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“6. That gentleman crowding before the ready in their behalf. Still this goodladies at the ball show ill manners; and that
ness was more the result of constitution none do so for the future-except such as re
than of principle. spect nobody but themselves.
“7. That no gentleman or lady takes it ill When Bath, on the occasion of the that another dances before them—except such visit of Queen Anne, first emerged es have no pretense to dance at all.
somewhat from the ruralities of a hop “8. That the elder ladies and children be content with a second bench at the ball, as
to a fiddle on the bowling-green, to a being past, or not come to perfection.
subscription dance at the town-hall, a "9. That the younger ladies take notice certain Captain Webster, a gamester, how many eyes observe them. “N. B. This does not extend to Have-at
undertook to produce some sort of order alls.
in the arrangements. This master of “10. That all whisperers of lies and scandal the ceremonies was the incipient king be taken for their authors.
of Bath; he laid the foundations of its “11. That all reporters of such lies and scandal be shunned by all company-except
future splendid royalty. But that its such as have been guilty of the same crime.
internal jurisdiction remained very “N. B. Several men of no character, old perfect, notwithstanding the improvewomen, and young ones of questioned repu- ments which he introduced, may be tation, are great authors of lies in these places, gathered from the circumstances rebeing of the sect of Levelers."
ferred to above, that the ladies went to But we must not suffer our interest the balls in hoods and aprons, and genin the internal affairs of his kingdom to tlemen in boots; that smoking throughwithdraw our attention entirely from the out the evening was usual; and that, at king himself, and as, though a chosen, the card-tables, those who were unlucky he was not an anointed monarch, we compelled their antagonists (if it so hope it will not be constructed into lése- pleased themselves) to play all night, to majesté, if we descant somewhat more give them the chance of recovering their freely on his character than it is con- losses. And of the domestic regulations sidered safe to do with regard to sove- generally, some idea may be formed reigns generally.
from the circumstance, that the floors Beau Nash had the unusual good for- of the best lodging-houses, all uncartune to be thrown by circumstances peted, were washed with a mixture of into the very position in which he was soot and small beer, which rendered qualified to shine. Up to the time of them of so dark a hue that modern his arrival at Bath, his character was accumulations of dirt were not percepscarcely respectable. He had tried the tible. law and the army, and had succeeded At this period, Beau Nash, then about in neither; and, at thirty years old, he thirty years of age, visited Bath. His
a gamester by profession, and fame had preceded him; for he had looked to that pursuit alone for the acquired much celebrity by the admirameans of subsistence. London offered ble manner in which a masque, entirely no harvest to his fraternity, save during under his superintendence, had been the winter months, and the summer "got up” in honor of King William, ones were passed at continental water- who offered the young Templar knighting-places; but a visit of Queen Anne hood, an unsubstantial honor, which he to Bath, in 1703, changed the destinies declined. Mr. Nash was also known to of that place, made it a resort of fash- be an adept in the difficult science of ion, and consequently a home for gam- etiquette, to understand rank and preceblers. Thither as a gamester Nash dence to the very minutest punctilio, went, and his resources through life and to be in himself a perfect pattern were procured by those means; but the of the most recherché and gentlemanly vice in him was ameliorated in some fashion of the day. These circumdegree by his constant, undeviating stances and qualifications pointed him fairness, and the uprightness (so to out to the inhabitants of Bath (who had speak) of his play, when strict honor already felt the good effects even of in the use of the dice was by no means Captain Webster's imperfect rule) as a a general attribute of gamesters. What proper successor to that gentleman, and he won easily. he gave away freely; his he was requested to take upon himself generosity was great, though indiscrim- the superintendence and arrangement inating, his sympathy with the distress- of the amusements of Bath. He aced never palled, his money, his time, cepted the office; and with such skill, and his earnest exertions were always propriety, and energy did he address
himself to his task, that the leading in- heart was most kind, his generosity habitants of the place found it their great; and, though himself a professed own interest to support him in every- gamester, he was never-wearying in his thing. They did so; the crowds of endeavors to prevent the young and invisitors had no alternative but to follow experienced from gaining the habit
, or the example, and thus Nash's rule be- from being the dupes of another. To came absolute, and he was in act and in the young of both sexes, but to the fair reality, what he was universally called especially, he was at all times a kind, a -the King of Bath.
cautious, and a disinterested adviser ; His first endeavors were directed to and the grave was not closer than himthe improvement of the baths, and the self on any domestic secret committed various accommodations pertaining to to his keeping. These were great them: he had a new and handsome points. pump-room built; new assembly-rooms The beneficent institution, the hoswere erected; emulation was excited in pital at Bath, free to the poor of all various ways; new streets of commo- England who required the waters, owed dious houses were built; handsome its erection entirely to his unremitting squares
laid out; the roads widened and exertions. improved; and in a very few years, It is but incident to humanity that from an insignificant and muddling little old age should bring its infirmities; and place, Bath became a populous, flour- it is only just retribution that a long life ishing, and most elegant city.
wasted in superficial pursuits, without Amid a mass of frivolity, and trifling definite moral occupation or elevated profusion, and petty parade, many are aim, should result in an old age of the anecdotes recorded of Nash which querulousness and disappointment. would confer lustre on any man. He Such, we are told, was that of Beau was a most shrewd and inveterate cen- Nash. Still, the inhabitants of Bath sor of slander and calumny; this quali- forgot not their own and their city's fication was an invaluable one to the obligation; and, on his death, at a very master of the ceremonies at a fashion- advanced age, * he was borne with all able and frivolous watering-place. His possible honor to the grave.
IDEALS IN MODERN FICTION.
THOUGHT rules the world. Old his side, we are standing on the same
dynasties have gone out, one after eminence to which the poet was wont another. That of commerce is un- to drag us, dizzy and gasping, through crowned by literature, which is the the air. We are never quite comfortagrowing power; and in the kingdom of ble in our relation to these winged literature, the third estate is repre- thinkers. They carry us as a kite carsented by a multitude of novels. These ries a hare, but do not often enable us have not the patrician elegance, or the to fly. Sometimes they even drop and old renown and lofty pretensions, of the abandon us in mid-career, and, in gen. poem, but find compensation in a firmer eral, we find their ascension by rhythms hold upon a greater number of minds. and rhymes, by circumlocution and gy. We must go quite out of our way to ration, to be a little tedious—to be a meet the poet. The novelist comes to labor rather than a festival or refreshseek us. With the poet we must fly on unaccustomed wings of music and en- Our fine arts are too fine. Our thusiasm. The novelist will walk with
poems do not lead us gently from the us in daily paths, and we are astonished hearth, but jerk us suddenly to the ro. to find that, after so easy an ascent by motest corners of the earth, or beyond
* He died the 3rd of February, 1761, aged eighty-seven years. + The views of this writer differ from those entertained, and sometimes expressed, by the Monthly; but the article is quite able to stand by itself. -ED.
the limits of the visible mundane sphere. show that to all we dream and desire, Milton transports his reader as far as to fair relations, cheerful influences, and the kingdom of Chaos and old Night. worthy opportunity, we may find or Dante hurries him away from the green make a way, not through chaos, or the earth, from the blue heaven, to walk seven heavens, or the siege of Troy, among the damned, among the purified. or the court of King Arthur, but The shock is almost too great for through the very conditions and circumhealthy nerves. The poet tears me stances in which we find ourselves enfrom my seat by the fire, from the gaged. bright circle of home, from the inter- The poets must share this tendency. ests of my estate, my neighborhood, They must learn to walk upon firmer my culture. Out of every liberal en- ground, and to commend the highest, by terprise, he snatches me and whirls me ability to speak the lowest truth. So away as far as Purgatory, as far as Par- much common-sense as a man has, so adise, before he will drop me a word of much currency he can give to his supewisdom, and when he speaks, all his mu
rior sense. The poets have lost power sic and eloquence cannot quite overcome by every liberty they have taken with a lingering homesickness which half the facts of nature and history. Could occupies my mind. I shall not do the they not see the significance of ordinawork or reap the pleasure of to-morrow ry events of experience common to all. in Hades or in Heaven, but here in the These alone are great. Birth, death, midst of my friends and neighbors, in love, marriage, the home circle, the the studies, endeavors, and relations struggle for a livelihood, the search which surround me. I am building a after truth in a world full of rumors house, planting a garden, striving to and traditions, have these no interest organize a reading club, a musical so- that I must busy myself with dragons ciety, a lyceum, to elevate the tone of and enchanters, with vagabond knightsmy own circle, to carry forward the errant, with dwarfs, and giants, and civilization of our parish. Such an un- genii, and the thousand children of a dertaking demands every faculty, en- fancy which builds castles in the clouds grosses my time and attention, involves and dodges the work of the world ? the solution of every moral problem, The wise heart finds more beauty and the application of all spiritual laws to promise in the humblest history, than in the affairs of life, and I cannot afford all these nebulous splendors. The litto be spirited away from it into the tle black boy at my foot, if the meaning upper or the nether deep, to grope my of his poor obstructed life could be way, among conditions which do not shown, is
more worthy of attention belong to me—to ends remote from the than all the angels and archangels of purpose of my working day.
song. No destiny can be higher than But the novelist comes to my hearth- that of the little black boy. He will stone; with him I am at home. Instead not have wings in a hurry, he will not of the “cherubic host in thousand be like the black ginn who takes the choirs,” and the “loud uplifted angel fancy of children by his stature and his trumpets,” he gives me a comfortable flight through the darkness, bearing concert, such as I may hope and live to beautiful princes in his arms, but he hear. He gives me music of Mozart
Who can tell us what and Beethoven, or the joyful, earnest it is to be a man, even the most unforvocal harmony of the German four-part tunate ; a man in ordinary circumstansong, which lifts me as high as I am ces, with ordinary advantages ? Who capable of mounting honestly, upon has tried ? Hardly the poet. He is wings of my own emotion. The nov- now addressing himself to the elist represents a healthy naturalism, a task. In England, the noblest of the return from the lawless excursions of nobility are endeavoring to take up barbario fancy to the plain level of new and democratic honors before the facts and forces, out of which our ideal old hereditary dignity falls quito world is to be fashioned by practical away. endeavor. The poets have rather sep- A lord is lecturing, a thousand men arated than joined the ideal and actual. of rank are busy with problems of They should have bridged the chasm labor and education. So the poets are and offered us hope and encouragement. obliged to abandon their old privilege The novelists push them aside, and of playing in the air to show like eagles
will be a man.
their spread of wings and majesty of more or less obstinate resistance to it motion.
by fate and society-the strength of They must help us to lift what we are supernatural, and the impediment of obliged to carry.
We will not set no- natural laws. The balance between blemen or poets any longer on high, to these old antagonists makes either a be idle and admired, as early ages were
hard and well won, or an easy and content to do. They must help direct- cheerful, victory. The work, which ly, or we turn to men who will help, shows a desperate struggle, is helpful and leave them, where they can neither to every reader whose life is yet a batshine nor sing, in a vacuum of neglect. tle. That which represents a large
The novelists have made an honest success, is dear to all who have secured effort. They have told such truth as the ordinary advantages of fortunethey found to tell. We take occasion, who have comfort and culture, and are first to thank them heartily for good masters of leisure and of society. For service rendered, and then to inquire this last class few books are written. whether, on the whole, they have been We put in a petition for them. They large-minded enough to give us a fair are very much in need of help. Their and just picture of life in this planet. enemies are ennui and luxury. Thoy I have been born into certain stubborn have no longer the stimulus of poverty conditions. My parents are moderately and contempt. They are housed, and stupid, or narrow, or violent, and they fed, and flattered, and too well content. stand in the way of my growth. My These democrats, the novelists, are companions are busy, or greedy, or thoughtful first of their own order, and hard-natured, and do not understand they are not yet ready to remember the my aims. I must get bread and shelter. poor rich man, the poor pedant, the I must establish a moral relation to my poor doctors of law and medicine and fellows, must stand for something and be divinity, the poor professors of logic a centre of influence, better or worse. and anatomy. The learned, who feed The books, the newspaper, the preach- laboriously upon saw-dust, are as grateers hinder and help. Sometimes I think ful as the ignorant hungry for a draught my labor would be lighter, if no man from the bottle of the idealist, who prohad ever thought, or offered explana- poses to break up all routine-to burst tion which needs again to be explain- every barrier which confines the fered.
menting liquor of life. The attempt to dispose orderly of
Look at all the novels, and consider stories, rumors, traditions, and theories how many are directly helpful to the afloat in the air, is like the first organi- readers of this article. zation of chaos. Yet the creative im- We find only " Wilhelm Meister" and pulse is strong in every child. He “ The Elective Affinities" distinctly admust struggle in his lot to conform the dressed to the cultivated mind. When disorder of the actual to the order of the warm-hearted Novalis read Meister the mind. This effort of the soul to for the first time, he declared it a thofind expansion, to find a field for free roughly prosaic work. But we learn activity for expression, and reinforce- that, being drawn to take up the book ment, we name the ideal tendency, and again, he continued, during his life, to the object of our poetry and novel writ- read it regularly twice a year. He was ing is to show the certain, though ar- at first repelled by the coldness and duous, victory of the spirit over all simplicity of diction, the absence of obstructions. If, in any work, the soul sentimentality, and the common-place appears superior to matter, able to over- character of many scenes, actors, and rule conditions, and make where it can- motives in the plot. Students, making not find an opportunity to do its work, a just demand, continue to complain and take its joy in living-that work is that the most earnest desires of the ideal.
race are not represented in the book ; Ideality is manifested not in avoid that the religion of a “fair saint" is ing inevitable laws, but in revealing, a exhibited from an intellectual and exteforce able to control them and make rior, not a vital point of sight, and that, them servants of thought and affection. excepting Mignon, who is dear even to
There are two elements to be con- the cold heart of criticism, there is no sidered in our review of a work of art: character to be loved in all the brilliant the positive force exhibited, and the
Still the idealism of the
work is not to be denied. We have the sunshine of sympathy, not scorched here displayed the effort of a young with a flame of reprobation. man to find culture and exercise for his The French novels are also critical, artistic faculties ; and though he falls not ideal. They expose an abyss of into the society of mountebanks and sensuality and ferocity, so that reading harlequins, he also draws to himself the Mysteries of Paris” is like lookmany
noble hearts. He establishes ing into a den of fierce and filthy beasts, relations with men of widely-different rendered more horrible by the transpapursuits, engages the interest of a rent human faces which express their society whose object is a liberal culture lusts and passions. We do not laugh and coöperation, and the whole atmos- over these scenes. We hardly expend phere of the book is that of intellectual even pity on the characters we meet in and ästhetic activity. Since Wilhelm them. They corrupt their readers into Meister was published, the world has a frantic excitement and degraded symbeen flooded with novels. But they pathy, or repel him into healthy disoffer no picture or suggestion of a soci- gust. They show the somewhat extravety which we can freely enjoy. And agant virtue of one or two favorite yet, the novel, like poetry, should sub- characters struggling for self-r
-presermit the “ shows of things to the desires vation in an ocean of corruption. The of the mind," and give us some hint young heart—the best heart—is almost of the manners and enterprises which drowned in this whirlpool. Madame ought to fill our tedious days.
Sand can with difficulty keep her “ConFrom the satirist, or critic in fiction, suelo" pure. She is obliged to confess we do not expect poetry.
that youth, health, and opportunity, Dickens attacks abuses, unroofs the conspiring with tho ardor of a lover, debtor's prison, crucifies the Barnacle are enemies to virtue almost irresistible. family, astonishes the Circumlocution This child, though blessed with the Office, petrifies bigotry, and fills the coldest temperament and a strong ideal margin of his picture with specimens tendency, conquers with difficulty, and of petty knavery and very exasperated after a doubtful struggle with the fire snobbery in high and low life. Among of temptation in her blood and in her some thirty characters, he gives us, thought. perhaps, five, with whom we should not, It is well that every ulcer should be decidedly, object to associate, although, probed. But our interest in the operait must be confessed, their company is tion shows how little we expect from a little dull. The knaves and fools give life. The basest activity is more enteranimation to the work. They are only taining than our own enterprises. So tedious because they fill so many pages,
we read Balzac and Eugene Sue, and and have everything so entirely their are surprised to learn how much there own way. The highest ideal in the is, after all, to admire and enjoy in a book is that of common honesty and life of sentimental beastliness. French
kindness - affectionate novels are like brandy and water and daughter, an affectionate father, cigars. They reach and irritate a brain friendly, considerate young man, are which is impervious to finer influences. given us to admire, and they are But George Sand, in “Consuelo," approachable only through the crowd of has offered us a distinct ideal. The ignorant, selfish, vulgar semi-savages. elevating, purifying influence of the art The hero of Dickens is like that tem- impulse she has felt. She knows that perance lectarer, whose drunken brother it is no mere self-indulgence, or seeking accompanied him, to serve as a shock- after beauty and pleasure, which makes ing example, and persisted in occupying the artistic temperament, but a sense more than his share of the attention of the Infinite-a haunting presence of of the audience.
perfection which, in proportion to its But from Dickens, from Thackeray, power, subordinates the senses and we do not demand ideality. If they delivers man to a life that is not only give us a little sentiment, we receive it beautiful, but good. Still her artist is thankfully as a gratuity-as a dish not alone in the world, thwarted, misunderpromised in the bill of fare. From stood, suspected, imprisoned, and hated; these men we look for exploration of is taken for a lunatic or a fool. Neither dark corners, and we are glad to see Albert nor Consuelo have their natural their wretched inhabitants lighted by influence. They do not control circum