8 NOVEMBER 1873, Page 20


WE have commented on the political article in the Fortnightly elsewhere, and really cannot go through Mr. Galt's restatement of an unanswerable case,—the purchase of Railways by the State, which neither party has apparently the courage to take up. To most readers, the paper on the popular songs of the Tuscan hills, love-songs of Oriental fire, yet, it is said, devoid of coarseness, will be found infinitely more entertaining. The writer remarks on the difficulty of translating songs often so irregular in form, but we doubt if there are many poets who would disdain this serenade, with its feeling for the charm of the half-hour before dawn I see the dawn e'en now begin to peer : Therefore I take my leave, and cease to sing.

See how the window); open far and near, And hear the bells of morning, how they ring ! Through heaven and earth the sounds of ringing swell; Therefore, bright jasmine flower, sweet maid, farewell! Through heaven and Rome the sound of ringing goes; Farewell, bright jasmine flower, sweet maiden rose."

And every brunette in London may thank us for quoting this :— "Think it no grief that I am brown, For all brunettes are born to reign : White is the snow, yet trodden down ; Black pepper kings need not disdain : White snow lies mounded on the vales ; Black pepper's weighed in brazen scales."

And this, for a mere conceit°, is not unworthy

"Passing across the billowy sea,

I let, alas! my poor heart fall ; I bade the sailors bring it me ; They said they had not seen it fall. I asked the sailors, one and two; They said that I had given it you. I asked the sailors, two and three ; They said that I had given it thee."

Or this,—

" I see and see, yet see not what I would ; I see the leaves atremble on the tree : I saw my love where on the hill he stood,

Yet see him not drop downward to the lea. 0 traitor hill ! what will you do ? I ask him, live or dead, from you. 0 traitor hill! what shall it be ? I ask him, live or dead, from thee."

Mr. W. J. Brodribb's essay on Plutarch is a very successful attempt to illustrate the modernnesea of the mode of thought often apparent in his writings,—in his views on education, for instance, on the delay of divine punishments, on marriage, and his strange views on the possibility of the government of the world -being entrusted to beings who make mistakes, or even occasionally break down, till faith dies away from among men. On the sub- ject of education here is a little Plutarchian story which was once, if it is not now, a telling hit at men who prefer ignorant children to expense on their education :—" ' What is your fee for the edu- cation of my son ?' said such a father to the philosopher Aristippus.

I My fee is £50,' was the reply. Good heavens,' exclaimed the parent, could buy a slave for £50!' Do so, by all means,' rejoined the philosopher, 'and you will have a couple of slaves.'"

In Fraser the most attractive paper will probably be Mr. Baring-Gould's effort to smash a Romish Saint, St. Symeon Salos, which, will as usual, be believed by all Protestants and disbelieved by all Catholics, without the slightest attempt on either side to ascertain whether the evidence is correct. The curious annoyance -of the Bollandist Fathers at the facts they had to record is naturally very striking, making it clear, as it does, that they for once dif- fered from the ecclesiastical estimate of holiness ; but Mr. Baring- Gould ought also to have added that their relation of the* facts is a strong test of their intention to be honest. The paper, however, which mast interests us is one by Mr. Leslie Stephen, on "Jonathan Edwards," in which he tries to prove that the great Calvinist pushed his doctrine of the sovereignty of God up or down to Pantheism ; and we would gladly analyse it, but that we want space for a statement by Camille Barrere which is quite new to us, and will, we imagine, be so to most of our readers. He maintains that Napoleon I., in his fear of the philo- sophers, not only restored Ultramontauism in France, but extinguished a system which had made France virtually Pro- testant. He quotes the high authority of Lanfrey for the following statement :— " At the time, according to a distinguished historian of the Empire, -the French clergy counted in its ranks more than ten thousand married, constitutional priests, besides the numerous ministers who had discarded the authority of the Vatican. The constitutional priesthood showed unmistakable dispositions to amalgate with the Protestants, and it was the predominating sect; it thus occupied the majority of churches and bad fifty bishops in their number, while orthodoxy had only fifteen. They did not receive, any more than other sects, pecuniary assistance from the State, and they declared themselves amply satisfied with the help derived by them from private support. Animated with a spirit of 'toleration quite extraordinary considering the few years that had elapsed since the Terror, they lived in amity with Israelites, orthodox Catholics, and Free-thinkers, and a schism could not have taken place under better auspices, nor have borne better fruit in so short a time.

This beneficent change was rapidly progressing, and in a normal sequence of things it would long ago, like all reforms based on reason and entailing liberty, have established itself, and banished the last remnant of Roman Catholicism; but, for the misfortune of France, Napoleon was there, and it was a question of life and death for his power to secure the co-operation of a subservient clergy, and annihilate the one that had no interest in abetting his encroachments on liberty."

But what made the "Old Catholics," as they would-now be called, submit to a change which the Huguenots completely resisted ? Napoleon may have given them new pastors, but he did not dragoon the laity, nor could his army have been employed on any such task. M. Barrere believes, like many French statesmen, that the suppression of the ecclesiastical budget would almost kill

Catholicism in France, as the peasant will not subscribe for any religious service whatever ; but would not killing be followed by a resurrection of paganism, which would make France infinitely worse than it is now ? If non-Catholicism meant Huguenotism it would be a different matter, but we fear it would not mean even the worship of Reason, but something infinitely lower,—some pagan fetichism which would be unbearable to civilised man ; or— and this is by no means impossible—the spread from Algeria of avowed Mohammedanism, the only creed needing to support no priest.

One paper in the Contemporary, Mr. Orby Shipley's con- temptuous and rather clever attack on the Bishops for their hesitating utterances on the subject of Confession, we have noticed in another column. Mr. Montague Cookson puts very fairly some not very novel notions as to the root-ideas of the Whig and Tory policies, the "paternal," and the " fraternal " view of political conduct. Mr. George Barnett Smith writes a very enthusiastic, and in many respects a just, but certainly a not very discriminat- ing criticism of Mr. Buchanan's poetry, which he bolds, with us, to be much above the estimate of it usually formed at the present time, but as it seems to us, without being adequately aware of the very great inequality in Mr. Buchanan's work. There is, in our opinion, almost as great a difference between the " London Lyrics" and the "Fall of Napoleon," as there is between Wordsworth's finest poems and his weakest. Mr. Buchanan has been at times grandiose, feeble, and even flatulent, though he has also been noble, powerful, and pathetic. "The Book of Orme," though it contains fine things, is certainly one of his poorest productions, and "The Fall of Napoleon " is quite beneath the level which he may fairly be expected to maintain. Mr. Smith should have been warned of the existence of wild and inconsiderate elements in Mr. Buchanan's intellect by his prose criticisms, where, the moderating influence of his poetic mood being removed, he seems to us sometimes to vanish into the void where all sense of propor- tion and measure is lost. But Mr. Buchanan has been as yet appreciated so far beneath his real worth, that we feel very grate- ful to Mr. George Barnett Smith for this painstaking and, on the whole, fairly judicious effort to show the public how much of the true poetic ore there is in him. Another paper of considerable interest is Mr. John Hunt's appreciation of Bishop Butler as a writer on Evidences, which is careful and thoughtful, though tend- ing too much to dissolve away altogether the dogmatic assumption which must lie at the root of natural religion, no less than of revelation. On the whole, this number of the Contemporary is a good one.

Blackwood is dull. Everybody is reading the monthly dole of The Parisians, and as we shall have it in four, we don't care for reading it in twelve or more. "New Books" is a pleasant paper, in which the writer quizzes Mr. Pater's fantastic modernism —especially his wonderful discovery that Botticelli's Madonna and Angels experienced a sentiment of dislike and repulsion from the divine mystery placed among them—in a tone of gentle ridi- cule and wholesome common-sense. If "The Missing Bills, an Unsolved Mystery," be what it assumes to be, a narrative of facts, made public after the death of all concerned in them, it is a

remarkable addition to those histories always full of inexhaustible interest, of the inexplicable victory over matter by love and faith.

If it be only a tale invented to have that appearance, and artfully supported by an editor's note, in the fashion of Mr. Wilkie Collins's commentaries on his own devices, it is done with a dry, precise, unemotional, half-reticent, undigressive cleverness which

is high art of its kind. An essay on "Temper," and a political article which admirably supplements it and points its moral— but is not in the least amusing, probably because the writer bites at the Bright file this time, and Mr. Gladstone is his truest whetstone—and some not remarkable poetry, make up a number with which it is reasonable to be disappointed, even in November.

In Macmillan we find a paper written by Mr. Francis W. Rowsell, in which he advocates the application of the Royal- Commission remedy to the entire Civil Service,—not piecemeal, but as a whole. The article was written before Mr. Childers proposed inquiry by a Royal Commission into the administrative

departments of the Law Courts, and it certainly shows cause why the proposal should be extended, in the interests of the Civil Ser- vants, as well as in that of the public whom they serve. The

subject is a dry one, but the paper hepleasantly written, especially when Mr. RQwsell pleads for a more cordial understanding between the public and its servants, and the removal by the suggested investigation of the idea, which he believes to prevail among people who ought to know better, "that men in the public service belong to the human-goose class, that they are idle, are too well paid for such work as they do, :that they are constitutionally disobliging to the public who employ them, and that they are far too numerous to do good work." Mr. Rowed ll thinks we might even come to love the Post-Office andithe Telegraph people, if we understood them better, and to recommend that they should have more pay ; but he is not sanguine of a similar result in the case of the Inland Revenue and Customs officers, however thoroughly they might be revised. The horror of paying taxes, inherent in human nature, justifies, we fear, Mr. Rowsell's misgivings. Tax-collectors, cab-drivers, and dentists have always seemed to us to be outside the bounds of human sym- pathy; indispensable, but hateful. This paper contains a very interesting sketch of the origin and rise of the more important branches of the Civil Service, which takes the Customs back beyond the days when Geoffrey Chaucer was appointed Comptroller of the Customs, and subsidy of wools, skins, and tanned hides, in the port of London, on this notable condition::—" That he should write the rolls of his office with his own hand, and perform his duties per- sonally, and not by deputy." Mr. Rowsell's suggestions strike us as practical and valuable, especially those relating to the Writer class, and "that cold iron Treasury Minute, issued when Mr. Disraeli was King, whereby clerks in difficulties are to be forth- with destroyed from off the face of the official earth." The most delightfully comic piece of literature we have had the luck to light on for many a dull day is "China's Future Place in Philo- logy." It has been suggested by the learned and deserving, but not generally entertaining, work of the Rev. Mr. Edkins, and it is very funny. The rendering of " Excelsior" into "Pigeon English," which the writer gravely maintains must be done for Shakespeare and Milton, if "this sort of thing" goes as far as it promises to do, is exasperatingly ludicrous. Mr. Long- fellow—most parodied of poets — could not resist it. The difficulties of an Englishman not of a humorous turn in agreeing to the necessity for a Missionary ' pigeon ' in which "to worship God" is rendered by "to chin chin Joss," and being per- suaded that if he does not condescend to order his breakfast by the formula " Catchey some chow-chow chop-chop," the 'boy' will let him go without it, are delightfully put. Some charming letters on "Spanish Life and Character in the Interior," written in the summer of this year, bring up the whole gallery of Phillips's pictures before one's memory, by their incidental verification of his details. They are written with great spirit, and "to be con- tinued." " Elodia " is a lovely little poem of "The Spanish glory, Spanish glow, The passion which is Spain."

Mr. Black is a master of the art of novel-writing in a serial form. We do not know whether Frank Lavender is really drowned or not,—the outburst of remorseful confidence in his companion in the boat looks very like it ; so does the author's cleverly con- triving to make us love Frank just when it seems too late, and his artful diversion of our sympathies from Shiela, who is almost common-place just for this one number ;—all these things are devices of a deft wringer of hearts. The story has never been more strikingly clever than in the present instalment ; Ingram, in particular, is masterly, and yet, for the first time, the -dexterous workmanship of it seems almost too apparent. This impression may, perhaps, be merely disguised impatience, or human nature. We have at last one nearly perfect novel, and lo /a mariie est trop belle, or it may be the weather,—anyhow, it is the first time our attention has strayed from Mr. Black's effects to the mechanism of them.

In the Cornhill we find another of those " Hours in a Library" which have been among the pleasantest provided for the readers of magathies within the last year or two. This hour is passed with Pope, and is truly enjoyable. The writer has a lingering kindness for the man, as well as a strong admiration for the poet, and he pleads his .cause well, urging that the "crooked little thing that asked questions," distorted as were his instincts after he had been stretched on the rack of this rough world, and grievous as were his offences against the laws of decency and morality, "had yet in him a noble strain of eloquence, signifi- cant of deep religions sentiment." Though Pope has not got into our constitutions, as Miss Austen says of Shakespeare, a great many of the readers of the Corn/sill will probably be surprised to find

how often they use his words to express their thoughts, when they peruse the ingenious list of familiar quotations contained in this paper. "Granges and Farmers' Clubs in America" is a thoroughly well-informed, carefully-considered, and well-written • article on subjects in which political and social interests are combined. The picture it draws of the combination of the agricultural classes, and especially of the movement in Illinois, would be unpleasant and threatening, if we could ever feel real apprehension about a country which has such a ten years' history behind it, and soil enough to feed "all creation." They may build great social palaces, " like the famous one at Guise," to form the centre of agricultural districts, cultivated on the most scientifiy principles, in which, "through the varied economies resultin from combination, all the luxuries of life, as well as all the condi- tions of the highest culture, are to be secured to every one willing to labour half the hours the farmers now do," and they may fail, and nobody be much the worse. Class antipathies and selfishness may be safely trusted to keep socialism in the amateur stage, and there's room for a great deal of experimental eccentricity down West. "An Old Dutch Literary Jest" is not worth the labour bestowed upon it ; a dissertation on dullness can hardly avoid being dull. "The Outsider," who wrote a paper on Public Schools in last March, takes up his parable again, very fairly and out- spokenly, producing a rather dismal effect, and summing up as follows :—"The moral I have endeavoured to suggest is that the increased importance of the profession of teaching should lead to corresponding reforms in the status of the schoolmaster. They will in any case be exposed to many vexations, and to make their position secure, honourable, and in every way calculated to attract . the best men that can be obtained, seems to be the policy dictated by circumstances." "The Outsider," however, considers it alto- gether beyond his proper province to point out the measures by which this most desirable end might be attained, and the paper is unsatisfactory in consequence.. It is becoming too much of a habit with the writers in the Cornhill Magazine to quote from Mr. Thackeray's works, and illustrate their opinions, sentiments, and arguments by references to him, or phrases and characters of his. It is a natural thing to do, under the circumstances, and of course there is no consensus or coalition in the doing of it ; but it is a mis- take. The magazine collectively is what the public criticises, and the public would grow tired of a greater man than Mr. Thackeray, if his wit and wisdom were too frequently pressed upon them from all sides. We have frequently been struck by this fault, and here are two instances of it, one in a remarkable paper on "Growth and Decay of Mind," and the other in the Public Schools paper ; the first quotes Colonel Newcome, the second Major Ponto. Concerning the serial fictions in the Cornhill, we prefer to keep silence, and to believe that these objectionable productions were taken on (misplaced) trust.

Against the serial fictions in the Gentleman's Magazine it is, however, impossible to avoid protesting. In " Clytie" we have the nauseous circumstances of a recent painful libel case, which involved social ruin and heart-break, dressed up in a garb equally vulgar and unreal ; and in "Making the Worst of It" we have a story which we can only call revolting. A pleasant paper on travel in Kabylia, and the continuation of Mr. Blanchard Jerrold's memoir of "The Thomas Walkers," which exhibits the Borough- reeve in his double character of reformer and wag, are the noticeable features of the Gentleman.

The Hon. Roden Noel's paper on "Lord Byron and his Times" in St. Pauls is very readable, and occasionally very clever; but it is full of paradoxes, and attempts to reconcile the irreconcilable. He is indignant that a man of genius who is a bad man also should be more severely judged by society than a man who is merely bad without genius. Here we entirely dissent from him. The possessor of genius, if he be a man who violates human duties, degrades with all his consciousness, for genius above all discerns and sees clearly. A bad, stupid man has some of the excuse, though he lacks the attraction of a wild beast ; a wicked genius is a pre- sentment of the ideal devil, and society is right in hating the devil more than the brute. Mr. Noel is also a poet, and therefore we must not be hard upon his ethics, but we may venture to remark that his conclusion from the story of Byron's marriage is rather un- safe, except perhaps for poets. "To an absorbed, ardent spirit," hesays, " the dimming of early rose-colour and intrusion of 'fretting trivialities is very trying ; and Shelley is doubtless right, that if love dies, the usual vulgar, passive acquiescence in a dead contract is—unless from motives of mere expediency-or common humanity, which may .tell the other way—base and unendurable ; a more living love may be sought and found, which, even for the children, may be beet." One would suppose that "rose" could be rendered a fixed colour by conjugal treason, that "fretting trivialities" had no inevitable part in daily existence, and no such potent sustainer of the life of love as ditty had ever been devised by the Maker of marriage. Too mach of this dangerous doctrine is creeping into English literature ; it is time that there should come a revival of the healthy good-sense that once would have had none of it.

The present is a lively number of Temple Bar. We suppose Major Whyte-Melville writes about hunting and men's talk about hunting as well as any one in the world, but we think the world

must have had enough of these topics and their collaterals—stud- ., vooms, whippers-in, and "awful croppers "—even from him.

'Likewise the elegant, well-dressed adventuress, who wins men to any amount of lying and connivance (necessarily including the sacrifice of women they are bound to respect) by her eyes and ankles, is also "played out," one would think. Yet here, in "Uncle John," are both, flourishing in all their well-known detail, without a particle of novelty about them. That a veteran novelist can drag his mature mind and pen through such puerile trash is the oddest thing about it, for of course, people who never read anything but novels must read anything they can get. In- finitely more attractive than Uncle John's horses is "A Genuine Norway Rat," one of those "Random Sketches in Natural History" of which the Editor of Temple Bar is too chary. "Lafayette" is one of the cleverest of the biographical "apprecia- tions" of illustrious French persons which have become features of the magazine, but its most remarkable paper is an extract from De Rodichon's "Dc l'Humanite," in which Napoleon I. is discussed after a fashion which quite naturally led to the suppres- sion of the book by the Second Empire. The ferocious hate of this description and analysis, while it destroys its historical value, lends it a certain charm for the reader; and it is forcibly rendered.