in the early summer, Timar went off from Komorn to shoot water-
fowl. He meant to go to the ownerless island at Ostrova--it was three
years since that former visit.
Therese and Noemi welcomed him cordially at the island, and Timar forgot
his troubles when he was with them. Therese told him her story; how her
husband, ruined by the father of Theodor Krisstyan and by Athanas
Brazovics, had committed suicide, and how, forsaken and friendless, she
had brought her child to this island, which neither Austria nor Turkey
claimed, and where no tax-collector called. With her own hands she had
turned the wilderness into a paradise, and the only fear she had was
that Theodor Krisstyan, who had discovered her retreat, might reveal it
to the Turkish government.
Therese had no money and no use for it, but she exchanged fruit and
honey for grain, salt, clothes, and hardware, and the people with whom
she bartered were not inclined to gossip about her affairs.
So no news concerning the island ever went to Vienna, Komorn, or
Constantinople, and the fact of Timar's great prosperity had not reached
the islanders. He was welcomed as a hard-working man, and Therese did
not know that Timar had been powerful enough to get a ninety years'
lease of the island from both Turkish and Austrian governments; perhaps
no very difficult matter, as the existence of the island was unknown,
and there were fees to be paid over the concession.
When he told her what he had done, Noemi threw her arms round his neck.
Theodor Krisstyan was furious, but Timar procured him a post in Brazil,
and for a long time the disreputable spy was too far off to be
And now on this island Timar found health and rest. It became his home,
and for the summer months every year he would slip away from Komorn, and
no one, not even Timea, guessed his secret. When he returned Timea's
cold white face was still an unsolved riddle to her husband. She would
greet him kindly, but never was there any token that she loved him.
Timar's ever-increasing business operations were excuse for his long
absences, but all the same the double life he was leading made him ill.
He could not tell Timea of Therese and Noemi, and he could not tell them
on the island that he was married.
Timea, on her side, devoted herself more and more to her husband's
business in his absence, and when Major Katschuka once called and asked
her if she could not arrange for a divorce, she answered gently, "My
husband is the noblest man in the world. Should I separate from him who
has no one but me to love him? Am I to tell him that I hate him, I who
owe everything to him, and who brought him no dowry but a loveless
Timar learnt from Athalie, who lived in Timea's house, of this reply,
and felt more in despair than ever. He wanted Timea to be happy, she had
never been his wife except in name, for he had been waiting for her
And he wanted to go away, and leave all his riches behind, and settle on
the island. Now more than ever was he wanted on the island, for Therese
had died of heart failure, and the years had made Noemi a woman.
_IV.--"My Name is Nobody"_
It was winter, and Timar had gone off alone to a house that belonged to
him near a frozen lake. He felt the time had come for flight, but
Theodor Krisstyan had turned up again. In Brazil he had heard a story of
Ali Tschorbadschi's jewels from an old criminal from Turkey, and he had
returned to blackmail Timar. But he did not find him till Timar was at
the frozen lake.
Krisstyan's story was not true. Timar knew that the accusations were
false as he listened to the vagabond's indictment. He had not "killed"
Timea's father, nor "stolen" his treasure. But he had played a false
game, and his position was a false one. Krisstyan demanded a change of
raiment, and Timar let him take clothes and shirts. But at last the
blackmailer's demands became too insolent, and Timar drove him out of
And now it seemed to Timar that his own career was finished. This
ruffian Krisstyan could expose the foundation of his wealth, and how
could he live discredited before the world?
On the frozen water there were great fissures between the blocks of ice.
Within the waves of the lake death would come quickly. Timar walked out
on the ice, and there before him the head of Theodor Krisstyan rose in
the water and then sank. The spy had not known the treachery of the
Timar fled to the ownerless island, and when the corpse of Krisstyan was
discovered, in an advanced stage of decomposition, Timea declared she
recognized her husband's clothes.
So the body of Theodor Krisstyan was buried with great pomp, and a year
later Timea married Major Katschuka, and then, haunted by the doubt
whether her first husband was really dead, pined away.
No blessing rested on the wealth Timar left behind him. The only son
Timea bore to the major was a great spendthrift, and in his hands the
fabulous wealth vanished as quickly as it had grown.
* * * * *
And what is passing meanwhile on the ownerless island?
Forty years have passed since Timar's disappearance from Komorn, and the
island is now a complete model farm. Recently, a friend of mine, an
ardent naturalist, took me to the island. I had heard as a child of
Timar and his wealth.
Every inch of ground is utilised or serves to beautify the place. The
tobacco grown here has the most exquisite aroma, and the beehives look
from a distance like a small town with many-shaped roofs.
It is easy to see that the owner of the island understands luxury, and
yet that owner never has a farthing to call his own; no money ever
enters the island. Those however, who need the exports know also the
requirements of the islanders, and bring them for barter.
The whole colony consisted of one family, and each was called only by
his Christian name. The six sons of the first settler had married women
of the district, and the numbers of grandchildren and
great-grandchildren already exceeded forty, but the island maintained
them all. Poverty was unknown; they lived in luxury; each knew some
trade, and if they had been ten times as many, their labour would have
When we arrived on the island, the nominal head of the family, a
well-built man of forty, received us cordially, and in the evening
presented us to his parents.
When my name was mentioned to the old man he looked long at me, and a
visible colour rose in his cheeks. I began to tell him of what was going
on in the world, that Hungary was now united to Austria, and that the
taxes were very heavy.
He blew a cloud from his pipe, and the smoke said, "My island has
nothing to do with that, we have no taxes here."
I told him of wars, financial panics, the strife of religion and
politics, and the smoke seemed to say, "We wage war with no one here.
Thank God, we have no money here and no elections or ministers."
Presently the old man asked me where I was born, and what my profession
was? And when I told him that I wrote romances, he said, "Guess my
story. There was once a man who left a world in which he was admired and
respected, and created a second world in which he was loved."
"May I venture to ask your name?" I said.
The old man seemed to grow a head taller; then, raising his trembling
hands, he laid them on my head. And it seemed to me as if once, long,
long before those same hands had rested on my head when childish curls
covered it, and that I had seen that noble face before.
"My name is Nobody," he replied to my question; and after that night I
saw him no more during our stay on the island.
The privileges granted by two governments to the owner of the island
will last for fifty years more. And who knows what may happen to the
world in fifty years?
* * * * *
A Dead Man's Diary
Coulson Kernahan, born at Ilfracombe, England, Aug. 1, 1858,
is a son of Dr. James Kernahan, M.A. He has contributed
largely to periodicals, and has written in many veins,
alternating serious and religious works with sensational
novels, and literary criticism with humour and sport. It is by
his imaginative booklets--now collected in one volume under
the title of "Visions"--that he is best known. These booklets
have circulated literally "by the million," and have been
translated into no fewer than sixteen languages, including
Chinese. "A Dead Man's Diary" appeared anonymously in 1890,
and attracted unusual attention, the authorship being
attributed, among others, to Harold Frederic and Robert
Buchanan. Since then "A Dead Man's Diary"--of which Mr. J.M.
Barrie, in reviewing it, said, "The vigour of the book is
great, and the author has such a gift of intensity that upon
many readers it will have mesmeric effect"--has gone through
innumerable editions, in England and in America.
_I.--The Ghost of the Past_
Some years ago I became so seriously ill that I was pronounced dying,
and, finally, dead. Dead to all intents and purposes I remained for two
days, when, to the astonishment of the physicians, I exhibited symptoms
of returning vitality, and in a week was convalescent.
Of the moments preceding my passing I recollect only that there came
over me a strange and sudden sense of loss, as though some life-element
had gone out from me. Of pain there was none, nor any mental anxiety.
I recollect only an ethereal lightness of limb, and a sense of
soul-emancipation and peace, a sense of soul-emancipation such as one
might feel were he to awaken on a sunny summer morning to find that
sorrow and sin were gone from the world for ever, a peace ample and
restful as the hallowed hush and awe of twilight, without the twilight's
Then I seemed to be sinking slowly and steadily through still depths of
sun-steeped, light-filled waters that sang in my ears with a sound like
a sweet, sad sobbing and soaring of music, and through which there swam
up to me, in watered vistas of light, scenes of sunny seas and shining
shores where smiling isles stretched league beyond league afar.
And so life ebbed away, until there came a time when the outward and
deathward-setting tide seemed to reach its climax, and when I felt
myself swept shoreward and lifeward again on the inward-setting tide of
that larger life into which I had died.
My next recollection is that the events of my past life were rising
before me. The hands on the dial of time went back a score of years, and
I was a young man of twenty-one, living in chambers off Holborn. One
evening there burst over London a fearful thunderstorm, and hearing a
knock at my door, I opened it, to find a beautiful girl named Dorothy,
the daughter of the housekeeper, standing there. Terrified by the
lightning, and finding herself alone, she begged to be allowed to remain
until her mother's return.
The words had scarcely passed her lips before there came another
blinding flash of lightning, followed almost instantaneously by a
terrific crash of thunder. With a cry of passion and fear, she flung her
arms around me, and the next moment I found myself pressing her to my
heart and telling her, amid a score of burning kisses, that I loved her.
Almost immediately afterwards, we heard the opening of doors, which
indicated her mother's home-coming; but, before leaving, Dorothy told me
that the room immediately above mine was her own. Of the hell-born
thought which rose in my mind as I listened she, I am sure, had no
suspicion. Need I tell the remainder of my story? I think not.
* * * * *
You may wonder, perhaps, why I recall circumstances that happened so
many years ago. You would cease to wonder had you seen the ghost of the
past rise up to call upon God and His Christ for judgment upon the
betrayer. For this was my first glimpse of hell; this was my day of
judgment. The recording angel of my awakened conscience showed me my
sin, and the ruin my sin had wrought, as God sees, and I realised
that--But no! I am sick, I am fainting! I cannot--I cannot write more.
_II.--The Secret of Man's Destiny_
"When anyone dies," I had been told in childhood, "he goes either to
heaven or to hell, according to whether he has been a good or bad man,"
and I recollect being not a little troubled as to what became of the
people whose virtues were about equally matched with their vices. When I
opened my eyes in that ante-chamber of the spirit-world into which I
have had admittance I discovered that heaven and hell as separate places
have no existence, for the good, the bad, and the indifferent exist
together exactly as they exist here. I do not say that there will be no
day of harvesting in which the tares shall finally be separated from the
wheat. On that point, as on many others, I am ignorant. Men and women
whom I know on earth speak of the dead--"the changed"--as being
perfected in knowledge and as having solved for ever "the great secret."
That is not my experience.
So far from "the great secret," the secret of man's destiny and God's
Being, becoming known at death, the facts as I found them are that these
remain almost as great a mystery after death as before.
Even in hell (I use the word as indicating mental or physical
suffering--in my case, the former--not with any local significance)
there are moments when the anguish-stricken spirit is mercifully allowed
a temporary reprieve. Such a moment occurred after the first awful
paroxysm of self-loathing and torture which I experienced when my past
life was made known to me in its true colours, and it was in this saner
and comparatively painless interval that I met one whom I had known on
earth as a woman of the purest life and character. Being still under the
impression that I was in hell in the sense in which I had been
accustomed to think of that place, I started back upon seeing her, and
cried out in astonishment, "You here! _You_! And in Hades!"
"Where else should I be except where Arthur is?" she answered quietly,
and I then remembered a worthless brother of that name to whom she was
passionately attached. "Even Dives in the parable," she went on, "was
unable to forget the five brethren he had left behind him, and cried out
amid the flames, asking that Lazarus be sent to warn them, lest they,
too, came to that place of torment. Is it likely, then, that any wife,
mother, or sister, worthy the name, would be content to remain idle in
heaven, knowing that a loved one was in hell and in agony? We are told
that after His death Christ preached to the spirits in prison, and I
believe that He came here to hell in search of the so-called lost."
"Tell me," I said, "you who are in heaven, if you are perfectly happy."
"You are not altogether wrong in calling this heaven," she replied,
"although it is little more than the antechamber between earth and
heaven. It is my heaven at present, but it will not be my heaven always,
any more than it will be always your hell, and although it is heaven, it
is not _the_ heaven. When I was on earth, I longed for heaven, _not that
I might be delivered from sorrow, but from sinfulness_; and I think I
may say that I am as happy here as my failures will let me be."
"Your failures!" I exclaimed. "I thought we had done with failures."
"You remember the text in the Koran," she said. "'Paradise is under the
shadow of swords.' Here, as on earth, there is no progress without
effort, and here, too, there are difficulties to be overcome. Yet even
on earth there was one element in the strife which lent dignity even to
our failures. Sin and shame are, after all, only human; the effort and
determination to overcome them are divine. Ceasing to be an angel, Satan
became a devil. Man falls, and even in his fall retains something of
After a time we fell to talking of the past, and, mentioning the name of
the very noblest man I have ever known, a man who made possible the
purity of Sir Galahad, made possible the courage of Coeur de Lion--I had
almost said made possible the sinfulness of Christ--I inquired whether
she had seen him in Paradise.
"As yet," she answered, "I know only one of the many circles into which
the spirit-world seems naturally to resolve it. But I suspect that if
you and I could see where he is, we should find him infinitely nearer to
the Father-heart of the universe than I at least can for countless ages
hope to attain!"
"What do you mean by 'circles'?" I said. "Is each human soul on its
arrival here assigned a fitting place and level among his or her
"There is some such gathering of like to like as that of which you
speak," she answered. "The majority begin in a lower circle, and remain
there until they are fitted to move onward to a higher sphere. Others
take a place in that higher sphere immediately, and some few are led
into the Holy Presence straightway."
And then her voice seemed to sound to me like the voice of one in the
far distance; I felt the darkness closing in upon me on every side, and
knew that my hour of punishment was again at hand.
Of all the faces which I saw in hell, there was one which had for me a
fascination. It was that of a beautiful woman, queenly of manner, fair
of figure as a fullblown lily, and with those dark eyes that seem to
shine out from soul-depths, deep as the distant heaven, and yet may mean
no more than the shallow facing of quicksilver behind a milliner's
On earth she had deliberately set herself to win and to break the heart
of a trusting lad, and the punishment of her sin was that she should now
love him with the same intense but hopeless passion with which he had
loved her. "My heart is broken," I heard her sob, "and in hell one
cannot die of a broken heart. If I had loved him, and he me, and he had
died, I could have borne it, knowing that I should meet him hereafter;
but to live loveless through eternity, that is the thought which kills
Another sight which I saw was that of a desolate plain, low-lying and
unlighted, in the centre of which there roamed one who called out as if
in search of a companion, but to whom there came no answer save the echo
of his own voice. A more lonely and lifeless spot I have never seen. The
silence seemed sometimes to oppress him like a presence, for, with a
half-affrighted and despairing cry, he set off at a panic-stricken run,
as if seeking to escape this silence by flight; but, notwithstanding his
haste, he made no progress, for he was but moving round and round in a
circle. Once, when he passed near me, I heard him cry out: "Is there no
living soul in all this void and voiceless desert?" And, as he hurried
by, I recognised him as a man whom I had often heard say on earth that
hell would not be hell to him so long as he and his boon companions were
Another whom I saw in Hades I should--save for his pitiable effort to
escape observation--have passed unnoticed. His pitfall in life had been
love of approbation, which was so strong that he was never happy except
in perpetually endeavoring to pass himself off for that which he knew he
was not. The only aim of his existence had been to win the approval of
others, and, lo! one morning he awoke in Hades to find himself the
despised of the despised, and the laughing stock of the very Devil. I
saw few more pitiable sights than that of this wretched creature,
slinking shamefacedly through hell, and wincing, as from a blow, at the
glance of every passer.
During my wanderings I had reason to ask one whom I had known on earth
concerning the fate of an old acquaintance of his own.
"I will tell you all I know, of the man about whom you ask," he said,
"but first let me explain that my sorest hindrance on earth was
unbelief. Once, when I might have believed, I would not, and my
punishment is that now, when I would believe, I cannot, but am for ever
torn by hideous apprehension and doubt. Moreover, there are many things
which, clear and plain as they may be to the faithful of heart and to
the believing, are to my doubting eyes wrapt around in mystery. Into
these mysteries it has been ordained as part of my punishment that I
shall ever desire to look, and of all these mysteries there is none
which fills me with such horror and dread as the mystery of the dead who
"Of the dead who die!" I said. "What do you mean by those strange words?
Surely all who die are dead."
"They are my words," he cried excitedly, and with a hysterical laugh.
"The words I use to myself when I think of the mystery which they strove
so carefully to conceal from me, but which for all their cunning I have
discovered. When first I came here, I saw, either in hell or in heaven,
the faces of most of the dead whom I had known on earth, but some faces
there were--the man of whom you ask was one--which I missed, and from
that time to this I have never seen. 'Where, then, are they?' I asked
myself, 'since neither earth, hell, nor heaven knows them more? Has God
some fearful fate in store for sinners, which may one day fall upon me
as it has already fallen upon them?' And so I set myself to discover
what had become of these missing faces, and you shall hear the result.
"When you and I were children, we were taught that every human being is
born with an immortal soul. But they did not tell us that just as
neglected diseases can kill the body, so unchecked sin can kill the
soul. But it is so, and that is what I meant when I said that he of whom
you asked was 'of the dead who die.'
"You shake your head, and mutter that I am mad. Well, perhaps I am
mad--mad with the horror of my unbelief; but why should it not be as I
say? When God made man He made a creature to whom it was given to choose
for himself between good and evil. But God knew that some of those He
had thus made would deliberately choose evil, that some few would indeed
sin away all trace of their Divine origin. God did not _will_ it so, for
He made us men, not machines, and the evil we do is of our own choosing;
but God _fore-knew_ it, and, foreknowing that, God owed it to Himself
not to call into being a creature the result of whose creation would be
that creature's eternal misery. Hence it was that He decreed that those
for whom there could be no hope of heaven should die out at their deaths
like the brutes. Our life is from God, and may not God take His own
again? And could anything better happen to many people whom you and I
have known on earth than that they should be allowed to die out, and the
very memory of them to pass away for ever?"
I was convinced that he was mad--mad, as he had himself hinted, with the
horror of his unbelief.
"And I am one of them," he exclaimed. "I am of the dead who die! I have
bartered away life, faith, and happiness for Dead Sea fruit; I, who once
was young, and not altogether as I now am, a soulless creature of clay!
For I can remember the time when flowers, pictures, beautiful faces, and
music set stirring emotions within me, in which it seemed that I saw
hidden away in the depths of my own heart the shining form of a
white-robed soul-maiden, who cried out to me: 'Ah, cannot you make your
life as pure and beautiful as the flowers and the music, that so you may
set me free?'
"But I chose the ignoble part, and gave myself up, body and soul, to
evil and unbelief. And often in the hour when I was tempted to some
shameful action I seemed to see the white arms of the soul-maiden
uplifted in piteous entreaty to heaven, but at last the time came when
her voice was silent, and when I knew that I had thrust her down into a
darkness whence she would never again come forth!
"And now the very soul of me is dead, and I know not but that at any
moment I may flicker out like a spent taper, and become as one of the
dead who die!"
_IV.--On the Brink of the Pit_
At last there came a time, even in hell, when the burden of my sin lay
so heavily upon me that I felt, if succour there was none, the very soul
of me must die.
Of myself, save for the continual crying out of my soul after its lost
purity, I scarcely cared to think. It was for Dorothy that I never
ceased to sorrow, and--sinner though I was--to pray. I saw then,
pictured forth in all their horror, the inevitable consequences of the
wrong I had done her. I saw her, with the sense of her sin as yet but
fresh upon her, shrinking from every glance, and fancying that she read
the knowledge of her guilt in every eye. I saw her not knowing where to
turn for refuge from swiftly advancing shame and understanding no more
of this life of ours than a foolish lost lamb, wandering farther and
farther in the nightfall.
And then--driven out from their midst by the very Christian women who
should have been the first to have held out a hand to save--I saw her
turn away with a heart hardened into indifference, and plunge headlong
into a bottomless gulf of ignominy and sin. Nor did the vision pass
until, out of that seething vortex of lust and infamy, I saw arise the
black phantom of a lost soul crying out unto God and His Christ for
judgment upon the betrayer.
As these hideous spectres of the past came before me, I fell to the
ground, borne down by a burden of agony greater even than the very
damned in hell can bear. But even as I fell, that burden was lifted and
borne away from me, and then I saw, as in a vision, One kneeling in
prayer. And I, who had cried out that I could bear the burden of my sin
no longer, saw that upon Him was laid, not only my sin, but the sins of
the whole world, and that He stooped of His own accord to receive them.
And as I looked upon the Divine dignity of that agonised form--forsaken
of His Father that we might never be forsaken--I saw great beads of
blood break out like sweat upon His brow, and I heard wrung from Him a
cry of such unutterable anguish as never before rose from human lips.
And at that cry the vision passed, and I awoke to find myself in hell
once more, but in my heart there was a stirring as of the wings of
hope--the hope which I had deemed dead for ever.
_Could_ it be--O God of mercy! was it possible that even now it might
not be too late?--that there was indeed One Who could make my sin as
though it had never been?
But to this hope there succeeded a moment when the agonised thought,
"How if there be no Christ?" leapt out at me, like the darkness which
looms but the blacker for the lightning-flash; a moment when hell got
hold of me again, and a thousand gibbering devils arose to shriek in my
ear: "And though there be a Christ, is it not now too late?"
I reeled at that cry, and the darkness once more closed in around. A
horde of hideous thoughts, the very spawn of hell, swarmed like vermin
in my mind; there was the breath as of a host of contending fiends upon
my face; a hundred hungry hands seemed to lay hold on me, and to strive
to drag me down and down to a bottomless pit that opened at my very
feet, and into which I felt myself slipping. With a great cry to God I
strove to rise, but my strength failed me, and I had fallen back into
the abyss had not one, white-robed as the morning, come suddenly to
succour me by stretching forth a hand of aid; and so--beating and
battling like a drowning man for breath--I fought my way out, and fell
sobbing and faint upon the pit's brink. And with a great cry of anguish
I prayed aloud, "Lord Christ! I am foul and sinful! I do not know that I
love Thee! I do not even know that I have repented of my sins! I only
know that I cannot do the things I would do, and that I can never undo
the evil I have done. But I come to Thee, Lord Jesus, I come to Thee as
Thou biddest me. Send me not away, O Saviour of sinners."
As I made an end of praying, I looked up and saw standing beside me One,
thorn-crowned and with wounded side, _Whose features were the features
of a man, but Whose face was the face of God_.
And as I looked upon that face I shrank back dazed, and breathless, and
blinded--shrank back with a cry like the cry of one smitten of the
lightning; for beneath the wide white brows there shone out eyes, before
the awful purity of which my sin-stained soul seemed to scorch and to
shrivel like a scroll in a furnace. But as I lay, lo! there came a
tender touch upon my head, and a voice in my ear that whispered, "Son."
And as the word died away into a silence like the hallowed hush of
listening angels, and I stretched forth my arms with a cry of
unutterable longing and love, I say that He held one by the hand--even
the one who had plucked me out of the abyss into which I had fallen--and
I saw that it was Dorothy--Dorothy whom He had sought out and saved from
the shame to which my sin had driven her, and whom He had sent to
succour me, that so He might set upon my soul the seal of His pardon and
of His peace.
* * * * *
Charles Kingsley, English novelist, poet, and clergyman, was
born June 12, 1819, and died Jan. 23, 1875. The son of the
rector of Chelsea, London, Kingsley went from King's College,
London, to Cambridge, taking his B.A. degree in 1842, and
becoming rector of Eversley in 1844. He was made one of the
Queen's chaplains in 1859, and in 1873 was appointed canon of
Westminster. After publishing "Village Sermons" and "The
Saint's Tragedy," Kingsley took part with F.D. Maurice in the
Christian Socialist movement of 1848, attacking the horrible
sweating then rife in the tailoring trade, calling attention
to the miserable plight of the agricultural labourer, and the
need for sanitary reform in town and country. In "Alton Locke,
Tailor and Poet," first published in 1849, Kingsley writes
from the point of view of the earnest artisan of sixty years
ago, and the success of the book, following the author's
pamphlet on "Cheap Clothes and Nasty," did much to stimulate
social and philanthropic work in London and other great
industrial centres. Various editions of the novels of Kingsley
_I.--A Sweating Shop_
I am a cockney among cockneys.
My earliest recollections are of a suburban street; of his jumble of
little shops and little terraces.
My mother was a widow. My father, whom I cannot recollect, was a small
retail tradesman in the city. He was unfortunate, and when he died, as
many small tradesmen do, of bad debts and a broken heart, he left us
beggars, and my mother came down and lived penuriously enough in that
My mother moved by rule and method; by God's law, as she considered, and
that only. She seldom smiled. She never commanded twice without
punishing. And yet she kept the strictest watch over our morality.
Sometimes on a Sunday evening the ministers of the Baptist chapel would
come in to supper after the meeting. The elder was a silver-haired old
man, who loved me; and I loved him, too, for there were always lollipops
in his pocket for me and for my only sister Susan. The other was a
younger man, tall and dark. He preached a harsher doctrine than his
gentler colleague, and was much the greater favourite at the chapel. I
hated him; and years later he married my sister.
When I had turned thirteen, my father's brother, who had risen in
wealth, and now was the owner of a first-rate grocery business in the
City and a pleasant villa at Herne Hill, and had a son preparing for
Cambridge, came to visit us. When he had gone my mother told me, very
solemnly and slowly, that I was to be sent to a tailor's workrooms the
What could my uncle make me but a tailor--or a shoemaker? A pale,
consumptive boy, all forehead and no muscle.
With a beating heart I shambled along by my mother's side to Mr. Smith's
shop, in a street off Piccadilly, and here Mr. Smith handed me over to
Mr. Jones, the foreman, with instructions to "take the young man
upstairs to the workroom."
I stumbled after Mr. Jones up a dark, narrow, iron staircase till we
emerged through a trap-door into a garret at the top of the house. I
recoiled with disgust at the scene before me; and here I was to
work--perhaps through life! A low room, stifling me with the combined
odours of human breath and perspiration, stale beer, the sweet sickly
smell of gin, and the sour and hardly less disgusting one of new cloth.
On the floor, thick with dust and dirt, scraps of stuff and ends of
thread, sat some dozen haggard, untidy, shoeless men, with a mingled
look of care and recklessness that made me shudder. The windows were
tight-closed to keep out the cold winter air, and the condensed breath
ran in streams down the panes.
The foreman turned to one of the men, and said, "Here, Crossthwaite,
take this younker and make a tailor of him. Keep him next you, and prick
him with your needle if he shirks."
Mechanically, as if in a dream, I sat down, and as the foreman vanished
a burst of chatter rose. A tall, sharp-nosed young man bawled in my ear,
"I say, young 'un, do you know why we're nearer heaven here than our
"Why?" I asked.
"Acause we're the top of the house in the first place, and next place
yer'll die here six months sooner nor if yer worked in the room below.
Concentrated essence of man's flesh is this here as you're a-breathing.
Cellar workroom we calls Rheumatic Ward, acause of the damp. Ground
floor's Fever Ward--your nose'd tell yer why if you opened the back
windy. First floor's Ashmy Ward--don't you hear 'um now through the
cracks in the boards, apuffing away like a nest of young locomotives?
And this here most august and uppercrust cock-loft is the Consumptive
Hospital. First you begins to cough, then you proceeds to expectorate,
and then when you've sufficiently covered the poor dear shivering backs
of the hairystocracy--
Die, die, die,
Away you fly,
Your soul is in the sky!
as the hinspired Shakespeare wittily remarks."
And the ribald lay down on his back, stretched himself out, and
pretended to die in a fit of coughing, which last was, alas! no
counterfeit, while poor I, shocked and bewildered, let my tears fall
fast upon my knees.
I never told my mother into what pandemonium I had fallen, but from that
time my great desire was to get knowledge. I fancied that getting
knowledge I should surely get wisdom, and books, I thought, would tell
me all I needed.
That was how it was I came to know Sandy Mackaye, whose old book-shop I
used to pass on my walk homeward. One evening, as I was reading one of
the books on his stall, the old man called me in and asked me abruptly
my name, and trade, and family.
I told him all, and confessed my love of books. And Mackaye encouraged
me, and taught me Latin, and soon had me to lodge in his old shop, for
my mother in her stern religion would not have me at home because I
could not believe in the Christianity which I heard preached in the
_II.--I Move Among the Gentlefolks_
The death of our employer threw many of us out of work, for the son who
succeeded to the business determined to go ahead with the times, and to
that end decided to go in for the "show-trade"; which meant an
alteration in the premises, the demolition of the work-rooms, and the
giving out of the work to be made up at the men's own homes.
Mackaye would have me stay with him.
"Ye'll just mind the shop, and dust the books whiles," he said.
But this I would not do, for I thought the old man could not afford to
keep me in addition to himself. Then he suggested that I should go to
Cambridge and see my cousin, with a view to getting the poems published
which I had been writing ever since I started tailoring.
"He's bound to it by blude," said Sandy; "and I'm thinking ye'd better
try to get a list o' subscribers."
So to Cambridge I went.
It was some time since I had seen my cousin George, and at our last
meeting he had taken me to the Dulwich Gallery. It was there that two
young ladies, one so beautiful that I was dazzled, and an elderly
clergyman, whom my cousin told me was a dean, had spoken to me about the
pictures, and that interview marked a turning point in my life. When I
got to Cambridge, and had found my cousin's rooms, I was received kindly
"You couldn't have got on at tailoring--much too sharp a fellow for
that," he said, on hearing my story. "You ought to be at college, if one
could only get you there. Those poems of yours--you must let me have
them and look over them, and I dare say I shall be able to persuade the
governor to do something with them."
Lord Lynedale came to my cousin's rooms next day--George told me plainly
that he made friends with those who would advance him when he was a
clergyman--and taking an interest in a self-educated author, bade me
bring my poems to the Eagle and ask for Dean Winnstay. Lord Lynedale was
to marry Dean Winnstay's niece. When I arrived at the Eagle, the first
person I saw was Lillian--for so her father, the dean, called her--the
younger lady, my heroine of the Dulwich Gallery, looking more beautiful
than ever. I could have fallen down--fool that I was!--and worshipped--
what? I could not tell you, for I cannot tell even now.
The dean smiled recognition, bade me sit down, and disposed my papers on
his knee. I obeyed him, trembling, my eyes devouring my idol, forgetting
why I had come, seeing nothing but her, listening for nothing but the
opening of those lips.
"I think I may tell you at once that I am very much surprised and
gratified with your poems," said the old gentleman.
"How very fond of beautiful things you must be, Mr. Locke," said
Lillian, "to be able to describe so passionately the longing after
I stammered out something about working-men having very few
opportunities of indulging the taste for--I forget what.
"Ah, yes! I dare say it must be a very stupid life. So little
opportunity, as he says. What a pity he is a tailor, papa! Such an
unimaginative employment! How delightful it would be to send him to
college and make him a clergyman!"
Fool that I was! I fancied--what did I not fancy?--never seeing how that
very "_he_" bespoke the indifference--the gulf between us. I was not a
man, an equal, but a thing--a subject, who was to be talked over and
examined, and made into something like themselves, of their supreme and
"Gently! Gently, fair lady!" said the dean. "We must not be as headlong
as some people would kindly wish to be. If this young man really has a
proper desire to rise to a higher station, and I find him a fit object
to be assisted in that praiseworthy ambition, why, I think he ought to
go to some training college. Now attend to me, sir! Recollect, if it
should be in our power to assist your prospects in life, you must give
up, once and for all, the bitter tone against the higher classes which I
am sorry to see in your MSS. Next, I think of showing these MSS. to my
publisher, to get opinion as to whether they are worth printing just
now. Not that it is necessary that you should be a poet. Most active
minds write poetry at a certain age. I wrote a good deal, I recollect,
myself. But that is no reason for publishing."
At this point Lillian fled the room, to my extreme disgust. But still
the old man prosed.
"I think, therefore, that you had better stay with your cousin for the
next week. I hear from Lord Lynedale that he is a very studious, moral,
rising young man, and I only hope that you will follow his good example.
At the end of the week I shall return home, and then I shall be glad to
see more of you at my house at D----. Good-morning!"
My cousin and I stayed at D---- long enough for the dean to get a reply
from the publishers concerning my poems. They thought that the sale of
the book might be greatly facilitated if certain passages of a strong
political tendency were omitted; they were somewhat too strong for the
present state of the public taste.
On the dean's advice, I weakly consented to have the book emasculated.
Next day I returned to town, for Sandy Mackaye had written me a
characteristic note telling me that he could deposit any trash I had
written in a paper called the "Weekly Warwhoop."
Before I went from D----, my cousin George warned me not to pay so much
attention to Miss Lillian if I wished to stand well with Eleanor, the
dean's niece, who was to marry Lord Lynedale. He left me suspecting that
he had remarked Eleanor's wish to cool my admiration for Lillian, and
was willing, for his own purposes, to further it.
_III.--Riot and Imprisonment_
At last my poems were printed and published, and I enjoyed the sensation
of being a real live author. What was more, my book "took" and sold, and
was reviewed favourably in journals and newspapers.
It struck me that it would be right to call upon the dean, and so I went
to his house off Harley Street. The good old man congratulated me on my
success, and I saw Lillian, and sat in a delirium of silent joy. Lord
Lynedale had become Lord Ellerton, and I listened to the praises that
were sung of the newly married couple--for Eleanor had become Lady
Ellerton, and had entered fully into all her husband's magnificent
philanthropic schemes--a helpmeet, if not an oracular guide.
After this, I had an invitation to tea in Lillian's own hand, and then
came terrible news that Lord Ellerton had been killed by a fall from his
horse, and that the dean and Miss Winnstay had left London; and for
three years I saw them no more.
What happened in those three years?
Mackaye had warned me not to follow after vanity. He was a Chartist, and
with him and Crossthwaite, my old fellow-workman, I was vowed to the
Good Cause of the Charter. Now I found that I had fallen under
"Can you wonder if our friends suspect you?" said Crossthwaite. "Can you
deny that you've been off and on lately between flunkeydom and the
Cause, like a donkey between two bundles of hay? Have you not neglected
our meetings? Have you not picked all the spice out of your poems?
Though Sandy is too kind-hearted to tell you, you have disappointed us
both miserably, and there's the long and short of it."
I hid my face in my hands. My conscience told me that I had nothing to
Mackaye, to spare me, went on to talk of the agricultural distress, and
Crossthwaite explained that he wanted to send a deputation down to the
country to spread the principles of the Charter.
"I will go," I said, starting up. "They shall see I do care for the
Cause. Where is the place?"
"About ten miles from D----."
"D----!" My heart sank. If it had been any other spot! But it was too
late to retract.
With many instructions from our friends and warnings from Mackaye, I
started next day on my journey. I arrived in the midst of a dreary,
treeless country, and a little pert, snub-nosed shoemaker met me, and we
walked together across the open down towards a circular camp, the
earthwork, probably, of some old British town.
Inside it, some thousand or so of labouring people, all wan and haggard,
with many women among them, were swarming restlessly round a single
large block of stone.
I made my way to the stone, and listened as speaker after speaker poured
out a string of incoherent complaints. Only the intense earnestness gave
any force to the speeches.
I noticed that many of the crowd carried heavy sticks, and pitchforks,
and other tools which might be used as fearful weapons; and when a
fierce man with a squint asked who would be willing to come "and pull
the farm about the folks' ears," I felt that now or never was the time
for me to speak. If once the spirit of mad, aimless riot broke loose, I
had not only no chance of a hearing, but every likelihood of being
implicated in deeds which I abhorred.
I sprang on the stone, assured them of the sympathy of the London
working-men, and explained the idea of the Charter.
To all which they answered surlily that they did not know anything about
politics--that what they wanted was bread.
In vain I went on, more vehement than ever; the only answer was that
they wanted bread. "And bread we will have!"
"Go, then!" I cried, losing my self-possession. "Go, and get bread!
After all, you have a right to it. There are rights above all laws, and
the right to live is one."
I had no time to finish. The murmur swelled into a roar for "Bread!
Bread!" And amid yells and execrations, the whole mass poured down the
hill, sweeping me away with them. I was shocked and terrified at their
threats. I shouted myself hoarse about the duty of honesty; warned them
against pillage and violence; but my voice was drowned in the uproar. I
felt I had helped to excite them, and dare not, in honour, desert them;
and trembling, I went on, prepared to see the worst.
A large mass of farm buildings lay before us, and the mob rushed
tumultuously into the yard--just in time to see an old man on horseback
gallop hatless away.
"The old rascal's gone! And he'll call up the yeomanry! We must be
quick, boys!" shouted one.
The invaders entered the house, and returned, cramming their mouths with
bread, and chopping asunder flitches of bacon. The granary doors were
broken open, and the contents were scrambled for, amid immense waste, by
the starving wretches.
Soon the yard was a pandemonium, as the more ruffianly part of the mob
hurled furniture out of windows, or ran off with anything they could
carry. The ricks had been fired, and the food of man, the labour of
years, devoured in aimless ruin, when some one shouted: "The yeomanry!"
And at that sound a general panic ensued.
I did not care to run. I was utterly disgusted, disappointed, with
myself--the people. I just recollect the tramp of the yeomanry horses,
and a clear blade gleaming in the air, and after that I recollect
nothing--till I awoke and found myself lying on a truckle-bed in D----
gaol, and a warder wrapping my head with wet towels.
Mackaye engaged an old compatriot as attorney at the trial, and I was
congratulated on "only getting three years."
The weary time went by. Week after week, month after month, summer after
summer, I scored the days off, like a lonely schoolboy, on the pages of
Not till I was released did I learn from Sandy Mackaye that my cousin
George was the vicar of his church, and that he was about to marry
Brave old Sandy Mackaye died on the morning of the tenth of April, 1848,
the day of the great Chartist demonstration at Kennington Common.
Mackaye had predicted failure, and every one of his predictions came
true. The people did not rise. Whatever sympathy they had with us, they
did not care to show it. The meeting broke up pitiably piecemeal,
drenched and cowed, body and soul, by pouring rain.
That same night, after wandering dispiritedly in the streets by the
river, I was sick with typhus fever.
I know not for how long my dreams and delirium lasted, but I know that
at last I sank into a soft, weary, happy sleep.
Then the spell was snapped. My fever and my dreams faded away together,
and I woke to the twittering of the sparrows and the scent of the
poplars, and found Eleanor, Lady Ellerton, and her uncle sitting by my
bed, and with them Crossthwaite's little wife.
I would have spoken, but Eleanor laid her finger on her lips, and taking
her uncle's arm, glided from the room.
Slowly, and with relapses into insensibility, I passed, like one who
recovers from drowning, through the painful gate of birth into another
Crossthwaite and his wife, as they sat by me, tender and careful nurses
both, told me in time that to Eleanor I owed all my comforts. "She's an
angel out of heaven," he said. "Ah, Alton, she was your true friend all
the time, and not that other one, if you had but known it."
I could not rest till I had heard more of Lady Ellerton.
"Why, then, she lives not far off. When her husband died, she came, my
wife Katie tells me, and lived for one year down somewhere in the East
End, among the needlewomen. And now she's got a large house hereby, with
fifty or more in it, all at work together, sharing the earnings among
themselves, and putting into their own pockets the profits which would
have gone to their tyrants; and she keeps the accounts for them, and
gets the goods sold, and manages everything, and reads to them while
they work, and teaches them every day."
Crossthwaite went on to speak of Mackaye.
"When old Mackaye's will was read, he had left L400 he'd saved, to be
parted between you and me, on condition that we'd go and cool down
across the Atlantic, and if it hadn't been for your illness, I'd have
been in Texas now."
Often did I see Eleanor in those days of convalescence, but it was not
till a month had gone by that I summoned courage to ask after my cousin.
Eleanor looked solemnly at me.
"Did you not know it? He is dead--of typhus fever. He died three weeks
ago; and not only he, but the servant who brushed his clothes, and the
shopman who had a few days before brought him a new coat home."
"How did you learn all this?"
"From Mr. Crossthwaite, who found out that you most probably caught your
fever from a house near Blackfriars, and in that house this very coat
had been turned out, and had covered a body dead of typhus."
Half unconscious, I stammered Lillian's name inquiringly.
"She is much changed; sorrow and sickness--for she, too, has had the
fever--have worn her down. Little remains now of that loveliness----"
"Which I idolised in my folly."
"I tried to turn you from your dream. I knew there was nothing there for
your heart to rest upon. I was even angry with you for being the
_protege_ of anyone but myself."
* * * * *
Eleanor bade me go, and I obeyed her, and sailed--and here I am. And she
bade me write faithfully the story of my life, and I have done so.
Yes, I have seen the land! Like a purple fringe upon the golden sea. But
I shall never reach the land. Weaker and weaker, day by day, with
bleeding lungs and failing limbs, I have travelled the ocean paths. The
iron has entered too deeply into my soul.
* * * * *
This is an extract from a letter by John Crossthwaite.
"Galveston, Texas, October, 1848.
"And now for my poor friend, whose papers, according to my promise to
him, I transmit to you. On the very night on which he seems to have
concluded them--an hour after we had made the land--we found him in his
cabin, dead, resting peacefully as if he had slumbered."
* * * * *
Hereward the Wake
With, the appearance of "Hereward the Wake," sometimes called
"Hereward, the Last of the English," Kingsley brought to a
close a remarkable series of works of fiction. Although the
story was not published until 1866, the germ of it came to
Kingsley, according to Mrs. Kingsley's "Memoirs" of her
husband, during the summer of 1848, while on a visit to
Crowland Abbey, near Peterborough, with the Rev. F.D. Maurice.
As its title implies, the romance is suggested by the life and
adventures of Hereward, a Saxon yeoman who flourished about
1070. The story itself perhaps does not move along with the
same spirit and vigour that characterise Kingsley's earlier
works; it shows, nevertheless, that he had lost none of his
cunningness for dramatic situations, nor his vivid powers of
visualising scenes and events of the past.
_I.--Hereward Seeks His Fortune_
In the year of Canute's death was born Hereward, second son of Leofric,
Earl of Mercia, and Godiva. At the age of eighteen he was a wild,
headstrong, passionate lad, short in stature, but very broad, and his
eyes were one blue and one grey. Always in trouble with authority, the
climax came when he robbed Herluin, steward of Peterborough, of a sum of
sixteen silver pennies collected for the use of the monastery, and for
this exploit he was outlawed.
Accordingly, he left his home and went north, to Siward, who was engaged
in war with Macbeth, and for aught we know he may have helped to bring
great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill. However that may be, he stayed
in Scotland with one Gilbert of Ghent, at whose house, among other
doughty deeds, single-handed he slew a mighty white bear that escaped
from captivity, incidentally saving the life of a pretty little maiden
named Alftruda, and earning the hatred of the other men, who had not
dared to face the bear.
Finding Scotland a little uncomfortable in consequence, he went to
Cornwall, taking with him only his faithful servant Martin, and there at
the court of Alef, a Danish kinglet, he had cause to kill a local
celebrity, a giant named Ironhook, who was betrothed to Alef's daughter,
though much against her will, she being in love with Sigtryg, son of
Ranald, king of Waterford.
So Hereward went to Waterford with a ring and a message from the
princess, returning later with Sigtryg, only to find that Alef had
betrothed his daughter afresh to Hannibal of Marazion, and the wedding
ceremony was actually proceeding when they arrived. An ambush was laid
for the returning bridal party, Hannibal duly accounted for, and the
princess carried off to Waterford, where they
Prepared another wedding
With all their hearts so full of glee.
Earl Leofric dead, Hereward determined to take the risk of returning
home, to which end he begged two ships from Ranald and set sail. Thrown
by a storm on the Flanders coast, he and all his men were like to have
been knocked on the head, after the friendly custom of the times, but
for the intervention of Arnoul, grandson of Baldwin of Flanders.
Entering his service, Hereward assisted Baldwin in an argument with
Eustace of Guisnes, who differed with his lord on the question of
payment of certain dues, and so keenly did he reason that the difference
of opinion was satisfactorily composed--from Baldwin's point of view.
Anon a war with Holland claimed attention, but in the meantime Hereward
had fallen in love with a most beautiful damsel named Torfrida, niece of
the Abbot of St. Berlin, reputed a sorceress. Her favour he won in the
lists from Sir Ascelin, to whom she had committed it, and upon him she
bestowed it, together with her love and a suit of magic armour, through
which no sword could pierce.
Then Hereward went off to Holland, and there he encountered Dirk
Hammerhand, from whom to take a buffet was never to need another, and
bought from him his famous mare Swallow, the price agreed on being the
half of what Hereward had offered and a box on the ear.
"Villain!" groaned Dirk as he lay on the ground. "It was I who was to
give the buffet, not thou!"
"Art mad?" said Hereward, as he coolly picked up the coins which Dirk
had scattered in his fall. "It is the seller's business to take, and the
buyer's to give."
In Holland Hereward remained a year, but as, under the terms of a wager
made in a boastful mood, he went through the campaign without any armour
and without changing his clothes, it was a disreputable looking man with
many a wound who returned to Bruges, where, at the court of Adela, a
jest was played on Torfrida by the countess, not without the privity of
For before all her ladies Adela took her to task for having so long
remained unmarried. Then, forming the assembly into a court of love, she
asked the ladies what punishment should be meted out. One said one
thing, one another.
"Marry her to a fool," said Richilda.
"Too common a misfortune," said the Lady of France. "No," said she. "We
will marry her to the first man who enters the castle."
And from her sentence there was no appeal. Married poor Torfrida must
be, and to the first man who happened in, be he who he might. And the
first man was a ragged beggarman, with whom, when he was introduced into
the presence, Torfrida was preparing to deal in her own way with a
little knife, be the cost what it might, when she recognised the eye of
grey and the eye of blue.
_II.--Hereward Encounters Some Old Friends_
In the spring it was hey for the war again, whence Hereward returned in
November to find himself the father of a daughter and the recipient of
letters from Harold of England and William of Normandy, both asking his
assistance. Regarding Harold as a usurper, Hereward bluntly told him so.
To William his reply was equally decisive, but less uncompromising.
"When William is King of all England, Hereward will put his hands
between his and be his man."
Whereat William laughed. "It is a fair challenge from a valiant man," he
said to the messenger. "The day shall come when I shall claim it."
In Bruges one day Hereward found Gilbert of Ghent, who for reasons of
his own had come thither with his ward Alftruda, and mightily
disappointed was Gilbert to find him married; for he had a scheme
whereby Hereward should marry Alftruda, and he should share her dowry,
which was great. Alftruda, too, was mightily displeased, as she seemed
one whom Hereward thought the most beautiful he had ever beheld; indeed,
for one moment he even forgot Torfrida, and gazed at her spellbound. The
only remark she vouchsafed to her former preserver was a whispered "So
you could not wait for me," and then passed on to marry Dolfin,
Gospatric's eldest son; and Gilbert pursued his way to France to join
After that news came thick and fast.
News of Harold Hardraada sailing to England with a mighty host, of how
the Gonfanon of St. Peter had come to Rouen, of William of Normandy's
preparations at St. Pierre sur Dive, of the Norsemen landing in the
Humber. Anon the news of Stamford Bridge and Hardraada's death, and
lastly news of Senlac, and the death of the other Harold.
For well-nigh three years after these great happenings Hereward stayed
in Flanders, grieving for the woes that had come upon his native land.
Not that he sat moping all the time, for some deed of arms was ever on
hand to afford distraction; but in the main his thoughts all turned on
schemes for freeing England from the French tyrant. But not till Gyda,
Harold's widowed mother, came to Baldwin for sanctuary did he take any
By skilful flattery, not unmixed with truth, she persuaded him that he
was the man destined to free England once more; and so one morning he
set out alone, accompanied only by Martin Lightfoot and a dozen
house-carles, to spy out the land and see what might be done. Within a
week he landed at Boston, only to find that Bourne, his home, had been
bestowed upon the cook of Gilbert of Ghent, and that at that moment his
younger brother's head was decorating the gable of the hall.
And so to Bourne went Hereward by night, and burst in upon the Frenchmen
during a drunken carouse: in the morning there were fifteen heads upon
the gable to replace the one that he had taken down overnight. Forthwith
he returned to Flanders, having bestowed his mother in safety at
Crowland Abbey, with a promise to his countrymen of the Fens that he
would return to aid them shortly.
_III.--Hereward in England_
Having settled his affairs in Flanders, in due time he landed once more
in the Wash with Torfrida and the child and two shiploads of stout
fighters, with whom he went through Fenland raising an army. In the
spring came Sweyn with his Danes, all eager for plunder; and Hereward
had much ado to prevent them from plundering Crowland Abbey, only
succeeding by promising them a richer booty in Peterborough.
So Peterborough they took and sacked, but at Peterborough Hereward found
Alftruda, who had left her husband, and rescued her from the Danes
during the sack of the minster. And, looking upon her extraordinary
beauty, for the second time he forgot Torfrida; but for all that he sent
her for safety to old Gilbert of Ghent, who had thrown in his lot with
William, and was now at Lincoln. Having done with Peterborough, and
later with Stamford, the army marched to Ely and there encamped.
And in Ely a great council was held, after which Sweyn and all his Danes
returned home. For as Sweyn truly said, "While William the Frenchman is
king by the sword, and Edgar the Englishman king by proclamation of
earls and thanes, there seems no room here for Sweyn, nephew of Canute,
king of kings." To which Hereward could advance no good reason to prove
that there was. Anon came William of Ely, and built a floating bridge a
full half-mile in length across the black abyss of mud and reeds that
yawned between the island and the mainland. But the bridge was unable to
bear the weight of all the French who crowded on to it; the fastenings
at the shore-end broke, and the bridge itself overturned, so that all
upon it were thrown into the mud and miserably drowned.
Whereon William withdrew his forces to Brandon for a space, and
Hereward, being minded to find out for himself what next was purposed
against the island, followed him thither, with shorn hair and beard, and
disguised as a travelling potter. Anon he came to William's palace with
his good mare Swallow, bearing on her back a load of crockery. At the
palace he narrowly escaped recognition, being sent to the kitchen, where
he got into a quarrel with the scullions. In consequence of which he was
haled before William himself, who quickly detected that he was other
than he pretended.
"Look you," said William, "you are no common churl--you have fought too
well for that; show me your arm."
Hereward drew up his sleeve.
"Potters do not carry sword-scars like these, nor are they tattooed like
English thanes. Hold up thy head, man, and let me see thy throat.
"Aha! so I suspected. There is fair ladies' work there. Is not this he
who was said to be so like Hereward? Very good. Put him in ward till I
come back from hunting, but do him no harm. For were he Hereward
himself, I should be right glad to see Hereward safe and sound; my man
at last, and earl of all between Humber and the Fens." Whereupon
Hereward was clapped into an outhouse, whence he escaped forthwith by
the simple device of cutting off the head of the man sent to fetter him,
and the good mare Swallow bore him back to Ely in safety.
A little later William came again to Ely and built a stronger bridge,
but this the English destroyed by fire, with many of the French on it,
setting the reeds aflame on the windward side of it.
Some other scheme must now be thought out, and the one that pleased
William most was to send to the monks a proclamation that, unless they
submitted within a week, all their lands and manors outside the island
would be confiscated. Furthermore, that if Hereward would submit he
should have his lands in Bourne, and a free pardon for himself and all
To which message Sir Ascelin and Ivo Taillebois, not being over desirous
of having Hereward as a neighbour, saw fit to add a clause exempting
Torfrida from the amnesty, but that she should be burnt on account of
her abominable and notorious sorceries.
When the proclamation arrived, Hereward was away foraging. He came back
in hot haste when he heard of it, but not fast enough; for ere they were
in sight of the minster tower they were aware of a horse galloping
violently towards them through the dusk, and on its back were Torfrida
and her daughter. The monks had surrendered the island rather than lose
The French were already in Ely.
And now is Hereward to the greenwood gone, to be a bold outlaw, and the
father of all outlaws, who held those forests for two hundred years from
the Fens to the Scottish border, and with some four hundred men he
ranged up the Bruneswald, dashing out to the war cry of "A Wake! A
Wake!" and laying waste with fire and sword; that is, such towns as were
in the hands of Frenchmen.
Now, Hereward had been faithful to Torfrida, a virtue most rare in those
days, and he loved her with an overwhelming adoration--as all true men
love. And for that very reason he was the more aware that his feeling
for Alftruda was strangely like his feeling for Torfrida; and yet
strangely different. Wherefore, when it befell that once on a day there
came riding to Hereward in the Bruneswald a horseman who handed to him a
letter, the sight of Alftruda's signature at the end sent a strange
thrill through him. There was naught in it that he should not have
read--it was but to tell him that the French were upon him, the _posse
comitatus_ of seven counties were rising, and so forth. Continuing, the
letter told him that Dolfin had been slain on the Border, and William
and Gilbert of Ghent were going to marry her to Ascelin, and that,
having saved her twice, she feared that Hereward could not save her a
third time; concluding with an entreaty to submit to William, hinting
that an opportunity presented itself now which might never recur.
The messenger took back the answer. "Tell your lady that I kiss her
hands and feet; that I cannot write, for outlaws carry no pen or ink.
But that what she has commanded, that will I perform." Having showed the
letter to Torfrida, they agreed that it were well to take precautions,
and withdrew into the heart of the forest.
Alftruda's warning was both timely and true, for anon came Ivo
Taillebois, who had taken to wife Hereward's niece Lucia, and Abbot
Thorold, of Peterborough, who had an old score to wipe off in connection
with Hereward's last visit to his abbey, and Sir Ascelin, his nephew,
and many another. And they rode gaily through the greenwood, where
presently they found Hereward, to their sorrow, for of their number some
returned home only after payment of ransom, and others never returned at
all. And of the former were Abbot Thorold and Ascelin; and the ransom
that Hereward exacted for those two was thirty thousand silver marks.
Whereby Hereward was enabled to put a spoke in Ascelin's wheel.
"Eh? How, most courteous victor?" said Sir Ascelin.
"Sir Ascelin is not a very wealthy gentleman?"
Ascelin laughed assent.
"_Nudus intravi, nudus exeo_--England; and I fear now this mortal life
"But he looked to his rich uncle the abbot to further a certain marriage
project of his. And, of course, neither my friend, Gilbert of Ghent, nor
my enemy, William of Normandy, are likely to give away so rich an
heiress without some gratification in return."
_IV.--The Last of the English_
Thereafter they lived for two years in the forest, and neither Torfrida
nor Hereward was the better for them. Hope deferred maketh the heart
sick, and a sick heart is but too apt to be a peevish one. So there were
fits of despondency, jars, mutual recriminations. Furthermore, that
first daughter was Torfrida's only child, and she knew almost as well as
he how hard that weighed on Hereward. In him the race of Leofric, of
Godiva, of Earl Oslac, would become extinct, and the girl would
marry--whom? Who but some French conqueror, or at best some English
outlaw? What wonder if he longed for a son to pass his name down to
And one day Martin Lightfoot came with another letter to Hereward, which
he delivered to Torfrida, who learned from him that it came from
Alftruda. She bade him deliver it to Hereward, to whom it was addressed,
the which he did; but she noticed that this letter Hereward never
mentioned to her, as he had done the former.
A month later Martin came again.
"There is another letter come; it came last night," said he.
"What is that to thee or me? My lord has his state secrets. Is it for us
to pry into them? Go."
"I thought--I thought--"
"Go, I say!"
There was a noise of trampling horses outside. The men were arming and
saddling, and Hereward went with them, saying that he would be back in
After he had gone she found, close to where his armour had hung, a
letter from Alftruda. It congratulated Hereward on having shaken himself
free from the fascinations of "that sorceress." It said that all was
settled with King William; Hereward was to come to Winchester. She had
the king's writ for his safety ready to send to him; the king would
receive him as his liegeman. Alftruda would receive him as her husband.
Archbishop Lanfranc had made difficulties about the dissolution of his
marriage with Torfrida, but gold would do all things at Rome; and so
When this was read, after a night of frenzy, to Crowland Torfrida went
under the guidance of Martin, and laid her head upon the knees of the
"I am come, as you always told me I should do. But it has been a long
way hither, and I am very tired."
And at Crowland remained Martin, donning a lay brother's frock that he
might the better serve his mistress. And to Crowland, after three days,
came Leofric, the renegade priest, who had been with Hereward in the
greenwood, and with him the child.
And so it came that when Hereward returned, as he had said, after three
days, he found neither wife nor child, and to Crowland he too went, but
came away even as he had gone. But with Torfrida he had no word, nor
with Godiva, for both refused him audience.
So Hereward went to Winchester, and with him forty of his knights, and
placed his hands between the hands of William, and swore to be his man.
And William walked out of the hall leaning on Hereward's shoulder, at
which all the Normans gnashed their teeth with envy.
And thereafter Hereward married Alftruda, after the scruples of Holy
Church had been duly set at rest.
Then Hereward lived again at Bourne, and tried to bring forgetfulness by
drink--and drink brought boastfulness; for that he had no more the
spirit left to do great deeds, he must needs babble of the great deeds
which he had done, and hurl insult and defiance at his Norman
neighbours. And in the space of three years he had become as intolerable
to those same neighbours as they were intolerable to him, and he was
fain to keep up at Bourne the same watch and ward that he had kept up in
And Judith came to Bourne, and besought Alftruda to accompany her to
Crowland, where she would visit the tomb of Waltheof, her husband. And
Alftruda went with her, taking a goodly company of knights to be her
escort, while Hereward remained at Bourne with few to guard it.
And knowing this, to Bourne came Ascelin and Taillebois, Evermue, Raoul
de Dol, and many another Norman, and burst in upon Hereward in some such
fashion as he had done himself some ten years earlier. "Felons," he
shouted, "your king has given me his truce! Is this your French law? Is
this your French honour? Come on, traitors all, and get what you can of
a naked man; you will buy it dear. Guard my back, Winter!"
And with his constant comrade at his back, he dashed right at the press
And when his lance did break in hand
Full fell enough he smote with brand.
And now he is all wounded, and Winter, who fought at his back, is fallen
on his face, and Hereward stands alone within a ring of eleven corpses.
A knight rushes in, to make a twelfth, cloven through the helm; but with
the blow Hereward's blade snaps short, and he hurls it away as his foes
rush in. With his shield he beat out the brains of two, but now
Taillebois and Evermue are behind him, and with four lances through his
back he falls, to rise no more.
So perished the last of the English.
* * * * *
In "Hypatia," published in 1853, after passing through
"Fraser's Magazine," Kingsley turned from social problems in
England to life in Egypt in the fifth century, taking the same
pains to give the historical facts of the old dying Roman
world as he did to describe contemporary events at home. The
moral of "Hypatia," according to its author, is that "the sins
of these old Egyptians are yours, their errors yours, their
doom yours, their deliverance yours. There is nothing new
under the sun."
In the 413th year of the Christian era, some 300 miles from Alexandria,
the young monk Philammon was sitting on the edge of a low range of
inland cliffs, crested with drifting sand. Behind him the desert sand
waste stretched, lifeless, interminable, reflecting its lurid blare on
the horizon of the cloudless vault of blue. Presently he rose and
wandered along the cliffs in search of fuel for the monastery from
whence he came, for Abbot Pambo's laura at Scetis.
It lay pleasantly enough, that lonely laura, or lane of rude Cyclopean
cells, under the perpetual shadow of the southern walls of crags, amid
its grove of ancient date-trees. And a simple, happy, gentle life was
that of the laura, all portioned out by rules and methods. Each man had
food and raiment, shelter on earth, friends and counsellors, living
trust in the continual care of Almighty God. Thither had they fled out
of cities, out of a rotten, dying world of tyrants and slaves,
hypocrites and wantons, to ponder undisturbed on duty and on judgment,
on death and eternity.
But to Philammon had come an insatiable craving to know the mysteries of
learning, to see the great roaring world of men. He felt he could stay
no longer, and on his return he poured out his speech to Abbot Pambo.
"Let me go! I am not discontented with you, but with myself. I knew that
obedience is noble, but danger is nobler still. If you have seen the
world, why should not I? Cyril and his clergy have not fled from it."
Abbot Pambo sought counsel with the good brother Aufugus, and then bade
Philammon follow him.
"And thou wouldst see the world, poor fool? Thou wouldst see the world?"
said the old man when the abbot had left them alone together.
"I would convert the world!"
"Thou must know it first. Here I sit, the poor unknown old monk, until I
die. And shall I tell thee what that world is like? I was Arsenius,
tutor of the emperor. There at Byzantium I saw the world which thou
wouldst see, and what I saw thou wilt see. Bishops kissing the feet of
parricides. Saints tearing saints in pieces for a word. Falsehood and
selfishness, spite and lust, confusion seven times confounded. And thou
wouldst go into the world from which I fled?"
"If the harvest be at hand, the Lord needs labourers. Send me, and let
that day find me where I long to be, in the forefront of the battle of
"The Lord's voice be obeyed. Thou shalt go. Here are letters to Cyril,
the patriarch. Thou goest of our free will as well as thine own. The
abbot and I have watched thee long, knowing that the Lord had need of
such as thee elsewhere. We did but prove thee, to see, by thy readiness
to obey, whether thou were fit to rule. Go, and God be with thee. Covet
no man's gold or silver. Neither eat flesh nor drink wine, but live as
thou hast lived--a Nazarite of the Lord. The papyrus boat lies at the
ferry; thou shalt descend in it. When thou hast gone five days' journey
downward, ask for the mouth of the canal of Alexandria. Once in the
city, any monk will guide thee to the archbishop. Send us news of thy
welfare by some holy mouth. Come."
Silently they paced together down the glen to the lonely beach of the
great stream. Pambo was there, and with slow and feeble arms he launched
the canoe. Philammon flung himself at the old men's feet, and besought
their blessing and their forgiveness.
"We have nothing to forgive. Follow thou thine inward call. If it be the
flesh, it will avenge itself; if it be of the Spirit, who are we that we
should fight against God? Farewell!"
A few minutes more, and the youth and his canoe were lessening down the
rapid stream in the golden summer twilight.
_II.--Hypatia, Queen of Paganism_
On his first morning in Alexandria, Philammon heard praises of Hypatia
from a fruit porter who showed him the way to the archbishop's house.
Hypatia, according to his guide, was the queen of Alexandria, a very
unique and wonderful person, the fountain of classic wisdom.
Later in the day, after he had presented himself to Archbishop Cyril,
Philammon learnt from an old priest, and from a fanatical monk named
Peter, that the very name of Hypatia was enough to rouse the clergy to a
fury of execration. It seemed that Orestes, the Roman governor of the
city, although nominally a Christian, was the curse of the Alexandrian
Church; and Orestes visited Hypatia, whose lectures on heathen
philosophy drew all the educated youth of the place.
Philammon's heart burned to distinguish himself at once. There were no
idols now to break, but there was philosophy.
"Why does not some man of God go boldly into the lecture-room of the
sorceress, and testify against her?" he asked.
"Do it yourself, if you dare," said Peter. "We have no wish to get our
brains knocked out by all the profligate young gentlemen in the city."
"I will do it," said Philammon.
The archbishop gave permission.
"Only promise me two things," he said. "Promise me that, whatever
happens, you will not strike the first blow, and that you will not argue
with her. Contradict, denounce, defy. But give no reasons. If you do you
are lost. She is subtler than the serpent, skilled in all the tricks of
logic, and you will became a laughing-stock, and run away in shame."
"Ay," said Peter, bitterly, as he ushered Philammon out. "Go up to
Ramoth Gilead and prosper, young fool! Ay, go, and let her convert you.
Touch the accursed thing, like Achan, and see if you do not end by
having it in your tent."
And with this encouraging sentence the two parted, and Philammon, on the
following morning, followed the train of philosophers, students, and
fine gentlemen to Hypatia's lecture-room.
Philammon listened to Hypatia in bewilderment, attracted by the beauty
of the speaker, the melody of her voice, and the glitter of her
rhetoric. As she discoursed on truth a sea of new thoughts and questions
came rushing in on his acute Greek intellect at every sentence. A
hostile allusion to the Christian Scriptures aroused him, and he cried
out, "It is false, blasphemous! The Scriptures cannot lie!"
There was a yell at this. "Turn the monk out!" "Throw the rustic through
the window!" cried a dozen young gentlemen. Several of the most valiant
began to scramble over the benches up to him, and Philammon was
congratulating himself on the near approach of a glorious martyrdom,
when Hypatia's voice, calm and silvery, stifled the noise and tumult in
"Let the youth listen, gentlemen. He is but a monk and a plebeian, and
knows no better; he has been taught thus. Let him sit here quietly, and
perhaps we may be able to teach him otherwise."
And, without even a change of tone, she continued her lecture.
Philammon sprang up the moment that the spell of her voice was taken off
him, and hurried out through the corridor into the street. But he had
not gone fifty yards before his friend the fruit porter, breathless with
running, told him that Hypatia called for him. "Thereon, her father,
commands thee to be at her house--here--to-morrow at the third hour.
Hear and obey."
Cyril heard Philammon's story and Hypatia's message with a quiet smile,
and then dismissed the youth to an afternoon of labour in the city,
commanding him to come for his order in the evening.
But in the evening, Peter, already jealous of Cyril's interest in
Philammon, and enraged at any toleration being extended to Hypatia,
refused to let the youth enter the archbishop's house, and then struck
him full in the face. The blow was intolerable, and in an instant
Peter's long legs were sprawling on the pavement, while he bellowed like
a bull to all the monks that stood by, "Seize him! The traitor! The
heretic! He holds communion with heathens! And he was in Hypatia's
lecture-room this morning!"
A rush took place at the youth, but Philammon's blood was up. The ring
of monks were baying at him like hounds round a bear, and, against such
odds, the struggle would be desperate. He turned and forced his way to
the gate, amid a yell of derision which brought every drop of blood in
his body into his cheeks.
"Let me leave this court in safety! God knows whether I am a heretic;
and the archbishop shall know of your iniquity. I will not cross this
threshold again until Cyril himself sends for me to shame you!"
He strode on in his wrath some hundred yards or more before he asked
himself where he was going. Gradually one fixed idea began to glimmer
through the storm--to see Hypatia and convert her. He had Cyril's leave.
It must be right. That would justify him--to bring back, in the fetters
of the Gospel, the Queen of Heathendom. Yes, there was that left to live
Philammon did not convert Hypatia, but he became her favourite pupil.
And Hypatia, dreaming that the worship of the old gods might be
restored, and her philosophy triumph over Christianity, received daily
visits from Orestes, the governor, and entered into his plans--to her
For Orestes had an idea of becoming emperor, and of purchasing the
favour of the populace by a show of gladiators. To win Hypatia for
himself, he promised to restore the heathen games, and Hypatia, caring
nothing for Orestes, but always longing for the revival of the old
religion, promised, against her better judgment, to bear him company on
the day of the festival, and to sit by his side, and even to acclaim him
The success of Orestes' plot depended on the success of a bigger
rebellion--the attempt of Heraclian, Count of Africa, to conquer Rome.
Heraclian had been defeated, and this was known to Cyril, but Orestes
was misled by false intelligence, and counted on Heraclian's victory for
his own triumph.
When the day of the spectacle arrived, to the horror and surprise of
Philammon, Hypatia herself sat by the side of the Roman prefect, while,
on the stage before them, a number of Libyan prisoners fought fiercely
for their lives, only to be butchered in the end by the professional
The sleeping devil in the hearts of the brutalised multitude burst forth
at the sight, and with jeers and applause the hired ruffians were urged
on to their work of blood.
Then a shameless exhibition of Venus followed, and Philammon could bear
no more. For Venus was his sister, long parted from him in childhood,
and only in the last few days had he learnt of his relationship to
Pelagia, the lady who had consented to act the part of the Goddess of
Love, and who was betrothed to Amal, the leader of the band of Goths. He
rushed down through the dense mass of spectators, leaped the balustrade
into the orchestra below, and tore across to the foot of the stage.
"Pelagia! Sister! My sister! Have mercy on me! On yourself! I will hide
you! Save you! We will flee together out of this infernal place! I am
your brother! Come!"
She looked at him one moment with wide, wild eyes. The truth flashed on
her. And she sprang from the platform into his arms, and then, covering
her face with both her hands, sank down among the bloodstained sand.
A yell ran along the vast circle. Philammon was hurried away by the
attendants, and Pelagia, her face still hidden by her hands, walked
slowly away and vanished among the palms at the back of the stage. A
cloud, whether of disgust or disappointment, now hung upon every brow,
and there was open murmuring at the cruelty and heathenry of the show.
Hypatia was utterly unnerved. Orestes alone rose to the crisis.
In a well-studied oration he declared that Heraclian the African was
conquerer of Rome, and a roar of hired applause supported him. Then the
prefect of the guards encouraged the city authorities to salute Orestes
as emperor, and Hypatia, amid shouts of her aristocratic scholars, rose
and knelt before him, writhing inwardly with shame and despair.
At the same moment a monk's voice shouted from the highest tiers in the
theatre, "It is false! False! You are tricked! Heraclian was utterly
routed; Cyril has known it, every Jew has known it, for a week past. So
perish all the enemies of the Lord, caught in their own snare!"
For a minute an awful silence fell on all who heard; and then arose a
tumult, which Orestes in vain attempted to subdue. The would-be emperor
summoned his guards around him and Hypatia, and made his way out as best
he could, while the multitude melted away like snow before the rain, to
find every church placarded by Cyril with the particulars of Heraclian's
Two days later, when Hypatia went to give her farewell lecture to her
pupils--for all hope was dead--a mob of monks and their followers seized
her, dragged her into the church of the Caesareum, and there, before the
great, still figure of Christ, Peter struck her down, and the mob tore
her limb from limb.
_IV.--Back to the Desert_
Philammon had done his best, struggling in vain, to pierce the dense
mass of people, and save Hypatia. He had been wedged against a pillar,
unable to move, in the great church.
The little fruit porter, alone of all her disciples, fought his way
through the mob, only to be thrown down the steps.
When all was over in the church, and Hypatia was dead, and the mob had
rushed out, Philammon sank down exhausted outside, and the little porter
burst out into a bitter agony of human tears.
"She is with the gods," said the porter at last.
"She is with the God of gods," answered Philammon.
Then he felt that he must arise and flee for his life. He had gone forth
to see the world, and he had seen it. Arsenius was in the right after
all. Home to the desert. But first he would go himself, alone, and find
Pelagia, and implore her to flee with him.
* * * * *
Abbot Pambo, as well as Arsenius, had been dead several years; the
abbot's place was filled, by his own dying command, by a hermit from the
neighbouring deserts, who had made himself famous for many miles round
by his extraordinary austerities, his ceaseless prayers, and his loving
While still in the prime of his manhood, he was dragged, against his own
entreaties, to preside over the laura of Scetis. The elder monks
considered it an indignity to be ruled by so young a man; but the
monastery throve and grew rapidly under his government. His sweetness,
patience, and humility, and, above all, his marvellous understanding of
the doubts and temptations of his own generation, soon drew around him
all whose sensitiveness or waywardness had made them unmanageable in the
Never was the young Abbot Philammon heard to speak harshly of any human
being, and he stopped, by stern rebuke, any attempt to revile either
heretics or heathens.
One thing was noted, that there mingled always with his prayers the
names of two women. And when some worthy elder, taking courage from his
years, dared to hint kindly that this caused some scandal to the weaker
brethren, "It is true," answered he. "Tell my brethren that I pray
nightly for two women, both of them young, both of them beautiful; both
of them beloved by me more than I love my own soul; and tell them that
one of the two was an actress, and the other a heathen." The old monk
laid his hand on his mouth and retired.
The remainder of his history it seems better to extract from an
unpublished fragment of the lives of the saints.
"Now when the said abbot had ruled the monastery of Scetis seven years
with uncommon prudence, he called one morning to him a certain ancient
brother, and said: 'Make ready for me the divine elements, that I may
consecrate them, and partake thereof with all my brethren, ere I depart
hence. For know assuredly that within the seventh day, I shall migrate
to the celestial mansions.' And the abbot, having consecrated,
distributed among his brethren, reserving only a portion of the most
holy bread and wine; and then, having bestowed on them all the kiss of
peace, he took the paten and chalice in his hands, and went forth from
the monastery towards the desert; whom the whole fraternity followed
weeping. And having arrived at the foot of a certain mountain, he
stopped, and blessing them, dismissed them, and so ascending, was taken
away from their eyes.
"But the eldest brother sent two of the young men to seek their master,
who, meeting with a certain Moorish people, learnt that a priest,
bearing a paten and chalice, had passed before them a few days before,
crossing the desert in the direction of the cave of the holy Amma.
"And they inquiring who this Amma might be, the Moors answered that some
twenty years ago there had arrived in those mountains a woman more
beautiful than had ever before been seen in that region, who, after
distributing among them the rich jewels which she wore, had embraced the
hermit's life, and sojourned upon the highest peak of a neighbouring
"Then the two brothers, determining to proceed, arrived upon the summit
of the said mountain.
"There in an open grave, guarded by two lions, lay the body of
Philammon, the abbot; and by his side, wrapped in his cloak, the corpse
of a woman of exceeding beauty, such as the Moors had described. And by
the grave-side stood the paten and the chalice, emptied of their divine
contents. Whereupon, filling in the grave with all haste, they returned
weeping to the laura.
"Now, before they returned, one of the brethren, searching the cave
wherein the holy woman dwelt, found nothing there, saving one bracelet
of gold, of large size and strange workmanship, engraven with foreign
characters, which no one could decipher.
"And it came to pass years afterwards that certain wandering barbarians
of the Vandalic race saw this bracelet in the laura of Scetis, and
pretended that it had belonged to a warrior of their tribe."
* * * * *
So be it. Pelagia and Philammon, like the rest, went to their own place;
to the only place where such in such days could find rest; to the desert
and the hermit's cell.
Let him that is without sin among you cast the first stone, whether at
Hypatia or Pelagia, Cyril or Philammon.
* * * * *
Two Years Ago
Kingsley's "Two Years Ago" has been said by his son to be the
only novel, pure and simple, that ever came from the pen of
the famous writer, Published in 1857, it was begun two years
earlier while staying at Bideford. At this time Kingsley was
deeply interested in the Crimean War, and many thousands of
copies of his pamphlet, "Brave Words to Brave Soldiers," were
distributed to the army. His military tastes no doubt go a
long way towards explaining his doctrine in "Two Years Ago"
that the war was to exercise a great regenerating influence in
English life. Although the story is in many respects weaker
than its predecessors, it nevertheless abounds in brilliant
and vivid word-paintings, the descriptions of North Devon
scenery being probably unsurpassed in English prose.
_I.--Tom Thurnall's Wanderings_
To tell my story I must go back sixteen years to the days when the
pleasant old town of Whitbury boasted of forty coaches a day, instead of
one railway, and set forth how there stood two pleasant houses side by
side in its southern suburb.
In one of these two houses lived Mark Armsworth, banker, solicitor, land
agent, and justice of the peace. In the other lived Edward Thurnall,
esquire, doctor of medicine, and consulting physician of all the
countryside. These two men were as brothers, both were honest and
Dr. Thurnall was sitting in his study, settled to his microscope, one
beautiful October morning, and his son Tom stood gazing out of the bay
Tom, who had been brought up in his father's profession, was of that
bull-terrier type so common in England; sturdy, middle-sized,
deep-chested, broad-shouldered, his face full of shrewdness and good
nature, and of humour withal. It was his last day at home; tomorrow he
was leaving for Paris.
Presently Mark Armsworth came in, and Tom was seen cantering about the
garden with a weakly child of eight in his arms.
"Mark, the boy's heart cannot be in the wrong place while he is so fond
of little children."
"If she grows up, doctor, and don't go to join her poor dear mother up
there, I don't know that I'd wish her a better husband than your boy."
"It would be a poor enough match for her."
"Tut! She'll have the money, and he the brains. Doctor, that boy'll be a
credit to you; he'll make a noise in the world, or I know nothing. And
if his fancy holds seven years hence, and he wants still to turn
traveller, let him. If he's minded to go round the world, I'll back him
to go, somehow, or I'll eat my head, Ned Thurnall!"
So Tom carried Mary about all the morning, and next day went to Paris,
and soon became the best pistol shot and billiard-player in the Quartier
Latin. Then he went to St. Mumpsimus's Hospital in London, and became
the best boxer therein, and captain of the eight-oar, besides winning
prizes and certificates without end, and becoming in time the most
popular house-surgeon in the hospital; but nothing could keep him
permanently at home. Settle down in a country practice he would not.