Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Vol. 13 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Lovers
by Elbert Hubbard
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What was abstract and purely scientific was generally mine; the properly human element came from her: in all that concerned the application of philosophy to the exigencies of human society and progress, I was her pupil, alike in boldness of speculation and cautiousness of practical judgment. For, on the one hand, I was much more courageous and farsighted than without her I should have been, in anticipation of an order of things to come, in which many of the limited generalizations now so often confounded with universal principles will cease to be applicable. Those parts of my writings, and especially of the "Political Economy," which contemplate possibilities in the future such as, when affirmed by socialists, have in general been fiercely denied by political economists, would, but for her, either have been absent, or the suggestions would have been made much more timidly and in a more qualified form. But while she thus rendered me bolder in speculation on human affairs, her practical turn of mind, and her almost unerring estimate of practical obstacles, repressed in me all tendencies that were really visionary.

Her mind invested all ideas in a concrete shape, and formed itself a conception of how they would actually work: and her knowledge of the existing feelings and conduct of mankind was so seldom at fault, that the weak point in any unworkable suggestion seldom escaped her.

* * * * *

During the two years which immediately preceded the cessation of my official life, my wife and I were working together at the "Liberty." I had first planned and written it as a short essay in Eighteen Hundred Fifty-four. None of my writings have been either so carefully composed, or so sedulously corrected as this. After it had been written as usual, twice over, we kept it by us, bringing it out from time to time, and going through it "de novo," reading, weighing and criticizing every sentence. Its final revision was to have been a work of the winter of Eighteen Hundred Fifty-eight and Fifty-nine, the first after my retirement, which we had arranged to pass in the South of Europe. That hope and every other were frustrated by the most unexpected and bitter calamity of her death, at Avignon, on our way to Montpellier, from a sudden attack of pulmonary congestion.

Since then I have sought for such alleviation as my state admitted of, by the mode of life which most enabled me to feel her still near me. I bought a cottage as close as possible to the place where she is buried, and there her daughter (my fellow-sufferer and now my chief comfort) and I live constantly during a great portion of the year. My objects in life are solely those which were hers; my pursuits and occupations those in which she shared or sympathized—which are indissolubly associated with her. Her memory is to me a religion, and her approbation the standard by which, summing up as it does all worthiness, I endeavor to regulate my life.

After my irreparable loss, one of my earliest cares was to print and publish the treatise, so much of which was the work of her whom I had lost, and consecrate it to her memory. I have made no alterations or additions to it, nor shall I ever. Though it wants the last touch of her hand, no substitute for that touch shall ever be attempted by mine.

The "Liberty" was more directly and literally our joint production than anything else which bears my name, for there was not a sentence of it which was not several times gone through by us together, turned over in many ways, and carefully weeded of any faults, either in thought or expression, that we detected in it. It is in consequence of this that, although it never underwent her final revision, it far surpasses, as a mere specimen of composition, anything which has proceeded from me either before or since. With regard to the thoughts, it is difficult to identify any particular part or element as being more hers than all the rest. The whole mood of thinking, of which the book was the expression, was emphatically hers.

But I also was so thoroughly imbued with it that the same thoughts naturally occurred to us both. That I was thus penetrated with it, however, I owe in a great degree to her. There was a moment in my mental progress when I might easily have fallen into a tendency towards over-government, both social and political; as there was also a moment when, by reaction from a contrary excess, I might have become a less thorough radical and democrat than I am. In both these points as in many others, she benefited me as much by keeping me right where I was right, as by leading me to new truths, and ridding me of errors.

* * * * *

Mrs. Mill died suddenly, at Avignon, France, while on a journey with Mr. Mill. There she was buried.

The stricken husband and daughter rented a cottage in the village, to be near the grave of the beloved dead. They intended to remain only a few weeks, but after a year they concluded they could "never be content to go away and leave the spot consecrated by her death," unlike Robert Browning, who left Florence forever on the death of his wife, not having the inclination or the fortitude even to visit her grave.

Mill finally bought the Avignon cottage, refitted it, brought over from England all his books and intimate belongings, and Avignon was his home for fifteen years—the rest of his life.

Mill always referred to Helen Taylor as "my wife's daughter," and the daughter called him "Pater." The love between these two was most tender and beautiful. The man could surely never have survived the shock of his wife's death had it not been for Helen. She it was who fitted up the cottage, and went to England bringing over his books, manuscripts and papers, luring him on to live by many little devices of her ready wit. She built a portico all around the cottage, and in Winter this was enclosed in glass. Helen called it, "Father's semi-circumgyratory," and if he failed to pace this portico forty times backward and forward each forenoon, she would take him gently by the arm and firmly insist that he should fill the prescription. They resumed their studies of botany, and Helen organized classes which went with them on their little excursions.

In Eighteen Hundred Sixty-five, Mill was induced to stand for Parliament for Westminster. The move was made by London friends in the hope of winning him back to England. He agreed to the proposition on condition that he should not be called upon to canvass for votes or take any part in the campaign.

He was elected by a safe majority, and proved a power for good in the House of Commons. The Speaker once remarked, "The presence of Mr. Mill in this body I perceive has elevated the tone of debate." This sounds like the remark of Wendell Phillips when Dogmatism was hot on the heels of the Sage of Concord: "If Emerson goes to Hell, his presence there will surely change the climate."

Yet when Mill ran for re-election he was defeated, it having leaked out that he was an "infidel," since he upheld Charles Bradlaugh in his position that the affirmation of a man who does not believe in the Bible should be accepted as freely as the oath of one who does. In passing it is worth while to note that the courts of Christendom have now accepted the view of Bradlaugh and of Mill on this point.

The best resume of Mill's philosophy is to be found in Taine's "English Literature," a fact to which Mill himself attested.

The dedication of "On Liberty," printed as a preface to this "Little Journey," rivals in worth the wonderful little classic of Ernest Renan to his sister, Henriette.

Mill died at Avignon in Eighteen Hundred Seventy-three, his last days soothed by the tender ministrations of the daughter Helen. His body, according to his wish, was buried in his wife's grave, and so the dust of the lovers lies mingled.


For my own part I am confident as to the future of Ireland. Though the horizon may now seem cloudy, I believe her people will survive the present oppression, as they have survived many worse ones. Although our progress may be slow, it will be sure. The time will come when the people of England will admit once again that they have been mistaken and have been deceived: that they have been led astray as to the right way of governing a noble, a brave and an impulsive people.

Charles Stewart Parnell

Two hundred fifty men own one-third of the acreage of Ireland.

Two-thirds of Ireland is owned by two thousand men. In every other civilized country will be found a large class of people known as peasant proprietors, people who own small farms or a few acres which they call home. In Ireland we find seven hundred thousand tenant-farmers, who with their families represent a population of more than three million people. These people depend upon the land for their subsistence, but they are tenants-at-will. Four-fifths of the landowners of Ireland live in England.

Lord Dufferin, late Governor-General of Canada, once said: "What is the spectacle presented to us by Ireland? It is that of millions of people, whose only occupation and dependence is agriculture, sinking their past and present and future on yearly tenancies. What is a yearly tenancy? Why, it means that the owner of the land, at the end of any year, can turn the people born on the land, off from the land, tear down their houses and leave them starving at the mercy of the storm. It means terms no Christian man would offer, and none but a madman would accept."

The rents are fixed in cash, being proportioned according to the assessable value of the property. So if a tenant improves the estate, his rent is increased, and thus actually a penalty is placed on permanent improvements.

The tenant has no voice in the matter of rent: he must accept. And usually the rents have been fixed at a figure that covers the entire produce of the land. Then the landlord's agent collected all he could, and indulgently allowed the rest to hang over the tenant's head as a guarantee of good behavior.

Mr. Gladstone said in Parliament, July the Tenth, Eighteen Hundred Seventy-nine: "Forty-nine farmers out of fifty in Ireland are in arrears for rent, so it is legally possible to evict them at any time the landlord may so choose. And in the condition that now exists, an eviction is equal to a sentence of death."

At the time when Gladstone made his speech just quoted, a bill was up in the House of Commons called "The Relief of Distress Bill." Simple people might at once assume that this relief bill was for the relief of the starving peasantry, but this is a very hasty conclusion, ill-considered and quite absurd. The "Relief Bill" was for the relief of the English landlords who owned land in Ireland. So the landlords would not be actually compelled to levy on the last potato and waylay the remittances sent from America, the English Government proposed to loan money to the distressed landlords at three per cent, and this bill was passed without argument. And it was said that Lord Lansdowne, one of the poor landlords, turned a tidy penny by availing himself of the three-per-cent loan and letting the money out, straightway, at six per cent to such tenants as had a few pigs to offer as collateral.

The State of Iowa is nearly double the size of Ireland, and has, it is estimated, eleven times the productive capacity. A tithe of ten per cent on Iowa's corn crop would prevent, at any time, a famine in Ireland.

In Eighteen Hundred Seventy-nine, Illinois sent, through the agency of the Chicago Board of Trade, a shipload of wheat, corn and pork to starving Ireland. T. P. O'Connor, who took an active part in the distribution of these humane gifts, said on the floor of the House of Commons that more than one instance had come to his notice where the Irish peasants had availed themselves of flour and meal, but the pork given them was taken by the landlords' agents, "because many Irish families had never acquired a taste for meat, the pigs they raised being sold to pay the rent."

Just here, lest any tender-hearted reader be tempted to tears on behalf of the Irish tenantry, I will quote an Irishman, a vegetarian first by force and then by habit, George Bernard Shaw:

The person to pity is the landlord and his incompetent family, and not the peasantry. In Ireland, the absentee landlord is bitterly reproached for not administering his estate in person. It is pointed out, truly enough, that the absentee is a pure parasite upon the industry of his country. The indispensable minimum of attention to his estate is paid by the agent or solicitor, whose resistance to his purely parasitic activity is fortified by the fact that the estates belong most to the mortgagees, and that the nominal landlord is so ignorant of his own affairs that he can do nothing but send begging letters to his agent.

On these estates generations of peasants (and agents) live hard but bearable lives; whilst off them generations of ladies and gentlemen of good breeding and natural capacity are corrupted into drifters, wasters, drinkers, waiters-for-dead-men's-shoes, poor relations and social wreckage of all sorts, living aimless lives, and often dying squalid and tragic deaths.

* * * * *

In County Wicklow, Ireland, in Eighteen Hundred Forty-six, Charles Stewart Parnell was born. In that year there was starvation in Ireland. Thousands died from lack of food, just as they died in that other English possession, India, in Nineteen Hundred One. Famished babes, sucking at the withered breasts of dying mothers, were common sights on the public highways.

Iowa and Illinois had not then got a-going; the cable was to come, and the heart of Christian England was unpricked by public opinion. And all the time while famine was in progress, sheep, pigs and cattle were being shipped across the Channel to England. It was the famine of Eighteen Hundred Forty-six that started the immense tide of Irish immigration to America. And England fanned and favored this exodus, for it was very certain that there were too many mouths to feed in Ireland—half the number would not so jeopardize the beer and skittles of the landlords.

Parnell's father was a landed proprietor living in Ireland, but whose ancestors had originally come from England. The Parnell estate was not large, comparatively, but it was managed so as to give a very comfortable living for the landlord and his various tenants. The mother of young Parnell was Delia Stewart, an American girl, daughter of Admiral Stewart of the United States Navy.

In that dread year of Eighteen Hundred Forty-six, when the potato crop failed, the Parnells took no rent from their tenants; and Mrs. Parnell rode hundreds of miles in a jaunting-car, distributing food and clothing among the needy. Doubtless there were a great many other landlords and agents just as generous as the Parnells, filled with the same humane spirit; but the absentee landlords were for the most part heedless, ignorant, and indifferent to the true state of affairs.

Charles Parnell grew up a fine, studious, thoughtful boy. He prepared for college and took a turn of two years at Cambridge. He then returned to Ireland, because his help was needed in looking after the estate—hence he never secured his degree. But he had the fine, eager, receptive mind that gathers gear as it goes. His mother was an educated woman, and educated mothers have educated children.

That is a very wise scheme of child-education, the education of the mother, a plan which is indeed not yet fully accepted by civilization; but which will be as soon as we become enlightened.

From his mother's lips Charles learned the story of America's fight for independence, and the rights of man was a subject ingrained in his character.

* * * * *

Ireland is a country that has a climate as nearly perfect as we can imagine, and topographically, it is beautiful beyond compare. Yet here, among physical conditions which are most entrancing, existed a form of slavery not far removed from that which existed in the Southern States in Eighteen Hundred Sixty. It was a system inaugurated by men long dead, and which had become ossified upon both tenant and landlord (slave and slave-owner) by years of precedent, so neither party had the power to break the bonds.

In some ways it was worse than African slavery, for the material wants of the blacks were usually fairly well looked after. To be sure, the Irish could run away and not be brought back in chains; but in Eighteen Hundred Seventy-six, a bill was introduced in Parliament restricting Irish immigration, and forbidding any tenant who was in debt to a landlord leaving the country without the landlord's consent.

Had this bill not been bitterly opposed, the Irish people would have been subject to peonage equal to absolute slavery. As young Parnell grew he was filled with but one theme: how to better the condition of his people.

In arousing public sentiment against the bill, young Parnell found his oratorical wings.

Shortly after this he was elected to Parliament from County Meath. He was then twenty-seven years old. He had never shaved, and his full brown beard and serious, earnest, dignified manner, coupled with his six-foot-two physique, attracted instant attention. He wore a suit of gray, Irish homespun, but the requirements of Parliament demanded black with a chimney-pot hat—the hat being always religiously worn in session, except when the member addressed the Chair—and to these Piccadilly requirements Parnell gracefully adjusted himself.

Parnell seemed filled with the idea, from the days of his youth, that he had a mission—he was to lead his people out of captivity. This oneness of purpose made itself felt in the House of Commons from his first entrance. All parliamentary bodies are swayed by a few persons—the working members are the exception. The horse-racing and cockfighting contingent in the House of Commons is well represented; the blear eyes, the poddy pudge, the bulbous beak—all these are in evidence. If one man out of ten knows what is going on, it is well; and this is equally true of Washington, for our representatives do not always represent us.

Parnell, although a fledgling in years when he entered the House of Commons, quickly took the measure of the members, and conceived for them a fine scorn, which some say he exhibited in italics and upper case. This was charged up against him to be paid for later at usurious interest.

Precedent provided that he should not open his Irish mouth during the entire first session; but he made his presence felt from the first day he entered the House.

By a curious chance a Coercion Bill was up for discussion, there being always a few in stock. Some of the tenantry had refused to either pay or depart, and a move was on foot to use the English soldiery to evict the malcontents in a wholesale way.

Joseph Biggar had the floor and declared the bill was really a move to steal Irish children and sell them into perpetual peonage. Biggar was talking against time, and the House groaned. Biggar was a rich merchant from Ulster, and he was a big man, although without oratorical ability or literary gifts. His heart was right, but he lacked mental synthesis. He knew little of history, nothing of political economy, despised precedents, had a beautiful disdain for all rules, and for all things English he held the views of Fuzzy-Wuzzy, whose home is in the Sudan. However, Biggar was shrewd and practical, and had a business sense that most of the members absolutely lacked. And moreover he was entirely without fear. Usually his face was wreathed in cherubic smiles. He had the sweetly paternal look of Horace Greeley, in disposition was just as stubborn, and, like Horace, chewed tobacco.

The English opposed the Irish members, and Biggar reciprocated the sentiment. They opposed everything he did, and it came about that he made it his particular business to block the channel for them.

"Why are you here?" once exclaimed an exasperated member to Joseph Biggar.

"To rub you up, sir, to rub you up!" was the imperturbable reply. He shocked the House and succeeded in getting himself thoroughly hated by his constant reference to absentee landlords as "parasites" and "cannibals." And the fact that there were many absentee landlords in the House only urged him on to say things unseemly, irrelevant and often unprintable.

And so Biggar was making a speech on the first day that Parnell took his seat. Biggar was sparring for time, fighting off a vote on the Coercion Bill. He had spoken for four hours, mostly in a voice inaudible, and had read from the London Directory, the Public Reports and the Blue Book, and had at last fallen back on Doctor Johnson's Dictionary, when Parnell, in his simple honesty, interjected an explanation to dissolve a little of the Biggar mental calculi. Biggar, knowing Parnell, gave way, and Parnell rose to his feet. His finely modulated, low voice searched out the inmost corners of the room, and every sentence he spoke contained an argument. He was talking on the one theme he knew best. Members came in from the cloakrooms and the Chair forgot his mail—a man was speaking.

Gladstone happened to be present, and while not at the time sympathizing with the intent of Parnell, was yet enough attracted to the young man to say, "There is the future Irish leader: the man has a definite policy and a purpose that will be difficult to oppose."

In January, Eighteen Hundred Eighty, at the Academy of Music, Buffalo, New York, I attended the first meeting of the American Branch of the Irish Land League.

I was a cub reporter, with no definite ideas about Parnell or Irish affairs, and as at that time I had not been born again, I had a fine indifference for humanity across the sea. To send such a woolly proposition to report Parnell was the work of a cockney editor, born with a moral squint, within sound of Bow Bells. To him Irish agitators were wearisome persons, who boiled at low temperature, who talked much and long. All the Irish he knew worked on the section or drove drays.

At this meeting the first citizens of Buffalo gave the proceedings absent treatment. The men in evidence were mostly harmless: John J. McBride, Father Cronin, James Mooney, and a liberal mixture of Mc's and O's made up the rest; and as I listened to them I made remarks about "Galways" and men who ate the rind of watermelons and "threw the inside away."

Judge Clinton, of Buffalo, grandson of De Witt Clinton, had been inveigled into acting as chairman of the meeting, and I remember made a very forceful speech. He introduced Michael Davitt, noticeable for his one arm. All orators should have but one arm—the empty sleeve for an earnest orator being most effective. Davitt spoke well: he spoke like an aroused contractor to laborers who were demanding shorter hours and more pay.

Davitt introduced Parnell. I knew Davitt, but did not know Parnell. Before Parnell had spoken six words, I recognized and felt his superiority to any other man on the stage or in the audience. His speech was very deliberate, steady, sure, his voice not loud, but under perfect control. The dress, the action, the face of the man were regal. Afterwards I heard he was called the "Uncrowned King," and I also understood how certain Irish peasants thought of him as a Messiah. His plea was for a clear comprehension of the matter at issue, that it might be effectively dealt with, without heat, or fear, or haste. He carried a superb reserve and used no epithets. He showed how the landlords were born into their environment, just as the Irish peasantry were heirs to theirs. The speech was so full of sympathy and rich in reason, so convincing, so pathetic, so un-Irishlike, so charged with heart, and a heart for all humanity, even blind and stupid Englishmen, that everybody was captured, bound with green withes, by his quiet, convincing eloquence. The audience was melted into a whole, that soon forgot to applaud, but just listened breathlessly.

It was on this occasion that I heard the name of Henry George mentioned for the first time. Parnell quoted these words from "Progress and Poverty":

Man is a land-animal. A land-animal can not live without land. All that man produces comes from the land; all productive labor, in the final analysis, consists in working up land, or materials drawn from land, into such forms as fit them for the satisfaction of human wants and desires. Man's very body is drawn from the land. Children of the soil, we come from the land, and to the land we must return. Take away from man all that belongs to the land, and what have you but a disembodied spirit? Therefore, he who holds the land on which and from which another man must live is that man's master; and the man is his slave. The man who holds the land on which I must live, can command me to life or to death just as absolutely as though I were his chattel. Talk about abolishing slavery! We have not abolished slavery; we have only abolished one rude form of it—chattel slavery. There is a deeper and more insidious form, a more cursed form yet before us to abolish, in this industrial slavery that makes a man a virtual slave, while taunting him and mocking him in the name of freedom.

We hear only a few speeches in a lifetime, possibly a scant half-dozen—if you have heard that many you have done well. Wouldn't you have liked to hear Webster's reply to Hayne, Wendell Phillips at Faneuil Hall, Lincoln answering Douglas, or Ingersoll at the Soldiers' Reunion at Indianapolis?

* * * * *

Captain O'Shea was the son of an Irish landlord, living in England on a goodly allowance. He was a very fair specimen of the absentee. When obscurity belched him forth in the year Eighteen Hundred Eighty, he was a class D politician, who had evolved from soldiering through the ambitious efforts of his wife. He held a petty office in the Colonial Department, where the work was done by faithful clerks, grown gray in the service.

He was a man without either morals or ideals. Careful search fails to reveal a single remark he ever made worthy of record, or a solitary act that is not just as well forgotten.

Every City Hall has dozens of just such men, and all political capitals swarm with them. They are the sons of good families, and have to be taken care of—Remittance-Men, Astute Persons, Clever Nobodies, Good Fellows! They are more to be pitied than slaving peasants. God help the rich—the poor can work!

Work is a solace 'gainst self—a sanctuary and a refuge from the Devil, for Satan still finds mischief for idle hands to do. The Devil lies in wait for the idler; and the Devil is the idler, and every idler is a devil. Saintship consists in getting busy at some useful work.

When Katharine Wood, daughter of Sir Page Wood, became Mrs. O'Shea, she was yet in her teens. Her husband was twenty. Neither knew what they were doing, or where they were going.

Captain O'Shea in his shining uniform was a showy figure, and that his captaincy had been bought and paid for was a matter that troubled nobody. The pair was married, and when once tied by an ecclesiastic knot, they proceeded to get acquainted. A captain in the English Army who has a few good working sergeants is nothing and nobody. If he has enough money he can pay to get the work done, and the only disadvantage is that real soldiers scorn him, for soldiers take the measure of their officers, just as office-boys gauge the quality of the head clerk, or a salesman sizes a floorwalker. Nobody is deceived about anybody except for about an hour at a time.

When the time came for Captain O'Shea to drop out of the military service and become a civilian clerk in the Colonial Office, the army was glad. Non-comps are gleefully sloughed in the army, just as they are in a railroad-office or a department-store.

Yet Captain O'Shea was not such a bad person: had he been born poor and driven a dray, or been understudy to a grocer, he would very likely have evolved into a useful and inoffensive citizen. The tragedy all arose from that bitter joke which the stork is always playing: sending commonplace children to people of power.

And then we foolish mortals try to overawe Nature by a Law of Entail, which supplies the Aristophanes of Heaven and Gabriel many a quiet smile. The stork is certainly a bird that has no sense. Power that is earned is never ridiculous, but power in the hands of one who is strange to it is first funny, then fussy, and soon pathetic. Punk is a useful substance, and only serves as metaphor when it tries to pass for bronze.

So, then, behold Katharine O'Shea—handsome, wistful, winsome, vivacious and intelligent, with a brain as keen as that of Becky Sharp, yet as honest as Amelia—getting her husband transferred from the army to the civil list.

He was an Irishman, and his meager salary in the office had to be helped out with money wrung from Irish peasantry by landlords' agents. Captain O'Shea knew little about his estate, and was beautifully ignorant of its workings; but once he and his wife went over to Ireland, and the woman saw things the man did not and could not.

The Irish agitation was on, and the heart of the English girl went out to her brothers and sisters across the Channel. Marriage had tamed her, sobered her dreams, disillusioned her fancies. In her extremity she turned to humanity, as women turn to religion. In fact, humanity was to her a religion: her one thought was how to relieve and benefit Ireland—Ireland which supplied her that whereby she lived! She felt like a cannibal at the thought of living off the labor of these poor people.

She read and studied the Irish problem, and one day copied this passage from Henry George into her commonplace-book:

Ireland has never yet had a population which the natural resources of the country could not have maintained in ample comfort. At the period of her greatest population (Eighteen Hundred Forty to Eighteen Hundred Forty-five), Ireland contained more than eight millions of people. But a very large proportion of them managed merely to exist—lodging in miserable cabins, clothed in miserable rags, and with potatoes only as their staple food. When the potato-blight came, they died by thousands. But it was not the inability of the soil to support so large a population that compelled so many to live in this miserable way, and exposed them to starvation on the failure of a single root-crop. On the contrary, it was the same remorseless rapacity that robbed the Indian peasant of the fruits of his toil and left him to starve where Nature offered plenty. When her population was at its highest, Ireland was a food-exporting country. Even during the famine, grain, meat, butter and cheese were carted for exportation along roads lined with the starving, and past trenches into which the dead were piled. For these exports of food there was no return. It went not as an exchange, but as a tribute, to pay the rent of absentee landlords—a levy wrung from producers by those who in no wise contributed to the production.

Captain O'Shea was not at all interested. He had the brain of a blackbird, but not enough mind to oppose his wife. He just accepted life, and occasionally growled because more money did not come from this agent in Galway—that was all.

He still nominally belonged to the army, was a member of "The Canteen," a military club, played billiards in Winter and cricket in Summer, and if at long intervals he got plain drunk, it was a matter of patriotism done by way of celebrating a victory of English arms in the Congo, and therefore in the line of duty. Captain O'Shea never beat his wife, even in his cups, and the marriage was regarded as a happy one by the neighboring curate who occasionally looked in, and at times enjoyed a quiet mug with the Captain.

Mrs. O'Shea knew several of the Irish Members of Parliament; in fact, one of them was a cousin of her husband.

This cousin knew John Dillon and William O'Brien. Dillon and O'Brien knew Parnell, and belonged to his "advisory board."

Mrs. O'Shea was a member of Ruskin's Saint George Society, and had outlined a plan to sell the handicraft products made in the Irish homes, it being the desire of Ruskin to turn Irish peasantry gradually from a dependence on agriculture to the handicrafts. Mrs. O'Shea had a parlor sale in her own house, of laces, rugs and baskets made by the Irish cottagers.

John Dillon told Parnell of this. Parnell knew that such things were only palliative, but he sympathized with the effort, and when in June, Eighteen Hundred Eighty, he accepted an invitation to dine at the O'Shea's with half a dozen other notables, it was quite as a matter of course. How could he anticipate that he was making history!

Disappointment in marriage had made lines under the eyes of pretty Kitty O'Shea and strengthened her intellect.

Indifference and stupidity are great educators—they fill one with discontent and drive a person onward and upward to the ideal. A whetstone is dull, but it serves to sharpen Damascus blades.

Mrs. O'Shea's heart was in the Irish cause. Parnell listened at first indulgently—then he grew interested. The woman knew what she was talking about. She was the only woman he had ever seen who did, save his mother, whose house had once been searched by the constabulary for things Fenian. He listened, and then shook himself out of his melancholy.

Parnell was not a society man—he did not know women—all petty small talk was outside of his orbit. He regarded women as chatterers, children, undeveloped men. He looked at Kitty O'Shea and listened. She had coal-black, wavy hair, was small, petite, and full of nervous energy. She was not interested in Parnell; she was interested in his cause. They loved the same things. They looked at each other and talked. And then they sat silent and looked at each other, realizing that people who do not understand each other without talk, never can with. To remain silent in each other's presence is the test. Within a week Parnell called at the O'Shea's, with Dillon, and they drank tea out of tiny cups.

Parnell was thirty-four, and bachelors of thirty-four either do not know women at all, or else know them too well. Had Parnell been an expert specialist in femininity, he would never have gone to see Mrs. O'Shea the second time. She was an honest woman with a religious oneness of aim, and such are not the ladies for predaceous holluschickies.

Parnell went alone to call on Mrs. O'Shea—he wanted to consult with her about the Land League. By explaining his plans to her, he felt that he could get them more clearly impressed on his own mind. For he could trust her, and best of all, she understood—she understood!

* * * * *

About six months after this, London was convulsed with laughter at a joke too good to keep: One Captain O'Shea had challenged Charles Parnell, the Irish Leader, to a duel. Parnell accepted the challenge, but the fight was off, because Thomas Mayne had gone to O'Shea and told him he "would kick him the length of Rotten Row if he tried to harm or even opened his Galway yawp about Parnell."

O'Shea had a valise which he said he had found in his wife's room, and this valise belonged to Parnell! The English members talked of Parnell's aberration and carelessness concerning his luggage; and all hands agreed that O'Shea, whoever he was, was a fool—a hot-headed, egotistical rogue, trying to win fame for himself by challenging greatness.

"Suppose that Parnell kills him, it is no loss to the world; but if O'Shea kills Parnell, the Irish cause is lost," said John Dillon, who went to see O'Shea and told him to go after some pigmy his own size.

Sir Patrick O'Brien said to O'Shea, "You dress very well, Captain O'Shea, but you are not the correct thing."

As for London's upper circles, why, it certainly was a lapse for Parnell to leave his valise in the lady's room. Parnell the Puritan—Parnell the man who used no tobacco or strong drink, and never was known to slip a swear-word: Parnell the Irish Messiah! Ha, ha, ha!

As for the love-affair, all M.P.'s away from home without their families have them. You can do anything you choose, provided you do not talk about it, and you can talk about anything you choose, provided you do not do it. Promiscuity in London is a well-recognized fact, but a serious love-affair is quite a different thing. No one for a moment really believed that Parnell was so big a fool as to fall in love with one woman, and be true to her, and her alone—that was too absurd!

Captain O'Shea resigned his civil office and went back to his command. He was sent for service to India, where he remained for more than a year. When he returned to London, he did not go to Mrs. O'Shea's house, but took apartments downtown.

In the year Eighteen Hundred Eighty-six, political London was roused by the statement that Captain O'Shea was a candidate from Galway for the House of Commons, and was running under the protection of Parnell. To the knowing ones in London it looked like a clear bargain and sale. O'Shea had tried to harass Parnell; Parnell had warned O'Shea never to cross his path, and now the men had joined hands.

Parnell was in possession of O'Shea's wife, and O'Shea was going to Parliament with Parnell's help! O'Shea was a notoriously unfit man for a high public office, and Joseph Biggar and others openly denounced Parnell for putting forth such a creature. "He'll vote with the b'hoys, so what difference does it make?" said Sullivan. "The b'hoys," who vote as they are told, are in every legislative body. They are not so much to be feared as men with brains. Parnell went over to Ireland, and braved the mob by making speeches for O'Shea, and O'Shea was elected.

Parnell was evidently caught in a trap—he did the thing he had to do. His love for the woman was a consuming passion—her love for him was complete. Only death could part them. And besides, their hearts were in the Irish cause. To free Ireland was their constant prayer.

Scandal, until taken up by the newspapers, is only rumor. The newspapers seldom make charges until the matter gets into court—they fear the libel-laws—but when the court lends an excuse for giving "the news," the newspapers turn themselves loose like a pack of wolves upon a lame horse that has lost its way. And the reason the newspapers do this is because the people crave the savory morsel.

The newspapers are published by men in business, and the wares they carry are those in demand: mostly gossip, scandal and defamation. And humanity is of such a quality that it is not scandalized or shocked by facts, but by the recital of the facts in the courts or public prints.

* * * * *

The House of Commons, in Eighteen Hundred Ninety, was at last ready to grant Home Rule to Ireland.

A bill satisfactory to the majority was prepared, and Parnell and Gladstone, the two strongest men of their respective countries, stood together in perfect accord. Then it was, in that little interval of perfect peace, that there came the explosion. Captain O'Shea brought suit against his wife for divorce. The affair was planned not only to secure the divorce, but also to do it in the most sensational and salacious manner. The bill of complaint, a voluminous affair, was really an alleged biography of Charles Parnell, and placed his conduct in the most offensive light possible. It recited that for more than ten years Parnell and Mrs. O'Shea had lived together as man and wife; that they had traveled together on the Continent under an alias; that Parnell had shaved off his beard to escape identity; and that the only interval of virtue that had come to the guilty couple since they first met was when Parnell was in Kilmainham Jail. The intent of the complaint was plainly to arouse a storm of indignation against Parnell that would make progress for any measure he might advocate, quite out of the question. The landlords were so filled with laughter that they forgot to collect rent; and the tenants were so amazed and wroth at the fall of their leader that they cashed up—or didn't, as the case happened. Scandal filled the air; the newspapers issued extras, and ten million housewives called the news over back fences.

And now at this distance it is very plain that the fuse was laid and fired by some one beside Captain O'Shea. The woman who was once his wife, O'Shea had not seen for five years, and was quite content in the snug arrangements he had in the interval made for himself.

When the divorce was granted without opposition, Justin McCarthy wrote, "Charles Stewart Parnell is well hated throughout Great Britain, but Captain O'Shea is despised."

The question has often been asked, "Who snatched Home Rule from Ireland just as she reached for it?" Opinions are divided, and I might say merged by most Irish people, thus: O'Shea, Parnell, Gladstone, Katharine O'Shea.

Fifteen years have softened Irish sentiment toward Parnell, and anywhere from Blarney to Balleck you will get into dire difficulties if you hint ill of Parnell. Gladstone and O'Shea are still unforgiven. In Cork I once spoke to a priest of Kitty O'Shea, and with a little needless acerbity the man of God corrected me and said, "You mean Mrs. Katharine Parnell!" And I apologized.

The facts are that no one snatched Home Rule from Ireland. Ireland pushed it from her. Had Ireland stood by Charles Parnell when it came out that he loved, and had loved for ten years, a most noble, intellectual, honest and excellent woman, Parnell would have still been the Irish Leader—the Uncrowned King. Gladstone did not desert the Irish Cause until the Irish had deserted Parnell. Then Gladstone followed their example—and gladly. Since then Home Rule for Ireland has been a joke.

The most persistent defamer of Charles Parnell never accused the man of promiscuous conduct, nor of being selfish and sensual in his habit of life. He loved this one woman, and never loved another. And when a scurrilous reporter, hiding behind anonymity, published a story to the effect that Katharine O'Shea had had other love-affairs, the publisher, growing alarmed, came out the following day with a disclaimer, thus:

"If Mrs. O'Shea has had other irregular experiences, they are, so far, unknown to the public."

It was an ungracious retraction—but a retraction still—and caused a few Irish bricks to find the publishers plate glass.

The Irish lost Home Rule by allowing themselves to be stampeded. Their English friends, the enemy, playing upon their prejudices, they became drunk with hate, and then their shillalahs resounded a tattoo upon the head of their leader. Nations and people who turn upon their best friends are too common to catalog.

In the "Westminster Review" for January, Eighteen Hundred Ninety-one, Elizabeth Cady Stanton says: "The spectacle of a whole nation hounding one man, and determined to administer summary punishment, is pitiful at a time when those who love their fellowmen are asking for all the best moral appliances and conditions for the reformation of mankind. Force, either in the form of bodily infliction or of mental lashing, has been abandoned by the experienced as evil and ineffective in all its attributes. Acting on this principle, what right has a nation to turn its whole engine of denunciation upon a human being for the violation of a personal unsettled question of morals?"

A great, noble and unswerving love between a man and a woman, mentally mated, is an unusual affair. That the Irish people should repudiate, scorn and spurn a man and a woman who possessed such a love is a criticism on their intelligence that needs no comment. But the world is fast reaching a point where it realizes that honesty, purity of purpose, loyalty and steadfastness in love fit people for leadership, if anything does or can, and that from such a relationship spring justice, freedom, charity, generosity and the love that suffereth long and is kind. There is no freedom on earth or in any star for those who deny freedom to others.

The people who desire political Home Rule must first of all learn to rule their own spirits, and be willing to grant to individuals the right and privilege of Home Rule in the home where love alone rules.

* * * * *

From the time that O'Shea took his seat in Parliament, Parnell showed by his face and manner that he was a man with a rope tied to his foot. His health declined, he became apprehensive, nervous, and at times lost the perfect poise that had won for him the title of the "Uncrowned King." He had bargained with a man with whom no contract was sacred, and he was dealing with people as volatile and uncertain as Vesuvius.

"I have within my hand a Parliament for Ireland," said Parnell in a speech to a mob at Galway. "I have within my hand a Parliament for Ireland, and if you destroy me, you destroy Home Rule for Ireland!" And the Irish people destroyed Parnell. In this they had the assistance of Gladstone, who after years of bitter opposition to Parnell had finally been won over to Ireland's cause, not being able to disrupt it. When we can not down a strong man in fair fight, all is not lost—we can still join hands with him. When Captain O'Shea secured a divorce from his wife, naming Parnell as co-respondent, and Parnell practically pleaded guilty by making no defense, the rage against Parnell was so fierce that if he had appeared in Ireland, his life would have paid the forfeit.

Then, when in a few months he married the lady according to the Civil Code, but without Episcopal or Catholic sanction, the storm broke afresh, and a hypocritical world worked overtime trying to rival the Billingsgate Calendar. The newspapers employed watchers, who picketed the block where Parnell and his wife lived, and telegraphed to Christendom the time the lights were out, and whether Mr. Parnell appeared with a shamrock or a rose in his buttonhole. The facts that Mrs. Parnell wore her hair in curls, and smilingly hummed a tune as she walked to the corner, were construed into proof of brazen guilt and a desire to affront respectable society.

Gladstone was a strict Churchman, but he was also a man of the world. Parnell's offense was the offense committed by Lord Nelson, Lord Hastings, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Charles Dilke, Shakespeare, and most of those who had made the name and fame of England worldwide. Gladstone might have stood by Parnell and steadied the Nationalist Party until the storm of bigotry and prejudice abated; but he saw his chance to escape from a hopeless cause, and so he demanded the resignation of Parnell while the Irish were still rabid against the best friend they ever had. Feud and faction had discouraged Gladstone, and now was his chance to get out without either backing down or running away! By the stroke of a pen he killed the only man in Great Britain who rivaled him in power—the only Irishman worthy to rank with O'Connor and Grattan. It was an opportunity not to be lost—just to take the stand of virtue and lift up his hands in affected horror, instead of stretching out those hands to help a man whose sole offense was that he loved a woman with a love that counted not the cost, hesitated at no risk, and which eventually led not only to financial and political ruin, but to death itself.

Parnell died six months after his marriage, from nerve-wrack that had known no respite for ten years.

In half-apology for his turning upon Parnell, Gladstone once afterward said, "Home Rule for Ireland—what would she do with it anyway?" In this belief that Home Rule meant misrule, he may have been right. James Bryce, a sane and logical thinker, thought so, too. But this did not relieve Gladstone of the charge of owning a lumber-yard and putting up the price of plank when his friend fell overboard.

The ulster of virtue, put on and buttoned to the chin as an expedient move in times of social and political danger, is a garment still in vogue.

Says James Bryce:

To many Englishmen, the proposal to create an Irish Parliament seemed nothing more or less than a proposal to hand over to these men the government of Ireland, with all the opportunities thence arising to oppress the opposite party in Ireland and to worry England herself. It was all very well to urge that the tactics which the Nationalists had pursued when their object was to extort Home Rule would be dropped, because superfluous, when Home Rule had been granted; or to point out that an Irish Parliament would probably contain different men from those who had been sent to Westminster as Mr. Parnell's nominees. The internal condition of Ireland supplied more substantial grounds for alarm than English misrule.

Three-fourths of the people are Roman Catholics, one-fourth Protestants, and this Protestant fourth sub-divided into bodies not fond of one another, who have little community of sentiment. Besides the Scottish colony in Ulster, many English families have settled here and there through the country. They went further, and made the much bolder assumption that as such a Parliament would be chosen by electors, most of whom were Roman Catholics, it would be under the control of the Catholic priesthood, and hostile to Protestants. Thus they supposed that the grant of self-government to Ireland would mean the abandonment of the upper and wealthier class, the landlords and the Protestants, to the tender mercies of their enemies. The fact stood out that in Ireland two hostile factions had been contending for the last sixty years, and that the gift of self-government might enable one of them to tyrannize over the other. True, that party was the majority, and, according to the principles of democratic government, entitled therefore to prevail. The minority had the sympathy of the upper classes in England, because the minority contained the landlords. It had the sympathy of a large part of the middle class, because it contained the Protestants. There was another anticipation, another forecast of evils to follow, which told most of all upon English opinion. It was the notion that Home Rule was only a stage in the road to the complete separation of the two islands. Parnell's campaign diluted the greed of landlords, but Ireland, politically, is yet where she has been for two hundred years, governed by bureaucrats.


As to Vaucluse, I well know the beauties of that charming valley, and ten years' residence is proof of my affection for the place. I have shown my love of it by the house which I built there. There I began my article "Africa," there I wrote the greater part of my epistles in prose and verse. At Vaucluse I conceived the first idea of giving an epitome of the Lives of Illustrious Men, and there I wrote my treatise on a Solitary Life, as well as that on religious retirement. It was there, also, that I sought to moderate my passion for Laura, which, alas, solitude only cherished. And so this lonely valley will be forever sacred to my recollections.

Journal of Petrarch

"A literary reputation once attained can never be lost," says Balzac. This for the reason that we find it much easier to admit a man's greatness than to refute it. The safest and most solid reputations are those of writers nobody reads. As long as a man is read he is being weighed, and the verdict is uncertain, which remark, of course, does not apply to the books we read with our eyes shut.

Shakespeare's proud position today is possible only through the fact that he is not read.

We get our Shakespeare from "Bartlett's Quotations": and the statement made by the good old lady that Shakespeare used more quotations than any other man who ever lived is true, although she should have added that he used blessed few quotation-marks.

In all my life I never knew anybody, save one woman and a little girl, who read Shakespeare in the original. I know a deal of Shakespeare, although I never read one of his plays, and never could witness a Shakespearean performance without having the fidgets. All the Shakespeare I have, I caught from being exposed to people who have the microbe.

I never yet met any one who read Petrarch. But every so-called educated person is compelled to admit the genius of Petrarch.

We know the gentleman by sight; that is, we know the back of his books.

And then we know that he loved Laura—Petrarch and Laura!

We walk into Paradise in pairs—just as the toy animals go into a Noah's Ark. Shakespeare is coupled thus: Shakespeare and——

He wrote his sonnets to Her, exactly as did Dante, Petrarch and Rossetti. A sonnet is a house of life enclosing an ostermoor built for two.

Petrarch is one of the four great Italian poets, and his life is vital to us because all our modern literature traces a pedigree to him.

The Italian Renaissance is the dawn of civilization: the human soul emerging into wakefulness after its sleep of a thousand years.

The Dark Ages were dark because religion was supreme, and to keep it pure they had to subdue every one who doubted it or hoped to improve upon it. So wrangle, dispute, faction, feud, plot, exile, murder and Sherlock Holmes absorbed the energies of men and paralyzed spontaneity and all happy, useful effort. The priest caught us coming and going. We had to be christened when we were born and given extreme unction when we died, otherwise we could not die legally—hell was to pay, here and hereafter.

The only thing that finally banished fear and stopped the rage for vengeance, revenge and loot was Love. Not the love for God. No! Just the love of man and woman.

Passionate, romantic love! When the man had evolved to a point where he loved one woman with an absorbing love, the rosy light of dawn appeared in the East, the Dark Ages sank into oblivion, and Civilization kicked off the covers and cooed in the cradle.

Is it bad to love one woman with all the intensity that was formerly lavished on ten? Some people think so; some have always thought so—in the Dark Ages everybody thought so. Religion taught it: God was jealous. Marriage was an expediency. Dante, Petrarch and Shakespeare live only because they loved.

Literature, music, sculpture, painting, constitute art—not, however, all of art. And art is a secondary sexual manifestation. Beauty is the child of married minds, and Emerson says, "Beauty is the seal of approval that Nature sets upon Virtue."

So, if you please, love and virtue are one, and a lapse from virtue is a lapse from love. It is love that vitalizes the intellect to the creative point. So it will be found that men with the creative faculty have always been lovers. To give a list of the great artists that the world has seen would be to name a list of lovers.

The Italian Renaissance was the birth of Romantic Love. It was a new thing, and we have not gotten used to it yet. It is so new to men's natures that they do not always know how to manage it, and so it occasionally runs away with them and leaves them struggling in the ditch, from which they emerge sorry sights, or laughable, according to the view of the bystander and the extent of the disaster. And yet, in spite of mishaps, let the truth stand that those who travel fast and go far, go by Love's Parcel-Post, concerning which there is no limit to the size of the package.

Romantic Love was impossible at the time when men stole wives. When wife-stealing gave place to wife-buying, it was likewise out of the question. To win by performance of the intellect, the woman must have evolved to a point where she was able to approve and was sufficiently free to express delight in the lover's accomplishments. Instead of physical prowess she must be able to delight in brains. Petrarch paraded his poems exactly as a peacock does its feathers.

And so it will be seen that it was the advance in the mental status of woman that made possible the Italian Renaissance. The Greeks regarded a woman who had brains with grave suspicion.

The person who can not see that sex equality must come before we reach the millennium is too slow in spirit to read this book, and had better stop right here and get him to his last edition of the "Evening Garbage."

Lovers work for each other's approval, and so, through action and reaction, we get a spiritual chemical emulsion that, while starting with simple sex attraction, contains a gradually increasing percentage of phosphorus until we get a fusion of intellect: a man and a woman who think as one being.

* * * * *

For the benefit of people with a Petrarch bee and time to incinerate, I may as well explain that Professor Marsand, of the ancient and honorable University of Padua, has collected a "Petrarch Library," which consists of nine hundred separate and distinct volumes on the work and influence of Petrarch. This collection of books was sold to a French bibliophile for the tidy sum of forty thousand pounds, and is now in the Louvre.

I have not read all of these nine hundred books, else probably I should not know anything about Petrarch. It seems that for two hundred years after the death of the poet there was a Petrarch cult, and a storm of controversy filled the literary air.

The accounts of Petrarch's life up to the Eighteenth Century were very contradictory; there were even a few attempts to give him a supernatural parentage; and certain good men, as if to hold the balance true, denied that he had ever existed.

Petrarch was born in Thirteen Hundred Four, and the same edict that sent Dante into exile caught the father of Petrarch in its coils.

His father was a lawyer and politician, but on account of a political cyclone he became a soldier of fortune—an exile. The mother got permission to remain, and there she lived with their little brood at Incisa, a small village on the Arno, fourteen miles above Florence.

It is a fine thing to live near a large city, but you should not go there any more often than you can help. A city supplies inspiration, from a distance, but once mix up in it and become a part of it, and you are ironed out and subdued. The characters and tendencies of the majority of men who have done things were formed in the country. Read the lives of the men who lifted Athens, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, Paris, London and New York out of the fog of the commonplace, and you will find, almost without exception, that they were outsiders. Transplanted weeds often evolve into the finest flowers.

And so my advice would be to any one about to engage in the genius business: Do not spend too much time in the selection of your parents, beyond making sure that they are not very successful. They had better be poor than very rich. They had better be ignorant than learned, especially if they realize they are learned. They had better be morally indifferent than spiritually smug. If their puritanism is carried to a point where it absolutely repels, it then has its beneficent use, teaching by antithesis. They had better be loose in their discipline than carry it so far that it makes the child exempt from coming to conclusions of his own. And as for parental love, it had better be spread out than lavished so freely that it stands between the child and the result of his own misdeeds.

In selecting environment, do not pick one too propitious, otherwise you will plant your roses in muck, when what they demand for exercise is a little difficulty in way of a few rocks to afford an anchor for roots. Genius grows only in an environment that does not fully satisfy, and the effort to better the environment and bring about better conditions is exactly the one thing that evolves genius.

Petrarch was never quite satisfied. To begin with, he was not satisfied with his father's name, which was Petracco. When our poet was fifteen he called himself Petrarch, probably with Plutarch in mind, "for the sake of euphony," he said. But the fact was that his wandering father had returned home, and the boy looking him over with a critical eye was not overpleased with the gentleman.

Then he became displeased with his mother for having contracted an intimacy with such a man. Hence the change of name—he belonged to neither of them. But as this was at adolescence, the unrest of the youth should not be taken too seriously.

The family had moved several times, living in half a dozen different towns and cities. They finally landed at Avignon, the papal capital.

Matters had mended the fortunes of Petracco, and the boy was induced to go to Montpelier and study law. The legend has it that the father, visiting the son a few months later, found on his desk a pile of books on rhetoric and poetry, and these the fond parent straightway flung into the fire. The boy entering the room about that time lifted such a protest that a "Vergil" and a "Cicero" were recovered from the flames, but the other books, including some good original manuscript, went up in smoke.

The mother of Petrarch died when our poet was twenty years of age. In about two years after, his father also passed away. Their loss did not crush him absolutely, for we find he was able to write a poem expressing a certain satisfaction on their souls being safely in Paradise.

At this time Petrarch had taken clerical orders and was established as assistant to the secretary of one of the cardinals. Up to his twentieth year Petrarch was self-willed, moody, and subject to fits of melancholy. He knew too much and saw things too clearly to be happy.

Four authors had fed his growing brain—Cicero, Seneca, Livy and Vergil. In these he reveled. "Always in my hand or hidden in my cloak I carried a book," he says, "and thoughts seem to me to be so much more than things that the passing world—the world of action and achievement—seemed to me to be an unworthy world, and the world of thought to be the true and real world. It will thus be seen that I was young and my mind unformed."

The boy was a student by nature—he had a hunger for books. He knew Latin as he did Italian, and was familiarizing himself with Greek. Learning was to him religion. Priests who were simply religious did not interest him. He had dallied in schools and monasteries at Montpelier, Pisa, Bologna, Rome, Venice and Avignon, moving from place to place, a dilettante of letters. At none of the places named had he really entered his name as a student. He was in a class by himself—he knew more than his teachers, and from his nineteenth year they usually acknowledged it. He was a handsome youth, proud, quiet, low-voiced, self-reliant. His form was tall and shapely, his face dark and oval, with almost perfect features, his eyes especially expressive and luminous.

Priests in high office welcomed him to their homes, and ladies of high degree sighed and made eyes at him as he passed, but they made eyes in vain.

He was wedded to literature. The assistance he gave to his clerical friends in preparing their sermons and addresses made his friendship desirable. The good men he helped, occasionally placed mysterious honorariums in his way which he pocketed with a silent prayer of gratitude to Providence.

A trifle more ambition, a modicum of selfishness, a dash of the worldly-wise, and his course would have been relieved of its curves, and he would have gravitated straight to the red hat. From this to being pope would have been but a step, for he was a king by nature.

But a pope must be a businessman, and a real, genuine king must draw his nightcap on over his crown every night or he'll not keep his crown very long.

Eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty, but also of everything else. High positions must be fought for inch by inch, and held by a vigilance that never sleeps.

Petrarch would not pay the price of temporal power. His heart was in the diphthong and anapest. He doted on a well-turned sentence, while the thing that caught the eye of Boccaccio was a well-turned ankle.

It seems that Petrarch took that proud, cold position held by religious enthusiasts, and which young novitiates sincerely believe in, that when you have once entered the Church you are no longer subject to the frailties of the flesh, and that the natural appetites are left behind. This is all right when on parade, but there is an esoteric doctrine as well as an exoteric, which all wise men know, namely, that men are men, and women are women—God made them so—and that the tonsure and the veil are vain when Eros and Opportunity join hands.

* * * * *

No man has ever taken the public more into his confidence than Petrarch, not even Rousseau, who confessed more than was necessary, and probably more than was true.

Petrarch tells us that at twenty-two years of age he had descended from his high estate and been led into the prevailing follies of the court by more than one of the dames of high degree who flocked to Avignon, the seat of the Papal See. These women came from mixed motives: for their health, religious consolation, excitement.

Petrarch states his abhorrence for the overripe, idle and feverish female intent on confession. He had known her too well, and so not only did he flee from the "Western Babylon," as he calls Avignon, but often remained away at times for two whole weeks. Like Richard Le Gallienne, who has Omar say:

Think not that I have never tried your way To Heaven, you who pray and fast and pray, Once I denied myself both love and wine, Yea, wine and love—for a whole Summer day.

Much of this time Petrarch spent in repenting. He repined because he had fallen from the proud pedestal where he delighted to view himself, being both the spectator and the show.

In his twenty-second year he met James Colonna, of the noble and illustrious Colonna family, and a fine friendship sprang up between them. The nobleman was evidently a noble man indeed, with a heart and head to appreciate the genius of Petrarch, and the good commonsense to treat the poet as an equal.

Petrarch pays James Colonna a great tribute, referring to his moderation, his industry, his ability to wait on himself, his love for the out-of-doors. The friends used to take long walks together, and discuss Cicero and Vergil, seated on grassy banks by the wayside.

"Men must have the friendship of men, and a noble, highminded companion seems a necessity to prevent too much inward contemplation. It is better to tell your best to a friend, than to continually revolve it." Look out, not in—up, not down. Then Petrarch innocently adds, "I vowed I would not have anything to do with women, nor even in the social converse, but that my few friends should be sober, worthy and noble men of gravity."

No man is in such danger from strong drink as the man who has just sworn off. Petrarch with pious steps went regularly to early mass. By going to church early in the day he avoided the fashionable throng of females that attended later. Early in the morning one sees only fat market-women and fishwives.

On the Sixth of April, Thirteen Hundred Twenty-seven, at six o'clock in the morning, Petrarch knelt in the Church of Saint Clara at Avignon. The morning was foggy, and the dim candles that dotted the church gave out a fitful flare. As Petrarch knelt with bowed head he repeated his vow that his only companions should be men—men of intellect—and that the one woman to arrest his thoughts should be his mother in Heaven—peace be to her!

And then he raised his head to gaze at the chancel, so his vow should there be recorded. He tried to look at the chancel, but failed to see that far.

He could see only about ten feet ahead of him. What he saw was two braids of golden hair wound round a head like a crown of glory. It was a woman—a delicate, proud and marvelous personality—a woman! He thought her a vision, and he touched the cold floor with his hands to see if he were awake.

Petrarch began to speculate as to when she had entered the church. He concluded she had entered in spirit form and materialized there before him. He watched her, expecting any moment she would fade away into ethereal nothingness. He watched her. The fog of the cold church seemed to dissipate, the day grew brighter, a stray ray of light stole in and for an instant fell athwart the beautiful head of this wonderful woman.

Petrarch was now positive it was all a dream.

Just at that moment the woman rose, and with her companion stood erect. Petrarch noted the green mantle sprinkled with violets. He also made mental note of the slender neck, the low brow, the length of the head, compared with the height, the grace, the poise, the intellect, the soul! There he was on his knees—not adoring Deity, just Her! The rest of the congregation were standing. She turned and looked at him—a look of pity and reproof, tinged with amusement, but something in her wondrous eyes spoke of recognition—they had something in common!

She looked at him. Why did she turn and look at him? Don't ask me—how do I know!

Perhaps telepathy is a fact after all. It may be possible that man is a storage-battery—man the positive, woman the negative—I really can not say. Telepathy may be a fact—it may hinge on the strength of the batteries, and the condition of currents.

She turned and looked at him. He had disturbed her religious meditations—rung up the wrong number—she had turned and looked at him—a look of recognition—a look of pity, rebuke, amusement and recognition.

He rose and half-tiptoed, half-stumbled to the door, ashamed, chagrined, entranced. Ashamed because he had annoyed an Angel of Light, chagrined because he had lost his proud self-control and been unhorsed, entranced by the fact that the Angel of Light had recognized him.

Still they had never before met. To have seen this woman once would have been unforgetable—her glance had burned her brand into his soul. She had set her seal upon him—he was hers.

He guessed that she knew who he was—he was sure he did not know her name.

He lingered an instant at the church-door, crossed himself foolishly with holy water, then passed out into the early morning bustle of the streets.

The cool air fanned his face, and the gentle breeze caressed his hair. He put his hand to his brow.

He had left his hat—left it in the church. He turned to go back after it, but it came over him that another glance from those eyes would melt him though he were bronze. He would melt as if he had met God face to face, a thing even Moses dare not do and hope to live.

He stood in the church-door as if he were dazed. The verger came forward. "My hat, good Stephano, I left it just back of the fair lady." He handed the man a piece of silver and the verger disappeared. Petrarch was sure he could not find the lady—she was only a vision, a vision seen by him alone. He would see.

The verger came back with the hat.

"And the lady—you—you know her name?"

"Oh, she, the lovely lady with the golden hair? That is Laura, the wife of Hugh de Sade."

"Of course, of course!" said Petrarch, and reaching into a leather pocket that was suspended from his belt under his cloak he took out a handful of silver and gave it to the astonished verger, and passed out and down the street, walking nowhere, needlessly fast.

The verger followed Petrarch to the door and watching the tall retreating form muttered to himself, "He does not look like a man who cuts into the grape to excess—and so early in the morning, too!"

* * * * *

That was a foolish saying of Lord Byron, "Man's love is of man's life a thing apart; 'tis woman's whole existence." Does it not all depend upon the man and the woman? The extent and quality of a woman's love as compared with a man's have furnished the physiologists and psychologists a great field for much innocent speculation. And the whole question is still unsettled, as it should be, and is left to each new crop of poets to be used as raw stock, just as though no one had ever dreamed, meditated and speculated upon it before.

As for Petrarch and Laura, Laura's love was of her life apart, 'twas Petrarch's whole existence.

Laura was very safely married to a man several years her senior—a stern, hard-headed, unromantic lawyer, who was what the old ladies call "a good provider." He even provided a duenna, or chaperon of experience, one who knew all the subtle tricks of that base animal, man, and where Laura went there went the chaperon.

Petrarch once succeeded in slipping a purse of gold into the duenna's hands, and that worthy proved her fitness by keeping the purse, and increasing her watchfulness of her charge as the danger of the poet's passion increased. The duenna hinted that the sacrifice of her own virtue was not entirely out of the question, but Laura was her sacred charge. That is, the duenna could resist the temptations of Laura.

This passion of Petrarch for Laura very quickly became known and recognized. The duenna doubtless retailed it below-stairs, and the verger at the church also had his tale to tell. Love-stories allow us to live the lover's life vicariously, and so that which once dwelt in the flesh becomes a thought. Matchmakers are all living their lives over again in their minds.

But besides the gossips, Petrarch himself made no secret of his passion. Almost daily he sent Laura a poem. She could have refused the gentle missive if she had wished, but she did not wish.

Petrarch had raised her to a dizzy height. Wherever she went she was pointed out, and the attorney, her husband, hired another duenna to watch the first. This love of a youth for a married woman was at that time quite proper. The lady of the knight-errant might be one to whom he had never spoken.

Petrarch sang for Laura; but he sang more melodiously than any one had sung before, save Dante alone. His homage was the honorable homage of the cavalier.

Yet Hugh de Sade grew annoyed and sent a respectful request to Petrarch to omit it.

This brought another sonnet, distributed throughout the town, stating that Petrarch's love was as sacred as that of his love for the Madonna, and indeed, he addressed Laura as the Madonna.

Only at church did the lovers meet, or upon the street as they passed. Gossip was never allowed to evolve into scandal.

Bliss Carman tells in a lecture of a fair and frail young thing crying aloud to her mother in bitter plaint, "He loves me—yes, I know he loves me—but only for literary purposes!"

Love as a mental "Martini" is a well-known fact, but its cold, plotted concoction is a poison and not a stimulant. Petrarch's love for Laura was genuine and sincere; and that she fed and encouraged this love for twenty years, or to the day of her death, we know full well.

In Goethe's "Elective Affinities," the great German philosopher explains how a sublime passion can be preserved in all its purity on the Platonic plane for a long term of years. Laura was a married woman, wedded to a man she respected, but could not love. He ruled her—she was his property. She found it easier to accept his rule than to rebel. Had his treatment of her descended to brutality, she would have flown to her lover or else died. One critic says: "Laura must have been of a phlegmatic type, not of a fine or sensitive nature, and all of her wants were satisfied, her life protected and complete. The adoration of Petrarch was not a necessity to her—it came in as a pleasing diversion, a beautiful compliment, but something she could easily do without. Had she been a maid and been kept the prisoner that she was, the flame of love would have burned her heart out, and life for her would have been a fatal malady, just as it was for Simonetta."

And so we find Goethe coldly reasoning that a great Platonic love is possible where the woman is married to a man who is endurable, and the man is wedded to a woman he can not get rid of. "Thus four persons are required to work the miracle," says Goethe, and glides off casually into another theme.

Laura was flattered by Petrarch's attentions: she became more attentive than ever to her religious obligations. She wore the dresses he liked best. In her hair or on her breast there always rested a laurel-leaf. She was nothing loath to being worshiped.

"You must not speak to me," she once whispered as they passed. And again she wrote on a slip of parchment, "Remember my good name and protect it."

A note like that would certainly rouse a lover's soul. It meant that she was his in heart, but her good name must be protected, so as not to start a scandal. The sin was in being found out.

A sonnet, extra warm, quickly followed.

Petrarch was full of unrest. His eyes burned with fever; he walked the streets in despair. Colonna seeing his distress, and knowing the reason of it, sought to divert him. He offered to secure him a bishopric, or some other high office, where his energies would be absorbed.

Petrarch would not accept office or responsibility. His heart was all bound up in Laura and literature.

Colonna, in order to get his friend away from Avignon, then had himself appointed Bishop of Lombes, and engaged Petrarch as his secretary. So the two friends started away for the new field, six hundred miles distant. They had a regular cavalcade of carriages and horsemen, for Colonna was a very rich man and everything was his for the asking. They traveled by a circuitous route, so as to visit many schools, monasteries and towns on the way. Everywhere honors were paid them.

The change of scene, meeting so many new people, and the excitement of making public addresses, revived the spirits of Petrarch. Slowly the intensity of his passion subsided. He began to think of something else beside his lady-love.

Petrarch kept a journal of his trip, which has been preserved for us in the form of letters. At one place on the route a most tragic circumstance came to his notice. It affected him so much that he wrote it out with many sorrowful comments. It seems a certain monk of decided literary and musical ability was employed by a nobleman to give music-lessons to his daughters. The inevitable happened.

Petrarch said it did not—that the monk was wrongfully accused. Anyway, the father of the girl, who was the magistrate of the district, ordered the monk to be sealed up in a cell and to remain there the rest of his life. The girl was sent to a nunnery, and the monk in a few weeks succeeded in killing himself, and his cell became his grave. This kind of punishment, carried out by the judge, who according to our ideas had no right to try the case, reveals the kind of "justice" that existed only a few hundred years ago.

The barbarity of the sentence came close home to Petrarch, and both he and the young bishop tell what they think of the Christianity that places a penalty on natural affection.

So they hastened away from the monastery where had lived the monk whose love cost him his life, on to their own field of labor.

Here Petrarch remained for two years. His health and spirits came back, but poetry had gone by the board. In Lombes there was no one who cared for poetry.

Petrarch congratulated himself on having mastered his passion. Laura had become but a speck on the distant horizon, a passing incident of his youth. But he sighed for Avignon. There was life and animation, music, literature, art, oratory and the society of great men. Besides he wanted to prove to his own satisfaction that he had mastered his love for Laura.

He would go back to Avignon.

He went back; he saw Laura; she saw him, and passing him with a swift glance of recognition moved on. At sight of her his knees became weak, his heart seemed to stop and he leaned against a pillar for support. That night he eased his soul with a sonnet.

To his great embarrassment he found he had not mastered his passion—it was now mastering him. He tells us all this at length, and he told it to Laura, too.

His health began to decline, and his physician advised that he move to the country. And so we find him taking a course of solitude as a cure for love. He moved to Vaucluse, a hamlet fifteen miles from the city. Some of the old-time biographies tried to show that Laura visited him there in his solitude, and that was the reason he lived there. It is now believed that such stories were written for the delectation of the Hearst Syndicate, and had no basis in fact. The only way Petrarch ever really met Laura was in imagination.

Boccaccio, a contemporary and friend of Petrarch, declared that Laura had no existence outside of the imagination of the poet. But Boccaccio was a poet with a roistering proclivity, and truth to such a one in a love-affair is out of the question. Lies and love, with a certain temperament, go hand in hand. Possibly the absurd position of modern civilization towards the love-emotions has much to do with this. We have held that in human love there was something essentially base and bad, and so whenever a man or a woman become involved in Cupid's meshes they are sudden and quick in swearing an alibi, no matter what the nature of the attachment may be.

Boccaccio had to defend himself continually from charges, which most people knew were true, and so by habit he grew to deny everything, not only for himself, but for his friends. The poet needs solitude and society, in right proportions of course.

Petrarch lived at Vaucluse for ten years, making occasional trips to various capitals. Of his solitary life he says:

Here at Vaucluse I make war upon my senses, and treat them as my enemies. My eyes, which have drawn me into a thousand difficulties, see no longer either gold or precious stones, or ivory, or purple; they behold nothing save the water, the firmament and the rocks. The only female who comes within their sight is a swarthy old woman, dry and parched as the Lybian deserts. My ears are no longer courted by those harmonious instruments and voices which have so transported my soul; they hear nothing but the lowing of the cattle, the bleating of the sheep, the warbling of the birds, and the murmurs of the river.

I keep silence from noon till night. There is no one to converse with; for the people, employed in spreading their nets, or tending their vines and orchards, are no great adepts at conversation. I often content myself with the dry bread of the fisherman, and even eat it with pleasure. Nay, I almost prefer it to white bread. This old fisherman, who is as hard as iron, earnestly remonstrates against my manner of life; and assures me that I can not long hold out. I am, on the contrary, convinced that it is easier to accustom one's self to a plain diet than to the luxuries of the feast. I am fond of the fish with which this stream abounds, and I sometimes amuse myself with spreading the nets. As to my dress, there is an entire change; you would take me for a laborer or a shepherd.

My mansion resembles that of Cato or Fabricius. My whole house-establishment consists of myself, my old fisherman and his wife, and a dog. My fisherman's cottage is near to mine; when I want him I call, when I no longer need him, he returns to his cottage. I have made two gardens that please me wonderfully. I do not think they are equaled in all the world. And I must confess to you a more than female weakness with which I am haunted. I am positively angry that there is anything so beautiful out of Italy.

One of these gardens is shady, formed for contemplation, and sacred to Apollo. It overhangs the source of the river, and is terminated by rocks, and by places accessible only to the birds. The other is nearer to my cottage, of an aspect less severe, and devoted to Bacchus; and, what is extremely singular, it is in the midst of a rapid river. The approach to it is over a bridge of rocks; and there is a natural grotto under the rocks, which gives them the appearance of a rustic bridge. Into this grotto the sun's rays never penetrate. I am confident that it much resembles the place where Cicero sometimes went to declaim. It invites to study. Hither I retreat during noontide hours; my mornings are engaged upon the hills, or in the garden sacred to Apollo. Here I would most willingly spend my days, were I not too near Avignon, and too far from Italy. For why should I conceal this weakness of my soul? I love Italy, and hate Avignon. The pestilential influence of this horrid place empoisons the pure air of Vaucluse, and will eventually compel me to quit my retirement.

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