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like Wilkie Collins. He is not like any of boys in the "Egoist," and the school body, except perhaps Peacock. But he in "Harry Richmond” is quite excellent. is a great master of humor, of fancy, of It is a pity that Mr. Meredith did not alsentiment, of imagination, of everything ways write his own story. He does not, that makes life worth having. He plays save perhaps in the "Tragic Comeupon human nature like an old fiddle. dians," gain by incursions into history. He knows the heart of a woman as well The anecdote which plays so large a as he knows the mind of a man. His part in “Diana of the Crossways" is not novels are romances, and not "docu- true, and would not be pretty if it were. ments." They are often fantastic, but In "Lord Ormont and his Aminta," and never prosy. He does not see life ex- in the "Amazing Marriage," Mr. Mereactly as the wayfaring man sees it. dith has incorporated historic fact or The “realist" cannot understand that legend. They are not among his best that is a qualification and not a dis- books. It is his imagination by which ability. A novel is not a newspaper. he will live. He had, like Mr. Disraeli, “Mr. Turner," said the critical lady, "I to educate a party. But politics are can never see anything in nature like ephemeral, and literature is permanent. your pictures." "Don't you wish you Among the strangest vagaries of critcould, ma'am ?" growled the great icism which I can remember was the artist. Mr. Meredith has the insight of attribution of "Far from the Madding genius and of poetical genius. But he Crowd" to George Eliot in a journal of pays the reader the compliment of re- high literary repute. "Far from the quiring his assistance. Some slight in- Madding Crowd” was not Mr. Thomas tellectual capacity and a willingness to Hardy's first novel, nor yet his second. use it are required for the appreciation But it established his fame as an origiof his books. They are worth the nal writer of singular charm, with a trouble. There are few more delightful grace and an atmosphere of his own. comedies in English literature than Anybody less like George Eliot it would “Evan Harrington.” We must go back be difficult to find. But at that time to Scott for a profounder tragedy than there prevailed an opinion that George "Rhoda Fleming.” The “Egoist” is so Eliot was more than mortal, and that good that everybody at once puts a real she might have written the Bible if she name to Sir Willoughby Patterne. The had not been forestalled. If that illusmale reader is lucky if he can give one trious woman had a fault, she was a to Clara Middleton, that most fascinat- little too creative. With all one's enjoying of heroines since Di Vernon. Not ment of them and their sayings, one that Mr. Meredith's women are in the cannot help sometimes feeling that least like Scott's. They are rather de- there never was a Mrs. Poyser or a Mrs. velopments of the sketches, which one
Mrs. cannot call more than sketches, in Norris or a Miss Bates. Mr. Hardy's "Headlong Hall” and “Crotchet Castle,” country folk are real, and yet not so and “Nightmare Abbey" and "Maid
real as his country. His peasants, who Marian.” The "Ordeal of Richard
seem to talk like a book, are such stuff Feverel" is the favorite with most of
as books are made of. Their conversaMr. Meredith's disciples, and the char- tion is genuine. Nobody would have acter of the wise youth, Adrian, cannot dared to invent it. But whether it be be overpraised. But the same could the pagan worship of nature, which is hardly be said of the Pilgrim's Scrip, the strongest sentiment Mr. Hardy and Lucy is not equal to Clara. Be- allows them, or the author's own passides, there is Mrs. Berry, who has not sion for England in general and DorsetMrs. Quickly's humor, and for whom all shire in particular, the human element stomachs are not sufficiently strong. in Mr. Hardy's stories is "overcrowded" A word may be put in for Mr. Mere- by the intensity of the inanimate, or dith's boys, who are natural and yet apparently inanimate, world. I am not, attractive. There is one of the jollicst I hope, underrating the tragic power of
“Tess" or "Jude." The "Hand of Marcellus of our tongue,” tried his Ethelberta" is a delightfully quaint genius on them. But the “New Arapiece of humor. But Mr. Hardy's bian Nights,” though I am not ashamed typical book is the "Woodlanders," to confess that I would rather read where every tree is a character, and the them than the old, do not reveal the people are a set-off to the summer. author of "Kidnapped" and the “Master There is plenty of human nature in the of Ballantrae.” Stevenson is one of the “Woodlanders," some of it no better very few really exquisite and admirable than it ought to be. But it is the back- writers who deliberately sat down to ground. The foreground is the woods form a style. He was singularly frank and the fields. Perhaps nobody is quite about it. He has told the public what a man or quite a woman. The feminine he read, and how he read it, and a very element in Mr. Hardy is his love of the strange blend of authors it was. In country, which is neither the sports- nine hundred and ninety-nine cases out man's love, nor the naturalist's, nor the of a thousand the result would have poet's, but passion for the country as been disastrous failure. In Mr. such, and that may be found in a hun- Stevenson's case it was a brilliant sucdred women before it will be found in cess. Of course, every critic thinks that one man. Mr. Hardy feels the cruelty he would have found out the secret for of nature. He feels it so much that, as himself. Certainly, Mr. Stevenson's may be seen in "Tess of the D'Urber- are the most studiously elaborate works villes," he can hardly bear to contem- of art. But the art is so good that, plate the country in winter. But he though it can hardly be said to conceal, loves it, and his inimitably beautiful it justifies and commends itself. The form of adoration is the secret of his reader feels a personal complipower. In his later works Mr. Hardy ment the immense pains which this has done what only the French nation humblest of geniuses has bestowed can do with impunity. Much of the upon every chapter and every sentence abuse lavished upon “Jude the Obscure" of all the volumes he wrote entirely himwas foolish and irrelevant enough. self. It is said that his warmest chamThe pity of it is much more prominent pions belong to his own sex. For while than the coarseness. It is, like "Tess," he does, like Falstaff, in some sort a powerful book, and no other living handle women, and while Miss Barbara Englishman could have written it. Grant, or the girl in the “Dynamiter,” But it is far below the level of the “Re- would have been the delight of any turn of the Native" and the "Mayor of society it had pleased them to adorn, his Casterbridge."
writings teach that it is not the passion Mr. Hardy's short stories, such as of love, but the spirit of adventure, “Wessex Tales," and "Noble Dames," which makes the world go round. The and “Life's Little Ironies,” are very question whether the two influences can clever, all the cleverer because they are be altogether separated does not belong quite unlike his long ones. Short to a review of Victorian romance. stories came from America. Was it There have been novels without women, “Daisy Miller" that set the fashion, or even in French. Victor Hugo wrote the "Luck of Roaring Camp?" To one. Ferdinand Fabre has written anclaim either Mr. Bret Harte or Mr. other. But it is a dangerous experiHenry James as a British novelist ment, or would be if it were likely to be would be an insult to the Stars and repeated. "Weir of Hermiston," in Stripes. They have shown, and so has which the eternal element of sex was Mr. Anthony Hope, that the English revived, is surely one of the greatest language is suitable to short stories, as tragedies in the history of literature. indeed to every other form of human It is far sadder than “Denis Duval" or composition except pentameter verse. “Edwin Drood." Thackeray and DickBut the English people do not take to ens had done their work. We know the them. Louis Stevenson, that "young full extent of their marvellous powers.
VOL. XIV. 738
but that cannot be said of Stevenson. door. If there were ever any knockers "Weir of Hermiston" is a fragment, and in Thrums, there cannot be many left a fragment it must remain. But there is enough of it to show beyond the possi- Mrs. Oliphant, who was a popular and bility of doubt that the complete work successful novelist before Mr. Barrie would have been the greatest achieve- was born, continues her wonderful ment of that wonderful mind. The activity. Few writers in any age hare sleepless soul has perished in his pride. maintained so high a level over so large
Mr. Barrie, like Dickens, has had the a surface. The “Chronicles of Carlingunavoidable misfortune to found ford" have for the modern novel-reader school. One result of "Margaret Ogil- an almost mediæval sound. But the vie” is that another Scottish man of author of "Salem Chapel" and “Miss letters has been asked by an enterpris- Marjoribanks" is still supplying the ing firm of publishers what he would public with stories which are always take for an account of his mother. Mr. full of interest and often full of charm. Barrie is entitled to be judged on his Miss Broughton has produced a great own merits, and not on the demerits of deal of work since "Cometh up as a his imitators. No sketch, however im- Flower" impressed the hall and the parperfect, of the Victorian novel would sonage with a vague sense that it was pass muster without him. He has done dreadfully improper. The imputation what greater men have failed to do. of impropriety without the reality is an He has added a new pleasure to litera- invaluable asset for an English novelist. ture. I am not among those—it is my It is not, of course, Miss Broughton's fault-who fell in love with “Babby the sole capital. The “rough and cynical Egyptian.” Nor
I so deeply reader." always rather given to crying shocked as some of Mr. Barrie's admir- over cheap sentimentalism, has shed ers when the “Little Minister" reap- many a tear over "Good-bye, Sweetpeared in “Sentimental Tommy" as a heart," and "Not Wisely but too Well." little and trivial ininister indeed. The very
are lachrymatory. Babby and Gavin Dishart should, of Then, Miss Broughton is witty as well course, have both been drowned, and as tragic. She first discovered the possiMr. Barrie incurred a serious responsi- bilities of humor which had so long been bility in allowing them to be rescued latent in family prayers.
She is an by the editor of Good Words. It is adept in the comic misapplication of not a case where humanity should be scriptural texts, as well as in other rewarded. Mr. Barrie is hardly at his forms of giving vent to high spirits. If best in the construction of a plot. Per- there were no Miss Broughton, it would haps it is the vice of the age to abhor be necessary to invent one. The ferfinality, as it is the vice of nature to tility and talent of Miss Braddon and abhor a vacuum. Most novels now be- Mr. Payn, who aim at giving amusegin well. A good beginning has become ment, and succeed in what they aim at, a bad sign. Few, very few, have, from are obnoxious to no censure more inthe artistic point of view, a satisfactory telligible than the taunt of being “Early end. Mr. Barrie is a child of old age, the Victorian." Sir Walter Besant and Mr. old age of the nineteenth century. He George Gissing are Victorian without has written as yet no great book, being Early. For a novelist to be made though “Sentimental Tommy” is very Sir Walter is a hard trial. But Sir nearly one. His pathos and his humor, Walter Besant has not cultivated the his sympathetic portraiture and his ex- Waverley method, and his capital quisite style, are best appreciated in sin- stories can afford to stand upon their gle episodes, in short stories, and in per- own footing. Mr. Gissing's books are sonal digressions. The art of descrip- not altogether attractive. They are altion Mr. Barrie has almost overdone. It ways rather cynical. They are often was said of a disciple of Dickens that very gloomy. They do not enable the he would describe the knocker off your reader to feel at home in fashionable
society. But their literary excellence is evidence of industry which they always not far from the highest. They are com- display. They are also an interesting plete in themselves. They are per- "end-of-the-century” example of the art fectly, sometimes forcibly, actual. of separating instruction from amuseThere is an unvarnished truth about ment. The frivolous people who want them which compels belief, and an to laugh, or even to cry, over fiction
Mrs. Ward reoriginal power which, once felt, cannot must go elsewhere. be resisted. A little more romance, a quires attention while she develops her
Since the publication of little more poetry, a little more humor, theories. and Mr. Gissing would be a very great “Robert Elsmere"
unbelieving writer indeed.
clergyman has any excuse for remain
ing in holy orders. “David Grieve" At immensum spatiis confecimus taught married people that neither husæquor,
band nor wife has any right to talk in a Et jam tempus equum fumantia solvere
style which the other cannot undercolla.
stand. From "Marcella” we learn poIt is impossible to attempt an exhaus- litical economy, and in "Sir George tive catalogue of contemporary novel- Tressady” the private life of the aristocists. The time would fail one to tell of racy is held up for the admiration of the Dr. Conan Doyle and Mr. Stanley Wey- middle classes. In the Early Victorian man, Lucas Malet also, and Mr. Anstey novel there may have been too much and Mr. Zangwill. Their thousands of sentiment. In the Late Victorian novel readers testify to their popularity, and there is apt to be too much of everytheir praise is in all the newspapers. thing. The “smooth tale, generally of Mr. William Black, if he does not write love,” has become a crowded epitome of so often, still occasionally delights the universal information. In "Sir George many admirers of "A Daughter of Tressady” we see the House of ComHeth" and "A Princess of Thule.” Mrs.
mons in Committee, and tea on the terClifford has shown in “Mrs. Keith's race, and dinner in an under-secretary's Crime” and “Aunt Anne" that a really room, and public meetings, and declaraimaginative writer needs no other ma- tions of the poll. We may even notice terial than the pathos of every-day life. a vast improvement in the evening
But a word of recognition must be papers, which report speeches delivered given to Miss Yonge, who has treated at ten o'clock. If novels are to conthe problems of life in a commendably tain everything, the world will not conserious spirit. Dr. Whewell, who was tain the novels, and all other forms of at one time supposed to know every- literature will be superseded. The Plan thing, used to say that the “Clever of Campaign was the subject of a very Woman of the Family” was the first of clever novel by Miss Mabel Robinson English novels. He did not live to read which actually bore that name. Mr. “Robert Elsmere.” One might be mis- George Moore's “Esther Waters" is understood if one suggested that Miss credited with having inspired the deciCharlotte Yonge
the spiritual sion in Hawke 1. Dunn. Miss Emily mother of Mrs. Humphry Ward. Yet Lawless has kept Irish politics out of daughters are often more learned and her sad and beautiful stories of Irish usually less orthodox than their par- life. But Miss Lawless is an exception. ents. Miss Yonge wrote stories, and She is no realist. When Nicholas even religious stories, without an ex- Nickleby was employed by Mr. Vincent haustive study of Biblical criticism as Crummles to write a play, it was made made in Germany. Mrs. Ward has in- a condition that he should introduce a dulged in something very like original real pump and two washing-tubs. research, and is certainly the most “That's the London plan," said Mr. learned of female novelists since the Crummles. "They look up death of George Eliot. Her novels are dresses and properties, and have a piece entitled to the highest respect for the written to fit 'em.” It is the London
plan still. But it is now applied to belonged to the past. It was his habit novels, and not to plays.
thus to pay a visit to Toledo Cathedral HERBERT PAUL.
whensoever his journeys led him to Castile. It was, moreover, his simple custom to attend the early mass, which is here historical; and, indeed, to walk
through the church, grey and cool, with IN KEDAR'S TENTS.1
the hush that seems to belong only to BY HENRY SETON MERRIMAN, AUTHOR OF "THE buildings of a stupendous age, is in it
self a religious service. CHAPTER XXIII.
Concha was passing across the nave, LARRALDE'S PRICE.
hat in hand, a gaunt, ill-clad, and some“ It is as difficult to be entirely bad as it is to be what pathetic figure, when he caught entirely good."
sight of Sir John Pleydell. The tall To those who say that there is no Englishman paused involuntarily and faith, Spain is in itself a palpable an- looked at the lean Spaniard. Concha swer. No country in the world can bowed. show such cathedrals as those of Gra- "We met," he said, "for a moment in nada, Cordova, Seville, Toledo, Burgos. the garden of General Vincente's house In any other land any one of these at Ronda.” great structures would suffice. But in “True," answered Sir John; “are you Spain these huge monuments to that leaving the cathedral? We might faith which has held serenely through walk a little way together. One canwar and fashion, through thought and not talk idly-here." thoughtlessness, are to be found in all He paused and looked up at the great the great cities. And the queen of oak screen, at the towering masonry. them all is Toledo. If the Christian "No," answered Concha gravely; faith be, as some state, a mistake, then “one cannot talk idly here." those who built Toledo Cathedral were Concha held back the great leathern mistaken to good purposes, and for us, portière, and the Englishman passed who follow and cannot do likewise in out. architecture, it may be wise to make, "This is a queer country, and you at all events, the same mistake in faith. are a queer people,” he said presently.
Father Concha, that sour-visaged phi. "When I was at Ronda I met a certain losopher, had a queer pride in his pro- number of persons-I can count them fession and in the history of that on my fingers-General Vincente, his Church which is to-day seen in its pur- daughter, Señora Barenna, Señorita est form in the Peninsular, while it is Barenna, the Englishman, Conyngham, so entangled with the national story of yourself, Señor Concha. I arrived in Spain that the two are but one tale told Toledo yesterday morning. In twentyfrom a different point of view. As a four hours I have caught sight of all private soldier may take pleasure in the persons mentioned here in Toledo." standing on a great battle-field, noting “And here in Toledo is another of each spot of interest-here a valley of whom you have not caught sight,' said death, there the
of cavalry Concha. charge, of which the thunder will echo "Ah!" down through all the ages-so Concha, "Yes; Señor Larralde." a mere country priest, liked to pace the “Is he here?" aisles of great cathedral, indulging "Yes," said Concha. the while in a half-cynical pride. He They walked on in silence for some was no great general, no leader, of no minutes. smallest importance in the ranks; but “What are we all doing here, padre?" he was of the army, and partook in a inquired Sir John, with his cold laugh. minute degree of those victories that “What are you doing here, señor?"
Sir John did not
at 1 Copyright, 1896, by Henry Seton Merriman.