Art. II. — All the countries formerly belonging to Georgia, and now occupied by the Turks Persians and Lesghis, as Saatabago, Rani, Movakani, Aghalzike, Tjavagetti, Levana, Atchara, Nonchinski, or Chekinski, Cherouan, and other places, shall be retaken at a fit opportunity, and are regarded as integral parts of Georgia.
Art. III. — On the death of the Czar, the investiture shall belong to Russia, which shall confer it on the eldest son of that prince.
Art. IV. — If any mission, or any secret or public Envoy, arrives at the Court of Tefflis, on the part of Persia or of Turkey, the Czar shall be bound to give notice of such an event to Russia, and before her decision no reply can be given to him.
Art. V. — In order to represent the Czar Heraclius, there shall be a permanent Resident at St. Petersburg. It is not considered necessary that Russia, on her side, should have one in Georgia.
Art. VI. — All the duties and revenues of Georgia, in money, bread, wine, &c., shall belong, as usual to the Czar alone, without Russia pretending to participate in them in any manner whatsoever.
Art. VII. — Each time that the Czar shall name to the first offices of the State, such as to that of the Sardar (chief of the army) or any other, he will submit his choice to the Russian Government, as a mere matter of form, witlvout Russia being able to offer any opposition to this choice.
Art. VIII. — The Patriarch, or Catholicos of Georgia, shall have the eighth rank amongst the Archbishops of Russia, and shall, consequently, add to his other titles that of Archbishop of Tobolsk. The Holy Synod of Russia shall never interfere, in any manner whatsoever, in the affairs of the Greek church of Georgia.
Art. IX. — The Sawadi (chiefs of the people or princes) and the Asnaouri (freemen or nobles) shall every where have equal rank with the persons, who possess in Russia the above titles of princes and nobles.
Art. X. — Those of the Georgian subjects who shall desire to settle with their families in Russia may do so freely; and, vice versa, the Russians may settle in Georgia. Again, in like manner, those who shall not be contented with having changed their country may again return on either side. Those amongst the subjects or soldiers of one or the other power who shall have deserted shall be reciprocally given up; even in the event of war with the Porte, the Georgians who shall be made prisoners, whilst serving in the enemy’s ranks, shall be given up to the Czar; and the same on the other side.
Art. XI. — The Russian merchants arriving in Georgia shall enjoy there the same rights which they possess in Russia and reciprocally. On either side justice will be administered to them according to the laws.
Art. XII. — The above mentioned points shall be changed, if, at any time, it shall be considered necessary by the two contracting parties.
Art. XIII. — After six months’ examination on either side the preceding articles shall be ratified.
Exchanged and signed at Fort Georgiefsk, on the line of the Caucasus.
1783. 24th July, Old Style.
For the Empress, Paul Potemkin.
For the Czar, Jean Bagration, Garsevan Tchaftehavadse.” Czar Heraclius of Georgia, Empress Catherine of Russia, Treaty of Georgievsk; 1783.
The ordinarily gloomy windows of the ancient royal residence were brilliantly lighted, and the squares and streets adjacent, usually so solitary after Saint Germain l’Auxerrois had struck the hour of nine, were crowded with people, although it was past midnight.
The vast, threatening, eager, turbulent throng resembled, in the darkness, a black and tumbling sea, each billow of which makes a roaring breaker; this sea, flowing through the Rue des Fossés Saint Germain and the Rue de l’Astruce and covering the quay, surged against the base of the walls of the Louvre, and, in its refluent tide, against the Hôtel de Bourbon, which faced it on the other side.
In spite of the royal festival, and perhaps even because of the royal festival, there was something threatening in the appearance of the people, for no doubt was felt that this imposing ceremony which called them there as spectators, was only the prelude to another in which they would participate a week later as invited guests and amuse themselves with all their hearts.
The court was celebrating the marriage of Madame Marguerite de Valois, daughter of Henry II. and sister of King Charles IX., with Henry de Bourbon, King of Navarre. In truth, that very morning, on a stage erected at the entrance to Notre-Dame, the Cardinal de Bourbon had united the young couple with the usual ceremonial observed at the marriages of the royal daughters of France.
This marriage had astonished every one, and occasioned much surmise to certain persons who saw clearer than others. They found it difficult to understand the union of two parties who hated each other so thoroughly as did, at this moment, the Protestant party and the Catholic party; and they wondered how the young Prince de Condé could forgive the Duc d’Anjou, the King’s brother, for the death of his father, assassinated at Jarnac by Montesquiou. They asked how the young Duc de Guise could pardon Admiral de Coligny for the death of his father, assassinated at Orléans by Poltrot de Méré.
Moreover, Jeanne de Navarre, the weak Antoine de Bourbon’s courageous wife, who had conducted her son Henry to the royal marriage awaiting him, had died scarcely two months before, and singular reports had been spread abroad as to her sudden death. It was everywhere whispered, and in some places said aloud, that she had discovered some terrible secret; and that Catharine de Médicis, fearing its disclosure, had poisoned her with perfumed gloves, which had been made by a man named Réné, a Florentine deeply skilled in such matters. This report was the more widely spread and believed when, after this great queen’s death, at her son’s request, two celebrated physicians, one of whom was the famous Ambroise Paré, were instructed to open and examine the body, but not the skull. As Jeanne de Navarre had been poisoned by a perfume, only the brain could show any trace of the crime (the one part excluded from dissection). We say crime, for no one doubted that a crime had been committed.
This was not all. King Charles in particular had, with a persistency almost approaching obstinacy, urged this marriage, which not only reëstablished peace in his kingdom, but also attracted to Paris the principal Huguenots of France. As the two betrothed belonged one to the Catholic religion and the other to the reformed religion, they had been obliged to obtain a dispensation from Gregory XIII., who then filled the papal chair. The dispensation was slow in coming, and the delay had caused the late Queen of Navarre great uneasiness. She one day expressed to Charles IX. her fears lest the dispensation should not arrive; to which the King replied:
“Have no anxiety, my dear aunt. I honor you more than I do the Pope, and I love my sister more than I fear him. I am not a Huguenot, neither am I a blockhead; and if the Pope makes a fool of himself, I will myself take Margot by the hand, and have her married to your son in some Protestant meeting-house!”
This speech was soon spread from the Louvre through the city, and, while it greatly rejoiced the Huguenots, had given the Catholics something to think about; they asked one another, in a whisper, if the King was really betraying them or was only playing a comedy which some fine morning or evening might have an unexpected ending.
Charles IX.’s conduct toward Admiral de Coligny, who for five or six years had been so bitterly opposed to the King, appeared particularly inexplicable; after having put on his head a price of a hundred and fifty thousand golden crowns, the King now swore by him, called him his father, and declared openly that he should in future confide the conduct of the war to him alone. To such a pitch was this carried that Catharine de Médicis herself, who until then had controlled the young prince’s actions, will, and even desires, seemed to be growing really uneasy, and not without reason; for, in a moment of confidence, Charles IX. had said to the admiral, in reference to the war in Flanders,
“My father, there is one other thing against which we must be on our guard—that is, that the queen, my mother, who likes to poke her nose everywhere, as you well know, shall learn nothing of this undertaking; we must keep it so quiet that she will not have a suspicion of it, or being such a mischief-maker as I know she is, she would spoil all.”
Now, wise and experienced as he was, Coligny had not been able to keep such an absolute secret; and, though he had come to Paris with great suspicions, and albeit at his departure from Chatillon a peasant woman had thrown herself at his feet, crying, “Ah! sir, our good master, do not go to Paris, for if you do, you will die—you and all who are with you!”—these suspicions were gradually lulled in his heart, and so it was with Téligny, his son-in-law, to whom the King was especially kind and attentive, calling him his brother, as he called the admiral his father, and addressing him with the familiar “thou,” as he did his best friends.
The Huguenots, excepting some few morose and suspicious spirits, were therefore completely reassured. The death of the Queen of Navarre passed as having been caused by pleurisy, and the spacious apartments of the Louvre were filled with all those gallant Protestants to whom the marriage of their young chief, Henry, promised an unexpected return of good fortune. Admiral Coligny, La Rochefoucault, the young Prince de Condé, Téligny,—in short, all the leaders of the party,—were triumphant when they saw so powerful at the Louvre and so welcome in Paris those whom, three months before, King Charles and Queen Catharine would have hanged on gibbets higher than those of assassins.
The Maréchal de Montmorency was the only one who was missing among all his brothers, for no promise could move him, no specious appearances deceive him, and he remained secluded in his château de l’Isle Adam, offering as his excuse for not appearing the grief which he still felt for his father, the Constable Anne de Montmorency, who had been killed at the battle of Saint Denis by a pistol-shot fired by Robert Stuart. But as this had taken place more than three years before, and as sensitiveness was a virtue little practised at that time, this unduly protracted mourning was interpreted just as people cared to interpret it.
However, everything seemed to show that the Maréchal de Montmorency was mistaken. The King, the Queen, the Duc d’Anjou, and the Duc d’Alençon did the honors of the royal festival with all courtesy and kindness.
The Duc d’Anjou received from the Huguenots themselves well-deserved compliments on the two battles of Jarnac and Montcontour, which he had gained before he was eighteen years of age, more precocious in that than either Cæsar or Alexander, to whom they compared him, of course placing the conquerors of Pharsalia and the Issus as inferior to the living prince. The Duc d’Alençon looked on, with his bland, false smile, while Queen Catharine, radiant with joy and overflowing with honeyed phrases, congratulated Prince Henry de Condé on his recent marriage with Marie de Clèves; even the Messieurs de Guise themselves smiled on the formidable enemies of their house, and the Duc de Mayenne discoursed with M. de Tavannes and the admiral on the impending war, which was now more than ever threatened against Philippe II.
In the midst of these groups a young man of about nineteen years of age was walking to and fro, his head a little on one side, his ear open to all that was said. He had a keen eye, black hair cut very close, thick eyebrows, a nose hooked like an eagle’s, a sneering smile, and a growing mustache and beard. This young man, who by his reckless daring had first attracted attention at the battle of Arnay-le-Duc and was the recipient of numberless compliments, was the dearly beloved pupil of Coligny and the hero of the day. Three months before—that is to say, when his mother was still living—he was called the Prince de Béarn, now he was called the King of Navarre, afterwards he was known as Henry IV.
From time to time a swift and gloomy cloud passed over his brow; unquestionably it was at the thought that scarce had two months elapsed since his mother’s death, and he, less than any one, doubted that she had been poisoned. But the cloud was transitory, and disappeared like a fleeting shadow, for they who spoke to him, they who congratulated him, they who elbowed him, were the very ones who had assassinated the brave Jeanne d’Albret.
Some paces distant from the King of Navarre, almost as pensive, almost as gloomy as the king pretended to be joyous and open-hearted, was the young Duc de Guise, conversing with Téligny. More fortunate than the Béarnais, at two-and-twenty he had almost attained the reputation of his father, François, the great Duc de Guise. He was an elegant gentleman, very tall, with a noble and haughty look, and gifted with that natural majesty which caused it to be said that in comparison with him other princes seemed to belong to the people. Young as he was, the Catholics looked up to him as the chief of their party, as the Huguenots saw theirs in Henry of Navarre, whose portrait we have just drawn. At first he had borne the title of Prince de Joinville, and at the siege of Orléans had fought his first battle under his father, who died in his arms, denouncing Admiral Coligny as his assassin. The young duke then, like Hannibal, took a solemn oath to avenge his father’s death on the admiral and his family, and to pursue the foes to his religion without truce or respite, promising God to be his destroying angel on earth until the last heretic should be exterminated. So with deep astonishment the people saw this prince, usually so faithful to his word, offering his hand to those whom he had sworn to hold as his eternal enemies, and talking familiarly with the son-in-law of the man whose death he had promised to his dying father.
But as we have said, this was an evening of astonishments.
Indeed, an observer privileged to be present at this festival, endowed with the knowledge of the future which is fortunately hidden from men, and with that power of reading men’s hearts which unfortunately belongs only to God, would have certainly enjoyed the strangest spectacle to be found in all the annals of the melancholy human comedy.
But this observer who was absent from the inner courts of the Louvre was to be found in the streets gazing with flashing eyes and breaking out into loud threats; this observer was the people, who, with its marvellous instinct made keener by hatred, watched from afar the shadows of its implacable enemies and translated the impressions they made with as great clearness as an inquisitive person can do before the windows of a hermetically sealed ball-room. The music intoxicates and governs the dancers, but the inquisitive person sees only the movement and laughs at the puppet jumping about without reason, because the inquisitive person hears no music.
The music that intoxicated the Huguenots was the voice of their pride.
The gleams which caught the eyes of the Parisians that midnight were the lightning flashes of their hatred illuminating the future.
And meantime everything was still festive within, and a murmur softer and more flattering than ever was at this moment pervading the Louvre, for the youthful bride, having laid aside her toilet of ceremony, her long mantle and flowing veil, had just returned to the ball-room, accompanied by the lovely Duchesse de Nevers, her most intimate friend, and led by her brother, Charles IX., who presented her to the principal guests.
The bride was the daughter of Henry II., was the pearl of the crown of France, was Marguerite de Valois, whom in his familiar tenderness for her King Charles IX. always called “ma sœur Margot,” “my sister Margot.”
Assuredly never was any welcome, however flattering, more richly deserved than that which the new Queen of Navarre was at this moment receiving. Marguerite at this period was scarcely twenty, and she was already the object of all the poets’ eulogies, some of whom compared her to Aurora, others to Cytherea; she was, in truth, a beauty without rival in that court in which Catharine de Médicis had assembled the loveliest women she could find, to make of them her sirens.
Marguerite had black hair and a brilliant complexion; a voluptuous eye, veiled by long lashes; delicate coral lips; a slender neck; a graceful, opulent figure, and concealed in a satin slipper a tiny foot. The French, who possessed her, were proud to see such a lovely flower flourishing in their soil, and foreigners who passed through France returned home dazzled with her beauty if they had but seen her, and amazed at her knowledge if they had discoursed with her; for Marguerite was not only the loveliest, she was also the most erudite woman of her time, and every one was quoting the remark of an Italian scholar who had been presented to her, and who, after having conversed with her for an hour in Italian, Spanish, Latin, and Greek, had gone away saying:
“To see the court without seeing Marguerite de Valois is to see neither France nor the court.”
Thus addresses to King Charles IX. and the Queen of Navarre were not wanting. It is well known that the Huguenots were great hands at addresses. Many allusions to the past, many hints as to the future, were adroitly slipped into these harangues; but to all such allusions and speeches the King replied, with his pale lips and artificial smiles:
“In giving my sister Margot to Henry of Navarre, I give my sister to all the Protestants of the kingdom.”
This phrase assured some and made others smile, for it had really a double sense: the one paternal, with which Charles IX. would not load his mind; the other insulting to the bride, to her husband, and also to him who said it, for it recalled some scandalous rumors with which the chroniclers of the court had already found means to smirch the nuptial robe of Marguerite de Valois.
However, M. de Guise was conversing, as we have said, with Téligny; but he did not pay to the conversation such sustained attention but that he turned away somewhat, from time to time, to cast a glance at the group of ladies, in the centre of whom glittered the Queen of Navarre. When the princess’s eye thus met that of the young duke, a cloud seemed to over-spread that lovely brow, around which stars of diamonds formed a tremulous halo, and some agitating thought might be divined in her restless and impatient manner.
The Princess Claude, Marguerite’s eldest sister, who had been for some years married to the Duc de Lorraine, had observed this uneasiness, and was going up to her to inquire the cause, when all stood aside at the approach of the queen mother, who came forward, leaning on the arm of the young Prince de Condé, and the princess was thus suddenly separated from her sister. There was a general movement, by which the Duc de Guise profited to approach Madame de Nevers, his sister-in-law, and Marguerite.
Madame de Lorraine, who had not lost sight of her sister, then remarked, instead of the cloud which she had before observed on her forehead, a burning blush come into her cheeks. The duke approached still nearer, and when he was within two steps of Marguerite, she appeared rather to feel than see his presence, and turned round, making a violent effort over herself in order to give her features an appearance of calmness and indifference. The duke, then respectfully bowing, murmured in a low tone,
That meant: “I have brought it, or brought it myself.”
Marguerite returned the young duke’s bow, and as she straightened herself, replied, in the same tone,
“Noctu pro more.”
That meant: “To-night, as usual.”
These soft words, absorbed by the enormous collar which the princess wore, as in the bell of a speaking-trumpet, were heard only by the person to whom they were addressed; but brief as had been the conference, it doubtless composed all the young couple had to say, for after this exchange of two words for three, they separated, Marguerite more thoughtful and the duke with his brow less clouded than when they met. This little scene took place without the person most interested appearing to remark it, for the King of Navarre had eyes but for one lady, and she had around her a suite almost as numerous as that which followed Marguerite de Valois. This was the beautiful Madame de Sauve.
Charlotte de Beaune Semblançay, granddaughter of the unfortunate Semblançay, and wife of Simon de Fizes, Baron de Sauve, was one of the ladies-in-waiting to Catharine de Médicis, and one of the most redoubtable auxiliaries of this queen, who poured forth to her enemies love-philtres when she dared not pour out Florentine poison. Delicately fair, and by turns sparkling with vivacity or languishing in melancholy, always ready for love and intrigue, the two great occupations which for fifty years employed the court of the three succeeding kings,—a woman in every acceptation of the word and in all the charm of the idea, from the blue eye languishing or flashing with fire to the small rebellious feet arched in their velvet slippers, Madame de Sauve had already for some months taken complete possession of every faculty of the King of Navarre, then beginning his career as a lover as well as a politician; thus it was that Marguerite de Valois, a magnificent and royal beauty, had not even excited admiration in her husband’s heart; and what was more strange, and astonished all the world, even from a soul so full of darkness and mystery, Catharine de Médicis, while she prosecuted her project of union between her daughter and the King of Navarre, had not ceased to favor almost openly his amour with Madame de Sauve. But despite this powerful aid, and despite the easy manners of the age, the lovely Charlotte had hitherto resisted; and this resistance, unheard of, incredible, unprecedented, even more than the beauty and wit of her who resisted, had excited in the heart of the Béarnais a passion which, unable to satisfy itself, had destroyed in the young king’s heart all timidity, pride, and even that carelessness, half philosophic, half indolent, which formed the basis of his character.
Madame de Sauve had been only a few minutes in the ballroom; from spite or grief she had at first resolved on not being present at her rival’s triumph, and under the pretext of an indisposition had allowed her husband, who had been for five years secretary of state, to go alone to the Louvre; but when Catharine de Médicis saw the baron without his wife, she asked the cause that kept her dear Charlotte away, and when she found that the indisposition was but slight, she wrote a few words to her, which the lady hastened to obey. Henry, sad as he had at first been at her absence, had yet breathed more freely when he saw M. de Sauve enter alone; but just as he was about to pay some court to the charming creature whom he was condemned, if not to love, at least to treat as his wife, he unexpectedly saw Madame de Sauve arise from the farther end of the gallery. He remained stationary on the spot, his eyes fastened on the Circe who enthralled him as if by magic chains, and instead of proceeding towards his wife, by a movement of hesitation which betrayed more astonishment than alarm he advanced to meet Madame de Sauve.
The courtiers, seeing the King of Navarre, whose inflammable heart they knew, approach the beautiful Charlotte, had not the courage to prevent their meeting, but drew aside complaisantly; so that at the very moment when Marguerite de Valois and Monsieur de Guise exchanged the few words in Latin which we have noted above, Henry, having approached Madame de Sauve, began, in very intelligible French, although with somewhat of a Gascon accent, a conversation by no means so mysterious.
“Ah, ma mie!” he said, “you have, then, come at the very moment when they assured me that you were ill, and I had lost all hope of seeing you.”
“Would your majesty perhaps wish me to believe that it had cost you something to lose this hope?” replied Madame de Sauve.
“By Heaven! I believe it!” replied the Béarnais; “know you not that you are my sun by day and my star by night? By my faith, I was in deepest darkness till you appeared and suddenly illumined all.”
“Then, monseigneur, I serve you a very ill turn.”
“What do you mean, ma mie?” inquired Henry.
“I mean that he who is master of the handsomest woman in France should only have one desire—that the light should disappear and give way to darkness, for happiness awaits you in the darkness.”
“You know, cruel one, that my happiness is in the hands of one woman only, and that she laughs at poor Henry.”
“Oh!” replied the baroness, “I believed, on the contrary, that it was this person who was the sport and jest of the King of Navarre.” Henry was alarmed at this hostile attitude, and yet he bethought him that it betrayed jealous spite, and that jealous spite is only the mask of love.
“Indeed, dear Charlotte, you reproach me very unjustly, and I do not comprehend how so lovely a mouth can be so cruel. Do you suppose for a moment that it is I who give myself in marriage? No, ventre saint gris, it is not I!”
“It is I, perhaps,” said the baroness, sharply,—if ever the voice of the woman who loves us and reproaches us for not loving her can seem sharp.
“With your lovely eyes have you not seen farther, baroness? No, no; Henry of Navarre is not marrying Marguerite de Valois.”
“And who, pray, is?”
“Why, by Heaven! it is the reformed religion marrying the pope—that’s all.”
“No, no, I cannot be deceived by your jests. Monseigneur loves Madame Marguerite. And can I blame you? Heaven forbid! She is beautiful enough to be adored.”
Henry reflected for a moment, and, as he reflected, a meaning smile curled the corner of his lips.
“Baroness,” said he, “you seem to be seeking a quarrel with me, but you have no right to do so. What have you done to prevent me from marrying Madame Marguerite? Nothing. On the contrary, you have always driven me to despair.”
“And well for me that I have, monseigneur,” replied Madame de Sauve.
“Why, of course, because you are marrying another woman!”
“I marry her because you love me not.”
“If I had loved you, sire, I must have died in an hour.”
“In an hour? What do you mean? And of what death would you have died?”
“Of jealousy!—for in an hour the Queen of Navarre will send away her women, and your majesty your gentlemen.”
“Is that really the thought that is uppermost in your mind, ma mie?”
“I did not say so. I only say, that if I loved you it would be uppermost in my mind most tormentingly.”
“Very well,” said Henry, at the height of joy on hearing this confession, the first which she had made to him, “suppose the King of Navarre should not send away his gentlemen this evening?”
“Sire,” replied Madame de Sauve, looking at the king with astonishment for once unfeigned, “you say things impossible and incredible.”
“What must I do to make you believe them?”
“Give me a proof—and that proof you cannot give me.”
“Yes, baroness, yes! By Saint Henry, I will give it you!” exclaimed the king, gazing at the young woman with eyes hot with love.
“Oh, your majesty!” exclaimed the lovely Charlotte in an undertone and with downcast eyes, “I do not understand—No! no, it is impossible for you to turn your back on the happiness awaiting you.”
“There are four Henrys in this room, my adorable!” replied the king, “Henry de France, Henry de Condé, Henry de Guise, but there is only one Henry of Navarre.”
“Well; if this Henry of Navarre is with you all night”—
“Yes; will that be a certain proof to you that he is not with any other?”
“Ah! if you do that, sire,” cried Madame Sauve.
“On the honor of a gentleman I will do it!”
Madame de Sauve raised her great eyes dewy with voluptuous promises and looked at the king, whose heart was filled with an intoxicating joy.
“And then,” said Henry, “what will you say?”
“I will say,” replied Charlotte, “that your majesty really loves me.”
“Ventre saint gris! then you shall say it, baroness, for it is true.”
“But how can you manage it?” murmured Madame de Sauve.
“Oh! by Heaven! baroness, have you not about you some waiting-woman, some girl whom you can trust?”
“Yes, Dariole is so devoted to me that she would let herself be cut in pieces for me; she is a real treasure.”
“By Heaven! then say to her that I will make her fortune when I am King of France, as the astrologers prophesy.”
Charlotte smiled, for even at this period the Gascon reputation of the Béarnais was already established with respect to his promises.
“Well, then, what do you want Dariole to do?”
“Little for her, a great deal for me. Your apartment is over mine?”
“Let her wait behind the door. I will knock gently three times; she will open the door, and you will have the proof that I have promised you.”
Madame de Sauve kept silence for several seconds, and then, as if she had looked around her to observe if she were overheard, she fastened her gaze for a moment on the group clustering around the queen mother; brief as the moment was, it was sufficient for Catharine and her lady-in-waiting to exchange a look.
“Oh, if I were inclined,” said Madame de Sauve, with a siren’s accent that would have melted the wax in Ulysses’ ears, “if I were inclined to make your majesty tell a falsehood”—
“Ma mie, try”—
“Ah, ma foi! I confess I am tempted to do so.”
“Give in! Women are never so strong as after they are defeated.”
“Sire, I hold you to your promise for Dariole when you shall be King of France.”
Henry uttered an exclamation of joy.
At the precise moment when this cry escaped the lips of the Béarnais, the Queen of Navarre was replying to the Duc de Guise:
“Noctu pro more—to-night as usual.”
Then Henry turned away from Madame de Sauve as happy as the Duc de Guise had been when he left Marguerite de Valois.
An hour after the double scene we have just related, King Charles and the queen mother retired to their apartments. Almost immediately the rooms began to empty; the galleries exhibited the bases of their marble columns. The admiral and the Prince de Condé were escorted home by four hundred Huguenot gentlemen through the middle of the crowd, which hooted as they passed. Then Henry de Guise, with the Lorraine gentlemen and the Catholics, left in their turn, greeted by cries of joy and plaudits of the people.
But Marguerite de Valois, Henry de Navarre, and Madame de Sauve lived in the Louvre.
THE QUEEN OF NAVARRE’S BEDCHAMBER.
The Duc de Guise escorted his sister-in-law, the Duchess de Nevers, to her hôtel in the Rue du Chaume, facing the Rue de Brac, and after he had put her into the hands of her women, he went to his own apartment to change his dress, put on a night cloak, and armed himself with one of those short, keen poniards which are called “foi de gentilhomme,” and were worn without swords; but as he took it off the table on which it lay, he perceived a small billet between the blade and the scabbard.
He opened it, and read as follows:
“I hope M. de Guise will not return to the Louvre to-night; or if he does, that he will at least take the precaution to arm himself with a good coat of mail and a proved sword.”
“Aha!” said the duke, addressing his valet, “this is a singular warning, Maître Robin. Now be kind enough to tell me who has been here during my absence.”
“Only one person, monseigneur.”
“Monsieur du Gast.”
“Aha! In fact, methinks I recognize the handwriting. And you are sure that Du Gast came? You saw him?”
“More than that, monseigneur; I spoke with him.”
“Very good; then I will follow his advice—my steel jacket and my sword.”
The valet, accustomed to these changes of costume, brought both. The duke put on his jacket, which was made of rings of steel so fine that it was scarcely thicker than velvet; he then drew on over his coat of mail his small clothes and a doublet of gray and silver, his favorite colors, put on a pair of long boots which reached to the middle of his thighs, covered his head with a velvet toque unadorned with feathers or precious stones, threw over his shoulders a dark-colored cloak, hung a dagger by his side, handed his sword to a page, the only attendant he allowed to accompany him, and took the way to the Louvre.
As he went down the steps of the hôtel, the watchman of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois had just announced one o’clock in the morning.
Though the night was far gone and the streets at this time were very far from safe, no accident befell the adventurous prince on the way, and safe and sound he approached the colossal mass of the ancient Louvre, all the lights of which had been extinguished one after the other, so that it rose portentous in its silence and darkness.
In front of the royal château was a deep fosse, looking into which were the chambers of most of the princes who inhabited the palace. Marguerite’s apartment was on the first floor. But this first floor, easily accessible but for the fosse, was, in consequence of the depth to which that was cut, thirty feet from the bottom of the wall, and consequently out of the reach of robbers or lovers; nevertheless the Duc de Guise approached it without hesitation.
At the same moment was heard the noise of a window which opened on the ground floor. This window was grated, but a hand appeared, lifted out one of the bars which had been loosened, and dropped from it a silken lace.
“Is that you, Gillonne?” said the duke, in a low voice.
“Yes, monseigneur,” replied a woman’s voice, in a still lower tone.
“Is waiting for you.”
“’T is well.”
Hereupon the duke made a signal to his page, who, opening his cloak, took out a small rope ladder. The prince fastened one end to the silk lace, and Gillonne, drawing it up, tied it securely. Then the prince, after having buckled his sword to his belt, ascended without accident. When he had entered, the bar was replaced and the window closed, while the page, having seen his master quietly enter the Louvre, to the windows of which he had accompanied him twenty times in the same way, laid himself down in his cloak on the grass of the fosse, beneath the shadow of the wall.
The night was extremely dark, and large drops of warm rain were falling from the heavy clouds charged with electric fluid.
The Duc de Guise followed his guide, who was no other than the daughter of Jacques de Matignon, maréchal of France. She was the especial confidante of Marguerite, who kept no secret from her; and it was said that among the number of mysteries entrusted to her incorruptible fidelity, there were some so terrible as to compel her to keep the rest.
There was no light left either in the low rooms or in the corridors, only from time to time a livid glare illuminated the dark apartments with a vivid flash, which as instantly disappeared.
The duke, still guided by his conductress, who held his hand, reached a staircase built in the thick wall, and opening by a secret and invisible door into the antechamber of Marguerite’s apartment.
In this antechamber, which like all the other lower rooms was perfectly dark, Gillonne stopped.
“Have you brought what the queen requested?” she inquired, in a low voice.
“Yes,” replied the Duc de Guise; “but I will give it only to her majesty in person.”
“Come, then, and do not lose an instant!” said a voice from the darkness, which made the duke start, for he recognized it as Marguerite’s.
At the same moment a curtain of violet velvet covered with golden fleurs-de-lis was raised, and the duke made out the form of the queen, who in her impatience had come to meet him.
“I am here, madame,” he then said; and he passed the curtain, which fell behind him. So Marguerite de Valois herself now became the prince’s guide, leading him into the room which, however, he knew already, while Gillonne, standing at the door, had raised her finger to her lips and reassured her royal mistress.
As if she understood the duke’s jealous apprehensions, Marguerite led him to the bedchamber, and there paused.
“Well,” she said, “are you satisfied, duke?”
“Satisfied, madame?” was the reply, “and with what?”
“Of the proof I give you,” retorted Marguerite, with a slight tone of vexation in her voice, “that I belong to a man who, on the very night of his marriage, makes me of such small importance that he does not even come to thank me for the honor I have done him, not in selecting, but in accepting him for my husband.”
“Oh! madame,” said the duke, sorrowfully, “be assured he will come if you desire it.”
“And do you say that, Henry?” cried Marguerite; “you, who better than any know the contrary of what you say? If I had that desire, should I have asked you to come to the Louvre?”
“You have asked me to come to the Louvre, Marguerite, because you are anxious to destroy every vestige of our past, and because that past lives not only in my memory, but in this silver casket which I bring to you.”
“Henry, shall I say one thing to you?” replied Marguerite, gazing earnestly at the duke; “it is that you are more like a schoolboy than a prince. I deny that I have loved you! I desire to quench a flame which will die, perhaps, but the reflection of which will never die! For the loves of persons of my rank illumine and frequently devour the whole epoch contemporary with them. No, no, duke; you may keep the letters of your Marguerite, and the casket she has given you. She asks but one of these letters, and that only because it is as dangerous for you as for herself.”
“It is all yours,” said the duke. “Take the one that you wish to destroy.”
Marguerite searched anxiously in the open casket, and with a tremulous hand took, one after the other, a dozen letters, only the addresses of which she examined, as if by merely glancing at these she could recall to her memory what the letters themselves contained; but after a close scrutiny she looked at the duke, pale and agitated.
“Sir,” she said, “what I seek is not here. Can you have lost it, by any accident? for if it should fall into the hands of”—
“What letter do you seek, madame?”
“That in which I told you to marry without delay.”
“As an excuse for your infidelity?”
Marguerite shrugged her shoulders.
“No; but to save your life. The one in which I told you that the king, seeing our love and my exertions to break off your proposed marriage with the Infanta of Portugal, had sent for his brother, the Bastard of Angoulême, and said to him, pointing to two swords, ‘With this slay Henry de Guise this night, or with the other I will slay thee in the morning.‘ Where is that letter?”
“Here,” said the duke, drawing it from his breast.
Marguerite almost snatched it from his hands, opened it anxiously, assured herself that it was really the one she desired, uttered an exclamation of joy, and applying the lighted candle to it, the flames instantly consumed the paper; then, as if Marguerite feared that her imprudent words might be read in the very ashes, she trampled them under foot.
During all this the Duc de Guise had watched his mistress attentively.
“Well, Marguerite,” he said, when she had finished, “are you satisfied now?”
“Yes, for now that you have wedded the Princesse de Porcian, my brother will forgive me your love; while he would never have pardoned me for revealing a secret such as that which in my weakness for you I had not the strength to conceal from you.”
“True,” replied De Guise, “then you loved me.”
“And I love you still, Henry, as much—more than ever!”
“I do; for never more than at this moment did I need a sincere and devoted friend. Queen, I have no throne; wife, I have no husband!”
The young prince shook his head sorrowfully.
“I tell you, I repeat to you, Henri, that my husband not only does not love me, but hates—despises me; indeed, it seems to me that your presence in the chamber in which he ought to be is proof of this hatred, this contempt.”
“It is not yet late, Madame, and the King of Navarre requires time to dismiss his gentlemen; if he has not already come, he will come soon.”
“And I tell you,” cried Marguerite, with increasing vexation,—”I tell you that he will not come!”
“Madame!” exclaimed Gillonne, suddenly entering, “the King of Navarre is just leaving his apartments!”
“Oh, I knew he would come!” exclaimed the Duc de Guise.
“Henri,” said Marguerite, in a quick tone, and seizing the duke’s hand,—”Henri, you shall see if I am a woman of my word, and if I may be relied on. Henri, enter that closet.”
“Madame, allow me to go while there is yet time, for reflect that the first mark of love you bestow on him, I shall quit the cabinet, and then woe to him!”
“Are you mad? Go in—go in, I say, and I will be responsible for all;” and she pushed the duke into the closet.
It was time. The door was scarcely closed behind the prince when the King of Navarre, escorted by two pages, who carried eight torches of yellow wax in two candelabra, appeared, smiling, on the threshold of the chamber. Marguerite concealed her trouble, and made a low bow.
“You are not yet in bed, Madame,” observed the Béarnais, with his frank and joyous look. “Were you by chance waiting for me?”
“No, Monsieur,” replied Marguerite; “for yesterday you repeated to me that our marriage was a political alliance, and that you would never thwart my wishes.”
“Assuredly; but that is no reason why we should not confer a little together. Gillonne, close the door, and leave us.”
Marguerite, who was sitting, then rose and extended her hand, as if to desire the pages to remain.
“Must I call your women?” inquired the king. “I will do so if such be your desire, although I confess that for what I have to say to you I should prefer our being alone;” and the King of Navarre advanced towards the closet.
“No!” exclaimed Marguerite, hastily going before him,—”no! there is no occasion for that; I am ready to hear you.”
The Béarnais had learned what he desired to know; he threw a rapid and penetrating glance towards the cabinet, as if in spite of the thick curtain which hung before it, he would dive into its obscurity, and then, turning his looks to his lovely wife, pale with terror, he said with the utmost composure, “In that case, Madame, let us confer for a few moments.”
“As your Majesty pleases,” said the young wife, falling into, rather than sitting upon the seat which her husband pointed out to her.
The Béarnais placed himself beside her. “Madame,” he continued, “whatever many persons may have said, I think our marriage is a good marriage. I stand well with you; you stand well with me.”
“But—” said Marguerite, alarmed.
“Consequently, we ought,” observed the King of Navarre, without seeming to notice Marguerite’s hesitation, “to act towards each other like good allies, since we have to-day sworn alliance in the presence of God. Don’t you think so?”
“I know, Madame, how great your penetration is; I know how the ground at court is intersected with dangerous abysses. Now, I am young, and although I never injured any one, I have a great many enemies. In which camp, Madame, ought I to range her who bears my name, and who has vowed her affection to me at the foot of the altar?”
“Monsieur, could you think—”
“I think nothing, Madame; I hope, and I am anxious to know that my hope is well founded. It is quite certain that our marriage is merely a pretext or a snare.”
Marguerite started, for perhaps the same thought had occurred to her own mind.
“Now, then, which of the two?” continued Henri de Navarre. “The king hates me; the Duc d’Anjou hates me; the Duc d’Alençon hates me; Catherine de Médicis hated my mother too much not to hate me.”
“Oh, Monsieur, what are you saying?”
“The truth, madame,” replied the king; “and in order that it may not be supposed that I am deceived as to Monsieur de Mouy’s assassination and the poisoning of my mother, I wish that some one were here who could hear me.”
“Oh, sire,” replied Marguerite, with an air as calm and smiling as she could assume, “you know very well that there is no person here but you and myself.”
“It is for that very reason that I thus give vent to my thoughts; this it is that emboldens me to declare that I am not deceived by the caresses showered on me by the House of France or the House of Lorraine.”
“Sire, sire!” exclaimed Marguerite.
“Well, what is it, ma mie?” inquired Henry, smiling in his turn.
“Why, sire, such remarks are very dangerous.”
“Not when we are alone,” observed the king. “I was saying”—
Marguerite was evidently distressed; she desired to stop every word the king uttered, but he continued, with his apparent good nature:
“I was telling you that I was threatened on all sides: threatened by the King, threatened by the Duc d’Alençon, threatened by the Duc d’Anjou, threatened by the queen mother, threatened by the Duc de Guise, by the Duc de Mayenne, by the Cardinal de Lorraine—threatened, in fact, by every one. One feels that instinctively, as you know, madame. Well, against all these threats, which must soon become attacks, I can defend myself by your aid, for you are beloved by all the persons who detest me.”
“I?” said Marguerite.
“Yes, you,” replied Henry, with the utmost ease of manner; “yes, you are beloved by King Charles, you are beloved” (he laid strong emphasis on the word) “by the Duc d’Alençon, you are beloved by Queen Catharine, and you are beloved by the Duc de Guise.”
“Sire!” murmured Marguerite.
“Yes; and what is there astonishing in the fact that every one loves you? All I have mentioned are your brothers or relatives. To love one’s brothers and relatives is to live according to God’s heart.”
“But what, then,” asked Marguerite, greatly overcome, “what do you mean?”
“What I have just said, that if you will be—I do not mean my love—but my ally, I can brave everything; while, on the other hand, if you become my enemy, I am lost.”
“Oh, your enemy!—never, sir!” exclaimed Marguerite.
“And my love—never either?”
“And my ally?”
And Marguerite turned round and offered her hand to the king.
Henry took it, kissed it gallantly, and retaining it in his own, more from a desire of investigation than from any sentiment of tenderness, said:
“Very well, I believe you, madame, and accept the alliance. They married us without our knowing each other—without our loving each other; they married us without consulting us—us whom they united. We therefore owe nothing to each other as man and wife; you see that I even go beyond your wishes and confirm this evening what I said to you yesterday; but we ally ourselves freely and without any compulsion. We ally ourselves, as two loyal hearts who owe each other mutual protection should ally themselves; ’t is as such you understand it?”
“Yes, sir,” said Marguerite, endeavoring to withdraw her hand.
“Well, then,” continued the Béarnais, with his eyes fastened on the door of the cabinet, “as the first proof of a frank alliance is the most perfect confidence, I will now relate to you, madame, in all its details, the plan I have formed in order that we may victoriously meet and overcome all these enmities.”
“Sire”—said Marguerite, in spite of herself turning her eyes toward the closet, whilst the Béarnais, seeing his trick succeed, laughed in his sleeve.
“This is what I mean to do,” he continued, without appearing to remark his young wife’s nervousness, “I intend”—
“Sire,” said Marguerite, rising hastily, and seizing the king’s arm, “allow me a little breath; my emotion—the heat—overpowers me.”
And, in truth, Marguerite was as pale and trembling as if she was about to fall on the carpet.
Henry went straight to a window some distance off, and opened it. This window looked out on the river.
Marguerite followed him.
“Silence, sire,—silence, for your own sake!” she murmured.
“What, madame,” said the Béarnais, with his peculiar smile, “did you not tell me we were alone?”
“Yes, sire; but did you not hear me say that by the aid of a tube introduced into the ceiling or the wall everything could be heard?”
“Well, madame, well,” said the Béarnais, earnestly and in a low voice, “it is true you do not love me, but you are, at least, honorable.”
“What do you mean, sire?”
“I mean that if you were capable of betraying me, you would have allowed me to go on, as I was betraying myself. You stopped me—I now know that some one is concealed here—that you are an unfaithful wife, but a faithful ally; and just now, I confess, I have more need of fidelity in politics than in love.”
“Sire!” replied Marguerite, confused.
“Good, good; we will talk of this hereafter,” said Henry, “when we know each other better.”
Then, raising his voice—”Well,” he continued, “do you breathe more freely now, madame?”
“Well, then,” said the Béarnais, “I will no longer intrude on you. I owed you my respects, and some advances toward better acquaintance; deign, then, to accept them, as they are offered, with all my heart. Good-night, and happy slumbers!”
Marguerite raised her eyes, shining with gratitude, and offered her husband her hand.
“It is agreed,” she said.
“Political alliance, frank and loyal?” asked Henry.
“Frank and loyal,” was the reply.
And the Béarnais went toward the door, followed by Marguerite’s look as if she were fascinated. Then, when the curtain had fallen between them and the bedchamber:
“Thanks, Marguerite,” he said, in a quick low tone, “thanks! You are a true daughter of France. I leave you quite tranquil: lacking your love, your friendship will not fail me. I rely on you, as you, on your side, may rely on me. Adieu, madame.”
And Henry kissed his wife’s hand, and pressed it gently. Then with a quick step he returned to his own apartment, saying to himself, in a low voice, in the corridor:
“Who the devil is with her? Is it the King, or the Duc d’Anjou, or the Duc d’Alençon, or the Duc de Guise? is it a brother or a lover? is it both? I’ faith, I am almost sorry now I asked the baroness for this rendezvous; but, as my word is pledged, and Dariole is waiting for me—no matter. Yet, ventre saint gris! this Margot, as my brother-in-law, King Charles, calls her, is an adorable creature.”
And with a step which betrayed a slight hesitation, Henry of Navarre ascended the staircase which led to Madame de Sauve’s apartments.
Marguerite had followed him with her eyes until he disappeared. Then she returned to her chamber, and found the duke at the door of the cabinet. The sight of him almost touched her with remorse.
The duke was grave, and his knitted brow bespoke bitter reflection.
“Marguerite is neutral to-day,” he said; “in a week Marguerite will be hostile.”
“Ah! you have been listening?” said Marguerite.
“What else could I do in the cabinet?”
“And did you find that I behaved otherwise than the Queen of Navarre should behave?”
“No; but differently from the way in which the mistress of the Duc de Guise should behave.”
“Sir,” replied the queen, “I may not love my husband, but no one has the right to require me to betray him. Tell me honestly: would you reveal the secrets of the Princesse de Porcian, your wife?”
“Come, come, madame,” answered the duke, shaking his head, “this is very well; I see that you do not love me as in those days when you disclosed to me the plot of the King against me and my party.”
“The King was strong and you were weak; Henry is weak and you are strong. You see I always play a consistent part.”
“Only you pass from one camp to another.”
“That was a right I acquired, sir, in saving your life.”
“Good, madame; and as when lovers separate, they return all the gifts that have passed between them, I will save your life, in my turn, if ever the need arises, and we shall be quits.”
And the duke bowed and left the room, nor did Marguerite attempt to retain him.
In the antechamber he found Gillonne, who guided him to the window on the ground floor, and in the fosse he found his page, with whom he returned to the Hôtel de Guise.
Marguerite, in a dreamy mood, went to the opened window.
“What a marriage night!” she murmured to herself; “the husband flees from me—the lover forsakes me!”
At that moment, coming from the Tour de Bois, and going up toward the Moulin de la Monnaie, on the other side of the fosse passed a student, his hand on his hip, and singing:
|“Tell me why, O maiden fair,|
|When I burn to bite thy hair,|
|And to kiss thy rosy lips,|
|And to touch thy lovely breast,|
|Like a nun thou feign’st thee blest|
|In the cloister’s sad eclipse?|
|“Who will win the precious prize|
|Of thy brow, thy mouth, thine eyes—|
|Of thy bosom sweet—what lover?|
|Wilt thou all thy charms devote|
|To grim Pluton when the boat|
|Charon rows shall take thee over?|
|“After thou hast sailed across,|
|Loveliest, then wilt find but loss—|
|All thy beauty will decay.|
|When I die and meet thee there|
|In the shades I’ll never swear|
|Thou wert once my mistress gay!|
|“Therefore, darling, while we live,|
|Change thy mind and tokens give—|
|Kisses from thy honey mouth!|
|Else when thou art like to die|
|Thou ’lt repent thy cruelty,|
|Filling all my life with drouth!”|
Marguerite listened with a melancholy smile; then when the student’s voice was lost in the distance, she shut the window, and called Gillonne to help her to prepare for bed.
The next day and those that followed were devoted to festivals, balls, and tournaments.
The same amalgamation continued to take place between the two parties. The caresses and compliments lavished were enough to turn the heads of the most bigoted Huguenots. Père Cotton was to be seen dining and carousing with the Baron de Courtaumer; the Duc de Guise went boating on the Seine with the Prince de Condé. King Charles seemed to have laid aside his usual melancholy, and could not get enough of the society of his new brother-in-law, Henry. Moreover, the queen mother was so gay, and so occupied with embroidery, ornaments, and plumes, that she could not sleep.
The Huguenots, to some degree contaminated by this new Capua, began to assume silken pourpoints, wear devices, and parade before certain balconies, as if they were Catholics.
On every side there was such a reaction in favor of the Protestants that it seemed as if the whole court was about to become Protestant; even the admiral, in spite of his experience, was deceived, and was so carried away that one evening he forgot for two whole hours to chew on his toothpick, which he always used from two o’clock, at which time he finished his dinner, until eight o’clock at night, when he sat down to supper.
The evening on which the admiral thus unaccountably deviated from his usual habit, King Charles IX. had invited Henry of Navarre and the Duc de Guise to sup with him. After the repast he took them into his chamber, and was busily explaining to them the ingenious mechanism of a wolf-trap he had invented, when, interrupting himself,—
“Isn’t the admiral coming to-night?” he asked. “Who has seen him to-day and can tell me anything about him?”
“I have,” said the King of Navarre; “and if your Majesty is anxious about his health, I can reassure you, for I saw him this morning at six, and this evening at seven o’clock.”
“Aha!” replied the King, whose eyes were instantly fixed with a searching expression on his brother-in-law; “for a new-married man, Harry, you are very early.”
“Yes, sire,” answered the King of Navarre, “I wished to inquire of the admiral, who knows everything, whether some gentlemen I am expecting are on their way hither.”
“More gentlemen! why, you had eight hundred on the day of your wedding, and fresh ones join you every day. You are surely not going to invade us?” said Charles IX., smiling.
The Duc de Guise frowned.
“Sire,” returned the Béarnais, “a war with Flanders is spoken of, and I am collecting round me all those gentlemen of my country and its neighborhood whom I think can be useful to your Majesty.”
The duke, calling to mind the pretended project Henry had mentioned to Marguerite the day of their marriage, listened still more attentively.
“Well, well,” replied the King, with his sinister smile, “the more the better; let them all come, Henry. But who are these gentlemen?—brave ones, I trust.”
“I know not, sire, if my gentlemen will ever equal those of your Majesty, or the Duc d’Anjou’s, or the Duc de Guise’s, but I know that they will do their best.”
“Do you expect many?”
“Ten or a dozen more.”
“What are their names?”
“Sire, their names escape me, and with the exception of one, whom Téligny recommended to me as a most accomplished gentleman, and whose name is De la Mole, I cannot tell.”
“De la Mole!” exclaimed the King, who was deeply skilled in the science of genealogy; “is he not a Lerac de la Mole, a Provençal?”
“Exactly so, sire; you see I recruit even in Provence.”
“And I,” added the Duc de Guise, with a sarcastic smile, “go even further than his majesty the King of Navarre, for I seek even in Piedmont all the trusty Catholics I can find.”
“Catholic or Huguenot,” interrupted the King, “it little matters to me, so they are brave.”
The King’s face while he uttered these words, which thus united Catholics and Huguenots in his thoughts, bore such an expression of indifference that the duke himself was surprised.
“Your Majesty is occupied with the Flemings,” said the admiral, to whom Charles had some days previously accorded the favor of entering without being announced, and who had overheard the King’s last words.
“Ah! here is my father the admiral!” cried Charles, opening his arms. “We were speaking of war, of gentlemen, of brave men—and he comes. It is like the lodestone which attracts the iron. My brother-in-law of Navarre and my cousin of Guise are expecting reinforcements for your army. That was what we were talking about.”
“And these reinforcements are on their way,” said the admiral.
“Have you had news of them?” asked the Béarnais.
“Yes, my son, and particularly of M. de la Mole; he was at Orléans yesterday, and will be in Paris to-morrow or the day after.”
“The devil! You must be a sorcerer, admiral,” said the Duc de Guise, “to know what is taking place at thirty or forty leagues’ distance. I should like to know for a certainty what happened or is happening before Orléans.”
Coligny remained unmoved at this savage onslaught, which evidently alluded to the death of François de Guise, the duke’s father, killed before Orléans by Poltrot de Méré, and not without a suspicion that the admiral had advised the crime.
“Sir,” replied he, coldly and with dignity, “I am a sorcerer whenever I wish to know anything positively that concerns my own affairs or the King’s. My courier arrived an hour ago from Orléans, having travelled, thanks to the post, thirty-two leagues in a day. As M. de la Mole has only his own horse, he rides but ten leagues a day, and will not arrive in Paris before the 24th. Here is all my magic.”
“Bravo, my father, a clever answer!” cried Charles IX.; “teach these young men that wisdom as well as age has whitened your hair and beard; so now we will send them to talk of their tournaments and their love-affairs and you and I will stay and talk of our wars. Good councillors make good kings, my father. Leave us, gentlemen. I wish to talk with the admiral.”
The two young men took their departure; the King of Navarre first, then the Duc de Guise; but outside the door they separated, after a formal salute.
Coligny followed them with his eyes, not without anxiety, for he never saw those two personified hatreds meet without a dread that some new lightning flash would leap forth. Charles IX. saw what was passing in his mind, and, going to him, laid his hand on his arm:
“Have no fear, my father; I am here to preserve peace and obedience. I am really a king, now that my mother is no longer queen, and she is no longer queen now that Coligny is my father.”
“Oh, sire!” said the admiral, “Queen Catharine”—
“Is a marplot. Peace is impossible with her. These Italian Catholics are furious, and will hear of nothing but extermination; now, for my part, I not only wish to pacify, but I wish to put power into the hands of those that profess the reformed religion. The others are too dissolute, and scandalize me by their love affairs and their quarrels. Shall I speak frankly to you?” continued Charles, redoubling in energy. “I mistrust every one about me except my new friends. I suspect Tavannes’s ambition. Vieilleville cares only for good wine, and would betray his king for a cask of Malvoisie; Montmorency thinks only of the chase, and spends all his time among his dogs and falcons; the Comte de Retz is a Spaniard; the De Guises are Lorraines. I think there are no true Frenchmen in France, except myself, my brother-in-law of Navarre, and you; but I am chained to the throne, and cannot command armies; it is as much as I can do to hunt at my ease at Saint Germain or Rambouillet. My brother-in-law of Navarre is too young and too inexperienced; besides, he seems to me exactly like his father Antoine, ruined by women. There is but you, my father, who can be called, at the same time, as brave as Cæsar and as wise as Plato; so that I scarcely know what to do—keep you near me, as my adviser, or send you to the army, as its general. If you act as my counsellor, who will command? If you command, who will be my counsellor?”
“Sire,” said Coligny, “we must conquer first, and then take counsel after the victory.”
“That is your advice—so be it; Monday you shall leave for Flanders, and I for Amboise.”
“Your Majesty leaves Paris, then?”
“Yes; I am weary of this confusion, and of these fêtes. I am not a man of action; I am a dreamer. I was not born to be a king; I was born to be a poet. You shall form a council which shall govern while you are at war, and provided my mother is not in it, all will go well. I have already sent word to Ronsard to join me; and yonder, we two together, far from all tumult, far from the world, far from evil men, under our mighty trees on the banks of the river, with the murmur of brooks in our ears, will talk about divine things, the only compensation which there is in the world for the affairs of men. Wait! Hear these lines in which I invite him to join me; I wrote them this morning.”
Coligny smiled. Charles IX. rubbed his hand over his brow, yellow and shining like ivory, and repeated in a kind of sing-song the following couplets:
|“Ronsard, I am full sure that if you see me not,|
|Your great King’s voice by you will shortly be forgot.|
|But as a slight reminder—know I still persevere|
|In making skill of poesy my sole endeavor.|
|And that is why I send to you this warm appeal,|
|To fill your mind with new, enthusiastic zeal.|
|“No longer then amuse yourself with home distractions;|
|Past is the time for gardening and its attractions.|
|Come, follow with your King, who loves you most of all,|
|For that the sweet strong verses from your lips do fall.|
|And if Ardoise shall not behold you shortly present,|
|A mighty quarrel will break out and prove unpleasant!”|
“Bravo! sire, bravo!” cried Coligny, “I am better versed in matters of war than in matters of poetry, but it seems to me that those lines are equal to the best, even written by Ronsard, or Dorat, or even Michel de l’Hôpital, Chancellor of France.”
“Ah! my father!” exclaimed Charles IX.; “would what you said were true! For the title of poet, you see, is what I am ambitious, above all things, to gain; and as I said a few days ago to my master in poetry:
|“‘The art of making verse, if one were criticised,|
|Should ever be above the art of reigning prized.|
|The crowns that you and I upon our brows are wearing,|
|I as the King receive, as poet you are sharing.|
|Your lofty soul, enkindled by celestial beams,|
|Flames of itself, while mine with borrowed glory gleams.|
|If ‘mid the gods I ask which has the better showing,|
|Ronsard is their delight: I, but their image glowing.|
|Your lyre, which ravishes with sounds so sweet and bold,|
|Subdues men’s minds, while I their bodies only hold!|
|It makes you master, lifts you into lofty regions,|
|Where even the haughty tyrant ne’er dared claim allegiance.’”|
“Sire,” said Coligny, “I was well aware that your Majesty conversed with the Muses, but I did not know that you were their chief counsellor.”
“After you, my father, after you. And in order that I may not be disturbed in my relations with them, I wish to put you at the head of everything. So listen: I must now go and reply to a new madrigal my dear and illustrious poet has sent me. I cannot, therefore, give you the documents necessary to make you acquainted with the question now debating between Philip II. and myself. There is, besides, a plan of the campaign drawn up by my ministers. I will find it all for you, and give it to you to-morrow.”
“At what time, sire?”
“At ten o’clock; and if by chance I am busy making verses, or in my cabinet writing, well—you will come in just the same, and take all the papers which you will find on the table in this red portfolio. The color is remarkable, and you cannot mistake it. I am now going to write to Ronsard.”
“Adieu, my father!”
“What, my hand? In my arms, in my heart, there is your place! Come, my old soldier, come!”
And Charles IX., drawing Coligny toward him as he bowed, pressed his lips to his white hair.
The admiral left the room, wiping away a tear.
Charles IX. followed him with his eyes as long as he could see, and listened as long as he could catch a sound; then, when he could no longer hear or see anything, he bent his head over toward his shoulder, as his custom was, and slowly entered his armory.
This armory was the king’s favorite apartment; there he took his fencing-lessons with Pompée, and his poetry lessons with Ronsard. He had gathered there a great collection of the most costly weapons he had been able to find. The walls were hung with axes, shields, spears, halberds, pistols, and muskets, and that day a famous armorer had brought him a magnificent arquebuse, on the barrel of which were inlaid in silver these four lines, composed by the royal poet himself:
|“Pour maintenir la foy,|
|Je suis belle et fidèle.|
|Aux ennemis du Roi,|
|Je suis belle et cruelle.“|
Charles, as we have said, entered this room, and after having shut the door by which he had entered, he raised the tapestry that masked a passage leading into a little chamber, where a woman kneeling before a priedieu was saying her prayers.
As this movement was executed noiselessly, and the footsteps of the king, deadened by the thick carpet, made no more noise than a phantom’s, the kneeling woman heard no sound, and continued to pray. Charles stood for a moment pensively looking at her.
She was a woman of thirty-four or thirty-five years of age, whose vigorous beauty was set off by the costume of the peasants of Caux. She wore the high cap so much the fashion at the court of France during the time of Isabel of Bavaria, and her red bodice was embroidered with gold, like those of the contadine of Nettuno and Sora. The apartment which she had for nearly twenty years occupied was close to the King’s bed-chamber and presented a singular mixture of elegance and rusticity. In equal measure the palace had encroached upon the cottage, and the cottage upon the palace, so that the room combined the simplicity of the peasant woman and the luxury of the court lady.
The priedieu on which she knelt was of oak, marvellously carved, covered with velvet and with gold fringes, while the Bible from which she was reading (for she was of the reformed religion) was very old and torn, like those found in the poorest cottages; now everything in the room was typified by the priedieu and the Bible.
“Eh, Madelon!” said the King.
The kneeling woman lifted her head smilingly at the well-known voice, and rising from her knees,—
“Ah! it is you, my son,” said she.
“Yes, nurse; come here.”
Charles IX. let fall the curtain, and sat down on the arm of an easy-chair. The nurse appeared.
“What do you want with me, Charlot?”
“Come near, and answer in a low tone.”
The nurse approached him with a familiarity such as might come from that maternal affection felt by a woman for her nursling, but attributed by the pamphlets of the time to a source infinitely less pure.
“Here I am,” said she; “speak!”
“Is the man I sent for come?”
“He has been here half an hour.”
Charles rose, approached the window, looked to assure himself there were no eavesdroppers, went to the door and looked out there also, shook the dust from his trophies of arms, patted a large greyhound which followed him wherever he went, stopping when he stopped and moving when he moved,—then returning to his nurse:
“Very well, nurse, let him come in,” said he.
The worthy woman disappeared by the same passage by which she had entered, while the king went and leaned against a table on which were scattered arms of every kind.
Scarcely had he done so when the portière was again lifted, and the person whom he expected entered.
He was a man of about forty, his eyes gray and false, his nose curved like the beak of a screech-owl, his cheek-bones prominent. His face tried to look respectful, but all that he could do was to wear a hypocritical smile on his lips blanched with fear.
Charles gently put his hand behind him, and grasped the butt of a pistol of a new construction, that was discharged, not by a match, as formerly, but by a flint brought in contact with a wheel of steel. He fixed his dull eyes steadily on the newcomer; meantime he whistled, with perfect precision and with remarkable sweetness, one of his favorite hunting-airs.
After a pause of some minutes, during which the expression of the stranger’s face grew more and more discomposed,
“You are the person,” said the King, “called François de Louvièrs Maurevel?”
“Captain of petardeers?”
“I wanted to see you.”
Maurevel made a low bow.
“You know,” continued Charles, laying a stress on each word, “that I love all my subjects equally?”
“I know,” stammered Maurevel, “that your Majesty is the father of your people.”
“And that the Huguenots and Catholics are equally my children?”
Maurevel remained silent, but his agitation was manifest to the King’s piercing eyes, although the person whom he was addressing was almost concealed in the darkness.
“Does this displease you,” said the King, “you who have waged such a bitter war on the Huguenots?”
Maurevel fell on his knees.
“Sire,” stammered he, “believe that”—
“I believe,” continued Charles, looking more and more keenly at Maurevel, while his eyes, which at first had seemed like glass, now became almost fiery, “I believe that you had a great desire at Moncontour to kill the admiral, who has just left me; I believe you missed your aim, and that then you entered the army of my brother, the Duc d’Anjou; I believe that then you went for a second time over to the prince’s and there took service in the company of M. de Mouy de Saint Phale”—
“A brave gentleman from Picardy”—
“Sire, sire!” cried Maurevel, “do not overwhelm me.”
“He was a brave officer,” continued Charles, whose features assumed an aspect of almost ferocious cruelty, “who received you as if you had been his son; fed you, lodged you, and clothed you.”
Maurevel uttered a despairing sigh.
“You called him your father, I believe,” continued the King, pitilessly, “and a tender friendship existed between you and the young De Mouy, his son.”
Maurevel, still on his knees, bowed low, more and more crushed under the indignation of the King, who stood immovable, like a statue whose lips only are endowed with vitality.
“By the way,” continued the King, “M. de Guise was to give you ten thousand crowns if you killed the admiral—was he not?”
The assassin in consternation struck his forehead against the floor.
“As regards your worthy father, the Sieur de Mouy, you were one day acting as his escort in a reconnaissance toward Chevreux. He dropped his whip and dismounted to pick it up. You were alone with him; you took a pistol from your holster, and while he was bending over, you shot him in the back; then seeing he was dead—for you killed him on the spot—you escaped on the horse he had given you. This is your history, I believe?”
And as Maurevel remained mute under this accusation, every circumstance of which was true, Charles IX. began to whistle again, with the same precision and melody, the same hunting-air.
“Now, then, murderer!” said he after a little, “do you know I have a great mind to have you hanged?”
“Oh, your Majesty!” cried Maurevel.
“Young De Mouy entreated me to do so only yesterday, and I scarcely knew what answer to make him, for his demand was perfectly just.”
Maurevel clasped his hands.
“All the more just, because I am, as you say, the father of my people; and because, as I answered you, now that I am reconciled to the Huguenots, they are as much my children as the Catholics.”
“Sire,” said Maurevel, in despair, “my life is in your hands; do with it what you will.”
“You are quite right, and I would not give a groat for it.”
“But, sire,” asked the assassin, “is there no means of redeeming my crime?”
“None that I know of; only if I were in your place—but thank God I am not”—
“Well, sire, if you were in my place?” murmured Maurevel, his eyes fixed on the King’s lips.
“I think I could extricate myself,” said the King.
Maurevel raised himself on one knee and one hand, fixing his eyes upon Charles to make certain that he was not jesting.
“I am very fond of young De Mouy,” said the King; “but I am equally fond of my cousin De Guise; and if my cousin asked me to spare a man that the other wanted me to hang, I confess I should be embarrassed; but for policy as well as religion’s sake I should comply with my cousin De Guise’s request, for De Mouy, brave captain though he be, is but a petty personage compared with a prince of Lorraine.”
During these words, Maurevel slowly rose, like a man whose life is saved.
“In your critical situation it would be a very important thing to gain my cousin De Guise’s favor. So I am going to tell you what he said to me last night.”
Maurevel drew nearer.
“‘Imagine, sire,’ said he to me, ‘that every morning, at ten o’clock, my deadliest enemy passes down the Rue Saint Germain l’Auxerrois, on his return from the Louvre. I see him from a barred window in the room of my old preceptor, the Canon Pierre Piles, and I pray the devil to open the earth and swallow him in its abysses.’ Now, Maître Maurevel,” continued the King, “perhaps if you were the devil, or if for an instant you should take his place, that would perhaps please my cousin De Guise.”
Maurevel’s infernal smile came back to his lips, though they were still bloodless with terror, and he stammered out these words:
“But, sire, I cannot make the earth open.”
“Yet you made it open wide enough for the worthy De Mouy, if I remember correctly. After this you will tell me how with a pistol—have you not that pistol still?”
“Forgive me, sire, I am a still better marksman with an arquebuse than a pistol,” replied Maurevel, now quite reassured.
“Pistol or arquebuse makes no difference,” said the King; “I am sure my cousin De Guise will not cavil over the choice of methods.”
“But,” said Maurevel, “I must have a weapon I can rely on, as, perhaps, I shall have to fire from a long distance.”
“I have ten arquebuses in this room,” replied Charles IX., “with which I can hit a crown-piece at a hundred and fifty paces—will you try one?”
“Most willingly, sire!” cried Maurevel, with the greatest joy, going in the direction of one which was standing in a corner of the room. It was the one which that day had been brought to the King.
“No, not that one,” said the King, “not that one; I reserve that for myself. Some day I am going to have a grand hunt and then I hope to use it. Take any other you like.”
Maurevel took one down from a trophy.
“And who is this enemy, sire?” asked the assassin.
“How should I know,” replied Charles, withering the wretch with his contemptuous look.
“I must ask M. de Guise, then,” faltered Maurevel.
The King shrugged his shoulders.
“Do not ask,” said he; “for M. de Guise will not answer. Do people generally answer such questions? Those that do not wish to be hanged must guess them.”
“But how shall I know him?”
“I tell you he passes the Canon’s house every morning at ten o’clock.”
‘But many pass that house. Would your Majesty deign to give me any certain sign?’
‘Oh, that is easy enough; to-morrow, for example, he will carry a red morocco portfolio under his arm.’
‘That is sufficient, sire.’
‘You still have the fast horse M. de Mouy gave you?’
‘Sire, I have one of the fleetest of horses.’
‘Oh, I am not in the least anxious about you; only it is as well to let you know the monastery has a back door.’
‘Thanks, sire; pray Heaven for me!’
‘Oh, a thousand devils! pray to Satan rather; for only by his aid can you escape a halter.’
‘Adieu! By the way, M. de Maurevel, remember that if you are heard of before ten to-morrow, or are not heard of afterward, there is a dungeon at the Louvre.’
And Charles IX. calmly began to whistle, with more than usual precision, his favorite air.
The hôtel occupied by the admiral, as we have said, was situated in the Rue de Béthizy. It was a great mansion at the rear of a court and had two wings giving on the street. A wall furnished with a large gate and two small grilled doors stretched from wing to wing.
When our three Guisards reached the end of the Rue de Béthizy, which is a continuation of the Rue des Fossés Saint Germain l’Auxerrois, they saw the hôtel surrounded by Swiss, by soldiers, and by armed citizens; every one had in his right hand either a sword or a pike or an arquebuse, and some held in their left hands torches, shedding over the scene a fitful and melancholy glare which, according as the throng moved, shifted along the street, climbed the walls; or spread over that living sea where every weapon cast its answering flash.
All around the hôtel and in the Rues Tirechappe, Étienne, and Bertin Poirée the terrible work was proceeding. Long shouts were heard, there was an incessant rattle of musketry, and from time to time some wretch, half naked, pale, and drenched in blood, leaped like a hunted stag into the circle of lugubrious light where a host of fiends seemed to be at work.
In an instant Coconnas, Maurevel, and La Hurière, accredited by their white crosses, and received with cries of welcome, were in the thickest of this struggling, panting mob. Doubtless they would not have been able to advance had not some of the throng recognized Maurevel and made way for him. Coconnas and La Hurière followed him closely and the three therefore contrived to get into the court-yard.
In the centre of this court-yard, the three doors of which had been burst open, a man, around whom the assassins formed a respectful circle, stood leaning on his drawn rapier, and eagerly looking up at a balcony about fifteen feet above him, and extending in front of the principal window of the hôtel.
This man stamped impatiently on the ground, and from time to time questioned those that were nearest to him.
“Nothing yet!” murmured he. “No one!—he must have been warned and has escaped. What do you think, Du Gast?”
“Why? Did you not tell me that just before we arrived a man, bare-headed, a drawn sword in his hand, came running, as if pursued, knocked at the door, and was admitted?”
“Yes, monseigneur; but M. de Besme came up immediately, the gates were shattered, and the hôtel was surrounded.”
“The man went in sure enough, but he has not gone out.”
“Why,” said Coconnas to La Hurière, “if my eyes do not deceive me, I see Monsieur de Guise.”
“You do see him, sir. Yes; the great Henry de Guise is come in person to watch for the admiral and serve him as he served the duke’s father. Every one has his day, and it is our turn now.”
“Holà, Besme, holà!” cried the duke, in his powerful voice, “have you not finished yet?”
And he struck his sword so forcibly against the stones that sparks flew out.
At this instant shouts were heard in the hôtel—then several shots—then a great shuffling of feet and a clashing of swords, and then all was again silent.
The duke was about to rush into the house.
“Monseigneur, monseigneur!” said Du Gast, detaining him, “your dignity commands you to wait here.”
“You are right, Du Gast. I must stay here; but I am dying with impatience and anxiety. If he were to escape me!”
Suddenly the noise of feet came nearer—the windows of the first floor were lighted up with what seemed the reflection of a conflagration.
The window, to which the duke’s eyes had been so many times lifted, opened, or, rather, was shattered to pieces, and a man, his pale face and white neck stained with blood, appeared on the balcony.
“Ah! at last, Besme!” cried the duke; “speak! speak!”
“Louk! louk!” replied the German coldly, and stooping down he lifted up something which seemed like a heavy body.
“But where are the others?” asked the duke, impatiently, “where are the others?”
“De udders are vinishing de udders!”
“And what have you done?”
“Vait! You shall peholt! Shtant pack a liddle.”
The duke fell back a step.
At that instant the object Besme was dragging toward him with such effort became visible.
It was the body of an old man.
He lifted it above the balcony, held it suspended an instant, and then flung it down at his master’s feet.
The heavy thud, the billows of blood spurting from the body and spattering the pavement all around, filled even the duke himself with horror; but this feeling lasted only an instant, and curiosity caused every one to crowd forward, so that the glare of the torches flickered on the victim’s body.
They could see a white beard, a venerable face, and limbs contracted by death.
“The admiral!” cried twenty voices, as instantaneously hushed.
“Yes, the admiral, here he is!” said the duke, approaching the corpse, and contemplating it with silent ecstasy.
“The admiral! the admiral!” repeated the witnesses of this terrible scene, crowding together and timidly approaching the old man, majestic even in death.
“Ah, at last, Gaspard!” said the Duke de Guise, triumphantly. “Murderer of my father! thus do I avenge him!”
And the duke dared to plant his foot on the breast of the Protestant hero.
But instantly the dying warrior opened his eyes, his bleeding and mutilated hand was clinched for the last time, and the admiral, though without stirring, said to the duke in a sepulchral voice:
“Henry de Guise, some day the assassin’s foot shall be felt on your breast. I did not kill your father. A curse upon you.”
The duke, pale, and trembling in spite of himself, felt a cold shudder come over him. He passed his hand across his brow, as if to dispel the fearful vision; when he dared again to glance at the admiral his eyes were closed, his hand unclinched, and a stream of black blood was flowing from the mouth which had just pronounced such terrible words.
The duke raised his sword with a gesture of desperate resolution.
“Vell, monsir, are you gondent?”
“Yes, my worthy friend, yes, for you have revenged”—
“The Dugue François, haf I not?”
“Our religion,” replied Henry, in a solemn voice. “And now,” he went on, addressing the Swiss, the soldiers, and citizens who filled the court and street, “to work, my friends, to work!”
“Good evening, M. de Besme,” said Coconnas with a sort of admiration, approaching the German, who still stood on the balcony, calmly wiping his sword.
“So you settled him, did you?” cried La Hurière; “how did you manage it?”
“Oh, zimbly, zimbly; he haf heerd de gommotion, he haf oben de door unt I joost brick my rabier troo his potty. But I tink dey am gilling Téligny now. I hear his gries!”
At that instant, in fact, several shrieks, apparently uttered by a woman in distress, were heard; the windows of the long gallery which formed a wing of the hotel were lighted up with a red glare; two men were seen fleeing, pursued by a long line of assassins. An arquebuse-shot killed one; the other, finding an open window directly in his way, without stopping to look at the distance from the ground, sprang boldly into the courtyard below, heeding not the enemies who awaited him there.
“Kill! kill!” cried the assassins, seeing their prey about to escape them.
The fugitive picked up his sword, which as he stumbled had fallen from his hand, dashed headlong through the soldiers, upset three or four, ran one through the body, and amid the pistol-shots and curses of the soldiers, rendered furious because they had missed him, darted like lightning in front of Coconnas, who was waiting for him at the gate with his poniard in his hand.
“Touched!” cried the Piedmontese, piercing his arm with his keen, delicate blade.
“Coward!” replied the fugitive, striking his enemy in the face with the flat of his weapon, for want of room to thrust at him with its point.
“A thousand devils!” cried Coconnas; “it’s Monsieur de la Mole!”
“Monsieur de la Mole!” reëchoed La Hurière and Maurevel.
“He is the one who warned the admiral!” cried several soldiers.
“Kill him—kill him!” was shouted on all sides.
Coconnas, La Hurière, and a dozen soldiers rushed in pursuit of La Mole, who, covered with blood, and having attained that state of exaltation which is the last resource of human strength, dashed through the streets, with no other guide than instinct. Behind him, the footsteps and shouts of his enemies spurred him on and seemed to give him wings. Occasionally a bullet would whistle by his ears and suddenly add new swiftness to his flight just as it was beginning to slacken. He no longer breathed; it was not breath, but a dull rattle, a hoarse panting, that came from his chest. Perspiration and blood wet his locks and ran together down his face.
His doublet soon became too oppressive for the beating of his heart and he tore it off. Soon his sword became too heavy for his hand and he flung it far away. Sometimes it seemed to him that the footsteps of his pursuers were farther off and that he was about to escape them; but in response to their shouts, other murderers who were along his path and nearer to him left off their bloody occupations and started in pursuit of him.
Suddenly he caught sight of the river flowing silently at his left; it seemed to him that he should feel, like a stag at bay, an ineffable pleasure in plunging into it, and only the supreme power of reason could restrain him.
On his right was the Louvre, dark and motionless, but full of strange and ominous sounds; soldiers on the drawbridge came and went, and helmets and cuirasses glittered in the moonlight. La Mole thought of the King of Navarre, as he had before thought of Coligny; they were his only protectors. He collected all his strength, and inwardly vowing to abjure his faith should he escape the massacre, by making a detour of a score or two of yards he misled the mob pursuing him, darted straight for the Louvre, leaped upon the drawbridge among the soldiers, received another poniard stab which grazed his side, and despite the cries of “Kill—kill!” which resounded on all sides, and the opposing weapons of the sentinels, darted like an arrow through the court, into the vestibule, mounted the staircase, then up two stories higher, recognized a door, and leaning against it, struck it violently with his hands and feet.
“Who is there?” asked a woman’s voice.
“Oh, my God!” murmured La Mole; “they are coming, I hear them; ’tis I—’tis I!”
“Who are you?” said the voice.
La Mole recollected the pass-word.
“Navarre—Navarre!” cried he.
The door instantly opened. La Mole, without thanking, without even seeing Gillonne, dashed into the vestibule, then along a corridor, through two or three chambers, until at last he entered a room lighted by a lamp suspended from the ceiling.
Behind curtains of velvet with gold fleurs-de-lis, in a bed of carved oak, a lady, half naked, leaning on her arm, stared at him with eyes wide open with terror.
La Mole sprang toward her.
“Madame,” cried he, “they are killing, they are butchering my brothers—they seek to kill me, to butcher me also! Ah! you are the queen—save me!”
And he threw himself at her feet, leaving on the carpet a large track of blood.
At the sight of a man pale, exhausted, and bleeding at her feet, the Queen of Navarre started up in terror, hid her face in her hands, and called for help.
“Madame,” cried La Mole, endeavoring to rise, “in the name of Heaven do not call, for if you are heard I am lost! Assassins are in my track—they are rushing up the stairs behind me. I hear them—there they are! there they are!”
“Help!” cried the queen, beside herself, “help!”
“Ah!” said La Mole, despairingly, “you have killed me. To die by so sweet a voice, so fair a hand! I did not think it possible.”
At the same time the door flew open, and a troop of men, their faces covered with blood and blackened with powder, their swords drawn, and their pikes and arquebuses levelled, rushed into the apartment.
Coconnas was at their head—his red hair bristling, his pale blue eyes extraordinarily dilated, his cheek cut open by La Mole’s sword, which had ploughed its bloody furrow there. Thus disfigured, the Piedmontese was terrible to behold.
“By Heaven!” he cried, “there he is! there he is! Ah! this time we have him at last!”
La Mole looked round him for a weapon, but in vain; he glanced at the queen, and saw the deepest pity depicted in her face; then he felt that she alone could save him; he threw his arms round her.
Coconnas advanced, and with the point of his long rapier again wounded his enemy’s shoulder, and the crimson drops of warm blood stained the white and perfumed sheets of Marguerite’s couch.
Marguerite saw the blood flow; she felt the shudder that ran through La Mole’s frame; she threw herself with him into the recess between the bed and the wall. It was time, for La Mole, whose strength was exhausted, was incapable of flight or resistance; he leaned his pallid head on Marguerite’s shoulder, and his hand convulsively seized and tore the thin embroidered cambric which enveloped Marguerite’s body in a billow of gauze.
“Oh, madame,” murmured he, in a dying voice, “save me.”
He could say no more. A mist like the darkness of death came over his eyes, his head sunk back, his arms fell at his side, his legs gave way, and he sank on the floor, bathed in his blood, and dragging the queen with him.
At this moment Coconnas, excited by the shouts, intoxicated by the sight of blood, and exasperated by the long chase, advanced toward the recess; in another instant his sword would have pierced La Mole’s heart, and perhaps Marguerite’s also.
At the sight of the bare steel, and even more moved at such brutal insolence, the daughter of kings drew herself up to her full stature and uttered such a shriek of terror, indignation, and rage that the Piedmontese stood petrified by an unknown feeling; and yet undoubtedly had this scene been prolonged and no other actor taken part in it, his feeling would have vanished like a morning snow under an April sun. But suddenly a secret door in the wall opened, and a pale young man of sixteen or seventeen, dressed in black and with his hair in disorder, rushed in.
“Wait, sister!” he cried; “here I am, here I am!”
“François! François!” cried Marguerite; “help! help!”
“The Duc d’Alençon!” murmured La Hurière, grounding his arquebuse.
“By Heaven! a son of France!” growled Coconnas, drawing back.
The duke glanced round him. He saw Marguerite, dishevelled, more lovely than ever, leaning against the wall, surrounded by men, fury in their eyes, sweat on their foreheads, and foam in their mouths.
“Wretches!” cried he.
“Save me, brother!” shrieked Marguerite. “They are going to kill me!”
A flame flashed across the duke’s pallid face.
He was unarmed, but sustained, no doubt, by the consciousness of his rank, he advanced with clinched fists toward Coconnas and his companions, who retreated, terrified at the lightning darting from his eyes.
“Ha! and will you murder a son of France, too?” cried the duke. Then, as they recoiled,—”Ho, there! captain of the guard! Hang every one of these ruffians!”
More alarmed at the sight of this weaponless young man than he would have been at the aspect of a regiment of reiters or lansquenets, Coconnas had already reached the door. La Hurière was leaping downstairs like a deer, and the soldiers were jostling and pushing one another in the vestibule in their endeavors to escape, finding the door far too small for their great desire to be outside it. Meantime Marguerite had instinctively thrown the damask coverlid of her bed over La Mole, and withdrawn from him.
When the last murderer had departed the Duc d’Alençon came back:
“Sister,” he cried, seeing Marguerite all dabbled with blood, “are you wounded?” And he sprang toward his sister with a solicitude which would have done credit to his affection if he had not been charged with harboring too deep an affection for a brother to entertain for a sister.
“No,” said she; “I think not, or, if so, very slightly.”
“But this blood,” said the duke, running his trembling hands all over Marguerite’s body. “Where does it come from?”
“I know not,” replied she; “one of those wretches laid his hand on me, and perhaps he was wounded.”
“What!” cried the duke, “he dared to touch my sister? Oh, if you had only pointed him out to me, if you had told me which one it was, if I knew where to find him”—
“Hush!” said Marguerite.
“And why?” asked François.
“Because if you were seen at this time of night in my room”—
“Can’t a brother visit his sister, Marguerite?”
The queen gave the duke a look so keen and yet so threatening that the young man drew back.
“Yes, yes, Marguerite,” said he, “you are right, I will go to my room; but you cannot remain alone this dreadful night. Shall I call Gillonne?”
“No, no! leave me, François—leave me. Go by the way you came!”
The young prince obeyed; and hardly had he disappeared when Marguerite, hearing a sigh from behind her bed, hurriedly bolted the door of the secret passage, and then hastening to the other entrance closed it in the same way, just as a troop of archers and soldiers like a hurricane dashed by in hot chase of some other Huguenot residents in the Louvre.
After glancing round to assure herself that she was really alone, she again went to the “ruelle” of her bed, lifted the damask covering which had concealed La Mole from the Duc d’Alençon, and drawing the apparently lifeless body, by great exertion, into the middle of the room, and finding that the victim still breathed, sat down, placed his head on her knees, and sprinkled his face with water.
Then as the water cleared away the mask of blood, dust, and gunpowder which had covered his face, Marguerite recognized the handsome cavalier who, full of life and hope, had three or four hours before come to ask her to look out for his interests with her protection and that of the King of Navarre; and had gone away, dazzled by her beauty, leaving her also impressed by his.
Marguerite uttered a cry of terror, for now what she felt for the wounded man was more than mere pity—it was interest. He was no longer a mere stranger: he was almost an acquaintance. By her care La Mole’s fine features soon reappeared, free from stain, but pale and distorted by pain. A shudder ran through her whole frame as she tremblingly placed her hand on his heart. It was still beating. Then she took a smelling-bottle from the table, and applied it to his nostrils.
La Mole opened his eyes.
“Oh! mon Dieu!” murmured he; “where am I?”
“Saved!” said Marguerite. “Reassure yourself—you are saved.”
La Mole turned his eyes on the queen, gazed earnestly for a moment, and murmured,
“Oh, how beautiful you are!”
Then as if the vision were too much for him, he closed his lids and drew a sigh.
Marguerite started. He had become still paler than before, if that were possible, and for an instant that sigh was his last.
“Oh, my God! my God!” she ejaculated, “have pity on him!”
At this moment a violent knocking was heard at the door. Marguerite half raised herself, still supporting La Mole.
“Who is there?” she cried.
“Madame, it is I—it is I,” replied a woman’s voice, “the Duchesse de Nevers.”
“Henriette!” cried Marguerite. “There is no danger; it is a friend of mine! Do you hear, sir?”
La Mole with some effort got up on one knee.
“Try to support yourself while I go and open the door,” said the queen.
La Mole rested his hand on the floor and succeeded in holding himself upright.
Marguerite took one step toward the door, but suddenly stopped, shivering with terror.
“Ah, you are not alone!” she said, hearing the clash of arms outside.
“No, I have twelve guards which my brother-in-law, Monsieur de Guise, assigned me.”
‘Monsieur de Guise!’ murmured La Mole. ‘The assassin—the assassin!’
‘Silence!’ said Marguerite. ‘Not a word!’
And she looked round to see where she could conceal the wounded man.
‘A sword! a dagger!’ muttered La Mole.
‘To defend yourself—useless! Did you not hear? There are twelve of them, and you are alone.’
‘Not to defend myself, but that I may not fall alive into their hands.’
‘No, no!’ said Marguerite. ‘No, I will save you. Ah! this cabinet! Come! come.’
La Mole made an effort, and, supported by Marguerite, dragged himself to the cabinet. Marguerite locked the door upon him, and hid the key in her alms-purse.
‘Not a cry, not a groan, not a sigh,’ whispered she, through the panelling, ‘and you are saved.’
Then hastily throwing a night-robe over her shoulders, she opened the door for her friend, who tenderly embraced her.
‘Ah!’ cried Madame Nevers, ‘then nothing has happened to you, madame!’
‘No, nothing at all,’ replied Marguerite, wrapping the mantle still more closely round her to conceal the spots of blood on her peignoir.
’Tis well. However, as Monsieur de Guise has given me twelve of his guards to escort me to his hôtel, and as I do not need such a large company, I am going to leave six with your majesty. Six of the duke’s guards are worth a regiment of the King’s to-night.”
Marguerite dared not refuse; she placed the soldiers in the corridor, and embraced the duchess, who then returned to the Hôtel de Guise, where she resided in her husband’s absence.” Alexandre Dumas, Marguerite de Valois; Chapters 1-3, 8, 1845.
Pontoppidan gives us a chapter in the Evolution
of the Danish Peasant. The period he chooses
for the story, about twenty years ago, was one
filled with the falling echoes of great religious
and political enthusiasms.
Until 1788, when Serfage was abolished under
the regency of Frederik the Sixth, ‘the People’s
Friend,’ the Danish Peasant was simply a slave,
bought and sold with the land he laboured on,
and absolutely at the mercy of his feudal lord.
Personal freedom became his then, but he was
still without the other rights of a citizen. These
were, however, granted him in the fullest measure
by the Constitution of 1849, a constitution that
was then the most free of any in Europe. This
gave him, amongst other things, Religious Liberty,
Manhood Suffrage, Free Education, a Free Press,
and Parish Councils. The outburst of popular
enthusiasm at this juncture was immense. The
Peasant was half intoxicated with his new powers,
and was anxious to experiment with them at once.
The two predominant political parties in Den-
mark at that time, under whose influence he fell,
were the ‘National-Liberal’ party and the
‘Friends of the Peasants.’ The former had
grown out of the Constitutional disputes with
the dependent Duchies, Schleswig and Holstein,
which culminated in the war of 1848, when
the Danes were victorious. It was patriotic,
anti-German, Scandinavian; and taught with
unmeasured enthusiasm that no personal sacrifice
was too great in the cause of Denmark.
The ‘Friends of the Peasants’ were also
Patriotic, but more democratically so, and declared
that the welfare of their country depended
mainly on the Peasant, whom they courted and
exalted in every possible way.
Both of these movements also more or less
directly influenced a man who was then one of
the most remarkable figures in Denmark, Bishop
Nicholai Frederik Severin Grundtvig, the Saga-
Priest; and through him reacted back on the
Peasant. Born in 1783, he had spent his early
life and manhood in combating the hide-bound
orthodoxy and formal pietism of the State
Church; and by the time the Constitution was
granted he had gathered a great following in the
Church, and had aroused the same sort of personal
enthusiasm as John Wesley in England.
He saw that the peasant, though nominally
free, was still bound in ignorance, an ignorance
which he bent all his mind to dispel. He had
been struck during a visit to England with the
efforts that were made there for the enlightenment
of the poorer classes, and resolved to imitate
them in Denmark.
This he did by the establishment of ” High
Schools ” for the people, where he gathered
together young men and maidens, for months at
a time (the one sex in summer the other in
winter), and by means of lectures, historical
readings, and the singing of patriotic songs,
saturated their minds with a love of their Father-
land and a knowledge of its glorious past. He
put the old gods before them as the only natural
and inevitable forerunners of Christianity, and
constantly recited the Eddas and Sagas. The
awakening of the spirit was his prime object,
rather than the training of the intellect.
So successful were the High Schools that in a
somewhat modified form they are now general all
over Denmark, and in an address given at the
opening of the new building of the Danish
Students Society, in 1894, Georg Brandes said : —
” If we wished to point out to a foreigner what
was most remarkable in modern Denmark we
should distinguish three things of National
Origin,” and the first of these is ” the Peoples’
This great institution, then, with its religious-
political teaching, together with the outcome of
the agitations of the ” National-Liberal ” party
and the “Friends of the Peasants,” form the
background to the story before us. Grundtvig
himself had died in 1872, but the Grundtvigians
were still a united and powerful body.
The National-Liberals and the Friends of the
Peasants were no longer organized parties, but
they had left their mark on the minds of the
People, whose keen interest in politics was kept
alive by the grave dangers that loomed on the
constitutional horizon. By the revision of the
Constitution in 1866 their liberties were already
and somewhat curtailed, and a still more serious
incursion on them (to which reference is made
in Mr Pontoppidan’s later story, ” The Promised
Land,” a sequel to ” Emanuel “) was soon to be
made by the decreeing of provisionary Budgets
by the King without the consent of the Rigsdag.
Veilby and Skibberup have their prototypes in
two picturesque and remote villages on the
Roeskilde Fjord in North Sjoelland. Here
Henrik Pontoppidan lived for years, and here he
learnt to know the Peasants whom he describes
so charmingly, not only in ‘Emanuel’ and ‘The
Promised Land,’ but also in his volumes of
short stories, ‘Village Pictures,’ and ‘From
the Cottages.’ Here, too, the material for the
illustrations in this volume and ‘The Promised
Land’ was collected. …
It was towards the end of the seventies.
For a week the devil’s own weather had raged
over the district. The storm had swept from the
east on the wings of wild, jagged, blue black
clouds, lashing up the waters of the fiord, so
that great masses of foam were thrown high on
to the fields. In many places the peasants’
winter corn was completely uprooted ; the reeds
and rushes in the bogs were beaten down, the
meadows seared, and the ditches choked with
sand and earth so that the water not finding an
outlet spread itself over both fields and roads.
There were uprooted trees in every direction,
shattered telegraph posts, broken down corn
stacks, and dead birds killed by the hurricane.
In the little village of Veilby which lay quite
unprotected on the top of a hill, an old barn blew
down one night with such a crash, that all the
people sprang up out of their beds and rushed
4 EMANUEL; OR
into the street in their night clothes. A dozen
chimney pots were blown down the same night,
and whole flower beds uprooted in the Parsonage
garden ; and all the starlings’ building boxes were
blown out of the trees.
Nay the heavenly powers did not even spare
the Provst ; while the storm was at its height he
stepped out one afternoon on to the verandah to
look round at the scene of devastation ; the wind
lifted the hat from his white head, threw it to
the ground like a ball, trundled it along the road,
and in spite of all his efforts to stop it, swept it
along in a swirling dust-cloud. It only relin-
quished its prey in a ditch behind some black-
thorn bushes, a long way down the high road, to
cast its force over a little girl who lived beyond the
common, and who weeping bitterly, was struggling
home from school. Then with howls and shrieks
as of a hundred devils let loose, the wind enveloped
the worn out little creature, puffed up her skirts
and drove her nearer and nearer the edge of the
road, till it at last overturned her by a corner
stone, and sent her rolling with despairing cries
into an old gravel pit. Here her little doubled
up corpse was found next day by the searchers ;
a new catechism still tightly pressed to her
sheltering bosom, with convulsive grasp.
Never in the memory of man had such weather
” The Lord preserve those at sea,” the people
shouted to each other through the uproar, when
CHILDREN OF THE SOIL 5
they met in the street as they fought their way
step by step along the road with head bowed
down ; or flying along with the storm behind
them. ” Lucky folks who have a roof over their
heads,” thought those who were sitting at home
in their half dark rooms, where even in the middle
of the day they could hardly see to read the
newspaper ; while the wind piped and whistled
round them as if all the evil spirits were let loose
on the village. The horses stood pricking up
their ears in the stables, and shaking with fear ;
the cows bellowed one against the other as at a
fire, even the cats went mewing about in a plaintive
manner; and the dogs snuffed round uneasily,
with their tails between their legs. When at last
the storm subsided a little, the snow came tumbling
down in white masses ; — and though it was still
early winter, the beginning of December, it
remained lying on the ground and filling the
ditches, hiding the uprooted trees, heaping itself
against broken fences, and covering torn thatch.
For full three days and nights heaven and earth
were merged in one.
By this time several people had begun to search
their innermost hearts, and to make up their
accounts with the Almighty in the belief that the
Day of Judgment must be at hand. Even on
the evening of the third day when the people
began shovelling away the snow drifts from the
doors, and sweeping the thick cakes of snow from
the window panes, more than one man standing
6 EMANUEL; OR
on his door-step, in the struggling moonbeams,
peering out over the desolate white waste of
snow to which earth and fiord were changed,
wondered ” what it all meant,” that is to say was
it a warning, a heavenly proclamation of some
great event which might be expected to befal the
village, the district, or possibly the whole land
in the immediate future ?
On the same evening a young stranger was
sitting in the study with the Provst, he had
arrived the day before, when the snowstorm was
at its height.
He was a tall slightly built man in a long
black coat and white tie. His light blue eyes
looked out with an open glance, from a pale
childlike face. Over his forehead, which was
high and arched, waved a quantity of slightly
curling hair, and a fine growth of pale down
was visible on his chin and down the sides of
Provst Tonnesen sat opposite to him in a
large old fashioned porter’s chair with earpieces
and a neck cushion. He was a handsome man
of giant build, with the bearing of a church
dignitary; his head was massive, and , covered
with short bristling white hair. Behind long,
CHILDREN OF THE SOIL 7
overhanging, and still quite black eyebrows
gleamed dark grey eyes, which together with
the full curves of the nose and lips gave to the
clean shaven face a somewhat southern appear-
ance. His clothing, from the spotless cambric
tie to his brocaded vest and shining boots, dis-
closed an unusual degree of attention to outward
appearance in a village pastor. His bearing,
and the way in which in the course of conver-
sation he took whiffs from a long -stemmed
pipe all revealed the self-confident man of the
Folding doors at his side stood open to the
drawing – room, a large handsomely furnished
room where his daughter, a pale, auburn haired
girl, sat working by a tall lamp with a green
shade. Silence reigned around. All sound
seemed drowned in the waste of snow with-
out. Besides the Provst’s deep bass voice only
the crackling of the stove was to be heard and
the monotonous chatter of a parrot in a cage by
the young lady.
The young stranger was the Provst’s new
curate whose arrival had been awaited^ with
much interest, not only at the Parsonage but
throughout the parish. Directly after the mid-
day meal the two priests had withdrawn to the
subdued light of the study ; and for the last four
hours had discussed all kinds of things concern-
ing their mutually responsible office.
The conversation was almost entirely carried
8 EMANUEL; OR
on by the Provst. The curate was a very young
man of six-and-twenty, and he had only a few
days ago been solemnly ordained by the Bishop
to the cure of souls. It was evident that he
was still somewhat oppressed by his new
dignity. He coloured up every time the Provst
addressed him as ” Herr Pastor,” and looked
The Provst began his discourse in a quiet
instructive tone, dwelling somewhat on the words,
as if he secretly enjoyed the unusual pleasant-
ness of his voice, and the polish of his phrases.
It did not often fall to his lot to have such an
intelligent listener, and he could not resist the
temptation to allow his fluency a somewhat wide
range. As he came to a closer discussion of the
church to-day, and when he touched upon the
many controversial elements within the church
his voice lost its calmness, and his language was
less controlled. Finally he bent forward and
said with a strong emphasis and looking straight
into the curate’s eyes :
” What I particularly want to impress upon
you Mr Hansted is — that it is not only the
priest’s right, but his sacred and inalienable
duty to his Master whose Kingdom on earth he
administers, I say it is the undeniable duty of
the priest, on every occasion to maintain the un-
doubted authority of the church. The beautiful
old patriarchal feeling which formerly existed
between the shepherd of souls and his flock
CHILDREN OF THE SOIL 9
will soon, unfortunately, be no more than a Saga.
And whose is the blame ? Who are those that
for years have systematically undermined the
authority of the church, and broken down the
traditional respect of the people for their duly
constituted ministers of religion. Are they the
so-called Freethinkers, the open and audacious
Atheists ? It may be said that it is so, but don’t
believe it ! No, it is within the church’s own
doors that the corruption has been nourished.
It is those movements pregnant with disaster,
which, under the name of ‘ democratic liberty,’
and ‘ equality,’ have risen from the dregs of the
people, and which now have found their way even
into the sacred precincts of the church — not only
by means of hot-headed youths here and there,
but — unfortunately — latterly even through some
of the most trusted men in the church. I need
not explain myself further, no doubt you know
to what I refer. Who and what are these so-
called followers of Grundtvig, — with their
‘ Friendly Meetings,’ and their High schools,
which have latterly received state support ? And
this ‘ Colporteur ‘ nuisance, these preaching shoe-
makers and tailors — ignorant persons, who — mark
you — are sent out by the priests themselves into
the land, and empowered to bear witness in the
name of the Holy Church ? I cannot understand
the blindness of certain of our colleagues, who do
not see how destructive is such a proceeding to
the dignity and authority which we (there is no
io EMANUEL; OR
use denying it among ourselves) cannot afford
to be without in the presence of the common
people, who are not in a position to value true
superiority, or to judge rightly of spiritual qualifi-
cations. And what are the consequences ? Do
we not already see the fruits ? These shoemaker
and tailor apostles — are they not marvellous
orators, almost prophets in the eyes of the
populace ? Their phrases and catchwords de-
moralize the people to such an extent, that they
will hardly listen to a proper well thought out
sermon, and they lose all taste for the solemnities
of a church service. — It is only a few days since
one of these presumptuous individuals presented
himself to me as a ‘ colleague ; ‘ and even had the
insolence to ask permission to use the church for
his ministrations ! This is what we have come
to ! Tramps in the pulpit, criminals at the altar.
In this manner is the Church’s brilliance tar-
nished. This is what its importance has sunk
to ! — I ask you, Pastor Hansted, when is it to
end ? ” He had talked himself into an ever-
increasing violence of passion. His face was pale
and he trembled in every limb, and at his last
words he rose to his full height, straightening his
giant frame as if ready for the fray at once.
The curate looked at him in astonishment and
even the young lady turned her head, while the
parrot screamed and flapped its wings.
Quite beside himself with excitement, the
Provst tramped up and down the floor with
CHILDREN OF THE SOIL n
steps which echoed through the room. In a
few minutes he came back to his place, and
stopping in front of the curate, looked at him
with a searching glance which blazed under the
dark eyebrows like lightning in a storm cloud,
said, in a voice which still trembled, ” I hope,
Pastor Hansted, that you understand my anxiety
in the case I have just mentioned ; and I hope
you share the doubts which every conscientious
priest must entertain in the face of these move-
ments … I won’t conceal from you that even
in this parish I see traces of agitation. A certain
weaver named Hansen, as ignorant as he is
audacious, one of the sad products of this High
school movement, has been trying, for the last
year or two, to form a revolutionary party among
the congregation ; this party of braggarts and
ignoramuses dares openly to defy me. But I
won’t stand it ! I feel it is my duty to crush this
spirit of revolt with inexorable severity, and I
hope I may depend on your support in the future,
Mr Hansted. I hope in all matters of importance
we shall work together for the glory of God and
the good of the congregation.”
” I have no higher wish,” answered the young
man quietly, looking at the floor.
‘I am quite sure of that,’ continued the
Provst, evidently pleased by the curate’s answer.
‘At the same time, I am glad to have it con-
firmed by your own lips. I do not doubt that we
shall get on very well together.’
At this moment a softly-chiming clock in the
drawing-room struck eight. At the sound the
Provst’s daughter appeared in the doorway, and
invited the gentlemen to come in to tea.
‘Well then we must obey,’ said the Provst in
a lively voice, and rose. Laying his hand on the
curate’s shoulder he added jocularly, ‘as you
have perhaps perceived, Pastor Hansted, my
daughter rules the house and I may tell
you that she is a strict commander. We can
continue the conversation another time. Come
in, you must put up with a countrified supper
table.'” Henrik Pontoppidan, Emanuel, Or, Children of the Soil; Preface, Chapters 1-2, 1895.
Secretary KELLOGG. It is immaterial to me. I understood from you the committee wanted to know whether this treaty was a recognition of Russia and the Russian Soviet Government.
Senator JOHNSON. Will you pardon me, just an instant, because of a suggestion that was made by Senator McLean at the last gathering of the committee. Is what we do here now to be considered in executive session, or is it for publicity?
The CHAIRMAN. I should suppose it was in executive session, unless we made up our minds hereafter to make it public.
Secretary KELLOGG. I should think it should be in executive session; and I might want to correct the language of my statement. After that, if you want to use it in the Senate, I have no objection.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Mr. Secretary, suppose we take up first the question of what are these supposed reservations; the position of France and the position of Great Britain as expressed in their notes, which are referred to in popular parlance as reservations. What is your judgment or what is your view as to the effect of those communications as constituting any changes in the treaty or modifications of the treaty?
Senator JOHNSON. May I ask the chairman, before the Secretary answers that, have we in the form of the communications before us the general text of the reservations where the very words are inserted?
Secretary KELLOGG. I did not hear that clearly.
Senator JOHNSON. We have the communications before us?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; go ahead, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary KELLOGG. Any communications made with any of the governments up to the signing of the treaty have been published. I made up my mind when we started negotiations that the only way to obtain this treaty was to publish every note as it was delivered, and I do not think the treaty would ever have been signed if it had not been for the opinion of the world passing on these notes as they appeared, so that every country had full opportunity to discuss the treaty, and if they believed there were any obligations imposed on the United States beyond the agreement not to go to war, I think they would have suggested it. They knew, from the notes that I wrote, that I was not willing to impose any obligation on the United States. I knew that was out of the question. I knew that not many countries would agree to affirmative obligations, if we did.
As you will remember, the British Government refused the security pact because they said it imposed on them certain obligations which some of the governments had claimed existed under Article X of the league; and in consequence of agitation on that question, the fourth assembly of the league with a single negative vote accepted a resolution repudiating any obligation to go to war in defense of any country attacked. But I will not go into the discussion
Senator SWANS0N. As I understand from what you say, if this multilateral treaty is violated by any other nation, there is no obligation, moral or legal, for us to go to war against any nation violating it?
Secretary KELLOGG. That is thoroughly understood. It is understood by our Government; and no other government made any suggestion of any such thing. I knew, from the attitude of many governments, that they would not sign any treaty if there was any moral obligation or any kind of obligation to go to war. In fact, Canada stated that. The other governments never suggested any such obligation.
As to the reservations, of course I can not go over all the discussions on this treaty, which lasted many months. There is absolutely nothing in the notes of the various governments which would change this treaty, if the treaty had been laid on the table and signed as it is, without any discussion. It is true, of course, that during this discussion, through these notes with the various nations, many questions were raised as to the meaning of the treaty. It was for the reason that I did not care to have any private discussions about the matter that I insisted on carrying out the negotiations by notes.
I was invited to attend a conference in Europe to negotiate this treaty, which I declined. I was invited to send a lawyer with the lawyers of all the other governments to discuss it. I knew that would be the end of any treaty, and I refused that; so that the negotiation was carried on by notes entirely, and you have got them all.
I will illustrate some of the questions. The question was raised by some governments, does this take away the right of self-defense? It seemed to me incomprehensible that anybody could say that any nation would sign a treaty which could be construed as taking away the right of self-defense if a country was attacked. That is an inherent right of every sovereign, as it is of every individual, and it is implicit in every treaty. Nobody would construe the treaty as prohibiting self-defense. Therefore I said it was not necessary to make any definition of “aggressor” or “self-defense.” I do not think it can be done, anyway, accurately. They have been trying to do it in Europe for six or eight years, and they never have been able to accurately define ” aggressor ” or ” self-defense. ”
Senator McLEAN. You stated that the question as to whether action is in self-defense or not, was to be left entirely to the government interested.
Secretary KELLOGG. Left entirely to that government.
I knew that this Government, at least, would never agree to submit to any tribunal the question of self-defense, and I do not think any of them would. That is one question that was raised.
Senator SWANSON. The term “self-defense” is not confined to defense of any territory, but any national may send troops into any territory where it may be necessary for its self-defense.
Secretary KELLOGG. Certainly; the right of self-defense is not limited to territory in the continental United States, for example. It means that this Government has a right to take such measures as it believes necessary to the defense of the country, or to prevent things that might endanger the country; but the United States must be the judge of that, and it is answerable to the public opinion of the world if it is not an honest defense; that is all.
Senator REED of Missouri. The whole of that rule would apply equally to every other country.
Secretary KELLOGG. Certainly; nor do I think it is practicable to do anything else; although there are idealists who say that it is practicable. It is entirely impracticable, in my judgment.
Senator SWANSON. YOU consider your speech of April 28, 1928, as an official interpretation of the treaty, do you not?
Secretary KELLOGG. I do, because I sent it to every country; and furthermore
Senator SWANSON. Did they make any response to it?
Secretary KELLOGG. What is that?
Senator SWANSON. Did they make any comments on that speech?
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes; a good many of the governments said that it was a proper interpretation of the treaty, as you will see, and that they were very glad to have it.
Senator SWANSON. AS I understand, every government accepted it under the conditions, and it is an official interpretation.
Secretary KELLOGG. Not only were those interpretations sent to the Governments, so that they would see what I considered the meaning of the treaty, but I believe that every statement I made in that speech, which was put into a note, would be accepted as an accurate construction of the treaty, if there never had been a note written at all.
But on the question of obligations and sanctions, that I was speaking of —-
The CHAIRMAN. May I suggest, before you get to that
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose you take up the English note.
Secretary KELLOGG. The English note?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; which is most referred to as to the reservations. In connection with the remarks you have just made, I think it would be logical to consider it.
Secretary KELLOGG. Very well. This is on page 28 of the treaty pamphlet, the tenth subdivision. The British Government said:
10. The language of article 1, as to the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy, renders it desirable that I should remind your excellency that there are certain regions of the world the welfare and integrity of which constitute a special and vital interest for our peace and safety. His Majesty’s Government have been at pains to make it clear in the past that interference with these regions can not be suffered. Their protection against attack is to the British Empire a measure of self-defense.
Now, then, they did not say, “We reserve the right to make war against anybody in the world that we want to because we want peace in the country.” The British Government put it solely on the ground of self-defense. I apprehend that the United States has got interests, the peace and security of which are necessary to the defense of the United States. Take the Canal Zone. Self-defense, as I said, is not limited to the mere defense, when attacked, of continental United States. It covers all our possessions, all our rights; the right to take such steps as will prevent danger to the United States.
We had a right to assume-Great Britain said nothing else-that Great Britain was insisting upon the maintenance of certain rights which are necessary to the self-defense of the British Government. She did not say anything else. Furthermore, she signed this treaty without asking any reservations to it at all, with an absolute obligation not to go to war; of course, subject to the right of self-defense that every country has.
I can illustrate that by another question that was raised. Great Britain and France raised the question as to whether this treaty would prevent them from going to the assistance of any country attacked, party to the Locarno treaties. I think they both abandoned the idea that there was any obligation to use military forces, to apply sanctions under the league, because all but one of the countries had refused to accept that interpretation. But that would not make any difference as to the principle.
Senator WALSH of Montana. That is suggested in the French note.
Secretary KELLOGG. That is suggested in the French note, and I believe also in the British note.
Under the Locarno treaty there were the following parties: Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Here is one of the clauses:
ART. 2. Germany and Belgium, and also Germany and France, mutually undertake that they will in no case attack or invade each other or resort-to war against each other.
You remember under that treaty these countries guaranteed the western front with Germany.
It was also provided, in the case of a flagrant violation of article 2 of the present treaty or of the flagrant breach of articles 42 and 43 of the treaty of Versailles-that was as to the demilitarized zone- by any of the high contracting parties, each of the other contracting parties should come to the help of the party against whom the violation was directed. This is clause 3 of article 4. [Reading:]
3. In case of a flagrant violation of article 2 of the present treaty or of a flagrant breach of articles 42 or 43 of the treaty of Versailles by one of the high Contracting parties, each of the other contracting parties hereby undertakes immediately to come to the help of the party against whom such a violation or breach has been directed.
It did not say, of course, that it would come to the help of such party with military forces, but that was a possible interpretation, and they did not wish to sign a treaty which would prevent them from carrying out the treaties of Locarno.
I refused to put a clause in this treaty to make it subject to the conditions of any other treaty or guaranty of neutrality that they had in the world; but I did say that they had an easy way for their own self protection, if they wished to do it; that if all of the Locarno powers that I have named which signed those guarantees and agreements to come to the help of the nation attacked also signed the multilateral treaty. If they broke the Locarno treaty they would break the multilateral treaty, and the other parties to either one of the treaties would be released and could take such action as they saw fit as to the belligerent nations. There is no principle of law better established than that. Therefore it was not necessary for them, for their protection, to have any clause that this treaty was subject to the other treaties that they had made. They could avoid that by simply having all the original parties to the Locarno treaties sign this treaty; that is all. They knew perfectly well that the United States would never sign a treaty imposing any obligation on itself to apply sanctions or come to the help of anybody
You will find that, early in the negotiation of this treaty, I took occasion to say in a speech that it must be understood that the United States would never obligate itself to any military alliance or to use its military forces to enforce any treaty or any obligation.
Senator REED of Missouri. Is that speech in this pamphlet we have?
Secretary KELLOGG. That speech is in that pamphlet. Here is what I said [reading]:
Since, however, the purpose of the United States is so far as possible to eliminate war as a factor in international relations, I can not state too emphatically that it will not become a party to any agreement which directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, is a military alliance. The United States can not obligate itself in advance to use its armed forces against any other nation of the world. It does not believe that the peace of the world or of Europe depends upon or can be assured by treaties of military alliance, the futility of which as guarantors of peace is repeatedly demonstrated in the pages of history.
Every nation had that speech.
Senator REED of Missouri. On what page is that?
Secretary KELLOGG. The speech is at the end of the volume.
Senator GILLETT. AS I understand, you quoted from one of your speeches largely in the notes?
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes; that was the note, that is on page 36, in which, in order to get my views entirely before the country, I defined self-defense, the league covenant, the treaties of Locarno, the treaties of neutrality, and the relations with treaty-breaking states; and that was sent in a note to all the governments long before the treaty was signed
Now all that the British note said or would mean, if it was written into this treaty, was that there were certain regions the welfare and integrity of which were necessary to the security and defense of the British Empire. I said over and over again that any country had that right in self-defense. But in the discussion of the treaty many things were asked and many things were said which the Governments afterwards, under careful consideration, concluded were not necessary, and then they signed an absolute treaty; and you will find in the notes statements to these Governments, and understandings we had about the treaty, as a result of which they did not believe it was necessary to make any reservations to the treaty. I do not know if there is anything else on that. Do you want me to say anything else?
The CHAIRMAN. No; I do not know that I do.
Senator SWANSON. In the notes of Canada and the British Empire they specifically stated that they signed them with the distinct understanding that the obligations of Locarno and the obligations of the league were not in any way interfered with by this treaty; is that true?
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes; they said that my explanation of protecting them by having them sign this treaty was sufficient. That is the reason the number of the nations was increased. Great Britain said that the nature of the obligation was such that she could not sign for the Dominions and India, and she asked the nations to invite them to join, which they did. They all accepted.
Senator SWANSON. What France and Great Britain finally said was that they did not consider, from the explanation you make, that this treaty was in conflict with their duties under those other treaties.
Senator MOSES. But did they say that in a note?
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes.
Senator MOSES. Which note?
Secretary KELLOGG. It was discussed in several places.
Senator MOSES. What makes me ask that is that in Clause 8 of paragraph 10 of the British note there is certain language used which you say was employed also by us, to say that we had certain interests the defense of which we would be necessitated to take on. Was that ever stated in a note on the part of this Government?
Secretary KELLOGG. No; my explanation of what was self-defense was stated in the note on page 36.
Senator SWANSON. In the notes of Austen Chamberlain both discussing it and in the final acceptance, he said they believed it was expressing the intention of our Government to defend the regions in which we had an interest, which I believe meant certain regions, and you acquiesced in it?
Secretary KELLOGG. Of course there are certain regions
Senator REED of Missouri. Let me say, without answering, Secretary Kellogg said he did not answer the British note, but acquiesced in it.
Secretary KELLOGG. I did not acquiesce in it at all; and if there was anything in that note contrary to the treaty they signed, it would not be a part of the treaty.
Senator REED of Missouri. That would be true, then, of every one of these paragraphs.
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes; but I say, these questions with the suggestions made about Locarno and the right of self defense, and these other matters, were answered by me in our notes, and the treaty would have the same effect whether these notes had been exchanged or not.
Senator REED of Missouri. But is it your position that when this treaty was signed, that left it so that the treaty stood there to speak for itself, without regard to any of the negotiations that had gone on, or constructions that had been placed?
Secretary KELLOGG. That is undoubtedly true, except I think they had the right to believe that the legal effect of the treaty is what I state; and they all finally did say that they believed that the question of self defense was answered.
Senator REED of Missouri. Your construction, then, of this treaty is the same as you put on a contract, that previous talks, end so forth, of the parties, are all merged finally in the instrument when it is signed, and the instrument speaks for itself?
Secretary KELLOGG. They are. If there was anything in these notes contrary to the provisions of the treaty, naturally, the treaty; would control.
Senator REED of Missouri. Suppose they were not contrary to the extent of construction
Secretary KELLOGG. Take that question we have been discussing, of self-defense. The British Government said they were not sure that the right of self-defense was not taken away by the treaty; but they finally concluded that that was not so. Well, now, would you say that their doubt or their expression of doubt, about self-defense being taken away by this treaty, would control, when they finally accepted my statement that self-defense was inherent in every sovereignty? The same way about the Locarno treaties.
Senator REED of Missouri. I do not want to haggle. I am not trying to haggle, you understand, about this; but I would like to know whether it was your position that when this treaty is signed, when it comes to be put in force, we are to take the treaty by its four corners and consider the language of the treaty, or whether we are to take into consideration, in construing it, certain statements that have been made during the progress of the negotiations; and if certain statements, then what are they, and where do we stop?
I will say this, to make clear my idea. Of course we all know that under the law people may negotiate for six months about a contract and they may write hundreds of letters about it, but finally, when they sign the contract, the contract speaks for itself, and all that has preceded is supposed to be merged in the language of the contract. Now, if that rule applies here, then these negotiations and all these things that took place are unimportant.
Senator ROBINSON of Arkansas. If ambiguities appear in the language of the contract, I understand you may resort to the negotiations to determine the meaning.
Senator REED of Missouri. If there are absolute ambiguities apparent upon the face of the contract, then you can resort to extraneous evidence to elucidate, perhaps, the ambiguities, but further than that you can not go. It is a very important thing, to me, to know as to that.
Senator WALSH of Montana. That rule is one which defies the dogmatic statement as you make it.
Secretary KELLOGG. How is that?
Senator WALSH of Montana. I say, that rule defies dogmatic statement. I had occasion to study it pretty carefully in connection with the treaty of 1909 with Canada, and in the interpretation of that treaty by the International Joint Commission the whole course of negotiation leading up to it was received, with a view to determining Just exactly what was meant by the treaty.
Senator REED of Missouri. Very well; then that is the other rule. You claim that applies in treaties?
Secretary KELLOGG. No, it is the same rule.
Senator MOSES. You say it has applied in one treaty?
Senator REED of Missouri. I could not agree to a rule of that breadth at all, in regard to an ordinary contract. But that is unimportant. I want to get the Secretary’s opinion.
We have here this instrument that is made, now. The Secretary has stated that there were a lot of negotiations and a lot of things occurred which were afterwards abandoned, and they were abandoned when they signed the contract; and I take it from that statement that his viewpoint is that when you sign this agreement, it wipes out all ambiguities and everything else that occurred prior to the signing of the treaty. If that is his view, I would like to have it.
Secretary KELLOGG. Senator, that is rather difficult to answer without some explanation. For instance, France desired that only aggressive warfare should be prohibited by this treaty. I discussed that and declined it.
France’s claim that she did not sign any treaty against aggressive warfare of course would not: be a part of this treaty, because she abandoned it.
France claimed that this treaty ought to be subject to the obligations of the Locarno treaties. I declined it; but I pointed out a way that made it safe for her. This treaty, therefore, could not be said to be subject to the conditions of the Locarno treaties, because France signed a treaty absolute, without any such conditions. Those positions were abandoned.
Now, most of the positions taken in these notes and explanations are what the treaty would mean, anyhow, if they had not mentioned them most of them. It is true, of course, as the Senator from Missouri says, that if there is anything in the correspondence or negotiations contrary to the terms of the treaty, the treaty is the one that settles it. That is the contract which finally defines the rights of the parties.
It is also true that if there is ambiguity on the face of a document, the surrounding circumstances and the history may be looked into; but they may not look into direct statements contradictory of the treaty to show that they meant something else.
Senator REED of Missouri. But in construing it and giving it its meaning, you think they should look into these previous communications?
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes.
Senator REED of Missouri. Then what would you say with regard to this? [Reading ]
As regards the passage in my note of the l0th May relating to certain regions of which the welfare and integrity constitute a special and vital interest for our peace and safety, I need only repeat that His Majesty’s Government in Great Britain accept the new treaty; upon the understanding that it does not prejudice their freedom of action in this respect.
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes.
Senator REED of Missouri. Would that be considered?
Secretary KELLOGG. I do not believe that that leaves Great Britain free to make war anywhere in the world where she considers it is to her interest. The treaty contradicts it, absolutely.
Senator REED of Missouri. But does that modify the treaty- give it a construction?
Secretary KELLOGG. No, I do not think it modifies the treaty.
Senator MOSES. If you turn to page 28, paragraph 10, you will find that language in more vigorous form.
The CHAIRMAN. The language on page 28 defines what Great Britain conceives to be her right of self-defense, and the language just read by the Senator has reference back to her right of self-defense
Senator REED of Missouri. I do not want to take up the time of the committee, and I beg pardon for asking these questions, but I am very much concerned about this question of construction. Article 1 is commented on by Mr. Chamberlain on page 28. [Reading]
10. The language of article 1, as to the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy, renders it desirable that I should remind your excellency that there are certain regions of the world the welfare and integrity of which constitute a special and vital interest for our peace and safety. His Majesty’s Government have been at pains to make it clear in the past that interference with these regions can not be suffered. Their protection against attack is to the British Empire a measure of self-defense. It must be clearly understood that His Majesty’s Government in Great Britain accept the new treaty upon the distinct understanding that it does not prejudice their freedom of action in this respect.
Senator WALSH of Montana. That is to resist attack upon those regions.
Senator MOSES. Or “interference,” it says.
Senator WALSH of Montana. Certainly. You must construe “interference” with reference to the past. It says:
His Majesty’s Government have been at pains to make it clear in the past that interference with these regions can not be suffered. Their protection against attack is to the British Empire a measure of self-defense.
Senator REED of Missouri. Will you let me finish reading what I referred to? [Reading:]
The Government of the United States have comparable interests any disregard of which by a foreign power they have declared that they would regard as an unfriendly act. His Majesty’s Government believe, therefore, that in defining their position they are expressing the intention and meaning of the United States Government.
That was a note of May 19, 1928. Then turning to page 48, on July 18, 1928, occurs the language:
As regards-the passage in my note of 19th May relating to certain regions of which the welfare and integrity constitute a special and vital interest for our peace and safety, I need only repeat that His Majesty’s Government in Great Britain accept the new treaty upon the understanding that it does not prejudice their freedom of action in this respect.
Secretary KELLOGG. Will you just read the next clause?
Senator REED of Missouri (reading):
I am entirely in accord with the views expressed by Mr. Kellogg in his speech of the 28th of April that the proposed treaty does not restrict or impair in any way the right of self-defense, as also with his opinion that each State alone is competent to decide when circumstances necessitate recourse to war for that purpose.
Secretary KELLOGG. That is it.
Senator REED of Missouri (continuing reading).
In the light of the foregoing explanations, His Majesty’s Government in Great Britain are glad to join with the United States and with all other governments similarly disposed”
And so forth.
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes.
Senator REED of Missouri. Is there any doubt in your mind, Mr. Secretary, if after these treaties were signed, some nation was guilty of some act with reference to these possessions that Mr. Chamberlain is talking about which England regarded as an interference with her rights, that England would claim that they had construed this treaty in advance, and had excepted those rights?
Secretary KELLOGG. There is undoubtedly doubt in my mind, because Great Britain was talking about nothing but self-defense.
It is true that whether she had written that note or not, if Great Britain had any possessions in the world, she had a right to defend them; and that is all she was talking about.
Senator REED of Missouri. Do you not think that England would have the right to say, “Mr. Chamberlain said thus and so”-and quote his language-“and that means we are not going to suffer anything to be done in these possessions which we believe will impair our rights”?
Secretary KELLOGG. She would have no greater right under her notes than she would have under this treaty without the notes.
Senator REED of Missouri. Then everything you have said goes into the same hopper. We have no greater rights in the matter of the construction of this treaty because of anything you said, than Austen Chamberlain has because of what he said; because both of us signed the treaty and we both are to be governed by the treaty?
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes.
Senator REED of Missouri. That is where we. come out. So that all this talk and all this negotiation goes into the junk heap; is that right?
Secretary KELLOGG. Many of their suggestions were not agreed to by me. The legal construction of the treaty I stated after giving it very careful consideration. I still hold it is the proper construction of this treaty, and would be if there never had been a note written.
Senator SWANSON. Mr. Secretary, let me read this to you. I want to be clear in my mind. South Africa is mentioned in nearly every other note from Mr. Chamberlain. On July 18 you sent a note insisting that they should say whether they accepted, and in their letter of acceptance which ends on page 36, is this provision:
(e) That provision will be made for rendering it quite clear that it is not intended that the Union of South Africa, by becoming a party to the proposed treaty would be precluded from fulfilling as a member of the League of Nations its obligations toward the other members thereof under the provisions of the covenant of the League.
I understand France said she gave her acceptance with the distinct understanding that the obligations accruing under the league and the Locarno treaties were not to be interfered with by this treaty. Does that mean that so far as these obligations are concerned it is precisely the same as if the treaty was not written, and that it does not apply to those obligations or interfere with those obligations?
Secretary KELLOGG. Certainly; because I suggested it would be a further protection to them. They knew that we would not join in any sanction, or assume any obligation to join in any sanction. They were afraid this treaty would take away their right to come to the help of somebody else, and I was not willing to put a clause in this treaty to that effect, at all; but I said they could accomplish that object by having all the parties to those treaties sign this treaty. Then what would happen? If they broke those treaties they would break this treaty and would be, ipso facto, released from the obligations under this treaty. That is what I said, and that is the application of this treaty.
Senator SWANSON. If a case should arise in which the obligations of the league or the Locarno treaties should require war-there are cases of war under the Locarno treaties-would this treaty apply on those obligations excluded from this treaty?
Secretary KELLOGG. I do not know exactly what you mean. Let me illustrate by a statement. Suppose Germany should make war on Belgium, in violation of the Locarno treaties; it would then be the duty of Great Britain and France and Italy and Czechoslovakia and Poland to come to the help-whatever that may mean-of Belgium; and we will assume that it means by military forces. The moment Germany broke the treaty she would also break this treaty, would she not?
Senator SWANSON. That is true
Secretary KELLOGG. And they could go ahead and carry out their obligations if they wanted to without violating this treaty, because if one party to the treaty violates it, the other parties to it are released from their obligation.
Senator EDGE. The British Foreign Office, on page 36, states exactly what you have stated.
Senator BAYARD. Suppose Belgium put it on the flat ground of self-defense which this treaty sets up; would the treaties of Locarno then come into effect?
Secretary KELLOGG. AS I have explained before, nobody on earth, probably, could write an article defining ” self-defense ” or ” aggressor ” that some country could not get around, and I made up my mind that the only safe thing for any country to do was to judge for itself within its sovereign rights whether it was unjustly attacked and had a right to defend itself, and it must answer to the opinion of the world.
Senator SWANSON. As I understand this treaty-and I have studied it carefully-the obligations assumed by 55 nations in the League of Nations are considered and understood by you and understood by these men to be reserved, and that this treaty does not in any way interfere with the obligations of the League or the Locarno treaties.
Secretary KELLOGG. No.
Senator SWANSON. And if the obligations of the treaty and of the league conflict, that the obligations to the league would prevail, and this treaty would not be considered as interfering with those obligations.
Secretary KELLOGG. No; now, that is not accurate.
Senator SWANSON. That is the way these people who have signed have understood it.
Secretary KELLOGG. Most of the States that signed the league covenant have signed this treaty, and if one of them breaks this treaty, if one of the countries should attack another in violation of the league covenant, then of course the other countries would be released; and the same way with the Locarno treaties.
Senator SWANSON. Suppose a country is not attacked. Suppose there is an economic blockade, and they carry out their obligations under the League of Nations for an economic blockade; would this treaty interfere with it?
Secretary KELLOGG. There is no such thing as a blockade without you are in war.
Senator SWANSON. That is a debatable question.
Senator REED of Missouri. It is an act of war.
Secretary KELLOGG. An act of war, absolutely. If an act of war is committed in violation of the treaty, the other parties are released as to the treaty breaking nation.
Senator WASH of Montana. I wanted to follow up the question asked by the Senator from Delaware. He said, assume that Germany invades Belgium, claiming she does so in self-defense. Let us assume her claim is a perfectly just one; that she is acting in self-defense. Then of course the other nations that come to the aid of Belgium would be breaking not only the Locarno treaties, but breaking this treaty. But what difference does that make to us?
Secretary KELLOGG. None at all.
Senator WALSH of Montana. Supposing some other nation does break this treaty, why should we interest ourselves in it?
Secretary KELLOGG. There is not a bit of reason.
Senator WALSH of Montana. And why should we care whether they break this treaty or some other treaty? That is for them to consider and not us.
Senator EDGE. In other words, one treaty is just as binding as the other.
Senator REED of Missouri. I think there is no doubt that Secretary Kellogg is right when he says that if a nation begins war, it breaks this treaty, and if it begins an unjust war, a war of aggression, it breaks this treaty and consequently it would break the Locarno treaties, and would break the obligations of the league. I think that is true. But I am going a little bit further; or, rather, I am discussing, or was discussing, another subject. The Secretary says that this covers the right of self-defense, and that self-defense can not be defined, and I think that is true.
Secretary KELLOGG. It is pretty difficult to do.
Senator REED of Missouri. It is a difficult thing practically to define self-defense; but the question I was getting at was this. Mr. Chamberlain was very careful to say, in substance, “We have got an English ‘Monroe doctrine’ on the other side, hare, and we say that any interference with our possessions will not be tolerated by us, and we will defend them.” If that language means anything, if all these other negotiations mean anything, then we must read the language of the negotiations in connection with this instrument, and give them such effect as they are entitled to. If the position which I understand the Secretary to take is the correct one, namely that all these negotiations are merged in the instrument itself, and have no effect upon its construction, then we have quite a different case presented here to pass upon.
Senator WALSH of Montana. But, if you will pardon me, let me state this. Suppose, now, that Great Britain does do some act which she claims is in the nature of self-defense, which she claims she is entitled to, and suppose she does do something that is not an act of self-defense; what difference does it make to us? It is a mere matter of whether she can justify her conduct in the opinion of the world upon the ground of self-defense, and she has got to take her own chance of being accused of having violated this treaty. But, of what concern is it to us?
Mr. REED of Missouri. I think I can answer it. We have the Monroe doctrine. We sign this treaty, and, of course, it means something. It is supposed to have very great binding effect upon nations. I am not speaking about punishment at all. England has said very clearly to all the world, “We have our Monroe doctrine”- they do not employ that term but that is what it means-“and we want it understood that any interference with our rights here would be regarded by us as a cause warranting self-defense.”
All right. Mr. Kellogg thinks that that language amounts to nothing, because the treaty was afterwards signed, and we must judge every thing by the treaty.
If we were sure that would be accepted, we might remain silent. I do not agree with the Secretary-with all the respect in the world. I think when you come to try this case of a violation, before the public opinion of the world, if England were, under the circumstances, to regard any invasion of or any interference with her possessions as justifying self-defense, she can go back and point to the fact that at the time and before the treaty was signed, Mr. Chamberlain said these things to you, and all the world knows what they mean.
But suppose the Monroe doctrine was invaded, and we had said nothing about it. England has specifically reserved her rights over there, and we have said nothing. What would be our position before the world?
Either this treaty ought to be signed with the complete wiping out of everything that has been said, or we ought to make our proper declarations when we’ sign it. That is the way I look at it.
Secretary KELLOGG. Senator, all that Great Britain said was that. she had a right to defend her interests-her possessions. Could we object to that? And as Senator Walsh says, if she went beyond that’ she would be answerable for violating the treaty. She has not said anything else in her notes. We have said that every nation has a right of self-defense. Of course the right of self-defense, as I have said, does not simply include the right to repel invasion of San Francisco or New York or anywhere else.
Senator REED of Pennsylvania. Mr. Secretary, suppose that some important European power declared war upon Panama, and invaded the Territory of Panama. Would you construe our right of self-defense to authorize us to object to that?
Secretary KELLOGG Certainly. We have guaranteed the independence of Panama. Outside of that question, we have a right t o defend our treaty for maintaining the integrity and independence of Panama just as much as we have a right to defend San Francisco or New York.
Senator REED of Pennsylvania. How about Colombia?
Secretary KELLOGG. South America?
Senator REED of Pennsylvania. Yes.
Secretary KELLOGG. That brings up the Monroe doctrine. The Monroe doctrine is simply a doctrine of self-defense. It does not consist of any agreement between the United States and any country in the Western Hemisphere or anywhere else.
Senator EDGE. Does not the British Government admit that very clearly, in the same expressions Senator Reed refers to? After stating their position with respect to their colonies, on page 28 of this pamphlet, they go on to say:
The Government of the United States have comparable interests any disregard of which by a foreign power they have declared that they would regard as an. unfriendly act.
They admit the Monroe doctrine, in effect.
Senator REED of Missouri.: But they do not admit it as to all countries. She may admit it for herself but not for other countries.
Senator EDGE. YOU are discussing Great Britain’s reservations.
Senator GEORGE. There Is no textual reference to the Monroe doctrine in any of the notes.
Secretary KELLOGG. No. It is unnecessary or me to go through all the utterances of every statesman from the time of Monroe to the present, to show what the Monroe doctrine is. Immediately after the Revolution there was the Holy Alliance in existence whose object was to impose monarchical government, monarchical rule, on every country. We considered that a menace to the United States, and that was the basis of the Monroe doctrine. President Monroe said that we should: consider any attempt on their part to extend their system of government to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. And over and over again it is stated that the doctrine is based solely on the right of self-defense to the United States.
The CHAIRMAN. It is perfectly certain that every nation, when the time arrives, will construe this treaty in the way it regards as justifying self-defense. Every nation will construe the treaty for itself, as to what constitutes self-defense, and it does not make any difference what you said and what was stated afterwards, when the time comes, what she regards as self-defense she will construe as self-defense.
Senator REED of Missouri. But is it not important that if we get into a controversy nobody shall be able to construe this treaty to show that we have violated our obligation under it?
The CHAIRMAN. If we construe the treaty in the way that we construe to be self-defense, we have got then to make our defense before the world as to whether or not it was self-defense.
Senator REED of Missouri. Yes, but if we have stated, as Mr. Chamberlain did, that a certain thing would come within our doctrine of self-defense, we would then have a defense before the world.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Chamberlain’s utterance is very vague and indefinite. He says “certain regions.” What regions does he mean?
Senator SWANSON. England would determine what those regions are.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; and she would construe it.
Senator ROBINSON of Arkansas. When you construe that with such great breadth, you get nearly back to your starting point. If you recognize the right of every nation to construe for itself what is aggressive war and what is defensive war, you have not accomplished much by agreeing to renounce war. There are only two kinds of war, aggressive and defensive, and if you renounce the right of aggressive war and reserve the right of defensive war, you have placed in the treaty the same interpretation that the French sought to place in it by express provision.
Secretary KELLOGG. Senator, if I had started out to define what aggression was and what self-defense was, I would not have been able to negotiate a treaty during my lifetime or that of anybody present here. They have been struggling with that question in Europe in the League of Nations for years, and finally Chamberlain himself stated that if any definition of “aggressor” would be followed, it would be a trap for the innocent and a signpost for the guilty, or language to that effect.
Senator SHIPSTEAD. Mr. Secretary, I understand that in this negotiation certain propositions were advanced which you rejected.
Secretary KELLOGG. What is that?
Senator SHIPSTEAD. I understand that certain propositions were brought up that you rejected.
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes.
Senator SHIPSTEAD. Then you said there were certain ones that you agreed to.
Secretary KELLOGG. There were certain ones as to which I explained that that was what the treaty meant, and that we did not need any of them.
Senator SHIPSTEAD. Is your proposition that whatever these things you agreed to may be, they can not be considered as a corollary to the treaty, or a condition of it?
Secretary KELLOGG. NO.
Senator JOHNSON. Pardon me, on that, Senator Shipstead, I can not construe this language in that fashion [reading]
It must be clearly understood that His Majesty’s Government in Great Britain accept the new treaty upon the distinct understanding that it does not prejudice their freedom of action in this respect.
Secretary KELLOGG. Senator, that of course must be taken with the other language as to the matter of self-defense.
Senator JOHNSON. I am not discussing the matter of whether it is or not appropriate to the question of self-defense at all; but I certainly think that this treaty, if it ever came to be construed, would be construed in the light of that language.
Senator GEORGE. On the doctrine that whatever one party to a treaty understands, and the other understands that he understands, to be the meaning, becomes the meaning.
Senator BAYARD. Would it not go beyond that, in this way, that Mr. Chamberlain refers to section 10 of the note of May 19, 1928, that note having been sent around to all the nations that were parties to this pending treaty, and there has been no objection or suggestion or comment upon it at any time? Would not that be an acceptance by all the parties adhering to the present treaty, of the doctrine set up by Chamberlain that England would interpret her rights as similar to the right of the United States to operate under the Monroe doctrine? Would not that be the English interpretation of it-“Our own rights and the Monroe doctrine rights”; reservation both ways?
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead.
Secretary KELLOGG. To show that that doctrine has never changed. Secretary Root reviewed it, and he said this [Reading]:
It is a declaration of the United States that certain acts would be injurious to the peace and safety of the United States and that the United States would regard them as unfriendly.
The doctrine is not international law but it rests upon the right of self-protection and that right is recognized by international law.
We frequently see statements that the doctrine has been changed or enlarged; that there is a new or different doctrine since Monroe’s time. They are mistaken. There has been no change.
The scope of the doctrine is strictly limited. It concerns itself only with the occupation of territory in the New World, to the subversion or exclusion of a preexisting American Government.
Simply because we considered that a threat and a danger to the United States. That declaration does not claim anything else. It does not give us any right to intervene in the affairs of any other country. It does not give us any right to dictate to them what government they shall have or what kind of government; not at all.
A great many people have talked and written, but it is confined absolutely to the question of self-defense; beyond saying, of course, that any danger to the United States by European countries occupying South American countries no longer exists. They refer to that; but it is purely a doctrine that we say we will not permit the subversion of the governments of the Western Hemisphere, because it is dangerous to the peace and security of the United States.
Senator JOHNSON. Did not Secretary Hughes, during the time when he was Secretary of State and in the administration in pursuance thereof, announce another policy in respect to the countries south of us, and those particularly in Central America; that the United States Government would frown unon revolution, and would aid constituted authority in, and would uphold constituted authority in, those countries south of us?
Secretary KELLOGG. I think I can answer that from memory. Mr. Hughes invited the five Central American countries to Washington in 1923 to enter into arbitration treaties and other treaties. In one of those treaties the five Central American countries agreed that they would not recognize any government in any other one of the five countries, which was established by coup d’etat or revolution; but there was no agreement that they would come to their assistance to put down a revolution.
Mr. Hughes, I understood-I think it was while I was in London- said that he had recognized the Obregon government, and while he did not announce that the United States would or should come to the assistance of and maintain a recognized government, he did authorize the War Department to sell munitions to the Obregon government for the purpose of putting down revolution. That, I think, is as far as he went.
Senator JOHNSON. Was not that on the distinct statement, however, I that the foreign policy of the United States was that it would frown :’ upon revolution and maintain the status quo in those countries: south of us?
Secretary KELLOGG. I do not know, Senator; I would have to look that up.
Senator JOHNSON. The only reason I call that to your attention at all is because that is another foreign policy that we must consider in addition to the Monroe doctrine.
Secretary KELLOGG. I have made it pretty plain that the United States has no foreign policy to put down revolution in any country.
Senator JOHNSON. I am glad to hear that.
Secretary KELLOGG. And I have stated over and over again that the extent to which the United States would go was that it would not recognize a revolutionary government; and that is all we have done during my term of office.
Senator SWANSON. Whatever that may have been, it was not involved with those countries. That was in regard to Mexico and the recognition of Obregon. Did not Mr. Hughes definitely state that when we recognize a government, we ought to give it support?
Secretary KELLOGG. Well, what support?
Senator SWANSON. We gave it support by giving it arms and breaking up the blockade so that they could get to the City of Mexico. He stated when we recognize a government we ought to make it valid by giving the government support.
Senator JOHNSON. That is a policy with which I have no sympathy, and with which I am very glad to know the Secretary has no sympathy, either.
Senator REED of Missouri. Did he not go further and give permission, although I think it was not used, for the passage of munitions through American territory?
Senator JOHNSON. I am not sure, but I think in 1923 the announcement was made by Secretary Hughes in substance as we have been discussing here
Senator FESS. I understood the Secretary’s position was that in case there was a revolution, and the rights or lives of foreign citizens residing there were in jeopardy, and in the interest of keeping Europe from going in and settling it, the Monroe doctrine would Justify our doing it
Senator JOHNSON. NO; I think, Senator, that was not the statement of the policy at that time.
Secretary KELLOGG. My statement was this, Senator. I said that while the United States did not sign the Five-Power Treaty in 1923 providing that no one of the five nations would recognize a government which came in by coup d’etat or revolution, and while we were not bound by it, I thought it was a good policy morally, which I think we should follow, not to recognize a government coming in by revolution. That is what I have said.
Senator REED of Missouri. Under any circumstances?
Secretary KELLOGG. I could not say, Senator; but, generally speaking, a government which started a revolution and threw out the other government by force of arms, I think ordinarily we should not recognize.
Senator REED of Missouri. That would have been a bad thing for US in 1776.
Senator FESS. The Monroe doctrine we have had for over 100 years, and during that time, in the Maximilian trouble, and another time under President Cleveland, we took steps that indicated it might be war; but we have never gone to the extent of war. I just wondered whether, if you would write a reservation here, that that would not indicate that it is a subject of war
Secretary KELLOGG. Why, gentlemen, every country in Europe which could make war on Central or South America has signed this treaty; and if they did make war they would break it, and we would be released anyhow. Here is a shadow! Even without this treaty does anybody believe that the present governments of Europe are in .any position to attack any one of the South American countries and impose their form of government? And they all have different forms of government now from what they had l00 years ago.
Senator REED of Missouri. Mr. Secretary, it does not necessarily come up in that way. You will remember that it was reported that Japan, through a corporation, was acquiring control of land around Magdalena Bay.
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes.
Senator REED of Missouri. And that in fact, while being acquired in the name of a corporation, or of individuals, it was being acquired for the Government of Japan; and we passed a resolution in the Senate of protest, or calling upon the President to protest. Now, there is that danger, and we all know that conditions may change at any time; so that I do not think we can treat the question as one where there is no possibility.
Senator REED of Missouri. But I would like to ask this further question. I would like to ask it by way of illustration. Under the treaty of Versailles, France has the right, for a period of years and until Germany complies with certain conditions, to keep her troops on certain portions of the German soil.
Secretary KELLOGG. In the Rhineland.
Senator REED of Missouri. We have a treaty with Germany in which we compelled Germany, as I understand it, to obligate herself to carry out certain of the terms of the Versailles treaty. We have gotten up a deal there with Germany direct, and it is a deal that was made for the benefit of France, and perhaps other countries. All right. These years expire, and France does not get out. Germany then says, “You are now invaders of our country, and we have a right, as the right of self-defense, to put you out;” and France says, “You have not complied with the conditions, and we have got a right to stay until you do ;” so they begin a war.
Then the League of Nations meets, and it proceeds to sit on this case, and it says, “France is right. Germany has not complied with her obligations, and we propose to apply sanctions to you; that is to say, we are going to close your ports ;” which you have very frankly stated, and correctly stated, is an act of war. So war springs up.
Now, what is the reason that those nations involved in that war on either side or both sides, have not the right to say to the united States, “We did not sign individual treaties between individual countries. We signed a multilateral treaty. We all signed it. The obligation is mutual.”
Secretary KELLOGG. Which treaty do you refer to?
Senator REED of Missouri. This one that you have; this multilateral treaty.
Secretary KELLOG. Yes.
Senator REED of Missouri. Suppose they say, “The obligation is mutual, and when it is broken, the nation breaking it violates its treaty with every country alike.”
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes.
Senator REED of Missouri. And in addition to that are these other considerations which I have mentioned. They say, ” Now, we find it necessary to go in and discipline this nation. What are you going to do about it? Your treaty was broken at the same time our’s was broken. It is all one treaty. Are you going to stand outside and do nothing and let us carry this obligation, or are you going to come in and do your part? ” Is there not the heaviest kind of an obligation on our part, under those circumstances, to stand with those we contracted with?
Secretary KELLOGG. Now, Senator, in the first place, we are under no treaty obligation in relation to the Rhineland, at all. We have nothing to do with it.
In the second place, as to the Locarno treaties; those nations- Great Britain, France, Italy-, Germany, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Poland-guaranteed the western front, and the carrying out of those clauses; and if any one of the countries in that treaty made war against another, the other powers agreed to come to their help. We have nothing to do with that. As to our treaty with Germany, we do not guarantee anything at all.
Next, if they break that treaty, as the Senator correctly says, and go to war, they would necessarily break this treaty. But how there can be a moral obligation for the United States to go to Europe to punish the aggressor or punish the party making war, where there never was such a suggestion made in the negotiation, where nobody agreed to it, and where there is no obligation to do it, is beyond me. I can not understand it.
As I see it, we have no more obligation to punish somebody for breaking the antiwar treaty than for breaking any one of the other treaties which we have agreed to.
Senator REED of Missouri. Are you sure of that? Let us turn the thing around.
Senator WALSH of Montana. We have made a number of multilateral treaties.
Secretary KELLOGG. A great number; yes.
Senator MOSES. Do you mean postal conventions?
Senator WALSH of Montana. Yes; all that kind of thing. Suppose that a nation violates one of those multilateral treaties, such as the one with Italy or Greece; what kind of obligation have we to join Italy against Greece or to join Greece against Italy?
Secretary KELLOGG. Senator, we have four multilateral treaties which Russia signed, and I do not know how many more we have got.
Senator REED of Missouri. That hardly answers the question, that we have other multilateral treaties.
Secretary KELLOGG. Where is there a statement in the treaty, or anywhere else, of any moral obligation to punish an aggressor?
Senator REED of Missouri. Let me see. Suppose we all sign this treaty, and then England forms a coalition with Japan and some other country, and they come to the attack of this country, in direct violation not only of their obligation to us, but of their obligation to every other country in the world. They have all signed. Would we not feel inclined to say to the other countries of the world, “England has not only violated her treaty with us but she has violated her treaty with you, and you have a direct i interest in it because your commerce is interfered with, and we think that you ought to come in and aid us “? Now, why not?
Secretary KELLOGG. I think the United States could defend itself. I do not think it would be calling upon the other countries of the world to defend it, either.
Senator REED of Missouri. I think we would be calling for all the help we could get, moral and otherwise.
Senator SWANSON. I understand in your statement giving official interpretation of this treaty, you state there would be no moral obligation for us to use any force.
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes; and furthermore no country suggested it; and no country said anything about it, at all, or made any suggestion at all, except Canada, and Canada said there was no obligation to apply sanctions; if there had been, I am sure she would not have signed it.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, the time has arrived when we have to go on the floor of the Senate. I suppose that is all we can do to-day. …
STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK B. KELLOGG SECRETARY OF STATE-Resumed
The CHAIRMAN. I asked the Secretary of State to come back this morning, because I understood some further questions might be desired to be submitted.
Secretary KELLOGG. I do not know that there is anything more I can say about this. If there is, I will be glad to answer any questions.
Senator REED of Missouri. The Secretary stated this morning before the committee came in, that if the committee desired it, he was willing to send to the committee the whole of the correspondence in relation to these treaties.
I asked him personally if we could not see it, and I think we ought to have it and have an opportunity to examine it, that is all, and find out what the attitude of these nations is so far as it is expressed.
I want to say now, since the newspapers have had so much to say because I asked the Secretary two or three questions here the other day trying to get some light on this business, that I have not aligned myself on these treaties. I do not know what my position is going to be. I want to find out about it.
The CHAIRMAN. Have we not all of the correspondence?
Secretary KELLOGG. You have all the correspondence with the 15 nations up to the signing of the treaty.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Secretary KELLOGG. Two or three days before this treaty was signed, and knowing that before the treaty, offer was made to any nation in the world to adhere, an invitation was sent to each country inviting them to adhere. That appears in this pamphlet.
That was forwarded to each country in the world, so that they would have it on the day the treaty was signed, and immediately the treaty was signed, I sent what we call a flash-a brief message-to our embassies and legations, to deliver this invitation to all the countries in the world. It was delivered. During that day and the next, there were about twelve notices regarding adherence.
From that time to this there are 44 nations which have either adhered or declared their intention to adhere to this treaty. Some of them, of course, have yet to send this adherence to their parliament, but the governments have declared their intention to adhere.
The CHAIRMAN. Are these declarations all written?
Secretary KELLOGG. They are in writing and filed in the State Department, and there are no reservations in any of them, as I recollect-I went over them at the time-but I will have them copied and sent up here, if you wish. There is nothing private about them, at all.
Senator SWANSON. May I ask you this question? After the negotiation had gone so far that the United States Government and France agreed that each would communicate to the nations that contemplated being original signatories to the treaty, their views
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes.
Senator SWANSON. This was handed to these nations and the nations replied?
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes.
Senator SWANSON. Then, finally-I think it was July 18 or 11, or some time-after these communications had been received, you addressed a note to all the powers and asked them to let you know early whether they would accept the treaty as you had sent it. Was there any correspondence in that interim that is not included in what we have here?
Secretary KELLOGG. Not at all. There is not a particle of correspondence, from the beginning to the end, in relation to the negotiation of this treaty, that has not been published and is not in this volume; not one.
Senator REED of Missouri. I do not want to prolong this, and I do not want to be in the position of trying to by hypercritical. I will state the point so far as it appears to me. Here is a treaty, and if there had not been a word said, of course, what the treaty means would have to be judged by just what is written in it; but there were some things said. Mr. Chamberlain said some things, and in his final note that he writes he reiterates those things. I take it that if a situation arose in the future where Great Britain was doing some one of the things that come within the scope of what Chamberlain referred to at least Great Britain would say, ” Now we are acting in good faith. We told you in advance that this is the construction we put upon this treaty”; and if that was all there was to it, I, speaking for myself, would not see any escape from the position that they might take; that is, if they took it within the terms of Chamberlain’s statement.
Senator WALSH of Montana. Let me ask, before you go further, just what is there within the terms of Chamberlain’s statements, and what might they do that would be within those terms?
Senator REED of Missouri. I would rather proceed without interruption.
Senator WALSH of Montana. All right.
Senator REED of Missouri. I can answer that later. I am not trying to provoke an argument; I am just leading up to this–
The CHAIRMAN. Let me say a word. The Secretary, of course, has this Pan American Conference on his hands to-day, and if we are through with him, can we not let him go?
Secretary KELLOGG. Senator Reed, did you want me to answer any questions?
Senator REED of Missouri. No; I just wanted to make this statement to the committee. I would like to finish that sentence.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; go ahead.
Senator REED of Missouri. If it was true that some other nations, in view of the statements made by Mr. Chamberlain, had in some of their correspondence said that they did not accept that construction, that they put a different and broader construction upon the treaty, I think it is important to know what these other nations may have said.
The CHAIRMAN. We will have the entire correspondence. Now, Senator Reed of Pennsylvania.
Senator REED of Pennsylvania. Mr. Secretary, has Soviet Russia adhered to this treaty?
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes; Soviet Russia adhered to the treaty- an absolute adherence. When Soviet Russia adhered, about the same time, or I guess at the same time, she wrote a long note, which I will send up to you-which the French Government sent to us-saying the treaty did not go far enough, and complaining that all the powers ought to, I believe she said, disarm. It was something like the note she wrote before; criticizing the treaty because it did not go far enough. But she signed and adhered to it without any reservations.
Senator SWANSON. That note is not in your catalogue here?
Secretary KELLOGG. You see, that came after the signing of the treaty. We have that note.
Senator REED of Missouri. I wonder if any South American countries took a similar action?
Secretary KELLOGG. No; no South American country.
Senator REED of Pennsylvania. In your opinion, is the confirmation of the treaty with Russia equivalent to recognition of her?
Secretary KELLOGG No; that has been thoroughly settled. The adhering to a multilateral treaty that has been agreed to by other people is never a recognition of the country. How could the United States force Great Britain to recognize a country, by our asking the third power to adhere? We have four multilateral treaties to which Russia is a party, and nobody ever claimed that one of them was a recognition of the Russian regime, at all. I have looked that up carefully, and have given instructions to our ministers about the subject.
Senator REED of Pennsylvania. They had made no such claim on the other treaties?
Secretary KELLOGG. They have made no such claim. Russia does not make any such claim.
Senator REED of Pennsylvania. Then, in your opinion, there is no sense in putting a reservation in this, as to recognition of Russia?
Secretary KELLOGG. No; that would be an Executive act, anyway. If the President felt that there was any doubt about it, when he proclaimed the treaty he would say that there is no recognition of Russia. But of course the President has no doubt about it. The question of recognition is not a matter of legislation; it is a matter of the intention of the Executive; and if he saw fit, even in answering the Russian declaration of adherence, he could say, “This is no recognition of Russia.” But I do not think it is necessary or advisable in this case.
Senator SWANSON. It is usually consummated by an exchange of ambassadors and consular officers, is it not?
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes. A bilateral treaty containing mutual obligations to perform certain governmental acts is generally conceded by us to be in the nature of at least a de facto recognition, especially when we announce it is, as we did in the case of China; we announced that by signing that treaty we considered it a recognition of the Government.
Is there anything further?
Senator McLEAN. I would like to ask the Secretary a question.
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes.
Senator McLEAN. Mr. Secretary, Mr. Miller has written a book-
The CHAIRMAN. David Hunter Miller
Senator McLEAN. Yes. Have you seen that books
Secretary KELLOGG. I think I have looked at it, but I have not examined it carefully.
Senator McLEAN. He quotes you as stating in your definition of the right of self-defense, that every nation has the unquestionable right to defend its territory against attack or invasion. That would limit our idea of the application of the Monroe doctrines
Secretary KELLOGG. NO
The CHAIRMAN. The Secretary said a great deal more than that. Mr. Miller did not quote all of the Secretary’s statement.
Secretary KELLOGG It is all stated in the note on page 36 of this pamphlet.
Senator SWANSON. In your speech of April 28?
Secretary KELLOGG. Yes.
Senator McLEAN. I know it, but I do not see that that particular definition of the Secretary’s has been qualified anywhere. This notion that the right as recognized, to take up arms in self-defense, is limited to the defense of territory, if attacked by an invader.
Secretary KELLOGG. I have said, over and over again, that any nation has the right to defend its interests anywhere in the world. Of course, that is a necessity. I explained that by the illustration of Panama. We have a treaty guaranteeing the independence of Panama.
Senator McLEAN. As to the Monroe doctrine, I do not know that we have ever limited it to the defense of our territory
The CHAIRMAN. NO; neither does the Secretary in his definition.
Senator EDGE. The Secretary in his statement last week supplemented that very largely.
Secretary KELLOGG. Senator Reed asked me for one thing. I stated the other day that the United States had no treaty with Germany or with the other powers guaranteeing the Rhineland occupation. I have prepared a letter, which I could not get ready because I was engaged all day yesterday, citing the Berlin treaty and the provisions of the Versailles treaty, by which we get our rights and advantages. We reserved the benefits of certain sections of the treaty. But there is no guarantee anywhere of the Rhineland; nor are there any other obligations that we are under, in that treaty We simply have the rights and advantages stipulated in the treaty for the benefit of the United States, which it is intended that the United States shall have and enjoy; and the you will find the sections given, so and so-I will not name them all. I will send you up a letter on that subject. It was not ready when I left the office this morning.
I have here the transcript of the previous hearing, which I worked on yesterday late in the afternoon. I think I have made the corrections of grammar, and so forth, on the document itself, so that you can see that nothing has been changed in it.
It contains, however, of course the questions of Senators, and except where those questions were plainly in error, I have not 1mdertaken to revise them. Whether you want to make public these statements about foreign countries, is for you to decide. I will leave the document here. I have: nothing else that I care to suggest.
The CHAIRMAN. If that is all, Mr. Secretary, we thank you for your presence.
Senator SWANSON. It was understood that his testimony should be made public after he revised it.
Secretary KELLOGG. I have revised it so far as I am concerned. If the Senators here wish to revise their questions in any respect, if you will just show it to me after that is done, very well.
Senator REED of Pennsylvania. I notice in article 3 it is stated that it is the duty of the United States ” to furnish each government named in the preamble and every government subsequently adhering to this treaty with a certified copy of the treaty and of every instrument of ratification or adherence; ” and also ” telegraphically to notify such governments immediately upon the deposit with it of each instrument of ratification or adherence.”
Have You conducted negotiations with Russia under that article?
Secretary KELLOGG. No; we have conducted no direct negotiation with Russia at all. France undertook to invite Russia to adhere to the treaty; but we have sent to every government in the world two certified copies of the treaty, and as fast as governments adhere we will notify the countries.
The legal aspect of that is this. Of course the treaty does not go into effect until it is ratified by the 15 original powers which signed it; so that an adhesion by another country would not go into effect until the day of ratification and exchanges of ratifications of the original 15 powers. But there is no reason why all the other powers should not adhere, and even submit their adherences, where it is necessary, to their parliaments for ratification, and file them before the treaty goes into effect. Then when it does go into effect, of course, it would go into effect as to the adhering powers.
Senator SWANSON. In giving notification to Russia, France has conducted these negotiations for you; and did this Government then give notice to France, or to Russia direct?
Secretary KELLOGG. Sent it to France, and she has sent it to Russia.
Of course these adhesions are under conditions. Should the treaty be changed, of course it will not bind them. That is the machinery by which I apprehend the treaty will be handled. I have nothing else to suggest, Mr. Chairman.
Senator GILLETT. How many of the original 15 nations have ratified now?
Secretary KELLOGG. None of them.
Senator GILLETT. None of them?
Secretary KELLOGG. They probably will not until the United States does so. In most cases their parliaments were not in session. I am not sure but it may have been subject to action by their parliaments. I could not say.
Senator ROBINSON of Arkansas. Are they waiting for the United States to act, Mr. Secretary?
Secretary KELLOGG. I do not know. They have not said anything about that. I think there were not any of the parliaments of the 15 powers in session when the treaty was signed.
I understand that in Japan they do not have to submit to their congress. Russia does not submit. Of course Great Britain does not have to submit it to the Parliament. They do usually make an announcement through their prime minister that such and such a treaty is laid before the Parliament and that the Government intends to ratify it. Whether they actually take a vote on it in the Parliament I am not sure; but the King has power to ratify without the Parliament. They usually submit it, however, to the Parliament. I have not looked that matter up as to the other governments of the 15 powers. Some of them undoubtedly have to ratify. There are certain treaties which France may ratify by decree and there are certain treaties which she is required to submit to her Parliament. Treaties affecting the territorial extent of France, and possibly some others-I have not their constitution before me-require the action of their Parliament. Other treaties do not require it.
If there is nothing else, gentlemen, that is all.
The CHAIRMAN. That is all; thank you, Mr. Secretary.
” Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Hearings on the General Pact for the Renunciation of War; Statement of Secretary of State Frank Kellogg, 1928. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/
Bill Masters has been up for nearly three hours. Before six he rose, drove to a high school quarter-mile track, jogged six slow laps, walked one, and then finished off with one fast lap. For a fifty-four year-old man, who is bald except for a ring of white hair left by hereditary tonsure and two shafts of white sideburns, Bill Masters is still an attractive man. Writers have searched for descriptions of him, and because of the nature of his work, have been charitable but incorrect in labeling his as the look of the concerned family physician or the involved marriage counselor. The Masters look is hard, penetrating, an X-ray look that discourages frivolity and commands immediate candor. It seems to say: ‘Of course, I’ll help you, but let’s get on with it.’ When he moves his eyes, the right one lags behind, temporarily giving him a double image. Anyone seeing him for the first time might rivet attention on his steel-blue eyes and try to figure out which one, if either, is training on him.
Gini Johnson, wearing a black and white patterned overblouse and white uniform pants, is now on her way to the Foundation in an open convertible. She is an attractive forty-five-year-old who could, if she dedicated time to herself instead of her work, be ravishing. In the publicity pictures shot for their second book, Gini was made up by George Masters (no relative) and benefited greatly by eyeliner, eye-shadow, false eyelashes that wisp up quickly at the end, and lipstick applied by brush; but she usually wears her hair swept back from her face into a ponytail or covered by a fall that is a shade off from her own auburn. She smiles more readily than Masters, but keeps her lower jaw set, which prevents her from making full-fledged cheek-wrinkling grins.
Those who have come to talk with Masters and Johnson about their work find that conversations occur in small segments, crowded into their busy schedule. In addition to counseling couples and working in infertility, Masters and Johnson have a half-million-dollar Foundation to administer and are now beginning to structure a postgraduate course in their techniques. It will be run by Dr. Ray Waggoner, immediate past president of the American Psychiatric Association, and Emily H. Mudd, professor emeritus of family study in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, who have just joined the staff. Some conversations occur during lunch in the library, where a stack of issues of Hospital Practice and Playboy are pushed aside to make room for cold cuts, rye bread, potato chips, and iced tea. The library is small; ten or twelve people can be squeezed in. The number of volumes is not impressive, but the field of sexology hasn’t produced many scholarly or even peripherally useful books. One of man’s most basic needs—Masters claims it ranks second only to self-preservation—hasn’t been a proper area for study. Here it is, unashamedly. On Bill Masters’ desk, a lucite cube with Picasso’s erotic and mildly pornographic sketches. In Gini Johnson’s office, a carving of two nude bodies, man and woman, together. On a shelf below her assortment of reference books is a roughhewn wooden block, with the outlines of a man and woman, not touching but contemplative, emerging out of the side that has been partially carved.
By midmorning Masters has counseled two couples. The first is in the last days of a two-week stay and had come to the Foundation with a typical problem: premature ejaculation on the part of the male that had resulted in a nonorgasmic wife. Both problems have been overcome. In place of two people who barely spoke upon arrival, there are now chatty, hand-holding honeymooners. The second couple has not been able to conceive. After a ten-minute interview, they come out of an office and wait in the hallway while Masters goes into a small laboratory. He comes back with a plastic vial with a cork stopper. Masters needs to check the viability of the man’s sperm, and as he could, or would, not produce some by masturbating in one of the many lavatories, he will go back to his hotel room and, with his wife’s assistance, produce.
Mrs. Lynn Strenkofski, a bubbly brunette whose name is on all correspondence with patients so they feel they already know her, greets the couple as soon as they arrive. But never by name if there is anyone else in the room. That is cardinal rule one, for many Masters and Johnson patients are supposed to be motoring through Mexico for two weeks, or camping in Canada, away from the telephone. In addition to the malady the couple has reported, a few things are known. The woman will not menstruate in the next two weeks, nor is she nursing a baby. The couple have probably made an attempt at intercourse the night before coming to St. Louis, a last valiant attempt to show each other that they are basically sound and do not really need treatment. They are wrong.
Mrs. Bowen gives each couple an ominous-looking plain brown paper envelope that contains nothing more crucial than a restaurant guide, the schedule for the chimpanzee show at the St. Louis zoo, locations of laundromats, planetarium shows. The two weeks in St. Louis are not two weeks by the bed as some expect. Depending on their needs and degree of articulation, they will spend from twelve to twenty-five hours in therapy sessions at the Foundation offices. Many other hours will be taken up with application of the therapy guidelines.
The picture that emerges could keep soap operas in material for years. Two Ph.D.’s, she in anthropology, he in physics, have a marriage unconsummated after four years. A nonorgasmic woman was traumatized at fifteen with her first sexual encounter—a homosexual one with an overzealous teacher. A husband, out of work, turns to drink and loses his potency. A frustrated woman from a Fundamentalist Protestant background, whose premarital physical contact consisted of three chaste kisses, who fought to keep herself covered during intercourse while her husband fumbled through the nightclothes to do the job. A man from a Fundamentalist background whose first sexual encounter was with a prostitute, standing up, is impotent. A man punishing his mother by denying her a grandchild is denying his wife any sexual activity.
From the fourth day on, couples in therapy are encouraged to proceed, at their own pace, toward a more complete appreciation of the sexual component in their lives. Wanda Bowen and her staff see the couples go in for their daily sessions with Masters and Johnson and then emerge. “I don’t have to listen to the tapes [all sessions are recorded] or look at the progress sheet,” Mrs. Bowen says. “It’s all there in their faces. Some are crying. Some snap at each other. Some are holding hands and smiling. The anthropologist Ph.D. was a mess in dumpy clothes on the first day. When she came in one day with lipstick, her hair done, and earrings on, I didn’t have to ask anybody. She was advertising to the world that they had made it.”
The therapy is carefully orchestrated, from the moment of first instructed touch to successful intercourse and orgasm, to keep both partners calm and undemanding of one another. “Fear of performance is the biggest factor in sexual dysfunction, and once there is no premium on performance, we can get a lot of work done,” says Masters. That work was detailed in Human Sexual Inadequacy, where Masters and Johnson reported they had failed in only 20 percent of 790 cases of male and female dysfunction that had been treated for two weeks and then followed up for five years. They did not claim success in the other 80 percent, stating that success was too difficult to define, but that failure, either in the two-week program or during the five-year follow-up, was easy to identify. Masters and Johnson’s most stunning success came in the area of premature ejaculation, where only 5 of the 186 men thus afflicted could not bring their problem under control. By use of a “squeeze technique” where the female grasps the penis when the man says he is ready to climax, thus removing his desire to do so, Masters and Johnson have virtually proven this sexual problem can be vanquished. Their highest failure rate (40 percent) occurred with primary impotent men, many of whom could not overcome religious strictures that have effectively castrated them.
This woman knew that, but she still wanted her share. Under Masters and Johnson’s care everything seemed to be going well until Dr. Masters asked her if she would stay with the marriage if the sexual aspects were improved. She answered that she didn’t know. “Why did you come here?” he shot back at the woman. At that point she knew he wouldn’t stand for any idle chitchat, and she replied that whether or not the marriage survived, she didn’t want to deprive her husband of this chance to find his manhood. She was surprised when the stern-faced Dr. Masters promised that within a year her husband would again be confident—both sexually and in his everyday life—and it would be due to her.
In their first attempt at intercourse two days later, the couple were mutually successful. “It was not difficult to accomplish these victories… we were supremely confident and, as a result, were able to drop all pretenses.” Along with her new physical openness, the woman found herself extremely sensitive to her husband’s slightest ill word or look. And, over a trivial matter, a fight occurred. To the couple’s astonishment Masters and Johnson were unmoved. Arguments frequently happen at this stage of therapy, they explained, and after all, weren’t the couple in St. Louis to make their mistakes? The argument and the ensuing makeup assured the couple that the therapy was applicable not only under idyllic circumstances, but could work in everyday life. When Mrs. Johnson took the woman aside to ask how things were going, the woman said, “I was amazed to hear myself rhapsodize about how deeply in love I was. I was not being a Pollyanna; I knew that all our problems had not been solved overnight. But I felt that just the fact that some doors had been opened, that we were enjoying each other so much, was a small miracle. To go from almost nothing to so much in a short time made me very optimistic about our future.”
They do their work in a conservative city, St. Louis, a city that seems to have a special tolerance for research in medicine and science. If the city wanted Missouri law enforced, officers could come to Masters and Johnson and demand that their program of providing surrogate partners for single, sexually dysfunctional males be stopped. It is against the law in the state of Missouri for a man and woman, not married, to engage in sexual intercourse. There has been no harassment. (One disgruntled husband, however, has brought a $750,000 suit against Masters and Johnson, charging that his wife was paid $750 to engage in sexual activities with two men. Masters and Johnson have made it no secret that they have supplied female partners for males, but have also been extremely careful to choose women who are willing, sympathetic mates for the two-week therapy program and not promiscuous fun-seekers. Masters and Johnson have dismissed the suit as “ridiculous.”)
While resisting offers from publishers for additional books, from cosmetic firms for endorsement of a lotion that patients have used successfully during the two-week therapy program, and from movie producers, one of whom was willing to pay $100,000 for the use of the title of their first book, Masters and Johnson have stayed in firm control of much of their press. They have demanded, and usually obtained, the right to see copy before it was published. When McCall’s was ready to run an article about their work that Mrs. Johnson thought was “bits and pieces and took our work out of context,” she had the magazine scrap it and wrote the article herself. Time, a subsidiary of Time Inc., the parent company of Masters and Johnson’s publisher, Little, Brown and Company, wanted advance galleys of Human Sexual Inadequacy so they could prepare a cover story to run when the book appeared. They were turned down. Masters and Johnson have never cooperated in working with magazines that wanted to do first-person stories about couples who have been treated. One such couple, in fact, approached NET and was interviewed on TV. After reading the transcript, Gini Johnson had to admit that the interview was a good reflection on why the couple was having troubles. “The woman had all the answers; every time he’d start to say something, she’d correct it and go off on a tangent. I’d be impotent in the face of that.”
Man: There was something very interesting I think they missed. We were told, in other words, if my wife or myself got out of line with each other, we should try to make up some sort of a signal that it’s a danger—
Woman: This is later.
Man: Yeah, this is later, yeah.
Woman: You’re jumping the gun.
Man: OK, take it.
And yet, even this overbearing woman and her subdued husband were able to find each other physically under the guidance of Masters and Johnson. Some other excerpts from the interview with WNDT TV’s Sherrye Henry give a behind-the-scenes flavor:
Woman: Incidentally, at the first session we were not allowed to touch any sexual parts of either body. This was most important. I guess it did lead to the sensuousness which they expected of us. The next part of the lesson consisted of allowing us to touch one another on our sexual parts. But we weren’t allowed to indulge in any sexual intercourse. We became sensitized, and we jumped the gun, as we later found out they expected iis to do, and we did have sex.
Interviewer: Well, was it good for you?
Man: Yes, great!
Interviewer: How precise were their instructions to you? When they sent you back home to practice, what did they give you? Diagrams? Pictures?
Woman: Dr. Masters would sit in his chair behind his desk, and he would tell us exactly what he wanted us to do and he would use his hands to explain to us what he wanted done.
Woman: Physically, yes. We then had a mental barrier we hadn’t broken down. With all married couples, you have two animals; you have a body and you have a mind. Our minds weren’t meeting, and the only way that the minds could meet was by us having a battle. Dr. Masters tantalized me and said that he was going to get my husband a blonde. He [Masters] wanted him [husband] to do anything to make me angry. He [Masters] had broken off sex between us. So finally we were riding down the street looking for a restaurant, and he wanted me to read the map of St. Louis and I knew nothing about St. Louis, and he started screaming and yelling at me, and as soon as he did that, my hair stood on end, and I told him to take me back to the hotel and I proceeded to cut him to bits. I did mental surgery on him. The next morning we went anxiously to see Dr. Masters and Mrs. Johnson, and when the girl saw me downstairs in the reception room, she wanted to know what happened. I just said that men weren’t any good. Dr. Masters came to the door of the reception room and he looked at me and said, “You, I want you in my office immediately. You [husband] stay here.” And so I went into his office and I broke down; I cried like a baby. I told him what happened, and then Mrs. Johnson came in, and she literally tore me apart. Told me exactly what I had been doing wrong. Which was the best thing she could have done. I didn’t like what she said. But it had its effect. And two minutes later they came back after me again. I went inside and they were laughing. I was very upset by all this and I went home and I cried from 11 o’clock in the morning until 3 o’clock in the afternoon. And he [husband] was there, the first time he really saw me.
Woman: A person and a woman and I…
Interviewer: Who needed him, I suppose.
Masters and Johnson, who will surely take their place in the lineage of Freud and Kinsey, have made personal sacrifices to accomplish their work. Bill Masters has not taken a day off from his work in sixteen years. But he is a devoted football fan and a season-ticket holder for all the home football games of the St. Louis Cardinals. His eighty- and ninety-hour workweeks have left many things in their wake, including his marriage. He lived apart from his wife for almost two years, and is now divorced. He has worked at this feverish pace because he believes he has much more work to do and, at fifty-four, not enough years to accomplish it all. He wants to train senior therapists from all over the country who can then teach the techniques in their own clinics and medical schools. He wants to assemble a statistically sound group of adolescents and aged to study their sexual difficulties. He wants to develop preventive means to keep people from sexual dysfunction. All this for a man who describes himself as “not a people person; I could be happy alone in a laboratory for the rest of my life.”
Gini Johnson, born Eshelman, married bandleader George Johnson and sang with him for several years. She was never the gushy type (“I was raised in a Victorian family, but we were warm to each other with words, not touches”) and is not one to indulge in the very medium of sensitivity she has developed. After the first book, the inevitable question was asked of her: Did your own marriage fail (she was divorced in 1956) because of sexual troubles? She was quick to answer no, and looking back today, she is more calm about it: “He was a bandleader, a night person. We had children; they were day people. The two just didn’t mix.” Now that she feels she can relax and once again begin to enjoy life, she is concerned. “I’ve been removed from society for so long, I really don’t know what I liked before. I don’t know what I’d go back to.”
The response is made late one afternoon as he soaks in the pool at Gini Johnson’s home. It is his idea of relaxation just to sit on the steps of the pool with the water lazily lapping at the long, white hairs on his chest, and then to swim a dozen lengths before dinner. Inside the deceptively simple house, with a stunning bilevel addition done in exposed rough beams with vaulted ceiling, Gini Johnson is preparing wild rice and peas and loins of pork and beef. Dressed in a striped caftan, she pads barefoot around the kitchen.
The house, like the rest of their lives, has an aura of privacy. Bill Masters points to a stand of four reasonably mature trees, through which can barely be seen windows of the only house not sheltered from view by topography, or by the high fence encircling the property. Those trees were recently moved into place to provide protection from those who would like to see what goes on in the backyard of the famed sex researchers. Some of the wealthy who have sought Masters and Johnson’s care, and were willing to pay them anything to perform their function outside St. Louis, have been turned down. Masters and Johnson simply won’t leave all their other work for two weeks.
As he prepared for his work in sex research and therapy, Masters studied the life of the late Alfred Kinsey, to see what motivated him and to see what pitfalls he could avoid. Masters found that Kinsey developed an overpowering ego, would not train a qualified successor, and thus guaranteed that his work would end with his death. He never collaborated with a female researcher although he was studying both sexes. And in his last years, Kinsey was obsessed with the thought that everyone was trying to steal his data. Masters admits to a mild case of paranoia himself. “You have to get a little sick in the head to try to figure out what somebody who is really sick in the head will do to break out our security. It isn’t pleasant to continually worry about what some goon is up to.”
Those who have criticized Masters and Johnson for their work have found them unwilling to defend themselves. “Continued research and publication of findings is our response; we can’t take time to strike back at our detractors,” says Masters doggedly. Over the dinner at Gini Johnson’s, they loosen up and let go with a barb or two. They fault Leslie Farber whose article “I’m Sorry Dear” in a 1964 issue of Commentarycondemned their approach as mechanistic—for writing from hearsay two years before Human Sexual Response appeared. That book was written eighteen months earlier than planned because questions that the Farber article posed within the professional community could be answered with nothing short of the entire report.
In answer to Rollo May, who says, “They put the emphasis on orgasm when it should be on love. They help some couples, and I congratulate them for that, but their total impact on society is to send us further down the road of misunderstanding ourselves and our need to love one another,” they have but a short reply. Smiling serenely, Gini Johnson says, “Dr. May has the corner on the love market and we couldn’t presume to know anything about it.” Masters adds, “If our job were only to reorient people sexually, we could do that in a long weekend. We are treating the whole marriage, and we start with the most intimate and necessary of all communications.”
Late in the evening, after weaving its way through Victorian hangups, the difficulties the children of Masters and Johnson have had to face (‘I don’t want you hanging around with that Masters girl; her father’s a sex maniac,’ one mother told her daughter), the conversation moves to an odd subject: why Masters and Johnson consider Playboy a good outlet for sex information. ‘There are millions of men reading it, eighteen to twenty-eight years old, who parade as knowledgeable about sex but who have the same old misconceptions about mutual orgasms being a necessity and penis size being important,’ says Gini Johnson. ‘Men read the magazine predisposed to reading about sex, and we want them to have good information.’ Masters and Johnson serve as consultants to the magazine, and when sex questions are asked in the Playboy Advisor, they edit the answers. After Hugh Hefner learned of their work, and his editor in the behavioral sciences, Nat Lehrman, did a penetrating interview with them, Hefner’s foundation donated $25,000 and continues to donate annually.
Still later in the evening, just before Bill Masters is ready to drive back into St. Louis, his partner muses. Lately she has found she is getting forgetful, absentminded, and one day panicked when she thought she had left office records in her convertible and returned to find the car empty. The records were sitting on a table at home where she had left them. ‘I have always valued my sense of color, of being able to put furnishings, clothes together and making them look good. But all the years of seclusion. I was in a store the other day, and I had to walk out—I couldn’t make a choice of colors; I really couldn’t see the colors.’
In his Chevrolet Nova (bottom of the line, radio) a half hour later, Bill Masters, still in his blue terry cloth après-pool slacks, is speeding along a highway. Blocks of light form slowly on his face, expand quickly, then disappear as cars approach and pass. His sentences are short and punctuated by long silences. ‘Of course, it is great to finally see results…. People don’t know that with ninety hours of work each week there’s not time for thing else… Biologically I guess I’m eighty…. But I don’t really know…. I don’t really know if I’d do the whole thing over again or not.'” Paul Wilkes, “Sex and the Married Couple;” a profile of Virginia Johnson and William Masters in Atlantic Magazine, 1970. https://www.theatlantic.com/
In their despair a number of those who no longer have confidence in the leadership of our society look up to the writer, the master of words. They hope against hope that the man of talent and sensitivity can perhaps rescue civilization. Maybe there is a spark of the prophet in the artist after all.
As the son of a people who received the worst blows that human madness can inflict, I must brood about the forthcoming dangers. I have many times resigned myself to never finding a true way out. But a new hope always emerges telling me that it is not yet too late for all of us to take stock and make a decision. I was brought up to believe in free will. Although I came to doubt all revelation, I can never accept the idea that the Universe is a physical or chemical accident, a result of blind evolution. Even though I learned to recognize the lies, the clichés and the idolatries of the human mind, I still cling to some truths which I think all of us might accept some day. There must be a way for man to attain all possible pleasures, all the powers and knowledge that nature can grant him, and still serve God – a God who speaks in deeds, not in words, and whose vocabulary is the Cosmos.
I am not ashamed to admit that I belong to those who fantasize that literature is capable of bringing new horizons and new perspectives – philosophical, religious, aesthetical and even social. In the history of old Jewish literature there was never any basic difference between the poet and the prophet. Our ancient poetry often became law and a way of life.
Some of my cronies in the cafeteria near the Jewish Daily Forward in New York call me a pessimist and a decadent, but there is always a background of faith behind resignation. I found comfort in such pessimists and decadents as Baudelaire, Verlaine, Edgar Allan Poe, and Strindberg. My interest in psychic research made me find solace in such mystics as your Swedenborg and in our own Rabbi Nachman Bratzlaver, as well as in a great poet of my time, my friend Aaron Zeitlin who died a few years ago and left a literary inheritance of high quality, most of it in Yiddish.
The pessimism of the creative person is not decadence but a mighty passion for the redemption of man. While the poet entertains he continues to search for eternal truths, for the essence of being. In his own fashion he tries to solve the riddle of time and change, to find an answer to suffering, to reveal love in the very abyss of cruelty and injustice. Strange as these words may sound I often play with the idea that when all the social theories collapse and wars and revolutions leave humanity in utter gloom, the poet – whom Plato banned from his Republic – may rise up to save us all.
The high honor bestowed upon me by the Swedish Academy is also a recognition of the Yiddish language – a language of exile, without a land, without frontiers, not supported by any government, a language which possesses no words for weapons, ammunition, military exercises, war tactics; a language that was despised by both gentiles and emancipated Jews. The truth is that what the great religions preached, the Yiddish-speaking people of the ghettos practiced day in and day out. They were the people of The Book in the truest sense of the word. They knew of no greater joy than the study of man and human relations, which they called Torah, Talmud, Mussar, Cabala. The ghetto was not only a place of refuge for a persecuted minority but a great experiment in peace, in self-discipline and in humanism. As such it still exists and refuses to give up in spite of all the brutality that surrounds it. I was brought up among those people. My father’s home on Krochmalna Street in Warsaw was a study house, a court of justice, a house of prayer, of storytelling, as well as a place for weddings and Chassidic banquets. As a child I had heard from my older brother and master, I. J. Singer, who later wrote The Brothers Ashkenazi, all the arguments that the rationalists from Spinoza to Max Nordau brought out against religion. I have heard from my father and mother all the answers that faith in God could offer to those who doubt and search for the truth. In our home and in many other homes the eternal questions were more actual than the latest news in the Yiddish newspaper. In spite of all the disenchantments and all my skepticism I believe that the nations can learn much from those Jews, their way of thinking, their way of bringing up children, their finding happiness where others see nothing but misery and humiliation. To me the Yiddish language and the conduct of those who spoke it are identical. One can find in the Yiddish tongue and in the Yiddish spirit expressions of pious joy, lust for life, longing for the Messiah, patience and deep appreciation of human individuality. There is a quiet humor in Yiddish and a gratitude for every day of life, every crumb of success, each encounter of love. The Yiddish mentality is not haughty. It does not take victory for granted. It does not demand and command but it muddles through, sneaks by, smuggles itself amidst the powers of destruction, knowing somewhere that God’s plan for Creation is still at the very beginning.
There are some who call Yiddish a dead language, but so was Hebrew called for two thousand years. It has been revived in our time in a most remarkable, almost miraculous way. Aramaic was certainly a dead language for centuries but then it brought to light the Zohar, a work of mysticism of sublime value. It is a fact that the classics of Yiddish literature are also the classics of the modern Hebrew literature. Yiddish has not yet said its last word. It contains treasures that have not been revealed to the eyes of the world. It was the tongue of martyrs and saints, of dreamers and Cabalists – rich in humor and in memories that mankind may never forget. In a figurative way, Yiddish is the wise and humble language of us all, the idiom of frightened and hopeful Humanity.” Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel Literary Laureate’s Lecture; 1978.