Edward Maitland.

By and by : an historical romance of the future (Volume 2) online

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past forced upon man Law, and made him
pay dearly for it — even his all here ; and in
time later forced upon him Dogma, and made
him pay for it yet more dearly — even his allj
here and hereafter — pay with body and soul
in time and eternity. V^ell indeed, doth thel
Laocoon, noblest of thy relic-marbles, re- 1
present Humanity struggling in thy once fatal |
toils !" I

And now the blue mists of the Mediter-
ranean and its border lands of sunshine be^an
to disappear, as the moist south-west currents
coming up from the restless Atlantic bore
him towards the home of the north-east trade
wind ; and his soul, still kept open to receive
whatever influences might pour into it from


the surrounding world of spirit, found a newr
vision growing before it. This was a vision
of times when men no lono:er suffered them-
selves to be ruled throuo^h the lower or more
sensuous part of themselves, or suffered
interest or love to dim their sense of justice
and truth.

For now Criss's car had drifted over the
great Teuton fatherland, where the air was
inter-penetrated with pure and keen intellect,
ever on the alert to know what was true, and
holding nought as divine — contain what it
might of beauty, use, or even of goodness —
unless it put Truth first, and made all else
subordinate to it.

This was so consonant to the ordinary tone
of Criss's mind, that he was surprised at the
elation he felt on comino^ into contact with
this new sphere. But he presently learnt to
ascribe it to the contrast which these fresh
influences made with those of France and
Italy which had so recently affected him.
Not that he despised physical pleasure. He
had too much happy animal health in him for
that. Or failed to appreciate intensely all
beauty in sentiment and art. He had too

BY AND BY. 75:

much soul for that. But the spiritual airs
which emanated from Germany, found a
perfect response in his intellect, inasmuch as
they encouraged him not only to place Truth
first, but to reject as intrinsically hideous and
pernicious whatever in life, in art, or in
religion was not established upon a basis of
pure science, at once verifiable and har-
monious with itself. '' Here," said Criss, "" I
strike the key-note of the modern civilisa-

And now, as in search of the fast-sinking
wintry sun, he rose higher and higher, and
was carried by the winds that came from the
Steppes of Tartary once more over his own
English home, influences of various kinds
from far and wide, but already harmoniously
blended together, seemed to gather round
him. Viewed through their medium, the land
of his adoption appeared to him as a vast
digestive apparatus, receiving and assimi-
lating all things that were cast into it, and;
by virtue of its sound constitution, converting-
all into orood livinor substance. At the basis*
of the system of thought now presented to
him, Criss found the clue to the character


jand history of England — the courage to be
free and to use her freedom, a courage
founded upon faith in the divine harmony of
the universe, and respect for the rights of
every individual soul.

Contrasting the dominant idea of the
Church of the Emancipation with that of the
old mediaeval sacerdotalism, he saw clearly
that England owed all her success in extri-
cating herself from the terrible dilemmas of
the past, dilemmas social, political, and reli-
gious, to her sense of equal justice alike to
persons and to periods. iVs no individual,
however great and high, was suffered to
dominate the rest ; so no age, however great
its achievements, or sacred its traditions, was
suffered to rule another ao^e. Enoiand had
gained much in advance on her past, before
she could convert her National Church into
.an universal fane, beneath whose dome every
mind developed by culture, could find free
expression for its own perceptions of truth,
and opportunity of submitting them to the
general judgment.

Catching sight, as he glanced downwards,
of the great city lying far below, and descry-



Ing in the midst of its blaze of lights the dim
outline of its cathedral, Criss found himself
thus apostrophising the sacred edifice : —

*' And thou, St. Paul's, on whose lofty
summit I have been wont to pause from my
flights through the air, and alight, noblest, ex-
ternally, of earth's citadels of the soul, and,
within, gem of England's richest art, — thou,
St. Paul's, core of the throbbing heart of
this great city, thine is the glory of symbol-
ising the victory of this people over man's
worst, man's sole enemy, his own fears of the
Imaginary, fears which banished God from
the living world to the remote past, and
delivered man over a prey to the terrors of
superstition ; fears which magnified the spirit
of evil until it took many gods to be a match
for one devil ; fears now happily cast out by
knowledge, and the trust that comes of know-

'* Beneath thy capacious dome, once re-
stricted to a name and a sect, England's sons
can now meet, united in heart and method,
no matter how diverse the conclusions of
their Intellect. Not until they found grace to
withstand the wiles of priests who divided,


and creeds which confounded, and to regard
the best human as the most divine — were
they adjudged of Providence worthy to com-
plete and crown thee their chiefest temple.
Greater even than thy physical beauty is the
moral beauty that now surrounds thee, St.
Paul's, at length, after long ages, thus happily
^completed !"

Recalling the reproach anciently brought
against England as a land of grumblers,
Criss saw in the discontent once so prevalent,
"but the outcome of the general yearning to-
wards a higher ideal of life and faith ; while
in the slowness of the advance towards its
realisation, he saw an illustration of the
national patience.
I This triune combination of endowments,
1 Patience, Self-reliance, and a high Ideal, had
)he perceived in the recent centuries, though
joften in the dark, ever been working towards
.-the end now happily attained ; until it has
I come that England still maintains her ancient
^prerogative of teaching the nations how to
[live ; of showing to the world that the Prac-
tical can be lawfully wedded to the Ideal ;
ijWork to Faith ; Science to Reverence ; and


that the most fatal of errors consists in the
attempt to divorce them, or to deny them the
fruition of their proper affinity.

And as he thought of what such Spirit and
such Work had done for the world and for
England, and what a power of work was, as
Avenil had said, stored up in the wealth
wherewith his own hands were filled, he felt
his spirit going out in eager aspiration for
some worthy end to which he might devote
himself, an end which would involve the re-
demption of at least a portion of earth, or of
•earth's children, from some inherited curse.

As thus, under the influence of English
airs and feelings, he soared in thought to-
wards the noblest aims, so, as if by conscious
sympathy, his car rose higher and higher in
the Empyrean, and his thoughts uttered
themselves, in poetic rhythm : or, were they
indeed voices that he heard around him, as of
an invisible chorus, accompanying with an-
gelic gratulations his high-born resolves ?
Criss would not gather up his analytic facul-
ties to inquire ; but left his mind open for the
ideas to enter freely without effort on his
part, and without seeking for their source.


Afterwards, he might, if his memory retained
them, commit them to writing ; but at the
time itself, it was his wont to do nouo^ht to
break the spontaneity of their flow. Having
ever aimed at keeping his mind in tune with
the hoHest and the best, what need of further
effort to make it produce sweet music ? Or
what else was needed to win the angels into
sweet converse ? Nay, had he not even but
now been rejecting all promptings of the
lower parts of his own nature, all temptation
to use for his own gratification the manifold
resources of earth's various provinces so
freely put at his disposal, and finally resolved
to bring- his own inmost into consonance with


the greatest good to others ? What wonder,
then, if in the access of his ecstasy it should
seem to him as if the angelic dwellers in
those rare and sublime spheres came and
ministered to him ?

If Criss had doubts, they were soon re-
solved, for soon the invisible chorus became
visible, and his old friends from the ethereal
spheres flocked around him. And foremost
among them was the tall angel, now no
loneer alone, but with his wedded sunshine


clasping his arm, and ready to listen ^vith
bright and arch intelligence to her beloved's
utterances as he opened to Criss some of the
mysteries of the perfect life.

"If by Conventionality 3'ou mean the
worship of the outermost,"' he said in reply
to Criss, *' we have none such among us ; at
least, in these higher spheres, in which I and
mine dwell. For with us, all possess a law
of their own inmost, to which alone allegiance
Is due. We reverence flatter, as that of
which we and all things are composed. We
reverence sensation and perception, which are
faculties common to all. But Ave adore our *.
own inmost, for that is to each the manifesta-
tion of the divine personality.

''Yes, we are affected by the course of events
below. We do not understand how it comes
about, but, somehow, good done or thought on
earth radiates or vibrates sympathetically to |
us, and draws us nearer to the scene of it ;
while we recede from wilfulness and evil.

" It is a mistake to suppose that anything
can subsist without a physical basis. What-
ever exists is something, unless it be a mere
effect. And whatever is something is mate-

YOL. II. 6


rial and actual. The spiritual is but an effect
or operation of the material, even as the
emotional is : the diviner effect of an entity
already divine. For matter is divine in its
origin and infinite capacity for development,
involutional as well as evolutional. Differ-
ences are in degree, not in kind. There is
no real without an ideal ; no ideal without a
real. The most sublimated among us owns
kindred with the grossest elements of earth, for
we have a common basis. Herein, doubtless,
\ consists the secret of our mutual sympathy.
" The Supreme ? Ah, who can tell !
Even could you penetrate the abysses of
yon flaming orb, and drag his secret forth,
you would be no nearer to learning what the
Supreme is. Yet by way of illustration the
sun can help us somewhat. Once upon a
time the sun filled with his physical, bodily
presence, all the space over which our system
now extends, and yet more, uniformly dif-
fused, and homogeneous in constitution. It
was the all, and in all, and no other person-
ality or entity existed therein ; for it contained
in nebulous potentiality all that you and we
are or can be, in body and soul.


'' The illustration I perceive in your
thouofht is a fair one, and this shininof cloud
may be likened to the spat discharged by the
oyster in clear water. Though to all appear-
ance but a cloud, it contains the germs of the
whole future brood. Artificial appliances
enable you to magnify and discern the young
creature existing in perfection, though so
minute. But scarce any appliance short of
infinite perception can detect the capacity for
future development lying hid in the nebulous
cloud of space.

" Well, this cloud contractlnor and chanelne,
gradually withdrew its actual presence from
the outermost portions of the vast arena, de-
positing as it did so, the materials for those
other individualities which we now behold as
Worlds. But, though withdrawing itself in
one sense, its influences of power and attrac-
tion, of heat and light, still permeate and
govern them all as beings distinct, yet depen-
dent ; beings not made, not begotten, but
proceeding. In it and of it, they live, and
move, and subsist ; and the intelligences upon
them, constituting their flower and fruit, best
fulfil the intention of their being when they



acknowledge their oneness with the rest of
the Universe, and strive to fulfil to the ut-
most the laws which provide for their well-
being and happiness.

'' You are perplexed, and know not whether
it is of the sun, or of the Supreme, that I speak.
The Supreme is the Infinite, beyond force,,
beyond mind, beyond being, beyond doing, be-
yond language, beyond ideas ; while the sun,
though a complete individual in itself, is but
one of many ; one member of a great family,
a part and not the whole. Remember that
whatever there is in you, or in us, now, in our
present state, that, in some form or other, was
in the original nebula out of which we are
formed, that nebula being but a portion of
the infinite, detached from the parent mass,
and provided with the capacity necessary
to enable it to evolve a perfect individuality
of its own. Call it sun, or call it Supreme,
you must believe that whatever exists con-
sists of something, or you make God a nega-
tion. Matter is not contemptible. It is as
the root to the flower; and the flower of
matter is the soul. Matter, therefore, is the
basis of spirit. It is the basis also of duty.


On yonder earth, to Avhich you belong, lies '
your highest, your sole, duty in the present." 1

Here Criss suddenly found himself alone,
but in the presence of a smile that seemed to
beam upon him and warm him to the heart ;
a smile as from an unseen face ; until, as he \
descended towards the earth, it clothed itself!


in features which at first he took for those of
his tall angel friend's angel bride, and then
for those of the fair girl he had left shedding j
passionate tears on the slopes of Atlantika. »

On approaching the surface of the earth
and examining the configuration of the land,
he found that the currents had wafted him
near to the rano^es of the Lebanon. At this
he was greatly excited. Lebanon ! Pales-
tine ! Jerusalem ! the home of his own race !
Away then, quick, to the city of his ances-
tors : the cradle of all the mid-time relictions !

"Ancestors! Parents!" thouo^ht Criss.
*' Ah, me ; why is it that I have no near
kindred to call beloved, to please and to be
proud of ? Ah, if I could only find some,
however poor and destitute, to share — nay,


to claim — all this wealth, which to me is but

a burden ; for if such live, surely it is theirs

rather than mine. Oh, if my father still

exists — no other parent can — what joy to find

him and tell him that a portion, at least, of

her he loved, still survives. I wonder why I

have never before yearned towards an

j earthly parent ; least of all towards an

1 earthly father. Of a possible mother I have

: sometimes thought with longing, but never of

!a father, save of the supreme Father of all.

Can it be that the very absence of the tender

relations of humanity has served to throw

me more into the arms of an ideal and

spiritual father ; or that In kindness I have

been compensated for the loss ? It has not

been unknown before that one deprived of

sweet parental reciprocities, has been caught

up, as it were, in spirit, and made one with

the divine soul of all ; driven by the absence

of the longed-for real, with sweet compulsion

to the ideal. I am sure that my father must

have been noble of spirit. At least, I will

endeavour so to live, that, be he noble as he

might, I shall not be unworthy of him. Now

to descend into Jerusalem."


N a city of the Importance and ex-
tent of Jerusalem, an arrival,
whether by land or air, attracted
no attention. Alighting in the
courtyard of what he perceived to be one
of the principal hotels, the Royal Arab,
which he selected on reading its sign from
aloft, as likely by its name to be frequented
by Central Africans, Criss was presently In-
stalled In quarters deemed sufficiently luxu-
rious for a young man travelling alone in an
aeromotlve. He dined by himself in the
public salon, and during his meal read the
day's papers. These, he found, were much
taken up with the revolution in Bornou, and
expressed fears that it seemed likely to ex-
tend through Soudan, even to Abyssinia,


hitherto reckoned an invincibly conservative
part of the Empire, on account of its being
the primary source and foundation of the
Imperial family and system.

But what most excited his interest, was
the account of an interview which had taken
place on the previous evening between the
fugitive prince and the Soudan bondholders'
committee, in which much bitterness had
been expressed on both sides towards the
intervening State of Egypt, as the secret
fosterer of the insurrection. The Jewish
journals, too, one and all, seemed to have
jumped at an opportunity for exhibiting the
bitterness still remaining from the ancient
feud between Israel and Egypt. As the
press of Jerusalem was known to be devoted
to the interests of the capitalists, it was easy
for those who were familiar with local poli-
tics, to guess that some special and definite
purpose lay behind this new outburst of ani-
mosity. What that purpose might be, Criss
knew not, but he knew that the allied states
of Palestine and Soudan were restrained
from joining in an attack upon Egypt only
by the fact that Egypt was a member of the


European confederacy, and in the opinion of
the sfrand council had committed no fault
worthy to justify an appeal to arms. Egypt
might be a bad neighbour, but the law can-
not be invoked to transform such into good
neighbours, in national, any more than in
individual life. A similar difficulty arose
many years ago, on the abolition of duelling
among private persons. Ill-conditioned people
ventured upon conduct from which they had
previously been restrained by fear of the
consequences. Egy^pt knew that she could
not be called to account for mere churlish-
ness. For the law to interfere, she must
behave very much worse than she had yet

Finding himself in the same city with the
Crown Prince of Abyssinia — for such was the
title of the heir to the throne — Criss became
desirous of making his acquaintance, but
without revealing himself He perceived
that his accidental connection with the late
Emperor, and possession of the sacred gems,
to say nothing of the mysterious link appa-
rently existing between their families, placed
him in a position to exert considerable influ-


ence ; but he felt that to be able to use that
influence for good, he must retain his secret
until some supreme and fitting crisis for its

He was thus in some difficulty ; for he
could not seek a formal introduction without
giving a sufficient reason ; and to give as a
reason his me^eting with the prince's father,
would be to expose himself to questionings
respecting the property the Emperor had
carried off in his flight, and committed to
Criss's care, as already related. Moreover,
Criss was ignorant whether the knowledge
the Emperor had shown of his name, as
owner of the diamonds, was shared by the
prince, or any of the Jewish upholders of his

This last consideration led him to suppress
his given name of Christmas, and enter him-
self in the hotel book simply as Mr. Carol, of
London. He would learn the character and
prospects of the prince before committing
himself in any way to him. But how, then,
was he to obtain the desired introduction ?

After much cogitation, he bethought him-
self of his friends at Atlantika, Nannie and


her relatives, the Hazeltines ; and he decided
that he would approach the prince for the
purpose of learning his opinion respecting the
possible danger to them through the known
hostility of the insurgents. However, it was
reserved for accident to do what he required
without his putting himself forward in any

Criss had not ordered any coffee after his
dinner ; nevertheless, the waiter brought him
some. Immersed in his reflections, Criss did
not perceive that he had got what he had not
ordered, until the waiter came and with many
apologies took it away again, saying he had
brought it by mistake : it was ordered by the
other gentleman.

Taking no notice of the incident, Criss
continued to reflect, until recalled by some
conversation at a neighbouring table, the only
one besides his own now occupied, for the
rest of the diners had gone out to smoke in
the verandah.

" I should like to see the gentleman the
man took for me and gave my coffee to," said
the occupant of the other table in a tone of

•92 BY AND BY.

more asperity, it struck Criss, than the cir-
cumstance warranted ; a tone, apparently, of
-one not accustomed to be crossed.

''He sits yonder, your highness," repHed
the master of the house, who had come in
person to explain the waiter's mistake, while
the attendants remained standing in a group
near the entrance to the salon, evidently, now
that Criss had looked up to see what was
going on, curiously examining the two

The stranger looked towards Criss, and
their eyes met in a steady scrutinising gaze.

Presently the other said, manifestly with
the design of being overheard, —

" Have you apologised to that gentleman
for your mistake? No? Then I will do

And getting up he approached Criss with
an air of mingled dignity and deference.

'' The servants, in excuse for the blunder
•they have made about our coffee, plead a
resemblance between us, which they declare
to be extraordinary. But perhaps my Arabic
speech is lost upon you ?"

Criss rose as the stranger addressed him.

BY AND BY. 93,

The two young men fastened their eyes
intently upon each other. The group of
attendants involuntarily drew near. The
resemblance in face, figure, and voice, was so
extraordinary as to strike both the bystanders
and the young men themselves. Criss, how-
ever, thanks to the Greek infusion in his
blood, was of a fairer complexion, and a
more refined and spiritual expression. Both
were dressed in the prevailing costume of

''No apology is necessary," answered
Criss, in the same language, " unless it be
for the liberty I have taken in bearing any
likeness to you. But pray do not remain
standing. I am a stranger, a traveller just
arrived, and shall be happy to take some
coffee in your company."

" A stranger ? a traveller ? and from where
may I ask ?" said the other with curious
eagerness, taking the proffered seat at Criss's

"From England, my home. But I pie-
sume, by your addressing me in Arabic, that
I am not speaking to one of my own
country ?"

-94 BY AND BY.

"■ No, but to one who admires and respects
your country," said the stranger. " I am an
Abyssinian by descent, and, Hke yourself, a
stranger and a traveller, having lately left my
own land in consequence of the troubles
there. You, probably, feel little interest in
them. It seems strange, though, that two
persons of such different origin should be suf-
ficiently alike to be mistaken for each other."

Criss remarked that he believed he had
some oriental and southern blood in him,
which might account for the likeness ; and
added that he took a great interest in Central
African politics, and that not merely because
lie had friends settled there, for whose safety
lie was concerned, but because he had him-
self seen a little of the country, and con-
ceived a respect for the character of its royal

" By your general look and mode of speech,
I should certainly have taken you for one of
my own people," returned the other, in terms
which Criss recognised as almost identical
with those w^hich the late Emperor had used
to him.

The stranger went on to ask him about his



calling or station, and Criss expressed himself
as being often amused at being taken for a
courier, as his fancy for aerial yachting — a
taste not uncommon amonor Enorlish eentle-
men — caused to be the case ; and added that
the last occasion on which this occurred was
in passing over Bornou during the outbreak
of the insurrection, when he had given cause
for the supposition by stopping over the post
office and letting down a line for mails.
'* i\nd since that, where have you been ?"
"With my friends in England," said Criss;
*' but I ought to introduce myself in form. I
am an Englishman, on an aerial cruise. My
home is London ; my name Carol." And
Criss coloured a little, conscious that the un-

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Online LibraryEdward MaitlandBy and by : an historical romance of the future (Volume 2) → online text (page 4 of 14)