From the Lakes of Killarney to the Golden Horn by Field, Henry M. (Henry Martyn)

Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

FROM THE LAKES OF KILLARNEY TO THE GOLDEN HORN.

BY HENRY M. FIELD, D.D.

FOURTEENTH EDITION.

NEW YORK: CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS, 1884.

COPYRIGHT, 1876, BY SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.

TROW'S PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING COMPANY, _201-213 East 12th Street_, NEW YORK.

When a man's house is "left unto him desolate" by the loss of one who filled it with sunshine--when there is no light in the window and no fire on the hearth--it is a natural impulse to leave his darkened home, and become a wanderer on the face of the earth. Such was the beginning of the journey recorded here. Thus driven from his home, the writer crossed the seas, and passed from land to land, going on and on, till he had compassed the round globe. The story of all this is much too long to be comprised in one volume. The present, therefore, does not pass beyond Europe, but stops on the shores of the Bosphorus, in sight of Asia. Another will take us to the Nile and the Ganges, to Egypt and India, to Burmah and Java, to China and Japan.

* * * * *

It should be added, to explain an occasional personal allusion, that the writer was accompanied by his niece (who had lived so long in his family as to be like his own child), whose gentle presence cheered his lonely hours, and cast a soft and quiet light amid the shadows.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I. PAGE The Melancholy Sea 7

CHAPTER II. Ireland--its Beauty and its Sadness 17

CHAPTER III. Scotland and the Scotch 24

CHAPTER IV. Moody and Sankey in London 32

CHAPTER V. Two Sides of London.--Is Modern Civilization a Failure? 42

CHAPTER VI. The Resurrection of France 60

CHAPTER VII. The French National Assembly 66

CHAPTER VIII The Lights and Shadows of Paris 77

CHAPTER IX. Going on a Pilgrimage 86

CHAPTER X. Under the Shadow of Mont Blanc 96

CHAPTER XI. Switzerland 108

CHAPTER XII. On the Rhine 119

CHAPTER XIII. Belgium and Holland 130

CHAPTER XIV. The New Germany and its Capital 140

CHAPTER XV. Austria--Old and New 150

CHAPTER XVI. A Midsummer Night's Dream.--Outdoor Life of the German People 164

CHAPTER XVII. The Passion Play and the School of the Cross 179

CHAPTER XVIII. The Tyrol and Lake Como 194

CHAPTER XIX. The City in the Sea 207

CHAPTER XX. Milan and Genoa.--A Ride over the Corniche Road 222

CHAPTER XXI. In the Vale of the Arno 234

CHAPTER XXII. Old Rome and New Rome.--Ruins and Resurrection 243

CHAPTER XXIII. The Prisoner of the Vatican 253

CHAPTER XXIV. Pictures and Palaces 261

CHAPTER XXV. Naples--Pompeii and Pæstum 272

CHAPTER XXVI. The Ascent of Vesuvius 282

CHAPTER XXVII. Greece and its Young King 291

CHAPTER XXVIII. Constantinople 305

CHAPTER XXIX. The Sultan Abdul Aziz 321

CHAPTER XXX. The Eastern Question.--The Exodus of the Turks 330

CHAPTER XXXI. The Sultan is Deposed, and Commits Suicide.--The War in Servia.--Massacres in Bulgaria.--How will it all End? 342

FROM THE LAKES OF KILLARNEY TO THE GOLDEN HORN.

CHAPTER I.

THE MELANCHOLY SEA.

QUEENSTOWN, IRELAND, Monday, May 24, 1875.

We landed this morning at two o'clock, by the light of the moon, which was just past the full, and which showed distinctly the beautiful harbor, surrounded by hills and forts, and filled with ships at anchor, through which the tender that brought us off from the steamer glided silently to the town, which lay in death-like stillness before us. Eight days and six hours took us from shore to shore! Eight days we were out of sight of land. Water, water everywhere! Ocean to the right of us, ocean to the left of us, ocean in front of us, and ocean behind us, with two or three miles of ocean under us. But our good ship, the City of Berlin (which seemed proud of bearing the name of the capital of the new German Empire), bore us over the sea like a conqueror. She is said to be the largest ship in the world, next to the Great Eastern, being 520 feet long, and carrying 5,500 tons. This was her first voyage, and much interest was felt as to how she "behaved." She carried herself proudly from the start. On Saturday, the 15th, seven steamships, bound for Europe, left New York at about the same time. Those of the National and the Anchor lines moved off quietly; then the Celtic, of the White Star line, so famous for its speed, shot down the Bay; and the French steamer, the Amerique, swept by, firing her guns, as if boasting of what she would do. But the Berlin answered not a word. Since a fatal accident, by which a poor fellow was blown to pieces by a premature explosion, the Inman line has dropped the foolish custom of firing a salute every time a ship leaves or touches the dock. So her guns were silent; she made no reply to her noisy French neighbor. But at length her huge bulk swung slowly into the stream, and her engines began to move. She had not gone half-way down the bay before she left all her rivals behind, the Frenchman still firing his guns; even the Celtic, though pressing steam, was soon "nowhere." We did not see the German ship, which sailed at a different hour; nor the Cunarder, the Algeria (in which were our friends, Prof. R. D. Hitchcock and his family), as she left an hour before us; but as she has not yet been signalled at Queenstown, she must be some distance behind;[1] so that the Berlin may fairly claim the honors of this ocean race.

But in crossing the sea speed is secondary to safety and to comfort; and in these things I can say truly that I never was on board a more magnificent ship (excepting always the Great Eastern, in which I crossed in 1867). She was never going at full speed, but took it easily, as it was her first voyage, and the Captain was anxious to get his new machinery into smooth working order. The great size of the ship conduces much to comfort. She is more steady, she does not pitch and roll, like the lighter boats that we saw tossing around us, while she was moving majestically through the waves. The saloon, instead of being at the stern, according to the old method of construction, is placed more amidships (after the excellent model first introduced by the White Star line), and covers the whole width of the steamer, which gives light on both sides. There are four bath-rooms, with marble baths, supplied with salt water, so that one may have the luxury of sea-bathing without going to Rockaway or Coney Island. In crossing the Gulf Stream the water is warm enough; but if elsewhere it is too chill, the turn of a cock lets the steam into the bath, which quickly raises it to any degree of temperature. The ventilation is excellent, so that even when the port-holes are shut on account of the high sea, the air never becomes impure. The state-rooms are furnished with electric bells, one touch on which brings a steward in an instant. Thus provided for, one may escape, as far as possible, the discomforts of the sea, and enjoy in some degree the comforts and even the luxuries of civilization.

Captain Kennedy, who is the Commodore of the fleet, and so always commands the newest and best ship of the line, is an admirable seaman, with a quick eye for everything, always on deck at critical moments, watching with unsleeping vigilance over the safety of all on board. The order and discipline of the ship is perfect. There is no noise or confusion. All moves on quietly. Not a sound is heard, save the occasional cry of the men stretching the sails, and the steady throb, day and night, of the engine, which keeps this huge mass moving on her ocean track.

But what a vast machine is such a ship, and how complicated the construction which makes possible such a triumph over the sea. Come up on the upper deck, and look down through this iron grating. You can see to a depth of fifty or sixty feet. It is like looking down into a miner's shaft. And what makes it the more fearful, is that the bottom of the ship is a mass of fire. Thirty-six furnaces are in full blast to heat the steam, and at night, as the red-hot coals that are raked out of the furnaces like melted lava, flash in the faces of the brawny and sweltering men, one might fancy himself looking into some Vulcan's cave, or subterranean region, glowing with an infernal heat. Thus one of these great ocean steamships is literally a sea monster, that feeds on fire; and descending into its bowels is (to use the energetic language of Scripture in speaking of Jonah in the whale) like going down into the "belly of hell."

All this suggests danger from fire as well as from the sea, and yet, so perfect are the precautions taken, that these glowing furnaces really guard against danger, as they shorten the time of exposure by insuring quadruple speed in crossing the deep.

And yet I can never banish the sense of a danger that is always near from the two destroying elements of fire and water, flood and flame. The very precautions against danger show that it is ever present to the mind of the prudent navigator. Those ten life-boats hung above the deck, with pulleys ready to swing them over the ship's side at a moment's notice, and the axe ready to cut away the ropes, and even casks of water filled to quench the burning thirst of a shipwrecked crew that may be cast helpless on the waves, suggest unpleasant possibilities, in view of recent disasters; and one night I went to my berth feeling not quite so easy as in my bed at home, as we were near the banks of Newfoundland, and a dense fog hung over the sea, through which the ship went, making fourteen miles an hour, its fog-whistles screaming all night long. This was very well as a warning to other ships to keep out of the way, but would not receive much attention from the icebergs that were floating about, which are very abundant in the Atlantic this summer. We saw one the next day, a huge fellow that might have proved an ugly acquaintance, as one crash on his frozen head would have sent us all to the bottom.

But at such times unusual precautions are taken. There are signs in the sudden chilliness of the air of the near approach of an iceberg, which would lead the ship to back out at once from the hug of such a polar bear.

In a few hours the fog was all gone; and the next night, as we sat on deck, the full moon rose out of the waves. Instantly the hum of voices ceased; conversation was hushed; and all grew silent before the awful beauty of the scene. Such an hour suggests not merely poetical but spiritual thoughts--thoughts of the dead as well as thoughts of God. It recalled a passage in David Copperfield, where little David, after the death of his mother, sits at a window and looks out upon the sea, and sees a shining path over the waters, and thinks he sees his mother coming to him upon it from heaven. May it not be that on such a radiant pathway from the skies we sometimes see the angels of God ascending and descending?

But with all these moonlight nights, and sun-risings and sun-settings, the sea had little attraction for me, and its general impression was one of profound melancholy. Perhaps my own mood of mind had something to do with it; but as I sat upon deck and looked out upon the "gray and melancholy waste," or lay in my berth and heard the waves rushing past, I had a feeling more dreary than in the most desolate wilderness. That sound haunted me; it was the last I heard at night, and the first in the morning; it mingled with my dreams. I tried to analyze the feeling. Was it my own mental depression that hung like a cloud over the waters; or was it something in the aspect of nature itself? Perhaps both. I was indeed floating amid shadows. But I found no sympathy in the sea. On the land Nature soothed and comforted me; she spoke in gentle tones, as if she had a heart of tenderness, a motherly sympathy with the sorrow of her children. There was something in the deep silence of the woods that seemed to say, Peace, be still! The brooks murmured softly as they flowed between their mossy banks, as if they would not disturb our musings, but "glide into them, and steal away their sharpness ere we were aware." The robins sang in notes not too gay, but that spoke of returning spring after a long dark winter; and the soft airs that touched the feverish brow seemed to lift gently the grief that rested there, and carry it away on the evening wind. But in the ocean, there was no touch of human feeling, no sympathy with human woe. All was cold and pitiless. Even on the sea beach "the cruel, crawling foam" comes creeping up to the feet of the child skipping along the sands, as if to snatch him away, while out on the deep the rolling waves

"Mock the cry Of some strong swimmer in his agony."

Bishop Butler finds in many of the forces of Nature proofs of God's moral government over the world, and even suggestions of mercy. But none of these does he find in the sea. That speaks only of wrath and terror. Its power is to destroy. It is a treacherous element. Smooth and smiling it may be, even when it lures us to destruction. We are sailing over it in perfect security, but let there be a fire or a collision, and it would swallow us up in an instant, as it has swallowed a thousand wrecks before. Knowing no mercy, cruel as the grave, it sacrifices without pity youth and age, gray hairs and childish innocence and tender womanhood--all alike are engulfed in the devouring sea. There is not a single tear in the thousand leagues of ocean, nor a sigh in the winds that sweep over it, for all the hearts it breaks or the lives it destroys. The sea, therefore, is not a symbol of divine mercy. It is the very emblem of tremendous and remorseless power. Indeed, if Nature had no other face but this, we could hardly believe in God, or at least, with gentle attributes; we could only stand on the shore of existence, and shake with terror at the presence of a being of infinite power, but cold and pitiless as the waves that roll from the Arctic pole. Our Saviour walked on the waves, but left thereon no impress of his blessed feet; nor can we find there a trace of the love of God as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we must not yield to musings that grow darker with the gathering night. Let us go down into the ship, where the lamps are lighted, and there is a sound of voices, to make us forget our loneliness in the midst of the sea.

The cabin always presented an animated scene. We had nearly two hundred passengers, who were seated about on the sofas, reading, or playing games, or engaged in conversation. The company was a very pleasant one. At the Captain's table, where we sat, was Mr. Mathew, the late English Minister to Brazil, a very intelligent and agreeable gentleman, who had been for seven years at the Court of Dom Pedro, whom he described as one of the most enlightened monarchs of his time, "half a century in advance of his people," doing everything that was possible to introduce a better industry and all improvements in the arts from Europe and America. The great matter of political interest now in Brazil is the controversy with the Bishops, where, as in Germany, it is a stubborn fight between the State and the ecclesiastical power. Two of the Bishops are now in prison for having excommunicated by wholesale all the Freemasons of the country, without asking the consent of the government to the issue of such a sweeping decree. They are confined in two fortresses on the opposite side of the harbor of Rio Janeiro, where they take their martyrdom very comfortably, their sentence to "hard labor" amounting to having a French cook, and all the luxuries of life, so that they can have a good time, while they fulminate their censures, "nursing their wrath to keep it warm."

At the same table were several young Englishmen, who were not at all like the imaginary Briton abroad, cold and distant and reserved, but very agreeable, and doing everything to make our voyage pleasant. We remember them with a feeling of real friendship. Near us also sat a young New York publisher, Mr. Mead, with his wife, to whom we were drawn by a sort of elective affinity, and shall be glad to meet them again on the other side of the ocean.

Among our passengers was Grace Greenwood, who added much to the general enjoyment by entertaining us in the evening with her dramatic recitations from Bret Harte's California Sketches, while her young daughter, who has a very sweet voice, sang charmingly.

Like all ships' companies, ours were bent on amusing themselves, although it was sometimes a pursuit of pleasure under difficulties; as one evening, when a young gentleman and lady sang "What are the wild waves saying?" each clinging to a post for support, while the performer at the piano had to fall on his knees to keep from being drifted away from his instrument!

But Grace Greenwood is not a mere entertainer of audiences with her voice, or of the public with her pen. She is not only a very clever writer, but has as much wisdom as wit in her woman's brain. In our conversations she did not discover any extreme opinions, such as are held by some brilliant female writers, but seemed to have a mind well balanced, with a great deal of good common sense as well as womanly feeling, and a brave heart to help her struggling sisters in America, and all over the world.

One meets some familiar faces on these steamer decks, and here almost the first man that I ran against was a clergyman whom I knew twenty-five years ago in Connecticut, Rev. James T. Hyde. He is now a Professor in the Congregational Theological Seminary at Chicago, and is going abroad for the first time. What a world of good it does these studious men, these preachers and scholars, to be thus "transported!"

But here is a scholar and a professor who is not a stranger in Europe, but to the manner born, our own beloved Dr. Schaff, whose passage I had taken with mine (knowing that he had to go abroad this summer), and thus beguiled him into our company. We shared the same state-room, and never do I desire a more delightful travelling companion on land or sea. Those who know him do not need to be told that he is not only one of our first scholars, but one of the most genial of men. While full of learning, he never oppresses you with oracular wisdom; but is just as ready for a pleasant story as for a grave literary or theological discussion. I think we hardly realize yet what a service he has rendered to our country in establishing a sort of literary and intellectual free trade between the educated and religious mind of America and of Great Britain and Germany. To him more than to any other man is due the great success of the Evangelical Alliance. He is now going abroad on a mission of not less importance--the revision of our present version of the English Bible: a work which has enlisted for some years the combined labors of a great number of the most eminent scholars in England and America.

Finally, as a practical homily and piece of advice to all who are going abroad, let me say, if you would have the fullest enjoyment, _take a young person with you_--if possible, one who is untravelled, so that you can see the world again with fresh eyes. I came away in the deepest depression. Nothing has comforted me so much as a light figure always at my side. Poor child! The watching, and care, and sorrow that she has had for these many months, had driven the roses from her cheeks; but now they are coming back again. She has never been abroad before. To her literally "all things are new." The sun rises daily on a new world. She enters into everything with the utmost zest. She was a very good sailor, and enjoyed the voyage, and made friends with everybody. Really it brought a thrill of pleasure for the first time into my poor heart to see her delight. She will be the best of companions in all my wanderings.

In such good company, we have passed over the great and wide sea, and now set foot upon the land, thanking Him who has led us safely through the mighty waters. Yesterday morning, after the English service had been read in the saloon, Dr. Schaff gave out the hymn,

Nearer, my God, to Thee,

and my heart responded fervently to the prayer, that all the experiences of this mortal state, on the sea and on the land--the storms of the ocean and the storms of life--may serve this one supreme object of existence, to bring us NEARER TO GOD.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] She came in fifteen hours after us, and the Celtic twenty. The German ship reached Southampton two days later.

CHAPTER II.

IRELAND--ITS BEAUTY AND ITS SADNESS.

THE LAKES OF KILLARNEY, May 26th.

There is never but one _first_ impression; all else is _second_ in time and in degree. It is twenty-eight years since I first saw the shores of England and of Ireland, and then they were to me like some celestial country. It was then, as now, in the blessed spring-time--in the merry month of May:

The corn was springing fresh and green, The lark sang loud and high;

and the banks of the Mersey, as I sailed up to Liverpool, were like the golden shores of Paradise.

Now I am somewhat of a traveller, and should take these things more quietly, were it not for a pair of young eyes beside me, through which I see things anew, and taste again the sweetness of that earlier time. If we had landed in the moon, my companion could not have been at first more bewildered and delighted with what she saw; everything was so queer and quaint, so old and strange--in a word, so unlike all she had ever seen before. The streets were different, being very narrow, and winding up hill and down dale; the houses were different, standing close up to the street, without the relief of grass, or lawn, or even of stately ascending steps in front; the thatched cottages and the flowering hedge-rows--all were new.

To heighten the impression of what was so fresh to the eye, the country was in its most beautiful season. We left New York still looking cold and cheerless from the backward spring; here the spring had burst into its full glory. The ivy mantled every old tower and ruin with the richest green, the hawthorn was in blossom, making the hedge-rows, as we whirled along the roads, a mass of white and green, filling the eye with its beauty and the air with its fragrance. Thus there was an intoxication of the senses, as well as of the imagination; and if the girls (for two others, under the charge of Prof. Hyde, had joined our party) had leaped from the carriage, and commenced a romp or a dance on the greensward, we could hardly have been surprised, as an expression of their childish joy, and their first greeting as they touched the soil, not of merry England, but of the Emerald Isle.

But if this set them off into such ecstasies, what shall be said of their first sight of a ruin? Of course it was Blarney Castle, which is near Cork, and famous for its Blarney Stone. A lordly castle, indeed, it must have been in the days of its pride, as it still towers up a hundred feet and more, and its walls are eight or ten feet thick: so that it would have lasted for ages, if Cromwell had not knocked some ugly holes through it a little more than two hundred years ago. But still the tower is beautiful, being covered to the very top with masses of ivy, which in England is the great beautifier of whatever is old, clinging to the mouldering wall, covering up the huge rents and gaps made by cannon balls, and making the most unsightly ruins lovely in their decay. We all climbed to the top, where hangs in air, fastened by iron clamps in its place, the famous Blarney Stone, which is said to impart to whoever kisses it the gift of eloquence, which will make one successful in love and in life. As it was, only one pressed forward to snatch this prize which it held out to our embrace. Dr. Schaff even "poked" the stone disdainfully with his staff, perhaps thinking it would become like Aaron's rod that budded. The lack of enthusiasm, however, may have been owing to the fact that the stone hangs at a dizzy height, and is therefore somewhat difficult of approach; for on descending within the castle, where is another Blarney Stone lying on the ground, and within easy reach, I can testify that several of the party gave it a hearty smack, not to catch any mysterious virtue from the stone, but the flavor of thousands of fair lips that had kissed it before.

Before leaving this old castle, as we shall have many more to see hereafter, let me say a word about castles in general. They are well enough _as ruins_, and certainly, as they are scattered about Ireland and England, they add much to the picturesqueness of the landscapes, and will always possess a romantic interest. But viewed in the sober light of history, they are monuments of an age of barbarism, when the country was divided among a hundred chiefs, each of whom had his stronghold, out of which he could sally to attack his less powerful neighbor. Everything in the construction--the huge walls, with narrow slits for windows through which the archers could pour arrows, or in later times the musketeers could shower balls, on their enemies; the deep moat surrounding it; the drawbridge and portcullis--all speak of a time of universal insecurity, when danger was abroad, and every man had to be armed against his fellow.

As a place of habitation, such a fortress was not much better than a prison. The chieftain shut himself in behind massive walls, under huge arches, where the sun could never penetrate, where all was dark and gloomy as a sepulchre. I know a cottage in New England, on the crest of one of the Berkshire Hills, open on every side to light and air, kissed by the rising and the setting sun, in which there is a hundred times more of real _comfort_ than could have been in one of these old castles, where a haughty baron passed his existence in gloomy grandeur, buried in sepulchral gloom.

And to what darker purposes were these castles sometimes applied! Let one go down into the passages underneath, and see the dungeons underground, dark, damp, and cold as the grave, in which prisoners and captives were buried alive. One cannot grope his way into these foul subterranean dungeons without feeling that these old castles are the monuments of savage tyrants; that if these walls could speak, they would tell many a tale, not of knightly chivalry, but of barbarous cruelty, that would curdle the blood with horror. These things take away somewhat of the charm which Walter Scott has thrown about these old "gallant knights," who were often no better than robber chiefs; and I am glad that Cromwell with his cannon battered their strongholds about their ears. Let these relics remain covered with ivy, and picturesque as ruins, but let it never be forgotten that they are the fallen monuments of an age of barbarism, of terror, and of cruelty.

There is one other feature of this country that cannot be omitted from a survey of Ireland--it is _the beggars_, who are sure to give an American a warm welcome. They greet him with whines and grimaces and pitiful beseechings, to which he cannot harden his heart. My first salutation at Queenstown on Monday morning, on coming out in front of the hotel to take a view of the beautiful bay, was from an old woman in rags, who certainly looked what she described herself to be, "a poor crathur, that had nobody to care for her," and who besought me, "for the love of God, to give her at least the price of a cup of tea!" Of course I did, when she gave me an Irish blessing: "May the gates o Paradise open to ye, and to all them that loves ye!" This vision of Paradise seems to be a favorite one with the Irish beggar, and is sometimes coupled with extraordinary images, as when one blesses her benefactor in this overflowing style: "May every hair on your head be a candle to light you to Paradise!"

This quick wit of the Irish serves them better than their poverty in appealing for charity; and I must confess that I have violated all the rules laid down by charitable societies, "not to give to beggars," for I have filled my pockets with pennies, and given to hordes of ragamuffins, as well as to old women, to hear their answers, which, though largely infused with Irish blarney, have a flavor of native wit. Who could resist such a blessing as this: "May ye ride in a fine carriage, and the mud of your wheels splash the face of your inimies," then with a quick turn, "though I know ye haven't any!"

Yesterday we made an excursion through the Gap of Dunloe, a famous gorge in the mountains around Killarney, and were set upon by the whole fraternity--ragtag and bobtail. At the foot of the pass we left our jaunting car to walk over the mountain, C---- alone being mounted on a pony. I walked by her side, while our two theological professors strode ahead. The women were after them in full cry, each with a bowl of goat's milk and a bottle of "mountain dew" (Irish whiskey), to work upon their generous feelings. But they produced no impression; the professors were absorbed in theology or something else, and setting their faces with all the sternness of Calvinism against this vile beggary, they kept moving up the mountain path. At length the beggars gave them up in despair, and returned to try their mild solicitations upon me. An old siren, coming up in a tender and confiding way, whispered to me, "You're the best looking of the lot; and it is a nice lady ye have; and a fine couple ye make." That was enough; she got her money. I felt a little elated with the distinguished and superior air which even beggars had discovered in my aspect and bearing, till on returning to the hotel, one of our professors coolly informed me that the same old witch had previously told him that "he was the darling of the party!" After that, who will ever believe a beggar's compliment again?

But we must not let the beggars on the way either amuse or provoke us, so as to divert our attention from the natural grandeur and beauty around us. The region of the Lakes of Killarney is at once the most wild and the most beautiful portion of Ireland. These Lakes are set as in a bowl, in the hollow of rugged mountains, which are not like the Green Mountains, or the Catskills, wooded to the top, but bald and black, their heads being swept by perpetual storms from the Atlantic, that keep them always bleak and bare. Yet in the heart of these barren mountains, in the very centre of all this savage desolation, lie these lovely sheets of water. No wonder that they are sought by tourists from America, and from all parts of the world.

Nor are their shores without verdure and beauty. Though the mountain sides are bare rock, like the peaks of volcanoes, yet the lower hills and meadows bordering on the Lakes are in a high state of cultivation. But these oases of fertility are not for the people; they all belong to great estates--chiefly to the Earl of Kenmare and a Mr. Herbert, who is a Member of Parliament. These estates are enclosed with high walls, as if to keep them not only from the intrusion of the people, but even from being seen by them. The great rule of English exclusiveness here obtains, as in the construction of the old feudal castles, the object in both cases being the same, to keep the owners in, and to shut everybody else out. Hence the contrast between what is within and what is without these enclosures. Within all is greenness and fertility; without all is want and misery. It will not do to impute the latter entirely to the natural shiftlessness of the Irish people, as if they would rather beg than work. They have very little motive to work. They cannot own a foot of the soil. The Earl of Kenmare may have thousands of acres for his game, but not a foot will he sell to an Irish laborer, however worthy or industrious. Hence the inevitable tendency of things is to impoverish more and more the wretched peasantry. How long would even the farmers of New England retain their sturdy independence, if all the land of a county were in a single estate, and they could not by any possibility get an acre of ground? They would soon lose their self-respect, as they sank from the condition of owners to tenants. The more I see of different countries, the more I am convinced that the first condition of a robust and manly race is that they should have within their reach some means, either by culture of the soil or by some other kind of industry, of securing for themselves an honest and decent support. It is impossible to keep up self-respect when there is no means of livelihood. Hence the feeling of sadness that mingles with all this beauty around me; that it is a country where all is for the few, and nothing for the many; where the poor starve, while a few nobles and rich landlords can spend their substance in riotous living. Kingsley, in one of his novels, puts into the mouth of an English sailor these lines, which always seemed to me to have a singular pathos:

"Oh! England is a pleasant place for them that's rich and high; But England is a cruel place for such poor folks as I."

That is the woe of Ireland--a woe inwrought with its very institutions, and which it would seem only some social convulsion could remove. Sooner or later it must come; we hope by peaceful methods and gentle influences. We shall not live to see the time, but we trust another generation may, when the visitor to Killarney shall not have his delight in the works of God spoiled by sight of the wretchedness of man; when instead of troops of urchins in rags, with bare feet, running for miles to catch the pennies thrown from jaunting cars, we shall see happy, rosy-cheeked children issuing from school-houses, and see the white spires of pretty churches gleaming in the valleys and on the hills. That will be the "sunburst" indeed for poor old Ireland, when the glory of the Lord is thus seen upon her waters and her mountains.

CHAPTER III.

SCOTLAND AND THE SCOTCH.

EDINBURGH, June 3d.

In making the tour of Great Britain, there is an advantage in taking Ireland first, Scotland next, and England last,--since in this way one is always going from the less to the more interesting. To the young American traveller "fresh and green," with enthusiasm unexpended, it seems on landing in Ireland as if there never was such a bit of green earth, and indeed it is a very interesting country. But many as are its attractions, Scotland has far more, in that it is the home of a much greater people, and is invested with far richer historical and poetical associations; it has been the scene of great historical events; it is the land of Wallace and Bruce, of Reformers and Martyrs, of John Knox and the Covenanters, and of great preachers down to the days of Chalmers and Guthrie; and it has been immortalized by the genius of poets and novelists, who have given a fresh interest to the simple manners of the people, as well as to their lakes and mountains.

And after all, it is this _human_ interest which is the great interest of any country--not its hills and valleys, its lakes and rivers _alone_, but these features of natural beauty and sublimity, illumined and glorified by the presence of man, by the record of what he has suffered and what he has achieved, of his love and courage, his daring and devotion; and nowhere are these more identified with the country itself than here, nowhere do they more speak from the very rocks and hills and glens.

Scotland, though a great country, is not a very large one, and such are now the facilities of travel that one can go very quickly to almost any point. A few hours will take you into the heart of the Highlands. We made in one day the excursion to Stirling, and to Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine, and felt at every step how much the beauties of nature are heightened by associations with romance or history. From Stirling Castle one looks down upon a dozen battle-fields. He is in sight of Bannockburn, where Bruce drove back the English invader, and of other fields associated with Wallace, the hero of Scotland, as William Tell is of Switzerland. Once among the lakes he surrenders himself to his imagination, excited by romance. The poetry of Scott gives to the wild glens and moors a greater charm than the bloom of the heather. The lovely lake catches, more beautiful than the rays of sunset,

"A light that never was on sea or shore, The inspiration and the poet's dream."

Loch Katrine is a very pretty sheet of water, lying as it does at the foot of rugged mountains, yet it is not more beautiful than hundreds of small lakes among our Northern hills, but it derives a poetic charm from being the scene of "The Lady of the Lake." A little rocky islet is pointed out as Ellen's Isle. An open field by the roadside, which would attract no attention, immediately becomes an object of romantic interest when the coachman tells us it was the scene of the combat between Fitz James and Roderick Dhu. The rough country over which we are riding just now is no wilder than many of the roads among the White Mountains--but it is the country of Rob Roy! I have climbed through many a rocky mountain gorge as wild as the Trossachs, but they had not Walter Scott to people them with his marvellous creations.

A student of the religious part of Scottish history will find another interest here, as he remembers how, in the days of persecution, the old Covenanters sought refuge in these glens, and here found shelter from those pursuing rough-riders, Claverhouse's dragoons. Thus it is the history of Scotland, and the genius of her writers, that give such interest to her country and her people; and as I stood at the grave of John Wilson (Christopher North), I blessed the hand that had depicted so tenderly the "Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life," presenting such varied scenes in the cottage and the manse, in the glen and on the moor, but everywhere illustrating the patient trust and courage of this wonderful people. It is a fit winding-up to the tour of Scotland, that commonly the traveller's last visit, as he comes down to England, is to Abbotsford, the home of Walter Scott; to Melrose Abbey, which a few lines of his poetry have invested with an interest greater than that of other similar ruins; and to Dryburgh Abbey, where he sleeps.

Edinburgh is the most picturesque city in Europe, as it is cleft in twain by a deep gorge or ravine, on either side of which the two divisions of the city, the Old Town and the New Town, stand facing each other. From the Royal Hotel, where we are, in Princes Street, just opposite the beautiful monument to Walter Scott, we look across this gorge to long ranges of buildings in the Old Town, some of which are ten stories high; and to the Castle, lifted in air four hundred feet by a cliff that rears its rocky front from the valley below, its top girt round with walls, and frowning with batteries. What associations cluster about those heights! For hundreds of years, even before the date of authentic history, that has been a military stronghold. It has been besieged again and again. Cromwell tried to take it, but its battlements of rock proved inaccessible even to his Ironsides. There, in a little room hardly bigger than a closet, Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to a prince, who when but eight days old was let down in a basket from the cliff, that the life so precious to two kingdoms as that of the sovereign in whom Scotland and England were to be united, might not perish by murderous hands. And there is St. Giles' Cathedral, where John Knox thundered, and where James VI. (the infant that was born in the castle) when chosen to be James I. of England, took leave of his Scottish subjects.

At the other end of Edinburgh is Holyrood Castle, whose chief interest is from its association with the mother of James, the beautiful but ill-fated Mary. How all that history, stranger and sadder than any romance, comes back again, as we stand on the very spot where she stood when she was married; and pass through the rooms in which she lived, and see the very bed on which she slept, unconscious of the doom that was before her, and trace all the surroundings of her most romantic and yet most tragic history. Such are some of the associations which gather around Edinburgh!

I find here my friend Mr. William Nelson (of the famous publishing house of Nelson and Sons), whose hospitality I enjoyed for a week in the summer of 1867; and he, with his usual courtesy, gave up a whole day to show us Edinburgh, taking us to all the beautiful points of view and places of historical interest--to the Castle and Holyrood, and the Queen's Drive, around Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags. Mr. Nelson's house is a little out of the city, under the shadow of Arthur's Seat, near a modest manse, which has been visited by hundreds of American ministers, as it was the home of the late Dr. Guthrie. His brother, Mr. Thomas Nelson, has lately erected one of the most beautiful private houses I have seen in Scotland, or anywhere else. I doubt if there is a finer one in Edinburgh; and what gives it a special interest to an American, is that it was built wholly out of the rise of American securities. During our civil war, when most people in England thought the Great Republic was gone, he had faith, and invested thousands of pounds in our government bonds, the rise in which has paid entirely for this quite baronial mansion, so that he has some reason to call it his American house. So many in Great Britain have _lost_ by American securities, that it was pleasant to know of one who had reaped the reward of his faith in the strength of our government and the integrity of our people.

When we reached Edinburgh both General Assemblies were just closing their annual meetings. I had met in Glasgow, on Sunday, at the Barony church (where he is successor to Dr. Norman Macleod), John Marshall Lang, D.D., who visited America as a delegate to our General Assembly, and left a most favorable impression in our country; who told me that their Assembly--that of the National Church--would close the next day, and advised me to hasten to Edinburgh before its separation. So we came on with him on Monday, and looked in twice at the proceedings, but had not courage to stay to witness the end, which was not reached till four o'clock the next morning! But by the courtesy of Dr. Lang, I received an invitation from the excellent moderator, Dr. Sellars, (who had been in America, and had the most friendly feeling for our countrymen,) to a kind of state dinner, which it is an honored custom of this old Church to give at the close of the Assembly. The moderator is allowed two hundred pounds _to entertain_. He gives a public breakfast every morning during the session, and winds up with this grand feast. If the morning repasts were on such a generous scale as that which we saw, the £200 could go but a little way. There were about eighty guests, including the most eminent of the clergy, principals and professors of colleges, dignitaries of the city of Edinburgh, judges and law officers of the crown, etc. I sat next to Dr. Lang, who pointed out to me the more notable guests, and gave me much information between the courses; and Dr. Schaff sat next to Professor Milligan. As became an Established Church, there were toasts to the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and her Majesty's Ministers. Altogether it was a very distinguished gathering, which I greatly enjoyed. I am glad that we in America are beginning to cultivate relations with the National Church of Scotland. As to the question of Church and State, of course our sympathies are more with the Free Church, but that should not prevent a friendly intercourse with so large a body, to which we are drawn by the ties of a common faith and order. Delegates from the National Church of Scotland will always be welcome in our Assemblies, especially when they are such men as Dr. Lang and Professor Milligan; and our representatives are sure of a hearty reception here. Dr. Adams and Dr. Shaw, two or three years since, electrified their Assembly, and they do not cease to speak of it. Certainly we cannot but be greatly benefited by cultivating the most cordial relations with a body which contains so large an array of men distinguished for learning, eloquence, and piety.

In the Free Church things are done with less of form and state than in the National Church, but there is intense life and rigor. I looked in upon their Assembly, but found it occupied, like the other, chiefly with those routine matters which are hastened through at the close of a session. But I heard from members that the year has been one of great prosperity. The labors of the American revivalists, Moody and Sankey, have been well received, and the impression of all with whom I conversed was that they had done great good. In financial matters I was told that there had been such an outpouring of liberality as had never been known in Scotland before. The success of the Sustentation Fund is something marvellous, and must delight the heart of that noble son of Scotland, Dr. McCosh.

I am disappointed to find that the cause of UNION has not made more progress. There is indeed a prospect of the "Reformed" Church being absorbed into the Free Church, thus putting an end to an old secession. But it is a small body of only some eighty churches, while the negotiations with the far larger body of United Presbyterians, after being carried on for many years, are finally suspended, and may not be resumed. As to the National Church, it clings to its connection with the State as fondly as ever, and the Free Church, having grown strong without its aid, now disdains its alliance. On both sides the attitude is one of respectful but pretty decided aversion. So far from drawing nearer to each other, they appear to recede farther apart. It was thought that some advance had been made on the part of the Old Kirk, in the act of Parliament abolishing patronage, but the Free Church seemed to regard this as a temptation of the adversary to allure them from the stand which they had taken more than thirty years ago, and which they had maintained in a long and severe, but glorious, struggle. They will not listen to the voice of the charmer, no, not for an hour.

This attitude of the Free Church toward the National Church, coupled with the fact that its negotiations with the United Presbyterians have fallen through, does not give us much hope of a general union among the Presbyterians of Scotland, at least in our day. In fact there is something in the Scotch nature which seems to forbid such coalescence. _It does not fuse well._ It is too hard and "gritty" to melt in every crucible. For this reason they cannot well unite with any body. Their very nature is centrifugal rather than centripetal. They love to argue, and the more they argue the more positive they become. The conviction that they are right, is absolute on both sides. Whatever other Christian grace they lack, they have at least attained to a full assurance of faith. No one can help admiring their rugged honesty and their strong convictions, upheld with unflinching courage. They become heroes in the day of battle, and martyrs in the day of persecution; but as for mutual concession, and mutual forgiveness, that, I fear, is not in them.

It is painful to see this alienation between two bodies, for both of which we cannot but feel the greatest respect. It does not become us Americans to offer any counsel to those who are older and wiser than we; yet if we might send a single message across the sea, it should be to say that we have learned by all our conflicts and struggles to cherish two things--which are our watchwords in Church and State--_liberty_ and _union_. We prize our liberty. With a great price we have obtained this freedom, and no man shall take it from us. But yet we have also learned how precious a thing is brotherly love and concord. Sweet is the communion of saints. This is the last blessing which we desire for Scotland, that has so many virtues that we cannot but wish that she might abound in this grace also. Even with this imperfection, we love her country and her people. Whoever has had access to Scottish homes, must have been struck with their beautiful domestic character, with the attachment in families, with the tenderness of parents, and the affectionate obedience of children. A country in which the scenes of "The Cotter's Saturday Night" are repeated in thousands of homes, we cannot help loving as well as admiring. Wherefore do I say from my heart, A thousand blessings on dear old Scotland! Peace be within her walls, and prosperity within her palaces!

CHAPTER IV.

MOODY AND SANKEY IN LONDON.

LONDON, June 10th.

To an American, visiting London just now, the object of most interest is the meetings of his countrymen, Moody and Sankey. He has heard so much of them, that he is curious to see with his own eyes just what they are. One thing is undeniable--that they have created a prodigious sensation. London is a very big place to make a stir in. A pebble makes a ripple in a placid lake, while a rock falling from the side of a mountain disappears in an instant in the ocean. London is an ocean. Yet here these meetings have been thronged as much as in other cities of Great Britain, and that not by the common people alone (although they have heard gladly), but by representatives of all classes. For several weeks they were held in the Haymarket Theatre, right in the centre of fashionable London, and in the very place devoted to its amusements; yet it was crowded to suffocation, and not only by Dissenters, but by members of the Established Church, among whom were such men as Dean Stanley, and Mr. Gladstone, and Lord-Chancellor Cairns. The Duchess of Sutherland was a frequent attendant. All this indicates, if only a sensation, at least a sensation of quite extraordinary character. No doubt the multitude was drawn together in part by curiosity. The novelty was an attraction; and, like the old Athenians, they ran together into the market-place to hear some new thing. This alone would have drawn them once or twice, but the excitement did not subside. If some fell off, others rushed in, so that the place was crowded to the last. Those meetings closed just before we reached London, to be opened in another quarter of the great city.

Last Sunday we went to hear Mr. Spurgeon, and he announced that on Thursday (to-day) Messrs. Moody and Sankey would commence a new series of meetings for the especial benefit of the South of London. A large structure had been erected for the purpose. He warmly endorsed the movement, and spoke in high praise of the men, especially for the modesty and tact and the practical judgment they showed along with their zeal; and urged all, instead of standing aloof and criticizing, to join heartily in the effort which he believed would result in great good. In a conversation afterward in his study, Mr. Spurgeon said to me that Moody was the most simple-minded of men; that he told him on coming here, "I am the most over-estimated and over-praised man in the world." This low esteem of himself, and readiness to take any place, so that he may do his Master's work, ought to disarm the disposition to judge him according to the rules of rigid literary, or rhetorical, or even theological, criticism.

This new tabernacle which has been built for Mr. Moody is set up at Camberwell Green, on the south side of the Thames, not very far from Mr. Spurgeon's church. It is a huge structure, standing in a large enclosure, which is entered by gates. The service was to begin at three o'clock. It was necessary to have tickets for admission, which I obtained from the Hon. Arthur Kinnaird, a Member of Parliament, who is about as well known in London as Lord Shaftesbury for his activity in all good works. He advised me to go early to anticipate the crowd. We started from Piccadilly at half-past one, and drove quietly over Westminster Bridge, thinking we should be in ample time. But as we approached Camberwell Green it was evident that there was a tide setting toward the place of meeting, which swelled till the crowd became a rush. There were half a dozen entrances. We asked for the one to the platform, and were directed some distance around. Arrived at the gates we found them shut and barred, and guarded by policemen, who said they had received orders to admit no more, as the place was already more than full, although the pressure outside was increasing every instant. We might have been turned back from the very doors of the sanctuary, if Mr. Kinnaird had not given me, besides the tickets, a letter to Mr. Hodder, who was the chief man in charge, directing him to take us in and give us seats on the platform. This I passed through the gates to the policeman, who sent it on to some of the managers within, and word came back that the bearers of the letter should be admitted. But this was easier said than done. How to admit us two without admitting others was a difficult matter; indeed, it was an impossibility. The policemen tried to open the gates a little way, so as to permit us to pass in; but as soon as the gates were ajar, the guardians themselves were swept away. In vain they tried to stem the torrent. The crowd rushed past them, (and would have rushed over them, if they had stood in the way,) and surged up to the building. Here again the crush was terrific. Had we foreseen it, we should not have attempted the passage; but once in the stream, it was easier to go forward than to go back. There was no help for it but to wait till the tide floated us in; and so, after some minutes we were landed at last in one of the galleries, from which we could take in a view of the scene.

It was indeed a wonderful spectacle. The building is somewhat like Barnum's Hippodrome, though not so large, and of better shape for speaking and hearing, being not so oblong, but more square, with deep galleries, and will hold, I should say, at a rough estimate, six or eight thousand people. The front of the galleries was covered with texts in large letters, such as "God is Love"; "Jesus only"; "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith"; "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." At each corner was a room marked "For inquirers."

As we had entered by mistake the wrong door, instead of finding ourselves on the platform beside Mr. Moody, we had been borne by the crowd to the gallery at the other end of the building; but this had one advantage, that of enabling us to test the power of the voices of the speakers to reach such large audiences. While the immense assemblage were getting settled in their places, several hymns were sung, which quietly and gently prepared them for the services that were to follow.

At length Mr. Moody appeared. The moment he rose, there was a movement of applause, which he instantly checked with a wave of his hand, and at once proceeded to business, turning the minds of the audience to something besides himself, by asking them to rise and sing the stirring hymn,

"Ring the bells of heaven! there is joy to-day!"

The whole assembly rose, and caught up the words with such energy that the rafters rang with the mighty volume of sound. A venerable minister, with white locks, then rose, and clinging to the railing for support, and raising his voice, offered a brief but fervent prayer.

Mr. Moody's part in this opening service, it had been announced beforehand, would be merely to _preside_, while others spoke; and he did little more than to introduce them. He read, however, a few verses from the parable of the talents, and urged on every one the duty to use whatever gift he had, be it great or small, and not bury his talent in a napkin. His voice was clear and strong, and where I sat I heard distinctly. What he said was good, though in no wise remarkable. Mr. Sankey touched us much more as he followed with an appropriate hymn:

"Nothing but leaves!"

As soon as I caught his first notes, I felt that there was _one_ cause of the success of these meetings. His voice is very powerful, and every word was given with such distinctness that it reached every ear in the building. All listened with breathless interest as he sang:

"Nothing but leaves! the Spirit grieves Over a wasted life; O'er sins indulged while conscience slept, O'er vows and promises unkept, And reaps from years of strife-- Nothing but leaves! nothing but leaves!"

Rev. Mr. Aitken, of Liverpool, then made an address of perhaps half an hour, following up the thought of Mr. Moody on the duty of all to join in the effort they were about to undertake. His address, without being eloquent, was earnest and practical, to which Mr. Sankey gave a thrilling application in another of his hymns, in which the closing line of every verse was,

"Here am I; send me, send me!"

Mr. Spurgeon was reserved for the closing address, and spoke, as he always does, very forcibly. I noticed, as I had before, one great element of his power, viz., his illustrations, which are most apt. For example, he was urging ministers and Christians of all denominations to join in this movement, and wished to show the folly of a contentious spirit among them. To expose its absurdity, he said:

"A few years ago I was in Rome, and there I saw in the Vatican a statue of two wrestlers, in the attitude of men trying to throw each other. I went back two years after, and they were in the same struggle, and I suppose are at it still!" Everybody saw the application. Such a constrained posture might do in a marble statue, but could anything be more ridiculous than for living men thus to stand always facing each other in an attitude of hostility and defiance? "And there too," he proceeded, "was another statue of a boy pulling a thorn out of his foot. I went to Rome again, and there he was still, with the same bended form, and the same look of pain, struggling to be free. I suppose he is there still, and will be to all eternity!" What an apt image of the self-inflicted torture of some who, writhing under real or imagined injury, hug their grievance and their pain, instead of at once tearing it away, and standing erect as men in the full liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free.

Again, he was illustrating the folly of some ministers in giving so much time and thought to refuting infidel objections, by which they often made their people's minds familiar with what they would never have heard of, and filled them with doubt and perplexity. He said the process reminded him of what was done at a grotto near Naples, which is filled with carbonic acid gas so strong that life cannot exist in it, to illustrate which the vile people of the cave seize a wretched dog, and throw him in, and in a few minutes the poor animal is nearly dead. Then they deluge him with cold water to bring him round. Just about as wise are those ministers who, having to preach the Gospel of Christ, think they must first drop their hearers into a pit filled with the asphyxiating gas of a false philosophy, to show how they can apply their hydropathy in recovering them afterwards. Better let them keep above ground, and breathe all the time the pure, blessed air of heaven.

Illustrations like these told upon the audience, because they were so apt, and so informed with common sense. Mr. Spurgeon has an utter contempt for scientific charlatans and literary dilettanti, and all that class of men who have no higher business in life than to carp and criticise. He would judge everything by its practical results. If sneering infidels ask, What good religion does? he points to those it has saved, to the men it has reformed, whom it has lifted up from degradation and death; and exclaims with his tremendous voice, "There they are! standing on the shore, saved from shipwreck and ruin!" That result is the sufficient answer to all cavil and objection.

"And now," continued Mr. Spurgeon, applying what he had said, "here are these two brethren who have come to us from over the sea, whom God has blessed wherever they have labored in Scotland, in Ireland, and in England. It may be said they are no wiser or better than our own preachers or laymen. Perhaps not. But somehow, whether by some novelty of method, or some special tact, they have caught the popular ear, and that of itself is a great point gained--they have got a hold on the public mind." Again he resorted to illustration to make his point.

"Some years ago," he said, "I was crossing the Maritime Alps. We were going up a pretty heavy grade, and the engine, though a powerful one, labored hard to drag us up the steep ascent, till at length it came to a dead stop. I got out to see what was the matter, for I didn't like the look of things, and there we were stuck fast in a snow-drift! The engine was working as hard as ever, and the wheels continued to revolve; but the rails were icy, and the wheels could not take hold--they could not get any _grip_--and so the train was unable to move. So it is with some men, and some ministers. They are splendid engines, and they have steam enough. The wheels revolve all right, only they don't get any _grip_ on the rails, and so the train doesn't move. Now our American friends have somehow got this grip on the public mind; when they speak or sing, the people hear. Without debating _why_ this is, or _how_ it is, let us thank God for it, and try to help them in the use of the power which God has given them."

After this stirring address of Mr. Spurgeon, Mr. Moody announced the arrangements for the meetings, which would be continued in that place for thirty days; and with another rousing hymn the meeting closed. This, it is given out, is to be the last month of Moody and Sankey in England, and of course they hope it will be the crown of all their labors.

After the service was ended, and the audience had partly dispersed, we made our way around to the other end of the building, and had a good shake of the hand with Mr. Moody, with whom I had spent several days at Mr. Henry Bewley's, in Dublin, in 1867, and then travelled with him to London, little dreaming that he would ever excite such a commotion in this great Babylon, or have such a thronging multitude to hear him as I have seen to-day.

And now, what of it all? It would be presumption to give an opinion on a single service, and that where the principal actor in these scenes was almost silent. Certainly there are some drawbacks. For my part, I had rather worship in less of a crowd. If there is anything which I shrink from, it is getting into a crush from which there is no escape, and being obliged to struggle for life. Sometimes, indeed, it may be a duty, but it is not an agreeable one. Paul fought with beasts at Ephesus, but I don't think he liked it; and it seems to me a pretty near approach to being thrown to the lions, to be caught in a rushing, roaring London crowd.

And still I must not do it injustice. It was not a mob, but only a very eager and excited concourse of people; who, when once settled in the building, were attentive and devout. Perhaps the assembly to-day was more so than usual, as the invitation for this opening service had been "to Christians," and probably the bulk of those present were members of neighboring churches. They were, for the most part, very plain people, but none the worse for that, and they joined in the service with evident interest, singing heartily the hymns, and turning over their Bibles to follow the references to passages of Scripture. Their simple sincerity and earnestness were very touching.

As to Mr. Moody, in the few remarks he made I saw no sign of eloquence, not a single brilliant flash, such as would have lighted up a five minutes' talk of our friend Talmage; but there was the impressiveness of a man who was too much in earnest to care for flowers of rhetoric; whose heart was in his work, and who, intent on that alone, spoke with the utmost simplicity and plainness. I hear it frequently said that his power is not in any extraordinary gift of speech, but _in organizing Christian work_. One would suppose that this long-continued labor would break him down, but on the contrary, he seems to thrive upon it, and has grown stout and burly as any Englishman, and seems ready for many more campaigns.

As to the result of his labors, instead of volunteering an opinion on such slight observation, it is much more to the purpose to give the judgment of others who have had full opportunity to see his methods, and to observe the fruits. I have conversed with men of standing and influence in Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, and Edinburgh--men not at all likely to be carried away by any sudden fanaticism. All speak well of him, and believe that he has done good in their respective cities. This certainly is very high testimony, and for the present is the best we can have. They say that he shows great _tact_ in keeping clear of difficulties, not allying himself with sects or parties, and awakening no prejudices, so that Baptists, like Mr. Spurgeon, and Methodists and Independents and Presbyterians, all work together. In Scotland, men of the Free Church and of the National Church joined in the meetings, and one cannot but hope that the tendency of this general religious movement will be to incline the hearts of those noble, but now divided brethren, more and more towards each other.

What will be the effect in London, it is too soon to say. It seems almost impossible to make any impression on a city which is a world in itself. London has nearly four millions of inhabitants--more than the six States of New England put together! It is the monstrous growth of our modern civilization. With its enormous size, it contains more wealth than any city in the world, _and more poverty_--more luxury on the one hand, and more misery on the other. To those who have explored the low life of London, the revelations are terrific. The wretchedness, the filth, the squalor, the physical pollution and moral degradation in which vast numbers live, is absolutely appalling.

And can such a seething mass of humanity be reached by any Christian influences? That is the problem to be solved. It is a gigantic undertaking. Whatever can make any impression upon it, deserves the support of all good men. I hope fervently that the present movement may leave a moral result that shall remain after the actors in it have passed away.

CHAPTER V.

TWO SIDES OF LONDON.--IS MODERN CIVILIZATION A FAILURE?

June 15th.

It is now "the height of the season" in London. Parliament is in session, and "everybody" is in town. Except the Queen, who is in the Highlands, almost all the Royal family are here; and (except occasional absences on the Continent, or as Ministers at foreign courts, or as Governors of India, of Canada, of Australia, and other British colonies) probably almost the whole nobility of the United Kingdom are at this moment in London. Of course foreigners flock here in great numbers. So crowded is every hotel, that it is difficult to find lodgings. We have found very central quarters in Dover street, near Piccadilly, close by the clubs and the parks, and the great West End, the fashionable quarter of London.

Of course the display from the assemblage of so much rank and wealth, and the concourse of such a multitude from all parts of the United Kingdom, and indeed from all parts of the earth, is magnificent. We go often to Hyde Park Corner, to see the turnout in the afternoon. In Rotten Row (strange name for the most fashionable riding ground in Europe) is the array of those on horseback; while the drive adjoining is appropriated to carriages. The mounted cavalcade makes a gallant sight. What splendid horses, and how well these English ladies ride! Here come the equipages of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh, with their fair brides from northern capitals, followed by an endless roll of carriages of dukes and marquises and earls, and lords and ladies of high degree. It seems as if all the glory of the world were here. In strange contrast with this pomp and show, whom should we meet, as we were riding in the Park on Saturday, but Moody (whom John Wanamaker, of Philadelphia, was taking out for an airing to prepare him for the fatigues of the morrow), who doubtless looked upon all this as a Vanity Fair, much greater than that which Bunyan has described!

But not to regard it in a severe spirit of censure, it is a sight such as brings before us, in one moving panorama, the rank and beauty, the wealth and power, of the British Empire, represented in these lords of the realm. Such a sight cannot be seen anywhere else in Europe, not in the Champs Elysées or the Bois de Boulogne of Paris, nor the Prater at Vienna.

Take another scene. Let us start after ten o'clock and ride down into "the city,"--a title which, as used here, belongs only to the old part of London, beyond Temple Bar, which is now given up wholly to business, and where "nobody that is anybody" lives. Here are the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange, and the great commercial houses, that have their connections in all parts of the earth. The concentration of wealth is enormous, represented by hundreds and thousands of millions sterling. One might almost say that half the national debts of the world are owned here. There is not a power on the globe that is seeking a loan, that does not come to London. France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, all have recourse to its bankers to provide the material of war, or means for the construction of the great works and monuments of peace. Our American railways have been built largely with English money. Alas, that so many have proved unfortunate investments!

It is probably quite within bounds to say that the accumulation of wealth at this centre is greater than ever was piled up before on the globe, even in the days of the Persian or Babylonian Empires; or when the kings of Egypt built the Pyramids; or when Rome sat on the seven hills, and subject provinces sent tribute from all parts of the earth; or in that Mogul Empire, whose monuments at Delhi and Agra are still the wonder of India.

Can it be that a city so vast, so populous, so rich, has a canker at its root? Do not judge hastily, but see for yourself. Leave Hyde Park Corner, and its procession of nobles and princes; leave "the city," with its banks and counting-houses, and plunge into another quarter of London. One need not go far away, for the hiding-places of poverty and wretchedness are often under the very shadow of the palaces of the rich. Come, then, and grope through these narrow streets. You turn aside to avoid the ragged, wretched creatures that crouch along your path. But come on, and if you fear to go farther, take a policeman with you. Wind your way into narrow passages, into dark, foul alleys, up-stairs, story after story, each worse than the last. Summon up courage to enter the rooms. You are staggered by the foul smell that issues as you open the doors. But do not go back; wait till your eye is a little accustomed to the darkness, and you can see more clearly. Here is a room hardly big enough for a single bed, yet containing six, eight, ten, or a dozen persons, all living in a common herd, cooking and eating such wretched food as they have, and sleeping on the floor together.

What can be expected of human beings, crowded in such miserable habitations, living in filth and squalor, and often pinched with hunger? Not only is refinement impossible, but comfort, or even decency. What manly courage would not give way, sapped by the deadly poison of such an air? Who wonders that so many rush to the gin-shop to snatch a moment of excitement or forgetfulness? What feminine delicacy could stand the foul and loathsome contact of such brutal degradation? Yet this is the way in which tens, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of the population of London live.

But it is at night that these low quarters are most fearful. Then the population turns into the streets, which are brilliantly lighted up by the flaring gas-jets. Then the gin-shops are in their glory, crowded by the lowest and most wretched specimens of humanity--men and women in rags--old, gray-headed men and haggard women, and young girls,--and even children, learning to be imps of wickedness almost as soon as they are born. After a few hours of this excitement they reel home to their miserable dens. And then each wretched room becomes more hideous than before,--for drinking begets quarrelling; and, cursing and swearing and fighting, the wretched creatures at last sink exhausted on the floor, to forget their misery in a few hours of troubled sleep.

Such is a true, but most inadequate, picture of one side of London. Who that sees it, or even reads of it, can wonder that so many of these "victims of civilization," finding human hearts harder than the stones of the street, seek refuge in suicide? I never cross London Bridge without recalling Hood's "Bridge of Sighs," and stopping to lean over the parapet, thinking of the tragedies which those "dark arches" have witnessed, as poor, miserable creatures, mad with suffering, have rushed here and thrown themselves over into "the black-flowing river"[2] beneath, eager to escape

"Anywhere, anywhere, Out of the world!"

Such is the dreadful cancer which is eating at the heart of London--poverty and misery, ending in vice and crime, in despair and death. It is a fearful spectacle. But is there any help for it? Can anything be done to relieve this gigantic human misery? Or is the case desperate, beyond all hope or remedy?

Of course there are many schemes of reformation and cure. Some think it must come by political instrumentality, by changes in the laws; others have no hope but in a social regeneration, or reconstruction of society, others still rely only on moral and religious influences.

There has arisen in Europe, within the last generation, a multitude of philosophers who have dreamed that it was possible so to reorganize or reconstruct society, to adjust the relations of labor and capital, as to extinguish poverty; so that there shall be no more poor, no more want. Sickness there may be, disease, accident, and pain, but the amount of suffering will be reduced to a minimum; so that at least there shall be no unnecessary pain, none which it is possible for human skill or science to relieve. Elaborate works have been written, in which the machinery is carefully adjusted, and the wheels so oiled that there is no jar or friction. These schemes are very beautiful; alas! that they should be mere creations of the fancy. The apparatus is too complicated and too delicate, and generally breaks to pieces in the very setting up. The fault of all these social philosophies is that they ignore the natural selfishness of man, his pride, avarice, and ambition. Every man wants the first place in the scale of eminence. If men were morally right--if they had Christian humility or self-abnegation, and each were willing to take the lowest place--then indeed might these things be. But until then, we fear that all such schemes will be splendid failures.

In France, where they have been most carefully elaborated, and in some instances tried, they have always resulted disastrously, sometimes ending in horrible scenes of blood, as in the Reign of Terror in the first Revolution, and recently in the massacres of the Commune. No government on earth can reconstruct society, so as to prevent all poverty and suffering. Still the State can do much by removing obstacles out of the way. It need not be itself the agent of oppression, and of inflicting needless suffering. This has been the vice of many governments--that they have kept down the poor by laying on them burdens too heavy to bear, and so crushing the life out of their exhausted frames. In England the State can remove disabilities from the working man; it can take away the exclusive privileges of rank and title, and place all classes on the same level before the law. Thus it can clear the field before every man, and give him a chance to rise, _if he has it in him_--if he has talent, energy, and perseverance.

Then the government can in many ways _encourage_ the poorer classes, and so gradually lift them up. In great cities the drainage of unhealthy streets, of foul quarters, may remove the seeds of pestilence. Something in this way has been done already, and the death rates show a corresponding diminution of mortality. So by stringent laws in regard to proper ventilation, forbidding the crowding together in unhealthy tenements, and promoting the erection of model lodging-houses, it may encourage that cleanliness and decency which is the first step towards civilization.

Then by a system of Common Schools, that shall be universal and _compulsory_, and be rigidly enforced, as it is in Germany, the State may educate in some degree, at least in the rudiments of knowledge, the children of the nation, and thus do something towards lifting up, slowly but steadily, that vast substratum of population which lies at the base of every European society.

But the question of moral influence remains. Is it possible to reach this vast and degraded population with any Christian influences, or are they in a state of hopeless degradation?

Here we meet at the first step in England A CHURCH, of grand proportions, established for ages, inheriting vast endowments, wealth, privilege, and titles, with all the means of exerting the utmost influence on the national mind. For this what has it to show? It has great cathedrals, with bishops, and deans, and canons; a whole retinue of beneficed clergy, men who read or "intone" the prayers; with such hosts of men and boys to chant the services, as, if mustered together, would make a small army. The machinery is ample, but the result, we fear, not at all corresponding.

But lest I be misunderstood, let me say here that I have no prejudice against the Church of England. I cannot join with the English Dissenters in their cry against it, nor with some of my American brethren, who look upon it as almost an apostate Church, an obstacle to the progress of Christianity, rather than a wall set around it to be its bulwark and defence. With a very different feeling do I regard that ancient Church, that has so long had its throne in the British Islands. I am not an Englishman, nor an Episcopalian, yet no loyal son of the Church of England could look up to it with more tender reverence than I. I honor it for all that it has been in the past, for all that it is at this hour. The oldest of the Protestant Churches of England, it has the dignity of history to make it venerable. And not only is it one of the oldest Churches in the world, but one of the purest, which could not be struck from existence without a shock to all Christendom. Its faith is the faith of the Reformation, the faith of the early ages of Christianity. Whatever "corruptions" may have gathered upon it, like moss upon the old cathedral walls, yet in the Apostles' Creed, and other symbols of faith, it has held the primitive belief with beautiful simplicity, divested of all "philosophy," and held it not only with singular purity, but with steadfastness from generation to generation.

What a power is in a creed and a service which thus links us with the past! As we listen to the Te Deum or the Litany, we are carried back not only to the Middle Ages, but to the days of persecution, when "the noble army of martyrs" was not a name; when the Church worshipped in crypts and catacombs. Perhaps we of other communions do not consider enough the influence of a Church which has a long history, and whose very service seems to unite the living and the dead--the worship on earth with the worship in heaven. For my part, I am very sensitive to these influences, and never do I hear a choir "chanting the liturgies of remote generations" that it does not bring me nearer to the first worshippers, and to Him whom they worshipped.

Nor can I overlook, among the influences of the Church of England, that even of its architecture, in which its history, as well as its worship, is enshrined. Its cathedrals are filled with monuments and tombs, which recall great names and sacred memories. Is it mere imagination, that when I enter one of these old piles and sit in some quiet alcove, the place is filled to my ear with airy tongues, voices of the dead, that come from the tablets around and from the tombs beneath; that whisper along the aisles, and rise and float away in the arches above, bearing the soul to heaven--spirits with which my own poor heart, as I sit and pray, seems in peaceful and blessed communion? Is it an idle fancy that soaring above us there is a multitude of the heavenly host singing now, as once over the plains of Bethlehem, "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will towards men!" Here is the soul bowed down in the presence of its Maker. It feels "lowly as a worm." What thoughts of death arise amid so many memorials of the dead! What sober views of the true end of a life so swiftly passing away! How many better thoughts are inspired by the meditations of this holy place! How many prayers, uttered in silence, are wafted to the Hearer of Prayer! How many offences are forgiven here in the presence of "The Great Forgiver of the world"! How many go forth from this ancient portal, resolved, with God's help, to live better lives! It is idle to deny that the place itself is favorable to meditation and to prayer. It makes a solemn stillness in the midst of a great city, as if we were in the solitude of a mountain or a desert. The pillared arches are like the arches of a sacred grove. Let those who will cast away such aids to devotion, and say they can worship God anywhere--in any place. I am not so insensible to these surroundings, but find in them much to lift up my heart and to help my poor prayers.

With these internal elements of power, and with its age and history, and the influence of custom and tradition, the Church of England has held the nation for hundreds of years to an outward respect for Christianity, even if not always to a living faith. While Germany has fallen away to Rationalism and indifference, and France to mocking and scornful infidelity, in England Christianity is a national institution, as fast anchored as the island itself. The Church of England is the strongest bulwark against the infidelity of the continent. It is associated in the national mind with all that is sacred and venerable in the past. In its creed and its worship it presents the Christian religion in a way to command the respect of the educated classes; it is seated in the Universities, and is thus associated with science and learning. As it is the National Church, it has the support of all the rank of the kingdom, and arrays on its side the strongest social influences. Thus it sets even fashion on the side of religion. This may not be the most dignified influence to control the faith of a country, but it is one that has great power, and it is certainly better to have it on the side of religion than against it. We must take the world as it is, and men as they are. They are led by example, and especially by the examples of the great; of those whose rank makes them foremost in the public eye, and gives them a natural influence over their countrymen.

As for those who think that the Gospel is preached nowhere in England but in the chapels of Dissenters, and that there is little "spirituality" except among English Independents or Scotch Presbyterians, we can but pity their ignorance. It is not necessary to point to the saintly examples of men like Jeremy Taylor and Archbishop Leighton; but in the English homes of to-day are thousands of men and women who furnish illustrations, as beautiful as any that can be found on earth, of a religion without cant or affectation, yet simple and sincere, and showing itself at once in private devotion, in domestic piety, and in a life full of all goodness and charity.

It must be confessed that its ministers are not always worthy of the Church itself. I am repelled and disgusted at the arrogance of some who think that it is the _only_ true Church, and that they alone are the Lord's anointed. If so, the grace is indeed in earthen vessels, and those of wretched clay. The affectation and pretension of some of the more youthful clergy are such as to provoke a smile. But such paltry creatures are too insignificant to be worth a moment's serious thought. The same spiritual conceit exists in every Church. We should not like to be held responsible for all the narrowness of Presbyterians, whom we are sometimes obliged to regard, as Cromwell did, as "the Lord's foolish people." These small English curates and rectors we should regard no more than the spiders that weave their web in some dimly-lighted arch, or the traditional "church mice" that nibble their crumbs in the cathedral tower, or the crickets or lizards that creep over the old tombs in the neighboring churchyard.

But if there is much narrowness in the Church of England, there is much nobleness also; much true Christian liberality and hearty sympathy with all good men and good movements, not only in England but throughout the world. Dean Stanley (whom I love and honor as the manliest man in the Church of England) is but the representative and leader of hundreds who, if they have not his genius, have at least much of his generous and intrepid spirit, that despises sacerdotal cant, and claims kindred with the good of all countries and ages, with the noble spirits, the brave and true, of all mankind. Such men are sufficient to redeem the great Church to which they belong from the reproach of narrowness.

Such is the position of the Church of England, whose history is a part of that of the realm; and which stands to-day buttressed by rank, and learning, and social position, and a thousand associations which have clustered around it in the course of centuries, to make it sacred and venerable and dear to the nation's heart. If all this were levelled with the ground, in vain would all the efforts of Dissenters, however earnest and eloquent--if they could muster a hundred Spurgeons--avail to restore the national respect for religion.

Looking at all these possibilities, I am by no means so certain as some appear to be, that the overthrow of the Establishment would be a gain to the cause of Christianity in England. Some in their zeal for a pure democracy both in Church and State--for Independency and Voluntaryism in the former, and Republicanism in the latter--regard every Establishment as an enemy alike to a pure Gospel and to religious liberty. The Dissenters, naturally incensed at the inequality and injustice of their position before the law (and perhaps with a touch of envy of those more favored than they are) have their grievance against the Church of England, simply because it is _established_, to the exclusion of themselves. But from all such rivalries and contentions we, as Americans, are far removed, and can judge impartially. We look upon the Established Church as one of the historical institutions of England, which no thoughtful person could wish to see destroyed, any more than to see an overthrow of the monarchy, until he were quite sure that something better would come in its place. It is not a little thing that it has gathered around it such a wealth of associations, and with them such a power over the nation in which it stands; and it would be a rash hand that should apply the torch, or fire the mine, that should bring it down.

But the influence of the Church of England is mainly in the higher ranks of society. Below these there are large social strata--deep, broad, thick, and black as seams of coal in a mountain--that are not even touched by all these influences. We like to stray into the old cathedrals at evening, and hear the choir chanting vespers; or to wander about them at night, and see the moonlight falling on the ancient towers. But nations are not saved by moonlight and music. The moonbeams that rest on the dome of St. Paul's, or on the bosom of the Thames, as it flows under the arches of London Bridge, covering it with silver, do not cleanse the black waters, or restore to life the corpses of the wretched suicides that go floating downward to the sea. _So far as they are concerned_, the Church of England, and indeed we may say the Christianity of England, is a wretched failure. Some other and more powerful illustration is needed to turn the heart of England; something which shall not only cause the sign of the cross to be held up in St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey, but which shall carry the Gospel of human brotherhood to all the villages and hamlets of England; to the poorest cottage in the Highlands; that shall descend with the miner into the pit underground; that shall abide with every laborer in the land, and go forth with the sailor on the sea.

How inadequately the Church of England answers to this need of a popular educator and reformer, may be illustrated by one or two of her most notable churches and preachers.

On Sunday last we attended two of the most famous places of worship in London--the Temple Church and Westminster Abbey. The former belongs to an ancient guild of lawyers, attached to what are known as the Middle and the Inner Temple, a corporation dating back hundreds of years, which has large grounds running down to the Thames, and great piles of buildings divided off into courts, and full of lawyers' offices. Standing among these is a church celebrated for its beauty, which once belonged to the Knights Templars, some of whose bronze figures in armor, lying on their tombs, show by their crossed limbs how they went to Palestine to fight for the Holy Sepulchre. As it is a church which belongs to a private corporation, no one can obtain admission to the pews without an order from "a bencher," which was sent to us as a personal courtesy. The church has the air of being very aristocratic and exclusive; and those whose enjoyment of a religious service depends on "worshipping God in good company," may feel at ease while sitting in these high-backed pews, from which the public are excluded.

The church is noted for its music, which amateurs pronounce exquisite. As I am not educated in these things, I do not know the precise beauty and force of all the quips and quavers of this most artistic performance. The service was given at full length, in which the Lord's Prayer was repeated _five times_. With all the singing and "intoning," and down-sitting and uprising, and the bowing of necks and bending of knees, the service occupied an hour and a half before the rector, Rev. Dr. Vaughan, ascended the pulpit. He is a brother-in-law of Dean Stanley, and a man much respected in the Church. His text was, "He took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses," from which he preached a sermon appropriate to the day, which was "Hospital Sunday," a day observed throughout London by collections in aid of the hospitals. It was simple and practical, and gave one the impression of a truly good man, such as there are thousands in the Church of England.

But what effect had such a service--or a hundred such--on the poor population of London? About as much as the exquisite music itself has on the rise and fall of the tide in the Thames, which flows by; or as the moonlight has on vegetation. I know not what mission agencies these old churches may employ elsewhere to labor among the poor, but so far as any immediate influence is concerned, outside of a very small circle, it is infinitesimal.

In the evening we went to Westminster Abbey to hear the choral service, which is rendered by a very large choir of men and boys, with wonderful effect. Simply for the music one could not have a more exquisite sensation of enjoyment. How the voices rang amid the arches of the old cathedral. At this evening service it had been announced that "The Lord Archbishop of York" was to preach, and we were curious to see what wisdom and eloquence could come out of the mouth of a man who held the second place in the Established Church of England. "His grace" is a large, portly man, of good presence and sonorous voice. His text was "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." He began with an allusion to Holman Hunt's famous picture of Christ standing at the door, which he described in some detail; the door itself overgrown with vines, and its hinges rusted, so long had it been unopened; and then the patient Man of Sorrows, with bended head and heavy heart, knocking and waiting to come in. From this he went into a discussion of modern civilization, considering whether men are really better (though they may be better _off_) now than in the days of our fathers; the conclusion from all which was, that external improvements, however much they add to the physical comfort and well-being of man, do not change his character, and that for his inward peace, the only way is to open the door to let the blessed Master in. It seemed to me rather a roundabout way to come at his point; but still as the aim was practical, and the spirit earnest and devout, one could not but feel that the impression was good. As to ability, I failed to see in it anything so marked as should entitle the preacher to the exalted dignity he holds; but I do not wish to criticize, but only to consider whether a Church thus organized and appointed can have the influence over the people of England we might expect from a great National Establishment. Perhaps it has, but I fail to see it. It seems to skim, and that very lightly, over the top, the thin surface of society, and not to _touch_ the masses beneath.

The influence of the Establishment is supplemented by the Dissenting Churches, which are numerous and active, and in their spheres doing great good. Then, too, there are innumerable separate agencies, working in ways manifold and diverse. I have been much interested in the details, as given me by Mrs. Ranyard, of her Bible women, who have grown, in the course of twenty years, from half a dozen to over two hundred, and who, working noiselessly, in quiet, womanly ways, do much to penetrate the darkest lanes of London, and to lead their poor sisters into ways of industry, contentment, and peace.

But after all is said and done, the great mass of poverty and wretchedness remains. We lift the cover, and look down into unfathomable abysses beneath, into a world where all seems evil--a hell of furious passions and vices and crimes. Such is the picture which is presented to me as I walk the streets of London, and which will not down, even when I go to the Bank of England, and see the treasures piled up there, or to Hyde Park, and see the dashing equipages, the splendid horses and their riders, and all the display of the rank and beauty of England.

What will the end be? Will things go on from bad to worse, to end at last in some grand social or political convulsion--some cataclysm like the French Revolution?

This is the question which now occupies thousands of minds in Great Britain. Of course similar questions engage attention in other countries. In all great cities there is a poor population, which is the standing trouble and perplexity of social and political reformers. We have a great deal of poverty in New York, although it is chiefly imported from abroad. But in London the evil is immensely greater, because the city is four times larger; and the crowding together of four millions of people, brings wealth and poverty into such close contact that the contrasts are more marked. Other evils and dangers England has which are peculiar to an old country; they are the growth of centuries, and cannot be shaken off, or cast out, without great tearing and rending of the body politic. All this awakens anxious thought, and sometimes dark foreboding. Many, no doubt, of the upper classes are quite content to have their full share of the good things of this life, and enjoy while they may, saying, "After us the deluge!" But they are not all given over to selfishness. Tens of thousands of the best men on this earth, having the clearest heads and noblest hearts, are in England, and they are just as thoughtful and anxious to do what is best for the masses around them, as any men can be. The only question is, What _can_ be done? And here we confess our philosophy is wholly at fault. It is easy to judge harshly of others, but not so easy to stand in their places and do better.

For my part, I am most anxious that the experiment of Christian civilization in England should not fail; for on it, I believe, the welfare of the whole world greatly depends. But is it strange that good men should be appalled and stand aghast at what they see here in London, and that they should sometimes be in despair of modern civilization and modern Christianity? What can I think, as a foreigner, when a man like George Macdonald, a true-hearted Scotchman, who has lived many years in London, tells me that things may come right (so he hopes) _in a thousand years_--that is, in some future too remote for the vision of man to explore. Hearing such sad confessions, I no longer wonder that so many in England, who are sensitive to all this misery, and yet believers in a Higher Power, have turned to the doctrine of the Personal Reign of Christ on earth as the only refuge against despair, believing that the world will be restored to its allegiance to God, and men to universal brotherhood, only with the coming of the Prince of Peace.

FOOTNOTE:

[2] "The bleak wind of March Made her tremble and shiver, But not the dark arch, Nor the black flowing river.

Mad from life's history, Glad to death's mystery Swift to be hurled Anywhere, anywhere, Out of the world"

CHAPTER VI.

THE RESURRECTION OF FRANCE.

PARIS, June 30th.

Coming from London to Paris, one is struck with the contrast--London is so vast and interminable, _and dark_,--a "boundless contiguity of shade,"--while Paris is all brightness and sunshine. The difference in the appearance of the two capitals is due partly to the climate, and partly to the materials of which they are built--London showing miles on miles of dingy brick, with an atmosphere so charged with smoke and vapors that it blackens even the whitest marble; while Paris is built of a light, cream-colored stone, that is found here in abundance, which is soft and easily worked, but hardens by exposure to the air, and that preserves its whiteness under this clearer sky and warmer sun. Then the taste of the French makes every shop window bright with color; and there is something in the natural gayety of the people which is infectious, and which quickly communicates itself to a stranger. Many a foreigner, on first landing in England, has walked the streets of London with gloomy thoughts of suicide, who once in Paris feels as if transported to Paradise. Perhaps if he had stayed a little longer in England he would have thought better of the country and people. But it is impossible for a stranger at first to feel _at home_ in London, any more than if he were sent adrift all alone in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The English are reserved and cautious in their social relations, which may be very proper in regard to those of whom they know nothing. But once well introduced, the stranger is taken into their intimacy, and finds no spot on earth more warm than the interior of an English home. But in Paris everybody seems to greet him at once without an introduction; he speaks to a Frenchman on the street (if it be only to inquire his way), and instead of a gruff answer, meets with a polite reply. "It amounts to nothing," some may say. It costs indeed but a moment of time, but even that, many in England, and I am sorry to say in America also, are too impatient and too self-absorbed to give. In the shops everybody is so polite that one spends his money with pleasure, since he gets not only the matter of his purchase, but what he values still more, a smile and a pleasant word. It may be said that these are little things, but in their influence upon one's temper and spirits they are _not_ trifles, any more than sunshine is a trifle, or pure air; and in these minor moralities of life the French are an example to us and to all the world.

But it is not only for their easy manners and social virtues that I am attracted to the French. They have many noble qualities, such as courage and self-devotion, instances of which are conspicuous in their national history; and are not less capable of Christian devotion, innumerable examples of which may be found in both the Catholic and the Protestant Churches. Many of our American clergymen, who have travelled abroad, will agree with me, that more beautiful examples of piety they have never seen than among the Protestants of France. I should be ungrateful indeed if I did not love the French, since to one of that nation I owe the chief happiness of my earthly existence.

Of course the great marvel of Paris, and of France, is its _resurrection_--the manner in which it has recovered from the war. In riding about these streets, so full of life and gayety, and seeing on every side the signs of prosperity, I cannot realize that it is a city which, since I was here in 1867--nay, within less time, has endured all the horrors of war; which has been _twice_ besieged, has been encompassed with a mighty army, and heard the sound of cannon day and night, its people hiding in cellars from the bombs bursting in the streets. Yet it is not five years since Louis Napoleon was still Emperor, reigning undisturbed in the palace of the Tuileries, across the street from the Hôtel du Louvre, where I now write. It was on the 15th of July, 1870, that war was declared against Prussia in the midst of the greatest enthusiasm. The army was wild with excitement, expecting to march almost unopposed to Berlin. Sad dream of victory, soon to be rudely dispelled! A few weeks saw the most astounding series of defeats, and on the 4th of September the Emperor himself surrendered at Sedan, at the head of a hundred thousand men, and the Empire, which he had been constructing with such infinite labor and care for twenty years, fell to the ground.

But even then the trials of France were not ended. She was to have sorrow upon sorrow. Next came the surrender of Metz, with another great army, and then the crowning disaster of the long siege of Paris, lasting over four months, and ending also in the same inglorious way. Jena was avenged, when the Prussian cavalry rode through the Arch of Triumph down the Champs Elysées. It was a bitter humiliation for France, but she had to drink the cup to the very dregs, when forced to sign a treaty of peace, ceding two of her most beautiful provinces, Alsace and Lorraine, and paying an indemnity of one thousand millions of dollars for the expenses of the war! Nor was this all. As if the seven vials of wrath were to be poured out on her devoted head, scarcely was the foreign war ended, before civil war began, and for months the Commune held Paris under its feet. Then the city had to undergo a second siege, and to be bombarded once more, not by Germans, but by Frenchmen, until its proud historical monuments were destroyed by its own people. The Column of the Place Vendôme, erected to commemorate the victories of Napoleon, out of cannon taken in his great battles, was levelled to the ground; and the Palace of the Tuileries and the Hôtel de Ville were burnt by these desperate revolutionists, who at last, to complete the catalogue of their crimes, butchered the hostages in cold blood! This was the end of the war, and such the state of Paris in May, 1871, scarcely four years ago.

In the eyes of other nations, this was not only disaster, but absolute ruin. It seemed as if the country could not recover in one generation, and that for the next thirty years, so far as any political power or influence was concerned, France might be considered as blotted from the map of Europe.

But four years have passed, and what do we see? The last foreign soldier has disappeared from the soil of France, the enormous indemnity is PAID, and the country is apparently as rich and prosperous, and Paris as bright and gay, as ever.

This seems a miracle, but the age of miracles is past, and such great results do not come without cause. The French are a very rich people--not by the accumulation of a few colossal fortunes, but by the almost infinite number of small ones. They are at once the most industrious and the most economical people in the world. They will live on almost nothing. Even the Chinese hardly keep soul and body together on less than these French _ouvriers_ whom we see going about in their blouses, and who form the laboring population of Paris. So all the petty farmers in the provinces save something, and have a little against a rainy day; and when the time comes that the Government wants a loan, out from old stockings, and from chimney corners, come the hoarded napoleons, which, flowing together like thousands of little rivulets, make the mighty stream of national wealth.

But for a nation to pay its debts, especially when they have grown to be so great, it is necessary not only to have money, but to know how to use it. And here the interests of France have been managed with consummate ability. In spite of the constant drain caused by the heavy payment of the war indemnity to Germany, the finances of the country have not been much disturbed, and to-day the bills of the Bank of France are at par. I feel ashamed for my country when the cable reports to us from America, that our national currency is so depreciated that to purchase gold in New York one must pay a premium of seventeen per cent.! I wish some of our political financiers would come to Paris for a few months, to take lessons from the far more successful financiers of France.

What delights me especially in this great achievement is that it has all been done under the Republic! It has not required a monarchy to maintain public order, and to give that security which is necessary to restore the full confidence of the commercial world. It is only by a succession of events so singular as to seem indeed providential, that France has been saved from being given over once more into the hands of the old dynasty. From this it has been preserved by the rivalship of different parties; so that the Republic has been saved by the blunders of its enemies. The Lord has confounded them, and the very devices intended for its destruction--such as putting Marshal MacMahon in power for seven years--have had the effect to prevent a restoration. Thus the Republic has had a longer life, and has established its title to the confidence of the nation. No doubt if the Legitimists and the Orleanists and Imperialists could all _unite_, they might have a sovereign to-morrow; but each party prefers a Republic to any sovereign _except its own_, and is willing that it should stand for a few years, in the hope that some turn of events will then give the succession to them. So, amid all this division of parties, the Republic "still lives," and gains strength from year to year. The country is prosperous under it; order is perfectly maintained; and order _with liberty_: why should it not remain the permanent government of France?

If only the country could be _contented_, and willing to let well enough alone, it might enjoy many long years of prosperity. But unfortunately there is a cloud in the sky. The last war has left the seeds of another war. Its disastrous issue was so unexpected and so galling to the most proud and sensitive people in Europe, that they will never rest satisfied till its terrible humiliation is redressed. The resentment might not be so bitter but for the taking of its two provinces. The defeats in the field of battle might be borne as the fate of war (for the French have an ingenious way, whenever they lose a battle, of making out that they were not _defeated_, but _betrayed_); even the payment of the enormous indemnity they might turn into an occasion of boasting, as they now do, as a proof of the vast resources of the country; but the loss of Alsace and Lorraine is a standing monument of their disgrace. They cannot wipe it off from the map of Europe. There it is, with the hated German flag flying from the fortress of Metz and the Cathedral of Strasburg. This is a humiliation to which they will never submit contentedly, and herein lies the probability--nay almost the certainty--of coming war. I have not met a Frenchman of any position, or any political views, Republican or Monarchical, Bonapartist or Legitimist, Catholic or Protestant, whose blood did not boil at the mention of Alsace and Lorraine, and who did not look forward to a fresh conflict with Germany as inevitable. When I hear a Protestant pastor say, "I will give all my sons to fight for Alsace and Lorraine," I cannot but think the prospects of the Peace Society not very encouraging in Europe.

In the exhibition of the Doré gallery, in London, there is a very striking picture by that great artist (who is himself an Alsatian, and yet an intense Frenchman), intended to represent Alsace. It is a figure of a young woman, tall and beautiful, with eyes downcast, yet with pride and dignity in her sadness, as the French flag, which she holds, droops to her feet. Beside her is a mother sitting in a chair nursing a child. The two figures tell the story in an instant. That mother is nursing her child to avenge the wrongs of his country. It is sad indeed to see a child thus born to a destiny of war and blood; to see the shadow of carnage and destruction hovering over his very cradle. Yet such is the prospect now, which fills every Christian heart with sadness. Thus will the next generation pay in blood and tears, for the follies and the crimes of this.

CHAPTER VII.

THE FRENCH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.

We have been to Versailles. Of course our first visit was to the great palace built by Louis XIV., which is over a quarter of a mile long, and which stands, like some of the remains of antiquity, as a monument of royal pride and ambition. It was built, as the kings of Egypt built the Pyramids, to tell to after ages of the greatness of his kingdom and the splendor of his reign. A gallant sight it must have been when this vast pile, with its endless suites of apartments, was filled with the most brilliant court in Europe; when statesmen and courtiers and warriors, "fair women and brave men," crowded the immense saloons, and these terraces and gardens. It was a display of royal magnificence such as the world has seldom seen. The cost is estimated at not less than two hundred millions of dollars--a sum which considering the greater value of money two centuries ago, was equal to five times that amount at the present day, or a thousand millions, as much as the whole indemnity paid to Germany. It was a costly legacy to his successors--costly in treasure and costly in blood. The building of Versailles, with the ruinous and inglorious wars of Louis XIV., drained the resources of France for a generation, and by the burdens they imposed on the people, prepared the way for the Revolution. I could not but recall this with a bitter feeling as I stood in the gilded chamber where the great king slept, and saw the very bed on which he died. That was the end of all his glory, but not the end of the evil that he wrought:

"The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones."

The extravagance of this monarch was paid for by the blood of his descendants. If he had not lifted his head so high, the head of Louis XVI. might not have fallen on the scaffold. It is good for France that she has no longer any use for such gigantic follies; and that the day is past when a whole nation can be sacrificed to the vanity and selfishness of one man. In this case the very magnitude of the structure defeated its object, for it was so great that no government since the Revolution has known what to do with it. It required such an enormous expenditure to keep it up, that the prudent old King Louis Philippe _could not afford to live in it_, and at last turned it into a kind of museum or historical gallery, filled with pictures of French battles, and dedicated in pompous phrase, TO ALL THE GLORIES OF FRANCE.

But it was not to see the palace of Louis XIV. that I had most interest in revisiting Versailles, but to see the National Assembly sitting in it, which is at present the ruling power in France. If Louis XIV. ever revisits the scene of his former magnificence, he must shake his kingly head at the strange events which it has witnessed. How he must have shuddered to see his royal house invaded by a mob, as it was in the time of the first Revolution; to see the faithful Swiss guards butchered in his very palace, and the Queen, Marie Antoinette, escaping with her life; to see the grounds sacred to Majesty trampled by the "fierce democracie" of France; and then by the iron heel of the Corsican usurper; and by the feet of the allied armies under Wellington. His soul may have had peace for a time when, under Louis Philippe and Louis Napoleon, Versailles was comparatively silent and deserted. But what would he have said at seeing, only four winters ago, the Emperor of Germany and his army encamped here and beleaguering the capital? Yet perhaps even that would not so have offended his royal dignity as to see a National Assembly sitting in a part of this very palace in the name of a French Republic!

Strange overturning indeed; but if strange, still true. They have a proverb in France that "it is always the improbable which happens," and so indeed it seems to be in French history; it is full of surprises, but few greater than that which now appears. France has drifted into a Republic, when both statesmen and people meant not so. It was not the first choice of the nation. Whatever may have been true of the populace of Paris, the immense majority of the French people were sincerely attached to monarchy in some form, whether under a king or an emperor; and yet the country has neither, so that, as has been wittily said, France has been "a Republic without Republicans." But for all that the Republic is _here_, and here it is likely to remain.

When the present Assembly first met, a little more than four years since, it was at Bordeaux--for to that corner of France was the government driven; and when the treaty was signed, and it came north, it met at Versailles rather than at Paris, as a matter of necessity. Paris was in a state of insurrection. It was in the hands of the Commune, and could only be taken after a second siege, and many bloody combats around the walls and in the streets. This, and the experience so frequent in French history of a government being overthrown by the mob of Paris invading the legislative halls, decided the National Assembly to remain at Versailles, even after the rebellion was subdued; and so there it is to this day, even though the greater part of the deputies go out from Paris twelve miles every morning, and return every night; and in the programme which has been drawn up for the definite establishment of the Republic, it is made an article of the Constitution that the National Assembly shall always meet at Versailles.

The place of meeting is the former theatre of the palace, which answers the purpose very well--the space below, in what was _the pit_, sufficing for the deputies, while the galleries are reserved for spectators. We found the approaches crowded with persons seeking admission, which can only be by ticket. But we had no difficulty. Among the deputies is the well-known Protestant pastor of Paris, Edouard de Pressensé, who was chosen to the Assembly in the stormy scenes of 1871, and who has shown himself as eloquent in the tribune as in the pulpit. I sent him my card, and he came out immediately with two tickets in his hand, and directed one of the attendants to show us into the best seats in the house, who, thus instructed, conducted us to the diplomatic box (which, from its position in the centre of the first balcony, must have been once the royal box), from which we looked down upon the heads of the National Assembly of France.

And what a spectacle it was! The Assembly consists of over seven hundred men, who may be considered as fair representatives of what is most eminent in France. Of course, as in all such bodies, there are many elected from the provinces on account of some local influence, as landed proprietors, or as sons of noble families, who count only by their votes. But with these are many who have "come to the front" in this great national crisis, by the natural ascendancy which great ability always gives, and who by their talents have justly acquired a commanding influence in the country.

The President of the Assembly is the Duke d'Audiffret Pasquier, whose elevated seat is at the other end of the hall. In front of him is "the tribune," from which the speakers address the Assembly: it not being the custom here, as in our Congress or in the English Parliament, for a member to speak from his place in the house. This French custom has been criticized in England, as betraying this talkative people into more words, for a Frenchman does not wish to "mount the tribune" for nothing, and once there the temptation is very strong to make "a speech." But we did not find that the speeches were much longer than in the House of Commons, though they were certainly more violent.

Looking down upon the Assembly, we see how it is divided between the two great parties--the Royalists and the Republicans. Those sitting on the benches to the right of the President comprise the former of every shade--Legitimists, Orleanists, and Imperialists, while those on the left are the Republicans. Besides these two grand divisions of the Right and the Left there are minor divisions, such as the Right Centre and the Left Centre, the former wishing a Constitutional Monarchy, and the latter a Conservative Republic.

Looking over this sea of heads, one sees some that bear great names. One indeed, and that the greatest, is not here, and is the more conspicuous by his absence. M. Thiers, to whom France owes more than to any other living man, since he retired from the Presidency, driven thereto by the factious opposition of some of the deputies, and perhaps now still more since the death of his life-long friend, De Remusat, has withdrawn pretty much from public life, and devotes himself to literary pursuits. But other notable men are here. That giant with a shaggy mane, walking up the aisle, is Jules Favre--a man who has been distinguished in Paris for a generation, both for his eloquence at the bar, and for his inflexible Republicanism, which was never shaken, even in the corrupting times of the Empire, and who in the dark days of 1870, when the Empire fell, was called by acclamation to become a member of the Provisional Government. He is the man who, when Bismarck first talked of peace on the terms of a cession of territory, proudly answered to what he thought the insulting proposal, "Not a foot of our soil, not a stone of our fortresses!" but who, some months after, had to sign with his own hand, but with a bitter heart, a treaty ceding Alsace and Lorraine, and agreeing to pay an indemnity of one thousand millions of dollars! Ah well! he made mistakes, as everybody does, but we can still admire his lion heart, even though we admit that his oratorical fervor was greater than his political sagacity. And yonder, on the left, is another shaggy head, which has appeared in the history of France, and may appear again. That is Leon Gambetta! who, shut up in Paris by the siege, and impatient for activity, escaped in a balloon, and sailing high over the camps of the German army, alighted near Amiens, and was made Minister of War, and began with his fiery eloquence, like another Peter the Hermit, to arouse the population of the provinces to a holy crusade for the extermination of the invader. This desperate energy seemed at first as if it might turn the fortunes of the war. Thousands of volunteers rushed forward to fill the ranks of the independent corps known as the _Franc-tireurs_. But though he rallied such numbers, he could not improvise an army; these recruits, though personally brave enough--for Frenchmen are never wanting in courage--had not the discipline which inspires confidence and wins victory. As soon as these raw levies were hurled against the German veterans, they were dashed to pieces like waves against a rock. The attempt was so daring and patriotic that it deserved success; but it was too late. Gambetta's work, however, is not ended in France. Since the war he has surprised both his friends and his enemies by taking a very conciliatory course. He does not flaunt the red flag in the eyes of the nation. So cautious and prudent is he that some of the extreme radicals, like Louis Blanc, oppose him earnestly, as seeking to found a government which is republican only in name. But he judges more wisely that the only Republic which France, with its monarchical traditions, will accept, is a conservative one, which shall not frighten capital by its wild theories of a division of property, but which, while it secures liberty, secures order also. In urging this policy, he has exercised a restraining influence over the more violent members of his own party, and thus done much toward conciliating opposition and rendering possible a French Republic.

On the same side of the house, yet nearer the middle, thus occupying a position in the Left Centre, is another man, of whom much is hoped at this time, M. Laboulaye, a scholar and author, who by his prudence and moderation has won the confidence of the Assembly and the country. He is one of the wise and safe men, to whom France looks in this crisis of her political history.

But let us suspend our observation of members to listen to the discussions. As we entered, the Assembly appeared to be in confusion. The talking in all parts of the house was incessant, and could not be repressed. The officers shouted "Silence!" which had the effect to produce quiet _for about one minute_, when the buzz of voices rose as loud as ever. The French are irrepressible. And this general talking was not the result of indifference: on the contrary, the more the Assembly became interested, the more tumultuous it grew. Yet there was no question of importance before it, but simply one about the tariff on railways! But a Frenchman will get excited on anything, and in a few minutes the Assembly became as much agitated as if it were discussing some vital question of peace or war, of a Monarchy or a Republic. Speaker after speaker rushed to the tribune, and with loud voices and excited looks demanded to be heard. The whole Assembly took part in the debate--those who agreed with each speaker cheering him on, while those who opposed answered with loud cries of dissent. No college chapel, filled with a thousand students, was ever a scene of more wild uproar. The President tried to control them, but in vain. In vain he struck his gavel, and rang his bell, and at length in despair arose and stood with folded arms, waiting for the storm to subside. But he might as well have appealed to a hurricane. The storm had to blow itself out. After awhile the Assembly itself grew impatient of further debate, and shouted "_Aux voix! aux voix!_" and the question was taken; but how anybody could deliberate or vote in such a roaring tempest, I could not conceive.

This disposed of, a deputy presented some personal matter involving the right of a member to his seat, for whom he demanded _justice_, accusing some committee or other of having suppressed evidence in his favor. Then the tumult rose again. His charge provoked instant and bitter replies. Members left their seats, and crowded around the tribune as if they would have assailed the obnoxious speaker with violence. From one quarter came cries, "_C'est vrai; C'est vrai!_" (It is true; it is true), while in another quarter a deputy sprang to his feet and rushed forward with angry gesture, shouting, "You are not an honest man!" So the tumult "loud and louder grew." It seemed a perfect Bedlam. I confess the impression was not pleasant, and I could not but ask myself, _Is this the way in which a great nation is to be governed, or free institutions are to be constituted?_ It was such a contrast to the dignified demeanor of the Parliament of England, or the Congress of the United States. We have sometimes exciting scenes in our House of Representatives, when members forget themselves; but anything like this I think could not be witnessed in any other great National Assembly, unless it were in the Spanish Cortes. I did not wonder that sober and thoughtful men in France doubt the possibility of popular institutions, when they see a deliberative body, managing grave affairs of State, so little capable of self-control.

And yet we must not make out things worse than they are, or attach too much importance to these lively demonstrations. Some who look on philosophically, would say that this mere talk amounts to nothing; that every question of real importance is deliberated upon and really decided in private, in the councils of the different parties, before it is brought into the arena of public debate; and that this discussion is merely a safety-valve for the irrepressible Frenchman, a way of letting off steam, a process which involves no danger, although accompanied with a frightful hissing and roaring. This is a kindly as well as a philosophical way of putting the matter, and perhaps is a just one.

Some, too, will add that there is another special cause for excitement, viz., that this legislative body is at this moment _in the article of death_, and that these scenes are but the throes and pangs of dissolution. This National Assembly has been in existence now more than four years, and it is time for it to die. Indeed it has had no right to live so long. It was elected for a specific purpose at the close of the war--to make peace with the Germans, and that duty discharged, its functions were ended, and it had no legal right to live another day, or to perform another act of sovereignty. But necessity knows no law. At that moment France was without a head. The Emperor was gone, the old Senate was gone, the Legislative Body was gone, and the country was actually without a government, and so, as a matter of self-preservation, the National Assembly held on. It elected M. Thiers President of the State, and he performed his duties with such consummate ability that France had never been so well governed before. Then in an evil hour, finding that he was an obstacle to the plans of the Legitimists to restore the Monarchy, they combined to force him to resign, and put Marshal MacMahon in his place, a man who may be a good soldier (although he never did anything very great, and blundered fearfully in the German war, having his whole army captured at Sedan), but who never pretended to be a statesman. He was selected as a convenient tool in the hands of the intriguers. But even in him they find they have more than they bargained for; for in a moment of confidence they voted him the executive power for seven years, and now he will not give up, even to make way for a Legitimate sovereign, for the Comte de Chambord, or for the son of his late Emperor, Napoleon III. All this time the Assembly has been acting without any legal authority; but as power is sweet, it held on, and is holding on still. But now, as order is fully restored, all excuse is taken away for surviving longer. The only thing it has to do is to die gracefully, that is, to dissolve, and leave it to the country to elect a new Assembly which, being fresh from the people, shall more truly represent the will of the nation. And yet these men are very reluctant to go, knowing as many of them do, that they will not return. Hence the great question now is that of _dissolution_--"to be or not to be"; and it is not strange that many postpone as long as they can "the inevitable hour." It is for this reason, it is said, because of its relation to the question of its own existence, that the Assembly wrangles over unimportant matters, hoping by such discussions to cause delay, and so to throw over the elections till another year.

But as time and tide wait for no man, so death comes on with stealthy step, and this National Assembly must soon go the way of all the earth. What will come after it? Another Assembly--so it seems now--more Republican still. That is the fear of the Monarchists. But the cause of the Republic has gained greatly in these four years, as it is seen to be not incompatible with order. It is no longer the Red Republic, which inspired such terror; it is not communism, nor socialism, nor war against property. _It is combined order and liberty._ As this conviction penetrates the mass of the people, they are converted to the new political faith, and so the Republic begins to settle itself on sure foundations. It is all the more likely to be permanent, because it was not adopted in a burst of popular enthusiasm, but _very slowly_, and from necessity. It is accepted because no other government is possible in France, at least for any length of time. If the Comte de Chambord were proclaimed king to-morrow, he might reign for a few years--_till the next revolution_. It is this conviction which has brought many conservative men to the side of the Republic. M. Thiers, the most sagacious of French statesmen, has always been in favor of monarchy. He was the Minister of Louis Philippe, and one of his sayings used to be quoted: "A constitutional monarchy is the best of republics." Perhaps he would still prefer a government like that of England. But he sees that to be impossible in France, and, like a wise man that he is, he takes the next best thing--which is A CONSERVATIVE REPUBLIC, based on a written constitution, like that of the United States, and girt round by every check on the exercise of power--a government in which there is the greatest possible degree of personal freedom consistent with public order. To this, as the final result of all her revolutions, France seems to be steadily gravitating now, as her settled form of government. That this last experiment of political regeneration may be successful, must be the hope of all friends of liberty, not only in America, but all over the world.

CHAPTER VIII.

THE LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF PARIS.

I have written of the startling contrasts of London; what shall I say of those of Paris? It is the gayest city in the world, yet the one in which there are more suicides than in any other. It is the city of pleasure, yet where pleasure often turns to pain, and the dance of dissipation, whirling faster and faster, becomes the dance of death. It is a city which seems devoted to amusement, to which the rich and the idle flock from all countries to spend life in an endless round of enjoyment; with which some of our countrymen have become so infatuated that their real feeling is pretty well expressed in the familiar saying--half witty and half wicked--that "all good Americans go to Paris _when they die_." Certainly many of them do not dream of any higher Paradise.

And yet it is a city in which there are many sad and mournful scenes, and in which he who observes closely, who looks a little under the surface, will often walk the streets in profound melancholy. In short, it is a city of such infinite variety, so many-colored, that the laughing and the weeping philosopher may find abundant material for his peculiar vein. Eugene Sue, in his "Mysteries of Paris," has made us familiar with certain tragic aspects of Parisian life hidden from the common eye. With all its gayety, there is a great deal of concealed misery which keeps certain quarters in a chronic state of discontent, which often breaks out in bloody insurrections; so that the city which boasts that it is "the centre of civilization," is at the same time the focus of revolution, of most of the plots and conspiracies which trouble the peace of Europe. As the capital of a great nation, the centre of its intellectual, its literary, and its artistic life, it has a peculiar fascination for those who delight in the most elevated social intercourse. Its salons are the most brilliant in the world, so that we can understand the feeling of Madame de Staël, the woman of society, who considered her banishment from Paris by the first Napoleon as the greatest punishment, and who "would rather see the stones of the Rue du Bac than all the mountains of Switzerland"; and yet this very brilliancy sometimes wearies to satiety, so that we can understand equally the feeling of poor, morbid Jean Jacques Rousseau, who more than a hundred years ago turned his back upon it with disgust, saying, "Farewell, Paris! city of noise, and dust, and strife! He who values peace of mind can never be far enough from thee!"

If we are quite just, we shall not go to either of these extremes. We shall see the good and the evil, and frankly acknowledge both. Paris is generally supposed to be a sinner above all other cities; to have a kind of bad eminence for its immorality. It is thought to be a centre of vice and demoralization, and some innocent young preachers who have never crossed the sea, would no doubt feel justified in denouncing it as the wickedest city in the world. As to the extent to which immorality of any kind prevails, I have no means of judging, except such as every stranger has; but certainly as to intemperance, there is nothing here to compare with that in London, or Glasgow, or Edinburgh; and as to the other form of vice we can only judge by its public display, and there is nothing half so gross, which so outrages all decency, as that which shocks and disgusts every foreigner in the streets of London. No doubt here, as in every great capital which draws to itself the life of a whole nation, there is a concentration of the bad as well as the good elements of society, and we must expect to find much that is depraved and vicious; but that in these respects Paris is worse than London, or Berlin, or Vienna, or even New York, I see no reason to believe.

Without taking, therefore, a lofty attitude of denunciation on the one hand, or going into sudden raptures on the other, there are certain aspects of Paris which lie on the surface, and which any one may observe without claiming to be either wiser or better than his neighbors.

I have tried to see the city both in its brighter lights and its darker shadows. I have lived in Paris, first and last, a good deal. I was here six months in 1847-8, and saw the Revolution which overthrew Louis Philippe, and have been here often since. I confess I am fond of it, and always return with pleasure. That which strikes the stranger at once is its bright, sunny aspect; there is something inspiring in the very look of the people; one feels a change in the very air. Since we came here now, we have been riding about from morning to night. Our favorite drive is along the Boulevards just at evening, when the lamps are lighted, and all Paris seems to be sitting out of doors. The work of the day is over, and the people have nothing to do but to enjoy themselves. By hundreds and thousands they are sitting on the wide pavements, sipping their coffee, and talking with indescribable animation. Then we extend our ride to the Champs Elysées, where the broad avenue is one blaze of light, and places of amusement are open on every side, from which comes the sound of music. It is all a fairy scene, such as one reads of in the Arabian Nights. Thousands are sitting under the trees, enjoying the cool evening air, or coming in from a ride to the Bois de Boulogne.

But it may be thought that these are the pleasures of the rich. On the contrary, they are the pleasures of all classes; and that is the charming thing about it. That which pleases me most in Paris is the _general_ cheerfulness. I do not observe such wide extremes of condition as in London, such painful contrasts between the rich and the poor. Indeed, I do not find here such abject poverty, nor see such dark, sullen, scowling faces, which indicate such brutal degradation, as I saw in the low quarters of London. Here everybody seems to be, at least in a small way, comfortable and contented. I have spoken once before of the industry of the people (no city in the world is such a hive of busy bees) and of their economy, which shows itself even in their pleasures, of which they are fond, but which they get _very cheap_. No people will get so much out of so little. What an English workman would spend in a single drunken debauch, a Frenchman will spread over a week, and get a little enjoyment out of it every day. It delights me to see how they take their pleasures. Everybody seems to be happy in his own way, and not to be envious of his neighbor. If a man cannot ride with two horses, he will go with one, and even if that one be a sorry hack, with ribs sticking out of his sides, and that seems just ready for the crows, no matter, he will pile his wife and children into the little, low carriage, and off they go, not at great speed, to be sure, but as gay and merry as if they were the Emperor and his court, with outriders going before, and a body of cavalry clattering at their heels. When I have seen a whole family at Versailles or St. Cloud dining on five francs (oh no, that is too magnificent; they carry their dinner with them, and it probably does not cost them two francs), I admire the simple tastes which are so easily satisfied, and the miracle-working art which extracts honey from every daisy by the roadside.

Such simple and universal enjoyment would not be possible, but for one trait which is peculiar to the French--an entire absence of _mauvaise honte_, or false shame; the foolish pride, which is so common in England and America, of wishing to be thought as rich or as great as others. In London no one would dare, even if he were allowed, to show himself in Hyde Park in such unpretentious turnouts as those in which half Paris will go to the Bois de Boulogne. But here everybody jogs along at his own gait, not troubling himself about his neighbor. "Live and let live" seems to be, if not the law of the country, at least the universal habit of the people. Whatever other faults the French have, I believe they are freer than most nations from "envy, malice, and all uncharitableness."

With this there is a feeling of self-respect, even among the common people, that is very pleasing. If you speak to a French servant, or to a workman in a blouse, he does not sink into the earth as if he were an inferior being, or take a tone of servility, but answers politely, yet self-respectingly, as one conscious that he too is a man. The most painful thing that I found in England was the way in which the distinctions of rank, which seem to be as rigid as the castes of India, have eaten into the manhood and self-respect of our great Anglo-Saxon race. But here "a man's a man," and especially if he is a Frenchman, he is as good as anybody.

From this absence of false pride and false shame comes the readiness of the people to talk about their private affairs. How quickly they take you into their confidence, and tell you all their little personal histories! The other day we went to the Salpêtrière, the great hospital for aged women, which Mrs. Field describes in her "Home Sketches in France," where are five thousand poor creatures cared for by the charity of Paris. Hundreds of these were seated under the trees, or walking about the grounds. As I went to find one of the officials, I left C---- standing under an arch. Seeing her there, one of the old women, with that politeness which is instinctive with the French, invited her into her little room. When I came back, I found they had struck up a friendship. The good mother--poor, dear, old soul!--had told all her little story: who she was, and how she came there, and how she lived. She made her own soup, she said, and had put up some pretty muslin curtains, and had a tiny bit of a stove, and so got along very nicely. This communicativeness is not confined to the inmates of hospitals. It is a national trait, which makes us love a people that give us their confidence so freely.

I might add many other amiable traits, which give a great charm to the social life of the French, and fill their homes with brightness and sunshine.

But of course there is another side to the picture. There is lightning in the beautiful cloud, and sometimes the thunder breaks fearfully over this devoted city. I do not refer to great public calamities, such as war and siege, bringing "battle, and murder, and sudden death," but to those daily tragedies, which are enacted in a great city, which the world never hears of, where men and women drop out of existence, as one

"Sinks into the waves with bubbling groan,"

and disappear from view, and the ocean rolls over them, burying the story of their unhappy lives and their wretched end. Something of this darker shading to bright and gay Paris, one may discover who is curious in such matters. There is a kind of fascination which sometimes lures me to search out that which is sombre and tragic in human life and in history. So I have been to the Prison de la Roquette, over which is an inscription which might be written over the gates of hell: DEPÔT DES CONDAMNÉS. Here the condemned are placed before they are led to death, and in the open space in front take place all the executions in Paris. Look you at those five stones deep set in the pavement, on which are planted the posts of the Guillotine! Over that in the centre hangs the fatal knife, which descends on the neck of the victim, whose head rolls into the basket below.

But prisons are not peculiar to Paris, and probably quite as many executions have been witnessed in front of Newgate, in London. But that which gives a peculiar and sadder interest to this spot, is that here took place one of the most terrible tragedies even in French history--the massacre of the hostages in the days of the Commune. In that prison yard the venerable Archbishop of Paris was shot, with others who bore honored names. No greater atrocity was enacted even in the Reign of Terror. There fiends in human shape, with hearts as hard as the stones of the street, butchered old age. In another quarter of Paris, on the heights of Montmartre, the enraged populace shot down two brave generals--Lecompte and Clement-Thomas. I put my hand into the very holes made in the wall of a house by the murderous balls. Such cowardly assassinations, occurring more than once in French history, reveal a trait of character not quite so amiable as some that I have noticed. They show that the polite and polished Frenchman may be so aroused as to be turned into a wild beast, and give a color of reason to the savage remark of Voltaire--himself one of the race--that "a Frenchman was half monkey and half tiger."

I will present but one other dark picture. I went one day, to the horror of my companion, to visit THE MORGUE, the receptacle of all the suicides in Paris, where their bodies are exposed that they may be recognized by friends. Of course some are brought here who die suddenly in the streets, and whose names are unknown. But the number of suicides is fearfully great. Bodies are constantly fished out of the Seine, of those who throw themselves from the numerous bridges. Others climb to the top of the Column in the Place Vendôme, or of that on the Place of the Bastille, or to the towers of Nôtre Dame, and throw themselves over the parapet, and their mangled bodies are picked up on the pavement below. Others find the fumes of charcoal an easier way to fall into "an eternal sleep." But thus, by one means or other, by pistol or by poison, by the tower or the river, almost every day has its victim. I think the exact statistics show more than one suicide a day throughout the year. When I was at the Morgue there were two bodies stretched out stark and cold--a man and a woman, _both young_. I looked at them with very sad reflections. If those poor lips could but speak, what tragedies they might tell! Who knows what hard battle of life they had to fight--what struggles wrung that manly breast, or what sorrow broke that woman's heart? Who was she?

"Had she a father? had she a mother? Had she a sister? had she a brother? Or one dearer still than all other?"

Perhaps she had led a life of shame, but all trace of passion was gone now:

"Death had left on her Only the beautiful."

And as I marked the rich tresses which hung down over her shoulders, I thought Jesus would not have disdained her if she had come to him as a penitent Magdalen, and with that flowing hair had wiped His sacred feet.

I do not draw these sad pictures to point a moral against the French, as if they were sinners above all others, but I think this great number of suicides may be ascribed, in part at least, to the mercurial and excitable character of the people. They are easily elated and easily depressed; now rising to the height of joyous excitement, and now sinking to the depths of despair. And when these darker moods come on, what so natural as that those who have not a strong religious feeling to restrain them, or to give them patience to bear their trials, should seek a quick relief in that calm rest which no rude waking shall ever disturb? If they had that faith in God, and a life to come, which is the only true consolation in all time of our trouble, in all time of our adversity, they would not so often rush to the grave, thinking to bury their sorrows in the silence of the tomb.

Thus musing on the lights and shadows of Paris, I turn away half in admiration and half in pity, but all in love. With all its shadows, it is a wonderful city, by far the greatest, except London, in the modern world, and the French are a wonderful people; and while I am not blind to their weaknesses, their vanity, their childish passion for military glory, yet "with all their faults I love them still." And I have written thus, not only from a feeling of love for Paris from personal associations, but from a sense of _justice_, believing that the harsh judgment often pronounced upon it is hasty and mistaken. All such sweeping declarations are sure to be wrong. No doubt the elements of good and evil are mingled here in large proportions, and act with great intensity, and sometimes with terrific results. But Frenchmen are not worse than other men, nor Paris worse than other cities. If it has some dark spots, it has many bright ones, in its ancient seats of learning and its noble institutions of charity. Taking them all together, they form a basis for a very kindly judgment. And I believe that He who from His throne in Heaven looks down upon all the dwellers upon earth, seeing that in the judgment of truth and of history this city is not utterly condemned, would say "Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more."

CHAPTER IX.

GOING ON A PILGRIMAGE.

GENEVA, July 12th.

We have been on a pilgrimage. In coming to France, I had a great desire to visit one of those shrines which have become of late objects of such enthusiastic devotion, and attracted pilgrims from all parts of Europe, and even from America. In a former chapter I spoke of the Resurrection of France, referring to its material prosperity as restored since the war. There has been also a revival of religious fervor--call it superstition or fanaticism--which is quite remarkable. Those who have kept watch of events in the religious as well as in the political world, have observed a sudden access of zeal throughout Catholic Christendom. Whatever the cause, whether the "persecution," real or imaginary, of the Holy Father, or the heavy blows which the Church has received from the iron hand of Germany in its wars with Austria and France--the fact is evident that there has been a great increase of activity among the more devout Catholics--which shows itself in a spirit of propagandism, in "missions," which are a kind of revivals, and in pilgrimages to places which are regarded as having a peculiar sanctity.

These pilgrimages are so utterly foreign to our American ideas, they appear so childish and ridiculous, that it seems impossible to speak of them with gravity. And yet there has been at least one of these pious expeditions from the United States (of which there was a long account in the New York papers), in which the pilgrims walked in procession down Broadway, and embarked with the blessing of our new American Cardinal. From England they have been quite frequent. Large numbers, among whom we recognize the names of several well known Catholic noblemen, assemble in London, and receive the blessing of Cardinal Manning, and then leave to make devout pilgrimages to the "holy places" (which are no longer only in Palestine, but for greater convenience have been brought nearer, and are now to be found in France), generally ending with a pilgrimage to Rome, to cast themselves at the feet of the Holy Father, who gives them his blessing, while he bewails the condition of Europe, and anathematizes those who "oppress" the Church--thus blessing and cursing at the same time.

If my object in writing were to cast ridicule on the whole affair, there is something very tempting in the easy and luxurious way in which these modern pilgrimages are performed. Of old, when a pilgrim set out for the Holy Land, it was with nothing but a staff in his hand, and sandals on his feet, and thus he travelled hundreds of leagues, over mountain and moor, through strange countries, begging his way from door to door, reaching his object at last perhaps only to die. Even the pilgrimage to Mecca has something imposing to the imagination, as a long procession of camels files out of the streets of Cairo, and takes the way of the desert. But these more fashionable pilgrims travel by steam, in first-class railway carriages, with Cook's excursion tickets, and are duly lodged and cared for, from the moment they set out till they are safely returned to England. One of Cook's agents in Paris told me he had thus conveyed a party of two thousand. It must be confessed, this is devotion made easy, in accordance with the spirit of the modern time, which is not exactly a spirit of self-sacrifice, but "likes all things comfortable"--even religion.

But my object was not to ridicule, but to observe. If I did not go as a pilgrim, on the one hand, neither was it merely as a travelling correspondent, aiming only at a sensational description. If I did not go in a spirit of faith, it was at least in a spirit of candor, to observe and report things exactly as I saw them.

But how was I to reach one of these holy shrines? They are a long way off. The grotto of Lourdes, where the Holy Virgin is said to have appeared to a girl of the country, is in the Pyrenees; while Paray-le-Monial is nearly three hundred miles southeast from Paris. However, it is not very far aside from the route to Switzerland, and so we took it on our way to Geneva, resting over a day at Macon for the purpose.

It was a bright summer morning when we started from Macon, and wound our way among the vine-clad hills of the ancient province of Burgundy. It is a picturesque country. Old chateaux hang upon the sides, or crown the summits of the hills, while quaint little villages nestle at their foot. In yonder village was born the poet and statesman, Lamartine. We can see in passing the chateau where he lived, and here, "after life's fitful fever, he sleeps well." All these sunny slopes are covered with vineyards, which are now smiling in their summer dress. I do not wonder that pilgrims, as they enter this "hill-country," are often reminded of Palestine. Three hours brought us to Paray-le-Monial, a little town of three or four thousand inhabitants--just like hundreds of others in France, with nothing to attract attention, except the marvellous tradition which has given it a sudden and universal celebrity, and which causes devout Catholics to approach it with a feeling of reverence.

The story of the place is this: In the little town is a convent, which has been standing for generations. Here, _two hundred years ago_, lived a nun, whose name was Marguerite Marie Alacoque, who was eminent for her piety, who spent a great part of her life in prayer, and whose devotion was at length rewarded by the personal appearance of our Lord, who opened to her his bosom, and showed her his heart burning with love for men, and bade her devote herself to the worship of that "sacred heart"! These visitations were very frequent. Some of them were in the chapel, and some in the garden attached to the convent. The latter is not open to visitors, the Pope having issued an order that the privacy of the _religieuses_ should be respected. But a church near by overlooks it, and whoever will take the fatigue to climb to the top, may look down into the forbidden place. As we were determined to see everything, we mounted all the winding stone steps in the tower, from which the keeper pointed out to us the very spot where our Saviour appeared to the Bienheureuse, as he called her. In a clump of small trees are two statues, one of the Lord himself, and the other of the nun on her knees, as she instantly sank to the ground when she recognized before her the Majesty of her blessed Lord. There is another place in the garden where also she beheld the same heavenly vision. Sometimes the "Seigneur" appeared to her unattended; at others he was accompanied by angels and seraphim.

It is a little remarkable that this wonderful fact of the personal appearance of Christ, though it occurred, according to the tradition, _two hundred years ago_, did not attract more attention; that it was neglected even by Catholic historians, until twelve years since--in 1863--when (as a part of a general movement "all along the line" to revive the decaying faith of France) the marvellous story of this long neglected saint was revived, and brought to the notice and adoration of the religious world.

But let not cold criticism come in to mar the full enjoyment of what we have come so far to see. The principal visitations were not in the garden but in the chapel of the convent, which on that account bears the name of the Chapel of the Visitation. Here is the tomb which contains the body of the sainted nun, an image of whom in wax lies above it under a glass case, dressed in the robe of her order, with a crown on her head, to bring before the imagination of the faithful the presence of her at whose shrine they worship. The chapel is separated from the convent by a large grating, behind which the nuns can be hidden and yet hear the service, and chant their offices. There it was, so it is said, behind that grate, while in an ecstasy of prayer, that our Saviour first appeared to the gaze of the enraptured nun. The grate is now literally covered with golden hearts, the offerings of the faithful. Similar gifts hang over the altar, while gilded banners and other votive offerings cover the walls.

As we entered the chapel, it was evident that we were in what was to many a holy place. At the moment there was no service going on, but some were engaged in silent meditation and prayer. We seemed to be the only persons present from curiosity. All around us were absorbed in devotion. We sat a long time in silence, musing on the strange scene, unwilling to disturb even by a whisper the stillness of the place, or the thoughts of those who had come to worship. At three o'clock the nuns began to sing their offices. But they did not show themselves. There are other Sisters, who have the care of the chapel, and who come in to trim the candles before the shrine, but the nuns proper live a life of entire seclusion, never being seen by any one. Only their voices are heard. Nothing could be more plaintive than their low chanting, as it issued from behind the bars of their prison house, and seemed to come from a distance. There, hidden from the eyes of all, sat that invisible choir, and sang strains as soft as those which floated over the shepherds of Bethlehem. As an accompaniment to the scene in the chapel, nothing could be more effective; it was well fitted to touch the imagination, as also when the priest intoned the service in the dim light of this little church, with its censers swinging with incense, and its ever-burning lamps.

The walls of the chapel are covered with banners, some from other countries, but most from France, and here it is easy to see how the patriotic feeling mingles with the religious. Here and there may be seen the image of the sacred heart with a purely religious inscription, such as _Voici le coeur qui a tant aimé les hommes_ (here is the heart which has so loved men); but much more often it is, COEUR DE JESUS, SAUVEZ LA FRANCE! This idea in some form constantly reappears, and one cannot help thinking that this sudden outburst of religious zeal has been greatly intensified by the disasters of the German war; that for the first time French armies beaten in the field, have resorted to prayer; that they fly to the Holy Virgin, and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to implore the protection which their own arms could not give. Hung in conspicuous places on columns beside the chancel are banners of Alsace and Lorraine, _covered with crape_, the former with a cross in the centre, encircled with the words first written in the sky before the adoring eyes of Constantine: IN HOC SIGNO VINCES; while for Lorraine stands only the single name of METZ, invested with such sad associations, with the inscription, SACRÉ COEUR DE JESUS, SAUVEZ LA FRANCE!

There is no doubt that these pilgrimages have been encouraged by French politicians, as a means of reviving and inflaming the enthusiasm of the people, not only for the old Catholic faith, but for the old Catholic monarchy. Of the tens of thousands who flock to these shrines, there are few who are not strong Legitimists. On the walls of the chapel the most glittering banner is that of HENRI DE BOURBON, which is the name by which the Comte de Chambord chooses to be known as the representative of the old royal race. Not to be outdone in pious zeal, Marshal MacMahon, who is a devout Catholic--and his wife still more so--has also sent a banner to Paray-le-Monial, but it is not displayed with the same ostentation. The Legitimists have no wish to keep his name too much before the French people. He is well enough as a temporary head of the State till the rightful sovereign comes, but when Henri de Bourbon appears, they want no "Marshal-President" to stand in his way as he ascends the throne of his ancestors.

Thus excited by a strange mixture of religious zeal and political enthusiasm, France pours its multitudes annually to these shrines of Lourdes and Paray-le-Monial. We were too late for the rush this year--the season was just over; for there is a season for going on pilgrimages as for going to watering-places, and June is the month in which they come in the greatest numbers. There have been as many as twenty thousand in one day. On the 16th of June--which was a special occasion--the crowd was so great that Mass was begun at two o'clock in the morning, and repeated without ceasing till noon, the worshippers retiring at the end of every half hour, that a new throng might take their places. Thus successive pilgrims press forward to the holy shrine, and go away with an elated, almost ecstatic feeling, that they have left their sins and their sorrows at the tomb of the now sainted and glorified nun.

What shall we say to this? That it is all nonsense--folly, born of fanaticism and superstition? Medical men will have an easy way of disposing of this nun and her visions, by saying that she was simply a crazy woman; that nothing is more common than these fancies of a distempered imagination; that such cases may be found in every lunatic asylum; that hysterical women often think that they have seen the Saviour, &c. Such is a very natural explanation of this singular phenomenon. There is no reason to suppose that this nun was a designing woman, that she intended to deceive. People who have visions are the sincerest of human beings. They have unbounded faith in themselves, and think it strange that an unbelieving world does not give the same credit to their revelations.

From all that I have read of this Marie Alacoque, I am quite ready to believe that she was indeed a very devout woman, who, buried in that living tomb, a convent, praying and fasting, worked herself into such a fever of excitement, that she thought the Saviour came down into the garden, and into the chapel; that she saw his form and heard his voice. To her it was all a living reality. But that her simple statement, supported by no other evidence, should be gravely accepted in this nineteenth century by men who are supposed to be still in the possession of sober reason, is one of the strange things which it would be impossible to believe, were it not that I have seen it with my own eyes, and which is one more proof that wonders will never cease.

But sincerity of faith always commands a certain respect, even when coupled with ignorance and superstition. If this shows an extreme of credulity absolutely pitiful, yet we must consider it not as _we_ look at it, but as these devout pilgrims regard it. To them this spot is one of the holy places of the world, for here they believe the Incarnate Divinity descended to the earth; they believe that this garden has been touched by His blessed feet; and that this little chapel, so honored in the past, is still filled with the presence of Him who once was here, but is now ascended up far above all heavens. And hence this Paray-le-Monial in their minds is invested with the same sacred associations with which we regard Nazareth and Bethlehem.

But with every disposition to look upon these manifestations in the most indulgent light, it is impossible not to feel that there is something very French in this way of attempting to revive the faith of a great nation. Among this people everything seems to have a touch of the theatrical--even in their religion there is frequency more of show than of conviction. Thus this new worship is not addressed to the name of our Saviour, but to His "sacred heart"! There is something in that image which seems to take captive the French imagination. The very words have a rich and mellow sound. And so the attempt which was begun in an obscure village of Burgundy, is now proclaimed in Paris and throughout the kingdom, to dedicate France to the sacred heart of Jesus.

This peculiar form of worship is the new religious fashion. A few weeks since an imposing service attracted the attention of Paris. A procession of bishops and priests, followed by great numbers of the faithful, wound through the streets, up to the heights of Montmartre, there to lay, with solemn ceremonies, the corner-stone of a new church dedicated to the sacred heart. We drove to the spot, which is the highest in the whole circle of Paris, and which overlooks it almost as Edinburgh Castle overlooks that city. There one looks down on the habitations of two millions of people. A church erected on that height, with its golden cross lifted into mid-heaven, would seem like a banner in the sky, to hold up before this unbelieving people an everlasting sign of the faith.

But though the Romish Church should consecrate ever so many shrines; though it build churches and cathedrals, and rear its flaming crosses on every hill and mountain from the Alps to the Pyrenees; it is not thus that religion is to be enthroned in the hearts of a nation. The fact is not to be disguised that France has fallen away from the faith. It looks on at all these attempts with indifference, or with an amused curiosity. If popular writers notice them at all, it is to make them an object of ridicule. At one of the Paris theatres an actor appears dressed as a Brahmin, and offers to swear "by the sacred heart of _a cow_" (that being a sacred animal in India). The hit is caught at once by the audience, who answer it with applause. It is thus that the populace of Paris sneer at the new superstition.

Would to God that France might be speedily recovered to a true Christian faith; but it is not to be by any such fantastic tricks or theatrical devices, by shows or processions, by gilded crosses or waving banners, or by going on pilgrimages as in the days of the Crusades. Even the Catholic Church has more efficient instruments at command. The Sisters of Charity in hospitals are far more effective missionaries than nuns behind the bars of a convent, singing hymns to the Virgin, or lamps burning before the shrine of a saint dead hundreds of years ago. If France is ever to be brought back to the faith, it must be by arguments addressed to the understanding, which shall meet the objections of modern science and philosophy; and, above all, by living examples of its power. If Religion is to conquer the modern world; if it is even to keep its present hold among the nations, it must be brought into contact with the minds and hearts of the people as never before; it must grapple with the problems of modern society, with poverty and misery in all its forms. Especially in the great capitals of Europe it has its hardest field, and there it must go into all the narrow lanes and miserable dwellings, it must minister to the sick, and clothe the naked and feed the hungry. France will never be converted merely by dramatic exhibitions, that touch the imagination. It must be by something that can touch the conscience and the heart. Thus only can the heart of France ever be won to "the sacred heart of Jesus."

CHAPTER X.

UNDER THE SHADOW OF MONT BLANC.

THE VALE OF CHAMOUNI, July 15th.

I did not mean to write anything about Switzerland, because it is such trodden ground. Almost everybody that has been in Europe has been here, and even to those who have not, repeated descriptions have made it familiar. And yet when once among these mountains, the impression comes back fresh and strong as ever, and while the spell is on the traveller, he cannot but wish to impart a little of his enjoyment to friends at home.

We are in the Vale of Chamouni, under the shadow of Mont Blanc. In this valley, shut in by the encircling mountains, one cannot escape from that "awful form" any more than from the presence of God. It is everywhere day and night. We throw open our windows, and it is standing right before us. Even at night the moonlight is glistening on its eternal snows. Thus it forces itself upon us, and must receive respectful homage.

We left Geneva on one of the most beautiful mornings of the year. There has been great lamentation throughout Switzerland this summer, on account of the frequent rains, which have enveloped the mountains in a continual mist. But we have been favored in this respect, both at Geneva and at Chamouni. To set out on a mountain excursion on such a morning, and ride on the top of a diligence, is enough to stir the blood of the most languid tourist. A French diligence is a monstrous affair--a kind of Noah's Ark on wheels--that carries a multitude of living creatures. We had twenty-four persons (three times as many as Noah had in the Ark) mounted on this huge vehicle, to which were harnessed six horses, three abreast. We had the front seat on the top. In such grandeur we rolled out of Geneva, feeling at every step the exhilaration of the mountain air, and the bright summer morning. The postilion was in his glory. How he cracked his whip as we rattled through the little Swiss villages, making the people run to get out of his way, and stare in wonder at the tremendous momentum of his imperial equipage. To us, who sat sublime "above the noise and dust of this dim spot called earth," there was something at once exciting and ludicrous in the commotion we made. But there were other occasions for satisfaction. The day was divine. The country around Geneva rises from the lake, and spreads out in wide, rolling distances, bordered on every side by the great mountains. The air was full of the smell of new-mown hay, while over all hung the bending sky, full of sunshine. Thus with every sense keen with delight, we sat on high and took in the full glory of the scene, as we swept on towards the Alps.

As we advance the mountains close in around us, till we cannot see where we are to find a passage through them. For the last half of the way the construction of the road has been a difficult task of engineering; for miles it has to be built up against the mountain; at other places a passage is cut in the side of the cliff, or a tunnel made through the rock. Yet difficult as it was, the work has been thoroughly done. It was completed by Napoleon III., after Savoy was annexed to France, and is worthy to compare with the road which the first Napoleon built over the Simplon. Over such a highway we rolled on steadily to the end of our journey.

And now we are in the Vale of Chamouni, in the very heart of the Alps, under the shadow of the greatest of them all:

"Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains They crowned him long ago On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds, With a diadem of snow."

Once in the valley, we can hardly turn aside our eyes from that overpowering object. We keep looking up at that mighty dome, which seems to touch the sky. Fortunately for us, there was no cloud about the throne. Like other monarchs, he is somewhat fitful and capricious, often hiding his royal head from the sight of his worshippers. Many persons come to Chamouni, and do not see Mont Blanc at all. Sometimes they wait for days for an audience of his majesty, without success. But he favored us at once with the sight of his imperial countenance. Glorious was it to behold him as he shone in the last rays of the setting sun. And when evening drew on, the moon hung above that lofty summit, as if unwilling to leave. As she declined towards the west, she did not disappear at once; but as the mountains themselves sank away from the height of Mont Blanc, the moon seemed to glide slowly down the descending slope, setting and reappearing, and touching the whole with her silver radiance.

But sunset and moonlight were both less impressive than sunrise. Remembering Coleridge's "Hymn to Mont Blanc," which is supposed to be written "before sunrise in the Vale of Chamouni," we were up in the morning to catch the earliest dawn. It was long in coming. At first a few faint streaks of light shot up the eastern sky; then a rosy tinge flushed the head of Mont Blanc; then other snowy summits caught the golden glow; till a hundred splintered peaks, that formed a part of the mighty range, reflected the light of coming day, and at last the full orb himself rose above the tops of the mountains, and shone down into the valley.

Of course all visitors to Chamouni have to climb some of the lower mountains to see the glaciers, and get a general view of the chain of Mont Blanc. My companion was ambitious to do something more than this. She is a very good walker and climber, and had taken many long tramps among our Berkshire Hills, and to her Mont Blanc did not seem much more than Monument Mountain. In truth, the eye is deceived in judging of these tremendous heights, and cannot take in at first the real elevation. But when they are accurately measured, Mont Blanc is found to be about twenty times as high as the cliff which overlooks our Housatonic Valley! But a young enthusiast feels equal to anything, and she seemed really quite disappointed that she could not at least go as far as the Grands Mulets (where, with a telescope, we can just see a little cabin on the rocks), which is the limit of the first day's journey for adventurous tourists, most of whom do not get any further. A party that went up yesterday, intending to reach the top of Mont Blanc, had to turn back. A recent fall of snow had buried the mountain, so that they sank deep at every step; and finding it dangerous to proceed, they prudently abandoned the attempt.

The ascent of Mont Blanc, at all times difficult, is often a dangerous undertaking. Many adventurous travellers have lost their lives in the attempt. An avalanche may bury a whole party in a moment; or if lashed to the guides by a rope, one slipping may drag the whole down into one of the enormous crevasses, where now many bodies lie unburied, yet preserved from decay in the eternal ice. Only five years ago, in September, 1870, a party of eleven--three tourists (of whom two were Americans), with eight guides and porters--were all lost. They had succeeded in reaching the summit of the mountain, when a snow-storm came on, and it was impossible for them to descend. The body of one of them, Dr. Bean, of Baltimore, was recovered, and is buried in the little graveyard here. With such warnings, a sober old uncle might be excused for restraining a young lady's impetuosity. If we could be here a month, and "go into training," by long walks and climbs every day, I do believe we should gradually work our courage up to the sticking-point, and at last climb to the top, and plant a very modest American flag on the hoary head of Mont Blanc.

But for the present we must be content with a less ambitious performance, and make only the customary ascent of the Montanvert, and cross the Mer de Glace. We left at eight o'clock yesterday morning. Our friends in New York would hardly have recognized me in my travelling dress of Scotch gray, with a slouched straw hat on my head, and an alpenstock in my hand. The hat was very useful, if not ornamental. I bought it for one franc, and it answered as well as if it had cost a guinea. To be sure, as it had a broad brim, it had a slight tendency to take wings and fly away, and light in some mountain torrent, from which it was speared out with the alpenstock, and restored to its place of honor; but it did excellent service in protecting my eyes from the blinding reflection of the snow. C---- was mounted on a mule, which she had at first refused, preferring her own agile feet; but I insisted on it, as a very useful beast to fall back upon in case the fatigue was too great. Thus accoutred, our little cavalcade, with our guide leading the way, filed out of Chamouni. If any of my readers laugh at our droll appearance, they are quite welcome--for we laughed at ourselves. Comfort is worth more than dignity in such a case; and if anybody is abashed at the ludicrous figure he cuts, he may console himself by reflecting that he is in good company. I saw in Paris the famous picture by David of Napoleon crossing the Alps, which represents him mounted on a gallant charger, his military cloak flying in the air, while he points his soldiers upward to the heights they are to scale. This is very fine to look at; but the historical fact is said to be that Napoleon rode over the Alps on a mule, and if he encountered rains and storms, he was no doubt as bedraggled as any Alpine tourist. But that did not prevent his gaining the battle of Marengo.

But all thoughts of our appearance vanish when once we begin to climb the mountain side. For two hours we kept winding in a zigzag path through the perpetual pine forest. At every turn in the road, or opening in the trees, we stopped to look at the valley below, where the objects grew smaller, as we receded further from them. Is it not so in life? As some one has said, "Everything will look small enough if we only get high enough." All rude noises died away in the distance, till there rose into the upper air only the sound of the streams that were rushing through the valley below.

At a chalet half way up the mountain a living chamois was kept for show. It was very young, and was suckled by a goat. It was touching to see how the little creature pined for freedom, and leaped against the sides of his pen. Child of the mountain, he seemed entitled to liberty, and I longed to break open his cage and set the little prisoner free, and see him bound away upon the mountain side.

Climbing, still climbing, another hour brings us to the top of the Montanvert, where we look down upon the Mer de Glace. Here all the party quit their mules, which are sent to another point, to meet us as we come down from the mountain--and taking our alpenstocks in hand (which are long staffs, with a spike at the end to stick in the ice, to keep ourselves from slipping), we descend to the Mer de Glace, an enormous glacier formed by the masses of snow and ice which collect during the long winters, filling up the whole space between two mountains. It was in studying the glaciers of Switzerland for a course of years, that Agassiz formed his glacial theory; and in seeing here how the steady pressure of such enormous masses of ice, weighing millions of tons, have carried down huge boulders of granite, which lie strewn all along its track, one can judge how the same causes, operating at a remote period, and on a vast scale, may have changed the whole surface of the globe.

But we must not stop to philosophize, for we are now just at the edge of the glacier, and need our wits about us, and eyes too, to keep a sharp lookout for dangerous places, and steady feet, and hands keeping a tight hold of our trusty alpenstocks. The Mer de Glace is just what its name implies--a Sea of Ice--and looks as if, when some wild torrent came tumbling through the awful pass, it had been suddenly stopped by the hand of the Almighty, and frozen as it stood. And so it stands, its waves dashed up on high, and its chasms yawning below. It is said to reach up into the mountains for miles. We can see how it goes up to the top of the gorge and disappears on the other side; but those who wish to explore its whole extent, may walk over it or beside it all day. Though dangerous in some places, yet where tourists cross, they can pick their way with a little care. The more timid ones cling closely to the guide, holding him fast by the hand. One lady of our party, who had four bearers to carry her in a Sedan chair, found her head swim as she crossed. But C----, who had been gathering flowers all the way up the mountain, made them into a bouquet, which she fastened to one end of her alpenstock, and striking the other firmly in the ice, moved on with as free a step as if she were walking along some breezy path among our Berkshire Hills.

But the most difficult part of the course is not in crossing the Mer de Glace, but in coming down on the other side. It is not always _facilis descensus_; it is sometimes _difficilis descensus_. There is one part of the course called the _Mauvais Pas_, which winds along the edge of the cliff, and would hardly be passable but for an iron rod fastened in the side of the rock, to which one clings for support, and looking away from the precipice on the other side, makes the passage in safety.

And now we come to the Chapeau, a little chalet perched on a shelf of rock, from which one can look down thousands of feet into the Vale of Chamouni. As we pass along by the side of the glacier, we see nearer the end some frightful crevasses, which the boldest guide would not dare to cross. The ice is constantly wearing away; indeed so great is the discharge of water from the melting of the ice and the snow, that a rapid river is all the time rushing out of it. The Arveiron takes its rise in the Mer de Glace, while the Arve rises in another glacier higher up the valley. As Coleridge says, in his Hymn to Mont Blanc,

The Arve and Arveiron at thy base Rave ceaselessly;

the sound of the streams, mingling with the waterfalls on the sides of the mountains, filling the air with a perpetual sound like the roaring of the sea.

Coleridge speaks also of Mont Blanc as rising from a "silent sea of pines." Nothing can be more accurate than this picture of the universal forest, which overflows all the valleys, and reaches up the mountains, to the edge of eternal snows. At such heights the pines are the only trees that live, and there they stand through all the storms of winter. Looking around on this landscape, made up of forest and snow, alternately dark and bright, it seems as if Mont Blanc were the Great White Throne of the Almighty, and as if these mighty forests that stand quivering on the mountain side, were the myriads of mankind gathered into this Valley of Judgment, and here standing rank on rank, waiting to hear their doom.

But yet the impression is not one wholly of terror, or even of unmixed awe. There is beauty as well as wildness in the scene. Nothing can exceed the quiet and seclusion of these mountain paths, and there is something very sweet to the ear in

"The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,"

which fill "the forest primeval" with their gentle sound. And when at evening one hears the tinkling cow-bells, as the herds return from the mountain pastures, there is a pastoral simplicity in the scene which is very touching, and we could understand how the Swiss air of the _Ranz des Vaches_ (or the returning of the cows) should awaken such a feeling of homesickness in the soldier far from his native mountains, that bands have been prohibited from playing it in Swiss regiments enlisted in foreign armies.

When we came down from the Mer de Glace, it was not yet three o'clock, and before us on the opposite side of the valley rose another mountain, which we might ascend before night if we had strength left. We felt a little remorse at giving the guide another half-day's work; but he, foreseeing extra pay, said cheerfully that _he_ could stand it; the mule said nothing, but pricked up his long ears as if he was thinking very hard, and if the miracle of Balaam could have been repeated, I think the poor dumb beast would have had a pretty decided opinion. But it being left to us, we declared for a fresh ascent, and once more set our faces skyward, and went climbing upward for two hours more.

We were well paid for the fatigue. The Flégère, facing Mont Blanc, commands a full view of the whole range, and as the clouds drifted off, we saw distinctly every peak.

Thus elated and jubilant we set out to return. Until now, we had kept along with the mule, alternating a ride and walk, as boys are accustomed to "ride and tie"; but now our eagerness could not be restrained, and we gave the reins to the guide to lead the patient creature down into the valley, while we, with unfettered limbs, strode joyous down the mountain side. It was seven o'clock when we reached our hotel. We had been steadily in motion--except a short rest for lunch at the Chapeau on the mountain--for eleven hours.

Here ends the journey of the day, but not the moral of it. I hope it is not merely a professional habit that leads me to wind up everything with an application; but I cannot look upon a grand scene of nature without gliding insensibly into religious reflections. Nature leads me directly to Nature's God. The late Prof. Albert Hopkins, of Williams College, of blessed memory, a man of science and yet of most devout spirit, who was as fond of the hills as a born mountaineer, and who loved nothing so much as to lead his Alpine Club over the mountains around Williamstown--was accustomed, when he had conducted them to some high, commanding prospect, to ask whether the sight of such great scenes _made them feel great or small_? I can answer for myself that the impression is a mixed one; that it both lifts me up and casts me down. Certainly the sight of such sublimity elevates the soul with a sense of the power and majesty of the Creator. While climbing to-day, I have often repeated to myself that old, majestic hymn:

I sing the mighty power of God, That made the mountains rise;

and another:

'Tis by thy strength the mountains stand, God of eternal power, The sea grows calm at thy command, And tempests cease to roar.

But in another view the sight of these great objects of nature is depressing. It makes one feel his own littleness and insignificance. I look up at Mont Blanc with a telescope, and can just see a party climbing near the Grands Mulets. How like creeping insects they look; and how like insects they _are_ in the duration of their existence, compared with the everlasting forms of nature. The flying clouds that cast their shadows on the head of Mont Blanc are not more fleeting. They pass like a bird and are gone, while the mountains stand fast forever, and with their eternity seem to mock the fugitive existence of man upon the earth.

I confess the impression is very depressing. These terrible mountains crush me with their awful weight. They make me feel that I am but an atom in the universe; a moth whose ceasing to exist would be no more than the blowing out of a candle. And I am not surprised that men who live among the mountains, are sometimes so overwhelmed with the greatness of nature, that they are ready to acquiesce in their own annihilation, or absorption in the universal being.

Talking with Father Hyacinthe the other evening (as we sat on the terrace of the Hotel Beau Rivage at Geneva, overlooking the lake), he spoke of the alarming spread of unbelief in Europe, and quoted a distinguished professor of Zurich, of whom he spoke with great respect, as a man of learning and of excellent character, who had frankly confessed to him that he did not believe in the immortality of the soul; and when Father Hyacinthe replied in amazement, "If I believed thus I would go and throw myself into the Lake of Zurich," the professor answered with the utmost seriousness, "That is not a just religious feeling; if you believe in God as an infinite Creator you ought to be _willing_ to cease to exist, feeling that God is the only Being who is worthy to live eternally."

Marvellous as this may seem, yet something of this feeling comes to thoughtful and serious minds from the long and steadfast contemplation of nature. One is so little in the presence of the works of God, that he feels that he is absolutely _nothing_; and it seems of small moment whether he should exist hereafter or not; and he could _almost_ be willing that his life should expire, like a lamp that has burned itself out; that he should indeed cease to exist, with all things that live; that God might be God alone. If shut up in these mountains, as in a prison from which I could not escape, I could easily sink into this gloom and despondency.

Pascal has tried to break the force of this overwhelming impression of the awfulness of nature in one of his most striking thoughts, when, speaking of the greatness and the littleness of man, he says: "It is not necessary for the whole universe to arm itself to destroy him: a drop of water, a breath of air, is sufficient to kill him. And yet even in death man is greater than the universe, for _he knows that he is dying_, while the universe knows not anything." This is finely expressed, but it does not lighten the depth of our despair. For that we must turn to one greater than Pascal, who has said, "Not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father; be of good cheer therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." Nature is great, but God is greater.

In riding through the Alps--especially through deep passes, where walls of rock on either hand almost touch the sky--it seems as if the whole world were a realm of Death, and this the universal tomb. But even here I see erected on almost every hilltop a cross (for the Savoyards are a very religious people), and this sign of our salvation, standing on every high place, amid the lightning and storm, and amid the winter snows, seems to be a protest against that law of death which reigns on every side. Great indeed is the realm of Death, but greater still is the realm of Life; and though God only hath immortality, and is indeed "the only Being worthy to live forever," yet joined to Him, we shall have a part in His own eternity, and shall live when even the everlasting mountains, and the great globe itself, shall have passed away.

CHAPTER XI.

SWITZERLAND.

LUCERNE, July 22d.

To know Switzerland well, one should spend weeks and months among its lakes and mountains. He should not merely pay a formal visit to Nature, but take up his abode with her. One can never "exhaust" such a country. Professor Tyndall has been for years in the habit of spending his summer vacation here, and always finds new mountains to climb, and new passes to explore. But this would hardly suit Americans, who are in the habit of "rushing things," and who wish in a first visit to Europe, to get at least a general impression of the Continent. But even a few days in Switzerland are not lost. In that time one may see sights that will be fixed in his brain while life lasts, and receive impressions that will never depart from him.

We left the Vale of Chamouni with the feeling of sadness with which one always comes down from the mount, where he has had an immortal vision. Slowly we rode up the valley, often turning to take a last lingering look at the white head of Mont Blanc, and then, like Pilgrim, we "went on our way and saw him no more."

But we did not come out of Chamouni as we went into it, on the top of a diligence, with six horses, "rolling forward with impetuous speed" over a magnificent highway. We had now nothing before us but a common mountain-road, and our chariot was only a rude wagon, made with low wheels to go up and down steep ascents. It was only for us two, which suited us the better, as we had Nature all to ourselves, and could indulge our pleasure and our admiration, without restraint. Thus mounted, we went creeping up the pass of the Tête Noire. Nature is a wise economist, and, after showing the traveller Mont Blanc, lets him down gradually. If we had not come from those more awful heights and abysses, we should consider this day's ride unsurpassed in savage grandeur. Great mountains tower up on either hand, their lower sides dark with pines, and their crests capped with snow. Here by the roadside a cross marks the spot where an avalanche, falling from yonder peak, buried two travellers. At some seasons of the year the road is almost impassable. All along are heaps of stones to mark its track where the winter drifts are piled so high in these gorges that all trace of a path is lost. Even now in mid-summer the pass is wild enough to satisfy the most romantic tastes. The day was in harmony with the scene. Our fine weather was all gone. Clouds darkened the sky, and angry gusts of wind and rain swept in our faces. But what could check one's spirits let loose in such a scene? Often we got out and walked, to work off our excitement, stopping at every turn in the road that opened some new view, or sheltering ourselves under a rock from the rain, and listening with delight to hear the pines murmur and the torrents roar.

The ride over the Tête Noire takes a whole day. The road zigzags in every direction, winding here and there to get a foothold--now hugging the side of the mountain, creeping along the edge of a precipice, where it makes one dizzy to look down; now rounding a point which seems to hang over some awful depth, or seeking a safer path by a tunnel through the rocks. Up and down, hither and thither we go, but still everywhere encompassed with mountains, till at last one long climb--a hard pull for the horses--brings us to a height from which we descry in the distance the roofs and spires of a town, and begin to descend. But we are still more than an hour winding our way through the gentle slopes and among the Swiss chalets, till we rattle through the stony streets of Martigny, a place of some importance, from being at the foot of the Alps, and the point from which to make the ascent of the Great Saint Bernard. It was by this route that Napoleon in 1800 led his daring soldiers over the Alps; the long lines of infantry and artillery passed up this valley, and climbed yonder mountain side, a hundred men being harnessed to a single cannon, and dragging it upward by sheer strength of muscle. Of all the host that made that stupendous march, perhaps not one survives; but the mountains are still here, as the proof and the monument of their great achievement. And the same Hospice, where the monks gave bread and wine to the passing soldiers, is on the summit still, and the good monks with their faithful dogs, watch to rescue lost travellers. Attached to it is a monastery here in Martigny, to which the old monks, when worn out with years of exposure and hardship in living above the clouds, can retire to die in peace.

At Martigny we take our leave of mountain roads and mountain transport, as we here touch a railroad, and are once more within the limits of civilization. We step from our little wagon (which we do not despise, since it has carried us safely over an Alpine pass) into a luxurious railway carriage, and reclining at our ease, are whirled swiftly down the Valley of the Rhone to the Lake of Geneva.

Of course all romantic tourists stop at Villeneuve, to visit the Castle of Chillon, which Byron has made so famous. I had been under its arches and in its vaulted chambers years ago, and was surprised at the fresh interest which I had in revisiting the spot. It is at once "a palace and a prison." We went down into the dungeon in which Bonnivard was confined, and saw the pillar to which he was chained for so many years that his feet wore holes in the stone floor. The pillar is now covered with names of pilgrims that have visited his prison as "a holy place." We were shown, also, the Chamber of Question, (adjoining what was called, as if in mockery, the Hall of Justice!) where prisoners were put to the torture, with the post still standing to which they were bound, with the marks upon it of the hot irons which were applied to their writhing limbs. Under this is the dungeon where the condemned passed their last night before execution, chained to a sloping rock, above which, dimly seen in the gloom, is the cross-beam to which they were hung, and near the floor is an opening in the wall, through which their bodies were cast into the lake. In another part of the castle is shown the _oubliette_--a pit or well, into which the victim was thrown, and fell into some unknown depth, and was seen no more. Such are some of the remains of an age of "chivalry." One cannot look at these instruments of torture without a shudder at "man's inhumanity to man," and rejoicing that such things are past, since in no country of Europe--not even in Spain, the land of the Inquisition--could such barbarities be permitted now. Surely civilization has made some progress since those ages of cruelty and blood.

Leaving these gloomy dungeons, we come up into air and sunshine, and skim along the Lake of Geneva by the railway, which, lying "between sea and shore," presents a succession of charming views. On one side all the slopes are covered with vines, which are placed on this southern exposure to ripen in the sun; on the other is the lake, with the mountains beyond.

At Lausanne I had hoped to meet an old friend, Prof. J. F. Astié, once pastor of the French church in New York, and now Professor in the Theological Seminary here, but he was taking his vacation in the country. We drove, however, to his house, which is on high ground, in the rear of the town, and commands a lovely view of the lake, with the mountains in the distance as a background for the picture.

When I was in Switzerland twenty seven years ago, such a thing as a railroad was unknown. Now they are everywhere, and though it may seem very prosaic to travel among the mountains by steam, still it is a great convenience, in getting from one point to another. Of course, when it comes to climbing the Alps, one must take to mules or to his feet.

The railroad from Lausanne to Berne, after reaching the heights around the former city, lingers long, as if reluctant to quit the enchanting scenery around the lake, but at length plunging through a tunnel, it leaves all that glory behind, to turn to other landscapes in the heart of Switzerland. For a few leagues, the country, though not mountainous, is undulating, and richly cultivated. At Fribourg the two suspension bridges are the things to _see_, and the great organ the thing to _hear_, which being done, one may pass on to Berne, the capital of Switzerland, a compact and prosperous town of some 35,000 inhabitants. The environs are very beautiful, comprising several parks and long avenues of trees. But what one may see _in_ Berne, is nothing to what one may see _from_ it, which is the whole chain of the Bernese Oberland. We were favored with only a momentary sight, but even that we shall never forget. As we were riding out of the town, the sun, which was setting, burst through the clouds, and lighted up a long range of snowy peaks. This was the Alpine afterglow. It was like a vision of the heavenly battlements, with all their pinnacles and towers shining resplendent in the light of setting day. We gazed in silent awe till the dazzling radiance crept to the last mountain top, and faded into night.

A few miles from Berne, we crossed the Lake of Thun, a sheet of water, which, like Loch Lomond and other Scotch lakes, derives its chief beauty from reflecting in its placid bosom the forms of giant mountains. Between Thun and Brienz lies the little village fitly called from its position Interlachen (between the lakes). This is the heart of the Bernese Oberland. The weather on Saturday permitted no excursions. But we were content to remain indoors after so much climbing, and here we passed a quiet and most restful Sunday. There is but one building for religious services--an old Schloss, but it receives into its hospitable walls three companies of worshippers. In one part is a chapel fitted up for the Catholics; in another the Church of England gathers a large number of those travellers from Britain, who to their honor carry their religious observances with them. Besides these I found in the same building a smaller room, where the Scotch Presbyterians meet for worship, and where a minister of the Free Church was holding forth with all that _ingenium perfervidum Scotorum_ for which his countrymen are celebrated. It was a great pleasure and comfort to meet with this little congregation, and to listen to songs and prayers which brought back so many tender memories of home.

While enjoying this rest, we had mourned the absence of the sun. Interlachen lies in the very lap of the mountains. But though so near, our eyes were holden that we could not see them, and we thought we should have to leave without even a sight of the Jungfrau. But Monday morning, as we rose early to depart, the clouds were gone--and there it stood revealed to us in all its splendor, a pyramid of snow, only a little less lofty than Mont Blanc himself. Having this glorious vision vouchsafed to us, we departed in peace.

Sailing over the Lake of Brienz, as we had over that of Thun, we came again to a mountain pass, which had to be crossed by diligence; and here, as before, mounted in the front seat beside the postilion, we feasted our eyes on all the glory of Alpine scenery. For nearly two hours we were ascending at the side of the Vale of Meyringen, from which, as we climbed higher and higher, we looked down to a greater depth, and often at a turn of the road could see back to the Lake of Brienz, which lay far behind us, and thus in one view took in all the beauties of lake and valley and mountain. While slowly moving upward, boys ran along by the diligence, singing snatches from the _Ranz des Vaches_, the wild airs of these mountain regions. If it was so exciting to go up, it was hardly less so to come down. The road is not like that over the Tête Noire, but is smooth and even like that from Geneva to Chamouni, and we were able to trot rapidly down the slope, and as the road turns here and there to get an easy grade, we had a hundred lovely views down the valley which was opening before us. Thus we came to the Lake of the Four Cantons, over which a steamer brought us to Lucerne.

My friend Dr. Holland has spoken of the place where I now write as "the spot on earth which seemed to him nearest to heaven," and surely there are few where one feels so much like saying, "This is my rest, and here will I dwell." The great mountains shut out the world with all its noises, and the lake, so peaceful itself, invites to repose.

There are two ways to enjoy a beautiful sheet of water--one from its shores, and the other from its surface. We have tried both. The first evening we took a boat and spent a couple of hours on the lake. How it recalled the moonlight evenings at Venice, when we floated in our gondola! Indeed the boatmen here are not unlike the gondoliers. They have the same way of standing, instead of sitting, in the boat and pushing, instead of pulling, the oars. They manage their little crafts with great skill, and cause them to glide very swiftly through the water. We took a row of several miles to call on a friend, who was at a villa on the lake. She had left for Zurich, but the villa was occupied. A day or two before it had been taken by a lady, who, though she came with a retinue large enough to fill all the rooms, wished to be _incognita_. She proved to be the Queen of Saxony, who, like all the rest of the world, was glad to have a little retirement, and to escape from the stiffness of court life in her palace at Dresden, to enjoy herself on these quiet shores. While we were in the grounds, she came out, and walked under the trees, in most simple dress: a woman whom it was pleasant to look upon, a fair-haired daughter of the North, (she is a Swedish princess,) who won the hearts of the Saxon people by her care for the wounded in the Franco-German war. She shows her good sense and quiet tastes to seek seclusion and repose in such a spot as this, (instead of going off to fashionable watering-places,) where she can sit quietly by these tranquil waters, under the shadow of these great mountains.

All travellers who go to Lucerne must make an excursion to the Righi, a mountain a few miles from the town, which is exalted above other mountains of Switzerland, not because it is higher--for, in fact, it is much lower than many of them--but that it stands alone, apart from a chain, and so commands a view on all sides--a view of vast extent and of infinite variety. I had been on the Righi-Culm before, but the impression had somewhat faded, and I was glad to go again, when all my enthusiasm was renewed. The mountain is easier of access now. Then I walked up, as most tourists did; now there is a railroad to the very top, which of itself is worth a visit, as a remarkable piece of engineering, mounting a very steep grade--in many places _one foot in every four_! This is a terrible climb, and is only overcome by peculiar machinery. The engine is behind, and pushes the car up the ascent. Of course if any accident were to happen by which the train were to break loose, it would descend with tremendous velocity. But this is guarded against by a central rail, into which a wheel fits with cogs; so that, in case of any accident to the engine, by shutting down the brakes, the whole could be held fast, as in a vice, and be immovable. The convenience of the road is certainly very great, but the sensation is peculiar--of being literally "boosted" up into the clouds.

But once there, we are sensible that we are raised into a higher region; we breathe a purer air. The eye ranges over the fairest portion of Switzerland. Seen from such a height, the country seems almost a plain; and yet viewed more closely, we see hills and valleys, diversified with meadows and forests. We can count a dozen lakes. On the horizon stretches the great chain of the Alps, covered with snow, and when the sun breaks through the clouds, it gleams with unearthly brightness. But it is impossible to describe all that is comprised in that one grand panorama. Surely, I thought, these must be the Delectable Mountains from which Bunyan's Pilgrim caught a sight of the Celestial City; and it seemed as if, in the natural order of things, when one is travelling over the earth, he ought to come here _last_ (as Moses went up into Mount Nebo to catch a glimpse of the Promised Land, _and die_), so that from this most elevated point of his pilgrimage he might step into heaven.

But at last we had to come down from the mount, and quieted our excited imaginations by a sail up the lake. Fluellen, at the end of the lake, was associated in my mind with a sad memory, and as soon as we reached it, I went to the principal hotel, and asked if an American gentleman had not died there two years since? They answered Yes, and took me at once to the very room where Judge Chapman, the Chief Justice of Massachusetts, breathed his last. He was a good man, and as true a friend as we ever had. The night before he sailed we spent with him at the Fifth Avenue Hotel. He came abroad for his health, but did not live to return; and a few months after our parting, it was our sad privilege to follow him to the grave in Springfield, where all the judges of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, and great numbers of the Bar, stood around his bier.

If Lucerne presents such beautiful scenes in nature, it has also one work of art, which impresses me as much as anything of the kind in Europe. I refer to the lion of Thorwaldsen, intended to commemorate the courage and fidelity of the Swiss regiment who were the guards of the King Louis XVI., and who, in attempting to defend him, were massacred in Paris on the fatal 10th of August, 1792. Never was a great act of courage more simply, yet more grandly illustrated. The size is colossal, the work being cut in the side of a rock. The lion is twenty-eight feet long. Nothing can be more majestic than his attitude. The noble beast is dying, he has exhausted his strength in battle, but even as he sinks in death, he stretches out one huge paw over the shield which bears on it the lilies of France, the emblem of that royal power which he has vainly endeavored to protect. There is something almost human in the face, in the deep-set eyes, and the drooping mouth. It is not only the death agony, but the greater agony of defeat, which is expressed in every line of that leonine countenance. Nothing in ancient sculpture, not even the Dying Gladiator, gives more of mournful dignity in death. I could hardly tear myself away from it, and when we turned to leave, kept looking back at it. It shows the wonderful genius of Thorwaldsen. When one compares it with the lions around the monument of Nelson in Trafalgar Square in London, one sees the difference between a work of genius, and that of mere imitation. Sir Edwin Landseer, though a great painter of animals, was not so eminent as a sculptor; and was at work for years on his model, and finally copied, it is said, as nearly as he could, an old lion in the Zoological Gardens; and then had the four cast from one mould, so that all are just alike. How differently would Thorwaldsen have executed such a work!

With such attractions of art and nature, Lucerne seems indeed one of the most beautiful spots on the face of the earth. Sometimes a peculiar state of the atmosphere, or sunset or moonlight, gives peculiar effects to scenes so wonderful. Last night, as we were sitting in front of the Hotel, our attention was attracted by what seemed a conflagration lighting up the horizon. Wider and wider it spread, and higher and higher it rose on the evening sky. All were eager as to the cause of this illumination, when the mystery was explained by the full moon rising above the horizon, and casting a flood of light over lake and mountain. Who could but feel that God was near at such an hour, in such a blending of the earth and sky?

CHAPTER XII.

ON THE RHINE.

COLOGNE, July 26th.

He that goeth up into a high mountain, must needs come down. We have been these many days among the Alps, passing from Chamouni to the Bernese Oberland, and now we must descend into the plains. The change is a pleasant one after so much excitement and fatigue. One cannot bear too much exaltation. After having dwelt awhile among the sublimities of Nature, it is a relief to come down to her more common and familiar aspects; the sunshine is doubly grateful after the gloom of Alpine passes; meadows and groves are more pleasant to the eye than snow-clad peaks; and more sweet to the ear than the roar of mountain torrents, is the murmur of softly-flowing streams. From Lucerne, our way lies over that undulating country which we had surveyed the day before from the summit of the Righi, winding around the Lake of Zug, and ending at the Lake of Zurich.

The position of Zurich is very much like that of Lucerne, at the end of a lake, and surrounded by hills. A ride around the town shows many beautiful points of view, on one of which stands the University, which has an European reputation. Zurich has long been a literary centre of some importance, not only for Switzerland, but for Germany, as it is on the border of both. The University gathers students from different countries, even from Russia. We ended the day with a sail on the water, which at evening is alive with boats, glancing here and there in the twilight. Then rows of lamps are lighted all along the shore, which are reflected in the water; the summer gardens are thronged, and bands fill the air with music. The gayety of such a scene I enjoy most from a little distance; but there are few more exquisite pleasures than to lie motionless, floating, and listening to music that comes stealing over the water. Then the boatman dipped his oar gently, as if fearing to break the charm, and rowed us back to our hotel; but the music continued to a late hour, and lulled us to sleep.

From Zurich, a morning ride brought us to Schaffhausen, where we stopped a few hours to see the Falls of the Rhine, which are set down in the guide-books as "the most considerable waterfall in Europe." Of course it is a very small affair compared with Niagara. And yet I do not like to hear Americans speak of it, as they are apt to do, with contempt. A little good sense would teach us to enjoy whatever is set before us in nature, without boastful comparisons with something in our own country. It is certainly very beautiful.

From Schaffhausen a new railway has recently been opened through the Black Forest--a region which may well attract the readers of romance, since it has been the scene of many of the legends which abound in German literature, and may be said to be haunted with the heroes of fiction, as Scott has peopled the glens of Scotland. In the Forest itself there is nothing imposing. It is spread over a large tract of country, like the woods of Northern New York. The most remarkable thing in it now is the railroad itself, which is indeed a wonderful piece of engineering. It was constructed by the same engineer who pierced the Alps by a tunnel under the Mont Cenis, nearly eight miles long, through which now pours the great volume of travel from France to Italy. Here he had a different, but perhaps not less difficult, task. The formation of the country offers great obstacles to the passage of a railroad. If it were only one high mountain, it could be tunnelled, but instead of a single chain which has to be crossed, the Forest is broken up into innumerable hills, detached from each other, and offering few points of contact as a natural bridge for a road to pass over. The object, of course, is to make the ascents and descents without too abrupt a grade, but for this it is necessary to wind about in the most extraordinary manner. The road turns and twists in endless convolutions. Often we could see it at three different points at the same time, above us and below us, winding hither and thither in a perfect labyrinth; so that it was impossible to tell which way we were going. We counted thirty-seven tunnels within a very short distance. It required little imagination to consider our engine, that went whirling about at such a rate, puffing and screaming with excitement, as a wild beast caught in the mountains, and rushing in every direction, and even thrusting his head into the earth, to escape his pursuers. At length the haunted fugitive plunges through the side of a mountain, and escapes down the valley.

And now we are in a land of streams, where mighty rivers begin their courses. See you that little brook by the roadside, which any barefooted boy would wade across, and an athletic leaper would almost clear at a single bound? That is the beginning of the longest river in Europe, which, rising here among the hills of the Black Forest, takes its way south and east till it sweeps with majestic flow past the Austrian capital, as "the dark-rolling Danube," and bears the commerce of an empire to the Black Sea.

Our fellow-travellers now begin to diverge to the watering places along the Rhine--to Baden and Homburg and Ems--where so much of the fashion of the Continent gathers every summer. But we had another place in view which had more interest to me, though a sad and mournful one--Strasburg, the capital of ill-fated Alsace--which, since I saw it before, had sustained one of the most terrible sieges in history. We crossed the Rhine from Kehl, where the Germans planted their batteries, and were soon passing through the walls and moats which girdle the ancient town, and made it one of the most strongly fortified places in Europe, and were supposed to render it a Gibraltar, that could not be taken. But no walls can stand before modern artillery. The Germans planted their guns at two and three miles distance, and threw their shells into the heart of the city. One cannot enter the gates without perceiving on every side the traces of that terrible bombardment. For weeks, day and night, a rain of fire poured on the devoted town. Shells were continually bursting in the streets; the darkness of midnight was lighted up with the flames of burning dwellings. The people fled to their cellars, and to every underground place, for safety. But it was like fleeing at the last judgment to dens and caves, and calling on rocks to cover them from the inevitable destruction. At length, after a prolonged and heroic resistance, when all means of defence were gone, and the city must have been utterly destroyed, it surrendered.

And now what do we see? Of course, the traces of the siege have been removed, so far as possible. But still, after five years, there are large public buildings of which only blackened walls remain. Others show huge gaps and rents made by the shot of the besiegers, and, worst of all, everywhere are the hated German soldiers in the streets. _Strasburg is a conquered city._ It has been torn from France and transferred to Germany, without the consent of its own people; and though the conquerors try to make things pleasant, and to soften as much as may be the bitterness of subjugation, they cannot succeed in doing the impossible. The people feel that they have been conquered, and the iron has entered into their souls. One can see it in a silent, sullen look, which is not natural to Frenchmen. This is the more strange, because a large part of the population of Alsace are Germans by race and language. In the markets, among the men and women who bring their produce for sale, I heard little else than the guttural sounds so familiar on the other side of the Rhine. But no matter for this; for two hundred years the country has belonged to France, and the people are French in their traditions--they are proud of the French glory; and if it were left to them, they would vote to-morrow, by an overwhelming majority, to be re-annexed to France.

Meanwhile the German Government is using every effort to "make over" the people from Frenchmen into Germans. It has introduced the German language into the schools. _It has even renamed the streets._ It looked strange indeed to see on all the corners German names in place of the old familiar French ones. This is oppression carried to absurdity. If the new rulers had chosen to translate the French names into German, for the convenience of the new military occupants, that might have been well, and the two might have stood side by side. But no; the old names are _taken down_, and _Rue_ is turned into _Strasse_ on every street corner in Strasburg. Was ever anything more ridiculous? They might as well compel the people to change _their_ names. The consequence of all this petty and constant oppression is that great numbers emigrate. And even those who remain do not take to their new masters. The elements do not mix. The French do not become Germans. A country is not so easily denationalized. The conquerors occupy the town, but in their social relations they are alone. We were told that if a German officer entered a public café or restaurant, the French instantly arose and left. It is the same thing which I saw at Venice and at Milan in the days of the old Austrian occupation. That was a most unnatural possession by an alien race, which had to be driven out with battle and slaughter before things could come into their natural and rightful relations. And so I fear it will have to be here. This annexation of Alsace to Germany may seem to some a wonderful stroke of political sagacity, or a military necessity, the gaining of a great strategic point, but to our poor American judgment it seems both a blunder and a crime, that will yet have to be atoned for with blood. It is a perpetual humiliation and irritation to France; a constant defiance to another and far more terrible war.

The ancient cathedral suffered greatly during the bombardment. It is said the Germans tried to spare it, and aimed their guns away from it; but as it was the most prominent object in the town, towering up far above everything else, it could not but be hit many times. Cannon balls struck its majestic spire, the loftiest in the world; arches and pinnacles were broken; numbers of shells crashed through the roof, and burst on the marble floor. Many of the windows, with their old stained glass, which no modern art can equal, were fatally shattered. It is a wonder that the whole edifice was not destroyed. But its foundations were very solid, and it stood the shock. Since the siege, of course, everything has been done to cover up the rents and gaps, and to restore it to its former beauty. And what a beauty it has, with outlines so simple and majestic. How enormous are the columns along the nave, which support the roof, and yet how they seem to _spring_ towards heaven, soaring upwards like overarching elms, till the eye aches to look up to the vaulted roof, that seems only like a lower sky. Except one other cathedral--that of Cologne (under the very shadow of which I am now writing)--it is the grandest specimen of Gothic architecture which the Middle Ages have left to us.

There is one other feature of Strasburg that has been unaffected by political changes. One set of inhabitants have not emigrated, but remain in spite of the German occupation--_the storks_. Was anything ever so queer as to see these long-legged, long-necked birds, sitting so tranquilly on the roofs of the houses, flapping their lazy wings over the dwellings of a populous city, and actually building their nests on the tops of the chimneys? Anything so different from the ordinary habits of birds, I had never seen before, and would hardly have believed it now if I had not seen it. It makes one feel as if everything was turned upside down, and the very course of nature reversed, in this strange country.

Another sign that we are getting out of our latitude, and coming farther North, is the change of language. We found that even in Switzerland. Around the Lake of Geneva, French is universally spoken; but at Berne everybody addressed us in German. In the Swiss Parliament speeches are made in three languages--German, French, and Italian--since all are spoken in some of the Cantons. As we did not understand German, though familiar with French, we had many ludicrous adventures with coachmen and railway employés, which, though sometimes vexatious, gave us a good deal of merriment. Of course there was nothing to do but to take it good-naturedly. Generally when the adventure was over, we had a hearty laugh at our own expense, though inwardly thinking this was a heathen country, since they did not know the language of Canaan, which, of course, is French or English. In short, we have become fully satisfied that English was the language spoken by Adam and Eve in Paradise, and which ought to be spoken by all their descendants.

But no harsh and guttural sounds, and no gloomy political events, can destroy the pleasure of a journey along the Rhine. The next day we resumed our course through the grand duchy of Baden. At one of the stations a gentleman looking out of a carriage window called me by name, and introduced himself as Dr. Evans, of Paris--a countryman of ours, well known to all who have visited the French capital, where he has lived for a quarter of a century, and made for himself a most honorable position in his profession, in both the American and foreign community. I had known him when he first came to Paris, just after the revolution of 1848. He was then a young man, in the beginning of his successful career. He has been yet more honorably distinguished as the gallant American who saved the Empress in 1870. The story is too well known to be repeated at length. The substance may be given in a few sentences. When the news of the surrender at Sedan of the Emperor and his whole army reached Paris, it caused a sudden revolution--the Empire was declared to have fallen, and the excited populace were ready to burst into the palace, and the Empress might have been sacrificed to their fury. She fled through the Louvre, and calling a cab in the street, drove to the house of Dr. Evans, whom she had long known. Here she was concealed for the night, and the next day he took her in his own carriage, hiding her from observation, and travelling rapidly, but in a way to attract no attention, to the sea-coast, and did not leave her till he had seen her safe in England. Connected with this escape were many thrilling details, which cannot be repeated here. I am very proud that she owed her safety to one of my countrymen. It was pleasant to be remembered by him after so many years. We got into the same carriage, and talked of the past, till we separated at Carlsruhe, from which he was going to Kissingen, while we went to Stuttgart, to visit an American family who came to Europe under my care in the Great Eastern in 1867, and have continued to reside abroad ever since for the education of their children. For such a purpose, Stuttgart is admirably fitted. Though the capital of the Kingdom of Würtemberg, it is a very quiet city. Young people in search of gayety might think it dull, but that is its recommendation for those who seek profit rather than amusement. The schools are said to be excellent; and for persons who wish to spend a few years abroad, pursuing their studies, it would be hard to find a better place.

To make this visit we were obliged to travel by night to get back to the Rhine. We left Stuttgart at midnight. Night riding on European railways, where there are no sleeping-cars, is not very agreeable. However, in the first class carriages one can make a sort of half couch by pulling out the cushioned seats, and thus bestowed we managed to pass the night, which was not very long, as daybreak comes early in this latitude, and at this season of the year.

But fatigues vanish when at Mayence we go on board the steamer, and are at last afloat on the Rhine--"the exulting and abounding river." We forget the discomforts of the way as we drop down this enchanted stream, past all the ruined castles, "famed in story," which hang on the crests of the hills. Every picturesque ruin has its legend, which clings to it like vines to the mouldering wall. All day long we are floating in the past, and in a romantic past. Tourists sit on deck, with their guide-books in hand, marking every old wall covered with ivy, and every crumbling tower, connected with some tradition of the Middle Ages. Even prosaic individuals go about repeating poetry. The best of guide-books is Childe Harold. Byron has seized the spirit of the scene in a few picturesque and animated stanzas, which bring the whole panorama before us. How musical are the lines beginning,

The castled crag of Drachenfels, Frowns o'er the wide and winding Rhine, Whose breast of waters broadly swells Between the banks which bear the vine, And hills all rich with blossomed trees, And fields which promise corn and wine, And scattered cities crowning these, Whose far white walls along them shine.

Thus floating onward as in a dream, we reached Cologne at five o'clock Saturday afternoon, and found at the Hôtel du Nord a very spacious and attractive hostelry, which made us well content to stay quietly for two or three days.

Cologne has got an ill name from Coleridge's ill-favored compliment, which implied that its streets had not always the fragrance of that Cologne water which it exports to all countries. But I think he has done it injustice for the sake of a witty epigram. If he has not, the place has much improved since his day, and if not yet quite a flower garden, is at least as clean and decent as most of the Continental cities. It has received a great impulse from the extension of railroads, of which it is a centre, being in the direct line of travel from England to the Rhine and Switzerland, and to the German watering-places, and indeed to every part of Central Europe. Hence it has grown rapidly, and become a large and prosperous city.

But to the traveller in search of sights, every object in Cologne "hides its diminished head" in presence of one, the cathedral, the most magnificent Gothic structure ever reared by human hands. Begun six hundred years ago, it is not finished yet. For four hundred years the work was suspended, and the huge crane that stood on one of its towers, as it hung in air, was a sad token of the great, but unfinished design. But lately the German Government, with that vigor which characterizes everything in the new empire, has undertaken its completion. Already it has expended two millions of dollars upon it, and holds out a hope that it may be finished during this generation. To convey any idea of this marvellous structure by a description, is impossible. It is a forest in stone. Looking through its long nave and aisles, one is more reminded of the avenues of New Haven elms, than of any work of man. We ascended by the stone steps to the roof, at least to the first roof, and then began to get some idea of the vastness of the whole. Passing into the interior at this height, we made the circuit of the gallery, from which men looked very small who were walking about on the pavement of the cathedral. The sacristan who had conducted us thus far, told us we had now ascended one hundred steps, and that, if we chose to mount a hundred more, we could get to the main roof--the highest present accessible point--for the towers are not yet finished, which are further to be surmounted by lofty spires. When complete, the crosses which they lift into the air will be more than five hundred feet above the earth!

The Cathedral boasts great treasures and holy relics--such as the bones of the Magi, the three Kings of the East, who came to see the Saviour at his birth, which, whoso can believe, is welcome to his faith. But the one thing which all _must_ believe, since it stands before their eyes, is the magnificence of this temple of the Almighty. I am surprised to see the numbers of people who attend the services, and with an appearance of devotion, joining in the singing with heart and voice. The Cathedral is our constant resort, as it is close to our hotel, and we can go in at all hours, morning, noon, and night. There we love to sit especially at twilight, when the priests are chanting vespers, and listen to their songs, and think of the absent and the dead. We may wander far, and see many lofty structures reared to the Most High, but nowhere do we expect to bow our heads in a nobler temple, till we join with the worshippers before the Throne.

CHAPTER XIII.

BELGIUM AND HOLLAND.

AMSTERDAM, July 30th.

If any of my readers should follow our route upon the map, he will see that we take a somewhat zigzag course, flying off here and there to see whatever most attracts attention. The facilities of travel in Europe are so great, that one can at any time be transported in a few hours into a new country. The junior partner in this travelling company of two has lately been reading Motley's histories, and been filled with enthusiasm for the Netherlands, which fought so bravely against Spain, and nothing would do but to turn aside to see these Low Countries. So, instead of going east from Cologne into the heart of Germany, we turned west to make a short detour into Belgium and Holland. And indeed these countries deserve a visit, as they are quite unique in appearance and in character, and furnish a study by themselves. They lie in a corner of the Continent, looking out upon the North Sea, and seem to form a kind of eddy, unaffected by the great current of the political life of Europe. They do not belong to the number of the Great Powers, and do not have to pay for "glory" by large standing armies and perpetual wars.

Belgium--which we first enter in coming from the Rhine--is one of the smaller kingdoms still left on the map of Europe not yet swallowed up by the great devourers of nations; and which, if it has less glory, has more liberty and more real happiness than some of its more powerful neighbors. If it has not the form of a republic, yet it has all the liberty which any reasonable man could desire. Its standing army is small--but forty or fifty thousand men; though in case of war, it could put a hundred thousand under arms. But this would be a mere mouthful for some of the great German armies. Its security, therefore, lies not in its ability to resist attack, but in the fact that from its very smallness it does not excite the envy or the fear or the covetousness of its neighbors, and that, between them all, it is very convenient to have this strip of neutral territory. During the late war between France and Germany it prospered greatly; the danger to business enterprises elsewhere led many to look upon this little country, as in the days of the Flood people might have looked upon some point of land that had not yet been reached by the waters that covered the earth, to which they could flee for safety. Hence the disasters of others gave a great impulse to its commercial affairs.

Antwerp, where we ended our first day's journey, is a city that has had a great history; that three hundred years ago was one of the first commercial cities of Europe, the Venice of the North, and received in its waters ships from all parts of the earth. It has had recently a partial revival of its former commercial greatness. The forest of masts now lying in the Scheldt tells of its renewed prosperity.

But strangers do not go to Antwerp to see fleets of ships, such as they might see at London or Liverpool, but to see that which is old and historic. Antwerp has one of the notable Cathedrals of the Continent, which impresses travellers most if they come directly from America. But coming from Cologne, it suffers by comparison, as it has nothing of the architectural magnificence, the heaven-soaring columns and arches, of the great Minster of Cologne. And then its condition is dilapidated and positively shabby. It is not finished, and there is no attempt to finish it. One of the towers is complete, but the other is only half way up, where it has been capped over, and so remained for centuries, and perhaps will remain forever. And its surroundings are of the meanest description. Instead of standing in an open square, with ample space around it to show its full proportions, it is hedged in by shops, which are backed up against its very walls. Thus the architectural effect is half destroyed. It is a shame that it should be left in such a state--that, while Prussia, a Protestant country, is spending millions to restore the Cathedral of Cologne, Belgium, a Catholic country, and a rich one too (with no war on hand to drain its resources), should not devote a little of its wealth to keeping in proper order and respect this venerable monument of the past.

And yet not all the littleness of its present surroundings can wholly rob the old Cathedral of its majesty. There it stands, as it has stood from generation to generation, and out from all this meanness and dirt it lifts its head towards heaven. Though only one tower is finished, that is very lofty (as any one will find who climbs the hundreds of stone steps to the top, from which the eye ranges over almost the whole of Belgium, a vast plain, dotted with cities and villages), and being wrought in open arches, it has the appearance of fretted work, so that Napoleon said "it looked as if made of Mechlin lace." And there, high in the air, hangs a chime of bells, that every quarter of an hour rings out some soft aërial melody. It has a strange effect, in walking across the Place St. Antoine, to hear this delicious _rain_ dropping down as it were out of the clouds. We almost wonder that the market people can go about their business, while there is such heavenly music in the upper air.

But the glory of the Cathedral of Antwerp is within--not in the church itself, but in the great paintings which it enshrines. The interior is cold and naked, owing to the entire absence of color to give it warmth. The walls are glaring white. We even saw them _whitewashing_ the columns and arches. Could any means be found more effectual for belittling the impression of one of the great churches of the Middle Ages? If taste were the only thing to be considered in this world, I could wish Belgium might be annexed, for awhile at least, to Germany, that that Government might take this venerable Cathedral in hand, and, by clearing away the rubbish around it, and proper toning of the walls within, restore it to its former majesty and beauty.

But no surroundings, however poor and cold, can destroy the immortal paintings with which it is illumined and glorified. Until I saw these, I could not feel much enthusiasm for the works of Rubens, although those who worship the old masters would consider it rank heresy to say so. Many of his pictures seem to me artistic monstrosities, they are on such a colossal scale. The men are all giants, and the women all amazons, and even his holy children, his seraphs and cupids, are fat Dutch babies. It seems as if his object, in every painting of the human figure, were to display his knowledge of anatomy; and the bodies are often twisted and contorted as if to show the enormous development of muscle in the giant limbs. This is very well if one is painting a Hercules or a gladiator. But to paint common men and women in this colossal style is not pleasing. The series of pictures in the Louvre, in which Marie de Medicis is introduced in all sorts of dramatic attitudes, never stirred my admiration, as I have said more than once, when standing before those huge canvases, although one for whose opinions in such matters I had infinite respect, used to reply archly, that I "could hardly claim to be an authority in painting." I admit it; but that is my opinion nevertheless, which I adhere to with all the proverbial tenacity of the "free and independent American citizen."

But ah, I do repent me now, as I come into the presence of paintings whose treatment, like their subject, is divine. There are two such in the Cathedral of Antwerp--the Elevation of the Cross, and the Descent from the Cross. The latter is generally regarded as the masterpiece of Rubens; but they are worthy of each other.

In the Elevation of the Cross our Saviour has been nailed to the fatal tree, which the Roman soldiers are raising to plant it in the earth. The form is that of a living man. The hands and feet are streaming with blood, and the body droops as it hangs with all its weight on the nails. But the look is one of life, and not of death. The countenance has an expression of suffering, yet not of mere physical pain; the agony is more than human; as the eyes are turned upward, there is more than mortal majesty in the look--there is divinity as well as humanity--it is the dying God. Long we sat before this picture, to take in the wondrous scene which it presents. He must be wanting in artistic taste, or religious feeling, who can look upon it without the deepest emotion.

In the Descent from the Cross the struggle is over: there is Death in every feature, in the face, pale and bloodless, in the limbs that hang motionless, in the whole body as it sinks into the arms of the faithful attendants. If Rubens had never painted but these two pictures, he would deserve to be ranked as one of the world's great masters. I am content to look on these, and let more enthusiastic worshippers admire the rest.

Leaving the tall spire of Antwerp in the distance, the swift fire-horse skims like a swallow over the plains of Belgium, and soon we are in Holland. One disadvantage of these small States (to compensate for the positive good of independence, and of greater commercial freedom) is, that every time we cross a frontier we have to undergo a new inspection by the custom-house authorities. To be sure, it does not amount to much. The train is detained half an hour, the trunks are all taken into a large room, and placed on counters; the passengers come along with the keys in their hands, and open them; the officials give an inquiring look, sometimes turn over one or two layers of clothing, and see that it is all right; the trunks are locked up, the porters replace them in the baggage-car, and the train starts on again. We are amused at the farce, the only annoyance of which is the delay. Within two days after we left Cologne, we had crossed two frontiers, and had our baggage examined twice: first, in going into Belgium, and, second, in coming into Holland; we had heard three languages--nay, four--German on the Rhine; then French at Antwerp (how good it seemed to hear the familiar accents once more!); and the Flemish, which is a dialect unlike either; and now we have this horrible Dutch (which is "neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring," but a sort of jaw-breaking gutturals, that seem not to be spoken with lips or tongue, but to be coughed up from some unfathomable depth in the Dutch breast); and we have had three kinds of money--marks and francs, and florins or guilders--submitting to a shave every time we change from one into the other. Such are the petty vexations of travel. But never mind, let us take them good-naturedly, leaping over them gayly, as we do over this dike--and here we are in Holland.

Switzerland and Holland! Was there ever a greater contrast than between the two countries? What a change for us in these three weeks, to be up in the clouds, and now down, actually _below_ the level of the sea; for Holland is properly, and in its normal state, _under water_, only the water is drained off, and is kept off by constant watchfulness. The whole land has been obtained by robbery--robbery from the ocean, which is its rightful possessor, and is kept out of his dominions by a system of earthworks, such as never were drawn around any fortification. Holland may be described in one word as an enormous Dutch platter, flat and even hollow in the middle, and turned up at the edges. Standing in the centre, you can see the _rim_ in the long lines of circumvallation which meet the eye as it sweeps round the horizon. This immense _platitude_ is intersected by innumerable canals, which cross and recross it in every direction; and as if to drive away the evil spirits from the country, enormous windmills, like huge birds, keep a constant flapping in the air. To relieve the dull monotony, these plains are covered with cattle, which with their masses of black and white and red on the green pastures, give a pretty bit of color to the landscape. The raising of cattle is one of the chief industries of Holland. They are exported in great numbers from Rotterdam to London, so that "the roast beef of old England" is often Dutch beef, after all. With her plains thus bedecked with countless herds, all sleek and well fed, the whole land has an aspect of comfort and abundance; it looks to be, as it is, a land of peace and plenty, of fat cattle and fat men. As moreover it has not much to do in the way of making war, except on the other side of the globe, it has no need of a large standing army; and the military element is not so unpleasantly conspicuous as in France and Germany.

Rotterdam is a place of great commercial importance. It has a large trade with the Dutch Possessions in the East Indies, and with other parts of the world. But as it has less of historical interest, we pass it by, to spend a day at the Hague, which is the residence of the Court, and of course the seat of rank and fashion in the little kingdom. It is a pretty place, with open squares and parks, long avenues of stately trees, and many beautiful residences. We received a good impression of it in these respects on the evening of our arrival, as we took a carriage and drove to Scheveningen, two or three miles distant on the sea-shore, which is the great resort of Dutch fashion. It was Long Branch over again. There were the same hotels, with long wide piazzas looking out upon the sea; a beautiful beach sloping down to the water, covered with bathing-houses, and a hundred merry groups scattered here and there; young people engaged in mild flirtations, which were quite harmless, since old dowagers sat looking on with watchful eyes. Altogether it was a very pretty scene, such as it does one good to see, as it shows that all life and happiness are not gone out of this weary world.

As we drove back to the Hague, we met the royal carriage with the Queen, who was taking her evening drive--a lady with a good motherly face, who is greatly esteemed, not only in Holland, but in England, for her intelligence and her many virtues. She is a woman of literary tastes, and is fond of literary society. I infer that she is a friend of our countryman, Mr. Motley, who has done so much to illustrate the history of Holland, from seeing his portrait the next day at her Palace in the Wood--which was the more remarkable as hanging on the wall of one of the principal apartments _alone_, no other portrait being beside it, and few indeed anywhere, except of members of the royal family.

This "Wood," where this summer palace stands, is one of the features of the Hague. It is called the Queen's Wood, and is quite worthy of its royal name, being a forest chiefly of beech-trees, through which long avenues open a retreat into the densest silence and shade. It is a great resort for the people of the Hague, and thither we drove after we came in from Scheveningen. An open space was brilliantly lighted up, and the military band was playing, and a crowd of people were sitting in the open air, or under the trees, sipping their coffee or ices, and listening to the music, which rang through the forest aisles. It would be difficult to find, in a place of the size of the Hague, a more brilliant company.

But it was not fashion that we were looking for, but historical places and associations. So the next morning we took a carriage and a guide and drove out to Delft, to see the spot where William the Silent, the great Prince of Orange, on whose life it seemed the fate of the Netherlands hung, was assassinated; and the church where he was buried, and where, after three hundred years, his spirit still rules from its urn.

Returning to the city, we sought out--as more interesting than Royal Palaces or the Picture Gallery, though we did justice to both--the houses of the great commoners, John and Cornelius De Witt, who, after lives of extraordinary devotion to the public good, were torn to pieces by an infuriated populace; and of Barneveld, who, after saving Holland by his wisdom and virtue, was executed on some technical and frivolous charge. We saw the very spot where he died, and the window out of which Maurice (the son of the great William) looked on at this judicial murder--the only stain on his long possession of the chief executive power.

Leaving the Hague with its tragic and its heroic memories, we take our last view of Holland in Amsterdam. Was there ever such a queer old place? It is like the earth of old--"standing out of the water and in the water." It is intersected with canals, which are filled with boats, loading and unloading. The whole city is built on piles, which sometimes sink into the mud, causing the superincumbent structures to incline forward like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In fact, the houses appear to be drunk, and not to be able to stand on their pins. They lean towards each other across the narrow streets, till they almost touch, and indeed seem like old topers, that cannot stand up straight, but can only just hold on by the lamp-post, and are nodding to each other over the way. I should think that in some places a long Dutchman's pipe could be held out of one window, and be smoked by a man on the other side of the street.

But in spite of all that, in these old tumble-down houses, under these red-tiled roofs, there dwells a brave, honest, free people; a people that are slaves to no master; that fear God, and know no other fear; and that have earned their right to a place in this world by hard blows on the field of battle, and on every field of human industry--on land and on sea--and that are to-day one of the freest and happiest people on the round earth.

How we wished last evening that we had some of our American friends with us, as we rode about this old city--along by the canals, over the bridges, down to the harbor, and then for miles along the great embankment that keeps out the sea. There are the ships coming and going to all parts of the earth--the constant and manifold proofs that Holland is still a great commercial country.

And to-day we wished for those friends again, as we rode to Broek, the quaintest and queerest little old place that ever was seen--that looks like a baby-house made of Dutch tiles. It is said to be the cleanest place in the world, in which respect it is like those Shaker houses, where every tin pan is scoured daily, and every floor is as white as broom and mop can make it. We rode back past miles of fertile meadows, all wrung from the sea, where cattle were cropping the rich grass on what was once the bottom of the deep; and thus on every hand were the signs of Dutch thrift and abundance.

And so we take our leave of Holland with a most friendly feeling. We are glad to have seen a country where there is so much liberty, so much independence, and such universal industry and comfort. To be sure, an American would find life here rather _slow_; it would seem to him as if he were being drawn in a low and heavy boat with one horse through a stagnant canal; but _they_ don't feel so, and so they are happy. Blessings on their honest hearts! Blessings on the stout old country, on the lusty burghers, and buxom women, with faces round as the harvest moon! Now that we are going away, the whole land seems to relax into a broad smile; the very cattle look happy, as they recline in the fat meadows and chew the cud of measureless content; the storks seem sorry to have us go, and sail around on lazy wing, as if to give us a parting salutation; and even the windmills begin to creak on their hinges, and with their long arms wave us a kind farewell.

CHAPTER XIV.

THE NEW GERMANY AND ITS CAPITAL.

BERLIN, August 5th.

The greatest political event of the last ten years in Europe--perhaps the greatest since the battle of Waterloo--is the sudden rise and rapid development of the German Empire. When Napoleon was overthrown in 1815, and the allies marched to Paris, the sovereignty of Europe, and the peace of the world, was supposed to be entrusted to the Five Great Powers, and of these five the least in importance was Prussia. Both Russia and Austria considered themselves giants beside her; England had furnished the conqueror of Waterloo, and the troops which bore the brunt of that terrible day, and the money that had carried on a twenty years' war against Napoleon; and even France, terribly exhausted as she was, drained of her best blood, yet, as she had stood so long against all Europe combined, might have considered herself still a match for any one of her enemies _alone_, and certainly for the weakest of them all, Prussia. Yet to-day this, which was the weakest of kingdoms, has grown to be the greatest power in Europe--a power which has crushed Austria, which has crushed France, which Russia treats with infinite respect, and which would despise the interference of England in Continental affairs.

This acquisition of power, though recent in its manifestation, has been of slow growth. The greatness of Prussia may be said to have been born of its very humiliation. It was after its utter overthrow at the battle of Jena, in 1806, when Napoleon marched to Berlin, levied enormous subsidies, and appropriated such portions of the kingdom as he pleased, that the rulers of Prussia saw that the reconstruction of their State must begin from the very bottom, and went to work to educate the people and reorganize the army. The result of this severe discipline and long military training was seen when, sixty years after Jena, Prussia in a six weeks' campaign laid Austria at her feet, and was only kept from taking Vienna by the immediate conclusion of peace. Four years later came the French war, when King William avenged the insults to his royal mother by Napoleon the First--whose brutality, it is said, broke the proud spirit of the beautiful Queen Louise, and sent her to an early grave--in the terrible humiliation he administered to Napoleon the Third.

But such triumphs were not wrought by military organization alone, but by other means for developing the life and vigor of the German race, especially by a system of universal education, which is the admiration of the world. The Germans conquered the French, not merely because they were better soldiers, but because they were more intelligent men, who knew how to read and write, and who could act more efficiently because they acted intelligently.

With her common schools and her perfect military organization, Prussia has combined great political sagacity, by which the fortunes of other States have been united with her own. Such stupendous achievements as were seen in the French war, were not wrought by Prussia alone, but by all Germany. It was in foresight and anticipation of just such a contingency that Bismarck had long before entered into an alliance with the lesser German States, by which, in the event of war, they were all to act together; and thus, when the Prussian army entered the field, it was supported by powerful allies from Saxony and Würtemberg and Bavaria.

And so when the war was over, out of the old Confederation arose an EMPIRE, and the King of Prussia was invited to take upon himself the more august title of Emperor of Germany--a title which recalls the line of the Cæsars; and thus has risen up, in the very heart of the Continent--like an island thrown up by a volcano in the midst of the sea--a power which is to-day the most formidable in Europe.

As Protestants, we cannot but feel a degree of satisfaction that this controlling power should be centred in a Protestant State, rather than in France or Austria; although I should be sorry to think that our Protestant principles oblige us to approve every high-handed measure undertaken against the Catholics. We in America believe in perfect liberty in religious matters, and are scrupulous to give to others the same freedom that we demand for ourselves. Of course the relations of things are somewhat changed in a country where the Church is allied with the State, and the ministers of religion are supported by the Government. But, without entering into the question which so agitates Germany at the present moment, our natural sympathies, both as Protestants and as Americans, must always be on the side of the fullest religious liberty.

Besides the Church question there are other grave problems raised by the present state of Germany:--such as, whether the Empire is likely to endure, or to be broken to pieces by the jealousy of the smaller States of the preponderance of Prussia? and whether peace will continue, or there will be a general war? But these are rather large questions to be dispatched in a few pages. They are questions that will _keep_, and may be discussed a year hence as well as to-day, _and better_--since we may then regard them by the light of accomplished _events_; whereas now we should have to indulge too much in _prophecies_. I prefer therefore, instead of undertaking to give lessons of political wisdom, to entertain my readers with a brief description of Berlin.

This can never be the most beautiful of European cities, even if it should come in time to be the largest, for its situation is very unfavorable; it lies too low. It seems strange that this spot should ever have been chosen for the site of a great city. It has no advantages of position whatever, except that it is on the little river Spree. But having chosen this flat _prairie_, they have made the most of it. It has been laid out in large spaces, with long, wide streets. At first, it must have been, like Washington, a city of magnificent distances, but in the course of a hundred years these distances have been filled up with buildings, many of them of fine architecture, so that gradually the city has taken on a stately appearance. Since I was here in 1858, it has enlarged on every side; new streets and squares have added to the size and the magnificence of the capital; and the military element is more conspicuous than ever; "the man on horseback" is seen everywhere. Nor is this strange, for in that time the country has had two great wars, and the German armies, returning triumphant from hard campaigns, have filed in endless procession, with banners torn with shot and shell, through the Unter den Linden, past the statue of the great Frederick, out of the Brandenburg gate to the Thiergarten, where now a lofty column (like that in the Place Vendôme at Paris), surmounted by a flaming statue of Victory, commemorates the triumph of the German arms.

Of course we did our duty heroically in the way of seeing sights--such as the King's Castle and the Museum. But I confess I felt more interest in seeing the great University, which has been the home of so many eminent scholars, and is the chief seat of learning on the Continent, than in seeing the Palace; and in riding by the plain house in a quiet street, where Bismarck lives, than in seeing all the mansions of the Royal Princes, with soldiers keeping guard before the gates.

The most interesting place in the neighborhood of Berlin, of course, is Potsdam, with its historical associations, especially with its memories of Frederick the Great. The day we spent there was full of interest. An hour was given to the New Palace--that is, one that _was_ new a hundred years ago, but which at present is kept more for show than for use, though one wing is occupied by the Crown Prince. Externally it has no architectural beauty whatever, nothing to render it imposing but _size_; but the interior shows many stately apartments. One of these, called the Grotto, is quite unique, the walls being crusted with shells and all manner of stones, so that, entering here, one might feel that he had found some cave of the ocean, dripping with coolness, and, when lighted up, reflecting from all its precious stones a thousand splendors. It was here that the Emperor entertained the King of Sweden at a royal banquet a few weeks ago. But palaces are pretty much all the same; we wander through endless apartments, rich with gilding and ornament, till we are weary of all this grandeur, and are glad when we light on some quiet nook, like the modest little palace--if palace it may be called--Charlottenhof, where Alexander von Humboldt lived and wrote his works. I found more interest in seeing the desk on which he wrote his Kosmos, and the narrow bed on which the great man slept (he did not need much of a bed, since he slept only four hours), than in all the grand state apartments of ordinary kings.

But Frederick the Great was not an ordinary king, and the palace in which _he_ lived is invested with the interest of an extraordinary personality. Walking a mile through a park of noble trees, we come to _Sans Souci_ (a pretty name, _Without Care_). This is much smaller than the New Palace, but it is more home-like--it was built by Frederick the Great for his own residence, and here he spent the last years of his life. Every room is connected with him. In this he gave audience to foreign ministers; at this desk he wrote. This is the room occupied by Voltaire, whom Frederick, worshipping his genius, had invited to Potsdam, but who soon got tired of his royal patron (as the other perhaps got tired of _him_), and ended the romantic friendship by running away. And here is the room in which the great king breathed his last. He died sitting in his chair, which still bears the stains of his blood, for his physicians had bled him. At that moment, they tell us, a little mantel clock, which Frederick always wound up with his own hand, stopped, and there it stands now, with its fingers pointing to the very hour and minute when he died. That was ninety years ago, and yet almost every day of every year since strangers have entered that room, to see where this king, this leader of armies, met a greater Conqueror than he, and bowed his royal head to the inevitable Destroyer.

But that was not the last king who died in this palace. When we were here in 1858, the present Emperor was not on the throne, but his elder brother, whose private apartments we then saw; and now we were shown them again, with only this added: "In this room the old king died; in that very bed he breathed his last." All remains just as he left it; his military cap, with his gloves folded beside it; and here is a cast of his face taken after his death. So do they preserve his memory, while the living form returns no more.

From the palace of the late king we drove to that of the present Emperor. Babelsberg is still more interesting than Sans Souci, as it is associated with living personages, who occupy the most exalted stations. It is the home of the Emperor himself when at Potsdam. It is not so large as the New Palace, but, like Sans Souci, seems designed more for comfort than for grandeur. It was built by King William himself, according to his own taste, and has in it all the appointments of an elegant home. The site is beautiful. It stands on elevated ground (it seems a commanding eminence compared with the flat country around Berlin), and looks out on a prospect in which a noble park, and green slopes, descending to lovely bits of water, unite to form what may be called an English landscape--like that from Richmond on the Hill, or some scene in the Lake District of England. The house is worthy of such surroundings. We were fortunate in being there when the Family were absent. The Empress was expected home in a day or two; they were preparing the rooms for her return; and the Emperor was to follow the next week, when of course the house would be closed to visitors. But now we were admitted, and shown through, not only the State apartments, but the private rooms. Such an inspection of the _home_ of a royal family gives one some idea of their domestic life; we seem to see the interior of the household. In this case the impression was most charming. While there was very little that was for show, there was everything that was tasteful and refined and elegant. It was pleasant to hear the attendant who showed us the rooms speak in terms of such admiration, and even affection, of the Emperor, as "a very kind man." One who is thus beloved by his dependents, by every member of his household, cannot but have some excellent traits of character. We were shown the drawing-room and the library, and the private study of the Emperor, the chair in which he sits, the desk at which he writes, and the table around which he gathers his ministers--Bismarck and Moltke, etc. We were shown also what a New England housekeeper would call the "living rooms," where he dined and where he slept. The ladies of our party declared that the bed did not answer at all to their ideas of royal luxury, or even comfort, the sturdy old Emperor having only a single mattress under him, and that a pretty hard one. Perhaps however he despises luxury, and prefers to harden himself, like Napoleon, or the Emperor Nicholas, who slept on a camp bedstead. He is certainly very plain in his habits and simple in his tastes. Descending the staircase, the attendant took from a corner and put in our hand the Emperor's cane. It was a rough stick, such as any dandy in New York would have despised, but the old man had cut it himself many years ago, and now he always has it in his hand when he walks abroad. And there through the window we look down into the poultry yard, where the Empress, we were told, feeds her chickens with her own hand every morning. I was glad to hear this of the grand old lady. It shows a kind heart, and how, after all, for the greatest as well as the humblest of mankind, the simplest pleasures are the sweetest. I dare say she takes more pleasure in feeding her chickens than in presiding at the tedious court ceremonies. Such little touches give a most pleasant impression of the simple home-life of the Royal House of Prussia.

Our last visit was to the tomb of Frederick the Great, who is buried in the Garrison Church. There is nothing about it imposing to the imagination, as in the tomb of Napoleon at Paris. It is only a little vault, which a woman opens with a key, and lights a tallow candle, and you lay your hand on the metallic coffin of the great King. There he lies--that fiery spirit that made war for the love of war, that attacked Austria, and seized Silesia, more for the sake of the excitement of the thing, and, as he confessed, "to make people talk about him," than because he had the slightest pretence to that Austrian province; who, though he wanted to be a soldier, yet in his first battle ran away as fast as his horse could carry him, and hid himself in a barn; but who afterwards recovered control of himself, and became the greatest captain of his time. He it was who carried through the Seven Years' War, not only against Austria, but against Europe, and who held Silesia against them all. "The Continent in arms," says Macaulay, "could not tear it from that iron grasp." But now the warrior is at rest; that figure, long so well known, no more rides at the head of armies. In this bronze coffin lies all that remains of Frederick the Great:

"He sleeps his last sleep, he has fought his last battle, No sound shall awake him to glory again."

Speaking of tombs--as of late my thoughts "have had much discourse with death"--the most beautiful which I have ever seen anywhere is that of Queen Louise, the mother of the present Emperor, in the Mausoleum at Charlottenburg. The statue of the Queen is by the famous German sculptor, Rauch. When I first saw it years ago, it left such an impression that I could not leave Berlin without seeing it again and we drove out of the city several miles for the purpose. It is in the grounds attached to one of the royal palaces but we did not care to see any more palaces, if only we could look again on that pure white marble form. At the end of a long avenue of trees is the Mausoleum--a small building devoted only to royal sepulture--and there, in a subdued light, stretched upon her tomb, lies the beautiful Queen. Her personal loveliness is a matter of tradition; it is preserved in innumerable portraits, which show that she was one of the most beautiful women of her time. That beauty is preserved in the reclining statue. The head rests on a marble pillow, and is turned a little to one side, so as to show the perfect symmetry of the Grecian outlines. It is a sweet, sad face (for she had sorrows that broke her queenly heart); but now her trials are ended, and how calmly and peacefully she sleeps! The form is drooping, as if she slumbered on her bed; she seems almost to breathe; hush, the marble lips are going to speak! Was there ever such an expression of perfect repose? It makes one "half in love with blissful death." It brought freshly to mind the lines of Shelley in Queen Mab:

How wonderful is Death! Death and his brother Sleep! One, pale as yonder waning moon, With lips of lurid blue; The other, rosy as the morn When throned on ocean's wave, It blushes o'er the world: Yet both so passing wonderful!

By the side of the statue of the Queen reposes, on another tomb, that of her husband--a noble figure in his military cloak, with his hands folded on his breast. The King survived the Queen thirty years. She died in her youth, in 1810; he lived till 1840; but his heart was in her tomb, and it is fitting that now they sleep together.

On the principle of rhetoric, that a description should end with that which leaves the deepest impression, I end my letter here, with the softened light of that Mausoleum falling on that breathing marble; for in all my memories of Berlin, no one thing--neither palace, nor museum, nor the statue of Frederick the Great, nor the Column of Victory--has left in me so deep a feeling as the silent form of that beautiful Queen. Queen Louise is a marked figure in German history, being invested with touching interest by her beauty and her sorrow, and early death. I like to think of such a woman as the mother of a royal race, now actors on the stage. It cannot but be that the memory of her beauty, associated with her patriotism, her courage, and her devotion, should long remain an inheritance of that royal line, and their most precious inspiration. May the young princes, growing up to be future kings and emperors, as they gather round her tomb, tenderly cherish her memory and imitate her virtues!

CHAPTER XV.

AUSTRIA--OLD AND NEW.

VIENNA, August 12th.

We are taking such a wide sweep through Central Europe, travelling from city to city, and country to country, that my materials accumulate much faster than I can use them. There are three cities which I should be glad to describe in detail--Hamburg, Dresden, and Prague. Hamburg, to which we came from Amsterdam, perhaps appears more beautiful from the contrast, and remains in our memory as the fairest city of the North. Dresden, the capital of Saxony, is also a beautiful city, and attracts a great number of English and American residents by its excellent opportunities of education, and from its treasures of art, in which it is richer than any other city in Germany. Our stay there was made most pleasant by an American family whom we had known on the other side of the Atlantic, who gave us a cordial welcome, and under whose roof we felt how sweet is the atmosphere of an American home. The same friends, when we left, accompanied us on our way into the Saxon Switzerland, conducting us to the height of the Bastei, a huge cliff, which from the very top of a mountain overhangs the Elbe, which winds its silver current through the valley below, while on the other side of the river the fortress-crowned rock of Konigstein lifts up its head, like Edinburgh Castle, to keep ward and watch over the beautiful kingdom of Saxony.

And there is dear old Prague, rusty and musty, that in some quarters has such a tumble down air that it seems as if it were to be given up to Jews, who were going to convert it into a huge Rag Fair for the sale of old clothes, and yet that in other quarters has new streets and new squares, and looks as if it had caught a little of the spirit of the modern time. But the interest of Prague to a stranger must be chiefly historical--for what it has been rather than for what it is. These associations are so many and so rich, that to one familiar with them, the old churches and bridges, and towers and castles, are full of stirring memories. As we rode across the bridge, from which St. John of Nepomuc was thrown into the river, five hundred years ago, because he would not betray to a wicked king the secret which the queen had confided to him in the confessional, up to the Cathedral where a gorgeous shrine of silver keeps his dust, and perpetuates his memory, the lines of Longfellow were continually running in my mind:

I have read in some old marvellous tale, Some legend strange and vague, That a midnight host of spectres pale Beleaguered the walls of Prague.

Beside the Moldau's rushing stream, With the wan moon overhead, There stood, as in an awful dream, The army of the dead.

It needs but little imagination on the spot to call up indeed an "army of the dead." Standing on this old bridge, one could almost hear, above the rushing Moldau, the drums of Zisca calling the Hussites to arms on the neighboring heights, a battle sound answered in a later century by the cannon of Frederick the Great. Above us is the vast pile of the Hradschin, the abode of departed royalties, where but a few weeks ago poor old Ferdinand, the ex-Emperor of Austria, breathed his last. He was almost an imbecile, who sat for many years on the throne as a mere figurehead of the State, and who was perfectly harmless, since he had little more to do with the Government than if he had been a log of wood; but who, when the great events of 1848 threatened the overthrow of the Empire, was hurried out of the way to make room for younger blood, and his nephew, Francis Joseph, came to the throne. He lived to be eighty-two years old, yet so utterly insignificant was he that almost the only thing he ever said that people remember, was a remark that at one time made the laugh of Vienna. Once in a country place he tasted of some dumplings, a wretched compound of garlic and all sorts of vile stuff, but which pleased the royal taste, and which on his return to Vienna he ordered for the royal table, greatly to the disgust of his attendants, to whom he replied, "I am Kaiser, and I will have my dumplings!" This got out, and caused infinite merriment. Poor old man! I hope he had his dumplings to the last. He was a weak, simple creature; but he is gone, and has been buried with royal honors, and sleeps with the Imperial house of Austria in the crypt of the Church of the Capuchins in Vienna.

But all these memories of Prague, personal or historical, recent or remote, I must leave, to come at once to the Austrian capital, one of the most interesting cities of Europe. Vienna is a far more picturesque city than Berlin. It is many times older. It was a great city in the Middle Ages, when Berlin had no existence. The Cathedral of St. Stephen was erected hundreds of years before the Elector of Brandenburg chose the site of a town on the Spree, or Peter the Great began to build St. Petersburg on the banks of the Neva. Vienna has played a great part in European history. It long stood as a barrier against Moslem invasion. Less than two hundred years ago it was besieged by the Turks, and nothing but its heroic resistance, aided by the Poles, under John Sobieski, prevented the irruption of Asiatic barbarians into Central Europe. From the tower of St. Stephen's anxious watchers have often marked the tide of battle, as it ebbed and flowed around the ancient capital, from the time when the plain of the Marchfeld was covered with the tents of the Moslems, to that when the armies of Napoleon, matched against those of Austria, fought the terrible battles of Aspern, Essling, and Wagram.

But if Vienna is an old city, it is also a new one. In revisiting Germany, I am constantly struck with the contrast between what I see now, and what I saw in 1858. Then Vienna was a pleasant, old-fashioned city, not too large for comfort, strongly fortified, like most of the cities of the Middle Ages, with high walls and a deep moat encompassing it on all sides. Now all has disappeared--the moat has been filled up, and the walls have been razed to the ground, and where they stood is a circle of broad streets called the Ring-strasse, like the Boulevards of Paris. The city thus let loose has burst out on all sides, and great avenues and squares, and parks and gardens, have sprung into existence on every hand. The result is a far more magnificent capital than the Vienna which I knew seventeen years ago.

Nor are the changes less in the country than in the capital. There have been wars and revolutions, which have shaken the Empire so that its very existence was in danger, but out of which it has come stronger than ever. Austria is the most remarkable example in Europe of _the good effects of a thorough beating_. Twice, since I was here before, she has had a terrible humiliation--in 1859 and in 1866--at Solferino and at Sadowa.

In 1858 Austria was slowly recovering from the terrible shock of ten years before, the Revolutionary Year of 1848. In '49 was the war in Hungary, when Kossuth with his fiery eloquence roused the Magyars to arms, and they fought with such vigor and success, that they threatened to march on Vienna, and the independence of Hungary might have been secured but for the intervention of Russia. Gorgei surrendered to a Russian army. Then came a series of bloody executions. The Hungarian leaders who fell into the hands of the Austrians, found no pity. The illustrious Count Louis Batthyani was sent to the scaffold. Kossuth escaped only by fleeing into Turkey. Gen. Bem turned Mussulman, saying that "his only religion was love of liberty and hatred of tyranny," and served as a Pacha at the head of a Turkish army. It is a curious illustration of the change that a few years have wrought, that Count Andrassy, who was concerned with Batthyani in the same rebellion, and was also sentenced to death, but escaped, is now the Prime Minister of Austria. But then vengeance ruled the hour. The bravest Hungarian generals were shot--chiefly, it was said at the time, by the Imperious will of the Archduchess Sophia, the mother of Francis Joseph. There is no hatred like a woman's, and she could not forego the savage delight of revenge on those who had dared to attack the power of Austria. Proud daughter of the Cæsars! she was yet to taste the bitterness of a like cruelty, when her own son, Maximilian, bared his breast to a file of Mexican soldiers, and found no mercy. I thought of this to-day, as I saw in the burial-place of the Imperial family, near the coffin of that haughty and unforgiving woman, the coffin of her son, whose poor body lies there pierced with a dozen balls.

But for the time Austria was victorious, and in the flush of the reaction which was felt throughout Europe, began to revive the old Imperial absolutism, the stern repression of liberty of speech and of the press, the system of passports and of spies, of jealous watchfulness by the police, and of full submission to the Church of Rome.

Such was the state of things in 1858; and such it might have remained if the possessors of power had not been rudely awakened from their dreams. How well I remember the sense of triumph and power of that year. The empire of Austria had been fully restored, including not only its present territory, but the fairest portion of Italy--Lombardy and Venice. To complete the joy of the Imperial house, an heir had just been born to the throne. I was present in the cathedral of Milan when a solemn Te Deum was performed in thanksgiving for that crowning gift. Maximilian was then Viceroy in Lombardy. I see him now as, with his young bride Carlotta, he walked slowly up that majestic aisle, surrounded by a brilliant staff of officers, to give thanks to Almighty God for an event which seemed to promise the continuance of the royal house of Austria, and of its Imperial power to future generations. Alas for human foresight! In less than one year the armies of France had crossed the Alps, a great battle had been fought at Solferino, and Lombardy was forever lost to Austria, and a Te Deum was performed in the cathedral of Milan for a very different occasion, but with still more enthusiastic rejoicing.

But that was not the end of bitterness. Austria was not yet sufficiently humiliated. She still clung to her old arbitrary system, and was to be thoroughly converted only by another administration of discipline. She had still another lesson to learn, and that was to come from another source, a power still nearer home. Though driven out of a part of Italy, Austria was still the great power in Germany. She was the most important member of the Germanic Confederation, as she had a vote in the Diet at Frankfort proportioned to her population, although two-thirds of her people were not Germans. The Hungarians and the Bohemians are of other races, and speak other languages. But by the dexterous use of this power, with the alliance of Bavaria and other smaller States, Austria was able always to control the policy and wield the influence of Germany. Prussia was continually outvoted, and her political influence reduced to nothing--a state of things which became the more unendurable the more she grew in strength, and became conscious of her power. At length her statesmen saw that the only hope of Prussia to gain her rightful place and power in the councils of Europe, was _to drive Austria out of Germany_--to compel her to withdraw entirely from the Confederation. It was a bold design. Of course it meant war; but for this Prussia had been long preparing. Suddenly, like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, came the war of 1866. Scarcely was it announced before a mighty army marched into Bohemia, and the battle of Sadowa, the greatest in Europe since Waterloo, ended the campaign. In six weeks all was over. The proud house of Austria was humbled in the dust. Her great army, that was to capture Berlin, was crushed in one terrible day, and the Prussians were on the march for Vienna, when their further advance was stopped by the conclusion of peace.

This was a fearful overthrow for Austria. But good comes out of evil. It was the day of deliverance for Hungary and for Italy. Man's extremity is God's opportunity, and the king's extremity is liberty's opportunity. Up to this hour Francis Joseph had obstinately refused to grant to Hungary that separate government to which she had a right by the ancient constitution of the kingdom, but which she had till then vainly demanded. But at length the eyes of the young emperor were opened, and on the evening of that day which saw the annihilation of his military power, it is said, he sent for Deak, the leader of the Hungarians, and asked "If he should _then_ concede all that they had asked, if they would rally to his support so as to save him?" "Sire," said the stern Hungarian leader, "_it is too late_!" Nothing remained for the proud Hapsburg but to throw himself on the mercy of the conqueror, and obtain such terms as he could. Venice was signed away at a stroke. In his despair he telegraphed to Paris, giving that beautiful province to Napoleon, to secure the support of France in his extremity, who immediately turned it over to Victor Emmanuel, thus completing the unity of Italy.

The results in Germany were not less important. As the fruit of this short, but decisive campaign, Austria, besides paying a large indemnity for the expenses of the war, finally withdrew wholly from the German Confederation, leaving Prussia master of the field, which proceeded at once to form a new Confederation with itself at the head.

After such repeated overthrows and humiliations, one would suppose that Austria was utterly ruined, and that the proud young emperor would die of shame. But, "sweet are the uses of adversity." Humiliation is sometimes good for nations as for individuals, and never was it more so than now. The impartial historian will record that these defeats were Austria's salvation. The loss of Italy, however mortifying to her pride, was only taking away a source of constant trouble and discontent, and leaving to the rest of the empire a much more perfect unity than it had before.

So with the independence of Hungary; while it was an apparent loss, it was a real gain. The Magyars at last obtained what they had so long been seeking--a separate administration, and Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria, was crowned at Pesth, King of Hungary. By this act of wise conciliation five millions of the bravest people in Europe were converted from disaffected, if not disloyal, subjects, into contented and warmly attached supporters of the House of Austria, the most devoted as they are the most warlike defenders of the throne and the Empire.

Another result of this war was the emancipation of the Emperor himself from the Pope. Till then, Austria had been one of the most extreme Catholic powers in Europe. Not Spain itself had been a more servile adherent of Rome. The Concordat gave all ecclesiastical appointments to the Pope. But the thunder of the guns of Sadowa destroyed a great many illusions--among them that of a ghostly power at Rome, which had to be conciliated as the price of temporal prosperity as well as of eternal salvation. This illusion is now gone; the Concordat has been repealed, and Austria has a voice in the appointment of her own bishops. The late Prime Minister, Count Beust, was a Protestant. In her treatment of different religious faiths, Austria is so liberal as to give great sorrow to the Holy Father, who regards it as almost a kingdom that has apostatized from the faith.

The same liberality exists in other things. There is none of the petty tyranny which in former days vexed the souls of foreigners, by its strict surveillance and espionage. Now no man in a cocked hat demands your passport as you enter the city, nor asks how long you intend to stay; no agent of the police hangs about your table at a public café to overhear your private conversation, and learn if you are a political emissary, a conspirator in disguise; no officer in the street taps you on your shoulder to warn you not to speak so loud, or to be more careful of what you say. You are as free to come and go as in America, while the restrictions of the Custom House are far less annoying and vexatious than in the United States. All this is the blessed fruit of Austria's humiliation.

It should be said to the praise of the Emperor, that he has taken his discipline exceedingly well. He has not pouted or sulked, like an angry schoolboy, or refused to have anything to do with the powers which have inflicted upon him such grievous humiliations. He has the good sense to recognize the political necessities of States as superior to the feelings of individuals. Kings, like other men, must bow to the inevitable. Accordingly he makes the best of the case. He did not refuse to meet Napoleon after the battle of Solferino, but held an interview of some hours at Villafranca, in which, without long preliminaries, they agreed on an immediate peace. He afterwards visited his brother Emperor in Paris at the time of the Great Exposition in 1867. Within the last year he has paid a visit to Victor Emmanuel at Venice, and been received with the utmost enthusiasm by the Italian people. They can afford to welcome him now that he is no longer their master. Since they have not to see in him a despotic ruler, they hail him as the nation's guest, and as he sails up the Grand Canal, receive him with loud cheers and waving of banners. And he has received more than once the visits of the Emperor William, who came to Vienna at the time of the Exposition two years since, and who has met him at a watering-place this summer, of which the papers gave full accounts, dwelling on their hearty cordiality, as shown in their repeated hand-shakings and embracings. It may be said that these are little things, but they are not little things, for such personal courtesies have a great deal to do with the peace of nations.

In another respect, the discipline of adversity has been most useful to Austria. By hard blows it has knocked the military spirit out of her, and led her to "turn her thoughts on peace." Of course the military element is still very strong. Vienna is full of soldiers. Every morning we hear the drum beat under our windows, and files of soldiers go marching through the streets. Huge barracks are in every part of the city, and a general parade would show a force of many thousands of men. The standing army of Austria is one of the largest in Europe. But in spite of all this parade and show, the military _spirit_ is much less rampant than before. Nobody wants to go to war with any of the Great Powers. They have had enough of war for the present.

Austria has learned that there is another kind of greatness for nations than that gained in fighting battles, viz., cultivating the arts of peace. Hence it is that within the last nine years, while there have been no victories abroad, there have been great victories at home. There has been an enormous development of the internal resources of the country. Railroads have been extended all over the Empire; commerce has been quickened to a new life. Great steamers passing up and down the Danube, exchange the products of the East and the West, of Europe and Asia. Enterprises of all kinds have been encouraged. The result was shown in the Exposition of two years ago, when there was collected in this city such a display of the products of all lands, as the world had never seen. Those who had been at all the Great Exhibitions said that it far surpassed those of London and Paris. All the luxurious fabrics of the East, and all the most delicate and the most costly products of the West, the fruit of manifold inventions and discoveries--with all that had been achieved in the useful arts, the arts whose success constitutes civilization--were there spread before the dazzled eye. Such a Victory of Peace could not have been achieved without the previous lesson of Defeat in War.

Still further learning wisdom from her conquerors, Austria has entered upon a general system of education, modelled upon that of Prussia, which in the course of another generation will transform the heterogeneous populations spread over the vast provinces, extending from Italy and Germany to Turkey, which make up the thirty-four millions of the Austrian Empire.

Thus in many ways Austria has abandoned her traditional conservative policy, and entered on the road of progress. She may now be fairly reckoned among the liberal nations of Europe. The Roman Catholic religion is still the recognized religion of the State, but the Pope has lost that control which he had a few years ago; Vienna is much more independent of Rome, and Protestants have quite as much liberty of _opinion_, and I think more liberty of _worship_, than in Republican France.

Of course there is still much in the order of things which is not according to our American ideas. Austria is an ancient monarchy, and all civil and even social relations are framed on the monarchical system. Everything revolves around the Emperor, as the centre of the whole. We visit palace after palace, and are told that all are for the Emperor. Even his stables are one of the sights of Vienna, where hundreds of blooded horses are for the use of the Imperial household. There are carriages, too many to be counted, covered with gold, for four, six, or eight horses. One of these is two hundred years old, with panels decorated with paintings by Rubens. It seems, indeed, as if in these old monarchies the sovereign applied to himself, with an arrogance approaching to blasphemy, the language which belongs to God alone--that "of him, and through him, and to him, are all things."

Personally I can well believe that the Emperor is a very amiable as well as highly intelligent man, and that he seeks the good of his people. He has been trained in the school of adversity, and has learned that empires may not last forever and that dynasties may be overthrown. History is full of warnings against royal pride and ambition. Who can stand by the coffin of poor Maria Louisa, as it lies in the crypt of the Church of the Capuchins, without thinking of the strange fate of that descendant of Maria Theresa, married to the Great Napoleon? In the Royal Treasury here, they show the cradle, wrought in the rarest woods, inlaid with pearl and gold, and lined with silk, that was made for the infant son of Napoleon, the little King of Rome. What dreams of ambition hovered about that royal cradle! How strange seemed the contrast when we visited the Palace at Schonbrunn, and entered the room which Napoleon occupied when he besieged Vienna, and saw the very bed in which he slept, and were told that in that same bed the young Napoleon afterwards breathed his last! So perished the dream of ambition. The young child for whom Napoleon had divorced Josephine and married Maria Louisa, who was to perpetuate the proud Imperial line, died far from France, while his father had already ended his days on the rock of St. Helena!

But personally no one can help a kindly feeling towards the Emperor, and towards the young Empress also, as he hears of her virtues and her charities.

Nor can one help liking the Viennese and the Austrians. They are very courteous and very polite--rather more so, if the truth must be told, than their German neighbors. Perhaps great prosperity has been bad for the Prussians, as adversity has been good for the Austrians. At any rate the former have the reputation in Europe of being somewhat brusque in their manners. Perhaps they also need a lesson in humiliation, which may come in due time. But the Austrians are proverbially a polite people. They are more like the French. They are gay and fond of pleasure, but they have that instinctive courtesy, which gives such a charm to social intercourse.

And so we go away from Vienna with a kindly feeling for the dear old city--only hoping it may not be spoiled by too many improvements--and with best wishes for both Kaiser and people. They have had a hard time, but it has done them good. By such harsh instruments, by a discipline very bitter indeed, but necessary, has the life of this old empire been renewed. Thus aroused from its lethargy, it has shaken off the past, and entered on a course of peaceful progress with the foremost nations of Europe. Those who talk of the "effete despotisms" of the Old World, would be amazed at the signs of vitality in this old but _not_ decaying empire. Austria is to-day one of the most prosperous countries in Europe. There is fresh blood at her heart, and fresh life coursing through her aged limbs. And though no man or kingdom can be said to be master of the future, it has as fair a chance of long existence as any other power on the continent. The form of government may be changed; there may be internal revolutions; Bohemia may obtain a separate government like Hungary; but whatever may come, there will always be a great and powerful State in Eastern Europe, on the waters of the Danube.

We observed to-day that they were repairing St Stephen's, and were glad to think that that old cathedral, which has stood for so many ages, and whose stone pavement has been worn by the feet of many generations, may stand for a thousand years to come. May that tower, which has looked down on so many battle-fields, as the tide of war has ebbed and flowed around the walls of Vienna, hereafter behold from its height no more scenes of carnage like that of Wagram, but only see gathered around its base one of the most beautiful of European capitals--the heart of a great and prosperous Empire.

CHAPTER XVI.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.--OUT-DOOR LIFE OF THE GERMAN PEOPLE.

VIENNA, August 13th.

No description of Germany--no picture of German life and manners--can be complete which does not give some account of the out-door recreations of the people; for this is a large part of their existence; it is a feature of their national character, and an important element in their national life. To know a people well, one must see them not only in business, but in their lighter hours. One may travel through Germany from the Baltic to the Adriatic, and see all the palaces and museums and picture galleries, and yet be wholly ignorant of the people. But if he has the good fortune to know a single German family of the better class, into which he may be received, not as a stranger, but as a guest and a friend--where he can see the interior of a German _home_, and mark the strong affection of parents and children, of brothers and sisters--he will get a better idea of the real character of the people, than by months of living in hotels. Next to the sacred interior of the home, the _public garden_ is the place where the German appears with least formality and disguise, and in his natural character.

Since I came to Europe, I have been in no mood to seek amusement. Indeed if I had followed my own impulse, it would have been to shun every public resort, to live a very solitary life, going only to the most retired places, and seeking only absolute seclusion and repose. But that is not good for us in moments of sorrow. The mind is apt to become morbid and gloomy. This is not the lesson which those who have gone before would have us learn. On the contrary, they desire to have us happy, and bid us with their dying breath seek new activity, new scenes, and new mental occupation, to bind us to life.

Besides, I have had not only myself to consider, but a young life beside me. In addition to that, we have now a third member of our party. At Hamburg we were joined by my nephew, a lieutenant in the Navy, who is attached to the Flagship Franklin, now cruising in the Baltic, and who obtained leave of absence for a month to join his sister, and is travelling with us in Germany. He is a fine young officer full of life, and enters into everything with the greatest zest. So, beguiled by these two young spirits, I have been led to see more than I otherwise should of the open-air life and recreations of these simple-hearted Germans; and I will briefly describe what I have seen, as the basis of one or two reflections.

To begin with Hamburg. This is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. One part is indeed old and dingy, in which the narrow streets are overhung with houses of a former century, now gone to decay. But as we go back from the river, we mount higher, and come into an entirely different town, with wide streets, lined with large and imposing buildings. This part of the city was swept by a great fire a few years ago, and has been very handsomely rebuilt. But the peculiar beauty of Hamburg is formed by a small stream, the Alster, which runs through the city, and empties into the Elbe, and which is dammed up so as to form what is called by courtesy a lake, and what is certainly a very pretty sheet of water. Around this are grouped the largest hotels, and some of the finest buildings of the city, and this is the centre of its joyous life, especially at the close of the day. When evening comes on, all Hamburg flocks to the "Alster-dam." Our hotel was on this lake, and from our windows we had every evening the most animated scene. The water was covered with boats, among which the swans glided about without fear. The quays were lighted up brilliantly, and the cafés swarmed with people, all enjoying the cool evening air. Both sexes and all ages were abroad to share in the general gayety of the hour.

Some rigid moralists might look upon this with stern eyes, as if it were a scene of sinful enjoyment, as if men had no right thus to be happy in this wicked world. But I confess I looked upon it with very different feelings. The enjoyment was of the most simple and innocent kind. Families were all together, father and mother, brothers and sisters, while little children ran about at play. I have rarely looked on a prettier scene, and although I had no part nor lot in it, although I was a stranger there, and walked among these crowds alone, still it did my heart good to see that there was so much happiness in this sad and weary world.

From Hamburg we came to Berlin, where the same features were reproduced on a larger scale. As we drove through the streets at ten o'clock at night we passed a large public garden, brilliantly lighted up, and thronged with people, from which came the sound of music, and were told that it was one of the most fashionable resorts of the capital; and so the next evening--after a day at Potsdam, where we were wearied with sight-seeing--we took our rest here. Imagine a vast enclosure lighted up with hundreds of gas-jets, and thronged with thousands of people, with _three_ bands of music to relieve each other. There were hundreds of little tables, each with its group around it, all chatting with the utmost animation.

The next day we drove to Charlottenburg, to visit the old palaces and the exquisite mausoleum of the beautiful Queen Louise, and on our return stopped to take our dinner at the Flora--an enclosure of several acres, laid out like a botanical garden. A large conservatory, called the Palm Garden, keeps under cover such rare plants and trees as would not grow in the cold climate; and here one is in a tropical scene. This answers the purpose of a Winter Garden, as great banks of flowers and of rare plants are in full bloom all the winter long; and here the rank and fashion of Berlin can gather in winter, and with the air filled with the perfume of flowers, forget the scene without--the naked trees and bitter winds and drifting snows--while listening to musical concerts given in an immense hall, capable of holding several thousand people. These are the festivities of winter. But now, as it is midsummer, the people prefer to be out of doors; and here, seated among the rest, we take our dinner, entertained (as sovereigns are wont to entertain their royal guests at State dinners) with a band of music in the intervals of the feast, which gives a new zest, a touch of Oriental luxury, to our very simple repast.

At Dresden we were at the Hôtel Bellevue, which is close to the Elbe, and there was a public garden on the bank of the river, right under our windows. Every evening we sat on the terrace attached to the hotel, and heard the music, and watched the pleasure boats darting up and down the river.

But of all the cities of Germany, the one where this out-door life is carried to the greatest perfection, is here in Vienna. We arrived when the weather was very hot. For the first time this summer in Europe we were really oppressed with the heat. The sun blazed fiercely, and as we drove about the city seeing sights, we felt that we were martyrs suffering in a good cause. We were told that the heat was very unusual. The only relief and restoration after such days was an evening ride. So as the sun was setting we took a carriage and made the circuit of the Ring-strasse, the boulevards laid out on the site of the old walls, ending with the Prater, that immense park, where two years ago the Great Exposition was held, and where the buildings still stand. This is the place of concourse of the Viennese on gala days, when the Emperor turns out, and all the Austrian and Hungarian nobility, with their splendid equipages (the Hungarians have an Oriental fondness for gilded trappings), making a sight which is said to be more dazzling than can be seen even in the Hyde Park of London, or the Bois de Boulogne at Paris. Just now, of course, all this fashionable element has fled the city, and is enjoying life at the German watering places. But as there are still left seven or eight hundred thousand people, they must find some way to bear the heats of summer; and so they flock to the Prater. The trees are all ablaze with light; half a dozen bands of music are in full blast, and "all the world is gay." It is truly "a midsummer night's dream." I was especially attracted to a concert garden where the band, a very large one, was composed of women. To be sure there were half a dozen men sprinkled among the performers, but they seemed to have subordinate parts--only blowing away at the wind instruments--while all the stringed instruments were played by delicate female hands. It was quite pretty to see how deftly they held the violins, and what sweet music they wrung from the strings. Two or three young maidens stood beside the bass-viols, which were taller than themselves, and a trim figure, that might have been that of a French _vivandière_, beat the drum. The conductor was of course a woman, and marshalled her forces with wonderful spirit. I don't know whether the music was very fine or not (for I am not a judge in such matters), but I applauded vigorously, because I liked the independence of the thing, and have some admiration, if not sympathy, for the spirit of those heroic reformers, who wish to "put down these men."

But the chief musical glory of Vienna is the Volksgarten, where Strauss's famous band plays, and there we spent our last night in Vienna. It is an enclosure near the Palace, and the grounds belong to the Emperor, who gives the use of them (so we were told) to the son of his old nurse, who devotes them to the purpose of a public garden, and to musical concerts. Besides Strauss's band, there was a military band, which played alternately. As we entered it was executing an air which my companions recognized as from "William Tell," and they pointed out to me the beautiful passages--those which imitated the Alpine horns, etc. Then Strauss came to the front--not Johann (who has become so famous that the Emperor has appropriated him to himself, so that he can now play only for the royal family and their guests), but his brother, Edward. He is a little man, whose body seems to be set on springs, and to be put in motion by music. While leading the orchestra, of some forty performers, he was as one inspired--he fairly danced with excitement; it seemed as if he hardly touched the earth, but floated in air, his body swaying hither and thither to the sound of music. When he had finished, the military band responded, and so it continued the whole evening.

The garden was illuminated not only with gas lamps, but with other lights not set down in the programme. The day had been terribly hot, and as we drove to the garden, dark masses of cloud were gathering, and soon the rain began to come down in earnest. The people who were sitting under the trees took refuge in the shelter of the large hall; and there, while incessant flashes of lightning lighted up the garden without, the martial airs of the military band were answered by the roll of the thunder. This was an unexpected accompaniment to the music, but it was very grateful, as it at once cleared and cooled the air, and gave promise of a pleasant day for travelling on the morrow.

I might describe many similar scenes, though less brilliant, in every German city, but these are enough to give a picture of the open-air life and recreations of the German people. And now for the moral of the tale. What is the influence of this kind of life--is it good or bad? What lesson does it teach to us Americans? Does it furnish an example to imitate, or a warning to avoid? Perhaps something of both.

Certainly it is a good thing that it leads the people to spend some hours of every day in the open air. During hours of business they are in their offices or their shops, and they need a change; and _anything_ which tempts them out of doors is a physical benefit; it quiets their nerves, and cools their blood, and prepares them for refreshing sleep. So far it is good. Every open space in the midst of a great population is so much breathing space; the parks of a city are rightly called its _lungs_; and it is a good thing if once a day all classes, rich and poor, young and old, can get a long draught of fresh, pure air, as if they were in the country.

Next to the pleasure of sitting in the open air, the attraction of these places is the _music_. The Germans are a music-loving people. Luther was an enthusiast for music, and called any man a _fool_, a dull, heavy dolt, whose blood was not stirred by martial airs or softer melodies. In this he is a good type of the German people. This taste is at once cultivated and gratified by what they hear at these public resorts. I cannot speak with authority on such matters, but my companions identified almost every air that was played as from some celebrated piece of music, the work of some great master, all of whom are familiar in Germany from Mozart to Mendelssohn. The constant repetition of such music by competent and trained bands, cannot but have a great effect upon the musical education of the people.

And this delightful recreation is furnished very _cheaply_. In New York to hear Nilsson, opera-goers pay three or four dollars. But here admission to the Volksgarten, the most fashionable resort in Vienna, is but a florin (about fifty cents); to the Flora, in Berlin, it was but a mark, which is of the value of an English shilling, or a quarter of a dollar; while many of the public gardens are _free_, the only compensation being what is paid for refreshments.

One other feature of this open-air life and recreation has been very delightful to me--its domestic character. It is not a solitary, selfish kind of pleasure, as when men go off by themselves to drink or gamble, or indulge in any kind of dissipation. When men go to these public gardens, on the contrary, _they take their wives and their sisters with them_. Often we see a whole family, down to the children, grouped around one of these tables. They sit there as they would around their own tea-table at home. The family life is not broken by this taking of their pleasure in public. On the contrary, it is rather strengthened; all the family ties are made the closer by sharing their enjoyments together.

And these pleasures are not only _domestic_, but _democratic_. They are not for the rich only, but for all classes. Even the poor can afford the few pence necessary for such an evening, and find in listening to such music in the open air the cheapest, as well as the simplest and purest enjoyment.

The _drawbacks_ to these public gardens are two--the smoking and the beer-drinking. There are hundreds of tables, each with a group around it, all drinking beer, and the men all smoking. These features I dislike as much as anybody. I never smoked a cigar in my life, and do not doubt that it would make me deadly sick. Mr. Spurgeon may say that he "smokes a cigar to the glory of God"; that as it quiets his nerves and gives him a sound night's sleep, it is a means of grace to him. All I can say is, that it is not a means of grace to _me_, and that as I have been frequently annoyed and almost suffocated by it, I am afraid it has provoked feelings anything but Christian.

As for the drinking, there is one universal beverage--_beer_. This is a thin, watery fluid, such as one might make by putting a spoonful of bitter herbs in a teapot and boiling them. To me it seemed like cold water spoiled. Yet others argue that it is cold water improved. On this question I have had many discussions since I came to Germany. The people take to beer as a thing of course, as if it were the beverage that nature had provided to assuage their thirst, and when they talk to you in a friendly way, will caution you especially to beware of drinking the water of the country! Why they should think this dangerous, I cannot understand, for surely they do not drink enough of it to do them any harm. Of course, in passing from country to country, one needs to use prudence in drinking the water, as in other changes of diet, but the danger from that source is greatly exaggerated. Certainly I have drunk of water freely everywhere in Europe, without any injury. Yet an American physician, who certainly has no national prejudice in favor of beer, gravely argues with me that it is the most simple, refreshing, and healthful beverage, and points to the physique of the Germans in proof that it does them no injury. Perhaps used in moderation, it may not. But certainly no argument will convince me that drinking it in such quantities as some do--eight, ten, or a dozen quart mugs a day!--is not injurious. When a man thus _swills_ beer--there is no other word to express it--he seems to me like a pig at the trough.

But of course I do not mean that the greater number of Germans drink it in any such quantities, or to a degree that would be considered excessive, if it is to be drunk _at all_. I was at first shocked to see men and women with these foaming goblets before them, but I observed that, instead of drinking them off at a draught as those who take stronger drinks are wont to do, they let them stand, occasionally taking a sip, a single glass often lasting the whole evening. Indeed it seemed as if many ordered a glass of beer on entering a public garden, rather as a matter of custom, and as a way of paying for the music. For this they gave a few kreutzers (equal to a few pence), and for such a trifle had the freedom of the garden, and the privilege of listening to excellent music.

But if we cannot enter into any eulogium of German beer at least it has this _negative_ virtue: it does not make people drunk. It is not like the heavy ales or porters of England. This is a fact of immense consequence, that the universal beverage of forty millions of people is not intoxicating. Of course I do not mean to say that it is impossible for one to have his head swim by taking it in some enormous quantity. I only give my own observation, which is that I have seen thousands taking their beer, and never saw one in any degree affected by it. I give, therefore, the evidence of my senses, when I say that this beer does not make men drunk, it does not steal away their brains, or deprive them of reason.

No reader of any intelligence can be so silly as to interpret this simple statement of a fact as arguing for the introduction of beer gardens in America. They are coming quite fast enough. [If I were to have a beer garden, it should be _without the beer_.] But as between the two, I do say that the beer gardens of Germany are a thousand times better than the gin shops of London, or even the elegant "sample rooms" of New York. In the latter men drink chiefly fiery wines, or whiskey, or brandy, or rum; they drink what makes them beasts--what sends them reeling through the streets, to carry terror to their miserable homes; while in Germany men drink what may be very bitter and bad-tasting stuff, but what does not make one a maniac or a brute. No man goes home from a beer garden to beat his wife and children, because he has been made a madman by intoxication. On the contrary, he has had his wife and children with him; they have all had a breath of fresh air, and enjoyed a good time together.

Such are the simple pleasures of this simple German people--a people that love their homes, their wives and children, and whatever they enjoy wish to enjoy it together.

Now may we not learn something from the habits of a foreign people, as to how to provide cheap and innocent recreations for our own? Is there not some way of getting the good without the evil, of having this open-air life without any evil accompaniments? The question is one of recreation, _not of amusements_, which is another thing, to be considered by itself. In these public gardens there are no games of any kind--not so much as a Punch and Judy, or a hand-organ with a monkey--nothing but sitting in the open air, enjoying conversation, and listening to music.

This question of popular recreations, or to put it more broadly, _how a people shall spend their leisure hours_--hours when they are not at work nor asleep--is a very serious question, and one closely connected with public morals. In the life of every man in America, even of the hard-worked laborer, there are several hours in the day when he is not bending to his task, and when he is not taking his meals. The work of the day is over, he has had his supper, but it is not time to go to bed. From seven to nine o'clock he has a couple of hours of leisure. What shall he do with them? It may be said he ought to spend them in reading. No doubt this would be very useful, but perhaps the poor man is too jaded to fix his mind on a book. What he needs is diversion, recreation, something that occupies the mind without fatiguing it; and what so charming as to sit out of doors in the summer time, in the cool of the evening, and listen to music, not being fixed to silence as in a concert room, but free to move about, and talk with his neighbors? If there could be in every large town such a retreat under the shade of the trees, where tired workmen could come, and bring their wives and children with them, it would do a great deal to keep them out of drinking saloons and other places of evil resort.

For want of something of this kind the young men in our cities and in our country villages seek recreation where they can find it. In cities, young men of the better class resort to clubs. This club life has eaten into the domestic life of our American families. The husband, the son and brother, are never at home. Would it not be better if they could have some simple recreation which the whole family could enjoy together? In country villages young men meet at the tavern, or in the street, for want of a little company. I have seen them, by twenty or thirty, sitting on a fence in a row, like barnyard fowls, where, it is to be feared, their conversation is not of the most refined character. How much better for these young fellows to be _somewhere_ where they could be with their mothers and sisters, and all have a good time together! If they must have something in the way of refreshment (although I do not see the need of anything; "have they not their houses to eat and drink in?"), let it be of the simplest kind--something very _cheap_, for they have no money to waste--and something which shall at least do them no injury--ices and lemonade, with plenty of what is better than either for a hot summer evening, pure, delicious cold water.

I have great confidence in the power of _music_, especially in that which is popular and universal. Expensive concerts, with celebrated singers, are the pleasure of the rich. But a village glee-club or singing-school calls out home talent, and no concert is so like a country fête as that in which the young folks do their own singing.

With these pictures of German life and manners, and the reflections they suggest, I leave this subject of Popular Recreations to those who are older and wiser than I. I know that the subject is a very delicate one to touch. It is easy to go too far, and to have one's arguments perverted to abuse. And yet, in spite of all this, I stand up for recreation as a necessity of life. _Recreation is not dissipation._ Calvin pitching quoits may not seem to us quite as venerable a figure as Calvin writing his Institutes, or preaching in the Cathedral of Geneva; and yet he was doing what was just and necessary. The mind must unbend, and the body too. I believe hundreds of lives are lost every year in America for want of this timely rest and recreation.

Some traveller has said that America is the country in which there is less suffering, and less enjoyment, than in any other country in the world. I am afraid there is some truth in this. Certainly we have not cultivated the art of enjoying ourselves. We are too busy. We are all the time toiling to accumulate, and give ourselves little time to enjoy. And when we do undertake it, it is a very solemn business with us. Nothing is more dreary than the efforts of some of our good people to enjoy themselves. They do not know how, and make an awkward shift of it. They put it off to a future year, when their work shall be all done, and they will go to Europe, and do up their travelling as a big job. Thus their very pleasures are forced, artificial, and expensive. And little pleasure they get after all! Many of these people we have met wandering about Europe, forlorn and wretched creatures, exiles from their own country, yet not at home in any other. They have not learned the art, which the Germans might teach them, of simple pleasures, and of _enjoying a little every day_. This American habit of work without rest, is a wretched economy of life, which can be justified neither by reason nor religion. There is no piety in such self-sacrifice as this, since it is for no good object, but only from a selfish and miserly greed for gain. Men were not made to be mere drudges or slaves. Hard work, _duly intermixed with rest and recreation_, is the best experience for every one of us, and the true means by which we can best fulfil our duty to God and to man.

Religion has received a great injury when it has been identified with asceticism and gloom. If there is any class of men who are my special aversion, it is those moping, melancholy owls, who sit on the tree of life, and frown on every innocent human joy. Sorrow I can understand (for I have tasted of its bitter cup), and grief of every kind, penitence for wrong, and deep religious emotion; but what I cannot understand, nor sympathize with, is that sour, sullen, morose temper, which looks sternly even on the sports of children, and would hush their prattle and glee. Such a system of repression is false in philosophy, and false in morals. It is bad intellectually. Never was a truer saying than that in the old lines:

All work and no play Makes Jack a dull boy.

And it is equally bad for the moral nature. Fathers and mothers, you must make your children happy, if you would make them good. You must surround them with an atmosphere of affection and enjoyment, if you would teach them to love you, and to love GOD. It is when held close in their mothers' arms, with tender eyes bent over them, that children first get some faint idea of that Infinite Love, of which maternal fondness is but the faint reflection. How wisely has Cowper, that delicate and tender moralist, expressed the proper wish of children:

With books, or work, or healthful play, May my first years be passed, That I may give for every day A good account at last.

Such a happy childhood is the best nursery for a brave and noble manhood.

I write on this subject very seriously, for I know of few things more closely connected with public morals. I do not argue in favor of recreation because seeking any indulgence for myself. I have been as a stranger in all these scenes, and never felt soberer or sadder in my life than when listening for hours to music. But what concerns one only, matters little; but what concerns the public good, matters a great deal. And I give my opinion, as the result of much observation, that any recreation which promotes innocent enjoyment, which is physically healthy and morally pure, which keeps families together, and thus unites them by the tie of common pleasures (a tie only less strong than that of common sorrow), is a social influence that is friendly to virtue, and to all which we most love and cherish, and on the whole one of the cleanest and wholesomest things in this wicked world.

Often in my dreams I think of that better time which is coming, when even pleasure shall be sanctified; when no human joy shall be cursed by being mixed with sin and followed by remorse; when all our happiness shall be pure and innocent, such as God can smile upon, and such as leaves no sting behind. That will be a happy world, indeed, when mutual love shall bless all human intercourse:

Then shall wars and tumults cease, Then be banished grief and pain; Righteousness, and joy, and peace, Undisturbed, shall ever reign.

CHAPTER XVII.

THE PASSION PLAY AND THE SCHOOL OF THE CROSS.

OBER-AMMERGAU, Bavaria, Aug. 22d.

My readers probably did not expect to hear from me in this lonely and remote part of the world. Perhaps some of them never heard of such a place as Ober-Ammergau, and do not know what should give it a special interest above hundreds of other places. Let me explain. Ober-Ammergau is a small village in the Bavarian Alps, where for the last two hundred years has been performed, at regular intervals, THE PASSION PLAY--that is, a dramatic representation, in which are enacted before us the principal events, and particularly the closing scenes, in the life of our Lord. The idea of such a thing, when first suggested to a Protestant mind, is not only strange, but repulsive in the highest degree. It seems like holding up the agonies of our Saviour to public exhibition, dragging on the stage that which should remain an object of secret and devout meditation. When I first heard of it--which was some years ago, in America--I was shocked at what seemed the gross impiety of the thing; and yet, to my astonishment, several of the most eminent ministers of the city of New York, both Episcopal and Presbyterian, who had witnessed it, told me that it was performed in the most religious spirit, and had produced on them an impression of deep solemnity. Such representations were very common in the Middle Ages; I believe they continued longest in Spain, but gradually they died out, till now this is the only spot in Europe where the custom is still observed. It has thus been perpetuated in fulfilment of a vow made two centuries ago; and here it may be continued for centuries to come. A performance so extraordinary, naturally excites great curiosity. As it is given only once in ten years, the interest is not dulled by too frequent repetition; and whoever is on the Continent in the year of its observance, must needs turn aside to see this great sight. At such times this little mountain village is thronged with visitors, not only from Bavaria and other Catholic countries, but from England and America.

This is not the year for its performance. It was given in 1870, and being interrupted by the Franco-German war, was resumed and completed in 1871. The next regular year will be 1880. But this year, which is midway between the two decennial years, has had a special interest from a present of the King of Bavaria, who, wishing to mark his sense of the extraordinary devotion of this little spot in his dominions, has made it a present of a gigantic cross, or rather three crosses, to form a "Calvary," which is to be erected on a hill overlooking the town. In honor of this royal gift, it was decided to have this year a special representation, not of the full Passion Play, but of a series of Tableaux and Acts, representing what is called THE SCHOOL OF THE CROSS--that is, such scenes from the Old and New Testaments as converge upon that emblem of Christ's death and of man's salvation. This is not in any strict sense a Play, though intended to represent the greatest of all tragedies, but a series of Tableaux Vivants, in some cases (only in those from the Old Testament) the statuesque representation being aided by words from the Bible in the mouths of the actors in the scene. The announcement of this new sacred drama (if such it must be called) reached us in Vienna, and drew us to this mountain village; and in selecting such subjects as seem most likely to interest my readers, I pass by two of the most attractive places in Southern Germany--Salzburg which is said to be "the most beautiful spot in Europe," where we spent three days; and Munich, with its Art Galleries, where we spent four--to describe this very unique exhibition, so unlike anything to be seen in any other part of the world.

We left Munich by rail, and, after an hour's ride, varied our journey by a sail across a lake, and then took to a diligence, to convey us into the heart of the mountains. Among our companions were several Catholic priests, who were making a pilgrimage to Ober-Ammergau as a sacred place. The sun had set before we reached our destination. As we approached the hamlet, we found wreaths and banners hung on poles along the road--the signs of the fête on the morrow. As the resources of the little place were very limited, the visitors, as they arrived, had to be quartered among the people of the village. We had taken tickets at Munich which secured us at least a roof over our heads, and were assigned to the house of one of the better class of peasants, where the good man and good wife received us very kindly, and gave us such accommodations as their small quarters allowed, showing us to our rooms up a little stair which was like a ladder, and shutting us in by a trap-door. It gave us a strange feeling of distance and loneliness, to find ourselves sleeping in such a "loft," under the roof of a peasant among the mountains of Bavaria.

The morning broke fair and bright, and soon the whole village was astir. Peasants dressed in their gayest clothes came flocking in from all the countryside. At nine o'clock three cannon shots announced the commencement of the fête. The place of the performance was on rising ground, a little out of the village, where a large barn-like structure had been recently erected, which might hold a thousand people. Formerly when the Passion Play was performed, it was given in the open air, no building being sufficient to contain the crowds which thronged to the unaccustomed spectacle. This rude structure is arranged like a theatre, with a stage for the actors, and the rest of the house divided off into seats, the best of which are generally occupied by strangers while the peasant population crowd the galleries. We had front seats, which were only separated from the stage by the orchestra, which deserves a word of praise, since the music was both _composed_ and performed wholly by such musical talent as the little village itself could provide.

At length the music ceased, and the _choir_, which was composed of thirteen persons in two divisions, entered from opposite sides of the stage, and "formed in line" in front of the curtain. The choir takes a leading part in this extraordinary performance--the same, indeed, that the chorus does in the old Greek tragedy, preceding each act or tableau with a recitation or a hymn, designed as a prelude to introduce what is to follow, and then at the close of the act concluding with what preachers would call an "improvement" or "application." In this opening chant the chorus introduced the mighty story of man's redemption, as Milton began his Paradise Lost, by speaking

Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Brought death into the world, and all our woe.

It was a sort of recitative or plaintive melody, fit keynote of the sad scenes that were to follow. The voices ceased, and the curtain rose.

The first Biblical characters who appeared on the stage were Cain and Abel, who were dressed in skins after the primitive fashion of our race. Abel, who was of light complexion and hair, was clad in the whitest and softest sheep's wool; while Cain, who was dark-featured, and of a sinister and angry countenance, was covered with a flaming leopard's skin, as best betokened the ferocity of his character. In the background rose the incense of Abel's offering. Cain was disturbed and angry; he spoke to his brother in a harsh voice. Abel replied in the gentlest accents, trying to soften his brother's heart and turn away his wrath. Father Adam, too, appears on the scene, using his parental authority to reconcile his children; and Eve comes in, and lays her light hand on the arm of her infuriated son, and tries to soothe him to a gentler mood. Even the Angel of the Lord steps forth from among the trees of the Garden, to warn the guilty man of the evil of unbridled rage, and to urge him to timely repentance, that his offering may be accepted. These united persuasions for the moment seem to be successful, and there is an apparent reconciliation between the brothers; Cain falls on Abel's neck, and embraces him. Yet even while using the language of affection, he has a club in his hand, which he holds behind him. But the fatal deed is not done upon the stage; for throughout the play there is an effort to keep out of sight any repulsive act. So they retire from the scene. But presently nature itself announces that some deed of violence and blood is being done; the lightnings flash and thunders roll; and Adam reappears, bearing Abel in his aged arms, and our first parents together indulge in loud lamentations over the body of their murdered son.

This story of Cain and Abel occupied several short acts, in which the curtain rose and fell several times, and at the end of each the chorus came upon the stage to give the moral of the scene.

In the dialogues the speakers follow closely the Old Testament. If occasional sentences are thrown in to give a little more fulness of detail, at least there is no departure from the general outline of the sacred narrative. It is the story of the first crime, the first shedding of human blood, told in a dramatic form, by the personages themselves appearing on the stage.

These scenes from the Old Testament were mingled with scenes from the New, the aim being to use one to illustrate the other--the antitype following the type in close succession. Thus the _pendant_ of the former scenes (to adopt a word much used by artists when one picture is hung on a wall over against another) was now given in the corresponding crime which darkens the pages of the New Testament history--the betrayal of Christ. But there was this difference between the scenes from the Old Testament and those from the New: in the latter _there was no dialogue whatever, and no action_, as if it was all too sacred for words--nothing but the tableau, the figures standing in one attitude, fixed and motionless. First there was the scene of Christ driving the money-changers from the temple. Here a large number of figures--I should think twenty or thirty--appeared upon the stage, and held their places with unchanging look. Not one moved; they scarcely breathed; but all stood fixed as marble. All the historic characters were present--the priests in their robes (the costumes evidently having been studied with great care), and the Pharisees glaring with rage upon our Lord, as with holy indignation He spurns the profane intruders from the sacred precincts.

Then there is the scene of Judas betraying Christ. We see him leading the way to the spot where our Saviour kneels in prayer; the crowd follow with lanterns; there are the Roman soldiers, and in the background are the priests, the instigators of this greatest of crimes.

In another scene Judas appears again overwhelmed with remorse, casting down his ill-gotten money before the priests, who look on scornfully, as if bidding him keep the price of blood, and take its terrible consequences.

As might be supposed, the part of Judas is one not to be particularly desired, and we cannot look at a countenance showing a mixture of hatred and greed, without a strong repugnance. There was a story that the man who acted Judas in the Passion Play in 1870 had been killed in the French war, but this we find to be an error. It was a very natural invention of some one who thought that a man capable of such a crime ought to be killed. But the old Judas is still living, and, off from the stage, is said to be one of the most worthy men of the village.

Having thus had set before us the most sticking illustrations of human guilt, in the first crime that ever stained the earth with blood, and in the greatest of all crimes, which caused the death of Christ, we have next presented the method of man's redemption. The chorus again enters upon the stage, and recites the story of the fall, how man sinned, and was to be recovered by the sacrifice of one who was to be an atonement for a ruined world. Again the curtain rises, and we have before us the high priest Melchisedec, in whose smoking altar we see illustrated the idea of sacrifice.

The same idea takes a more terrible form in the sacrifice of Isaac. We see the struggles of his father Abraham, who is bowed with sorrow, and the heart-broken looks of Sarah, his wife. The latter part, as it happened, was taken by a person of a very sweet face, the effect of which was heightened by being overcast with sadness, and also by the Oriental costume, which, covering a part of the face, left the dark eyes which peered out from under the long eyelashes, to be turned on the beholders. Everything in the appearance of Abraham, his bending form and flowing beard, answered to the idea of the venerable patriarch. The _couleur locale_ was preserved even in the attendants, who looked as if they were Arabian servants who had just dismounted from camels at the door of the tent. Isaac appears, an innocent and confiding boy, with no presumption of the dark and terrible fate that is impending over him. And when the gentle Sarah appears, tenderly solicitous for the safety of her child, the coldest spectator could hardly be unmoved by a scene pictured with such touching fidelity. It is with a feeling of relief that, as this fearful tragedy approaches its consummation, we hear the voice of the angel, and behold that the Lord has himself provided a sacrifice.

But all these scenes of darkness and sorrow, of guilt and sacrifice, are now to find their culmination and their explanation in the death of our Lord, to which all ancient types converge, and on which all ancient symbols cast their faint and flickering, but not uncertain, light. As the scenes approach this grand climax, they grow in pathos and solemnity. Each is more tender and more effective than the last.

One of the most touching, as might be supposed, is that of the Last Supper, in which we recognize every one of the disciples, so closely has the grouping been studied from the painting of Leonardo da Vinci and other old masters with whom this was a favorite subject. There are Peter and John and the rest, all turning with an eager, anxious look towards their Master, and all with an indescribable sadness on their faces. Again the scene changes, and we see our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane. There are the three disciples slumbering, overcome with weariness and sorrow; and there on the sacred mount at midnight

"The suffering Saviour prays alone."

Again the curtain falls, and the chorus, in tones still more plaintive and mournful, announce that the end is near. The curtain rises, and we behold THE CRUCIFIXION. Here there are thirty or forty persons introduced. In the foreground are three or four figures "casting lots," careless of the awful scene that is going on above them. The Roman soldier is looking upward with his spear. The three Marys are at the feet of their Lord; _Mary Magdalen nearest of all, with her arms clasped around the cross_; Mary, the mother of Christ, looking up with weeping eyes; and a little farther Mary, the wife of Cleophas. The two thieves are hanging, with their arms thrown over the cross-tree, as they are represented in many of the paintings of the Crucifixion. But we scarcely notice them, as all eyes are fixed on the Central Figure. The man who takes the part of the Christus in this Divine Tragedy, has made a study of it for years, and must have trained himself to great physical endurance for a scene which must tax his strength to the utmost. His arms are extended, his hands and feet seem to be pierced with the nails, and flowing with blood. Even without actual wounds the attitude itself must be extremely painful. How he could support the weight of his body in such a posture was a wonder to all. It was said that he rested one foot on something projecting from the cross, but even then it seemed incredible that he could sustain such a position for more than a single instant. Yet in the performance of the Passion Play it is said that he remains thus suspended twenty minutes, and is then taken down, almost in a fainting condition.

Some may ask, How did the sight affect me? Twenty-four hours before I could not have believed that I could look upon it without a feeling of horror, but so skilfully had the points of the sacred drama been rendered thus far, that my feelings had been wound up to the highest pitch, and when the curtain rose on that last tremendous scene, I was quite overcome, the tears burst from my eyes, I felt as never before, under any sermon that I ever heard preached, how solemn and how awful was the tragedy of the death of the Son of God. So excited were we, and to appearance all in the building, that it was a relief when the curtain fell.

As if to give a further relief to the over-wrought feelings of the audience, occasioned by this mournful sight, the next scene was of a different character. It was not the Resurrection, though it might have been intended to symbolize it, as in it the actor appears as if he had been brought back from the dead. It is the story of Joseph, which is introduced to illustrate the method of Divine Providence, by which is brought "Light out of Darkness." We see the aged form of Jacob, bowed with grief at the loss of his son. Then comes the marvellous succession of events by which the darkness is turned to light. Bewildered at the news of his son being in Egypt, at first he cannot believe the good tidings, till at length convinced, he rises up saying "Joseph my son, is yet alive; I will go and see him before I die." Then follows the return to Egypt, and the meeting with him who was dead and is alive again, when the old man falls upon his neck, and Joseph's children (two curly-headed little fellows whom we had the privilege of kissing before the day was over) were brought to his knees to receive his blessing. This was a domestic rather than a tragic scene, and such is the natural pathos of the story, that it touched every heart.

The last scene of all was the Ascension, which was less impressive than some that had gone before, as it could of course only be imperfectly represented. The Saviour appears standing on the mount, with outstretched hands, in the midst of his disciples, but there the scene ends, as it could go no further; there could be no descending cloud to receive him out of their sight.

With this last act the curtain fell. The whole representation had occupied three hours.

Now as to the general impression of this extraordinary scene: As a piece of _acting_ it was simply wonderful. The parts were filled admirably. The characters were perfectly kept. Even the costumes were as faithfully reproduced as in any of those historical dramas which are now and then put upon the stage, such as tragedies founded on events in ancient Greek or Roman history, where the greatest pains are taken to render every detail with scrupulous fidelity. This is very extraordinary, especially when it is considered that this is all done by a company of Bavarian peasants, such as might be found in any Alpine village. The explanation is, that this representation is _the great work of their lives_. They have their trades, like other poor people, and work hard for a living. But their great interest, that which gives a touch of poetry to their humble existence, and raises them above the level of other peasants, is the representation of this Passion Play. This has come down to them from their fathers. It has been acted among them for two hundred years. There are traditions handed down from one generation to another of the way in which this or that part should be performed. In the long intervals of ten years between one representation and another, they practice constantly upon their several parts, so that at the last they attain a wonderful degree of perfection.

As to the _propriety_ of the thing: To our cold Protestant ideas it seems simply monstrous, a horrid travesty of the most sacred scenes in the Word of God. So I confess it would appear to me if done by others. _Anywhere else_ what I have witnessed would appear to me almost like blasphemy; it would be _merely acting_, and that of the worst kind, in which men assume the most sacred characters, even that of our blessed Lord himself.

But this impression is very much changed when we consider that here all this is done in a spirit of devotion. These Bavarian peasants are a very religious people (some would prefer to call it superstition), but whatever it be, it is _universal_. Pictures of saints and angels, or of Christ and the Virgin Mary, are seen in every house; crosses and images, and shrines are all along the roads. Call it superstition if you will, but at least the feeling of religion, the feeling of a Divine Power, is present in every heart; they refer everything to supernatural agencies; they hear the voice of God in the thunder that smites the crest of the hills, or the storm that sweeps through their valleys.

And so when they come to the performance of this Passion Play, it is not as unbelievers, whose offering would be an offence, "not being mixed with faith in them that did it." They believe, and therefore they speak, and therefore they act. And so they go through their parts in the most devout spirit. Whenever the Passion Play is to be performed, all who are to take part in it _first go to the communion_; and thus with hearts penitent and subdued, they come to assume these sacred characters, and speak these holy words.

And so, while the attempt to transport the Passion Play anywhere else would be very repulsive, it may be left where it is, in this lonely valley of the Bavarian mountains, an unique and extraordinary relic of the religious customs of the Middle Ages.

But while one such representation is quite enough, and we are well content that it should stand alone, and there should be not another, yet he must be a dull observer who does not derive from it some useful hints both as to the power of the simplest religious truth, and the way of presenting it.

Preachers are not actors, and when some sensational preachers try to introduce into the pulpit the arts which they have learned from the stage, they commonly make lamentable failures. To say that a preacher is theatrical, is to stamp him as a kind of clerical mountebank. And yet there is a use of the dramatic element which is not forced nor artificial, which on the contrary is the most simple and natural way of speaking. The dramatic element is in human nature. Children use gestures in talking, and vary their tones of voice. They never stand stiff as a post, as some preachers do. The most popular speakers are dramatic in their style. Cough, the temperance lecturer, who has probably addressed more and larger audiences in America and Great Britain than any other man living, is a consummate actor. His art of mimicry, his power of imitating the expression of countenance and tones of voice, is wonderful. And our eloquent friend Talmage, in Brooklyn, owes much of his power to the freedom with which he walks up and down his platform, which is a kind of stage, and throws in incidents to illustrate his theme, often acting, as well as relating them, with great effect.

But not only is the dramatic element in human nature, it is in the Bible, which runs over with it. The Bible is not merely a volume of ethics. It is full of narrative, of history and biography, and of dialogue. Many of the teachings of our Saviour are in the form of conversations, of which it is quite impossible to give the full meaning and spirit, without changes of manner and inflections of voice. Take such an exquisite portion of the Old Testament as the story of Ruth, or that of Joseph and his brethren. What an outrage upon the sacred word to read such sweet and tender passages in a dull and monotonous voice, as if one had not a particle of feeling of their beauty. One might ask such a reader "Understandest thou what thou readest?" and if he is too dull to learn otherwise, these simple Bavarian peasants might teach him to throw into his reading from the pulpit a little of the pathos and tenderness which they give to the conversations of Joseph with his father Jacob.

Of course, in introducing the dramatic element into the pulpit, it is to be done with a close self-restraint, and with the utmost delicacy and tenderness. But so used, it may subserve the highest ends of preaching. Of this a very illustrious example is furnished in the annals of the American pulpit, in the Blind Preacher of Virginia, the impression of whose eloquence is preserved by the pen of William Wirt. When that venerable old man, lifting his sightless eyeballs to heaven, described the last sufferings of our Lord, it was with a manner adapted to the recital, as if he had been a spectator of the mournful scene, and with such pathos in his tones as melted the whole assembly into tears, and the excitement seemed almost beyond control; and the stranger held his breath in fear and wonder how they were ever to be let down from that exaltation of feeling. But the blind man held them as a master. He paused and lifted his hands to heaven, and after a moment of silence, repeated only the memorable exclamation of Rousseau: "Socrates died like a philosopher, but Jesus Christ like a God!" In this marvellous eloquence the preacher used the dramatic element as truly as any actor in the Passion Play, the object in both cases being the same, to bring most vividly before the mind the life and death of the Son of God.

And is not that the great object, and the great subject, of all our preaching? The chief lesson which I have learned to-day, concerns not the _manner_, but the _substance_, of what we preach. This Passion Play teaches most impressively, that the one thing which most interests all, high and low, rich and poor, is the simple story of Jesus Christ, and that the power of the pulpit depends on the vividness with which Christ and His Cross are brought, if not before the _eyes_, at least before the _minds_ and hearts of men. It is not eloquent essays on the beauty of virtue, or learned discussions on the relations of Science and Religion, that will ever touch the heart of the world, but the old, old story of that Divine life, told with the utmost simplicity and tenderness. I think it lawful to use any object which can bring me nearer to Him. That which has been conceived in superstition may minister to a devout spirit. And so I never see one of these crosses by the roadside without its turning my thoughts to Him who was lifted up upon it, and in my secret heart I whisper, "O Christ, Redeemer of the world, be near me now!"

Some, I know, will think this a weak sentimentalism, or even a sinful tolerance of superstition. But with all proper respect for their prejudices, I must hail my Saviour wherever I can find Him, whether in the city or the forest, or on the mountain. What a consolation there is in carrying that blessed image with us, wherever we go! How it stills our beating hearts, and dries our tears, to think of Him who has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows! Often do I repeat to myself those sweet lines of George Herbert:

Christ leads us through no darker rooms Than He went through before; Whoso into God's kingdom comes Must enter by this door.

I do not like to speak of my own feelings; for they are too private and sacred, and I shrink from any expression of them. But all this summer, while wandering in so many beautiful scenes, among lakes and mountains, I have felt the strongest religious craving. I have been looking for something which I did not find either in the populous city, or in the solitary place where no man was. Something had vanished from the earth, the absence of which could only be supplied by an invisible presence and spiritual grace. Amid great scenes of nature one is very lonely; and especially if there be a hidden weight that hangs heavy on the heart, he feels the need of a Presence of which "The deep saith, It is not in me," and Nature saith, "It is not in me." What is this but the human soul groping after God, if haply it may find him? The psalmist has expressed it in one word, when he says, "My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God." How often has that cry been wrung from my heart in lonely and desolate hours, when standing on the deck of a ship, or on the peak of a mountain! And wherever I see any sign of religion, I am comforted; and so as I look around, and see upon all these hills the sign of the cross, I think of Him who died for me, and the cry which has so often been lifted up in distant lands, goes up here from the heart of the Bavarian Alps: "O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, grant me Thy peace!"

CHAPTER XVIII.

THE TYROL AND LAKE COMO.

CADENABBIA, LAKE COMO, August 30th.

The Rev. Dr. Bellows of New York is to blame--or "to praise"--for our last week's wanderings; for he it was who advised me by no means to leave out the Tyrol in our European tour--and if he could have seen all the delight of these few days, I think he would willingly take the responsibility. The Tyrol is less visited than Switzerland; it is not so overrun with tourists (and this is a recommendation); but it is hardly less worthy of a visit. To be sure, the mountains are not quite so high as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn (there are not so many snow-clad peaks and glaciers), but they are high enough; there are many that pierce the clouds, and the roads wind amid perpetual wildness, yet not without beauty also, for at the foot of these savage mountains lie the loveliest green valleys, which are inhabited by a simple, brave people, who have often defended their Alpine passes with such valor as has made them as full of historical interest as they are of natural grandeur.

Innsbruck is the capital of the Tyrol, and the usual starting point for a tour--but as at Ober-Ammergau we were to the west, we found a nearer point of departure at Partenkirchen, a small town lying in the lap of the mountains, from which a journey through Lermos, Nassereit, Imst, Landeck and Mals, leads one through the heart of the Tyrol, ending with the Stelvio Pass, the highest over the Alps. It is a long day's ride to Landeck, but we ordered a carriage with a pair of stout horses, and went to our rest full of expectation of what we should see on the morrow.

But the night was not promising; the rain fell in torrents, and the morning was dark and lowering; but "he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap," so with faith we set out, and our faith was rewarded, for soon the clouds broke away, and though they lingered in scattered masses, sufficient to shade us from the oppressive heat of the sun, they did not obscure the sight of the mountains and the valleys. The rains had laid the dust and cooled the air, and all day long we were floating through a succession of the most varied scenes, in which there was a mingled wildness and beauty that would have delighted our landscape artists.

The villages are less picturesque than the country. They are generally built very compact, apparently as a security against the winter, when storms rage through these valleys, and there is a feeling of safety in being thus "huddled" together. The houses are of stone, with arched passage-ways for the horses to be driven into a central yard. They look very solid, but they are not tasteful. There are not good accommodations for travellers. There are as yet none of those magnificent hotels which the flood of English tourists has caused to be built at every noted point in Switzerland; in the Tyrol one has to depend on the inns of the country, and these, with a few exceptions, are poor. Looking through the one long, narrow street of a Tyrolean village, one sees little that is attractive, but much to the contrary. Great heaps of manure lie exposed by the roadside, and often not only before the barns, but before the houses. These seem to be regarded as the agricultural riches of the cultivators of the soil, and are displayed with as much pride as a shepherd would take in showing his flocks and herds. These features of a hamlet in the Tyrol a traveller regards with disgust, and we used often to think of the contrast presented to one of our New England villages, the paradise of neatness and comfort.

Such things seem to show an utter absence of taste; and yet this people are very fond of flowers. Almost every house has a little patch of ground for their cultivation, and the contrast is most strange between the filth on one side and the beauty and bloom on the other.

Another feature which strikes one, is the universal reverence and devotion. The Tyrolese, like the peasants of Bavaria, are a very religious people. One can hardly travel a mile without coming to a cross or a shrine by the wayside, with an image of Christ and the Virgin. Often on the highest points of the mountains, where only the shepherd builds his hut, that he may watch his flocks in the summer as they feed on those elevated pastures, may be seen a little chapel, whose white spire, gleaming in the sunset, seems as strange and lonely as would a rude chapel built by a company of miners on some solitary peak of the Rocky Mountains.

These summer pastures are a feature of the Tyrol. High up on the sides of the mountains one may descry here and there, amid the masses of rock, or the pine forest, a little oasis of green (called an _Alp_), where a few rods of more level ground permit of cultivation. It would seem as if these heights were almost inaccessible, as if only the chamois could clamber up such rocks, or find a footing where only stunted pines can grow. Yet so industrious are these simple Tyroleans, and so hard-pressing is the necessity which compels them to use every foot of the soil, that they follow in the path of the chamois, and turn even the tops of the mountains into greenness, and plant their little patches almost on the edge of the snows. Wherever the grass can grow, the cattle and goats find sustenance on the scanty herbage. To these mountain pastures they are driven, so soon as the snows have melted off from the heights, and the tender grass begins to appear, and there they are kept till the return of cold compels them to descend. We used often to look through our spyglass at the little clusters of huts on the very tops of the mountains, where the shepherds, by coming together, try to lighten a little the loneliness of their lot, banished for the time from all other human habitations. But what a solitary existence--the only sound that greets their ears the tinkling of the cow-bells, or the winding of the shepherd's horn, or the chime of some chapel bell, which, perched on a neighboring height, sends its sweet tones across the valley. Amid such scenes, we rode through a dozen villages, past hills crowned with old castles, and often looked down from the mountain sides into deep hollows glistening with lakes. As we came into the valley of the Inn, we remembered that this was all historic ground. The bridges over which we passed have often been the scene of bloody conflicts, and in these narrow gorges the Tyrolese have rolled down rocks and trees on the heads of their invaders.

We slept that night at Landeck, in a very decent, comfortable inn, kept by a good motherly hostess. The next morning we exchanged our private carriage for the _stellwaggen_, a small diligence which runs to Mals. Our journey was now made still more pleasant by falling in with a party of three clergymen of the Church of England--all rectors of important churches in or near London, who had been, like ourselves, to Ober-Ammergau, and were returning through the Tyrol. They had been also to the Old Catholic Conference at Bonn, where they met our friend Dr. Schaff. They had much to say of the addresses of Dr. Döllinger, and of the Old Catholic movement, of which they had not very high expectations, although they thought its influence, as far as it went, was good. We travelled together for three days. I found them (as I have always found clergymen of the Church of England) men of culture and education, as well as gentlemen in their manners. They proved most agreeable travelling companions, and their pleasant conversation, as we rode together, or walked up the steep ascents of the mountains, gave an additional enjoyment to this most delightful journey.

This second day's ride led us over the Finstermünz Pass in which all the features of Tyrolean scenery of the day before were repeated with increasing grandeur. For many miles the line of the Tyrol is close to that of Switzerland; across a deep gorge, through which flows a rapid river, lies the Engadine, which of late years has been a favorite resort of Swiss tourists, and where our friend Prof. Hitchcock with his family has been spending the summer at St. Moritz.

Towards the close of the day we descried in the distance a range of snowy summits, and were told that this was the chain that we were to cross on the morrow.

But all the experiences of those two days--in which we thought our superlatives were exhausted--were surpassed on the third as we crossed the Pass of the Stelvio. This is the highest pass in Europe, and on this day it seemed as if we were scaling heaven itself. Having a party of five, we procured a diligence to ourselves. We set out from Mals at six o'clock in the morning, and crossing the rushing, foaming Adige, began the ascent. Soon the mountains close in upon us, the Pass grows narrower and steeper; the horses have to pull harder; we get out and walk, partly to relieve the hard-breathing animals, but more to see at every turn the savage wildness of the scenery. How the road turns and twists in every way to get a foothold, doubling on itself a hundred times in its ascent of a few miles. And look, how the grandeur grows as we mount into this higher air! The snow-peaks are all around us, and the snow melting in the fiery sun, feeds many streams which pour down the rocky sides of the mountains to unite in the valley below, and which filled the solitudes with a perpetual roar.

After such steady climbing for seven hours, at one o'clock we reached a resting place for dinner (where we halted an hour), a shelf between the mountains, from which, as we were now above the line of trees, and no forests intercepted the view, we could see our way to the very summit. The road winds in a succession of zigzags up the side of the mountain. The distance in an air line is not perhaps more than two miles, though it is six and a half by the road, and it took us just two hours to reach the top. At length at four o'clock we reached the point, over nine thousand feet above the level of the sea, where a stone monument marks at once the summit of the Pass and the dividing line between the Tyrol and Lombardy. All leaped from the carriage in delight, to look around on the wilderness of mountains. To the left was the great range of the Ortler Alps, with the Ortler Spitze rising like a white dome above them all. At last we were among the snows. We were above the line of vegetation, where not a tree grows, nor a blade of grass--where all is barrenness and desolation.

The Stelvio is utterly impassable the greater part of the year. In a few weeks more the snows will fall. By the end of September it is considered unsafe, and the passage is attempted at one's peril, as the traveller may be caught in a storm, and lost on the mountain.

Perhaps some of my readers will ask, what we often asked, What is the use of building a road amid these frightful solitudes, when it cannot be travelled the greater part of the year? What is the use of carrying a highway up into the clouds? Why build such a Jacob's ladder into heaven itself, since after all this is not the way to get to heaven? It must have cost millions. But there is no population along the road to justify the expense. It could not be built for a few poor mountaineers. And yet it is constructed as solidly as if it were the Appian way leading out of Rome. It is an immense work of engineering. For leagues upon leagues it has to be supported by solid stone-work to prevent its being washed away by torrents. The answer is easy. It is a military road, built, if not for purposes of conquest, yet to hold one insecure dominion. Twenty years ago the upper part of Italy was a dependency of Austria, but an insecure one, always in a chronic state of discontent, always on the verge of rebellion. This road was built to enable the government at Vienna to move troops swiftly through the Tyrol over this pass, and pour them down upon the plains of Lombardy. Hannibal and Cæsar had crossed the Alps, but the achievement was the most daring in the annals of ancient warfare. Napoleon passed the Great St. Bernard, but he felt the need of an easier passage for his troops, and constructed the Simplon, not from a benevolent wish to benefit mankind, but simply to render more secure his hold upon Italy, as he showed by asking the engineers who came to report upon the progress of the work, "When will the road be ready to pass over the cannon?" Such was the design of Austria in building the road over the Stelvio. But man proposes and God disposes. It was built with the resources of an empire, and now that it is finished, Lombardy, by a succession of events not anticipated in the royal councils, falls to reunited Italy, and this road, the highest in Europe, remains, not a channel of conquest, but a highway of civilization.

But here we are on the top of the Pass, from which we can look into three countries--an empire, a kingdom, and a republic. Austria is behind us, and Italy is before us, and Switzerland, throned on the Alps, stands close beside us. After resting awhile, and feasting our eyes on the glorious sight, we prepare to descend.

We are not out of the Tyrol, even when we have crossed the frontier, for there is an Italian as well as an Austrian Tyrol, which has the same features, and may be said to extend to Lake Como.

The descent from the Stelvio is quite as wonderful as the ascent. Perhaps the impression is even greater, as the descent is more rapid, and one realizes more the awful height and depth, as he is whirled down the pass by a hundred zigzag turns, over bridges and through galleries of rock, till at last, at the close of a long summer's day, he reaches the Baths of Bormio, and plunging into one of the baths, for which the place is so famous, washes away the dust of the journey, and rests after the fatigue of a day never to be forgotten, in which he made the Pass of the Stelvio.

For one fond of mountain climbing, who wished to make foot excursions among the Alps, there are not many better points than this of the Baths of Bormio. It is under the shadow of the great mountains, yet is itself only about four thousand feet high, so that it is easily accessible from below, yet it is nearly half-way up to the heights above.

But we were on our way to Italy, and the next day continued our course down the valley of the Adda. Hour after hour we kept going down, down, till it seemed as if we must at last reach the very bottom of the mountains, where their granite foundations are embedded in the solid mass of the planet. But this descent gave us a succession of scenes of indescribable beauty. Slowly the valley widened before us. The mountains wore a rugged aspect. Instead of sterile masses of rock, mantled with snows, and piercing the clouds, they began to be covered with pines, which, like moss upon rocks, softened and beautified their rugged breasts. As we advanced still farther, the slopes were covered with vineyards; we were entering the land of the olive and the vine; terrace on terrace rose on the mountain side; every shelf of rock, or foot of ground, where a vine could grow, was covered. The rocky soil yields the most delicious grapes. Women brought us great clusters; a franc purchased enough for our whole party. The industry of the people seemed more like the habits of birds building their nests on every point of vantage, or of bees constructing their precious combs in the trunks of old trees or in the clefts of the rocks, than the industry of human creatures, which requires some little "verge and scope" for its manifestations. And now along the banks of the Adda are little plots of level ground, which admit of other cultivation. Olives trees are mingled with the vines. There are orchards too, which remind us of New England. Great numbers of mulberry trees are grown along the road, for the raising of silk is one of the industries of Lombardy, and there are thousands of willows by the water-courses, from which they are cutting the lithe and supple branches, to be woven into baskets. It is the glad summer time, and the land is rejoicing with the joy of harvest. "The valleys are covered over with corn; they shout for joy; they also sing." It was a warm afternoon, and the people were gathering in the hay; and a pretty sight it was to see men and women in the fields raking the rows, and very sweet to inhale the smell of the new-mown hay, as we whirled along the road.

These are pretty features of an Italian landscape; I wish that the impression was not marred by some which are less pleasant. But the comfort of the people does not seem to correspond to their industry. There is no economy in their labor, everything is done in the old-fashioned way, and in the most wasteful methods. I did not see a mowing or a reaping machine in the Tyrol, either on this or the other side of the mountains. They use wooden ploughs, drawn by cows as often as by oxen, and so little management have they, that one person is employed, generally a woman, to lead the miserable team, or rather pull them along. I have seen a whole family attached to a pair of sorry cattle--the man holding the plough, the woman pulling the rope ahead, and a poor little chap, who did his best, whipping behind. The crops are gathered in the same slipshod way. The hay is all carried in baskets on the backs of women. It was a pitiful sight to see them groaning under their loads, often stopping by the roadside to rest. I longed to see one of our Berkshire farmers enter the hay-field with a pair of lusty oxen and a huge cart, which would transport at a single load a weight, such as would break the backs of all the women in an Italian village.

Of course women subjected to this kind of work, are soon bent out of all appearance of beauty; and when to this is added the goitre, which prevails to a shocking extent in these mountain valleys, they are often but wretched hags in appearance.

And yet the Italians have a "gift of beauty," if it were only not marred by such untoward circumstances. Many a bright, Spanish-looking face looked out of windows, and peered from under the arches, as we rattled through the villages; and the children were almost always pretty, even though in rags. With their dark brown faces, curly hair, and large, beautiful eyes, they might have been the models of Murillo's beggars.

We dined at Tirano, in a hotel which once had been a monastery, and whose spacious rooms--very comfortable "cells" indeed--and ample cellars for their wines, and large open court, surrounded with covered arches, where the good fathers could rest in the heat of the day, showed that these old monks, though so intent on the joys of the next world, were not wholly indifferent to the "creature comforts" of this.

Night brought us to Sondrio, where in a spacious and comfortable inn, which we remember with much satisfaction after our long rides, we slept the sleep of innocence and peace.

And now we are fairly entered into Italy. The mountains are behind us, and the lakes are before us. Friday brought us to Lake Como, and we found the relief of exchanging our ride in a diligence along a hot and dusty road for a sail over this most enchanting of Italian, perhaps I might say of European, lakes; for after seeing many in different countries, it seems to me that this is "better than all the waters" of Scotland or Switzerland. It is a daughter of the Alps, lying at their feet, fed by their snows, and reflecting their giant forms in its placid bosom. And here on its shores we have pitched our tent to rest for ten days. For three months we have been travelling almost without stopping, sometimes, to avoid the heat, riding all night--as from Amsterdam to Hamburg, and from Prague to Vienna. The last week, though very delightful, has been one of great fatigue, as for four days in succession we rode twelve or thirteen hours a day in a carriage or diligence. After being thus jolted and knocked about, we are quite willing to rest. Nature is very well, but it is a pleasant change once in a while to return to civilization; to have the luxury of a bath, and to sleep quietly in our beds, like Christians, instead of racing up and down in the earth, as if haunted by an evil spirit. And so we have decided to "come apart and rest awhile," before starting on another campaign.

We are in the loveliest spot that ever a tired mortal chose to pillow his weary head. If any of my readers are coming abroad for a summer, and wish for a place of _rest_, let me recommend to them this quiet retreat. Cadenabbia! it hath a pleasant sound, and it is indeed an enchanting spot. The mountains are all around us, to shut out the world, and the gentle waters ripple at our feet. We do not spend the time in making excursions, for in this balmy air it is a sufficient luxury to exist. We are now writing at a table under an avenue of fine old trees, which stretch along the lake to the Villa Carlotta, a princely residence, which belongs to a niece of the Emperor of Germany, where oranges and lemons are growing in the open air, and hang in clusters over our heads, and where one may pick from the trees figs and pomegranates. Here we sit in a paradise of beauty, and send our loving thoughts to friends over the sea.

And then, if tired of the shore, we have but to step into a boat, and float "at our own sweet will." This is our unfailing resource when the day is over. Boats are lying in front of the hotel, and strong-armed rowers are ready to take us anywhere. Across the lake, which is here but two miles wide, is Bellaggio, with its great hotels along the water, and its numerous villas peering out from the dense foliage of trees. How they glow in the last rays of the sunset, and how brilliant the lights along the shore at evening. Sometimes we sail across to visit the villas, or to look among the hotels for friendly American names. But more commonly we sail up and down, only for the pleasure of the motion, now creeping along by the shore, under the shadow of the mountains, and now "launching out into the deep," and rest, like one becalmed, in the middle of the lake. We do not want to go anywhere, but only to float and dream. Row gently, boatman! Softly and slowly! _Lentissimo!_ Hush, there is music on the shore. We stop and listen:

"My soul was an enchanted boat, That like a sleeping swan did float, Upon the waves of that sweet singing."

But better than music or the waters is the heaven that is above the waters, and that is reflected in the tranquil bosom of the lake. Leaning back on the cushioned seat, we look up to the stars as old friends, as they are the only objects that we recognize in the heavens above or the earth beneath. How we come to love any object that is familiar. I confess it is with a tender feeling that I look up to constellations that have so often shined upon me in other lands, when other eyes looked up with mine. How sweet it is, wherever we go, to have at least one object that we have seen before; one face that is not strange to us, the same on land or sea, in Europe and America. Thus in our travels I have learned to look up to the stars as the most constant friends. They are the only things in nature that remain faithful. The mountains change as we move from country to country. The rivers know us not as they glide away swiftly to the sea. But the stars are always the same. The same constellations glow in the heavens to-night that shone on Julius Cæsar when he led his legions through these mountains to conquer the tribes of Germany. Cæsar is gone, and sixty generations since, but Orion and the Pleiades remain. The same stars are here that shone on Bethlehem when Christ was born; the same that now shine in distant lands on holy graves; and that will look down with pitying eyes on our graves when we are gone. Blessed lights in the heavens, to illumine the darkness of our earthly existence! Are they not the best witnesses for our Almighty Creator,

"Forever singing as they shine The hand that made us is Divine?"

He who hath set his bow in the cloud, hath set in the firmament that is above the clouds, these everlasting signs of His own faithfulness. Who that looks up at that midnight sky can ever again doubt His care and love, as he reads these unchanging memorials of an unchanging God?

CHAPTER XIX.

THE CITY IN THE SEA.

VENICE, Sept 18th.

It was with real regret that we left Lake Como, where we had passed ten very quiet but very happy days. But all things pleasant must have an end, and so on Monday morning we departed. Steamers ply up and down the lake, but as none left at an hour early enough to connect with a train that reached Venice the same evening, we took a boat and were rowed to Lecco. It was a three hours' pull for two strong men; but as we left at half-past seven, the eastern mountains protected us from the heat of the sun, and we glided swiftly along in their cool shadows. Not a breath of air ruffled the bosom of the lake. Everything in this parting view conspired to make us regret a scene of which we were taking a long, perhaps a last, farewell.

At Lecco we came back to railroads, which we had not seen since the morning we left Munich for Ober-Ammergau, more than two weeks before, and were soon flying over a cultivated country, where orchards of mulberry trees (close-trimmed, so as to yield a second crop of leaves the same season) gave promise of the rich silks of Lombardy, and vines covered all the terraced slopes of the hills.

In the carriage with us was a good old priest, who was attached to St. Mark's in Venice, with whom we fell in conversation, and who gave us much information about the picturesque country through which we were passing. Here, where the land is smiling so peacefully, among these very hills, "rich with corn and wine," was fought the great battle in which Venice defeated Frederick Barbarossa, and thus saved the cause of Italian independence.

At Bergamo we struck the line from Milan to Venice, and while waiting an hour for the express train, sauntered off with the old priest into the town, which was just then alive with the excitement of its annual fair. The peasants had come in from all the country round--men and women, boys and girls--to enjoy a holiday, bringing whatever they had to sell, and seeking whatever they had to buy. One might imagine that he was in an old-fashioned "cattle show" at home. Farmers had brought young colts which they had raised for the market, and some of the brawny fellows, with broad-brimmed hats, answered to the drovers one may see in Kansas, who have driven the immense herds of cattle from Texas. In another part of the grounds were exposed for sale the delicate fabrics and rich colors which tempt the eye of woman: silks and scarfs and shawls, with many of the sex, young and old, looking on with eager eyes. And there were sports for the children. A merry-go-round picked up its load of little creatures, who, mounted on wooden horses, were whirled about to their infinite delight at a penny apiece--a great deal of happiness for a very little money. And there were all sorts of shows going on--little enclosures, where something wonderful was to be seen, the presence of which was announced by the beating of a drum; and a big tent with a circus, which from the English names of the performers may have been a strolling company from the British Islands, or possibly from America! It would be strange indeed, if a troupe of Yankee riders and jumpers had come all the way to Italy, to make the country folk stare at their surprising feats. And there was a menagerie, which one did not need to enter: for the wild beasts painted on the outside of the canvas, were no doubt much more ferocious and terrible to behold than the subdued and lamb-like creatures within. Is not a Country Fair the same thing all over the world?

At length the train came rushing up, and stopping but a moment for passengers, dashed off like a race-horse over the great plain of Lombardy. But we must not go so fast as to overlook this historic ground. Suddenly, like a sheet of silver, unrolls before us the broad surface of the Lago di Garda, the greatest of the Italian lakes, stretching far into the plain, but with its head resting against the background of the Tyrolean Alps. What memories gather about these places from the old Roman days! In yonder peninsula in the lake, Catullus wrote his poems; in Mantua, a few miles to the south, Virgil was born; while in Verona an amphitheatre remains in excellent preservation, which is second only to the Coliseum. In events of more recent date this region is full of interest. We are now in the heart of the famous Quadrilateral, the Four great Fortresses, built to overawe as well as defend Upper Italy. All this ground was fought over by the first Napoleon in his Italian campaigns; while near at hand is the field of Solferino, where under Napoleon III. a French army, with that of Victor Emmanuel, finally conquered the independence of Italy.

More peaceful memories linger about Padua, whose University, that is over six hundred years old, was long one of the chief seats of learning in Europe, within whose walls Galileo studied; and Tasso and Ariosto and Petrarch; and the reformer and martyr Savonarola.

But all these places sink in interest, as just at evening we reach the end of the main land, and passing over the long causeway which crosses the Lagune, find ourselves in VENICE. It seems very prosaic to enter Venice by a railroad, but the prose ceases and the poetry begins the instant we emerge from the station, for the marble steps descend to the water, and instead of stepping into a carriage we step into a gondola; and as we move off we leave behind the firm ground of ordinary experience, and our imagination, like our persons, is afloat. Everything is strange and unreal. We are in a great city, and yet we cannot put our feet to the ground. There is no sound of carriages rattling over the stony streets, for there is not a horse in Venice. We cannot realize where and what we are. The impression is greatly heightened in arriving at night, for the canals are but dimly lighted, and darkness adds to the mystery of this city of silence. Now and then we see a light in a window, and somebody leans from a balcony; and we hear the plashing of oars as a gondola shoots by; but these occasional signs of life only deepen the impression of loneliness, till it seems as if we were in a world of ghosts--nay, to be ghosts ourselves--and to be gliding through misty shapes and shadows; as if we had touched the black waters of Death, and the silent Oarsman himself were guiding our boat to his gloomy realm. Thus sunk in reverie, we floated along the watery streets, past the Rialto, and under the Bridge of Sighs, to the Hotel Danieli on the Grand Canal, just behind the Palace of the Doges.

When the morning broke, and we could see things about us in plain daylight, we set ourselves, like dutiful travellers, to see the sights, and now in a busy week have come to know something of Venice; to feel that it is not familiar _ground_, but familiar _water_, familiar canals and bridges, and churches and palaces. We have been up on the Campanile, and looked down upon the city, as it lies spread out like a map under our eye, with all its islands and its waters; and we have sailed around it and through it, going down to the Lido, and looking off upon the Adriatic; and then coursing about the Lagune, and up and down the Grand Canal and the Giudecca, and through many of the smaller canals, which intersect the city in every direction. We have visited the church of St. Mark, rich with its colored marbles and mosaics, and richer still in its historic memories; and the Palace where the Doges reigned, and the church where they are buried, the Westminster Abbey of Venice, where the rulers of many generations lie together in their royal house of death; we have visited the Picture Galleries, and seen the paintings of Titian and the statues of Canova, and then looked on the marble tombs in the church of the Frati, where sleep these two masters of different centuries. Thus we have tried to weave together the artistic, the architectural, and the historical glories of this wonderful city.

There is no city in Europe about which there is so much of romance as Venice, and of _real_ romance (if that be not a contradiction), that is, of romance founded on reality, for indeed the reality is stranger than fiction. Its very aspect dazzles the eye, as the traveller approaches from the east, and sees the morning sun reflected from its domes and towers. And how like an apparition it seems, when he reflects that all that glittering splendor rests on the unsubstantial sea. It is a jewel set in water, or rather it seems to rise, like a gigantic sea-flower, out of the waves, and to spread a kind of tropical bloom over the far-shining expanse around it.

And then its history is as strange and marvellous as any tale of the Arabian Nights. It is the wildest romance turned into reality. Venice is the oldest State in Europe. The proudest modern empires are but of yesterday compared with it. When Britain was a howling wilderness, when London and Paris were insignificant towns, the Queen of the Adriatic was in the height of its glory. Macaulay says the Republic of Venice came next in antiquity to the Church of Rome. Thus he places it before all the kingdoms of Europe, being antedated only by that hoary Ecclesiastical Dominion, which (as he writes so eloquently in his celebrated review of Ranke's History of the Popes) began to live before all the nations, and may endure till that famous New Zealander "shall take his stand, in the midst of a vast solitude, on a broken arch of London Bridge, to sketch the nuns of St. Paul's."

And this history, dating so far back, is connected with monuments still standing, which recall it vividly to the modern traveller. The church of St. Mark is a whole volume in itself. It is one of the oldest churches in the world, boasting of having under its altar the very bones of St. Mark, and behind it alabaster columns from the Temple of Solomon, while over its ancient portal the four bronze horses still stand proudly erect, which date at least from the time of Nero, and are perhaps the work of a Grecian sculptor who lived before the birth of Christ. And the Palace of the Doges--is it not a history of centuries written in stone? What grand spectacles it has witnessed in the days of Venetian splendor! What pomp and glory have been gathered within its walls! And what deliberations have been carried on in its council chambers; what deeds of patriotism have been there conceived, and also what conspiracies and what crimes! And the Prison behind it, with the Bridge of Sighs leading to it, does not every stone in that gloomy pile seem to have a history written in blood and tears?

But the part of Venice in European history was not only a leading one for more than a thousand years, but a noble one; it took the foremost place in European civilization, which it preserved after the barbarians had overrun the Roman Empire. The Middle Ages would have been Dark Ages indeed, but for the light thrown into them by the Italian Republics. It was after the Roman empire had fallen under the battle-axes of the German barbarians that the ancient Veneti took refuge on these low-lying islands, finding a defence in the surrounding waters, and here began to build a city in the sea. Its position at the head of the Adriatic was favorable for commerce, and it soon drew to itself the rich trade of the East. It sent out its ships to all parts of the Mediterranean, and even beyond the Pillars of Hercules. And so, century after century, it grew in power and splendor, till it was the greatest maritime city in the world. It was the lord of the waves, and in sign of its supremacy, it was _married to the sea_ with great pomp and magnificence. In the Arsenal is shown the model of the Bucentaur, that gilded barge in which the Doge and the Senate were every year carried down the harbor, and dropping a ring of gold and gems (large as one of those huge doorknockers that in former days gave dignity to the portals of great mansions) into the waves, signified the marriage of Venice to the sea.[3] It was the contrast of this display of power and dominion with the later decline of Venetian commerce, that suggested the melancholy line,

"The spouseless Adriatic mourns her lord."

But then Venice was as much mistress of the sea as England is to-day. She sat at the gates of the Orient, and

"The gorgeous East with richest hand Showered upon her barbaric pearl and gold."

Then arose on all her islands and her waters those structures which are to this day the wonder of Europe. The Grand Canal, which is nearly two miles long, is lined with palaces, such as no modern capital can approach in costliness and splendor.

And Venice used her power for a defence to Christendom and to civilization, the former against the Turks, and the latter against Northern barbarians. When Frederick Barbarossa came down with his hordes upon Italy, he found his most stubborn enemy in the Republic of Venice, which kept up the contest for more than twenty years, till the fierce old Emperor acknowledged a power that was invincible, and here in Venice, in the church of St. Mark, knelt before the Pope Alexander III. (who represented, not Rome against Protestantism, but Italian independence against German oppression), and gave his humble submission, and made peace with the States of Italy which, thanks to the heroic resistance of Venice, he could not conquer.

Hardly was this long contest ended before the power of Venice was turned against the Turks in the East. Venetians, aided by French crusaders, and led by a warrior whose courage neither age nor blindness could restrain ("Oh for one hour of blind old Dandolo!"), captured Constantinople, and Venetian ships sailing up and down the Bosphorus kept the conquerors of Western Asia from crossing into Europe. The Turks finally passed the straits and took Constantinople; but the struggle of the Cross and the Crescent, as in Spain between the Spaniard and the Moor, was kept up over a hundred years longer, and was not ended till the battle of Lepanto in 1571. In the Arsenal they still preserve the flag of the Turkish admiral captured on that great day, with its motto in Arabic, "There is no God but God, and Mohammed is his prophet." We can hardly realize, now that the danger is so long past, how great a victory, both for Christendom and for civilization, was won on that day when the scattered wrecks of the Turkish Armada sank in the blood-dyed waters of the Gulf of Corinth.

These are glorious memories for Venice, which fully justify the praises of historians, and make the splendid eulogy of Byron as true to history as it is beautiful in poetry. In Venice, as on the Rhine, I have found Childe Harold the best guide-book, as the poet paints a picture in a few immortal lines. Never was Venice painted, even by Canaletto, more to the eye than in these few strokes, which bring the whole scene before us:

I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs, A palace and a prison on each hand, I saw from out the waves her structures rise, As by the stroke of the enchanter's wand, A thousand years their cloudy wings expand Around me, and a dying glory smiles O'er the far times when many a subject land Looked to the winged lion's marble piles, Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles.

But poets are apt to look at things _only_ in a poetical light, and to admire and to celebrate, or to mourn, according to their own royal fancies, rather than according to the sober prose of history. The picture of the magnificence of Venice is true to the letter, for indeed no language can surpass the splendid reality. But when the poet goes farther and laments the loss of its independence, as if it were a loss to liberty and to the world, the honest student of history will differ from him. That he should mourn its subjection, or that of any part of Italy, to a foreign power, whether Austria or France, we can well understand. And this was perhaps his only real sorrow--a manly and patriotic grief--but at times he seems to go farther, and to regret the old gorgeous mediæval state. Here we cannot follow him. Poetry is well, and romance is well, but truth is better; and the truth, as history records it, must be confessed, that Venice, though in name a republic, was as great a despotism as any in the Middle Ages. The people had no power whatever. It was all in the hands of the nobles, some five hundred of whom composed the Senate, and elected the famous Council of Ten, by which, with the Senate, was chosen the Council of Three, who were the real masters of Venice. The Doge, who was generally an old man, was a mere puppet in their hands, a venerable figure-head of the State, to hide what was done by younger and more resolute wills. The Council of Three were the real Dictators of the Republic, and the Tribunal of the Inquisition itself was not more mysterious or more terrible. By some secret mode of election the names of those who composed this council were not known even to their associates in the Senate or in the Council of Ten. They were a secret and therefore wholly irresponsible tribunal. Their names were concealed, so that they could act in the dark, and at their will strike down the loftiest head. Once indeed their vengeance struck the Doge himself. I have had in my hands the very sword which cut off the head of Marino Faliero more than five hundred years ago. It is a tremendous weapon, and took both hands to lift it, and must have fallen upon that princely neck like an axe upon the block. But commonly their power fell on meaner victims. The whole system of government was one of terror, kept up by a secret espionage which penetrated every man's household, and struck mortal fear into every heart. The government invited accusations. The "lion's mouth"--an aperture in the palace of the Doges--was always open, and if a charge against one was thrown into it, instantly he was arrested and brought before this secret tribunal, by which he might be tried, condemned, sentenced, and executed, without his family knowing what had become of him, with only horrible suspicions to account for his mysterious disappearance.

In going through the Palace of the Doges one is struck with the gorgeousness of the old Venetian State. All that is magnificent in architecture; and all that is splendid in decoration, carving, and gilding, spread with lavish hand over walls and doors and ceiling; with every open space or panel illumined by paintings by Titian or some other of the old Venetian masters--are combined to render this more than a "royal house," since it is richer than the palaces of kings.

But before any young enthusiast allows his imagination to run away with him, let him explore this Palace of the Doges a little farther. Let him go into the Hall of the Council of Three, and observe how it connects conveniently by a little stair with the Hall of Torture, where innocent persons could soon be persuaded to accuse themselves of deadly crimes; and how it opens into a narrow passage, through which the condemned passed to swift execution. Then let him go down into the dungeons, worse than death, where the accused were buried in a living tomb. Byron himself, in a note to Childe Harold, has given the best answer to his own lamentation over the fall of the Republic of Venice.[4]

We shall therefore waste no tears over the fall of the old Republic of Venice, even though it had existed for thirteen hundred years. In its day it had acted a great part in European history, and had often served the cause of progress, when it preserved Christendom from the Turks, and civilization from the Barbarians. But it had accomplished its end, and its time had come to die; and though the poet so musically mourns that

In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more, And silent rows the songless gondolier,

yet in the changes which have come, we cannot but recognize the passing away of an old state of things, to be succeeded by a better. Even the spirit of Byron would be satisfied, could he open his eyes _now_, and see Venice rid at last of a foreign yoke, and restored to her rightful place, as a part of free and united Italy.

Though Venice is a city which does not change in its external appearance, and looks just as it did when I was here seventeen years ago, I observe _one_ difference; the flag that is flying from all the public buildings is not the same. Then the black eagles of Austria hovered over the Square of St. Mark; and as we sat there in the summer evening, Austrian officers were around us, in front of the cafés, and the music was by an Austrian band. Now there is music still, and on summer nights the old Piazza is thronged as ever; but I hear another language in the groups--the hated foreigner, with his bayonets, is not here. The change is every way for the better. The people breathe freely, and political and national life revives in the air of liberty.

Venice is beginning to have also a return of its commercial prosperity. Of course it can never again be the mistress of the sea, as other great commercial states have sprung up beyond the Mediterranean. The glory of Venice culminated about the year 1500. Eight years before that date, an Italian sailor--though not a Venetian, but a Genoese--had discovered, lying beyond the western main, a New World. In less than four centuries, the commerce which had flourished on the Adriatic was to pass to England, and that other English Empire still more remote. Venice can never regain her former supremacy. Civilization has passed, and left her standing in the sea. But though she can never again take the lead of other nations, she may still have a happy and a prosperous future. There is the commerce of the Mediterranean, for which, as before, she holds a commanding position at the head of the Adriatic. For some days has been lying in the Grand Canal, in front of our hotel, a large steamer of the Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Company, the Delhi, and on Friday she sailed for Alexandria and Bombay! The transference of these ships to Venice as a point of departure, will help its commerce with the East and with India.

One thing we may be allowed to hope, as a friend of Venice and of Italy--that its policy will be one of peace. In the Arsenal we found models of ironclads and other ships of war, built or building; but I confess I felt rather glad to hear the naval officer who showed them to us confess (though he did it with a tone of regret) that their navy was not large compared with other European navies, and that the Government was not doing _much_ to increase it, though it is building dry docks here in Venice, and occasionally adds a ship to the fleet. Yet what does Italy want of a great navy? or a great army? They eat up the substance of the country; and it has no money to waste on needless armaments. Besides, Italy has no enemy to fear, for both France and Germany are friendly; to France she owes the deliverance of Lombardy, and to Germany that of Venice. And even Austria is reconciled. Last April the Emperor made a visit to Venice, and was received by Victor Emmanuel, and was rowed up the Grand Canal with a state which recalled the pomp of her ancient days of glory.

The future therefore of Venice and of Italy is not in war, but in peace. Venice has had enough of war in former centuries--enough of conflicts on land and sea. She can now afford to live on this rich inheritance of glory. Let her cherish the memory of the heroic days of old, but let her not tempt fortune by venturing again into the smoke of battle. Let her keep in her Arsenal the captured flags taken from the Turks at Lepanto; let the three tall masts of cedar, erected in the Square of St. Mark three hundred and seventy years ago, to commemorate the conquest of Cyprus, Candia, and Morea, still stand as historical mementoes of the past; but it is no sacrifice of pride that they no longer bear the banners of conquered provinces, since from their lofty and graceful heads now floats a far prouder ensign--the flag of one undivided Italy.

If I were to choose an emblem of what the future of this country should be, I would that the arms of Venice might be henceforth, not the _winged lion_ of St. Mark, but the _doves_ of St. Mark: for these equally belong to Venice, and form not only one of its prettiest sights, but one connected with historical associations, that make them fit emblems both of peace and of victory. The story is that at the siege of Candia, in the beginning of the Thirteenth century, Admiral Dandolo had intelligence brought to him by carrier-pigeons which helped him to take the island, and that he used the same swift-winged heralds to send the news to Venice. And so from that day to this they have been protected, and thus they have been the pets of Venice for six hundred years. They seem perfectly at home, and build their nests on the roofs and under the eaves of the houses, even on the Doge's Palace and the Church of St. Mark. Not the swallow, but the dove hath found a nest for herself on the house of the Lord. I see them nestling together on the Bridge of Sighs, thinking not of all the broken hearts that have passed along that gloomy arch. A favorite perch at evening is the heavy cross-bars of the prison windows; there they sleep peacefully, where lonely captives have looked up to the dim light, and sighed in vain for liberty. From all these nooks and corners they flock into the great square in the day-time, and walk about quite undisturbed. It has been one of our pleasures to go there with bread in our pockets, to feed them. At the first sign of the scattered crumbs, they come fluttering down from the buildings around, running over each other in their eagerness, coming up to my feet, and eating out of my hand. Let these beautiful creatures--the emblems of peace and the messengers of victory--be wrought as an armorial bearing on the flag of the new Italy--white doves on a blue ground, as if flying over the sea--their outspread wings the fit emblems of those sails of commerce, which, we trust, are again to go forth from Venice and from Genoa, not only to all parts of the Mediterranean, but to the most distant shores!

FOOTNOTES:

[3] Lest any of my saving countrymen should think this a sacrifice of precious jewels, it should be added that the cunning old Venetians, with a prudent economy worthy of a Yankee housekeeper, instead of wasting their treasures on the sea, dropped the glittering bauble into a net carefully spread for the purpose, in which it was fished up, to be used in the ceremonies of successive years.

[4] The note is on the opening lines of the fourth Canto:

"I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs, A palace and a prison on each hand,"

--in explanation of which the poet says:

"The communication between the ducal palace and the prisons of Venice is by a gloomy bridge, or covered gallery, high above the water, and divided by a stone wall into a passage and a cell. The State dungeons, called 'pozzi,' or wells, were sunk into the thick walls of the palace; and the prisoner, when taken out to die, was conducted across the gallery to the other side, and being then led back into the other compartment or cell upon the bridge, was there strangled. The low portal through which the criminal was taken into this cell is now walled up; but the passage is still open, and is still known as the Bridge of Sighs. The pozzi are under the flooring of the chamber at the foot of the bridge. They were formerly twelve, but on the first arrival of the French, the Venetians blocked or broke up the deeper of these dungeons. You may still, however, descend by a trap-door, and crawl down through holes, half-choked by rubbish, to the depth of two stories below the first range. If you are in want of consolation for the extinction of patrician power, perhaps you may find it there; scarcely a ray of light glimmers into the narrow gallery which leads to the cells, and the places of confinement themselves are totally dark. A small hole in the wall admitted the damp air of the passages, and served for the introduction of the prisoner's food. A wooden pallet, raised a foot from the ground, was the only furniture. The conductor tells you that a light was not allowed. The cells are about five paces in length, two and a half in width, and seven feet in height. They are directly beneath one another, and respiration is somewhat difficult in the lower holes. Only one prisoner was found when the Republicans descended into these hideous recesses, and he is said to have been confined sixteen years."

CHAPTER XX.

MILAN AND GENOA.--A RIDE OVER THE CORNICHE ROAD.

GENOA, September 20th.

The new life of Italy is apparent in its cities more than in the country. A change of government does not change the face of nature. The hills that bear the olive and the vine, were as fresh and green under the rule of Austria as they are now under that of Victor Emmanuel. But in the cities and large towns I see a marked change, both in the places themselves, and in the manner and spirit of the people. Then there was an universal lethargy. Everything was fixed in a stagnation, like that of China. There was no improvement, and no attempt at any. The incubus of a foreign yoke weighed like lead on the hearts of the people. Their depression showed itself in their very countenances, which had a hopeless and sullen look. Now this is gone. The Austrians have retired behind the mountains of the Tyrol, and Italy at last is free from the Alps to the Adriatic. The moral effect of such a political change is seen in the rebound from a state of despair to one of animation and hope. When a people are free, they have courage to attempt works of improvement, knowing that what they do is not for the benefit of foreign masters, but for themselves and their children. Hence the new life which I see in the very streets of Milan and Genoa. Everywhere improvements are going on. They are tearing down old houses, and building new ones; opening new streets and squares, and levelling old walls, that wide boulevards may take their place. In Milan I found them clearing away blocks of houses in front of the Duomo, to form an open square, sufficient to give an ample foreground for the Cathedral. And they were just finishing a grand Arcade, with an arched roof of iron and glass, like the Crystal Palace, beneath which are long rows of shops, as well as wide open spaces, where the people may gather in crowds, secure both from heat and cold, protected alike from the rains of summer and the snows of winter. The Emperor of Germany, who is about to pay a visit to Italy, will find in Milan a city not so large indeed, but certainly not less beautiful, than his own northern capital.

One beauty it has which Berlin can never have--its Cathedral. If I had not exhausted my epithets of admiration on the Cathedrals of Strasburg and Cologne, I might attempt a description of that of Milan; but indeed all words seem feeble beside the reality. One contrast to the German Cathedrals is its lighter exterior. It is built of marble, which under an Italian sky has preserved its whiteness, and hence it has not the cold gray of those Northern Minsters blackened by time. Nor has it any such lofty towers soaring into the sky. The impression at first, therefore, is one of beauty rather than of grandeur. In place of one or two such towers, standing solitary and sublime, its buttresses along the sides shoot up into as many separate pinnacles, surmounted by statues, which, as they gleam in the last rays of sunset, or under the full moon, seem like angelic sentinels ranged along the heavenly battlements. These details of the exterior draw away the eye from the vastness of the structure as a whole, which only bursts upon us as we enter within. There we recognize its immensity in the remoteness of objects. A man looks very small at the other end of the church. Service may be going on at half a dozen side chapels without attracting attention, except as we hear chanting in the distance; and the eye swims in looking up at the vaulted roof. Behind the choir, three lofty windows of rich stained glass cast a soft light on the vast interior. If I lived in Milan, I should haunt that Cathedral, since it is a spot where one may always be _alone_, as if he were in the depths of the forest, and may indulge his meditations undisturbed.

But there is another church, of much more humble proportions, which has a great historical interest, that of St. Ambrose, the author of the Te Deum, through which he has led the worship of all the generations since his day, and whose majestic anthem "We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord," will continue to resound in the earthly temples till it is caught up by voices around the throne. St. Ambrose gave another immortal gift to the Church in the conversion of St. Augustine, the greatest of the Fathers, whose massive theology has been the study alike of Catholics and Protestants--of Bossuet and Luther and Calvin.

Near the church of St. Ambrose one may still see the mutilated remains of the great work of Leonardo da Vinci--the Last Supper--painted, as everybody knows, on the walls of the refectory of an old monastery, where it has had all sorts of bad usage till it has been battered out of shape, but where still Christ sits in the midst of His disciples, looking with tender and loving eyes around on that circle which He should not meet again till He had passed through His great agony. The mutilation of such a work is a loss to the world, but it is partly repaired by the many excellent copies, and by the admirable engravings, in which it has been reproduced.

From Milan to Genoa is only a ride of five hours, and we are once more by the sea. One must be a dull and emotionless traveller who does not feel a thrill as he emerges from a long tunnel and sees before him the Mediterranean. There it lies--the Mare Magnum of the ancients, which to those who knew not the oceans as we know them, seemed vast and measureless; "the great and wide sea," of which the Psalmist wrote; towards which the prophet looked from Mount Carmel, till he descried rising out of it a cloud like a man's hand; the sea "whose shores are empires," around which the civilization of the world has revolved for thousands of years, passing from Egypt to Greece, to Rome, to France and Spain, but always lingering, whether on the side of Europe or Africa, somewhere along that enchanted coast.

Here is Genoa--Genoa Superba, as they named her centuries ago--and that still sits like a queen upon the waters, as she looks down so proudly from her amphitheatre of hills upon the bay at her feet. Genoa with Venice divided the maritime supremacy of the Middle Ages, when her prows were seen in all parts of the Mediterranean. The glory of those days is departed, but, like Venice, her prosperity is reviving under the influence of liberty. To Americans Genoa will always have a special interest as the city of Christopher Columbus. It was pleasant, in emerging from the station, to see in the very first public square a monument worthy of his great name, to the discoverer of the New World.

Genoa is a convenient point from which to take an excursion over the Corniche road--one of the most famous roads in Europe, running along the Riviera, or the coast of the Mediterranean, as far west as Nice. A railroad now follows the same route, but as it passes through a hundred tunnels, more or less, the traveller is half the time buried in the earth. The only way to see the full beauty of this road is to take a carriage and drive over it, so as to get all the best points of view. The whole excursion would take several days. To economize our time we went by rail from Genoa to San Remo, where the most picturesque part of the road begins, and from there took a basket carriage with two spirited ponies to drive to Nice, a good day's journey over the mountains. The day was fair, not too hot nor too cool. The morning air was exhilarating, as we began our ride along the shore, winding in and out of all the little bays, sweeping around the promontories that jut into the sea, and then climbing high up on the spurs of the mountains, which here slope quite down to the coast, from which they take the name of the Maritime Alps. The special beauty of this Riviera is that it lies between the mountains and the sea. The hills, which rise from the very shore, are covered not with vines but with olives--a tree which with its pale yellow leaves, somewhat like the willow is not very attractive to the eye, especially when, as now withered by the fierce summer's heat, and covered with the summer's dust. There has been no rain for two months, and the whole land is burnt like a furnace. The leaves are scorched as with the breath of a sirocco. But when the autumn rains descend, we can well believe that all this barrenness is turned into beauty, as these slopes are then green, both with olive and with orange groves.

In the recesses of the hills are many sheltered spots, protected from the northern winds, and open to the southern sun, which are the favorite resorts of invalids for the winter, as here sun and sea combine to give a softened air like that of a perpetual spring. When winter rages over the north of Europe, when snow covers the open country, and even drifts in the streets of great capitals, then it seems as if sunshine and summer retreated to the shores of the Mediterranean, and here lingered among the orange gardens that look out from the terraced slopes upon the silver sea. The warm south wind from African deserts tempers the fierceness of the northern blasts. And not only invalids, but people of wealth and fashion, who have the command of all countries and climates, and who have only to choose where to spend the winter with least of discomfort and most of luxury and pleasure, flock to these resorts. Last winter the Empress of Russia took up her quarters at San Remo, to inhale the balmy air--a simple luxury, which she could not find in her palace at St. Petersburg. And Prince Amadeus, son of the king of Italy, who himself wore a crown for a year, occupied a villa near by, and found here a tranquil happiness which he could never find on the troubled throne of Spain. A still greater resort than San Remo is Mentone, which for the winter months is turned into an English colony, with a sprinkling of Americans, who altogether form a society of their own, and thus enjoy, along with this delicious climate, the charms of their English and American life.

It is a pity that there should be a serpent in this garden of Paradise. But here he is--a huge green monster, twining among the flowers and the orange groves. Midway between Mentone and Nice is the little principality of Monaco, the smallest sovereignty in Europe, covering only a rocky peninsula that projects into the sea, and a small space around it. But small as it is, it is large enough to furnish a site for a pest worse than a Lazaretto--worse than the pirates of the Barbary coast that once preyed on the commerce of the Mediterranean--for here is the greatest gambling house in Europe. The famous--or infamous--establishments that so long flourished on the Rhine, at Homburg and Baden Baden, drawing hundreds and thousands into their whirlpools of ruin, have been broken up since the petty principalities have been absorbed in the great German empire. Thus driven from one point to another, the gamblers have been, like the evil spirit, seeking rest and finding none, till at last, by offering a large sum--I heard that it was four hundred thousand francs (eighty thousand dollars) a year--to the Prince of Monaco, they have induced him to sell himself to the Devil, and to allow his petty State to become a den of thieves. Hearing of this notorious establishment, I had a curiosity to see it, and so we were driven to Monte Carlo, which is the pretty name for a very bad place. Surely never was the palace of pleasure decked with more attractions. The place has been made like a garden. Extensive grounds have been laid out, where orange trees and palms are in full bloom. Winding walks conduct the visitor to retired and shady retreats. The building itself is of stately proportions, and one goes up the steps as if he were ascending a temple. Within the broad vestibule servants in livery receive the stranger with studied politeness, as a welcome guest, and with courtly smiles bow him in. The vestibule opens into a large assembly room for concerts and dancing, where one of the finest bands in Europe discourses delicious music. Entrance is free everywhere, except into the gaming-room, which however requires only your card as a proof of your respectability. One must give his name, and country, and profession! See how careful they are to have only the most select society. I was directed to the office, where two secretaries, of sober aspect, who looked as if they might be retired Methodist clergymen, required my name and profession. I felt that I was getting on rather dangerous ground, but answered by giving only my surname and the profession of editor, and received a card of admission, and passed in. We were in a large hall, with lofty ceiling, and walls decorated in a style that might become an apartment in a royal palace. There were three tables, at two of which gaming was going on. At the third the gamblers sat around idle, waiting for customers, for "business" is rather slack just now, as the season has not begun. A few weeks later, when the hotels along the sea are filled up, the place will be thronged, and all these tables will be kept going till midnight. At the two where play was in progress, we stood apart and watched the scene. There was a long table, covered with green cloth (I said it was a _green_ monster), over which were scattered piles of gold and silver, and around which were some twenty-five persons, mostly men, though there were two or three women (it is well known that some of the most infatuated and desperate gamblers at Baden Baden were women). The game was what is known as _roulette_ or _rouge et noir_ [red and black].[5] You lay down a piece of coin, a napoleon or a sovereign, or, if you cannot afford that, a five-franc piece, for they are so democratic that they are willing to take the small change of the poor, as well as the hundred or thousand francs of the rich. The wager is that, when a horizontal wheel which is sunk in the table--the _roulette_--is set revolving, a little ball like a boy's marble, which is set whirling in it, will rest on the black or red spot. Of course the thing is so managed that the chances are many to one that you will lose your money. But it _looks_ fair, and the greenhorn is easily persuaded that it is an even chance, and that he is as likely to win as to lose, until experience makes him a sadder and a wiser man. Of those about the table, it was quite apparent, even to my inexperienced eye, that the greater part were professional gamblers. There is a look about them that is unmistakable. My companion, who had looked on half curious and half frightened, and who shrank up to my side (although everything is kept in such order, and with such an outward show of respectability, that there is no danger), remarked the imperturbable coolness of the players. The game proceeded in perfect silence, and no one betrayed the least emotion, whether he lost or won. But I explained to her that this was probably owing in part to the fact that they were mostly employés of the establishment, and had no real stake in the issue; but if they were _not_, a practised gambler never betrays any emotion. This is a part of his trade. He schools himself to it as an Indian does, who scorns to show suffering, even if he is bound at the stake. I noticed only one man who seemed to take his losses to heart. I presumed he was an outsider, and as he lost heavily, his face flushed, but he said nothing. This is the general course of the game. Not a word is spoken, even when men are losing thousands. Instances have occurred in which men gambled away their last dollar, and then rose from the table and blew out their brains--which interrupted the play disagreeably for a few moments; but the body was removed, the blood washed away, and the game proceeded as usual.

When we had watched the silent spectacle for half an hour, we felt that we had quite enough, and after strolling through the grounds and listening to the music, returned to our carriage and drove off, moralizing on the strange scene we had witnessed.

Did I regret that I had been to see this glittering form of temptation and sin? On the contrary, I wished that every pastor in New York could have stood there and looked on at that scene. We have had quite enough of firing at all kinds of wickedness _at long range_. It is time to move our batteries up a little nearer, and engage the enemy at close quarters. If those pastors had seen what we saw in that half hour, they would realize, as they cannot now, the dangers to which young men are exposed in our cities. They would see with their own eyes how broad is the road, and how alluring it is made, that leads to destruction, and how many there be that go in thereat. I look upon Monte Carlo as the very mouth of the pit, covered up with flowers, so that giddy creatures dance along its perilous edge till it crumbles under their feet. Thousands who come here with no intention of gambling, put down a small sum "just to try their luck," and find that "a fool and his money are soon parted." Many do not end with losing a few francs, or even a few sovereigns. It is well if they do not leave behind them what they can ill afford to lose. Very many young men leave what is not their own. That such a place of temptation should be allowed to exist here in this lovely spot on the shores of the Mediterranean, is a disgrace to Monaco, and to the powers on both sides of it, France and Italy, which, if they have no legal right to interfere, might by a vigorous protest put an end to the accursed thing. Probably it will after awhile provoke its own destruction. I should be glad to see the foul nest of gamblers that have congregated here, broken up, and the wretches sent to the galleys as convicts, or forced in some way to earn an honest living.

But is not this vice of gambling very wide-spread? Does it not exist in more forms than one, and in more countries than the little State of Monaco? I am afraid the vice lies deep in human nature, and may be found in some shape in every part of the world. Is there not a great deal of gambling in Wall street? When men _bet_ on the rise and fall of stocks, when they sell what they do not possess, or buy that for which they have no money to pay, do they not risk their gains or losses on a chance, as much as those who stake thousands on the turning of a wheel, on a card or a die? It is the old sin of trying to get the fruits of labor without labor, _to get something for nothing_, that is the curse of all modern cities and countries, that demoralizes young men in New York and San Francisco, as well as in Paris and London. The great lesson which we all need to learn, is the duty and the dignity of labor. When a man never claims anything which he does not work for, then he may feel an honest pride in his gains, and may slowly grow in fortune without losing the esteem of the good, or his own manly self-respect.

Leaving this gorgeous den of thieves behind us, we haste away to the mountains; for while the railroad seeks its level path along the very shore of the sea, the Corniche road, built before railroads were thought of, finds its only passage over stupendous heights. We have now to climb a spur of the Alps, which here pushes its great shoulder close to the sea. It is a toilsome path for our little ponies, but they pull up bravely, height after height. Every one we mount, we hope to find the summit; but we keep going on and on, and up and up, till it seems like a Jacob's Ladder, which reaches to Heaven. When on one of the highest points, we look right down into Monte Carlo as into the crater of a volcano. It does not burn or smoke, but it has an open mouth, and many there be that there go down quick into hell.

We are at last on the top, and pass on from one peak to another, all the time enjoying a wide outlook over the blue Mediterranean, which lies calmly at the foot of these great mountains, with only a white sail here and there dotting the mighty waters.

It was nearly sunset when we came in sight of Nice, gleaming in the distance on the sea-shore. We had been riding all day, and our driver, a bright young Savoyard, seemed eager to have the long journey over, and so he put his ponies to their speed, and we came down the mountain as if shot out of a gun, and rattled through the streets of Nice at such a break-neck pace, that the police shouted after us, lest we should run over somebody. But there was no stopping our little Jehu, and on we went at full speed, till suddenly he reined us up with a jerk before the hotel.

In the old days when I first travelled in the south of Europe, Nice was an Italian town. It belonged to the small kingdom of Sardinia. But in 1860, as a return for the help of Napoleon in the campaign of 1859 against Austria, by which Victor Emmanuel gained Lombardy, it was ceded with Savoy to France, and now is a French city. I think it has prospered by the change. It has grown very much, until it has some fifty thousand inhabitants. Its principal attraction is as a winter resort for English and Americans. There are a number of Protestant churches, French and English. The French Evangelical church has for its pastor Rev. Leon Pilatte, who is well known in America.

It was now Saturday night, and the Sabbath drew on. Never was its rest more grateful, and never did it find us in a more restful spot. Everybody comes here for repose, to find rest and healing. The place is perhaps a little saddened by the presence of so many invalids, some of whom come here only to die. In yonder hotel on the shore, the heir of the throne of all the Russias breathed his last a few winters ago. These clear skies and this soft air could not save him, even when aided by all the medical skill of Europe. I should not have great faith in the restoring power of this or of any climate for one far gone in consumption. But certainly as a place of _rest_, if it is permitted to man to find rest anywhere on earth, it must be here, with the blue skies above, and the soft flowery earth below, and with no sound to disturb, but only the murmur of the moaning, melancholy sea.

But a traveller is not allowed to rest. He comes not to _stay_, but only to _see_--to look, and then to disappear; and so, after a short two days in Nice, we took a quick return by night, and in eight hours found ourselves again in Genoa.

FOOTNOTE:

[5] Perhaps _roulette_ and _rouge et noir_ are two separate games. I dare say my imperfect description would excite the smile of a professional, for I confess my total ignorance in such matters. I only describe what I saw.

CHAPTER XXI.

IN THE VALE OF THE ARNO.

FLORENCE, September 27th.

We are getting more into the heart of Italy as we come farther south. In the old Roman days the country watered by the Po was not a part of Italy; it was Cisalpine Gaul. This we leave behind as we turn southward from Genoa. The road runs along the shore of the Mediterranean; it is a continuation of the Riviera as far as Spezzia, where we leave the sea and strike inland to Pisa, one of the Mediæval cities, which in its best days was a rival of Genoa, and which has still some memorials of its former grandeur. Here we spent a night, and the next morning visited the famous Leaning Tower, and the Cathedral and Baptistery, and the Campo Santo (filled with earth brought from Jerusalem in fifty-three ships, that the faithful might be buried in holy ground), and then pursued our way along the Valley of the Arno to Florence.

And now the inspiration of the country, the _genius loci_, comes upon us more and more. We are in Tuscany, one of the most beautiful portions of the whole peninsula. We are favored by the season of the year. Before we came abroad I consulted some of my travelled friends as to the best time of the year to visit Italy. Most tourists come here in the winter. Rome especially is not thought to be safe till late in the autumn. But Dr. Bellows told me that, so far from waiting for cold weather, he thought Italy could be seen in its full beauty _only_ in an earlier month, when the country was still clothed with vegetation. Certainly it is better to see it in its summer bloom, or in the ripeness of autumn, than when the land is stripped, when the mountains are bleak and bare, when there is not a leaf on the vine or the fig-tree, and only naked branches shiver in the wintry wind. We have come at a season when the earth has still its glory on. The vineyards are full of the riches of the year; the peasants are now gathering the grapes, and we have witnessed that most picturesque Italian scene, the vintage. Dark forests clothe the slopes of the Apennines. At this season there is a soft, hazy atmosphere, like that of our Indian summer, which gives a kind of purple tint to the Italian landscapes. The skies are fair, but not more fair than that heaven of blue which bends over many a beloved spot in America. Nor is the vegetation richer, nor are the landscapes more lovely, than in our own dear vales of Berkshire. Even the Arno at this season, like most of the other rivers of Italy, is a dried up bed with only a rivulet of muddy water running through it. Later in the autumn, when the rains descend; or in the spring, when the snows melt upon the mountains, it is swollen to such a height that it often overflows its banks, and the full stream rushes like a torrent. But at present the mighty Arno, of which poets have sung so much, is not so large as the Housatonic, nor half so beautiful as that silver stream, on whose banks the meadows are always fresh and green, and where the waters are pure and sparkling that ripple over its pebbled bed.

But the position of Florence is certainly one of infinite beauty, lying in a valley, surrounded by mountains. The approach to it by a railroad, when one gets his first view from a level, is much less picturesque than in the old days when we travelled by _vettura_, and came to it over the Apennines, and after a long day's journey reached the top of a distant hill, from which we saw Florence afar off, sitting like a queen in the Valley of the Arno, the setting sun reflected from the Duomo and the Campanile, and from all its domes and towers.

In this Valley of Paradise we have spent a week, visiting the galleries of pictures, and making excursions to Fiesolé and other points of view on the surrounding hills, from which to look down on as fair a scene as ever smiled beneath an Italian sun.

Florence is in many respects the most attractive place in Italy, as it unites the charms of art with those of modern life; as it exists not only in the dead past, but in the living present. It is a large, thriving, prosperous city, and has become a great resort of English and Americans, who gather here in the winter months, and form a most agreeable society. There are a number of American sculptors and painters, whose works are well known on the other side of the Atlantic. Some of their studios we visited, and saw abundant evidence, that with all our intensely practical life, the elements of taste and beauty, and of a genius for art, are not wanting in our countrymen.

Florence has had a material growth within a few years, from being for a time the capital of the new kingdom of Italy. When Tuscany was added to Sardinia, the capital was removed from Turin to Florence as a more central city, and the presence of the Court and the Parliament gave a new life to its streets. Now the Court is removed to Rome, but the impulse still remains, and in the large squares which have been opened, and the new buildings which are going up, one sees the signs of life and progress. To be sure, there is not only _growing_ but _groaning_, for the taxes are fearfully high here, as everywhere in Italy. The country is bearing burdens as heavy as if it were in a state of war. If only Italy were the first country in Europe to reduce her armaments, she could soon lighten the load upon her people.

But leaving aside all political and financial questions, one may be permitted to enjoy this delightful old city, with its treasures of art, and its rich historical memories. Florence has lately been revelling in its glories of old days in a celebration of the four hundredth anniversary of the birth of Michael Angelo--as a few years since it celebrated the six hundredth anniversary of the birth of Dante. Surely few men in history better deserve to be remembered than Michael Angelo, whose rugged face looks more like that of a hard-headed old Scotchman, than of one who belonged to the handsome Italian race. And yet that brain was full of beautiful creations, and in his life of eighty-nine years he produced enough to leave, not only to Florence, but to Rome, many monuments of his genius. He was great in several forms of art--as painter, sculptor, and architect--and even had some pretension to be a poet. He was the sculptor of David and Moses; the painter of the Last Judgment and the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, and the architect who built St. Peter's. And his character was equal to his genius. He was both religious and patriotic, not only building churches, but the fortifications that defended Florence against her enemies. Such was Michael Angelo--a simple, grand old man, whose name is worthy to live with the heroes of antiquity.

We were too late to enjoy the fétes that were given at this anniversary, and were only able to be present at the performance of Verdi's Requiem, which concluded the whole. This sublime composition was written for the great Italian author Manzoni, and to be sung in the Cathedral of Milan, whose solemn aisles were in harmony with its mournful and majestic strains. Now it would have seemed more fitting in the Duomo of Florence than in a theatre, though perhaps the latter was better constructed for an orchestra and an audience. The performance of the Requiem was to be the great musical event of the year; we had heard the fame of it at Milan and at Venice, and having seen what Italy could show in one form of art, we were now able to appreciate it in another. Months had been spent in preparation. Distinguished singers were to lead in the principal parts, while hundreds were to join their voices in the tremendous chorus. On the night that we witnessed the representation, the largest theatre in Florence was crowded from pit to dome, although the price of admission was very high. In the vast assembly was comprised what was most distinguished in Florence, with representatives from other cities of Italy, and many from other countries. The performance occupied over two hours. It began with soft, wailing melodies, such as might be composed to soothe a departing soul, or to express the wish of survivors that it might enter into its everlasting rest. Then succeeded the DIES IRÆ--the old Latin hymn, which for centuries has sounded forth its accents of warning and of woe. Those who are familiar with this sublime composition will remember the terrific imagery with which the terrors of the Judgment are presented, and can imagine the effect of such a hymn rendered with all the power of music. We had first a quiet, lulling strain--almost like silence, which was the calm before the storm. Then a sound was heard, but low, as of something afar off, distant and yet approaching. Nearer and nearer it drew, swelling every instant, till it seemed as if the trumpets that should wake the dead were stirring the alarmed air. At last came a crash as if a thunder peal had burst in the building. This terrific explosion, of course, was soon relieved by softer sounds. There were many and sudden transitions, one part being given by a single powerful voice, or by two or three, or four, and then the mighty chorus responding with a sound like that of many waters. After the Dies Iræ followed a succession of more gentle strains, which spoke of Pardon and Peace. The _Agnus Dei_ and other similar parts were given with a tenderness that was quite overpowering. Those who have heard the Oratorio of the Messiah, and remember the melting sweetness of such passages as "He leadeth me beside the still waters," and "I know that my Redeemer liveth," can form an idea of the marvellous effect. I am but an indifferent judge of music, but I could not but observe how much grander such a hymn as the Dies Iræ sounds in the original Latin than in any English version. _Eternal rest_ are sweet words in English, but in music they can never be rendered with the effect of the Latin REQUIEM SEMPITERNAM, on which the voices of the most powerful singers lingered and finally died away, as if bidding farewell to a soul that was soaring to the very presence of God. This Requiem was a fitting close to the public celebrations by which Florence did honor to the memory of her illustrious dead.

Michael Angelo is buried in the church of Santa Croce, and near his tomb is that of another illustrious Florentine, whose name belongs to the world, and to the _heavens_--"the starry Galileo." We have sought out the spots associated with his memory--the house where he lived and the room where he died. The tower from which he made his observations is on an elevation which commands a wide horizon. There with his little telescope--a very slender tube and very small glass, compared with the splendid instruments in our modern observatories--he watched the constellations, as they rose over the crest of the Apennines, and followed their shining path all night long. There he observed the mountains in the moon, and the satellites of Jupiter. What a commentary on the intelligence of the Roman Catholic Church, that such a man should be dragged before the Inquisition--before ignorant priests who were not worthy to untie his shoes--and required, under severe penalties, to renounce the doctrine of the revolution of the globe. The old man yielded in a moment of weakness, to escape imprisonment or death, but as he rose from his knees, his spirit returned to him, and he exclaimed "_But still it moves!_" A good motto for reformers of all ages. Popes and inquisitors may try to stop the revolution of the earth, but still it moves!

There is another name in the history of Florence, which recalls the persecutions of Rome--that of Savonarola. No spot was more sacred to me than the cell in the Monastery, where he passed so many years, and from which he issued, crucifix in hand (the same that is still kept there as a holy relic), to make those fiery appeals in the streets of Florence, which so stirred the hearts of the people, and led at last to his trial and death. A rude picture that is hung on the wall represents the final scene. It is in the public square, in front of the Old Palace, where a stage is erected, and monks are conducting Savonarola and two others who suffered with him, to the spot where the flames are kindled. Here he was burnt, and his ashes thrown into the Arno. But how impotent the rage that thought thus to stifle such a voice! His words, like his ashes, have gone into the air, and the winds take them up and carry them round the world. Henceforth his name belongs to history, and in the ages to come will be whispered by

"Those airy tongues that syllable men's names, On sands, and shores, and desert wildernesses."

It is a proof of the decline of Italy under the oppression of a foreign yoke--of the paralysis of her intellectual as well as her political life--that she has produced no name to equal these in four hundred years. For though Byron eulogizes so highly, and perhaps justly, Alfieri and Canova, it would be an extravagant estimate which should assign them a place in the Pantheon of History beside the immortals of the Middle Ages.

And yet Italy has not been wholly deserted of genius or of glory in these later ages. In the darkest times she has had some great writers, as well as painters and sculptors, and in the very enthusiasm with which she now recalls in her celebrations the names of Dante and Michael Angelo, we recognize a spirit of life, an admiration for greatness, which may produce in the future those who may rank as their worthy successors.

Within a few years Florence has become such a resort of strangers that some of its most interesting associations are with its foreign residents. In the English burying ground many of that country sleep far from their native island. Some, like Walter Savage Landor and Mrs. Browning, had made Florence their home for years. Italy was their adopted country, and it is fit that they sleep in its sunny clime, beneath a southern sky. So of our countryman Powers, who was a resident of Florence for thirty-five years, and whose widow still lives here in the very pretty villa which he built, with her sons and daughter married and settled around her, a beautiful domestic group. In the cemetery I sought another grave of one known to all Americans. On a plain stone of granite is inscribed simply the name

THEODORE PARKER, Born at Lexington, Massachusetts, In the United States of America, August 24th, 1810. Died in Florence May 10th, 1860.

One could preach a sermon over that grave, for in that form which is now but dust, was one of the most vigorous minds of our day, a man of prodigious force, an omnivorous reader, and a writer and lecturer on a great variety of subjects, who in his manifold forms of activity, did as much to influence the minds of his countrymen as any man of his time. He struck fierce blows, right and left, often doing more ill than good by his crude religious opinions, which he put forth as boldly as if they were the accepted faith of all mankind; but in his battle for Liberty rendering services which the American people will not willingly let die.

Mrs. Browning's epitaph is still briefer. There is a longer inscription on a tablet in the front of the house which was her home for so many years, placed there by the municipal government of Florence. There, as one looks up to those CASA GUIDI WINDOWS, which she has given as a name to a volume of her poems, he may read that "In this house lived and died ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, who by her genius and her poetry made a golden link between England and Italy." But on her tomb, which is of pure white marble, is only

E. B. B. OB. 1861.

But what need of more words to perpetuate a name that is on the lips of millions; or to speak of one who speaks for herself in the poetry she has made for nations; whose very voice thus lives in the air, like a strain of music, and goes floating down the ages, singing itself to immortality?

CHAPTER XXII.

OLD ROME AND NEW ROME.--RUINS AND RESURRECTION.

ROME, October 8th.

At last we are in Rome! We reached here a week ago, on what was to me a very sad anniversary, as on the first of October of last year I came from the country, bringing one who was never to return. Now, as then, the day was sadly beautiful--rich with the hues of autumn, when nature is gently dying, a day suited to quiet thoughts and tender memories. It was late in the afternoon when we found ourselves racing along the banks of the Tiber--"the yellow Tiber" it was indeed, as its waters were turbid enough--and just as the sun was setting we shot across the Campagna, and when the lamps were lighted were rattling through the streets of the Eternal City.

To a stranger coming here there is a double interest; for there are two cities to be studied--old Rome and new Rome--the Rome of Julius Cæsar, and the Rome of Pius IX. and Victor Emmanuel. In point of historical interest there is no comparison, as the glory of the ancient far surpasses that of the modern city. And it is the former which first engages our attention.

How strange it seemed to awake in the morning and feel that we were really in the city that once ruled the world! Yes, we are on the very spot. Around us are the Seven Hills. We go to the top of the Capitol and count them all. We look down to the river bank where Romulus and Remus were cast ashore, like Moses in the bulrushes, left to die, and where, according to the old legend, they were suckled by a wolf; and where Romulus, when grown to man's estate, began to build a city. Antiquarians still trace the line of his ancient wall. On the Capitol Hill is the Tarpeian Rock, from which traitors were hurled. And under the hill, buried in the earth, one still sees the massive arch of the Cloaca Maxima, the great sewer, built by the Tarquins, through which all the waste of Rome has flowed into the Tiber for twenty-five hundred years; and there are the pillars of the ancient bridge--so they tell us--held by a hero who must have been a Hercules, of whom and his deed Macaulay writes in his "Lays of Ancient Rome" how, long after, in the traditions of the people,

"Still was the story told, How well Horatius kept the bridge, In the brave days of old."

Looking around the horizon every summit recalls historical memories. There are the Sabine Hills, where lived the tribe from which the early Romans (who were at first, like some of our border settlements, wholly a community of men,) helped themselves to wives. Yonder, to the south, are the Alban Hills; and there, in what seems the hollow of a mountain, Hannibal encamped with his army, looking down upon Rome. In the same direction lies the Appian Way, lined for miles with tombs of the illustrious dead. Along that way often came the legions returning from distant conquests, "bringing many captives home to Rome," with camels and elephants bearing the spoils of Africa and the East.

These recollections increase in interest as we come down to the time of the Cæsars. This is the culminating point of Roman history, as then the empire reached its highest point of power and glory. Julius Cæsar is the greatest character of ancient Rome, as soldier and ruler, the leader of armies, and the man whose very presence awed the Roman Senate. Such was the magic of his name that it was said peculiar omens and portents accompanied his death. As Shakespeare has it:

"In the most high and palmy state of Rome, A little ere the mighty Julius fell, The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets."

It was therefore with an interest that no other name could inspire, that we saw in the Capitol a statue, which is said to be the most faithful existing representation of that imperial man; and in the Strada Palace the statue of Pompey, which is believed to be the very one at the base of which "great Cæsar fell."[6]

With Cæsar ended the ancient Republic, and began the Empire. It was then that Rome attained her widest dominion, and the city its greatest splendor. She was the mistress of the whole world, from Egypt to Britain, ruling on all sides of the Mediterranean, along the shores of Europe, Asia, and Africa. And then the whole earth contributed to the magnificence of the Eternal City. It was the boast of Augustus, that "he found Rome of brick, and left it of marble." Under him and his successors were reared those palaces and temples, the very ruins of which are still the wonder and admiration of the world.

The knowledge of these ruins has been greatly increased by recent excavations. Till within a few years Rome was a buried city, almost as much as Pompeii. The débris of centuries had filled up her streets and squares, till the earth lay more than twenty feet deep in the Forum, choking up temples and triumphal arches; and even the lower part of the Coliseum had been submerged in the general wreck and ruin. In every part of the city could be seen the upper portions of buildings, the frieze on the capitals of columns, that were half under ground, and that, like Milton's lion, seemed pawing to be free.

But the work of clearing away this rubbish was so vast that it had been neglected from century to century. But during the occupation by the French troops, that Government expended large sums in uncovering these ruins, and the work has since been continued by Victor Emmanuel, until now, as the result of twenty years continuous labor, a buried city has been brought to light. The Forum has been cleared away, so that we may walk on its pavement, amid its broken columns, and see the very tribune from which Cicero addressed the Roman people. But beside this Central Forum, there were half a dozen others--such as the Forum of Julius Cæsar, and of Augustus, and of Nerva, and of Trajan, where still stands that marvellous Column in bronze (covered with figures in bas-relief, to represent the conquest of the Dacians), which has been copied in the Column of the Place Vendome in Paris. All of these Forums were parts of one whole. What is now covered by streets and houses, was an open space, extending from the Capitol as far as the Coliseum in one direction, and the Column of Trajan in another, surrounded by temples and basilicas, and columns and triumphal arches, and overlooked by the palaces of the Cæsars. This whole area was the centre of Rome, where its heart beat, when it contained two millions of people; where the people came together to discuss public affairs, or to witness triumphal processions returning from the wars. Here the Roman legions came with mighty tread along the Via Sacra, winding their way up to the Capitoline Hill to lay their trophies at the feet of the Senate.

Perhaps the best idea of the splendor and magnificence of ancient Rome may be gained from exploring the ruins of the palaces of the Cæsars. They are of vast extent, covering all the slopes of the Palatine Hill. Here great excavations have been made. The walk seems endless through what has been laid open. The walls are built like a fortress, as if to last forever, and decorated with every resource of art known to that age, with sculptures and ceilings richly painted, like those uncovered in the houses of Pompeii. These buildings have been stripped of everything that was movable--the statues being transported to the galleries of the Vatican. The same fate has overtaken all the great structures of ancient Rome. They have been divested of their ornaments and decoration, of gilding and bas-reliefs and statues, and in some cases have been quite dismantled. The Coliseum, it is well known, was used in the Middle Ages as a quarry for many proud noble families, and out of it were built some of the greatest palaces in Rome. Nothing saved the Pantheon but its conversion from a heathen temple into a Christian church. Hundreds and thousands of columns of porphyry and alabaster and costly marbles, which now adorn the churches of Rome, were taken from the ruins of temples and palaces.

But though thus stripped of every ornament, ancient Rome is still magnificent in her ruins. One may wander for days about the palaces of the Cæsars, walking through the libraries and theatres, under the arches and over the very tessellated pavement where those proud emperors walked nearly two thousand years ago. He should ascend to the highest point of the ruins to take in their full extent, and there he will see, looking out upon the Campagna, a long line of arches reaching many miles, over which water was brought from the distant hills for the Golden House of Nero.

Perhaps the most massive ruin which has been lately uncovered, is that of the Baths of Caracalla, which give an idea of the luxury and splendor of ancient Rome, as quite unequalled in modern times.

But, of course, the one structure which interests most of all, is the Coliseum: and here recent excavations have made fresh discoveries. The whole area has been dug down many feet, and shows a vast system of passages _underground_; not only those through which wild beasts were let into the arena, but conduits for water, by which the whole amphitheatre could be flooded and turned into a lake large enough for Roman galleys to sail in; and here naval battles were fought with all the fury of a conflict between actual enemies, to the delight of Roman emperor and people, who shouted applause, when blood flowed freely on the decks, and dyed the waters below.

There is one reflection that often recurs to me, as I wander among these ruins--what it is of all the works of man that really _lives_. Not architecture (the palaces of the Cæsars are but heaps of ruins); but the Roman _laws_ remain, incorporated with the legislation of every civilized country on the globe; while Virgil and Cicero, the poet and the orator, are the delight of all who know the Latin tongue. Thus men pass away, their very monuments may perish, but their thoughts, their wisdom, their learning and their genius remain, a perpetual inheritance to mankind.

After Imperial Rome comes Christian Rome. Many of the stories of the first Christian centuries are fables and legends. Historical truth is so overlaid with a mass of traditions, that one is ready to reject the whole. When they show you here the stone on which they gravely tell you that Abraham bound Isaac for the sacrifice; and another on which Mary sat when she brought Christ into the temple; and the staircase from Pilate's house, the Scala Santa, up which every day and hour pilgrims may be seen going on their knees; and a stone showing the very prints of the Saviour's feet when he appeared to Peter--one is apt to turn away in disgust. But the general fact of the early planting of Christianity here, we know from the new Testament itself. Ecclesiastical historians are not agreed whether Peter was ever in Rome (although he is claimed as the first Pope), but that Paul was here we know from his epistles, and from the Book of Acts, in which we have the particulars of his "appealing to Cæsar," and his voyages to Italy, and his shipwreck on the island of Malta, his landing at Puteoli, and going "towards Rome," where he lived two years in "his own hired house," "preaching and teaching, no man forbidding him." Several of his epistles were written from Rome. It is therefore quite probable that he was confined, according to the tradition, in the Mamertine Prison under the Capitol, and one cannot descend without deep emotion into that dark, rocky dungeon, far underground, where the Great Apostle was once a prisoner, and from which he was led forth to die. He is said to have been beheaded without the walls. On the road they point out a spot (still marked by a rude figure by the roadside of two men embracing), where it is said Paul and Peter met and fell on each other's neck on the morning of the last day--Paul going to be beheaded, and Peter into the city to be crucified, which at his own request was with his head downwards, for he would not be crucified in the same posture as his Lord, whom he had once denied. On the spot where Paul is said to have suffered now rises one of the grandest churches in the world, second in Rome only to St. Peter's.

So the persecutions of the early Christians by successive emperors are matters of authentic history. Knowing this, we visit as a sacred place the scene of their martyrdom, and shudder at seeing on the walls the different modes of torture by which it was sought to break their allegiance to the faith; we think of them in the Coliseum, where they were thrown to the lions; and still more in the Catacombs, to which they fled for refuge, where they worshipped, and (as Pliny wrote) "sang hymns to Christ as to a God," and where still rest their bones, with many a rude inscription, testifying of their faith and hope.

It is a sad reflection that the Christian Church, once established in Rome, should afterwards itself turn persecutor. But unfortunately it too became intoxicated with power, and could brook no resistance to its will. The Inquisition was for centuries a recognized institution of the Papacy--an appointed means for guarding the purity of the faith. The building devoted to the service of that tribunal stands to this day, close by the Church of St. Peter, and I believe there is still a Papal officer who bears the dread title of "Grand Inquisitor." But fortunately his office no longer inspires terror, for it is at last reduced to the punishment of ecclesiastical offences by ecclesiastical discipline, instead of the arm of flesh, on which it once leaned. But the old building is at once "a prison and a palace"; the cells are still there, though happily unoccupied. But in the castle of St. Angelo there is a Chamber of Torture, which has not always been merely for exhibition, where a Pope Clement (what a mockery in the name!) had Beatrice Cenci put to the torture, and forced to confess a crime of which she was not guilty. But we are not so unjust as to impute all these cruelties of a former and a darker time to the Catholic Church of the present day. Those were ages of intolerance and of persecution. But none can deny that the Church has always been fiercely intolerant. There is no doubt that the massacre of St. Bartholomew was the occasion of great rejoicings at Rome. The bloody persecution of the Waldenses found no rebuke from him who claimed to be the vicegerent of Christ; a persecution which called forth from Milton that sublime prayer:

Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, Whose bones lie scattered upon the Alpine mountains cold!

Amid such bitter recollections it is good to remember also the message of Cromwell to the Pope, that "if favor were not shown to the people of God, the thunder of English cannon should be heard in the castle of St. Angelo."

It seems as if it were a just retribution for those crimes of a former age that the Pope in these last days has had to walk so long in the Valley of Humiliation. Not for centuries has a Pontiff had to endure such repeated blows. The reign of Pius IX. has been longer than that of any of his predecessors; some may think it glorious, but it has witnessed at once the most daring assumption and its signal punishment--a claim of infallibility, which belongs to God alone--followed by a bitter humiliation as if God would cast this idol down to the ground. It is certainly a remarkable coincidence, that just as the dogma of Infallibility was proclaimed, Louis Napoleon rushed into war, as the result of which France, the chief supporter of the Papacy (which for twenty years had kept an army in Rome to hold the Pope on his throne), was stricken down, and the first place in Europe taken by a Protestant power. Germany had already humbled the other great Catholic power of Europe, to the confusion and dismay of the Pope and his councillors. A gentleman who has resided for many years in Rome, tells me that on the very day that the battle of Sadowa was fought, Cardinal Antonelli told a friend of his to "come around to his house that night to get the news; that he expected to hear of one of the greatest victories ever won for the Church," so confidently did he and his master the Pope anticipate the triumph of Austria. The gentleman went. Hour after hour passed, and no tidings came. It was midnight, and still no news of victory. Before morning the issue was known, that the Austrian army was destroyed. Cardinal Antonelli did not come forth to proclaim the tidings. He shut himself up, said my informant, and was not seen for three weeks!

And so it has come to pass--whether by accident or design, whether by the violence of man or by the will of God--that the Pope has been gradually stripped of that power and prestige which once so acted upon the imaginations of men, that, like Cæsar, "his bend did awe the world," and has come to be merely the bishop, or archbishop, of that portion of Christendom which submits to the Catholic Church.

I find the Rome of to-day divided into two camps. The Vatican is set over against the Quirinal. The Pope rules in one, and Victor Emmanuel in the other; and neither of these two sovereigns has anything to do with the other.

It would take long to discuss the present political state of Rome or of Italy. Apart from the right or wrong of this question, it is evident that the sympathies of the Italian people are on the side of Victor Emmanuel. The Roman people have had a long experience of a government of priests, and they do not like it. It seems as if the world was entering on a new era, and the Papacy, infallible and immutable as it is, must change too--it must "move on" or be overwhelmed.

FOOTNOTE:

[6]

"E'en at the base of Pompey's statue, Which all the while ran blood, great Cæsar fell."

CHAPTER XXIII.

THE PRISONER OF THE VATICAN.

ROME, October 15th.

It is a great loss to travellers who come to Rome to see the sights, that the Pope has shut himself up in the Vatican. In the good old times, when he was not only a spiritual, but a civil potentate--not only Pope, but King--he used to ride about a great deal to take a survey of his dominions. One might meet him of an afternoon taking an airing on the Pincian Hill, or on some of the roads leading out of Rome. He always appeared in a magnificent state carriage, of red trimmed with gold, with six horses richly caparisoned, and outriders going before, and the Swiss guards following after. [What would poor old Peter have said, if he had met his successor coming along in such mighty pomp?] The Cardinals too, arrayed in scarlet, had their red carriages and their fine liveries, and their horses pranced up and down the Corso. Thus Rome was very gay. The processions too were endless, and they were glorious to behold. It was indeed a grand sight to see the Pope and all his Cardinals, in their scarlet dresses, sweeping into St. Peter's and kneeling together in the nave, while the muskets of the Swiss guards rang on the pavement, in token of the might of arms which then attended the spiritual power.

But now, alas! all this is ended. The spoiler has entered into the holy place, and the Holy Father appears no more in the streets. Since that fatal day when the Italian troops marched into Rome--the 20th of September, 1870--he has not put his foot in a carriage, nor shown himself to the Roman people. The Cardinals, who live in different parts of the city, are obliged to go about; but they have laid aside all their fine raiment and glittering equipage, and appear only in solemn black, as if they were all undertakers, attending the funeral of the Papacy. The Pope has shut himself up closely in the Vatican. He is, indeed, just as free to go abroad as ever. There is nothing to prevent his riding about Rome as usual. But no, the dear old man will have it that he is restrained of his liberty, and calls himself "a prisoner!" To be sure he is not exactly in a guard-house, or in a cell, such as those in the Inquisition just across the square of St. Peter, where heretics used to be accommodated with rather close quarters. His "prison" is a large one--a palace, with hundreds of richly furnished apartments, where he is surrounded with luxury and splendor, and where pilgrims flock to him from all parts of the earth. It is a princely retreat for one in his old age, and a grand theatre on which to assume the role of martyr. Almost anybody would be willing to play the part of prisoner, if by this means he might attract the attention and sympathy of the whole civilized world.[7]

But so complete is this voluntary confinement of the Pope, that he has not left the Vatican in these five years, not even to go into St. Peter's, though it adjoins the Vatican, and he can enter it by a private passage. It is whispered that he did go in on one occasion, _to see his own portrait_, which is wrought in mosaic, and placed over the bronze statue of St. Peter. But on this occasion the public were excluded, and when the doors were opened he had disappeared. He will not even take part in the great festivals of the Church, which are thus shorn of half their splendor.

How well I remember the gorgeous ceremonies of Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday, and ending with Easter. I was one of the foreigners in the Sistine Chapel on Good Friday, when the Pope's choir, composed of eunuchs, sang the _Miserere_; and on the Piazza of St. Peter's at Easter, when the Pope was carried on men's shoulders to the great central window, where, in the presence of an immense crowd, he pronounced his benediction _urbi et orbi_; and the cannon of the Castle of St. Angelo thundered forth the mighty blessings which had thus descended on "the city and the world." I saw too, that night, the illumination of St. Peter's, when arches and columns and roof and dome were hung with lamps, that when all lighted together, made such a flame that it seemed as if the very heavens were on fire.

But now all this glory and splendor have gone out in utter night. There are no more blessings for unbelievers--nor even for the faithful, except as they seek them within the sacred precincts of the Vatican, where alone the successor of St. Peter is now visible. It is a great loss to those who have not been in Rome before, especially to those enthusiastic persons who feel that they cannot "die happy" unless they have seen the Pope.

But I do not need anything to gratify my curiosity. I have seen the Pope many times before, and I recognize in the photographs which are in all shop windows the same face which I saw a quarter of a century ago--only aged indeed by the lapse of these many years. _It is a good face._ I used to think he looked like Dr. Sprague of Albany, who certainly had as benevolent a countenance as ever shone forth in kindness on one's fellow creatures. All who know the Pope personally, speak of him as a very kind-hearted man, with most gentle and winning manners. This I fully believe, but is it not a strong argument against the system in which he is bound, that it turns a disposition so sweet into bitterness, and leads one of the most amiable of men to do things very inconsistent with the meek character of the Vicar of Christ; to curse where he ought to bless, and to call down fire from heaven on his enemies? But his natural instincts are all good. When I was here before he was universally popular. His predecessor, Gregory XVI., had been very conservative. But when Cardinal Mastai Ferretti--for that was his name--was elected Pope, he began a series of reforms, which elated the Roman people, and caused the eyes of all Europe to be turned towards him as the coming man. He was the idol of the hour. It seemed as if he had been raised up by Providence to lead the nations in the path of peaceful progress. But the Revolutions of 1848, in Paris and elsewhere, frightened him. And when Garibaldi took possession of Rome, and proclaimed the Republic, his ardor for reform was entirely gone. He escaped from the city disguised as a valet, and fled for protection to the King of Naples, and was afterwards brought back by French troops. From that time he surrendered himself entirely to the Reactionary party, and since then, while as well meaning as ever, he is the victim of a system, from which he cannot escape, and which makes him do things wholly at variance with his kindly and generous nature.

Even the staunchest Protestants who go to see the Pope are charmed with him. They had, perhaps, thought of him as the "Giant Pope," whom Bunyan describes as sitting at the mouth of a cave, and glaring fiercely at Pilgrims as they go by; and they are astonished to find him a very simple old man, pleasant in conversation, fond of ladies' society, with a great deal of humor, enjoying a joke as much as anybody, with a merry twinkle in his eyes, and a face all smiles, as if he had never uttered an anathema. This is indeed very agreeable, but all the more does it make one astounded at the incongruity between such pleasant pastime and his awful spiritual pretensions--for this man who stands there, chatting so familiarly, and laughing so heartily, professes to believe that he is the vicegerent of the Almighty upon earth, and that he has the power to open and shut the gates of hell! God forgive him for the blasphemy of such a thought! It seems incredible that he can believe it himself; or, if he did, that the curses could roll so lightly from his lips. But anathemas appear to be a part of his daily recreation. He seems really to enjoy firing a volley into his enemies, as one would fire a gun into a flock of pigeons. Here is the last shot which I find in the paper of this very day:

"The Roman Catholic papers at The Hague publish a pastoral letter from the Pope to the Archbishop of Utrecht, by which his Holiness makes known that Johannes Heykamp has been excommunicated, as he has allowed himself to be elected and ordained as archbishop of the Jansenists in Holland, and also Johannes Rinkel, who calls himself Bishop of Haarlem, who performed the ordination. The Pope also declares to be excommunicated all those who assisted at the ceremony. The Pope also calls this ordination 'a vile and despicable deed,' and warns all good Catholics not to have any intercourse with the perpetrators of it, but to pray without ceasing that God may turn their hearts."

It is noteworthy that all these anathemas are simply for ecclesiastical offences, not for any immorality, however gross. The Queen of Spain may be notorious for her profligacy, yet she receives no rebuke, she is even as a beloved daughter, to whom the Pope sends presents, so long as she is devout and reverent towards him, or towards the Church. So any prince, or private gentleman, may break all the Ten Commandments, and still be a good Catholic; but if he doubts Infallibility, he is condemned. All sins may be forgiven, except rebellion against the Church or the Pope. He has excommunicated Döllinger, the most learned Catholic theologian in Europe, and Father Hyacinthe, the most eloquent preacher. Poor Victor Emmanuel comes in for oft-repeated curses, simply because in a great political crisis he yielded to the inevitable. _He_ did not seize Rome. It was _the Italian people_, whom he could no more stop than he could stop the inrolling of the sea. If he had not gone before the people they would have gone _over_ him. But for this he is cut off from the communion of the Catholic Church, and delivered over, so far as the anathema of the Pope can do it, to the pains of hell.

And yet if we allege this as proof that some remains of human infirmity still cling to the Infallible Head of the Church, or that a very kind nature has been turned into gall and bitterness, we are told by those who have just come from a reception that he was all sweetness and smiles. An English priest who is in our hotel had an audience last evening, and he says: "The Holy Father was very jolly, laughing heartily at every pleasantry." It does one good to see an old man so merry and light-hearted, but does not such gayety seem a little forced or out of place? Men who have no cares on their minds may laugh and be gay, but for the Vicar of Christ does it not seem to imply that he attaches no weight to the maledictions that he throws about so liberally? If he felt the awful meaning of what he utters, he could not so easily preserve his good spirits and his merriment, while he consigns his fellow-men to perdition. One would think that if obliged to pronounce such a doom upon any, he would do it with tears--that he would retire into his closet, and throw ashes upon his head, and come forth in sackcloth, overwhelmed at the hard necessity which compelled the stern decree. But it does not seem to interfere with any of his enjoyments. He gives a reception at which he is smiling and gracious, and then proceeds to cast out some wretched fellow-creature from the communion of the Holy Catholic Church. There is something shocking in the easy, off-hand manner in which he despatches his enemies. He anathematizes with as little concern as he takes his breakfast, apparently attaching as much solemnity to one as the other. The mixture of levity with stern duties is not a pleasant sight, as when one orders an execution between the puffs of a cigar. But this holy man, this Vicegerent of God on earth, pronounces a sentence more awful still; for he orders what, _according to his theory_, is worse than an execution--an excommunication. Yet he does it quite unconcerned. If he does not order an anathema between the puffs of a cigar, he does it between two pinches of snuff. Such levity would be inconceivable, if we could suppose that he really believes that his curses have power to harm, that they cast a feather's weight into the scale that decides the eternal destiny of a human soul. We do not say that he is conscious of any hypocrisy. Far from it. It is one of those cases, which are so common in the world, in which there is an unconscious contradiction between one's private feelings and his public conduct; in which a man is far better than his theory. We do not believe the Pope is half as bad as he would make himself to be--half so resentful and vindictive as he appears. As we sometimes say, in excuse for harsh language, "he don't mean anything by it." He _does_ mean something, viz., to assert his own authority. But he does not quite desire to deliver up his fellow-creatures to the pains of eternal death.

We are truly sorry for the Pope. He is an old man, and with all his natural gentleness, may be supposed to have something of the irritability of age. And now he is engaged in a contest in which he is sure to fail; he is fighting against the inevitable, against a course of things which he has no more power to withstand than to breast the current of Niagara. He might as well take his stand on the brink of the great cataract, and think by the force of prayers or maledictions to stop the flowing of the mighty waters. All the powers of Europe are against him. Among the sovereigns he has not a single friend, or, at least, one who has any power to help him. The Emperor of Germany is this week on a visit to Milan as the guest of Victor Emmanuel. But he will not come to Rome to pay his respects to the Pope. The Emperor of Austria came to Venice last spring, but neither did he, though he is a good Catholic, continue his journey as far as the Vatican. Thus the Pope is left alone. For this he has only himself to blame. He has forced the conflict, and now he is in a false position, from which there is no escape.

All Europe is looking anxiously to the event of the Pope's death. He has already filled the Papal chair longer than any one of his two hundred and fifty-six predecessors, running back to St. Peter. But he is still hale and strong, and though he is eighty-three years old,[8] he may yet live a few years longer. He belongs to a very long-lived family; his grandfather died at ninety-three, his father at eighty-three, his mother at eighty-eight, his eldest brother at ninety. Protestants certainly may well pray that he should be blessed with the utmost length of days; for the longer he lives, and the more obstinate he is in his reactionary policy, the more pronounced does he force Italy to become in its antagonism, and not only Italy, but Austria and Bavaria, as well as Protestant Germany. May he live to be a hundred years old!

FOOTNOTES:

[7] This pretence of being a prisoner is so plainly a device to excite public sympathy, that it is exaggerated in the most absurd manner. A lady, just returned from the Rhine, tells me that in Germany the Catholics circulate pictures of the Pope _behind the bars of a prison_, and even _sell straws of his bed_, to show that he is compelled to sleep on a pallet of straw, like a convict! The same thing is done in Ireland.

[8] I give his age as put down in the books, where the date of his birth is given as May 13, 1792; although our English priest tells me that the Pope himself says that he is eighty-_five_, adding playfully that "his enemies have deprived him of his dominions, and his friends of two years of his life." My informant says that, notwithstanding his great age, he is in perfect health, with not a sign of weakness or decay about him, physically or intellectually. He is a tough old oak, that may stand all the storms that rage about him for years to come.

CHAPTER XXIV.

PICTURES AND PALACES.

Before we go away from Rome I should like to say a few words on two subjects which hitherto I have avoided. A large part of the time of most travellers in Europe is spent in wandering through palaces and picture galleries, but descriptions of the former would be tedious by their very monotony of magnificence, and of the latter would be hardly intelligible to unprofessional readers, nor of much value to anybody, unless the writer were, what I do not profess to be, a thorough critic in art. But I have certain general impressions, which I may express with due modesty, and yet with frankness, and which may perchance accord with the impressions of some other very plain, but not quite unintelligent, people.

One who has not been abroad--I might almost say, who has not _lived_ abroad--cannot realize how much art takes hold of the imagination of a people, and enters into their very life. It is the form in which Italian genius has most often expressed itself. What poetry is in some countries, art is in Italy. England had great poets in the days of Elizabeth, but no great painters, at a time when the churches and galleries of Italy were illuminated by the genius of Raphael and Titian and Leonardo da Vinci.

The products of such genius have been a treasure to Italy and to the world. Works of art are immortal. Raphael is dead, but the Transfiguration lives. As the paintings of great masters accumulated from century to century, they were gathered in public or private collections, which became, like the libraries of universities, storehouses for the delight and instruction of mankind. Such works justly command the homage and reverence which are due to the highest creations of the human intellect. The man who has put on canvas conceptions which are worthy to live, has left a legacy to the human race. "When I think," said an old monk, who was accustomed to show paintings on the walls of his monastery, "how men come, generation after generation, to see these pictures, and how they pass away, but these remain, I sometimes think that _these are the realities, and that we are the shadows_."

But with all this acknowledgment of the genius that is thus immortal, and that gives delight to successive generations, there are one or two drawbacks to the pleasure I have derived from these great collections of art.

In the first place, there is the _embarrassment of riches_. One who undertakes to visit all the picture galleries, even of a single city like Rome or Florence, soon finds himself overwhelmed by their number. He goes on day after day, racing from one place to another, looking here and there in the most hurried manner, till his mind becomes utterly confused, and he gains no definite impression. It is as impossible to study with care all these pictures, as it would be to read all the books in a public library, which are not intended to be read "by wholesale," but only to be used for reference. So with the great collections of paintings, which are arranged in a certain order, so as to give an idea of the style of different countries, such as the Dutch school, the Venetian school, etc. These are very useful for one who wishes to trace the history of art, but the ordinary traveller does not care to go into such detail. To him a much smaller number of pictures, carefully chosen, would give more pleasure and more instruction.

Further, it has seemed to me that with all the genius of the old masters (which no one is more ready to confess, and in which no one takes more intense delight), there is sometimes a _worship_ of them, which is extended to all their works without discrimination, which is not the result of personal observation, nor quite consistent with mental independence. Indeed, there are few things in which the empire of fashion is more absolute, and more despotic. It is at this point that I meekly offer a protest. I admit fully and gratefully the marvellous genius of some of the old painters, but I cannot admit that everything they touched was equally good. Homer sometimes nods, and even Raphael and Titian--great as they are, and superior perhaps to everybody else--are not always equal to themselves. Raphael worked very rapidly, as is shown by the number of pictures which he left, although he died a young man. Of course, his works must be very unequal, and we may all exercise our taste in preferring some to others.

In another respect it seems to me that there is a limitation of the greatness even of the old masters, viz., in the range of their subjects, in which I find a singular _monotony_. In the numberless galleries that we have visited this summer, I have observed in the old pictures, with all their power of drawing and richness of color, a remarkable sameness, both of subject and of treatment. Even the greatest artists have their manner, which one soon comes to recognize; so that he is rarely mistaken in designating the painter. I know a picture of Rubens anywhere by the colossal limbs that start out of the canvas. Paul Veronese always spreads himself over a large surface, where he has room to bring in a great number of figures, and introduce details of architecture. Give him the Marriage at Cana, or a Royal Feast, and he will produce a picture which will furnish the whole end of a palace hall. It is very grand, of course; but when one sees a constant recurrence of the same general style, he recognizes the limitations of the painter's genius. Or, to go from large pictures to small ones, there is a Dutch artist, Wouvermans, whose pictures are in every gallery in Europe. I have seen hundreds of them, and not one in which he does not introduce a white horse!

Even the greatest of the old masters seem to have exercised their genius upon a limited number of subjects. During the Middle Ages art was consecrated almost wholly to religion. Some of the painters were themselves devout men, and wrought with a feeling of religious devotion. Fra Angelico was a monk (in the same monastery at Florence with Savonarola), and regarded his art as a kind of priesthood, going from his prayers to his painting, and from his painting to his prayers. Others felt the same influence, though in a less degree. In devoting themselves to art, they were moved at once by the inspiration of genius and the inspiration of religion. Others still, who were not at all saintly in their lives, yet painted for churches and convents. Thus, from one cause or another, almost all the art of that day was employed to illustrate religious subjects. Of these there was one that was before all others--the Holy Family, or the Virgin and her Child. This appears and reappears in every possible form. We can understand the attraction of such a subject to an artist; for to him the Virgin was _the ideal of womanhood_, to paint whom was to embody his conception of the most exquisite womanly sweetness and grace. And in this how well did the old masters succeed! No one who has a spark of taste or sensibility can deny the exquisite beauty of some of their pictures of the Virgin--the tenderness, the grace, the angelic purity. What sweetness have they given to the face of that young mother, so modest, yet flushed with the first dawning of maternal love! What affection looks out of those tender eyes! In the celebrated picture of Raphael in the Gallery at Florence, called "The Madonna of the Chair," the Virgin is seated, and clasps her child to her breast, who turns his large eyes, with a wondering gaze, at the world in which he is to live and to suffer. One stands before such a picture transfixed at a loveliness that seems almost divine.

But of all the Madonnas of Raphael--or of any master--which I have seen, I prefer that at Dresden, where the Virgin is not seated, but standing erect at her full height, with the clouds under her feet, soaring to heaven with the Christ-child in her arms. When I went into the room set apart to that picture (for no other is worthy to keep it company), I felt as if I were in a church; every one spoke in whispers; it seemed as if ordinary conversation were an impertinence; as if it would break the spell of that sacred presence.

Something of the same effect (some would call it even greater) is produced by Titian's or Murillo's painting of the "Assumption" of the Virgin--that is, her being caught up into the clouds, with the angels hovering around her, over her head and under her feet. One of these great paintings is at Venice, and the other in the Louvre at Paris. In both the central figure is floating, like that of Christ in the Transfiguration. The Assumption is a favorite subject of the old masters, and reappears everywhere, as does the "Annunciation" by the Angel of the approaching birth of Christ, the "Nativity," and the coming of the Magi to adore the holy child. I do not believe there is a gallery in Italy, and hardly a private collection, in which there are not "Nativities" and "Assumptions" and "Annunciations."

But if some of these pictures are indeed wonderful, there are others which are not at all divine; which are of the earth, earthy; in which the Virgin is nothing more than a pretty woman, chosen as a type of female beauty (just as a Greek sculptor would aim to give _his_ ideal in a statue of Venus), painted sometimes on a Jewish, but more often on an Italian, model. In Holland the Madonnas have a decidedly Dutch style of beauty. We may be pardoned if we do not go into raptures over them.

When the old masters, after painting the Virgin Mary, venture on an ideal of our Lord himself, they are less successful, because the subject is more difficult. They attempt to portray the Divine Man; but who can paint that blessed countenance, so full of love and sorrow? That brow, heavy with care, that eye so tender? I have seen hundreds of Ecce Homos, but not one that gave me a new or more exalted impression of the Saviour of the world than I obtain from the New Testament.

But if it seems almost presumption to attempt to paint our Saviour, what shall we say to the introduction of the Supreme Being upon the canvas? Yet this appears very often in the paintings of the old masters. I cannot but think it was suggested by the fact that the Greek sculptors made statues of the gods for their temples. As they undertook to give the head of Jupiter, so these Christian artists thought they could paint the Almighty! Not unfrequently they give the three persons of the Trinity--the Father being represented as an old man with a long beard, floating on a cloud, the Spirit as a dove, while the Son is indicated by a human form bearing a cross. Can anything be more repulsive than such a representation! These are things beyond the reach of art. No matter what genius may be in certain artistic details, the picture is, and must be, a failure, because it is an attempt _to paint the unpaintable_.

Next to Madonnas and Holy Families, the old masters delight in the painting of saints and martyrs. And here again the same subjects recur with wearying uniformity. I should be afraid to say how many times I have seen St. Lawrence stretched on his gridiron; and youthful St. Sebastian bound to a tree, and pierced with arrows; and old St. Anthony in the desert, assaulted by the temptations of the devil. No doubt these were blessed martyrs, but after being exhibited for so many centuries to the gaze of the world, I should think it would be a relief for them to retire to the enjoyment of the heavenly paradise.

Is it not, then, a just criticism of those who painted all those Madonnas and saints and martyrs, to say, while admitting their transcendent genius, that still their works present _a magnificent monotony_, both of subject and of treatment, and at last weary the eye even by their interminable splendors?

Another point in which the same works are signally defective, is in the absence of _landscape painting_. It has been often remarked of the classic poets, that while they describe human actions and passions, they show a total insensibility to the beauties of nature. The same deficiency appears in the paintings of the old masters. Seldom do they attempt landscape. Sometimes a clump of trees, or a glimpse of sky, is introduced as a background for figures, but it is almost always subordinate to the general effect.

Here, then, it seems to me no undue assumption of modern pride to say that the artists of the present day are not only the equals of the old masters, but their superiors. They have learned of the Mighty Mother herself. They have communed with nature. They have felt the ineffable beauty of the woods and lakes and rivers, of the mountains and the meadows, of the valleys and the hills, of the clouds and skies, and in painting these, have led us into a new world of beauty. As I am an enthusiastic lover of nature, I feel like standing up for the Moderns against the Ancients, and saying (at the risk of being set down as wanting in taste) that I have derived as much pleasure from some of the pictures which I have seen at the Annual Exhibitions in London and Paris, and even in New York, as from any, _except a few hundred of the very best_ of the pictures which I have seen here.

I am led to speak thus freely, because I am slightly disgusted with the abject servility in this matter of many foreign tourists. I see them going through these galleries, guide-book in hand, consulting it at every step, to know what they must admire, and not daring to express an opinion, nor even to enjoy what they see until they turn to what is said by Murray or Bædeker. Of course guide-books are useful, and even necessary, and one can hardly go into a gallery without one, to serve at least as a catalogue, but they must not take the place of one's own eyes. If we are ever to know anything of art, we must begin, however modestly, to exercise our own judgment. While therefore I would have every traveller use his guide-book freely, I would have him use still more his eyes and his brain, and try to exercise, so as to cultivate, his taste.

Is it not time for Americans, who boast so much of their independence, to show a little of it here? Some come abroad only to learn to despise their own country. For my part, the more I see of other countries, while appreciating them fully, the more I love my own; I love its scenery, its landscapes, and its homes, and its men and women; and while I would not commit the opposite mistake of a foolish conceit of everything American, I think our artists show a fair share of talent, which can best be developed by a constant study of nature. Nature is greater than the old masters. What sunset ever painted by Claude or Poussin equals, or even approaches, what we often see when the sun sinks in the west, covering the clouds with gold? If our artists are to paint sunsets, let them not go to picture galleries, but out of doors, and behold the glory of the dying day. Let them paint nature as they see it at home. Nature is not fairer in Italy than in America. Let them paint American landscapes, giving, if they can, the beauty of our autumnal woods, and all the glory of the passing year. If they will keep closely to nature, instead of copying old masters, they may produce an original, as well as a true and genuine school of art, and will fill our galleries and our homes with beauty.

From Pictures to Palaces is an easy transition, as these are the temples in which works of art are enshrined. Many years ago, when I first came abroad, a lady in London, who is well known both in England and America, took me to see Stafford House, the residence of the Duke of Sutherland, saying that it was much finer than Buckingham Palace, and "the best they had to show in England," but that, "of course, it was nothing to what I should see on the Continent, and especially in Italy." Since then I have visited palaces in almost every capital in Europe. I find indeed that Italy excels all other countries in architecture, as she does in another form of art. When her cities were the richest in Europe, drawing to themselves the commerce and the wealth of the East, it was natural that the doges and dukes and princes should display their magnificence in the rearing of costly palaces. These, while they differ in details, have certain general features in which they are all pretty much alike--stately proportions, grand entrances, broad staircases, lofty ceilings, apartments of immense size, with columns of porphyry and alabaster and lapis lazuli, and pavements of mosaic or tessellated marble, with no end of costliness in decoration; ceilings loaded with carving and gilding, and walls hung with tapestries, and adorned with paintings by the first masters in the world. Such is the picture of many a palace that one may see to-day in Venice and Genoa and Florence and Rome.

If any of my readers feel a touch of envy at the tale of such magnificence, it may comfort them to hear, that probably their own American homes, though much less splendid, are a great deal more comfortable. These palaces were not built for comfort, but for pride and for show. They are well enough for courts and for state occasions, but not for ordinary life. They have few of those comforts which we consider indispensable in our American homes. It is almost impossible to keep them warm. Their vast halls are cold and dreary. The pavements of marble and mosaic are not half so comfortable as a plain wooden floor covered with a carpet. There is no gas--they are lighted only with candles; while the liberal supply of water which we have in our American cities is unknown. A lady living in one of the grandest palaces in Rome, tells me that every drop of water used by her family has to be carried up those tremendous staircases, to ascend which is almost like climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Of course a bath is a _luxury_, and not, as with us, an universal comfort. Nowhere do I find such a supply of that necessary element of household cleanliness and personal health, as we have in New York, furnished by a river running through the heart of a city, carrying life, as well as luxury, into every dwelling.

The English-speaking race understand the art of domestic architecture better than any other in the world. They may not build such grand palaces, but they know how to build _homes_. In country houses we should have to yield the palm to the tasteful English cottages, but in city houses I should claim it for America, for the simple reason that, as our cities are newer, there are many improvements introduced in houses of modern construction unknown before.

When Prince Napoleon was in New York, he said that there was more comfort in one of our best houses than he found in the Palais Royal in Paris. And I can well believe it. I doubt if there is a city in the world where there is a greater number of private dwellings which are more thoroughly comfortable, well warmed and well lighted, well ventilated and well drained, with hot and cold baths everywhere: surely such materials for merely physical comfort never existed before. These are luxuries not always found, even in kings' palaces.

But it is not of our rich city houses that I make my boast, but of the tens of thousands of country houses, so full of comfort, full of sunshine, and _full of peace_. These are the things which make a nation happy, and which are better than the palaces of Venice or of Rome.

And so the result of all our observations has been to make us contented with our modest republican ways. How often, while wandering through these marble halls, have I looked away from all this splendor to a happy country beyond the sea, and whispered to myself,

"Mid pleasures and palaces, wherever we roam, Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home."

CHAPTER XXV.

NAPLES.--POMPEII AND PÆSTUM.

NAPLES, October 23d.

"See Naples and die!" is an old Italian proverb, which, it must be confessed, is putting it rather strongly, but which still expresses, with pardonable exaggeration, the popular sense of the surpassing beauty of this city and its environs. Florence, lying in the valley of the Arno, as seen from the top of Fiesolé, is a vision of beauty; but here, instead of a river flowing between narrow banks, there opens before us a bay that is like a sea, alive with ships, with beautiful islands, and in the background Vesuvius, with its column of smoke ever rising against the sky. The bay of Naples is said to be the most beautiful in the world; at least its only rival is in another hemisphere--in the bay of Rio Janeiro. It must be fifty miles in circuit (it is nineteen miles across from Naples to Sorrento), and the whole shore is dotted with villages, so that when lighted up at night, it seems girdled with watch fires.

And around this broad-armed bay (as at Nice and other points along the Mediterranean), Summer lingers after she has left the north of Italy. Not only vineyards and olive groves cover the southern slopes, but palm trees grow in the open air. Here the old Romans loved to come and sun themselves in this soft atmosphere. On yonder island of Capri are still seen the ruins of a palace of Tiberius; Cicero had a villa at Pompeii; and Virgil, though born at Mantua, wished to rest in death upon these milder shores, and here, at the entrance of the grotto of Posilippo, they still point out his tomb.

In its interior Naples is a great contrast to Rome. It is not only larger (indeed, it is much the largest city in Italy, having half a million of inhabitants), but brighter and gayer. Rome is dark and sombre, always reminding one of the long-buried past; Naples seems to live only in the present, without a thought either of the past or of the future. A friend who came here a day or two before us, expressed the contrast between the two cities by saying energetically, "Naples is life: Rome is death!" Indeed, we have here a spectacle of extraordinary animation. I have seen somewhere a series of pictures of "Street Scenes in Naples," and surely no city in Europe offers a greater variety of figures and costumes, as rich and poor, princes and beggars, soldiers and priests, jostle each other in the noisy, laughing crowd.

Even the poorest of the people have something picturesque in their poverty. The lazzaroni of Naples are well known. They are the lowest class of the population, such as may be found in all large cities, and which is generally the most disgusting and repulsive. But here, owing to the warm climate, they can live out of doors, and thus the rags and dirt, which elsewhere are hidden in garrets and cellars, are paraded in the streets, making them like a Rag Fair. One may see a host of young beggars--little imps, worthy sons of their fathers--lying on the sidewalk, asleep in the sun, or coolly picking the vermin from their bodies, or showing their dexterity in holding aloft a string of macaroni, and letting it descend into their mouths, and then running after the carriage for a penny.

The streets are very narrow, very crowded, and very noisy. From morning to night they are filled with people, and resound with the cries of market-men and women, who make a perfect Bedlam. Little donkeys, which seem to be the universal carryalls, come along laden with fruit, grapes and vegetables. The loads put on these poor beasts are quite astonishing. Though not much bigger than Newfoundland dogs, each one has two huge panniers hung at his sides, which are filled with all sorts of produce which the peasants are bringing to market. Often the poor little creature is so covered up that he is hardly visible under his load, and might not be discovered, but that the heap seems to be in motion, and a pair of long ears is seen to project through the superincumbent mass, and an occasional bray from beneath sounds like a cry for pity.

The riding carts of the laboring people also have a power of indefinite multiplication of the contents they carry. I thought that an Irish jaunting-car would hold about as many human creatures as anything that went on wheels, but it is quite surpassed by the country carts one sees around Naples, in which a mere rat of a donkey scuds along before an indescribable vehicle, on which half a dozen men are stuck like so many pegs (of course they stand, for there is not room for them to sit), with women also, and a baby or two, and a fat priest in the bargain, and two or three urchins dangling behind! Sometimes, for convenience, babies and vegetables are packed in the same basket, and swung below!

With such variety in the streets, one need not go out of the city for constant entertainment. And yet the charm of Naples is in its environs, and one who should spend a month or two here, might make constant excursions to points along the bay, which are attractive alike by their natural beauty and their historical interest. He may follow the shore from Ischia clear around to Capri, and enjoy a succession of beautiful points, as the shore-line curves in and out, now running into some sheltered nook, where the olive groves grow thick in the southern sun, and then coming to a headland that juts out into the sea. Few things can be more enchanting than such a ride along the bay to Baiæ on one side or from Castellamare to Sorrento and Amalfi, on the other.

Our first visit was to POMPEII, so interesting by its melancholy fate, and by the revelations of ancient life in its recent excavations. It was destroyed in an eruption of Vesuvius in the reign of Titus, in the year 79, and so completely was it buried that for seventeen hundred years its very site was not known. It was only about the middle of the last century that it was discovered, and not till within a few years that excavations were prosecuted with much vigor. Now the city is uncovered, the roofs are taken off from the houses, and we can look down into the very homes of the people, and see the interior of their dwellings, and all the details of their domestic life.

We spent four or five hours in exploring this buried city, going with a guide from street to street, and from house to house. How strange it seemed to walk over the very pavements that were laid there before our Saviour was born, the stones still showing the ruts worn by the wheels of Roman chariots two thousand years ago!

We examined many houses in detail, and found them, while differing in costliness (some of them, such as those of Diomed and Sallust and Polybius, being dwellings of the rich), resembling each other in their general arrangement. All seemed to be built on an Oriental model, designed for a hot climate, with a court in the centre, where often a fountain filled the air with delicious coolness, and lulled to rest those who sought in the rooms which opened on the court a retreat from the heat of the summer noon. From this central point of the house, one may go through the different apartments--bedroom, dining-room, and kitchen--and see how the people cooked their food, and where they eat it; where they dined and where they slept; how they lay down and how they rose up. In almost every house there is a niche for the Penates, or household gods, which occupied a place in the dwellings of the old Pompeiians, such as is given by devout Catholics to images of the Virgin and saints, at the present day.

But that which excites the greatest wonder is the decorations of the houses--the paintings on the walls, which in their grace of form and richness of color, are still subjects of admiration, and furnish many a model to architects and decorators. A great number of these have been removed to the Museum at Naples, where artists are continually studying and copying them. In this matter of decorative art, Wendell Phillips may well claim--as he does in his eloquent lecture on "The Lost Arts"--that there are many things in which the ancients, whether Romans, Greeks, or Egyptians, were superior to the boastful moderns.

Something of the luxury of those times is seen in the public baths, which are fitted up with furnaces for heating the water, and pipes for conveying it, and rooms for reclining and cooling one's self after the bath, and other refinements of luxury, which we had vainly conceived belonged only to modern civilization.

From the houses we pass to the shops, and here we find all the signs of active life, as if the work had been interrupted only yesterday. Passing along the street, one sees the merchant's store, the apothecary's shop, and the blacksmith's forge. To be sure, the fire is extinguished, and the utensils which have been discovered have been carried off to the Museum at Naples; but it needs only to light up the coals, and we might hear again the ring on the anvils where the hammer fell, struck by hands that have been dust for centuries. And here is a bakery, with all the implements of the trade: the stone mills standing in their place for grinding the corn (is it not said that "two shall be grinding at the mill; one shall be taken and the other left"?); the vessels for the flour and for water, the trough for kneading the bread, and the oven for baking--long brick ovens they are, just like those in which our New England mothers are wont to bake their Thanksgiving pies. Nay, we have some of the bread that was baked, loaves of which are still preserved, charred and blackened by the fire, and possibly might be eaten, although the bread is decidedly well done.

Of course, the most imposing structures that have been uncovered are the public buildings in the Forum and elsewhere--the basilica for the administration of justice; the theatres for games; and the temples for the worship of the gods.

I was curious as to the probable loss of life in the destruction of the city, and conclude that it was not very great in proportion to the population. We have no means of knowing exactly the number of inhabitants. Murray's Guide Book says 30,000, but a careful measurement shows that not more than 12,000 could have been within the walls, while perhaps as many more were outside of it. As yet there have been discovered not more than six hundred skeletons; so that it is probable that the greater number made their escape.

But even these--though few compared with the whole--are enough to disclose, by their attitudes, the suffering and the agony of their terrible fate. From their postures, it is plain that the inhabitants were seized with mortal terror when destruction came upon them. Many were found with their bodies prone on the earth, who had evidently thrown themselves down, and buried their faces in their hands, as if to hide from their eyes the danger that was in the air. Some tried to escape with their treasures. In one house five skeletons were found, with bracelets and rings of gold, silver, and bronze, lying on the pavement. A woman was found with four rings on one of her fingers, set with precious stones, with gold bracelets and earrings and pieces of money. Perhaps her avarice or her vanity proved her destruction. But the hardest fate was that of those who could not fly, as captives chained in their dungeons. Three skeletons were found in a prison, with the manacles still on their fleshless hands. Even dumb beasts shared in the general catastrophe. The horse that had lost its rider pawed and neighed in vain; and the dog that howled at his master's gate, but would not leave him, shared his fate. The skeletons of both are still preserved.

Altogether, the most vivid account which has been given of the overthrow of the city, is by the English novelist, Bulwer, in his "Last Days of Pompeii." He pictures a great crowd collected for gladiatorial combats. That the people had these cruel sports, is shown by the amphitheatre which remains to this day; and the greatest number of skeletons in any one spot was thirty-six, in a building for the training of gladiators. In the amphitheatre, according to the novelist, the people were assembled when the destruction came. The lion had been let loose, but more sensitive than man to the strange disturbance in the elements, crept round the arena, instead of bounding on his prey, losing his natural ferocity in the sense of terror. Beasts in the dens below filled the air with howls, till the assembly, roused from the eager excitement of the combat, at length looked upward, and in the darkening sky above them read the sign of their approaching doom.

But no high-wrought description can add to the actual terror of that day, as recounted by historians. There are some things which cannot be overdrawn, and even Bulwer does not present to the imagination a greater scene of horror than the plain narrative of the younger Pliny, who was himself a witness of the destruction of Pompeii from the bay, and whose uncle, advancing nearer to get a better view, perished.

A city which has had such a fate, and which, after being buried for so many centuries, is now disentombed, deserves a careful memorial, which shall comprise both an authentic historical account of its overthrow, with a detailed report of the recent discoveries. We are glad, therefore, to meet here a countryman of ours who has taken the matter in hand, and is fully competent for the task. Rev. J. C. Fletcher, who is well known in America as the author of a work on Brazil, which is as entertaining as it is instructive, has been residing two years in Naples, preparing for the Harpers a work on Pompeii, which cannot fail to be of great interest, and to which we look forward as the most valuable account we shall have of this long-buried city.

Another excursion of almost equal interest was to PÆSTUM, some fifty miles below Naples, the ruins of which are second only to those of the Parthenon. It is an excursion which requires two days, and which we accordingly divided. We went first to Sorrento, on the southern shore of the bay, one of the most beautiful spots around Naples, a kind of eyrie, or eagle's nest, perched on the cliff, and looking off upon the glittering waters. Here we were joined by a German lady and her daughter, whom we had met before in Florence and in Rome, and who are to be our travelling companions in the East; and who added much to our pleasure as we picnicked the next day in the Temple of Neptune. With our party thus doubled we rode along the shore over that most beautiful drive from Sorrento to Castellamare, and went on to Salerno to pass the night, from which the excursion to Pæstum is easily made the next day.

Notwithstanding the great interest of this excursion, it has been made less frequently than it would have been but for the fact that, until quite recently, the road has been infested by brigands, who had an unpleasant habit of starting up by the roadside with blunderbusses in their hands, and assisting you to alight from the carriage, and taking you for an excursion into the mountains, from which a message was sent to your friends in Naples, that on the deposit of a thousand pounds or so at a certain place you would be returned safely. If friends were a little slow in taking this hint, and coming to the rescue, sometimes an ear of the unfortunate captive was cut off and sent to the city as a gentle reminder of what awaited him if the money was not forthcoming immediately. Of course, it did not need many such warnings to squeeze the last drop of blood out of friends, who eagerly drained themselves to save a kinsman, who had fallen into the jaws of the lion, from a horrible fate.

That these were not idle tales told to frighten travellers, we had abundant evidence. Within a very few years there have been repeated adventures of the kind. An English gentleman whom we met at Salerno, who had lived some forty years in this part of Italy, told us that the stories were not at all exaggerated; that one gang of bandits had their headquarters but half a mile from his house, and that when captured they confessed that they had often lain in wait for _him_!

These pleasing reminiscences gave a cheerful zest to the prospect of our journey on the morrow, although at present there is little danger. Since the advent of Victor Emmanuel, brigandage, like a good many other institutions of the old régime, has been got rid of. Our English friend last saw his former neighbors, as he was riding in a carriage, and three of them passed him, going to be shot. Since then the danger has been removed; and still it gives one a little excitement to drive where such incidents were common only a few years ago, and even now it is not at all disagreeable to see soldiers stationed at different points along the road.

Though brigandage has passed away _here_, like many an other relic of the good old times, it still flourishes in Sicily, where all efforts to extirpate it have as yet proved unsuccessful, and where one who is extremely desirous of a little adventure, may find it without going far outside the walls of Palermo.

But we will not stop to waste words on brigands, when we have before us the ruins of Pæstum. As we drive over a long, level road, we see in the distance the columns of great temples rising over the plain, not far from the sea. They are perhaps more impressive because standing alone, not in the midst of a populous city like the Parthenon, with Athens at its base, but like Tadmor in the wilderness, solitary and desolate, a wonder and a mystery. Except the custodian of the place there was not a human creature there; nor a sound to be heard save the cawing of crows that flew among the columns, and lighted on the roof. In such silence we approached these vast remains of former ages. The builders of these mighty temples have vanished, and no man knows even their names. It is not certain by whom they were erected. It is supposed by a Greek colony that landed on the shores of Southern Italy, and there founded cities and built temples at least six hundred years before the Christian era. The style of architecture points to a Greek origin. The huge columns, without any base, and with the plain Doric capitals, show the same hands that reared the Parthenon. But whoever they were, there were giants in the earth in those days; and the Cyclopean architecture they have left puts to shame the pigmy constructions of modern times. How small it makes one feel to compare his own few years with these hoary monuments of the past! So men pass away, and their names perish, even though the structures they have builded may survive a few hundred, or a few thousand years. What lessons on the greatness and littleness of man have been read under the shadow of these giant columns. Hither came Augustus, in whose reign Christ was born, to visit ruins that were ancient even in his day. Here, where a Cæsar stood two thousand years ago, the traveller from another continent (though not from New Zealand) stands to-day, to muse--at Pæstum, as at Pompeii--on the fate which overtakes all human things, and at last whelms man and his works in one undistinguishable ruin.

CHAPTER XXVI.

THE ASCENT OF VESUVIUS.

November 1st.

Our excursion to Vesuvius was delayed for some days to await the arrival of the Franklin, which was to bring us the lieutenant who was our travelling companion in Germany last summer, and who wished to make the ascent in our company. At length, on Thursday, the firing of heavy guns told us that the great ship was coming into the harbor, and we were soon on board, where we received a most hearty welcome, not only from our kinsman, but from all the officers. The Franklin is the Flag-ship of our European squadron, and bears the flag of Admiral John L. Worden, the gallant officer whose courage and skill in fighting the Monitor against the Merrimack in Hampton Roads in 1862, saved the country in an hour of imminent peril. Well do we remember the terror in New York caused by the tidings of the sinking of the Congress and the Cumberland by that first ironclad--a new sea monster whose powers of destruction were unknown, and which we expected to see within a week sailing up our harbor, and demanding the surrender of the city. From this and other dangers, which we shudder to contemplate, we were saved by the little Monitor on that eventful day. As Admiral Worden commands only the _fleet_, the _ship_ is commanded by an officer who bears the same honored name as the ship itself--Captain Franklin. We were very proud to see such men, surrounded by a fine set of officers, representing our country here. As we made frequent visits to the ship, we came to feel quite at home there. Not the least pleasant part of these visits was to meet several American ladies--the wife and daughters of Admiral Worden, and the wife of Captain Franklin. Men who have rendered distinguished services to their country are certainly entitled to a little domestic comfort on their long voyages; while the presence of such ladies is a benefit to all on board. When men are alone, whether in camp or on a ship, they are apt to become a little rough, and the mere presence of a noble woman has a refining influence over them. I can see it here in these young officers, who all seem to have a chivalrous feeling towards these ladies, who remind them of their own mothers and sisters at home. A more happy family I have not met on land or sea.

To their company we are indebted for much of the pleasure of our excursion to Vesuvius. On Saturday a large party was made up from the ship, which included the family of Admiral Worden, Captain and Mrs. Franklin, and half a dozen lieutenants. Our excellent consul at Naples, Mr. Duncan, and his sister, were also with us. We filled four carriages, and away we went through the streets of Naples at a furious rate; sweeping around the bay (along which, as we looked through arched passages to the right, we could see villas and gardens stretching down to the waters), till we reached Resina, which stands on the site of buried Herculaneum. Here we turned to the left, and began the ascent. And now we found it well that our drivers had harnessed three stout horses abreast to each carriage, as we had a hard climb upward along the blackened sides of the mountain.

We soon perceived the wide-spread ruin wrought by successive eruptions of the volcano. Over all this mountain side had rolled a deluge of fire, and on every hand were strewn the wrecks of the mighty desolation. It seemed as if a destroying angel had passed over the earth, blasting wherever his shadow fell. On either side stretched miles and miles of lava, which had flowed here and there slowly and sluggishly like molten iron, turning when interrupted in its course, and twisted into a thousand shapes.

But if this was a terrible sight, there was something to relieve the eye, as we looked away in the distance to where the smile of God still rests on an unsmitten world. As we mounted higher, we commanded a wider view, and surely never was there a more glorious panorama than that which was unrolled at our feet on that October morning. There was the bay of Naples, flashing in the sunlight, with the beautiful islands of Ischia and Capri lying, like guardian fortresses, off its mouth, and ships coming and going to all parts of the Mediterranean. What an image was presented in that one view of the contrasts in our human life between sunshine and shadow--blooming fields on one hand, and a blackened waste on the other; above, a region swept by fire, and below, gardens and vineyards, and cities and villages, smiling in peace and security.

We had left Naples at nine o'clock, but it was noon before we reached the Observatory--a station which the Italian Government has established on the side of the mountain for the purpose of making meteorological observations. This is the limit to which carriages can ascend, and here we rested for an hour. Our watchful lieutenants had thoughtfully provided a substantial lunch, which the steward spread in a little garden overlooking the bay, and there assembled as merry a group of Americans as ever gathered on the sides of Vesuvius.

From the Observatory, those who would spare any unnecessary fatigue may take mules a mile farther to the foot of the cone, but our party preferred the excitement of the walk after our long ride. In ascending the cone, no four-footed beast is of any service; one must depend on his own strong limbs, unless he chooses to accept the aid of some of the fierce looking attendants who offer their services as porters. A lady may take a chair, and for forty francs be carried quite to the top on the shoulders of four stout fellows. But the more common way is to take two assistants, one to go forward who drags you up by a strap attached around his waist, to which you hold fast for dear life, while another _pushes_ behind. Our young lady had _three_ escorts. She drove a handsome team of two ahead, while a third lubberly fellow was trying to make himself useful, or, at least, to earn his money, by putting his hands on her shoulders, and thus urging her forward. I believe I was the only person of the party, except the Consul and one lieutenant, who went up without assistance. I took a man at first, rather to get rid of his importunity, but he gave out sooner than I did, stopping after a few rods to demand more money, whereupon I threw him off in disgust, and made the ascent alone. But I would not recommend others to follow my example, as the fatigue is really very great, especially to one unused to mountain climbing. Not only is the cone very steep, but it is covered with ashes; so that one has no firm hold for his feet, but sinks deep at every step. Thus he makes slow progress, and is soon out of breath. He can only keep on by going _very slowly_. I had to stop every few minutes, and throw myself down in the ashes, to rest. But with these little delays, I kept steadily mounting higher and higher.

As we neared the top, the presence of the volcano became manifest, not merely from the cloud which always hangs about it, but by smoke issuing from many places at the side. It seemed as if the mountain were a vast smouldering heap out of which the internal heat forced its way through every aperture. Here and there a long line of smoke seemed to indicate a subterranean fissure or vein, through which the pent-up fires forced their way. As we crossed these lines of smoke the sulphurous fumes were stifling, especially when the wind blew them in our faces.

But at last all difficulties were conquered, and we stood on the very top, and looked over the awful verge into the crater.

Those who have never seen a volcano are apt to picture it as a tall peak, a slender cone, like a sugar loaf, with a round aperture at the top, like the chimney of a blast furnace, out of which issues fire and smoke. Something of this indeed there is, but the actual scene is vastly greater and grander. For, instead of a small round opening, like the throat of a chimney, large enough for one flaming column, the crater is nearly half a mile across, and many hundreds of feet deep; and one looks down into a yawning gulf, a vast chasm in the mountain, whose rocky sides are yellow with sulphur, and out of which the smoke issues from different places. At times it is impossible to see anything, as dense volumes of smoke roll upward, which the wind drives toward us, so that we are ourselves lost in the cloud. Then they drift away, and for an instant we can see far down into the bowels of the earth.

Standing on the bald head of Vesuvius, one cannot help some grave reflections, looking at what is before him only from the point of view of a man of science. The eruption of a volcano is one of the most awful scenes in nature, and makes one shudder to think of the elements of destruction that are imprisoned in the rocky globe. What desolation has been wrought by Vesuvius alone--how it has thrown up mountains, laid waste fields, and buried cities! What a spectacle has it often presented to the terrified inhabitants of Naples, as it has shot up a column not only of smoke, but of fire! The flames have often risen to the height of a mile above the summit of the mountain, their red blaze lighting up the darkness of the night, and casting a glare over the waters of the bay, while the earth was moaning and trembling, as if in pain and fear.

And the forces that have wrought such destruction are active still. For two thousand years this volcano has been smoking, and yet it is not exhausted. Its fury is still unspent. Far down in the heart of the earth still glow the eternal fires. This may give some idea of the terrific forces that are at work in the interior of the hollow globe, while it suggests at least the possibility of a final catastrophe, which shall prove the destruction of the planet itself.

But if the spectacle be thus suggestive and threatening to the man of science, it speaks still more distinctly to one who has been accustomed to think that a time is coming when "the earth, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat," and who beholds in these ascending flames the prophetic symbol of the Dies Iræ--the Day of Doom--that shall at last end the long tragedy of man's existence on the earth.

As I stood on the edge of the crater and looked down into the awful depths below, it seemed as if I beheld a scene such as might have inspired the description of Dante in his Inferno, or of John in the Apocalypse; as if that dread abyss were no unfit symbol of the "lower deep" into which sink lost human souls. That "great gulf" was as the Valley of Hell; its rocky sides, yellow with sulphurous flames--how glistening and slippery they looked!--told of a "lake of fire and brimstone" seething and boiling below; those yawning caverns which were disclosed as the smoke drifted away, were the abodes of despair, and the winds that moaned and shrieked around were the wailings of the lost; while the pillar of cloud which is always rising from beneath, which "ceases not day nor night," was as "the smoke of torment," forever ascending.

He must be a dull preacher who could not find a lesson in that awful scene; or see reflected in it the dangers to which he himself is exposed. Fire is the element of destruction, even more than water. The "cruel, crawling foam" of the sea, that comes creeping towards us to seize and to destroy, is not so treacherous as the flames, darting out like serpents' tongues, that come creeping upward from the abyss, licking the very stones at our feet, and that seem eager to lick up our blood.

The point where we stood projected over the crater. The great eruption three years since had torn away half the cone of the mountain, and now there hung above it a ledge, which seemed ready at any moment to break and fall into the gulf below. As I stood on that "perilous edge," the crumbling verge of the volcano, I seemed to be in the position of a human being exposed to dangers vast and unseen, to powers which blind and smother and destroy. As if Nature would fix this lesson, by an image never to be forgotten, the sun that was declining in the west, suddenly burst out of the cloud, and cast my own shadow on the column of smoke that was rising from below. That shadowy form, standing in the air, now vanishing, and then reappearing with every flash of sunlight, seemed no inapt image of human life, a thing of shadow, floating in a cloud, and hovering over an abyss!

Thus musing, I lingered on the summit to the last, for such was the fascination of the scene that I could not tear myself away, and it was not till all were gone, and I found myself quite alone, that I turned and followed them down the mountain side. The descent is as rapid as the ascent is slow. A few minutes do the work of hours, as one plunges down the ashy cone, and soon our whole party were reassembled at its base. It was five o'clock when we took our carriages at the Observatory; and quite dark before we got down the mountain, so that men with lighted torches (long sticks of pine, like those with which travellers make their way through the darkness of American forests), had to go before us to show the road, and with such flaring flambeaux, and much shouting of men and boys, of guides and drivers, we came rolling down the sides of Vesuvius, and a little after seven o'clock were again rattling through the streets of Naples.

Yesterday was our last day in this city, as we leave this afternoon for Athens and Constantinople, and as it was the Sabbath, we went on board the Franklin for a religious service. Such a service is always very grateful to an American far from home. The deck of an American ship is like a part of his country, a floating island, anchored for the moment to a foreign shore: and as he stands there, and sees around him the faces of countrymen, and hears, instead of the language of strangers, his dear old mother tongue, and looks up and sees floating above him the flag he loves so well--that has been through so many battles and storms--he cannot keep down a trembling in his heart, or the tears from his eyes.

And how delightful it is, on such a spot, and with such a company, to join in religious worship. The Franklin has an excellent chaplain--one who commands the respect of all on board by his consistent life, though without any cant or affectation, while his uniform kindness and sympathy win their hearts. The service was held on the gun-deck, where officers and men were assembled, sitting as they could, between the cannon. The band played one or two sacred airs, and the chaplain read the service with his deep, rich voice, after which it was my privilege to preach to this novel congregation of my countrymen. Altogether the occasion was one of very peculiar interest to me, and I hope it was equally so to others.

And so we took leave of the Franklin, with most grateful memories of the kindness of all, from the Admiral down. It is pleasant to see such a body of officers on board of one of our national ships. None can realize, except those who travel abroad, how much of the good name of our country is entrusted to the keeping of such men. They go everywhere, they appear in every port of Europe and indeed of the world; they are instantly recognized by their uniform, and are regarded, much more than ordinary travellers, as the representatives of our country. How pleasant it is to find them uniformly _gentlemen_--courteous and dignified, preserving their self-respect, while showing proper respect to others. I am proud to see such a generation of young officers coming on the stage, and trust it may always be said of them, that (taking example from the gallant captains and admirals who are now the pride of our American Navy,) they are as modest as they are brave. Such be the men to carry the starry flag around the globe!

CHAPTER XXVII.

GREECE AND ITS YOUNG KING.

ATHENS, November 9th.

If the best proof of our fondness for a place be that we leave it with regret, few cities will stand higher in our remembrance than Naples, from which we turned away with many a lingering look, as we waved our adieus to our friends, who answered us from the deck of the Franklin. Never did the bay look more beautiful than that Monday afternoon, as we sailed away by Capri and Sorrento, and Amalfi and the Bay of Salerno. The sea was calm, the sky was fair. The coast, with its rocky headlands and deeply indented bays, was in full sight, while behind rose the Apennines. The friends were with us who were to be our companions in the East, adding to our animation by their own, as we sat upon the deck till the evening drew on. As the sun went down, it cast such a light over the sea, that the ship seemed to be swimming in glory, as we floated along the beautiful Italian shores. A little before morning we passed through the Straits of Messina, between Scylla and Charybdis, leaving Mount Etna on our right, and then for an hour or two stood off the coast of Calabria, till we ran out of sight of land, into the open sea of the Mediterranean.

Wednesday found us among the Ionian islands, and we soon came in sight of the Morea, a part of the mainland of Greece. We had been told to watch, as we approached Athens, for sunset on the Parthenon; but it was not till long after dark that we entered the harbor of the Piræus, and saw the lights on the shore, and our first experience was anything but romantic. At ten o'clock we were cast ashore, in darkness and in rain; so that instead of feeling any inspiration, we felt only that we were very wet and very cold. While the commissionaire went to call a carriage, we waited for a few moments in a café, which was filled with Greek soldiers who were drinking and smoking, and looked more like brigands than the lawful defenders of life and property. Such was our introduction to the classic soil of Greece. But the scene was certainly picturesque enough to satisfy our young spirits (for I have two such now in charge), who are always looking out for adventures. Soon the carriage came, and splashing through the mud, we drove to Athens, and at midnight found a most welcome rest in our hotel.

But sunrise clears away the darkness, and we look out of our balcony on a pleasant prospect. We are in the Hotel Grande Bretagne, facing the principal square, and adjoining the Royal Palace, in front of which the band comes to play under the King's windows every day. Before us rises a rocky hill, which we know at once to be the Acropolis, as it is strown with ruins, and crowned with the columns of a great temple, which can be no other than the Parthenon.

Turning around the horizon, the view is less attractive. The hills are bleak and bare, masses of rock covered with a scanty vegetation. This desolate appearance is the result of centuries of neglect; for in ancient times (if I have read aright), the plain of Athens was a paradise of fertility, and where not laid out in gardens, was dense with foliage. Stately trees stood in many a grove besides that of the Academy, while the mountains around "waved like Lebanon." But nature seems to have dwindled with man, and centuries of misrule, while they have crushed the people, have stripped even the mountains of their forests.

But with all the desolateness around it, Athens is to the scholar one of the most interesting cities in the world. Its very ruins are eloquent, as they speak of the past. We have been here six days, and have been riding about continually, seeking out ancient sites, exploring temples and ruins, and find the charm and the fascination increasing to the last.

The Parthenon has disappointed me, not in the beauty of its design, which is as nearly perfect as anything ever wrought by the hand of man, but in the state of its preservation, which is much less perfect than that of the temples at Pæstum. Time and the elements have wrought upon its marble front; but these alone would not have made it the ruin that it is, but for the havoc of war: for so massive was its structure that it might have lasted for ages. Indeed, it was preserved nearly intact till about two centuries ago. But the Acropolis, owing to the advantages of its site (a rocky eminence, rising up in the midst of the city, like the Castle of Edinburgh), had often been turned into a fortress, and sustained many sieges. In 1687 it was held by the Turks, and the Parthenon was used as a powder magazine, which was exploded by a bomb from the Venetian camp on an opposite hill, and thus was fatally shattered the great edifice that had stood from the age of Pericles. Many columns were blown down, making a huge rent on both sides. It is sad to see these great blocks of Pentelican marble, that had been so perfectly fashioned and chiselled, now strown over the summit of the hill.

And then, to complete the destruction, at the beginning of this century, came a British nobleman, Lord Elgin, and having obtained a firman from the Turkish Government, proceeded deliberately to put up his scaffolding and take down the friezes of Phidias, and carried off a ship-load of them to London, where the Elgin Marbles now form the chief ornament of the British Museum. The English spoilers have indeed allowed some plaster casts to be taken, and brought back here--faint reminders of the glorious originals. With these and such other fragments as they have been able to gather, the Greeks have formed a small museum of their own on the Acropolis. In those which preserve any degree of entireness, as in the more perfect ones in London, one perceives the matchless grace of ancient Greek sculpture. There are long processions of soldiers mounted on horses, and priests leading their victims to the sacrifice. In these every figure is different, yet all are full of majesty and grace. What a power even in the horses, as they sweep along in the endless procession; and what a freedom in their riders. The whole seems to _march_ before us.

But many of the fragments that have been collected are so broken that we cannot make anything out of them. We know from history that there were on the Acropolis five hundred statues (besides those in the Parthenon), scattered over the hill. Of these but little remains--here an arm, or a leg, or a headless trunk, which would need a genius like that of the ancient sculptor himself to restore it to any degree of completeness. It is said of Cuvier that such was his knowledge of comparative anatomy, that from the smallest fragment of bone he could reconstruct the frame of a mastodon, or of any extinct animal. So perhaps out of these remains of ancient art, a Thorwaldsen (who had more of the genius of the ancient Greeks than any other modern sculptor,) might reconstruct the friezes and sculptures of the Parthenon.

But perhaps it is better that they remain as they are--fragments of a mighty ruin, suggestions of a beauty and grace now lost to the world; and which no man is worthy to restore.

Even as it stands, shattered and broken, the Parthenon is majestic in its ruins. Until I came here I did not realize how much of its effect was due to its _position_. But the old Greeks studied the effect of everything, and thus the loftiest of positions was chosen for the noblest of temples. As Michael Angelo, in building St. Peter's at home, said that he "would lift the Pantheon into the air," (that is, erect a structure so vast that its very dome should be equal to the ancient temple of the gods,) so here the builders of the Parthenon lifted it into the clouds. It stands on the very pinnacle of the hill, some six hundred feet above the level of the sea, and thus is brought into full relief against the sky. On that lofty summit it could be seen from the city itself, which lies under the shadow of the Acropolis, as well as from the more distant plain. It could be seen also from the tops of the mountains, and even far out at sea, as it caught and reflected back the rays of the rising or the setting sun. Its marble columns, outlined against the blue sky of Greece, seemed almost a temple in the clouds.

This effect of position has been half destroyed, at least for those living in Athens, by the barbarous additions of later times, by which, in order that the Acropolis might be turned into a fortress, the brow of the hill was surmounted with a rude wall, which still encircles it, and hides all but the upper part of the Parthenon from view. In any proposed "restoration," the first thing should be to throw down this ugly wall, so that the great temple might be seen to its very base, standing as of old upon the naked rocks, with no barrier to hide its majesty, from those near at hand as well as those "beholding it afar off."

But, for the present, to see the beauty of the Parthenon, one must go up to the Acropolis, and study it there. We often climbed to the summit, and sat down on the steps of the Propylæa, or on a broken column, to enjoy the prospect. From this point the eye ranges over the plain of Athens, bounded on one side by mountains, and on the other by the sea. Here are comprised in one view the points of greatest interest in Athenian history. Yonder is the bay of Salamis, where Themistocles defeated the Persians, and above it is the hill on which the proud Persian monarch Xerxes sat to see the ruin of the Greek ships, but from which before the day was ended he fled in dismay. To such spots Demosthenes could point, as he stood in the Bema just below us, and thundered to the Athenian people; and by such recollections he roused them to "march against Philip, to conquer or die." A mile and a half distant, but in full sight, was the grove of the Academy, where Plato taught; and here, under the Acropolis, is a small recess hewn in the rock which is pointed out as the prison of Socrates, and another which is called his tomb. This inconstant people, like many others, after putting to death the wisest man of his age, paid almost divine honors to his memory.

Like the Coliseum at Rome, the Parthenon is best seen by moonlight, for then the rents are half concealed, and as the shadows of the columns that are still standing fall across the open area, they seem like the giants of old revisiting the place of their glory, while the night wind sighing among the ruins creeps in our ears like whispers of the mighty dead.

When our American artist, Mr. Church, was here, he spent some weeks in studying the Parthenon and taking sketches, from which he painted the beautiful picture now in the possession of Mr. Morris K. Jesup. He studied it from every point and in every light--at sunrise and sunset, and by moonlight, and even had Bengal lights hung at night to bring out new lights and shadows. This latter mode of illumination was tried on a far grander scale when the Prince of Wales was here a few days since on his way to India, and the effect was indescribably beautiful as those mighty columns, thus brought into strange relief, stood out against the midnight sky.

But if the Parthenon be only a ruin, the memorial of a greatness that exists no more, fit emblem of that mythology of which it was the shrine, and of which it is now at once the monument and the tomb, there is something to be seen from this spot which is not a reminder of decay. Beneath the Acropolis is Mars Hill, where Paul stood, in sight of these very temples, and cried, "Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious" [or, as it might be more correctly rendered, "very religious"]; "for as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands" [here we may believe he pointed upward to the Parthenon and other temples which crowned the hill above him]; "neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things." That voice has died into silence, nor doth remain upon the barren rock a single monument, or token of any kind, to mark where the great Apostle stood. But the faith which he preached has gone into all the world, and to-day the proudest dome that overlooks the greatest capital of the modern world, bears the name of St. Paul; and not only in London, but in hundreds of other cities, in all parts of the earth, are temples consecrated with his name, that tell of the Unknown God who has been declared to men, and of a faith and worship that shall not pass away.

It is a long leap in history, from Ancient to Modern Greece; but the intervening period contains so much of sadness and of shame, that it is just as well to pass it by. What need to speak of the centuries of degradation, in which Greece has been trampled on by Roman and Goth and Turk, since we may turn to the cheering fact that after this long night of ages, the morning has come, and this stricken land revives again? Greece is at last free from her oppressors, and although the smallest of European kingdoms, yet she exists; she has a place among the nations, and the beginning of a new life, the dawn of what may prove a long and happy career.

It is impossible to look on the revival of a nation which has had such a history without the deepest interest, and I questioned eagerly every one who could tell me anything about the conditions and prospects of the country. I find the general report is one of progress--slow indeed, but steady. The venerable Dr. Hill, who has lived here nearly forty-five years, and is about the oldest inhabitant of Athens, tells me that when he came, _there was not a single house_--he lived at first in an old Venetian tower--and to-day Athens is a city of fifty thousand inhabitants, with wide and beautiful streets; with public squares and fountains, and many fine residences; with churches and schools, and a flourishing University; with a Palace and a King, a Parliament House and a Legislature, and all the forms of constitutional government.

Athens is a very bright and gay city. Its climate favors life in the open air, and its streets are filled with people, whose varied costumes give them a most picturesque appearance. The fez is very common, but not a turban is to be seen, for there is hardly a Turk in Athens, unless it be connected with their embassy. The most striking figures in the streets are the Albanians, or Suliotes, whose dress is not unlike that of the Highlanders, only that the kilt, instead of being of Scotch plaid, is of white cotton _frilled_, with the legs covered with long thick stockings, and the costume completed by a "capote"--a cloak as rough as a sheepskin, which is thrown coquettishly over the shoulders. These Highlanders, though not of pure Greek blood, fought bravely in the war of independence, meriting the praise of Byron:--

"O who is more brave than a dark Suliote, In his snowy camese and his shaggy capote?"

The interior of the country is less advanced than the capital. The great want is that of _internal communication_. Greece is a country made by nature both for commerce and for agriculture, as it is a peninsula, and the long line of coast is indented with bays, and the interior is very fertile; and if a few short roads were opened to connect the inland valleys with the sea, so that the farmers and peasants could send their produce to market, the exports of the country might soon be doubled. One "trunk" road also is needed, about a hundred miles long, to connect Greece with the European system of railroads. The opening of this single artery of trade would give a great impulse to the industry of the country; but as it would have to cross the frontier of Turkey, it is necessary to have the consent of the Turkish Government, and this the Greeks, though they have sought it for years, have never been able to obtain.

But the obstacles to improvement are not all the fault of the Turks; the Greeks are themselves also to blame. There is a lack of enterprise and of public spirit; they do not work together for the public good. If there were a little more of a spirit of coöperation, they could do wonders for their country. They need not go to England to borrow money to build railroads. There is enough in Athens itself, which is the residence of many wealthy Greeks. Greece is about as large in territory as Massachusetts, and has about the same population. If it had the same spirit of enterprise, it would soon be covered, as Massachusetts is, with a network of railroads, and all its valleys would be alive with the hum of industry.

This lack of enterprise and want of combination for public ends, are due to inherent defects of national character. The modern Greeks have many of the traits of their illustrious ancestors, in which there is a strange compound of strength and weakness. They are a mercurial and excitable race, very much like the French, effervescing like champagne, bubbling up and boiling over; fond of talk, and often spending in words the energy that were better reserved for deeds. They have a proverb of their own, which well indicates their readiness to get excited about little matters, which says, "They drown themselves in a tumbler of water."

A still more serious defect than this lightness of manner, is the want of a high patriotic feeling which overrides all personal ambition. There is too much of party spirit, and of personal ambition. Everybody wants to be in office, to obtain control of the Government, and selfish interests often take the precedence of public considerations; men seem more eager to get into power by any means, than to secure the good of their country. This party spirit makes more difficult the task of government. But after all these are things which more or less exist in all countries, and especially under all free governments, and which the most skilled statesmen have to use all their tact and skill to restrain within due bounds.

But while these are obvious defects of the national character, no one can fail to see the fine qualities of the Greeks, and the great things of which they are capable. They are full of talent, in which they show their ancestral blood, and if sometimes a little restless and unmanageable, they are but like spirited horses, that need only to be "reined in" and guided aright, to run a long and glorious race.

I have good hope of the country also, from the character of the young King, whom I had an opportunity of seeing. This was an unexpected pleasure, for which I am indebted to the courtesy of our accomplished Minister here, Gen. J. Meredith Reed, who suggested and arranged it; and it proved not a mere formality, but a real gratification. I had supposed it would be a mere ceremony, but it was, on the contrary, so free from all stiffness--our reception was so unaffected and so cordial--that I should like to impart a little of the pleasure of it to others. I wish I could convey the impression of that young ruler exactly as he appeared in that interview: for this is a case in which the simplest and most literal description would be the most favorable. Public opinion abroad hardly does him justice; for the mere fact of his youth (he is not yet quite thirty years old), may lead those who know nothing of him personally, to suppose that he is a mere figure-head of the State, a graceful ornament indeed, but not capable of adding much to the political wisdom by which it is to be guided. The fact too of his royal connections (for he is the son of the King of Denmark, and brother-in-law both of the Prince of Wales and of the eldest son of the Czar), naturally leads one to suppose that he was chosen King by the Greeks chiefly to insure the alliance of England and Russia. No doubt these considerations did influence, as they very properly might, his election to the throne. But the people were most happy in their choice, in that they obtained not merely a foreign prince to rule over them, but one of such personal qualities as to win their love and command their respect. Those who come in contact with him soon discover that he is not only a man of education, but of practical knowledge of affairs; that he "carries an old head on young shoulders," and has little of youth about him _except its modesty_, but this he has in a marked degree, and it gives a great charm to his manners. I was struck with this as soon as we entered the room--an air so modest, and yet so frank and open, that it at once puts a stranger at his ease. There is something very engaging in his manner, which commands your confidence by the freedom with which he gives his own. He welcomed us most cordially, and shook us warmly by the hand, and commenced the conversation in excellent English, talking with as much apparent freedom as if he were with old friends. We were quite alone with him, and had him all to ourselves. There was nothing of the manner of one who feels that his dignity consists in maintaining a stiff and rigid attitude. On the contrary, his spirits seemed to run over, and he conversed not only with the freedom, but the joyousness of a boy. He amused us very much by describing a scene which some traveller professed to have witnessed in the Greek Legislature, when the speakers became so excited that they passed from words to blows, and the Assembly broke up in a general mêlée. Of course no such scene ever occurred, but it suited the purpose of some penny-a-liner, who probably was in want of a dinner, and must concoct "a sensation" for his journal. But I had been present at a meeting of the Greek Parliament a day or two before, and could say with truth that it was far more quiet and decorous than the meeting of the National Assembly at Versailles, which I had witnessed several months before. Indeed no legislative body could be more orderly in its deliberations.

Then the King talked of a great variety of subjects--of Greece and of America, of art and of politics, of the Parthenon and of plum-puddings.[9] Gen. Reed was very anxious that Greece should be represented at the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia. The King asked what they should send? I modestly suggested "The Parthenon," with which Greece would eclipse all the world, unless Egypt should send the Pyramids! Of course, it would be a profanation to touch a stone of that mighty temple, though it would not be half as bad to carry off a few "specimen bricks" as it was for Lord Elgin to carry off the friezes of Phidias. But Gen. Reed suggested, what would be quite practicable, that they should send plaster casts of some of their greatest statues, which would not rob _them_, and yet be the most glorious memorial of Ancient Greece.

The King spoke very warmly of America. The relations of the two countries have always been most cordial. When Greece was struggling single-handed to gain her independence, and European powers stood aloof, America was the first to extend her sympathy and aid. This early friendship has not been forgotten, and it needs only a worthy representative of our country here--such as we are most fortunate in having now--to keep for us this golden friendship through all future years.

Such is the man who is now the King of Greece. He has a great task before him, to restore a country so long depressed. He appreciates fully its difficulties. No man understands better the character of the Greeks, nor the real wants of the country. He may sometimes be tried by things in his way. Yet he applies himself to them with inexhaustible patience. The greater the difficulty, the greater the glory of success. If he should sometimes feel a little discouraged, yet there is much also to cheer and animate him. If things move rather slowly, yet it is a fact of good omen that they move _at all_; and looking back over a series of years, one may see that there has been a great advance. It is not yet half a century since this country gained its independence. Fifty years ago Turkish pachas were ruling over Greece, and grinding the Christian population into the dust. Now the Turks are gone. The people are _free_, and in their erect attitude, their manly bearing and cheerful spirits, one sees that they feel that they are men, accustomed for these many years to breathe the air of liberty.

With such a country and such a people, this young king has before him the most beautiful part which is given to any European sovereign--to restore this ancient State, to reconstruct, not the Parthenon, but the Kingdom; to open new channels of industry and wealth, and to lead the people in all the ways of progress and of peace.

It will not be intruding into any privacy, if I speak of the king in his domestic relations. It is not always that kings and queens present the most worthy example to their people; and it was a real pleasure to hear the way in which everybody spoke of this royal family as a model. The queen, a daughter of the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia, is famed for her beauty, and equally for the sweetness of her manners. The whole nation seems to be in love with her, she is so gentle and so good. They have four children, ruddy cheeked little creatures, whom we saw riding about every day, so blooming and rosy that the carriage looked like a basket of flowers. They were always jumping about like squirrels, so that the King told us he had to have them fastened in with leather straps, lest in their childish glee they should throw themselves overboard. In truth it was a pretty sight, that well might warm the heart of the most cold-blooded old bachelor that ever lived; and no one could see them riding by without blessing that beautiful young mother and her happy children.

There is something very fitting in such a young king and queen being at the head of a kingdom which is itself young, that so rulers and people may grow in years and in happiness together.

I know I express the feelings of every American, when I wish all good to this royal house. May this king and queen long live to present to their people the beautiful spectacle of the purest domestic love and happiness! May they live to see Greece greatly increased in population and in wealth--the home of a brave, free, intelligent and happy people!

FOOTNOTE:

[9] This is not a jest. The King said with perfect truth that the chief revenue of Greece was derived from the plum-puddings of England and America, the fact being that the currants of Corinth (which indeed gives the name to that delicious fruit) form the chief article of export from the Kingdom of Greece--the amount in one year exported to England alone, being of the value of £1,200,000. The next article of export is olive oil.

CHAPTER XXVIII.

CONSTANTINOPLE.

November 24th.

From my childhood no city has taken more hold of my imagination than Constantinople. For weeks we have been looking forward to our visit here; and when at last we entered the Dardanelles (passing the site of ancient Troy), and crossed the Sea of Marmora, and on Friday noon, Nov. 12th, caught the first gleam of the city in the distance, we seemed to be realizing a long cherished dream. There it was in all its glory. Venice rising from the sea is not more beautiful than Constantinople, when the morning sun strikes on its domes and minarets, rising out of the groves of dark green cypresses, which mark the places where the Turks bury their dead. And when we entered the Bosphorus, and rounding Seraglio Point, anchored at the mouth of the Golden Horn, we seemed to be indeed in the heart of the Orient, where the gorgeous East dazzles the traveller from the West with its glittering splendors.

But closer contact sometimes turns poetry to prose in rather an abrupt manner, and the impression of Oriental magnificence is rudely disturbed when one goes on shore. Indeed, if a traveller cares more for pleasant impressions than for disagreeable realities, he would do better not to land at all, but rather to stand afar off, moving slowly up and down the Bosphorus, beholding and admiring, and then sail away just at sunset, as the last light of day gilds the domes and minarets with a parting splendor, and he will retain his first impressions undisturbed, and Constantinople will remain in his memory as a beautiful dream. But as we are prepared for every variety of experience, and enjoy sudden contrasts, we are rather pleased than otherwise at the noise and confusion which greet the arrival of our steamer in these waters; and the crowd of boats which surround the ship, and the yells of the boatmen, though they are not the voices of paradise, greatly amuse us. Happily a dragoman sent from the Hôtel d'Angleterre, where we had engaged rooms, hails us from a boat, and, coming on board, takes us in charge, and rescues us from the mob, and soon lands us on the quay, where, after passing smoothly through the Custom House, we see our numerous trunks piled on the backs of half a dozen porters, or _hamals_, and our guide leads the way up the hill of Pera. And now we get an interior view of Constantinople, which is quite different from the glittering exterior, as seen from a distance. We are plunging into a labyrinth of dark and narrow and dirty streets, which are overhung with miserable houses, where from little shops turbaned figures peer out upon us, and women, closely veiled, glide swiftly by. Such streets we never saw in any city that pretended to civilization. The pavement (if such it deserves to be called) is of the rudest kind, of rough, sharp stones, between which one sinks in mud. There is hardly a street that is decently paved in all Constantinople. Even the Grand Street of Pera, on which are our hotel and all the foreign embassies, is very mean in appearance. The embassies themselves are fine, as they are set far back from the street, surrounded with ample grounds, and on one side overlook the Bosphorus, but the street itself is dingy enough. To our surprise we find that Constantinople has no architectural magnificence to boast of. Except the Mosques, and the Palaces of the Sultan, which indeed _are_ on an Imperial scale, there are no buildings which one would go far to see in London or Paris or Rome. The city has been again and again swept by fires, so that many parts are of modern construction, while the old parts which have escaped the flames, are miserable beyond description. It is through such a part that we are now picking our way, steering through narrow passages, full of dogs and asses and wretched-looking people. This is our entrance into Constantinople. After such an experience one's enthusiasm is dampened a little, and he is willing to exchange somewhat of Oriental picturesqueness for Western cleanliness and comfort.

But the charm is not all gone, nor has it disappeared after twelve days of close familiarity. Only the picture takes a more defined shape, and we are able to distinguish the lights and shadows. Constantinople is a city full of sharp contrasts, in which one extreme sets the other in a stronger light, as Oriental luxury and show look down on Oriental dirt and beggary; as gold here appears by the side of rags, and squalid poverty crouches under the walls of splendid palaces. Thus the city may be described as mean or as magnificent, and either description be true, according as we contemplate one extreme or the other.

As to its natural beauty, (that of situation,) no language can surpass the reality. It stands at the junction of two seas and two continents, where Europe looks across the Bosphorus to Asia, as New York looks across the East River to Brooklyn. That narrow strait which divides the land unites the seas, the Black Sea with the Mediterranean. From the lofty height of the Seraskier tower one looks down on such a panorama as is not elsewhere on the face of the earth. Far away stretches the beautiful Sea of Marmora, which comes up to the very walls of the city, and seems to kiss its feet. On the other side of Stamboul, dividing it from Pera, is the Golden Horn, crowded with ships; and in front is the Bosphorus, where the whole Turkish navy rides at anchor, and a fleet of steamers and ships is passing, bearing the grain of the Black Sea to feed the nations of Western Europe. Islanded amid all these waters are the different parts of one great capital--a vast stretch of houses, out of which rise a hundred domes and minarets. As one takes in all the features of this marvellous whole, he can but exclaim, "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is"--Constantinople!

Nor are its environs less attractive than the position of the city itself. Whichever way you turn, sailing over these waters and along these shores, or riding outside of the ancient wall, from the Golden Horn over the hills to the Sea of Marmora, with its beautiful islands, there is something to enchant the eye and to excite the imagination. A sail up the Bosphorus is one of the most interesting in the world. We have taken it twice. The morning after our arrival, our friend Dr. George W. Wood, to whom we are indebted for many acts of kindness, gave up the day to accompany us. For miles the shores on either side are dotted with palaces of the Sultan, or of the Viceroy of Egypt, or of this or that Grand Vizier, or of some Pasha who has despoiled provinces to enrich himself, or with the summer residences of the Foreign Ministers, or of wealthy merchants of Constantinople.

The Bosphorus constantly reminded me of the Hudson, with its broad stream indented with bays, now swelling out like our own noble river at the Tappan Zee, and then narrowing again, as at West Point, and with the same steep hills rising from the water's edge, and wooded to the top. So delighted were we with the excursion, that we have since made it a second time, accompanied by Rev. A. V. Millingen, the excellent pastor of the Union Church of Pera, and find the impression of beauty increased. Landing on the eastern side, near where the Sweet Waters of Asia come down to mingle with the sea, we walked up a valley which led among the hills, and climbed the Giants' Mountain, on which Moslem chronicles fix the place of the tomb of Joshua, the great Hebrew leader, while tradition declares it to be the tomb of Hercules. Probably one was buried here as truly as the other; authorities differ on the subject, and you take your choice. But what none can dispute is the magnificent site, worthy to have been the place of burial of any hero or demigod. The view extends up and down the Bosphorus for miles. How beautiful it seemed that day, which was like one of the golden days of our Indian summer, a soft and balmy air resting on all the valleys and the hills. The landscape had not, indeed, the freshness of spring, but the leaves still clung to the trees, which wore the tints of autumn, and thus resembled, though they did not equal, those of our American forests; and as we wandered on amid these wild and wooded scenes, I could imagine that I was rambling among the lovely hills along the Hudson.

But there is one point in which the resemblance ceases. There is a difference (and one which makes all the difference in the world), viz., that the Hudson presents us only the beauty of _nature_, while the Bosphorus has the added charm of _history_. The dividing line between Europe and Asia, it has divided the world for thousands of years. Here we come back to the very beginnings of history, or before all history, into the dim twilight of fable and tradition; for through these straits, according to the ancient story, sailed Jason with his Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece, and yonder are the Symplegades, the rocks which were the terror of navigators even in the time of Jason, if such a man ever lived, and around which the sea still roars as it roared thousands of years ago. On a hill-top stood a temple to Jupiter Urius, to which mariners entering the stormy Euxine came to offer their vows, and to pray for favorable winds; and here still lives an old, long-haired Dervish, to whom the Turkish sailors apply for the benefit of his prayers. He was very friendly with us, and a trifling gratuity insured us whatever protection he could give. Thus we strolled along over the hills to the Genoese Castle, a great round tower, built hundreds of years ago to guard the entrance to the Black Sea, and in a grove of oaks stretched ourselves upon the grass, and took our luncheon in full view of two continents, both washed by one "great and wide sea." To this very spot came Darius the Great, to get the same view on which we are looking now; and a few miles below, opposite the American College at Bebek, he built his bridge of boats across the Bosphorus, over which he passed his army of seven hundred thousand men. To the same spot Xenophon led his famous Retreat of the Ten Thousand.

Coming down to later times, we are sitting among the graves of Arabs who fought and fell in the time of Haroun al Raschid, the magnificent Caliph of Bagdad, in whose reign occurred the marvellous adventures related in the Tales of the Arabian Nights. These were Moslem heroes, and their graves are still called "the tombs of the martyrs." But hither came other warriors; for in yonder valley across the water encamped Godfrey of Bouillon, with his Crusaders, who had traversed Europe, and were now about to cross into Asia, to march through Asia Minor, and descend into Syria, to fight for the Holy Sepulchre.

Recalling such historic memories, and enjoying to the full the beauty of the day, we came down from the hills to the waters, and crossing in a caique to the other side of the Bosphorus, took the steamer back to the city.

While such are the surroundings of Constantinople, in its interior it is the most picturesque city we have yet seen. I do not know what we may find in India, or China, or Japan, but in Europe there is nothing like it. On the borders of Europe and Asia, it derives its character, as well as its mixed population, from both. It is a singular compound of nations. I do not believe there is a spot in the world where meet a greater variety of races than on the long bridge across the Golden Horn, between Pera and Stamboul. Here are the representatives of all the types of mankind that came out of the Ark, the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth--Jews and Gentiles, Turks and Greeks and Armenians, "Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and dwellers in Mesopotamia," Persians and Parsees, and Arabs from Egypt and Arabia, and Moors from the Barbary Coast, and Nubians and Abyssinians from the upper Nile, and Ethiopians from the far interior of Africa. I have been surprised to see so many blacks wearing the turban. But here they are in great numbers, the recognized equals of their white co-religionists. I have at last found one country in the world in which the distinction between black and white makes absolutely no difference in one's rank or position. And this, strange to say, is a country where slavery long existed, and where, though suppressed by law, it still exists, though less openly. We visited the old slave market, and though evidently "business" was dull, yet a dozen men were sitting around, who, we were told, were slave merchants, and some black women who were there to be sold. But slavery in Turkey is of a mild form, and as it affects both races (fair Circassian women being sold as well as the blackest Ethiopian), the fact of servitude works no such degradation as attaints the race. And so whites and blacks meet together, and walk together, and eat together, apparently without the slightest consciousness of superiority on one side, or of inferiority on the other. No doubt this equality is partly due to the influence of Mohammedanism, which is very democratic, which recognizes no distinction of race, before which all men are equal as before their Creator, and which thus lifts up the poor and abases the proud. I am glad to be able to state one fact so much to its honor.

But these turbaned Asiatics are not the only ones that throng this bridge. Here are Franks in great numbers, speaking all the languages of the West, French and Italian, German and English. One may distinguish them afar off by their stove-pipe hat, that beautiful cylinder whose perpendicular outline is the emblem of uprightness, and which we wish might always be a sign and pledge that the man whose face appears under it would illustrate in his own person the unbending integrity of Western civilization. And so the stream of life rolls on over that bridge, as over the Bridge of Mirza, never ceasing any more than the waters of the Golden Horn which roll beneath it.

And not only all races, but all conditions are represented here--beggars and princes; men on horseback forcing their way through the crowd on foot; carriages rolling and rumbling on, but never stopping the tramp, tramp, of the thousands that keep up their endless march. Here the son of the Sultan dashes by in a carriage, with mounted officers attending his sacred (though very insignificant) person; while along his path crouch all the forms of wretched humanity--men with loathsome diseases; men without arms or legs, holding up their withered stumps; or with eyes put out, rolling their sightless eyeballs, to excite the pity of passers by--all joining in one wail of misery, and begging for charity.

In the mongrel population of Constantinople one must not forget the _dogs_, which constitute a large part of the inhabitants. Some traveller who has illustrated his sketches with the pen by sketches with the _pencil_, has given, as a faithful picture of this capital of the East, simply a pack of dogs snarling in the foreground as its most conspicuous feature, while a mosque and a minaret may be faintly seen in the distance. If this is a caricature, yet it only exaggerates the reality, for certainly the dogs have taken full possession of the city. They cannot be "Christian dogs," but Moslem dogs, since they are tolerated, and even protected, by the Turks. It is a peculiar breed--all yellow, with long, sharp noses and sharp ears--resembling in fact more the fox or the wolf than the ordinary house-dog. A shaggy Newfoundlander is never seen. As they are restrained by no Malthusian ideas of population, they multiply exceedingly. They belong to no man, but are their own masters, and roam about as freely as any of the followers of the prophet. They are only kept in bounds by a police of their own. It is said that they are divided into communities, which have their separate districts, and that if by chance a stray dog gets out of his beat, the others set upon him, and punish him so cruelly that he flies yelping to his own crowd for protection. They live in the streets, and there may be seen generally asleep in the day-time. You cannot look anywhere but you see a dog curled up like a rug that has been thrown in a corner. You stumble over them on the sidewalk. They keep pretty quiet during the day, but at night they let themselves loose, and come upon you in full cry. They bark and yelp, but their favorite note is a hideous howl, which they keep up under your window by the hour together (at least it seems an hour when you are trying to sleep), or until they are exhausted, when the cry is immediately taken up by a fresh pack around the corner.

The purely Oriental character of Constantinople is seen in a visit to the _bazaars_--a feature peculiar to Eastern cities. It was perhaps to avoid the necessity of locomotion, always painful to a Turk, that business has been concentrated within a defined space. Imagine an area of many acres, or of many city squares, all enclosed and covered in, and cut up into a great number of little streets or passages, on either side of which are ranged innumerable petty shops, and you have a general idea of the bazaars. In front of each of these a venerable Turk sits squatting on his legs, and smoking his pipe, and ready to receive customers. You wonder where he can keep his goods, for his shop is like a baby house, a space of but a few feet square. But he receives you with Oriental courtesy, making a respectful _salaam_, perhaps offering you coffee or a pipe to soothe your nerves, and render your mind calm and placid for the contemplation of the treasures he is to set before you. And then he proceeds to take down from his shelves, or from some inner recess, what does indeed stir your enthusiasm, much as you may try to repress it--rich silks from Broussa, carpets from Persia, blades from Damascus, and antique curiosities in bronze and ivory--all of which excite the eager desire of lovers of things that are rare and beautiful. I should not like to say (lest it should be betraying secrets) how many hours some of our party spent in these places, or what follies and extravagances they committed. Certainly as an exhibition of one phase of Oriental life, it is a scene never to be forgotten.

To turn from business to religion, as it is now perhaps midday or sunset, we hear from the minaret of a neighboring mosque the muezzin calling the hour of prayer; and putting off our shoes, with sandaled or slippered feet, we enter the holy place. At the vestibule are fountains, at which the Moslems are washing their hands and feet before they go in to pray. We lift the heavy curtain which covers the door, and enter. One glance shows that we are not in a Christian church, either Catholic or Protestant. There is no cross and no altar; no Lord's Prayer, no Creed, and no Ten Commandments. The walls are naked and bare, with no sculptured form of prophet or apostle, and no painting of Christ or the Virgin. The Mohammedans are the most terrible of iconoclasts, and tolerate no "images" of any kind, which they regard as a form of idolatry. But though the building looks empty and cold, there is a great appearance of devotion. All the worshippers stand with their faces turned towards Mecca, as the ulema in a low, wailing tone reads, or chants, the passages from the Koran. There is no music of any kind, except this dreary monotone. But all seem moved by some common feeling. They kneel, they bow themselves to the earth, they kiss the floor again and again in sign of their deep abasement before God and his prophet. We looked on in silence, respecting the proprieties of the place. But the scene gave me some unpleasant reflections, not only at the blind superstition of the worshippers, but at the changes which had come to pass in this city of Constantine, the first of Christian emperors, and in a place which has been so often solemnly devoted to the worship of Christ. The Mosque of St. Sophia, which, in its vastness and severe and simple majesty, is certainly one of the grandest temples of the world, was erected as a Christian church, and so remained for nearly a thousand years. In it, or in its predecessor standing on the same spot, preached the "golden-mouthed Chrysostom." This venerable temple is now in the hands of those who despise the name of Christ. It is about four hundred and twenty years since the Turks captured Constantinople, and the terrible Mohammed II., mounted on horseback, and sword in hand, rode through yonder high door, and gave orders to slay the thousands who had taken refuge within those sacred walls. Then Christian blood overflowed that pavement like a sea, as men and women and helpless children were trampled down beneath the heels of the cruel invaders. And so the abomination of desolation came into the holy place, and St. Sophia was given up to the spoiler. His first act was to destroy every trace of its Christian use; to take away the vessels of the sanctuary, as of old they were taken from the temple at Jerusalem; to cover up the beautiful mosaics in the ceiling and on the walls, that for so many centuries had looked down on Christian worshippers; and to _cut out the cross_. I observed, in going round the spacious galleries, that wherever the sign of the cross had been carved in the ancient marble, _it had been chiselled away_. Thus the usurping Moslems had striven to obliterate every trace of Christian worship. The sight of such desecration gave me a bitter feeling, only relieved by the assurance which I felt then, and feel now, that that sign _shall be restored_, and that the Cross shall yet fly above the Crescent, not only over the great temple of St. Sophia, but over all the domes and minarets of Constantinople.

* * * * *

For the pleasure of contrast to so much that is dark and sombre, I cannot close this picture without turning to one bright spot, one hopeful sign, that is like a bit of green grass springing up amid the moss-covered ruins of a decaying empire. As it is a relief to come out from under the gloomy arches of St. Sophia into the warm sunshine, so is it to turn away from a creed of Fatalism, which speaks only of decay and death, to that better faith which has in it the new life of the world. The Christian religion was born in the East, and carried by early apostolic missionaries to western Europe, where it laid the foundation of great nations and empires; and in after centuries was borne across the seas; and now, in these later ages it is brought back to the East by men from the West. In this work of restoring Christianity to its ancient seats, the East is indebted, not only to Christian England, but to Christian America.

From the very beginning of American missions, Constantinople was fixed upon as a centre of operations for the East, and the American Board sent some of its picked men to the Turkish capital. Here came at an early day Drs. Dwight and Goodell, and Riggs and Schauffler. The first two of these have passed away; Dr. Schauffler, after rendering long service, is now spending the evening of his days with his son in Austria; Dr. Riggs, the venerable translator of the Bible, alone remains. These noble men have been succeeded by others who are worthy to follow in their footsteps. Dr. Wood was here many years ago, and after being transferred for a few years to New York, as the Secretary of the American Board in that city, has now returned to the scene of his former labors, where he has entered with ardor into that missionary work which he loved so well. With him are associated a number of men whose names are well known and highly honored in America.

The efficiency of these men has been greatly increased by proper organization, and by having certain local centres and institutions to rally about. In the heart of old Stamboul stands the Bible House, a noble monument of American liberality. The money was raised chiefly by the efforts of Dr. Isaac Bliss, and certainly he never spent a year of his life to better purpose. It cost, with the ground, about sixty thousand dollars, and when I saw what a large and handsome building it was, I thought it a miracle of economy. This is a rallying point for the missionaries in and around Constantinople. Here is a depot for the sale of Bibles in all the languages of the East, and the offices for different departments of work; and of the Treasurer, who has charge of paying the missionaries, and who thus distributes every year about one-third of all the expenditures of the American Board. Here, too, is done the editing and printing of different publications. I found Rev. Mr. Greene editing three or four papers in different languages, for children and for adults. Of course the circulation of any of these is not large, as we reckon the circulation of papers in America; but all combined, it _is_ large, and such issues going forth every week scatter the seeds of truth all over the Turkish Empire.

Another institution founded by the liberality of American Christians is THE HOME at Scutari, a seminary for the education of girls. It has been in operation for several years with much success, and now a new building has been erected, the money for which--fifty thousand dollars--was given wholly by the _women_ of America. Would that all who have had a hand in raising that structure could see it, now that it is completed. It stands on a hill, which commands a view of all Constantinople, and of the adjacent waters, far out into the Sea of Marmora. Around this Home, as a centre, are settled a number of missionary families--Dr. Wood, who, besides his other work, has its general oversight; Mr. Pettibone, the efficient Treasurer; Drs. Edwin and Isaac Bliss; and Mr. Dwight, a son of the former missionary; who, with the ladies engaged in teaching in the Home, form together as delightful a circle as one can meet in any part of the missionary world.

The day that we made our visit to the Home, we went to witness the performance of the Howling Dervishes, who have a weekly howl at Scutari, and in witnessing the jumpings and contortions of these men, who seemed more like wild beasts than rational beings, I could not but contrast the disgusting spectacle with the very different scene that I had witnessed that morning--a scene of order, of quiet, and of peace--as the young girls recited with so much intelligence, and sang their beautiful hymns. That is the difference between Mohammedanism and that purer religion which our missionaries are seeking to introduce.

But they are not allowed to work unopposed. The Government is hostile, and though it pretends to give toleration and protection, it would be glad to suspend the missionary operations altogether. But it is itself too dependent on foreign powers for support, to dare to do much openly that might offend them. We are fortunate in having at this time, as the representative of our Government, such a man as the Hon. Horace Maynard, who is not only a true American, but a true Christian, and whose dignity and firmness, united with tact and courtesy, have secured to our missionaries that protection to which they are entitled as American citizens.

The Home has just been completed, and is to be opened on Thanksgiving Day with appropriate services, at which we are invited to be present, but the dreaded spectre of a long quarantine, on account of the cholera, if we go to Syria, compels us to embark the day before direct for Egypt. But though absent in body, we shall be there in spirit, and shall long remember with the greatest interest and satisfaction our visit to the Home at Scutari, which is doing so much for the daughters of Turkey.

Last, but not least, of the monuments of American liberality in and around Constantinople, is the College at Bebek, which owes its existence chiefly to that far-sighted missionary, Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, and to which Mr. Christopher B. Robert of New York has given two hundred thousand dollars, and which fitly bears his honored name. It stands on a high hill overlooking the Bosphorus, from which one may see for miles along the shores of Europe and Asia.

The college is solidly built, of gray stone. It is a quadrangle with a court in the centre, around which are the lecture rooms, the library, apparatus-room, etc. In the basement is the large dining-room, while in the upper story are the dormitories. It is very efficiently organized, with Dr. Washburn, long a missionary in Constantinople, as President, and Profs. Long and Grosvenor, and other teachers. There are nearly two hundred students from all parts of Turkey, the largest number from any one province being from Bulgaria. The course of study is pretty much the same as in our American Colleges. Half a dozen or more different languages are spoken by the students, but in the impossibility of adopting any one of the native languages as the medium of instruction, the teaching is in English, which has the double advantage of being more convenient for the instructors, and of educating the students in a knowledge of the English tongue. The advantage of such an institution is immeasurable. I confess to a little American pride as I observed the fact, that in all the mighty Turkish Empire the only institution in which a young man could get a thorough education was in the American College at Bebek, except in one other college--also founded by American missionaries, and established by American liberality--that at Beirut.

Grouped around the College at Bebek is another missionary circle, like the one at Scutari. Besides the families of the President and Professors, Mr. Greene of the Bible House lives here, going up and down every day. Here are the missionaries Herrick and Byington. A number of English families live here, as a convenient point near Constantinople, making altogether quite a large Protestant community. There is an English church, where Rev. Mr. Millingen preaches every Sabbath morning, preaching also at Pera in the afternoon.

It is cheering indeed, amid so much that is dark in the East, to see so many bright points in and around Constantinople.

Perhaps those wise observers of passing events, to whom nothing is important except public affairs, may think this notice of missionary operations quite unworthy to be spoken of along with the political changes and the military campaigns which now attract the eye of the world to Turkey. But movements which make the most noise are not always the most potent as causes, or the most enduring in their effects. When Paul was brought to Rome (and cast, according to tradition, into the Mamertine prison,) Nero living in his Golden House cared little for the despised Jew, and perhaps did not even know of his existence. But three centuries passed, and the faith which Paul introduced into Rome ascended the throne of the Cæsars. So our missionaries in the East--on the Bosphorus, in the interior of Asia Minor, and on the Tigris and the Euphrates--are sowing the seed of future harvests. Many years ago I heard Mr. George P. Marsh, the United States minister at Constantinople, now at Rome, say that the American missionaries in the Turkish Empire were doing a work the full influence of which could not be seen in many years, perhaps not in this generation. A strange course of events indeed it would be if these men from the farthest West were to be the instruments of bringing back Christianity to its ancient seats in the farthest East! That would be paying the debt of former ages, by giving back to the Old World what it has given to us; and paying it with interest, since along with the religion that was born in Bethlehem of Judea, would be brought back to these shores, not only the gospel of good-will among men, but all the progress in government and in civilization which mankind has made in eighteen centuries.

CHAPTER XXIX.

THE SULTAN ABDUL AZIZ.

Whoever comes to Constantinople must behold the face of the Sultan, if he would see the height of all human glory. Other European sovereigns are but men; but he is the incarnation of a spiritual as well as a temporal power. He is not only the ruler of a State, but the head of a religion. What the Pope is to the Roman Catholic Church, the Sultan is to Islamism. He is the Caliph to whom all the followers of the Prophet in Asia and Africa look up with reverence as their heaven-appointed leader. But though so great a being, he does not keep himself invisible, like the Brother of the Sun and Moon in China. Once a week he makes a public appearance. Every Friday, which is the Mohammedan Sabbath, he goes in great state to the mosque, and then whosoever will approach may gaze on the brightness of his face. This is one of the spectacles of Constantinople. It is indeed a brilliant pageant, not to be overlooked by those who would see an exhibition of Oriental pomp and magnificence. Sometimes the Sultan goes to mosque by water, in a splendid barge covered with gold, and as soon as he takes his seat under a canopy, all the ships of war lying in the Bosphorus fire salutes, making the shores ring with their repeated thunders. At other times he goes on horseback, attended by a large cavalcade, as when we saw him last Friday.

We took an open barouche with our dragoman as guide, and drove a little before noon to the neighborhood of the palace, where we found a crowd already assembled in front of the gates, and a brilliant staff of officers in waiting Troops were drawn up on both sides of the street by which the Sultan was to pass. Laborers were busy covering it with sand, that even his horse's feet might not touch the common earth. While awaiting his appearance we drove up and down to observe the crowd. Carriages filled with the beauties of the harems of different pashas were moving slowly along, that they might enjoy the sight, for their secluded life does not extinguish their feminine curiosity. Very pale and languid beauties they were, as one might see through their thin gauze veils, their pallid expressionless faces not relieved by their dull dark eyes. Adjoining the palace of the Sultan is that of his harem, where we observed a great number of eunuchs standing in front, tall, strapping fellows, black as night, (they are generally Nubian slaves brought from the upper Nile,) but very well dressed in European costume, with faultless frock coats, and who evidently felt a pride in their position as attendants on the Imperial household.

While observing these strange figures, the sound of a trumpet and the hurrying of soldiers to their ranks, told that the Sultan was about to move. "Far off his coming shone." Looking back we saw a great stir about the palace gates, out of which issued a large retinue, making a dazzling array, as the sun was reflected from their trappings of gold. And now a ringing cheer from the troops told that their sovereign had appeared. We drew up by the side of the street "to see great Cæsar pass." First came a number of high officers of State in brilliant dress, their horses mounted with rich trappings. These passed, and there was an open space, as if no other presence were worthy to precede near at hand the august majesty that was to follow; and on a magnificent white charger appeared THE SULTAN. The drums beat, the bands played, the troops presented arms, and cheers ran along the line. But I hardly noticed this, for my eye was fixed on the central figure, which I confess answered very well to my idea of an Oriental sovereign. It is said that the Sultan never looks so well as on horseback, as his rather heavy person then appears to the best advantage. He wore no insignia of his rank, not even a military cap or a waving plume, but the universal _fez_, with only a star glittering with diamonds on his breast. Slowly he passed, his horse never moving out of a walk, but stepping proudly as if conscious of the dignity of his rider, who held himself erect, as if disdaining the earth on which he rode; not bowing to the right or left, recognizing no one, and betraying no emotion at the sight of the crowd, or the cheers of his soldiers, or the music of the band, but silent, grave and stern, as one who allowed no familiarity, who was accustomed to speak only to be obeyed.

He passed, and dismounting on the marble steps of the mosque, which had been spread with a carpet, ascended by stairs to a private gallery, which was screened from the rest of the building, like a box in a theatre, where he bowed himself and repeated that "God is God, and Mohammed is his prophet," and whatever other form of prayer is provided for royal sinners.

But his devotions were not very long or painful. In half an hour he had confessed his sins, or paid his adoration, and stepped into a carriage drawn by four horses to return. As he drove by he turned towards us, his attention perhaps being attracted by seeing a carriage filled with foreigners, and we had a full view of his face. He looked older than I expected to see him. Though not yet fifty, his beard, which is clipped short, is quite gray. But his face is without expression. It is heavy and dull, not lighted up either by intelligence or benevolence. The carriage rolled into the gates of the palace, and the pageant was ended.

Such was the public appearance of the Sultan. But an actor is often very different behind the scenes. A tragic hero may play the part of Cæsar, and stride across the stage as if he were the lord of nations, and drop into nothing when he takes off his royal robes, and speaks in his natural voice. So the Sultan, though he appears well on horseback, and rides royally--though he has the look of majesty and "his bend doth awe the world"--yet when he retires into his palace is found to be only a man, and a very weak man at that. He has not in him a single element of greatness. Though he comes of a royal race, and has in his veins the blood of kings and conquerors, he does not inherit the high qualities of his ancestors. Some of the Sultans have been truly great men, born to be conquerors as much as Alexander or Napoleon. The father of the present Sultan, Mahmoud II., was a man of force and determination, one worthy to be called the Grand Turk, as he showed by the way in which he disposed of the Janissaries. This was a military body that had become all-powerful at Constantinople, being at once the protectors of the Sultan, and his masters--setting him up and putting him down, at their will. Two of his predecessors they had assassinated, and he might have shared the same fate, if he had not anticipated them. But preparing himself secretly, with troops on which he could rely, as soon as he was strong enough he brought the conflict to an issue, and literally _exterminated_, the Janissaries (besieging them in their barracks, and hunting them like dogs in the streets) as Mehemet Ali had massacred the Mamelukes in Egypt. Then the Sultan was free, and had a long and prosperous reign. He ruled with an iron hand, but though despotically, yet on the whole wisely and well. Had he been living now, Turkey would not be in the wretched condition in which she is to-day. What a contrast between this old lion of the desert, and the poor, weak man who now sits in his seat, and who sees the sceptre of empire dropping from his feeble hands!

The Sultan is a man of very small capacity. Though occupying one of the most exalted positions in the world, he has no corresponding greatness of mind, no large ideas of things. He is not capable of forming any wise scheme of public policy, or any plan of government whatever, or of pursuing it with determination. He likes the pomp of royalty (and is very exacting of its etiquette), without having the cares of government. To ride in state, to be surrounded with awe and reverence, suits his royal taste; but to be "bored" with details of administration, to concern himself with the oppressions of this or that pasha in this or that province, is quite beneath his dignity.

The only thing in which he seems to be truly great, is in spending money. For this his capacity is boundless. No child could throw away money in more senseless extravagance. The amount taken for his Civil List--that is, for his personal expenses and for his household--is something enormous. His great father, old Mahmoud II., managed to keep up his royal state on a hundred thousand pounds a year; but it is said that this man cannot be satisfied with less than two millions sterling, which is more than the civil list of any other sovereign in Europe. Indeed nobody knows how much he spends. His Civil List is an unfathomable abyss, into which are thrown untold sums of money.

Then too, like a true Oriental, he has magnificent tastes in the way of architecture, and for years his pet folly has been the building of new palaces along the Bosphorus. Although he had many already, the greater part unoccupied, or used only for occasional royal visits, still if some new position pleased his eye, he immediately ordered a new palace to be built, even at a fabulous cost. Some of these dazzle the traveller who has seen all the royal palaces of Western Europe. To visit them requires a special permission, but we obtained access to one by a liberal use of money, and drove to it immediately after we had seen the Sultan going to mosque. It is called the Cheragan Palace, and stands just above that which the Sultan occupies. It is of very great extent, and built of white stone, and as it faces the Bosphorus, it seems like a fairy vision rising from the sea. The interior is of truly Oriental magnificence. It is in the Moorish style, like the Alhambra. We passed through apartment after apartment, each more splendid than the last. The eye almost wearies with the succession of great halls with columns of richest marble, supporting lofty ceilings which are finished with beautiful arabesques, and an elaborateness of detail unknown in any other kind of architecture. Articles of furniture are wrought of the most precious woods, inlaid with costly stones, or with ivory and pearl. What must have been the cost of such a fairy palace, no one knows--not even the Sultan himself--but it must have been millions upon millions.

Yet this great palace is unoccupied. When it was finished, it is said that the Sultan on entering it, slipped his foot, or took a cold (I have heard both reasons assigned), which so excited his superstitious feeling (he thought it an omen of death) that he would not live in it, and so in a few weeks he returned to the palace which he had occupied before, where he has remained ever since. And so this new and costly palace is empty. Except the attendants who showed us about, we saw not a human being. It was not built because it was needed, but because it gratified an Imperial whim.

Extravagant and foolish as this is, there is no way to prevent such follies when such is the royal pleasure, for the Sultan, like many weak men--feeble in intellect and in character--is yet of violent temper, and cannot brook any opposition to his will. If he wants a new palace, and the Grand Vizier tells him there is no money in the treasury, he flies into a rage and sends him about his business, and calls for another who will find the money.

Yet the vices of the Sultan are not all his own. They are those of his position. What can be expected of a man who has been accustomed from childhood to have his own way in everything; to be surrounded with a state and awe, as if he were a god; and to have every caprice and whim gratified? It is one of the misfortunes of his position that he never hears the truth about anything. Though his credit in Europe is gone; though whole provinces are dying of famine, he is not permitted to know the unwelcome truth. He is surrounded by courtiers and flatterers whose interest it is to deceive him, and who are thus leading him blindly to his ruin.

In his pleasures the Sultan is a man of frivolous tastes, rather than of gross vices. From some vices he is free, and (as I would say every good word in his favor) I gladly record this. He is not a drunkard (as were some of his predecessors, in spite of the Mohammedan law against the use of strong drinks); and, what is yet more remarkable for a Turk, he does not smoke. But if he does not drink, he _eats_ enormously. He is, like Cardinal Wolsey, "a man of unbounded stomach," and all the resources of the Imperial cuisine are put in requisition to satisfy his royal appetite. It is said that when he goes to the opera he is followed by a retinue of servants, bearing a load of dishes, so that if perchance between the acts his sublime Majesty should need to refresh himself, he might be satisfied on the instant.

For any higher pleasures than mere amusements he has no taste. He is not a man of education, as Europeans understand education, and has no fondness for reading. In all the great palace I did not see a single book--and but _one_ picture. [The Mohammedans do not like "images," and so with all their gorgeous decorations, one never sees a picture. This was probably presented to the Sultan from a source which he could not refuse. It was a landscape, which might have been by our countryman, Mr. Church.] But he does not care for these things. He prefers to be amused, and is fond of buffoons and dancing girls, and takes more delight in jugglers and mountebanks than in the society of the most eminent men of science in Europe. A man who has to be treated thus--to be humored and petted, and fed with sweetmeats--is nothing more or less than a big baby--a spoiled child, who has to be amused with playthings. Yet on the whims and caprices of such a creature may depend the fate of an empire which is at this moment in the most critical situation, and which needs the most skilful statesmanship to guide it through its dangers. Is it that God intends to destroy it, that He has suffered such a man to come to the throne for such a time as this?

It is a most instructive comment on the vanity of all earthly things, that this man, so fond of pleasure, and with all the resources of an empire at command, is not happy. The Spanish Minister tells me that he _never saw him smile_. Even in his palace he sits silent and gloomy. Is it that he is brooding over some secret trouble, or feels coming over him the shadow of approaching ruin?

Notwithstanding all his outward state and magnificence, there are things which must make him uneasy; which, like Belshazzar's dream, must trouble him in the midst of his splendor. Though an absolute monarch, he cannot have everything according to his will; he cannot live forever, and what is to come after him? By the Mohammedan law of succession the throne passes not to his son, but to the oldest male member of the royal house--it may be a brother or a nephew. In this case the heir apparent is Murad Effendi, a son of the late Sultan. But Abdul Aziz (unmindful of his dead brother, or of that brother's living son) is very anxious to change the order of succession in favor of his own son (as the viceroy of Egypt has already done,) but he does not quite dare to encounter the hostility of the bigoted Mussulmans. Formerly it was the custom of the Sultan, in coming to the throne, to put out of the way all rivals or possible successors, from collateral branches of the family, by the easy method of assassination. But somehow that practice, like many others of the "good old times," has fallen into disuse, and now he must wait for the slow process of nature. Meanwhile Murad Effendi is kept in the background as much as possible. He did not appear in the procession to the mosque, and is never permitted to show himself in state, while the son of the Sultan, whom he would make his heir, is kept continually before the public. Though he is personally insignificant, both in mind and in body, this poor little manikin is made _the commander-in-chief of the army_, and is always riding about in great state, with mounted officers behind his carriage. All this may make him a prince, but can never make him a MAN.

What is to be the future of the Sultan, who can tell? His empire seems to be trembling on the verge of existence, and it is not likely that he could survive its fall. But if he should live many years he may be compelled to leave Constantinople; to leave all his beautiful palaces on the Bosphorus, and transfer his capital to some city in Asia. Broussa, in Asia Minor, was the former capital of the Ottoman Empire, before the Turks conquered Constantinople, four hundred and twenty years ago, and to that they may return again; or they may go still farther, to the banks of the Tigris, or the shores of the Persian Gulf, and the Sultan may end his days as the Caliph of Bagdad.

CHAPTER XXX.

THE EASTERN QUESTION.--THE EXODUS OF THE TURKS.

It is impossible to be in Constantinople without having forced upon us the Eastern Question, which is just now occupying so much of the attention of Europe. A child can ask questions which a philosopher cannot answer, and a traveller can see dangers and difficulties which all the wisdom of statesmen cannot resolve.

Twenty years ago France and England went to war with Russia for the maintenance of Turkey, and they are now beginning to ask, whether in this they did not make a great mistake; whether Turkey was worth saving? If the same circumstances were to arise again, it is doubtful whether they would be so ready to rush into the field. All over Europe there has been a great revulsion of feeling caused by the recent financial breakdown of Turkey. Within a few weeks she has virtually repudiated half the interest on her national debt; that is, she pays one-half, and _funds_ the other half, promising to pay it five years hence. But few believe it will then be paid. This has excited great indignation in France and England and Italy,[10] where millions of Turkish bonds are held, and they ask, have we spent our treasure and shed our blood to bolster up a rotten state, a state that is utterly faithless to its engagements, and thus turns upon its benefactors?

To tell the whole truth, these powers have themselves partly to blame for having led the Turkish government into the easy and slippery ways of borrowing money. _Before the Crimean war Turkey had no national debt._ Whatever she spent she wrung out of the sweat and blood of her wretched people, and left no burden of hopeless indebtedness to curse its successors.

But the war brought great expenses, and having rich allies, what so natural as to borrow a few of their superfluous millions? Once begun, the operation had to be repeated year after year. Nothing is so seductive as the habit of borrowing money. It is such an easy way to pay one's debts and to gratify one's love of spending; and as long as one's credit lasts, he may indulge his dreams to the very limit of Oriental magnificence. So the Sultan found it. He had but to contract a loan in London or Paris, and he had millions of pounds sterling to build palaces, and to carry out every Imperial desire.

But borrowing money is like taking opium, the dose must be constantly increased, till finally the system gives way, and death ends the scene. Every year the Sultan had to borrow more money to pay the interest on his debts, and to borrow at ever increasing rates; and so at last came, what always comes as the result of a long course of extravagance, a complete collapse of money and credit together.

The indignation felt at this would not have been so great, if the money borrowed had been spent for legitimate objects--to construct public works; to build railroads (which are greatly needed to open communications with the interior of the empire); and to create new branches of industry and new sources of wealth. Turkey is a very rich country in its natural resources, rich in a fertile soil, rich in mines, with an immense line of sea-coast, and great harbors, offering every facility for commerce; and it needs only a very little political economy to turn all these resources to account. If the money borrowed in England and France had been spent in building railroads all over European Turkey, in opening mines, and in promoting agriculture and commerce, the country to-day, instead of being bankrupt, would be rich and independent, and not compelled to ask the help or the compassion of Europe.

But instead of applying his borrowed money to developing the resources of his empire, there has not been a freak of folly that the Sultan did not gratify. He has literally thrown his money into the Bosphorus, spending it chiefly for ships on the water, or palaces on the shore. I have already spoken of his passion for building new palaces. Next to this, his caprice has been the buying of ironclads. A few years since, when Russia, taking advantage of the Franco-German war, which rendered France powerless to resist, nullified the clause in the treaty made after the Crimean war, which forbade her keeping a navy in the Black Sea, and began to show her armed ships again in those waters, the Sultan seems to have taken it into his wise head that she was about to attack Constantinople, and immediately began preparations for defence on land and sea. He bought a million or so of the best rifles that could be found in Europe or America; and cannon enough to furnish the Grand Army of Napoleon; and some fifteen tremendous ships of war, which have cost nearly two millions of dollars apiece. The enormous folly of this expense appears in this, that, in case of war, these ships would be almost useless. The safety of Turkey is not in such defences, but in the fact that it is for the interest of Europe to hold her up awhile longer. If once France and England were to leave her to her fate, all these ships would not save her against Russia coming from the Black Sea--or marching an army overland and attacking Constantinople in the rear. But the Sultan would have these ships, and here they are. They have been lying idle in the Bosphorus all summer, their only use being to fire salutes every Friday when the Sultan goes to mosque. They never go to sea; if they did they would probably not return, for they are very unwieldy, and the Turks are no sailors, and do not know how to manage them; and they would be likely to sink in the first gale. The only voyage they make is twice in the year: once in the spring, when they are taken out of the Golden Horn to be anchored in the Bosphorus, a mile or two distant--about as far as from the Battery to the Navy Yard in Brooklyn--and again in the autumn, when they are taken back again to be laid up for the winter. They have just made their annual voyage back to their winter quarters, and are now lying quietly in the Golden Horn--not doing any harm, _nor any good_ to anybody.

Then not only must the Sultan have a great navy, but a great army. Poor as Turkey is, she has one of the largest armies in Europe. I have found it difficult to obtain exact statistics. A gentleman who has lived long in Constantinople tells me that they claim to be able, in case of war, to put seven hundred thousand men under arms, but this includes the reserves--there are perhaps half that number now in barracks or in camp. A hundred thousand men have been sent to Herzegovina to suppress the insurrection there. So much does it cost to extinguish a rising among a few mountaineers in a distant province, a mere strip of territory lying far off on the borders of the Adriatic. What a fearful drain must the support of all these troops be upon the resources of an exhausted empire!

While thus bleeding at every pore, Turkey takes no course to keep up a supply of fresh life-blood. England spends freely, but, she _makes_ freely also, and so has always an abundant revenue for her vast empire. So might Turkey, if she had but a grain of financial or political wisdom. But her policy is suicidal in the management of all the great industries of the country. For example, the first great interest is _agriculture_, and this the government, so far from encouraging, seems to set itself to _ruin_. Of course the people must till the ground to get food to live. Of all the produce of the earth the government takes _one-tenth_. Even this might be borne, if it would only take it and have done with it, and let the poor peasants gather in the rest. But no; after a farmer has reaped his grain, he cannot store it in his barn until the tax-gatherer has surveyed it and taken out his share. Perhaps the official is busy elsewhere, or he is waiting for a bribe; and so it may lie on the ground for days or weeks, exposed to the rains till the whole crop is spoiled. Such is the beautiful system of political economy practised in administering the internal affairs of this country, which nature has made so rich, and man has made so poor.

So as to the _fisheries_ by which the people on the sea-coast live. All along the Bosphorus we saw them drawing their nets. But we were told that not a single fish could be sold until the whole were taken down to Constantinople, a distance of some miles, and the government had taken its share, and then the rest could be brought back again.

Another great source of wealth to Turkey--or which might prove so--is its _mines_. The country is very rich in mineral resources. If it were only farmed out to English or Welsh miners, they would bring treasures out of the earth. The hills would be found to be of brass, and the mountains of iron. But the Turkish government does nothing. It keeps a few men at work, just enough to scratch the surface here and there, but leaving the vast wealth that is in the bowels of the earth untouched.

And not only will it do nothing itself, but it will not allow anybody else to do anything. Never did a great government play more completely the part of the dog in the manger. For years English capitalists have been trying to get permission to work certain mines, offering to pay millions of pounds for the concession. If once opportunity were given, and they were sure of protection, that their property would not be confiscated, English wealth would flow into Turkey in a constant stream. But on the contrary the government puts every obstacle in their way. With the bigotry and stupidity of its race, it is intensely jealous of foreigners, even while it exists only by foreign protection--and its policy is, not only _not_ one of progress--it is absolutely one of obstruction. If it would only get out of the way and let foreign enterprise and capital come in, it might reap the benefit. But it opposes everything. Only a few days since a meeting was held here of foreign capitalists, who were ready and anxious to put their money into Turkish mines to an almost unlimited extent, but they all declared that the restrictions were so many, and the requirements so complicated and vexatious, and so evidently intended to prevent anything being done, that it was quite hopeless to attempt it.

But, although this is very bad political economy, yet it is not in itself alone a reason why a nation should be given up as beyond saving, if it were capable of learning wisdom by experience. Merely getting in debt, though it is always a bad business, is not in itself a sign of hopeless decay. Many a young and vigorous state has at the beginning spent all its substance, like the prodigal son, in riotous living, but after "sowing its wild oats," has learned wisdom by experience, and settled down to a course of hard labor, and so come up again. But Turkey is the prodigal son without his repentance. It is continually wasting its substance, and, although it may have now and then fitful spasms of repentance as it feels the pangs of hunger, it gives not one sign of a change of heart, a real internal reform, and a return to a clean, pure, healthy and wholesome life.

Is there any hope of anything better? Not the least. Just now there is some feeling in official circles of the degradation and weakness shown in the late bankruptcy, and there are loud professions that they are going to "reform." But everybody who has lived in Turkey knows what these professions mean. It is a little spasm of virtue, which will soon be forgotten. The Sultan may not indeed throw away money quite so recklessly as before, but only because he cannot get it. He is at the end of his rope. His credit is gone in all the markets of Europe, and nobody will lend him a dollar. Yet he is at this very moment building a mosque that is to cost two millions sterling, and if there were the least let-up in the pressure on him, he would resume the same course of folly and extravagance as ever. No one is so lavish with money as the man who does not pretend to pay his debts. He cannot change his nature. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?" The Turk, like the Pope, _never changes_. It is constitutionally impossible for him to reform, or to "go ahead" in anything. His ideas are against it; his very physical habits are against it. A man who is always squatting on his legs, and smoking a long pipe, cannot run very fast; and the only thing for him to do, when the pressure of modern civilization becomes too great for him, is to "bundle up" and get out of the way.

Thus there is in Turkey not a single element of hope; there is no internal force which may be a cause of political regeneration. It is as impossible to infuse life into this moribund state as it would be to raise the dead. I have met a great many Europeans in Constantinople--some of whom have lived here ten, twenty, thirty, or even forty years--and have not found _one_ who did not consider the condition of Turkey absolutely hopeless, and its disappearance from the map of Europe only a question of time.

But if for purely economical reasons Turkey has to be given up as utterly rotten and going to decay, how much darker does the picture appear when we consider the tyranny and corruption, the impossibility of obtaining justice, and the oppression of the Christian populations. A horde of officials is quartered on the country, that eat out the substance of the land, and set no bounds to their rapacity; who plunder the people so that they are reduced to the extreme point of misery. The taxation is so heavy that it drains the very life-blood out of a poor and wretched people--and this is often aggravated by the most wanton oppression and cruelty. Such stories have moved, as they justly may, the indignation of Europe.

Such is the present state of Turkey--universal corruption and oppression, and things going all the time from bad to worse.

And yet this wretched Government rules over the fairest portion of the globe. The Turkish Empire is territorially the finest in the world. Half in Europe and half in Asia, it extends over many degrees of latitude and longitude, including many countries and many climates, "spanning the vast arch from Bagdad to Belgrade."

Can such things continue, and such a power be allowed to hold the fairest portion of the earth's surface, for all time to come?

It seems impossible. The position of Turkey is certainly an anomaly. It is an Asiatic power planted in Europe. It is a Mohammedan power ruling over millions of Christians. It is a government of Turks--that is of Tartars--over men of a better race as well as a purer religion. It is a government of a minority over a majority. The Mohammedans, the ruling caste, are only about one-quarter of the population of European Turkey--some estimates make it much less, but where there is no accurate census, it must be a matter of conjecture. It is a power occupying the finest situation in the world, where two continents touch, and two great seas mingle their waters, yet sitting there on the Bosphorus only to hold the gates of Europe and Asia, and oppose a fixed and immovable barrier to the progress of the nations.

What then shall be done with the Grand Turk? The feeling is becoming universal that he must be driven out of Europe, back into Asia from which he came. This would solve the Eastern Question _in part_, but only in part, for _after_ he is gone what power is to take his place?

The solution would be comparatively easy, if there were any independent State near at hand to succeed to the vacant sceptre. When a rich man dies, there are always plenty of heirs ready to step in and take possession of the property. The Greeks would willingly transfer their capital from Athena to Constantinople. The Armenians think themselves numerous enough to form a State, but the Greeks and the Armenians hate each other more even than their common oppressor. Russia has not a doubt on the subject, that _she_ is the proper and rightful heir to the throne of the Sultan. The possession of European Turkey would just "round out" her territory, so that her Empire should be bounded only by the seas--the Baltic and the White Sea on the North, and the Black Sea and the Mediterranean on the South. But that is just the solution of the question which all the rest of Europe is determined to prevent. Austria, driven out of Germany, thinks it would be highly proper that she should be indemnified by an addition to her territory on the south; while the Danubian principalities, Moldavia and Wallachia (now united under the title of Roumania) and Servia, which are taking their first lessons in independence, think that they will soon be sufficiently educated in the difficult art of government to take possession of the whole Ottoman Empire. Among so many rival claimants who shall decide? Perhaps if it were put to vote, they would all prefer to remain under the Turk, rather than that the coveted prize should go to a rival.

Herein lies the difficulty of the Eastern Question, which no European statesman is wise enough to resolve. There is still another solution possible: that Turkey should be divided as Poland was, giving a province or two on the Danube to Austria; and another on the Black Sea to Russia; and Syria to Egypt; while the Sultan took up his residence in Asia Minor; and making Constantinople a free city (as Hamburg was), under the protection of all Europe, which should hold the position simply to protect the passage of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, and thus keep open the Black Sea to the commerce of the world.

But however these remoter questions may perplex the minds of statesmen, they cannot prevent, nor long delay, the first necessity, viz., that the Turk should retire from Europe. It cannot be permitted in the interests of civilization, that a half-barbarous power should keep forever the finest position in the world, the point of contact between Europe and Asia, only to be a barrier between them--an obstacle to commerce and to civilization. This obstruction must be removed. The Turks themselves may remain, but they will no longer be the governing race, but subject, like other races, to whatever power may succeed; the Sultan may transfer his capital to Brousa, the ancient capital of the Ottoman Empire; but _Turkey will thenceforth be wholly an Asiatic, and no longer an European power_.

And this will be the end of a dominion that for centuries was the terror of Europe. It is four hundred and twenty years since the Turks crossed the Bosphorus and took Constantinople. Since then they have risen to such power that at one time they threatened to overrun Europe. It is not two hundred years since they laid siege to Vienna. But within two centuries Turkey has greatly declined. The rise of a colossal power in the North has completely overshadowed her, till now she is kept from becoming the easy prey of Russia only by the protection of those Christian powers to which the Turk was once, like Attila, the Scourge of God.

From the moment that the Turks ceased to conquer, they began to decline. They came into Europe as a race of warriors, and have never made any progress except by the sword. And so they have really never taken root as one of the family of civilized nations, but have always lived as in a camp, a vast Asiatic horde, that, while conquering civilized countries, retained the habits and instincts of nomadic tribes, that were only living in tents, and might at any time recross the Bosphorus and return to their native deserts.

That their exodus is approaching, is felt by the more sagacious Turks themselves. The government is taking every precaution against its overthrow. Dreading the least popular movement, it does not dare to trust its Christian populations. It will not permit them to bear arms, lest the weapons might be turned against itself. _No one but a Mohammedan is allowed to enter the army._ There may be some European officers left from the time of the Crimean war, whose services are too valuable to be spared, but in the ranks not a man is received who is not a "true believer." This conscription weighs very heavily on the Mussulmans, who are but a small minority in European Turkey, and who are thus decimated from year to year. It is a terrible blood-tax which they have to pay as the price of continued dominion. But even this the government is willing to pay rather than that arms should be in the hands of those who, as the subject races, are their traditional enemies, and who, in the event of what might become a religious war, would turn upon them, and seek a bloody revenge for ages of oppression and cruelty.

Seeing these things, many even of the Turks themselves anticipate their speedy departure from the Promised Land which they have so long occupied, and are beginning to set their houses in order for it. Aged Turks in dying often leave this last request, that they may be buried at Scutari, on the other side of the Bosphorus, so that if their people are driven across into Asia, their bodies at least may rest in peace under the cypress groves which darken the Asiatic shore.

With such fears and forebodings on one side, and such hopes and expectations on the other, we leave this Eastern Question just where we found it. Anybody can state it; nobody can resolve it. It is the great political problem in Europe at this hour, which no statesman, however sagacious--not Bismarck, nor Thiers, nor Andrassy, nor Gortchakoff--has yet been able to resolve. But man proposes and God disposes. This is one of those mysteries of the future which Divine intelligence alone can penetrate, and Divine Providence alone can reveal. We must not assume to be over-wise--although there are some signs which we see clearly written on the face of the sky--but "watch and wait," which we do in the full confidence that we shall not have to wait long, but that the curtain will rise on great events in the East before the close of the present century.

FOOTNOTE:

[10] Italy, it will be remembered, joined the Allies against Russia in the latter part of the Crimean war.

CHAPTER XXXI.

THE SULTAN IS DEPOSED AND COMMITS SUICIDE.--THE WAR IN SERVIA.--MASSACRES IN BULGARIA.--HOW WILL IT ALL END?

The last three chapters were written in Constantinople, near the close of 1875. Since then a year has passed--and yet I do not need to change a single word. All that was then said of the wretched character of the Sultan, and of the hopeless decay of the empire, has proved literally true. Indeed if I were to draw the picture again, I should paint it in still darker colors. The best commentary upon it, and the best proof of its truth, is that which has been furnished by subsequent events. A rapid review of these will complete this political sketch up to the present hour.

At the close of the chapter on Abdul Aziz, I suggested, as a possible event in the near future, that the Turks might be driven out of Europe into Asia, and their capital be removed from Constantinople back to Broussa, (where it was four hundred and twenty years ago,) or even to the banks of the Tigris, and that the Sultan might end his days as the Caliph of Bagdad.

Was this a gloomy future to predict for a sovereign at the height of power and glory? Alas for human ambition! Happy would it have been for him if he could have found a refuge, in Broussa or in Bagdad, from the troubles that were gathering around him. But a fate worse than exile was reserved for this unhappy monarch. In six months from that time he was deposed and dead, dying by his own hand. It is a short story, but forms one of the most melancholy tragedies of modern times.

During the winter things went from bad to worse, till even Moslem patience and stoicism were exhausted. There was great suffering in the capital, which the sovereign was unable to relieve, or to which rather he was utterly indifferent. Murmurs began to be heard, and not from his Christian subjects, but from faithful Moslems. Employés of the government, civil and military, were not paid. Yet even in this extremity every caprice of the Sultan must be supplied. If money came into the treasury, it was said that he seized it for his own use.

Feeling the pressure from without, the ministers, who had been accustomed to approach their master like slaves, cowed and cringing in his presence, grew bolder, and presumed to speak a little more plainly. Reminding him as gently as possible of the public distress, and especially of the fact that the army was not paid, they ventured to hint that if his august majesty would, out of his serene and benevolent wisdom and condescension, apply a little of his own private resources (for it was well known that he had vast treasures hoarded in the palace), it would allay the growing discontent. But to all such intimations he listened with ill-concealed vexation and disgust. What cared he for the sufferings of his soldiers or people? Not a pound would he give out of his full coffers, even to put an end to mutiny in the camp or famine in the capital. Dismissing the impertinent ministers, he retired into the harem to forget amid its languishing beauties the unwelcome intrusion.

But there is a point beyond which even Mohammedan fatalism cannot bow in submission. Finding all attempts to move the Sultan hopeless, his ministers began to look in each other's faces, and to take courage from their despair. There was but one resource left--they must strike at the head of the state. The Sultan himself must be put out of the way.

But how can any popular movement be inaugurated under an absolute rule? Despotism indeed is sometimes "tempered by assassination"! But here a sovereign was to be removed without that resort. Strange as it may seem, there is such a thing as public opinion even in Constantinople. Though it is a Mohammedan state, there is a power above Sultans and Caliphs; it is that of the Koran itself. The government is a Theocracy as much as that of the Jews, and the law of the state is the Koran, of which the priestly class, the Ulemas and the Mollahs and the Softas, are the representatives. Mohammedanism has its Pope in the Sheik-al-Islam, who is the authorized interpreter of the sacred law, and who, like other interpreters, knows how to make the most inflexible creed bend to the necessities of the state. His opinion was asked if, in a condition of things so extreme as that which now existed, the sovereign might be lawfully deposed? He answered in the affirmative. Thus armed with a spiritual sanction, the conspirators proceeded to obtain the proper civil authority and military support.

The Sultan had had his suspicions excited, and had sought for safety by a vigilant watch on Murad Effendi, who was kept under strict surveillance, and almost under guard, like a state prisoner. Suspecting the fidelity of the Minister of War, he sent to demand his immediate presence at the palace. But as the latter was deep in the plot, he pleaded illness as an excuse for his non-appearance. But this alarm hastened the decisive blow. The ministers met at the war office, and thither Murad Effendi was brought secretly in the night of Monday, May 29th, and received by them as Sultan, and made to issue an order for the immediate arrest of his predecessor, Abdul Aziz, an order which was entrusted to Redif Pasha, a soldier of experience and nerve, for execution. Troops were already under arms, and were now drawn around the palace, while the officer entered to demand the person of the Sultan. Passing through the attendants, he came to the chief of the eunuchs, who kept guard over the sacred person of the Padishah, and demanded to be led instantly to his master. This black major-domo was not accustomed to such a tone, and, amazed at such audacity, laughed in the face of the intruder. But the old soldier was not to be trifled with. Forcing his way into the apartments of the Sultan, he announced to him that he had ceased to reign, and must immediately quit his palace. Then the terrible truth began to dawn upon him that he was no longer a god, before whom men trembled. He was beside himself with fury. He raved and stormed like a madman, and cursed the unwelcome guest in the name of the Prophet. His mother rushed into the room, and added her cries and imprecations. But he could not yet believe that any insolent official had the power to remove him from his palace. He told the Pasha that he was a liar! The only answer was, Look out of the window! One glance was enough. There in thick ranks stood the soldiers that had so long guarded his person and his throne, and would have guarded him still, if his own folly had not driven them to turn their arms against him. Then he changed his tone, and promised to yield everything, if he might be spared. He was told it was too late, and was warned to make haste. Time was precious. The boats were waiting below. The Sultan had often descended there to his splendid caïque to go to the mosque, when all the ships in the harbor fired salutes in honor of his majesty. Now not a gun spoke. Silently he embarked with his mother and sons, and fifty-three boats soon followed with his wives and servants. And thus in the gray of the morning they moved across the waters to Seraglio Point, where Abdul Aziz, but an hour ago a sovereign, now found himself a prisoner.

The same forenoon another retinue of barges conveyed Murad Effendi across the same waters to the vacant palace, and the ships of war thundered their salutes to the new Sultan.

Was there ever such an overthrow? The humiliation was too great to be borne by a weak mind, which could find no rest but in the grave. Five days after he shut himself up in his room, and when the attendants opened the door he was found weltering in his blood. Scissors by his side revealed the weapon by which had been wrought the bloody deed. Suspicions were freely expressed that he had not died by his own hand, but by assassination. But a council of physicians gave a verdict in support of the theory of suicide. The next day a long procession wound through the streets of old Stamboul, following the dead monarch to his tomb, where at last he found the rest he could not find in life.

Such was the end of Abdul Aziz, who passed almost in the same hour from his throne and from life. Was there ever a more mournful sight under the sun? As we stand over that poor body covered with blood, we think of that brilliant scene when he rode to the mosque, surrounded by his officers of state, and indignation at his selfish life is almost forgotten in pity for his end. We are appalled at the sudden contrast of that exalted height and that tremendous fall. He fell as lightning from heaven. Did ever so bright a day end in so black a night? With such solemn thoughts we turn away, with footsteps sad and slow, from that royal tomb, and leave the wretched sleeper to the judgment of history and of God.

His successor had not a long or brilliant reign. Calamity brooded over the land, and weighed like a pall on an enfeebled body and a weak mind, and after a few months he too was removed, to give place to a younger brother, who had more physical vigor and more mental capacity, and who now fills that troubled throne.

I said also that "the curtain might rise on great events in the East before the close of the present century." _It has already begun to rise._ The death of the Sultan relieved the State of a terrible incubus, but it failed to restore public tranquillity and prosperity. Some had supposed that it alone would allay discontent and quell insurrection. But instead of this, his deposition and death seemed to produce a contrary effect. It relaxed the bonds of authority. It spread more widely the feeling that the empire was in a state of hopeless decay and dissolution, and that the time had come for different provinces to seek their independence. Instead of the Montenegrins laying down their arms, those brave mountaineers became more determined than ever, and the insurrection, instead of dying out, spread to other provinces.

Servia had long been chafing with impatience. This province was already independent in everything but the name. Though still a part of the Turkish Empire, and paying an annual tribute to the Sultan, it had its own separate government. But such was the sympathy of the people with the other Christian populations of European Turkey, who were groaning under the oppression of their masters, that the government could not withstand the popular excitement, and at the opening of summer rushed into war.

It was a rash step. Servia has less than a million and a half of souls; and its army is very small, although, by calling out all the militia, it mustered into the field a hundred thousand men. It hoped to anticipate success by a rapid movement. A large force at once crossed the frontier into Turkey, in order to make that country the battle-ground of the hostile armies. The movement was well planned, and if carried out by veteran troops, might have been successful. But the raw Servian levies were no match for the Turkish regular army; and as soon as the latter could be moved up from Constantinople, the former were sacrificed. In the series of battles which followed, the Turks were almost uniformly successful; forcing back the Servians over the border, and into their own country, where they had every advantage for resistance; where there were rivers to be crossed, and passes in the hills, and fortresses that might be defended. But with all these advantages the Turkish troops pressed on. Their advance was marked by wasted fields and burning villages, yet nothing could resist their onward march, and but for the delay caused by the interposition of other powers, it seemed probable that the campaign would end by the Turks entering in triumph the capital of Servia and dictating terms of peace, or rather of submission, within the walls of Belgrade.

This is a terrible disappointment to those sanguine spirits who were so eager to urge Servia into war, and who apparently thought that her raw recruits could defeat any Turkish army that could be brought against them. The result is a lesson to the other discontented provinces, and a warning to all Europe, that Turkey, though she may be dying, is not dead, and that she will die hard.

This proof of her remaining vitality will not surprise one who has seen the Turks at home. Misgoverned and ruined financially as Turkey is, she is yet a very formidable military power--not, indeed, as against Russia, or Germany, or Austria, but as against any second-rate power, and especially as against any of her revolted provinces.

Her troops are not mere militia, they are trained soldiers. Those that we saw in the streets of Constantinople were men of splendid physique, powerful and athletic, just the stuff for war. They are capable of much greater endurance than even English soldiers, who must have their roast beef and other luxuries of the camp, while the Turks will live on the coarsest food, sleep on the ground, and march gayly to battle. Such men are not to be despised in a great conflict. In its raw material, therefore, the Turkish army is probably equal to any in Europe. If as well disciplined and as well _commanded_, it might be equal to the best troops of Germany.

So far as equipment is concerned, it has little to desire. A great part of the extravagance of the late Sultan was in the purchase of the most approved weapons of war, which seemed needless, but have now come into play. His ironclads, no doubt, were a costly folly, but his Krupp cannon and breech-loading rifles (the greater part made in America) may turn the scale of battle on many a bloody field.

Further, these men are not only physically strong and brave; not only are they well disciplined and well armed; but they are inflamed with a religious zeal that heightens their courage and kindles their enthusiasm. That such an army should be victorious, however much we may regret it, cannot be a matter of surprise.

As the result of this campaign, however calamitous, was merely the fortune of war, gained in honorable battle; whatever sorrow it might have caused throughout Europe, it could not have created any stronger feeling, had not events occurred in another province, which kindled a flame of popular indignation.

Before the war began, indeed before the death of the Sultan, fearing an outbreak in other provinces, an attempt had been made to strike terror into the disaffected people. Irregular troops--the Circassians and Bashi Bazouks--were marched into Bulgaria, and commenced a series of massacres that have thrilled Europe with horror, as it has not been since the massacre of Scio in the Greek revolution. The events were some time in coming to the knowledge of the world, so that weeks after, when inquiry was made in the British Parliament, Mr. Disraeli replied that the government had no knowledge of any atrocities; that probably the reports were exaggerated; that it was a kind of irregular warfare, in which, no doubt, there were outrages on both sides.

Since then the facts have come to light. Mr. Eugene Schuyler, lately the American Secretary of Legation at St. Petersburg, and now Consul in Constantinople, has visited the province, and, as the result of a careful inquiry, finds that not less than twelve thousand men, women, and children (he thinks fifteen thousand) have been massacred. Women have been outraged, villages have been burnt, little children thrown into the flames. That peaceful province has been laid waste with fire and slaughter.

The report, coming from such a source, and accompanied by the fullest evidence, created a profound sensation in England. Meetings were held in all parts of the country to express the public indignation; and not only at the brutal Turks, but at their own government for the light and flippant way in which it had treated such horrors: the more so that among the powers of Europe, England was the supporter of Turkey, and thus might be considered as herself guilty, unless she uttered her indignant protest in the name of humanity and civilization.

But why should the people of Christian England wonder at these things, or at any act of violence and blood done by such hands? The Turk has not changed his nature in the four hundred years that he has lived, or rather _camped_, in Europe. He is still a Tartar and half a savage. Here and there may be found a noble specimen of the race, in some old sheik, who rules a tribe, and exercises hospitality in a rude but generous fashion, and who looks like an ancient patriarch as he sits at his tent door in the cool of the day. Enthusiastic travellers may tell us of some grand old Turk who is like "a fine old English gentleman," but such cases are exceptional. The mass of the people are Tartars, as much as when they roamed the deserts of Central Asia. The wild blood is in them still, with every brutal instinct intensified by religion. All Mussulmans are nursed in such contempt and scorn of the rest of mankind, that when once their passions are aroused, it is impossible for them to exercise either justice or mercy. No tie of a common humanity binds them to the rest of the human race. The followers of the Prophet are lifted to such a height above those who are not believers, that the sufferings of others are nothing to them. If called to "rise and slay," they obey the command without the slightest feeling of pity or remorse.

With such a people it is impossible to deal as with other nations. There is no common ground to stand upon. They care no more for "Christian dogs," nor so much, as they do for the dogs that howl and yelp in the streets of Constantinople. Their religious fanaticism extinguishes every feeling of a common nature. Has not Europe a right to put some restraint on passions so lawless and violent, and thus to stop such frightful massacres as have this very year deluged her soil with innocent blood?

The campaign in Servia is now over. An armistice has been agreed upon for six weeks, and as the winter is at hand, hostilities cannot be resumed before spring. Meanwhile European diplomacy will be at work to settle the conflict without another resort to arms. Russia appears as the protector and supporter of Servia. She asks for a conference of the six powers--England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Russia--a conference to decide on the fate of Turkey, yet _from which Turkey shall be excluded_. Already intimations are given out of the nature of the terms which Russia will propose. Turkey has promised reform for the protection and safety of her Christian populations. But experience has proved that her promises are good for nothing. Either they are made in bad faith, and are not intended to be kept, or she has no power to enforce them in the face of a fanatical Mohammedan population. It is now demanded, in order to secure the Christian population absolute protection, that these reforms shall be carried out under the eye of foreign commissioners in the different provinces, _supported by an armed force_. This is indeed an entering wedge, with a very sharp edge too, and driven home with tremendous power. If Turkey grants this, she may as well abdicate her authority over her revolted provinces. But Europe can be contented with nothing less, for without this there is absolutely no safety for Christians in any lands cursed by the rule of the Turk.

It is quite probable that the negotiations will issue in some sort of autonomy for the disaffected provinces. This has been already granted to Wallachia and Moldavia (which have been united under the name of Roumania), the result of which has been to bring quietness and peace. It has been granted to Servia. Their connection with the Porte is only nominal, being limited to the payment of an annual tribute; while even this nominal dependence has the good effect of warning off other powers, such as Austria and Russia, from taking possession. If this same degree of independence could be extended to Bulgaria and to Bosnia and Herzegovina, there would be a belt of Christian states, which would be virtually independent, drawn around Turkey, which would confine within smaller space the range of Moslem domination in Europe.

And yet even that is not the end, nor will it be the final settlement of the Eastern question. That will not be reached until some other power, or joint powers, hold Constantinople. That is the eye of the East; that is the jewel of the world; and so long as it remains in the hands of the Turks, it will be an object of envy, of ambition, and of war.

The late Charles Sumner used to say that "a question is never _settled_ until it is settled _right_;" and it cannot be right that a position which is the most central and regal in all the earth should be held forever by a barbarian power.

There is a saying in the East that "where the Turk comes the grass never grows." Is it not time that these Tartar hordes, that have so long held dominion in Europe, should return into the deserts from which they came, leaving the grass to spring up from under their departing feet?

But some Christian people and missionaries dread such an issue, because they think that it is a struggle between the Russian and the Turk, and that if the Turk goes out the Russian must come in. But is there no other alternative? Is there not political wisdom enough in all Europe to make another settlement, and power enough to enforce their will? England holds Malta and Gibraltar, and France holds Algeria: cannot both hold Constantinople? Their combined fleets could sweep every Russian ship out of the Black Sea, as they did in the Crimean war. Drawn up in the Bosphorus, they could so guard that strait that no Russian flag should fly on the Seraskier or Galata towers. Why may not Constantinople be placed under the protection of all nations for the common benefit of all? But for this, the first necessity is that the Turk should take himself out of the way.

This, I believe, will come; but it will not come without a struggle. The Turks are not going to depart out of Europe at the first invitation of Russia, or of all Europe combined. They have shown that they are a formidable foe. When this war began, some who had been looking and longing for the destruction of Turkey thought this was the beginning of the end; enthusiastic students of prophecy saw in it "the drying up of the Euphrates." All these had better moderate their expectations. Admitting that the _final end_ will be the overthrow of the Mohammedan power in Europe, yet this end may be many years in coming. "The sick man" is _not dead_, and he will not die quietly and peacefully, as an old man breathes his last. He will not gather up his feet into his bed, and turn his face to the wall, and give up the ghost. He will die on the field of battle, and his death-struggles will be tremendous. The Turk came into Europe on horseback, waving his scimitar over his head, and he will not depart like a fugitive, "as men flee away in battle," but will make his last stand on the shores of the Bosphorus, and fall fighting to the last. I commend this sober view to those whose minds may be inflamed by reading of the atrocities of the present war, and who may anticipate the march of events. The end will come; but we cannot dictate or even know, the time of its coming.

That end, I firmly believe, will be the exodus of the Turks from Europe. Not that the people as a body will depart. There is not likely to be another national migration. The expulsion of a hundred thousand of the conquering race of the Osmanlis--or of half that number--may suffice to remove that imperious element that has so long kept the rule in Turkey, and by its command of a warlike people, been for centuries the terror of Europe. But the Turkish power--the power to oppress and to persecute, to kill and destroy, to perpetrate such massacres as now thrill the world with horror--must, and _will_, come to an end.

In expressing this confident opinion, I do not lay claim to any political wisdom or sagacity. Nor do I attach importance to my personal observations. But I _do_ give weight to the judgment of those who have lived in Turkey for years, and who know well the government and the people: and in what I say I only reflect the opinion of the whole foreign community in Constantinople. While there I questioned everybody; I sought information from the best informed, and wisdom from the wisest; and I heard but one opinion. Not a man expressed the slightest hope of Turkey, or the slightest confidence in its professions of reform. One and all--Englishmen and Americans, Frenchmen and Germans, Spaniards and Italians--agreed that it was past saving, that it was "appointed to die," and that its removal from the map of Europe was only a question of time.

So ends the year 1876, leaving Europe in a state of uncertainty and expectancy--fearing, trembling, and hoping. The curtain falls on a year of horrors; on what scenes shall the new year rise? We are in the midst of great events, and may be on the eve of still greater. It may be that a war is coming on which will be nothing less than a death-struggle between the two religions which have so long divided the lands that lie on the borders of Europe and Asia, and one in which the atrocities now recorded will be but the prelude to more terrible massacres until the vision of the prophet shall be fulfilled, that "blood shall come up to the horses' bridles." But looking through a long vista of years, we cannot doubt the issue as we believe in the steady progress of civilization--nay, as we believe in the power and justice of God.

We may not live to see it, and yet we could wish that we might not taste of death till our eyes behold that final deliverance. Is it mere imagination, an enthusiastic dream, that anticipates what we desire should come to pass?

It may be that we are utterly deceived; but as we look forward we think we see before many years a sadly impressive spectacle. However the tide of battle may ebb and flow, yet slowly, but steadily, will the Osmanlis be pushed backward from those Christian provinces which they have so long desolated and oppressed, till they find themselves at last on the shores of the Golden Horn, forced to take their farewell of old Stamboul. Sadly will they enter St. Sophia for the last time, and turn their faces towards Mecca, and bow their heads repeating, "God is God, and Mohammed is his prophet." It would not be strange that they should mourn and weep as they depart. Be it so! They came into that sacred temple with bloodshed and massacre; let them depart with wailing and sorrow. They cross the Bosphorus, and linger under the cypresses of Scutari, to bid adieu to the graves of their fathers; then bowing, with the fatalism of their creed, to a destiny which they cannot resist, they turn their horses' heads to the East, and ride away over the hills of Asia Minor.