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educated generation. Miracles are recorded by them still as within their own experience, and not always with intentional falsehood. Dunstan in some degree outlived his power, and the kings who succeeded found weaker counsellors, and paid the penalty in Dane-gelt and other troubles. He was buried in his cathedral, "deep under ground, with a pyramid over him, and at his head the matin altar ; but five hundred years afterwards the monks of Glastonbury set up a claim to the possession of his bones, which led to a correspondence between their abbot and the then primate of Canterbury; each warning the other-of course in the most friendly manner-against the "scandal, superstition, and confusion" likely to arise from such a mistake; and both very successful in convincing-themselves.
One more archbishop, and we have done. He was a generation later than Dunstan; like him a stanch Benedictine, but as different a character as can well be conceived. It was in those terrible days when the Danes were again carrying fire and sword through England in revenge for the treachery of St Brice's Day, that Elphege, Bishop of Winchester, was advanced to the primacy; a man "abundant in alms-deeds, and a rebuker of the rich-severe to others, but severer to himself." The Danes sat down before Canterbury. Friends urged him to fly, as archbishops had done before; but he refused. Nor did he take mace in hand instead of his crosier, as his predecessor Odo had done without reproach. But he too had a warfare to accomplish. Daily he was at his post in his cathedral, administering the sacred elements to the defenders of the walls. There was treachery at work within; and by such help the Danes, infuriated by the long resistance, rushed at last upon their prey. All the horrors of a city sacked by barbarians followed. The archbishop stood his ground, and offered himself as a victim instead of the women and
children. But the conquerors kept him in the hope of a ransom, which they fixed at three thousand pieces of silver. His friends assured him it could be raised, impoverished as they were; the church plate throughout the province should be sold if needful. Again he refused; not for him should the treasures of the church be given to heathens. At last his captors held a great feast, which was enlivened by a cargo of southern wine.
them sport. "The archbishop was sent for to make Money, bishop, money,' was the cry which resounded on all sides, as he was hurried into the hall. Breathless from fatigue, he sat down for a short time, in silence. Money, money,' was still the cry. Your ransom, bishop, Having now recovered dignity, and all were attentive to hear his breath, the archbishop rose with whether a promise of money for his ransom would be made. 'Silver and gold,' he said, have I none; what is mine to give, I freely offer, the knowledge of the one true God. Him it is my duty to preach; and if you heed not my call to repentance, from His justice you will not escape.' Some one more heartless than the rest here threw an ox bone with all his force at the defenceless old man, and amidst shouts of laughter the cowardly example was followed. The missiles, which the floor plentifully supplied, were hurled at him, till he fell in an agony of pain, but not dead. There was standing by, a Dane, whom Elphege had baptised and confirmed on the preceding day. He knew not how to assist his spiritual father, but he was moved by feelings of pity and compassion. It is clear that he revolved in his mind what
step he would take if his favourite waring that in such a case, he would, as horse were mortally wounded; and knowspeedily as possible, put him out of his pain, he lifted up his battle axe, and as an act of Christian charity, clave in twain the skull of Elphege, Archbishop of Canterbury."
His bones lie side by side with Dunstan's at Canterbury, carried there by King Canute with great honours, ten years after; and stubborn indeed must be the English puritan who grudges him his title of Saint. He was something more, at all events-by Dr Hook's leave than our 66 ordinary Christians,"
and claims something more than "the homage of a charitable respect."
The Dean has much to say about Stigand, whose character he warmly vindicates from the charge of timeserving which has been alleged against him; but the volume closes with the accession of the conqueror, and the last Saxon archbishop's life was cast in too eventful a period to be dismissed in a sketch. If the succeeding volumes of this biographical history do not disappoint the promise of the first, our readers will thank us for having at least called their attention to them.
Amongst the points of minor interest of these pages, it is amusing to note how the world ecclesiastical as well as civil is given to repeat itself. When we read of the first (Italian) Bishop of London being startled out of his propriety by the sight of wax lights burning on the altar" (p. 95), we feel almost as puzzled for the moment as he was, and are inclined to fancy that the writer must have worked up a portion of a modern newspaper paragraph by mistake. When Hadrian, in the seventh century, submits to have "the licentious prolixity of his beard curtailed," before he ventures to present himself to the English bishops,—or Archbishop Richard, in his canons, five hundred years later, decrees that "clerks that wear long hair are to be clipped by the archdeacon, even against their will,”—we wonder whether a modern prelate was aware that he had such good medieval authority, and whether future archdeacons are likely to have this shearing of the flock imposed upon them as an addition to their duties? The modern caricature which represents the rector as sleek and well-fleshed, the curate lean and pale, might have had its origin in the days when, according to the canonical rule of Chrodegang, Archbishop of Metz, presbyters and deacons were to be allowed three cups of wine at dinner, and subdeacons only two. There was the same tendency then as now
VOL. XC.-NO. DXLIX.
to mark certain doctrinal peculiarities by little clerical fancies of costume. The scissors did for the hair what it does now in the tailor's hands for the clerical coat and waistcoat. The varieties of the tonsure marked those ecclesiastical differences which sundry forms of clerical costume now affect to represent less successfully. And as we are told that there is, or was, a certain coat considered correct by HighChurchmen, which profane tailors knew in the trade as an "M.B." (Mark of the Beast), so we read that the Italians, who shaved their heads after what they held to be the tonsure of St Peter, accused their opponents of wearing what they were pleased to call "the mark of Simon Magus." Even in those remote ages there were Ladies' Colleges, where the Abbess Hildelidis and her scholars could read Latin (De laudibus Virginitatis), and even understand the Græcisms of the author, and bishops died of the gout.
There is one great fact which receives strong incidental confirmation from several scattered notices in this volume, and which has been kept very much in the background, intentionally or not, by the old ecclesiastical historians. It is the extent to which paganism continued to retain its hold upon the inner heart of the population long after they had professed a nominal Christianity. The wholesale conversions under the preaching of Augustine, Paulinus, Wilfred, and others, and the ready relapse into heathenism when the pressure was withdrawn, would be pretty conclusive evidence that such conversion was in danger of being superficial. But the indefinite amount of the old belief still surviving even in those whose new profession was sincere, who accounted themselves Christians, and, to a certain extent, were so,the leaven of Paganism which ran through the whole of popular medieval Christianity,—is a noteworthy point of ecclesiastical history which deserves fuller inquiry. It was not merely that Christian
teachers interpreted liberally Pope Gregory's advice to Augustine-to adapt the idol temples to Christian worship, to change the idol sacrifices into feasts of dedication, and, in short, to make the transition to the purer faith as little abrupt as might be, it was not only that complaisant genealogists placed Woden in the scriptural pedigree as a descendant of Adam-or zealots like Boniface thought that it was enough to set up a saint's image instead of a mythological idol-there was abundant heathenism besides, which held its ground side by side with a form of Christian belief. There was a necessity for perpetual warnings against pagan observances, "auguries, phylacteries, and incantations;" Odo's canons allude to "magical illusions;" offerings to the devil were common enough to warrant a specific enactment against them in the "Dooms" of Wihtræd; the homilies of Ælfric speak of the heathen superstitions still common at burials; King Edgar, with all his forty-seven monasteries, is more than suspected of an attempt to bring Woden into fashion again; and Dunstan's canons call upon the
priests to extinguish heathenism, especially "the worship of fountains, groves, ellens (elder trees), and also many trees of divers sorts, and stones." A remarkable illustration of the prevalence of this pagan deification of the powers of nature may be seen in that wellknown cycle of romance which is associated with Arthur and his Round Table, where a fanciful Christianity is strangely blended with the imagery of an eastern fairy-talewhere the Archbishop of Canterbury sings the mass in one chapter, and the wicked Queen Morgaine turns the whole company into stones in the next. These relics of paganism hang about us still, bodied in our language, even in such semi-religious terms as Easter, Lent, Yule, Beltane, &c., and exercising an influence, far more powerful perhaps than we are aware of, in some of our rustic superstitions. Within the present generation children have been passed through a cleft ash tree for the cure of fits, a genuine vestige of Saxon heathendom. The "Devil's claw" has left its mark elsewhere besides on the wall of St Pancras.
JUDICIAL PUZZLES.-SPENCER COWPER'S CASE.
Ar the summer assizes at Hertford, on the 16th of July 1699, a young barrister, rising into eminence in his profession, the son of a baronet of ancient family, who was one of the representatives, and the brother of a King's Counsel, who was the other representative of the town in Parliament, held up his hand at the bar to answer a charge of murder. It was not for blood, shed in an angry brawl-it was not for vindicating his honour by his sword in defiance of the law, that Spencer Cowper was arraigned. He was accused of having deliberately murdered a woman, whose only fault was having loved him too devotedly, and trusted him too implicitly. He was called upon to plead to a charge which, if proved, would not only consign his body to the gibbet, but his name to eternal infamy.
Sarah Stout was the only daughter of a Quaker maltster in the town of Hertford. Her father was an active and influential supporter of the Cowpers at the elections, and the kind of intimacy which ordinarily takes place under such circumstances arose between the families. Attentions, highly flattering no doubt to their vanity, were paid to the wife and daughter of the tradesman by the ladies of the baronet's family; and an intimacy arose between Spencer Cowper and Sarah, which did not cease when she was left an orphan upon the death of her father, and he became the husband of another woman. He managed the little fortune which had been bequeathed to her; he occasionally took up his abode (whether as a guest or a lodger does not appear) at her mother's house, when business called him to Hertford; and he unhappily inspired her with a violent, and, as the event, proved, a fatal passion.
Never did the truth of the proverb, "Cucullus non facit mona
chum," or rather, in this case, monacham, receive a stronger confirmation than from the story of poor Sarah Stout. Stormy passions beat under the dove-coloured bodice, and flashed from the eyes which were shaded by the close white cap and poke bonnet of the Quakeress. Her whole heart and soul were given to Spencer Cowper. A man of sense and honour would, under such circumstances, at once have broken off the connection, and saved the girl, at the cost of some present suffering, from future guilt and misery. A man of weak determination and kind feelings might have got hopelessly involved in attempting to avoid inflicting pain. Cowper did neither. He carried on a clandestine correspondence with her under feigned names, and received letters from her breathing the most ardent passion, which he displayed amongst his profligate associates. He introduced a friend to her as a suitor, and then betrayed to that friend the secrets which, above all others, a man of honour is bound to guard with the strictest fidelity. He behaved as ill as a man could do under the circumstances.
On the morning of Monday the 13th of March, the first day of the spring assizes of 1699, Spencer Cowper arrived in Hertford, travelling (as was then the custom of the bar) on horseback. He went direct to the house of Mrs Stout, where he was expected, in consequence of a letter which had been written, announcing his intended visit. He was asked to alight, but declined to do so, as he wished to show himself in the town. He promised, however, to send his horse, and to come himself to dinner. This promise he kept, and having dined with Mrs Stout and her daughter, he left the house about four o'clock, saying that he had business in the town, but that he would return in the evening.At nine he returned, asked for pen,
ink, and paper to write to his wife, and had his supper. Mrs Stout, the mother, went to bed, leaving Spencer Cowper and her daughter together, orders having been given to make a fire in his room. Between ten and eleven o'clock Sarah called the servant-girl, and, in Cowper's hearing, desired her to warm his bed.
She went up-stairs for that purpose, leaving Spencer Cowper and Sarah alone in the parlour together. As she went up-stairs she heard the house clock (which was half an hour too fast) strike eleven. In about a quarter of an hour afterwards, she heard the house-door shut to, and, supposing that Cowper had gone out to post his letter, she remained warming his bed for about a quarter of an hour longer. She then went down stairs, and found that both Spencer Cowper and her young mistress were gone. The mother could not be examined upon the trial as she was a Quaker, and could not take an oath. account of the transactions of that day, therefore, rests solely upon the evidence of Sarah Walker, the servant, who deponed as follows:
May it please you, my Lord, on Friday before the last assizes, Mr Cowper's wife sent a letter to Mrs Stout, that she might expect Mr Cowper at the assize time; and therefore we expected Mr Cowper at that time, and accordingly provided; and as he came in with the judges, she asked him if he would alight? He said, No; by reason I came in later than usual, I will go into the town and show myself,' but he would send his horse presently. She asked him how long it would be before he would come, because they would stay for him? He said he could not tell, but he would send her word; and she thought he had forgot, and sent me down to know whether he would please to come? He said he had business, and he could not come just then; but he came in less than a quarter of an hour after, and dined there, and he went away at four o'clock; and then my mistress asked him if he would lie there? And he answered yes, and he came at night about nine; and he sat talking about half an hour, and then called for pen, ink, and
* 13 State Trials, 1112.
paper, for that, as he said, he was to write to his wife; which was brought him, and he wrote a letter; and then my would have for supper? He said milk, by reason he had made a good dinner; and I got him his supper, and he eat it; after she called me in again, and they were talking together, and then she bid me make a fire in his chamber; and when I had done so, I came and told him ofit, and he looked at me, and made me no answer; then she bid me warm the bed, which accordingly I went up to do as the clock struck eleven; and in about a quarter of an hour I heard the door shut, and I thought he was gone to convey the letter, and stayed about a quarter of an hour longer, and came down, and he was gone and she; and Mrs Stout the mother asked me the reason why he went out when I was warming his bed? And she asked me for my mistress, and I told her I left her with Mr Cowper; and I never saw her after that, nor did Mr
mistress went and asked him what he
Cowper return to the house."
Cowper, who defended himself with great ability, asked the witness in cross-examination
"When you came down and missed your mistress, did you inquire after her all that night?
"A.—No, sir, I did not go out of the doors; I thought you were with her, and so I thought she would come to no harm.
"Mr Couper.-Here is a whole night she gives no account of. Pray, mistress, why did you not go after her?
-My mistress would not let
"Mr Cowper. Why would she not let you?
"A.-I said I would see for her. 'No,' says she, by reason if you go and seek for her, and do not find her, it will make an alarm over the town, and there may be no occasion.'" +
Maternal solicitude could not be very strong in the breast of Mrs Stout, or she was disposed to place a more than ordinary degree of confidence in the discretion of her daughter and young Cowper. Sarah Stout was never again seen alive. The next morning her body was found in a mill-dam something less than a mile distant. Cowper never returned to Mrs Stout's; he was
+ Ibid., 1114.