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“on 17th December 1788 he wrote to done to those English gentlemen ?), Mrs Dunlop thus: ‘Now I am on my petty, and malignant, than this hobby-horse, I cannot help inserting assault? If Burns chose to make two other old stanzas which please me mightily.”
a pretty story of his parting from
his Highland lass, is that a reason What does Mr Henley mean by for saying it was all a fable, and that “nevertheless”? We confess that there was no Mary at all, that we are absolutely incapable "unless she be identified with a of divining
certain Mary Campbell of indifferAnd we
are much surprised, ent repute"? Perhaps Burns told though with the comfortable con- a lie; but Messrs Henley and Henviction that it is Mr Henderson derson have no knowledge that he again, to find how vehemently the did so, no proof against him, not pretty episode of Highland Mary is the faintest indication of evidence assailed in this book. To show the one way or other.
Mr Henley is very worst side of these commen- no doubt aware that Beatrice is taries, we quote the passage on this believed by superior persons in subject, which really is a subject Italy to be no actual woman at all, concerning nobody but Burns, who but a mere abstraction, to whom himself has given a circumstantial Dante gave the name of a certain account of certain passages in her noble lady, his relations to whom career, to which our present editors were entirely imaginary, though give the lie direct as nearly as related with much pathetic cirwords allow:
cumstance by the poet himself.
But we conceive that no man, “ The Highland Lassie was Mary not even a poet, has a right to Campbell, daughter of one Archibald Campbell, a Clyde sailor. The year
be accused of telling a circumof her birth is uncertain, its place is
stantial lie without evidence, and not beyond dispute ; the date of her something to found the accusation death is matter of debate; there is upon. We know no cult, “for room for conjecture as to the place of cult it is,” these gentlemen say, of her burial ; little or no independent Mary Campbell. There is a cult testimony exists as to her person and
of another Mary which has led character, unless she be identified
Scotland into with a certain Mary Campbell of in
a good deal of different repute ; there is scarcely absurdity. Could there be a conmaterial for the barest outline of her fusion in the mind of the writer biography. But on the strength of on this point? sporadic allusions by Burns, meant, as We must also protest against it seems, to dissemble more than they the use of words which have had reveal, and especially of certain ec
no place hitherto in English static expressions in the song, Thou ling'ring Star, and in a letter to Mrs
literature of a decent, not to say Dunlop, Mary Campbell has come of the highest, kind. “Merry-beto be regarded less as an average got" is not a pretty word, still Scots peasant, to whom a merry-begot less is another which is used on was then, if not a necessary of life, at several occasions in this book, but all event the commonest effect of luck, than as a bare-legged Beatrice, such book before.
never that we remember in any
It is to be a Spiritualised Ideal of Peasant Wo
found in Shakespeare, no doubt, manhood."
but many things are to be found Could anything be more absol- in Shakespeare which do not suit utely uncalled for, more vindictive the habits of this day. A master (though what had poor Mary of vigorous English has less need
than most to seek to add to the precisely since the moment when strength of his phrases by foul Burns himself said it over and words. The interposition of that over again. The Centenary Burns which we have quoted in a simile is a fine edition of the poet. It which ends with Beatrice, is a has, we have no doubt, been downright offence both to the most carefully collated, and every language and us, and nothing but means taken, as is said, to secure the bitterest insinuated scorn for the purity of the text, though the subject could excuse it. there are some occasional depart
We are quite willing to allow ures from tradition which are not that there is something in the agreeable to our own ears. But uproarious "cult” of Burns car the editors in some cases, at least, ried on by the lower classes of have been led away by the imScots, to account for at least the pulse of opposition, and that rage often suppressed and sourd but to deduce everything they can always existent distaste for him from something that went before, in the minds of his latter - day no matter how faint the conneccritics. Mr Robert Louis Steven tion, which is the soul of the New son was not free from it, nor yet Criticism. It has seldom, we is Mr Andrew Lang, both Scots think, been less successful than men, so that it cannot be entirely in this attempt to alter the posia point of national prejudice. It is tion of a great lyric poet. curiously evident, however, through the most of the works which count, We are not sure that we are in in a matter which has of late been a general way very fond of the so often handled. But the shouts literature produced by newspaper of a hundred noisy parties of correspondents. To be sure, there rough Scotsmen in town and vil have been admirable writers among lage, though they may irritate them-Laurence Oliphant, for exdelicate nerves, have really noth- ample, one of our own band. But ing to do with the question; and the last new figure stepping out it is very illogical, as well as into the world from that busy undignified, to allow that roar to crowd has many qualities to preaffect the mind of a man of let possess the critic. He has the ters. There is something like delightful spontaneity and absence spite in the bitterness with which of any parti pris or deliberate inthe poet is discussed - a feeling tention, which give animation and which we
cannot but, though sparkle to the style, and often the much against our will, suspect in charm of the unexpected to the the awed and expectant position most hackneyed subject. America held by the editors of the Cen- is not the freshest of themes, and tenary Burns, in the fear (is it no doubt the fortunate, and in this perhaps the hope ?) that their case very lucky, editor who sent out revelations will change his place Mr George Steevens to report upon in the estimation of the world. the Presidential election, probably If they fear it, we entreat these expected, as did most people, a gentlemen to take courage. They number of clever political letwill not attain that object, nor is
ters to make that contest comthere any reason why they should prehensible. But nobody knew seeing that everything worth con that we were to receive one of the sideration which they have said most vivid, nay, brilliant, sketches has been familiar to the world of America that have been made in
recent times, all warm from the have known the facts before. And heart of the country, living, moving, I doubt whether any number of full of colour, an almost dazzling us knew the facts. This about the reproduction of life. The Daily air, for instance—who ever told us Mail,' we understand, unlike other anything before about the air ? efforts which seemed just as likely
“I am not a chameleon–I cannot to succeed, was doing well be- live on air. Neither am I a Napoleon, fore; but these letters gave it a to go without my rightful sleep. Yet literary position to which it pre- the air of America would make a viously had no pretensions : and chapoleon [the pun is boyish, but here we have in a volume the never mind], as one might say, of collected result. • The Land of anybody.
“Never was there such a stimulatthe Dollar' is a book which we
ing, bracing air-meat and intoxicatalmost feel ought to march by ing drink together. You would not call itself, like Donatello's statue. it a kindly, perhaps not even a wholeIt is so crisp with young energy some, air. I have found it drop from and force that it is curious to see 94° to 47° in two days. I am told it it rest quiet on an ordinary table.
will not uncommonly sink from 75° When one opens it, which is it
to zero in a night. An air like this that runs, that strides with a wind
will find out the weak spot and finish you
before you have found it out yourof going which blows us all about, self. Yet it is made of tone and vigwe the reader, or the book? We our, and in the strength of it you can are there, we are not here, hurry- go for days and nights eating little ing along with a delight in the and sleeping less, and feel like a lion
at the end." pace, in the sense of movement, in the rapid succession of scenes, This should almost neutralise which is almost like that of a per- the effects of the ice water, of which former in them. Was it you and Mr Steevens speaks so feelingly, we or Mr Steevens who saw that and which he believes is working blazing procession in Chicago — away the morals and the interiors who looked down upon that amaz- of the most dyspeptic of nations ; ing town with the sea air in our nor does he seem to have been nostrils yet the smoke in our impressed by the food, the “awethroat ? We protest we are not some squab on toast,” the mutton
We think it must have been and beef “coarse in grain, insipid ourselves, in the body or out of the in flavour, usually tough and body, who was there.
invariably half raw";- but the It has been the fate of most of sweets! these indeed seem to be us, one time or another, to read a the triumph of an American feast. great deal about America. In a Despising them at first, “like all great many cases we know exactly male Britons over twenty," he what is going to be said upon the found in the end that “briefly, chief subjects. But this, the re- they tempt a man to forget his sult of long suffering and experi- manhood.” If there remains in ence, does not help us with Mr Great Britain, therefore, any man Steevens's book. We had not in who has what used to be called the least divined it: it is too fresh, a sweet tooth, it is clearly his too real, to be anything but a kind best policy to go to America. of revelation, even though we may But these are trifles.
1 The Land of the Dollar. By G. W. Steevens. W. Blackwood & Sons : Edinburgh and London.
VOL. CLXI. —NO. DCCCCLXXVIII.
York, Chicago, Washington, Lead body thinks of illuminating them. ville, Niagara, are the bigger points The police force is so weak that men in the landscape—the last of these and women are held up and robbed
almost nightly within the city limits; wonders, so hackneyed and worn
nobody thinks of strengthening it. out as it is, looking actually,
Here and there is a pit or a dark once in a way, as if some one cellar left wholly unguarded for the were seeing it for the first time.
unwary passenger to break his neck Chicago, we think, is the central in, All these miles of unkempt point of all. It seems to bave im- slum and wilderness betray a dispressed Mr Steevens's imagination regard for human life which is more
than half barbarous. If you come to with its mingled grandeur and foul
your death by misadventure among ness : its beautiful great lake like a
these pitfalls, all the consolation your sea, the immense buildings like the friends will get from Chicago is to be Alps, "mountains of buildings, told that you ought to have taken serried ranks of heaven - scaling better care of yourself. You were peaks." The homes of the great unfit; you did not survive. There merchants line the Lake shore,
is no more to be said about it." built of "great blocks of rough Within reach of these slums Mr hewn granite, red or grey. Their Steevens then shows us the Field massive weight is relieved by wide Columbian Museum, which is situround arches for doors and win- ated in the Art Building, now the dows, by porches and porticoes, log- only part remaining of the World's gias and galleries, over the whole Fair, and which, as he says with face of the building from top to enthusiasm almost American, is bottom. The effect is almost pre "as divinely proportioned a buildhistoric in its massive simplicity, ing as ever filled and satisfied the something like the cyclopean ruins eye of man." It was endowed by of Mycenæ or Tiryns." But be- its founder with "a cool million hind backs is "a vast wilderness of dollars." It has received since of shabby houses—a larger and from various citizens nearly twelve more desolate Whitechapel that million dollars more. " Think of can hardly have a parallel for it, depressed Oxford and Cambridge sordid dreariness in the world.” —a university endowed at the rate
“This is the home of labour, and of of half a million sterling a-year!” nothing else. The evening's vacancy “Two other prominent Chicago brings relief from toil, the morning's men found themselves in Paris a toil relief from vacancy. Little shops while ago, when a collection of piccompete frantically for what poor tures was being sold : promptly they trade there is with tawdry adver- bought up a hundred and eighty tisements. Street stretches beyond thousand dollars' worth for the gallery street of little houses, mostly wooden, of their city. There is hardly a leadbegrimed with soot, rotting, falling ing name in the business of the place to pieces. The pathways are of but is to be found beneath a picture rickety and worm-eaten planks, such given or lent to this gallery.” as we should not tolerate for a day in London as a temporary gangway
Mr Steevens, however, does not where a house is being built. Here tell us what kind of pictures these the boarding is flush with the street; are, and we feel a little distrust there it drops to it in a two-foot of the millionaire's judgment geneprecipice, over which you might easily break your leg. The streets are
rally, though it is to be hoped he quagmires of black mud, and no
was guided by more cultivated attempt is made to repair them.
taste than his own. But the They are miserably lighted, and no- description of all this magnificence
awakens in our mind a whimsical the colours of the rainbow, testified recollection. When Chicago was to M'Kinley for one thing, but burned ('tis, Mr Steevens tells us, more specially to the glory of twenty-five years ago) there was Chicago in the twenty-fifth annia little benevolent movement in- versary of her renewed being. It augurated by some of those amiable lasted for five hours, and seems to busybodies who have been so eager have completely overwhelmed the that we should show our goodwill spectator, who describes himself as to America on every possible occa staggering back to his hotel stunned sion—to send the ruined city a few and blinded by the extraordinary books to amuse itself withal in sight,—"A hundred thousand men, the moment of deepest depression. more than thirteen miles of proThese good people went round to cession!” all the authors to beg a few of
“There was more colour and more their works, immortal and other noise and more men than you could wise, and, I believe, obtained a
conceive were in the whole world-a few boxfuls of novels, and prob- world of brilliant bunting and brass ably other works, to establish the and horses, and moving men, men, nucleus of another library, and men, till you gave up and let it sweep show how England loved America ! over you and conquer you and absorb One wonders if those kind, too
you.' kind, friends feel a little ashamed Mr Steevens is of opinion that of their exertions when they read this is the American method of of the splendours of the new Uni- spreading an opinion. “They have versity and its income of half a discovered in this country," he million a - year. The English says,
“ the effects of the spectacuwriters, half-pleased, half-puzzled, lar and the auricular. You can who gave a few superfluous copies disregard argument; you can forof their works to found the new get country; you can even refuse library, most of them, let us hope, a bribe. But you cannot fail to with a secret sense of the absurdity, see and hear and to be struck wellwill doubtless laugh now shame- nigh resistless by so imperious facedly at their contribution. Were and masterful an appeal to the they cast to the pigs, we wonder,
senses." these humble benefactions? Let us We wonder what the effect would hope that nobody will be tempted be if we adopted the American to promote goodwill by any such method, and the men of London amiable folly again.
in this year of celebration were The reader must, however, turn invited to parade for the Queen. for himself to the “Biggest Parade But the men of London are not on Earth,” which was not the pro- simple-minded enough; they are cession in New York of which we too civilised, perhaps, too shameread in all the papers, but a corres- faced, not willing to expose themponding one in Chicago, only much selves to possible ridicule. What more brilliant in colour and dec- good would that do her? they would oration, where there were badges, ask. They have not the histrionic medals, ensigns, and other glit- impulse, the instinct of self-display. tering things—among others, capes They would laugh at themselves, apparently made of cloth-of-gold and the bystanders would laugh, but really of gilt paper, which, especially if they had gilt capes along with many other ornamental and carried scarlet umbrellas, and garments in red and blue and all
wore parti - coloured sashes and