THOSE of our readers who are acquainted with Mr. Johnson’s previous volume, on India, will recognize in this second installment of his great work the same qualities of wide research, thorough treatment, philosophical insight, and breadth of thought which marked that admirable book. This volume,1 like that, gives us the substance of what only the library and the patience of a specialist could furnish. But it is no mere compilation ; the farthest possible from that. All that Mr. Johnson has learned from travelers, missionaries, historians,and scholars, French, German, and English, he has thoroughly digested and made the basis of careful analysis and generalization and much original thought. His book is not only a mine of information, but is full of interesting discussion. And though it treats of a remote country, its light is brought to bear frequently upon the needs and questions of our own land. The style is scholarly, often eloquent; if it ever seem diffuse, it is not the emptiness of verbiage but the fullness of thought. The treatment is detailed yet broad, the criticism at once keen and sympathetic. The author has a quick eye for all that is best in the institutions, systems, and national character which he judges, but he is not blind to their limitations and defects. In the references to Christianity which must naturally occur in such a work he evidently looks at it as one of the religions of the world, the subject of judgment and comparison, to be approached from a rational, and not a polemic or supernatural, point of view. It is evident also that he uses the word religion in a broad and philosophical sense, as including all the highest thought and best purpose of a people, whatever is held in earnestness of purpose, — in short, its ideal, whether expressed in its government, education, literature, and history, or in its belief and worship. So all these topics are here, — not sketched in as a background, but treated with great fullness.
The chapter on Government reveals like characteristics. The state in China, according to our author, “is not an ideal concrete, but a concrete ideal.” All its elements are believed to have existed from the remotest times, so perfect as to be, not merely the best, but the only real state, the true expression of the relation of heaven and earth, coextensive with the natural laws. And this is the ground of its exclusiveness, akin to that of the Roman Church. Chinese absolutism is not the arrogance of an individual will; the emperor represents the will of heaven. As son of heaven, he is the father of his people, in this patriarchal system. “ To violate the laws is equally criminal in emperor or private man ” is a popular Chinese proverb. The responsibility of the emperor to govern justly and humanely and for the good of the people is everywhere recognized. If he . does not, “Heaven wills his overthrow and the people must effect it.” There is a board of censors ready with remonstrance; there is a register of the imperial words and actions written in secret, opened only at his death, recording his glory or his shame.
“ The praises of tyrannicide stand in the text-books of law and ethics.” So tempered is this “ despotism. " The Classics are full of high counsels to rulers. In the absence of newspapers and legislatures, the popular opinion gets expressed in satires, stories, placards, remonstrances, and through secret societies. There is, besides, an element of local government in the city councils and village communities, with household suffrage. Mr. Johnson gives a full abstract of the actual penal code of China, which abounds in provisions of justice and benignity. The maxim of the Shi-king, that “the end of punishment is to make an end of punishment,” has not been forgotten. Antiquated penalties, of a barbarous character, though retained in the books, are not allowed or practiced. But in this connection our author well says, “ Darker passions, which descend in the blood and brain of all races, may leap into unexpected power. For this reason alone, a cruel or unjust principle should be utterly wiped off the statute-book the moment its application ceases to be allowed by public sentiment. The same is to be said of superstitions which stand in statutes long after they are outgrown by the enlightened conscience, and afford hold for blind bigotry, such as the Sunday laws of the New England States.”
The chapter on Education gives a full account of the ideas and methods of a people who have been declared to have been for ages more generally educated than any other. From them our author draws some valuable lessons for ourselves, pointing out the dangers of over-teaching and routine, mechanical repetition and mere rote knowledge, and the absence of mental freedom and force which beset our schools and of which intelligent Chinese are aware in theirs. The popular education appears not to include girls; but some of the teachers are women, and many women are authors. The system of competitive examinations is described and discussed, with reference to American deficiencies and needs.
Passing over a curious and instructive chapter upon Language, we come to those devoted to Chinese literature. “This literature,” says Mr. Johnson, “appeals to the imagination by its amount, but makes little use of that faculty in its constructions.” He finds in it “ a type deficient in the qualities hitherto held by our traditional culture,” but strangely coinciding with certain tendencies beginning to manifest themselves in the West. When we read of anthologies “flowering out into a collection of fifty thousand poems, from a single dynasty,” with two thousand compilers busy upon it ; of the Han revival of letters (150 B. c.), which gave a catalogue of thirteen thousand recovered books, including those of two hundred schools of philosophy and thirteen hundred books of poetry, in a hundred schools; of vast encyclopaedias; of a fresh age of lyric poetry by a thousand bards; of three hundred thousand volumes of dynastic histories, and a universal history in sixty,— to go no further, — we may well think our author’s epithet of “ colossal ” not misapplied, and that old Hakluyt was right in calling Chinese literature “ in a manner infinite.” It quite reconciles us to never having learned the Chinese language. In dramatic literature we are told “ no nation has such a store of plays in constant use.” They are all in prose, all characterized by directness and “sedate simplicity of purpose” and a good, moral tone, but “ wanting in the individuality, fullness, and flavor of the Western drama.”The aim of the stage, according to the Chinese code, is “ to offer true or supposed pictures of just men, chaste women, and obedient children, who may inspire the spectators to the practice of virtue.” We should like to see that sentence inscribed above the stage of some of our theatres, and enforced below, that we might not, under pretense of amusement and painting things as they are, have our young people made familiar with corruption, and the fine edge of their moral sensibility dulled, its temper drawn out. In the numerous tales and romances of China “ fancy clings to solid ground of fact, and easily runs into didactics.” Yet humor is not wanting, and there is plenty of sentiment. Woman in them holds a high position. Good actions bring providential reward, after fashions “familiar to editors of Christian manuals and Sunday-school books,” but types are found, too, of ideal virtue. Our author gives outlines of a number of dramas and romances, and several pages of selections from the literature of proverbs, which would seem so congenial to the Chinese mind. We quote a few of these : —
“ Ill-gotten rice boils to nothing. True gold dreads not the fire. Deep roots fear no wind. The steel cannot behead the innocent. Better be without books than believe all that is in them. Do your duty and rest in your fate. For every blade of grass its drop of dew. The wild birds have no garners, but the wide world is before them. Three thousand laws and five hundred books, but it depends upon your free will whether you are good or bad. Sweep the snow from thine own door, and spy not the frost on thy neighbor’s tiles. To return hate with kindness is like throwing water on snow. Dig your well before you are thirsty. Let your ideas be round and your conduct square. Adapt yourself to the situation, and listen for Heaven. It is better to do good than to burn incense. Helping another helps yourself. A good subject cannot serve two masters; lay not two saddles on one horse.”
To Chinese Poetry Mr. Johnson devotes a very interesting chapter. This prosaic people, as we count them, are said by Ampère to be " of all nations the fondest of poetry.” The poet, we learn, has, from earliest times, been honored by them even beyond the sage. We, once in a hundred years, send a Lowell on a foreign mission. In China the poet’s gift has always been the passport to high office. Kings engrave his sentences on stone and invest him with royal robes, and when he withdraws from a corrupt court call him back from exile with entreaties and gifts. It was a poet who replied to royal offers of forgiveness : “ I have done my duty, and ought not to be forgiven but rewarded.” Every form of poetry except the epic is found in China. Under those placid, impassive faces beat surely human hearts, and all human experiences find mild and orderly expression in their truly “ numerous " verse. Our author gives some very pleasing specimens. They are marked, as might be expected, by fancy rather than imagination, by delicate touch and tender sentiment; any vivid passion wo must not look for. Their kin or lyre has, we are told, only silken strings, and so has their poetry. “ Their best evidence of poetic capacity is a constant investment of nature with human expression.” The willow blossom, the white swallow, the peace of the mountain height, the meeting of old friends, the sufferings of the conscript, the praise of solitude, the transientness of life, a woman’s devotion, a man’s self-sacrifice,— such are their themes ; and there are a few stirring war-songs. “ The religious element in Chinese poetry,” says Mr. Johnson, " we must seek in the seriousness of its interest in positive forms of life rather than in contemplation of Infinite Being.” And we quote the sentence as one instance of the sympathetic insight which marks his criticisms.
To the Shi-king, or book of odes, the most ancient of the so-called Chinese classics, some twenty pages are devoted Dating some centuries back from 800 B. C. the themes of its verses are the labors of husbandry, duties of government, affections ami fidelities of home, laws of social order, all familiar human experiences. It inculcates everywhere humanity, justice, kindly affections, virtue, peace. It knows no priesthood, no mythology (except in the instance of the virgin-born How-tseih), but it teaches “to stand in awe of Heaven,” whose “ will none can resist.” It celebrates good kings, like King Wan, who “bright in heaven ascends and descends on the right and left of God ; His fame is without end : born of pure father and mother, watchful and reverent, with wisdom served he God and won the blessing; through him, grown men became virtuous, and the young went ever onward.” It laments the corruption of evil days and rulers-
Of the Shi-king, Confucius, who compiled it in its present form, said that it might all be summed up in one sentence: Have no depraved thoughts.
Coming now to the “ sages,” the philosophy of the Chinese is naturally enough found to be rationalistic and secular. It is based on the assumption of the essential goodness of human nature, the validity and the sufficiency of human faculties. “ Reason is the celestial principle innate in man,” says Chu-hi. Their ethics are pure and elevated. Filial piety is made the beginning of all virtues. To Confucius and his influence Mr. Johnson devotes three chapters. His name of Kung-fu-tse means, it seems, teacher, of the family of Kung. He was born 551 B. c. He held public office; was exiled, a wanderer in peril of his life; returning at the age of sixty-nine he devoted his five remaining years to literary labors. Ilis story is one of honorable activity, of wise counsels given in free conversation, of fidelity to conviction, of disappointment and outward failure, of patient acceptance of suffering. “ The sharp trial,” he said,
“ is my good fortune. I do not murmur against Heaven, I do not fret myself at men. Below, I learn ; above, I aspire. There is heaven ; that knows me.” At last he said,
“ My day is done ; it is time for me to die.” Mr. Johnson draws all interesting comparison between his is death and that of Buddha and of Jesus. His character was marked by charity, sympathy, sincerity, humility, a vein of humor, practical good sense, and a strain of spirituality. Years passed. His tragedy was changed to triumphs, and he became, and still is, honored and almost worshiped. His is followers have not hesitated to speak of him as “the equal of heaven.” His teachings were written down by his disciples (or, as Legga thinks, by their disciples) in the Lῡn-Yῡ (conversations or analects) and the Chῡng-Yῡng (the invariable mean). For an admirable analysis of these books, with illustrative extracts, we must refer to Mr. Johnson’s pages. A few sentences we cannot forbear quoting, with the admission that in the original they will he found scattered through rather dreary pages:—
“ The true man will yield up his life to preserve his virtue. To see what is right and not do it is the part of a coward. It is wisdom to do human duties faithfully, and while respecting the spirits [of ancestors] to keep away from them. Of three things a true man stands in awe : the laws of heaven, great men, and the words of the wise. For uprightness man is born. My prayer is a constant one. The mind of the superior man is occupied with righteousness, that of the mean man with gain. Overflow in love to all, and cultivate the friendship of the good. The good man loves all men; all within the four seas are his brothers. Recompense injury with justice. Only the virtuous know how to love or hate. Keep the heart right, and love others as thyself. To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short. Sincerity is the way of heaven; it makes its possessor coequal with heaven. What you do not like done to yourself do not do to others,”
This " golden rule ” also occurs in an affirmative form, but less compactly expressed. In the teachings of Confucius we find, as Mr. Johnson says, “large affirmations of essential right and spiritual law, but we miss aesthetic emotion and intellectual fire ; we miss the flight of imagination. . . . Nor does religion attain a fully self-conscious freedom.” He notes also a strong affinity to modern “positivism,” characteristic of the Chinese temperament.
A century after the death of Confucius was born Mencius, “ a contemporary of the great age of Greek philosophy.” A teacher of political science and morals, he confronted rulers with a freedom of speech like that of the Hebrew prophets, quite in whose spirit, also, are his pleas for righteousness in rulers and nation. “O king,” he said, “why do you talk of profit? I have humanity and justice for my teaching, nothing more” “In success to share one’s principles with the people, in failure to live them out alone; to be incorruptible by riches or honors, unchangeable by poverty, unmoved by perils or power, — these I call the qualities of a great man.”“Never did one who bends himself make others straight.”
“ A drowning kingdom must be rescued by right principles.” To King Seuen he said that “ if he had great faults and would not hear advice, they should dethrone him.” he was no friend to hereditary monarchy, and pleaded for popular rights ; yet he opposed the doctrinaires of his time. He “refutes the theory that every one who does not perform the manual labors necessary to produce all he lives on is an oppressor in an argument as timely to-day as it was two thousand years ago.” Here was evidently “intellectual lire ” enough.
A very different atmosphere do we enter in Lao-tze. Instead of concrete ethics and political and social reform, we have here the strains of the transcendentalist and mystic. Hear him speak of “ a depth still and pure, as if the Eternal were indeed there. Before all beings, before the Supreme Ruler himself. Father of all mystery of motherhood, root of heaven and earth. He that worketh through it shall not be weary. All things wait on it for life, and it refuses none; it loves and supports all beings, but lords it over none. Forever without doing, it leaves nothing undone. All things as born of it, by its power upheld. The refuge of all beings, the treasure of the good, the redeemer of the wicked.” Hear him proclaim : “ The way that can be spoken is not the eternal way; the name that can be named is not the eternal name. He that is free from selfish desires shall behold it in the spirit. Depth and the depth of depths; the entrance to all spiritual life ! ”
And so on, Mr. Johnson gives us nearly the whole of the Tao-te-king of Lao-tze in a translation drawn from French and German sources, and much superior to that of Chalmers, heretofore, we believe, the only English version. Here-we have Plotinus and Bohmen and Tauler all in one, showing that this plodding, Nestorian race is at least capable of winging the upper air. Yet the disciples were more earthly than the master, and the mysticism of the Tao degenerated into thaumaturgy and divination, as did the later neoplatonism.
For a very full, interesting account of Buddhism, its introduction into China eighteen hundred years ago, and its various modifications there, we must refer our readers to the book itself. There is also an admirable chapter on Beliefs and Superstitions, defending the Chinese on strong grounds from the charge of atheism.
We have been able in our space to give but an outline of what this remarkable book contains. We shall be glad if these hints of its wealth may induce any of our readers to lay aside some trivial and ephemeral volume for this thoughtful and instructive work, which is a real honor to American scholarship. They cannot fail to gain from it a largely increased interest in and respect for a people whom they may have been wont to look upon with indifference, pity, or amused contempt. In view of certain outrages and the spirit which prompted them, we heartily wish the information and ideas of this book could in some way be brought to enlighten the prejudice which — as intelligent as it is unrepublican — has so shamefully manifested itself on our Californian coast, and is not unknown nearer home.
— The Antelope and Deer of America,2 by J. D. Caton, is not only by far the best work upon the subject, but is, in many respects, a model for all writers upon natural history. The author, a distinguished lawyer and judge of Illinois, instead of compiling his book from works on natural history, sporting sketches, travels, and other similar sources, has for years kept and watched living specimens of the animals themselves, running at large in two vast parks or inclosures made expressly for them, and has thus had opportunities for examination, comparison, and description which even the most experienced hunters could never have obtained. He is also a close and accurate observer, and from a vast amount of facts, carefully noted down from time to time, has selected the most interesting and important, thus preparing a work which must always remain the standard upon the subject. The author divides the ruminantia, Cuvier’s eighth order of mammalia, into two groups, those having horns and those which have none. The first group is subdivided into those which have hollow horns and those having solid ones.
Each of these two groups is further subdivided, the first including those animals having hollow and persistent horns, like the ox, goat, etc., and those with hollow and deciduous horns, of which class the American antelope is the sole representative; and the second into those having solid and persistent horns, of which the giraffe is the only specimen, and those having solid and deciduous lioms, including the deer, elk, moose, and all the cervida;.
Mr. Caton gives a most elaborate and detailed description of the antelope, from the tip of the horns to the end of the tail, and especially of the formation, growth, and shedding of the horns, which is the more interesting as it is the only animal known with hollow horns which sheds them annually. The cervida; of North America include eight distinct species : the moose, elk, woodland caribou, mule deer, black-tailed deer, common or Virginian deer, barren-ground caribou, and Acapulco deer.
Of all those, except the moose and caribou, the author has had living specimens in his parks, and gives full and detailed accounts of them from his own observation.
The common deer and the elk are well known, hut some of the others are so unfamiliar that a short description of them may be desirable.
The mule deer is so called from the size of its ears, which much resemble those of a mule ; it is about half as large again as the common deer, but more clumsy and heavy in form, of a yellowish color in summer and gray in winter. It is found all along the Pacific coast and throughout the whole range of the Bocky Mountains, but not to the eastward of them, though a few sometimes straggle out ou to the great plains.
The black-tailed deer is a little larger than the common deer, of a grayish color, with short body and legs, less clumsy than the mule deer, but not as graceful as the common kind. The most singular fact about this animal is its restricted area. It is found only on the Pacific coast, and though it ranges high up on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada it never passes the summit, and is never found in the Rocky Mountains or on the eastern side of the Sierras. The Acapulco deer is the smallest of the species, being about two feet high at the shoulder, and weighing about forty pounds. It is found only in Yucatan and Mexico. The moose is the finest of the native ruminants, specimens having been killed standing seven feet high at the shoulder and weighing as much as fifteen hundred pounds. The range of this noble beast was originally from the Ohio River to the Arctic Ocean, but it is almost extinct in the United States, and is rare even in the Canadas. In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia it is still common, especially in the latter province, thanks to strict game laws well enforced. The author speaks of the moose as the most ungainly of the deer tribe, and doubtless they have less grace and beauty of proportion than any other of that specially beautiful class of animals, but they are by no means as awkward and stiff looking as would appear from the wood-cut he gives, and certainly no one can see a bull moose in his native forests without being struck by his majesty of appearance and the power and grace of his sinewy and clean - cut limbs. Their powers of scent and hearing are wonderful, and if their vision was as good it would be almost impossible ever to come within shot of them.
Their intelligence, too, is great, — almost equal to reason. They feed almost entirely on leaves and twigs of trees, and always feed to windward, so that they can hear danger behind and scent it before; after satisfying their hunger they go back some distance on a line parallel with and to leeward of their track, and then he down, watching closely to see or smell any one following them.
They are hunted entirely on foot, and pursuit, to be successful, requires an amount of skill and knowledge now found among only a few of the Indians who still inhabit those countries. It is almost like a game of chess, the animal making moves which must be foreseen and defeated by still more complicated moves of the hunter. An accomplished Indian on finding a track, perhaps two or three days old, will follow it only a short distance, to see whether the moose is traveling or feeding: if the former, he abandons it, and searches for another track; if the latter, he will determine from the appearance of the foot-marks, the age or freshness of the branches broken in browsing, and other indications how long it is since the animal has passed. He then considers the various subsequent courses of the wind, the state of the weather, the lay of the country, the favorite feeding grounds in the neighborhood, and various other elements of the problem, and will start off in the direction where he supposes the moose then is, and will almost always hit very near the spot in which the animal, after perhaps two days’ wanderings, is to be found. Even after a fresh track is discovered and the moose is known to be near, the slightest sound will alarm it; the breaking of a dry twig underfoot will start it, for in some way it can distinguish between such a sound made by a human foot and that made by an animal; when found their strength and vitality is such that, unless shot through the heart or brain, they will often run miles, and sometimes escape altogether, with wounds that would prostrate almost any other animal.
The caribou is perhaps the least known of any of the deer tribe. It is in size about half-way between the moose and the common deer, a large buck sometimes weighing six hundred pounds and standing five feet high at the shoulder. In color it is yellowish-gray in summer, growing almost white in winter. Its habitat is now about the same as the moose, though it never had so great a southerly range. It is still a disputed question among naturalists whether there are two species or one, but most now agree that there are two, the woodland and the barren-ground caribou. The former is much larger than the latter, and inhabits the southern and more wooded parts of the country, while the latter is rarely found south of Hudson’s Bay, and frequents the vast open plains of British North America. Both feed almost entirely on mosses of all kinds, but especially the Cladonia rangerifina or caribou moss, which grows in immense quantities throughout all the northern regions, sometimes two or three feet in depth, on barren rocks and ground where nothing else can live.
The caribou is hunted on foot, like the moose, but its habits are entirely different. It wanders continually, eating a mouthful here and a mouthful there, but never stopping for more than an hour or two at a time, so that it has become a proverb among the Indians as to a caribou track, “ One day old, man catch ’em; two day old, dog catch ’em ; three day old, devil can’t catch ’em.” The only thing the hunter can do when he finds the caribou track is to follow it as fast and as far as he is able ; if he gets up to them, and gets a shot he is fortunate, if not he has his labor for his pains. Their meat, however, when obtained is by far the finest of any of the deer tribe.
The book is full of attractions to the sportsman, the naturalist, and the general reader.
— The Chaucer Society was established in England ten years ago, not as a result of an English demand, however, but because an American scholar, Professor Francis J. Child, of Harvard, urged upon the attention of English students of Early English the discreditable condition of the text of Chaucer’s poems and the necessity of collating manuscripts for the purpose of establishing the correct readings. The society has had hard work to interest enough persons in its important work to enable it to continue from year to year, and the director, Mr. Frederick J. Furnivall, confesses that the project must have failed if it had not had the support of Professor Child and his friends in the United States. The close of the year 1877, however, showed that success had at last crowned the society’s persistent efforts, for it had issued in two forms six independent texts of the Canterbury Tales, several texts of the principal minor poems, and many essays and analogues connected with or illustrating the subject of Chaucer’s life and works.
The society aimed to give scholars the basis upon which to build and helps to direct them in new studies, and it has so effectively accomplished this that large additions have been made to the Chaucer literature that appeals to the ordinary reader and is available for use in the class room. The works of Dr. Richard Morris and of the Rev. W. W. Skeat, illustrating the Prologue and several of the Canterbury Tales, are well known. They are published at the Clarendon Press, Oxford, and are extensively used in this country, These volumes had, however, been anticipated on our side of the ocean by Professor Corson, of Cornell, who several years before the Chaucer Society was established issued the Legende of Goode Women, with an introduction and glossarial and critical notes, in a volume more attractive than those of the Clarendon Press. After that publication the next produced in our country was The Parlament of Foules,3 which was published towards the end of 1877. The editor will be recognized as the writer of two articles, which we published in September and November last, on Fictitious Lives of Chaucer. If in those articles Mr. Lounsbury found it his duty to differ very emphatically from the director of the Chaucer Society, he has in his present volume given Mr. Furnivall the sincerest meed of praise. He owns that without the work of the society his would have been impossible, and he not only takes one of the texts the society has issued, but also borrows largely from its work in the introductory portion of his book. The form adopted by Mr. Lounsbury is very much like that established by the examples of Professor Corson and the Clarendon Press, though by lengthening the page and using some very fine type the publishers have made a volume ill-shaped externally and internally trying to the eyes.
In his introduction Mr. Lounsbury says that in 1862, when Bell’s edition of Chaucer was published, “ only two manuscripts of this poem were known to exist, but in 1871, almost entirely through the agency of the Chaucer Society, ten manuscripts had been discovered and published, one of which, much the best of all, had been previously unknown to editors.” This statement shows that Chaucerian scholarship was in a very backward state before the formation of the society, and that its progress since has been very rapid. The same remark might be applied to all study of Early English. Mr. Lounsbury is unwilling to accept any of the statements regarding the date at which Chaucer composed the Parlamentof Foules, and says, however, “ They certainly cannot be disproved for the very good reason, that, in the present state of our knowledge, they cannot be proved,”— a remark the force of which does not strike us. Referring to the arguments for establishing the date of a poem by its quality, he says, very justly, “ There is nothing in our laws of intellectual development to justify the assumption that is continually put forth in the case of Chaucer: that a man’s first productions are comparatively poor, and then go on increasing in merit, at least until there comes a period of decline.”If some of those who have wasted their time in endeavors to arrange Chaucer’s works on this plan had tried to apply it to authors the dates of whose different productions are known, they would have saved themselves some trouble and the world many pages of careless disquisitions. Mr. Lounsbury enters quite fully into the subject of the sources of the story, presenting a translation of the whole of the Dream of Publius Seipio, as preserved by Macrobius, and he takes from the edition of the Chaucer Society a version of some stanzas of Boccaccio, made by W. M. Rossetti. This discussion and comparison exhibit the ingenuity, the care, and the sometimes misapplied labor that is brought to bear on such investigations. Next, we have a bibliography of the subject, followed by remarks on the text of the present edition, its grammatical forms and the metre. The last are sure to be good, for they are condensed from Professor Child’s observations on the subject.
The text follows, which is that of the best manuscript, altered in places by collation with the others. The deviations are indicated in plentiful foot-notes, which, by the way, can be of very little use to the pupils for whom the book is intended. The text has been treated with evident care, and we should take exception to it in two places only. Lines 22 and 505 we should prefer as follows, as being more poetical than they now stand : —
We have examined the notes and glossary, and find them full and good, though the former might have been advantageously augmented, and would have been much more convenient if they had been placed at the foot of the pages to which they respectively belong, after Mr. Corson’s plan. The volume will be found useful as a text-book and is interesting as one of the signs of the growing appreciation of the study of Early English in America.
— For a few years almost nothing more has been needed for the success of an American novel than a lively record of adventure in the wilder parts of the country, with a good deal of such local color as is given by bad grammar and worse spelling that shall represent the dialectic peculiarities of the region in which the scene of the story is laid. Frequently, the superiority of honest work to the cheap and lifeless imitation of English novels has been clearly shown, and literature has been possibly not so much enriched as enlarged by very faithful studies of a form of society that is steadily retreating before advancing civilization. But such success as, notably, Mr. Eggleston has achieved is sure to attract a crowd of imitators who cannot distinguish high spirits from humor, and coarseness from simplicity. The author of The Two Circuits4 has not escaped this pitfall. Under the pretext of writing an account of life in Illinois some thirty years ago, he has collected a series of anecdotes which are strung together as the experience of a young Methodist minister on his circuit. The anecdotes are of various kinds, and while some have the rough fun of those stories over which travelers in smokingcars are accustomed to guffaw, there are others which fall even less within the province of literature. The effects of strong doses of lobelia upon the human stomach are described with great gusto by the reverend author, when he brings down the heavy lash of his satire upon quackery. The sudden and unwelcome appearance of cats in unsuitable places seems to have been of very frequent occurrence in Illinois about a quarter of a century ago, if the Rev. J. L. Crane is a trustworthy chronicler of that remote past. At any rate, stories turning upon such incidents appear to be great favorites of his. At the beginning of the book the monotony which this somewhat morbid harping on one string produces is relieved by the exquisite humor with which is described a young man suffering from an epileptic seizure.
On the whole, this is as unsavory a novel as it has ever been our misfortune to read. The only possible praise that can be given it is this: that it would be excellent — barring the coarseness—as a collection of ungrammatical English to be corrected by the pupils of elementary schools. It is a perfect treasure-house of such expressions as these: —
“ Her eyes, nose, and lips had the appearance of being bitten by the frost, and had not healed up yet.”
“ These clerks grew eloquent in recommending mysterious articles, which no one knew at sight for what purpose they were made.”
_The Jukes5 is a pseudonym used to designate the descendants of the notorious “Margaret, mother of criminals,” whose progeny for five generations, and to the number of five hundred and forty persons, alive and dead, the author has taken the trouble to register. His researches began in one of the county jails of New York, and most of his material has been laboriously gathered from “ old residents, " physicians, employers, poor - house records, sheriffs’ books, and prison registers in various parts of the State. Many valuable facts are brought to light in the author’s careful tables: for example, the eldest child tends to become the criminal of the family; the youngest, especially if the parents are consanguineous, the pauper. Crime chiefly follows the male, and especially the illegitimate lines. More men than women become paupers. The female sex preponderates among the first-born children of lawful marriages, while most illegitimate first-born are males. Hereditary pauperism is far more probable than hereditary crime. Severe and protracted punishment often changes a vigorous criminal into an under-vitalized pauper. It would be very interesting to know whether these and many other inductions which the author has drawn from his facts would be verified if his method of inquiry could be extended to include the natural history of other degraded and diseased criminal families. But the difficulties attending such researches are so great that even with the utmost precaution much uncertainty must always attach to the results.
Estimating the total number of persons in all the collateral branches of this family at twelve hundred, the “social damage” of the Jukes, including charity, cost of prosecutions, maintenance in prison and poorhouses, drugs for diseases resulting from vices, cost of depredations, lost time, etc., is found to be a million and a quarter dollars.
Mr. Dugdale is not inclined to accept the popular notion that intemperance is the cause of pauperism and crime, without important qualifications. His tables suggest that hereditary or induced physical exhaustion or disease precede the appetite for stimulants; but the facts are here far too meagre for any reliable inductions. Few intelligent readers will dissent from the author’s opinion that the temperance question is one for physicians and educators rather than for legislators and politicians, and that brain and nerve disease and intemperance are so reciprocal in their influence that the priority of either as cause cannot be determined.
Dr. Guy, of England, estimates that “ the ratio of insane to sane criminals is thirtyfour times as great as the ratio of lunatics to the whole population.” This Mr. Dugdale believes approximately true in our own country. Although he believes that whatever is physiologically unsound is morally wrong, and although he shows that the probability that any given member of the Jukes family will be found a criminal amounts almost to a certainty, yet he urges that environment has, after all, much more to do with the development of character than heredity, and demands a radical reconstruction of the entire machinery of punitive and reformatory institutions. “ We cannot call these establishments,” he says, “the results of the wisdom of our generation, but rather the cumulative accidents of popular negligence, indifference, and incapacity.” The ideal criminal, the courageous man in the prime of life, for whom Mr. Dugdale seems to have such a fondness, whose successfully contrived crime is an index of capacity, — the burglar, for instance, “ with his strong physique, cool head, and good judgment backed by pluck,” — only needs a change of career. “ All criminals,” we are told, “of sound mind and body, who have not passed the prime of life, can be reformed if only judicious training is applied in time. Where there is vitality, there morality can be organized and made a constituent of character.”
With paupers the lack of vitality is generally caused by licentiousness, and the cure is hard, unintermittent labor. For the children of criminals isolation from the degrading surroundings of early life and the use of kindergarten methods is suggested, in order that post-natal influences may at once begin to operate against ante-natal predispositions. Since, as we are sagely informed, “the whole process of education consists in the building up of cerebral cells,” conduct may, “ with good physiological quality,” be made to depend on knowledge of moral distinctions, and it is then that the greatest effect of environment is secured.
Upon the whole, in spite of a style that is nothing less than awkward and considerable psychological crudity here and there, the author has presented a very suggestive, valuable, and well-arranged collection of facts.
— If any proof were needed at this period of the world’s history that a novel is not made interesting by the mere combination of unexpected and more or less tragic incidents, a fresh example of the truth of this maxim could be found in Chedayne of Kotono,6 which treats of battle, murder and sudden death, fire, flood, and fighting, with even a guillotine suddenly springing up at the end of the book. It is not an easy book to read. It is hard to care much whether the good or the bad people are knocked on the head or slain, and from some fault not easy to define exactly the narration produces a sort of blurred effect, so that without the closest attention it is hard to make out just what is happening. The book describes the sufferings of a number of people from Connecticut who settled in Pennsylvania, and who were afterwards dispossessed by the inhabitants of that State, these last being apparently the rightful owners, though the soundness of their title is not strictly made out. It is fair to suppose that a boy who is fond of Mayne Read may get his pleasure from this story, but it is by no means certain. What every one cares for more than anything else is something like life in the characters, and this is totally wanting here.
FRENCH AND GERMAN.
It is by no means surprising that a volume of George Sand’s writings has been made up since her death, for to almost her last moments the pen was constantly in her hand, and there were various contributions to different periodicals, which were easily collected, that cannot fail to give pleasure to the reader. This volume is entitled Dernieres Pages,7 but yet we cannot help hoping that some, at least, of this author’s correspondence may soon be given to the public.
What was always apparent in everything George Sand wrote was her great fluency, her wonderful ease of expression, and of course it again appears in this volume, which gives us once more the pleasure of reading something new from her pen. Henceforth her place is on the shelf, as one who has finished her task, and it is possible to give a more complete glance at her work than could be done when she was alive. And in considering her work it is important not to pay too much attention to her life. An author is always justified in demanding that his writings be judged by themselves alone, just as an artist’s paintings are to be seen and admired or condemned without reference to his habits, which more truly concern his family if he is married, or his landlady if he is single. But yet so long as the world is what it is, it will be impossible wholly to regard an author impersonally, because no one is impersonal, and everything one writes is dependent on the author’s character, feelings, and experience. Of hardly any one is this truer than of George Sand. This extraordinary woman led an eventful life, and almost all her experience came into use as literary material. She did not make use of her life to write an exact story of all that she did; she rather wrote about her career in order to represent it as it seemed to her, through the halo which every one casts about himself, and to show what she meant to do, to set forth the most defensible side of her errors, to gloss over her faults, to place in a good light those virtues of which she was conscious, — in short, to write what would seem to her imagination like an autobiography. And what a life it was! It may be said that it was in a way thoroughly French. By this is meant not French in the sense of throwing off allegiance to conventionality, but in that it was an attempt, after forming an unusual theory of life, to put it into practice. That is peculiarly what the French nation does; it not only forms startling ideas, it carries them out with thoroughness, and so is to the observer one of the most interesting countries in the world. The English keep on solid ground by preferring what is practicable to theoretical truth, but the French have made modern history thrilling by the great Revolution and by their visions of communism undermining contemporary civilization. George Sand shared every famous social vagary, besides inventing some of her own. The particulars of her adventurous life are presumably familiar to our readers, who will recall her independent Bohemianism, and it is interesting to find in this volume further revelations, innocent enough to be sure, of her readiness for what Dr. Johnson, on a somewhat similar occasion, called a frisk. An example of this is in the paper called Nuit d’Hiver, in which she tells a curious story. It seems that she and her brother were sitting together one evening, when it occurred to them that it would be an amusing thing to go in disguise to the neighboring town, — she dressed as a man, he as a woman,— to awaken a friend of theirs, named Duteil, and find out what amusement he could suggest. It was a cold night as they made their way over the fields, crossing a river on the ice, and at half past eleven reaching the town. There they heard the sound of music at a workman’s ball, which attracted them within. George Sand wore a mask at first, but it soon fell from her face in the ardor of the dance, yet without betraying their secret except to one faithful woman. After a while they grew tired of watching and sharing this amusement, and determined to try their first plan, that of awakening Duteil. This they did, and he proved to be a congenial soul, who joined heartily in their plan to trick the mayor of the town by the brother’s running to him with a long story that some one was trying to run away with him. The official was very stern with them, and slammed his door in their faces. Duteil then accompanied them, and did his share of the entertainment by a very vivid and annoying bark, which stirred the bile and aroused the envy of every dog that heard him, until the town was filled with the uproar. They then stood under people’s windows and called them by name; when asked their business they replied that they wanted to be assured of the existence of their friends. Then, this sport also cloying in time, they sat down on the curb-stone and chaffed the passers-by and talked idly together, giving expression to their delight at the singularity of their actions and at the lateness of the hour Ithere is no feeling so common to the whole human race, without exception, as vanity at sitting up considerably after midnight; when did any one ever write a letter at such a time without mentioning the hour'?), and then George Sand and her brother made their way home for an hour’s sleep before morning.
Another sketch contains a somewhat similar adventure. George Sand describes a breakfast at the house of an old miser, M. Blaise. The few pages she has devoted to the account of this man, his stories of his five desertions from the army, and his avariciousness, are very entertaining. Then they start for home, once more in the company of the incorrigible Duteil. They lose their way, and Duteil proves to them that they are really at home and asleep, and that they are merely dreaming that they are lost. The whole tale reads like a bright letter describing some actual event. Both of these incidents bear the mark of truth, and they have certainly an interest as showing the woman’s inclination to amusement and her immense animal spirits. It would be idle to build up an imaginary picture of her from this testimony alone, and it is unnecessary at present to describe all the peculiarities of her character, but it is interesting to catch her thus, so to speak, off the stage, — at home, not posing as an oracle to settle distracting social questions, but leading her own natural life.
Another and more interesting view that we get of her domestic life is from her account of her marionnette theatre at Nohant. Not even Goethe in his Wilhelm Meister showed greater personal affection for the stage than George Sand does here. Her interest in the theatre, at least in domestic theatricals, began some time before with charades, and soon grew to giving representations of more complicated comedies and emotional dramas. At the beginning everything was done in pantomime. Chopin, who first introduced these performances, would improvise at the piano, while the others either acted fitting scenes or danced solemn or lively dances to his music. Some time after this the marionnette theatre had its first performances under the direction of George Sand’s son Maurice, with seven miniature figures, who acted various thrilling plays. The first little theatre was consumed by the flames at the end of a piece which represented a fire, but it was quickly followed by another somewhat more ambitious one, when the whole French Revolution was to be given in historical scenes, like those in Scott s novels, but the Revolution of 1848 interrupted them. In time, all sorts of improvements were introduced, which she describes at great length, — the rising and setting sun and moon, greater likeness to life in the figures, etc. She tells, incidentally, that once, when in Venice, autrefois, she saw some beautifully dressed marionnettes without action, but that they did not compare with her own, of whom she says that they can do almost everything on the stage. “ They take a torch or a lamp from one piece of furniture to set it down on another. They set a table, dress and undress before the spectator, take off their hats and put them on again, fight duels, and dance with grace and energy. In fact, they do not take anything ; the object is held before them on a fine wire which follows their motions, and permits them apparently to seize it with one hand.” Whoever was managing all these puppets had various hits of machinery to direct, wild animals to bring in, sounds to introduce, as of railroad trains, the song of birds, the rustle of wind, the roar of waves, etc. George Sand’s enthusiasm about the whole matter is charming: the spectator, she says, when the curtain was pulled up, would be conscious that he was looking at miniature figures, but after a while that feeling would disappear. The dim light would hide other points of comparison, and so strongly would he be impressed by the life of what he saw that when, as sometimes happened, the person behind had to make an appearance as a giant or ogre, the apparition was monstrous and really alarming. She goes on to tell us how, in order to have faithful figures of animals, they were obliged to discard the ordinary wooden toys and manufacture others from the wires taken from her old hoop-skirts. Yet even the rejected toy animals were superior to those more complicated creatures who could he wound up and would then cross the scene by clock-work. As she truly says, “ An automaton obeys itself alone, and does nothing irregular.” With regard to the difficulties surrounding the human director of the puppets, she goes on to say, “ The marionnette does not obey the guiding hand as passively as does the actor the stage directions. It cannot walk alone, it does not move of itself, it does not go around an obstacle ; it may get caught on a decoration, it may slip from its support or from the finger that should hold it and swoon away at a most inopportune moment,” — and for all such accidents the ready wit of the manager has to be prepared.
The decoration of this miniature theatre was in good hands. She laments that she did not have the theatre at the time of her acquaintance with Delacroix, who, she tells ns, had a great admiration for wall-papers and theatrical decorations, often paradoxically defending their great excellence. But his general advice on decoration was afterwards followed by Maurice Sand, when he adorned this stage and its surroundings.
We have given but a small part of all that this writer says of the charm of private theatricals and of puppets. The whole essay, which is a tolerably long one, deserves to be read for its own interest and for the light it throws on the woman who wrote it. In its thoroughness and sincerity, as well as in its subject, it reminds one of Goethe.
Of considerable importance is the essay entitled Mon Grand-Oncle, in which she gives a fuller account of this relative, whom she had mentioned in her Histoire de ma Vie. His career was a singularly adventuresome one, and in hardly any of her novels has she invented a more startling combination of incidents than those which made up this abbe’s life. An abbe of the last century was something of which the world will probably never see the like again, but one who was more peculiarly the product of his time it would be hard to find. The great Revolution, too, he saw, as is already known, but it was as few who saw it lived to tell. Another terrible story of the Revolution is to be found in a criticism of the poems of Mademoiselle Flaugergues, which our waning space allows us merely to mention.
In conclusion it can be said that this volume, though it contains some papers of meagre interest, will be found in general well worth reading. Besides what there is in the feeling that nothing more can be gathered of what she wrote, there is very much in the book of great value to those who read George Sand with pleasure. For the most part it is unmixed pleasure the reader will feel in these sincere confessions of a woman who, whatever her faults, was never tiresome so long as she spoke what she really felt or knew and not what she had extracted from others. Certainly, no one ever sought enjoyment in this life as she did, and in this book she gives only grateful fruits from it.
- In his opening discussion of the Chinese Mind, Mr. Johnson draws the distinction between it and that of India that the latter is in its quality cerebral, the former muscular: one is brain, the other hand; one thought, the other labor. The Chinese is, characteristically, utilitarian, positivist, realistic, bound to rules and prescriptions and routines, yet not purely materialistic. As Mr. Johnson acutely remarks, it is not the incapacity of the Chinese mind to grasp ideas, but its tendency immediately to embody them in concrete forms, and hold them fast bound there, unable, apparently, “to hold them in solution for the tests of reason and aspiration,” which is the key to “ Chinese immobility; ” this gives the appearance of arrested development. The idea long ago got its perfect expression, and so its repression to dead levels of repetition. Everything tends to details; yet everything, by minuteness and repetition, gets elaborately and exquisitely done within its limitations. This is true alike of handiwork, written language, historic record, political structure, educational methods, civil etiquette. Yet, with this faculty for organization, the Chinese have built up a vast and permanent civilization, industrious, educated, and orderly. Their ethics, tending immediately to conduct, exalting “ the mean,” make them, if not heroic, yet humane, peaceable, and reasonably honest. “ No nation in the world, of whatever religion, possesses a literature so pure,” or, as we shall see, so vast. The same elaborateness, with the same limitation, shows itself in their numerous but undeveloped inventions, in their language which has no alphabet, in their art at once exquisite and crude.↩
- Oriental Religions and their Relations to Universal Religion : China. By SAMUEL JOHNSON. Boston : J. R. Osgood & Co. 1877,↩
- The Antelope and Deer of America. A Comprehensive Scientific Treatise upon the Natural History, including the Characteristics, Habits, Affinities, and Capacity for Domestication, of the Antiloeapra and Cervidæ of North America. By JOHN DEAN CATON, LL. D. Now York: Published by Hurd and Houghton ; Boston : II. O. Houghton and Company ; Cambridge : The Riverside Press. 1877.↩
- The Parlnment of Foules. By GEOFFREY CHAUCER, Edited with Introduction, Notes, and Glossary, by T. K. LOUNSBURY, Professor of English in the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale College. Boston : Ginn and Heath.↩
- The Two Circuits: A Story of Illinois Life. By J. L. CRANE. Chicago : Jansen, McClurg, & Co. 1877.↩
- The Jukes : A Study in Crime, Pauperism, Disease, and Heredity. By R. L. DUGDALE.↩
- Chedayne of Kotono: A Story of the Early Days of the Republic, By AUSBURN TOWNER. New York : Dodd, Mead, & Co. 1877.↩
- Dernières Pages. Par GEORGE SAND. Paris : C. Lévy. 1877.↩