The revelations of the Pall Mall were presently pooh-pooh'd at home; but abroad their effect was otherwise. Foreigners have not yet learned thoroughly to appreciate our national practice of washing (and suffering others to wash) the foulest linen in fullest public. Mr. Stead's unworthy clap-trap representing London as the head-quarters of kidnapping, hocussing, and child-prostitution, the author invoking the while with true Pharisaic righteousness, unclean and blatant, pure intentions and holy zeal for good works was welcomed with a shout of delight by our unfriends the French, who hold virtue in England to be mostly Tartuffery, and by our cousins-german and rivals the Germans, who dearly love to use us and roundly abuse us. In fact, the national name of England was wilfully and wrongfully defiled and bewrayed by a "moral and religious" Englishman throughout the length and breadth of Europe.
Hard upon these "revelations" came the Eliza Armstrong case whereby the editor of the "Sexual Gazette" stultified thoroughly and effectually his own assertions; and proved most satisfactorily, to the injury of his own person, that the easiest thing in the world is notably difficult and passing dangerous. An accomplice, unable to procure a "maiden" for immoral purposes after boasting her ability as a procuress, proceeded to kidnap one for the especial benefit of righteous Mr. Stead. Consequently, he found himself in the dock together with five other accused, male and female; and the verdict, condemning the archplotter to three months and the assistants to lesser terms of imprisonment for abduction and indecent assault, was hailed with universal applause. The delinquent had the fanatical and unscrupulous support, with purse and influence, of the National Vigilance Association, a troop of busybodies captained by licensed blackmailers who of late years have made England their unhappy hunting-ground.[FN#446] Despite, however, the "Stead Defence Fund" liberally supplied by Methody; despite the criminal's Pecksniffan tone, his self-glorification of the part he had taken, his effronte boast of pure and lofty motives and his passionate enthusiasm for sexual morality, the trial emphasised the fact that no individual may break the law of the land in order that good may come therefrom. It also proved most convincingly the utter baselessness of the sweeping indictment against the morality of England and especially of London—a charge which "undoubtedly had an enormous influence for harm at home and cruelly prejudiced the country abroad." In the words of Mr. Vaughan of the Bow Street Police Court (September 7, '85) the Pall Mall's "Sensational articles had certainly given unlimited pain and sorrow to many good people at home and had greatly lowered the English nation in the estimation of foreigners." In a sequel to the Eliza Armstrong case Mr. Justice Manisty, when summing up, severely condemned the "shocking exhibition that took place in the London streets by the publication of statements containing horrible details, and he trusted that those who were responsible for the administration of the law would take care that such outrage should not be permitted again." So pure and pious Mr. Stead found time for reflection during the secluded three-months life of a "first-class misdemeanant" in "happy Holywell," and did not bring out his intended articles denouncing London as the head- quarters of a certain sin named from Sodom.
About mid-September, when Mr. Stead still lay in durance vile, a sub-editor Mr. Morley (Jun.) applied to me for an interview which I did not refuse. It was by no means satisfactory except to provide his paper with "copy." I found him labouring hard to place me "in the same box" with his martyred principal and to represent my volume ("a book of archaic delights") as a greater outrage on public decency than the two-penny pamphlet. This, as said the London Figaro (September 19, '85), is a "monstrous and absurd comparison." It became evident to me, during the first visit, that I was to play the part of Mr. Pickwick between two rival races of editors, the pornologists and the anti- pornologists, and, having no stomach for such sport, I declined the role. In reply to a question about critics my remark to the interviewer was, "I have taken much interest in what the classics call Skiomachia and I shall allow Anonymus and Anonyma to howl unanswered. I shall also treat with scornful silence the miserables who, when shown a magnificent prospect, a landscape adorned with the highest charms of Nature and Art, can only see in a field corner here and there a little heap of muck. 'You must have been looking for it, Madam!' said, or is said to have said, sturdy old Doctor Samuel Johnson."
Moreover Mr. Morley's style of reporting "interviews" was somewhat too advanced and American—that is, too personal, too sensation-mongering and too nauseously familiar—to suit my taste, and I would have none other of them. Hereupon being unable to make more copy out of the case the Pall Mall Gazette let loose at me a German Jew pennyliner, who signs himself Sigma. This pauvre diable delivered himself of two articles, "Pantagruelism or Pornography?" (September 14, '85) and "The Ethics of the Dirt" (September 19, '85), wherein with matchless front of brass he talks of the "unsullied British breakfast-table," so pleasantly provided with pepper by his immaculate editor. And since that time the Pall Mall Gazette has never ceased to practice at my expense its old trade, falsehood and calumny, and the right of private judgment, sentence and execution. In hopes that his splenetic and vindictive fiction might bear fruit, at one time the Pall Mall Gazette has "heard that the work was to be withdrawn from circulation" (when it never circulated). Then, "it was resolved by the authorities to request Captain Burton not to issue the third volume and to prosecute him if he takes no notice of the invitation;" and, finally, "Government has at last determined to put down Captain Burton with a strong hand." All about as true as the political articles which the Pall Mall Gazette indites with such heroic contempt for truth, candour and honesty. One cannot but apply to the "Gutter Gazette" the words of the Rev. Edward Irving:—"I mean by the British Inquisition that court whose ministers and agents carry on their operations in secret; who drag every man's most private affairs before the sight of thousands and seek to mangle and destroy his life, trying him without a witness, condemning him without a hearing, nor suffering him to speak for himself, intermeddling in things of which they have no knowledge and cannot on any principle have a jurisdiction * * * I mean the ignorant, unprincipled, unhallowed spirit of criticism, which in this Protestant country is producing as foul effects against truth, and by as dishonest means as ever did the Inquisition of Rome" (p. 5 "Preliminary Discourse to Ben Ezra," etc.).
Of course men were not wanting to answer the malevolent insipidities of the Pall Mall Gazette, and to note the difference between newspaper articles duly pamphleted and distributed to the disgust of all decency, and the translation of an Arabian limited in issue and intended only for the few select. Nor could they fail to observe that black balling The Nights and admitting the "revelations" was a desperate straining at the proverbial gnat and swallowing the camel. My readers will hardly thank me for dwelling upon this point yet I cannot refrain from quoting certain of the protests:—
To the Editor of the "PALL MALL GAZETTE."
Your correspondent "Sigma" has forgotten the considerable number of "students" who will buy Captain Burton's translation as the only literal one, needing it to help them in what has become necessary to many—a masterly knowledge of Egyptian Arabic. The so-called "Arabian Nights" are about the only written half-way house between the literary Arabic and the colloquial Arabic, both of which they need, and need introductions too. I venture to say that its largest use will be as a grown-up school-book and that it is not coarser than the classics in which we soak all our boys' minds at school.
ANGLO EGYPTIAN September 14th, 1885.
And the Freethinker's answer (Oct. 25, '85) to these repeated and malicious assaults is as follows:—
Here is a fine illustration of Mr. Stead's Pecksniffian peculiarities. Captain Burton, a gentleman and a scholar whose boots Mr. Stead is not fit to black, is again hauled over the coals for the hundredth time about his new translation of the Arabian Nights, which is so "pornographic" that the price of the first volume has actually risen from a pound to twenty-five shillings. Further down, in the very same column, the P.M.G. gloats proudly over the fact that thirty-five shillings have been given for a single copy of its own twopennyworth of smut.
The last characteristic touch which I shall take the trouble to notice is the following gem of September 16, '87:—
I was talking to an American novelist the other day, and he assured me that the Custom-house authorities on "the other side" seized all copies of Sir Richard Burton's "Nights" that came into their hands, and retained them as indecent publications. Burned them, I hope he meant, and so, I fear, will all holders of this notorious publication, for prices will advance, and Sir Richard will chuckle to think that indecency is a much better protection than international copyright.
Truly the pen is a two-edged tool, often turned by the fool against his own soul. So an honest author "chuckles" when his subscribers have lost their copies because this will enhance the value of his book! I ask, Can anything be better proven than the vileness of a man who is ever suspecting and looking for vileness in his fellow-men? Again, the assertion that the Custom-house authorities in the United States had seized my copies is a Pall-Mallian fiction pure and simple, and the "Sexual Gazette" must have known this fact right well. In consequence of a complaint lodged by the local Society for the Suppression of Vice, the officials of the Custom-house, New York, began by impounding the first volumes of the Villon Version; but presently, as a literary friend informs me (February 10, '88), "the new translations of The Nights have been fully permitted entry at the Custom-house and are delivered on the payment of 25% duty." To my copies admittance was never refused.
Mr. Stead left his prison-doors noisily declaring that the rest of his life should be "devoted to Christian chivalry"—whatever that majestic dictum may mean. As regards his subsequent journalistic career I can observe only that it has been unfortunate as inconsequent. He took up the defence, abusing the Home Secretary after foulest fashion of the card-blooded murderer Lipski, with the result that his protege was hanged after plenary confession and the Editor had not the manliness to apologise. He espoused the cause of free speech in Ireland with the result that most of the orators were doomed to the infirmaries connected with the local gaols. True to his principle made penal by the older and wiser law of libel, that is of applying individual and irresponsible judgment to, and passing final and unappealable sentence upon, the conduct of private individuals and of public men, he raged and inveighed with all the fury of outraged (and interested) virtue against Colonel Hughes-Hallett with the consequence of seating that M.P. more firmly than before. He took up the question of free public meeting in England with the result that a number of deludeds (including Mr. Cunninghame Graham, M.P.) found their way to prison, which the "Christian chevalier" had apparently contracted to supply with inmates. But there is more to say concerning the vaunted morality of this immoral paper.—Eheu! quantum mutatus from the old decent days when, under Mr. Frederic Greenwood, it was indeed "written by gentlemen for gentlemen" (and ladies).
A journal which, like the Pall Mall Gazette, affects preferably and persistently sexual subjects and themes rubric, works more active and permanent damage to public morals than books and papers which are frankly gross and indecent. The latter, so far as the world of letters knows them, are read either for their wit and underlying wisdom (e.g. Rabelais and Swift), for their historical significance (Petronius Arbiter) or for their anthropological interest as the Alf Laylah. But the public print which deals, however primly and decently, piously and unctuously, with sexual and inter-sexual relations, usually held to be of the Alekta or taboo'd subjects, is the real perverter of conduct, the polluter of mental purity, the corrupter-general of society. Amongst savages and barbarians the comparatively unrestrained intercourse between men and women relieves the brain through the body; the mind and memory have scant reason, physical or mental, to dwell fondly upon visions amatory and venereal, to live in a "rustle of (imaginary) copulation." On the other hand the utterly artificial life of civilization, which debauches even the monkeys in "the Zoo," and which expands the period proper for the reproductory process from the vernal season into the whole twelvemonth, leaves to the many, whose lot is celibacy, no bodily want save one and that in a host of cases either unattainable or procurable only by difficulty and danger. Hence the prodigious amount of mental excitement and material impurity which is found wherever civilization extends, in maid, matron, and widow, save and except those solely who allay it by some counteragent —religion, pride, or physical frigidity. How many a woman in "Society," when stricken by insanity or puerperal fever, breaks out into language that would shame the slums and which makes the hearers marvel where she could have learned such vocabulary. How many an old maid held to be cold as virgin snow, how many a matron upon whose fairest fame not a breath of scandal has blown, how many a widow who proudly claims the title univira, must relieve their pent-up feelings by what may be called mental prostitution. So I would term the dear delights of sexual converse and that sub-erotic literature, the phthisical "French novel," whose sole merit is "suggestiveness," taking the place of Oriental morosa voluptas and of the unnatural practices—Tribadism and so forth, still rare, we believe, in England. How many hypocrites of either sex, who would turn away disgusted from the outspoken Tom Jones or the Sentimental Voyager, revel in and dwell fondly upon the sly romance or "study" of character whose profligacy is masked and therefore the more perilous. And a paper like the (modern) Pall Mall Gazette which deliberately pimps and panders to this latent sense and state of aphrodisiac excitement, is as much the more infamous than the loose book as hypocrisy is more hateful than vice and prevarication is more ignoble than a lie. And when such vile system is professionally practiced under the disguise and in the holy names of Religion and Morality, the effect is loathsome as that spectacle sometimes seen in the East of a wrinkled old eunuch garbed in woman's nautchdress ogling with painted eyes and waving and wriggling like a young Bayadere.
There is much virtue in a nickname: at all events it shows the direction whither the aura popularis sets. The organ of Christian Chivalry is now universally known to Society as "The Gutter Gazette;" to the public as "The Purity-Severity Paper," and the "Organ of the Social Pruriency Society," and to its colleagues of the Press as "The Dirt Squirt." In the United States fulsomely to slander a man is "to Pall Mall Gazette him:" "Just like your Pall Mall Gazette," said an American to me when describing a disreputable print "over the water." And Mr. Stead, now self-constituted coryphaeus of the Reptile Press in Great Britain, has apparently still to learn that lying and slandering are neither Christian nor chivalrous.
The diminutive Echo of those days (October 13 and 14, '85) followed suit of the Pall Mall Gazette and caught lightly the sounds as they fell from the non-melliferous lips of the charmer who failed to charm wisely. The precious article begins by informing me that I am "always eager after the sensational," and that on this occasion I "cater for the prurient curiosity of the wealthy few," such being his synonym for "readiness to learn." And it ends with the following comical colophon:—"Captain Burton may possibly imitate himself(?) and challenge us(!) to mortal combat for this expression of opinion. If so, the writer of these lines will imitate himself(?) and take no notice of such an epistle." The poor scribe suggests the proverbial "Miss Baxter, who refused a man before he axed her." And what weapon could I use, composing-stick or dung-fork, upon an anonymous correspondent of the hawkers' and newsboys' "Hecker," the favourite ha'porth of East London? So I left him to the tender mercies of Gaiety (October 14, '84):—
The Echo is just a bit wild, Its "par." is indeed a hard hitter: In fact, it has not drawn it mild 'Tis a matter of "Burton and bitter."
I rejoice to subjoin that the Echo has now (1888) made a name for decent and sensible writing, having abandoned the "blatant" department to the Star (see, for the nonsense about a non-existent Alderman Waterlow, its issue of September 6, '88).
In the opinions of the Press will be found a selection from half a century of laudatory notices to which the few curious touching such matters will turn, while those who misjudged my work are duly acknowledged in this paper. Amongst friends I would specify without invidious distinction, The Bat (September 29, '85), who on this occasion and sundry others sturdily defended me, showing himself a bird of "light and leading." To the St. James's Gazette (September 12, '85), the Whitehall Review (September 17), the Home News (September 18), and the Nottingham Journal (September 19), I am also indebted for most appreciative and intelligent notices. My cordial thanks are likewise due to the Editor and especially to "Our London Correspondent" of the Lincoln Gazette (October 10 and October 17, '85, not to notice sundry minor articles): the articles will be reprinted almost entire because they have expressed my meaning as though it came from my own mouth. I have quoted Mr. J. Addington Symonds in extenso: if England now possesses a writer who can deliver an authoritative judgment on literary style it is this litterateur. Of the journals which profess letters The Academy has ever been my friend and I have still the honour of corresponding with it: we are called "faddists" probably from our "fad" of signing our articles and thus enabling the criticised to criticise the critic.
I now turn to another of my unfriends, amongst whom is and long has been
The "Saturday Review,"
This ancient dodderer, who has seen better days, deigned favour me with six notices (January 2 and March 27, '86; April 30, June 4, August 14, '87, and July 21, '88), of which No. i., dealing with my first and second volumes, is written after the facile American fashion, making the book review itself; that is, supply to the writer all the knowledge and familiarity with the subject which he parades before an incurious and easily gullible public. This especial form of dishonesty has but lately succeeded to and ousted the classical English critique of Jeffrey, Macaulay, and the late Mr. Abraham Hayward, which was mostly a handy peg for the contents of the critic's noddle or note book. The Saturnine article opens characteristically.
Abroad we English have the character of being the most prudish of nations; we are celebrated as having Bowdlerized for our babes and sucklings even the immortal William Shakespeare; but we shall infallibly lose this our character should the Kamashastra Society flourish. Captain Burton has long been known as a bold explorer; his pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, disguised in the dress and taking on him the manners and customs of a True Believer, was a marvel of audacity; but perhaps he may be held now to have surpassed himself, for he has been bold enough to lay before his countrymen a literal and unexcised translation of The Arabian Nights.
The writer is kind enough to pat me upon the back for "picturesque and fluent English" and to confess that I have successfully imitated the rhyming cadence of the original. But The Saturday would not be The Saturday without carping criticism, wrong-headedness and the culte of the common-place, together with absolute and unworthy cruelty to weaker vessels. The reviewer denounces as "too conceited to be passed over without comment" the good old English "whenas" (for when, vol. ii. 130), the common ballad-terms "a plump of spearmen" (ii. 190) and a "red cent" (i. 321), the only literal rendering of "Fals ahmar" which serves to show the ancient and noble pedigree of a slang term supposed to be modern and American. Moreover this Satan even condemns fiercely the sin of supplying him with "useful knowledge." The important note (ii. 45) upon the normal English mispronunciation of the J in Jerusalem, Jesus, Jehovah, a corruption whose origin and history are unknown to so many, and which was, doubtless, a surprise to this Son of King "We," is damned as "uninteresting to the reader of the Arabian Nights." En revanche, three mistakes of mine ("p. 43" for "p. 45" in vol. ii., index; "King Zahr Shah" for "King Suleyman Shah," ii. 285, and the careless confusion of the Caliphs Al-Muntasir and Al- Mustansir, ii. 817, note i.) were corrected and I have duly acknowledged the correction. No. i. article ends with Saturnine geniality and utterly ignoring a bye-word touching dwellers in glass houses:—
Finally, we mark with regret that Captain Burton should find no more courteous terms to apply to the useful work of a painstaking clergyman than those where in his note he alludes to "Missionary Porter's miserable Handbook."
As Mr. Missionary Porter has never ceased to malign me, even in his last Edition of Murray's "miserable Handbook," a cento of Hibernian blunders and hashed Bible, I have every reason to lui rendre la pareille.
The second article (March 27, '86), treating of vol. iii., opens with one of those plagiaristic common-places, so dear to the soul of The Saturday, in its staid and stale old age as in its sprightly youth. "There is particularly one commodity which all men, therein nobly disregarding their differences of creed and country, are of a mind that it is better to give than to receive. That commodity is good advice. We note further that the liberality with which this is everywhere offered is only to be equalled (he means 'to be equalled only') by the niggard reception at most times accorded to the munificent donation; in fact the very goodness of advice given apparently militates against its due appreciation in (by?) the recipient." The critic then proceeds to fit his ipse dixit upon my case. The sense of the sentiment is the reverse of new: we find in The Spectator (No. dxii.), "There is nothing we receive with so much reluctance as good advice," etc., but Mr. Spectator writes good English and his plagiarist does not. Nor is the dictum true. We authors who have studied a subject for years, are, I am convinced, ready enough to learn, but we justly object to sink our opinions and our judgment in those of a counsellor who has only "crammed" for his article. Moreover, we must be sure that he can fairly lay claim to the three requisites of an adviser—capacity to advise rightly, honesty to advise truly, and courtesy to advise decently. Now the Saturday Review has neither this, that, nor the other qualification. Indeed his words read like subtle and lurking irony by the light of those phenomenal and portentous vagaries which ever and anon illuminate his opaque pages. What correctness can we expect from a journal whose tomahawk-man, when scalping the corpse of Matthew Arnold, deliberately applies the term "sonnet" to some thirty lines in heroic couplets? His confusion of Dr. Jenner, Vaccinator, with Sir William Jenner, the President of the R. C. of Physicians, is one which passes all comprehension. And what shall we say of this title to pose as an Aristarchus (November 4th, '82)? "Then Jonathan Scott, LL.D. Oxon, assures the world that he intended to re-translate the Tales given by Galland(!) but he found Galland so adequate on the whole (!!) that he gave up the idea and now reprints Galland with etchings by M. Lalauze, giving a French view of Arab life. Why Jonathan Scott, LL.D., should have thought to better Galland while Mr. Lane's version is in existence, and has just been reprinted, it is impossible to say." In these wondrous words Jonathan Scott's editio princeps with engravings from pictures by Smirke and printed by Longmans in 1811 is confounded with the imperfect reprint by Messieurs Nimmo and Bain, in 1883; the illustrations being borrowed from M. Adolphe Lalauze, a French artist (nat. 1838), a master of eaux fortes, who had studied in Northern Africa and who maroccanized the mise-en-scene of "The Nights" with a marvellous contrast of white and negro nudities. And such is the Solomon who fantastically complains that I have disdained to be enlightened by his "modest suggestions." Au reste the article is not bad simply because it borrows—again Americanice—all its matter from my book. At the tail-end, however comes the normal sting: I am guilty of not explaining "Wuzu" (lesser ablution), "Ghusl" (greater ablution), and "Zakat" (legal alms which constitute a poor-rate), proving that the writer never read vol. iii. He confidently suggests replacing "Cafilah," "by the better known word Caravan," as if it were my speciality (as it is his) to hunt-out commonplaces: he grumbles about "interrogation-points a l'Espagnole upside down"(?) which still satisfies me as an excellent substitute to distinguish the common Q(uestion) from A(nswer) and he seriously congratulates me upon my discovering a typographical error on the fly- leaf. No. iii. (August 14, '86, handling vols. vi., vii. and viii.) is free from the opening pretensions and absurdities of No. ii. and it is made tolerably safe by the familiar action of scissors and paste. But—desinit in piscem—it ends fishily; and we find, after saturnine fashion, in cauda venenum. It scolds me for telling the English public what it even now ignores, the properest way of cooking meat (a propos of kababs) and it "trembles to receive vols. ix. and x. for truly (from a literary point of view, of course, we mean) there seems nothing of which the translator might not be capable"—capable de tout, as said Voltaire of Habbakuk and another agnostic Frenchman of the Prophet Zerubbabel. This was indeed high praise considering the Saturday's sympathy with and affection for the dead level, for the average man; but as an augury of ill it was a brutum fulmen. No. iv. (August 30, '87) was, strange to say, in tone almost civil and ended with a touch simulating approval:—
"The labours of a quarter of a century," writes the translator in L'Envoi, "are now brought to a close, and certainly no one could have been found better suited by education and taste to the task of translating the 'Nights' than is the accomplished author of the 'Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.' His summing up of the contents and character of 'The Thousand and One Nights' in the Terminal Essay is a masterpiece of careful analysis and we cannot do better than conclude our notice with a paragraph that resumes with wonderful effect the boundless imagination and variety of the picture that is conjured up before our eyes:—
"Viewed as a tout ensemble in full and complete form, they are a drama of Eastern life and a Dance of Death made sublime by faith and the highest emotions, by the certainty of expiation and the fulness of atoning equity, where virtue is victorious, vice is vanquished and the ways of Allah are justified to man. They are a panorama which remains kenspeckle upon the mental retina. They form a phantasmagoria in which archangels and angels, devils and goblins, men of air, of fire, of water, naturally mingle with men of earth, where flying horses and talking fishes are utterly realistic, where King and Prince must meet fishermen and pauper, lamia and cannibal, where citizen jostles Badawi, eunuch meets knight; the Kazi hob-nobs with the thief.... The work is a kaleidoscope where everything falls into picture, gorgeous palaces and pavilions; grisly underground caves and deadly words, gardens fairer than those of the Hesperid; seas dashing with clashing billows upon enchanted mountains, valleys of the Shadow of Death, air-voyages and promenades in the abysses of the ocean, the duello, the battle, and the siege, the wooing of maidens and the marriage rite. All the splendour and squalor, the beauty and baseness the glamour and grotesqueness, the magic and the mournfulness, the bravery and the baseness, of Oriental life are here."
And now, after the Saturday Review has condescended severely and sententiously to bepreach me, I must be permitted a trifling return in kind. As is declared by the French an objectionable people which prefers la gloire to "duty," and even places "honour" before "honesty," the calling of the Fourth Estate is un sacerdoce, an Apostolate: it is a high and holy mission whose ends are the diffusion of Truth and Knowledge and the suppression of Ignorance and Falsehood. "Sacrilege," with this profession, means the breaking of its two great commandments and all sins of commission and omission suggested and prompted by vain love of fame, by sordid self-esteem or by ignoble rancour. What then shall we say of a paper which, professedly established to "counteract the immorality of The Times," adds to normal journalistic follies, offences and mistakes an utter absence of literary honour, systematic misrepresentation, malignity and absolute ruffianism? Let those who hold such language exaggerated glance at my piece justicative, the Saturday's article (June 28, '88) upon Mr. Hitchman's "Biography of Sir Richard Burton." No denizen of Grub Street in the coarse old day of British mob-savagery could have produced a more damning specimen of wilful falsehood, undignified scurrility and brutal malevolence, in order to gratify a well-known pique, private and personal. The "Saturday Reviler"—there is, I repeat, much virtue in a soubriquet—has grown only somewhat feebler, not kindlier, not more sympathetic since the clever author of "In Her Majesty's Keeping" styled this Magister Morum "the benignant and judicious foster-parent of literature"; and since Darwin wrote of it (ii. 260) "One cannot expect fairness in a reviewer;" nor has it even taken to heart what my friend Swinburne declared (anent its issue of December 15, '83) "clumsy and shallow snobbery can do no harm." Like other things waxing obsolete it has served, I hasten to confess, a special purpose in the world of letters. It has lived through a generation of thirty years in the glorification of the mediocrities and in pandering to the impish taint of poor human nature, the ungenerous passions of those who abhor the novel, the original, the surprising, the startling, and who are only too glad to witness and to assist in the Procrustes' process of trimming and lengthening out thoughts and ideas and diction that rise or strive to rise above the normal and vulgar plane. This virtual descendant of the ancestral Satirist, after long serving as a spawning-ground to envy, hatred and malice, now enters upon the decline of an unworthy old age. Since the death of its proprietor, Mr. Beresford-Hope, it has been steadily going down hill as is proved by its circulation, once 15,000, and now something nearer 5,000 than 10,000. It has become a poor shadow of its former self—preserving the passive ill- will but lacking the power of active malevolence—when journalists were often compelled to decline correspondence upon its misjudgments and to close to complainants their columns which otherwise would have been engrossed by just and reasonable protestations. The "young lions" of its prime (too often behanged with a calf-skin on their recreant limbs) are down among the dead and the jackal-pack which has now taken up the howling could no longer have caused Thackeray to fear or can excite the righteous disgust of that votary of "fair-play" —Mr. John Bright.
And now, before addressing myself to another Reviewer, I would be allowed a few words upon two purely personal subjects; the style chosen for my translation and my knowledge of the Arabian language and literature.
I need hardly waste time to point out what all men discern more or less distinctly, how important are diction and expression in all works of fancy and fiction and how both branches, poetic and prosaic, delight in beauty adorned and allow in such matters the extreme of liberty. A long study of Galland and Torrens, Lane and Payne, convinced me that none of these translators, albeit each could claim his special merit, has succeeded in preserving the local colouring of the original. The Frenchman had gallicised and popularised the general tone and tenor to such extent that even the vulgar English versions have ever failed to throw off the French flavour. Torrens attempted literalism laudably and courageously enough; but his execution was of the roughest, the nude verbatim; nor did his familiarity with Arabic, or rather with Egyptian, suffice him for the task. Lane, of whom I have already spoken, and of whom I shall presently be driven by his imprudent relatives and interested friends to say more, affected the latinised English of the period flat and dull, turgid and vapid as that of Sale's Koran; and his style proved the most insufficient and inadequate attire in which an Oriental romance of the Middle Ages could be arrayed. Payne was perfectly satisfactory to all cultivated tastes but he designedly converted a romantic into a classical work: none ignores its high merits regarded merely as strong and vital English, but it lacks one thing needful—the multiform variety of The Nights. The original Arabic text which in the first thirteen tales (Terminal Essay, p. 78) must date from before the xiiith century at the latest (since Galland's MS. in the Bibliotheque Nationale has been assigned to the early xivth) is highly composite: it does not disdain local terms, bye-words and allusions (some obsolete now and forgotten), and it borrows indiscriminately from Persian (e.g. Shahbandar), from Turkish (as Khatun) and from Sanscrit (for instance Brahman). As its equivalent, in vocabulary I could devise only a somewhat archaical English whose old-fashioned and sub-antique flavour would contrast with our modern and everyday speech, admitting at times even Latin and French terms, such as res scibilis and citrouille. The mixture startled the critics and carpers to whom its object had not been explained; but my conviction still remains that it represents, with much truth to nature, the motley suit of the Arabo-Egyptian. And it certainly serves one purpose, too often neglected by writers and unnoticed by reviewers. The fluent and transparent styles of Buckle and Darwin (the modern Aristotle who has transformed the face of Biological Science) are instruments admirably fitted for their purpose: crystal-clear, they never divert even a bittock of the reader's brain from the all-important sense underlying the sound-symbols. But in works of imagination mar. wants a treatment totally different, a style which, by all or any means, little mattering what they be, can avoid the imminent deadly risk of languor and monotony and which adds to fluency the allurement of variety, of surprise and even of disappointment, when a musical discord is demanded.
Again, my estimate of a translator's office has never been of the low level generally assigned to it even in the days when Englishmen were in the habit of englishing every important or interesting work published on the continent of Europe. We cannot expect at this period of our literature overmuch from a man who, as Messieurs Vizetelly assure their clientele, must produce a version for a poor 20. But at his best the traducteur, while perfectly reproducing the matter and the manner of his original, works upon two lines. His prime and primary object is an honest and faithful copy, adding naught to the sense nor abating aught of its peculiar cachet whilst he labours his best to please and edify his readers. He has, however, or should have, another aim wherein is displayed the acme of hermeneutic art. Every language can profitably lend something to and borrow somewhat from its neighbours, near or far, an epithet, a metaphor, a turn of phrase, a naive idiom and the translator of original mind will not neglect the frequent opportunities of enriching his mother tongue with alien and novel ornaments, which will justly be accounted barbarisms until formally adopted and naturalised. Such are the "peoples" of Kossuth and the useful "lengthy," an American revival of a good old English term. Nor will my modern versionist relegate to a foot-note, as is the malpractice of his banal brotherhood the interesting and often startling phases of his foreign author's phraseology and dull the text with its commonplace English equivalent—thus doing the clean reverse of what he should do. It is needless to quote instances concerning this phase of "Bathos:" they abound in every occidental translation of every Oriental work, especially the French, such as Baron de Slane's honest and conscientious "Ibn Khaldun." It was this grand ideal of a translator's duty that made Eustache Deschamps, a contemporary poet, write of his English brother bard.—
"Grand Translateur, Noble Geoffroy Chaucier."
"The firste finder of our faire language"
is styled a "Socrates in philosophy, a Seneca in morals, an Angel in conduct and a great Translator," which apparent anti-climax has scandalised not a little inditers of "Lives" and "Memoirs." The title is given simply because Chaucer translated (using the best and highest sense of the term) into his English tongue and its linguistic peculiarities, the thoughts and ideas of his foreign models—the very letter and spirit of Petrarch and Boccacao.
That my attempts to reproduce the form and features of the original and thee my manner of writing is well adapted to the matter appears from the consensus of the "Notices" presently to be quoted. Mr. J. Addington Symonds pronounces the version to be executed with "peculiar literary vigour." Mr. Swinburne is complimentary, and even the Saturday deigns to declare "Captain Burton is certainly felicitous in the manner in which he has englished the picturesque lines of the original." But le style est de l'homme; and this is a matter upon which any and every educated man who writes honestly will form and express and retain his own opinion: there are not a few who loathe "Pickwick," and who cannot relish Vanity Fair. So the Edinburgh Review No. 335 (pp. 174, 181), concerning which more anon, pronounces my work to be "a jumble of the vulgarest slang of all nations;" also "an unreadable compound of archaeology and 'slang,' abounding in Americanisms, and full of an affected reaching after obsolete or foreign words and phrases;" and finally shows the assurance to assert "Captain Burton has produced a version which is neither Arabic nor English, but which has at least the merit of being beautifully unreadable" (p. 182).
It has been circulated widely enough by the Lane-Poole clique—poules mouillees they are called by an Arabist friend—that I do not know Arabic. Let me at once plead guilty to the charge, adding by way of circonstance attenuante that I know none who does know or who can thoroughly know a tongue of which we may say as did honest Izaak Walton of other two crafts, "angling be so like the mathematics that it can never be fully learned." Most of us can master one section of a language concerning which those who use it vernacularly declare "Only Allah wotteth its entirety", but we lack as yet the means to study it as a whole. Older by long ages than Babel's fabulous Tower, and covering a continuous area from Eastern Arabia to the Maghrab al-Aksa (western Mauritania), from Chaldaea in the North to southern Zanzibar, it numbers of potential vocabulary 1,200,000 words all of which may be, if they are not, used, and while they specify the finest shades of meaning, not a few of them, technically termed "Zidd," bear significations diametrically opposite, e.g., "Maula" = lord, slave; and "'Ajuz" with 88 different meanings. Its literature, poetic, semi-poetic and prosaic, falls into three greater sections:—Ancient (The Suspendeds, the Kitab al-Aghani and the Koran), Mediaeval (Al-Mutanabbi, Al-Asm'ai, Abu Nowas and the poets of the Harunic cycle) and Moderns, of whom not the least important (e.g. Yusuf al-Yazaji) are those of our own day. Throughout its vast domain there are local differences of terminology which render every dialect a study; and of these many are intimately connected with older families, as the Egyptian with Coptic and the Moorish with Berber. The purest speakers are still the Badawin who are often not understood by the citizen-folk (e.g. of Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad) at whose gates they tent; and a few classes like the Banu Fahim of Al-Hijaz still converse sub-classically, ever and anon using the terminal vowels and the nunnation elsewhere obsolete. These wildlings, whose evening camp-fires are still their schools for eloquence and whose improvisations are still their unwritten laws, divide speech into three degrees, Al-'Ali the lofty addressed to the great, Al-Wasat used for daily converse and Al-Dun the lowly or broken "loghat" (jargon) belonging to most tribes save their own. In Egypt the purest speakers are those of the Sa'id—the upper Nile-region—differing greatly from the two main dialects of the Delta; in Syria, where the older Aramean is still current amongst sundry of the villagers outlying Damascus, the best Arabists are the Druzes, a heterogeneous of Arabs and Curds who cultivate language with uncommon care. Of the dialectic families which subtend the Mediterranean's southern sea-board, the Maroccan and the Algerine are barbarised by Berber, by Spanish and by Italian words and are roughened by the inordinate use of the Sukun (quiescence or conjoining of consonants), while the Tunisian approaches nearer to the Syrian and the Maltese was originally Punic. The jargon of Meccah is confessedly of all the worst. But the wide field has been scratched not worked out, and the greater part of it, especially the Mesopotamian and the Himyaritic of Mahrahland, still remains fallow and the reverse of sterile.
Materials for the study of Arabic in general and of its dialects in particular are still deficient, and the dictionaries mostly content themselves with pouring old stuff from flask to flask, instead of collecting fresh and unknown material. Such are recueils of prayers and proverbs, folk-songs and stories, riddles and satires, not forgetting those polyglot vocabularies so common in many parts of the Eastern world, notably in Sind and Afghanistan; and the departmental glossaries such as the many dealing with "Tasawwuf"—the Moslem form of Gnosticism. The excellent lexicon of the late Professor Dozy, Supplement aux Dictionnaires Arabes, par R. Dozy, Leyde: E. J. Brill, 1881, was a step in advance, but we still lack additions like Baron Adolph Von Kremer's Beitrage zur Arabischen Lexicographie (In commission bei Carl Gerold's Sohn, Wien, 1884). The French, as might be expected, began early, e.g. M. Ruphy's Dictionnaire abrege francais-arabe, Paris, Imprimerie de la Republique, 1810; they have done good work in Algiers and are now carrying it on in Tunis. Of these we have Marcel, Vocabulaire, etc. (Paris, 1837), Bled de Braine (Paris, 1846), who to his Cours Synthetique adds a study of Maroccan and Egyptian, Professor Cherbonneau (Paris, 1854), Precis Historique, and Dialogues, etc. (Alger, 1858); M. Gasselin (Paris, 1866), Dictionnaire francais-arabe, M. Brassier (Algiers, 1871), Dictionnaire pratique, also containing Algerine and Tunisian terms; General Parmentier (Vocabulaire arabe-francais des Principaux Termes de Geographie, etc.: Paris, rue Antoine-Dubois, 1882); and, to mention no others, the Grammaire Arabe Vulgaire (Paris, 1824) of M. Caussin de Perceval (fils) has extended far and wide. Berggren (Upsal, 1844) published his Guide Francais-Arabe des Voyageurs en Syrie et en Egypte. Rowland de Bussy printed (Algiers, 1877) his Dialogues Francais-Arabes in the Algerian dialect. Fr. Jose de Lerchundi, a respected Missioner to Tangier, has imitated and even improved upon this in his Rudimentos del Arabe Vulgar (Madrid, Rivadeneyra, 1872); and his studies of the Maghrabi dialect are most valuable. Dr. A. Socin produced his Arabische Sprichworter, etc. (Tubingen, 1878), and the late Wilhelm Spitta-Bey, whose early death was so deeply lamented left a grammar of Egyptian which would have been a model had the author brought to his task more knowledge of Coptic in his Grammatik des Arabischen vulgar Dialektes von AEgypten, (Leipsig, 1870). Dr. Landberg published with Brill of Leyden and Maisonneuve of Paris, 1883, a volume of Syrian Proverbs and promises some five others—No. 2, Damascus and the Hauran; No. 3, Kasrawan and the Nusayriyah; No. 4, Homs, Hamah and Halab (Aleppo), and No. 5, the Badawin of Syria. It is evident that the process might be prolonged ad infinitum by a writer of whom I shall have something to say presently. M. Clement Huart (Jour. Asiat., Jan. '83) has printed notes on the dialect of Damascus: Dr. C. Snouck Hurgronje published a collection of 77 proverbs and idioms with lengthy notes in his Mehkanische Sprichworter, etc. (Haag, Martinus Nijhoff, 1886), after being expelled from Meccah by the Turkish authorities who had discovered him only through a Parisian journal Le Temps (see his Het Mekkanshe Feest, Leyden, 1880). For the lower Najd and upper Hijaz we have the glossary of Arabic words ably edited by Prof. M. J. de Goeje in Mr. Charles M. Doughty's valuable and fantastic "Arabia Deserta" (ii. 542-690: see The Academy, July 28th, '88). Thus the local vocabularies are growing, but it will be long before the ground is covered.
Again the East, and notably the Moslem East since the Massacre of Damascus in 1860, although still moving slowly, shows a distinct advance. The once secluded and self- contained communities are now shaken by the repeated and continuous shocks of progress around them; and new wants and strange objects compel them nilly-willy to provide vernacular equivalents for the nomenclature of modern arts and sciences. Thus the Orientalist, who would produce a contemporary lexicon of Persian, must not only read up all the diaries and journals of Teheran and the vocabularies of Yezd and Herat, he must go further a-field. He should make himself familiar with the speech of the Iliyat or wandering pastoral tribes and master a host of cognate tongues whose chiefs are Armenian (Old and New), Caucasian, a modern Babel, Kurdish, Luri (Bakhtiyari), Balochki and Pukhtu or Afghan, besides the direct descendants of the Zend, the Pehlevi, Dari and so forth. Even in the most barbarous jargons he will find terms which throw light upon the literary Iranian of the lexicons: for instance "Madiyan" = a mare presupposes the existence of "Narayan" = a stallion, and the latter is preserved by the rude patois of the Baloch mountaineers. This process of general collection would in our day best be effected after the fashion of Professor James A. H. Murray's "New English Dictionary on Historical Principles." It would be compiled by a committee of readers resident in different parts of Persia, communicating with the Royal Asiatic Society (whose moribund remains they might perhaps quicken) and acting in co-operation with Russia, whom unfriends have converted from a friend to an angry and jealous rival and who is ever so forward in the linguistic field.
But if the model Persian dictionary have its difficulties, far harder will be the task with Arabic, which covers incomparably more ground. Here we must begin with Spain and Portugal, Sardinia and the Balearics, Southern Italy and Sicily; and thence pass over to Northern Africa and the two "Soudans," the Eastern extending far South of the Equator and the Western nearly to the Line. In Asia, besides the vast Arabian Peninsula, numbering one million of square miles, we find a host of linguistic outliers, such as Upper Hindostan, the Concan, Malacca, Java and even remote Yun-nan, where al-Islam is the dominant religion, and where Arabic is the language of Holy Writ.
My initiation into the mysteries of Arabic began at Oxford under my tutor Dr. W. A. Greenhill, who published a "Treatise on Small-pox and Measles," translated from Rhazes —Abu Bakr al-Razi (London, 1847), and where the famous Arabist, Don Pascual de Gayangos, kindly taught me to write Arabic leftwards. During eight years of service in Western India and in Moslem Sind, while studying Persian and a variety of vernaculars it was necessary to keep up and extend a practical acquaintance with the language which supplies all the religious and most of the metaphysical phraseology; and during my last year at Sindian Karachi (1849), I imported a Shaykh from Maskat. Then work began in downright earnest. Besides Erpenius' (D'Erp) "Grammatica Arabica," Richardson, De Sacy and Forbes, I read at least a dozen Perso-Arabic works (mostly of pamphlet form) on "Serf Wa Nahw"—Accidence and Syntax—and learned by heart one-fourth of the Koran. A succession of journeys and long visits at various times to Egypt, a Pilgrimage to the Moslem Holy Land and an exploration of the Arabic-speaking Somali-shores and Harar-Gay in the Galla country of Southern Abyssinia, added largely to my practice. At Aden, where I passed the official examination, Captain (now Sir. R. Lambert) Playfair and the late Rev. G. Percy Badger, to whom my papers were submitted, were pleased to report favourably of my proficiency. During some years of service and discovery in Western Africa and the Brazil my studies were necessarily confined to the "Thousand Nights and a Night"; and when a language is not wanted for use my habit is to forget as much of it as possible, thus clearing the brain for assimilating fresh matter. At the Consulate of Damascus, however, in West Arabian Midian and in Maroccan Tangier the loss was readily recovered. In fact, of this and sundry other subjects it may be said without immodesty that I have forgotten as much as many Arabists have learned. But I repeat my confession that I do not know Arabic and I have still to meet the man who does know Arabic.
Orientalists, however, are like poets and musicians, a rageous race. A passing allusion to a Swedish student styled by others (Mekkanische Sprichworter, etc., p.1) "Dr. Landberg," and by himself "Doctor Count Carlo Landberg" procured me the surprise of the following communication. I quote it in full because it is the only uncourteous attempt at correspondence upon the subject of The Nights which has hitherto been forced upon me.
In his introduction (p. xx.) to the Syrian Proverbes et Dictons Doctor Count Landberg was pleased to criticise, with less than his usual knowledge, my study entitled "Proverbia Communia Syriaca" (Unexplored Syria, i. 264-269). These 187 "dictes" were taken mainly from a MS. collection by one Hanna Misk, ex-dragoman of the British Consulate (Damascus), a little recueil for private use such as would be made by a Syro Christian bourgeois. Hereupon the critic absurdly asserted that the translator a voulu s'occuper de la langue classique au lieu de se faire * * * l'interprete fidele de celle du peuple. My reply was (The Nights, vol. viii. 148) that, as I was treating of proverbs familiar to the better educated order of citizens, his critique was not to the point; and this brought down upon me the following letter under the aegis of a portentous coronet and initials blazing with or, yules and azure.
Paris, le 24 Fevr., 1888.
J'ai l'honneur de vous adresser 2 fascicules de mes Critica Arabica. Dans le vol. viii. p. 48 de votre traduction de 1001 Nuits vous avez une note qui me regard (sic). Vous y cites que je ne suds pas "Arabist." Ce n'est pas votre jugement qui m'impressionne, car vous n'etes nullement a meme de me juger. Votre article contient, comme tout ce que vous avez ecrit dans le domaine de la langue arabe, des bevues. C'est vous qui n'etes pas arabisant: cela est bien connu et reconnu, et nous ne nous donnons pas meme la peine de relever toutes les innombrables erreurs don't vos publications fourmillent. Quant a "Sahifah" vous etes encore en erreur. Mon etymologie est acceptee par tout le monde et je vous renvoie a Fleischer, Kleinre Schriften, p. 468, Leipzig, 1885, ou vous trouverez ['instruction necessaire. Le dilettantism qui se trahit dans tout ce que vous ecrivez vous fait faire de telles erreurs. Nous autres arabisants et professo (?) nous ne vous avons jamais et nous ne vous pouvons jamais considerer comme arabisant. Voila ma reponse a votre note.
l'expression de mes sentiments distingues,
After these preliminaries I proceed to notice the article (No. 335, of July '86) in
The "Edinburgh Review"
and to explain its private history with the motives which begat it.
"This is the Augustan age of English criticism," say the reviewers, who are fond of remarking that the period is one of literary appreciation rather than of original production that is, contemporary reviewers, critics and monograph-writers are more important than "makers" in verse or in prose. In fact it is their aurea aetas. I reply "Virgin ore, no!" on the whole mixed metal, some noble, much ignoble; a little gold, more silver and an abundance of brass, lead and dross. There is the criticism of Sainte Beuve, of the late Matthew Arnold and of Swinburne, there is also the criticism of the Saturday Reviler and of the Edinburgh criticaster. The golden is truth and honour incarnate: it possesses outsight and insight: it either teaches and inspires or it comforts and consoles, save when a strict sense of duty compels it to severity: briefly, it is keen and guiding and creative. Let the young beginner learn by rote what one master says of another:—"He was never provoked into coarseness: his thrusts were made with the rapier according to the received rules of fence, he firmly upheld the honour of his calling, and in the exercise of it was uniformly fearless, independent and incorrupt." The Brazen is partial, one-sided, tricksy, misleading, immoral; serving personal and interested purposes and contemptuously forgetful of every obligation which an honest and honourable pen owes to the public and to itself. Such critiques bring no profit to the reviewed. He feels that he has been written up or written down by a literary hireling who has possibly been paid to praise or abuse him secondarily, and primarily to exalt or debase his publisher or his printer.
My own literary career has supplied me with many a curious study. Writing upon subjects, say The Lake Regions of Central Africa which were then a type of the Unknown I could readily trace in the journalistic notices all the tricks and dodges of the trade. The rare honest would confess that they could say nothing upon the subject, they came to me therefore for information and professed themselves duly thankful. The many dishonest had recourse to a variety of devices. The hard worker would read-up voyages and travels treating of the neighboring countries, Abyssinia, the Cape and the African Coasts Eastern and Western; thus he would write in a kind of reflected light without acknowledging his obligation to my volumes. Another would review my book after the easy American fashion of hashing up the author's production, taking all its facts from me with out disclosing that one fact to the reader and then proceed to "butter" or "slash." The worst, "fulfyld with malace of froward entente," would choose for theme not the work but the worker, upon the good old principle "Abuse the plaintiff's attorney." These arts fully account for the downfall of criticism in our day and the deafness of the public to such literary verdicts. But a few years ago a favourable review in a first-rate paper was "fifty pounds in the author's pocket": now it is not worth as many pence unless signed by some well-known scribbling statesman or bustling reverend who caters for the public taste. The decline and fall is well expressed in the old lines:—
"Non est sanctior quod laudaris: Non est vilior si vituperaris."
"No one, now-a-days, cares for reviews," wrote Darwin as far back as 1849; and it is easy to see the whys and the wherefores. I have already touched upon the duty of reviewing the reviewer when the latter's work calls for the process, despite the pretensions of modern criticism that it must not be criticised. Although to buffet an anonym is to beat the air, still the very effort does good. A well-known and popular novelist of the present day was a favourite butt for certain journalists who, with the normal half-knowledge of men—
"That read too little, and that write too much"—
persistently fell foul of the points in which the author was almost always right and the reviewer was wrong. "An eagle hawketh not at flies;" the object of ill-natured satire despised—
"The creatures of the stall and stye,"
and persisted in contemptuous reticence, giving consent by silence to what was easily refuted, and suffering a fond and foolish sentence to misguide the public which it pretends to direct. "Take each man's censure but reserve thy judgment," is a wise saying when silently practiced; it leads, however, to suffering in public esteem. The case in question was wholly changed when, at my suggestion, the writer was persuaded to catch a few of the culprits and to administer the dressing and redressing they so richly deserved.
And now to my tale.
Mr. Henry Reeve, Editor of the Edinburgh Review, wrote to me shortly before my first volume was issued to subscribers (September,'85) asking for advance sheets, as his magazine proposed to produce a general notice of The Arabian Nights Entertainments. But I suspected the man whose indiscretion and recklessness had been so unpleasantly paraded in the shape of the Greville (Mr. Worldly Wiseman's) Memoirs, and I had not forgotten the untruthful and malignant articles of perfervid brutality which during the hot youth and calm middle age of the Edinburgh had disgraced the profession of letters. My answer, which was temporising and diplomatic, induced only a second and a more urgent application. Bearing in mind that professional etiquette hardly justifies publicly reviewing a book intended only for private reading and vividly remembering the evil of the periodical, I replied that the sheets should be forwarded but on one condition, namely, that the reviewer would not dwell too lovingly and longingly upon the "archaics," which had so excited the Tartuffean temperament of the chaste Pall Mall Gazette. Mr. Henry Reeves replied (surlily) that he was not in the habit of dictating to his staff and I rejoined by refusing to grant his request. So he waited until five, that is one half of my volumes had been distributed to subscribers, and revenged himself by placing them for review in the hands of the "Lane-Poole" clique which, as the sequel proved could be noisy and combative as setting hens disturbed when their nest-egg was threatened by an intruding hand.
For the clique had appropriated all right and claim to a monopoly of The Arabian Nights Entertainments which they held in hand as a rotten borough. The "Uncle and Master," Mr. Edward William Lane, eponymous hero of the house, had retranslated certain choice specimens of the Recueil and the "nephews of their uncle" resolved to make a private gold-mine thereof. The book came out in monthly parts at half-a-crown (1839-41) and when offered for sale in 3 vols. royal 8 vo, the edition of 5,000 hung fire at first until the high price (3 pounds 3s.) was reduced to 27 shillings for the trade. The sale then went off briskly and amply repaid the author and the publishers—Charles Knight and Co. And although here and there some "old Tory" grumbled that new-fangled words (as Wezeer, Kadee and Jinnee) had taken the places of his childhood's pets, the Vizier, the Cadi, and the Genie, none complained of the workmanship for the all-sufficient reason that naught better was then known or could be wanted. Its succes de salon was greatly indebted to the "many hundred engravings on wood, from original designs by William Harvey", with a host of quaint and curious Arabesques, Cufic inscriptions, vignettes, head pieces and culs- de-lampes. These, with the exception of sundry minor accessories, [FN#447] were excellent and showed for the first time the realistic East and not the absurdities drawn from the depths of artistical ignorance and self-consciousness—those of Smirke, Deveria, Chasselot and Co., not to speak of the horrors of the De Sacy edition, whose plates have apparently been used by Prof. Weil and by the Italian versions. And so the three bulky and handsome volumes found a ready way into many a drawing room during the Forties, when the public was uncritical enough to hail the appearance of these scattered chapters and to hold that at last they had the real thing, pure and unadulterated. No less than three reprints of the "Standard Edition," 1859 (the last being in '83), succeeded one another and the issue was finally stopped, not by the author's death (aetat 75; London, August 10, 1876: net. Hereford, September 17, 1801), nor by the plates, which are now the property of Messieurs Chatto and Windus, becoming too worn for use, but simply by deficient demand. And the clique, represented by the late Edward Lane-Poole in 1879, who edited the last edition (1883) with a Preface by Mr. Stanley Lane-Poole, during a long run of forty-three years never paid the public the compliment of correcting the multitudinous errors and short comings of the translation. Even the lengthy and longsome notes, into which The Nights have too often been merged, were left untrimmed. Valuable in themselves and full of information, while wholly misplaced in a recueil of folk-lore, where they stand like pegs behung with the contents of the translator's adversaria, the monographs on details of Arab life have also been exploited and reprinted under the "fatuous" title, "Arabian (for Egyptian) Society in the Middle Ages: Studies on The Thousand and One Nights." They were edited by Mr. Stanley Lane-Poole (Chatto and Windus) in 1883.
At length the three volumes fell out of date, and the work was formally pronounced unreadable. Goethe followed from afar by Emerson, had foreseen the "inevitable increase of Oriental influence upon the Occident," and the eagerness with which the men of the West would apply themselves to the languages and literature of the East. Such garbled and mutilated, unsexed and unsoured versions and perversions like Lane's were felt to be survivals of the unfittest. Mr. John Payne (for whom see my Foreword, vol. i. pp. xi.-xii.) resolved to give the world the first honest and complete version of the Thousand Nights and a Night. He put forth samples of his work in the New Quarterly Magazine (January- April, 1879), whereupon he was incontinently assaulted by Mr. Reginald Stuart Poole, the then front of the monopolists, who after drawing up a list of fifteen errata (which were not errata) in two Nights, declared that "they must be multiplied five hundred-fold to give the sum we may expect." (The Academy, April 26, 1879; November 29, 1881; and December 7, 1881.) The critic had the courage, or rather impudence, to fall foul of Mr. Payne's mode and mannerism, which had long become deservedly famous, and concludes: —"The question of English style may for the present be dropped, as, if a translator cannot translate, it little matters in what form his results appear. But it may lie questioned whether an Arab edifice should be decorated with old English wall-papers."
Evidently I had scant reason to expect mercy from the clique: I wanted none and I received none.
My reply to the arch-impostor, who
Spreads the light wings of saffron and of blue,
will perforce be somewhat detailed: it is necessary to answer paragraph by paragraph, and the greater part of the thirty-three pages refers more or less directly to myself. To begin with the beginning, it caused me and many others some surprise to see the "Thousand Nights and a Night" expelled the initial list of thirteen items, as if it were held unfit for mention. Cet article est principalement une diatribe contre l'ouorage de Sir Richard Burton et dans le libre cet ouvrage n'est meme pas mentionne', writes my French friend. This proceeding was a fair specimen of "that impartiality which every reviewer is supposed to possess." But the ignoble "little dodge" presently suggested itself. The preliminary excursus (p.168) concerning the "Mille et Une Nuits (read Nuit) an audacious fraud, though not the less the best story book in the world," affords us a useful measure of the writer's competence in the matter of audacity and ill-judgment. The honest and single-minded Galland is here (let us believe through that pure ignorance which haply may hope for "fool's pardon") grossly and unjustly vilified; and, by way of making bad worse, we are assured (p. 167) that the Frenchman "brought the Arabic manuscript from Syria"—an infact which is surprising to the most superficial student. "Galland was a born story teller, in the good and the bad sense" (p. 167), is a silly sneer of the true Lane-Poolean type. The critic then compares most unadvisedly (p. 168) a passage in Galland (De Sacy edit. vol. i. 414) with the same in Mr. Payne's (i. 260) by way of proving the "extraordinary liberties which the worthy Frenchman permitted himself to take with the Arabic": had he troubled himself to collate my version (i. 290-291), which is made fuller by the Breslau Edit. (ii. 190), he would have found that the Frenchman, as was his wont, abridged rather than amplified;[FN#448] although, when the original permitted exact translation, he could be literal enough. And what doubt, may I enquire, can we have concerning "The Sleeper Awakened" (Lane, ii. 351-376), or, as I call it, "The Sleeper and the waker" (Suppl. vol.i.1-29), when it occurs in a host of MSS., not to mention the collection of tales which Prof. Habicht converted into the Arabian Nights by breaking the text into a thousand and one sections (Bresl. Edit. iv. 134-189, Nights cclxxii. ccxci.). The reckless assertions that "the whole" of the last fourteen (Gallandian) tales have nothing whatever to do with "The Nights" (p. 168); and that of the histories of Zayn al-Asnam and Aladdin, "it is abundantly certain that they belong to no manuscript of the Thousand and One Nights" (p. 169), have been notably stultified by M. Hermann Zotenberg's purchase of two volumes containing both these bones of long and vain contention. See Foreword to my Suppl. vol. iii. pp. viii.-xi., and Mr. W. F. Kirby's interesting notice of M. Zotenberg's epoch-making booklet (vol. vi. p. 287).
"The first English edition was published (pace Lowndes) within eight years of Galland's" (p. 170) states a mere error. The second part of Galland (6 vols. 12 mo) was not issued till 1717, or two years after the translator's death. Of the English editio princeps the critic tells nothing, nor indeed has anyone as yet been able to tell us aught. Of the dishonouring assertion (again let us hope made in simple ignorance) concerning "Cazotte's barefaced forgery" (p. 170), thus slandering the memory of Jacques Cazotte, one of the most upright and virtuous of men who ever graced the ranks of literature, I have disposed in the Foreword to my Supplemental vol. vi. "This edition (Scott's) was tastefully reprinted by Messrs. Nimmo and Bain in four volumes in 1883" (p. 170). But why is the reader not warned that the eaux fortes are by Lalauze (see supra, p. 326), 19 in number, and taken from the 21 illustrations in MM. Jouaust's edit. of Galland with preface by J. Janin? Why also did the critic not inform us that Scott's sixth volume, the only original part of the work, was wilfully omitted? This paragraph ends with mentioning the labours of Baron von Hammer-Purgstall, concerning whom we are afterwards told (p. 186) for the first time that he "was brilliant and laborious." Hard-working, yes! brilliant, by no means!
We now come to the glorification of the "Uncle and Master," concerning whom I can only say that Lane's bitterest enemy (if the amiable Orientalist ever had any unfriend) could not have done him more discredit than this foolish friend. "His classical(!) translation was at once recognised as an altogether new departure" (p. 171), and "it was written in such a manner that the Oriental tone of The Nights should be reflected in the English" (ibid.). "It aims at reproducing in some degree the literary flavour of the original" (p 173). "The style of Lane's translation is an old-fashioned somewhat Biblical language" (p. 173) and "it is precisely this antiquated ring" (of the imperfect and mutilated "Boulak edition," unwisely preferred by the translator) "that Lane has succeeded in preserving" "The measured and finished language Lane chose for his version is eminently fitted to represent the rhythmical tongue of the Arab" (Memoir, p. xxvii.). "The translation itself is distinguished by its singular accuracy and by the marvellous way in which the Oriental tone and colour are retained " (ibid.). The writer has taken scant trouble to read me when he asserts that the Bulak edit was my text, and I may refer him, for his own advantage, to my Foreword (vol. i. p. xvii.), which he has wilfully ignored by stating unfact. I hasten to plead guilty before the charge of "really misunderstanding the design of Lane's style" (p. 173). Much must be pardoned to the panegyrist, the encomiast; but the idea of mentioning in the same sentence with Biblical English, the noblest and most perfect specimen of our prose, the stiff and bald, the vapid and turgid manner of the Orientalist who "commences" and "concludes"—never begins and ends, who never uses a short word if he can find a long word, who systematically rejects terse and idiomatic Anglo-Saxon when a Latinism is to be employed and whose pompous stilted periods are the very triumph of the "Deadly-lively"! By arts precisely similar the learned George Sale made the Koran, that pure and unstudied inspiration of Arabian eloquence, dull as a law document, and left the field clear for the Rev. Mr. Rodwell. I attempted to excuse the style-laches of Lane by noticing the lack of study in English linguistic which distinguished the latter part of the xviiith and the first half of the xixth centuries, when men disdaining the grammar of their own tongue, learned it from Latin and Greek; when not a few styled Shakespeare "silly-billy," and when Lamb the essayist, wrote, "I can read, and I say it seriously, the homely old version of the Psalms for an hour or two together sometimes, without sense of weariness." But the reviewer will have none of my palliative process, he is surprised at my "posing as a judge of prose style," being "acquainted with my quaint perversions of the English language" (p. 173) and, when combating my sweeping assertion that "our prose" (especially the prose of schoolmasters and professors, of savans and Orientalists) "was perhaps the worst in Europe," he triumphantly quotes half a dozen great exceptions whose eminence goes far to prove the rule.
As regards Lane's unjustifiable excisions the candid writer tells us everything but the truth. As I have before noted (vol. ix. 304), the main reason was simply that the publisher, who was by no means a business man, found the work outgrowing his limits and insisted upon its coming to an untimely and, alas! a tailless end. This is perhaps the principal cause for ignoring the longer histories, like King Omar bin al-Nu'uman (occupying 371 pages in my vols. ii. and iii.); Abu Hasan and his slave-girl Tawaddud (pp. 56, vol. v. 189-245), the Queen of the Serpents with the episodes of Bulukiya and of Janshah (pp.98, vol. v. 298-396); The Rogueries of Dalilah the Crafty and the Adventures of Mercury Ali (pp. 55, vol. vii. 144-209). The Tale of Harun al-Rashid and Abu Hasan of Oman (pp. 19, vol. ix. 188-207) is certainly not omitted by dictations of delicacy, nor is it true of the parts omitted in general that "none could be purified without being destroyed." As my French friend remarks, "Few parts are so plain-spoken as the introduction, le cadre de l'ouvrage, yet M. Lane was not deterred by such situation." And lastly we have, amongst the uncalledfor excisions, King Jali'ad of Hind, etc. (pp. 102, vol. ix. 32-134). The sum represents a grand total of 701 pages, while not a few of the notes are filled with unimportant fabliaux and apologues.
But the critic has been grandly deceptive, either designedly or of ignorance prepense in his arithmetic. "There are over four hundred of these (anecdotes, fables, and stories) in the complete text, and Lane has not translated more than two hundred" (p. 172). * * * "Adding the omitted anecdotes to the omitted tales, it appears that Lane left out about a third of the whore 'Nights,' and of that third at least three-fourths was incompatible with a popular edition. When Mr. Payne and Captain Burton boast of presenting the public 'with three times as much matter as any other version,' they perhaps mean a third as much again" (p. 173). * * * "Captain Burton records his opinion that Lane has 'omitted half and by far the more characteristic half of the Arabian Nights,' but Captain Burton has a talent for exaggeration, and for 'characteristic' we should reed 'unclear.' It is natural that he should make the most of such omissions, since they form the raison d'etre of his own translation; but he has widely overshot the mark, and the public may rest assured that the tales omitted from the standard version (proh pudor!) are of very slight importance in comparison with the tales included in it" (p. 173).
What a mass of false statement!
Let us now exchange fiction for fact. Lane's three volumes contain a total, deducting 15 for index, of pp. 1995 (viz. 618 + 643 + 734); while each (full) page of text averages 38 lines and of notes (in smaller type) 48. The text with a number of illustrations represents a total of pp. 1485 (viz. 441 + 449 + 595). Mr. Payne's nine volumes contain a sum of pp. 3057, mostly without breaks, to the 1485 of the "Standard edition." In my version the sum of pages, each numbering 41 lines, is 3156, or 1163 more than Lane's total and 2671 more than his text.
Again, in Lane's text the tales number 62 (viz. 35 + 14 + 13), and as has been stated, all the longest have been omitted, save only Sindbad the Seaman. The anecdotes in the notes amount to 44 1/2 (viz. 3 1/2 + 35 + 6): these are for the most pert the merest outlines and include the 3 1/2 of volume i. viz. the Tale of Ibrahim al-Mausili (pp. 223-24), the Tale of Caliph Mu'awiyah (i. pp. 521-22), the Tale of Mukharik the Musician (i. pp. 224- 26), and the half tale of Umm 'Amr (i. p. 522). They are quoted bodily from the "Halbat al- Kumayt" and from the "Kitab al-Unwan fi Makaid al-Niswan," showing that at the early stage of his labours the translator, who published in parts, had not read the book on which he was working; or, at least, had not learned that all the three and a half had been borrowed from The Nights. Thus the grand total is represented by 106 1/2 tales, and the reader will note the difference between 106 1/2 and the diligent and accurate reviewer's "not much more than two hundred." In my version the primary tales amount to 171; the secondaries, &c., to 96 and the total to 267, while Mr. Payne has 266.[FN#449] And these the critic swells to "over four hundred!" Thus I have more than double the number of pages in Lane's text (allowing the difference between his 38 lines to an oft-broken page and my 41) and nearly two and a half tales to his one, and therefore I do not mean "a third as much again."
Thus, too, we can deal with the dishonest assertions concerning Lane's translation "not being absolutely complete" (p. 171) and that "nobody desired to see the objectionable passages which constituted the bulk of Lane's omissions restored to their place in the text" (p. 175).
The critic now passes to The Uncle's competence for the task, which he grossly exaggerates. Mr. Lane had no "intimate acquaintance with Mahommedan life" (p. 174). His "Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians" should have been entitled "Modern Cairenes;" he had seen nothing of Nile-land save what was shown to him by a trip to Philae in his first visit (1825-28) and another to Thebes during his second, he was profoundly ignorant of Egypt as a whole, and even in Cairo he knew nothing of woman-life and child-life—two thirds of humanity. I doubt if he could have understood the simplest expression in baby language; not to mention the many idioms peculiar to the Harem nursery. The characteristic of his work is geniality combined with a true affection for his subject, but no scholar can ignore its painful superficiality. His studies of legal theology gave him much weight with the Olema, although, at the time when he translated The Nights, his knowledge of Arabic was small. Hence the number of lapses which disfigures his pages. These would have been excusable in an Orientalist working out of Egypt, but Lane had a Shaykh ever at his elbow and he was always able to command the assistance of the University Mosque, Al-Azhar. I need not enter upon the invidious task of cataloguing these errors, especially as the most glaring have been cursorily noticed in my volumes. Mr. Lane after leaving Egypt became one of the best Arabic scholars of his day, but his fortune did not equal his deserts. The Lexicon is a fine work although sadly deficient in the critical sense, but after the labour of thirty-four years (it began printing in 1863) it reached only the 19th letter Ghayn (p. 2386). Then invidious Fate threw it into the hands of Mr. Stanley Lane-Poole. With characteristic audacity he disdained to seek the services of some German Professor, an order of men which, rarely dining out and caring little for "Society," can devote itself entirely to letters, perhaps he hearkened to the silly charge against the Teuton of minuteness and futility of research as opposed to "good old English breadth and suggestiveness of treatment." And the consequence has been a "continuation" which serves as a standard whereby to measure the excellence of the original work and the woful falling- off and deficiencies of the sequel— the latter retaining of the former naught save the covers. [FN#450]
Of Mr. Lane's Notes I have ever spoken highly: they are excellent and marvellously misplaced—non erat his locus. The text of a story-book is too frail to bear so ponderous a burden of classical Arabian lore, and the annotations injure the symmetry of the book as a work of art. They begin with excessive prolixity: in the Introduction these studies fill 27 closely printed pages to 14 of a text broken by cuts and vignettes. In chaps. i. the proportion is pp. 20, notes: 15 text, and in chaps. ii. it is pp. 20: 35. Then they become under the publisher's protest, beautifully less; and in vol. iii. chaps. 30 (the last) they are pp. 5: 57. Long disquisitions, "On the initial Moslem formula," "On the Wickedness of Women," "On Fate and Destiny," "On Arabian Cosmogony," "On Slaves," "On Magic," "On the Two Grand Festivals," all these being appended to the Introduction and the first chapter, are mere hors d'oeuvres: such "copy" should have been reserved for another edition of "The Modern Egyptians." The substitution of chapters for Nights was perverse and ill-judged as it could be, but it appears venial compared with condensing the tales in a commentary, thus converting the Arabian Nights into Arabian Notes. However, "Arabian Society in the Middle Ages," a legacy left by the "Uncle and Master", and like the tame and inadequate "Selections from the Koran," utilised by the grand-nephew, has been of service to the Edinburgh. Also, as it appears three several and distinct times in one article (pp. 166, 174, and 183), we cannot but surmise that a main object of the critique was to advertise the volume. Men are crafty in these days when practicing the "puff indirect."
But the just complaint against Lane's work is its sin of omission. The partial Reviewer declares (pp. 174 75) that the Arabist "retranslated The Nights in a practical spirit, omitting what was objectionable, together with a few tales(!) that were, on the whole, uninteresting or tautological, and enriching the work with a multitude of valuable notes. We had now a scholarly version of the greater part of The Nights imbued with the spirit of the East and rich in illustrative comment; and for forty years no one thought of anything more, although Galland still kept his hold on the nursery." Despite this spurious apology, the critic is compelled cautiously to confess (p. 172), "We are not sure that some of these omissions were not mistaken;" and he instances "Abdallah the Son of Fazil" and "Abu'l-Hasan of Khorasan" (he means, I suppose, Abu Hasan al-Ziyadi and the Khorasani Man, iv. 285), whilst he suggests, "a careful abridgment of the tale of Omar the Son of No'man" (ii. 7,, etc.). Let me add that wittiest and most rollicking of Rabelaisian skits, "All the Persian and the Kurd Sharper" (iv. 149), struck-out in the very wantonness of "respectability;" and the classical series, an Arabian "Pilpay," entitled "King Jali'ad of Hind and his Wazir Shimas" (iv. 32). Nor must I omit to notice the failure most injurious to the work which destroyed in it half the "spirit of the East." Mr. Lane had no gift of verse or rhyme: he must have known that the ten thousand lines of the original Nights formed a striking and necessary contrast with the narrative part, acting as aria to recitativo. Yet he rendered them only in the baldest and most prosaic of English without even the balanced style of the French translations. He can be excused only for one consideration—bad prose is not so bad as bad verse.
The ill-judged over-appreciation and glorification of Mr. Lane is followed (p. 176) by the depreciation and bedevilment of Mr. John Payne, who first taught the world what The Nights really is. We are told that the author (like myself) "unfortunately did not know Arabic;" and we are not told that he is a sound Persian scholar: however, "he undoubtedly managed to pick up enough of the language(!) to understand The Arabian Nights with the assistance of the earlier translations of (by?) Torrens and Lane," the former having printed only one volume out of some fifteen. This critic thinks proper now to ignore the "old English wall-papers," of Mr. R. S. Poole, indeed he concedes to the translator of Villon, a "genius for language," a "singular robust and masculine prose, which for the present purpose he intentionally weighted with archaisms and obsolete words but without greatly injuring its force or brilliancy" (p. 177). With plausible candour he also owns that the version "is a fine piece of English, it is also, save where the exigencies of rhyme compelled a degree of looseness, remarkably literal" (p. 178). Thus the author is damned with faint praise by one who utterly fails to appreciate the portentous difference between linguistic genius and linguistic mediocrity, and the Reviewer proceeds, "a careful collation" (we have already heard what his "careful" means) "of the different versions with their originals leads us to the conclusion that Mr. Payne's version is little less faithful than Lane's in those parts which are common to both, and is practically as close a rendering as is desirable" (p. 178). Tell the truth, man, and shame the Devil! I assert and am ready to support that the "Villon version" is incomparably superior to Lane's not only in its simple, pure and forcible English, but also in its literal and absolute correctness, being almost wholly free from the blunders and inaccuracies which everywhere disfigure Torrens, and which are rarely absent from Lane. I also repeat that wherever the style and the subject are the most difficult to treat, Mr. Payne comes forth most successfully from the contest, thus giving the best proof of his genius and capacity for painstaking. Of the metrical part, which makes the Villon version as superior to Lane's as virgin gold to German silver, the critique offers only three inadequate specimens specially chosen and accompanied with a growl that "the verse is nothing remarkable" (p. 177) and that the author is sometimes "led into extreme liberties with the original" (ibid.). Not a word of praise for mastering the prodigious difficulties of the monorhyme!
But—and there is a remarkable power in this particle—Mr. Payne's work is "restricted to the few wealthy collectors of proscribed books and what booksellers' catalogues describe as facetiae'" (p. 179); for "when an Arabic word is unknown to the literary language" (what utter imbecility!), "and belongs only to the low vocabulary of the gutter" (which the most "elegant" writers most freely employ), "Mr. Payne laboriously searches out a corresponding term in English 'Billingsgate,' and prides himself upon an accurate reproduction of the tone of the original" (p. 178). This is a remarkable twisting of the truth. Mr. Payne persisted, despite my frequent protests, in rendering the "nursery words" and the "terms too plainly expressing natural situations" by old English such as "kaze" and "swive," equally ignored by the "gutter" and by "Billingsgate": he also omitted an offensive line whenever it did not occur in all the texts and could honestly be left untranslated. But the unfact is stated for a purpose: here the Reviewer mounts the high horse and poses as the Magister Morum per excellentiam. The Battle of the Books has often been fought, the crude text versus the bowdlerised and the expurgated; and our critic can contribute to the great fray only the merest platitudes. "There is an old and trusty saying that 'evil communications corrupt good manners,' end it is a well-known fact that the discussion(?) and reading of depraved literature leads (sic) infallibly to the depravation of the reader's mind" (p. 179). [FN#451] I should say that the childish indecencies and the unnatural vice of the original cannot deprave any mind save that which is perfectly prepared to be depraved; the former would provoke only curiosity and amusement to see bearded men such mere babes, and the latter would breed infinitely more disgust than desire. The man must be prurient and lecherous as a dog-faced baboon in rut to have aught of passion excited by either. And most inept is the conclusion, "So long as Mr. Payne's translation remains defiled by words, sentences, and whole paragraphs descriptive of coarse and often horribly depraved sensuality, it can never stand beside Lane's, which still remains the standard version of the Arabian Nights" (p. 179). Altro! No one knows better than the clique that Lane, after an artificially prolonged life of some half-century, has at last been weighed in the balance and been found wanting; that he is dying that second death which awaits the unsatisfactory worker and that his Arabian Nights are consigned by the present generation to the limbo of things obsolete and forgotten.
But if Mr. Payne is damned with poor praise and mock modesty, my version is condemned without redemption—beyond all hope of salvation: there is not a word in favour of a work which has been received by the reviewers with a chorus of kindly commendation. "The critical battery opens with a round-shot." "Another complete translation is now appearing in a surreptitious way" (p. 179). How "surreptitious" I ask of this scribe, who ekes not the lack of reason by a superfluity of railing, when I sent out some 24,000—30,000 advertisements and published my project in the literary papers? "The amiability of the two translators (Payne and Burton) was testified by their each dedicating a volume to the other. So far as the authors are concerned nothing could be more harmonious and delightful; but the public naturally ask, What do we want with two forbidden versions?" And I again inquire, What can be done by me to satisfy this atrabilious and ill-conditioned Aristarchus? Had I not mentioned Mr. Payne, my silence would have been construed into envy, hatred and malice: if I am proud to acknowledge my friend's noble work the proceeding engenders a spiteful sneer. As regards the "want," public demand is easily proved. It is universally known (except to the Reviewer who will not know) that Mr. Payne, who printed only 500 copies, was compelled to refuse as many hundreds of would be subscribers; and, when my design was made public by the Press, these and others at once applied to me. "To issue a thousand still more objectionable copies by another and not a better hand" (notice the quip cursive!) may "seem preposterous" (p. 180), but only to a writer so "preposterous" as this.