part, Paul ! The only man whom I utterly love,
and trust, and respect on the face of God's earth,
is you ; and I cannot lose sight of you. If we
are to earn our bread, let us earn it together ; if
we are to endure poverty, and sorrow, and struggle
to find out the way of bettering these wretched
millions round us, let us learn our lesson to-
gether, and help each other to spell it out."
"Do you mean what you say?" asked Paul,
" Then I say what you say. Where thou goest,
I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge.
Come what will, I will be your servant, for good
luck or bad, forever. "
" My equal, Paul, not my servant. "
" I know my place, sir. When I am as learned
and as well-bred as you, I shall not refuse to call
myself your equal ; and the sooner that day comes,
the better I shall be pleased. Till then I am
your friend and your brother; but I am your
scholar too, and I shall not set up myself against
my master. "
"I have learnt more of you, Paul, than ever
you have learnt of me. But be it as you will;
only whatever you may call yourself, we must eat
at the same table, live in the same room, and
share alike all this world's good things or we
shall have no right to share together this world's
bad things. If that is your bargain, there is my
hand on it."
" Amen ! " quoth Tregarva ; and the two young
men joined hands in that sacred bond now
growing rarer and rarer year by year the utter
friendship of two equal manful hearts.
"And now, sir, I have promised and you
would have me keep my promise to go and work
for the City Mission in Manchester at least, for
the next month, till a young man's place who has
just left, is filled up. Will you let me go for
that time? and then, if you hold your present
mind, we will join home and fortunes thence-
forth, and go wherever the Lord shall send us.
There 's work enough of His waiting to be done.
I don't doubt but if we are willing and able,
He will set us about the thing we're meant
As Lancelot opened the door for him, he lin-
gered on the steps, and grasping his hand, said
in a low, earnest voice : " The Lord be with you,
sir. Be sure that He has mighty things in store
Deus ex Machinzl 277
for you, or He would not have brought you so
low in the days of your youth."
"And so," as John Bunyan has it, "he went
on his way;" and Lancelot saw him no more
till But I must not outrun the order of time.
After all, this visit came to Lancelot timely.
It had roused him to hope, and turned off his
feelings from the startling news he had just
heard. He stepped along arm in arm with Luke,
cheerful, and fate-defiant, and as he thought of
"The beautiful?" he said to himself, "they
shall have it ! At least they shall be awakened
to feel their need of it, their right to it. What
a high destiny, to be the artist of the people ! to
devote one's powers of painting, not to mimick-
ing obsolete legends, Pagan or Popish, but to
representing to the working men of England the
triumphs of the Past and the yet greater triumphs
of the Future ! "
Luke began at once questioning him about his
"And is he contrite and humbled? Does he
see that he has sinned ? "
" It is not for us to judge ; but surely it must
have been some sin or other of his which has
drawn down such a sore judgment on him."
Lancelot smiled; but Luke went on, not per-
"Ah! we cannot find out for him. Nor has
he, alas ! as a Protestant, much likelihood of find-
ing out for himself. In our holy church he would
have been compelled to discriminate his faults
by methodic self-examination, and lay them one
by one before his priest for advice and pardon,
and so start a new and free man once more."
"Do you think," asked Lancelot, with a smile,
"that he who will not confess his faults either to
God or to himself, would confess them to man?
And would his priest honestly tell him what he
really wants to know ? which sin of his has called
down this so-called judgment? It would be
imputed, I suppose, to some vague generality, to
inattention to religious duties, to idolatry of the
world, and so forth. But a Romish priest would
be the last person, I should think, who could tell
him fairly, in the present case, the cause of his
affliction ; and I question whether he would give a
patient hearing to any one who told it him."
"How so? Though, indeed, I have remarked
that people are perfectly willing to be told they
are miserable sinners, and to confess themselves
such, in a general way ; but if the preacher once
begins to specify, to fix on any particular act or
habit, he is accused of personality or uncharita-
bleness; his hearers are ready to confess guilty
to any sin but the very one with which he charges
them. But, surely, this is just what I am urging
against you Protestants just what the Catholic
use of confession obviates. "
" Attempts to do so, you mean ! " answered
Lancelot. " But what if your religion preaches
formally that which only remains in our religion
as a fast-dying superstition ? That those judg-
ments of God, as you call them, are not judg-
ments at all in any fair use of the word, but
capricious acts of punishment on the part of
Heaven, which have no more reference to the
fault which provokes them, than if you cut off a
Deus ex Machimi 279
man's finger because he made a bad use of his
tongue. That is part, but only a part, of what I
meant just now, by saying that people represent
God as capricious, proud, revengeful. "
"But do not Protestants themselves confess
that our sins provoke God's anger?"
" Your common creed, when it talks rightly of
God as one ' who has no passions, ' ought to make
you speak more reverently of the possibility of
any act of ours disturbing the everlasting equa-
nimity of the absolute Love. Why will men so
often impute to God the miseries which they
bring upon themselves ? "
"Because, I suppose, their pride makes them
more willing to confess themselves sinners than
"Right, my friend; they will not remember
that it is of ' their pleasant vices that God makes
whips to scourge them. ' Oh, I at least have felt
the deep wisdom of that saying' of Wilhelm
Meister's harper, that it is
' Voices from the depth of Nature borne
Which woe upon the guilty head proclaim.'
Of Nature of those eternal laws of hers which
we daily break. Yes! it is not because God's
temper changes, but because God's universe is
unchangeable, that such as I, such as your poor
father, having sown the wind, must reap the
whirlwind. I have fed my self-esteem with
luxuries and not with virtue, and, losing them,
have nothing left. He has sold himself to a
system which is its own punishment. And yet
the last place in which he will look for the cause
of his misery is in that very money-mongering
to which he now clings as frantically as ever.
But so it is throughout the world. Only look
down over that bridge-parapet, at that huge
black-mouthed sewer, vomiting its pestilential
riches across the mud. There it runs, and will
run, hurrying to the sea vast stores of wealth,
elaborated by Nature's chemistry into the ready
materials of food; which proclaim, too, by their
own foul smell, God's will that they should be
buried out of sight in the fruitful all-regenerat-
ing grave of earth: there it runs, turning them
all into the seeds of pestilence, filth, and drunk-
enness. And then, when it obeys the laws
which we despise, and the pestilence is come at
last, men will pray against it, and confess it to
be ' a judgment for their sins ; ' but if you ask
what sin, people will talk about ' les -voiles
cfairain,' as Fourier says, and tell you that it is
presumptuous to pry into God's secret counsels,
unless, perhaps, some fanatic should inform you
that the cholera has been drawn down on the
poor by the endowment of Maynooth by the rich. "
" It is most fearful, indeed, to think that these
diseases should be confined to the poor that a
man should be exposed to cholera, typhus, and a
host of attendant diseases, simply because he is
born into the world an artisan; while the rich,
by the mere fact of money, are exempt from such
curses, except when they come in contact with
those whom they call on Sunday ' their brethren,'
and on week days the ' masses. ' '
"Thank Heaven that you do see that, that
in a country calling itself civilized and Christian,
pestilence should be the peculiar heritage of the
poor! It is past all comment."
Deus ex Machina 281
"And yet are not these pestilences a judg-
ment, even on them, for their dirt and profli-
gacy ? "
" And how should they be clean without water ?
And how can you wonder if their appetites, sick-
ened with filth and self-disgust, crave after the
gin-shop for temporary strength, and then for
temporary forgetf ulness ? Every London doctor
knows that I speak the truth; would that every
London preacher would tell that truth from his
pulpit ! "
"Then would you too say, that God punishes
one class for the sins of another?"
"Some would say," answered Lancelot, half-
aside, "that He maybe punishing them for not
demanding their right to live like human beings,
to all those social circumstances which shall not
make their children's life one long disease. But
are not these pestilences a judgment on the rich,
too, in the truest sense of the word ? Are they
not the broad, unmistakable seal to God's
opinion of a state of society which confesses its
economic relations to be so utterly rotten and
confused, that it actually cannot afford to save
yearly millions of pounds' worth of the materials
of food, not to mention thousands of human
lives ? Is not every man who allows such things
hastening the ruin of the society in which he
lives, by helping to foster the indignation and
fury of its victims? Look at that group of
stunted, haggard artisans, who are passing us.
What if one day they should call to account the
landlords whose covetousness and ignorance make
their dwellings hells on earth ? "
By this time they had reached the artist's house.
Luke refused to enter. . . . "He had done
with this world, and the painters of this world."
. . . And with a tearful last farewell, he turned
away up the street, leaving Lancelot to gaze at
his slow, painful steps, and abject, earth-fixed
" Ah ! " thought Lancelot, " here is the end of
your anthropology ! At first, your ideal man is
an angel. But your angel is merely an unsexed
woman ; and so you are forced to go back to the
humanity after all but to a woman, not a man?
And this, in the nineteenth century, when men
are telling us that the poetic and enthusiastic
have become impossible, and that the only pos-
sible state of the world henceforward will be a
universal good-humored hive, of the Franklin-
Benthamite religion . . . a vast prosaic Cockaigne
of steam mills for grinding sausages for those
who can get at them. And all the while, in spite
of all Manchester schools, and high and dry
orthodox schools, here are the strangest phan-
tasms, new and old, sane and insane, starting up
suddenly into live practical power, to give their
prosaic theories the lie Popish conversions,
Mormonisms, Mesmerisms, Californias, Conti-
nental revolutions, Paris days of June. . . . Ye
hypocrites! ye can discern the face of the sky,
and yet ye cannot discern the signs of this
He was ushered upstairs to the door of his
studio, at which he knocked, and was answered
by a loud " Come in. " Lancelot heard a rustle
as he entered, and caught sight of a most charm-
ing little white foot retreating hastily through
the folding doors into the inner room.
Deus ex Machina 283
The artist, who was seated at his easel, held
up his brush as a signal of silence, and did not
even raise his eyes till he had finished the touches
on which he was engaged.
" And now what do I see ! the last man I
should have expected! I thought you v/ere far
down in the country. And what brings you to
me with such serious and business-like looks?"
" I am a penniless youth "
"Ruined to my last shilling, and I want to
" Oh, ye gracious powers ! Come to my arms,
brother at last with me in the holy order of those
who must work or starve. Long have I wept in
secret over the pernicious fulness of your purse ! "
"Dry your tears, then, now," said Lancelot,
"for I neither have ten pounds in the world, nor
intend to have till I can earn them. "
"Artist!" ran on Mellot; "ah! you shall be
an artist, indeed! You shall stay with me and
become the English Michael Angelo; or, if you
are fool enough, go to Rome, and utterly eclipse
Overbeck, and throw Schadow forever into the
" I fine you a supper, " said Lancelot, " for that
execrable attempt at a pun. "
" Agreed ! Here, Sabina, send to Covent Garden
for huge nosegays, and get out the best bottle of
Burgundy. We will pass an evening worthy of
Horace, and with garlands and libations honor
the muse of painting."
"Luxurious dog!" said Lancelot, "with all
your cant about poverty."
As he spoke, the folding doors opened, and an
exquisite little brunette danced in from the
inner room, in which, by the by, had been going
on all the while a suspicious rustling, as of gar-
ments hastily arranged. She was dressed grace-
fully in a loose French morning-gown, down
which Lancelot's eye glanced towards the little
foot, which, however, was now hidden in a tiny
velvet slipper. The artist's wife was a real
beauty, though without a single perfect feature,
except a most delicious little mouth, a skin like
velvet, and clear brown eyes, from which beamed
earnest simplicity and arch good humor. She
darted forward to her husband's friend, while
her rippling brown hair, fantastically arranged,
fluttered about her neck, and seizing Lancelot's
hands successively in both of hers, broke out in
an accent prettily tinged with French:
"Charming! delightful! And so you are
really going to turn painter! And I have longed
so to be introduced to you ! Claude has been
raving about you these two years; you already
seem to me the oldest friend in the world. You
must not go to Rome. We shall keep you, Mr.
Lancelot; positively you must come and live
with us we shall be the happiest trio in Lon-
don. I will make you so comfortable : you must
let me cater for you cook for you."
" And be my study sometimes ? " said Lancelot,
"Ah," she said, blushing, and shaking her
pretty little fist at Claude, "that madcap! how
he has betrayed me! When he is at his easel,
he is so in the seventh heaven that he sees
nothing, thinks of nothing, but his own dreams."
At this moment a heavy step sounded on the
Deus ex Machina 285
stairs, the door opened, and there entered, to
Lancelot's astonishment, the stranger who had
just puzzled him so much at his uncle's.
Claude rose reverentially, and came forward,
but Sabina was beforehand with him, and running
up to her visitor, kissed his hand again and again,
almost kneeling to him.
" The dear master ! " she cried ; " what a
delightful surprise ! we have not seen you this
fortnight past, and gave you up for lost."
"Where do you come from, my dear master?"
" From going to and fro in the earth, and from
walking up and down in it," answered he, smil-
ing, and laying his finger on his lips, "my dear
pupils. And you are both well and happy?"
"Perfectly, and doubly delighted at your
presence to-day, for your advice will come in a
providential moment for my friend here."
" Ah ! " said the strange man, " well met once
more ! So you are going to turn painter? "
He bent a severe and searching look on
"You have a painter's face, young man," he
said; "go on and prosper. What branch of art
do you intend to study ? "
"The ancient Italian painters, as my first step."
"Ancient? it is not four hundred years since
Perugino died. But I should suppose you do not
intend to ignore classic art ? "
"You have divined rightly. I wish, in the
study of the antique, to arrive at the primeval
laws of unf alien human beauty."
" Were Phidias and Praxiteles, then, so prime-
val ? the world had lasted many a thousand years
before their turn came. If you intend to begin
at the beginning, why not go back at once to the
garden of Eden, and there study the true antique ? "
"If there were but any relics of it," said
Lancelot, puzzled, and laughing.
" You would find it very near you, young man,
if you had but eyes to see it."
Claude Mellot laughed significantly, and Sabina
clapped her little hands.
" Yet till you take him with you, master, and
show it to him, he must needs be content with
the Royal Academy and the Elgin marbles."
"But to what branch of painting, pray," said
the master to Lancelot, "will you apply your
knowledge of the antique? Will you, like this'
foolish fellow here" (with a kindly glance at
Claude), "fritter yourself away on Nymphs and
Venuses, in which neither he nor any one else
believes ? "
" Historic art, as the highest," answered Lance-
lot, "is my ambition."
"It is well to aim at the highest, but only
when it is possible for us. And how can such a
school exist in England now? You English
must learn to understand your own history before
you paint it. Rather follow in the steps of your
Turners, and Landseers, and Standfields, and
Creswicks, and add your contribution to the
present noble school of naturalist painters. That
is the niche in the temple which God has set you
English to fill up just now. These men's patient,
reverent faith in Nature as they see her, their
knowledge that the ideal is neither to be invented
nor abstracted, but found and left where God has
put it, and where alone it can be represented, in
Deus ex Machini 287
actual and individual phenomena; in these lies
an honest development of the true idea of Prot-
estantism, which is paving the way to the
mesothetic art of the future."
" Glorious ! " said Sabina : " not a single word
that we poor creatures can understand ! "
But our hero, who always took a virtuous delight
in hearing what he could not comprehend, went on
to question the orator.
" What, then, is the true idea of Protestantism ? "
" The universal symbolism and dignity of matter,
whether in man or nature."
" But the Puritans ? "
" Were inconsistent with themselves and with
Protestantism, and therefore God would not allow
them to proceed. Yet their repudiation of all art was
better than the Judas-kiss which Romanism bestows
on it, in the meagre eclecticism of the ancient re-
ligious schools, and of your modern Overbecks
and Pugins. The only really wholesome designer
of great power whom I have seen in Germany is
Kaulbach ; and perhaps every one would not agree
with my reasons for admiring him, in this white-
washed age. But you, young sir, were meant for
better things than art. Many young geniuses have
an early hankering, as Goethe had, to turn painters.
It seems the shortest and easiest method of em-
bodying their conceptions in visible form ; but
they get wiser afterwards, when they find in them-
selves thoughts that cannot be laid upon the can-
vas. Come with me I like striking while the
iron is hot; walk with me towards my lodgings,
and we will discuss this weighty matter."
And with a gay farewell to the adoring little
Sabina, he passed an iron arm through Lancelot's,
and marched him down into the street.
Lancelot was surprised and almost nettled at the
sudden influence which he found this quaint per-
sonage was exerting over him. But he had, of
late, tasted the high delight of feeling himself
under the guidance of a superior mind, and longed
to enjoy it once more. Perhaps they were reminis-
cences of this kind which stirred in him the strange
fancy of a connection, almost of a likeness, between
his new acquaintance and Argemone. He asked,
humbly enough, why Art was to be a forbidden
path to him?
" Besides, you are an Englishman, and a man of
uncommon talent, unless your physiognomy belies
you; and one, too, for whom God has strange
things in store, or He would not have so suddenly
and strangely overthrown you."
Lancelot started. He remembered that Tre-
garva had said just the same thing to him that
very morning, and the (to him) strange coin-
cidence sank deep into his heart.
" You must be a politician," the stranger went
on. "You are bound to it as your birthright. It
has been England's privilege hitherto to solve all
political questions as they arise for the rest of the
world ; it is her duty now. Here, or nowhere,
must the solution be attempted of those social prob-
lems which are convulsing more and more all
Christendom. She cannot afford to waste brains
like yours, while in thousands of reeking alleys,
such as that one opposite us, heathens and savages
are demanding the rights of citizenship. Whether
they be right or wrong, is what you, and such as
you, have to find out at this day."
Deus ex MachinS 289
Silent and thoughtful, Lancelot walked on by his
"What is become of your friend Tregarva? I
met him this morning after he parted from you,
and had some talk with him. I was sorely minded
to enlist him. Perhaps I shall ; in the meantime,
I shall busy myself with you."
" In what way," asked Lancelot, " most strange
sir, of whose name, much less of whose occupa-
tion, I can gain no tidings."
" My name for the time being is Barnakill. And
as for business, as it is your English fashion to call
new things obstinately by old names, careless
whether they apply or not, you may consider me
as a recruiting-sergeant; which trade, indeed, I
follow, though I am no more like the popular red-
coated ones than your present ' glorious constitu-
tion' is like William the Third's, or Overbeck's
high art like Fra Angelico's. Farewell ! When I
want you, which will be most likely when you want
me, I shall find you again."
The evening was passed, as Claude had prom-
ised, in a truly Horatian manner. Sabina was
most piquante, and Claude interspersed his genial
and enthusiastic eloquence with various wise saws
of "the prophet."
" But why on earth," quoth Lancelot, at last,
"do you call him a prophet?"
" Because he is one ; it 's his business, his call-
ing. He gets his living thereby, as the showman
did by his elephant."
" But what does he foretell? "
" Oh, son of the earth ! And you went to
Cambridge are reported to have gone in for the
thing, or phantom, called the tripos, and taken a
first class ! . . . Did you ever look out the word
'prophetes' in Liddell and Scott?"
" Why, what do you know about Liddell and
" Nothing, thank goodness ; I never had time to
waste over the crooked letters. But I have heard
say that prophetes means, not a foreteller, but an
out-teller one who declares the will of a deity,
and interprets his oracles. Is it not so?"
" And that he became a foreteller among
heathens at least as I consider, among all peoples
whatsoever because knowing the real bearing
of what had happened, and what was happening,
he could discern the signs of the times, and so had
what the world calls a shrewd guess what I,
like a Pantheist as I am denominated, should call a
divine and inspired foresight of what was going
" A new notion, and a pleasant one, for it looks
something like a law."
" I am no scollard, as they would say in Whit-
ford, you know ; but it has often struck me, that
if folks would but believe that the Apostles talked
not such very bad Greek, and had some slight
notion of the received meaning of the words they
used, and of the absurdity of using the same term
to express nineteen different things, the New
Testament would be found to be a much simpler
and more severely philosophic book than ' Theo-
logians' ('Anthroposophists' I call them) fancy."
" Where on earth did you get all this wisdom,
or foolishness? "
" From the prophet, a fortnight ago."
" Who is this prophet ? I will know."
Deus ex Machint 291
" Then you will know more than I do. Sabina
light my meerschaum, there 's a darling; it will
taste the sweeter after your lips." And Claude
laid his delicate woman-like limbs upon the sofa,
and looked the very picture of luxurious non-
" What is he, you pitiless wretch? "
"Fairest Hebe, fill our Prometheus Vinctus
another glass of Burgundy, and find your guitar,
to silence him."
" It was the ocean nymphs who came to comfort
Prometheus and unsandalled, too, if I recollect