7 OCTOBER 1882, Page 18


Two or three important changes are announced in the Maga- zines. Fraser, for example, with this number ceases to exist. It had been outstripped in the race, and of late years lacked

brightness and definiteness of aim ; but its disappearance will be regretted by all lovers of literature. It was once the magazine for readers who enjoyed good writing, clear thought of a protesting and Conservative kind, and all forms of humour slightly caviare to the multitude. Black- wood is now the only magazine of the old kind and the

old form, and might, if it could find a new political editor, and would give us a little more of its old humour, still have

a very considerable field. In place of Fraser, Messrs. Long- man intend to try an experiment in cheap literature, a magazine of 120 pages, discussing every subject except politics and religion,

'conveying information, and lightened with good novels, but cold for §ixpence. Such a magazine, if well done, should be a six- penny °anthill, and obtain a quarter of a million of readers. In the changed conditions produced by the spread of edu- cation, such an experiment is nearly sure to succeed; as would also, as we believe, a sixpenny Nineteenth Century, devoted mainly to politics and religion, The body of readers begin to tolerate grave thought, and even to pay for it, to an extent which publishers as yet hardly estimate. The last number of Fraser has two capital papers, one a translation of a supernatural story by Count Tolstoi ; and another a sketch of the huge labours by which Dr. Murray, of Mill Hill, is carrying out the determination of the Philological Society to publish a Biographical Dictionary of English,—a dictionary, that is, with the biography of every word in it. The description would make an indolent man gasp with fatigue.

The very first mass of Material handed over to Dr. Murray was monstrous :—

" It was no ordinary editorial communication, even, comprising copy,' and proof and revise, and make-up,' to be attacked and despatched with some sort of short system and known periodicity. Quite with other measurements and other potentialities, it was two tons' weight of MSS. and printed pages; meaning roams and reams of it ; meaning unliftable cases of it ; appalling piles ; representing the copying and the burrowing of a host of readers and other workers for twenty years. It was two tons' weight of quotations (each quo- tation wanted, indispensably) ; of correspondence ; of lists of books ; of lists of readers ; of lists of sub-editors ; of newspaper-cuttings containing suggestions, appeals, comments; of pamphlets ; of Re-

ports ; of Proposals ; of Transactions And all of this two

tons' weight of harvested matter, lot it be remembered, whether it had already been under the secretary's roof, whether it had to bo applied for, and searched for, end waited for, had to be looked at, to be sorted, to he systematised, had to take up space, to take up years of time, to be placed—for all this space, for all this time— where each item should be as ready of access, ior reference, as if it had been an item in a merchant's stock, whore none of it would incur the smallest possibility of disturbance. At once, too, after some more tentative survey—ill such rapid manner of understanding, it might almost be called intuition—Dr. Murray saw that he wanted a million quotations more ; he was aware, in other words, that, not- withstanding all this bewildering labyrinth of treasure, he had only yet two-thirds (about) of what his purpose demanded."

Dr. Murray had to build a scriptorium for his materials, and there, though they accumulate endlessly, they are gradually brought under his editorship into order,—to be published, when P The grandest Dictionary ever thought of will not be useful, if it is to be published only after the world has begun to cool.

Mr. John Morley, again, with this month's paper, quits the Fortnightly Review, which he has edited, he says, for fifteen years. We regret his departure, for, though we have not always sympathised with his tone, he has reintroduced serious thought into magazines, and has, in politico and all forms of speculation, except the theological, allowed all forms of conviction to express themselves. As is natural in a valedictory of any kind, Mr. Morley now expresses a doubt whether any- thing is quite of the importance once attributed to it by those who started the Fortnightly. He thinks anonymous writing may be useful, as well as signed articles ; he questions whether independence, and especially independence of party, may not be pushed too far; and he has even a doubt, which. we did not expect, whether English scepticism is quite as deep as it looks :— " Speculation has become entirely democratised. This is a tre- mendous change to have come about iu little more than a dozen years. How far it goes, let us not be too sure. It is no new discovery that what looks like complete tolerance may be in reality only complete indifference. Intellectual fairness is often only another name for in- dolence and inconclusiveness of mind, just as love of truth is some- times a fine phrase for temper. To be piquant counts for mnoh, and the interest of seeing on the drawing-room tables of devout Catholics and high-flying Anglicans article after article sending, divinities, creeds, and Churches all headlong into limbo, was indeed piquant. Much of all this elegant dabbling in infidelity has been a caprice of fashion. The Agnostic has had his day, with the fine ladies, like the black footboy of other times, or the spirit-rapper and table.turner of our own. When one perceived that such people actually thought that the Churches had been raised on their feet again by the puerile apologetics of Mr. Mullock, then it was easy to know that they had never really fallen. What wo have been watching, after all, was perhaps a tournament, not a battle."

It was a battle, we conceive, though many of the fighters fought like Condottieri, without a complete intention of killing ; and a good many things have gone down in the m616e, not to revive. We are rid, anyhow, of verbal inspiration, and the con- sequent slavery to the letter of a book which, twenty years ago, killed religious thought ; and nearly rid of the idea that specu- lation must be wicked, unless its result is foreordained. We reject utterly most of the conclusions of the sceptical party, but they have done this good. service,—that they have compelled orthodox thinkers to write and discuss like men, and not like clergymen. The improvement in religious terminology and style, for one thing, during the past twenty years has been im- measurable; and style, though it does not make, still marks the progress of thought. Religious literature is getting " lucid," in spite of Mr. Matthew Arnold, if religious people are not. There is not very much else in this number of the Art- nightly. Mr, Albert Shaw's paper on " Local Government in America," extremely instructive as it is, is almost un- readably dry ; and we cannot take much interest in Herder, that Rousseau of German literature, with whom feeling was so much, yet who was always doing dishonourable things.

The Contemporary is dull this month. Even M. Gabriel Monod, whose account of " Life and Thought in France " usually strikes us as so admirable, is comparatively poor. He argues, instead of describing. lie is timid for the Republic, dreading the difficulty of constructing majorities, and the laxity of morals, which he would strengthen by repressive measures that could at best only remove certain temptations to immorality ; and he is anxious to put down crime by transporting the criminal class. He would send away for life any criminals convicted a certain number of times. M. Monod is apparently not aware that the plan has been tried in this country, without much re- sult, while it evidently does not occur to him that a community of criminals only is one which no State can have a right to form. France must keep her ill-doers, like other countries, and either confine them, or try whether it is impossible to teach them to do better. No State has ever yet fairly tried the experiment of industrial regiments under severe discipline. M. Monod, we should add, accounts for certain failures in his narrative by the recurrence of the holiday season, when every one interested in art, or science, or literature is away. The articles most read will be, of course, the three on Egypt, though they are not of striking interest. Sir Richard Temple, who writes the first, is in favour of placing Egypt very much in the position of a Protected State in India. He would retain English garrisons for a time in Cairo and Alexandria, organise a small native army, establish new Courts of Justice, re- cognise an Assembly, though allowing the Khedive to over-rule it, create strong municipalities in the great cities, and secureto Great Britain an absolutely free transit through the Canal. He does not, however, suggest any method for compelling the Khedive to accept English advice, or for guaranteeing the Canal; and those are the two points upon which advice from experienced men is most required. Mr. Amos Sheldon undertakes to answer the author of " Spoiling the Egyptians," and on one serious ques- tion he does so effectually. He shows that the British authorities did not concur in the spoliation of the Egyptian landlords who had purchased a reduction of the land-tax, but to the utmost of their power contended for their compensation ; and did, in fact, secure to them the wretched compensation they received. Without their help, the landlords would. have obtained nothing. He does not, however, disprove the main fact of Mr. Keay's pamphlet, that the British Government did concur with the French in securing the Debt, the amount of which was fixed far higher than the sum received. Mr. Mulhall, who writes the third paper, estimates that of £100,000,000 nominal, only 50i millions was received, the loanmongers frequently making enormous profits. For example, he says :— " The Oppenheim loan of 1873 was disastrous, the Khedive giving bonds for 82 millions sterling, for which he received only 11 millions in cash, and 9 millions in depreciated scrip, worth 65, or at most TO per cent. This scrip he was forced to accept at the rate of 93 per -cent. of its nominal value. The net product, therefore, was not 20 millions, as Mr. Cave stated, but less than 18 millions, and for this amount the Khedive saddled himself with a fresh annual burthen of X2,660,000."

When the Liquidation was arranged, the full thirty-two millions was allowed for at 4 per cent. ; and should the British Pro- tectorate restore the finances, the lucky lenders will receive upwards of 7 per cent., with a virtual guarantee from Britain, though they lent, of.course, well knowing their risk of total loss. Mr. Baden-Powell vehemently attacks the principle of Closure by a bare ma.:o:ity, but the essence of his argument is contained in the formula that the " evident sense of the House," which is to guide the Speaker, must mean a large majority. Why P A law passed by a majority of one, is a law passed in accordance with the "evident sense of the House," the "House" being, under all circumstances except unanimity, the majority of the House. Mr. Baden-Powell says that in the case of a law, there remains an appeal to the constituencies, who would soon turn out a Minister who legislated contrary to the national wish. Quite true, and in the case of the Closure, there remain the constituencies, who will soon turn out a Ministry who needlessly or capriciously stops debate. Mr. P. Robinson, in " Foreign Birds and English Poets," gives us another of his part-fanciful, part- humorous, part-learned defence of several birds against the char- acters ascribed to them by English poets. He is especially indig- nant on behalf of the vulture, to whom he attributes actual grandeur in appearance, and much usefulness in reality. We do not know why lie says the vulture is the origin of the fable of the roc. The roc is not a fable, but an exaggeration of the 1.n1ch of Madagascar, which has been seen by Europeans iu modern times ; and is, if we remember right, double the size of the condor. There is humour in the writer's quaint fancy that it is hard to abuse the parrot for repeating words by rote, when the practice was only taught to the beautiful creature by the human beings who imprison him. He repeats nothing by rote when let alone, but chatters to his fellows all day long, probably, for his purposes, quite sensibly. Is it true that the parrot has, of all birds, the

largest brain P We doubt its having half the thinking power of its rival in talking,—the raven.

The most readable paper in the Nineteenth Century is "Faith and Unfaith," by Mr. Regan Paul. It I is only y a fresh statement of the old propositions that, after all, the Roman Catholic Church best expresses the claim of religious authority, that its demands are no more extravagant than those of any other sea, and that it will, in the end, be found to be the alternative to materialism, but the

statement is forcible and clear. Its defect is that Mr. Regan. Paul puts fact, so to speak, on one side altogether, and insists that if we accept a postulate from which certain deductions might be drawn, we have no right to deny those deductions. For example, he maintains that if you believe the Bible, you must believe in the localisation of God ; and if you believe that, there is nothing absurd. in the doctrine of the Mass. That deduction may be true enough, and yet the question whether the doctrine of the Mass is taught in Scripture may remain unaffected. Because the naturalist believes that a plant may also be an animal, therefore, argues Mr. Kegan Paul, he is bound not to ridicule the statement that a plant which is also an animal has been seen walking down the Strand. Why is he bound, in the absence of evidence P To prove a possibility is not to prove an occur- rence, or wonderful things would be always happening. Mr. Kegan Paul altogether overlooks the fact that Christianity is not only the logical outcome of certain axioms, but the needful conclusion from certain historic facts, which we accept not only because they are possible, but because they happened. If they did not happen, as, for example, the Protestant thinks the reve- lation of sacerdotalism did not happen, the fact that the possibility of their happening is not inconsistent with Protestant assump- tions has little to do with the matter. Mr. C. F. Keary's paper on "The Roumanian Peasants and their Songs" is instructive and, as far as we know, original. These peasants own their soil, and are accustomed to meet together in the winter months, either for work or for conviviality. The old men tell stories, and the girls pour out songs in their half-Latin, half-Slavic patois, which have in them much of genuine poetry. There is no mis- taking, for example, the deep, poetic feeling of the following :- "Green leaf, green leaf of the violet, As of old, across the weld And round my house the wind sobs yet, Whispering longing and regret,

For the loved ones who have fled.

Breathes the wind among the grasses : I faint with wishing as it passes.

Storm-gusts rise and fall again, And passion wrings my heart with pain.

Breathes the wind, and small leaves move, I die with longing for my love.

Over the mountain the mountain wind blows, My longing for my kindred grows.

Blows the breeze the trees among, My brothers' names shall till my song.

When it creeps the flowers through,

My sisters sweet, I think of you."

The peasants, it should be noted, begin every song with the words "green leaf," sometimes by themselves, sometimes fol- lowed with the name of a flower. Europe will hear with plea- sure more of this people, which lies an ethnological enclave among Slav populations, and yet has, in all probability, a future before it. There is little else of moment in the number, though Lord Brabazon's paper on " The Early Closing Movement" pre- sents a vivid picture of suffering ; and th ere are at least three essays the admission of which into such a magazine creates, to say the least of .it, surprise. The Abb6 Martin, on "The French Educational System," has but little to say, and that is trite ; the " Site of Paradise " is exegesis of a kind which we thought had passed away, and might, with its wasted learning, have delighted Faber ; while the paper on Voltaire reads exactly as if it had been written by a clever schoolboy, who had discovered that Voltaire was not the Evil One in a French dress, and hastened to inform his family of the fact. It is rather late in the day to be told that Voltaire was a deist, and not an atheist ; that he was the Me noire of the religious world because he was witty, rather than because he was an infidel; and that some- thing ought to be allowed for the times in which he lived. There is no harm in the repetition, but then, also, there is no intellectual gaiu.

We cannot discuss the notable paper in Macmillan, Arch- bishop Tait's opinion of the Tractarian movement, while he lies ill, for we think it hopelessly inadequate; but there is also a valuable paper, by Professor Seeley, on the " Expansion of England in the Eighteenth Century," in which he

great e shows how completely that century was occupied by the

duel with France for the possession of North America and India ; and a curious, quasi-supernatural story, said to be•liter- ally true, of the noises heard by a clergyman and his family in an old house, in which he had been required for a time to live. The noises were utterly unaccountable and contrary to the evidence of eyesight, and the suggested or hinted explanation is that they were caused by the spirit of the former tenant, a.

respectable old lady of avaricious habits. The puzzle is, why any spirit should take so much trouble; and we should prefer to suggest that there were noises, that the noises were intended to worry the clergyman and his family out of the house, and that the cause of those noises is not ascertained.

None of the serious papers in Blackwood interest us, though the paper on Egypt is surprisingly moderate and sensible, but we must say a word in hearty praise of the " Ladies Lindores." Mrs. Oliphant is putting more of her strength into this story than she usually allows for any single tale—oh l if she would only let herself go for once, and justify to all mankind her admirers' opinion—and avoiding that unbroken pleasantness which so often makes her tales seem weak. There is tragedy in the relation of Torrance, the low millionaire, to his wife, and wonderfully fine discrimination in the touches which display John Erskine's moods. Only, did Mrs. Oliphant ever know a man quite so free from internal arrogance as all that P

The amain contains, besides the novels, of which one, "Damocles," has this month a really exquisite Sketch of a child, several papers of good padding, and one very bad one. The life of Miss Edgeworth will, when finished, be one of the best sketches yet offered of that accomplished woman, whom this generation is beginning to forget, because her best work is so full of local colour. Patronage, except at first, is intolerably priggish, and its satire degenerates into a mannerism; but The Absentee is still the most vivid of Irish sketches, and Little larvae the most pleasantly pathetic of child's stories. We wonder if it will be as great a surprise to our readers as it was to us, who know Miss Edgeworth's stories well, to hear that she was a " tiny " woman. Somehow, we had always pictured her as an embodiment of smiling stateliness. "A Glimpse of the United States" is remarkable, as being one of the very few sketches of the Union entirely in couleur de l'080. The writer is probably feminine, women always enjoying life in the States more than men do, owing to the deference paid to them. The bad paper is one headed " A Visit to Delphi." It is well written, but there is next to nothing about Delphi in it, except that the modern village on its site is called Castri, and that the girls of the village wash their clothes in the Castalian fountain. There is literrilly nothing else, the writer's whole attention being occupied with the journey thither, which was apparently tiresome; and with the perpetual reflection that the Greeks are not so bright as the Italians, a reflection which would have been of more interest, had the traveller known Romaie. He or she would find Parisians very stupid through an interpreter.