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kindness shown to her son; and the Earl and his adopted boy left France together. When Richard II. was deposed, Henry Bolingbroke struck off the head of the Earl of Salisbury. Among the papers of the murdered man the lays of Christine were found by King Henry, who was so much struck with their purity and beauty, that he wrote to the fair authoress of her son's safety, under his protection, and invited her to his court.
This invitation was at once a compliment and an insult, for the hand that sent it was stained with the blood of her friend. Christine, however, had worldly wisdom enough to send a respectful, though firm refusal, to a crowned head, a successful soldier, and one, moreover, who held her son in his power. Feminine tact must have guided her pen, for Henry was not offended, and twice despatched a herald to renew the invitation to his court. She steadily declined to leave France, but managed the affair so admirably that she at last obtained the return of her son from England.
Like her father, Thomas de Pisan, Christine seems to have been sought as an ornament of their courts by several rulers. Henry Bolingbroke could not gain her for England, and the Duke of Milan in vain urged her to reside in that city. Seldom has a literary lady in any age received such tempting invitations; yet Christine refused to leave France, although her own fortunes were anything but certain. The Duke of Burgundy took her son under his protection, and urged Christine to write the history of her patron, This was a Charles V. of France. work grateful to her feelings, and she had commenced the memoir when the death of the Duke deprived her of his patronage, and threw her son again upon her care, involving her in many anxieties. But Christine bore herself through all her trials with firmness and prudence, and her latter days were more tranquil. She took a deep interest in the affairs of her adopted country, and welcomed in her writings
the appearance of the Maid of Orleans.
The deeds of Joan of Arc need no recital here. A daughter of France in the nineteenth century had a soul pure enough to reflect the image of the Maid of Orleans, and with a skilful hand she embodied the vision in marble. The statue of Joan of Arc, modelled by the or rather Princess Marie, adorns the halls of Versailles. sanctifies Of woman's work as an artist in the early centuries we have a curious illustration in a manuscript belonging to the Bibliothèque Royale at Paris, which exhibits a female figure painting the statue of the Madonna. The artist holds in her left hand a palette, which is the earliest notice of the use of that implement with which antiquarians are acquainted. The fashion of painting figures cut in wood was once much practised, and we see here the representation of a female artist of very ancient date. Painting, music, and dancing come under the designation of accomplishments; yet to obtain distinction in any of these branches implies a vast amount of work. An illustration of Lygate's Pilgrim shows us a young lady playing upon a species of organ with one hand; in the other she holds to her lips a mellow horn, through which she pours her breath, if not her soul; lying beside her is a stringed instrument called a sawtry. Such varied musical acquirements certainly argue both industry and devotion to art. Charlemagne's daughters were distinguished for their skill in dancing; and we read of many instances in the Middle Ages of women excelling in these fine arts.
The period of time generally denominated the Middle Ages commences with the fifth century, and ends with the fifteenth. We have in several instances ventured to extend the limits as far as a part of the sixteenth century, and therefore include among female artists the name of Sofonisba An
guisciola, who was born about 1540. She was a noble lady of Cremona, whose fame spread early throughout Italy. In 1559, Philip II. of Spain invited her to his court at Madrid, where on her arrival she was treated with great distinction. Her chief study was portraiture, and her pictures became objects of great value to kings and popes.
Her royal patrons of Spain married their artist to a noble Sicilian, giving her a dowry of twelve thousand ducats and a pension of one thousand ducats, beside rich presents in tapestries and jewels. She went with her husband to Palermo, where they resided several years. On the death of her husband the king and queen of Spain urged her to return to their court; but she excused herself on account of her wish to visit Cremona. Embarking on board a galley for this purpose, bound to Genoa, she was entertained with such gallantry by the captain, Orazio Lomellini, one of the merchant princes of that city, that the heart of the distinguished artist was won, and she gave him her hand on their arrival at Genoa. History does not tell us whether she ever revisited Cremona, but she dwelt in Genoa during the remainder of her long life, pursuing her art with great success. On her second marriage, her faithful friends in the royal family of Spain added four hundred crowns to her pension. The Empress of Germany visited Sofonisba on the way to Spain, and accepted from her hand a little picture. Sofonisba became blind in her old age, but lost no other faculty. Vandyck was her guest when at Genoa, and said that he had learned more of his art from one blind old woman than from any other teacher. A medal was struck in her honor at Bologna. The Academy of Fine Arts at Edinburgh contains a noble picture by Vandyck, painted in his Italian manner. It represents individuals of the Lomellini family, and was probably in progress when he visited this illustrious woman, who had become a member of that house.
Stirling in his "Artists of Spain" states that few of Sofonisba's pictures are now known to exist, and that the beautiful portrait of herself, probably the one mentioned by Vasari in the wardrobe of the Cardinal di Monte at Rome, or that noticed by Soprani in the palace of Giovanni Lomellini at Genoa, is now in the possession of Earl Spencer at Althorp. The engraving from this picture, in Dibdin's Ædes Althorpianæ, lies before us. We think the better of kings and queens who prized a woman with eyes so clear, and an expression of such honesty and truth. The original is said to be masterly in its drawing and execution. Sofonisba is represented in a simple black dress, and wears no jewels. She touches the keys of a harpsichord with her beautiful hands; a duenna-like figure of an old woman stands behind the instrument, apparently listening to the melody.
Whatever of skill or fame women have acquired through the ages in other departments, the nursery has ever been an undisputed sphere for woman's work. Nor have we reason to think that, in the centuries we have been considering, she was not faithful to this her especial province. The cradle of Henry V., yet in existence, is one of the best specimens of nursery furniture in the fourteenth century which have come down
Beautifully carved foliage fills the space between the uprights and stays and stand of the cradle, which is not upon rockers, but apparently swings like the modern crib. On each of these uprights is perched a dove, carefully carved, whose quiet influences had not much effect on the infant dreams of Prince Hal.
Henry was born at Monmouth, 1388, and sent to Courtfield, about seven miles distant, where the air was considered more salubrious. There he was nursed under the superintendence of Lady Montacute, and in that place this cradle was preserved for many years. It was sold by a steward of the Montacute property, and, after passing through
several hands, was in the possession piece, has three niches for ornamental of a gentleman near Bristol when engraved for Shaw's "Ancient Furniture," in 1836.
In the Douce Collection of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, there is figured in a manuscript of the fifteenth century a cradle, with the baby very nicely tucked up in it. The cradle resembles those of modern date, and is upon rockers. Another illustration of the same period shows us a cradle of similar form, the "cradle, baby, and all" carried on the head of the nursery-maid, a caryatid style of baby - tending which we cannot suppose to have been universal. The inventories of household furniture belonging to Reginald de la Pole, after enumerating some bed-hangings of costly stuff, describe: "Item, a pane" (piece of cloth which we now call counterpane) "and head-shete for ye cradell, of same sute, bothe furred with mynever,"-giving us a comfortable idea of the nursery establishment in the De la Pole family. The recent discovery in England of that which tradition avers to be the tomb of Canute's little daughter, speaks of another phase in nursery experience. The relics, both of the cradle and the grave, bear their own record of the joys, cares, and sorrows of the nursery in vanished years, and bring near to every mother's heart the baby that was rocked in the one, and the grief which came when that little form was given to the solemn keeping of the other.
A miniature in an early manuscript, called "The Birth of St. Edmund,' gives us a picture of a bedroom and baby in the fifteenth century. St. Edmund himself was born five hundred years previous to that date; but as saints and sinners look very much alike when they are an hour old, we can imagine that, as far as the baby is concerned, it may be considered a portrait. A pretty young woman, in a long white gown, whose cap looks like magnified butterflies' wings turned upside down, sits on a low seat before the blazing woodfire burning on great andirons in a wide fireplace, which, instead of a mantel
vases. She holds the baby very nicely, and, having warmed his feet, has wrapt him in a long white garment, so that we see only his little head in a plain night - cap, surrounded indeed by the gilded nimbus of his saintship, which we hope was not of tangible substance, as it would have been an appendage very inconvenient to all parties concerned. The mother reposes in a bed with high posts and long curtains. She must have been a woman of strong nerves to have borne the sight of such stupendous head-gears as those in which her attendants are nid-nodding over herself and baby, or to have supported the weight of that which she wears by way of night-cap. One nurse raises the lady, while another, who, from her showy dress, appears to be the head of the department, offers a tall, elegant, but very inconveniently - shaped goblet, which contains, we presume, mediæval gruel. The room has a very comfortable aspect, from which we judge that some babies in those times were carefully attended.
Many centuries ago, a young woman sat one day among the boys to whom she had come, as their father's bride, from a foreign land, to take the name and place of their mother. She showed to them a beautiful volume of Saxon poems, one of her wedding-gifts, -perhaps offered by the artists of the court of Charles le Chauve, of whose skill such magnificent specimens yet exist. As the attention of the boys was arrested by the brilliant external decorations, Judith, with that quick instinct for the extension of knowledge which showed her a true descendant of Charlemagne, promised that the book should be given to him who first learned to read it. Young Alfred won the prize, and became Alfred the Great.
We are brought near to the presence of a woman of the Middle Ages when
we stand beside the monument of Eleanor of Castile, queen of Edward I., in Westminster Abbey. The figure is lifelike and beautiful, with flowing drapery folded simply around it. The
countenance, with its delicate features, wears a look of sweetness and dignity as fresh to-day as when sculptured seven hundred years ago. The hair, confined by a coronet, falls on each side of her face in ringlets; one hand lies by her side, and once held a sceptre; the other is brought gracefully upward; the slender fingers, with trusting touch, are laid upon a cross suspended from her neck.
Historians have done their best, or their worst, to throw doubt upon the story of Eleanor's sucking the poison with her lips from the arm of her husband when a dastardly assassin of those days struck at the life of Edward. But such a tradition, whether actually a fact or not, is a tribute to the affection and strength of Eleanor's character; and all historians agree that she instilled no poison into the life of king or country. As a wife, a mother, and a queen, Eleanor of Castile stands high on the record of the women of the Middle Ages.
Coming from Westminster Abbey, in the spring of 1856, we stood one day at a window in the Strand, and watched a multitude which no man could number, pulsing through that great artery of the mighty heart of London. It was the day of the great Peace celebration, and a holiday. Hour after hour the mighty host swept on, in undiminished numbers. The place where we stood was Charing Cross,
and our thoughts went back seven hundred years, when Edward, following the mortal remains of his beloved Eleanor, erected on this spot, then a country suburb of London, the last of that line of crosses which marked those places where the mournful procession paused on its way from Herdeby to Westminster. It was the cross of the dear queen, la chère reine, which time and changes of language have since corrupted into Charing Cross. Through this pathway crowds have trodden for many centuries, and few remember that its name is linked with the queenly dead or with a kingly sorrow. Thus it is, as we hasten on through the busy thoroughfares of life from age to age, even as one of our own poets hath said,
"We pass, and heed each other not."
In these pages we have made some record of woman's work in past centuries, and also caught glimpses of duties, loves, hopes, fears, and sorrows not unlike our own. A wider sphere is now accorded, and a deeper responsibility devolves upon woman to fill it wisely and well. We should never forget that, as far as they were faithful to the duties appointed to them, they elevated their sex to a higher and nobler position, and therein performed the best work of the women of the Middle Ages.
wood, are his familiar friends. He is also on intimate terms with the clouds, and can tell the portents of storms. It is a characteristic trait, that he has a great regard for the memory of the Indian tribes, whose wild life would have suited him so well; and, strange to say, he seldom walks over a ploughed field without picking up an arrow-point, spear-head, or other relic of the red man, as if their spirits willed him to be the inheritor of their simple wealth.
With all this he has more than a tincture of literature, a deep and true taste for poetry, especially for the elder poets, and he is a good writer,—at least he has written a good article, a rambling disquisition on Natural History, in the last Dial, which, he says, was chiefly made up from journals of his own observations. Methinks this article gives a very fair image of his mind and character, so true, innate, and literal in observation, yet giving the spirit as well as letter of what he sees, even as a lake reflects its wooded banks, showing every leaf, yet giving the wild beauty of the whole scene. Then there are in the article passages of cloudy and dreamy metaphysics, and also passages where his thoughts seem to measure and attune themselves into spontaneous verse, as they rightfully may, since there is real poetry in them. There is a basis of good sense and of moral truth, too, throughout the article, which also is a reflection of his character; for he is not unwise to think and feel, and I find him a healthy and wholesome man to know.
After dinner, (at which we cut the first watermelon and muskmelon that our garden has grown,) Mr. Thoreau and I walked up the bank of the river, and at a certain point he shouted for his boat. Forthwith a young man paddled it across, and Mr. Thoreau and I voyaged farther up the stream, which soon became more beautiful than any picture, with its dark and quiet sheet of water, half shaded, half sunny, between high and wooded banks. The late rains have swollen the stream so much that many trees are standing up VOL. XVIII. - NO. 107. 19
to their knees, as it were, in the water, and boughs, which lately swung high in air, now dip and drink deep of the passing wave. As to the poor cardinals which glowed upon the bank a few days since, I could see only a few of their scarlet hats, peeping above the tide. Mr. Thoreau managed the boat so perfectly, either with two paddles or with one, that it seemed instinct with his own will, and to require no physical effort to guide it. He said that, when some Indians visited Concord a few years ago, he found that he had acquired, without a teacher, their precise method of propelling and steering a
Sept. 2. Yesterday afternoon Mr. Thoreau arrived with the boat. The adjacent meadow being overflowed by the rise of the stream, he had rowed directly to the foot of the orchard, and landed at the bars, after floating over forty or fifty yards of water where people were lately making hay. I entered the boat with him, in order to have the benefit of a lesson in rowing and paddling. . . . . I managed, indeed, to propel the boat by rowing with two oars, but the use of the single paddle is quite beyond my present skill. Mr. Thoreau had assured me that it was only necessary to will the boat to go in any particular direction, and she would immediately take that course, as if imbued with the spirit of the steersman. It may be so with him, but it is certainly not so with me. The boat seemed to be bewitched, and turned its head to every point of the compass except the right one. He then took the paddle himself, and though I could observe nothing peculiar in his management of it, the Musketaquid immediately became as docile as a trained steed. I suspect that she has not yet transferred her affections from her old master to her