Page images

get you," said he, rising, and grasp ing the other's hand warmly; "how are you? when did you come up to town? You see the eye is all right; it was a bit swollen for more than a fortnight, though. Hech sirs! but you have hard knuckles of your own."

It was not easy to apologise for the rough treatment he had inflicted, and Tony blundered and stammered in his attempts to do so; but M'Gruder laughed it all off with perfect good-humour, and said, " My wife will forgive you too, one of these days, but not just yet; and so we'll go and have a bit o' dinner our two selves down the river. Are you free to-day?"

Tony was quite free and ready to go anywhere; and so away they went, at first by river steamer and then by a cab, and then across some low-lying fields to a small solitary house close to the Thames-" Shads, chops, and fried-fish house," over the door, and a pleasant odour of each around the premises.

"Ain't we snug here? no tracking a man this far," said M'Gruder, as he squeezed into a bench behind a fixed table in a very small room. "I never heard of the woman that ran her husband to earth down here."

That this same sense of security had a certain value in M'Gruder's estimation was evident, for he more than once recurred to the sentiment as they sat at dinner.


The tavern was a rare place for hollands," as M'Gruder said; and they sat over a peculiar brew for which the house was famed, but of which Tony's next day's experiences do not encourage me to give the receipt to my readers. The cigars, too, albeit innocent of duty, might have been better; but all these, like some other pleasures we know of, only were associated with sorrow in the future. Indeed, in the cordial freedom that bound them they thought very little of either. They had grown to be very confidential; and M'Gruder, after inquiring what Tony proposed to himself by way of a livelihood, gave him a brief sketch

of his own rise from very humble beginnings to a condition of reasonably fair comfort and sufficiency. "I'm in rags, ye see, Mr Butler," said he; my father was in rags before me.' "In rags


s!" cried Tony, looking at the stout sleek broadcloth beside him.

"I mean," said the other, "I'm in the rag trade, and we supply the paper-mills; and that's why my brother Sam lives away in Italy. Italy is a rare place for rags-I take it they must have no other wear, for the supply is inexhaustible-and so Sam lives in a seaport they call Leghorn; and the reason I speak of it to you is, that if this messenger trade breaks down under you, or that ye'd not like it, there's Sam there would be ready and willing to lend you a hand; he'd like a fellow o' your stamp, that would go down amongst the wild places on the coast, and care little about the wild people that live in them. Mayhap this would be beneath you, though?" said he, after a moment's pause.

"I'm above nothing at this moment except being dependent; I don't want to burden my mother."

[blocks in formation]

Ay, but they don't belong to me-there's the difference," said Tony, laughing; then added, in a more thoughtful tone, "I never suspected that Dolly spoke of me.'

[ocr errors]

"That she did, and very often too. Indeed I may say that she talked of very little else. It was Tony this and Tony that; and Tony went here and Tony went there; till one day Sam could bear it no longer for you see Sam was mad in love with her, and said over and over again that he never met her equal. Sam says to me, 'Bob,' says he, I can't bear it any more.' What is it,' says I, ' that you can't bear?'-for I thought it was something about the drawback duty on mixed rags he was meaning. But no, sirs; it was that he was wild wi' jealousy, and couldn't bear her


[blocks in formation]


Yes, but he did, though; and what for no? You wouldn't have a man lose his time pricing a bale of goods when another had bought them? If she was in treaty with you, Mr Butler, where was the use of Sam spending the day trying to catch a word wi' her? So, to settle the matter at once, he overtook her one morning going to early meeting with the children, and he had it out."

"Well, well?" asked Tony, eagerly.


'Well, she told him there never was anything like love between herself and you; that you were aye like brother and sister; that you knew each other from the time you could speak; that of all the wide world she did not know any one so well as you; and then she began to cry, and cried so bitterly that she had to turn back home again, and go to her room as if she was taken ill; and that's the way Mrs M'Gruder came to know what Sam was intending. She never suspected it before; but, hech sirs! if she didn't open a broadside on every one of us ! And the upshot was, Dolly was packed off home to her father; Sam went back to Leghorn; and there's Sally and Maggie going back in everything ever they learnedfor it ain't every day you pick up a lass like that for eighteen pound a-year and her washing."

"But did he ask her to marry him?" cried Tony.

"He did. He wrote a letter-a very good and sensible letter, too— to her father. He told him that he was only a junior, with a small share, but that he had saved enough to furnish a house, and that he hoped, with industry and care and

thrifty ways, he would be able to maintain a wife decently and well; and he referred to Doctor Forbes of Auchterlonie for a character of him; and I backed it myself, saying, in the name of the house, it was true and correct."

"What answer came to this?"


A letter from the minister, saying that the lassie was poorly, and in so delicate a state of health, it would be better not to agitate her by any mention of this kind for the present; meanwhile he would take up his information from Dr Forbes, whom he knew well; and if the reply satisfied him he'd write again to us in the course of a week or two; and Sam's just waiting patiently for his answer, and doing his best, in the meanwhile, to prepare, in case it's a favourable one.'

[ocr errors]

Tony fell into a reverie. That story of a man in love with one it might never be his destiny to win, had its own deep significance for him. Was there any grief, was there any misery, to compare with it? And although Sam M'Gruder, the junior partner in the rag trade, was not a very romantic sort of character, yet did he feel an intense sympathy for him. They were both sufferers from the same maladyalbeit Sam's attack was from a very mild form of the complaint.


"You must give me a letter to your brother," said he at length. Some day or other I'm sure to be in Italy, and I'd like to know him."


Ay, and he'd like to know you, now that he ain't jealous of you. The last thing he said to me at parting was, 'If ever I meet that Tony Butler I'll give him the best bottle of wine in my cellar.'"

[blocks in formation]


NAPOLEON the Third is a monarch of rare genius as well as of great power; and it is a pleasure to review the policy of such a man in a sphere which is free from the influences of international rivalry. The French in Mexico is a different question from the French on the Rhine. As Englishmen, we cannot regard without a feeling of mistrust and dislike the policy of Napoleon in Europe; but happily we can do so when the scene of his far-reaching projects is the old empire of Montezuma. We do not demand of any monarch that he shall consult the good of the world irrespective of the interests of his own country; but unquestionably the greatest monarch, the one who will longest live in the memory of men, is he who shall achieve the greatest triumphs for mankind at large. In exile and in prison, Louis Napoleon had ample time to meditate on the high mission to which, by a strong and strange presentiment, he felt himself called. He reviewed, as a political philosopher, the requirements of the age; and thus when he came to the throne, he brought with him many high designs already formed, which he was resolved to accomplish so far as the opportunities of his career should permit. One of the earliest-formed of his great schemes was the construction of a ship canal which should cross the Isthmus of Darien, and form a highway of commerce between the oceans of the Atlantic and Pacific. Such a work is less needed now that the age of railways has succeeded to the age of canals; nevertheless it will probably be accomplished in the future. As Emperor, Louis Napoleon has taken no measures to carry out this project, his other schemes having hitherto absorbed his attention and fully taxed his powers. But he has energetically supported the sister-project of the

Suez Canal, designed to connect the eastern and western seas; and however doubtful may be the success of the scheme at present, we doubt not it will be realised in the end. The project of tunnelling the Alps likewise owes its initiative to Napoleon III., and will connect his name with a greater work than the road of the Simplon, which was one of the glories of his uncle's reign. With a boldness which pays little regard to what ordinary men call impossibilities, he has also proposed to unite England and France by carrying a submarine railway under the British Channel,-a project which we have no desire to see accomplished until a new epoch has dawned upon Europe, and the relations between the two countries have been established upon a more reliable basis of friendship. Lastly, among those projects of material as well as of political interest, we come to the intervention in Mexico, undertaken professedly, though not primarily, with a view to regenerate that fine country, to rescue it from impending ruin, to restore it to a place among the nations, and launch it upon a new and independent career.

Of all the projects of Napoleon III., this is the one which is most to be applauded for the good which it will accomplish for the world at large. Nevertheless-and this is a compliment to his sagacity, rather than a detraction from the merits of the project—the motive which inspired it was connected with the interests of France, and still more with those of his own dynasty. The Emperor was desirous to find some enterprise which should employ his army, and engage the attention of his restless and gloryloving subjects, until the affairs of Europe should open to him a favourable opportunity for completing his grand scheme of "rectifying" the frontiers of France. And in this

he has succeeded. Even though the enterprise has not been popular in France, it at least served to attract the thoughts of the French to a foreign topic,-it has furnished a subject of conversation and debate, -and it has, moreover, shut the mouths of the war-party in France, and established a solid excuse for the Emperor not engaging in a European conflict until he had got this Transatlantic affair off his hands. These were considerations of present value which Napoleon was not likely to underestimate, though he could not frankly avow them. Nevertheless they would have been void of force if the expedition could not have been justified upon intrinsic grounds. And it is to the peculiar character of those grounds, as illustrative of the scope of the Emperor's views, that we desire briefly to draw attention, before considering what are likely to be the actual results of the enterprise.

The grandeur of a nation depends upon the influence of the ideas and interests which it represents, not less than upon the material force which it can exert. England, for example, is peculiarly the representative of Constitutional Government and of the interests of commerce. In Russia we behold the head, and representative Power, of the Greek Church. France, also, we need hardly say, is a representative Power. Her monarchs for centuries have borne the title of the "eldest son of the Church;" they have been the protectors of, and at all events they peculiarly represent, the Church of Rome. But the Church of Rome has been losing ground, alike in the Old World and in the New. The great kingdom of Poland has dropped out of the map of Europe, and nearly all its parts have gone to increase the territories of Protestant Prussia, and of Russia the champion of the Greek Church. The loss has not been compensated by an adequate increase of power in the States which adhere to the

Latin Church. Spain, once the greatest Power in Europe, has for long been torpid, and, though now showing symptoms of revival, will never regain anything like its former position in the world. In America the collapse of the Romish Church has been still more conspicuous. On the other hand, the Protestant and Greek Powers are prospering and extending themselves. The greatest change which is impending in Europe-the downfall of the Ottoman rule-will bring a vast extension of power to the Greek Church; and slowly but steadily the same Church, following the battalions of Russia, is spreading over central, and will soon spread likewise over south-western Asia. It will extend from the Baltic to the Pacific, from St Petersburg to Petropaulovski. Protestantism has still greater triumphs to show. Accompanying the colonies of England, it has become the dominant faith in North America among the thirty millions of the Anglo-Saxon race, who may be said to hold the fortunes of the New World in their hands. In India, in the Australian world, at the Cape, and wherever England has planted her energetic colonies, it is the Protestant Church which reigns supreme. By his intervention in Mexico, Napoleon III. endeavours to arrest the decay of the Romish Church in America, and to check the continuous spread of the Protestant Anglo-Saxons. The "Empire of the Indies," reared by Spain, and so long a bright gem in the tiara of the Popes, has gone to wreck. Brazil, with its enormous territory but mere handful of people, is the only non-Protestant State in America which is not a prey to anarchy and desolation ; and a few years ago, the gradual extension of Anglo-Saxon power over the whole of the New World appeared to be merely a question of time. Seizing a favourable opportunity, the "eldest son of the Church" now intervenes to repair the fallen fortunes of the Papacy in Central America, and in so doing

to erect a barrier against the tide of Protestantism, and to reflect new lustre upon the Church of which he is the champion, and with whose greatness that of France is indissolubly connected.

These considerations affect the moral, rather than the political, greatness of France; but there are others of a different character which moved Napoleon III. to attempt the regeneration of Mexico. The latter, however, relate to the same object considered from a different point of view. Europe is remodelling herself on the principle of nationality. Twenty years hence, the Slavonian race will have experienced a great augmentation of power-partly from increase of population, which is proceeding rapidly in Russia, and partly from a more perfect political organisation and community of action established among the now scattered portions of that family of nations. The Teutonic race is destined to experience a lesser but somewhat similar increase of power. Compelled by disasters which, even in this hour of triumph, may be seen to await them, the Germans will consolidate their strength by unification, and will thereby acquire much greater power than they now possess, even though they lose a considerable portion of their nonGerman territory. In the face of these contingencies, Napoleon III. meditates, has long been meditating, how France is to obtain a commensurate addition to her strength. Centralisation and organisation are already complete in France; no new strength is to be looked for from these sources. Her population, too-unlike that of Germany and of Russia—is stationary, and even threatens to decline if some new impulse be not communicated to it. How, then, is she to keep her place in the future? Partly, replies Napoleon in his secret thoughts, by incorporating the Rhine provinces and Belgium thereby acquiring at once an increase of population, and a strong

and advantageous frontier. Partly also, he hopes, by establishing a league, a community of sentiment and action, between the so-called Latin races of France, Italy, and Spain-in which league France will naturally hold the first place. By his intervention in Italy, he has endeavoured, and not unsuccessfully, to attract Italy to him as a dependent ally. By his intervention in Mexico, he plays a part which will tend to attract Spain likewise; and he trusts to complete an alliance with that country by, ere long, supporting the claims of the Spaniards to the possession of Gibraltar; and also, if an opportunity offers, of effecting a "unification" of the Peninsula by obliterating Portugal (the ally of England) as an independent State. Meanwhile, by regenerating Mexico, he adds to his own renown-shows himself a fitting leader for the future league of the Latin races; and, at the same time, he opens a new field for the commerce and enterprise of France, which may help to save the nation from its social demoralisation and concomitant discontent, and impart to it a new and healthy impulse towards increase of population, without which it will be impossible for France to retain her high position among the Powers of Europe.

Mexico is a country well fitted to engage the attention of a great monarch, to justify his efforts on its behalf, and to more than repay them by the results which will attend its regeneration. The climate of its central and most inhabited region is perfectly suited to the constitution of Europeans, and especially of the so-called Latin races. The country abounds in mines of the precious metals; and so great are the treasures hidden in its mountains that the mineral wealth of the country is still, comparatively speaking, undeveloped. The soil, too, is remarkably fertile ; and owing to its peculiar geographical formation, the country yields in perfection most of the productions alike of the temperate and the

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »