Infomotions, Inc.Interludes being Two Essays, a Story, and Some Verses / Smith, Horace, 1836-1922



Author: Smith, Horace, 1836-1922
Title: Interludes being Two Essays, a Story, and Some Verses
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): glenville; porkington; bagshaw; thornton; barton; miss candlish
Contributor(s): Lehtonen, Joel, 1881-1934 [Translator]
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Title: Interludes
       being Two Essays, a Story, and Some Verses


Author: Horace Smith



Release Date: November 14, 2005  [eBook #17065]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK INTERLUDES***





Transcribed from the 1892 Macmillan and Co. edition by David Price, email
ccx074@coventry.ac.uk





INTERLUDES
BEING
TWO ESSAYS, A STORY, AND SOME VERSES


BY
HORACE SMITH

London
MACMILLAN AND CO
AND NEW YORK
1892




ESSAYS.


I.  ON CRITICISM.


Criticism is the art of judging.  As reasonable persons we are called
upon to be constantly pronouncing judgment, and either acting upon such
judgment ourselves or inviting others to do so.  I do not know how
anything can be more important with respect to any matter than the
forming a right judgment about it.  We pray that we may have "a right
judgment in all things."  I am aware that it is an old saying that
"people are better than their opinions," and it is a mercy that it is so,
for very many persons not only are full of false opinions upon almost
every subject, but even think that it is of no consequence what opinions
they hold.  Whether a particular action is morally right or wrong, or
whether a book or a picture is really good or bad, is a matter upon which
they form either no judgment or a wrong one with perfect equanimity.  The
secret of this state of mind is, I think, that it is on the whole too
much bother to form a correct judgment; and it is so much easier to let
things slide, and to take the good the gods provide you, than to
carefully hold the scales until the balance is steady.  But can anybody
doubt that this abdication of the seat of judgment by large numbers of
people is most hurtful to mankind?  Does anyone believe that there would
be so many bad books, bad pictures, and bad buildings in the world if
people were more justly critical?  Bad things continue to be produced in
profusion, and worse things are born of them, because a vast number of
people do not know that the things are bad, and do not care, even if they
do know.  What sells the endless trash published every day?  Not the
_few_ purchasers who buy what is vile because they like it, but the
_many_ purchasers who do not know that the things are bad, and when they
are told so, think there is not much harm in it after all.  In short,
they think that judging rightly is of no consequence and only a bore.

But I think I shall carry you all with me when I say that this society,
almost by its very _raison d'etre_, desires to form just and proper
judgments; and that one of the principal objects which we have in view in
meeting together from time to time is to learn what should be thought,
and what ought to be known; and by comparing our own judgments of things
with those of our neighbours, to arrive at a just modification of our
rough and imperfect ideas.

Although criticism is the act of judging in general, and although I shall
not strictly limit my subject to any particular branch of criticism, yet
naturally I shall be led to speak principally of that branch of which
we--probably all of us--think at once when the word is mentioned, viz.,
literary and artistic criticism.  I think if criticism were juster and
fairer persons criticized would submit more readily to criticism.  It is
certain that criticism is generally resented.  We--none of us--like to be
told our faults.

"Tell Blackwood," said Sir Walter Scott, "that I am one of the Black
Hussars of Literature who neither give nor take criticism."  Tennyson
resented any interference with his muse by writing the now nearly
forgotten line about "Musty, crusty Christopher."  Byron flew into a
rhapsodical passion and wrote _English Bards and Scotch Reviewers_--

   "Ode, Epic, Elegy, have at you all."

He says--

   "A man must serve his time to every trade
   Save censure.  Critics all are ready made.
   Take hackney'd jokes from Miller, got by rote,
   With just enough of learning to misquote;
   A mind well skilled to find or forge a fault;
   A turn for punning--call it Attic salt;
   To Jeffrey go, be silent and discreet,--
   His pay is just ten sterling pounds per sheet;
   Fear not to lie, 'twill seem a sharper hit;
   Shrink not from blasphemy, 'twill pass for wit;
   Care not for feeling--pass your proper jest,--
   And stand a critic, hated yet caress'd."

Lowell retorted upon his enemies in the famous _Fable for Critics_.
Swift, in his _Battle of the Books_, revenges himself upon Criticism by
describing her.  "She dwelt on the top of a snowy mountain in Nova
Zembla.  There Momus found her extended in her den upon the spoils of
numberless volumes, half devoured.  At her right hand sat Ignorance, her
father and husband, blind with age; at her left Pride, her mother,
dressing her up in the scraps of paper herself had torn.  About her
played her children Noise and Impudence, Dulness and Vanity, Pedantry and
Ill-manners.  The goddess herself had claws like a cat.  Her head, ears,
and voice resembled those of an ass."  Bulwer (Lord Lytton) flew out
against his critics, and was well laughed at by Thackeray for his pains.
Poets are known as the _genus irritabile_, and I do not know that prose
writers, artists, or musicians are less susceptible.  Most of us will
remember Sheridan's _Critic_--

Sneer: "I think it wants incident."

Sir Fretful: "Good Heavens, you surprise me!  Wants incident!  I am only
apprehensive that the incidents are too crowded."

Dangle: "If I might venture to suggest anything, it is that the interest
rather falls off in the fifth act."

Sir Fretful: "Rises, I believe you mean, sir."

Mrs. Dangle: "I did not see a fault in any part of the play from the
beginning to the end."

Sir Fretful: "Upon my soul the women are the best judges after all."

In short, no one objects to a favourable criticism, and almost every one
objects to an unfavourable one.  All men ought, no doubt, to be thankful
for a just criticism; but I am afraid they are not.  As a result, to
criticize is to be unpopular.  Nevertheless, it is better to be unpopular
than to be untruthful.

   "The truth once out,--and wherefore should we lie?--
   The Queen of Midas slept, and so can I."

I am going to do a rather dreadful thing.  I am going to divide criticism
into six heads.  By the bye, I am not sure that sermons now-a-days are
any better than they used to be in the good old times, when there were
always three heads at least to every sermon.  Criticism should be--1.
Appreciative. 2.  Proportionate. 3.  Appropriate. 4.  Strong. 5.  Natural.
6.  _Bona fide_.

1.  _Criticism should be appreciative_.

By this I mean, not that critics should always praise, but that they
should understand.  They should see the thing as it is and comprehend it.
This is the rock upon which most criticisms fail--want of knowledge.  In
reading the lives of great men, how often are we struck with the want of
appreciation of their fellows.  Who admired Turner's pictures until
Turner's death?  Who praised Tennyson's poems until Tennyson was quite an
old man?  Nay, I am afraid some of us have laughed at those who
endeavoured to ask our attention to what we called the daubs of the one
or the doggerel of the other.  {5}This, I think, should teach us not even
to attempt to criticize until we are sure that we appreciate.  Yet what a
vast amount of criticism there is in the world which errs (like Dr.
Johnson) from sheer ignorance.  When Sir Lucius O'Trigger found fault
with Mrs. Malaprop's language she naturally resented such ignorant
criticism.  "If there is one thing more than another upon which I pride
myself, it is the use of my oracular tongue and a nice derangement of
epitaphs."  It was absurd to have one's English criticized by any
Irishman.  It is said that "it's a pity when lovely women talk of things
that they don't understand"; but I am afraid that men are equally given
to the same vice.  I have heard men give the most confident opinions upon
subjects which they don't in the least understand, which nobody expects
them to understand, nor have they had any opportunity for acquiring the
requisite knowledge.  But I suppose an Englishman is nothing if he is not
dictatorial, and has a right to say that the pictures in the Louvre are
"orrid" or that the Colosseum is a "himposition."  "I don't know what
they mean by Lucerne being the Queen of the Lakes," said a Yankee to me,
"but I calc'late Lake St. George is a doocid deal bigger."  The criticism
was true as far as it went, but the man had no conception of beauty.

   "Each might his several province well command
   Would all but stoop to what they understand."

The receipt given for an essay on Chinese Metaphysics was, look out China
under the letter C and metaphysics under the letter M, and combine your
information.  "Would you mind telling me, sir, if the Cambridge boat
keeps time or not to-day?" said a man on the banks of the Thames to me.
He explained that he was a political-meeting reporter on the staff of a
penny paper, and the sporting reporter was ill.  Sometimes the want of
appreciation appears in a somewhat remarkable manner, as where a really
good performance is praised for its blemishes and not for its merits.
This may be done from a desire to appear singular or from ignorance.  The
popular estimate is generally wrong from want of appreciation.  The
majority of people praise what is not worthy of praise and dislike what
is.  So that it is almost a test of worthlessness that the multitudes
approve.  Baron Bramwell, in discharging a prisoner at the Old Bailey,
made what he thought some appropriate observations, which were followed
by a storm of applause in the crowded court.  The learned judge, with
that caustic humour which distinguishes him, looked up and said, "Bless
me!  I'm afraid I must have said something very foolish."  An amusing
scene occurred outside a barrister's lodgings during the Northampton
Assizes.  Two painters decorating the exterior of the lodgings were
overheard as follows:--"Seen the judge, Bill?"  "Ah, I see him.  Cheery
old swine!"  "See the sheriff too?"  "Yes, I see him too.  I reckon he
got that place through interest.  Been to church; they tell me the judge
preached 'em a long sarmon.  Pomp and 'umbug I call that!"  This was no
doubt genuine criticism, but it was without knowledge.  These men were
probably voters for Bradlaugh, and the judge and the sheriff were to them
the embodiment of a hateful aristocracy.  These painters little knew how
much the judge would like to be let off even listening to the sermon, and
how the sheriff had resorted to every dodge to escape from his onerous
and thankless office.

It is recorded in the Life of Lord Houghton that Prince Leopold, being
recommended to read Plutarch for Grecian lore, got the British Plutarch
by mistake, and laid down the Life of Sir Christopher Wren in great
indignation, exclaiming there was hardly anything about Greece in it.

I am sure, too, that in order to understand the work of another we must
have something more than knowledge; we must have some sympathy with the
work.  I do not mean that we must necessarily praise the execution of it;
but we must be in such a frame of mind that the success of the work would
give us pleasure.  I am sure someone says somewhere that a man whose
first emotion upon seeing anything good is to undervalue it will never do
anything good of his own.  It argues a want of genius in ourselves if we
fail to see it in others; unless, indeed, we do really see it, and only
_say_ we don't out of envy.  This is very shameful.  I had rather do like
some amiable people I have known, disparage the work of a friend in order
to set others praising it.

Criticism should therefore be appreciative in two ways.  The critic
should bring the requisite amount and kind of knowledge and the proper
frame of mind and temper.

2.  _Criticism should be proportionate_.

By this I mean that the language in which we speak of anything should be
proportioned to the thing spoken of.  If you speak of St. Paul's Church,
Beckenham, as vast, grand, magnificent, you have no language left
wherewith to describe St. Paul's, London.  If you call Millais' Huguenots
sublime or divine, what becomes of the Madonna St. Sisto of Raphael?  If
you describe Longfellow's poetry as the feeblest possible trash, the
coarsest and most unparliamentary language could alone express your
contempt of Martin Tupper.

"What's the good of calling a woman a Wenus, Samivel?" asked the elder
Weller.  What indeed!  The elder Weller probably perceived that the
language would be out of all proportion to the object of Samivel's
affections.  Of course, something may be allowed to a generous
enthusiasm, and, with regard to this fault in criticism, it should
perhaps be said that exaggerated praise is not so base in its beginning
or so harmful in the end as exaggerated blame.  From the use of the
former Dr. Johnson defended himself with his usual vigour.  Boswell
presumed to find fault with him for saying that the death of Garrick had
eclipsed the gaiety of nations.  Johnson: "I could not have said more,
nor less.  It is the truth.  His death did eclipse, it was like a storm."
Boswell: "But why nations?  Did his gaiety extend further than his own
nation?"  Johnson: "Why, sir, some exaggeration must be allowed.  Besides,
'nations' may be said--if we allow the Scotch to be a nation, and to have
gaiety,--which they have not."

But there is more in this matter of proportion than at first meets the
eye.  How often do we converse with a man whose language we wonder at and
cannot quite make out.  It is somehow unsatisfactory.  We do not quite
like it, yet there is nothing particular to dislike.  Suddenly we
perceive that there is a want of perspective, or perhaps a want of what
artists call value.  His mountains are mole-hills, and his mole-hills are
mountains.  His colouring is so badly managed that the effect of
distance, light, and shade are lost.  Thus a man will so insist upon the
use of difficult words by George Elliot that a person unacquainted with
her writings would think that the whole merit or demerit of that author
lay in her vocabulary.  A man will so exalt the pathos of Dickens or
Thackeray that he will throw their wit and humour into the background.
Some person's only remark on seeing Turner's Modern Italy will be that
the colours are cracked, or, upon reading Sterne, that he always wrote
"you was" instead of "you were."  "Did it ever strike you," said a friend
of mine, "that whenever you hear of a young woman found drowned she
always is described as having worn elastic boots?"  Such persons look at
all things through a distorting medium.  Important things become
unimportant and _vice versa_.  The foreground is thrust back, the
distance brought forward, and the middle distance is nowhere.  The effect
of an exaggerated praise generally is that an unfair reaction sets in.
Mr. Justin M'Carthy, in his _History of Our Own Times_, points out how
much the character of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe has suffered from the
absurd devotion of Kinglake.  Kinglake writes (he says) of Lord Stratford
de Redcliffe "as if he were describing the all-compelling movements of
some divinity or providence."  What nonsense has been talked about
Millais' landscapes, Whistler's nocturnes, Swinburne poetry--all
excellent enough in their way, and requiring to be praised according to
their merits, with a reserve as to their faults.  The practice of puffing
tends to destroy all sort of proportion in criticism.  When single
sentences or portions of sentences of apparently unqualified praise are
detached from context, and heaped together so as to induce the public to
think that all praise and no blame has been awarded, of course all
proportion is lost.  Macaulay lashed this vice in his celebrated essay on
Robert Montgomery's poems.  "We expect some reserve," he says, "some
decent pride in our hatter and our bootmaker.  But no artifice by which
notoriety can be obtained is thought too abject for a man of letters.
Extreme poverty may indeed in some degree be an excuse for employing
these shifts as it may be an excuse for stealing a leg of mutton."

Upon the other hand, how unfair is exaggerated blame.  I am not speaking
here of that which is intentionally unfair, but of blame fairly meant and
in some degree deserved, but where the language is out of all proportion
to the offence.

Ruskin so belaboured the poor ancients about their landscapes that when I
was a youth he had taught me to believe that Claude and Ruisdael were
mere duffers.  So when he speaks of Whistler, as we shall presently see,
his blame is so exaggerated that it produces a revulsion in the mind of
the reader.  He said Whistler's painting consisted in throwing a pot of
paint in the public's face.  Well! we may say Whistler is somewhat
sketchy and careless or wanting in colour, but it is quite possible to
keep our tempers over it.

"This salad is very gritty," said a gentleman to Douglas Jerrold at a
dinner party.  "Gritty," said Jerrold, "it's a mere gravel path with a
few weeds in it."  That was very unfair on the salad.

3.  _Criticism should be appropriate_.

I mean by this something different from proportionate.  Sometimes the
language of criticism is not that of exaggeration, but yet it is quite as
inappropriate.  The critic may have taken his seat too high or too low
for a proper survey, or he may, by want of education or by carelessness,
use quite the wrong words to express his meaning.  You will hear a man
say, "I was enchanted with the Biglow Papers," or "I was charmed with the
hyenas at the Zoological Gardens."  I think one of the distinguishing
characteristics of a gentleman, and what makes the society of educated
gentlemen so pleasant, is that their language is appropriate without
effort.  "'What a delicious shiver is creeping over those limes!' said
Lancelot, half to himself.  The expression struck Argemone; it was the
right one."  This is what makes some people's conversation so
interesting.  It is full of appropriate language.  This is perhaps even
more the case with educated ladies.  I think it is Macaulay who says that
the ordinary letter of an English lady is the best English style to be
found anywhere.

"It would be bad _grammar_," said Cobbett, "to say of the House of
Commons, 'It is a sink of iniquity, and they are a set of rascally
swindlers.'"  Of course, the bad grammar is almost immaterial.  The
expression is either a gross libel or a lamentable fact.  "If a man,"
said Sydney Smith, "were to kill the minister and churchwardens of his
parish nobody would accuse him of want of taste.  The Scythians always
ate their grandfathers; they behaved very respectfully to them for a long
time, but as soon as their grandfathers became old and troublesome, and
began to tell long stories, they immediately ate them; nothing could be
more _improper_ and even _disrespectful_ than dining off such near and
venerable relations, yet we could not with any propriety accuse them of
bad taste."  This is very humorous.  To say that it is improper or
disrespectful is as absurd as to say that it is bad taste.  It is
properly described as cruel, revolting, and abominable.

Not being at all a French scholar, and coming suddenly in view of Mont
Blanc, I ventured to say to my guide, "_C'est tres joli_."  "_Non_,
_Monsieur_," said he, "_ce n'est pas joli_, _mais c'est curieux a voir_."
I think we were both of us rather out of it that time.

I remember an old lady of my acquaintance pointing to her new chintz of
peonies and sunflowers, and asking me if I did not think it was very
"chaste."  I should like to have said, "Oh, yes, very, quite rococo," but
I daren't.

The wife of a clergyman, writing to the papers about the "Penge Mystery,"
said that certain of the parties (whom most right-minded people thought
had committed most atrocious crimes, if not actual murder) had been
guilty of a breach of "les convenances de societe."  This is almost equal
to De Quincey's friend, who committed a murder, which at the time he
thought little about.  Keble said to Froude, "Froude, you said you
thought Law's _Serious Call_ was a clever book; it seemed to me as if you
had said the Day of Judgment will be a pretty sight."

I ought here to mention the use, or rather misuse, of words which are
often called "slang," such as "awfully jolly," "fearfully tedious,"
"horribly dull," or the expression "quite alarming," which young ladies,
I think, have now happily forgotten, and the equally silly use of the
word "howling" by young men.  Such expressions mean absolutely nothing,
and are destructive of intelligent conversation.  A man was being tried
for a serious assault, and had used a violent and coarse expression
towards the prosecutor.  "You must be careful not to be misled by the bad
language reported to have been used by the prisoner," said the judge.
"You will find from the evidence that he has applied the same expression
to his best friend, to a glass of beer, to his grandmother, his boots,
and his own eyes."

4.  _Criticism should be strong_.

I hope from the remarks I have previously made it will not be supposed
that I think all criticism should be of a flat, neutral tint, or what may
be called the washy order.  On the contrary, if criticism is not strong
it cannot lift a young genius out of the struggling crowd, and it cannot
beat down some bumptious impostor.  If the critic really believes that a
new poet writes like Milton, or a new artist paints like Sir Joshua, let
him say so; or if he thinks any work vile or contemptible, let him say
so; but let him say so well.  Mere exaggerated language, as we have seen,
is not strength; but if there is real strength in the criticism, and it
is proportionate and appropriate, it will effect its purpose.  It will
free the genius, or it will crush the humbug.  A good critic should be
feared:

   "Good Lord, I wouldn't have that man
         Attack me in the _Times_,"

was said of Jacob Omnium.

   "Yes, I am proud, I own it, when I see
   Men not afraid of God afraid of me,"

Pope said, and I can fancy with what a stern joy an honest critic would
arise and slay what he believed to be false and vicious.  In no time was
the need of strong criticism greater than it is at present.  The press is
teeming with rubbish and something worse.  Everybody reads anything that
is published with sufficient flourish and advertisement, and those who
read have mostly no power of judging for themselves, nor would they be
turned from the garbage which seems to delight them by any gentle
persuasion.  It is therefore most necessary that the critic should speak
out plainly and boldly, though with temper and discretion.  I suppose we
have all of us read Lord Macaulay's criticism upon Robert Montgomery's
poems.  The poems are, of course, forgotten; but the essay still lives as
a specimen of the terribly slashing style.  This is the way one couplet
is dealt with--

   "The soul aspiring pants its source to mount,
   As streams meander level with their fount."

"We take this on the whole to be the worst similitude in the world.  In
the first place, no stream meanders, or can possibly meander, level with
its fount.  In the next place, if streams did meander level with their
founts, no two motions can be less like each other than that of
meandering level and that of mounting upwards.  After saying that
lightning is designless and self-created, he says, a few lines further
on, that it is the Deity who bids

   'the thunder rattle from the skiey deep.'

His theory is therefore this, that God made the thunder but the lightning
made itself."  Of course, poor Robert Montgomery was crushed flat, and
rightly.  Yet before this essay was written his poems had a larger
circulation than Southey or Coleridge, just as in our own time Martin
Tupper had a larger sale than Tennyson or Browning.  Fancy if Tupper had
been treated in the same vein how the following lines would have fared:--

   "Weep, relentless eye of Nature,
      Drop some pity on the soil,
   Every plant and every creature
      Droops and faints in dusty toil."

What do the plants toil at?  I thought we knew they toil not, neither do
they spin.  It goes on--

   "Then the cattle and the flowers
      Yet shall raise their drooping heads,
   And, refreshed by plenteous showers,
      Lie down joyful in their beds."

Whether the flowers are to lie down in the cattle beds or the cattle are
to lie down in the flower beds does not perhaps distinctly appear, but I
venture to think that either catastrophe is not so much to be desired as
the poet seems to imagine.

In the Diary of Jeames yellowplush a couplet of Lord Lytton's _Sea
Captain_ is thus dealt with--

         "Girl, beware,
   The love that trifles round the charms it gilds
   Oft ruins while it shines."

"Igsplane this men and angels!  I've tried everyway, back'ards, for'ards,
and in all sorts of tranceposishons as thus--

   The love that ruins round the charms it shines
   Gilds while it trifles oft,

or

   The charm that gilds around the love it ruins
   Oft trifles while it shines,

or

   The ruin that love gilds and shines around
   Oft trifles while it charms,

or

   Love while it charms, shines round and ruins oft
   The trifles that it gilds,

or

   The love that trifles, gilds, and ruins oft
   While round the charms it shines.

All which are as sensable as the fust passidge."

Dryden added coarseness to strength in his remarks when he wrote of one
of Settle's plays:--"To conclude this act with the most rumbling piece of
nonsense spoken yet--

   'To flattering lightning our feigned smiles conform,
   Which, backed with thunder, do but gild a storm.'

Conform a smile to lightning, make a smile imitate lightning; lightning
sure is a threatening thing.  And this lightning must gild a storm; and
gild a storm by being backed by thunder.  So that here is gilding by
conforming, smiling lightning, backing and thundering.  I am mistaken if
nonsense is not here pretty thick sown.  Sure the poet writ these two
lines aboard some smack in a storm, and, being sea-sick, spewed up a good
lump of clotted nonsense at once."  Dryden wrote in a fit of rage and
spite, and it is not necessary to be vulgar in order to be strong; but it
is really a good thing to expose in plain language the meandering
nonsense which, unless detected, is apt to impose upon careless readers,
and so to encourage writers in their bad habits.

A young friend of mine imagined that he could make his fame as a painter.
Holding one of his pictures before his father, and his father saying it
was roughly and carelessly done, he said, "No, but, father, look; it
looks better if I hold it further off."  "Yes, Charlie, the further you
hold it off the better it looks."  That was severe, but strong and just.
The young man had no real genius for painting, and his father knew it.

It must be remembered that criticism cannot be strong unless it be the
real opinion of the writer.  If the critic is hampered by endeavouring to
make his own views square with those of the writer, or the publisher, or
the public, he cannot speak out his mind, but is half-hearted in his
work.

5.  _Natural_.

Criticism should be natural, that is, not too artificial.  This is a
somewhat difficult matter upon which to lay down any rules; but one often
feels what a terrible thing it is when one wants to admire something to
be told, "Oh, but the unities are not preserved," or this or that is
quite inadmissible by all the rules of art.

"Hallo! you chairman, here's sixpence; do step into that bookseller's
shop, and call me a day-tall critic.  I am very willing to give any of
them a crown to help me with his tackling to get my father and my uncle
Toby off the stairs, and to put them to bed."

"And how did Garrick speak the soliloquy last night?"  "Oh, against all
rule, my lord, most ungrammatically!  Betwixt the substantive and the
adjective, which should agree together in number, case, and gender, he
made a breach thus--stopping as if the point wanted settling; and betwixt
the nominative case, which your lordship knows should govern the verb, he
suspended his voice a dozen times, three seconds, and three fifths, by a
stop watch, my lord, each time."  Admirable grammarian!  "But, in
suspending his voice, was the sense suspended likewise?  Did no
expression of attitude or countenance fill up the chasm?  Was the eye
silent?  Did you narrowly look?"  "I looked only at the stop watch, my
lord."  Excellent observer!"  And what about this new book that the whole
world makes such a rout about?"  "Oh, it is out of all plumb, my lord,
quite an irregular thing!  Not one of the angles at the four corners was
a right angle.  I had my rule and compasses, my lord, in my pocket."
Excellent critic!  "And for the epic poem your lordship bid me look at;
upon taking the length, breadth, height, and depth of it, and trying them
at home upon an exact scale of Bossu's, 'tis out, my lord, in every one
of its dimensions."  Admirable connoisseur!  "And did you step in to take
a look at the grand picture on your way back."  "It is a melancholy daub!
my lord, not one principle of the pyramid in any one group; there is
nothing of the colouring of Titian, the expression of Rubens, the grace
of Raphael, the purity of Domenichino, the corregiescity of Corregio, the
learning of Poussin, the airs of Guido, the taste of the Caraccis, or the
grand contour of Angelo."  "Grant me patience, just heaven!  Of all the
cants which are canted in this canting world, though the cant of
hypocrites may be the worst--the cant of criticism is the most
tormenting!  I would go fifty miles on foot, for I have not a horse worth
riding on, to kiss the hand of that man whose generous heart will give up
the reins of his imaginations into his author's hands; be pleased, he
knows not why, and cares not wherefore.  Great Apollo! if thou art in a
giving humour, give me--I ask no more--but one stroke of native humour
with a single spark of thy own fire along with it, and send Mercury with
the rules and compasses if he can be spared, with my compliments, to--no
matter."

This is all very amusing, and I don't know that the case upon that side
could be better stated, except that it is overstated; for, if this be
true, there ought to be no such thing as criticism at all, and all rules
are worse than useless.  Everybody may do as he pleases.  And yet we know
that not only is there a right way and a wrong of painting a picture,
writing a book, making a building, or composing a symphony, but there are
rules which, if disobeyed, will destroy the work.  These rules,
apparently artificial, have their foundation in nature, and were first
dictated by her.  Only we must be careful still to appeal constantly to
her as the source and fountain of our rules.

   "First follow nature, and your judgment frame
   By her just standard, which is still the same,
   Unerring nature, still divinely blight,
   One clear, unchanged, and universal light,
   Life, force, and beauty must to all impart,
   At once the source, and end, and test of art."

By too much attention to theory, by too close a study of books, we may
become narrow-minded and pedantic, and gradually may become unable to
appreciate natural beauties, our whole attention being concentrated on
the defects in art.  We want to listen to the call of the poet,

   "Come forth into the light of things,
   Let nature be your teacher."

It is nature that mellows and softens the distance, and brings out
sharply the lights and shadows of the foreground, and the artist must
follow her if he would succeed.  It is nature who warbles softly in the
love notes of the bird, and who elevates the soul by the roar of the
cataract and the pealing of the thunder.  To her the musician and the
poet listen, and imitate the great teacher.  It is nature who, in the
structure of the leaf or in the avenue of the lofty limes, teaches the
architect how to adorn his designs with the most graceful of
embellishments, to rear the lofty column or display the lengthening vista
of the cathedral aisle.  It is nature who is teaching us all to be
tender, loving, and true, and to love and worship God, and to admire all
His works.  Let us then in our criticism refer everything first of all to
nature.  Is the work natural?  Does it follow nature?  Secondly, does it
follow the rules of art?  If it passes the first test, it is well worth
the courteous attention of the critic.  If it passes both tests, it is
perfect.  But if only the second test is passed, it may please a few
pedants, but it is worthless, and cannot live.

6.  _Criticisms should be bona fide_.

You will be rather alarmed at a lawyer beginning this topic, and will
expect to hear pages of "Starkie on Libel," or to have all the
perorations of Erskine's speeches recited to you.  For one terrible
moment I feel I have you in my power; but I scorn to take advantage of
the position.  I don't mean to talk about libel at all, or, at least, not
more than I can help.  I have been endeavouring to show what good
criticism should be like.  If criticism is so base that there is a
question to be left to a jury as to what damages ought to be paid for the
speaking or writing of it, one may say at once that it is unworthy of the
name of criticism at all.  Slander is not criticism.  But there is a
great deal of criticism which may be called not _bona fide_, which is yet
not malicious.  It is biassed perhaps, even from some charitable motive,
perhaps from some sordid motive, perhaps from indolence, from a desire to
be thought learned or clever, or what not--in fact, from one or other of
those thousand things which prevent persons from speaking fairly and
straightforwardly.  When you take up the _Athenaeum_ or the _Spectator_,
and read from those very able reviews an account of the last new novel,
do you think the writer has written simply what he truly thinks and feels
about the matter?  No! he has been told he has been dull of late.  He
feels he must write a spicy review.  He has a cold in his head, he is
savage accordingly.  A friend of his tells him he knows the author, or he
recognizes the name of a college friend--he will be lenient.  The book is
on a subject which he meant to take up himself; and, without knowing it,
he is jealous.  I need not multiply further these suggestions which will
occur to anyone.  We all remember the dinner in Paternoster Row given by
Mrs. Bungay, the publisher's wife.  Bungay and Bacon are at daggers
drawn; each married the sister of the other, and they were for some time
the closest friends and partners.  Since they have separated it is a
furious war between the two publishers, and no sooner does one bring out
a book of travels or poems, but the rival is in the field with something
similar.  We all remember the delight of Mrs. Bungay when the Hon. Percy
Popjoy drives up in a private hansom with an enormous grey cab horse and
a tiger behind, and Mrs. Bacon is looking out grimly from the window on
the opposite side of the street.  "In the name of commonsense, Mr.
Pendennis," Shandon asked, "what have you been doing--praising one of Mr.
Bacon's books?  Bungay has been with me in a fury this morning at seeing
a laudatory article upon one of the works of the odious firm over the
way."  Pen's eyes opened wide with astonishment.  "Do you mean to say,"
he asked, "that we are to praise no books that Bacon publishes; or that
if the books are good we are to say that they are bad?"  Pen says, "I
would rather starve, by Jove, and never earn another penny by my pen,
than strike an opponent an unfair blow, or if called upon to place him,
rank him below his honest desert."

There was a trial in London in December, 1878, which illustrates the
subject I am upon.  It was an action for libel by the well-known artist,
Mr. Whistler, against Mr. Ruskin, the most distinguished art critic of
the age.  The passage in the writing of Mr. Ruskin, of which Mr. Whistler
complained, contains, I think, almost every fault which, according to my
divisions, a criticism can contain.  The passage is as follows:--"For Mr.
Whistler's own sake no less than for the protection of the purchaser, Sir
Coutts Lindsey ought not to have admitted works into the gallery in which
the ill-educated conceit of the artist so nearly approached the aspect of
wilful imposture.  I have seen and heard much of cockney impudence before
now, but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask 200 guineas for flinging a
pot of paint in the public's face."

The Attorney-General of the day, as counsel for Mr. Ruskin, said that
this was a severe and slashing criticism, but perfectly fair and _bona
fide_.

Now, let us see.  First, there is the expression, "the ill-educated
conceit of the artist nearly approached the aspect of wilful imposture."
That may be severe and slashing, but is it fair?  If there _was_ a wilful
imposition, why not say so; but, of course, there was not, and could not
be; but it is most unfair to insinuate that there nearly was.  The truth
is, the words "wilful imposture" are a gross exaggeration.  The jury,
after retiring, came into court and asked the judge what was the meaning
of wilful imposture, and, being told that it meant nothing in particular,
they returned a verdict of damages one farthing, which meant to say that
they thought equally little of Whistler's picture and of Ruskin's
criticism.  Next we come to "Cockney impudence" and "coxcomb."  Surely
these terms must be grossly inappropriate to the subject in hand, which
is Whistler's painting, and not his personal qualities.  Next, it seems
that Mr. Ruskin thinks it is an offence to ask 200 guineas for a picture,
but where the offence lies we are not told.  It might be folly to _give_
200 guineas for one of Whistler's pictures, but why should he be abused
for asking it?  The insinuation is that it is a false pretence, and such
an insinuation is not _bona fide_.  Lastly, we are told that Mr. Whistler
has been flinging a pot of paint in the public's face.  In the first
place, this is vulgar.  In the next place, it is absurd.  When Sydney
Smith said that someone's writing was like a spider having escaped from
the inkstand and wandered over the paper, it was an exaggerated
criticism, but it was appropriate.  But if Mr. Whistler flung a pot of
paint anywhere, it was upon his own canvas, and not into the face of the
public.  Now, let anybody think what is the effect of such criticism.  Is
one enabled by the light of it to see the merits or faults of Whistler's
painting?  And yet this was written by the greatest art critic in this
country, by the man who has done more to reveal the secrets of Nature and
of Art to us all than any man living, and, I had almost said, than any
living or dead.  But passion and arrogance are not criticism; and, in the
sense in which I have used the term, such criticism is not _bona fide_.
Well may Mr. Matthew Arnold say, speaking of Mr. Ruskin's criticism upon
another subject, that he forgets all moderation and proportion, and loses
the balance of his mind.  This, he says, "is to show in one's criticism
to the highest excess the note of provinciality."

There was, once upon a time, a very strong Court of Appeal.  It was
universally acknowledged to be so, and the memory of it still remains,
and very old lawyers still love to recall its glories.  It was composed
of Lord Chancellor Campbell and the Lords Justices Knight-Bruce and
Turner.  Bethell (afterwards Lord Westbury) was an ambitious and aspiring
man, and was always most caustic in his criticisms.  He had been arguing
before the above Court one day, and upon his turning round after
finishing his argument, some counsel in the row behind him asked, "Well,
Bethell, how will their judgment go?"  Bethell replied, in his softest
but most cutting tones, "I do not know.  Knight-Bruce is a jack-pudding.
Turner is an old woman.  And no human being can by any possibility
predict what will fall from the lips of that inexpressibly fatuous
individual who sits in the middle."  This is funny, but it is vulgar, and
it is not given in good faith.  It is the offspring of anger and spite
mixed with a desire to be clever and antithetical.

I gather from Mr. Matthew Arnold's essays on criticism that the endeavour
of the critic should be to see the object criticized "as in itself it
really is," or as in another passage he says, "Real criticism obeys an
instinct prompting it to know the best that is known and thought in the
world."  "In order to do or to be this, criticism," he says, in italics,
"ought to be _disinterested_."  He points out how much English criticism
is not disinterested.  He says, "We have the _Edinburgh Review_, existing
as an organ of the old Whigs, and for as much play of mind as may suit
its being _that_; we have the _Quarterly Review_, existing as an organ of
the Tories, and for as much play of mind as may suit its being that; we
have the _British Quarterly Review_, existing as an organ of the
political Dissenters, and for as much play of mind as may suit its being
that; we have the _Times_ existing as an organ of the common satisfied
well-to-do Englishman, and for as much play of mind as may suit its being
that. . . .  Directly this play of mind wants to have more scope, and to
forget the pressure of practical considerations a little, it is checked,
it is made to feel the chain.  We saw this the other day in the
extinction so much to be regretted of the _Home and Foreign Review_;
perhaps in no organ of criticism was there so much knowledge, so much
play of mind; but these could not save it.  It must needs be that men
should act in sects and parties, that each of these sects and parties
should have its organ, and should make this organ subserve the interest
of its action; but it would be well too that there should be a criticism,
not the minister of those interests, nor their enemy, but absolutely and
entirely independent of them.  No other criticism will ever attain any
real authority, or make any real way towards its end,--the creating a
current of true and fresh ideas."

This, it must be remembered, was written in 1865.  Would Mr. Matthew
Arnold be happier now with the _Fortnightly_ and the _Nineteenth Century_
and others?  There is, I think, a good deal of truth in the passage I
have just quoted.  I think he might have allowed that, among so many
writers, each advocating his own view or the view of his party or sect,
we ought to have some chance of forming a judgment.  A question seems to
get a fair chance of being

   "Set in all lights by many minds
   To close the interests of all."

But, as I said, there is a good deal in what the writer says.  The _Daily
News_ says the Government is all wrong, and the _Daily Telegraph_ says it
is all right; and if any paper ventured to be moderate it would go to the
wall in a week.  I think what he says is true, but there is no occasion
to be so angry about it.  We really are very thankful for such men as
Carlyle, Ruskin, and Matthew Arnold, and I can't help thinking they have
had their proper share of praise, and have had their share of influence
upon their age.  The air of neglected superiority, which they assume,
detracts not a little from the pleasure with which one always reads them.

Perhaps some of my conservative friends will regret the good old times in
which criticism was really criticism, when a book had to run the gauntlet
of a few well established critics of _the_ club, or a play was applauded
or damned by a select few in the front row of the pit.  I agree to lament
a past which can never return, but, on the whole, I think we are the
gainers.  Also, I very much incline to think that the standard of
criticism is higher now than in the very palmy days when Addison wrote;
or when the _Edinburgh_ or _Quarterly_ were first started.  I incline to
agree with Leslie Stephen in his _Hours in a Library_, that, if most of
the critical articles of even Jeffrey and Mackintosh were submitted to a
modern editor, he would reject them as inadequate; but I think that
perhaps they excel our modern efforts in a certain reserve and dignity,
and in a more matured thoughtfulness.

If criticism is an art, such as I have described it, and is subject to
certain rules and conditions; if good criticism is appreciative,
proportionate, appropriate, strong, natural, and _bona fide_, and bad
criticism is the reverse of all this, why, you will ask, cannot the art
be taught by some School or Academy; and if criticism is so important a
matter as you say, surely the State might see to it?  I must own I am
against it.  Mr. Matthew Arnold, who is much in favour of founding an
academy, which is not only to judge of original works but of the
criticisms of others upon them, states the matter very fairly.  He says,
"So far as routine and authority tend to embarrass energy and inventive
genius, academies may be said to be obstructive to energy and inventive
genius; and, to this extent, to the human spirit's general advance.  But
then this evil is so much compensated by the propagation on a large scale
of the mental aptitudes and demands, which an open mind and a flexible
intelligence naturally engender; genius itself in the long run so greatly
finds its account in this propagation, and bodies like the French Academy
have such power for promoting it, that the general advance of the human
spirit is perhaps, on the whole, rather furthered than impeded by their
existence."

But I do not accede to this opinion.  It is under the free open air of
heaven, in the wild woods and the meadows that the loveliest and sweetest
flowers bloom, and not in the trim gardens or the hot-houses, and even in
our gardens in England we strive to preserve some lingering traits of the
open country.  I believe that just as the gift of freedom to the masses
of our countrymen teaches them to use that freedom with care and
intelligence, just as the abolition of tests and oaths makes men loyal
and trustworthy, so it is well to have freedom in literature and
criticism.  Mistakes will be made and mischief done, but in the long run
the effect of a keen competition, and an advancing public taste will
tell.  I don't hesitate to assert, without fear of contradiction, that
critical art has improved rapidly during the last twenty years in this
country, where a man is free to start a critical review, and to write
about anybody, or anything, and in any manner, provided he keeps within
the law.  He is only restrained by the competition of others, and by the
public taste, which are both constantly increasing.  No doubt an author
will write with greater spirit, and with greater decorum, if he knows
that his merits are sure to be fairly acknowledged, and his faults
certain to be accurately noted.  But this object may be attained, I
believe, without an academy.  On the other hand, what danger there is in
an academy becoming cliquey, nay even corrupt.  We have an academy here
in the painting art, but except that it collects within its walls every
year a vaster number of daubs than it is possible for any one ever to see
with any degree of comfort, I don't know what particular use it is of.  As
a school or college it may be of use, but as a critical academy it does
very little.

I have thus endeavoured to show what I mean by my six divisions of
criticism, and I have no doubt you will all of you have divined that my
six divisions are capable of being expressed in one word, Criticism must
be _true_.  To be true, it must be appreciative, or understanding, it
must be in due proportion, it must be appropriate, it must be strong, it
must be natural, it must be _bona fide_.  There is nothing which an
Englishman hates so much as being false.  Our great modern poet, in one
of his strongest lines, says--

   "This is a shameful thing for men to lie."

And he speaks of Wellington--

   "Truth teller was our England's Alfred named,
   Truth lover was our English Duke."

Emerson notices that many of our phrases turn upon this love of truth,
such as "The English of this is," "Honour bright," "His word is as good
as his bond."

   "'Tis not enough taste, learning, judgment join;
   In all you speak let truth, and candour shine."

I am certain that if men and women would believe that it is important
that they should form a true judgment upon things, and that they should
speak or write it when required, we should get rid of a great deal of bad
art, bad books, bad pictures, bad buildings, bad music, and bad morals.  I
am further certain that by constantly uttering false criticisms we
perpetuate such things.  And what harm we are doing to our own selves in
the meantime!  How habitually warped, how unsteady, how feeble, the
judgment becomes, which is not kept bright and vigorous through right
use.  How insensibly we become callous or indolent about forming a
correct judgment.  "It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore and see the
ships tossed upon the sea; a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle
and to see a battle and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is
comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth (a hill not
to be commanded and where the air is always clear and serene) and to see
the errors and wanderings and mists and tempests in the vale below, so
always that this prospect be with pity and not with swelling or pride.
Certainly it is heaven upon earth to have a man's mind move in charity,
rest in Providence, and turn upon the poles of truth."

In conclusion, I am aware that I have treated the subject most
inadequately, and that others have treated the same subject with much
more power; but I am satisfied of the great importance of a right use of
the critical faculty, and I think it may be that my mode of treatment may
arrest the attention of some minds which are apt to be frightened at a
learned method, and may induce them to take more heed of the judgments
which they are hourly passing on a great variety of subjects.  If we
still persist in saying when some one jingles some jig upon the piano
that it is "charming," if we say of every daub in the Academy that it is
"lovely," if every new building or statue is pronounced "awfully jolly,"
if the fastidious rubbish of the last volume of poetry is "grand," if the
slip-shod grammar of the last new novel is "quite sweet," when shall we
see an end of these bad things?  And observe further, these bad things
live on and affect the human mind for ever.  Bad things are born of bad.
Who can tell what may be the effect of seeing day by day an hideous
building, of hearing day by day indifferent music, of constantly reading
a lot of feeble twaddle?  Surely one effect will be that we shall
gradually lose our appreciation of what is good and beautiful.  "A thing
of beauty is a joy for ever."  Ah! but we must have eyes to see it.  This
springtime is lovely, if we have the eyes to see it; but, if we have not,
its loveliness is nothing to us, and if we miss seeing it we shall have
dimmer eyes to see it next year and the next; and if we cannot now see
beauty and truth through the glass darkly, we shall be unable to gaze on
them when we come to see them face to face.



II.  ON LUXURY.


An eminent lawyer of my acquaintance had a Socratic habit of interrupting
the conversation by saying, "Let us understand one another: when you say
so-and-so, do you mean so-and-so, or something quite different?"  Now,
although it is intolerable that the natural flow of social intercourse
should be thus impeded, yet in writing a paper to be laid before a
learned and fastidious society one is bound to let one's hearers a little
into the secret, and to state fairly what the subject of the essay really
is.  I suppose we shall all admit that bad luxury is bad, and good luxury
is good, unless the phrase good luxury is a contradiction in terms.  We
must try to avoid disputing about words.  The word luxury, according to
its derivation, signifies an extravagant and outrageous indulgence of the
appetites or desires.  If we take this as the meaning of the word, we
shall agree that luxury is bad; but if we take luxury to be only another
name for the refinements of civilization, we shall all approve of it.  But
the real and substantial question is not what the word means, but, what
is that thing which we all agree is bad or good; where does the bad begin
and the good end; how are we to discern the difference; and how are we to
avoid the one and embrace the other.  In this essay, therefore, I intend
to use the word luxury to denote that indulgence which interferes with
the full and proper exercise of all the faculties, powers, tastes, and
whatever is good and worthy in a man.  Enjoyments, relaxations, delights,
indulgences which are beneficial, I do not denominate "luxury."  All
indulgences which fit us for our duties are good; all which tend to unfit
us for them are bad; and these latter I call luxuries.  Some one will
say, perhaps, that some indulgences are merely indifferent, and produce
no appreciable effect upon body or mind; and it might be enough to
dismiss such things with the maxim, "_de minimis non curat lex_."  But
the doctrine is dangerous, and I doubt if anything in this world is
absolutely immaterial.  De Quincey mentions the case of a man who
committed a murder, which at the time he thought little about, but he was
led on from that to gambling and Sabbath breaking.  Probably in this
weary world any indulgence or pleasure which is not bad is not
indifferent, but absolutely good.  The world is not so bright, so
comfortable, so pleasant, that we can afford to scorn the good the gods
provide us.  In Mr. Reade's book on _Study and Stimulants_, Matthew
Arnold says, a moderate use of wine adds to the agreeableness of life,
and whatever adds to the agreeableness of life, adds to its resources and
powers.  There cannot be a doubt that the bodily frame is capable of
being wearied, and that it needs repose and refreshment, and this is a
law which a man trifles with at his peril.  The same is true of the
intellectual and moral faculties.  They claim rest and refreshment; they
must have comfort and pleasure or they will begin to flag.  It must also
be always remembered that in the every-day work of this world the body
and the mind have to go through a great deal which is depressing and
taxing to the energy, and a certain amount of "set off" is required to
keep the balance even.  We must remember this especially with respect to
the poor.  Pipes and cigars may be a luxury to the idle and rich, but we
ought not to grudge a pipe to a poor man who is overworked and miserable.
Some degree of comfort we all feel to be at times essential when we have
a comfortless task to perform.  With good food and sleep, for instance,
we can get through the roughest work; with the relaxation of pleasant
society we can do the most tedious daily work.  If, on the other hand, we
are worried and uncomfortable, we become unfitted for our business.  We
all have our troubles to contend against, and we require comfort,
relaxation, stimulation of some sort to help us in the battle.  There are
certain duties which most of us have to perform, and which, to use a
common expression, "take it out of us."  Thus most of us are compelled to
travel more or less.  An old gentleman travelling by coach on a long
journey wished to sleep off the tediousness of the night, but his
travelling companion woke him up every ten minutes with the inquiry,
"Well, sir, how are you by this."  At last the old gentleman's patience
was fairly tired out.  "I was very well when I got into the coach, and
I'm very well now, and if any change takes place I'll let you know."  I
was coming from London to Beckenham, and in the carriage with me was a
gentleman quietly and attentively reading the newspaper.  A lady opposite
to him, whenever we came to a station, cried out, "Oh, what station's
this, what station's this?"  Being told, she subsided, more or less, till
the next station.  The gentleman's patience was at last exhausted.  "If
there is any _particular_ station at which you wish to alight I will
inform you when we arrive."

Such are some of the annoying circumstances of travel.  Then, at the end
of the journey, are we sure of a comfortable night's rest?  It was a rule
upon circuit that the barristers arriving at an inn had the choice of
bedrooms according to seniority, and woe betide the junior who dared to
infringe the rule and endeavour to secure by force or fraud the best
bedroom.  The leaders, who had the hardest work to do, required the best
night's rest.  A party of barristers arrived late one night at their
accustomed inn, a half-way house to the next assize town, and found one
of the best bedrooms already occupied.  They were told by some wag that
it was occupied by a young man just joined the circuit.  There was a rush
to the bedroom.  The culprit was dragged out of bed and deposited on the
floor.  A venerable old gentleman in a nightcap and gown addressed the
ringleader of his assailants, Serjeant Golbourne, "Brother Golbourne,
brother Golbourne, is this the way to treat a Christian judge?"  I should
not have liked to have been one of those who had to conduct a cause
before him next day.  Who can be generous, benevolent, kindly, and even-
tempered if one is to be subjected to such harassing details as I have
above narrated? and I have no doubt that a fair amount of comfort is
necessary to the exercise of the Christian virtues.  I am not at all sure
that pilgrims prayed any better because they had peas in their shoes, and
it is well known that soldiers fight best when they are well fed.  A
certain amount of comfort and pleasure is good for us, and is refreshing
to body and spirit.  Such things, for instance, as the bath in the
morning; the cup of warm tea or coffee for breakfast; the glass of beer
or wine and variety of food at dinner; the rest or nap in the arm-chair
or sofa; an occasional novel; the pipe before going to bed; the change of
dress; music or light reading in the evening; even the night-cap
recommended by Mr. Banting; games of chance or skill; dancing;--surely
such things may renovate, soothe, and render more elastic and vigorous
both body and mind.

While, therefore, I have admitted fully that we all require "sweetness
and light," that some indulgence is necessary for the renovation of our
wearied souls and bodies; yet it very often will happen that the thing in
which we desire to indulge does not tend at all in this direction, or it
may be that, although a moderate indulgence does so tend, an immoderate
use has precisely the reverse effect.  My subject, therefore, divides
itself, firstly, into a consideration of those luxuries which are _per
se_ deleterious, and those which are so only by excessive use.

I suppose you will not be surprised to hear that I think we are in
danger, in the upper and middle classes at all events, of going far
beyond the point where pleasures and indulgences tend to the improvement
of body and mind.  Surely there are many of us who can remember when the
habits of our fathers were less luxurious than they are now.  In a
leading article in a newspaper not long ago the writer said, "All classes
without exception spend too much on what may be called luxuries.  A very
marked change in this respect has been noticed by every one who studies
the movements of society.  Among people whose fathers regarded champagne
as a devout Aryan might have regarded the Soma juice--viz., as a beverage
reserved for the gods and for millionaires--the foaming grape of Eastern
France is now habitually consumed. . . ."  He goes on, "The luxuries of
the poor are few, and chiefly consist of too much beer, and of little
occasional dainties.  What pleasures but the grossest does the State
provide for the artisan's leisure?"  "It does not do," says the writer,
"to be hard upon them, but it is undeniable that this excess of
expenditure on what in no sense profits them is enormous in the mass."

Not long ago a great outcry was heard about the extravagance and luxury
of the working man.  It was stated often, and certainly not without
foundation, that the best of everything in the markets in the way of food
was bought at the highest prices by workmen or their wives; and although
the champagne was not perhaps so very freely indulged in, nor so pure as
might be wished, yet, that the working men indulged themselves in more
drink than was good for their stomachs, and in more expensive drinks than
was good for their purses, no man can doubt.

If this increase of luxury is observable in the lower classes, how much
more easily can it be discerned in the middle classes.  Take for instance
the pleasures of the table.  I do not speak of great entertainments or
life in palaces or great houses, which do not so much vary from one age
to another, but of the ordinary life of people like ourselves.  Spenser
says:--

   "The antique world excess and pryde did hate,
   Such proud luxurious pomp is swollen up of late."

How many more dishes and how many more wines do we put on the table than
our ancestors afforded.  Pope writes of Balaam's housekeeping:--

   "A single dish the week day meal affords,
   An added pudding solemnized the Lord's."

Then when he became rich:--

   "Live like yourself was soon my lady's word,
   And lo, two puddings smoked upon the board!"

Then his description of his own table is worth noting:--

   "Content with little, I can manage here
   On brocoli and mutton round the year,
   'Tis true no turbots dignify my boards,
   But gudgeons, flounders, what my Thames affords.

   To Hounslow Heath I point, and Banstead Down;
   Thence comes your mutton, and these chicks my own,
   From yon old walnut tree a show'r shall fall,
   And grapes, long lingering on my only wall,
   And figs from standard and espalier join--
   The deuce is in you if you cannot dine."

Now, however, the whole world is put under contribution to supply our
daily meals, and the palate is being constantly stimulated, and in some
degree impaired by a variety of food and wine.  And I am sure that the
effect of this is to produce a distaste for wholesome food.  I daresay we
have all heard of the Scotchman who had drunk too much whisky.  He said,
"I can't drink water; it turns sae acid on the stomach."  This increase
of the luxuries of the table, beyond what was the habit of our fathers,
is shown chiefly, I think, when we are at home and alone; but if one is
visiting or entertaining others, how often is one perfectly bored by the
quantity of food and drink which is handed round.  Things in season and
out of season, perhaps ill assorted, ill cooked, cold, and calculated to
make one extremely ill, but no doubt costing a great deal of money, time,
and anxiety to the givers of the feast.  Then we fall to grumbling, and
are discontented with having too much, but having acquired a habit of
expecting it we grumble still more if there is not as much as usual
provided.

   "He knows to live, who keeps the middle state,
   And neither leans on this side or on that;
   Nor stops, for one bad cork, his butler's pay;
   Swears, like Albutius, a good cook away;
   Nor lets, like Nevius, every error pass--
   The musty wine, foul cloth, or greasy glass."

But what is the modern idea of a dinner?--

   "After oysters Sauterne; then sherry, champagne,
   E'er one bottle goes comes another again;
   Fly up, thou bold cork, to the ceiling above,
   And tell to our ears in the sounds that they love,
      How pleasant it is to have money,
            Heigh ho;
      How pleasant it is to have money!

   Your Chablis is acid, away with the hock;
   Give me the pure juice of the purple Medoc;
   St. Peray is exquisite; but, if you please,
   Some Burgundy just before tasting the cheese.
      So pleasant it is to have money,
         Heigh ho;
      So pleasant it is to have money!

   Fish and soup and omelette and all that--but the deuce--
   There were to be woodcocks and not Charlotte Russe,
   And so suppose now, while the things go away,
   By way of a grace, we all stand up and say--
      How pleasant it is to have money,
         Heigh ho;
      How pleasant it is to have money!

This, of course, is meant to be satirical; but no doubt many persons
regard the question of "good living" as much more important than "high
thinking."  "My dear fellow," said Thackeray, when a dish was served at
the Rocher de Cancalle, "don't let us speak a word till we have finished
this dish."

   "'Mercy!' cries Helluo.  'Mercy on my soul!
   Is there no hope?  Alas!--then bring the jowl.'"

A great peer, who had expended a large fortune, summoned his heir to his
death-bed, and told him that he had a secret of great importance to
impart to him, which might be some compensation for the injury he had
done him.  The secret was that crab sauce was better than lobster sauce.

"Persicos odi," "I hate all your Frenchified fuss."

   "But a nice leg of mutton, my Lucy,
      I prithee get ready by three;
   Have it smoking, and tender, and juicy,
      And, what better meat can there be?
   And when it has served for the master,
      'Twill amply suffice for the maid;
   Meanwhile I will smoke my canaster,
      And tipple my ale in the shade."

Can anything be more awful than a public dinner--the waste, the
extravagance, the outrageous superfluity of everything, the enormous
waste of time, the solemn gorging, as if the whole end and aim of life
were turtle and venison.  I do not know whether to dignify such
proceedings by the name of luxury.  But what shall I say of gentlemen's
clubs.  They are the very hotbed of luxury.  By merely asking for it you
obtain almost anything you require in the way of luxury.  I am aware that
many men at clubs live more carefully and frugally, but I am aware also
that a great many acquire habits of self-indulgence which produce
idleness and selfish indifference to the wants of others.  In a still
more pernicious fashion, I think that refreshment bars at railway
stations minister to luxury; at least I am sure they foster a habit of
drinking more than is necessary, or desirable; and that is one form of
luxury, and a very bad one.  The fellows of a Camford college are
reported to have met on one occasion and voted that we do sell our chapel
organ; and the next motion, carried _nem. con_., was that we do have a
dinner.  As to ornaments for the dinner table what affectation and
expense do we see.  But in the days of Walpole it was not amiss.  "The
last branch of our fashion into which the close observation of nature has
been introduced is our desserts.  Jellies, biscuits, sugar plums, and
creams have long since given way to harlequins, gondoliers, Turks,
Chinese, and shepherdesses of Saxon china.  Meadows of cattle spread
themselves over the table.  Cottages in sugar, and temples in barley
sugar, pigmy Neptunes in cars of cockle shells trampling over oceans of
looking glass or seas of silver tissue.  Gigantic figures succeed to
pigmies; and it is known that a celebrated confectioner complained that,
after having prepared a middle dish of gods and goddesses eighteen feet
high, his lord would not cause the ceiling of his parlour to be
demolished to facilitate their entree.  "_Imaginez-vous_," said he, "_que
milord n'a pas vouler faire oter le plafond_!"

To show how much luxurious living has increased during the present
century I propose to quote a portion of that wonderfully brilliant third
chapter of Macaulay's _England_ which we all know.  Speaking of the
squire of former days, he says, "His chief serious employment was the
care of his property.  He examined samples of grain, handled pigs, and,
on market days, made bargains over a tankard with drovers and hop
merchants.  His chief pleasures were commonly derived from field sports
and from an unrefined sensuality.  His language and pronunciation were
such as we should now expect to hear only from the most ignorant clowns.
His oaths, coarse jests, and scurrilous terms of abuse were uttered with
the broadest accent of his province.  It was easy to discern from the
first words which he spoke whether he came from Somersetshire or
Yorkshire.  He troubled himself little about decorating his abode, and,
if he attempted decoration, seldom produced anything but deformity.  The
litter of a farm-yard gathered under the windows of his bed-chamber, and
the cabbages and gooseberry bushes grew close to his hall door.  His
table was loaded with coarse plenty; and guests were cordially welcomed
to it.  But as the habit of drinking to excess was general in the class
to which he belonged, and as his fortune did not enable him to intoxicate
large assemblies daily with claret or canary, strong beer was the
ordinary beverage.  The quantity of beer consumed in those days was
indeed enormous.  For beer was then to the middle and lower classes not
only what beer is now, but all that wine, tea, and ardent spirits now
are.  It was only at great houses or on great occasions that foreign
drink was placed on the board.  The ladies of the house, whose business
it had commonly been to cook the repast, retired as soon as the dishes
were devoured, and left the gentlemen to their ale and tobacco.  The
coarse jollity of the afternoon was often prolonged till the revellers
were laid under the table."

I quote again from another portion of the same chapter in
Macaulay:--"Slate has succeeded to thatch, and brick to timber.  The
pavements and the lamps, the display of wealth in the principal shops,
and the luxurious neatness of the dwellings occupied by the gentry,
would, in the seventeenth century, have seemed miraculous."  Speaking of
watering-places he says:--"The gentry of Derbyshire and of the
neighbouring counties repaired to Buxton, where they were crowded into
low wooden sheds and regaled with oatcake, and with a viand which the
hosts called mutton, but which the guests strongly suspected to be dog."
Of Tunbridge Wells he says--"At present we see there a town which would,
a hundred and sixty years ago, have ranked in population fourth or fifth
among the towns in England.  The brilliancy of the shops and the luxury
of the private dwellings far surpasses anything that England could then
show."  At Bath "the poor patients to whom the waters had been
recommended, lay on straw in a place which, to use the language of a
contemporary physician, was a covert rather than a lodging.  As to the
comforts and luxuries to be found in the interior of the houses at Bath
by the fashionable visitors who resorted thither in search of health and
amusement, we possess information more complete and minute than generally
can be obtained on such subjects.  A writer assures us that in his
younger days the gentlemen who visited the springs slept in rooms hardly
as good as the garrets which he lived to see occupied by footmen.  The
floors of the dining-room were uncarpeted, and were coloured brown with a
wash made of soot and small beer in order to hide the dirt.  Not a
wainscot was painted.  Not a hearth or chimney piece was of marble.  A
slab of common freestone, and fire-irons which had cost from three to
four shillings, were thought sufficient for any fireplace.  The best
apartments were hung with coarse woollen stuff, and were furnished with
rush-bottomed chairs."

Of London Macaulay says:--"The town did not, as now, fade by
imperceptible degrees into the country.  No long avenues of villas,
embowered in lilacs and laburnum, extended from the great source of
wealth and civilization almost to the boundaries of Middlesex, and far
into the heart of Kent and Surrey."  In short, there was nothing like the
Avenue and the Fox Grove, Beckenham, in old times, and we who live there
ought to be immensely grateful for our undeserved blessings.  "At
present," he says, "the bankers, the merchants, and the chief shopkeepers
repair to the city on six mornings of every week for the transaction of
business; but they reside in other quarters of the metropolis or suburban
country seats, surrounded by shrubberies and flower gardens."  Again, "If
the most fashionable parts of the capital could be placed before us, such
as they then were, we should be disgusted by their squalid appearance,
and poisoned by their noisome atmosphere.  In Covent Garden a filthy and
noisy market was held close to the dwellings of the great.  Fruit women
screamed, carters fought, cabbage stalks and rotten apples accumulated in
heaps at the thresholds of the Countess of Berkshire and of the Bishop of
Durham."

Well, you will say, all this proves what a vast improvement we have
achieved.  Yes; but we must remember that Macaulay was writing on that
side of the question.  Are we not more self-indulgent, more fond of our
flowers, villas, carriages, etc., than we need be; less hard working and
industrious; more desirous of getting the means of indulgence by some
short and ready way--by speculation, gambling, and shady, if not
dishonest dealing--than our fathers were?  I need not follow at further
length Macaulay's description of these earlier times--of the black
rivulets roaring down Ludgate Hill, filled with the animal and vegetable
filth from the stalls of butchers and greengrocers, profusely thrown to
right and left upon the foot-passengers upon the narrow pavements; the
garret windows opened and pails emptied upon the heads below; thieves
prowling about the dark streets at night, amid constant rioting and
drunkenness; the difficulties and discomforts of travelling, when the
carriages stuck fast in the quagmires; the travellers attacked by
highwaymen.  He narrates how it took Prince George of Denmark, who
visited Petworth in wet weather, six hours to go nine miles.  Compare
this to a journey in a first-class carriage or Pullman car upon the
Midland Railway, and think of the luxuries demanded by the traveller on
his journey if he is going to travel for more than two or three hours:
the dinner, the coffee, the cigar, the newspaper and magazine, etc., etc.

There is a passage in the beginning of _Tom Brown's School Days_ in which
the author ridicules the quantity of great coats, wrappers, and rugs
which a modern schoolboy takes with him, though he is going to travel
first class, with foot-warmers.  Then, in our houses, what stoves and hot-
water pipes and baths do we not require!  How many soaps and powders,
rough towels and soft towels!  Sir Charles Napier, I think, said that all
an officer wanted to take with him on a campaign was a towel, a tooth-
brush, and a piece of yellow soap.  The great excuse for the bath is that
if it is warm it is cleansing; if it is cold, it is invigorating; but
what shall we say to Turkish Baths?  Surely there is more time wasted
than enough, and, unless as a medical cure, it may become an idle habit.
I have seen private Turkish Baths in private houses.  What are we coming
to?  We used to be proud of our ordinary wash-hand basins, and make fun
of the little saucers that we found provided for our ablutions upon the
Continent.  At the time of the great Exhibition of 1851 _Punch_ had a
picture of two very grimy Frenchmen regarding with wonder an ordinary
English wash-stand.  "_Comment appelle-t'on cette machine la_," says one;
to which the other replies, "_Je ne sais pas_, _mais c'est drole_."  A
great advance has been made in the furniture of our houses.  We fill our
rooms, especially our drawing-rooms or boudoirs, with endless arm-chairs
and sofas of various shapes--all designed to give repose to the limbs;
but I am sure they tend towards lazy habits, and very often interfere
with work.  Surely there has lately risen a custom of overdoing the
embellishment and ornamentation of our houses.  We fill our rooms too
full of all sorts of knick-knacks, so much so that we can hardly move
about for fear of upsetting something.  "I have a fire [in my bedroom]
all day," writes Carlyle.  "The bed seems to be about eight feet wide.  Of
my paces the room measures fifteen from end to end, forty-five feet long,
height and width proportionate, with ancient, dead-looking portraits of
queens, kings, Straffords and principalities, etc., really the
uncomfortablest acme of luxurious comfort that any Diogenes was set into
in these late years."  Thoreau's furniture at Walden consisted of a bed,
a table, a desk, three chairs, a looking-glass three inches in diameter,
a pair of tongs, a kettle, a frying-pan, a wash-bowl, two knives and
forks, three plates, one cup, one spoon, a jug for oil, a jug for
molasses, and a japanned lamp.  There were no ornaments.  He writes, "I
had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find
that they required to be dusted daily, and I threw them out of the window
in disgust."

"Our cottage is quite large enough for us, though very small," wrote Miss
Wordsworth, "and we have made it neat and comfortable within doors; and
it looks very nice on the outside, for though the roses and honeysuckle
which we have planted against it are only of this year's growth, yet it
is covered all over with green leaves and scarlet flowers, for we have
trained scarlet beans upon threads, which are not only exceedingly
beautiful, but very useful, as their produce is immense.  We have made a
lodging room of the parlour below stairs, which has a stone floor,
therefore we have covered it all over with matting.  We sit in a room
above stairs, and we have one lodging room with two single beds, a sort
of lumber room, and a small, low, unceiled room, which I have papered
with newspapers, and in which we have put a small bed.  Our servant is an
old woman of 60 years of age, whom we took partly out of charity."  Here
Miss Wordsworth and her brother, the great poet, lived on the simplest
fare and drank cold water, and hence issued those noble poems which more
than any others teach us the higher life.

   "Blush, grandeur, blush; proud courts, withdraw your blaze;
   Ye little stars, hide your diminished rays."

"I turned schoolmaster," says Sydney Smith, "to educate my son, as I
could not afford to send him to school.  Mrs. Sydney turned
schoolmistress to educate my girls as I could not afford a governess.  I
turned farmer as I could not let my land.  A man servant was too
expensive, so I caught up a little garden girl, made like a milestone,
christened her Bunch, put a napkin in her hand, and made her my butler.
The girls taught her to read, Mrs. Sydney to wait, and I undertook her
morals.  Bunch became the best butler in the country.  I had little
furniture, so I bought a cartload of deals; took a carpenter (who came to
me for parish relief) called Jack Robinson, with a face like a full moon,
into my service, established him in a barn, and said, 'Jack, furnish my
house.'  You see the result."

Then what shall I say of the luxury of endless daily papers, leading
articles, short paragraphs, reviews, illustrated papers,--are not these
luxuries?  Are they not inventions for making thought easy, or rather for
the purpose of relieving us from the trouble of thinking for ourselves.
May I also, without raising a religious controversy, observe that in
religious worship we are prone to relieve ourselves from the trouble of
deep and consecutive thought by surrounding our minds with a sort of mist
of feeling and sentiment; by providing beautiful music, pictures, and
ornaments, and so resting satisfied in a somewhat indolent feeling of
goodness, and not troubling ourselves with too much effort of reason.  A
love of the beautiful undoubtedly tends to elevate and refine the mind,
but the follies of the false love and the dangers of an inordinate love
are numerous and deadly.  It is absurd that a man should either be or
pretend to be absolutely absorbed in the worship of a dado or a China tea
cup so as to care for nothing else, and to be unable to do anything else
but stare at it with his head on one side.  With most people the whole
thing is the mere affectation of affected people, who, if they were not
affected in one way, would be so in another.  Boswell was a very affected
man.  He says, "I remember it distressed me to think of going into
another world where Shakespeare's poetry did not exist; but a lady
relieved me by saying, 'The first thing you will meet in the other world
will be an elegant copy of Shakespeare's works presented to you.'"
Boswell says he felt much comforted, but I suspect the lady was laughing
at him.  I like the "elegant copy" very much.  It is certain that in this
world there is a deal of rough work to be done, and I feel that,
attractive and beautiful as so many things are, too much absorption of
them has a weakening and enervating effect.

I have spoken of the luxuries of the table, of the house, of travel, and
of a love of ease and beautiful surroundings.  There are, however, some
people who are very luxurious without caring much for any of these
things.  Their main desire appears to be to live a long time, and to
preserve their youth and beauty to the last.  For this purpose they
surround themselves with comfort, they decline to see or hear of anything
which they don't like for fear it should make their hair grey and their
faces wrinkled, and their whole talk is of ailments and German waters.
Swift somewhere or other expresses his contempt for this sort of person.
"A well preserved man is," he says, "a man with no heart and who has done
nothing all his life."  Old ruins look beautiful by reason of the rain
and the wind, the heat of August and the frost of January, and I am sure
I have often seen in men--aye, and in women too--far more beauty where
the tempests have passed over the face and brow, than where the life has
been more sheltered and less interesting.

But I must notice before I conclude this part of my subject one of the
principal causes of a fatal indulgence in luxury, and that is a
despairing sense of the futility of attempting to do anything worth
doing, and of inability to strive against what is going on wrong.  This
is the meaning of that rather vulgar phrase, "Anything for a quiet life";
and this is the reason why with many people everything and everybody is
always a "bore."  Here, too, is the secret of that suave, polished, soft-
voiced manner so much affected nowadays by highly-educated young men, and
that somewhat chilly reserve in which they wrap themselves up.  "Pray
don't ask us to give an opinion, or show an interest, or discuss any
serious view of things."

   "For not to desire or admire, if a man could learn it, were more
   Than to walk all day, like the Sultan of old, in a garden of spice."

"Let us surround ourselves with every luxury; let us cease to strive or
fret; let us be elegant, refined, gentle, harmless, and, above all,
undisturbed in mind and body."  "We have had enough of motion and of
action we."  "Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil."  "Let us
get through life the best way we can, and though there is not much that
can delight us, let us achieve as much amelioration of our lot as is
possible for us."

These, then, are some of the forms which luxury takes in the present
century, and these are some of the outcomes of an advanced, and still
rapidly advancing, civilization.  These, too, seem to be the invariable
accompaniments of such an advance.  A very similar picture of Rome in the
days of Cicero and Caesar is drawn by Mr. Froude in his _Caesar_.  He
says: "With such vividness, with such transparent clearness, the age
stands before us of Cato and Pompey, of Cicero and Julius Caesar; the
more distinctly because it was an age in so many ways the counterpart of
our own, the blossoming period of the old civilization.  It was an age of
material progress and material civilization; an age of civil liberty and
intellectual culture; an age of pamphlets and epigrams, of salons and of
dinner parties, of sensational majorities and electoral corruption.  The
rich were extravagant, for life had ceased to have practical interest,
except for its material pleasures; the occupation of the higher classes
was to obtain money without labour, and to spend it in idle enjoyment.
Patriotism survived on the lips, but patriotism meant the ascendancy of
the party which would maintain the existing order of things, or would
overthrow it for a more equal distribution of the good things, which
alone were valued.  Religion, once the foundation of the laws and rule of
personal conduct, had subsided into opinion.  The educated, in their
hearts, disbelieved it.  Temples were still built with increasing
splendour; the established forms were scrupulously observed.  Public men
spoke conventionally of Providence, that they might throw on their
opponents the odium of impiety; but of genuine belief that life had any
serious meaning, there was none remaining beyond the circle of the
silent, patient, ignorant multitude.  The whole spiritual atmosphere was
saturated with cant--cant moral, cant political, cant religious; an
affectation of high principle which had ceased to touch the conduct and
flowed on in an increasing volume of insincere and unreal speech.  The
truest thinkers were those who, like Lucretius, spoke frankly out their
real convictions, declared that Providence was a dream, and that man and
the world he lived in were material phenomena, generated by natural
forces out of cosmic atoms, and into atoms to be again resolved."

Next I am going, as I promised, to consider those indulgences which
become luxuries by excessive use, and in this I shall be led also to
consider the effects of luxury.  It has become a very trite saying that
riches do not bring happiness; and certainly luxury, which riches can
command, does not bring content, which is the greatest of all pleasures.
On the contrary, the moment the body or mind is over-indulged in any way,
it immediately demands more of the same indulgence, and even in stronger
doses.  Who does not know that too much wine makes one desire more?  Who,
after reading a novel, does not feel a longing for another?

The rich and poor dog, as we all know, meet and discourse of these things
in Burns's poem--

   "Frae morn to e'en it's naught but toiling
   At baking, roasting, frying, boiling,
   An', tho' the gentry first are stechin,
   Yet e'en the hall folk fill their pechan
   With sauce, ragouts, and sic like trashtrie,
   That's little short of downright wastrie.
   An' what poor cot-folk pit their painch in
   I own it's past my comprehension."

To which Luath replies--

   "They're maistly wonderful contented."

Caesar afterwards describes the weariness and ennui which pursue the
luxurious--

   "But human bodies are sic fools,
   For all their colleges and schools,
   That, when nae real ills perplex 'em,
   They make enow themselves to vex 'em.
   They loiter, lounging lank and lazy,
   Though nothing ails them, yet uneasy.
   Their days insipid, dull, and tasteless;
   Their nights unquiet, lang, and restless,
   An' e'en their sports, their balls and races,
   Their gallopin' through public places,
   There's sic parade, sic pomp, an' art,
   The joy can scarcely reach the heart."

After this description the two friends

   "Rejoiced they were not men, but dogs."

An Italian wit has defined man to be "an animal which troubles himself
with things which don't concern him"; and, when one thinks of the
indefatigable way in which people pursue pleasure, all the while deriving
no pleasure from it, one is filled with amazement.  "Life would be very
tolerable if it were not for its pleasures," said Sir Cornewall Lewis,
and I am satisfied that half the weariness of life comes from the vain
attempts which are made to satisfy a jaded appetite.

There are many things which are not luxuries _per se_, but become so if
indulged in to excess.  Take, for instance, smoking and drinking.  One
pipe a day and one glass of wine a day are not luxuries, but a great many
a day are luxuries.  So lying in bed five minutes after you wake is not a
luxury, but so lying for an hour is.  The man who is fond precociously of
stirring may be a spoon, but the man who lies in bed half the day is
something worse.  Then it must be remembered that a single indulgence in
one luxury produces scarcely any effect on the mind or body, but a habit
of indulging in that luxury has a great effect.

   "The sins which practice burns into the blood,
   And not the one dark hour which brings remorse
   Will brand us after of whose fold we be."

I am surely right in noticing that the rich man is said to have fared
sumptuously _every_ day, as though faring sumptuously might have no
significance, but the constantly faring sumptuously was what had degraded
and debased the man below the level of the beggar at his gate.  I feel
that to be luxurious occasionally is no bad thing, if we can keep our
self-control, and return constantly to simple habits.  There is something
very natural in the prayer which a little child was overheard to
make--"God, make me a good little girl, but"--after a pause--"naughty
sometimes."  It is the habit of being naughty which is pernicious.  Can
anyone doubt that the man who, on the whole, leads a hardy and not over-
indulgent life will be more capable of performing any duty which may
devolve upon him than a man who "had but fed on the roses and lain in the
lilies of life."

Sydney Smith, in his sketches of Moral Philosophy, notices that habits of
indulgence grow on us so much that we go through the act of indulgence
without noticing it or feeling the pleasure of it; yet, if some accident
occurs to rob us of our accustomed pleasure, we feel the want of it most
keenly.  Speaking of Hobbes, the philosopher, he says that he had twelve
pipes of tobacco laid by him every night before he began to write.
Without this luxury "he could have done nothing; all his speculations
would have been at an end, and without his twelve pipes he might have
been a friend to devotion or to freedom, which in the customary tenour of
his thoughts he certainly was not."

In Fielding's _Life of Jonathan Wild_ Mr. Wild plays at cards with the
Count.  "Such was the power of habit over the minds of these illustrious
persons that Mr. Wild could not keep his hands out of the Count's pockets
though he knew they were empty, nor could the Count abstain from palming
a card though he was well aware Mr. Wild had no money to pay him."

If we are curious to know who is the most degraded and most wretched of
human beings, look for the man who has practised a vice so long that he
curses it and clings to it.  Say everything for vice which you can say,
magnify any pleasure as much as you please; but don't believe you can
keep it, don't believe you have any secret for sending on quicker the
sluggish blood and for refreshing the faded nerve.

There is no doubt that habits of luxury produce discontent, the more we
have the more we want.  The sin of covetousness is not (curiously enough)
the sin of the poor, but of the rich.  It is the rich man who covets
Naboth's vineyard.  I knew an old lady who had a beautiful house facing
Hyde Park, and lived by herself with a companion, and certainly had room
enough and to spare.  Her house was one of a row, and the next house
being an end house projected, so that all the front rooms were about a
foot longer than those of the old lady.  "Ah," she used to sigh, "he's a
dear good man, the old colonel, but I should like to have his
house--please God to take him!"  This showed a submission to the will of
Providence, and a desire for the everlasting welfare of her neighbour
which was truly edifying; but covetousness was at the root of it, and a
longing to indulge herself.

The effect of habits of luxury upon the brute creation is easily seen.
How dreadfully the harmless necessary cat deteriorates when it is over-
fed and over-warmed.  It may, for all I know, become more humane, but it
becomes absolutely unfit to get its own living.  What is more despicable
than a lady's lap-dog, grown fat and good for nothing, and only able to
eat macaroons!  Even worms, according to Darwin, when constantly fed on
delicacies, become indolent and lose all their cunning.

I will note next that habits of self-indulgence render us careless of the
misfortunes of others.  Nero was fiddling when Rome was burning.  And
upon the other hand privations make us regardful of others.  In Bulwer's
_Parisians_ two luxurious bachelors in the siege of Paris, one of whom
has just missed his favourite dog, sit down to a meagre repast, on what
might be fowl or rabbit; and the master of the lost dog, after finishing
his meal, says with a sigh, "Ah, poor Dido, how she would have enjoyed
those bones!"  Probably she would have done so, in case they had not been
her own.  Of course we all know Goldsmith's _Deserted Village_, and that
it is all about luxury.  It is, however, very poetical poetry (if I may
say so), and I don't know that it gives much assistance to a sober,
prosaic view of the subject like the present.  "O Luxury, thou curst by
heaven's decree," sounds very grand; but I have not the least idea what
it means.  The pictures drawn in the poem of simple rural pleasures, and
of gaudy city delights, are very pleasing; and the moral drawn from it
all, viz., that nations sunk in luxury are hastening to decay, may be
true enough; but what strikes one most is that, if Goldsmith thought that
England was hastening to decay when he wrote, what would he think if he
were alive now.

Well then, if the pleasures of luxury bring nothing but pain and trouble
in the pursuit of them, to what end do they lead?

   "Behold what blessings wealth to life can lend,
   And see what comfort it affords our end.
   In the worst inn's worst room, with mat half hung,
   The floors of plaister, and the walls of dung;
   On once a flock-bed, but repaired with straw,
   With tape-ty'd curtains never meant to draw;
   The George and Garter dangling from that bed,
   Where tawdry yellow strove with dirty red;--
   Great Villers lies--alas, how changed from him,
   That life of pleasure and that soul of whim.
   Gallant and gay in Clieveden's proud alcove,
   The bower of wanton Shrewsbury and love;
   No wit to flatter, left of all his store;
   No fool to laugh at, which he valued more;
   There victor of his health, of fortune, friends,
   And fame; this lord of useless thousands ends."

If these be the effects of luxuries, why is it that we continue to strive
to increase them with all our might?  I have already insisted that I am
not speaking of such things as are beneficial to body and soul, but such
as are detrimental.  But it will be said, you are spending money, and to
gratify your longings labourers of different sorts have been employed,
and the wealth of the world is thereby increased.  But we must consider
the loss to the man who is indulging himself, and therefore the loss to
the community; and further, that his money might have gone in producing
something necessary, and not noxious, something in its turn reproductive.
In Boswell's _Life of Johnson_ is this passage, "Johnson as usual
defended luxury.  You cannot spend money in luxury without doing good to
the poor.  Nay, you do more good to them by spending it in luxury; you
make them exert industry, whereas by giving it you keep them idle.  I own
indeed there may be more virtue in giving it immediately in charity, than
in spending it in luxury."  He was then asked if this was not
Mandeville's doctrine of "private vices are public benefits."  Of course
this did not suit him, and he demolished it.  He said, "Mandeville puts
the case of a man who gets drunk at an alehouse, and says it is a public
benefit, because so much money is got by it to the public.  But it must
be considered that all the good gained by this through the gradation of
alehouse-keeper, brewer, maltster, and farmer, is overbalanced by the
evil caused to the man and his family by his getting drunk."

Perhaps you will say, what is a man to do with his money, if he may not
spend it in luxury?  If, as Dr. Johnson says, and as we all of us find
out occasionally, it is worse spent if given in charity, are we to hoard
it?  No, surely this is more contemptible still.  "What is the use of all
your money," said one distinguished barrister to another, "you can't live
many more years, and you can't take it with you when you go?  Besides, if
you could, it would all melt where you're going."  This hoarding of
wealth, this craving for it, is only another form of luxury, the luxury
of growing rich.  Some like to be thought rich, and called rich, and
treated with a fawning respect on account of their riches; others love to
hide their riches, but to hug their money in secret, and seem to enjoy
the prospect of dying rich.  I was engaged in a singular case some time
ago, in which an old lady who had starved herself to death, and lived in
the greatest squalor, had secreted 250 pounds in a stocking under the
mattress of her bed.  It was stolen by one nephew, who was sued for it by
another, and all the money went in law expenses.  If then we are not to
spend our money upon luxuries, and if we are not to hoard it, what are we
to do with it if we have more than we can lay out in what is useful.  I
have not time (nor is the question a part of my subject) to discuss what
should be done with the money hitherto spent in idle luxury.  We know,
however, that we have the poor always with us, and that we can always
learn the luxury of doing good.  In one way or another we ought to see
that our superfluous wealth should drain from the high lands into the
valleys; not indeed to make the poor luxurious, but to provide them with
comfort, to give them health, strength, and enjoyment.  I think then that
if we are wise men, seeing that we are placed in a world of care,
trouble, and hard work, from which no man can escape; and seeing that,
upon the other hand, we are living in a country and in an age when we are
surrounded with all that makes life pleasant and enjoyable, we shall
endeavour to find out some mode of harmonizing these different chords.  It
need hardly be said how far removed luxury is from the spirit of
Christianity, and from the life of its Founder; yet it may reverently be
remembered that on more than one occasion He showed His tender regard for
the weakness of human nature by stamping with His approval the pleasures
of convivial festivity.

What then is the remedy against luxury?  I would say shortly,--in work.  A
busy man has no time for luxury, and there is no reason why every man
should not have enough to do, if he will only do it.  And I am sure the
same rule applies to the ladies, although a very busy man once wrote of
his wife--

   "In work, work, work, in work alway
      My every day is past;
   I very slowly make the coin--
      She spends it very fast."

But speaking seriously, I am sure that in some sort of work lies the
antidote to luxury.  When Orpheus sailed past the beautiful islands
"lying in dark purple spheres of sea," and heard the songs of the idle
and luxurious syrens floating languidly over the waters, he drowned their
singing in a paean to the gods.  Religion often affords a great incentive
to work for the good of others; and, in working for others, we have
neither the time, nor the inclination, to be over indulgent of ourselves.
So, the desire to obtain fame and renown has often produced men of the
austere and non-indulgent type, as the Duke of Wellington and many
others:--

   "Fame is the spur which the clear spirit doth raise,
   That last infirmity of noble mind,
   To scorn delights and live laborious days."

Nay, even the desire to obtain riches, and the strife after them, will
leave a man little room for luxury.  To be honest, to be brave, to be
kind and generous, to seek to know what is right, and to do it; to be
loving and tender to others, and to care little for our comfort and ease,
and even for our very lives, is perhaps to be somewhat old-fashioned and
behind the age; but these are, after all, the things which distinguish us
from the brute beasts which perish, and which justify our aspirations
towards eternity.




A STORY.
THE READING PARTY.


CHAPTER I.--THE COACH.


Charles Porkington, M.A., sometime fellow of St. Swithin, was born of
humble parents.  He was educated, with a due regard for economy, in the
mathematics by his father, and in the prevailing theology of the district
by his mother.  The village schoolmaster had also assisted in the
completion of his education by teaching him a little bad Latin.  He was
ultimately sent to college, his parents inferring that he would make a
success of the study of books, because he had always shown a singular
inaptitude for anything else.  At college he had read hard.  The common
sights and sounds of University life had been unheeded by him.  They
passed before his eyes, and they entered into his ears, but his mind
refused to receive any impression from them.  After taking a high degree,
and being elected a fellow, he had written a novel of a strongly
melodramatic cast, describing college life, and showing such an intimate
acquaintance with the obscurer parts of it, that a great many ladies
declared that "they always thought so;--it was just as they supposed."
The novel, however, did not meet with much success, and he then turned to
the more lucrative but far less noble occupation of "coaching."  He could
not be said to be absolutely unintellectual.  As he had not profited by
the experience of life, so he had not been contaminated by it.  He was
moral, chiefly in a negative sense, and was not inclined to irreligion.
The faith of his parents sat, perhaps, uncomfortably upon him; and he had
not sufficient strength of mind to adopt a new pattern.  He was in short
an amiable mathematician, and a feeble classic; and I think that is all
that could be said of him with any certainty.  There seemed to be an
absence of character which might be called characteristic, and a
feebleness of will so absolute as to disarm contempt.

A portion of Porkington's hard earned gains was transmitted regularly to
his two aged parents, while he himself, partly from habit and partly from
indifference, lived as frugally as possible.

"Bless me!" cried Mrs. Porkington, within six months of her marriage, "To
think that you should have squandered such large sums of money upon
people who seem to have got on very well without them."

"My dear," replied he, "they are very poor, and in want of many
comforts."

"Of course I am sorry they cannot have them now," retorted she, "and it
is therefore a pity they ever should have had them."

Porkington sighed slightly, but had already learned not to contend, if he
could remember not to do so.  Mrs. Porkington was of large stature and
majestic carriage; and had moreover a voice sufficiently powerful to keep
order in an Irish brigade, or to command a vessel in a storm without the
assistance of a trumpet.  Mr. Porkington, on the other hand, was a
little, dry, pale, plain man, with an abstracted and nervous manner, and
a voice that had never grown up so as to match even the little body from
which it came, but was a sort of cracked treble whisper.  Moreover, when
Mrs. Porkington wished to speak her mind to her husband, she would
recline upon a sofa in an impressive manner, and fix her eyes upon the
ceiling.  Mr. Porkington, on these occasions, would sit on the very edge
of the most uncomfortable chair, his toes turned out, his hands embracing
his knees, and his eyes tracing the patterns upon the carpet, as though
with a view of studying some abstruse theory of curves.  On which side
the victory lay under these circumstances it is easy to guess.

Mrs. Porkington felt the advantage of her position and followed it up.

"I never, my dear, mention any subject to you, but you immediately fling
your parents at me."

Mr. Porkington would as soon have thought of throwing St. Paul's
Cathedral.

After a honeymoon spent in the Lake district the happy pair went to pay a
visit to the parents of the bridegroom, and Porkington had so brightened
and revived during his stay there, and had expressed himself so happy in
their society, that Mrs. Porkington could not forgive him.  In the
company of his wife's father, on the contrary, he relapsed into a state
bordering upon coma; and no wonder, for that worthy retired tallow
merchant was a perfect specimen of ponderous pomposity, and had
absolutely nothing in common with the shy scholar who had become his son-
in-law.  Mr. Candlish had lost the great part of the money he had made by
tallow, and by consequence had nothing to give his daughter; but she
behaved herself as a woman should whose father might at one time have
given her ten thousand pounds.  "My papa, my dear, was worth at least
40,000 pounds when he retired," was the form in which Mrs. Porkington
flung her surviving parent at the head of her husband, and crushed him
flat with the missile.  To the world at large she spoke of her father as
"being at present a gentleman of moderate means."  Now, as a gentleman of
moderate means cannot be expected to provide for a sister of no means at
all; and as Mrs. Porkington, not having been blessed with children by her
marriage, required a companion, her aunt tacked herself on to Mr.
Porkington's establishment, and became a permanent and substantial
fixture.  Fat, ugly, and spiteful when she dared, she became a thorn in
the side of the poor tutor, and supported on all occasions the whims and
squabbles of her niece.  Whenever the "coach" evinced any tendency to
travel too fast, Mrs. Porkington put the "drag" on, and the vehicle
stopped.

Mr. and Mrs. Porkington had now been married three years; and, as the
long vacation was at hand, it became necessary to arrange their plans for
a "Reading Party."

"If I might be allowed to suggest," said Mrs. Porkington, reclining on
her sofa, with her eyes fixed upon the ceiling, "I think a continental
reading party would be the most beneficial to the young men.  The air of
the continent, I have always found (Mrs. Porkington had crossed the
channel upon one occasion) is very invigorating; and, though I know you
don't speak French, my dear, yet you should avail yourself of every
opportunity of acquiring it."

"But, my love," he replied, "we must consider.  Many parents have an
objection to the expense, and--"

"Oh, of course!" she interrupted, "if ever I venture, which I seldom do,
to propose anything, there are fifty objections raised at once.  Pray,
may I ask to what uncomfortable quarter of the globe you propose to take
me?  Perhaps to the Gold Coast--or some other deadly spot--quite likely!"

"Well, my love," said the Coach, "I thought of the Lakes."

"Thought of the Lakes!" slowly repeated his wife.  "Since I have had the
honour of being allied with you in marriage, I believe you have never
thought of anything else!"

There was some truth in this, and the tutor felt it.  "Then, my dear,"
said he mildly, "I really do not know where we should go."

Thereupon his wife ran through the names of several likely places, to
each of which she stated some clear and decided objection.  Ultimately
she mentioned Babbicombe as being a place she might be induced to regard
with favour; the truth being that she had made up her mind from the first
not to be taken anywhere else.  "Babbicombe by all means let it be," said
he, "since you wish it."

"I do not wish it at all," she cried, "as you know quite well, my dear;
and it is very hard that you should always try to make it appear that I
wish to do a thing, when I have no desire at all upon the subject.  Have
you noticed, aunt, how invariably Charles endeavours to take an unfair
advantage of anything I say, and tries to make out I wish a thing which
he has himself proposed?"

The Drag said she had noticed it very often, and wondered at it very
much.  She thought it was very unfair indeed, and showed a domineering
spirit very far from Christian in her opinion, though, of course,
opinions might differ.

Porkington took a turn in his little back garden, and smoked a pipe,
which seemed to console him somewhat; and, after a few more skirmishes,
the coach, harness, drag, team and all arrived at Babbicombe.



CHAPTER II.--THE TEAM.


Let the man who disapproves of reading parties suggest something better.
"Let the lads stop at home," says one.  Have you ever tried it?  They
soon become a bore to themselves and all around them.  "Let them go by
themselves, then, to some quiet seaside lodging or small farmhouse."
Suicide or the d---1.  "Let them stop at the University for the Long."
The Dons won't let them stop up, unless they are likely to take high
degrees; and, even if the Dons would permit it, it would be too
oppressively dull for the young men.  "At all events, let reading parties
be really _reading_ parties."  Whoever said they should be anything else?
For my part I know nothing in this life equal to reading parties.  Do
Jones and Brown, who are perched upon high stools in the city, ever dream
of starting for the Lakes with a ledger each, to enter their accounts and
add up the items by the margin of Derwentwater.  Do Bagshaw and Tomkins,
emerging from their dismal chambers in Pump Court, take their Smith's
_Leading Cases_, or their _Archbold_, to Shanklyn or Cowes?  Do Sawyer
and Allen study medicine in a villa on the Lake of Geneva?  I take it, it
is an invincible sign of the universality of the classics and mathematics
that they will adapt themselves with equal ease to the dreariest of
college rooms or to the most romantic scenery.

Harry Barton, Richard Glenville, Thomas Thornton, and I, made up
Porkington's Reading Party.

Harry Barton's father was a Manchester cotton spinner of great wealth.
Himself a man of no education, beyond such knowledge as he had picked up
in the course of an arduous life, the cotton spinner was not oblivious to
those advantages which ought to accrue to a liberal education; and he
resolved that his son, a fine handsome lad, should not fail in life for
want of them.  Young Barton had, therefore, in due course been sent to
Eton and Camford with a full purse, a vigorous constitution, a light
heart, and a fair amount of cramming.  At Camford he found himself in the
midst of his old Eton chums, and plunged eagerly into all the animated
life and excitement of the University.  Boating, cricket, rackets,
billiards, wine parties, betting--these formed the chief occupation of
the two years which he had already passed at college.  Reading, upon some
days, formed an agreeable diversion from the monotony of the above-named
more interesting studies.  Porkington, however, who seldom placed a man
wrong, still promised him a second class.  Hearty, generous, a lover of
ease and pleasure, good-natured and easily led, he was a general
favourite; and in some respects deserved to be so.

Richard Glenville was the son of an orthodox low church parson, a fat
vicar and canon, a man who, if he was not conformed to the world at
large, was a mere reflection of the little world to which he belonged.
His son Richard was a quick-sighted youth, clear and vigorous in
intellect, not deep but acute.  He was high church, because he had lived
among the low church party.  He was a Tory, because his surroundings were
mostly Liberal.  He was inclined to be profane, because his father's
friends bored him by their solemnity.  He was flippant, because they were
dull; careless, because they were cautious; and fast, because they were
slow.  He had an eye for the weak points of things.  He delighted in what
is called "chaff."  He affected to regard all things with indifference,
and was tolerant of everything except what he was pleased to denounce as
shams.  Upon this point he would occasionally become very warm.  If his
sense of truth and honour were touched, he became goaded into passion;
but most things appealed to him from their humorous side.  He was tall,
fair, and handsome, the features clean cut and the eyes grey.  His
manners were polished, and he was always well dressed.  He was full of
high spirits and good temper, and was a most agreeable companion to all
to whom his satire did not render him uncomfortable.  Strange to say, he
stood very high in the favour of Mrs. Porkington, who, had she known what
fun he made of her behind her back, would, I think, have sometimes
forgotten that he was the nephew of a peer.  He studied logic, classics,
mathematics, moral philosophy indifferently, because he found that a
certain amount of study conduced to a quiet life with the "governor."  He
proposed ultimately, he said, to be called to the Bar, because that was
equivalent to leaving your future career still enveloped in mystery for
many years.

I do not know that I have very much to say about Thornton.  He was a very
estimable young man.  I think he was the only one of the party who might
say with a clear conscience that he did some work for his "coach."  He
was not short, nor tall, nor good-looking, nor very rich, nor very poor.
He was of plebeian origin.  His father was a grocer.  I am sure the young
man had been well brought up at home, and had been well taught at school;
and he was a brave, frank, honest fellow enough, but there was withal a
certain common or commonplace way with him.  He acquitted himself well at
cricket and football; and I have no doubt he will succeed in life, and be
most respectable, but on the whole very uninteresting.

The present writer is one of the most handsome, most amiable, and most
witty of men; but if there is one vice more than another at which his
soul revolts, it is the sin of egotism.  Else the world would here have
become the possessor of one of the most eloquent pages in literature.  It
is said that artists, who paint their own portraits, make a mere copy of
their image in the looking glass.  For my part, if I had to draw my own
likeness, I would scorn such paltry devices.  The true artist draws from
the imagination.  Let any man think for a moment what manner of man he
is.  Is he not at once struck with the fact that he is not as other men
are--that he is not extortionate, nor unjust, and so forth?  But, in
truth, if I were to paint my own portrait, I know there are fifty fools
who would think I meant it for themselves; and as I cannot tolerate
vanity in other people, I will say no more about it.

So at length here at Babbicombe were the coach, harness, drag, and team
duly arrived, and settled for six weeks or more, in a fine large house,
far above the deep blue ocean, and far removed from all the turmoil and
bustle of this busy world.  Wonderful truly are the happiness and
privileges of young men, if they only knew how to enjoy them wisely.

"I think it is somewhat unthoughtful, to say the least of it," said Mrs.
Porkington to Glenville, "that Mr. Porkington should have taken a house
so very far from the beach.  He knows how I adore the sea."

"Perhaps he is jealous of it on that account," said Glenville.

The Drag said she believed he would be jealous of anything.  For her part
if she were tied to such a man she would give him good cause to be
jealous.

Glenville replied in his most polite manner that he was sure she could
never be so cruel.

The Drag did not understand him.

"Confound the old aunt," said he, as he sat down to the table in the
dining-room to his mathematical papers, "why did she not stick to the
tallow-chandling, instead of coming here?  Don't you think, Barton, our
respected governors ought to pay less for our coaching on account of the
drag?  Of course we really pay something extra on her account; but,
generally speaking, you know an irremovable nuisance would diminish the
value of an estate, and I think a coach with an irremovable drag ought to
fetch less than a coach without encumbrances."

"I daresay you are right," said Barton.  "The two women will ruin Porky
between them.  The quantity of donkey chaises they require is something
awful.  To be sure the hill is rather steep in hot weather."

"Yes," said Glenville, "they began by trying one chaise between them,
ride and tie; but Mrs. Porkington always would ride the first half of the
way, and so Miss Candlish only rode the last quarter, until at last the
first half grew to such enormous proportions that it caused a difference
between the ladies, and Porkington had to allow two donkey chaises.  How
they do squabble, to be sure, about which of the two it really is who
requires the chaise!"

"I can't help thinking Socrates was a fool to want to be killed when he
had done nothing to deserve it," said Thornton, with a yawn, as he put
down his book.

"Yes," said Glenville, "nowadays a man expects to take his whack first--I
mean to hit some man on the head, or stab some woman in the breast,
first.  Then he professes himself quite ready for the consequences, and
poetic justice is satisfied."

"How a man can put the square root of minus three eggs into a basket, and
then give five to one person, and half the remainder and the square of
the whole, divided by twelve, and so on, I never could understand; but
perhaps the answer is wrong, I mean the square root of minus three."

"Oh, if that is your answer, Barton," said Glenville, "you are fairly
floored.  Take care you don't get an answer of that sort--a facer, I
mean--from the 'pretty fisher maiden.'"

"Don't chaff, Glenville," cried Barton; "you are always talking some
folly or other."

"Well, well, let us have some beer and a pipe.

   'He, who would shine and petrify his tutor,
   Should drink draught Allsopp from its native pewter.'

We shall all go to the dance to-night, I suppose--Thornton, of course,
lured by the two Will-o-the-wisps in Miss Delamere's black eyes."

"Go, and order the beer, Dick," said Thornton, "and come back a wiser, if
not a sadder man."  Dick procured the beer; and, it being now twelve
o'clock at noon, pipes were lit, and papers and books remained in
abeyance, though not absolutely forgotten.  At half-past twelve Mr.
Porkington looked in timidly to see how work was progressing, to assist
in the classics, and to disentangle the mathematics; but the liberal
sciences were so besmothered with tobacco smoke and so bespattered with
beer, that the poor little man did not even dare to come to their
assistance; but coughed, and smiled, and said feebly that he would come
again when the air was a little clearer.

"Upon my word, it is too bad," said Barton.  "Many fellows would not
stand it.  I declare I won't smoke any more this morning."

The rest followed the good example.  Pipes were extinguished, and
Glenville was deputed to go and tell the tutor that the room was clear of
smoke.  They were not wicked young men, but I don't think their mothers
and sisters were at all aware of that state of life into which a love of
ease and very high spirits had called their sons and brothers.



CHAPTER III.--THE VISITORS.


Babbicombe was full.  The lodgings were all taken.  There were still
bills in the windows of a few of the houses in the narrower streets of
the little town announcing that the apartments had a "good sea view."  The
disappointed visitor, however, upon further investigation, would discover
that by standing on a chair in the attic it might be possible to obtain a
glimpse of the topmasts of the schooners in the harbour, or the furthest
circle of the distant ocean.  Mr. and Mrs. Delamere, with their two
daughters, occupied lodgings facing the sea.  Next door but one were our
friends, Colonel and Mrs. Bagshaw.  Two Irish captains, O'Brien and
Kelly, were stopping at the Bull Hotel, in the High Street.  On the side
of the hill in our row lived the two beautiful Misses Bankes with their
parents and the younger olive branches, much snubbed by those who had
"come out" into blossom.  The visitors' doctor also lived in our row, and
a young landscape painter (charming, as they all are) had a room
somewhere, but I never could quite make out where it was or how he lived.

"There are your friends the Delameres," cried Glenville to Thornton, as
we all lounged down one afternoon, not long after our arrival, to the
parade, where the little discordant German band was playing.  "Looking
for you, too, I think," added he.

"I am sure they are not looking at all," said Thornton.

"Why, not now," said Glenville; "their books have suddenly become
interesting, but I vow I saw Mrs. Delamere's spyglass turned full upon us
a minute ago."  We all four stepped from the parade upon the rocks, and
approached the Delameres' party, who were seated on rugs and shawls
spread upon the huge dry rocks overlooking the deep, clear water which
lapped underneath with a gentle and regular plash and sucking sound.  It
was a brilliant day.  Not a cloud was in the sky, and the blue-green seas
lay basking in the sunshine.  A brisk but gentle air had begun to crisp
the top of the water, making it sparkle and bubble; and there was just
visible a small silver cord of foam on the coast line of dark crags.  A
white sail or a brown, here and there, dotted about the space of ocean,
gleamed in the light of the noon-day sun.  Porpoises rolled and gamboled
in the bay, and the round heads of two or three swimmers from the bathing
cove appeared like corks upon the surface of the water.  Half lost in the
hazy horizon, a dim fairy island hung between sky and ocean; while
overhead flew the milk-white birds, whose presence inland is said to
presage stormy weather.

"What was Miss Delamere reading?"

"Oh, only Hallam's _Constitutional History_."

"Great Heavens!" whispered Glenville to me, "think of that!"

"Do you like it?" asked Thornton.

"Well, I can't say I do, but I suppose I ought.  My mother wanted me to
bring it."

"I think it must be very dull," said Thornton, "though I have never tried
it.  I have just finished Kingsley's _Two Years Ago_.  It is awfully
good.  May I lend it to you?"

"Oh, I do so like a good novel when I can get it, but I am afraid I
mayn't."

"What is that, Flo?" asked her mother.  "You know I do not approve of
novels, except, of course, Sir Walter's.  My daughters, Mr. Thornton,
have, I hope, been brought up very differently from most young ladies.  I
always encourage them to read such works as are likely to tend to the
improvement of their understanding and the cultivation of their taste.  I
always choose their books for them."

"Nonsense, my dear," said Mr. Delamere, "if Mr. Thornton recommends the
book, Flo can have it.  I know nothing of books, sir, and care less; but
if you say it is a good book, that is sufficient."

"Oh, quite so indeed," exclaimed Mrs. Delamere, "if Mr. Thornton
recommends the book.  My daughter Florence has too much imagination, dear
child, and we have to be very careful.  May I inquire the name of the
work which you recommend?"

She called everything a work.

"Oh, only _Two Years Ago_, by Kingsley," said Thornton.

"Ah!" said Mrs. Delamere, "a delightful writer.  The Rev. Charles
Kingsley was a man whom I unfeignedly admire.  Perhaps I might not
altogether approve of his writings for young persons, but for those whose
minds have been matured by a considerable acquaintance with our
literature it is, of course, different.  He is a bold and fearless
thinker.  He is not fettered and tied down by those barriers which impede
the speculations of other writers."

"Off she goes!" whispered Glenville to me, "broken her knees over the
first metaphor.  She will be plunging wildly in the ditch directly, and
never fairly get out of it for about an hour and a half.  Let us escape
while we can."  We rose and left Mrs. Delamere explaining to Thornton how
darling Florence and dearest Beatrix were all that a fond and
intellectual mother could desire.  She was anxious to be thought to be
trembling on the verge of atheism, to which position her highly-gifted
intelligence quite entitled her; while, at the same time, her strong
judgment and moral virtues enabled her to assist in supporting the
orthodox faith.  The younger Miss Delamere (Beatrix) was doing one of
those curious pieces of work in which ladies delight, which appear to be
designed for no particular purpose, and which, curiously enough, are
always either a little more or less than half finished.  I think she very
seldom spoke.  She was positively crushed by that most superior person,
her mother.  Flo was gazing abstractedly into the sea, hearing her mother
but not listening, while Thornton was seated a foot or two below her,
gazing up into her deep-blue eyes, shaded by her large hat and dark hair,
as happy and deluded as a lunatic who thinks himself monarch of the
world.

The Squire said he would join us.  I expect his wife rather bored the old
gentleman.  We all sauntered up to the little crush of people who were
listening (or not listening) to the discordant sounds of the German band.
Here we found the whole tribe of Bankes' and the two Irish captains, one
standing in front of each beautiful Miss Bankes; and a little further
removed from this party were Colonel and Mrs. and Miss Bagshaw, with the
doctor's son.  Above the cliff, on a slope of grass, lay the young
artist, smoking his pipe and enjoying the scenery.

"I hope you intend to honour the Assembly Wooms with your pwesence this
evening," drawled Captain Kelly to the elder Miss Bankes--the dark one
with the single curl hanging down her back.  Her sister wore two light
ones, and it puzzled us very much to account for the difference in
number, and even in colour, for the complexions were the same.  Was
Glenville justified in surmising that the art of the contrivance was to
prove that the curls were natural and indigenous, for if false, he said,
surely they would be expected to wear two or one each.

"My sister and I certainly intend going this evening," replied the young
lady, "but really I hear they are very dull affairs."

"They will be so no longer," said he.

"Well, I suppose we must do something in this dreadful little place to
keep up our spirits."

"Yes, I must own it is very dull here, and I certainly should not have
come had not a little bird told me at Mrs. Cameron's dance who was coming
here," said the Captain, with a languishing air.

"I am sure I said nothing about it," said Miss Bankes, poutingly.

"Beauty attracts like a magnet, Miss Bankes, and you must not be angry
with a poor fellow for what can't be helped."

"Very well, now you are come, you must be very good, and keep us all
amused."

"I will endeavour to do my best," said the gallant soldier.

"Bagshaw, come here!" shouted Mrs. Bagshaw right athwart the parade,
startling several of the performers in the band, and drawing all eyes
towards her.  "Bagshaw, behave yourself like a gentleman.  Don't leave
me, sir; I should be ashamed to let the people see me following that
woman.  It's disgraceful, mean, and disgusting."

Bagshaw came back, looking ridiculous.  He hated to look ridiculous, as
who does not?  He approached his wife, and said in a low, but angry tone,
"You are making a fool of yourself; the people will think you are mad;
and they are not far wrong, as I have known to my cost this twenty
years."

Porkington, wife, and drag had just passed up the parade.

"I saw you, I tell you I saw you," she went on excitedly.  "You were
sneaking away from my side--you know you were.  Don't laugh at me, Mr.
Bagshaw, for I won't have it.  I don't care who hears me," she cried in a
louder voice, "all the world shall hear how I am treated."

"Look at Miss Bagshaw," said the artist to me.  "What a good girl she is!
I am so sorry for her!"  Pity is kin to love, thought I, as I watched the
beautiful girl move swiftly up to her father and mother, and in a moment
all three moved quietly away.

"Who's the old girl?" asked Captain O'Brien of Captain Kelly.

"The celebwated Mrs. Bagshaw, wife of Colonel Bagshaw.  She was a gweat
singer or something not very long ago.  Very wich, Tom; chance for you,
you know; only daughter, rather a pwetty girl, not much style, father-in-
law and mother-in-law not desiwable, devil of a wow, wampageous, both of
them!"

"How much?"  "Say twenty thou."  "Can't be done at the pwice."  "Don't
know that--lunatic asylums--go abroad--that sort of thing---young lady
chawming!"  "Ah!"

"What do you say to a row in the old four oar?" said Harry Barton.  "With
all my heart," said I.  "Let us make up a party.  The Delameres will go,
the two young ladies and Thornton.  Don't let's have the mother, she jaws
so confoundedly.  Go and ask Mrs. Bagshaw and her daughter to make things
proper."

"All right!  Thornton shall steer; you three; I stroke; Glenville two;
Hawkstone bow, to look out ahead and see all safe."  And off he went to
ask Mrs. Bagshaw, who was now all smiles and sunshine, and managed very
cleverly to secure the two Misses Delamere and Thornton without the
mamma.  And so we all went down to the harbour, where we found Hawkstone
looking out for our party as usual.



CHAPTER IV.--BOATING.


"Muscular Christianity is very great!" said the Archangel.  "The devil it
is!" said Satan, "see how I will deal with it!"  In the days of Job he
said, "Touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face"--

   "But Satan now is wiser than of yore,
   And tempts by making _strong_, not making poor."

Muscular Christianity was at one time the cant phrase.  Can we even now
talk of Christian muscularity?  For my part I think an Eton lad or a
Camford man is a sight for gods and fishes.  The glory of his neck-tie is
terrible.  He saith among the cricket balls, Ha, ha, and he smelleth the
battle afar off, the thud of the oars and the shouting.  I suppose the
voice of the people is the voice of God; but let a thing once become
fashionable and the devil steps in and leads the dance.  When Lady
Somebody, or Sir John Nobody, gives away the prizes at the county
athletic sports, amid the ringing cheers of the surrounding ladies and
gentlemen, I suspect the recipient, in nine times out of ten, is little
better than an obtainer of goods by false pretences.  When that ardent
youth, Tommy Leapwell, brings home a magnificent silver goblet for the
"high jump," what a fuss is made of it and of him both at home and in the
newspapers; whereas when that exemplary young student, Mugger, after a
term's hard labour, receives as a reward a volume of Macaulay's _Essays_,
in calf, price two and sixpence, very little is said about the matter;
and, at all events, the dismal circumstance is not mentioned outside the
family circle.

Nelly Crayshaw was talking saucily with Hawkstone as we came down to the
quay.  I noticed Barton shaking hands with her, and whispering a few
words as we got into the boat; and I noticed also a certain sheepish, and
rather sulky look upon Hawkstone's face, as he did so; and if I was not
mistaken, my learned friend Glenville let something very like an oath
escape him as he shouted: "Barton, Barton, come along; we are all waiting
for you!"

I do not think Nelly could be called a beauty.  The face was too flat,
the mouth was too large, and the colour of the cheeks was too brilliant.
Yet she was very charming.  The blue of her eyes underneath dark
eyelashes and eyebrows was--well--heavenly.  The whole face beamed and
glowed through masses of brown hair, which were arranged in a somewhat
disorderly manner, and yet with an evident eye to effect.  The aspect was
frank and good-humoured, though somewhat soft and sensuous; and the form,
though full, was not without elegance, and showed both strength and
agility.  No one could pass by her without being arrested by her
appearance, but we used to quarrel very much as to her claims to be
called a "clipper," or a "stunner," or whatever was the word in use among
us to express our ideal.

Barton jumped into the boat and away we went, Thornton steering, Mrs.
Bagshaw, her daughter, and the Misses Delamere in the stern, Barton
stroke, myself three, Glenville two, and Hawkstone bow--a very fine crew,
let me tell you, for we all knew how to handle an oar,--especially in
smooth water.  And so we passed in front of the parade, waving our pocket
handkerchiefs in answer to those which fluttered on the shore, and rowing
away into the wide sea.  Mrs. Bagshaw, who was an excellent musician, and
her daughter, who had a lovely voice, sang duets and songs for our
amusement; and, with the aid of the two Misses Delamere, made up some
tolerable glees and choruses, in the latter of which we all joined at
intervals, to the confusion of the whole effect,--of the singing in point
of tune, and of the rowing in point of time.

As we were rounding Horn Point, Thornton said to Mrs. Bagshaw, "Do you
know, there are some such splendid ferns grow in a little ravine you can
see there on the side of that hill.  Do let us land and get some."

"What do you want ferns for?" asked I, innocently.

"Silence in the boat, three," cried Glenville.  "What a hard-hearted
monster you must be!" he whispered in my ear.

"Oh, do let us land," said Miss Delamere, "I do so want some common
bracken"--or whatever it was, for she cared no more than you or I about
the ferns--"I want some for my book, and mamma says we really must
collect some rare specimens before we go home."  Mrs. Bagshaw guessed
what sort of flower they would be looking for--heartsease, I suppose, or
forget-me-not; but she very good-naturedly agreed to the proposal, and
Hawkstone undertook to show us where we could land.  We were soon ashore,
and Hawkstone said, "You must not be long, gentlemen, if you please, for
the wind is rising, and it will come on squally before long; and we have
wind and tide against us going back, and a tough job it is often to round
the lighthouse hill."

"All right," said Thornton, "how long can you give us?"

"Twenty minutes at the most," said the boatman, "and you will only just
have time to mount the cliff and come back."

I heard an indistinct, dull murmur, half of the sea and half of the wind,
and, looking far out to sea, could fancy I saw little white sheep on the
waves.  We left Glenville with Hawkstone talking and smoking.  They were
really great friends, although in such different ranks in life.  Glenville
used to rave about him as a true specimen of the old Devon rover.  He was
a tall, well-proportioned man, with a clear, open face, very ruddy with
sun and wind and rough exercise, a very pleasant smile, and grey eyes,
rather piercing and deep set.  The brow was fine, and the features
regular, though massive.  The hair and beard were brown and
rough-looking, but his manner was gentle, and had that peculiar courtesy
which makes many a Devon man a gentleman and many a Devon lass a lady,
let them be of ever so humble an origin.

Barton paired off with the younger Miss Delamere, Thornton with the
elder.  Mrs. Bagshaw and I followed, conversing cheerfully of many
things.  I found her a very entertaining and agreeable lady,
accomplished, frank, and amiable.  There was nothing at all peculiar
either in her appearance or conversation.  While I was talking to her I
kept wondering whether her outbreaks of temper were the result of some
real or supposed cause of jealousy, or were to be attributed solely to a
chronic feeling of irritability against her husband.  In the course of
our walk together Mrs. Bagshaw said to me--

"Your friend, Mr. Thornton, is evidently very much smitten with Florence
Delamere."

"Yes, I think so," I replied, "but I daresay nothing will come of it.  Her
family would not like it, I suppose; for, you know, they are of a good
family in Norfolk, and Thornton is only the son of a grocer."

"I did not know that," she said, "but I have thought your friend had not
quite the manners of the class to which the Delameres clearly belong.
Mrs. Delamere is perhaps not anyone in particular, and she certainly
talks overmuch upon subjects which probably she does not understand.  The
young ladies are most agreeable and lady-like, and I think Mr. Thornton
has found that out.  It is easy to see that objections to any engagement
would be of the gravest sort--indeed, I imagine, insurmountable.  It is
most unfortunate that this should happen when the young man is away from
his parents, who might guide him out of the difficulty.  I think Mrs.
Delamere is aware of the attachment, and is not inclined to favour it.  Do
you think you could influence your friend in any way?  You will do him a
great service if you can warn him of his danger; if he does not attend to
you, you might tell Mr. Porkington, and consult with him."

I promised to follow her advice as well as I could, for I felt that it
was both kindly meant and reasonable, although I felt myself rather too
young to be entangled in such matters.

* * * * *

"Oh what a lovely fern, such a nice little one too.  Do try and dig it up
for me," said Florence.

"I will try to do my best," said Thornton; "I have got a knife."  And
down he went upon his knees, and soon extracted a little brittle bladder,
which he handed to the young lady, saying, "I hope it will live.  Do you
think it will?"

"Oh, yes," she said.  "I can keep it here till we go home, and then plant
it in my rockery, where they flourish nicely, as it is beautifully
sheltered from the sun."

"I wish it were rather a handsomer-looking thing," said the young man,
looking rather ruefully at the little specimen.

"I shall prize it for the sake of the giver," she said, with a slight
blush.  "But I am afraid you have spoilt your knife."

"Oh, not at all.  Do let me dig up some more."

"No, thank you; do not trouble.  See what a pretty bank of wild thyme."

"Would you like to sit down upon it?  You know it smells all the sweeter
for being crushed."

"Well, it does really look most inviting."  Florence sat down, saying as
she did so, "How lovely the wild flowers are--heather and harebells."

"Let me gather some for you."  He began plucking the flowers, which
flourished in such profusion and variety that a nosegay grew in every
foot of turf.  "When do you think of leaving Babbicombe?"

"In two or three days."

"So soon!"

"Yes; for papa has to go back to attend to his Quarter Sessions."

"I am very, very sorry you are going.  I had hoped you would stay much
longer.  These three weeks have flown like three days."

"Why, Mr. Thornton, I declare you are throwing my flowers away as fast as
you gather them."

"So I am," he said.  "The fact is I hardly know what I am doing."  The
colour was blazing into his face, and his heart beating wildly.
"Florence," he cried, flinging himself upon his knees beside her,
"forgive me if I speak rashly or wildly--I don't know how to speak.  I
don't know what to tell you--but I love you dearly, dearly, with my whole
heart.  I cannot tell--I hope--I think you may like me.  Do not say no, I
implore you.  If you do not like me to speak so wildly, tell me so; but
don't say you will not love me.  Tell me you will love me--if you can."

Florence was young, and was taken by surprise, or perhaps she might have
stopped the young gentleman at once; but after all it is not unpleasant
to a pretty girl to see a good-looking young lad at her feet and to
listen to his passionate words of homage.  At length, when he seemed to
come to a pause, she replied: "Oh, Mr. Thornton, please, please do not
talk so.  This is so sudden.  Our parents know nothing of this!"

"Do you love me--tell me?"

"We are too young.  You really must not--"

"It does not matter about being young."

"Oh, do not speak any more."

"Florence, do you love me?  I shall go mad if you will not answer."  He
seized her hand as he leant forward, and gazed eagerly into her face,
while he trembled violently with his own emotion.  "Do you love me--say?"

"I think, I think--I do," she said very softly, looking him full in the
face, while he seized her round the waist, and her head leant for one
moment on his shoulder, and he kissed her forehead.

She started up, saying, "Oh, do let me go, please.  I ought not to have
said so."

He rose first, and lifted her up by the hand.

* * * * *

"I will tell you what it is, Hawkstone," said Glenville.  "I think it is
a d---d shame, and I shall tell him so.  He may be a bigger fellow than
I, but I could punch his head for him, if he were in the wrong and I in
the right."

"I dare say you could, sir, and thank you, sir, for what you say.  I
thought you were a brave, kind gentleman when I first saw you, though you
do like to have a bit of a joke at me at times."

"Bit of a joke!  That's another matter.  But I will never joke again, if
this goes wrong.  But are you quite sure that Nelly is in love with you
really, and you with her."

"Why, sir, we have told each other so this hundred times; and I feel as
sure she spoke the truth as God knows I did; and sometimes I think I am a
fool to doubt her now.  But you see, sir, she is flattered by the notice
of a grand gentleman.  It may be nothing, but, when I talk to her now,
she seems weary like.  It is not like what it was in the old days before
you came, sir.  We were to be married, sir, so soon as the gentle folk
have left the town, that is about six weeks from to-day; but now I hardly
know what to think.  I think one thing one day, and another the next.
Sometimes I think I am jealous about nothing.  Sometimes I think he is a
gentleman, and will act as such; and sometimes I think, suppose he should
harm her; and then I feel that if he dared to do it I would throttle
him."  Glenville could see the sailor's fists clenching as he spoke, and
he replied, "Hush, Hawkstone, hush!  This will all come right.  I feel
for you very much, but you must not be violent.  I believe it is all
folly, and Barton will forget all about it in a day or two."

"May be, may be, sir; but will she forget so soon?  When a woman gets a
thing of this sort into her head it sticks there, sir.  There is nothing
to drive it out.  He will go off among his fine friends in London, or
wherever it is; but she will be alone here in the little dull town, and
it is mighty dull in the winter, sir."

"You see, Hawkstone, Barton is a friend of mine; and, though I have only
known him a couple of years, I am sure he is a generous, good sort of
fellow, and honest and truthful, though a bit thoughtless and careless.  I
am sure he will see his own folly and bad conduct when it is shown to
him.  This is a sham love of his.  She is a very pretty girl, it is true.
You won't mind my saying that?"

"Say away, sir.  I look more to what people mean than what they say."

"Well, no doubt, he has been struck by her beauty; but their positions
are different, and he has only seen her for a week or two.  Besides, he
knows that you and she are fond of one another.  I believe he is only
idle and thoughtless.  If I thought for a moment that he was
contemplating a blackguardly act, he should be no friend of mine, and I
would not only tell him so, but I would give him a good kicking, or look
on with pleasure while you did it.  But you must be quiet, Hawkstone, at
present, for you know nothing, and a quarrel would only do you harm all
round."

"It's not so easy to be quiet.  The neighbours are beginning to talk,
sir, though they don't let me hear what they say.  I can see by their
looks.  What business has he to sit beside her on the quay?  He is making
a fool of her and of me.  I cannot bear it.  Sometimes I feel as if I
should go mad.  I don't know what those poor creatures in the Bible felt
when they were possessed by the devil, but I believe he comes right into
me when I think of this business."  Then he bent over the boat and
covered his face with his arms, and his great broad back heaved up and
down, like a boat on the sea.  Glenville left him alone, and puffed away
vigorously at a cigar he was smoking in order to quiet his own feelings,
which had been more excited than he liked.

After a few minutes, Hawkstone raised his head as if from a sleep, and
suddenly exclaimed, "Hey, sir!  The wind and the sea have not been idle
while we have been talking.  We must be sharp now.  Shout to your
friends, sir.  I cannot shout just yet, I think."

Glenville shouted as loud as he was able.

"That won't do, I'm afeard," said Hawkstone, and he gave a loud halloo,
which rang from cliff to cliff, and brought out a cloud of gulls, sailing
round and round for a while in great commotion, but soon disappearing
into the cliffs again.

We were most of us already descending when we heard Hawkstone's voice;
the boat was soon ready; but where were Thornton and his lady love?  After
waiting a while, Hawkstone shouting more than once, it was proposed that
someone should go in search for them.  Hawkstone was getting very
impatient, and warned us we should have a hard struggle to get home
again.

"It will be a bad job if we cannot get round the point," cried he, "for
then we shall have to land in the bay, and although there will be no
danger if we get off soon, yet the ladies will get a wetting, and maybe
the boat will be damaged.  We shall just get a little water going out,
for the surf is running in strong."

"It is very wonderful," said Mrs. Bagshaw, "how suddenly the wind rises
on this coast, and the waves answer to the lash like wild colts.  The
change from calm to storm is most remarkable."

"Very," thought I to myself, when I called to mind the sudden changes of
temper which I had noticed in her.

"What can that duffer Thornton be about all this long time?" asked
Barton.

Mrs. Bagshaw and I exchanged glances.  "I am not sure," said she to me,
"that I have not been doing a very imprudent thing in letting them land."

It was full ten minutes after the arrival of the rest of the party before
Thornton and Florence made their appearance, looking very confused and
awkward.  Glenville preceded them, shouting and laughing.  "Here they
are, caught at last, and apparently quite pleased at keeping us all
waiting, and quite unable to give any account of what they have been
doing.  One little fern has fallen before their united efforts in the
space of half an hour or more.  Hawkstone says he'll be shot if he lends
you his boat to go a row in another time.  Don't you, Hawkstone?"

"No, sir, I didn't say that.  If a gentleman and a lady like to loiter on
the hill it's nothing to a poor boatman how long they stay, leastways
wind and weather permitting, as the packet says."

Hawkstone pushed us off through the surf, and it was no easy matter, and,
I daresay, required some judgment and presence of mind to seize the right
moment between the breaking of the great waves.  With all his skill we
managed to ship a little water, amid the laughing shrieks of the ladies
and the boisterous shouts of "two" and "three," who got some of the water
down their backs.  We were soon under weigh, however, and tugging
manfully on, occasionally missing a stroke when the boat lurched on a
great wave, and making but slow progress.  Fortunately we had not far to
go before we arrived opposite to the parade, where a small crowd of
people was watching our movements with great interest, and the pocket
handkerchiefs again fluttered from the land.  The signals, however, met
with no response from us.  Tug as we would, we seemed to make very little
way, notwithstanding Hawkstone's "Well rowed, gentlemen, she's moving
fast.  We shall do it yet."

The waves were now running high, white crested, and with a long, wide
sweep in them.  We were forced to steer close to the rocks at the point
in order to keep as much as possible out of the tide, which was running
so strongly a few yards from the land that we never could have made any
way against it there.  As it was I could see that for many seconds we did
not open a single point of rock, and it was all we could do to keep the
boat from dropping astern.  Just as I was beginning to despair of ever
getting back in safety, and was aware that my wind was going, and that
both arms and legs were on the point of giving way, a loud shout from
Hawkstone alarmed us all.  He jumped up, shouting, "Row hard on the bow
side, ease off on the stroke," and in a moment (how he got from the bows
I shall never know!) we saw him seated behind the stern-board with the
tiller in his hand.  The boat shot round, shipping a heavy sea, and we
were at one moment within a yard of the rock underneath the parade.  "Row
hard, all!" was soon the cry, and away we shot before wind and tide in
the opposite direction to that in which we had been going.  Again we
heard Hawkstone's voice, "Steady, keep steady.  There's nothing to fear.
We can run her into the bay!"  Nothing to fear!  But there had been.  One
moment of delay, and we should have been dashed on the rocks.  I do not
know why it was, but the waves now seemed gigantic.  Perhaps excitement
or fear made them seem larger, or perhaps the change in the direction of
the course of the boat had that effect.  Certainly they now seemed to
rear their white crests high above us, and to menace us with their huge
forms.  The roar of the breakers upon the beach added to the excitement
of the scene.  The ladies sat pale and silent.  I believe all would have
gone well, but at the most exigent moment, when we were riding on the
surf which was to land us, "bow" and "three" missed their strokes and
fell into the bottom of the boat; and, amid great confusion, the boat
swerved round; and, a great wave striking her upon her broadside, she
upset, and rolled the whole party over and over into about three feet of
water.  All scrambled as well as they could to the shore; but in a moment
we saw with dismay that one of the ladies was floating away on the
retreating wave, and Thornton was plunging after the helpless form.
Meanwhile the party on the parade had rushed frantically round to the
bay, shouting and screaming as they came.

"Where's the life-buoy?" shouted Captain O'Brien vaguely.

"Fetch the life-boat!" cried Captain Kelly, in a voice of command,
although there was no one to fetch it, and, for aught he knew, the
nearest was in London.  The two Misses Bankes screamed at intervals like
minute guns.  Mr. and Mrs. Delamere and their younger daughter looked on
in speechless agony.  The young artist, like a sensible fellow, seized up
a coil of rope and dragged it towards the sea.  The colonel embraced Mrs.
Bagshaw before the multitude.

"She will be drowned!" cried one.

"She is saved!" cried another.

"He has caught her, thank God!  Well done!" shrieked a third.

Thornton had reached Florence, and was endeavouring to stagger back with
her in his arms; but the waves were too strong for him, and they both
fell, and were lost to sight in an enormous breaker, while everyone held
their breath.  As the wave dispersed three forms could be seen struggling
forwards; and, amid the wildest cheers and excitement Hawkstone rolled
Thornton and his lady love upon the sand, and then threw himself on his
back quite out of breath.

Florence neither heard nor saw anything for some time.  Captain Kelly
suggested water as being the best restorative under the circumstances.
Porkington wished he had not forgotten his brandy flask.  The doctor's
son thought of bleeding, and played with a little pocket-knife in a
suggestive fashion.  On a sudden Glenville, who always had his wits about
him, discovered the Drag seated on a rock in a state of helpless terror,
and smelling at a bottle of aromatic vinegar as though her life was in
danger.  "Lend that to me--quick, Miss Candlish!" he cried, and seized
the bottle.  The Drag struggled to keep possession of it, but in vain,
and then fainted away.  The young lady soon recovered sufficiently under
the influence of the smelling bottle to walk home with the assistance of
Thornton and Mrs. Delamere.  The rest of the party began to separate amid
much talking and laughter; for as soon as the danger was passed the whole
thing seemed to be a joke; and we had so much to talk of, that we hardly
noticed how we got away.  But on looking back I observed that the young
artist brought up the rear with Miss Bagshaw, and was evidently being
most attentive.  Hawkstone received everybody's thanks and praise in a
simple, good-humoured way, and proceeded to fasten up the boat out of
reach of the tide.



CHAPTER V.--THE BALL.


Mrs. Porkington, attired in the white silk which we all knew so well,
reclined upon the sofa.  Porkington, who was, or should be, her lord and
master, was perched upon the music stool.  The Drag, in a pink muslin of
a draggled description, sat in a deep easy chair, displaying a great deal
of skinny ancle and large feet.

"It has always surprised me, my dear," said Mrs. Porkington, "how fond
you are of dancing."

"Why, what can you mean?" said he.  "Why, I never danced in my life."

"Oh, of course not," replied she.  "I am aware you cannot dance, nor did
I insinuate that you could, my dear, nor did I say so that I am aware.
But you enjoy these balls so much, you know you do."

"Well, yes," he said, languidly, "I like to see the young folks enjoy
themselves."

"Now, for my part," said his wife, "I am sure I am getting quite tired,
and wish the balls were at an end."

"My dear, I am sure I thought you liked them, or I would never have taken
the tickets."

"Now, my dear, my dear, I must beg, I must entreat, that you will not
endeavour to lay the expense of those tickets upon my shoulders.  I am
sure I have never been asked to be taken to one of the balls this
season."

When a man tells a lie, it is with some hope, however slight, that he may
not be found out; but a woman will lie to the very person whom she knows
to be as fully acquainted with the facts as she is herself.  Which is the
more deadly sin I leave to the Jesuits.

"I am sure," said the Coach, making a desperate effort, "you appeared to
enjoy them, for you danced a great many dances."

"Aunt!" exclaimed the lady, "is it true that I always dance every dance?"

"No indeed!" chimed in Miss Candlish, "far from it.  No doubt you would
get partners for all if you wished."

"And is it true," she continued, "that I wish to go to these ridiculous
soirees?"

"Certainly not, indeed," said the Drag, "nor do I wish to go, I am sure!"

"In that case I can dispose of your ticket," said he.  Unlucky man!  In
these cases there is no _via media_.  A man should either resist to the
death or submit with as good a grace as he can.  Half measures are fatal.

"No, my dear, you cannot dispose of that ticket," said his wife, "and I
take it as very unkind in you to speak to Aunt in that manner.  It is not
because she is poor, and dependent upon us, that she is to be sneered at
and ill-treated."  At this speech the Drag burst into tears, and declared
that she always knew that Mr. Porkington hated her; that she might be
poor and old and ugly, etc., etc., but she little expected to be called
so by him; that she would not go to the ball now, if he implored her on
his knees, and so on, and so on.

Now, who could have thought it?  All this fuss was occasioned by Mr. P.
having meanly backed out of giving Mrs. P. a new dress in which to
electrify the fashionable world at Babbicombe.  Ah me!  Let us hope that
in some far distant planet there may be some better world where all
unfortunate creatures,--dogs which have had tin kettles tied to their
tails,--cockchafers which have been spun upon pins,--poor men who have
been over-crawed by wives, aunts, mothers-in-law, and other
terrors,--donkeys which have been undeservedly belaboured by
costermongers,--and authors who have been meritoriously abused by
critics,--rest together in peace in a sort of happy family.

At this point Barton, Glenville, Thornton, and I all entered the room.

"Oh, I am so glad to see the ladies are ready," said Thornton.  "This
will be our last ball, and we ought to make a happy evening of it.  Are
you not sorry we are coming to the end of our gaieties, Miss Candlish?"

"Sorry!" exclaimed the Drag, ferociously.  "Sorry!  I never was more
pleased--pleased--pleased!"  Every time she repeated the word "pleased"
she launched it at the head of the unfortunate tutor, as if she hoped her
words would turn into brickbats ere they reached him.

"I am glad to see you are going, however," said Glenville.

"There you are mistaken," said the Aunt, "for Mr. Porkington has been so
very kind as to say he had rather I did not go."

"Really, really," cried Porkington, "I can assure you it is quite the
reverse.  I am so misunderstood that really I am sure I can't tell--"

"Oh, pray do not disappoint us in our last evening together, Miss
Candlish," said Glenville, coming to the rescue of the unfortunate tutor,
and speaking in his most fascinating manner, "I have hoped for the
pleasure of a quadrille and lancers and" (with an effort) "a waltz with
you this evening if you will allow me."

The Drag became calm, and after a little while diplomatic relations were
fairly established, and away we all went to the Assembly Rooms, Glenville
whispering to me and Barton, "I have made up my mind to get rid of that
pink muslin to-night or perish in the attempt."  I had no opportunity at
the moment of asking him what he meant, but I was sure he meant mischief.
However, I never gave the matter a second thought, as the business of
dancing soon commenced.  Captains O'Brien and Kelly were already waltzing
with the two Misses Bankes, and whispering delightful nothings into their
curls as we entered.  The artist was floundering in a persevering manner
with pretty Miss Bagshaw, and the doctor was standing in the doorway
ruminating hopefully on the probable effects of low dresses and cold
draughts.  Thornton was soon engrossed in the charms of his lady love,
and Barton, Glenville, and I were doing our duty by all the young ladies.
The room was well filled, and, though not well lighted nor well
appointed, was large and cheerful enough.  The German Band performed
prodigies; the row was simply deafening.  There were a few seats by the
walls for those who did not dance, and there was a room for lemonade,
cakes, and bad ices for those who liked them, as well as a small room in
which the old fogies could play a rubber of whist.

Mrs. Delamere had pinned Mr. Bankes in a corner, and was enlarging to him
upon one of her favourite topics.

"The Church of England," said she, "is undoubtedly in great danger, but
why should we regret it?  It has become a thing of the past, and so have
chivalry and monasteries.  The mind of the nineteenth century is marching
on to its goal.  The intellect of England is asserting itself.  I have
ever loved the intellect of England, haven't you?"

"Oh, quite so--ah, yes, certainly, of course!" said Mr. Bankes.

"You agree with me," said Mrs. Delamere; "I was sure you would.  This is
most delightful.  I have seldom talked with any true thinker who does not
agree with me."

"I am sure," said Mr. Bankes gallantly, "no one would venture to cope
with such an accomplished disputant."

"Perhaps not," she said complacently, "but I should not desire to
disagree with anyone upon religious subjects.  The great desideratum--you
see I understand the Latin tongue, Mr. Bankes--the great desideratum is
harmony--the harmony of the soul!  How are we to arrive at harmony? that
is the pressing question."

* * * * *

"Bagshaw, you are a low cheat, sir: you are nothing better than a common
swindler, sir.  I will not play with you any more.  Do you call yourself
a whist player and make signs to your partner.  I should be ashamed to
stay in the same room with you."

Several of the dancers hastened into the card-room.  Mrs. Bagshaw was
standing up flushed and excited, and talking loudly and wildly.  She had
overset her chair, and flung down her cards upon the table.  Seeing
Porkington enter, she cried out, "Look to your wife, sir, look to your
wife.  She received signals across the table.  It has nothing to do with
the cards.  Look at that man who is called my husband--that monster--that
bundle of lies and deceit, who has been the ruin of hundreds."

"By heavens, this is too bad!" exclaimed Colonel Bagshaw.  "I declare
nothing has happened that I know of, except that my wife has forgotten to
count honours."

"It is a lie, sir, and you know it.  You are trying to ruin a woman
before my very eyes.  Oh, you man, you brute!  Oh, help, help me, help!"
and in act to fall she steadied herself by clenching tightly the back of
her chair.  Her daughter was luckily close to her, "Oh, mamma, mamma,"
whispered she, "how can you say such things?  Come away, come away; you
are ill.  Do come."  She led her out into the hall, and hurriedly
adjusting the shawls, went home with her mother.

Porkington showed himself a man.  He took Colonel Bagshaw by the hand.  "I
am very sorry," said he, "that Mrs. Bagshaw should have made some
mistake.  Some sudden vexation, and I am afraid some indisposition, must
be the cause of her excitement.  Allow me to take her place and finish
the game.  I am afraid you will find me a poor performer, Colonel."

"Oh, not at all.  Let us begin.  I will deal again, and the scoring
stands as it did."

Mrs. Porkington during this scene had turned pale and red alternately.
Her husband's dignity and presence of mind astonished her.  She was so
excited as to be almost unable to play her cards, and her lips and eyes
betrayed very great emotion.  The tutor's cheek showed some trace of
colour, and his manner was even graver than usual, but that was all; and
his wife felt the presence of a superior force to her own, and was
checked into silence.  I had always felt sure that there was a reserve of
force in the timid nature of our Coach which seemed to peep forth at
times and then retire again.  It was curious to mark on these rare
occasions how the more boisterous self-assertion of Mrs. Porkington
seemed for a time to cower before the gentler but finer will.  Natures
are not changed in a day, but the effect of the singular scene which had
been enacted at that time was never effaced, and a gradual and mutual
approach was made between husband and wife towards a more cordial and
complete sympathy.

The music had not ceased playing during the disturbance, and the dancers,
with great presence of mind, quickly returned to their places, and the
usual frivolities of the evening continued to the accustomed hour of
midnight, when the party began to break up.  I could not find Glenville
or Barton.  Where could they be?  Once or twice in the pauses of the
dance I had noticed them talking earnestly together, and occasionally
with suppressed laughter.  "Now, what joke are these fellows up to, I
wonder?"  However, it was not my business to inquire, though I had a kind
of fear that the combination of gunpowder with lucifer matches in a high
temperature could hardly be more dangerous than the meeting of Glenville
and Barton in a mischievous mood.  Before the last dance had commenced
they had left the hall, and, as soon as they got outside, they found Miss
Candlish's sedan chair in the custody of the two men who usually carried
her to and fro when she attended the balls.  Two other sedan chairs,
several bath chairs and donkey chairs, and a couple of flys were in
attendance.  Aided by the magical influence of a small "tip," Glenville
easily persuaded the men in charge that the dance would not be over for a
few minutes, and that they had time to go and get a glass of beer, which,
he said, Miss Candlish wished them to have in return for the care and
trouble they had several times taken in carrying her home.  As soon as
they had gone, he and Barton came back into the ball-room; and, as the
last dance was coming to an end, and the band was beginning to scramble
through "God save the Queen," in a most disloyal manner, he came up to
Miss Candlish, and said, "May I have the pleasure of seeing you to your
chair, and thanking you for that very delightful dance?"

"My dear Mr. Glenville," said the Drag, "your politeness is quite
overpowering.  Ah, if all young men were like you, what a very different
world it would be."

"You must not flatter me," said Glenville, "for I am very soft hearted,
especially where the fair sex is concerned."

"Ah, how I wish I had a son like you!" sighed the Drag.

"And how I wish you were my m--m--mother!" replied that villain
Glenville, as he adjusted her cloak, and led her out to her chair.  It
was pitchy dark outside (only a couple of candle lanterns to see by), and
the usual confusion upon the breaking up of a large party was taking
place.  Miss Candlish stepped into her chair, and the door was closed.
Glenville and Barton took up the chair, and, going as smoothly as they
could (which was not as smoothly as the usual carriers), they turned
aside from the main stream of the visitors, and made at once for the
harbour.  Here they had intended to deposit the chair, and leave the rest
to fate; but, as luck would have it, in setting down the chair in the
darkness, one side of it projected over a sort of landing-place.  It
toppled over and fell sideways with a splash into the muddy water.  Scream
upon scream followed rapidly.  "Murder! thieves! help!"  Shriek after
shriek, and at last a female form, wildly flinging her arms into the air,
could be seen emerging from the half buried chair.  Glenville and Barton
had run away before the chair fell, but, hearing the fall, looked back,
and were at first spellbound with terror at what had happened.  When,
however, they saw the Drag emerge, they fairly fled for their lives by a
circuitous way little frequented by night, and reached home just before
the rest of us arrived.  There was some alarm when Miss Candlish did not
arrive for about twenty minutes or half an hour.  Glenville and Barton
told Thornton and myself what had happened, and wanted to know what they
should do.  Of course, we advised that they should say and do nothing,
but wait upon the will of the Fates.  They were in a great fright, and
when Miss Candlish arrived in charge of two policemen their terror became
wild.  And yet they both said afterwards that they could hardly help
laughing out loud.  The pink muslin was draggled and besmeared with
harbour mud, and torn half out of the gathers.  Its owner was in a state
of rage, terror, and hysterics.  The commotion was fearful.  It was very
strange she did not seem to have the faintest suspicion of any of our
party.  She was sure the men were drunk because they carried her so
unsteadily.  She was positive they meant to rob her or something worse.
She saw them as they were running away.  They were the very same men who
always carried her.  She never could bear those men.  They looked more
like demons than men.  She would leave the place next day.  She had been
disgraced.  Everybody hated her, nobody had any pity.  She would go to
bed.  Don't speak to her--go away--go away, do!  Brandy and water,
certainly not! and so on.  Till at last Mrs. Porkington prevailed on her
to go to bed.  We had all vanished as quickly as we could and smoked a
pipe, discussing in low tones the lowering appearance of the skies above
us, and the consequences which might ensue upon those inquiries which we
foresaw must inevitably take place.

I never quite knew how it was managed, but two policemen came the next
morning and actually examined our boots and trousers, and then had a long
interview with Mr. Porkington; and finally we, who were waiting in terror
in the dining-room, saw the pair of them go out of the front door,
touching their hats to Porkington.  I thought at the time that he must
have bribed them; but afterwards, on thinking it over, I came to the
conclusion that there was no evidence of the complicity of our party.  Of
course, the sedan men did not know what had happened.  Porkington stoutly
refused to let the policemen come into our study, and told them he should
regard them as trespassers if they ventured to go into any other room.
The Drag, although she declared she knew the two men, had no desire to
bring the matter before the public.  Porkington never said a word to any
of us upon the subject, though he looked cross and nervous.  As soon as
the aunt had taken her departure (which she did the next day) he quite
recovered his good humour, and, I believe, even chuckled inwardly at the
episode.  The _Babbicombe Independent_ had an amusing paragraph upon the
incident, and opined that some drunken sailors from one of the
neighbouring ports were the perpetrators of the coarse practical joke;
but we found that the general opinion among the visitors was not so wide
of the truth.  However, as no one cared for the lady it took less than
nine days to get rid of the wonder.



CHAPTER VI.--THE SHORE.


"Barton," said Glenville, "I want to speak to you, old chap.  You won't
mind me speaking to you, will you?"

Barton's brow clouded at once.  He knew what was coming.  "I don't know
what you mean," said he.

"Well, I want to talk to you about that girl."

"What right have you to interfere?  That's my business, not yours."

"If you are going to be angry, I'll shut up.  But I tell you plainly,
it's a beastly shame; and if you dare to do any harm to her I'll kick you
out of the place."

"Out of what place?"

"Why, out of this or any other place I find you in.  You've no right to
go meeting her as you do."

"And you've no right to speak of her like that.  She is as pure as any
child in the world, and you ought to know I would do her no harm.  You
are trying to insult both me and her."

"Well, I'm very glad to hear you say so.  But, see what folly it all is.
You know you don't intend to marry her.  Do you?"

"Why, as to that I don't know.  I'm not obliged to tell you what I mean
to do."

"No; but you ought to think about what you mean to do.  You know she is
engaged to be married to Hawkstone."

"Yes; but I don't think she cares for him a bit--only to tease him."

"Do just think what you are doing as a man and a gentleman--I won't say
as a Christian, for you tell me you mean nothing bad.  But is it manly,
is it fair to play these sort of tricks?  I must tell you we must give up
being chums any longer if this goes on."

"I tell you what, Glenville, I think you are giving yourself mighty fine
airs, and all about nothing; but just because you have an uncle who is a
lord you think you may preach as much as you like."

"Oh, come now, that's all nonsense!" said Glenville.  "If you are
determined to shut me up, I've done.  _Liberavi animam meam_.  I am sorry
if I have offended you.  I say it's quite time we went to join the other
fellows.  They want us to go with some of the ladies over the cliffs."

"Thanks, I can't come.  I've a lot more work to do, and--and I've hurt my
heel a bit and don't care to go a stiff climb to-day."

Glenville looked at him, and saw a red glow rising in his neck as he
turned away his face and sat down to a book on the table, pretending to
read, as Glenville left the room.

The sky was dark, and ominous of storm.  It had a torn and ragged
appearance, as if it had already had a fight with worse weather and was
trying to escape.  The sea-gulls showed like white breakers upon the dark
sky.  The waves roared and grumbled, lashing themselves into a fury as
they burst in white, wrathful foam against the black rocks, and then drew
back, torn and mangled, to mingle with the crowd of waves rushing on to
their doom.  The visitors, dressed for squally weather, in waterproofs or
rough suits, walked up and down the parade, enjoying the exhilarating
breeze, or stood watching with eager excitement the entry of a fishing
smack into the harbour.  Far away out at sea in the mist of distant spray
and rain two or three brigantines or schooners could be dimly descried
labouring with the storm;--mysterious and awful sight as it always seems
to me.  Will she get safe to port?  What is her cargo?  What her human
freight?  What are they doing or thinking?  What language do they speak?
Are there women or children aboard?  Who knows?  Ah, gentle reader, what
do you and I know of each other, and what do we know of even our nearest
friends; to what port are they struggling through the mists which envelop
them, and who will meet them on the shore?

An hour had not elapsed since Glenville had left Barton before the latter
had reached the first promontory of rocks which shut in the little bay of
Babbicombe, and on turning the corner found, as he had expected and
appointed, the young woman who had been the subject of their angry
conversation.  She rose from a rock on which she had been sitting, and
came to meet him with a frank smile, saying, "Good afternoon, Mr. Henry."
Somehow the slightly coarse intonation struck him as it had never done
before, and the freedom of manner which a few hours ago would have
delighted him now sent a chilling sensation to his heart.  "Good
afternoon," he replied, and, drawing his arm round her waist, he kissed
her several times, and held her so firmly that at last she said, "Oh,
sir, you'll hurt me.  Let me go!"  Then holding him away from her, and
looking him full in the face, she said, "Oh, Mr. Henry, whatever can be
the matter!"  "Come and sit down, darling," he said, "I want to say
something to you."  He led her to a seat upon the rocks, and they both
sat down.  "Darling," he said, "I am afraid I must go away at once and
leave you for ever."  "Oh, no, no, no! not that!" she cried, starting up.
In a moment her manner changed from fear to anger.  "I know what it is!"
she exclaimed, "Hawkstone has been rude to you.  There now, I will never
forgive him.  I will never be friends with him again--never!"

"No, darling, it is nothing about Hawkstone at all.  I haven't seen him.
But come here, you must be quiet and listen to what I have to say."

She sat down again beside him.  Her lips quivered.  Her blue eyes were
staring into the cliff in front of her, but she saw nothing, felt
nothing, except that a dreadful moment had come which she had for some
time dimly expected, but never distinctly foreseen.

"I hardly know how to tell you," he began.  "You know I love you very
dearly, and if I could--if it was possible, I would ask you to marry me.
But I cannot.  It is impossible.  It would bring misery upon all, upon my
father and mother, and upon you.  How can I make you understand?  My
people are rich, all their friends are rich, and all very proud."

The tears were streaming down her face, and she sat motionless.

"But I don't want to know your friends," she said, in a choking voice.

"I know, I know," he said, "and I could be quite happy with you if they
were all dead and out of the way, and if the world was different from
what it is.  But I have thought it all out, and I am sure I ought to go
away at once, and never come back again."

There was a long pause, but at last she rose and said, "Mr. Barton, I
have felt that something of this sort might happen, but I have never
thought it out, as you say you have.  I am confused now it has come, just
as if I had never feared it beforehand.  I was very, very happy, and I
would not think of what might come of it.  I might have known that a
grand gentleman like you would never live with the like of me; but then I
thought I loved you very, very dearly; you seemed so bright, and grand,
and tender, that I loved you in spite of all I was afraid of, and I
thought if you loved me you might perhaps be--"  Here she broke down
altogether, and burst into sobs, and seemed as though she would fall.  He
rose and threw his arms round her, led her back to the rock, called her
all the sweet names he could think of, kissed her again and again, and
tried to soothe her; while she, poor thing, could do nothing but sob,
with her head upon his shoulder.

A loud shout aroused them.  They both rose suddenly, and turned their
faces towards the place whence the sound proceeded.  Hawkstone was just
emerging from the surf, which was lashing furiously against the corner of
the cliff, round which they had come dry-shod a short time before, They
at once guessed their fate, and glanced in dismay at one another and then
at the sea, and again at Hawkstone, who rapidly approached them, drenched
through and through, and in a fierce state of wrath and terror, added to
the excitement of his struggle with the waves.

"What are you doing here?" he cried, and in the same breath, "Don't
answer--don't dare to answer, but listen.  You are caught by the tide.  I
have sent a boy back to Babbicombe for help.  No help can come by sea in
such a storm.  They will bring a basket and ropes by the cliff.  It will
be a race between them and the tide.  If all goes well, they will be here
in time.  If not, we shall all be drowned."

"Is there no way up the cliff?" said Barton.

"None.  The cliff overhangs.  There is a place where I have just come
through, but I doubt if I could reach it again; and I am sure neither of
you could stand the surf.  You must wait."  He then turned from them, and
sat himself down on a fallen piece of the cliff, and buried his face in
his hands.  Nellie sank down on the rock where she and Barton had been
sitting, and he stood by her, helplessly gazing alternately with a pale
face and bewildered mind at his two companions.  Two or three minutes
passed without any motion or sound from the living occupants of the bay;
but the roaring of the sea grew louder and louder, and the terror of it
sank into the hearts of all three.  At last Hawkstone raised his head,
and immediately Barton approached him.

"Forgive me, Hawkstone," he said, "I have done you a great wrong, and I
am sorry for it."

"What's the good in saying that?  You can't mend the wrong you have
done," and his head sank down again between his hands.

There was a pause.  Barton felt that what had been said was true and not
true.  One of the most painful consequences of wrong-doing is that the
wrong has a sort of fungus growth about it, and insists upon appearing
more wrong than it ever was meant to be.

"Hawkstone," he said at last, "I swear to you, on my honour as a
gentleman, I have never dreamed of doing her an injury.  I have been
very, very foolish; I have come between you and her with my cursed folly.
I deserve anything you may say or do to me.  I care nothing about the
waves; let them come.  Take her with you up the cliff, and leave me to
drown.  It's all I'm fit for.  She will forget me soon enough, I feel
sure, for I am not worth remembering."

Hawkstone still kept himself bent down, his hands covering his face, and
his body swaying to and fro with his strong emotions.

"You talk, you talk," he muttered.  "You seem to have ruined her, and me,
and yourself too."

"Not ruined her!" cried Barton, "I have told you, I swear to you.  I
swear--"

"Yes!" cried Hawkstone, springing up in a passion and towering above
Barton, with his hands tightly clenched and his chest heaving, "Yes! you
are too great a coward for that.  In one moment I could crush you as I
crush the mussels in the harbour with my heel."

Nelly threw herself upon him, "Jack, spare him, spare him.  He meant no
harm.  Not now, not now!  The sea, Jack, the sea!  Save us, save us!"

The man's strength seemed to leave him, and she seemed to overpower him,
as he sank back into his former position, muttering "O God, O God!"  At
last he said, "Let be, let be--there, there, I've prayed I might not kill
you both, and the devil is gone, thank the Lord for it.  There, lass,
don't fret; I can't abide crying.  The sea! the sea!  Yes, the sea.  I
had almost forgotten it.  Cheer up a bit--fearful--how it blows--but
there's time yet--a few minutes.  Keep up, keep up.  There's a God above
us anyway."

At this moment a shout was heard above them.  "There they are at last,"
cried Hawkstone, and he sent a loud halloo up the cliff, which was
immediately responded to by those at the top, though the sound seemed
faint and far off.  After the lapse of about five minutes, a basket
attached to two ropes descended slowly and bumped upon the rocks.

"Now, lass, you get up first.  Come, come, give over crying.  It's no
time for crying now.  Be a brave lass or you'll fall out.  Sit down and
keep tight hold.  Shut your eyes, never mind a bump or two, and keep
tight hold.  Now then!"  He lifted her into the basket.  She tried to
take his hand, but he drew it sharply away.

"Oh, forgive me, forgive me, Jack," she said, "I have been very wicked,
but I will try to be good."

"That's right, lass, that's right.  God keep you safe.  Hold on," and he
gave a shout up the cliff, and the basket began slowly to ascend.  The
two men gazed at it in silence till it reached the summit, when, with a
rapid swirl, it disappeared.

"Thank God, she is safe," said Hawkstone.

"Look, look!" cried Barton, catching hold of Hawkstone in alarm.  "Look
how fast the waves are coming.  They will be on us directly."

"Yes," said Hawkstone, "there will be barely time to get the two of us up
unless they make great haste.  I don't know why they don't lower at once.
Something must have gone wrong with the rope, but they will do their
best, that's certain."

They waited in anxiety amounting to horror, as wave after wave, larger
and louder, roared at them, and rushed round the rocks on which they were
standing.  Presently down came the basket, plunging into the retreating
wave.

"Now, then, sir, in with you," said Hawkstone.

"No, you go first.  I will not go.  It is my fault you are here."

"Nonsense, sir, there's no time for talk."

"I will not go without you.  Let us both get in together."

"The rope will hardly bear two.  Besides, I doubt if there is strength
enough above to pull us up.  Get in, get in."

Barton still hesitated.  "I am afraid to leave you alone.  Promise me if
I go that you will not--.  I can't say what I mean, but if anything
happened to you I should be the cause of it."

"For shame, sir, shame.  I guess what you mean, but I have not forgotten
who made me, though I have been sorely tried.  In with you at once."  He
suddenly lifted Barton up in his arms, and almost threw him into the
basket, raising a loud shout, upon which the basket again ascended the
cliff more rapidly than on the first occasion.  Hawkstone fell upon his
knees at the base of the cliff, while the waves roared at him like wild
beasts held back from their victim.  He was alone with them and with the
God in whom his simple faith taught him to trust as being mightier than
all the waves.  Down came the basket with great rapidity, and Hawkstone
had a hard fight before he could drag it out from the waves and get into
it.  Drenched from head to foot, and cold and trembling with excitement
and grief, he again shouted, and the basket once more ascended.  He
remembered no more.  A sudden faintness overcame him, and the first thing
he remembered was feeling himself borne along on a kind of extemporary
litter, and hearing kind voices saying that he was "coming to," and would
soon be all right again.

Luckily there was no scandal.  It was thought quite natural that
Hawkstone should be with Nelly, and Barton was supposed to have been
there by accident.  Of course, we knew what the real state of the case
was, and were glad that Barton had got a good fright; but we kept our own
counsel.



CHAPTER VII.--CONCLUSION.


Very soon after the events recorded in the last chapter, the Reading
Party broke up, and it only remains now for the writer of this veracious
narrative to disclose any information he may have subsequently obtained
as to the fate of his characters.  Porkington still holds an honoured
position in the University, and still continues to take young men in the
summer vacation to such places as Mrs. Porkington considers sufficiently
invigorating to her constitution.  They grow better friends every year,
but the grey mare will always be the better horse.  One cause of
difference has disappeared.  The Drag died very shortly after leaving
Babbicombe; not at all, I believe, in consequence of her ducking in the
harbour; but, being of a peevish and "worritting" disposition, she had
worn herself out in her attempts to make other people's lives a burden to
them.  I do not know what has become of Harry Barton; but I know that he
has never revisited Babbicombe, nor even written to the fair Nelly.  I
suppose he is helping to manage his father's cotton mill, and will in due
course marry the daughter of a wealthy manufacturer.  Glenville has
become quite a rising barrister, popular in both branches of his
profession, and has announced his fixed intention to remain happy and
unmarried till his death.  Looking into the future, however, with the eye
of a prophet, the present writer thinks he can see Glenville walking arm
in arm with a tall, graceful lady, attended by two little girls to whom
he is laughingly talking--but the dream fades from me, and I wonder will
it ever come true.  Thornton, of course, married Miss Delamere (how could
it be otherwise), but, alas! there are no children, and this unhappy want
is hardly compensated by the indefatigable attentions of Mamma Delamere,
who is never weary of condoling with that poor, desolate couple,
imploring them to resign themselves to the fate which has been assigned
to them, and to strengthen their minds by the principles of true
philosophy and the writings of great thinkers; by which she hopes they
may acquire that harmony of the soul in private life which is so much to
be desiderated in both politics and religion.  Nobody knows what she
means.

Nelly was not forgiven for one whole year.  When she and Hawkstone met,
they used only the customary expressions of mere acquaintances; but
lovers are known to make use of signals which are unperceived by the
outside world; and, after a year's skirmishing, a peace was finally
concluded, and a happier couple than John Hawkstone and Nelly cannot be
found in the whole country, and I am afraid to say how many of their
children are already tumbling about the boats in the harbour.

The colonel died, and Mrs. Bagshaw lamented his death most truly, and has
nothing but gentleness left in her nature.  Her daughter has married the
young artist, whose pictures of brown-sailed boats and fresh seas
breaking in white foam against the dark rocks have become quite the rage
at the Academy.  The minor characters have disappeared beneath the waves,
and nothing remains to be said except the last word, "farewell."




A FARRAGO OF VERSES.


MY BOATING SONG.


I.

Oh this earth is a mineful of treasure,
   A goblet, that's full to the brim,
And each man may take for his pleasure
   The thing that's most pleasant to him;
Then let all, who are birds of my feather,
   Throw heart and soul into my song;
Mark the time, pick it up all together,
   And merrily row it along.

   Hurrah, boys, or losing or winning,
      Feel your stretchers and make the blades bend;
   Hard on to it, catch the beginning,
      And pull it clean through to the end.

II.

I'll admit 'tis delicious to plunge in
   Clear pools, with their shadows at rest;
'Tis nimble to parry, or lunge in
   Your foil at the enemy's chest;
 'Tis rapture to take a man's wicket,
   Or lash round to leg for a four;
But somehow the glories of cricket
   Depend on the state of the score.

   But in boating, or losing or winning,
      Though victory may not attend;
   Oh, 'tis jolly to catch the beginning,
      And pull it clean through to the end.

III.

'Tis brave over hill and dale sweeping,
   To be in at the death of the fox;
Or to whip, where the salmon are leaping,
   The river that roars o'er the rocks;
'Tis prime to bring down the cock pheasant;
   And yachting is certainly great;
But, beyond all expression, 'tis pleasant
   To row in a rattling good eight.

   Then, hurrah, boys, or losing or winning,
      What matter what labour we spend?
   Hard on to it, catch the beginning,
      And pull it clean through to the end.

IV.

Shove her off!  Half a stroke!  Now, get ready!
   Five seconds!  Four, three, two, one, gun!
Well started!  Well rowed!  Keep her steady!
   You'll want all your wind e'er you've done.
Now you're straight!  Let the pace become swifter!
   Roll the wash to the left and the right!
Pick it up all together, and lift her,
   As though she would bound out of sight!

   Hurrah, Hall!  Hall, now you're winning,
      Feel your stretchers and make the blades bend;
   Hard on to it, catch the beginning,
      And pull it clean through to the end.

V.

Bump!  Bump!  O ye gods, how I pity
   The ears those sweet sounds never heard;
More tuneful than loveliest ditty
   E'er poured from the throat of a bird.
There's a prize for each honest endeavour,
   But none for the man who's a shirk;
And the pluck that we've showed on the river,
   Shall tell in the rest of our work.

   At the last, whether losing or winning,
      This thought with all memories blend,--
   We forgot not to catch the beginning,
      And we pulled it clean through to the end.



LETTER FROM THE TOWN MOUSE TO THE COUNTRY MOUSE.


I.

Oh for a field, my friend; oh for a field!
   I ask no more
   Than one plain field, shut in by hedgerows four,
Contentment sweet to yield.
For I am not fastidious,
   And, with a proud demeanour, I
Will not affect invidious
   Distinctions about scenery.
I sigh not for the fir trees where they rise
Against Italian skies,
   Swiss lakes, or Scottish heather,
   Set off with glorious weather;
      Such sights as these
      The most exacting please;
But I, lone wanderer in London streets,
Where every face one meets
      Is full of care,
      And seems to wear
      A troubled air,
      Of being late for some affair
   Of life or death:--thus I, ev'n I,
Long for a field of grass, flat, square, and green
Thick hedges set between,
      Without or house or bield,
      A sense of quietude to yield;
   And heave my longing sigh,
Oh for a field, my friend; oh for a field!

II.

For here the loud streets roar themselves to rest
   With hoarseness every night;
   And greet returning light
With noise and roar, renewed with greater zest.
   Where'er I go,
   Full well I know
The eternal grinding wheels will never cease.
There is no place of peace!
   Rumbling, roaring, and rushing,
   Hurrying, crowding, and crushing,
Noise and confusion, and worry, and fret,
From early morning to late sunset--
Ah me! but when shall I respite get--
What cave can hide me, or what covert shield?
      So still I sigh,
      And raise my cry,
Oh for a field, my friend; oh for a field!

III.

Oh for a field, where all concealed,
   From this life's fret and noise,
I sip delights from rural sights,
   And simple rustic joys.
Where, stretching forth my limbs at rest,
   I lie and think what likes me best;
Or stroll about where'er I list,
   Nor fear to be run over
By sheep, contented to exist
   Only on grass and clover.
In town, as through the throng I steer,
   Confiding in the Muses,
My finest thoughts are drowned in fear
   Of cabs and omnibuses.
I dream I'm on Parnassus hill,
   With laurels whispering o'er me,
When suddenly I feel a chill--
   What was it passed before me?
A lady bowed her gracious head
   From yonder natty brougham--
The windows were as dull as lead,
   I didn't know her through them.
She'll say I saw her, cut her dead,--
   I've lost my opportunity;
I take my hat off when she's fled,
   And bow to the community!
Or sometimes comes a hansom cab,
   Just as I near the crossing;
The "cabby" gives his reins a grab,
   The steed is wildly tossing.
Me, haply fleeing from his horse,
   He greets with language somewhat coarse,
To which there's no replying;
   A brewer's dray comes down that way,
And simply sends me flying!
I try the quiet streets, but there
I find an all-pervading air
Of death in life, which my despair
   In no degree diminishes.
Then homewards wend my weary way,
And read dry law books as I may,
No solace will they yield.
And so the sad day finishes
With one long sigh and yearning cry,
Oh for a field, my friend; oh for a field!

IV.

   The fields are bright, and all bedight
      With buttercups and daisies;
   Oh, how I long to quit the throng
      Of human forms and faces:
   The vain delights, the empty shows,
      The toil and care bewild'rin',
   To feel once more the sweet repose
      Calm Nature gives her children.
   At times the thrush shall sing, and hush
      The twitt'ring yellow-hammer;
   The blackbird fluster from the bush
      With panic-stricken clamour;
   The finch in thistles hide from sight,
      And snap the seeds and toss 'em;
   The blue-tit hop, with pert delight,
      About the crab-tree blossom;
   The homely robin shall draw near,
      And sing a song most tender;
   The black-cap whistle soft and clear,
      Swayed on a twig top slender;
   The weasel from the hedge-row creep,
      So crafty and so cruel,
   The rabbit from the tussock leap,
      And splash the frosty jewel.
   I care not what the season be--
      Spring, summer, autumn, winter--
   In morning sweet, or noon-day heat,
      Or when the moonbeams glint, or
   When rosy beams and fiery gleams,
      And floods of golden yellow,
   Proclaim the sweetest hour of all--
      The evening mild and mellow.
   There, though the spring shall backward keep,
      And loud the March winds bluster,
   The white anemone shall peep
      Through loveliest leaves in cluster.
   There primrose pale or violet blue
      Shall gleam between the grasses;
   And stitchwort white fling starry light,
      And blue bells blaze in masses.
   As summer grows and spring-time goes,
      O'er all the hedge shall ramble
   The woodbine and the wilding rose,
      And blossoms of the bramble.
   When autumn comes, the leafy ways
      To red and yellow turning,
   With hips and haws the hedge shall blaze,
      And scarlet briony burning.
   When winter reigns and sheets of snow,
      The flowers and grass lie under;
   The sparkling hoar frost yet shall show,
      A world of fairy wonder.
   To me more dear such scenes appear,
      Than this eternal racket,
   No longer will I fret and fag!
   Hey! call a cab, bring down my bag,
      And help me quick to pack it.
For here one must go where every one goes,
And meet shoals of people whom one never knows,
   Till it makes a poor fellow dyspeptic;
And the world wags along with its sorrows and shows,
And will do just the same when I'm dead I suppose;
   And I'm rapidly growing a sceptic.
For its oh, alas, well-a-day, and a-lack!
I've a pain in my head and an ache in my back;
   A terrible cold that makes me shiver,
   And a general sense of a dried-up liver;
      And I feel I can hardly bear it.
And it's oh for a field with four hedgerows,
And the bliss which comes from an hour's repose,
   And a true, true friend to share it.



PROTHALAMION.


The following "Prothalamion" was recently discovered among some other
rubbish in Pope's Villa at Twickenham.  It was written on the backs of
old envelopes, and has evidently not received the master's last touches.
Some of the lines afford an admirable instance of the way in which great
authors frequently repeat themselves.

Nothing so true as what you once let fall,--
"To growl at something is the lot of all;
Contentment is a gem on earth unknown,
And Perfect Happiness the wizard's stone.
Give me," you cried, "to see my duty clear,
And room to work, unhindered in my sphere;
To live my life, and work my work alone,
Unloved while living, and unwept when gone.
Let none my triumphs or my failures share,
Nor leave a sorrowing wife and joyful heir."

Go, like St. Simon, on your lonely tower,
Wish to make all men good, but want the power.
Freedom you'll have, but still will lack the thrall,--
The bond of sympathy, which binds us all.
Children and wives are hostages to fame,
But aids and helps in every useful aim.

You answer, "Look around, where'er you will,
Experience teaches the same lesson still.
Mark how the world, full nine times out of ten,
To abject drudgery dooms its married men:
A slave at first, before the knot is tied,
But soon a mere appendage to the bride;
A cover, next, to shield her arts from blame;
At home ill-tempered, but abroad quite tame;
In fact, her servant; though, in name, her lord;
Alive, neglected; but, defunct, adored."

This picture, friend, is surely overdone,
You paint the tribe by drawing only one;
Or from one peevish grunt, in haste, conclude
The man's whole life with misery imbued.

Say, what can Horace want to crown his life,
Blest with eight little urchins, and a wife?
His lively grin proclaims the man is blest,
Here perfect happiness must be confessed!
Hark, hear that melancholy shriek, alack!--
That vile lumbago keeps him on the rack.

This evil vexed not Courthope's happy ways,
Who wants no extra coat on coldest days.
His face, his walk, his dress--whate'er you scan,
He stands revealed the prosperous gentleman.
Still must he groan each Sabbath, while he hears
The hoarse Gregorians vex his tortured ears.

Sure Bosanquet true happiness must know,
While wit and wisdom mingle as they flow,
Him Bromley Sunday scholars will obey;
For him e'en Leech will work a good half day;
He strives to hide the fear he still must feel,
Lest sharp Jack Frost should catch his Marshal Niel.

Peace to all such; but were there one, whose fires
True genius kindles and fair fame inspires;
Blest with demurrers, statements, counts, and pleas,
And born to arbitrations, briefs, and fees;
Should such a man, couched on his easy throne,
(Unlike the Turk) desire to live alone;
View every virgin with distrustful eyes,
And dread those arts, which suitors mostly prize,
Alike averse to blame, or to commend,
Not quite their foe, but something less than friend;
Dreading e'en widows, when by these besieged;
And so obliging, that he ne'er obliged;
Who, in all marriage contracts, looks for flaws,
And sits, and meditates on Salic laws;
While Pall Mall bachelors proclaim his praise,
And spinsters wonder at his works and ways;
Who would not smile if such a man there be?
Who would not weep if Atticus were he?

Oh, blest beyond the common lot are they,
On whom Contentment sheds her cheerful ray;
Who find in Duty's path unmixed delight,
And perfect Pleasure in pursuit of Right;
Thankful for every Joy they feel, or share,
Unsought for blessings, like the light and air,
And grateful even for the ills they bear;
Wedded or single, taking nought amiss,
And learning that Content is more than Bliss.

Oh, friend, may each domestic joy be thine,
Be no unpleasing melancholy mine.
As rolling years disclose the will of Fate,
I see you wedded to some equal mate;
Thronged by a crowd of growing girls and boys,
A heap of troubles, but a host of joys.
On sights like these, should length of days attend,
Still may good luck pursue you to the end;
Still heaven vouchsafe the gifts it has in store;
Still make you, what you would be, more and more;
Preserve you happy, cheerful, and serene,
Blest with your young retainers, and your Queen.



YOUNG ENGLAND.


The times still "grow to something strange";
   We rap and turn the tables;
We fire our guns at awful range;
   We lay Atlantic cables;
We bore the hills, we bridge the seas--
   To me 'tis better far
To sit before my fire at ease,
   And smoke a mild cigar.

We start gigantic bubble schemes,--
   Whoever _can_ invent 'em!--
How splendid the prospectus seems,
   With int'rest cent. per centum
His shares the holder, startled, sees
   At eighty below par:
I dawdle to my club at ease,
   And light a mild cigar.

We pickle peas, we lock up sound,
   We bottle electricity;
We run our railways underground,
   Our trams above in this city
We fly balloons in calm or breeze,
   And tumble from the car;
I wander down Pall Mall at ease,
   And smoke a mild cigar.

Some strive to get a post or place,
   Or entree to society;
Or after wealth or pleasure race,
   Or any notoriety;
Or snatch at titles or degrees,
   At ribbon, cross, or star:
I elevate my limbs at ease,
   And smoke a mild cigar.

Some people strive for manhood right
   With riots or orations;
For anti-vaccination fight,
   Or temperance demonstrations:
I gently smile at things like these,
   And, 'mid the clash and jar,
I sit in my arm-chair at ease,
   And smoke a mild cigar.

They say young ladies all demand
   A smart barouche and pair,
Two flunkies at the door to stand,
   A mansion in May Fair:
I can't afford such things as these,
   I hold it safer far
To sip my claret at my ease,
   And smoke a mild cigar.

It may be proper one should take
   One's place in the creation;
It may be very right to make
   A choice of some vocation;
With such remarks one quite agrees,
   So sensible they are:
I much prefer to take my ease,
   And smoke a mild cigar.

They say our morals are so so,
   Religion still more hollow;
And where the upper classes go,
   The lower always follow;
That honour lost with grace and ease
   Your fortunes will not mar:
That's not so well; but, if you please,
   We'll light a fresh cigar.

Rank heresy is fresh and green,
   E'en womenkind have caught it;
They say the Bible doesn't mean
   What people always thought it;
That miracles are what you please,
   Or nature's order mar:
I read the last review at ease,
   And smoke a mild cigar.

Some folks who make a fearful fuss,
   In eighteen ninety-seven,
Say, heaven will either come to us,
   Or we shall go to heaven;
They settle it just as they please;
   But, though it mayn't be far,
At any rate there's time with ease
   To light a fresh cigar.

It may be there is something true;
   It may be one might find it;
It may be, if one looked life through,
   That something lies behind it;
It may be, p'raps, for aught one sees,
   The things that may be, are:
I'm growing serious--if you please
   We'll light a fresh cigar.



AN OLDE LYRIC.


I.

Oh, saw ye my own true love, I praye,
   My own true love so sweete?
For the flowers have lightly toss'd awaye
   The prynte of her faery feete.
Now, how can we telle if she passed us bye?
   Is she darke or fayre to see?
Like sloes are her eyes, or blue as the skies?
   Is't braided her haire or free?

II.

Oh, never by outward looke or signe,
   My true love shall ye knowe;
There be many as fayre, and many as fyne,
   And many as brighte to showe.
But if ye coude looke with angel's eyes,
   Which into the soule can see,
She then would be seene as the matchless Queene
   Of Love and of Puritie.



LULLABY.


Sleep, little baby, sleep, love, sleep!
   Evening is coming, and night is nigh;
Under the lattice the little birds cheep,
   All will be sleeping by and by.
      Sleep, little baby, sleep.

Sleep, little baby, sleep, love, sleep!
   Darkness is creeping along the sky;
Stars at the casement glimmer and peep,
   Slowly the moon comes sailing by.
      Sleep, little baby, sleep.

Sleep, little baby, sleep, love, sleep!
   Sleep till the dawning has dappled the sky;
Under the lattice the little birds cheep,
   All will be waking by and by.
      Sleep, little baby, sleep.



ISLE OF WIGHT--SPRING, 1891.


I know not what the cause may be,
   Or whether there be one or many;
But this year's Spring has seemed to me
   More exquisite than any.

What happy days we spent together
   In that fair Isle of primrose flowers!
How brilliant was the April weather!
   What glorious sunshine and what showers!

I think the leaves peeped out and in
   At every change from cold to heat;
The grass threw off a livelier sheen
   From dewdrops sparkling at our feet.

What wealth of early bloom was there--
   The wind flow'r and the primrose pale,
On bank or copse, and orchis rare,
   And cowslip covering Wroxhall dale.

And, oh, the splendour of the sea,--
   The blue belt glimmering soft and far,
Through many a tumbled rock and tree
   Strewn 'neath the overhanging scar!

'Tis twenty years and more, since here,
   As man and wife we sought this Isle,
Dear to us both, O wife most dear,
   And we can greet it with a smile.

Not now alone we come once more,
   But bringing young ones of our brood--
One boy (Salopian), and four
   Girls, blooming into maidenhood.

And I had late begun to fret
   And sicken at the sordid town--
The crime, the guilt, and, loathlier yet,
   The helpless, hopeless sinking down;

The want, the misery, the woe,
   The stubborn heart which will not turn;
The tears which will or will not flow;
   The shame which does or does not burn.

And Winter's frosts had proved unkind,
   With darkest gloom and deadliest cold;
A time which will be brought to mind,
   And talked of, when our boys are old.

And thus the contrast seemed to wake
   New vigour in the heart and brain;
Sea, land, and sky conspired to make
   The jaded spirit young again;

Or hopes for growing girl or boy,
   Or thankfulness for things that be,
Or sweet content in wedded joy,
   Set all the world to harmony.

And so I know not if it be
   That there are causes one or many,
But this year's Spring still seems to me
   More exquisite than any.



LOVE AND LIBERTY.


The linnet had flown from its cage away,
And flitted and sang in the light of day--
Had flown from the lady who loved it well,
In Liberty's freer air to dwell.
Alas! poor bird, it was soon to prove,
Sweeter than Liberty is Love.

When night came on it had ceased to sing,
And had hidden its head beneath its wing.
It thought of the warm room left behind,
The shelter from cold and rain and wind;
It could not sleep, when to sleep it strove--
Liberty needeth the help of Love.

The night owls shrieked as they wheeled along,
Bent upon slaughter, and rapine, and wrong:
There was devilish mirth in their wild halloo,
And the linnet trembled when near they drew;
'Twas fearful to watch them madly rove,
Drunken with Liberty, left of Love.

When morning broke, a grey old crow
Was pecking some carrion down below;
A poor little lamb, half alive, half-dead,
And the crow at each peck turned up its head
With a cunning glance at the linnet above--
What a demon is Liberty left of Love!

Then an eagle hovered far up in the sky,
And the linnet trembled, but could not fly;
With a swoop to the earth the eagle fell,
And rose up anon with a savage yell.
The birds in the woodlands dared not move.
What a despot is Liberty left of Love!

By and bye there arrived, with chattering loud,
Chaffinch and sparrow and finch, in a cloud;
Round and around in their fierce attack,
They plucked the feathers from breast and back;
And the poor little linnet all vainly strove,
Fighting with Liberty left of Love.

"Alas!" it said, with a cry of pain,
"Carry me back to my cage again;
There let me dwell in peaceful ease,
Piping whatever songs I please;
Here, if I stay, my death shall prove,
Liberty dieth left of Love."



TO THE REV. A. A. IN THE COUNTRY FROM HIS FRIEND IN LONDON.


(AFTER HEINE.)

Thou little village curate,
   Come quick, and do not wait;
We'll sit and talk together,
   So sweetly _tete-a-tete_.

Oh do not fear the railway
   Because it seems so big--
Dost thou not daily trust thee
   Unto thy little gig.

This house is full of painters,
   And half shut up and black;
But rooms the very snuggest
   Lie hidden at the back.
      Come! come! come!



THE CURATE TO HIS SLIPPERS.


Take, oh take those boots away,
   That so nearly are outworn;
And those shoes remove, I pray--
   Pumps that but induce the corn!
But my slippers bring again,
      Bring again;
Works of love, but worked in vain,
      Worked in vain!



AN ATTEMPT TO REMEMBER THE "GRANDMOTHER'S APOLOGY."


(WITH MANY APOLOGIES TO THE LAUREATE.)

And Willie, my eldest born, is gone, you say, little Anne,
Ruddy and white, and strong on his legs, he looks like a man;
He was only fourscore years, quite young, when he died;
I ought to have gone before, but must wait for time and tide.

So Harry's wife has written; she was always an awful fool,
And Charlie was always drunk, which made our families cool;
For Willie was walking with Jenny when the moon came up the dale,
And whit, whit, whit, in the bush beside me chirrupt the nightingale.

Jenny I know had tripped, and she knew that I knew of it well.
She began to slander me.  I knew, but I wouldn't tell!
And she to be slandering me, the impertinent, base little liar;
But the tongue is a fire, as you know, my dear, the tongue is a fire.

And the parson made it his text last week; and he said likewise,
That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies;
That a downright hearty good falsehood doesn't so very much matter,
But a lie which is half a truth is worse than one that is flatter.

Then Willie and Jenny turned in the sweet moonshine,
And he said to me through his tears, "Let your good name be mine,"
"And what do I care for Jane."  She was never over-wise,
Never the wife for Willie: thank God that I keep my eyes.

"Marry you, Willie!" said I, and I thought my heart would break,
"But a man cannot marry his grandmother, so there must be some mistake."
But he turned and clasped me in his arms, and answered, "No, love, no!
Seventy years ago, my darling, seventy years ago!"

So Willie and I were wedded, though clearly against the law,
And the ringers rang with a will, and Willie's gloves were straw;
But the first that ever I bear was dead before it was born--
For Willie I cannot weep, life is flower and thorn.

Pattering over the boards, my Annie, an Annie like you,
Pattering over the boards, and Charlie and Harry too;
Pattering over the boards of our beautiful little cot,
And I'm not exactly certain whether they died or not.

And yet I know of a truth, there is none of them left alive,
For Willie went at eighty, and Harry at ninety-five;
And Charlie at threescore years, aye! or more than that I'll be sworn,
And that very remarkable infant that died before it was born.

So Willie has gone, my beauty, the eldest that bears the name,
It's a soothing thought--"In a hundred years it'll be all the same."
"Here's a leg for a babe of a week," says doctor, in some surprise,
But fetch me my glasses, Annie, I'm thankful I keep my eyes.



AIR--"Three Fishers went Sailing."


Three attorneys came sailing down Chancery Lane,
   Down Chancery Lane e'er the courts had sat;
They thought of the leaders they ought to retain,
   But the Junior Bar, oh, they thought not of that;
      For serjeants get work and Q.C.'s too,
      And solicitors' sons-in-law frequently do,
         While the Junior Bar is moaning.

Three juniors sat up in Crown Office Row,
   In Crown Office Row e'er the courts had sat,
They saw the solicitors passing below,
   And the briefs that were rolled up so tidy and fat,
      For serjeants get work, etc.

Three briefs were delivered to Jones, Q.C,
   To Jones, Q.C., e'er the courts had sat;
And the juniors weeping, and wringing their paws,
   Remarked that their business seemed uncommon flat;
      For Serjeants get work and Q.C.'s too,
      But as for the rest it's a regular "do,"
         And the Junior Bar is moaning.



AIR--"Give that Wreath to Me"


("Farewell, Manchester").

I.

   Give that brief to me,
      Without so much bother;
   Never let it be
      Given to another.
   Why this coy resistance?
   Wherefore keep such distance?
Why hesitate so long to give that brief to me?

II.

   Should'st thou ever find
      Any counsel willing
   To conduct thy case
      For one pound one shilling;
   Scorn such vulgar tricks, love;
   One pound three and six, love,
Is the proper thing,--then give that brief to me.

III.

   Should thy case turn out
      Hopeless and delusive,
   Still I'd rave and shout,
      Using terms abusive.
   Truth and sense might perish,
   Still thy cause I'd cherish,
Hallow'd by thy gold,--then give that brief to me.

IV.

   Should the learned judge
      Sit on me like fury,
   Still I'd never budge--
      There's the British Jury!
   Should that stay prove rotten,
   Bowen, Brett, and Cotton {143}
Would upset them all,--then give that brief to me.



ON CIRCUIT.


Two neighbours, fighting for a yard of land;
Two witnesses, who _lie_ on either hand;
Two lawyers, issuing many writs and pleas;
Two clerks, in a dark passage counting fees;
Two counsel, calling one another names;
Two courts, where lawyers play their little games;
Two weeks at Leeds, which wear the soul away;
Two judges getting limper every day;
Two bailiffs of the court with aspect sour--
So runs the round of life from hour to hour.



AT THE "COCK" TAVERN.


Champagne doth not a luncheon make,
   Nor caviare a meal;
Men gluttonous and rich may take
   These till they make them ill.
If I've potatoes to my chop,
   And after that have cheese,
Angels in Pond & Spiers's shop
   Serve no such luxuries.



IMPROMPTU IN THE ASSIZE COURT, NOTTINGHAM,


_On seeing_ BRET HARTE _come upon the Bench_.

Thanks for an hour of laughing
   In a world that is growing old;
Thanks for an hour of weeping
   In a world that is growing cold;
For we who have wept with Dickens,
   And we who have laughed with Boz,
Have renewed the days of our childhood
   With his American Coz.



IMPROMPTU IN THE ASSIZE COURT AT LINCOLN.


_Sir W. Bovill was specially retained in an action for damages caused by
the overflowing of the banks of the Witham.  With great spirit he
contended that the river had for three days flowed from the sea_.

The moon in the valley of Ajalon
   Stood still at the word of the prophet;
But since certain "Essays" were written
   We don't think so very much of it.
Now, a prophet is raised up among us,
   Whose miracles none can gainsay;
For he spoke, and the great river Witham
   Flowed three days, uphill, the wrong way.



PROLOGUE
TO A CHARADE.--"DAMN-AGES."


In olden time--in great Eliza's age,
When rare Ben Jonson ruled the humorous stage,
No play without its Prologue might appear
To earn applause or ward the critic's sneer;
And surely now old customs should not sleep
When merry Christmas revelries we keep.
He loves old ways, old faces, and old friends,
Nor to new-fangled fancies condescends;
Besides, we need your kindly hearts to move
Our faults to pardon and our freaks approve,
For this our sport has been in haste begun,
Unpractised actors and impromptu fun;
So on our own deserts we dare not stand,
But beg the favour that we can't command.
Most flat would fall our "cranks and wanton wiles,"
Reft of your favouring "nods and wreathed smiles,"
As some tame landscape desolately bare
Is charmed by sunshine into seeming fair;
So, gentle friends, if you your smiles bestow,
That which is tame in us will not seem so.
Our play is a charade.  We split the word,
Each syllable an act, the whole a third;
My first we show you by a comic play,
Old, but not less the welcome, I dare say.
My second will be brought upon the stage
From lisping childhood down to palsied age.
Last, but not least, our country's joy and pride,
A British Jury will my whole decide;
But what's the word you'll ask me, what's the word?
That you must guess, or ask some little bird;
Guess as you will you'll fail; for 'tis no doubt
One of those things "no fellow can find out."



TO A SCIENTIFIC FRIEND.


You say 'tis plain that poets feign,
   And from the truth depart;
They write with ease what fibs they please,
   With artifice, not art;
Dearer to you the simply true--
   The fact without the fancy--
Than this false play of colours gay,
   So very vague and chancy.
No doubt 'tis well the truth to tell
   In scientific coteries;
But I'll be bold to say she's cold,
   Excepting to her votaries.
The false disguise of tawdry lies
   May hide sweet Nature's face;
But in her form the blood runs warm,
   As in the human race;
And in the rose the dew-drop glows,
   And, o'er the seas serene,
The sunshine white still breaks in light
   Of yellow, blue, and green.
In thousand rays the fancy plays;
   The feelings rise and bubble;
The mind receives, the heart believes,
   And makes each pleasure double.
Then spare to draw without a flaw,
   Nor all too perfect make her,
Lest Nature wear the dull, cold air
   Of some demurest Quaker--
Whose mien austere is void of cheer,
   Or sense of sins forgiven,
And her sweet face has lost all grace
   Of either earth or heaven.

GLASGOW: PRINTED AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS BY ROBERT MACLEHOSE.




Footnotes


{5}  Milton only received 10 pounds for _Paradise Lost_, and there is a
good story told that some one copied it out in manuscript and sent it
successively to three great London publishers, who all declined it as
unsuitable to the public taste.

{143}  Three of the Justices of Appeal.



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Colophon

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