Page images
PDF
EPUB

Establissemens et du Commerce des Europeans dans les Deux Indes," published in 1771 in Geneva, and, after a first attempt at suppression in 1779, finally burnt by the order of the Parlement of Paris of May 25, 1781, as impious, blasphemous, seditious and the rest. Like many another eminent writer, Raynal had started as a Jesuit.

From the above illustrations of the practices abroad we may turn to a more detailed account of its history in England. Although in France it was much more common than in England during the eighteenth century, it appears to have come to an end in both countries about the same time. I am not aware of any proofs that it survived the French Revolution, and it is probable that that event, directly or indirectly, put an end to it. In England it seems gradually to have dwindled and to have become extinct before the end of the century. If the same was the case in other countries it would afford another instance of the fundamental community of development which seems to govern at least our part of the civilized world, regardless of national differences or boundaries. The different countries of the world seem to throw off evil habits, or to acquire new habits, with a degree of simultaneity which is all the more remarkable for being the result of no sort of agreement. At one time, for instance, they threw off Jesuitism, at another the practice of torture, at another the judicial ordeal, at another burnings for heresy, at another trials for witchcraft, at another book burning; and now the turn seems approaching of war, or the trade of professional murder. The custom here. and hereafter to be dealt with, therefore, holds its place in the history of humanity and is as deserving of study as any other customwhose rise and decline constitute a phase in the world's development.

*

Lord Balfour of Burleigh told an interesting story at the opening of an art exhibition at Dumfries a few weeks ago. He said one of the last papers with which he had to deal before leaving London was a complaint from a prisoner at Peterhead, stating that he had been kept eighteen months without being able to get a copy of Burns's poems to read. His correspondent also deplored the fact that he could not get a single copy of Carlyle, and that the delightful stories and poems of the Ettrick Shepherd and the charming writings of Christopher North were not in the library. He had, said the writer, been supplied with nothing but common platitudes. On inquiry, Lord Balfour found that during the prisoner's temporary sojourn in the establishment he had been supplied with volumes by Thackeray and Hugh Miller, besides works upon British eloquence and the lives of successful men, and the beauties of Shakespeare. Yet, like a true Scotchmen, without a copy of Burns, he was not happy. Lord Balfour had considered the request a reasonable one, and had desired that two copies of Burns should be placed in the library of Peterhead Prison.

[blocks in formation]

It's strictly de regle for her to inveigle the Bard into tropical rhyme;

The wife, if neglected, must not be dejected or deeply affected, but try to be happy on prose that is scrappy and frequently snappy, and leave to her betters, the "onlie begetters," the sonnets and letters whose raptures and rages the subsequent ages will read in his pages, and weepingly wonder why destiny's blunder had torn him asunder from somebody fitted. with him to be knitted if law had permitted and he could have flitted and quietly quitted the woman half-witted and not to be pitied who fettered his fancy sublime!

For the wife who would check or control
Such a beautiful union of soul,
Deserves to be slated in all the Reviews
For marring the life of a son of the Muse!
-Adrian Ross in Literature.
*
SOURCE OF THE RUBAIYAT.

"But still a Ruby kindles in the Vine."

Sang Khayyam, as with cup he sat Pouring down the gushing jewel of the wine.

And that's where Omar got his Ruby at,

SHOP TALK.

Adapting Thackeray for the Stage.

"What's the name of that fellow with a long, slippery name? I seen some reminiscences or letters of his or something or other that I thought then there was very likely the making of a good play out of some of his novels. They tell me his books are selling right straight along. No, I don't mean Dickens. I mean a name that sounds like that play the Kendals put on Mrs. Tanqueray." "Thackeray, yes; I guess that's the fellow. Well, what did he write?

(6

'Vanity Fair'! That's a good name for a three sheet. Well, what's that about? What's the leading part in it?

"Becky Sharp! What sort of a part is it? "Adventuress? That's good. I'll put Tremaine in it, and you want to give her a scene where she can smoke a cigarette in the moonlight. She's great in that. Well, what else is there in it?

[ocr errors]

"Do you say that Rawdon Crawley is an officer? Well, what's the matter with putting him into a shape dress and a big, broad hat with a plume? That'll suit Trevelyan right down to the ground. "Not the period! What the deuce does the public care for periods? What they want is to be entertained, and I've noticed that women like these shape costumes on a good-looking actor and always give them a big reception. What's the comedy character?

"Joe Sedley is a good comedy name, and I know just the man to play it. He's got a couple of good new songs, too, so we'd better make it a singing part. "Yes, that Marquis of Steyne ought to be a strong character part. And we can get up a great ballroom scene with a lot of specialties and have him do a dance. He's in love with Becky, isn't he, and gets thrown down."

Intelligent Bookselling.

One of our customers, a clergyman who usually deals at a store where the clerks are a little bit enlightened in their calling, went to a well-known bazaar and asked for a copy of Homer's Iliad. "Is it a new book?" asked the clerk. "No, it is a poem written thousands of years ago." The intelligent (?) burlesque on the noble profession of bookselling disappeared and after some time returned and blandly laid before the astonished. customer a copy of Holmes' poems, saying: "Is this the book? The price is 99c."

Who is Andrew Lang?

The following amusing extract is from "The Child's Guide to Literature," in Hatchards' Books of To-day and the Books of To-morrow: Q.-Who is Andrew Lang? A.-A syndicate of literary gentlemen. Q-But I have seen photographs of

him. A.-They were composite photographs. Q-You mean to say he really doesn't exist? A. He couldn't. No man could do as much as he. Q-How much? A. He writes leading articles for the Daily News. He reviews novels for the Times. He gossips in Longman's. He is the new historian of Scotland. He is the first authority on the '45. He edits fairy tales, and Dickens, and Walter Scott. He translates Homer and Theocritus. He knows Edmund Gosse Q.-Steady, on. A. He can preface anything; Coleridge's poems, Australian folk tales, or Hittite inscriptions. He is a poet and a parodist and a determined letter-writer. He knows all about cricket. He plays golf. He catches salmon. Q.-I say! I say! A.-He's the biographer of Lord Iddesleigh and J. G. Lockhart. He is an authority on religion and spirit-rapping. He discovered Rider Haggard. He. Q-That'll do. Have it your own way. A. Yes, I thought I would convince you. There is no Andrew Lang. It is only a name-like Kodak-for trade purposes. Andrew Lang is really a secret society that exists to make good reading.

[ocr errors]

Hard on the Author.

The author wanted some reading, and he sought out an unfamiliar shop. Unfortunately, he was a facetious author. There were people who thought him rather proud of himself. any rate, he thought he would be recognized anywhere, because his portrait had appeared with some frequency in the periodical press. So when, after he had chosen several works of fiction by other writers, the salesman handed him a copy of his own latest book, he winked drolly at the man behind the counter, and pushed the book away from him in mock disgust. "For heaven's sake, no!" he cried. "I can't read that man's stuff." "Well, to tell you the truth," said the salesman, solemnly, "I can't either!"

Recipe for an "Aylwin Stew."

In Books of Today and the Books of Tomorrow, Arthur Pendenys gives some amusing "recipes," from which we take the following for "Aylwin Stew:"

Take luminous foreheads and garnish with rue
And plenty of Romany, Borrowed or new;
And sunsets and fate and pre-Raphaelite chutney,
And stand twenty years in an oven at Putney,

The reference in the last line is, of course, to the long period during which Mr. Watts-Dunton's famous novel remained in manuscript or in type, unpublished.

Objections to War.

"Have you ever noticed how war promotes a literature of its own?" "Yes; that is one of the horrors of war."

THE GRIMM BROTHERS.

Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm were the two greatest philologists and critics even Germany could boast of. One day a little giri, evidently belonging to an upper class family, called at Dr. Grimm's house and asked to see the "Herr Professor." The servant showed her into the study, where Dr. Wilhelm received her and inquired with great kindness what she had to say to him. The little maiden, looking very earnestly at the Professor, said: "Is it thou who has written those fine maerchen (fairy tales)?" "Yes, my dear, my brother and I have written the 'Haus Maerchen.'" "Then thou hast also written the tale of the clever little tailor, where it is said at the end, who will not believe it must pay a thllar?" "Yes, I have written that, too." "Well, then, I do not believe it; and so I suppose I have to pay a thallar; but as I have not so much money now, I'll give thee a groschen (about three cents) on account, and pay the rest by-and-by." Of course the Professor was charmed, and took care that she reached her home safely.

*

“Tennyson rather enjoyed telling the following story against Carlyle. Carlyle had gone to Cambridge during the long vacation, and, finding a stray undergraduate, asked him the names of some of the colleges. The young man kindly acted as cicerone, and did the honors of Cambridge. On parting, Carlyle said to him, 'Thank you, young man. Perhaps you may like to know that you have rendered a service to Thomas Carlyle!' Looking somewhat surprised, this Verdant Green, jun., answered affably. 'Indeed, Mr. Thomas Carlyle, I am very glad to show Cambridge to a gentleman who has never seen it before.'

James Russell Lowell used to tell the story that one of the gentlemen he met in Chicago had a great deal to say of his travels in Europe. Lowell remarked that Georges Sand was one of his favorite authors. This reference to the great Frenchwoman called forth a characteristic rejoiner. "Oh, yes!" exclaimed the representative of Chicago culture, "I have had many a happy hour with Sand." "You knew Georges Sand, then?" asked Lowell, with an expression of surprise. "Knew him? Well, I should rather say I did," cried the Chicago man, and then he added, as a clincher: "I roomed with him in Paris."

*

The poet, Campbell, the author of the far-famed poem, "Hohenlinden," in which occurs the reference to "Iser rolling rapidly," attended an evening party on one occasion, and when the gentlemen were securing their hats previous to departure, suddenly the lights went out. In the

confusion which followed, some one pushed vigorously against Campbell, knocking him downstairs. The offending gentleman at once said: "Beg pardon, who's there?" and a voice replied from the depths below: "It is I, sir, rolling rap idly."

The late John Holmes, younger brother of Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, was also known among his intimates as a man of ready repartee and characteristic humor. Mr. Holmes never married, but lived by himself in a little house in Cambridge, and once a friend rallied him on his lonely life. "You ought to marry John," said he, "and have a larger house." "Why, yes," replied Mr. Holmes, with a quiet smile; "if I should take a better half, I would have to improve my quarters."

*

Rostand, the author of "Cyrano de Bergerac," has a cheerful habit of silencing unpleasant conversationalists. Not long since a critic said: "Inrespect to dramatic situations, I think Dumas the elder had a considerable advantage over you." "Yes," replied Rostand, "there is no doubt about it; but that is insignificant compared to another advantage he possesses." "What is that, monsieur?" "Why, all his contemporary critics are dead."

*

Mrs. Julia Ward Howe's sense of the ridiculous has always been a saving grace, leading her to avoid grandiloquence. On one occasion a lady at Newport, trying to get a fine sentiment out of her, said, one moonlit evening on a vine-hung veranda: "Mrs. Howe, do say something lovely about my piazza!" Whereupon every one listened for the reply. In her delicately cultivated voice Howe responded: "I think it is a bully piaz."

*

The late Dr. Schliemann was once lecturing at Assos on the subject of the excavations. At the close of the lecture one of the students went up to him, quietly called his attention to a statement he had made, and convinced him of the error of it. "You are right young man! You are right!" burst forth the doctor, with prompt recognition of the service rendered; "I will immortalize you in a foot

note."

*

Ernest McGaffey, poet and Benedick, is accredited with a fairly good bon-mot. A lady said to him: "Oh, Mr. McGaffey, I have just seen your wife for the first time since your marriage. But I had supposed that she was a taller woman. She seems shorter than when I saw her last." "Certainly," replied the poet, solemnly, "she has married and settled down.

LOWELL AND HIS FRIENDS.

Edward Everett Hale's Charming Volume of Reminiscences— Various Phases of the Poet's Career--Anecdotes of W. W. Story, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, and Horace Greeley. One of the most delightful biographical volumes that has recently appeared is Edward Everett Hale's charming volume of reminiscences entitled "James Russell Lowell and His Friends." In addition to giving one an insight into the poet's life, showing him as a student, a man of letters, a public speaker, an editor, a professor, and a representative of the United States at the courts of Spain. and England, he draws a graphic picture of Boston in the 'forties, when literature was the fashion, but not yet a profession.

"One cannot conceive more fortunate or charming conditions," says Mr. Hale, "than those of the boyhood and early education of James Russell Lowell." His father, the Rev. Charles Lowell, was the minister of a large parish in Boston for more than fifty years, while his mother-who before her marriage was Harriet Spence, a daughter of Mary Traill, of the same family to which Minna. Trail, of Scott's novel of "The Pirate," belongswas a person of remarkable nature and accomplishments. Lowell was born at Cambridge on the twenty-second of February, 1819, Washington's birthday. His mother died when he was quite young, and almost from his birth he was placed under the charge of his sister (Mrs. Putnam) eight years older. In all the years of this tender intimacy they never had but one misunderstanding:

He was quite clear that he had a right to do this; she was equally sure that he must do that. For a minute it seemed as if there were a parting of the ways. There was no assertion of authority on her part; there could be none. But he saw the dejection of sorrow on her face. And this was enough. He rushed back to her, yielded the whole point, and their one dispute was at an end. The story is worth telling, if only as an early and exquisite exhibition of the profound affection for others which is at the basis of Lowell's life. If to this loving kindness you add an extraordinary self-control, you have the leading characteristic of his nature as it appears to those who knew him earliest and best, and who have such right to know where the motives of his life are to be found.

In 1834, Lowell entered Harvard College at the age of fifteen:

Most of the work at the college was then done in rather dreary recitations, such as you might expect in a somewhat mechanical school for boys today. But Edward Tyrrel Channing, brother of the great divine, met his pupils face to face and hand to hand. He deserves the credit of the English of Emerson, Holmes, Sumner, Clarke, Bellows, Lowell, Higginson, and other men whom he trained. Their English did more credit to Harvard College, I think, than any other of its achievements for those thirty-two years. You sat,

physically, at his side. He read your themes aloud with you-so loud, if he pleased, that all of the class who were present could hear his remarks of praise or ridicule.

In 1836, when Lowell was a sophomore, Mr. Longfellow came to Cambridge, a young man, to begin his long and valuable life in the college. His presence there proved a benediction, and, I might say, marks an epoch in the history of Harvard. In the first place, he was fresh from Europe, and he gave the best possible stimulus to the budding interest in German literature. In the second place, he came from Bowdoin College, and in those days it was a very good thing for a Harvard undergraduate to know that there were people not bred in Cambridge quite as well read, as intelligent, as elegant and accomplished as any Harvard graduate. In the third place, Longfellow, though he was so young, ranked already as a man of letters. This was no broken winded minister who had been made professor. He was not a lawyer without clients or a doctor without patients, for whom a place had to be found. He was already known as a poet by all educated people in America. The boys had read in the "First Class Book" his "Summer Shower" verses. By literature, pure and simple, and the work of literature, he had won his way to the chair of the Smith professorship of modern literature, to which George Ticknor had already given distinction. Every undergraduate knew all of this, and felt that young Longfellow's presence was a new feather in our cap, as one did not feel when one of our own seniors was made a tutor, or one of our own tutors was made a professor.

But better than this for the college, Longfellow succeeded, as no other man did, in breaking that line of belt ice which parted the students from their teachers. Partly, perhaps, because he was so young; partly because he was agreeable and charming; partly because he had the manners of a man of the world, because he had spoken French in Paris and Italian in Florence; but chief of all because he chose, he was companion and friend of the undergraduates. He would talk with them and walk with them; would sit with them and smoke with them. You never spoke contemptuously of him, and he never patronized you.

At this time the whole drift of fashion, occupation, and habit among the undergraduates ran in lines suggested by literature:

Athletics and sociology are, I suppose, now the fashion at Cambridge. But literature was the fashion then., In November, when the State election came round, there would be the least possible spasm of political interest, but you might really say that nobody cared for politics. Not five "men" in college saw a daily newspaper. My classmate, William Francis Channing, would have been spoken of, I think, as the only abolitionist in college in 1838, the year when Lowell graduated. I remember that Dr. Walter Channing, the brother of our professor, came out to lecture one day on temperance. There was a decent attendance of under-graduates, but it was an attendance of pure condescenson on their part.

The following incident related by Mr. Hale shows what little interest the students took in anything but literature:

In the year 1840 I was at West Point for the first time, with William Story, Lowell's classmate and friend, and with Story's sister and mine. We enjoyed to the full the matchless hospitality of West Point, seeing its lions under the special care of two young officers of our own age. They had just finished their course, as we had recently finished ours at Harvard. One day, when Story and I were by ourselves, after we had been talking of our studies with these gentlemen, Story said to me: "Ned, it is all very well to keep a stiff upper lip with these fellows; but how did you dare to tell them that we studied about projectiles at Cambridge?"

"Because we did," said I.

"Did I ever study projectiles?" asked Story, puzzled.

"Certainly you did," said I. "You used to go up to Pierce, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in the summer when you were a junior with a blue book which had a white back."

"I know I did," said Story, "and was I studying projectiles then? This is the first time I ever heard of it."

A curious little anecdote, which illustrates the Boston of the 'forties, runs thus:

Ticknor & Fields, Tennyson's American pub lishers, had just brought out "In Memoriam." Mr. George S. Hillard looked in as he went down town, took up the book and said: "Tennyson has done for friendship what Petrarch did for love, Mr. Fields," to which Mr. Fields assented, and his friend went his way. Not displeased with his own remark, when he came to his office Hillard repeated it to Sumner, who in turn repeated it to Cleveland, perhaps, when he looked in. Going home to lunch, Sumner goes in at the shop, takes up the new book, and says: "Your Tennyson is out, Mr. Fields. What Petrarch did for love, Tennyson has done for friendship." Mr. Fields again assents, and it is half an hour before Mr. Cleveland enters. He also is led to say that Tennyson has done for friendship what Petrarch has done for love; and before the sun sets Mr. Fields receives the same suggestion from Longfellow, and then from Felton. who have fallen in with their accustomed friends, and looks in to see the new books, on their way out to Cambridge.

Lowell first saw Maria White on the first of December, 1839. She was exquisitely beautiful; her tastes and habits were perfectly simple; her education was excellent. They loved each other from the beginning, and soon were engaged:

Their lives were wholly bound up in each other. He was writing to her charming letters of poetry and prose, and she to him in letters as charming They read together, they dreamed together, they forecast the future together. In such at atmosphere it was natural that he should choose that future rightly.

"Perhaps then first he understood

Himself how wondrously endued."

He knew what was in him. By this time he knew he could work steadily, and when he wrote in triumph.

"I am a maker and a poet, I feel it and I know it,"

he wrote in that frank confidence in his future which his future wholly justified.

Mr. Lowell and Miss White were married in the end of December, 1844.

Among her other exquisite faculties she had a sense of humor as keen as his, and both of them would run on in the funniest way, about their plans for economical housekeeping. Sheet-iron, air-tight stoves had just come into being. I believe I never see one to this day without recollecting in what an amusing vein of absurd exaggeration she once showed, in the lively talk, of how much they were going to save in the detail of domestic life by the use of that most unromantic bit of household machinery.

"A Year's Life," bis maiden volume of poems, had been published in 1841, about the time of their engagement. Mr. Hale adds:

We used to pretend that, weeks in advance of the publication, multitudes of young girls who took a tender interest in the most romantic of marriages, walked daily from one to another of the half-dozen book-shops in little Boston to inquire if "A Year's Life" were ready, and thus to stimulate the interest and curiosity of booksellers and their clerks. I think that the larger publishers of to-day even would say that the sale was more than is to be expected from any new volume of short poems. This was, of course, only a retail sale in Boston and the neighboring towns. There was as yet no demand for "Lowell's Poems" in New York, Philadelphia, or London.

In his chapter on "Politics in the War," Mr. Halerelates the following anecdote of Mr. Gay, an Abolitionist, who at the time of the assassination of Lincoln, was acting editor of the Tribune:

With the news of the murder of Lincoln there came to New York every other terrible message. The office of the Tribune, of course, received echoes from all the dispatches which showed the alarm at Washington. There were orders for the arrest of this man, there were suspicions of the loyalty of that man. No one knew what the morrow might bring.

In the midst of the anxieties of such hours to Mr. Gay, there entered the foreman of the typesetting room. He brought with him the proof of Mr. Greeley's leading article, as he had left it before leaving the city for the day. It was a brutal, bitter, sarcastic, personal attack on President Lincoln - the man who, when Gay read the article, was dying in Washington.

Gay read the article, and asked the foreman if he had any private place where he could lock up the type, to which no one but himself had The foreman said he had. Gay bade him tie up the type and tell no one what he had told him. Of course no such article appeared in the Tribune the next morning.

access.

But when Gay arrived on the next day at the office he was met with the news that "the old man" was very angry. Gay waited upon Greeley.

"Are you there, Mr. Gay? I have been looking. for you. They tell me that you ordered my leader out of this morning's paper. Is it your paper or mine? I should like to know if I cannot print what I choose in my own newspaper!" This in great rage.

« PreviousContinue »