DR. CLARKE is well known to the public and to the medical profession as an eminent practitioner, teacher, and writer on practical subjects connected with his calling. Having been requested to address the New England Women’s Club in Boston, he selected a subject in which all the members of that association might be supposed to take especial interest, that of the relation of sex to the education of women.
The subject is a very delicate one to handle. It involves physiological points which it is difficult to deal with without giving offence in some way or other. Woman is the weaker vessel in many ways, and does not always care to be reminded of it. Vet the facts of anatomy and physiology are at the bottom of many differences in the capabilities and adaptations of the two sexes for the various offices of life. The female’s muscles are weaker than the male’s, and she must not be expected to do so much bodilywork, The female’s brain is five or six ounces lighter, on the average, than the male’s, and she must not be expected to do so much “ cerebration ” as he can do. The special relation of the female to humanity that is to be, involves many disturbances, habitual and occasional, which handicap her, often very heavily, in the race of life. It is the duty of the anatomist and the physiologist to insist that these organic facts shall have their due weight in every arrangement which relates to the education and condition of woman. It was doubtless with the view of hearing Dr. Clarke’s opinion on this particular subject, to which he was known to have devoted much time and thought, that he was asked to read a paper before the association mentioned above as having furnished him with an audience. A professional or scientific speaker likes to address himself to those who are in a position to understand him, people with eyes in their heads, — ocutatis auditoribus, as Fallopius calls the hearers before whom he made his demonstrations. The mothers and teachers present were deeplyinterested, and some of them must have left the room sadder as well as wiser for listening to Dr. Clarke’s statement of facts, and his weighty comments with their very serious practical conclusions. So far very well; but whether a woman’s club with a sprinkling of men in it is the fitting place for the open-mouthed discussion of such subjects may be respectfully questioned. On the one occasion where we saw it attempted, which was at the reading of Dr. Clarke’s paper, there was a cloud of dust raised about the special points involved, in the course of five minutes after the essayist’s voice had ceased, under cover of which the main question disappeared like the Homeric hero when his celestial mother carried him out of harm’s way in her vaporous mantle.
Still less can pathological conditions involving considerations of sex be discussed freely before the general public. They are to he studied and the facts respecting them made known by the experts w ho alone are qualified to speak with something like authority on these matters. The statements of these experts are to be weighed by parents, mothers especially, instructors, philanthropists, philosophers, but not to be bandied about in rhetorical debates or lively newspaper paragraphs. It must be remembered in reading Dr. Clarke’s essay for whom and with what object it was written. There is nothing in it which will he specially sought for by prematurely or morbidly curious inquirers. There is much that is to be gravely considered and tested by the experience of others equally competent to form opinions on a question which is vital in its bearings on one of the social problems of the day.
The doors of our educational institutions have been besieged of late years by considerable numbers of women who have asked and sometimes demanded entrance for themselves and their younger sisters on the same terms with those of the other sex who have enjoyed the privileges furnished by these institutions. They have knocked loudly and long, and have been very unwilling to take no for an answer. Various motives of necessity or expediency have in most or many cases been alleged as the excuse for keeping them out ; but the sisterhood and its advocates have not been satisfied ; and as they commonly make themselves heard in these times when suffering from any real or supposed wrong, there must be few readers of a periodical like this who have not been reached by the cry of equal privileges in education for both sexes.
The most prominent objection, apart from temporary economic obstacles, has been the questionable effect of too dose association upon the more susceptible young persons of the two sexes. Opinions differ as to this, and experience has hardly been ample enough to settle the question finally, at least in the minds of many whose own purity of character leads them to take the highest views of human nature. It is notan easy matter to get to the bottom of, for the sweet poisons of adolescence are subtler than any Tofana ever mingled for her involuntary patients.
But the considerations Dr. Clarke urges have been almost systematically overlooked. They were and are embarrassing to deal with, and yet the root of the matter lies there, and must be got at sooner or later. “ Great plainness of speech ” was necessary if the question was to be treated at all ; and Dr. Clarke has not only promised it in his Preface, but has taken care to make himself understood in a way to redeem his promise. The following are the leading propositions of his essay, stated partly in our own language, which we trust is plain enough, and not too plain, for ihe common reader.
1. The organization of woman defines for her a special career of her own, as that of man does for him.
2. The maturing process in the female covers the same four or five years which are commonly given to education in the better instructed classes.
3. If the brain is overworked during this period, the force intended for the development of the special life of the female is diverted from it, and there is an arrest in the development of physical womanhood.
4. The co-education of the sexes is generally understood to mean their identical education, and it is in this identical education that the dangers pointed out in the essay are to be looked for. The co-education of the sexes is an experiment which the poverty of our colleges practically prohibits, and which presents an inherent difficulty in the matter of adjusting the methods of instruction to the physiological needs of each sex : but these difficulties are not insuperable; “ the former can be removed whenever those who heartily believe in the success of the experiment choose to get rid of it ; and the latter by patient and intelligent effort.”
5. Periodicity is the type (law) of female force and work ; persistence, of male force and work.
6. A boy may safely study six hours daily, a girl not more than four, or at most five hours. She also requires a remission and sometimes an intermission of both study and work for one or more days at certain regular intervals.
7. The physical evils which follow from neglect of compliance with the physiological conditions of maturing womanhood are most evidently manifested after school-days are over.
8. Special and appropriate education for each sex is the need of the time.
All these principles, Dr. Clarke maintains, are habitually overlooked or disregarded in the education of our American girls, and to this fact he attributes, by no means exclusively, but in large measure, the discouraging aspects of American womanhood.
“ The notion is practically found everywhere that boys and girls are one, and that the boys make the one.” Case after case is reported in which the patient’s story is condensed in one brief sentence by her medical adviser: “ She lost her health simply because she undertook to do her work in a boy’s way, and not in a girl’s way.” “ Girls of bloodless skins and intellectual faces may be seen any day, by those who desire the spectacle, among the scholars of our high and normal schools, — faces that crown and skins that cover curving spines which should be straight and neuralgic nerves that should know no pain. Later on, w hen marriage and maternity overtake these girls, and they “ live laborious days ” in a sense not intended by Milton’s line, they bend and break beneath the labor, like loaded grain before a storm, and bear little fruit again, A training that yields this result is neither fair to the girls nor to the race.”
It is not asserted that improper methods of study and a disregard of the special laws of the female organism during the educational life of girls are the only causes of disease among them, but it is asserted that the number of female graduates of our schools and colleges who have been permanently disabled to a greater or less degree is so great as to excite the gravest alarm and to demand the serious attention of the community. “ If these causes should continue for the next half-century, and increase in the same rates as they have for the last fifty years, it requires no prophet to foretell that the wives who are to be mothers in our Republic must be drawn from transatlantic homes. The sons of the. New World will have to react on a magnificent scale the old story of unwived Rome and the Sabines.”
After all, the experience would not be so new to America as Dr. Clarke seems to imagine. The Virginia colonists in the year 1620 being in as close a strait as the unwived Romans, Sir Edwin Sandys proposed to send over to the old country for a cargo of wives. An invoice of ninety girls, “young and incorrupt,” was the first importation, followed the next year by sixty more, handsome, and with the best of characters. They cost, on the average, just about their weight in tobacco, that is, one hundred pounds apiece for the first lot, and one hundred and fifty for the second.
“ Fortunately,” says Dr. Clarke, “ the reverse of this picture [that of wife-importing America] is equally possible. The race holds its destinies in its own hands. The highest wisdom will secure the survival and propagation of the fittest. Physiology teaches that this result, the attainment of which our hopes prophesy, is to be secured, not by an identical education or an identical co-education of the sexes but, by a special and appropriate education that shall produce a just and harmonious development of every part.”
Dr, Clarke’s little book is a most important contribution to the cause of female education. Parents and teachers wish to know what is best, not for an abstract intelligence, but for a growing young woman with an organization governed by peremptory laws of its own which cannot be violated with impunity. The truth is not always agreeable at first, and Dr. Clarke might have borrowed the motto Vera pro gratis as a shield against harsh or petulant animadversion. It is a mistake to allow any trifling consideration to disturb the calm balance of judgment with which such an essay on such a subject should be read. There may be some vivacities of style or pungencies of epithet which could have been spared on so grave a subject, and left it free from any possible source of irritation. But we may be very sure that no person who has at heart the best interests of woman and of education will stop to quarrel with a word or a phrase here and there which he might prefer to have had changed or omitted. It cannot be disputed that there is a syllable too many in a line which Dr, Clarke has quoted; that the name Ulysses should have been Achilles; that a sentence here and there might be rewritten with advantage in point of style; that a sharp word or phrase might in one or two instances have had its angles smoothed with good effect on the tempers of some readers. To fasten on these points for serious criticism is like quarrelling with the steersman who is doing his best to guide our vessel through a dangerous strait because his hands are not so absolutely white as a little more care would have made them.
The falling off in the standard of the female constitution means national deterioration and degeneracy. It is a mistake to suppose it is peculiar to this country, though there is reason to fear that it has gone farther here than in other parts of the world. Miss Nightingale speaks of “ the fact so often seen of a great-grandmother, who was a tower of physical vigor, descending into a grandmother perhaps a little less vigorous, but still sound as a bell and healthy to the core, into a mother languid and confined to her carriage and house, and lastly into a daughter sickly and confined to her bed.” Miss Beecher’s statistics almost go to show that invalidism is in the present generation the normal state of New England womanhood. And in this essay Dr. Clarke attempts to show one cause of this prevailing infirmity, and to suggest the means of avoiding it. No one pretends that any single opinion on such a subject is final, or that a single series of cases can satisfy all inquirers. But there is probably no one man in this country whose opinion would carry more weight with it than Dr. Clarke s. Of mature age, of a judicial habit of mind, of great and varied experience, recognized by the community and his own profession as standing in the very front rank of American practitioners, his testimony on this vital question, supported by his clinical evidence, is not indeed at once to be " believed and taken for granted” as absolute truth, still less to be pecked at with petty criticisms, but to be “ weighed and considered 1 and committed to the verification or the modification or the confutation which men and women as competent as himself, if such can be found among us, shall work out by the same care with the same opportunities as those which have led him to his momentous conclusions.
— What the native Californian is to be in literature we do not know any critic who is able to foretell, and the first-born of that State is yet too young to give us any means of rightly guessing. The California of the present times is merely a set of circumstances, and the literature which has come from it is the work of young writers who have all felt the same shaping influences, but who are of widely various origin. Very likely the real Californian, son of the red soil and the blue sky, will be altogether different from Mr. Mark Twain Clemens, formerly Missourian, or Mr. Bret Harte, formerly New-Yorker, or Mr. Prentice Mulford, or Mr. Charles Webb, or Mr. Charles Warren Stoddard, who are all conscious of their California, and view it objectively. He will probably be no more aware of his Californian ism in this sense than the Bostonian or New-Yorker is aware of his local qualities. He will have no ground of former associations from which to regard it, and it may never occur to him as a stupendous joke, of which he is an amusing part, and so he may not be a California humorist, as each of these writers is. It is very possible that he may lake it entirely au sérieux, and be a poet, say, of a high, earnest, and sober sort.
The writers whom we have named, and whom, without an invidious silence concerning other clever people we may consider as having given California her distinction in our literature, were Californians of occasion, and are now Californians no longer; Mr. Clemens living in Hartford, Messrs. Harte and Webb in New York, and Messrs. Stoddard and Mulford in England, Yet they have each deeply received the same Californian stamp, and their humor, broad or fine, has the same general character, as if in each of them it came from a sense of their own anomaly, as men of the literary temperament and ambition in a world of rude adventure, rapacious money-getting, and barbarous profusion. The state of things in which they found themselves must have affected them as immensely droll ; in it, but not of it, they must have felt themselves rather more comic than anything about them ; and this sense of one’s own grotesqueness in the midst of grotesqueness is Humor, with the large H, which we have been gradually coming at. All literary men, we suppose, feel their want of relevance to surrounding conditions at times and in some degree ; and the conditions being exaggerated in the case of the Californian littérateurs, we can readily account for the greater irreverence and abandon of their humor, which has now become the type of American humor, so that no merry person can hope to please the public unless he approaches it.
Not to go so far back as John Phœnix, the first and, in some respects, the best of the California humorists, and taking the more conspicuous of the writers we have mentioned, we have three very distinctly different geniuses, each characterized by the same general qualities. The greatest humorist of the three, strictly speaking, is Mr. Clemens, who has, perhaps, also the most thoroughly original expression. You are pretty constantly aware of Mr. Harte’s reading ; you think of Thackeray, and notably of Dickens, whilst you acknowledge a new force under the changing disguises, which at the important moments puts them all aside, and declares itself a dramatic power, verging upon the theatrical it is true, but accomplishing things that irresistibly move you. We go again and again to Mr. Harte’s stories, as we do to the minor stories of Thackeray, and read them with a delight that is always fresh ; the bad ones have a charm of vigor and boldness, and the good ones, in spite of their lapses, are simply unsurpassed. But it is for the enjoyment of his dramatic effects, his tragic as well as his comic situations, his strong conception and portrayal (not analysis) of character, that we read Mr. Harte; whereas we read Mr. Clemens solely for the humor of Mark Twain. He is as present in all he writes as Charles Lamb in his essays, and this perpetual personal companionship with his reader is characteristic of the pure humorist, as distinguished from the humorous dramatist or novelist.
As a California humorist, then, in this strict sense, we should place the author of the South-Sea Idyls next to the author of Roughing It, though in most other traits they are as unlike as possible. Of all the Californians, Mr. Stoddard has the best feeling for style, the subtlest appreciation of literary grace. He is a humorist, and he is also a poet of delicate nerves, and, as one sees, of those fastidious likes and dislikes in words which make a clumsy expression or any phrase not of just the right tint or tone intolerable to him. His style is the effect, not the reflection, of his deeply enjoyed reading, and it is in these papers a most cunningly handled instrument. But it is as a humorist that he first impresses you, — his book is conceived in the true humorous spirit, and written with that unegotistic egotism, that self-abandonment to the reader’s right feeling, which is the charming and distinctive trait of humor.
What we should call the Californian quality of his humor is observable enough. He feigns himself an unrepentant prodigal son, returned from his wanderings, and saying to his father, “Don’t kill anything. I don’t want any calf.” “ I am never able,” he says of the Tahiti women, “ to account for the audacious grace of those women, who throw themselves upon the floor and stretch their supple limbs like tigresses, with a kind of imperial scorn of your onehorse proprieties.” In days of extreme poverty, not far removed from famine, in Tahiti, he tells us, “ I had also a boot with a suction in the toe ; there is dust in Papeete ; while I walked that boot loaded and discharged itself in a manner that amazed and amused a small mob of little natives who followed me in my free exhibition, advertising my shooting-boot gratuitously ” ; and so on to no end of instances, not easily detached from their context, but each expressing that careless, audacious irreverence, that aptness for fitting the higher conceptions and emotions with the associations of the lower, that sublime content with the ignominy and even squalor of the personal experiences lending themselves to literature, that confidence that the reader, if he is honest, will own to something similar, which distinguish California humor. Our author’s shooting-boot cannot miss its aim, because most people, at some time or other, have fired off similar dusty volleys from the same ordnance. “ One-horse proprieties ” is preciously imaginative ; and no comment can heighten the effect of the burlesquing, unregretful, consequence-defying worthlessness of the prodigal son’s, “ Don’t kill anything. I don’t want any calf.” It all strikes us as the drollery of a small number of good fellows who know each other familiarly, and feel that nothing they say will be lost or misunderstood in their circle. It was a stroke of genius in Mr. Clemens to address his familiar jocosities to the public as confidentdently as to his nearest friend; this is his characteristic attitude, and that of the other Californians who are merely humorists : it is Mr. Stoddard’s attitude so far as he is a humorist ; but then he is a poet besides ; and in this he differs in worldwide degree from Mark Twain, who, whatever his enemies may say of him, is at least not a poet.
There is a story of shipwreck in the first chapter of the South-Sea Idyls which will not let us say that Mr. Stoddard has not dramatic faculty; but we may safely say that it is not the chief faculty in him, as it is in Mr. Harte, who is also humorist and poet. Mr. Harte seems always drawn onward by his own strong feeling of the dramatic element in what he does ; whereas Mr. Stoddard seems not to seek any dramatic effect, and if one falls in his leisurely, discursive way, to be rather surprised at it himself. But the whole tendency and performance of the two are as diverse as their material, — Mr. Harte seeking his material in the gulches and cañons and bars and flats of the sierras, and Mr. Stoddard finding his in the shadow of the breadfruit-trees and cocoa-palms of
The figures in his desultory, dreamy sketches are nowhere sharply outlined, but melt into the mellow atmosphere, and emerge from it as they will, and seem often as elusive of the author as of the reader, both of whom we fancy asking with equal doubt whether this fantastic record of vagrant life in Hawaii is half or wholly fabulous, and placidly giving it up in mutual content and the common hope that a thing so pleasant must also be true. For ourselves, we do not know how much or how little of it we receive as fact; and indeed it matters no great deal what actually happened among the things set down herewith such indifference to general statement and order of narration. You must rest satisfied with your inference that at several times Mr. Stoddard visited Tahiti and the islands of the Hawaiian group ; for there is no historical resumé of the facts of his goings or comings, more than there is of the Howadji’s in Nile Notes, a book ot which, certainly not by force of literary resemblance, the South-Sea Idyls make you think. They make you think too, by their subject and their vagueness, of Herman Melville’s Omoo ; and we do not say but we should like a little more structure in the book, something more of bone as well as marrow, of muscle as well as nerve. However, the tone for writing about the equatorial, lotuseating lands has been set, and we are not sure but Mr. Stoddard gains a charm by holding to the traditional vagueness. Perhaps, indeed, the social conditions of Hawaii demand a certain degree of mystery from the tourist, and it is well for our souls that there should be kaleidoscopic arrangements of palms and surf and coral reefs, and lomi-lomi and hula-hula rather than the honesties of realistic art in his record. At any rate it is only glimpses of the vie intime that you get from Mr, Stoddard, humorous and poetic glimpses, full of truth, we dare say, but shimmery and evanescent; and no one need go to the Idyls ot the South Sea for information.
There are sixteen sketches in all, of which our readers ought to remember the best, namely, A Prodigal in Tahiti, which is one of the best pieces of light, humorous writing we know, and which we should not know where to match for certain qualities of bizarre, reckless melancholy and gentle drollery. We suggest very clumsily what will enforce itself, and we wish to remind the reader of a passage descriptive of the author’s latest moments of privation in Tahiti : —
“ I sought a place of shelter, or rather retirement, for the air is balm in that country. There was an old house in the middle of a grassy lawn on a by-street; two of its rooms were furnished with a few papers and books, and certain gentlemen who contribute to its support lounge in when they have leisure for reading or a chat. I grew to know the place familiarly. I stole a night’s lodging on its veranda in the shadow of a passion-vine ; but for fear of embarrassing some early student in pursuit of knowledge, I passed the second night on the floor of the dilapidated cook-house, where the ants covered me.
“ There was, in this very cook-house, a sink six feet in length and as wide as a coffin ; the third night I lay like a galvanized corpse with his lid off till a rat sought to devour me, when I took to the streets and walked till morning. By this time the president of the club, whose acquaintance I had the honor of, tendered me the free use of any portion of the premises that might be not otherwise engaged. With a gleam of hope I began my explorations. Up a narrow and winding stair I found a Spacious loft. It was like a mammoth tent, a solitary centre-pole its only ornament. Creeping into it on all-fours, I found a fragment of matting, a dry crust, an empty soda-bottle, — footprints on the sands of time.
“ ‘Poor soul! ’ I gasped, ‘ where did you come from? What did you come for? Whither, O, whither, have you flown ?’ ....
“At either end of the building an open window admitted the tip of a banana-leaf ; up their green ribs the sprightly mouse careered. I broke the backbones of these banana-leaves, though they were the joy of my soul and would have adorned the choicest conservatory in the land. Day was equally unprofitable to me. My best friends said, ‘ Why not return to California ? ’ Every one I met invited me to leave the country at my earliest convenience. The American consul secured me a passage, to be settled for at home, and my career in that latitude was evidently at an end. In my superfluous confidence in humanity, I had announced myself as a correspondent for the press. It was quite necessary that I should give some plausible reason for making my appearance in Tahiti friendless and poor. Therefore, I said plainly, ‘ I am a correspondent, friendless and poor,’ believing that any one would see truth in the face of it, with half an eye. ‘Prove it,’ said one who knew more ot the world than I. Then flashed upon me the alarming fact that I could n’t prove it, having nothing whatever in my possession referring to it in the slightest degree. It was a fatal mistake that might easily have been avoided, but was too well established to be rectified.”
This, which is so delightful, is of a piece with very much in the book. Character, coffee-colored or white, is always effectively, though always very quietly suggested. Here, for example, is a portrait of the first officer of the French transport in which the author once voyaged to Tahiti:
.... “ A tall, slim fellow, with a warlike beard, and very soft, dark eyes, whose pupils seemed to be floating aimlessly about under the shelter of long lashes. His face was in a perpetual dispute with itself, and I never knew which was the right or the wrong side of him. Bwas the happy possessor of a tight little African, known as Nero, although I always looked upon him as so much Jamaica ginger..... In the equatorial seas, while we sailed to the measure of the Ancient Mariner, Bsummoned Nero to the sacrifice, and having tortured him to the extent of his wits, there was a reconciliation more ludicrous than any other scene in the farce. It was at such moments that B-’s eyes literally swam, when even his beard wilted, while he told of the thousand pathetic eras in Nero’s life, when he might have had his liberty, but found the service of his master more beguiling ; of the adventures by flood and field, where Bwas distinguishing himself, yet at his side, through thick and thin, struggled the faithful Nero. Thus Bwarmed himself at the fire his own enthusiasm had kindled on the altar of self-love, and every moment added to his fervor. It was the yellowfever, and the cholera, and the smallpox, that were powerless to separate that faithful slave from the agonizing bedside of his master. It was shipwreck, and famine, and the smallest visible salary, that seemed only to strengthen the ties that bound them the one to the other. Death — cruel death — alone could separate them; and Btook Nero by the throat and kissed him passionately upon his sooty cheek, and the floating eyes came to a stand-still with an expression of virtuous defiance that was calculated to put all conventionalities to the blush. We were awed by the magnanimity of such conduct, until we got thoroughly used to it, and then we were simply entertained. We kept looking forward to the conclusion of the scene, which usually followed in the course of half an hour. Bhaving fondled Nero to his heart’s content, and Nero having become somewhat bored, there was sure to arise some mild disturbance, aggravated by both parties, and B-, believing he had endured as much as any Frenchman and first officer is expected to endure without resentment, suddenly rises, and, seizing Nero by the short, wiry moss of his scalp, kicks him deliberately from the. cabin, and returns to us bursting with indignation. This domestic equinox we soon grew fond of, and having become familiar with all its signals of approach we watched with agreeable interest the inevitable climax.”
The longest of the idyls is called Chumming with a Savage, in which is related the history of the author’s romantic friendship with a Tahitan boy, whom he invited afterwards to California to be converted, and who pined away with homesickness and had to be sent back to Tahiti, yet found himself tainted with the ennui of civilization amid his native scenes, and, seeking to return to California in his canoe, was lost at sea, It is lightly told, but with such an undertone of pathos that the reader’s smile never broadens into a laugh. The conversion of Kána-aná prospered superficially, but when it seemed well advanced he relapsed into idolatry, and said his prayers to the wooden Indian of a tobacconist.
“ When he arrived, I took him right to my room and began my missionary work. I tried to make all the people love him, but I’m afraid they found it hard work. He was n’t half so interesting up here, anyhow I seemed to have been regarding him through chromatic glasses, which glasses being suddenly removed, I found a little, dark-skinned savage, whose clothes fitted him horribly, and appeared to have no business there. Boots about twice too long, the toes being heavily charged with wadding ; in fact, he looked perfectly miserable, and I ’ve no doubt he felt so. How he had been studying English on the voyage up ! He wanted to be a great linguist, and had begun in good earnest. He said ‘ good mornin” as boldly as possible about seven P. M., and invariably spoke of the women of America as ‘him.’ He had an insane desire to spell, and started spelling-matches with everybody, at the most inappropriate hours and inconvenient places..... What an experience I had, educating my little savage ! Walking him in the street by the hour ; answering questions on all possible subjects ; spelling up and down the blocks ; spelling from the centre of the city to the suburbs and back again, and around it; spelling one another at spelling, — two latter-day peripatetics on dress parade, passing to and fro in high and serene strata of philosophy, alike unconscious of the rudely gazing and insolent citizens, or the tedious calls of labor. A spell was over us; we ran into all sorts of people, and trod on many a corn, loafing about in this way. Some of the victims objected in harsh and sinful language. I found Kánaaná had so far advanced in the acquirement of our mellifluous tongue as to be very successful in returning their salutes, I had the greatest difficulty in convincing him of the enormity of his error. The little convert thought it was our mode of greeting strangers, equivalent to their more graceful and poetic password, Aloha, 1 Love to you.’ .... So we perambulated the streets aud the suburbs, daily growing into each other’s grace ; and I was thinking of the propriety of instituting a series of more extended excursions, when I began to realize that my guest was losing interest in our wonderful city and the possible magnitude of her future.
“ He grew silent and melancholy; he quit spelling entirely, or only indulged in rare and fitful (I am pained to add, fruitless) attempts. . . . The circus failed to revive him ; the beauty of our young women he regarded without interest. He was less devout than at first, when he used to insist upon entering every church wc came to and sitting a few moments, though frequently we were the sole occupants of the building..... I began to suspect the occasion of his malady : he believed himself bewitched or accursed of some one, — a common superstition with the dark races. This revelation filled me with alarm ; for he would think nothing of lying down to die under the impression that it was his fate, and no medicine under the heaven could touch him further. I began telling him of iny discovery, begging his secret from him. In vain I besought him. ‘It was his trouble ; he must go back !1 ”
Kána-aná’s friend very affectingly relates how he learned the circumstances of his death in another visit to the boy’s native land. He is one of many of his gentle race whom Mr, Stoddard likes to sketch ; he is the best, and after him comes Joe of Lahaina, whom his friend saw last at Molokai. This is the little island to which the government banishes the victims of that terrible leprosy of Hawaii, and there in a pretty village the hopeless creatures live and die by inches.
“ A brisk ride of a couple of miles across the breadth of the peninsula brought me to the gate of the keeper of the settlement, and there I dismounted, and hastened into the house, to be rid of the curious crowd that had gathered to receive me..... I used to sit by the window and see the processions of the less afflicted come for little measures of milk, morning and evening. . . . . And it was a constant entertainment to watch the progress of events in that singular little world of doomed spirits. They were not unhappy. I used to hear them singing every evening: their souls were singing while their bodies were falling rapidly to dust. They continued to play their games, as well as they could play them with the loss of a finger-joint or a toe, from week to week : it is thus gradually and thus slowly that they died, feeling their voices growing fainter and their strength less, as the idle days passed over them and swept them to the tomb.
“Sitting at the window on the second evening, as the patients came up for milk, I observed one of them watching me intently, and apparently trying to make me understand something or other, but what that something was I could not guess, lie rushed to the keeper and talked excitedly with him for a moment, and then withdrew to one side of the gate and waited till the others were served with their milk, still watching me all the while..... There was a face I could not have recognized as anything friendly or human. Knots of flesh stood out upon it ; sear upon scar disfigured it. The expression was like that of a mummy, stony and withered. The outlines of a youthful figure were preserved, but the hands and feet were pitiful to look at. What was this ogre that knew me and loved me still ?
“ He soon told me who he had once been, but was no longer. Our little, unfortunate ‘Joe,’ my Lahaina charge. In his case the disease had spread with fearful rapidity: the keeper thought he could hardly survive the year. Many linger year after year, and cannot die ; but Joe was more fortunate. His life had been brief and passionate, and death was now hastening hint to his dissolution.
“Joe was forbidden to come near me, so he crouched down by the fence, and pressing his hands between the pickets sifted the dust at my feet, while he wailed In a low voice, and called me over and over, ‘ dear friend,’ ‘ good friend,’ and ‘ master.’ ....
“ How I wanted to get close to him ! but I dared not; so we sat there with the slats of the fence between us, while we talked very long in the twilight; and I was glad when it grew so dark that I could no longer see his face, — his terrible face, that came to kill the memory of his former beauty ! .... ‘ Sing for me, Joe,’ said I ; and Joe, still crouching on the other side of the lattice, sang some of his old songs. One of them, a popular melody, was echoed through the little settlement, where faint voices caught up the chorus, and the night was wildly and weirdly musical. We walked by the sea next day, and the day following that, Joe taking pains to stay on the leeward side of me, — he was so careful to keep the knowledge of his fate uppermost in his mind: how could I dismiss it from ray own, when it was branded in his countenance? The desolated beauty ofhis face plead for measureless pity, and I gave it, out of my prodigality, yet felt that I could not begin to give sufficient..... In leaving the leper village, I had concluded to say nothing to Joe, other than the usual 1 aloha,’ at night, when I could ride off, in the darkness, and sleeping at the foot of the cliff, ascend it in the first light of morning, and get well on my journey before the heat of the day. We took a last walk by the rocks on the shore ; heard the sea breathing its long breath under the hollow cones of lava, with a noise like a giant leper in his asthmatic agony. Joe heard it, and laughed a little, and then grew silent ; and finally said he wanted to leave the place,—he hated it; he loved Lahaina dearly : how was everybody in Lahaina?—a question he had asked me hourly since my arrival.
“ When night came I asked Joe to sing, as usual ; so he gathered his mates about him, and they sang the songs I liked best. The voices rang, sweeter than ever, up from the group of singers congregated a few rods off, in the darkness ; and while they sang, my horse was saddled, and I quietly bade adieu to my dear friends, the keepers, and mounting, walked the horse slowly up the grass-grown road. I shall never sec little Joe again, with his pitiful face, growing gradually as dreadful as a cobra’s and almost as fascinating in its hideousness. I waited a little way off, in the darkness, — waited and listened, till the last song was ended, and I knew he would be looking for me to say Good night. But he did n’t find me ; and he will never again find me in this life, for I left him sitting in the dark door of his sepulchre, —sitting and singing in the mouth of his grave, — clothed all in death.”
These passages, tragically effective as they are apart from the context, lose much in their separation ; for Mr. Stoddard’s peculiar spirit is diffused through every line of his book. He has apparently not written for the convenience of the reviewer eager for exemplary extracts, and we shrink somewhat from presenting any fragment as illustrative of his graphic power. Here, however, is one picture out of innumerable as good or better : —
“ We were in the tropics. You would have known it with your eyes shut; the whole wonderful atmosphere confessed it. But, with your eyes open, those white birds, sailing like snow-flakes through the immaculate blue heavens, with tail-feathers like bur pennant ; the floating gardens of the sea, through which we had been ruthlessly ploughing for a couple of days back ; the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, — all were proofs positive of our latitude.
“ What a sunrise it was on that morning ! Yet I stood with my back to it, looking west; for there I saw, firstly, the foam on the reef — as crimson as blood—falling over the wine-stained waves ; then it changed as the sun ascended, like clouds of golden powder, indescribably magnificent, shaken and scattered upon the silver snow-drifts of the coral reef, dazzling to behold, and continually changing.
“ Beyond it, in the still water, was reflected a long, narrow strip of beach; above it, green pastures and umbrageous groves, with native huts, like great birds’nests, half hidden among them ; and the weird, slender cocoa-palms were there, — those exclamation-points in the poetry of tropic landscape. All this lay slumbering securely between high walls of verdure ; while at the upper end, where the valley was like a niche set in the green glorious mountains, two waterfalls floated downward like smoke-columns on a heavy morning.”
After the sketch of A Prodigal in Tahiti, we think the most finished of the sketches are In a Transport, already mentioned, and My South-Sea Show. The former is comfortably tangible and tenable as a real experience of the author’s, and it is full of airy humor, by which the reader is made a partner of the voyage, and the amused companion of those amiable French midshipmen and lieutenants; whereas, humorous and pathetic as is the notion of the author’s carrying three little Polynesians to California, where one of them died from the efforts of a good soul for his conversion, imagining that her prayers were spells to his mortal hurt, it is all so little palpable as to be a kind of trouble, in spite of the subtle grace with which its fantastic substance is managed. A very lovely little sketch, sympathetically reverent and touched with the sweetest humor, is that of the missionary life of Père Fidelia and Père Amabilis, the gentle and devoted young priests whose friendship is described in The Chapel of the Palms.
We welcome Mr. Stoddard’s book as a real addition to the stock of refined pleasures, and a contribution to our literature without which it would be sensibly poorer. It is fitly named, for it is at once a series of humorous travel-sketches and of charming poems.
— The tendency now manifest for confining popular novels to the compass of a single volume each is a great improvement upon the old license which allowed the author a choice of expanding his matter into two, three, and even ten volumes ; and it is praiseworthy, not only as a tendency favoring the best ends of the art of fiction, but also as producing works which inflict less trash upon the careful critic than those of greater bore can emit. There are even cases, we think, in which the single volume itself might be dispensed with. Without going so far as to include among these Dr. Smart’s Driven from the Path, we must still, in conscience, give it as our opinion that it contains very little worthy of preservation. It purports to describe the life of a young Scotchman, one Lew Gordon, who abandons his home to escape the tyranny of an unnatural mother and unjustly favored brother, with the purpose of becoming a sailor. He retains a love for his mother, and imagines that he will some day bring her to a perception of his radical goodness ; but, returning home, after four years at sea, he finds her unchanged. He then has an interview with his disagreeable brother, who treats him to a disquisition of seven pages on the use of tobacco, and an entire chapter on religion. Partially as a result of his brother’s loquacity, we suppose, Lew goes off to California, where he becomes involved in gold-mining and gambling,—the only activities which writers of fiction have thus far chosen to touch upon as connected with that quarter of the world. There he meets an interesting renegade, known as Red-Shirted Baldy, who is drawn with some clearness and mastery. Baldy, after commissioning Lew to look up his relatives in New York, if anything should happen to himself, is conveniently murdered on a prospecting expedition in Southern California; leaving a sum of ten thousand dollars invested for Lew’s benefit. After terrific adventures, Lew gets out of Southern California, and repairs to New York, where he finds Baldy’s niece, Dora Raymond, and likewise his disagreeable brother, who is paying court to her. Lew has cherished a passion all this time for a certain Lizzie, at home ; but returning thither, he finds that she has been misled and ruined by the disagreeable brother. After due despair, he comes back to America, takes up arms in the Union cause, and meets in battle his brother, who is a Rebel colonel. He shoots at his brother, who kills at that instant by a rifle-ball from somebody else, — a fact which Lew does not distinctly ascertain at the time. He now reproaches himself as a fratricide ; but, again returning to Scotland, he finds his mother dead, and learns, moreover, that she was not his mother at all. On this, he sails for New York, “ positively for the last time,” and marries Dora ; though, curiously enough, he retains the name of Gordon, to which he has no right, as we have seen. We have given this careful abstract of the book, to show that, whatever be the causes of its mediocrity, the author is not at a loss for complications of circumstance. The idea embodied in so queer a mass of incident seems to be, that a man is apt to have a different career from that which he projects in boyhood. Lew cannot demonstrate his love for his mother, cannot marry Lizzie, and as it appears cannot kill his brother ; he is “ driven from the path ” at every point. But this idea becomes worthless, because it is not artistically developed. There is more incident than the author can hold together, and he introduces many long yarns from minor characters, which are wholly irrelevant. There is something fresh in the picture of garrison life and Indian diplomacy in the West ; and in the course of the four hundred and sixty octavo pages there are two on three not unskilful touches of characterization ; but the representation is for the most part so literal and uninspired as to sink the whole into the plane of a muddy vulgarity. The author hints that he could have made the story better by paying a less strict allegiance to fact than that which he has observed ; and we cannot but hope that in any future effort, he will make all the improvements that occur to him, and not satisfy himself with the feeble declaration that he could have done better had he chosen to.
— But at least Dr. Smart has the appearance of taking an interest in his narrative, while one can hardly concede that the author of The Dead Marquise has gone even thus far toward a successful consummation. The motif of the story is sufficiently good, and had the whole been well wrought out it would have taken its place at once on a much higher plane than that on which the novel just noticed moves. A certain Marquise, forced to disguise herself and remain in humble lodgings at Paris, in the Reign of Terror, comes to look upon life in a new way, and gradually falls in love with a poor young painter in a garret opposite her own. She had previously been betrothed to a baron, her cousin, Gervais de Montfauçon. Honorable obligation and the pride of caste now oppose themselves to the new inclination of her heart; but before the inward conflict is decided, she is discovered and arrested by the republicans. On this, the young painter, Flavian, contrives also to be arrested. They meet once in the prison, and rejoice in the mutual consciousness of their love ; soon after which the liberation takes place. The Marquise is delivered, but Flavian goes to the guillotine in the very last tumbril which goes at all. The Marquise retires to her recovered château, lives unwedded, and occupies her last years in writing out this her history. The conception of character and incident is feeble in the details, and the story drags on as if it had in very deed been penned by an old courtlady, who had come to the task without any more literary skill than might have insensibly communicated itself to her from industrious novel-reading through an extended lifetime. The revolutionary incidents are described in a particularly dry and dreary manner ; and even the episodical introduction of Bonaparte, as a young artilleryofficer in dingy uniform, with his hands precociously folded behind his back, and a piercing eye, fails to make any satisfactory impression. On the whole, it may be doubted whether anything is accomplished toward the improvement of American fiction jn the production of a book so evidently an outgrowth from constant absorption of second-rate French romances, — and so weak an outgrowth at that.
— Romance of Old Court Life in France consists of a succession of scenes from the lives of French monarchs through a period of two centuries, — from the accession of Francis I. to the throne, down to the death of Louis Quatorze, — and drawn with some vigor and at least a laudable brevity. Such a work can hardly pretend to anything like artistic unity; but it is a convenient compend of more memoir-history than the general reader would find it possible to take in detail. If the authoress aimed at anything like finished literary result, she would have done bettter to confine herself to a shorter range of subject, and to have entered more skilfully into characterization. As it is, the characters of the various distinguished actors are summed up in a terse, cut-anddried manner that admits of no appeal, and the chief interest therefore devolves upon exciting incident, intrigue, and picturesque surrounding. We are far from hinting any improper purpose in the book ; we would suggest only that subjects ot the kind so frequent in these scenes, where Diane de Poitiers, Louise de la Vallière, De Montespan, and De Maintenon figure largely, reconcile themselves better with the laws of ethics and aesthetics if elevated to the rank of intellectual studies, and allowed to present their purely sensuous, scenic, and picturesque aspect only in subordination,
—We have been at some pains to examine the novel entitled Pemberton, both on account of the confident clamor of praise with which numerous daily papers have noticed it, and because it is evidently a well-intentioned endeavor. The result of this examination, however, is discouraging. Two rather wooden young women, one of them in love with Major André, the other with Pemberton, — a vacillating patriot of no earthly importance or interest as here presented ; a good Quaker ; a spy who appears as a woman, known as Captain Fanny; several historical personages, including Washington and Arnold ; and various lifeless supernumeraries, — constitute the ingredients of the volume. And it must be added that they are not very successfully combined. There is but little to attract in the plot, which moves languidly ; the style is without force ; and the language of the persons is commonplace to the last degree. Even in Thackeray’s Virginians one suffers a little from the somewhat ordinary representation of so eminent a character as Washington’s; but the feebleness of his appearance in Mr. Peterson’s book is pitiable. The great obstacle in the way of the author’s success is, it seems to us, a sheer lack of unifying and creative imagination. His conception, to begin with, lacks vigor; and in the execution he wavers between abject literalism of representation ancl a purposeless romantic hollowness. There is some doubt, in our own mind, whether the history of the Revolution will ever supply the novelist of to-day with material fitted to his peculiar exigencies. The events and men of that period, in consideration of the idealized atmosphere through which we generally view them, would perhaps yield themselves up more thoroughly to the highest type of drama, which has the extreme resource of verse and poetic diction at its command. But it is certain that if anything good ever is to be made out of these passages in our history in the novel form, it will only be through the operation of some more fervent and genuine poetic imagination than has as yet applied itself to the task.
— Dr, Boyland, in his Six Months under the Red Cross, has had the fortune to write a book of the rarest kind in literature, a book with apparently no more literary premeditation than Pepys’s Diary, or Benvenuto Cellini’s autobiography, and having a simplicity, straightforwardness, and business-like clearness that refreshes the jaded critical sense at every moment. He sets down his surgical experience with an exactness that we imagine must commend his reminiscences to his profession ; but his value to us is the vigor with which he gives the conditions of this experience, from the time he leaves Paris amidst the arrogant enthusiasm of the French, army and people, till, alter the long siege of Metz and the capitulation of the starved garrison, he rides into the Prussian lines at Versailles. The criminal want of sanitary preparation in the French service, the insubordination of the men, the laxity of the officers, and the drunkenness of both, the childish insolence of the people and National Guard of Metz, the dubious inaction and secrecy of Bazaine, the vainglorious, helpless bravery of all, the joyfullv credited lies, the uncertainty, and the angry despair settling at last upon city and army, make this peculiarly a picture of the Fran co - Prussian war ; but it is even more to be prized as a picture of War in its large and general sense, and of its horrors as they exist with all the mitigations of our time. It is still war, with hardly a feature changed, hardly a trait softened, and here painted with a distinctness that would be very hard to match. In fine, it is such a picture of war as you may, perhaps, get your soldier-friend to give in some singularly propitious mood, but for which the civil imagination mostly hungers in vain amongst the literary records of war, — the kind of detail being here without which statements of facts are vague and dim. Dr. Boyland gives all with a surgeon’s nerve and with a graphic force of which we like to believe he is unconscious. We shall by no means do justice to his fulness by the extracts we have room for, and still less shall we indicate the fluent rapidity of his narrative, in which the events follow each other merely in the order of their occurrence, but seem none of them confused or out of place.
The most pleasing episode of Dr. Boyland’s life in Metz was his night at the convent of Sacré Cœur, where he dined with the abbess, and riding back to the city found the gate shut, and so was obliged to return to the convent and implore the protection of the sisters. It is very prettily told, but the reader must go to the book for this humor of war, as he must likewise for its grisliest horror in the description of the horse-butcher, a personage almost intolerably realized at his occupation. It is a glimpse only less terrible that the author gives of the horses of the cavalry in the last days of the siege, “ dying at their stakes, or held in useless fetters, for, alas ! they little thought of running away. In vain did these noble animals gnaw the bark of trees and the branches, still covered with dead leaves, and dragging in the filth of the camps. They would also eat each other’s tails off, as if to deceive their craving hunger. We saw them often — mere skeletons, with the skin worn off in many places — hang their heads in weariness, their eves sunken and almost out, and fall down in the mud.”
The relentless fidelity with which the squalid misery of the camp and the hospital is portrayed, also brings home to the reader many incidents of battle in their proper hideousness. Near Woippy a Prussian cavalry regiment charged a French position. “ On they came, swift as the wind and shouting fiercely. They were charging the trench. Our soldiers rose up, and having a few more rounds left, poured several volleys into them, while the battery gave them a broadside. It was frightful to see them falling, which the light caused by the battery enabled us to do. They were unable to arrive, and the few that remained turned back. Three only, who tempted death, dashed up and mounted the outwork. They were riddled with bullets ; and one (horse and rider) that had reached the top fell over into the trench, crushing to death a soldier standing but a few feet from me, and to whom I had just been talking. The rumble caused as this heavy mass rolled suddenly down the embankment somewhat startled me. I examined the man to see if any life was left in him. His whole side was torn open, stomach and heart protruding, while the skull was fractured in several places and the legs well shot. The horse had come off no better. We climbed over this mass of bleeding flesh, and went on in the direction of the farm.”
Here is another of these sketches, which, perhaps, even more vividly seizes the imagination : “ Behind St. Barbe is a churchyard, in which, with the aid of my fieldglass, I could clearly make out a body of Prussian troops. In an instant more I saw the French rise up on all sides, completely surrounding the churchyard, The Prussians thrust the butts of their muskets in the air, in sign of surrender. Our soldiers did not heed this, but shot them down without mercy. I could hear almost each report separately, observe the flash, and see the man fall.”
Of other characteristic features of war there arc abundant sketches, often too slight, however, for transfer thither, and, at times, not detachable from too long a context. But here is one that we find extremely touching and effective; the locality being a village to which the wounded were taken after Gravelotte : “ We drove into Châtel St. Germain. Almost the first building was the church, from whose steeple, dark as it was, we could see our flag flying, while before the door were stationed four of our fourgons. On entering the church we found it full of wounded, bleeding and groaning ; no straw had been scattered about, and they seemed to suffer intensely. None of these had been dressed, and had evidently been hours in that condition, as the clotted blood plainly showed..... After attending to these, I crossed the street and entered a house which was likewise filled with wounded, whom I proceeded to relieve. Most of them were on the first floor. — the house being of wood and but one story high. The dead, dying, and wounded were huddled together in one large room with a door. I walked to this and opened it. Alone on the floor, in a small room, lay a man, whom I supposed from his position to be wounded ; he was sitting half up, leaning on his right hand ; his head was sunken upon his breast. Going up to him I said, ‘ Well, my man, where are you wounded ?’ He made no reply. I called fur a lantern. The feeble light shone upon a face sad to behold. The man, a sergeant, was dead. His eves, glaring from their sockets, were fixed intently upon the ground, while his lips were parted as if he were articulating a name. In his left hand he held something clutched tightly. I opened it and found a woman’s portrait.”
Not less characteristic and impressive is this incident of the same night : “ Observing a high wall with a little Gothic portal, through which light was streaming, I rode thither, got off my horse, and, leading him behind me, entered. The path led up through a churchyard to a chapel. About half-way tip the path, and on a flat tomb, I saw a barrel from which wine was oozing ; a tin cup and a candle were lying upon the ground beside it. There was no sign of any living being. As I was thirsty, I drank of the wine, and taking the light passed on to the chapel, whose walls were covered with moss and ivy. The door was open. It was midnight. I entered, taking the horse along with me.
“ A few French soldiers were lying upon the straw, which some one had scattered about for them. Upon examining them I found them all dead.
“ I tied my horse in the sacristy, and taking some straw from under the dead men, put it in one of the pews, where I lay down, and being worn out with the fatigue and exertion of the day, was soon asleep. Just near me, others were sleeping the sleep that knows no waking.”
At another time, in a little hamlet near Metz, Dr. Boyland tried to enter some of the village houses, but found them locked : “One of these I helped the men break in ; on entering we found the house empty. On the floor of the cellar we found an old woman with her throat cut from ear to ear. Near by was a wine-cask empty. We conjectured that she had been murdered by some soldiers in order to get the wine.
“ Leaving this revolting scene, we crossed the street and went into the church. This was in good order, and the holy light was faintly burning above the altar. Its sole occupants were two dead captains. They were lying outside the chancel, and had evidently been brought there wounded. Two chairs had been thrown down, and they were leaning, half sitting up, against the backs of these. They seemed to have been left thus upon the cold stone floor. The resignation depicted in the face of one of them touched me ; he had his hands folded in his lap, and the expression was soft and lifelike. He was an old man, and on his breast hung many a medal, doubtless well deserved. He had been wounded in the left temporal region, but was not in the least disfigured, although his weather-beaten and wrinkled forehead was bloodstained.”
How terrible, how affecting, is all this, and how simply and poignantly it is told !
But it would be unjust to his book to leave the reader with the impression that it is merely a series of sketches, however powerful. It is not only a careful record of surgical experience, but a comment full of instruction upon the mismanagement of the French army, especially at Metz, where Dr. Boyland shared the common suspicion of Bazainc.
— In the prefaces to his little book, the author of Church and State in the United States tells us that one portion of it was written to be published in the German language for the information of Germans, while others were compiled at the request of Prince Bismarck, and that by Americans “it should be regarded as a rudimentary essay upon topics with which they may be presumed to be familiar.” But things which “everybody ought to know ” are certain to be those about which most people have vague “ impressions,” rather than definite knowledge, and therefore we take great pleasure in saying that this is precisely one of the books which “ everybody ought to read,”for it is a terse, lucid, and interesting sketch of our principal religious bodies, and of the relations they at present hold to the state and to each other, as well as those which they have held in the past.
The book is divided into six sections or chapters, which again are conveniently subdivided into paragraphs with italicized headings, so that one knows just what one is going to read about ; and this to the hasty mind is a comfort not to be exaggerated. The first section gives “ The Provisions of the Constitution of the Laws of the United States concerning Religion.” The second treats of “ The Relations of Church and State before the Revolution.” The third is upon “The Theocratic Government in New England.” The fourth, “ The Relation of the Churches to the Laws.” The fifth tells us “ How Churches are constituted and supported” ; and the sixth brings together some 11 Incidental Relations of the State to Religion.” The treatise concludes with one appendix upon the American Thanksgiving, and another upon the German population of the United States. “ Familiar” as is the ground traversed by the author in these pages, we hope that few of our people will finish them without a great sigh of satisfaction, and a warm sentiment of gratitude that their lot is cast in a land where tins great and magnificent, this unique and — judging from all previous religious history—almost incredible blessing of religious freedom exists in all its fulness. Well as we know it, we do not realize it so perfectly but that a little review like the present is useful in making us feel how immense in this respect alone are the privileges of a political system which rests upon its citizens as lightly as so much gossamer, and which yet against its foes can become a coat of mail invulnerable.
We have but two faults to find with the Rev. Dr. Thompson’s book. The first is, that, from being prepared for a foreign market, perhaps, it is rather of couleur de rose. For instance, he says that the state, being “grounded in moral reasons and existing for moral ends,” has a right to suppress offences against the wellbeing of society, such as bigamy an d polygamy, the plea of conscience or religious liberty notwithstanding (pp. 125, 126). Why, then, do both the latter flourish so rankly in a valuable Territory under this very plea? As for Dr. Thompson’s assertion that Utah will never be admitted as a State while polygamy is permitted, — this seems to us by no means so sure, even if that were the question. The real question is, “ Why do the United States permit it even in a Territory ?” It can only be because the country, as a whole, has not made up its mind to stand on the Christian dogma, that “twain only can be one flesh,” i. e. that a man cannot have in any other relation but that of adultery a plurality of women.
Dr. Thompson speaks also of seven years as the ordinary length of time taken by candidates to prepare themselves for the ministry, and he says that “ a learned ministry is the strength of religion in America.” Perhaps that is why their strength looks at present so very much like weakness, for we very much doubt whether the majority of our ministers go through anything like such a curriculum as four years in a college and three in a divinity school would give them. It is probable that as a body they are greatly deficient even in their old-time Greek and Latin and Hebrew, while in the peculiar culture of the day — history and science — they are conspicuously deficient, and keep on in their old methods of divinity-school preaching precisely as if these two elements, now so portentously arrayed against them, had never come into existence. He makes no mention either of the wretched support of the great body of American clergy, which is, no doubt, the chief cause of their deficiencies in ability and education. Again, Dr. Thompson says that the clergy “ as a body have been eminently loyal and patriotic,” and he gives an instance of service rendered to the military arm of the government in his own church, the Broadway Tabernacle. But this is a knife which cut both ways, for the Southern Clergy were equally, if not more, loyal and devoted to the Confederate government ; and the fanaticism of the Southern women for their “ cause” is largely attributed to their faith in the utterances of their preachers, who continually told them that the Bible was on their side on the slavery question, and therefore that God must be so. To say that clergymen as a body are loyal to the government over them is merely to say that they are “men of like passions with ourselves.” They are probably kind fathers, also, but surely that is no merit. There are various other little instances ot that loose way of talking common to the good-natured and catholicminded Henry Ward Beecher school of Congregationalist. Dr. Thompson is a Congregationalist, and very naturally displays a miid partiality for his own denomination in his little book. As for the Roman Catholics, Dr. Thompson sees that they are an enemy to be feared, evidently, and his anxieties many of his Protestant readers will share. All that can really be said on the subject is, however, that having so much the start of them, it will be the fault of disunited Potestautism itself if they ever become the dominant religious body of this country. Certainly we are indebted to Dr. Thompson for telling us some of their ways of evading the laws relating to property held for religious purposes.
— As in all good books by good writers, the dedication and preface of Mr. Plamerton’s Intellectual Life are well worth reading. The latter contains a valuable sentence, which may serve as a definition of the title : “ The essence of intellectual living does not reside in extent of science or in perfection of expression, but in the constant preference for higher thoughts over lower thoughts.” This, of course, contains the same general conception as Matthew Arnold’s “ Culture,” or one nearly akin to it, with the important difference; between the writers, that Mr. Arnold says, “ Stupid brutes, you ought to be cultivated, and you’re not”; Mr. Hamerton, “Cannot I persuade you to lead an intellectual life?” The aim is not to make men and women select any special calling or special study, or even any particular practical mode of life, but to cultivate certain habits of thought, both in and out of professions and studies, which shall stimulate, develop, and purify the intellect as a whole.
Now, while sympathizing entirely with tin’s aim, and with Arnold’s indignation at want of culture, we feel that whether the cultivation of the higher thoughts be within the power of every man or not, by no means every man can recognize the distinctions which these writers do. Mr. Arnold scolds at Philistines. Well, why not? Did not the Philistines capture the ark? Do not the Davids of the present day, harp and all, find Ashdod and Gaza very comfortable cities to live in, while the homes of culture experience very short commons ? Mr. Hamerton has “the conviction that the intellectual life is really within the reach of every one who earnestly desires it. But how for those who do not ? This charming book seems to assume that all do. Yet many men of sound heads, warm hearts, and pure lives, nay, with sometimes keen intellect and quaint fancy, do not know what you mean by higher and lower thoughts ; they do not see why a photograph of the Roman Forum or the Mauvais Pas is better worth having than one of the Burnt District or Hambletonian Judge. There is something on this point in Mr. Hamerton’s Part XI. Letter IV., “ To an energetic and successful cotton manufacturer.” But we could wish he had given ns a letter, “To a a friend who professed himself perplexed by the word 1 culture.’”
After the preface we are especially struck and pleased with the practical nature of the whole book. The difficulties noticed and answered are such as really occur in life, and such as have deterred many men of most refined and powerful minds from higher thoughts. We specially commend Part III. Letter II., “To an undisciplined writer ” ; Part III. Letter X., “To a student who complained of a defective memory” ; the letters in Part IX., “ On Society and Solitude ” ; and Part X., Letter IV., “ To the friend of a man of high culture who produced nothing.’
In Part III., “ On Education,” are two or three very striking letters on the subject of the study of modern languages. Mr. Hamcrtou is especially qualified both bytaste and study to speak on this subject, as will be seen in a very interesting sketch of his life in a recent number of our contemporary, Old and New. He states several propositions as the result of his experience, which he admits are discouraging, but insists on their truth. The gist of them is, that the acquisition of even one foreign language perfectly is possible only in very peculiar circumstances, almost always involving loss in your own, and that even correct — as less than perfect — acquaintance with one — still more two — is arduous, and hampered with many difficulties and drawbacks. He relates, in this connection, many amusing anecdotes, and gives a most laughable account of how a Frenchman read Tennyson.
Certainly this result is very discouraging ; and it is made still more so by the evidently unfavorable opinion which the author has of the study of the ancient languages. Indeed, we cannot help feeling that the bestansu er to all he says about Latin and Greek is, “You never studied them enough to know.” And this has nothing to do with the fact that Mr. Hamerton did not go to Oxford or Cambridge ; for neither did George Grate. But really, this book, so strong in its illustrations of the beauty of the intellectual life, is enough to prevent any one from entering on that phase of it which is concerned with language.
The case seems to be this : the author is far too fastidious. His “perfection” in linguistic knowledge must be far beyond that of many cultivated natives ; and his “correctness” would involve a teasing, belittling study of comparatively unimportant points; exactly the sort of study suited to Latin and Greek, when the life and soul of the nations spoke through the enclitics and the subjunctives, but, as it seems to us, otherwise in languages constructed on synthetic principles, like those of Western Europe to-day. But apart from his setting his standard too high it seems — and vet it is incredible in a man of such intellectual vigor — that he has not caught the notion of what is called the genius of another tongue ; how, after a certain amount of grammatical study, and practice with books and pen, the mind seems to leap all at once to a grand induction, from which the language as a whole, except in a few queer idioms, follows by an almost mathematical sequence. We can appeal confidently to the experience of many a student at college, who after months, possibly years, of bcfogged drudgery, suddenly “ had Greek come to him,” and felt that he was possessed thenceforth of an unsurpassed intellectual treasure.
On the subject of the cultivation of the female intellect, our author is well worth studying. His dedication alone indicates his respect and regard for the mind of women ; but in his excellent Part VII., he does not hesitate to draw, with a firm hand, what he conceives to be the dividing lines of the masculine and feminine intellects. We specially commend to those who desire to cultivate the minds of both sexes by the same processes, certain remarks on pages 244 and 245, about the absence of intellectual initiative and of scientific curiosity in most women as distinguished from most men. Is he not right in asserting that most women, no matter how generously educated and warmly encouraged, stay where their teachers leave them, repeating, but not extending their information ; and that they rarely care to know the insides of things, or to ask the reason why ?
A single point more must suffice. In the earlier part of his book, the author dwells on the importance of freedom from party spirit in the intellectual life, the perfect willingness to accept truth whatever it may he, and the aversion he feels, and thinks all men should feel, to the position of an advocate of any view. This is a very common tone among the cultivated men in England now, and we think much to be regretted. Their doctrine appears to be that the student should go on indefinitely pursuing truth, accepting nothing as not possibly to be changed to-morrow, and as indifferent to what becomes of his views ; that all advocacy implies enmity to a possible change, and an attempt to check free discussion and investigation. Of course this theory is entirely inconsistent with anything like first principles of truth, to which touchstone all observation can be brought, and which, once recognized, are incapable of change. But without going so deep into the nature of things, Mr. Hamerton’s own theory of higher and lower objects of thought involves a belief in the repulsive and the attractive, the injurious and the beneficial, the corrupting and the depressing. The lover of the intellectual life will come sooner or later upon painful truths, humiliating truths, blasting truths ; these it is his duty by vigorous and persuasive advocacy to — not deny, not seek to ignore, but — combat, sap, kill, and to enlist all men in the same work. There are truths in the world of which men ought to be ashamed, and these the lover of higher thoughts should present in something other than a cold moonlight.
But the best commentary on all this doctrine of a judicial or rather indifferent temper about questions is found on pages 326-32S, where, discussing “solitude,” he bursts at last into one grand, truly oratorio sentence, nobly and rightfully disdaining, in the interests of real truth, all pretence of that silly impartiality which affects to see two sides when there is but one.
In conclusion, we wish Mr. Hamerton might be induced to pass some months — years would be better—in America, and write a few chapters on the peculiar hindrances and opportunities of the intellectual life here. His frequent and cordial tributes to our honored and lost Greenough show that he is entirely prepared to appreciate our efforts for culture.
— American readers will perhaps be able to judge how far they would be edified by Dr. Engländer’s Abolition of the State from a few extracts, the italics being our own. “ I am not free so long as I accept the standard of my rights and of my duties from any other, even if the other one should call himself the majority of society” (p. 35). “ Laws should only be binding on that party orfraction of a party which specially acknowledged them” (p. 37). “ Every class hopes that when the war is over the law will remain with it..... Only a small knot of our governable men desires that in the universal struggle for the post of law-giver, the law itself may be broken up, and that people may no more be made happy or be governed by act of Parliament, .... and that with the abolition of written laws authority itself may cease to exist, and mankind awake to self-consciousness and morality ” (p. 46). “ Must I, a single individual, by the foolish abstraction of popular sovereignty, be content with things which I regard as false, and which drive me back a century ? May it not be allowed for a hundred individuals to band themselves together in unrestrained liberty, while another hundred continue under the old system of legal guardianship ? Away with the notions of universality! We will not be citizens. We will all be sovereigns” (p. 47) ; and so on through nearly two hundred pages of obscure and tedious narrative and declamation.
It is a French way of talking which is almost incomprehensible to English or American common-sense, that the “ State ” is an entity existing outside of the “ People,” and tyrannizing over the latter for its own advantage; whereas the most fundamental of all political conceptions surely is, that the People is the State, the last being but the external form of the mysterious life which moves through the first. One cannot but pity the radical school of French political thinkers, for they seem forever trying to solve the problem of how to get humanity outside of itself so that it may begin all over again. Hence “ revolution ” is the principal word in their vocabulary of progress. It does not appear to contain those of “ regeneration,” “ reformation,” “ amelioration ” ; and that a people must be changed in heart and life before its forms of government can radically alter, has never occurred to them.
Proudhon is the inspired prophet of Dr. Engländer, and his theory was that “ property is robbery,” and that all government is a violation of the natural rights of adult manhood. If the “State” could only be abolished long enough for the “ People ” to get used to doing without it, he thought that everything would arrange to get itself done by contract merely. Meantime, while waiting for this happy crisis, and as a preparation for it, he proposes that the “ People ” should organize a Federal Republic, and that they should elect not only their legislators, but all their pastors, judges, generals, teachers, and revenue officers, and that “ the heads of these various administrations ” should be placed together to fulfil the double function of a Council of State and of the Executive Power. In particular, after the legislators had passed a law, it must be referred back to the whole people to be voted upon by them ; and from the rest of the book, we infer that Proudhon would have only those who voted for it obey it.
There can be no doubt that human affairs will ameliorate and the exactions of government grow lighter in proportion as morals grow purer and sentiment kinder. But these things will hardly be through the teachings of Proudhon and his followers. The dismal fruit of the seed they sow is rather to be found in the acts of senseless violence which characterized the Paris Commune ; for that experiment was an actual result of the principles of those who, like the author of this little work, advocate what is called “Direct Government,” and who glory in the name of “ Anarchists.”
FRENCH AND GERMAN.2
IN his book De la Corruption Littéraire en France, M. Potvin takes up a fruitful subject, and one which perhaps goes beyond any one man’s strength to solve. What he finds fault with is the immorality of most French novels and modern plays ; and his book is a seasonable and sharptongued attack on their lack of principle, which is so strongly marked that the appellation “ Frenchy ” is the summing up of serious blame of some production which it would be euphemistic to call frivolous. That he has plenty of material to base his denunciation on is, of course, plain enough ; but that his book will be of much service to the cause of propriety we cannot help doubting. It is a peculiarity of the French mind first to settle all complicated questions on paper ; and that being done, it seems to be imagined that all is done, and that we have no further call for uneasiness. Among English-speaking people matters are settled in that abstract way only by debating societies, which seldom discuss questions that have arisen during the last century ; we prefer to deal with each case as it comes up, with an eye to its own merits, and with but little regard to the broad question involved. This is a hasty generalization after the manner of the Gaul whom we arc now deriding, but it expresses an opinion which more or less clearly defines a great difference between the French and ourselves. In France such books as M. Potvin finds fault with are tolerated, and then the question whether they should be tolerated comes up ; if by a plébiscite to-morrow the whole French nation should declare their aversion to them with their usual unanimity when an appeal is made to universal suffrage, as they would still go on reading and writing them, their voles would go for little. With us such books arc denounced as they appear, and the main question is left in abeyance.
M. Potvin regards this fault as a sign of literary decay ; but if so, French literature has always been decayed, and English literature often. Our literature has recovered from its paroxysms of degradation ; but in France there, has been no such change. The French good book is seldom more than dull, — of course, here we only refer to novels and plays, and that too with knowledge of certain exceptions, — and such one-sidedness is all that is needed for making out a just accusation of inferiority. Against so sweeping a judgment the names of halt a dozen writers could be mentioned which stand and always will stand pre-eminent in the roll of literature; they are faulty, but they are really great. Such are Balzac, George Sand, and Alfred de Musset, to mention but a few of the best known. But leaving out of the question those who are great in spite of their faults, we are here more especially concerned with those who are notorious on account of their faults. Before following M. Potvin through his book, we should like to call attention to one peculiarity which seems to escape the eyes of the French, and that is the frightful snobbishness of nearly all of their writers of fiction. In their minds Paris is more than human; no American who has been received at a foreign court feels half the self-complacency that fills the Frenchman’s heart when he puts his dainty foot on Parisian asphalt. So much is Paris to France, that their devotion to the city serves Frenchmen for patriotism. Their pride in it, their contempt for the rest of the world, their unflinching belief in it, their joy in all its habits and ways, their ignorance of everything else, claim universal admiration so loudly that the foreigner bows his head in deep humility and acknowledges its supremacy. In their novels and plays the French exhibit this quality to the utmost; they treat of purple and fine linen, and titled men and beautiful women, and mock sentiment with artificial rhetoric, and such unbounded self-confidence, that nonsense, which, seen without that glamour, would only excite laughter, is read with credulous calmness as if all the rest of us, English, Germans, and Americans, were rude barbarians. It would seem as if admiration were to be had, not for the asking, but for the taking.
M. Potvin in beginning shows that the accusation against the immorality of the French lighter literature is one that is by no means new, nor one that is wholly due to outside influences. On the contrary, the Academy, the magistrates, the critical press, even novels and plays themselves, have had their say against it. M. de Montalcmbcrt, Victor Hugo, have been charged with it as well as Feydeau and Dumas fils; Proudhon and M. Louis Veuillot have both been most earnest in their denunciations of it. Our author draws a sorry picture, but a true one, of the condition of modern French literature. His own words hardly touch the root of the evil, which is a natural fondness of man for forbidden things ; with the French this inclination is buried within a cloud of pseudo-philosophy. All sorts of foulness are pandered to under the pretence of devotion to art, and where the line is to be drawn no one can say; it varies with custom, the susceptibility of the readers, their greater or smaller faith in it, and a thousand other things. But there is no need of wandering from the point to settle so abstract a question; we are all more specially concerned with those books about which there is no room for doubt. M. Potvin compares the lofty morality of other writers, such as Homer, Shakespeare, Schiller, and Molière, with the laudations of breaking most of the laws of the decalogue which are so prominent in French literature. He quotes from George Sand’s earlier works as well as from other writers, enough to acquit them from the charge of being allies of society. On M. Dumas fils, who has brought to the study of certain sides of Parisian life great cleverness and an exceedingly ingenious and artificial system of immortality, he is especially and deservedly severe. This last-named writer, who, wit and all, if he undertook to write in English would be in danger of the horsepond, deserves as severe reprobation as any one ; but in the way of ridicule for his narrow-mindedness, rather than in the form of reproachful condemnation, which is but the advertisement of his meretricious wares.
But M. Potvin hits very much in the dark when he seeks the causes of this degeneracy. He ascribes it to artistic and literary liberty, and also, singularly enough, to the fact that French writers are too familiar with Shakespeare. He says with rigid obedience to the maxim, post hoc, ergo propter hoc, “ It was perhaps an error to try to introduce this romanticism into France, as had just been done in Germany. Great as he is, Shakespeare’s genius is not French enough to take root in France and bring forth healthy fruit. Was it not enough for French genius to produce Molière and Corneille? One would have had to be master of his art, and especially of its moral conditions, to break with the old traditions and create a new, unfamiliar art! Literary progress is never made, unless according to of the genius of a nation. Victor Hugo failed in that point as well as Goethe.”
A more rational suggestion is that of the number of men living by their wits, each one of whom has to seek to outdo his neighbor. But that merely touches one
We may perhaps be excused for translating a few words of Ch. Renouvier, quoted by M. Potvin : —
“ Why is it that the power of reasoning is so weak in this great man (Victor lingo), that all the writers of our time have so failed when those of earlier periods have been so successful, and that they cannot justly be praised for accurate thinking, sound judgment, natural sentiments, correct imagery, nor for persistent, well-directed instruction, and that they have left unguided the popular thought, the minds of women and children ? The admiration which Chateaubriand aroused at the beginning of the century has been used in behalf of retrograde ideas; what Lamartine won as a poet has hardly passed beyond a petty, worldly circle in which reign dull, affected emotions ; what the young felt for Alfred de Musset did not tend to improve their morals ; what we all feel for Victor Hugo, and which has become greater than ever since his muse has reached the lofty heights of a broader view of humanity, is not of a sort to become general, to descend into the hearts of the people and act on the minds of ordinary intelligence, because this great dreamer lacks taste, moderation, and sometimes perception and judgment. Such are the harsh truths which we have to face concerning the path followed by the intellectual leaders of the age ; and yet we say nothing of the long and brilliant series of novelists and play-writers who have contributed so much towards producing the anarchy of heart and head against which our struggle is so long and sad.”
While we cannot commend M. Potvin’s book as either a successful attack upon the evil it denounces, or by any means as a very thorough analysis of its causes, it will be found readable for the statement of the nature of the fault he would have removed. It will, at any rate, tend to show people of other nations how great is the evil towards which we are willing to look with lenient eyes so long as it is our neighbors and not ourselves who are guilty of it, and so long as we can derive from it an amusement which is only occasional and so without harm. It will also serve to teach us that we need not relax our efforts to keep literature clean ; the French writers do not monopolize all the wickedness in the world, and it will only be by persistent weeding that we shall be able to preserve what is now one of the greatest honors of English literature. Against it we shall always hear the cry of art for art’s sake ; but if we will only see to what that maxim may lead us, we may more cheerfully bow our heads to those narrow-minded conservatives who say that man is not all wickedness nor woman either. That plan of life which claims to be the most untrammelled is really most tightly bound by chains of its own forging to monotony of subject and variations of treatment which only degenerate from bad to worse.
Romance of Old Court Life in France. By FRANCES ELLIOT. D. Appleton & Co. 1873.
- Sex in Education ; or, A Fair Chance for the Girls, By EDWARD H. CLARKE, M. D., Member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Late Professor of Materia Medica in Harvard College, etc. etc. Boston : J. R. Osgood & Co. 1873.↩
- South-Sea Idyls. By CHARLES WARREN STODDARD. Boston : James R. Osgood & Co. 1873.↩
- Driven from the Path. Edited by DR. CHARLES SMART. D. Appleton & Co. 1873.↩
- The Dead Marquise : a Romance. By LEONARD KIP. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. 1873.↩
- Pemberton ; or, One Hundred Years ago.↩
- By HENRY PETERSON. J. P. Lippincott & Co. 1873.↩
- Six Months under the Red Cross, with the French Army. By GEORGE HALSTEAD BOYLAND, M. D. Ex-Chirurgien de l’ Armée Fraçaise. Cincinnati : Robert Clarke & Co.↩
- Church and State in the United States. By JOSEPH P. THOMPSON. Boston: J. R. Osgood & Co. 1873.↩
- The Intellectual Life. By PMILLP GILBERT HAMERTON. Boston : Roberts Brothers. 1873.↩
- The Abolition of the State. An Historical and Critical Sketch of the Parties advocating Direct Government, A Federal Republic, or Individualism. By DR. S. ENGLANDER. London : Trübner & Co., 57 Ludgate Hill. 1873.↩
- All books mentioned under this head are to be had at Schönhof and Müller’s, 40 Winter Street, Boston, Mass.↩
- De la Corruption Littéraire en France. Étude de Littérature comparée sur les lois morales de l’art. Par CH. POTVIN. Bruxelles, Leipzig, and Paris. 1873.↩