Reminiscences III.

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CHAPTER XXI.

GEORGE ELIOT'S "BARBARA"


GEORGE ELIOT AT HIGH MASS—DAUBIGNY—OLD HASTINGS—"POOR LITTLE PRISCILLA"—PORTMAN HALL SCHOOL—ALGERIAN SOCIETY—UNDER THE THIRD EMPIRE—AFFORESTING—GIRTON COLLEGE—DR. BODICHON


AS I have said, our parsonage belonged to a High Church, and the vicar's scourge, stained with expiatory blood, was not alone among suggestive surroundings.  In that arctic weather who could help smiling at the large texts adorning the walls of breakfast, parlour, and dining-room.  "Gird up your loins," "Carry not scrip nor staff," "Take up thy bed and walk," and so on.

    The place and its present occupants seemed ill-assorted, yet perhaps such incongruousness was more imaginary than real.

    Our High Church rectory adjoined the church, and on Christmas morning Madame Bodichon carried off her friend to hear the fine musical service, Mass I feel inclined to call it.

    Reverence is a quality absolutely inseparable from true moral or intellectual greatness.

    George Eliot hearkened with subdued rapture, the clear, shrill voices of the choir, the majestic swell of the organ, evidently evoking a religious mood, none the less pure or deep because unallied with formulary or outward observance.

    The midnight service was proposed, but "No, dear, I would not on any account keep George up for us so late," said the great visitor, unlike her hostess in one respect.  Whilst Madame Bodichon never had enough of the thing she loved, whether good company, downright enjoyment, or æsthetic impression, her feverish energy always craving expansion, George Eliot's nature needed repose.  She did not, in French phrase, go out of her way in search of emotion.

    When the pair departed we had quite a different but hardly less distinguished guest.  This was the great French painter Daubigny, then in grievous unquiet, not only for the welfare of his country but for the personal safety of those nearest to him.  The weather remained arctic.  Sketching out of doors was out of the question.  French gaiety, genial companionship, and artistic enthusiasm overcame all these obstacles.

    In the exhilarating society of his hostess Daubigny could at intervals shake off the gloom of that awful period.  Must I admit the fact?  We were gayer, conversation was easier, existence more buoyant.  Even Lewes's captivating boyishness and love of fun could not dispel a certain hush, a sobriety tending to pensiveness.

    "Ah, Madame Bodichon, you always inspire me!" cried Daubigny to his hostess again and again.

    The scenery of the Isle of Wight pleased him much less than the Fishmarket, Hastings, whither we accompanied him a little later.  "Yonder flotilla of fishing-boats, how delicious!" he would say repeatedly.  The attraction of the old town was so strong that he settled down with his son at a humble inn in its midst.

    What would the great French painter say to Old Hastings of to-day?  The view of the East Cliff immortalised by Turner is now disfigured by harbour works, a hideous red building, and farther off, the enormous chimney of a refuse destructor.  But vandalism has not stopped short here.  It is now proposed to destroy the East Cliff, as glorious a feature of coast scenery as England can show, for the purpose of a harbour railway!

    This close friend of George Eliot's, Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, was in every way worthy of the great novelist's confidence.  Two women could not more essentially differ from each other, nor were it easy to find two equally gifted in more entire sympathy.

    The basis of Madame Bodichon's character was that very rare, I am tempted to say rarest, quality in my own sex, namely, a sense of abstract justice.  Nationality, racial distinction, religion, even colour, for her were non-existent.  A human being, whether Christian or Jew, foreigner or English, white-skinned or black, remained a brother or sister.  As little she cared for demarcations of fashion or routine.  This immense largeness of sympathy and independence of mind showed itself in the least little thing.  Injustice she could never forgive.

    We were one day discussing Hawthorne's fine story "Brook Farm," and its superb heroine, when she said in her quick, decided manner:

    "No, I do not like Zenobia at all; she was so unkind to poor little Priscilla."

    From one point of view all women were poor little Priscillas to her.  English law was the unkind Zenobia, and English law, as it unjustly affected her own sex, she combated for years tooth and nail.  Her "Brief Summary of the Laws of England affecting Women," and other pamphlets on the subject, are models of their kind—lucid, dispassionate, unanswerable.  Alike her time, her talents, and her money were lavished upon a cause of which she witnessed the triumph.  It is, indeed, mainly owing to her initiative and exertions that working women can now claim their own earnings.  The Married Women's Property Act may be called a piece of legislation effected by the unenfranchised, no bad augury for the future, the time that sooner or later must come when rate-paying and a right to the poll will go together.

    Long before a stone of her Girton College was laid, Madame Bodichon had verified her claim to the title of good citizen and large-hearted philanthropist.  There were no Board Schools in her early days, and by way of minimising the ignorance immediately around her, she set up a school at Paddington for the daughters of artisans and the working classes generally.  The experiment proved an entire success.  The Portman Hall School flourished, its doors only being closed in consequence of Barbara Leigh Smith taking to herself a French husband and making her winter home beyond sea.  Henceforth, she divided the year between Algeria and England.

    "I always joked with Barbara about the probability of her marrying a Frenchman," Lewes said to me one day.  "But I thought it would be some gallant officer, his képi cocked on one side, and his hands in the pockets of his baggy red trousers."

    To fulfil the duties of an English citizen on French soil is no easy matter, but the tremendous energy, I should rather say feverish activity, of Madame Bodichon's temperament overcame all obstacles.  It may be said that she succeeded in everything of a wholly impersonal nature—that is to say, in everything concerning not herself, her own interests and happiness, but the well-being of humanity, especially feminine humanity.  Her great artistic gifts were sacrificed to purely philanthropic ends.  Had she belonged to the middle-class work-a-day world, she would, in all probability, have achieved success and reputation as a water-colour painter.  Dearly as she loved art, delightful as would have been such acknowledgment, she gave up her life to what she considered higher objects.  A measure of success she could certainly claim.  Frequenters of exhibitions five-and-twenty years ago will hardly have forgotten the brilliant sketches bearing the signature B. L. S. B.  Critics, among these Mr. Ruskin, were not slow to appraise the poetic feeling, originality, and dash of every one.  But art, no more than literature, can be made the handmaids of social science and duty, political economy, or educational reform.  The holding of a salon, the afforesting or replanting of Algerian wastes, Women's Rights, and Girton College ever retained the first place.  To her own aspirations and gifts she proved a negligent stepmother.

    Algerian society in the early years of the Third Empire was not what Madame de MacMahon and the austere Marshal afterwards made it.  As a sample of morals and manners at that period take the following stories.  Madame Z――, a young, handsome, and adventuresome woman, moving in the best circles, had a mind to test the fidelity of her husband.  Suspecting his presence at a certain ball to which ladies were not invited, she disguised herself as a Moorish girl and somehow obtained admittance.  The pair danced together, and so fascinated was the inconstant, yet in one sense constant, husband by her bright eyes, all he could see of the veiled face, that he made violent love, with what results to his after-peace may be guessed.

    Another of Dr. Bodichon's famous stories was of a light-minded Frenchman who danced away, not his fortune, as the hero of Greek fable, but his own life.  This votary of pleasure went to a ball and danced so furiously the whole night that on returning home he took to his bed, and died shortly afterwards of sheer exhaustion.  He had literally danced himself to death.

    These anecdotes illustrate the looseness and frivolity of fashionable life.

    Political morality was at a still lower ebb.  Alike in civil and military administration, corruption was the rule and honesty the exception.

    But Marshal MacMahon would tolerate no more bribery and malpractices abroad, the Maréchale would have no more indecent dress or parade of dissolute conduct at home.  The general tone improved greatly, and to this end Madame Bodichon's salon contributed in no small degree.  She was also a zealous pioneer in another most desirable cause, the promotion of Anglo-French intercourse, the uprooting of international antipathies—antipathies from which she herself was wholly free.

    Another work which, in conjunction with her husband, she took up warmly, was the afforesting or replanting of denuded tracts in Algeria with the health-giving Eucalyptus globulus.  We had traversed the fever-stricken plains of Oran together, and she never forgot the experience.  "The fever," I wrote at the time—"everyone was falling ill, was ill, or had been ill of the fever."  Since that journey hundreds of thousands of acres in French Africa have been afforested or replanted, malaria disappearing with the rapid growth of the blue-gum tree.

    Among the first and most zealous afforesters were Madame Bodichon and her husband.  They wrote about the eucalyptus, talked about it, ordered large quantities of seed direct from Melbourne, and for years never ceased their efforts.

    With the aged Faust they said:


"A swamp below the mountain stretches wide,
 Poisoning all husbandry.   To draw away
 The deadly damp, that were the highest gain,
 I open place for millions here to dwell
 Busy and free, if not secure from ill."


    It was Madame Bodichon's pen that first drew attention in England to the febrifugal qualities of the Eucalyptus globulus, or blue-gum tree.  She had hastily put a few facts and conclusions on paper, which she read to George Henry Lewes.  He touched up the piece and carried it off to the editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, in which paper it appeared next day, entitled, "Australian Forests and Algerian Deserts."  This was so far back as the year 1868.

    Even earlier, the scheme of a university for women had been mooted and planned by Madame Bodichon.  With Miss Emily Davies, afterwards resident mistress, she discussed the plan morning, noon, and night; the result of their labours and confabulations being the very modest experiment at Hitchin, a house temporarily accommodating half a dozen students.  Towards initiatory expenses Madame Bodichon contributed £1,000, a very large sum for one who could never be called a rich woman.  I well remember the triumph with which she carried me off to see the college of her dreams in embryo.  Who could foresee the magnificent building to arise just outside Cambridge a very few years later?  Educationalists rallied round the foundress of Girton, money poured in, students were forthcoming by scores, but without the self-sacrifice of Barbara Bodichon the scheme might long have proved abortive.

    As I said in a former page, I have never been able to feel much enthusiasm about Women's Universities, Female Franchise, and the rest.  Such questions from the first settled themselves in my mind as purely matters of abstract justice, unanswerable claims that must sooner or later be satisfied.  Commonsense, public opinion, and the British boast of fair play would sooner or later resent anomalies at variance alike with social and moral progress.  But I could not, with Madame Bodichon, regard Girton College or Somerville Hall in the light of a new era dawning upon humanity, a tremendous intellectual revolution.  The glorious galaxy of Victorian women, Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot, what could a college curriculum, a B.A., M.A., or wranglership, have done for these?  Moreover, in the words of Lessing, it is permitted to genius to remain ignorant of hundreds of things ordinary mortals have by heart.  Had that wonderful Yorkshire girl donned cap and gown, she would most likely have "modelled her style" on that of a Times leader; had the great poetess "gone up" and "come down" for three or four years, instead of "The Cry of the Children" and "The Great God Pan," we should have had cold, scholarly, unemotional, and consequently uninteresting verse after the manner of "Alaric at Rome"; had George Eliot, in early girlhood, quitted Griff for academic air, Mrs. Poyser in all probability would never have exhilarated the world, its author being remembered by a second "Prolegomena" of Homer or—who knows?—a synthesis of universal philosophy.

    But in the eyes of the generous and large-souled foundress of Girton, examinations and college certificates were talismanic.  A Girton student in her eyes was no mere woman; a semi-celestial nimbus encircled the head of every "sweet girl graduate."  Nor did enthusiasm end here.  Wherever the interests of her own sex were concerned she showed the same eagerness of self-devotion.

    "You remind me of the Arabs," I once said to her, "who pick up any scrap of paper bearing the name of Allah."  Articles, leaders, reporters, bits of news relating to Women's Rights, she never tired of; at last, during the long intervals we spent together every year, a compact was made.  I undertook to read the daily papers, omitting all paragraphs dealing with the wearisome topic; these she heard afterwards from another.

    In 1857 Barbara Leigh Smith had married Dr. Eugene Bodichon, of Algiers, a man of singular character and considerable attainments.

    One of the little knot known as the Republicans of '30, among his friends being Louis Blanc and Ledru Rollin, Dr. Bodichon had rendered valuable services to the cause of democracy and colonisation.  Strange as it may appear, after twenty years of conquest slavery existed in Algeria.  Legislators and rulers had overlooked the famous Declaration of the Rights of Man abolishing slavery throughout the French dominions.  When in 1848 the Breton doctor was named corresponding member of the Provisional Government, he recommended the liberation of slaves in the colony, a measure which was immediately put into force.  Long before the introduction of the Eucalyptus globulus into Algeria, he had insisted on the necessity of replanting denuded tracts, and his works on the country, especially from an ethnological point of view, are quoted by Henri Martin and the geographer Elisée Reches.  Carlyle read and re-read the doctor's monograph on the first Napoleon, and told his friend William Allingham that the perusal had modified his ideas of the French Cæsar. [p.161]

    He died in 1885, and his noble wife survived him only a few years, bequeathing £1,000 to Bedford Square College and £15,000 to her College of Girton.


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CHAPTER XXII.

LEIPZIG


DR. B— AND HIS BIBLES—A STRANGE COMRADESHIP—AUERBACH'S CELLAR—THE HEAD OF THE HOUSE OF TAUCHNITZ—INTERNATIONAL BOOKSELLING—A COMPROMISING VISITOR—THE PRICE OF GLORY


DISILLUSIONS ofttimes prove the crowning comedy of life; most mortifying checks may be its saving grace.  As children who wail over a tumble, scratched knees, and bleeding nose, yet afterwards glory in having clambered down a steep, thorn-beset bank, so do their elders delightedly recall escapades and peccadiloes anything but pleasant at the time.  A golden, albeit valetudinarian holiday had passed as a dream.  The Mediterranean traversed under a warm spring sky—Egypt, Asia Minor, the Greek Isles, Athens, Venice, Verona—all these were fresh in my mind when I found myself at Leipzig.

    Never was disenchantment more complete, awakening from radiant dreams more prosaic.  Midsummer had come here with a leaden sky, gusty rain, and an atmosphere of October.  To make matters worse, the cheerful surroundings and engaging society bargained for proved a delusion and a snare.  Instead of family life, I discovered that my only companion was to be a young law student, the daily board turned out a Barmecide's feast; all that I must evidently expect for my three pounds sterling weekly—at that time hotel charges in Germany—was the use of a bedroom containing four windows, and thrice or four times the number of Bibles.  There were Bibles laid album-wise on the table, Bibles on each window-sill, Bibles on side-tables and brackets.

    The recommendation to the four windows and the Bibles had come in this wise.  My excellent friend Dr. Paulus, the converter of the Jews at Frankfort, hearing that I wished to devote a little time to music and German, introduced me by letter to a certain Dr. B――, a Biblical commentator of some renown, and a friend of the celebrated Delitzsch.  But Dr. B―― was now a very ancient man and confined to his room by infirmity; his wife was at Carlsbad taking the waters.  The only representative of the pair turned out to be their son, a University student, more skilled in jurisprudence, slang, and duelling than in domestic economy.  Vegetable soup and potatoes for dinner, black bread and butter with a morsel of raw sausage for supper, seemed his only notion of a menu.  But for good naturedness one would hardly meet my young student's match in Europe.  Finding the daily bill of fare somewhat depressing, and being unused to Adam's drink, I suggested the possibility of procuring English porter by way of a restorative.

    "I'll get you some, liebes Fräulein," he said with alacrity; "they keep it at Auerbach's cellar."

    We set off together, and an admirable cicerone he proved to the immortal scene of Faust's carouse.  Guinness's stout was forthcoming, a bottle, for which of course I paid, being carried home in each of the young man's coat-pockets.  Had food and drink been thrown into the bargain, with the use of four windows and sixteen Bibles, I should perhaps have stayed; here was the rarest possible chance of obtaining an insight into German student life.  My young host, moreover, possessed many endearing qualities.  Obligingness itself, a slashing duellist, an adept in slang, he combined Gallic light-heartedness with Teutonic sobriety.  Never for a moment did he forget that his guest was a well-bred young woman; he only forgot that she had a palate not inured to black bread and raw sausage, and that the prospect from four windows and the use of sixteen Bibles was rather dear at the money paid for them.  Fortunately, George Henry Lewes had given me introductions to the great houses of Tauchnitz and Brockhaus, also to learnèd friends.  On pouring out my grievances to Baron Tauchnitz, he immediately carried me off to the excellent Hotel Hauff, and there, but for an alarming spread of smallpox in the town, I should have spent some time.

    Few figures in contemporary history more merit a feeling akin to veneration than the great publisher Bernhard Tauchnitz, none in our own time have shed more lustre on the pacific annals of Germany.  Diplomats, warriors, strategists, with victory and dominion, mete out tears and bloodshed, international bitterness, and hardly uprooted hate.

    Their contemporaries, after the pattern of Tauchnitz, make their influence felt in a higher, better way; linking race and race, people and people, with the touch of nature that makes all men kin, the irresistible spell of poetry and letters.

    It may be urged that this princely publisher was no "moral inventor," to quote a very good expression of the late Cotter Morrison; instead, a mere keen, upright, and eminently successful man of business, who saw in the international traffic of books a road alike to popularity and fortune.  I cannot for a moment admit this view of the case, a belittling of any high-minded career, simply because it has proved no less beneficial to the individual than to the world.

    Two circumstances must here be borne in mind.  The late Baron Tauchnitz was pre-eminently a man of literary tastes.  The book-lover stood before the publisher.  He could not, of course, winnow all the chaff from the golden grain in his series.  Several thousand volumes would naturally contain but a small percentage of master-pieces.  In so far as was feasible he did make the Tauchnitz library of English authors representative.  If claptrap and balderdash were not altogether excluded, the fault lay with the English public, not with foreign printing presses.

    For my part, I have never entertained feelings of bitterness against American pirates.  As no Anglo-American copyright formerly existed, authors on this side of the Atlantic were not legally robbed and thereby gained a million of readers, Goethe's raison d'être of authorship. [p.165]  Baron Tauchnitz, although precisely in the position of American publishers, preferred the regal, the magnanimous way.  He acted as if international copyright already existed, paying his authors alike, the grand folks and the little people, for the use of their copyrights.  And if it is gratifying to obtain a million readers in the land of the almighty dollar, still more agreeable is it to obtain the same number on the Continent with the addition of a cheque, George Eliot's money test.  At this time the Baron was a fine, portly, handsome man of sixty, in appearance recalling an English country gentleman, and the present head of the house of Tauchnitz was a tall stripling, already his father's right hand.

    Some years later I visited the family Schloss near Leipzig, bringing away delightful memories of a thoroughly German home, unspoiled by splendour.

    It was delightful to hear the Baron, like Fräulein Fink, recite that old-world Lutheran grace before meals


"Komm, Herr Jesus, Sei unser Gast,
 Und segne was Du becheert hast."


Pleasant also the "Mutterchen" on his lips, recalling Voss's good old pastor in "Luise."  Soon after my visit to the Schloss, Baron Tauchnitz and his sweet, stately "Mutterchen" celebrated their golden wedding.

    One noteworthy feature in the history of this great publishing house is this: Leipzig has ever been the very stronghold of Socialism, the nucleus of Socialist agitation, yet no strike is recorded of the Tauchnitz workmen.  From first to last, relations of employer and employed have remained on a frank and cordial footing.  Here I would mention one of those preposterous inconsistencies, as common among nations as among individuals.

    In autocratic Germany footmen and coachmen are bearded and moustached no less than their masters.  In democratic France and England these ill-used beings are rigidly forbidden such manly adornment.  I remember an imposing butler at Schloss Tauchnitz.  He was extremely like the late Emperor Frederick, and quite as handsome.

    George Henry Lewes—the Goethische Lewes, as, greatly to his delight, the Germans called him—had thrown wide for me all the doors of literary Leipzig.  Another and even more interesting introduction threatened to close them after abrupt fashion.  One of my friends of the International had given me a letter to the great Socialist leader, whose voice still shakes the Reichstag, and whose influence is mightier far now than it was twenty-six years ago.  A gentleman when bidden to pay his respects to a lady cannot, of course, excuse himself.  Two or three days after my arrival at the Hotel Hauff, and greatly to the consternation of house porter and waiter, Herr B――l appeared.  We were in the midst of a most absorbing conversation when a second visitor was announced, this time Lewes's friend Professor Curtius, the learned translator of Darwin, and, of course, a sworn enemy of Socialism in its mildest form.

Herr B――l, not inclined to act the part of overlapping guest, immediately withdrew.  As soon as he was gone, the Professor eyed me narrowly, fidgeted on his chair, then got out, "My dear young lady, who on earth could have introduced you to that fellow?"

    I mentioned the name of Herr B――l's English friend, a gentleman of ancient family, adding by way of palliative that I was studying Socialism from the literary point of view, and wanted information at first hand—which was strictly correct.

    "Well," he said with a grave air, "all I can say is that if you have such people calling on you, you must prepare yourself for smashed windows and Heaven knows what besides."  Domiciliary visits, expulsion from the hotel, and perhaps graver peccadilloes were evidently in his mind.

    The professor was relieved to find that I had given up my plan of spending some months in his town.  Truth to tell, the usually cheerful and attractive town of Leipzig just now wore a sinister look.  On the heels of glory, so-called, had come its inevitable retribution.  The crowding of French prisoners, the massing together of sick and wounded soldiers and defective sanitation had brought about an alarming epidemic.  Small-pox, as I have before mentioned, raged here as in some other parts of Germany.  You could not walk a few yards without encountering barely recovered small-pox patients.  Contagious diseases under normal circumstances have no terrors for me.  But to be stricken down in a foreign hotel and straightway bundled off to a hospital might well alarm spirits far more intrepid than my own.  The weather, too, could not well be dismaller.  My eight days in Leipzig had been eight days of perpetual rain.  So on the coldest, rainiest and unfriendliest fourteenth of June I ever remember, I set out for the little Athens on the Ilm I had always longed to know.


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CHAPTER XXIII.

THE GOETHES AT WEIMAR


FIRST IMPRESSIONS—OTTILIE VON GOETHE AND HER SONS—"DER VATER"—A MELANCHOLY JACQUES—A GOETHE ON TROLLOPE.


LESS than a generation ago the sojourner at Weimar seemed all but a contemporary of its mighty spirits, just to have missed the meridian of its literary splendour.  Goethe's daughter-in-law would then entertain her English visitors with talk of "der Vater"; elderly folks would chat of the stately old man so well pourtrayed for us by Eckermann.  Schiller's daughter might be recognised in the street by her likeness to the poet.  Herder's granddaughter, who remembered the famous interview between Napoleon and the Duchess Luise, was still living.  A maiden lady would be pointed out to you as Fräulein Wieland, she too a granddaughter.  The great names that have immortalised Weimar now live in history only.  Goethe's race has become extinct, and the family house is turned into a museum.  Schiller, Herder, Wieland have left none of their name and no direct descendants.

    There is something peculiarly fascinating in this apparent nearness to a mighty epoch, this approaching the vesture-hem of earth's immortals.  There are certain associations that in liveliness and force have the effect of veritable experience.  We seem to be not merely affected but impressed, acted upon directly and not through the medium of others.  Such was the nature of my intercourse with the Goethe family.  The sun gleamed out as I entered the dear, friendly, quiet little town, its provincial air and grass-grown streets offering a striking contrast to busy, populous, cosmopolitan Leipzig.  And the Weimar before me [p169] must have been a small metropolis compared to the Weimar of Goethe's youth, the tiny capital he entered so full of poetic frenzy a hundred years before.

    I had brought with me a satchel of letters introductory, and although court receptions—so pleasant for strangers—were at an end, the theatre was about to be closed, and many other attractions for a time withdrawn, I settled down in the homely, comfortable Erb Prinz for a long stay and with the happiest expectations.  When I first arrived, Goethe's house was closed, the large, conspicuous structure not being accessible to tourists under any pretext whatever.  Ottilie von Goethe was then occupying a modest flat in the Schiller Strasse, and it was there that I made her acquaintance.

    I found an old lady dressed with scrupulous neatness, one might almost say coquetry, her soft grey cashmere dress and white muslin kerchief recalling the Quaker matrons of my childhood.  Goethe's fondly cherished daughter-in-law must have possessed no small share of beauty in youth, her bright eyes, silvery hair, and vivacious expression rendered her handsome still, the lower part of the face being marred by a certain heaviness indicative of strong will.

    When foreign speech is made the vehicle of thought, conversational powers are not to be adequately appraised.  The Frau von Goethe was fond of talking English, which she spoke fairly well, not well enough, however, to give her thoughts free play.  In German I could well fancy her shining in epigram, persiflage, and repartee.  Intellectual force she hardly possessed.

    "I am very glad at all times to welcome the countrywomen of my late dear friend Mrs. Jameson," she said, receiving me with the urbanity and "grand air" of a great lady—such indeed she had been all her life.  The very atmosphere of a court hung still about attitude, speech, and intonation.  Every word was uttered deliberately and with what I will unhesitatingly call well-bred distinctness.  Then she asked me many interesting questions about the higher education of women and its progress in England.  My report of Madame Bodichon's Hitchin College and the Girton scheme were listened to with great attention.

    "If my own daughter had lived," she said, "the college you describe is what I should have desired for her."

    The golden-haired little granddaughter Irma, whom Thackeray mentions in his charming letter to Lewes (see the Life of Goethe), died at the age of sixteen.  Her brothers Auguste and Wolfgang were now elderly men.  But such sorrows are immortal.  As Ottilie von Goethe named the little girl laid to rest more than a generation before, her face saddened, her voice became tremulous with emotion.  From time to time she dropped into German, recalling the past, positively thrilling me with the words, "Der Vater sagte dies," "Der Vater meinte das" ("My father said this," "My father thought that").

    Could it be?  Was I in sober earnest chatting with Goethe's daughter-in-law, the fondling of his old age, the one being in the world privileged to caress, tease, and even playfully thwart him?  Not perhaps always playfully!  There is a story recorded by Eckermann which shows that to Ottilie the author of "Faust" was at times only a plaguesome, cantankerous old father-in-law.  The great man had given her some archæological treasure, and, after the manner of many too lavish givers, wanted his gift back again.  "No, father," stoutly replied Ottilie, "you gave me the object.  It is now mine, and I cannot part with it."  The story is highly characteristic of the petted young widow, of a fireside goddess who could do anything.

    One of these references to "der Vater" was noteworthy.

    "In my father's time," she said in German, "people used to meet and discuss things worth talking about.  Now the talk of society consists of mere idle gossip and chatter ("Plaudern and Schwätzen").

    She had an amusing horror of being written about in her life-time, either by English travellers or her own country folks, but was very hospitable to anyone introduced by a friend.  Alas! the acquaintance who rendered me this inestimable service has been long since lost to sight.  If these lines should ever meet his eyes I hope he will assure himself of my life-long gratitude.

    Before my stay was over the Frau von Goethe had moved back into the poet's house, and here I spent a memorable evening.  She occupied with her two sons the upper storey, in winter giving small but agreeable little gatherings, the Grand Duke and Duchess often dropping in without ceremony.

    Fine bronzes, life size, adorned the entrance hall, but that part of the house occupied by Goethe was shut up, no one being ever invited to see his rooms, and no one ever venturing to demand the privilege.

    I found myself in a pretty little drawing-room, a melancholy, handsome man already past middle life holding out his hand to me on the threshold.

    "My son Wolfgang," said the hostess, and soon after we passed into an adjoining room to tea, an English lady guest presiding at the teapot, her young daughter, the kind friend who had introduced me to the Goethe family, and one or two others, making up the party.

    The simple board, spread with brown bread and butter and pfefferkuchen, or gingerbread, had nothing to distinguish it from any other German tea-table; but how did association impart pomp and circumstance!  To break bread with Goethe's grandson seemed next door to sitting down to tea with descendants of Shakespeare who had gazed upon his face and prattled on his knee, and whether of set purpose or from mere habit, this living likeness of the poet perpetually recalled his august ancestor.  Those startling words, "der Grossvater" ("my grandfather"), again and again rose to his lips, not uttered vauntingly but with a certain pensive, tempered pride.

    Yes, a melancholy Jacques was this inheritor of the greatest name of modern Europe, and no wonder!  To come of honourable stock is coveted of all.  But what mortal shoulders could adequately sustain such Atlantean burden, keep up legend so glorious?

    "The two sons of Ottilie and Auguste von Goethe," said to me an old Weimaraner who knew them well, "are both able and highly accomplished men, men who might, under other circumstances, have made a position and even a reputation for themselves.  But they have been dwarfed, etiolated, by the shadow of that mighty tree, the name of Goethe."

    The thought suggests itself, would not diplomacy have offered a career to gentlemen so distinguished and courtly?  We must remember the closeness of the ties that bound them to Weimar, and the insignificance of their little state considered as a body politic, also that the capacities of the brothers lay in quite another direction.  Both were admirable musicians and of a literary and artistic turn.

    Perhaps domestic circumstances may have had something to do with this look of habitual resignation, this apparent acceptance rather than relish of existence.  Rumour spoke of former financial difficulties, of other complications equally hampering.  Be this as it may, the fact remained.  The handsome, refined face before me was that of a man whose life has proved a failure.  And a few years later both grandsons of Goethe passed away, and the world was as if it had known them not.  Conversation at the tea-table was light and pleasant, a large portion falling to my share.  Herr von Goethe spoke English pretty well, occasionally lapsing into German.  He showed considerable knowledge of our literature, old and new, and we had a long discussion on the contemporary English novel.

    "No one entertains heartier admiration for Anthony Trollope's talent than myself," I said, when his name had come up.  "But I confess the commonplaceness of his characters wearies me.  In a novel, as in real life, I prefer to meet the rare, the exceptional."

    "There," put in Goethe's grandson warmly, and speaking German, "I entirely disagree with you.  When I read fiction, I find more amusement and instruction in stories like Trollope's, dealing as they do with commonplace, every-day folks such as one meets with in daily life, rather than in pourtrayal of abnormal or out-of-the-way types.  Der Grossvater auch meinte" ("My grandfather was also of this opinion").

    Here he quoted a sentence of Goethe in support of his views, whether from hearsay or a printed work I forget.  We argued the question for some time, the others listening.  I could not, unfortunately, back up my theory with the words of a French critic who has since lived and died, leaving behind him a brilliant, meteor-like reputation.  "Genius," says J. M. Guyau, "occupies itself with possibilities, rather than with realities.  We recognise true genius by its power of outstepping the real and yet keeping within limits of the possible." [p.173]

    Our discussion over, my disputant turned with kindly interest to his mother's youngest guest, the English schoolgirl before mentioned, drawing her out, making her feel at home.  I noticed the little trait, indicating as it did not only good manners but real amiability.  One could hardly help regretting that Wolfgang von Goethe had not a fireside and a family circle of his own.  Both brothers, I add, were unmarried.  At this time the younger was absent, and I never met him.

    Politics, of course, were not touched upon, nor did we talk of the Franco-German war so lately ended.  One point struck me in discussing literature with the Frau von Goethe, namely, her aversion to French language and letters.  This was all the more surprising as there was no little of the Frenchwoman about her.  She died a year after my visit, and her sons soon followed her to the grave.


――――♦――――

 
CHAPTER XXIV.

THE ABBÉ LISZT


A PHENOMENAL FOURTH FINGER—A TABLE D'HÔTE GROUP—TAUSIG—FRÄULEIN CONSTANCE—AN HISTORIC GLASS OF CHAMPAGNE


I KNOW not how it may be nowadays, but formerly host and hostess of the Erb Prinz presided at the midday table d'hôte.  The Fran H—, bless her kindly heart! finding that I was alone, made me sit by her side, an arrangement advantageous in many ways.  I felt one of the family circle, I chatted in German, and I learned all that was going on.

    Now, I know very little of English landladies, but I should hardly expect from them the kind and quality of conversation I heard here.  The Frau H――, a florid, homely looking lady, and her brother-in-law and partner, for she was a widow, would discuss with their friends or clientèle Wagner's music, the drama, past and present, new works of the Kunstschule, or academy, and kindred topics.  Not only was their conversation animated and spontaneous, but they displayed no little artistic knowledge and insight.  And busy as was mine hostess, she rarely missed a good concert or play.

    I have ever loved to fraternise with all sorts and conditions of men, and among Fran H――'s acquaintances was a charming young actress, whom I remember with pleasure.  There was a depth of feeling about her, mingled with much sparkle and sweetness, that recalled the subject of Goethe's poetic apotheosis, those lovely lines beginning:


"Als eine Blume zeigt sie sich der Welt."


("Her apparition was as some sweet flower").  With this fascinating yet wholly unspoiled girl and her fellow-actors and family I picnicked in the country, bringing away one ineffaceable impression.  The evident sincerity of these modestly paid artistes brought back "Wilhelm Meister," and seemed a living testimony to Goethe's influence.  My young tragedian cheerfully and as a matter of course supported her younger brothers and sisters; here was no feverish unrest, no craving for world-wide triumph or dazzling reward.  Devotion to art and duty dominated every other feeling.

    Frau H―― had a little daughter attending a day-school; on learning that one of my objects was musical study, she immediately placed her Mariechen's piano at my disposal.  Whenever I chose, therefore, I could leave my nice little room overlooking the market-place and practise in the parlour below.  Here I cannot help expressing my astoundment at the extreme benignity with which I have ever been treated in all countries and by every class.  Such things are especially agreeable when dealing with foreign nationalities.  They testify to the fact insisted upon by David Hume and P. G. Hamerton—namely, that men are much of a muchness all the world over, extraneous circumstances, racial distinctions, accidents of climate and language being merely skin deep.

    I had not partaken of the twelve o'clock ordinary many times when I noticed a remarkable figure at the foot of the table, a figure once seen impossible to forget.

    It was that of an elderly priest, tall, almost Herculean in stature, and spare to lankness, his long hair hanging down "in silver slips," his face wearing a strange look only to be expressed by the word illumination, his eyes of diamond-like piercingness and brilliance.  But even more striking than build and physiognomy were the hands, moved so restlessly and conspicuously.  It could not be said that those long, nervous, expressive hands were out of proportion with limbs so large; the noteworthy characteristic was length of each little finger, the fourth indeed almost equalled in size the pointer.  As he sat at table, whether manipulating knife and fork or chatting to his neighbours, his hands were never for a moment still.  It seemed as if they were restless spirits not to be coerced into passiveness.

    "Who is that extraordinary being?" I whispered to my landlady.

    "Don't you recognise him?" was the astonished reply.  "It is the Abbé Liszt."

    Truth to tell, the name of Liszt sounded almost like a resurrection in my ears.  So many years had passed since the great Hungarian's appearance in England, that, except to musicians, he was a mere name.  The every-day English world had well nigh forgotten even that; from the general memory he had completely faded.

    I now discovered that at Weimar Liszt was enthroned as a pontiff, a demi-god.  To the little world of his followers and pupils, indeed, Weimar meant Liszt and Liszt only.  In their eyes Liszt was now the sun in that firmament formerly lighted by Goethe.  But to return to the table d'hôte group.

    The less said about unpleasant people the better, but it is incumbent upon me to mention his entourage, a marked and often regrettable feature in the career of genius.  The present contrast between a man of unmistakable distinction and his companions was, moreover, so striking, it shed so much light upon Liszt's history, that I feel bound here to say a few words.

    On his right hand there sat a particularly plain, unattractive-looking woman of decided Slav origin.  She was middle-aged, her grown-up daughter sat next, and the hour was noon, yet her dress was sufficiently décolleté for an evening party, and her sleeves only reached the elbow.  The young lady beside her hardly called for notice; she said little and seemed apt at playing the part of dummy.  But the adjoining figure evoked compassion.  Whilst the elderly coquette, his wife, behaved after the manner of a love-sick schoolgirl, this poor semblance of a man neither opened his lips nor showed the slightest cognisance of what was going on around him.  Native infirmity or paralysis had reduced him to the condition of a huge, ungainly, breathing automaton.  Behind his chair stood a valet who adjusted his master's napkin, cut up his food, and otherwise ministered to his wants.

    It would be difficult to say which circumstance here most painfully affected the mind—the immodesty of this wife and mother, the part of spectator assigned to a daughter of twenty, witness of her mother's amours, or the possible semi-consciousness of the man, her father.  Some faint glimmering of the truth must surely have reached his mind, however feeble.

    "The Baroness X Y Z, she is madly in love with Liszt and that is her imbecile husband and daughter," whispered my hostess.

    The explanation was unnecessary.  In a well-conducted maiden those foolish feminine fetches and deep artifices might have evoked a smile.  In a matron with husband and daughter by her side, and a score or more of lookers-on, the scene was positively loathsome.  Now she would feign inability to eat, and Liszt must transfer some choice morsel from his own plate to hers, now she could not prepare properly her Alpine strawberries, and he must perform the task, all these little tricks being accompanied with lackadaisical—to use a mild word—smiles and insinuating gestures.  From Sarah Bernhardt herself in Phèdre this woman could have learned nothing.

    Personal fascination is perhaps of all Pandora's gifts the most to be deprecated.  Liszt, its victim, is hardly blameworthy here.  Wherever he went sentimentalists and coquettes fluttered about him as moths round a candle.  Under such circumstances a man of his type is defenceless.  More wholesome and agreeable to witness was the devotion of his own sex, pupils like the late Walter Bache and Tausig.

    A day or two later we were all sitting at dinner when poor Tausig burst in, having just arrived unexpectedly from Leipzig.  Liszt jumped up, his whole being transformed, spontaneous joy replacing forced smiles and cozened approval.  Master and pupil embraced cordially as emperors when concocting an alliance, then the new-comer was made room for, and dinner went on.

    That afternoon I heard some wonderful pianoforte playing in the hotel, and I said to myself, Liszt, Tausig, or a demon?  It was both.  I should perhaps say, all three.  The place seemed shaken with superhuman sound.

    Tausig was of striking appearance, but looked by no means in good health.  Although a young man he was florid and heavy almost to obesity, having sacrificed health and hygiene to the piano.  And a very few weeks later came news of his death from typhoid fever at Leipzig.  The loss of his greatest pupil affected the Maestro deeply.

    Throughout these summer months Liszt remained in his pretty villa, giving musical parties every Sunday afternoon, himself taking part, playing Beethoven, so said authorities, as no one had ever played Beethoven before, or is in the least likely to play Beethoven again.

    But the Open Sesame of such a salon, how on earth to obtain it?  I sounded Weimar friends, but one and all gave a melancholy shake of the head.  Except to a very few musical people, they said, Liszt was absolutely unapproachable; a newspaper reporter might just as well try to interview the Czar.  And the Goethe family and Liszt were not on visiting terms.  I had no chance of meeting, rather hearing, the great man in Frau van Goethe's pleasant drawing-room.  The little court, so hospitable ever to English visitors, and of which Liszt was the darling, had removed to Eisenach.

    In despair I bethought me of Walter Bache, whose most intimate London friends I knew intimately also.  An answer came back by return of post, chilling in its positiveness.  "Quite useless to ask Bache for such a favour; he would not, I know, take upon himself the responsibility on any account whatever."

    The Peri outside Paradise was not to be thus discouraged.  I discovered that the solution of this problem, as is generally the case with others far knottier, lay close at hand.  My musical professor at this time happened to be a sweet and romantic girl, more devoted to Liszt, if that were possible, than the rest of his pupils.  Fräulein Constance, as I will call her, was about twenty-five, and, without actual beauty, possessed infinite charm and winningness.  Perhaps she was more calculated to inspire mere affection and regard than anything like passion in the other sex.  She was what her country people called schwärmerisch, i.e., sentimental and dreamy, and, as a rule, men do not like sentimentalists.  Here and there indeed you find a man who, to quote Mrs. Lynn Linton, "likes women who scream easily."  The majority prefer smiles to sighs, spirit to sentiment, and the plain face of a girl absolutely at one with herself and the world, to faultless loveliness of lackadaisical pattern.

    Fräulein Constance was an excellent musician and gained a very good livelihood [p.180] in this way.  From October to May she resided at Cannes, finding pupils among rich valetudinarians.  The summer months she spent at Weimar, sunning herself in the presence of her adored master.

    One day we had been playing one of Schubert's magnificent duets, Liszt's name came up, and I spoke of my disappointment in failing to obtain an introduction to him.

    "Liebes Fräulein," she said, with an air of astonishment, why, in Heaven's name, did you not mention this to me before?  I shall be delighted to manage the thing for you."

    Which she did.  That very evening came Liszt's visiting card with an invitation to his Sunday afternoons, and on the following day our acquaintance began after amusing fashion enough.

    Upon this occasion Liszt was not dining with the Russian party, but with other friends at a side table.  Soon champagne appeared for the usual health drinking, Liszt doing the honours.  I now saw him fill a glass and hand it to the waiter in attendance with whispered instructions.

    That glass of champagne was brought round to me, straightway Liszt's tall figure appeared above the heads of the rest, I rose also and we smiled, bowed and drank to each other from opposite sides of the room.

    "Dear fellow, how like him!" cried George Henry Lewes, when I afterwards narrated the incident in Blandford Square.

    Dinner over, I add that Liszt sought me out, we shook hands cordially, and I saw my dearest wishes accomplished.


――――♦――――

 
CHAPTER XXV.

THE ABBÉ LISZT—continued


AVE MARIS STELLA—LISZT IMPROVISING—A PICNIC—"KEINE FOR ELLEN!"—A TICKLISH CHARGE—A TRAGIC LOVE STORY


ON the following Sunday took place a ceremonial of pathetic interest.  The Abbé Liszt had promised to play his own beautiful Ave Maris Stella [p.182] on the organ of a little Catholic Church close to his own villa.

    His performance, needless to say, an event of the utmost rarity, was given in furtherance of some charitable scheme.  Needless to say also that miracles were worked with a second-rate little organ, and that anyone with musical knowledge or instinct must here have recognised the master, "der Einzige," with Jean Paul to be acclaimed, "The Only One."

    The incident also served to show Liszt's innate sweetness of character, a sweetness unspoiled by fulsome homage and feminine following carried to the pitch of positive molestation.

    A number of English schoolgirls, pupils of his own pupils, were present, and he kindly invited them all to that afternoon's reception at his house.  Thither, then, for the short service ended when the musical matinée was about to begin, we all trooped, a pert miss of fourteen remarking to me on the way:

    "Of course, as mamma says, Liszt is a bad man and we ought not to visit him, but attending a concert at his house is quite another matter."

    The speech remains in my memory as illustrative of that insular cant so odious to foreigners.  Of course this British matron's duty was clear, either to say, "No, my dear, I do not, for reasons I cannot explain, approve of the Abbé Liszt, so we must stay at home," or else to have held her tongue about "the bad man."  But no.  "We have heard Liszt play" would sound so well in England!  It is just this sort of Philistinism that makes us hated and hate ourselves abroad.

    We flocked in, Liszt's handsome drawing-room being crowded to its utmost capacity.  First of all, one of Spohr's lovely Quartets was perfectly played, the executants being friends of their host; then, uninvited, the tall strange figure in priestly garb, his white locks streaming on his shoulders, moved towards the piano.  A genius must ever be greater, more striking in expressing himself rather than in his interpretations, however sublime, of others.  I am glad, therefore, that upon both occasions it was Liszt himself I heard rather than those matchless renderings of Beethoven for which he was so famous.

    I will here add that to my thinking a pianoforte improvisation, except by a Liszt, is of all performances the least inspiring, perhaps indeed the most wearisome.  Any fair musician can put together pretty musical phrases, keep his fingers going with passionless harmonies.  But Liszt was so distracted, so torn to pieces, by that terrible gift of personal fascination, the moments he could give to composition were so furtive and so irregular that very likely his finest works were never put upon paper.  Be this as it may, he did not now merely improvise, he composed, as he went along, the performance being no dreamy, airy fantasia, vague as the melodies of an Æolian harp, but a sublime musical whole, a work impossible to describe or categorise, but having a beginning, a middle and an end, having, moreover, that passionate outpouring of soul by which alone we are transported into the highest regions of art and poetry.

    The hush was intense, for not on one but on all had the spell fallen.  When that strange, inspired figure rose, as much moved by his own powers as his listeners, no one spoke.  Not even the four musicians seemed able to utter a word.  I do not know what impelled me, rather emboldened me, for, going up to him, I said in French, his favourite language:

    "Ah, Monsieur l'Abbé, vous noun avez transporté dans le Paradis!" ("Ah! Monsieur l'Abbé, you transported us all to Paradise!")  He did not speak, but clasping both my hands in his own, long pressed them to his heart by way of reply.  On my return to the hotel I in turn improvised, sending him the following lines:


IMPROVISATION ON IMPROVISATION

TO THE ABBÉ LISZT


Fain would I praise such poetry as thine,
    In fitting measures as a poet should;
    But ah! thy music brings a deeper mood,
And only tears acknowledge the divine.


    He at once wrote a little note of thanks [p.184] in French, especially thanking me for the last words.  "Ce beau vers," this beautiful line.  Liszt's excessive amiability, an amiability amounting to positive weakness was soon evinced in another matter.

    One day Fräulein Constance came to me with a radiant face.  She had got up a little picnic that afternoon in my honour, and the Maestro had promised to be of the party.

    "We start at three o'clock for Tieffurt," she said, "stroll about for an hour or two, then take tea at the little restaurant.  I have telegraphed for trout—the Herr Doctor adores trout.  Heaven forbid that I should be disappointed!"

    My young friend's lodging looked upon the park, and pleasant was the brief interval of anticipatory waiting.  True enough Liszt kept his word.  About half an hour after the time appointed we drove off, the two seats of honour being assigned to another guest, a violinist, and myself, on the seat opposite sitting Liszt, Fräulein Constance on one side, another pupil of his, Fräulein Anna — on the other, an arrangement that seemed to amuse him and pleased the two girls mightily.

    The picnic began gaily.  Under such circumstances Liszt was charming.  He could unbend without effort and enjoy common pleasures as if he had been an ordinary mortal.  He frolicked with his pupils, evidently delighting in this self-abandonment.  The weather too was everything to be desired.  Goethe's favourite haunt looked especially cool and inviting after the dust and glare of Weimar.

    But no sooner had we arrived than a great chagrin was in store for our hostess.

    "Es gibt keine Forellen!" ("There is no trout!") she cried, ready to burst into tears.  One might have supposed from her mortification that Liszt was some poor protégé, some out-at-elbow Bohemian to whom the proposed delicacy was an event, instead of a great man and petted courtier who could dine off gold and silver whenever he pleased.

    Fräulein Constance had really tears in her eyes when we sat down to tea, her friend Anna was hardly less concerned, but Liszt soon made both smile again.  He placed himself between the pair, with his own hands spread brown bread and butter for each, the girls smacking their lips over each enchanted morsel, exclaiming—

    "Ach! es schmeckt so gut!" ("It tastes so sweet!")  The violinist and myself also did our best to mitigate the disappointment.  We were in truth hungry, and the rye bread, fresh butter, and fruit cakes were excellent.

    "Now tell us Erfurt news" (Erzählen von Erfurt), Liszt said to Fräulein Anna when he turned to his own plate.  The young lady had just visited Luther's town, and every scrap of musical gossip she brought back interested her listener.  Then Liszt chatted with myself about his devoted disciple Walter Bache, whom I had often met in London, the Lewes, and others.  The meal passed off agreeably enough, but quite without exhilaration.  Somehow or other, it is always thus.  Mischievous little sprites seem bent upon checking mortal expectations when raised too high, encroachments upon their own elf-land!

    We were in "Tieffurt's Thal," Goethe's loved little valley.  Alike in park and chateau every object reminded us of the poet and his time, of those free-and-easy little banquets at which Carl August, the Duchess Amalia, Goethe, Schiller, Herder, and Wieland assisted.  Liszt gave me his arm as we sauntered through the quaint little palace in which the Duchess received her great friends without ceremony; what ceremony indeed was possible in such a doll's, house?  Wonderful memories crowded upon us; we were a well-assorted company, the twilight of late summer was sweet, yet one and all subsided into calm and commonplace.

    It was growing dusk when we drove into Weimar, a group of girls awaiting us just outside the park gate.  Liszt was to get down here, and these adorers wanted to salute the master on his way home.  As he alighted they pressed forward, each catching at his hands, kissing them with what can only be called religious fervour.  He shook off the pretty intruders, good-naturedly pooh-poohing the too fond tribute.

    "There, there, my children, that will do," he said, hastening away, doubtless to find a second bevy of devotees at his door.  That dæmonic irresistibleness, that magnetic influence felt not only by the other sex but his own, was an ever-present thorn in the flesh; to a passionately artistic and creative nature like his, it could not be otherwise.  And unfortunately Pandora had not accorded a counterpoise, the wholesome antidote of moroseness, the power of being irresponsive and occasionally unapproachable.  Without this good gift the most dazzling genius may be wasted.

    I do not know exactly what happened after this picnic, but the relations of my charming young music-mistress and her adored Maestro evidently underwent change.  It also became plain to me that Fräulein Constance's feeling for Liszt was no mere girlish sentiment, or what her country people called "schwärmerei," but a deep consuming passion, the sort and degree of passion that drives men into wild excesses and women either into wasting sickness or, worse still, mental aberration.

    Liszt had absented himself for a few days, Fräulein Constance following him to Erfurt or Eisenach, I forget which; was it this step, this fond espial that alienated or at least cooled her master's affection?  She gave no explanation, only hinted at some little misunderstanding; and meantime would I, oh! would I see the Herr Doctor and place in his hands a letter too confidential for post or ordinary messenger?

    I paused before replying.  The poor girl's distress was contagious.  Short of disturbing Liszt I would have done any, every thing to oblige her.  But the request of a private interview for such a purpose, and of one whose privacy was so little respected?  No, I could not bring my mind to the step.

    I satisfied her, however, with the assurance that the letter should be delivered either by myself or a trusty substitute.  On this understanding it was confided to me.  A day or two afterwards Fräulein Constance seemed in usual spirits.  The little cloud had apparently passed over; all was as before.  A lover's quarrel may be easily made up.  What happy issue can await such complications as these?—on the one hand, a girl's self-immolating devotion; on the other, the shrinking, unwillingly accorded tenderness of an elderly man to whom by this time the very thought of a woman's fancy must have been terrible.  I shall ever believe that had he with the priestly robe adopted an ascetic, rigidly artistic life, he would have rivalled Wagner—of whom, by the way, I am no enthusiast—as a composer.

    Exactly ten years later I revisited Weimar, and one of my first enquiries was after my dove-eyed Fräulein Constance.

    "Fräulein Constance ist verschollen" ("is vanished"), was the reply.

    The unhappy girl had vanished from mortal ken, not alas! finding harbourage in some quiet God's acre, but within the prison walls of a Maison de Santé.  Love for Liszt had unhinged her reason!


――――♦――――

 
CHAPTER XXVI.

DR. THOMAS WILSON


SOUVENIRS OF GEORGE ELIOT AND CARLYLE-SKETCH OF A CAREER—MIRAGE—NOZRANI IN EGYPT—"THE CLEMENTINE HOMILIES"


IT has been my good fortune to enjoy the warm friendship, I may say the closest, most affectionate intimacy, of many good and gifted men, English and French.  From none have I learned so much, to none am I more indebted than to the subject of the present chapter.

    There was living at Weimar during my stay in 1871 an old friend of George Eliot and Carlyle, a man wholly unknown to fame, but hardly less deserving of a biographer than his great familiars.  For Dr. Thomas Wilson was no mere chance acquaintance of the novelist and the sage.  He had known George Eliot and George Henry Lewes long before the publication of "Adam Bede," whilst his friendship with Carlyle, begun a generation before, was only ended by death.  Every time he visited England, Dr. Wilson spent a few quiet hours at the Priory and at Cheyne Walk; and it was his privilege to see both these friends a few months before they died.

    I have never myself been able to entertain much enthusiasm for the apologist of brute force, of blood and iron policy, of slavery.  Carlyle's personality too, as portrayed, for I never saw him, has ever been unattractive to me. [p.189]

    Dr. Wilson's table-talk and anecdotes, nevertheless, could but be full of interest.  And very likely from the lips of this high-minded friend fell the most withering sarcasm ever uttered on Carlyle's system.  The pair were holding earnest converse one day when Dr. Wilson turned to him sharply with the question—

    "Come now, my friend, answer me.  Jesus Christ on the Cross now, do you call that success?"

    Carlyle was dumb.  My Weimar friend, although always cutting short unsavoury topics, could not help dropping pregnant hints now and then.  "That terrible cat-and-dog life," he would say, with an expression of disgust, when alluding to Carlyle's fireside.  Long before a word had appeared about it in print, I learned of the tragedy that later became so notorious, "the cat-and-dog life" of Jane and Thomas Carlyle.

    Dr. Wilson was living at Weimar on the occasion of George Eliot's first visit to Germany with George Henry Lewes.  He used to smile as he recalled a certain table d'hôte experience: in the midst of chattering tourists and the clatter of dishes, this grave young woman propounding theories of human and cosmogonic destiny, herself as utterly isolated from such surroundings as if in their little study at home.  The pair then occupied modest lodgings in Regent's Park.

    Dr. Wilson's career was full of nobleness and pathos. Blessed—or shall I say cursed?—with transparent sincerity of mind, with a conscientiousness that could brook no vid media, he had thrown up the most dazzling prospects rather than palter with the cause of Truth.

    Of good clerical family, possessed of academic distinction and every becoming personal endowment, he had entered the Church, promising to prove one of her brightest ornaments, certain of promotion, dignities, and the praise of men.

    That embarrassing gift of a conscience soon interfered with these brilliant prospects.  Already preferment was his, ecclesiastical honours also, when the other, the moral, side of the question forced itself upon his mind.  Diligently and desperately he set to work, dissected the Thirty-nine Articles, saw clear as day that acceptance of them by any intelligent being must be make-belief, that in consequence his own life was a sham, payment for preaching what no man in his senses could believe, what, furthermore, no man, woman, or child should be asked to believe.

    Self-questioning of such a mind could only end one way.  The dilemma landed him in Weimar, teacher of English in a ladies' college.  It was by Carlyle's advice that he betook himself to the illustrious little capital.  There, despite the modesty of his position and circumstances, he received every consideration at the hand of the Grand Duke and his wife.  Of the Duchess he was an especial favourite.  Anxious to retain a resident so distinguished, the ducal pair made over to his use a delightful old manor-house outside the town, in which he could receive young Englishmen preparing for examinations.

    In the meantime Dr. Wilson had married a German lady, one of the lady professors or patronesses, I forget which, of the ladies' school just mentioned.  This highly educated, amiable, and most capable woman brought to the fireside exactly those qualities in which her husband was deficient—namely, a capacity for business and practical affairs, the tact, method, and forethought necessary in all who have to provide for their own future.  The middle-aged marriage answered admirably, and it was mainly owing to Mrs. Wilson's influence and exertions that years stole on without pecuniary cares,

    At this time the Wilsons occupied the ducal residence alluded to, as pleasant a country house as suburban Weimar could show, and there I ever received affectionate welcome.

    Dr. Wilson was now just sixty, and had not with his heresies cast off clerical physiognomy.  He looked indeed like a man born for the Primacy itself.  The teaching of German school-girls, the coaching of school-boys, could not detract one iota from a personal dignity that was absolutely unassailable.  He was not without the restlessness and irritability inseparable from fastidious natures.  He ever commanded respect.  Of course such a man must have been more than human to feel satisfied with his actual position, and here I come to the real pathos of Dr. Wilson's history.

    The mere act of renunciation cannot satisfy an heroic nature; it craves expression, the kind of action to be acquiesced in, the fulfilment of destiny.  The first part of his life had been a storm, a cataclysm; the second, and perhaps the sadder of the two, was a mirage.  As I have mentioned, Dr. Wilson was at this time just sixty, and no more living in the present than an exile or a prisoner counting the hours until release.  Nor was he changed in this respect when, ten years later, I spent several months near the Wilsons, then removed to Eisenach; and a few years later still, on the occasion of his visit to Hastings, he was the same, a mirage-haunted man, a dreamer of dreams!

    His project was this—to settle in London, hire some building as a free church, and there preach Christianity, untravestied, unadulterated by Councils and Synods, St. Augustines and St. Athanasiuses.  Had my great friend lived a couple of hundred years ago he would most assuredly have been imprisoned, mutilated, perhaps put to a horrible death.  Could he have secured a West-End pulpit in the seventies, he might have done what Salvationists have effected in the slums.  "I have the gift of speech," he would say wistfully, again and again going over the plan

    But difficulties seemed insuperable.  To a man so delicate-minded the notion of expatriating his wife was painful in the extreme.  Again, his scheme involved outlay rather than remuneration.  And later, when, mainly owing to that devoted wife's exertions, a modest competence was his, other objections arose.  Despite enormous taxation, housekeeping in Germany was simpler, more economical than in London.  And he was growing old.  Who could say?  His experiment might turn out a failure; he tried too late.

    The mirage haunted him persistently nevertheless, and as he would dwell on the little church of his dreams, a strange light came into his face, he seemed to catch a Divine efflatus, some faint reflex of that


"Strong Son of God, Immortal Love,"


to Whom he ever seemed so near.

    Dr. Wilson was no mere intellectual stimulator after the manner of George Henry Lewes, no imparter of encyclopædic knowledge or generalisation.  What he did was to open his listener's mind to the deep spiritual meaning of life and life's teachers, revealed in nature or in books.

    Quite naturally Schiller was a favourite author, and one of his favourite pieces of writing was the collection of "Letters on the Æsthetic Education of Mankind."  How much do we learn from our friends' choicest books, the books that have become part of themselves!  Another boon companion was Seneca's Epistles.  The "Clementine Homilies," [p.193] a third favourite, he always intended to translate, but the mirage stood in the way of all but obligatory exertion.

    The restlessness of unsatisfied craving and desultory purpose soon after my first visit drove Dr. Wilson to Eisenach.  When I visited that town in 1881, in order to be near my friends, they occupied a house not far from the station.

    "I love the signs of life and movement that I see from our windows here," Dr. Wilson said; "especially on fête days and holidays the living streams that flow to and fro from morning till night exhilarate me."

    Although cheerfully uttered, the speech struck me as implying intense, deep-seated melancholy.  Was it not a sick man's yearning after the hale and the rosy, a captive's envy of the free?  It only rested with himself to say the word; but his powers of decision, once so cruelly put to the proof, were gone.  From Eisenach he moved back to Weimar, occasionally visiting England.  The last time I saw him was at Hastings, a few years ago.  We parted at the railway station, where he stooped down and kissed me tenderly.

    "We shall meet again," I said, for I was always hoping to revisit Weimar.

    He said nothing, but an expression in his face seemed to say, No.  True enough, that was our final farewell.  A millionaire, as I have ever deemed myself in the matter of friendship, how was my capital diminished by the loss of this most beloved and worthily beloved man!  Some of our friends embellish our lives, others build up, one or two beatify.  Neither a flower, melody, nor palmer's staff was the close friendship of Dr. Wilson, instead a Scripture, plain to read, bearing the incontestible stamp of finer spirits' souls, in the words of Plato and Spinoza, exempt from the lot of mortality.

    The keynote of character is struck in early life, and in a little book of Eastern travel, [p.194] published by my friend so far back as 1848, I find the following sentences:

    "Thank God, we have still a leaven of manly Christian devotion working in the world's lump of vexatious vanity; we may yet hope to see our national worship in spirit and in truth within the walls of our churches, where upon one broad level, rich and poor, old and young, learned and simple, may bow down as brethren in the presence of the God and Father of us all.  Here might be a reknitting of that bond of union which is the bond of strength in our social system, now bound by a rope of sand, . . . the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of practical Christianity realised in our lives as professed upon our lips."

    And just upon forty years later, in a little piece on the "Clementine Homilies," [p.194] published for private circulation, occurs the following:

    "Anxiously painful feelings, to some even bewildering, may at first suggest themselves on this train of thought [the Hebraic attributes of the Divinity] as if tending to lower that standard of Divinity so sacredly identified in all our childhood traditions with the name of 'Our Saviour.'  Yet painful as it may be to pious, amiable, and estimable sentiment, we must be prepared to confront pain, and much pain, should the service of Truth demand it.  All has in this world to be paid for, and Truth, or Love of Truth, ranks too high in Heaven to be cheaply appraised on earth."

    Here we have the writer's Christian Socialism and standard of life fairly put forth; a little lower down occurs a Carlylesque exposition of his theological views.

    "Folks will have to look to it before long, to realise what our mediævalism so readily forgets—that terrible rising of the Copernican curtain of the universe, that natural revelation, the indisputable autograph of Deity, which in the sixteenth century so alternately paralysed and electrified the sensitive Melancthon, and which sturdy Luther (like our own sturdy Samuel with Lisbon earthquake) would not listen to, because it shook his faith."  And in a note Dr. Wilson adds of "a popular rhyme sung in our Metropolitan Churches A.D. 1885:


'Jesus is God and made the world
     And all our golden stars,'


a couplet surely betraying its recent escape from the nursery."

    These brief extracts will show that a bottomless gulf divided Dr. Wilson from that most flourishing and pretentious "branch of the Civil Service called the Church of England."


――――♦――――

 
CHAPTER XXVII.

A GROUP OF FRIENDS


MY CAPUCIN BROTHER—HIS ANTIPODES, POVERTY, CHASTITY, OBEDIENCE, AND NOVEL-READING—TWO EX-PRIESTS—EX-PRIEST PASTOR B.—EX-PRIEST THE COMMISSION AGENT—A SPANISH  CONVERT TO PROTESTANTISM


THEOLOGY and theologians have never possessed the very slightest attraction for me.  Yet, strange to say, some of my most valued friends and some of my most interesting acquaintances have been theology mad!

    A year or two after those Weimar experiences I spent twelve months in the city of Nantes.  Among my acquaintances was a young Franciscan monk, an Irishman by birth, who had solved the problem of life after cheerfulest fashion.  For him the Darwinian theory existed not.  The political tempests from time to time sweeping earth's surface were matter of no concern whatever, wars, pestilence, social upheavals, international complications, no more affected him than if he already occupied a fauteuil in Paradise beside his intellectual master the Angelic Doctor.

    Excellent company was this good-looking, florid, blue-eyed young Capucin, his brown serge robe and hempen girdle of true mediæval pattern, his bare feet sandalled, his red cotton pocket handkerchief thrust in the folds of his pocketless [p.197] garment.  Easy enough to see that here spiritual dilemmas sat lightly, that no qualms of conscience disturbed this nineteenth-century follower of St. Francis.

    His enjoyment of existence was artless, and would have been delightful to witness but for some irresistible reflections.  Here was a vigorous son of Adam, a man by nature fully equipped for life's battle, thews and sinews, aptitudes and capacities in good order, who had yet unconcernedly thrown aside every vestige of moral responsibility, to whom, indeed, humanity in general was less than the worm avoided in his walks.

    Could human selfishness go farther, egotism find a deeper level?  Alike civic, social, and domestic duties were voluntarily shirked; for the sake of lazy pleasures and freedom from care he had placed himself in the category of infants, idiots, and minors generally, true manhood, the only birthright worth having, being sacrificed out of sheer self-indulgence!

    Father J— frankly acknowledged himself among the happy ones of the earth.  Lay brethren performed the menial work of his community.  Coffee was served in his cell just as milk and liqueur to Sybarite under-graduates in their chambers.  Six hours a day were traditionally assigned to study; recreation, religious exercise, and sleep filled up the margin.  And meantime from January to December, from lustrum to lustrum and decade to decade, there were neither rent nor taxes to pay, no military service to be undergone, no worries in the shape of tailor's bills or reduced rate of bank interest.  Might not many at times feel tempted to don serge robe and hempen girdle on such conditions?

    The preposterousness of the situation was brought out all the more striking by Father J—'s boon companion, the friend to whom I was indebted for the introduction.

    This was an American gentleman of singular engagingness, a shining example of the masculine qualities insisted upon by me in a former page, that capacity for self-sacrifice and devotion so often arrogantly appropriated to themselves by my own sex.

    My Transatlantic friend ought to have been a scholar with an easy fortune, above all things, he ought to have lived at Boston, in Paris, London, or some other literary centre, enjoying and enriching a cultivated circle.  Instead, he was a modestly paid official, condemned to uncongenial routine, to exile in a country of which he understood neither the language nor the people, for compensation so many dollars per month, the meat, drink, and wherewithal to be clothed, of a limp little wife and three or four limp little children.

    Father J—, although under thirty, was fast emulating Friar Tuck, being plump to rotundity.  Mr. C—, on the contrary, was lankier than the average American, which is saying a good deal.  His clothes hung about him as those of an outfitter's manikin, so spare and fleshless looked he, that you dreaded lest any moment the slender scaffolding should tumble, the ill-supported structure fall to pieces.

    Tenderly attached to the limp little wife and limp little daughters, early imbued with notions of feminine supremacy, Mr C— yet at every available moment vanished into a world of his own, a world they knew not, the enchanted region of Bookland.  He had contrived, Heaven knows how, to carry his books about with him wherever he went—a choice little collection, chiefly of imaginative literature, and these compensated for earthly ills.  Shakespeare, Goethe, Calderon, Camoens made him forget the dreary Darwinian problem, the struggle for life.

    Whilst evidently it never struck Father J— that his existence was one of egregious selfishness, so his American comrade took his own hard lot quite as a matter of course.  With the most perfect good-humour he allowed himself to be bundled from one room to another, on the most trivial pretext; now the children wanted his study, being livelier than the other rooms; now he must make use of the dining-room, and so on.  With other American husbands and bread-winners he seemed to be perpetually on sufferance, a necessary evil.

    Father J—, Mr. C—, and myself often collogued together, our long discussions being upon literature, philosophy, or Romanism.  The young Capucin was a great novel reader.  "I go to Walter Scott, Dickens, and the rest, for knowledge of life, a knowledge I cannot, of course, acquire within the monastery walls," he used to observe.

    The topic he loved best and the topic on which he shone was the spiritual life as set forth by St. Thomas Aquinas.

    The Franciscans have their own school of oratory.  Father J— could roll his eyes, lunge forward, go into ecstasies, after approved fashion, expression, attitude, tone, having naught of the lay element about them.  Everything was as monachal as could possibly be.

    Nantes of all great French towns, and I may boast that I know all, has fewest attractions for me.  I never revisited the city that lent its name to the first edict of religious tolerance ever published, and, later on, to the infamous traffic in human flesh.  The young Franciscan and our common friend the fastidious book-lover faded from my life as if I had known them in dreams only.

    To later years belong a group of still more striking figures, and all three belonging to French experience.

    We hear in England enough and to spare about perversions to Rome.  Little is said about reversions from Romish superstition to Protestant liberty of conscience.  Yet such instances are of frequent occurrence.  In his new, most important work on Greater Britain, [p.200-1] M. Leroy-Beaulieu notes two deeply interesting and gratifying facts—namely, the frequent conversions of Roman Catholics to Protestantism in Australasia, and the comparative insignificance and stagnation of the Romish element, our young, sturdy, healthy England of the Antipodes being Nonconformist to the backbone.  Whilst the Salvation Army, [p.200-2] a body for which I entertain the utmost respect, is gaining ground on every inch of Australasian soil, our colonists will have nothing to do with confession, tawdry ceremonial, and superstitions only becoming the darkest of dark ages.  The Salvation Army has the unmistakable, indisputable quality of earnestness, freedom from sham.  For my part, I adore the poke bonnet and scarlet jersey.  I have heard Liszt improvise divinely, Sims Reeves sing in his apogee, the Garde Républicaine, the finest orchestral, concerted, and individual performances of our time.  No music ravishes my ears as that of the Salvation Army.  Those hearty strains, vocal and instrumental, heard every Sunday, never fail to stir my pulse with purest rapture.  For do they not remind me of our hardly acquired religious liberty, the right enjoyed by every English subject to save or damn himself as he pleases, to regard his salvation, so-called, as purely a personal affair as that of choosing a partner in life or a career?

    It was in 1878 that I met the late Pastor Berthuel of Arbois; there is no need to conceal this remarkable man's name, it belongs to the history of French Protestantism. [p.201]

    Not many years before the Romish Church in France had suffered a severe blow; in her own words, had been humiliated by a grave scandal.  One of her brightest ornaments, a priest endowed with rare intellectual and oratorical powers, announced his intention not only of embracing the Reformed religion, but of becoming a Protestant minister.  Arguments, threats, coaxing proved useless.  Had he remained where he was, honours and emoluments were certain to be his in due course, and now the most tempting baits were held out.  Firm as a rock, unmoved alike by casuistry or the affectionate importunities of relations, he took up his cross.  For it must be borne in mind that whilst the convert to Rome is fooled, to the top of his bent, the killing of the fatted calf being insignificant beside the petting received by a pervert, quite otherwise is it with the renunciator of tradition for liberty of conscience.  Cordially welcomed by his brethren and co-religionists of course he is, but alas! intolerance is a weed not as yet uprooted from French soil.  In the eyes of the Ultramontane a Protestant is still a heretic, a brand only fit for the burning.  What then must be the position of an ex-priest turned Lutheran pastor?  The défroqué for conscience' sake is not only an accursed one, a theological castaway, a pariah of society, he is also cut off from the domestic affections.  First to fall away from such a renegade are mother, sister, niece, those who loved him, whose pure affection kept alive his own.  If kinsmen are less obdurate they are not always able to testify their influence.  Feminine influence is too strong.

    Pastor Berthuel's case reminded me of Dr. Wilson's.  The one great struggle of his life seemed to have left him not purposeless—he admirably fulfilled his duties—but quite unable to take any further initiative.  Protestant friends in England invited him to London; there he would most assuredly have found stimulus and a fitting sphere.  But no, the humblest of French pastorates, a congregation of fifty souls, chiefly peasants, a stipend of as many pounds, with dwelling, these sufficed.  He did not look unhappy; on the contrary, there was chastened elation in every reference to his new calling.  Yet one could but feel the inadequacy of such a position, and he must himself at times have felt the cost of his sacrifice.

    He had married a worthy Protestant lady, and a young niece brightened their humble home.  Very pleasantly he did the honours of pretty little Arbois, showing me the exquisite Cluse or valley of the river Cuisance, explaining here the formation of tufa in the river bed, there its dissolution, the two processes being observable near each other.  Of the matter most interesting to me, namely, his secession, he dropped no hint.  I learned afterwards that the confessional and its abuse had driven him from Rome.

    Pastor Berthuel died at Arbois four years ago; during his ministry he had done more than keep the little Protestant congregation together, adding several converts to the number.  One of these I met some years later at Champagnole.

    The second ex-priest whom I have had the honour of knowing was of quite a different calibre.

    With Monsieur C— it was a revolt of commonsense rather than of fastidious conscience.  He threw up Rome and the priesthood, sacrificing good repute, family ties, home, a livelihood, just because reason had asserted itself.  The monstrous childishness of the tenets he was compelled to profess and inculcate, the profound immorality of the confessional, the mockery underlying priestly vows, all these made him ashamed of the tonsure and black robe.  Without means, without friends, without training for active life, he burnt his boats and breasted the stream.

    Poor fellow!  When I made his acquaintance in Paris, he was exercising as many trades as he counted years, the most lucrative being that of epitaph writing!  A seminarist may be ignorant of everything else under the sun, he is bound to understand Latin.

    So Monsieur C— was, so to say, put on the staff of a monumental mason, earning a few francs here and there by wording eulogistic epitaphs in Latin.  When any person of note or wealth died, the inscription would be pretty long, and Monsieur C—'s emoluments in proportion.

    He also had taken to himself a wife, and domestic anxieties no more spare an ex-priest than one to the manner born.  Despite inborn gaiety of disposition and hopefulness not to be checked by rebuffs, occasional fits of depression would overtake him.  Here is an extract from one of his letters to myself:

    "Love of justice and truth, detestation of hypocrisy, induced me to quit the Romish priesthood.  Without fortune, without a profession, ignorant of practical life and its struggle, I nevertheless decided upon this step, confiding in my own courage and in the uprightness of my purpose.  I have undergone bitter suffering, I have also had my intervals of joy and consolation.  The hardest part of existence is this: instead of being able to devote myself to intellectual pursuits, to literature and philosophy, I am compelled to run about from morning till night in search of daily bread.  I have knocked in vain at editorial doors, I have vainly tried my hand at fiction.  As a last resource I now follow the calling of commission agent."

    My third recusant from Rome needs no commiseration, rather I should say, arouses no pensive sigh.  Senor José, a young Spaniard preparing for the ministry at Montauban, was the joyfullest creature conceivable.  He had just entered upon the Lune de Miel of conversion, that blissful honeymoon when martyrdom for his newly embraced creed would have been rapturously welcomed, the rumour of a revived Inquisition, a resuscitated Torquemada on native soil, awakened intensest delight.  The mere fact of outlawry, odium, revilings seemed contemptible drawbacks, wholly unworthy of the occasion.  Don José was spending the summer vacation under the same roof with myself, in a pleasant French parsonage of the Pyrenees.  With what ecstasy he replaced the pastor during temporary absence, improvising family prayers, giving long expositions of Scripture!  Delivered in the most imperfect, strangely accented French, accompanied by unctuous personalities, intolerably drawn out, we yet listened with the utmost patience.  Who could do otherwise?  Let us hope that the fervid convert will celebrate the Jubilee of conversion as joyfully as he has done its initial fete! above all, that he will win a few fellow-countrymen from their sombre mediævalism and intolerance.

    Here, at least for the present, these reminiscences end.  Perhaps I cannot more fittingly close them than with the following verses, verses in which are summed up reflections that have gone before.  No, let the Schopenhauers, the Ibsens, the Nietzches say what they will, Life is good and wholesome.  It rests with ourselves whether it prove a curse or a benediction.



THE BRIDGE OF YEARS

I


Rose-garlanded, frail as if fairies wove,
    Wet with the dew of all too happy tears,
Those memories of first, best, only love,
    That span from youth to age our Bridge of Years.


II


As granite, cold, remorseless, obdurate
    Alike to passionate prayer or trembling fears,
Those forces, shall we call them Chance or Fate
    That sternly, slowly built our Bridge of Years.


III


Crystalline vault, aerial colonnade,
    Such architecture as the hoarfrost rears,
Were evanescent hopes and dreams that made
    Unreal, yet how fair! our Bridge of Years.


IV


As starry path swept clean by tempest wrack,
    Far off perspective of a thousand spheres,
That passing of high souls across our track,
    Whose lives illuminate our Bridge of Years.


V


Symphonious as an aisle on Easter Day,
    Or woodland avenue when the springtide nears,
Now with a requiem, now with roundelay,
    Echoes from youth to age our Bridge of Years.




THE END


――――♦――――



FOOTNOTES
 

p.27

Pightle, a little enclosure.  Prov. Eng., Webster.  This word is in common use in Suffolk.

p.31

A well-known local incident.

p.32

Bever, old French bevre, Lat. bibere. "Without any prejudice to their bevers."—Beaumont and Fletcher.

p.36

This happened somewhere about 1873-4, years and years after I had taken leave of Suffolk.

p.39

Colloquial, a boy scullion apt to spoil the sauces.

p.40-1

I believe it was mainly owing to the efforts of that excellent Radical the late Henry Fawcett that this system was prohibited by Act of Parliament.

p.40-2

"How do you get on at school?" asked an aunt of mine of a little girl.  "Thank you, ma'am, nicely in the rudiments of reading," was the reply.

p.42

Fleet, Anglo-Saxon flët, to take the cream from, skim.

p.44-1

To farm high means much more than to farm well, more initiative, more outlay.

p.44-2

That is to say, they never entered the corn exchange.  Mr. T. Hardy's "Bathsheba" has often made me and many others smile.  Her presence on the corn market is quite at variance with experience and the accepted order of things.

p.45

My friend and former neighbour, R. E. Everett, Esq., late M.P. for the Woodbridge division of Suffolk, said the same thing in the House of Commons.

p.48

This word is always used in Suffolk for hay-harvest.

p.51

Thus the family sitting-room was always called, the best parlour being reserved for visitors.

p.54-1

 Immoral in the sense that must be all works treating such subjects with the jocosity of the music-hall.

p.54-2

An expression I once heard after service in a chapel.

p.55-1

I may call it so, although Westerfield Hall, my childhood's home, lay two miles off.

p.55-2

Norman French; fraile, a basket made of rushes.  In East Anglia, a large flat basket like those used for fish, and always called "a frail."

p.77

 These verses, "Oh! would that Love could die," have since been several times set to music.

p.82-1

Webster

p.82-2

Ibid.

p.83-1

"Oh! contemplez le ciel, et dès qu'à fin le jour,
 En tout temps, en tout lieu, d'un ineffable amour,
 Regardez A travers ces voiles."

V. Hugo, "Feuilles d'Automne."

 And Tasso:―

"Mira it ciel com' è bello."—G. D., Canto 2.

p.83-2

"Bait." "My lord's coach conveyed me to Bury and thence baiting at Newmarket."—Evelyn.

p.86

Mr. W. E. Norris on Young Writers' Chances.—The home of Mr. W. E. Norris, the novelist, stands on the top of Lincombe Hill, overlooking Tor Bay.  Here is an extract from an interview with the novelist in the British Weekly:—


"Do you think that a young writer has a better chance now of securing recognition than when you first began to write?"

"On the whole, I think not so good a chance," Mr. Norris replied.  "There are a few authors whose sales are so enormous that they practically fill the market to the exclusion of others."

Mr. Norris prefers the three-volume system of publication to the one-volume.  "In three volumes a writer has more space and more freedom, and the book is much pleasanter to read."—Westminster Gazette, Jan. 13, 1898.

p.88

I here especially allude to Lenau's well-known poem, "The Postilion."  An English rendering of it in similar metre appears in "The Golden Bee" (Dean & Co).  It is a wonderfully beautiful poem.

p.94

First edition 1864, latest 1897.

p.96

This is no oxymoron or contradiction of terms.  Some very handsome faces are ugly from sheer want of expression, or expression of depravity, and vice versâ.

p.97

Not perhaps so considered.  At this time children here always kissed the hands of their elders when taking leave.

p.98

See "Louise de la Vallière" (A. Sorel, Paris),

p.108

It would be interesting to know if Du Maurier borrowed that taking name from Charles Nodier's charming "Trilby," a classic three-quarters of a century old, and most likely sure of existence when its later namesake is clean forgotten.

p.112

See "Petite Histoire de Paris."  Par F. Bournon (Paris 1888).

p.116

It can hardly be necessary to recapitulate this story of fanaticism and crime, the kidnapping of a Jewish child, its surreptitious baptism into the Romish faith, and forcible retention by its kidnappers.  See for details of this monstrous act of injustice and inhumanity, "Chambers's Encyclopædia," latest edition.

p.118

That part of harness round the breech of a horse.—Webster.

p.121

Lately issued with other popular poetic pieces by Dean & Co.

p.124-1

For I had often met Mr. Channing at the great cosmopolitan soirees of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Taylor.  He afterwards called upon me at Hastings.

p.124-2

Syzygy, meaning, union, from the Greek.  See Webster.

p.125

Longmans, 1870.

p.127

"In this age, the mere example of Nonconformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service."—J. S. Mill, On Liberty.  I have ever been of this opinion.

p.130

The public was not admitted to these sittings.  My companion of the other sex was a member and prominent supporter of the movement.

p.131

I afterwards, with the kind help of a former secretary, contributed a history of the International Working Man's Association to Fraser's Magazine (1875).  This history was translated into Italian and published in the Diritto.

p.133

See the Pall Mall Magazine for Sep.-Oct. 1896.  "Marat," by Professor Morse Stephen. Marat, like most of the Terrorists, was possibly much less black than he was painted.

p.134

La Revue des deux Mondes, April 1, 1897.

p.135

"The flooded marshland flaunts its marigold."

p.140

R. B. Browning, "Ride in the Metidja."

p.144

A year ago I visited the Poet's Corner with a Frenchwoman.  What was her astonishment and profound disgust to find no monuments here of the immortal trio, E. B. Browning, Currer Bell, and George Eliot, the only monument erected to a woman being that of a foreign opera singer!  Her feelings I fully shared.

p.145

I forbear throughout these pages to make any allusion whatever to celebrated personages still living.

p.147

Perhaps the kind of light described by the Italian poet, "the lightning of the angelic smile."

p.161

Included in a popular selection from Dr. Bodichon's works (Leroux, Paris).

p.165

"It is worth no man's while to write unless he can command a million of readers."—Conversations with Eckermann.

p.169

Just ten years later I revisited Weimar to find it immensely enlarged, and in a certain Philistine sense improved; on all sides new streets, a wilderness of bricks and mortar, with its attendant dust, glare, and ugliness.

p.173

Only one of many passages in Guyau referring to this most interesting subject, the limits of art.

p.180

Perhaps a handsome competence were the better term.  At Weimar in 1871 a good music-mistress ranked herself lucky indeed if she earned £70 a year!

p.182

Also arranged for piano.  I regret I cannot name key, having presented my copy to my friend the now well-known impressionist and highly accomplished musician, Mr. Brabazon Brabazon.

p.184

I regret that I cannot here give this letter.  I have ever entertained a horror of accumulation, and long ago gave it with a sweet note from G. Eliot to the son of my late learned and very dear friend Mr. Watkins Lloyd.

p.189

Here is an anecdote I can vouch for, well worthy of the man who wrote on "The Nigger Question."  A gentleman well known in the world of letters and society, having with him his young son, happened to meet Carlyle in the street.  "I am so glad," exclaimed the former.  "This is the second great man my boy has seen today."  "And the first?" sneered Carlyle.  The other named the greatest living philosopher, a man whose fame is world wide.  "The unending ass!" retorted the sage of Chelsea.  The story is of a piece with his biography.  Of any intellectual rivalship he seemed furiously jealous, witness his brutalities about George Eliot and other women writers.

p.193

The Greek Codex was first discovered in the Vatican Library, 1853, by Dr. Dressel, and published by him at Göttingen in 1853.  Criticism refers the work to the middle of the second century, as edited at Rome by Ebionite Christians.  It has been translated into English.

p.194

"Nozrani in Egypt" (Longman, 1848, 3rd edition).

p.195

"The Clementine Homilies," by Clericus, M.A., Cambridge, 1886. Weimar: Court Printing Office.  Printed for private circulation.

p.197

Pocketless because monks possess nothing.

p.200-1

"Les colonies Anglo-Saxonnes" (Paris, 1897).

p.200-2

"The phylloxera of Evangelicalism" is the charitable verdict of a Church of England clergyman, the Rev. S. B. Gould on General Booth's sect.  See his "Deserts of Central France."

p.201

See "Le Chrétien Français," organ of the new movement; the reversion of Romish priests to Protestantism now taking such, wide development.


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