Obrazy na stronie

later, when they are once in the of rain, enormous profits are to be hands of the banks, their end is made, but where also enormous sure to come. The interest due losses are suffered in bad times. to the banks swallows up the pro- Usually in Queensland the property fits they derive from the station. is not freehold, but leased from There may be good seasons again, the Government, the price, when but in few cases will they probably passing from hand to hand, being be good enough to enable the bor- generally calculated at so much rower to totally clear off a debt per head of the stock at the stabacked up by such heavy interest. tion. This stock of course, in good Even if they manage to pay it seasons, increases to a very large back, bad seasons will return, and extent, but the losses are freunless in the meantime experience quently quite as great. has shown them the necessity of of mine bought a property just parting with a portion of the sta- before the last great droughts, tion, even at a considerable loss, and lost half his capital invested in order to give them a certain in the station in a few years, amount of ready capital to fall his stock dying for want of waback upon, they will again be ter. In the other Australian colforced to have recourse to the onies neither the profits of stabanks, and a succession of bad tions nor the losses are usually seasons coming on, these will so great. Of course a man may, foreclose, while the depression although a fresh arrival, make a caused by the droughts is probably certain amount, either through at its worst. The station will then luck or owing to naturally good be sold at an enormous loss, most abilities and shrewdness; but such probably to one of those large a one, with a small capital, will squatters referred to before, who probably make more with it at will hang on to it till such time home than in Australia, as here he as good seasons return, when he would have better means of knowwill resell it to another of these ing what he is about. In England small capitalists at a large profit. he has the advantage of the experiThe original proprietors will be ence and advice of friends. He is come bankrupt, and have to start not in the position of a stranger afresh in the world. This is the coming in and filching from the history of many a young man who older residents some of the profits goes out to the colonies with his which they think ought to be theirs few thousand pounds. These small alone. capitalists hardly ever invest their The small capitalist, on arrivmoney in a colony during a de- ing in Australia, is looked upon pression, but generally in times by the old squatters somewhat in of prosperity, when there has the light of a pigeon to be plucked. been a succession of good sea- If they found that nothing is to sons, and when their imaginations be made out of him, they would have been dazzled by hearing of do all in their power to hinder his the fortunes made. Usually they getting true information about the buy at a fictitious price, calcu- value of the property he is looking lated on the few preceding pros- for, fearing that, as an outsider, perous years. In Queensland this he might spoil their market and occurs

oftenest, because when lessen their profits by sharing prosperity comes there in the shape them.

The colonial squatter certainly doubt that, owing to the depreciaencourages the small capitalist to tion in the value of land in Engcome out, knowing that the strang- land for agricultural purposes, were er will have to buy his experience, a man able to buy and farm his and their experience is not to be own land, he could hold his own bought at too cheap a rate.

in fair competition against forThey will also, in their simple eigners—supposing that transfers hearty manner, do everything to of land were made simpler and assist these young men to buy easier than at present, and if instations from themselves at a price stead of the heavy burdens being calculated on the inexperience of placed on home produce alone by the buyer. The colonial squatter the enormous rates and taxes on certainly, as a general rule, wel- the land on which it is grown, comes the stranger (with capital), taxes were placed in equal proporand takes him in in one

tions as well on foreign as on our But it is not to be supposed that own produce. Under the above his moral principles will admit of conditions, would our small capitalhis doing things by halves, for it ists, seeking investments in land is to be feared, unless he can take on which to settle, be under the the stranger in, his welcome will necessity of leaving the mother be problematical.

country in order to ruin themIn conclusion, there can be little selves on distant shores ?





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Our fathers, in the beginning were classics; the Minerva Press of the present age when the cen- was unworthy of anything but a tury was young, and criticisms jest. Nor was there beyond the may be said to have arisen as a bounds of our own isle anything literary power, had in some re- in this kind which called for critispects a much easier task than cism. No good or evil fortune their successors, — they had no placed upon this table anything novels to review. We will not like the pile of yellow volumes say that the subjects which occu- which now overflow upon the carpied them were more robust, for pet and cover every available corwe remember that a great deal of ner. The first great wave of French time and fervour, sometimes ris- fiction—so splendid, so varied, and ing to the height of passion, were abundant—had not yet washed up occupied with poetry not always against our shores. Balzac, Vicof the highest quality; and that tor Hugo, George Sand, Alexandre

, knights in full panoply of steel, Dumas, had not begun. On this with shiver of lance and clash of side of the Channel, one great mail, met over Betty Foy and Magician, incontestable and above Alice Fell, in the destruction of criticism; on the other, silence, which humble individualities no broken only by such phenomenal one would now think Words- utterances • Corinne ' and worth's great fame was involved. Delphine.' What wonderful It was on a nobler issue that Wil- difference now, both in the absent son stood forth against Jeffrey and the present! How many and his myrmidons in defence of great names have been added to the great philosopher-poet, the the list! how many infinitely apostle of nature, the seer of the small ! mountains and the lakes.

But we

We wonder whether in the furemember criticism uttered ture developments of history there here, in our own traditionary will ever arise any writer brave dwelling-place, nor elsewhere in enough to do justice to that reign the higher floors of the old town, of Louis Philippe which ended so where the fiery spirits of the Edin- disastrously, and which, in the burgh Review' cultivated literature shame of its conclusion, has sufon a little oatmeal, upon Fiction— fered an unjust eclipse, and gets the now overwhelming and all-en- no credit for its real glory. Since croaching stream which so often Louis Quatorze there has been in threatens to carry the tribunes of literature no such brilliant age; the Republic of Letters off their and whatever may be thought of feet. Fiction in these happy days the conquest of Algeria, it was at meant Sir Walter, against whom least a school of arms in which no one dared to utter treasonous France, humiliated and discouranimadversions, and a few fair ac- aged, learned again to face the companying spirits-Miss Austen, world. The country, at least by the Miss Ferrier, and Miss Edgeworth. mouth of its wits, cried out against The novels of the previous century the bourgeois king, with all his


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little respectabilities, his shabby partiality and tremendous force Court, and the indiscriminate ad- of exposition which he devotes to mission of everybody to his un- the still more odious scenes in sacred presence; yet there has been which La Cousine Bette is the no king in France whose age has administrator and servant. The been one of greater distinction. In seventh commandment is broken the particular branch to which we freely, and with very little regard have already directed the reader's to any squeamish objections ; but attention, France had done little he does not dedicate himself to all before his time. The endless tomes the phenomena of that breaking, of the Grand Cyrus, the brilliant as is the custom of his successors. fables of Voltaire, the too ethereal The wonderful and terrible history romances of Bernardin de St Pierre of Père Goriot, for example, is not and his school, were escapades of written for the sake of the passions the imagination from the oppres- and intrigues of the daughters, sion of a period surcharged with but to elucidate that horrible, luxury and wretchedness, and tragical self-sacrifice of paternal those contrasts of splendour and love which respects nothing and depravity, of wild display and of retains nothing, throwing all the hideous suffering, which produce laws of morality and all the inthe cynic and the sentiinentalist— stincts of self-preservation to the he who scoffs at all possibility of winds, in order that his children virtue, and he who evaporates it may have what pleases them. into something too fine for flesh The picture is appalling, and with and blood. The great school of aching hearts we allow ourselves French novelists who rose together to hope that such a mixture of the in the calm days of Louis Philippe highest and lowest is impossible ; were not moralists; they were given but it is written for the sake of up to no idolatry of virtue--perhaps this tragic figure, the old bourrather that nature to which they geois, with his pride and his love, held up the mirror was one to to whom the world contains nowhich vice has never appeared so thing worth a thought but the vicious as to the soberer peoples daughters who accept all from of the north: and there was no him, and leave him to die alone. literary tradition among them Their amours come in by the way. against the pictorial use of im- but it is not for them the book is. morality when they found it. But Alexandre Dumas, the most deit cannot be said of these great lightful of story-tellers, is of the writers that they selected revolt- same mind. He is not afraid to ing subjects, or pretended to find call a spade a spade, nor does he in them the natural incidents of avoid vice when it comes in his life; neither did they represent to way. He treats it with that imus a society in which everything partiality which is the strange turned upon unlawful love, and characteristic of his nation, not the sole motives worth taking ashamed or reluctant to render into account

the excite- upon his canvas any scene that ments of sensual passion. Balzac, may occur; but in this point he is for example, devotes his extraor- like his graver and greater contemdinary power to the harpies who, porary. He is occupied with the in shameless greed and rapac- big stirring life of incident and ity, devour Le Cousin Pons and adventure round him, as the other his inheritance, with the same im- is with the mysteries of that ter



rible Comédie humaine which he from the good days in which the investigates without cease. The French novel was in reality a frail wife and the deceived husband, work of genius. That time is the frantic raptures and miseries past; the skies of our neighbours of one generally degrading passion, have narrowed—their world has are not the principal objects of contracted. It is not the cheerful, their art.

bustling universe of Dumas, any And with what power, what more than it is the great world, splendour and wealth and variety, seething with a thousand contrathat great band of romancers did dictory passions and sentiments, their work ! From the gloomy as in Balzac—or big with fate, grandeur of that medieval Paris, and tragic, irresistible preordinafull to overflowing with the life tion, against which man's utmost and inspiration of the past, though ingenuity is powerless, as with already touched with that point Victor Hugo. That large existof the grotesque from which Vic- ence has shrunk into a monotontor Hugo rarely emancipated him- ous, often-repeated, never-exhaustself—to the fresh and breathing ed tale,—the tale so called of innocence of those rural idyls, to love ; the record of a passion often which, in her happy moments, no in its latest phase brutal — nay, one could give so exquisite a bestial; at its best, a thing of touch as George Sand, how full guilt and imposture, limiting the is their range, how amazing their mental as well as infecting the power! The impression of bound- moral atmosphere. All this great less resource, of endless variety, world reduced to a little apartof a flood and stream of animation, ment in Paris, where a young man incident, and interest that never rages against the bad woman who flags, has had a curious effect upon enslaves him, and blasphemes bethe mind of at least the English cause he cannot get rid of her, and reader-an effect which perhaps is falls back under the disgusting the result of a little slowness of influence whenever she smiles upon national intellect, mingled with him ; or a desecrated house, where that faithfulness to an impression a woman and her lover seek feveronce formed, which is one of the ishly for opportunities of meeting, special characteristics of our coun- and stave off as long as they can trymen. The intellectual classes, the inevitable discovery. In alor those who so consider them- most every case the pair loathe selves, the clever people in society, each other before they are done, and everybody who hopes to be their passion changing into disgust counted among them, almost with- and horror—or a weariness and out exception own an admiration monotony far more appalling in its for the French novel,—a conviction dulness than that of the dullest of its superiority--which is, in respectable household that ever scientific language, a survival of was known. And this is life acthe oddest description. Putting cording to our neighbours. And aside that section of the commun- this is what the English reader, ity which really enjoys filth, and slow but sure, having got into his considers the analysis of passion head the conviction of French not much better than bestial, to be greatness in fiction from the age a high triumph of art, this gen- of Balzac, Hugo, and George erally expressed and quite honest Sand, carried on with faith into belief is nothing but a reflection the age of Zola and his innumer

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