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Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, the third and youngest son of General William Earle Bulwer (1757–1807) and Elizabeth Barbara Lytton (1773–1843), was born on 25th May, 1803, at 31 Baker Street, London. Four years later his father died from a stroke.
According to his biographer, Andrew Brown: "Left comfortably off, the widowed Mrs Bulwer moved to London. The two elder boys were sent away to school, and Edward was effectively brought up as an only child. Under his mother's devoted tutelage he was reading by the age of four and writing verse at seven. The most significant event of these early years followed the death of Richard Warburton Lytton in December 1810, when his grandfather's vast library was transferred to London. For the next twelve months, before his mother sold the collection that had all but taken over her house, Edward explored his grandfather's books, delighting especially in chivalric romances but dipping also into all manner of scholarly tomes and obscure treatises, thus acquiring a taste for both romantic legend and antiquarian enquiry that he was never to lose."
In 1814 Bulwer was sent to Dr Hooker's academy at Rottingdean, where boys were prepared for entry to Eton College and Harrow School. During this period he discovered the work of Walter Scott and Lord Byron. Bulwer went up to Cambridge University in January 1822. A member of the Cambridge Union he eventually became its president. In September 1824 met and was seduced by Caroline Lamb, the wife of William Lamb, who was eighteen years his senior. The relationship only lasted a few months before she found a new admirer.
After leaving university Bulwer moved to Paris. On his return in April 1826, he met the beautiful, Rosina Wheeler. Her father, Francis Massy Wheeler, was a landowner in County Tipperary. It was her mother, Anna Doyle Wheeler, who was to have the greatest influence on her. Anna was a follower of Robert Owen and was a strong advocate of women's rights. Mrs Bulwer Lytton was deeply upset when she discovered that her son had fallen in love with Rosina. When they married on 29th August 1827, Mrs Bulwer Lytton refused to attend the ceremony and terminated his allowance. He was described as "effeminately handsome and languidly aristocratic, with his long auburn hair in ringlets and his six-foot frame resplendent in the latest fashions".
Bulwer decided to make his living as a writer. His first novel, Falkland, published in March 1827, sold badly. However, his second book, Pelham, or, The Adventures of a Gentleman (1828), was highly successful. The publisher was so pleased by the sales that he was paid £900 for The Disowned (1828) and £1,500 for Devereux (1829). Paul Clifford was published in 1830. The novel caused a stir as the hero of the book was a highwayman.
Henry Colburn appointed Bulwer as the editor of the New Monthly Magazine. Bulwer used the journal to advocate social reform. This caused conflict with Colburn who was a staunch Tory. After 18 months Bulwer resigned and was replaced by Samuel Carter Hall who shared Colburn's political beliefs.
Bulwer was a strong supporter of the ideas of Jeremy Bentham. He once argued: "The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself."
In 1831 he was elected member for St Ives. His maiden speech was in support of the 1832 Reform Act. One result of the passing of this legislation was that he lost his seat in the House of Commons. In December 1832 he was returned for Lincoln.
Bulwer's next novel, Eugene Aram (1832), the hero was a murderer. William Makepeace Thackeray and William Maginn both denounced it as an immoral book but it sold in large numbers. Despite being attacked by the leading literary journals such as Fraser's Magazine and the Quarterly Review, novels by Bulwer continued to enjoy high sales and one critic claimed that Bulwer was "without doubt, the most popular writer now living". Several phrases used by Bulwer in his novels have become clichés. This includes, "the great unwashed", "pursuit of the almighty dollar", "talent does what it can, genius does what it must" and "the pen is mightier than the sword".
In 1833 Bulwer published his most original work of non-fiction, England and the English. According to his biographer it was "a survey of the current state of politics, society, and manners; education, morality, and religion; art, literature, and science. Few of his contemporaries could have attempted so ambitious an account of the national character; still fewer could have carried it off with such consistent élan."
Bulwer spent much of the next year carrying out historical research in Italy. On his return he published his most successful book, The Last Days of Pompeii (1834). It remained a best-seller for the rest of the century and was translated into ten different languages. Bulwer now replaced Sir Walter Scott as Britain's most popular historical novelist. His next book, Rienzi, Last of the Tribunes (1835), looked at the subject of radical politics in the Roman Empire. Whereas Edward Gibbon saw Cola di Rienzi as a "madman" Bulwer portrayed him as a hero and visionary.
As a member of the House of Commons Bulwer promoted legislation to protect the rights of copyright holders. He also campaigned against the stamp duty on newspapers which he described as a "tax on knowledge" and the monopoly of London's patent theatres (Covent Garden and Drury Lane). He was also one of the first to complain about how the crown could censor plays, through the office of the lord chamberlain. In 1834 he turned down the offer of Lord Melbourne, then Prime Minister, to become lordship of the admiralty.
Rosina Wheeler complained bitterly about the way his political and literary activities took up Bulwer's time. She was also outraged when she discovered he was having an affair with Laura Deacon (she was later to give birth to three of his children). On 19th April 1836 they signed a formal deed of separation, citing "incompatibility of temper". Bulwer later recalled: "What a mistake to suppose that the passions are strongest in youth! The passions are not stronger, but the control over them is weaker! They are more easily excited, they are more violent and apparent; but they have less energy, less durability, less intense and concentrated power than in the maturer life."
Andrew Brown has argued: "Bulwer's creative energy remained undiminished, despite increasing problems with his health, and in the early 1840s he published three major novels in quick succession. The sensational melodrama Night and Morning (1841) turns on the moral distinction between socially induced criminality and socially respectable vice. Zanoni (1842), arguably his most original work of fiction, is set during the French Revolution and steeped in the occult lore of which he had become a serious student. The eponymous hero is a Rosicrucian sage who has mastered the secret of immortality but relinquishes this gift to save the life of the woman he loves. The spectacular dénouement, in which he dies in her place on the guillotine, clearly anticipates that of A Tale of Two Cities almost twenty years later."
On the death of his mother in 1843 he changed his name in her memory. Bulwer-Lytton also lost most of his radical beliefs. He fell out with the Whig leader, Lord John Russell, and in 1852 he stood for Hertfordshire as a member of the Conservative Party. During this period Bulwer-Lytton joined Charles Dickens, John Forster, William Harrison Ainsworth, William Macready, Daniel Maclise and Augustus Egg to form the The Guild of Literature and Art. Their intention was to fund a system of annuities and pensions to support writers and artists of distinction who had fallen upon hard times. Dickens named his last child, Edward Bulwer Lytton, after his great friend.
Bulwer-Lytton continued to write and in 1853 George Routledge paid the unprecedented sum of £20,000 for a ten-year lease of the copyrights to his nineteen existing novels. Routledge reissued these books as part of the 1s. 6d. Railway Library. In 1857 W. H. Smith reported that Bulwer-Lytton was the most requested author at his station bookstalls.
In May 1858, Catherine Dickens accidentally received a bracelet meant for Ellen Ternan. Her daughter, Kate Dickens, says her mother was distraught by the incident. Charles Dickens responded by a meeting with his solicitors. By the end of the month he negotiated a settlement where Catherine should have £400 a year and a carriage and the children would live with Dickens. Later, the children insisted they had been forced to live with their father.
The following month Charles Dickens decided to issue a statement to the press about the rumours involving him and two unnamed women (Ellen Ternan and Georgina Hogarth): "By some means, arising out of wickedness, or out of folly, or out of inconceivable wild chance, or out of all three, this trouble has been the occasion of misrepresentations, mostly grossly false, most monstrous, and most cruel - involving, not only me, but innocent persons dear to my heart... I most solemnly declare, then - and this I do both in my own name and in my wife's name - that all the lately whispered rumours touching the trouble, at which I have glanced, are abominably false. And whosoever repeats one of them after this denial, will lie as wilfully and as foully as it is possible for any false witness to lie, before heaven and earth."
The statement was published in The Times and Household Words. However, Punch Magazine, edited by his great friend, Mark Lemon, refused, bringing an end to their long friendship. Frederick Evans supported Lemon in this dispute. William Makepeace Thackeray also took the side of Catherine and he was also banned from the house. Dickens was so upset that he insisted that his daughters, Mamie Dickens and Kate Dickens, brought an end to their friendship with the children of Lemon and Thackeray.
Bulwer-Lytton and William Macready, unlike most of his close friends, both supported him in his actions. Claire Tomalin, the author of Dickens: A Life (2011) has argued: "With Bulwer, Dickens was on excellent terms, and since he had suffered his own marital disaster he was sympathetic, even inviting Dickens to bring Georgina and Mamie with him to stay at Knebworth. Macready, now living in Cheltenham, remained affectionate and uncensorious. His grand-daughter said later that he took the Nelly Ternan affair quite calmly as he knew that Dickens was not the celibate type, and that he quite approved of his separation from his wife. He was perturbed only when, as he thought, Dickens was conducting the affair with insufficient discretion, and risking a public scandal."
In 1858 Lord Derby, the Prime Minister, appointed Bulwer-Lytton as Secretary of State for the Colonies, and therefore served alongside his old friend Benjamin Disraeli. He was raised to the peerage as Baron Lytton of Knebworth in 1866. However, he was an inactive member of the House of Lords and concentrated on his writing career. This included many contributions to All the Year Round, a journal owned by his great friend, Charles Dickens.
Bulwer-Lytton's novel, The Coming Race (1871), was a work of great importance. As Andrew Brown has pointed out: "The novel, a dystopian satire on evolutionary theory and the emancipation of women, is one of the earliest English examples of science fiction. An American mining engineer descends into the centre of the earth and encounters a subterranean people whose extraordinary technological and telekinetic power derives from their control of a mysterious energy called vril. The book proved so popular (it ran through eight editions in eighteen months) that the word vril briefly entered the language, signifying a strength-giving elixir."
Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, died on 18th January 1873. During his lifetime he was outsold only by Charles Dickens. For the next thirty years he remained popular but today his work is largely forgotten.
With Bulwer, Dickens was on excellent terms, and since he had suffered his own marital disaster he was sympathetic, even inviting Dickens to bring Georgina and Mamie with him to stay at Knebworth. He was perturbed only when, as he thought, Dickens was conducting the affair with insufficient discretion, and risking a public scandal.Macready delighted Dickens by marrying again, in March 1860, Cecilia Spencer, a young woman of twenty-three to his sixty-seven, and his bride was soon pregnant.
Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, primul Baron de Lytton, (n. 25 mai 1803 ,     Londra, Regatul Unit al Marii Britanii și Irlandei – d. 18 ianuarie 1873 ,     Torquay, Anglia, Regatul Unit al Marii Britanii și Irlandei) a fost un romancier, dramaturg și om politic britanic.
A intrat în Parlamentul britanic ca liberal în 1831, dar s-a retras în 1841 și a reintrat în 1852, ca membru al Partidului Conservator.
Între timp, a scris romane istorice de mari dimensiuni, printre care Ultimele zile ale orașului Pompei (The Last Days of Pompeii, vol. I-III, 1834) și Harold, ultimul rege saxon (Harold, the Last of the Saxon Kings, 1848).
În 1866, Edward Bulwer-Lytton a devenit membru al Camerei Lorzilor, era prieten apropiat cu Benjamin Disraeli, prim-ministrul Angliei și cu Charles Dickens.
Datorită marii sale pasiuni pentru lumea magiei ezoterice, Edward Bulwer-Lytton a fost Mare Patron al Societății Rosicruciene Engleze și Mare Maestru al Lojei Masonice de Rit Scoțian. Inițierea sa în francmasonerie a avut loc în loja germană din Frankfurt pe Main numită L’Aurore Naissante. Edward Bulwer-Lytton a fost de asemenea și sef al serviciilor secrete britanice, unul dintre subalternii săi era Elena Blavatschi, care pomenește despre el în lucrarea Isis dezvăluită   .
Fraza de început a romanului său Paul Clifford, publicat în 1830, „Era o noapte întunecată și furtunoasă. ", a dat naștere premiului anual pentru literatură de ficțiune Bulwer-Lytton, pentru care concurenții se întrec în a crea cea mai folosită frază de început a unui roman ipotetic. 
Edward Bulwer-Lytton - History
It was at Tavistock House . . . that in the middle of March Catherine Dickens gave birth to her tenth child — named in honour of the baronet, Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens (Bulwer-Lytton himself was godfather). It was to be her last child, the conclusion of her long and unhappy history of pregnancy. [Ackroyd, 655]
Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens, "Plorn," or "The Baby" (13 March 1852 – 23 January 1902)
A contemporary photograph of sixteen-year-old Edward, armed as if demonstrating his readiness to take on the Outback, from Lucinda Dickens Hawksley's 2012 book on Dickens: "The dark circles under his eyes suggest Plorn's deep unhappiness at being sent away" (Hawksley 35). [Click on the image to enlarge it.]
Charles and Catherine Dickens's tenth and final child was given the grandiose name of Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens ("Plorn"). He was to live to just fifty years of age — all but the first sixteen of those spent in the hinterland of Australia.
It must have been hard to be a son of the period's preeminent novelist, and harder still in school and later life for the last son, whose namesake was another leading writer of the period. How could a young man brought up in an affluent household in the mid-Victorian period ever measure up in intelligence and drive to Charles Dickens? Nicknamed "The Baby," the youngest child received a Church of England oriented education at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, at a private academy owned by the Reverend W. C. Sawyer (later Anglican bishop of Armidale and Grafton). When his father decided that the boy was not suited to the professions or the civil service, but should be trained as an agriculturalist for the Australian Outback, "Plorn" as he was later known in the family also briefly attended lectures at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Plorn would thus be Dickens's last Son of Empire, but neither an naval officer like Sydney Smith Haldimand Dickens (1847-72) nor a army officer like Walter Savage Landor Dickens (1841-1863).
Dickens made arrangements for him to join his older brother, Alfred D'Orsay Tennyson Dickens, in Australia, the Victorian "land of opportunity" for younger sons — as he had implied in the later episodes of David Copperfield , in the emigration of the ne'er-do-well Micawbers. When the time came, Edward, equipped with only the rudimentary skills with which to survive in a challenging environment, was clearly unhappy to be leaving. His comfortable childhood as the sole boy at home had ill-fitted him for this abrupt and wrenching departure. The baby of the family, he had been spoilt and pampered in every way, and (ironically) nicknamed "The J. B. in the W." (The Jolliest Boy in the World). While his older brothers had at least had the experience attending Mr. Gibson's boarding school in Boulogne, France, Plorn had remained at the idyllic Gadshill Place in the Kentish countryside. Now he was accompanied to Portsmouth by his elder brother, the already academically successful Harry, there to take ship to the Antipodes, never to return. Dickens wrote to Mamie on 26 September 1868 that the boy "went away, poor fellow, as well as could possibly be expected. He was pale, and had been crying, and (Harry said) had broken down in the railway carriage after leaving Higham station" (qtd. in Tomalin 372).
Anticipating his son's misery, Dickens, Polonius-like, had penned him this highly religious and sententious note about the necessity of partings, a theme that he had sounded seven years earlier in Great Expectations , which also features a reluctant Australian emigrant:
I write this note to-day because your going away is much upon my mind, and because I want you to have a few parting words from me, to think of now and then at quiet times. I need not tell you that I love you dearly, and am very, very sorry in my heart to part with you. But this life is half made up of partings, and these pains must be borne. It is my comfort and my sincere conviction that you are going to try the life for which you are best fitted. I think its freedom and wildness more suited to you than any experiment in a study or office would have been and without that training, you could have followed no other suitable occupation. What you have always wanted until now, has been a set, steady, constant purpose. I therefore exhort you to persevere in a thorough determination to do whatever you have to do as well as you can do it. I was not so old as you are now, when I first had to win my food, and to do it out of this determination and I have never slackened in it since. Never take a mean advantage of any one in any transaction, and never be hard upon people who are in your power. Try to do to others as you would have them do to you, and do not be discouraged if they fail sometimes. It is much better for you that they should fail in obeying the greatest rule laid down by Our Saviour than that you should. [qtd. in Forster II: 272]
Alfred had already been in the colony some three years when Edward arrived at Momba Station in 1868, just before his sixteenth birthday, having left England, home, and family five months earlier. His accommodation there cannot have been much different from that of the typical British settler depicted in The Illustrated London News in 1849: Interior of Settler's Hut in Australia — what a comedown from the Dickens family's toney London mansion Tavistock House! Initially, however, Edward seems to have done well. He settled in the colony of New South Wales at Wilcannia, where he became station manager. In 1880, apparently prosperous, he married Constance Desailly, the daughter of a local landowner. He opened a stock and station agency, was elected as an alderman of Bourke Shire Council, and for a time owned a share in Yanda station nearby. However, through severe drought he suffered heavy financial reversals. In 1886 he was forced to give up ranching for a government appointment as inspector of rabbit-runs in the district. Still,
[h]e took an interest in politics, specifically in land legislation made in Sydney for this region that most politicians had never seen. In 1888, a new electorate of Wilcannia, 550,000 sq km in extent, had been established to elect a member of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales in Sydney, and Plorn was asked to stand as Liberal candidate. After policemen had ridden out to all the remotest stations and mining camps delivering ballots, Dickens won by a two-to-one majority.
No wonder, in view of recent experiences, that he referenced rabbits and rain in his maiden speech in September 1889. The account continues:
At the end of summer, Plorn was introduced to parliament. In his maiden speech, he impressed on the legislators the futility of making a single land law for all of New South Wales. He also announced that in some cases, the capacity to carry livestock had been reduced by one half through rabbit plagues. Plorn was so persistent he heard members cry, "Hang the rabbits, we are sick of rabbits!" [ The Observer , 2010]
Plorn held his seat in the legislature until 1893, vigorously representing the interests of his fellow Moree Jockey Club members, the ranchers and stockmen who yearned to recreate England in the Outback, despite the highly variable rains, and periods of drought — MP Dickens is recorded as having read the rainfall numbers into Hansard . Essentially, Plorn tried to do a good job, but the name which had probably helped him to be elected also brought him constant jibes in the legislature, and he lost his seat when the Australian Labour Party appeared:
The miners of Broken Hill were led by the handsome, demonic, 23-year-old Richard Sleath. Son of a Fifeshire ploughman, he was another kind of Briton to Plorn Dickens. The first Labour government in the world was in the offing, Sleath was part of the movement which would reap the discontent of miners and bush workers.
In 1894 Sleath was selected to oppose the relatively easy target, gentle Plorn Dickens. Sleath won with a majority of more than 60%. [ The Guardian , 7 November 2010]
Obviously facing still-declining fortunes after the 1894 election, Edward found himself unable to re-pay his brother Henry an ₤800 loan he had solicited. He now became an officer in charge of the Moree district for the Lands Department — after which, employment entirely dried up, and he died, still in middle age, after an illness of several months. Having initially prospered and even had a career in politics, he had, unfortunately, piled failure upon failure: gambling, drinking, and getting into debt and in consequence his wife had left him. Bankrupt and childless, he passed away at fifty, and was buried in the local cemetery.
Photograph of Edward Dickens's monument in Moree graveyard, by Grahamec, available from Wikipedia on the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) license.
According to Australian historian Thomas Keneally, "For many years the location of the grave was not known. But money was collected by the Dickens Fellowship in Sydney, and more than 60 years after his death a memorial tablet was placed in the Church of England in Moree." The spot where he was interred with little or no fanfare in 1902 is now marked by an impressive plinth, perhaps the only truly impressive aspect of Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens's life Down Under.
Ackroyd, Peter. Dickens . London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1990.
Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work . New York: Facts On File, 1999.
Forster, John. The Life of Charles Dickens . London: Chapman and Hall, 1871. 2 vols.
Hawksley, Lucinda Dickens. Charles Dickens . Dickens' Bicentenary 1812-2012. San Rafael, California: Insight, in association with the Charles Dickens Museum, London, 2012.
Change of Manners in Athens. - Begun under the Pisistratidae. - Effects of the Persian War, and the intimate Connexion with Ionia. - The Hetaerae. - The Political Eminence lately acquired by Athens. - The Transfer of the Treasury from Delos to Athens. - Latent Dangers and Evils. - First, the Artificial Greatness of Athens not supported by Natural Strength. - Secondly, her pernicious Reliance on Tribute. - Thirdly, Deterioration of National Spirit commenced by Cimon in the Use of Bribes and Public Tables. - Fourthly, Defects in Popular Courts of Law. - Progress of General Education.
The work, a portion of which is now presented to the reader, has occupied me many years - though often interrupted in its progress, either by more active employment, or by literary undertakings of a character more seductive. These volumes were not only written, but actually in the hands of the publisher before the appearance, and even, I believe, before the announcement of the first volume of Mr. Thirlwall's History of Greece, or I might have declined going over any portion of the ground cultivated by that distinguished scholar .
Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Writer and Politician
Fame is a fleeting thing. Someone can be a celebrity in their own time but give it a few decades and if they’re remembered at all it’s usually only for a single aspect of their lives. Newton revolutionised mathematics and ran the Royal Mint, but all people really remember him for is “discovering gravity”. Margaret Brown was a rags-to-riches heroine and an ardent suffragette, but all she’s remembered for is “surviving the Titanic”. And the list could go on. Edward Bulwer-Lytton is a victim of just such forgetfulness. In his time he was a household name, but now all most people know a single line from one of his novels. A line that, even if you’ve never heard of him, you’ll recognise.
He was born as plain Edward Bulwer at Baker Street in London in 1803. His father was General William Earl Bulwer, while his mother Elizabeth was an heiress to the Lytton family fortune. Edward was the third of three sons and the last, as his parents separated a year after he was born. Edward was a sickly child and was by far his mother’s favourite, with his brothers William and Henry dismissed into the care of their maternal grandmother. General Bulwer had a temper, which was why he and Elizabeth (who was equally strong-willed) had separated, but he was also a well-respected military man. When it was feared that Napoleon might invade England he was one of those in charge of organising a defence, and he was in line for a peerage to recognise this service in 1807 when he died.
Edward as a young man. Source
Edward was an intelligent child but not a studious one, and he was a frequent target for bullies among the other children. This resulted in his moving schools more than once, and eventually his mother procured a private tutor for him. During this time he fell in love with a local girl he later referred to as “Lucy D”, but she was pressed into an arranged marriage by her family. (She died three years later of an illness, and Eward attended her funeral.) This left him heart-broken but free to go back to his studies, and some of that heartbreak may have gone into his first written work. It was a book of poems called Ismael: An Oriental Tale, with Other Poems. The book was almost certainly only published due to his mother financing it and didn’t sell particularly well, though it did earn him some acknowledgment from Sir Walter Scott among others.
Ismael has been described as “Byronic” in tone, and his association with that school may have been what led to his brief affair around this time with another Byronic poet: the man’s most famous lover, Lady Caroline Lamb. She was twice his age and it was only a passing fling, but it would turn out to have some severe consequences for him several years later. In 1823 at the age of 20 he went to Cambridge where he continued to write, publishing two books of poems and a novel. None of it became hugely popular, but he did win a medal from the university for one of his poems. As with most Cambridge attendees, he also established a network of contacts that would help to boost his later career. Following his graduation he traveled abroad as a celebration, spending some time in Paris. He had a dalliance with one local aristocratic daughter that might have blossomed into more, but his mother (who was opposed to the girl on the grounds that she was a Catholic) wrote to him and forced him to break it off. Edward spent some time moping in Versailles, before returning to England. At a loose end, he considered entering the army and even purchased a commission (though he would never use it and sold it on three years later). Then, at a party in 1827, he was introduced to a young woman who was a friend of his old friend Caroline Lamb. The woman was Rosina Wheeler, and Edward fell in love with her at first sight.
A portrait of Rosina. Source
Rosina was the daughter of Anna Doyle Wheeler, a Tipperary woman who is notable as one of the earliest feminists to link women’s rights with reproductive rights through campaigning for contraception. Her father William Massey Wheeler was from aristocratic stock, though when he died in 1820 he left Anna and her daughters without any income so that she was forced to rely on her writing to make a living. Rosina was a student of Frances Arabella Rowden, a famous governess whose previous students included Emma Roberts, Letitia Elizabeth Landon – and Caroline Lamb. This meant that despite her limited means, Rosina was plugged in to the bohemian scene. She was no mean writer herself, and became a popular guest at the parties of the “Byronic” set. That was where she met Edward Bulwer.
It was a whirlwind romance the pair publicly announced their romance in early August of 1827 and were married by the end of the month. He was 24, she was only 17. Edward’s mother Elizabeth was not very happy about this, of course, and she cut him off from his allowance. Rosina had an income of £80 a year which was nowhere near enough for a young couple to live on, so Edward was forced to become an earner. Writing was about the only trade he had, but his first “professional” novel (a tragic romance called Falkland) was a flop. The following year he changed tactics, and wrote a comedy of manners called Pelham. It was an overnight success, and all of a sudden Edward Bulwer was one of the most talked-about novelists in the land.
The frontispiece from a much later edition of “Pelham”, drawn by Hablot Knight Browne. Source
“God bless me,” cried Guloseton, with an air of vexation, “here comes the Duke of Stilton, a horrid person, who told me the other day, at my petit diner, when I apologized to him for some strange error of my artiste’s, by which common vinegar had been substituted for Chili—who told me—what think you he told me? You cannot guess he told me, forsooth, that he did not care what he eat and, for his part, he could make a very good dinner off a beef-steak! Why the deuce, then, did he come and dine with me? Could he have said any thing more cutting? Imagine my indignation, when I looked round my table and saw so many good things thrown away upon such an idiot.”
Pelham is a “silver fork novel”, a 19th century genre of social satire exaggerating the eccentricities of the upper classes. It told the story of Henry Pelham (a character very clearly based on Edward himself), his schoolyard friendship with a more aristocratic boy, and how in adulthood Pelham found himself trying to prove his friend innocent of murder. As with most such books it was popular with people who treated it as a “roman à clef” where characters could be mapped to real life inspirations, but it was the transition into crime that was the real draw. The novel is nowadays largely forgotten, but it has an important place in literary history as one of the earlier examples of what would become detective fiction.
Edward followed up Pelham with a string of best-sellers, and he was prolific enough to keep him and Rosina in a fairly lavish lifestyle. They had a daughter in 1828 who they named Emily Elizabeth, a gesture of attempted reconciliation with Edward’s mother. Edward retained some links with the rest of his family, most notably his brother Henry who was also a writer. Henry wrote memoirs of his travels in Greece (where he was one of many British volunteers fighting for independence) and throughout Europe. He was also a diplomat and dabbled in politics, something which may have influenced Edward to take an interest in social justice himself. That was the theme of his fourth commercial novel, Paul Clifford, but it remains better known for having one of the most famous opening sentences in literary history.
It was a dark and stormy night the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
Paul Clifford is about a young man of that name who is originally a writer by trade, but who after being falsely imprisoned for theft reinvents himself as the dashing highwayman Captain Lovett. He falls in love with one of his targets and decides to reform his ways, but ends up under arrest and facing the death penalty. In the end it’s commuted to transportation and he escapes Australia, reunites with his beloved and makes a new life in America. As mentioned, a major theme in the novel is judicial corruption and it is overtly political in many places. It’s not that surprising that the same year the book was published Edward went into politics himself as an MP.
Edward in 1831, painted by Henry William Pickersgill.
Edward was a member of the Whigs, the political party who had taken the liberal side in British politics since the 17th century. He was one of those who backed the Reform Bill which ended many of the electoral abuses and “rotten boroughs” which had made a joke of parliamentary democracy. His brother Henry was in “the House” at the same time, and the pair generally worked together as fellow Whigs. In general his political career was largely a quiet one, and he kept up his writing career throughout it. The job did offer him the opportunity for travel away from home though, which helped him in one of his other interests at this time: cheating on his wife. (To be fair, Rosina was cheating on him as well but she was far less blatant about it.) They took a holiday to Italy in 1833 in an attempt to save their marriage. The trip did inspire one of Edward’s most popular novels (The Last Days of Pompeii), but it didn’t save their marriage. (The fact that they encountered Edward’s mistress on the trip, and that Rosina responded to this by having an affair with a local nobleman probably didn’t help.)
Edward and Rosina physically separated in 1834 and made it a legal separation in 1836. It was an acrimonious split, and like her contemporary Caroline Norton it wasn’t long until Rosina was given a sharp reminder of just how few rights women had under the English legal system at the time. Edward took her children – Emily and Edward, both under ten years of age – away from her. As their father and her husband he was the one with legal control over the family, Rosina had none. All she had was a weapon that she had set aside before her marriage, but one which she now took up again to unleash upon him: her writer’s pen.
[M]en continue to enforce the laws of God grammatically, thereby assuming a wide difference between the masculine and feminine, which is no where to be found in the text! …[M]ost husbands appear to think…that woman have no right even to mental free will, and are as much surprised at their daring to express an opinion different to that they have been commanded to entertain, as if the ground on which they walked were suddenly to exclaim, “Don’t trample on me so hardly!”
– Chevely, by Rosina Wheeler
Chevely, or A Man Of Honour was a roman à clef like Edward’s “silver fork” novels had been, but one where the reader was very much intended to figure out exactly who everyone was pretty easily. It tells the story of the unhappy marriage between the elegant Lady Julia de Clifford (based on Rosina, obviously) and her drunken unfaithful husband (Edward) as seen through the eyes of the title character, the Marquis de Chevely. The novel is particularly cutting towards the Dowager Lady de Clifford (Rosina’s mother-in-law Elizabeth). It was obvious enough what the book was really about that no reputable publisher would touch the thing, so Rosina went to a disreputable one. She found a publisher who was willing to take the chance that a failed attempt to block publication would mean huge sales. And Edward was going to try to block the publication, that was certain.
Edward’s first tactic was to threaten the publisher with a court injunction, though he wasn’t able to attain one. Next he visited the publisher and claimed that Rosina’s cousin Sir Francis Doyle (her closest male relative) did not want the book published. (Of course, he had said no such thing.) Then he wrote Rosina a letter threatening that if she published the book then he would reveal that she had been his mistress before they were married. Rosina, who knew that she had nothing to lose, showed the letter to all her friends and made sure that those in the know knew what Edward had tried to do. He claimed that she had forged the letter, something she laughed off – who would forge a letter like that?
An 1840 caricature of Edward by Hablot Knight Browne.  As Rosina had hoped, this scandal helped to make Chevely a best-seller. Moreover since several of the abuses given to Julia de Clifford in the novel (such as having her wrist injured when her husband strikes her) were clearly based on actual experiences of Rosina it helped to bring public opinion well onto her side. Edward’s overblown attempts to prevent the publication of the book also helped to make sure that many in bohemian circles were firmly in Rosina’s camp. This was something that she would be grateful for many years later.
All of this scandal cannot have done Edward’s political career any favours, and in 1841 he decided to stand down as an MP. The Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne (ironically the former husband of the now deceased Caroline Lamb), offered him a seat in the House of Lords as an alternative, but he turned it down. Instead he decided to concentrate on his writing. In 1843 his mother Elizabeth died. She and Edward had reconciled after the end of his marriage, and as a condition of her will she asked that he change his name to “Bulwer-Lytton” and adopt the Lytton coat of arms. (As if to reconfirm his status as her favourite, neither of his brothers were asked to do the same.) In 1848 his daughter Emily died at the age of 19. At the time her death was said to be due to “typhus”, but modern historians think it likely that she died of a laudanum overdose (either deiberate or accidental). She suffered from polio, and the potent mixture of opium and alcohol was the only effective painkiller available in those times. If she did kill herself, it would explain why her death was covered up as typhus to avoid the scandal.
An author picture from “Harold, Last of the Saxons” which was published in 1848.
During his time outside of Parliament Edward’s allegiances shifted, and he switched parties from the Whigs to the Tories. The reason was the Corn Laws, a piece of protectionist legislation designed to use tariffs to keep the price of imported grain artificially high in order to benefit domestic producers. The downside was that the price of foods produced with that grain (such as bread) was also hugely inflated above what it should be, greatly exacerbating the effects of poverty among the lower classes. Despite what you might have expected it was the Tories (led by Robert Peel) who led the campaign in 1846 to repeal these laws, and the Whigs (led by Lord John Russell) who opposed it. This act by the supposedly “liberal” arty of the common man to prop up the power of the landowners over the welfare of the people was enough to sour Edward on his former party, and by 1851 he had firmly aligned himself with the Tories.
Edward was elected as MP for Hertfordshire in 1852. He served as an opposition MP for six years, and then stood for re-election in 1858. This election was marred by controversy, as Rosina appeared at one of his speeches to denounce him and he had her arrested. After she was in custody Edward used his influence to have her committed to Inverness Lodge, a small private asylum. Whether she actually was unstable is an open question. Some have speculated that she was bi-polar but on the other hand Edward had beaten her and had used the law to separate her from her young children. She hardly needed to be unstable in order to hate him. In any case, it was clear that her committal was not about her welfare, but rather was about getting her out of the way and preventing any publicity. It failed on both counts.
Rosina in 1852, an engraving by Alfred Edward Chalon.
What Edward had missed was one important fact: people liked Rosina. When she was imprisoned, her friends noticed and they made sure that the public noticed as well. There was an outcry, led by her son Robert (by now a respected diplomat as well as a poet under a pen-name). Within three weeks she had been released. As she later lamented in her autobiography A Blighted Life though, this was not enough to cost Edward the election. In fact, on returning to Parliament he became part of the government and was given the post of “Secretary of State for the Colonies”. In that role his most notable achievement was to preside over the foundation of British Columbia on the western edge of Canada in response to a gold rush there. That wasn’t the most notable incident of his tenure though. That was when he almost became King of Greece in 1862 – or at least, so they say.
A revolution in 1862 had driven the wildly unpopular King Otto from the throne, but the British were worried that a Greek republic might be politically destabilising. So they were offered the British holdings in the Ionian Isles if they set up a constitutional republic with a pro-British king. They held a referendum to decide who should be their new king, and the runaway winner (with 95% of the vote) was Prince Alfred of Edinburgh, Queen Victoria’s second son. However he was the Duke of Saxeburg-Gotha in Germany and didn’t want to give up that holding to become king of Greece. When he refused the throne the “Ionian question” came into sharp focus, but eventually it was decided that a 17-year old Danish prince named William would be the new Greek king. Edward was deeply involved in the discussions around this (as a colony, the Ionian Isles fell under his office) and there’s a persistent rumour that he was offered the crown himself at one point. Of course the crowned heads of Europe would never have accepted his appointment so it cannot have been meant seriously, but it added another layer to the Bulwer-Lytton legend.
A photograph of Edward by the French photographer André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri.
In 1866 Edward was raised to the peerage as Baron Lytton, a title that would certainly have pleased his mother. His brother Henry joined him there five years later as Baron Bulwer. That same year Edward (who continued to be a prolific author) wrote one of his most influential books: Vril, the Power of the Coming Race. Edward had become more and more interested in occult subjects over the years, and the book was based on that. It told the story of a man who discovers an ancient underground city populated by more evolved humans who use psychic powers as well as a mysterious energy source called “vril” to dominate their environment. Despite the fact that Edward published the book anonymously it was still a huge success, enough that “vril” entered the popular vocabulary as a synonym for life energy. (One major lasting legacy of that is the beef drink Bovril – “bovine vril”.) It wasn’t long before people realised that Edward was the author, and that’s where the trouble began.
It’s important to remember that Edward Bulwer-Lytton was a bona-fide celebrity at this time. He was, in his lifetime, a more popular writer than Charles Dickens (who was a friend of his). The chance to associate his name with their schemes was a potential gold-mine for the various occult societies of Britain at the time. Despite mining occult thinking for his novels, Edward was not interested in such things himself. But that didn’t stop them claiming him as a member. A novel he had written in 1842 called Zanoni, which had the framing device of being “an ancient Rosicrucian manuscript”, was now seized on as evidence that Edward was a “Rosicrucian Master”. In fact the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia declared him their “grand patron”, something which he complained about in letters to his friends. There was nothing he could do about it though. The theosophist Helena Blavatsky also commandeered his writings (if not his name), folding “vril” and the underground civilization that wielded it into her philosophy and writings. (There are even claims that Nazi scientists were trying to find and harness the power of “vril” in the 1930s.)
A caricature of Edward published in an 1870 issue of “Vanity Fair”.
All of this unwanted notoriety would not have been welcome to Edward, who at the time was more concerned with his worsening deafness. Around the same time as publishing “The Coming Race he had been forced to retire to Torquay due to the pain and debilitation caused by a disease of the ear. In 1872 he was operated on to try and cure it, but it gave him an infection that, after several weeks of illness, finally killed him January of 1873. His final book, a history of Athens, was published after his death. He had wanted a quiet burial, but public pressure due to his popularity led to him being buried in Westminster Abbey. In a posthumous piece of snobbery against his populist works though he was not buried in “Poets’ Corner” but rather in St Edmund’s Chapel, a much more out of the way location.
This proved somewhat prophetic as over the following decades Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s work took a nosedive in popularity. His writing had been very “of its time”, and once that time had passed it seemed old-fashioned and far from classic. The fact that Rosina published her autobiography My Blighted Life in 1880 also helped to blacken his reputation. But his influence on the culture of the English-speaking world is undeniable. For example, he coined the phrase “The pen is mightier than the sword” an almost Shakespearian feat of creating something that simply became part of the language. Nowadays though his memory is almost entirely kept alive by ridicule. In 1982 Professor Scott E. Rice (an American who has made his dislike of Edward’s writing clear) started the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Inspired by the use of “It was a dark and stormy night” in the comic strip Peanuts, he offered the prize of “a pittance” to whoever could come up with the worst hypothetical opening sentence to a novel. Twenty-five years later the contest is going strong. It’s an odd legacy for a man who was once the most famous writer in England, and a stark reminder that fame and prestige are fleeting things in the great rush of history.
 Hablot, better known as “Phiz”, was a close friend of Charles Dickens and later became a friend of Edward as well. He even provided illustrations for some editions of Edward’s books, including the frontispiece to Pelham above.
About Sir Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton
Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton PC
The Right Honourable Lord Lytton
- Born 25 May 1803(1803-05-25)
- Died 18 January 1873(1873-01-18) (aged 69)
- Secretary of State for the Colonies
- 5 June 1858 – 11 June 1859
- Monarch: Victoria
- Prime Minister : The Earl of Derby
- Preceded by Lord Stanley
- Suceeded by The Duke of Newcastle
- Nationality: British
- Political party: Whig Conservative
- Spouse(s) Rosina Doyle Wheeler
- Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
- Trinity Hall, Cambridge
The Right Honourable Lord Lytton PC (25 May 1803 – 18 January 1873), was an English politician, poet, playwright, and prolific novelist. He was immensely popular with the reading public and wrote a stream of bestselling novels which earned him a considerable fortune. He coined the phrases "the great unwashed", "pursuit of the almighty dollar", "the pen is mightier than the sword", and the famous opening line "It was a dark and stormy night".
Bulwer-Lytton was born on 25 May 1803 to General William Earle Bulwer of Heydon Hall and Wood Dalling, Norfolk and Elizabeth Barbara Lytton, daughter of Richard Warburton Lytton of Knebworth, Hertfordshire. He had two elder brothers, William Earle Lytton Bulwer (1799) and Henry (1801), later Lord Dalling and Bulwer.
When Edward was four his father died and his mother moved to London. He was a delicate, neurotic child and was discontented at a number of boarding schools. But he was precocious and Mr Wallington at Baling encouraged him to publish, at the age of fifteen, an immature work, Ishmael and Other Poems.
In 1822 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, but shortly afterwards moved to Trinity Hall. In 1825 he won the Chancellor's Gold Medal for English verse. In the following year he took his B.A. degree and printed, for private circulation, a small volume of poems, Weeds and Wild Flowers.
He purchased a commission in the army, but sold it without serving.
In August 1827, against his mother's wishes, he married Rosina Doyle Wheeler (1802), a famous Irish beauty. When they married his mother withdrew his allowance and he was forced to work for a living. They had two children, Lady Emily Elizabeth Bulwer-Lytton (1828), and (Edward) Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton (1831) who became Viceroy of British India (1876).
His writing and political work strained their marriage while his unfaithfulness embittered Rosina in 1833 they separated acrimoniously and in 1836 the separation became legal. Three years later, Rosina published Cheveley, or the Man of Honour (1839), a near-libellous fiction bitterly satirising her husband's hypocrisy.
In June 1858, when her husband was standing as parliamentary candidate for Hertfordshire, she indignantly denounced him at the hustings. He retaliated by threatening her publishers, withholding her allowance, and denying access to the children. Finally he had her committed to a mental asylum. But, after a public outcry she was released a few weeks later. This incident was chronicled in her memoir, A Blighted Life (1880). For years she continued her attacks upon her husband’s character.
Bulwer-Lytton in later lifeThe death of Bulwer-Lytton's mother in 1843, greatly saddened him. His own "exhauston of toil and study had been completed by great anxiety and grief", and by "about the January of 1844, I was thoroughly shattered". In his mother's room, Bulwer-Lytton "had inscribed above the mantelpiece a request that future generations preserve the room as his beloved mother had used it" it remains essentially unchanged to this day.
On 20 February 1844, in accordance with his mother's will, he changed his surname from 'Bulwer' to 'Bulwer-Lytton' and assumed the arms of Lytton by royal licence. His widowed mother had done the same in 1811. But, his brothers remained plain 'Bulwer'.
By chance he encountered a copy of "Captain Claridge's work on the 'Water Cure,' as practised by Priessnitz, at Graefenberg", and "making allowances for certain exaggerations therein", pondered the option of travelling to Graefenberg, but preferred to find something closer to home, with access to his own doctors in case of failure: "I who scarcely lived through a day without leech or potion!".
After reading a pamphlet by Doctor James Wilson, who operated a hydropathic establishment with James Manby Gully at Malvern", he stayed there for "some nine or ten weeks", after which he "continued the system some seven weeks longer under Doctor Weiss, at Petersham", then again at "Doctor Schmidt's magnificent hydropathic establishment at Boppart", after developing a cold and fever upon his return home.
In 1866 Bulwer-Lytton was raised to the peerage as Baron Lytton.
The English Rosicrucian society, founded in 1867 by Robert Wentworth Little, claimed Bulwer-Lytton as their 'Grand Patron', but he wrote to the society complaining that he was 'extremely surprised' by their use of the title, as he had 'never sanctioned such'. Nevertheless, a number of esoteric groups have continued to claim Bulwer-Lytton as their own, chiefly because some of his writings—such as the 1842 book Zanoni—have included Rosicrucian and other esoteric notions. According to the Fulham Football Club, he once resided in the original Craven Cottage, today the site of their stadium.
Bulwer-Lytton had long suffered with a disease of the ear and for the last two or three years of his life he lived in Torquay nursing his health. Following an operation to cure deafness, an abscess formed in his ear and burst he endured intense pain for a week and died at 2am on 18 January 1873 just short of his 70th birthday. The cause of death was not clear but it was thought that the infection had affected his brain and caused a fit. Rosina outlived him by nine years. Against his wishes, Bulwer-Lytton was honoured with a burial in Westminster Abbey.
His unfinished history Athens: Its Rise and Fall was published posthumously.
Bulwer-Lytton began his career as a follower of Jeremy Bentham. In 1831 he was elected member for St Ives in Cornwall, after which he was returned for Lincoln in 1832, and sat in Parliament for that city for nine years. He spoke in favour of the Reform Bill, and took the leading part in securing the reduction, after vainly essaying the repeal, of the newspaper stamp duties. His influence was perhaps most keenly felt when, on the Whigs’ dismissal from office in 1834, he issued a pamphlet entitled A Letter to a Late Cabinet Minister on the Crisis. Lord Melbourne, then Prime Minister, offered him a lordship of the admiralty, which he declined as likely to interfere with his activity as an author.
In 1841, he left Parliament and didn't return to politics until 1852 this time, having differed from the policy of Lord John Russell over the Corn Laws, he stood for Hertfordshire as a Conservative. Lord Lytton held that seat until 1866, when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Lytton of Knebworth in the County of Hertford. In 1858 he entered Lord Derby's government as Secretary of State for the Colonies, thus serving alongside his old friend Disraeli. In the House of Lords he was comparatively inactive. He took a proprietary interest in the development of the Crown Colony of British Columbia and wrote with great passion to the Royal Engineers upon assigning them their duties there. The former HBC Fort Dallas at Camchin, the confluence of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers, was renamed in his honour by Governor Sir James Douglas in 1858 as Lytton, British Columbia.
Bulwer-Lytton's literary career began in 1820 - with the publication of a book of poems - and spanned much of the nineteenth century. He wrote in a variety of genres, including historical fiction, mystery, romance, the occult, and science fiction. He financed his extravagant life with a varied and prolific literary output, sometimes publishing anonymously.
1849 printing of Pelham with Hablot K. Browne (Phiz) frontispiece: Pelham's electioneering visit to the Revd. Combermere St Quintin, who is surprised at dinner with his family.In 1828 Pelham brought him public acclaim and established his reputation as a wit and dandy. Its intricate plot and humorous, intimate portrayal of pre-Victorian dandyism kept gossips busy trying to associate public figures with characters in the book. Pelham resembled Benjamin Disraeli's recent first novel Vivian Grey (1827).
Bulwer-Lytton admired Benjamin’s father, Isaac D'Israeli, himself a noted author. They began corresponding in the late 1820s and met for the first time in March 1830, when Isaac D'Israeli dined at Bulwer-Lytton’s house (also present that evening were Charles Pelham Villiers and Alexander Cockburn. The young Villiers was to have a long parliamentary career, while Cockburn became Lord Chief Justice of England in 1859).
Bulwer-Lytton reached the height of his popularity with the publication of Godolphin (1833). This was followed by The Pilgrims of the Rhine (1834), The Last Days of Pompeii (1834), Rienzi, Last of the Roman Tribunes (1835), and Harold, the Last of the Saxons (1848). The Last Days of Pompeii was inspired by Karl Briullov's painting, The Last Day of Pompeii, which Bulwer-Lytton saw in Milan.
He also wrote the horror story The Haunted and the Haunters or The House and the Brain (1859).
Bulwer-Lyton penned many other works, including The Coming Race or Vril: The Power of the Coming Race (1871), which drew heavily on his interest in the occult and contributed to the birth of the science fiction genre. Its story of a subterranean race waiting to reclaim the surface of the Earth is an early science fiction theme. The book popularised the Hollow Earth theory and may have inspired Nazi mysticism. His term "vril" lent its name to Bovril meat extract.
His play, Money (1840), was first produced at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, on December 8, 1840. The first American production was at the Old Park Theater in New York on February 1, 1841. Subsequent productions include the Prince of Wales's Theatre's in 1872 and it was also the inaugural play at the new California Theatre in San Francisco in 1869.
Bulwer-Lytton's most famous quotation, "the pen is mightier than the sword", is from his play Richelieu where it appears in the line
beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword
In addition, he gave the world the memorable phrase "pursuit of the almighty dollar" from his novel The Coming Race.
He is also credited with "the great unwashed". He used this rather disparaging term in his 1830 novel Paul Clifford:
He is certainly a man who bathes and ‘lives cleanly’, (two especial charges preferred against him by Messrs. the Great Unwashed).
The Last Days of Pompeii has been cited as the first source, but inspection of the original text shows this to be wrong. However, the term "the Unwashed" with the same meaning, appears in The Parisians: "He says that Paris has grown so dirty since the 4 September, that it is only fit for the feet of the Unwashed." The Parisians, though, was not published until 1872, while William Makepeace Thackeray's novel Pendennis (1850) uses the phrase ironically, implying it was already established. The Oxford English Dictionary refers to "Messrs. the Great Unwashed" in Lytton's Paul Clifford (1830), as the earliest instance.
Bulwer-Lytton is also credited with the appellation for the Germans "Das Volk der Dichter und Denker", the people of poets and thinkers.
Further information: Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest Bulwer-Lytton's name lives on in the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, in which contestants think-up terrible openings for imaginary novels, inspired by the first seven words of his novel Paul Clifford:
It was a dark and stormy night the rain fell in torrents𠅎xcept at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
Entrants in the contest seek to capture the rapid changes in point of view, the florid language, and the atmosphere of the full sentence. The opening was popularized by the Peanuts comic strip, in which Snoopy's sessions on the typewriter usually began with It was a dark and stormy night. The same words also form the first sentence of Madeleine L'Engle’s Newbery Medal-winning novel A Wrinkle in Time. Similar wording appears in Edgar Allan Poe's 1831 short story, The Bargain Lost, although not at the very beginning. It reads:
It was a dark and stormy night. The rain fell in cataracts.
Written a year after Paul Clifford, it appears to be Poe's deliberate mocking of Lord Lytton's opening line.
Several of Bulwer-Lytton's novels were made into operas, one of which, Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen by Richard Wagner, eventually became more famous than the novel. Leonora by William Henry Fry, the first opera composed in the United States of America, is based on Bulwer-Lytton's play The Lady of Lyons.
In 1831 Bulwer-Lytton became the editor of the New Monthly but he resigned the following year. In 1841, he started the Monthly Chronicle, a semi-scientific magazine. During his career he wrote poetry, prose, and stage plays his last novel was Kenelm Chillingly, which was in course of publication in Blackwood’s Magazine at the time of his death in 1873.
Bulwer-Lytton's works of fiction and non-fiction were translated in his day and since then into many languages, including Serbian (by Laza Kostic), German, Russian, Norwegian, Swedish, French, Finnish, and Spanish. In 1879, his Ernest Maltravers was the first complete novel from the West to be translated into Japanese.
Works by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Leila: or The Siege of Granada Calderon, the Courtier The Pilgrims of the Rhine Falkland (1827) Pelham: or The Adventures of a Gentleman (1828) The Disowned (1829) Devereux (1829) Paul Clifford (1830) Eugene Aram (1832) Godolphin (1833) Falkland (1834) The Last Days of Pompeii (1834) Rienzi, the last of the Roman tribunes (1835) The Student (1835) Ernest Maltravers (1837) Alice (1838) Night and Morning (1841) Zanoni (1842) The Last of the Barons (1843) Lucretia (1846) Harold, the Last of the Saxons (1848) The Caxtons: A Family Picture (1849) My Novel, or Varieties in English Life (1853) The Haunted and the Haunters or The House and the Brain (1859) What Will He Do With It? (1858)  A Strange Story (1862) The Coming Race (1871), republished as Vril: The Power of the Coming Race Kenelm Chillingly (1873) The Parisiens (1873 unfinished) 
Ismael (1820) The New Timon (1846), an attack on Tennyson published anonymously  King Arthur (1848-9)  Glenaveril or The metamorphoses - A poem in six books (1885)
The Lady of Lyons (1838) Richelieu (1839), adapted for the 1935 film Cardinal Richelieu Money (1840)
Hollow earth theory
1.^ #Quotations 2.^ first seven words of his novel Paul Clifford (1830) 3.^ Bulwer [post Bulwer-Lytton], Edward George [Earle] Lytton in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922. 4.^ World Wide Words - Unputdownable 5.^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Drabble, Margaret (2000). The Oxford Companion to English Literature (sixth edition) pp.147. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-1986-6244-0. 6.^ Lady Lytton (1880). A Blighted Life. London: The London Publishing Office. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Blighted_Life. Retrieved 28 November 2009. (Online text at wikisource.org) 7.^ Devey, Louisa (1887). Life of Rosina, Lady Lytton, with Numerous Extracts from her Ms. Autobiography and Other Original Documents, published in vindication of her memory. London: Swan Sonnenschein, Lowrey & Co. http://www.archive.org/details/liferosinaladyl00devegoog. Retrieved 28 November 2009. Full text at Internet Archive (archive.org) 8.^ a b c Lord Lytton (Published posthumously, 1875). "Confessions of a Water-Patient". in Pamphlets and Sketches (Knebworth ed.). London: George Routledge and Sons. pp. 49. http://www.archive.org/stream/pamphletsandsket00lyttuoft#page/48/mo. . Retrieved 28 November 2009. Full text at Internet Archive (archive.org) 9.^ a b Bulwer (April 1863). "Bulwer's Letter on Water-Cure". In R.T. Trall (ed.). The Herald of Health, and The Water-cure journal (see title page of January edition, pp.5). vol.35-36. New York: R.T. Trall & Co. pp. 149 (see pp.151). http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015066610265q1=captain. . Retrieved 26 November 2009. 10.^ "Mrs. Bulwer-Lytton's Room", Knebworth House Antique Photographs, http://www.knebworthhouse.com/specialtours/antiquephotos/page7.html, retrieved 28 November 2009 11.^ R. A. Gilbert, 'The Supposed Rosy Crucian Society', in Caron et. al. (eds.), Ésotérisme, Gnoses et Imaginaire Symbolique, Leuven: Peeters, 2001, pp. 399. 12.^ a b c Mitchell, Leslie George (2003). Bulwer Lytton: the rise and fall of a Victorian man of letters, pp. 232. London, New York: Hambledon Continuum. ISBN 1852854235. 13.^ Westminster Abbey monuments and gravestones 14.^ Lord Lytton (Published posthumously, 1875). "The Present Crisis. A Letter to a Late Cabinet Minister". Pamphlets and Sketches (Knebworth ed.). London: George Routledge and Sons. pp. 9. http://www.archive.org/stream/pamphletsandsket00lyttuoft#page/viii/. . Retrieved 28 November 2009. Full text at Internet Archive (archive.org) 15.^ The Canadian Press (17 August 2008). "Toff and prof to duke it out in literary slugfest". CBC News. http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/story/2008/08/17/writing-bad.html. Retrieved 18 August 2008. 16.^ This story is included in Isaac Asimov's anthology, Tales of the Occult. Asimov, Isaac, ed (1989). Tales of the Occult. Prometheus. ISBN 0-87975-531-8. It also appears in The Wordsworth Book of Horror Stories. The Wordsworth Book of Horror Stories. ISBN 1-84022-056-2. 17.^ Don B. Wilmeth 2007) The Cambridge Guide to American Theatre 18.^ Keene, Donald (1984). Dawn to the West. New York, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. pp. 62. ISBN 0-03-06281408.
Christensen, Allan Conrad (1976). Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Fiction of New Regions. Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press. ISBN 0820303879. Christensen (Ed.), Allan Conrad (1976). The Subverting Vision of Bulwer Lytton: Bicentenary Reflections. Newark, Delaware: The University of Delaware Press. ISBN 0874138566. Escott, T. H. S. (1910). Edward Bulwer, First Baron Lytton of Knebworth a Social, Personal, and Political Monograph. London: George Routledge & Sons. Mitchell, L. G (2003). Bulwer Lytton: The Rise and Fall of a Victorian Man of Letters. London & New York:: Hambledon and London. ISBN 1852854235. (Distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Palgrave Macmillan)
Works by Edward Bulwer-Lytton at Project Gutenberg Works by Edward Bulwer-Lytton at Internet Archive Other links
Hansard 1803: contributions in Parliament by Edward Bulwer-Lytton Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803) Dickens or Bulwer? A quiz to tell the difference between their prose. John S. Moore's essay on Bulwer-Lytton Edward Bulwer-Lytton biography and works Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded by William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley James Morrison Member of Parliament for St Ives 1831 – 1832 With: James Halse Succeeded by James Halse Preceded by Charles Delaet Waldo Sibthorp George Fieschi Heneage Member of Parliament for Lincoln 1832 With: George Fieschi Heneage 1832 Charles Delaet Waldo Sibthorp 1835 Succeeded by Charles Delaet Waldo Sibthorp William Rickford Collett Preceded by Thomas Plumer Halsey Sir Henry Meux, Bt Hon. Thomas Brand Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire 1852 – 1866 With: Thomas Plumer Halsey 1852 Sir Henry Meux, Bt 1852 Abel Smith 1854, 1859 Christopher William Puller 1857 Henry Edward Surtees 1864 Henry Cowper 1865 Succeeded by Henry Edward Surtees Henry Cowper Abel Smith Political offices Preceded by Lord Stanley Secretary of State for the Colonies 1858 Succeeded by The Duke of Newcastle Academic offices Preceded by The Duke of Argyll Rector of the University of Glasgow 1856 Succeeded by The Earl of Elgin Peerage of the United Kingdom New creation Baron Lytton 1866 Succeeded by Robert Bulwer-Lytton Baronet (of Knebworth) 1838 Persondata Name Lytton, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Alternative names Short description Date of birth 25 May 1803 Place of birth London Date of death 18 January 1873 Place of death Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Edward_Bulwer-Lytton,_1st. "
British author Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote Falkland, Pelham, and Eugene Aram. These novels won instant success and made him a wealthy man. As a result, he entered Parliament as a liberal member representing St. Ives, Huntingdonshire. Bulwer-Lytton remained an active politician yet still found time to produce many novels, plays, and poems.
According to his baptismal certificate, the full name of this once famous author was Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton. He was born in London May 23, 1803. His father was a Norfolk squire, William Bulwer of Heydon Hall, colonel of the 106th regiment (Norfolk Rangers) his mother was Elizabeth Barbara Lytton, a lady who claimed kinship with Cadwaladr Vendigaid, the semi-mythical hero who led the Strathclyde Welsh against the Angles in the seventh century.
As a child the future novelist was delicate, but he learned to read at a surprisingly early age and began to write verses before he was ten years old. Going first to a small private school at Fulham, he later attended school at Rottingdean, where he continued to manifest literary tastes, Lord Byron and Sir Walter Scott being his chief idols at this time.
Bulwer-Lytton was so talented that his relations decided it would be a mistake to send him to a public school. Accordingly he was placed with a tutor at Ealing, under whose care he progressed rapidly with his studies. Thereafter he proceeded to Cambridge, where he earned his degree easily and won many academic awards. After graduation he traveled for a while in Scotland and France, then bought a commission in the army. He sold it soon afterward, however, and began to devote himself seriously to writing.
Although busy and winning great fame, Bulwer-Lytton's life was not really a happy one. Long before meeting his wife, he fell in love with a young girl who died prematurely. This loss seems to have left an indelible sorrow. His marriage was anything but a successful one, the pair being divorced comparatively soon after their union.
His first publications of note were the novels Falkland, Pelham, and Eugene Aram. These won instant success and made the author a wealthy man. As a result, he entered Parliament as a liberal member representing St. Ives, Huntingdonshire in 1831. During the next ten years he was an active politician yet still found time to produce many stories, such as The Last Days of Pompei, Ernest Maltravers, Zanoni, and The Last of the Barons. These were followed by The Caxtons. Simultaneously he achieved some fame as a dramatist, perhaps his best play being The Lady of Lyons.
Besides further novels, Bulwer-Lytton issued several volumes of verses, notably Ismael and The New Union, while translating works from German, Spanish, and Italian. He produced a history of Athens, contributed to endless periodicals, and was at one time editor of the New Monthly Magazine.
Active Political Career
In 1851 Bulwer-Lytton was instrumental in founding a scheme for pensioning authors and also began to pursue an active political career. In 1852 he was elected conservative Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire and held the post until his elevation to the peerage in 1866. He became Secretary for the Colonies in Lord Derby's ministry (1858-59) and played a large part in the organization of the new colony of British Columbia. He became Baron Lytton of Knebworth in July 1866 and thereafter took his place in the House of Lords.
In 1862 Bulwer-Lytton increased his stature by his occult novel entitled A Strange Story. Toward the end of the decade he began to work on another story, Kenelm Chillingly, but his health was beginning to fail, and he died on May 23, 1873, at Torquay.
Even as a child, Bulwer-Lytton had demonstrated a predilection for mysticism. He had surprised his mother once by asking whether she was "not sometimes overcome by the sense of her own identity." Bulwer-Lytton's interest in the occult increased, and it is frequently reflected in his literary output, including his poem "The Tale of a Dreamer," and in Kenelm Chillingly. In A Strange Story he tried to give a scientific coloring to old-fashioned magic.
Interest in Psychic Phenomena
Bulwer-Lytton was a keen student of psychic phenomena. The great medium D. D. Home was his guest at Knebworth in 1855. Home's phenomena greatly aroused his curiosity. He never spoke about his experiences in public, but his identity was at once detected in an account in Home's autobiography ((Incidents in My Life), "Immediately after this another message was spelt out: 'We wish you to believe in the . . . ' On inquiring after the finishing word a small cardboard cross which was lying on a table at the end of the room was given into his hand."
When the press asked Bulwer-Lytton for a statement, he refused to give any. His wariness to commit himself before the public was well demonstrated by his letter to the secretary of the London Dialectical Society, February 1869: "So far as my experience goes, the phenomena, when freed from inpostures with which their exhibition abounds, and examined rationally, are traceable to material influences of the nature of which we are ignorant. They require certain physical organizations or temperaments to produce them, and vary according to these organizations and temperaments."
Bulwer-Lytton sought out many mediums after his experiences with Home and often detected imposture. His friendship with Home continued for ten years. When he began the wildest of his romances, A Strange Story, he intended initially to portray Home, but abandoned this plan for the fantastic conception of Margrave. The joyousness of Home's character, however, is still reflected in the mental make-up of Margrave.
Bulwer-Lytton also became acquainted with the French occultist Eliphas Levi, whom he assisted in magical evocations, and Levi was clearly a model for the character of the magus in The Haunted and The Haunters.
Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton Passes Away
Today in Masonic History Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton passes away in 1873.
Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton was an English writer.
Bulwer-Lytton was born on May 25th, 1803 in London, England. At the age of four his father passed away. His mother sent him to various boarding schools none of which suited him. He was described as a delicate and neurotic child. At the age of 15 he was encouraged to publish his early works Ishmael and Other Poems. It was two years later that the book was published. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge in 1822 and graduated the following year with a bachelor of arts. After graduating he purchased a commission in the Army and quickly sold it never serving.
In 1827, Bulwer-Lytton married Rosina Doyle Wheeler against his mothers wishes. They had two children a daughter and a son (Edward) Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton who is often confused with his father. Some literary works about Bulwer-Lytton senior contain facts that are actually about his son. In one publication a photo appears stating that it is Bulwer-Lytton senior when it is actually his son. The marriage between Rosina and Bulwer-Lytton did not end well. The couple had a legal separation in 1836 and Rosina spent the rest of her life attacking her husband in various ways. This was due to his infidelity and as Rosina puts it, his hypocrisy. In 1839 she published the book Cheveley, or the Man of Honour, a near libelous fictional story that satirized Bulwer-Lytton.
In 1830, Bulwer-Lytton published Paul Clifford. The book, although not very popular today, starts with the well known phrase "It was a dark and stormy night. " The line has been used in various adaptations in horror and mystery books. Probably most famously it is the line that Snoopy uses in the Peanuts comic strip when he starts any of his novels.
In 1832, Bulwer-Lytton entered politics and spent the majority of the 1830's serving in Parliament. At times he was offered various positions in Government and refused them fearing that it would take a away from his writing. In 1858, when he tried to return to politics, Rosina began a public attack against his character. Eventually it led to Bulwer-Lytton having her committed to an mental asylum. There was a massive public outcry at this and she was released a few weeks later.
Bulwer-Lytton was known for wit and many of his writings, both plays and books contain notable lines that are still quoted to this day. His play Richelieu Or the Conspiracy contains the line "the pen is mightier than the sword." The phrase "great unwashed masses" comes from one of his books, although there is some disagreement about which book. Some say it is novel The Last Days of Pompeii others say it comes from Paul Clifford. Finally he gave the world the phrase "in pursuit of the almighty dollar" from his book The Coming Race.
Throughout his life, Bulwer-Lytton has been repeatedly associated with various occult organizations, none of which he claimed connection with. The English Rosicrucian society named him their 'Grand Patron.' In reply to this, Bulwer-Lytton wrote to the society that he did not seek the title and insisted that it be removed. He is also credited with being the inspiration of the Hollow Earth Theory. This comes from his novel Vril: The Power of the Coming Race. The book was an early Science Fiction novel about a race of people who were waiting to return to the surface of the Earth to reclaim it. Vril also became closely associated with the esoteric ideas of neo-Nazism after World War II.
Bulwer-Lytton passed away on January 18th, 1873. His estranged wife outlived him by several years. In 1880 she published A Brighted Light, a memoir in which she further attached Bulwer-Lytton.
It is unclear what Bulwer-Lytton's masonic affiliation is. He did write a poem The Mystic Art which starts "The world may rail at Masonry." As already stated there has been confusion regarding Bulwer-Lytton and his son, as well as a William Lytton Earle Bulwer who was a mason and was Provincial Grand Master of Turkey and lived at the same time as Bulwer-Lytton.
Bulwer-Lytton is also renowned for the opening line "It was a dark and stormy night" and has given his name to an annual contest for badly written first sentences.
This is the first sentence of his 1830 novel, Paul Clifford, in full:
It was a dark and stormy night the rain fell in torrents - except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
In addition, Bulwer-Lytton is credited with popularising the term "the great unwashed" which he used in the same novel.
According to the Cambridge Dictionaries website the saying emphasises that "thinking and writing have more influence on people and events than the use of force or violence".
But Bulwer-Lytton was not necessarily the first to express this thought. Ratcliffe points to two earlier texts.
Robert Burton, in The Anatomy of Melancholy, published in the early 17th Century, describes how bitter jests and satire can cause distress - and he suggests that "A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword" was already, even in his day, an "old saying".
A similar phrase appears in George Whetstone's Heptameron of Civil Discourses, published in 1582, Ratcliffe notes. "The dashe of a Pen, is more greeuous then the counterbuse of a Launce." (The dash of a pen is more grievous than the counter use of a lance.)
Going back further, the Greek poet Euripides, who died about 406 BC, is sometimes quoted as writing: "The tongue is mightier than the blade." But classics professor Armand Dɺngour of Oxford University is doubtful about this.
"Occurrences of 'tongue' in Euripides are generally negative - the tongue (i.e. speech) is less reliable than deeds," he says.
The Roman poet Virgil too seems to take a pessimistic view of the power of speech, Dɺngour says. "In the face of weapons of war, my songs avail as much as doves in the face of eagles," he wrote in Eclogue 9.
But there was a belief in classical times that the written word had the power to survive "and transcend even the bloodiest events. even if they didn't actually prevail against arms in the short term," says Dɺngour.
Napoleon is another who is said to have compared word and weapon. "Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than 1,000 bayonets," he is sometimes quoted as saying.
Again, it's questionable whether these words did actually cross his lips, says Michael Broers, professor of Western European history at Oxford University - but he says the sentiment definitely chimes with Napoleon's views.
"He respected the press and feared it too. He realised all his life the power of literature and the power of the press," Broers says. When Napoleon came to power there were dozens of newspapers in France but he suppressed most of them, sanctioning just a handful of publications.
He also realised that the pen, in his own hand could be a weapon, says Broers. "He knew that he could undermine the allies who had defeated him through his memoirs and he did."
The cartoons published in tribute to the murdered Charlie Hebdo staff carry a range of messages - that the pencil will ultimately defeat the gunman, that one pencil when broken will become two, or that every gun will find itself opposed by many pens. The demonstrators holding pencils aloft are signing up to the same set of ideas.
Lytton, Bulwer (1803-1873)
According to his baptismal certificate, the full name of this once famous author was Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton. He was born in London, May 23, 1803. His father was a Norfolk squire, Bulwer of Heydon Hall, and colonel of the 106th regiment (Norfolk Rangers) his mother was Elizabeth Barbara Lytton, a lady who claimed kinship with Cadwaladr Vendigaid, the semi-mythical hero who led the Strathclyde Welsh against the Angles in the seventh century. As a child the future novelist was delicate, but he learned to read at a surprisingly early age and began to write verses before he was ten years old. Going first to a small private school at Fulham, he soon passed on to another one at Rottingdean, and here he continued to manifest literary tastes, Lord Byron and Sir Walter Scott being his chief idols at this time.
He was so talented that his relations decided it would be a mistake to send him to a public school. Accordingly he was placed with a tutor at Ealing, under whose care he progressed rapidly with his studies. Thereafter he proceeded to Cambridge, where he took his degree easily and won many academic laurels. Afterward he traveled for a while in Scotland and France, then bought a commission in the army. He sold it soon afterward, however, and began to devote himself seriously to writing.
Although busy and winning great fame, Lytton's life was not really a happy one. Long before meeting his wife, he fell in love with a young girl who died prematurely, and this loss seems to have left an indelible sorrow. His marriage was anything but a successful one, the pair being divorced comparatively soon after their union.
His first publications of note were the novels Falkland (1827), Pelham (1828), and Eugene Aram (1832). These won an instant success and placed considerable wealth in the author's hands, the result being that in 1831 he entered Parliament as the liberal member for St. Ives, Huntingdonshire. During the next ten years he was an active politician yet still found time to produce a host of stories, such as The Last Days of Pompei (1834), Ernest Maltravers (1837), Zanoni (1842), and The Last of the Barons (1843). These were followed shortly by The Caxtons (1849). Simultaneously Lytton achieved some fame as a dramatist, perhaps his best play being The Lady of Lyons (1838). Besides further novels, he issued several volumes of verses, notably Ismael (1820) and The New Timon (1846) while he did translations from German, Spanish, and Italian. He produced a history of Athens, contributed to endless periodicals, and was at one time editor of the New Monthly Magazine.
In 1851 he was instrumental in founding a scheme for pensioning authors and also began to pursue an active political career. In 1852 he was elected conservative Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire and held the post until his elevation to the peerage in 1866. He became Secretary for the Colonies in Lord Derby's ministry (1858-59) and played a large part in the organization of the new colony of British Columbia. He became Baron Lytton of Knebworth in July 1866 and thereafter took his place in the House of Peers.
In 1862 he increased his reputation greatly by his occult novel entitled A Strange Story. Toward the end of the decade he began to work at yet another story, Kenelm Chillingly (1873) but his health was beginning to fail, and he died May 23, 1873, at Torquay.
Even as a child, Lytton had evinced a predilection for mysticism, while he had surprised his mother once by asking her whether she was "not sometimes overcome by the sense of her own identity" (almost exactly the same question was put to his nurse in boyhood by another mystic, William Bell Scott). Lytton sedulously developed his leaning towards the occult, and it is frequently manifest in his literary output, including his poem The Tale of a Dreamer, and in Kenelm Chillingly. In A Strange Story he tried to give a scientific coloring to old-fashioned magic.
He was a keen student of psychic phenomena. The great medium D. D. Home was his guest at Knebworth in 1855. Home's phenomena greatly aroused Lytton's curiosity. He never spoke about his experiences in public, but his identity was at once detected in an account in Home's autobiography (Incidents in My Life, 1863) which reads:
"Whilst I was at Ealing, a distinguished novelist, accompanied by his son, attended a s é ance, at which some very remarkable manifestations occurred that were chiefly directed to him. The rappings on the table suddenly became unusually firm and loud. He asked: 'What spirit is present?' The alphabet was called over, and the response was: 'I am the spirit who influenced you to write Z(Zanoni).' 'Indeed,' said he, 'I wish you would give me some tangible proof of your presence.' 'What proof? Will you take my hand.' 'Yes.' And putting his hand beneath the surface of the table it was immediately seized by a powerful grasp, which made him start to his feet in evident trepidation, exhibiting a momentary suspicion that a trick had been played upon him. Seeing, however, that all the persons around him were sitting with their hands quietly reposing on the table, he recovered his composure, and offering an apology for the uncontrollable excitement caused by such an unexpected demonstration, he resumed his seat.
"Immediately after this another message was spelt out: 'We wish you to believe in the … ' On inquiring after the finishing word a small cardboard cross which was lying on a table at the end of the room was given into his hand."
When the press asked Lord Lytton for a statement, he refused to give any. His wariness to commit himself before the public was well demonstrated by his letter to the secretary of the London Dialectical Society, February 1869:
"So far as my experience goes, the phenomena, when freed from inpostures with which their exhibition abounds, and examined rationally, are traceable to material influences of the nature of which we are ignorant.
"They require certain physical organisations or temperaments to produce them, and vary according to these organisations and temperaments."
Lord Lytton sought out many mediums after his experiences with Home and often detected imposture. His friendship with Home extended over a period of ten years, and when he commenced the wildest of his romances, A Strange Story, he intended first to portray Home in its pages, but abandoned this intention for the fantastic conception of Margrave. The joyousness of Home's character, however, is still reflected in the mental make-up of Margrave. Lytton also became acquainted with the French occultist É liphas L é vi, whom he assisted in magical evocations, and L é vi was clearly a model for the character of the magus in The Haunted and The Haunters (1857).
Howe, Ellic. The Magicians of the Golden Dawn. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972.
Lytton, Bulwar. The Coming Race. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1877.
— — . Complete Works. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, n.d.
— — . A Strange Story. Mobile, Ala.: S. H. Goetzel, 1863. Frequently reprinted.
FROM MRS. ST. JOHN TO ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ.
At last I can give a more favourable answer to your letters. Emily is now quite out of danger. Since the day you forced yourself, with such a disinterested regard for her health and reputation, into her room, she grew (no thanks to your forbearance) gradually better. I trust that she will be able to see you in a few days. I hope this the more, because she now feels and decides that it will be for the last time. You have, it is true, injured her happiness for life her virtue, thank Heaven, is yet spared and though you have made her wretched, you will never, I trust, succeed in making her despised.
You ask me, with some menacing and more complaint, why I am so bitter against you. I will tell you. I not only know Emily, and feel confident, from that knowledge, that nothing can recompense her for the reproaches of conscience, but I know you, and am convinced that you are the last man to render her happy. I set aside, for the moment, all rules of religion and morality in general, and speak to you (to use the cant and abused phrase) &ldquowithout prejudice&rdquo as to the particular instance. Emily&rsquos nature is soft and susceptible, yours fickle and wayward in the extreme. The smallest change or caprice in you, which would not be noticed by a mind less delicate, would wound her to the heart. You know that the very softness of her character arises from its want of strength. Consider, for a moment, if she could bear the humiliation and disgrace which visit so heavily the offences of an English wife? She has been brought up in the strictest notions of morality and, in a mind, not naturally strong, nothing can efface the first impressions of education. She is not&mdashindeed she is not&mdashfit for a life of sorrow or degradation. In another character, another line of conduct might be desirable but with regard to her, pause, Falkland, I beseech you, before you attempt again to destroy her for ever. I have said all. Farewell.
Your, and above all, Emily&rsquos friend.
FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE.
You will see me, Emily, now that you are recovered sufficiently to do so without danger. I do not ask this as a favour. If my love has deserved, anything from yours, if past recollections give me any claim over you, if my nature has not forfeited the spell which it formerly possessed upon your own, I demand it as a right.
The bearer waits for your answer.
FROM LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE TO ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ.
See you, Falkland! Can you doubt it? Can you think for a moment that your commands can ever cease to become a law to me? Come here whenever you please. If, during my illness, they have prevented it, it was without my knowledge. I await you but I own that this interview will be the last, if I can claim anything from your mercy.
FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE.
I have seen you, Emily, and for the last time! My eyes are dry&mdashmy hand does not tremble. I live, move, breathe, as before&mdashand yet I have seen you for the last time! You told me&mdasheven while you leaned on my bosom, even while your lip pressed mine&mdashyou told me (and I saw your sincerity) to spare you, and to see you no more. You told me you had no longer any will, any fate of your own that you would, if I still continued to desire it, leave friends, home, honour, for me but you did not disguise from me that you would, in so doing, leave happiness also. You did not conceal from me that I was not sufficient to constitute all your world: you threw yourself, as you had done once before, upon what you called my generosity: you did not deceive yourself then you have not deceived yourself now. In two weeks I shall leave England, probably for ever. I have another country still more dear to me, from its afflictions and humiliation. Public ties differ but little in their nature from private and this confession of preference of what is debased to what is exalted, will be an answer to Mrs. St. John&rsquos assertion, that we cannot love in disgrace as we can in honour. Enough of this. In the choice, my poor Emily, that you have made, I cannot reproach you. You have done wisely, rightly, virtuously. You said that this separation must rest rather with me than with yourself that you would be mine the moment I demanded it. I will not now or ever accept this promise. No one, much less one whom I love so intensely, so truly as I do you, shall ever receive disgrace at my hands, unless she can feel that that disgrace would be dearer to her than glory elsewhere that the simple fate of being mine was not so much a recompense as a reward and that, in spite of worldly depreciation and shame, it would constitute and concentrate all her visions of happiness and pride. I am now going to bid you farewell. May you&mdashI say this disinterestedly, and from my very heart&mdashmay you soon forget how much you have loved and yet love me! For this purpose, you cannot have a better companion than Mrs. St. John. Her opinion of me is loudly expressed, and probably true at all events, you will do wisely to believe it. You will hear me attacked and reproached by many. I do not deny the charges you know best what I have deserved from you. God bless you, Emily. Wherever I go, I shall never cease to love you as I do now. May you be happy in your child and in your conscience! Once more, God bless you, and farewell!
FROM LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE TO ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ.
O Falkland! You have conquered! I am yours&mdashyours only&mdashWholly and forever. When your letter came, my hand trembled so, that I could not open it for several minutes and when I did, I felt as if the very earth had passed from my feet. You were going from your country you were about to be lost to me for ever. I could restrain myself no longer all my virtue, my pride, forsook me at once. Yes, yes, you are indeed my world. I will fly with you anywhere&mdasheverywhere. Nothing can be dreadful, but not seeing you I would be a servant&mdasha slave&mdasha dog, as long as I could be with you hear one tone of your voice, catch one glance of your eye. I scarcely see the paper before me, my thoughts are so straggling and confused. Write to me one word, Falkland one word, and I will lay it to my heart, and be happy.
FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND TO LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE. &mdash&mdash&mdash&mdash Hotel, London.
I hasten to you, Emily&mdashmy own and only love. Your letter has restored me to life. To-morrow we shall meet.
It was with mingled feelings, alloyed and embittered, in spite of the burning hope which predominated over all, that Falkland returned to E&mdash&mdash&mdash. He knew that he was near the completion of his most ardent wishes that he was within the grasp of a prize which included all the thousand objects of ambition, into which, among other men, the desires are divided the only dreams he had ventured to form for years were about to kindle into life. He had every reason to be happy&mdashsuch is the inconsistency of human nature, that he was almost wretched. The morbid melancholy, habitual to him, threw its colourings over every emotion and idea. He knew the character of the woman whose affections he had seduced and he trembled to think of the doom to which he was about to condemn her. With this, there came over his mind a long train of dark and remorseful recollections. Emily was not the only one whose destruction he had prepared. All who had loved him, he had repaid with ruin and one&mdashthe first&mdashthe fairest&mdashand the most loved, with death.
That last remembrance, more bitterly than all, possessed him. It will be recollected that Falkland, in the letters which begin this work, speaking of the ties he had formed after the loss of his first love, says, that it was the senses, not the affections, that were engaged. Never, indeed, since her death, till he met Emily, had his heart been unfaithful to her memory. Alas! none but those who have cherished in their souls an image of the death who have watched over it for long and bitter years in secrecy and gloom who have felt that it was to them as a holy and fairy spot which no eye but theirs could profane who have filled all things with recollections as with a spell, and made the universe one wide mausoleum of the lost&mdashnone but those can understand the mysteries of that regret which is shed over every after passion, though it be more burning and intense that sense of sacrilege with which we fill up the haunted recesses of the spirit with a new and a living idol and perpetrate the last act of infidelity to that buried love, which the heavens that now receive her, the earth where we beheld her, tell us, with, the unnumbered voices of Nature, to worship with the incense of our faith.
His carriage stopped at the lodge. The woman who opened the gates gave him the following note:
&ldquoMr. Mandeville is returned I almost fear that he suspects our attachment. Julia says, that if you come again to E&mdash&mdash&mdash, she will inform him. I dare not, dearest Falkland, see you here. What is to be done? I am very ill and feverish: my brain burns so, that I can think, feel, remember nothing, but the one thought, feeling, and remembrance&mdashthat through shame, and despite of guilt, in life, and till death, I am yours. E. M.&rdquo
As Falkland read this note, his extreme and engrossing love for Emily doubled with each word: an instant before, and the certainty of seeing her had suffered his mind to be divided into a thousand objects now, doubt united them once more into one.
He altered his route to L&mdash&mdash&mdash, and despatched from thence a short note to Emily, imploring her to meet him that evening by the lake, in order to arrange their ultimate flight. Her answer was brief, and blotted with her tears but it was assent.
During the whole of that day, at least from the moment she received Falkland&rsquos letter, Emily was scarcely sensible of a single idea: she sat still and motionless, gazing on vacancy, and seeing nothing within her mind, or in the objects which surrounded her, but one dreary blank. Sense, thought, feeling, even remorse, were congealed and frozen and the tides of emotion were still, bid they were ice!
As Falkland&rsquos servant had waited without to deliver the note to Emily, Mrs. St. John had observed him: her alarm and surprise only served to quicken her presence of mind. She intercepted Emily&rsquos answer under pretence of giving it herself to Falkland&rsquos servant. She read it, and her resolution was formed. After carefully resealing and delivering it to the servant, she went at once to Mr. Mandeville, and revealed Lady Emily&rsquos attachment to Falkland. In this act of treachery, she was solely instigated by her passions and when Mandeville, roused from his wonted apathy to a paroxysm of indignation, thanked her again and again for the generosity of friendship which he imagined was all that actuated her communication, he dreamed not of the fierce and ungovernable jealousy which envied the very disgrace which her confession was intended to award. Well said the French enthusiast, &ldquothat the heart, the most serene to appearance, resembles that calm and glassy fountain which cherishes the monster of the Nile in the bosom of its waters.&rdquo Whatever reward Mrs. St. John proposed to herself in this action, verily she has had the recompense that was her due. Those consequences of her treachery, which I hasten to relate, have ceased to others&mdashto her they remain. Amidst the pleasures of dissipation, one reflection has rankled at her mind one dark cloud has rested between the sunshine and her soul like the murderer in Shakespeare, the revel where she fled for forgetfulness has teemed to her with the spectres of remembrance. O thou untameable conscience! thou that never flatterest&mdashthou that watchest over the human heart never to slumber or to sleep&mdashit is thou that takest from us the present, barrest to us the future, and knittest the eternal chain that binds us to the rock and the vulture of the past!
The evening came on still and dark a breathless and heavy apprehension seemed gathered over the air: the full large clouds lay without motion in the dull sky, from between which, at long and scattered intervals, the wan stars looked out a double shadow seemed to invest the grouped and gloomy trees that stood unwaving in the melancholy horizon. The waters of the lake lay heavy and unagitated as the sleep of death and the broken reflections of the abrupt and winding banks rested upon their bosoms, like the dreamlike remembrance of a former existence.
The hour of the appointment was arrived: Falkland stood by the spot, gazing upon the lake before him his cheek was flushed, his hand was parched and dry with the consuming fire within him. His pulse beat thick and rapidly the demon of evil passions was upon his soul. He stood so lost in his own reflections, that he did not for some moments perceive the fond and tearful eye which was fixed upon him on that brow and lip, thought seemed always so beautiful, so divine, that to disturb its repose was like a profanation of something holy and though Emily came towards him with a light and hurried step, she paused involuntarily to gaze upon that noble countenance which realised her earliest visions of the beauty and majesty of love. He turned slowly, and perceived her he came to her with his own peculiar smile he drew her to his bosom in silence he pressed his lips to her forehead: she leaned upon his bosom, and forgot all but him. Oh! if there be one feeling which makes Love, even guilty Love, a god, it is the knowledge that in the midst of this breathing world he reigns aloof and alone and that those who are occupied with his worship know nothing of the pettiness, the strife, the bustle which, pollute and agitate the ordinary inhabitants of earth! What was now to them, as they stood alone in the deep stillness of Nature, everything that had engrossed them before they had met and loved? Even in her, the recollections of guilt and grief subsided: she was only sensible of one thought&mdashthe presence of the being who stood beside her,
They sat down beneath an oak: Falkland stooped to kiss the cold and pale cheek that still rested upon his breast. His kisses were like lava: the turbulent and stormy elements of sin and desire were aroused even to madness within him. He clasped her still nearer to his bosom: her lips answered to his own: they caught perhaps something of the spirit which they received: her eyes were half-closed the bosom heaved wildly that was pressed to his beating and burning heart. The skies grew darker and darker as the night stole over them: one low roll of thunder broke upon the curtained and heavy air&mdashthey did not hear it and yet it was the knell of peace&mdashvirtue&mdashhope&mdashlost, lost for ever to their souls!
They separated as they had never done before. In Emily&rsquos bosom there was a dreary void&mdasha vast blank-over which there went a low deep voice like a Spirit&rsquos&mdasha sound indistinct and strange, that spoke a language she knew not but felt that it told of woe-guilt-doom. Her senses were stunned: the vitality of her feelings was numbed and torpid: the first herald of despair is insensibility. &ldquoTomorrow then,&rdquo said Falkland&mdashand his voice for the first time seemed strange and harsh to her&mdash&ldquowe will fly hence for ever: meet me at daybreak&mdashthe carriage shall be in attendance&mdashwe cannot now unite too soon&mdashwould that at this very moment we were prepared!&rdquo&mdash&ldquoTo-morrow!&rdquo repeated Emily, &ldquoat daybreak!&rdquo and as she clung to him, he felt her shudder: &ldquoto-morrow-ay-to-morrow!&mdash&rdquo one kiss&mdashone embrace&mdashone word&mdashfarewell&mdashand they parted.
Falkland returned to L&mdash&mdash&mdash, a gloomy foreboding rested upon his mind: that dim and indescribable fear, which no earthly or human cause can explain&mdashthat shrinking within self&mdashthat vague terror of the future&mdashthat grappling, as it were, with some unknown shade&mdashthat wandering of the spirit&mdashwhither?&mdashthat cold, cold creeping dread&mdashof what? As he entered the house, he met his confidential servant. He gave him orders respecting the flight of the morrow, and then retired into the chamber where he slept. It was an antique and large room: the wainscot was of oak and one broad and high window looked over the expanse of country which stretched beneath. He sat himself by the casement in silence&mdashhe opened it: the dull air came over his forehead, not with a sense of freshness, but, like the parching atmosphere of the east, charged with a weight and fever that sank heavy into his soul. He turned:&mdashhe threw himself upon the bed, and placed his hands over his face. His thoughts were scattered into a thousand indistinct forms, but over all, there was one rapturous remembrance and that was, that the morrow was to unite him for ever to her whose possession had only rendered her more dear. Meanwhile, the hours rolled on and as he lay thus silent and still, the clock of the distant church struck with a distinct and solemn sound upon his ear. It was the half-hour after midnight. At that moment an icy thrill ran, slow and curdling, through his veins. His heart, as if with a presentiment of what was to follow, beat violently, and then stopped life itself seemed ebbing away cold drops stood upon his forehead his eyelids trembled, and the balls reeled and glazed, like those of a dying man a deadly fear gathered over him, so that his flesh quivered, and every hair in his head seemed instinct with a separate life, the very marrow of his bones crept, and his blood waxed thick and thick, as if stagnating into an ebbless and frozen substance. He started in a wild and unutterable terror. There stood, at the far end of the room, a dim and thin shape like moonlight, without outline or form still, and indistinct, and shadowy. He gazed on, speechless and motionless his faculties and senses seemed locked in an unnatural trance. By degrees the shape became clearer and clearer to his fixed and dilating eye. He saw, as through a floating and mist-like veil, the features of Emily but how changed!&mdashsunken and hueless, and set in death. The dropping lip, from which there seemed to trickle a deep red stain like blood the lead-like and lifeless eye the calm, awful, mysterious repose which broods over the aspect of the dead&mdashall grew, as it were, from the hazy cloud that encircled them for one, one brief, agonising moment, and then as suddenly faded away. The spell passed from his senses. He sprang from the bed with a loud cry. All was quiet. There was not a trace of what he had witnessed. The feeble light of the skies rested upon the spot where the apparition had stood upon that spot he stood also. He stamped upon the floor&mdashit was firm beneath his footing. He passed his hands over his body&mdashhe was awake&mdashhe was unchanged: earth, air, heaven, were around him as before. What had thus gone over his soul to awe and overcome it to such weakness? To these questions his reason could return no answer. Bold by nature, and sceptical by philosophy, his mind gradually recovered its original tone: he did not give way to conjecture he endeavoured to discard it he sought by natural causes to account for the apparition he had seen or imagined and, as he felt the blood again circulating in its accustomed courses, and the night air coming chill over his feverish frame, he smiled with a stern and scornful bitterness at the terror which had so shaken, and the fancy which had so deluded, his mind.
Are there not &ldquomore things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy&rdquo? A Spirit may hover in the air that we breathe: the depth of our most secret solitudes may be peopled by the invisible our uprisings and our downsittings may be marked by a witness from the grave. In our walks the dead may be behind us in our banquets they may sit at the board and the chill breath of the night wind that stirs the curtains of our bed may bear a message our senses receive not, from lips that once have pressed kisses on our own! Why is it that at moments there creeps over us an awe, a terror, overpowering, but undefined? Why is it that we shudder without a cause, and feel the warm life-blood stand still in its courses? Are the dead too near? Do unearthly wings touch us as they flit around? Has our soul any intercourse which the body shares not, though it feels, with the supernatural world&mdashmysterious revealings&mdashunimaginable communion&mdasha language of dread and power, shaking to its centre the fleshly barrier that divides the spirit from its race?
How fearful is the very life which we hold! We have our being beneath a cloud, and are a marvel even to ourselves. There is not a single thought which has its affixed limits. Like circles in the water, our researches weaken as they extend, and vanish at last into the immeasurable and unfathomable space of the vast unknown. We are like children in the dark we tremble in a shadowy and terrible void, peopled with our fancies! Life is our real night, and the first gleam of the morning, which brings us certainty, is death.
Falkland sat the remainder of that night by the window watching the clouds become gray as the dawn rose, and its earliest breeze awoke. He heard the trampling of the horses beneath: he drew his cloak round him, and descended. It was on a turning of the road beyond the lodge that he directed the carriage to wait, and he then proceeded to the place appointed. Emily was not yet there. He walked to and fro with an agitated and hurried step. The impression of the night had in a great measure been effaced from his mind, and he gave himself up without reserve to the warm and sanguine hopes which he had so much reason to conceive. He thought too, at moments, of those bright climates beneath which he designed their asylum, where the very air is music, and the light is like the colourings of love and he associated the sighs of a mutual rapture with the fragrance of myrtles, and the breath of a Tuscan heaven. Time glided on. The hour was long past, yet Emily came not! The sun rose, and Falkland turned in dark and angry discontent from its beams. With every moment his impatience increased, and at last he could restrain himself no longer. He proceeded towards the house. He stood for some time at a distance but as all seemed still hushed in repose, he drew nearer and nearer till he reached the door: to his astonishment it was open. He saw forms passing rapidly through the hall. He heard a confused and indistinct murmur. At length he caught a glimpse of Mrs. St. John. He could command himself no more. He sprang forwards&mdashentered the door&mdashthe hall&mdashand caught her by a part of her dress. He could not speak, but his countenance said all which his lips refused. Mrs. St. John burst into tears when she saw him. &ldquoGood God!&rdquo she said, &ldquowhy are you here? Is it possible you have yet learned&mdash&rdquo Her voice failed her. Falkland had by this time recovered himself. He turned to the servants who gathered around him. &ldquoSpeak,&rdquo he said calmly. &ldquoWhat has occurred?&rdquo &ldquoMy lady&mdashmy lady!&rdquo burst at once from several tongues. &ldquoWhat of her:&rdquo said Falkland, with a blanched cheek, but unchanging voice. There was a pause. At that instant a man, whom Falkland recognised as the physician of the neighbourhood, passed at the opposite end of the hall. A light, a scorching and intolerable light, broke upon him. &ldquoShe is dying&mdashshe is dead, perhaps,&rdquo he said, in a low sepulchral tone, turning his eye around till it had rested upon every one present. Not one answered. He paused a moment, as if stunned by a sudden shock, and then sprang up the stairs. He passed the boudoir, and entered the room where Emily slept. The shutters were only partially closed a faint light broke through, and rested on the bed: beside it bent two women. Them he neither heeded nor saw. He drew aside the curtains. He beheld&mdashthe same as he had seen it in his vision of the night before&mdashthe changed and lifeless countenance of Emily Mandeville! That face, still so tenderly beautiful, was partially turned towards him. Some dark stains upon the lip and neck told how she had died&mdashthe blood-vessel she had broken before had burst again. The bland and soft eyes, which for him never had but one expression, were closed and the long and disheveled tresses half hid, while they contrasted, that bosom, which had but the night before first learned to thrill beneath his own. Happier in her fate than she deserved, she passed from this bitter life ere the punishment of her guilt had begun. She was not doomed to wither beneath the blight of shame, nor the coldness of estranged affection. From him whom she had so worshipped, she was not condemned to bear wrong nor change. She died while his passion was yet in its spring&mdashbefore a blossom, a leaf, had faded and she sank to repose while his kiss was yet warm upon her lip, and her last breath almost mingled with his sigh. For the woman who has erred, life has no exchange for such a death. Falkland stood mute and motionless: not one word of grief or horror escaped his lips. At length he bent down. He took the hand which lay outside the bed he pressed it it replied not to the pressure, but fell cold and heavy from his own. He put his cheek to her lips not the faintest breath came from them and then for the first time a change passed over his countenance: he pressed upon those lips one long and last kiss, and, without word, or sign, or tear, he turned from the chamber. Two hours afterwards he was found senseless upon the ground it was upon the spot where he had met Emily the night before.
For weeks he knew nothing of this earth&mdashhe was encompassed with the spectres of a terrible dream. All was confusion, darkness, horror&mdasha series and a change of torture! At one time he was hurried through the heavens in the womb of a fiery star, girt above and below and around with unextinguishable but unconsuming flames. Wherever he trod, as he wandered through his vast and blazing prison, the molten fire was his footing, and the breath of fire was his air. Flowers, and trees, and hills were in that world as in ours, but wrought from one lurid and intolerable light and, scattered around, rose gigantic palaces and domes of the living flame, like the mansions of the city of Hell. With every moment there passed to and fro shadowy forms, on whose countenances was engraven unutterable anguish but not a shriek, not a groan, rung through the red air for the doomed, who fed and inhabited the flames, were forbidden the consolation of voice. Above there sat, fixed and black, a solid and impenetrable cloud-Night frozen into substance and from the midst there hung a banner of a pale and sickly flame, on which was written &ldquoFor Ever.&rdquo A river rushed rapidly beside him. He stooped to slake the agony of his thirst&mdashthe waves were waves of fire and, as he started from the burning draught, he longed to shriek aloud, and could not. Then he cast his despairing eyes above for mercy and saw on the livid and motionless banner &ldquoFor Ever.&rdquo
A change came o&rsquoer the spirit of his dream
He was suddenly borne up on the winds and storms to the oceans of an eternal winter. He fell stunned and unstruggling upon the ebbless and sluggish waves. Slowly and heavily they rose over him as he sank: then came the lengthened and suffocating torture of that drowning death&mdashthe impotent and convulsive contest with the closing waters&mdashthe gurgle, the choking, the bursting of the pent breath, the flutter of the heart, its agony, and its stillness. He recovered. He was a thousand fathoms beneath the sea, chained to a rock round which the heavy waters rose as a wall. He felt his own flesh rot and decay, perishing from his limbs piece by piece and he saw the coral banks, which it requires a thousand ages to form, rise slowly from their slimy bed and spread atom by atom, till they became a shelter for the leviathan: their growth, was his only record of eternity and ever and ever, around and above him, came vast and misshapen things&mdashthe wonders of the secret deeps and the sea-serpent, the huge chimera of the north, made its resting-place by his side, glaring upon him with a livid and death-like eye, wan, yet burning as an expiring seta. But over all, in every change, in every moment of that immortality, there was present one pale and motionless countenance, never turning from his own. The fiends of hell, the monsters of the hidden ocean, had no horror so awful as the human face of the dead whom he had loved.
The word of his sentence was gone forth. Alike through that delirium and its more fearful awakening, through the past, through the future, through the vigils of the joyless day, and the broken dreams of the night, there was a charm upon his soul&mdasha hell within himself and the curse of his sentence was&mdashnever to forget!
When, Lady Emily returned home on that guilty and eventful night, she stole at once to her room: she dismissed her servant, and threw herself upon the ground in that deep despair which on this earth can never again know hope. She lay there without the power to weep, or the courage to pray&mdashhow long, she knew not. Like the period before creation, her mind was a chaos of jarring elements, and knew neither the method of reflection nor the division of time.
As she rose, she heard a slight knock at the door, and her husband entered. Her heart misgave her and when she saw him close the door carefully before he approached her, she felt as if she could have sunk into the earth, alike from her internal shame, and her fear of its detection.
Mr. Mandeville was a weak, commonplace character indifferent in ordinary matters, but, like most imbecile minds, violent and furious when aroused. &ldquoIs this, Madam, addressed to you?&rdquo he cried, in a voice of thunder, as he placed a letter before her (it was one of Falkland&rsquos) &ldquoand this, and this, Madam?&rdquo said he, in a still louder tone, as he flung them out one after another from her own escritoire, which he had broken open.
Emily sank back, and gasped for breath. Mandeville rose, and, laughing fiercely, seized her by the arm. He grasped it with all his force. She uttered a faint scream of terror: he did not heed it he flung her from him, and as she fell upon the ground, the blood gushed in torrents from her lips. In the sudden change of feeling which alarm created, he raised her in his arms. She was a corpse! At that instant the clock struck upon his ear with a startling and solemn sound: it was the half-hour after midnight.
The grave is now closed upon that soft and erring heart, with its guiltiest secret unrevealed. She went to that last home with a blest and unblighted name for her guilt was unknown, and her virtues are yet recorded in the memories of the Poor.
They laid her in the stately vaults of her ancient line, and her bier was honoured with tears from hearts not less stricken, because their sorrow, if violent, was brief. For the dead there are many mourners, but only one monument&mdashthe bosom which loved them best. The spot where the hearse rested, the green turf beneath, the surrounding trees, the gray tower of the village church, and the proud halls rising beyond,&mdashall had witnessed the childhood, the youth, the bridal-day of the being whose last rites and solemnities they were to witness now. The very bell which rang for her birth had rung also for the marriage peal it now tolled for her death. But a little while, and she had gone forth from that home of her young and unclouded years, amidst the acclamations and blessings of all, a bride, with the insignia of bridal pomp&mdashin the first bloom of her girlish beauty&mdashin the first innocence of her unawakened heart, weeping, not for the future she was entering, but for the past she was about to leave, and smiling through her tears, as if innocence had no business with grief. On the same spot, where he had then waved his farewell, stood the father now. On the grass which they had then covered, flocked the peasants whose wants her childhood had relieved by the same priest who had blessed her bridals, bent the bridegroom who had plighted its vow. There was not a tree, not a blade of grass withered. The day itself was bright and glorious such was it when it smiled upon her nuptials. And size&mdashshe-but four little years, and all youth&rsquos innocence darkened, and earth&rsquos beauty come to dust! Alas! not for her, but the mourner whom she left! In death even love is forgotten but in life there is no bitterness so utter as to feel everything is unchanged, except the One Being who was the soul of all&mdashto know the world is the same, but that its sunshine is departed.
The noon was still and sultry. Along the narrow street of the small village of Lodar poured the wearied but yet unconquered band, which embodied in that district of Spain the last hope and energy of freedom. The countenances of the soldiers were haggard and dejected they displayed even less of the vanity than their accoutrements exhibited of the pomp and circumstances of war. Yet their garments were such as even the peasants had disdained: covered with blood and dust, and tattered into a thousand rags, they betokened nothing of chivalry but its endurance of hardship even the rent and sullied banners drooped sullenly along their staves, as if the winds themselves had become the minions of fortune, and disdained to swell the insignia of those whom she had deserted. The glorious music of battle was still. An air of dispirited and defeated enterprise hung over the whole army. &ldquoThank Heaven,&rdquo said the chief, who closed the last file as it marched&mdashon to its scanty refreshment and brief repose &ldquothank Heaven, we are at least out of the reach of pursuit and the mountains, those last retreats of liberty, are before us!&rdquo &ldquoTrue, Don Rafael,&rdquo replied the youngest of two officers who rode by the side of the commander &ldquoand if we can cut our passage to Mina, we may yet plant the standard of the Constitution in Madrid.&rdquo &ldquoAy,&rdquo added the elder officer, &ldquoand I sing Riego&rsquos hymn in the place of the Escurial!&rdquo &ldquoOur sons may!&rdquo said the chief, who was indeed Riego himself, &ldquobut for us&mdashall hope is over! Were we united, we could scarcely make head against the armies of France and divided as we are, the wonder is that we have escaped so long. Hemmed in by invasion, our great enemy has been ourselves. Such has been the hostility faction has created between Spaniard and Spaniard, that we seem to have none left to waste upon Frenchmen. We cannot establish freedom if men are willing to be slaves. We have no hope, Don Alphonso&mdashno hope&mdashbut that of death!&rdquo As Riego concluded this desponding answer, so contrary to his general enthusiasm, the younger officer rode on among the soldiers, cheering them with words of congratulation and comfort ordering their several divisions cautioning them to be prepared at a moment&rsquos notice and impressing on their remembrance those small but essential points of discipline, which a Spanish troop might well be supposed to disregard. When Riego and his companion entered the small and miserable hovel which constituted the headquarters of the place, this man still remained without and it was not till he had slackened the girths of his Andalusian horse, and placed before it the undainty provender which the ecurie afforded that he thought of rebinding more firmly the bandages wound around a deep and painful sabre cut in the left arm, which for several hours had been wholly neglected. The officer, whom Riego had addressed by the name of Alphonso, came out of the hut just as his comrade was vainly endeavouring, with his teeth and one hand, to replace the ligature. As he assisted him, he said, &ldquoYou know not, my dear Falkland, how bitterly I reproach myself for having ever persuaded you to a cause where contest seems to have no hope, and danger no glory.&rdquo Falkland smiled bitterly. &ldquoDo not deceive yourself, my dear uncle,&rdquo said he &ldquoyour persuasions would have been unavailing but for the suggestions of my own wishes. I am not one of those enthusiasts who entered on your cause with high hopes and chivalrous designs: I asked but forgetfulness and excitement&mdashI have found them! I would not exchange a single pain I have endured for what would have constituted the pleasures of other men:&mdashbut enough of this. What time, think you, have we for repose?&rdquo &ldquoTill the evening,&rdquo answered Alphonso &ldquoour route will then most probably be directed to the Sierre Morena. The General is extremely weak and exhausted, and needs a longer rest than we shall gain. It is singular that with such weak health he should endure so great an excess of hardship and fatigue.&rdquo During this conversation they entered the hut. Riego was already asleep. As they seated themselves to the wretched provision of the place, a distant and indistinct noise was heard. It came first on their ears like the birth of the mountain wind-low, and hoarse, and deep: gradually it grew loud and louder, and mingled with other sounds which they defined too well&mdashthe hum, the murmur, the trampling of steeds, the ringing echoes of the rapid march of armed men! They heard and knew the foe was upon them!&mdasha moment more, and the drum beat to arms. &ldquoBy St. Pelagio,&rdquo cried Riego, who had sprung from his light sleep at the first sound of the approaching danger, unwilling to believe his fears, &ldquoit cannot be: the French are far behind:&rdquo and then, as the drum beat, his voice suddenly changed, &ldquothe enemy? the enemy! D&rsquoAguilar, to horse!&rdquo and with those words he rushed out of the hut. The soldiers, who had scarcely begun to disperse, were soon re-collected. In the mean while the French commander, D&rsquoArgout, taking advantage of the surprise he had occasioned, poured on his troops, which consisted solely of cavalry, undaunted and undelayed by the fire of the posts. On, on they drove like a swift cloud charged with thunder, and gathering wrath as it hurried by, before it burst in tempest on the beholders. They did not pause till they reached the farther extremity of the village: there the Spanish infantry were already formed into two squares. &ldquoHalt!&rdquo cried the French commander: the troop suddenly stopped confronting the nearer square. There was one brief pause-the moment before the storm. &ldquoCharge!&rdquo said D&rsquo Argout, and the word rang throughout the line up to the clear and placid sky. Up flashed the steel like lightning on went the troop like the clash of a thousand waves when the sun is upon them and before the breath of the riders was thrice drawn, came the crash&mdashthe shock&mdashthe slaughter of battle. The Spaniards made but a faint resistance to the impetuosity of the onset: they broke on every side beneath the force of the charge, like the weak barriers of a rapid and swollen stream and the French troops, after a brief but bloody victory (joined by a second squadron from the rear), advanced immediately upon the Spanish cavalry. Falkland was by the side of Riego. As the troop advanced, it would have been curious to notice the contrast of expression in the face of each the Spaniard&rsquos features lighted up with the daring enthusiasm of his nature every trace of their usual languor and exhaustion vanished beneath the unconquerable soul that blazed out the brighter for the debility of the frame the brow knit the eye flashing the lip quivering:&mdashand close beside, the calm, stern passionless repose that brooded over the severe yet noble beauty of Falkland&rsquos countenance. To him danger brought scorn, not enthusiasm: he rather despised than defied it. &ldquoThe dastards! they waver,&rdquo said Riego, in an accent of despair, as his troop faltered beneath the charge of the French: and so saying, he spurred his steed on to the foremost line. The contest was longer, but not less decisive, than the one just concluded. The Spaniards, thrown into confusion by the first shock, never recovered themselves. Falkland, who, in his anxiety to rally and inspirit the soldiers, had advanced with two other officers beyond the ranks, was soon surrounded by a detachment of dragoons: the wound in his left arm scarcely suffered him to guide his horse: he was in the most imminent danger. At that moment D&rsquoAguilar, at the head of his own immediate followers, cut his way into the circle, and covered Falkland&rsquos retreat another detachment of the enemy came up, and they were a second time surrounded. In the mean while, the main body of the Spanish cavalry were flying in all directions, and Riego&rsquos deep voice was heard at intervals, through the columns of smoke and dust, calling and exhorting them in vain. D&rsquoAguilar and his scanty troop, after a desperate skirmish, broke again through the enemy&rsquos line drawn up against their retreat. The rank closed after them like waters when the object that pierced them has sunk: Falkland and his two companions were again environed: he saw his comrades cut to the earth before him. He pulled up his horse for one moment, clove down with one desperate blow the dragoon with whom he was engaged, and then setting his spurs to the very rowels into his horse, dashed at once through the circle of his foes. His remarkable presence of mind, and the strength and sagacity of his horse, befriended him. Three sabres flashed before him, and glanced harmless from his raised sword, like lightning on the water. The circle was passed! As he galloped towards Riego, his horse started from a dead body that lay across his path. He reined up for one instant, for the countenance, which looked upwards, struck him as familiar. What was his horror, when in that livid and distorted face he recognised his uncle! The thin grizzled hairs were besprent with gore and brains, and the blood yet oozed from the spot where the ball had passed through his temple. Falkland had but a brief interval for grief the pursuers were close behind: he heard the snort of the foremost horse before he again put spurs into his own. Riego was holding a hasty consultation with his principal officers. As Falkland rode breathless up to them, they had decided on the conduct expedient to adopt. They led the remaining square of infantry towards the chain of mountains against which the village, as it were, leaned and there the men dispersed in all directions. &ldquoFor us,&rdquo said Riego to the followers on horseback who gathered around him, &ldquofor us the mountains still promise a shelter. We must ride, gentlemen, for our lives&mdashSpain will want them yet.&rdquo
Wearied and exhausted as they were, that small and devoted troop fled on into the recesses of the mountains for the remainder of that day&mdashtwenty men out of the two thousand who had halted at Lodar. As the evening stole over them, they entered into a narrow defile: the tall hills rose on every side, covered with the glory of the setting sun, as if Nature rejoiced to grant her bulwarks as a protection to liberty. A small clear stream ran through the valley, sparkling with the last smile of the departing day and ever and anon, from the scattered shrubs and the fragrant herbage, came the vesper music of the birds, and the hum of the wild bee.
Parched with thirst, and drooping with fatigue, the wanderers sprung forward with one simultaneous cry of joy to the glassy and refreshing wave which burst so unexpectedly upon them: and it was resolved that they should remain for some hours in a spot where all things invited them to the repose they so imperiously required. They flung themselves at once upon the grass and such was their exhaustion, that rest was almost synonymous with sleep. Falkland alone could not immediately forget himself in repose: the face of his uncle, ghastly and disfigured, glared upon his eyes whenever he closed them. Just, however, as he was sinking into an unquiet and fitful doze, he heard steps approaching: he started up, and perceived two men, one a peasant, the other in the dress of a hermit. They were the first human beings the wanderers had met and when Falkland gave the alarm to Riego, who slept beside him, it was immediately proposed to detain them as guides to the town of Carolina, where Riego had hopes of finding effectual assistance, or the means of ultimate escape. The hermit and his companion refused, with much vehemence, the office imposed upon them but Riego ordered them to be forcibly detained. He had afterwards reason bitterly to regret this compulsion.
Midnight came on in all the gorgeous beauty of a southern heaven, and beneath its stars they renewed their march. As Falkland rode by the side of Riego, the latter said to him in a low voice, &ldquoThere is yet escape for you and my followers: none for me: they have set a price on my head, and the moment I leave these mountains, I enter upon my own destruction.&rdquo &ldquoNo, Rafael!&rdquo replied Falkland &ldquoyou can yet fly to England, that asylum of the free, though ally of the despotic the abettor of tyranny, but the shelter of its victims!&rdquo Riego answered, with the same faint and dejected tone, &ldquoI care not now what becomes of me! I have lived solely for Freedom I have made her my mistress, my hope, my dream: I have no existence but in her. With the last effort of my country let me perish also! I have lived to view liberty not only defeated, but derided: I have seen its efforts not aided, but mocked. In my own country, those only, who wore it, have been respected who used it as a covering to ambition. In other nations, the free stood aloof when the charter of their own rights was violated in the invasion of ours. I cannot forget that the senate of that England, where you promise me a home, rang with insulting plaudits when her statesman breathed his ridicule on our weakness, not his sympathy for our cause and I&mdashfanatic&mdashdreamer&mdashenthusiast, as I may be called, whose whole life has been one unremitting struggle for the opinion I have adopted, am at least not so blinded by my infatuation, but I can see the mockery it incurs. If I die on the scaffold to-morrow, I shall have nothing of martyrdom but its doom not the triumph&mdashthe incense&mdashthe immortality of popular applause: I should have no hope to support me at such a moment, gleaned from the glories of the future&mdashnothing but one stern and prophetic conviction of the vanity of that tyranny by which my sentence will be pronounced.&rdquo Riego paused for a moment before he resumed, and his pale and death-like countenance received an awful and unnatural light from the intensity of the feeling that swelled and burned within him. His figure was drawn up to its full height, and his voice rang through the lonely hills with a deep and hollow sound, that had in it a tone of prophecy, as he resumed &ldquoIt is in vain that they oppose OPINION anything else they may subdue. They may conquer wind, water, nature itself but to the progress of that secret, subtle, pervading spirit, their imagination can devise, their strength can accomplish, no bar: its votaries they may seize, they may destroy itself they cannot touch. If they check it in one place, it invades them in another. They cannot build a wall across the whole earth and, even if they could, it would pass over its summit! Chains cannot bind it, for it is immaterial&mdashdungeons enclose it, for it is universal. Over the faggot and the scaffold&mdashover the bleeding bodies of its defenders which they pile against its path, it sweeps on with a noiseless but unceasing march. Do they levy armies against it, it presents to them no palpable object to oppose. Its camp is the universe its asylum is the bosoms of their own soldiers. Let them depopulate, destroy as they please, to each extremity of the earth but as long as they have a single supporter themselves&mdashas long as they leave a single individual into whom that spirit can enter&mdashso long they will have the same labours to encounter, and the same enemy to subdue.&rdquo
As Riego&rsquos voice ceased, Falkland gazed upon him with a mingled pity and admiration. Sour and ascetic as was the mind of that hopeless and disappointed man, he felt somewhat of a kindred glow at the pervading and holy enthusiasm of the patriot to whom he had listened and though it was the character of his own philosophy to question the purity of human motives, and to smile at the more vivid emotions he had ceased to feel, he bowed his soul in homage to those principles whose sanctity he acknowledged, and to that devotion of zeal and fervour with which their defender cherished and enforced them. Falkland had joined the constitutionalists with respect, but not ardour, for their cause. He demanded excitation he cared little where he found it. He stood in this world a being who mixed in all its changes, performed all its offices, took, as if by the force of superior mechanical power, a leading share in its events but whose thoughts and soul were as offsprings of another planet, imprisoned in a human form, and longing for their home!
As they rode on, Riego continued to converse with that imprudent unreserve which the openness and warmth of his nature made natural to him: not one word escaped the hermit and the peasant (whose name was Lopez Lara) as they rode on two mules behind Falkland and Riego. &ldquoRemember,&rdquo whispered the hermit to his comrade, &ldquothe reward!&rdquo
&ldquoI do,&rdquo muttered the peasant.
Throughout the whole of that long and dreary night, the&mdashwanderers rode on incessantly, and found themselves at daybreak near a farm-house: this was Lara&rsquos own home. They made the peasant Lara knock his own brother opened the door. Fearful as they were of the detection to which so numerous a party might conduce, only Riego, another officer (Don Luis de Sylva), and Falkland entered the house. The latter, whom nothing ever seemed to render weary or forgetful, fixed his cold stern eye upon the two brothers, and, seeing some signs pass between them, locked the door, and so prevented their escape. For a few hours they reposed in the stables with their horses, their drawn swords by their sides. On waking, Riego found it absolutely necessary that his horse should be shod. Lopez started up, and offered to lead it to Arguillas for that purpose. &ldquoNo,&rdquo said Riego, who, though naturally imprudent, partook in this instance of Falkland&rsquos habitual caution: &ldquoyour brother shall go and bring hither the farrier.&rdquo Accordingly the brother went: he soon returned. &ldquoThe farrier,&rdquo he said, &ldquowas already on the road.&rdquo Riego and his companions, who were absolutely fainting with hunger, sat down to breakfast but Falkland, who had finished first, and who had eyed the man since his return with the most scrutinising attention, withdrew towards the window, looking out from time to time with a telescope which they had carried about them, and urging them impatiently to finish. &ldquoWhy?&rdquo said Riego, &ldquofamished men are good for nothing, either to fight or fly&mdashand we must wait for the farrier.&rdquo &ldquoTrue,&rdquo said Falkland, &ldquobut&mdash&rdquo he stopped abruptly. Sylva had his eyes on his face at that moment. Falkland&rsquos colour suddenly changed: he turned round with a loud cry. &ldquoUp! up! Riego! Sylva! We are undone&mdashthe soldiers are upon us!&rdquo &ldquoArm!&rdquo cried Riego, starting up. At that moment Lopez and his brother seized their own carbines, and levelled them at the betrayed constitutionalists. &ldquoThe first who moves,&rdquo cried the former, &ldquois a dead man!&rdquo &ldquoFools!&rdquo said Falkland, with a calm bitterness, advancing deliberately towards them. He moved only three steps&mdashLopez fired. Falkland staggered a few paces, recovered himself, sprang towards Lara, clove him at one blow from the skull to the jaw, and fell with his victim, lifeless upon the floor. &ldquoEnough!&rdquo said Riego to the remaining peasant &ldquowe are your prisoners bind us!&rdquo In two minutes more the soldiers entered, and they were conducted to Carolina. Fortunately Falkland was known, when at Paris, to a French officer of high rank then at Carolina. He was removed to the Frenchman&rsquos quarters. Medical aid was instantly procured. The first examination of his wound was decisive recovery was hopeless!
Night came on again, with her pomp of light and shade&mdashthe night that for Falkland had no morrow. One solitary lamp burned in the chamber where he lay alone with God and his own heart. He had desired his couch to be placed by the window and requested his attendants to withdraw. The gentle and balmy air stole over him, as free and bland as if it were to breathe for him for ever and the silver moonlight came gleaming through the lattice and played upon his wan brow, like the tenderness of a bride that sought to kiss him to repose. &ldquoIn a few hours,&rdquo thought he, as he lay gazing on the high stars which seemed such silent witnesses of an eternal and unfathomed mystery, &ldquoin a few hours either this feverish and wayward spirit will be at rest for ever, or it will have commenced a new career in an untried and unimaginable existence! In a very few hours I may be amongst the very heavens that I survey&mdasha part of their own glory&mdasha new link in a new order of beings&mdashbreathing amidst the elements of a more gorgeous world&mdasharrayed myself in the attributes of a purer and diviner nature&mdasha wanderer among the planets&mdashan associate of angels&mdashthe beholder of the arcana of the great God-redeemed, regenerate, immortal, or&mdashdust!
&ldquoThere is no OEdipus to solve the enigma of life. We are&mdashwhence came we? We are not&mdashwhither do we go? All things in our existence have their object: existence has none. We live, move, beget our species, perish&mdashand for what? We ask the past its moral we question the gone years of the reason of our being, and from the clouds of a thousand ages there goes forth no answer. Is it merely to pant beneath this weary load to sicken of the sun to grow old to drop like leaves into the grave and to bequeath to our heirs the worn garments of toil and labour that we leave behind? Is it to sail for ever on the same sea, ploughing the ocean of time with new furrows, and feeding its billows with new wrecks, or&mdash&rdquo and his thoughts paused blinded and bewildered.
No man, in whom the mind has not been broken by the decay of the body, has approached death in full consciousness as Falkland did that moment, and not thought intensely on the change he was about to undergo and yet what new discoveries upon that subject has any one bequeathed us? There the wildest imaginations are driven from originality into triteness: there all minds, the frivolous and the strong, the busy and the idle, are compelled into the same path and limit of reflection. Upon that unknown and voiceless gulf of inquiry broods an eternal and impenetrable gloom no wind breathes over it&mdashno wave agitates its stillness: over the dead and solemn calm there is no change propitious to adventure&mdashthere goes forth no vessel of research, which is not driven, baffled and broken, again upon the shore.
The moon waxed high in her career. Midnight was gathering slowly over the earth the beautiful, the mystic hour, blent with a thousand memories, hallowed by a thousand dreams, made tender to remembrance by the vows our youth breathed beneath its star, and solemn by the olden legends which are linked to its majesty and peace&mdashthe hour in which, men should die the isthmus between two worlds the climax of the past day the verge of that which is to come wrapping us in sleep after a weary travail, and promising us a morrow which, since the first birth of Creation has never failed. As the minutes glided on, Falkland felt himself grow gradually weaker and weaker. The pain of his wound had ceased, but a deadly sickness gathered over his heart: the room reeled before his eyes, and the damp chill mounted from his feet up&mdashup to the breast in which the life-blood waxed dull and thick.
As the hand of the clock pointed to the half-hour after midnight the attendants who waited in the adjoining room heard a faint cry. They rushed hastily into Falkland&rsquos chamber they found him stretched half out of the bed. His hand was raised towards the opposite wall it dropped gradually as they approached him and his brow, which was at first stern and bent, softened, shade by shade, into his usual serenity. But the dim film gathered fast over his eye, and the last coldness upon his limbs. He strove to raise himself as if to speak the effort failed, and he fell motionless on his face. They stood by the bed for some moments in silence: at length they raised him. Placed against his heart was an open locket of dark hair, which one hand still pressed convulsively. They looked upon his countenance&mdash(a single glance was sufficient)&mdashit was hushed&mdashproud&mdashpassionless&mdashthe seal of Death was upon it.