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World's Wonder and Other Essays:
Marjorie Bowen:
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World's Wonder and Other Essays


Marjorie Bowen

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Cover based on an image created with Microsoft Bing software

First UK edition: Hutchinson & Co., London, 1938
First US edition (reprint): Books for Libraries Press, Freeport, NY, 1969

This illustrated e-book edition: Project Gutenberg Australia, 2023

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"World's Wonder and Other Essays,"
Hutchinson & Co., London, 1938

"...his accomplishments, like his character, were beyond
the comprehension, if not the wonder, of his times."
—Marjorie Bowen


Portrait of Frederick II, from Wikipedia


[* Some very short pieces of fiction are inserted in the "Three Dutch Provinces"; they were inspired by Dutch paintings and represent the author's reactions to Dutch history and art.
—Marjorie Bowen]



THE following studies have been written during several years, between longer works. They have nothing in common beyond the writer's own tastes and inclinations.

Each subject was chosen because it aroused a considerable interest in the writer. Two of the essays were contributed to collections of such studies by various authors, two were given as papers before the Royal Society of Literature, one at Leeds University. "The Dutch Provinces" was written after a visit to the Netherlands made some time ago. This has been revised and freed from clerical errors but not brought "up-to-date," so it is not to be taken in any way as a present-day guide to the Low Countries.

This and the other studies have already pleased some readers, and it is hoped that they may now prove of some interest to others.

Some of the essays are efforts in the art of compression; the author was allotted so many pages and into this frame had to fit a portrait or a period.

Others were limited because they had to run to no more pages than would suit a subject paper; others again have been expanded to the limit of the author's interest and capacity.

This explanation is given because it may seem strange to the reader that no more space is devoted to such a vast subject as "Mary Stewart, Queen of Scotland," than to a forgotten poet like Edward Young or a forgotten writer like Thomas Reynal.

No bibliographies or references have been given as it was felt that these would weigh down a work not intended for the student but for the general reader.

It would also have been a laborious undertaking to have given even a brief list of authorities consulted, places visited, and works of art studied, when materials were being collected for these essays.

A careful revision of the text has been made since these studies were first printed, but doubtless the reader's indulgence will have to be asked for some errors of fact or judgment.

The writer's constant preoccupation with the past has led her into many by-paths of history, art, and literature, and she has found the obscure and the odd personalities as attractive as the famous figures that do, however, prove, perhaps unfortunately, difficult to resist.

Some of the subjects chosen in this collection are so well known that it is impossible to think of an excuse for doing them again; others are so little known that they afford, perhaps, but small matter for interest.

It is possible, however, that there may be those who will find a fresh treatment of the well known, and a bringing forward of the little known, not without some merits, if only that of reviving memories of some of the most celebrated characters in history and that of attracting attention to some subjects that are often overlooked, but that do reveal odd glimpses into the by-paths of history.

Some very short pieces of fiction are inserted in the "Three Dutch Provinces"; they were inspired by Dutch paintings and represent the author's reactions to Dutch history and art.

Marjorie Bowen.



Portrait of Frederick II
(artist not ascertained)

IN March, 1212, Frederic of Sicily sailed up the Tiber with a small retinue; landing at Rome, he paid homage to the Pope, Innocent III, in the sumptuous palace of the Lateran.

This visitor to the city of the Caesars had come to claim the heritage of the Caesars; he was on his way north to assume sovereignty over that chaotic Empire which papal gratitude had bestowed on Carolus Magnus; revived by Otto the Great, it had been carried to a height of splendid pretension by the House of Hohenstaufen, of which this Sicilian prince, the son of the Emperor Henry VI and grandson of the redoubtable Frederic I, called Barbarossa, was the heir.

His mother was Costanzia, heiress of the rich and elegant kingdoms of Sicily and Naples, and this Frederic had been born on Christmas Day, 1194, at Iesi, in Apulia, while his father was celebrating the advent of the Prince of Peace by the atrocious massacre of the family and followers of the rebel Tancred; before Frederic was three years old this grim tyrant had died and his widow had put the defenceless boy under the guardianship of the Pope, who took the occasion to seal a hard bargain with her, which included the vassalage of her paternal lands and a yearly tribute to the throne of St. Peter.

Even the dearly-bought protection of the Holy Father could not, however, secure the Empire to the grandson of Barbarossa, though the Electors of Germany had sworn to Henry VI to elect his son as his successor, and since the time of Otto the Great it had been understood that the imperial crown was to go to the prince chosen by his peers to be king of Germany.

Not only had Frederic been ignored in the competition for this splendid crown, which had been bestowed on his uncle, Philip of Hohenstaufen, by the majority of the Electors and on Otto of Guelf, Duke of Brunswick, by the minority, but a confusion of civil war had been stirred up in his native kingdom, so that the boy, left motherless at four years of age, was often not only without a realm, but without a home. The protection of the Pope had preserved him from complete ruin and had secured him an education; Sicily was subdued to some quietude and the young King married to Costanzia, widow of the King of Hungary, and sister of the King of Aragon.

Meanwhile, for twelve years a struggle of hideous ferocity had raged between Philip of Hohenstaufen and the Guelf, ending in the success of Otto, who was rewarded with the imperial diadem; but immediately afterwards the newly-elected Kaiser broke the oaths of submission he had made to the Pope and proceeded to harry the lands of the papal ward, this Frederic Hohenstaufen, King of Sicily and rightful Caesar, now in Rome.

Innocent at once excommunicated the refractory Emperor and fomented divisions in Germany, where the defeated Hohenstaufen party was still powerful though subdued.

Otto hastened north from his Italian conquests to crush this rebellion, and Innocent, as a counter-move, encouraged the young Frederic to come from Palermo and assume the dignity of his forefathers, in answer to the summons of the Electors who, weary of the civil war, turned to the young Hohenstaufen for relief.

Such were the events that brought the grandson of Barbarossa to the footstool of Innocent III in the early spring of 1212.

The high adventure to which Frederic had been summoned was perilous and lofty, full of profound dangers, but with the greatest prize in the world as a possible reward; he was reputed to be of a soft and voluptuous temperament, given to elegant versifying and idle pursuits in his warm southern kingdom where the traditions of an ancient culture were decaying amid flowery fields, where yellow marble temples dedicated to dead gods still stood amid the wild vines, and where the dark groves of bay and olive, ilex and citron, shadowed the meads that Theocritus had peopled with singing shepherds.

Innocent, the shrewd, powerful man of the world, who grasped the keys of St. Peter with as ferocious a grip as the terrible Hildebrand himself, had been doubtful if this Sicilian born and bred Hohenstaufen would be of any use to him in his struggle with Otto of Brunswick; it was difficult for the Pope to find a prince strong enough to hold together the unwieldy Empire of Carolus Magnus, and at the same time meek enough to be the humble vassal of Rome.

Frederic Hohenstaufen was now seventeen years old, and had been three years married; when the papal forces had driven the Saracens into the mountains in 1200, and restored some measure of peace to Sicily, the Pope had installed the Archbishop of Taranto as tutor to the King (then six years of age); this dignitary was assisted, oddly enough, by infidel scholars and the boy's mind had been formed by Mohammedan as well as Christian doctrines; he was unusually accomplished in the liberal arts, but he had disclosed no ambition, and apart from a piteous appeal to the sovereigns of Europe, written when he was in great misery, at the age of eleven, had made no attempt to interfere in the embroiled confusions of the time.

This King of Sicily had embarked on his ambitious journey with only a scanty following; most of the Sicilian nobles had preferred the delights of their native country to an enterprise so dubious and had not wished to see Sicily become an appanage of the Empire, and when he appeared before the Pope it was with a mere retinue, not an army, and a retinue clad in silk and adorned with Eastern opulence.

Innocent hoped to put forward this brilliant boy as his lieutenant in Christendom, a position in which the Popes had been striving to put the Emperors since they bestowed the pompous honours of the Caesars on the Frankish monarch who had steadied St. Peter's tottering throne.

It had often seemed since then as if there was to be no peace in Christendom until either Pope or Emperor was crushed, or until both were united in common aims, welded into one vast authority, which should subdue the world under the banner of the cross, protected by the consolidated armies of Europe obedient to one supreme head, the Emperor, who would be, in his turn, obedient to the Holy See.

Such was the ambition of the present successor of St. Peter, nor was it an unmeaning or pretentious one for the Church that had kept alive culture and learning, trade and art, during five centuries in the East while Europe crashed in the West.

Europe was still in a state of confusion and required reducing to order and colonising; learning and wisdom were mostly the monopoly of the Church; it was therefore natural that the Popes should become obsessed with the importance and splendour of their task, sanctified as it was by the magnificent divine command, "See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant," and that they should passionately desire in the greatest secular power, the Empire, which they had themselves created, not an insolent rival, but a submissive ally.

Innocent III thought that he had found such an ally in the youth he had protected and educated, who now knelt humbly before the grim old man, reverently renewed the oaths of vassalage made by his mother, and admitted the baseless claim that Innocent had advanced for the over-lordship of Sicily and Naples.

The Pope for his part provided the imperial pretender with men and money and gave his dangerous enterprise the sanction of the Church.

The slim and serene youth then advanced northwards where a deputy from the Electors had already been sent to warn the great Lombard towns of the coming of the rightful heir of the Caesars, the king of Germany, of Sicily, the duke of Suabia and Emperor elect.

The bearer of these proud titles had a difficult journey before him; the country was infested with his enemies, and Otto of Brunswick, though deposed by the Electors and excommunicated by the Pope, was still powerful and counted many of the princes of Germany among his friends, nor was he likely to relinquish his gorgeous prize without a renewal of the struggle to which fourteen years of most bloody warfare had habituated him.

The summons of the Diet had come from Nuremberg in the previous October, and Frederic's objective was the heart of Germany; between him and that lay the Italian and German States, many of whom were either Guelf in sympathy or at war with one another.

Frederic did not hesitate before these rampant perils; he pushed forward to his goal with a daring that was as heartening to his friends as it was menacing to his enemies.

His character was not yet completely disclosed; it was known that he was intelligent and accomplished, and it had been just seen that he was as ambitious and daring as befitted his descent, easily the most illustrious in the West.

His present undertaking was quite in accordance with the spirit of a restless, tumultuous age, and the glory of his name seemed likely to be linked to the glory of his achievements.

The blend of the German and the Sicilian had produced in Frederic one who was not typical of either race; the boy who was galloping across Italy to his imperial throne was slight, almost effeminate in appearance, with a profusion of reddish blond hair, small features, a pale complexion, and light eyes of a singular brightness and clarity; his face had been compared to the calm countenance of the broken statues of Apollo that here and there lingered in ruined shrines in Sicily; but, if his features had something of classic beauty and cold composure, his appointments were Eastern in luxury and profusion; he paraded sumptuously in the embroideries, the jewelled arms, the gleaming silks and fine velvet, the erect plumes and the gold-studded leathers of the East.

Pisa, which sided with the Guelf, barred the young adventurer's way, but Pisa's enemy, Genoa, received him; he remained in this opulent and stately city for two months, while his adherents endeavoured to secure for him some way into Germany other than the obvious route through Milan and the Alps, for the mighty Lombard city was unflinchingly loyal to the Guelf.

Frederic made at last for Pavia, where he was warmly acclaimed, slipped secretly by night to Cremona through a hostile region, gained Mantua, Verona, and from there the Bavarian frontier, having escaped, by the narrowest margin, death or capture at the hands of his swarming enemies.

His following was reduced now to a meagre train and the greatest perils were in front of him; Otto barred the way across Bavaria, but the Emperor elect showed that judicious blend of caution and daring, that power to judge swiftly and prudently, to act bravely and warily, which stamp the great leader of men; the luxurious and elegant prince, used only to the soft pleasures of Sicily, turned to the West and proceeded through the snow-bound passes of the Alps, smilingly endured the hardships of the progress through the almost impassable defiles, and came out, still elegant and composed, in his own Duchy of Suabia, where he was joined by some notable churchmen, the Bishop of Coire, and the Abbot of St. Gall.

The splendid city of Constance, towering above her vivid, vast lake, now became the pivot of the contest; the Guelf threatened this gateway to Frederic's progress northwards, hoping to occupy the town and from this base to drive the daring boy back into Italy.

But Frederic was always surpassingly swift, he dashed on Constance, reached the walls while Otto was a few miles away, and imperiously demanded the loyalty and support of the Bishop of Constance, an ancient adherent of the House of Suabia.

He was admitted into the city, the gates were closed in the face of Otto, who fell back northwards disheartened, and the Hohenstaufen had won the Holy Roman Empire.

Frederic marched triumphantly to Basle, nearly all the German potentates hastened to share his success, his train swelling to majestic proportions as he advanced, brilliant, smiling, serene, into the heart of his new kingdom.

He now disclosed his latent genius; preserving the serene equanimity of a lofty mind, he remained as unmoved by the dazzling conclusion of his adventure as he had been by its dubious beginning, and proceeded to consolidate his position by lavish rewards to his German friends and by an alliance with France, whose enemy, the crafty Angevin, John of England, favoured the cause of Otto, his nephew.

Philip Augustus celebrated this treaty with a munificent gift of money, which Frederic, with prudent generosity, proceeded to divide among the Electors and princes of Germany.

At Mainz he held a Diet, at Frankfort he was crowned by the hands of the Papal Legate in the presence of all the Teutonic potentates and five thousand loyal knights.

This was in December, 1212; it was less than a year since Frederic had left Sicily, almost unattended, and now he had achieved the summit of all possible worldly human ambition; he was the Emperor, the heir of the Caesars and of Carolus Magnus, the chief of the Holy Roman Empire, which the men who had elected him believed had been "set up by God Almighty, that its Lord, like God on Earth, might rule Kings and Nations and maintain Peace and Justice."

He was not yet quite eighteen years old and he had been set up "like a God on Earth," the temporal chief of Christendom.

He ruled directly over the entire area of Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, nearly all Belgium, and the kingdom of Arles (France to the Rhone) and Northern Italy, and theoretically he was "the lord of the whole world"; Sicily and Southern Italy were his through his mother, and Poland and Hungary were tributary to him; no youth had ever before wielded, or was ever again to wield, so vast and real a power; his empire exceeded that of Alexander of Macedonia, and almost equalled that of Rome at the apogee of its glory.

The next few years were a glittering, triumphal progress for Frederic Hohenstaufen; he swept through Germany with his resplendent following of kings, bishops, nobles, routed out the supporters of Otto, who fled into his ancestral territories of Brunswick, and rewarded his vassals with the same smiling calm with which he crushed the partisans of the Guelf; his fame became unprecedented, unbounded.

John of England, allied with the Earl of Flanders, rashly took up the cause of Otto, his sister's son, but was utterly defeated by Philip Augustus at the battle of Bouvines, a defeat that caused England to lose Normandy; and after this final overthrow of the Guelf, Aix-la-Chapelle surrendered to Frederic, who, seated on the throne of Carolus Magnus, was sumptuously crowned for the second time.

He had already taken a vow of obedience to the Pope and recompensed him for his assistance by gifts of land in Central Italy and the surrender of various rights to the Church in Sicily, as well as by the cession of some disputed estates in Tuscany. He now, with the silver crown of Germany on his head, the Cross in his hand, and anointed with the holy oil, made a further concession to the known desires of the Papacy.

He swore to lead a crusade to the Holy Land, and with his beauty, his power, his obvious sincerity he moved the packed multitudes, who had just thrice shouted assent to his stupendous elevation, to excited enthusiasm.

Frederic was now in a position almost beyond the limits of human ambition and almost beyond human capacity to maintain; he, who had been an obscure, petty king, whose childhood had been passed in poverty and confusion, neglect and peril, found himself elevated to supreme power over all his fellows, and this at twenty years of age.

It was, of course, a height as dangerous as it was magnificent to which he had climbed; despite the prestige of his birth and the solid advantage of papal support, a single weakness in himself might have at once hurled him to ruin. He had to be bold and wary, daring and prudent, at once loved and feared, to hold together, even for a moment, his huge and divided empire; nor was he, at first sight, the type of man to rule successfully warlike and impetuous peoples; the fair and slender youth, trained in southern luxury, had nothing of the powerful presence, the fierce and overwhelming masculinity that had made his forefathers the natural lords of warriors.

His appearance, his manners, and his tastes might well have seemed effeminate to the rough and burly Germans who crowded round the eagles, but Frederic was easily and without dispute their superior; by reason of his intellect and character he was a born master of men, and with this native genius for governance were combined a personal charm, an attraction, a fascination of word and look, too seldom seen with genius, too often the attributes of the shallow and the worthless.

Frederic's Sicilian blood had tempered the grand virile qualities of the Hohenstaufen with a silken grace, an exquisite tact, a delicate courtesy that even the sullen or the ill-affected could not resist; added to these was the serenity of conscious greatness; Frederic never met his equal in worldly rank, nor his equal in intellectual attainments, he was by genius, as well as position, the foremost man of his time.

This air of calm power, this smiling, but indifferent amiability, this equable, finished elegance of manner, together with his accomplishments and his learning, masking an indomitable will, combined to give him a power as tremendous as that enjoyed by the greatest of his ancestors, and a wider fame.

He was exceedingly popular with every rank of the Germans, who saw in him the Emperor who would restore to them that ordered prosperity which they had enjoyed for a short while under the earlier Hohenstaufen, and which had lately been lost in the disputes between the factions of the Guelf and Ghibelline.

Frederic increased this popularity by a lavish and impartial generosity, Oriental in munificence, and further bound the Germans to his service by an open-handed distribution of grants, privileges, and dignities, which in truth cost him but little, since these petty potentates had long since seized the chance afforded them by the perpetual disturbances in the Empire of grasping at a certain amount of liberty for themselves.

A lesser man would now have proceeded to enjoy his triumph, so complete and so unexpected, in pleasure and ease; this might have naturally been Frederic's choice, for he had spent two toilsome years since he had left the delights of Sicily and he was by nature voluptuous and indolent; to one of his wide, alert mentality much of the active world about him must have appeared contemptible or ridiculous, and reading, meditation, the exercise of his gifts for music and poetry, the indulgence of his delight in beauty and grace, in refined and elegant diversions, made a strong appeal indeed.

But Frederic Hohenstaufen looked beyond his personal gratification; he saw the world spread before him, struggling into some semblance of law and order, system forming out of chaos, peace trembling on the heels of war, and he believed that he might make these things permanent, that, out of the confusion and darkness that had eclipsed Europe since the disruption of the Roman Empire, he might create an empire as mighty and united as that of the Caesars, but more secure, since it would include the power of those peoples, the barbarians, who had overthrown the ancient power, and the influence of that new God who had overthrown the ancient gods.

No one could have conceived a more lofty ambition, or seen the task to his hand on a wider scale, and no one could have devoted himself to his work with greater single-mindedness, with more profound wisdom.

Such men as Frederic are always accused of personal ambition; this charge is but the croaking of the frogs in the marsh that follows the flight of the bird across the sky, the spiteful jealousy of the little souls that remain in the mud because they have no wings to fly with.

It is not possible for a man of supreme intellect in a position of supreme power to feel the cringing humility of the mediocre mind having but little authority, or to doubt and depreciate himself as if he were a dreaming philosopher or a cloistered monk; such a man as Frederic Hohenstaufen faced even his God on equal terms, and if he saw the world like a jewel of silver and lapis lazuli hung at his belt for his adornment, he saw it in no spirit of petty arrogance, but with an ironic appreciation of his own supremacy in a crude, violent, ignorant age.

With deliberate abnegation of his own desires, he flashed through the dark forests, the heavy towns, the wide meadows of Germany, with his train of troubadours and dancers and scholars and glittering knights, a sparkling pageant under these cold skies, among this uncivilised, turbulent people, whose laws, customs, and possessions were alike in one rude confusion.

The fair, smiling Emperor held his Diet in city after city, travelled from castle to castle, received submission after submission from towns and feudal barons, administered swift justice, granted charters for the revival of trade and agriculture, threw the protection of his power over the weak, and hurled the wrath of his power against the oppressor; he was a despot whose will might never be questioned, but the reviving prosperity of the country, the gratitude of those he had protected and those he had enriched, the deep impression made by his personal charm and beauty, and the bright splendour of his mind, caused universal admiration and applause, not only throughout the Empire, but throughout the world.

Encouraged by these awestruck praises, Frederic proceeded to confirm the House of Hohenstaufen in imperial power; he sent for his wife and little son, Henry, from Sicily, and, at the Diet of Frankfort in 1220, used all his influence to persuade the Electors to choose the latter, already duke of Suabia and ruler of Burgundy, as the future king of Germany.

Frederic, by thus associating his son with himself in the government and by securing for him the succession to the Empire, had achieved a personal triumph and openly flouted the Pope, whose main object was to prevent the aggrandisement of the Emperor and the Hohenstaufen.

This glittering success cost Frederic but little, so great were his prestige and popularity; he certainly gave his obedient princes charters, which were the first sanction of the disruption of the Empire, but these, like his former concessions, were but a confirmation of privileges long enjoyed, which it would have been dangerous, if not impossible, to rescind.

Frederic, besides this affront to the papal authority, had further irritated Rome by his reluctance to fulfil the oath taken at his coronation in Aix-la-Chapelle; and this would have doubtless led to an open breach with Rome, had not the fiery Innocent III died and been succeeded by a mild spirit, Honorius HI, whose feeble protests were received by Frederic with courteous indifference, and specious excuses not untinged with irony.

The Emperor, having restored order and roused loyalty in Germany, soothed the Pope and secured the reversion of his dignities to his son, turned his attention to his Italian possessions, and in August, 1220, crossed the Alps again and descended into Lombardy at the head of a sumptuous cavalcade of Teutonic knights; such gorgeous and massive potentates as the Duke of Bavaria, the Margrave of Hohenburg, the Count Palatine, and the Archbishops of Mainz and Ravenna added to the imposing display of pomp and power that glorified Frederic Hohenstaufen, now, at twenty-six years of age, the foremost man in the world, and enjoying a popularity that was probably beyond that ever accorded to any other prince and that he had won by his own personal qualities, his justice, his affability, his prudence, his lively grace and dazzling accomplishments, his tolerant patronage of all types of intelligence and effort, his wide view of all questions of the moment.

While he had been consolidating his power in Germany, the great towns of North Italy had fallen into strife, the Guelfs revenging themselves on the Church that had protected the Ghibellines by seizing her property and expelling her prelates; Frederic glanced aside from this bewildering confusion and proceeded to Rome, where he was splendidly crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in the gorgeous basilica of St. Peter with all the pomp with which the Church dignified her most important ceremonies.

The blond and elegant Emperor, simply arrayed in spotless white amid a company resplendent with every device of worldly pageantry, received from the Holy Father the beautiful insignia of his stupendous office, the Cross, the Lance, the Sceptre, the Golden Apple, all symbols of various aspects of the power with which the vicar of Christ invested his lieutenant.

Frederic did not receive these supreme honours without having to make some return for them; he paid homage to the Pope, he held his stirrup while he mounted for the procession through the city where the Emperor rode behind the Pontiff, he abased himself to kiss the jewelled slipper of Honorius, and, most important of all, he took the Cross from the hands of Cardinal Ugolino and repeated his vow of six years ago to lead a crusade against the infidel—adding on this occasion the promise to sail the following August.

Goodwill was now complete between the two heads of Christendom, and Frederic, by no means dazzled with the glitter of the gem-encrusted imperial diadem now added to his treasure chests, proceeded to engage in several weeks of laborious business; he issued many edicts to various cities, made many appointments, and sent out many manifestos to various provinces of his scattered realms; many of these were certainly concessions to papal authority and measures of precautions against his enemies, the Guelfs, but with them were associated schemes of betterment for the general populace, protection for farmers, travellers, and traders, and provisions against the robber and the rogue.

There is no reason whatever to doubt the sincerity of the Emperor in these decrees, or to suspect that they were merely the price of preferment received; it was natural for him to associate Christianity with law, order, and progress, and to regard the papal authority as the main support and hope of the future peace and enlightenment he had himself so much at heart, and the stern laws he promulgated against heretics must have seemed to him necessary curbs on the rebellious and the lawless. But a cloud was soon to arise between Emperor and Pope.

Frederic proceeded to his beloved Sicily and found confusion there, as was likely in a kingdom left too long without a king; in restoring his authority and punishing the refractory he showed a sterner haughtiness than he had as yet disclosed, and among those whom he deprived of ill-gotten honours or dubiously gained estates were several priests and churches.

The immediate remonstrance of Honorius was received impatiently by Frederic, who declared, without a trace of the submission that he had shown in Rome, "that I would rather lay down my Crown than lessen my authority." He repudiated the compact between his helpless mother and the unscrupulous Innocent III and proceeded to exercise the ancient privileges of the Sicilian kings.

With sharp justice and cold and implacable severity he put down his rebellious subjects, then led a force against the Saracens still lodged in the western mountains of the island, signally defeated them, hanged their leader, and transported twenty thousand of their finest fighting men to Apulia, where he ejected the Christians from Lucera and established the Moslems in their place, allowing them to use the cathedral as a mosque: these Saracens were to serve as a colony of warriors for the defence of the Empire.

This action revealed to the papal power the manner of man it had to deal with; for this superb piece of bold statesmanship whereby rebels were turned into loyal soldiers (of the finest type of fighting men) was conceived and executed with a haughty defiance of Church, tradition, and public opinion, hitherto unknown.

The character of Frederic had developed since his first coronation; his expanding genius was no longer to be curbed by convention, nor hampered by the fears, doubts, and restrictions that control small minds; in the growing maturity of his powers he became intolerant of all restraints, impatient of any superior authority, he revealed that he was fierce, bold, cruel, and superb as a beast of prey beneath his smiling amiability, his gracious charm, his ready tact, and as self-assured and indomitable as one must be who looks abroad and sees no equal. No other prince, since the Church had been established in Europe, had flung such an affront in her face as Frederic had now done in setting up this Saracen colony, established at the expense of Christians.

A superstitious age was profoundly shocked, and even the mild Honorius was moved to an indignant protest.

Frederic replied with that ironic contempt for an opponent which is generally described as duplicity; he said that, Moslems being of no account in comparison with Christians, it was better that they should be employed in the dangerous occupation of war.

Honorius must have detected the fallacy of this answer and the arrogance that prompted it, he must have realised the immense power this Moslem army, not amenable to the usual threat of excommunication, gave to the Emperor, and the menace to papal prestige that such an action and such an excuse concealed; but he gave way, out of the weariness of old age and the timidity of a gentle nature, and renewed his plaintive efforts to induce the Emperor to undertake the crusade to which he had twice pledged himself with all solemnity.

The crusades were, in every way, to the advantage of the Popes; not only were they excellent demonstrations of the might, loyalty, and religious zeal of the Christian princes, not only did they provoke outbursts of hysterical enthusiasm for the Church, but they exhausted those resources which might have been turned against the Papacy, and involved the kings and warriors of Europe in warfare with the infidel and with one another, which allowed them no leisure to question papal supremacy, or to resist papal encroachments.

But Frederic had no mind to weaken himself in this way, he had no animus against the Saracens, and no vivid enthusiasm for Christianity; he visualised an empire united under a rule of tolerance where all sects, races, and creeds might work together for a common splendour of progress.

No doubt his first oath was sincere, if the second was forced, but it was the oath of a boy of twenty given at a moment of unparalleled success, and, as Frederic developed, the crusades must have appeared to him fantastic and boyish adventures unfitted for a man of genius. He did not love fighting and hardship as warriors like Richard Coeur de Lion had loved them, exploits of personal bravery had no attraction for him, though he was absolutely fearless; he was too subtle, too fine for crude and aimless exploits.

Like Robert the Bruce after Bannockburn, he looked abroad on his own realms and saw that much needed doing there before any fanciful expeditions in the East could be undertaken; but, unlike the Scottish king, he relinquished the fulfilment of his oath without any passionate regret or any deep remorse.

He, however, sent an almost constant supply of soldiers to the East, and sumptuously entertained in his profane Sicilian Court all warriors of the Cross and pious pilgrims journeying to and from Jerusalem.

In the year 1222 he ordered a fleet of forty galleys to go to the support of the Christians under King John of Jerusalem, who had just made the notable capture of Damietta.

Unfortunately for the Emperor, his galleys arrived only in time to see the city retaken by the infidel and to learn that the triumphant Sultan had imposed a truce of eight years upon King John, softening this by a gracious present of a portion of the true Cross.

The whole of Europe was darkened by the shadow of this humiliation, and the gentle Honorius was inspired to threaten Frederic with excommunication if he did not undertake in person the task of reviving the prestige of Christendom.

Frederic was, however, little moved, he continued to occupy himself with his own affairs and, at two meetings with the Pope, at Veroli and Fiorentino, he induced the aged Pontiff to agree to further delays.

On these occasions Frederic met John, crusader King of Jerusalem, and betrothed himself to this old warrior's daughter Yolande, the Spanish Empress having died the previous year; Yolande was heiress to the crown of Jerusalem, so Frederic had now a personal interest in the prospect of undertaking a crusade.

This, however, seemed no nearer than before; not only Frederic, but Europe, listened coldly to the papal expostulations and exhortations; neither England nor France nor Italy nor Germany could be roused to the old reckless excitement, and Cardinal Ugolino, who had handed the Cross to Frederic when he took his second oath, endeavoured in vain to rouse Lombardy to enthusiasm.

The Pope was not to be easily thwarted in a matter so nearly touching his own interests, and he pestered Frederic until the Emperor agreed to sail in August, 1227, and to maintain a thousand knights in Palestine for two years; the Pope asked, this time, for a guarantee for the fulfilment of this oath, and Frederic agreed to pay, in instalments, 100,000 ounces of gold to the King and Patriarch of Jerusalem; not only was he to forfeit this if he failed to go to the East, but he was also to be instantly excommunicated.

It is probable that Frederic would not have agreed to these hard terms had he not now been married to Yolande, heiress of Jerusalem; this caused him to look on the crusades from another angle, that of his own glory.

While the Pope thought he had bound the Emperor to his service, the Emperor was resolving to use this expedition to gain yet another kingdom for himself and perhaps indulging the daring dream of adding the Empire of the East to the Empire of the West.

His first move in this direction was to deprive his father-in-law of his kingly rank, which the doughty crusader only held in virtue of his marriage with the Queen of Jerusalem, and which legally reverted to Frederic; John de Brienne was furious at this treatment but was unable to resist, and the Emperor now added to his mighty honours that mystical, unsubstantial title, King of Jerusalem.

Frederic, having now quieted both his German and his Italian possessions, disposed of the internal menace of the Saracens in Sicily, reduced the pretensions of the Church in his native country, and, with bold, pitiless hands, crushed his enemies and restored a fair measure of prosperity and tranquillity to these portions of his scattered dominions, decided seriously to prepare for an expedition to the East.

He went north, at Cremona summoned a Diet and called on the Italian chivalry to meet him with the object of preparing for the long-discussed crusade.

At the same time he summoned the boy Henry, his son, who was maintaining the imperial authority beyond the Alps, to bring German knights to assist in the holy expedition.

Lombardy was, however, entirely Guelf in sympathy and replied to the Hohenstaufen commands with insults and menaces; Milan revived the Lombard League, which had been first formed against Barbarossa, Verona barred the way to King Henry so that he was forced to return to Germany, and all the great cities, Piacenza, Verona, Brescia, Faenza, Mantua, combined to ruin the purpose of the Diet of Cremona and to force Frederic, who was unaccompanied by an army, to retire south.

The ban of the Empire and the ban of the Pope alike were hurled at rebellious Lombardy, but with poor results; the utmost threats could only induce the haughty and powerful cities to assist the Ghibelline Emperor with four hundred knights.

In the March of the year (1227) that Frederic was pledged to start for the East, Honorius III died, and the fierce and enthusiastic Cardinal Ugolino was elected in his place under the name of Gregory IX.

The struggle between Pope and Emperor, which had been so intermittent and courteous between Frederic and Honorius, now began in good earnest between Frederic and Gregory.

The tolerant Emperor had always admired the vast erudition, the rigid asceticism, the brilliant eloquence of Cardinal Ugolino, but Cardinal Ugolino had always detested the worldly, voluptuous, and liberal Emperor, and his first act of papal authority showed the outburst of a long-restrained spite against Frederic.

As he could say nothing about the crusade for which Frederic was preparing with all speed, the grim old man of eighty, soured by rigid monastic discipline, and without any of the softer human passions or the more lovable human failings, administered a sharp rebuke concerning the private life of the young, splendid, and virile Emperor.

Frederic received this reprimand about his "earthly lusts" with an indifference that appeared submission, his ironic smile gave the measure of his appreciation of the gloomy and ferocious old ascetic, and he continued his preparations for the long-deferred crusade, which Gregory was already viewing with a hostile eye.

This crusade was disastrous from the first, none of the monarchs of Europe offered any assistance whatever, and even Frederic's immediate vassals were reluctant; the Duke of Austria refused his support, and the Landgrave of Thuringia had to be heavily bribed; in truth, the expedition was unpopular with everyone save the priests.

By August, however, the Germans were embarking at Brindisi for Acre in a heat so violent that the armour was melted on the knights' backs and brows; the Northerners, unused to such a torrid climate, succumbed by hundreds to fatigue and fever in the southern port.

When Frederic arrived at Brindisi, he was himself ill; his delicate but vigorous body, his superb health had given way under unexampled strain and vexation; the journey under the blazing skies, over the dry roads of an Italian summer, the continual vexations, irritations, and disappointments of his enterprise, had brought him to the verge of collapse; his doctors advised him to abandon the expedition till the autumn.

But Frederic decided to persist in his resolution, not from any desire to placate the new Pope, but because he was not easily to be turned aside from anything he had undertaken.

The Christian hosts were ravaged by sickness, several of the leaders were too stricken to leave Brindisi, but Frederic sailed. After a few days at sea he became so seriously ill that his galley was forced to return to Italy; the forty thousand Christians who had already reached Acre returned when they heard that the Emperor was not coming, and the long-promised crusade came to a disastrous conclusion.

Frederic, slowly recovering from his nervous fever at Naples, sent formal explanations of his failure to the Pope; but Gregory, against reason, prudence, and justice, at once excommunicated the Emperor, with all the terrors of book, candle, and bell, and with all the zest of one who seizes a coveted opportunity of injuring an enemy.

Gregory's ferocious action, followed as it was by a furious diatribe against Frederic, full of bitter invective and misrepresentation, addressed to the clergy, made an immediate and deadly breach between Empire and Papacy and brought into the conflict between these two powers the hideous elements of personal hatred and jealousy.

If it must be admitted that the pretensions of the earlier Popes had much justification in the services the Church had rendered to civilisation, then struggling from tribal to national status, in being a central authority and a powerful control, it cannot be conceded that Gregory in treating a man like Frederic as an enemy, and in endeavouring to crush a prince so splendid, so popular, and so enlightened, showed the least spark of statesmanship or foresightedness, of prudence or caution; his actions appear, indeed, to have been inspired by a jealous spite, a petty censoriousness, and by that half-crazed arrogance too often characteristic of the occupants of the Chair of St. Peter, which seems to show that the claim of divine authority is too apt to turn the brain of a mortal man.

Frederic was probably expecting the eternal curses of the Pope and received them with his ironic and indifferent smile; he ordered the clergy in his dominions to ignore the excommunication (a command they obeyed) and answered the manifesto of the Pope by another, which he dispatched to all the monarchs of Europe.

In the letter he sent to the feeble son of the dastard John, Henry III of England, he made a dauntless and superb attack on the power of Rome, which showed him to be as bold as he was clear sighted.

"Such is the way of Rome; under words as smooth as oil and honey lies the rapacious blood-sucker; the Church of Rome is like a leech...the whole world pays tribute to the avarice of Rome...the primitive Church, founded on poverty and simplicity, brought forth numberless Saints; she rested on no foundation but that laid down by Our Lord Jesus Christ; Rome is now rolling in Wealth...Remember that when your neighbour's wall is on fire, your own property is at stake."

Frederic followed this vigorous appeal to the rulers of Europe by prompt action against Gregory. He summoned the most powerful families of Rome to his Court, bought their estates from them at their own price, and returned them as fiefs; he was already so popular in his enemy's stronghold that the people broke into St. Peter's when Gregory was celebrating Mass, and showed themselves such warm Ghibellines that the Pope was compelled to flee to Perugia.

From this retreat the terrible old man hurled further fulminations at the Emperor, forbidding him to undertake the crusade while under the curse of the Church, but Frederic continued his preparations and sailed from Otranto on June 29th, 1228, with a train of only a hundred knights, for his treasury was nearly empty and the crusade as unpopular as ever in Europe.

In the spring of that year his girl Empress, Yolande, died, leaving a son, Conrad, and Frederic considered himself heir to her crown of Jerusalem.

In September he arrived in Acre, leaving the world amazed at the courage with which he ignored the excommunication, affronted the Christian Church, and denied the infallibility of the Pope.

A large and motley force of Christians was assembled at Acre to welcome him, the Templars and Hospitallers, the Teutonic Order, founded by his grandfather, Barbarossa, and a fair number of Lombards, Germans, French, and English.

Gregory, blinded by furious spite against the common good, sent two Minorite friars into the Emperor's camp with the threat of excommunication of all those who dared to follow the eagles; this split Frederic's forces in half, the Templars, Hospitallers, and many others refusing to follow one cursed by the Church; his tact and popularity, however, brought these round to a reluctant submission, and the Teutonic Knights, under the famous Hermann von Salza, remained unwaveringly loyal.

Frederic marched to Jaffa with this disunited force, and there displayed his genius by one of those actions with which he continually amazed, shocked, and awed Europe. He had long been on friendly terms with a leader of the Saracens, Sultan Kamel, and from Acre had sent him lavish offerings, a compliment returned by the gift of a camel and an elephant; emissaries went to and from the camps of these two philosophical princes, exchanging mathematical problems and philosophical disquisitions; to the further scandal of the outraged fanatics who murmured in his train, Frederic received from Kamel a bevy of Eastern dancing girls who amused his brief leisure with their soft voices and languorous poses.

Feeling ran so high against Frederic that the Templars actually apprised the Sultan of a solitary expedition the Emperor proposed to take to bathe in the waters of the Jordan, with the suggestion that this would be an excellent opportunity for the assassination of the excommunicated crusader.

The Sultan, however, sent the traitors' letters to Frederic, who at the same time had intercepted one from the Pope to Kamel, urging the latter to have no dealings with the Emperor.

Thus hampered, weakened, affronted, and threatened on every side, not able to count on the loyalty of any but his Teutonic Knights, and at the end of his money, Frederic was obliged to lower the first demands he had made on behalf of Christendom and to accept the best terms he could wring from an opponent fully conscious of his difficulties.

That these terms were not entirely unsatisfactory was a high tribute to the genius of the harassed Emperor; by the nine articles of the Ten Years' Truce he signed, February, 1229, he obtained more than any crusader had obtained since 1099, when Jerusalem was first captured; the Holy City was now returned to Christendom, and most of the articles were concessions from the Sultan to the Emperor.

This bloodless success of the sixth crusade was entirely owing to the genius of Frederic; single-handed and in face of most exasperating difficulties he had won, by sheer force of character and intellect, more solid advantages for Christians than the flamboyant exploits of generations of previous kings had been able to accomplish.

It is obvious that had he been supported by the Pope his success would have been overwhelming; such as it was, it remained an amazing proof of his high qualities of statesmanship and the charm of his subtle personality, which had a peculiar fascination for the Oriental mind; for the first time the Moslem met a cultured and tolerant Christian and also for the last, for though Louis IX was a courteous saint he was also a fanatic.

This treaty, so greatly to the advantage of the Syrian Christians, was received by the Papacy with a howl of fury, and Gerold, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Papal Legate, was instructed to thwart and oppose Frederic in every way possible, while a papal army marched into Apulia under Frederic's father-in-law, John de Brienne, and the banner of the Keys was raised as a rallying point for all the malcontents of the Empire.

Frederic heard this news without surprise, nor did it send him hot haste home; he probably saw that a Christian kingdom in Syria was a chimerical vision, and that the days of the crusades were over, as indeed they proved to be, for, despite the impetuous piety of Louis IX, these wasteful invasions of the East dragged on only for another half-century.

But Frederic wished to be crowned in Jerusalem, his own kingdom, and hither he repaired, the fanatic Gerold at his heels, repeating the ban on every available occasion and finally laying the Holy City itself under an interdict during the accursed Emperor's presence there.

The superb Frederic, however, crowned himself with his own hands in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, surrounded by his loyal Teutonic Knights, and during his short stay in Jerusalem showed himself not only tolerant but favourable to the Saracens; he forbade a Christian priest to enter the mosque of Omar, he ordered the muezzin, silenced out of deference to him, to proclaim the hours again, and when he saw the gratings over the windows of the Holy Chapel, he remarked, with his serene irony:

"Ye may keep out the birds, but how shall ye keep out the swine?"

He proceeded, immediately after his last coronation, to Acre, where his conduct gave further cause for scandal to the faithful Papists; while he was amusing himself with Eastern culture and Eastern luxuries, he kept the odious Gerold prisoner in his own house, filled the churches with German archers, and caused rabid friars, who had insulted him, to be flogged.

Then, denouncing the mean and short-sighted treachery of Gerold and the Templars, the Emperor, still preserving his disdainful patience, dismissed the crusaders and sailed from Acre, followed by the curses of the priests whose Faith he had come to uphold and whose Founder's tomb he had restored to Christian care.

With the arrival of Frederic in Brindisi in June, 1230, the rebellion seething in his kingdoms collapsed, town after town fell to his victorious onslaughts, and by the end of the next month, the disappointed Pope, who had but few sympathisers in his own country and none in the rest of Europe, was compelled to sue for peace.

A treaty was signed at San Germano, a meeting took place at Agnani, the excommunicated crusader was, perforce, received into the reluctant bosom of the chastised Church, and the bitter old Pope retired to brood over his supreme humiliation, while the victorious. Emperor took up the task for which he was so eminently fitted, the peaceful governance of a great nation.

Frederic, in his thirty-fifth year, four times crowned, was at the climax of his magnificence, the triumphant ruler over wider dominions than any other man was ever to unite under the standard again until the age of arbitrary rulers was long past; he governed in reality that vast realm which the later Emperors, those shadowy Habsburg Caesars, only nominally governed in pretence, and was in truth the Emperor of the West, a dignity claimed for centuries to come, but, never effectively enforced nor successfully maintained.

Never again was the throne of Carolus Magnus to be occupied by anyone who filled it with such spacious dignity, never again was the confused heritage of the Caesars to be held together by a man of such superb genius and such grandeur of character.

Frederic remains not an Emperor, but the Emperor, the only prince of a long succession of princes that was able even slightly to justify the supreme arrogance of the claim of universal dominion.

The gloomy landscapes, dark cities, sombre skies and rude inhabitants of the North, Frederic had never loved, and he now held his gorgeous Court in Sicily or Apulia among the soft scenes and in the delicious climate in which he had passed his youth.

While he remodelled the tangled confusion of the legal system of Southern Italy with the insight and vigour of a Justinian, founded the University of Naples, put down the heretic and the evil-doer with cold severity, encouraged learning, the arts and commerce with prodigal generosity, permitted a wide tolerance to the profession of all creeds, Frederic's genius found personal expression in the cultivation of science, poetry, and architecture, in the formation of a society sparkling with a brighter lustre and culture than Europe was ever to see again till the Renaissance, in the active delights of the chase and hawking, in the voluptuous delights of feasts and entertainments with his poets, his dancers, his acrobats and magicians.

There was no subject open to human knowledge or occurring to human curiosity that the mighty mind of the Emperor did not invade; no other living man could compete with him in learning; his accomplishments, like his character, were beyond the comprehension, if not the wonder, of his times.

In philosophy, mathematics, languages, medicine, and natural science, Frederic could confound the learned men even of the learned East, he was a soft and fluent poet, a speaker and writer of forcible eloquence, a great builder both of dark forts and of airy villas.

Exquisite palaces of marble and alabaster, mosaic and sculpture, rose above the flowers and groves of Sicily and Apulia, grimmer castles were erected in the disloyal North; Frederic's influence began to change the whole aspect of the age, to bring about a revival of law and order, of learning and the arts, of trade and prosperity, of ease and luxury, hitherto unguessed at by his contemporaries.

As he was "Lord of the Earth," so his Court was one of the marvels of the Earth and became the nucleus of progress and the seat of all achievements of intellect and all allurements of beauty and grace. With his astrologers he peered into the other worlds, with his troubadours, conjurers, and wits he relished this world, with scholars he discussed the past, and with magicians the future; galloping over the delicious plains of Apulia with his blindfolded hunting cheetahs riding beside him or with his bright glittering emperor's hawk, the golden eagle, on his delicate wrist, from one hunting lodge to another (palaces of delicate pleasure, all of them), seated on his pearl-strewn throne in the imperial purple, receiving embassies or guests with noble courtesy, wandering through his exotic menagerie, where Eastern slaves tended animals monstrous and fantastic to the Western eye, the figure of Frederic was ever surrounded with a blaze of admiration even greater than his material glories.

His mighty power now seemed secure, and the Sicilian Caesar, in the prime of life, with two sons to succeed him, might with confidence believe that he had reared an empire as permanent as it was magnificent that would continue to increase in prosperity and enlightenment under the Hohenstaufen dynasty.

His spacious statesmanship had laid secure foundations for such a future; and his measures were prudent, wise, far-seeing; he made only one mistake; he under-estimated the influence and the hatred of that old, old man in Rome; he believed that he had broken the monstrous tyranny of the Popes, which had become not the rule of Christ, but the rule of Lucifer; his own lofty and liberal mind failed to gauge how strong was the hold of crude and stupid superstitions on the rude peoples of the moment; surrounded by all that was enlightened and tolerant, imbibing the placid philosophies of the East, with a wide knowledge of the various creeds that had in turn dominated mankind, Frederic, in the free soft airs of Apulia, in all the brilliant freedom of his Court, could not estimate the evil power, possessed by the Pope he had subdued but not conciliated, or the black menace that lay in Gregory's brooding silence.

From his point of view the Pontiff had cause enough for a sense of bitter outrage; not only had the Emperor's new code summarily disposed of many clerical privileges and pretensions, not only had theology been replaced by the liberal sciences in the curriculum of the University of Naples, but Frederic's whole existence was an example of what was, in Gregory's eyes, paganism or atheism.

Frederic was, in fact, using all his genius, his charm, his immense popularity and influence, in the support of free thought and the intellectual investigation of those manifold problems that the Church had regarded as her own exclusive province or banned as black magic; Gregory was not wrong, as later ages were to show, in fearing that such a liberal mind as that of the great Emperor was fatal to the pretensions of the Papacy.

Nor did Frederic disguise his attitude; not only did he bestow his favours impartially on those of all creeds, but he openly made ironic comments on the dogmas of the Christian Church.

Passing through a field of ripening corn he asked, with his satirical smile:

"How many gods will be made of that? How long will that mummery last?"

And he had been heard to argue that if the founders of religions, such as Jesus and Mahomet, were not impostors, their followers made them appear so; these tales and worse were brought to Gregory.

The Emperor's dearest friend and most trusted counsellor, Pietro da Vinea, was of like mind, and those others whose advice he sometimes sought, and to whose debates he earnestly listened, were of that wisdom which is shackled by no formulae or creeds.

Frederic had built model farms, planted corn and vines on waste places, sent merchant ships to Egypt and Syria, instructed his people in peaceful arts, shown them an example of culture and elegance, protected and encouraged them on the long road from chaos to prosperity—but what was all this in the eyes of Gregory IX?

Frederic had founded no churches, raised no monasteries, poured no wealth into the lap of Mother Church, there was no bigoted priest among his counsellors, he paid but a light ironic lip-service to the Christianity of which he was the secular head.

Nor was his private life modelled on the Christian ideal; on the score of licentiousness the Church could have had but little to say, since this was the favourite vice of her own clergy, and if Gregory was himself an ascetic, this was due more to a frozen nature, a gloomy disposition and extreme old age, than to any rigid standard of morals among the priesthood, and had Frederic been a dutiful son of the Church, he might, like many a Christian monarch before and after him, have indulged unreproved, nay even approved, in any illicit or scandalous intrigue that pleased him; but his morals received some of the wrath aroused by his atheism.

Frederic was not vicious; he was far too fastidious, too cultured, too intellectual to find any attraction in coarse indulgences of the senses; though a sumptuous provider of feasts himself, he was sparing in his food and most temperate in his drink, nor did his festivals and banquets ever degenerate into orgies and displays of mere licence and profligacy; had such been the case he could not have retained his immense hold on the minds of men, or his own vast intellectual supremacy.

He kept a harem at Lucera, his Saracen city, guarded by black eunuchs, where dwelt jealously secluded Eastern and Western beauties, and since the death of his second Empress, he had installed in her place a Milanese lady, Bianca da Lancia, who, strictly enclosed in Oriental privacy and grandeur, might be regarded as his Sultana; there was neither vice nor immorality in this; Frederic was merely following a different and, it may be added, a more elegant custom than that employed by other Western potentates whose crude amours were often coarse enough.

Nor was there any mischief in, or arising out of, this Oriental system about which there was neither hypocrisy nor concealment. Frederic never interfered with the wives and daughters or mistresses of his subjects (such a common cause of disorder and tragedy in mediaeval Europe), nor did he bring his name into the odium and disgrace of any scandalous or devastating passion; he preserved always the strength and dignity of a man never influenced by women, though he set the example of an exceeding courtesy towards them, and many of his laws were in their favour.

For the rest it may be doubted whether feminine seductions occupied more of Frederic's attention than that of any other prince -of southern temperament. Eastern training and unlimited opportunity for self-indulgence, and the exaggerated tales of his extreme licentiousness, which have been so dwelt on, really prove nothing but the distorted spite of his enemies.

Frederic saw no reason why he should follow the Christian ideal, which Christians themselves found far too difficult to achieve, and, in choosing the customs of the East, could hardly suppose he was affronting the purity of a Church whose corruptions were so manifest and whose licence was so universal.

Frederic must have heard the denunciations by the clergy of his charming odalisques with more than his usual amused irony; the man who had abolished serfdom and been the first monarch to summon the third estate to his councils must have laughed indeed at the fierce importance given to his private relaxations, which were adorned with all that was lovely and delicate.

It is said that St. Francis of Assisi visited the languorous Sicilian Court of Frederic; a strange meeting this, between the man who was the literal follower of Jesus of Nazareth and the man who opposed the monstrous worldly power usurped in that gentle name.

They must have gazed at each other with a deep curiosity, the dirty, sickly, ragged monk, the perfumed, exquisite, and voluptuous Emperor, made delightful with every worldly device, charming with every grace of mind and body.

It is interesting to wonder if the omnipotent prince saw in his wretched guest that mystic and holy light which was to make the name of Francis of Assisi reverenced by multitudes when that of Frederic Hohenstaufen would be forgotten save by the learned.

It is certain that he listened with courtesy to the sweet doctrines of the mendicant monk, which were as far in advance of the times as his own wide tolerance, and which were not so different from those he was familiar with from the withered lips of Eastern anchorites.

Renunciation, abnegation, poverty and self-sacrifice, these virtues were impossible to the rich character, the active powerful mind of the Emperor, but he could respect their pale glory; there is little doubt but that the cult of St. Francis would have flourished unchecked in the Empire this tolerant king hoped to found. When he watched the miserable monk, whose haggard face was transfigured by divine tenderness, cross his alabaster halls and descend his gilded steps, pass his scarlet-clad Ethiopians and disappear under the plumy trees of his delicious gardens, Frederic must have felt as another ruler felt when faced with another such figure—"What is truth?"

The first hint of the dark doom that was to overwhelm for ever the brilliant promise of the Hohenstaufen empire came from within Frederic's own family; his son Henry, installed as regent of Germany, joined the Lombard League in a rebellion against the imperial authority, which the Emperor had little difficulty in crushing; the feeble, ungrateful and profligate Henry, once pardoned in vain, was at last shut up a prisoner in one of the Apulian castles.

When this disorder was effectually suppressed, Frederic, then in Germany, married, for the third time, Isabella, sister of Henry III of England; the beautiful Angevin princess delighted the fine taste of Frederic; she was much beneath him, England being, technically, a mere fief of the Empire.

Frederic followed the gorgeous ceremonial of his marriage with a resplendent Diet at Mainz, where even the son of the Guelf emperor, Otto of Brunswick, a cousin of the Empress, swore submission to the Hohenstaufen.

This Diet was the most impressive manifestation of his glory Frederic had yet made; never again was any emperor to appear in such a dazzle of pomp, with such a blazing reputation, as the acknowledged head of so many nations.

This glittering display of armed might and far-reaching power also contained the germ of that struggle which was to bring all the grandeur of the Hohenstaufen to the bloodstained dust.

Frederic resolved to chastise the miscreant and disloyal Duke of Austria and to punish the sullen disaffection of the great cities of Northern Italy.

At first the punitive expedition that Frederic led against the Guelf had a flashing success, which further increased his almost incredible fame and power; the great battle of Cortenuova was a carnage of his enemies; he rode like a Caesar indeed—into Cremona, followed by his monstrous elephant dragging the carroccio, the cherished symbol of Milan, on which the captured podesta was bound like a slave.

At Lodi he gathered together vassals and allies from all corners of the earth; there were reinforcements from Sultan Kamel, from Vataces, Emperor of the East, from France, Spain, and Henry of England, whose sister the Empress was now the mother of Frederic's third son, the second Henry.

All the coffers of the world seemed open to pour their treasures at the feet of Frederic, all the men-at-arms of East and West were eager to do homage to the lord of the world and to serve under the conquering eagles, there was no limit to Frederic's glory and might. Nor any limit to his revenge.

Milan sued for peace in vain, uselessly made the most humiliating concessions; Frederic was not to be deprived of his vengeance against this ancient gadfly of his House; he had shown himself clement and just in peace, but in war terrible with the cold, ferocious cruelty of the Hohenstaufen; Eccelin da Romano, a man spoken of, even in those fierce days, as an incarnation of the Devil, was his trusted lieutenant, and he never checked the atrocities of his Saracen soldiers nor restrained the savagery of his Eastern allies.

Horror and darkness reigned in Lombardy, in Milan Cathedral the derided crucifix was hung upside down by a people driven to an outburst of despair.

The coming of the terrific Emperor with his hideous negroes, his grotesque beasts, his Eastern magi, his troops of jewel-hung wantons, his escorts of blood-drenched warriors, had been like the opening of Hell's mouth belching forth demons on the lovely plains of Lombardy.

The figure of Frederic Hohenstaufen himself, implacable, charming, superb, with his amazing learning, his Oriental customs, his ruthless cruelty, his swift movements from town to town, his notorious atheism, seemed to the excited minds of the despairing rebels that of Lucifer, the fallen angel, more potent for evil than God was for good.

And many saw in the elegant knight clad in the light armour, with the imposing imperial crown encircling the peacock-plumed helmet that rested on the reddish hair, in the shaven face with the small nose and full lips, in the pale bright ironic eyes, the dreadful personification of Antichrist.

Five desperate cities still held out against the imperial wrath; Frederic had made the first definite mistake of his career, driving a defeated foe to despair; Lombardy, having nothing to hope from her own concessions or the clemency of the Hohenstaufen, proceeded to defend herself with the fury of desperation that is so often successful.

Frederic and all his dreadful panoply of war was unable to take Brescia; after a two months' bloody struggle he was obliged to raise the siege.

A conqueror's first check is dangerous to his fame; Lombardy saw that the Emperor was not invincible and redoubled her frantic and ferocious resistance; and while the Guelfs were rallying in this brief breathing space, Frederic made another error, even more fatal than his injudicious vengeance against the Lombards.

He married his natural son, the beautiful Enzio of the long gold locks, to Adelasia, widow of the king of Sardinia, and haughtily claimed the island, then a papal fief, as lost territory of the Empire.

This was a definite challenge to the Pope, one that Gregory was quick to seize and that Frederic would have been wise not to make. The long-contained, bitter hate of the old man in Rome had at last found occasion to break forth in hissing rage.

There was something gigantic and grand in the wrath with which the aged Pontiff, then nearly a hundred years old, met the arrogance of the loathed prince, and once again hurled anathema against his mighty rival for universal power.

On Palm Sunday, 1239, Frederic Hohenstaufen was again excommunicated with all the dramatic ritual of the outraged Church.

The Emperor, holding sumptuous Court at Pavia, received the news with sardonic indifference; Europe was distracted by the various cartels and manifestos issued first by the Pope and then by the Emperor, in which each stated his case with glowing eloquence and selection's from the lurid denunciations of the Apocalypse; Frederic's main accusation against Gregory was that of avarice; that of Gregory against Frederic, of atheism.

In this warfare of polemics Frederic might have been considered the victor; the princes of Europe were not to be against him. Louis IX declared himself his partisan, and England, when further squeezed to provide funds for the papal coffers, declared roundly: "the greedy avarice of Rome has exhausted the English Church "; Germany was whole-heartedly for Frederic, the Archbishop of Salzburg plainly named Gregory Antichrist and it seemed as if the fulminations of the Pope would recoil on himself.

Doubtless at the moment Frederic fancied that he would be able to achieve the mighty purpose unfolded in his final proclamation to his princes:

"I am no enemy of the Priesthood; I honour the humblest priest as a father, if he will keep out of secular affairs. The Pope cries out that I would root out Christianity with force and by the sword. Folly!—as if the Kingdom of God could be rooted out by force and the sword; it is by evil lusts, by avarice and rapacity, that it is weakened, polluted, corrupted...I will give back to the sheep their shepherd, to the people their bishop, to the world its spiritual father, I will tear the mask from the face of this wolfish tyrant, and force him to lay aside worldly affairs and earthly pomp and tread in the Holy footsteps of Christ."

The mighty old Pope was an adversary worthy of Frederic; he declared a holy war against the Emperor and gave the Guelf faction in Lombardy the immense stimulus of his support; the enemies of the Hohenstaufen were permitted to consider themselves crusaders and to wear the cross on their arms; Papal Legates everywhere animated the rebels, and Frederic's next campaign against Milan proved abortive; he could not take the great city, which shortly before had offered in vain to burn her banners at his feet.

His son Enzio, had, however, made a victorious progress in the March, and Frederic, turning towards the papal dominions, entered the open gates of city after city which pulled down the standard of the Keys to raise that of the eagles.

In the very streets of crowded Rome the volatile people shouted for Frederic the conqueror, and the Pope was in danger of being sacrificed on his own altars.

But the indomitable old man saved himself and his cause by an action of flamboyant courage; unarmed, in full glitter of holy vestments, surrounded by the sweet faces of little acolytes and the shrunken visages of ancient priests, Gregory IX tottered forth from the Lateran and proceeded on foot through the narrow streets of Rome close-packed with a hostile populace yelling for Frederic Hohenstaufen, the bright and mighty Caesar, the smiling and superb conqueror.

Before him were borne aloft the most sacred relics of the Holy City, the heads of St. Peter and St. Paul and a fragment of the true Cross.

The feeble old man staked everything on this magnificent gesture and won.

Rome, in a revulsion of feeling, was soon cringing at his feet, and Frederic lost all chance of a welcome in the Holy City.

A desultory warfare, confused and bitter, marked by treachery, cruelty and rapine on either side, now dragged on; Frederic showed a noble clemency to the heroic little garrisons of Faenza and Benevento, which stands out among the atrocious episodes of this ghastly' struggle as worthy of record: Frederic was not often merciful.

In the midst of this unnatural war between the two heads of Christendom, Europe shuddered to hear that one and a half millions of ferocious Tartars were hurling themselves into Hungary, sweeping the Magyars before them; Gregory did not hesitate to accuse Frederic of inviting the pagan hordes to devastate Europe.

The Emperor scorned to reply to this crazy malice and sent his sons, Enzio and Conrad, against the "opposing Devils" as he called them, and issued one of his grandiose summonses "to every noble and renowned country lying under the Star of the West" to help defeat the barbarians whom "Satan himself has lured hither to die before the Victorious Eagles of Imperial Europe."

The response to his eloquent appeal was poor, and it was left to the chivalry of Germany to turn back the tide of Tartar invasion into the unknown regions of Asia whence it came.

Meanwhile the inexorable Pope, defeated on every hand, summoned a General Council of the Christian hierarchy with the avowed object of deposing Frederic.

The Emperor not only refused to submit to such a tribunal, but his allies, the Pisans, captured the Genoese fleet that was bearing the bulk of the prelates to the conclave; these priests, by Enzio's orders, were chained and cast into miserable prisons where, in wretchedness and disease, they had dismal leisure to repent their folly in obeying the papal mandate.

Frederic now advanced on Rome and captured the town of Monteforte; this last loss was too much even for the iron-hearted Pope, still breathing fury against his enemy, for his implacable spirit and his exhausted body in the hot summer of 1242; he had been dauntless to the last and shown a blaze of courage that would have been wholly admirable if it had not been inspired by a blaze of hate.

"He is dead," said Frederic serenely, "through whom Peace was banished from the Earth and Discord prospered."

But he had left heirs.

For two years Christendom was without a Pope, the internecine war flickered in Lombardy and Frederic retired to lovely Foggio, there to enjoy some of that sumptuous leisure in which he delighted, and of which he had known little of late.

Here his third Empress, Isabella of the "excelling beauty," died, and here he heard that his eldest son, Henry, had dashed his brains out in despair at the rigours of his Apulian prison.

"We are not the first nor shall we be the last," said Frederic with his smiling irony, now more hard and bitter, "to mourn an ungrateful son."

In June, 1243, Cardinal Sinibaldo Fiescho, of the great Genoese family, was elected Pope under the name of Innocent IV.

The new Pope, quarrelsome, avaricious, arrogant, and malicious to a superlative degree, had no virtue unless the courage with which he maintained his odious pretensions be considered one.

His reign began with the exchange of cold courtesies between himself and the wary Frederic, but causes for disagreement immediately arose; at the instigation of the priests the imperial garrison of Viterbo was murdered by the populace. Frederic hanged two mendicant friars (the Franciscans and Dominicans were papal agents and spies, and perpetually employed in fomenting disturbances among the lower classes) and the long negotiations that followed were both irritating and futile.

Frederic wished for peace in which to attend to his own affairs, but Innocent did not desire any means of concord, he beguiled and deceived the Emperor in every way, and followed his predecessor's policy of rousing Europe against Frederic and extorting money from abroad to carry on his campaign against the imperial power.

"May the Devil fly away with you!" cried the harassed Henry of England to one of the Legates who came demanding money for Rome, and the angry barons hustled the unpopular priest out of England; for all that Innocent did extort vast sums from that country, almost to the point of draining dry what he called "our garden of delights, our inexhaustible well."

Meanwhile Frederic harried Lombardy and the Pope pronounced another of those anathemas that had lost effect through too frequent repetition.

The next step was the Council of Lyons held in 1245, where Innocent by his own mouth, and Frederic by that of Thaddeus of Seussa, charged and counter-charged each other with a long list of crimes.

In the end, Innocent, dashing a lighted torch on the ground, formally deposed Frederic from his throne, crying in the gathering gloom of the convent, as the Cardinals' torches followed his into darkness:

"So be the glory and fortune of the Emperor extinguished upon earth!"

Frederic was at Turin when the news of this terrific malediction was brought to him; he rose from amidst his superb company and commanded his treasure chest to be brought to him.

When it was opened before him he took out the imperial crown and placed it himself on his head, crowning himself as he had crowned himself before in Jerusalem, in the Pope's despite.

"The Pope has deprived me of my crown. Not one of my crowns but is here."

And then he added those words that are surely as superbly arrogant as any ever uttered by man, the utmost challenge of human pride to human pride:

"I hold my Crown of God alone, and neither the Pope nor the Devil, nor the Council, shall rend it from me. Does he, in his vulgar pride, think that he shall hurl me from the Imperial dignity; me, who am the Chief Prince of all the World, yea, who am without an equal?

"I am now released from all respect; I am set free from all ties of love and peace; no longer need I keep any measure with this man."

So spoke Frederic—"of God alone"; but who was Frederic's God?

He knew now that between himself and Innocent it was a fight for life, a struggle so fierce and ruthless that everything would be lost sight of but the lust of the death grips; every evil force, every vile passion, every cruelty, all manner of lies and treacheries, every aspect of hate was let loose, like a team of hellish monsters, on Frederic and his dominions.

Only some humiliation like the humiliation of Henry at Canossa might have placated the Pope, and such a humiliation it was not in Frederic's nature to make.

He sent envoys to every Court of his fellow kings, stating his case, as did Innocent; the Pope's denunciations were of ghastly fury. Frederic was a beast, a viper, his forehead was of brass, his portion was Hell, he and his progeny were relegated to eternal damnation.

No foreign prince was roused to interfere in the atrocious struggle convulsing Central Europe and Italy; every one shuddered away from the horror of the conflict between two such terrific and mighty powers.

While Frederic was grimly fighting in Lombardy, Innocent hatched a conspiracy against his life, which the Emperor discovered, punishing the culprits with hideous severity.

Innocent then cast about to find an emperor to put in the place of the deposed Hohenstaufen; he set up Henry of Thuringia, and, after his immediate death, William of Holland, an ambitious stripling, who was crowned in Aix-la-Chapelle thirty-two years after Frederic had received there the crown of Carolus Magnus.

Frederic's son, Conrad, began to fall back in Germany, and amid the appalling confusion of Italy the eagles were beginning to falter and sink behind the myriad standards of the rebels.

A deep melancholy settled on Frederic as he hurled himself from city to city, from castle to castle; his task had become overwhelming, and he was no longer young.

At fifty years of age he had to face a titanic upheaval of his entire life work, to combat a ring of enemies so close and inexorable that he did not know where to strike first; every day brought news of some fresh defection, some new revolt, some more bitter insult from Pope or friar, some falling off of a faint friend, some pouncing of a malicious foe; he was stripped of all his intellectual pursuits in which he so delighted, his delicious repose, his beautiful courtly pleasures; no more for him the building of alabaster palaces by azure seas, the discussion of abstruse problems with silk-clad sages on marble terraces, the writing of love sonnets or books on hawking, no more experiments with the mysteries of this world and other worlds, no more sumptuous festivals, flower adorned, scented with cassia and myrrh, sweet with the songs of troubadours and warm southern twilights; useless now magicians and wise men and troops of dancing-girls and gauze-shrouded odalisques behind gilded lattices, no time for this, for any of this, all that remained was war, replete with every circumstance of horror; everywhere were strife and desolation, the uprooting of beauty and peace and ease by bloody hands, the destruction of progress and art and commerce by spear and sword and fire; where Frederic had set fair kingdoms, which had been the example of the world, were now anarchy and plague and all abomination.

And at Lyons sat the monstrous Pope, glutted with blood, gorged with hate, satiated with gold, ringed round with superstitious terrors, drawing in treasure from all corners of the earth for this most dreadful war, finding allies in every evil passion known to man.

In face of this, the mightiest accumulation of forces ever ranged against a single human being, Frederic maintained his lofty pride, often scowling and bitter now, but never downcast or submissive; he never considered surrender or cessation of the struggle, and he exerted every nerve to continue the unequal fight, the end of which he by now had foreseen.

Not only did there stare in his face the prospect of incessant and ruthless strife for the rest of his days, but the prospect of the ruin of the House of Hohenstaufen, which he had hoped would lead the world through countless ages.

Looking round him on the seething ruin of anarchy to which his kingdoms were reduced, Frederic must have foreseen the extinction, not only of his power, but of his family, and tasted in anticipation the agony of that day in Naples when his grandson, the young Conradin, would pay on the scaffold the tribute of the last drop of Hohenstaufen blood to Hohenstaufen pride.

Yet, even with his eyes turned towards the gathering doom, Frederic maintained stoic fortitude; there remained close by his side some friends of his youth, Thaddeus of Seussa, Pietro da Vinea and a woman, Bianca da Lancia, mother of the gallant Manfred; in the wane of her beauty and his fortune Frederic had married her, a tribute to her long affection, and perhaps an expression of a love outlasting passion on his part; the marriage of the deposed, excommunicated Hohenstaufen was only partially recognised, but was both a dignity and a solace to the faithful woman and her noble son.

In May, 1247, Frederic, gathering all his power together, hurled himself across the Alps with something of the superb daring of his youth, and advanced on Lyons where his loathsome enemy was ensconced; Innocent screamed to France for succour, and Louis IX, who, for all his saintliness, was a childish slave of gross superstition, saw in the dreadful Pope only the representative of God on earth, and offered the whole chivalry of France against Frederic.

This did not deter the Emperor from proceeding on his grim march to Lyons; but he was forced to abandon this bold and magnificent enterprise by the news of the fall of Parma, taken by the papal forces through treachery and guile.

Whipped to fury, the Emperor hastened back over the Alps and threw his still resplendent armies round Parma, a city in every way important to the imperial cause.

With him were his two sons, King Enzio, and Conrad and Eccelin da Romano, his dreadful lieutenant. By the end of the year Parma was so completely and artfully surrounded that relief seemed hopeless.

Frederic had also erected, for himself and his troops, a castle and city outside Parma, which he called Vittoria, in haughty anticipation of his coming triumph, which was to be he thought another Cortenuova.

So sure appeared the fall of the beleaguered city that the imperial troops became careless, and, on a February morning in 1248, Frederic left Vittoria for a hunting expedition on the plains of Lombardy, then temptingly sweet with the first airs of spring.

Immediately there was a sally from the south gate of Parma, which attracted the attention of the Imperialists; this was a feint; the Parmese made a magnificent and desperate onslaught on Vittoria, inspired by the despair born of famine and the prospect of the unspeakable fate awaiting them when the town fell.

Frederic, galloping over the lovely plains in the chase, chanced to turn in the saddle and behold the horizon flaming red.

With horror in his heart the Emperor dashed back towards Vittoria; when he reached the imperial fortress nothing was left of it but a roaring furnace and crashing towers; the Parmese, pouring out of the beleaguered city, had utterly overwhelmed the Emperor's troops, Thaddeus of Seussa had been torn to pieces, the very seals, sceptre, and crown of Frederic had been seized, the imperial diadem worn by a deformed dwarf in the lunatic and ribald triumph of the Parmese, the frantic exultations of the Guelfs.

Frederic was unable to force his way through the stream of fugitives; he and his personal retinue were swept back along the Cremona road by the flying hordes of his own defeated soldiery; dishevelled, exhausted, helpless, the Emperor was hustled in the press.

The defeat was complete, the rout shameful, the humiliation bitter beyond all bitterness; Frederic entered Cremona amid the rabble of his overthrown armies and the insults of the population; never had his fortunes seemed so dark, never had he been so personally lowered in the eyes of mankind.

His friend, Thaddeus of Seussa, had died hideously in the disgraceful medley; the Emperor had not too many friends.

Frederic rallied from this crushing blow with an energy of pride and a swiftness of fury that compelled the awestruck admiration of his enemies; he who had so long defied the maledictions of Rome, and defended himself so skilfully against all the linked powers of this world and the next, began to be regarded as something more than human, either God or devil.

While some saw in the invincible Hohenstaufen a Messiah sent to overthrow the Antichrist of Rome, others beheld in him one of the monstrous beasts of Revelation, come to reign in terror and horror upon earth; Frederic, again encamped on the smoking ruins of Vittoria, smiled bitterly beneath scowling brows at both aspects of his blazing fame and still presented his undiminished arrogance to his manifold foes.

Louis IX, on his way to the crusades, interceded with the fell old Pope for Frederic, and begged that the ban might be removed from the Emperor and he be allowed to join the French chivalry in the expedition to Palestine; but the plea of the saintly knight was made in vain; Innocent replied by cursing all the descendants, friends, and supporters of the "Great Dragon" to endless generations.

And now a blow was struck at the dauntless Caesar that seemed like a curse indeed; the story is obscure, but this much emerges from the half-legendary tales, that Pietro da Vinea, the Emperor's dearest friend, raised by him from obscurity was induced, by who knows what foul and secret ways, to attempt his master's life by poisoning the very cup he handed him in amity.

Frederic had with utmost bitterness discovered the plot, and Pietro da Vinea and his accomplices—all instruments of Innocent—were punished in circumstances of incredible horror.

The Emperor showed more emotion over this treachery than he had ever been seen to display before, the clear ironic eyes were at last dimmed with tears, the superb head bent in unappeasable woe; and his grief was swiftly followed by one yet more agonising, his beloved son, King Enzio, the beautiful, accomplished darling of his heart, was captured by the papal forces and held prisoner in Bologna, the Pope's own city.

Frederic frantically offered to fill the city's moats with gold, but all ransom was refused; for twenty-three years Enzio was to groan in captivity until, long after his father's death, his own came to quench his withering hopes.

First Parma and the death of Thaddeus, then, Pietro da Vinea's Judas act, then, the capture of his most beloved son; the heart of Frederic shrunk in his breast, a slow languor crept over his limbs, grey, like handfuls of ashes, showed in the Hohenstaufen red of his locks, his shaven cheek was haggard, his hawk-like eye dim, some malady seemed to be consuming him, he had to endure hours of pain, nights of wakefulness, days of weakness, the intense pain of lonely desolation.

He kept a cold, scornful face to his enemies—he launched out on them with ruthless cruelty, blood and fire, rapine and torment, were his weapons also; every terror the mind of man could devise he sent out against the swarming friars and papal mercenaries, the rebels and the traitors, who stalked his lands, and with such ferocious grandeur did he maintain his cause that Europe veered to his side in the monstrous quarrel, and the power and prestige of Innocent began to decline, even with the strength of the Emperor.

Frederic had aided King Louis in Palestine even in the midst of his own disasters, while the Pope spent the money scraped together by Christendom for the crusades, in his frantic campaigns against Frederic, therefore when the French were miserably defeated in Egypt the blame fell, justly enough, on the violent and implacable Pope; the two brothers of Louis IX came from Acre and menaced Innocent with the whole might of France if he did not make peace with Frederic.

The Emperor had been victorious in Lombardy; Germany and Sicily stood firm to his cause; in France he had a new ally; England was warmer towards him than towards Innocent, whose bloodthirsty hostility had alienated most nations. It seemed as if, even yet, the Hohenstaufen might again climb to that haughty height from which the shadow of his sceptre would lie across the world.

But the tremendous fight was over; the Emperor was a dying man.

Every day he felt his strength slipping from him, every day he felt deeper indifference to material things, every day he brooded more hopelessly over Pietro, Thaddeus, Enzio, and the destruction of the life's work.

The virulent hate of arrogant old men had destroyed the fruits of his genius, rendered his great gifts useless, reduced to a wilderness of confusion and misery and discord those dominions he had so fondly cherished and so wisely governed.

Flung aside and trampled down were all his plans for progress, for enlightenment, for culture and civilisation, for a universal tolerance and peace.

Nothing remained; the insane furies of the Popes had set Europe back for hundreds of years, and all Frederic's works were to be but tales of wonder.

But the Emperor did not falter in his pride or bend from his purpose. From the darkness and chaos gathering round him came his serene challenge:

"Before this generation and the generation to come, I will have the glory of resisting the papal tyranny."

Travelling to Lucera, his Saracen city, where was his lovely palace, the dear scene of his hours of solace, the fainting Emperor called a halt in which to die.

The imperial train stopped at Fiorentino; it was December, the one sharp month of Sicilian winter, and the clouds hung dark over Etna and over the sea as the Emperor was carried by his Saracen soldiers to his death chamber.

He made his will, leaving the Empire of the world to his sons in turn, Conrad, Henry, Manfred. This last, the noble knight, the elegant scholar, the wise statesman, Bianca da Lancia's son, was with him now, heavy with grief and the presentiment of doom. And with him also was Berard, the Archbishop of Palermo, who had been with him thirty-eight years before in the triumph of that first daring crossing of the Alps in all the surpassing pride of youth.

The languor of death evoked no complaint from Frederic Hohenstaufen, he displayed none of the grovelling terrors the excommunicate Emperor, Otto of Brunswick, showed in his last moments, but he acceded to the prayer of the old priest, who had been so loyal to him, and received from these ancient, faithful lips the absolution of the Church that had hounded him to death.

For the last time the ironic light flashed in the grey eyes, the ironic smile on the sensual mouth, and Frederic, pressing the hand of the weeping Manfred, turned his calm face to the wall, and, on a brief sigh, died.

It was December 13th, 1250, less than a fortnight from the anniversary of his birth; he had lived his grand, terrible, and beautiful life for nearly fifty-six years of unsurpassable splendour, and was buried in what had been his earliest robe, the dark imperial purple, fitting symbol of his inviolate and justified pride.



William III landing at Brixham, Torbay, 5 November 1688
(Painting by Jan Wyck, 1688)

"Il y a de tels projets, d'un si grand éclat et d'une consequence si vaste, qui font parler les hommes si longtemps, qui font tant espérer ou tant craindre selon les divers intérêts des peuples, que toute la gloire et toute la fortune d'un homme y sont commises. Il ne peut pas avancer sur la scène avec un si tel appareil pour se retirer sans rien dire; quelques affireux perils qu'il l'entame; le moindre mal pour lui est de la manquer...O temps! O moeurs! O siècle rempli des mauvais exemples, où a crime dominé! où il triomphe! Un homme (Guillaume de Nassau) dit: 'Je passerai la mer, je dépouillerai mon père de son patrimoine, je le chasserai, lui, sa femme, son héritier, de ses terres et de ses Ètats'; et, comme il l'a dit, il l'a fait...Qui pourrait voir des choses si tristes avec des yeux secs et une âme tranquille."

La Bruyère (1645-1696),
Sur les Jugements, 1688.
(Reference is to the English Revolution of 1688.)
(Opinion of a French Roman Catholic.)


"What do angry men ail to rail so against moderation? Doth it not look as if they were going to some scurvy extreme that is too strong to be digested by the considering part of mankind? These arbitrary methods, besides the injustice of them, are (God be thanked!) very unskilful too, for they fright the birds by talking so loud from coming into the net that is laid for them. When men agree to rifle a house they seldom give warning or blow a trumpet."

Lord Halifax (1633-1695),
Character of a Trimmer, 1688.
(Opinion of an English Protestant.)


"James II had built a few chapels, had exhibited the Catholic surplice to the people of London, had had the satisfaction of publicly attending Mass; and whilst he crossed the sea, a fugitive, a free Parliament, as a lesson for the future, was inscribing in the records of England this memorable note: 'James II, King of England, by violating by the advice of Jesuits and other wicked persons the fundamental laws, has abdicated the government.'"

Jean Baptiste Nicolas Armand Carmel,
The Counter Revolution in England, 1830.
(Opinion of a French Republican, 1830.)



IT is always difficult and dangerous to describe isolated episodes of history; difficult, because every event, however neatly labelled, must be the result of causes that are involved, far-reaching, and obscure; and dangerous, because, to consider one episode as if it were detached from all the other episodes that have built up the story of a nation, is misleading in that it gives a false perspective. There are, however, some great events of history that have been so persistently dramatised, sentimentalised, used to strengthen party propaganda or to fan religious zeal, that, heavily enriched by tradition and the inventions of the poet and the novelist, they remain familiar by name even to those who care nothing for the forces that went to produce them and know nothing of the men who were their chief actors.

One of the most conspicuous of these episodes in English history is the Revolution of 1688, which was not only outwardly exciting, dramatic, and romantic, calculated to remain long in the memory of men, but also of considerable political importance, both to this island and to Europe. The same cannot be claimed for other events dear to the popular imagination—for instance, the over-written revolts of 1715 and 1745 were of no political significance whatever, and the story of England would have been unaltered if the Duke of Monmouth, to whom so many enthusiastic books have been devoted, had never been born.

But the upheaval of 1688 did introduce changes not only in our constitution, but even in our mode of thought and in our habit of life, the effects of which are still felt to-day. National pride is fond of the phrase "the age of Anne," but most of the achievements usually credited to the brief reign of that amiable nonentity had at least their foundation in the years 1688-1702.

The Duke of Marlborough, ruler of the camp and Cabinet, and his wife, ruler of the closet, carried out the foreign policy of William III of Orange and the domestic ideal of Mary II. These two people and those they encouraged left a very definite impress both on England's position abroad and on her behaviour at home, none the less strong because it is often ignored. Moreover, as far as this is ever possible in relating history, it is possible to draw a line of demarcation between the reign of James II and those of his successors, and to treat the revolution of 1688 as both a momentous and a separate event. It is not, however, very easy to do this without devoting more space to considering the conditions and characters that produced the abrupt end of the male Stewart dynasty than can be spared in a brief essay.

Until recently, the almost unchallenged view held by historians and laymen alike was that the Revolution of 1688 was as Edmund Burke proclaimed, "great and glorious." It was represented, very simply, as a heroic effort on the part of noble-minded patriots to resist the crimes and errors of a besotted tyrant, and as the final adjustment of that English Constitution which was so near perfection as to serve as a model for the world. Many Whig historians give the impression, perhaps unconsciously, that this Revolution, proudly proclaimed as "bloodless," resulted in the formation of a model state that expanded smoothly along lines of progress until it culminated in the bland triumphs of Victoria, beyond which human felicity, in the opinion of these enthusiasts, could scarcely advance.

Children's lesson books of the middle and latter part of last century gravely enjoined on the little readers the duty of thanking God for the privileges they enjoyed as free-born English boys and girls, who inherited their comfort and liberty from those ancestors, who, with divine help, made an end of "brass money, wooden shoes, the Pope, and the King of France in 1688." This naive point of view was, no doubt, sincere, and contained some truth, but it should be remembered that the ruling dynasty and the dominant classes were the direct result of 1688 and that these powerful influences did all they could to extol the event that had given them eminence and wealth. Chairs of History at the Universities were founded with the sole object of enforcing the Whig side of the question, and the scholars who occupied these posts made it as difficult to realise the Roman Catholic and Stewart ideals and aims as it was to gain an understanding of the Plantagenets under the rule of the Tudors.

The losing side was, as usual, not only beaten, but silenced and misrepresented, and the winning side garnished with all possible virtues by those who enjoyed the fruits of the failure of the former and the success of the latter. Not that there was often much tendency to praise William of Orange; with the notable exceptions of Hallam, Macaulay, and Seeley, the foreign prince was dismissed with lukewarm admiration—his chief fault being that he was not an Englishman. But it was for the native patriots, the men who were the spiritual heirs of the Hampdens, the Vanes, the Sidneys, the Russells, that the highest encomiums were reserved. Whig and Protestant writers found glowing themes for their pens in their description of how the liberties of England were preserved through the noble action of the bishops, the single-minded endeavours of self-sacrificing statesmen, and the just indignation and courageous resistance of the people. To them it was a plain and impressive story, James II was a fool, a tyrant, a bigot; he attempted, clumsily, illegally, and with gross cruelty, to interfere with the liberties of England, so dearly if somewhat vaguely cherished in the breast of every Englishman since Magna Carta (in the opinion of the nineteenth century falsely important), and he endeavoured to overturn the Anglican Church, the country's considered choice of Faith, in favour of Roman Catholicism, forever associated in the mind of the people with the fires of the Marian persecutions, and to introduce into the heart of native politics those Jesuits considered hatefully typical of deceit, treachery, idolatry, and darkly mysterious intrigue.

From these dangers, which nearly overwhelmed the independence of England and almost destroyed the properties and gravely imperilled the lives of her inhabitants, the country was saved by the pure patriotism and unselfish zeal of her Protestant leaders, backed by the courage and common sense of the people. These saviours of their country invited the assistance of a Prince, the champion of Protestantism, who also satisfied the English sense of law and order by being the husband of the heiress to the Crown and himself the nearest Prince of the Blood. The historians of this school were able, with justifiable complacency, to relate the complete success of this daring move, the ignoble flight of the rejected King, and the triumphant installation of the nation's choice as the first constitutional monarch, together with the restoration of the religion, the rights and privileges, so terribly endangered and so valiantly rescued.

The story, which was not without its epic outline, then went on to describe the arduous war that resulted as the French King's championship of the Stewarts, the domestic troubles that could not, however, shake the steadfast national spirit, the final disposal of the discrowned tyrant as a glorious victory which had a second merit, that of once more teaching Ireland her place, the magnificent defeat of Louis XIV's naval power, together with such civilised benefits as a milled coinage, the Bank of England, consols, toleration for the Nonconformists, Bible Societies, decent public behaviour for gentlewomen, and the coming into fashion of those virtues hitherto considered dull and dowdy.

Having thus disposed of the Great Deliverer (not without some regret for his foreign friends and dry manners—it was felt that he hardly valued highly enough the honour done him by England) and the Glorious Revolution, the Whig historian proceeded, with an obvious sense of satisfaction, to the gratifying successes and undeniable splendours of the Augustan Age, which were genuine home products. Even about "Brandy-faced Nan," the pious Whig chronicler was ready to murmur: "A poor thing, but mine own."

So in these succinct, straightforward accounts of 1688 and its results, national pride, the popular point of view, the political convictions of the majority, tradition and loyalty to the House of Hanover, were alike served.

The day came when these motives no longer swayed the historian and when a powerful section of opinion, long-suppressed or ignored, found a voice. We then were shown the reverse of the medal and discovered that there was a very good defence available for what had seemed indefensible, and a very keen difference of opinion where no such difference had seemed possible.

Roman Catholics, passionate advocates of that old cult known as the "Romaunt" of the Stewarts, more or less impartial workers who were tired of the old pompous formulae and the old, threadbare catchwords, lively, inquisitive writers, eager to reverse established, historical judgments for the mere love of the paradoxical and the new, gave us very different pictures of an event that had been almost sacrosanct in the opinion of our ancestors. James II, we then learned, was not only far from being a tyrant and a bigot, he was a man with the interests of his country passionately at heart and sincerely anxious for religious toleration. Foully betrayed by the machinations of men who could not appreciate his lofty idealism, and undermined by the sly intrigues of his ambitious son-in-law, the unfortunate monarch lost his throne, purely through the crimes of others and his fidelity to a hereditary Faith. Some writers even portrayed James II as a saint and a martyr, one too involved in an ecstasy of mysticism to be able to deal with the craft of lesser men, and they pointed to the sackcloth and ashes of his end in triumphant vindication of their contention.

There is much material with which to strengthen this view of the dethroned monarch—the facts that one daughter took his crown and another forsook him, the desertion of men like John Churchill, who owed him much and in whom he had trusted, the callous double dealing of men like Sunderland, to whom he had confided his affairs, the old man's despair, bewilderment, and piteous clinging to his morsel of the true Cross—all these details have been used very effectively by the champions of James II. Nor have they failed to use the romantic incidents of the young Queen's huddling her baby to her breast in the dark and cold on Whitehall Stairs, waiting for French chivalry to rescue her from a nation of cads, the fallen King stopped in his flight and roughly mauled by fishermen in mistake for a "hatchet-faced Jesuit," and the still more poignant episode, so galling to English pride, when the King of England's sleep was disturbed by foreign guards as they were taking the place of his own soldiery at his Palace gates.

The character of the Protestant hero or Great Deliverer does not, as may be expected, shine in the eyes of those who extol the man whom he displaced. He was, they declared, actuated by the basest ambition, cloaked by a prudish display of piety; he gained his ends by duplicity of the meanest sort, and was only successful because he agreed to accept the Crown shorn of its fairest prerogatives and because he was useful as a figurehead for the rogues who engineered the Revolution. These Tory or Romanist writers also pour contempt on the Englishmen who brought about this crisis, describing them as members of a new, powerful, money-made class who feared for their own estates and honours, and brought about the downfall of James II for ignoble ends, which they disguised under popular catchwords likely to receive the approbation of the common man.

In the opinion of this school of writers, then, the "Great and Glorious" Revolution was a sordid affair and the Great Deliverer a paltry adventurer, using the pretence of the public good to gratify private ambition and employing the most odious treachery to this end. In brief, they consider that all the virtue, nobility, and sincerity were on the side of the deposed King and that remnant of the aristocracy who remained faithful to him in his downfall.

This latter school of historians has been no more scrupulous in emphasising its points than were the Whig writers whose glaring partiality their opponents so fiercely attacked. Examples of violent bias, almost incredible in scholars of intelligence, occur on each side of the question, and neither the defenders of the Revolution, nor those who abuse it, shrink from half-truths, suppression of evidence, bitter personal invective about the reputations of men who have long since been unable to reply, special pleading, and emotional appeal.

The labours of these zealots, who are often brilliant advocates, masters of party tactics, and extremely able writers of political pamphlets, have much obscured the issues and caused the plain man to wonder what sort of truth it is that can be so variously and so persuasively, represented. Loose thinking, fanaticism, carelessness, sheer spite, and dishonest manipulation or ignoring of material disfigure too many of the pages that re-tell this episode of history.

There remain the excellent academic histories written by men who had no personal interest in the causes or ideals that so excite some writers, and it is to these that we must turn if we wish to regain our sense of balance upset by the diatribes of those hag-ridden by obsessions, or to satisfy our sense of justice irritated by the sentimental and hysterical outpourings of those who have set an idol up and must champion it, even against all reason and common sense. The official historians have the fault of their virtues in a certain frigid traditionalism, which, while impartial and unprejudiced, tends to repeat disinterestedly former judgments without either investigation or enthusiasm.

The history textbooks put into the hands of young scholars, for instance, do tend to present stereotyped characters and scenes, from which vitality is lacking and which are often marred by definite distortion, due not to the maltreatment of fact, but to a certain boredom felt by the writer and communicated to the reader. It is not easy to find an account of such an event as the Revolution of 1688 that is not either the work of a bigot, blinded by his own ardour, or that of a scientific historian faintly disgusted with dead politics.

We may hope, however, that, with all the material available one of our modern men of letters who know so well how to write both with impartiality and with zest, will give us a history of William III and of 1688 that will put that curious personality and that familiar but so often mishandled event in true proportions and proper perspective.

Such a writer will draw on both Whig and Tory partisans, on Protestant and Roman Catholic authorities, on the panegyrics of the admirers of William III and on those of James II, and on the handsomely documented labours of professional historians, and by using his own acumen and judgment, he will arrive at some more or less truthful picture of happenings that have caused such impassioned controversy but that are, surely, now sufficiently distant to be regarded by all save the zealot with impartial detachment.


TO the serious student of humanity the interest of all revolutions must largely lie in the question whether they are the results of a resolute and prearranged attempt on the part of thoughtful men to better, or change, a social system that has proved a failure, or are more or less meaningless disturbances provoked by adventurers for their own advantage. To this large question those who are peculiarly interested in the story of England may add another of local import—have the various revolts and revolutions that have marked our annals been the fruits of the heroic efforts of large-minded patriots that have developed the nation along lines of steady progress, or have they been chance upheavals caused by the intrigues of unscrupulous politicians or the resistances of individual classes who have feared attacks on their wealth or privileges?

The answers to these questions are not likely to be much in dispute. It is hardly to be denied that at least the majority of revolutions are not the work of good and noble men and do not proceed on idealistic lines and that our own changes of government did not result from the indignation of patriots wounded by the cries of an oppressed people or from the inspiration of lofty-minded idealists scheming Utopias, but from the complicated motives and involved chicanery of classes and individuals working for their own private gain or venting selfish discontents.

In the ranks of the poor and simple, in the humble men of the Peasants' Revolt, in the followers of the Warbecks and Simnels, in the rustics of Sedgemoor, in the Highlanders in 1715, 1745, might have been found single-mindedness, faith, and pure intentions—in their leaders, seldom or never.

The Revolution of 1688 had for so long such praise and acclaim because it was so successful and because we have not very substantially altered the constitution then accepted by King, Estates, and people. It did produce a certain settlement of national government that has held good ever since, and for that reason it was for long venerated by most Englishmen, and commands, even to-day, a certain measure of respect from the orthodox. Rightly so, it would seem, for it may reasonably be argued that what a people have left untouched for two hundred and fifty years is more or less to their taste—or at least, to the taste of those classes who have the power to effect changes.

The ugliest result of the Revolution—the spiteful laws against Roman Catholics (though these were not nearly as severe as they might have been)—was effaced over a hundred years ago, and, with the exception of this, there was little in this adjustment of our government which was to be so durable, that was not based on that most solid of foundations—common sense. This steady structure that the Revolution of 1688 left us was further strengthened by the importation—by some fantastic shuffling of hereditary claims—of foreign princes who had neither the ambition nor the abilities to cause serious trouble. As such general satisfaction was given by the Revolution (witness the utter failure of the various attempts of the last of the Stewarts to disturb England), it might be assumed that the Whig writers were correct in claiming it to be the work of genuine lovers of their country, supremely anxious for her good. It will be discovered, however, on a close inspection of the facts, that the Tory writers are not without some truth in their vehement assertions that the organisers of the train of events that finally disposed of the House of Stewart were not only dishonest men, but an unpleasant set of scoundrels.

How, then, did they come to accomplish a work that was so lasting and useful, and what was the temper of the people whom they beguiled into accepting it, and what were the positions and characters of the two Kings de jure and de facto, who, the former by his failings, and the latter for ulterior motives, played into the hands of these clever adventurers?


TO understand this we must glance back very briefly at the history of England to the year 1603. It was then, by an odd chance, that the first Stewart King ascended the English Throne. His claim came twice through the female side and had been so desperately disputed by so many factions that he had only maintained it by acquiescing in the execution of his mother from whom it came, and by years of miserable truckling to the last of the Tudors. He was grotesquely unfitted for the monarchy after which he gaped so avidly, and is not admired even by the most fervent eulogists of his House. There is at least a possibility that he was the son of an obscure Italian adventurer; if he was legitimate he had inherited none of that famous beauty and charm which went so far in covering up the defects of the Stewarts.

This family have been sentimentalised and extolled to an astonishing degree. Their attraction for the romancists seems to consist in their misfortunes, which were largely their own fault. The successive rulers produced by the marriage of Marjorie Bruce and Walter Stewart (1315), parents of the first Stewart King, Robert II, show several agreeable personalities who met the violent ends usually meted out to the chieftains of barbaric peoples, and one notable man, James IV, who was, however, so little of a statesman as to risk serious issues on a chivalrous gesture.

Flodden Field is a superb subject for balladists, but is a sad proof of the incapacity of the monarch who fell there. Sir David Lindsay, in addressing verses to James IV, recited his accomplishments, and then added: "with all this, sir, learn to be a king." This was a lesson that none of the Stewarts, with the exception, in a certain sense, of Charles II, ever did learn.

An ineffective Prince, James V, bequeathed his unstable Crown to his daughter, Mary, whose story, essentially painful and sordid, has received more attention than that of any but few other famous women, until it glitters with all the splendour of what is known as romance. Shorn of the muddled fancy and loose traditions that cluster round her name, the false dazzle of poetry and fiction, the tale of this Stewart Queen has an ugly, vulgar flavour and is far more disgusting than entrancing.

Her claims to the English throne, which finally cost her her life, brought the Stewarts to England. They had nothing of the ability of the Plantagenets or the Tudors—there was never a Henry II, an Edward I, a Henry VII, among them, and it is difficult to understand why they have evoked such enthusiasm—an enthusiasm sometimes amounting to a cult or an idolatry. They were probably no worse than the contemporary sovereigns abroad, but not any better, and of the four who sat on the English throne, two were completely without the almost fabulous charm, wit, and fascination, for which this family has such a glittering reputation. Charles I was respectable, well-meaning, and governed with as much ability as most kings of England, but lost his throne through his infringement of the privileges of the wealthy middle-class and his use of shifty policies that played into the hands of his opponents.

The people soon discovered, however, that they preferred the tyranny of the regal tax-gatherers to the tyranny of the Republican soldiery, and the recall of Charles II greatly pleased the majority of the nation, who had certainly found both Puritanism and a military autocracy highly objectionable.

The restored monarch was one of the most attractive of his family, a gracious and agreeable man of the world, intelligent, witty, and shrewd, of some culture and endowed with that gay tolerance and that sense of comedy which make the perfect companion. He has been over-popularised in the wrong way by the gossip-writers of generations, whose avid interest in the meagre details available about his kept women has obscured the more important aspects of his character.

Anything in the nature of chroniques scandaleuses always receives disproportionate importance in the estimation of the uneducated, and though a most distinguished modern historian writes of "the foul heart and evil mind of Charles II" and gravely tells us that he "debauched a whole generation," it is surely doubtful whether his example much affected more than a few of his subjects or in anything altered the national character. The failure of Oliver Cromwell's fanatic laws against vice had proved once more that it is impossible to legislate for good morals, though good policing will enforce good manners.

The English people, supposed to have been so sorely corrupted by Charles II, quickly adopted at least an outward decorum when the atmosphere of the Court changed, and under William III and Anne were as well-behaved as they had been under Elizabeth or Charles I.

Charles II was a clever politician and an adept at managing internal affairs, though he was too much of a philosopher to take a very keen zest in statesmanship as long as his own desires were gratified. "It will all be the same a hundred years hence" might have been a suitable summing-up of his attitude. His lack of moral purpose and of moral strength led him into several disgraceful actions, but it had some justification. It is only fair, when considering him, to recall that sheet of blank paper he signed and sent to the Parliament in a desperate attempt to save his father. That was not the action of a cynic or a rogue and if Charles afterwards developed a worldly indifferentism that often verged on dishonesty and trickery, it is obvious that his early experiences might easily have made him a far worse man than he was.

This kindly, skilful prince, after failing to secure a Catholic revival, which would have swept away the last relics of a Puritanism that he found so odious, concentrated on a French alliance as a safeguard against another possible rebellion, and then, on the realisation of his own continued lack of legitimate issue, the preservation of the throne for the brother whom he was the first to recognise as most unlikely to keep it. As regards the causes of 1688, the most important events of the reign of Charles II (apart from the character and career of James himself) are the King's dependence on Louis XIV, which prevented England from joining any affiance against France, and the marriage of Mary Stewart, then heiress to the English crown, to the grandson of Charles I, William of Orange, the man whose life work it was to build up a coalition against the Bourbons and who passionately desired adherence of England to his schemes.

The marriage of William and Mary was very naturally detestable to James, then Duke of York, a zealous Roman Catholic who had a deep antipathy to the country, the ideals, the religion, and the character of his sister's son.

Charles II himself had been dubious about this scheme, but had given way before the insistence of the bridegroom, the intrigues of Danby, and the desire to make a popular gesture—the Protestant marriage made a good effect upon a people always suspicious of the Pope and the French.

There then seemed but little chance that the wife of the King, Catherine of Braganza, or the Duchess of York would bear living male children (the last lady bore a son, who did not live, soon after the marriage), and the prospect of Mary's succession to the throne appeared as certain as it was soothing to those (and they were many) who disliked James and feared Charles.

The union that had pleased the two countries (for in the United Provinces all save extreme Republicans were gratified by the royal marriage of the Stadtholder), promised little personal happiness to either groom or bride. Mary was an ignorant, frivolous, sentimental girl of sixteen, already showing a taste for the coarse pleasures of Whitehall, where she had just made her debut in a licentious masque, and was absorbed in a neurotic schoolgirl friendship with Anne Ashley, afterwards Lady Bathurst. She took her enforced marriage with a bad grace and signalised nuptials that seemed ill-starred indeed with hysterical scenes of tears and lamentations.

Her cousin had not fascinated her at first sight, and had taken no trouble to please his future wife, whom he had chosen from obvious reasons of policy.

In fact, so tremendously did the marriage strengthen William of Orange's position in England and in Europe, so greatly did it increase his importance, socially and politically, so profoundly did it anger Louis XIV, the patron and paymaster of Charles II and the English Parliament, that it is astonishing that it was ever allowed to take place.

On this one occasion, James showed shrewder insight than his brother when he obstinately opposed the match that brought William of Orange so near the English throne, and Charles, for his own interest, paid too high for the Stadtholder's consent to the Peace of Nijmegen, 1678.

This marriage was the first important appearance on the English scene of the future William III, though he had been to England before on a ceremonial and futile visit. He was, by reason of birth, in a peculiar position among the princes of Europe, and, by reason of his qualities, in a peculiar position among mankind.

Although he stood further from the English throne than his wife, he was of nobler descent. Mary's mother was a commoner of a middle-class family, the Hydes, raised to the peerage (the Earldom of Clarendon) by political success, and Mary herself had only barely escaped the fate of Monmouth, since her parents' marriage, dishonourable to both of them, had been so disputed as only to be saved by the careless tact of Charles II.

It is, therefore, an error to describe, as so many writers do, Mary as being of "superior birth" to her husband. William of Orange was descended in the direct male line from William the Silent, who was, though bearing an ancient French title, the heir of generations of Counts of Nassau, one of whom had been Emperor of the West. His mother was Mary, eldest daughter of Charles I, and through this proud melancholy woman who had died in the first weeks of her brother's restoration, he inherited the claim to English sovereignty, derived from Edward the Confessor, that was so much respected.

His title of Orange (though the town and revenues remained in the hands of Louis XIV) was par la grâce de Dieu—that is, an independent sovereignty, so that he acknowledged no overlord. He held also several other notable lordships, and owned vast estates and much personal wealth; his most precious possession, however, was the extraordinary fame and honour that a succession of remarkable men had given to his title, and that he himself had embellished with an even more brilliant lustre.

His widowed mother had borne him in a shrouded, black-hung room a year after the execution of her father, Charles I, and in the total eclipse of her late husband's fortune. A stupid attempt at a coup d'état against that stolid bulwark of money-makers and mercantile prosperity, Amsterdam, had cost the son of Frederic Henry, the victor of Nieuport and one of the finest soldiers of his day, all that the gratitude of the Dutch people had showered on the "father of his country"—William I.

Heir, then, to a double misfortune, born prematurely, and so delicate that his life was despaired of, William III of Orange seemed to have but a dismal prospect before him in the year 1650. As a direct result of the ill-judged audacity of William II, the office of Stadtholder held by four princes of the House of Nassau was abolished, and the very complicated government of the United Provinces was administered by an oligarchy, at the head of which was Johann de Witt (1625-1672), Grand Pensionary of the Province of Holland, who, by methods not altogether candid, had made the exclusion of the House of Orange from power, a condition of the peace with Oliver Cromwell—First Treaty of Westminster, 1654.

The infant Prince, shorn of his ancestral glories, but still regarded as their future hope by a large though, for the moment, defeated party, was made a "child of state" and brought up under the personal care of the Grand Pensionary.

This statesman was as honest and single-minded a man as any who ever entered politics, and he applied himself with earnest sincerity to the task of creating a patriotic republican out of the heir of Nassau and Stewart. This endeavour, at once idealistic and clumsy, was a total failure. The boy, isolated, unhappy, strictly trained; cherishing a bitter sense of wrong, showed remarkable signs of intellectual precocity, which impressed all who met him, and an extraordinary firmness of character, which raised very high the expectations of his numerous adherents. He soon made it perfectly clear that he intended to fight, inch by inch, all who opposed a complete return of the posts and honours he considered due to his birth.

His position had been strengthened by the restoration (1660) of his uncle and guardian, Charles II, who, with his brothers, James and Henry, had passed part of his exile on his nephew's estates. Mary had lavishly helped her brothers and had impoverished her son's estates to do so, and Charles showed same lukewarm gratitude in halfhearted attempts to help the son of the sister who had almost ruined herself to help him in his misery.

It was not, however, either to the active intrigues of the Orange party or to the deep affection of the Dutch for the descendant of William the Silent, or to the lazy efforts of his royal uncle that the young Prince was to owe his reinstatement to the forfeited honours of his House with the addition of more power than any former Stadtholder of Holland had ever dreamed of possessing.


JOHANN DE WITT and his brother, Cornelius, the Admiral, and those associated with them in the government were idealists, pacifists, republicans, and men of rare integrity, industry, and zeal for the public welfare. They amassed no personal fortune, grasped at no personal honours, and held themselves, as far as possible, above the shifts and tricks employed by all the politicians of Europe. Johann de Witt, with his spotless private reputation, his austere public life, his stern simplicity, and unbending dignity, affected the character of a Roman magistrate—and was almost a symbolic figure of incorruptible justice, piety, domestic virtue, and patriotic ardour. His brother, Cornelius, was in character similar, though bolder and harsher, and a famous admiral, even among the naval officers of a people then master of the sea, and had finely distinguished himself in three wars.

The faults of the Grand Pensionary were obstinacy, narrow-mindedness, lack of worldly wisdom, and, possibly, self-conceit. He did not, at least, find it easy to admit himself mistaken or in the wrong, and his very virtues had that excess which shows that lack of humour, of wit, and of sense of proportion which so often springs from over self-confidence.

De Witt's piety tended to bigotry, his patriotism to party politics, his idealism hardened into a stubborn adherence to preconceived ideas. Being so passionately a republican he deplored deeply the ascendancy gained by the House of Orange in the Netherlands, and concentrated all his talents on keeping the young Prince and his partisans out of any semblance of power. He showed considerable skill in dealing with foreign policy, particularly in accommodating himself to the violent changes of government in England, and he saw Holland through three naval wars—the first Anglo-Dutch War, 1652-1654, War in the Baltic, 1656-1660, the second Anglo-Dutch War, 1665-1667—which were all to her advantage and her glory. He also did his best to remain on good terms with France, whose King was beginning to show signs of that thirst for the revival of the Western Empire of Charlemagne which was to convulse Europe for forty years (1672-1713). In all his actions this upright man showed that "clear and round dealing" which Francis Bacon declared "is the honour of man's nature."

Too much of De Witt's attention, however, was taken up with curbing the growing ambition of William of Orange, and in checking the intrigues of his numerous adherents. There is no doubt that he introduced some personal bitterness into this contest and that he was quite unable to see any good in the parties opposed to his own. This feeling, the Prince, who had during a lonely childhood brooded deeply over his own wretched position and the past splendours of his ancestors, fiercely returned. Between the middle-aged experienced statesman and the youth scarcely free from tutelage, something like hatred passed.

It was the same kind of animosity, at once political and personal, as that exchanged between Maurice of Orange and Johann van Olden Barneveldt. By the year 1672, it might have been clear to an impartial observer that the same country could not long continue to hold two such conflicting personalities as William of Orange and Johann de Witt.

A totally unexpected catastrophe soon removed the elder man from the scene and put the younger in possession of all the power and responsibility that he had longed for since he had been able to spell over a history book. Johann de Witt, despite his gifts and virtues, committed the one crime never pardoned in a statesman—he failed, and through a blunder. He entirely misunderstood the character of the man who sat on the throne of France. This country, which had steadily increased in importance since it was first consolidated by the genius of Louis XI, was then ruled by an absolute monarch, the third king of the House of Bourbon, who had inherited the magnificent organisation, the superb public servants, the wealth, commerce, security abroad, and prosperity at home, built up by the great Cardinal Richelieu and his successor, the Italian Mazarin. This prince, Louis XIV, King of France and Navarre, was a man of mediocre intelligence, poor education, and negative personal qualities; he was, moreover, obsessed with a vanity and bigotry that increased until insanity seemed to dictate his policies (Revocation of Edict of Nantes, 1685).

It might be argued that there was something insane about the invasion of the Netherlands in 1672 for no better reason than a desire to show off the armies Louvois had organised, and Turenne and Condé led, and because of offence taken at derisive medals and pamphlets struck and issued in Holland.

A miserable and suppressed childhood and a limited fund of common sense had given Louis a half-crazy idea of his own importance, which caused him to irk at the very thought of the existence of this prosperous little nation of traders, bankers, and farmers, who knew so well how to regulate their own affairs, and who held such an important place in Europe with such impressive dignity. The haughty Prince with mighty engines for mischief ready to his wilful hand desired to wipe out this "nation of shopkeepers who smelt of cheese." When he learned that a medal had been struck showing M. Van Berningen, the Dutch Ambassador at Paris, as Joshua telling the sun to stop, with obvious reference to his own fancy to be known as "roi soleil" or "Phoebus," he decided that only the devastation of an entire nation could fitly avenge the insult.

The attack that this magnificently equipped King launched on the unsuspicious Provinces was one that Johann de Witt was totally unprepared to meet.

The blind trust in his good luck, which so often betrays the idealist, had let the Grand Pensionary neglect even reasonable precautions against a possible war. He had ruled for twenty years with ability and honesty five of the Seven Provinces (Friesland and Groningen remained staunch to their Stadtholders of a cadet branch of the House of Nassau) and held his own in the extremely difficult European situation, but he had made no provision whatever for such a catastrophe as now befell a people who had been unmolested, comfortable, and prosperous since they had finally shaken free from Philip II nearly a hundred years before' and who considered themselves secured by the Peace of Westphalia. Johann de Witt trusted in the good faith of England, nominal ally of the Provinces by the Triple Alliance, 1668, and he did not know of the secret Treaty of Dover, 1670, or guess at the callous betrayal that Charles II was intending. Sweden, the third member of the Alliance, also deserted De Witt.

The army, which under Maurice and Frederic Henry had constituted the foremost military school of Europe and won victory after victory, was almost non-existent, the fortifications had been neglected, the people, after two generations of peace, were utterly untrained for modern warfare, to which all their interests and tastes were opposed. It was inevitable, under these circumstances, that the panic resultant on a rapid foreign invasion without a declaration of war, which the country was helpless to withstand, should quickly culminate in a violent revolution.

The French under Condé, shouting "Death to the vermin!" entered the country by the famous passage of the Rhine, termed by Napoleon I "a fourth-rate military exploit," and at once occupied the whole Province of Utrecht.

The people, happy and prosperous under Johann de Witt but faced with utter ruin through organised robbery and murder on an overwhelming scale (Louis's much-advertised campaign, stripped of all the laurels, gilding, the Te Deums and Court panegyrics, was merely an act of banditry), blamed their unlucky representative for their plight.

Nor did the Orange party, representing the aristocracy, the professional soldiers, and many of the wealthy burghers, fail to point to the empty arsenals and unstocked granaries, the decayed forts, the skeleton regiments, the miserable remnant of the superb fighting equipment created and fostered by the House of Orange. Again, though the charge of corruption against the government was unjust, it was true that many of the merchant class, supporters of De Witt, had been unable, either too confident or too careless, to refrain from selling to France saltpetre, lead, and other materials of war, which were to be used for their own destruction.

De Witt was then, not unreasonably, accused of neglect, of nepotism—too many of his incapable relations were in official posts—and finally in the popular anguish, as town after town fell before the march of the finest troops in the world, of selling his country to France.

In a panic of excitement, the man who had been for so long esteemed and trusted, was cast from office while supreme power in field and cabinet was given to the Prince, who had for the twenty-two years of his life been painstakingly kept in the background. Political agitators, inspired by De Witt's enemies, helped to fan the flame that, at the touch of personal peril, sprang from the long-smouldering discontents against the party in power.

Sir William Temple had some while before noted a growing restlessness against the De Witt oligarchy—and thought it only due to "the desire of those who have long been out, to get in."

In 1672 more poignant motives inspired the people; they felt themselves directly betrayed by the staunch Republican's reversal of the military rule of the House of Orange, if not by his acceptance of French gold, and their vengeance was swift, crude, and terrible.

Cornelius de Witt was falsely accused of an attempt to assassinate the young Prince, in whose life the very existence of the United Provinces seemed bound up. The staunch, honest man, who had so valiantly served his country, was put to the torture and lodged in the Gevangenpoort at the Hague, the hideous prison of the Spanish Inquisition, which was a relic of Philip II's rule.

There, on August 22nd, the fallen statesman, for twenty years the most important man in the country, visited his sick brother, the mob surrounded the prison and became so threatening that the magistrates, with unaccountable cowardice or contemptible malice, ordered the withdrawal of Count Tilly's guard. The people then broke into the room where the De Witt brothers awaited with serene courage the incredible atrocity of their end.

They were dragged out and murdered, with every circumstance that the barbaric ignorance of panic cruelty could devise, and their bodies were treated with revolting bestiality of an unprintable nature.

William of Orange has been regarded as responsible for this crime, or at least as approving of it when it was accomplished. This will always be a matter for dispute. Orangist agents, notably one Michael Tichelear, undoubtedly inflamed the mob, and several of them drew pensions all their lives from William's estates; it would also have been possible for the Prince to have come to the Hague and to have calmed the furious crowd, and he made no attempt to punish the murderers, even by a rebuke, though he dismissed the magistrates who had not been able to keep order.

Thus much against the young Stadtholder; for him it may be argued that the De Witts were so completely ruined that they were no longer in his way, and that their deaths brought him no advantage. Nor was he of a vindictive nature, but remarkably indifferent to personal injuries. He afterwards passed his word that he had not been cognisant of the crime, and his personal honour was not lightly pledged.

If may be doubted if, in the chaotic state of the country, he could have brought the ringleaders of the murderers to justice, or could have prevented the mangled remains of these great men from being "swept with a broom into obscure graves." He may have felt towards Michael Tichelear as his ancestress, Mary Stewart, expressed herself about Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh when he assassinated Moray, her half-brother, the Regent: "I did not command the deed, but Bothwellhaugh shall have a pension."

When Johann de Witt had appealed to the Prince to justify him against the accusations of peculation, maladministration, and treachery that were overwhelming him, William had replied by a letter that has been considered as ungenerous as it was clever. It contained, however, only the truth—the young Stadholder had always bitterly opposed on the basic principles of hatred all the policies of De Witt and fiercely resented the defenceless condition of his country—nor had he concealed these feelings.

He was, therefore, justified in saying so when appealed to in this desperate crisis; he was also correct in adding, with that severe disdain which he always applied to popular excitements—"as to the libels and pamphlets, even I have not been exempt from them." He was, indeed, to be traduced and slandered as unscrupulously and as persistently as any other public man has ever been, and even now it is not easy to discern the real man behind the clamours of party adulation and party spite.

Of one thing there can, however, be no doubt, and that is his behaviour in 1672. Only the bigoted or the callous could deny the epithet "heroic" to this, and to those who respond to the fascination of unshakable fortitude in the face of supreme disaster there is something peculiarly moving about the entry of the forlorn young Prince on the sordid scene of European politics.

All the incidents of his rise to power were highly dramatic—indeed, his whole life was extraordinary, romantic, and tragic, full of action, important events and swift changes of fortune. About his character was an air of greatness not to be discerned in any other public man of his day. This is to be ascribed to the fact that he and he alone did not stand for merely personal ambition or personal glory, but some absolute ideal, which he describes again and again as la cause commune and for which he was prepared to make endless sacrifices.

This steady adherence to an ideal gives a nobility to his entire career—magnanimous is the epithet best suited to a Prince of whom nothing mean or petty is known. La cause commune was the unification of Europe against the power of France.


IF there was any germ of statecraft behind the flamboyant invasion of the United Provinces, backed by careful alliances, as it was, it was to attack eventually the Holy Roman Empire, then under the loose and languid rule of the Habsburgs, who were, in the opinion of Louis XIV, wearing the imperial diadem that was his own due. Briefly, the aim of the Bourbon was to over-run Europe, crushing out Protestantism in his stride, and the aim of William of Orange was to prevent him. Seldom can a task have seemed more hopeless than this appeared in 1672.

William was not, however, as he was so often represented, merely "The Protestant Hero"—"a man raised up by God...whom He had made strong for Himself" as Bishop Burnet thought him to be. His aims were political more than religious; he desired toleration for all creeds and security for his own, but he was allied, during nearly the whole of his life, to the Emperor and the King of Spain; some of his earliest companions in arms and firmest friends, Lorraine, Montecuculi, Vaudemont, were Roman Catholics, and in 1688, by dint of incessant tact and unswerving patience, he stood higher in the regard of the Pope, Innocent XI, than either Louis XIV or James II and was able to gain the tacit assent of the Vatican to the dethronement of a fanatic Roman Catholic.

It might well be argued that a truly lofty and philosophic mind would not have devoted itself with such zest to mundane affairs and that a wider view would have discerned no particular reason for checking the Bourbons, since their rule was likely to be as good as that of any other potentate or ruling combination of parties, it might be contended that Calvinism was not an admirable creed worth fighting for, and that the independence of the United Provinces was not worth involving Europe in war after war to preserve it.

If, however, a statesman takes this long view he is apt either to become, like Charles II, cynically indifferent to the way things drift, or, like Sir William Temple, to retire in disdain to peach growing and essay writing.

"The government of the world is a great thing; but it is a very coarse one, too, compared with the fineness of speculative knowledge," meditated Lord Halifax.

William III cast no such scornful disinterested glance on the mundane scene into which he made so tempestuous an entry in 1672. He was passionately of his own time, deeply concerned in the events taking place about him, painfully serious in his approach to religion, politics, and those abstractions, liberty, patriotism, honour, and justice, that easy men of the world are ashamed to take seriously. All that even his enemies can say against his earnest behaviour in 1672 is that he was actuated by ambition and seized the opportunity of his country's downfall for his own advantage.

There may be some truth in this accusation; it is almost impossible to decide how far the actions of any man are inspired by personal and how far by public motives.

William III certainly demanded full powers and ample trust from the alarmed people who turned to him in despair. But once having obtained them, he neither abused the first nor betrayed the second. He had ample opportunity and temptation to do so. When he rose to eminence at the age of twenty-one he found himself Captain-General of a small army miserably equipped and disorganised, falling back from frontiers already in the hands of the enemy, first magistrate of a state confused by an invasion and distracted by a revolution, a Prince with royal connections—Louis XIV was his second cousin, and Louis's ally, Charles II, his uncle—who was the chief magistrate of a republic and sole commander of her defences.

His task seemed in the eyes of his contemporaries ludicrously hopeless. The Dutch themselves had no spirit of resistance left and were for accepting any humiliating terms Louis might deign to fling them. Nor was William regarded by either of the two Kings as offensive. They considered that he, too, had been wronged by the insolent burghers, bankers, and tradespeople for whom they were preparing so grievous a punishment. Louis was willing to be generous to a cadet of his own House, and Charles was good-naturedly disposed towards his sister's son. It was suggested that William should surrender the few towns left him, and that in return, when France dismembered the United Provinces, he should receive, out of the remnants, a little Duchy or Princedom under the sovereignty of Louis. This, together perhaps with the bâton of a maréchal de France and the hand of one of Louis's bastard daughters, was considered by Louis and Charles very handsome provision for a man of their own class, so unfortunately involved with Republicans and Puritans.

William had, however, some very positive qualities, among them the rare virtue of patriotism. He really loved his country—that precise, neat, handsome, and prosperous land raised and kept by the incessant labour of her inhabitants above the sea—"the valiant sandbank" roused in William the warmest feelings of pride and affection. He was also deeply attached to his hereditary Faith and cherished a keen sense of personal honour—sentiments scarcely to be understood by his opponents. Added to this were a tenacity of purpose, an indomitable fortitude, and a stern resolution that have seldom been equalled, and that from his first appearance on the European scene profoundly impressed the world.

To these uncommon moral and intellectual qualities (his mentality within the limits of a material scope was of a very high order) was joined a courage that nothing could shake. A member of that nation which William spent his entire energies in fighting gives this character of the Dutch Prince. "Un prince profond dans ses vues, habile à former des ligues et à réunir les à craindre encore dans le secret du cabinet, qu' à la tête des armées; un ennemi que la haine du nom français avoit rendu capable d'imaginer de grandes choses et de les exécuter; un de ces génies qui semblent nés pour mouvoir a leur gré les peuples et les souverains; un grand homme."

His behaviour in the crisis of the summer and autumn of 1672 is best related in the words of contemporaries.

Sir William Temple, his friend who had always admired him, wrote: "The bait which the French thought could not fail of being swallowed by the Prince, and about which the utmost artifice was employed, was the proposal of making him sovereign of the Provinces under the sovereignty of England and France. And, to say truth, at a time when so little of the Provinces was left, and what remained was under water, and in so imminent a danger upon the first frosts of winter, this seemed a lure to which a meaner soul than that of the Prince might very well stoop. But he was above it, and his answers, always firm, that he would never betray a trust that was given him nor ever sell the liberties of his country that his ancestors had so long defended. Yet the game he played was then considered so desperate that one of his nearest servants told me that he had often expostulated it with his master and had asked him at last 'How he intended to live after Holland was lost?'

"The Prince replied that he was resolved to live upon the lands he had left in Germany, and that he would rather pass his life in hunting there than sell his country or his liberty to France at any price."

Of William's situation the Duke of Buckingham, who did not know or like him, wrote, as one of Charles' Commissioners in Holland:

"We lost no time in endeavouring to ease his (William's) mind from the reproaches he made us upon the subject of the war, by letting him know in confidence to himself that His Majesty (Charles II) would not be brought to begin it till he had conditioned that the Prince should find his account in it...we advised him to bethink himself well not only to remove the war out of his country, but to establish himself a sovereignty over it, wherein both Kings (Louis and Charles) would secure him at home and abroad from all dangers.

"He replied that he liked better the condition of Stadtholder, that they had given him and that he believed himself obliged in conscience and honour not to prefer his interest before his obligation."

Gilbert Burnet, who admired, but did not understand or much like William, thus describes the English attempt to bribe the newly appointed Stadtholder:

"That Prince (William) was so lifted up, that he seemed to consider the King (Charles) very little...The Duke (Buckingham), at parting, pressed him much to put himself in the King's hands. The Prince cut him short; he said that his country had trusted him and that he would never deceive or betray them for any base ends of his own.

"The Duke answered that he was not to think any more of his country, for it no longer existed...and he repeated the words often 'Do you not see that it is lost?'

"The Prince said, he saw it was indeed in great danger, but there was a sure way never to see it lost, and that was to die in the last ditch."

This expression has passed into the English language, but reference is seldom made to its originator. Curiously, too, it is meaningless to us, for the reference is to the cutting of dykes, the desperate expedient whereby the higher levels of Holland had been saved, by flooding the parts below sea-level, thus ringing the Province with water as a defence. William meant that he would cut one dyke (ditch) after another and perish in the last.

Burnet also describes the young Prince as speaking passionately "to the amazement of all who heard him" to a packed assembly of the States General, persuading them in an oration of "nearly three hours" (probably an overstatement) that it was possible to defend themselves, even at that desperate juncture, thus putting "new life into a country almost dead with fear and dispirited with so many losses."

That these speeches and gestures were not mere bravado, William proved by his subsequent conduct. Both as a statesman and as a soldier he was successful. He did not achieve any spectacular victory, for he was no match for Condé at Seneffe ("Would I had once served under him before serving against him!"), nor could he take Maastricht. But with the capture of Grave, the fall of Bonn, and the juncture then with Montecuculi, 1673, the Emperor's general marching from Vienna, the French were definitely checked, and, in two campaigns, the young Stadtholder had driven the enemy out of the country, consolidated for ever his domestic position, and become one of the most important factors in European politics.

The peace (that of Nijmegen, 1678) to which he was being forced when he appeared at Whitehall as a suitor for his cousin's hand, was far from his liking, but it was also far from being as detrimental to the United Provinces as the terms Louis had tossed to the States General in 1672.

William had also made an alliance with Spain, with Frederic William, the Great Elector of Brandenburg, his relation by marriage, and with the Emperor, as well as established for himself a considerable party in England, and already enjoyed the honour, as one historian puts it, "of being the second personage in Europe"—Louis XIV having first place.


THE Prince who was in this peculiar and important position, had a bizarre personality, to some fascinating, to others repellent; the chances of his birth and upbringing governed his whole life. It is impossible to imagine him other than a Prince, a Calvinist, and a Dutchman. He was one of those who eagerly embrace the destiny marked out for them, he made no effort to evade the obligations laid on him by the name he inherited, or to escape any of the fatigues, anxieties, and labours attendant on the course on which he embarked at the beginning of his career and from which he never deviated.

Charles II had early given up all attempts to seduce his nephew into his own easy policies because he found him "too passionately Dutch and Protestant." Indeed, it is difficult to find in history any statesman who served with such single-mindedness of purpose as William III during thirty years served his purpose of obtaining security for the United Provinces and liberty of conscience to which was inevitably joined the endeavour to check the power of France.

This aim—the balance of power—may have had a national, even a party flavour, but it was as high an aspiration as any that animated a Richelieu, a Louis XI, a Cecil, or a Henry VII.

Personal ambition, as his enemies aver, may have mingled with this design. William was of autocratic sentiments, a professional ruler, a professional soldier, accustomed to rule in closet as in camp, and irking at restraint or opposition as much as any Stewart King. But it is impossible to read his huge correspondence, kept up with tireless energy through sickness, defeat, failure, and sorrow, without realising the intense sincerity and simplicity of the resolve that lay behind the weary shifts, intrigues, submissions, and schemes to which the overworked, harassed, handicapped man was forced to set his hand. There is something poignant, almost painful, in this burning earnestness for a "cause" in a period when there were few who were earnest about anything save their personal advantages.

Such was the Prince who in 1678 brought himself a step nearer to the English throne by his marriage with Mary Stewart. In his private character he was very different from the type then fashionable at Whitehall, the Bucking-hams, the Rochesters, the Sedleys. He was, what was very curious to the English courtiers, respectable.

Sir William Temple, his close friend, had noted that he was without any "admixture of vice" and he maintained in his bachelor Court and in his camp the dignified decorum in which he had been severely trained, and that was the inflexible custom of his country. Neither then nor at any other time could the activities of the lampoonists whom William had so early noted with contempt, do more than cast the slur of invented slanders against his name. These aspersions, largely resting, professional libellers apart, on a clumsy sentence of Bishop Burnet's (interpolated into a late edition of his unreliable Memoirs), which probably relates to Lady Betty Villiers, have been eagerly seized upon by the apologists of the Stewarts, but have no foundation whatever, and only show the depths to which spite will descend when trying to find a weak spot in a moral character.

William was not, of course, true to his "legend" any more than any other historical figure. "The lips of ice, the heart of fire," the unmoved Caesarean calm, the cold cutting word, the iron fortitude, the persistent silence, and so on, all these characteristics have been overstressed for the sake of dramatic effect, even by his admirers.

William had remarkable self-control and never lost his head in a crisis, but he was a human being, not a figurehead. His feelings were passionate, his senses acute, and he often expressed himself warmly and even violently, nor was he always in the midst of a battle or seated before a pile of State papers. He hunted, played cards and billiards, was a dilettante in pictures, gardens, and architecture, had a genius for friendship, was careful by principle and extravagant on occasion, could joke, enjoy a camp story, have twenty-five violins to divert him when he was melancholy, and was capable of transports of affection and agitated alternations between hope and despair that threw him into illness and tears.

His appearance has also been grotesquely conventionalised by adulators and caricaturists.

"Great Nassau, who to Kneller's hand decree'd
To fix him graceful on the Bounding Steed,"

was unfortunate, indeed, in the versifiers and artists who endeavoured to perpetuate his achievements and his person with such dismal results in bombastic heroics and distorted daubs.

His person, tempting to the caricaturists and easily invested with a heraldic, almost a symbolic aspect, was speedily familiar throughout Europe, where the aquiline laurelled head with the cluster of oranges stood, even to the ignorant observer, for a whole chapter of contemporary politics. The man himself had an impressive public appearance, though short, slight, and of "a crazy constitution." His long, dark, melancholy features resembled those of his mother and her brother, the Duke of Gloucester; there was nothing Nordic about the Italianate appearance of this passionate Dutchman.

His energy, his absorption in the business in hand, his knowledge of every detail, of every enterprise that he undertook, an innate candour and absence of vitality made him admired and obeyed by those whom he led and gained him an unusual number of devoted friends.

"I was not born fearful," he wrote to Arlington, who had been threatening him with De Witt's fate, and there was a resplendency about his courage, moral and physical, that deeply impressed his contemporaries. "I did not mention the murderers, thinking it beneath me," he wrote later in his life, the occasion being an opportunity of protesting to France against their employment of assassins to dispose of him.

His one showy gift was superb horsemanship; for the rest, he was totally without the art or the wish to please. He was not universally popular in his own country—Amsterdam, where French and Republican interest was always strong, successor to Antwerp in the importance of her international finance, was his declared opponent, and attempted, particularly under the Burgomaster De Witzen, to frustrate and thwart all his policies.

When this Prince left England with his childish and reluctant bride, it was to devote himself to effacing the effects of a peace (Nijmegen), to him almost shameful, by preparing for another war. His chief desire in the slow and cautious combinations he was making against Louis XIV was to detach England from her French Alliance and bring her into opposition to the Bourbons; his political plan turned on an endeavour to bring back the balance given to the interests of Europe by the Treaty of Westphalia, 1648.


THE father of Mary Stewart is the other notable figure of the Revolution, the King de jure, who has been blamed and praised as vehemently as the son-in-law who took his place.

This Prince had always been unfortunate, a youth of poverty and exile was followed by twenty years of humiliation as heir-apparent to his brother. A firm adherence to an unpopular Faith, carried to obstinate bigotry, deprived him of public office. He had to resign his work at the Admiralty, which he had been carrying out with zeal and industry, and to pass his time in gloomy inactivity, sometimes in exile in Edinburgh, or Brussels, sometimes in England, anxiously watching his chances of succession to the throne, which seemed likely to be jeopardised not by his brilliant son-in-law, but by the dull James Waters, Duke of Monmouth, King Charles' favourite illegitimate son, about whose birth a number of silly tales, very disturbing to James, were hatched by unscrupulous politicians. There is very little to chronicle about James, who seems not to have had a single taste, gift, or interest beyond his fanaticism and his debauchery. This vice was of the most sordid kind. The amours of Charles II, despite all the prettifying of the gossip writers, are dull enough, but those of his brother lack any kind of interest—James was that unattractive type, sourly gloomy and grossly licentious. The only woman of sense on whom his favours fell, Catherine Sedley, took his money and mocked him as a fool.

He took part in a naval action, the second Battle of Solebay, or Southwold, June, 1665, when the Dutch under Obdam were defeated, not without incurring some censure on his personal courage; but the tale that he ordered his flagship to sail out of action is unproved, and some writers speak in praise of his behaviour on this occasion. Confirmation is not lacking, however, of his active cruelty, though there seem to be two opinions about his physical courage. To order death or torture for political offenders was the custom of the age, but James liked to see these punishments inflicted, especially on the persons of Scottish Covenanters.

Thus, as he was without wit, generosity, sensitiveness, imagination, or compassion, it was not strange that he was without friends and intensely unpopular, both with his own class and the people. His manners were good, but he had none of the legendary Stewart charm, and on public occasions was often ungracious with the sour gloom of the disappointed and the inadequate.

His first marriage was the result of an intrigue with Anne Hyde, one of his sister's ladies and daughter of the first Earl of Clarendon. So little desire had he to marry her after the Restoration that he bribed a boon companion to swear he was also her accepted lover.

This union, so sordid on both sides, produced two Queens of England, Mary and Anne. James showed some affection towards the younger girl, but was cold in all his relationships, though the noisy, passionate protests of his second wife, the handsome young Italian, Maria Beatrix d'Este, backed as it was by the threats of her priests, moved him to some intermittent marital fidelity, though even in his old age and defeat in Ireland he had two "old trollops" to comfort him in his distress.

There is a natural wish to be just towards one so unfortunate, so abused, and so unattractive, but it is indeed difficult to see, while keeping to the language of truth, what can be said for James II. Even if one regards him as a man inspired by an intense religious conviction, he still appears incredibly wrong-headed and obtuse, for it was his actions that set back the cause of toleration a hundred years. The disabilities under which Roman Catholics were to suffer until the nineteenth century were directly due to the blunderings of their own champion. The miseries of the English reprisals in Ireland that completed the ruin of a country already atrociously treated by Cromwell were due to the action of James in interfering with the rights of the Protestant colonial majority.

In person James was tall, elegant, fair-headed with fine features marred by a sneer of forbidding bitterness. "A plain man in his nightgown" noted Pepys, but in the magnificent Riley in the National Collection, James is a kingly figure who carries his trappings well. He lacked grievously a sense of humour and both his portraits and his history suggest that he was dyspeptic.

His letters are inelegant and the laconic commonplace of which they are composed seems a not unfair estimate of his ability. His memoirs, which we have not altogether at first hand, have been much stressed as showing his political acumen and his religious enthusiasm. Even if we allow that they are wholly his own, they give no different interpretation of his character from what we might have gathered from his actions and his behaviour.


THE ten years that passed between 1678-1688 formed a rare interval of peace in Western Europe. In the East the Emperor, with the aid of mercenaries and volunteers, was holding back the Turks, but for the rest the smouldering causes of dispute had not broken into actual flame.

France was pre-eminent; she was still enjoying the mercantile prosperity that had reached its apogee under Colbert, 1665-1673, her armies and her generals were without rivals. Even after the death of Turenne at Salzbach after his most brilliant campaign and the hideous outrages in the Palatinate, 1675, and the retirement of Condé in the same year, there remained Catinat and Luxembourg, hunchbacked, loathed by the King, suspected of poisoning and the black arts, but undefeated in the field, and Vauban, greatest of military engineers, who had taken Maastricht in William III's first campaign.

Added to her substantial power and wealth, France enjoyed an enormous prestige in the arts, in fashions, in all that appertained to worldliness, brilliancy, wit, pleasure, and splendour. In every department of seventeenth-century civilisation France dazzled even those of her contemporaries most alarmed or offended by her arrogant pretensions. Her own inhabitants were oblivious of drained resources while blinded by the beams of glory and national pride, both most cleverly exploited.

The English King, to render himself independent of Parliament and to secure himself against such another revolt as had dethroned his father, became a pensioner of France. Almost every member of Parliament and most of the men who conducted the King's policies were also in the pay of the French; this widespread corruption reduced England to a cipher in European politics. In so far as this kept her out of war and thus allowed a long period of peaceful development, besides exhausting a rival nation's capital, it was not an ill thing for the English people.

But it was lowering to the national prestige, and though life might have been easy enough to many people, a government that starved the public services, sent rotten ships and unpaid sailors to sea, while loose women, panders, jobbers, and parasites lived in extravagant luxury either at the expense of the national revenue or by means of bribes from a foreigner, could scarcely, by any standard, be termed a good government, or one that was likely to last.

The growth of English democracy in the first half of the seventeenth century, the heritage of the political thought of the Reformers, the groping after a definite philosophy of government already manifest in the writings and efforts of several thoughtful men, could not remain long satisfied with this loose opportunist rule.

Nor were the strong Puritan element and the innately independent spirit of the common people other than offended, while powerful business interests, represented by the City of London, were wary and watchful. National finance, national religion, national pride were therefore uneasy and suspicious.

William of Orange, as unofficial leader of the English opposition, kept in touch with all these malcontents, and possible opponents of the government. At the same time he was careful to keep on good terms with Charles and, when possible, with James, always patiently, prudently, and with remarkable ability, steering his course according to the wind, with one distant objective in view.

He was popular with two sections of the subjects of Charles II, with the Puritan element, the Nonconformists, in eclipse since 1660, who looked up to him as a possible David or Joshua (many of these had made his acquaintance when in Holland, the asylum for political and religious exiles), and with the stable, wealthy, middle- and merchant-classes who believed that he represented law, order, and common sense.

There seems to have been a feeling in England from 1672-1682 that, as both the King and his brother were without legitimate heirs, affairs could remain very comfortably as they were until a Protestant Princess and husband, desirable to the majority, succeeded to the throne of their grandfather.

The bulk of the population were as comfortable as usual, and, as usual, but little affected by politics, and cared little for the minority who found good fishing in the corrupt waters of Whitehall, and less for that other minority who, stealing to and from the Hague, dreamed of and planned a future when the sons of Belial should no longer flourish.

Three men of genius adorned English Art and Letters: Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723) was raising his baroque temple on the site of the largest Gothic temple in Europe, and John Dryden (1631-1700) was employing the ornate medium that he had made of Shakespeare's English in gorgeous satires against the King's enemies, while Samuel Butler (1612-1680), having written one of the most famous of English burlesques, was dying in obscurity.

In Science there was Isaac Newton (1642-1727), still in obscurity; in philosophy, John Locke (1632-1704), exiled with Shaftesbury in the Hague where his "Letter on Toleration" is said to have been read and pondered over by the Prince of Orange. The ranks of the Puritans produced John Bunyan (1628-1688), whose ingenuous exposition of his Faith has survived the theology it exploited.

Despite the peculiar position of William in English politics, despite the stream of English malcontents to the peaceful shelter of the Hague or Leyden, the Dutch were the natural mercantile rivals of the English, and far from popular with a nation who smiled, spitefully, at the Laureate's "Ill-digested vomit of the sea" taunt against the rivals of England.

The Lowlanders, intelligent, hardy, enterprising and industrious, were a hundred years ahead of the rest of Europe in all save the most luxurious and flamboyant of the Arts. In commerce, colonisation, agriculture, crafts, science, economics, they exercised an enormous influence; Dutch trade, Dutch business organisations, Dutch banking, were ubiquitous—there was hardly a department of civilisation from shipbuilding to watchmaking in which the ingenuity and patience of the Netherlanders had not made them pre-eminent.

In two naval wars they had proved themselves able to hold their own with the successors of Drake and Raleigh; the sound of their guns at Chatham had been a severe blow to English pride and self-confidence.

It is probable that the bulk of the English people shared the jealous dislike felt by the rest of Europe for the Republicans, with their exasperating, complicated government, their freedom of thought, their exceeding prosperity, their tireless industry, and their plebeian respectability.


ON the whole, England was satisfied with her condition, and on the death of Charles II in 1685 his brother, though so unpopular, ascended the throne without any demonstrations of public vexation. William of Orange, who, imperious as he was, had done his utmost to please one uncle, now resignedly but with good faith set himself to please the other, with revived hope of detaching England from the French Alliance. Louis XIV, at the Truce of Ratisbon, 1684, was at the height of his power and glory, he was almost sure of the Spanish Succession and had been confirmed in all his annexations including Strassburg, Luxemburg, and Oudenarde.

The fribble Duke of Monmouth, who had been petted at the Hague while he was the King's beloved, if disgraced, son, was quickly, if honourably, dismissed, when he was the King's loathed and feared nephew.

Three years before the huge enterprise of 1688, William had no definite thought of armed interference with English affairs, but he certainly looked forward either to the more or less passive alliance of James, or to Mary's succession to the English crown, when her elderly father should die without an heir. Immovable and dauntless, he still pursued his steadfast designs against Louis XIV, who seemed in such an impregnable position. But in 1686 William had balanced the Treaty of Ratisbon by the League of Augsburg, the fourth coalition against the aggression of France, masked as an agreement to maintain the Peace of Westphalia. The signatories were Spain, the Empire, the States General, Sweden, and Bavaria.


WHO, precisely, were the men and what the events that cost James II his Crown is not a question easy to answer in a small compass. The short reign of the last of the Stewarts seems a record of pure folly on the part of the King, and pure knavery on the part of his advisers.

Whether James II was a dense zealot or, as in the case of Louis XIV, a more fortunate but almost equally dull monarch, his desire for power was bound up with enthusiasm for the true Faith, makes little difference to a judgment on his actions as King of England. Bigotry can never be interesting, and in persons occupying positions of authority is inevitably disastrous.

James's conduct can only be described as obstinately stupid. He took the oath—with mental reservations—as he wrote in apology to Louis XIV. In other words, he was entirely untrustworthy and did not mean to keep the vow sworn to the nation—through both the Council and the Parliament—that he would maintain the Constitution.

His first Parliament was Tory and submissive, voted him a life revenue, and seemed not in the least disposed to pick a quarrel. A crazy rebellion, headed by the trivial Monmouth, was easily crushed; it only served to show that there were some English rustics who had a simple faith in those fine abstractions, religion, patriotism, a Cause, and to darken the King's name by the severity of the reprisals he took on the misguided peasants who fought as bravely at Sedgemoor as their forebears had fought at Crécy and Agincourt.

James's cruelties have been no doubt exaggerated, and Lord Jeffreys seems to have been a scapegoat for the sins of others, and even for the barbarous customs of his times. Those who could pay seem to have been pardoned. Still, the incredible sentences on Alice Lisle and Elizabeth Gaunt, the village executions, the gangs of chained prisoners, marching through London on their way to slavery, while the Queen and her ladies pocketed their price, the spectacular, if deserved, death of a romantic, pleasant young man, were not details calculated to make any government popular with the vulgar. Though all might have been lawful, it was harshly done, and some magnanimity would have served the King's turn better.

James II ventured, however, on far more dangerous grounds when he began to show a reckless preference for Roman Catholics that warned the Protestant upper classes that not only were no coveted posts and privileges coming to them in the future, but that they, were likely to lose those that they had already received. Louis XIV, with his usual obtuse vanity, concurred heartily in the scheme to force a counter Reformation on England.

The Nonconformists joined with the Church of England in resisting this threat of regal and religious tyranny, and went to the length of denying themselves the toleration promised by the first Declaration of Indulgence, 1687.

James II was not checked, however, even by the cold eye that Pope Innocent XI turned on his efforts. Without humour, wit, or understanding, without reflecting on his father's fate or the long, shrewd, patient tactics of his brother, he made crude and violent attacks on the privileges and property of the wealthy aristocracy and middle-class, as well as provided them with ample excuses to inflame the people, so easily roused by the cry of "No Popery!" Nor had James any personal popularity on which to rely; he was generally disliked, while his patron, Louis XIV, was making blunders on a large scale that did not improve the prestige of absolute or divine monarchy or Roman Catholicism in England.

The almost incredible stupidity of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes and the "Dragonnades" (1685) was followed by the second hideous devastation of the Palatinate, as deliberately planned a piece of murder, rapine, and robbery as the invasion of Holland in 1672. Nor had Louis any excuse for this barbarous action; the systematic massacres and ruin of a non-hostile province merely re-created a waste between Alsace and the frontiers of the Empire.

These events made a great noise in Europe, and served as useful propaganda for the Protestants (an enormous amount of pamphlets survives to show the strength of feeling roused) while James's two sensational acts of tyranny, the ejection of the Fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford, for resisting a Roman Catholic President, and the trial of the seven Bishops for sedition for their protest against the second Declaration of Indulgence (1688) served the powerful classes he had alarmed and offended as good pretexts for taking means to check his encroachments.

The men who surrounded the infatuated King had been bred in the Restoration school of politics and were nearly all unscrupulous opportunists, without lofty aims or indeed any definite scheme of government, but exceedingly able at keeping their places and making profit out of them, though there was not one of them, save Halifax, who had any ideas beyond the party politics.

Buckingham (1628-1687), the "man so various," after some years of elegant idleness, died on his Yorkshire estates, the year of the Revolution, almost forgotten, but by no means in "the worst inn's worst room." Another able but unscrupulous politician, also twice a victim of Dryden's vivid satire, Shaftesbury (1621-1683), who had endeavoured by the Exclusion Bill to prevent the accession of James, had fled disguised as a woman to Holland and had died in an obscure lodging in Amsterdam. Arlington, a clever party intriguer and an amiable courtier, connected by marriage with the House of Nassau, had died in retirement in 1685.

There remained Godolphin (1645-1712), industrious, careful, with an eye for the winning side; Danby (1631-1712), who had helped to bring about the marriage of the Prince of Orange—a restless, fashionable man of no great talents, completely unmoral, but an adept at party chicanery; Sunderland, brilliant, insinuating, an expert in every shade of intrigue and with an ironic disregard of everything save his own advantage; the King's ineffective brothers-in-law, Lawrence Hyde, Earl of Rochester, Henry Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, the gloomy Nottingham, and one man of brilliant understanding, philosophic outlook, honest intentions, and honourable conduct, George Savile, Marquess of Halifax (1633-1695). He delighted in the name of "Trimmer," asserting that the man who sits in the middle of the boat prevents it from upsetting. He failed to remark that unless the man who thus balances the craft pulls his weight as well he fails to help its progress. Fastidiousness and indifferentism, love of a sarcastic jest, finally withdrew Halifax from government, if not from public life. He died in opposition, his civilised ideals not having proved acceptable to the factions in Parliament which had rendered it impossible for him to remain in the service of a master whom he much admired and to whom he might have been eminently useful.

Truly, politics was a dirty game in the seventeenth century, and men with any delicacy who were not, like William III, vowed to a distinct purpose, might be forgiven if they threw down the soiled, marked cards and withdrew to meditation and leisure. "A man in a corrupted age must make a secret of his integrity, or unless he will be looked upon as a common enemy" (Halifax).

Halifax, however, was active enough in the business of 1688, and the orderly revolution and the sane settlement are thought by some historians to have the impression of his brilliant, civilised, and dignified mind. But, obviously, Halifax could not by himself have brought about an event so abrupt and complicated, and as far as the success of the venture, which seems easy in retrospect, but was exceedingly bold, hazardous, and difficult can be ascribed to any Englishman it may be ascribed to Sunderland, who with consummate address and brilliant knavery led James II gently on the path to ruin. He was deepest in the counsels of the foolish King and not only did he betray his secrets with steady skill, but he advised him with unfaltering dexterity to take just those steps certain to prove fatal.

Those who consider the Revolution of 1688 a happy turn in English history should give some of the credit to Sunder-. land, who must in their estimation have committed evil that good might come. William of Orange, who had an excellent system of spies and "intelligencers," received secret information of English affairs from many sources, but nothing was more valuable to him than the packets that reached him by the hands of Henry Sydney from the Earl of Sunderland. The intermediary in this affair was the Countess, who was supposed to be Sydney's mistress.

Sunderland had gone too far in his time-serving for these valuable services to be duly rewarded; his reputation was too evil for William III to venture to flout public opinion by employing or rewarding him (though Titus Oates was pensioned), as he was able to employ the respectable Whig nobility such as the Russells, and the Cavendishes, and the Talbots.

William, however, who had little hope of meeting many men honest, intelligent, and willing to serve him in England, and who preferred brilliant knavery to dull, weak virtue, always kept Sunderland in his regard and consulted him secretly when able.

The Earl had the art of making himself agreeable and necessary to any type of master; he was able to seduce a Jesuit or a Dutch Calvinist with equal ease. Other men, notable rather from their rank and position than from their qualities, who decided to resist and curb James with the help of his son-in-law, were Daniel French, Earl of Nottingham, champion of the Church of England, Charles Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, the King of Hearts, the Earl of Devonshire, and Edward Russell, cousin of the Lord William Russell whose execution, so finely described by Burnet, had given a martyr to the Whigs.

There was a greater name than any of these signing the letter to William that Dykvelt brought back with him to the Hague in 1687. It was that of John Churchill (1650-1722), afterwards the Duke of Marlborough, over whose character there have been so many disputes.

It can scarcely be said that any special pleading has been able to prove that John Churchill was in anything above the low standard of his times. It cannot be denied that he had raised his fortunes by accepting money from the kept woman of one King and by acquiescing in his sister's being the kept woman of another, and that, when the man who had been to him an easy master and had trusted him blindly was on the verge of ruin, he completed a long, secret treachery by an open desertion that was undoubtedly fatal to the master whom he forsook.

It is useless to argue that Churchill risked the loss of everything by his action—he had a high intelligence and he was well informed. He must have known from the moment that he entered into correspondence with William that the inept and blundering James was doomed.

Nor is it possible to credit that he was inspired by lofty ideals of his country's good and a sincere fervour for Protestantism. Nothing in his life supports such a supposition, and if he had had any sense of honour at all he would have protested openly to James, not kept silent and betrayed him with deft cunning. To excuse Churchill's behaviour, public and private, as some endeavour to do, on the ground that he was only doing what everyone else did, is to beg the question and to dismiss every code of honour and decency as a mere triviality that a great man may dispense with if he wishes.

Such were the men, all able, most of them unscrupulous, all-powerful and most of them ambitious, who surrounded James Stewart and kept in touch with William of Orange in 1687-1688.


BY the beginning of 1688, William had tacitly agreed with his English friends that he would, if necessary, interfere with English affairs backed by sufficient power of ships and men to prevent another failure like that of Monmouth.

There was a quarrel between James and William on the subject of the British regiments in the pay of the United Provinces, which Louis XIV eagerly fomented. The Bourbon was intriguing for the possession of Cologne, which alarmed the Dutch with memories of 1672, and he financed James with half a million livres for the equipment of a fleet with which to menace Holland from the sea.

These continued aggressions on the part of Louis and this compliance on the part of James drove William to take what must have seemed to him a course so difficult as to be almost desperate. Had he not had proof after proof of the intentions of Louis to overwhelm Europe and of the way James would lean in a future war, it is doubtful if he would have ventured all on an armed invasion of England. His audacity equalled his prudence when he told Edward Russell (May, 1688) that he would land in England if he were invited by prominent men to do so.

The birth of the Prince of Wales, clumsily handled with silly talk of a miracle, and the omission of Princess Anne, representative of Mary's claims, and her own from the Queen's bedside, were like a spark to tinder. Mary of Modena had never borne a child who had survived, and this very opportune arrival of a healthy male heir was too much for Protestant patience; they refused to credit what they did not wish to believe.

The story was instantly spread that the child was the son of a washerwoman, one Mary Grey, who had been slipped into the Queen's bed in a warming-pan. This was a subject much to the taste of the lampoonists, caricaturists, and pamphleteers and in the hands of the astute enemies of James, a very powerful weapon against him, providing coarse gibes at his personal honour as well as at his political morality.

How many people really believed this tale, it is now impossible to tell; it was probably swallowed by the ignorant and even by some of the more intelligent. The unhappy child was well known all his life to his opponents as the Pretender—i.e. the pretended Prince of Wales, even when, as Mary of Scotland said of her son, events proved him "too much his father's child."

Admiral Herbert, dismissed the service of James II, smuggled a letter to William of Orange on June 30th, the day that the Bishops were acquitted. Herbert was disguised as a "tarpaulin" or "tar" and the letter that he carried was the guarantee that William had demanded—a formal invitation signed by Devonshire, Danby, Lumley, Compton, Bishop of London, Edward Russell, and Henry Sydney. These gentlemen added to their invitation a protest against William's recognition of the warming-pan impostor, upon which prayers for the infant were stopped at the Prince's private chapel at the Hague.

Whether William was convinced that the child's appearance was a piece of impudent trickery or no, there is nothing to show. He affected to believe it and he accepted the suggestion of his English friends that he should make this supposititious heir his excuse for invading England to maintain his wife's rights. By doing this William took an irreparable step, for he must have realised that James would never forgive his action. There was certainly nothing in the character of James, private or public, to make him exempt from suspicion—for instance, his behaviour to Anne Hyde showed a very low, dishonest cunning, and his promise on his accession was a deliberate lie—and both he and the Queen were surrounded by Jesuits, who, rightly or wrongly, had a world-wide reputation for intrigue and crafty double-dealing.

Whatever might have been the private opinion of William about his uncle's child, no one can read the memoirs of the Princess of Orange without being convinced that she at least was agonisingly certain that her father was trying to cheat her out of her birthright by a despicable and insolent imposture.


AT this juncture the character of William's wife becomes of importance. She was at least the figurehead of the Protestants in 1688, for it was ostensibly to protect her interests that they resolved on action, and she could at several points have completely upset the gigantic plans of her imperious, bold, and wary husband.

Since she had left Whitehall in 1678 the English girl had lived a life that most of her fellow-countrywomen of rank would have considered intolerably dull. The little Court at the Hague was decorous, quiet, with a minimum of modest state and a minimum of modest excitement.

Mary had no allowance from England and her means and opportunities for pleasure were alike restricted. The atmosphere in which she moved was one of sedate respectability and the religion that most formed the spirit of the people was an austere Calvinism that frowned upon everything likely to please and divert a girl from the Whitehall of Charles II.

Mary Stewart, however, had been happy during those ten years of peace and seclusion—"happier than I knew" she wrote afterwards in a passion of nostalgia. She had two good reasons for her felicity—her situation suited her character and she was ecstatically in love with her husband.

Unambitious, domesticated, always in a low state of health, often actually suffering, narrowly and sincerely religious, good-natured, good-humoured, indolent and easy-going, the Princess of Orange enjoyed the placid comfort of her husband's handsome and stately houses, the orderly routine of her eventless life. She liked her flowers, her music, her needlework, her friends, the pleasant formalities of her little Court.

From the moment of her arrival at the Hague, the wilful, hysterical girl had changed into the contented, modest, pious, well-intentioned woman who fitted, like hand into glove, into Dutch ways.

The charming placidity of her life was disturbed by a great joy and a great sorrow, both of which shook her to her soul. The outpourings she left behind, writings that were not meant for any to see and that she intended to destroy, leave no doubt about the poignant quality of her love for her husband. All she possessed of passion, tenderness, loyalty, and enthusiasm was lavished on the man whom she had so unwillingly married. She accepted him and all he stood for with unquestioning fervour, to her he was "The Protestant Hero" with la cause commune under his charge, and she believed in him and admired him with a touching singleness of mind. Her great grief was her childlessness, an ugly blot indeed on her personal happiness, her relations with her husband, and her dynastic importance.

Her intimate diaries show how this bitter misfortune preyed on her mind, gnawed at her nerves and sent her into almost hysterical ardours of resignation and submission to the dismal God in whom she believed and whom she endeavoured to propitiate with endless sermon-listening, prayers, and reading of gloomy and pious tomes.

She was not very intelligent, she was almost wholly uneducated, and her nature, made for simple gaiety and homely pleasures, was tormented and warped by bigotry, but she was, in her sincerity, courage, fidelity and sweetness, an admirable woman.

In person she was tall, majestic, inclined, even at twenty-six, to stoutness, with a gentle, melancholy expression in her fine, dark, weak eyes.

She has never received much attention from the romancists, but there is more of genuine interest, sentiment, and passion in her story than in that of any of the tawdry heroines of her uncle's Court, whose shoddy intrigues have been so often raked over for re-telling.

It was with considerable alarm and misgiving that the Princess of Orange grasped the significance of the English crisis and her husband's resolve to interfere in it. She sincerely detested the thought of acting against her father, and was fully conscious of the odium her unfilial behaviour would provoke. But her religion and her love were powerfully on the other side and she did not hesitate a second in giving her husband her complete allegiance. She had no cause to love her father, who had never shown her any affection, never paid her jointure, and who had tried by underhand ways to wreck her marital happiness, and even to procure a divorce between her and her husband, with some scheme of marrying her to the Dauphin.

All that is clear about this obscure affair is that James was employing agents in his daughter's household to make mischief on the subject of Elizabeth Villiers, who was reputed by the gossips to be William's mistress. This has never been proved, but scandal seethed in the austere little Court and but for William's sharp dismissal of the talebearers and Mary's complete acquiescence in his action, there might have been an open rupture that would have prevented the close union of husband and wife, so essential in 1688.

The Prince of Orange had told Temple when he was looking for a wife that as he was likely enough to have trouble abroad all his life he could not endure it at home, and at this crisis of his affairs he found indeed what he had wished—a woman who, far from making trouble, warmly forwarded his slightest wish, and who wrote in her diary: "God pardon me this love if it be idolatry," and "If I cannot have a child by this man, I would not have one by an angel."

There was much of honour in Mary's steadfast loyalty to her God and her love, and an artless sincerity, that has something of idealism, in her motives and her conduct.


THUS supported by the unswerving devotion of his wife, William of Orange made his preparations with tact and complete self-control. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that he made no mistakes and his opponents made nothing but mistakes.

In spite of Republican and French influence in the United Provinces, he obtained the consent of the States General to his enterprise. In spite of the religion of James, he obtained the tacit consent of the Emperor, the King of Spain, and the Pope; they would, in their fear of Louis XIV, at least "look through their fingers" at the curbing or dethroning of James.

Louis XIV, with his eye on the Spanish succession and a consequent war with the Emperor, who was then facing a Turkish attack on Belgrade, blundered badly in neglecting English affairs while he endeavoured to strengthen his frontiers on the Rhine, was stupid in prolonging his quarrel with Innocent XI, by forcing his own nominee, Cardinal Furstenberg, into Cologne, and by exasperating the Dutch with his refusal to reduce the severe customs on their goods.

By September, Louis had insulted the Pope by seizing Avignon, and relieved William of the fear of a possible invasion of the United Provinces by sending his troops into Germany.

When James, who had haughtily refused French help and warnings, and who was busily preparing a packed Parliament, was at last roused to his danger, he stationed the Navy under Dartmouth at Chatham, called up the local garrisons to London, brought Scotch and Irish regiments to England, thus mustering 46,000 troops. The alarmed King also made concessions, restoring the charters to London and other cities and putting dismissed malcontents back in their places; he even reinstated the expelled Fellows of Magdalen.

No one was impressed by these actions, which were put down rather to panic than to good faith. Nor did he have any better success in Holland where he declared his willingness to uphold the Treaty of Nijmegen and to join with the Dutch against the French. This merely offended Louis without winning the Dutch, who suspected a trick.

William of Orange, long delayed by "Papist," i.e. west winds, sailed from Helvoetsluis on October 19th. This news reduced James to the degrading step of proving before the Privy Council that the Prince of Wales was indeed his son, an action over which even his own daughter, Anne, "made very merry."

A sudden gale sent William's ships back to port, but with few losses, and he sailed again on November 1st, and made for Yorkshire, where Lord Danby was awaiting him. It was necessary, however, to avoid Dartmouth as he lay off Harwich, and favoured by changes of wind, William veered to the west, and avoiding the English Fleet which followed in pursuit, gained Torbay, where the splendid fleet anchored, after the pilot had nearly missed the entry to the bay.

So hazardous was this enterprise, so easily might the English Fleet have forced an action on the Dutch—and a victory would have been as fatal to William as a defeat—by such a mere chance was it successful, and the disaster for himself and his country would have been complete had it failed, that some naval experts have considered that William scarcely realised what he was risking and how little hope he had of success. This can hardly be accepted; it seems more reasonable to suppose that William's intense earnestness of purpose, his long and deeply cherished hopes and schemes joined to his utter fearlessness, gave him that audacity which might be termed foolhardiness were it not backed by every possible precaution and care. The spirit that directed the fleet in 1688 was the spirit that had defied the French in 1672—a kind of fatalism that comes from exaltation of spirit—as Buckingham wrote from the camp at Utrecht, "the Prince was lifted up."

William of Orange was not received with enthusiasm in England; the people of the West, remembering Jeffreys, were apathetic or afraid, they watched curiously while his magnificent army of Dutch and mercenaries floundered over the rough, broken roads, but made no effort to rally to the standard on which was inscribed: "I will maintain the Protestant religion and the liberties of England," and that was adorned with the billets and Lion of Nassau.

When the invading Prince made his headquarters at Exeter and attended the service in the Cathedral, the Dean and Chapter left the building, and Burnet, who had accompanied the expedition, had to preach the sermon. William was deeply disappointed, but, "stately, serious, and reserved" as Evelyn noted him, kept his temper and bided his chance.

James vacillated miserably; he was elderly, in poor health, bewildered, harassed—the touchstone of a crisis showed his total lack of ability, and even of common sense. He gathered his troops at Salisbury to check William's advance, but by the time that he had made up his mind to join them, the gentlemen of the West and several nobles, Delamere, Cornbury, Seymour, were joining William, and Danby had seized York. Thus strengthened, the Prince advanced.

James had appointed a Frenchman, Louis de Duras, Earl of Faversham, a nephew of Turenne and the unpopular victor of Sedgemoor, his commander-in-chief, and refused even at this juncture to call a Parliament. This caused profound discontent among his officers, and the night of November 24th, Churchill and the Duke of Grafton, Charles II's rakehelly son, went over to William's headquarters.

This treacherous desertion completed James's abject confusion of mind; he returned to London to learn that his daughter Anne, her husband, and the Bishop of London had also forsaken him. From the Navy and from the provinces came tales of disaffection, and the forlorn King hastily called a meeting of fifty Peers, who in harsh terms demanded concessions that merely frightened him into a deeper terror.

With native duplicity, however, he feigned acceptance of their distasteful advice and appointed Halifax, Nottingham, and Godolphin to treat with William. This, however, as he confided to Louis's Ambassador, Barillon, was a mere trick to gain time.

James had no intention of coming to terms with William, and, with his usual recklessness, thought nothing of the offence he was giving three of his most powerful nobles. While the three commissioners were on their fool's errand the King smuggled his wife and son out of the kingdom and prepared to follow them.

Stealing out of Whitehall at night he fled to Faversham and boarded a vessel bound for France. When Halifax and his colleagues returned to Whitehall with lenient and reasonable terms from William, they found the country without a government, the King fled, a letter sent to Faversham disbanding the army, and the mob (the word from "mobile" was just in fashion), encouraged by the usual political agitators and rejoicing in the suspension of law and order, attacking the houses of Roman Catholics (December 11th and 12th).

The vagrant humours of the rioters were lashed to fury by persistent tales (perhaps spread by the Protestants) that the "wild Irish" brought over by James were advancing on London and massacring all in their way, and by the exciting chases after priests and "Jesuits," who were trying to escape in disguise.

Among those captured was a prize in the person of Lord Jeffreys, who had to be sent to the Tower to save him from being "de witted," as the cant phrase ran.

Seeing the capital bordering on anarchy, the Peers asked William to come to London and restore order. An invitation, which the Prince found far more gratifying, came from the City of London; he was changing all his plans to accede to this appeal, which he regarded as of deep importance, when the course of events was altered by the re-appearance of James on the scene. Captured at Sheerness in mistake for a Jesuit, he was released by the Peers and returned to London (December 15th) where he was received with an odd display of loyalty and affection from the excited and fickle people.

William, however, now sure of himself and relying on the support of the City, refused to treat with the man who had tricked him once, and behaved with a sudden harshness that was, under the circumstances, daring, deliberately incurring odium, which he had hitherto wished to avoid. But he acted on his discovery of James's cowardice and untrustworthiness.

The Prince arrested Faversham, sent by James to ask an interview, on the excuse that he had illegally disbanded the army, and sent Halifax with two other Lords to the King, ordering him to quit London for Ham, near Petersham, Surrey.

The famous Dutch, or Blue Guards, under the Graf von Solms, displaced the veteran Lord Craven and his men at the palace, and James submitted with incredible meekness to the incredible insult. Refusing Ham as too damp, he said he would go to Rochester and left London on December 17th. The same day William of Orange entered the capital, incurring some unpopularity by going to St. James's Palace by a route that avoided the shouting crowds whom he so utterly despised, and who were waiting to welcome him with oranges on sticks. It is to be supposed that they were not the same people as those who lit the bonfires for James a few days ago.

Even then James might have maintained a party, and though he might not have been able to secure much for himself, he could have made the situation difficult, if not impossible, for William.

Clarendon, his brother-in-law, and others tried in vain to dissuade him from the obvious folly of flight, but James was finished as a King and as a man. He found no courage either in the fanaticism of his Jesuits, or in the superstition of the divine right of Kings, and escaping from the gates William had carefully left unguarded, left Rochester Castle on December 23rd, and taking a vessel in the Thames, sailed to France, reaching Ambleteuse on Christmas Day.

This situation did not find William of Orange at a loss. He defied France immediately by ordering Barillon to leave the kingdom in forty-eight hours—an action that must have given him keen personal satisfaction—and he convened the magistrates and Common Councillors of London and all the members of Charles II's Commons to meet on December 26th. James's Parliament was ignored on the grounds of corruption.

This curious body, the Convention, gravely accepted its task, that of giving a semblance of law and order to a state of affairs really dangerous and unstable, and invited William to administer the country and to issue writs for a Parliament, i.e., some gathering representative of public opinion.

William showed himself prudent and skilful in conducting this difficult affair, both in preventing disorders in England and in conducting international affairs. In the delicate matter of soothing the jealous pride of the English Army, William was ably seconded by the tact and skill of Churchill and by the influence of Grafton, also by the discreet conduct of the Dutch and mercenary troops, against whose behaviour, under trying circumstances, no complaint was heard.

The invader's aloof attitude during the election impressed a people used to all methods of corruption, and the Convention, when it met, could fairly be said to have been elected freely by the people without any kind of pressure or bribery.

Indeed, so easy and comfortable was the Convention with an expert running the country for them that it split into factions, who took up with zest party differences and local squabbles.

The Whigs were exultant and in the majority, the Tories divided and in the minority. Vexatious general questions such as the divine right of Kings, the position of the Church, how far James had abdicated by his flight, whether the "warming-pan" baby should be acknowledged were mixed up with the personal questions that influenced each member and coloured by the failure of one set of opinions and the triumph of another.

The leading mind seems to have been that of Halifax, who had been moved in William's favour on a closer acquaintance with him, and who was disgusted with the behaviour of James and personally irked by the mock embassy of Hungerford.

A Regency was suggested—then, that it should be assumed that the throne was vacant—then, that Mary should be Queen, William, though a grandson of Charles I, stood after his wife and her sister Anne with regard to the Crown of England. The party for the Princess of Orange, headed by Danby, fell to pieces, however, on an indignant letter from Mary in which she refused to put forward any claims against those of her husband.

Anne, influenced by the Churchills, who were playing a waiting game, also waived her rights, which she would have had much difficulty in enforcing. The Lords clung to the principle of hereditary right, the Commons to that of the people's power of election.

While matters were at this deadlock, brought about not only by warring interests, but by a sincere attempt to reconcile expediency with tradition, William, impatient under an outward serenity (he had been three months in England waiting on events), called together a few Peers and told them his mind. He was, as he once said of himself, "a plain man who did not like whipped cream" and his remarks were extremely to the point. He would neither be a Regent nor a Prince Consort, "holding the throne by an apron-string"; the English had an absolute right to elect their King—if he were not chosen he would return to Holland, where his own country needed him.

This put the Parliament in a dilemma—they did not know "what to do with the Prince or what to do without him." He alone was administering the country, and it must have been patent to all that he was doing it with great ability, dignity, and self-control. His withdrawal with his orderly, well-trained troops would mean chaos and trouble at least with the Dissenters, moderate men, and the City. James, having defaulted and taken his heir out of the country, even the most extreme Tories were without a candidate.

Scruples and differences were sunk, if not for the public good, at least because the sound sense of Parliament saw that a settlement was necessary.

On February 12th, the Princess of Orange arrived in the Thames; her first private meeting with her husband provoked bitter tears on each side—hysteria lay close under the surface of William's haughty calm and Mary's pious gaiety. On the next day the Crown of England was offered by Halifax as Speaker of the House of Lords to William and his wife in the banqueting-room at Whitehall, and they were immediately proclaimed in London as William III and Mary II, the Princess having been elected Queen regnant—i.e., as joint sovereign with her husband, though the administration was to rest with the King.

"I saw Marc Antony offer him a crown—and yet it was not a crown either." Certainly, the crown that William received was not that which James had cast away or that which he, autocratic as any of the Stewarts, would have liked to wear. Parliament, in a pious desire to "secure our religion, laws, and liberties," had tacked "a declaration of right" to the magnificent gift. In other words, the victors—the powerful, wealthy, middle- and upper-classes—in the struggle imposed terms on the loser—the King—any King. It was ironic that William "The Deliverer" should be penalised for the sins of the man whom he had driven away, but Parliament was thinking of the future, and the fact that constitutional monarchy has endured so long with no notable upheavals seems to prove that they acted wisely, though there are many who passionately deplore the re-arrangement of 1689 as being the end of all that was fine and desirable in English government—a disaster and a disgrace, where the new money-made class overturned the ancient nobility and the true King for purely selfish motives.

Most of the provisos of the Declaration of Rights had a basis of common sense; the King was not to levy taxes, to suspend the laws, to keep an army in time of peace, to exercise the dispensing power, while Parliaments were to be held frequently. Such was the first rough draft of the terms that William, no doubt with inner chagrin, accepted. They were afterwards expanded and confirmed in the Bill of Rights, December 16th, 1689, Triennial Bill, December 22nd, 1694, Act of Settlement, June 12th, 1701. Further important measures, which curbed the power of the Crown, were the Mutiny Bill (1689) which prevented the keeping of troops without the annual assent of Parliament, and the new East India Act, which transferred the granting of trade monopolies from the Crown to the people, i.e., the traders and the wealthy class.


MOST of the men concerned in bringing about the Revolution found their count in it; honours, titles, appointments, opportunities, were lavished on all the politicians who had manoeuvred James out and William in, Roman Catholics were penalised, Dissenters left in a comfortable obscurity, Jacobites abandoned to the combining of forlorn hopes in exile, Scotland was brought into the English Settlement, much against the will of a minority; Ireland, after a pitiful resistance, was subdued for another hundred years; the Church of England, the Protestant upper classes, the City, the traders, the shopkeepers, all were more or less satisfied with an arrangement that left them with a feeling of security against those ancient bugbears, a monarch playing at absolutism, unexpected taxation, a large standing army, the French and the Pope, and that had secured them the power of making money without fear of the monarch's avarice or stupidity.

No doubt the daily life and prosperity of the mass of the people were not very different under William from what they had been under James or Charles, and there were very many who were ruined by the change of kings, but there does seem to have been a general feeling of satisfaction at the exit of the Stewarts and the Papists and the clipping of regal powers.

Louis XIV, having inevitably but disastrously espoused the lost cause of James II, England was involved in two long wars with France (1689—Treaty of Ryswyck, 1697, Treaty of Utrecht, 1713), but even these, expensive as they were, were not wholly unpopular, raising the national prestige against an hereditary foe as they did, and giving so many people the opportunity of making money and acquiring fame.

Less spectacular than the showy, bloody campaigns in Flanders, but as important even as the later victories of Marlborough, were the English command of the Channel and gradual naval supremacy, emphasised by a gratifying victory over the gorgeous ships of France at La Hogue (March 19th, 1692), the outcome of William III's belief that England must, to hold her own in Europe, be a maritime power.

The foundation of the Bank of England and the formation of the National Debt immensely helped the wealth and reputation of England, and the scheme whereby the people, instead of being arbitrarily taxed, were paid interest on money lent to the government, proved exceedingly popular.

The national comfort was added to by the re-coinage (1696), a better maintenance of law and order, a more general, though very imperfect, toleration of various Christian opinions, and by less open jobbery, bribery, and corruption. However amusing the open Court held by the Stewarts may have been to Londoners, many of whom made handsome incomes out of it, the decorum of William and the virtue of Mary were more to the liking of the country as a whole and the majority of the people did feel easier when the loose woman and the pimp, the jobber and the harpy, had fled with the King and the Jesuits across the water.

A substantial benefit, directly due to William III but not put into practice until after his death, was the Union with Scotland.

In brief, the Settlement of 1689, the results of the new constitution and of the domestic and foreign policy of William III (advisers he scarcely had, even at home, and he was always his own foreign minister), together with the growing wealth, trade, and power of the people, partly due to colonial expansion, laid the foundations of the British Empire, British might, prestige, and dominion, which reached their apogee two hundred years later in the reign of Victoria.


WILLIAM OF ORANGE, the man who had risked most and striven hardest in the crisis of 1688, received his reward, the gratification of combining a huge coalition with England against Louis XIV. "He has such a mind to France," noted Halifax, "that one would think he had only taken England in the way."

On the whole, his newly-acquired kingdom stood by him, voting him more money than had ever been granted to the Stewarts, and following his foreign policy, so that on his death-bed he had the satisfaction of knowing that his work would be carried on, though another would reap that glory and those rewards for which he had cared very little. William III and Marlborough had different conceptions of success and each in a measure achieved that which he had so early set out to obtain.

William's achievement in arming England against his own bitter foe was not, however, without a price, which he at times found almost intolerable. Twice the factions, ingratitude, suspicion, and rudeness of the English Commons broke his constancy, which so impressed and exasperated his new subjects, to the point of resignation of the Crown, and in the forced revocation of the Irish grants and in the dismissal of the Dutch Guards the King tasted the bitterest humiliation.

Much has been made of his unpopularity—even his admirers have heightened this for the sake of dramatic effect. It is supposed to have rested on his reserve, the removal of the Court from Whitehall, foreign favourites, and his anxiety to escape from England. All this has probably been exaggerated—the lack of a Court, for instance, could have vexed only a few people in the capital, and if some enjoyed the antics of the demireps who gathered about the Stewarts, there were plenty of another temper who were ready to admire respectability—Queen Mary made goodness fashionable and undoubtedly pleased a great number of people. The whole feeling of the country was for stability, law, and order.

Nor is William's quiet life likely to have offended any save those hangers-on of royal extravagances who were losers by it; the constantly repeated anecdotes of his brusque dryness or rudeness seem to derive from Burnet, snubbed by William, who disliked him as a busybody, and from the silly slanders of the vulgar Duchess of Marlborough.

There is abundant, though seldom quoted, evidence to the effect that William III was of fine manners on both public and private occasions—one of the most striking witnesses to this is M. Tallard, Louis XIV's envoy, who came to England full of prejudice against William, who was his opponent throughout their intercourse, and who was reporting to Louis XIV William's speeches to his Parliament and his behaviour during his campaigns—for instance, Dr. Hutton's account of the King's conduct in Ireland shows that both William's courtesy and his temper were equal to a very considerable strain. Most probably it might be said of William as Dr. Johnson, Jacobite as he was, said of George III, "Sir, I take him to be as fine a gentleman as one may suppose Louis XIV or Charles II to have been." The Spencer house journals, Halifax's careful notes of his conversations with the King, which had not been discovered when Lord Macaulay wrote his famous account of William III, prove that William was largely his own minister during the short period that Halifax was nominally in office, 1689-1690. They also show that William was by no means reserved or even serene, save in public. He expressed himself vehemently to Halifax, who observed him with a shrewd detached admiration.

"The Commons," the King declared, "had used him like a dog" and "their coarse usage so boiled upon his stomach that he had to break out." He declared passionately that he had not come over to establish a republic, and that he would not be King Log. His expressions about his wife's uncles, Hyde and Clarendon, shocked Halifax, who was besides astonished at the King's thirst for action against the French.

When, in June, 1689, William exclaimed: "We shall never be quiet until we have a brush for it!" the philosophic Englishman noted: "Great men love to come to a decision as soon as they can, courage being apt to presume on good fortune."

In these conversations with the only English minister that was ever absolutely faithful to him, the King repeated so often that he was a "Trimmer" that even Halifax remarked that a good reason might be destroyed by too much pressing upon it.

There was no special grievance against William for his employment of foreigners; men like Bentinck, Ginkel, Solms, and Oberkirk, were of complete integrity, and obviously worth what the nation paid them, nor did they interfere with the privileges of the natives.

A search through the lists of William's household shows that he had very few Dutch in his English establishments. A fuss was made over the Irish grants, which were as nothing compared to the gifts of the Stewarts to their favourites. Ginkel, at least, quite deserved the reward so ungraciously revoked. William was certainly not regarded with enthusiasm by the English, he was essentially moderate and tolerant, and thereby disappointed all, but it seems clear that he was respected and even admired by the bulk of the nation, who, however the intrigues at Whitehall might veer, had no desire for a return of the Stewarts. After some delays the Parliament voted £600,000 of the £686,000 demanded by the States General for the expedition of 1688. The Commons were, at least, willing to pay cash for 1688.

In the army William was very popular, and he became a hero and a symbol to the Protestants and Scotland and Ireland; after the fall of Namur, 1695, after the Assassination Plot, 1696, the recognition of James III by Louis XIV, 1700, he was a hero and a symbol even to England.

On the whole, he suited the event, the period, the trend of thought, very well; to a vast number of plain people he was what Matthew Prior, laughing at the vanity of Louis and the flattery of Boileau, named him—a sensible, businesslike person with an admirable courage, even for those warlike times.

The King's side of the question was not so pleasant; his position was profoundly difficult, and he was in exile from a country passionately beloved: "It is Kermesse at the Hague," he told Huggens, his secretary, one May morning, "Oh, for the wings of a bird to be there!"

His health failed rapidly from his coming to England, and he was vexed to the heart by what seemed to him petty party squabbles, which hindered a great design. He found it maddeningly difficult to find anyone trustworthy to serve him: "There are honest men in England, but they are not among my friends," he remarked.

He was surrounded by jobbers, place-seekers, traitors, men with a foot in each camp, time-servers waiting for him to die, indifferent opportunists.

The honest Halifax went into opposition, the honest Temple into retirement, clever rogues like Sunderland, intelligent, upright men like Carstairs and Patterson had to be consulted in secret, lofty characters like John Locke refused office, valuable public servants like Sir John Dalrymple were lost through local scandals arising from family quarrels.

The King's one loyal minister was the Queen; her correspondence with him when she was governing during his absences reveals a state of domestic affairs so desperate as to be almost incredible. Indeed, in this reign, which appears in retrospect so orderly and established, it was often touch and go that another revolution did not bring James back or establish a republic.

William himself doubted if it could be done, Mary was in despair; plots, treachery, threat of invasion, mutiny, revolt, the ghastly problems of Ireland and Scotland, the insubordination of Anne and her bear-leaders, the Marl-boroughs, combined to make the post-revolution period one of almost chaotic excitement and alarm.

However he might be regarded in England, William's exploit dazzled at a distance, his prestige rose greatly in Europe. In France he was a monster, but one of almost legendary powers. Even a man of the lofty intelligence of La Bruyère could write of him as "cet homme pâle et livide" who had driven his father and mother (sic) into exile and overturned a whole country to gratify a demoniac ambition. This long diatribe against the enemy of France includes the tale that William had in infancy bitten his nurse to death.

Yet all this malice was based on admiration, and to the French William appeared a greater man than he did to the English, who took—so absorbed were they in their own affairs—very much for granted the expedition that astounded Europe.

Thus, extravagantly maligned and hated by some, extravagantly lauded by others, misunderstood by many, by others merely tolerated, amid a turmoil of stress of business, politics and war, with neither rest nor pleasure did William III, constant to his own ideals, pass the thirteen years of his reign. He had accepted the "great mind's great bribe," the chance of carrying a large, difficult, and dangerous enterprise, and probably, even in the years of his deepest disgust and suffering, he was glad that he had not refused the dazzling opportunity that had come his way in 1688.

Historians have frequently blamed him because he never became a "true-born Englishman" and always retained a passionate affection for his own country. It would have been difficult for a man of thirty-eight, peculiarly patriotic, and extremely national in his taste, to have suddenly become so enthusiastic for another country as to be able to convince the natives that he was one of themselves.

If his lack of identification with his mother's people was resented by the English, he on his side found much to condemn, from the dirt of Whitehall to the running of the public services in England.

The Netherlands were then in much ahead of Europe, and England benefited by the Dutch tastes, crafts, and inventions, which through William's encouragement were introduced. What was more important than whether he liked the English or whether they liked him was that even his enemies admitted that never did he betray English interests or set them second to those of his own country.

The Princess of Orange reigned five years, during which time she was profoundly agitated, uneasy, and unhappy. She disliked her position, she was wretchedly homesick for Holland, she was tormented by the constant absences of her husband and the tumult of affairs. She felt very keenly the odium attaching to her occupation of her father's throne, and she was painfully sensitive to the treachery, ill-will, and intrigue that surrounded her and her husband.

These troubles and constant ill-health reduced her to such a morbid condition that she not only prepared herself to die, but almost willed herself to do so. When at the head of affairs she showed good sense and courage and her brief rule was not marred by any ill-behaviour or ugly act.

It is easy to smile at her narrow bigotry, her gloomy piety, her intense belief in the righteousness of her cause, but her simple, untrained mind was faithful to the creed it had been taught—she "satisfied her God."

Her sudden death at the age of thirty-two years was dismal and pathetic in every detail from the moment she shut herself in her closet to burn her papers to that when her husband, at the limit of his nerves and almost crazy with anguish, fled to Richmond from Kensington Palace to escape the sound of the hammering as the black hangings were put in place.

The charge that Mary was neglected by her husband has been often repeated. The sole authority seems to be Burnet, in Mary's own most intimate writings there is not a shadow of complaint; none of William's letters to her survive.

Whether Elizabeth Villiers was his mistress or no will probably never be discovered; whatever the affair, it was conducted with secrecy and decorum, and Mary, at worst, might consider herself fortunate among the princesses of Europe in having only one rival.

William's behaviour at his wife's death shows that her passionate affection was returned and it seems unfair to assume that his agonies were remorse, or that, because we know so little of his relations with his wife, these were, on his side, ungrateful or unkind.

Mary's blameless life and orthodox piety made her almost a saint among Protestant divines, but her father refused to permit mourning to be worn for her and a Jacobite in his zeal preached on the occasion of her death a sermon on the text: "Go bury her, for she is a king's daughter."


EXCEPT for a short period of discomfort in Ireland, King James passed the remainder of his days easily enough. Louis XIV found him tiresome and costly, but treated him with lavish generosity, thereby laying up a burden for his descendants until the day when Louis XV washed his hands of the heritage, saying of the Stewarts: "It is an unfortunate family of which I wish to hear no more."

James suffered much mental anguish, no doubt, but he was continually buoyed up with hopes of a return to his throne; he was surrounded by adherents and flatterers, his circumstances were luxurious, he had the praises of a devoted wife and the blessings of priests to sustain him. If he was indeed sincerely pious he must have been much gratified with the illusion that he had cast away an earthly for a heavenly crown. His last religious fits were not without a suspicion of senility—a weak mind finally overturned by bigotry, but there are those who find a mystical quality in his repentance and resignation.

A daughter, who became a nun, was born to him and Maria d'Este in exile, there never was any "warming-pan" tale about her arrival, a fact which goes far to remove any stigma from her brother's birth.

From the exile of James II may be dated the remarkable cult known as the White Rose or Stewart "Romaunt." Sensitive and romantic people have seen something so affecting in the misfortunes of this Royal House that they have built up from one generation to another, a loyalty, a veneration, an enthusiasm that often blend into an obsession.

It was, for instance, recently asserted that the body of Lord Derwentwater (executed 1716) was able to work miracles, and that when alive he had the power to cure the King's Evil—this by virtue of his mother's being the bastard daughter of Charles II. A faith in the divine right of Kings, so touching and so steadfast, has been able to invest the Stewarts with a cloud of tradition, legend, fiction and poetry, through which it is almost impossible to discern the truth. Inspired by these admirable sentiments, the Scots who had persistently murdered or thrown out the Stewarts when they ruled in their native country, twice rose to support the claims of the son and grandson of James II.

They received a cold reward for their enthusiasm, for the vast bulk of the common sense of the nation was against them, and balladry and "glamour" apart, neither James nor the Chevalier de Saint George, nor his son, gave any signs of being a better candidate for kingship than any of their forebears who had so signally failed in that difficult profession.


JOHN LOCKE is named the apostle of common sense and of the Revolution of 1688. His two "Treatises of Civil Government" are the apologia of that settlement—the new contract between King and people implied in the Bill of Rights, just as "The Leviathan" of Hobbes was an apologia for absolute monarchy, though not for monarchy by Divine Right.

John Locke's argument, which has, on the whole, held good until the present day in this country, was that any monarchy must depend on an agreement between King and people, that an infringement of that agreement on the part of the sovereign returned the right of freedom in another choice of ruler to the people.

This is obviously only an abstraction, like the Divine Right theory, since a contract is not necessarily implied in any form of government that may evolve from something that has no business basis. But it was a practical, sensible ideal, which sounded stable and convenient, and satisfied even liberal thinkers until the wide movement of a hundred years later, which began with the theories of J. J. Rousseau, to do away with kings altogether and to make the people rulers themselves, under the majestic but delusive plea "that man was born free."

This fallacy ended in excesses of insanity like the French Revolution, and proved to be as unworkable as the Divine idea of kingship—perhaps more so, since it is easier to invest some power in one man than to divide it equally among millions, and it is no more inconvenient to assume that God inspires the ruler than to assert that He is behind the mob.

It might, perhaps, with some reason, be argued that the limited contractual monarchy as achieved by the Bill of Rights and as expounded by John Locke, was among the most workable, sanest schemes of government that practical men ever put together for the protection of law and property and the safeguarding of the financial interests of a nation.

Whatever self-interest lay behind the movement, and whether the oligarchy of the wealthy trading classes that followed was a better form of government than absolute monarchy or no, the orderly and dignified externals of the Revolution of 1688 could claim to be adorned with dicta of popular liberal patriotism, as expressed by Algernon Sidney: "It is not upon the uncertain will and understanding of a Prince that the safety of a nation ought to depend...for this reason the Law is established which no passion can disturb."

The fallacies of this statement are obvious; since an oligarchy or any representatives of the people or the people themselves are likely also to be of "uncertain will and understanding." And who is so above fault as to be able to establish a law that shall be impeccable and impregnable? But the men who brought about the Revolution of 1688 saw no flaws in such plausible statements as are never wanting to gloss the opportunism of shrewd worldly men.

"Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow,
They who would seek for pearls must dive below."


FLATTERY is, of course, a very vast subject and one cannot hope to do more in this brief discussion than call attention to a few aspects of flattery when it had ceased to be an instinct of fear and love mingled and become an art used for many devious ends.

As civilisation advanced, people began to discover that more was to be gained by flattery than by force—and that flattery had a larger purchasing power than coin of the realm.

It has been used to sway individuals and to influence crowds, it has generally been the keenest weapon in the armoury of the rogue and adventurer, and great men and saints have often not been able to dispense with it.

Flattery has now vanished in most of the cruder forms, but is still just as powerful in more subtle ways. Our manners are founded on flattery and it is still one of the most powerful aids to worldly success.

Flattery is the secret of most modern advertisement; the judgment, taste, and acumen of any possible purchaser are skilfully flattered—even by such frank, blunt statements as "you want the best," or "you mustn't miss this," and it still remains most valuable in oratory—oratory is in itself a kind of flattery, for you imply that your audience is valuable to you, in some way important and worth the obvious effort you are making.

Flattery is so necessary to all of us that we flatter one another just to be flattered in return—there is a certain convention of mutual flattery that is very dear to most of us.

Of course, flattery that is purely personal is only interesting to the recipient and those who have devoted themselves to flattery of one person have generally incurred the coldness of everybody else; for this reason a great number of authors, poets and artists have fallen into disrepute.

In the East flattery has always been the language of everyday, in ancient history we do not find so much of it, though we have instances enough that it was used, as in Marc Antony's speech over the body of Julius Caesar in which he undoubtedly used flattery to move the Roman people.

In early modern history there is also rather a dearth of instances of flattery, events marched too quickly and were settled with sword or club before anyone had much chance of trying softer means, and the only kind of flattery you find is the stupid sort practised by courtiers towards their King.

The classic instance is King Canute and the waves, a rather puerile anecdote; one wonders how a monarch of such wisdom had such foolish followers—if they were merely paying the usual formal compliment, it was extremely dull and priggish of Canute to take them literally.

As times became less rude and as the arts developed, the powers and uses of flattery became manifold.

And here, in this development of the arts, one comes to a very interesting point—which is, the almost complete dedication of these same arts to flattery. Flattery, first, of the Church, secondly, of the King or +he patron.

Independence of thought or standpoint was impossible, literature was locked away, first, in the manuscripts of the monks, then, in the strictly controlled infant press, painting was devoted entirely to the Church and the patron; the same is true of architecture and of the rudimentary music of these times.

Art, therefore, particularly painting, architecture, and kindred arts and crafts, such as glass-painting, the goldsmith's craft, works in tapestry, enamels, developed along the lines of strict convention, a formula of religious or secular flattery.

For this reason neither landscape nor genre-painting made any appearance till a late date—or only as could be worked in as backgrounds or accessories—and a really unfettered domestic art expressive of the people themselves does not appear until, in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century there arose a country that had thrown off the saint and the patron alike.

Consider how in these early pictures this double domination shows—the centre of the composition is occupied by some Divine Personage or some episode from the sacred story, interpreted rigidly according to the Byzantine model, and at each side are either dignitaries of the particular Church that ordered the picture or the donor and his wife. This convention endured for centuries, and the only scope the painter had for his own fancy or observation was in the backgrounds and details, as the delicious landscapes of the Van Eycks and Gerard David seen through the delicate arches of their churches and palaces and their lovely accessories so tenderly copied from articles of everyday use—in the Italian school, from Giotto to Perugini, it is the same; sometimes, as in the case of Fra Angelico, the convention exactly suited the artist, the mystic piety of the painter found the perfect ready-made vehicle convenient to his hand, but in most cases the painter worked mechanically without a spark of spiritual feeling, taking his models from the types nearest, tending in Flanders and Germany to ugliness and vulgarity, and in Italy to insipidness and monotony.

With the Renaissance came the classic inspiration and painters were then permitted to treat mythological themes, but still always with reference to a patron and very often with that patron as the model for Mars or Apollo, and the patroness as Diana or Venus. The illuminated manuscripts, and the goldsmiths' work, the architecture and statuary, are all subservient to these two masters, the Church and the patron, nothing may be praised but one of these, nothing adorned save the altar or the tomb of the great, the reliquary of the dead saint or the chamber of the living noble.

Literature comes a little better off; as the patrons liked to be amused, tales, poems and novels of a more fanciful nature, of a less rigid convention, were permitted, but the field was very limited and the incense had here, too, to be fairly strong; the first illustration to many an old manuscript or book is the author on his knees humbly presenting the fruit of his labours to the great one of the moment, and the other illustrations will be found also for many hundreds of years to consist entirely of sacred subjects, scenes from the lives of kings and patrons and their portraits.

It must be confessed that these portraits were none of them in themselves flattering, but that was due to the painter's lack of skill, not of good will.

As Dryden said:

"Hard features every bungler can command,
To draw true beauty needs a master hand."

And nearly all these early portraits are dolefully plain and often comic; Jan van Eyck, who must be considered one of the earliest portrait painters of any distinction, viewed his subjects with a ferocious sincerity that brings them out repulsive to a degree, and yet with an air of being extremely good likenesses.

This convention of flattery was by no means out-worn when the art of painting rose to its height; Velasquez, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, were all subservient to masters, hampered and irritated by the need to flatter and please—the greatest of all, Leonardo da Vinci, spent his life in the service of petty Italian tyrants.

Velasquez, who is perhaps the most perfect technical painter that ever lived, was in particular the victim of the patron system; his genius was on robust, material lines and his early works show that he delighted in the common life of everyday; but the greater part of his life was spent in painting the members of the pompous and formal Spanish Court, infantas disguised in the brocade and whalebone of a monstrous fashion with their curls suspended on sticks like rows of red-herrings, and rouge on their faces, necks, and hands.

Not only did Velasquez have to keep on painting Philip IV when he must have known that sombre face by heart, but even had to waste his time colouring the royal scenery when Philip fancied amateur theatricals; every artist in every age always has, with few exceptions, the necessity of earning his living, but it is much easier to do this nowadays by expressing yourself without reference to any patron than it ever has been before, and one wonders what works these men of such stupendous genius would have produced in the free air of the twentieth century.

Philip IV was very appreciative of Velasquez and flattered him when shown the artist's portrait of himself by painting the cross of Santiago on the breast, thereby, no doubt, spoiling the picture.

Rubens was, by interest, an arch-flatterer; it was easy also to his opulent temperament to over-state, and he lived in an age when flattery as a fine art was rising to its height; much of his finest work is spoilt for the present day by this fault, notably the paintings executed for the Luxemburg Palace by order of Marie de Medicis in honour of the husband she had never loved, Henri IV.

Some of them approach absurdity, as when Apollo and the Muses teach the little Marie de Medicis the arts (Apollo with a large 'cello and the Muses most ill-drawn by some blundering pupil), and where Marie and Henri meet in the clouds as Juno and Jupiter. The "Apotheosis of James I" on the ceiling of the Banqueting Hall in Whitehall Palace has the same fleshy, clumsy spread of limb, the same opulent colour—the hero seems to be rather hauled than raised to the circle of the gods.

Some of Rubens's pupils, among them the renowned Jordaens, decorated the Oranje Zaal in the huis ten bosch at the Hague, to the memory of the Stadtholder, Frederic Hendrik, who ruled during the Golden Age of Dutch history. Here is the same wealth of allegorical and classical allusion, which does not seem to have been displeasing even to austere patrons, and here, as in the Luxemburg Rubens, the widow receives a large share of the homage lavished on her husband.

Vandyck never lifted his brush but he flattered; by his time beauty had become a convention of portrait-painting, seldom do we now see the bungler's "hard features."

Charles I probably owes much of his popularity to Vandyck's enchanting portraits so full of fire and grace—if he had been painted by Van Eyck or Holbein posterity would not have been so interested in him, yet even Holbein, according to legend, so flattered Anne of Cleves that Henry VIII married her on the strength of the likeness, with the result that as soon as the King saw the original the painter had to fly the country.

One would like to see what Vandyck would have made of Queen Elizabeth, who, avid as she was of flattery, never got a chance with her painters, who never represented her as anything but a plain woman and must have contented herself with the accurate representation of her jewels and gowns.

The fascinating Mary Queen of Scots should have been painted by Titian; as it is, the best portrait of her is on the war medal at Breslau; indeed, accurate and pleasing likenesses are more often found on old medals than in old pictures, possibly because the profile is usually the most characteristic view of a face and lack of colour and light and shade makes the artist concentrate on modelling.

It has always been a difficult task to flatter the great into taking some course distasteful to themselves and a very easy one to flatter them along the lines of their own desires. Jean Goujon, the delicious French artist, lived and flourished by flattering a frivolous and designing woman, Diane de Poitiers; when Goujon carved her as Diana, lovely and severe, with braided fantastic hair and long limbs, she was neither young nor beautiful, and the flattery is forgotten in the form the artist gave it; Diana is immortal as one of the children of that cold, ethereal, strange French Renaissance, not as a portrait of Diane de Poitiers.

In another painting she is flattered by scriptural and classical allusion at once, being shown as Diana with crescent and bow, and in the corner there is a scroll on which is painted the quotation Henri II had chosen from the then fashionable paraphrase of the psalms by Clément Marot, valet de chambre to the pious and poetical Marguerite de Navarre, Comme le cerf—etc., an allusion both to the King's love of the chase and to the symbolism of Diane's name.

This lady was also flattered by the introduction of her symbolic crescents into the design of that rare and exquisite Orion or Henri Deux ware, manufactured at the Château d'Orion by François Charpentier and Jehan Bernait under the direction of the Dame de Boisy; so a worthless favourite of fortune is commemorated, by this delicate flattery, on some of the most prized pieces of earthenware in the world.

The Italians are not greatly addicted to flattery, their language of compliment is and was so universal that it ceases to be more than a fashion; it could not be said that Petrarch flatters Laura, Boccaccio Fiammetta, or Dante Beatrice, though these ladies are most certainly drawn on a heroic scale beyond the margin of common life; Italian art, too, at least Italian poetry, is impersonal; even when their customs were most luxurious, brutal, and violent, their writing retains that spiritual aloofness which makes it difficult to judge the characters of the writers and gives us no hint of the person addressed; Lorenzo de' Medici, in all his gorgeous carnival songs and wild, beautiful "Selve d'Amore," never mentions one lady by name.

In Italian painting there is the same divine alchemy; the models of Michelangelo and Raphael are not flattered but transformed; Leonardo da Vinci flattered "Beatrix d'Este" possibly in his precise painting of her pure profile, and "Mona Lisa" certainly; it is said that this lady, then no longer youthful, refused to let him paint her faded face, but sent him a portrait done by an earlier painter and from this he evolved his immortal picture.

Here we rather outstep the limits of flattery and come upon the transmutation of the ordinary into the sublime by the touch of genius.

By the end of the seventeenth century, portrait-painting had declined into a convention of mere prettiness—Lely's ladies, for instance, are so much the same that, like prize roses, they are only known by their labels and only to be distinguished by an expert; in the hands of Wissing and Kneller portraits became again far from flattering, though the intention was one of gross adulation; the clumsy fashion of classic symbolism was now in full force and nothing can be more tiresome and ugly than those heroes in cuirass and buskins, laurel wreath and full-bottomed perukes, astride ill-drawn horses, attended by meaningless female figures in robes; so universal was this form of flattery that it is quite difficult to get any idea of the men of this period "in their habit as they lived."

Towards the end of the eighteenth century there was a charming revival in portrait painting, but here, both in England and France, the flattery is still obvious; Reynolds, Romney, Hoppner, Gainsborough, appear never to have had a plain model and their air of "fashion" is carried to excess by Lawrence who brings this phase to an end in an excess of sweetness and softness—the exact opposite to the grim fidelity and stern hardness of Jan van Eyck.

Sir Joshua Reynolds paid a noble compliment to Mrs. Siddons when he signed his sumptuous portrait of her between the Tragic and the Comic muse, placing his name on the edge of her robe, saying that it was fit that he should go down to posterity on the hem of her garment.

Turning to literature we find flattery equally powerful, the same in politics and religion.

Taking merely such examples as come to memory there may be collected a fine medley of instances, of flatterers and flattered, giving little passing glimpses of many different periods, men and moods, many different phases of art and manners and many kinds of flattery.

The most unlikely people have at some time of their lives used one of these varieties of flattery; John Calvin, most austere and stern of reformers, who forbade slashed breeches and curled hair in Geneva under severe penalties, was not above this worldly weakness, though truly it was for the noble end of enlisting the Emperor as protector of the Reformed and persecuted Church that he wrote his famous tract: Need of Reform in the Church, etc.; this "humble exhortation to the most invincible Emperor Charles V" was not successful, for Myconius, writing to Calvin, March 6th, 1545, remarks: "...if the Emperor has read it, the effect hath been contrary to what you intended, so hotly doth he persecute the saints in Belgium."

As a young man Calvin had endeavoured to flatter another monarch, the volatile François I, into becoming a convert to the Reformed Church in the dedication to his Institutio, but although ranking with De Thou's foreword to his History and Casaubon's to Polybius, as one of the three most famous prefaces ever written, it was utterly unsuccessful in its object.

Another and nobler Churchman endeavoured to secure the conversion of another French King, the adventurous and irresolute Charles VIII, but Savonarola can hardly be said to have flattered Charles save in so far as it was flattery for such as the heroic saint of Florence to appeal at all to a feeble worldling; rather he used the grand language of prophecy in conjuring the King to put the Borgia from the Papal throne, and with such effect that, urged by that fierce Della Rovere, afterwards the second Julius, the French guns pointed more than once at Sant' Angelo and the fate of the Pagan Pope was like to have been decided by the Florentine friar; but Charles, like every other absolute monarch, saw his own interest too clearly in the maintenance of the supremacy of Rome and Savonarola's noble appeal had eventually no more effect than +he colder efforts of John Calvin.

It was then and for long afterwards impossible for anyone to do anything without flattering the great—the only alternative for anyone who had any work to accomplish was to become an outcast persecuted and homeless and to die in oblivion or at the stake—even the daring Martin Luther had his Maurice of Saxony, and Santa Teresa was reduced to flattering the Duke of Alva and the Princess of Etoli.

The Emperor Charles V affected a great modesty and retired from all the vanities of the world into a convent, but when the Duke of Borja, who had himself renounced his rank and become the humblest of friars, visited the Emperor at Yuste, the ex-grandee fell on his knees and remained so during the interview, the habit of flattery being more strongly engrained than the affectation of holy simplicity.

Charles's general, the ill-omened Duke of Alva, put up a statue to himself in the Netherlands which was, of course, promptly pulled down the moment his back was turned, and the most curious piece of flattery that his much-flattered successor, Don Juan of Austria, ever received must have been when his guardian, Luis da Quixada, on the occasion of a fire at his house rushed into the flames to save him, ignoring his own child, not from greater affection, but because Don Juan was of royal birth.

Of this Quixada's family a contemporary chronicle said: "It should be written with a quill taken from the wing of the eagle that circled over Alexander in his conquests"—a good specimen of high-flown flattery.

In general it may be said that the flattery offered to monarchs in the past could hardly be of top crude a quality; even the blunt and coarse Henry VIII was flattered by his last wife into rescinding an order for her arrest; she had the wit to say that she only disputed with him in order that her ignorance might be enlightened and he was at once appeased; it is only fair to add that the lady does appear to have had a genuine admiration for her redoubtable husband, whom she styled "a Leviathan of learning."

Queen Elizabeth was flattered, of course, in all manner of ways, but she who was praised by William Shakespeare needs no other flattery; his lauds are like his subject, just and lofty; where he mentions her directly, as in "Henry VIII," he does not lower the dignity of history, and where he mentions her indirectly in the famous passage in "A Mid-summer Night's Dream" he does not go beyond the homage of a courtier.

Edmund Spenser also flattered Queen Elizabeth, but more stiffly and in terms of high poetry; Gloriana is not a woman raised into a heroine, but a lay figure in a pageant, a red wig transformed into "golden wire."

Cromwell was praised finely in his noble ode by Andrew Marvell, who also took occasion to commend Charles I, which shows very tenderly in this place.

"Who nothing common did
Nor mean
Upon that memorable scene,
But with his keener eye
The axe's edge did try
And laid his comely head
As upon a bed."

The use of "common," "comely," and "memorable" is here singularly happy—the whole poem indeed is one of the choicest in the English tongue.

John Milton, Marvell's friend, never flattered in the ordinary sense, but he certainly exalted Satan in the same way as old myths and sagas flattered humanity.

Michael Drayton flattered Henry V, but in a noble kind of way. Cromwell and Charles II were flattered by the same poets, Dryden and Waller.

Dryden's verses on Cromwell are far superior and seem to be written with more sincerity, though, judging from his temperament, it is not likely that this was so; but doubtless he suffered from paucity of material when dealing with Charles.

The last stanza of "On the Death of the Lord Protector,"

"His ashes in a peaceful urn shall rest,
His name to future ages show
How strangely high endeavour may be blest
Where piety and valour jointly go."

—is, in its simplicity and truth, the finest of all Dryden's flatteries save the epitaph on Lord Dundee, "Last and Best of Scots"—the whole credit of which is not due to him, as the lines are a translation from the Latin of Dr. Pitcairn.

Charles II, who probably saw through flattery better than most kings, remarked to Waller that his verses on Cromwell were superior to those on himself, but Waller had a new flattery ready and remarked that he always succeeded better in fiction than in truth.

Dryden was the author of the most lavish praises of the most unworthy people; he loaded Charles and James and the unfortunate child who was afterwards the Pretender with the most fulsome adulation, and after the death of one and the exile of the other two, said, in another flattering address to Godfrey Kneller:

"Thou hadst thy Charles awhile,
And so had[st] I,
But pass we that unpleasing image by,"

which was signal ingratitude as Dryden had received great benefits from that King. Neither did Dryden disdain to flatter the worthless Lady Castlemaine when she encouraged his play.

"So great a soul, such sweetness joined in one
Could only spring from noble Grandison."

And his lines to the Duchess of York are models of extravagant laudation without the grace to redeem them that distinguished earlier essays in this manner of courtliness as in Henry Wotton's lines to the daughter of James I, Elizabeth of Bohemia, beginning:

"Ye meaner beauties of the skies,
That poorly satisfy our eyes,
More by your number than your light
Ye common people of the skies
Where are ye when the moon shall rise?"

Dryden was indeed more fitted for satire, which he writes with a relish always absent from his praise, which was doubtless undertaken reluctantly and performed half-savagely; most of his prologues discover the bitterness of the ill-paid hack-writer.

His one-time rival, Settle, on whom he heaped some of the most scathing abuse in the language, was said to keep a standard "Marriage ode" and "Elegy" with blanks for the names; he afterwards sank to the meanness of writing a flattering copy of verses to the first Lord Jeffreys, but not, to do him justice, before he had been reduced to the necessity of working puppets at Bartholomew Fair.

Matthew Prior, brisk diplomat and deft versifier, exposed the folly of the bombastic flattery of Boileau in his famous parody on the ode "On the fall of Namur," which he wrote on the occasion of the recapture of that fort by the Allies in 1695.

"Must stocks and stones be taught to flatter?" he asks, then:

"Are not Boileau and Corneille paid
For panegyric writing?
They know how heroes may be made
Without the aid of fighting."

Laughing at Boileau who introduces Louis with all the attributes of Jove in the following lines:

"What frightful power
Advances, clothed in thunder
Against these trembling walls;
What clamour, what fire surrounds him?
It is Jupiter himself—or the Conqueror of Mons."

Prior exclaims:

"'Tis little Will, the scourge of France
No godhead, but the first of men!"

A rebuke to Boileau and a true stroke introducing his own hero.

But Prior himself employed flattery gracefully, as in his dedication to Lord Dorset when he praised that nobleman's father and his own early patron, who indeed deserved the gratitude of all men of letters, then with a woeful heaviness when treating of his patron, King William, for whom he had a real enthusiasm which, however, he does not appear to have been able to translate into words.

Prior wrote several other verses to his hero, who, being the last man to care for rhymes or praises, certainly never read them; all the laudatory verses addressed to this monarch, including those which Jonathan Swift sent with his dedication of the works of his patron, Sir William Temple, met with the same fate of neglect from a King who was too austere to be popular, and who remarked, when induced to touch for the King's Evil: "I wish you better health and more sense." These were probably his sentiments towards the poets, but the services of Defoe in "A True-born Englishman," which scarcely touched on flattery and was a severe blow to the enemies of the King, earned William's friendship.

Prior reached the height of incense in his lines on the Duke of Ormond's picture by Kneller:

"O Kneller, could thy shades and lights express
The perfect hero in that glorious dress,
Ages to come might Ormond's picture know,
And palms for thee beneath his laurels grow,
In spite of time thy work might ever shine
Nor Homer's colour last so long as thine."

This painter was himself a clumsy flatterer, his classical pieces, as the great picture in Hampton Court of William III, are dismal examples of the art of flattery. Pope's lines on this painting are surely satirical, but it is possible that the poet knew little about the matter.

Kneller was supposed to be inordinately fond of flattery; an anecdote is told to the effect that John Gay was once reading to him a copy of complimentary verses of his own composition, which were so fulsome that the author feared every moment that the painter would suspect a jest; but at the close Kneller smiled complacently and remarked:

"But you haf forgot one thing, Mr. Gay—when I was at Venice I smell powder and I like de smell, would have been a great general, Mr. Gay, put dat in!"

It might be imagined that this was a sly laugh at Gay, did not the actual poem contain a compliment to Kneller, not as a soldier, but as an engineer, and Pope, when relating how Jacob Tonson obtained valuable pictures by gifts of venison and flattery said: "Neither could be too fat for Kneller."

The bombastic flattery of a whole nation to one man is the spectacle presented by the reign of Louis XIV; the art of adulation certainly never rose to these heights before or since; it was a kind of mania in France, like the tulip craze in Holland or the South Sea Bubble in England; the rest of Europe marvelled at it; James II told Adda, the Pope's Nuncio, that he considered flattery and adulation had turned Louis's head. Matthew Prior rebuked the flourishing paintings in Versailles by saying in answer to the question whether the decorations of Kensington House were as splendid—"the splendours of my master's actions are to be found anywhere but in his own house."

Still, a reign outwardly magnificent and adorned with every variety of talent, a series of showy, if empty, victories, a love of the arts, a generous temper and a certain swell of soul in the King himself, to a certain degree justified incense that otherwise had been rank indeed.

With Louvois and Colbert for his ministers, Condé, Turenne, and Luxembourg for his generals, Vauban for his engineer, Racine, Corneille, Boileau for his poets, and Moliere for his dramatist, to mention only a few, the King could not be otherwise than magnificent and have something of the dazzle of the sun god in the eyes of his subjects and even a little glitter for posterity.

Versailles is a tremendous effort of flattery; when it was in the height of its glory there was not a corner that did not echo the praise of the King who had built it. Here a certain divine, preaching before the King, said: "All men are mortal," and His Majesty darted one awful look from the gilt pew, upon which the sentence was hastily amended"—almost all men," and His Majesty was appeased and the great people about him drew their breaths again; when he was on his death-bed he said to his family who wept: "Did you think I was immortal?" It would seem as if the tone should be one of question, not of reproach, as commonly interpreted, as if he would say: "Were not you also deceived into thinking I was a God?"

No man ever received more varied and splendid forms of flattery; two triumphal gates were erected in Paris in commemoration of the war of 1672 and the much-vaunted crossing of the Rhine, which Napoleon considered "a fourth-rate military exploit"; it is certain that he really believed in his own greatness, and firm in that conviction, was gracious enough to ordinary men; he outlived the men who had made him great and sank into the dreariest of virtues, religious fanaticism; the inscription on his coffin-plate, torn off in the sack of the Cathedral of St. Denis during the Revolution, was, perhaps, the first simple thing said of Louis XIV and therefore the most affecting:


The whole is in a shaking hand and above are his arms faintly scratched on the copper. After the noisy pageant of his reign these words read as sadly as sounds a sudden chord at the end of a triumphal march of music.

King Louis had to use the art of flattery himself on occasion; the duc de St. Simon draws a picture of him conducting the money-lender Bernard round Versailles and flattering the fellow villainously with the ultimate object of negotiating a large loan.

This was when the dark days were coming and the last ducat, which the King had so proudly said would win in the great fight, was found in the bank at Amsterdam, not in French coffers, and the gold plate had to be sold.

Of all the compliments paid to this King he received none as magnificent as that paid to Alfonso the Wise; the Cortes of Castile divided the new code of laws into seven parts and dedicated each part to a different letter of the King's name; this was lofty and ceremonious flattery; dignified flatteries were also paid to greatness by Bossuet, Fléchier and Massillon in their Funeral Sermons.

Bossuet's orations are gorgeous for diction and eloquence; his genius was fortunate in having generally noble subjects, but even when praising one not beyond censure, as Henriette-Marie de France, wife to the first Charles Stewart, or her daughter, Henriette-Anne d'Angleterre, duchesse d'Orléans, he kept above the mere courtier's praise and elevated his theme by the treatment of it; though he is very tender in his treatment of the last princess. "She acquired two realms by agreeable means" is a jesuitical way of describing the lady's intrigues, which led to the disgraceful treaty of Dover.

There are many beautiful strokes in this exquisite flattery of the dead; "Yes, madame was gentle towards death as she always was to everyone," and again: "Neither glory nor youth cost her a sigh"—"An immense regret of her sins prevented her regretting anything else."

With Condé, Bossuet had his most splendid chance and used it splendidly; yet in several passages he unconsciously displays the mere showy qualities of his hero, a certain affectation of glory, which was the pose of the country, a certain lauding of common achievement, an utter misconception of the result of all these flamboyant feats, an ignorance of the effect of them on the future, which makes his adulation ring hollow.

The Prince de Condé was a great general and an amiable man, but no hero unless that title be bestowed on merely successful warriors; but to Bossuet the war of 1672 was "holy" because it was against Protestantism, and the worldly Condé became in his eyes "a man after God's own heart."

There is in his panegyric the same brittle splendour as glitters in the decorations at Versailles; it raises a gorgeous phantom, which for the moment dazzles, but when we are used to the radiance we discover that we gaze on nothing solid but a jewelled sham.

Bossuet much magnifies the famous battle of St. Neff; Madame de Sévigné describes it more accurately when she says: "We lost so much at this victory that, save for the Te Deum, we might have thought it a defeat."

Fléchier, in his sermon on the death of Turenne, contrived to flatter the King as well as his general.

"We live under a Prince, who, great and brilliant as he is—was willing to obey before he commanded."

The subject, however, could not teach the King any of the science of war; despite Fléchier's flowing periods Louis was no general and was even deficient in personal bravery, and when he, to whom his poets apologised for comparing him with so mean a conqueror as Alexander, returned to Versailles with his ladies, his cooks, his opera company and his flatterers, Turenne might have said as James did when his son-in-law deserted him—"after all, a good trooper would have been more loss."

The great English general who rendered useless the exploits of Condé and Turenne had no such flatterer as Bossuet or Flechier; the Duke of Marlborough was praised by Addison, certainly; but "The Campaign" is no fine poem and the celebrated simile of the angel "guiding the whirlwind" is unfortunate, for never was there an eminent man with less of the spiritual in his composition than John Churchill.

Avarice, which was his most unpopular, but not his worst, fault, may have been the reason why he was, notwithstanding the great splendours of his achievements, so little flattered; the nation's compliment of Blenheim was not one to recommend itself to a mean man and the Duke's quarrels with Sir John Vanbrugh, the architect, were miserably protracted; Marlborough was in disgrace long before the building was finished and it remained incomplete; a rather meaningless monument like a gushing letter left unsigned.

Neither was the great general well-served by the painters; the good looks and charm that captivated his contemporaries do not appear on canvas, where he is shown as florid and rather vulgar. The same may be said of the other man so distinguished for his beauty, Monmouth, against whom Marlborough fought at Sedgemoor—Dryden says of him: "Paradise was open in his face," but this is not confirmed by any of his portraits save that mysterious painting supposed to have been sketched after his death.

The praise of ladies is a softer theme and one more gracious for poets to handle. Addison is better remembered for that one line "to love her is a liberal education" than for the whole of "The Campaign."

Among all his fanciful nymphs Waller celebrated one living beauty, Dorothy Sidney, Countess of Sunderland; the Countess did not lose her head over the warm praises of the poet; she survived her husband, who fell at the battle of Newbury, many years, and became a shrewd, gossiping old lady and a good letter-writer.

Another lady of this family was praised by Ben Jonson as: "Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother—" This was Sir Philip Sidney who fell at Zutphen leaving a curiously bright memory only to be compared to that of Lucius Cary, Lord Falkland, who is for ever enshrined by Lord Clarendon in his "History of the Rebellion."

That voluminous writer, Dupleix, flattered the Queen of Navarre during her lifetime and wrote a satire on her after her death; this is the very ugliest side of Court flattery. This lady, Margaret of all the Margarets, received much extravagant flattery; she seems to have been a most attractive, witty woman; among all the hyperbole written of her, one remembers the impression given by one simple statement—when the chronicle says: "When the Queen of Navarre danced in the torch-dance at the Louvre her eyes were so bright that she needed no flambeaux," we do get a picture of radiant and royal beauty.

The praise of ladies is hardly flattery, but one cannot forbear from mentioning what is perhaps the most lovely compliment ever paid to a woman. It is Petrarch's:

"Clear, fresh and sweet water,
That bathes the beautiful limbs
Of her who, to me, alone appears
Worthy to be called woman."

The French have always been very skilful at extravagant flattery; it is said that Benserade, after trying in vain to extort a pension from Cardinal Mazarin, broke into the minister's house at night, forced his way to the Cardinal's bedside, and told him that he could not contain his joy at being told that some of Mazarin's poems had been compared to his own wretched efforts.

The ruse sounds laboured but must have been conducted with much address for the poet received the pension.

It was he that composed the following epitaph on Cardinal Richelieu, which at least has the merit of frankness.

"Here lies, yes, dead, it's true,
The famous Cardinal de Richelieu.
And what makes me so blue,
My pension lies here too."

Their "pensions" were always a painful subject with poets; Spenser had to wait wearily for his, Dryden to change his religion to keep his, Swift became embittered, almost insane, waiting for one, Samuel Butler could get nothing at all from Charles II, though that monarch knew portions of "Hudibras" by heart; avarice, it would seem, is often a stronger passion than vanity, since often the most fulsome flattery has not been powerful enough to open the purse-strings of the great.

A writer who patronised kings instead of cringing to them, the brilliant, generous, and lovable Voltaire, paid, not from necessity, but desire, many magnificent compliments in his grand courtly manner.

His dedication of "Brutus" to that most fascinating of rakes and wits, Viscount Bolingbroke, is a high compliment to the English, and in itself very interesting.

Zaïre is dedicated to that worthy citizen of Wandsworth, Mr. Falkener, in graceful words of friendship: "You are English, my dear friend, and I was born in France, but those who love the arts are all compatriots."

Voltaire had always something lively and pleasingly daring in his writing that shows even in these dedications; Mahomet was dedicated, by a happy stroke, to the Pope: "to the Head of the true Religion I dedicate this work against the founder of a false and barbarous sect."

Voltaire did not lose his turn of language when writing Italian.

Benedict XIV seems to have been overwhelmed by the compliment.

Overcome by receiving all at once a five-act drama, a poem on Fontenoy, the lines on his own portrait and the flattering letter, the Pope returns a rather touching compliment which has all the pleasing simplicity of the Italian. He proceeds to appoint Voltaire arbitrator in a scholarly dispute about a line in Virgil; it is a curious and graceful compliment.

Voltaire dedicates Mérope to Scipion Maffei, author of the Italian Mérope which he had at first meant to translate into French; he found the two languages so different that he wrote an original play. Voltaire concludes with a fine compliment: "Posterity will learn with delight that your country has rendered you the rarest honours and that Verona has raised a statue to you with this inscription: 'To Marquis Scipion Maffei living,'—an inscription as fine in its way as that one reads at Montpellier: 'To Louis XIV after his death.'"

Voltaire's flattery was always gracious and grand, like a nobleman's salute—in offering "L'Orphelin de la Chine" to the duc de Richelieu, he says: "I want, Monseigneur, to present you with a beautiful Genoa marble and I have only Chinese figures to offer you."

This allusion to the gratitude of Genoa, the town that the Duke had saved, could not be more delicately turned; the whole dedication is charming; the play itself makes an interesting comparison with that written on the same subject by Metastasio; it is extraordinary how differently the same anecdote is treated.

The much-flattered madame de Pompadour received a dignified homage from Voltaire when he was already old: "...I dare to thank you publicly for the protection you have offered to a great number of artists, writers and other people of merit."

This was little more than the truth; the lady was a magnificent patroness; Boucher's pictures of her immortalise an epoch. She gave an Abbé, afterwards the Cardinal de Bernis, a pension of 1400 livres and apartments in the Tuileries for some pretty verses that he wrote in her honour. A few graceful lines have seldom been so well paid.

One compliment paid to madame de Pompadour had disastrous results; she was so flattered by receiving a personal letter from the wily Maria Theresa that to please the Empress she involved France in the Seven Years War.

In his oration on the officers who died in the campaign of 1741—the disastrous retreat from Prague—Voltaire praises, in a warm and moving fashion, a very different person from the marquise de Pompadour; this was his friend, the young marquis de Vauvenargues, the famous philosopher who faced a sad suffering life with such patient serenity.

Vauvenargues himself, most pure-minded and austere of men, wrote an Elegy on Louis XV. It makes strange reading now, but there can be no doubt that it was written in perfect sincerity, and at that time, Louis le Bien-Aimé, with his beauty, his gifts, his popularity, may have well seemed to the ardent spirit of Vauvenargues to have promised to become a great sovereign; the subject did not live to see the King become old in contempt, sloth and vice, or to hear that thundering rush of feet to the new King's room when the one candle went out at the King's window in Versailles and what was left of the once splendid youth, lay, a wretched ruined body, forsaken and despised.

Satirists are seldom successful when they endeavour to flatter; Hogarth dedicated "The March to Finchley" to the King, but George, furious, naturally enough, at the caricature of his soldiers, expressed his dislike of the picture very forcibly, and Hogarth in a rage inscribed the picture to the King of Prussia.

A forgotten worthy, one Simon Degge, was happier in his methods; in his book, "The Parson's Counsellor," he wrote a dedication to Woods, Bishop of Lichfield, praising him for restoring Lichfield Cathedral which had been nearly destroyed during the Civil War; the bishop had not really touched a stone, but the sarcasm told, and, for very shame, he rebuilt the church.

There is not, perhaps, in any language a more touching and beautiful compliment than that uttered by Roland, when, after the fatal battle of Roncesvalles, he brought the body of Oliver and those of the other dead peers to be blessed and absolved by the dying Archbishop Turpin who was his sole fellow survivor:

Sweet companion Oliver
Never in all chivalry
Has there been such a knight as thou.

This poem, "La Chanson de Roland," is perhaps one of the finest pieces of flattery a poet ever paid to his own country.

But this is exquisite flattery, the perfection of the art that has been practised by famous men in all ages; this is homage indeed, for it has preserved the memories of persons otherwise not even names to-day, and heightened the renown of those already by their own merits great.

Flattery always reads more unconvincingly than satire, unless this be too utterly savage, for instance when Pope writes: "Manners with candour are to Benson given—to Berkeley every virtue under Heaven." The second line does not sound very likely, though one is assured that the venerable prelate praised was a saint, yet the first line seems quite a life-like touch.

As instances of praise that sound both noble and true, one may mention the epitaph of the Duke of Newcastle in Westminster Abbey: "All the sisters were chaste and all the brothers valiant." And also the remark made of one of the Earls of Derby by an old chronicler, that when he died the noble virtue of hospitality seemed to fall asleep!

In conclusion, one may mention a few of the famous people who neither wrote nor painted, who had indeed no particular gifts, but who contrived by understanding the art of flattery to rule kings, queens, and nations.

Madame Concini, an Italian of humble birth, ruled France through her influence over Marie de Medicis; when she was accused of witchcraft she was asked what magic she had used to acquire such a power over the Queen, and she replied scornfully: "The only magic I have used is the power of a strong mind over a weak one." She might have said: "I knew how to flatter."

Cardinal Mazarin, who attained to regal power, is an arch-type of the skilful flatterer—he never used force till he had exhausted persuasion, and in the rare cases where his flatteries did not attain their object, he let his displeasure fall through other hands so that he was never associated with rebuke or punishment.

The Duchess of Marlborough kept her remarkable hold over Queen Anne in the same way, but she lacked the tact of Mazarin and was cursed with a bad temper, so, in the end, she had to give way to a more adroit flatterer, Mrs. Masham.

Men like Alberoni, the Abbé Dubois, Struenzee, Potemkin, to mention but a few, achieved their remarkable careers with the aid of flattery.

The knowledge of how and when to flatter has always been very useful to criminals and adventurers; in stories of fraud one is often impressed by the credulity of the dupe—this often seems unbelievable.

The secret of this is, of course, flattery, as for instance in that most gigantic of frauds, the affair of the Diamond Necklace.

This whole disastrous crime, so complicated, so unbelievable, that ruined Marie Antoinette and has been called "the prologue to the French Revolution," was entirely due to the fact that madame de la Motte was able to flatter the Cardinal de Rohan into thinking the Queen was corresponding with him.

Gregori Leti told Charles II that he intended to write memories of his Court—the King gave permission, but warned him not to give offence to anyone.

"But if I were as wise as Solomon," protested the historian, "I must offend someone."

"Imitate Solomon, then," replied the King, "write proverbs and leave history alone."

But Leti could not forbear from writing his book. When it was published he was banished the Court.

This was a pretty commentary on the art of flattery, which has always been, and always will be, one of the graces and one of the laws of civilisation.



Lord Byron (1788-1824)
(Portrait by Richard Westall, 1813)

LORD BYRON was a man whose personality was larger than his achievement and whose fame was larger than either. How can we account for the Byronic legend or understand why this man, of all mysterious and fascinating men, should have been extolled all over Europe as an embodiment of mystery and fascination, or why he should have been allowed at once the dark attraction of unnamable sin and the bright brilliancy of heroic virtue?

Romantic of the romantics, the bulk of whose work has perished because of a tawdry falsity of design and colouring, he was yet capable of dissecting himself and his times with the sharp cynicism of the cool intellectual.

A Prince of lovers, the Don Juan de nos jours, symbol of the seductive and successful libertine, his amorous intrigues were neither splendid nor satisfying, and appear to have left him not with the sense of blasting remorse suitable to one of the sombre rakes, of whom he was the prototype, but rather with the sour after-taste of one who has, half-heartedly, been intentionally vicious.

Many of his actions were those of a cad, an egoist, a pampered poseur who wilfully exaggerated his faults in order to attract attention, yet was capable of sound common sense, of desperate impatience with himself, of that pure torment which comes from the recognition of the unescapable torments of others. The Byronic "doom," the theme of the gloomy inscrutable hero, beautiful as Phoebus, cursed as Lucifer, so often copied, so often parodied, seems now merely silly. Yet Lord Byron's own life was, in fact, such a story; partly through circumstances, partly through his own self-conscious efforts, he did, in his own short career, embody the type and play out the incidents that became so foolishly popular and were in consequence so sharply caricatured.

The author of "Manfred," "The Corsair," "The Bride of Abydos," and "Childe Harold," was himself as dazzlingly handsome, as ferociously unhappy, as "doomed" as any sardonic, black-cloaked sinner of them all, and the social crime, through which Byron fell, was one then considered dark enough to stamp any man "Mad, bad and dangerous to know," as one of his lovers styled him in a phrase too clever to be quite true.

Byron probably was nearer madness—genuine insanity—than any of his contemporaries realised—"bad" only in a small sense; his faults were petty—snobbishness, bad taste, uncontrolled temper, raw vanity, a childish desire to boast and to be praised, remarked, and feared. "Dangerous to know" is a doubtful description of the violent dandy à bonnes fortunes; it is certain that most of his mistresses were perilous to him, and that the only woman for whom he ever felt any sincere tenderness, Augusta Leigh, was, undoubtedly, fatal to his entire career.

It was the women, hysterical, fine-drawn, idle grandes dames, like Caroline Lamb, or bold emotional adventuresses like Claire Clairmont, or stupid acquisitive sensualists like the Contessa Guiccioli that pursued and captured a resentful, flattered, insincere, and inwardly wearied lover in the fashionable poet. His one encounter with "a virtuous woman" broke him. All the sound and fury of the satanic male, with his brilliant sins and lurid rebellions, were shattered against the unassailable respectability of an innocent young lady. In the deadly impact of this meeting of opposites, it was the obscure, ordinary Annabella Milbanke that was victorious. Her cool fingers "touched pitch and were not defiled." Withdrawing herself from the sulphurous contamination of wickedness, she saved the soul of Augusta Leigh, to her own satisfaction, and taught the unhappy libertine that it was, after all, an uncomfortable matter to sin some sins and boast some boasts in the drawing-rooms of fashionable London. So far victorious was the high-minded Annabella, that her exhausted husband, having sounded the depths of vice, sighed in his last days for a reconciliation with the chilly rectitude of the well-behaved wife.

The fallen angel with his wings clipped by the hand of propriety, the roving rake, disgusted with theatrical love affairs, longed for "life with a virtuous woman in the country." Manfred had strayed from the edges of the impressive abyss where the thunder-clouds lowered, and would have liked slippers, a fire-side, and a housewife's smile.

In brief, Don Juan had made a mess of love, life, and letters, and but for the supreme good luck of a death that might at best be termed heroic and was at least dramatic, he might have petered out as a rustic squire with a managing wife, now and then grinning with cronies over a glass, at the delicious follies of youth. Either this or the mad-house might have been the fate of an elderly, a diseased, a burnt-out Byron. As it was, he died just in time to establish his fame, his legend, his eternal youth. Missolonghi perpetuated the Byronic myth as imperishably as if it had been cast in bronze.

Death has served many famous people very well. Charles I dying like James II puling and whimpering with senility in cosy exile, Thomas Chatterton become a prosperous editor or a stout antiquary, Mary Queen of Scots succumbing to a bad leg and a tuberculosis of the throat, none would be the figures haloed with romance as they are now, with their uncommon lives sharply ended by violent, but brilliant exits. What manner of man was this too famous poet, of whose renown we are beginning to be a little weary and whose main works we never read?

George Noel Gordon Byron's destiny seemed shaped as much by heredity as by environment. It is possible to suppose that had he never heard of the "doom" in his blood on the one hand, and had been sensibly educated on the other, his tale might have been less showy and more happy.

He was born in 1788, the period of titanic upheaval in America, France, and Ireland when the "freedom of man" was in the air, and his boyhood was passed during the exasperating tumult of the Napoleonic wars, in which the cries of the new democracy were being heard among the half-insane carnage.

His descent was dubious on both sides; his father, Captain Byron, was one of those professional libertines and gamblers, who so plentifully garnish the eighteenth century of fiction and of fact—a Lord Camelford—a Richard Lovelace; in sober terms an irresponsible rogue, whose person and address were his only passport to toleration.

It was a noble family—in fact what so many lesser gentry have sighed to be—descended from a princely French house, that of Biron, resplendent with Marshals and Dukes, and of Buren, one of whose sons became a favourite of an Empress and the ruler of Courland. The members of the English branch of Byron had a fascinating reputation for all the brilliant vices, were given to inter-marrying and eccentricity, and showed their only worldly cleverness in their marriages with heiresses.

When George Noel Gordon Byron was born, the holder of the title was the fifth baron, "The Wicked Lord," a creature of almost fabulous outline. The outstanding stain on his murky career had been the duel with William Chaworth, in a locked room by the light of a candle and with swords of unequal length, which had ended in the death of Chaworth, and the trial of the noble lord for murder. He escaped punishment by pleading "benefit of clergy" after standing trial by his peers. The cause of the duel had been a dispute about the number of pheasants on the several estates of the fine gentlemen gathered in a London tavern.

While his heir was being "dragged up" in undignified poverty, Lord Byron lived in the semi-monastic gloom of Newstead Abbey, solitary, but not softened, since he was maliciously employed in illegally selling the timber and otherwise damaging the estate, which was by no means opulent.

On his mother's side the future lord was not more blessed. Miss Gordon of Gight was Captain Byron's second wife, whom he married for the money that he soon dispersed. She claimed, rather loosely, royal blood, but at least her name was that of the splendid clan of which the Earls of Huntly "the cocks of the north" were the chieftains. Apart from this she had no advantages; an acknowledged fool, naturally ill-tempered, soured to frenzy by ill-fortune, she found herself widowed without means when the boy was three.

A cheerless existence of debt, bitterness, and obscurity was passed by the lonely child and embittered woman. There was no home beyond cheap lodgings, mostly in Aberdeen, and worst of all the boy was lame and his mother flung this defect in his face when, in one of her evil moods, she broke crockery and hurled pots and pans about. It now seems possible that this famous deformity, which played such an ugly part in Byron's life, was purely nervous, and that kindness, a stable atmosphere, and early treatment, might have saved him from what was to be a veritable blight.

In 1798 the fifth lord died in unrepenting old age, leaving a dilapidated mansion and an impoverished estate to the unhappy boy. Mrs. Byron's vulgar tantrums alienated her son's legal guardian, Lord Carlisle, and mother and son, now a lord, severely left to themselves, lived still in lodgings in Nottingham and London.

There was a hideous episode when the child's limping foot was tortured in a quack's wooden instrument, there was the growing boy's desperate shame at his mother's furies, and silly pamperings, and at thirteen there was Harrow.

The lad was sullen, unattractive, "wolfish"; these defects being obviously the manifestations of deep unhappiness. The first shoots of passion added to his other torments. Close to Newstead, then let, Mrs. Byron was established in a small house, and near this was Annesley, where dwelt Mary, a descendant of the Mr. Chaworth who had been the victim of the "Wicked Lord." The plump, shy, sensitive Byron loved in vain; the admired girl chose Jack Musters, and there is a tale that she casually remarked on "that lame boy," a dart in a heart already lacerated.

In 1801 he met for the first time Augusta Byron, his father's daughter by a first marriage with Lady Carmarthen. For her he felt a quiet soothing tenderness, which meant more to him than the exciting hero worship given him by the younger boys at Harrow, the handsome and emotional Clare, Delaware, Long, and Gray.

At seventeen Byron left Harrow, by no means in a cloud of glory; idle, irritable, lusciously romantic, he was considered "not a proper associate" for the average Harrovian.

His relations with Mrs. Byron were then such that he cried: "Am I to call this woman mother?" With his nerves badly rasped he went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1805, and gloomed about with Edward Long, Edleston, a sentimental consumptive young chorister, and other ardent companions.

There was five hundred pounds a year, brandy, music, romantic friendship, but the restless lad was not satisfied. The deepest sting was his insignificance; he was provincial, awkward, self-conscious, aware of a strain of effeminacy, of a painful admiration for that assured composure, that worldly self-sufficiency which he never quite attained and which probably no one, who in childhood has been neglected and despised, ever does attain. To balance this sense of inferiority Lord Byron posed with men-servants, carriage, dogs, saddle-horses, clothes, fantastic even for those expensive days. He got into debt and published some verses, "Hours of Idleness," which sold well and, what was more important to the author, solidified and clarified his personality.

A number of new friends acclaimed in the poet what they would have despised in the vapouring undergraduate. He began to shake off his fears and repressions, the "nerves" consequent on his mother's treatment. He boxed, swam, fenced, rode—and not unskilfully.

He got into debt to the extent of £12,000 on personal extravagances, which included a mistress and spanking-horses to show off at Brighton, before he left Cambridge in 1808.

It was the era of the dandy—the elegant idle man of fashion, at once subtle, shallow, useless, and symbolic of all humanity's decorative qualities. Like many another with yearnings for this role, Byron had not a sufficient income to support it. His snobbishness, which sprang, not unnaturally, from the knowledge that his early upbringing had not been equal to his birth, was stung by the coldness of high-bred London. There is pathos in Byron's insistence on his rank, vulgar as it rings, for this was but a gesture of self-defence, a desperate attempt to efface the memory of his impossible mother and the squalid lodgings in Aberdeen.

Disgruntled and melancholy, the young man, just of age, retired to the uncomfortable gloom of Newstead, gaunt amid the timber-stripped park. He found some pleasure in writing "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," a satire against the critics of his first efforts, but the Byronic "doom" was beginning to darken down, or so he thought. The pose of the misunderstood solitary became confirmed, even the death of his dog seemed part of a curse. An attempt to be "wicked" was not found very stimulating. Endeavouring to exploit the Gothic atmosphere of Newstead, and to imitate the Hell Fire Clubs, then a little out of date, there were schoolboyish orgies when the young lord and some Cambridge friends dressed up in hired monkish habits, drank out of a skull conveniently turned up by the gardener, and entertained young ladies who they fondly hoped would pass as members of a harem, or, at least, as "Paphian girls" fresh from the Isle of Venus.

This rather dismal and theatrical display having come to an end and no desirable opening showing either in private or in public life, Mrs. Byron being still alive and the salons of the beau monde still closed to him, Byron went abroad, ready for any rare or desperate adventure. He had with him a university friend, John Cam Hobhouse; there was no objective in view—"the gloomy wanderer" had no desire ever to see England again, and not much desire to see anything else. The journey was across Portugal (then the seat of war), Spain, Malta, the Levant, and Greece. It was all at concert pitch, exotic love affairs, shipwrecks, thunderstorms, "dressings up," broodings in the moonlight or swimming of the Hellespont, some real raptures, many painful poses.

The friendship with Hobhouse did not stand the strain, they parted at Constantinople after dividing a posy of flowers "woefully sick" of each other.

After two years of this, Byron returned to England. There was real cause for gloom in the early deaths of his first friends, Long, Wingfield, and Dorset, while the end of the terrible mother in a fit of fury was painfully ugly. Then Matthews, another charming associate, was drowned at Cambridge—Byron, almost with relish, referred to "some curse."

However, he had brought back with him from his travels, together with skulls, urns, tortoises, and a flagon of hemlock, the manuscript of "Childe Harold," cantos I and II. These were published in 1812.

The author had already made some friends in the great world, Lord Holland and Tom Moore, and achieved some effect with a manly speech in the House of Lords on the troubles in the industrial North. With the appearance of the dashing poem, the noble author found himself suddenly, not only at the peak of literary attainment, but the centre of a frenzied personal worship. The glimpses of autobiography—the picture of the dark stranger with his unutterable gloom, his "Marble heart," his deep, secret, unattained passion—drove all the idle fashionables crazy to understand, to console this wicked fascinating despair. How seductively cynical, how meltingly romantic it was to read:

"For he through sin's long labyrinth had run
Nor made atonement when he did amiss—"

With such vivid force had Byron dramatised his own sensations, his own experiences, that he had created a second self more brilliant, more complete than the reality. His personal beauty completed his conquest of the female part of le beau monde of the Regency.

Short, inclined to stoutness, slightly lame, with affected, self-conscious manners, rather ill-bred, Byron yet possessed a beauty of feature that was neither effeminate nor ignoble. It was a Greek mask, with soft bright eyes, proud lips, a sulky brow and the added attraction of richly-waving chestnut hair. These cherished locks were sometimes put in curl-papers, but Byron cursed himself as a fool for the weakness. His voice was charming, his hands white and slender, his figure, by dint of anxious dieting, shapely, the lameness was scarcely noticeable—was even seductive with its hint of the cloven hoof.

Then there was the title, the wicked doomed ancestry, the tales of orgies at Newstead and abroad, the gloomy reserve with which the awkward man concealed his social inadequacies, the athletic prowess, the "Crede Biron!" motto, the air of cynical misanthropy that covered so much unsuspected uneasiness. Nothing was lacking.

The bullied child of Aberdeen, the sulky fat schoolboy "sent down" from Harrow, the posing, obscure undergraduate had merged into a man more famous, more sought-after, than any man before or since. London society had never known anything like it; the huntresses were hot-foot on the track of an unbelievably desirable prey. The first of these eager Dianas to score a success was Lady Bess-borough's daughter, Lady Caroline, the spoilt, whimsical, bad-tempered, extremely fashionable wife of William Lamb, afterwards Queen Victoria's Lord Melbourne.

"Caro" was thin, lazy, with huge eyes and capricious manners, selfish, unscrupulous, shameless, but she queened it at Melbourne House, most exclusive of aristocratic mansions; she was definitely bon ton in a society ruled by the changing mistresses of the Prince Regent. Byron's love affair with this elegant lady completed the furore the "Childe" made in London society. He never cared much for her, but he was dazzled by her "connexions" and would not shake off her hysteric clutch. Afterwards he frankly admitted that the tiresome woman "had few personal attractions" and that he had to force his inclinations in the whole affair. No doubt, however, he enjoyed the sharp emotionalism of the intrigue while it lasted.

It was an exciting summer for London society, that of 1812, when the waltz and Lord Byron went to the head of many fair ladies. Byron's success had its drawbacks; he soon wearied of "Caro," whose behaviour became so volcanic that she had to be withdrawn to Ireland; he wearied too of the letters she sent from her exile; his debts mounted and Newstead would not let.

A piquant friendship with Lady Melbourne, his mistress's mother-in-law, and a quasi-domestic episode with Lady Oxford, then in the last glow of her beauty and at the placid end of her lovers, helped the poet to endure the fame that caused women to faint at his glance, and to bombard him with petitions for a ringlet or a rendez-vous.

Towards the end of this hectic year Byron met Annabella Milbanke, the niece of Lady Melbourne, a serious, high-minded, cool-headed young woman. Scorning to join in the excitement that surrounded the wicked poet, she ignored him with a deliberate indifference that piqued and fascinated the pursued, harried genius. She was also a considerable heiress. In her virginal person seemed the promise of financial security, consolidated social position, soothed nerves, a refuge from Lady Caroline, and that definite domestic establishment necessary to a man of title.

Marriage was offered and refused; the family "doom" drew nearer the sixth lord. In 1813 his half-sister, Augusta Leigh, withdrew from the distresses of poverty and a spendthrift husband to the shelter of Lord Byron's house. They had always been attracted, at ease in each other's company, mutually tender, affectionate, and loving. They had not been long under one roof when scandal was busy over their relationship. Augusta, plastic, gay, unmoral, and unhappy, seemed not to realise where she was drifting, while her half-brother alternated between a boasting zest in the fulfilment of the family curse and his own peculiar "doom," and a real passion for a beloved woman—"a perfect and boundless attachment" as he afterwards named his feeling for Augusta. Warned by his female mentor, Lady Melbourne, of his social peril, Byron parted from his half-sister and tried to distract himself with a half-cynical, half-sentimental, affair with Lady Frances Wedderburn Webster, and by writing "The Bride of Abydos," a tawdry Eastern tale with the "brother and sister" theme.

To this indiscretion he added wild talk, half-veiled hints concerning the paternity of Medora, Augusta Leigh's child, born that September, and a general dramatic self-exploitation that seemed touched with insanity. The growing scandal, which he seemed to enjoy, alarmed his friends; Augusta herself joined in the effort to steer him into safety by means of a wife. Annabella Milbanke, who had maintained a prudent correspondence with him ever since she had rejected his proposal, was again selected to snatch this brand from the burning.

In January, 1815, the year of Waterloo, they were married in spite of the groom's rave doubts. Miss Milbanke undertook the adventure in a spirit of duty and self-sacrifice, she needed all her fortitude. Her husband turned on her immediately: "You should have married me when I first proposed." The delay, he believed, had meant the episode with Augusta and endless remorse, misery, and regret. The honeymoon was terrible; though, no doubt, the man's despair was genuine, the theatrical displays with which he tormented his young wife, make unsavoury reading. A grotesquely horrible visit to Augusta's house where Byron's behaviour passed, he seemed to think, as sardonic passion, but was nearer insanity, enlightened the poor bride about the ugly truth behind all this fume and fury. With considerable dignity and self-control she made common cause with the terrified Augusta, who turned to her for help, to save, if not the man, at least the woman, from an impossible passion. The oddly assorted three moved to London, No. 13 Piccadilly Terrace, where the emotional tension was not helped by brandy drinking on the part of Byron, and debts and duns.

At the end of their marriage year a child was born; humiliating noisy scenes with creditors, the entry of bailiffs into the house, and, when her baby was three weeks old, Lady Byron had left the house to visit her mother.

She was never to return.

With surprising clearness of insight she had discovered that her husband was impossible to reform or to live with. She had learnt from a perhaps fallible medical report, which she had had the good sense to obtain, that the frenzied poet was not "mad." She had judged for herself that he was bad and that she could not reform him. She had the courage to sacrifice any possible hope of happiness in order to save herself and her child from moral degradation. A short note from her father, Sir Roger Milbanke, informed the bewildered and angry husband that his wife would not return to him; he was, under pressure, induced to sign a deed of separation. He was never to see Annabella or the baby, Augusta Ada, again. This ruined him; his wife's cold virtue shattered him as steel shatters glass; the prim schoolgirl of twenty-one with her virginal inexperience destroyed, deliberately and for ever, the most famous man of the moment, who had bragged so lavishly of his Satanic contempt of the conventions. She also deprived him of Augusta Leigh, whom she continued to dominate. The scandal was immediate and deadly. Mrs. Leigh was "cut"; no woman would speak to Byron, every room he entered emptied at once of ladies. By the end of April, 1816, he had left England for ever.

In Geneva he met Shelley, who had also been obliged to leave his native country with his second wife, Mary Godwin, and her step-sister, Claire Clairmont, who had forced herself on Byron shortly before and who now greedily reclaimed an unwilling lover.

Soothed by Shelley's influence, Byron completed "Childe Harold," wrote part of "Manfred" and "The Prisoner of Chillon." These, composed in a frenzy of personal emotion, contain some of his best work, far better than the much-acclaimed Oriental poems that he had written at the height of his fame.

His love for Augusta Leigh continued; he dared to hope that she would throw all to the winds and join him in his exile—but Lady Byron stood between him and his "criminal desires." She so influenced Augusta that that poor lady obtained a moral victory over herself—her correspondence with her half-brother was supervised by the lofty-minded Annabella, until it became what Byron, in disgust, termed "damned crinkam crankam." His own side of the correspondence leaves no doubt of the sincerity of his own feelings—"we were just formed to pass our lives together."

After he had flared up in his Geneva poems, Byron moved to Venice. Everything important in his life was over; the remaining years were but a marking-time till his death. Judged by ordinary standards he went to pieces morally and physically.

Shelley, in 1818, was shocked by the sordid cheap orgies of the Palazzo Mocenigo, half-harem, half-thieves' kitchen, where ruffians, wild animals, the female scum of the gutters, moved through a fantasy of disreputable confusion. Byron himself showed signs of a very visible damnation—the premature senility that brought Robert Burns low. The famous ringlets became grey, the beautiful face bloated and pasty, the slender hands fat, the elegant figure stout and stooping. He wrote his autobiography, which was never to be published, the splendid "Don Juan" and the lovely: "So, we'll go no more a roving"; in 1819 he was rescued from his harpies and jobbers by Contessa Guiccioli as neatly as Annabella had rescued him from Augusta.

"I have been more ravished," he wrote, "than anyone since the siege of Troy." Soon Teresa Guiccioli and her family, the Gambas, were entirely on his hands, and he settled down dully in a dull place, Ravenna, until 1821, when he moved to Pisa. Claire Clairmont, whom he refused ever to see, sent him by Shelley their daughter, the ironically-named Allegra; the unwanted child, despatched to a convent, soon died. There was a quarrel with the Shelleys in which Byron behaved badly; he wrote huge laboured poetic dramas, impossible even for that turgid age.

With the sale of Newstead there was money and an odd interest in it, a watching of household books, a checking of expenses that would have been more useful in his earlier career. There was anxiety over another asset once so wilfully squandered—his health, a dreary diet flavoured with magnesia, a pathetic attempt to retain some semblance of youth.

In 1822 occurred the semi-comic episode of Leigh Hunt's visit to the salmon-pink Leghorn villa, and immediately afterwards the pure tragedy of Shelley's drowning. The horrible spectacle of his friend's cremation on the foreshore tore at Byron's nerves and he escaped to Genoa with the tiresome Hunt family clinging to him. While the two men tried to get along together, "The Liberal" Mrs. Hunt, difficult and respectable, sparred with Teresa Guiccioli, silly and sentimental, and the Hunt children quarrelled with the Byron menagerie. The fall of Lucifer was without grandeur.

In 1823, Lady Blessington, expecting to find a noble creature of romantic gloom and power, discovered instead rather a figure of fun, flippant, without dignity or breeding, out of date and painfully ridiculous in his clothes of the cut of fifteen years before; his green tartan jacket, his nankeen gaiters, his trousers "shrunk from washing"; even his horse hung with senseless gaudy ornaments.

Annabella was at once avenged and justified. The apostle of wild romanticism was, in his own person, realistic enough, the splendid sinner had become merely an object of compassion or disdain.

His innate genius showed in the effort he made to get out of the silly back-water where he stagnated. Greece was making a spasmodic and divided attempt for freedom and John Cam Hobhouse was on the English Committee to assist the Hellenes. Byron offered his help, it was accepted; in August, 1823, he landed at Cephalonia with Trelawney, one of Shelley's friends, Pietro Gamba, Teresa's brother, and eight servants. He was in high spirits, though he knew the difficulties ahead and even had a presentiment that he would die in Greece. There was nothing gorgeous or exciting about the enterprise, but Byron showed at first a manly spirit—wished he "had never written a line"—had not come to Greece "to scribble more nonsense"—and dismissed the local colour as "antiquarian twaddle."

Six months of dismal inaction were spent at a cottage near Cephalonia; Trelawney, sick of waiting and of Byron's renewed neurotics, left for the mainland. In December, 1823, Byron, in the hope of action, decided to join a party of rebels. This was that of Prince Mavrocordato whose headquarters were at Missolonghi, an unhealthy town on the mud banks of the Gulf of Corinth. Here Byron landed in the first week of 1824 in a scarlet uniform with his Greek guards, his servants, his arms and a miniature of his daughter, Augusta Ada, but not wearing the Greek helmet he had designed for this event. Trelawney had advised him against this theatrical touch.

From January to April Byron lived in his three-storied house on the lagoon in the mud and rain, surrounded with every discomfort and exasperation. He was endeavouring to put some organisation into the Greek resistance against the expected Turkish attack and he found the lazy and greedy Levantines, with whom he had to deal, very different from any imaginary heroic figures of antique Hellas.

In January he composed his own farewell—it might be taken for his own elegy and epitaph; in April he caught a chill and in his fever had those dreams of England, a wife, a child, stability, that were so recurrent and so vain. On Easter Sunday an encouraging letter from Hobhouse found him in the last delirium, with Fletcher, the faithful eccentric valet, trying in vain to take down the muttered, incoherent final instructions. The last names whispered were: "Augusta Ada"—the last words: "I want to go to sleep."

There was a distant threat of thunder when he died on the evening of April 19th, 1824.

The brow-beaten, sensitive child, the sulky idle schoolboy, the pathetic poseur of Cambridge and Newstead, the most famous, the most infamous man in London, the keeper of odalisques in Venice, Augusta Leigh's willing lover, the unwilling lover of so many other women, had all merged into that figure will the classic mask, made beautiful again by death, that lay beneath the alien shroud in the mean room at Missolonghi—and the Byron legend was complete. The discipline of death had given dignity to one, unable to endure any other discipline, and once more the accident of mortality had conferred immortality:

"If thou regrett'st thy youth, why live?
The land of honourable death
Is here: up to the field, and give
Away thy breath!

Seek out—less often sought than found—
A soldier's grave, for thee the best;
Then look around, and choose thy ground,
And take thy rest."




Guillaume Thomas Raynal (1713-1796)
(Contemporary portrait by François Garnerey)

THE work that brought Guillaume Thomas Raynal such brilliant success in his lifetime would be now a mere curiosity of literature, with only the odd fascination of a museum piece, were it not that this "History of the Two Indies" has three distinct claims on the interest of the student of literature. First, it is an illustration of the power of literary rogues; and to study the past fashions in literature, their importance, scope and purpose, helps to enable us to put in true perspective the bewildering fashions of our time, which so confuse the originator and the imitator, the permanent and the transient. Secondly, this book is an example of something more than a fashion, since it profoundly influenced popular opinion and was credited with being one of the sparks that ignited the furnace of the French Revolution It is, then, under this aspect, a fair example of the power that even a mediocre mind, exploiting fallacious ideas, may exercise through the medium of the pen, if the subject be in favour at the moment and well enough advertised. Thirdly, this impressive-looking work, with its massive air of solidity, is an example of bookmaking, a vice that has much grown upon us of late, and that it is interesting to observe was deftly practised in the eighteenth century.

Apart from these three points, which make this pompous compilation worth some study, it has a borrowed brilliance owing to the connection with the elusive Elisa Draper, the celestial friend of Laurence Sterne, and in itself possesses an intrinsic charm, which no doubt helped its enormous popularity. It has the merit, not uncommon in clumsy discursive productions, of setting the reader off on pleasing tangents—rather like one of those old, large, untidy maps where, when the ignorance of the cartographer brought him to a pause, he drew some fanciful coast-line, some imaginary range of mountains, and filled unlikely-looking spaces of land and sea with odd creatures, fabulous beasts and exciting little scenes that do truly transport the gazer to those impossible regions of fantasy for which most of us feel an occasional nostalgia.

Raynal's life explains his work; he was in his own time considered a great man, and he performed at least one action that had a tinge of greatness. For the rest, he was one of those restless spirits who, either by reason of their gifts or through chance circumstances, exercise on their times an influence out of all proportion to their merits.

Born in the last years of the reign of Louis XIV, Guillaume Thomas Raynal was educated by the Jesuits and entered this famous Order. In early middle life he left the Society of Jesus and the priesthood, at the same time abandoning the tenets of Christianity, not altogether from sincere conviction but with something of the impatience of one who feels his talents wasted in the provinces and distinction difficult to obtain in a well-organised establishment of clever men. Throwing himself on Paris he soon became acquainted with the philosophers, as the encyclopedists termed themselves, and eagerly absorbed all the fashionable terms of thought and expression. For a while he edited the Mercure de France, but his own writings were sparse, his principal efforts being a history of the Stadtholdership of the United Provinces and an essay on the divorce of Henry Tudor and Catherine of Aragon, neither of which works brought him—what he keenly desired—money and fame. He indeed, greatly to his chagrin, reached late middle age without cutting any considerable figure in the intellectual society to which he had attached himself, and his greatest claim to renown was merely that he was the friend of men like Diderot, Grimm, and D'Holbach, and echoed their opinions and supported their views.

But an eager, inflammable, not too level-headed writer, with a facile pen, plenty of courage and gusto, was not likely to lack inspiration for ever in this forcing house of free-thinking, sentimentality, utopia-building and general rebellion against all hitherto accepted conventions, in which the eighteenth-century Parisian intellectuals fermented and seethed. The hostile activities of the police and the Church only inflamed further these rebels against all authority, and with them in all their extremes of atheism, republicanism, and idealism was Guillaume Thomas Raynal, though he contrived to avoid the unpleasant attentions of the law.

Consider the mental atmosphere, stifling, depressing, and exciting as that of a violent thunder-storm, in which Raynal found himself, a man nearing fifty, running about the salons of literary Paris in the 1700's. Apart from the commotion caused by the exposition of such novelties as the standpoints of the agnostic and the atheist, there was the ceaseless echo of the cry of "the rights of man"—easy to shout, difficult to reduce to a workable plan. The exile of Jean Jacques Rousseau was all that was needed to crown the immense popularity of his three great books, which inspired, maddened, and confused a whole generation; Raynal became at once an ardent disciple of the author of Du Contrat Social, La Nouvelle Héloïse and Emile. He showed, however, no practical enthusiasm for the "back to nature" movement, but continued to enjoy as far as his means allowed him the benefits of that civilisation he so whole-heartedly condemned. Rousseau, a man of genius, but also a diseased neuropath and something of a scoundrel until hysterically converted, possessed that extraordinary sincerity which stamps a period as a die stamps wax. Raynal was only one of thousands who sincerely shared the Genevan's honest belief in virtue and goodness without an enquiry into what these terms really meant, and the ex-Jesuit was easily swept into that stream of sensibility, fed by the tears of Clarissa and Julie, which watered all intellectual France. In 1751 the Abbé Prévost, himself the creator of a far different heroine, the enchanting Manon, translated "Clarissa Harlowe," and all fashionable Paris raved over the woes of the ill-used English Miss. French praise of the masterpiece of Richardson passed all bounds of common sense; Diderot, a frantic Anglophil, found the novel superior not only to the Greek dramatists but also, oddly enough, to the literary efforts of Moses, and Rousseau seized upon the idea, and hanging round it his own peculiar graces, theories and sentiments, produced La Nouvelle Héloïse, that textbook of sensibility which had such a powerful effect on thousands of readers.

Not only was Raynal exposed to these overwhelming influences—those of the intellectual, political, and religious agitators named the philosophers, and those of the sentimentalists, which blended with and enervated these sterner teachings—but in 1762 Laurence Sterne visited Paris and gave a new twist to the fashions of the moment. In the January of the previous year but one, the first volume of Tristram Shandy had appeared—its success has been described as delirious. Oliver Goldsmith thus described the furore made by this bizarre production: "I bought last season a piece that had no other merit on earth than one hundred and ninety-five breaks, seventy-two ha-ha's, three good things and a garter. And yet it played off and bounced and cracked and made more sport than a firework."

And for a good many years Sterne, his reputation and his works, did bounce and crack not only over his native country, but over France.

When in 1764 he preached a sermon before the English Ambassador in the Chapel of the Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the entire strength of the encyclopaedists gathered to gaze on this odd figure that the Comte de Bissy was content to believe was that of the Court fool of the English King. Raynal cultivated eagerly the acquaintance of this original writer named by Voltaire Le Rabelais d'Angleterre, and devoured with the zest common to his countrymen Frénais' translation of "The Sentimental Journey," which appeared after the translation of "Tristram Shandy" in 1769. Le Voyage Sentimental proved instantly acceptable to the French and ran into edition after edition, something like seventy having appeared up to the present day. This odd book also was at once imitated by some of those clever writers who never seem to have an original idea, but who cannot take pen from paper when once they have an original model. After all, it was easy to set off from anywhere to anywhere, noting all the whimsical, pathetic incidents by the way, shedding more tears than ink and making copious use of the tricks of style so difficult to originate, so facile to copy—and thus there were journeys here, there and everywhere by travellers who never failed to find virtue in distress or some ill-treated animal in need of help.

When Sterne returned to England in 1765 he made the acquaintance of the fascinating Elisa Draper, a real woman, who was destined to join two imaginary heroines, Clarissa and Julie, in popular favour She had come to England to educate her two children and as some relief from the company of one of those dull husbands too frequently the lot of ladies of extreme sensibility—her sentimental flirtations with Sterne were soon celebrated, and when the "Letters to Elisa" were translated in 1776, the name of the wife of the worthy Daniel Draper became as famous as that of Yorick himself. Everything that fashion demanded this friendship had—the virtue of Clarissa, the sensibility of Julie—"a love for ever shadowed by an approaching eternal separation"—tears, renunciation, and best of all, two death-beds. Sterne was known to have long danced "a gallopade with death" and Elisa had consumption, or something near enough for poetic purposes. She languished in the most delicate throes of sensibility and when in 1776 she came to Paris, after a romantic flight from her unromantic husband, she was frantically the vogue and captivated Raynal even more decidedly than she had captivated Sterne, whose loss was followed by some unpleasant passages with his family. At thirty-five Elisa was dead. Nothing could have been more suitable.

Edgar Allan Poe considered the death of a romantic, beautiful woman the climax of poetry, and the opinion of the last quarter of the eighteenth century considered an early end from decline the climax of sentiment. The portrait of Elisa alive was not considered so gratifying as Elisa's urn guarded by the weeping figures of Benevolence and Genius, which adorned the cloisters of Bristol Cathedral. The angelic creature snatched up—not to the despised Christian heaven—but to the Elysian fields where Rousseau, with powdered curls and works complete, is seen arriving in a contemporary print, became all spiritual, a focus and a symbol for the feeling of the time. What was she like? No portrait of her is known. There must always be some curiosity about a woman who contrives to impress intelligent men as celestial. The robust mind of Thackeray found her almost as intolerable as the dead ass of the journey that so roused his exasperation, and entertained doubts about the mental gifts that Raynal among others found so dazzling.

Describing her sailing from Deal after the eternal farewells with Sterne, Thackeray adds: "It was high time she went." He also highly condemns Sterne's conduct in sneering behind her back at the fair "Bramine" and her effusive epistles. Conduct caddish, no doubt, but that does credit to Sterne's perception—though at the cost of his manners. After all, a brilliant wit has some right to play any silly fish who swallows his bait, and Elisa was, it may be suspected, muddle-headed and flighty, a blue-stocking manquée who was never so well suited as when safely buried under her flower-wreathed urn. She was, however, in the full flush of her fame when Raynal, under these influences of the Encyclopaedia and of Rousseau and Sterne, decided to contribute some great work of his own to the torrent of books that flooded the printing presses and disturbed the public mind. He had no great gift for fiction, so he realised that it was hopeless to run together a novel exploiting the sorrows of a pair of diseased, virtuous, and frustrated lovers, or the travels of some meandering idler susceptible to lame beggars, tender grisettes, and dying donkeys; thus tested, Raynal took a heroic decision. He would write a history of the new world, i.e. the whole universe save Europe, in which he would show a hideous picture of the cruelties, vanities, superstitions and corruptions of the Europeans as compared to the wrongs and virtues of the noble savage, beloved and extolled by Rousseau himself.

Along with these high moral lessons would be useful information about the products of the new world, descriptions of the civilisations of the East, an account of the great Trading Companies, and a narration of all the voyages of adventure and discovery that had led to the conquest of the new world by the old world. Raynal felt that such a work would have both the attraction of novelty and the cachet of fashion, and he was annoyed with a friend who, on hearing of his project, exclaimed: "That will mean fifteen years' hard work!"

Raynal had other ideas; he wanted not the slow-coming, often posthumous fame of the scholar or the historian, but the quick applause and lavish fees that are too often the reward of the tricks of the cheapjack. In about a year he produced a work to which he gave the impossible title "Philosophic and Political History of the Factories and the Commerce of the Europeans in the Indies." As it was useless to hope for a French licence, this book was published in the home of the free press, the Hague, in 1770. It was issued anonymously and was in fact the work of many hands—a symposium gathered from Raynal's friends. Most of the philosophes were, in plain terms, free-lance journalists and pamphleteers, even hack-writers who could turn their brilliant pens to any subject that came their way.

Raynal, then, had no difficulty in gathering from them various articles on topical subjects, or little historical sketches drawn from books of travel, which he strung together with some of his own reflections and observations, and interspersed with notes gathered from practical people who cared little about the rights of man, the moral law, the noble savage, or Elisa, but who were able to give very lucid descriptions of the pepper, camomile, or coco-nut tree, the trading stations on the Malabar coast or the climate of Batavia, together with a fair idea of the profits to be made from the growing and importing of such useful articles as tobacco, tea, and indigo. Among the better-known contributors to this medley French critics number Diderot, d'Holbach, Grimm, Thomas, Debuc, and that fascinating Comte de Guibert, whose manly charms drove the muse of the Encyclopaedia, Mlle de Lespinasse, to a modishly dismal death and roused the youthful ardours of Madame de Stael.

What share each contributor had in this compilation, how much Raynal wrote himself, and how many passages came from the pens of obscure traders, sea captains, and shopkeepers, can never be known, nor is it an important question since there is no matter in the four volumes worth disputing. It is usually conceded, however, that the rhetorical passages, diatribes against tyranny, etc., which made the book so successful, were written either by Raynal himself or by Diderot. This piece of energetic book-making was instantly successful, as specious work so often is; thousands of copies flowed into France and handsome sums of money into the pockets of Raynal. If any of this money was passed on to his numerous and often needy collaborators, we do not know—it is permitted to hope so.

The triumph of this odd book was not altogether undeserved; it was nicely in the vogue, though not an imitation of Sterne, it was, on a large scale, a sentimental journey and gave abundant opportunity for the shedding of those tears and the heaving of those sighs that every educated person was so eager to shed and to heave. There might not be any distressed asses found on these travels, but there were any number of noble savages, and there were some very bold, up-to-date outbursts against superstition and tyranny, as the philosophers termed Christianity and Monarchy.

There was also something new about the point of view taken by Raynal and his assistants, that the various conquests of the East by the West were not glorious enterprises conducted by dauntless heroes, but mere money-grubbing schemes exploited by unscrupulous financiers and carried out by bloodthirsty brigands. It is not on record that the book influenced any persons to forgo profits from shares in Eastern trade, or to deny themselves any of the comforts and luxuries so cruelly wrested from the oppressed inhabitants of the new world, but as far as talk and scribbling went Raynal had thousands of converts; the last touch of useful publicity was given when the French Parliament condemned the book. So encouraging was his success that he resolved to bring out a greatly enlarged edition, and with this end in view visited England, the Netherlands, the Dutch and English Indies, collecting information likely to be useful to him, and was well received everywhere.

On his return to Paris he again met Elisa Draper—whose acquaintance he had made in Bombay—wept with her over Sterne, and then lamented (1778) the untimely loss of the lady herself. Soon after he went to Geneva, where he was safe from the French police, and saw his second edition through the press. It was a sumptuous affair in nine volumes, with plates and a volume of maps by the famous M. Bonne, after Moreau Lejeune. Raynal's name was attached to this edition, together with his portrait—"theatrical and not like" said Grimm spitefully. Raynal was much feted in Switzerland, where he was regarded at his own valuation as an apostle of liberty; he erected at his own expense a monument to three Swiss patriots, Fürst, Melchthal, and Stauffacher, and it was only the captious that ventured to remark that he had placed his own bust on the obelisk. On his way home he stopped at Lyon, where the Academy made him an honorary member. In return for this distinction he founded a prize—600 livres annually—for the best essay on the difficult subject: "Has the discovery of America been really beneficial to mankind?"

The second edition of "The Two Indies" created a furore, and had for years a deep influence on sensitive, excitable, and superficial minds; the nine volumes were packed with inflammatory matter, the emphatic and pungent statements of those startling half-truths that dazzle and mislead all but the most steady intellects. Rousseau, Sterne, Elisa were as much the vogue in 1780 as they had been in 1770, and the insertion of the famous "Éloge d'Elisa" in volume II, helped to make the Deux Indes extremely popular. This famous piece of hyperbole is supposed to have been written by Diderot, but appeared again and again over Raynal's name in editions of Sterne's "Letters" and "The Sentimental Journey."

Guibert, who had contributed to this medley himself, celebrated the virtues of Mlle de Lespinasse under the name of Elisa—when death had removed poor Julie's exasperating attentions—and the two motifs, both from Sterne, of Elisa and the dead donkey, were combined by Mlle de Lespinasse herself in a fragment she wrote in imitation of Yorick.

This odd little composition, the first of many such spurious episodes in the travels of the arch-sentimentalist, illustrates very nicely the delicacy of the difference between pathos and bathos, which Raynal never understood. It also shows the now almost incredible mental tone of the society where the Deux hides was such a notable success.

"A milk woman has one cow, it falls sick and she sits up all night with it: 'Art thou suffering, my Blanche? Alas, I share thy pains and cannot comfort thee!' She offers the animal bread, which it cannot take, and dropping into the popular mode of speech, exclaims: 'O Providence, canst thou look down on this and not interfere?' Providence taking no notice, Blanche dies, and the dairy-maid, weeping, relates the tragedy to the noble lady whom she serves; she weeps in her turn and promises to buy her cream—which, unfortunately, is not good—and tells the incident to the traveller; he weeps also and hastens to write up the tale for Elisa, who will, he is sure, also shed tears."

After this we have, in Verne's travesty, the famous L'homme au Mouton, an individual found wandering with a lamb, a butcher's assistant, who had lost his position through refusing to kill it; the traveller, much moved, offers money, through excess of sensibility, not to the man, but to the lamb. In this same book is the even more touching episode of the cats which, fastened down with outstretched tails, made a living harpsichord, each animal emitting a different yowl when his tail was pulled—one was begged off by the traveller, who declared that the purrs of the grateful animal were worth all the hollow praises of the false multitude.

"The self-approving hour whole worlds outweighs
Of stupid starers and of loud huzzas."

Of the same temper was that other sentimental traveller, who, losing his temper with the servant who cleaned his shoes badly, was smitten with such remorse that his bitter tears washed his footwear clean without any further trouble.

Raynal, to whom this atmosphere of sensibility, moralising, and sentiment seems to have been very congenial, ventured on more important objects for his pity than dead donkeys, cows with the colic, rebuked servants, or ill-treated cats and dogs; he ventured, indeed, on large themes, and boldly dealt with large issues—the slave trade, the illegal, unjust seizure of the East by the West, the greed, cruelty, and corruption of priests, merchants, kings, soldiers, statesmen, from the day that Vasco da Gama sailed on his adventurous voyage; in short "Man's inhumanity to man" was the main argument of Raynal's book and what made it so popular. His case was, at a first glance, unanswerable; he argued that war, conquest, slavery, superstition, moneymaking by unfair means, all oppression of the weak by the strong, were evil.

Portuguese, Dutch, English, French, and Spaniards came severally under his lash, for he judged their various trading and colonising expeditions to have been but so many thievish raids, led by murderers and charlatans. He lost no opportunity of violently attacking the class that most raised his wrath—the rulers, secular and religious, who, he contended, were responsible for centuries of horror and woe. In the oppressed he found much virtue; China, of which huge empire he seems to have had but a slight knowledge, roused his profound admiration; he considered it a model state, though perhaps the Chinese would hardly have felt flattered by what he thought a great compliment—that some of their philosophers were older than, and equal to, Descartes and Locke.

India, Hindustan, he treated with respect, if not with much understanding, and those unhappy people vaguely known as "savages" had all his sympathy. It should be noted that, despite the title, the second edition deals with nearly the whole of the then known world, so that Raynal's survey is necessarily cursory—even with all his industry and the number of his collaborators it was impossible for him to deal in detail with such a subject, but he did his best to drive home his main contention—the theory of the rights of man and the practice of the wrongs of man. This was rather different from the tone of the previous travellers' tales. Europeans had hitherto regarded the rest of the world as full of matter for profit, or offering objects of curiosity—that childlike curiosity which considers everything odd that is unfamiliar.

But Raynal's line of thought was very much in the fashion, and was at once as popular with the intellectuals and their followers as it was distasteful to those in authority. Raynal himself earned fame and money and was much feted in Paris, where the "Éloge to Elisa" in volume II put the crowning touch to that lady's fame. Slipped in between matter-of-fact accounts of the trading stations on the Malabar coast, this tearful eulogy may well be the work of Diderot, who boasted he was the greatest "weeper" of his time. Raynal, or Diderot, whichever was the writer of this tribute, was as sure of his own immortality as Shakespeare when penning the sonnets—no brass should outlive his powerful prose, and in consequence the name of Elisa's birthplace "will not be obliterated from the memory of man." For all time Britons would say with conscious pride: "Elisa was English."

The writer and Elisa had wept over Sterne together; if Sterne had survived, he would have wept over Elisa, and if both had survived the author, both would have watered his grave with tears—indeed, "My tears will flow for Elisa as long as I live."

The end of the eulogy brings in the eternal fugue—the writer, under Elisa's inspiration, vows to her shade in Highest Heaven, "never to write a line unworthy of her, and always to serve the cause of Humanity, of Truth, of Liberty."

This brings us to the core of Raynal's work, of his importance, and touches on a large question that much exercises the minds of literary critics at the present day. We have glanced at Raynal's work as a successful, clever piece of book-making, an example of a literary fashion, as interesting in connection with Laurence Sterne; let us finally consider it as the very effective effort of a social reformer—"a fanatic for humanity" who helped to goad a nation into a long series of revolts against established authority—revolts that began in an idealism that Raynal thoroughly approved and were soon degraded into an anarchy that he regarded with alarm and horror. Raynal was the "oracle" of many of the ideologues of 1789 and was considered not only the violent foe of the abuses of the old system, but the prophet of that new era which numerous ardent spirits really believed was dawning at the end of the eighteenth century.

While many of Raynal's dicta contain obvious truths, while much of his moral indignation is, no doubt, as sincere as forceful, his violence of expression is more notable than his profundity of thought, and it is difficult to realise, when reading these melodramatic cliches, now so well-worn, how seriously they were taken when they were fresher by large numbers of well-meaning people, and how this book, and such books as this, many no better and some worse, swayed the thought and directed the aims of a whole generation. This opens the subject, at present much discussed, of the desirability of a writer's concerning himself with the moral and social problems of his own times. We have often been told, earnestly and eloquently, that all authors, not only those occupied with serious subjects, but even novelists, poets and playwrights, should wholly and passionately occupy themselves with the perplexities, reforms, politics, and morals of their own generation. Indeed, some critics hold these views so decidedly that they tend to ignore or to dismiss as mere "escape," romance, or day-dreaming, any book that does not deal with some disturbing aspect of modernity, which, we are gravely assured, is so much more important and so much more complex than any other period has ever been.

Thus urged and fortified, modern writers, many in good faith, many out of opportunism, pour out books that, under different disguises, fiction, verse, history, what you will, are in plain fact pamphleteering, full of bitter indignation against existing abuses, of contentious argument, of idealistic theories, of some kind of propaganda, or the exposition of some question of the moment. And still we are told that this is not enough, and that no one should put pen to paper who is not prepared to contribute to some question of the day. This makes one turn with relief to music and architecture, which must be forms of art beyond the power to scold, preach, or persuade—since as some noble wit is supposed to have said of the Order of the Garter: "there is no damned merit" about them. Should there be, in this connection, merit about literature? Is it the function of the man of letters to concern himself as a moralist or reformer with the thousand perplexities, intricacies, bafflements, rights and wrongs of the society in which he finds himself? Is the professional man of letters, with his facility of expression, his quick observation, his power of drama, his ability to rouse emotion, his lively feeling—with all his gifts, more or less brilliant as the case may be—is he best employed in meddling in matters that belong to the true philosophers, the preachers, the men of action? It might surely be argued that he is not—that if he is a philosopher he should meditate until he has something that it is worth while to teach; if he is a reformer he should find other means than the pen of bringing about reforms, that if he has any constructive ability in any direction that is likely to benefit humanity, let him find an active outlet for that ability. And if he be none of these things, but a writer—scribbler or genius—let him mind his own business and leave propaganda, no matter how worthy, alone.

No doubt many abuses have been corrected by the efforts of literary people—yet one feels that those who have righted and are righting wrong, grievances, and miseries, do not write much about their ideals—they have not time. Often, too, the writer attacks some wrong already decaying through the efforts of quiet folk who have made no fuss, and gets credit for knocking over a toppling idol. Granted, however, that much good has resulted from propaganda literature, it is obvious that much mischief has been done. Lofty idealism, stern rules of conduct, enthusiastic theories of absolute right and wrong, severe indictments of the mistakes and crimes of mankind, are easily flung on paper, easily read and discussed. The difficulty is to make them practicable. What workable plan of reform ever came from men who merely talked and wrote and never tried their hands at putting their ideals into practice? These paper statesmen, these pen and ink idealists, entirely lack cynicism, experience, and what Cavour named le tact de chose possible—the sense of what it is possible to do with given materials.

To admire Rousseau's moral law, his "back to nature," or the noble savage, is reasonable enough—but to try to force these ideals on a society where it is not possible to put them into execution, and where they are detestable to thousands, may be extremely dangerous. "No one," said Oliver Cromwell, "goes so far as he who knows not where he is going," and windy revolutionaries like Raynal, who could give no clear directions because they knew of none, soon found themselves swept into chaos. Raynal was not a creative artist, or even a man of great talent, so perhaps he is not a fair example of the question how far an artist should concern himself with morals and politics—but his once-famous book is a notable example of the powerful effect an author can have on his times, and he lived to wish that when he had written a history of the two Indies he had really written a history and left the maddening questions of liberty, humanity, and truth alone.

Men of far greater ability than Raynal had wasted their talents in these elusive causes and had succeeded only in stimulating the crank and the fanatic and in coining catch-words for lunatics and scoundrels. Absolute art offers no support, supplies no war cries for such as these—but in its serene detachment it offers inspiration and consolation to the truly great leader. Those men, who with the truly sincere leader have indeed battled with the real work of the world, have been upheld and sustained by the majesty and beauty, the charm and dignity, of abstract art; to take a banal example, General Wolfe, according to the anecdote, said that he would rather have written Gray's Elegy than taken Quebec—he would not have said that if Gray had expended his forces in writing a book to teach professional statesmen the ethics of government and professional soldiers the moralities and sentiments proper to their situation. All shades of good and evil form the material of the artist—from them he creates his own world from which we draw consolation, or inspiration, or delight—when he descends to meddlesome propaganda, to moralising or preaching, the less our consolation, our inspiration, our delight—the more that cosa divina which passes nature and becomes art is soiled and tainted.

It may also be imputed to Raynal and the school to which he belonged that they helped, perhaps unconsciously, to destroy the aristocratic ideal in life and the classic ideal in art. A false classicism, founded largely on the exploits of Brutus and the works of Plutarch, was, of course, a mania at the close of the eighteenth century in France, but the genuine ideals of classicism disappeared before the overwhelming wave of romanticism, as the genuine ideals of aristocracy disappeared before the ideals of the bourgeoisie or the mob.

And both by classicism and aristocracy, I take it, are meant that dignity, balance, repose, form and sense of culture—that restraint and good taste absent in both the romantic and realistic schools of writing, which swing from one extreme to another and produce the same effect. It is notable that the wildly romantic school that followed the era of sentiment and virtue—George Sand claimed Rousseau as her master—produced much the same effect on susceptible members of the public as does the extremely cynical, agnostic school of writers so prominent to-day. Excess of romanticism, a longing for escape into impossible conditions of bliss, produced disgust, despair, suicide. A performance of De Vigny's "Chatterton" was considered fiat if some youthful member of the audience did not attempt suicide when the stage poet took poison. Modern cynicism produces the same illusion of frustration and futility—instead of the romantic's nostalgia for the unrealisable dream we have the assertion that the dream is merely indigestion—and in each case existence, to the sensitive, seems undermined. Surely the remedy lies in some return, both in life and in letters, to that classic or aristocratic attitude which combines idealism with sanity, romance with intelligence, and finds in the heroic attitude that golden mean which saves us from both absurdity and despair.

Some outline of the dangers ahead was perceived by those in power who tried, often clumsily enough, to suppress the works of such men as Raynal; Louis XVI, a sincerely religious man, was profoundly shocked by "The Two Indies," the book was again condemned by the Parliament of Paris, 1781, and this time burnt by the hangman. This did not prevent the increased, if secret, sales of the book, but Raynal judged it wise to flee to Spa.

The next few years of his life the old man spent in trying to obtain the patronage of rulers whom some might have considered fit models for the tyrants he had so violently denounced—Frederic of Prussia and Catherine of Russia. The King held off; he had resented some passages in "The Two Indies," but the Empress was pleased to add the ex-Jesuit to her collection of curiosities. In 1791 Raynal returned to France in the belief that a golden age which he had helped to ensure was about to begin—like so many ardent spirits, he was enthusiastic over the events of 1789 and honestly thought that those theories that had worked out so well on paper were being smoothly put into easy practice. He was soon and sharply disillusioned, and alarmed and disgusted by the spectacle of the break-up of that society he had so sternly condemned, addressed a letter of grim rebuke to the National Assembly. In this action the old man showed himself brave, honest, and a true prophet. In trenchant terms he pointed out the horrors of anarchy, which would be attendant on a King without power, an army without leaders, a government without authority. He had the rare courage to admit that he had reconsidered many of his theories—he had realised that in government it is always a question not of the ideal, but of the possible. He believed that he had some influence with the revolutionaries whom his book had done so much to encourage or inspire, and hoped to use that influence to check a headlong rush into a national catastrophe. It was too late.

When the letter was read there was some timid applause from the moderates—but the majority voted the old man senile and the debate continued.

Raynal was, however, unmolested; he survived the reign of terror he had predicted and died, obscure and poor, in 1796.

A very brief survey of volume I of the Geneva edition of "The Two Indies" will provide a fair sample of this book, which now seems harmless to the point of tedium, but which once was so exciting and so powerful.

In the first few pages Raynal makes the assertion that he has taken no little pains to obtain information, and that he would, if needful, have gone to the Equator or the North Pole to consult some competent authority.

With this in mind we may read on page six a description of the lost Atlantis and the obvious moral lesson of "the vanity of human wishes." This is followed by an account of the discovery of Madeira by the Portuguese—it was originally covered with forests, which were destroyed in a fire that burnt for seven years—after that the soil became extremely fertile and produced the Malvoisie grape. After some details of this wine trade we have some eloquent passages devoted to India, Hindustan, Arabia, and Persia—"the richest and most beautiful continent in the world, with the most superb climate, and inhabited by the most ancient race." Some of the mighty monuments of India provoke the reflection: "These are the débris of an immense edifice, built by the first civilised people in the world, who possessed a sublime morality, a profound philosophy, a very refined form of government."

We pass to the Portuguese trading settlements on the Malabar coast, with the pretty list of amber, pearls, ivory, porcelain, silver, aromatics, varnishes, stuffs of silk and cotton and other objects of trade. On page 141 is a description of the Egyptian trade with India, which has a charming fairy-tale air in the picture of the preparation of incense: "Most valuable of perfumes, for the honour of the gods and the delight of Kings," followed by a clear, precise account, evidently by a botanist, of the precious red aloe, after which we have a sudden attack on contemporary Europe. "England torn by the interests of her Independence, France by the interests of her masters, Germany by those of religion, Italy by the pretensions of a tyrant and an impostor. Covered with combatants and fanatics Europe resembles a sick man who, in a moment of delirium, tears open his veins and bleeds to death."

This confusion of crimes, of ambitions, causes us to question Rousseau's claim—"Man is born free."

A history of Turkey gives occasion for some more bitter comments: "The Turks murder their masters, but never think to change their government," together with an attack on Christianity—"which builds the Throne on the Altar."

In referring to "the wealth of Ispahan," Raynal gives us a rich vignette of the city with carpeted streets, silken sunblinds veiling the balconies, aromatic plants in vases of gold and porcelain set among Persian vines—"the most beautiful women and the softest music of Asia." The coco-nut tree in the Moluccas is given three pages of earnest description and we are told that the fruit was "the manna of the desert."

The eulogy of China follows, then we pass to a history of the Dutch nation and the voyages of Cornelius Houtman, a description of the Spice Islands and the spices and their uses; camphor, we note, helps to make fireworks and to disperse tumours; then we are introduced to the Hottentots, Raynal's beau idéal of the noble savage—"Fly, savages, fly! The Europeans menace your liberty and your innocence!"

There is a pleasant picture of Cape Town, with a thousand houses, tree-bordered canal, public gardens, and forty thousand well-treated slaves; a less pleasant picture of Batavia with its deadly climate, constant burning of perfumes to disperse the malarious air, and the voluptuous life that corrupted the sturdy Dutch. Never anywhere else could so many women, sparkling with diamonds, be seen riding in golden sedan chairs attended by hundreds of slaves—indeed, in 1758 there was a law passed against the wearing of diamonds.

A pretty detail is the account, some pages further on, of the blue and milk-white nightingales that dwell on the Cochin China coast, and whose nests, made of sea-foam and frai du poisson, are much valued for food. There is some more moralising on the uselessness of oaths, some more practical notes on trade with China, then the first volume comes to an end with an attack on the Dutch for losing all their ancient republican virtues: "Batavians, the destiny of a commercial nation is to be rich, cowardly, corrupt, and subjugated. Ask of yourselves if you are not all this?"

The volume is completed by the accounts of the Dutch East Indian Company from 1720-1729.

The dust has long lain thick on Guillaume Thomas Raynal and his work—it has not been easy, or perhaps useful, to disturb it; as one allows it to settle again one thinks, with an irrelevancy worthy of the good abbe himself, not of his labours and his moralising, his platitudes and his eloquence, his influence, his errors, but of the hooped and powdered ghost with the oval face and vivid eyes, last seen in 1830, I believe, gliding over the verandah of Belvedere House overlooking Bombay Harbour—the ghost of Elisa Draper.



Edward Young (1683-1765)
(A comtemporary potrait)

EDWARD YOUNG, a lesser star of the Augustan age of English letters, is one of those writers, a sufficient number, whose names are familiar, whose lines are quoted, but whose works are seldom read and less seldom reprinted. Though the name of Young figures nearly as often as the names of Shakespeare and Pope under quoted lines, I know of no edition of "Night Thoughts"* later than 1866; and even by that date the reputation of Young, once considered by serious critics to be on a level with that of Milton, had considerably dwindled, and he was praised more for the unexceptional morality of his views than for the dubious qualities of his verse. George Eliot attacked him both as a man and as a poet, and gave the final blow to his diminished fame, and now, after so much glory and so much neglect, he takes his place as a minor poet and a rich source for the discovery of neat platitudes expressed with a quotable flourish.

[*See Wikipedia]

It may, however, be conceded that "Night Thoughts," both in itself and in the effect it produced when published, is one of the curiosities of our literature, and that a work perhaps more widely read and more influential in Europe than any English poem of the eighteenth century deserves a brief attention—a work, too, that has been praised by such diverse critics as Dr. Johnson, Paine, and Bulwer Lytton.

"Night Thoughts" was also in its time a staff and prop for many afflicted and bereaved people, who found in the sonorous, passionate lines a hope and consolation that atoned for their heavy gloom and morbid melancholy.

The life of Young was not of particular interest, though he moved among the renowned and familiar figures of eighteenth-century London; the only son of a Court Chaplain, he was educated at Winchester and New College, obtained a Law Fellowship at All Souls, came to the capital, mingled with the most lively society of the time, wrote a few very inferior poems, some plays not so inferior, satires of distinctive merit, and hunted diligently for patronage without notable success, for the only great man induced to give him a pension, the Duke of Wharton, went bankrupt soon after. With his eye on the living of Welwyn in Hertford, which was in the gift of his College, Young disappointed in his dangling after the muses, took Holy Orders, became rector of Welwyn, and despite his most strenuous endeavours, never achieved any post more imposing, though he had been appointed one of the Royal Chaplains. He had married the Lady Elizabeth Lee, a grand-daughter of Charles II, and did not lack for influential friends, including the Duchess of Portland, Prior's "noble, lovely, little Peggy," but preferment lagged on the way, and the utmost Court favour Young ever obtained was the position of reader to the Princess of Wales, when he was too blind to discern print and too infirm to travel to London.

He was, however, tolerably comfortable at Welwyn, where, after the death of his wife, he was zealously attended by a redoubtable housekeeper, a staid, discreet, sober gentlewoman, Miss Hallows (who contrived to estrange him from his only son), and where he had all the work of the Parish done for him by a curate on £20 a year—hardly a generous stipend, since Welwyn was worth three hundred, the readership as much, and Young possessed other means, not, as the same curate remarked bitterly, spending half of his income, and being a "self-willed old man, full of trouble."

At Welwyn, after the loss of the Lady Elizabeth, his stepdaughter and her husband, Young wrote his famous poem, and there, in this rustic retreat, after a life varied by visits to the Wells, to Bath and to Bulstrode, the Duke of Portland's mansion, he died at a considerable age, leaving a reputation for sanctity and wisdom, and a voluminous correspondence, mostly concerned with mundane affairs and intrigues for preferment. He certainly merited a bishopric as much as any of his contemporaries, and it is regrettable that he should have been reduced to such undignified "yelps and whines," as one critic calls his appeals, for advancement; but when flattering a patron was the one means of securing notice it can hardly be severely condemned, and fulsome as are Young's letters and dedications, they are no worse than those perpetrated by greater men. It was the age of the patron, and as now authors have to secure the attention of the many, then they had to secure the attention of the one—the appeal was more personal, more painful, but the intention, and often the method, the same. The antics performed at present in the name of publicity may seem two hundred years hence as absurd as do now verses that declare middle-aged peers to be Jupiter and Apollo combined, and depict stout, homely royal ladies being drawn upwards into seventh heavens by Lord Chancellors with purpling wings and robes of the Garter. Edward Young, witty as he was reputed to be, had no sense of humour, and, as Swift remarked, found no great difficulty in "flattering knaves" sooner than "lose his pension," though the Dean of St. Patrick was hardly the person who should have permitted himself this gibe.

Young's private character was, in the parlance of those days, "respectable"; if he did not present much to admire in his conduct, he caused no scandal, and the good advice he offered had hardly any limits; there are guarded hints of "wildness" in his youth, and a brief indulgence in the pleasures of the town in the very doubtful company of the Duke of Wharton, then, however, not revealed in his true colours. Pope says unkindly that "Young was the sport of peers," and Dr. Johnson allowed him genius, but denied him common sense; whatever these early follies, Young soon extricated himself from any unpleasant consequences, and was eager to repudiate the Duke of Wharton when that brilliant young man came, with such edification to the moralists, to that latter end prophesied for all who have the hardihood to flourish like the green bay tree.

By the time that Young entered Holy Orders at the age of forty-seven he was able to support his office with dignity and decorum, and never failed to champion the orthodox Anglicanism of his day by sermons, poems, letters, and excursions into the questions of the moment, as when he rushed into verse to slash his old acquaintance, Voltaire, for Candide:

"Why close a life so justly famed
With such bold trash as this?
This for renown! yes, such as makes
Obscurity a bliss!"

and when he roused himself, in his extreme old age, to write "The Centaur not Fabulous," a counterblast to Bolingbroke's posthumous atheism. Nor is there any reason to doubt that his copious eloquence in the cause of Christianity (as understood in the eighteenth century) was sincere; nor to undervalue his belief in the immortality of the soul because he was careful of the comforts of the body; nor to doubt his faith in the next world because he was solicitous of a good place in this. He appears to have had a passion for preaching as another of his age might have a passion for collecting coins or growing tulips, and to have found the propounding of moral axioms more absorbing than the most agreeable of pleasures. He delighted in laying down rules of conduct, admonishing wickedness, pointing out the brevity of human existence, the approach of the Judgment Day and the certainty of Hell for the disbeliever; and he dwelt on these subjects with a copiousness that caused the most well-trained congregation to nod and the most austere of divines to murmur that the good doctor "overflowed his banks." A sermon he preached before King George II caused such obvious restiveness on the part of His Majesty that the disappointed Young burst into tears; this unfortunate episode may have been the cause of his lack of preferment. Nor is this the only incident that makes us suspect that Young, for all his remarkable gifts, was, on occasion, a bore; a great deal of his work is certainly unreadable save as a curiosity or an exercise in patience, and were it not for the first four "Nights" might be deservedly consigned to a cabinet of curiosities.

But these poems and their influence are sufficiently remarkable to warrant some attention from the student of literature.

The age in which Young lived was peculiarly rich in great and nearly great writers. Pope, Addison, Steele, Swift, Johnson, Fielding, Gay, Shenstone, and Richardson—Young's most intimate friend—come at once to the mind, and at Winchester with the author of the "Night Thoughts" was John Philips, who revived in "Cyder" and "The Splendid Shilling" the Miltonic iambics, and at New College with him was William Collins and Louis, the brother of Colley Cibber, and the brothers Warton, one of whom, Joseph, afterwards dedicated to Young his essay on Pope; Gray and Goldsmith, Macpherson and Chatterton, were among the poets whose careers were contemporary with the old age of Young, whose long life stretched from the full blaze of Dryden, the neo-classic or Augustan school, to the dawn of romanticism; with this transition our poet was in some way concerned.

His earlier pieces are in no way valuable, but in his "Satires," which brought him in a considerable sum, he preceded Pope in this genre, small character sketches in pompous, heroic couplets, full of Latinisms, in which he held up well-known types to scorn; these satiric pieces on the classic model followed Joseph Hall—the saintly Bishop of Norwich—Donne and Dryden in their imitations of Horace and Juvenal. The victims are, of course, as old as humanity—the rake, the miser, the slut, the hypocrite—and though neat and full of trenchant lines, the Satires do not pretend to be poetry and can hardly be accepted as literature. The third Satire, where he indulges in the old grievance of author against critic, is the most amusing:

"'Your work is long,' the critic cries. 'Tis true,
And lengthens still to take in fools like you—
Good authors damn'd have their revenge in this
To see what wretches gain the praise they miss—"

And Young concludes with a spirited attack on the newspaper men almost as trenchant as Pope's "There's nothing blackens like the ink of fools":

"Critics on verse, as squibs on triumph wait,
Proclaim the triumph and augment the state.
Hot, envious, noisy, proud, the scribbling fry
Burn, hiss, and bounce, waste paper, stink and die."

Young next tried for success on the Stage, and though he admired Shakespeare and professed to wish to revive the noble virility of the Elizabethan dramatists, he is more the disciple of Lee and Otway, and was definitely influenced by the French classic school. "Busiris" and "The Brother's Revenge" are fine examples of the drama when "declamation raged, while passion slept"; everyone is in a fury, shouting all others down, while there are "crimes gigantic stalking through the gloom," vast emotions clash against one another, heroines "go mad in white satin," villains gnash their teeth, roll their eyes, heroes protest their heroism in pages of blank verse.

"Exit raving" is the usual stage direction, and the whole machinery of Heaven and Hell is provoked because two rococo warriors are striving for the same pasteboard crown or the same "fatal fair," whose icy virtue does not permit her to state a preference; "loud sorrows howl, envenomed passions bite." There is a certain grandiose flourish in the design and many rich beauties in the detail, but the whole effect is as bombastic as a painting by Verrio or Thornhill, and did not escape the ridicule even of that baroque period; Young's tragedies provoked the satire of Henry Fielding and Henry Carey (author of "Sally in Our Alley"); "Tom Thumb" and "Chrononhotonthologos" exposed the ranting and gesticulating of these beplumed and buskined tyrants; it was difficult, however, to satirise such grotesques, and Bombardinian appears more like the twin brother than the caricature of Busiris.

Despite the wits, Young's plays were often revived and lasted for a respectable period, and it must be admitted that they were at least no worse than many dramas both in England and abroad that were constantly played to admiring audiences. "Say it in thunder" roared one of Young's characters in a line stolen from Mrs. Aphra Beim, and the pert George Anne Bellamy, the actress, remarked that one might as well add "in lightning" too, "thunder and lightning" would have been no inapt name for this remarkable school of neo-classic drama, already tinged by the disturbed gloom of the coming romanticism.

When he took Orders, Young, with his eye on a bishopric, thought it politic to cease these efforts to entertain the profane, and we hear no more of his literary labours until 1742, when Dodsley published at the famous sign of Tully's Head in St. James's Street a slim volume at 1s., with blue paper covers showing a clergyman seated among the tombs, meditating by the light of the moon, and entitled "Night Thoughts, or the Complaint."

Young, now an elderly, a bereaved and a disappointed man, was the anonymous author, and it was in Welwyn, the scene of the death of his beloved wife and the extinction of his worldly hopes, that he had composed the only poem of his that is likely to be remembered.

Several influences had combined to inspire Young. He was of a melancholy temperament; at Winchester he had pondered over the epitaphs in the cloisters and worked by the light of a candle in a skull, and he had been shocked by the loss of several people dear to him; the state of medicine then gave everyone an opportunity of noting the uncertainty and brevity of life. He had also been roused by Pope's "Essay on Man," that brilliant patchwork founded on the new metaphysics of Leibnitz, then displacing those of Descartes. The German had corrected the Cartesian "fundamental ideas" of man to "fundamental faculties" of man. This theory, tinged with the philosophies of Bolingbroke, had inspired "The Essay on Man," which preached a practical optimism that, if it did not quite reach Voltaire's ironic "all for the best in the best of all possible worlds," at least tried to prove that it was as well to make the most of this existence since we were sure of no other, leaving the mysteries we cannot fathom in the hands of a no doubt merciful God. Pope, in the main, as far as he was consistent at all, preached the pagan philosophy:

"Enjoy your life, my brother,
Is gray old Reason's song;
One has so little while to live
And one is dead so long."

Such a doctrine, however piously expressed, seemed to Young little short of blasphemy, and in "Night Thoughts" he passionately proclaimed that life was either a series of errors or a series of penances, and that the unescapable result was in the first case Hell and in the second Heaven. The main thesis of the poem was the immortality of the soul, and the main novelty the introduction of the personal note, so long absent from English verse; obscurely and under feigned names the poet lamented his own losses and drew his own consolations. For these two reasons and because of a glowing grandeur in the imagery, the poem was immediately successful and the melancholic, romantic school fairly launched. Though the matter, fear of death and hope of a future existence, scorn of folly and praise of virtue, was as old as human thought, it had never been quite presented in this way before in English verse. The Elizabethan attitude, for example, on one of the main themes of Young—contemplation of death—is different indeed, as is expressed in the stately impersonal lines of Francis Beaumont:

"The Wind blows out, the Bubble dies;
The Spring entombed in Autumn lies;
The Dew's dried up; the Star is shot;
The Flight is past, and Man forgot,"

which seem an echo of the Psalmist's "For he considered that they were but flesh; and that they were even as a wind that passeth away and cometh not again." The lovely resignation of George Herbert in "I made a Posie," where he says:

"Farewell, dear flowers, sweetly your time ye spent,
Fit, while ye lived, for smell or ornament
And after death for cures.
I follow straight without complaint or grief,
Since if my scent be good, I care e not if
It be as short as yours,"

the noble submission of Raleigh in his "Oh, eloquent, just and mighty Death" in his prose, and "Even such is time" in his verse, to mention but two other poets who touched these universal themes, were different indeed from the flowing rhapsodies of Young; and the grand meditations of Thomas Browne and the classic calm of Montaigne's "May death find me, not unmindful of his dart, but tending my cabbages" found no echo in the exclamatory periods of the rector of Welwyn, when he surveyed "Earth's melancholy map." Thomas Parnell, vicar of Finglass and friend of Pope, who died in 1718, had already written "A Night Piece on Death," but it had not had much effect and can hardly be regarded as a forerunner of Young. There was, too, a hundred years before Young, the "Death" of Charles Drelincourt, famous from Defoe's Mrs. Veal preface, but the French minister's work has not the inspiration of the English poet.

The design of the poem was complete in four "Nights," but Young, like many another, was tempted by the vogue he had himself created to outrun his own inspiration—he expanded the poem to nine "Nights," and the last five are of little value, and in parts dull indeed; but it was reasonable that he should wish to continue his own vein, for it had instantly been exploited by others—Robert Blair produced "The Grave," Harvey "Meditations among the Tombs," where he left the churchyard as not sufficiently gloomy and descended to the vaults to compose his diatribes, which are written in an ornate prose in Young's style. Churchyards promised to be as fashionable a vogue as routs or masques, and skulls and cross-bones as popular as ribbons and laces.

"Clarissa Harlowe" was published immediately after "Night Thoughts," and the drawn-out death-bed agonies of Clarissa, her coffin adorned with designs of broken lilies, may have been inspired by the author of "Night Thoughts," the friend of Richardson. In a few years followed the melancholy, elegant perfection of Gray's Elegy and the wild gloom of Ossian; and the vogue of brooding despair and dreary lamentations spread with astonishing celerity on the Continent. Before glancing at this foreign fashion of melancholy a brief survey may be taken of a poem that had so wide and continuous an influence.

Young in "Night Thoughts" was the poetical disciple of Thompson, who, through John Philips, had turned to the Miltonic iambics; Thompson had referred to "virtuous Young," and they shared two possible patrons, Lord Melcombe and Lord Wilmington. Our first landscape poet had turned the attention of his contemporaries from the heroic couplet of Dryden and Pope to the blank verse of Milton, Dr. Young also refused "to dance in fetters," as Prior termed writing in rhyme, and copied the manner of the author of "The Seasons"; he could not copy his flowing polish, the delicacy of his touch, the purity of his taste, which shows through all the ponderous Latinisms of the day; he was incapable of such loveliness as the delicious episodes of Musidora or Lavinia:

"The lovely young Lavinia once had friends,
And fortune smiled, deceitful, on her birth,"

where the classic figures seem no more out of place in these airy, golden landscapes than do the nymphs and shepherds in the perspectives of Claude Gelée or the Greek temples in a canvas by Wilson:

"Where scattered wild the Lily of the Vale
Its balmy essence breathes, where cowslips hang
Their dewy head, where purple violets lurk."

Young's metre is full of faults; he had studied Milton, but to no great purpose; he could not escape the lure of the neat couplet, the pause at the end of every line, the effective quotable sentence and such ornaments as antithesis, alliteration and metaphor, useless return of the verb, ornament carried to excess. He was never so inspired as to rise above a certain gaudiness of expression, or so disciplined as to be able to control a cascade of images falling one on the other in glittering confusion. In the whole of the "Nights" there is nothing so clear, so human, and so happy as Pope's lines in the rival poem, beginning:

"Lo! the poor Indian! Whose untutored mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears Him in the wind,"

and ending with the exquisite:

"To be content's his natural desire,
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire,
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company."

It is often difficult to know what Young means to say, yet it is not often that the ear fails to be pleased with the sonorous grandeur with which he gilds his passionate incoherencies.

"Night Thoughts" is too well known for it to be needful here to enter into a description of it or a consideration of who were Lorenzo, Philander, or Narcissa—in all likelihood composite portraits; the purpose of the poem is didactic (a contradiction in terms), in reality one long exhortation to the thoughtless to remember the brevity of life and to prepare for death as an entrance into bliss. As usual in such moralising little is said of this same bliss; it is a merc distant gleam, illusive as a marsh fire, and all the emphasis of the poet is laid on the horrors of this life, the glooms of death and the grave, the terrors of the Judgment Day, and the swift punishments in store for those who fail to realise that to enjoy oneself is a crime and to indulge in worldy pursuits a stupidity. "Incredulity," the dying Diderot exclaimed, "is the beginning of all philosophy." Young thought credulity the beginning of all religion; one must believe blindly in a future state where only the model Christian shall be saved.

The good doctor, in brief, did not hold with the dictum of Vauvenargues that "one has no right to render unhappy those one cannot render good"—and dressing up a lay figure in the person of Lorenzo, the man of the world and pleasure, he proceeds to preach and scold at his gaudy puppet till the reader longs to hear Lorenzo quote Sir Toby Belch: "Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?"

But that appears to be exactly what Young, if he did not think, hoped; he was, with Dryden:

"Tired of waiting for the Chymic gold,
Which fools us young and beggars us when old,"

and by no means disposed to view with indulgence a world that had been so blind to his own merits. He also suffered from that odd lack of sympathy with vice which is the most unpleasant trait of some types of virtue, and that ancient delusion that the period in which he lived—"the dregs of time"—was unsurpassed for wickedness. Refusing Congreve's common sense:

"For virtue now is neither more nor less
And vice is only varied in its dress"—

he believed that the reign of the first two Georges was an epoch of scandal, corruption, atheism, folly, disorder, and suicide never paralleled before; to him:

"The flattered crimes of a licentious age
Reproach our silence and demand our rage."

Subsequent historians also have taken this view, but save for some change in manners it is difficult to credit that the eighteenth century was different from any other century, and that the crimes and follies lashed by Young are not the crimes and follies of all time. In many directions the years when "Night Thoughts" appeared are full of interest: Royalty had recently stood to hear the Hallelujah Chorus in Handel's "Messiah" performed for the first time; William Collins was writing those odes, unique in our language, which lament those fallen in the long tedious war in which a King of England for the last time led his troops in person; the Stewart cause was gathering for its final overthrow at Culloden Moor; William Hogarth was designing the pictures that were to found the English school of painting; and the odd genius of Richardson had just provoked Henry Fielding to write the first modern English novel.

None of these things interested Edward Young; he merely saw "stalled theology" too comfortable in high places, Court corruption and the gambling, drinking, wantonness of the idle youth of the nation; Lorenzo, the villain of "Night Thoughts," is the Tom Rakewell of "The Rake's Progress," the Lord Squanderfield of "Marriage à la Mode" soon to be designed, the Robert Lovelace of "Clarissa" just published, the Lord Euston and Duke of Wharton of real life; in short, Lorenzo is the personification of that beautiful, proud, and careless youth, garlanded with earthly pleasures, arrogant in strength of body and power of intellect, who is so attractive that even the moralist who attacks him must dwell on his splendours with secret admiration. Through "Night Thoughts," as through so many didactics on this theme, rims the note of regret, of envy for what is so magnificent, so transitory, there runs also the note of malice, the desire to destroy the likeness of the pomps that have been missed, the lusts that have been outworn; with relish does the old man consign the sparkling youth to:

"A state
Not unambitious; in the ruffled shroud,
Thy Parian tomb's triumphant arch beneath,"

and yet he must linger on the joy and pride and passion he condemns, "the fopperies of fortune," all the adornments of "this prisoner of earth, pent beneath the moon."

"Lorenzo, Fortune makes her court to thee,
Thy fond heart dances, while the siren sings,"

and again:

"—well may Life
Put on her plume and in her rainbow shine."

Young dwells on the "vast concerns of an eternal scene," and the moment when "the sun is darkness and the stars are dust," but he cannot resist the fascination of youth, pride, beauty whose

"Glossy plumes
Expanded shine with azure, green and gold."

Lorenzo might be:

"Smothered with errors, and oppressed with toys,"

but his sparkling earthly radiance outshines the fanciful horrors of the moralist. The lamentations and reproaches addressed to this unbelieving rake and the lost Narcissa are clothed in a richness of imagery that probably went far to secure the success of the poem; frequent dark landscapes are sketched that have no relation to the scenes Young must have viewed round Welwyn, but more resemble one of those black and sulphurous compositions by Salvator Rosa. Here, as in his earlier verse, Young provides all the stage properties inherited by the neo-Gothic School from Walpole to Mrs. Radcliffe and Maturin; here are the rocks, grottos, mossy ruins, owls, groves, charnel-houses, skulls, "the funereal vale," "the sad cypress gloom" and howling winds, midnight hours, "the ghastly ruins of the mouldering tomb" and "the poor worms" soon to be so familiar in a section of our literature, and here, too, are some terrific pictures of the Last Judgment, a favourite subject with Young, which might have inspired the imposing conceptions of Gustave Dore and John Martin; here, as in his plays, Young employs the grandest images possible, sun, moon, stars curdling into vapour or dissolving into dust, eternal trumpets splitting the sky, legions of fiends and angels and the earth reeling in chaos. This, if not sublime, as it is meant to be, is at least impressive—like the decorations at Versailles, Young's crowded lines may be stucco, but they are good stucco, heroically moulded and adorned with a rich if gaudy ornament.

Sumptuously, for instance, does he describe the common experience of day-dreaming in this couplet:

"How richly were my noontide trances hung
With gorgeous tapestries of pictured joys!"

And how magnificent this description of night visions:

"What, tho' my Soul phantastic Measures trod,
O'er Fairy Fields; or mourn'd along the gloom
Of pathless Woods; or down the craggy Steep
Hurl'd headlong, swam with pain the mantled Pool;
Or scal'd the cliff; or danc'd on Hollow Winds,
With antic Shapes, wild Natives of the Brain?"

The single lines are very well known—best of all perhaps the opening line of the First Night:

"Tir'd Nature's sweet restorer, Balmy Sleep."

Then others—forcible and just:

"Strong Reason's shudder at the Dark Unknown."
"Love of fame is Avarice of Air."
"Who cheapens Life abates the fear of Death."
"Virtue alone outlasts the Pyramids."
"'Tis vain to seek in man for more than man"—

and many other similar lines, which have passed into the language, though it is sometimes not remembered that Young wrote them.

The following lines give a fair idea of Young's power of creating a grand image, and are not marred by many of his usual faults:

"The Nameless He, whose nod is Nature's birth;
And Nature's shield, the shadow of His hand;
Her dissolution, his suspended smile;
The great first last! Pavilioned high he sits
In Darkness, from excessive splendour torn,
By Gods, unseen unless, through lustre lost.
His glory, to created glory lights,
As that, to central horrors; He looks down
On all that soars; and spans Immensity."

Despite the extreme gloom of the poem (Pope suggested "Go hang thyself" as a motto for it) it became popular immediately, and the influence of "Night Thoughts" spread in Young's own country down from Goldsmith to Cowper and to the sombre misery of Kirke White, with his extremely melancholy "Dance of Consumptives among the Graves," "where troops of squalid spectres play," and where references to "eves of Death," "chilling damps," "vain illusions of deceitful life," "mid-night ghosts" evoke the very air of "Night Thoughts," while the fragment, "Written in Prospect of Death," might almost be from the hand of Young. There was, however, a pathetic difference in the writers—Henry Kirke White was a young and dying man when he woke "to watch the sickly taper that lights me to my tomb," while Young was old and healthy when he darkened life by fears of death. The early work of Lord Byron, who refers to Young and had evidently studied "Night Thoughts," was not unaffected by the glooms of the rector of Welwyn, whose poem, illustrated twice, by the wild uncouth pencil of William Blake and the insipid prettiness of Thomas Stothard's graver, was still in active circulation in the early years of the nineteenth century.

Several English poems were indebted to the "Night Thoughts" not only for their mood and colouring, but even for actual lines, such as Goldsmith's "Edwin and Angelina"

"Man wants but little here below
Nor wants that little long,"

which is Young's

"Man wants but little, nor that little long."

"The Task" is obliged, in a like manner, to "Night Thoughts," and there is another quotation in "The Parish Register."

Gray's famous line:

"And waste its sweetness on the desert air,"

seems an echo of one of Young's satires:

"And waste their music on the savage race."

An article in the Literary Gazette, 1821, pointed out many lines in "The Corsair" and "Manfred" that almost repeat the actual words of Young, as "Sorrow is knowledge," Byron's form of "Knowing is suffering," and "That hideous sight, a naked human heart," which in Byron becomes "That open sepulchre, the naked heart." Even "In Memoriam" contains similar echoes, as "In thy wisdom make me wise," which is near to "And teach your wisdom to be wise." A most erudite critic of Edward Young, Dr. Thomas, has even seen in Lady Clara Vere de Vere's:

"Oh teach the orphan boy to read!
Or teach the orphan girl to sew,"—

an echo of Young's:

"Do some generous good,
Teach Ignorance to see or grief to smile."

Certainly John Keble's famous first line:

"Sun of my Soul, Thou Saviour dear"—

is very similar to Young's:

"Sun of the soul, her never setting sun."

In France the influence of Young was even more remarkable; it appears to echo in the "A quoi bon?" of Julie de Lespinasse, the muse of the encyclopaedists themselves, who probably liked Young as well as the admired "Clarissa," and by 1770 Letourneur's translation was so successful that "Youngisme" became a phrase, and a contemporary verse declared:

"Les crêpes de Young se mêlent
Parmi les pompons de toilette."

Camille Desmoulins read Young and Harvey (their works were published in one volume) the night before his execution, and another victim of the Revolution of 1789, Andre Chénier, was moved to protest against the immense influence "of the frenzied English despair." The popularity of the book continued, however, into the nineteenth century, and translation followed translation, and imitation imitation. The vogue was at last checked by the condemnations of Chateaubriand and Madame de Stael, though Chateaubriand himself had once felt the influence of Young. The shadow of "Night Thoughts" falls on Lamartine, the poem was read by, if it did not affect, De Vigny, Balzac, and De Musset.

In Italy the success and effect of "Night Thoughts" were no less notable; the edition of 1771 was honoured with a preface by that supremely gracious imperial poet, the Abbé Pietro Metastasio, and, apart from the many minor versifiers powerfully affected by the black gorgeous gloom of the Englishman, may be cited Ippolito Pindemonte's "Dei Sepolcri," with greater names, those of Ugo Foscolo and Giacomo Leopardi, whose melancholy muses appear to have been directly inspired by Young's funereal meditations; one of Leopardi's poems also is entitled "Night Thoughts."

Ugo Foscolo, that most noble and unfortunate of patriots and poets, also was in his earlier work, notably in his "Sepolcri," dedicated to the memory of Parini, and in "Jacopo Ortis" distinctly inspired by the pessimism of Young.

"Night Thoughts" was translated also into Portuguese, Castilian and Russian; in Russia the poem appeared in ten different editions and is supposed to have encouraged the gloom of Pushkin; a Dutch edition inspired William Bellamy and Van Haren, and the Scandinavian languages also gave their three different versions of the sombre compositions of the rector of Welwyn, which were published also in Icelandic, Polish, and Hungarian.

In Germany the effect of these lugubrious poems was tremendous: they were warmly welcomed by Klopstock, whose "Messiah" began to appear in 1748. Meta, Klopstock's beloved wife, passionately revered Young and thought he deserved the Archbishopric of Canterbury. Johann Evald, the lofty, exquisite and unhappy Danish poet, died with a copy of the "Messiah" under his pillow, and was, through Klopstock, influenced by Young. Published in a German translation in 1751, "Night Thoughts" was immediately a fashion; Teutonic imitations of Young sprang up thick and fast, like fungi on the damp graves of Welwyn, and the gloom of Young tinged the work of Jean Paul Richter, Herder, Lessing, inspired Friedrich von Hardenberg, known as "Novalis," to write "Hymns to Night," influenced Hoffmann and Goethe, and helped the Rousseauan "return to Nature movement." The "Sorrows of Werther" are, in a sense, the sorrows of Edward Young; Ossian, whose vogue at first ran side by side with that of "Night Thoughts," at last eclipsed the earlier poem in Germany, but not before this atmosphere of pessimism and regret had permeated the whole of German literature, one might indeed add, the whole of European literature, for it is hardly fantastic to trace in the disenchanted romanticism, the sombre fancies, the wailing laments, the dreary disgust for earthly pleasures so notable in the work of writers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the attitude of "loathing life, and black with more than melancholy views" of Edward Young, though he had long since, in his own words, had to "toss fortune back her tinsel and her plume," and admit:

"My world is dead;
A new world rises and new manners come,
Foreign Comedians, a spruce band, arrive,
To push me from the scene, or hiss me there."



Mary Stewart (1542-1587)
(Portait by François Clouet, 1560)

MARY STEWART was not in herself a very remarkable woman, but her circumstances made her appear so. There is no indication in her character that she would have become notable by reason of her own personal qualities. Fair, high-spirited, indiscreet, and ardent women were common enough in the aristocracy of the Renaissance, have been common enough in any sheltered, idle, luxurious class. Of political acumen, of elevated patriotism, of selfless, far-seeing devotion to a cause or to an ideal, Mary Stewart showed no trace. Her little accomplishments of verse-making, lute-playing, dancing, fine needlework, have largely to be taken on trust and, at best, could have been matched by any well-bred lady of her time. Her seductive charm has become largely fabulous; the authority for it rests in great part on the studied eulogies of courtiers, or the tributes of men like Brantôme, writing in their old age of youthful memories. Her few authentic portraits give us no more than that "pleasing face of a gentlewoman," which was John Knox's description of his sovereign's countenance.

But because she was placed in such an extraordinary situation, because her story contains the crude elements of apparent romance, love episodes, murders, imprisonments, escapes, plots, a violent death, legends have clustered thickly round her personality; she has been dramatised and sentimentalised until it is extremely difficult to see her even with that small degree of truth which is the most we can hope for when looking back at the great figures of history.

The most important parts of her story are obscure, and will always be matter for controversy among the many, and for fanatic bitterness and acrid partisanship among the few.

Mary Stewart was of importance politically because of her position, and not because of her character or attainments. As Queen of one country and heiress to another she was, all her life, of great interest to European statesmen, and during the last years of her imprisonment she became a very powerful factor in the Roman Catholic effort to effect a counterreformation in England; it has been said, probably without exaggeration, that the whole of Elizabeth Tudor's policy revolved round Mary of Scotland. It has also been said, with equal truth, that Mary's failures—her almost incredible misfortunes—resided within herself; she had not the qualities necessary for success in a position of bewildering and intricate difficulty. We may admit as much, but we should also concede that very few women indeed would have been able to succeed where Mary failed. It is doubtful if any Roman Catholic girl of nineteen, foreign-bred, without disinterested advisers, could have achieved the task of ruling well and wisely the Protestant Scotland that Mary found when she landed at Leith in 1561. It is perhaps not likely that many women in Mary's position would have made the terrible mistake of marrying a man implicated in the murder of a husband, but, on the other hand, it is extremely unlikely that any woman, trying to queen it in Holyrood, would have escaped some amorous entanglement, some snare of bloody violence that would have brought her to ruin as swiftly as the Rizzio, Darnley, Bothwell imbroglio brought Mary to disaster. If her imprudence seems startling, it is probably because we do not sufficiently realise her background or the atmosphere in which she moved. This typical woman of the late Renaissance is too often viewed either in the fairy-tale light of legend, or through the sentimental pages of nineteenth-century refinement.

The first step towards understanding Mary is to understand her period; she was neither the heroine of a ballad, nor a Victorian lady in distressing circumstances. Nor was she that poetic conception, an ethereal creature seeking an ideal lover and continually betrayed by love. Her choice of husbands seems stupid beyond belief, until we consider the men who surrounded her, the men who were offered to her as possible lovers or consorts. Her actions were those of a woman always tormented, often desperate, driven by circumstances and her own temperament into horrible difficulties, and extricating herself by the wit, courage, and falsehood, born of necessity. Stripped of the trappings given it by fiction-writers and poets, her story is neither noble nor beautiful, nor, in the true sense of the word, romantic. The motives of all concerned in her downfall, and as far as we know them, her own, were too brutal and sordid for her tragedy to have real dignity or pathos. Even if she were as brilliantly innocent as her most fanatic admirers would have us believe she was, her conduct during the crisis of her fortunes was too wilful, foolish, and opportunist to be really admirable or moving. Her royal position demanded an impossible virtue, a self-respect, a self-control, a fortitude, and a dignity that no young woman could have been expected to possess, but Mary's behaviour fell disastrously below even a moderate standard of queenly decorum. It was the old story of Caesar's wife; what did it matter if she was really spotless?—she gave cause for a blaze of scandal in Europe and was cast out of her own country, despoiled of everything, to the last shred of reputation. Nor was she wholly the victim of the lies of her rivals and enemies; even the impartial observer, the friendly well-wisher might, in all honesty, have thought that it was a murderess, an adulteress, a treacherous liar, that fled across the Solway after the Langside defeat in 1568. Du Croc, the French ambassador, who was desirous, from every point of view, of championing Mary, observed that her personal appeal to the King of France would be of little avail—"since the unhappy facts are too well known." Those, then, who had cause to dislike or to fear the Queen of Scots had plenty of excuse for violently decrying her, and the plain man and woman every reason for regarding the discrowned ruler with doubt and suspicion.

Imprisonment and death were, in this age, the consequences of political failure—they were also the punishments for domestic crime. Mary had not succeeded in ruling Scotland, and she could hardly have hoped to escape the penalty her ancestors had paid for failure in the same task. As a woman she had recklessly misjudged and mishandled her affairs, and as a private person, could not have expected to escape censure and punishment. Her only chance of escape from being damaged by embarrassing charges would have lain in her strength as a ruler; a Sophie of Anhalt, with a Potemkin by her side, might have lived down or glossed over a scandal like Kirk o' Field. But Mary was a weak, a dethroned sovereign, and therefore could not afford to disregard conventional standards of morality. What protection, what measure of safety she had, she owed to her sole possession—the name of Queen. If, like Alice Arden, she had been arraigned with her lover for murder of her husband before an English jury, her fate would surely have been the same as that of the murderous wife of Faversham. She was fortunate that, as a Queen who had made a headlong failure of politics, she escaped by flight the instant vengeance of her enemies, and fortunate that, as a woman, she was never put on trial for her supposed crimes, but allowed to die when these were almost forgotten, and changed circumstances had given her the dignity of a martyr.

So much warm sympathy and tender sentiment have been expended over Mary Stewart, the facts of her long imprisonment and violent death seem in themselves so atrocious, there is something so touching in the slow wearing away of her youth and beauty in hopeless pining, that to consider her case logically is to be adjudged hard, or prejudiced in favour of Protestantism and Queen Elizabeth. If, however, any attempt is to be made to present an even partially true portrait (the whole truth will surely be for ever concealed) of this much-discussed character, the pity allowed to the poet, the championship permitted to the novelist, must be discarded. Mary's appeal, of femininity, of beauty, of misfortune, is wholly to the heart, and the heart is a bad guide for the historian.

Mary's life was, from first to last, dramatic and unfortunate; she was born in 1542 a week before her father, James V, died at the age of thirty in Falkland Castle, overwhelmed by the disastrous relationship with England that had culminated in the defeat of the Scots at Solway Moss, November, 1542. James V was directly descended from Robert the Steward (reigned 1371-90); the Kings of this House had all been able men, quite the equals of contemporary sovereigns; their misfortunes, the violent deaths of many of them, might be ascribed to long minorities, the power of the Barons, the fiery independent spirit of the Scots and the rudeness of the times, rather than to any marked incapacity of their own. James IV (reigned 14881513) was a notable Prince, under whose rule Scotland flourished in what was afterwards regarded as a Golden Age; he was a great builder, a founder of three Universities, a patron of literature, an ambitious ruler. He married Margaret, daughter of Henry VII (1503), and was slain fighting against the forces of his brother-in-law at Flodden (1513). This King was Mary Stewart's grandfather; from his wife, Margaret Tudor, Mary derived the dangerous claim to the English throne, which was the root of most of her grandeur and most of her troubles. During the minority of James V (1513-1542) this Queen-Mother Margaret complicated the claims to the Scottish succession by marrying and then divorcing the turbulent Earl of Angus, to whom she bore a daughter, Margaret, afterwards married to Mathew Stewart, Earl of Lennox.

James V married in succession two French princesses; the "auld alliance" with France was a strong element in Scottish policy, and the menacing attitude of Henry VIII did much to strengthen this ancient connection. Mary Stewart was the only child to survive infancy of the second marriage, that of James V with Mary of Guise, daughter of the great House of Lorraine and widow of the Duc de Longueville.

The dispute that had led to Solway Moss was caused by an attempt on the part of Henry VIII to force his nephew to set up the tenets of the Reformation in Scotland, to defy the Pope and despoil the monasteries, which had absorbed an enormous share of the country's wealth. James V, however, was a sincere Roman Catholic, and his principal adviser was David Beaton, the Cardinal Archbishop of St. Andrews. This strong and able prelate was the principal adviser to the widowed Mary of Guise, and crowned the infant Queen a year after her father's death. The Regent was the heir-presumptive to the throne, the head of the Hamiltons, the Earl of Arran. This nobleman was inclined to Protestantism and the English alliance, and Mary, despite her mother's opposition, would have been betrothed to Prince Edward (Edward VI), had not King Henry's terms been couched in a manner completely insulting to the proud Scots. Upon the breaking off of the marriage treaty (1543) Henry VIII invaded and devastated Scotland; for six years (1544-1550) the war (continued after Henry's death, 1547, by the Protector Somerset) harried the Scots with every horror of fire and sword. The little Queen, in the safe retreats of Inchmahome and Dumbarton, lived peacefully in the midst of these turmoils; her mother and Beaton leaned naturally to the French alliance, and in 1548 Mary, with an elegant retinue and the little playmates who bore her name, was sent to France to be educated by her maternal grandmother, the austere and virtuous Antoinette de Bourbon, and her celebrated uncles, the soldier Prince and the Cardinal Prince of the powerful and ambitious House of Guise.

Mary was warmly received by the King of France, Henri II, and from what we know of the childhood that she spent mostly on the fine estates of Joinville, it was happy, uneventful, and full of promise. The child who was in such an exalted and strange position was praised by all as lovely, charming, docile, and accomplished. Two lessons, at least, her Guise relations taught her—a firm adherence to her hereditary faith and an intense pride of birth.

While the young Queen was growing up under the influence of the haughty members of the House of Lorraine, her mother was endeavouring to stem the rising forces of Protestantism in Scotland. Lutheranism had for some years begun to attract the sturdy spirit of the Scottish commoner, and the nobles looked with greedy eyes on the swollen possessions of the Church. The Government was weak, and outbursts of fanaticism roused and focused popular discontents. Cardinal Beaton had been murdered (in revenge for the death of the Protestant, George Wishart), in his own castle two years before Mary went to France; John Knox was with his murderers, who were sent to the galleys in 1548; after nineteen months of this slavery he was released by English intercession, resided for a while at the court of Edward VI, then retired to Geneva and the counsels of Jean Calvin. By 1555 Knox, a furious firebrand of a man, was back in Scotland rejoicing over the rapidly increasing power of Protestantism. To counteract this English Protestant tendency, Henri II induced Arran to accept a French dukedom (Châteauhérault), and to resign the Regency to the loyal, brave, and single-minded Mary of Guise. In 1558 Mary Stewart married François, the Dauphin, amid great pomp in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris. The bride was admired for her beauty, sweetness, and amiable grace; the bridegroom, a swart lad of nineteen, bore pitiful marks of degeneracy—stammering, frail, in constant pain, he was already a victim to the tuberculosis that was in a short time to kill him. Mary seems to have been fond of her unhappy husband; she was kind and affectionate with him, and nursed devotedly his increasing illness.

On this occasion of her marriage she entered politics with an act of treachery that showed either the foolishness of a girl or the double-dealing of a false nature. She signed Scotland away, by a secret document, to her father-in-law, while the Scottish Commissioners, who had come to France to protect their country, were fobbed off with a sham undertaking, which Mary privately promised not to honour. Doubtless the young bride acted under the influence of her relations; but in thus endeavouring to reduce her kingdom to an appanage of France, like Brittany, in thus, as the first act of her reign, deliberately tricking her subjects, she gave no indication of either the brilliant intellect or the generous heart she was supposed to possess. In 1559, Henri II was killed in an accident, and Mary and François became joint sovereigns of Scotland and France. Her father-in-law had done her one disservice in advising her to adopt the style, arms, and liveries of Queen of England on the death of Mary Tudor in 1558. Elizabeth was, in the opinion of all Roman Catholics, illegitimate, and Mary Stewart the rightful sovereign of England; but to assert these claims was a meaningless flourish on the part of Henri II, and roused a bitter resentment and a deep suspicion in Elizabeth Tudor, which she never overcame.

The return of Knox to Scotland in 1559 was the signal for a Protestant rebellion that Mary of Guise was powerless to repress; when she died in 1560 (a great personal grief to her daughter), the triumphant Protestants established the Reformed Church, and "the Lords of the Congregation" assumed the government of the country, with only a technical acknowledgment of the sovereignty of Mary and her husband. This was the end of the Roman Church and the French alliance in Scotland; the Lords, chief among whom was James Stewart, Mary's half-brother, gorged themselves with Church lands, and looked to Elizabeth for support, money, and counsel.

The death from tuberculosis of the young Francois II in 1560 left Mary in a desolate position; the new King, Charles IX, was a child, the power of the House of Guise was in eclipse, and Catherine de Medicis, the Queen-Mother, disliked her daughter-in-law. The Queen of Scots, who had won golden opinions by her beauty, meekness, discretion, and dignity, refused to ratify the treaty of Edinburgh, made between England and the rebel Lords, thereby incurring the increased enmity of Elizabeth, and returned to Scotland, August, 1561. She had refused an invitation from the Earl of Huntly, Cock o' the North, brought by Leslie, Bishop of Ross, to attempt to restore her faith by force, but acquiesced, probably on the advice of her Guise kinsmen, in the Protestant establishment; she made the able and avaricious Lord James, her half-brother, her principal adviser, and submitted to a state of affairs that punished with death a second attendance at Mass. She could barely obtain a reluctant consent for the private exercise of her own worship in Holyrood, and signed decrees banishing monks and nuns under severe penalties.

Her figure is here shadowy; she seems to have been passive in the hands of the Lord James and his party, very willing to please her Protestant subjects, eager to court Elizabeth, full of high spirits and pretty ways. She had brought a French retinue with her, and their luxurious elegance and her own frivolous amusements proved ample material for the eloquence of John Knox to embellish into a picture of "Venus and all her crew." The fiery reformer was probably half-insane, and there is no evidence whatever that Mary had learnt any vices in France or that her diversions in Holyrood were not wholly innocent. So far did she go in complaisance to her half-brother and the Lords, that she herself rode against her rebellious subject and co-religionist, the Earl of Huntly, and appeared to rejoice at the ruin of the Gordons and the Roman Catholic North. She gave the Lord James the title of Earl of Moray (Murray) and endured patiently perpetual schemes and counter-schemes for her second marriage. Her nerves were galled raw by the intricate disputes over her future husband; the same question was also exasperating Elizabeth almost beyond endurance. To these speculations was joined that of the successions to the two Kingdoms; would Elizabeth die unwed or childless, and Mary and Catholicism inherit England, or would Elizabeth and Protestantism swallow up, one way or another, Scotland? Moray, and even more definitely Sir William Maitland, most brilliant of Scottish politicians, were working towards England and the tenets of the Reformation; Mary, passive though she seemed, was in everything vowed to France and the Pope, who had sent her the Golden Rose, sadly naming her—"Rose among Thorns."

It is not known how many Roman Catholics remained in Scotland, nor how far the desolation of the country, the ruin of abbeys, convents, churches, and church property was due to the zeal of the Reformers, and how much to the brutality of Somerset's armies, but it cannot be disputed that Mary found her faith cast out and insulted, her way of life reviled, and her conduct exposed to the fanatic insolence of John Knox and his followers. She kept her temper admirably, but she suffered in spirit, and her health failed; she was subject to frequent fainting fits and bouts of melancholy. Among the turbulent, lawless, greedy, and often dishonest nobles who surrounded the lonely girl, there was not one on whom she could rely in any way. Even Moray, well as he served her, was Elizabeth's pensioner, and no one could be sure of Maitland.

Mary showed some interest in a brilliant French border chieftain, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, her mother's loyal servant, but he had to flee the country for misconduct and Mary appears at this period not to have had any favourite, man or woman.

It is impossible, here, to hint even at the complexity of European politics that formed Mary's background; her own one political idea was to be recognised as heiress to the English crown and, ultimately, to bring back the two Kingdoms under Roman, Catholicism. She was even prepared to consider Elizabeth's own favourite, the Earl of Leicester, as a possible husband, if that Queen would promise her the English succession; but Elizabeth's and Burleigh's intricate schemes were developed in an endless procrastination. Mary's conduct, never yet blamed for more than feminine frivolity or youthful lightness, was the subject of gossip during the Chastelard affair, when a young Frenchman was beheaded (1562) for the audacity of twice concealing himself in her bedroom; the Queen passed the first years of her reign without provoking any censure more serious than the unseemly diatribes of the fanatic Puritans. Her elegance and beauty, her taste and sweet manners, were much extolled; she was affable to all, and seemed to have triumphed in a difficult position when she made the marriage that was, literally, fatal to all her fortunes.

Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, came to Scotland in 1565; he was the elder son of Mathew Stewart, Earl of Lennox, who had taken service with the English and Margaret, daughter of Margaret Tudor and the Earl of Lennox; he was, after Mary, the heir to the English throne. On his father's side he could claim royal blood, for Lennox was descended from James II through his daughter Mary. Darnley had been educated as an Englishman, trained and pampered by an ambitious mother, and came to Scotland an arrogant, wilful, passionate boy of nineteen. He was instantly disliked by the Scottish nobles and instantly infatuated Mary. All the accounts that we have of him are so unfavourable that it is difficult to understand how a brilliant, witty, ardent woman could have become so enamoured of him. It is to be supposed that he possessed exceptional good-looks; Randolph, the dry English ambassador, thought that no woman could resist "that fair face."

Mary's sudden passion was headlong; despite the Tudor claim, Darnley was not—especially by Moray and his party—thought to be a worthy match, but Mary married him secretly in March and publicly in July of 1565.

The Queen's behaviour during the next few years of her life has been the subject of such acrid dispute, and is in itself so obscure, that only the mere outline of her story can be described in a limited space, and this with the greatest reserve.

The marriage gave the Queen a sudden spirit of independence—she cast herself into the Romish party, neglected Elizabeth and Moray, showed energy, restless self-assertion, and a disposition for foreign intrigue. She raised to authority and admitted to her intimacy one David Rizzio, a confidant of her husband, and made him her foreign secretary, an honour that the Italian bore with insolence and that outraged both nobles and the King. Moray was stung into rebellion and rose in arms at Ayr; Mary, gathering five thousand men, chased him from pillar to post, and finally out of the kingdom. Meanwhile, her marriage had fallen to pieces; Darnley, weak, bewildered, young, and undisciplined, clamoured for the crown matrimonial, and spent his time in field sports, and invectives against all who opposed him.

Mary's passion for the fair youth soon flared out, and such was her indiscretion that, when her pregnancy was first known, the English envoy expressed his conviction that the child had been fathered by Rizzio. Darnley also took the extreme step of jeopardising the succession of the child by asserting that the Italian was his wife's lover, while the nobles took advantage of Darnley's fury to plan the murder of Rizzio. This scheme was known at the English Court, but Mary seems to have been in utter ignorance of the storm that her folly had provoked, until it broke in her presence, March, 1566. By Darnley's express wish Rizzio was dragged from Mary's supper-table in Holyrood and murdered in her ante-chamber. The Queen was made a prisoner, but had, under these fearful circumstances, the address to detach her husband from his fellow conspirators, and to induce him to escape with her from Holyrood. Moray returned to Scotland, and though Mary probably knew of his share in the Rizzio outrage, she received him in friendly fashion. Moreover, until the birth of her son (June, 1566), she affected good terms with Darnley, who had publicly repudiated any share in the murder of the Italian.

But Mary had received from the other conspirators proof of his complicity. Soon after the birth of her son (Darnley tacitly accepted the paternity) Mary made the Earl of Bothwell conspicuous by her favours, and did not disguise her frantic desire to be rid of her wretched husband. Darnley had been doomed from the moment he had so foolishly betrayed his fellow murderers, and the Lords (the guiding spirits being probably Moray and Maitland) decided to use Bothwell as a cat's-paw in removing him, as they had used Darnley as a cat's-paw in removing Rizzio. Bothwell was "a lewd man, blinded by ambition," violent, brave, and vicious; he had earned Mary's gratitude by helping in her escape from Holyrood and, used to success with women, was confident of winning her, and through her, the crown. The Lords seem to have promised him Mary as a bribe for murdering (or organising the murder of) Darnley; but this is all matter for endless controversy. Certain it is that Mary and Darnley quarrelled bitterly, that he threatened to leave the kingdom, that she showed open favour to Bothwell, newly married to Jane Gordon, sister of the Earl of Huntly. It was believed by many that Bothwell was her lover soon after the birth of the child, as they believed that Rizzio had been her lover soon after her love-match with Darnley. It is certain that she knew of a deep conspiracy against her husband when she went to fetch him, a sick man, from Glasgow, where he was safe with his father, to Kirk o' Field, a lonely house outside Edinburgh. This was blown up, and Darnley's dead body found in a nearby field, February, 1567.

Seldom has a crime caused greater scandal. The explosion in Kirk o' Field echoed throughout Europe, and the death of this young man, despised and hated, important only by the accident of birth, was a political rallying cry and an excuse for political and personal revenge for years. It is not known how many people, instigators or hired bravoes, were implicated in this clumsy murder, but most, if not all, of those known to be concerned in it perished by murder or on the scaffold. Mary was at once suspected and had her defence ready—the plot had been intended to destroy her also and she had escaped by accident. This was not tenable, and was held to be as futile as Bothwell's explanation "that thunder [sic] from heaven had consumed the King's dwelling."

No one seemed to doubt that Bothwell was the leading spirit in the taking off of Henry Darnley, and Mary was warned by friends and foes (notably by Elizabeth) that she could save her reputation only by bringing the murderers to justice. It is doubtful if she could have done this, as there were probably few among the Lords who had not had some hand in the crime. But she made no show of wanting to; Bothwell, under pressure from England and Lennox, was brought to a farcical trial, where some of his fellow-murderers were among the judges, and acquitted. Mary, disregarding all warnings and threats, continued to show him open favour. On her return from a visit to her son in Stirling Castle, April, 1567 (this was the last time she saw him), she was abducted by Bothwell at a bridge over the Almond and taken to Dunbar Castle. It was at once believed by many that this outrage was committed with her connivance. Bothwell, with scandalous haste, hurried a divorce from his innocent wife through the courts, and brought the Queen to Edinburgh on May 3rd, the day that the decree of divorce was pronounced. Mary made no protest, offered no explanation, and made no effort to escape. Bothwell forced the fiery and reluctant John Craig, Knox's deputy, to announce his approaching marriage to the Queen, which the minister did on May 9th in St. Giles's Church, calling "Heaven and earth to witness that the proposed union was odious and scandalous to the world." On May 12th Mary went to the Chief Court of Justice and declared that she acted of her own free will and bore no offence against Bothwell; the same day she created him Duke of Orkney, and on May 15th she married him, in accordance with the rites of the Reformed Church, in Holyrood Palace.

Reasons for this ruinous marriage have been variously given; some argue that she had a romantic infatuation for Bothwell and did not believe he was concerned in the Darnley murder, and so acted with all the good faith a woman in love is capable of; others suppose that she had been the Earl's mistress for some time, and had urged on the murder and the divorce and arranged the abduction to save her honour; and a third opinion is that she was a wholly innocent woman, overpowered by Bothwell, and forced to marry him after he had violently outraged her in Dunbar Castle. The common feeling at the time, and apparently shared by Elizabeth, the French, and English ambassadors, was that the wretched marriage was owing to Mary's desperate attempt to save her reputation. It should be noted that a woman of Mary's wit, spirit, and courage was hardly likely to be tricked by a ruffian without some attempt to save herself or some appeal for help. On the other hand, she had long been in miserable health, was tormented by pain, fainting fits, and hysterical attacks, while her appearance and manner showed the utmost anguish of mind. Bothwell was detestable to all, a personal enemy of England, of bad reputation, offensive to Mary's French relations as a Protestant and a commoner, hopelessly compromised in the murder of a man whose widow he had married three months after the crime. Mary lost the good opinion of all; the Pope, Spain, and France tacitly repudiated her, her subjects were shocked and angry; the Lords—who had edged Bothwell on to destroy Darnley—now had a good excuse for raising their standard against a murderess and a murderer.

The Queen and Bothwell gathered what army they could together, and met the Lords at Carberry Hill, seven miles from Edinburgh, June, 1567. A day's wearisome negotiation, when Du Croc tried to act as mediator, ended in failure; the Queen's men straggled over to the Lords, Bothwell fled from the field, and Mary was brought back a prisoner to Edinburgh, where the people greeted her with cries of "murderess!" She was ignobly treated and lodged roughly in the Provost's house, where she might be seen at the window in a state of violent emotion, dishevelled and half-naked, shrieking for help. Mary feared the death of an adulteress and murderess at the stake, and with reason. The Blue Blanket, the famous banner of the Trades Guild, had to be brought out to protect her from the mob when the Lords moved her to Lochleven, the island home of Moray's mother, Margaret Douglas. Moray's return to Scotland and the skilful intervention of Elizabeth's envoy, Throgmorton, saved Mary's life or shelved her trial for murder, but she was forced to abdicate in favour of her son, who was crowned James VI.

The following year she contrived to escape from Lochleven and to raise a force against her half-brother, Moray, then Regent for the little King. At Langside her rabble of supporters was defeated, and Mary fled for her life as fast as a horse could carry her, to England, crossing the Solway with a few followers in May, 1568. She has been blamed for this flight into England as for a great blunder, but it is difficult to see what else she could have done. She certainly hoped that Elizabeth was her friend, because that Queen had helped her against the rebel Lords, and even hoped she might find an English army to lead against Moray, but even though she was in this grievously deceived, she had no reasonable alternative to a flight into England. Elizabeth played her usual game of shuttlecock; she detained Mary in honourable captivity, set up a Commission to enquire into her position and guilt, and meanwhile refused to see her or to allow her to come to London or to plead her cause in person. Moray, to justify his rebellion, put in the famous "casket" letters, which he declared had been found under Bothwell's bed. These were love letters supposedly written by Mary to Bothwell before their marriage, and one, the Glasgow letter, afforded damning proof of her active agency in Darnley's death. Mary declared the letters to be forgeries and Elizabeth dissolved the Commission with a verdict of "not proven," but continued to support Moray and to keep Mary in prison.

The question of the "casket" letters is one of the mysteries of history; if they were forged (and this was an age of forgery, and the Lords were completely unscrupulous), some very cunning hand must have done the work, so exactly do they fit into Mary's story. Mary, fretting desperately against a captivity that she regarded as an act of base treachery and injustice, intrigued with the Roman Catholics for her release (1569), agitated for her divorce from Bothwell who had fled to Denmark, where he was a prisoner, and schemed to marry the Protestant Duke of Norfolk. The rebellion was promptly crushed by Elizabeth, and Norfolk finally put his head on that "wooden pillow" against which the English Queen had warned him. A small party in Scotland—"Queen's men"—struggled for Mary, but with their ultimate defeat her last hopes of returning to her throne vanished.

The rest of Mary's life is a dismal and monotonous chronicle of the rapidly ageing, restless, ambitious, and sick woman's attempt to regain freedom and power. It is easy to understand both her attitude and that of Elizabeth. It was quite natural for Mary to use every weapon of intrigue, deceit, and guile in order not only to escape from an English prison, but to gain her lifelong ambition, the English throne, and it was quite natural for Elizabeth to watch and thwart these schemes and to regard Mary as a source of grave potential danger, not only to herself, but to her faith and the liberty of her people. The English Protestants profoundly mistrusted and feared Mary, and Elizabeth was continually urged by Parliament and people to do what her instinct forbade her to do, get rid of a fellow-man and a fellow-sovereign.

As Elizabeth aged, the question of the English succession became of increasing interest to Europe, and as Mary's political importance increased, Pope, Spain, and France alike forgot her tainted reputation, which years of imprisonment might be supposed to gloss over. France, however, abandoned Mary by the Treaty of Blois, and the desperate captive willed her rights in England to Philip of Spain in return for his assistance in obtaining her freedom. This letter was intercepted by the vigilant Walsingham, and it was then decided by Burleigh, if not by Elizabeth, to destroy Mary. An elaborate scheme of judicial murder was evolved; Walsingham patiently spun the web of the Babington conspiracy, and Mary, ill, hopeless, and frantic, and too remote from public affairs to be prudent, fell into the trap. She dictated a letter to Babington, which gave consent to a rising on her behalf, and tacitly agreed to an attempt on the life of Elizabeth (1586).

Mary, so ill that she could not walk alone, was brought before an imposing Commission of Elizabeth's peers. The forlorn and helpless woman defended herself with spirited skill, but without evoking compassion, before the judges determined to destroy her. She was found guilty and sentenced to die by the axe. Elizabeth, ill from emotion, tried to put off the execution, or at least to evade responsibility for it, but Burleigh was resolute in the pursuance of his policy. There is no reason to believe that Elizabeth was animated by vindictive feelings, or that her reluctance to put Mary to death was feigned. The Queen, Burleigh, and the majority of the nation honestly regarded Mary as a murderess, a wanton, a liar, and a woman continuously plotting to murder Elizabeth and restore the tyranny of Rome by the force of foreign arms.

With formal ceremonial Mary was beheaded in the great Hall of Fotheringay, February 7th, 1587. Her noble dignity, her touching farewells to her devoted servants, her lofty fortitude and unshaken fidelity to her faith, her splendid appearance—all infirmities and blasted beauty being disguised by rich attire and artful feminine devices—moved the spectators of this awful scene to respect, if not to sympathy. But the news of the death of the Scottish Queen was received with bell-ringing and bonfires in London and with great rejoicings all over the country. It was generally believed that the newly won and not wholly consolidated liberty of England had been rescued from a great peril.

The Protestant James VI assented to his mother's death in his eagerness to become King of England. When that ambition was achieved (1603) he had his mother's body (1612) brought from Peterborough Cathedral, where her coffin had lain near to that of Catherine of Aragon, and placed under a handsome monument near to that of Queen Elizabeth in Westminster Abbey.

Mary, Queen of Scots, died without having, by a single word, thrown any light on any of the mysteries of her life that have been subjects of such keen controversy for so long. There will always be painful and probably fruitless debate over Mary's conduct as a woman and a Queen. Immediately after her death she became a martyr in the eyes of many of her own Faith, and as such was elevated almost to the position of a saint. Even to those who do not invest her with mythical qualities, her charm, her suffering, her famous name, and most of all, the tragedy of her death, will always give her a romantic importance that is enhanced by the apparently insoluble puzzles presented by her conduct during her brief reign. This is, from the historian's point of view, a mere episode in the story of Scotland that did not affect the development of that nation one way or another; neither the Queen herself, nor Rizzio, nor Darnley, nor Bothwell, was more than a passionate child of chance and circumstance. None of them believed in, or strove for, large issues, or for any but selfish aims, but because this woman was Mary Stewart and because these men were singled out by her regard, they have a certain but brittle immortality, the useless brilliancy and the guarded permanency of a jewel in a shrine, which in itself is nothing but a lustrous shining, but which may be symbolic of anything that the spectator chooses to invoke.

Mary, in herself, was something less than a Queen, yet is something more than a figure in the history books; she is always doubled by her legend, as a flower or a star may be doubled in water or glass. Not the least fascination of her story is the wonder of it, the sense of exasperation that it raises in the mind; the tantalising possibilities, the bewildering questions provoked by the two murders and the two marriages, the lovely figure of the woman whom so many praised and none helped, who had no weapon beyond her tears and no buckler beyond her pride, and was fortunate in nothing save in the cruel death that dimmed all her faults.


"A country of Little Extent and soon travelled over, but so replenished with People, Noble Cities, fair Towns and Villages, as not to be met with upon so little Compass of Ground, except perhaps in China."

Travels of Dr. Brown in Holland, 1670.


With an imaginary portrait of Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland, 1670*

With an imaginary portrait of William III, Prince of Orange, 1672*

With an imaginary picture, "The Encampment," 1640*

[* Some very short pieces of fiction are inserted in the "Three Dutch Provinces"; they were inspired by Dutch paintings and represent the author's reactions to Dutch history and art.
—Marjorie Bowen]




Portrait of Robert Spencer in classical dress.
By Carlo Maratta ((1640-1702)

LORD SUNDERLAND sat in the Groote Kerk at Utrecht. His figure, in straight-cut black, was indistinguishable from all those other figures in straight-cut black, and his face he kept hidden in his hand, as he bowed forward in an attitude of devotion.

But his hand betrayed him; there was none other so elegant and sensitive among that austere congregation.

Long, tedious, heavy, the sermon hummed on without rise or fall in the voice of the speaker. The vast whitewashed space of the mutilated church was filled by the colourless light of afternoon, which streamed blankly through the huge plain-glass windows.

To right and left, before and behind my lord, were rows of Dutchmen in dark clothes, with severe faces, and Dutchwomen in dark clothes with severe faces. These all gazed unflinchingly at the preacher and never at the Earl, though there could hardly have been a greater curiosity than this English nobleman who had been so great, so loathed—a Romanist, a persecutor of the Protestants, an accomplice in all the hot designs of his master, King James of England, against the Reformed Church, most exquisite, skilful, and unscrupulous of courtiers and statesmen, now fallen, exiled and again an apostate, for my lord had not shrunk from abjuring Catholicism and joining the rigid Church of Calvin—no one in so short a time, or with so much ease and grace, had run from the Jesuits to Geneva.

Once a leader of every fashion and accomplishment, my lord was now dressed like a Dutch burgher, with profound simplicity, in utter drab plainness.

When the service was over and the close-packed pews emptied, as long, decorous streams of quiet people filed out of the white interior of the church into the serene sunshine of the slumbering afternoon, then many did venture a glance of cold inquisitiveness at the exiled statesman who bore himself so meekly among them.

My lord remained till the last, sighing now and then, and often keeping that beautiful hand, as if in an access of devotion, before his face.

The Pastor came down from the cumbrous pulpit and greeted his illustrious convert. The caressing manners of my lord, which had fascinated two Kings, had won the Calvinist preacher; grim and narrow as he was, he flushed with pleasure at the sight of my lord's penitence, which had been wrought by his own eloquence.

The two left the church together.

My lord was not young, but of an exceedingly pleasing presence. His fineness could not be hidden by his harsh dress; it required all his tact, all his art to nullify the impression of smiling cynicism, of irony that was given by his delicate, thrice-refined features.

The Pastor, with a crude curiosity, asked my lord if he did not regret his gorgeous Palace at Althorp, the crowded splendours of St. James's and the great appointments he had had.

Then my lord, who was yet called by the London people "Popish dog" and "Judas," said no, that his heart was now so touched by divine grace that the loss of all his worldly honours was as nothing to him, that his exile was sweetened and his afflictions were solaced by the discovery of the truth of the dogmas of the Calvinistic religion.

"Yet," said the Pastor, with a shudder, "I have heard it said that you, sir, did once, in public, deny the existence of a God at all?"

"If you knew me a little better," smiled the Earl sweetly, "you would know that I am incapable of such—indiscretion"—he murmured this last word into his handkerchief and said aloud instead—"blasphemy."

"It did," replied the Pastor heavily, "seem to me incredible."

They parted near the renowned "Paille Maille," where my lord had his modest lodgings, and the Earl, gracefully detaining the Dutchman on the threshold of the little gabled house, thanked him most winningly for the edification afforded by his sermon.

My lady was within, seated alone in the dark and formal room.

Like my lord, she had disguised the remains of lustrous beauty by a puritanical dress. She was making tea and sighing over a packet of letters—the last letters from home.

The Earl put down his high-crowned hat; the two ruined exiles regarded each other.

On the mantel-shelf was a sketch of my lord in his youth; my lady always carried it about with her. It was a drawing in pencil by the Abbate Maratti for the picture at Althorp painted when my lord was in Italy. He had been taken in a classic dress and the full flower of his beauty. Nothing could have been a greater contrast than this sketch and my lord's present appearance in his Dutch garments.

"I do not know," said the Countess, "how I shall well bear it."

"Fie," replied my lord with his soft smile, "it is very amusing. If you can learn to sleep with your eyes open and sitting upright, you may have a fair enjoyment in a Dutch church. Utrecht is the most amiable of cities. Besides, we shall not be here long."

"It is impossible that we can return to England."

My lord lifted his delicate brows. He thought that if he had managed two English Kings he might contrive to manage a third, but he did not remark on this, even to his wife; instead he drank his tea (a luxury of which the exiles had to be careful) in silence, and gazed with irony at that sketch of his blooming youth that was so incongruous in this setting.



Overijssel: Giethorn, 1917.
By Bernard Bueninck (1864-1933)

"In omnibus requiem quaesivi et nusquam inveni nisi in Angelo cum libello."

—Motto under the Picture of Thomas à Kempis, formerly at Zwolle.

OVERIJSSEL, unlike Drenthe, which was not considered of sufficient importance to be represented on the States-General, was one of the original seven Provinces of the North, the remnant that William the Silent wrested from Spain, that portion of the Netherlands where, as he said, he "would go and find a grave."

There are three of the most attractive towns in the Netherlands in Overijssel, Kampen, Deventer, and Zwolle, a charming castle, Rechteren, and a very pleasant and lush stretch of country with water villages such as Giethoorn, which, though inaccessible, are in danger of becoming an attraction for tourists.

Like Friesland, Groningen, and Zeeland, Overijssel is best visited by boat, one's own boat, but if this is not possible, the country, which still has a very out-of-the-way air, may be visited by road, rail, motor or cycle. It is not, however, difficult to hire boats and boatmen, and the peculiar flavour of such a journey among these waterways is one not lightly to be forgone.

The peat fields of the Drenthe merge into the reedy marshes, the luscious meadows, the noble sheets of water of Overijssel, which on the other side runs into the spacious moors of Guelders.

Meppel, a quiet town, really in the Drenthe, is a starting place for many expeditions into Overijssel and Hasselt. Zwartsluis and Genemuiden set off the broad waters of the Meppeler Diep, which divides at Zwartsluis to run down to Zwolle and across into the Zwolsche Diep, which empties into the Zuyder Zee opposite the minute islands of Urk and Schokland.

The roads run on the high, artificial banks that edge the water (the land is here at the utmost but a few inches above the level of the sea) and the groups that pass to and fro are outlined distinctly in the crystal clarity of the air, against the changing panorama of the vast sky. The country is often entirely under water here, all farms, churches and buildings being raised on mounds. Rows of windmills work incessantly draining the land, and their eager energy is in sharp contrast to the extreme placidity of the landscape.

These windmills are disappearing in favour of those run by electricity, but a happy movement is at present on foot to preserve these faithful ancient servants of the Netherlands, not only for sentimental affections, on account of tradition and the rare beauty of their shape and colour, but for another and touching reason.

Electricity means coal, and coal has to come from abroad; if, through any European disturbance this vital supply was stopped, the country would be under water in a few days—unless these loyal allies, the windmills, were there ready to resume their duties.

One heartily hopes that patriotism will save from destruction a feature of the flat landscape that is so lovely, so apt, so deeply associated with the very life of the country, so honoured by many great painters.

Without the windmills it would be more difficult to defend the Netherland scenery against the charge of dullness which the indifferent traveller so often brings.

These solitary, still waters have another beauty besides the windmills—the quantities of wild swans which dwell among the beds of stiff reeds.

The birds are protected by the authorities and nest and breed in security in these lonely sheets of water and patches of water grass. The rich white of the immaculate plumage, the superb movement of the sailing bird, the vivid black of beak and eye are thrown up against this flat background of blue-green melting into mauve purples with an effect of poignant loveliness.

Among all the delectable pictures offered in this country of fine lines, flat horizons, immense skies, and vivid details, none is more beautiful than this of the Overijssel swans among the solitary clumps of reeds, on the lonely stretches of water beneath the lofty expanse of the sky and the ever-changing shapes of the clouds.

* * *

In the upper part of Overijssel, towards Friesland, the most notable town is Steenwyck, which has a robust little history of its own. It is more interesting than Meppel, and is, like that town and Koevorden, situated on the borders between Drenthe and Overijssel. While Koevorden is in the former Province, however, Steenwyck and Meppel are in Overijssel, at least technically.

It is situated on the river Aa, the name of so many streams hereabouts, and built, as an old chronicler says pleasantly, in the form of a bow. Always one of the least important towns of Overijssel, yet the church is one of the most important in the North of the Low Countries, a grandiose building originally dedicated to Saint Clement and dating from the twelfth century. Of course it has been destroyed, rebuilt, patched, and mutilated, and remains only a fragment, bare and whitewashed within, and shattered and incomplete-looking without.

Another relic is the church once known as that of Our Lady, rebuilt in 1477, and in recent times carefully restored. Steenwyck is a town of many sieges. In 1552 it was besieged in vain by Count de Meurs, in 1553 carried by assault by the troops of Charles V, and the ancient castle razed to the ground, but the siege that made Steenwyck famous in the annals of valiant deeds was that during the War of Independence in 1580, when the Count de Renneberg invested the town with six thousand foot and twelve companies of horse soldiers.

The Dutch garrison consisted of but six hundred soldiers and three hundred male citizens, of whom no more than half could be relied on as regards loyalty to their commanders. Four years after the siege an account of it was written by one Remigo Fresinga and published at Deventer by Fridsert of Kampen. This is epic in style and minute in detail, and abounds in those episodes of a kind of ferocious headlong heroism in which these Northern stalwarts delighted.

There is the story of "Arent of Groningen, son of a brewer," who leaped from the ramparts into the moat, one October night, to extinguish a barrel of tar and sulphur which the enemy had succeeded in floating to the town gates, and contrived, under a heavy fusillade, to do so and return in safety, shouting defiance at the enemy. There is the account of two captains, one of each army, who challenged each other and fought on the ramparts in the old style of single combat, in full view of garrison and besiegers, and many another such vehement deed, which reveals, through the dust of history, the high, hard passions of those bitter times.

The commanders of the Dutch were Cornput and Olthof, and it is said of the former that when in the Market Square (still much the same, and peaceful enough now) an angry starving crowd was demanding the surrender of the town, three partridges fell into their midst, and Cornput was quick to improve the occasion by remarking that this was a message from God, implying that help would come in three weeks.

As, of course, it did, or the story would not have been told. After a four months' siege Colonel Norrits, at the head of the army of the young Republic, contrived to send into the desperate little town cheeses, bread and powder; a few days later Renneberg raised the siege.

The resources of Steenwyck were, however, exhausted, plague invaded the thinned ranks of the inhabitants, and the following year the town fell easily to the Spanish commander, Verdugo.

After ten years of Spanish rule Steenwyck was retaken by the resplendent Maurice of Orange, and it is pleasant to know that Captain Olthof and other veterans of the 1580 siege now served under the young Prince who came to deliver Steenwyck.

As a result of this struggle Steenwyck was almost razed to the ground, so that it is difficult to find there any old houses. In 1672 Steenwyck shared the humiliation of so many Netherlandish towns, and was occupied by foreign troops, those, in this case, of the Bishop of Münster, who, after exacting ransom, abandoned the town the following year.

To-day Steenwyck has a most placid, even bucolic appearance. Her trade is in grain and butter, and where the fierce Calvinists and the grim Spanish tramped to and fro in their beleaguerings and fights, there is a peaceful procession of peasants and carts, gay, cheerful, and innocent with the most idyllic of products, golden butter, golden corn from the lush meadows and generous wheatfields that surround Steenwyck.

There is a little Weigh House of 1642, a very pleasant and appropriate structure, charmingly grave and practical.

* * *

Deventer, on the Yssel, is the other side of the Province, towards Guelders, and one of the most attractive of towns.

The situation, on the broad and busy river edged with wharves and crowded with shipping, is in itself noble and handsome, and allows for one of those views from the opposite bank which is such a pleasing way of seeing a town.

It is indeed one of the most satisfactory features of these Dutch cities that they do permit of these complete "views" like an old map, print, or painting. The town shows self-contained, beginning and ending within definite limits, usually encircled by old ramparts, gardens, bouquets of trees, a moat, a river or a canal, not straggling away into slums, suburbs or "villa" residences, as do so many famous towns in other parts of Europe, until all charm, identity and individuality are obliterated.

There are very few of these Dutch towns that do not still retain a distinct, precise personality, a compact personality, like the towns drawn by Dürer, by Van Goyen, by Van Eyck, by Ver Meer.

In the case of Deventer, this elegant distinction is very noticeable. The quays, the old walls, the grand flow of the river, the lofty trees, all surround the roofs, towers and belfries of the ancient town, in the most imposing and graceful way possible, while the tall steeples of the episcopal city can be seen for miles dominating the landscape, and the twisting length of the renowned river, bordered by delicious villages like Hattum, Veessen, Olst, Diepenveen, Nijbroek, and Terwolde, lying so attractively among pretty groves and reflected so prettily in the still waters of the Yssel.

The remains of the first fortifications of Deventer are those of the magnificent brick wall which repulsed the onslaught of the Burgundians in 1457, when Philip the Good attacked the town upon the refusal of Deventer to acknowledge his son, the Bishop of Utrecht, as overlord. The intervention of the neighbouring Duke of Guelders saved the town from the consequences of this temerity.

During the struggle with Spain, Deventer was Dutch and Protestant in word and deed. In 1586 the Earl of Leicester forced the town to receive a garrison of twelve hundred men, much against the will of the citizens, who preferred to trust to their own militia.

The said garrison consisted of those people dreaded in those days under the name of "wild Irish," and their commander was an impudent adventurer who had contrived to flatter Leicester into this preferment. He was Edward Stanley, recently knighted for lusty bravery on the ramparts of Bergen.

He promptly sold Deventer to Colonel Taxis, the Spanish commander, and the town remained under Spanish rule till retaken by Maurice in 1591. Through the treachery of Governor Steeke it fell to the Bishop of Münster in 1672, but cut a valiant figure when attacked by the French in 1813.

Despite this warlike history, Deventer remains singularly rich in ancient buildings, and is more interesting and delightful to the antiquarian than, perhaps, any town in the country.

Deventer is very ancient, dating back, some say, to A.D. 130 but certainly a well-established town by the eleventh century.

A certain Saint Lievin (Lebuines), who died in Deventer in A.D. 770, gives his name to two of the churches here, one the Cathedral, the other once more Roman Catholic.

This was built by Ernulphe, Bishop of Utrecht, in 1046, and rebuilt in 1235 and 1334. This last building, though altered and enlarged, is still in existence. The belfry, with the mottoes raised aloft like a sermon to the birds, is of 1613 and incongruous enough, yet not without individuality and effect.

The crypt remains as it was built by the Bishop of Utrecht in 1046, and contains some superb columns of twisted and chevron pattern, but these crypts are dark and sad enough, and however intense the interest of these subterranean relics, it is not without some shudder of relief that one gains the upper air.

Saint Lievin's has been, of course, whitewashed. Where this has peeled away pictures of devils and the torments of hell have been revealed. One thinks the whitewash preferable; it has a character, an association of its own, not lightly to be dismissed. The light and shade on the white spaces are lovely and have inspired many lovely pictures. The present ardour to uncover these crude daubs which possess nothing but an historic value is laudable enough, but since nothing can give these great Gothic churches their pristine splendour, surely it is wiser to leave them as monuments to Calvinism and the War of Independence.

A utilitarian clock with dials, stuck in the top of the four windows of the mutilated (or unfinished) tower, is a touch that might be removed.

The iconoclast has spared, by accident probably, a mural tomb to a certain Johann van Leyden (not the unhappy tailor prophet) and his wife, a few long, slab tombs and a portion of a Renaissance screen. For the rest, you must be content with the noble proportions and graceful lines of the aisles and columns.

The other Saint Lievin's, a small brick church, dates from 1338, and was Calvinist from 1579 to 1803. It used to be known as the Broeder Kerk, and formed part of a monastery, probably that of an Order founded by Eleanor of England in 1335, and named the Recollects.

St. Nicholas's, the Berg Kerk, once belonged to the Praemonstraten monks, the powerful Order which founded the Abbey at Middelburg. This church, "St. Nicholas of the Mountain," stands on a gentle rise, remarkable enough to have been termed "mountain" in this flat country. The twin towers, flat and many-windowed, one disfigured by a cap, are surmounted by pointed, cap-like spires which are curious and distinctive.

St. Nicholas is old enough, built 1128 by a Bishop of Utrecht, though date and Bishop vary according to the chronicler. It would be the work of years to verify all these distant dates and personages, which fluctuate considerably in histories and guide-books.

Nor do they much matter; it is sufficient, for instance, that the Berg Kerk is Romanesque without, whitewash within.

Eleanor of England, wife of a Duke of Guelders, is supposed to lie buried, or once to have been buried, here, but there is no trace and no memory of her resting-place, which has probably long been, not the Berg Kerk, but the four corners of the earth.

* * *

There are some gorgeous little buildings in Deventer, and the chief of these is the Weigh House on the Market Square or Brink, built in 1528 from the materials and on the design of two old houses that stood on this site. The irregularity given by the tower one side and the tourelle the other, the fine brick and bands of plaster, the open ornamentation of the balustrades, the pointed roof, coquettish turret and delicate spires, together with the fine double staircase added in 1643, made the little Weigh House (now a gymnasium) most entrancingly rich and fantastic, a toy conceived by a poet.

Yet the people who erected this jewel of a building could boil coiners of false money, as is shown by the copper pot once used for this purpose and still hung on the walls.

A coiner was boiled to death at Lille in 1560, and in the archives describing the events there is a drawing of the ghastly punishment.

The ornaments of the Weigh House, on a close inspection, reveal that grotesqueness without which any Gothic building, however late, seems incomplete. There is the sun, with attendant moon and stars, and two fantastic figures, Kijk pot and Kijk uit de pot, one looking in and the other looking out of the pot—an ugly fellow glancing into a cauldron, and then glancing away. The meaning of this seems to have been forgotten, even in Deventer. One might guess that it referred to trade, commerce, prosperity, plenty—"the pot is empty, the pot is filled."

The Weigh House was at one time a kind of Exchange or meeting-place of the merchants, in the old, robust, money-making days when Deventer was a member of the Hansa League, and the handsome little building must have been thronged with the notables of the town.

On the Square in front, which is now so charming and delightful, many heretics were burnt under the sombre rule of the Spanish.

Among the delicious houses, Renaissance, Gothic, "Louis XIV" as interpreted in the Low Countries that surround the Brink, there is one most uncommonly curious, only one storey high, which seems to consist only of an immense roof, an immense door, rococo scrolls, and above all a pinnacle crowned by a huge human head.

A "free Weigh House" was a gift from Floris V to the city, which later received special privileges from the Emperor Henry V.

There are some charming step-gabled houses round the Brink, and an old inn, where the Provincial Deputies used to meet, and which is therefore called the Land huffs, has some splendid Renaissance doors, heavy, comfortable, and florid, and a statue of a warrior, supposed to be Charles V. Some of the other portions of the building, which is now a police station, date from the thirteenth century.

The Stadhuis is of 1693, pre-eminently Dutch, Calvinist, and prosperous. The bright, crude tints of the painted wooden shields of the arms of the ancient guilds have a peculiarly attractive appearance against the whitewashed walls.

The main treasures here are the Terborch painting and the library and archives. The library is largely from the suppressed Academy of Harderwijk, half of which went to Arnhem, and half to Deventer. This collection contains many rare and precious MSS.; there are also some very early printed books, dating from the time that Rykert Paffroed and Jacob van Breda worked at their two precious presses (about 1470) in Deventer.

The archives are particularly well kept and particularly interesting, Deventer having been the capital of the Province and an episcopal city.

There is also a fragment left of the Mint tower, where formerly all the coinage for Overijssel was struck, and a wonderful baroque house of 1735 adorned with statues, vases, scrolls, and ornaments in a very welter of prodigality, yet, nevertheless, successful, as this Netherlandish "Louis XIV" so often is. This bastard style of florid, riotous, and yet formal ornament, suits the severe and yet rich character of these old Dutch towns, and seems to express the prosperity of a well-fed merchant more adequately than the glory of spendthrift noble.

Deventer is no place for a hurried visit; it contains a wealth of beauty, of charm, of association not easily exhausted, and the surroundings (dealing here only with those which lie on the Overijssel side of the river, which is the boundary between that Province and Guelders) are most romantic and poetic.

The noble avenues of oak and elm, the luscious meadows, castles like Hoenlo and De Haere, the cream-coloured church of Olst, the lovely tower of Wyhe, Raalte, among the bracken and heather—all these have an endearing delight about them, something that seems to have a part in memory, in yearning, even in nostalgia. The beauty of sky and river and distant, melancholy horizon, the beauty of luxuriant avenues, long brick roads and terraces and mansions and cottages and farms, all lovingly raised from the drained flat, the beauty of a poignant tradition of a past that seems somehow to have been undisturbed—all these affect the traveller through the summer or autumn landscape of Overijssel with a sleepy, sad pleasure.

* * *

It must not be forgotten that Deventer has not escaped modern prosperity and the resultant ugliness; very famous carpets are made here, and that honey cake which is a national delicacy, also wine—the native wine being a great pride of the local inns.

* * *

Three of the extraordinary company of great men who came from the Netherlands are claimed by Deventer: Gerrit Groot, Jacob Gronov or Gronovius, and Gerard Terborch, often called Terberg.

The family of Gronovius, or Gronov, came originally from Hamburg, where Johann Friedrich was born in 1611 or 1613. He was celebrated as an antiquarian and classical scholar, and after many travels became professor at Deventer. His son, Jacob, was born at Deventer in 1645. His travels, his learning, his editions of the classics were as extensive, profound and varied as those of his father. He died at Leyden in 1716. The brother of this worthy, Theodor, was also dowered with almost incredible erudition. An account of his works reads almost like a satire on learning, including, as it does, a work on the Pandects, notes on Vibius Sequester, a dissertation on the marble base of the Colossus of Tiberius, and a correspondence with Antonio Magliabecci, librarian to Cosmo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and a prodigy of memory and learning, who after one reading of a book could write it down verbatim, spent day and night in his study without taking off his clothes and lived on hard-boiled eggs and water.

There is a fantastic picturesqueness about this squalid personage, who appears like some gnome born of the union of leather and parchment and suckled on printers' ink, but the Gronoviuses were prosaic and amiable pedants whose enormous learning, unenlivened by wit, humour or imagination, seems now as vain as it was prodigious. Three sons of Jacob Gronovius adorned the eighteenth century and the town of Leyden with their scholarly gifts and patient research.

* * *

A more interesting son of Deventer is Gerrit Groot (Gerard the Great), who "flourished," as the old biographies say, in the fourteenth century, being born at Deventer in 1340.

He began with portentous learning, taking his M.A. at the Sorbonne and lecturing on philosophy and theology at Cologne.

Retiring for a while into a Carthusian monastery, he returned to the world for the purpose of inducing others to leave it, and, clad in miserable raiment, began preaching in the streets.

In this crude, fiery, and sincere age these methods never failed of considerable effect, and Gerrit found himself with a numerous following.

Returning to Deventer, he opened a kind of office, where several people were employed in transcribing copies of the Scriptures and the Early Fathers for diffusion among the vulgar; an enterprise which in those pre-printing days involved no little toil.

Gerrit formed this nucleus of faithful copyists into a society, which he called Brethren of the Common Life (Fratres Vitae Communis), and which was approved formally by Gregory XI in 1376.

These brothers spread all over the Low Countries and Germany. They were divided into two classes, the literate, copyists, or teachers, and the illiterate, who performed the manual labours of the community; the society sounds agreeable enough and must have been useful, too, before the spread of the printing press rendered needless such ingenuous labours.

Gerrit Groot died in Deventer in 1384, leaving one gentle and simple memory the more to the pretty little town.

* * *

Our last notability is more flamboyant than either Jacob Gronovius or Gerrit Groot, being no less than Gerard Terborch, who, though born at Zwolle, was a townsman of Deventer and died here in 1681.

He was one of the most flattered and celebrated painters of his time, and if posterity has not quite confirmed the verdict of his contemporaries, his work is at the least rich, distinguished, and pleasing. He had travelled in Italy and visited Madrid and painted the plenipotentiaries at the Peace of Münster (1648) before he came to Deventer to paint the Town Council and die, full of years and honours, in his native Province. He had been already knighted by Philip IV. His style, of conversations, suppers, and musical parties, was followed by Metzu and Caspar Netscher, who improved on him in elegance if not in vigour.

His pictures are always well-bred in tone, opulent in colour and flowing in design. He excels in depicting textiles and in particular white satin, which sumptuous material he contrives to introduce into most of his pieces.

Pieter van Anraadt, Caspar Netscher, and Koet were among his pupils at Deventer.

He had himself visited Haarlem for three years in his youth, and the influence of Frans Hals is always noticeable in his pictures. There is a charming genre picture in the Mauritshuis, "The Dispatch" (No. 176), and a "Portrait of the Artist" (No. 177), a delightful little full length in black with grey stockings and a blond peruke. The Boymans Museum, Rotterdam, possesses a portrait of a certain Johann Versnyden (No. 441), and Terborch's masterpiece, "The Peace of Münster," which contains sixty portraits, is in the National Gallery, London. This is hardly a pictorial success. Terborch has not been able to overcome a difficulty which is indeed almost insuperable, that of introducing variety and a broken line into a large official group of portraits. The heads are nearly all on the same level and make a band of light across the picture; the table adds another dark mass to a composition too heavy already, and the few details, as the candelabra, books, etc., are swamped in the general monotony.

However, the portraits are excellently rendered, with a fine and expressive skill, and the group, painted at the solemn moment of taking the oath, is not without impressiveness and grandeur. As an historic document it is invaluable, of course, it might be termed living history, and the figure of the man in the cloak to the right, and the elegant cavalier in rich attire to the extreme left, show what the artist could accomplish when freed from official formula.

It was this picture, painted from life, which attracted the attention of the Spanish Envoy, Count Peneranda, and the honours of the Spanish visit. The "Peace of Münster" or "Treaty of Westphalia," as it was indifferently called, was for years a favourite subject with Dutch painters, and this is the first and most interesting of these celebrations of this famous event.

In the Stadhuis at Deventer there is, as is fitting, a "Council Piece" by Terborch, containing eighteen portraits of Magistrates and Secretaries, very exact and noble, and pleasing in colouring despite the black gowns and sombre attire of these honest-faced worthies.

Dresden possesses that little masterpiece, worth all the Council pieces in the world, the sketch for the figure in "Paternal Advice," the lady in the satin dress and exquisite pose, with her face turned completely from the spectator. How expressive, how gracious and altogether lovely, is this averted head and turned-away figure!

Kampen, like Zwolle and Deventer, stands on the Yssel, but near the mouth of the river, and directly opposite Edam, which is the other side of that lost Province now covered by the Zuyder Zee. Kampen is, in reality, one of the so-called "dead cities" of the Zuyder Zee, its harbour having silted and long ago destroyed the little town's prosperity, which reached a zenith in the fifteenth century, when Kampen was a member of the Hansa League.

The town is as quiet, as clean, as attractive as its neighbours, and possesses as many beauties, churches, Stadhuis, and old gates. To many this most out-of-the-way of the three Overijssel towns would be the most delightful.

It makes the usual general view of grouped buildings, rising from behind the river with the clustered water-craft, the tjalks and peculiar barges of Overijssel, groups of the trees and that superb background of windy clouds or pallid sky that so often inspired native painters.

The Stadhuis is one of the most prized buildings in the country. It is very old, but it was restored after the inevitable fire in 1543; but the chief glory of the façade, the statues, were rescued from the earlier building and so are old enough. They represent Charlemagne (or some say Charles V), Alexander the Great, and the usual Fidelity and Justice, with the rare and welcome addition of Moderation and Neighbourly Love.

The outline of the Stadhuis is ornate and fantastic, with the usual white bands on brick, the tiny tourelle and large tower crowning a bulbous belfry with a spire.

This Stadhuis possesses several curiosities, two of a sinister kind—the grille where prisoners were exposed on the street for the mockery of the passer-by, not altogether in accordance with those figures of Moderation and Neighbourly Love, and a queer wooden roll, upon which the sentences were written.

Of a most human interest are the handsome guild goblets and bandoliers, and most gorgeous are the seats or stalls in the Court House. These are the work of one Meister Vrederic (1546), who almost overloaded his work with rich and elaborate detail. A further example of opulence in excess is the chimney-piece by Jacob Colyn de Nole (1545), where the carvings seem to crush and stifle one another in luxuriant profusion.

The general effect of this chamber is, however, very notable and imposing, and this over-ornamentation is more to be justified in a public room, where an impression of stately pomp is to be created and where no one stays very long, than in a dwelling-house, or even a church, for this sumptuous decoration is neither domestic nor religious in feeling.

The principal church is St. Nicholas's, an imposing, grandiose edifice of the fourteenth century, with remains of much original splendour, as the rood screen with brass balusters, the font and bells, two of which date from 1482; and relics of a later age in the brass candelabra with the town arms.

There is a very gorgeous organ (1670-1676) which claims (with many others) to be the largest in the country.

There is also a Roman Catholic church, St. Mary's (or Buiten Kerk), fourteenth century, and a peculiar tower, built between the Bovenstad and Buitenstad ("above" and "without" the town) by Philip Vinckhoorns in 1649-1664, as a landmark for ships; this is called (curiously for those times) Tower of the Holy Ghost, or Nieuwe Toren, and contains an excellent carillon of thirty-five bells which sounds along the winding reaches of the Yssel out to sea.

There is a tiny Romanesque church, St. Willem's (twelfth century), and a Broeder Kerk (fifteenth century), the former Minorite church, and, most noteworthy of all, the gates. One is named the Cellebroeders Poort (1465), which bears the Imperial Eagle which shows that Kampen was a free town, the Koren Markt Poort, whitewashed so as to be visible to mariners (marvellous the uses of whitewash in this practical country!) and the Broeders Poort.

There are the proper medieval gates of history, legend and romance, the kind that were closed at night, where the lonely belated traveller knocked in vain, whose elegant spires were a beloved guiding point over sea and land, whose broad archway spanned the whole flow, up and down, of a busy town's activities.

There is a dwelling-house over each, with latticed windows and shutters snug beneath the gable and between the turrets, and here the gatekeeper lived, and you may be sure that he had a blonde daughter who watched the crowds below, and had a smile and maybe a flower for one of them, and a moment to spare from her tiled kitchen and her spinning-wheel to cast them down, smile and blossom, down into the streets of Kampen, perhaps in an autumn dusk, when the wind was up and the stout, ruddy sails tacking for shelter and the black clouds racing across the moon.

* * *

Zwolle, now the capital of Overijssel, is on the Zwarte Water, which falls into the Zuyder Zee, and is itself a tributary of the Yssel. This rings the town like a moat and is planted with dense fine trees and broad waters and gardens set with luxurious houses. The town is, indeed, too prosperous and too quiet—not the quiet of Kampen and Deventer, but, the visitor suspects, the quiet of very well-to-do, retired somebodies, who do not mind being provincial and being dull as long as they are comfortable.

In a number of Dutch towns one has a suspicion of too much leisure, formality, and money in the bank on the part of many of the inhabitants, not without a gloss of snobbishness (the Dutch are, many of them, pretty good at le snobisme), and a rigid dividing of themselves into sets and cliques—the "well born," the "high born," and those born neither high nor well.

These defects, the result of too much virtue and too much time on the part of the women, no doubt, are not without their amusing side when discerned in a people once so keenly mercantile, so fiercely Puritan, so doggedly Republican. Yet perhaps never quite so definitely any of these things as has been popularly supposed. One guesses that a coat of arms enjoyed full value and that a long pedigree was extremely desirable even' in the most rigid days of Their High Mightinesses the States-General.

These precisely kept houses, so dignified, so aloof, so luxurious and so old-fashioned, seem to symbolise a life, aristocratic and worthy, no doubt, from which the free-lance who earns his living shrinks in dismay.

Imagine your ringing at one of those polished massive doors with a hole in your glove, or without any gloves, or without a proper introduction—or fancy, in fact, your ringing at all, and seeing the Baron or Baroness, Jonkheer or Jonkfrau, glaring out of the brilliant plate-glass window, between the spotless curtains, over the gilt basket of tulips, to see who dared—no, the only possible way to visit these houses would be by the back door (if there is one), and so to creep into the kitchen, where the servants look fat and kind and the cooking is excellent.

Let us hasten away from the freezing aspect of these stately homes, which have too many counterparts in the country, and enter the old town of Zwolle as an eager tourist in search of "sights."

It is not, as you will have guessed from those select purlieus, the Stad Gracht and Potgieter Singel, a manufacturing town, but deals only in the pleasant products of the genteel country-side, corn, cattle, and butter.

The town encircled by this moat, like the Stad Gracht, is round as Middelburg, and centres, in correct fashion, about market place and church.

There is one gate left, and that of imposing appearance, the Sassen Poort, with five towers, now used for the housing of archives.

The keeper of these archives works (if he does not live) in the chamber above the gate, a romantic and wizard-like existence indeed, shut in with old books, old parchments, and old memories in the musty, ancient chambers of the five-towered gate. It is satisfactory when one can find a veteran building put to some use that makes it part of the life of to-day; and when that use is dignified and appropriate, what could be more pleasant!

The heart of Zwolle is an irregular, small Market Square, one side entirely occupied by the Church of St. Michael (Groote Kerk), with in front a most uncommon addition in the shape of an entrancing little guard-house of 1614, with a very decorative gilt statue above. The church is of the fifteenth century, spacious and stately, despite the usual mutilations and the medley of architecture which encloses it. The noble proportions of the church, which has been carefully and tastefully restored, rise harmoniously above the incongruous little guard-house, the odd-shaped market place, and the façades of the well-kept inns and shops, all with an air of repose and gentility.

The interior of the church contains a pulpit which is conspicuous even among the pulpits of the Netherlands, and an organ distinguished even among Dutch organs.

After sweeping away or painting over every trace of Romanist decoration, in many cases even chipping off the capitals of columns or piercing them to accommodate a stove or pipe, after taking out the coloured glass from the windows and providing them with green curtains or blocking them up, after choking the interior with rows of massive pews, footstools, and cushions for the comfort and repose of the faithful, the Puritans proceeded to let themselves go on an organ and a pulpit, on both of which they lavished the most unlikely adornment and symbolism.

The peculiar effect of the churches thus treated is certainly unique and extremely characteristic of a people, a country, an epoch, a temperament. One would not like to see them changed; the extraordinary atmosphere and, as it were, flavour of these transformed cathedrals are too piquant, at once amusing and touching, and, like the Dutch landscape, possessed of a spare, severe, choice charm, bleak and pale, enriched by vivid details of glowing colour and bold shape.

This organ is, no doubt, superb, and the organist has written a book all about it, and will perform on it for a fee, to your mutual satisfaction. It does not look in the least religious, though it has never played anything but Church music, but seems that it would, like its one-time fellow at Cannons, prefer to "waft the soul upon a jig to Heaven," so florid and gay it is with the comely, self-satisfied figures and all the scrolls and traceries.

The pulpit is more restrained and elegant in style than usual. The date is 1620, before the full bloom of riotous baroque; but here, as in most pulpits, the over-elaboration of the sounding-board is disastrous to the impressiveness and gravity of the preacher, who loses all his dignity with this huge cover suspended over him, which looks as if it would descend and extinguish him, and at best dwarfs him completely.

The simple pulpit, or the niche door in the wall of the church with a balustrade in front, gives more force and power to the preacher and his words; but eloquence is possibly regarded as gaudy by the Calvinists, and the pure flow of logic and the Word comes, no doubt, well enough from under these monumental covers.

In the apse is a fine oak screen with brass balustrade that somehow has escaped the iconoclast, and, more enticing than any of these treasures, is an engaging clock which the neat, gnome-like sacristan shows with modest pleasure. These Dutch sacristans and their wives, always so quiet and tidy, with their homely smiles and eager explanations, always seem like creatures out of a fairy-tale, but are, of course, very real indeed, and keep the spotless church swept and dusted and the glittering candelabra polished.

This clock is set in the wall, and is topped by a figure of St. Michael with a sword, who strikes the bell for the hour.

The old man sets the little warrior at work again and again, you hear all the hours of the day struck in succession from the tiny sword, and the sacristan laughs with delight, not at the ingenious toy he knows so well, but at your amusement and pleasure.

As you leave the church you see, with a sense of unlawful joy, the stripped, shuttered, balustered Hoofdwacht (Guard House), so impertinently flanking the long Gothic windows, so deliciously out of place and in the right place at the same time.

* * *

There is a Town Museum at Zwolle, in a quiet old mansion, full of quiet old relics. You must ring the bell to enter and the custodian makes a ceremony of admitting you, and does not like you to miss any of the exhibits, which include an odd medley, funeral lamps, moulds for St. Nicholas cakes, Guild cups, an old Overijssel room, and some admirable glass paintings that suddenly strike you with envy and the lust of possession.

The three planes of a land- or sea-scape, foreground, middle distance, and background, are painted on three different sheets of glass, which are afterwards fitted, one behind the other, and slightly apart, in a grooved frame. The effect is charming when the picture is hung against the window and the light shows through the luminous brown and yellow tones, and one visitor at least went away with the hope of being able one day to find the skill and leisure to produce an imitation.

Glass paintings, birds, flowers, and coats of arms on little panels or circles to hang against windows are a pretty adornment in many old Dutch houses, but these of treble glass are something out-of-the-way and queerly delightful. In the garden, at the back of this tranquil storehouse of relics, are marshalled stone pumps and sundials with a disconsolate, pensioned air, no one troubling them for either water or the time, handles and dial pointers being alike broken or out of use. To some garden or square each of these would be an adornment; here they are but a memento mori many times repeated reminding us both of water and time that have flowed away for ever.

Standing hardily off the main street of Zwolle is a more fortunate pump, lusty and substantial, with bulging, portly body and still in use.

* * *

Close to Zwolle is the most splendid residence in Overijssel and one of the most splendid in the country—Castle Rechteren. A succession of travellers has borne witness to the noble courtesy of the princely owners, who maintain the tradition of the courtesy in the grand manner of the Dutch nobility.

The present castle is of the prosperous seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but the original building was of great antiquity. The last of the founder family, Luitgarde van Rechteren, married, in 1330, Frederic van Heckeren van der Ehze, who took the name of Rechteren, and whose descendants still possess the castle as Counts of Rechteren-Limberg.

Many a stiff fight did the stout castle maintain with Bishops of Utrecht, with burghers of Zwolle, with the Spanish, and finally with Prince Maurice himself, who drained the moat and dismantled the walls.

One of the lords of Rechteren, Adolph, was a friend of the last Duke of Guelders, and held the castle in his interest. When Charles was captured by the citizens of Zwolle, one of the articles of his release provided for the dismantling of Rechteren. This promise was made, but not, of course, kept.

A Van Rechteren was one of the plenipotentiaries at that Peace of Utrecht, which finally disposed of the designs of Louis XIV on the Netherlands, and his fine tomb may be seen in the church at Almelo.

Rechteren, as it stands at present, is that engaging mixture of styles which comprises so many of these slot and kasteel of the Netherlands—the moat, the bridge, the carved pieces and gable stones with coats of arms, the step-gabled fronts, the round tower with the cupola, the steep roof with the little hooded windows, the terraces, steps, gardens de broderie, and formal walks and trees, all very solid, sumptuous, and individual. In this lusty-looking tower cannon balls are embedded and in places the walls are six feet thick. The luxurious interior of the castle also contains warlike reminders of battles and sieges—swords, halberts, and such weapons which have been found scattered in the grounds where now the trim flowers blow in exact parterres. The palimpsest has long since been covered up; these ancient days hidden, the elegant refinement of later centuries, comfort and prosperity succeeding to conflict and rapine. The early eighteenth-century stables, the 1683 terrace and steps, the 1725 frontage have well-nigh obliterated the appearance of the fierce old castle where men tussled so desperately, and the atmosphere is now more of leisurely tea-cups and satin-gowned gossip, of gilt cabriolets rattling over the bridge, of slender hounds held in leash by a long-coated page, than of any turbulent struggle of Bishop or Duke, Spaniard or burgher.

* * *

One notable man, and he of world fame, is associated with Zwolle, Thomas à Kempis, author of that beloved and cherished book, De Imitatione Christi.

His name was really Thomas Hamerken of Kempen, not the Kampen so near here, but Kempen near Cologne, and he was born in 1380. He went early to the Grammar School at Deventer, where he came into touch with an order or society founded by Gerrit Groot, which had a considerable influence upon him.

Before long the pious and mystic "Brethren of the Common Life" had enrolled Thomas among their number, and for seven years he resided in scholarly retirement in Deventer copying the Scriptures for the benefit of the common fund.

An obscure monastery, that of Agnietenberg (St. Agnes), received the spiritual, quiet, and ecstatic copyist as monk and sub-prior, and there he spent many, many sweetly monotonous days, engaged in meditation, prayer, and the exercise of his delicate copying, which last he regarded even as Fra Angelico regarded his pictures, as an offering to the Lord. He died in his tranquil cloister in 1471, ninety-one years old.

He left behind him many examples of his beautiful skill as a caligrapher, a Bible in four volumes, an elaborate Mass book, several works by St. Bernard, and the famous De Imitatione Christi, of which last he produced several copies.

This work first appeared, without the name of the author, before the Council of Constance in 1415, and the dispute as to the authorship still rages, some claiming that it was written by Jean Gerson, Chancellor of Paris, and merely copied by Thomas à Kempis.

Be this as it may, here tradition, true or not, seems good enough. It is such a book as a gentle, cloistered mystic monk should and would have written, if he could; and why not grant him his masterpiece, which seems so exactly like the fruit of monotonous convent days enlivened by an intense inner spiritual life?

Two manuscripts of this precious composition remain in the lovely writing of Thomas à Kempis. One is at Louvain, and one at Antwerp.

In the Roman Catholic church of St. Michael's, in Zwolle, is a monument (1867) to Thomas à Kempis, and on the site of the monastery is a monolith to his memory, rather heavy and dour and too much like a tombstone, which boldly claims De Imitatione for Thomas, without any hint at a possible dispute about the honour.

* * *

The Stadhuis of Zwolle is a disappointment. It is of 1447, but the exterior was modernised at a most unhappy period, 1844. It contains a fine Gothic room and some carved roof-supports supposed to be caricatures of the Councillors of Kampen, this town appearing to have had a queer reputation, like that of the mythical Gotham.

On the house of a certain gentleman, a Baron Van der Capellen, 1741-1784, the Holland Society of New York have placed a tablet in recognition of his services during the American War of Independence, a graceful and moving tribute to the valiant dead.

* * *

Giethoorn and the neighbourhood are termed (like Amsterdam!) Venices of the North. Needless to say that no part of the Netherlands is like any part of Italy, and the use of the word Venezia for local inns strikes a false note indeed.

The joy and fun of Giethoorn consisted in punting round the cottages and farms, which are completely encircled by water and reached each by a tiny drawbridge. It is also extremely pretty, in the full sense of the word and, in a fairy-like fashion, simple, rustic, and tranquil.

The rich trees, the gay flowers and gayer pots and globes in each immaculate yard and garden, the punts manipulated with such dexterity, passing up and down with varied loads, make of Giethoorn in summer a vivid, luscious, and uncommon scene, so bright are the colours, so fresh the foliage, so rich-hued the dark water. The whole has an ingenuous, almost childish air which conceals the fierce struggle with Nature which makes this loveliness, so perilously snatched from the water, possible.

Here grow the most fragrant of wild flowers in profusion—thyme, mint, valerian, lilies, and all manner of grass and rushes. There is something particularly sweet and pleasant about water plants; they never seem to fade, wilt or wither, turn brown or shrivel, but are always erect, blooming, and glossy, bring thoughts of coolness and repose, of shade and fragrance, and perhaps loneliness and melancholy.

The inhabitants of Giethoorn make mats of these rushes, and collect the rich black peat for horticultural use. You can see them at this work, quietly loading the punts or the barges with these pleasant cargoes, or others, even more idyllic, of fruit or hay, while the herons and the buzzards fly past and away into that low, infinitely distant horizon, broken with those minute clusters of trees, of tiny steeples that seem so ineffably far off, as if they were in another world.

"Lucian, well skill'd in old toyes this hath writ:
For all's but Folly that men think is witt:
No settled judgement doth in men appeare:
But thou admiredst that which others jeere."

—Francis Hickes,
Translator of Lucian's "Dialogues," 1634.




William, Prince of Orange.
By Carl Netscher, 1672

A FINE rain was falling in the camp at Bodegraven; the flats were lost in mist; the farms, with the groups of fine tall trees and roofed stacks, showed in vague outlines through the dripping moisture.

The inundations caused by the opening of the sluice gates of the Province of Holland had overspread all the lower ground; sodden marshes and sheets of water covered farms, pleasure gardens, country houses, villages. On the higher ground the desperate inhabitants had gathered in makeshift dwellings. Now the rain was swelling the flood which sucked at the very edge of the camp which commanded Utrecht, Gouda, and The Hague, facing the lost Provinces of Overijssel, Utrecht, and Guelders, occupied by the French. In a few months the invading army had swept away a rich, fair portion of the Low Countries, and no sensible man thought that there was any hope for the other Provinces; King Louis was a great conqueror.

An old woman led a red cow up the bricked village street; a boy followed with a load of vegetables, cabbages, hard and stiff, purple and green, shining in the wet, and big, tightly bound bundles of creamy-white onions. The rain was warm, but so steady, with never a breath of wind. The cow went awkwardly over the brick pavement, swinging her globular, clean sides. A girl came by with a basket of laundry covered with a check cloth. She complained that there was no drying of linen this weather, and the old woman replied with a chuckle:

"It will serve to wash away the blood from the Plaats." For in this month of September everyone was talking of the murder of the MM. de Witt, and there was very little pity for them, for they were looked on as the authors of the present ruin. This grim event was now some days ago, but on every occasion the peasants spoke of it, and generally they laughed, as they laughed when the corpses of the French soldiers, caught by the floods, were washed up among the alders and osiers, bruised against the windmill bases or caught in the palisades that protected the camp.

The stout girl did not answer. She was thinking of all the beautifully laundered officers' shirts, neck-clothes, and cravats in her basket and worrying lest the damp should spoil the starch.

Bodegraven was choked with refugees, people who had fallen back with the retreating Dutch army from Utrecht, farmers, peasants, and shopkeepers from Guelders and Overijssel. The gentry had been called up with their companies of trained bands or had volunteered for service, and this lesser sort was being carefully recruited. Two engineers were going about among the crowded houses now, finding the old men and boys who were yet strong enough to help throw up a rampart round the camp to protect it from the rising waters.

The three peasants and the cow left the village and came towards the camp. The dripping canvas of the tents was huddled round the scattered farms, compact with stables and outhouses. It rained so steadily; the very air seemed a palpable thing, it was so full of moisture, and the floods and the sky seemed to melt into one mist.

A man rode up from the lower levels, picking his way carefully along the yet unsubmerged path bordered by the alders and coarse grasses. He must have passed the sentries the peasants knew, so they stepped aside quietly to allow him to proceed, only the old woman said:

"This is an ill day."

And the dispatch rider:

"Ill enough."

He passed on and turned towards the little farm in the centre of the camp where the flag of the United Provinces, with an orange banderole, clung limp and damp to the staff.

The dispatch rider was a Frieslander. He brought letters from Count John Maurice in Groningen, who commanded the Northern forces of the Republic, to Prince William of Orange, Stadtholder of Holland and West Friesland, and Commander-in-Chief of the armies of Their High Mightinesses, the States-General, in this most perilous moment.

A group of Blue Guards was outside the farmhouse. The Frieslander spoke to an officer among them. The Prince was not there, this man said, but would presently be back; he was out with the engineers inspecting the dykes and waterways round Woerden.

"How useless it all is," said the Frieslander despondently. "The Prince might as well go hunting on his German estates."

"You bring bad news, then?"

"Well, the Prince sent orders to Friesland and Groningen to open the sluices there. And I bring word that they won't do that. And Count John Maurice can't make them."

"A mutiny?"

"Yes. They won't destroy their own country. And I've heard, too, of the murder of the MM. de Witt. That throws everything on the Prince."

So steadily it rained. The two young men entered the farmhouse, and the dispatch rider shook streams of water from his sodden cloak. He was fair as an ear of wheat, big-boned, haggard, with light eyes rather close set. He spoke with a weary frankness, as one who laboured in a cause for which there was nothing to fear because there was nothing to lose.

"Everything on the Prince," he repeated. "Some odium too, eh? Did he go to The Hague?"

"Immediately. And dismissed the magistrates."

They were now in the farmhouse living-room. There was but one other and that was the stable. All was clean and neat; the white tiles with drawings in an old wine colour that lined the walls shone, so did the noble collection of brass and copper pots, despite the pervading damp. A small green-glazed stove was alight, and there was a handful of fire on the open hearth, over which hung a pot from a chain. Some broken red roses, half shattered by the rain, beat against the narrow window-panes.

"Are these the Prince's quarters?" asked the Frieslander.

"Yes, save that he sleeps in a tent. You have not been here before?"

"No. Count John Maurice sent me because he thought I could explain to His Highness how hopeless it was to impose his wishes in the North," replied the dispatch bearer rather haughtily.

"You have never seen the Prince?" asked the officer of the Blues thoughtfully.

"No. Of course he can do nothing. The country is lost and ruined. My God, if he has had to abandon the Yssel, what is there left to defend? And with people in this temper—Princes who can't keep order are apt to be limbed themselves."

"His Highness has been threatened with such a fate," replied the other. "But we keep our hearts high and our tongues silent, Mynheer."

"Bah, with the French in Utrecht? Hasn't the time come for plain speaking?"

"Well, speak plainly to His Highness, then; he never dislikes that in a man."

"He will have to learn to tolerate it," replied the Frieslander. "What is there before him but a pension from France or oblivion in Germany?"

He spoke with the boldness of despair and with that candour that men use when they are stripped of every resource. He was a great lord in his own country, and knew little of the politics that had hurtled the Seven Provinces into disaster, and little of the man who had been set up to repair this disaster. In simple sincerity he thought the task impossible and the man who had undertaken it presumptuous and beaten already. With the invincible Frenchmen (and England, mind you, behind them) gripping three provinces, and half the rest of the country under water and in a state of anarchy, and such an army, and such stores and such a fleet as twenty years' pacifist policy had left available.

No one knew much of William of Orange at this time save that he had been unfortunate always, orphaned and disinherited before his birth, brought up as a prisoner of state, trained by John de Witt, who had supplanted his family, as a severe Republican, and now, in a moment of national despair and fury, restored to the sometime honours of his house and since a few moments the idol of the distracted people.

And he was nephew to one, and cousin to the other of the besieging Kings who were publicly known to have made friendly overtures to him, sparing no bribe nor persuasion nor threat to detach him from the interests of the United Provinces.

All this was common talk. And the Frieslander, as he waited in the neat kitchen, in his despair and melancholy, thought gloomily:

"Probably he has already made his bargain with the French and is but standing out for the highest price for the remaining towns. What will he get? As a cadet of the House of Bourbon, as a Prince of the blood royal of England, perhaps a Marshal's baton, perhaps the hand of a French Princess—and my mission is a farce."

As the dispatch bearer waited, tired, disheartened, endeavouring to dry his wet garments before the stove, he saw the old woman drive the red cow into the stable, followed by the boy with the basket of vegetables and the girl with the laundry.

They were accompanied by one of the Prince's gentlemen and a valet who examined the cow and the vegetables and counted the laundry. The Frieslander caught fragments of the whispered conversation:

"His Highness was delicate in all his senses—he would have milk from a red cow, a clean red cow, and vegetables that were firm and fresh. The washing seemed very well, but who knew if His Highness would be pleased? He was difficult with his linen."

And so on, with little interjections about the war, and the floods, and the murder of MM. de Witt.

These trivialities, the outer silence, the encompassing rain, the sweet, homely scene, made the gigantic ruin in which they were all involved seem grotesque; the triumphant invaders, pressing to the very verge of the floods that had saved the provinces of Holland, seemed a monstrous, fantastic dream.

The outer door opened; a young officer entered. A little dog ran before him and sat in front of the fire, shivering. The Frieslander rose, wondering a little, his hard face set and tried, his clothes steaming from the heat of the stove.

"You have dispatches from Groningen?" asked the new-comer.

"Yes, Mynheer." Then, as the other held out his gloved hand: "To be delivered to His Highness the Stadtholder."

"Well," said the officer indifferently, "I am the Stadtholder."

The dispatches were handed over, not without some confusion on the part of the Frieslander, for this young man was not in the least as he had imagined the Prince, but his mistake and his embarrassment passed unheeded, for William leant against the kitchen table and read his letters as if he had been alone. Though piqued by this ignoring of his presence, the Frieslander was pleased by this occasion to satisfy his curiosity.

The youth whose name had suddenly been covered with a fame that was rather fantastic and rather terrible to sober men like the Frieslander, stood but a few feet from the man who was observing him so intently. He wore the uniform of the Blue Guards and retained his hat.

He was then in his twenty-second year, but appeared older by reason of his stately air of authority and his grave composure. Slight and delicately made, his carriage was thoughtful, as if every movement was considered and weighed, his features were singularly noble, resolute, and serene, aquiline in outline, dark and pale in complexion and shaded by long, rich heavy curls of a dense brown touched with auburn, that hung far over his shoulders and gave a marked character to his appearance. His eyes were powerful, beautiful and uncommon. The Frieslander had noted at once his direct and luminous glance, which was now bent on the dispatches of his relative, Count John Maurice of Nassau.

The Frieslander thought how simple, how unheroic it all was—this little scene that represented the utmost they could do in the matter of a leader and his entourage; it was not from headquarters like these that Louis and Turenne directed their victorious campaign.

It was almost childish, almost insignificant and utterly hopeless, a school lad playing a game. The dispatch-bearer wondered that Count John Maurice, who was a veteran warrior of over seventy and had ruled in high places, could defer the supreme command to this youth.

The Prince finished his letter, and without even glancing at the man who had brought it, he opened a little travelling desk that stood on a press, and bending over it, still standing, began to write a quick reply.

The Frieslander was half-amused at this, and said quietly:

"Count John Maurice, sir, wished me to speak with you on the contents of that letter."

William paused, with the pen in his hand, and looking round, asked, without interest:

"To what end?"

"I suppose, sir, to the end that you might understand the state of the North—"

"I understand the state of the whole country," answered William simply. "Count John Maurice is very well, but he is old, and when one is old one loses heart."

"I think one need not be old, Highness, to lose heart now."

At this the Prince asked him, still indifferently, if he were of the party of the MM. de Witt, and added:

"A pacifist may be a good man, but in time of war he shows in an ill light—"

And continued his letter.

The Frieslander, walking up and down in front of the stove and the open door that gave into the stable, was moved to speak of the desperate position of matters, the atrocious peril of the moment and the serious nature of the mutiny in Friesland, speaking strongly of the things he had seen in his difficult journey from Groningen and the state of affairs that had rendered possible the vile murder of the MM. de Witt, so that the Prince, with this clatter in his ears, was moved to desist from his letter and gaze at him in a kind of astonishment. Then, while the Frieslander still spoke, he turned away and finished and sealed his letter, so that the Frieslander fell sullenly silent, feeling he had to deal with one dull or obstinate beyond endurance.

William offered him the letter and told him to return to Groningen with it at once.

"You look in no need of a rest; it is best that it goes at once—"

"Then what I have said makes no impression on your Highness?"

"Oh, that. Well, don't say it again—some people might take heed of it."

The body-servant entered from the stable, closing the door behind him. He presented the Prince with a pair of gloves that William, smiling, showed to the Frieslander.

"They were given to me at Oxford two years ago, and they are still very good—"

As he made this trivial remark he looked steadily at the Frieslander for a second, then added instantly:

"Get back to Groningen and tell them all goes well here."

"All goes well, Highness?"

"I trust you," replied the Prince simply, "to say that and to believe it true."

The Frieslander picked up his still damp cloak from in front of the stove. The servant was putting away the clean linen in a wall cupboard. The Prince prepared to leave, closing his desk, pulling the gloves over his hands of elegant delicacy. The scene somehow no longer seemed so insignificant to the Frieslander, but rather as if it might be the focus of great events.

"What shall I tell Count John Maurice, sir?" he said, as the Stadtholder opened the door.

"There is nothing to say beyond what I have written—if the officers refuse to obey they must be shot out of hand. I have sent those orders. The sluices must be opened."

He looked again at the Frieslander, then left the farm and went about his business, mounting among a group of men and riding away with them into the rain and mist.

The Frieslander had no comment to make; he turned back with the answer to Count John Maurice.



Landscape in Drenthe.
By Alphonse Stengelin (1875-1910)

"Car de nyer generalement qu'il n'y auroit eu nuls géants, ce seroit trop ridicule! Voir desmentir les saintes Écritures qui en font assez mention."

—Jean le Petit
"Grande Chronique de Hollande et Zeelande."
End of sixteenth century.

THE Drenthe is an immense sandy heath that has almost defied even Dutch industry. After the fertility of Groningen and Friesland these wastes of moorland appear barren and desolate. Not that there is any lack of farms, villages, and cultivated fields, but these are all scattered about the endless flat moors and have a lonely look. The farms are comparatively untidy, the dress of the people comparatively poor and negligent, and the hard-won acres, with difficulty rescued from the arid stretches of heath, do not bloom with the luxuriance of the neighbouring Provinces.

The peasants, who have the reputation of being surly and stubborn, wear, when they do wear the native dress, a more simple and picturesque attire than that of the Frieslander, with no ornaments of gold and silver and no coverings for their heads beyond their thick, fair hair.

It is natural that they should be taciturn and churlish, for the Drenthe offers opportunities for nothing save hard work and conveys an effect of utter isolation.

The lack of trees, windmills, old towns, canals, and watercraft gives a great part of Drenthe a monotony beyond that of any other part of the Netherlands, nor are there any sparkling memories nor great names associated with these miles of heath, or what there are so long ago as to be now forgotten—the days of giants and fairies, of primitive men, and of the Roman occupation; and what remains of any of these but the sad, dusty objects gathered together behind the glass cases in the museum at Assen? pitiful relics of a power that has crumbled and civilisation that is dust.

Nor are there any of those charming towns which have been the theatre for great events, nor sites of famous battles, or sieges or splendid deeds. Assen, the capital, was created out of a village by the Batavian Republic, at the end of the eighteenth century, and Koevorden, the one-time capital, has sunk to a mere hamlet.

If this dark country, with its prehistoric monuments, contains little to attract the traveller, it also possesses scant means of transit. But one line of railway goes across it, and the neat brick roads are here replaced by sandy tracks on which it is difficult to walk or drive. Modernity is, no doubt, fast overcoming these inconveniences and peculiarities, but enough of them remain to prove correct the old travellers' tales that describe the Drenthe as a ferocious and difficult country and the Drenthers as a ferocious and difficult people.

The sterile plain is continually broken by regular mounds or tumuli of prehistoric and unknown origin, and there are several of the mysterious Hunnebedden, as sinister and ancient as Stonehenge, and locally attributed to the rough hurtlings of huge-handed giants.

At Borger there are eleven of these monuments, at Emmen nine, at Adoorn eight, at Anloo seven. In all there are fifty-one of these Hunnebedden, most of which belong to the Government or the Province.

It does not stretch one's credulity to credit the presence of giants in the Drenthe or that these primeval works were made by their hands. The form is always the same—two long stones with one across, covering urns full of ashes. Most of these have long since been desecrated in the search for possible treasure, and in many cases the stones have been pushed by the steady drive of up-growing vegetation out of their position, so that they lie in shapeless heaps. In some the original form remains, i.e., a block at either end forms a chamber or gallery.

The stones are not shaped by hand, nor do they bear the merest scratching of an inscription—like the dim period to which they belong, they are inarticulate.

It would be interesting to know where these stones came from (there are certainly no quarries near, nor ever could have been) and how far they were dragged for erection on the gloomy heaths. "Glacier-borne boulders from Scandinavia," is the scientific pronouncement, but this tells one little. There are said to have been many more besides these remaining, and there are a great number of similar erections in France, Sweden, North America, and Africa.

The Middle Ages, naturally, accused evil spirits of fashioning these uncouth temples and the Drenthers of worshipping therein. The Council of Arles (452) and the Council of Tours (587) fulminated against them as of infernal origin.

A certain Jean Picardt, one time a pastor in Koevorden, published a book about the Hunnebedden in the year of our Restoration, 1666, in which he describes and draws the gigantic monsters whom he supposes to have built these rude, grand, and nameless memorials.

These dark and huge phantoms seem fitting authors of these desolate heaps of stones, and the pastor of Koevorden had good excuse for his fantasy.

Modern research cannot clear up the matter much more satisfactorily than the story-tellers. The most solid information appears to be that which ascribes the Hunnebedden to the efforts of the early Celts to celebrate some honoured leader—but what labour, in those fierce times, to undertake for a mere chief, and how many great men in a small tract of country!

Of course a great deal has been written about the Hunnebedden (Hun, death, bedden, bed, tomb), and those who will may wander in the mazes of wise men's speculations.

And those who will not may be content with the giants as so minutely described by the good Jean Picardt.

In either case it cannot be denied that, giants, evil spirits or not, these massive heaps of stones cast a sinister gloom over a country already sufficiently desolate.

Nothing is easier to imagine than some awful procession winding across the sterile heath, beneath a leaden sky, bearing some forlorn sacrifice to be immolated with unspeakable rites on the dreary stones of the Hunnebedden.

* * *

Assen is clean, spacious, open and comfortable, possessing a fine park, in which Louis Napoleon intended to raise a hunting-lodge, and the museum mentioned before, in which are preserved all the relics found in peat-bed and sandy moor, "tumuli" and Hunnebedden.

This accumulation of the first vestiges of human life in the Low Countries, of the Bronze Age and the Romans, is precious to the archaeologist, but to the ordinary visitor it has but a dusty, charnel-house flavour. Even the objects of beauty, such as the Italian cameos and jewels, take on a melancholy, tarnished air so close to these hideous flints, murderous, sacrificial knives, and powdering, blackening bones.

There was a large nunnery at Assen, suppressed at the independence of the Seven Provinces. The Provincial Office is on the site. This reminds us of the curious Coat of arms of Assen—the Virgin and Child—bespeaking the greater toleration of the times when the Drenthe was made into a separate Province.

In the days of the States-General, when the divisions were Zeeland, Holland, Utrecht, Groningen, Friesland, and Overijssel, the Drenthe was part of Groningen, and belonged to the Friesland, and there does not appear much reason for giving it a separate identity. It was the scene of ceaseless internecine warfare among local lords, being too far north and too desolate to attract much attention from the various powers governing the Netherlands. When agriculture was more primitive and less was known about the development of unlikely land, the peasantry must have largely subsisted on turf-cutting, which is still a considerable but not very lucrative employment.

The Town Hall at Assen is part of an ancient church boasting the remains of a thirteenth-century cloister; for the rest there is nothing out of the way in this matter-of-fact, quiet little provincial town, that does not seem to express either the spirit of the Drenthers or the atmosphere of the Drenthe.

* * *

Neither does Koevorden, so much older and more, as it were, indigenous, prove anything but a disappointment.

The ancient capital of the Drenthe has a modern Town Hall rind an ugly church of 1641 with a humped back and a trifling spire, and the streets are without character or interest.

There are, however, the usual handsome ramparts adorned with lofty trees, showing the one-time importance of the town, which is supposed to have originated in a Roman camp.

In 1024 Koevorden was the residence of the Counts of Drenthe, fierce and arrogant potentates who kept a firm hand on their undrained marshes and petty heaths.

Their overlord was, by virtue of a grant of the Emperor Henry II, the Bishop of Utrecht, but his rights were ignored by the Counts of Drenthe, and for hundreds of years the Bishops were too harried by troubles nearer home to be able to enforce them, such attempts as were made, as in 1288, when the Utrecht men crossed the frozen marshes to attack Koevorden, being unsuccessful.

At the end of the fourteenth century, however, the rebel Count of Drenthe was besieged by Bishop Frederic of Blankenheim, who, after a struggle of six weeks, reduced his vassal to obedience.

In 1552, the town passed out of the power of the Bishops and was occupied by the troops of Charles V. At the end of the War of Independence it was fortified by Prince Maurice (1592), he completing the ramparts which had been begun by the Spanish commander, Everard Ens. Despite these defences, Koevorden, owing to treachery, fell to the Bishop of Münster in the Ramp jaar (1672), but was soon retaken by Rapenhaupt, a success which inspired Vondel with some punning verses.

Rapenhaupt followed the example of the old Bishop of Utrecht and brought his troops up over the frozen marshes.

The town was soon after fortified by Coehoorn. These ramparts were dismantled in the nineteenth century together with so many others in the Low Countries. It is a pity that some at least of the work of the great engineer could not have been preserved even when it was useless; both patriotism and curiosity would have been gratified by such an action.

Charming as the walks are on the bastions of these old towns, a specimen of the elaborate and superb work of Coehoorn would have been of supreme interest.

Outside Assen are these same bogs over which the Episcopal and the States Armies once advanced, worth traversing now for the sake of the pretty villages, like Dalen, Emmen, with the Celtic remains and wooden bridges supposed to be Roman, and the drained marshes and cleared bogs, another tribute to the energy and industry of the Dutch.

Fine crops now flourish where noisome swamps once took heavy toll of health and life, and new villages have risen where once there was a dismal stretch of stagnant marsh. However, all these parts of the Drenthe are still somewhat difficult of access, and the traveller who wishes to study this peculiar country will have to have patience and leisure and be able to defy fatigue.

Much of the Drenthe is even now sad, dark, and uncultivated, despite all the efforts of engineers and farmers. Poisonous adders abound round the lonely tumuli, and immense circular excavations, attributed to witches escaped from hell, give an added sinister touch to the dismal landscape.

The prosaic explanation of these queer pits is that they were dug by ancient Celts shivering from the flaying north winds as some possible protection from the bitter weather, or else were intended for cisterns in which to gather the rain, these gloomy plains having no other water.

A terrible country must the Drenthe have been in those days, and one wonders why these Celts, instead of labouring in these dismal regions to obtain water, shelter, build graves and altars, did not wander further afield in search of more hospitable regions.

Some villages, such as Eext and Gieten, are placed in the midst of a veritable "blasted heath" such as might have been relished by the witches in Macbeth. At Borger and Gasselte it is little better, nor do the prehistoric burying-places which abound enliven the impressive desolation of this peaty desert.

The villages themselves are pleasant enough, and the green fields from which the inhabitants wrest their living serve to screen them from the bleak monotony of the plains.

* * *

Indeed these villages present another side of the Drenthe and represent her most substantial claim to glory.

They have been painted by Wynants, by Ruysdael, by Hobbema, the most poetic of the painters of the Netherlands, the last two of the most poetic painters of the world.

Meindert Hobbema (born 1638) has been claimed by Antwerp and Haarlem, among other towns, but the Drenthers maintain that he was a native of Koevorden, and there seems no reason why they should not be allowed this honour. Certain it is that he painted in the Drenthe and that at Rolde, Eext, Gieten, Gasselte, and Borger you may still see, concealed from the neighbouring wastes by clusters of superb trees, the cottages with the low roofs, the sandy paths, the dark undergrowths, the rich foliage, the mills, the fields that Hobbema with such spontaneous simplicity so lovingly copied.

The more precise, mannered, and characteristic features of the other Provinces, which other painters so skilfully turned to account, did not appeal to Hobbema as did these humble solitudes, and while they were engaged in depicting the joys of comfort and prosperity, Hobbema was evolving poetic beauty from these lonely and neglected villages of the Drenthe.

The fresh brightness of Hobbema's verdure, the dewy depth of his skies, the tender radiance of the beams of light that penetrate his floating clouds, and the sad darkness of his forests, his pure and delicate colour, make these early essays in landscape painting some of the most beautiful that art has yet attained.

The freedom that the Netherlands enjoyed at the end of the sixteenth century at once affected pictorial art as well as every other aspect of national activity. Religious painting came to an abrupt end; Protestantism dispensed with the service of the Arts, and the grandiose representation of Biblical and classic scenes for Kings and Emperors also went out of date. The more modest patrons of painting in the Netherlands asked for nothing more than their own portrait, a civic banquet or city council or guild meeting, and a very occasional allegorical picture celebrating some great national event such as the Peace of Westphalia.

Hence we have, all at once, as it were, a bewildering richness of genre pictures, landscapes, interiors and still life; all subjects that, one feels, Dutch and Flemings had been always longing to depict, as witness the exquisite backgrounds in the early altar-pieces of this school, and the delicate care expended on the detail of robes and a chance accessory, such as birds, flowers, musical instruments or examples of goldsmiths' art.

There is something very lovely and refreshing in these first expressions of a free art; you feel that these men were, for the first time, perhaps, choosing their own subjects and executing them in their own fashion, and this rustic life, these lowly scenes that never before had been considered worthy of celebration, possess a charm as fragrant as it is individual.

John Wynants (1600-1670), who was the teacher of so many celebrated Dutch artists, came to the Drenthe to sketch the negligent villages clustering without plan or order round the flower-filled graveyard and the rustic church, the warm-hued bricks, the immense roofs, the creamy plaster, the old red walls, a medley of cottages and hovels without streets or any division but the sandy paths leading to the heath.

Among his pupils were Adrian Vandervelde, the genre painter, and Philip Wouverman (1620-1668), who also painted in the Drenthe, and drew the figures and horses against the backgrounds of his master.

This delicious painter lived in obscurity and neglect, and is said to have died of chagrin at his failure and to have burnt all his sketches and pictures that his sons might not be inspired by them to follow a vocation that he had found so disastrous. His younger brothers, Peter and John, were his pupils and imitators. Other writers assert that Wouverman was rescued from his distresses by a priest (he being a Romanist), and that he was in sufficiently easy circumstances to be able to dower his daughter well.

It would be difficult to exaggerate the quiet and exquisite charm of Philip Wouverman (whose glory belongs properly to Haarlem, his native place), and however keen his disappointments, his life cannot have been wholly unhappy, so exquisite a delight must he have taken in his work and so industriously did he apply himself to his art. There is not one of his numerous canvases that shows any sign of haste or carelessness; the grace and spirit of the composition are equalled only by the beauty of the finish.

His subjects are the subjects of every day—the farrier's shop, the inn, the encampment, the hunt. Soldiers, cavaliers and horses, all depicted with vivacity and truth, are usually the principal figures in his designs. In the Drenthe you can still see these smithies, these inn doors, these sandy wastes with stunted trees, perhaps more untouched than in any other part of the country, though Wouverman painted mainly in Holland and principally the environs of Haarlem, then very different to what they are now. These pictures are true history; they are like a diary written by an artist, the notes of a loving spectator on the life of his times.

In the diary of Constantin Hugyens, the younger, written a few years after Wouverman's death, you may find scenes described in the campaign of 1672 that read like pictures by this delicious artist.

Wouverman left over eight hundred pictures, besides painting the figures in the landscapes of other artists such as Wynants and Ruysdael. In the Mauritshuis are some superb examples of this artist: "The Arrival at the Inn" (No. 214), "The Departure from the Inn" (No. 215), "The Falcon Party" (No. 216), "The Hay Cart" (No. 218), "A Great Battle" (No. 219)—the gem of the collection, perhaps, "A Camp" (No. 220), and "Huntsmen Resting" (No. 221), and "Huntsmen Halting" (No. 222).

These few pictures give an excellent idea of the range and power of Wouverman's brush, and afford most valuable data for the student of Dutch life in the seventeenth century.

Another painter, also belonging to Haarlem, may be mentioned here, as he was inspired by the Drenthe before he went to paint the sullen grandeur of the dark cascades of Norway.

This is Jacob van Ruysdael (1628-1682), also little appreciated during his lifetime, when these representations of homely scenes were ill-considered, but now held to be the greatest landscape painter of the seventeenth century. His views, such as that of his native town (Mauritshuis, No. 155), and that of the Vyverberg (No. 534, same collection), are historically of supreme interest, as well as magnificent paintings, but his art rises to the greatest heights in his lonely, rushing torrents, his dark woods, cloudy skies and stormy seas, which are touched by the beauty of a poetry both strong and fine.

His "Cornfield" (Champ de Blé) is known to have been painted in the Drenthe.

* * *

In the drenthe we miss the Stadhuis, which is an inevitable feature of even small villages in the other Provinces. Here the principal inn boasted a large, always comfortable and sometimes elegant room which was reserved for the Municipal gatherings and the transaction of local affairs. This custom is disappearing, but has not yet gone, and even a few years ago travellers of distinction were received by the innkeeper in these beautiful council halls.

The villages of the Drenthe have always been celebrated for rye bread and ham, delicacies by no means easily obtainable in every Netherlands inn.

There are the remains of several grand castles in the Drenthe more massive than the neat slot of the neighbouring Provinces. That which belonged (and may do still) to the Counts of Heiden Reinestein, Saarwoud, near Zuidlaren, is 'typical of the others of which few exist in habitable condition. This building is of eighteenth-century origin, but the estate and the magnificent woods are very old.

There is a heronry in an avenue of majestic trees, and nothing is more pleasing than to see the birds in spring flying to and from their nests in the budding branches that trace so intricate a pattern against the pellucid blue, against which the elegant birds show with the vivid precision of a Japanese print.

* * *

There is little more for the casual visitor to say of the Drenthe, though there is enough interest in the curious Province to serve for many a long study and many a flight of fantastic speculation; the genius loci is strong enough here, though his aspect is slightly sinister.

Those sympathetic towards this dreary landscape, these cheerful hamlets, each an oasis in a desert of heath, these snatched morsels of cultivated ground, these sandy paths and dark acres of peat, these huddled farms, so pleasant in line and colour, these obscure and awful burial-mounds and stones of a vanished nameless people, might find an intolerable fascination in the Drenthe and be able to evoke here many shapes of wonder and beauty.

"Lay up in Heaven! quod he, a merrie jest in deede!
So longe as I lyve I will Keepe it in a chest, and Have the Key about mee!"

Thomas Wilson, 1572, "A discourse upon Usury".




The Encampment by Philip Wouverman.

A HIGH wind was blowing across the desolate, dun plain. The great tearing clouds and low sandhills seemed involved in one stormy darkness; the tents fluttered against the strong poles; the forked ends of the red-and-blue flag of the Republic beat out vividly against the murk of the sky; the tents in the distance were blurred with eddies of sand.

Beneath the flag a wreath and a can on a branch showed that here wine was for sale, and a group of horsemen on heavy prancing steeds, gleaming white and grey, had paused before the ragged door. A richly dressed cavalier with a pennoned lance took the last glass of wine from an officer on foot, for the trumpeter on the curveting bay was sounding the blast for departure.

The soldier, kissing the buxom young wine-seller, made ready to leap into the saddle; others controlled the kicking, leaping horses, which seemed excited by the wind and the trumpet, and prepared for the march. A beggar woman, crouched on the ground, received in her outstretched hat the alms a lady riding pillion behind a cavalier cast her; dogs hung round for the pickings of the camp.

Three soldiers played at cards on a drum, and near them others were sleeping on the hard ground, regardless of the chill wind and the approaching storm.

The little troop continued their way across the sandy heath, galloping quickly through the scattered encampment; the gay colours of the pennon and tassel on the lance of the young nobleman who led them dared the darkness of the gloomy day. Behind them, on the flat Dutch country, the bright Dutch flags struggled with the northern wind.

Drops of heavy rain began to fall; the scrub was bent flat by a gale; the outline of a walled town loomed in dark gold on the distant horizon.

The young officer further urged his gleaming steed. His plumes and his curls flew out behind him under the radiant silk of his pennon. He had dispatches for Prince Frederic Henry in his pocket. He was glad that he would reach the town to deliver them before the storm and the night caught up with his little troop.

The clouds broke behind the city and the sombre ramparts showed grim against a streak of light. The Orange standard above the citadel caught a ragged beam as it fought the wind against the piled-up tempest clouds.



Landscape in Guelders.
By Barend Cornelis Koekkoek, 1840

"High in valour,
poor in wealth,
Sword in hand,
That is the motto of Gelderland."

IN writing of Guelders as one of the Provinces of the Netherlands, one is reminded forcibly of what a famous historian has called getting "map bound," meaning that modern maps and ancient history go ill together.

The old history of Guelders, i.e., the Duchy of Guelders and the Countship of Zutphen, has as little to do with the story of the United Provinces as have the stories of Juliers, Cleves, Münster, or the Palatinate; shifting frontiers, changing masters, endless combats, and that vague over-lordship of the Empire make the history of States like Guelders difficult indeed to write within the arbitrary confines of a modern map.

The scenery of Guelders is different indeed from that of the other Provinces. The flats of Holland and Zeeland, the moors and marshes of Brabant and Overijssel, the low, rolling hills and running streams of Limburg here give way to highlands clothed in heather, rich woods, and the fertile plains watered by the Rhine and the Yssel.

The people are as individual as their surroundings, handsome, powerful, and tall; in the pure stock, the best type of Germanic manhood. They look of the race of Siegfried, whose own town, Xanten, is not so much further along the Rhine.

This is not to say that Guelders, though the frontier State ('tis but a step across a road and be in Germany), is not essentially Dutch, but rather to say that to call Cleves, Münster, etc., German is but to use a name. These peoples were of the same stock, and it is mere hazard that sends one under one flag, one under another.

It would be a delightful task to write the history of Guelders by itself, with due regard to these same neighbours of Cleves, Münster, Utrecht, Brabant, but with no obligation towards the history of the United Provinces into which Guelders became technically merged by the Union of Utrecht.

There are abundant materials for such a task, for the archives of Guelders are particularly rich and well kept, and M. Nijhoff, one-time keeper of these, has a monumental "Geschiedenis van Guelderland," in which all the spadework is accomplished.

In the many glorious old castles, in the towns of Arnhem, Nijmegen, Zalt Bommel, Gorkum, Elburg, Zutphen, in the villages of the Betuwe and Veluwe, in the royal Palace of Het Loo, in such princely residences as Middachten and Voorst, is a wealth of material so overwhelming that to devote but a few pages to Guelders seems an impertinence.

This material, though of absorbing interest, is largely local, however, and Guelders, lovely and luxurious though it be, has not that intense European significance, that immense individuality of some of the other Provinces. These smiling glades and this rolling campaign, these stately villas and mansions, one after the other, lack the poignant charm, the unique atmosphere of the melancholy flats, the dykes and the canals.

Dutch people tell you, with a certain ingenuous pride, that Guelders is "different" from the rest of their country, that it is like Scotland, and that it is a pity foreigners do not more often visit such a delightful spot.

Of course Guelders is not like Scotland, any more than Amsterdam is like Venice, or Edinburgh like Athens, or any other such grotesque comparison. It is a most individual tract of land, very stately, fertile, and given a dignified, almost haughty air by the succession of the seats of the exclusive, reserved, old Dutch aristocracy, and those of the opulent, cultured and conservative merchant and professional classes, who, one after another, fill town and country of upper Guelders with houses differing certainly in size and importance, but all shining with a lustre of prosperity.

In this part of Guelders the landscape has the same patrician air as the houses; it seems a noble's park or a Prince's hunting ground. The avenues, glades and alleys are such as we are familiar with in the indigo and blackish-green landscapes on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century tapestries, showing royal hunting parties and elegant fêtes champêtres.

The neat little map given in Professor Geyl's Holland and Belgium does much to efface the impression made by modern geography, and defines the real character of such frontier-disputed areas as Guelders.

This map shows the Netherlands in 1550 and the then boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire, which extended as far as the Scheldt, and included Antwerp, Brussels, the whole of Hainault, and reached Cambrai. Flanders and Artois, though fiefs of France, were held by the Dukes of Burgundy, and therefore, in reality, united to the other Provinces ruled nominally by the Emperor.

Here you see the Duchy of Guelders, one among many such duchies and lordships, Cleves, Bentheim, Münster, Limberg, Juliers, Utrecht, Brabant, and so forth, and you get a clearer idea of the position, status, and the likely internecine warfare of these small states than is possible from any modern map. Remembering how dubious and weak was the over-lordship of the Emperor, and how powerful these Bishops, Counts, Dukes, and Earls became within their own limits, one gains some conception of the endless complications of the medieval policies of this portion of Europe.

The cartographer has drawn a red line across his map from Dunkirk to Olken in Juliers, showing that above this, Dutch, and below, French, were the spoken languages at this period.

This line cuts just below Brussels, and includes most of the country now known for the last hundred years as Belgium, before that, as the Spanish or Austrian Netherlands, thereby proving how arbitrary are the present frontiers, and how essentially these people, with a common history, are one, and how natural should be a solid union between them.

Here we are indeed in deep water—how far are the characters of peoples determined and nationalities built up by governments, religions, traditions?

The Netherlands were certainly one group or union of little States till the Revolt against Spain, and until then it is indeed difficult to disentangle the story of one from the story of another; but the ten Provinces that remained Catholic and Spanish appeared to develop soon a different character from the seven that formed the United Provinces, and any attempt at their reunion has so far proved disastrous. In the same way, Guelders, in joining Holland, has become different from the other Germanic Duchies, such as Juliers and Cleves, and is solidly enough part of the modern Kingdom of the Netherlands.

* * *

The early history of Guelders is in the highest degree picturesque and romantic. It seems to have been the cradle of much Teutonic legend and tales of magic and chivalry—an atmosphere wholly different from that of the other Provinces. No epic of trade, adventures, discovery, no tale of great art or patient intention comes from Guelders. Here were the nobles, the knights, the soldiers, Germanic heroes of the Nibelungenlied and the early ante-Christian days. The very name is said to have come from a ferocious dragon, surely near kin to the one that guarded the treasure which came to lie at the bottom of the Rhine, which flows through Guelders, which devasted the land in the manner of such beasts, bellowing the while: "Gelre! Gelre!"

Two noble brothers, Wichard and Luppold, dispatched the dragon, to the accompaniment of a terrible tempest, and gave his ferocious cry "Gelre!" as a name to the land over which they were gratefully offered sovereignty.

And then there is the tale of Beatrix and Elius, placed in Nijmegen, which is the tale of the Swan Knight, the German Lohengrin, and Adela and Balderic and many another, until we come to the early Counts of Guelders for long of the House of Nassau who lived lustily and joyously, after the manners of their kind and time, fighting continuously against their neighbours, mainly against Utrecht and Brabant in these early times, the Lord of the latter state building Bois-le-Duc (charmingly called "Boy'ld Duck" by an ancient English traveller) to withstand them.

Utrecht and Guelders fought savagely over the Veluwe, Bishop and Duke giving each as good as he got, and devastating between them the prize for which they strove. Reinald I, Count of Guelders, was a friend of Adolf of Nassau, that Emperor whose knightly figure shows still above his lovely house in Nuremberg, and whose statue rises again so magnificently on the wooded banks of the Lahn in his native Province of Nassau; who never had any money in his purse, but always his sword by his side.

The following glimpse of this Nassau brings before one these spirited and violent days.

Adolf, friend as well as ally of Reinald, was, in one of his many battles, captured and brought before his enemy, the Duke of Brabant, after having valiantly defended himself against five Brabant knights.

"Who are you?" asked the Duke of his dishevelled prisoner.

"I am the Count of Nassau. And who are you?"

"I am the Duke of Brabant, five of whose finest knights you have just overcome."

"I am sorry for that—it was for you I had my sword sharpened, and through the whole battle have I looked for you. Had I found you, you would have shared the fate of your knights."

For this bold answer the Duke gave him his freedom without ransom.

Reinald II was the first Duke of Guelders, and in 1331 he sent three Guelders' nobles, Otto van Kuyk, Ricold van Heeswijk and Jacob van Mierlaer, to England, to demand the hand of Eleanor, sister of Edward III. The English King gave his sister ten thousand pounds sterling as dowry, and her husband settled on her, out of the revenues of the Beluwe, fourteen thousand pounds Flemish (or gulden) for her pin money.

With gorgeous pomp the marriage was celebrated at Nijmegen, and the bride's residence was afterwards at Roosendaal (Valley of Roses), which the young princess must have found sweetly named.

This daughter of the murdered Edward and the wanton Isabella seems to have been one of those gentle, pious, noble women, those veritable "doves in the eagle's nest" who bloomed in the fierce households of the Middle Ages. She is said to have foretold to her warlike husband the extinction of his line, and with the burial of her two sons, Reinald and Edward, beside their forefathers in the Cloister of Gravendaal in 1371, her prophecy was fulfilled. The Dukedom of Guelders passed to the house of Juliers, as the Countship of Holland passed to the house of Hainault.

On the death of Reinald IV, childless, in 1418, the line of Juliers came to an end, and Guelders passed to the son of his niece, Maria van Arkel, Arnald of Egmont, who was miserably deposed and brutally treated by his son, Adolf, like Reinald III, who was walled up in the thick walls of Roosendaal, where a mere ray of light penetrated, for ten years by a brother desirous of his honours.

Charles of Egmont, third of his house, and the most interesting personality among the Lords of Guelders, was the last of his family and of the independent rulers of Guelders.

There was an attempt, in 1672, to revive the Dukedom of Guelders by offering it to William of Orange in gratitude for deliverance from the French, but the stern Republicanism of the other Provinces caused William III prudently to decline the graceful compliment. One of the most charming of Romeyn de Hooge's elegant plates shows the young Captain refusing the ancient Dukedom, which, hundreds of years before, had belonged to his ancestors of Nassau.

From the Union of Utrecht the romantic, warlike, and lovely Duchy joined her more grim, sober, and businesslike neighbours, among whom she took premier place; but she still seems, to a stranger's eyes at least, the spoiled child of that illustrious confederation, and to have preserved her own character, which is hardly that of the stern, Republican, Calvinist Netherlands.

* * *

Schenck, the key between Holland and Germany, Grone, the theatre of the terrible siege of 1672, Tolhuys, the scene of the much-vaunted passage of the Rhine in the same year, which, however, Napoleon described as "a fourth-rate military exploit," the very ancient towns of Doesburg and Doetinchem, the intensely interesting fortified harbour of Elburg on the shores of the Zuyder Zee, Oldenzaal, with St. Plechem and the Hunnebedden and Almelo, the villages in the Betuwe, all deserve, as the saying goes, "a book to themselves." Guelders is indeed full of fascinating and inexhaustible interest, and a few brief notes can do no more than indicate some of the principal beauties, first among which come the castles, which are not quite like any other castles anywhere else.

Roosendaal has pride of place here. It is the most enchanting example of an old battlemented castle turned into a noble's country seat, and is a piquant medley of massive strength and fastidious elegance, rising from a spacious moat in the midst of a noble park, where baroque bridges, grottoes, cascades, and statues combine charmingly with the old avenues and glades, the massive beech trees and the wooded heights that form the background of Roosendaal.

From one side the Castle still presents a completely medieval appearance and has the air of lonely grandeur, of rather remote splendour associated with what once has been and is no more. At one time a residence of the Counts and Dukes of Guelderland, Roosendaal has the attraction of having been long in the possession of one noble family, who have spared nothing in embellishing their splendid residence.

Eleanor, Duchess of Guelders, was not the only English Princess to live at Roosendaal; here often visited Mary Stewart, afterwards Queen of England, and a needlework screen, some pious meditations in holograph and a bizarre rococo summer-house are still preserved as memorials of the gentle and rather pathetic wife of William III. This monarch was also a frequent visitor to Roosendaal, as indeed he was to most of these aristocratic Guelders châteaux.

Biljoen, considered the most ancient Castle in the Province, though rebuilt about eight hundred years ago, was largely dismantled and spoiled on being sold to a stranger about half a century ago, but still has a massive and grandiose effect. Sonsbeek, of the family of the Haeckerens, which name recalls one of the fiercest feuds in Guelders, is a delicious, formal mansion with opulent gardens and a Belvedere from which one can see over the Germanic plains to where the city of Cleves lies like an ornate crown. Voorst is the gorgeous little baroque Castle presented by William III to Arnold von Keppel, Earl of Albermarle. Among others are Cannenberg and Oldenwaller and Doorwerth, now a most admirable military museum; but indeed the castles and châteaux of Guelders, especially in that favourite part so adapted to the stately hunts of former days, called absurdly enough "Dutch Switzerland," are of the most attractive charm, variety, and interest, and give a unique air of patrician opulence to this corner of the Province.

One that is typical of all, yet that excels all, is Middachten, built on a Roman foundation. It was destroyed by the Spaniards, 1625, and rebuilt by the son of Anna van Middachten, Renier van Raesfelt, in 1640. Thirty years later it was again rebuilt by Godard van Reede from designs by Vinckhoorncool, possibly the architect of the massive Stadhuis of Enkhuizen.

At the end of the nineteenth century Middachten, through the marriage of Jacoba van Reede with Count John Bentinck, came into the possession of the present princely owners, whose family is so honourably connected with the story both of England and the Netherlands.

The above Godard van Reede de Ginkle was the first Earl of Athlone, 1630-1703, William III's general and friend, Commander-in-Chief in Ireland in 1690-1692, whose skill, judgment, humanity, and honour were admitted even by his enemies, but who appears to be too little valued by posterity.

Not only was he a bold and vigorous soldier, a sagacious and prompt commander, but he added to these high qualities generosity, patience, and moderation, and a winning personality. One thinks more would have been heard in English history of this great and honourable soldier had he chanced to be English instead of Dutch.

Above the dark-brick front of Middachten can be seen the arms of Van Reede and Raesfelt. Black-bodied griffons support the circular shield, above which is a coronet and below the motto Maloimor quam foedari.

The whole effect of Middachten is so exactly that of period, of country, of an atmosphere; it is so completely what it might be, as it were, so perfect within the limits of its own possibilities, that few, even among more pretentious or beautiful old houses or palaces, could be more satisfying.

It has the most beautiful approach possible, the immense avenue of limes, the Middachten Allée, which is one of the most wonderful in the world—miles of straight gigantic trees whose branches, woven together overhead, conceal the sky and provide a delicious green shade on the most glaring day.

Middachten evokes a thousand memories of the past, of the stately formalism, the rich restraint, the ornate, artificial, dignified taste of the seventeenth century. The prim chateau rises sheer from the moat and is approached by the most modest of bridges. The gardens contain all you are sure they must contain—orangery, Zonnewijzer, Jardins de broderies, glades of exquisite grass, beds of exotic flowers, a wall curiously topped by an ivy edge, every ingenious device of the formal garden, all severe yet opulent, quiet but luxurious, the very flavour of the seventeenth century, subtly pervaded with that melancholy which savours of all that is yesterday, all that lives more in the memory than in reality.

The completion to the almost poignant fascination of Middachten is given by the blue and white flag that flies above the chateau when the noble owner is in residence.

The interior is, of its style, superb, and contains more than the usual amount of curious and historic treasures.

To see Middachten is to have a momentary but perfect illusion of returning to the beloved past, so endearing and so sweetly melancholy.

* * *

Arnhem, to those who know something of her history, must at first sight be a complete surprise. This gracious and lovely city, so extremely pleasant and charming, bears no traces of her vicissitudes, save in her ancient church and her ancient Gemeente huis. No memorials here of sieges, battles, revolts or such tempestuous episodes. The old town has completely disappeared, and there have taken its place wide streets, elegant gardens, commodious dwellings, the oldest of which have no medieval flavour, but indeed rather a Jane Austen Sunday afternoon air of refined ease and comfort.

Arnhem, which, despite its modernity, is very attractive, is delightfully situated on the Lower Rhine and surrounded by the most tempting of suburbs, such as Sonsbreek, Reeberg, and Velp, and in spring and summer seems literally wreathed in flowers and embowered in trees, so prodigally bestowed are gardens, public and private, and groups, avenues and bouquets of the most graceful trees.

The town has no provincial air, but seems rather a miniature capital of some tiny kingdom, and the Rhine gives it both romance and dignity.

And after having said so much, there is little more to be said about Arnhem, which indeed does not solicit the stranger's admiration.

* * *

Arnhem, owing to the modern and nondescript style of the handsome houses, has no special Dutch character, and even the church is not of the usual Netherlandish flavour, for the interior has not been whitewashed, but left in the original soft grey stone, or else the plaster has been recently removed.

This church (St. Eusebius) is very splendid and large, built in pure, though late Gothic (1425). The brick exterior is ornamented with sandstone, which, like that used in the Cathedral at Bois-le-Duc, has miserably crumbled. The tower is majestically high and contains a chime of bells of 1650.

There is the usual gorgeous organ, the usual gorgeous pulpit, and a curious gloomy mural tablet to Josse Sasbout (died 1546), Chancellor of Charles V in Guelders. This graceful work is by one Colyn de Nole, and skilfully interprets the dismal philosophy of the time, De Dood makt groot en klein, etc.

The church contains, besides this, one magnificent tomb which is the most important memorial of the past in Arnhem, and to some the most interesting object in the festive little town.

This is the tomb of Charles of Egmont, last Duke of Guelders, which has been recently restored. It stands in the centre of the choir, where it looks drearily out of place, as such monuments do in Calvinistic churches, but is itself of rich beauty and endless fascination to those who know something of the man it commemorates.

All is in the grand style, lofty, ornate, eloquent. On the pedestal of black marble the Duke in white marble rests at full length, his hands clasped, bareheaded, but for the rest fully armed. The figure is of the most expressive dignity; the smooth, aesthetic, refined and charming face appears as if taken directly from the life. The recumbent knight is surrounded by six small lions, who each holds one of his lordship's arms on a shield, these being in the most admirable proportion and fitting harmoniously into the general design, in a manner that heraldic blazons do not always achieve.

Round the pedestal are bas-reliefs, in white marble, sixteen alabaster Apostles and Evangelists executed in a flowing, grandiose, and rich manner. This combination of black and white gives a sombre, funereal effect in fine keeping with the melancholy of a tomb. These reliefs are by Gerard Lummen van Venlo.

The details of the Duke's harness, the helmet by his side, are worked with exquisite skill, and the whole monument, which is, since the restoration in 1913, beautifully kept, is one of the most superb and complete of the Middle Ages.

Of even more peculiar and, as it were, personal interest, is the life-size figure of the Duke kneeling under a canopy attached to a pillar about twenty feet from the ground and wearing the armour that Charles of Guelders wore in life.

This figure is known to have been in this position from 1636, the date of the frame or canopy, and the singularity of the position has been a cause of comment to many visitors and evoked a curiosity not to be satisfied locally, where indeed no interest is displayed in either the Duke or his image.

The explanation, however, would appear to be simple. It was customary in the Middle Ages to hang a knight's armour above his tomb, as a trophy or offering, as the Black Prince's armour is still in Canterbury Cathedral, and many an odd sword or basinet is still to be found in old churches. In the case of illustrious personages, this armour would be placed on a figure as like the deceased as possible and set, in an attitude of devotion, near the tomb, in some niche specially prepared.

Such a figure, in full armour, is placed above the gorgeous grave of the Archduke Ferdinand of the Tyrol, in the Innsbruck Palace Chapel.

The effect of this image, so life-like and so strangely surviving the centuries, is vivid to the verge of unpleasantness. It has the horror of the waxwork, the pathos of the mummy.

The likeness of the aristocratic face to that of the figure on the tomb is strong, and between the two, the armed image and the statue, one receives an instant, keen impression of the personality of this slight, slim, fair man of the type of Donatello's St. George.

We are far from the brocaded air of Middachten, the mannered elegance of the Middachten Allee, in the gay cafes, the Musis Sacrum, the pleasant promenades, the bright, formal gardens, the clean and spacious houses with flowers in the windows of modern Arnhem.

* * *

Charles of Egmont, last Duke of Guelders, was descended from some of those illustrious families whose very names evoke glittering images of pomp and power. Their arms are upheld by the lions round his tomb—Guelders and Juliers, Cleves and Mark, Arkel and Burgundy, Berry, Bavaria, and Hainault.

Born in 1467, in the darkest hour of his father's misfortunes, Charles was captured in 1473 at Nijmegen by a conqueror of Guelders, the redoubtable and gloomy Duke of Burgundy, called Charles the Bold or Headstrong, and taken with his sister Philippa to Ghent to be educated. There he was placed under the care of the meek and amiable heiress to all the turbulent conquests of the House of Burgundy, Mary, married in 1474 to the "last of the knights," the Archduke Maximilian, son of the Emperor Frederic.

Charles of Burgundy went down to death in the sombre disaster of Nancy three years later, and Mary, whose husband ruled her Netherlandish possessions, continued to protect the deposed orphans; but in a short time the gentle Duchess was killed by a fall from her horse, leaving her ambitious husband free to marry another woman with a dowry as splendid and as troublesome.

It is said that Mary, on her deathbed, begged her husband to allow her wards to return in freedom to Guelders; but Maximilian had already an idea of the quality of Charles, and kept him close. His sister evaded Maximilian by her marriage with Rene, Duke of Lorraine.

Charles, however, escaped and put himself under the protection of Engelbert of Nassau. By 1492 he had succeeded in rousing Guelders, always ripe for revolt against the alien Burgundian rule, and was proclaimed Duke. He was now twenty-five years old, beautiful, elegant and accomplished, full of courage and eager hopes.

Maximilian's attempts to regain Guelders resulted in a war which lasted till 1499, when, by the intervention of Louis XII, a truce was proclaimed.

Philip the Handsome, Maximilian's son, carried on a further war for the lost Province, during which Charles made himself master of Brabant. Maximilian now formed a league against the bold Duke, including the Kings of Aragon and England, and Charles was compelled to do homage to Maximilian, an episode magnificently rendered on one of the bas-reliefs on Maximilian's cenotaph at Innsbruck, where the exquisitely aristocratic and knightly figure of the proud Austrian, and the forced submission of the equally haughty Egmont are rendered with superb taste and feeling.

Round this empty tomb, so far from Arnhem, watch the monstrous bronze figures, in grotesque armour, of Charles' loathed enemies, the Burgundian conquerors, Philip the Good, Charles the Bold, Philip the Handsome.

The Duke of Guelders, however, was by no means daunted. With the aid of the French he renewed the conflict and successfully resisted till 1528, when Maximilian's son and successor, Charles V, compelled him to accept the position of a vassal of the Empire.

Charles now schemed to detach Guelders from the Empire and unite her to France, not such an impossible chimera as a glance at the modern map might seem to prove, but his subjects so resented the scheme that they forced him to abdicate in 1538, leaving his honours to William, Duke of Cleves, Juliers and Berg, a faithful vassal of the Emperor.

That year Charles of Egmont, having lost in his old age the beloved land for which he had fought so fiercely, winning, losing, winning, losing, for half a century, died of chagrin, and was given those honours in death which he had just resigned in life.

Such are the bare bones of a tale as vigorous, glowing and picturesque as any to be found in the annals of those times, when men did not fight for a cause, or a faith, or any question of any policy, but simply for a crown, towns, so many miles of land; so many armed men to ride behind them, so many castles in which to take their ease.

And now the flowing away of silent time has left Charles of Egmont stranded in the cool shadows of a Calvinist church with an alien city stretching beyond the doors, his florid pomp showing queerly in the sullen simplicity of the bare aisles, his kneeling image supplicating the empty air from which his idols have long since vanished.

* * *

The only other old buildings of any importance in Arnhem are the Gemeente huis, completely restored and modernised, and St. Walpurgis (a name so suggestive of fiendish and unearthly gathering), which still belongs to the Roman Catholics and therefore preserves much of its original character, although this, the oldest church in Arnhem, was from 1583 to 1806 an arsenal and housed the thunders of earth instead of those of Heaven.

Louis Bonaparte, a just, moderate man, most anxious to do his best, returned the town powder magazine to its original use, and St. Walpurgis, very well restored, is now gorgeous with coloured glass and painting and gilding.

The other building has a deeper interest. The Gemeente huis was once the Duivelsch huis van Marten van Rossem, the famous lieutenant of Charles of Egmont, called "Devil's House," either from the ferocious-looking gargoyles which adorn it, or, as seems more likely, since so many edifices of that time had such ornaments, from the disposition of the master.

Van Rossem was a true soldier of the times when rapine, pillage, massacre, burning, and slaying were part of everyday military life, and appears to have been a terror to his enemies and no great comfort to his friends. He owned Cannenberg Castle, first built in 1372, and there his statue may be seen with a Dutch inscription giving his titles: Heer tot Poederogen ende MeyneswyckMarschalk van Gelderland, and so on. A portrait of the grim "Marschalk" and one of his master, Duke Charles of Egmont, may be seen with other corporation treasures and seals in the town museum of Arnhem.

The Duivels huis has been carefully restored to, as far as possible, its ancient form, and now serves the decorous office of Town Hall or portion of the Town Hall, which end of his favourite residence would not have been much to the taste of Marten van Rossem, one of whose favourite sayings was:

"As the Magnificat is the jewel of the Vespers, so is carnage the jewel of the campaign."

This fire-eating and breathing warrior lived without fear and died without repentance, for he came to his end in Antwerp, through his favourite vice of gluttony. His death was as hearty as his life, for the lusty "Marschalk" choked while ravenously devouring a pigeon pie, or expired from a fit at this moment; in any case, this was the consistent, if undignified finish to his dreadful career, and had at least the merit of candour and a certain vigorous, virile simplicity—a condottiere of the North.

* * *

The Sabel Poort is the one remnant of the walls or gates of Arnhem left; it has been much restored.

Mention has already been made of the most valuable collection of Provincial and Municipal archives, charters, account, and fief books, etc., the oldest of which is dated 1076, and with which is incorporated the library from the old Abbey of Bethlehem, mostly charters still with their seals, of local and expert interest only, but extremely beautiful objects to the sight and touch.

* * *

Outside Arnhem is a queer "Open-Air" Museum, where, in a picturesque park, are gathered examples of Dutch domestic peasant architecture, mostly wood, taken from all the Provinces of the Netherlands.

These huts, windmills, waggons, farms, and so on, that look inevitably like an ogre's toys, are prettily arranged, and of the utmost interest to those attracted by this humble architecture, often so neat and pleasing, and always so suitable to its purpose. This Museum preserves admirably what would otherwise be completely lost, and the idea might, before it is quite too late, be copied in other countries; there is an excellent collection of this kind outside Stockholm.

* * *

A different type of collection is housed in the stately Castle of Doorwerth on the road to Oosterbeek, where there is now the Guelders Historical Museum and that of the Dutch Artillery.

Doorwerth is one of the most impressive of the numberless castles of the Low Countries. It was built in 1260 by Barend van Doorwerth, and in 1493 was one of the strongholds of Charles of Egmont. Afterwards it was in the possession of the Bentinck family. Three Dutch Stadtholders, Frederic Henry, William II, William III, visited here, as did the King of Denmark in 1705.

Doorwerth is more like a German than a Dutch castle, and has something of the romantic, fantastic air of its fellows farther up the Rhine. It is placed on a gentle rise above the river and commands a view of the utmost grace and delicacy; the Rhine winding from Prussia down to Rotterdam, the soft woods and airy distances (those azure perspectives beloved by Claude Lorraine), the Betuwe, so fertile and radiant, and Elst, Elden, Tiel, and Nijmegen visible along the shining length of the famous river which surely washes the stones of more fair cities than any other river in the world.

Guelders was always divided into the Betuwe, or rich, pasture and wooded land, and the Veluwe, or barren, sandy, heathy land. In springtime the bloom and blossom in the Betuwe is of a loveliness sufficient to draw strangers to gaze on the fairy white and rose of cherry, apple, plum, and pear.

* * *

Very few foreigners ever penetrated to Guelders in the past; these further Provinces were regarded by French and English as almost savage places, nor was there much trading done with the warlike Duchy, so foreign influence, anecdote, tale, or memorial is not found here. Nor, on the other hand, did Guelders produce any great men of her own, at least in the arts and sciences. Arnhem der Lustige seems destitute of native talent, and the men of Guelders had too often "the sword in hand" to be able to wield anything more peaceful.

Mary of Guelders, however, married James II of Scotland, and the red-haired angel in the valuable altar-piece at Holy-rood Palace is pleasingly supposed to be her likeness. One hopes that this precious painting, still of disputed authorship, but obviously Netherlandish work, does contain the likeness of the Dutch Queen of Scotland.

James II was killed by the bursting of a cannon ball at the siege of Roxburgh, and Mary built for her consolation and retreat a little chapel outside Edinburgh, where perhaps she sat and played the "angelic music" of the fifteenth century and looked very much like the Dutch angel in the altar-piece so miserably mis-hung in Holyrood. Mary of Guelders' chapel and the lake it stood by were both destroyed by the building of Waverley station and the railway.

This is one of the few faint links that connect Guelders with the rest of Europe. For the rest, the lovely Province, until it became the favourite hunting ground of William III, had little to do with the rest of Europe.

Perversely, perhaps, the figure of Charles, Count Egmont, Duke of Guelders, seems to remain the most vital thing in Arnhem and the surrounding campaign. One hears his war-cry "Gelre! Gelre!" sees the red and yellow colours floating above the slim, knightly figure, the resolute blond face clearly enough in every glade of Guelders. The man was the most important his country produced, and his story would be well worth telling.

This family afterwards produced another gallant and unfortunate knight, Count Lamoral Egmont, who was one of Alva's first two victims, and Anna van Buren, through whom the possessions of the Egmonts came into ownership of the House of Orange.

Though Charles of Egmont sleeps alone in Anthem choir, and the guide assures you he was unmarried, he wedded in 1518, when he was already fifty years old, Elizabeth, daughter of the Duke of Brunswick Luneberg, by whom he had no children.

His appearance, shortly after his marriage, when he was at one of the most anxious moments of his fortune, is thus described, and with this picture of Guelders' greatest son, we may leave Arnhem.

* * *

Charles of Egmont was at Roosendahal, whose fourteen-feet-thick walls offered stoutprotection against any possible attack. His stables were full of stately horses, and he had with him his menagerie of lions and other odd Eastern beasts, but for his own splendour there was little money. When at war, Charles, with the armour now seen above his tomb, displayed a helmet with a huge panache of peacock's plumes, like the Teutonic Knights, three tiers of stiff feathers, surely the most pompous decoration that ever crowned mortal brows. In Roosendaal he wore a red cloth hat where seven gold roses held a sweep of ostrich feathers. Each rose sparkled with a jewel in the heart. Beneath this Charles wore a close gold-embroidered cap, for, after the mode of the Burgundian Court, then the most elegant in Europe, the Duke had his hair close-cropped and his face close-shaved, an effect very noticeable in the statue on his monument and the image that wears his armour—indeed, in all early Netherlandish portraits; Maximilian I and his son, Philip the Handsome, wore long, heavy, square-cut hair, a German fashion.

The rest of the Duke's attire was red velvet jerkin and breeches, a beautiful grey wolfskin fastened with a jewelled clasp over his shoulders, and several gorgeous rings, which served another purpose besides adornment, for the emerald was a charm against fever, the opal protected him from poison, the sapphire warded off complaints of the eyes, and a topaz served to strengthen his memory, for the dauntless Egmont was not without his beliefs in talismans, as indeed who has been? it is an arid character that is without some superstition.

Duke Charles was one of the most industrious and careful of sovereigns; hardly a town or village in Guelders is without some memorial of his loving care for the little State for which he struggled so valiantly and so vainly.

* * *

At Apeldoorn, that grand and luxurious village which is old enough to be mentioned in the letters of such shadowy Emperors as Otto III and Lothair III, is situated one of the most celebrated Palaces of Europe, Het Loo, which is, as it were, the very crown of this country of palaces and castles and noble mansions.

Originally a jachtslot of no great pretension, it was bought by William III, Prince of Orange, from one Van Dornick, who had another hunting seat in Guelders, at Dieren. The Stadtholder had a particular affection for Het Loo, probably on account of the lovely scenery and the vicinity of the residences of his friends.

Het Loo had been destroyed by the Spaniards and was again ravaged by the French in 1672; but on the site William III built the present formal chateau designed by Jacob Roman and decorated by Daniel Marot. One can see the same taste in Het Loo as in Kensington Palace and Hampton Court and Oranjestein, in Diez, Nassau—the attractive combination of austerity and richness, bare façades, hard angles, plain lines, pseudo-classic Palladian, and within, rococo and lavish, florid ornament.

But Het Loo is by far the most imposing of any of these palaces; William III continued to embellish it to the end of his life. It was his absences here which caused so much jealousy in England. At his death, when his disputed possessions were divided between the King of Prussia and Prince William Friso, Het Loo came to the share of the Dutch Prince. In 1796 Het Loo was seized by the French, the contents sold, and it was converted into barracks.

Two of the elephants from the menagerie were sent to Paris. It must have been no easy journey in those days.

King Louis Bonaparte, who seems to have always acted with admirable intent, endeavoured to have the Castle restored as a royal residence; but his reign was too short to allow him to carry any of his ideas into effect.

On their return to power, the Princes of Orange recovered their property, and it was here that William I, King of the Netherlands, abdicated his crown in his old age, in 1840, to William II, the dashing, handsome hero of Waterloo.

His grandson, King William III of the Netherlands, further restored and embellished Het Loo, laying out the grounds with great skill and taste and giving to the Palace the present aspect of costly beauty.

The gardens are now among the most celebrated in the world, and perhaps it is capricious to regret the old Dutch jardin de broderie, the formal "Court of Honour," all the decorative primness of the seventeenth century which distinguished these royal gardens in the days before picturesque landscape gardening was conceived and only the artificial was admired.

Het Loo is now the favourite residence of her present Majesty, who is not only the heiress of the most ancient and illustrious house now reigning in Europe, but the only woman in the world a ruling monarch in her own right. Her Majesty's position, her character and achievements give an added lustre to her noble family and to that womanhood which has accomplished so much in the last generation.

This charming and intelligent lady is regarded by her people with a devotion that amounts to veneration, and it is the prettiest sight in the world to see Her Majesty in one of her magnificent old cities, surrounded by her applauding subjects, while the famous Orange banners stream from every window and roof-top above the national flag.

* * *

It is easy to understand why Het Loo has been the favourite residence of so many Princes. The vast woods, reaching to Ellspeet and from there as far as the heaths of Milligen, must in earlier days have been superb hunting grounds, and in later, a delicious defence from the noise and commonplace of the world.

The jachtslot of Het Loo was originally in the possession of the Bentinck family, who did homage for it as a fief, presenting to the Dukes of Guelders a hunting horn and two white hinds every year; the hinds were probably bred for the purpose in the menagerie then kept by every nobleman of wealth.

When William III built his magnificent new château in 1672, he made the old Castle itself into one of these menageries. The collection of fantastic-looking beasts he kept there was painted often by Melchior Hondecoeter. One such picture, now in the Mauritshuis, once served as an overmantel decoration in Het Loo, and gives a charming idea of the elegance and oddness of these stately seventeenth-century menageries.

At Het Loo, too, this King had most of his famous gallery of pictures, which, though afterwards dispersed, formed the nucleus of this same collection at The Hague.

In the reign of William III Het Loo must have been, on a smaller scale, as sumptuous as Versailles and in a good deal better taste and order. The Earl of Portland wrote to William from Paris that King Louis's vaunted flower-beds were "very ill-kept"; ill-kept, no doubt, they were compared to the beautiful exactitude and solid richness of those of Het Loo, that made the French flourishes seem a little tawdry.

* * *

Zutphen is associated in an English mind with Sir Philip Sidney, and is hence far better known to us than many a more important Dutch town. It lies close to the Overijssel frontier and was once the chief city of the County of Zutphen, a title of the Dukes of Guelders and even borne by Charles V.

Sir Philip Sidney was killed at Warnveld while besieging Zutphen, then in possession of the Spaniards, some little way outside the town, where a pleasant statue has been gracefully raised to his memory.

Zutphen is finely situated at the juncture of the Yssel and Berkel, and has an important air, though now it can boast nothing of its ancient grandeurs, Zutphen de Rykste, save a considerable timber trade.

Zutphen was taken without resistance by the Spanish in 1572. The same dreary, bloody tale belongs to most of these fine old towns; Spanish and French in turn wreaking the vengeance of pride and envy on an inoffensive, valiant, and laborious people.

In this case the wretched town was almost depopulated. Leicester tried in vain to re-take it, but was rudely defeated by the Duke of Parma.

Maurice of Orange finally took the town in 1591. A hundred years after the entry of the Spaniards Zutphen was seized by the French.

Zutphen, the Province, was united to Guelders by the marriage of Sophia, Countess of Zutphen, with Otto of Nassau, Count of Guelders, and Zutphen has still the atmosphere of an old courtly city, not a provincial town. It appears gay and well off and to have recovered from horrors of wars and wearinesses of long neglect.

Here are the stiff, elegant houses of the better sort (Yssel kade), the trim gardens, the public walks, the comfortable shops and cafés, common to all Dutch towns, but there are also the antique moat and walls, the river Berkel washing the old ramparts, a medley of old houses with queer gables and faded colours, and the long tresses of bright trees trailing in the water, while a riot of flowers cascades from the upper windows—all this more like Nuremberg than any other town in the Low Countries.

* * *

The Groote Kerk of Zutphen was also, like that of Arnhem, once dedicated to the Saint on whose festival the witches used to meet the Devil on the Brocken—St. Walpurgis, which is very old (twelfth century), and in consequence very much restored after being very much neglected.

This grand and rather melancholy church once enjoyed great fame as the shrine of the relics of St. Justus, an obscure young Roman saint, who appears, after all, to have been buried in Beauvais.

The present treasures are a delicate and lovely candela-bruin presented by Otto II of Nassau, Count of Guelders, in the thirteenth century, of gilded iron in the likeness of an Imperial Crown, and a superb copper font cast in 1527.

There is also the curious, unique but dark, musty and sad library of the church, still hoarded in the original room, with desks and chained folios, very learned, rare, and imposing, albeit a little tattered, dusty and meaningless, and piteously out of place as an adjunct to the worthy Calvinist meetinghouse that the sinister-named St. Walpurgis now is.

* * *

The rich and amiable little old city has a few more noteworthy buildings pressed in among her well-kept, ancient, pretty houses, including the solid, heavy but pleasing Weigh House of 1618, with the belfry whose bells were spared by Louvois in 1672, which was once the "Wynhuis" or Custom House for the duties on Rhenish wines.

There is a respectable library now housed there and a very valuable collection of archives, letters, and documents signed by famous worthies.

One of the old ramparts, the Ruime, remains, still frowning above the Yssel and the Drogenapstoren. A turreted Gothic Gate rises majestically above the trees, belfries, and sloping red roofs, and looks over the blond fields, so fruitful and golden, that roll to the very banks of the water, gay with the vivid-painted tjalks that so comfortably indicate peace and prosperity.

* * *

Roermond was once a town of old Guelders, but has since been united to Limburg, to which Province and Flemish Catholicism it seems more naturally to belong. There remain in Guelders, of these old cities, then, imperial Nijmegen, Tiel, and Zalt Bommel on the Rhine, Loevenstein, the gloomy prison fortress, and Elberg, the once fortified port, besides numberless châteaux, mansions, and villages of charm and interest which only the very leisurely traveller and writer will have opportunity to indulge themselves with.

Tiel has lost nearly all its importance and contains but few relics of the mighty past when it received its charter from Otto I (972). Tiel resisted the Spaniards, but was taken by Turenne in the ramp jaar. One remnant of the fortifications is the Kleiberg Gate.

Zalt Bommel was also twice unsuccessfully besieged by the Spaniards, but fell to Turenne after a fierce defence. It is situated on the Rhine at the point where the river ceases to be tidal.

The two sieges of Zalt Bommel, 1574-1599, form each an epic story of heroism and endurance. It was such triumphant resistances as those of Zalt Bommel which turned the tide in favour of the Dutch and caused Alva to withdraw his bloody forces in despair.

The St. Maarten's Kerk of Zalt Bommel has a dignified and lofty tower which rises with noble effect above the medley of ancient houses, the ramparts laid out with gracious avenues of trees and the stretch of river widening to the sea.

This Collegiate Church (fifteenth century) has, as usual, been burnt down and built up again, and converted at last, peacefully and happily, if dourly and a little grimly, into the chapel of a pruned or lopped faith. There are still some ancient wall-paintings left, and greatly as such relics are admired and cherished, there seems so little meaning or beauty in them that a glimpse of the crude daubs usually disfiguring church walls in pre-Reformation days makes one more favourably inclined to Luther and whitewash.

The tower, like that of the Groote Kerk of Zutphen, has been struck and consumed by lightning. These visitations of hemels vuur seem to have been regarded with no superstitious awe; at Zutphen these disasters are calmly commemorated by tablets with the magistrate's name attached. The pedants of the day loved also to write chronograms and pious rhymes on such events, which, when in a mixture of dog Latin and Dutch, have a very alluring flavour.

The following, which has a ripe, robust sound indeed, was inscribed on a bell hung in the tower of St. Maartens, after the fire of 1538:

"Anno vijftien hondert acht en dertig om
Donderde de Toren van Bommel om,
Actum factum donder om!
Heer der Heeren, nooit weer om!"

John Evelyn, in his journey of 1641, found an English garrison at Bommel, which he called a "pretty town," after he had taken farewell of Goring's "Leaguer and Camerades" at Gennap.

Leicester was also at Bommel, where he left a Dutch garrison. Bommel is also mentioned as one of the earliest towns engaged in the trade with England—in the reign of Edward I, the others being Deventer, Kampen, Zutphen, Muiden, and Zwolle.

The Netherlands were united to England not only by the frequent intermarriages of the Dutch Princes with the Royal House of England, but by this constant stream of trade flowing to and fro, and later, by the various settlements of Dutch refugees in England and English refugees in the Netherlands.

Several Dutch towns belonged to the Hansa, and certainly a number of the "Almaines" or "Easterlings," who had their English quarters in the London Steel Yard, must have been Dutch, as they would now be called, i.e., Hollanders, Zealanders, Brabanters, Frieslanders, and men from Utrecht and Guelders.

* * *

Culembourg, once the seat of the Counts of that name, is another ancient Guelders town on the Lower Rhine, now reduced to peaceful insignificance. In 144 Roelof VII of Beusichem gave Culembourg County to his son Huibert, who built here a fine castle, rebuilt in 1350 and now utterly disappeared.

Culembourg boasts, however, a delightful Stadhuis, built in 1534 as a residence for Anthony van Lalaing, Count Hoogstraten, and his wife, Elizabeth van Culembourg. It is a mannered, elegant building, step gabled, of brick with bulbous-topped tower and double-winged step, adorned by lions, the arms of Culembourg, and, formerly, by statues, which have disappeared.

This steep, tall and narrow building, so precise, formal and exact, yet so ornate and decorative, is as typical a piece of architecture as is to be found in the country.

* * *

Buren, the inheritance of the Egmonts, and through the first wife of William I of Orange the possession of the House of Orange (Count of Buren being one of the many titles of these Princes), is remarkable for an Orphanage endowed by Mary, Countess of Hohenloe, born Princess of Orange and Countess of Nassau, who died in 1613.

This tasteful building, in old Dutch style, with delicate belfry and charming brick-and-stone gate, is a delightful memorial of the connection between the House of Orange and Guelders, and of one of those admirable women whose kindness and culture make pleasant relief in dark and wretched times.

Like the sound of a soft feminine voice among all the noise and tumult of the time is the inscription on this Westhuis, where the dead Princess seems to plead for living children with tender piety.

* * *

Loevenstein, a proud and gloomy castle above Gorkum, almost on the borders of North Holland, has a history more important than that of most Guelders ruins; for here was imprisoned Hugo de Groot, one of the greatest of Dutchmen, and from here he made his famous escape, helped by a brave and loyal wife, in a case of books.

Loevenstein, for long a State prison, housed many enemies of the House of Orange and prisoners of the States-General.

Here was confined Jacob de Witt, Burgomaster of Dordt and father of John and Cornelius—the bitter drop of personal enmity between the De Witts and the House of Orange was, no doubt, caused by this imprisonment.

Here, too, was imprisoned Sir George Ascue, captured at the victory of the Dutch on June 4th, 1665, when the Prince and nine other men-of-war and two thousand prisoners were seized by the victors. Sir George, after being "carried up and down The Hague, for people to see," was confined in Loevenstein and afterwards ransomed for eleven hundred florins.

Sir William Berkeley, another Englishman, was killed in this same battle, and his embalmed body lay in a sugar-chest in a chapel of the Groote Kerk at The Hague, "his flag standing up by him."

The corpse was afterwards sent back to England. There was no complaint of the behaviour of the Dutch Government on this occasion, though Pepys says of the populace: "It seems the Dutch do insult mightily of their victory and they have great reason."

One thinks they had indeed. The sympathy of every just-minded person must be on the side of this patient, brave and inoffensive people, who had so well won and well used their liberty and prosperity, and were then so wantonly fallen upon by jealous, grasping, and arrogant neighbours.

Pepys is often full of admiration for the behaviour of the Dutch in this war, as when he records their generous treatment of their prisoners and adds: "which is done like a noble, brave and wise people."

The English were inclined to blame the Dutch for the "hellish contrivance" of the Great Fire, 1666, and it is amusing to glance at the other side of the picture, and see that the Dutch rejoiced in this same disaster as a Divine Retribution for the destruction of Vlieland and Terschelling by the English in that year, when a million pounds' worth of damage was done, and houses and villages burnt "as bonfires for the success at sea."

To Loevenstein also came in 1675 Abraham de Wicquefort, to live, as he complained, "in a frightful solitude and only the company of the family of the gaoler, rats, owls, and bats."

De Wicquefort was an able but dubious personage, accused, with good reason, of double dealing with the States-General. He had been a French and then a Dutch spy and, being by birth a Fleming, was probably not true to either side.

He accused the young Stadtholder of being the author of his downfall; for not only had he been a close friend of John de Witt, but had written rather too boldly of William in his official History of the United Provinces.

This curious work has been the foundation for many subsequent histories of the Low Countries, but De Wicquefort, as so many historians of their own times are, was prejudiced and hasty, and his statements need testing.

Evidently he was not kept very closely in his frightful prison, for he contrived to escape after four years, and fled to Zell in Brunswick, where he continued his history, with, one may be sure, even more prejudice than before against the Prince of Orange and with long-winded "passion, pains, and prolixity."

De Wicquefort possessed both wit and learning. It was he who said, about the delays anent the bringing of William II's bride by her mother, that it depended on three of the most uncertain things in the world—the wind, a woman, and the Parliament of England.

Through the Resident of the Duke of Luxembourg Wicquefort seems to have been trusted with the translating of the English letters received by the States and the Prince of Orange. A certain secret correspondence of the latter with Lord Howard came into Wicquefort's hands and he sold it to Sir Joseph Williamson, the English Minister, in 1675. Lord Howard was put in the Tower, and saved only by the Dutch threat to execute Wicquefort if he was touched, a menace, which, curiously, had effect.

Wicquefort was "clapt up," as the saying went, on his refusal to produce the originals of the papers entrusted to him. He mentions bitterly that the Prince of Orange watched him led off with satisfaction, for which the young Stadtholder need not be blamed. Despite his complaints, De Wicquefort seems to have been well treated in Loevenstein.

* * *

Lerdam and Arkel are delicious old-world towns, the former with an entrancing ancient harbour, and Elberg, on the Zuyder Zee, is a fine example of a fortified haven, once of considerable importance and renown and still of vast interest, as examples of fortified harbours dating from the Middle Ages are rare enough.

One of the four watchful gates remains and is in the highest degree picturesque and romantic. Some of the sturdy walls still stand, and are now adorned with coquettish summer-houses and graceful clusters of trees.

The view from Elberg is lovely, both over sea and land; the fruitful lush meadows, that seem to run down to the very waves, roll into the sullen, sterile heaths of Guelders and the moorlands that border the Yssel, or into the deep groves of the fair woods of Putten.

* * *

Nijmegen is the most venerable city in Guelders, indeed in the Netherlands, but seems a little outside the history of both. It was Charlemagne's second city, coming next to Aix-la-Chapelle, the imperial capital of the Lower Rhine.

It is very different in appearance from the flat cities of the plains and swamps, for it rises grandly from the left bank of the broad Waal and is nobly crowned by the towering church.

The town is indeed built on a slight hill, one of an amphitheatre of seven, which seems considerable after the flats of Holland, and the roofs rise one above the other to the summit, where are the market-place and church.

The views from Nijmegen, though marred by the inevitable railway bridge, are superb, excelling those in the environs of Arnhem and Cleves. From the Belvedere can be seen one of the most historic and imposing landscapes in North Europe—four famous rivers, the Waal, Maas, Rhine and Yssel, watering that rich district known as Betuwe (the original "Batavia" of the Romans), and in the distance Arnhem and Cleves, together with eight other towns and fifty villages.

The history of Nijmegen belongs to that of the Empire of the Carlovingians; it has little to do with the Netherlands as they are to-day. Here is no neat, solid, Republican town, but a rather melancholy, regal and gloomy city that seems asleep in a dream of ruined pride. Not the most flourishing suburbs, the most efficient of railway stations, the most well-kept of spacious parks can efface this effect.

Nijmegen became afterwards a free imperial town and a member of the Hansa League. In 1579 she became a member of the Union of Utrecht, and so lost her personal history, but not her powerful, sombre individuality.

Nijmegen fell to the Spaniards in 1585, was re-taken by Maurice of Orange in 1591; Turenne occupied the town in 1672 and held it till 1678, when the Peace signed within these walls returned the old imperial city to the young Republic.

It is by this Peace that Nijmegen is best known in the history books. Sir William Temple, the English delegate, has left an amusing picture of his being ferried across the Waal in a coach and six, when the salvos fired by the town in his honour so frightened the horses that they stampeded and nearly cast the grave Ambassador and his suite into the river. "However," says Sir William, "by the aid of my servants we safely reached the other side."

It is not, however, of Nijmegen as a peaceful, stately Dutch town, a worthy member of the United Provinces, with burgomaster and citizens, that one thinks, though this is what the venerable city has been for a good number of years now, but rather of those far-off royal days, the atmosphere of which so powerfully remains.

On the top of the hill on which the town is built rises not only the massive church, but the Stadhuis and the old Grammar School, indeed the centre of the life of the town.

Despite big modern shops, bustle and hurry, this part of Nijmegen still retains a peculiar air, which, on turning into the church enclosure, becomes all-prevailing. It is a melancholy, musty, decayed air, the flavour of something so old as to be nearly meaningless.

This church, dedicated to St. Stephen, is not attractively set about with neat tiny houses, comely trees and an open square, as in most Dutch towns, but is huddled away behind other buildings, closed in, stifled, and has a penetrating air of neglect and oblivion. It is by the low, dark arches at the bottom of one of the gabled houses of the Groot Markt that we enter the pent-in courtyard of the church with which time has not dealt too gently, for damp and wind have crumbled the soft stone of which it was built, and great holes in the walls have been filled up with brick.

The original church was built on, it is said, an early Christian cemetery, by the Dutch Kaiser William II, Count of Holland, and dedicated to St., Stephen and the Virgin by Albert, Bishop of Ratisbon, September 7th, 1273. It is doubtful if Kaiser William paid for the stately building since, like most potentates of his time, he was continually in want of money, and pledged Nijmegen itself for twenty-one thousand silver marks.

Very little is left of this early edifice; the church as we see it now is late fifteenth century, very impressive and fine, with the massive aisles and pentagon chapels and clustered pillars, but somehow sombre and sad to a degree, and with an odd air of neglect unusual in Dutch churches and certainly more fanciful than real. There are a few old bas-reliefs, much damaged, some late wainscoting, and one sombre treasure, the dark and lonely tomb of Lord Philip de Comines, "Young Madam of Guelderland," Catherine de Bourbon, wife of the deposed Duke Adolf and mother of Charles Egmont, last Duke of Guelders.

It was at the Court of her brother-in-law, Charles the Bold, that she met Adolf Egmont, and she was married to him in 1463 at Bruges. Her short life was disturbed and unhappy; her husband was excommunicated by the Pope, put under the ban of the Empire, and fallen upon by Charles the Bold and the Duke of Cleves.

Catherine de Bourbon left the pleasant shelter of the Burgundian Court, where she was greatly loved, and joined the stormy fortunes of her cursed and menaced husband. She died soon after in 1469, at Nijmegen, no doubt of fatigue and distress, as many women must have died in those fierce and terrible times.

Catherine's unhappy lord, Duke Adolf, was scarcely deserving of this tender loyalty; it is of him De Comines describes that fearful picture of youth bustling age off the world's stage.

He seized his father, Duke Arnald, one night as he was going to bed, and dragged him six Dutch miles in his shirt "on a marvellous cold night," and thrust him into the usual airless dungeon. It was this behaviour that caused the Pope, the Emperor, the Duke of Cleves (the old man's brother-in-law) to make war on Adolf.

The Duke of Burgundy tried to act as peacemaker and forcibly took Duke Arnald out of prison.

"I have often seen them," writes De Comines, "together in the Duke of Burgundy's chamber pleading their cause...and once I saw the old man offer combat to his son."

A dreadful scene.

Charles the Bold favoured the young man who was, no doubt, after his own type, and offered him all Guelders with the exception of Grave, and a revenue of three thousand florins to be left to his father, who was to be called Duke, while the young Adolf should be entitled Governor of Guelders.

De Comines had to take these terms to Adolf, who instantly replied "that he would rather throw his father headlong into a well than agree to such conditions," adding that his father had reigned forty-four years and it was now his turn.

Charles of Burgundy finally put this fierce spirit under restraint, but Adolf escaped in disguise to his own country, yet betrayed himself at Namur, where he offered a guilder for the ferry. He was recaptured and held a prisoner at Namur, where he remained till the death of the Duke of Burgundy in 1477, when, set free by the men of Ghent, he, "being weakly accompanied, was miserably slain in a skirmish before Tournay."

The spirit of the warlike Guelders people appears to have been on the side of Adolf in this dismal quarrel, particularly that of the citizens of Nijmegen, who were reputed to be never happy "save when they had swords in their hands." When made prisoner the old Duke begged, with tears in his eyes, not to be taken to Nijmegen.

The gentle Catherine de Bourbon had long been in her grave when her turbulent lord was released, and bitterly he must have regretted her, for it is certain that she had truly loved him despite his misfortune and his crimes.

These sweet and patient, soft and fragile women, of whom history takes so little account, did generally love and adore their stern and fierce husbands, as was but natural, the true woman forming the perfect mate for the true man.

As the men were born and bred, trained and formed for power, war, domination, and arrogance, so the women were born and bred, trained and formed for meekness, obedience, timidity, and gentleness.

There is still something in the highest degree romantic and lovely in the mating of these opposite qualities, the love of the soft, helpless woman for the bold, masterful man; something we have lost, or nearly lost to-day, finding other things in its place, no doubt, but definitely lost, with the equality and merging of the sexes.

The type of the medieval knight, ruthless, virile, cruel, splendid, has gone—fortunately it may be, inevitably it must be—yet it is easy to understand the devotion they inspired in their gentle wives and the real passion that must have existed between men who were completely men and women who were completely women.

The tomb of poor Catherine de Bourbon is of black marble, set with copper plates on which are engraved saints and the arms of Egmont, Valois, and Bourbon. On the top is the likeness of the "Young Madam of Guelderland" herself.

The whole air of the tomb is even more lonely and gloomy than that of her son in Arnhem, a dreary bit of wreckage from the past indeed.

On opening the tomb some fifty years or more ago it was found that the body of the princess had been huddled away in a corner, while her former place was occupied, curiously enough, by a Duke of Saxony lying in State robes in a pompous coffin. The bitter luck of the Egmonts seemed to pursue them and theirs after death.

The author of the tomb was Master Leomans of Cologne.

* * *

The Stadhuis of Nijmegen is unusual and august in appearance, though simple; the date is 1554, when the free imperial city was a member of the Hansa and commercially very prosperous.

It is adorned by statues of Emperors (the present ones are copies of the original), these being different indeed from the usual personages on Dutch Town Halls.

The vestibule, once the Courts of Justice, is beautiful, with raised seats carved by Gerard van Dulcken (1555) and three superb doors and a most majestic, wonderful clock. In this building is housed the municipal collection of antiquities and several glorious drinking-cups, tapestries, and pictures; those of local interest including portraits of the dull-looking personages who signed the Peace of Nijmegen, 1678, an odd painting called "The Riddle of Nijmegen," and, best of all, a view of the old Valkhof by John van Goyen or one of his pupils.

Here also are many prehistoric Roman and Teutonic remains found in the neighbourhood of Nijmegen, those broken relics of the past that somehow mean so little, and in their broken decay help us not at all to visualise the pompous ages from which they come.

Two allegorical paintings by obscure artists, Rutger van Langevelt and Stevens Palamady, are curious as commemorating the old dues which Nijmegen had to pay to the Empire—a glove full of pepper, or pair of deerskin gloves and a pound of pepper, as some say, to be forwarded every year to Aix-la-Chapelle.

A huge press, with a lock of almost magic complication, held the precious charters of Nijmegen, many of which are still in existence, though of little meaning now.

These include charters from Henry VII, 1250, Richard, 1257, Rudolf, 1282, and many potentates who delighted in enriching and protecting Nijmegen.

The Grammar School (1544) and the Weigh House and Flesher's Hall (1612), the last probably by De Keyser, are notable buildings, as is the house called still after Martin van Rossem, where that terrible worthy is supposed to have at one time resided.

The whole of the Groot Markt is charming in effect, and there is no lack of curious old houses, doorways, and angles, nooks and odd views among the medley of houses which lead up from the Waal to the melancholy darkness of St. Stephen's.

* * *

In the amiable and luxurious pleasure grounds of the Valkhof, laid out on one of the hills above the Waal, the main excitement of a visit to Nijmegen centres.

These grim gardens were once the site of the Imperial Castle of Nijmegen, the Valkhof (from Valkenberg, falconry, or from Wallhof, Castle on the Wall), which was older than the town, for a fort stood on this commanding position before a city was added to the citadel, and this was in the dim, traditional ages, for a vague Celt, or Gaul, or Teuton, called Baton, is supposed to have walled and restored the fort in pre-Roman days.

The Romans called it "Noviomagus," calling the town "Batavorum oppidum," and here we come out of the mists of legend into well-attested fact; for here Julius Civilius, the rebel Roman, watched his troops defeated on the shining plains below by the orderly legions of Rome, whose glittering eagles bore down the lusty Batavians.

The exact spot is supposed to have been the Watch-tower, or Belvedere, a fragment of the old walls from which a glorious view, looking much as it must have looked in the time of the discomfited Julius, can still be enjoyed, though the tower itself only dates from 1646.

This most impressive view embraces Limburg, North Brabant and Guelders, and a distant panorama stretching as far as Cleves.

The Castle, once so famous, so gorgeous and so splendid, has entirely disappeared save for two small and rather pitiful fragments.

In 1799 the superb old imperial building was utterly demolished and public promenades laid out.

Charlemagne either built or rebuilt a castle on the old Roman foundations here in 777, and it became the seat of the Court and the centre of the Empire under subsequent Carlovingian, Saxon, Frankish, and Hohenstaufen Emperors.

Theopano, Empress of Otto II, died here in 991, Henry III, and Gunhilda of Denmark were married here in 1036, in 1165 Henry VI, son of Barbarossa and father of Frederic II, was born here. Charlemagne, his son Louis, Charles the Bold, Otto I, Conrad III, Sigismund and Albert, all held their Imperial Court here, and later, two more famous Csars, Maximilian I and his grandson, Charles V, lodged here, as did Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Charles of Egmont, Duke of Guelders, and Philip II, King of Spain.

Some of the most ornate and pompous scenes, some of the most imposing displays of gold and purple, might and pride, glitter and arrogance known to European history must have taken place within the walls of the Valkhof where these Christian Caesars held their Court with as much worldly parade as ever did their pagan namesakes.

The two remains of all this magnificence do not mean very much. The largest is a sixteen-sided chapel about which antiquaries do not yet appear to be agreed. It is supposed to be contemporary with Charlemagne and then to have been rebuilt as late as the thirteenth century, others have put it back to pre-Roman times and call it a Temple of Thor, or again, a Temple of Janus, while other opinions ascribe it to the ninth or tenth century.

It is certainly too small to have been the Imperial Chapel of the Castle, but may have been the Baptistery thereof. This queer little building, with double-vaulted galleries and carved arches, is, at any rate, the oldest religious building in the Netherlands, and was certainly some part of the old Imperial Palace. It is unlikely it is older than the Carlovingian period, and it certainly has been, if not rebuilt, touched up and partially restored.

The other fragment is more impressive. It is a hemicircle with a demi-cupola pierced by tall, elegant windows and flanked by fine white marble columns. There is less dispute about the date of this; it is given to the time of Frederic Barbarossa, and is supposed to be the recess in which stood the massive throne of that mighty King.

"How often at your feet,
O grey Imperial town!
Have I seen your noble shipping
To the sea sailing down.

"How often on your banks,
O old true stream!
Have I heard the shouts of ancient fame
Sound through my day-time dream!

"Never your fame shall perish,
True city of the Waal,
Nor ever I cease to cherish,
The town of Kaiser Karl!"

* * *

Berg en Daal (mountain and valley) and Beek, about three miles outside Nijmegen, contain some of the loveliest spots in the Netherlands, and command some of the most entrancing views along the Rhine.

* * *

The pearly, dusky, dewy, delicious roses of Guelders are justly famous; but though the viburnum grows in luscious profusion in this Province, an explanation was sought in vain as to why it was called "Guelder Rose" in English. Should the word be "guilder"? In either case it is a teasing little puzzle, as these pretty names of flowers so often are; but in one person's mind at least the pure white balls of blossom that hang so richly among the faint-coloured leaves will always, and senselessly, be associated with gallant Guelders.

* * *

A touching story tells of the great bell of Nijmegen, which was called "Charlemagne's prayer," and rang hoarsely at curfew. A burgomaster stopped the noisy old bell, but was forced to restore the "prayer" to the city, so greatly did the people still cherish the memory of Kaiser Karl.

"The ground on which all government stands is the consent of the people, or greatest and strongest part of them." —Sir William Temple.


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