GEDALIAH, FATALLY U SUSPECTI G. BY Francis Jacox, 1825-1897. Jeremiah xl. i6; xli. 2.

IT might almost be called a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, for the remnant of His captive people, the short time of Gedaliah's rule over them. He encouraged them to dwell in the land. Jeremiah the prophet came to Gedaliah, and dwelt with him among the people that were left in the land. And in answer to the good-hearted governor's summons to all and sundry, to rest with confidence under his protection, and to cultivate their garden-gi-ounds in peace, none daring to make them afraid, we read that " even all the Jews [that were in Moab, and among the Ammonites, and in Edom, and that were in all the countries] returned out of all places whither they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpeh, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much." But it was all too brief a gleam of summer-tide. Ishmael the son of ethaniah was bent on taking the governor's life; and the design was fully made known to the governor by one who besought his sanction for anticipating the blow. ot merely was Gedaliah peremptory against Johanan's offer to cut off the would-be assassin, but he pooh-poohed the existence of any such project of assassination. He seems to have thought, good easy man, too kindly of

GE EROUS I CREDULITY. 245 human nature in general, and of Ishmael in particular. Whyshould Ishmael owe him a grudge ? Or, if he did, or fancied fee did, yet what ground was there for suspecting the man, beyond Johanan's heated fancy? So "Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said unto Johanan the son of Kareah, Thou shalt not do this thing: for thou speakest falsely of Ishmael." As though this Ishmael v/ere like the typical one of old, against whom was every man's hand; but unlike him in his hand

being against every man, — or indeed against any man, — at all events, against the one man whose life, Johanan alleged, he was bent on taking. Let Ishmael alone; there was no harm in him. Johanan might mean well; but neither did Ishmael m.ean ill. To suspect him of foul play, was to do hira foul wrong. Whether, if Gedaliah had given credence to Johanan's word of warning, he would also have connived at Johanan's device of bloodshed, secretly and swiftiy to be carried out, may be, •and may here remain, an open question. Enough for the purpose of these notes, that he would lend no ear to the warning, that he would give no heed to what he accounted a false alarm; and that the generous incredulity was fatal to him, Free access to him was still, as before, the privilege of Ishmael and his conspirators ; 3.nd at once they made use of it They ate bread together in Mizpeh. And it would appear as if the •conspirators took that opportunity of slaying their host For, " then arose Ishmael the son of ethaniah, and the ten men that were with him, and smote Gedaliah the son of Ahikam with the sword, and slew him whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land," And it was the second day after the slaying of Gedaliah before any man knew of it. To be slain at table, whether as host or as guest, adds even a blacker shade to the black shadow of death by violence. The perfidious advantage taken of the confidence then and there pledged, by the mere fact of sitting at the same board together, and together breaking bread, and perhaps pledging each the other in cups of wine that maketh glad the heart of anan, — other murder may be strange, and must be foul; f/iis, —

246 SLAI AT TABLE. " Murder most foul, as in the best it is ; But this most foul, strange, and unnatural." At table fell worthless, wicked Amnon, at the signal of his

brother, worthless, wicked Absalom. With confidence came the doomed libertine to the sheep-shearing feast in Baalhazor, to which Absalom, to make sure of him, had invited all the king's sons. " ow Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Aranon ; then kill him, fear not; have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be vaHant." Evidently their master was prepared for at least some show of reluctance to fulfil such a behest as this. But they were compliant; and the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. So again with Elah, the son of Baasha, who reigned over Israel in Tirzah for two years. His servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him as he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza, steward of his house in Tirzah, where Zimri went in and smote him, and killed him, and reigned in his stead. Had Zimri peace, who thus slew his master ? It was at a banquet in Jericho that Ptolemy, the son-in-law of Simon the Maccabee, contrived basely to assassinate him and his elder son; the younger, John Hyrcanus, eluded the assassin's toils, and by escaping frustrated his devices, much as the escape of Fleance marred the manoeuvres of Macbeth. Sesostris, after his return from his conquests in Asia and Europe, was invited by his brother, whom he had left viceroy in Egypt, to a banquet, together with his family; and wood being heaped all round the building, the host set fire to it; and if Sesostris effected a very narrow escape, it was only by sacrificing two of his six sons, as Herodotus tells the story, and using their bodies to bridge the circle of flame. In Herodotus too we read of the seven ambassadors sent from Persia by Megabazus to the Macedonian court of King Amyntas, who were by that sovran entertained at a feast, and there, while heavy with wine, assassinated by his son.

MURDERED FEASTI G. 2^7 The prince, like Absalom, believed himself to have good cause to show, and would have justified himself in the tone of Sciarrha in the play : ^^ Flo. And in your crowned tables And hospitality, would you murder them ? Sci. Yes, and the reason wherefore they were murder'd, Shall justify the deed to all posterity." In his cups slew Alexander Cleitus in his cups. To a feast was Sertorius invited by Perpena, who saw no possibility of openly attacking one who never appeared without an armed body-guard ; to that feast, ostensibly given on account of some victory gained by one of his lieutenants, Sertorius went, and at it he was treacherously murdered by the conspirators. Amleth, prince of Jutland, nominally the original of Hamlet, prince of Denmark, at the feast which was given in honour of his return after prolonged absence, kept himself sober, while zealously plying all the nobles with drink ; and while they lay about, he is said to have loosed a curtain made by his mother which hung about the hall, and, letting it fall on their prostrate bodies, fastened it tight by pegs to the ground, and set the building on fire. When Gibbon, has to relate how the too credulous prince, Gabinius, king of the Quadi, was persuaded to accept the pressing invitation of MarcelHnus, " I am at a loss," he says, " how to vary the narrative of similar crimes ; or how to relate, that in the course of the same year [a.d, 374], but in remote parts of the empire [under Valentinian], the inhospitable table of two Imperial generals was stained with the royal blood of two guests and allies, inhumanly murdered by their order, and in their presence;" the fate of Gabinius and of Para being the same, although the cruel death of their sovran was resented in a very different manner by the servile temper of the Armenians, and the free and daring spirit of the Germans. In the case of the royal Armenian, it was to the subtle prudence of Count Trajan that the execution of the bloody deed was committed ; by him Para was invited to a

Roman banquet, which had been prepared with all the pomp and sensuaHty of the East : the hall resounded with cheerful

248 BA QUET MASSACRE. - music, and the company was already heated with wine, when the count retired for an instant, drew his sword, and gave the signal of the murder.* It was as he rose from supper that Gratian, the brother of Valentinian (who made vain entreaties, "pious and pressing," for the corpse), was delivered into the hands of the assassin by the agent of Maximus (a.d. 383). Milman expatiates on the crime of Leo the Thracian, in treacherously murdering Aspar the Patrician, and his son, to whom he owed his throne : the murder took place at a banquet in the Imperial palace, — the "execrable perfidy" being vindicated to a large part of the Emperor's subjects, because Aspar was an Arian. Odoacer, again, either the victim of treachery, or, as the historian of Latin Christianity admits the alternative, his own treacherous designs, but anticipated by the superior craft and more subtle intelligence of Theodoric, was assassinated at a banquet. -l" After a reign of thirty days on the throne of Carthage, Gontharis was stabbed at a banquet, by the hand of Artaban (a.d. 545). Fourscore of the Moorish deputies, who, at Leptis, sought to renew the alliance of their tribe with Rome, were massacred at the table of Sergius, the governor. The voice of fame, as Gibbon words it, has accused the second Otho of a perfidious and bloody act, the massacre of the senators, whom he had invited to his table under the fair semblance of hospitality and friendship. % Midway in the previous century, the

* "A robust and desperate barbarian instantly rushed on the king of Armenia ; and though he bravely defended his life with the first weapon that chance offered to his hand, the table of the Imperial general was stained with the royal blood of a guest and an ally." — Gibbon, Roman Empire, ch. xxv.

f "After some days had been devoted to the semblance of joy and friendship, Odoacer, in the midst of a solemn banquet, was stabbed by the hand, or at least by the command, of his rival," — Gibbon, chap, xxxix. \ This bloody feast is described in Leonine verse in the Pantheon of Godfrey of Viterbo, whose evidence, however, is, as Gibbon allows, ** reasonably suspected " by Muratori. One of Gibbon's editors notes how the story, having once found its way into Chronologies, is repeated by them for authentic fact. In that of Blair, for instance (1844), *' Otho II. massacres his chief nobility at an entertainment to which he had invited them" (sub anno 981).

FA TAL FESTIVITIES, 249 voice of fame commemorates, or the stigma of infamy brands, the promiscuous massacre of fourscore of the Ommiades, who, yielding to the faith or clemency of their foes, were invited to a banquet at Damascus : the board was spread over their fallen bodies, and the festivity of the guests, we are told, was enlivened by the music of their dying groans. It was at suppertime that the Caliph Motawakkel was "cut into seven pieces" by the alien guards whose service he had enHsted. Dante introduces, in the Inferno^ that Friar Alberigo who, having quarrelled with some of his brotherhood (the Frati Godenti^ Joyous Friars), under pretence of a wish to be reconciled, invited them to a banquet, at the conclusion of w^hich he called for the fruit — d. signal for the assassins to rush in and despatch those whom he had marked for destruction. * Celebrated in papal history is the sumptuous repast at which Benedict XIII. entertained (1403) the trembling Cardinals, who dared not disobey his summons. The story goes, that in the midst of the festivity was heard the clang of arms, and soldiers were seen with their gleaming halberds taking their stations in silence. " The Cardinals sat in speechless terror. But Bene-

dict desired only to show his power; at a sign they [the soldiers] withdrew. The feast went on ; but if a dark tradition be true, his mercy confined itself to churchmen. Two centuries and a half afterwards the ruins of a hall were shown, in which the Pope had given a banquet of reconciliation to some of the principal burghers of Avignon, and then set fire to the building and burned them all alive." f Only too famous, — and that means infamous,— in Scottish history is the inveigling of the Douglas brothers to Edinburgh Castle, as guests of the young king, James II., himself unaw^are of the design of his unscrupulous guardians ; at whose bidding the head of a black bull was placed on the table, — known by the Douglases for a sure menace of imminent death ; and in vain the Earl and his * Hence the proverbial saying in Italy, of one who has been stabbed, that he has had some of Fra Alberigo's fruit (Gary). f Bouche, Hist, de Provence, ii. 432 ; Sisniondi, Hist, de France, xii, 380. — Mihnan, Hist, of Lat. Christ., vi. 49.

250 SLAI A T TABLE. brother sought to escape their fate by leaping from the table in the desperation of dismay. ot actually slain at table, they were hurried to the court-yard after a helter-skelter mock trial, and beheaded off-hand. A proud descendant of the Douglases is made, in The Abbot, to cast it in the teeth of her prisoner at Lochleven, Mary Stuart, that the captive Queen's ancestor, the second James, in defiance of the rights of hospitality and of his own written assurance of safety, poniarded the brave Earl of Douglas with his own hand, and within two yards of the social board, at which he had just before sat, the King of Scotland's honoured guest. This was at Stirling, in 1452, when that King was no longer under tutors and governors, but his own master, though in another sense (and a deeper one) not master of himself. In the penultimate act of Schiller's Wallensteinstod one of the

conspirators against the Duke of Friedland and his associates thus dismisses one dark design for another and a darker : — " We meant to have taken them alive this evening, Amid the merry-making of a feast, And keep them prisoners in the citadel. But this makes shorter work." The last act opens with these instructions from the same Imperial agent to his subordinate : "Find me twelve strong dragoons, arm them with pikes, — Conceal them somewhere near the banquet-room, And soon as the dessert is served up, rush all in And cry — ' Who is loyal to the Emperor ?' I will overturn the table, whilst you attack Illo and Terzky, and despatch them both." At supper was Charles of Duras secured by Louis of Hungary: At dinner was Count Egmont (so often warned and in vain) made prisoner, together with Count Horn, by their unscrupulous host, the Duke of Alva. Lost labour was the love's labour of William of Orange to save his friend. A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished. But to turn from the manner of Gedaliah's death, to the

VOID OF SUSPICIO . 251 mani>er of the man himself as conducing to it, — his unsuspecting spirit, that evrjOeta which betokens no guile, and which may signify in excess the characteristic of the dove, when that excess becomes, as such, a defect. For, to be wise as serpents is equally enjoined by Divine monition with the being harmless as doves. Difficile aliquem sicspicatiir malum qui bonus est, says a remembrancer of St. Chrysostom's remark, that no good man is inclined to think evil of another.

" Un coeur noble ne peut soupgonner en autrui La bassesse et la malice Qu'il ne sent point en lui." Sir Peter Teazle can enforce the sentiment in his credulous appreciation of Joseph Surface : " Oh, my dear friend, the goodness of your own heart misleads you. You judge of others by yourself." And Joseph, whose whole stock-in-trade of morality is made up of cut-and-dried sentiments, is of course ready with a ditto to match : " Certainly, Sir Peter, the heart that is conscious of its own integrity is ever slow to credit another's treachery." Such a knave as this maximmonger would probably be included in that category of knaves of which Dr. Whately affirmed, that they can, by the nature of them, form no notion of a nobler nature than their own^ — like the goats in Robinson Crusoe's island, who saw clearly everything below them, but very imperfectly what was above them j so that Crusoe could never get at them from the valleys, but when he came upon them from the hill-top, took them quite by surprise. An honest man, Bacon's Annotator contended, has this advantage over a knave, that he understands more of human nature : for he knows that 07ie honest man exists, and

* A cunning man is generally a suspicious one, in Judge Haliburton's judgment, and is as often led into error himself by his own misconceptions, as protected from imposition by his habitual caution. The Old Judge, as he called himself, illustrated this in the instance of Mr. Slick, who always acted on a motive, and never on an impulse, and who, concealing his real objects behind ostensible ones, imagined eveiybody else to be governed by the same principle of action ; and therefore frequently deceived himself by attributing to others designs that never existed out of his own fancy.

252 THE OVER-SUSPICIOUS concludes that there must be more; and he also knows/ if he is not a mere sim-pleton, that there are some who are knavish ; but the knave can seldom be brought to believe in the existence of an honest man. " The honest man may be deceived in particular persons, but the knave is nire to be deceived whenever he comes across an honest man who is not a mere fool." And impossible of beHef as it may be to the successful knave, the honest man he has victimized would not, even at the worst, exchange dispositions with him. Better trust and be betrayed, thannever trust at all. Though far from dove-like or guileless is the speaker in Schiller's trilogy, what he says is to the purpose : *¦* True, I did not suspect \ Were it superstition. ever by such suspicion t' have affronted The human form, oh may that time ne'er come In which I shame me of the infirmity ! . . , This, this, Octavio, was no hero's deed ; T'was not thy prudence that did conquer mine ; A bad heart triumph'd o'er an honest one. o shield received the assassin stroke ; thou plungedst Thy weapon in an unprotected breast — Against such weapons I am but a child." Plutarch winds up his account of Agis, the first king of Lacedemon put to death by the ephori, with the comment, that his friends liad more reason to complain of him than his foes, for saving Leonidas, and trusting his associates, in the undesigning generosity and goodness of his heart. ** By the pattern of his own heart he cut out The purity of theirs," as Perdita has it. The man who is himself void of malice, and cherishes a conscience void of offence, is the slower, as St. Gregory azianzen says, to suspect ill of others : ro yap KaKiai e\ev6epov, Kol v7io(^opa<T6ai KaKiav dpyorepov. The selfish man

thinks all pretences to benevolence and public spirit to be mere hypocrisy or self-deceit, just as the generous and open-hearted "beheve fair pretences too easily, and are apt to think men

A D THE U SUSPECTI G, 253 better than they really aje/' * Shylock has his fling at those "Whose Oiwn hard dealing teaches them suspect The thoughts of others/' It is well said to be consoling^ to feel assured that, dreadfully wicked and weak aind deceitful as we all are, for so our satirists and cynics tell us, the keen observer who explains everything beforehand by reference to some sinister impulse, is sure to be out in his reckoning at least a dozen times as often as the simpler being whose first impression is to assume that men wish to do well. Of Walter Waston, for example, we read in Mr. Justin McCarthy's tale, that "perhaps his most fatal snare in Hfe was bis incapacity to believe in, or even to realize, the idea of human truth and goodness." In salient contrast with whom consider the Sir Peregrine of Orley Farm, in whose instance Mr. Trollope invites us to reflect how strange it was that tliat old man should have lived so neaj- the world for seventy years, should have taken his place in Parliament and on the bench, should have rubbed his shoulders so constantly against those of his neighbours, and yet have retained so strong a reliance on the purity of the world in general. "Here and there such a man may still be found, but the number is becoming very few." Two portraits at least has Shakspeare given us of this credulous native nobility; in each case, of a brother who by brother has been betrayed. Edmund, the wily adventurer, in Kmg Leaj% characterizes Edgar as , '' a brother noble^

Whose nature is so far from doing harms, That he suspects none ; on whose foolish honesty My practices ride easy." And the outcast Duke in The Tempest has to tell of the evil nature awakened m his false brother, how it wrought ruin to Prospero 1 — " My trust, LiT^e a good parent, did beget of him A falsehood, in its contrary as great * Reid, Intellectual Powers, bk. vi., chap. viii.

254 THI KI G O EVIL, As my trust was ; which had, indeed, no limit, A confidence sans bounds." That thought is bounty's foe, sententiously says the old steward Flavius of his master, in Timon of Athens ; "Being free itself, it thinks all others so," and Timon suffered accordingly. In one of his financial letters, Swift lays stress on the " inconveniency " of having too simply and severely honest a management, — knavish men being so much fitter to deal with others of their own breed, while those who are honest and well-intentioned may be the instruments of as much mischief to the public, for want of cunning and shrewd mistrust, as the greatest knaves ; nay, of more, because of the charitable opinion which they are apt to have of others. Elsewhere the Dean writes, "Wisdom, attended by virtue and a generous nature, is not unapt to be

imposed on." He tells Lady Betty Germaine of his fast friend Pope, that, being a man of "very extraordinary candour, he is, consequently, apt to b.e too great a believer of assurances, promises, professions, encouragements, and the like words of course ; " much as their common friend, accomplished St. John, speaks of himself as having been apt to confound friends and acquaintances together, " at that age of life when there is balm in the blood, and that confidence in the mind which the innocency of our own heart inspires, and the experience of other men's destroys." In a number of The Exaininer^ Swift describes Queen Anne as gifted with admirable discernment of character, and "only capable of being deceived by that excess of goodness which makes her judge of others by herself." There is a degree of perfidy so extreme that, as a French author argues, pure and upright minds are unable to comprehend the possibility of it ; and he compares the effect upon a lofty spirit of looking down into an abyss of evil, to the being seized with giddiness, that disables the gazer for distinguishing one object from another. Another student of character avows entire incapacity to believe that the honest man, however pure and single may be his mind, however simply trustful his nature, is ever really deceived by falsehood \

MAG A IMOUS CO FIDE CE. 255 there must be, it is contended, beneath the voluntary confidence an involuntary distrust, not to be conquered by any effort of the will. Philosophize as one may in the matter, examples of fatally misplaced confidence are common even to commonplace. History is rife with such instances as that of Germanicus, whose frank and open nature w^as no match for the \\ily intrigues of his enemies. There are things that " toughly task credulity In all men's natures, but the soldier's most ;

Whose noble wont is never to expect The blow that stabs behind. " To be now and then met with even out of poetry, is such a nature as that of the " towering warrior " painted by Landor : *' The low and envious he past by With scornful or unseeing eye : From tales alone their guile he knew, Believing all around him true, And fancying falsehood flourish'd then When earth produced two-headed men." There is indeed what Dr. Russell calls an utter unfitness of mind for understanding falsehood — not the mere falsehood of words, but of purpose and character — which lays one fatally open to the stratagems of others. Dean Milman finds "unaccountable" in certain dealings of Theodoric -vvith the Eastern Emperor, his magnanimous confidence, bordering on simplicity, that for his own uninterrupted exercise of justice, humanity, and moderation he had a right to expect the return of fidelity and gratitude. Sir Walter Scott aptly and pithily contrasts the dispositions respectively of two Regents of Scotland, Murray that was, and Morton, that was to be, when they differ (in the Monastery) as to the trustworthy aspect and accents of Halbert Glendinning. ^Murray sees truth written on that stripling's brow, while Morton utters a cynical wish that the inside of the manuscript may correspond with the superscription; adding, "Look to it, my lord, you will one day lose your life by too much confidence," — in saying which, Morton was right. "And you," Murray retorts, "will

256 PLUS A D MI US SIG S lose your friends by being too readily suspicious/' — in saying which neither was Murray wrong. Of a rarer type than either of them was Sir John Eliot, in so far as one historian, of the

civil war describes him — himself disinterested in a high degree^ he seemed to have^ along with this quality, an instinctive perception of the existence of meaner and lower motives in others, who passed wv\h the world at large for disinterested patriots. Mn Sanford speaks of Pym as less severe than Eliot in his. judgment on the follies of the world around him, but also^ having less of his " instinctive recognition of baser motives." What Mr. Carlyle calls the Black Artists who practised upon his favourite Friedrich Wilhelm,. considered his Prussian Majesty a mere rotatory clothes-horse for drying the imperial linen on, and to have no intellect at all^ "because he was. without guile, and had no vulpinism at all/' in which they areshown to have been very much mistaken indeed King Realmah, in Mr. Helps's prim3e\^l history, freely and easily disposes of the warnings as to conspiracy against him, which his more suspicious brother imparts. "Dear Omki, I cannot take all the trouble about my life that you would have me. I should be thinking of nothing else but my Hfe; and the life would become not worth having. "^ Realmah is, however, represented as a man who was. sedulous in taking certain assured precautions, and at the same- time as a very fearless man; no inconsistency this, but eminently characteristic of him : he foresaw danger, provided in some measure against it, and then troubled himself no further in the matter. The type of character is rarer than that of the modern Greek chieftain, eulogized by Mr. Landor, — one who^ enthusiastic and devoted in friendship, thought other men as sincere as himself, if they had sworn it, ignorant that those alone are dangerous. Shakspeare's Hastings is a commoner type still,^ — the self-satisfied trifler who dismisses as discomforting the warning counsels of wiser men ; he will not believe ill of Richard, because the crook-back shows it not in his face. Scotland's James I. is noted for his high light-hearted neglect of the solemn warnings of his impending fate ;, but in his case, accident after accident


seems to have occurred to foil the purpose of those bent on forewarning him ; as when " the faithful Highland woman " who had already urged precaution, followed the court to Perth, and there earnestly besought an interview : *' It was a moment on which his fate seemed to hang, but his evil genius presided ; he bade her call again and tell her errand on the morrow," — he, for whom to-morrow was to be (as indeed, in another sense, to which of us is it not?) a dies non. Campobasso's offer to Lewis the Eleventh, to rid him of the Duke of Burgundy, was duly conveyed by way of warning to the duke by the king ; but Charles, true to his designation, the Rash, despised the message, and utterly refused to credit the charge. Two days before the storm burst over his head, the Regent Morton (whom we have seen impatient of Murray's confidingness) had been warned, while out hunting, of the imminent danger he incurred ; but he derided those who would have put him on his guard. Like Arden of Feversham in the tragedy, when Franklin expostulates, "You're credulous, and treat my serious doubts With too much levity. You vex me, Arden. Arden. Believe me, friend, you'll laugh at this hereafter." Or like Schiller's Wallenstein, repelling Terzky's misgivings of "that fox," the elder Piccolomini; repelling them again and again, and finally forbidding the expression of them, with impatient scorn : "The old tune still! ow, once for all, no more Of this suspicion — it is doting folly." . Sterne describes his father, the smart little Lieutenant of Handaside's regiment, who w^as ran through the body by a brother officer at Gibraltar, as being, notwithstanding a somewhat hasty temper, of a kindly, sweet disposition, void of all design, and so innocent in his own intentions, that he suspected no one : " so that you might have cheated him ten times in a day, if nine had not been sufficient for your purpose." In

one sense of the word evrjdeia, and that the proper sense of good morals, the light-hearted original of Uncle Toby might


not be too absolutely an impersonation of it ; but rarely well he represented it in the secondary and common sense of freedom from guile, or as one of Lucian's commentators explains the word, that kind of simpHcity which makes an honest man think every other as undesigning as himself, and which therefore has a mixture of folly in it. Folly may be a main ingredient in the compound; as in that "poor creature" of Fielding's drawing, Mrs. Miller, who, he says, might indeed be called simplicity itself, — she being one of that order of mortals who are apt to believe everything that is said to them; to whom nature has neither indulged the offensive nor defensive weapons of deceit, and who are consequently liable to be imposed upon by any one who will be at the expense of a little falsehood for that purpose. Elsewhere Fielding enters upon the discussion whence it is that the knave is generally so quicksighted to those symptoms and operations of knavery which often dupe an honest man of a much better understanding. It is only, he concludes, because knaves have the same things in their heads, and because their thoughts are turned the same way. A later Fielding, as some love to account a late noveUst of his school, speaks of that heart where self has found no place and raised no throne, as being slow to recognize its ugly presence when it looks upon it. " As one possessed of an evil spirit was held in old time to be almost conscious of the lurking demon in the breasts of other men, so kindred vices know each other in their hiding-places every day, when Virtue is incredulous and blind." Fielding is ironical on his foremost hero's blameable want of caution and diffidence in the veracity of others, "in which he was highly worthy of censure." And we are significantly instructed that there are but two ways by which men become possessed of this excellent quality (of dis-

trust)— the one from long experience, and the other from nature ; of which two the latter is " infinitely the better," not only as we are masters of it much earlier in life, but as it is much more infaUible and conclusive ; for a man who has been imposed on by ever so many, may still hope to find others more honest ; whereas, he who receives certain necessary ad-

CO FIDI G SIMPLICITY, 259 monitions from within, that this is impossible, must have very little understanding indeed, if he ever renders himself liable to be once deceived. Rousseau says bitterly of Grimm, " II a sonde son propre coeur, et n'a estime les hommes que ce qu'ils valent. Je suis fache, pour I'honneur de I'humanite, qu'il ait calcule si juste." Misanthropic Jean Jacques might have come in time, despite his cherished tlieories of original sinlessness and ultimate (if not proximate) perfectibility, to have chimed in with that Captain Waters of a popular fiction, the habit of whose life it was to assign to every human creature with whom he associated, the worst, the most selfish motives possible. *' My lot has been cast among bad specimens of humanity," the captain would say, candidly, in adverting to his own cynicism. For more years than he could count, the worst people in the worst Continental towns had been his study; and when by accident he has to deal with the really good and virtuous, he mechanically appfies the same low standard to them as to the rest. " And it is really curious to remark," he would add, putting up his eyeglass, and looking languidly in his listener's face, "curious, very, to remark how nicely the same measure seems to fix everybody after all !" Take Rousseau's estimate of himself, and he was the most gullible of gifted spirits, the most easily duped of master minds, the most credulous and unsuspecting of great men. "Sans art, sans dissimulation, sans prudence, franc, ouvert," etc., — "n'imaginant pas meme que personne eut interet, ni volonte," to cross his schemes of benevolence, or to undermine his reputation as a social benefactor, and all that. Again and again, in the Confessions, he prides himself, albeit pitying himself too,

on the natuj'el pleinemeni coiifia7it with which he was born. If he had had better eyes, he must have seen what a serpent he was cherishing in his bosom — this is his plaint on the subject of the manoeuvres he alleged to be practised against him by Mme. La Vasseur, in common with the Diderot, Grimm and D'Holbach clique; but his blind confidence, serenely selfassured, was, on his own showing, so sublimely supreme, that he scouted the mere notion of any one having it in him to


injure another who had claims on his regard. He professed, and he was a great professor, to judge others by himself, "For they who credit crime, are they who feel Their own hearts weak to unresisted sin ; Memory, not judgment, prompts the thoughts which steal O'er minds like these, an easy faith to win ; To thee the sad denial still held true, For from thine own good thoughts thy heart its mercy drew." In some half-dozen words Laura Fairlie is said to have unconsciously given Walter Hartright the key to her whole character; to that generous trust in others which, in her nature, grew innocently out of the sense of her own truth. The old Italian savant in his cell at the Chateau d'lf tells Dantes, the new comer, when unravelling the web of conspiracy that has made a prisoner of him, " It is clear as daylight, and,'' shrugging his shoulders, "you must have had a very ingenuous and good heart not to have guessed the state of the case from the first." As the detective process becomes more and more convincing, " You make me shudder," exclaims Dantes to the Abbe; "is the world then peopled with tigers and crocodiles ?" Faria's answer is, "Yes; only tigers and crocodiles with two feet are more dangerous than any other kind." The John Mellish of another popular romance is ticketed in large

plain figures as unsuspicious as a child, who beHeves that the fairies in a pantomime are fairies for ever and ever, and that the harlequin is born in tinsel and mask. ever having an arriere pensee himself, he is described as looking for none in the words of other people, but supposing every one to blurt out their real opinions, and so to offend or please their fellows, as frankly and blunderingly as himself Harry Cockburn tells us of Francis Jeffrey (to drop for once the handle to the name of each as Scottish lords of session), that his own constant sincerity and reasonableness made him always incredulous of the opposite quality in others; and that hence his having more charity for cunning enemies, than toleration for honest friends, was an infirmity that too often beset him. Seigneur, lie might have been addressed, by his courtesy title, in Racine's

WHERE O ILL SEEMSr 261 style, but not in Racine's sense, by those who would caution him against this unwary confidence in a crafty foe, — ** Seigneur, ne jugez pas de son coeur par la Votre ; Sur des pas differents vous marchezl'un et I'autre." The worst that Macaulay can impute even to Bellamont, who had drawn in all the rest, in the matter of the Adventure Galley and Captain Kidd, is, that he had been led into a fault by " the generosity of a nature as little prone to suspect as to devise villanies." Endless would be this chapter of instances, were our poets and playwrights at large examined for them. Chaucer would detain us with his — "Alias ! yonge Gamelyn, nothing he ne wiste With which a false tresoun his brother him kiste." Milton would show us the false dissembler unperceived by Uriel, though regent of the sun, and held the sharpest sighted spirit of all in heaven ; for,

*' oft, though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill Where no ill seems," And Young would give us Zanga's query in the Revenge — ** Is not Aloiizo rather brave than cautious, Honest than subtle, above fraud himself. Slow, therefore, to suspect it in another ? "



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