Obrazy na stronie

tion that Mr. Bridmain was not the there seemed little probability that he Countess's brother. Moreover, Miss would ever get his neck loose. Still, Phipps was conscious that if the a bachelor's heart is an outlying fortCountess was not a disreputable per- ress that some fair enemy may any son, she, Miss Phipps, had no com- day take either by storm or stratapensating superiority in virtue to set gem; and there was always the posagainst the other lady's manifest sibility that Mr. Bridman's first nupsuperiority in personal charms. Miss tials might occur before the Countess Phipps's stampy figure and unsuc- was quite sure of her second. As it cessful attire, instead of looking down was, however, he submitted to all his from & mount of virtue with an sister's caprices, never grumbled be. auréole round its head, would then cause her dress and her maid formed be seen on the same level and in the & considerable item beyond her own same light as the Countess Czerlas- little income of sixty pounds per anki's Diana-like form and well-chosen num, and consented to lead with her drapery. Miss Phipps, for her part, a migratory life, as personages on the didn't like dressing for effect-she had debatable ground between aristo always avoided that style of appear- cracy and commonalty, instead of ance, which was calculated to create a settling in some spot where his five sensation.

hundred a-year might have won him Then what amusing inuendoes of the definite dignity of a parochial the Millby gentlemen over their wine magnate. would be entirely frustrated and re- The Countess had her views in duced to dought, if you had told them choosing a quiet provincial place like that the Countess had really been Millby. After three years of widowguilty of no misdemeanours which hood, she had brought her feelings to need exclude her from strictly re- contemplate giving a successor to her spectable society; that her husband lamented Czerlaski, whose fine whishad been the veritable Count Czer- kers, fine air, and romantic fortunes laski, who had had wonderful es- had won her heart ten years ago, capes, as she said, and who, as she when, as pretty Caroline Bridmain, did not say, but as was said in cer- in the full bloom of five-and-twenty, tain circulars once folded by her fair she was governess to Lady Porter's hands, had subsequently given danc- daughters, whom he initiated into the ing lessons in the metropolis ; that mysteries of the pas de bas, and the Mr. Bridman was neither more nor lancers' quadrilles. She bad had less than her half-brother, who, by seven years of sufficiently happy maunimpeached integrity and industry, trimony with Czerlaski, who had had won a partnership in a silk-ma- taken her to Paris and Germany, and nufactory, and thereby a moderate introduced her there to many of his fortune, that enabled him to retire, old friends with large titles and small as you see, to study politics, the fortunes. So that the fair Caroline weather, and the art of conversation, had bad considerable experience of at his leisure. Mr. Bridmain, in fact, life, and had gathered therefrom, pot, quadragenarian bachelor as he was, indeed, any very ripe and comprehenfelt extremely well pleased to receive sive wisdom, but much external polhis sister in her widowhood, and to ish, and certain practical conclusions shine in the reflected light of her of a very decided kind. One of these beauty and title. Every man who is conclusions was, that there were not a monster, & mathematician, or a things more solid in life than fine mad philosopher, is the slave of some whiskers and a title, and that, in acwoman or other. Mr. Bridmain had cepting a second husband, she would put his neck under the yoke of his regard these items as quite subordihandsome sister, and though his soul nate to a carriage and a settlement. was a very little one—of the smallest Now she had ascertained, by tentadescription indeed — he would not tive residences, that the kind of bite have ventured to call it his own. He she was apgling for was difficult to might be slightly recalcitrant now be met with at watering-places, which and then, as is the habit of long. were already preoccupied with abuneared pachyderms, under the thong dance of angling beauties, and were of the fair Countess's tongue ; but chiefly stocked with men whose whiskers might be dyed, and whose in- a sneer. A woman always knows comes were still more problematic; so where she is atterly powerless, and she had determined on trying a neigh- shuns a coldly satirical eye as she bourhood where people were ex- would shun a gorgon. And she was tremely well acquainted with each especially eager for clerical notice other's affairs, and where the women and friendsbip, not merely because were mostly ill-dressed and ugly. Mr. that is quite the most respectable Bridmain's slow brain had adopted countenance to be obtained in society, his sister's views, and it seemed to but because she really cared about him that a woman so handsome and religious matters, and had an uneasy distinguished as the Countess must sense that she was not altogether certainly make a match that might safe in that quarter. She had serious lift himself into the region of county intentions of becoming quite piouscelebrities, and give him at least a sort without any reserves—when she had of cousinship to the quarter-sessions. once got her carriage and settlement.

All this, which was the simple Let us do this one sly trick, says truth, would have seemed extremely Ulysses to Neoptolemus, and we will flat to the gossips of Millby, who had be perfectly honest ever aftermade up their minds to something αλλ' ηδυ γάρ τοι κτημα της νίκης λαβείν much more exciting. There was no

τόλμα: δίκαιοι δ' αύθις εκφανούμεθα. thing here so very detestable. It is true, the Countess was a little vain, The Countess did not quote Sophocles, a little ambitious, a little selfish, & but she said to herself

, “ Only this little shallow and frivolous, a little little bit of pretence and vanity, and given to white lies. But who con. then I will be quite good, and make siders such slight blemishes, such myself quite safe for another world.” moral pimples as these, disqualifi- And as she had by no means such cations for entering into the most fine taste and insight in theological respectable society? Indeed, the teaching as in costume, the Rev. severest ladies in Millby would have Amos Barton seemed to her a man been perfectly aware that these char- not only of learningthat is always acteristics would have created no understood with a clergyman—but of wide distinction between the Coun- much power as a spiritual director. tess Czerlaski and themselves; and As for Milly, the Countess really since it was clear there was a wide loved her as well as the preoccupied distinction-why, it must lie in the state of her affections would allow. possession of some vices from which For you have already perceived that they were undeniably free.

there was one being to whom the Hence it came to pass, that Millby Countess was absorbingly devoted, respectability refused to recognise and to whose desires she made everythe Countess Czerlaski, in spite of thing else subservient-namely, Caroher assiduous church-going, and the line Czerlaski, née Bridmain. deep disgust she was known to have Thus there was really not much expressed at the extreme pancity of affectation in her sweet speeches and the congregations on Ash-Wednes- attentions to Mr. and Mrs. Barton. days. So she began to feel that Still

, their friendship by no means she had miscalculated the advantages adequately represented the object she of a neighbourhood where people are had in view when she came to Millby, well acquainted with each other's and it had been for some time clear private affairs. Under these circum- to her that she must suggest a new stances, you will imagine how wel- change of residence to her brother. come was the perfect credence and The thing we look forward to often admiration she met with from Mr. comes to pass, but never precisely in and Mrs. Barton. She had been the way we have imagined to ourespecially irritated by Mr. Ely's be- selves. The Countess did actually haviour to her; she felt sure that he leave Camp Villa before many mouths was not in the least struck with her were past, but under circumstances beauty, that he quizzed her conver- which had not at all entered into her sation, and that he spoke of her with contemplation.

(To be continued.)





THERE is some necessity, we think, will continue to snarl until they are at the present time, of applying the pitched ignominiously into a quarryrules of criticism to the critics ; for hole with a stone of reasonable weight it cannot be denied that many who suspended to their necks. Subaquewear the robes of Aristarchus are no ous sparling we believe to be imposmore entitled to the style of literary sible, else doubtless they would excensors, tban is the American Lynch pend their last energies in snarling to the title of a legitimate judge. at the tadpoles. Nothing can more forcibly demon- When a nuisance becomes so unistrate the anarchy which prevails in versal as this, most people cease to the republic of letters, than the fact regard it seriously. Men of strong that persons of narrow education, nerves and equable temperament limited views, confined sympathies, stride along without regarding their and inordinate prejudice, take upon clamorous following, though those of themselves, every day, without hesi- weaker nerves are sometimes startled tation, the responsibilities of the re- and disturbed. If indeed there was viewer ; and under cover of the edi- a common feeling in the pack—if a torial “we," pronounce judgment upon plausible reason could be assigned the efforts of their superiors. The why some five-and-twenty animals of complaint, no doubt, is an old one, different breeds should combine in a but the evil has been steadily increas- general yelp-if it could be shown ing. Formerly critics were scarce, that your hat was of such a texture and, in consequence, as well known or so long in use that they all took as mastiffs in a country parish. Their offence at it, or that your coat was so deep bowwow, even when they were monstrously bad that they deemed it unnecessarily surly, had something their duty to protest against it, or in it of power and significance : now, that you walked along the road with the traveller cannot pass through & the air of a ticket-of-leave man or a village without having a whole pack thimble-rigger, their assault might, of cars yelping vociferously at his in a certain measure, be justified. heels.

Powerless to bite, they are But they have no common motive. numerous enough to annoy; and they One barks at you because he objects seem to consider, perhaps with reason, to your hat; another, because your that incessant barking is an indis- breeches are not to his liking; a third, pensable condition of their existence. because he thinks you supercilious ; Instead of remaining, quiet under a fourth, because you righteously beshelter of the peat-stack or haycock, stowed a kick upon the carcass of a as well-conditioned animals should cousin of his own; a fifth, because do when nobody is attempting to you come from a different parish ; a molest them, they dash forward fran- sixth, because he considers barking a tically on the advent of each new- proof of genius ; and a seventh, becomer on the bighway, and expend à cause from puppydom upwards he monstrous deal of unavailing breath has had a tendency towards beredibefore they slink back to their accus- tary hydrophobia. Each has a sepatamed lurking-places. Possibly, upon rate motive for dislike, though the cry more minute acquaintance, some of be general ; and even the possession them may prove to be rather amiable of good qualities will not protect you tykes in their way-fellows who at- from their assault. Where there is tack the passenger more from exube- envy, a very small matter indeed will rance of spirits than from malice, and serve to elicit batred. Witness the who think that there is something instance of the Athenian, who asked wonderfully clever in the utterance Aristides to inscribe his own name on of their canide music. But there are the shell of banishment, because he others whose existence is a perpetual was weary of bearing him denomsparl—who have snarled from the day ipated “the just." they were littered till now; and who To criticism, however stringent, we do not object, provided the critic performer on the flate that he is not deals fairly and honourably with his a master of the bassoon. subject. For many years Maga has We must know, or at all events been a choice repertory of criticism ; endeavour to ascertain, what especial bat we shall not go the length of say- talent has been voucbsafed to a man, ing that her judgments have been before we can form a just estimate of infallible. No individual critic that the use which he has made of it. For ever lived has been infallible; and in talent, though it may be cultivated & college of critics there must needs to an almost indefinite extent, cannot be diversity of opinion. Maga has be acquired—it is a gift from the erred sometimes on the side of over- Creator. No man is so universal a praise, sometimes, though much more genius that he is not debarred by rarely, on the side of undue deprecia- nature from certain pursuits, in which tion; but throughout she has striven others, perhaps less gifted, can achieve to be honest, kindly, and sincere. To distinction ; and it is this diversity of be supercilious is not in her nature; talent which makes the world of art though she may at times have dealt so large. Therefore we reject, as utrather sharply with impostors, and terly spurious and unprincipled, that indulged in a vein of humour, while school of criticism which, in each noticing the efforts of worthy aspi- branch of art, sets up a model, and rants, which has wounded their self- judges of all new productions accordconceit. But never has she degraded ing to their likeness to the idol. herself by an unworthy attack ; still Work may be better or worse accordless can it be said that she has allowed ing to the degree of labour bestowed extraneous matters to influence her upon it, but we are not entitled to literary verdicts. We swear by the demand impossibilities from any one. beard of Buchanan, that all of us bave All authors, after they have once tried to hold the balance equally; gained possession of the public ear, and if in any instance we have failed, are liable for the future to be tried what wonder is it, since popular fable by their own standard. This is, to a proclaims that, long ago, Astrea certain extent, a disadvantage; for has ascended to the heavens ?

it by no means rarely happens that The first duty of a critic is to form the first work of an author is also as near an estimate as may be of the his best, either because his earlier measure of power possessed by the impulses have been stronger than his author whom he is reviewing. If he later ones; because, through flattery, neglects this, his performance will be he has been led to suppose that his worthless, because, in art, every indi- measure of power is greater than it vidual ought to be judged according is in reality; or because he has to the extent of his gifts. It would adopted false theories of art, and so be a gross error to institute a com- has gone astray. It may be an unplaint between the Apollo Belvidere comfortable thing for a poet to shiver and the Farnese Hercules. The one under the shade of his own laurels ; is the embodiment in marble of god- still there is consolation in knowing like grace; the other the incarnation that he was the planter of the tree. of physical strength. In like manner There is no escape from this kind of a poet may have peculiar excellencies criticism, which proceeds upon a of his own, though he is not gifted strictly natural and correct principle, with the universality of Shakespeare, and is moreover calculated to check the majesty of Milton,

or the nervous that intellectual drowsiness which is energy of Dryden. To try him by often the result of success. No authe standard of each or all of these thor is the worse for being shaken would be manifestly unfair, for he is rather roughly by the shoulder when a worker in another field, and has he exhibits symptoms of somnolence. been differently endowed. There is Nay, though he may be a little peevish po analogy between the trades of the at first, he will ultimately, if he is a embroiderer and the blacksmith. We fellow of any sense, be grateful to his do not expect a display of power from monitor for having roused him from the one, or delicate workmanship a lethargy which might be fatal to from the other. It is no blame to the his fame.





a book






For the application of his gifts, taper in a religious procession. They every anthor is responsible. He may were married; but the wife died exercise them well and usefully, or shortly after she had given birth to he may apply them to ignoble pur- her sole daughter, Aurora. The poses. He may, by the aid of art, widower, in a frenzy of grief, withexhibit them in the most attractive drew to a cottage among the mounform, or his execution may be mean tains, and there occupied his time and slovenly. In the one case he is in the education of his child, who soon deserving of praise ; in the other he became a proficient in the classics. is liable to censure. Keeping this principle in view, we shall proceed to the consideration of this

“ The trick of Greek volume from the pen of Mrs. Brown- And Latin he had taught me, as he would

Have taught me wrestling or the game of ing,-a lady whose rare genius has

fives, already won for her an exalted place If such be had known,-most like & ship

wrecked man among the poets of the age. ` En

Who heaps his single platter with goats' dowed with a powerful intellect, she at least has no reason to anticipate and scarlet berries; or like any man the treatment prophesied for her Because he has it, rather than because literary heroine, Aurora :

counts it worthy.


my father gave;

And thus, as did the woman formerly "You never can be satisfied with praise

By young Achilles, when they pinned the Which men give women when they judge Across the boy's audacious front, and swept Not es men's work, but as mere woman's

tuneful laughs the silver - fretted work, Expressing the comparative respect

He wrapt his little daughter in his large Which means the absolute


Man's doublet, careless did it fit or no." excellent! What grace! what facile turns! fluent sweeps!

delicate discernment almost This mode of tuition—the same, by thought! The book does honour to the sex, we bold.

the way, which Dominie Sampson Among our female authors we make room proposed for the mental culture of For this fair writer, and congratulate

Lucy Bertram—had a strong effect The country that produces in these times Sach women, competent to-spell.'”

upon the character of Aurora, who

throughout the poem discourses in Mrs. Browning takes the field like a most learned manner. When she Britomart or Joan of Are, and de- was only thirteen her father died, clares that she will not accept cour- and she was brought away, most retesy or forbearance from the critics luctantly, from her pleasant Italy, to on account of her sex. She chal- dwell in foggy England with a virgin lenges a truthful opinion, and that aunt, who is thus described :opinion she shall have.

Aurora Leigh is a story of the present time in nine books. When we “I think I see my father's sister stand say a story, it must not be under- To give me welcome.

Upon the hall-step of her country-house

She stood straight stood in the sense of a continuous and calm, narrative or rather poem of action,


forehead braided

tight for a great portion of the work is re- As if for taming accidental thoughts flective. Still there is a story which From possible pulses; brown hair pricked we shall trace for the information of By frigid use of life (she was not old, the reader, abstaining in the mean Although my father's elder by a year), time from comment, and not making A close mild mouth, a little soured about more quotations than are necessary The ends, through speaking unrequited for its elucidation. The poem is a

loves, monologue, and the opening scene Eyes of no colour, -once they might have

Or peradventure niggard'y half-truths; is laid in Tuscany.

smiled, The father of Aurora Leigh, an

But never, never have forgot themselves

In smiling; cheeks, in which was yet a rose Englishman of fortune and a scholar, of perished' summers, like a rose in a book, fell in love with a young Florentine Kept more for ruth than pleasure,—if past

bloom, girl, whom he first saw bearing a Past fading also.



« PoprzedniaDalej »