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broken skin or open wound in on those who, pondering, broodwhich it might lodge and breed ing, investigating, experimenting, harm. If it were so, that sudden brought at last those angelic arts gleam of the sun was certainly a to light? A peerage ! Folly ! ray direct from heaven, and more the recompense of men who cut to be remembered still than the other men to pieces, not of those singing kettle which made so great who, with à patience almost a suggestion to the brain of Watt. divine, preoccupation that The sunshine had done nothing swept away every other thought, but point out this for hundreds of laboured and combined and were ages, -how the air teemed with silent until the great work of every kind of invisible life, and Charity came softly into being, how expedient it was to watch touching with soothing hands lest that dust of organisation every quivering nerve, making might have particles in it of harm. even the sharp steel blade a beneBut till the eye comes that can diction, keeping every adverse see, what matter how Nature opens breath at arm's length. This has her secrets !
been done before our eyes. It is Earlier than that great discov- another glory, perhaps the highest, ery, and more wonderful still, was of the reign of Victoria, the that other of Sir James Simpson, victor's age, triumphant over so by which pain was charmed away many demons, economist of so altogether, and it was found that many sufferings, the mother age the most dreadful operations might more tender of human pain than be accomplished in the human body ever age has been before it, the while the owner of that body lay era of our Queen. as in a pleasant dream. Most amazing and most blessed of all To tell all the additions which the discoveries ! As his nephew have been made to our material and successor has recently told us, greatness during this wonderful in a very touching commemorative reign, the extension of our trade, address : “Sir William Fergusson the improvement of our manufacwas well within the mark when tures, the vicissitudes in everyhe said, 'It was at least fortunate thing, would again require the for anæsthesia that Simpson took figures which we have avoided, it up.' Ere humanity could reap and such calculations as we have the benefit of the discovery, a
no desire to enter upon.
The hard battle had to be fought reader will find them at every against ignorance, apathy, and hand, and may know in half an prejudice, and James Simpson was hour what is the increase in our the protagonist in the scene. He shipping, and in our commercial did not cease his efforts until he transactions of all kinds, our exbad
seen the importance of ports and our imports, our army anæsthesia fairly recognised, and and our navy. There is one dimsuch an impetus given to surgical inution, however, which everybody progress as it had never before must mourn, even among those who received, and such as has only regard the cause of it as a good been rivalled since when Lister- thing. It is hard to allow that praised be the Queen who has raised there is a decrease in anything that him to the peerage !-inaugurated is good in this benignant reign. But the Antiseptic Era.” Where can it is so. The fields of golden grain we find honour enough to bestow that once were our pride, clothe
no longer in the luxuriance of old catafalques, against the walls. Mothe slopes and hollows. We have. reen curtains, stiff as
so many plenty of bread, and no arbitrary boards, hung straight over the winwant of the kind occasioned by dows. Social critics nowadays absence of supply; but our abund are apt to talk of Rep as the great ance is in very small degree from invention of the Philistines; but the English farmer's furrows. if they clearly knew what they Must there not be something meant they would not use that wrong in that State where it is word. Rep is not a lovely manuwaste and loss to grow corn, and facture, yet it is capable of a fold the tillers of the fields cannot live here and there. What they would by the labour which gives bread to describe is the older and more other men ? This seems almost awful fabric of Moreen. Who one of the maxims which are invented that extinct material we mathematical, with which reason know not, any more than who incannot interfere. Whatever can vented black haircloth; but in be said or done, it cannot be right the forties they were both in full that we should grow less corn year possession of the domestic hearth. after year. In the choice of evils, We believe the atrocious invention a transgression of those theories of “anti-macassars” (still survivwhich have been received as ing under the more human title economic laws would be better of chair-backs) arose from a dethan such a practical misfortune. spairing attempt to soften the But this is one of the questions horror of the black haircloth sofa, into which it is not our business which pricked the cheek of any to enter.
one who ventured to repose upon Does the reader remember the it, and the so-called easy-chairs little picture we attempted to which peopled with blackness the give him of an early Victorian unhappy room. Anti-macassars room, belonging say to a member in their native loveliness as they of the professional classes, not rich appeared in the first years of the but comfortable enough, with the Queen—for they were, poor things, two candles on the table, the one a sort of clumsy avant-coureurs, weekly newspaper, the anxious attempts at something of unskilful look-out for franks, the occasional decoration-may still be seen in journey in a stuffy coach or slow seaside lodgings, and farmhouse canal boat? We should like to parlours, and other belated places, tell him a little more about the horrible webs of crochet, white, interior of the house, through starched, and glistening, or, worse which, he will remember, persons still, in coloured wool, dingy and passing from one room to another terrible, collecting and retaining carried a candle, and little children the dust of years. Young ladies not trusted with such aids flew executed with pride these awful breathless with beating hearts, works in the early days of Vicevery run from the parlour to toria. The catafalque in the the nursery being haunted with dining-room which was called a horror, through the dark passages. sideboard was not the solid thing When the Queen came to the it seemed. It looked massive throne most of the rooms were enough to stand a siege, but it furnished with black haircloth was really all veneer and French covering their chairs and sofas, polish, thin slips of mahogany blocks of mahogany, sideboards, covering a fabric made of common
wood. Sometimes there would be an artist would choose them to a relic of the elder ages, an old hang, and furniture which, if with dining-table, slender and glisten- a proclivity towards the “quaint," ing black with the consecutive is nevertheless well made, well polishing of generations, as bright shaped, and good to live with,
mirror and genuine all almost wherever we go. If the through, in the same room which new houses we build, especially in contained the catafalque, to shame the country, are too palpable copies it; but as like as not this delight from Mr Randolph Caldecott, and ful piece of furniture was pushed our great houses too brightly, glarout of the way to admit a massive ingly modelled on some greater square table with elephantine legs, Renaissance original, it is at least fictitious size and weight being certain that we now fully recognise necessary to make the art of ven- that beauty is a quality we cannot eering practicable. I remember safely do without, and that Art a bed in those days with solemn has a right to be consulted whatdark-red moreen curtains drawn ever else we may do. round it, which wicked wit The happiest thing we could think somewhat profanely called “a field of in these elder days upon which to bury strangers in," seeing it was to repose our wearied limbs was a in the special guest-chamber, the feather bed supported upon a foun“ best room
” of the house. Such dation of hard straw "palliasses," was the aspect of the dwelling in such as are still to be found in oldearly Victorian days.
fashioned houses. It had not yet Our houses are now a little fan- been thought of that such a thing as tastic, over - decorated, too much hard iron made into elastic springs under the dominion of Liberty and could make a couch more soft than other "artistic" embellishers. The the poetical bed of down. Must little drawing-room of a little bride we, alas ! confess that in the early who has“taste”-fatal endowment! Victorian days bath-rooms were
-is often a marvellous sight with almost non-existent, and any kind its little draperies which have no of bath an occasional luxury not room to be graceful, its bits of to be calculated among the needs strange colour in relation with of every day? It is true, though nothing else, its dados, its friezes, it seems impossible. We have and all the rest. The little flat which been reminded of what our dinnerhas become fashionable is often be- tables were by the 'Reminiscences' dizened like a Parisian bon - bon of Sir Algernon West. Six sidebox, and more like that than any. dishes on the board, that authority thing else.
we have recalls to us, a steaming joint at beautiful stuffs of all descriptions top and bottom, host or hostess in place of our haircloth and (or at her end of the table an moreen, and if our rooms are not unfortunate but honoured guest) bright and gay, why, it is our own working hard and hot at carvingfault. All the monstrosities are perhaps an epergne holding sweetswept away, and we could not, were meats in the centre of the table we to try, find a moreen curtain to represent ornament, not a flower for love or money. Nobody is visible. The recollection calls a indifferent now to the fashion of groan from our breast—for we too the place in which he lives. We well remember that dreadful state have Indian carpets and imitations of affairs. The coming in of the of them, silken hangings, not diner à la Russe, and the relief necessarily expensive, hanging as and comfort of the cool and pretty
table, was, however, considered a gestion of modesty, simplicity, a terrible innovation, and resisted, kind of virtue in apparel which as most improvements are. All was altogether new to the imaginathese changes have taken place in tion of the costumière. Apparently the most familiar details of life. the only thing that occurred to the
Dress can scarcely have been bewildered genius of the mantuasaid to be more attractive than maker as fit for this new age was the houses in which its owners the natural dress of extreme youth, dwelt in those days. A large a thing altering little, whatever are square of muslin or silk folded in the fancies of the time, but for this many folds was swathed two or once adapted as the mould of form. three times round every man's The short full skirt, the little puff throat, the corners of the shawl, of a sleeve, the little bodice shaped for such it was, being tied in a to the natural waist and surrounded straggling little knot in front; or, by the primeval girdle, became what was still worse, he wore a the dress of the age. I dare not stock as stiff as iron, which was ask—such mysteries are beyond me less troublesome to put on, but of how a large and plump matron a much more appalling effect. The looked in this simple attire; but coat was shaped like those which the young Queen, just after her we all abuse as insane in their con accession, looked charming in it, struction, the swallow - tail now as may be seen in her Majesty's only known in evening dress. In- picture, with pretty ankles visible sane it is, looked at in the abstract and carefully sandalled with narrow as a garment intended to cover a ribbons above the little rational man's body; but there must be shoe, where there was room for all qualities in it, since it has borne the toes and no heel to speak of. the stress of ages and critics. But She looks as fresh as a rose, it is the dress of women and not modest, simple as becomes her age. of men which distinguishes the Let us hope that in these days generations from each other. And most ladies were young. The inhere let us say a word for the tention, the meaning, was indeed modes of an elder time.
very creditable to fashion. The For we seem to see a kind of impression left on one's mind was artless ideal in the forms of that, for once in a way, that old fashion in Queen Victoria's early and battered Divinity which has days, which were not without their presided over so many changes attraction,-a little pathetic even, was overawed and struck dumb if properly considered. It was as by an ideal of Innocence heretoif the happy thought of a young fore unknown to her, and that Queen, first to be considered in all she gave her whole mind to such matters, had penetrated into the interpretation of that novel the mind, if mind it can be called, quality. Everything followed the of those mystic authorities who model of this simplicity: the hold the female taste in fee. smooth young hair, glossy as satin, Fashion is not an intelligent nor uncrimped, unfrizzed, untortured, highly educated spirit. It gropes was braided over the brow, behind its way blindly from one mode to or round the shell-like ear, all another, and as often stumbles natural in the dazzle of youth, into as selects the variation which owing nothing to art. When not tells best. There came upon it, it braided it might fall in ringlets would seem, in face of these unfore- supposed also to be natural, which seen circumstances, a sudden sug- hung on either side and half veiled
its part, he asks almost indig- world in general, notwithstanding nantly, in the universal song of that we had colonies and possespraise —
sions round all the circle of the “The crank-throws give the double bass, Our children were conveyed in
seas, as in the days of Elizabeth. the feed-pump sobs and heaves, And now the main eccentrics start their deed in ships that perhaps sailed quarrel on the sheaves ;
more swiftly, but were little more Her time, her own appointed time, the commodious, than those of Drake rocking linkhead bides,
and Anson; and otherwise we Till— hear that note ? the rod's return
were still as far away from them whings glimmering through the
as when the Spanish galleons guides.
held the main and were the ob They're all awa'! true beat, full power, the clanging chorus goes,
jects of pursuit instead of peaceClear to the tunnel where they sit, my ful commerce and trade. The seas purring dynamoes :
were brave with white sailed ships, Interdependence absolute, foreseen, or great towers of swelling canvas, dained, decreed,
far more graceful and beautiful To work, ye'll note, at any tilt and
than those monsters of the deep every rate of speed ;
with wbich we
are so familiar Frae skylight lift to furnace - bars,
backed, bolted, braced, and stayed, now; but were we turned back And singing like the morning stars for again to the number and the capajoy that they are made ;
bilities of our navies, mercantile While out o' touch o' vanity the sweat or national, then, Britain would ing thrust-block says,
be ruined, and have lost her em'Not unto us the praise, or man—not unto us the praise !'
When the first
pire of the seas. Now a' together hear them lift their
steamer went away groping into lesson—theirs and mine,
the darkness of the great Atlantic, 'Law, order, duty, an' restraint, Obedi- with what anxiety and wonder did ence, Discipline':
all hearts beat. Would she ever Mill, forge, and try - pit taught them reach that dim and distant shore ?
that, when roarin' they arose, Would the sound of her rushing And whiles I wonder if a soul was
paddles and the pressure of her gied 1 them with the blows."
steam carry wonder and delight to This new embodiment of life the world of the West? or would and power, this Jin, this Afreet, they disappear among the icebergs has been, perhaps, the greatest dis- and never be heard of more? tinction, as it is the strongest There seemed at first a kind of vassal, of Queen Victoria's empire. sanction out of the unknown to It was not the creation of the all terrors and alarms. The powers age: it was but a feeble undevel- of nature rose against one at least oped creature, moving gingerly of those strange pioneers. The upon its few first errands, rustling President disappeared without a with primitive paddle-wheels from word into the dark, and her fate one home port to another, making has been but conjectured, never little runs here and there on land known. This might have seemed from one town to another, when to an earlier age a sign that this auspicious reign began. We heaven itself forbade such hazards : were still as far from India, from but Science, inaccessible to fear, America, from the ends of the indifferent to loss, counting human
1 Mr Kipling does his Scotch wonderfully well, as he does most things; but it should be gi'en (past participle), not gied (past tense).