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In the churchyard she found the names which, it had struck her painfully, had disappeared from the signboards.
"It was strange the feeling of almost glad recognition that came over me in finding so many familiar figures out of my childhood and youth all gathered together in one place; but still more interesting for me than these later graves were two that I remember to have wept little innocent tears over before I had a conception what real weeping meant—the grave of the little girl who was burnt to death while drying her white muslin frock at the fire; and that of the young officer (ftutherfbrd) who was shot in a duel. The oval tablet of white marble over the little girl's grave was as bright and spotless as on the first day—as emblematic of tiie child's existence it commemorated; it seemed to my somewhat excited imagination that the youthfulness and innocence there buried had impregnated the nnrble to keep it snow-white for ever."
There she now lies in her turn, by her father's side, restored to him in death, though one grudges to think so far apart and separated from him who was the companion of her life.
How she ventured at last to the house of the old ladies whom she loved, and was recognized by them; how the town woke up to recognize her, and the old servant Jamie knew her before he saw her. "Then you were told it was me?" "No; they told us just we was to speak to a lady at the George, and I knew it was Mrs. Carlyle." "But how could you tell, dear Jamie?" "Hoots, who else could it be?" There could not be a more pathetic story, though all so simple. The little town so still, the schoolroom door open in the early brightness of the new-born day, showing her the place where " at seven in the morning James Brown found me asleep after two hours' hard study, asleep between the leaves of the great Atlas ;" the houses all shut up, but gradually awakening to life and knowledge. She went back frequently afterwards, visiting her old friends, and recognized by everybody, and gradually the pathos and the wonder died away.
In Edinburgh, there were aunts, loved, but gently caricatured, and Betty—Betty, the beloved servant-woman of old, to whom she was always the "dear bairn," whom she sent the writer once to see in a little roadside hamlet out of Edinburgh, an old woman with a still wise face that had seen many a sorrow, in the still, little room, with its spark of fire, and the house-door which admitted straight into it open to the summer air. Is she there still, one wonders, in her close cap and grey gown, and patient gravity and love? There seems no reason why such an example of the antique world should ever die. She outlived her mistress, her " bairn," at least, so far as our recollection goes.
This sweet and tender picture it would be well to end upon: but in the painful circumstances of the case it will not be for such touching episodes as this that reviewers or critics will look, but
Vol. Xliii. v V
for something -that will throw light upon the canker of this woman's life, so full of impassioned feeling as she was. And such passages will not be far to seek. The canker was chiefly in herself—in the selftormenting faculty which never existed in greater perfection in any woman, though that is saying much. Those keen and passionate souls each with the sharp two-edged sword of speech, cutting this way and that, each so intolerant, so impatient, so incapable of endurance, all nerves and sensation, and nothing but themselves to try their spiritswould they have been better apart, each perhaps sheathed in the silky tissues of a milder and softer nature? We doubt it much. The milder partner would have bored them both, whereas in swift change of mood, in infinite variety, in passions of misery and recovered happiness, there was no weariness. "I am always wondering," she says, after one of her bad moments, "how I can, even in my angriest mood, talk about leaving you for good and all; for to be sure were I to leave you to-day on that principle, I should need absolutely to go back to-morrow to see how you were taking it!" Most true and certain! There were times when they could with difficulty live together; and yet there was never a time when they could have done without each other. It was always "111 to hae, but waur to want."
We must, however, before leaving this publication, do what is odious to us ff it were not necessary, and that is, call the attention of the reader to what we cannot call less than a deliberate outrage upon a helpless dead woman, with neither son nor champion to stand up for her. These volumes were announced as prepared for publication by Carlyle himself, and so they were in great part, with many interjected notes which we can scarcely Call less than foolish, besides some valuable explanatory details. But in the midst of this mass of letters, thus prepared (enough of them, Heaven knows! to have been by good judgment, one would have said, pared and weeded a little rather than increased), Mr. Carlyle's executor found certain brief extracts which he did not quite understand. This set his curiosity to work, and he once more examined the mass of papers left to him by the fond old man who trusted him, and found therein a diary of Mrs. Carlyle's which explained the matter. The matter was that there had once crossed that self-tormented spirit a cloud of bitter but visionary jealousy: the word is too strong—of hot intolerance rather, impatience, bitter irritation, called forth by the pleasure her husband took in the company of a certain great lady, a brilliant woman of society, whom she did not herself love, but whose charm and influence fascinated him. There were none of the features oT ordinary jealousy in this dark fit, no possibility of unfaithfulness, unless it might be intellectual—a preference for the
talk, the dazzle of a witty circle in which worship was paid to him, and the still more nattering devotions of its presiding spirit. This fascination drew him night after night away from home, depriving his wife of his society, and suggesting to her over again by that whisper of the devil at her ear, which she was always too ready to listen to, that she had ceased to be the first and only woman in the world to him. Such a breath of hell has crossed and withered many a blooming life; in this case the fit was temporary, lasting but a short time, and buried in the tender rapprochement of the later chapter of life. The discovery of this bit of writing was a godsend to the biographer, who must have felt by this time that the mass of the letters were by,no means so conformable to his theory as might have been desired. He sent it off at once to Miss Jewsbury to have her elucidations, the only person living who could speak with authority on the subject. Neither the one nor the other seem to have asked themselves what right they had to spy into a secret which the husband had respected. Geraldine, good and kind as woman ever was, but romantic and officious, and pleased too in a regretful way at the discovery, did her part, as may be imagined. "The reading has been like the calling up of ghosts. It was a very bad time with her then, noone but herself, or one constantly with her, knows what she suffered, physically as well as morally," Miss Jewsbury says. And here is produced triumphantly between them this little basket of fragments, with a preface from the male friend, historical and philosophical, "married him against the advice of friends," " worked for him like a servant," all over again: and a postscript from the female friend, sentimental and descriptive: "She was bright and beautiful, with a certain star-like radiance and grace. She had gone off into the desert with him. The offering was accepted, but like the precious things flung by Benvenuto into the furnace when his statue was molten, they were all1 consumed in the flames: he gave her no human help and tenderness." So Geraldine in a piece of fine writing—words as untrue as ever words were, as every unprejudiced reader of this book will see for himself, and entirely contrary to that kind soul's ordinary testimony. Not a critic, so far as we are aware, has ever suggested that this proceeding was unjustifiable, or outside of the limits of honour. Is it then permissible to outrage the memory of a wife, and betray her secrets because one has received as a gift her husband's papers? She gave n^ permission, left no authority for such a proceeding. Does the disability of women go so far as this? or is there no need for honour in respect to the dead ?" There ought to be no mystery about Carlyle," says Mr. Froude. No, poor, foolish, fond old man! there is no mystery about him henceforward, thanks to his own distracted babble of genius, first of all. But how about his wife?
Did she authorize Mr. Froude to unveil her most secret thoughts, her darkest hours of weakness, which even her husband passed reverently over? No woman of this generation, or of any other we are acquainted with, has had such desperate occasion to he saved from her friends: and public feeling and sense of honour must be at a low ebb indeed when no one ventures to stand up and stigmatize as it deserves this betrayal and exposure of the secret of a woman's weakness, a secret which throws no light upon anything, which does not add to our knowledge either of her character or her husband's, and with which the public had nothing whatever to do.
M. O. W. Oliphant.
THE BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE OF
THERE are not wanting among observant public men those who think that the House of Commons has become unmanageable, and may become unserviceable. There cannot be a doubt that the history of that great assembly during the last few years has not added to its reputation, either at home or abroad; and it is distressing to hear, both on the Continent of Europe and in the United States of America, remarks as to its loss of prestige and its legislative impotence. There is an impression widely prevalent out of doors —a very false one, but not at all to be wondered at considering what has taken place—that the Parliament elected in 1880 is, in point of personnel, inferior to its predecessors, and one constantly hears such observations as "The House of Commons is not what it once was;" "What a change, to be sure, has taken place in the House—such a set of fellows now compose it!" This idea is quite a mistaken one. The highest authorities are of opinion that, take it all in all, there has never been a more able, honest, and high-minded Parliament than that now sitting, notwithstanding that certain influences have paralyzed its action, and rendered it comparatively powerless properly to carry on the business of the nation.
The origin of the evil was, that statesmen on both sides failed to see long ago that the constitution of the popular branch of the legislature had, in the hands of the householders, entirely changed, and that new rules and forms of procedure had become absolutely necessary in order to get through the work. In former times members consisted, to a very large extent, of men about town, frequenters of the clubs, younger sons—who attended generally only on great occasions, few of whom took part in the debates, and who were governed by a sort of unwritten law; now these have been displaced