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He offered to pay for the jewels. The thing might still have been hushed up. The King is blamed, first for publicly arresting Rohan as he did, an enormous scandal; next for handing over the case, for public trial, to the Parlement, the hereditary foes of the Court. Fréteau de Saint-Just, one of the Bar, cried : 'What a triumph for Liberal ideas ! A Cardinal a thief! The Queen implicated! Mud on the crosier and the sceptre !'
He had his whack of Liberal ideas, for he was guillotined on June 14, 1794 !
Kings and queens are human beings. They like a fair and open trial. Mary Stuart asked for it in vain, from the Estates of Scotland and from Elizabeth. Charles I. asked for public trial in vain, from the Estates of Scotland, at the time of the unsolved puzzle of 'The Incident.' Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette had the publicity they wanted ; to their undoing. The Parlement was to acquit Rohan of the theft of the necklace (a charge which Jeanne tried to support by a subplot of romantic complexity), and that acquittal was just. But nothing was said of the fatal insult which he had dealt to the Queen. Villette, who had forged the royal name, was merely exiled, left free to publish fatal calumnies abroad, though high treason, as times went, was about the measure of his crime. Gay d'Oliva, whose personation of the Queen also verged on treason, was merely acquitted with a recommendation ‘not to do it again.' Pretty, a young mother, and profoundly dissolute, she was the darling of Liberal and sensible hearts.
Jeanne de Valois, indeed, was whipped and branded, but Jeanne, in public opinion, was the scapegoat of a cruel princess, and all the mud was thrown on the face of the guiltless Queen. The friends of Rohan were all the clergy, all the many nobles of his illustrious house, all the courtly foes of the Queen (who began, by the basest calumnies, the ruin that the people achieved), all the friends of Liberal ideas, who soon, like Fréteau de Saint-Just, had more of Liberalism than they liked.
These were the results which the King obtained by offering to the Cardinal his choice between the royal verdict and that of the public Court of Justice. Rohan said that, if the King would pronounce him innocent, he would prefer to abide by the royal decision. He was innocent of all but being a presumptuous fool; the King might, even now, have recognised the fact. *Mud would have been thrown, but not all the poached filth of the streets of Paris. On the other hand, had Louis withheld the case from VOL., XVII.- NO. 97, N.8.
public trial, we might still be doubtful of the Queen's innocence. Napoleon acknowledged it: 'The Queen was innocent, and to make her innocence the more public, she wished the Parlement to be the judge. The result was that she was taken to be guilty.' Napoleon thought that the King should have taken the case into his own hand. This might have been wisdom for the day, but not for securing the verdict of posterity. The pyramidal documents of the process, still in existence, demonstrate the guilt of the La Mottes and their accomplices at every step, and prove the stainless character of the Queen.
La Motte could not be caught. He had fled to Edinburgh, where he lived with an aged Italian teacher of languages. This worthy man offered to sell him for £10,000, and a pretty plot was arranged by the French ambassador to drug La Motte, put him on board a collier at South Shields, and carry him to France. But the old Italian lost heart, and, after getting £1,000 out of the French Government in advance, deemed it more prudent to share the money with the Count. Perhaps the Count invented the whole stratagem ; it was worthy of the husband and pupil of Jeanne de Valois. That poor lady's cause was lost when Villette and Gay d'Oliva were brought back across the frontier, confessed, and corroborated each other's stories. Yet she made a wonderfully good fight, changing her whole defence into another as plausible and futile, before the very eyes of the Court, and doing her best to ruin Rohan as a thief, and Cagliostro as the forger of the Queen's guarantee. The bold Neapolitan was acquitted, but compelled to leave the country, and attempt England, where the phlegmatic islanders trusted him no more than they trusted Madame Humbert. We expended our main capital of credulity on Titus Oates and Bedloe, and the warming-pan lie—our imaginative innocence being most accessible in the region of religion. The French are more open to the appeal of romance, and to dissolute honesty in the person of Miss Gay d'Oliva, to injured innocence as represented by Jeanne de Valois. That class of rogues suits a gay people, while we are well mated with such a seductive divine as Dr. Oates.
THE ARCTIC RAILWAY.
The year 1903 saw the completion of an enterprise which in most years, when men were not too busy thinking of other things, would surely have attracted more attention than it has. A fresh record has been made. A railway refreshment room, and a very good one moreover, is to be found further north of the Arctic Circle than it has ever been found before. And an age which lives on records, and which can console itself for the unparalleled discomfort of the past rainy season by the reflection that no one living has ever been quite so wet and miserable before, owes it to itself to take an interest in the Arctic Railway. In the July of last year, King Oscar of Sweden formally opened for passenger traffic -it had been informally opened so far back as November 1902— the portion of the line which runs from Gellivara, in Swedish Lapland, across the divide to its terminus at Narvik in Norway, on the Ofoten Fjord. The line from Gellivara downwards to Lulea, at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia, had been working since 1887, and the Great Northern line from Stockholm up the Bothnian coast had been completed piece by piece, till it reached the Gellivara branch at Boden. The ingenious traveller who prefers land to water can now contrive to reach these Arctic regions with no more serious sea passage—there is one which is longer, but in smooth water, from Kiel to Korsoer—than the Dover to Calais crossing.
The Arctic region, however, through which this railway passes, I must caution the tourist who is in search of something exciting, is by no means the inhospitable ice-clad affair which it sounds. The truth is, that in Europe the Arctic Circle is a little bit of a fraud. Except in winter, the districts of Sweden and Norway are, though somewhat rugged and infertile, especially in the high fjeld, anything but icy. The man who wants ice and snow in any quantity in summer will have to make troublesome journeys to get to it, and he will find a great deal more of it, and more easily, in Switzerland, the Tyrol, or Spain. And the making of this railway, though very interesting, is not the achievement which a similar undertaking would be in Asia or America. It is
rather on account of its commercial importance, and as I venture to think and shall presently try to show, because of its possible future bearing on the political map of Europe, that the Arctic Railway will hereafter take its place among the interesting highways of the world.
The line owes its existence in the first instance to the presence of deposits of iron ore, in the eastern portion of Swedish Lapland, of extraordinary richness. Without becoming too statistical, I may mention that the Malmberg' or ore mountain of Gellivara yields annually something like a million tons of iron ore which contains sixty to seventy per cent. of pure metal. Richer still is the deposit of Luossovaara at Kiiruna, where the ore is quarried direct from a hill over 3,000 feet high, and is even of better quality than that of Gellivara. The quantity of ironstone in this hill has been estimated at nearly 250,000,000 tons, and now that the line is open to the sea it is proposed to make this mountain disappear at the rate of 1,500,000 tons a year. If this takes place, the world will be presented in 150 years with a demonstration of the kind which it can best appreciate, that capital, if not faith, can remove mountains.
A great deal might be written of the history of the line since its commencement, and a great many statistics might be added, which, however, my readers may prefer to take as read. It may be enough to say that the original line from Gellivara to Lulea was built by an English company between the years 1884 and 1887, and out of their ill-starred intermittent records one may quote one interesting fact as going to prove that the engineering difficulties were by no means serious-namely, that in the summer of 1886, below Gellivara, the line was built and the rails were laid the astonishing rate of one kilometre each working day. You may count the hours, of course, of a working day in full summer at eighteen to twenty-two. That same English companywho, by the way, had succeeded to an irregular service of reindeer sledges and ponies-went the way of many companies, and for a time all work ceased on the promised line. But in 1896 the Swedish Government commenced operations with a will. The line was carried northwards to Kiiruna and thence to the southern shores of Lake Torné, and thence in a westerly direction to the Norwegian Sea.
The scenery through which this northern line from Boden to Narvik passes is, it must be frankly owned, somewhat disappointing.
It is the duty of the engineer to select the line of least resistance, and very admirably has he done it: in this instance the said line leads naturally over the enormous 'Myr' peat-moors and mosses which abound everywhere along the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia. These are commonly united, or separated, by vast tracts of forest land, and here again the line, naturally, skirts the low-lying and less broken edges of the wood. There is no reason for challenging the finer features of Lapland scenery by attacking mountains which can easily be avoided. And the traveller who
the line with the idea that he will thereby see the true beauty of the country, or indeed learn the secrets of Lapland, will be seriously misled. He will not see nor learn half so much as if he should start from the Norwegian side, on any of the routes that lead across the divide to the Swedish side, and make his way thence on foot or by boat. The traveller by rail will, in fact, be surprised to find how very little the Arctic portion of his route differs from anything which he has seen in his upward journey from Stockholm, except, of course, that habitable spots are few and far between, and farming land such as he has seen in the south wholly wanting. Otherwise the general character of forest and moorland is monotonously similar, merely becoming more povertystricken as one advances to the Polar Circle. The finest part of the scenery of Inner Lapland lies nearly all the time far away to the east, and is visible only here and there in faint blue masses, with an occasional cap of
pure white snow above it, as the train passes through the gap made in the landscape by one of the many rivers which the line has to cross. The finest part of the journey begins after the train has left Kiiruna, and makes the bend westwards along the southern shore of Lake Torné. This is a really beautiful bit of travelling, especially in September, when the dwarf birch and krokebær have turned crimson and russet and gold, carpeting the whole sweep of the great desolate moorlands, till they meet the deep blue of the far-off mountains. The finest spot on the line is perhaps the Gorge of Abisko, at po great distance from the frontier. A morning spent here, with the storms sweeping across the great lake below, gave one a feast of colour which cannot easily be forgotten. Half an hour or so after one has left the place on the journey westwards one finds oneself among the treeless desolations of the higher fjeld which divides Sweden from Norway.
But if the Swedish part of the Lulea-Ofoten Railway is less