Tins is a remarkable fiction. The author is a person of more than common ability, with some imagination, and a good deal of poetical power. He is acquainted with various kinds of society, but seems most at home in university life, and that species of life, part clerical, part lit:army, which is the sequence to a respectable university career. The most striking features of the book, however, are the author's views of society and the mode he has chosen to exhibit them. One object of Alton Locke is to depict the sufferings of the town and country poor, arising in the city, as he alleges, from the cupidity of capitalists and the pressure of com- petition—in the country, as he intunates from the want of capital and want of spirit among the farmers. :another is, to exhibit the character and feelings of the artisan, self-educated enough to speculate upon what he sees, to be wounded by what he under- goes, and to look for social amelioration from political change. A third purpose is, to uphold the rights of the Chartists, and to ad- vocate the adoption of a refined Communism with a sort of de- mocratic Christianity for its basis.
The form into which the author has east his matter is that of the autobiographical fiction. Alton Locke, the hero, is the son of a small tradesman, whose brother has risen in life, in proportion as himself has sunk. After a struggle the poor man (lies "of bad debts and a broken heart " ; leaving struggle, in charge of his mother, a rigid and sour Calvinist. His dreamy boyhood in a mean subur- ban street, his oeasional glimpses of London and the country, his natural notions of God an contrast with those of his mother and the " ministers " who sponge upon her, poor as she is, are very ably done, but rather metaphysically than dramatically—they are often less what the boy Alton Locke would see, than the author writing this autobiography. In his early teens Alton Locke, by means of his uncle, is placed with a West-end tailor ; and the account of his self-education, through the instrumentality of an old Scotch bookseller, with the low humours of a tailor's work- shop, occupies some space. On a quarrel originating in his read- ing Milton and -Virgil, his mother turns him out of doors : he takes up his abode with Sandy Macka.ye, the bookseller; joins a friend in resisting a reduction for wages; turns Chartist ; gets a living by writing for Chartist newspapers and cheap publications; and publishes a volume of poems with some success. Doubts, how- ever, have been thrown upon his honesty : in a rage he under- takes a country mission ; the rustics are too obtuse to understand his polities—instead of agitating for the Charter, they plunder a farm-yard, setting fire to what they cannot carry off; and Alton Locke is condemned for riot, &c., and sentenced to three years' imprisonment. On his release he joins the abortive plot of the 10th of April ; catches a fever, through accompanying an old fel- low workman to one of the dens in which poverty shelters ; and on his recovery is converted to the Christianitywe spoke of, by a cha- ritable lady,—for whose portrait Miss Solon seems to have sat in some of the features,—and, in company with a brother Chartist, -- departs for Texas, but dies in sight of land.
Running almost parallel wit4 the politics, and in its influence affecting the fortunes of Alton Locke, is a love story ; not badly contrived, but overdone. The cousin of Alton Locke is educated. for the church at Cambridge ; one day he takes Alton to the Dub tvich gallery, where he sees a young lady with her father, and falls in love with her. On a subsequent visit to his cousin at the university, when Alton is rising a little in repute, he is accident- ally introduced to the Dulwich party again ; and they patronize him by getting his poems published by subscription, and by intro- ducing him into society as a poet from the people.
In manner, Alton Locke differs from the established mode of novel-writing. The model of the author has been rather the rhetorical than the dramatic fiction ; and though he is not wanting in dramatic power, he is not always happy in his dia- logues and scenes. The truth probably is, that literary consistency is kept subordinate to the purpose of painting our social evils, and showing how little can be done towards their cure by any measures without an animating spirit of earnestness and goodness. Some of the characters, however, are exceedingly well drawn. They often embody the peculiarities of the times without losing individuality, and always with some redeeming humanity in the person. The cousin clerical student and afterwards clergyman, is a capital picture of the healthy, confident, pushing professional man, bent upon advancing his name and position, and not scrupulous as to the means,* with a sort of animal good-nature till you stand in his way, and sense enough to cultivate popularity—" he never cut a chimney-sweeper if he knew him." OTlynn, the Irish editor of The Weekly Warwhoop, is as good as George Locke perhaps even better, for the nice observation which sees some sterling qua- lities in the man, through all his coarseness ferocity, and want of principle. The amiable literary and scientific Dean is an excellent sketch of the old-fashioned well-bred gentleman. Ceesethweite, the journeyman tailor sad Chartist, is a good portrait of the independ- ent-minded, thoughtful artisan; and there are passing persons as well limned, though some are rather exaggerated. But the most finished character of the whole is Sandy Mackaye, the small. second-hand bookseller. He is an individual and yet a type—one of those strong-minded, experienced, deeply-read, thoughtful, kindly, and even wise men, who come neighbours know not whence, who • Alton Locke, Tailor ivad Poet. An Autobiography. In two volumes. Published by Chapman and Hall.
have acquired their wisdom men know not how, and who, through circumstances, fate, or a peculiarity of disposition, are buried alive, and with seeming contentment, in a dark and dingy ground-floor of some London lane, court, or alley. Sandy Mackaye is probably dra:wn from an original, even to the latent loftiness of his thnracter when occasion forces it forth.
There is great variety of persons and forms of life in the book ; crgling extensive expenenee, except in the work-room and some other low scenes, which seem a little conventional if not carica- tured, and in part derived from the Morning Chronicle's "com- missioner." ThP following sketch of ministers and. a missionary is from Alton's youthful life, when, excited by some journals of South Sea voyages, he dreams of being a missionary himself. The great man hail come to drink tea with his mother, out of respect to her state of grace. "lie mine, and with him the two ministers who often drank tea with my mother ; both of whom, as they played some small part in the drama of my after-life, I may as well describe here. The elder was a little, sleek, glver-haired old man, with a bland, weak face, just like a white rabbit. He loved me and I loved him too, for there were always lollipops in his pocket for me and Susan. Had his head been equal to has heart !—But what has been was to be ; and the Dissenting clergy, with a few noble exceptions among the Independents, are not the strong men of the day—none know that better-than the workmen. The old man's name was Bowyer. The other, Mr. Wigginton, was a younger man ; tall, grim, dark, bilious, with a nar- row forehead, retreating suddenly from his eyebrows up to a conical peak of black hair over his ears. Ile preached higher doctrine,' e e. more fatalist and Antinomian than his gentler colleague, and, having also a stentorian voice, was much the greater favourite at the chapeL I hated him; and if any man ever deserved hatred, he did.
Well, they came. My heart was in my mouth as I opened the door to them, and sank back again to the very lowest depths of my inner man when my eyes fall on the face and figure of the missionary—a squat, red-faced, pig-eyed, low-browed man, with great soft lips that opened back to his very ears - sensuality, conceit, and cunning marked on every feature—an innate vulg'arity, from which the artisan and the child recoil with an instinct as true, perhaps truer, than that of the courtier, showing itself in every tone and motion. I shrunk into a corner, so crestfallen that I could not even exert myself to hand round the bread-and-butter • for which I got duly molded afterwards Oh, that man !—how he bawled and contradicted, and laid down the law, and spoke to my mother in a fondling, patronizing way, which made me, I knew not why, boil over with jealousy and indignation. How he filled his teacup half full of the white sugar, to buy which my mo- ther had cureailed her yesterday's dinner; how he drained the few remain- ing drops of the three-pennyworth of cream with which Susan was stealing off, to keep it as an unexpected treat for my mother at breakfast the next morning ; how he talked of the natives, not as St. Paul might of his con- verts, but as a planter might of his slaves; overlaying all his unintentional confessions of his own greed and prosperity with cant, flimsy enough for even a boy to see through, while his eyes were not blinded with the super- stition that a man must be pious who sufficiently interlards his speech with a jumble of old English picked out of our translation of the New Testament. Such was the man I saw."
The following exhibits the " ministers " a little more fully in connexion with Alton's reading. The scene °emirs at a later period, and is the original cause of Alton's leaving home.
'It was Saturday morning; and Ispent two miserable days, for she never spoke a word to me till the two ministers had made their appearance and thank their tea on Sunday evening. Then at last she opened—
"And now, Mr. Wigginton, what account have you of this Mr. Ma.ckaye, who has seduced my unhappy boy from the paths of obedience ?' "'I am sorry to say, madam,' answered the dark man, with a solemn muffle, that he proves to be a most objectionable and altogether unregene- rate character. He is, as I am informed, neither more nor lees than a Chartist and an open blasphemer.' "He is not!' I interrupted, angrily. 'He has told me more about God, and given me better advice, than any human being, except my mother.' " '.Ah! madam, so thinks the unconverted heart, ignorant that the God of-the Deist is not the God of the Bible—a consuming fire to all but His beloved elect : the God of the Deist, unhappy youth, is a mere self- invented, all-indulgent yhantom—a will-o'-the-wisp, deluding the unwary, as he has deluded you, into the slough of carnal reason and shameful profii- ga
7,Do you mean to call me a profligate ?' I retorted fiercely, for my blood was up, and ['flit I was fighting for all which I prized in the world. 'If you do, you lie. Ask my mother when I ever disobeyed her before ? I have never touched a drop of anything stronger than water; I have slaved over-hours to pay for my own candle ; I have—I have no sins to accuse myself cre and neither you nor any other person know of any. Do you call me a profligate because I wish to educate myself and rise in life ?'
" ' groaned my poor mother to herself, still unconvinced of aim' "'The old Adam, my dear madam, you see ; standing, as he always-does, on his own filthy rags of works, while all the irnagmationa of his heart are only evil continually. Listen to me poor sinner '— " Isvill not listen to you,' I cried.: the accumulated disgust of years burst- ing out once and for all; 'for I hate and despise you—eating my poor mother here out of house and home. You are one of those who creep into widows' houses, and for pretence make long prayers. You, air, I will hear,' I went on, turning to the dear old man, who had sat by shaking his white locks with a sad and puzzled air, for I love you.' " '3fy dear sister, Locke,' he began, 'I really think sometimes—that is, a-hem—with year leave, brother—I am almost disposed—but I should wish to defer to your superior zeal—yet, at the same time, perhaps, the desire for information, however carnal in itself, may be an instrument in the Lord's hands—you know what I mean. I always thought him a gracious youth, madam, didn't you ? And perhaps—I only observe it in passing—the Lord's people among the Dissenting connexions are apt to undervalue human learning as a means--of course I mean only as a means. It is not generally known, I believe, that our revered Puritan patriarchs, Howe and Baxter, Owen and Many more, were not altogether unacquainted with heathen au- thone—nay, that they may have been called absolutely learned men. And some of our leading ministers are inclined—no doubt they will be led rightly in eo important a matter—to follow the example of the Independents in edn- eating their young ministers, and turning Satan's weapons of heathen my- tholw y against himself, as St. Paul is said to have done. My dear boy, what books have you now got by you of Mr. lifackaye's "'Milton's Poems and a Latin Virgil.' " Ah r groaned the dark man,. 'will poetry, will Latin, save an immor- tal soul ?'
, ,"rit tell you what, sir you say yourself. that it depends on God's abso- lite counsel whether I am saved or not. So, if I am elect, I shall be saved
whatever / do; and if I am not, I shall be damned whatever I do ; and in the mean time you had better mind your own business, and let me do the best I ean for this life, as the next is all settled for me.
" This flippant, but after all not unreasonable speech, seemed to silence the man ; and I took the opportunity of running up-stairs and bringing down my. Milton."
The following picture of youth's day-dreams is a nice bit of me- taphysical writing.
passed whole days on the work-room floor in brooding silence" My mind' peopled with an incoherent rabble of phantasms patched up from every object of which I had ever read. I could not control my day-dreams; they swept me away with them over sea and land, and into the bowels of the earth. My soul escaped on every aide from my eirilized dungeon of brick and mortar, into the great free world from which my body was de- barred. Now I was the corsair in the pride of freedom on the dark blue sea. Now I wandered in fairy caverns among the bones of primmval mon- sters. I fought at the side of Leonidas, and the Maccabee who stabbed the Sultan's elephant, and saw him crushed beneath its falling bulk. Now I was a hunter in Tropic forests—I heard the parrots scream, and saw the humming-birds flit on from gorgeous flower to flower. Gradually I took a vo- luntary pleasure in calling up these images, and working out their details into words, with all the accuracy and care for which my small knowledge gave me materials. And as the self-indulgent habit grew on me, I began to ETES two lives—one mechanical and outwards, one inward and imaginative. The thread passed through my fingers without my knowing it; I did my work as a machme might do it. The dingy stifling room, the wan faces of my corn-
'on; the scanty meals which I matched, I saw dimly, as in a dream. The Tropics and Greece, the imaginary battles which I fought, the phan- toms into whose mouths I put my thoughts, were real and true to me. They met me when I woke, they floated along beside as I walked to work, they acted their fantastic dramas before me through the sleepless hours of night. Gradually certain faces among them became familiar—certain per- sonages grew into coherence, as embodiments of those few types of character which had struck me the most, and played an analogous part in every fresh fantasia. Sandy Mackaye's face figured incongruously enough as Leonidas ; ]lrutus, a Pilgrim Father ; and gradually, in spite of myself, and the fear with which I looked on the recurrence of that dream Lilion's figure re--
entered my fairy-land. I saved her from a hundred dangers ; I followed her through dnigon-guarded caverns and the corridors of magic castles ; I walked by her side through the forests of the Amazon "And now I began to crave for some means, of expressing these fancies to myself. While they were mere thoughts, parts of me, they were unsatis- factory, however delicious. I longed to put them outside me, that I might look at them and talk to them as permanent independent things. First I tried to sketch them on the whitewashed walls of my garret, on scraps of paper begged from Mackaye, or picked up in the work-room. But, from my ignorance of any rules of drawing, they were utterly devoid of beauty, and only excited my disgust. Besides, .I had thoughts as well as objects to ex- press—thoughts strange, sad, wild, about my own feelings, my own destiny; and drawing could not speak them for me. "Then eturned instinctively to poetry : with its rules I was getting ra- pidly conversant. The mere desire of imitation urged me on ; and, when tried, the grace of rhyme and metre covered a thousand defects."
The next is an example of the more reflective passages that abound in the book. It shows how deeply the author has entered upon the study of the intellectual poor ; and how thoroughly he sympathizes with them.
' Ay, respectable gentlemen and ladies, I will confess all to you—yon shall have, if you enjoy it, a fresh opportunity for indulging that supreme pleasure which the press daily affords you, of insulting the classes whose powers most of you know as little as you do their sufferings. Yes; the Chartist poet is vain, conceited, ambitious, uneducated, shallow, inexperienced, envious, ferocious, scurrilous, seditious, traitorous. Is your charitable vocabulary ex- hausted? Then ask yourselves, how often have you yourself honestly re- sisted and conquered the temptation to any one of these sins, when it has CUM across you just once in a way, and not as they came to me, as they come to thousands of the working men, daily and hourly, till their tor- ments do, by length of time, become their elements ' What, are we covetous too ? Yes ! And if those who hare, like you, still covet more, what wonder if those who have nothing covet something? Profligate too ? Well, though that imputation as a generality is utterly calumnious, though your amount of respectable animal enjoyment per annum is a hundred times as great as that of the most self-indulgent artisan ; yet, if you had ever felt what it is to want, not only every luxury of the senses, but even bread to eat, you would think more mercifully of the man who makes up by rare ex- cesses, and those only of the limited kinds possible to him, for long Intervale of dull privation, and says in his madness, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die ! ' We have our sins, and you have yours. Ours may be the more gross and barbaric, but yours are none the less damnable ; perhaps all the more so, for being the sleek, subtle, respectable, religious sins they are.. You. are frantic enough if our part of the press calls you hard names, but you cannot see that your part of the press repays it back to us with interest. We see those insults, and feel them bitterly enough; snide not forget them, alas ! soon enough, while they pass unheeded by.your delicate eyes as trivial truisms. Horrible, unprincipled, villanoos, seditious, frantic, blasphemous,. are epithets of course when applied to—to how large a portion of the Eng: lish people, you will some day discover to your astonishment When will that day come, and how ? In thunder, and storm, and garments rolled in blood? or like the dew on the mown grass, and the clear shining of the sunlight after April rain ? "
The following scene may be read not only as a specimen of the writer's manner in sketching a certain sort of London life, but also for his power of appreciating latent good qualities through more palpable bad. After Alton's quarrel with his mother, he falls in with a policeman, and then with a party of medical students ; who, feeling the lowness of his pulse carry him off for a. little stimulus.
"The hne, burly, pea-jacketed. Medical student—for such I saw at once he was—laid hold of me on the right tenderly enough, and walked me off between him and the policeman.
"I fell again into a faintness ; from which I was awakened by being shoved through the folding doors of a gin-shop into a glare of tight and hub- bub of blackguardiran, and placed on a settle, while my conductor called out, Pots round, Mary, and a go of brandy hot with, for the patient. Here, young un ; toss it off, it'll make your hair grow.
"I feebly answered, that I never had drunk anything stronger than water.
"'High time to begin, then ; no wonder you're so ill_ Well, if you won't, ru make you.' And, taking my head under his arm, he seized me by the nose, while another poured the liquor down my throat—and certainly it rep vived me at once.
"A drunken drab pulled another drunken drab off the settle to make roan; for the poor young man ' - and Isat there with a confused notion that some- thing strange and dreadful had happened to me, while the party drained •
their respective quarts of porter, and talked over the last boat-race with the Leander. I "'Now then, gen.'1' men,' said the policeman, if you think he's recovered, we'll take him home to his mother ; she ought for to take him in, surely.' " Yes, if she has as much heart in her as a dried walnut.'
"But I resisted stoutly ; though I longed to vindicate my mother's affec- tion, yet I could not face her I entreated to be taken to the station-house ; threatened, in my desperation' to break the bar glasses ; which, like Doll Tearsheet's abuse, only elicited from the policeman a solemn Very well ' • and, under the unwonted excitement of the brandy, struggledsolercelYi and talked so incoherently, that the medical students interfered. -
"We shall have this fellow in phrenithe or laryngitis, or dotken-enteri- tis, or some other itis, before long, if he's aggravated. " And whichever it is it'il kill him. He has no more stamina left than a yard of
I sluillidmpwae-o'dei: him chargeable to the parish,' suggested the bar- keeper.
" Exactually so, my Solomon of licensed victuallers. Get a workhouse order for him, Costello. " ' And I should consider, also, sir,' said the licensed victualler, with in- creased importance, 'having been a guardian myself, and knowing the hact, as the parish couldn't refuse, because they're in power to recover all hexpen- ses out of his mother.'
"To To be sure; it's all the unnatural old witch's fault.'
"'No, it is not,' said I., faintly. " ' Wait till your opinion's asked, young un. Go kick up the authorities, policeman.' "Now, I'll just tell you how that'll work, gemmen,' answered the police- man, solemnly. goes to the overseer—werry good sort o' man—but he's in bed. rknoeks for half an hour. He puts he's nightcap out o' windy, and sends me to the relieving-officer. Werry good sort of man he too ; but he's in bed. I knocks for another half-hour. Repute he's nightcap out o' windy—sends me to the medical officer for a certificate. Medical officer's gone to a midwifery case. I hunts him for an hour or so. He's got hold of a balky with three heads, or summat else ; and two more women a-calling
o ut for him hie blazes—' He'll come tomorrow morning.' Now, I just axes your opinion of that there most procrastinationest o.
"The big student, having cursed the parochial authorities in general, diked to pay for my night's lodging at the public-house. The good man of the house demurred at first, but relented on being reminded of the value of a medical student's custom : whereon, without more ado, two of the rough diamonds took me between them carried me up stairs, undressed me, and put me into bed, as tenderly as if they had been women. "'He'll have the tantrums before morning, Pm afraid,' said one. "Very likely to turn to typhus,' said the other. " I an se—it's a horrid bore, but
at must be must ; man is but dust, If you can't get crumb, you must just eat crust
Send me up a go of hot with, and I'll sit up with him till he's asleep, dead, or better.'
"'Well, then, ru day too ; we may just as well make a night of it here as anywhere else.'
"And he pulled a short black pipe out of his pocket, and sat down to me- ditate, with his feet on the hobs of the empty grate; the other man went down for the liquor ; while I, between the brandy and exhaustion fell fast asleep, and never stirred till I woke the next mornime with a racking- head- ache, and saw the big student standing by my bedeide, having, as I afterwards heard, sat by me till four in the morning. "'hub, young on, come to your senses? Headache eh ? Slightly comato-cmpulose ? We'll give you some soda and sal-volatile; and I'll pay for your breakfast.' "And so he did ; and when he was joined by his companions on their way to St. George's, they were very anxious, having heard my story, to force a few shillings on me for luck ' ; which, I need not say, I peremptorily re- fused, assuring them that I could and would get my own living, and never take a farthing from any man. "'That's a plucky dog, though he's a tailor,' I heard them say, as, after overwhelming them with thanks, and vowing, amid shouts of laughter, to repay them every farthing I had cost them, I took my way, sick and stunned, towards my dear old Sandy Mackaye's street. "Rough diamonds indeed ! I have never met you again, but I have not forgotten you. Your early life may be a coarse, too often a profligate one— but you know the people, and the people know you ; and your tenderness and care, bestowed without hope of repayment, cheers daily many a poor soul in hospital wards and fever-cellars—to meet its reward some day at the people's hands. You belong to us at heart, as the Paris barricades can tell. Alas ! for the society which stifles in after life too many of your better feelings, by making you mere flunkeys and parasites dependent for your livelihood on the caprices and luxuries of the rich."
One quality of the author is the power of bringing rapidly to- gether the real or apparent falbuies of the time that pass for argu- ments, in such a manner as to seem to expose their emptiness, though, as far as reasoning is concerned, he does nOthing of the kind. This attack upon the modern system of business is a speci- men.
"Well, one day our employer died. He had been one of the old sort of fashionable West-end tailors in the fast decreasing honourable trade ; keep- ing a modest shop, hardly to be distinguished from a dwelling-house, except by his name on the window-blinds. He paid good prices for work, though not as good, of course, as he had given twenty years before, and prided him- self upon having all his work done at home. His work-rooms, as I have said, were no elysiums ; but still as good, alas ! as those of three tailors out of four. He was proud, luxurious, foppish ; but he was honest and kindly enough, and did many a generous thing by men who had been long in his employ. At all events, his journeymen could live on what he paid them. " But his son, succeeding to the business, determined, hie B.eheboam of old, to go ahead with the times. Fired with the great spirit of the nineteenth century—at least with that one which is vulgarly considered its especial glory—he resolved to make haste to be rich. His father had made money very slowly of late; while dozens, who had begun business long after him, had now retired to luxurious ease and suburban villas. Why should he re- main in the minority ? Why should he not get rich as fast as he could, Why should hi stick to the old, slow-going, honourable trade ? Out of some four hundred and fifty West-end tsars, there were not one hundred left who were old-fashioned and stupid enough to go on keeping down their own profits by having all their work done at home and at first hand. Ridiculous scruples! The Government knew none such. Were not the Army clothes, the Post Office clothes, the Policemen's clothes, furnished by contractars and sweaters, who hired the work at low prices, and let it out again to journey- men at still lower Ones? Why sheedd he pay his men two shall' gs where the Government paid them one ? Were there not cheap houiee even at the 'West-end, which had saved several tholmands a year merely by reducing Vieir workmen's wages? • And if the workmen chose le take lower wages, he was not bound Actually to make them a present of more than they asked for!' They would go to the cheapest market for anything they wanted, and so must he. Besides, wages had really been quite exorbitant. Half his men threw each of them as much money away in gm and beer yearly as would pay two workmen at a cheap house. Why was he to be robbing his family of comforts to pay for their extravagance? and charging his cus- tomers, too, unnecessarily high prices ?—it was really robbing the public! "Such, I suppose, were some of the arguments which led to an official announcement, one Saturday night, that our young employer intended to enlarge his establishment, for the .purpose of commencing business in the 'Blow trade'. and that, emulous of Messrs. Aaron, Levi, and the rest of that class, magnificent alterations were to take place in the premises; to make room for which, our work-rooms were to be demolished; and that for that reason—for of course it was only for that reason—ell work wouldin future be given out, to be made up at the men's own homes."
We have said that the author appears to be well acquainted with university life : this is his pieture of Cambridge.
"I saw a good deal More of the young university men that week. I can- not say that my recollections of them were pleasant. A few of them were very. bigoted Tractarians; some of whom seemed to fancy that a dilettante admiration for crucifixes and Gothic architecture was a form of religion, which, by its extreme perfection, made the virtues of chastity and sobriety quite unnecessary; and the rest, of a more ascetic and moral turn, seemed as narrow, bitter, flippant, and unearnest yonng men as I had ever met, dealing in second-hand party statements, gathered,as I could discover, en- tirely from periodicals of their ownparty—taking pride in reading nothing
but what was made for them, ind in the most violent nicknames and railing, and escaping from anything like severe argument by a sneer or an
expression of theatrical horror at so ' auction. I had good opportuni- ties of seeing what they were really like; for my cousin seemed to take de- light in tormenting them—making them contradict themselves, getting them into dilemmas, and putting them into passions—while the *hole time' professed professed to be of their party, as indeed he was. But his maliciousness of power, and his natural craft, seemed to make him consider his own party as his private preserve for sporting over ; and when he was, tired with amuse- ment, he ueed to try to call me in, and Set me by the ears with his goes which he had no great trouble in doing; and then, when he saw me at confused, or borne down by statements from authors of whose very names I had never heard, or by expressions of horror and surprise which made me suspect that I had unconseiously committed myself to an absurdity, he used to come hurling into the midst of the press' hie same knight at a tourna- ment, or Socrates when he saved Alcibiades at Delium, and, by a dexterous repartee, turn the tide of battle, and get me off safe,—taking care, b,y the 11v to hint to me the obligation which he considered himself to have 'conferred upon me. But the great majority of the young men whom I met were even of a lower stamp. I was utterly shocked and disappointed at the contempt and unbelief with which they seemed to regard everything beyond mere animal enjoyment, and here and there the selfish advantage. of a good degree. They seemed, if one could judge from appearanem, to despise and disbelieve every- thing generous, enlarged. Thoughtfulness was a bore '; earnestness, romance.' Above all, they seemed to despise the university itself. The 'Dons' were idle fat old humbugs' ; chapel, a humbug too ',- tutors, 'humbugs' too, who played into the tradesmen's. hands, and charged men high fees for lectures not worth attending; so that any man who wanted to get on was forced *to have a private tutor besides his college one. The university studies were a humbug '—no use to man in after life. The mas- ters of arts were 'humbugs' too ; for they knew all the evils, and cla- moured for reform till they became Dons themselves; and then, as soon as they found the old system pay, they settled down on their lees, and grew fat on port wine, like those before them.' They seemed to consider them- selves in an atmosphere of humbug—living in a lie—out of which lie ele- ment those who chose were very right in making the most, for the gaining of fame or money. And the tone which they took about everything—the coarseness, hollowness, Gil Bias selfishness—was just what might have been expected. Whether they were right or wrong in their complaints, I of course have no means of accurately knowing. But it did seem strange to me, as it has to others, to find in the mouths of almost all the gownsmen, those very same charges against the universities whirls, when working men dare to make them, excite outcries of 'calumny,' 'sedition?' 'vulgar radical- ism," attacks on our time-honoured institutions,' &c. &c."