1 JUNE 1867, Page 19


AN unusual feature in the Cornhill of this month is the appear- ance of two novels, neither of which is honoured by the name of an author. If we remember rightly, the Cornitill has never pub- lished the names of its novelists in the table of contents, even though the names have been advertised beforehand. The result of this has been that people with short memories and small critical discernment sometimes made ludicrous mistakes, attributing the " Claverings " to Mr. Wilkie Collins, and " Armadale" to George Eliot. We do not attempt to snake a guess at the authorship of • The ifill-o'-the-Wisps ore in Town, and Other New Take, fly Hans Christian "Stone Edge," which is one of the Cornhilrs stories, but "The Anderseu. London: Sirahan. Brandeighs of Bishop's Folly," which begins this month, has a

dueed to a fusion of Irish scenery, Italian morals, diplomatic

mysteries, and commercial parvenus, with epigrammatic conver- sation and one or -two grammatical slips, we can hardly mistake

the school to which the writer belongs, even before we are safe in conducing that he is the master of it. But the gem of the

present number of the COT lain is Miss Thackeray's modern read- lug-of one of the most fairy of all fairy tales, "Beauty and the Beast." But for the title we might forget that there was an original

story to which all the incidents of the present one must bend. The complete absence of everything forced or strained, the natural way in which the ruin of the merchant,, the, rose plucked in the Beast's garden, the surrender of Beauty to the Beast, the illness of the father, and the _effects of Beauty's return, are woven into a nineteenth-

century -texture, , contribute to the illusion. A clever musician once played "P pet theWeasel " with such solemn majesty that it passed for a piece by Handel. Miss Thackeray has made the fairy tales so completely her own that we -shall look on the originals

as being the imitations. The article on " Mobs" is curious, as showing a string of precedents, of which Mr. Beales, M.A., might avail himself. Beginning with the high Tory riot in favour of Dr. Sacheverel, the writer carries us on through the Excise riot, to which a former Walpole yielded, the Wilkes riot, the reporters' riot, when that violent Tory, Charles Fox, was rolled in the gutter by an indignant populace, to the Gordon riots, the Peterloo massacre, and the Reform demonstrations of 1831. The moral of all these affrays is, that "the slightest want of energy, the most venial error of judgment, or the briefest relaxation of vigilance, may be fraught with all the horrors which London un- derwent in 1780 and Bristol in 1831." If so, how fortunate we have been in the possession of an energetic, judicious, and vigilant Government, which knew how to act and when to refrain from acting. From an article called "Slips on and off the Stage," we might easily pick out amusing stories, although some of them labour under the disadvantage of being oft repeated. The actor who for "Let the coffin pass," substituted "Let the parson cough ;" the Frenchman who, instead of " Sonnez trompettes !" shouted " Trompez sonnettes !" and Charles Kemble, with his transposition of ," Shall I lay perjury upon my soul ?"

into "Shall I lay Fiurgeri upon my poll?" afford the beat illus-

trations of unrehearsed stage effects. The last article in the number gives an account of the disastrous voyage of a Hull whaler, which was caught in the ice, lost her captain and several of the crew, and narrowly escaped destruction.

In Macmillan Mr. Henry Kingsley continues the most eccentric of his stories, so as to puzzle rather than please, and startle rather than convince his readers. The idea of " proctorizing" an assassin, and getting rid of him by telling him to go down for a year, may impress Oxford men, but would hardly act beyond that circle. Mr. Dicey's paper on "War and Progress" points to the growth of friendly relations between the people of different countries, as tending gradually to discourage war by modifying the instinct of patriotism. Two rather solid articles on ." Early English" and "Mr. Barton's History of Scotland,"—the latter by no less a dignitary than the Lyon King-of-Arms,—may be commended to the notice of those whom they concern ; while Mr. Reginald Palgrave's account of "the battle of Burke's minority" on the question of reporting Parliamentary debates, shows that the dig- nity of those debates has gained by publicity. Vexatious proceedings, previous questions, counts-out, allusions to Asian mysteries and Batavian graces or prejudices, enliven our modern legislation, but a long discussion as to the virtue of catching the Speaker's eye, and an examination of the journals of the House up to the reign of Queen Elizabeth, in search of some warrant for the doctrine that the Speaker's eye was infallible, would scarcely be tolerated. Mr. Goodall's statistical inquiry into the comparative length of modern holidays will not be popular with schoolboys. The extra weeks which he condemns are cherished with mach affection, and the conspicuous loyalty of Eton is owing to the fact that Royal visits are frequent, and are legitimate excuses for idleness. How- ever, when the number of working days is reckoned hi one column and the ntimber of idle days in the other, and parents remember that they pay for both alike, the question becomes serious :—

"An exhaustive scrutiny of a well-kept set of school registers would exhibit, for every boy in the long-holiday-giving schools, a total attendance in the year so small, that it would startle even the school authorities themselves. Besides their regular stated holidays—usually about seven weeks in summer (July to September), five at Christmas, twelve days or a fortnight at Easter, several days in Lent, as many or more days at Whitsuntide, sometimes a week or more after Speech Day —special holidays are eometimes given in celebration of births, marriages, and christenings in the families of masters. Successes attained in examinations by present and former pupils, whether at the Universities or at the Oxford and Cambridge Local Examinations, are also held to be fit occasions for special holidays. So also is the presence of distinguished guests on Speech Day. A few years ago the summer holidays of a large London school, already ample enough, were increased by two weeks, because a Prince and Princess, and half-a-dozen Bishops, graced by their prestinee the achievements of Speech Day. Such practices are only maintainable on the ground that school education is a bad thing, and, therefore, on any pretext the boys should be benefited by having less of it. The logical sequence is, that the greatest benefit would be conferred on the boys by closing the schools altogether, and making each year of boyhood an entire long holiday. A day-schdolyields only five short days per week for work. Deduct its holidays of 7 weeks in summer, 5 at Christmas, 8 for Lent, Easter, and Whitsuntide, and more for its sundry special holidays, or 17 in all, and there remain, only 85 weeks of 5 claSts each, or a total of 115 days for work, against 190 days for holidays and Sundays. In other words, each period of 100 days. is composed of 48 only for work, and 52 for rest and play; or, the year is divided into 25 complete weeks for work, and 27 for rest and play."- . We have not noticed the Argosy very lately, and the -consequence is that we have lost the thread of its stories. Of single articles we may mention M. Vambery's "Two Adventures," Mr. Gilbert's strange story, called " Fra Gerolamo," and the account of a wolf which did such incredible damage inProvence and Languedoc during the year 1765 that it passed for a second Dragon of Wantley. We are unable to realize how a wolf, "and not a very large one," could in leas than a year devour more than eighty people, escape bands of hunters, troops of mounted soldiers, and the picked marksmen of fifty parishes, recover from shots, and cuts, and bruises, and with two bullets in its body traverse a wide tract of country and carry on its devastations. Some of the details are plainly mythical, as for instance, that it leapt through a chaise, and the stench it left behind was so disgusting that the chaise had to be burnt and the ashes buried. But is it certain that all the mischief was done by one wolf? M. Vambery's adventures are mild in comparison with those of "The Wild Beast of Gevaudan," but we are curious to know how he told the first of them at a very fashionable London evening party. The point of it is that the narrator, when "dressed as a Dervish and travelling in Persia, was' engaged in a most animated flea hunt on his own person when an English nobleman came in and commented on the transaction. M.Vambery answered him in English, which greatly astonished hina, and refused aenter into explanations, which mystified him still more SOnietirre afterwards the Dervish met the nobleman at an evening party, and, to establish his identity, went through a pantomimic repro- duction of the hunt.

Miss Braddon's "Birds of Prey," in Belgravia, deal with, another kind of hunt, a search through parish registers of which we do not know the object. Mr. Babington White's story, called " Circe," reminds us of Mr. Yates's "Land at Last," and the short sketch by the author of "Lady Flavia " turns on the very same hinge which has been used by the same author in a hundred former stories. Mr. Sala has lighted on a good idea in his "Letters from Liffiput, being Essays on the Extremely Little," though with Mr. Sala a little subject is apt to be lost under a cloud of discursive writing. And he makes an odd slip about Nelson, saying, "Had he been a swearer, the which he was not I think, he would have d—d the French as roundly as our fathers were wont to do over their port wine." If Nelson was not a swearer, it is rather singular that in the letter that expresses his opinion about Frenchmen,:and the mode in which they ought to. be regarded by an Englishman, he should have given them the full benefit of the word which Mr. Sala modestly clips of its essence. -Is " The Paris Exhibition" also by Mr. Sala ? It bears some marks of his hand, but it is careless, and loosely put together. The fault of all magazines which rely on their stories and on their " features" is, that the rest of their work is so often scamped, and the inferior artisans are maintained at the expense of the intelligent mechanic. It is easy enough to invent titles which look promising in the advertisements, and toful up a number, with the "Physiology of Picnics," ." Zoological Memories," " Carpenters' Scenes," "London Squares," and "Summer Term at Oxford." But it would, we think, be better to give fewer pages, and be more careful in the choice of articles, than to attract by the pro-

mise of excitement and the outward show of liberality. • The most noticeable article in Temple Bar, without meaning any disrespect to the novels by Mr. Le Fanu and the author of Archie Lovell, is a description of the large rhinoceros of South Africa, and of the manner in which one was tamed and surgically treated. There is also an amusing little story of an actor playing the part of Hamlet with a sheriff's officer for the Ghost, and find- ing the watchful care of a father more than realized by this new representative. But we have little doubt that the regular readers of Temple Bar confine themselves to the novelistic pieces de resistance, and, looking at the novels themselves, we see no reason to question the wisdom of this course.