MR. INGERSOLL'S book 1 is written by a member of the old democratic party which looked back to Jefferson as its founder and to Jackson as its most vigorous leader. This party of late years has had but a factitious existence, for the modern democrats have little in common with either Jackson or Jefferson. Yet it keeps up its traditions, and in these, apparently, Mr. Ingersoll has been nurtured. Hence his treatment of the slavery question and the late civil war is partial and inadequate ; but in the earlier portion of his book, which deals with Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, and the other framers of our form of government, he displays an intimate knowledge of American history, and a breadth and grasp of mind which are exceptional. Few writers have understood Washington better, or more clearly pointed out the high political value of his presidency to the youthful republic, which was not yet a democracy, but only tending towards one. It was Elbridge Gerry, afterwards a leader of the democrats in Massachusetts, and vice-president with Madison in 1813-14, who said in the constitutional convention of 1787, “ The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. It would seem to be a maxim of democracy to starve the public servants.” He mentioned the popular clamor in Massachusetts for the reduction of salaries. He had, he said, been too republican heretofore ; he was still, however, republican, but had been taught by experience the danger of the leveling spirit. And it was a wealthy Virginian planter (an ancestor of Senator Mason of the fugitive slave bill), George Mason, who replied to Gerry. “He admitted that we had been too democratic, but was afraid we should incautiously run into the opposite extreme. We ought to attend to the rights of every class of the people. He had often wondered at the indifference of the superior classes of society to this dictate of humanity and policy, considering that, however affluent their circumstances or elevated their situations might be, the course of a few years not only might, but certainly would, distribute their posterity throughout the lowest class of society.” This was true foresight, and so was the wisdom that led Washington to a similar conclusion with that of Mr. Mason. “ Washington,” says Mr. Ingersoll, “ had this advantage over all who have succeeded him : he let the country find its own way. A man may be a statesman of a high order, and not discover what is best for his country; but the country is sure to discover it.” Jefferson, he says, “ could not make democracy universal, but he made it orthodox. Mr. Jefferson’s were called French principles, but the theory, and for the most part the practice, of his democracy was to leave the people to themselves; while in French democracy, unfortunately, the government does everything.” But as he afterwards adds, the negligences of democracy in America have produced what we now have — ” a government that answers to itself, and not to the people; a government without responsibility.” “ Central power goes by the most despicable instruments, on the meanest errands, to every corner of the republic. Every election is the president’s. Every movement, however small it may seem, is for him or against him. Thus is expelled the local spirit, the spirit of independence, which is the very blood of the heart of liberty.”
These citations will show how well Mr. Ingersoll writes, and what condensation and almost obscurity of style he affects. This seems to be partly the result of diminishing the number of his pages before publishing his book. Here and there it would appear that the connection of sentences is lost by an omission made in condensing. This is a rare fault, and one that we need not censure in an American author. It is much more common to expand and dilute what is written, especially upon the topics of this book, which, amid many faults, has the signal merit of stimulating thought while reviving our knowledge of what was actually said and imagined, as well as what was done, by the fathers of the American republic. It can hardly be said to propose a remedy for the evils which it exhibits in our present form of government; but in this respect it is not singular among treatises of its class.
— There are two pieces among Miss Phelps’s Poetic Studies2 which we think very notable. The first of these is that singular poem, That never was on Sea or Land, of which we shall not vex the reader’s interpretation by any confident guess of our own. We insecurely understand it to be a dream, wherein the dead, lover comes back to the living and restores a fair, harassing image of their lost happiness, which presently is shattered by some capricious turn of the dreaming thought, and nothing but the old, aching hope-in-fear is left. But this version may be quite too simple, and there may be meanings in the poem which we have not fathomed. It belongs to a sort of poems, however, whose charm we are willing to feel without caring to analyze it very closely, though we think it a fault in the author that they are left so vague. Of certain beauties in them one can always be sure, like that strong fancy in Miss Phelps’s lines, —
And turned his head and looked upon the shore,
As if he never saw the world before ; ”
or that perfect expression of the truth which enforces itself more and more with the ever increasing tasks and burdens, —
which, indeed, is a line that the greatest poet might have been glad to write.
The broken darkness seemed to stir and creep,”
are verses that impart the shuddering sense of the dreamer to the reader ; and the whole effect of the poem is a profoundly weird and sorrowful sensation. Perhaps this is sufficient, and we have no right to ask of a poem that gives so much a greater distinctness. But we do not believe this; and we blame the poet’s unwilling — it seems unwilling rather than inadequate — art, because in the inferior pieces here collected we have so often the darkness without the fascination.
Petronilla is the other poem which we find so notable. It is the legend of Peter’s daughter, bedridden her whole life long, who rose at the bidding of her father when the Spirit gave him power, and ministered to him and his guests. This too is troubled with Miss Phelps’s vagueness, or over-subtlety, at times ; and it may be said, by those who like, that two blended shadows, in the flesh called Browning, are cast from afar, and move evanescently up and down upon the poem ; or it may be as justly contended that one manner may be original in several poets of the same mood. There is a very sensitive appreciation of the young girl’s languid, bedridden dream of life in this description : —
Yet lived not; breathed, yet stifled ; ate, but
The ears of life she had, but heard not; eyes,
But saw not; hands, but handled neither bud
Nor fruit of joy : for the great word of God,
In some dim crevice of eternal thought
Which he called Petronilla, had gone forth
Against her — for her — call it what we may’.
In peace and pain, nor had ever raised her body
Once to its young lithe length, to view the dawn
Of all her young lithe years, nor had once laid
Her little feverish feet upon the face
Of the cool, mocking, steadfast floor which laughed
When other girls, with other thinking done
Some time in heaven about their happy names,—
Set like a song about their happy names, —
Tripped on it like a trill.”
When her father, to warm the faith of his friends, commanded her in Christ’s name to rise and serve them, —
Unaided, with a step of steel, she rose.
What should she do but rise? And walked; how
For God had said it, sent it, dropped it down,
The sweetest, faintest fancy of her life.
And fancying faintly how her feet dropped far
Below the dizzy dancing of her eyes,
Adown the listening floor ; and fancying
How all the rising winds crept mutely up
The court, and put their arms around her neck
For joy ; and how for joy the sun broke through
The visor which the envious day had held
Across his happy face, and kissed her hair ;
And fancying faintly how those men Shrank back,
And pulled their great gray beards at sight of her,
And nodded, as becometh holy men,
Approvingly, at wonders, as indeed
They'd bade her walk themselves, — so musingly,
As she had been a fancy of herself,
She found herself live, warm, and young within
The borders of the live, warm world.
As faintly as a fancy fell the voice
Of Peter: ‘ Serve us, daughter, at the board.'
And dimly as a fancy served she them,
And sweetly as a fancy to and fro
Across the gold net of the lightening day
She passed and paused.
Tangled into the happy afternoon,
Tangled into the sense of life and youth,
Blind with the sense of motion, leap of health,
And wilderness of undiscovered joy,
Stood Petronilla Down from out her hand
A little platter dropped, and down upon
Her hands her fare dropped, broken like the ware
Of earth that sprinkled all the startled floor,
And down upon her knees her face and hands
Fell, clinging to each other ; crouching there
At Peter'a feet, — her father’s feet, — she gave
One little, little longing cry, —no more ;
And like the fancy of a cry, —so faint;
And like the angel of a cry, — so brave.”
The end is that Petronilla, having answered the divine need for the moment, goes, and lies down again upon the bed, from whose monotonous life she rises no more. All is said and suggested in the way that the reader must have felt; but the effect is oddly marred at times by the author’s inability to let well alone — by a certain feminine desire to get yet one sigh or one gasp more out of expression. She speaks of Petronilla’s “young lithe length,” which is well; and then apparently cannot help speaking of her “ young lithe years,” which is not at all well ; she tells of “ the fancy of a cry — so faint,” which is poetry, and then “ of the angel of a cry — so brave,” which is nonsense. This defect, like the obscurity of the first poem, repeats and exaggerates itself painfully in her less successful work. Among the shorter pieces which wholly or nearly escape both tendencies is Congratulation, a thoughtful poem, too wise to be quite sad ; and Atalanta, a very sweet and happy inspiration. But what is here of Miss Phelps’s verse, good or bad, is something that must interest the reader in her poetic experiment, and make him curious to see more of her studies. We are not sure that she will not yet find her best literary expression in their direction — if she can bring herself to respect the useful limitations in which there is strength, and to remember that excess is not only a waste, but also a burden.
— Mr. Baker has a cleverness which, without being too fine or deep, is pleasant; and his pretty book of society verses 3 is one that you may read with a fair degree of “ cheerfulness and refreshment.” Our fashionable life affords scope enough for the more amiable sort of light satire, and Mr. Baker is fortunately not a satirist who cares much to moralize his theme. He does not begin to exhaust his material; the situations he suggests or portrays are not the most unhackneyed, but then, he does them with dramatic skill, and he renders without unnecessary vulgarity the tone and talk of the kind of stylish girls whose souls are in their clothes — as not even Bostonians are bound to believe the souls of stylish New York girls mostly are. Society-verses, we observe, are largely addieted to a lightly tripping measure of anapests.
He’s put some one else in our pew —
And the girl’s dress just kills mine completely ;
Now what am I going to do ? ” —
is the tune to which most of the pieces in Mr. Baker’s book are set; and it becomes a little monotonous. The mental attitudes are the flirtational, the softly-regretful-forthe-old-love, the lightly aspirational, the lover’s-quarrelsome ; the talk of a girl about the people in church at her marriage, the struggles of an engaged young lady to keep a lover from offering himself, the reverie over an old coat of the bachelor who orders a new one for his wedding, are such matters as Mr. Baker deals with. The best poem is An Idyl of the Period, which has had great vogue in the newspapers : two young persons who have been flirting together on the stairs at a dancing-party confide their perfidy to the girl-friend and bachelor-friend whom each meets next day ; it is very light, gay, and natural, with lively go and real humor, and one laughs the more willingly because the laugh is against the man-flirt. Mr. Baker has grace, touch, and a good notion of dramatic points, with a feeling for character which would enable him to present types less conventional than he does here; and we do not know why we have not the right to ask him to look at society with an eye to the subtler meaning of its contrasts and combinations. The strongest interests of modern life all lie below the surface, but they are in plain sight for all that.
— We have always liked Colonel Waring’s magazine writing for qualities which make themselves felt at once. There is a good, wholesome, unaffected manner into which he falls, avoiding literary finicalness on the one hand, and on the other the boisterous familiarity of people who commonly treat of the subjects of this little book of his;4 he is quite able to write like a gentleman about the horse, — an animal objectionable to us in literature aud in life because of the company he mostly keeps, — and he can convey the sense of soldierly good comradeship without shouting at you or clapping you on the knee or shoulder at every point. When we add to these negative virtues the positive charms of a very easy, sufficiently picturesque style, a ready sense of humor, and a genuine, refined love of all out-doors, we suppose ourselves to have offered to our readers’ liking a writer who is altogether worthy of it. Most Atlantic readers, however, already know Colonel Waring’s pleasant papers, and need only be reminded of Vix, Ruby, Wettstein, Campaigning with Max, How I got my Overcoat, and the rest. It was the author’s good fortune to see military service in one of its most attractive aspects. The Fourth Missouri was a regiment of cavalry, mainly German, and it did rather more riding than fighting, and often served by standing and waiting. The history of its frequent forays and chases through the enemy’s country in the Southwest, and of its long, luxurious campings in favorable seasons and situations, is full of a humor which Colonel Waring felt, while he had a keen eye for the European quality of character in his men, as it took a novel color from its American circumstance. The sketch of the trumpeter Wettstein, and his mare Klitschka, is a charming example of how intelligibly he can present this sort of character. It is very touching, with a selfcontrolled pathos which leaves one moved as one should be at the fate of the poor, gav, hapless soul; on the whole, we are inclined to rate it higher than the other sketches. It opens with a bit of shrewd self-study which is so imaginably true that we think most soldiers must find its truth in their own experience : —
“ We; may not have confessed it even to ourselves ; but on looking back to the years of the war, we must recognize many things that patted our vanity greatly on the back, — things so different from all the dull routine of equality and fraternity of home, that those four years seem to belong to a dream-land, over which the haze of the life before them and of the life after them draws a misty veil. Equality and Fraternity ! a pretty sentiment, yes, and full of sensible and kindly regard for all mankind, and full of hope for the men who are to come after us; but Superiority and Fraternity! who shall tell all the secret emotions this implies? To be the head of the brotherhood, with the unremitted clank of a guard’s empty scabbard trailing before one’s tentdoor day and night; with the standard of the regiment proclaiming the house of chief authority ; with the respectful salute of all passers, and the natural obedience of all members of the command ; with the shade of deference that even comrades show to superior rank; and with that just sufficient check upon coarseness during the jovial bouts of the headquarters’ mess, making them not less genial, but void of all offense, — living in this atmosphere, one almost feels the breath of feudal days coming modified through the long tempestuous ages to touch his cheek.”
Here also is an excellent study of a mood which carries the warrant of its own reality with it: —
“ My coffee was gone to its dregs; the closing day was shutting down gloomily in such a weary rain as only a New York back-yard ever knows; and I was wondering what was to become of a man whom four years of cavalry service had estranged from every good and useful thing in life. The only career that then seemed worth running was run out for me ; and, worst of all, my pay had been finally stopped.
” The world was before me for a choice, but I had no choice. The only thing I could do was to command mounted troops, and commanders of mounted troops were not in demand. Ages ago I had known how to do other things, but the knowledge had gone from me, and was not to be recalled so long as I had enough money left with which to be unhappy in idle foreboding. I had not laid down my life in the war, but during its wonderful four years I had laid down, so completely, the ways of life of a sober and industrious citizen, and had soaked my whole nature so full of the subtile ether of idleness and vagabondism, that it seemed as easy and as natural to become the Aladdin I might have dreamed myself to be as the delver I had really been. With a heavy heart, then, and a full stomach, I sat in a half-disconsolate, half-reminiscent, not wholly unhappy mood, relapsing with post-prandial ease into that befogged intellectual condition in which even the drizzle against the window-panes can confuse itself with the patter on a tent roof.”
These are the opening passages of that very clever little story, How I got my Overcoat ; and we are glad to have given them, because they partly show (not so well, of course, as the undetachable strain running through the whole series of war-sketches) that Colonel Waring looks at his war-experience, which soldiers are so seldom able to make civilians understand aright, in a spirit that is thoroughly comprehensible to them. It seems to us that no soldier has yet written quite so well of our soldiering. The reader new to our author’s work will find in this book abundant evidence of his power to mount to the fierier effects of the tales he tells. But in these he does not lose his head at all ; it is you, not he, who become thrilled and heated. Another thing which we like in his writing is that when he makes a horse his hero or heroine, the animal is always appreciated in its due subordination to humanity. One may not think very well of mankind; but it is disagreeable to have one’s race relatively viewed as an enthusiastic Houyhnhnm would view it. The most equine of the horse-sketches is Vix; Ruby and Max give their names to what are really for the most part stories of soldierly adventure. In fact, it is on the whole rather of riding than of horses that Colonel Waring writes in Whip and Spur. This is particularly true of Fox-Hunting in England, a very admirable piece of work throughout, by help of which one may order and understand all that large part of one’s English novel-reading in which fox-hunting prevails. There are some splendid bits of picturesqueness in this paper, and a manly, affectionate feeling for English landscape and English life which those may like who have not the feeling. In the Gloaming, the only sketch alien to the title of the book, is a fuller expression of this tenderness, and we should be sorry not to have it here, where it perhaps does not belong.
Whip and Spur is printed in that pretty Saunterers’ Series of Messrs. Osgood & Co., which is on the whole so good that the publishers have now a duty in not issuing any but choice books in it. We wish they could exclude all reprints from it, and reserve it for the best of their lighter American literature.
— A few months ago we had the pleasure of mentioning with commendation an entertaining novel by Mr. Benedict, John Worthington’s Name, which, in spite of its rather strong appeal to the novel-reader’s love of sensational matter, was a tolerably fair picture of a certain sort of life, and showed in the drawing of the main heroine, Mrs. Marchmont, ingenuity and study. Although it would have been very easy to point out the difference between that novel and the tract, it was entertaining, and seemed to indicate considerable advance on the part of its author over what he had previously written. His latest novel, Mr. Vaughan’s Heir,5 comes, unfortunately, just in time to disappoint our hopes. It is a story full of complications of the most refined villainy, and it is a sad sight to see a novelist who has shown his ability to secure the interest of the public by less violent means, dragging his characters into the mire in order to arouse a sort of morbid curiosity. To tell Mr. Benedict that this is not high art would he as unnecessary as to tell him that one of Alfred de Musset’s plays at the Théâtre Francais is a more refining sight than a performance at the circus. He has the ability to do better things; why should he not rise above the herd who exercise their invention merely in putting together all kinds of offensiveness?
The villain of this story hides in his black heart, under a fair outside, enough viciousness to supply a ship’s crew of pirates. His euphonious name is Darrell Vaughan. He is reeking with every sin, some of the more offensive sorts being needlessly dwelt on ; he takes hasheesh, he marries for money, swears before his wife, sells her mother’s homestead, where, her parents are buried, to a railroad corporation, belongs to the thinly disguised Tammany Ring, is nearly guilty of murder and quite guilty of some complicated swindling of his relations, is a member of Congress in the bargain, and a contributor to the most eminent reviews. This complex character, this condensed circulating library, has a lovely wife, who once believed in him, who wrote his speeches for him when he was insensible under the influence of hasheesh, but who has learned what a monster he is. She has more respect for a cousin of his, and it is hinted that after the final exit of Darrell, —which did not take place before the sheriff’ of the county and a number of his fellow-citizens, We regret to say, — she consoles herself with marrying him, which is certainly, as Dr. Johnson said of a vaguely similar case, the triumph of hope over experience.
These are by no means the only people in the book,—Mr. Benedict always introduces us to a large number. There is a representative French wife, who naturally despises her aged, uuvenerable husband, who is madly attached to her. She does what, fortunately, few of her kind do ; she comes over to this country and contributes to a wildly Bohemian paper in New York until she is brought in as an important strand for the knot of the story. Her latter end is amusing enough, and more edifying than other parts of her life or that of her mother. She gives up writing improper novels, lives in Geneva, where she turns Calvinist and writes pious books, and tries to force them upon the Roman bishop on the very steps of his chapel.
Mr. Benedict by this time writes easily, and if he will but keep out of the slough on the edge of which he seems inclined to play, there is no reason why he should not in time write a good novel. If, however, he prefers devoting his skill to a form of writing which bears about the same relation to real literature that bill - posters do to Corot’s paintings, he can make his name possibly a nine days’ wonder as the writer of the last rowdy novel, and then he can sink into the most complete neglect. The choice lies entirely with him. In spite of this falling off from grace we have not yet given up hoping for him.
— We have a large title to a large book.6 Ten hundred and seventy-four closely printed pages are none too many for the range of topics to which they are devoted. The list of titles of subjects treated occupies six pages in line print, with four columns of names to each page; the editor has been actively engaged upon the work for several years, “ and the preparation for it dates back to 1860.” This is a department of literature where candor is constantly required, and so far as we have been able to examine the work now before us, the author seems to have exercised an eminent fairness and amiability. This is no small praise. Yet this is essential, if the book is at all to further his desire that truth may be left free to combat error, that difference of form may not prevent a unity of spirit, and that there may come the development of “ a broad, generous, catholic, but earnest and aggressive Christianity.” “ Christianity needs no other defense than a fair statement of its doctrines and those of its opponents.” This is the feeling with which Mr. Abbott has prepared and sent out his book. He distinctly avows that “ his personal sympathies are all Protestant and evangelical.” Of this the careful reader could hardly be in doubt; nor will he be less interested because the author warms up to the views of truth which he esteems true. Of course these remarks apply to only a small part of this ample volume. Most of the subjects are of such a nature that there is no room for controversy or difference. In the list of titles “ Atonement ” is flanked by “ Athens” and “Attalia,” “Baptism” by “Banns” and “Barabbas,” “Faith” by “Fairs” and “Fakirs.” It is not easy to think of any subject which could have a place in a dictionary of this character which is not found here. We name at random architecture, animal, astronomy, chancellor, money, Mormons, Moslems, prison, Puritans, Shakers, symbolism, temperance, versions, vestments, Young Men’s Christian Association. We chance to notice that we have “ Ophir ” but not “ Uphaz.” We miss “ Hiddekel,” though we have “ Euphrates.” We have “ Sanballat ” and “ Tobiah,” but not “ Gashmu,” whose name provokes curiosity. We see nothing upon “ councils,” under that title, or under Nicæa, Trent, or Chalcedon, though there are allusions to the famous councils in different parts of the work. We have the Puritans given as “the founders of the New England States,” without reference to the fact that the first permanent settlers of New England were more than Puritans, and bear another name. We do not think that Congregationalists are prepared to recognize Robert Brown as the founder of their denomination — a man who made a stir for a time in the interest of free thought and fellowship, but afterwards submitted to the church against whidh he had rebelled, and was restored to its priesthood : of whom Dr. Palfrey says, “He takes a place in history from his connection with a great religious movement, which he by no means originated, and which he did quite as much to prejudice as to promote ; ” of whom Dr. Bacon has recently written, “ He had not even the desperate self-respect which prompted Judas to hang himself; but, like Benedict Arnold, he took care not to lose the poor reward of his baseness.”
It is not quite correct to say that “the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions devotes itself exclusively to the propagation of the gospel in foreign lands,” inasmuch as a considerable part of its work is among the Indians in our own land. Nor is the Congregational Publishing Society devoted merely to the publishing of literature, for it has an extensive Sabbath-school work.
We have made these somewhat desultory and superficial comments, but having done so are prepared to commend the book as a useful work, especially for “unprofessional readers,” but convenient also for scholars. We know of no other book precisely of its kind. Smith’s admirable Bible Dictionary necessarily has a much narrower range of topics. We are sure this Dictionary of Religious Knowledge will be found very helpful. As the quantity of things to be known increases, such books must be used more and more ; and the results of the special studies of different men must supplement the researches of others.
The name of Dr. Conant on the titlepage of this book, and the assurance that the whole work was read in proof by him, is an additional testimony to the value of the dictionary to readers of all classes.
— As there is no common ground whereon those who have traveled and those who have not can meet to compare their impressions regarding the things which, even unseen, are eternal in every one’s consciousness, it is impossible to say to which class of readers Mr. James’s7 records and reminiscences of England, Germany, Switzerland, the Low Countries, and Italy will give most enjoyment; whether they have more power to suggest or to recall. In either case the satisfaction will be so full and so peculiar that each class will feel there is nothing to envy the other. Mr. James’s mode of writing travels is unusual: he gives us no history, no legends; quotes no poetry; tells no personal adventures, or very few ; what he treats of are the external aspects and “ the soul of things,” to use an expression of his own: but all that he tells of what he sees, detects, or divines, is saturated with the essence of a penetrating individuality. In his method, perhaps, he has taken a lesson from the French writers on foreign lands, with Théophile Gautier at their head, but it is the eye and brain of an American which he brings to bear on the subjects of his observation. He is a triumphant and most comfortable proof— to such of us as have been troubled by doubts on the question — that a high, perhaps the highest, degree of general culture, drawn as it must ever be from the old imperishable springs, in nowise impairs the natural character of real talent. He never obtrudes his information, but it enriches every line that he writes. In England two impressions are always being made upon his mind: that of the outward, actual, and present, and one reflected from these but refracted from the mirror of the past, — from the humorists of the last century, the novelists of fifty years ago, the poets and dramatists of Elizabethan and earlier times. His article on the Parisian theatres is seasoned by familiarity with the French drama, the traditions of the stage in that and other countries, the long habit of intelligent play-going, and the fine critical discernment which admits no confusion between the merit of the pieces and the actor, the school and individual genius. Wherever he goes, he looks at pictures, statues, buildings, with the eye of a connoisseur, and at nature with the gaze of an artist and a worshiper. For if a round tower in the distance, or a pillared portico in the foreground of a landscape, together with certain circumstances of earth and sky, make it to him less a simple view than a picture by Claude, his sense is as keen for the beauty of a wood-bank covered with wild flowers, “ in the raw green light of early spring,” — a subject no painter has yet attempted with success.
Nobody has so fully conveyed as Mr. James'the peculiar feelings of an American in Europe : the mingled pain and happiness wo feel in England, as of coming to our own at last, yet finding ourselves aliens and exiles there (for let no American think of it as home ; we do not and cannot belong to it, nor it to us) ; the blissful, unquestioning, “ irresponsible ” (to use his favorite word) relaxation of that terrible tension in which we live here, which comes to us in Italy ; the sense of history in the very air of the Old World, so unrecognized by most Europeans, so sensible to us in every breath we draw there ; the sudden revelation of the picturesque, “ the crooked, the accidental, the unforeseen, . . . the architectural surprises, caprices, and fantasies,
. . . the infinite accident and infinite effect which give a wholly novel zest to the use of the eyes,” and gradually produce a boundless expansion of the range of perception. Nobody else has so faithfully and minutely described the various stages and phases of our acquaintance with foreign parts, from the excitement of first visits to the deep delight of return, the rapturous unrest of novelty, the rapturous repose of familiarity, He has too the faculty of hitting the peculiarity which makes foreigners seem odd to us, but which we are at a loss ourselves to define, so that when he speaks of traveling English people, for instance, we think he must have met the very lady who sat beside us at the table d'hôte at Interlaken, or the gentleman with whom we went through the Mont Cenis tunnel. He moralizes aud philosophizes very casually ; he writes with the careless indulgence of one who is only in quest of enjoyment, and who finds it on all sides; yet here and there a chance remark probes national failings sharp and deep. Mr. James has the profound, romantic enthusiasm for England which only an American can feel, and he has it in perfection; yet he gauges her pretensions with a steady hand. “ Conservatism here has all the charm, and leaves dissent and democracy and other vulgar variations, nothing but their bald logic. Conservatism has the cathedrals, the colleges, the castles, the gardens, the traditions, the associations, the fine names, the better manners, the poetry. Dissent has the dusty brick chapels in provincial by-streets, the names out of Dickens, the uncertain tenure of the h, and the poor mens sibi conscia recti. Differences which in other countries are slight and varying, almost metaphysical, as one may say, are marked in England by a gulf. Nowhere does the degree of one’s respectability involve such solid consequences.’'’ And again ; " The bishop sat facing me, enthroned in a stately Gothic alcove, and clad in his crimson bands, his lawn sleeves, and his lavender gloves; the canons in their degree with the arch-deacons, as I suppose, reclined comfortably in the carven stalls, and the scanty congregation fringed the broad aisle. But though scanty, the congregation was select; it was unexceptionahly black - coated, bonneted, and gloved. It savored intensely, in short, of that inexorable gentility which the English put on with their Sunday bonnots and beavers, and which fills me — as a purely sentimental tourist — with a sort of fond reactionary remembrance of those animated bundles of rags which one sees kneeling in the churches in Italy.” Now Italy is the country for which Mr. James cherishes and confesses an incurable weakness; Germany, despite the pretty touches in his chapters on Homburg and Darmstadt, is, we suspect, a land to which it costs him nothing to deal the sternest justice ; yet a fortnight after leaving the Lake of Como for Hesse, he writes, “ I have shifted my standard of beauty, but it still commands a glimpse of the divine idea. There is something here too which pleases, suggests, and satisfies. Sitting of an evening in the Kurgarten, within ear-shot of the music, you have an almost inspiring feeling that you never have in Italy ; a feeling that the substantial influences about you are an element of the mysterious future. They are of that varied order which seems to indicate the large needs of large natures.”
As yet we have not spoken of what, after all, is the chief charm, the spell, of Mr. James’s style— a felicity of epithets, an exquisite choice and use of language, a graphic and pictorial quality in his mere words, which impart to his descriptions that property which every one has felt in a scent, a sound, or a hue, to awaken the memory of impressions and sensations, to revive the very reality of a vanished moment. Not the scene alone is before your eyes, you are conscious of the atmosphere of the place and time, and the emotions with which you were filled. But this gift sometimes betrays its possessor into an abuse. There is dauger of his over-refining his expressions, of overloading his phrases with adverbs and adjectives. He has a large vocabulary for the finer, more delicate, subtle, and evanescent or impalpable shades of difference, whether in the material or in the supersensuous order, but they are terms whose expressiveness and effectiveness depend a good deal on their being used sparingly; so he should beware of the pleasure of having pet words aud phrases. The fault is more than skin-deep, too, though we fancy the origin was on the surface and that it has struck in rather than come out; for there is a tendency to distill and subtilize the thought, or simile, which he recognizes when he catches himself" spinning his fancies rather too fine.” He is over fond of the triple extract of an idea. To this same error of taste appears to belong an occasional trick of letting you down suddenly from a highly poetic fancy to a cynical or commonplace conclusion, a habit which in Mr. James may be ascribed to the influence of Hawthorne, who carried it to a point which was almost intolerable. But the risk of becoming a sort of petit maitre of style, a metaphysical euphuist, is much more imminent. One who has read his papers singly, at intervals, with almost unalloyed pleasure, cannot help wondering with some dread what the effect would he, in going through the volume, of a number of such sentences as the following: The wood-carving in Siena cathedral “ is like the frost-work on one’s window-panes interpreted in polished oak.” We fear it would beget a gnawing hunger for the daily bread of common speech. But it must not be inferred that all the virtue of his descriptive power lies in these superfine touches, or even his extraordinary command of color ; he has a bold, graphic way of putting a picture before you in a few strokes of black and white: “Florence lay amid her checkered fields and gardens, with as many towers and spires as a chess-board half cleared.”
It would be no injustice to Mr. James-or his publishers, if space allowed, to quote half a hundred of his most charming passages. To make an extract from the Italian sketches is most difficult; they are a study, or an enjoyment, apart, and should be read as a separate series. Exquisitely as Mr. James writes about England, charming and playful and true as are his chapters on other countries, it is only Italy that calls forth his full poetic power; we choose the following description of the Protestant cemetery at Rome, partly because it has been so often described before : “ Here is a mixture of tears and smiles, of stones and flowers, of mourning cypresses and radiant sky, which almost tempts one to fancy one is looking back at death from the brighter side of the grave. The cemetery nestles in an angle of the city wall, and the older graves are sheltered by a mass of ancient brick-work, through whose narrow loop-holes you may peep at the purple landscape of the Campagna. Shelley’s grave is here, buried in roses — a happy grave every way for a poet who was personally poetic. It is impossible to imagine anything more impenetrably tranquil than this little corner in the bend of the protecting rampart. You seem to see a cluster of modern ashes held tenderly in the rugged hand of the Past.”
— Mr. Abbott’s Paragraph History of the United States 8 is intended, the preface tells us, “ for the use of those Americans who, at this centennial period, wish to refresh their memories as to some main facts in their country’s history, and have only a few moments to do it in.” Within the space of less than a hundred small pages the compiler has jotted down leading facts with their dates, arranging his material chronologically and classifying it into familiar historic periods. The facts are all drawn from American history, but by means of brief side-notes he has aimed to give a suggestion as to contemporaneous events in European history, and historic personages, especially in literature, then living. The selection of leading facts is in the main, judicious, but we are surprised that the compiler should have compressed the Revolutionary War after the opening scenes into one paragraph of less than two pages. This may be in good proportion, so far as the whole history from 860 to 1875 is regarded, but if the book is intended for special use at the centennial period, we think he would have consulted his readers’ interests by expanding this portion, at the risk of sacrificing historic proportions, and giving in detail the successive points which during the coming eight years will be lifted into commemorative importance. Such an epitome, outlining the various local anniversaries, would have been of great convenience. The side-notes are frequently quite felicitous, as where, against the paragraph “ Cartier in Canada,” he notes “ 1540 Ignatius Loyola founds the Order of the Jesuits,” and reminds the reader by a note under 1757 of the supremacy of the English in India just as they are taking active measures to alienate the American colonies. Another suggestive side - note, “ 1561-1626 Francis Bacon,” set against the grant of New Hampshire to Mason, might remind us of the attempt, recently disclosed, of Captain John Smith to engage Bacon’s coöperation in a New Hampshire colony.9 The note might better have been placed under 1614, but the editor has adopted an arbitrary and unsatisfactory rule of placing the names of eminent persons against the year of their death. We notice an omission and one or two errors to which we call the author’s attention. No notice is taken of the significant Albany Congress of 1754; Florida is said to have been called so because of its luxurious vegetation, with no reference to its discovery on Easter Sunday (Pascua Florida) ; the name Labrador is referred to the Portuguese for laborer, instead of to tierra labrador, or cultivable land, in distinction from Greenland, and the heading Persecution of the Quakers, together with the paragraph, perpetuates a distorted view of the facts ; Persecution by the Quakers would have been nearer the truth.
— The size and type of Macready’s memoirs10 render the volume, at first sight, a little formidable to those to whom the great actor is a brilliant tradition only, not a delightful memory. But no sympathetic student of human nature, no one with a genuine enthusiasm for simple, chivalrous, lofty types of character, will find the book too long. For our own part, before it was half read, we found ourselves gloating over, and, so to speak, hoarding the remaining pages as we used those of favorite romances long ago. The modest editor of these remains, Sir Frederick Pollock, has literally made himself naught, allowing Macready to tell his own story. The mere literary critic may justly observe that it might have been better told in fewer words, but who cares ? The man lives again for us in these crowded pages, and what a man he was ! He glorified the British stage, and had wellnigh achieved the high adventure of redeeming the stage in general; yet, looking to the distinguished quality of the man (son of a stage-manager though he was), his refinement of feeling and habits, sensitive conscience, nice honor, and always unworldly motives, we cannot help our puritanical feeling that there was something tragically unfit in his profession. The pious motives which led him to adopt and adhere to it, and the new lustre which he lent to dramatie art, fully reconcile us to his choice, indeed, and enhance our love and reverence for the man, but leave us sad for the inevitable strife aud sorrow of his career. A bright boy at Rugby school, careless and popular, he learns abruptly during the Christmas holidays of 1808 that his father is insolvent, — which the latter had tried to conceal from his son, hoping that friends would advance the money for keeping him at school. But William, never patient of a pecuniary obligation, will not have it so. He sees clearly that he cannot properly remain among gentlemen’s sons at an expensive school. He knows what he can do well, being already the star of the private school theatricals, and his mind is made up. He seeks his father not so much to propose going on the stage as to announce his fixed intention of doing so at once. The father is distressed, but too much harrassed in his affairs seriously to demur, and the die is cast. The stage had doubtless its own fascination for the susceptible boy of sixteen, but when one of the Rugby masters not long before had asked him if he had any thought of adopting his father’s profession, he had rejected the idea with a good deal of pride, saying that his preference was for the bar, for which his father intended him. And still he adds, simply and rather atfectingly, “ I was not then aware of the difference between the two starting-points in life. My father was impressive in his convictions that the stage was a gentlemanly profession. My experience has taught me that while the law, the church, the army and navy, give a man the rank of a gentleman, on the stage that designation must be obtained in society by the individual bearing.” Few, at any period of his career, can have had the effrontery to dispute William Macready’s right to that title, but he confesses once and for all to ” many moments of depression, many angry swellings of the heart, and many painful convictions of the uncertainty of my position.”
Great responsibilities were at once thrust upon the young actor by his exacting father, of which, on the whole, he acquitted himself with extraordinary address. Great temptations also came in his way. He succumbed occasionally, but records with wondering gratitude his escape from many of them. At Newcastle, where he played for a season at the age of seventeen or eighteen, he made the acquaintance of three maiden sisters, the Misses Hedley, good, wise, and rich, who cared to do what they could by personal kindness and social encouragement to save the ingenuous and gentlemanlike youth from the contaminations of theatrical society. Chivalrous and docile, he listened to their counsels, and their friendship lasted through life. Six years later, when the provincial fame so early won had obtained for Macready a London engagement, and the path was plain to the highest eminence in his profession, he was seized by so strong a disgust for theatrical life, and especially for green-room associates, that he resolved to abandon it all, and to accept the loan (much as he hated borrowing) of money enough to enable him to reside in Oxford till he had taken a degree, “ not then,” he says, “ a difficult matter.” But just at this time came the opportunity to purchase his brother Edward’s promotion in the army, which he could only hope to do by retaining and, if possible, increasing his theatrical income; and with the spirit which animated all his life (“in honor preferring one another”), he decided to remain where he was. His brother was worthy of the sacrifice, if sacrifice that can properly be called which finally secured so great an artist to the stage and to the world, and the tenderest and most honorable friendship always subsisted between them. “I had reason to be proud of him,” says Macready, “and of the faith he held in me, which seemed unbounded. In the endeavor to save the life of a brother officer, who was bathing with him in a tank in India, he very narrowly escaped drowning, and in his desperate struggle to reach the shore with his helpless companion, the thought which rushed across his mind with the prospect of death before him was, in his own words, ‘ I know William would approve of what I am doing.’ I may truly apply the Psalmist’s words to him, ‘ My brother Jonathan, very pleasant hast thou been unto me. Thy love was wonderful, passing the love of women.’ ” The marriage of Macready, which took place before he was thirty (the great Mrs. Siddons, after approving one of his boyish performances, had solemnly warned him against an early marriage) might also, from a worldly point of view, be considered a sacrifice of himself. Miss Atkins was an obscure little actress, and all his delicate circumlocutions cannot disguise the fact that she was at the time of their engagement extremely ignorant, but her devotion to him was unbounded, and her docility equaled her devotion. Their relation was one of extreme sweetness, and the great artist’s home was always a pure and peaceful retreat where he could forget for a time, in domestic joy, the strifes and heart-burnings of his illustrious middle-life. From the purchase of his brother’s commission, and his irretrievable acceptance of the stage, seems to date what may, with strict truth, be called Macready’s consecration to his art. Faithfully to portray every phase of human passion, worthily to realize the ideals of the greatest poets, and, while so doing, to purge the stage so far as possible from unclean associations, — such became the object of his life, pursued with a singlemindedness, a constant determination to profit by failure no less than by success, rare indeed in any order of effort. He attracted to himself the friendship and coöperation of good men and great minds, Talfourd, Browning, Bulwer, Dickens, but he also excited, inevitably, a world of coarse and virulent opposition, and his high spirit, and the fiery temper whose effects he often so profoundly deplored, suffered him to take no insult meekly. It ought to be subject of shame and sorrow to us Americans whom he always loved, and warmly defended from the snobbish criticisms of his countrymen, his dear Dickens among them, that Macready’s last engagement in this country was signalized by the disgraceful Astor Place riots. His theatrical life was now nearly done. He returned to England on the 23d of May, 1849, to meet, in the illness and death of his beautiful daughter Catherine, the first of the long series of domestic bereavements which desolated his idolized home, and to play his farewell engagements amid unprecedented enthusiasm The spirit in which he took leave of the stage can best be illustrated by a few extracts from his diaries.
“March 21st. In Mrs. R.’s note she expresses a doubt whether I shall not regret the relinquishment of an art in which I am considered to excel, and in the exercise of which I am perhaps displaying greater power than ever. My fear of exhibiting vanity restrains me from speaking more positively, but I think not. I certainly never feel pleasure in going to act; would always rather be excused from it. How this may ba when the abstinence is made compulsory, I will not be so arrogant as positively to say. But I think, I hope, I pray, that my time, devoted to the elevation of my own nature, and to the advancement of my children’s minds, will be agreeably and satisfactorily passed, leading me onward toward the end appointed for me by the blessed and merciful Disposer of all. Amen. Acted Othello.”
“November 27th. Acted Hamlet in my very, very best manner. It is the last time but one I shall ever appear in this wonderful character. I felt it, and that to many, to most, it would be the last time they would ever see me in it. I acted with that feeling. I never acted better. I felt my allegiance to Shakespeare, the glorious, the divine. Was called and welcomed with enthusiasm.”
“ December 5th. I pray that my income (£1200) may be maintained. I am grateful for it. As I look back on my past life, the thought of being rich, the ambition to be so never once entered mv mind. I was most anxious to be independent, and, after having purchased my brother’s company, thought of retiring (1829) on what I then, without children, regarded as independence, £400 per annum. God sent us children (his blessing be on them!) and all my plans were altered. Still I could not think of wealth for them, as they came and fast dear, but diminished my own means to secure them by insurances the means of education and subsistence in case of my death. Thus I am what the world would call a poor man. I trust in reality a grateful and contented one.”
These passages, taken quite at random from the voluminous diary, will at once suggest what seems to us the most remarkable aspect of Macready’s character — the union in him of a profound religious life with the keenest and most stringent worldly honor. When the connected autobiographical story, which he did not live to carry beyond 1826, and in which he had always preserved a certain dignified reserve, ceases, and we are admitted to the privacy of the original, informal diary, and to a view of that part of his life which no true man ever parades while life lasts, we are amazed and affected to discover that that inmost life was literally, in the exalted phrase of the apostle, “ hidden with God.” We are in the world, on the stage, but with a constant memory of the closet, almost of the cloister. It is in the lives of the saints that we must look for anything like this prayerful importunity, this stem and searching self-examination, this humble, and, at times (as in the affair with Bunn), almost morbid repentance for outbreaks of temper, and other venial sins. Moreover, this man studies his play-book as if it were a prayer-book; thanks God for a truthful personation ; devotes himself with renewed diligence after a comparative failure. A piety steadfast and passionate as his is rare nowadays under any circumstances. Its union with a knightly cast of character, with that prompt and full-armed personal dignity which strikes wholesome terror into the baser sort of men, is, unhappily, rarer still. We are in the habit of quoting with a smile (as at what do we not now smile ?) the somewhat hackneyed triad of epithets, “ a scholar, a gentleman, and a Christian.” Now anybody can be a scholar, but it is apparently not easy to be both a gentleman and a Christian. That is to say, the religion of this world, which is honor, seems partly to supersede and partly to exclude the religion of the other ; or at least what is commonly accepted as the Christian type of it. Too many of those who profess the latter hold themselves, and are held by the world, absolved from the more perilous and severe obligations of the former, to the just contempt of Other high-minded men who hold, with show of reason, that the responsibilities of the present life should be paramount while we are in it. The man who honorably reconciles the two states of feeling and orders of duty has done more for Christianity than a hundred priests, by a thousand sermons. Macready did this.
The quiet close of his life fell in the sombre afternoon of our century, when the mists of universal doubt were already rolling heavily in over the civilized world. Amid the chill and bewilderment of these fast-gathering shadows he kept his foot-hold, and no enlisted and commissioned apostle has clung more tenaciously to the old faith than did he. Occasionally he is smitten by the universal distrust, and cries, “ Oh for an apostle of the truth ! He must he near at hand! ” But the last trembling and almost illegible entries in his diary are these : “ God he merciful to me a sinner. Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief! ”
Clinging to this slight spar — last stay of how many passing souls! — the great spirit from which we part with lingering regret vanished in the unknown.
— It is difficult to feel much gratitude to Mr. Higginson for preparing his volume on English statesmen11 by snipping passages from the critical and descriptive sketches contained in two or three recent books. Men and Manners in Parliament, Political Portraits, McCarthy’s Modern Leaders, Mr. T. Wemyss Reid’s Cabinet Portraits, and Earl Russell’s Recollections and Suggestions furnish the bulk of the matter, and the compiler has frankly pointed out in foot-notes the several sources from which he has drawn. The biographies, so called, comprise notices of six leading statesmen, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Disraeli, Mr. Bright, Earl Russell, Earl Granville, The Duke of Argyll, and of twelve subordinate men of note, equally divided between members of Mr. Disraeli’s ministry, and candidates for the liberal leadership. The selection of names, under explanation of the omission of certain radical leaders, is a good selection, and a volume characterizing these persons would go far toward a personal illustration of current English history. English periodical literature also abounds in acute observations upon the genius and temperament of these representative men, for English political criticism is curiously psychological in its method, being constantly directed toward an attempt to explain the course of a statesman by reference to known or fancied qualities of his disposition. This is scarcely more than saying, what the very plan of this book intimates, that parliamentary government is singularly obedient to the mastery of a few minds trained by long official experience and perpetually renewed competitive examination at the hands of the English people. To examine the claim of these six leaders and twelve subordinates upon contemporary respect is to inquire into the personal influences which control English government, and we do not see why it may not be possible for an American student, occupying somewhat the position of posterity, so to speak, to present in sketches of these men an analysis of current English politics, which would both serve to account for England to-day, and give opportunity for comparison of English and American machinery of government. Perhaps this is asking more than we are likely to get, yet it is so desirable an object that we confess to disappointment when we find that Mr. Higginsou has done scarcely more than bring together the reflections, sometimes oversubtle, of a few clever English observers, writing always upon an assumption that their readers will supply all needful background of fact and historic perspective. We think an editor who should content himself with this use of familiar material ought to consider his readers as persons not especially at home in the workings of English politics, and so furnish them with more elementary information. As it is, this book seems rather likely to furnish agreeable reading to such Americans as keep au courant in English affairs, but do not happen to have seen the books out of which it is manufactured, rather than to supply the average reader with an intelligible account of English statesmen.
FRENCH AND GERMAN.12
A book on fashions, especially if adorned with plates, is tolerably sure of a certain number of readers, and although this is a misleading description of the volume we have before us to-day,13 which treats only of the costumes of the past, it need be no reason for treating it with indifference. The author, M. Quicherat, director of the École des Chartes, set himself the task of writing a complete history of costume in France from the earliest times until the end of the last century. Tattooing, which indicates the awakening of the taste for personal adornment, is merely hinted at; the first decoration described is a bracelet of shells strung together, which has been found among the memorials of the men who lived in caverns countless ages ago. Then follow illustrations of the dress of the Gauls, who were renowned in ancient times for their dexterous work in the metals, and for their skill in making woolens. They wore trousers, and to them belongs the honor of inventing soap. The Romans, who were continually absorbing what they could from their enemies, made use of the accomplishments of the Gauls, and borrowed from them many improvements in armor. When they had conquered Gaul their toga became in that country, as elsewhere, the badge of Roman citizenship, which was generally sought for. The Gallic dress appeared provincial, and all wanted to look like Romans. With time the inconvenience of the toga for general use led to its becoming merely a robe to be worn on solemn occasions, a sort of dress-suit; its place for every-day wear was taken by various robes and coverings, into which the Gauls introduced new decorations.
It would be too difficult a task to describe by word alone, without the aid of the numerous illustrations of the book, the gradual modifications of the dress worn in France from the date just mentioned until the feudal period. The general tendency of the men’s dress is from a superfluity of cloak to more convenient, closer-fitting raiment; that of the women is much less uniform in its change, but it presents a sort of monotony, until that time, which is more than made up for by its later variations. Every one who is accustomed to look over old prints knows vaguely the singular dress of our ancestors ; but, thanks to M. Quicherat, it is now easy to notice the changes, to make one’s vague knowledge sure, and to ascertain the dress of different characters known to history with considerable accuracy. The cause of change in the fashions has for a long time puzzled social philosophers, In the past this could not have presented so much difficulty to the observer. For instance, we read that in 1485 an order appeared forbidding the use of silk and velvet to all but the noblest classes of society; this, however, was not a well-marked example, for it was not obeyed satisfactorily. A more complete change was made in 1461. Philip the Good had an illness, during which his physicians obliged him to have his head shaved. When he had recovered he felt ashamed of his appearance, and promulgated an edict commanding all noblemen to have their heads shaved like his. More than five hundred of them followed this new fashion, but the vast majority stood out in opposition to it, much to his grief. In his royal wrath he sent out men to cut the hair of the recalcitrant. The man who most distinguished himself in this enforcement of law was, we are told, Peter de Hagenbach, who figures in Scott’s Anne of Geierstein. Long hair finally won the day, growing luxuriously in spite of opposition. On reading this incident one cannot help wondering what means an evil-minded king would have taken to establish uniformity in fashions. Sumptuary laws were frequent but powerless against extravagance in dress. Many such were enacted about the middle of the sixteenth century. Montaigne wrote about their inefficiency as follows : —
“ The way by which our laws attempt to regulate idle and vain expenses in meat and clothes seems to be quite contrary to the end designed. The true way would be to beget in men a contempt of silks and gold, as vain, frivolous, and useless; whereas, we augment to them the honors, and enhance the value of such things, which is a very absurd way of creating a disgust. For to enact that none but princes shall eat turbot, shall wear velvet or gold lace, and to interdict these things to the people, what is it but to bring them into a greater esteem, and to set every man agog to eat and wear them ? . . . ’T is strange how suddenly, and with how much ease, custom, in these indifferent things, establishes itself, and becomes authority. We had scarce worn cloth a year, at court, for the mourning of Henry the Second, but that silks were grown into such contempt with every one that a man so clad was presently concluded a cit. Silks were left in share betwixt the physicians and surgeons, and though all other people almost went dressed alike, there was notwithstanding, in one thing or other, sufficient distinction of the calling and condition of men.”
With the invention of watches, about three hundred years ago, pockets came again into fashion after long disuse. The earliest pocket has been found in a tunic of the eleventh century, but pockets were then very rare, their place being supplied by purses to hold the handkerchief, gloves, money, papers, etc. When the purse went out of fashion the hat was employed for carrying such things, a fashion not yet wholly extinct. Pockets were considered dangerous as tempting their owner to carry concealed weapons, and were formally prohibited in 1563; but, as is known, they survived legal persecution, and although, in this country at least, the old objection holds good, the advantages outweigh this one defect.
M. Quicherat gives us also some information about the habits of the French in earlier times with regard to washing. In 1644 a pamphlet appeared urging its readers to bathe sometimes, to wash their hands every day, and the face almost as often. The public bathing-places had become resorts of the vicious, and on that account had been denounced by both Catholics and Protestants, so that attention to bathing seemed inseparable from debauchery. This pamphlet goes on, “ as to one’s clothes, the main rule is ” to “ change them frequently and to have many of them which shall be in the fashion.”
Fully to describe the violent excesses of the fashions in the later years of the French monarchy would be impossible. The chapters the author devotes to this part of his subject are perhaps the most interesting of the book. Some of the illustrations might serve for the dresses one sees to-day in every street; others have an unfamiliar and consequently more outlandish look. With the Revolution came in the habit of wearing raiment à la Bastille, à la citoyenne, etc. Of this time the most extraordinary dress, with the exception of the gauze which two ladies in vain endeavored to make popular, was that adopted by the young men who, naturally enough, became known as the Incroyables. A man who belonged to that band wore enormous spectacles ; his hair was cut short behind, but left long in front and on the top of his head ; he wore huge ear-rings, and a large cravat, which inclosed his chin. He wore no shirt-frill nor cuffs, but, like the recent politicians of New York city, he bore a huge jewel in his shirt. His coat was long and shapeless, with a multitude of wrinkles ; his baggy trousers were stuck recklessly into low boots. He was a lam entable caricature. With him and his con temporaries this entertaining volume ends. It is a book, however, which is not merely entertaining, it has real value to the archæologist and to the student of history. Of its usefulness to the moralist nothing need be said; text and illustrations combine to make his task a light one.
— Another book which is deserving of praise is Guizot’s L’Histoire de France depuis les Temps les plus reculés jusqu'en 1789.14 The fourth volume, which covers the period from the death of Henry IV. to that of Louis XIV., is now before us. As is well known, this is the history of France as set forth by Guizot for the instruction of his grandchildren, and in these days of new methods of education, and of new ways of writing history, which give the subject something of human interest instead of leaving it in the artificial school which oratory has so recently occupied, Guizot’s manner deserves mention.
The epoch treated of in this volume is one which no treatment could make dull, but this venerable author gives it a new charm. It is no simple record of wars and battles; due mention is made of the various changes of peace, and nearly one hundred pages of this volume are devoted to an account of literature in the reign of Louis XIV. Pascal, Fénelon, Moliére, Corneille, Racine, etc., are all agreeably written about, not in the usual way of literary criticism, but with little, impressive anecdotes, which secure a lasting place in the memory.
By means of copious quotations and a few words of discreet comment, these eminent characters are set clearly before us. Speaking of La Bruyére, Guizot says: —
“ From the solitude of his working-closet issued a book unique in kind, sagacious, acute, severe without venom ; a picture of the manners of the court and of the world drawn by a spectator who had no experience of their temptations, but who had divined and weighed them all. ... Its success was great from the beginning. The courtiers were entertained by the portraits, and tried to give a name to each one; the good sense, the delicacy, and the truth of the remarks struck every one; all felt sure they had met the originals a hundred times. The manner was even more singular than the matter; the style was brilliant, rare, as various as human nature, always elegant and pure, original and animated, sometimes rising to the noblest thoughts, jesting and grave, delicate and serious.” Then follow some intelligent quotations. The account runs on, “ La Bruyére was received at the Academy in 1693 ; in his admission speech he praised living writers, Bossuet, Fénelon, Racine, La Fontaine, contrary to the custom of the time. Those who were not praised were annoyed, and the papers of the day attacked virulently the new Academician. This pained him, and he withdrew into retirement, but yet four days before his death ‘ he was in company, when he noticed that he had entirely lost his hearing. He returned to Versailles; there an attack of apoplexy carried him off in a quarter of an hour, May 11, 1696. ’ ”
The purely historical part is equally well written, with the same impressive distinctness, and with an air of naturalness about the whole story which makes it delightful reading. The book hides all the machinery of erudition and shows only its smooth results ; the consequence is that it is exceedingly readable. Many of the incidents are ingeniously told in a conversational form ; the words, real or imaginary, of the actors are put into their mouths, and numerous quotations from contemporary writers lend vivacity to the book. The first of these devices would be a dangerous one for every writer to follow, but when wisely used, as it is here, it is sure to win the attention of children, and of more grown people than perhaps would think it. In fact, history remained classical and was unreal; now it respects the whims of human nature, and there are but few reasons why it should not supplant the reading of novels.
With regard to this particular history the reader will be glad to know that it was completed before the death of its author. We have already stated that a beautifully illustrated translation is now publishing by Messrs. Estes and Lauriat, of Boston.
D. Appleton & Co., New York: Fungi; Their Nature and Uses. By M. C. Cooke, M. A., LL. D. Edited by the Rev. M. J. Berkeley, M. A., F. L. S. — Nature and Life. Facts and Doctrines relating to the Constitution of Matter, the New Dynamics, and the Philosophy of Nature. By Fernand Papillon. Translated from the Second French Edition by A. B. Macdouough, Esq. — Outline of the Evolution-Philosophy. By Dr. M. ECazelles. Translated from the French by the Rev. 0. B. Frothingham. With an Appendix by E. L. Youmans, M. D. — Astronomy. By J. Norman Lockyer, F. R, S. With Illustrations. — Alice Brand. A Romance of the Capital. By A. G. Riddle. — Health. A Handbook for Households and Schools. By Edward Smith, M. D., F. R. S., LL. B. —The Science of Music ; or, the Physical Basis of Musical Harmony. By Sedley Taylor, M. A., late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. — The Natural History of Man. A Course of Elementary Lectures. By A. De Quatrefages, Member of the Academy of Sciences, Professorin the Museum of Natural History. Translated from the French by Eliza A. Youmans. With an Appendix — The Chemistry of Light and Photography. By Dr. Hermann Vogel, Professor in the Royal Industrial Academy of Berlin. With One Hundred Illustrations.— Boys and Girls in Biology; or, Simple Studies of the Lower Forms of Life ; based upon the latest lectures of Prof. T. H. Huxley, and published by his permission. By Sarah Hackett Stevenson. Illustrated.
James R. Osgood & Co., Boston: Oakridge. An Old-Time Story. By J. Emerson Smith. — Little Classics. Edited by Rossiter Johnson. Mystery. Heroism. — Leisure-Day' Rhymes. By John Godfrey Saxe. — Other People’s Money. From the French of Emile Gaboriau.
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York: The Maintenance of Health. A Medical Work for Lay Readers. By J. Milner Fothergill, M. D., M. R. C. P. — Protection and Free Trade. An Inquiry whether Protective Duties can benefit the Interests of a Country in the Aggregate; including an Examination into the Nature of Value, and the Agency of the Natural Forces in producing it. By Isaac Butts, — A Scries of American Clinical Lectures. Edited by E. C. Seguin, M. D. Vol. I., No. 3. Pneumo-Thorax. By Austin Flint, Sr., M. D., Professor of the Principles and Practice of Medicine in Bellevue Hospital Medical College. — Fifth Annual Report of tho Board of Education, together with tho Thirtieth Annual Report of tho Commissioner of Public Schools of Rhode Island, January, 1875.— The Sexes throughout Nature. By Antoinette Brown Blackwell. — On Teaching, Its Ends and Means. By Henry Calderwood, LL. D., F. R. S. E., Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh.— Elements of Magnetism and Electricity. With Practical Instructions for the Performance of Experiments, and the Construction of Cheap Apparatus. By John Angell, Senior Science Master, Manchester Grammar School. With One Hundred and Twenty Illustrations. — Principles of Metal Mining. By J. II. Collins, F. G. S. With SeventySix Illustrations. — Religion as Affected by Modern Materialism. An Address delivered in Manchester New College, London, at the opening of its Eighty-Ninth Session, on Tuesday, October 6, 1874. By James Mortineau, LL. D. With an Introduction by the Rev. Henry W. Bellows, D. D.
Harper and Bro., New York : Mohammed and Mohammedanism. Lectures delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, in February and March, 1874. By R. Bosworth Smith, M. A., Assistant Master in Harrow School, late Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. With an Appendix containing Emanuel Deutsch’s article on Islam.— The Invasion of the Crimea. Its Origin, and an Account of its Progress down to the Death of Lord Raglan. By Alexander William Kinglake. Vol.
III. Battle of Inkerman. — Annual Record of Science and Industry for 1874. Edited by Spencer F. Baird, with the Assistance of Eminent Men of Science. — Safely Married. A Novel. By the Author of Caste, Colonel Dacre, etc. — Songs of Our Youth. By the Author of John Halifax, Gentleman. Set to music. — The Story of Valentine and his Brother. A Novel. By Mrs. Oliphant.
Roberts Brothers, Boston : Our Sketching Club. Letters and Studies on Landscape Art. By the Rev. R. St. John Tyrwhitt, M. A., formerly Student and Rhetoric Reader of Christ Church, Oxford. With an Authorized Reproduction of the Lessons and WoodCuts in Professor Ruskin’s Elements of Drawing.
— Harry Blount. Passages in a Boy’s Life on Land and Sea. By Philip Gilbert Hamerton.—The Defense of Gnenevere, and other Poems. By William Morris. — Christian Belief aud Life. By Andrew P. Peabody, D. D., LL. D., Professor of Christian Morals in Harvard University. — Victor La Tourette. A Novel. By a Broad Churchman.
Scribner, Armstrong, & Co., New York : Bric-aBrac Series. The Greville Memoirs. A Journal of the Reigns of King George IV. and King William
IV. By Charles F. C. Greville, Clerk of the Council to those Sovereigns. Edited by Richard Henry Stoddard.
Henry Holt & Co., New York: Notes on Paris. By H. Taine, D. C. L. Oxon., etc. Translated with Notes by John Austin Stevens. — Mr. Smith. A Part of his Life. By J. L. Walford. Leisure Hour Series, — Ralph Wilton’s Weird. A Novel. By Mrs. Alexander.
Lee and Shepard, Boston: Nature and Culture, By Harvey Rice. — Young Folks’ History of the United States. By Thomas Wentworth Higginson. — Spain and the Spaniards. By N. L. Thieblin.
— Warrington’s Manual, A Manual for the Information of Officers and Members of Legislatures, Conventions, Societies, Corporations, Orders, etc,, in the Practical Governing and Membership of all such Bodies, according to the Parliamentary Law and Practice in the United States. By William S. Robinson, “Warrington,” Clerk of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts from 1862 to 1873.
J. B. bippincott & Co., Philadelphia: The History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles the Fifth. By William Robertson, D, D. With an Account of the Emperor’s Life after his Abdication, by William H. Prescott. New Edition. In Three Volumes Vols. II. and III. — Memoirs of John Quincy Adams Comprising Portions of his Diary from 1795 to 1848 Edited by Charles Francis Adams. Vol. V.
Macmillan & Co., London: Life of William, Earl of Shelburne, afterwards First Marquis of Lansdowne, with Extracts from his Papers and Correspondence. By Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice. Vol. I. 1737-1766 —History Primers. Edited by J. R. Green. History of Greece. By C. A. Fyffe, M. A., Fellow and late Tutor of University College. Oxford. With Maps. — The Three Devils: Luther’s, Milton’s, and Goethe’s; with other Essays. By David Masson, M. A., LL D., Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in the University of Edinburgh.— Govina Sámanta.; or, the History of a Bengal Ráigat. By the Rev. Lal Behari Day Chinsurah. Bengal.
Robert Clarke & Co., Cincinnati: Poems of Mystery and Fancy. By St. George Best.
Geo. Routledge and Sons, London : Man and Beast, Here and Hereafter. Illustrated by more than Three Hundred Original Anecdotes. By the Rev. J. G. Wood, M. A., F. L. S.
- Fears for Democracy, regarded from the American Point of View. By CHARLES INGERSOLL. Philadelphia : J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1875,↩
- Poetic Studies. By ELIZABETH STUABT PHELPS. Boston : J. R. Osgood & Co. 1875.↩
- Point-Lace and Diamonds. Poems by GEORGE A. BAKER, JR. With Illustrations by Addie Ledyard. New York : F. B. Patterson. 1875.↩
- Whip and Spur. By GEORGE E. WARING, Jk., formerly Colonel of the Fourth Missouri Cavalry, U. S. V. Boston: J. R. Osgood & Co. 1875.↩
- Mr. Vaughan’s Heir, A Novel. By FRANK LEE BENEDICT, Author of My Daughter Elinor, Miss Van Kortland, Miss Dorothy’s Charge, John Worthington’s Name. New York: Harper and Brothers. 1875.↩
- A Dictionary of Religious Knowledge, for Popular and Professional Use; comprising full In formation on Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Subjects, With Several Hundred Maps and Illustrations. Edited by the REV. LYMAN ABBOTT, assisted by the REV. T. J. CONANT, D. D. New York: Harper and Brothers. 1875.↩
- Transatlantic Sketches. By HENRY JAMES, Jr. Boston : J R. Osgood & Co. 1875.↩
- A Paragraph History of the United States from the Discovery of the Continent to the Present Time, With Brief Notes on Contemporaneous Events, Chronologically Arranged. By EDWARD ABBOTT. Boston: Ruberts Brothers. 1875.↩
- Smith’s Letter to Bacon. English State Papers (colonial) vol. i. No. 42. Cited in Jenness s The Isles of Shoals.↩
- Macready’s Reminiscences and Diaries. Edited by SIR E. POLLOCk. New York : Macmillan & Co. 875.↩
- Brief Biographies : English Statesmen. Prepared by THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. 1875↩
- All books mentioned under this head are to be had at Schoenhof and Moeller’s, 40 Winter St., Boston.↩
- Histoire du Costume en France depuis les Tempsles plus reculés jusqu'a la Fin du X VIIIe Sièele. Par J. QUICHERAT, Directeur de l'Écolo des ChartesParis : Hachette. 1875.↩
- L'Histoire de France depuis les Temps les plus reculés jusqu'en 1789, racontée à mes Petits-Enfants. Par M. GUIZOT, Tome quatriéme. Paris: Hachette 1875.↩