Old Friends - Essays in Epistolary Parody
by Andrew Lang
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LETTER: From Montague Tigg, Esq., to Mr. David Crimp.

The following letter needs no explanation for any who have studied the fortunes and admired the style of that celebrated and sanguine financier, Mr. Montague Tigg, in "Martin Chuzzlewit." His chance meeting with the romantic Comte de Monte Cristo naturally suggested to him the plans and hopes which he unfolds to an unsympathetic capitalist.

1542 Park Lane, May 27, 1848.

My Premium Pomegranate,—Oracles are not in it, David, with you, my pippin, as auspicious counsellors of ingenious indigence. The remark which you uttered lately, when refusing to make the trumpery advance of half-a-crown on a garment which had been near to the illustrious person of my friend Chevy Slime, that remark was inspired. "Go to Holborn!" you said, and the longest-bearded of early prophets never uttered aught more pregnant with Destiny. I went to Holborn, to the humble establishment of the tuneful tonsor, Sweedle-pipe. All things come, the poet says, to him who knows how to wait—especially, I may add, to him who knows how to wait behind thin partitions with a chink in them. Ensconced in such an ambush- -in fact, in the back shop—I bided my time, intending to solicit pecuniary accommodation from the barber, and studying human nature as developed in his customers.

There are odd customers in Kingsgate Street, Holborn—foreign gents and refugees. Such a cove my eagle eye detected in a man who entered the shop wearing a long black beard streaked with the snows of age, and who requested Poll to shave him clean. He was a sailor-man to look at; but his profile, David, might have been carved by a Grecian chisel out of an iceberg, and that steel grey eye of his might have struck a chill, even through a chink, into any heart less stout than beats behind the vest of Montague Tigg. The task of rasping so hirsute a customer seemed to sit heavy on the soul of Poll, and threatened to exhaust the resources of his limited establishment. The barber went forth to command, as I presume, a fresher strop, or more keenly tempered steel, and glittering cans of water heated to a fiercer heat. No sooner was the coast clear than the street-door opened, and my stranger was joined by a mantled form, that glided into Poll's emporium. The new-comer doffed a swart sombrero, and disclosed historic features that were not unknown to the concealed observer—meaning me. Yes, David, that aquiline beak, that long and waxed moustache, that impassible mask of a face, I had seen them, Sir, conspicuous (though their owner be of alien and even hostile birth) among England's special chivalry. The foremost he had charged on the Ides of April (I mean against the ungentlemanly Chartist throng) and in the storied lists of Eglinton. The new-comer, in short, was the nephew of him who ate his heart out in an English gaol (like our illustrious Chiv)—in fact, he was Prince Louis N- B-.

Gliding to the seat where, half-lathered, the more or less ancient Mariner awaited Poll's return, the Prince muttered (in the French lingo, familiar to me from long exile in Boulogne):

"Hist, goes all well?"

"Magnificently, Sire!" says the other chap.

"Our passages taken?"

"Ay, and private cabins paid for to boot, in case of the storm's inclemency."

The Prince nodded and seemed pleased; then he asked anxiously,

"The Bird? You have been to Jamrach's?"

"Pardon me, Sire," says the man who was waiting to be shaved, "I can slip from your jesses no mercenary eagle. These limbs have yet the pith to climb and this heart the daring to venture to the airiest crag of Monte d'Oro, and I have ravished from his eyrie a true Corsican eagle to be the omen of our expedition. Wherever this eagle is your uncle's legions will gather together."

"'Tis well; and the gold?"

"TRUST MONTE CRISTO!" says the bearded man; and then, David, begad! I knew I had them!

"We meet?"

"At Folkestone pier, 7.45, tidal train."

"I shall be there without fail," says the Prince, and sneaks out of the street-door just as Poll comes in with the extra soap and strop.

Well, David, to make it as short as I can, the man of the icy glance was clean-shaved at last, and the mother who bore him would not have known him as he looked in the glass when it was done. He chucked Poll a diamond worth about a million piastres, and, remarking that he would not trouble him for the change, he walked out. By this characteristic swagger, of course, he more than confirmed my belief that he was, indeed, the celebrated foreigner the Count of Monte Cristo; whose name and history even YOU must be acquainted with, though you may not be what I have heard my friend Chevy Slime call himself, "the most literary man alive." A desperate follower of the star of Austerlitz from his youth, a martyr to the cause in the Chateau d'If, Monte Cristo has not deserted it now that he has come into his own—or anybody else's.

Of course I was after him like a shot. He walked down Kingsgate Street and took a four-wheeler that was loitering at the corner. I followed on foot, escaping the notice of the police from the fact, made only too natural by Fortune's cursed spite, that under the toga-like simplicity of Montague Tigg's costume these minions merely guessed at a cab-tout.

Well, David, he led me a long chase. He got out of the four- wheeler (it was dark now) at the Travellers', throwing the cabman a purse—of sequins, no doubt. At the door of the Travellers' he entered a brougham; and, driving to the French Embassy in Albert Gate, he alighted, IN DIFFERENT TOGS, quite the swell, and LET HIMSELF IN WITH HIS OWN LATCH-KEY.

In fact, Sir, this conspirator of barbers' shops, this prisoner of the Chateau d'If, this climber of Corsican eyries, is to-day the French Minister accredited to the Court of St. James's!

And now perhaps, David, you begin to see how the land lies, the Promised Land, the land where there is corn and milk and honey-dew. I hold those eminent and highly romantic parties in the hollow of my hand. A letter from me to M. Lecoq, of the Rue Jerusalem, and their little game is up, their eagle moults, the history of Europe is altered. But what good would all that do Montague Tigg? Will it so much as put that delightful coin, a golden sovereign, in the pocket of his nether garments? No, Tigg is no informer; a man who has charged at the head of his regiment on the coast of Africa is no vulgar spy. There is more to be got by making the Count pay through the nose, as we say; chanter, as the French say; "sing a song of sixpence"—to a golden tune.

But, as Fortune now uses me, I cannot personally approach his Excellency. Powdered menials would urge me from his portals. An advance, a small advance—say 30l.—is needed for preliminary expenses: for the charges of the clothier, the bootmaker, the hosier, the barber. Give me 30l. for the restoration of Tigg to the semblance of the Montagues, and with that sum I conquer millions. The diamonds of Monte Cristo, the ingots, the rubies, the golden crowns with the image and superscription of Pope Alexander VI.—all are mine: I mean are ours.

More, David; more, my premium tulip: we shall make the Count a richer man than ever he has been. We shall promote new companies, we shall put him on the board of directors. I see the prospectuses from afar.



His Excellency the COMTE DE MONTE CRISTO. K.G., K.C.B., Knight of the Black Eagle.


CHEVY SLIME, Esq., Berkeley Square. MONTAGUE TIGG, Esq., Park Lane. M. VAUTRIN (Les Bagnes pres de Toulon). M. JEAN VALJEAN. The CHEVALIER STRONG. (Would he come in?) Hon. Secretary.—DAVID CRIMP, Esq. Archaeological Adviser.—Dr. SPIEGELMANN, Berlin.

Then the prospectus! Treasure-hunting too long left to individual and uneducated enterprise. Need of organised and instructed effort. Examples of treasure easily to be had. Grave of Alaric. Golden chain of Cuzco. Galleons of Vigo Bay. Loot of Delphi. Straits of Salamis. Advice of most distinguished foreign experts already secured. Paid-up capital, a 6 and as many 0's as the resources of the printing establishment can command. The public will rush in by the myriad. And I am also sketching a

"Disinterested Association for Securing the Rights of Foundlings," again with Monte Cristo in the chair. David, you have saved a few pounds; in the confidence of unofficial moments you have confessed as much (though not exactly HOW much) to me. Will you neglect one of those opportunities which only genius can discover, but which the humble capitalist can help to fructify? With thirty, nay, with twenty pounds, I can master this millionaire and tame this Earthly Providence. Behind us lies penury and squalor, before us glitters jewelled opulence. You will be at 1542 Park Lane to-morrow WITH THE DIBS?—Yours expectantly,


From Mr. David Crimp to Montague Tigg, Esq. The Golden Balls, May 28.

Dear Mr. Tigg,—You always WERE full of your chaff, but you must have been drinking when you wrote all that cock-and-a-bull gammon. Thirty pounds! No; nor fifteen; nor as many pence. I never heard of the party you mention by the name of the Count of Monte Cristo; and as for the Prince, he's as likely to be setting out for Boulogne with an eagle as you are to start a monkey and a barrel- organ in Jericho; or may be THAT'S the likeliest of the two. So stow your gammon, and spare your stamps, is my last word.—Yours respectfully to command,


LETTER: From Christian to Piscator.

Walton and Bunyan were men who should have known each other. It is a pleasant fancy, to me, that they may have met on the banks of Ouse, while John was meditating a sermon, and Izaak was "attentive of his trembling quill."

Sir,—Being now come into the Land of Beulah; here, whence I cannot so much as see Doubting Castle; here, where I am solaced with the sound of voices from the City,—my mind, that is now more at peace about mine own salvation, misgives me sore about thine. Thou wilt remember me, perchance, for him that met thee by a stream of the Delectable Mountains, and took thee to be a man fleeing from the City of Destruction. For, beholding thee from afar, methought that thou didst carry a burden on thy back, even as myself before my deliverance did bear the burden of my sins and fears. Yet when I drew near I perceived that it was but a fisherman's basket on thy back, and that thou didst rather seek to add to the weight of thy burden than to lighten it or fling it away. But, when we fell into discourse, I marvelled much how thou camest so far upon the way, even among the sheep and the shepherds of that country. For I found that thou hadst little experience in conflict with Apollyon, and that thou hadst never passed through the Slough of Despond nor wandered in the Valley of the Shadow. Nay, thou hadst never so much as been distressed in thy mind with great fear, nor hadst thou fled from thy wife and children, to save, if it might be, thy soul for thyself, as I have done. Nay, rather thou didst parley with the shepherds as one that loved their life; and I remember, even now, that sweet carnal song

The Shepherd swains shall dance and sing, For thy delight, each May morning; If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me and be my love.

These are not the songs that fit the Delectable Country; nay, rather they are the mirth of wantons. Yet didst thou take pleasure in them; and therefore I make bold to ask how didst thou flee at all from the City of Destruction, and come so far upon thy way? Beware lest, when thou winnest to that brook wherein no man casts angle, even to that flood where there is no bridge to go over and the River is very deep—beware, I say, of one Vain Hope, the Ferryman! For I would not have thee lost, because thou art a kindly man and a simple. Yet for Ignorance there is an ill way, even from the very gates of the City.—Thy fellow-traveller,


From Piscator to Christian.

Sir,—I do indeed remember thee; and I trust thou art amended of these gripings which caused thee to groan and moan, even by the pleasant streams from the hills of the Delectable Mountains. And as for my "burden" 'twas pleasant to me to bear it; for, like not the least of the Apostles, I am a fisher, and I carried trout. But I take no shame in that I am an angler; for angling is somewhat like poetry; men are to be born so, and I would not be otherwise than my Maker designed to have me. Of the antiquity of angling I could say much; but I misdoubt me that thou dost not heed the learning of ancient times, but art a contemner of good learning and virtuous recreations. Yet it may a little move thee that in the Book of Job mention is made of fish-hooks, and without reproof; for let me tell you that in the Scriptures angling is always taken in the best sense.

Touching my flight from the City of Destruction, I love that place no more than thou dost; yet I fear not its evil communications, nor would I so hastily desert it as to leave my wife and children behind therein. Nor have I any experience of conflict with the Evil One; wherefore I thank Him that hath set me in pleasant fields, by clear waters, where come no wicked whispers (be they from Apollyon or from our own hearts); but there is calmness of spirit, and a world of blessings attending upon it. And hence can no man see the towers of Doubting Castle, for the green trees and the hedges white with May. This life is not wholly vile, as some of thy friends declare (Thou, who makest thy pilgrims dance to the lute, knowest better); and, for myself, I own that I love such mirth as does not make men ashamed to look upon each other next morning. Let him that bears a heavy heart for his ill-deeds turn him to better, but not mourn as though the sun were taken out of the sky. What says the song?—nay, 'tis as good balm for the soul as many a hymn:

A merry heart goes all the day, Your sad one tires in a mile-a!

He that made the world made man to take delight in it; even as thou saw'st me joyful with the shepherds—ay, with godly Mr. Richard Hooker, "he being then tending his small allotment of sheep in a common field," as I recount in a brief life of a good man. As to what awaits me on the other side of that River, I do expect it with a peaceful heart, and in humble hope that a man may reach the City with a cheerful countenance, no less than through groans and sighs and fears. For we have not a tyrant over us, but a Father, that loveth a cheerful liver no less than a cheerful giver. Nevertheless, I thank thee for thy kind thought of one that is not of thy company, nor no Nonconformist, but a peaceful Protestant. And, lest thou be troubled with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits, read that comfortable sermon of Mr. Hooker's to weak believers, on the CERTAINTY OF ADHERENCE, though they want the inward testimony of it.

But now falls there a sweet shower, "a singing shower" saith old George Chapman, and methinks I shall have sport; for I do note that the mayfly is up; and, seeing all these beautiful creatures playing in the air and water, I feel my own heart play within me; and I must out and dape under yonder sycamore tree. Wherefore, prithee, pardon me a longer discourse as at this time.—Thy friend,


LETTER: From Truthful James to Mr. Bret Harte.


Dear Bret Harte, I'm in tears, And the camp's in the dust, For with anguish it hears As poor William may bust, And the last of the Nyes is in danger of sleeping the sleep of the just.

No revolver it was Interfered with his health, The convivial glass Did not harm him by stealth; It was nary! He fell by a scheme which he thought would accumulate wealth!

For a Moqui came round To the camp—Injun Joe; And the dollars was found In his pockets to flow; For he played off some tricks with live snakes, as was reckoned a competent show.

They was rattlers; a pair In his teeth he would hold, And another he'd wear Like a scarf to enfold His neck, with them dangerous critters as safe as the saint was of old.

Sez William, "That same Is as easy as wink. I am fly to his game; For them rattlers, I think, Has had all their incisors extracted. They're harmless as suthin' to drink."

So he betted his pile He could handle them snakes; And he tried, with a smile, And a rattler he takes, Feeling safe as they'd somehow been doctored; but bless you, that sarpent awakes!

Waken snakes! and they DID And they rattled like mad; For it was not a "kid," But some medicine he had, Injun Joe, for persuadin' the critters but William's bit powerful bad.

So they've put him outside Of a bottle of Rye, And they've set him to ride A mustang as kin shy, To keep up his poor circulation; and that's the last chance for Bill Nye.

But a near thing it is, And the camp's in the dust. He's a pard as we'd miss If poor Bill was to bust - If the last of the Nyes were a-sleepin the peaceable sleep of the just.

LETTER: From Professor Forth to the Rev. Mr. Casaubon.

The delicacy of the domestic matters with which the following correspondence deals cannot be exaggerated. It seems that Belinda (whose Memoirs we owe to Miss Rhoda Broughton) was at Oxford while Mr. and Mrs. Casaubon were also resident near that pleasant city, so famed for its Bodleian Library. Professor Forth and Mr. Casaubon were friends, as may be guessed; their congenial characters, their kindred studies, Etruscology and Mythology, combined to ally them. Their wives were not wholly absorbed in their learned pursuits, and if Mr. Ladislaw was dangling after Mrs. Casaubon, we know that Mr. Rivers used to haunt with Mrs. Forth the walks of Magdalen. The regret and disapproval which Mrs. Casaubon expresses, and her desire to do good to Mrs. Forth, are, it is believed, not alien to her devoted and exemplary character.

Bradmore-road, Oxford, May 29.

Dear Mr. Casaubon,—In the course of an investigation which my researches into the character of the Etruscan "Involuti" have necessitated, I frequently encounter the root Kad, k2ad, or Qad. Schnitzler's recent and epoch-making discovery that d in Etruscan = b2, has led me to consider it a plausible hypothesis that we may convert Kad or Qad into Kab2, in which case it is by no means beyond the range of a cautious conjecture that the Involuti are identical with the Cab-iri (Cabiri). Though you will pardon me for confessing, what you already know, that I am not in all points an adherent to your ideas concerning a "Key to All Mythologies" (at least, as briefly set forth by you in Kuhn's Zeitung), yet I am deeply impressed with this apparent opportunity of bridging the seemingly impassable gulf between Etrurian Religion and the comparatively clear and comprehensible systems of the Pelasgo- Phoenician peoples. That Kad or Kab can refer either (as in Quatuor) to a four-footed animal (quadruped, "quad") or to a four- wheeled vehicle (esseda, Celtic cab) I cannot for a moment believe, though I understand that this theory has the support of Schrader, Penka, and Baunder. {10} Any information which your learning can procure, and your kind courtesy can supply, will be warmly welcomed and duly acknowledged.—Believe me, faithfully yours,


P.S.—I open this note, which was written from my dictation by my secretary, Mrs. Forth, to assure myself that her inexperience has been guilty of no error in matters of so much delicacy and importance. I have detected no mistake of moment, and begin to hope that the important step of matrimony to which I was guided by your example may not have been a rash experiment.

From the Rev. Mr. Casaubon to James Forth, Esq., Professor of Etruscan, Oxford.

Dear Mr. Forth,—Your letter throws considerable light on a topic which has long engaged my earnest attention. To my thinking, the Cab in Cabiri = CAV, "hollow," as in cavus, and refers to the Ark of Noah, which, of course, before the entrance of every living thing according to his kind, must have been the largest artificial hollow or empty space known to our Adamite ancestors. Thus the Cabiri would answer, naturally, to the Pataeci, which, as Herodotus tells us, were usually figured on the prows of ships. The Cabiri or Pataeci, as children of Noah and men of the "great vessel," or Cave-men (a wonderful anticipation of modern science), would perpetuate the memory of Arkite circumstances, and would be selected, as the sacred tradition faded from men's minds, as the guides of navigation. I am sorry to seem out of harmony with your ideas; but it is only a matter of seeming, for I have no doubt that the Etruscan Involuti are also Arkite, and that they do not, as Max Muller may be expected to intimate, represent the veiled or cloudy Dawns, but rather the Arkite Patriarchs. We thus, from different starting-places, arrive at the same goal, the Arkite solution of Bryant. I am aware that I am old-fashioned—like Eumaeus, "I dwell here among the swine, and go not often to the city." Your letters with little numerals (as k2) may represent the exactness of modern philology; but more closely remind me of the formulae of algebra, a study in which I at no time excelled.

It is my purpose to visit Cambridge on June 3, to listen to a most valuable address by Professor Tosch, of Bonn, on Hittite and Aztec affinities. If you can meet me there and accept the hospitality of my college, the encounter may prove a turning point in Mythological and Philological Science.—Very faithfully yours,


P.S.—I open this note, written from my dictation by my wife, to enclose my congratulations on Mrs. Forth's scholarly attainments.

From Professor Forth to Rev. Mr. Casaubon. (Telegram.)

Will be with you at Cambridge on the third.

From Mrs. Forth, Bradmore-road, Oxford, to David Rivers, Esq., Milnthorpe, Yorkshire.

He goes on Saturday to Cambridge to hear some one talk about the Hittites and the Asiatics. Did you not say there was a good Sunday train? They sing "O Rest in the Lord" at Magdalen. I often wonder that Addison's Walk is so deserted on Sundays. He stays over Sunday at Cambridge. {11}

From David Rivers, Esq., to Mrs. Forth, Oxford.

Dear Mrs. Forth,—Saturday is a half-holiday at the Works, and I propose to come up and see whether our boat cannot bump Balliol. How extraordinary it is that people should neglect, on Sundays, the favourite promenade of the Short-faced Humourist. I shall be there: the old place.—Believe me, yours ever,


From Mrs. Casaubon to William Ladislaw, Esq., Stratford-on-Avon.

Dear Friend,—Your kind letter from Stratford is indeed interesting. Ah, when shall I have an opportunity of seeing these, and so many other interesting places! But in a world where duty is SO MUCH, and so ALWAYS with us, why should we regret the voids in our experience which, after all, life is filling in the experience of others? The work is advancing, and Mr. Casaubon hopes that the first chapter of the "Key to All Mythologies" will be fairly copied and completed by the end of autumn. Mr. Casaubon is going to Cambridge on Saturday to hear Professor Tosch lecture on the Pittites and some other party, I really forget which; {12} but it is not often that he takes so much interest in mere MODERN history. How curious it sometimes is to think that the great spirit of humanity and of the world, as you say, keeps working its way—ah, to what wonderful goal—by means of these obscure difficult politics: almost unworthy instruments, one is tempted to think. That was a true line you quoted lately from the "Vita Nuova." We have no books of poetry here, except a Lithuanian translation of the Rig Veda. How delightful it must be to read Dante with a sympathetic fellow-student, one who has also loved—and RENOUNCED!- -Yours very sincerely,


P.S.—I do not expect Mr. Casaubon back from Cambridge before Monday afternoon.

From William Ladislaw, Esq., to the Hon. Secretary of the Literary and Philosophical Mechanics' Institute, Middlemarch.

My Dear Sir,—I find that I can be in your neighbourhood on Saturday, and will gladly accept your invitation to lecture at your Institute on the Immutability of Morals.—Faithfully yours,


From William Ladislaw, Esq., to Mrs.


Dear Mrs. Casaubon,—Only a line to say that I am to lecture at the Mechanics' Institute on Saturday. I can scarcely hope that, as Mr. Casaubon is away, you will be able to attend my poor performance, but on Sunday I may have, I hope, the pleasure of waiting on you in the afternoon?—Very sincerely yours,


P.S.—I shall bring the 'Vita Nuova'—it is not so difficult as the 'Paradiso'—and I shall be happy to help you with a few of the earlier sonnets.

From Mrs. Casaubon to Mrs. Forth.

June 5.

Dear Lady,—You will be surprised at receiving a letter from a stranger! How shall I address you—how shall I say what I ought to say? Our husbands are not unknown to each other, I may almost call them friends, but we have met only once. You did not see me; but I was at Magdalen a few weeks ago, and I could not help asking who you were, so young, so beautiful; and when I saw you so lonely among all those learned men my heart went out to you, for I too know what the learned are, and how often, when we are young, we feel as if they were so cold, so remote. Ah, then there come TEMPTATIONS, but they must be conquered.—We are not born to live for ourselves only, we must learn to live for others—ah! not for ANOTHER!

Some one {13} we both know, a lady, has spoken to me of you lately. She too, though you did not know it, was in Magdalen Walk on Sunday evening when the bells were chiming and the birds singing. She saw you; you were not alone! Mr. Rivers (I am informed that is his name) was with you. Ah, stop and think, and hear me before it is too late. A word; I do not know—a word of mine may be listened to, though I have no right to speak. But something forces me to speak, and to implore you to remember that it is not for Pleasure we live, but for Duty. We must break the dearest ties if they do not bind us to the stake—the stake of all we owe to all! You will understand, you will forgive me, will you not? You will forgive another woman whom your beauty and sadness have won to admire and love you. You WILL break these ties, will you not, and be free, for only in Renunciation is there freedom? He MUST NOT come again, you will tell him that he must not.—Yours always,


LETTER: From Euphues to Sir Amyas Leigh, Kt.

This little controversy on the value of the herb tobacco passed between the renowned Euphues and that early but assiduous smoker, Sir Amyas Leigh, well known to readers of "Westward Ho."

(He dissuadeth him from drinking the smoke of the Indian weed.)

Sir Amyas,—Take it not unkindly that a traveller (though less wide a wanderer than thou) dissuadeth thee from a new-found novelty—the wanton misuse, or rather the misuseful wantonness, of the Indian herb. It is a blind goose that knoweth not a fox from a fern-bush, and a strange temerity that mistaketh smoke for provender. The sow, when she is sick, eateth the sea-crab and is immediately recovered: why, then, should man, being whole and sound, haste to that which maketh many sick? The lobster flieth not in the air, nor doth the salamander wanton in the water; wherefore, then, will man betake him for nourishment or solace to the fire? Vesuvius bringeth not forth speech from his mouth, but man, like a volcano, will utter smoke. There is great difference between the table and the chimney; but thou art for making both alike. Though the Rose be sweet, yet will it prove less fragrant if it be wreathed about the skunk; and so an ill weed from the land where that beast hath its habitation defileth a courteous knight. Consider, if this practice delights thee, that the apples of Sodom are outwardly fair but inwardly full of ashes; the box-tree is always green, but his seed is poison. Mithridate must be taken inwardly, not spread on plasters. Of his nature smoke goeth upward and outward; why wilt thou make it go inward and downward? The manners of the Cannibal fit not the Englishman; and this thy poison is unlike Love, which maimeth every part before it kill the Liver, whereas tobacco doth vex the Liver before it harmeth any other part. Excuse this my boldness, and forswear thy weed, an thou lovest


From Sir Amyas Leigh to Euphues.

Whereas thou bringest in a rabble of reasons to convince me, I will answer thee in thine own kind. Thou art like those that proffer a man physic before he be sick, and, because his pleasure is not theirs, call him foolish that is but early advised. Nature maketh nothing without an end: the eye to see with, the ear to hear, the herb tobacco to be smoked. As wine strengtheneth and meat maketh full, tobacco maketh the heart at rest. Helen gave Nepenthe to them that sorrowed, and Heaven hath made this weed for such as lack comfort. Tobacco is the hungry man's food, the wakeful man's sleep, the weary man's rest, the old man's defence against melancholy, the busy man's repose, the talkative man's muzzle, the lonely man's companion. Indeed, there was nothing but this one thing wanting to man, of those that earth can give; wherefore, having found it, let him so use as not abusing it, as now I am about doing.—Thy servant,


LETTER: From Mr. Paul Rondelet to the Very Rev. Dean Maitland. {14}

That Dean Maitland should have taken the political line indicated in Mr. Rondelet's letter will amaze no reader of 'The Silence of Dean Maitland.' That Mr. Paul Rondelet flew from his penny paper to a Paradise meet for him is a matter of congratulation to all but his creditors. He really is now in the only true Monastery of Thelema, and is simply dressed in an eye-glass and a cincture of pandanus flowers. The natives worship him, and he is the First AEsthetic Beach-comber.

Te-a-Iti, The Pacific.

Dear Maitland,—As my old friend and tutor at Lothian, you ask me to join the Oxford Home Rule Association. Excuse my delay in answering. Your letter was sent to that detested and long-deserted newspaper office in Fleet Street, and from Fleet Street to Te-a- Iti; thank Heaven! it is a long way. Were I at home, and still endeavouring to sway the masses, I might possibly accept your invitation. I dislike crowds, and I dislike shouting; but if shout I must, like you I would choose to chime in with the dingier and the larger and the more violent assembly. But, having perceived that the masses were very perceptibly learning to sway themselves, I have retired to Te-a-Iti. You have read "Epipsychidion," my dear Dean? And, in your time, no doubt you have loved? {15} Well, this is the Isle of Love, described, as in a dream, by the rapt fancy of Shelley. Urged, perhaps, by a reminiscence of the Great Aryan wave of migration, I have moved westward to this Paradise. Like Obermann, I hide my head "from the wild tempest of the age," but in a much dearer place than "chalets near the Alpine snow." Long ago I said, to one who would not listen, that "all the religions of the world are based on false foundations, resting on the Family, and fatally unsound." Here the Family, in our sense, has not been developed. Here no rules trammel the best and therefore the most evanescent of our affections. And as for Religion, it is based upon Me, on Rondelet of Lothian. Here nobody asks me why or how I am "superior." The artless natives at once perceived the fact, recognised me as a god, and worship me (do not shudder, my good Dean) with floral services. In Te-a-Iti (vain to look for it on the map!) I have found my place—a place far from the babel of your brutal politics, a place where I am addressed in liquid accents of adoration.

You may ask whether I endeavour to raise the islanders to my own level? It is the last thing that I would attempt. Culture they do not need: their dainty hieratic precisions of ritual are a sufficient culture in themselves. As I said once before, "it is an absurdity to speak of married people being one." Here we are an indefinite number; and no jealousy, no ambitious exclusiveness, mars the happiness of all. This is the Higher Life about which we used ignorantly to talk. Here the gross temporal necessities are satisfied with a breadfruit, a roasted fish, and a few pandanus flowers. The rest is all climate and the affections.

Conceive, my dear Dean, the undisturbed felicity of life without newspapers! Empires may fall, perhaps have fallen, since I left Fleet Street; Alan Dunlop may be a ditcher in good earnest on an estate no longer his; but here we fleet the time carelessly, as in the golden world. And you ask me to join a raucous political association for an object you detest in your heart, merely because you want to swim with the turbid democratic current! You are an historian, Maitland: did you ever know this policy succeed? Did you ever know the respectables prosper when they allied themselves with the vulgar? Ah, keep out of your second-hand revolutions. Keep your hands clean, whether you keep your head on your shoulders or not. You will never, I fear, be Bishop of Winkum, with all your historical handbooks and all your Oxford Liberalism.

But I am losing my temper, for the first time since I discovered Te-a-Iti. This must not be.—Yours regretfully,


P.S.—Don't give any one my address; some of these Oxford harpies are still unappeased. The only European I have seen was not an University man. He was a popular Scotch novelist, and carried Shorter Catechisms, which he distributed to my flock. I only hope he won't make "copy" out of me and my situation.

P. R.

LETTER: From Harold Skimpole, Esq., to the Rev. Charles Honeyman, M.A.

These letters tell their own tale of Genius and Virtue indigent and in chains. The eloquence of a Honeyman, the accomplishments of a Skimpole, lead only to Cursitor Street.

Coavins's, Cursitor Street, May 1.

My Dear Honeyman,—It is May-day, when even the chimney-sweeper, developing the pleasant unconscious poetry of his nature, forgets the flues, wreathes the flowers, and persuades himself that he is Jack-in-the-Green. Jack who? Was he Jack Sprat, or the young swain who mated with Jill! Who knows? The chimney-sweeper has all I ask, all that the butterflies possess, all that Common-sense and Business and Society deny to Harold Skimpole. He lives, he is free, he is "in the green!" I am in Coavins's! In Cursitor Street I cannot hear the streams warble, the birds chant, the music roll through the stately fane, let us say, of Lady Whittlesea's. Coavins's (as Coavins's man says) is "a 'ouse;" but how unlike, for example, the hospitable home of our friend Jarndyce! I can sketch Coavins's, but I cannot alter it: I can set it to music, on Coavins's piano; but how melancholy are the jingling strains of that dilapidated instrument! At Jarndyce's house, when I am there, I am in possession of it: here Coavins's is in possession of me— of the person of Harold Skimpole.

And why am I here? Why am I far from landscape, music, conversation? Why, merely because I will follow neither Fame nor Fortune nor Faith. They call to us in the market-place, but I will not dance. Fame blows her trumpet, and offers her shilling (the Queen's). Faith peals her bells, and asks for MY shilling. Fortune rattles her banking-scales. They call, and the world joins the waltz; but I will not march with them. "Go after glory, commerce, creeds," I cry; "only let Harold Skimpole live!" {16} The world pursues the jangling music; but in my ear sound the pipes of Pan, the voices of the river and the wood.

Yet I cannot be in the playground, whither they invite me. Harold Skimpole is fettered—by what? By items! I regret my incapacity for details. It may be the tinker or the tailor at whose suit I am detained. I am certain it is not at that of the soldier, or the sailor, or the ploughboy, or the thief. But, for the apothecary— why, yes—it MAY be the apothecary! In the dawn of life I loved— who has not?—I wedded. I set about surrounding myself with rosy cheeks. These cheeks grow pallid. I call for the aid of Science— Science sends in her bill! "To the Mixture as Before," so much to "the Tonic," so much. The cheeks are rosy again. I pour forth the blessings of a father's heart; but there stands Science inexorable, with her bill, her items. I vainly point out that the mixture has played its part, the tonic has played ITS part; and that, in the nature of things, the transaction is ended. The bill is unappeasable. I forget the details; a certain number of pieces of yellow and white dross are spoken of. Ah, I see it is fifteen and some odd shillings and coppers. Let us say twenty.

My dear Honeyman, you who, as I hear, are about to follow the flutes of Aphrodite into a temple where Hymen gilds the horns of the victims {17}—you, I am sure, will hurry to my rescue. You may not have the specie actually in your coffers; but with your prospects, surely you can sign something, or make over something, or back something, say a post obit or post vincula, or employ some other instrument? Excuse my inexperience; or, I should say, excuse my congenital inability to profit by experience, now considerable, of DIFFICULTIES—and of friendship. Let not the sun of May-day go down on Harold Skimpole in Coavins's!—Yours ever,

H. S.

P.S.—A youthful myrmidon of Coavins's will wait for a reply. Shall we say, while we are about it, Twenty-five?

From the Rev. Charles Honeyman to Harold Skimpole, Esq. Cursitor Street, May 1.

My Dear Skimpole,—How would I have joyed, had Providence placed it within my power to relieve your distress! But it cannot be. Like the Carthaginian Queen of whom we read in happier days at dear old Borhambury, I may say that I am haud ignarus mali. But, alas! the very evils in which I am not unlearned, make it impossible for me to add miseris succurrere disco! Rather am I myself in need of succour. You, my dear Harold, have fallen among thieves; I may too truly add that in this I am your neighbour. The dens in which we are lodged are contiguous; we are separated only by the bars. Your note was sent on hither from my rooms in Walpole Street. Since we met I have known the utmost that woman's perfidy and the rich man's contumely can inflict. But I can bear my punishment. I loved, I trusted. She to whose hand I aspired, she on whose affections I had based hopes at once of happiness in life and of extended usefulness in the clerical profession, SHE was less confiding. She summoned to her council a minion of the Law, one Briggs. HIS estimate of my position and prospects could not possibly tally with that of one whose HOPES are not set where the worldling places them. Let him, and such as he, take thought for the morrow and chaffer about settlements. I do not regret the gold to which you so delicately allude. I sorrow only for the bloom that has been brushed from the soaring pinions of a pure and disinterested affection. Sunt lacrymae rerum, and the handkerchief in which I bury my face is dank with them.

Nor is this disappointment my only CROSS. The carrion-birds of commerce have marked down the stricken deer from their eyries in Bond Street and Jermyn Street. To know how Solomons has behaved, and the BLACK colours in which Moss (of Wardour Street) has shown himself, is to receive a new light on the character of a People chosen under a very different Dispensation! Detainers flock in, like ravens to a feast. At this moment I have endured the humiliation of meeting a sneering child of this world—Mr. Arthur Pendennis—the emissary of one {18} to whom I gave in other days the sweetest blossom in the garden of my affections—my sister—of one who has, indeed, behaved like a brother—IN LAW! My word distrusted, my statements received with a chilling scepticism by this NABOB Newcome, I am urged to make some "composition" with my creditors. The world is very censorious, the ear of a Bishop is easily won; who knows how those who have ENVIED talents not misused may turn my circumstances to my disadvantage? You will see that, far from aiding another, I am rather obliged to seek succour myself. But that saying about the sparrows abides with me to my comfort. Could aught be done, think you, with a bill backed by our joint names? On July 12 my pew-rents will come in. I swear to you that they HAVE NOT BEEN ANTICIPATED. Yours afflictedly,


P.S.—Would Jarndyce lend his name to a small bill at three months? You know him well, and I have heard that he is a man of benevolent character, and of substance. But "how hardly shall a rich man"— you remember the text.—C. H.

LETTER: From Miss Harriet to M. Guy de Maupassant.

This note, from one of the English damsels whom M. Guy de Maupassant dislikes so much, is written in such French as the lady could muster. It explains that recurrent mystery, WHY ENGLISHWOMEN ABROAD SMELL OF GUTTA-PERCHA. The reason is not discreditable to our countrywomen, but if M. de Maupassant asks, as he often does, why Englishwomen dress like scarecrows when they are on the Continent, Miss Harriet does not provide the answer.

Miss Pinkerton's, Stratford-atte-Bowe, Mars 12.

Monsieur,—Vous devez me connaitre, quoique je ne vous connais pas le moins du monde. Il m'est defendu de lire vos romans, je ne sais trop pourquoi; mais j'ai bien lu la notice que M. Henry James a consacree, dans le Fortnightly Review, a votre aimable talent. Vous n'aimez pas, a ce qu'il parait, ni "la sale Angleterre" ni les filles de ce pays immonde. Je figure moi-meme dans vos romans (ou moa-meme," car les Anglais, il est convenu, prononcent ce pronom comme le nom d'un oiseau monstrueux et meme prehistorique de New Zealand)—oui, "Miss Harriet" se risque assez souvent dans vos contes assez risques.

Vous avez pose, Monsieur, le sublime probleme, "Comment se prennentelles les demoiselles anglaises pour sentir toujours le caoutchouc?" ("to smell of india-rubber": traduction Henry James). En premier lieu, Monsieur, elles ne "smell of india-rubber" quand elles se trouvent chez elles, dans les bouges infectes qu'on appelle les "stately homes of England." {19} C'est seulement a l'etranger que nous repandons l'odeur saine et rejouissante de caoutchouc. Et pourquoi? Parce que, Monsieur, Miss Harriet tient a son tub—ou tob—la chose est anglaise; c'est permis pourtant a un galant homme d'en prononcer le nom comme il veut, ou comme il peut

Or, quand elle voyage, Miss Harriet trouve, assez souvent, que le "tub" est une institution tout-a-fait inconnue a ses hotes. Que fait-elle donc? Elle porte dans sa malle un tub de caoutchouc, "patent compressible india-rubber tub!" Inutile a dire que ses vetements se trouvent impregnes du "smell of india-rubber." Voici, Monsieur, la solution naturelle, et meme fort louable, d'une question qui est faite pour desesperer les savants de la France!

Vous, Monsieur, qui etes un styliste accompli, veuillez bien me pardonner les torts que je viens de faire a la belle langue francaise. Dame, on fait ce qu'on peut (comme on dit dans les romans policiers) pour etre intelligible a un ecrivain si celebre, qui ne lit couramment, peut-etre, l'idiome barbare et malsonnant de la sale Angleterre. M. Paul Bourget lui-meme ne lit plus le Grec. Non omnia possumus omnes.

Agreez, Monsieur, mes sentiments les plus distingues.


LETTER: From S. Gandish, Esq., to the "Newcome Independent."


It appears that Mr. Gandish, at a great age—though he was not older than several industrious Academicans—withdrew from the active exercise of his art and employed his learning and experience as Art Critic of the "Newcome Independent." The following critique appears to show traces of declining mental vigour in the veteran Gandish.

Our great gallery has once more opened her doors, if not to the public, nor even to the fashionable elite, at least to the critics. They are a motley throng who lounge on Press Days in the sumptuous halls; ladies, small boys, clergymen are there, and among them but few, perhaps, who have received the training in High Art of your correspondent, and have had their eye, through a lifetime more than commonly prolonged, on the glorious Antique. And what shall we say of the present Academy? In some ways, things have improved a little since my "Boadishia" came back on my hands (1839) at a time when High Art and the Antique would not do in this country: they would not do. As far as the new exhibition shows, they do better now than when the century was younger and "Portrait of the Artist, by S. Gandish"—at thirty-three years of age—was offered in vain to the jealously Papist clique who then controlled the Uffizi. Foreigners are more affable now; they have taken Mr. Poynter's of himself.

To return to the Antique, what the President's "Captive Andromache" must have cost in models alone is difficult to reckon. When times were cheaper, fifty years since, my ancient Britons in "Boadishia" stood me in thirty pounds: the central figures, however, were members of my own family. To give every one his due, "Andromache" is high art—yes, it is high—and the Antique has not been overlooked. About the back-view of the young party at the fountain Mr. Horsley may have something to say. For my part, there seems a want of muscle in vigorous action: where are the BICEPS, where are the thews of Michael Angelo? The President is a touch too quiet for a taste framed in the best schools. As to his colour, where is that nutty brown tone of the flesh? But the designs on the Greek vase are carefully rendered; though I have heard it remarked by a classical scholar that these kind of vases were not in use about Homer's time. Still, the intention is good, though the costumes are not what WE should have called Ancient Roman when the President was a boy—ay, or earlier.

Then, Mr. Alma-Tadema, he has not turned HIS back on the glorious Antique. "The Roses of Heliogabalus" are not explained in the catalogue. As far as I understand, there has been an earthquake at a banquet of this unprincipled monarch. The King himself, and his friends, are safe enough at a kind of high table; though which IS Heliogabalus (he being a consumptive-looking character in his coins in the Classical Dictionary) your critic has not made out. The earth having opened down below, the heads of some women, and of a man with a beard and his hair done up like a girl, are tossing about in a quantity of rose-leaves, which had doubtless been strown on the floor, as Martial tells us was the custom, dum regnat rosa. So I overheard a very erudite critic remarking. The composition of the piece would be thus accounted for; but I cannot pretend that Mr. Tadema reminds one of either Poussin or Annibale Carracci. However, rumour whispers that a high price has been paid for this curious performance. To my thinking the friends of Heliogabalus are a little flat and leathery in the handling of the flesh. The silver work, and the marble, will please admirers of this eccentric artist; but I can hardly call the whole effect "High." But Mr. Armitage's "Siren" will console people who remember the old school. This beautiful girl (somewhat careless in her attitude, though she has been sensible enough NOT to sit down on the damp rock without putting her drapery beneath her) would have been a true gem in one of the old Books of Beauty, such as the Honourable Percy Popjoy and my old friend, Miss Bunnion, used to contribute to in the palmy days of the English school. Mr. Armitage's "Juno," standing in mid-air, with the moon in the neighbourhood, is also an example to youth, and very unlike the way such things are generally done now. Mr. Burne-Jones (who does not exhibit) never did anything like this. Poor Haydon, with whom I have smoked many a pipe, would have acknowledged that Mr. Goodall's "David's Promise to Bathsheba" and "By the Sea of Galilee" prove that his aspirations are nearly fulfilled. These are extremely large pictures, yet well hung. The figure of Abishag is a little too much in the French taste for an old-fashioned painter. Ars longa, nuda veritas! I hope (and so will the Liberal readers of the "Newcome Independent") that it is by an accident the catalogue reads—"The Traitor." "Earl Spencer, K.G." "The Moonlighters." (Nos. 220, 221, 225.) Some Tory WAG among the Hanging Committee may have taken this juxtaposition for wit: our readers will adopt a different view.

There is a fine dog in Mr. Briton Riviere's "Requiescat," but how did the relations of the dead knight in plate armour acquire the embroidery, at least three centuries later, on which he is laid to his last repose? This destroys the illusion, but does not diminish the pathos in the attitude of the faithful hound. Mr. Long's large picture appears to exhibit an Oriental girl being tried by a jury of matrons—at least, not having my Diodorus Scriblerus by me, I can arrive at no other conclusion. From the number of models engaged, this picture must have been designed quite regardless of expense. It is a study of the Antique, but I doubt if Smee would have called it High Art.

Speaking of Smee reminds me of portraits. I miss "Portrait of a Lady," "Portrait of a Gentleman;" the names of the sitters are now always given—a concession to the notoriety-hunting proclivities of the present period. Few portraits are more in the style of the palmy days of our school (just after Lawrence) than a study of a lady by Mr. Goodall (687). On the other hand, young Mr. Richmond goes back to the antiquated manner of Reynolds in one of his representations. I must admit that I hear this work much admired by many; to me it seems old-fashioned and lacking in blandness and affability. Mr Waterhouse has a study of a subject from a poem that Mr. Pendennis, the novelist (whom I knew well), was very fond of when he first came on the town: "The Lady of Shalott." It represents a very delicate invalid, in a boat, under a counterpane. I remember the poem ran (it was by young Mr. Tennyson):-

They crossed themselves, their stars they blest, Knight, minstrel, abbot, squire, and guest. There lay a parchment on her breast That puzzled more than all the rest The well-fed wits of Camelot: "The web was woven curiously, The charm is broken utterly; Draw near and fear not, this is I The Lady of Shalott."

I admit that the wonder and dismay of the "well-fed wits," if the Lady was like Mr. Waterhouse's picture of her, do not surprise me. But I confess I do not understand modern poetry, nor, perhaps, modern painting. Where is historical Art? Where is Alfred and the Cake—a subject which, as is well known, I discovered in my researches in history. Where is "Udolpho in the Tower"? or the "Duke of Rothsay the Fourth Day after He was Deprived of his Victuals"? or "King John Signing Magna Charta"? They are gone with the red curtain, the brown tree, the storm in the background. Art is revolutionary, like everything else in these times, when Treason itself, in the form of a hoary apostate and reviewer of contemporary fiction, glares from the walls, and is painted by Royal—mark ROYAL!—Academicians! . . .

From Thomas Potts, Esq., of the "Newcome Independent," to S. Gandish, Esq. Newcome, May 3.

My Dear Sir,—I am truly sorry to have to interrupt a connection with so old and respected a contributor. But I think you will acknowledge, on reading the proof of your article on the Academy, which I enclose, that the time has arrived when public criticism is no longer your province. I do not so much refer to the old- fashioned tone of your observations on modern art. I know little about it, and care not much more. But you have entirely forgotten, towards the end of the notice, that the "Newcome Independent," as becomes its name, is a journal of Liberty and Progress. The very proper remarks on Lord Spencer's portrait elsewhere show that you are not unacquainted with our politics; but, at the close (expressing, I fear, your true sentiments), you glide into language which makes me shudder, and which, if printed in the "Independent," would spell ruin. Send it, by all means, to the "Sentinel," if you like. Send your Tory views, I mean. As for your quotation from the "Lady of Shalott," I can find it nowhere in the poem of that name by the author you strangely style "young Mr. Tennyson." {20}

I enclose a cheque for a quarter's salary, and, while always happy to meet you as man with man, must get the notice of the Academy written up in the office from the "Daily Telegraph," "Standard," and "Times." {21}—Faithfully and with deep regret yours,


LETTER: From Monsieur Lecoq, Rue Jerusalem, Paris, to Inspector Bucket, Scotland Yard.

This correspondence appears to prove that mistakes may be made by the most astute officers of police, and that even so manifest a Briton as Mr. Pickwick might chance to find himself in the toils of international conspiracy.

(Translated.) May 19, 1852.

Sir and Dear Fellow-Brother (confrere).—The so cordial understanding between our countries ought to expand itself into a community of the political police. But the just susceptibilities of the Old England forbid at this moment the restoration to a friendly Power of political offenders. In the name of the French police of surety I venture to present to the famous officer Bucket a prayer that he will shut his eyes, for once, on the letter, and open his heart to the spirit of the laws.

No one needs to teach Monsieur Bucket that a foreign miscreant can be given up, under all reserves, to the justice! A small vial of a harmless soporific, a closed carriage, a private cabin on board a Channel steamer—with these and a little of the adroitness so remarked in the celebrated Bucket, the affair is in the bag! (dans le sac). All these things are in the cords (dans les cordes) of my esteemed English fellow-brother; will he not employ them in the interest of a devoted colleague and a friendly Administration? We seek a malefactor of the worst species (un chenapan de la pire espece). This funny fellow (drole) calls himself Count of Fosco, and he resides in Wood Road 5, St. John's Forest; worth abode of a miscreant fit for the Forest of Bondy! He is a man bald, stout, fair, and paying well in countenance (il paie de mine), conceiving himself to resemble the great Napoleon. At the first sight you would say a philanthrope, a friend of man. On his right arm he bears a small red mark, round, the brand of a society of the most dangerous. Dear Sir, you will not miss him? When once he is in our hands, faith of Lecoq, you shall tell us your news as to whether France can be grateful. Of more words there is no need.—I remain, all to you, with the assurance of my most distinguished consideration,


From Inspector Bucket to M. Lecoq. May 22.

Dear Sir,—Your polite favour to hand, and contents noted. You are a man of the world; I am a man of the world, and proud to deal with you as between man and man. The little irregularity shall be no consideration, all shall be squared, and the man wanted run in with punctuality and despatch. Expect him at Calais on the 26th current,—Faithfully yours,


From Count Fosco to Samuel Pickwick, Esq., G.C.M.P.C., Goswell Road. 5 Forest Road, St. John's Wood, May 23.

Dear Sir,—When we met lately at the hospitable board of our common friend, Benjamin Allen, Esq., lately elected Professor of Chemistry in the University of London, our conversation turned (if you can pass me the intoxicating favour of remembering it) on the glorious science of chemistry. For me this knowledge has ever possessed irresistible attractions, from the enormous power which it confers of heaping benefits on the suffering race of mankind. Others may rejoice in the advantages which a knowledge of it bestows—the power which can reduce a Hannibal to the level of a drummer boy, or an all-pervading Shakspeare to the intellectual estate of a vestryman, though it cannot at present reverse those processes. The consideration of the destructive as compared with the constructive forces of chemistry was present, as I recollect, to your powerful intellect on the festive occasion to which I refer. "Yes!" you said (permit me to repeat your very words)—"Yes, Count Fosco, Alexander's morning draught shall make Alexander run for his life at the first sound of the enemy's trumpet. So much chemistry can achieve; but can she help as well as harm? Nay, can she answer for it that the lemon which Professor Allen, from the best and purest of motives, has blended with this milk-punch, shall not disagree with me to-morrow morning? Can chemistry, Count Fosco, thus thwart malign constitutional tendency?"

These were your words, sir, and I am now ready to answer your deep- searching question in the affirmative. Prolonged assiduous application to my Art has shown me how to preserve the lemon in Milk Punch, and yet destroy, or disengage, the deleterious elements. Will you so greatly honour science, and Fosco her servant, as to sup with me on the night of the twenty-fifth, at nine o'clock, and prove (you need not dread the test) whether a true follower of knowledge or a vain babbler signs—in exile—the name of


From Mr. Pickwick to the Count Fosco. May 24.

My Dear Sir,—Many thanks for your very kind invitation. Apart from the interests of science, the pleasure of your company alone would be more than enough to make me gladly accept it. I shall have the enjoyment of testing your milk-punch to-morrow night at nine, with the confident expectation that your admirable studies will have overcome a tendency which for many years has prevented me from relishing, as I could wish, one of the best things in this good world. Lemon, in fact, has always disagreed with me, as Professor Allen or Sir Robert Sawyer will be able to assure you; so your valuable experiment can be put, in my case, to a crucial test.—Very faithfully yours,


From Inspector Bucket to M. Lecoq. May 26, 1 A.M.

My Dear Sir,—We have taken your man without difficulty. Bald, benevolent-looking, stout, perhaps fancies himself like Napoleon; if so, is deceived. We nabbed him asleep over his liquor and alone, at the address you meant to give, 5 Forest Road, St. John's Wood. The house was empty, servants out, not a soul but him at home. He speaks English well for a foreigner, and tries to make out he is a British subject. Was rather confused when took, and kept ejaculating "Cold Punch," apparently with the hope of persuading us that such was his name or alias. He also called for one Sam—probably an accomplice. He travels to Calais to-day as a lunatic patient in a strait-waistcoat, under charge of four "keepers" belonging to the force; and I trust that you have made preparations for receiving your prisoner, and that our management of the case has given satisfaction. What I like is doing business with a man like you. We may not be so smart nor so clever at disguises as the French profession, but we flatter ourselves we are punctual and cautious.—Faithfully yours,


From Mr. Pickwick to Mr. Perker, Solicitor, Gray's Inn. Sainte Pelagie, May 28.

Dear Perker,—For heaven's sake come over here at once, bringing some one who can speak French, and bail me out, or whatever the process of their law may be. I have been arrested, illegally and without warrant, at the house of a scientific friend, Count Fosco, where I had been supping. As far as I can understand, I am accused of a plot against the life of the Emperor of the French; but the whole proceedings have been unintelligible and arbitrary to a degree. I cannot think that an English citizen will be allowed to perish by the guillotine—innocent and practically unheard! Please bring linen and brushes, &c., but not Sam, who would be certain to embroil himself with the French police. I am writing to the Times and Lord Palmerston.—Sincerely yours,


From Monsieur Lecoq to Inspector Bucket. May 27.

Sir,—There has arrived a frightful misunderstanding. The man you have sent us is not Fosco. Of Fosco he has only the baldness, the air benevolent, and the girth. The brand on his right arm is no more than the mark of vaccination. Brought before the Commissary of Police, the prisoner, who has not one word of French, was heard through an interpreter. He gives himself the name of Piquouique, rentier, English; and he appeals to his Ambassador. Of papers he had letters bearing the name Samuel Pickwick, and, on his buttons, the letters P.C., which we suspect are the badge of a secret society. But this is not to the point; for it is certain that, whatever the crimes of this brigand, he is NOT Fosco, but an Englishman. That he should be found in the domicile of Fosco when that droll had evaded is suspicious (louche), and his explanation does not permit itself to be understood. I have fear that we enjoy bad luck, and that M. Palmerston will make himself to be heard on this matter.

Accept, Monsieur, the assurance of my high consideration.


P.S.—Our comrade, the Count Smorltork, of the Police of Manners (police des moeurs), has come to present himself. Confronted with the bandit, he gives him reason, and offers his faith that the man is Piquouique, with whom he encountered himself when on a mission of secrecy to England it is now some years. What to do? (Que faire?)

LETTER: From Mr. Allan Quatermain to Sir Henry Curtis.

Mr. Quatermain offers the correct account of two celebrated right and left shots, also an adventure of the stranger in the Story of an African Farm.

Dear Curtis,—You ask me to give you the true account, in writing, of those right and left shots of mine at the two lions, the crocodile, and the eagle. The brutes are stuffed now, in the hall at home—the lions each on a pedestal, and the alligator on the floor with the eagle in his jaws—much as they were when I settled them and saved the Stranger. All sorts of stories have got into the papers about the business, which was simple enough; so, though no hand with a pen, I may as well write it all out.

I was up on the Knobkerry River, prospecting for diamonds, in Omomborombunga's country. I had nobody with me but poor Jim-jim, who afterwards met with an awful death, otherwise he would have been glad to corroborate my tale, if it needed it. One night I had come back tired to camp, when I found a stranger sitting by the fire. He was a dark, fat, Frenchified little chap, and you won't believe me, but it is a fact that he wore gloves. I asked him to stay the night, of course, and inspanned the waggons in laager, for Omomborombunga's impis were out, swearing to wash their spears in the blood of The Great White Liar—a Portuguese traveller probably; if not, I don't know who he can have been; perhaps this stranger: he gave no name. Well, we had our biltong together, and the Stranger put himself outside a good deal of the very little brandy I had left. We got yarning, so to speak, and I told him a few of the curious adventures that naturally fall to the lot of a man in those wild countries. The Stranger did not say much, but kept playing with a huge carved walking-stick that he had. Presently he said, "Look at this stick; I bought it from a boy on a South African Farm. Do you understand what the carvings mean?"

"Hanged if I do!" I said, after turning it about.

"Well, do you see that figure?" and he touched a thing like a Noah out of a child's ark. "That was a hunter like you, my friend, but not in all respects. That hunter pursued a vast white bird with silver wings, sailing in the everlasting blue."

"Everlasting bosh!" said I; "there is no bird of the kind on the veldt."

"That bird was Truth," says the Stranger, "and, judging from the anecdote you tell me about the Babyan woman and the Zulu medicine- man, it is a bird YOU don't trouble yourself with much, my friend."

This was a pretty cool thing to say to a man whose veracity is known like a proverb from Sheba's Breasts to the Zambesi.

Foide Macumazahn, the Zulus say, meaning as true as a yarn of Allan Quatermain's. Well, my blood was up; no man shall call Allan Quatermain a liar. The fellow was going on with a prodigious palaver about a white feather of Truth, and Mount Sinai, and the Land of Absolute Negation, and I don't know what, but I signified to him that if he did not believe my yarns I did not want his company. "I'm sorry to turn you out," I said, "for there are lions around"—indeed they were roaring to each other—"and you will have a parroty time. But you apologise, or you go!"

He laughed his short thick laugh. "I am a man who hopes nothing, feels nothing, fears nothing, and believes nothing that you tell me!"

I got up and went for him with my fists, and whether he feared nothing or not I don't know; but he scooted, dropping a yellow French novel, by one Catulle Mendes, that I could make neither head nor tail of. I afterwards heard that there was something about this stranger in a book called "The Story of an African Farm," which I once began, but never finished, not being able to understand most of it, and being vexed by the gross improbability of the girl not marrying the baby's father, he being ready and willing to make her an honest woman. However, I am no critic, but a plain man who tells a plain tale, and I believe persons of soul admire the book very much. Any way, it does not say who the Stranger was—an allegorical kind of bagman I fancy; but I am not done with him yet.

Out he went into the dark, where hundreds of lions could be plainly seen making love (at which season they are very dangerous) by the flashes of lightning.

It was a terrific yet beautiful spectacle, and one which I can never forget. The black of night would suddenly open like a huge silver flower, deep within deep, till you almost fancied you could see within the gates of heaven. The hills stood out dark against the illimitable splendour, and on every koppie you saw the huge lions, like kittens at play, roaring till you could scarcely hear the thunder. The rain was rushing like a river, all glittering like diamonds, and then, in the twinkling of an eye, all was black as a wolf's mouth till the next flash. The lightning, coming from all quarters, appeared to meet above me, and now was red, now golden, now silver again, while the great cat-like beasts, as they leaped or lay, looked like gold, red, and silver lions, reminding me of the signs of public-houses in old England, far away. Meantime the donga beneath roared with the flooded torrent that the rain was bringing down from the heights of Umbopobekatanktshiu.

I stood watching the grand spectacle for some time, rather pitying the Stranger who was out in it, by no fault of mine. Then I knocked the ashes out of my pipe, ate a mealy or two, and crept into my kartel, {22} and slept the sleep of the just.

About dawn I woke. The thunder had rolled away like a bad dream. The long level silver shafts of the dawn were flooding the heights, raindrops glittered like diamonds on every kopje and karroo bush, leaving the deep donga bathed in the solemn pall of mysterious night.

My thoughts went rapidly over the millions of leagues of land and sea, where life, that perpetual problem, was now awaking to another day of struggle and temptation. Then the golden arrows of the day followed fast. The silver and blue sky grew roseate with that wide wild blush which testifies to the modest delight of nature, satisfied and grateful for her silent existence and her amorous repose. I breakfasted, went down into the donga with a black boy, poor Jim-jim, who was afterwards, as I said, to perish by an awful fate, otherwise he would testify to the truth of my plain story. I began poking among the rocks in the dry basin of the donga, {23} and had just picked up a pebble—I knew it by the soapy feel for a diamond. Uncut it was about three times the size of the koh-i- noor, say 1,000 carats, and I was rejoicing in my luck when I heard the scream of a human being in the last agony of terror. Looking up, I saw that on either side of the donga, which was about twenty feet wide, a great black lion and lioness were standing with open jaws, while some fifty yards in front of me an alligator, in a deep pool of the flooded donga, was stretching his open snout and gleaming teeth greedily upwards. Over head flew an eagle, and IN MID-AIR BETWEEN, as I am a living and honourable man, a human being was leaping the chasm. He had been pursued by the lion on my left, and had been driven to attempt the terrible leap; but if he crossed he was certain to fall into the jaws of the lion on my right, while if he fell short in his jump, do you see, the alligator was ready for him below, and the great golden eagle watched the business from above, in case he attempted to escape THAT way.

All this takes long to tell, though it was passing in a flash of time. Dropping the diamond (which must have rolled into a crevice of the rock, for I never saw it again), I caught up my double- barrelled rifle (one of Wesson & Smith's), aimed at the lion on the right hand of the donga with my right barrel, and then hastily fired my left at the alligator. When the smoke cleared away, the man had reached the right side of the donga safe and sound. Seeing that the alligator was dying, I loaded again, bowled over the lioness on the left, settled the eagle's business (he fell dead into the jaws of the dying alligator, which closed on him with a snap). I then climbed the wall of the donga, and there lay, fainting, the Stranger of last night—the man who feared nothing— the blood of the dead lion trickling over him. His celebrated allegorical walking-stick from the African Farm had been broken into two pieces by the bullet after it (the bullet) had passed through the head of the lion. And, as the "Ingoldsby Legends" say, "nobody was one penny the worse," except the wild beasts. The man, however, had had a parroty time, and it was a good hour before I could bring him round, during which he finished my brandy. He still wore gloves. What he was doing in Omuborumbunga's country I do not know to this day. I never found the diamond again, though I hunted long. But I must say that two better right and left shots, considering that I had no time to aim, and that they were really snapshots, I never remember to have made in my long experience.

This is the short and the long of the matter, which was talked of a good deal in the Colony, and about which, I am told, some inaccurate accounts have got into the newspapers. I hate writing, as you know, and don't pretend to give a literary colour to this little business of the shots, but merely tell a "plain, unvarnished tale," as the "Ingoldsby Legends" say.

As to the Stranger, what he was doing there, or who he was, or where he is now, I can tell you nothing. He told me he was bound for "the almighty mountains of Dry-facts and Realities," which he kindly pointed out to me among the carvings of his walking-stick. He then sighed wearily, very wearily, and scooted. I think he came to no good; but he never came in my way again.

And now you know the yarn of the two stuffed lions and the alligator with the eagle in his jaws.


LETTER: From the Baron Bradwardine to Edward Waverley, Esq., of Waverley Honour.

The Baron explains the mysterious circumstances of his affair with his third cousin, Sir Hew Halbert.—"Waverley," chap. xiv.

Tully Veolan, May 17, 1747.

Son Edward,—Touching my quarrel with Sir Hew Halbert, anent which I told you no more than that it was "settled in a fitting manner," you have long teased me for an ampler explanation. This I have withheld, as conceiving that it tended rather to vain quolibets and jesting, than to that respect in which the duello, or single combat, should be regarded by gentlemen of name and coat armour. But Sir Hew being dead, and buried with his fathers, the matter may be broached as among friends and persons of honour. The ground of our dispute, as ye know, was an unthinking scoff of Sir Hew's, he being my own third cousin by the mother's side, Anderson of Ettrick Hall having intermarried, about the time of the Solemn League and Covenant, with Anderson of Tushielaw, both of which houses are connected with the Halberts of Dinniewuddie and with the Bradwardines. But stemmata quid faciunt? Sir Hew, being a young man, and the maut, as the vulgar say, above the meal, after a funeral of one of our kin in the Cathedral Kirkyard of St. Andrews, we met at Glass's Inn, where, in the presence of many gentlemen, occurred our unfortunate dissension.

We encountered betimes next morning, on a secluded spot of the sands hard by the town, at the Eden-mouth. {24} The weapons were pistols, Sir Hew, by a slight passing infirmity, being disabled from the use of the sword. Inchgrabbit was my second, and Strathtyrum did the same office for my kinsman, Sir Hew. The pistols being charged and primed, and we aligned forenent each other at the convenient distance of twelve paces, the word was given to fire, and both weapons having been discharged, and the smoke having cleared away, Sir Hew was discovered fallen to the ground, procumbus humi, and exanimate. The blood was flowing freely from a face-wound, and my unhappy kinsman was senseless. At this moment we heard a voice, as of one clamantis in eremo, cry "Fore!" to which paying no heed in the natural agitation of our spirits, we hurried to lift my fallen opponent and examine his wound. Upon a closer search it proved to be no shot-wound, but a mere clour, or bruise, whereof the reason was now apparent, he having been struck by the ball of a golfer (from us concealed by the dunes, or bunkers, of sand) and not by the discharge of my weapon. At this moment a plebeian fellow appeared with his arma campestria, or clubs, cleeks, irons, and the like, under his arm, who, without paying any attention to our situation, struck the ball wherewith he had felled my kinsman in the direction of the hole. Reflection directed us to the conclusion that both pistols had missed their aim, and that Sir Hew had fallen beneath a chance blow from this fellow's golf-ball. But as my kinsman was still hors de combat, and incapable of further action, being unwitting, too, of the real cause of his disaster, Inchgrabbit and Strathtyrum, in their discretion as seconds, or belli judices, deemed it better that we should keep a still sough, and that Sir Hew should never be informed concerning the cause of his discomfiture. This resolution we kept, and Sir Hew wore, till the day of his late lamented decease, a bullet among the seals of his watch, he being persuaded by Strathtyrum that it had been extracted from his brain-pan, which certainly was of the thickest. But this was all a bam, or bite, among young men, and a splore to laugh over by our three selves, nor would I have it to go abroad now that Sir Hew is dead, as being prejudicial to the memory of a worthy man, and an honourable family connected with our own. Wherefore I pray you keep a still sough hereanent, as you love me, who remain—Your loving good father,



Note on Letter of Mr. Surtees to Mr. Jonathan Oldbuck, p. 64.

No literary forgeries were ever much better done than the sham ballads which Surtees of Mainsforth imposed on Sir Walter Scott. The poems were spirited and good of their kind; and though we wonder now that some of them could take in an expert, it is by no means assured that we are even to-day acquainted with the whole of Surtees' frauds. Why a man otherwise honourable, kindly, charitable, and learned, exercised his ingenuity so cruelly upon a trusting correspondent and a staunch friend, it is hardly possible to guess. The biographers of Surtees maintain that he wanted to try his skill on Scott, then only known to him by correspondence; and that, having succeeded, he was afraid to risk Scott's friendship by a confession. This is plausible; and if good may come out of evil, we may remember that two picturesque parts of "Marmion" are due to one confessed and another certain supercherie of Surtees. It cannot be said in his defence that he had no conception of the mischief of literary frauds; in more than one passage of his correspondence he mentions Ritson's detestation of these practices. "To literary imposition, as tending to obscure the path of inquiry, Ritson gave no quarter," says this arch literary impostor.

A brief account of Surtees' labour in the field of sham ballad writing may be fresh to many people who merely know him as the real author of "Barthram's Dirge" and of "The Slaying of Anthony Featherstonhaugh." In an undated letter of 1806, Scott, writing from Ashestiel, thanks Surtees for his "obliging communications." Surtees manifestly began the correspondence, being attracted by the "Border Minstrelsy." Thus it appears that Surtees did NOT forge "Hobbie Noble" in the first edition of the "Minstrelsy"; for he makes some suggestions as to the "Earl of Whitfield," dreaded by the hero of that ballad, which Scott had already published. But he was already deceiving Scott, who writes to him about "Ralph Eure," or "Lord Eure," and about a "Goth, who melted Lord Eure's gold chain." This Lord Eure is doubtless the "Lord Eurie" of the ballad in the later editions of the "Border Minstrelsy," a ballad actually composed by Surtees. That wily person immediately sent Scott a ballad on "The Feud between the Ridleys and Featherstones," in which Scott believed to the day of his death. He introduced it in "Marmion."

The whiles a Northern harper rude Chaunted a rhyme of deadly feud, How the fierce Thirlwalls and Ridleys all, &c.

In his note ("Border Minstrelsy," second edition, 1808, p. xxi.) Scott says the ballad was taken down from an old woman's recitation at the Alston Moor lead-mines "by the agent there," and sent by him to Surtees. Consequently, when Surtees saw "Marmion" in print he had to ask Scott not to print "THE agent," as he does not know even the name of Colonel Beaumont's chief agent there, but "an agent." Thus he hedged himself from a not impossible disclaimer by the agent at the mines.

Readers of "Marmion" will remember how

Once, near Norham, there did fight A spectre fell, of fiendish might, In likeness of a Scottish knight, With Brian Bulmer bold, And trained him nigh to disallow The aid of his baptismal vow.

This legend is more of Surtees' fun. "The most singular tale of this kind," says Sir Walter, "is contained in an extract communicated to me by my friend Mr. Surtees, of Mainsforth, who copied it from a MS. note in a copy of Burthogge "On the Nature of Spirits, 1694, 8vo," which had been the property of the late Mr. Gill. It was not in Mr. Gill's own hand: but probably an hundred years older, and was said to be "E libro Convent. Dunelm. per T. C. extract.;" this T. C. being Thomas Cradocke, Esq. Scott adds, that the passage, which he gives in the Latin, suggested the introduction of the tourney with the Fairy Knight in "Marmion." Well, WHERE is Cradocke's extract? The original was "lost" before Surtees sent his "copy" to Sir Walter. "The notes had been carelessly or injudiciously shaken out of the book." Surtees adds, another editor confirms it, that no such story exists in any MS. of the Dean and Chapter of Durham. No doubt he invented the whole story, and wrote it himself in mediaeval Latin.

Not content with two "whoppers," as Mr. Jo Gargery might call them, Surtees goes on to invent a perfectly incredible heraldic bearing. He found it in a MS. note in the "Gwillim's Heraldry" of Mr. Gyll or Gill—the name is written both ways. "He beareth per pale or and arg., over all a spectre passant, SHROUDED SABLE"—"he" being Newton, of Beverley, in Yorkshire. Sir Walter actually swallowed this amazing fib, and alludes to it in "Rob Roy" (1818). But Mr. Raine, the editor of Surtees' Life, inherited or bought his copy of Gwillim, that of Mr. Gill or Gyll; "and I find in it no trace of such an entry." "Lord Derwentwater's Good-Night" is probably entirely by Surtees. "A friend of Mr. Taylor's" gave him a Tynedale ballad, "Hey, Willy Ridley, winna you stay?" which is also "aut Diabolus aut Robertus." As to "Barthram's Dirge," "from Ann Douglas, a withered crone who weeds my garden," copies with various tentative verses in Surtees' hand have been found. Oddly enough, Sir Walter had once discovered a small sepulchral cross, upset, in Liddesdale, near the "Nine Stane Rig;" and this probably made him more easily deceived. Surtees very cleverly put some lines, which COULD not have been original, in brackets, as his own attempt to fill up lacunae. Such are

[When the dew fell cold and still, When the aspen grey forget to play, And the mist clung to the hill.]

Any one reading the piece would say, "It must be genuine, for the CONFESSED interpolations are not in the ballad style, which the interpolator, therefore, could not write." An attempt which Surtees made when composing the song, and which he wisely rejected, could not have failed to excite Scott's suspicions. It ran -

They buried him when the bonny may Was on the flow'ring thorn; And she waked him till the forest grey Of every leaf was lorn;

Till the rowan tree of gramarye Its scarlet clusters shed, And the hollin green alone was seen With its berries glistening red.

Whether Surtees' "Brown Man of the Muirs," to which Scott also gave a place in his own poetry, was a true legend or not, the reader may decide for himself.

Concerning another ballad in the "Minstrelsy"—"Auld Maitland"— Professor Child has expressed a suspicion which most readers feel. What Scott told Ellis about it (Autumn, 1802) was, that he got it in the Forest, "copied down from the recitation of an old shepherd by a country farmer." Who was the farmer? Will Laidlaw had employed James Hogg, as shepherd. Hogg's mother chanted "Auld Maitland." Hogg first met Scott in the summer of 1801. The shepherd had already seen the first volume of the "Minstrelsy." Did he, thereupon, write "Auld Maitland," teach his mother it, and induce Laidlaw to take it down from her recitation? The old lady said she got it from Andrew Moir, who had it "frae auld Baby Mettlin, who was said to have been another nor a gude ane." But we have Hogg's own statement that "aiblins ma gran'-mither was an unco leear," and this quality may have been hereditary. On the other side, Hogg could hardly have held his tongue about the forgery, if forgery it was, when he wrote his "Domestic Manners and Private Life of Sir Walter Scott" (1834). The whole investigation is a little depressing, and makes one very shy of unauthenticated ballads.


{1} Who knows what may happen? I may die before he sees the light; so I will add among my friends SKALAGRIM LAMB'S-TAIL.

{2} Can Mrs. Gamp mean "dial"?

{3} 1887.

{4} In his familiar correspondence, it will be observed, Herodotus does not trouble himself to maintain the dignity of history.

{5} Mr. Flinders Petrie has just discovered and sent to Mr. Holly, of Trinity, Cambridge, the well-known traveller, a wall-painting of a beautiful woman, excavated by the Egypt Exploration Society, from the ruined site of the Temple of Aphrodite in Naucratis. Mr. Holly, in an affecting letter to the ACADEMY, states that he recognises in this picture "an admirable though somewhat archaic portrait of SHE." There can thus be little or no doubt that SHE was Rhodopis, and therefore several hundred years older than she said. But few will blame her for being anxious not to claim her full age.

This unexpected revelation appears to throw light on some fascinating peculiarities in the behaviour of SHE.

{6} The great intimacy between Mrs. Proudie and Mrs. Quiverful, indicated by Mrs. Proudie's use of the Bishop's Christian name—and that abbreviated—has amazed the discoverer and editor of her correspondence.

{7} This signature of Mrs. Proudie's is so unusual an assumption of the episcopal style, that it might well cast a doubt on the authenticity of her letter. But experts pronounce it genuine. "Barnum," of course, is "Baronum Castrum," the rather odd Roman name of Barchester.

{8} It has been seen that Mrs. Quiverful did not obey this injunction.

{9} This man was well known to Sir Walter Scott, who speaks of his curious habits in an unpublished manuscript.

{10} Mr. Forth, we are sure, is quite wrong, and none of the scholars he quotes has said anything of the kind.


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