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They saw Rome a horde of robber-nobles, with no governor but the voice of the mob; yet men, such as Arnold of Brescia, Rienzi, or Stephen Porcaro, arose from time to time, and dreamed of restoring a republic such as existed in the days of Brutus. They tried and failed, yet never teemed to realize that they were but "setting up ruins."
When the Western Empire was ended by the deposition of Romulus Augustulus, whose very name bears a melancholy significance, the Empire was said to exist just the same, only the act of Constantine was reversed—the east and west wire once more united. Rome, however, was left a prey to internal dissensions, and the attach of external foes. Barbarous hosts had insulted the capitol, and the shrines of dead and gone Caesars, over and over again; and, at tie tune of which we are treating, the attack came from the descendants of that Alboin who, in 568, bad led his Lombards into Italy. In the Easttern Empire a ferment of religious excitement had been caused by the attempt of the Emperor Leo, the Isaurian, to destroyimage-worship; and this Iconoclastic movement paved the way for the raising up of a line of Teutonic Caesars in Borne. Rome and Italy maintained the worship of images, and thus were alienated from their eastern brethren: the Pope was the prisoner of Christian princes, as he has so often been since, and his eyes were turned towards the hardy warrior who had displaced the "lazy kings" of the Franks from all but nominal power. To the Pope's call for help Pepin le bref responded, and delivered the holy father out of the rude hands of Aistulf, or Aistulphus, the Lombard King, getting, as his reward, the throne of the Franks and the Papal deposition of Childeric, the last of the phantoms of Merovingian royalty. It was the son of this Pepin, Charles the Great, who finished what his father had begun, and, answering the cry of Pope Hadrian, seized the iron crown of Desiderius, the last of the Lombards, and made the kingdom of Lombardy a part of the Frankish realm.
Charlemagne received the title of Patrician of Rome—a name which illustrates the attachment of the Romans to the shadowy memory of their palmy days. It was destined that Hadrian's successor (Pope Leo III.) should, by his act, bnry for ever the old Roman Empire, and erect another: for, although it was never admitted that the line of Emperors was broken for an instant, yet the Teutonic line, which commenced . with Charlemagne, had nothing in common with the weak successors of Tiberius or Caligula, or with the eastern tyrants who followed Constantine.
The moment which Leo III. seized for crowning Charlemagne Emperor was* most favourable. The line of Eastern Emperors, who were to all intents and purposes Emperors of Rome, was an obstacle not easily surmounted; but just at this time the Eastern throne was not filled by any Emperor "born in the porphyry chamber at Byzant;" the Empress Irene had placed
herself upon the throne after deposing and blinding her son Constantine VI.; so cruel an act had excited some indignation even in an age not over scrupulous, and the Pope, in crowning Charlemagne, declared him to be the legitimate successor of Constantine VI., and the legal occupant of a vacant throne. The logic by which this conclusion was reached is, to say the least of it, weak; but it must be borne in mind that in that age the title of an aspirant to royalty mattered very little if he were actually crowned in public: till the crown was upon his brow his title was nothing, afterwards his seat was as secure (till he lost it) as the heir of a thousand kings.
It was necessary to take a retrospect thus far; we have now arrived at that memorable Christmas day, in the year 800, when, in the Basilica of St. Peter, the Pope suddenly, and, as is most probable, without the previous knowledge of Charlemagne, placed upon his brow the imperial crown, and the event was announced by the shout of the assembled concourse, "Karolo Augusta a deo coronato magno et pacifico imperatori vita et victoria." Thus the last day of the eighth century witnessed one of the greatest and withal quietest revolutions in history. We have now to look a little into the private life of the great Emperor as described to us by Eginhard, who deserves a little of the honour accorded to another great man's biographer, Boswell, for the simplicity and quaintness of his relation. He gives a brief though graphic account of Charlemagne's wars in Aquitaine, Lombardy, Saxony, Spain, Bretagne, Italy, Bavaria, with tbe Sclavonians, the Huns, and the Northmen or Danes. The Saxon war was the most obstinately contested, as in all religious wars the conversion made by the sword, the baptism of blood was worth very little. Though Charlemagne successfully stormed the Erisburg and destroyed the great idol of the Saxons, the Irminsul, yet as often as they vowed to embrace the Christian religion they as often forgot their promise, rebelled, or lapsed into idolatry. This Saxon war was marked by one of the rare acts of cruelly which can be laid to the charge of Charlemagne, the massacre of four thousand Saxon warriors at Verdun. During the Spanish campaign Charlemagne's forces received their first and only defeat. In the Pass of Roncevalles, in the Pyrenees, the troops under the Paladin Roland, called by Eginhard, Hruodlandus, were cut roff and massacred by the Gascons. This Roland was Prefect of Britanny, and formed one of the trio of legendary heroes in the Middle Ages, of whom Alexander the Great and Arthur were the other two. "Monk" Lewis refers to this event in the lines—
"Sad and fearful is the story
Eginhard tells us of several embassies from the great men of that age to the emphatically great Emperor. Among them were some "Scotornm reges" or Irish chiefs, and more conspicuous than they, Aaron al Rasrid, the familiar Caliph of The Arabian Night*; this Aaron the Just sent to Charlemagne the keys of the Holy Sepulchre, and, among other curiosities, an elephant and a water-clock. The elephant's name we learn was Abulabaz, he survived his translation to the Imperial service nine years and then died suddenly. Charlemagne married in succession four wives named Hermingard, Hildegard, Fastrada, and Liutgarda. He seems to have been very careful in the education of his children: his sons, besides the ordinary branches of a liberal education as known at that date, were most skilful in all athletic exercises; his daughters were taught all the mysteries of spinning and wool-work, and were such favourites with the Emperor that he could never bear them out of his sight.
Charlemagne himself was an ardent lover of knowledge and patron of learned men. In an age of ignorance and half-barbarous ferocity, when Jorliter in re was far oftener the gathering cry than suaviter in modo, the Emperor stands conspicuous, like a bright light among thick and murky clouds. Eginhard telts us that he was fond of strangers, he invited them to his Court with a view to enlarging the circle of his knowledge: we find such men as Alcuin, Peter of Pisa, and Angilbert receiving a warm welcome at Ingelheim. On the personal appearance and habits of Charlemagne Eginhard is minute in his account. The Emperor was large and robust in form, tall and athletic, with large animated ryes, a rather long nose, and a cheerful expression of countenance. He Whs a great adept in the art of swimming, and sometimes more than a hundred of his friends and followers bathed with him at one time, though no one could approach the swiftness and ease of his superior swimming. Eginhard gives us a list of the contents of his wardrobe, and tells us that Charlemagne was much attached to his national Prankish dress, and never wore foreign clothes, except twice on two visits to Rome. His ordinary dress differed little from that of tbe humbler class. He seems to have been very abstemious and temperate, he despised drunkenness, and seldom drank more than thrice during a meal. He seldom gave public dinners, and then only to a few select guests. His custom was to listen to a band of music whilst dining, or to a reader, who usually selected the Emperor's favourite author St. Augustine: after his frugal dinner he usually had an equally frugal dessert of apples. He frequently allowed visitors to come to him whilst his sandals and other parts of his dress were being adjusted. We are reminded of another King of France, St. Louis, who used to hold a levee under an oak tree in the forest.
Of his attainments in literature we learn that
the Emperor knew Latin well, and could understand Greek, but not pronounce it very easily. He studied grammar, rhetoric, and especially astronomy under Peter of Pisa and Alcuin; and with all this, in spite of many arguments on the other side, a passage in Eginhard distinctly proves that he could not write, or, if at all, very little. He was most anxious to acquire the art, and placed his tablets and other writing materials under his pillow at night, as though to get inspiration in his sleep, and all his spare moments were given up to "writing a copy;" but Eginhard says, he began too late, and did not succeed. Shakespere refers to the Emperor's want of peumanship, in "All's well that nds well:"
"I have seen a medicine whose -simple touch
The Emperor was a devout Catholic, and adorned several churches, building a beautiful cathedral at Aix-la-Chapelle. He provided this cathedral with such an abundance of consecrated vessels and vestments that every minister and attendant, down to the lowest menial, had a fitting dress. He cultivated the art of public reading and psalmody, though he was never known to read aloud or to sing, except in a low voice, in company with the choir. Space will not permit us to say more of the great Emperor or of his illness, his hatred for doctors, and the wondrouz signs which foretold his death. He made a will, which is given by Eginhard; he died in January 814, and we must now leave him to his rest in the cathedral at Aachen, near the tomb where Otto III. was, at a later period, laid to sleep.
How To Show Lovjt For A Wife.—Show love for your wife and your admiration of her, not in nonsensical compliment; not in picking up her handkerchief, or her glove, or in carrying her fan; not, though you have the means, in hanging trinkets and baubles upon her; not in making yourself a fool by winking nt, and seeming pleased with her foibles or fullies or faults; but show them by acts of real goodness towards her; prove, by unequivocal deeds, the high value you set on her health and life and peace of mind; let your praise of her go to the full eitent of her deserts, but let it be consistent with truth and with sense, and such as to convince her of your sincerity. He who is the flatterer of his wife only prepares her ears for the hyperbolical stuff of others. The kindest appellation that her Christian name affords is the best you cau use, especially before faces. An everlasting "My dear," is but a sorry compensation for a want of that sort of love that makes the husband cheerfully toil by day, break his rest by night, endure all sorts of hardships, if the life or health of his wife demand it. Let your deeds and not your words, carry to her heart a daily and hourly confirmation of the fact, that yon value her health and life and happiness beyond all other things in the world; and let this be manifest to her, particularly at those times when life is always more or less in danger.
THE LINK OF GOLD.
(A Story for the New Year.) BY THE AIJTHOB OF "CUPID, A MEDIUM," &c., &c.
London, in the first week of December, and
told, piercing weather. People told each other,
a* they stood shivering to talk for a few minutes,
that Christmab would be like Christmas this
year if the frost would only last, and if a fall of
mow would only come on. There was every
promise of the former, for the sky was of a
clear, sharp, dark blue, without a cloud; there
wai a keen north wind always blowing, and the
stars sione at night with a metallic brilliancy
almost painful to look at; and with such intense
edd, surely snow might come down at any
How fast the people walked! how their breath steamed out, and settled in little globules upon the whiskers of the men and upon the women's veils! How warm the rich looked in their thick cloths, and sealskins, and velvets, and furs! how cold the poor, in their threadbare coats, their ragged shawls, and their miserable boots and shoes! The shops in Regentttreet were gorgeous; tempting fabrics were piled in the windows, and inside purchasers were made comfortable, and, of course, goodtempered and willing to stay and go on buying, by the warmth of well-filled stoves.
It is the fashion to call London empty at Christmas—and so, perhaps, it is at the fashionable West-end—but in the many terraces, gardens, crescents, and squares, in which the comfortable and, in their own " set," fashionable middle class Londoners dwell, there is no lack of life.
And in how many of these happy homes, this cold December weather, are preparations being made for the coming home of the " boys" for the holidays? The little beds, unused since last tummer, are shaken out and aired, the stock of toys looked up and dusted, every little pleasure talked about in the family circle is put off by unanimous consent " until the boys come home," and while "mamma" buys materials for the Christmas-tree, "papa" engages places fa the pantomime.
it was getting towards evening, the sun was •Sfiag fast — indeed, for all warmth-giving pwpoaes, he had been as good as set two hours *go, for the cold wind had had everything its own way, and the streets were already dry atid ringing with the hard black frost. The lamps "we all lighted, the glow of many a genial fire came up through the area railings and over the blinds in parlour-windows, and those who had homes to go to were hurrying to them fast.
Along the crowded thoroughfare of the Edgware-road, a girl of about fourteen or fifteen was walking alone, on her way to the Bayswaterfvtd s she wsj an iutelligent-lookiog chjld, but
she had the pinched, old expression which London children like her so often have. She did not look hungry or poor, but there was that about her which said that she had known both hunger and poverty in her young life. Her clothes were shabby, but neat and clean, and carefully put on; she carried a small parcel, neatly made up in paper, and, as she walked, her keen bright eyes glanced quickly to the right and left, and she hummed softly to herself the air of a popular song.
At the door of one of the public-houses which she passed on her way, there was a group of idle men standing—when, indeed, is there not a group of idle men at the door of a publichouse ?—they had all been drinking more or less, but none of them were actually drunk, and they were all, except one, talking and laughing loudly. He was a swarthy-featured man, with dark hair, beard, and eyes, powerfully made, and apparently about forty years of age. He was walchiog the passers-by from under his overhanging brows, and as his eyes fell upon the girl a strange gleam shot from them just for an instant, and a short, gasping sigh broke from between his closed lips.
"What ails Will i" asked one of bis companions. "He is about as good company as a corpse at a wake. Has the old woman at home been a blowing of you up, man? or has she taken up with one of your pals? Whistle her down the wind, say I."
"Let him alone, Ben," said another; "he has no woman at home, that I've ever heard on; and don't you know that when the black fit's on Will, he'll not be put upon by anyone."
"Look how he follows that little gal yonder with his eye," interrupted Ben. "It's a way he has when he's sober, to look after the little gals; when he's drunk"
The girl did not hear the remainder of the speech, which the speaker ended with a coarse drunken laugh.
"What are ye all jawing about?" said the man they called Will. "Mayn't a chap look at what he likes with his own eyes? I'll do as I like with mine, I promise ye."
"And we with ours I" cried a chorus. "We were only wondering why you are always so down in the mouth now, Will? At odd times you're a rare chap for a lark, but"——
"Let me alone, I tell ye," interrupted the other gruffly. "Come, I'll stop yer mouths for you inside, if you won't 6top them outside." And the speaker chucked, half-a-crown into the air between his finger and thumb, "Corn's ftlonir, lads,"
And tbe whole party turned into the bar, where Will was already ordering drink.
Meanwhile, the girl had gone steadily and swiftly on her way, and she was now past the Bayswater-road, and in Notting-hill; turning into Ladbrook-square, she knocked at the door of one of the houses there, and was presently admitted.
"Tell Miss Hamilton, if you please," she said to tbe servant, "that Myra Dawson has come with tbe work."
The maid ran up-stairs, and Myra sat down upon one of the hall chairs. What a nice, warm bouse it seemed! how brightly tbe fire shone through the open door of tbe dining-room! and what a fragrant smell of dinner came up tbe kitchen stairs close by! She could hear the voices of the servants talking and laughing on the basement storey; she could hear children's voices at their merry play in the top of the house, and a sweet voice talking to the maid, who had admitted her upon the drawing-room floor.
Presently the girl came running down to her again—a smart little damsel, in a fly-away cap and a white muslin apron.
"Miss Hamilton says you are to come up," she said to Myra.
And Myra ran up-stairs, and went into the warm, well-lighted drawing-room, and stopping just inside the door, she dropped a curtsey.
It was such a pretty room; the girl had never seen anything so pretty before—with the clear bright fire in the low grate, the flowing curtains, the pretty, soft-looking chairs, the open piano, the pictures, the books, the elegant little trifles everywhere. By the fire sat an elderly lady, dressed in black silk, shading her face from the blaze with a handsome Indian screen; beside her stood a young eirl, dressed in some soft, flowing material, with gold ornaments in her ears and round her wrists—a pretty, gentle, happy-looking girl.
"Come in," she said to Myra; "come and warm yourself. It is such a perishing evening. How did you ever venture out?"
"Please, Miss," said Myra, "I don't mind the cold, and I had to come."
"And you have brought my work. I see," said the young lady, taking the parcel from the girl. "Your mother keeps her word. I hope it is well done."
"Look at it, Miss, if you please." Miss Hamilton opened the parcel, and shook out several pieces of elaborate embroidery.
"Oh, mamma!" she exclaimed, "do look; it's lovely!"
Mrs. Hamilton got up, took out her gold eyeglass, and examined the wotk.
"It is beautifully done indeed, Grace," she said. "Did your mother do it all herself r" she added, turning to Myra. "No, ma'am, please. I did the most." "But don't you go to school ?" asked Grace. "I used, Miss, until mother's eyes got weak. I help her now as much as I can." And tears sprang into Myra's eyes. "Poor thing!" said happy Grace,
Then she whispered some words to her mother, who also said, "Poor thing!"
"You will not lose this now, will you ?" said Miss Hamilton again, taking a sovereign from her purse. "Your mother gets this for the work. Will you keep it safe?"
"Very safe, thank you, Miss," said Myra, her eyes sparkling.
"How will you carry it then? not in your hand t"
"I wiil put my purse in the bosom of my dress, and a pin through it, Miss," said Myra.
And unfastening her little ahaw., she bejran to stow away the money. In doing so a little gold locket, attached to a thin, worn bit of black ribbon, became displaced and fell outside her frock.
Grace pointed to it laughing, as she said, "Sweetheart already, Myra?" "No, Miss, if you please; it's mother's," the girl hastened to explain. "Poor father's likeness is in it, and it's all she has of him."
"But your father is not dead, is he)" asked Mrs. Hamilton.
"We don't know, ma'am. He maybe, for we never hear of him; but mother has a notion that he might see this locket someday, somehow, and know it, and so come home again."
"But how can he see it, if you keep it hidden?"
"That's true, ma'am ; hut I let it be seen when I'm going where it's likely he'd be. But I don't think he'll ever see it," she added sadly.
"You must only hope the best, Myra," said Grace, kindly. "And now, good night. Don't lose, your money; and tell your mother I am greatly pleased with the work, and when I want more done I'll let her know."
And then Miss Hamilton herself came down and let the girl out into the frosty streets.
Away she went, walking faster than she had walked before, eager to get home with the money; she was rejoicing over all the comforts it would buy for her mother, whose weakened health and failing eyesight weighed heavily upon Myra's heart. She was very proud of having worked the greater part of the piece of embroidery she had just delivered herself, for now she could get plenty to do, and her mother could devote her whole time to the fancy-basketmaking she had lately learned, and which did not try her eyes.
Then she thought of the pretty warm house she had just left, and of the girl with the white hands who had spoken so kindly, and she wondered if the rich ever had anything to trouble them; and as she walked, the little gold locket, which she bad forgotten to put back inside her dress, was swinging backwards and forwards like a pendulum.
It was bitterly cold now, and Myra's rapid
pace scarce kept the numbness out of her feet:
she soon reached the Edgware-road again, and
again the same group was collected outside the
I gin-palace, but they were not so quiet now;
'Will's drink had had its effect, and they were
all laughing loudly and exchanging coarse jests upon the passers-by; Will's laugh was the loudest, and Will's jest the coarsest of them all.
Suddenly their roving eyes fell upon Myra's little figure, and the man called Ben cried out,
"There's the little girl going back, Will, that you stared eo hard after a while ago. Let's hare her in, and give her a glass. It will warm her this cold night."
The child beard the words, and instantly took flight, Ben and Will dashed after her; the former, after a yard or two, stumbled and fell, bat the latter, being steady on his legs, soon overtook the trembling child. "Hold hard, will you?" he said, laying no
light hand upon her shoulder. "I'm not going
to murder you." "Let me go 1 let me go I" she cried, clasping
ier funds in agony, and scared for her money,
which she fancied he must have seen; she twisted like an eel in his hands, and contrived to free herself, but just as she was darting off Vain he made a snatch at the little locket, which caught his eye at the moment; the slender ribbon gave way, and poor Myra fled on, fully conscious that her precious little trinket *m gone, but too much terrified to stop to get it back.
She never drew breath until she reached, panting and exhausted, the door of her mother's humble lodging, which was situated in one of the narrow streets oft' Oxford-street. She remained standing outside for fully five minutes, til the joy gone out of her heart, for what would money be to her mother without that little trumpery piece of gold? Yes, trumpery it might be to all the world, but precious to her above ill the jewels in the regalia!
Had it not been given to her by, and did it not hold all that remained to her now of, the man who had won her young heart in the happy old days that never could come back any more?—days when, as bonny Mary Chester, the pride of the village, she bad sung blithely ■bout her work in her father's home, down in Cornwall; a home that was like dreamland to her now, so far off and hazy did it seem; a home from which all the world looked bright, and where no sun was too hot and no wind too told, and from which she would go out to meet Us, handsome William Dawson, as he came *K«tling home from his day's work at the "peat house," with his tools slung over his •boulder in a limp basket.
And what had that time brought? It had brought marriage—happiness for a season—the birth of Myra—then temptation to the husband, resisted for a time, but more and more faintly ai it became stronger—then straitened means, then failing health—finally, desertion, loneliness, u>d despair. A year or two passed; Myra grew into a fine, sturdy little girl; but the husband never wrote, never was heard of; and at length the unhappy wife took her broken heart, and her little child, away ftom her native village, to hide herself in the great wilderness of London.
How she struggled to live on there, God
knew! She worked and worked unceasingly, wearily, for Myra's sake, and for the sake of a great hope, which no misery and no despair could kill—the hope that her husband would come back to her again. And now that she had fought a brave battle with poverty, and conquered —inasmuch as she and Myra had bread enough to eat and clothes enough to wear—a terrible trial, that might bring back poverty in its train, again was stealing upon her—she feared that she was going blind.
Through the years that had passed, through starvation and utter wretchedness, she had never, even to get a temporary loan, parted with her little gold locket. It had been her husband's gift, and she looked upon it as the one link left between them. It held his photograph and a lock of his hair. How could she part with it, when she remembered how it had been given?—how that sweet June evening, when they stood together under the limes, in which myriads of bees were humming, he bad unfolded it from a piece of paper, and hung it round her neck, saying, as he did so, that he wished it were diamonds for her
And now she was about to hear that it was lost for ever, and her desire to keep the last remnants of her fast-failing sight, in order that she might gaze at the face she loved so well, would vanish too.
Slowly Myra came up the stairs, but the mother knew the child's step, and she turned in her chair to watch the door, although she could not see plainly across the room. She had a lovely face still, but it was seamed and marked with trouble, and the wistful, melancholy expression which so often attends the want of sight, was beginning to steal over her dark brown eyes.
"Is it you, my child?" she said. "You have made good speed."
"It is cold, mother, and I walked fast. Here, mother, Miss Hamilton gave me this."
And taking the purse from the bosom of her dress, she placed it in Mrs. Dawson's band.
"What ails you, Myra? Your voice is shaking. Are you cold, my darling?"
"No, mother, I'm not cold: but oh !"—and poor Myra's voice rose to a sort of cry—" what will you say to me? what will you do? It's gone! stolen!—your locket!—the picture!"
For one instant a gleam of something like anger crossed Mrs. Dawson's face, and she clutched Myra's arm fiercely.
"Gone!" she exclaimed. "And you have dared to come home to me without it?" And then her voice and manner changed suddenly; she threw her arms round Myra's neck, and broke into a bitter cry—" My child, my child! forgive me! I don't know what I say."
Then Myra told her all, and the poor woman listened with clasped hands and bent head.
"God forgive him for taking it," she said quietly, when she had heard all. "I fear I never can."
"Hush, mother! don't say that. Maybe it