Sidor som bilder

wise in council, who every day feast- compared with it. The silver, the gold, ed in their hall more hundreds than the vases, vestments, and crucifixes thou canst number individual follow- crested with jewels, the silken garers; whose names have been sung by ments for men and women, the rings, minstrels, and their laws recorded by necklaces, bracelets, wrought delicately Wittenagemotes; whose bones were in gold and resplendent in gems, ininterred amid the prayers of saints, and spired the Continental barbarians with over whose tombs minsters have been rapture, and in their imaginations builded.” There can be no doubt that made England appear the Dorado of Saxons as far-descended as Scott rep- those times.” One of the writers of resents Athelstane to have been were that day states that “incredible treastreated worse than he, and that Saxon ures in gold and silver were sent from ladies of the highest birth and greatest the plunder of England to the Pope, wealth experienced the fate of the con- together with costly ornaments, which quered in much severer measure than would have been held in the highest it became known to Rowena. Scott estimation even at Byzantium, then has been accused of exaggerating the universally regarded as the most opueffects of the Conquest, but his glow- lent city in the world.” All this ing picture is by no means overcharged, implies that the Saxon aristocracy were if we look at the effect of that change very rich, and it is far from unlikely on the higher classes of the vanquished that it was the desire to preserve their people. The Saxons were very wealthy property that led them to offer so little and the invaders obtained an amount resistance to William, - a fatally misof spoil that astonished them, the ac- taken course, for the invading advencounts of which remind the reader of turers had entered England in search what was told of the extraordinary of other men's property, and were not acquisitions made by the ruffians who to be kept quiet by the quietness of the formed the force of Pizarro in Peru. owners thereof. The aristocracy alone Years after the day of Hastings, we could afford such plunder as that deare told, William "bore back with scribed, and that so much of it was him, to his eager and hungry country, obtained shows how extensive must the plunder of England, which was have been the spoliation, and how so varied in kind, so prodigious in thoroughly Saxon nobles were stripped amount, that the awe-stricken chronic of their possessions by the low-born clers maintain that all the Gauls, if ragamuffins who were induced by Wilransacked from end to end, would have liam's recruiting sergeants to enlist failed to supply treasures worthy to be under his black banner.



"HE critic's first duty in the pres- in other cases he will have to content

nce of an author's collective works himself with conscientious inductions. is to seek out some key to his method, In a writer so fond of digressions as some utterance of his literary convic- George Eliot, he has reason to expect tions, some indication of his ruling the that broad evidences of artistic faith ory. The amount of labor involved in will not be wanting. He finds in “ Adan inquiry of this kind will depend very am Bede” the following passage : much upon the author. In some cases " Paint us an angel if you can, with the critic will find express declarations; a floating violet robe and a face paled by the celestial light; paint us yet avowed predilections as these, a brief oftener a Madonna, turning her mild glance over the principal figures of her face upward, and opening her arms to different works would assure us that welcome the divine glory; but do not our author's sympathies are with comimpose on us any æsthetic rules which mon people. Silas Marner is a linenshall banish from the region of art weaver, Adam Bede is a carpenter, those old women scraping carrots with Maggie Tulliver is a miller's daughter, their work-worn hands, – those heavy Felix Holt is a watchmaker, Dinah clowns taking holiday in a dingy pot- Morris works in a factory, and Hetty house, - those rounded backs and stu- Sorrel is a dairy-maid. Esther Lyon, pid weather-beaten faces that have bent indeed, is a daily governess ; but Tito over the spade and done the rough Melema alone is a scholar. In the work of the world, - those homes with “Scenes of Clerical Life," the author their tin cans, their brown pitchers, is constantly slipping down from the their rough curs, and their clusters of clergymen, her heroes, to the most igonions. In this world there are so norant and obscure of their parishionmany of these common, coarse people, ers. Even in “Romola" she consewho have no picturesque, sentimental crates page after page to the conversawretchedness. It is so needful we tion of the Florentine populace. She should remember their existence, else is as unmistakably a painter of bourwe may happen to leave them quite out geois life as Thackeray was a painter of of our religion and philosophy, and the life of drawing-rooms. frame lofty theories which only fit a Her opportunities for the study of the world of extremes. ..... There are few manners of the solid lower classes have prophets in the world, - few sublimely evidently been very great. We have beautiful women, - few heroes. I can't her word for it that she has lived afford to give all my love and reverence much among the farmers, mechanics, to such rarities; I want a great deal of and small traders of that central rethose feelings for my every-day fellow- gion of England which she has made men, especially for the few in the fore- known to us under the name of Loamground of the great multitude, whose shire. The conditions of the popular faces I know, whose hands I touch, for life in this district in that already diswhom I have to make way with kindly tant period to which she refers the accourtesy. .....I herewith discharge tion of most of her stories – the end my conscience,” our author continues, of the last century and the beginning "and declare that I have had quite en- of the present — were so different from thusiastic movements of admiration to- any that have been seen in America, ward old gentlemen who spoke the that an American, in treating of her worst English, who were occasionally books, must be satisfied not to touch fretful in their temper, and who had upon the question of their accuracy never moved in a higher sphere of in- and fidelity as pictures of manners fluence than that of parish overseer ; and customs. He can only say that and that the way in which I have come they bear strong internal evidence of to the conclusion that human nature is truthfulness. If he is a great admirer lovable — the way I have learnt some- of George Eliot, he will indeed be thing of its deep pathos, its sublime tempted to affirm that they must be mysteries — has been by living a great true. They offer a completeness, a deal among people more or less com- rich density of detail, which could be monplace and vulgar, of whom you the fruit only of a long term of conwould perhaps hear nothing very sur- scious contact, - such as would make prising if you were to inquire about it much more difficult for the author them in the neighborhoods where they to fall into the perversion and supdwelt."

pression of facts, than to set them But even in the absence of any such down literally. It is very probable

that her colors are a little too bright, Donnithorne ; so, although he will perand her shadows of too mild a gray, sist in going without a cravat, is Felix that the sky of her landscapes is too Holt. So, with perhaps the exception sunny, and their atmosphere too redo- of Maggie Tulliver and Stephen Guest, lent of peace and abundance. Local is every important character to be found affection may be accountable for half in our author's writings. They all of this excess of brilliancy; the au share this fundamental trait, — that in thor's native optimism is accountable each of them passion proves itself for the other half. I do not remem feebler than conscience. ber, in all her novels, an instance of The first work which made the name gross misery of any kind not directly of George Eliot generally known, concaused by the folly of the sufferer. tains, to my perception, only a small There are no pictures of vice or pove number of the germs of her future erty or squalor. There are no rags, power. From the “Scenes of Clerical no gin, no brutal passions. That av Life” to “Adam Bede” she made not erage humanity which she favors is so much a step as a leap. Of the three very borné in intellect, but very genial tales contained in the former work, I in heart, as a glance at its representa- think the first is much the best. It is tives in her pages will convince us. In short, broadly descriptive, humorous, “Adam Bede,” there is Mr. Irwine, the and exceedingly pathetic. “The Sad vicar, with avowedly no qualification Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barfor his profession, placidly playing ton” are fortunes, which clever storychess with his mother, stroking his tellers with a turn for pathos, from dogs, and dipping into Greek trage Oliver Goldsmith downward, have dies; there is the excellent Martin found of very good account, - the forPoyser at the Farm, good-natured and tunes of a hapless clergyman of the rubicund; there is his wife, somewhat Church of England in daily contentoo sharply voluble, but only in behalf tion with the problem how upon eighty of cleanliness and honesty and order; pounds a year to support a wife and six there is Captain Donnithorne at the children in all due ecclesiastical gen. Hall, who does a poor girl a mortal tility. “Mr. Gilfil's Love-Story,” the wrong, but who is, after all, such a second of the tales in question, I cannot nice, good-looking fellow ; there are hesitate to pronounce a failure. George Adam and Seth Bede, the carpenter's Eliot's pictures of drawing - room life sons, the strongest, purest, most dis are only interesting when they are creet of young rustics.

The same

linked or related to scenes in the tavbroad felicity prevails in “ The Mill ern parlor, the dairy, and the cottage. on the Floss.” Mr. Tulliver, indeed, Mr. Gilfil's love story is enacted enfails in business; but his failure only tirely in the drawing-room, and in conserves as an offset to the general in- sequence it is singularly deficient in tegrity and prosperity. His son is force and reality. Not that it is vulobstinate and wilful; but it is all on gar,- for our author's good taste never the side of virtue. His daughter is forsakes her, - but it is thin, flat, and somewhat sentimental and erratic; but trivial. But for a certain family likeshe is more conscientious yet. Con ness in the use of language and the science, in the classes from which rhythm of the style, it would be hard to George Eliot recruits her figures, is a believe that these pages are by the universal gift. Decency and plenty same land as

“ Silas Marner." In and good-humor follow contentedly in “ Janet's Repentance," the last and its train. The word which sums up longest of the three clerical stories, we the common traits of our author's vari return to middle life, — the life repreous groups is the word respectable. sented by the Dodsons in “ The Mill Adam Bede is pre - eminently a re

on the Floss."

The subject of this spectable young man ; so is Arthur tale might almost be qualified by the VOL. XVIII. -- NO. 108.


French epithet scabreux. It would be land back upon a sense of her own indifficult for what is called realism to sular solidity, and made her for the go further than in the adoption of a time doubly, brutally, morbidly English. heroine stained with the vice of in- Perhaps the best pages in the work are temperance. The theme is unpleas- the first thirty, telling the story of poor ant; the author chose it at her peril. Marner's disappointments in friendship It must be added, however, that Ja- and in love, his unmerited disgrace, and net Dempster has many provocations. his long, lonely twilight-life at Raveloe, Married to a brutal drunkard, she with the sole companionship of his takes refuge in drink against his ill- loom, in which his muscles moved usage ; and the story deals less with “with such even repetition, that their her lapse into disgrace than with her pause seemed almost as much a conredemption, through the kind offices straint as the holding of his breath." of the Reverend Edgar Tryan, — by Here, as in all George Eliot's books, virtue of which, indeed, it takes its there is a middle lise and a low life; place in the clerical series. I cannot and here, as usual, I prefer the low

elp thinking that the stern and tragi- life. In “Silas Marner,” in my opinion, cal character of the subject has been she has come nearest the mildly rich enfeebled by the over - diffuseness of tints of brown and gray, the mellow the narrative and the excess of local lights and the undreadsul corner;shadtouches. The abundance of the au ows of the Dutch masters whon she thor's recollections and observations emulates. One of the chapters conof village life clogs the dramatic move tains a scene in a pot-house, which ment, over which she has as yet a com frequent reference has made famous. paratively slight control. In her subse Never was a group of honest, garrulous quent works the stouter fabric of the

village simpletons more kindly and hustory is better able to support this manely handled. After a long and heavy drapery of humor and digres- somewhat chilling silence, amid the sion.

pipes and beer, the landlord opens the To a certain extent, I think

conversation “ by saying in a doubt:al Marner” holds a higher place than any tone to his cousin the butcher :of the author's works.

It is more "Some folks ’ud say that was a fine nearly a masterpiece; it has more of beast you druv in yesterday, Bob?' that simple, rounded, consummate as “ The butcher, a jolly, smiling, redpect, that absence of loose ends and haired man, was not disposed to angaping issues, which marks a classical swer rashly:

He gave a few pufis lework. What was attempted in it, in fore he spat, and replied, “And they deed, was within more immediate reach would n't be fur wrong, John.' than the heart-trials of Adam Bede and “After this feeble, delusive thaw, Maggie Tulliver. A poor, dull-witted, silence set in as severely as before. disappointed Methodist cloth-weaver ; “Was it a red Durham?' said the a little golden-haired foundling child; a farrier, taking up the thread of diswell-meaning, irresolute country squire, course after the lapse of a few minutes. and his patient, childless wife ; — these, “ The farrier looked at the landlord, with a clorus of simple, beer-loving vil- and the landlord looked at the butcher, lagers, make up the dramatis persona. as the person who must take the reMore than any of its brother-works, sponsibility of answering. “Silas Marner," I think, leaves upon the ""Red it was,' said the butcher, in mind a deep impression of the grossly his good-humored husky treble, -- " and material life of agricultural England in a Durham it was.' the last days of the old régime, - the ““Then you need n't tell me wlia days of full-orbed Toryism, of Trafalgar you bought it of,' said the farrier, kuukand of Waterloo, when the invasive ing round with some triumph ;') knox spirit of French domination threw Eng- who it is has got the red Durhams o'

“ Silas

this country-side. And she 'd a white ay; I know, I know: but I let other star on her brow, I 'll bet a penny?'

folks talk. I 've laid by now, and gev ** Well; yes

she might,' said the up to the young uns. Ask them as butcher, slowly, considering that he have been to school at Tarley: they was giving a decided affirmation. "I 've learn't pernouncing ; that 's came don't say contrairy.'

up since my day.' “I knew that very well,' said the Mr. Macey is nevertheless persuaded farrier, throwing himself back defiantly; to dribble out his narrative; proceed

if I don't know Mr. Lammeter's cows, ing by instalments, and questioned from I should like to know who does, – point to point, in a kind of Socratic that 's all. And as for the cow you manner, by the landlord. He at last bought, bargain or no bargain, I've arrives at Mr. Lammeter's marriage, been at the drenching of her, - contra- and how the clergyman, when he came dick me who will.'

to put the questions, inadvertently trans“ The farrier looked fierce, and the posed the position of the two essential mild butcher's conversational spirit was names, and asked, “Wilt thou have this roused a little.

man to be thy wedded wife?" etc. ** I 'm not for contradicking no man,' “But the partic'larest thing of all,' he said; “I'm for peace and quietness. pursues Mr. Macey, ‘is, as nobody took Some are for cutting long ribs. I 'm any notice on it but me, and they anfor cutting 'em short myself; but I swered straight off “ Yes,” like as if it don't quarrel with 'em. All I say is, had been me saying “Amen" i the its a lovely carkiss, -and anybody as right place, without listening to what was reasonable, it ’ud bring tears into went before.' their eyes to look at it.'

“ * But you knew what was going on "Well, its the cow as I drenched, well enough, did n't you, Mr. Macey ? whatever it is,' pursued the farrier, an- You were live enough, eh ?' said the grily; • and it was Mr. Lammeter's cow, butcher. else you told a lie when you said it was "" Yes, bless you!' said Mr. Macey, a red Durham.'

pausing, and smiling in pity at the im** I tell no lies,' said the butcher, patience of his hearer's imagination, with the same mild huskiness as be- “why, I was all of a tremble; it was as fore ; ‘and I contradick none, - not it if I'd been a coat pulled by two tails, a man was to swear himself black; like ; for I could n't stop the parson, he 's no meat of mine, nor none of my I could n't take upon me to do that ; bargains. All I say is, its a lovely car- and yet I said to myself, I says, “Supkiss. And what I say I'll stick to; pose they should n't be fast married,” but I 'll quarrel wi' no man.'

'cause the words are contrairy, and my *** No,' said the farrier, with bitter head went working like a mill, for I sarcasm, looking at the company gen- was always uncommon for turning erally; "and p'rhaps you did n't say the things over and seeing all round 'em; cow was a red Durham ; and p'rhaps and I says to myself, “Is 't the you did n't say she'd got a star on meaning or the words as makes folks her brow, — stick to that, now you are fast i wedlock ?” For the parson at it.?"

meant right, and the bride and brideMatters having come to this point, groom meant right. But then, when I the landlord interferes ex officio to pre- came to think on it, meaning goes but a serve order. The Lammeter family little way i' most things, for you may having come up, he discreetly invites mean to stick things together and your Mr. Macey, the parish clerk and tailor, glue may be bad, and then where are to favor the company with his recollec- you?'" tions on the subject. Mr. Macey, how- Mr. Macey's doubts, however, are ever, “smiled pityingly in answer to set at rest by the parson after the the landlord's appeal, and said : “Ay, service, who assures him that wirat

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