Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

SATURDAY, MAY 23, 1874.




Bothwell: a Tragedy. By Algernon Charles Swinburne. (Chatto & Windus.) CRITICISM seldom finds its task less gracious or less palatable than when its office is to deal with the aberrations or perversities of genius. More or less of ingratitude seems always to attend a close scrutiny into the value of voluntary offerings brought us from above. A duty of this kind has not seldom, however, to be discharged. "The last infirmity of noble minds" seems, with the modern poet, to assume the shape of an unreasoning admiration and affection for his own offspring. Every line he writes is dear as his life-blood, and the task of blotting, once advanced as an art, is, in his opinion, not far removed from sacrilege. There is scarcely one of our modern poets that has not impaired the lustre of his reputation by giving the world those lighter productions of his pen which the true artist would consign to the fire. As the most impetuous as well as the most fervid of poets, Mr. Swinburne, having once overleaped the barriers of poetic self-control, has naturally gone farthest astray. The appearance of 'Atalanta in Calydon' first, and then of 'Chastelard,' evinced his possession of gifts so remarkable, that an opinion gained ground that from him might be expected the greatest drama of modern times. Instead of that, Mr. Swinburne has given us the longest. All previous effort in the direction, of dramatic art seems insignificant beside this stupendous work. A couple of Greek trilogies might conveniently be included within smaller limits; the two parts of 'Faust' would take a shorter time to act. Perhaps the best idea of its length may be obtained from the statement that it contains about as many lines as 'Hamlet' supplemented by 'Paradise Lost.' One book only can be set against it. This is the Festus' of Mr. Bailey, as it now stands; a work which would have acquired its author a more lasting reputation than he enjoys, had not his overwhelming affection for it led him to incorporate gradually into it the whole subsequent effort of his life.


Mr. Swinburne's 'Bothwell' is not only huge, it is unwieldy and overgrown. There is nothing imposing in its dimensions. It is an unfortunate condition of art that the value of the materials employed will not compensate for the want of grace in the edifice. Ignorant, apparently, or oblivious of the laws of construction and proportion, Mr. Swinburne has heaped together the valuable stores he has accumulated, and has given us a mound when we looked for a temple. We wander hopelessly round the gigantic pile without any means of access to the most precious of its contents, except the wearisome and ignominious plan of turning over and sifting till we meet with what we require.

How lamentable a mistake has been committed will be known to the few who read the book through, and see what fine, what magnificent things are there to reward exertion. This formidable achievement will be reserved for those whose love for poetry is strong enough to render them insensible to the


difficulties of a journey recalling that in the
'Pilgrim's Progress.' A superb landscape awaits
the reader when he reaches the pleasant land
of Beulah. Splendid pictures, subtle analyses
of passion, and wonderful studies of character,
will repay him who attains the end.
As art,
however, the whole is incomprehensible.
a picture, this work of a man of genius is
without central interest; as a play, it is with-
out climax. Each act is, in all except con-
struction, a drama in itself, and the connexion
between two acts is not stronger than that
between the entire work, and the insigni-
ficant-looking 'Chastelard' to which the whole
comes as a supplement. We might have
hoped that the announced intention of Mr.
Swinburne to give the world a trilogy upon
the subject of Mary Queen of Scots, would
have restrained his erratic muse, and kept the
second piece within moderate dimensions. At
present, Chastelard' stands to 'Bothwell' in
about the same proportion that the 'Camp of
Wallenstein,' of Schiller, does to his 'Picco-
lomini' and 'Death of Wallenstein.'


It is of course altogether hopeless to give the reader any idea of the construction of the book, or the development of the story. easy is it, indeed, considering the diffuseness of the whole workmanship, to communicate an idea of the beauties of which the play is full. A speech of John Knox in the fourth act is probably, from a dramatic stand-point, as well as from a poetic, the finest in the volume. It extends, however, over thirteen pages. The splendid visions of Darnley and Bothwell, which are scarcely less fine, are also of excessive length. How completely the author has allowed his affection for his work to overpower his critical instinct is shown in the introduction of these dreams, one of which comes only as a reflex of the other. All characters are described at remarkable length, the entire composition uniting an energy in verse as untiring as that of Barbour or Blind Harry, and an erudition as comprehensive and as undiscriminating as that of Dr. Nares, the biographer of Lord Burleigh. Act 1 is named "Rizzio"; act 2, which has twenty-one scenes, "Bothwell "; act 3, " Jane Gordon"; act 4, "John Knox"; and act 5, "The Queen." These names are wholly arbitrary. Act 3, for instance, is principally concerned with the trial of Bothwell for the murder of Darnley, and Jane Gordon, the wife of Bothwell, who gives it her name, appears only, for a short space towards its close. In no sense, either, is the Queen more closely connected with the last act than with its predecessors, the entire interest centering in

her to an extent that makes the title of 'Bothwell' almost a misnomer. 'Bothwell'


affords elaborate and profoundly powerful And againstudies of Darnley, Mary, Bothwell, Knox, with others,-detracting, by their amplitude, from the value of the more important characters,-of the leaders of the faction in continual opposition to Mary, and of minor personages, down even to those as obscure as Nicholas Hubert, otherwise named Paris, the servant of Bothwell. A lurid grandeur about the presence of Mary, who, conscious of the doom involved in her love, is none the less anxious to bestow it, is opposed to the cold serenity of Mary Beaton,-in this work, as in its predecessor, the most human and most attractive figure. It appears to have been the

author's intention to contrast strongly with the fitful passions and murderous caprices of Mary, the unwavering devotion of this woman, whose "whole life's love went down" into the grave with Chastelard, and whose fateful presence near Mary keeps always upon her the This is the most shadow of the block. artistic portion of the work. A calm assurance that she shall some day see the end of her who makes an end of all her lovers, sustains Mary Beaton in her recollection of the hour when she saw the head of Chastelard held up by the hair as that of a traitor. She herself says :—

This I cannot tell, Whence I do know it; but that I know it I know, And by no casual or conjectural proof Nor yet by test of reason; but I know it Even as I know I breathe, see, hear, feed, speak, And am not dead and senseless of the sun That yet I look on: so assuredly

I know I shall not die till she be dead.

Mary's character is, of course, the same as in 'Chastelard.' It is impossible to imagine a being more heartless than the Queen as she is here presented. The motive for her animosity to Darnley is, of course, easily conceived. He was the leader of those who startled her peaceful hours, and slew Rizzio almost at her feet. Never for a moment has she forgotten or forgiven that cruel degradation. She feels still against her breast the cold lips of the pistol, and hears the last pitiful adjuration of her despairing attendant. When the plans of, assassination are ripe, she visits the chamber of Darnley, and stoops from his side to consult Bothwell, concerning details of the forthcoming tragedy. She sleeps beneath his chamber the night previous to his murder, provoking, in so doing, from Hay of Talla, the observation :—

She has the stouter heart. I have trod as deep in the red wash o' the wars As who walks reddest, yet I could not sleep, I doubt, with next night's dead man overhead. When her fears for her own life are most keen, and when the feminine nature most strongly asserts itself in her efforts to cajole her enemies, she is still mindful of her vows of vengeance for the death of Rizzio. wrath is constantly frank and outspoken; and Her her bloodthirstiness is almost tigerish. Talking of Knox, she dreams of weaving for him

a cord to silence him

-To spin hemp For such a throat, so loud and eloquent, Should better please me and seem a queenlier thing Than to weave silk and flower it with fine gold.

She says

Delight at the contemplated death of her enemy tingles through her frame. to


I am gay of heart, light as a spring south-wind,
To feed my soul with his foretasted death.

O, I feel dancing motions in my feet, And laughter moving merrily at my lips, Only to think him dead and hearsed, or hangedThat were the better. I could dance down his life, Sing my steps through, treading on his dead neck, For love of his dead body and cast out soul. False, treacherous, cruel, capricious, and without one redeeming trait, except, perhaps, a readiness to sacrifice herself for the subject of her temporary whim, Mary stands among the lords of her turbulent court, bending, cajoling, and coercing them all in turns. She plots her own abduction by Bothwell and arranges with those commanding her escort to make no resistance. To the instincts of maternity, even, she is false.

-I believe,

Albeit I would not hurt the life I bare
Nor shed its blood, it is not possible
Such love should live between my child and me
Who know what source he came of more than mine,
And how that part of me once mixed therewith
Was sullied thence and shamed in mine own sight,
That loathes to look upon it, yet must see

In flesh and blood the record writ and sealed

As oft as I behold him and you saw

He would not lie within mine arm, nor kiss,
But like a fox-cub, scratched and strove, to be
Free of my hands again.

With wiles and songs and sins from over sea,
With harping hands and dancing feet, and made
Music and change of praises in her ear-
White rose out of the south, star out of France,

In one passage she likens herself to Cleo

patra. Compared with the serpent of old Nile, Light of men's eyes and love! yea, verily,
however, Mary sinks into insignificance.

Red rose out of the pit, star out of hell,
Fire of men's eyes and burning! for the first
Was caught as in a chamber snare and fell
Smiling, and died with Farewell, the most fair
And the most cruel princess in the world—
With suchlike psalms go suchlike souls to God
Naked-and in his blood she washed her feet
Who sat and saw men spill it; and this reward
Had this man of his dancing. For the next,
On him ye know what hand was last year laid,
That held the key of subtle and secret craft
David, the close tongue of the Pope, the hand
As of his viol, and tuned all strings of state
With cunning finger.

Long as is this quotation, it gives but a fraction
of this portion of Knox's address. On such a
scale, indeed, is the whole poem built, that it
is impossible to find an extract which will give

an idea of the execution.

-Other women cloy The appetites they feed: but she makes hungry Where most she satisfies, exclaims Enobarbus in one of the most familiar passages of Shakspeare. Mary is of the "other women," and two days' possession on the part of Bothwell is sufficient for disenchantment.

Apart from the question of the poet's right to deal as he chooses with his characters, there is, of course, historical basis for some of the

facts advanced. In presenting Mary as conscious of the forthcoming murder of Darnley, Mr. Swinburne has exercised the poetic privilege. That the Lorraine blood which circu

lated in her veins, her training under Catharine de Medicis, and her experiences of the French court during the massacre of the Huguenots are sufficient to justify a poet in such an assumption, few will deny except upon grounds of patriotism or of sentiment.

Next to Mary, Darnley is the most striking character in the book. His cowardice and vacillation contrast strongly with the heat and resolution of Morton, Ruthven, and his other associates in the murder of Rizzio. An ill-worn assumption of royalty scarcely covers his craven instincts, and the mental and physical collapse which precedes the murder is painful to contemplate. The scene in Darnley's chamber the night preceding the explosion is the most dramatic in the volume. Mary's feline ways fail to lull her victim into security. With a thrill of horror, he notes that she sings

that night the song which Rizzio had sung before his surprise by the assassins. This omen, the terrible dream which has broken his slumbers, and the warning of Lord Robert Stuart, have thoroughly unmanned him. His terror employs for its expression the language of Scripture. Mr. Swinburne is rarely happier than in his use of Hebrew phraseology, and the solemnity and terror of the entire scene are not easy to surpass.

Knox appears seldom; and the part assigned him in the action of the drama is scarcely important. He has one speech, however, which, but for its prodigious length, would command high admiration. His denunciation of the Queen is terrible. Speaking of her lovers, he asks what has she been to them

The next whose name met on men's lips with hers
And ballads mourned him in his love's sight slain,
Gordon, that in the dawn of her dark day
Rose northward as a young star fiery red,
Flashed in her face, and fell, for her own breath
Quenched him? What good thing gat they for her sake,
These that desired her, yet were mighty lords,
Great in account of great men? so they twain
Perished; and on men meaner far than these

THIS book is advertised as a "new work by
the great traveller Gerhard Rohlfs," and as



When this queen looked, how fared they? folk that being "edited by Winwood Reade." From the work itself, it does not appear that the latter gentleman has done more than contribute "Introduction" to what, let its merits be what they may, cannot properly be called a "new" work. It is, in fact, a narrative of the German traveller's first journey in Africa, made as long ago as the years 1861 and 1862, the diary of which, as appears from Dr. Petermann's Mittheilungen for 1863, pp. 276, 361370, was sent to that geographer for publication; but as the west coast of Morocco and the various places there were pretty well known, he refrained from printing what related to the earlier portions of the journey, except only a passage graphically describing the unpleasantnesses to which a traveller in those countries is exposed. But he published

the latter part of Dr. Rohlfs's diary, extending Géryville, of which a paraphrastical transla from his arrival at Agadir to his arrival at tion is given in pp. 320-371 of the work now

before us.

Which of these,
Which of them all that looked on her and loved,
And men spake well of them, and pride and hope
Were as their servants-which of all them now
Shall men speak well of? How fared he the first
Hailed of his own friends and elect her lord,
Who gave her kinsmen heart and godless hope
By him to reign in her and wield this land,
Yet once with me took counsel and sought grace,
And suddenly God left him, and he stood
Brain-smitten, with no bride-bed now nor throne
To conquer, but go senseless to his grave,
The broken-witted Hamilton-what end,
Think ye, had this man, or what hope and hap

The brutality of Bothwell, the astuteness of Murray, and the mad passion of George Douglas of Lochleven, are carefully painted, and a general idea of the turbulence and ferocity

of the Scotch court is afforded.

In this huge volume there are, as we have already said, many fine and some unsurpassable things. Subtlest traits of character abound, and descriptive passages of singular delicacy are from time to time encountered. That the work, as a whole, is worthy of Mr. Swinburne, can scarcely be maintained. Granting all that may be said in favour of the psychology of the poem, and admitting the beauty of portions of the workmanship, the want of proportion is fatal to its claims to a place by 'Chastelard' or 'Atalanta in Calydon. Long as it is, moreover, it is but a prelude, since, though announced as a tragedy, it closes with the departure of the Queen across the Solway, and the fall of the axe, which is necessary to the completion of the action, is yet remote. If we dwell strongly upon the length of the poem, it is because the whole future of the author is involved in the question. Nothing can be devised more fatal to genius than the inability to select among its own ideas the best and most appropriate, to prune into shapeliness its wild and exuberant growth, and to bring its workmanship within the ken of mortals. Whether Mr. Swinburne is in the future to take the position which his admirers claim for him depends upon whether the conscience of the artist can conquer the self-love of the poet.

The verse of Mr. Swinburne is nervous, melodious, and flexible: but in some cases, as in the dream of Bothwell, the frequent recurrence of conjunctions at the commencement of sentences becomes very wearisome. There are not half-a-dozen sentences in this speech of which "and," or "then," or "but" is not the

first word.

Some agreeable lyrics, French and English, are to be found in the early acts. The book is dedicated to M. Victor Hugo, in a fine sonnet in French.

Adventures in Morocco, and Journeys through
the Oases of Draa and Tafilet. By Dr.
Gerhard Rohlfs. With an Introduction by
Winwood Reade. (Low & Co.)

Whether those parts of the traveller's diary which Dr. Petermann thought fit not to print have since been published elsewhere, we cannot say. In page 358 of the present work, it is stated in a foot-note that "there is a de

scription of Tafilet in 'Uebersteigung des Atlas,' &c., Bremen, Kühtmann, second edition, and in Petermann's 'Mittheilungen,' 1865";

but that is all.

There is no allusion to the

volume of that journal for 1863.

The work in its actual form does not profess to represent the traveller's original diary; on the contrary, in Mr. Reade's Introduction, it is expressly declared that "the present work has been recently composed, and is enriched by observations, drawn not only from lands." And yet it can scarcely be that the work Morocco itself, but from other African has been recently composed " by Dr. Rohlfs himself; for, though at the time when he undertook this journey in 1861, he "knew only a few phrases of Arabic," he must have long since gained such an acquaintance with that language as would have prevented him from putting into print such expressions as "Lah ilah" (or "Lah il Laha") "il allah, Mohammed ressul ul Lah"; "Hamd ul Lah";

"Mktub er Lah' (It was written)"; “‘Mustafa hennin' (Hope you like it)"; and various others of a similar character. Besides which, we find in page 106 mention made of "the present Sultan of Morocco, Sidi Mohammed ben Abd-er-Rahman," with this footnote :-"Whenever our author refers to the present Sultan, he is speaking of the late Sultan, who died September, 1873. His successor is Mulei Hassan (Translator)."

The map, too, which accompanies the work, cannot possibly have passed under Dr. Rohlfs's eyes, inasmuch as it differs materially from the letter-press. For instance, in page 13, it is said that, on leaving Tangiers on the way to Fez, we took a road which led to Tetuan," and in page 16, that "on the morning of the third day, our journey was continued, and before sunrise we entered, at Dhaha, near the


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


Ued (or river) Aisascha, the great road which passes from Tangiers to L'xor." On the second day after this, it is said, in page 22, that " arrived at Tleta-Risane......about half-way between Tangiers and L'xor," when "the sun was high"; and yet in the following page, after describing how he was robbed by his companion, the contradictory statements are made, that he could not go back to Tangiers from this "half-way" station, "after only three days," and that he "reached L'xor at dusk" of the same day. Inconsistent and unintelligible as the road is, as thus described, it is not shown on the map in a single particular, the only route between Tangiers at L'xor marked thereon being one running along the sea-coast to El Araish, and thence to "El Kazar" (L'xor), which was taken by the traveller at a later date. So, too, the direct road from Mequinez to Uesan, described in pp. 203-206, is not marked on the map. Independently of these omissions, there is a total want of correspondence between the names of places in the body of the work and on the map. "L'xor, near the banks of the Ued-Kus," of the former, is on the latter "El Kazar" on "W. Lucos." It is true that the author explains that he writes L'xor " as pronounced, but it is spelt Alkassar"; and "Wed-Kus" may, in like manner, be extended into "Wady el Kus," for which "W. Lucos does duty. But we have on the map "Wazen," as the name of the holy city "Uesan," which is not remedied by a foot-note on page 92, that "Uesan is called Wazen by many geographers"; and in like manner, "W. Omer Rebia" stands for Ued, "Um-el-Rbea, or 'mother of weeds""; "Sallee" on the "W. Regreg," for "Sla" on the Ued "Bu-Rgab, or Bu-Râba,” and “Mamora” for "Mehdia.' We might extend the list almost ad infinitum. Many of these differences may be trivial; and in some cases, the spelling on the map may be preferable to that in the text. But, be this as it may, there can be no question as to the necessity for similarity between the two. For the convenience of the general reader, it is indispensable. That the work is based on a translation of the traveller's German manuscript is proved by the retention of certain technical terms of which the translator did not know the meaning. For example, the author is made to say that, when labouring under a severe attack of fever, he "took his last dose of china," and to describe the contents of a sort of native "chemist's shop" as consisting of "china, Tartarus stib, and Ipecacuanha." Of course the first of these articles is Peruvian bark, and the second is the tartarus stibiatus of the German pharma copoeia, that is to say, tartrate of antimony; so "jodkali," in another place, is iodide of potassium. Nevertheless, it is impossible for the work, in its present form, to be a mere translation, however freely made, of Dr. Rohlfs's original diary, for it contains chapter upon chapter which can only have been written after an elaborate examination of other published works, both ancient and modern. And, besides, we are told by Mr. Reade that it "has been recently composed."

For the sake of the distinguished traveller whose name appears on the title-page, it is desirable that some explanation should be given of the circumstances under which the work now introduced to the world has not only been 'composed," but also translated and edited.


Our readers would doubtless like to know how M. Gerhard Rohlfs came to undertake this journey, which was the prelude to a series of adventurous undertakings that have rendered his name famous. Born at Bremen in 1831, and there educated, he commenced his career as a volunteer in the Schleswick-Holstein war, on the termination of which he studied medicine at some of the German universities; and then, after wandering through various countries, he came at length to Algiers, where he entered the French army, in which he served several years, and was promoted to the rank of sergeant, the highest to which a foreigner can attain. Having quitted that service, he went to Tangiers, with the intention of penetrating into the interior and entering the service of the Emperor of Morocco as a medical man. But he soon found that this could only be done by his becoming a Mohammedan, and “a desire for the strange and unknown, mingled with a spirit of defiance, impelled him to adopt the enterprise."

Mr. Winwood Reade speaks of the traveller as a "pseudo-renegade," an expression not very intelligible. Dr. Rohlfs, for his part, has no such squeamishness, but speaks of himself as having, ex animo, adopted the faith of Mohammed. On one occasion he says that, on reaching the Draa oasis,

"Tired out with the journey, I had lain down to sleep, but was unpleasantly awakened by a kick. A Sherif stood before me, and asked me who I was, my name, my business. As usual, I answered that I was a German converted to Islamism (I never made a secret of my being a that time I still spoke Arabic very indifferently), proselyte, indeed, could not have done so, for at and that my name was Mustafa."

By this avowed proselytism the traveller subjected himself to the obloquy and confess and call themselves" believers in a faith tempt which naturally attach to all who "proin which they were not born and brought up. He himself writes,

"Little need be said about the renegades in Morocco, who are mostly galley-slaves who have escaped from the establishment at Ceuta, Melilla,


Alhucanas, and Peñon de la Gomera. There altogether, about a hundred renegades, all of whom are Spanish, excepting three or four French


All are married, almost all of them are soldiers, and they are much despised by the Moors. Even the children of such Oeludj (the old name for Christian slaves) do not escape the contempt which their fathers certainly deserved."

How that contempt was manifested in his own case, is recorded in the following anecdote. Having been appointed physician in ordinary to the Sultan, he was ordered to attend the ladies of the harem. On his going there—

"The chief the eunuchs, Mr. Camphor, took me in charge, and I was presently conducted into the ante-room, where I found the ladies who required doctoring. At first they would not unveil themselves; but as I insisted on their

doing so, Mr. Camphor, who, with other eunuchs, such as Mr. Musk (all eunuchs have strongly fragrant, aromatic names), Mr. Essence of Roses, &c., &c., was, of course, always present, went and informed the Sultan of this, and soon returned with this answer,-'Our lord (Sidna) says that, as you are only a Rumi [i.e. a Greek] and but lately a dog of a Christian, the ladies need not observe shawls, or wrappers, were at once let down (veils any ceremony on account of you.' Hereupon the proper are not used in Morocco, or anywhere else, by Mohammedan women for covering the face),

and I had daily opportunity of admiring the charms of the Sultan's ladies."

And, on a subsequent occasion, the traveller relates how, on his way to the holy city of Uesan, he became unintentionally the object of an ovation under the following circumstance :

"The people living in the neighbourhood, who had heard that some Schürfa [the plural of Sherif, a descendant of the Prophet] of Uesan were to pass that way, under the impression that I was also a Sherif, came round me in crowds, kissing my hands and the hem of my djilaba, and asking for the Foetha (blessing), which I luckily knew by heart. It is to be hoped they got quite as much benefit from my blessing as if it had been that of a real Sherif! If they had known that I was but lately a dog of a Christian, how they would have cursed me. Happily, we live in a time when the magic of their power." curse as well as the blessing of man have lost the

Another amusing anecdote, from the same chapter of accidents, shall be given chapter of accidents, shall be given :

"Laughable incidents occur sometimes, such as the following, in which I was a principal actor :Whilst sitting with the Grand Sherif in closed tent, the servants, who had strict orders not to admit any one, became overpowered by the pressing crowd, and suddenly the fastenings gave way, the tent was forcibly opened, and in swarmed the mob-dirty old hags, strongly smelling children, men and women, old and young, all threw themselves upon me, and covered me with their fanatical kisses. It being dusk at the time, they had mistaken me, as sitting on the carpet (the Grand Sherif happened to be sitting on a stool at the time), for the descendant of the Prophet; and whilst I, with cries and blows, tried to make them understand that I was not the Grand Sherif, he, laughing, cried Mustafa hennin' (Hope you like sitting on his chair, almost beside himself with it). I was obliged to have an extra wash, both of myself and my clothes, to get rid of the catchable and feelable souvenirs of these holy embracings."


words here rendered "Hope you like it" seem It may be remarked, en passant, that the intended to represent "Henníyan, ya Mustafa," as if it were the wish, addressed to him by name, which is usually addressed to persons when eating or the like-henníyan, “prosit," "buon prò vi faccia," "bon appetit," ""much good may it do you."

We repeat that we do not think Dr. Rohlfs would have allowed the text to stand as it is here, and the doubt which unavoidably presents itself to our mind as to the genuineness of the work withholds us from directing attention to many portions of its contents that in interesting. To explain our meaning more themselves would appear to be both valuable and fully, we will give, in translation, an extract from the original diary, as published by Dr. Petermann, in which the traveller relates the attempt to assassinate him made by the Sheikh of the Boanan oasis, whose guest he had been for ten days, and then the account of the same incident as given in the present work.

In pp. 368-369 of the Mittheilungen it is said :—

"We started in the evening, the guide, my servant, and myself. After a march of about four hours we camped near a small stream, and made a large fire. I soon fell asleep, as did my servant likewise; but I suddenly awoke, having been attacked in a most treacherous manner. I received five wounds on the right arm, the bone of which was shattered above the elbow; I had also a shot

in my right thigh, and, in addition to these, sword-cut in the right hand and over the nshoulder. My guide and Scheich Mohame

Abd-Allah had fallen on me, with the intention of killing and robbing me. The great loss of blood rendered me insensible, or, I should rather say, made me fall as if I were dead. My servant took flight. On coming to myself next morning, I found myself alone in the desert. They had carried off all my effects and my money. Although the water was close to me, I could not get to it; I was too weak to raise myself. A fearful thirst devoured me. I remained in this helpless condition for two days and two nights. At length, on the third day, two Marabuts of a neighbouring Sauija, hearing of my calamity, came to bury me. Their joy at finding me still alive was almost greater than mine. I had, so to say, no knowledge of my wretched condition; for I had passed the whole time half asleep and half awake, only tormented by thirst. The Marabuts placed me on a mule, and, in two hours, I found myself safely housed and cared for. They bound up my wounds as well as they could, and placed a stiff bandage on my

arm, so as to aid the ossification. The worst was that, from the very first moment, they forced me to devour immense quantities of food, this being, in their opinion, the only way for me to get well. .... At length, after two months, I was able to continue my journey."

The account of the same transaction as now given is thus developed :

"We started in the evening, there being besides the guide and myself a pilgrim, who, in return for his food, had accompanied me as servant from the Draa. After a four hours' march, we camped near a small stream, and made a large fire of dry tamarisk boughs, which the guide kept piling on so as to give his master a mark where to find us. The pilgrim and I were soon stretched asleep near the fire, and had seen our guide apparently prepare to do the same. Excepting a pistol which I carried, both the pilgrim and myself were unarmed; the guide carried a carbine. How long I had been asleep I cannot say, but when I awoke I found the Schich of the oasis, my friendly host, standing over me, with the smoking mouth of his long gun still pointing to my breast. Luckily, he had not, as he intended, struck my heart, but had only broken my left arm above the elbow. I was seizing my pistol, when he slashed my hand nearly off with his sabre. From that moment, what with the pain and loss of blood, which was streaming from my arm, I became unconscious. The pilgrim saved himself by flight. When I regained consciousness next morning, I found myself alone, with nine wounds; for, after I had fainted, these ruffians had shot and slashed me, to make sure of me as they thought. They had robbed me of everything but the bloody clothes I had on. Although the water was close to me, I could not get to it; I was too weak to get up. I tried to roll myself to it, but all in vain, and burning thirst was added to my agony. I remained in this helpless condition for two days and two nights. During this time I was in a half-conscious, half-wandering state of mind..... At last, on the third day, two men came. Was it a reality, or delusion again? No, they were men, and answered my weak attempts to attract their attention by signs, with their voices. They were Marabutin, of the not far-distant small Sauya Hadjui. Their joy at finding me alive was almost as great as mine in seeing them. I could only stammer out, 'El, ma! el, ma!' (water, water)."

The writer's knowledge of Arabic must be very imperfect to allow him to say what is equivalent in English to "The, water! the, water!" What, under the circumstances, the wounded man might have exclaimed is "Ma! ma!" or, rather, "Moyeh! moyeh!" The

narrative continues :

"Then a thought flashed through my mind, Was their joy genuine? They carried iron pick-axes on their shoulders, evidently with the view of arying me; but they would most probably have e with the intention of possessing themselves

of my clothing, valuable articles in this poor district."

Now, though there may be no sufficient reason why the author should not be at liberty to republish, in this amplified and somewhat melo-dramatic form, his simple narrative communicated to the world in 1863, still we conceive he was bound to state the fact, and it is deeply to be regretted, for his sake above all, that he should have been so ill-advised as not to do so.

But we must not terminate our notice of Dr. Rohlfs with anything that savours of dispraise. We will, therefore, briefly add that it is stated that, after a delay of four hours, he was carried by his preservers to their village in a pitiable state, his "left arm only hanging by skin and muscle, his right hand in a similar plight, and the upper part of his thigh also shot through." On his arrival, the particulars of which are minutely described, it is said—

"My first request, after taking a little mealsoup, was for a knife, and when one was brought I desired Sidi Laschmy to sever my hanging arm. But there I made a mistake. That may be the but we never cut a member off; and as you, custom among you Christians,' said the Marabout, praised be God, are now in your right senses, you will retain your arm.' In the meantime, they had already made a bandage out of goatskin, to which cane splints were fastened to give stiffness to the whole. This bandage was placed on, and smeared over with clay, thus forming a firm support. The arm was then laid on a bed of white desert sand. The other wounds were simply bound up with cotton-wool soaked in butter, with which a little Artemisia [wormwood?] had been mixed to give it an aromatic smell."

After a painful, wearisome time, during which he was tended with the utmost kindness by the villagers, the traveller recovered sufficiently to resume his journey.

the shot-hole through the thigh, had healed; the "The body wounds and the right hand, and broken arm had got firm through the formation of a callus (hard thick skin) round the splintered bone, but the wounds were open, and from time to time splinters of bone were thrown out."

And we are told in a foot-note that the arm was not properly healed till 1868, after-with the wounds always open-he had made his journey to Lake Chad, and accompanied the Abyssinian Expedition.

For his journey to Lake Chad, which was prolonged to Lagos, Dr. Rohlfs received, in 1868, the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. He has now just returned to Egypt from an expedition into the Libyan desert, undertaken in the service and at the expense of the Khedive. As an explorer of the interior of the vast African continent, Gerhard Rohlfs stands next to Barth and Livingstone.


Henry Beyle (otherwise de Stendhal); a Critical and Biographical Study, aided by Original Documents, &c. By Andrew Archibald Paton. (Trübner & Co.) We take up this book with more pleasure than most monographs of the kind, because, as the author says in his Preface, the subject is "caviare to the general," and it should not be A proper account of Stendhal and his works ought to have been written long ago: and the French will regret that the task has devolved on an Englishman. Of course, we do not


mean to say that Mr. Paton's account is free from shortcomings. We do not agree with his appreciation of Stendhal's novels; nor can we find any great originality in his literary judgments. However, he has written a useful biography of a man as remarkable as he is unknown, save, to use Stendhal's own words, "to the happy few." Mr. Paton gives plenty of information, apparently gathered with much pains, for he seems to have collected in Stendhal's Italian residences such details as he could procure from persons who had known the French author; and, moreover, he has been furnished with a number of private letters, which throw quite a new light on Beyle's temperament. Mr. Paton's account is not a complete and exhaustive analysis; but it will serve as a safe basis for speculation.

Beyle's career is little known, and a brief sketch of it may not be out of place here. Marie Henri Beyle was born in 1783, at Grenoble. His family belonged to the middle class. The boy was not destined for the literary profession, nor did he show any signs of future excellence. His education was partly intrusted to the priests; but his mind was none of those that bear for a whole life the stamp of clerical training. At his entreaty, his father delivered him from the discipline of the seminary, and he continued his studies in a "Temple Décadaire," a kind of revolutionary school. In 1800 he went to Paris, under the protection of the Daru family, to which ties of distant relationship attached him. What his future career was to be the young man had no distinct notion as yet. All he knew was, that he was filled with a passionate admiration for art and music. But at that period, when each day was marked by a victory, every youth_felt irresistibly impelled to a military career. Beyle entered the War Department as a supernumerary, and was taken by the Darus to Italy a short time afterwards. Those who have read his works know how passionately fond of Italy and its inhabitants he showed himself. He was, to some extent, the French Heine of Italy, and ever so many times studied the psychology of the Italian temperament. His dominant liking took root from this date; for in Milan, where eventually he was to spend some of the most pleasant years of his life, he contracted the love for Italian music which eventually manifested itself in his Lives of Mozart, Metastasio, Cimarosa, and Rossini. He was in his official capacity present at the battle of Marengo. But he wearied of office work, and, after a month of active service in the dragoons, he obtained the epaulettes of ensign, and went through the campaign of the Mincio as aide-decamp to one of the generals of division serving under Brune. Beyle then returned to Paris, and applied himself more than before to the study of letters. The acuteness of his understanding first became obvious in the long and elaborate letters he wrote to a favourite sister of his, Pauline Beyle, who eventually espoused a relation of Casimir Périer. His observation was keen, and the shrewd advice he offers to his sister might become a grey-haired man. Here is a striking instance. When Pauline was going to marry M. Périer, her brother wrote to her in the following terms :—

"Périer is a good man; provincial affairs will give him the character of a financier, that is to say, he will avail himself of any advantage to pur

chase a domain ten thousand francs cheaper than otherwise. But, in the interest of his family, he will be not the less good natured, although less the object of attachment for an elevated soul. When love really exists in marriage, it is a conflagration which burns itself out, and becomes extinct with a rapidity proportioned to its former ardency. That is what I have seen in fifty or sixty married couples that I have had the opportunity to observe closely. What is the happiness attainable in marriage? Friendship! But here, again, we have difficulties, for friendship is scarcely possible, except in the case of a man of fifty who has married a widow of thirty. If they have intelligence, knowledge of the world renders them indulgent. In your case happiness is to be sought in the good-natured husband whom you direct. A wife contracts for such a husband that attach

ment which a kind-hearted woman has for those persons who show their goodness. This directed husband renders you the mother of children whom you adore. Thus your life would be filled up, not with the impossible emotions which are found in novels and romances, but with a reasonable satisfaction. Do not expect transports of love in marriage, and remember the maxim of Scapin, 'People must expect less than nothing in order to enjoy the little that is to be found in this world.' I would bet a thousand to one that your husband will have a soul deficient in elevation, and an intelligence which may sometimes make you smile. Remember that your happiness will depend on his self-love not being hurt by your under-estimation of him. Marriage imposes great caution on you, for the gossip of society might easily create unpleasantness between you. Do not let him suppose that you prefer friendship with me, or with any of female friends, to his. Your soul is too elevated for coquetry. The enjoyments of souls such as ours are not only not understood, but detested by the vulgar people that compose the bulk of society. Hide your superiority, and read alone in your closet enjoyable books, without betraying the enthusiasm which you feel. We should enjoy ourselves in solitude. When we are with friends, our thoughts should be unveiled only in proportion to their intelligence; otherwise, there is the danger of our appearing to be superior, and from that moment we are lost. You, perhaps, have doubts on this subject. In four years you will recognize its truth."

This was a rather curious letter to write to a sister, and the reader must know what French marriages are, or he will find its contents unnatural. Beyle was only twenty-four years of age when he indited these sagacious counsels, which seem to fall from the lips of a wary old worldling.

We have stepped out of our way to quote this interesting document. We return to Beyle's progress in the world. He was as yet unknown to the public as a writer. Literature he cultivated as a dilettante, and with selfish refinement, while he felt his way in a calling that insured him the means of living. He was an enthusiastic admirer of Napoleon; and, though in after years his reason led him to retract, in a political aspect, his former worship, at heart he remained slightly infected by the love of glory and victory, which he so relentlessly derided in his own countrymen. At that moment, too, commenced a series of attachments to women of various kinds. As a lover, he seems to have been extremely sentimental. He, at first, proposed marrying at Grenoble a young friend of his sister's; but he was not the man to settle quietly in the placid path of matrimony-firstly, because, like Beaumarchais's Cherubin, his love for the sex seems to have been as capricious as intense while the fit lasted; and, secondly, because, as Mr. Paton

justly observes, there was in Beyle's nature an absence of equilibrium, an inharmonious proportion of qualities and defects, which conduced to his own unhappiness, although .he was gifted with all that is requisite to make others happy. Beyle was a sceptic, but not of a dry, caustic kind; on the contrary, he was extremely sensitive, and open to broad and generous ideas, and all his observation and experience could not make of him, that cruel, heartless artist, of which Prosper Mérimée was the type. We find the young man running after an actress as far as Marseilles, just after the rupture of the projected marriage; and, to gratify his passion, stooping to the occupation of inferior clerk in an office, until his lady-love made off, and left Beyle to console himself as he best could. This he was not long in doing. When he returned to Paris he obtained a Commissariat in the Imperial Army, and in that capacity he lived for some time in Germany, a country so antipathetic to his southern feelings, that he wrote, a long time after, to Balzac, that he ". forgot German after learning it, out of contempt for the Germanic race."

We next find Beyle in Vienna, after the battle of Wagram. The genial temper of the inhabitants of this town was well calculated to please him; and he seems to have again fallen a victim to love there. What is really remarkable is the power he had of analyzing his own intimate feelings. Every time he was smitten, it would appear as if he recorded the very essence of the impulses of his heart in a mental notebook; and it is certain that his personal experience taught him much of what he recorded in that masterpiece of psychological study, 'De l'Amour,' for he had himself passed through all shades of courtship. Beyle returned again to Italy with the troops of Napoleon; and, afterwards, much to his regret, he was induced to join the expedition to Russia. We have no space to chronicle his movements down to the fall of Napoleon, when the Commissaire General, as a matter of course, was dismissed, and had to look elsewhere for means of livelihood. He had published the brilliant Lives of Haydn, Mozart, and Metastasio; and he followed them up with the Life of Rossini, which met with some success. And then he returned to his beloved Italy, finding there a cheapness of living suited to his slender income. For some years he lived at Milan, which, at the time, could boast of of an unusually brilliant and intellectual society, including Manzoni, Monti, and others. There he met Lord Byron, and their friendship was of the most pleasing character, each appreciating the other at his just value. In Rome he saw Shelley, and he speaks of him in terms of unbounded admiration and regard.

On his return to France (having been expelled from Milan by the Austrian police) he betook himself to writing on art and music for the papers. Beyle had had plenty of opportunities to study the masterpieces of the Italian painters; and the result of his gleanings was a 'History of Painting in Italy,' which he published anonymously. It was only in later life that he issued his treatise on 'Love,' and those two admirable novels, 'La Chartreuse de Parme' and 'Le Rouge et le Noir,' than which there is none finer and truer in modern French literature. They were written during his tenure of office as consul at Civita Vecchia

and Trieste. He also wrote the 'Memoirs of a Tourist,' an account of the artistic beauties of Rome, Naples, and Florence, and projected an autobiography, which would probably have been his most curious work. When he died he was, it is no exaggeration to say, still unknown.

But his works were in print, and that was sufficient. Although the satisfaction of finding himself justly appreciated and admired was denied to him during his life, there is every probability that he will come to be regarded as one of the most original minds of this century. His love of concealment from the public eye did him no little harm. But now that his eccentric pseudonyms have fallen, as a mask falls from a face, there remains a man of great genius, whose artistic sensitiveness is apt to lessen his popularity with the bulk of his readers, but who, in the eyes of men of refined taste and critical judgment, is a glorious artist.

A History of Philosophy from Thales to the Present Time. By Friedrich Ueberweg. Translated by G. A. Morris. With Additions by Noah Porter, D.D. 2 vols. (Hodder & Stoughton.)

THE History of Philosophy written by the late Prof. Ueberweg, of Königsberg, is so well known, that it is not needful to enter into a detailed criticism of it. It combines in an unusual degree the three qualities of accuracy, clearness, and conciseness; and, therefore, it is peculiarly adapted for the use of students, while the copious bibliography renders it of value to the scholar. The latter portion of the book is, indeed, singularly well done, and, throughout, the most important works which bear on each point have been judiciously selected for mention. It is, of course, true that the majority of these books are in German, and, therefore, are useless to those for whom this translation is intended; still there is so much that is especially excellent in the work, that we regard the appearance of these two volumes as a boon to English readers.

The portion of Prof. Ueberweg's history which deals with the Apostolic period and the Early Fathers is not unlikely to provoke dissent in this country and America, as his views are, generally speaking, those of the Tübingen school. It is to the credit of Prof. Morris and⚫ Dr. Porter that, so far as we have observed, they have endeavoured faithfully to give the meaning of the German original, and have not attempted to impart to it an orthodox tinge. Of the translation as a whole, however, we are unable to speak so favourably as we could wish. It is deficient in precision, and yet it is far from being written in idiomatic English. The involved constructions of the German need not have been so closely followed, and we cannot put it on a level with Mr. Lindsay's version of Prof. Ueberweg's Logic, which we noticed a little time ago.

Some of the additions made by Dr. Porter are useful, others are not, and to us they all seem a great deal too lengthy. The chapter on Modern Philosophy in Italy,' contributed by Dr. Botta, is far too long, for Italian philosophy is not particularly important; and Dr. Porter's account of British philosophy might have been shortened with advantage. Several of the names he mentions should have been omitted altogether. The same remarks apply with still more force to Dr. Porter's sketch of

« PreviousContinue »