« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Yukon catch somewhat of natural pride boulders or ice-scratches were met with, from the grandeur of a stream which even though carefully watched for. The range the Americans of the party were wont to called the "Ramparts ” is entirely of azoic compare with the Mississippi. “We are rock, in which * a silvery greenish specinot savages,” is the boast of the natives, men of talcose appearance predominates."
we are Yukon Indians.” The break-up We should like to know whether this could of the river in the middle of May was a be made, like the Laurentian beds of simisplendid 'scene, but one of no little peril lar aspect, to yield the Eozoon. Slate and hardship to the party who had to face beds are found in abundance with a norththe surging and grinding masses in their westerly dip. The earliest vegetable refrail seal-skin canoe. Better, however, mains noticed were those of the blue and this tough and flexible material than the brown sandstone, including casts of mol. cedar wood or birch bark of British Colum- lusca, lamellibranchida. A thin contorted bia or of the Indians of the Newicargut or seam of good bituminous coal crops out bethe Porcupine. These rivers, when free low the sandstones. Of pliocene remains from ice, swarm with moose, the meat of Elephas, ovibos moschatus, &c. — the plains which, fresh or dried, is the staple diet all are full. The Kottó river, emptying into the year round. In tea the natives, as in the main stream above Fort Yukon, and all places touched by Russians, are most the Inglutálic, emptying into Norton fastidious. At the best British mixture Sound, are held by the Indians in supertheir noses are turned up in scorn. Of stitious dread, on account of the immense more value, in their eyes, are English number of fossil bones existing there. needles. Ten goose or wild-fowl eggs are Mr. Whymper has bestowed much attengiven for a single one. So highly prized, tion upon the native languages. His vocabindeed, were their civilized visitants, that ulary of the Co-Yukon dialect --spoken, on the withdrawal of the scientific force, with slight variations, for at least 500 miles the poor natives at Unalachleet, Norton along the lower river, with some words Sound, hung black cloth, in token of from the Ingeleti, a variety of the same, mourning, upon the deserted telegraph will be found full of interest, especially if poles. The cause of failure in the case of studied in correlation with the list of equivthis bold telegraphic enterprise was the alent words from the tongue of the Kotchsuccess of the Atlantic cable. It is obvi- a-Kutchin Indians at the conjunction with ously impossible for an alternative line the Porcupine river, furnished by Mr. Kenthrough those inclement Arctic regions to nicott. hold its own, saving so far as local purposes may be subserved by the rapidly developing settlement being linked on to the general lines of American and European communication. What has been gained by
From The Spectator. the enterprise, and we may add, by our
CON AMORE.* author's participation in it, is a valuable as well as curious addition to our stories of
This is a collection of masterly sketches, geographical learning, and to our knowl- any one of which will repay study. Pubedge of the out-of-the-way races of man
lished originally in the Westminster and kind. Mr. Whymper's studies in science other magazines as separate articles, we have enabled him to contribute some special think Mr. McCarthy has done well to notices of interest regarding the singular gather these essays together and present curved chain of volcanic mountain peaks, them in a durable form. His range of subnot long ago the backbone of an upland jects is sufficiently wide. Between Voltaire range uniting Asia with America, which and Victor Hugo lies the Red Sea, through forin the Aleutian islands. His companion which the latter has walked as on dry land, in adventure, Mr. Dall, has put together a
though it has brought him no further than few notes on the geology of the Yukon, the Wilderness. We can but briefly prewhich are here reprinted from Silliman's sent to our readers the forms and faces American Journal. It is worthy of note brought before us in this volume. We adthat no glacial indications are here met
vise them to study it for themselves, and with. It is the writer's opinion, though
we think they will agree with us that often yet unproved, that the glacial field never
as it may be necessary to differ from Mr. extended in these regions to the west of the McCarthy's conclusions, it is scarcely posRocky mountains, although small single
sible to do so without a sense that he conglaciers still exist between spurs of the
• Con Amore. mountains which approach the coast. No Tinsley Brothers. 1868.
By Justin McCarthy. London:
tributes by much impartial criticism to form hardly by Voltaire, and proceeds to a carethe judgment which in the end may differ ful criticism of some of his lighter works, from his own. The first essay is on Vol- in which he used his weapon most unspartaire, and he shows a very keen insight into ingly, maintaining that, the character of a man whose fate it has been to be extravagantly over-praised or
“ Few of the leading satirists of literature ever over-blamed, the vehemence in either case boldly turned their points against that which
so consistently and, all things considered, so proceeding from an over-estimate of the deserved to be wounded. Religious intolerance subject of it. He was never a great philos- and religious hypocrisy, the crying sins of opher, “he was what Condorcet correctly France in Voltaire's day, were the steady ob termed an impatient spirit,” and the two jects of his satire. Where, in these stories at things are incompatible. As a satirist few least, does he attempt to satirize religion? Where men bave wielded a weapon with a keener does he make a gibe of genuine human affection ? edge, but its blade was of no choice metal. Where does he sneer at an honest effort to serve He could expose to ridicule and contempt, humanity? Calmly surveying those marvellous as no other man could, says Mr. McCarthy, satirical novels, the unprejudiced reader will and he was gifted with the most powerful search in vain for the blasphemy and impiety weapon in the world.” Scarcely; Voltaire's with which so many well-meaning people have wit dealt with the surface, the crust of hu- charged the fictions of Voltaire.” man life; it touched no vital part; much The next essay is a sketch of Goethe, of it could not live beyond the hour that admirable in the entire sympathy with which called it forth. Extravagant caricature is the author enters into the poet's artistic naoften wit committing suicide. The spring ture. Whatever came from Goethe's hands which would prove perennial must have its was to be perfect of its kind; no matter source deep down iä the heart of the earth. that the work in hand was a trifle, a mere Voltai re’s wit had no such spring, his genius curiosity, its setting should be absolute in no such roots; his touch crumbled the cave its beauty. He has taught us to what a of many giants, and left them shivering to point of polish, to what an exquisite fitness the blast, but it was all it could do. He and adaptability he could bring the German could perceive the results, but not the roots language, and Mr. McCarthy requires of of human systems; the prejudices, fears, us that if we would judge the works of this fallacies, doubts, and vices of poor human great master at all we should consider them nature, but not the point where they “ all as strictly and liberally works of art, and touch upon nobleness.” One of the com- remarks, “ We do not ask that the marble monest errors, says Mr. McCarthy, “is to Apollo shall fulfil any end but that of mere ascribe to a man profound insight into hu- beauty. All we ask of the lapidary is to man nature because he is quick in ferreting bring out every beam of the diamond, every out certain special foibles or vices.” No flashing tint of the opal; the painter who reputation is purchased more cheaply or is bas done nothing but produce fine landreally more superficial. “He concentrated scapes or beautiful faces, we admit to have his gazę on the peculiar object he wished to on the whole led no useless or ignoble exsatirize, till at length its proportions became istence; and no one feels disposed to arraign magnified to his vision : " and we may add, the public decree which sets him in a higher his sense of its proportion to the whole was rank among the labourers of the earth, than lost. It is good to have a microscopic eye, his practical brother who combines painting but when we fix our thoughts on the abscess with glazing.". Assuredly, but it is imposin the back of an aphis, it is well to let the sible to forget that the bringing out of the world know it is an aphis we are dissecting. beam of the diamond, the tint of the opal, Mr. McCarthy is fully alive to Voltaire's has use in its highest form; all beauty is a merits. “ His ideas,” he observes, “may revelation, and every fresh revelation is in be extravagant, but his style never is ;" or its turn the fertilizing element in fresh again, “What an admirable pamphleteer thought, the ultimate outcome of which, let Voltaire would have made, had he, been but the free play of it last never so long, is acan Englishman! What inextinguishable tion. Nor do we for a moment imagine ridicule he would have scattered over a Mr. McCarthy wishes us to forget this. Ministry or an Opposition ! How irresisti- No one knows more fully how far Goethe's bly people would have been forced to think master-pieces have influenced the whole anything he laughed at deserving of laugh- mind and literature of Germany, shooting ter!" A man's true nature, he adds, bright rays of light, unconscious of its inquoting Goethe, is best divined by observ- tensity, over the mental condition of the ing what he ridicules ; and judged by this whole of our own generation. He has thorstandard, he thinks posterity has dealt | oughly analyzed the attitude in which Goethe stood to his work, having “ recourse “Da stehet von schönen Blumen to the strength of his intellect to counter
Die ganze Wiese so voll. balance the weakness of his character and
Ich breche sie, ohne zu wissen, the sensitiveness of his nerves. He dram
Wem ich sie geben soll." atized his emotions : made them stand out — is thus translated :objectively from him, and thus removed
“ The meadow it is pretty, them away from himself. When yrief be
With flowers so fair to see : came painful, he worked it off into a poem,
I gather them, but no one and contemplating it artistically, no longer
Will take the flowers from me." felt it as belonging to his own being." “Every emotion is crystallized into a We have only to transfer such gross misinstanza."
In this essay Mr. McCarthy does terpretations to verses of deeper meaning, not occupy himself with the graver works and the result is not far to seek; but the of Goethe, but with his minor poems and popularizing mania, the determination to ballads, believing them to be the true rev- make knowledge or a counterfeit of knowlelation of the man himself. “ He had no edge cheap, is the canker at the very heart living confidant, and could only express his of our English system of education. There soul through his genius fully to himself." are, as Mr. McCarthy justly observes, disTrue, perhaps, of the inner nature of every tinct intellectual reasons why Goethe should great poet or artist, it comes out at times never attain English popularity. “You in Tennyson, as in Goethe, even to the in- must have mastered a certain amount of jury of dramatic force, or the intense knowledge before you can understand him. heightening of its power, as when Goethe Simplicity of style is a key-note of popularmakes Tasso say of Antonio :
ity, but not simplicity of style combined “ Er besitzt,
with intense subtlety of thought, and this Ich mag wohl sagen, alles, was mir fehlt,
combination is the characteristic of all save Doch haben alle Götter sich versammelt,
the most trivial of Goethe's poems." Even Geschenke seiner Wiege dazu bringen,
as it might be truly urged to be the characDie Grazien sind leider ausgeblieben!”
teristic of all great genius, it is equally
true that all real greatness bas in it a mag: - which Miss Swanwick has so aptly trans- netic power to attract and draw up to itself, lated :
but the mind brought under its influence “ He possesses, I may truly say,
must bear the painful steps of the ascent. All that in me is wanting. But, alas !
We wish it were within the power of our When round his cradle all the gods assembled,
limited space to do justice to the essay To bring their gifts, the Graces were not which follows. In the brief space of seventy there."
pages Mr. McCarthy has contrived to give
us a far better insight into the mental We know instinctively that Goethe was ap- growth of Germany's much loved poet plying the inimitable description not alone Schiller than we could obtain in fifty volor primarily to Antonio, but to the whole umes of mere detail. He watches Schiller class whose mental calibre must have made as he gradually emerges from the stormy them scourges to him and offences in his protest of his youth, when he startled Ger. eyes.
many and more than Germany by The RobMr. McCarthy complains bitterly of the bers; traces his calm appreciation of his translation through which English readers own error when, finding the world a wider are made familiar with Goethe's minor place to live in than his youthful imaginapoems, and perhaps the attempt to render tion had pictured, “ he comes to study men Goethe popular has not been without dis- and women more closely, as he withdraws tinct injury to both author and reader. from his eyes the veil which his own personCertainly, if an Anglicized Homer be an ality drew around them.” Here lay the seanomaly, an Anglicized Goethe is worse. cret of his strength — his intense sympathy It is possible to present action in a new with humanity in all its phases, in its darkdress and not destroy its force, but Goethe est forms resembling still the “plants in plunges all thought into his own crucible, mines that struggle toward the sun.” Schil. to reproduce it crystallized, and the process ler's works are not the mere offspring of is vitiated and all coherence of the particles his brain dissevered from himself, but the lost by the admixture of one foreign ele- revealings of a spiritual nature, which fed ment. We have before us in these pages not upon itself, but on every form of human many instances of this dissolving process, life and thought with wbich' it was brought but a short and simple instance must suf- into contact. The student of Schiller while fice, where
reading this essay will probably find his own often misty conclusions placed before or the hulks betrays the Jean Valjean who him with exceeding clearness, and an in- sits by the bed of the dying Fantine; who sight into the poet's meaning not too com- nurtures, trains and loves Cosette."' But monly to be met with.
Victor Hugo knew that such manners and Mr. McCarthy's study of Victor Hugo is such habits, inevitable though they might a brilliant piece of criticism, open, we think, be, would be but the rough clothes disguisto some objections. With perfect appreci- ing the man; that it was truer to the heart ation of the great Frenchman's genius, be and brain of bis hero if he revealed the is not blind to his faults, to the over-elabo- working of the higher inner nature, even ration with which at times, even in his most at the sacrifice of the man's very skin. The graphic sketches, he wearies the reader; or weight and thickness of convict manners to the licentiousness in art which, allowing would have concealed, not destroyed, exno limit to its proper province, revels in actly that which we conceive it was Victor inonstrosities of horror. It is chiefly in his Hugo's most intense desire to reveal. estimate of Les Misérables that, while ac
The coarsest reed that trembles in the marsh, knowledging the weight of argument on his
If Heaven select it for an instrument, side, we are compelled to differ from him.
May shed celestial music on the breeze.” “The examination,” he says, “ of the character of Jean Valjean is the analysis of the As to the third count, Mr. McCarthy asks, whole scheme of philosophy, heart, and “.
* Judged as its author has insisted that it moral of the book," and he asserts that in shall be judged, as a moral and philosophicriticizing this effort of Victor Hugo's cal lesson, does the warmest admirer of Les genius and patient art we must see that it Misérables pretend that it has helped us in satisfies three requirements if it is to be pro- the least towards a wiser and truer blending nounced a complete success : —
of justice and mercy than that which socially “ First, is the character in itself, regarded We honestly believe that it has ; that from
and judicially we strive to carry out ? " simply as the ideal hero of Victor Hugo's story, the story of Bishop Myriel in all its impraca consistent, artistic, and impressive figure as the central form of the romance?
Second, is it tical and half immoral beauty has been a successful picture of a probable, or at least distilled the very essence of much soberpossible, human being? Third - and from this minded movement. The story itself has final test we cannot release the creator of Jean its roots in a truth which is eternal, but Valjean - is it true as regards the practical Victor Hugo would be untrue to himself moral which it professes to inculcate?” could he leave us in the light which only
flasbes over his own mind; and much of the As concerning the first of these require- criticism of the pages before us is invaluments, Mr. McCarthy says, “ I do not hes- able in the unerring accuracy with which it itate to pronounce the character of Jean Valjean absolutely perfect.” To the second gauges the height and depth, and more eshe has a distinct negative ; Jean Valjean is pecially the breadth, of as great a genius not, in his estimation, a possible buman ume before us bas lighter subjects. “The
as France this day can boast. But the volbeing:
Bohemia of Henri Mürger” is very good. ." But admitting that the soul of Jean Valjean Mürger has tried to classify the shades, demight have been thus miraculously regenerated, grees, and classes of Bohemia. The great ure we to believe that the habits and the man- section of artists unknown to fame, the ners stamped by half a lifetime of the prison and men who have been called, but through the galleys, of association with the rudest, the some fatal mistake, ignorance of practical basest, and most brutal of human creatures, life, or what not, not chosen — he dubs could have dropped off in a moment as the rags ignored Bohemia,” and says, “it is not of the beggar girl in the pantomime give place a road, but a cul de sac.” While graphat the touch of a wand to the lustrous garment ically describing the London Bohemia, Mr. and spangles and flowers of the Columbine? The McCarthy gives sufficient reasons for bis transformation of Jean Valjean is absolutely not belief that Bohemia, in its English phase less miraculous and complete than that by which Byron's Deformed puts on in a moment the at least, is an ephemeral institution ; but if beautiful form and noble lineaments of Achil- he be sanguine as to the short-lived durales."
tion of a phase of social life just now tell
ing very distinctly upon us, he is less hopeWe think it is just at this point Victor Hugo ful concerning the tone of society in general. has been true to himself and to the highest There is, he says, a decided decadence of art.
"No 'trace," urges Mr. McCarthy, conversation. They were a grand old “ of the habits of the hovel, the dungeon, race, the extinct professors of the art of
talk, the Johnsons and Burkes, and Col- | subjects we are quitting, we rejoice that he eridges and Goethes ; " but he admits that has written for a generation which, if it “ human life has grown too active for their cannot talk, can at least read. brilliant monologues," while complaining that we have in no way supplied their places. He believes neither the nonsense nor the pedantry of the preceding genera
THE SIX NIGHTCAPS. tion was “ so barren, so utterly empty, as the kind of thing which constitutes the sta
THERE is much in these little books to ple converse of at least three-fourths of the inspire us with a kindly feeling towards ordinary drawing-rooms of the present days. them and their writer. One thing at least We cannot believe our author's own expe- is certain, for we have tested it practically, rience has been so unfortunate, for he avers that the young folks like them. We have his disbelief in the axiom that “ talents sometimes thought that in reviewing chilare nurtured best in solitude;" yet he asks, dren's books we were setting up a standard “Is there any one who has to meet many that was too purely ideal, we were legislating people and mix in general society who is for children's tastes, dictating to them, not not frequently forced to observe that in allowing them to choose for themselves. whatever else we are rising, the tone of our Sometimes it happened that a book which ordinary conversation is falling ? " Is it? we thought well adapted for a young audiWe doubt this much. The kings of society ence was received coldly. A story which we are, it is true (we think encouragingly true), refused to read at first, and then read under beating their swords into ploughshares and protest, was applauded. The truth was we pickaxes, and the keen edge of them is pos- had forgotten that childish tastes were unBibly somewhat blunted in the process, but formed. Perhaps we had been led astray the subjects of conversation are surely by., Wordsworth's panegyric on the best growing in wider, higher interest. The philosopher, the eye among the blind, mere diffusion of scientific knowledge has whose external seinblance doth belie his of itself acted beneficially in this respect. soul's immensity. Anyhow, till our misTo choose some passing year of an individ- take was shown us by experience, we rather ual existence as a testing-point in a na- misjudged some of these nightcap stories. tion's growth would, we are confident,
We thought their lessons too obvious and deemed an unworthy arguniént by our au- elementary. Their humour as well as their thor. Yet is it quite fair to put à Goethe sentiment seemed occasionally overdone. or a Coleridge amongst the lights of a day But after reading them through two or that is dead? And letting our range ex- three times to boys of different ages, we tend over even the short space of soine
were enlightened. We then saw that they twenty years, will any one venture to as
were not meant for us, but for our children. sert that Sydney Smith was as a talker in- Strictly speaking, we ought to keep a staff ferior to any but Johnson ? Are Whately, of boy reviewers on the premises, and Browning, and Thackeray to be passed by about Christmas time we ought to give up utterly? There is an epigrammatic sound a few columns to young writers and young in saying that “ The bringing one's mind readers. But our daily or weekly task is down to the proper level of ordinary con- too serious for any such diversion. We versational imbecility, and keeping it there, bave to write for the parents who put is a dreadful task; " but it is, at least, one
books into the hands of their children, not which no rational human being need under for the children who receive the books from take. Sydney Smith, says our author, used their parents. And therefore it is to pato say that he had lived twenty-five years rents we address ourselves when we recomin the country and never met a bore, but he mend these six little books of stories, and would have met nothing else had he set when we state that they are written for a about " bringing his mind down to the gradation of children beginning with those proper level of conversational imbecility." who can only just read, and mounting up to There are, at least, two sides to this shield. those who can appreciate the poetry of Mr. McCarthy's judgment is no light one, fairyland. It is true that there are some but it is beyond the range of our more fee-stories in each book which will commend ble imagination to conjure up the picture themselves to every age. Grown children of an assembly “of men and women of read Baby Nightcaps with the patronizing intelligence and education ” in which " for air with wbich a boy of five calls his baby hours no intelligent thought is expressed." * Baby Nightcaps; Little Nightcaps ; Old NightAnd yet, differ from him here and there as caps ; New Nightcaps; Big Nightcaps; Fairy Nightwe may, as we glance back over the list of land Douglas. 1868.
caps. By, Aunt Fanny. Edinburgb: Edmonston