« PoprzedniaDalej »
crowd of this uncomfortable plural. place of the stately cruisers of old, We are no Aristarchus, but a well- have somehow in their bigness and wisher, always kindly interested wonderfulness found
a similar in the fellow-traveller who treated magic with which to impress the us with such flattering but unex- imaginations at least of “the young pected confidence. Yet we must gentlemen," and that even such a add that the stories of Sir Francis monstrous machine as the Devasare not very brilliant; and that tation is an object of pride to the thought it is pleasant to meet any sailors of the future.
We are glad where with such a good-humoured of it, though it is difficult to untalker, who says little that is dis- derstand the charm. agreeable about other people if he When Mr Midshipman Hobart sometimes says too much about joined, all was dirty, dreary, miserhimself, yet print is an injurious able below. The poor little fellow medium for gossip: and we sin- was pitched into his hammock amid cerely counsel him to publish no all the smells and noises of a crowdmore, except it be poetry, of which ed cabin, and mast-headed next day, a candid critic might have some- before he knew how to climb or thing more agreeable to say. even to stand steady on the mov
The sailor who carries a Turkish ing deck. This latter proceeding ensign at his bow, but who is (alas! "was as near akin to murder as it was) a delightful English dare- could be, for I don't know how it devil, a seaman of the fine old was I did not fall overboard, and Marryat type, is quite another then nothing could have saved my matter. His book is just the kind life. However, as I didn't fall,” of book to make boys run away to says this bold seaman, “I was not sea, after an old fashion which drowned, and the effect on me was seems to have died out in this curious enough. For all I had decorous age.
Not that he has seen and suffered on that, the openanything to tell the lads that is ing day of my sea-life, made me very attractive in respect to his think for the first time—and I own early experiences. The sketch have never ceased thinking—how with which he begins of the tyrant- to oppose tyranny in every shape.” captain and the old-fashioned ship “Let us leave the subject," he conin which his despotism was su- cludes,“ with the consoling thought preme, is such a scene as could that we shall never see the like not be found nowadays. These again." Such rough treatment sufferings, too, are things of the apparently did little harm on the past—but not, we hope, the boyish whole; and the boy, who thus bepluck and stamina which, through gan his career, developed into the the horrors of such an introduction ideal seaman, with a heart for to sea- life, still loved the sea and any fate, and a special preferthe ship and the service, and no ence for the most dangerous sermore dreamed of complaining than vices. Many of his sketches of deserting. We should have carry us back delightfully to the been disposed to believe that such old Marryat days, to Midshipman devotion was much less likely now- Easy and—a more intimate recoladays, if we had not been lately lection still--to the ever delightprivileged to hear from the artless ful Log of Tom Cringle. Nautical lips of the last new middy who has writers nowadays are apt to put joined, that the great sea-monsters forward the privations and miseries which now plough the deep in of their calling. Mr Clark Russell,
though some of his sea-novels are gallant fellow who commands that admirable, never fails to point out vessel!' and he did so, warmly comthat, however fair a face the sailor plimenting on the courage he may put upon it, at bottom he is had shown, thus proving that he
could appreciate pluck, and that generally sick of the sea. To be American naval men did not look sure it is of necessity that there down blockade-running as should be a shipwreck, attended by grievous sin, hard work as it gave specially tragical circumstances, in them in trying to put a stop to it. every nautical romance. But this is not the impression which Ad- In very painful contrast to this miral Hobart leaves on our minds. light-hearted narrative, is a gloomy
The wild (but profitable) episode incident of the fruitless Baltic exof blockade-running, which forms pedition in the Crimean war—the one of the most entertaining chap- expedition from which so much ters in this book, is exactly such an
was hoped and nothing came: adventure as Marryat would have which happened where the fleet delighted in. It would be too lay sulky and disgusted in forced long to quote the breathless narra
inaction in that wintry sea, scarcetive, or follow the swift, silent, ly striking a blow. smokeless ship,
as handy a little craft as ever Aoated,” in any of from England. A signal was made
"One morning despatches arrived her hair-breath escapes, or daring from the flag-ship for commanding runs under the enemy's very nose officers to repair on board that vessel. into the blockaded harbour. How On our arrival there we were asked far the proceeding is to be justified to sit down to breakfast. Our chief, in view of international law, we
who was opening his letters, suddenly can scarcely say, but morality at
threw a depatch over the table to least had nothing to do with it, ing, 'What would ye do, mun, if ye
S—, the admiral of the fleet, sayand the blockading ships seem to received a letter like that?" S-have enjoyed the bloodless breath- after reading the letter, said, "If I less conflict as much as the daring received a letter like that, I'd attack adventurers who so often balked Revel or Sveaborg, if I lost half my them. When Captain Hobart's
fleet. Our chief's answer I will never
I that is to say, Captain Roberts's forget
. It was, 'I haven't got nerve
to do it, and I'm d-d well sure —ship was taken at last, he him
Chasn't.'' self had left the service: but that there was very little ill-feeling be- The shock with which these words tween the chasers and the chased must have been heard, among a is evident from his account of this band of English sailors all wild for event:
action, is scarcely conceivable. " The first remark that the officer
Most people will have bestowed made on coming aboard her was,
upon their boys all the gift-books *Well Captain Roberts, so we have that are likely to fall to their caught you at last!' and he seemed share before these pages reach much dissapointed when he was told their eyes. We therefore add, that the captain they so particularly with a light heart and no painful wanted went home in the last mail, sense of possible guilt, in putting The corvette which had chased and the Sea, that Siren into any likehad been cheated by the Dday before, was lying in the port when ly lad's imagination, that were we she was taken. Her captain, when a boy again, such once we he saw the prize, said, 'I must go might have been, we should much on board and shake hands with the prefer Hobart Pacha to Mr Rider
Haggard—and what could one say ture, is a little matter, but it stirmore?
great strife. However There is no more delightful innocently it may occur, if we see eccentricity in a library than the too much of it we are moved way in which books will occasion- to instinctive opposition. Human ally group themselves in defiance nature objects when the unauthoriof every rule of appropriateness or tative critic talks big about what harmony. It is wrong, we know, “I have endeavoured to teach”_ and contrary to every rule, but notwithstanding the modest avowwe confess it gives us great grati- al afterwards that at best it is only fication now and then to find our an effort-and " what I have tried books arranged according to the to do." All the same, however, good old rule and simple plan of we are bound to add that Mr Quilcommon size, or shape, or bind- ter's little plea for himself at the ing, so that a stately Gibbon shall beginning of his book is good, for once in a way find himself and contains much truth. It is, standing side by side (and much though he does not take it so, a good would it do him) with Mr very strong argument for anonyPickwick; and Doctor Johnson, in mous criticism, which is, we think, his most solemn mood, lean upon in the present constitution of the the cultured impertinence of Mr human race, the only possible way Andrew Lang. In like manner, of stating an opinion truly on matthough the grouping is accidental, ters at least of literature and art. it amuses us to find our sportive The man who can put forth his seaman propping up, and giving ideas in respect to his friend's way under the weight of the work with absolute impartiality, handsome and serious volume, approving or not approving as the much pretending, in all the es- case may be, and sign his name to thetic finery of broad margins and them, must be braver and better uncut paper,
which calls itself than common men. The praise, if *Sententiæ Artis,'? but in reality it is praise, is never warm enough, contains the opinions of Mr Harry or it is not discriminating; and Quilter, barrister-at-law and art the blame, if it is blame, is incritic, upon painting and painters tolerable. Mr Quilter says this of the present day. This gentle- in more elegant and well-chosen man writes very well, and often words:very sensibly, with some insight and considerable eloquence of ex
“ A writer who dves not attach himpression : but he is unfortunately but endeavours to stand alone and
self to one special clique of critics, too conscious, as is the case with tell the truth all round, must suffer so many critics, of himself. It is so much from abuse and isolation, a danger from which the anony- that he had better break stones or mous critic is mercifully preserved. make screws. To the best of my He cannot talk—Heaven be praised belief, I have never written a partial for it!—of “the many personal at- word of a friend, or an unjust one of
an adversary; and I have lived to see tacks made on me,” or assure the
most of the friends I had in the art public how little he has “ deigned to world fall away from me, and never notice" these utterances. The let
yet found a single artist who did not ter 1, if we may paraphrase Scrip- in his heart of hearts think that it
I Sententiæ Artis. First Principles of Art: For Painters and Picture Lovers. By Harry Quilter, R.A.
a great injustice to have his must have afforded him some pleashortcomings pointed out, as well as his merits praised. Damn the fel; that the gratification thus pro
sure in the doing: and we submit low ; why doesn't he back his friends?' Ruskin once happened to overhear cured, and the bondless applause, some one say of himself, and he left for example, of two · Saturday Reoff from that date writing criticisms view,' ought to be taken into acon contemporary painters. That is count, as well as the passive pleawhat I have heard many times sure of looking at the leaves in directly and indirectly during the autumn_which is perhaps too last decade."
fine for flesh and blood. We may say, however, in re- The comments thus made are spect to Mr Ruskin, in, as it were, often very judicious and a parenthesis, that he has a curious times instructive, and they will gift, when he does not back his give much of the lively pleasure friends, of saying the most stinging of a personal talk and discussions, things possible about them in that to readers interested in art and exquisite diction of his; and also its professors, which means, of that he does back his friends—as course, to most educated persons. for instance the Tuscan young lady What is said of Leighton, Burne, and other protégés—in the most un- Jones, and Rossetti, is extremely abashed and superlative manner; good and discriminating, for inbut this by the way. “It does stance; but what have Miss Kate not much matter,” adds Mr Quil- Greenaway and Mr du Maurier ter, with a mournful sentiment, to do among these big names? which perhaps is a little excessive Still more, what the—anything in the circumstances, and breathes Mr Quilter pleases--has M. Tisof “a blight,” what the world sot to do in this bead-roll of says of one; and though it matters the greatest artists of the time? more that our personal affections - Tissot has but one rival in and sympathies should be withered England, nainely, Alma Tadema," or stunted, even that may be borne he says; at which we feel a shriek silently. Sun and sky still remain, of horror burst from our lips. and the smell of the grasses in the No command of colour or comspring, and the silence of summer's position can justify a comparison full-green life, and the colour of between one of the most scholarly the leaves in autumn." Let Mr and refined of painters and the Quilter cheer up ! There are con- dashing author of so many obnoxisolations, no doubt, in store for ous studies from the fashion-books him more substantial than the
-very mal portés indeed, and put smell of the grasses.
He has upon the meretricious shoulders written (and printed) a very pretty of ladies from the demi-monde. book, with much in it that will be Mr Quilter ought to be ashameit delightful for the cultivated classes of himself for making such a comto talk over and discuss: and parison, according even to his though he tells us what an anguish own tenets—which reject the mere it is to point out the shortcomings art for art theory, and demand of his neighbours, and how his meaning and thought and mofriends fall away from him, and tive, as well as mere “technical abuse and isolation are his lot, he mastery,” in every piece of painted yet proceeds to touch up these canvas which claims to be called friends with many
neat little a picture. points and pricks, such as no doubt We will find only one other
fault with Mr Quilter, and that trifle with the lightest and the is not his own, but his quotation smallest possible for a moment. from Emerson, which is repeated What does the reader think, talkin various portions of his book, ing of poetry, of the following and which seems to us to be false lines ?-all through both in its statement and its theory
“Dance, yellows and whites and reds,
Lead your gay orgy-leaves, stalks, “As Emerson has finely said of the heads, artist:
Astir with the wind in the tulip beds. • The hand that rounded Peter's dome, And groined the aisles of Christian There's sunshine : scarcely a wind at all
Disturbs starved grass and daisies small Rome,
On a certain mound by the churchyard Wrought in a sad sincerity,
wall. Himself from God he could not free,
grass He builded better than he knew,
feliows, The conscious stone to beauty grew.'
On the mound wind spares and
shine mellows, It is pretty to see the American Dance ye reds and whites and yellows !” Apostle, and Mr Quilter after him, condescending to patronise Michel We ask again, with bated breath, Angelo. “He builded better than what does this jingle mean? Is he knew"-did he ?—that great it a jingle of some profound harrugged, splendid immortal! And mony too high for our compreMr Emerson knows better and hension ? for it is signed by the pats him on the back for it, and name of ROBERT BROWNING, and an English critic repeats the pat. it is the principal contribution to Did ever modern presumption and a funny but a pretty little book opaqueness of vision go further? called by the not very appropriate The great Tuscan who « rounded title of the New Amphion, and Peter's dome" (it was early in designed to help the young men the history of American culture of Edinburgh University to get when this was written, and perhaps themselves a club. Why our young Mr Emerson did not know who men, outnumbering Oxford and he was) was the last man in the Cambridge, and able to make world to free himself from God, their professors the richest men and without doubt that fine cupola in professorial Christendom, should suspended itself in the noble fir- not be able to get a club for mament of his imagination with themselves, is a question which a thousand times more grandeur may be asked in passing: but than mortal skill could ever work this is not the matter which out in marble or stone.
chiefly occupies us. If Amphion And pray, to drop into a much piped like Mr Browning, do the lower question, where did Mr Quil- gentlemen of the Fancy Fair think ter or his poet find “groined aisles" that the most doddered old willow in Rome? The man who quotes in the Meadows would have lifted this pharisaical nonsense makes a leg, or the simplest shrub in the himself responsible for it.
Princes Street Gardens danced to We are going to be serious his music: or still less likely, that before we conclude, and discuss the stones in Craigleith quarries higher things: so let us pause and would have made one hop towards
1 The New Amphion : being the book of the Edinburgh University Union Fancy Fair.