« PreviousContinue »
In addition, there was the proof to be derived of violent delirium, which attacked them at from the name Cagot, which those holding the new and full moons. Then the workmen laid opinion of their Saracen descent held to be down their tools, and rushed off from their Chiens, or Chasseurs des Gots, because the labor to play mad pranks up and down the Saracens chased the Goths out of Spain. country; perpetual motion was required to Moreover, the Saracens were originally Mo- alleviate the agony of fury that seized upon hammedans, and as such obliged to bathe seven the Cagots at such times. In this desire for times a-day whence the badge of the duck's foot. A duck was a water bird: Mohammedans bathed in the water. Proof upon proof!
rapid movement, the attack resembled the Neapolitan tarantella; while in the mad deeds they performed during such attacks, they were In Brittany the common idea was, they not unlike the northern Berserker. In Bearn were of Jewish descent. Their unpleasant especially, those suffering from this madness smell was again pressed into the service. were dreaded by the pure race; the Bearnais, The Jews it was well known had this phy- going to cut their wooden clogs in the great sical infirmity, which might be cured either forests that lay around the base of the Pyreby bathing in a certain fountain in Egypt-nees, feared above all things to go too near which was a long way from Brittany-or by the periods when the Cagoutelle seized on the anointing themselves with the blood of a oppressed and accursed people; from whom it Christian child. Blood gushed out of the was then the oppressors' turn to fly. A man body of every Cagot on Good Friday. No was living within the memory of man, who wonder, if they were of Jewish descent. It had married a Cagot wife; he used to beat was the only way of accounting for so por- her right soundly when he saw the first symp tentous a fact. Again; the Cagots were capi-toms of the Cagoutelle, and, having reduced tal carpenters, which gave the Bretons every her to a wholesome state of exhaustion and reason to believe that their ancestors were insensibility, he locked her up until the moon the very Jews who made the cross. When had altered her shape in the heavens. If he first the tide of emigration set from Brittany had not taken such decided steps, say the oldto America, the oppressed Cagots crowded to est inhabitants, there is no knowing what the ports, seeking to go to some new country, might have happened. where their race might be unknown. Here From the thirteenth to the end of the was another proof of their descent from Abra- nineteenth century, there are facts enough to ham and his nomadic people; and, the forty prove the universal abhorrence in which this years' wandering in the wilderness and the unfortunate race was held; whether called Wandering Jew himself, were pressed into Cagots, or Gahets in Pyrenean districts, Ca the service to prove that the Cagots derived queaux in Brittany, or Vaqueros in Asturias their restlessness and love of change from their The great French revolution brought some ancestors, the Jews. The Jews also practised good out of its fermentation of the people: arts-magic, and the Cagots sold bags of wind the more intelligent among them tried to to the Breton sailors, enchanted maidens to overcome the prejudice against the Cagots. love them-maidens who never would have In seventeen hundred and eighteen, there cared for them, unless they had been pre- was a famous cause tried at Biarritz relating viously enchanted-made hollow rocks and to Cagot rights and privileges. There was a trees give out strange and unearthly noises, wealthy miller, Etienne Arnauld by name, of and sold the magical herb called bon-succès. the race of Gotz, Quagotz, Bisigotz, Astra It is true enough that, in all the early acts of gotz, or Gahetz, as his people are described the fourteenth century, the same laws apply in the legal document. He married an heiress to Jews as to Cagots, and the appellations a Gotte (or Cagot) of Biarritz; and the newscem used indiscriminately; but their fair ly-married well-to-do couple saw no reason complexions, their remarkable devotion to all why they should near the door in the church, the ceremonies of the Catholic Church, and nor why he should not hold some civil office many other circumstances, conspire to forbid in the commune, of which he was the principal our believing them to be of Hebrew descent. inhabitant. Accordingly, he petitioned the Another very plausible idea is, that they law that he and his wife might be allowed to are the descendants of unfortunate individuals sit in the gallery of the church, and that he afflicted with goitres, which is, even to this might be relieved from his civil disabilities. day, not an uncommon disorder in the gorges This wealthy white miller, Etienne Arnauld, and valleys of the Pyrenees. Some have pursued his rights with some vigor against the even derived the word goitre from Got, or Bailie of Labourd, the dignitary of the neigh Goth; but their name, Crestiaa, is not unlike borhood. Whereupon the inhabitants of BiarCretin, and the same symptoms of idiotism ritz met in the open air on the eighth of May, were not unusual among the Cagots; although to the number of one hundred and fifty; apsometimes, if old tradition is to be credited, proved of the conduct of the Bailie in rejecttheir malady of the brain took rather the form ing Arnauld, made a subscription, and gave
all power to their lawyers to defend the cause
One sturdy Cagot family alone, Belone by name, kept up a lawsuit, claiming the privilege of common sepulture, for forty-two years; although the curé of Biarritz had to pay one hundred livres for every Cagot not interred in the right place. The inhabitants indemnified the curate for all these fines.
M. de Romagne, Bishop of Tarbes, who died in seventeen hundred and sixty-eight, was the first to allow a Cagot to fill any office in the Of course the inhabitants of Biarritz were Church. To be sure, some were so spiritless all the more ferocious for having been con- as to reject office when it was offered to them, quered; and, four years later, a carpenter, because, by so claiming their equality, they Miguel Legaret, suspected of Cagot descent, had to pay the same taxes as other men, inhaving placed himself in church among other stead of the Rancale or poll-tax levied on the people, was dragged out by the abbé and two Cagots; the collector of which had also a right of the jurats of the parish. Legaret defended to claim a piece of bread of a certain size for himself with a sharp knife at the time, and his dog at every Cagot dwelling. went to law afterwards; the end of which was Even in the present century it has been that the abbe and his two accomplices were necessary in some churches, for the archdeacondemned to a public confession of peni- con of the district, followed by all his clergy, tence to be uttered while on their knees at to pass out of the small door previously ap the church door, just after high mass. They propriated to the Cagots in order to mitigate appealed to the parliament of Bourdeaux the superstition which, even so lately, made against this decision, but met with no better the people refuse to mingle with them in the success than the opponents of the miller Ar- house of God. A Cagot once played the connauld. Legaret was confirmed in his right gregation at Larroque tricks suggested by of standing where he would in the parish what I have just named. He slyly locked the church. That a living Cagot had equal rights great parish-door of the church while the with other men in the town of Biarritz seem- greater part of the inhabitants were assisting ed now ceded to them; but a dead Cagot was at mass inside; put gravel in the lock itself, so a different thing. The inhabitants of pure as to prevent the use of any duplicate key,— blood struggled long and hard to be interred and had the pleasure of seeing the proud apart from the abhorred race. The Cagots pure-blooded people file out with bended head, were equally persistent in claiming to have a through the small low door used by the ab common burying-ground. Again the texts of horred Cagots. the old Testament were referred to, and the We are naturally shocked at discovering, pure blood quoted triumphantly the prece- from facts such as these, the causeless rancor dent of Uzziah the leper (twenty-sixth chap- with which innocent and industrious people ter of the second book of Chronicles), who were so recently persecuted. Gentle reader, was buried in the field of the Sepulchres of am I not rightly representing your feelings? the Kings, not in the sepulchres themselves. If so, perhaps the moral of the history of the The Cagots pleaded that they were healthy accursed races may be best conveyed in the and able-bodied; with no taint of leprosy near words of an epitaph on Mrs. Mary Haud, who them. They were met by the strong argu- lies buried in the churchyard of Stratford-onment so difficult to be refuted, which I have Avon.
quoted before. Leprosy was of two kinds, perceptible and imperceptible. If the Cagots were suffering from the latter kind, who could tell whether they were free from it or not? That decision must be left to the judgment of others.
What faults you saw in me,
Pray strive to shun;
LADIES AND WIVES. A lady of rank came years old in the year of grace_x X x. to be churched after the birth of her first child, I will say so much as, that I do not mean I was 6 when the obsequious clergyman, thinking woman years old in A. D. 36, nor 7 in A. D. 49. I dare say too common a term to apply to her, thus altered PROFESSOR DE MORGAN, or some of your mathethe petition: "O Lord, save this lady thy servant."matical correspondents, will be able to find my The clerk, resolving not to be outdone in polite-age.. Notes and Queries.
ness, immediately responded: "who putteth her
ladyship's trust in thee."- Notes and Queries.
PART X.-BOOK III.
"Are we to have a party here to-day, Maria Anna?" asks Mrs. Burtonshaw. "I might have had a decent cap on, you know, if anybody had taken the trouble to mention it. What is it to "Not a party, my dear Elizabeth, only a few friends from town to spend the day-a country repast and a stroll by the river," says Mrs. Cum
"A few friends-there's no end of people at the gate," cried Sylvo, stretching himself out before the mirror. Appearances there are not unsatisfactory, it is to be presumed, for Sylvo sets himself up as a pillar at one side of the open bow-window, and waits with great composure for the inroad of guests.
I wonder, for my part, how people can have such bad hearts!"
But a great many other persons fill the room to distract the attention of Mrs. Burtonshaw. There are ladies in gorgeous brocade, and ladies in simple muslin; there are little parterres of bonnets so leafy and flowery that they might almost do to replace the clusters of floral orna
ment in these rustic baskets on the lawn. There
are gentlemen in all the varieties of morning costume, and gentlemen in full dress, looking very odd and uncomfortable in the fresh early daylight -young gentlemen with clumps of moustache like Sylvo, who have nothing particular to say; and elderly gentlemen, who are rampant, each on his particular hobby, riding very hard by the side of Mr. Cumberland, who, in his delightful candor, is ready to trot with all. A cluster of the most distinguished members of the company have gathered round Mrs. Cumberland, and Mary is The flowing of the tide immediately becomes surrounded by a gay crowd, on the extreme boraudible by a great many voices and footsteps in der of which stands Zaidee with Aunt Burtonthe hall. This hall is square like the house, well-shaw by her side; everybody is asking who evesized and airy, and decorated with some "images," as Mrs. Burtonshaw calls them, and a series of casts of the friezes of the Parthenon. The indefinite sounds merge into a universal laugh, and then the door is opened, and Mr. Cumberland enters at the head of a numerous partya party much too numerous to be announced one by one. It is "Steele's last" which brings in Mr. Cumberland's company with such a breath of laughter. "Some one remarked how cooled, and makes his bow. the hall was," said a stout gentleman, with a chuckle. "No wonder," says he, "look at all the friezes;" whereupon Sylvo's teeth appear once more under the clump of brushwood, and a great "ha, ha," from the bow-window swells the
"Who is Mr. Steele ?" asked Mrs. Burton
"A poor rascal of a painter-any work to do, ma'am?" says somebody, putting his hand to his forehead, and pulling a lock of long hair in mock obeisance. "Got a wife and family-do it as cheap as another. Miss Cumberland here will speak to my character-servant, ma'am."
rybody is, or answering the same. The mirror sparkles with the figures that move upon it-the gay colors and universal animation. Mrs. Burtonshaw in her turn becomes interested, and plies Zaidee with questions. Who is this gentleman, for instance, who is a little bald and pries about with an eye-glass? Perhaps he hears the question, for he immediately advances to Miss Elizabeth Cumberland, to whom he has been present
"Have you seen Mrs. Montague Crawson? asks this personage, peering eagerly through his eye-glass." Have you not been introduced to my wife, Miss Elizabeth? That is Mrs. Montague Crawson yonder, that lady in the green shawl."
"Then he has only his wife, I suppose, and nothing more, my dear?" says the puzzled Mrs. Burtonshaw, when Mr. Crawson has taken himself away. "Oh yes, he has his eye-glass," says an adjacent young lady, "just as these young gentlemen who support the window have a moustache, each of them." The speaker laughs innocently, unwitting that this is Sylvo's mother who refuses to smile upon her. Mrs. Burtonshaw draws herself apart in kindling wrath.
"Tell us how you did about that picturethat great old master. Is it a Steele or a Zurbaran?" asks somebody in the crowd, addressing the former hero of Mrs. Burtonshaw's sympathy.
"Yes, it's quite true, I put in the word," acknowledges Mr. Steele. "Do you think I haven't timber enough in my head to paint another? How is Mrs. Steele? Mrs. Steele is not here, she's gone over the Channel. Don't mention it, but I have as good a chance as another; all the ships in the world don't get safe to their journey's end."
"Poor old Steele, he is coming to poverty in his old days," said somebody else behind. With unmingled consternation Mr. Burtonshaw look ed on and listened. If the poor gentleman was coming to poverty, was that a subject to be mentioned in polite society to hurt his feelings ?— and old! The "poor gentleman" in question was of a slim and pliant figure, closely buttoned up, with long hair untouched by gray, and a face of beardless youthfulness. "It will give me great pleasure, sir, I am sure, to be able to help you in any way," said Mrs. Burtonshaw, with a courtesy of antique politeness, puzzled, yet compassionate; and Mrs. Burtonshaw gave the cut di- Zaidee, who was looking on with a smile, felt rect to the unfeeling personage who proclaimed her hand vehemently grasped by the indignant the poverty of Mr. Steele, and whom Mr. Cum- hand of Aunt Burtonshaw. "Come away from berland was now presenting to her. "I have no that inhuman man, child!" called the good lady patience with men who trifle with other people's under her breath. "What does Maria Anna mean, feelings, my love," said Mrs. Burtonshaw, retir-I wonder, by bringing such people here? enough ing to give her countenance to Zaidee-"of to destroy the morals of her children. Mary! course, though he is an artist, the poor gentle- Why, Mary is laughing with him, as if he were man does not wish any one to know his poverty. the most innocent person in the world. Who is DXCIV. LIVING AGE. VOL. XI. 7.
this poor Mrs. Steele, Elizabeth, my love?" asked Mrs. Burtonshaw, with sad solemnity.
other men, with the purest self-denial, but he could not get his wit weeded out from his life as "She is a very pretty lady, Aunt," said Zaidee, he could his play-going. With the most unprelaughing a little at the very matter-of-fact under-tended simplicity he bewailed this sad necessity standing of good Aunt Burtonshaw. to "talk nonsense," which he could not overcome; and Mrs. Burtonshaw's indignation awoke the slumbering self-reproof. He who called him. self a religious man had compromised his character!-perhaps he had crossed the borders of innocent jesting-perhaps jesting was never at all an innocent amusement. Mr. Steele did not
"Well, it is very sad for her, poor thing," said Mrs. Burtonshaw," but I am glad enough that he is married, for Mary's sake, and all these young people. You are a great deal too frank, you young ladies. Come here and sit by me, Elizabeth. I cannot let you go near that dreadful
recover himself till his audience were wearied of waiting, and it was only when the power of his self-condemnation was expended that the fresh heart which kept him youthful came back with a rebound; he passed out into the sunshineamong the gay young voices, the sounds and the fragrances of summer-and was himself. again.
But they continue to hear this dreadful man, notwithstanding; and he is telling some bon mots and puns of his own, with the simplest glee in the world. "What are you doing copying this?' says Hilton to me one day. It was a sketch of a bull's head in the British Institution. What is the British Institution now, you know," said Mr. Steele. "Why, there's no interest in it.' 'No,' There was no end of people, as Sylvo said, says I, 'no interest-it's all capital!'" To and there was no end to the tastes and inclina Mrs. Burtonshaw's infinite disgust, everybody tions which animated them. Mr. Cumberland's laughed, and everybody continued to stand round beautiful lawn was dotted with gay groups, and Mr. Steele, expecting something else to laugh at. the white blossoms of the acacia fell upon other He had just begun to another of his reports, when heads than the musing head of Zaidee. Then a little lady standing by touched him on the came an afternoon dinner-"a country repast," arm. "I see you have quite forgotten me," said as Mrs. Cumberland called it and then a great the little lady, who was plump and pretty. "Ideal of talk and music, of flirtation and criticism, met you once at Hollylee, Mr. Steele Mrs. indoors and out of doors. But there was no Mr. Vivian to make the day a charmed day for Mary Cumberland, or a day of terror to Aunt Burtonshaw. The invasion of guests proved a sedative to the fears of the old lady, and kept the younger one out of the enchanted world of her own thoughts.
Mr. Steele receded a step, and made one of his bows of mock humility. "I know it was one of the angels," said the wit with a characteristic hesitation, "but I had forgot the name
In the severity of exasperated virtue, Mrs. Burtonshaw rose. 66 Mary, you ought not to listen to such a person," cried Mrs. Burtonshaw audibly.. 'I cannot tell what Maria Anna means by it it is dreadful; and there is a Mrs. Steele too!"
There has been a Mrs. Steele, I am happy to say, any time these thirty years," said the object of Mrs. Burtonshaw's wrath, with a perfectly in
Mrs. Burtonshaw turned round upon him once more with open-eyed astonishment. you mean that he's a wandering Jew?" cried poor Mrs. Burtonshaw, who was put to her wit's end.
CHAPTER IX.-THE EVILS OF KNOWING AN
"What are you reading, Mary? I want you to come and take a drive with me, my love," said Aunt Burtonshaw. "You ought to have a rest to-day, after entertaining all these people. Come, my darling, and drive with me. What are you reading?"
"It is a novel, Aunt Burtonshaw," said Mary with humility.
"It is that beautiful book of Mr. Vivian's. I am delighted to see how Mary's taste improves," . said Mrs. Cumberland from her sofa; "one always feels more interest in a book when one knows the author. I shall ask him to put his autograph upon our copy when he comes here."
"And pray what are you reading, Elizabeth?" asked Mrs. Burtonshaw.
"It is Mr. Vivian's poems, aunt," said Zaidee.
"You are quite right; no one knows how old he is." "I hear he has got great-grandchildren." cried one and another, eager to promote the good' lady's delusion. "The more shame for him!' said Mrs. Burtonshaw solemnly, "to speak in that way of a very pretty lady, and to make compliments to other people. I shall never give such things my sanction, you may be sure." Amid much suppressed and restrained laugh- "Upon my word, I should be glad to know ter Mrs. Burtonshaw turned away; but the charm who Mr. Vivian is, or what he means," said Mrs. of the joke remained in the fact that this privi- Burtonshaw; "you used to be glad of rational leged talker who happened to be a man of the occupations-you used to do your needlework, most tender conscience, was struck with com- and take drives and walks, and like a little conpunction forthwith. This gay spirit, with its versation: now you have books all day long fund of invention and retort, its wit and mirth-books morning and evening; and it is always and daring sallies, was a spirit imbued with the mort susceptible and trembling piety. "A Steele" was just as good a synonyme for a joke as for a picture in the understanding of those who knew the artist best. He had relinquished a hundred other "carnal inclinations," very innocent to
Mr. Vivian. Who is Mr. Vivian then? will nobody tell me? Is e only an author? Now, I don't want to hear that he is a delightful young man, Maria Anna. I don't think such things are fit to be said before these children. Who is Mr. Vivian? that is what I want to know."
"It is not because of Mr. Vivian I am read-1 She felt as if called back from the Grange suding," said Mary, faltering at this unusual fib; "if denly, and called back from her recollections. you only would look here, Aunt Burtonshaw, there Mrs. Cumberland was beckoning to her with her is some one so like Elizabeth here."
"Come here, Elizabeth, my love; I have something to say to you. Sit down," said the lady of the house, pointing to a stool beside her. Zaidee obeyed quietly, as it was her custom to obey. Mrs. Cumberland cleared her throat, and seemed to have a momentary difficulty in making a beginning.
"My dear child, Mr. Vivian will be coming here one of these days, I trust," said Mrs. Cumberland, still with a little hesitation.
"Yes," said Zaidee. Zaidee grasped the edge of her seat with her hands in dismayed apprehension. Could her secret be known? "Of course you are sure to be much struck with him," said Mrs. Cumberland. Already you are prepossessed in his favor; and I can safely say he is a most delightful young man. Now, my dear love, tell me candidly, is your heart quite free, Elizabeth? Be frank with me, my dear."
Involuntarily Zaidee started; she felt as much disposed to answer Aunt Burtonshaw's question, and tell her who Percy was, but how should she know? So Zaidee was silent, putting constraint upon herself. Aunt Burtonshaw was not satisfied. "If you will please me, Mary, you will come and let me have my drive, and I will look at your book to-morrow," said Mrs. Burtonshaw. It was a great effort of self-sacrifice on Mary's part. She rose reluctantly, and with much deliberation put her book aside. She could not tell Sylvo's mother never to speak to her of Sylvo again, and Mary remembered with a blush her almost determination to put up with Sylvo before he arrived at Twickenham. Things had changed wonderfully since that time-there was an immense gulf between her feelings now and her feelings then. Sylvo had not changed the least in her estimation; he was the same good fellow he always was: but Mary would rather have dropped quietly into the river under the willows The deepest crimson flushed on Zaidee's face; than made up her mind to marry Sylvo now. she raised her head with an involuntary dignity. When Mary left the room with Aunt Burton-"Perfectly free," said Zaidee somewhat emphashaw, Zaidee continued to read the Poems of tically, though in a hurried under-tone. She felt Percy Vivian; these were mostly fragments- a little ashamed of questioning like this. snatches of wild song-sketches of great things "I have thought of you a great deal, Elizaincomplete, versatile and brilliant and changea-beth," said Mrs. Cumberland. "You are not ble. She thought no one else could understand quite like other girls, my dear. When you marry, as she did the chance allusions to the family his-it will be proper that your bridegroom should tory which ran through Percy's verses; no one know your real name, and all your circumcould recognize like her that wild tumultuous at-stances; and perhaps finding that you were not mosphere, the rush of wind and mass of cloud, which filled the firmament of Percy's song. This was not like Margaret's landscape; it was natare, every word of it, alive with air and motion; no rigid portrait, but an animated reflection of the scenes familiar to him. While Zaidee read, her heart went back out of this mild and gentle landscape, with its noble river and its verdant woods. She saw those oaks Agonistes, every one of them, with the red leaves stiffening on their branches, and the young foliage thrusting slowly through the last year's garments, which were so slow to fall. Instead of the drooping blossoms of that beautiful acacia, Zaidee saw yonder fierce little hill of Briarford, with all its golden and purple glories, its gorse and heather, and that old warm family home lifting its face to the winds, wistfully gazing on the flat country into the cloudy horizon and the far-off sea. Her mind was far away, wandering over those wellremembered places, which memory invested with "Oh, no, no; do not bid me. I do not want an imaginative charm. She had no recollection ever to go away; let me stay always at home," of this wealthy home at Twickenham, Mrs. Cum- said Zaidee, turning her flushed and agitated berland upon her sofa, or Sylvo out of doors with face towards Mrs. Cumberland, but not venturhis cigar, or the great mirror which gathered eve- ing to raise her eyes. "You have been very rything together within its pictured breadth. good to me so many years; let me stay, if it is The mirror caught her own beauty unawares, only to be your servant, and take care of you and held it up to every one who entered, though when Mary is married. I wish for nothing else Zaidee's face was turned away from the door;-do not speak to me of anything else; let me but Zaidee thought of nothing but of what she stay at home." found within those pages, the atmosphere and heart of her early home.
"Elizabeth!" said Mrs. Cumberland.
really our daughter-though I am sure I love you like one, my dear child-you must not be offended-might make a difference with some young men. But there is one way in which you have more advantages than Mary; and I feel certain that Mr. Vivian, for example, who is a poet and an enthusiast, will be sure to admire you very much. I should not like you to make a common match, Elizabeth. I have always set my heart on something quite out of the usual way for you. Now, you would please me very much, my dear child, by encouraging Mr. Vivian a little, if he seems disposed to pay his addresses to you; and do not be too shy, but let him see you, and form a proper opinion of you when he comes here. My love, you need not blush and frown, and look so disturbed; what I am saying to you is quite proper, and not compromising you in any way. Will you attend to what I say, Elizabeth, my dear?"
Mrs. Camberland patted softly with her thin fingers upon Zaidee's hand. "That is all very well, my love; that is what all young ladies say
Zaidee looked up with a momentary pang. at first," said Mrs. Cumberland with a smile.