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as a good boy might love an indulgent mother-how generous she was! -who gave no end of cakes and pocket-money, and was jolly to all the other fellows as well as to himself. And the mother was justly proud of her vigorous, kindly, cheerful, clever son. How much to her liking was that contrast between the Platonic and the Baconian philosophy-when we ourselves were boys we got the lines by heart: "An acre in Middlesex is better than a principality in Utopia. The smallest actual good is better than the most magnificent promises of impossibilities. The wise man of the Stoics would, no doubt, be a grander object than a steam-engine. But there are steam-engines. And the wise man of the Stoics is yet to be born." And a thousand readers huzzaed and tossed up their caps for the steam-engine, and held Plato and Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus cheap. Southey, comparing the old cottages of the English peasantry, the solid weather-stained material, the ornamented chimneys, round or square, the hedge of clipt box beneath the windows, the rose-bushes beside the door, the little patch of flower-ground with its tall hollyhocks in front, the orchard with its bank of daffodils and snowdropsSouthey, comparing these with the new cottages of the manufacturers built upon the manufacturing pattern, naked and in a row, had asked "How is it that everything which is connected with manufactures presents such features of unqualified deformity?"-a question which Mr. Ruskin and Mr. William Morris, and in his own way Mr. Frederic Harrison, are asking to-day. And Macaulay answered with a contemptuous
snort, "Here is wisdom. Here are principles on which nations are to be governed. Rose-bushes and poorrates, rather than steam-engines and independence." Huzza! therefore, once more for the steam-engine; all is going on beautifully with England: laisser faire, laisser aller. "It is not by the intermeddling of Mr. Southey's idol, the omniscient and omnipotent state, but by the prudence and energy of the people, that England has hitherto been carried forward in civilization, and it is to the same prudence and the same energy that we now look with comfort and good hope." Truly the whirligig of time has brought Southey and the provident-though not ominscient or omnipotent-state their revenge.
Tender regrets for the past, for the age when English hands could rear the cathedral, when English hearts could lift one common hymn of faith and praise, are, if we may trust Macaulay, the follies of the sentimentalist. In those ages "noblemen were destitute of comforts the want of which would be intolerable to a modern footman, farmers and shopkeepers breakfasted on loaves the very sight of which would raise a riot in a modern workhouse." But if it be folly to chase backward through time a vanishing mirage, we may confidently look forward to a golden age in the near future-a golden age of more abundant beef and richer pudding. "It may well be, in the twentieth century, that the peasant of Dorsetshire may think himself miserably paid with fifteen shillings a week; that the carpenter at Greenwich may receive ten shillings a day; that laboring men may be as little used to dine without
meat as they now are to eat ryebread." Why let fancy thus halt upon the borders of the terrestrial paradise? Why not imagine the twenty-first century, when the carpenter may receive a pound a day and have butcher's meat at dinner, breakfast, and tea? In May, 1851, Macaulay visited the great Exhibition, and strolled for a long time under its glass and iron through acres of glorified shops. "Crystal Palace-bless the mark!-is fast getting ready," Carlyle had written in his diary a few days before this; "and bearded figures already grow frequent on the streets; 'all nations' crowding to us with their so-called industry or ostentatious frothery. All the loose population of London pours itself every holiday into Hyde Park round this strange edifice. My mad humor is urging me to flight from this monstrous place." "I went to the Exhibition," writes Macaulay, "and lounged there during some hours. I never knew a sight which extorted from all ages, classes, and nations, such unanimous and genuine admiration. I felt a glow of eloquence, or something like it, come on me from the mere effect of the place." And again, on the opening day: "I made my way into the building; a most gorgeous sight; vast, graceful, beyond the dreams of the Arabian romances. I cannot think that the Cæsars ever exhibited a more splendid spectacle. I was quite dazzled, and I felt as I did on entering St. Peter's." Brilliant and indefatigable son of an age of commerce and middle-class ascendancy! his eloquent pages would nowhere else read so well as under those best of iron girders, beneath the splendors of the
largest plate-glass, and amid such decorations, and art, and industrywhere nothing nestles or lurks, but all is set forth for display-as were the glory and delight of the year 1851.
Macaulay, the historian of the first Victorian period, with his company of brilliant actors and his splendid. spectacle, had but one rival in popularity, and that rival, the novelist of the period, exhibits with equal force, in his own province of literature, the characteristics of the time, its sanguine temper, its bourgeois ideals. To have awakened the laughter of innumerable readers during half a century is to have been no slight benefactor of the world, and 1886, the jubilee year of Pickwick, ought to have been celebrated with bumpers and exuberant mirth. England, the "weary Titan" of Mr. Arnold's majestic simile, is all the better in health for having had to hold her sides with glee. And the tears that have been shed for little Nell and Paul Dombey and Tiny Tim have been a kindly dew, laying some of the dust of the world. And yet the accusations of melodrama, of pseudo pathos, of overwrought caricature, have been brought against Dickens not unjustly. We have kwn a nobler laughter than his,
d tears more sacred. The laughter of one whose vision embraces the deepest and highest facts of life has in it a lyrical purity and passion which uplift the spirit as the laughter of Dickens never can; in such mirth there is no loose squandering of the heart, no orgy of animal spirits, nor does it spring from a perception of trivial incongruities; there is nothing in it of the mere grin; it is exquisite, refined, rad
iant, because it grows from a hidden | let us rather choose to think of him as a widener of our sympathies, and as a creator of comic and sentimental types; then we shall see a whole population gather for his defence, and-honneur aux dames-Sairey Gamp it is who leads the van.
root of severity. Such is the mirth of Shakespeare's Tempest and the Winter's Tale, following hard upon his King Lear and Othello. And in the tears of one who has conversed with the soul in the great moments of its fate there is no moisture of sentimentalism. The pathos is divested of all prettiness; it is more than an affair of the nerves, or even of the heart It is at its highest the exquisite spiritual pity, allied with the unfaltering justice, of Dante. We rejoice that Dickens should have quickened the sensibility of the English middle class for the trials and sufferings and sorrows of the poor; we rejoice that he should have gladdened the world with inexhaustible comedy and farce. But it were better if he had discovered that for man and the life of man there is something needful over and above good spirits, a sufficient dinner, and overflowing good-nature. His ideal of human happiness was that of his readers; their middleclass notions of human well-being and of what is most admirable in character he gave them back, animated by his own vigorous animal spirits that superabundant vitality which, when he wrote the name "Charles Dickens," produced such a whirl of flourishes before the pen could rest. Banish from earth some few monsters of selfishness, malignity, and hypocrisy, set to rights a few obvious imperfections in the machinery of society, inspire all men with a cheery benevolence, and everything will go right well with this excellent world of ours. Such in brief was the teaching delivered by Dickens to his time, and he claimed to be regarded as a teacher. But
There is no sense of dissatisfaction with himself in what Dickens writes. How should one tingling with life to the finger-tips be displeased with his own personality? And, setting aside certain political or social inconveniences, "circumlocution offices," and such like, clearly capable of amendment, there was, in Dickens's view, nothing profoundly ailing with society. Thackeray had a quarrel with himself and a quarrel with society; but his was not a temper to push things to extremes. He could not acquiesce in the ways of the world, its shabbiness, its shams, its snobbery, its knavery; he could not acquiesce, and yet it is only for born prophets to break with the world and go forth into the wilderness crying, "Repent!" Why affect to be a prophet, and wear camel's hair and eat locusts and wild honey, adding one more sham to the many, when after all the club is a pleasant lounge, and anthropology is a most attractive study? Better patch up a truce with the world, which will not let one be a hero, but is not wholly evil; the great criminals are few; men in general are rather weak than wicked; vain and selfish, but not malignant. It is infinitely diverting to watch the ways of the petty human animal. One can always preserve a certain independence by that unheroic form of warfare suitable to an unheroic agesatire; one can even in a certain sense stand above one's own pettiness
by virtue of irony; and there is always the chance of discovering some angel wandering unrecognized among the snobs and the flunkeys in the form of a brave, simple-hearted man, or pure-souled, tender woman. Whether right or wrong, this compromise with the world is only for a few days. Heigh-ho! everything hastens to the common end-vanitas vanitatum.
The morality of this compromise with the world is fully discussed by Thackeray himself in his Pendennis, and he arrives at no decisive result. Mr. Pen is on terms of friendship with the great Simpson of the Royal Gardens of Vauxhall, and shakes the lovely equestrian of the arena by the hand:
"And while he could watch the grimaces or the graces of those with a satiric humor that was not deprived of sympathy, he could look on with an eye of kindness at the lookers-on too; at the roystering youth bent upon enjoyment, and here
taking it; at the honest parents, with their delighted children laughing and clapping their hands at the show; at the poor outcasts, whose laughter was less innocent though perhaps louder, and who brought their shame and their youth here to dance and be merry till the dawn at least, and to get bread and drown care. Of this sympathy with all conditions of men Arthur often boasted; he was pleased to possess it, and said that he hoped thus to the last he
should retain it. As another man has an ardor for art or music, or natural science, Mr. Pen said that anthropology was his favorite pursuit, and had his eyes always eagerly opened to its infinite varieties and beauties; contemplating with an unfailing delight all specimens of it in all places to which he resorted, whether it was the coquetting of a wrinkled dowager in a ball-room, or a high-bred young beauty blushing in her prime there; whether it was a hulking guardsman coaxing a servant-girl in the park-or innocent little Tommy that was feeding the ducks while the nurse listened.
And, indeed, a man whose heart is pretty clean can indulge in this pursuit with an enjoyment that never ceases, and is only perhaps the more keen because it is secret and has a touch of sadness in it; because he is in his mood and humor lonely, and apart although not alone."
Over against which there is the author's manly warning:
"If seeing and acknowledging the lies of the world, Arthur, as see them you can with only too fatal a clearness, you submit to them without any protest farther than a laugh; if, plunged yourself in easy sensuality, you allow the whole wretched world to pass by you unmoved; if the fight for the truth is taking place, and all men of honor are on the ground armed on the one side or the other, and you alone are to lie on your balcony and smoke your pipe out of the noise and the danger-you had better have died, or never have been at all, than such a sensual coward.'
But Arthur has ready a reply which serves his purpose, at least for the moment.
At a time when there is no dominant faith, no rule of life, no compelling ardor, no ordered, marching army of men where each one of us may fall into the ranks and obey his leader's command, what more natural than that the individual, sense of his own oppressed by a powerlessness, should come to terms with the world, and should compensate himself as a suborned revolter by irony and satire. The worst evil is that such a compromise with the world breeds a spirit of fatalism and saps the force of the will; to yield to circumstance, to accept one's environment seems inevitable; and men forget that in every complex condition of life we are surrounded by a hundred possible environments, and that it lies with ourselves to choose whether we shall see our neighbors over the way or an encom
passing great cloud of witnesses who 5. er at gaze around us.
Tnackeray had not the austerity and lonely strength needful for a prophet; he would not be a pseudoprophet; therefore he choose his part -to remain in the world, to tolerate the worldlings, and yet to be their adversary and circumventer, or at least a thorn in their sides. Two men, whose influence extends over the full half-century, of whom one happily remains among us still, were true nineteenth-century sons of the prophets, who would make no compromises and each in his own way lifted up a solitary voice crying repentance and terror and judgment to come. "In Oriel Lane," writes the late professor of poetry at Oxford, Principal Shairp, light-hearted undergraduates would drop their voices and whisper, There's Newman! when, head thrust forward, and gaze fixed as though on some vision seen only by himself, with swift, noiseless step he glided by. Awe fell on them for a moment as if it had been some apparition that had passed." And another Oxford professor of poetry, Mr. Matthew Arnold, writes in a like strain: "Who could resist the charm of that spiritual apparition, gliding in the dim afternoon light through the aisles of St. Mary's, rising into the pulpit, and then, in the most entrancing of voices, breaking the silence with words and thoughts which were a religious music-subtle, sweet, mournful? I seem to hear him still, saying: 'After the fever of life, after wearinesses and sicknesses, fightings and despondings, languor and fretful ness, struggling and succeeding; after all the changes and chances of this troubled, unhealthy state-at length
comes death, at length the white throne of God, at length the beatific vision." "
Mr. Arnold dwells on the charm and magic of the preacher's person and manner, because for him the name of Cardinal Newman is a great name to the imagination, but the solution adopted by Newman for the doubts and difficulties which beset men's minds to-day, "to speak frankly, is impossible." They alone could feel the full force of Newman's words who believed that he spoke to them of the most glorious and the most awful of all realities. He stood in the pulpit of St. Mary's to tell of a hidden life which is the only veritable life of man; to tell of an invisible world which is more real, intimate and enduring than the world of the senses.
Once in the
year this visible earth manifests its hidden powers; "then the leaves come out, and the blossoms on the fruit-trees and flowers, and the grass and corn spring up. There is a sudden rush and burst outwardly of that hidden life which God has lodged in the material word." So it shall be one day with the invisible world of light and glory-when God gives the word. "A world of saints and angels, a glorious world, the palace of God, the mountain of the Lord of Hosts, the heavenly Jerusa lem, the throne of God and Christ, all these wonders, everlasting, allprecious, mysterious and incomprehensible lie hid in what we see. What we see is the outward shell of an eternal kingdom, and on that kingdom we fix the eyes of our faith. Shine forth, O Lord, as when on Thy Nativity Thine Angels visited the shepherds; let Thy glory blossom forth as bloom and foliage on the