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“One day upon a topmost shelf,
I found a precious prize indeed, Which fatber used to read, himself,
But did not want us boys to read; A brown old book of certain age
(As type and binding seemed to show) While on the spotted title-page
Appeared the name 'Boccaccio.'
Revenge, The Wild Irish Boy, The Milesian Chief,
John Banim— The Tales of the O'Hara Family.
Regina Maria Roche-The Children of the Abbey, The Chapel Castle, The Nocturnal Visit, The Nun's Picture, The Maid of the Hamlet, Clermont, The Bride of Dunamore, The Vicar of Lansdowne, The Tradition of the Castle, The Munster Cottage Boy, The Discarded Son.
Leitch Ritchie—The London Night's Entertainment, Schinderhannes, The Robber of the Rhine, The Game of Life.
Francis Lathom-Mystery, The Midnight Bell, The Mysterious Freebooter, The Impenetrable Secret, The Fatal Vow, or St. Michael's Monastery, The Unknown, or the Northern Gallery; Very Strange but Very True, Astonishment !!!!! CHRISTABEL FORSYTHE FISKE, M. A., in
“I'd never heard that name before,
But in due season it became
Those pages a beloved name!
Mid pastoral scenes and royal show; With seigneurs and their dames I talked-
The Crony of Boccaccio.
"Those courtly knights and sprightly maids,
Who really seemed disposed to shine In gallantries and escapades,
Anon became great friends of mine. Yet was there sentiment with fun,
An oftentimes my tears would flow, At some quaint tale of valor done,
As told by my Boccaccio.
“In boyish dreams I saw again
Bucolic belles and dames of court. The princely youths and monkish men
Arrayed for sacrifice or sport; Again I heard the nightingale
Sing as she sung in those years ago In his embowered Italian vale
To my revered Boccaccio.
The Care of Books.
“And still I love that brown old book
I found upon the topmost shelfI love it so I let none look
Upon the treasure but myself! And yet I have a strapping boy
Who (I have every cause to know) Would to its full extent enjoy
The friendship of Boccaccio!
“But boys are oh! so different now
From what they were when I was one! I fear my boy would not know how
To take that old raconteur's fun!
I think it wise alone to go
Where e'er you lead Boccaccio.
The man who doesn't take good care of his books doesn't deserve to have any. I find the following in my scrapbook. The writer must have a real affection for books, something of the maternal instinct :
"When books are being dusted, do not impute too much common sense to those who are doing the work. Take their ignorance for granted, and tell them at once never to lift any book by one of its corners. That treatment is sure to strain the back, and it will certainly be found that the weight of the volume has been miscalculated, and the volume will fall, which will not tend to its improvement. Your female help too dearly loves a good tall pile to work at, and, as a rule, her ideas of the center of gravity are scarcely strictly accurate, leading often to a general downfall and the damage of many a corner. Again, if not supervised and instructed, she is very apt to rub the dust into instead of off the edges. Each volume should be held tightly, so as to prevent the leaves from gaping, and then wiped from the back to the fore edge. A soft brush will be found useful if there is much dust. The whole exterior should also be rubbed with a soft cloth, and then the covers should be opened and the hinges of the binding examined, for mildew will assert itself both inside and outside certain books, and that most pertinaciously. It has unaccountable likes and dislikes. Some bindings seem positively to invite damp, and mildew will attack these when no other books on the same shelf show any signs of it.”
“So rest you there upon the shelf,
Clad in your garb of faded brown;
Shall find you out and take you down.
That thrilled me, filled me years ago
EUGENE FIELD. "The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac."
-Chas. Scribner's Sons.
Prose now usurps our Magazines; we find
That Poetry holds there no lofty seat, But, to two lines, or four at most, confined, "Sings small," low crouching at the usurper's feet.
W. L. SHOEMAKER.
An Italian Goldsmith.
figures are spoilt by the impossible definiteness and
explicable nature of the objects around them. So It seems sometimes as if destiny had made a mis
with other delineations of a simpler life; we feel that take in the nationality of certain writers. Why was
the artist has not realized the atmospheric effects of Heinrich Heine not a native of Thrums, for in
that simpler land; he has put in too many details stance? The winning pathos of the “Lyrisches In that would be there invisible. termezzo," the elfin humor of "Waldeinsamkeit," It is in dealing with such difficulties that Salvawould have gained new charm by the little intimate tore Farina has shown a peculiar power-a power surprises of the Auld Licht dialect. Then Dr. Max
that is the more realized the more we contrast him Nordau should obviously have been born in Paris.
with his contemporaries. Through all the glamor It is pitiable to note the ingenuity he has to of Pierre Loti's petites sauvagesses, or stalwart waste in fabricating steel-pointed epigrams and fisher-folk, we feel that their creator stands apart incisive phrases out of the hopeless stolidity of his from them, casting on them the limelight of his iron German. And, great as our own loss would genius. In Daudet's Dickensesque productions, have been, one cannot help regretting that Gold- half-caricature, half-photograph, the author again smith flourished out of Italy; the crystal simple- visibly occupies the showman's place. And in the ness of his style, the charming gentleness, the shy
terrible menagerie of Zola and Company, the simhumor, which is half sympathy with the little lot of plicity is outside of our sympathy—it is not human. man, would have been better clad in the childlike
Thomas Hardy gives us unsurpassed pictures of syllables of Tuscany than in the sterner vocabulary peasant life, but he stands by, too, with a smile, of England. And it would have suited him well to
asking us if we are not amused by the naivete of his be distinguished by one of those pet names used by puppets. Sundermann in his intensity of meaning, Italy to charm away the loneliness of fame, and
Ossip Schubin and Serao in their tender pictures of transform a great man's popularity into a caressing young lives, even Heyse in his picturesque groups, national friendship.
all bear the mark of the hour, with its stress and But the literary wealth of Italy, though not per strain. All are unable to free themselves from the mitted to add an Oreficino to its store, has of late strenuous intention that is so characteristic of our years been increased by the works of a writer who
present day portraiture, all ascribe too much to bears a singular mental likeness to Oliver Gold their subjects, or fail to stand aside and leave them smith. Salvatore Farina occupies a unique posi- alone in their sweet, slenderly detailed world. tion among the romance writers of our day; he But Farina moves easily through regions of pealone has preserved the art of treating simple char culiar limitation; he is so much at home in slightly acters simply. Qualities which are so delicate that
furnished minds that we must pause and recollect the consciousness of their possession at once de all the difficulties he has overcome before we can stroys them, are necessarily the most difficult to
appreciate him thoroughly. He is inimitably subtle depict. Any being who is simple, innocent, pictur- in all that he leaves out. esque or selfish is obviously limited by the very
He has discovered, too, how to combine an eighloveliness that adorns him. One of life's lesser
teenth century calm with the technical skill that tragedies transacts itself in such a nature as soon later days have fostered. He never hurts, never as the “I am thus” dawns upon the mind. In the ruffles, never, though his touch is unerringly fine, very moment of perception the “I am" has changed gives too heavy an outline to a humanly indefinite into the “I was,” and even the memory of the love nature. lier phrase is blurred by the contrast that has fol
He possesses also a very rare quility of humor, lowed it. If the changed creature turns to contem marked by a playful tenderness, a delicacy of perplate his past, he almost inevitably looks upon it ception, that make it the most revealing of all treatthrough the medium of his present. He thinks how ments for certain mental phases. And it reveals, delightful was the simplicity, the picturesqueness but never exposes; it is always a purely gentle light. he has lost; he cannot realize that the pleasantness This humor is inseparable from pathos-or rather, he now imagines in it was impossible when it was they are but two manifestations of the same quality there, because unconsciousness was a condition of
-a peculiarly sensitive sympathy with the ordinary its being. It is always a far greater effort of the man. Rare everywhere, such humor is especially imagination to create an absence than a presence;
rare in our literature; we find quite different types so great an effort, indeed, that when now and again in the riotous laughter of our older novelists, in the some writer accomplishes the feat we are slow to pain-stricken mockery of Swift or the repelling jests see how much he has done.
of Sterne, in the dear Spectator's humorous moral In pictures of childhood especially, the non studies, in Miss Austen's quiet smile over her own existence of the man's world is a perpetual stumb amusing details, in Thackeray's delicate satire, in ling-block, and some charming little foreground Dickens' boyish fun, in the harsher, cynical pes
simism of later days. Only Goldsmith has the se voice of the notary has a melancholy, wailing cret of this fascinating, sympathetic mirth-light- sound; but they cannot help being over-excited by hearted, yet not free from the life-sadness that be the news that they are each to have a thousand lire; longs to our earth's children. With unsparing, im- they must have some excuse for smiles, and when perturbable childishness, he shows us little human they finlly hear the very kitchen boy, Cecchino, deinconsistencies and self-betrayals. He does not scribed by two names as Cecchino Misirolli, their sneer, or complain, or exalt himself; he only shows gravity can stand the strain no longer. Misirolli ! the weakness of his characters, he only says, “See Who had ever heard anything so absurd! Even what queer little ways we human beings have, and the young countess' cannot help smiling as she sees are most of us very harmless after all !"
the servants' amusement. And we look, and laugh, and sigh, and are some But tears replace their smiles when their master how oddly comforted. Because we know, most of calls them in one by one to tell them of their disus, down in the depths of our hearts, that we are missal and its cause. not particularly grand, or heroic, or majestic, when “In the count's little room each one has been we are quite alone—and we can recall numberless shown the confused image of a misfortune to which trifling signs of inconsistency and weakness in our he could give no name. And whilst they consoled selves, of which we are secretly more ashamed than each other by loudly declaring that it could not kill we should be of graver faults. And we are glad to you to be dismissed from a good house with a good leave off standing on tiptoe, and to acknowledge character, that there were plenty of gentlemen's that we are by no means "more than common tall." houses in Milan-while they said such things they It is a relief to us to perceive that this great, kind, were perplexed by finding in their hearts something genial man had felt as we do, and knew it all before. stronger than the thousand lire, taking away the
It is just this sense of fellow-feeling which gives value of that banknote. Cecchino, for instance, was his peculiar charm to Salvatore Farina. In his certain that if the 'signor conte' has said to him, works the same comfortable effect is also produced 'give me back your banknote and I will take you as in Goldsmith's, appearing miraculous at a period with me to Sardinia,' he would have said 'yes.' when physical comfort and mental uneasiness are Giovanni, more sincere or more prudent, confessed cultivated to quite a morbid extent.
that he would have asked for time to reflect, and Delightful as Farina always must be, it is in his would have said 'no' in the end; but they all knew earlier works that his charm appears most arrest there was some one inside them who would have ingly. In the “Amore ha Cent' Occhi,” for in- longed to conclude such a ruinous bargain.” stance, there are scenes and characters that no one Then, again, the thought of Sardinia, the old who has once enjoyed them would willingly forget. home of his race, to which their master is returning, The ruin of a noble Sardinan and Milanese family is perplexing. The kitchen boy, who always likes is completing itself at the commencement of the tale, to show that he has learned something at school, while the lady of the house, the noblissima signora hastily explains that Sardinia is an island. The contessa Veronica Rodriguez de Florinas dei conti cook, as usual, promptly quenches him. de Nardi di Ploaghe, quite unconscious of the dis "I know it is an island; but I want to know what asters that generations of extravagance have sort of an island it is, if it like our parts, if the people brought upon her house, bequeaths estates to her talk a language one can understand. Because, my son, jewels to her daughter-in-law, legacies to her boy, I knew before you were born that an island servants, and dies—without discovering that the was one thing and a mainland another. We have man she takes for a doctor is, in fact, a dealer bar mainland here, Milan, Como, Pavia, Brescia. Sargaining with her old steward for the furniture and dinia, instead, is an island." treasures of the palace.
To this island most of the servants succeeded in The scene in which the servants receive their following Count Cosimo and Countess Beatricelegacies, and the news that they are dismissed on their friend Professor Silvio and his little niece Anaccount of their master's rùin, is evidently a study gela (connections of the family), and the maid Anafter Farina's own heart. They are very good fel netta, who are escorting the coffin of Countess lows, these servants, filled with veneration for the Veronica to Sardinia, where she has "willed” to be noble house they serve; it is awe-inspiring to most buried. It is a trying journey. Some passengers of them to enter the count's apartment; only Fran refuse to go on board with them; they agree with cesco, the house servant, enters with an unembar the old sailors, who observe that, “it is never lucky rassed air, which is "the admiration of the stable to have a corpse on board. Of course, if the soul and the kitchen,” and takes his place by Annetta, is in purgatory, you get on somehow, but if it is a the lady's maid, who receives him “with a dignified lost soul, there's no saying what may happen.” bow.” It is a very solemn occasion, of course; they The last traveler who rushes on board just as they are to hear their late mistress' will read, and the are starting considers himself aggrieved and stands
glaring about him for “the owners of the corpse." duced to a specially delightful old shepherd bandit, Poor Annetta, meanwhile, consoles herself by the who has defied “justice” out of pure love for the familiar, childish amusement of "pretence."
outlaw Giorgio. He carries a little spelling-book “Very stiff, with uplifted head and anxious eyes, about with him as constantly as his gun and pistol, she busied herself with playing the part of the little for he has set his heart on learning to read GiorEnglish woman, thin and nervous—and she succeed- gio's letters when he has to leave the island. He ed very well, partly assisted by a large green veil in is a cheery old fellow, but not altogether free from which the Countess Veronica, poor soul, had made the torments of remorse; for in self-defense he has her first sea voyage. The honest girl had no wish maimed a soldier and killed a spy, and he is truly to cheat her neighbor, she was incapable of long sorry that he did not maim the spy and kill the solconcealing her true self-but she experienced an dier. After all, the soldier was a brave fellow, who indescribable pleasure in the thought that the sail deserved to die quickly, while the spy was a traitor, ors and passengers would take her for an English- and it would have served him right to be kept limpwoman, until she chose to undeceive them by ask- ing about the world for years. ing some questions in good Italian."
There is a connecting link between "The Hun. And so around the private tragedy, the dead dred Eyes of Love" and the later work, "Pe' belli woman, the perplexed little knot of mourners with occhi della Gloria," where one of Farina's pathetitheir uncertain future, their anxieties, their lost cally simple characters, a painter who goes blind in place in the world, gather all the callous incongrui- his old age, seems occasionally to speak for the ties of the outer life, the bustle, the fret, the quaint author himself. humor, the unresting, busy ways. Few of us have “After all,” he says, speaking of his fame abroad, not sometimes experienced the sort of oppression but hostile criticism at home, “we are but flesh and so daintily depicted here, in our darker days, when blood, and our life and happiness depends upon the Frau Sorge no longer "sits by the bedside knitting," flesh and blood that is nearest"; an observation that but tramps through our desolate rooms, pulls up has an autobiographical ring about it. And when our shrouding blinds, torments us with the dis his son is praised for "faithfully reproducing what tracting energy of a too-busy housewife.
he has seen," he objects: In the midst of it all, Count Casimo is alone with " 'You know bette than I do,' he says, 'that exhis most piercing anxiety. This lovely, laughing, actly the contrary has occurred; it is not truth that little wife of his, always treated as a plaything, preserves art, for art has no need of preservation always kept in the dark as to his troubles, this Be- by anything whatever, but it is eternal art that preatrice, who “knows nothing, sees nothing," he serves truth. And this is the great merit of the thinks, how is he to prepare her for their changed artist, that he can throw a veiled effect over comlife? As the night darkens, as he feels round him mon things, and make them beautiful. You have the solitude of the sea, he paces the deck, asking idealized a marsh, and that
idealized a marsh, and that is your glory. I do not himself these things, until a gentle voice calls him. know what happens anong writers, but no one will Beatrice comes to his side, and he finds, remorse get it out of my head that the scenes which they fully, that the butterfly soul he had imagined, is, in represent with the pen are somewhat idealized, even deed, a woman's, alive with keen and delicate per when they are most real. Because they have to say ceptions, wounded by his attempt to suffer alone. something, and they can only say what the author As soon as he has told her his troubles, she is con has seen, and you know that out of every ten pertent; when he would add hopeful words she stops sons looking at the same thing, nine will see somehim.
thing different which each has put in for himself.' “It is enough,” she says, “that you confide in me ‘And the tenth?' asked Tito, smiling. "The tenth is to-night-you shall comfort me to-morrow.” the copyist, the man who cannot interpret, who
But to-morrow she needs no comfort; the simple, makes an inventory and thinks himself the most picturesque, Sardinian life; the melancholy land truthful of all, because he scrupulously says nothscape, the new interests, are welcome to her. Her ing; therefore, he is not an idealist, he is simply quick sympathies, her own tried feelings, the vig- false.'” ilant love that reveals to her the consequences of a The pictures of the old painter and his son in this young intrigue of Casimo's, the troubled heart of book form its great charm; the love affairs of Tito Silvio, the real parentage of the child she resolves being less successful. On the whole, we scarcely to adopt, all her bright, bird-like, tender ways make think it equal to “Amore ha Cent' Occhi,” or to the Beatrice a fascinating creation. With her penetrat home chronicles of his advocate, Placidi, so happy ing womanliness is contrasted the girlish sentiment with his careful young wife, so absorbed in care for of little Angela, whose whole heart goes out to a his children, so skillful in giving us an entirely satispoor outlawed father, hiding among the wild shep- fying picture of quiet home life. This is a producherd-folk of the island. Among them we are intro- tion that has few defects, but perhaps the work that
will most surely uphold Farina's fame is the “Last leave his conscience quite easy. Perhaps, he thinks, Battle of Priest Agostino." Nothing could excel he ought to have spoken more of the Absolution the unaffected humanness of this priest, who is al and of the joys of Paradise than of such things as most as powerful to make us smile at him and love caramels. But then Bortolino cared so much more him as the Vicar of Wakefield himself. He stands about caramels! Only suppose he had been encourbefore us with a far more convincing reality than aging the boy to learn his catechism through the the “Abbe Constantin," and it is quite free from deadly sin of gluttony. Poor Agostino cannot quiet that barley-sugar effect which is too often insepar- this scrupulous conscience of his. able from the simple piety of French fiction. In the “ 'An old priest like you,' it says, 'ought not to "Priest Agostino," on the contrary, we find a care so much about dinner, breakfast and coffee. masterly delineation of simple piety as it is found in An old priest ought not to encourage Severino's real life—that is, a mental condition unable to draw fancy that you are rich and miserly-he ought not a distinction between the most awful abstraction to speak the truth, hoping it will be taken for a lie, and the concrete details of common life. Such a as you did when you said you were as poor as a mind habitually views the most startling contrasts church mouse.' on the same level, and reduces its religion to a set Yet, with all his scruples and his poverty, the old of practical rules, producing present or future prac man is happy; he loves his walks through the sweet tical benefits. It knows no wrestling with the spring weather, and the greetings of the little chilstrong and torturing angel for the incommunicable dren, who are all friends of his; he has great delight name of God. To the other class of mind, wherein in his Horace and Catullus, and every evening he that tremendous Word is inseparable from the mys- enjoys a game at "tarocco" with a few friends in a terious echoes it awakens, the sounds these simple room behind the chemist's shop. Every night at ones hear seem strangely short and crude. The 10 he is in bed, reading a Latin poet; every night at mystic, abruptly confronted by them, is arrested 11 he takes leave of Lesbia, or of the muse, to make with a sort of dislocating shock-he is like a clas his peace with the Lord, and by a quarter past he is sical scholar trying to make the unlearned feel the sleeping sweetly. charm of some immortal tale of Greece, and finding "Already having entered into the great silence of that shorn of its associations it shows but as a silly old age, he loved to listen to the alluring voices of legend of a barbarous age. Such is the piety of nature, mingled with a hundred other voices, that "Priest Agostino.”
once had spoken within him. There were voices He does not celebrate the first mass at St. Angelo among them that had been cries of pain. Now the every day, because he is so saintly and self-denying place of forgetfulness was found, and Prete Agosas his landlady imagines, but because he is very tino rejoiced, because he felt no more the torment of poor, and for the celebration of the first mass he re the past. . . And then men, feelings, ideas, even ceives more than the two lire he would get later in passions—all the old world that he had well-nigh the day. Yet he is most careful to celebrate de forgotten-received new splendor on some sunny voutly. He is pleased with the devotion of his land days and iridescent brightness he had never seen lady, who attends this first mass every morning; before. And there was revealed to him the charm he is equally pleased with her rapidity in running the living thing has not, or rarely has, but which home directly he has pronounced the "Ite missa the thing that has lived keeps forever." est,” to get the hot coffee ready for his return. He is And so he tells himself the struggle is over, the not above jesting with his landlord, a freethinking battle of life ending in peace, until his calm is railway employe, and playing with his suspicion broken by an appeal for spiritual aid from a neighthat the priest is a miser who hoards money; he is bor of his, a scientific man, who has been prostrated frankly delighted when the landlady gets a specially by illness and by the death of his wife and children. good dinner for him, and he coaxes her mis. The shrinking of the old man from this interview, chievous little boy into learning his catechism and his pathetic procrastination, the effort with which desiring to serve at mass by a reward of caramels. he enters the sick man's room at last, are beautiHe is even a little cold in his reception of the de- fully told; and then, in this dreadful moment of convout mother's hopes of indulgences hereafter. scious inadequacy, face to face with a stranger who
“ 'Tell him,' she urges the priest, 'tell him how is probably faniiliar with chemistry and other many days' indulgence a person gets by serving at sciences terrible to his imagination, Agostino finds mass-only tell him!'
nothing but a mocking line from Horace recur to “A great many,' answers the priest; but mindful his mindof little Bortolino's probable point of view, he hast "Da mihi fallere da justum sanctumque videri.” ens to add: 'Bortolino can gain both indulgences in The very statement of the skeptic's doubts sugpurgatory and caramels on earth.'”
gests to him terrible misgivings, and he feels in Yet all these little concessions and frailties do not himself no spiritual resource whence to draw