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washed from the middle of the book a leaf of silk. May the King and pious Queen be saved for ever, whose book was but now saved from the waves!" The silk was, no doubt, pieces placed loosely in the book to preserve the illuminations from contact with the page opposite; and, sure enough, a leaf at each end of the book showed unmistakeable crinkling from immersion in water. But who were the King and Queen? By a curious accident connected with the name of Margaret, a lady to whom this story was told remembered a similar incident in Forbes-Leith's "Life of St. Margaret of Scotland," and the mystery was solved. There in the Life is a passage in prose beginning: "She had a book of the Gospels beautifully adorned with gold and precious stones, and ornamented with the figures of the four evangelists, painted and gilt. evangelists, painted and gilt. . . . She had always felt a particular attachment for this book, more so than for any of the others which she usually read." Then follows a story almost identical with the one given above, with some variant but not discrepant details. It, too, mentions the pieces of silk and the contraction on certain leaves, and adds that it was found lying open at the bottom of the river. If anything could add to the interest of the volume, it is that in the same Life we read of the King, that “although he could not read, he would turn over and examine books which the Queen used either for her devotions or her study; and whenever he heard her express any especial liking for a particular book, he also would look at it with special interest, kissing it, and often taking it into his hands."
which our present Queen traces her descent from the English kings before the Conquest. Margaret fled before the Conqueror to Scotland, and sought refuge in the court of Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland, who, in about A. D. 1070, married her. For details of her character and life from this period till her death in 1093, no better account can be wished than her Life written by one who knew her intimately, printed in the Bolandist Acta Sanctorum and elsewhere, and issued in English by Father William Forbes-Leith (2nd ed., London, 1889). The discovery of her most treasured volume, which she must often have used, as foundress, within the splendid choir of Dunfermline Abbey, has preserved, it may be hoped, to all time a volume, small indeed in size, but of the deepest interest alike to the antiquary, the Church historian, and the liturgiologist.
Six years ago a little octavo volume in worn brown binding stood on the shelves of a small parish library in Suffolk, but was turned out and offered at the end of a sale at Sotheby's, presumably as being unreadable to country folk, and capable of being turned into hard cash wherewith a few works of fiction might be purchased. The contempt for it thus displayed was apparently shared by the cataloguer, who described it as "Latin Gospels of the Fourteenth Century, with English Illuminations." For the sum of £6 it passed into the Bodleian Library, and came to be catalogued as an ordinary accession. It was noticed that the writing was of the eleventh century, and that the illuminations were valuable specimens of old English work of the same century, comprising figures of the four evangelists of the Byzantine type, which was common in the west of Europe; the drapery, however, colouring and accessories were purely English. The book itself was seen not to be the complete Gospels, but such portions as were used in the service of the Mass at different times of the year. Further, it was observed that a poem in Latin hexameters had been written, apparently before the end of the same century, on a fly-leaf of the volume, which began by thanking Christ for "displaying miracles to us in our own days," and went on to describe how this very volume had been carried in the folds of a priest's robe to a trysting- place, in order that a binding oath might be taken on it; but that unfortunately it had been dropped, without the priest observing it, into a stream, and given up for lost. But a soldier of the party at last discovered it, plunged head first into the river, and brought it up. To every one's intense surprise, the beautiful volume was entirely uninjured, "except two leaves, which you see at each end, in which a slight contraction appears from the effect of the water, which testify the work of Christ in protecting the sacred volume. That this work might appear to us still more miraculous, the wave
A Royal Psalter.
The fortunes of MSS. are well illustrated by a MS. now in Exeter College Library at Oxford. It is a Latin Psalter, followed, as usual, by canticles, a litany and prayers, beautifully illuminated in English style, and from the joint occurrence of the Royal arms and those of Bohun, and the occurrence of the name Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford (d. 1361), grandson of Edward I., whose grandniece was married to Henry IV. in 1380. Through her it passed into the Royal Library; but seems specially to have belonged to the Queens, for both Elizabeth of York and Katherine of Arragon have written their names. In the calendar are obits of the Royal family up to the time of Henry VIII., and no doubt it passed to Elizabeth. She seems to have parted with it to Sir William Petre, the refounder of Exeter College, to which he presented it. Thus it happens that the successive possession of the Tudor sovereigns, and the only original authority for the date of the birth of the founder of the Tudor dynasty (Jan. 28, 'Hic natus est rex Henricus vijus," 145 5-6), has dropped into a quiet college library.
The foregoing are a selection, as numerous as the scale of the present work would allow, of the best known MSS. of great libraries; but even though the volumes described are nearly all within the British Isles, the list is very far from exhausted. No place has been found for the splendid Hiberno-Saxon MSS. other than the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels, such as the Chad Gospels at Lichfield, the Gospels of M'Durnan at Lambeth, and several more; for the Benedictional of St. Ethewold (see p. 89); for the original Magna Charta bond in the British Museum; for the Paston Letters, an unique example of English domestic correspondence from 1422 to 1509; or for the Syriac version of Genesis and Exodus, dated A. D. 775, and believed to be the earliest dated MS. extant of any entire book of the Scriptures; or for the treasures of foreign libraries. But, indeed, to give an account of such MS. as suggest themselves as famous, would require a volume of itself, and turn a manual like the present into a catalogue.
Early Issues of The Waverley Novels.
This is rather interesing matter, from the attraction of the earliest editions and the exceptional artistic grace with which they are designed. Modern editions of Scott, as well as of Dickens and Thackeray, can never offer the easy spontaneousness of the old ones. The shape was directed by "the form and pressure" of the author himself; while the reproductions of our day always have an artificial air, and do not belong to the old period. What, for instance, could be more "heartless" (Elia's term) than the library set of Thackeray's stories, with its pale, feeble-looking print? I do not know any better addition to the pleasure of the "Waverleys" than to read them in the actual original editions, all more or less finely printed and "designed" by the worthy Ballantyne. The feeling of reading in these "original" editions is hard to analyze, and may be thought fanciful enough. But it is based on the idea that the book was the one that had passed through the hands of the author himself, of which the proofs had been set right by him, and which was generally acceptable to him. The old type, the old paper, binding, etc., are of his era, and in harmony with his style. These very volumes had been thumbed by rapturous admirers, who had contended for them, and who guessed at the Great Unknown. There is something, by the way, enticing, and correct also, in the simple, marbled yellow, half-bound "jackets" of Scott's works. They are simple and yet effective in this garb. "The Tales of a Grandfather" are nearly always found thus dressed.
We look with interest on "Waverley," which, in its eighth edition, is now open before me. It is a
good, well-printed, business-like piece of work. The paper is a little tinged with age, each page having twenty-four lines, the printing rather "rough," but bold. The first edition is very rare and priced high -at some eight or ten pounds. Yet all the restthe whole set, in fact-may be had for three pounds or so-minus, of course, the first "Waverley." For the first issue, in three volumes, the type was apparently "kept standing"; for there were numbers of editions, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, which did. not differ. At first merely the head of the story was used as a headline; in two or three instances the headline was the subject of the chapter. Gradually, however, the good bold fashion of printing was put aside, and in the later works, "Kenilworth," "The Pirate," and others, a type much smaller and less dignified was used, and a longer line and larger page were adopted, with a rather poor type. Some were printed in octavo, and then there was a reversion to the "twelves."
One is astonished to note how small these volumes were as compared to the modern, full-blown, three-volume novel. They were very handy, but gradually grew year by year. There has been a complete change in the format of novels. When Scott began his series it was simply a handy pocket volume, which the reader could take about with him. I have a complete set of Miss Austen's works, first editions all, and they are of this small size, each page containing not more than twenty lines or 200 words. By the fifties the novel had grown into a large octavo size, each page containing over 300 words. It would be interesting to discuss the causes of this development, but I have not space here.
The fashion now is-and has been-in the case of a popular story by a writer such as Boz to multiply impressions of the same text according to demand. The type is moulded and kept standing. Every copy is the same until the time arrives for cheaper or more convenient forms. But in Scott's case his publishers were constantly devising various forms and editions, so as to suit all sorts and conditions of purchasers. These were made as attractive as possible and after different patterns.
One of the most imposing and stately editions, which is very rare (I have only seen three copies: one in the United Service Library, another at Messrs. Bumpus's, and a third in my own collection), is the first collected series, issued in 1820. It consists of tall octavos in bright black type, and so arranged that each story shall fill two volumes. Each title-page is engraved on steel with a pretty topographical vignette, the effect of which is quaintly old-fashioned. Bound in Russia, they make an artistic series. Reading the open, well-displayed sentences, you take in the meaning with due deliberation. This fine, dignified set is divided into some
capriciously chosen categories, which seem to overlap each other and excite some curious questionings. There are: (1) "Novels and Tales" (how distinguish a tale from a novel?); (2) "Historical Romances" is distinct enough; but then we come to (3) "Novels and Romances;" and finally (4) "Tales and Romances." This is a very incomplete and arbitrary division. They fill forty-one volumes, and were issued from 1820 to 1833. Later the prose writings were added "to match."
When we contrast the modern library edition, such as Macaulay's "Essays" or "History," with these handsome, well-balanced tomes, we see at once how much we have lost in the art of properly designing a volume. From the bulkiness and quantity of pages in these latter all proportion is lost. They are too thick for their size. Lying flat on the table they seem to have the lines of a box.
An edition that is scarcely known is what might be called the miniature one, in 18mo. A more charming and attractive set it would be impossible to desire. It runs to forty-one volumes, printed in fine small type, but so black and brilliant, and the paper so fine, that it can be read with perfect ease. It was issued in the original publisher's binding, dark blue leather, stamped in a raised artistic pattern, gilt-edged, and beautifully lettered on the back. This gilding seems a lost art now. A whole new set of charming steel plates, on a reduced scale, was prepared for this edition, after designs by Leslie and others, with dainty little topographical vignettes, mostly by Heath. The title page was always engraved on steel. Of this choice little set I have never seen but two or three copies in the catalogues.
Booksellers are fond of advertising "the author's" favorite edition, that is, "the forty-eight volume set," which, enriched with the author's prefaces, notes and corrections, was naturally in favor. The beautiful plates by Turner, Leslie and others always seem to be specially appropriate, much as Phiz's plates are to "Pickwick." There is a dreaminess and poetry about them, without any of the vulgar, every-day realism which is found in modern illustrations. We associate them permanently with the novels. Great efforts were made, in the way of print, paper and execution, to lend perfection to the set. A fine set is made by adding the poetical (twelve volumes) and the prose works (twenty-eight volumes). These, with the "Life" (ten volumes), make ninety-eight volumes. It may be said that of all English writers Scott has received the homage of most artists and engravers. It is almost incredible how long the list is. It includes Roberts, R. A., Turner, R. A., Westall, R. A., Smirke, Corbould, Schetky, Cook, Stothard, Finden, Sir W. Allan, C. R. Leslie, R. A., Heath, Nasmyth, Cooper, Howard, Brockedon, Wright, Wilkie, R. A., Bonington, Landseer, R. A., Stephanoff, C. Stanfield, R. A.,
Callcott, R. A., Prout, Etty, R. A., Cattermole, Maclise, R. A., Harding, Cruikshank, and some more. This is an astounding gathering. And we may wonder how it was that Dickens, to the full as popular, did not draw such a following.
There is another foolscap edition, which I believe was the first collected edition, and is of the same size as the original three-volume form. It is garnished with title pages engraved on steel, showing dainty local views. I have some of these, but they are not mentioned in the bibliographies.
The well-known, much-vaunted "Abbotsford Edition" has a sort of reputation among booksellers, and figures in every well-regulated catalogue. It appeared in 1842-46, and in most cumbrous, illdesigned volumes-imperial octavo size, the lines of immense length, running across the page instead of being in double columns. A vast outlay was incurred on the work, and the very acme of illustrations was supposed to have been reached. There were 120 steel engravings, and nigh 2,000 woodcuts! The result is a hotch-potch of the most incongruous sort. The steel plates-imperfect things— are discordant with the woodcuts, and these again are discordant with each other. There are some finished drawings, full of grace and sentiment, by W. Harvey, Williams, and others of that school, mixed up with which, and in great number, are some terribly crude, uncouth scenes from the story, rudely and ignorantly done. The effect is shocking. Naturally, the work, which used to fetch such a price as sixteen guineas, has gradually fallen, till now it can be procured for £6 or so. There are only too few of Harvey's drawings. It had been far better to have given him the whole work; it would have inspired him, for he was exactly suited to illustrate the past, having a sort of magic romance in his touch.
Messrs. Black issued an edition in forty-eight volumes, in which many of these woodcuts made their reappearance, but of course they were hardly suited to so small a page.
The edition that was edited and prefaced by Mr. Andrew Lang was, perhaps, the most luxurious and costly of the modern attempts. The publisher was Mr. Nimmo, who spared nothing to do honor to the work. Paper, print, illustrations, editing, were all of the best. And yet the result is something uninteresting. There is a lack of simple feeling and grace about the whole. The illustrations are almost amusing for their incongruousness. The artist had little power of throwing himself back into the period he could not do so if he would. For the great artists who worked for Scott were under a glamour; they were transported back to the old days, and this feeling inspired their pencil. Hence these sympathetic living scenes drawn by Leslie and the rest, which quite expressed the situations. The modern
was all at sea. He knew nothing of the glamour; he could only show the men and women about him, and whom he knew, dressed up in old-fashioned clothes. This sort of garnish was far better away, as it is discordant. It is the same with another rival edition, the "Dryburgh."
An unsatisfactory, but well-meant attempt at reviving Sir Walter's personal interest or glamour was made by Messrs. Constable, the firm of our day. It was the literal reproduction-or rather imitation of "the author's favorite edition." The type, order of lines, etc., are all copied exactly; the pretty engravings, vignettes, etc., are reproduced. Never was there such an odd result. The favorite edition was on fine stout paper; this is on thin paper. The plates are "processed," with inferior effect. So the whole has an inefficient air.
Another incongruity was Fisher's edition, illustrated by George Cruikshank. This was an extraordinary bizarrerie, and the effect of looking at the brilliant George's grotesques in company with the author's romantic strain was extraordinary. It seemed as though some plates of "Fawkes" or "Windsor Castle" had slipped in by accident. There were not, however, many of them.
The modern editions are scarcely worth notice. They are mostly of an artificial cast, made up, as it were, from old plates, compounded and fashioned, but nothing spontaneous. So it goes on with the "Cabinet," "Illustrated," "People's," and the rest. There was a rather starved edition, meagerly printed, one novel in each volume, issued, I suppose, sixty years ago. But it is undeniable that there is a luxury of enjoyment in imbibing these matchless stories from the old original jars.
The only other writer that I can call to mind whose editions were treated in this lavishly artistic fashion was Byron. Early editions of the poet, issued by Murray, show the same luxe and variety. Every class of buyer was tempted. There was first the sumptuous and massive quarto; then the crown octavos, with illustrations by Smirke, Turner, and others; then the duodecimos. As you look, you scarcely know which to prefer. Not long since I carelessly lost a chance of securing all Scott's "Poems," in their original quarto shape, bound in Russia, for 25s, and a right royal row they made. PERCY FITZGERALD, in Notes and Queries.
The epigram it seems to me
HAROLD HELMAR, in Bachelor Book.
Weeding Out The Library
A good many persons have not the space for a large library. These are constantly compelled to keep in mind their necessities in reading and reference, and periodically to weed out the works which have for them passed their day of interest or usefulness. At intervals, as infrequent as the owner of the library can make them, the person sits down before the shelves containing his beloved books and says to himself: "What can I do without?" For libraries will grow, and each book at the time of its purchase represents a distinctly felt want. Indeed, the owner of a small library is almost always one who cannot afford to indulge in luxuries in book buying, but must meet only the imperative demand of his mind or his work. He is constantly employing a process of rigorous selection, yet the time always comes when he feels that a postal card must be sent to the dealer in second-hand works and the package made up for him to carry off to the dust and obscurity of his dingy shop.
It would be idle to say that the day of clearing is not one of many pangs to the book-lover. It goes without saying that as his mind expands and his taste develops, as perhaps the nature of his intellectual labors changes with the fleeting years, he will find that the books he purchased as necessițies years ago no longer seem essential to his mental or aesthetic well being. But what shall he sell? Perhaps when he was a boy and reveled in the turgidity of high-colored tales he bought Herbert's "Roman Traitor." He has no further need of it. But as he sits down before his shelves and says to himself, "I can't get on without that," he takes it out and opens the pages. "It was midnight over Rome." He turns backward the hands of life's clock, and in a moment is a boy again, following the wild midnight chase of Catiline to the brutal murder in the cemetery near the Esquiline. The splendid image of Cicero comes before his mind once more, and the gaunt, rigid Cato strides before his inner eye on the way to the Senate. Young Paulus Arvina makes the round of the racecourse, equipped with a heavier armor than had been carried there in years. No; it must not be that. That book is hallowed by long and tender associations.
Next perhaps he takes down Cooper's "Water Witch." Again he opens the pages. Alderman Myndert Van Beverout is setting out across New York Bay for his "Lust in Rust." Suddenly the romantic figure of the Skimmer of the Seas appears on the shore and hails the periagua. Who could part in cold blood with that gallant smuggler? No; it is not to be that book. Some of these old poets can go instead. What is this? Tom Moore. Again the man opens the book. And again he is lost to the present. Who could part with Julia?
And the roses and the bulbuls! Must they, too, go
The mem'ry of the past will stay,
Sell the book with that in it, and staring him in the face! No, he cannot do that. Reader, do you, perhaps, see the moral of this tale? The libraryowner who thinks of weeding out the books he does not need any more must not open them. They will reproachfully look him in the eye and repeat to him the words that he loved long years ago. And then he is a lost man. For he will not have the heart to part with these old friends.-New York Times.
This objection has some weight. Even the bravest heart is somewhat appalled at the thought of devotion to a single object for a length of time that seems incalculable. Yet mental arithmetic, that curse of modern life, may occasionally help us a little, even in matters of art. The formidable bulk of Richardson's masterpiece sensibly diminishes if we forget the five volumes of the modern edition and the seven or eight ancient editions, and attempt to reduce it to the form in which novels are to-day commonly issued. In this form it does not so mightily outweigh either of the two books just mentioned.
It is true that, in regard to at least one of these books, serious doubts have been raised as to whether any one has actually read it. I myself have tried. I have a friend who has tried, and who, failing, as I have failed, to finish the book, made careful inquiries among all persons whom he in any way heard of as permanently or temporarily in possession of a copy. He assures me that he has not yet been able to find among the five hundred thousand purchasers and the two million borrowers of the book even one who has taken no short cuts and been in at the finish. His theory is that these books
are bought but not read; that they are a triumph not much of the art of composition as of the art of distribution; and that everybody thinks he ought to read them, because he thinks everybody but he has read them.
Courage, we see, can be aided by a proper mode of attack. We may, for instance, say, "I will count 'Clarissa,' not as one book, but as two." This seems a legitimate mode of encouragement. Few of us, indeed, are under any obligation to read a certain number of books in a certain number of hours; and it is hard to see why any one should wish a good book shorter than it is, unless the main object of reading is to reach as soon as possible the end of the book. When you wish to enjoy a forest pathway, overarched with green leaves and carpeted with moss and flowers, you do not sigh for a limited. express train or even call in the aid of the freaky but swift-tired automobile.
Yet there are persons who read for a record. It is they who have bought the condensed version of Clarissa, manufactured and sold in New York. It is for them that enterprising publishers have produced a series of the world's masterpieces reduced each to the dimensions of a Munsey storyette and incidentally to almost equal nullity.
It is not strange that the charm of Clarissa should vanish in such a process. Literature, whether realistic or romantic, is effective because of its appeal to the imagination, and it makes its appeal by means of its form. Stripped to the nakedness of mere thought, even the most supreme and universally recognized work of genius is a poor shivering commonplace, shriveled and dry through the action of countless centuries. Ever since the human race began to think, it has thought about human life. We need hardly expect that at this late day any new or significant phase will be discovered. Certainly the most important and moving truths were discovered and phrased ages ago. Genius consists, not in adding to this store of wisdom, but in making once more vital and compulsive for us aspects and relations of life which, just because of their importance, are really unknown not even to the most ignorant or thoughtless.
It is true that a habit of reading is rapidly developing and spreading which goes far to nullify in literature genius and all that it accomplishes—a habit that reduces to a common level, so far as the reader is concerned, vigorous originality and driveling mediocrity. This habit consists in "getting the general run of the thought." It develops an incapacity to receive any communication of genius in the form in which genius conceived it. It translates originality into commonplace and the creations of the finer soul into the stupid little images stamped by custom and tradition upon the minds of the incapable.