The World's Greatest Books, Vol VIII
by Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton, Eds.
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Then came the announcement that Germain had been freed from prison, the charges against him being dropped. Also that Monsieur Ferrand gave a million francs to found a workingmen's bank where the poor could borrow without paying interest. Germain was to be cashier.

Ferrand's sufferings were intense. Brodamonte, discovered in a criminal act by Rudolph, was now his slave, and acted as his agent. Both were watched by a well-concealed circle of spies. Brodamonte forced Ferrand's system of restitution, under Rudolph's directions, who had succeeded in obtaining from the notary by a trick papers which proved his crimes and guilt. This was his punishment. A miser, he must give; and, always a pious fraud, he was now compelled to place all his money in trust with the good, simple old abbe he had long deceived.

By chance Rudolph now learned of the absence of the girl and the deception that had caused Madame George to make no inquiries. He suspected truly that La Goualeuse's abduction had been instigated by Sarah.

Suddenly an idea burst upon him. Looking over the papers taken from Ferrand, he saw that the notary had reason to fear the existence of a certain child he had turned over to Screech-Owl ten years previously. These suspicions changed to conviction when e learned that on the day of Marie's release a woman had been drowned in the Seine. So great was his rage that he now determined to revenge himself doubly on the criminal notary.

The Countess Sarah was recovering slowly. Rudolph, believing her to be dying, consented to visit her. He found her dressed and decked in her jewels, but pale and weak.

"Rudolph, I am dying," she said; "I have something of great importance to tell you." Her agitation was intense.

"Our child is not dead!" burst from her suddenly.

"Our child!"

"I tell you, she lives!"

"Enough, madame, you cannot deceive me. I know your schemes."

"But listen, I have proof!" she cried eagerly. "I have told you the truth. You remember I had left the child with my notary to superintend her education. He was false to me. She had not died, but was disposed of to a woman known as the Screech-Owl, and——"

"No! No! I do not believe you—I do not wish to believe you!"

"See," she continued, "here is her portrait."

He seized the miniature. Yes, in the child's face were recognizable the blue eyes, the oval face, the fair hair, so familiar to him in Fleur-de-Marie.

"God!" he cried, "you wretched woman! La Goualeuse our daughter! Found, only to lose her again. Dead!"

"No, she lives, Rudolph. Pity! I die!"

"Your child is dead, murdered. May the knowledge curse your last moments!" And he rushed from the house, leaving Sarah in a fainting condition.

Meanwhile, the Marquise d'Harville, a friend of Rudolph's, learned by chance of the presence of La Goualeuse in the house of the doctor who had rescued her from the Seine. Knowing Rudolph's keen interest in La Goualeuse, Madame d'Harville determined to take her with her in her carriage to convey the good news to Rudolph in person.

Some days later she appeared at Rudolph's magnificent apartments and announced to him that Fleur-de-Marie was below in the carriage. Rudolph rose, pale, supporting himself by the table. Madame d'Harville's surprise restrained him.

"Ah, Clemence," he murmured, "you do not know what you have done for me. Fleur-de-Marie is—my daughter!"

"Your daughter, your Highness?"

Then suddenly she understood. Fleur-de-Marie was brought up, and it required Clemence to restrain Rudolph so that he broke the news gently. Fleur-de-Marie was even then overcome, for she had loved Rudolph as she would have loved her god.

Sarah died soon afterward. Rudolph asked Clemence d'Harville to become mother to Marie, now the Princess Amelia, and they returned to Germany. On setting out they passed in their carriage through a crowd attending an execution. Several criminals in the crowd, recognising Rudolph, attempted to attack him. Suddenly a man sprang forward in his defence, but was stabbed by one of the crowd and fell dying. It was the Slasher. "I could not go to Algiers," he murmured. "I wished to be near you, Monsieur Rudolph."

A noble prince sought the hand of the Princess Amelia, but she, feeling her past degradation, retired to a convent, where she died, beloved by all, mourned deeply by Rudolph and Clemence.

Ferrand, the notary, died in convulsions, killing Brodamonte with a poisoned dagger. Germain, restored to his mother, married happily, his wife's dowry coming from the prince.

* * * * *


Gulliver's Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World

Jonathan Swift, the greatest and most original satirist of his own, or perhaps of any age, was born in Dublin, Ireland, of English parents, November 30, 1667. His poverty and abject dependence upon his relatives in his early youth may have given the first impetus to that bitter resentment and haughty spirit of pride which characterized him through life. After a somewhat troubled career in Trinity College, Dublin, he removed to England, where he entered the household of the retired English statesman, Sir William Temple, whose literary executor he became ten years later. The advertisement which this connection, and the performance of its final office, gave him, led to his appointment to a small living and certain other church emoluments in Ireland. In the following years he paid several protracted visits to London, where by the power of his pen and his unrivalled genius as a satirist of the politics of his time, he rapidly rose to a most formidable position in the State,—the intimate of poets and of statesmen. And yet, owing to the opposition which his claims met with at court, he derived no higher preferment for himself than the deanery of St. Patrick's, Dublin, in 1713. In time Swift reconciled himself to this change by vehemently espousing the cause of the Irish against their English rulers, and by his writings made himself as famous in that country as he had formerly done in England. Gradually the gloom of cerebral decay descended upon his magnificent intellect, and he died October 19, 1745. "To think of his ruin," said Thackeray, "is like thinking of the ruin of an empire." No more original work of genius than Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" exists in the English language. For sheer intellectual power it may not be equal to the "Tale of a Tub," but as it has more variety, so it has more art. "Gulliver" was published in 1726, at a period when life's disappointments had ceased to worry Swift. It is probable, however, that the book was planned some years previously, the keenness of the satire on courts and statesmen suggesting that his frustrated aims still rankled in his mind. Curious is it that so perfect an artist should nevertheless have missed the main purpose which he set himself in this book, namely, "to vex the world rather than divert it." The world refused to be vexed, and was hugely diverted. The real greatness of "Gulliver" lies in its teeming imagination and implacable logic. Swift succeeded in endowing the wildest improbabilities with an air of veracity rivalling Defoe himself. (See also Vol. X, p. 282.)

I.—A Voyage to Lilliput

My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire, but the charge of maintaining me at Cambridge being too great, after three years there I was bound apprentice to an eminent surgeon in London; in my spare time I studied navigation, and mathematics, useful to those who travel, as I always believed, at some time, it would be my fortune to do.

After studying physics in Leyden for two years, I became surgeon to the Swallow, and made a voyage or two in the Levant. I then settled in London, married, but after some years, my business beginning to fail, having consulted with my wife, I determined to go again to sea and made several voyages to the East and West Indies, by which I got some addition to my fortune.

In 1699, being on a voyage in the South Seas, we were driven on a rock, and the ship immediately split. I conclude my companions were all lost; for my part, I swam as fortune directed me, and being pushed forward by wind and tide, found myself at last within my depth, and had to wade near a mile before I got to shore. I was extremely tired, and lay down on the grass and slept soundly until daylight. I attempted to rise, but found myself strongly fastened to the ground, not able to turn even my head. I felt something moving gently up my leg, and over my breast, when bending my eyes downward, I perceived a human creature, not six inches high, with a bow and arrows in his hand; and felt a number more following him. I roared so loud, they all fell off in a fright, but soon returned. I struggled, and broke the strings that fastened my left hand, but the creatures ran off before I could seize them, and I felt about a hundred arrows discharged into my left hand, which pricked like so many needles. I lay still, groaning with grief and pain, till some of the inhabitants came and cut the strings that fastened my head, when turning it a little I saw one, who seemed to be a person of quality, who made me a long speech, of which I understood not one word; but in which I could observe many periods of threatening, and others of pity and kindness.

I answered in the most submissive manner, and being famished with hunger (perhaps against the strict rules of decency), put my finger in my mouth, to signify I wanted food. He understood me very well. Several ladders were applied to my sides, and a hundred of the inhabitants mounted, laden with food and drink, and supplied me as fast as they could, with marks of wonder at my bulk and appetite.

It seems that at the first moment I was discovered, the Emperor had notice by an express, and it was determined in council that I should be secured and fed, and at once conveyed to the capital city.

A sleepy potion having been mingled with my wine, I again slept. These people have arrived to a great perfection in mechanics, and by means of cords and pulleys, in less than three hours, I was raised and slung on to the largest of their machines, used for the carriage of trees and other great weights. Fifteen hundred of the largest horses, each about four and a half inches high, were employed to draw me towards the metropolis. The Emperor and all his Court came out to meet us. In the largest temple in the kingdom, disused because polluted by a murder some years before, I was to be lodged, secured by fourscore and eleven chains locked to my left leg. They were about two yards long and being fixed within four inches of the gate of the temple, allowed me to creep in and lie on the ground at my full length.

The Emperor is taller, by almost the breadth of my nail, than any of his court, his features strong and masculine, and his deportment majestic. He had reigned for seven years in great felicity, and generally victorious. I lay on my side, for the better convenience of beholding him, but I have had him many times since in my hand, and therefore cannot be deceived in this description. He held his sword drawn in his hand to defend himself, if I should happen to break loose, and spoke to me many times, and I answered, but neither of us could understand a syllable.

The Emperor had frequent councils to debate what course should be taken with me; they apprehended I might break loose; or might cause a famine; but my behaviour had made a favourable impression, and his Majesty made provision for me out of his own Treasury, and coming frequently to see me, I soon learnt to express my desire for liberty, which was after a time granted on certain conditions.

I soon learnt, in spite of its flourishing appearance, this country laboured under two evils; a violent faction at home, and the danger of invasion, by a most potent enemy, from abroad. The two parties in the kingdom were distinguished by the high or low heels of their shoes. The high heels were most agreeable to their ancient constitution, but the present Emperor was determined only to make use of low heels in the administration of the government—but the heir apparent seemed to have some tendency to high heels.

They were threatened with an invasion from the Island of Blefusco, which had been engaged in an obstinate war with Lilliput for a long time, on a question of a schism in religion. They had now prepared a numerous fleet, and were about to descend upon us, and his Majesty, in his confidence in my strength and valour, laid this account of his affairs before me.

II. I Depart from Blefusco

Having ascertained the depth of the channel between the two countries, and viewed the enemy's fleet through my perspective glass, I obtained a great quantity of cable and bars of iron. I twisted the bars into hooks which I fixed to fifty cables, and walked into the sea, wading with what haste I could, swam about thirty yards in the middle, and arrived at the fleet in about half an hour.

The enemy were so frightened when they saw me that they fled, and swam to shore. I then took my tackling, fixed a hook to each vessel, and tied all my cords together at the end; but not a ship would stir, they were held too fast by their anchors. The enemy's arrows disturbed me much, but I resolutely cut all the cables, and with the greatest ease drew fifty of the largest men of war with me. The tide had now fallen, and I waded safe to the royal port of Lilliput, where the Emperor received me with the highest honour. So immeasurable is the ambition of princes, that he thought now of nothing less than the complete submission of Blefusco; but I plainly protested "that I would never be an instrument of bringing a free and brave people into slavery"; and the wisest part of the Council were of my opinion.

His Majesty never forgave me, and an intrigue began which had like to have been my utter ruin; but a considerable person at Court informed me of the schemes against me, and I resolved at once to pay a visit to Blefusco, whose Emperor had sent a solemn embassy to Lilliput with humble offers of peace, and who received me with the generosity suitable to so great a Prince.

Three days after my arrival I observed a boat overturned on the coast, which with great difficulty I managed to get to the royal port of Blefusco; I told the Emperor that my good fortune had thrown this boat in my way, to carry me towards my native country, and begged his orders for materials to fit it up, together with his license to depart, which, after some kind expostulation, he was pleased to grant.

His Majesty of Lilliput had sent an envoy, to ask his brother of Blefusco to have me sent back to be punished as a traitor with the loss of my eyes; so that I resolved to "venture myself on the ocean rather than be an occasion of difference between two such mighty monarchs."

I stored the boat with the carcasses of sheep and oxen, and with bread and drink proportionable, and as much ready-dressed meat as four-hundred cooks could provide. I took with me cows and bulls, and rams and ewes, intending to propagate the breed in my own country; and would gladly have taken a dozen or two of the natives, but this his Majesty would not permit. Besides making a diligent search in my pockets, his Majesty engaged my honour "not to carry away any of his subjects, although by their own desire."

I set sail, and on the third day descried a sail steering to the south-east. I made all the sail I could, and in half an hour she espied me and flung out her flag and fired a gun.

My heart leaped within me to see her English colours, and putting my cows and sheep into my pockets, I soon got on board with all my provisions.

The Captain, a very civil man, and an excellent sailor, treated me with kindness, and we arrived in England with only one misfortune: the rats carried off one of my sheep. The rest I got safely ashore, and made a considerable profit in showing them to persons of quality, and before I began my second voyage I sold them for six hundred pounds.

I stayed but two months with my wife and family, for my insatiable desire of seeing foreign countries would suffer me to stay no longer. I left fifteen hundred pounds with my wife; my uncle had left me a small estate near Epping of about thirty pounds a year, and I had a long lease of the Black Bull in Fetter Lane; so that I was in no danger of leaving my wife and family upon the parish. My son Johnny was at the grammar school, and a towardly child. My daughter Betty (who is now well married) was then at her needlework.

I took leave of them with tears on both sides, and went on board the Adventure, a merchant ship of 300 tons, bound for Surat.

III.—A Voyage to Brobdingnag

We made a good voyage, until we had passed the Straits of Madagascar, when the southern monsoon set in, and we were driven many leagues out of our course. Being in distress for water, and coming in sight of land, some of us went on shore in search of it. I walked alone about a mile, when, seeing nothing to satisfy my curiosity, I was returning when I saw our men already in the boat, and rowing for life to the ship, with a huge creature walking after them, the sea up his knees.

I ran off as fast as I could, up a hill, and along what I took for a highroad, but could see little, on either side the corn rising at least forty feet, until I came to a stone stile, which it was impossible for me to climb. I was looking for a gap in the hedge, when I saw one of the inhabitants in the next field. He seemed as high as an ordinary spire steeple, and took about ten yards at each step. I ran to hide myself in the corn, whence I saw him at the stile calling out in a voice which at first I certainly took for thunder. Seven monsters like himself then came, and began to reap the field where I lay. I made a shift to get away, squeezing myself between the stalks, till I came to a part laid by the rain and wind. It was impossible to advance a step, and I heard the reapers not a hundred yards behind me. Being quite dispirited with toil, I lay down and began to bemoan my widow and fatherless children, when one of the reapers came quite near me, and I screamed as loud as I could, fearing I should be squashed to death by his foot. He looked about, and at last espying me, took me carefully behind, between his finger and thumb, as I myself had done with a weasel in England.

I resolved not to struggle, but ventured to put my hands together in a supplicating manner, and say some words in a humble, melancholy tone, and letting him know by my gestures how grievously he pinched my sides. He seemed to apprehend my meaning, and put me gently in the lapel of his coat, and ran along to show me to his master, the substantial farmer I had first seen in the field.

He placed me gently on all fours on the ground, but I immediately got up, and walked slowly backwards and forwards to let those people see I had no intent to run away. They all sat down in a circle round me, and the farmer was soon convinced I was a rational creature, but we were quite unintelligible to one another. He put me gently in his handkerchief and took me to show to his wife. She at first screamed, as women do at a toad, but seeing how well I observed the signs her husband made, she, by degrees, grew extremely fond of me.

A servant brought in dinner, and the farmer put me on the table. The wife minced some bread and meat and placed it before me. I made her a low bow, took out my knife and fork, and fell to eating, which gave them great delight. The farmer's youngest son, an arch boy of ten, took me up by the legs and held me so high in the air, that I trembled in every limb; but the farmer snatched me from him and gave him such a box on the ear, as would have felled a European troop of horse to the earth.

I fell on my knees, and pointing to the boy made my master understand I desired his son to be pardoned. The lad took his seat again and I went and kissed his hand, which my master took and made him stroke me gently with it.

When dinner was almost done, the nurse came in with a child of a year old in her arms, who at once began to squall to get me for a plaything.

The mother, out of pure indulgence, held me up to the child, who seized me by the middle and got my head into his mouth, where I roared so loud, the urchin was frightened, and let me drop, and I should have infallibly broke my neck, if the mother had not held her apron underneath.

My mistress, perceiving I was very tired, put me on her own bed after dinner, and covered me with a clean white handkerchief; I slept, and dreamed I was at home with my wife and children, which aggravated my sorrows when I awoke, to find myself alone in a bed twenty feet wide. Two rats had crept up the curtains, and had the boldness to attack me, but I had the good fortune to rip one up with my hanger, before he could do me any mischief, and the other ran away; though not without one good wound. These creatures were the size of a large mastiff, and infinitely more nimble and fierce. My mistress was extremely rejoiced to find I was not hurt, and with her little daughter fitted me up the baby's cradle against night, which was then placed on a shelf for fear of rats.

The daughter, nine years old, and not above forty feet high, was very good natured, became my schoolmistress, and called me Grildrig, which imports in English, mannikin. To her I chiefly owe my preservation: I called her Glumdalclitch, or Little Nurse, and I heartily wish it was in my power to requite her care and affection as she deserves, instead of being, as I have reason to fear, the innocent unhappy instrument of her disgrace.

My master, being advised to show me as a sight in the next town, I was carried there in a box by Glumdalclitch on a pillion behind her father, who, after consulting the inn-keeper, hired the crier to give notice to the town of a strange creature to be seen not six feet long, resembling in every part a human creature, could speak several words, and perform a hundred diverting tricks.

I was shown that day till I was half dead with weariness and vexation, for those who had seen me made such wonderful reports that the people were ready to break down the doors to come in.

My master, finding how profitable I was likely to be, showed me in all the considerable towns in the kingdom, till observing that I was almost reduced to a skeleton, concluded I must soon die, and sold me to the Queen for a thousand pieces of gold. Her Majesty asked me "whether I should be content to live at Court?" I bowed down to the table, and humbly answered, "I should be proud to devote my life to her Majesty's service," and begged the favour that Glumdalclitch might be admitted into her service and continue to be my nurse and instructor.

IV.—At the Court of Brobdingnag

Her Majesty agreed, and easily got the farmer's consent, and the poor girl herself was not able to hide her joy.

The Queen was surprised at so much wit and good sense in so small an animal, and took me in her own hand to the King, who, though as learned a person as any in his dominions, conceived I might be a piece of clockwork, until he heard me speak. He sent for three great scholars, who, after much debate, concluded that I was only lusus naturae; a determination agreeable to the modern philosophy of Europe, whose professors have invented this wonderful solution of all difficulties, to the unspeakable advancement of human knowledge.

I entreated to be heard a word or two, and assured them that I came from a country where everything was in proportion, and where, in consequence, I might defend myself and find sustenance. To which they only replied, with a smile of contempt, saying, "that the farmer had instructed me very well in my lesson." The King, who had a much better understanding, dismissed his learned men, and after some further examination, began to think what we told him might be true. A convenient apartment was provided for Glumdalclitch, a governess to attend to her education, a maid to dress her, and two other servants; but the care of me was wholly appropriated to herself. I soon became a great favourite with the King; my little chair and table were placed at his left hand, before the salt-cellar, and he took pleasure in conversing with me, inquiring into the laws, government, and learning of Europe. He made very wise observations upon all I said, but once when I had been a little too copious in talking of my beloved country, he took me up in his hand, and in a hearty fit of laughter asked me if I were a Whig or a Tory? Then, turning to his first minister, observed how contemptible a thing was human grandeur, which could be mimicked by such diminutive insects as I.

But as I was not in a condition to resent injuries, so upon mature thoughts I began to doubt whether I was injured or no. For after being accustomed to the sight of these people for some time, I really began to imagine myself dwindled many degrees below my usual size. My littleness exposed me to many ridiculous and troublesome accidents, which determined Glumdalclitch never to let me go abroad out of her sight. I was, indeed, treated with much kindness, the favourite of the King and Queen, and the delight of the whole Court. But I could never forget the domestic pledges I had left behind me, and longed to be again with people with whom I could converse on equal terms.

About the beginning of the third year of my stay in this country, Glumdalclitch and I attended the King and Queen in a progress round the south coast. I was carried as usual in my travelling box, a very convenient closet about twelve feet wide. I longed to see the ocean, which must be the only scene of my escape, and desired leave to take the air of the sea with a page who sometimes took charge of me.

I shall never forget with what unwillingness Glumdalclitch consented; we were both much tired with our journey, and the poor girl was so ill as to be confined to her chamber. The boy took me out in my box towards the seashore, when ordering him to set me down, I cast many a wistful glance toward the sea.

I found myself not very well, and hoping a nap would do me good soon fell asleep. I conjecture as I slept the page went off to look for birds' eggs, for I was awakened by finding myself raised high in the air and borne forward with prodigious speed. I called out, I looked out, but could see nothing but clouds and sky. I heard a great flapping of wings—they increased very fast, and my box was tossed up and down, and I felt myself falling with incredible swiftness. My fall was stopped by a terrible squash, I was quite in the dark for a minute, then I could see light from the tops of my windows. I had fallen into the sea. I did then, and do now, suppose that the eagle, that had flown away with me, was pursued by two or three others, and forced to let me drop. I was for four hours, under these circumstances, expecting, and, indeed, hoping, every moment to be my last.

I heard a grating sound on the side of my box, and soon felt I was being towed along the sea, and called for help until I was hoarse. In return I heard a great shout, giving me transports of joy, and somebody called in the English tongue that I was safe, for my box was fastened to their ship. The carpenter came, in a few minutes, and sawed a hole, through which I was taken into the ship in a very weak condition.

The Captain, a worthy Shropshire man, was returning to England, and we came into the Downs on the 3rd of June, 1706, about nine months after my escape.

When I came to my own house my wife protested I should never go to sea any more.

* * * * *


The Newcomes

William Makepeace Thackeray was born on July 18, 1811, at Calcutta, where his father was in the service of the East India Company. He was educated at Charterhouse School, then situated in Smithfield, and spent two years at Trinity College, Cambridge. After travelling on the continent as an artist, he returned to London, and wrote for the "Examiner" and "Fraser's Magazine," subsequently joining the staff of "Punch." "The Newcomes," finished by Thackeray at Paris in 1855, was the fourth of his great novels. Without being in any real sense a sequel to "Pendennis," it reintroduces us to several characters of the earlier work, and is told in the first person by Arthur Pendennis himself. The Gray Friars School is the Charterhouse where Thackeray was at school. In 1859 Thackeray started the "Cornhill Magazine," and on December 23, 1863, he died at Kensington. Besides his five great novels, a large number of shorter stories and sketches came from Thackeray's pen.

I.—The "Cave of Harmony"

It was in the days of my youth, when, having been to the play with some young fellows of my own age, we became naturally hungry at twelve o'clock at night, and a desire for welsh-rarebits and good old glee singing led us to the "Cave of Harmony," then kept by the celebrated Hoskins, among whose friends we were proud to count.

It happened that there was a very small attendance at the "cave" that night, and we were all more sociable and friendly because the company was select. The songs were chiefly of the sentimental class; such ditties were much in vogue at the time of which I speak.

There came into the "cave" a gentleman with a lean brown face and long black mustachios, and evidently a stranger to the place. At least he had not visited it for a long time. He was pointing out changes to a lad who was in his company; and, calling for sherry-and-water, he listened to the music and twirled his mustachios with great enthusiasm.

At the very first glimpse of me the boy jumped up from the table, ran to me with his hands out, and, blushing, said, "Don't you know me?"

It was little Newcome, my schoolfellow, whom I had not seen for six years, grown a fine tall young stripling now, with the same bright blue eyes which I remembered when he was quite a little boy.

"What the deuce brings you here?" said I.

He laughed and looked roguish. "My father—that's my father—would come. He's just come back from India. He says all the wits used to come here. I told him your name, and that you used to be very kind to me when I first went to Smithfield. I've left now: I'm to have a private tutor."

Here the whiskered gentleman, Newcome's father, strode across the room to the table where we sat, and held out his hand to me.

"I have heard of your kindness, sir," says he, "to my boy. And whoever is kind to him is kind to me. Will you allow me to sit down by you? and may I beg of you to try my cheroots."

We were friends in a minute—young Newcome snuggling by my side, and his father opposite.

It was worth a guinea to see the simple Colonel, and his delight at the music. He became quite excited over his sherry-and-water. He joined in all the choruses with an exceedingly sweet voice; and when Hoskins sang (as he did admirably) "The Old English Gentleman," and described the death of that venerable aristocrat, tears trickled down the honest warrior's cheek.

And now Mr. Hoskins asking if any gentleman would volunteer a song, what was our amazement when the simple Colonel offered to sing himself. Poor Clive Newcome blushed as red as a peony, and I thought what my own sensations would have been if, in that place, my own uncle Major Pendennis had suddenly proposed to exert his lyrical powers.

The Colonel selected the ditty of "Wapping Old Stairs," and gave his heart and soul to the simple ballad. When the song was over, Clive held up his head too, and looked round with surprise and pleasure in his eyes. The Colonel bowed and smiled with good nature at our plaudits. "I learnt that song forty years ago," he said, turning round to his boy. "I used to slip out from Grey Friars to hear it. Lord! Lord! how the time passes!"

Whilst he was singing his ballad, there had reeled into the room my friend Captain Costizan, in his usual condition at this hour of the night.

"Captain Costizan, will you take something to drink?"

"Bedad I will," says the Captain, "and I'll sing ye a song too."

Having procured a glass of whisky and water, the unlucky wretch, who scarcely knew what he was doing or saying, selected one of the most outrageous of what he called his prime songs, and began his music. At the end of the second verse, the Colonel started up, and looking as ferocious as though he had been going to do battle with a Pindaree, roared out "Silence!"

"Do you dare, sir," cries the Colonel, trembling with anger, "to call yourself a gentleman, and to say that you hold the king's commission, and to sit down amongst Christians and men of honour, and defile the ears of young boys with this wicked balderdash?"

"Why do you bring young boys here, old man?" cries a malcontent.

"Why? Because I thought I was coming to a society of gentlemen. I never could have believed that Englishmen could meet together and allow an old man so to disgrace himself. For shame! Go home to your bed, you hoary old sinner! And for my part, I'm not sorry that my son should see for once in his life to what degradation, drunkenness, and whisky may bring a man. Never mind the change, sir!" says the Colonel, to the amazed waiter. "Keep it till you see me in this place again, which will be never—by George, never!" And shouldering his stick, and scowling round at the company, the indignant gentleman stalked away, his boy after him.

Clive seemed rather shamefaced; but I fear the rest of the company looked still more foolish.

II.—Clive Newman in Love

The Colonel, in conjunction with an Indian friend of his, Mr. Binnie, took a house in London, No. 120, Fitzroy Square, and there was fine amusement for Clive and his father and Mr. Binnie in the purchase of furniture for the new mansion. It was like nobody else's house. What cosy pipes did we not smoke in the dining room, in the drawing room, or where we would!

Clive had a tutor, whom we recommended to him, and with whom the young gentleman did not fatigue his brains very much; but his great forte decidedly lay in drawing. He sketched the horses, he drew the dogs. He drew his father in all postures—asleep, on foot, on horseback; and jolly little Mr. Binnie, with his plump legs on a chair, or jumping briskly on the back of a cob which he rode.

"Oh," says Clive, if you talk to him now about those early days, "it was a jolly time! I do not believe there was any young fellow in London so happy." And there hangs up in his painting-room now a head, with hair touched with grey, with a large moustache, and melancholy eyes. And Clive shows that portrait of their grandfather to his children, and tells them that the whole world never saw a nobler gentleman.

Of course our young man commenced as an historical painter, deeming that the highest branch of art. He painted a prodigious battle-piece of Assaye, and will it be believed that the Royal Academicians rejected this masterpiece? Clive himself, after a month's trip to Paris with his father, declared the thing was rubbish.

It was during this time, when Clive and his father were in Paris, that Mr. Binnie, laid up with a wrenched ankle, was consoled by a visit from his sister, Mrs. Mackenzie, a brisk, plump little widow, and her daughter, Miss Rosey, a blue-eyed, fair-haired lass, with a very sweet voice.

Of course the most hospitable and polite of colonels would not hear of Mrs. Mackenzie and her daughter quitting his house when he returned to it, after the pleasant sojourn in Paris; nor indeed, did his fair guest show the least anxiety or intention to go away. Certainly, the house was a great deal more cheerful for the presence of the two pleasant ladies. Everybody liked them. Binnie received their caresses very good-humouredly. The Colonel liked every woman under the sun. Clive laughed and joked and waltzed alternately with Rosey and her mamma. None of us could avoid seeing that Mrs. Mackenzie was, as the phrase is, "setting her cap" openly at Clive; and Clive laughed at her simple manoeuvres as merrily as the rest.

Some months after the arrival of Mr. Binnie's niece and sister in Fitzroy Square, Mrs. Newcome, wife of Hobson Newcome, banker, the Colonel's brother, gave a dinner party at her house in Bryanstone Square. "It is quite a family party," whispered the happy Mrs. Newcome, when we recognised Lady Ann Newcome's carriage, and saw her ladyship, her mother—old Lady Kew, her daughter, Ethel, and her husband, Sir Brian, (Hobson's twin brother and partner in the banking firm of Hobson Brothers and Newcome), descend from the vehicle. The whole party from St. Pancras were already assembled—Mr. Binnie, the Colonel and his son, Mrs. Mackenzie and Miss Rosey.

Everybody was bent upon being happy and gracious. Miss Newcome ran up to the Colonel with both hands out, and with no eyes for anyone else, until Clive advancing, those bright eyes become brighter still with surprise and pleasure as she beholds him. And, as she looks, Miss Ethel sees a very handsome fellow, while the blushing youth casts down his eyes before hers.

"Upon my word, my dear Colonel," says old Lady Kew, nodding her head shrewdly, "I think we were right."

"No doubt right in everything your ladyship does, but in what particularly?" asks the Colonel.

"Right to keep him out of the way. Ethel has been disposed of these ten years. Did not Ann tell you? How foolish of her! But all mothers like to have young men dying for their daughters. Your son is really the handsomest boy in London. Ethel, my dear! Colonel Newcome must present us to Mrs. Mackenzie and Miss Mackenzie;" and Ethel, giving a nod to Clive, with whom she had talked for a minute or two, again puts her hand into her uncle's and walks towards Mrs. Mackenzie.

Let the artist give us a likeness of Ethel. She is seventeen years old, rather taller than the majority of women. Youth looks out of her bright eyes and flashes scorn or denial, perhaps too readily, when she encounters flattery or meanness. Her smile, when it lights up her face and eyes, is as beautiful as spring sunshine. Her countenance somewhat grave and haughty, on occasion brightens with humour or beams with kindliness and affection.

That night in the drawing room we found the two young ladies engaged over an album, containing a number of Clive's drawings made in the time of his very early youth, and Miss Ethel seemed to be very much pleased with these performances.

Old Major Pendennis, whom I met earlier in the day, made some confidential remarks concerning Miss Ethel and her relatives, which I set down here. "Your Indian Colonel," says he, "seems a worthy man. He don't seem to know much of the world and we are not very intimate. They say he wanted to marry your friend Clive to Lady Ann's daughter, an exceedingly fine girl; one of the prettiest girls come out this season. And that shows how monstrous ignorant of the world Colonel Newcome is. His son could no more get that girl than he could marry one of the royal princesses. These banker fellows are wild after grand marriages. Mark my words, they intend Miss Newcome for some man of high rank. Old Lady Kew is a monstrous clever woman. Nothing could show a more deplorable ignorance of the world than poor Newcome supposing his son could make such a match as that with his cousin. Is it true that he is going to make his son an artist? I don't know what the deuce the world is coming to. An artist! By Gad, in my time a fellow would as soon have thought of making his son a hairdresser, or a pastrycook, by Gad."

Lady Kew carried off her granddaughter Ethel, the Colonel returned to India, and Clive, endowed with a considerable annual sum from his father, went abroad with an apparatus of easels and painting boxes. Clive found Lady Ann, with Ethel and her other children, at Bount on their way to Baden Baden, and the old Countess being away for the time, it seemed to Clive that the barrier between himself and the family was withdrawn. He was glad enough to go with his cousins, and travel in the orbit of Ethel Newcome—who is now grown up and has been presented at Court.

At Baden Baden was Lady Kew; and Clive learning that Ethel was about to be betrothed, and that his suit was hopeless, retreated, with his paint boxes across the Alps to Rome.

III.—Clive is Married

It was announced that Miss Newcome was engaged to the Marquis Fairntosh, but for all that no marriage took place. First the death of Lady Kew made an inevitable postponement, and then Ethel herself shrunk from the loveless match, and, in spite of Lord Fairntosh's protests, dismissed the noble marquis.

But the announcement drove Clive to marry pretty little Rose Mackenzie. The Colonel was back in England again, and for good—a rich man, thanks to the success of the Bundeleund Bank, Bengal, in which his savings were invested, and heavily displeased with Ethel's treatment of his son.

Clive's marriage was performed in Brussels, where Mr. James Binnie, who longed to see Rosey wedded, and his sister, whom we flippantly ventured to call the Campaigner, had been staying that summer. After the marriage they went off to Scotland, and the Colonel and his son and daughter-in-law came to London—not to the old bachelor quarters in Fitzroy Square, but to a sumptuous mansion in the Tyburnian district—and one which became people of their station. To this house came Mrs. Mackenzie when the baby was born, and there she stayed.

In a pique with the woman he loved, and from that generous weakness which led him to acquiesce in most wishes of his good father, the young man had gratified the darling wish of the Colonel's heart, and taken the wife whom his old friends brought to him. Rosey, who was also of a very obedient and docile nature, had acquiesced gladly enough in her mamma's opinion, that she was in love with the rich and handsome young Clive, and accepted him for better or worse.

If Clive was gloomy and discontented even when the honeymoon had scarce waned, what was the young man's condition in poverty, when they had no love along with a silent dinner of herbs; when his mother-in-law grudged each morsel which his poor old father ate—when a vulgar, coarse-minded woman—as Mrs. Mackenzie was—pursued with brutal sarcasm one of the tenderest and noblest gentlemen in the world; when an ailing wife, always under some one's domination, received him with helpless hysterical cries and reproaches!

For a ghastly bankruptcy overwhelmed the Bundeleund Bank, and with its failure went all Colonel Newcome's savings, and all Mrs. Mackenzie's money and her daughter's. Even the Colonel's pension and annuities were swallowed up in the general ruin, for the old man would pay every shilling of his debts.

When I ventured to ask the Colonel why Mrs. Mackenzie should continue to live with them—"She has a right to live in the house," he said, "it is I who have no right in it. I am a poor old pensioner, don't you see, subsisting on Rosey's bounty. We live on the hundred a year secured to her at her marriage, and Mrs. Mackenzie has her forty pounds of pension which she adds to the common stock. They put their little means together, and they keep us—me and Clive. What can we do for a living? Great God! What can we do?"

But Clive was getting on tolerably well, at his painting, and many sitters came to him from amongst his old friends; he had work, scantily paid it is true, but work sufficient. "I am pretty easy in my mind, since I have become acquainted with a virtuous dealer," the painter assured me one day. "I sell myself to him, body and soul, for some half dozen pounds a week. I know I can get my money, and he is regularly supplied with his pictures. But for Rosey's illness we might carry on well enough."

Rosey's illness? I was sorry to hear of that; and poor Clive, entering into particulars, told me how he had spent upon doctors rather more than a fourth of his year's earnings.

IV.—The Colonel Says "Adsum" When His Name is Called

Mention has been made of the Grey Friars school—where the Colonel and Clive and I had been brought up, an ancient foundation still subsisting at Smithfield.

On the 12th of December, the Founder's Day, a goodly company of old Cistercians is generally brought together, to hear a sermon in chapel; after which we adjourn to a great dinner, where old condisciples meet, and speeches are made. In the chapel sit some three-score old gentlemen pensioners of the hospital, listening to the prayers and the psalms.

The service for Founder's Day is a special one, and we hear—

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread.

As we came to this verse in the psalms I chanced to look up from my book towards the black-coated pensioners, and amongst them—amongst them—sat Thomas Newcome.

There was no mistaking him. He wore the black gown of the pensioners of the Hospital of Grey Friars. The steps of this good man had been ordered hither by heaven's decree to this alms-house!

The organ played us out of chapel, and I waited until the pensioners took their turn to quit it. The wan face of my dear old friend flushed up when he saw me, and his hand shook in mine, "I have found a home, Arthur," said he. "My good friend Lord H., who is a Cistercian like ourselves, and has just been appointed a governor, gave me his first nomination. Don't be agitated, Arthur, my boy; I am very happy. I have good quarters, good food, good light and fire, and good friends. Why, sir, I am as happy as the day is long."

We walked through the courts of the building towards his room, which in truth I found neat and comfortable, with a brisk fire on the hearth, a little tea-table laid out, and over the mantelpiece a drawing of his grandson by Clive.

"You may come and see me here, sir, whenever you like—but you must not stay now. You must go back to your dinner."

Of course I came to him on the very next day, and I had the happiness of bringing Clive and his little boy to Thomas Newcome that evening. Clive thought his father was in Scotland with Lord H.

It was at Xmas that Miss Ethel found an old unposted letter of her grandmother's, Mrs. Newcome, asking her lawyer to add a codicil to her will leaving a legacy of L6000 to Clive. The letter, of course, had no legal value, but Ethel was a rich woman, and insisted that the money should be sent, as from the family.

The old Colonel seemed hardly to comprehend it, and when Clive told him the story of the legacy, and said they could now pay Mrs. Mackenzie, "Quite right, quite right; of course we shall pay her, Clivy, when we can!" was all he said.

So it was, that when happier days seemed to be dawning for the good man, that reprieve came too late. Grief and years, and humiliation and care, had been too strong for him, and Thomas Newcome was stricken down. Our Colonel was no more our friend of old days. After some days the fever which had attacked him left him, but left him so weak and enfeebled that he could only go from his bed to the chair by his fireside.

Two more days and I had to take two advertisements to the Times on the part of poor Clive. Among the announcements of births was printed, "On the 28th in Howland street, Mrs. Clive Newcome of a son, still born." And a little lower, in the third division of the same column, appeared the words, "On the 29th, in Howland street, aged 26, Rosaline, wife of Clive Newcome, Esq." So this poor little flower had bloomed for its little day, and pined and withered.

The days went on, and our hopes for the Colonel's recovery, raised sometimes, began to flicker and fail. One evening the Colonel left his chair for his bed in pretty good spirits, but passed a disturbed night, and the next morning was too weak to rise. Then he remained in his bed and his friends visited him there.

Weeks passed away. Our old friend's mind was gone at intervals, but would rally feebly; and with his consciousness returned his love, his simplicity, his sweetness. The circumstances of Clive's legacy he never understood, but Ethel was almost always with him.

One afternoon in early spring, Thomas Newcome began to wander more and more. He talked louder; he gave the word of command, spoke Hindustanee as if to his men. Ethel and Clive were with him, and presently his voice sank into faint murmurs.

At the usual evening hour the chapel bell began to toll, and Thomas Newcome's hands feebly beat time. And just as the last bell struck a peculiar sweet smile shone over his face, and he lifted up his head a little, and quickly said "Adsum!" and fell back. It was the word we used at school, when names were called; and lo, he, whose heart was as that of a little child, had answered his name, and stood in the presence of The Master.

* * * * *

The Virginians

"The Virginians" was published in 1859, and ranks as one of its author's five great novels. It contains some excellent description of fashionable life in England in the middle of the eighteenth century. The "Lamberts" rank among Thackeray's best character sketches.

I.—Harry Warrington Comes Home

One summer morning in the year 1756, and in the reign of his Majesty King George the Second, the Young Rachel, Virginian ship, Edward Franks, master, came up the Avon river on her happy return from her annual voyage to the Potomac. She proceeded to Bristol with the tide, and moored in the stream as near as possible to Frail's wharf, and Mr. Frail, her part owner, who could survey his ship from his counting-house windows, straightway took boat and came up her side.

While the master was in conversation with Mr. Frail a young man of some nineteen years of age came up the hatchway. He was dressed in deep mourning and called out, "Gumbo, you idiot, why don't you fetch the baggage out of the cabin? Well, shipmate, our journey is ended. I thought yesterday the voyage would never be done, and now I am almost sorry it is over."

"This is Mr. Warrington, Madam Esmond Warrington's son of Castlewood," said Captain Franks to Mr. Frail. The British merchant's hat was instantly off his head, and its owner was bowing, as if a crown prince were before him.

"Gracious powers, Mr. Warrington! This is a delight indeed! Let me cordially and respectfully welcome you to England; let me shake your hand as the son of my benefactress and patroness, Mrs. Esmond Warrington, whose name is known and honoured on Bristol 'Change, I warrant you, my dear Mr. George."

"My name is not George; my name is Henry," said the young man as he turned his head away, and his eyes filled with tears.

"Gracious powers, what do you mean, sir? Are you not my lady's heir? and is not George Esmond Warrington, Esq—"

"Hold your tongue, you fool!" cried Mr. Franks.

"Don't you see the young gentleman's black clothes? Mr. George is there," pointing with his finger towards the topmast, or the sky beyond. "He is dead a year sir, come next July. He would go out with General Braddock, and he and a thousand more never came back again. Every man of them was murdered as he fell. You know the Indian way, Mr. Frail? Horrible! Ain't it, sir? He was a fine young man, the very picture of this one; only his hair was black, which is now hanging in a bloody Indian wigwam. He was often on board on the Young Rachel, with his chest of books,—a shy and silent young gent, not like this one, which was the merriest, wildest young fellow full of his songs and fun. He took on dreadful at the news, but he's got better on the voyage; and, in course, the young gentleman can't be for ever a-crying after a brother who dies and leaves him a great fortune. Ever since we sighted Ireland he has been quite gay and happy, only he would go off at times, when he was most merry, saying, 'I wish my dearest Georgie could enjoy this here sight along with me,' and when you mentioned t'other's name, you see, he couldn't stand it."

Again and again Harry Warrington and his brother had poured over the English map, and determined upon the course which they should take upon arriving at Home. The sacred point in their pilgrimage was that old Castlewood in Hampshire, the home of their family, whence had come their grandparents. From Bristol to Bath, to Salisbury, to Winchester, to Home; they had mapped the journey many and many a time. Without stopping in Bristol, Harry Warrington was whirled away in a postchaise and at last drew up at the rustic inn on Castlewood Green. Then with a beating heart he walked towards the house where his grandsire Colonel Esmond's youth had been passed.

The family was away, and the housekeeper was busy getting ready for my lord and my lady who were expected that evening. Harry wrote down his name on a paper from his own pocket and laid it on a table in the hall; and then walked away, not caring to own how disappointed he was. No one had known him. Had any of his relatives ridden up to his house in Virginia, whether the master were present or absent, the guests would have been made welcome. Harry felt terribly alone. The inn folks did not know the name of Warrington. They told him before he went to bed that my lord Castlewood and his sister Lady Maria, and their stepmother the Countess, and her son Mr. William, had arrived at the Castle, and two hours later the Baroness Bernstein, my lord's aunt. Harry remembered that the Baroness Bernstein was his mother's half-sister, for Colonel Esmond's wife was the mother of Beatrice Bernstein who had married a German baron, after marrying Bishop Tusher.

The Castlewoods were for letting their young American kinsman stay at his inn, but Madam Bernstein, of whom all the family stood in awe, at once insisted that Harry Warrington should be sent for, and on his arrival made much of him. As for the boy, he felt very grateful towards the lady who had received him so warmly.

Within six months Harry had fallen in love with Lady Maria, who was over forty. He was wealthy and, thanks to Gumbo, his servant, the extent of his estate had been greatly magnified by that cheerfullest of negroes. The Castlewoods professed themselves indifferent to the love-making that seemed to be going on between Harry and Maria, but Madam Bernstein was indignant.

"Do you remember," she cried, with energy, "who the poor boy is, and what your house owes to its family? His grandfather gave up this estate, this title, this very castle, that you and yours might profit by it. And the reward for all this is that you talk of marrying him to a silly elderly creature, who might be his mother. He shan't marry her."

So Madam Bernstein, having tired of Castlewood, decided that Maria must accompany her to Tunbridge Wells and Harry was invited to act as escort, and to stay a day or two at the Wells. At the end of the first day's travel, when they had just reached Farnham, poor Maria was ill, and her cheeks were yellow when she retired for the night.

"That absurd Maria!" says Madam Bernstein, playing piquet with Harry. "She never had a good constitution. I hope she intends to be well to-morrow morning. She was forty-one years old. All her upper teeth are false, and she can't eat with them. How clumsily you deal, child!"

The next morning Lady Maria's indisposition was over, but Harry was wretched. Then in the evening the horse Harry was riding, in the matter of which he had been cheated by his cousin Will, at Castlewood, came down on his knees and sent the rider over his head. Mr. Harry was picked up insensible and carried home into a house called Oakhurst that stood hard by the road.


That Mr. Warrington is still alive can be proved by the following letter, sent from the lady into whose house he was taken after his fall from Mr. Will's broken-kneed horse, to Mrs. Esmond Warrington. "If Mrs. Esmond Warrington of Virginia can call to mind twenty-three years ago, she may perhaps remember Miss Molly Benson, her classmate, at Kensington boarding school. Yesterday evening, as we were at tea there came a great ringing at our gate, and the servants, running out returned with the news that a young gentleman was lying lifeless on the road. At this, my dear husband, Colonel Lambert (who is sure the most Samaritan of men) hastens away, and presently, with the aid of the servants, and followed by two ladies,—one of whom is your cousin, Lady Maria Esmond and the other Baroness of Bernstein,—brings into the house such a pale, beautiful young man! The ladies went on to Tunbridge when Mr. Warrington was restored to consciousness and this morning the patient is very comfortable and the Colonel, who has had plenty of practice in accidents of this nature during his campaigns, pronounces that in two days more Mr. Warrington will be ready to take the road.

"Madam, Your affectionate, humble servant,


Harry Warrington's dislocated shoulder having been set, he was well enough to rise the following day, and Colonel Lambert lead his young guest into the parlour and introduced him to his two daughters, Miss Hester and Miss Theo. Three days later Mr. Warrington's health was entirely restored and he was out walking with Mrs. Lambert and the young ladies. What business had he to be walking with anybody but Lady Maria Esmond on the Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells? Why did he stay behind, unless he was in love with either of the young ladies? (and we say he wasn't). Could it be that he did not want to go? Only a week ago he was whispering in Castlewood shrubberies, and was he now ashamed of the nonsense he had talked there? What if his fell aunt's purpose is answered, and if his late love is killed by her communications? Surely kind hearts must pity Lady Maria, for she is having no very pleasant time of it at Tunbridge Wells. There is no one to protect her. Madam Beatrix has her all to herself. Lady Maria is poor, and hopes for money for her aunt, and Lady Maria has a secret or two which the old woman knows and brandishes over her.

Meanwhile Harry Warrington remained day after day contentedly at Oakhurst, with each day finding the kindly folks who welcomed him more to his liking. Never, since his grandfather's death, had he been in such good company. His lot had lain among fox hunting Virginian squires, and until he left his home he did not know how narrow and confined his life had been there.

Here the lad found himself in the midst of a circle where everything about him was incomparably gayer, brighter and more free. He was living with a man and woman who had seen the world, though they lived retired from it, and one of the benefits which Harry Warrington received from this family was to begin to learn that he was a profoundly ignorant young fellow. He admired his brother at home faithfully, of his kinsman at Castlewood he had felt himself at least the equal. In Colonel Lambert he found a man who had read far more books than Harry could pretend to judge of, and who had goodness and honesty written on his face and breathing from his lips.

As for the women, they were the kindest, merriest, most agreeable he had ever known. Here was a tranquil, sunshiny day of a life that was to be agitated and stormy. He was not in love, either with saucy Hetty or generous Theodosia: but when the time came for going away, he fastened on both their hands, and felt an immense regard for them.

"He is very kind and honest," said Theo gravely as they watched him and their father riding away.

"I am glad he has got papa to ride with him to Westerham," said little Hetty. "I don't like his going to those Castlewood people. I am sure that Madam Bernstein is a wicked old woman. I expected to see her ride away on her crooked stick. The other old woman seemed fond of him. She looked very melancholy when she went away, but Madam Bernstein whisked her off with her crutch, and she was obliged to go."

III.—Harry Warrington is Disinherited

Our young Virginian found himself after a few days at Tunbridge Wells by far the most important personage in the place. The story of his wealth had been magnified, and his winnings at play, which were considerable, were told and calculated at every tea-table. The old aunt Bernstein enjoyed his triumphs, and bade him pursue his enjoyments. As for Lady Maria, though Harry Warrington knew she was as old as his mother, he had given her his word to marry her at Castlewood, and, as he said, "A Virginian Esmond has but his word!"

Madam Bernstein offered her niece L5,000 to free Mr. Warrington of his engagement but the offer was declined, and a few weeks later Lady Maria returned to Castlewood, while Harry went to London. He knew that his mother, who was mistress for life of the Virginian property, would refuse her consent to his marriage, and the thought of it was put off to a late period. Meanwhile it hung like a weight round the young man's neck.

No wonder that his spirits rose more gaily as he came near London. He took lodgings in Bond Street and lived upon the fat of the land. His title of Fortunate Youth, bestowed upon him because of his luck at cards, was prettily recognised. But after a few weeks of lavish success, the luck turned and he lost heavily: the last blow was after a private game at piquet with his kinsman Lord Castlewood. Harry Warrington had now drawn and spent all his patrimony, and one evening when he was leaving the house of his uncle Sir Miles Warrington,—his dead father's elder brother,—two bailiffs took him for a debt of L500 and the Fortunate Youth was lodged in a sponging house in Chancery Lane.

Madam Bernstein was willing to pay her nephew's debts at once if he would break off his engagement with Lady Maria, but this the high-spirited youth declined to do.

Castlewood wrote frankly and said he had not got enough money for the purpose, and Lady Warrington sent a tract and said Sir Miles was away from home. But for his faithful servant Gumbo, Harry would have wanted ready money for his food.

It was Colonel Lambert, of whom Harry had seen little since he left Oakhurst, who came to his young friend's assistance. But the same night which saw Colonel Lambert at the sponging house saw the reappearance of his brother George.

"I am the brother whom you have heard of, sir," he said, addressing Colonel Lambert; "and who was left for dead in Mr. Braddock's action: and came to life again after eighteen months amongst the French; and live to thank God, and thank you for your kindness to my Harry. I can never forget that you helped my brother at his need."

While the two brothers were rejoicing over their meeting, "the whole town" was soon busy talking over the news that Mr. Harry Warrington was but a second son, and no longer the heir to a principality and untold wealth.

George loved his brother too well to have any desire for the union with Lady Maria, and lost no time in explaining to Lord Castlewood that Harry had no resources save dependence,—"and I know no worse lot than to be dependent on a self-willed woman like our mother. The means my brother had to make himself respected at home he hath squandered away here."

To Harry himself George repeated these words and added:

"My dear, I think one day you will say I have done my duty."

That night after the two brothers had dined together Harry went out, and did not return for three hours.

"It was shabby to say I would not aid him, and God help me, it was not true. I won't leave him, though he marries a blackamoor," thought George as he sat alone.

Presently Harry came in, looking ghastly pale. He came up and took his brother's hand.

"Perhaps what you did was right," he said, "though I, for one, will never believe that you would throw your brother off in distress. At dinner I thought suddenly, I'll say to her, 'Maria, poor as I am, I am yours to take or to leave. If you will have me, here I am: I will enlist: I will work: I will try and make a livelihood for myself somehow, and my bro—my relations will relent, and give us enough to live on.' That's what I determined to tell her; and I did, George. I found them all at dinner, all except Will; that is, I spoke out that very moment to them all, sitting round the table over their wine. 'Maria,' says I, 'a poor fellow wants to redeem his promise which he made when he fancied he was rich. Will you take him?' I found I had plenty of words, and I ended by saying 'I would do my best and my duty by her, so help me God!'

"When I had done, she came up to me quite kind. She took my hand, and kissed it before the rest. 'My dear,' she said, 'I have long seen it was only duty and a foolish promise made by a young man to an old woman, that has held you to your engagement. To keep it would make you miserable, and I absolve you from it, thanking you with all my heart for your fidelity, and blessing my dear cousin always.' And she came up to me and kissed me before them all, and went out of the room quite stately, and without a single tear. Oh, George, isn't she a noble creature?"

"Here's her health," cries George, filling a glass.

"Hip, hip, huzzay!" says Harry. He was wild with delight at being free.

Madame Bernstein was scarcely less pleased than her Virginian nephews at the result of Harry's final interview with Lady Maria.

IV.—From the Warrington MSS.

My brother Harry Warrington went to Canada to serve tinder General Wolfe, and remained with the army after the death of his glorious commander. And I, George Warrington, stayed in London, read law in the Temple, and wrote plays which were performed at Covent Garden, and was in love with Miss Theodosia Lambert. Madame Esmond Warrington, however, refused her consent to the match, and Major General Lambert declared an engagement impossible under the circumstances.

Then in 1760, when George II. was dead, and George III. was king, General Lambert was appointed to be governor and commander-in-chief of the Island of Jamaica. His speedy departure was announced, he would have a frigate given him, and take his family with him. Merciful powers! and were we to be parted?

At last, one day, almost the last of his stay, when the General's preparations for departure were all made, the good man (His Excellency we call him now) canoe home to his dinner and sighed out to his wife:

"I wish, Molly, George was here. I may go away and never see him again, and take his foolish little sweetheart along with me. I suppose you will write to each other, children? I can't prevent that, you know."

"George is in the drawing-room," says mamma, quietly.

"Is he? my dearest boy!" cries the general. "Come to me—come in!" And when I entered he held me to his heart and kissed me.

"Always loved you as a son—haven't I, Molly?" he mutters hurriedly. "Broke my heart nearly when I quarrelled with you about this little—What, all down on your knees! In heaven's name, tell me what has happened!"

What had happened was, that George Esmond Warrington and Theodosia Lambert had been married in Southwark Church that morning.

I pass over the scenes of forgiveness, of reconciliation, of final separation when the ship sailed away before us, leaving me and Theo on the shore. And there is no need to recall her expressions of maternal indignation when my mother was informed of the step I had taken. On the pacification of Canada, my dear Harry dutifully paid a visit to Virginia, and wrote describing his reception at home.

Many were the doubts and anxieties which, for my last play had been a failure, now beset us, and plan after plan I tried for procuring work and adding to our dwindling stock of money. By a hard day's labour at translating from foreign languages for the booksellers, I could earn a few shillings—so few that a week's work would hardly bring me a guinea. Hard times were not over with us till some time after the Baroness Bernstein's death (she left everything she had to her dear nephew, Henry Esmond Warrington), when my uncle Sir Miles procured me a post as one of his Majesty's commissioners for licensing hackney coaches. His only child was dead, and I was now heir to the Baronetcy.

Then one morning, before almost I had heard of my uncle's illness, a lawyer waits upon me at my lodgings in Bloomsbury, and salutes me by the name of Sir George Warrington.

The records of a prosperous country life are easily told. Obedient tenants bowed and curtsied as we went to church, and we drove to visit our neighbours in the great family coach.

Shall I ever see the old mother again, I wonder! When Hal was in England, we sent her pictures of both her sons painted by the admirable Sir Joshua Reynolds. We never let Harry rest until he had asked Hetty in marriage. He obeyed, and it was she who declined. "She had always," she wrote, "the truest regard for him from the dear old time when they had met almost children together. But she would never leave her father. When it pleased God to take him, she hoped she would be too old to think of bearing any other name but her own."

My brother Hal is still a young man, being little more than 50, and Hetty is now a staid little lady. There are days when she looks surprisingly young and blooming. Why should Theo and I have been so happy, and thou so lonely?

* * * * *

Vanity Fair

"Vanity Fair" was published in 1848, and at once placed its author in the front rank of novelists. It was followed by "Pendennis" in 1850, "Esmond" in 1852, "The Newcomes" in 1855, and "The Virginians" in 1859. Some critics profess to see manifested in "Vanity Fair" a certain sharpness and sarcasm in Thackeray's character which does not appear in his later works, but however much the author may have mellowed in his later novels, "Vanity Fair" continues to be his acknowledged masterpiece, and of all the characters he drew, Becky Sharp is the best known.

I.—Miss Sharp Opens Her Campaign

One sunshiny morning in June there drove up to the great iron gate of Miss Pinkerton's academy for young ladies, on Chiswick Mall, a large family coach with two fat horses in blazing harness.

"It is Mrs. Sedley's coach, sister," said Miss Jemima. The day of departure had come, and Miss Amelia Sedley, an amiable young lady, was glad to go home, and yet woefully sad at leaving school. Miss Rebecca Sharp, whose father had been an artist, accompanied Amelia, to pass a week with her friend in Russell Square before she entered upon her duties as governess in Sir Pitt Crawley's family.

Thus the world began for these two young ladies. For Amelia it was quite a new, fresh, brilliant world, with all the bloom upon it. It was not quite a new one for Rebecca, who, before she came to the Mall, as a governess-pupil, had turned many a dun away from her father's door. She had never been a girl, she said: she had been a woman since she was eight years old.

At Russell Square Rebecca saw the two magnificent Cashmere shawls which Joseph Sedley of the East India Company's Civil Service had brought home to his sister, said with perfect truth that it must be delightful to have a brother, and easily got the pity of the tender-hearted Amelia for being alone in the world. A series of queries, addressed to her friend, brought Rebecca, who was but nineteen, to the following conclusion:—"As Mr. Joseph Sedley is rich and unmarried, why should I not marry him? I have only a fortnight, to be sure, but there is no harm in trying." I don't think we have any right to blame her, if Rebecca did not set her heart upon the conquest of this beau, for she had no kind parents to arrange these delicate matters for her.

But Mr. Joseph Sedley, greedy, vain, and cowardly, would not be brought up to the sticking point. Young George Osborne, Captain of the —th, old Sedley's godson, and the accepted lover of Amelia, thought Joseph was a milksop. He turned over in his mind, as the Sedleys did, the possibility of marriage between Joseph and Rebecca, and was not over well pleased that a member of a family into which he, George Osborne, was going to marry, should make a mesalliance with a little nobody—a little upstart governess. "Hang it, the family's low enough already without her," Osborne said to his friend Captain Dobbin. "A governess is all very well, but I'd rather have a lady for my sister-in-law. I'm a liberal man; but I've proper pride, and know my own station: let her know hers. And I'll take down that hectoring Nabob, and prevent him from being made a greater fool than he is. That's why I told him to look out, lest she brought an action against him."

Joseph Sedley fled to Cheltenham, and Rebecca said in her heart, "It was George Osborne who prevented my marriage." And she loved George Osborne accordingly.

Miss Amelia would have been delighted that Joseph should carry back a wife to India. Old Mr. Sedley was neutral. "Let Joseph marry whom he likes," he said to his wife. "It's no affair of mine. This girl has no fortune; no more had Mrs. Sedley. She seems good-humoured and clever, and will keep him in order, perhaps. Better she, my dear, than a black Mrs. Sedley, and a dozen of mahogany grandchildren. As I am perfectly sure that if you and I and his sister were to die to-morrow, he would say 'Good Gad!' and eat his dinner just as well as usual, I am not going to make myself anxious about him. Let him marry whom he likes. It's no affair of mine."

If he had had the courage, Joseph Sedley's bachelorhood would have been at an end. He did not lie awake all night thinking whether or not he was in love with Miss Sharp; the passion of love never interfered with the appetite or the slumber of Mr. Joseph Sedley; but he thought to himself how delightful it would be to hear such songs as Miss Sharp could sing in India—what a distinguee girl she was—how she could speak French better than the governor-general's lady herself—and what a sensation she would make at the Calcutta balls. "It's evident the poor devil's in love with me" thought he. "She is just as rich as most of the girls who come out to India. I might go further and fare worse, egad!"

Then came an evening at Vauxhall, on which occasion Dobbin, George Osborne, and Joseph Sedley escorted Amelia and Rebecca, and the Indian civilian got hopelessly tipsy on a bowl of rack punch. The next morning, which Rebecca thought was to dawn upon her fortune, found Sedley groaning in agonies, soothing the fever of his previous night's potation with small beer—for soda water was not invented yet. George Osborne, calling upon him, so frightened the unhappy Joseph with stories of his overnight performance, that instead of proposing marriage Joseph Sedley hastened away to Cheltenham that day, sending a note to Amelia praying her to excuse him to Miss Sharp for his conduct.

It was now clear to every soul in the house, except poor Amelia, that Rebecca should take her departure, and accordingly she set out for the residence of Sir Pitt Crawley, Baronet, of Queen's Crawley, Hants. Sir Pitt had two sons by his first wife, Pitt and Rawdon; and by his second wife, two daughters,—for whose benefit Miss Rebecca Sharp was now engaged as governess. It will be seen that the young lady was come into a family of very genteel connections, and was about to move in a much more distinguished circle than the one she had just quitted in Russell Square.

II.—Two Marriages

Before Rebecca had been a year at Queen's Crawley she had quite won the Baronet's confidence. She was almost mistress of the house when Mr. Crawley was absent, but conducted herself in her new and exalted situation with such circumspection and modesty as not to offend the authorities of the kitchen and stable.

The elder and younger son of the house of Crawley hated each other cordially, and Rawdon Crawley, who was in the heavy dragoons, seldom came to the place except when Miss Crawley paid her annual visit. The great good quality of this old lady was that she possessed seventy thousand pounds, and had almost adopted Rawdon.

Both Miss Crawley and Rawdon were charmed with Rebecca, and on Lady Crawley's death Sir Pitt said to his children's governess, "I can't get on without you. Come and be my wife. You're as good a lady as ever I see. Say yes, Becky. I'm good for twenty years. I'll make you happy, see if I don't."

Rebecca started back a picture of consternation, "O Sir Pitt!" she said—"O sir—I—I'm married already!"

* * * * *

"Suppose the old lady doesn't come round, eh, Becky?" Rawdon said to his little wife, as they sat together in their snug Brompton lodgings, a few weeks later.

"I'll make your fortune," she said.

But old Miss Crawley did not come round, and Captain Rawdon Crawley and Rebecca went to Brussels in June 1815 with the flower of the British Army.

Another young married couple also went to Brussels at that time, Captain George Osborne and Amelia his wife.

The landing of Napoleon at Cannes in March, 1815, brought, amongst other things, ruin to the worthy old stockbroker John Sedley, and the most determined and obstinate of his creditors was his old friend and neighbour John Osborne—whom he had set up in life, and whose son was to marry his daughter, and who consequently had the intolerable sense of former benefit to goad and irritate him.

Joseph Sedley acted as a man of his disposition would; when the announcement of the family misfortune reached him. He did not come to London, but he wrote to his mother to draw upon his agents for whatever money was wanted, so that his kind broken-spirited old parents had no present poverty to fear. This done, Joseph went on at his boarding-house at Cheltenham pretty much as before.

Amelia took the news very pale and calmly. A brutal letter from John Osborne told her in a few curt lines that all engagements between the families were at an end, and old Joseph Sedley spoke with almost equal bitterness. No power on earth, he swore, would induce him to marry his daughter to the son of such a villain, and he ordered Emmy to banish George from her mind.

It was Captain William Dobbin, who, having made up his mind that Miss Sedley would die of the disappointment, found himself the great promoter of the match between George Osborne and Amelia.

To old Sedley's refusal Dobbin answered finally, "If you don't give your daughter your consent it will be her duty to marry without it. What better answer can there be to Osborne's attacks on you, than that his son claims to enter your family and marry your daughter?"

George Osborne parted in anger from his father.

"I ain't going to have any of this damn sentimental nonsense here, sir," old Osborne cried out at the end of the interview. "There shall be no beggar-marriages in my family." He pulled frantically at the cord to summon the butler and, almost black in the face, ordered that functionary to call a coach for Captain Osborne.

George told Dobbin what had passed between his father and himself.

"I'll marry her to-morrow," he said, with an oath. "I love her more every day, Dobbin."

So on a gusty, raw day at the aid of April Captain Osborne and Captain Dobbin drove down to a certain chapel near the Fulham Road.

"Here you are," said Joseph Sedley, coming forward. "What a day, eh? You're five minutes late, George, my boy. Come along; my mother and Emmy are in the vestry."

There was nobody in the church besides the officiating persons and a small marriage party and their attendants. Old Sedley would not be present. Joseph acted for his father giving away the bride, whilst Captain Dobbin stepped up as groomsman to his friend George.

"God bless you, old Dobbin," George said, grasping him by the hand, when they went into the vestry and signed the register. William replied only by nodding his head; his heart was too full to say much.

Ten days after the above ceremony Dobbin came down to Brighton, where not only Captain Osborne and Amelia, but also the Rawdon Crawleys were enjoying themselves, with news. He had seen old Osborne, and tried to reconcile him to his son's marriage, with the result that he left the implacable old man in a fit. He had also learnt from his old Colonel that in a day or two the army would get its marching orders, for Belgium.

"It's my opinion, George," he said, "that the French Emperor will be upon us before three weeks are over. But you need not say that to Mrs. Osborne, you know, and Brussels is full of fine people and ladies of fashion."

Little Amelia, it must be owned, had rather a mean opinion of her husband's friend, Captain Dobbin. He was very plain and homely-looking, and exceedingly awkward and ungainly. Not knowing him intimately as yet, she made light of honest William; and he knew her opinions of him quite well, and acquiesced in them very humbly. A time came when she knew him better, and changed her notions regarding him; but that was distant as yet.

As for Rebecca, Captain Dobbin had not been two hours in the ladies' company before she understood his secret perfectly. She did not like him, and feared him privately. He was so honest, that her arts did not affect him, and he shrank from her with instinctive repugnance.

On May 8 George Osborne received a letter from his father's lawyer, informing him that "in consequence of the marriage which he had been pleased to contract Mr. Osborne ceases to consider him henceforth as a member of his family. This determination is final and irrevocable."

Within a week of this epistle George Osborne and his wife, Dobbin, Joseph Sedley, and the Rawdon Crawleys, were on their way to Brussels.

III.—After Waterloo

About three weeks after the 18th of June, Alderman Sir William Dobbin called at Mr. Osborne's house in Russell Square, and insisted upon seeing that gentleman. "My son," the Alderman said, with some hesitation, "dispatched me a letter by an officer of the —th, who arrived in town to-day. My son's letter contains one for you, Osborne."

The letter was in George's well-known bold handwriting. He had written it before daybreak on the 16th of June, just before he took leave of Amelia. The very seal that sealed it had been robbed from George's dead body on the field of battle. The father knew nothing of this, but sat and looked at the letter in terrified vacancy.

The poor boy's letter did not say much. He had been too proud to acknowledge the tenderness which his heart felt. He only said that on the eve of a great battle he wished to bid his father farewell, and solemnly to implore his good offices for the wife—it might be for the child—whom he had left behind. His English habit, pride, awkwardness, perhaps, had prevented him from saying more. His father could not see the kiss George had placed on the superscription of his letter. Mr. Osborne dropped it with the bitterest, deadliest pang of balked affection and revenge. His son was still beloved and unforgiven.

Two months afterwards an elaborate funeral monument to the memory of Captain George Osborne appeared on the wall of the church which Mr. Osborne attended, and in the autumn the old man went to Belgium. George's widow was still in Brussels, and very many of the brave —th, recovering of their wounds. The city was a vast military hospital for months after the great battle.

Mr. Osborne made the journey of Waterloo and Quarter Bras soon after his arrival, and his carriage, nearing the gates of the city at sunset, met another open barouche by the side of which an officer was riding. Osborne gave a start back, but Amelia, for it was she, though she stared blank in his face did not know him. Her face was white and thin; her eyes were fixed, and looked nowhere. Osborne saw who it was and hated her—he did not know how much until he saw her there. Her carriage passed on; a minute afterwards a horse came clattering over the pavement behind Osborne's carriage, and Major Dobbin rode up.

"Mr. Osborne, Mr. Osborne!" cried Dobbin, while the other shouted to his servant to drive on. "I will see you, sir; I have a message for you."

"From that woman?" said Osborne fiercely.

"No, from your son." At which Osborne fell back into his carriage and Dobbin followed him to his hotel and up to his apartments.

"Make it short, sir," said Osborne, with an oath.

"I'm here as your son's closest friend," said the Major, "and the executor of his will. Are you aware how small his means were, and of the straitened circumstances of his widow? Do you know, sir, Mrs. Osborne's condition? Her life and her reason almost have been shaken by the blow which has fallen on her. She will be a mother soon. Will you visit the parent's offence upon the child's head? Or will you forgive the child for poor George's sake?"

Osborne broke into a rhapsody of self praise and imprecations. No father in all England could have behaved more generously to a son who had rebelled against him, and had died without even confessing he was wrong. As for himself, he had sworn never to speak to that woman, or to recognise her as his son's wife. "And that's what I will stick to till the last day of my life," he concluded, with an oath.

There was no hope from that quarter then. The widow must live on her slender pittance, or on such aid as Joseph could give her.

For six years Amelia did live on this pittance in shabby genteel poverty with her boy and her parents in Fulham. Dobbin and Joseph Sedley were in India now, and old Sedley, always speculating in bootless schemes, once more brought ruin on his family.

Mr. Osborne had seen his grandson, and had formally offered to take the boy and make him heir to the fortune intended for his father. He would make Mrs. George Osborne an allowance, such as to assure her a decent competency. But it must be understood that the child would live entirely with his grandfather in Russell Square, and that he would be occasionally permitted to see Mrs. George Osborne at her own residence.

At first Amelia rejected the offer with indignation. It was only on the knowledge that her father, in his speculations, had made away with the annuity from Joseph that poverty and misery made her capitulate. Her own, pittance would barely enable her to support her parents, and would not suffice for her son.

"What! Mrs. Pride has come down, has she?" old Osborne said when with a tremulous, eager voice, Miss Osborne, the only unmarried daughter, read him Amelia's letter.

"Regular starve out, hey? ha, ha! I knew she would." He tried to keep his dignity, as he chuckled and swore to himself behind his paper.

"Get the room over mine—his room that was—ready. And you had better send that woman some money," Mr. Osborne said before he went out. "She shan't want for nothing. Send her a hundred pound. But she don't come in here, mind. No, not for all the money in London."

A few days are past, and the great event of Amelia's life is consummated. The child is sacrificed and offered up to fate, and the widow is quite alone.

It was about this time when the Rawdon Crawleys, after contriving to live well on nothing a year, for a considerable period, came to smash. Rawdon retired to the Governorship of Coventry Island, a post procured for him by the influence of that great nobleman the Marquis of Steyne, and who cared what became of Becky? It was said she went to Naples. Rawdon certainly declined to be reconciled to her, because of the money she had received from Lord Steyne and which she had concealed from her husband. "If she's not guilty, she's as bad as guilty; and I'll never see her again—never," he said.

IV.—Colonel Dobbin Leaves the Army

Good fortune began to smile upon Amelia when Joseph Sedley, once more came back to England, a rich man, and with him Major Dobbin. But the round of decorous pleasure in which the Sedley family now indulged was soon broken by Mrs. Sedley's death, and old Sedley was not long in following his wife whither she had preceded him.

A change was coming over old Osborne's mind. He found that Major Dobbin was a distinguished officer, and one day looking into his grandson's accounts he learnt that it was out of William Dobbin's own pocket the fund had been supplied upon which the poor widow and the child had subsisted.

Then the pair shook hands, and after that the Major would often come and dine at the gloomy old house in Russell Square. He tried to soften the old man and reconcile him towards his son's memory, and more than once Mr. Osborne asked him about Mrs. George Osborne. A reconciliation was announced as speedy and inevitable, when one morning old Osborne was found lying at the foot of his dressing-table in a fit. He never could speak again and in four days he died.

When the will was opened, it was seen that half the property was left to his grandson, George, and the remainder to two married daughters. An annuity of L500 was left to "the widow of my beloved son, George Osborne," who was to resume the guardianship of the boy, and "Major William Dobbin, my beloved son's friend," was appointed executor.

That summer Major Dobbin and Joseph Sedley escorted the widow and her boy to the Continent and at Pumpernickel, in a happy valley in Germany, Joseph renewed acquaintance with Mrs. Rawdon Crawley, and after a long and confidential talk was convinced that Becky was the most virtuous as she was one of the most fascinating of women. Amelia was won over at the tale of Becky's sufferings, but Major Dobbin was obdurate. Amelia declined to give up Becky, and Major Dobbin said "good-bye."

Amelia didn't wish to marry him, but she wished to keep him, and his departure left her broken and cast down. Becky bore Dobbin no rancour for the part he had taken against her. It was an open move; she was in the game and played fairly. She even admired him, and now that she was in comfortable quarters, made no scruple of declaring her admiration for the high-minded gentleman, and of telling Emmy that she had behaved most cruelly regarding him.

From Pumpernickel Joseph and Amelia were persuaded to go to Ostend, and here, while Becky was cut by scores of people, two ruffians, Major Loder and Captain Rook, easily got an introduction to Mr. Joseph Sedley's hospitable board.

Rebecca, to do her justice, never would let either of these men remain alone with Amelia.

"Listen to me, Amelia," said Becky that same night; "you must go away from here. You are no more fit to live in the world than a baby in arms. You must marry or you and your precious boy will go to ruin. You must have a husband, you fool; and one of the best gentlemen I ever saw has offered you an hundred times, and you have ejected him, you silly, heartless, ungrateful little creature!"

"I—I wrote to him this morning," Emmy said, blushing exceedingly.

Only George and his uncle were present at the marriage ceremony. Colonel Dobbin quitted the service immediately after his marriage, and rented a pretty little place in Hampshire, not far from Queen's Crawley.

His excellency Colonel Rawdon Crawley died of yellow fever at Coventry Island, six weeks before the death of his brother Sir Pitt, who had succeeded to the title.

Rebecca, Lady Crawley (so she called herself, though she never was Lady Crawley) has a liberal allowance, and chiefly hangs about Bath and Cheltenham, where a very strong party of excellent people consider her a most injured woman.

Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! which of us is happy in this world?

* * * * *


Anna Karenina

Lyof (Lev or Leo) Tolstoy (who objects to his name being transliterated Tolstoi) is generally recognised as the noblest figure in modern Russia. He was born on the family estate at Yasnaya Polyana, in the Government of Tula, about 100 miles south of Moscow, on August 28 (new style September 9), 1828. His father, Count N.I. Tolstoy, who retired from the army about the time of his son's birth, had been among the prisoners taken by Napoleon's invading forces in the war of 1812. He died suddenly in 1837. Young Tolstoy after three years at Kazan University decided to abandon his college studies without graduating, so repelled was he by the degraded character of the average student. Retiring to his estate at Yasnaya Polyana in 1847, he sought, though without success, to ameliorate the condition of his serfs. The Imperial decree of emancipation was not promulgated till 1861. In 1851 Count Tolstoy joined the army in the Caucasus, and shortly afterwards he participated in the defence of Sebastopol during the great Crimean War. Since that period his life has been a wonderful career of literary success. On his fine estate, with his large family and his servants about him, he lives the life of a simple peasant, advocating a form of socialism which he considers to constitute a practical interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount. In "Anna Karenina" Tolstoy manifestly aims at furnishing an elaborate delineation of the sociological ethics of high life in Russia. It is a lurid and sombre recital, of the most realistic kind. It is not a story of the masses, for no prominent characters from lower life appear. Little is seen of the ways and doings of the poor. All the real personages of this story are members of the fashionable section of St. Petersburg and Moscow, or are great landed proprietors, or high officials. In these pages appear some of the noblest and some of the most profligate characters, and all are perfectly typical. As in all the writings of Tolstoy, wit and humour are entirely lacking, but the emotionalism is intense, the psychological analysis is masterly, and the fidelity to actual conditions is scrupulous. The tale is a moral one, written with a purpose that is consistently pursued throughout. Sin is displayed without a mask, and its retribution is shown to be inevitable. There is no attempt at varnishing or veneering the surface of a lax moral order. The idea prevails among critics that Tolstoy himself appears in this novel under the character of Levin. (See also Vol. X, p. 291.)

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