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makes it clear that there is no truth in it. It cannot, however, be denied that, like his patron Southampton and his favourer' Pembroke, Shakespeare anticipated the rights of marriage before wedlock; and it is mere special pleading to say, without any evidence, that there must have been a pre-contract in his case. Beyond question he was a man of strong passions and a recognised master in the art of love, as is proved by the curious poem, • Willobie his Avisa. Moreover, his portrait, with its full lips, whence his supposed nickname Labeo, tells the same tale to the physiognomist, despite his' own words, .There is no art To find the mind's construction in the face.' This feature has been horribly exaggerated in the disagreeable · Flower Portrait,' which is unaccountably prefixed to Sir Sidney Lee's new edition of the Life.

But, after going down, like Dante, into Hell, Shakespeare, through the essential nobility of his nature, 'mastered this little mansion of himself,' t and, purged of the stains and errors of his London life,f came back to his wife and home in Stratford. There he busied himself with his orchards and his farming, and with furthering local interests through his influence among 'persons of quality' in London. He died a patriotic citizen and a good man, possibly at the last, as Archdeacon Davies seems to have heard, a papist. But his burial in Stratford church—though possibly accounted for by the fact that he was a part-owner of the tithes—is against this supposition, no less than the stereotyped Protestant exordium to his will. In his Stratford bust we see the firm serene face of one who has emerged a triumphant victor over all evil inclinations. Like the mariner of philosophy spoken of by Marcus Aurelius, he has turned the headland and finds all at set-fair and a halcyon sea.'s Such a man, who has passed through the valley of humiliation, is to us more human and more lovable than if he had been as faultless as King Arthur.


'1, 4, 12.

+ Edward III,' 11, 2, 97. # Dr Wallace says that it is becoming doubtful whether he ever did settle down at Stratford ; but is it?

$ Shakespeare almost certainly imitated in his Sonnet 55 a passage of Meres' book, Palladis Tamia.'



The great war has left us more than enough of sad memories, so that it may be refreshing to turn from these to read the amusing account which tells how the town of Ghent saved its famous picture by Van Eyck, known to us as The Adoration of the Lamb,' from the rapacity of the Germans. Every art-lover has admired this picture in the Cathedral of St Bavon. It was commissioned by the rich Burgomaster, Jodocus Vydt, from Hubert Van Eyck for a small chapel in the church where he and his wife hoped to be buried. Hubert Van Eyck died in 1426, and the work was finished by his brother Jan, perhaps also with the help of the third brother, Lambert Van Eyck. In 1432 it was placed in the chapel, where it has since been the wonder and admiration of the world. But, during the five hundred years since the picture was painted, it has had many vicissitudes; portions of it have been separated from the rest; and it is only since 1920 that the whole can be seen together again.

The Adoration of the Lamb' was in 1578 very nearly given by the Calvinists to Queen Elizabeth as a bribe for her help ; but a Flemish noble fortunately interposed, and it was kept safely in the Town Hall and replaced in its chapel in 1584. Next it was nearly burnt by accident in 1641 ; and in 1781 the Emperor Joseph II of Austria, when paying a visit to St Bavon, objected to the nudity of Adam and Eve, with the result that the offending figures were put away in a garret and clothed copies took their place, though Albert Dürer had especially singled out the figure of Eve for admiration. In 1794 the central portion was stolen by the French and exhibited in the Louvre; but Wellington, in 1814, insisted on the return of the treasure. A law was then made that the picture should never again be alienated; and yet the same year, in December 1816, De Surre, the Vicar-General and administrator of the Diocese of Ghent, when his Bishop was away, actually sold the folding doors of the priceless polyptych to a Dutch dealer at Brussels, saying that he considered them of small value, being very ancient and very ugly. A thousand francs for each of the six panels were offered by this dealer on the condition that they

should be delivered within twenty-four hours. He received the shutters within the specified time, and parted with them immediately to Mr Solly, an Englishman living in Germany. Of course there was a great outcry ; but it was too late; the traitor in the camp had sold what it has taken more than a hundred years to recover. Mr Solly resold the shutters at a high profit, for 500,000 thalers, to the King of Prussia ; and thus Berlin, before the great war, owned these famous paintings. *

This introduction will show why the Germans were so very anxious in the year 1914 not only to retain the shutters of the Van Eyck, but to obtain the rest of the great picture, and it brings us to the story of the hiding. One official of St Bavon long ago had betrayed his trust; but it was left to another to wipe away that disgrace. M. Van der Gheyn is a Canon of the Cathedral, President of the Historical and Archäological Society of Ghent, and a warm lover of his country and of its ancient art. He will go down to posterity as the man who, by his courage and his great resource, saved The Adoration of the Lamb' from being carried off by the Germans, or worse—for the burning of the irreplaceable Library of Louvain was at this moment before the eyes of the Belgians, helping Canon Van der Gheyn to draw his own conclusions. It is from a pamphlet by him, published by Van Doosselaere of Ghent, that the following account is drawn.

As soon as the invasion of Belgium began, the Canon realised that the picture was in danger, and that something should be done to save it from being destroyed or carried off to Berlin. He consulted the Dean and Chapter of St Bavon and several of his friends. The question with the Cathedral Chapter was- If the Germans conquer Belgium, who can prevent them from carrying off our picture?' 'Even if you hide it,' said the Canon's friends, 'the Huns will make you reveal the place at the muzzle of a Browning. What would you do then ?' 'I should say-fire !' was the Canon's reply. The danger drew nearer and nearer; finally the distracted Canon decided to go to the Burgomaster and ask his advice. If this proved of no avail, then he would apply to Van der Heuvel, one of the Belgian Ministers. The Burgomaster hesitated to answer his appeal; but hearing the Canon mention Van der Heuvel's name, he exclaimed, 'Go to him, let him decide; but in any case do not let me know where you think of hiding it.'

* The six Berlin shutters were specially mentioned in the Treaty of Versailles as to be restored to Ghent, the value to be deducted from the total sum due for reparations. The price now set upon them was fixed by the Germans at 75,000,000 francs. In 1916 (see below) they estimated it as from ten to twenty millions. But it was not till November 1920 that the shutters were restored.

M. Van der Heuvel was at Antwerp, whither the Belgian Government had already retired, before going on to Le Havre. When the Canon repeated the question, . Shall I hide the picture or not?' the answer was laconic and to the point-Hide it.' The Canon's joy was great. Here at last was some one who agreed with him and had the courage to say so; but there was still much to consider and very little time in which to act. The place of hiding must not be damp; it must be easily visited in order to see that the picture ran no danger from fire or water. A friend to whom he confided his difficultiesM. Pierre Nyssens-exclaimed, 'I know the very place for it; come and see it.'

The Canon was now determined that as few persons as possible should be let into the secret; for, besides the risk of being shot, a secret shared by many is seldom a secret for long. He had, however, three friends whom he could absolutely trust, MM. Franz and Henri Coppejans and M. Joseph Cornélis. When he applied to them, all three agreed to help him. They found M. Nyssens' hiding-place excellent, but decided that it was too small to hold all the panels. In one way this was a good thing, as it divided the danger of discovery; and at last M. Coppejans found a second place of concealment which, with a few adaptations, could be made perfectly secure. Now came the question, how was it possible to avoid publicity while packing up the panels in their cases ? Again M. Cornélis came to the rescue; he would have the cases made of dry wood, at this time still procurable, and have them sent to his private studio as if for his personal use. But how could the taking down and packing of the polyptych remain a dead secret ?

It was now towards the end of August. Liége had

fallen after its heroic defence; Louvain was half burnt and the ashes of the priceless library were scattered to the winds; Namur was threatened. If the people in Ghent saw that the Cathedral authorities were transporting their treasures elsewhere, a panic would certainly ensue, as was the case later on; and at all costs this must be avoided if the town was not to share the fate of Louvain. Not even the subordinate officials of the Cathedral should know that the picture was to be taken away, and much less whither it was going ; yet there was only one hour in the day when the building was closed and deserted-this was between twelve and one, for at one o'clock the body of cleaners trooped in till the place was thrown open at two o'clock to the public. This then was the hour in which they must get everything done. So one day at noon the friends met, bringing two ladders, and they worked with such good will that in thirty-five minutes the work was safely accomplished and the panels taken secretly to the Archbishop's palace close by. Not a soul had noticed them. The curtains were let down as usual over the picture space; and it was only a few days afterwards that the Canon informed the servants of the Cathedral that it was gone.

It was decided that the actual hiding was also to take place at noon, for at that hour the whole of Ghent was at déjeuner, and there were few idlers in the street. The cart was ready in the yard, but who should drive it? Another Coppejans brother conducted a business in stoves, and he at once offered to drive the cart. He dressed himself in workman's clothes and, covering up the precious cases with old iron and rubbish, he drove the Van Eyck through Ghent. The other conspirators went to the rendezvous by different streets; and when M. Nyssens saw the arrival of the strange cargo he burst out laughing. Who could imagine that a picture worth millions was hidden under that rubbish heap ? The Virgin and St John were deposited in this hidingplace, and, as the cart was able to get into the courtyard, no one saw the actual unpacking. The second hidingplace received in like manner the remaining panels.

The first act of the play was now safely over; would the other be equally successful? Would the enemy or the Canon of St Bavon win the victory ? The Canon

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