Page images

she utterly declined. "It's your place, | ter imagined than described when, on sir, to tell us of our sins on Sundays in reaching Calais, an enormous packingchurch, and it's my place here on week- case was discovered amongst her luggage days in my own household." containing towels and soap, her lady's maid having been led to believe by Mrs. Whitaker that such articles were not to be procured in France.

She also resented keenly any interference on my cousin's part in matters that she deemed her own special department. If her master or mistress ventured to sug. gest a change, however small, it never met with her approval, and she would always say, "I couldn't do with that. No, dear sir,” or “madam," as the case might be, "I think I know better what's befitting a gentleman's household."

She seldom would summon a doctor if the servants were ill, and only if seriously so. Many were her preparations and decoctions for internal and external use. Her care of the house was excessive, which, be it said, she regarded far more as her own than the property of her master or mistress. During their absence from Malden Priory all the furniture was carefully encased in brown holland wrap. pers, and the china ornaments were all wrapped in silver paper, to prevent them suffering from the injurious effects of dust or dirt. On their return it was her delight to fill my cousin's Lowestoft cups with the gay blossoms of the everlasting, and to replenish her delft jars with the most fragrant pot pourri. Her literature consisted of but two classes of books, the perusal of the Bible on Sundays and the investigation of the tradesmen's weekly bills on week days.

Many were the times, when I have stayed on a visit with my cousins, that I have peeped in through Mrs. Whitaker's little sitting room window, overlooking the old bowling-green in the Priory garden, and discovered my old friend immersed in the contemplation of the weekly bills. She conscientiously added up herself every one of their columns, and always detected the slightest error, whilst her method of bookkeeping and managing accounts was excellent. She disliked all foreigners, but her hatred of the French had all the intensity and freshness of 1815. Whenever my cousins returned from a tour on the Continent, she always expressed thankfulness for their preservation, but hoped that, as they had been spared this once, they would never tempt Providence by going there again. The old caricature in Punch of the two foreigners looking at a washhandstand, and inquiring of each other "Vat is dat?" would have been in her eyes but sober reality. On Lady Dalton's first visit abroad her husband's dismay may be bet

Happily her last illness was not attended with much suffering and was of short duration. On a Monday she got up, but for the first time for over seventy years did not make her own bed. She came down-stairs, but was soon afterwards seized with a shivering fit, and had to be carried up to her own room again, where the old family doctor, an old personal friend of hers, attended her. She fretted much at first at her enforced idleness and at the notion that her keys would be handled and used by others. After a few days she steadily grew weaker, but happily at the same time became reconciled to her condition. She talked much of former days, of her father and mother, and of that period which was specially dear to her, the early days of her service at Malden Priory. Towards the close of the third day she seemed to suffer greatly, but her end was mercifully painless. At last she slept away into the other life, the change between life and death being almost imperceptible.

Thus ended, after a long career of usefulness, of great fidelity, of daily fortitude and goodness, my dear old friend, about whom may be said, as of others in her position:

Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
The short and simple annals of the poor.

It may perhaps be said that old servants are difficult to deal with, over-sensitive, and often obstinate in refusing to carry out any alteration or to allow any necessary change; but the old saying must be remembered, "To no man a second mother," and so likewise none of us will find in the world the same devotion that is so often evinced by an old servant to his master. Deep love and tender affection, even if accompanied by what may seem ridiculous and tiresome, form sweet and lasting ties, and are debts that can never be paid.

Even the delicate satire of Du Maurier, and the broader humor of Leech, have failed to exaggerate the follies of modern servants and the foolish and fanciful causes given by them for quitting the service of their employers.

"To leave in order to get a change" is become between masters and servants a regular, recognized reason.


"I have no fault to find against you and Lord G," a housemaid said to a friend of mine a short time ago, but I want a change, and I don't like H-shire scenery or air."

Another friend of mine had a footman who left her "because," he said, "he could no longer stay, as he regretted to find that his employer did not keep the company that he had been accustomed to."

A scullery-maid that had been engaged for me begged to leave, as she declined to take any orders from me, declaring that she could only take orders from the person who had engaged her.

A foreman in the employment of one of my friends allowed a great quantity of his master's greenhouse glass to be broken during a storm, "because," he said, "it was not his place to close the windows, and that he wasn't engaged to tell the second man his business."

A maid to whom I once offered a situ ation declined it on the ground that she had once lived in a duke's family, and could not possibly sink lower than a vis count's, or else, to use her own words, "she would lose all self-respect," whilst a housemaid left me because she declared that she considered the menservants of the establishment too deficient in good looks to keep company with. That the feelings as regarded her had been reciprocal on the part of the male attendants have always had my shrewd suspicions; for nobody, save perhaps herself, would have described her as a beauty.

It is easy to multiply such incidents, and the above anecdotes will doubtless recall others of a similar character.

Surely the great Dutch painter dreamt of something nobler than scanty service or mere remuneration when he painted his immortal canvases of Charles and his old retainer or Strafford and his secretary. No true service can be performed without affection. What can be more pathetic or beautiful than the story recorded of the old Welsh woman who, after the fire at Wynnstay in 1858, brought to Lady Wynn her little hoard of savings, begging her to accept them towards the rebuilding of the house?

Whilst modern servants are often much to blame for giving but grudging service, and for taking but scanty care of the goods entrusted to their charge, it would not be fair to conclude without looking at the other side of the medallion.

Masters no longer look upon their ser vants as part of their family. Masters and mistresses are often impatient and foolishly exacting, and expect impossibili. ties in the shape of "old heads on young shoulders." They must not only be just, but kind and indulgent, and not forget that youth is youth in every class.

The severe old spinster who declares that she will allow no followers is unjust and unreasonable, for girls will be in love and have lovers all the world over. The wise mistress of a household inquires into the character of the prétendant, and if that is satisfactory allows the young people to meet each other.

Ingratitude, it is to be feared, has become much more common amongst masIters than it used to be. It was only the other day that I heard a story of a country soi-disant gentleman who allowed his old nurse, when she was crippled with rheu matism, to spend her old age in the workhouse; whilst a magnate who received a peerage from a grateful queen and country for party services, on being told one day that he had shot one of the beaters, replied, "Oh, he must take all that in the day's work," and, although the man was seriously injured, refused to make him any monetary reparation.

Of late there has been a strong attempt on the part of the world to treat service as a mere contract between employer and employed. Certain things are to be done for certain payments, as specified in an agreement, and beyond this no more is to be expected on either side. But men and women are not machines, but breathe, and love, and often act impetuously, and a mere contract must always appear to any man who has a spark of the divine fire in his nature as unchristian and immoral. There are more contingencies in life than can ever be foreseen. It is service with out love or zeal that is really degrading and menial.

Common as light is love,

And its familiar voice wearies not ever.

A woman well known in "society" once had in her service a kitchenmaid who was suffering from general debility of health. On a doctor seeing her he ordered her a tumbler of new milk every morning. To the surprise of the girl, who knew the stingy habits of her employer, his order was complied with; but in a few months' time, when she was given notice to quit, what was the poor girl's dismay to find that the cost of the milk had been deducted from her slender earnings!

Noblesse oblige used to be the old saying; Noblesse permet is too often the mod

ern one.

Charities and acts of benevolence in these latter days of ours are done too much by deputy, too little by personal supervision. It is not enough for a rich man to open his pockets or draw a cheque. The delicacy of personal care in cases of sickness and illness is what best knits class to class and draws best the sting from class distinctions.

In the Middle Ages there was a certain grandeur in the extreme humility which induced ladies of the highest rank, in imitation of their Lord, to wash the feet of beggars. It would be folly so far now to copy them in deed, but it is well to remember that the great wave of Socialism, which bids fair to swamp society as now constituted, can only be arrested by constant association of the upper and lower classes and by acts of kindness and generosity from those who possess the good things of this world.

In illness or sickness, therefore, no care is too great, or wasted if lavished upon any member of a household. No expense should be spared to show the servant that, while a master has the right to expect him to regard his interests in health, he feels it his duty to take every opportunity of ministering to his servant's wants in sickness, old age, or trouble.

Every one must feel that mere money is not sufficient payment for devoted attention and care in illness; for what can remunerate amply for long sleepless nights or the wearisome irritability of a suffering patient? One of the weaknesses of the present day, to use a homely simile, is the desire of most people "to eat their cake and have it," and servants are not exceptions from this rule. Thus they aspire to all the laisser-aller of a democracy in good times and health, and to all the comforts and care of the feudal system in sickness or old age.

"No man is a hero to his valet" runs the bitter old proverb, but a nobler position than the reverse can hardly be imagined.

A man who can remain unspoilt by the applause of the world, by the enthusiasm and hero-worship of literary or political followers, who can still keep pure and remain gentle and unselfish in the little things of daily life, who can pass through the hard ordeal unscathed of worrying circumstances and petty annoyances, is, perhaps, the most beautiful character to be found on earth. To few are given the |

eloquence, the power, or the necessary talents that would enable them to add their names to the list of fame; but to all it is possible, from the highest to the lowest, to make their home circle bright or dark, and to inspire those that immedi ately surround them with respect and affection or contempt and dislike.


From Merry England.


DOUBTFUL Colonels of liberating Greek armies and the men whose gold they get become rather significant as the earliest associates of a prince who had always a certain ignoble companionship at his side, and under whose empire politics talked the cheaper kinds of rhetoric, and society the smarter kinds of slang. Louis was just of age. "Nor would any one," says Lord Malmesbury, "at that time have predicted his great and romantic career. He was a wild, harum-scarum youth, or what the French call un crâne, riding at full gallop down the streets to the peril of the public, fencing and pistol-shooting, and apparently without serious thoughts of any kind, although even then he was possessed with the conviction that he would some day rule France. We became friends, but at that time he evinced no remarkable talent or any fixed idea but the one I have mentioned. It grew upon him with his growth, and increased daily until it ripened into a certainty. He was a very good horseman, and proficient at athletic games, being short but very active and muscular. His face was grave and dark, but redeemed by a singularly bright smile. Such was his personal appearance in 1829, at twenty-one years of age. He used to have several old officers of his uncle, the emperor, about him, men who seemed to me to be ready for any adventure." And when the future emperor came to London it is at a doubtful house like Lady Blessington's that we find him oftenest, and it was from companions in exile - discontents not highly exalted above the politicians of Leicester Square, that we had the most abundant remembrances of this period in his life. We find him indeed taking part in the brilliant Eglinton Tournament, held at the castle in Ayrshire in 1839, where, under the smiles of the lovely Lady Sey mour, the young French prince with his future minister, Persigny, rode at the side

of Lord Eglinton in his gold-inlaid armor. | presidency of the republic if Louis Phi But otherwise he seems to have fore- lippe would release him, and in that case gathered chiefly, at least after his escape he would give the king his parole never from Ham, with the frequenters of that suspected drawing-room into which English ladies did not enter. By that time the harum-scarum boy of Rome had changed into the silent man, with wandering averted eyes and dull manner, who is familiar in the description of his associates. The Boulogne episode and the detention in prison were then a part of his experience. It was on the eve of that wild exploit that Lord Malmesbury saw him standing one night with Persigay, after a party at Lady Blessington's, both wrapped in cloaks on the steps of her house. “You look like two conspirators," said the diarist, as he passed them, to which Louis Napoleon made the dramatic answer, "You may be nearer right than you think." Two days later he had started in a steamer hired for a fortnight, had landed near Boulogne with fifty followers, had marched to the barracks where the soldiers utterly refused to listen to him, had fled before the arrival of the National Guard, had been swamped in a life-boat and picked up clinging to a buoy a short distance from shore. The adventure had ended more seriously for some of his companions, who were killed after they had surrendered, while others requisitioned the horses of some English spectators and got away. His trial had followed immediately, exciting "no interest whatever," though it was generally believed that the sentence would be one of confinement for life. Then had come the imprisonment, and Lord Malmesbury had visited him at the castle of Ham on the Somme when the prince had been confined five years. "Early last January," writes Lord Malmes bury in 1845, “he sent M. Ornano to London to ask me to come and see him on a matter of vital importance to himself. I was unable to go till now, and having obtained with some difficulty a permission from M. Guizot to see the prince, I went to Ham on April 20. I found him little changed, and very much pleased to see an old friend fresh from the outer world, and that world London. As I had only half a day allowed me for the interview, he confessed that, although his confidence and courage remained unabated, he was weary of his prison, from which he saw no chance of escaping, as he knew that the French government gave him opportunities of doing so that they might shoot him in the act. He stated that a deputation had arrived from Ecuador offering him the

to return to Europe. He had therefore sent for me as a supporter and friend of Sir Robert Peel, at that time our prime minister, to urge Sir Robert to intercede with Louis Philippe to comply with his wishes, promising every possible guarantee for his good faith. The prince was full of a plan for a new canal in Nicaragua, that promised every kind of advantage to British commerce. As a precedent for English official interference I was to quote Earl Grey's in favor of Prince Polignac's release in 1830. I assured the prince that I would do my best ; but added that Lord Aberdeen was our foreign secretary, and that there was nothing of romance in his character. At this time Louis Napoleon was deeply engaged in writing the history of artillery, and he took an hour in making me explain the meaning of several technical words in English, which he wished translated. He gave me a full account of his failure at Boulogne, which he declared was entirely owing to the sudden illness of the officer of the day, whom he had secured, and who was to have given up the barracks at once. The soldiers had mostly been gained, and the prestige of his name in the French army was universal. To prove this, he assured me that the cavalry escort of lancers who accompanied him to Ham made him constant gestures of sympathy on the road. He then said, 'You see the sentry under my window? I do not know whether he is one of mine or not; if he is he will cross his arms, if not, he will do nothing when I make a sign.' He went to the window and stroked his moustache, but there was no response until three were relieved, when the soldier answered by crossing his arms over his musket. The prince then said, 'You see that my partisans are unknown to me, and so am I to them. My power is in an immortal name, and in that only; but I have waited long enough, and cannot endure imprisonment any longer.'. . . The day after I arrived in London I saw Sir Robert Peel, and related my interview and message to him. He seemed to be greatly interested, and certainly not averse to apply to the French government in the prince's favor, on his conditions, but said he must consult Lord Aberdeen, which of course was inevitable. That evening he wrote to me to say that Lord Aberdeen would not hear of it. Who can tell how this decision of the noble lord may influence future history?”

From Belgravia.



ling has survived in spite of adverse legis-
lation, and is exceedingly popular in
France down to the present day.
law of civilized nations has, however,
always been dead against it. In 1599 the
Parliament of Paris went so far as to de-
clare every duellist a rebel to his Majesty;
nevertheless, in the first eighteen years of

thousand gentlemen are said to have perished in duels, and Henri himself remarked, when Creyin challenged Don Philip of Savoy, "If I had not been the king I would have been your second.” Our ambassador, Lord Herbert, at the court of Louis XIII. wrote home that he hardly ever met a French gentleman of repute who had not either killed his man or meant to do so! and this in spite of laws so severe that the two greatest duellists of the age, the Count de Boutteville and the Marquis de Beuron, were both beheaded, being taken in flagrante delic to. Louis XIV. published another severe edict in 1679, and had the courage to enforce it. The practice was checked for a time, but it received a new impulse after the close of the Napoleonic wars.

WHEN it ceased to be the fashion to wear swords in the last century, pistols were soon substituted for personal en counters. This made duelling far less amusing, more dangerous, and proportionally less popular. The duel in En-Henri Quatre's reign no fewer than four gland received practically its coup de grâce with the new Articles of War of 1844, which discredited the practice in the army by offering gentlemen facilities for public explanation, apology, or arbitration in the presence of their commanding officer. But previous to this "the duel of satisfaction" had assumed the most preposterous forms. Parties agreed to draw lots for pistols and to fight, the one with a loaded, the other with an unloaded weapon. This affair of honor (?) was always at short distances and "pointblank," and the loser was usually killed Another plan was to go into a dark room together and commence firing. There is a beautiful and pathetic story told of two men, the one a kind" man and the other a "timid" man, who found themselves unhappily bound to fight, and chose the dark room duel. The kind man had to fire first, and, not wishing to hurt his adversary, groped his way to the chimney. piece, and, placing the muzzle of his pistol straight up the chimney, pulled the trig ger, when, to his consternation, with a frightful yell down came his adversary the "timid" inan, who had selected that fatal hiding-place. Another grotesque form was the "medical duel," one swallowing a pill made of bread, the other swallow ing one made of poison. When matters had reached this point, public opinion not unnaturally took a turn for the better, and resolved to stand by the old obsolete law against duelling, whilst enacting new byelaws for the army, which of course reacted powerfully, with a sort of professional authority, upon the practice of bellicose civilians.

The duel was originally a mere trial of might, like our prize fight; it was so used by armies and nations, as in the case of David and Goliath, or as when Charles V. challenged Charlemagne to single combat. But in medieval times it got to be also used as a test of right, the feeling of a judicial trial by ordeal entering into the struggle between two persons, each claiming right on his side. The judicial trial by ordeal was abandoned in the reign of Elizabeth, but the practice of private duel

The dulness of Louis Philippe's reign and the dissoluteness of Louis Napoleon's both fostered duelling. The present "opportunist" republic bids fair to outbid both. You can hardly take up a French newspaper without reading an account of various duels. Like the suicides in Paris, and the railway assaults in England, duels form a regular and much appreciated item of French daily news. It is difficult to think of M. de Girardin's shooting dead poor Armand Carell - the most brilliant young journalist in France - without impatience and disgust, or to read of M. Rochefort's exploit the other day without a smile. The shaking hands in the most cordial way with M. Rochefort, the compliments on his swordsmanship, what time the blood flowed from an ugly wound, inflicted by him as he was mopping his own neck, are all so many little French points (of honor?) which we are sure his challenger, Captain Fournier, was delighted to see noticed in the papers. No doubt every billiard room and café in Paris gloated over the details, and the heroes, Rochefort and Fournier, were duly fêted and dined together as soon as their respective wounds were sufficiently healed. Meanwhile John Bull reads the tale and grunts out loud, "The whole thing is a brutal farce and the principals' are no better than a couple of asses."

« PreviousContinue »