« ZurückWeiter »
Spanish alliance brought with it a curse. But none the less merrily the espousal feast was held in Bordeaux; and none the less gallantly did knight and ladies ride in from all the borders of Guienne, bringing wedding gifts and all good wishes. In the autumn John of Lancaster sailed away for England with his new-made bride; never heeding-if he knew it-that Henry of Transtamare, the Spanish King, had in his wrath and fear, sent embassage to Charles the Wise, offering to make common cause against England to the uttermost of his power. For there wanted not many in his realm who still held Henry the Bastard as an usurper, and would have listened readily enough to John of Lancaster, had the duke been bold enough to claim the crown of Castile in right of his wife. It is not hard to guess, what manner of answer the ambassador carried back to Leon. Even had not that strong voice of Bertrand du Guesclin been close to his ear with counsel and encouragement, Charles would scarce have hesitated to close readily with the proferred alliance against Edward. So another black cloud rose on the horizon, that already looked dark enough for England.
Throughout the autumn and winter, Sir Ralph Brakespeare and his followers tarried in peace at Hacquemont, neither molested nor molesting; for the castle was far enough from any frontier to be out of the track of regular organized inroads; and, with such an addition to its garrison, it was far too tough an enterprise for the strongest of the scattered Free Companies to meddle with.
It fell on a certain day in the early spring of 1372 that the knight and the castellan sate together alone: for Odille, under a safe escort led by Gualtier de Marsan, had gone to visit her aunt, Abbess of the convent of St. Ursula, some three leagues distant. The Baron of Hacquemont had sat silent for a while, with eyes half closed, evidently musing. At length he spoke, gazing intently in his companion's face, with a very anxious look on his own.
"My son; had it not been sin to question God's will, I should have marvelled, a year agone, why it pleased Him to keep this weak taper of mine flickering on, whilst so many brave torches were quenched utterly. I marvel not now. Doubtless, there was a purpose in this, as in all other things, good or evil, which befall us. Canst thou guess-Nay, I wot well thou canst not-what hath been on my mind-waking ay, and sleeping sometimes these many days and nights past? Let me now say forth my say. Albeit my strength is wonderfully sustained, it is not always I am able for long discourse: so, though my
speech may seem strange-yea, even if it mislike thee-hinder me not, I pray thee, till I have told thee all my mind."
Then slowly and painfully, halting often, rather from lack of breath than lack of words, Philippe de Hacquemont set forth the project which he had brooded over till it seemed mature. A very few words will expound it, sufficiently for our purpose. The wish nearest
and dearest to the baron's heart was, that Ralph Brakespeare should wed Odille, and be to him thenceforth in very deed as his own son,inheriting Hacquemont, and all its fair appanage.
"If there should be no male heir of my adoption "—the baron said— "the fief must needs lapse to the Crown. True: out of all my revenues, which of late have far more than sufficed our needs, I have laid by sufficient for Odille's maintenance, should she live three-score years. The money is at usance in safe hands; and, even if she came empty-handed, there would ever be refuge open to her in St. Ursula's house yonder; but she is over young and fair to wear out her days in mourning, and her nursing task here must needs soon be done. I should go to Alix, my dame, and Marguerite, my daughter, with a right quiet spirit, if I knew, in these troublous times, I left her to guardianship like thine. Where could I look for starker arm or braver heart?"
The Free Companion's face, especially of late years, was not lightly betrayed into an expression of any violent emotion whatsoever; yet there passed across it now, legibly enough, wonderment at first, then a great gratitude, then the darkness of a greater doubt. He cleared his throat once or twice, and shifted uneasily where he sate, like one puzzled how best to frame a reply. When he did speak, his thanks were frank and hearty enough to satisfy a more exacting listener than the kind old castellan; yet he did not for an instant feign to believe that the path before them lay open and clear.
"Like should match with like"-he ended, with one of his rare smiles. "The Lady Odille deserves younger and gentler bridegroom than I. Nay, my lord, I guess what you would say; but we who ride with our lives in our hands count not our age by years. A bird, liker herself in plumage, would be more fitting mate; such for example as Messire Gualtier de Marsan."
Few had ever seen on Philippe de Hacquemont's benign brow so dark a frown as settled on it then.
"I looked for sober answer from thee, not mockery or gibe "-he said. "Hath the House of Hacquemont become so poor and lowly,
that the last of its daughters should mate with one who hath barely won silver spurs, and hath gained no los save in tiltyard ? "Tis a kindly youth enough, with a rare knack at virelay or viol, and faithful, doubtless, after his fashion. Yet, sooner than see Odille's hand laid in his trothplight, I would see her safe behind the convent grate. If I thought he had presumed-
And the weak tired eyes flashed out as they had not done for many a day. But Ralph Brakespeare broke in, his voice grave even to
"You make me repent my frank speaking, my lord. Such baseness never was in me, as to impute to the Sieur de Marsan, or your daughter, any thought unbeseeming their several conditions. I dare avouch the one as pure as snow-the other true as steel. I spake of the gallant, only as an ensample of what your heir should be in outward seeming."
Even before old age and long sickness had tamed him, Philippe de Hacquemont never could nourish resentment or suspicion long: his brow cleared swiftly; and then those two fell into long earnest discourse, bringing about a result with which both seemed content. It seemed, that Ralph Brakespeare had a strange hankering to set foot in England once more, before severing himself from it for ever. So it was settled, that he and his body squire should ride to Bordeaux the following week, and take ship thence, returning to Hacquemont after a very brief sojourn beyond the seas; that during this absence the castellan should broach the project they had then been discussing to his daughter, using-so it was solemnly agreed-no undue influence to sway her decision; and that the knight, on his coming again, should accept her answer.
The American View of the Copyright Question.
BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR.
THE question is as to the copyright of British authors in the United States. For notwithstanding the ingenious use of the converse of this question by a writer in a late number of the "Atlantic Monthly," the copyright of "American" authors in the British dominions is a matter of such small importance to either people that it would have no appreciable influence upon the action of either Government. Abstract right is the same in each case; but a clear apprehension that international copyright, as a subject of legislation in the United States, is not a mere question of the rights of authors, is the first condition necessary to the understanding of this matter. The view of it which I shall here present is, I believe, that which is taken by those whom the question chiefly concerns in the United States, and which therefore cannot fail to be the one which, in the long run at least, will control the action of Congress.
According to my observation it has never yet been laid before the public of either country; writers upon the subject having treated it chiefly, if not wholly, as a question of the rights of British authors, and the consequent duty of "American" publishers and the "American" people. If this were all, the question would have been set at rest long ago by the legislation which secured the copyright of the British author in the United States. The lack of such legislation is not caused by any unwillingness to pay the British author for the right of reading his book. The "American" public would as willingly pay copyright money to Mr. Froude as to Mr. Motley, to Mr. Tennyson as to Mr. Bryant or Mr. Longfellow, to Mr. Dickens as to Mr. Lowell. Yankees may make sharp bargains in the way of trade (so far have they deteriorated from their English original), but they are not mean, nor are they close in small matters; and the ten or fifteen or twentyfive cents a volume which an international copyright law would add to the cost of a British author's book published in the United States, is not a matter as to which they would give any thought, except to be glad that the money went into the author's pocket. The difficulty in the way is no wish to spoil the British author; but a dread, and a wellfounded dread of the rivalry of the British manufacturer. In brief, the refusal of copyright in the United States to British authors is, in
fact, although it is not so avowed, a part of the "American" protective system.
Simply, of itself, could there be a clearer, plainer matter than this one of copyright? A man invents, after long effort and many failures, a kind of wheelbarrow, serviceable, handy, labour-saving. If you would honestly use the fruit of his time, his labour, and his inventive faculty, you must pay him his price. Another man, with much expenditure of time and money, in the culture of what faculty of thinking and thought-utterance he may have been born with, produces after long brooding and sore travail, a book, which is not only his production, but his child-a part of himself-brought forth from himself—a something, to the making of which he has given not only the needful labour but the material. What substance and life there may be in it are not only his, but himself. If you use that book, not having paid him his price therefor, can you afterwards meet him, can you behold your own unnatural face in a glass without blushing? Is the labourer worthy of his hire, and the creator-he who is both labourer and that which is laboured upon-unworthy? With him who denies, or hesitates about this right, it is necessary to begin at the beginning, and do one of two things-either civilize him up to the point at which he can apprehend a right to that which may be neither seen nor touched—a right incorporeal, or dispute with him upon the righteousness of the command, "Thou shalt not steal."
All this seems plain enough; but unfortunately for the wholesome conclusion to which it tends, an author's-a native author's-copyright rests neither in Great Britain nor in the United States upon this simple, solid ground. In equity it rests there; and so it does at common law. But since the passage of that accursed statute of Queen Anne, known in the reports as "8 Anne, cap. 19," the courts and the lawyers have assumed that an author's right in his copy exists in virtue of that Act, or of some one framed upon it, by which, for the gracious encouragement of learning, copyright—that is, a right in his copy, his book-was conferred upon and vested in the author. Now if this assumption is well grounded, if it be true that an author's right to say upon what terms people shall have copies of his books, is born of a statute, the British author has no ground of complaint that his books are printed and sold in the United States without profit to him, and without his consent, because in that case he has suffered no wrong. Both countries have the same English common law but British statute law can confer no rights in the United States. It is a