My Life in a CRAZY HOUSE



It's a mad world, my masters.

I SUPPOSE that the motto I have affixed to the
first chapter of the brief history of a singu-
lar personal experience is by this time an
accepted axiom. Was it in one of Mr. Sala's
columns of gossip that I was reading the
other day of the man of the pen who com-
mented upon the imprisonment in an asylum
of a brother of his craft merely by saying,
' What a fool he must be ! For years I have
been as mad as he, only I took care never
to say so ' ? There are odd corners in the


brains of most of us, filled with queer fancies
which are as well kept out of sight ; eccentri-
cities, I suppose they may be called. The
man who is so ' concentric ' as to be innocent
of peculiarities is a companion of a dull sort.
But Heaven help us all when such things
may be called, and treated as, madness.
For, if all of us were used according to our
deserts in that way, who should escape the
modern substitutes for whipping ? England
would not contain the asylums that should be
constructed, and might go far to deserve the
Gravedigger s description of her for Hamlet's
benefit : ' There the men are as mad as he.'
Let me go a step further. There are few of
us, perhaps, who have not seen something in
our lives of the strange nervous disorders
which have been generalised as 'hypo-
chondria,' which are, in fact, I think, the
different outcomes of a common affection —
temporary exhaustion of brain. Beyond a
certain point it becomes delirium, the wan-


dering of weakness which is so closely con-
nected with many forms of illness, both in the
beginning and during the course and recovery.
When the victims of delirium may be added
to the eccentric members of society ; when
at any moment the certificates of any two
doctors who may be utter strangers to the
patient — acting under the instructions of
friends who are frightened and perplexed,
perhaps, and try to believe that they are
' doing for the best' (I leave out of consider-
ation here the baser motives which, it is to
be feared, come sometimes into play) — may
condemn him to the worst form of false im-
prisonment, the death-in-life of a lunatic
asylum, at a time when he is himself practi-
cally unconscious ; — who is there amongst us
who can for a moment believe himself safe ?
Death-in-life did I say ? It is worse ; for it
is a life-in-life, worse than any conceivable
form of death. The sights and sounds

through which one has to live can never be

B 2


forgotten by him who has Hved through
them, but will haunt him ever and always.
Never let next friends persuade themselves that
they are ' doing for the best ' for him for whom
they so do. For themselves they may think
that they are. For him they cannot possibly
do worse. Every nerve should be strained
to save a man from that fate, if it be humanly
possible, ay, even if he be mad indeed ; for
while there is life there is hope, till that step
has been taken. When it has, I verily be-
lieve that hope is reduced to its smallest.
For the personal experience which I have to
tell has taught me this : that the man who
comes sane and safe out of the hands of mad-
doctors and warders, with all the wonderful
network of complications which, by Com-
missioners, certificates, and Heaven knows
what, our law has woven round the unlucky
victim in the worst of all its various aber-
rations, is very sane indeed. And very safe
too, happily. His lines afterwards are not


altogether pleasant. The curious looks and
whispers, the first meetings with old friends,
the general anxiety that he should not ' excite
himself (which he may be better excused for
doing than most people, perhaps), magnified,
no doubt, by his own natural sensitiveness,
are difficult in their way. He does not mind
them much, is amused by them at times ;
for, with the strong sense of right on one's
side, conflict is rather pleasant than not to
the well-balanced soul. But the thread of
life and work and duty has been rudely
broken by the shock, and has to be knit again
under great drawbacks. It can be done,
though ; and one starts again the wiser and
the better man.

* Jurant, quoiqu'un peu tard, qu'on ne I'y
prendra plus.' It is no bad thing to have part
of one's w^ork and duty so clearly pointed out
as this of mine. When this evil question is
being stirred to its depths as it is now, every
contribution of personal experience is valu-


able. It Is not for me to suggest schemes
of reform, as it Is the fashion to ask critics to
do, but for those who are paid to do that
work rightly and earnestly, or who choose to
undertake to legislate for us. Nor have I
any advice to offer them except the advice
of Hamlet : ' O, reform it altogether.' The
system is radically wrong, all through, under
which such wrong is possible. And I believe
it all the more because It seems to me with-
out reasonable excuse. Madness is the most
terrible of all visitations ; but also, probably
for that very reason, the most unmistakable.
And In spite of doctors and lawyers and
the whole artillery of organised Humbug, I
have deduced another lesson from this hard
experience of mine : I do not believe that
there is any mistaking a madman when you
see him.

The especial experience which I have to
tell has nothing especially painful, and is,


perhaps, none the worse for that. I have
nothing to write of dark rooms or strait-
waistcoats or whippings, or to reveal such
secrets of the prison-house as will make each
particular hair to stand on end by the telling.
My lines were cast in pleasant places. The
private asylum in which I was confined for
many months, which in the retrospect seem
like one dreary dream, is, I believe, highly
recommended by Her Majesty's Commis-
sioners as a delightful sanitary resort — quite
a place to spend ' a happy life.' During those
months I had the advantage of living in a
castellated mansion, in one of the prettiest
parts of England, which I shall hate to my
dying day, with a constant variety of atten-
dants, who honoured me by sleeping in my
room, sometimes as many as three at a time.
I was dying in delirium and prostration,
simply, and wasted to a shadow ; conse-
quently voted * violent,' as the best way out of
it. With carriages to take me out for drives,


closed upon wet days, open on fine ; widi
cricket and bowls and archery for the summer,
and a pack of harriers to follow across country
in the winter ; with the head of the establish-
ment, who lived in a sweet little cottage with
his family, to give me five o'clock tea on the
Sundays ; with five refections a day whereof
to partake, with my fellow-lunatics, if so dis-
posed, in my private sitting-room when I
could not stand it ; with a private chapel for
morning prayers or Sunday service, the same
companions and attendants for a congrega-
tion, and some visitors who would come to
look at us ; with little evening parties for
whist or music amongst ' ourselves,' and a
casual conjuror or entertainer from town to
distract us sometimes for an evening ; with
an occasional relative to come and see me,
beg me not to get excited, and depart as soon
as possible, — what more could man desire ?
As I look at this last sentence of mine it
reads like an advertisement. Stay — I had


forgotten the medicine. They did not give
me very much of it, I suppose, or I should not
be alive. Indeed, it seemed to me that the
general principle was to give it when one
asked for it, and pretty much what one asked
for. When I got unusually weak and de-
lirious a good strong dose on the 'violent'
theory — homoeopathy, I suppose, from a new
point of view — was enough, literally, to reduce
me to reason. For then I became too weak
to speak, and the matter ended for a time.

All this bears so fair an outside that it
seems difficult to quarrel with it. Yet the life
that it concealed was inconceivably terrible.
My head was full of the weakest, the most
varying, the most wandering fancies — the fan-
cies of sheer and long-continued exhaustion.
These parties, games, entertainments, meals,
without a friend's face near me, without hope,
wish, or volition ; with the shouts and cries
of the really violent to wake me sometimes at
night ; with every form of personal affliction


to haunt and mock and yet companion me by
day ; with poor fellows playing all sorts of
strange antics round me, herded together any-
how or nohow, with or without private rooms
of their own — more, I am afraid, in proportion
as their friends could or would pay for them
or not, on the footing of ' first-class patients '
than on any other intelligible principle ; with
Death in the house every now and then, falling
suddenly and terribly on one of these unhappy
outcasts from some unsuspected malady within,
which they could not explain, spoken of in
whispers, and hushed up and forgotten as
soon as might be ; with the warders — ' atten-
dants,' if you like it better — playing their
rough horse-play all over the great house, the
Philistines making sport of the poor helpless
Samsons, and varying their amusements by
coarse and gross language which made the
chilled blood run colder; — the story makes
me shrink in the telling, and almost regret
that I have undertaken to tell it.


But the evil wants cautery to the very core,
and I believe that every story of the kind
should be told. To me personally death was
very near indeed in that house more than once,
from the most complete and absolute exhaus-
tion of brain. I felt it at the time as I have
known it since. Death in utter solitude, save
for the warders by my side, whose duty it was
— or they interpreted it as such, some of them
—to hold me down and jump upon me, or
kneel on my breastbone, if I turned round or
uttered any wandering words in bed. When
I was really dying, happily, I was too weak for
movement or for word. And there is no
stranger comment on the strange nature of the
great and common mystery than the fact that
in those supreme moments, unconscious of all
else, I felt consciously and intensely happy —
happier than I have ever felt, perhaps, in all
my life. But I had to live, and I did. And
so sound was the brain in all its weakness that
I have hardly forgotten a single detail of my


life in that place, scarcely even any of the
vague and wandering* fancies that possessed
the starved head ; so vague and wandering
that, had I told one -fourth of them to the
doctor, to whom I told (on the principle of Mr.
Sala's friends) far too many, all Bedlam itself
had not been held more mad than I. What
I call fancies they call ' delusions.' And as
such I believe that they are written in the
Book of the Chronicles of the Commissioners
of Lunacy. For we know with what parental
care these shameful things are done.

Mr. Dillwyn and others have been doing
their best of late to stir the public mind upon
this matter, and some recent reports in the
newspapers may have materially helped them.
But the Home Secretary, I see, has gracefully
deferred enquiry to the more convenient season
which, from the time of Felix downwards,
has been found difficult to secure again. It is
easier, probably, to make a great flourish of
fireworks in the way of foreign politics, — and


with much blowing of the trumpet to restore
Great Britain to her former post among the
nations, which some of us never could see
how or when she had forfeited ; and the very
deference paid her In this Cyprian business
seems to show that she had not, — than to deal
with a home-problem like this, which falls so
fatally within the province of our old friend
the Circumlocution Office, and involves so
great a variety of * British interests ' of a
peculiar and Individual kind. Interests, did
I say ? Indeed it does, for it involves the
liberties and lives of every one of us. It is
all very well to plume ourselves upon our
charters and our Immunities, and to bless those
Northern stars of ours that we are not as other
men are. But the case of Vera Vasilovltch
(If that was her name), over which we jubi-
lated so much at the expense of the benighted
Russians, implies no greater danger than these
evil lunacy laws. Once in their grasp It is a
hard matter, indeed to get out of it. Cowards


at the best, all of us, we are all of us afraid of
the very name of ' madness ' more than of
anything else ; and in that fear lies the security
of the present system against any attack that
may be made upon it.

There was a story the other day in an
American newspaper of a lady who was
spirited away by two scoundrels under the
eyes of a whole party of travellers, not one
of whom raised a finger to protect her when
the fellows had whispered it about that she
was ' mad.' This story may not have been
true ; but it was so singularly ben trovato that
It very well may have been ; and the mere
possibility of its truth argues the necessity of
keeping our eyes well open to the dangers in
which we live. I suppose that we most of us
rather laughed at Charles Reade s attack upon
private asylums, and quietly comforted our-
selves with the reflection that ' in the nine-
teenth century' (an expression which is used
as a sort of talisman, apparently, like the


' Briton ' of Palmerston's day) such things
are impossible. It requires a personal ex-
perience of their amenities, such as fell to my
lot, seriously to believe that the adventures
of a novel may be transferred to the pages
of an ' article,' and be as strange — and true.
Villainous conspiracies, for personal motives,
to set the lunacy law in motion, are rare
enough, I do not doubt. But the law favours
them. What is not rare, I doubt even less,
is the imprisonment in these fearful places of
people who are perfectly sane, but suffering
from some temporary disorder of the brain,
the most delicate and intricate part of all the
mechanism, and the least understood ; and if
asylums are a sad necessity for the really
mad, — and even that I cannot help doubting ;
for from what I have seen I believe that they
require a much more loving and more direct
personal supervision than they can get, poor
people, — for the nervous sufferers who are
not mad they are terrible. The mad folk


seemed to me happy enough on the whole,
perhaps. But the suffering of those conscious
of being sound of mind, but very sick in body,
yet treated as sound of body and sick in mind
— the life of the same among the mad, baffles
description. They must be driven mad there
by the score. I know what it is for men ;
what must it be for women ? Personally, I
do not believe I could have borne another
week of it, for heart and brain were strained
almost to bursting. What would have hap-
pened to me I do not know, for I had lost all
care for anything. Nor did the kindly doctor,
under whose advice I was saved, ' in spite of
fortune,' ay, and in spite of myself, pretend
to know either. But he believes that I must
have broken down utterly, probably from
softening of the brain.

Sitting at my desk as I am sitting now,
with the comforting pipe and jug of beer by
my side (deadly poisons to me, both of them,
I have been often assured), and wdth a pro-

A LUNATIC asylum: 17

found and grateful sense of extreme physical
wellbeing, it is difficult for me to believe
that not so long ago I was pronounced to be
suffering at different times or all at once from
epilepsy, partial paralysis, fits, delusions, sui-
cidal and homicidal mania, * voices' (a very
professional and dangerous piece of humbug,
of which I shall have more to say presently),
'visions' (^Anglice, dreams), and the Lord
knows what beside. As I was utterly prostrate
from weakness, it reads like a dangerous com-
plication ; and I feel with pride that I may
safely challenge Maria Jolly herself to the
proof. It is something to have lived through
all these maladies, and to be engaged in reple-
nishing the welcome beer-glass, or, like the
moralist of Thackeravian memory.

Alive and merry at — year,

Dipping my nose in the Gascon wine.

But it is not too much to say, — and I speak
again the wise words of my good friend and
doctor, not my own, — that there are at this pre-



sent moment languishing in these places many
men who might well have been rescued, may
be even now (and ajmob attack, Bastille fashion,
upon the whole body of private asylums
would, to my mind, do as much good as
harm), — men who might well have been
spared and saved to do good work in the
world, but who now lie as helpless as the en-
chanter at the feet of Vivien in the hollow

oak —

Lost to life and use, and name and fame.




Since I finished the first chapter of this dis-
course of mine, some of the few friends to
whom I confided my intention of committing
my experiences to the dangerous form of the
litera scripta have been incHned to remon-
strate with me for my audacity. Indeed, they
seemed to think that there was something
very wrong about the whole thing; that I
should in some subtle way be breaking a con-
fidence which should be devoutly kept — with
myself, I suppose ; and that the secrets of the
prison-house of lunacy should be as sacred
as the mysteries of Ceres of old. Whether,
when these papers shall have been published,
they will punish me in the Horatian fashion,

and forbid me to stretch my legs under the

c 2


same mahogany, or tempt the fragile bark in
their company, I cannot say. But I am at a
loss to see my crime. I feel disposed to
quote a saying of Shirley Brooks in Punch,
which always struck me as one of his funniest,
when, in answer to numerous inquiries why
his famous paper was published on Wednes-
day, and dated a Saturday in advance, he
simply wrote in his ' Punch's Table-talk,'
' What the deuce is it to anybody ? ' And
I repeat what I said or implied in my
first chapter, that as the strange experience
recedes into the past, and the painful sense
of insecurity dies out which at first it left
behind, the blessed spirit of fun comes to
my assistance, and the ' humour of it ' affects
me as much as Corporal Nym.

I rejoice in agreeing with a friend of mine,
who, in talking the thing over, said to me,
' The worst of you is, you are rather brutally
sane.' And the absurdity of any connection
between myself and a lunatic asylum strikes


me so forcibly that I begin to rub my eyes
and ask myself whether it all really happened.
It seems some degrees less real than it did
even when I finished the last chapter. So I
cannot get on the same standpoint as my
friends, or discover that I am hurting my
own feelings by my own disclosures, as they
appear to think that I must. If I hurt those
of anybody else it is neither fault nor affair
of mine. There are unfortunately too many
people in the world who cannot be supposed
to have any to hurt. And to expect that a
scribe should refrain from making capital of
such an adventure is to ask too much of
mercenary humanity. When various angry
designs upon the law, for actions for false
imprisonment, had given way to the reflection
that the justice which got me into the mess
was not likely to set me right afterwards, and
it had struck me forcibly that it would be
better to sit down and calmly to narrate my
' travels in the dark land ' than to pay for the


chance of redress, I grew very comfortable
about the whole matter.

Men have travelled, and fought, and got
besieged, and shut themselves up among the
paupers, and done many strange things before
this, for the mere purpose of writing books
about their doings. But I feel sure that no
man ever submitted to be treated as a lunatic
with that view ; for if he had he might
never have escaped, had he been as sane as I,
to tell his story. I know that for some time
I might have been under the impression
(which a friend of mine, who once paid a visit
to the asylum, told me had been decidedly his)
that the house-doctor, whose business it was
to cure us, and above all to set us free, was
one of the most remarkable madmen in the
place. Well do I remember how, when I
sank into a state of depression and absence
of mind over the billiard-table on the tenth
repetition of some especially dull old story of
his, and quite forgot to score, this doctor


reported me to my relatives, and I dare say-
to her Majesty's Commissioners, as having
' fallen into a dangerous condition of torpor/
Torpor was the word.

De Quincey himself, with all his power
of eloquence and word-painting, might have
found even the dreams of an opium-eater
less difficult to fix and to describe than the
marvellous fancies and dissolving views of
hypochondria, when it passes from the domain
of fancy into that of real illness. In that
earlier and fanciful stage it may or may not
be conquerable by that effort of the will which
is so easy to preach and so hard to practise ;
but in the second it is, save by the action of
what I suppose I must call — in days when a
higher and a nobler Name is something out
of date in the ' best circles' — the vis- medica-
trix ' Naturce' practically incurable. The
doctors, who know what Galen knew and no
more, but apparently believe in themselves


none the less even for the teaching of Moliere,
are powerless before it. Their kindness of
heart abounds — as, thank God, there is much
of it everywhere — but their skill does not
keep pace with it. One of the kindest of
them whom I know, and I think the most
sensible, told me that he had once under his
care a lady who was suffering from hypochon-
dria in a severe form. She recovered ; and
some time afterwards she met with an injury
to the spine, of which she died in great pain.
When she was dying she told him that her
sufferings were as nothing to what she re-
membered of the mental pain of that first
illness. And I believe it to the full ; though
we know that mercifully there is nothing we
forget so soon as pain. Add to that indefi-
nable and wearing agony the surroundings of
a large lunatic asylum — beyond conception
the most cruel place for such a malady — with
medical supervision merely nominal, where
all, with scarcely an exception, are regarded


as incurably mad, and simply kept out of the
way to save families trouble, — and the pen of
a De Ouincey would help me as little in the
description as my own. I shall, therefore,
begin quietly from the beginning.

In these coddlesome and unmanly days of
ours it is becoming almost rare to meet, in
London life at all events, with a man who is
not more or less of a hypochondriac about that
unlucky scapegoat of modern times, his liver.
It is represented as such an ubiquitous, elas-
tic, and sentient being, that personally I am
beginning to disbelieve in its existence altoge-
ther, and regard it as a sort of * Mrs. Harris '
in the human economy. Since the spread of
what I may respectfully call Andrew-Clarkism
amongst us, the humourist may find ceaseless
matter for meditation at the club dinner-table
and at ladies' luncheon-parties in finding out
the exact number of glasses of wine (the
quality never seems to be taken into con-
sideration, somehow) which each respective


liver will bear, and the relative size of the
plate of cold meat (or ' egg, its equivalent ')
which may be consumed with slow mastica--
tion. The wine or the one glass of cold water,
which is undoubtedly better, must be sipped,
not swilled ; and the general effect, though
depressing, is excellent if persevered in.
That it is seldom persevered in longer than
Nature will allow, and that the patient after
a time rushes to the nearest and best-filled
board under the influence of uncontrollable
thirst and hunger, and so brings a grateful
liver to willing reason, is probably the cause
why this modified Sangradism survives so
long. The days of alcohol are theoretically
numbered, but I doubt if they ever will be
practically. In older and simpler times it
was known as wine to strengthen the heart
of man ; and why the temperance doctors,
who prove beyond dispute that alcohol is
not food, in forbidding it always instruct their
victims to resort to a corresponding increase


of animal sustenance, is beyond my academic
logic. It implies a syllogism as much outside
of the domain of our old friend ' Barbara
celarent ' as Macaulay's famous argument :

Most men wear coats,
Most men wear waistcoats,
Therefore some men wear both.

But the logic of medicine is not as the rea-
son of other trades. I had been thinking
of these things the other day when I went to
church and heard the dear old story of Cana
in Galilee. And no reverent mind will accuse
mine of irreverence if I say that, in spite of
myself, my thoughts shaped themselves into
an epigram : —

A miracle of Love Divine
Changed all the water into wine :
Save me from miracles of men,
Who want to change it back again.

This is a digression, but very germane to the
matter in hand. For a long course of inani-


tion on the modern principle, not sufficiently
combated by submission to Nature's clamorous
invitations to eat, drink, and be merry, and
on the other hand indefinitely accelerated by
the fearful shock of a course of German waters,
was the prelude to the illness into which I

Never mind with what it began. It has
been said over and over again that work hurts
nobody, but that worry kills. Home troubles,
perhaps, beginning with the death of a very
near and dear relation under circumstances of
exceptional pain, were in my case the real
foundation of the mischief, which grows very
fast by what It feeds on when worry super-
venes. I had, unfortunately, no necessity to
work, became less and less disposed to do
anything, and more and more the victim of
diet-tables and prescriptions, with all their
sad concomitants of dyspepsia and want of
sleep, and, as a common consequence, the
abuse of that grim and baleful drug, hydrate


of chloral. The well-disposed interior will
revolt at the very memory of its hideous taste,
and fly to warning and remonstrance. As
day by day the illness crept upon me, and
the weary phantom of Self — and Self from its
most distorted and morbid point of view
— absorbed at last every thought and every
energy, the well-known * differentia ' of the
illness, the ground was being comfortably
cleared for the experience that was to follow.
Bred in the careless modern school of
indifference to higher hopes and feelings ;
never an unbeliever, I hope (remembering
Dr. Johnson's saying : ' Sir, if he is an infidel,
'tis as a dog's an infidel ; he never thought
about it'), but practically living the life of one,
I was without the one stay and rest which
can carry men triumphantly over worse
troubles than mine. I had to kill Self as all
of us must who would fain rise upon the
stepping-stones of the dead giant to better
things, before my illness was to bring forth


its fruit. I hope and pray that it has done so

It strikes me that I am preluding still.
But I believe that my experience, thus far,
will appeal directly to many hundreds of men ;
and I wish to warn them fully and fairly — it
is my object in these papers to do so — under
the present condition of our law, to what
hypochondria may lead, if they carry it so far
as to bore their nearest and dearest, justly
desirous to be amused and comfortable in

Let me pass those fearful German waters
briefly over. I arrived at Carlsbad one
summer all alone and half worn out ; and
that salubrious spot wore out the other half
with generous rapidity. Every morning, in
the small hours, when I ought to have been
putting on flesh in bed, I drank away at some
spring or another a fraction of my few re-
maining pounds of it, in company with a long
train of fellow-idiots. The waters of Carlsbad


work as neatly as Shylock would have done ;
only they require a stone where the Jew was
content with a pound. Antonio was an arch-
hypochondriac, by the way ; I wonder if
Shakespeare, who is proved to have been
everywhere and done everything, had been to
Carlsbad and concealed an allegory ? I saw
at least three doctors at the place ; for my
first fell ill, and my second could never
remember what spring he had ordered me,
being convinced that only one could hit * my
case,' and changing it, therefore, every time.

O Karlsbader Wasser,
Waret ihr nicht besser
Als eure Doctoren,
Wir waren verloren !

So ran an agonised distich I found written
up on a rock somewhere. But doctors and
waters are much of a muchness, I think.
Yearly will Charles's Bath claim its hecatomb ;
I know not why. Harrogate is as nasty, and
as dangerous. To my mind, of all the


poisons distilled out of the bowels of the
sometimes harmful earth, these same waters
are the worst. Strength and weakness are
convertible terms for health and sickness ;
and that which weakens by reducing maketh
not strong. And at this point of my sermon
take w^arning again, ye hypochondriacs, and

I returned from Carlsbad seriously ill, and
I grew worse very rapidly. The supposed
reaction which is so ingeniously claimed as
the result of these nasty drinks — to account
for the natural fact that all but the herculean
among the drinkers grow steadily worse for
some time afterwards, and better again when
the effects have passed off — failed to show
itself in me for some years. It did at last, no
doubt ; and I may send a votive tablet to
Carlsbad yet. I became, as I said, a bore.
I was passed on from doctor to doctor, and,
as one of them frankly said, each gave me
another kick down the ladder. On one of


the steps only do I ask to linger for a moment,
and to thank the one among them, true friend
and good man, whose eye this may chance to
meet, to whom I owe as much as one man
can owe to another in this world. Only he
and I, in this world, know what I mean.
At last I reached the lowest rung of the
^ medical ladder indeed ; for what the wine-
trade is to the man who has failed generally,
so I take it is the lunacy trade (with marked
and fine exceptions, of course) to the doctor
who is no good for any other * specialty,' and
knows he is not. His province is the un-
known ; the law works for him ; he is in
charge of a certain number of unfortunates,
whom others — not he — have pronounced

* mad ; ' he argues, when he argues at all,
backwards. He has not to say to his patients,

* Your words and thoughts are inconsecutive,
your eye is wandering, &c. ; therefore you are
mad ; ' but, ' You are mad ; therefore your
words and thoughts are inconsecutive, and



your eye is wandering.' This argument has
been absolutely used in that shape with me ;
and I leave honesty to judge what the effect

But I could not afford to be angry, for that
would have been ' excitement ' and madder
still. The position in which you put some of
us — some of you — with the light heart of
M. Emile Ollivier — is a cruel and terrible one,
indeed, for the man conscious of sanity, but
under the ban, ladies and gentlemen. And
believing, as I do, that I am one of the very
few who can ever have come through such an
ordeal as this with all his wits throughout
about him, I cannot wonder for a moment
that others have been content to sit down
quietly under this most intolerable wrong,
and to hold their tongues, lest ' excitement '
should be again brought up against them.
But I will not, that is all. With all my heart
I believe in the grand old Sophoclean line,
which used to console Mortimer Collins :


For the benefit for those who have no Greek :
' No he ever crawls to old age.' And even
In this coward world I believe truth Is master
when used as the one fearless weapon, for
attack or for defence.

But I have been growing ' excited/ good
my readers, and I beg pardon. Some of my
friends are naturally afraid of any excitement
on my part. It is not easy to avoid some-
times. After this storm that has swept over
my life, there is a great strong current of
righteous wrath that will run on deep down
beneath it to the end, but not more deep than
I mean that It shall be still. Out of the
nettle danger I have plucked the rose of

It was bitter v/Inter when, as the begin-
ning of the end, I was relegated to the care
of a good-natured young village medico, with
about as much knowledge of the buildings of
the brain, I should think (and small blame to

him), as of Cambodian architecture. He was

D 2


a kindly fellow, and did all he could ; but he
dwelt in a tiny hamlet on the borders of one
of the dreariest tracts of our forest-country,
and I reflect with sorrow to what a stupendous
extent I must have bored him. I am con-
soled by thinking that I must have been of
ereat value to him in his studies, as he was
trying his 'prentice hand in ' nervous' cases, to
which he suspected himself of a call, on me ;
and I wonder he failed to catch the malady.

Goethe once said that the greatest of
physical blessings is a big head with enough
blood to feed it, and the greatest of physical
trials the same head without the blood, whose
place has to be supplied by all sorts of fancies,
which of course take the most morbid form.
In my case they turned, as they have in such
thousands of cases, to religious hypochondria.
There is nothing more difficult to explain
away, on any Darwinian or Contist hypothesis
of which I am aware, than 'phenomena of
this kind. They exist, and will have to be


dealt with somewhere. The curious story of
John Bunyan has been repeated constantly
since his days. They were trying at the
time. I was fully convinced that I was the
wickedest man that ever lived, and even in
my illness rather triumphed in the fact after
the fashion of Topsy.

Looking back from my present vantage-
ground, and conscious of never having wit-
tingly harmed anyone, I cannot imagine why
I arrived at so desperate a conclusion. I
must have tried that poor young doctor
sadly ; for I never spoke of anything but my
sins and my ailments, though naturally I am
blessed with a keen interest in all sorts of
things — quicquid agunt homines^ almost. For
my sins, to deal with which he felt to be out-
side his province, he sent to the clergyman
of the village locality, who fled after five
minutes' discourse ; and, as I have learnt since,
with a good sense for which I shall ever
mentally thank him, wrote to some of my


relatives to tell them to send me ' home ' at
Qnce — dear, good, blessed old word that it

is ! and save me from doctors as soon as

might be. They preferred an ' asylum.'

As to my ailments, I had evolved from
my inner consciousness, after a varied and
polyglot experience of many physicians, from
whom I had suffered many things, certain
astounding theories about acids and alkalies,
and organic and functional disorders, which
were innocent of the slightest foundation in
fact, but,, as far as I can see, quite as well
founded as those of the faculty. One of the
Diafoiruses, I remember, who had been
baroneted for his performances, entirely de-
clined to pronounce on me at all anything
but the simple sentence : ' O Lord, take him
away — beef-steaks and cod-liver oil ! ' Had
he said ' Burgundy ' instead, I had reverenced
him now fully instead of partially. For I
was, in fact, starving, and that was all.

But let me not laugh too much ; for what


followed was no laughing matter. I was

* attended ' at my forest-doctor's by a servant,
picked up I know not where, who considered
it his duty to cheer me by suggesting cribbage,
with dirty cards, and watching me, in my
room, night and day, till his constant presence
drove me nearly wild. Three of the leading

* mad-doctors' of London, to whom I was
carried In 'consultation,' had pronounced me
to be abundantly sane, though exhausted and
helplessly hypochondriac, and bound to re-
cover. So said my young doctor too. And
when, one evening, after a foolish exhibition
of desolate misery (and It was misery), the
moral responsibility whereof, if any attach to
it, I am now quite content to lay at other
doors than mine, a relative arrived, and,
without any reference whatever to the skilled
men of whom I have spoken, ordered my
instant removal to ^another place,' the same
young doctor-host told me that he would
never have sanctioned such a step ; but the


relative had stayed but five minutes, left the
order, and departed for foreign lands.

I was therefore ' removed,' half-dying, in
a state of semi-consciousness, I can scarcely
remember how, to the castellated mansion
mentioned in my first chapter. The wrong
should have been impossible, of course ; but it
is possible, and it is law. My liberty, and my
very existence as an individual being, had been
signed away behind my back. In my weak-
ened perceptions I at first thought that the
mansion was an hotel. Left alone in a big
room on the first evening, I was puzzled by the
entrance of a wild-looking man, who described
figures in the air with his hand, to an accompani-
ment of gibber, ate a pudding with his fingers
at the other end of a long table, and retired.
My nerve was shaken to its weakest, re-
member ; and I was alone with him ! It was
not an hotel. It was a lunatic asylum.



Of what followed for the next few days I
cannot say much ; for my head was then so
thoroughly weakened that I had almost lost
all count of time. It was a very merciful
weakness, for without it I do not think that a
sensitive brain could have borne a succession
of shocks such as I described at the end of
my last chapter. There was a very large
number of madmien in the place, which was
avowedly regarded as an asylum chiefly for
* incurables,' whence I conclude that it was
thought convenient in my case to take the
extremest view of matters at once. So little
was I myself able to realise that resort could
have been had with me to such a step as this,
that, strange as it may seem, some months


passed before I knew that I was the Inmate
of an asylum. I thought, In the dazed state
of trance In which I contrived to exist from
hour to hour, that I was In some sort of estab-
lishment devoted to nervous patients, whence
I should be removed In due course of time ;
though, In the vague and dreamy speculations
w^hlch occupied my days, I was wont Inwardly
to wonder what possible effect for good those
broken nerves of mine could derive from
constant association with a variety of people
who were ' nervous ' to such a very marked
deofree. Their ailments used at times to
cause me much Inward perplexity. One of
them used to rush wildly about the passages of
the house — generally with a file of old numbers
of the ' Times ' under his arm, In all sorts of
wonderful costumes, which he was very fond
of changing, an Inverness cape and a velvet
cap being his garments of choice — shouting
out scraps of song In a discordant voice.
Another always wished to shake hands with


me, and recite medical prescriptions at hazard ;
at supper, when a number of us sate down at a
long table to consume some incredible beef-
sandwiches as a wholesome prelude to quiet
sleep, he would finish by crossing himself and
eating the parsley. Tobacco he was rather
fond of eating, too, poor fellow. He Is dead
now, thank God for It ; for even in his vagaries
and In my Illness he impressed upon me with
singular force the Idea that he was excep-
tionally a 'gentleman,' and a good one. A
few days before his end — he died of Bright's
disease, good reader ; and he wanted some-
thing more, I think, than asylum treatment —
I remember his expressing his dislike to sitting
down at dinner In a lady s company without
being properly dressed. One of the ' matrons '
was In charge of us at the time ; a kind-hearted,
clear-headed woman, to whom I was to owe
my first release (I was condemned twice to my
fate). From her first I learned exactly where
I was, and the sort of net that had Immeshed


me ; and, after she had talked to me once or
twice for five minutes, ' This,' she said, ' is a
cruel and a shameful thing. You have no
business to be here. Your friends should
remove you instantly.'

But I am anticipating a little. I met this
lady, happily for me, at a seaside ' house of
ease,' to which some few of the patients were
periodically sent from the ' Establishment,'
as the asylum w^as euphemistically called (we
were very refined and Pickwickian altogether,
and our warders were our ' attendants '), for
change of air. To obtain even that slight
relief, an order from the magistrates, who ex-
ecute justice and maintain truth — and in this
case were connections or near neighbours of
the head of the establishment — is considered
necessary. No loophole for escape was left
us which the law can sew up. For five fear-
ful months I lived at head-quarters in the
asylum, the whole morale of heart and mind
being more played upon and shattered every


day. I have described the ways of two of
my companions. Another, with an abnor-
mally large head of hair, had a way of skip-
ping about the house with startling entreaties
for ' baccy,' or singing to himself a favourite
little song, w^hich ran thus : ' Hey-diddle-
diddle, I want some more beer.' Yet he
could be consecutive sometimes, too, when
one talked with him ; and under the care of
the same matron he sensibly improved, as,
when I met him again afterwards — how shall
in due course be told — he had sensibly dete-
riorated. He was mad, no doubt, quite mad,
but very gentle ; and I ask all good and
reasonable people, on every good and reason-
able principle, how such a malady as his can
be bettered by constant association with other
mental maladies of every sort and kind ? For
myself — I say it again — my physical weakness
saved me, with the consequent incapacity of
the brain to receive immediate impressions
strongly. But the impressions were made.


deep and enduring ; and they come out after-
wards in the light of health and freedom, as
the photograph takes form and strength under
the action of the chemicals. Now, happy
and free, the horrors that were like dreams at
the time seem to shake me as I write ; and
strongly balanced as I know my brain to be,
I doubt if the companions who in sickness
but vaguely frightened me, in health would
not break me down. There is a very fearful
responsibility somewhere for what was done
to me.

Patients there were of other and of many
kinds. There was one black gentleman from
India who never spoke ; but who used ever
and anon to glare at me, and make one or
two steps towards me as if meditating a rush.
Then he would lick his lips with a very red
tongue, sit down opposite me, calmly pull off
his boot and stocking, and nurse his foot. I
think that he had for me the greatest fascina-
tion of any of them ; and I remember being


at times under the impression that he was a
wild animal in disguise. One poor creature
there was whom I dimly but firmly believed to
be an ape ; truly, for my desire in writing
these papers is neither to extenuate nor set
down aught in malice. He was in truth, I
have been assured, a gentleman of large
private fortune ; but never have I seen
humanity so fearfully lowered. He was very
ape-like, small and muscular. His chief em-
ployment was to sit over old volumes of the
' Illustrated London News,' which periodical
was weekly sent to his address and taken in
for him ; to lick his fingers, and turn the
pages rapidly over, crooning the while some
horrible gibberish to himself in a voice quite
inhuman, without two consecutive syllables
or one ray of reason ; to tear out little bits or
whole pages of the volume, and throw them
away with a triumphant yell, which curdled
all my blood and improved the nature of my
dreams, watched over as they were by two or


three keepers, who would report me the next
morning as having had ' a bad turn ' if I awoke
in the night, utterly nerve-shaken, under the
influence of this living nightmare. This
hapless youth was known by the name of
'Jemmy,' and was a standing jest with the
warders, who delighted in playing in every
possible way upon his ghastly idiotcies. For
he was lower than a madman, far ; he was a
raving idiot. He would jump at times from
his seat, mount on a chair, and play hideous
symphonies upon the window-pane to the
accompaniment of his own voice ; once or
twice, I am thankful to say, nature hdays of my imprisonment he was told
off to keep a special watch over me, I grew
to shrink from and to dread him, in my very
weakness, like a whipped child. He was
kindly, but too big, and I was afraid of him.
How many fears of the same sort must harass
and perplex all those darkened lives is an-
other of the sealed mysteries of the English
Bastilles. I associated him so closely with
my first coming ; I remembered with a vision
at once so dim and clear how he had curiously
examined me from the opposite seat of the



carriage as the train sped on in the darken-
ing winter evening, through what country
I knew not, to what destination I had no care
to ask. When the doctor whom I had left
had hinted where I was to go, I had failed to
understand him. Had he told me in more
direct words, I could not have believed in
such a thing being done ; I could not have
believed in its possibility, as on looking back
it baffles my understanding now. I have
read many tales and many histories which
turn upon the abuse of lettres de cachet in the
famous ante- Revolutionary days. Will any-
body tell me the difference ? It seems to me
that all that could be done by their means can
be done ' under certificates ' here and now,
and legally justified afterwards over and over
again. The Bastille itself could scarcely
hold its prisoners more closely than the
' establishment ' wherein I lived ; and scarcely
harder could it have been for any echo of
complaint or suffering to reach the outer


world. Buried and forgotten we lay there,
like dead men out of mind. Of the farcical
visits of inspection made by her Majesty's
Commissioners I shall have something
presently to say. Their manner of discharg-
ing their solemn duty is, to my mind, in the
whole round of wrong the worst feature of

Whilst I was being thus spirited away
through the heart of London, with scores of
warm-hearted friends within unconscious hail
who would have raised a riot to save me if
they had known anything of the truth, I knew
as little of the fate before me as the inconve-
nient kinsman on his road to the old Bastille.
Had I known, weak as I was, I should have
resisted ; and with what result .^ What is the
result to those who do righteously resist?
For there must be some who do. On my
second apprehension, which I shall describe
in its place, I should have known. But I
was drugged by authority, as effectually and

F 2


deliberately as ever was heroine of a novel,
and brought back to my prison from the
North of England under the influence of
opium. More of this In time. Let me return
to my first journey. There were my warders
winking and blinking ; my private domestic
pouring Into the ears of the other, who listened
with the indifference of a man accustomed to
the ways of nameless beings like me, his own
version of my private history, and making
grabs at me in the dark when we came to a
tunnel, to create a prejudice in my favour. I
remember dimly wondering what It was
about, expecting the men to handcuff me,
vaguely dreaming of the charmxS of bed and
of a ' home,' speculating somewhat why I
had none. Of that journey I remember little
more, except eating savoury jelly at Waterloo
Station — so oddly do trifles Impress one in
the most critical moments of life. The next
turn of the kaleidoscope pictures me seated
in an armchair, just before the episode of the


pudding-eater, I suppose, interviewed by the
ancient head of the asylum, who, having me
there under certificate from my family, had no
opinion to pronounce on my mental condition,
but simply to accept me as a madman, worth
a round sum a year to him, and be thankful.
But for a certain episode which I shall in due
course relate, I might not have found the
man out. He was quite stupid, and had so
muddled his venerable brain with the con-
templation — I will not say the study — of
insanity, that, after five minutes' conversa-
tion, any two apothecaries from anywhere
would have ' certificated ' him at once. He
knew nothing on earth about me ; saw me
for the first time under conditions not perhaps
exactly favourable to an impartial judgment ;
and afterwards, as I have before told, paid
me occasional flying visits, which he spent
chiefly in nodding and winking at me in a
knowing manner, and treating the few words
which fell from me as so many excellent jokes.



He had heard that I was theatrically given,
and humoured my shattered intelligence by
taking every opportunity of telling me that
he had once taken his daughters to the
Adelphi to see ' Martin Chuzzlewit ' or
'Nicholas Nickleby ' — I forget which — fol-
lowed invariably by a litde anecdote of one
Grossmith, an old ' entertainer,' who was
wont to imitate Charles Mathews (whose loss
we are regretting now) so w^ell that when
Mathews once met him in the train and heard
him talk he said, ' If you are not Mathews,
you must be Grossmith.' I think that was
the story ; but I grew rather addled over it
at last, and am not quite sure. Grossmith
the younger, w^ho has since that time made
for himself some name upon the stage, came
twice from London to ' entertain ' us. An old
stage-lander, I seldom remember feeling so
severely critical. * Hyperaesthesia,' I think,
is the medical alias for the quickening of
the nervous perceptions which so curiously


accompanies, and yet contrasts with, the
odd sense of unreality with which bloodless-
ness of brain invests everything. I Hstened
to the performer's humours Hke a man in a
dream, with a bitter sense of unconscious
revolt as I recalled many happy evenings
at the play, and went drearily to bed, won-
dering more than usual how it was all to
end. By an odd flicker of the old flame,
I remember feeling as if it were incumbent
upon me to go 'behind the scenes ' and pre-
sent myself, but could not make up my
mind to it. What would the actor have
thought had he come behind the scenes with
me that night, I wonder! Some months
afterwards I was watching him from a stage-
box through the oddities of the ' Sorcerer,'
and it brought back to me with a shock the
fearful place where I had seen him last, and
made me throw an involuntary look round
me to see if any warder was on the watch.
The feelings of fear and shame — for it has in


one's own despite a sort of shame about it —
that the experience left behind, died slow
and hard. And a chance association like
this would curiously awake them.

But I am keeping my old doctor waiting.
He looked and moved, and I dare say tried
to believe himself, the absolute incarnation
of respectable Benevolence. The frock-coat,
dark suit, and white cravat In the initial stage
of strangulation, which are to so many people a
sort of badge of a doctor's degree in divinity,
law, or medicine, and the hall-mark of a good
heart, carried out the illusion. He began to
do good-natured things at intervals ; I sup-
pose from a spasmodic sense that he might as
well try to cure a patient sometimes, instead
of leaving them all entirely to the salutary
effects of association. He once proposed to
go through a course of Greek Testament read-
ings with me, and we accomplished an entire
chapter, but dropped the cure at that point.
My power of reading Greek at sight appeared


to impress him much, as by force of contrast
with his insane patients it well might. But
it failed to incite him to further efforts for my
recovery and release. The Grossmith anec-
dote, to be taken at intervals, was an easier
prescription. Though he had taken very
kindly, however, to the work which he had
accepted in life, he yet never gave me the im-
pression of being altogether * undisturbed by
conscientious qualms,' and of having been able
to silence the monitor which must have pleaded
at times so loudly within him. He was one of
those men who never look one straight in the
face. And though he had constructed a little
chapel in the establishment, where services
were held on Sunday evenings, he did not
attend those services himself. Perhaps he
may have feared that prayers for 'prisoners
and captives,' and the solemn appeals to Him
' who helpeth them to right that suffer wrong,'
might stick in his throat like Macbeth's
' Amen.' He was happier in his own little


house, at some distance from the asyhim, where
he hved, with none of the unfortunates under
his immediate eye. H e pottered about among
a large variety of baby greenhouses, which he
had constructed on patterns of his own, or
made geological investigations under his fields,
where he had hit upon a vein of quartz — or
pintz, or something — of which great things
were to come. Little quarries were scattered
all over the place, and much lunacy must have
been necessary to support them. He was a
ereat inventor, the doctor, and was much dis-
tressed by the evident want of mental power
that I once showed by wandering helplessly
from the point when he was expounding to me
a plan for some stove which was to give heat
without light, or light without heat, or both
or neither. I betrayed after a time an utter
unconsciousness of what he was saying, which
I fear must have outweighed in the balance
my mastery of the Greek Testament. H uman
nature is a parlous thing. In moments even


more confidential he explained to me how he
had been an inventor from his youth, and how
one of the greatest discoveries of Simpson of
Edinburgh had in fact been made by him,
and by him confided to his ungrateful col-
league. I confess that, even in my sad con-
dition of mental darkness, I ranked this story
with the class which at school we briefly
summarised as ' little anecdotes which ain't

This acquaintance with my doctor and his
ways was of a late date, when kindly nature had
given me enough of returning strength to be
able to hold my own in ordinary talk, with
only occasional relapses into the light-headed-
ness which survived the first long delirium,
Avhen habit had begun to dull the edge of my
helpless fear, and robbed the hourly associa-
tions of my life of something of their unspeak-
able horror. I was then hopeless of escape,
and had grown, I think, indifferent to it, as to
all who were supposed to care for me I had


apparently become an object of indifference.
In the juorne d^sespoir v^hich. had utterly taken
possession of me, I knew of no one to whom
to appeal. Only those who had consigned
me to the life could save me from it, and what
was I to say to them ? I was ill when they
did it ; I was ill still. Why should they be
anxious to convict themselves of wrong, and
of such wrong ? And so in my misery I let
the days go by without wearing myself out
still more by idle effort, stupidl)^ resigned

To drift on my path, like a wind-wafted leaf,
O'er the gulfs of the desolate sea.

The few visitors who fell to my lot had of
course accepted their own foregone con-
clusions about my condition, and every ex-
ternal appearance of the place was comfortable
to the view. Under the paternal care of such
a dear good old man, with such pretty scenes
to look at, and such nice gardens to walk
about in, and an hotel- like sitting-room of my


own, I was obviously wicked if I was not
very happy. Other visitors to that place
there were, who might have taken another
view of things. Two friends of mine, who
had known me well in old days, came whilst
I was there to see, as it happened, other
inmates of the asylum. Both knew that I was
confined there, and both desired to see me.
One especially, who had his suspicions in the
matter, made, as I now know from himself,
every effort to make his way to me. But it
was not permitted in either case, and I was
given out as ' too 111 ' to see anybody. In the
malady from which I was supposed to be suf-
fering, the sight of an old friend's face might
well be thought one of the best of possible
prescriptions. I was not too 111. It was a lie.
In all the facts of this piece of autobiography,
I know of none more damning. The reports
of my condition, and the changes of it, were
to depend upon the doctors who lived on us,
and the ignorant warders who took their first


cue from them, and the three relatives who had
taken upon themselves the responsibility for
my imprisonment.

My first impressions about the 'principal'
were funny. As I have said, I did not
realise where I was. I did not know that I
was in an asylum ; I did not understand what
the curious people about me were ; the only
living soul I knew in the place was the ser-
vant of whom I have spoken, whose presence
there was perhaps partially the reason for my
failing to grasp the situation. I had of course
no ground for supposing that he was out of
his mind, or means for understanding why
he should quarter himself in an asylum. He
assured me, I think, that where I went he
would go, out of personal devotion. But as
he took the opportunity of enrolling himself
among the asylum-warders, and treated me
with a curious brutality, happily limited by in-
adequate physical means to carry out his views
— I was myself so wasted that a child might


have maltreated me, and only a brute would
i — ^I must have my doubts upon the matter.
It was with a strange sense of relief that one
morn I missed him from the accustomed
haunts, and learned that he had departed for
India in charge of the black gentleman, who
was translated ^^^^i^;^^^;;^ elsewhere, I suppose,
as some of us occasionally were. It is a
comfort to reflect that the black gentleman
was of a vigorous build, and capable of
resenting impertinence. I hope that he
availed himself of his opportunity, as the
man-monkey did, and employed personal
arguments. The fancies of my bewildered
brain chased each other like shadows. Some-
times I thought that this odious being was
Judas Iscariot (his surname remotely resem-
bled the word 'Judas'); sometimes — when
he had told me how fond he was of me, and
I was trying to dwell upon the pleasant fact
—that he was a brother of mine who had
died in infancy, and come back to love me in


the absence of anybody else. Chance like-
nesses were enough to Invest any of the weird
faces round me with a name and identity of
my own making ; and when at night thick-
coming dreams of the most vivid kind —
through all of which, I am told, my sleep
seemed as placid as a child's — invested phan-
toms with such reality that I was unable to
separate mentally the visions of the night from
those of the day, the confusion of brain through
which I lived may be imagined. I have at-
tempted to describe how, in their shocking
lack of human characteristics, some of my
companions assumed for me the semblance
of animals. About m}^ own identity I felt
puzzled, and was a good deal occupied in
arguing out with myself who I might be, from
various insufficient data. The state is of
course very common in delirium, and was in
my case very natural. A short time before,
I had been the possessor of home, family,
name, and friends ; and at the time when I


needed all these most, I suddenly found my-
self an unregarded cipher, a worn-out garment
cast aside, as unowned as ' Jo' at his crossing,
and robbed of man's right of freedom without
the mockery of a trial, when imprisonment
was a form of cruelty which needs a new
name. So completely was I forgotten, that
when at last I came to life again, it was to
find a three years' arrear of unopened letters
piled up in my old chambers, for which no one
during my illness had even taken the trouble
to inquire. They read to me then like mes-
saofes from another world. Some favourite
pictures and my writer's chair — the unambi-
tious ' Law library ' which I had once owned,
and a set of handsome and valued Harrow
prizes, had vanished altogether, and ' nobody '
was to blame. It was the doing of a company,
I suppose ; but I had clearly no business to
reappear upon the scene. I did not like it,

Knowing myself in keep and hold, and



not knowing why, It was natural that I should
invest the asylum with the attributes of a gaol.
I have said that I expected to be handcuffed
in the train ; and when on the first evening a
fierce-looking man rushed at me with a dark-
blue ribbon, asked me what I meant by not
wearing one, and declared, with a sense of
personal offence, that I was ' not the least like
my uncle,' I took him for the master-gaoler,
and mentally christened him, ' Rocco,' in the
odd dramatic vein which would run through
my thoughts. This blue ribbon, worn in
honour of the University boat-race, and the
fact that one of my first memories is that I
found a hot-cross bun placed by m.y bedside
for breakfast, in sympathetic honour of One
who died to teach us love and mercy, are
the two things which enable me to fix with
accuracy the date of my imprisonment as
about the Easter-tide, now nearly four years
ago. The terrible probation that followed
seems to me now to have cut my life into two


parts, as completely as I am conscious to my-
self of its having changed my whole character,
and stamped and remoulded it in a new and
other cast. Such furnace-fires as these must
do so. They make the common trials of our
race seem ludicrously small, and I find my-
self looking with a certain quaint wonder at
people who talk to me of their hard experi-
ences of life. With what a sense of gratitude
I find myself unembittered — however justly
and strongly resentful, where other feelings
would be out of place — regarding my fellow-
creatures from the pleasantest point of view,
and the world generally in the light of the
laughing philosopher, I cannot say. Trials
are like pills. The taste depends upon how
you take them.

I have been very frank with my readers
about the strange fancies which took posses-
sion of my brain. No one of them who has
known what it is to lie sick of a fever, or has
everseen others lying so, will be surprised to

G 2


read of them. But In a lunatic asylum these
common siens of a common Illness are called
* delusions; I was talking once, during my
interval of freedom, over the position in which
I was placed, with one of the three doctors
who had vouched for my soundness of mind,
who has justly won for himself a great name
among those who have In worthy earnest
studied the diseases of the brain, as far as it
is given to man to study them. He spoke to
me of private asylums with shrinking and
with dread ; and in my hypochondriac days
had warned me as a friend of the dangers
that might await me. ' Travel,' he said ; ' do
anything rather than give way. If once you
find yourself in an asylum. Heaven help you ! '
And when I spoke to him later of the things
that had been said of me, ' I know that word
" delusions " too well,' said he, ' and the use
that is made of it.' I did not, then. But
when, after my final deliverance, I found my-
self accused by those who should have helped


and shielded me In every way of being ' under
delusions ' as to their conduct towards me, I
learned to know. I discovered this indirectly
through others, and would not at first believe
it. But It Is true, like the rest of the story,
and like the rest of the story Is so set down.
They say It everywhere, and they may be
saying so still, and I have long known that
they did not scruple to say it. There let that
part of my subject end ; for I sincerely trust
that It lies outside of human experience. But
It is a possible consequence, remember, of this
abuse of law.

In the general state of confusion which,
launched as I was into this very novel state
of existence, took posesslon of my faculties,
and seemed almost to supply a meaning and
coherence to the old rhyme,

Supposing I was you,

And supposing you was me,
And supposing we all were somebody else,

I wonder who we'd be !


the raiso7i d'etre of the old physician puzzled
me exceedingly. Sometimes I took him for a
superior being in charge of the prison, some-
times for a divine, sometimes for the Evil One,
and sometimes for a butler. When labourinsf
under the last impression, I resented some
question he thought it his duty to ask me,
and his attempt to bar my peaceful passage
from one room to another. I am afraid that
I took him by the collar and put him against
the wall — perhaps, under the circumstances, a
pardonable excess. The assault was not
dangerous. There was nobody living at that
moment, I think, who could not have
knocked me down with his little finger. But
from that time I was regarded, and entered in
the books, as ' homicidal.'



A LETTER has reached my hands about these
experiences of mine, written in a courteous
spirit, but supplying so singular a comment on
my story that I shall answer it here. It is
from a specialist, who has obtained, I conclude,
some eminence in the treatment of insanity ;
for it encloses for my study, in the form of a
pamphlet, a presidential address on the subject
delivered by him two or three years ago.
With a few points in his letter I must deal,
for they are as curious an instance of what
schoolmen call the ignoratio elenchi as I am
likely to meet. ' The writer in the * World,'
he says, ' confesses himself in various passages
to have been insane.' He suggests that I may
possibly be * merely a clever romance-writer ; '


but, deprecating my 'able onslaught on those
medical men who have the dire misfortune to
be engaged in lunacy practice,' adds that if my
story is genuine I am ' bound to offer some
suggestion as to the proper mode of treatment
of the unfortunate victims of brain-disease ; '
and that as I have entered on a ' destructive
course, I am in duty bound to finish by a con-
structive attempt.' Now for my answer. In
the heading of this narrative, and through-
out it, I deny distinctly, deliberately, catego-
rically, that I have ever been insane ; and I
say that the fancies of delirium or hypochon-
dria are as clearly to be distinguished from
those of madness as midday from midnight,
on a very little close observation, by every
honest and unselfish mind. To send them to
an asylum for treatment is the best way to
turn them to insanity. I have been perfectly
frank about my ' delusions,' for I remember
them all, as had I been mad I should not.
A man may doubt if he is in his mind or no ;


he cannot doubt whether or not he has been.
The writer of the letter takes advantage of
my having been in an asylum, as some of the
friends who placed me there have done, to
argue that I was mad. It is the favourite fal-
lacy of the cart before the horse. It proves
me to have been ' legally insane,' of course, and
I give the phrase for what it is worth, with a
contempt no words can measure. The doctors
who made themselves the instruments of this
wrong were two young village practitioners
who never made any study of the matter, and
one of them never saw me but five minutes in
his life, when I was too ill in body to mark his
face. Is this a state of law that should last ?
Is this a thing that should be let alone ?
Read some of Ruskin's ' Fors Clavigera,'
gentlemen, and get rid of some of the selfish-
ness which is the dry-rot of mankind, for which
a placid acceptance of the wrongs of others
is only another name. Scourge the money-
changers from the temples, in the warrior-


spirit of Him whose name we still bear. The
very pamphlet before me speaks of nothing so
much as of the special knowledge required
in dealing with Insanity; yet any two apothe-
caries may make a man mad in law. Let
the very possibility of it be abolished. There
is the first part of the reform which the writer
wants me to suggest, for which in my first
chapter I warned him and all others that they
have no right to ask me. I am neither Home
Secretary, Commissioner, next friend, nor
medical man ; and it is no answer for the
author of a book to say to his critic, ' Come up
and write a better.' ' JVe stitor tdtra crepidam,'
quotes the writer in his pamphlet ; and it is
true of me as of him. It is only my clear
duty to set down, in words that shall burn,
if God will send them to me, the breathing
thoughts that spring, too deep for tears,
out of my terrible personal experience. For
this is no romance, but a commonplace reality.
I have said with whom the responsibility for


the reform lies : with the Home Secretary
and Commissioners, and with the leading
men in law and medicine w^ho allow these
things to be. When Sydney Smith said that
nothing could be done with a corporate body
of men, because they have neither a ' soul to
be damned nor a body to be kicked,' he may
not have been as right in the first clause as
in the last. Souls may one day prove as
divisible as the electric light ; and before the
Court beyond, to which I, and others who
have suffered like me, from our very heart ot
hearts appeal, it will be of no use to plead a
limited liability.

I will go on with my suggestions of
reform, though I am not bound to do so, for
I believe the key to be simple. The lunacy
laws are made in the supposed interests of
relatives, not the sufferers themselves ; and
all is done to ' hush up,' not to expose. Why ?
There is nothing to be ashamed of in insanity ;
but in their utter selfishness friends shrink from


the supposed consequences to themselves if
the thine is * talked about.' As if it could
ever be anything else ! The birds of the air
will carry the matter ; and all that these people
gain by it is to have the increasing sect of
the ' Head-shakers,' as a friend of mine has
pleasantly christened them, tongue-wagging
more and more behind their backs, and say-
ing, ' Ah, poor people ! madness in the family,
you know.' And it serves them very justly
right. I know these same Head-shakers
well, and know well enough that they will
never allow me to escape from the conse-
quences of the past, such as they are. ' There
was something in it, you know ; he was ver}^
queer. Pas de ftimde sans fett! Proverbs
are either the greatest lies or the greatest
truths ; and in ' society ' certainly this is one
of the first sort. I was caught in the act of
laughing at a play of my own only the other
day, and I hear that a head-shaker spoke of
it at the Mutton-chops Club afterwards as



a melancholy sign of my mental condition.
They congregate much at some latter-day
clubs, the members of this sect ; and, In the
absence of natural material in that way, they
tell each other what to think, and then go
home and think it. Applied to literary work,
the result sometimes comes forth as ' criticism.'
Let no man, then, be imprisoned for in-
sanity till his state has been fully and carefully
observed for a certain time ; nor then, unless
the certificate has been signed by two, or
more, well-qualified and practised men, one of
whom at least should have known the patient
well and long. Let private asylums, where
it is in the interest of the proprietors to keep
the patients as long as they can, be swept
away. I have known the enrolment of new
patients on their books — may the poor
people be helped, and those who place them
there forgiven ! — cited with as much pride as
that of new boys at a schoolmaster's. Let
public asylums be substituted, where it is in


all interests to have as few patients as possible,
instead of as many, and to dismiss them as
soon as may be, Let the harmless, of whom
there is a large proportion, be kept out of
asylums altogether. Who knows what cruel
pain the associations of their life may hourly
o-ive them ? Let publicity take the place of
hushing up — which never did any good in
the w^orld whatever — to the fullest extent.
Let the warders (whom I have postponed for
the present in deference to their social betters)
be carefully selected for character and kind-
ness, and be what they should be — nurses of
the sick. Let the Commissioners, if they
are to go on existing, read their duty in a
different way. Further, let severe criminal
penalties attach to every abuse of the reformed
Lunacy Law, and let every facility be given
to the sufferer as against doctors, relations,
Commissioners, anybody, be he great as he
may. At present the law, with all its intricate
machinery for good or ill, fights dead against


US : with my correspondent's plea for the
sensibihtles of those engaged In this Hne of
practice, I am not much concerned. They
need not adopt it if they do not like, I suppose.
They follow their profession for profit like the
rest of us, and have no need to pose as philan-
thropists, or ask for sympathy. ' II faut vivre '
would be their best explanation of their work ;
and I know of no case in which the great
Frenchman's answer would come with more
crushing force, ' Monsieur, je n'en vois pas la

If these suggestions of mine, which I did
not propose to offer, savour rather of the
destructive, to use my correspondent's
phrase, it is because destruction is the only
reform possible ; and to patch up the old
system is like mending worn-out garments
with older cloth. When reform, utter and
complete, has been devised and carried out.
Insanity may be 'eliminated' — I quote the
same writer again — more than he thinks ; for


a blessing may fall on men's efforts which
seems very justly denied to them now. As
long as this form, of false imprisonment is
possible, as long as scores of sane men and
women are being maddened in private
asylums, and hundreds of mad people being
driven madder, insanity in England will not
decrease. As for its proper medical treat-
ment, I have nothing to do with it and
nothing to say to it. I take up my corre-
spondent's address at his desire, in the hope
of learning something, and this sentence is
among the first to catch my eye : ' Voisin
' says that in simple insanity he finds certain
' alterations in the gray matter of the cere-
' brum, consisting of minute apoplexies, effu-
* sions of haematin and hsematosin into the
' lymphatic sheaths, infarctions, atheroma, ca-
*pillary dilatations, and necrosis of vessels,
'and certain changes of cerebral cells.' Quite
so. It may be all very true ; but I can offer
no suggestions as to medical treatment based


Upon these remarkable assumptions. When,
shortly before my final removal, I was allowed
to see a relation of mine at a town at some
distance off, the principal objected to the
permission being too often given, because
conversation carried off too much white
matter from the brain. I distinctly assert
that he said ' white,' because, by connotation
of the statement with Voisin's valuable re-
marks, it will appear that the ' gray ' remained
in my case unaffected. That neither hsematin
nor haematosin has been effused into my
sheaths, that my ^capillaries remain undilated,
and that I am proudly conscious of having
escaped both atheroma and infarctions, I must
ask my readers to accept my word. What
abominable nonsense is all this ! And how
soon may such nonsense degenerate into
evil. In another part of the same pamphlet
I find the writer presently citing this Voi-
sin's recommendation of the * strait waist-
coat ' on the ground that the patients like



It ! There, I think, it is as well to lay the
treatise down.

To take up again the thread of my personal
•story, I have described how I was called
■* homicidal' Where my ' voices ' came from,
to which I alluded in my first chapter, I never
understood ; for indeed I have not the faintest
notion what they mean. They are used as a
yoke-horse with ' delusions ; ' and being simply
jionsensical, they admit of no possible answer.
As far as I can remember, after old Diafoirus
had asked me a variety of questions to find
out the especial form of madness for which
my friends had committed me to his tender
mercies, and became naturally more puzzled
as he went on, he suggested ' voices ' as a last
of the business, and having thus far been
unable to admit a single ' symptom ' pro-
pounded, jumped at the solution as being
purely idiotic. I presume that I must have
admitted that at times, when I am alone and


doing nothing, I am able to fancy to myself the
speech and address of absent friends. H eaven
knows I needed the fancy there. It struck me
as a harmless admission ; and when I was
once afterwards gravely informed that ' voices '
are about the most dangerous and incurable
sign of mental alienation, even in my extremity
I could not help being tickled by the profound
absurdity of the whole thing. ' Voices,' said
my friend of the Inverness to me one day in
a moment of confidence, — he too was able to
discourse pleasantly enough of old college-
times, poetry, and other matters when he
chose, — ' they are always bothering me about
" voices," and I don't know what the devil
they mean.' This man has been a hopeless
prisoner for some time ; but he was so far
wiser than I that he only admitted to hearing
voices indoors ; I rashly allowed that I heard
them quite as often out of doors as in. I hear
them often when I am hungry, summoning me
with much emphasis to my meals.

H 2


This idea of ' voices ' was In my case a
suesfestion of the doctor's, thrown out inno-
cently enough, perhaps, in the first instance ;
but it did me in my illness fearful harm. It
may be felt by all who know how much, at the
best of times, some old tune or scrap of odd
verse will haunt and worry us, with what te-
nacity this fancy, once implanted, would take
root and bud in a brain always active and
imaeinative, and then wearied and overworn
by long weakness, and incapable of the brave
effort by which alone such contemptible non-
sense could be shaken off, amid its grotesque
and terrible surroundings. Harried and
bothered about fits, voices, delusions, white
matters and gray ; ill beyond belief, and
longing for nothing but good food and rest,
but ' watched ' night and day ; speculating
what and who all these people might be ;
irritated by the doctors and insulted by the
attendants — vigorously kicked by one of them
one morning, I remember, when my hands


were too weak to do their office, and I did not
dress myself quick enough to please him —
that I should be here now, sound and strong,
I may well attribute to some Power above the
selfishness of men, which will not suffer these
infamies to go too far. After the usual fashion
in such cases, the doctor of that place may now
claim credit for my * cure.' I will show, before
I have done, how he cut himself off, by his
own deliberate statement, from the possibility
of claiming it. Over these ' voices ' of his I
brooded and brooded till they assumed some
thing very like reality. I thought in my
wretchedness of some dead and eone who
would have shielded me from this with their
lives, till their unforgotten ' voices ' becam.e at
last a very part and parcel of my individual
being, if a certified madman may presume
to claim it. They comforted and yet they
haunted me, till at last I can almost believe
that they became to me guardian angels, like
the * voices' of Joan of Arc. Small chance


would she have stood in the hands of British
speciaHsts. England might have punished
her worse than by fagots if she had handed
her over to them. For me, had I to choose
again between the most painful death and
another term of imprisonment in the asylum
best beloved of the Commissioners, I should
scarcely hesitate a moment in my selection
of the first. These ' voices ' of the doctor s
creation were to be cast in my teeth again
and again. One of the three questions vouch-
safed me by a Commissioner, during the
whole period, related to them ; and when I
say again what I said in my first chapter, that
they are the worst piece of humbug of all, I
I believe that I speak the truth, which is
difficult where all Is humbug. I have his
leave to quote here the words of a friend's
letter written about this history of mine.
He spent one night at this same asylum, upon
a visit there to a ' patient ' : ' Well may you
say there Is but one thing that can enable a


man to bear such a trial. I often wonder howr
I got through that night, and how it was I
did not find myself between two keepers next
morning. I am sure I heard voices enough,,
but they were holy ones.'

This friend, who was not allowed to see
me, was on a visit to a brother of his, whom
I have described as having interested himself
in my release. He had first been spirited
away to another asylum (from which he was
afterwards transferred), when his brother was
but a few yards distant, knowing nothing of
what was being done. He knew his brother
to be sane, maintained it throughout, and at
last succeeded in releasing him. A few facts
in the story are a good pendant to mine. The
victim in this Instance had been engaged in
in all the worries of an election, when some
friend took him to consult an eminent mad-
doctor, who owned a private asylum in Lon-
don. The doctor said that he thought him out
of his mind. My friend went and demanded


his reasons. The answer was that through-
out a long conversation he had shown himself
perfectly reasonable and consecutive, but on
going away he had taken up the doctor's hat
instead of his own. Forcible as this argument
was, it was not enough, even in the opinion of
relatives, to shut the man up for. But on a
later occasion he became excited about some-
thing, and the same authority was again
privately consulted. No information was
given to my friend ; but early in the morning
this doctor sent two keepers from his own
asylum, ready to wait for the result of an
interview betw^een the patient and two
doctors, suddenly sprung upon him (one an
utter stranger), under whose certificates he
was then and there removed. When my
friend heard of it, he took steps at once, but
found that he could do nothing. The law
provides that the two certifying doctors shall
not be partners. One of these was in the
habit of taking the business of the other in


his absence. ' This was his partner/ said
my friend, when looking about for redress.
^ Not a registered partner, I am afraid,' was
the legal answer. The Common Law Pro-
cedure Act, I fear, has failed to abolish
special pleading, or to efface from the
lesser legal mind the delusion — may I use
the word? — that the object of Law is to
defeat justice.^ For some time the prisoner
remained in this asylum ; and he so far justi-
iies the Commissioners in their preference,
that he describes that where I was confined,
to which he was transferred, as good in com-
parison. In that other place he had no room
of his own, and was herded, always, with all
the mad indiscriminately. The only exercise
they were allowed was within the walls of the
grounds, the asylum being in London. He

^ This episode is slightly corrected from the account as
published in the newspaper in which it first appeared. I had
understood that the partnership was between the asylum-
proprietor and one of the doctors, in which I was wrong.
The correction reads to me like Midshipman Easy's famous


was denied pen and ink ; but he saw the
warders do such things that he contrived to
pencil down some notes of what he saw, and
succeeded at last in obtaining the materials^
and writing to the Commissioners of what he
had seen. ' We ' were allowed to write to the
Commissioners, if we found out our right.
How many such letters we contrive to write,
how many are sent if written, how many read
if sent, how many acted upon if read, I do not
know. In this instance these ordeals were all
passed ; for the Commissioners came, made
an enquiry, and did — nothing. But the objec-
tionable patient was removed to another place,
where I met him during my second term.
Sane patients must be in some respects a
trial. I understand that my old doctor
frankly complains that I was the greatest bore
whom he ever had in his care, and I believe
it ; though at the close of our relations he did
not seem too anxious to get rid of me. We
saw very little of each other then, my fellow-


prisoner and I, for it might have been awk-
ward, but enough to recognise each other's
sanity. His brother was working hard for
him, and at last two impartial doctors
were sent down from town to enquire into
his case. ' We ' have a right to demand that
also, I have understood since ; though how
but by a miracle we can use that right, I do
not know. When it is gained, of what service
is it likely to be in such a place, prejudiced
as the new doctors must naturally be, —
over-anxious as the victim must be, who
dares not be excited, and therefore natural, —
painful as the cross-examination is? Never-
theless, in this case the two doctors, one of
them famous in ' nervous ' cases, certified this
man to be sane, and left the certificate on
record. It was kept back one month. I
state the facts of this story upon my friend's
authority, and by his permission.

My friend worked hard without, as his
brother did within ; and the hard-earned free-


dom was won at last, it matters not to tell
how. When I was myself freed, I travelled
for some time with my old fellow-prisoner,
and never saw in him one sign or trace of
insanity. An eminent medical baronet,
with a curiously suggestive name, who is
rather a patron of the establishment, and
occasionally * diagnoses ' a lunatic at an odd
hour, had, a little time before, solemnly pro-
nounced from the tremor of his tongue — a
member which, from my own experience, is
apt to tremesce when one is nervous — that he
was bound to have something dreadful — it
matters not what — within a month. How-
ever, it is now very many months, and he has
not had it. Slang is expressive sometimes.
* Bosh ! ' The baronet is said to be infallible
at ' diagnosing ' from the tongue this especial
malady, which failed to appear. My friend
had no illness. But those people had shaken
his nerves, as for a long space they shook
mine. The wickedness was done. How


many are there who, in the face of such truths
as these, can dare to disbelieve in Him who
says still as He said of old, ' Shall not my
soul be avenged on such a generation as
this ? ' It is all very well to go to church
and ' say ' prayers, to quarrel about the form
of your faith, the colour of your clothes, the
number of your bows. Religion is an active,
not a passive, word ; and, like revolutions, is
not made with rose-water. Do something,
somebody !

Let me close this chapter with my first
escape, as my readers m.ay be well tiring of
my story. After some months of stupid un-
consciousness, I was sent for change to the
seaside annexe of which I spoke. What the
matron said, after the short time of quiet
observation which was all I needed, has been
told. What I felt when I learned from her
where I was, I need not say. Very good for
me was the association with her, who would
rescue me from my companions and my


warders, to take me out with her for a drive
or a walk, In spite of the ' homicidal ' tenden-
cies of which she had been warned. By her
a relation was summoned to see me apart from
the associations of the asylum, who had never
seen me at all since the wrong was done ; and
seeing, had no choice but to remove me,
though every obstacle was thrown in the way,
by the Commissioners even, who, shirking their
own responsibility, accepted for a salary, are
glad enough to throw It upon anybody. Very
eood for me also was the association with the
young doctor, ason of the principal, and his wife,
who lived in the next house In charge of the
*^ branch.' They had me In to sup or play
whist with them In the evenings, and said as
the matron said. The young doctor took it
upon himself. In spite of orders, to let me sleep
in my room unwatched and alone, for the first
time for many months ; and the relief was
beyond words. ' I wish,' he said, In answer to
one of my questions, ' that you would simply


Stuff all the food and drink you can get/
When I was again, after some months of
liberty, remitted to the asylum, I heard that
he had given up all connection with it, with
the regret with which one misses a personal
friend. But I think that I was glad to hear
it, even then. He had a comfortable berth
enough had he cared to keep it ; but he pre-
ferred to buy himself a general practice and to
go. I do not wonder. Shakespeare was not
as right as usual, when he said that * conscience
doth make cowards of us all ; ' for there are
some of whom it makes brave men. It is the
worst of enemies ; but it is the best of friends
and the most easily conciliated, if we try in
the right way. But I will moralise no more.



The Head-shakers have a formal vocabulary
of their own, which, after a certain experience,
one begins to know by heart. It is con-
structed on the simple principle of giving a
bad name to everything. This story has been
called 'sensational,' when it is simply true.
When a direct description of things as they
are is sensational, things as they are are not
things as they should be* I am told, too,
that the story shows much disregard for
people's feelings. It certainly does for mine,
which are sensitive enough, and have been
outraged beyond belief. When men conde-
scend to think a little less of their own
feelings, and a little more of theirs whom
they shut up alive, we shall be on the road
to amendment. Meanwhile, if anything I


have written has at all hurt the natural sen-
sitiveness of any who has suffered as I have,
I am very sorry for it. To other feelings in
the matter I am less than indifferent. * Let the
galled jade wince, our withers are un wrung.'

These chapters are not intended to be read
as what my friend of the pamphlet calls them
— an onslaught on the medical men engaged
in lunacy practice. They are an onslaught on
a crying national sin, and all who favour it.
Among the men in lunacy practice are men
who abhor the system on which any man may
be writ down mad. Among them I have
myself found one of the best friends I have
had. He was one of old standing. He saw
me when I was nearly at my worst ; but he
did not shut me up. He took me to his own
house, and poured in oil and wine, like the
good Samaritan he is. After a few days' en-
tertainment with his own family, and at his
own table — and he would never have of me
one penny for his infinite pains — he assured



me, and my friends too, that I was only a
hypochondriac bound to get well. He would
have made me so, if I would have consented
to stay with him, in spite of a certain faith
in hydrate of chloral, Avhich I wish he would
abandon. ' Hell in crystals,' my defining
friend has called it. (Perhaps I may add
here that the relation who should know me
best testified to my sanity with as little varia-
tion. ) I well remember how this warm-hearted
doctor carried me off under his own protest to
see an eminent dietist whom I would consult,
so completely had the occult qualities of eggs
and cold mutton been worried into me, and
almost shouted as he left the room, in answer
to the stereotyped, ' I hope you are very par-
ticular about his diet,' ' Diet be strong-worded ;
why, the man is dying of inanition ! ' So I
was. But I was restlessly bent on my own
ruin, it would seem ; and ' Tu I'as voulu,
Georges Dandin ! ' was the burden of my
earliest asylum-dreams. The rolling stone


would only stop in the breakers at the bottom

of the cliff ; and I found no Sisyphus to roll

it up again till I played both stone and

Sisyphus myself. Why, however, I was thus

hastily shut up without any reference to so

skilled a friend, and without my seeing him,

I do not know. It was of him that I was

thinking when I suggested what I believe to

be one of the most important and easiest of

necessary reforms — that no man should be

' certificated ' without the assent of at least one

valuable authority who knows him well, after

careful personal examination.

I have gone back again in my story, and

a breath of sea-air will do it good. Imagine

me with the matron again. The change from

the asylum and its associations to the little

house by the seaside was very good in its

effects. It was so for others than me ; for

the madmen there, poor fellows, seemed to

me gentler and better in every way than they

were when I saw them in the larger place.

I 2


The warders were there to watch them, but
had to be quiet and suppressed In a private
house, and simply Hved down-stairs as ser-
vants Hve. The breakfasts and dinners at
the neat table, pleasantly presided over by a
womanly hostess, were a relief Indeed after
my previous experience. That they should
have proved so, when only she and I held
consecutive conversation, and the other
guests either kept silence or distracted us by
strange words and antics enough to unnerve
anybody, shows partially, I think, what the
life which they ' relieved ' must have been.
The poor singer of the * Hey-diddle-dlddle '
beer-song was In the house, and his way of
carving his bread with his knife and fork
* intrigued ' me much till the matron told me
where I was. There, too, was the good
parsley-eater, who died of Bright s disease ;
and it was there, just after I left the house,
that he died. Only two or three days before
he had to sit down to dine with us ; and I


remember the kindness with which the matron
made him he down upon the sofa, seeing the
suffering of which he knew not how to speak,
and sent him to his bed. A short time before
he had calmly looked me in the face across
the table, and pledged me in the vinegar-
cruet, which he emptied. His brother, a
clergyman, dined with us on a visit, and
looked at me, I thought, with some curiosity.
What was I doing dans cette galere struck
more than one. Seen among the associations
and scenes of the asylum, I believe that any
one might perhaps have thought me unfit to
to be removed, so completely ignorant was
I, in common phrase, whether I was on my
head or my heels. Twice a day, in the
regular course of things, were the seven or
eight lunatics who composed the seaside
colony marched out for a constitutional walk,
with a pack of warders at their heels, in the
direction opposite to the town and streets.
Those walks were trying enough ; at the


asylum, among the country roads and lanes,
they had been fearful. The matron saved me
from them as much as possible, as I have
said, with the most thoughtful and considerate
kindness. She took me with her to hear the
band upon the pier, and to stroll about with
her, a prisoner on parole, among the holiday-
makers of the popular watering-place ; and
those diversions, which seem dull enough in
ordinary life, appeared to me quite excep-
tionally delightful. It was better when we
talked of books and things and people ; and
what she said and wrote of me I have already
told. In the evening she would rescue me
from the rest to let me sup quietly with her-
self, when I did not go next door to supper
or whist with the young doctor and his
pleasant wife, who were in command of a
detachment of female patients there. They,
too, gave their opinion ; and in the face of
many remonstrances from quarters where I
might least have expected them — In the face


of the princlpars opinion that I was a very-
dangerous person ; in the face of her Majesty's
admirable Commissioners, not one of whom I
had to my knowledge so far seen, but who
were well armed with the ' notes ' of the
warders — I was taken for the time away, and
made a free man again. O spirit of Mr.
Justice Stareleigh ! ' Nathaniel, sir ? How
could I have got Daniel on my notes, unless
you told me so, sir ? ' If the soldiers, sailors,
tinkers, tailors, of the establishment had it
down in their notes that I was mad, having
been told so, to begin with, by their employers
(who dilate on the delicacy of brain cases, yet
trust the reports of ignorant men), how the
deuce could I be anything else ? Yet there
was more than one of them, for all that, who
did not believe it, and had the courage to
say so. I will give no clue to their identities ;
for they might be dismissed retrospectively,
if they are still in harness, for such a breach
of duty. It would be the best thing that


could happen to them, perhaps. The hardest
part of the whole snare to me was, that I, who
would not hurt a dog if I could help it, was
represented as ' violent ' when I was weaker
than any dog. It was enough to deter any but
the bravest and kindliest from trying to help
me ; and I have no choice but to suppose that
that was the object.

But the ' violence,' and the rest of it, was
too palpable a lie. The deliverance came.
Over the months which followed before I
came to be imprisoned again, matron and
young doctor gone— good plants flourish ill
in such a soil as that — I wish to pass as lightly
as possible. They would have chiefly to do
with home matters which have no place in
such a story as this, and only concern con-
sciences to which I would have nothing to say.
I have done with them- — let them alone. The
period of my freedom lasted ten months. I
spent the time in aimless wandering from
place to place — among the bathers of Trou-


ville and the playgoers of Paris, in the hotels
and streets of London — in a fashion which
would make a story by itself, were this the
place to set it down. The shock with which
I had learned what had been done to me had
shaken to the centre what nerve the ' treat-
ment' had left me. Night after night I did
nothing but dream, dream, dream of the
asylum and its terrors. The warders, whose
faces I knew so well, were always behind me ;
the antics of the madmen were re-acted with
-merciless fidelity. The sense of utter help-
lessness in the hands of mad-doctors, which
the experience had left upon my mind, would
Jeave me neither night nor day. A traveller s
.chance allusion in my hearing to ' Bedlam let
loose,' or a whimsical song about ' Charenton '
in a French vaudeville, would drive me out
of the station or the theatre in helpless fear
of I knew not what. If a gendarme accosted
me at night in the streets, I shook all over in
the expectation of being removed to a French


asylum. If I saw an advertisement relating;
to an asylum in a casual newspaper, it was to
lay it down in terror. There seemed to me
but one power in the world — the power of the
lunacy 'law.' Such is the confidence which
our vaunted system, which professes to know
no wrong without a remedy, could inspire m
one who needed its protection so sorely as L.
In one respect its might was certainly vin-
dicated, for, abroad and at home, I thought
that it could reach me anywhere. I kept
these fears of mine as much as I could to
myself ; for to talk of them might be, under
the circumstances of my life, to be shut up at
once aofain. But it was a fearful trial. I was
utterly cowed and frightened, and I was afraid
to face anyone ; for I thought I read in every
face a knowledge of my story. Except by an
occasional desperate effort, I could force
myself to meet no one. But ill as I was then,
and full of fancies, not one of the old friends
who saw me imagined in me a trace of


insanity. That I know. In Paris especially
I found one old literary friend, to whose
rooms — from that odd thing called sympathy,
I suppose — I was able to go more often than
anywhere else, though seldom enough,
Heaven knows ! I have often wondered
since what are his real thoughts in the matter.
In theatres and hotels, in streets and in cafes,
seldom allowing myself to sleep more than
one or two consecutive nights in the same
place, from the fear of being ' taken,' and,
when I did stay, afraid of going to my room
and then of leaving it — I dreed this dreary
weird chiefly alone. And by the odd irony
of the whole thing, this was the time when I
was indeed nearest to madness, and really
required careful watching ; not that of warders
or of repression, be it understood, but of the
affection which is unhappily not made to
order. I had been called suicidal and homi-
cidal when I was no danger to anybody.
Now thouo^hts of suicide did indeed take


shape and form In my mind. In that there
Avas no madness, for the impulse which mad-
ness suppHes to carry these wretched thoughts
into effect failed me always, and so saved my
life. Yet there was not a day at last when I
did not leave the house with the intention —
if I could only find the needed courage — of
bringing this impossible existence to an end.
I knew that I was not going to die ; but I
believed that, after the line of treatment so
shamefully adopted once, to save trouble,
there was little chance of escaping a second
condemnation if I did not die. And the
event proved me miserably right. Have I not
cause to say that I have no special call to
spare the susceptibilities of others ? I have
no respect left for Pickwickian feelings — none.
London was but a repetition of the story
of Paris. I struggled to the theatre once or
twice. One night I hid myself at the back of
the pit to listen to a play of my own which
had just been brought out with some success


— written, of course, some time before. I
thought pubHcity dangerous, and wondered
stupidly if I had ever written such things
myself. After some months in the country,
where I tried to make a home-life in vain,
and wore myself out more and more in long
solitary walks, haunted by every kind of
nervous fear, I went back again to London in
despair, wondering if, as I had no courage to
die, this would not in some way end itself by
sheer force of exhaustion. It would not, for I
was very full of life still. I let nobody know
where I was, for I had no strength or care to
write, and no one with whom I cared to com-
municate. Besides, I was afraid ; and wan-
dered from one hotel to another with a sort
of hope of having become nobody. I had
forfeited my individuality in the asylum ; why
want it back again ? But I had to be ac-
counted for, and one day at the Crystal
Palace I found myself watched again by a
* gloomy man ' — not with a yataghan, but a


newspaper. Of course I thought he was a
keeper, as I had been expecting that for some
time ; but he was only a detective. He was
not very unHke some whom I have seen in
plays, for he allowed me to detect his mission
in a moment ; and it gave me a certain grim
amusement to lead him all over the gardens
on a very unpleasant day, taking the most
obvious notes of me that I ever saw, in an
obtrusive red pocket-book. I strolled to the
verge of the salt flood at the bottom of the
gardens (not deep), where the antediluvians
dwell, lingered about, and looked as if I
meant to jump in. He showed no intention
of interfering, but watched with interest from
the opposite shore, and nearly filled his
pocket-book. Then I disappointed him,
turned away from the precipice like Box
the printer, went to the refreshment-room
and ate an ice. This bothered him a good
deal, but he noted it down. In the train
he got into a carriage conspicuously remote


from mine ; met a mate In London to whom he
communicated his ideas ; and, after watching
me partake of a melancholy dinner in Lucas's
comfortable coffee-room, while he dallied with
buns and beer In the front shop, the two
followed me to Mr. Hare's pleasant little
theatre — I had never dared, after the lower-
ing effect of the associations of the ' establish-
ment,' which seemed to sink me in my own
esteem, to raise my eyes above the pit — sat
behind me, and watched my conduct in re-
spect of Gilbert's ' Broken Hearts ' with a re-
gretful desire evident in their own minds for
* something spicy ; ' then saw me safe to my
hotel for the nonce, and departed with a con-
scientious feeling of having done their duty
detectively, and having entirely escaped my
observation. Were they primary scholars in
the work, I wonder ? And which kept the
more accurate notes, the watcher in his book
or the watched in his head ? Nothing sur-
prises me more, as I think over all that dreary


time, than the singular acuteness of obser-
vation in me, which no date or detail seems
to have escaped. ' Hypersesthesia,' I suppose,
or derangement of the white matter. Per-
haps it was an infarction.

Well, by the superhuman exertions of
Inspector Bucket I had been tracked to my
lair, and a doctor descended upon me the
next morning, and asked me a few more
questions. But he was the one of whom I
have spoken as having given a worthy brain
to earnest work, and having so signally con-
demned asylums and delusions. No man
could have been more kind and wise. He
might well have been deceived into thinking
me mad, I think ; for by this time, with voices,
delusions, visions, and all the nonsense
drummed into me, I had well-nigh begun to
think myself so. I had hardly any clothes
with me, as I wandered with the impression
that there must be a full-stop somewhere
near. I had not brushed my hair ; I looked



Utterly dazed, and had taken refuge in the
smallest room on the topmost story of one of
our largest hostelrles. If I had been charged
as an escaped convict, answer had been
difficult. He was not deceived, though, and
ordered the rest of mind and body which is
sometimes as vain a prescription as port wine
and sea-air to the wasted pauper. Failing
better roads to it, I was sent off to a hydro-
pathic establishment in the north, once more
in the charge of a body-servant, who was not
to lose sight of me upon the road. Ay de
mi! all the hopeless old story was coming on

I knew that palace of the water-cure well.
I had known pleasant days there in happier
times, when I thought I would go thither and
bathe for no special reason, and had amused
myself much with the whims and oddities of
the place ; all thepeople ' going to Grave send
by water,' as Sir George Rose used to say
It had been the property of a kindly Scotch-



man since gone, who has left me pleasant
memories of his home-circle and his private
stock of ' whusky,' which he administered to
me freely at night, when the water-washers
were gone to bed, after instructing me in the
theoretic virtues of abstinence in his council-
chamber in the morning. Now, like other
places of the kind, it had lost its home-shape,
and passed into the impersonal hands of a
company. The presiding medical authority
was now a different man. I wonder if he
dreams of me sometimes ? The first night
after my reaching the place a crash came. I
could bear this espial no longer ; and the
dreams of dead dear ones had become so
vividly mixed with the nightmare horrors
inherited from (what shall I call the asylum ?)
Pecksniff Hall, that I never knew half I was
■doing. The professional name for dreams,
.as I said before, is ' visions.' Dreaming that a
warder was upon. me, and that a ghost was
telling me to run, I jumped up in my sleep


and rolled over the nearest banisters. The
fall was not severe, and the ' desperate
attempt ' failed ; for I only broke a rib and
stove in my breastbone, which proved after-
wards handy for the warders to work upon.
I was put to bed for a time and taken some
care of; and before long was able to drive
and stroll about again, and join in lawn-tennis.
But the dream-fears and the daily terrors
haunted me still ; and I still shrank from
everybody. At last came the realisation of
my constant fear ; and I fell into a fit of
light-headed wandering, and began calling out
at intervals various silly things. What
should have been done was to nurse me and
pour wine down my throat, and apply the
common means of homely restoration. What
was done was this : the stout bathmen and
servants of the place were sent to hold me
down ; and I was gagged, and left gagged,
till the blood ran down from my mouth.
Then came two strange doctors as before, of

K 2


whose names and faces I am ignorant, and
were instructed by my ' friends,' I suppose,
to sign a certificate. I was then given a
strong dose of opium, and a summons was
sent to the Master of Pecksniff Hall, who
despatched two stout warders northward by
the train, for the impounding of my Hercu-
lean frame. One was the good-natured
colonial ; the other a man whom I held in
especial aversion, a fat ex-footman, who after-
wards reported his work as ' very good fun,'
and had a particular aptitude, when I was
lying helpless in bed, for jumping on my
breastbone and half throttling me. A fancied
resemblance in his moony countenance to an
historical face made me, when I was one day
dreamily contemplating him from bed, connect
him vaguely with the Orton family ; and
among the dramatis personce of my imagina-
tion I knew him as young Orton, and whiled
away some of my hours by constructing
romances about him and the Tichborne


inheritance. There was another man, affec-
tionately known to a circle of admiring friends
as * Birdie,' who was so like him that it made
me rather angry not to be able to make up
my mind which was the truer claimant. It
was, at any rate, something to do. But
* Birdie ' was good-natured also in his way,
though fond of practical joking. I disliked
his way of dipping my hairbrush in the basin
in the morning, when I was too weak to
remonstrate, and using it on his own bullet-
head under my eyes ; but I bear him no
grudge. One of his amusements did me
some harm ; for he had a way of whipping up
things in the room and running off with them
—to puzzle me, I suppose, laughing all the
time. He performed this feat once with a
new antimacassar ; and from that moment,
coupled with the indescribable disorder and
entire absence of all visible supervision over
the attendants, which reigned in the big
madhouse, it created in my mind a notion


that there was more dishonesty in the place
than mic/htbe. It was a 'delusion/ of course,
and the ' notes ' must have had much to
say to it ; the more as, when it became known,,
some of the men would play on it as on an
instrument, as I fear they are but too apt to
play in ignorance, having but too much
opportunity so to do, on the weaknesses and
fancies of the poor people in their charge.
The thing is not worth many words, but it is
a very fair instance of the way in which this
abominable system tends to create the very
things which it is supposed to cure. My
reflections upon the Orton family — quite as
much of a delusion as the other — are written
in no notes but my own.

The warders' faces met mine in the morn-
ing ; and in a wild opium-trance, acting on the
brain at its weakest, I was removed to my
prison again. Once during the journey, I
learn, I spoke, and once only, when the sight
of my colonial Indulging In a pot of beer woke
the healthy British nature to solicit a drink


I do not remember It ; for I remember nothing; .
but a confused succession of trains and plat-^
forms, till I woke to semi-consciousness in
the asylum — to find myself lying on the
ground on my back, with a doctor on one
side and my old servant — returned from
India in the interval — upon the other, contem-
plating me. This was described as a ' fit ' —
vaguely. I must have been, like the Yankee
of the story, ' a whale at fits,' for I had them
of all kinds — epileptic; epileptoid — *toid'
meaning nothing, but being substituted when
the first ' diagnosis ' revealed itself in its native
silliness ; paralytic (in the left arm, when I
had lain on it in bed for some days and rather
numbed it) ; and any others that came
handy. I wish I could see those ' notes ; *
they must be wonderful. But as in the mul-
titude of counsellors is wisdom, in the multi-
tude of maladies is safety. So began my
second term — of eight months' imprisonment.
Was ever such a story told ? There shall be
but very little more of it.



As I look back at the first chapter of this
story of mine, and see that I wrote down that
my experience had nothing in it especially
painful, I wonder at the aptitude of human
nature to forget and forgive, where it is only
permitted. Now that I have brought my
mind to bear upon the details, they seem
to me fraught with a quite exceptional pain.
It needed time and thought for me to measure,
in anything like its depth and height, the
wrong that was done to me. Oblivion alone
shall remain when this my closing chapter is
finished ; for forgiveness has in my case been
made impossible, since.

Si Feffort est trop grand pour la faiblesse humaine
De pardonner les maux qui nous viennent d'autrui,
£pargne-toi du moins le tourment de la haine :
A defaut du pardon, laisse venir I'oubli !


When I was first imprisoned among mad-
men, after the piece of childish folly which had
in it no object, if it had any at all, but to make
those come and nurse me whose clear duty it
was to do so, I was so ill and broken that,
had he been in my case,

Mine enemy's dog,
Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
Against my fire.

The second time it was perhaps more cruel
still. And the thing was done under cover
of the lunacy-laws. If they protect mere
heartlessness so, what must they do in cases
where purposes directly evil are to be
served ?

The sadness of this story is affecting me
in spite of myself, and m.akes me anxious to
brinof it to an end. The second sentence
was the same thing over again, except that I
knew that I was in an asylum, and resigned
myself to feel that I had no chance of escaping.
Nobody cared. Why should I escape 1 I


had a few visitors the first time. When they
came, a well-set luncheon-table and a good
bottle of wine replaced the garbage which we
were too often expected to consume, and the
unwalled grounds and pretty gardens of
Pecksniff Hall were suggestive of a country
house in the olden time. My lawyer came
to see me and eat mutton — a good fellow, of
whom it is pleasant to think, in the bitterness
which will mix with my ink as I go on. He
happened to bring with him the first copy of
the ' World ' that I had seen, and left it with
me as an odd link with its forgotten god-
mother. I, with a warder, saw him off by
the train, and wondered rather why I should
not go too. I had not realised the asylum,
and talked to him only of money-matters
which had been troubling me. The second
time I was too far gone ; I wanted no visits,
and cared for none, though day after day I
woke from my troubled dreams — not all bad
now, but some sinofularlv beautiful — with a


feeling" that surely somebody would rescue
me before night. How ill I was after that
opium-journey, and whether dying or not, I
do not know. The master said that I was,
and after the gagging and drugging it is very
probable. It was on a hot night in June that
I lay down in that evil place again, in the
farthest room in a remote wing of the build-
ing, between two keepers, who threw them-
selves one on each side of me, and held me
close between them the hot night through,
snoring out their own heavy sleep, or waking
to hold me closer if I tried to stir. I happened
to light afterwards upon the ' notes ' of one of
them upon this night, in which he reported
me as having had some ' bad turns ' — of
violence, I suppose — In pain as I still was
from my fall, and from the gag ; opium-dazed
and desolate, weaker than a child. For days
and nights this went on with a constant
change of warders more or less rough and
hard. They were told off to watch me three


or four at a time, because of my dangerous
qualities, and my stupid efforts to get free
from them. Among themselves they laughed
at it, knowing my weakness ; and the smallest
boy among them — for there was a stock of
small and ugly boys on the staff — would lead
me about with his little finger. But some-
times a detachment of them would carry me
to my bedroom or keep me down in bed,
tearing my clothes in the process. To account
for deficiences in my wardrobe (of which each
of us had a list, like a schoolboy's) it was said
in the ' notes ' that I tore them up myself — a
* well-known sign of insanity ! ' How I dreaded
that ' north room ' ! It was in the oldest
corner of the house, cold and hot, and rat-
haunted ; and much as Mrs. Gamp and her
friend must have seemed to their dying-
charge, the keepers seemed to me, as they
crooned in the corners through my semi-

It seemed to me that the doctors had


wondrous little to say to it. They came to
see me now and then, for a minute or two, in
my bed. The house doctor, who so impressed
my friend, had lived for years in the place,
and seemed to have no ideas beyond it. He
kept dreadful little things in bottles, and
noted conscientiously, by a machine under my
window — which looked like the desk of an
orchestral conductor — the amount of daily
and nightly rainfall. We must all of us do
something, I suppose. In the summer he
was a great archer, and strutted about with a
bow and quiver. A few of the patients joined
in the sport — a melancholy lord, who never
spoke, but was *my lorded' by everybody
much after the fashion of saner circles, and one
or two others. I tried it once, and was rather
gratified to find that, though I had never used
bow and arrow before, I scored better than
the house doctor. But the man-monkey was
allowed to try his hand too, and played hide-
ous tricks with his arrows, and grimaced so


that I could not face the amusement more.
Of the cricket I had enough on my first visit,
and would not run the gauntlet again. To
some sort of distraction I was occasionally
driven by despair ; for the constitutionals
round the mile-circuit of the grounds, or
amonof the lanes and roads, were maddening.
The Sunday w^alks were the worst ; when the
British villager was out on holiday, and gaped
and wondered at us. In the winter months
I made occasional attempts to follow the pack
of harriers which was kept up for our benefit
— which at all events amused the warders and
country-siders a good deal. I was never fond
of harriers, and this was not, perhaps, the
place or time to acquire the taste. Half-an-
hour of the muddy fields tired out the weak
body and head, and aggravated my w^eary
dreams. But it gave a brief space of com-
parative freedom ; and I was able to associate
more with a good young fellow who came to
the place as companion to the man-monkey,


and showed a decided preference for my so-
ciety. His berth cannot have been pleasant ;
and he found in my room his only refuge from
the general disorder of the house and attend-
ants, though even there we could not escape
from the one tune which one of them was
always beating to death on an ancient piano
in one of the public rooms, to the behoof of
the broken nerves collected there. I had
been removed from the north room then ; I
suppose in favour of some more violent
newcomer. I found, too, another pleasant
•companion in an officer who had seen much
foreign service, and liked talk. He wondered
why he was there. He had been ill, he told
me. We met first at the billiard-table, and
he came up to me at once, and said that he
knew my face, and must have met me at
Carlsbad, as he had. He was well enough to
shrug his shoulders over the matter, and even
to find amusement in studying the delusions
of the madmen, and talking them over. He


had been knocked so much about the
world, he said, that he cared Httle how it all
ended ; and he had no special desire to meet
again the friends who had imprisoned him.
I do not wonder. He may have been mad \
but I saw him often, and his was the best
imitation of sanity I ever saw. At all events
it did him small good to be there. We
followed the harriers and ate sandwiches
together, and speculated why we had been
singled out to be crushed by this tower of
Siloam. Once, feeling a thought stronger,
I wrote a letter to an old literary friend. It
was very harmless, for I did not care to com-
plain ; but the friend was a member of a well-
known legal family, and his name on the
envelope caused a sensation. It was believed
to be in my officer's handwriting ; and he
was asked why he had been writing to a law-
yer, and what about. Why the heads of an
asylum should be afraid of their best friends
the lawyers, I do not know. But it seems


they are. However, I do not exaggerate.
My letter was sent.

The lunatic harriers would make a chap-
ter by themselves ; but I have done with
them. I began to believe at last that, in the
confusion of the whole business, dogs, doctors,
keepers, patients, and huntsmen were all going
Hamlet's road together. I would give a
good deal — prejudice apart — to give some
next friends and Head-shakers (the Marcel -
luses and Bernardos of society- — 'We could,
an if we would — ') a few turns with those
unearthly hounds. How I passed my even-
ings, as how I passed my days, save in an
occasional study of old novels, an occasional
hour at lunatic billiards, an occasional game
at draughts or chess with anyone with brains
enough to know the moves, I do not know.
I was too weak of head and too ill to study,
as I have said, or to shake the burrs from off
me. On the Sundays I had five o'clock tea
with the Master — the only patient so privi-



leged, I think ; but he usually talked of one
Dr. Blanc and the inferiority of French
asylums, failing the elder Grossmith, and I
was none the better. Twice did a younger
doctor — one of the family and of the firm, for
Pecksniff Hall was quite a fact in county
society, and had been so for some generations
— ask me to dine with him at his house, apart
also from the asylum. I found him a good
fellow enough, and his wife very kindly ; and
I despair in conveying to my readers how
pleasant it was to dine like a gentleman at
a pleasant table. No other patient came ;
and, as he phrased it, we 'sank the shop.'
Did it never occur to him that the 'shop'
and I were rather incongruous? He was
fond of burlesques, and he was a good hand
at billiards ; and he looked like a straightfor-
ward heavy-cavalry officer. The principal
informed me that he received me for the
second time against the wishes of his family.
I was ill and sentimental, and thought how


kind the old man was, and how hard -his
family must have been to grudge me the only-
home which I seemed likely to get. I have
hoped sometimes since that the family took a
view of their own upon the case, and had no
wish to make part with mine ; but I do not

An entertainer, collaborating with a lady-
novelist, brought a little play called ' Cups and
Saucers ' to be enacted in the dining-room.
A merry little play, I thought, and the warders
and servants liked it well enough. But when
I had watched it for a time I retreated to my
solitude, for it was more than I could bear.
The lunatic next me dilated in a loud voice
upon the price of potatoes, which was wide of
the plot. He was a wealthy lunatic, and had
taken me out for a drive a few days before,
had bared his ' biceps ' for my admiration — it
was even less bicipitous than mine — and
waxed very wroth because I asked for his
* Daily Telegraph,' when he said he had not

L 2


done with It. Rumours of war were then In
the air ; and though It was before the days
when Jingo had become a power, he was more
intensely and demonstratively Jingo than the
flower of the music-halls. If the Home
Secretary has profited at all by the vials of
scorn poured upon his head by Mr. Forbes,
in his spirited ' Fiasco of Cyprus,' he must
have enough to do just now In learning the
geography of Persia and the Euphrates
Valley ; but he might yet find the time to do
that Imprisoned Jingo a good turn. Where
is the Conservative watchfulness that leaves
such a vote as this to be lost to humanity ?
There came a conjuror with a Greek name,
whom I avoided ; there came a child-harpist,
with a concert, called little Ada Somebody,
whom I would not go and hear ; and there
were various parties on the ' ladles' side,'
which I could not bring myself to face.

That ladies' side had for me all the odd
fascination of the unknown. It occupied half


the large house ; and there was a little colony
of ladies besides in a pretty little house with
a soft poetic name, in the grounds hard by.
The native gallantry of the doctors appeared
to keep them constantly on the ladies' side.
If ever I asked for one of them, he was always
there, and would see me when he came back.
My friend the officer penetrated the mysteries,
and described the little card-parties and
musical evenings as something very strange.
I could not be induced to go, and the record
is lost. But I met the poor women in my
daily walks, and about the grounds, and
learned to know many of their lack-lustre
faces. One of them, in a Bath-chair, accosted
me once suddenly in the public road as we
crossed, with one of the worst words in the
English language, and sent me dazed and
dreaming ' home.' The female warders ac-
companied them ; smart young women with
a setting of earrings, many of them, who might
have been contracted for in the gross by Spiers


and Pond ; who would exchange many a
friendly wink and sign with their counterparts
of the male side as they passed. From what
ranks they are recruited I do not know, and
have no special wish to ask. The sadness of
the thing was very deep ; for, knowing what
we men bore, I speculated much what these
caged women might have to bear. The law
for us is the law for them. The nervous
maladies which attack us, attack tenfold their
more delicate organisation ; and they are no
safer from wrong or selfishness than we.
How many times over, to name one danger
alone, may the fancies of puerperal fever be
miscalled madness, and treated — in these
places and among these companions — so ?
Our wives and our sisters are not very safe
from the Bastille, as things now are.

My time went on. During the bitter
winter months the asylum was in the hands
of workmen, under repair. The great echoing
corridors were being papered and painted, the


rooms renewed, the chapel decorated in the
approved fashion. The workmen were at
work by night as well as by day ; and the
patients slunk about the passages in great-
coats, and warmed themselves at casual fires.
I thought that a better time might have been
chosen, perhaps ; and the confusion seemed
to me worse confounded ; but that is no affair
of mine. ' Would God it were night ! ' I
thought In the morning ; and ' Would God it
were morning ! ' at night — when the warders
returned with a rush from their hour out, filled
the passages with talk and noise and oaths,
and with much ceremony brought bed-candles
at ten. The plate was beautiful ; and some
of the candlesticks so big that I used some-
times to wonder whether my keeper for the
nonce — they were told off to different rooms
every night, to prevent us from growing too
dependent upon anybody, I suppose — was
going to precede me backwards to my bed-
room. The common breakfast began at eight,


and the common dinner was at one. There
were two or three different mess tables for
those who Hved in common ; and the rest ate
apart, each in his own room. For a long time
I used the last privilege ; but I gathered at
length a sort of desperate courage, and
thought it better to face my kind as much as
I could. Besides, at the common table there
was, on the whole, enough to eat ; while the
private meals I found singularly Barmecidal
and scraggy. I suppose that, like Oliver
Twist, I might have asked for more. But I
was afraid of everything and everybody, and,
fearing a similar result, refrained. The faces
at the board changed little ; for ours was
practically a place for incurables. Kindly
Death changed them sometimes, as I have
said. Some of those whom I remembered
during my first period had changed visibly for
the worse, like the poor singer of the beer-
song, who seemed to me always struggling
with a sense of wrong, which he could not


Speak. In the public asylums, I am told,
-cures are many. They were not so with us.
There were times when patients were removed
to some other asylum — for the worse, it may
be ; for I have said that Pecksniff Hall has
the best of testimonials from the Commis-
sioners ; but, with the exception of the friend
of whom I wrote, I remember no case of
liberation but one. There was a clergyman
confined among us, whose wife took lodgings
in the village by. She was with him every
■day, watched him every day, walked with
him every day, and never seemed to me to
leave him till she took him away. Brave
little woman, how I honoured her ! for her
nerve must have been tried enough. If these
papers of mine make one relation think, as
much as I can hope to do will have been done.
The Master claimed much credit with me for
this cure. May he deserve it ! for he must
need something to write upon the credit side.
The Commissioners I saw once during my


second confinement. They came down, like a
wolf on the fold, unexpected. Their approach
is, I believe, always concealed from the
patients, for fear of upsetting their minds.
They came with return-tickets from town,
good for one day. They made a sudden
incursion into my room — two or three, I
forget which, but one was a short lame-
gentleman who asked questions : Was I
comfortable ? Had I headaches ? — (well, I
had that day, from the paint) — and did I hear
voices ? My chair-covers were being re-
moved at the time, and I had no space to.
think, much less speak. Twice in the day
afterwards I begged of the warders to be
allowed to see them again, but neither them
nor doctor of course did I see. I say that I
was never mad ; and there is not an honest:
reader of this story who will not believe me.
And that Is all I saw of her Majesty's Com-
missioners in Lunacy. Was I wrong in
calling this a farce ? I have nothing to-


suggest to them. Where work is 111 done,
criticism may do good. Where it is not
done at all, criticism is silent. ' Oic il riy a
rien^ le roiperd ses droits! I wrote after wards^
when I was free, to one of them, who had
been once a friend of my own, as I thought
it my duty to write. He was then fttnctits
officio certainly, and well out of it. But he
never answered my letter ; which I have no
doubt he put complacently by, as a madman's
nonsense. It must be a comfortable berth
enough where officers and doctors and law-
yers and relatives are all in a tale, and, in the
world below here, there are few to find you

As the man to whom I was now to owe
my freedom said, this must soon have led to
softening of the brain. The strain had
become terrible. The belief in the existence
of a system of organised pillage among this
undisciplined crew, which might well have
possessed a stronger head than mine was


then, was wearing me out, though I tried to
argue myself out of it. Some of the men
played on it, as I said. And I was becoming
too thoroughly ill and nerveless under this
trial to be much more than a sort of automaton.
I even began to have a sort of feeling that
this was my home, and that I might be
turned out to wander again when they grew
tired of me. When the relation of whom I
have spoken came to stay in a neighbouring
town — not at the asylum, happily for me — I
was allowed to spend the day like a boy with
an exeat, and even in my illness resented the
house-doctor's objections to giving me too
much leave from school. Conscious of fair
powers of heart and brain, the paltry un-
worthiness of the whole thing jarred me even
more than greater sins ; and it does so still.
How ill I was may be judged from the fact
that I did not press, scarcely even wish, for
my removal. But the skilful doctor who
came to see me — I have reached nearly the


last in my story now — who had rescued others .
besides me, practically insisted upon it ; and
one morning I received at the asylnm the
news that I was to go. I could not believe
it — could not take it in ; thought myself per-
manently 'on the establishment' The doctors
grinned sardonic disgust ; intimated that a
serious danger was threatening society, and
hinted an au revoir. So did the warders,
smiling generally, and holding out expectant
hands. I had been allowed a little pocket-
money when I was good, but had not much
to give. I have not been inclined, upon re-
flection, to be lavish of donations since.
The last report of the ' attendants ' was —
whether in connexion with this tightness of
my purse-strings or not I cannot say — that
they had never seen me worse. So the
* treatment ' had done me no good, at all
events. My new guardian took me to his
house by the sea, and, with his wife and
daughter, gave me for a time a real home,


and was something more than kind. He had
not much assistance. From one near relative
abroad he received an abusive letter ; from
the Master of Pecksniff Hall an angry
warning that he was taking into his house ' a
suicidal and homicidal patient, the most
danoerous in his establishment.' But a few
days before the man had made me his guest
at his own tea-table, alone with his wife and
young daughters. How does he reconcile the
two things ? The charge was cruel, and
nearly robbed me of the hard-won home.
My rescuer believed no word of it ; but his
wife was naturally frightened, and for a night
or two a new watcher slept at my door, and
I had to submit to a new cross-examination
from two more doctors for the edification of
the Commission. They said that my eye
wandered, and drew up such a certificate that
I, who saw It, succeeded In having It sent
back to them. Without seeing me again,
they mildly drew up another In quite different


terms, which must be the last document re-
corded and docketed in my case. But my
sanity now vindicated itself, and I was free,
in spite of the protest which, by the side of
the valuable opinion of the warders, robs
Pecksniff Hall of all title to my ' cure.'

I had still much to bear. For a long
time, as I have said, I was represented as
under ' delusions ' about my relatives. The
fact that they put me in an asylum, I presume,
is scarcely one. Circumstances were as much
against me as ever, and light-headedness
would still threaten to recur, while asylum-
dreams, of course, haunted me still more.
They have left me at last ; but I had to fight
them down, and did this time — in Whose
strength I have ventured, as I am bound, to
say. I travelled again, and grew better, forc-
ing myself to new interest in the scenes and
people about me. At last, and in a happy
hour for me, I married ; though I had almost
made up my mind that I never could. One


relative wrote me an impertinent letter about
this * extraordinary step ; ' which is, as the
young lady says in the comedy, ' a thing of
frequent occurrence In the metropolis.' An-
other wrote to me within a week of my
marriage to threaten me with the possibility
of being shut up again. It frightened my
young wife for some time, she has told me
since ; but she is a brave woman, and held
her tongue. I next found myself charged
with ' intemperate habits ' — about as near the
mark as forgery ; and the silliness took away
the stinof. But it was not nice. It is better
to atone for wrong than to excuse it by worse,
I think ; but it Is a matter of taste.

' Lideravi animani ineam! My tale is told,
as it was my clear duty to tell It. at the cost
of some pain. Let those whose duty it Is to
mend this wickedness do theirs, or at their
peril leave It undone. ' Mr. Hardress Cregan,'
says Miles, in the ' Colleen Bawn,' ' I make
you the present of the contempt of a rogue.'


And, with Infinite disgust and scorn, and
small hope of better things, I dedicate this
true story of the Bastilles of merrie England
to all whom it may concern.




If the readers of this true history will ima-
gine for themselves a number of hospitals for
typhus fever, where any one of them, man or
woman, may be shut up among the worst
cases upon the first symptoms of a cold in the
head — with moral, social, and physical con-
sequences beyond man's power of description
— they will know something of the meanings
of private lunatic asylums, and our ' lunacy-
law.' If they will further reflect upon the
chances which they would then have of
escaping the infection, they will not wonder
that private lunatic asylums are not famous
for cures. The matter concerns them more
than it does me ; for forewarned is fore-


armed, and I am not afraid of falling Into the
trap again. But I am not going to shrink,
on any comfortable theory of * letting things
alone,' of ' bygones being bygones,' &c., from
setting down what I think and what I know.
I will be of some help to others if I can.
If everybody thumb- twiddled under injuries
we should not advance much. I need not
to apologise for the directly personal cha-
racter of the account which I have written ;
for It Is only as a directly personal account
that It can be of any value. The imputation
of Insanity will not trouble me much longer.
To those who know me, It is absurd ; with
those who do not, or who, knowing me, care to
repeat It, I am in nowise concerned. If I write
this short postscript at all, it Is because I have
heard, to my great amusement, that since the
publication of this history some of my critics
have done me the honour to speak of It as
in itself a proof of Insanity ! I can only say
with Theodore Hook, if It was he who said


it — ' Sir, If you can believe that, you'll believe
anything.' But they do not believe it. It is
the old question of honesty and dishonesty,
and concerns me not. I suppose that I arn
either mad not to hold my tongue, or mad
to think they can believe me — anything for
a sneer, from time immemorial the safety-
valve of dulness or of ill-nature. It is diffi-
cult for anyone to believe in such wanton
wrong. That is the defence of those who,
without the shadow of excuse, have branded
me with the most cruel brand that can be
stamped on any man. The thing was done.
Magna est Veritas, in the end : though I think
it is growing much more uncommon.

The remedy for having been shut up in
an asylum, as a nuisance, is an action for
false imprisonment. Thank you. Going to
law in England is neither more or less than
an amusement for a rich man, who may like
to have all his corns hurt, or for a ' company/
who are cornless. You must be prepared to


submit to many varieties of insult, with con-
tempt of court if you resent them. I have
been a lawyer myself, and of the value of the
Law's methods, cross-examination included,
as a guide to truth and as a means to justice,
I hold my own opinion. I did consult a
solicitor, with a view to an action ; but from
him learned that the first step required of
me would be to prove exactly how the thing
was done, and exactly who did it, when the
whole essence of the wrong was that I was
too weak from a common illness to know of
what was being done. (If I had been well
and strong, I should at least have tried to
knock everybody down.) If I made a mistake,
I should be ' nonsuited,' or otherwise time-
honouredly swindled of my rights : so being
sane and having been a lawyer, I let it alone ;
and was fain to console myself as best I
might with Bumble's forcible apothegm —
never so forcible as in this case — ' The law's
a hass.'


The whole confusion worse confounded,
which surrounds everything concerning the
most palpable, If the most terrible, form of
human sickness, had its origin, probably, In
the anxiety of kind-hearted people to evade
the law of capital punishment on any pretext
whatsoever. They called people ' mad ' to
save them from being hung, when they knew
them to be nothing of the kind. Many a
sound conscience has been driven into
evasion or falsehood as a lesser sin, or a
nobler right, than * abiding ' evil laws. This
particular form of evasion having been esta-
blished for good, the Law was prompt enough
to take advantage of it for ill, to introduce fresh
wrong. For the rest, let my story speak for
itself. I have not concealed in any way the
extent of the nervous illness into which I
fell, aggravated tenfold by this unutterable
cruelty. I repeat that it is the most cruel
thing that can be done to a nervous sufferer :
and it is, or may be, done every day by the


Law, which scarcely knows, I think, a wrong
it does not favour. This is Hke finding a man
•on the brink of a precipice, and, instead of
holding him back, giving him a friendly
push, with a ' Go over and be damned to
you ! ' The Law will not move in the matter ;
but for her own honour Medicine may ;
and I am glad to see that the * Lancet'
has taken the cancer well in hand. I believe
that the knell of private asylums will soon
be knolled. As soon as we find a Home
Secretary honest and brave enough to take
the question unflinchingly up, the whole
tissue of humbug and deceit will melt like
wax in the fire. Amen. For it is time.

He brought ine also out of the horrible pit, otit of the
mire and clay: ajid set my feet upon the rock, and ordered my
goings. — Ps. xl. 2.





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by S. L. FiLDES, Helen Paterson, Hubert Herkomer,
Sydney Hall, E. J. Gregory, G. D. Leslie, W. Small,
G. Du Maurier, Sir John Gilbert, G. J. Pinwell, Charles
Green, G. Durand, M. E. Edwards, A. B. Houghton,
H. S. Marks, F. W. Lawson, H. Weigall, and others.

Square 8vo. cloth extra, with numerous Illustrations, 9^.

NORTH ITALIAN FOLK. By Mrs. Comyns Carr. With
Illustrations by Randolph Caldecott.

Square 8vo. cloth gilt, gilt top, profusely Illustrated, \os. 6d.


and BRITTANY. By Katharine S. Macquoid. With
numerous Illustrations by Thomas R. Macquoid.

Square 8vo. cloth, extra gilt, gilt edges, with Coloured Frontispiece
and numerous Illustrations, los. 6d.

The ART of BEAUTY. By Mrs. H. R. Haweis, Author of
' Chaucer for Children. ' With nearly 100 Illustrations by the

In reduced facsimile, small 8vo. half Roxburghe, lOi-. 6d.

Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Pub-
lished according to the true Original Copies. London, printed
by Isaac Iaggard and Ed. Blount, 1623. An exact repro-
duction of the extremely rare original, in reduced facsimile by
a photographic process— ensuring the strictest accuracy in every


November^ 1878.


Hist of Booi^s.





* * / say we have despised literature ; what do we, as a nation, care
abotit books ? How much do yoti think we spe^id altogether on our
libraries, public or private, as coinpared with what we spend on our
horses ? If a matt spends lavishly on his libt'aiy, you call him mad
— a bibliomatiiac. But you never call one a horse-7tianiac, though vien
rtiin themselves every day by their horses, and you do not hear of people
ruining themselves by their books. Or, to go lower still, how much do
you think the contents of the book-shelves of the United Kingdom, public
and private, would fetch, as compared with the contents of its wine'
cellars ? What position would its expenditure on literatzire take as com-
pared with its expenditure on luxurious eating? We talk of food for
the mind, as of food for the body : now, a good book contains suchfooa
inexhaustible : it is provision for life, and for the best part of us ; yet
how long most people would look at the best book before they would give
the price of a large turbot for it I Though there have been men who
have pinched their stomachs and bared their backs to buy a book, whose
libraries were cheaper to them, I think, in the end, than most m^en^s
dinners are. We are few of us put to such a trial, and tnore the pity ;
for, indeed, a precious thing is all the m.ore precious to us if it has been
won by work or economy ; and if public libraries were half as costly as
ptiblic dinners, or books cost the tenth pa?'t of what bracelets do, even
foolish men and wotnen might sometimes suspect thet'e was good in read-
ing as well as in munching and sparkling ; whereas the very cheapness
of literature is makhtg even wiser people forget that if a book is worth
reading it is worth buying.'''' — SESAME AND LiLIES ; OR, King's

:*\ ^^


L/ST OF Books.

Square 8vo, cloth, extra gilt, gilt edges, with Coloured Frontispiece
and numerous Illustrations, iQs, 6d.

The Art of Beauty.

By Mrs. H. R. Haweis, Author of "Chaucer for Children."
With nearly One Hundred Illustrations by the Author.

*^ A most interesting hook, full of valuable hints and suggestiofts If

young ladies ivotild but lend their ears for a little to Mrs. Haweis, we are quite
sure that it would result in their being at once -more tasteful, more Jtappy, and more
healthy than they now often are, with theirfalse hair, high heels, tight corsets, and
ever so rrnich else of the same sort." — Nonconformist.

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, with 639 Illustrations, ^s. 6d.

A Handbook of Architectural Styles,

Translated from the German of A. Rosengarten by W.
Collett-Sandars. With 639 Illustrations.

Crown 8vo, Coloured Frontispiece and Illustrations, cloth gilt, *]5. €d.

A History of Advertising,

From the Earliest Times. Illustrated by Anecdotes, Curious
Specimens, and Biographical Notes of Successful Advertisers.
By Henry Sampson.

" We have here a book to be tha7ikful for. We recommend the present volume,
which takes us throtigh antiquity , the middle ages, and the present time, illustra-
tin^ all in turn by advertisements — serious, comic, roguish, or downright rascally.
The volume isfillofentertaifunentfromthe ^rst page to the last." — AtheNjEUM.


Crown 8vo, with Portrait and Facsimile, cloth extra, *is, 6d.

Art emus Ward's Works:

The Works of Charles Farrer Browne, better known as
Artemus Ward. With Portrait, facsimile of Handwriting, &c.
" TJie autJwr combines the powers of TJiackeray -with those of Albert Smitk,

TIte salt is rubbed in with a native Jiand — one which has the gift of tickling.^*— '

Saturday Review.

Small 4to, green and gold, ^s. 6d. ; gilt edges, *js, 6d.

As Pretty as Seven,

and other Popular German Stories. Collected by Ludwig
Bechstein. With Additional Tales by the Brothers Grimm,
and loo Illustrations by Richter.

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, *]s. 6d.

A Ha7idbook of London Bankers ;

With some Account of their Predecessors, the Early Goldsmiths ;
together with Lists of Bankers, from 1677 to 1876. By F. G.
Hilton Price.

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 9^.

Bards ley's Our English Stirnames :

Their Sources and Significations. By Charles Wareing
Bardsley, M.A. Second Edition, revised throughout, con-
siderably enlarged, and partially rewritten.
"Mr. Bardsley has fait Jifully consulted the original mediceval documents and
vjorks from, which the origin and developm.ent of surnames can alone be satis-
^czctorily traced. He has furnished a valuable contribution to the literature oj^
S7cr7iames, and wehope to hear -m-ore of him in this field," — Times.

Second Edition, demy 8vo, cloth extra, with Maps and Illustrations, iBj-.

Baker's Clouds in the East:

Travels and Adventures on the Perso-Turkoman Frontier. By
Valentine Baker. Second Edition, revised and corrected.

This hook, written by Getieral Valentiyie Baker Pasha in 1876, bears directly
■upon the locality of the Central Asian Question, which is now assujning so much
public interest.

Demy 8vo, Illustrated, uniform in size for binding.

Henry Blackburn 's Art Handbooks :

Academy Notes, 1875.

With Forty Illustrations, is,

Acade7ny Notes, 1876.

With One Hundred and Seven Illustrations. li-.

Academy Notes, 1877.

With One Hundred and Forty-three Illustrations. \s.


Blackburn's Art Handbooks — continued.
Academy Notes, 1878.

With One Hundred and Fifty Illustrations, ij-.

Grosveiior Notes, 1878.

With Sixty-eight Illustrations, is. [See end of this list.

Dudley Notes, 1878.

{The Water-colour Exhibition.) With 64 Illustrations, is.

Pictures at South Kensington.

(The Raphael Cartoons, Sheepslianks Collection, &c.) With
Seventy Illustrations, is.

The English Pictures at the National Gallery.

With One Hundred and Fourteen Illustrations, is.

The O.ld Masters at the National Gallery.

With One Hundred and Thirty Illustrations, is. 6d.
''^* The two last form a Complete Catalogue to the National
Gallery, and may be had bound in One Volume, cloth, 3^-.
Other parts in preparation.

" Otcr Bank of Elegance notes are not in high credit. But our Baiik of Arts
notes ought to be, wJien theba?ik is Henry Blackburn's & Co., and the notes are
his Grosvenor Gallery Notes, and his Academy Notes for 1878. Never were 7}iore
7ininistakable cases of ' vabie received,^ thati theirs luho purchase tfiese two ivon
derful shillingsworths — the best aids to 7nejiio7y,for the collections tJiey relate to,
that have ever been produced. The Ilhcstratio7is, excelloit recoras of the pictitres ,
in inany cases from sketches by tJie painters, arefdl of spirit, and, for their scale,
wonderfully effective ; the remarks terse, and to the point. After Pu?tch's Own
Guide to the Acadeiny , a-)id the Grosvenor, the best, he has jio hesitation in saying,.
are Mr. Blackburn's." — Punch, June 7, 1878.


The Royal Scottish Academy Notes, 1878.

Containing One Hundred and Seventeen Illustrations of the
Chief Works, from Drawings by the Artists, ij-.

Notes to tJie Seventeenth Exhibition of the Glasgow

Instituteof the Fine Arts, 1878. Containing 95 Illustrations,
chiefly from Drawings by the Artists. is.

The Walker Art Gallery Notes, Liverpool, 1878.

With 112 Illustrations, is.

Notes to the Exhibition of the Works of Modern

Artists at the Royal Manchester Institittion. With ^'^ Illus-
trations, is.

Notes to the Royal Society of Artists' Autitmn

Exhibition^ Birmingham, 1878. With 95 Illustrations, is.



Children of the Great City.

Notes on the Three Pictures "A Merry Christmas," "Im-
prisoned Spring," "Dawn," painted by F. W. Lawson.
With Facsimile Sketches by the Artist. Demy 8vo, with
Facsimile Plates, is.

One Shilling Monthly, Illustrated.


For Januaiy will contain the First Chapters of Two New Novels
(each to be continued throughout the year) : — I. Donna
Quixote. Ey Justin McCarthy, Author of "Miss Misan-
thrope." Illustrated by Arthur Hopkins.— II. Queen of the
Meadow. By Charles Gibeon, Author of "Robin Gray,'*
&c. Illustrated.

**The THIRTY-SIXTH Volume of BELGRAVIA, elegantly
bound in crimson cloth, full gilt side and back, gilt edges, price 'js. 6d. ,
is now ready. — Handsome Cases for binding the volume can be had at 2s,

Price IS. with numerous Illustrations.

TAe Belgravia Annual,

Including Contributions from Wilkie Collins, James Payn,
Percy Fitzgerald, J. Arbuthnot Wilson, The Author of
■"Phyllis," Cuthbert Bede, and other popular Authors.

Folio, half-bound boards, India proofs, 2.\s.

Blake (William).

Etchings from his Works. By William Bell Scott. With
descriptive Text.

•' The best side of Blake's %vork is given here, and makes a really attracHve
. volume, which all can enjoy . . . The etching is of the best kiiid, more refined
avA delicate than tJie origi7tal'work."—SKT\5-RDA\ Review,

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, gilt, with Illustrations, 7^. 6d.

Boccaccio's Decameron ;

or. Ten Days' Entertainment. Translated into English, with an
Introduction by Thomas Wright, Esq., M.A., F.S.A. With
Portrait, and Stothard's beautiful Copperplates.

Small crown 8vo, cloth extra, gilt, with full-page Portraits, 4J. td.

Brewster's (Sir David) Martyrs of



Small cro\\ai 8vo, cloth extra, gilt, with Astronomical Plates, 4J. (td.

Brewster's (Sir David) More Worlds

than One, the Creed of the Philosopher and the Hope of the

Imperial 4to, cloth extra, gilt and gilt edges, price 2ij. per volume.

Beatitiftd Pictures by British Artists ;

A Gathering of Favourites from our Picture Galleries. Two Series,
The First Series including Examples by Wilkie, Con-
stable, Turner, Mulready, Landseer, Maclise, E. M.
Ward, Frith, Sir John Gilbert, Leslie, Ansdell, Marcus^
Stone, Sir Noel Paton, Faed, Eyre Crowe, Gavin O'Neil,
and Madox Brown.

The Second Series containing Pictures by Armytage, Faed,
GooDALL, Hemsley, Horsley, Marks, Nicholls, Sir Noel.
Paton, Pickersgill, G. Smith, Marcus Stone, Solomon,
Straight, E. M. Ward, and Warren.

All engraved on Steel in the highest style of Art. Edited, with
Notices of the Artists, by Sydney Armytage, M.A.

" TAis hook is "well got up, and good engravings by Jeens, Lumi Stocks, and
o'kers, bring back to us pictures of Royal Academy Exhibitions of past years'*
— Times.

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, 7^'. dd,

Bret Harte 's Select Works,

in Prose and Poetry. With Introductory Essay by J. M. Bfl-
lew. Portrait of the Author, and 50 Illustrations.

*' Not many -months before my friend' s death, he had sent vie two sketches sf
a young A jnerican writer (Bret Harte), far away in California (' The Out-
casts of Poker Flat,' and another), in which he had found such subtle strokes-
of character as he had not anywhere else in late years discovered ; the manner
resembling himself, but the matter fresh to a degree th-at had surprised him ;
the paiiiting in all respects masterly, and the wild rude thing painted a quite
wonder/ul reality. I have rarely known him tnore honestly moved," — Forstbr's
Life of Dickens,

Small crown 8vo, cloth extra, 6s,

Brillat-Savarin s Gastronomy as a Fine

Art ; or. The Science of Good Living. A Translation of th&
" Physiologic du Gout " of Brillat-Savarin, with an Intro-
duction and Explanatory Notes by R. E. Anderson, M.A.

** We have read it with rare enjoyment, just as we have delightedly read ana
re-read quaiyit old Izaak. Mr. Ayiderson has done his work of translation
daintily, with true appreciation of the foints ifi his origifial; and altogether
though late, we cannot but believe that this book will be welcomed anc( vnich rea
by wawj-."— Nonconformist.


Crown 8vo, cloth extra, gilt, *]s. 6d.

Brand's Observations on Popttlar Anti-
quities, chiefly Illustrating the Origin of our Vulgar Customs,
Ceremonies, and Superstitions. With the Additions of Sir
Henry Ellis. An entirely New and Revised Edition, with fine
full-page Illustrations.

Demy 8vo, profusely Illustrated in Colours, price 30^.

The British Flora Medica :

A Plistory of the Medicinal Plants of Great Britain. Illustrated
by a Figure of each Plant, coloured BY hand. By Benjamin H.
Barton, F.L.S., and Thomas Castle, M.D., F.R.S. A New
Edition, revised, condensed, and partly re-written, by John R.
Jackson, A. L.S., Curator of the Museums of Economic Botany,
Royal Gardens, Kew.

The Stothard Bunyan. — Crown 8vo, cloth extra, gilt, 7j. dd.

Bunyaii 's Pilgrinis Progress.

Edited by Rev. T. Scott. With 1 7 beautiful Steel Plates by
Stothard, engraved by Goodall ; and numerous Woodcuts.

Crown Svo, cloth extra, gilt, with Illustrations, "is. 6d.

Byron 's Letters a^td Jotirnals.

With Notices of his Life. By Thomas Moore. A Reprint of

the Original Edition, newly revised, Complete in One thick Voliune,

v/ith Twelve full-page Plates.

" V/e have read this hook ivith the greatest pleasure. Considered -merely as a

comJ>osition, it deserves to be classed aviong the best specimens of English prose

"which 02ir age has produced. . . . The style is agreeable, clear, and manly,

and when it rises hito elogtience, rises without effo7't or ostentation. It would

be difficult to name a hook which exhibits more kindness, _fairness, and -modesty."

— Macaulay, in the Edinburgh Review.

Small 4to, cloth gilt, with Coloured Illustrations, los. 6d.

Chancer for Childre7t :

A Golden Key. By Mrs. H. R. Haweis. With Eight Coloured

Pictures and numerous Woodcuts by the Author.

" It must not only take a high place among the Christinas and New Year books

af this season, b2it is also of peri7ia?ient vahie as an introduction to the study oj

Chaucer, whose ivorks, in selections of sotne kind or other, are now text-books in

every school that aspires to give sound instruction in English" — Academy.

Crown Svo, cloth extra, gilt, ^s. 6d.

Colman's Htmiorous Works:

"Broad Grins," "My Nightgown and Slippers," and other
Humorous Works, Prose and Poetical, of George Colman.
With Life by G. B. Buckstone, and Frontispiece by Hogarth.


Oblong 4to, half-bound boards, 2\s.

Cmiters in Cra7iipshire.

By G. Bowers. I. Gallops from Gorseborough. II. Scrambles
with Scratch Packs. III. Studies with Stag Hounds.

" TJte fruit of tJie observation of an artist who has an eye for character,
a sense of humour, and a finn and ready hand in delineating characteristic

details Altogether, this is a very pleasant vohc7ne for tJie tables of

country gentlemen, or of those toivtt gentlejneti who, like Mr. Black's hero and
heroi7ie, divide their time between ' Green Pastjires and Piccadilly.^ " — Daily

*' An amusing volume of sketches a7id adventures 'in the hunting-field,
drawn with great spirit, a keen sense of huniour and ftcn, atid no lack of
observation." — Spectator.

Demy 8vo, cloth extra, with Coloured Illustrations and Maps, 24J.

Cope's History of the Rifle Brigade

(The Prince Consort's Own), formerly the 95th. By Sir William
H. Cope, formerly Lieutefiant, Rifle Brigade.

• * This latest contribution to the history of the British army is a work of the
fnost varied information regardiiig the distinguished regiment whose life it nar-
rates, ajid also of facts interesting to the st7ident in military afFairs. . . .
Great credit is dice to Sir W. Cope for the patie7ice a7id labour, exte7tdi7tg over
many years, which he has give?i to the work. . . , In many cases well-exe
cuted plans of actiojts are given.'' — Morning Post.

' ' Even a bare record of a corps which has so often been -under fire, and has
hor7ie a part in i77iporta7it e7igage77ie7its all over the world, cojild not prove
otherv.nse tha7i full of J7iatter acceptable to the viilitaTy reader.'' — Athen^um,

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, gilt, with Portraits, *js. 6d.

Creasy' s Memoirs of Eminent Etonians;

with Notices of the Early History of Eton College. By Sir
Edward Creasy, Author of "The Fifteen Decisive Battles of
the World." A New Edition, brought down to the Present
Time, with 13 Illustrations.

'* A new edition of ' Creasy' s Eto7iia7is' will be welcome. The look was a
favourite a qtcarter of a ce7iticry ago, and it has maitttained its repTctatio7t. The
vahte of this new edition is enha7iced by the fact that Sir Edward Creasy has
added to it several me7noirs of Etonians who have died si7ice the first editio7i
appeared. The work is e77iinently i7iteresting." — Scotsman.

Crown 8vo, cloth gilt. Two very thick Volumes, 'js. 6d. each.

Cruikshank's Comic Almanack.

Complete in Two Series : The First from 1835 to 1843 ; the
Second from 1844 to 1853. A Gathering of the Best Humour
of Thackeray, Hood, Mayhew, Albert Smith, A'Beck-
ETT, Robert Brough, &c. With 2000 Woodcuts and Steel
Engravings by Cruikshank, Hine, Landells, &c.


To be Completed in Twenty-four Parts, quarto, at ^s. each, profusely
illustrated by Coloured and Plain Plates and Wood Engravings,

CyclopcEciia of Costume ;

or, A Dictionary of Dress — Regal, Ecclesiastical, Civil, and Mili-
tary — from the Earliest Period in England to the reign of George
the Third. Including Notices of Contemporaneous Fashions on
the Continent, and a General History of the Costumes of the Prin-
cipal Countries of Europe. By J. R. PLANCI16, Somerset Herald.
Part XXH. now ready.
*' A ttiost readable and interesting 7vork — and it can scarcely he consulted in
vain, nvhether the reader is ifi search for info7-mation as to military, courts
ecclesiastical, legal, or professio7ial cost7iine. . . . All the chro/no-lithogra^hs,
afui most of the luoodciit ilhisiratio7is — the latter amo7inting to several thousands
— are very elaborately executed ; and the ti'ork/orjiis a livre de luxe which rejtders
it equally suited to the library and the ladies' draiuing-room." — Times.

*^* The DICTIONARY forms Vol. /., which may be had bound
in half red morocco, price ^3 13J. 6d. Cases for binding 5 J. each.

Parts I. to XII. now ready, lis. each.

Cussans' History of Hertfordshire,

By John E. Cussans. Illustrated with full-page Plates on Copper
and Stone, and a profusion of small Woodcuts.

" Air. Cussans Jias, front sources not accessible to Clutterbuck, made f>tost
valuable additions to the 7nanorial history of the county from the earliest pe?n.od
downivards, cleared tip many doubtful points, and given original details con-
ceming various subfects U7itouched or imperfectly treated by that -writer. The
Pedigrees seem to Jtave been constructed Tvith great care, and are a valuable additio7i
to the genealogical history of the county. Mr. Cussans appears to have done
his work conscientiously, and to have spared neither tiine, labour, nor expe^ise to
render his volumes worthy of ranking in the highest class of County Histories,'*
— Academy.

Two Vols., royal 8vo, with numerous Illustrations, 28^.

Demonology and Devil-Lore.

By MoNCURE D. Conway

In this nvork the demons a7ti devils believed i7i by all races a7td ages are C07i-
sidered C077tparativelyf z'« their mythological as well as their 7iatural history .

Demy 8vo, cloth extra, I2j. ()d.

Doran's Memories of ottr Great Towns,

With Anecdotic Gleanings concerning their Worthies and their
Oddities. By Dr. John Doran, F.S.A.

" A greater genius for viJ7-itirg of the a7tecdotic ki7td few men have had. As
to givi7tg a7iy idea of the co7iieiits oj the hock, it is qtiite impossible. 1 hose "u ho
k7iow how Dr. Dora7i aised to write — it is sad to have to iise the past te7ise of C7ie of
the 77zost cheerful of me7i — will it7idersta7id what we mean ; a7.d ihcse who do 7ioi
i7iust take it on trust from us that this is a remarkably entertaining volume." —


Demy 8vo, cloth extra, with Illustrations, 24J.

Dodge's (Colonel) The Hunting Grounds

of the Great West : A Description of the Plains, Game, and
Indians of the Great North American Desert. By Richard
Irving Dodge, Lieutenant-Colonel of the United States Army.
With an Introduction by William Blackmore ; Map, and
numerous Illustrations drawn by Ernest Griset.

" T/iis magnificent vohcme is one of the most able and most interesting works
which has ever proceeded fro7n an Ajnerican peji, while its freshness is equal to
that of atiy similar book. Colonel Dodge has chosen a subject of which he is
master, and treated it with a fulness that leaves nothi7ig more to be desired, and
in a style which is charming equally for its picturesqueness arui its purity."
— Nonconformist.

Second Edition, demy 8vo, cloth gilt, with Illustrations, iSj.

Dunraven' s The Great Divide:

A Narrative of Travels in the Upper Yellowstone in the Summer
of 1874. By the Earl of Dunraven. With Maps and numerous
striking full-page Illustrations by Valentine W. Bromley.

"There has not for along time appeared a better book of travel than Lord
Dunraven' s ' The Great Divide.' . . . The book is fill of clever observation,
and both narrative and illustratio7ts are thoroughly good." — Athenaeum.

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, gilt, with Illustrations, ds.

Emanuel On Diamonds and Precious

Stones : their History, Value, and Properties ; with Simple Tests for
ascertaining their Reality. By Harry Emanuel, F.R.G.S.
With numerous Illustrations, Tinted and Plain.

Crovm 8vo, cloth extra, with Illustrations, 7^. 6d.

The Englishma7t' s House:

A Practical Guide to all interested in Selecting or Building a
House, with full Estimates of Cost, Quantities, &c. By C. J.
Richardson. Third Edition. With nearly 600 Illustrations.

•»* This book is intended to supply a long felt want, viz., a plain, non-technical
account of every style of house, with the cost and m.anner of buildittg ; it gives
every variety, frotn a ivorkman s cottage to a noblema7i' s palace.

Folio, cloth extra, /"i i\s. 6d.

Examples of Contemporary Art.

Etchings from Representative Works by living English and
Foreign Artists. Edited, with Critical Notes, by J. Comyns

"It would not be easy to meet with a more sumptuous, and at tlie same
time a more tasteful and instructive drawing-room book." — Nonconformist.



Crown 8vo, cloth boards, 6j-. per Volume.

Early English Poets.

Edited, with Introductions and Annotations, byRev. A.B.Grosart.

"Mr. Grosart has spent the most laborious and the most enthusiastic care ok
the perfect restoration and preservation of the text ; and it is very unlikely that
any oilur edition of the poet cafi ever be called for. . . From Mr. Grosart 'mb
always expect and always receive the filial results of most patie7it and competent
schola rship" — E X A M i N e R.

1 . Fletcher 's ( Giles ^ B.D. )

Complete Poems : Christ's Victoria
in Heaven, Christ's Victorie on
Earth, Christ's Triumph over
Death, and Minor Poems.
With Memorial-Introduction and
Notes. One Vol.

2. Davies' (Sir John)

Complete Poetical Works, in-
cluding Psalms I. to L. in Verse,
and other hitherto Unpublished
MSS., for the first time Col-
lected and Edited. With Me-
morial-Introduction and Notes.
Two Vols.

3 . Herrick 's (Robert) Hes-

perides, Neble Nnmbers, and

Complete Collected Poems. With
Memorial-Introduction and Notes,
Steel Portrait, Index of First
Lines, and Glossarial Index, &c.
Three Vols.

4. Sidney's (Sir Philip)

Complete Poetical Works, in-
cluding all those in "Arcadia."
With Portrait, Memorial-Intro-
duction, Essay on the Poetry of
Sidney, and Notes. Three Vols.

5. Donne's (Dr. John)

Complete Poetical Works, in-
cluding the Satires and various
from MSS. With Memorial-In
troduction and Notes.

\In preparation.

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, with Illustrations, (>s.

Fairholt's Tobacco:

Its History and Associations ; with an Account of the Plant and
its Manufacture, and its Modes of Use in all Ages and Coimtries.
By F. W. Fairholt, F.S.A. A New Edition, with Coloured
Frontispiece and upwards of 100 Illustrations by the Author.
".(4 ve^y pleasant and instructive histo7-y of tobacco and its associations, "which
%Di cordially recommend alike to the votaries and to ^ke ejtemies of the in^uch-
nuxlig'Tisd hut certaitily not neglected weed. . . . Full of interest and in-
formation. -" —Daily News.

Crown 8vo, cloth extra, with Illustrations, d^s. 6d.

Faraday 's Chemical History of a Candle.

Lectures delivered to a Juvenile Audience. A New Edition.
Edited by W. Crookes, F.C.S. With numerous Illustrations.

Crown Svo, cloth extra, with Illustrations, 4J. 6^.

Faraday's Various Forces of Nature.

A New Edition. Edited by W. Crookes, F.C.S. With numerous


Crown 8vo, cloth extra, with Illustrations, ']s. 6d.

Finger-Ring Lore:

Historical, Legendary, and Anecdotal. — Earliest Notices; Supersti-
" tions ; Ring Investiture, Secular and Ecclesiastical ; Betrothal and
Wedding Rings ; Ring-tokens ; Memorial and Mortuary Rings ;
Posy- Rings; Customs and Incidents in Connection with Rings;
Remarkable Rings, &c. By William Jones, F.S.A. With Hun-
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obtain, vario7is classes of readers, and we trjist that the very 7tiixed elements of
interest in it may not conflict with its obtaining them. For the lightest reader
there is much to ejij'o-y ; for the 7nost thoughtful something to ponder over; aiui the
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The Old Dra^natists :

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The Piccadilly Novels :

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A ntonina. By Wilkie Collins.

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Hide and Seek. By Wilkie Collins.

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The Dead Secret. By Wilkie Collins.

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Queen of Hearts. By Wilkie Collins.

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My Miscellanies. By Wilkie Collins.

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The Woman in White. By Wilkie Collins.

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The Moonstone. By Wilkie Collins.

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Man and Wife. By Wilkie Collins.

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Poor Miss Finch. By Wilkie Collins.

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Miss or Mrs. f By Wilkie Collins.

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The New Magdalen. By wilkie Collins.

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The Frozen Deep. By Wilkie Collins.

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The Law and the Lady. By wilkie Collins.

Illustrated by S. L. Fildes and Sydney Hall.
The Two Destinies. By Wilkie Collins.

NOVELS, post 8vo, illustrated boards, 2s. each.

Felicia. By M. Betham-Edwards.

With a Frontispiece by W. Bowles.
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poetry than from prosefiction. Few works in modern fiction stand as high in our
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Olympia. By r. e. Francillon.


The Piccadilly Novels — continued.

Under the Greemvood Tree. By Thomas Hardy.

Fated to be Free. By Jean Ingelow.

The Queen of Co7inaught. By Harriett Jay.

The Dark Colleen. By Harriett Jay.

^^ A novel zuhich possesses tlu rare and valuable quality of Tiovelty. . . . The
scetiery will be strange to r7iost readers, and in many passages the aspects of Nature
are very clez'erly described. Moreover, the book is a study of a very curious and
interesting state of society. A fiovel which no novel-reader should ?niss, and which
people wJw generally shun novels jnay enjoy." — Saturday Review.

Patricia Kemball. By E. Lynn Linton.

With Frontispiece by G. Du Maurier.
' ' Displays ge^mine humour, as well as keen social observation. Enough graphic
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The At07iement of Lea^n Dundas. By e. Lynn Linton.

With a Frontispiece by Henry Woods.

^* In Jier narrowness and her depth, in her boundless loyalty, her selfforgetting
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lity which is vicario7is pride. Leant Dundas is a striking figure. In one quality
the autJtoress has in some measure surpassed Jierself" — Pall Mall Gazette.

The WateJ'dale Neighbours. By Justin McCarthy.

My Enemy s Daughter. By justin McCarthy.

Linley^ Rochford. By Justin McCarthy.

A Fair Saxon. ^ By Justin McCarthy.

Dear Lady Disdain. ^ By Justin McCarthy.

The Evil Eye, and other Stories. By Katharine s.Macquoid.

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Number Seventeen. By Henry Kingsley.

Oakshott Castle. By Henry Kingsley.

With a Frontispiece by Shirley Hodson,
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Open ! Sesame ! By Florence Marryat.

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Whiteladies. By Mrs. Oliphant.

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The Best of Husbands. By James Payn.

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The Piccadilly '^owY.i.s—contimced.

Fallen Fortunes . By James Payn.

Halves. By James Payn,

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Walter's Word. ByjAMEsPAYN.

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What He Cost Her. By james payn.

*' His novels are always comtnenddble in the sense of art. They also possess
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Her Mother's Darling. By Mrs. j. h. Riddell.

The Way we Live Now. By Anthony trollope.

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The American Senator. By Anthony Trollope.

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Diamond Cut Diamond. By t. a. Trollope,

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Bound to the Wheel. By John Saunders.

Guy Waterman. By John Saunders,

One Against the World. By John Saunders.

The Lion in the Path. By John Saunders.

*^ A carefully written and beautiful story — a story of goodness and truth,
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Ready- Money Mortiboy. By w. Bes ant and James Ricb.

My Little Girl. By W. Besant and James Rice.

The Case of Mr. Lucraft. By W. Besant and James Rice.

This Son of Vulcan. By W. Besant and James Rice,

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The GoldeJt Butterfly. By W. Besant and James Rice.

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Juliefs Guardian.

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Cheap Editions of Popular Novels,

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The Woman in White, By Wilkie Collins.

Antonina. By Wilkie Collins.

Basil. By Wilkie Collins.

Hide and Seek. By Wilkie Collins.

The Dead Secret. By Wilkie Collins.

The Queen of Hearts. By Wilkie Collins.

My Miscellanies. By Wilkie Collins.

The Moonstone. By Wilkie Collins.

Man and Wife. B^ ^^^^^^ Collins.

Poor Miss Finch. By Wilkie Collins.

Miss or Mrs ? b^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^

T/te New Magdalen. By Wilkie Collins.

The Frozen Deep. By Wilkie Collins.

The Law and the Lady. By Wilkie Collins.

TJie Two Destinies. By Wilkie Collins.

OlyVlpia. ^ By R. E. Francillon.

Gaslight and Daylight. By George Augustus Sala.

The Water dale Neighbours. By Justin McCarthy.

My Enefny's Daughter. By Justin McCarthy.

Linley^ Rochford. By Justin McCarthy.

A Fair Saxon. ^ By Justin McCarthy.

Dear Lady Disdain. By Justin McCarthy.

A n Idle Excursion. By mark Twain.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. By mark Twain.

Pleasure Trip 07i the Continent of Europe, mark Twain.
Oakshott Castle. By henry kingsley.

Bound to the Wheel. By John Saunders.

Guy Waterman. By John Saunders.

One Against tJte World. By John Saunders.

The Lion in the Path. ByJOHN and Katherine Saunders.
Surly Tim. By the Author of " That Lass o' Lowrie's."

Under the Greenwood Tree. By Thomas hardy.

Ready-Money Mortiboy. By Walter Besant and James Rice.


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Pleasant Ways in Science.

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