Part 2 out of 7
lay a man in a melancholy posture, lost in meditation. Ambrosio
recognised him; it was Rosario, his favourite novice, a youth of whose
origin none knew anything, save that his bearing, and such of his
features as accident had discovered--for he seemed fearful of being
recognised, and was continually muffled up in his cowl--proved him to be
of noble birth.
"You must not indulge this disposition to melancholy, Rosario," said
The youth flung himself at Ambrosio's feet.
"Oh, pity me!" he cried. "How willingly would I unveil to you my heart!
But I fear------"
"How shall I reassure you? Reveal to me what afflicts you, and I swear
that your secret shall be safe in my keeping."
"Father," said Rosario, in faltering accents, "I am a woman!"
The abbot stood still for a moment in astonishment, then turned hastily
to go. But the suppliant clasped his knees.
"Do not fly me!" she cried. "You are my beloved; but far is it from
Matilda's wish to draw you from the paths of virtue. All I ask is to see
you, to converse with you, to adore you!"
Confusion and resentment mingled in Ambrosio's mind with secret pleasure
that a young and lovely woman had thus for his sake abandoned the world.
But he recognised the need for austerity.
"Matilda," he said, "you must leave the abbey to-morrow."
"Cruel, cruel!" she exclaimed, wringing her hands in agony. "Farewell,
my friend! And yet, methinks, I would fain bear with me some token of
"What shall I give you?"
"Anything--one of those flowers will be sufficient."
Ambrosio approached a bush, and stooped to pick one of the flowers. He
uttered a piercing cry, and Matilda rushed towards him.
"A serpent," he said in a faint voice, "concealed among the roses."
With loud shrieks the distressed Matilda summoned assistance. Ambrosio
was carried to the abbey, his wound was examined, and the surgeon
pronounced that there was no hope. He had been stung by a centipedoro,
and would not live three days.
Mournfully the monks left the bedside, and Ambrosio was entrusted to the
care of the despairing Matilda. Next morning the surgeon was astonished
to find that the inflammation had subsided, and when he probed the wound
no traces of the venom were perceptible.
"A miracle! A miracle!" cried the monks. Joyfully they proclaimed that
St. Francis had saved the life of their sainted abbot.
But Ambrosio was still weak and languid, and again the monks left him in
Matilda's care. As he listened to an old ballad sung by her sweet voice,
he found renewed pleasure in her society, and was conscious of the
influence upon him of her beauty. For three days she nursed him, while
he watched her with increasing fondness. But on the next day she came
not. A lay-brother entered instead.
"Hasten, reverend father," said he. "Young Rosario lies at the point of
death, and he earnestly requests to see you."
In deep agitation he followed the lay-brother to Matilda's apartment.
Her face glowed at the sight of him. "Leave me, my brethren," she said
to the monks; much have I to tell this holy man in private."
"Father, I am poisoned," she said, when they had gone, "but the poison
once circulated in your veins."
"I loosened the bandage from your arm; I drew out the poison with my
lips. I feel death at my heart."
"And you have sacrificed yourself for me! Is there, indeed, no hope?"
"There is but one means of life in my power--a dangerous and dreadful
means; life would be purchased at too dear a rate--unless it were
permitted me to live for you."
"Then live for me," cried the infatuated monk, clasping her in his arms.
"Live for me!"
"Then," she cried joyfully, "no dangers shall appall me. Swear that you
will never inquire by what means I shall preserve myself, and procure
for me the key of the burying-ground common to us and the sisterhood of
When Ambrosio had obtained the key, Matilda left him. She returned
radiant with joy.
"I have succeeded!" she cried. "I shall live, Ambrosio--shall live for
Raymond and Lorenzo had gone to the rendezvous appointed in the letter,
and had waited to be joined by Agnes and to enable her to escape from
But Agnes had not come, and the two friends withdrew in deep
mortification. Presently arrived a message from Raymond's uncle, the
cardinal, enclosing the Pope's bull ordering that Agnes should be
released from her vows, and restored to her relatives. Lorenzo at once
conveyed the bull to the prioress.
"It is out of my power to obey this order," said she, in a voice of
anger which she strove in vain to disguise. "Agnes is dead!"
Lorenzo hastened with the fatal news to Raymond, whose terrible
affliction led to a dangerous illness.
One morning, as Ambrosio was leaving the chapel after listening to many
penitents--he was the favourite confessor in Madrid--Antonia stepped
timidly up to him and begged him to visit her mother, who was stretched
on a bed of sickness. Charmed with her beauty and innocence, he
The monk retired to his cell, whither he was pursued by Antonia's image.
"What would be too dear a price," he meditated, "for this lovely girl's
Not once but often did Ambrosio visit Antonia and her mother; and each
time he saw the innocent girl his love increased. Matilda, who had first
opened his heart to love, saw the change, and penetrated his secret.
"Since your love can no longer be mine," she said to him sadly, "I
request the next best gift--your confidence and friendship. You love
Antonia, but you love her despairingly. I come to point out the road to
"To those who dare, nothing is impossible. Listen! My guardian was a man
of uncommon knowledge, and from him I had training in the arts of magic.
One terrible power he gave me--the power of raising a demon. I shuddered
at the thought of employing it, until it became my only means of saving
my life--a life that you prized. For your sake I performed the mystic
rites in the sepulchre of St. Clare. For your sake I will perform them
"No, no, Matilda!" cried the monk, "I will not ally myself with God's
"Look!" Matilda held before him a mirror of polished steel, its borders
marked with various strange characters. A mist spread over the surface;
it cleared, and Ambrosio gazed upon the countenance of Antonia in all
"I yield!" he cried passionately. "Matilda, I follow you!"
They passed into the churchyard; they reached the entry to the vaults;
Ambrosio tremblingly followed Matilda down the staircase. They went
through narrow passages strewn with skulls and bones, and reached a
spacious cavern. Matilda drew a circle around herself, and another
around him; bending low, she muttered a few indistinct sentences, and a
thin, blue, sulphurous flame arose from the ground.
Suddenly she uttered a piercing shriek, and plunged a poniard into her
left arm; the blood poured down, a dark cloud arose, and a clap of
thunder was heard. Then a full strain of melodious music sounded and the
demon stood before them.
He was a youth of perfect face and form. Crimson wings extended from his
shoulders; many-coloured fires played about his locks; but there was a
wildness in his eyes, a mysterious melancholy in his features, that
betrayed the fallen angel.
Matilda conversed with him in unintelligible language; he bowed
submissively, and gave to her a silver branch, imitating myrtle, that he
bore in his right hand. The music was heard again, and ceased; the cloud
spread itself afresh; the demon vanished.
"With this branch," said Matilda, "every door will open before you. You
may gain access to Antonia; a touch of the branch will send her into a
deep sleep, and you may carry her away whither you will."
Ashamed and fearful, yet borne away by his love, the monk set forth. The
bolts of Antonia's house flew back, and the doors opened before the
But as he passed stealthily through the house a woman confronted him. It
was Antonia's mother, roused by a fearful dream.
"Monster of hypocrisy!" she cried in fury. "I had already suspected you,
but I kept silence. Now I will unmask you, villain!"
"Forgive me, lady!" begged the terrified monk. "I swear by all that is
"No! All Madrid shall shudder at your perfidy."
He turned to fly. She seized him and screamed for help. He grasped
her by the throat with all his strength, strangled her, and flung her to
the ground, where she lay motionless. After a minute of horror-struck
shuddering, the murderer fled. He entered the abbey unobserved, and
having shut himself into his cell, he abandoned his soul to the tortures
of unavailing remorse.
_IV.--A Living Death_
"Do not despair," counselled Matilda, when the monk revealed his
failure. "Your crime is unsuspected. Antonia may still be yours. The
prioress of St. Clare has a mysterious liquor, the effect of which is to
give those who drink it the appearance of death for three days. Procure
some of this liquor, visit Antonia, and cause her to drink it; have her
body conveyed to a sepulchre in the vaults of St. Clare."
Ambrosio hastened to secure a phial of the mysterious potion. He went to
comfort Antonia in her distress, and contrived to pour a few drops from
the phial into a draught that she was taking. In a few hours he heard
that she was dead, and her body was conveyed to the vaults.
Meanwhile, Lorenzo had learned, not indeed that his sister was alive,
but that she had been the victim of terrible cruelty. A nun, who had
been Agnes's friend, hinted at atrocious vengeance taken by the prioress
for Agnes's attempt to escape. She suggested that Lorenzo should bring
the officers of the Inquisition with him and arrest the prioress during
a public procession of the nuns in honour of St Clare.
Accordingly, as the prioress passed along the street among her nuns with
a devout and sanctified air, the officers advanced and arrested her.
"Ah!" she cried frantically, "I am betrayed!"
"Betrayed!" replied the nun who had revealed the secret to Lorenzo. "I
charge the prioress with murder!"
She told how Agnes had been secretly poisoned by the prioress. The mob,
mad with indignation, rushed to the convent determined to destroy it.
Lorenzo and the officers hastened to endeavour to do what they could to
save the convent and the terrified nuns who had taken refuge there.
Antonia's heart throbbed, her eyes opened; she raised herself and cast a
wild look around her. Her clothing was a shroud; she lay in a coffin
among other coffins in a damp and hideous vault. Confronting her with a
lantern in his hand, and eyeing her greedily, stood Ambrosio.
"Where am I?" she said abruptly. "How came I here? Let me go!"
"Why these terrors, Antonia?" replied the abbot. "What fear you from
me--from one who adores you? You are imagined dead; society is for ever
lost to you. You are absolutely in my power!"
She screamed, and strove to escape; he clutched at her and struggled to
detain her. Suddenly Matilda entered in haste.
"The mob has set fire to the convent," she said to Ambrosio, "and the
abbey is in danger. Don Lorenzo and the officers are searching the
vaults. You cannot escape; you must remain here. They may not, perhaps,
enter this vault."
Antonia heard that rescue was at hand.
"Help! help!" she screamed, and ran out of the vault. The abbot pursued
her in desperation; he caught her; he could not stifle her cries.
Frantic in his desire to escape, he grasped Matilda's dagger, plunged it
twice in the bosom of Antonia, and fled back to the vault. It was too
late he had been seen, the glare of torches filled the vault, and
Ambrosio and Matilda were seized and bound by the officers of the
Meanwhile, Lorenzo, running to and fro, had flashed his lantern upon a
creature so wretched, so emaciated, that he doubted to think her woman.
He stopped petrified with horror.
"Two days, and yet no food!" she moaned. "No hope, no comfort!" Suddenly
she looked up and addressed him.
"Do you bring me food, or do you bring me death?"
"I come," he replied, "to relieve your sorrows."
"God, is it possible? Oh, yes! Yes, it is!"--she fainted. Lorenzo
carried her in his arms to the nuns above.
Loud shrieks summoned him below again. Hastening after the officers, he
saw a woman bleeding on the ground. He went to her; it was his beloved
Antonia. She was dying; with a few sweet words of farewell, her spirit
Broken-hearted, he returned. He had lost Antonia, but he was to learn
that Agnes was restored to him. The woman he had rescued was indeed his
sister, saved from a living death and brought back to life and love.
Ambrosio was tortured into confession, and condemned to be burned at the
stake. Matilda, terrified at the sight of her fellow-criminal's
torments, confessed without torture, and was sentenced to be burned at
They were to perish at midnight, and as the monk, in panic-stricken
despair, awaited the awful hour, suddenly Matilda stood before him,
beautifully attired, with a look of wild pleasure in her eyes.
"Matilda!" he cried, "how have you gained entrance?"
"Ambrosio," she replied, "I am free. For life and liberty I have sold my
soul to Lucifer. Dare you do the same?"
The monk shuddered.
"I cannot renounce my God," he said.
"Fool! What hope have you of God's mercy?" She handed him a book. "If
you repent of your folly, read the first four lines in the seventh page
backwards." She vanished.
A fearful struggle raged in the monk's spirit. What hope had he in any
case of escaping eternal torment? And yet--was not the Almighty's mercy
infinite? Then the thought of the stake and the flames entered his mind
and appalled him.
At last the fatal hour came. The steps of his gaolers were heard in the
passage. In uttermost terror he opened the book and ran over the lines,
and straightway the fiend appeared--not seraph-like as when he appeared
formerly, but dark, hideous, and gigantic, with hissing snakes coiling
around his brows.
He placed a parchment before Ambrosio.
"Bear me hence!" cried the monk.
"Will you be mine, body and soul?" said the demon. "Resolve while there
"Sign, then!" Lucifer thrust a pen into the flesh of Ambrosio's arm, and
the monk signed. A moment later he was carried through the roof of the
dungeon into mid-air.
The demon bore him with arrow-like speed to the brink of a precipice in
the Sierra Morena.
"Carry me to Matilda!" gasped the monk.
"Wretch!" answered Lucifer. "For what did you stipulate but rescue from
the Inquisition? Learn that when you signed, the steps in the corridor
were the steps of those who were bringing you a pardon. But now you are
mine beyond reprieve, to all eternity, and alive you quit not these
Darting his talons into the monk's shaven crown, he sprang with him from
the rock. From a dreadful height he flung him headlong, and the torrent
bore away with it the shattered corpse of Ambrosio.
* * * * *
ELIZA LYNN LINTON
Mrs. Lynn Linton, daughter of a vicar of Crosthwaite, was born at
Keswick, England, Feb. 10, 1822. At the age of three-and-twenty
she embarked on a literary career, and as a journalist,
magazine contributor, and novelist wrote vigorously for over
fifty years. Before her marriage, in 1858, to W.J. Linton, the
eminent wood-engraver, who was also a poet, she had served on
the staff of the "Morning Chronicle," as Paris correspondent.
Later, she contributed to "All the Year Round," and to the
"Saturday Review." After nine years of married life, the
Lintons parted amicably. In 1872 Mrs. Lynn Linton published
"The True History of Joshua Davidson," a powerfully simple
story that has had much influence on working-class thought.
"Christopher Kirkland," a later story, is largely
autobiographical. Mrs. Linton died in London on July 14, 1898.
She was a trenchant critic of what she regarded as tendencies
towards degeneration in modern women.
_I.--A Cornish Christ_
Joshua Davidson was the only son of a village carpenter, born in the
small hamlet of Trevalga, on the North Cornwall coast, in the year 1835.
There was nothing very remarkable about Joshua's childhood. He was
always a quiet, thoughtful boy, and from his earliest years noticeably
pious. He had a habit of asking why, and of reasoning out a principle,
from quite a little lad, which displeased people, so that he did not get
all the credit from the schoolmaster and the clergyman to which his
diligence and good conduct entitled him.
He was never well looked on by the vicar since a famous scene that took
place in the church one Sunday. After catechism was over, Joshua stood
out before the rest, just in his rough country clothes as he was, and
said very respectfully to the vicar, "Mr. Grand, if you please I would
like to ask you a few questions."
"Certainly, my lad. What have you to say?" said Mr. Grand rather
"If we say, sir, that Jesus Christ was God," said Joshua, "surely all
that He said and did must be real right? There cannot be a better way
"Surely not, my lad," Mr. Grand made answer.
"And His apostles and disciples, they showed the way, too?" said Joshua.
"And they showed the way, too, as you say; and if you come up to half
they taught you'll do well, Joshua."
The vicar laughed a little laugh as he said this, but it was a laugh,
Joshua's mother said, that seemed to mean the same thing as a "scat"--
our Cornish word for a blow--only the boy didn't seem to see it.
"Yes; but, sir, if we are Christians, why don't we live as Christians?"
"Ah, indeed, why don't we?" said Mr. Grand. "Because of the wickedness
of the human heart; because of the world, the flesh, and the devil."
"Then, sir, if you feel this, why don't you and all the clergy live like
the apostles, and give what you have to the poor?" cried Joshua,
clasping his hands and making a step forward, the tears in his eyes.
"Why do you live in a fine house, and have grand dinners, and let Peggy
Bray nearly starve in that old mud hut of hers, and Widow Tregellis
there, with her six children, and no fire or clothing for them? I can't
make it out, sir!"
"Who has been putting these bad thoughts into your head?" said Mr. Grand
"No one, sir. I have been thinking for myself. Michael, out by Lion's
Den, is called an infidel--he calls himself one. And you preached last
Sunday that no infidel can be saved. But Michael helped Peggy and her
child when the orphan fund people took away her pension; and he worked
early and late for Widow Tregellis and her children, and shared with
them all he had, going short for them many a time. And I can't help
thinking, sir, that Christ would have helped Peggy, and that Michael,
being an infidel and such a good man, is something like that second son
in the parable who said he would not do his Lord's will when he was
ordered, but who went all the same------"
"And that your vicar is like the first?" interrupted Mr. Grand angrily.
"Well, yes, sir, if you please," said Joshua quite modestly, but very
There was a stir among the ladies and gentlemen when Joshua said this;
and some laughed a little, under their breath, and others lifted up
their eyebrows and said, "What an extraordinary boy!" But Mr. Grand was
very angry, and said, in a severe tone, "These things are beyond the
knowledge of an ignorant lad like you, Joshua. I consider you have done
a very impertinent thing to-day, and I shall mark you for it!"
"I meant no harm. I meant only the truth and to hear the things of God,"
repeated Joshua sadly, as he took his seat among his companions, who
And so Joshua was not well looked on by the clergyman, who was his
enemy, as one may say, ever after.
"Mother," said Joshua, "I mean, when I grow up, to live as our Lord and
Saviour lived when He was on the earth."
"He is our example, lad," said his mother. "But I doubt lest you fall by
_II.--Faith That Moveth Mountains_
Joshua did not leave home early. He wrought at his father's bench, and
was content to bide with his people. But his spirit was not dead if his
life was uneventful. He gathered about him a few youths of his own age,
and held with them prayer-meetings and Bible readings, either at home in
his father's house, or in the fields when the throng was too great for
No one ever knew Joshua tell the shadow of a lie, or go back from his
word, or play at pretence. And he had such an odd way of coming right
home to us. He seemed to have felt all that we felt, and to have thought
all our thoughts.
The youths that Joshua got together as his friends were as
well-conditioned a set of lads as you would wish to see--sober,
industrious, chaste. Their aim was to be thorough and like Christ.
Joshua's great hope was to bring back the world to the simplicity and
broad humanity of Christ's acted life, and he could not understand how
it had been let drop.
He was but a young man at this time, remember--enthusiastic, with little
or no scientific knowledge, and putting the direct interposition of God
above the natural law. Wherefore, he accepted the text about faith
removing mountains as literally true. And one evening he went down into
the Rocky Valley, earnest to try conclusions with God's promise, and
sure of proving it true.
He prayed to God to grant us this manifestation--to redeem His promise.
Not a shadow of doubt chilled or slacked him. As he stood there in the
softening twilight, with his arms raised above his head and his face
turned up to the sky, his countenance glowed as Moses' of old. He seemed
inspired, transported beyond himself, beyond humanity.
He commanded the stone to move in God's name, and because Christ had
promised. But the rock stood still, and a stonechat went and perched on
Another time he took up a viper in his hand, quoting the passage, "They
shall take up serpents." But the beast stung him, and he was ill for
"Take my advice," said the doctor. "Put all these thoughts out of your
head. Get some work to do in a new part of the country, fall in love
with some nice girl, and marry as soon as you can make a home for her.
That's the only life for you, depend upon it."
"God has given me other thoughts," said Joshua, "and I must obey them."
The doctor said afterwards that he was quite touched at the lad's
sweetness and wrong-headedness combined.
The failure of these trials of faith perplexed us all, and profoundly
afflicted Joshua. "Friends," he said at last, "it seems to me--indeed, I
think we must all see it now--that His Word is not to be accepted
literally. The laws of nature are supreme, and even faith cannot change
them. Can it be," he then said solemnly, "that much of the Word is a
parable--that Christ was truly, as He says of Himself, the corner-stone,
but not the whole building--and that we have to carry on the work in His
spirit, but in our own way, and not merely to try and repeat His acts?"
It was after this that we noticed a certain restlessness in Joshua. But
in time he had an offer to go up to London to follow his trade at a
large house in the City, and got me a job as well, that I might be
alongside of him. For we were like brothers. A few days before he went,
Joshua happened to be coming out of his father's workshop just as Mr.
Grand was passing, driving the neat pair-horse phaeton he had lately
"Well, Joshua, and how are you doing? And why have you not been to
church lately?" said the parson, pulling up.
"Well, sir," said Joshua, "I don't go to church, you know."
"A new light on your own account, hey?" and he laughed as if he mocked
"No, sir; only a seeker."
"The old path's not good enough for you?"
"I must answer for my conscience to God, sir," said Joshua.
"And your clergyman, appointed by God and the state to be your guide,
what of him? Has he no authority in his own parish?"
"Look here, sir," said Joshua, quite respectfully; "I deny your
appointment as a God-given leader of souls. The Church is but the old
priesthood as it existed in the days of our Lord. I see no sacrifice of
the world, no brotherhood with the poor----"
"The poor!" interrupted Mr. Grand disdainfully. "What would you have,
you young fool? The poor have the laws of their country to protect them,
and the Gospel preached to them for their salvation."
"Why, sir, the poor of our day are the lepers of Christ's, and who among
you Christian priests consorts with them? Who ranks the man above his
station, or the soul above the man?"
"Now we have come to it!" cried Mr. Grand. "I thought I should touch the
secret spring at last! And you would like us to associate with you as
equals--is that it, Joshua? Gentlemen and common men hob-and-nob
together, and no distinctions made? You to ride in our carriages, and
perhaps marry our daughters?"
"That's just it, sir. You are gentlemen, as you say, but not the
followers of Christ. If you were, you would have no carriages to ride
in, and your daughters would be what Martha and Mary and Lydia and
Dorcas were, and their title to ladyhood founded on their degrees of
"Shall I tell you what would be the very thing for you," said Mr. Grand,
"Yes, sir; what?" asked Joshua eagerly.
"This whip across your shoulders! And, by George, if I were not a
clergyman, I would lay it there with a will!" cried the parson.
No one had ever seen Joshua angry since he had grown up. His temper was
proverbially sweet, and his self-control was a marvel. But this time he
"God shall smite thee, thou white wall!" he cried with vehemence. "You
are the gentleman, sir, and I am only a poor carpenter's son; but I
spurn you with a deeper and more solemn scorn than you have spurned me!"
He lifted his hand as he said this, with a strange and passionate
gesture, then turned himself about and went in, and Mr. Grand drove off
more his ill-wisher than before. He also made old Davidson, Joshua's
father, suffer for his son, for he took away his custom from him, and
did him what harm in the neighbourhood a gentleman's ill word can do a
_III.--Is Christ's Way Livable?_
In London a new view of life opened to Joshua. The first thing that
struck him in our workshop was the avowed infidelity of the workmen.
Distrust had penetrated to their inmost souls. Christianity represents
to the poor, not Christ tender to the sinful, visiting the leprous, the
brother of publicans, at Whose feet sat the harlots and were comforted,
but the gentleman taking sides with God against the poor and oppressed,
an elder brother in the courts of heaven kicking the younger out of
At this time Joshua's mind was like an unpiloted vessel. He was beset
with doubts, in which the only thing that kept its shape or place was
the character of Christ. For the rest, everything had failed him. During
this time he did not neglect what I suppose may be called the secular
life. He attended all such science classes as he had time for, and being
naturally quick in study, he picked up a vast deal of knowledge in a
very short time; he interested himself in politics, in current social
questions, specially those relating to labour and capital, and in the
condition of the poor.
So his time passed, till at last one evening, "Friends," he said, "I
have at last cleared my mind and come to a belief. I have proved to
myself the sole meaning of Christ: it is humanity. The modern Christ
would be a politician. His aim would be to raise the whole platform of
society. He would work at the destruction of caste, which is the vice at
the root of all our creeds and institutions. He would accept the truths
of science, and He would teach that a man saves his own soul best by
helping his neighbour. Friends, the doctrine I have chosen for myself is
Christian Communism, and my aim will be, the life after Christ in the
service of humanity."
It was this which made him begin his "night school," where he got
together all who would come, and tried to interest them in a few homely
truths in the way of cleanliness, health, good cooking, and the like,
with interludes, so to speak, of lessons in morality.
We lodged in a stifling court, Church Court, where every room was filled
as if cubic inches were gold, as indeed they are to London house-owners,
if human life is but dross. Opposite us lived Mary Prinsep, who was what
the world calls lost--a bad girl--a castaway--but I have reason to speak
well of her, for to her we owe the life of Joshua. Joshua fell ill in
our wretched lodgings, where we lived and did for ourselves, and I was
obliged to leave him for twelve hours and more at a stretch; but Mary
Prinsep came over and nursed him, and kept him alive. We helped her all
we could, and she helped us. This got us the name of associating with
Among the rest of the doubtful characters with which our court abounded
was one Joe Traill, who had been in prison many a time for petty larceny
and the like. He was one of those who stink in the nostrils of cleanly,
civilised society, and who are its shame and secret sore. There was no
place for Joe in this great world of ours. He said to Joshua one night
in his blithe way that there was nothing for him but to make a running
fight for it, now up, now down, as his luck went.
"Burglary's a bad trade," said Joshua.
"Only one I've got at my fingers' ends, governor," laughed the thief;
"and starvation is a worse go than quod."
"Well, till you've learned a better, share with us," said Joshua. So now
we had a reformed burglar and a reformed prostitute in our little
"It is what Christ would have done," said Joshua, when he was
But the police did not see it. Wherefore, "from information received,"
Joshua and I were called up before the master, and had our dismissal
from the shop, and we found ourselves penniless in the wilds of London.
But Joshua was undisturbed. He told both Joe and Mary that he would not
forsake them, come what might.
It was a hard time, and, bit by bit, everything we possessed passed over
the pawnbroker's counter, even to our tools. But when we were at the
worst Joshua received a letter enclosing a five-pound note, "from a
friend." We never knew where it came from, and there was no clue by
which we could guess. Immediately after both Joshua and I got a job, and
Joe and Mary still bided with us.
Joshua's life of work and endeavour brought with it no reward of praise
or popularity. It suffered the fate of all unsectarianism, and made him
to be as one man in the midst of foes. He soon began to see that the
utmost he could do was only palliative and temporary. So he turned to
class organisation as something more hopeful than private charity. When
the International Workingmen's Association was formed, he joined it as
one of its first members; indeed, he mainly helped to establish it. And
though he never got the ear of the International, because he was so
truly liberal, he had some little influence, and what influence he had
ennobled their councils as they have never been ennobled since.
One evening Joe Traill, who had been given a situation, came into the
night school staggering drunk, and made a commotion, and though Joshua
quieted him, after being struck by him, the police, attracted by the
tumult, came up into the room and marched Joshua and myself off to the
police station, where we were locked up for the night. As we had to be
punished, reason or none, we were both sent to prison for a couple of
weeks next morning.
Well, Christ was the criminal of his day!
Such backslidings and failures at that of Joe Traill were among the
greatest difficulties of Joshua's work. Men and women whom he had
thought he had cleansed and set on a wholesome way of living, turned
back again to the drink and the deviltry of their lives, and the various
sectarians who came along all agreed that the cause of his failures
was--Joshua was not a Christian!
Next a spasmodic philanthropist, Lord X., struck up a friendship with
Joshua, who, he said, wanted, as a background, a man of position. This
led to Joshua's first introduction into a wealthy house of the upper
classes, and the luxury and lavishness almost stupefied him. Lady X.
liked Joshua, and felt he was a master-spirit, but when she came to
Church Court, and found out what Mary had been, she went away offended,
and we saw her no more.
_IV.--The Pathway of Martyrdom_
Sometimes Joshua went as a lecturer to various towns, for his political
associates were willing to use his political zeal, though they did not
go in for his religious views. He insisted on the need of the working
classes raising themselves to a higher level in mind and circumstance,
and on the right of each man to a fair share of the primary essentials
for good living. His discourses roused immense antagonism, and he was
sometimes set upon and severely handled by the men to whom he spoke. I
have known swindlers and murderers more gently entreated. When, after
the war between France and Prussia the Commune declared itself in Paris,
Joshua went over to help, as far as he could, in the cause of humanity.
I went with him, and poor, loving, faithful Mary followed us. But there,
notwithstanding all that we and others of like mind could do, blood was
shed which covered liberty with shame, and in the confusion that
followed Mary was shot as a petroleuse while she was succouring the
wounded. We buried her tenderly, and I laid part of my life in her
On our return Joshua was regarded as the representative of social
destruction and godless licence, for the very name of the Commune was a
red rag to English thought.
At last we came to a place called Lowbridge, where Joshua was announced
to lecture on Communism in the town hall. Grave as he always was, that
night he was grave to sadness, like a martyr going to his death. He
shook hands with me before going on the platform, and said, "God bless
you, John; you have been a true friend to me."
In the first row in front of him was the former clergyman of Trevalga,
Mr. Grand, who had lately been given the rich living of Lowbridge and
one or two stately cathedral appointments. At the first word Joshua
spoke there broke out such a tumult as I had never heard in any public
meeting. The yells, hisses, cat-calls, whoopings, were indescribable. It
only ceased when Mr. Grand rose, and standing on a chair, appealed to
the audience to "Give him your minds, my men, and let him understand
that Lowbridge is no place for a godless rascal like him."
I will do Mr. Grand the justice to say I do not think he intended his
words to have the effect they did have. A dozen men leaped on the
platform, and in a moment I saw Joshua under their feet. They had it all
their own way, and while he lay on the ground, pale and senseless, one,
with a fearful oath, kicked him twice on the head. Suddenly a whisper
went round, they all drew a little, way off, the gas was turned down,
and the place cleared as if by magic. When the lights were up again, I
went to lift him--and he was dead.
The man who had lived the life after Christ more exactly than any human
being ever known to me was killed by the Christian party of order. So
the world has ever disowned its best when they came.
The death of my friend has left me not only desolate but uncertain. Like
Joshua in earlier days, my mind is unpiloted and unanchored. Everywhere
I see the sifting of competition, and nowhere Christian protection of
weakness; everywhere dogma adored, and nowhere Christ realised. And
again I ask, Which is true--modern society in its class strife and
consequent elimination of its weaker elements, or the brotherhood and
communism taught by the Jewish Carpenter of Nazareth? Who will answer
me? Who will make the dark thing clear?
* * * * *
Samuel Lover, born at Dublin on February 24, 1797, was the
most versatile man of his age. He was a song-writer, a
novelist, a painter, a dramatist, and an entertainer; and in
each of these parts he was remarkably successful. In 1835 he
came to London, and set up as a miniature painter; then he
turned to literature, and in "Rory O'More," published in 1837,
and "Handy Andy, a Tale of Irish Life," which appeared in
1842, he took the town. Lover was a typical Irishman of the
old school--high-spirited, witty, and jovially humorous; and
his work is informed with a genuine Irish raciness that gives
it a perennial freshness. He is a man gaily in love with life,
and with a quick eye for all the varied humours of it. "Handy
Andy" is one of the most amusing books ever written; a roaring
farce, written by a man who combined the liveliest sense of
fun with a painter's gift of portraying real character in a
few vivid touches. Samuel Lover died on July 6, 1868.
_I.--The Squire Gets a Surprise_
Andy Rooney was a fellow with a most ingenious knack of doing everything
the wrong way. "Handy" Andy was the nickname the neighbours stuck on
him, and the poor simple-minded lad liked the jeering jingle. Even Mrs.
Rooney, who thought that her boy was "the sweetest craythur the cun
shines on," preferred to hear him called "Handy Andy" rather than
For sad memories attached to the latter nickname. Knowing what a hard
life Mrs. Rooney had had--she had married a stranger, who disappeared a
month after marriage, so Andy came into the world with no father to beat
a little sense into him--Squire Egan of Merryvale engaged the boy as a
servant. One of the first things that Andy was called upon to do was to
wait at table during an important political dinner given by the squire.
Andy was told to ice the champagne, and the wine and a tub of ice were
given to him.
"Well, this is the quarest thing I ever heered of," said Andy. "Musha!
What outlandish inventions the quality has among them! They're not
content with wine, but they must have ice along with it--and in a tub,
too, like pigs! Troth, its a' dirty thrick, I think. But here goes!"
said he; and opening a bottle of champagne, he poured it into the tub
with the ice.
Andy distinguished himself right at the beginning of the dinner. One of
the guests asked him for soda-water.
"Would you like it hot or cold, sir?" he said.
"Never mind," replied the guest, with a laugh. But Andy was anxious to
please, and the squire's butler met him hurrying to the kitchen,
bewildered, but still resolute.
"One of the gintlemen wants some soap and wather with his wine,"
exclaimed Andy. "Shall I give it hot or cold?"
The distracted and irate butler took Andy to the sideboard and pushed a
small soda into his hand, saying, "Cut the cord, you fool!" Andy took it
gingerly, and holding it over the table, carried out the order. Bang I
went the bottle, and the cork, after knocking out two of the lights,
struck the squire in the eye, while the hostess had a cold bath down her
back. Poor Andy, frightened by the soda-water jumping out of the bottle,
kept holding it out at arm's-length, exclaiming at every fizz, "Ow, ow,
"Send that fellow out of the room," said the squire to the butler, "and
bring in the champagne."
In staggered Andy with the tub.
"Hand it round the table," said the squire.
Andy tried to lift up the tub "to hand it round the table," but finding
he could not, he whispered, "I can't get it up, sir!"
"Draw it then," murmured his master, thinking that Andy meant he had got
a bottle which was not effervescent enough to expel its own cork.
"Here it is," said Andy, pulling the tub up to the squire's chair.
"What do you mean, you stupid rascal?" exclaimed the squire, staring at
the strange stuff before him. "There's not a single bottle there!"
"To be sure there's no bottle there, sir," said Andy. "I've poured every
dhrop of wine in the ice, as you towld me, sir. If you put your hand
down into it, you'll feel it."
A wild roar of laughter uprose from the listening guests. Happily they
were now too merry to be upset by the mishap, and it was generally voted
that the joke was worth twice as much as the wine. Handy Andy was,
however, expelled from the dining-room in disgrace, and for days kept
out of his master's way, and the servants for months would call him by
no other name but "Suds."
_II.--O'Grady Gets a Blister_
Mr. Egan was a kind-hearted man, and, instead of dismissing Andy, he
kept him on for out-door work. Our hero at once distinguished himself in
his new walk of life.
"Ride into the town and see if there is a letter for me," said the
"I want a letther, if you plaze!" shouted Andy, rushing into the
"Who do you want it for?" asked the postmaster.
"What consarn is that o' yours?" exclaimed Andy.
Happily, a man who knew Andy looked in for a letter, paid the postage of
fourpence on it, and then settled the dispute between Andy and the
postmaster by mentioning Mr. Egan's name.
"Why didn't you tell me you came from the squire?" said the postmaster.
"Here's a letter for him. Elevenpence postage."
"Elevenpence postage!" Andy cried. "Didn't I see you give that man a
letther for fourpence, and a bigger letther than this? Do you think I'm
"No," said the postmaster; "I'm sure of it."
He walked off to serve another customer, and Andy meditated. His master
wanted the letter badly, so he would have to pay the exorbitant price.
He snatched two other letters from the heap on the counter while the
postmaster's back was turned, paid the elevenpence, received the epistle
to which he was entitled, and rode home triumphant.
"Look at that!" he exclaimed, slapping the three letters down under his
broad fist on the table before the astonished squire. "He made me pay
elevenpence, by gor! But I've brought your honour the worth of your
"Well, by the powers!" said the squire, as Andy stalked out of the room
with an air of supreme triumph. "That's the most extraordinary genius I
ever came across!"
He read the letter for which he had been anxiously waiting. It was from
his lawyer about the forthcoming election. In it he was warned to beware
of his friend O'Grady, who was selling his interest to the government
"So that's the work O'Grady's at!" exclaimed the squire angrily. "Foul,
foul! And after all the money I lent him, too!"
He threw down the letter, and his eye caught the other two that Andy had
"More of that mad fool's work! Robbing the mail now. That's a hanging
job. I'd better send them to the parties to whom they're addressed."
Picking up one of the epistles, he found it was a government letter
directed to his new enemy, O'Grady. "All's fair in war," thought the
squire, and pinching the letter until it gaped, he peeped in and read:
"As you very properly remark, poor Egan is a spoon--a mere spoon." "Am I
a spoon, your villain!" roared the squire, tearing the letter and
throwing it into the fire. "I'm a spoon you'll sup sorrow with yet!"
"Get out a writ on O'Grady for all the money he owes me," he wrote to
his lawyer. "Send me the blister, and I'll slap it on him."
Unfortunately, he sent Andy with this letter; still more unfortunately,
Mrs. Egan also gave the simple fellow a prescription to be made up at
the chemist's. Andy surpassed himself on this occasion. He called at the
chemist's on his way back from the lawyer's, and carefully laid the
sealed envelope containing the writ on the counter, while he was getting
the medicine. On leaving, he took up a different envelope.
"My dear Squire," ran the letter Andy brought back, "I send you the
blister for O'Grady, as you insist on it; but I don't think you will
find it easy to serve him with it.--Your obedient, MURTOUGH MURPHY."
When the squire opened the accompanying envelope, and found within a
real instead of a figurative blister, he grew crimson with rage. But he
was consoled when he went to horsewhip his attorney, and met the chemist
pelting down the street with O'Grady tearing after him with a cudgel.
For some years O'Grady had successfully kept out of his door every
process-server sent by his innumerable creditors; but now, having got a
cold, he had dispatched his man to the chemist for a blister, and owing
to Handy Andy, he obtained Squire Egan's writ against him.
"You've made a mistake this time, you rascal," said the squire to Andy,
"for which I'll forgive you."
And this was only fair, for through it he was able to carry the
election, and become Edward Egan, Esq., M.P.
_III.--Andy Gets Married_
Andy was among the guests invited to the wedding feast of pretty Matty
Dwyer and handsome young James Casey; like everybody else he came to the
marriage full of curiosity. Matty's father, John Dwyer, was a hard,
close-fisted fellow, and, as all the neighbours knew, there had been
many fierce disputes between him and Casey over the question of a farm
belonging to Dwyer going into the marriage settlement.
A grand dinner was laid in the large barn, but it was kept waiting owing
to the absence of the bridegroom. Father Phil, the kindly, jovial parish
priest, who had come to help James and Matty "tie with their tongues the
knot they couldn't undo with their teeth," had not broken his fast that
day, and wanted the feast to go on. To the great surprise of the
company, Matty backed him, and full of life and spirits, began to lay
the dinner. For some time the hungry guests were busy with the good
cheer provided for them, but the women at last asked in loud whispers,
"Where in the world is James Casey?" Still the bride kept up her smiles,
but old Jack Dwyer's face grew blacker and blacker. Unable to bear the
strain any longer, he stood up and addressed the expectant crowd.
"You see the disgrace that's put on me!"
"He'll come yet, sir," said Andy.
"No, he won't!" cried Dwyer, "I see he won't. He wanted to get
everything his own way, and he thinks to disgrace me in doing what he
likes, but he shan't;" and he struck the table fiercely. "He goes back
of his bargain now, thinkin' I'll give in to him; but I won't. Friends
and neighbours, here's the lease of the three-cornered field below there
and a snug little cottage, and it's ready for my girl to walk in with
the man that will have her! If there's a man among you here that's
willing, let him say the word, and I'll give her to him!"
Matty tried to protest, but her father silenced her with a terrible
look. When old Dwyer's blood was up, he was capable of murder. No guest
dared to speak.
"Are yiz all dumb?" shouted Dwyer. "It's not every day a farm and a fine
girl falls in a man's way."
Still no one spoke, and Andy thought they were using Dwyer and his
"Would I do, sir?" he timidly said.
Andy was just the last man Dwyer would have chosen, but he was
determined that someone should marry the girl, and show Casey "the
disgrace should not be put on him." He called up Andy and Matty, and
asked the priest to marry them.
"I can't, if your daughter objects," said Father Phil.
Dwyer turned on the girl, and there was the devil in his eye.
"I'll marry him," said Matty.
So the rites and blessings of the Church were dispensed between two
persons who an hour before had never given a thought to each other. Yet
it was wonderful with what lightness of heart Matty went through the
honours consequent on a peasant bridal in Ireland. She gaily led off the
dance with Andy, and the night was far spent before the bride and
bridegroom were escorted to the cottage which was to be their home.
Matty sat quiet, looking at the fire, while Andy bolted the door; but
when he tried to kiss her she leaped up furiously.
"I'll crack your silly head if you don't behave yourself," she cried,
seizing a stool and brandishing it above him.
"Oh, wirra, wirra!" said Andy. "Aren't you my wife? Why did you marry
"Did I want owld Jack Dwyer to murther me as soon as the people's backs
was turned?" said Matty. "But though I'm afraid of him, I'm not afraid
"Och!" cried poor Andy, "what'll be the end of it?"
There was a tap at the door as he spoke, and Matty ran and opened it.
In came James Casey and half a dozen strong young fellows. Behind them
crept a reprobate, degraded priest who got his living and his name of
"Couple-Beggar" by performing irregular marriages. The end of it was
that Matty was married over again to Casey, whom she had sent for while
the dancing was going on. Poor Andy, bound hand and foot, was carried
out of the cottage to a lonely by-way, and there he passed his
wedding-night roped to the stump of an old tree.
_IV.--Andy Gets Married Again_
Misfortunes now accumulated on Andy's head. At break of day he was
released from the tree-stump by Squire Egan, who was riding by with some
bad news for the man he thought was now a happy bridegroom. Owing to an
indiscreet word dropped by our simple-minded hero, a gang of smugglers,
who ran an illicit still on the moors, had gathered something about Andy
stealing the letters from the post-office and Squire Egan burning them.
They had already begun to blackmail the squire, and in order to defeat
them it was necessary to get Andy out of the country for some time. So
nothing could be done against Casey.
And, on going home to prepare for a journey to England with a friend of
the squire's, Andy found his mother in a sad state of anxiety. His
pretty cousin, Oonah, was crying in a corner of the room, and Ragged
Nance, an unkempt beggar-woman, to whom the Rooneys had done many a good
turn, was screaming, "I tell you Shan More means to carry off Oonah
to-night. I heard them laying the plan for it."
"We'll go to the squire," sobbed Mrs. Rooney. "The villain durst not!"
"He's got the squire under his thumb, I tell you," replied Ragged Nance.
"You must look after yourselves. I've got it," she said, turning to
Andy. "We'll dress him as a girl, and let the smugglers take him."
Andy roared with laughter at the notion of being made a girl of. Though
Shan More was the blackguardly leader of the smugglers who were giving
the squire trouble, Andy was too taken up with the fun of being
transformed into the very rough likeness of a pleasing young woman to
think of the danger. It was difficult to give his angular form the
necessary roundness of outline; but Ragged Nance at last padded him out
with straw, and tied a bonnet on his head to shade his face, saying,
"That'll deceive them. Shan More won't come himself. He'll send some of
his men, and they're all dhrunk already."
"But they'll murdher my boy when they find out the chate," said Mrs.
"Suppose they did," exclaimed Andy stoutly; "I'd rather die, sure, than
the disgrace should fall upon Oonah there."
"God bless you, Andy dear!" said Oonah.
The tramp of approaching horses rang through the stillness of the night,
and Oonah and Nance ran out and crouched in the potato tops in the
garden. Four drunken vagabonds broke into the cottage, and, seeing Andy
in the dim light clinging to his mother, they dragged him away and
lifted him on a horse, and galloped off with him.
As it happened, luck favoured Andy. When he came to the smugglers' den,
Shan More was lying on the ground stunned, and his sister, Red Bridget,
was tending him; in going up the ladder from the underground
whisky-still, he had fallen backward. The upshot was that Andy was left
in charge of Red Bridget. But, alas! just as he was hoping to escape,
she penetrated through his disguise. More unfortunately still, Andy was,
with all his faults, a rather good-looking young fellow, and Red Bridget
took a fancy to him, and the "Couple-Beggar" was waiting for a job.
Smugglers' whisky is very strong, and Bridget artfully plied him with
it. Andy was still rather dazed when he reached home next morning.
"I've married again," he said to his mother.
"Married?" interrupted Oonah, growing pale. "Who to?"
"Shan More's sister," said Andy.
"Wirasthru!" screamed Mrs. Rooney, tearing her cap off her head. "You
got the worst woman in Ireland."
"Then I'll go and 'list for a sojer," said he.
_V.--Andy Gets Married a Third Time_
It was Father Phil that brought the extraordinary news to Squire Egan.
"Do you remember those two letters that Andy stole from the post-office,
and that someone burnt?" he asked, with a smile.
"I've been meaning to tell you, father, that one was for you," said the
squire, looking very uncomfortable.
"Oh, Andy let it out long ago," said the kindly old priest. "But the
joke is that by stealing my letter Andy nearly lost a title and a great
fortune. Ever heard of Lord Scatterbrain? He died a little time ago,
confessing in his will that it was he that married Mrs. Rooney, and
"So Handy Andy is now a lord!" exclaimed the squire, rocking with
Andy took it like a true son of the wildest and most eccentric of Irish
peers. On getting over the first shock of astonishment, he broke out
into short peals of laughter, exclaiming at intervals, that "it was
mighty quare." When, after much questioning, his wishes in regard to his
new life were made clear, it was found that they all centred on one
object, which was "to have a goold watch."
The squire was perplexed what to do with a great nobleman of this sort,
and at last he got a kinsman, Dick Dawson, who loved fun, to take Andy
under his especial care to London. When they arrived there it was
wonderful how many persons were eager to show civility to his new
lordship, and he who as Handy Andy had been cried down all his life as a
"stupid rascal," "a blundering thief," "a thick-headed brute," suddenly
acquired, under the title of Lord Scatterbrain, a reputation for being
"vastly amusing, a little eccentric, perhaps, but so droll."
All this was very delightful for Andy--so delightful that he quite
forgot Red Bridget. But Red Bridget did not forget him.
"Lady Scatterbrain!" announced the servant one day; and in came Bridget
and Shan More and an attorney.
The attorney brought out a settlement in which an exorbitant sum was to
be settled on Bridget, and Shan More, with a threatening air, ordered
Andy to sign the deed.
"I can't," cried Andy, retreating to the fire-place, "and I won't!"
"You must sign your name!" roared Shan More.
"I can't, I tell you!" yelled Andy, seizing the poker. "I've never
larned to write."
"Your lordship can make your mark," said the attorney.
"I'll make my mark with this poker," cried Andy, "if you don't all clear
The noise of a frightful row brought Dick Dawson into the room, and he
managed to get rid of the intruders by inducing the attorney to conduct
the negotiations through Lord Scatterbrain's solicitors.
But while the negotiations were going on, a fact came to light that
altered the whole complexion of the matter, and Andy went post-haste
over to Ireland to the fine house in which his mother and his cousin
Bursting into the drawing-room, he made a rush upon Oonah, whom he
hugged and kissed most outrageously, with exclamations of the wildest
When Oonah freed herself from his embraces, and asked him what he was
about, Andy turned over the chairs, threw the mantelpiece ornaments into
the fire, and banged the poker and tongs together, shouting! "Hurroo!
I'm not married at all!"
It had been discovered that Red Bridget had a husband living when she
forced Andy to marry her, and as soon as it was legally proved that Lord
Scatterbrain was a free man, Father Phil was called in, and Oonah, who
had all along loved her wild cousin, was made Lady Scatterbrain.
* * * * *
EDWARD BULWER LYTTON
Novelist, poet, essayist, and politician, Edward Bulwer Lytton
was born in London on May 25, 1805. His father was General
Earle Bulwer. He assumed his mother's family name on her death
in 1843, and was elevated to the peerage as Baron Lytton in
1866. At seventeen Lytton published a volume entitled,
"Ismael, and Other Poems." An unhappy marriage in 1827 was
followed by extraordinary literary activity, and during the
next ten years he produced twelve novels, two poems, a play,
"England and the English," and "Athens: Its Rise and Fall,"
besides an enormous number of shorter stories, essays, and
articles for contemporary periodicals. Altogether his output
is represented by nearly sixty volumes. Few books on their
publication have created a greater furore than Lord Lytton's
"Eugene Aram," which was published in 1832. One section of the
novel-reading public hailed its moving, dramatic story with
manifest delight, while the other severely condemned it on the
plea of its false morality. The story takes its title from
that remarkable scholar and criminal, Eugene Aram, at one time
a tutor in the Lytton family, who was executed at York in
1759, for a murder committed fourteen years before. The crime
caused much consternation at the time, Aram's refined and mild
disposition being apparently in direct contradiction to his
real nature. The novel is an unusually successful, though
perhaps one-sided psychological study. In a revised edition
Lytton made the narrative agree with his own conclusion that,
though an accomplice in robbery, Aram was not guilty of
premeditated or actual murder. Edward Bulwer Lytton died on
January 18, 1873.
_I.--At the Sign of the Spotted Dog_
In the county of ---- was a sequestered hamlet, to which I shall give
the name of Grassdale. It lay in a fruitful valley between gentle and
fertile hills. Its single hostelry, the Spotted Dog, was owned by one
Peter Dealtry, a small farmer, who was also clerk of the parish. On
summer evenings Peter was frequently to be seen outside his inn
discussing psalmody and other matters with Jacob Bunting, late a
corporal in his majesty's army, a man who prided himself on his
knowledge of the world, and found Peter's too easy fund of merriment
On one such evening their discussion was interrupted by an
unprepossessing and travel-stained stranger, who, when his wants, none
too amiably expressed, had been attended to, exhibited a marked
curiosity concerning the people of the locality. As the stranger paid
for his welcome with a liberal hand, Peter became more than usually
He described the lord of the manor, a distinguished nobleman who lived
at the castle some six miles away. He talked of the squire and his
household. "But," he continued, "the most noticeable man is a great
scholar. There, yonder," said he, "you may just catch a glimpse of the
tall what-d'ye-call-it he has built on the top of his house that he may
get nearer to the stars."
"The scholar, I suppose," observed the stranger, "is not very rich.
Learning does not clothe men nowadays, eh, corporal?"
"And why should it?" asked Bunting. "Zounds! can it teach a man how to
defend his country? Old England wants soldiers. But the man's well
enough, I must own--civil, modest----"
"And by no means a beggar," added Peter. "He gave as much to the poor
last winter as the squire himself. But if he were as rich as Lord----he
could not be more respected. The greatest folk in the country come in
their carriages-and-four to see him. There is not a man more talked on
in the whole county than Eugene Aram----"
"What!" cried the traveller, his countenance changing as he sprang from
his seat. "What! Aram! Did you say _Aram_? Great heavens! How strange!"
"What! You know him?" gasped the astonished landlord.
Instead of replying, the stranger muttered inaudible words between his
teeth. Now he strode two steps forward, clenching his hands. Now smiled
grimly. Then he threw himself upon his seat, still in silence.
"Rum tantrums!" ejaculated the corporal. "What the devil! Did the man
eat your grandmother?"
The stranger lifted his head, and addressing Peter, said, with a forced
smile, "You have done me a great kindness, my friend. Eugene Aram was an
early acquaintance of mine. We have not met for many years. I never
guessed that he lived in these parts."
And then, directed, in answer to his inquiries, to Aram's dwelling, a
lonely grey house in the middle of a broad plain, the traveller went his
_II.--The Squire's Guest_
The man the stranger went to seek was one who perhaps might have
numbered some five-and-thirty years, but at a hasty glance would have
seemed considerably younger. His frame was tall, slender, but well-knit
and fair proportioned; his cheek was pale, but with thought; his hair
was long, and of a rich, deep brown; his brow was unfurrowed; his face
was one that a physiognomist would have loved to look upon, so much did
it speak of both the refinement and the dignity of intellect.
Eugene Aram had been now about two years settled in his present retreat,
with an elderly dame as housekeeper. From almost every college in Europe
came visitors to his humble dwelling, and willingly he imparted to
others any benefit derived from his lonely researches. But he proffered
no hospitality, and shrank from all offers of friendship. Yet, unsocial
as he was, everyone loved him. The peasant threw kindly pity into his
respectful greeting. Even that terror of the village, Mother Darkmans,
saved her bitterest gibes for others; and the village maiden, as she
curtseyed by him, stole a glance at his handsome but melancholy
countenance, and told her sweetheart she was certain the poor scholar
had been crossed in love.
At the manor house he was often the subject of remark, but only on the
day of the stranger's appearance at the Spotted Dog had the squire found
an opportunity of breaking through the scholar's habitual reserve, and
so persuaded him to dine with him and his family on the day following.
The squire, Rowland Lester, a man of cultivated tastes, was a widower,
with two daughters and a nephew. Walter, the only son of Rowland's
brother Geoffrey, who had absconded, leaving his wife and child to shift
for themselves, was in his twenty-first year, tall and strong, with a
striking if not strictly handsome face; high-spirited, jealous of the
affections of those he loved; cheerful outwardly, but given to moody
reflections on his orphaned and dependent lot, for his mother had not
long survived her desertion.
Madeline Lester, at the age of eighteen, was the beauty and toast of the
whole country; with a mind no less beautiful than her form was graceful,
and a desire for study equalled only by her regard for those who
possessed it, a regard which had extended secretly, if all but
unacknowledged to herself, to the solitary scholar of whom I have been
speaking. Ellinor, her junior by two years, was of a character equally
gentle, but less elevated, and a beauty akin to her sister's.
When Eugene Aram arrived at the manor house in keeping with his promise,
something appeared to rest upon his mind, from which, however, by the
excitement lent by wine and occasional bursts of eloquence, he seemed
striving to escape, and at length he apparently succeeded.
When the ladies had retired, Lester and his guest resumed their talk in
the open, Walter declining to join them.
Aram was advancing the view that it is impossible for a man who leads
the life of the world ever to experience content.
"For me," observed the squire, "I have my objects of interest in my
"And I mine in my books," said Aram.
As they passed over the village green, the gaunt form of Corporal
Bunting arrested their progress.
"Beg pardon, your honour," said he to the scholar, "but strange-looking
dog here last evening--asked after you--said you were old friend of
his--trotted off in your direction--hope all was right, master--augh!"
"All right," repeated Aram, fixing his eyes on the corporal, who had
concluded his speech with a significant wink. Then, as if satisfied with
his survey, he added, "Ay, ay; I know whom you mean. He had become
acquainted with me some years ago. I don't know--I know very little of
him." And the student was turning away, but stopped to add, "The man
called on me last night for assistance. I gave what I could afford, and
he has now proceeded on his journey. Good evening!"
Lester and his companion passed on, the former somewhat surprised, a
feeling increased when shortly afterwards Aram abruptly bade him
farewell. But, recalling the peculiar habits of the scholar, he saw that
the only way to hope for a continuance of that society which had so
pleased him was to indulge Aram at first in his unsocial inclinations;
and so, without further discourse, he shook hands with him, and they
_III.--The Old Riding-Whip_
When Lester regained the little parlour in his home he found his nephew
sitting, silent and discontented, by the window. Madeline had taken up a
book, and Ellinor, in an opposite corner, was plying her needle with an
earnestness that contrasted with her customary cheerful vivacity.
The squire thought he had cause to complain of his nephew's conduct to
their guest. "You eyed the poor student," he said, "as if you wished him
amongst the books of Alexandria."
"I would he were burnt with them!" exclaimed Walter sharply. "He seems
to have bewitched my fair cousins here into a forgetfulness of all but
"Not me!" said Ellinor eagerly.
"No, not you; you are too just. It is a pity Madeline is not more like
Thus was disturbance first introduced into a peaceful family. Walter was
jealous; he could not control his feelings. An open breach followed, not
only between him and Aram, but a quarrel between him and Madeline. The
position came as a revelation to his uncle, who, seeing no other way out
of the difficulty, yielded to Walter's request that he should be allowed
Meanwhile, Aram, drawn out of his habitual solitude by the sweet
influence of Madeline, became a frequent visitor to the manor house and
the acknowledged suitor for Madeline's hand. As for Walter, when he set
out for London, with Corporal Bunting as his servant, he had found
consolation in the discovery that Ellinor's regard for him had gone
beyond mere cousinly affection. His uncle gave him several letters of
introduction to old friends; among them one to Sir Peter Hales, and
another to a Mr. Courtland.
An incident that befell him on the London road revived to an
extraordinary degree Walter's desire to ascertain the whereabouts of his
long-lost father. At the request of Sir Peter Hales he had alighted at a
saddler's for the purpose of leaving a parcel committed to him, when his
attention was attracted by an old-fashioned riding-whip. Taking it up,
he found it bore his own crest, and his father's initials, "G.L." Much
agitated, he made quick inquiries, and learned that the whip had been
left for repair about twelve years previously by a gentleman who was
visiting Mr. Courtland, and had not been heard of since.
Eagerly he sought out Mr. Courtland, and gleaned news which induced him,
much to Corporal Bunting's disgust, to set his back on London, and make
his way with all speed in the direction of Knaresborough. It appeared
that at the time the whip was left at the saddler's, Geoffrey Lester had
just returned from India, and when he called on his old acquaintance,
Mr. Courtland, he was travelling to the historic town in the West Riding
to claim a legacy his old colonel--he had been in the army--had left him
for saving his life. The name Geoffrey Lester had assumed on entering
the army was Clarke.
While Walter Lester and Corporal Bunting were passing northward, the
squire of Grassdale saw, with evident complacency, the passion growing
up between his friend and his daughter. He looked upon it as a tie that
would permanently reconcile Aram to the hearth of social and domestic
life; a tie that would constitute the happiness of his daughter and
secure to himself a relation in the man he felt most inclined of all he
knew to honour and esteem. Aram seemed another man; and happy indeed was
Madeline in the change. But one evening, while the two were walking
together, and Aram was discoursing on their future, Madeline uttered a
faint shriek, and clung trembling to her lover's arm.
Amazed and roused from his enthusiasm, Aram looked up, and, on seeing
the cause of her alarm, seemed himself transfixed, as by a sudden terror
to the earth.
But a few paces distant, standing amidst the long and rank fern that
grew on each side of their path, quite motionless, and looking on the
pair with a sarcastic smile, stood the ominous stranger whom we first
met at the sign of the Spotted Dog.
"Pardon me, dear Madeline," said Aram, softly disengaging himself from
her, "but for one moment."
He then advanced to the stranger, and after a conversation that lasted
but a minute, the latter bowed, and, turning away, soon vanished among
Aram, regaining the side of Madeline, explained, in answer to her
startled inquiries, that the man, whom he had known well some fourteen
years ago, had again come to ask for his help, and he supposed that he
would again have to aid him.
"And is that indeed _all_?" said Madeline, breathing more freely. "Well,
poor man, if he be your friend, he must be inoffensive. Here, Eugene."
And the simple-hearted girl put her purse into Aram's hand.
"No, dearest," said he, shrinking back. "I can easily spare him enough.
But let us turn back. It grows chill."
"And why did he leave us, Eugene?"
"Because," was the reply, "I desired him to visit me at home an hour
There was a past shared by these two men, and Houseman--for that was the
stranger's name--had come for the price of his silence. The next day, on
the plea of an old debt that suddenly had to be met, Aram approached his
prospective father-in-law for the loan of L300. This sum was readily
placed at his disposal. Indeed, he was offered double the amount. His
next action was to travel to London, where, with all the money at his
command, he purchased an annuity for Houseman, falling back, for his own
needs, upon the influence of Lord ---- to secure for him a small state
allowance which it was in that nobleman's power to grant to him as a
needy man of letters.
Houseman was surprised at the scholar's generosity when the paper
ensuring the annuity was placed in his hands. "Before daybreak
to-morrow," he said, "I will be on the road. You may now rest assured
that you are free of me for life. Go home--marry--enjoy your existence.
Within four days, if the wind set fair, I shall be in France."
The pale face of Eugene Aram brightened. He had resolved, had Houseman's
attitude been different, to surrender Madeline at once.
The unexpected change in her lover's demeanour, on his return to
Grassdale, brought unspeakable joy to the heart of Madeline Lester. But
hardly had Aram left Houseman's squalid haunt in Lambeth when a letter
was put into the ruffian's hand telling of his daughter's serious
illness. For this daughter Houseman, villain as he was, would willingly
have given his life. Now, casting all other thoughts aside, he set
forth, not for France, but for Knaresborough, where his daughter was
lying, and whither, guided by his inquiries concerning his father,
Walter Lester was also on his way.
It was not long ere Walter found that a certain Colonel Elmore had died
in 17--, leaving L1,000 and a house to one Daniel Clarke, and that an
executor of the colonel's will survived in the person of a Mr. Jonas
Elmore. From Mr. Elmore, Walter learned that Clarke had disappeared
suddenly, after receiving the legacy, taking with him a number of jewels
with which Mr. Elmore had entrusted him. His disappearance had caused a
sensation at the time, and a man named Houseman had assigned as a cause
of Clarke's disappearance a loan which he did not mean to repay. It was
true that Houseman and a young scholar named Eugene Aram had been
interrogated by the authorities, but nothing could be proved against
them, and certainly nothing was suspected where Aram was concerned. He
left Knaresborough soon after Clarke had disappeared, having received a
legacy from a relative at York.
This story of a legacy Walter was not inclined to believe, but proof of
it was forthcoming. Another circumstance in Aram's favour was that his
memory was still honoured in the town, by the curate, Mr. Summers, as
well as by others.
Accompanied by Mr. Summers, Walter visited the house where Daniel Clarke
had stayed and also the woman at whose house Aram had lived. It was a
lonely, desolate-looking house; its solitary occupant a woman who
evidently had been drinking. When the name of Eugene Aram was mentioned,
the woman assumed a mysterious air, and eventually disclosed the fact
that she had seen Mr. Clarke, Houseman and Aram enter Aram's room early
one morning. They went away together. A little later Aram and Houseman
returned. She found out afterwards that they had been burning some
clothes. She also discovered a handkerchief belonging to Houseman with
blood upon it. She had shown this to Houseman, who had threatened to
shoot her should she say a word to anyone regarding himself or his
Armed with this narrative, extracted by the promise of pecuniary reward,
Walter and Mr. Summers were making their way to a magistrate's when
their attention was attracted by a crowd. A workman, digging for
limestone, had unearthed a big wooden chest. The chest contained a
In the midst of the commotion caused by this discovery a voice broke out
abruptly. It was that of Richard Houseman. His journey had been in vain.
His daughter was dead. His appearance revealed all too plainly to what
source he had flown for consolation.
"What do ye here, fools?" he cried, reeling forward. "Ha! Human bones!
And whose may they be, think ye?"
There were in the crowd those who remembered the disappearance which had
so surprised them years before, and more than one repeated the name of
"Clarke's bones!" exclaimed Houseman. "Ha, ha! They are no more Clarke's
At this moment Walter stepped forward.
"Behold!" he cried, in a ringing voice, vibrant with emotion--"behold
Pale, confused, conscience-stricken, the bewilderment of intoxication
mingling with that of fear, Houseman gasped out that if they wanted the
bones of Clarke they should search St. Robert's Cave. And in the place
he named they found at last the unhallowed burial-place of the murdered
But Houseman, now roused by a sense of personal danger, denied that he
was the guilty man. Drawing his breath hard, and setting his teeth as
with steeled determination, he cried, "The murderer is Eugene Aram!"
_VI.--"I Murdered my Own Life"_
It was a chill morning in November. But at Grassdale all was bustle and
excitement. The church bells were ringing merry peals. It wanted but an
hour or so to the wedding of Eugene Aram and Madeline Lester. In this
interval the scholar was alone with his thoughts. His reverie was rudely
disturbed by a loud knocking, the noise of which penetrated into his
study. The outer door was opened. Voices were heard.
"Great God!" he exclaimed. "'Murderer!' Was that the word I heard
shouted forth? The voice, too, is Walter Lester's. Can he have
Calm succeeded to the agitation of the moment. He met the newcomers with
a courageous front. But, followed by his bride who was to be, by her
sister Ellinor, and by their father, all confident that Walter had made
some horrible mistake, Eugene Aram was taken away to be committed to
York on the capital charge.
The law's delays were numerous. Winter passed into spring, and spring
into summer before the trial came on. Eugene Aram's friends were
numerous. Lord ---- firmly believed in his innocence, and proffered
help. But the prisoner refused legal aid, and conducted his own
defence--how ably history records. Madeline was present at the closing
scene, in her wedding dress. Her father was all but broken in his grief
for daughter and friend. Walter was distraught by the havoc he had
caused, and in doubt whether, after all, his action had not been too
impetuous. The court was deeply impressed by the prisoner's defence. But
the judge's summing-up was all against the accused, and the verdict was
"Guilty!" Madeline lived but a few hours after hearing it.
The following evening Walter obtained admittance to the condemned cell.
"Eugene Aram," he said, in tones of agony, "if at this moment you can
lay your hand on your heart, and say, 'Before God, and at peril of my
soul, I am innocent of this deed,' I will depart; I will believe you,
and bear as I may the reflection that I have been one of the unconscious
agents in condemning to a fearful death an innocent man. But if you
cannot at so dark a crisis take that oath, then, oh then, be generous,
even in guilt, and let me not be haunted through life by the spectre of
a ghastly and restless doubt!"
On the eve of the day destined to be his last on earth Eugene Aram
placed in Walter's hands a paper which that young man pledged himself
not to read till Rowland Lester's grey hairs had gone to the grave. This
document set forth at length the story of Aram's early life, how he
sought knowledge amidst grinding poverty, and how, when a gigantic
discovery in science gleamed across his mind, a discovery which only
lack of means prevented him from realising to the vast benefit of truth
and man, the tempter came to him. This tempter took the form of a
distant relative, Richard Houseman, with his doctrine that "Laws order
me to starve, but self-preservation is an instinct more sacred than
society," and his demand for co-operation in an act of robbery from one
Daniel Clarke, whose crimes were many, who was, moreover, on the point
of disappearing with a number of jewels he had borrowed on false
"Houseman lied," wrote the condemned man. "I did not strike the blow. I
never designed a murder. But the deed was done, and Houseman divided the
booty. My share he buried in the earth, leaving me to withdraw it when I
chose. There, perhaps, it lies still. I never touched what I had
murdered my _own_ life to gain. Three days after that deed a relative,
who had neglected me in life, died and left me wealth--wealth, at least,
to me! Wealth greater than that for which I had----My ambition died in
Houseman passed away in his own bed. But he had to be buried secretly in
the dead of night, for, ten years after Eugene Aram had died on the
scaffold, the hatred of the world survived for his accomplice. Rowland
Lester did not live long after Madeline's death. But when Walter
returned from a period of honourable service with the great Frederick of
Prussia, it was with no merely cousinly welcome that Ellinor received
* * * * *
The Last Days of Pompeii
"The Last Days of Pompeii," the most popular of Lytton's
historical romances, was begun and almost completed at Naples
in the winter of 1832-3, and was first published in 1834. The
period dealt with is that of 79 A.D., during the short reign
of Titus, when Rome was at its zenith and the picturesque
Campanian city a kind of Rome-by-the-Sea. Lytton wrote the
novel some thirty years before the excavations of Pompeii had
been systematically begun; but his pictures of the life, the
luxuries, the pastimes and the gaiety of the half-Grecian
colony, its worship of Isis, its trade with Alexandria, and
the early struggles of Christianity with heathen superstition
are exceptionally vivid. The creation of Nydia, the blind
flower-girl, was suggested by the casual remark of an
acquaintance that at the time of the destruction of Pompeii
the sightless would have found the easiest deliverance.
_I.--The Athenian's Love Story_
Within the narrow compass of the walls of Pompeii was contained a
specimen of every gift which luxury offered to power. In its minute but
glittering shops, its tiny palaces, its baths, its forum, its theatre,
its circus--in the energy yet corruption, in the refinement yet the
vice, of its people, you beheld a model of the whole Roman Empire. It
was a toy, a plaything, a show-box, in which the gods seemed pleased to
keep the representation of the great monarchy of earth, and which they
afterwards hid from time, to give to the wonder of posterity--the moral
of the maxim, that under the sun there is nothing new.
Crowded in the glassy bay were vessels of commerce and gilded galleys
for the pleasures of the rich citizens. The boats of the fishermen
glided to and fro, and afar off you saw the tall masts of the fleet
under the command of Pliny.
Drawing a comrade from the crowded streets, Glaucus the Greek, newly
returned to Pompeii after a journey to Naples, bent his steps towards a
solitary part of the beach; and the two, seated on a small crag which
rose amidst the smooth pebbles, inhaled the voluptuous and cooling
breeze which, dancing over the waters, kept music with its invisible
feet. There was something in the scene which invited them to silence and
Clodius, the aedile, who sought the wherewithal for his pleasures at the
gaming table, shaded his eyes from the burning sky, and calculated the
gains of the past week. He was one of the many who found it easy to
enrich themselves at the expense of his companion. The Greek, leaning
upon his hand, and shrinking not from that sun, his nation's tutelary
deity, with whose fluent light of poesy and joy and love his own veins
were filled, gazed upon the broad expanse, and envied, perhaps, every
wind that bent its pinions toward the shores of Greece.
Glaucus obeyed no more vicious dictates when he wandered into the
dissipations of his time that the exhilarating voices of youth and
health. His heart never was corrupted. Of far more penetration than
Clodius and others of his gay companions deemed, he saw their design to
prey upon his riches and his youth; but he despised wealth save as the
means of enjoyment, and youth was the great sympathy that united him to
them. To him the world was one vast prison to which the sovereign of
Rome was the imperial gaoler, and the very virtues which, in the free
days of Athens, would have made him ambitious, in the slavery of earth
made him inactive and supine.
"Tell me, Clodius," said the Athenian at last, "hast thou ever been in
"Yes, very often."
"He who has loved often," answered Glaucus, "has loved never."
"Art thou, then, soberly and earnestly in love? Hast thou that feeling
which the poets describe--a feeling which makes us neglect our suppers,
forswear the theatre, and write elegies? I should never have thought it.
You dissemble well."
"I am not far gone enough for that," returned Glaucus, smiling. "In
fact, I am not in love; but I could be if there but be occasion to see
"Shall I guess the object? Is it not Diomed's daughter? She adores you,
and does not affect to conceal it. She is both handsome and rich. She
will bind the door-post of her husband with golden fillets."
"No, I do not desire to sell myself. Diomed's daughter is handsome, I
grant; and at one time, had she not been the grandchild of a freedman, I
might have--yet, no--she carries all her beauty in her face; her manners
are not maiden-like, and her mind knows no culture save that of
"You are ungrateful. Tell me, then, who is the fortunate virgin."
"You shall hear, my Clodius. Several months ago I was sojourning at
Naples, a city utterly to my own heart. One day I entered the temple of
Minerva to offer up my prayers, not for myself more than for the city on
which Pallas smiles no longer. The temple was empty and deserted. The
recollections of Athens crowded fast and meltingly upon me. Imagining
myself still alone, my prayer gushed from my heart to my lips, and I
wept as I prayed. I was startled in the midst of my devotions, however,
by a deep sigh. I turned suddenly, and just behind me was a female. She
had raised her veil also in prayer, and when our eyes met, methought a
celestial ray shot from those dark and smiling orbs at once into my
"Never, my Clodius, have I seen mortal face more exquisitely moulded. A
certain melancholy softened, and yet elevated, its expression. Tears
were rolling down her eyes. I guessed at once that she was of Athenian
lineage. I spoke to her, though with a faltering voice. 'Art thou not,
too, Athenian?' said I. At the sound of my voice she blushed, and half
drew her veil across her face. 'My forefathers' ashes,' she said,
'repose by the waters of Ilyssus; my birth is of Naples; but my heart,
as my lineage, is Athenian.'
"'Let us, then,' said I, 'make our offerings together!' And as the
priest now appeared, we stood side by side, and so followed the
ceremonial prayer. Together we touched the knees of the goddess;
together we laid our olive garlands on the altar. Silently we left the
temple, and I was about to ask her where she dwelt, when a youth, whose
features resembled hers, took her by the hand. She turned and bade me
farewell, the crowd parted us, and I saw her no more; nor when I
returned to Naples after a brief absence at Athens, was I able to
discover any clue to my lost country-woman. So, hoping to lose in gaiety
all remembrance of that beautiful apparition, I hastened to plunge
myself amidst the luxuries of Pompeii. This is all my history, I do not
love but I remember and regret."
So said Glaucus. But that very night, in a house at Pompeii, whither she
had come from Naples during his absence, Glaucus came face to face once
more with the beautiful lone, the object of his dreams. And no longer
was he able to say, "I do not love."
_II.--Arbaces, the Egyptian_
Amongst the wealthy dwellers in Pompeii was one who lived apart, and was
at once an object of suspicion and fear. The riches of this man, who was
known as Arbaces, the Egyptian, enabled him to gratify to the utmost the
passions which governed him--the passion of sensual indulgence and the
blind force which impelled him to seek relief from physical satiety in
the pursuit of that occult knowledge which he regarded as the heritage
of his race.
In Naples, Arbaces had known the parents of Ione and her brother
Apaecides, and it was under his guardianship that they had come to
Pompeii. The confidence which, before their death, their parents had
reposed in the Egyptian was in turn fully given to him by lone and her
brother. For Apaecides the Egyptian felt nothing but contempt; the youth
was to him but an instrument that might be used by him in bending lone
to his will. But the mind of Ione, no less than the beauty of her form,
appealed to Arbaces. With her by his side, his willing slave, he saw no
limit to the heights his ambition might soar to. He sought primarily to
impress her with his store of unfamiliar knowledge. She, in turn,
admired him for his learning, and felt grateful to him for his
guardianship. Apaecides, docile and mild, with a soul peculiarly alive
to religious fervour, Arbaces placed amongst the priests of Isis, and
under the special care of a creature of his own, named Calenus. It
pleased his purpose best, where Ione was concerned, to leave her awhile
surrounded by the vain youth of Pompeii, so that he might gain by
It fell not within Arbaces' plans to show himself too often to his ward.
Consequently it was some time before he became aware of the warmth of
the friendship that was growing up between Ione and the handsome Greek.
He knew not of their evening excursions on the placid sea, of their
nightly meetings at Ione's dwelling, till these had become regular
happenings in their daily lives. But one day he surprised them together,
and his eyes were suddenly opened. No sooner had the Greek departed than
the Egyptian sought to poison Ione's mind against him by exaggerating
his love of pleasure and by unscrupulously describing him as making
light of Ione's love.
Following up the advantage he gained by this appeal to her pride,
Arbaces reminded Ione that she had never seen the interior of his home.
It might, he said, amuse her. "Devote then," he went on, "to the austere
friend of your youth one of these bright summer evenings, and let me
boast that my gloomy mansion has been honoured with the presence of the
Unconscious of the pollutions of the mansion, of the danger that awaited
her, Ione readily assented to the proposal. But there was one who, by
accident, had become aware of the nature of the spells cast by Arbaces
upon his visitors, and who was to be the humble means of saving lone
from his toils. This was the blind flower-girl Nydia.
Of Thessalian extraction, and gentle nurture, Nydia had been stolen and
sold into the slavery of an ex-gladiator named Burbo, a relative of the
false priest Calenus. To save her from the cruelty of Burbo, Glaucus had
purchased her, and, in return, the blind girl had become devoted to
him--so devoted that her gentle heart was torn when he made it plain to
her that his action was prompted by mere natural kindness of heart, and
that it was his purpose to send her to Ione.
But she cast all feeling of jealousy aside when she heard of Ione's
visit to the Egyptian, and quickly apprised Glaucus and Apaecides of the
fair Athenian's peril.
On her arrival, Arbaces greeted Ione with deep respect. But he found it
harder than he thought to resist the charm of her presence in his house,
and in a moment of forgetful passion he declared his love for her.
"Arbaces," he declared, "shall have no ambition save the pride of
obeying thee--Ione. Ione, do not reject my love!" And as he spoke he
knelt before her.
Alone, and in the grip of this singular and powerful man, Ione was not
yet terrified; the respect of his language, the softness of his voice,
reassured her; and in her own purity she felt protection. But she was
confused, astonished. It was some moments before she could recover the
power of reply.
"Rise, Arbaces," said she at length. "Rise! and if thou art serious, if
thy language be in earnest----"
"_If_----" said he tenderly.
"Well, then, listen. You have been my guardian, my friend, my monitor.
For this new character I was not prepared. Think not," she added
quickly, as she saw his dark eyes glitter with the fierceness of his
passion, "think not that I scorn; that I am untouched; that I am not
honoured by this homage; but, say, canst thou hear me calmly?"
"Ay, though the words were lightning and could blast me!"
"_I love another_!" said Ione blushingly, but in a firm voice.
"By the gods," shouted Arbaces, rising to his fullest height, "dare not
tell me that! Dare not mock me! It is impossible! Whom hast thou seen?
Whom known? Oh, Ione, it is thy woman's invention, thy woman's art that
speaks; thou wouldst gain time. I have surprised--I have terrified
"Alas!" began Ione; and then, appalled before his sudden and unlooked
for violence, she burst into tears.
Arbaces came nearer to her, his breath glowed fiercely on her cheek. He
wound his arms round her; she sprang from his embrace. In the struggle a
tablet fell from her bosom. Arbaces perceived, and seized it; it was a
letter she had received that morning from Glaucus.
Ione sank upon the couch, half-dead with terror.
Rapidly the eyes of Arbaces ran over the writing. He read it to the end,
and then, as the letter fell from his hand, he said, in a voice of
deceitful calmness, "Is the writer of this the man thou lovest?"
Ione sobbed, but answered not.
"Speak!" he demanded.
"It is--it is!"
"Then hear me," said Arbaces, sinking his voice into a whisper. "_Thou
shalt go to thy tomb rather than to his arms_."
At this instant a curtain was rudely torn aside, and Glaucus and
Apsecides appeared. There was a severe struggle, which might have had a
more sinister ending had not the marble head of a goddess, shaken from
its column, fallen upon Arbaces as he was about to stab the Greek, and
struck the Egyptian senseless to the ground. As it was, Ione was saved,
and she and her lover were then and for ever reconciled to one another.
_III.--The Love Philtre_
Clodius had not spoken without warrant when he had said that Julia, the
daughter of the rich merchant Diomed, thought herself in love with
Glaucus. But since Glaucus was denied to her, her thoughts were
concentrated on revenge. In this mood she sought out Arbaces, presenting
herself as one loving unrequitedly, and seeking in sorrow the aid of
"It is a love charm," admitted Julia, "that I would seek from thy skill.
I know not if I love him who loves me not, but I know that I would see
myself triumph over a rival. I would see him who has rejected me my
suitor. I would see her whom he has preferred in her turn despised."