« EelmineJätka »
Dame Quickly might be a contemporary of Mrs. Berry in Richard Feverel. And of this essential humour that is not a trick of talk, but the spirit of a man's whole nature, Mr. Barrie has no grudging share. Here is part of the 'Statement of Tibbie Birse':. Though I should be struck deid this night,” Tibbie whispered, and the sibilants hissed between her few remaining teeth, “I wasna sae muckle as speired to the layin' oot. There was Mysy Cruickshanks there, an' Kitty Wobster 'at was nae friends to the corpse to speak o'; but Marget passed by me, meʼat is her ain flesh and blood, though it mayna be for the like o' me to say it. It's gospel truth, Jess, I tell ye, when I say 'at, for all I ken officially, as ye micht say, Pete Lownie may be weel and hearty this day. If I was to meet Marget in the face I couldna say he was deid, though I ken 'at the wricht coffined him ; na, and what's mair I wouldna gie Marget the satisfaction o'hearin' me say it. . . . No, Jess, I tell ye, I dinna pertend to be on an equalty with Marget, but equalty or no equalty, a body has her feelings, and lat on 'at Pete's gone I will not. Eh? Ou, weel ...
««• An' I tell ye,' I says to the minister, “if there was one body 'at had a richt to be at the bural o' Pete Lownie it was Davit Lunan, him bein' my man an' Marget my ain sister. Yes,' says I, though am no o' the boastin' kind, Davit had maist richt to be there next to Pete 'imsel. Ou, Jess ..."
It must be gratifying for Scotchmen to reflect that, although their nation has not a reputation for jokes, unquestionably their literature has been singularly fertile in humourists. Not to talk of Burns and Scott, Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Barrie have more pretensions to genuine humour than most living writers. It is true Mr. Barrie will not allow Mr. Stevenson to be a Scot in the bone. However that may be, Scotch humour has the quality of printing well. Dean Ramsay's book proved this to demonstration. It is quotable, being generally packed into very small compass. Irish humour, on the other hand, which is by general consent lavishly distributed through the race, has seldom been successfully reproduced. Perhaps humour in print is one thing and humour in talk another; perhaps Irish humour is still waiting for its vates sacer, as certainly the great Irish novel has yet to be written.?
1 A Window in Thrums, p. 62.
! It would be wrong not to mention a very remarkable book which has appeared this year--Irish Idylls, by Jane Barlow. Miss Barlow in sympathy and truth of presentment scarcely falls behind her model : we say 'her model'advisedly, because the title is almost an acknowledgment of a debt which Miss Barlow can well afford to recognize ; nor could a higher tribute be paid to any author than to be thus imitated. Anyone interested in Ireland or Irish literature ought to read the book.
? The best representative of it in contemporary fiction is undoubtedly Private Terence Mulyaney, late of her Majesty's forces in India. We really cannot do more than suggest another parallel between Mr. Kipling and Mr. Barrie ; but it is rather the Scotch and Irish humours we wish to compare. Mulvaney, like Tammas Haggart, was recognized among his friends as a brilliant conversationalist. If anyone wants to see how they talked he may read (or re-read) the Taking of Lungtungpen'l and that chapter of the Window in Thrums which is entitled 'The Power of Beauty. Then I think he will perceive that, while Mulvaney is a conscious artist, Tammas is something of a humourist malgré lui. Mulvaney plays on his audience like a fiddle ; Tammas is most irresistible when he is most in earnest, and indeed he is partly aware of this himself.
"Is that a' the story?” asked Tnowhead. Tammas had been looking at us queerly.
"" There's no nane o' ye lauchin',” he said, “but I can assure ye the Earl's son gaed east the toon lauchin' like onything."
6" But what was't he lauched at?"
""Ou," said Tammas, “a humourist doesna tell whaur the humour comes in."
6"No, but when you said that did ye mean it to be humorous ? "
““ Am no sayin' I did ; but, as I've been tellin' ye, humour spouts oot by itsel'."
"Ay, but do ye ken noo what the Earl's son gaed awa' lauchin' at ? » • “Tammas hesitated.
""I dinna exactly see it,” he confessed, “but that's no an oncommon thing. A humourist would often no ken ʼat he was ane if it wasna by the wy he maks other fowk lauch. A body canna be expeckit baith to mak the joke an' to see't. Na, that would be doin' twa fowks' wark."
"" Weel, that's reasonable enough ; but I've often seen ye lauchin," said Hendry, “lang afore other fowk lauched.”
6 « Nae doubt," Tammas explained, “an' that's because humour has twa sides, juist like a pennypiece. When I say a humorous thing mysel' I'm dependent on other fowk to tak note o'the humour o't, bein' mysel' ta'en up wi' the makkin' o't. Ay, but there's things I see an'hear 'at maks me lauch, an' that's the other side o'humour."
6"I never heard it put sae plain afore," said Tnowhead.'
There is nothing heady; nothing contagious in Mr. Barrie's humour; it would never betray us into an indiscretion. These Scots are serious even in their laughter; but Mr. Barrie's laugh is never bitter nor contemptuous; and now and then his humour, with its intellectual quality, goes deep into the heart of things instead of flickering over the surface of them..
* In Plain Tales from the Hills.
But the pleasantest thing of all about these books is the temper in which the work is done. One may safely predict that here is a man who will be true to his own ideal; that he will not swerve from truth of representation to produce mere prettiness, nor yet overstep the modesty of nature to arrest attention. It is pleasant above all to think that life may be looked fairly and squarely in the face, and the truth told about it without offence to any instinct or sentiment that deserves protection, and that human misery, and squalor even, may be envisaged with the deepest and most understanding pity which yet has no kinship with despair. A literature can hardly be in decadence which bears such branches as this.
ART. V.-JOSEPHUS AND THE NEW
TESTAMENT. 1. Flavii Josephi Opera. Edidit et apparatu critico instruxit
BENEDICTUS NIESE. (Berolini apud Weidmannos,
A.D. M.DCCC.LXXXII., A.D. M.DCCC.XCII.) 2. The Works of Flavius Josephus. Whiston's Translation.
Revised by the Rev. A. R. SHILLETO, M.A., some time Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge. With Topographical Notes by Sirć. W. WILSON, K.C.M.G.
(London, 1889.) 3. Rome et la Judée. Par le Comte DE CHAMPAGNY. Tomes
V et VI des Etudes sur l’Empire Romain. Quatrième
édition. (Paris, 1876.) 4. Herzog : Real-Encyklopädie, siebenter Band, Art. Josephus
Flavius,' von H. PARET. (Stuttgart und Hamburg,
1857.) 5. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology,
Art. Josephus,' by the Rev. W. ELDER. Edited by Sir
WM. SMITH, LL.D. (London, 1847.) 6. Dictionary of Christian Biography, Art. Josephus,' by the
Rev. Dr. EDERSHEIM. Edited by Sir WM. SMITH and
Professor WACE. (London, 1882.) 7. A Religious Encyclopædia, based on the Real-Encyklopädie
of Herzog, Plitt, and Hauk. Vol. II., Art. • Josephus, by EMIL SCHÜRER. Edited by PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D.
(Edinburgh, 1883.) While the world lasts the question of evidence must ever occupy a large and important space in the thoughts and words and actions of mankind. With regard to its bearing
narratives. M. con
are contemon of such
on the Christian religion Coleridge is reported to have spoken somewhat on this wise: that he considered the evidence for Christianity in his own day to be at least equal to that enjoyed in earlier ages, and that he should not be surprised if he were told that it was greater. True, the early Christians had some advantages over us, but then we had what they had not—the proof of its applicability to varied climes and centuries, and its sympathy with all the higher forms of civilization. This was the sentiment of what few will doubt to have been a philosophic mind.
Darwin, as Mr. Knowling at the outset of his valuable volume' reminds us, spoke very differently. He lamented pathetically his loss of faith, and he dreamt of possible discoveries of letters and manuscripts which should confirm in the most striking manner the Gospel narratives. Mr. Knowling replies, and proceeds elaborately to prove, that we are already in possession of such letters; that the Epistles of St. Paul are contemporary written evidence, and ought, if Darwin had duly studied them, to have proved a sufficient answer to his demand. For corroboration of this position by Dr. Matheson and others we may refer to p. 256 in the last No. of this Review.
But it is no new spectacle to find that men of the highest genius may fail to appreciate knowledge which is not within their own sphere—knowledge for the mastery of which they have no time, and possibly only a limited capacity. We doubt whether Darwin was at all competent to understand the evidence on behalf of Christianity which appealed so forcibly to Coleridge, and we conceive it to be possible that if Mr. Knowling's powerful and elaborate argument had been placed before him, he would still have craved for some more absolutely external testimony rather than that of a devoted adherent to the faith, who from having been its fiery persecutor lived and died as a martyr for its truth.
Although we consider the appeals to the evidence of St. Paul made by Lord Lyttelton, by Paley, by Mr. Knowling to be, each in their way, most forcible and sufficient, yet we have known persons thoroughly loyal to the faith, who would have been glad, more for the sake of others than themselves, to have some little additional testimony more entirely from outside. The scantiness of such evidence has been touched upon by Dean Merivale in a volume containing four sermons published some years since. He suggests that outside critics
1 The Witness of the Epistles : a Study in Modern Criticism. By the Rev. R. J. Knowling, M.A., vice-principal of King's College, London. regarded Christianity simply as a new species of philosophy, They had seen the Epicureans and Academicians have their day, and Stoicism, nobler and more potent, was waning ; indeed it was shortly, as has been well said, about to expire with Marcus Aurelius upon a throne. Why should men trouble themselves about one more such effort ? : It must not, however, be forgotten that what little of ex. ternal evidence we do possess is excellent of its kind. The notices of Tacitus, the famous letter of Pliny, are each admirable in their way. But there is another witness who has not, in the opinion of the present writer, received the full amount of attention which he deserves. We refer to Flavius Josephus. : From one point of view there is at least a special fitness for present attention to this writer. The long-promised edition of Professor Niese, who on the subject of the text of our author has for many years made himself a specialist, at length lies before us, and to his edition all our references will be made. Moreover those who are unable to read Josephus in the original can have now at hand the revised translation of Whiston's version made by the Rev. A. R. Shilleto, though it is, perhaps, unfortunate that this seemingly able and competent scholar has only been able to avail himself of the text of Dindorf. - We propose to bring before our readers the way in which Josephus is a witness for certain features of the Christian religion, especially in connexion with the history revealed to us in the pages of the Holy Gospels.
It will be understood that in thus summoning Josephus we are not intending to describe him as a saint, a patriot, nor (except during one brief episode) as a hero. It may, indeed, be here objected that character deeply affects our opinion of a man's testimony. This is no doubt true; but it must often happen that the presence of certain faults and defects, though it may impair the credibility of a witness, does not by any means annihilate the value of his evidence. Let us glance, by way of illustration, at a few examples either of contemporaneous witnesses or of gifted investigators.
Eusebius has lately been rising in estimation. Bishop Lightfoot has .ably defended him against the too severe strictures of Gibbon, of Dean Alford, and of Cardinal Newman ;' and a recent American critic, as has been shown in
1 Nothing can be happier than the following: 'Dr. Newman adds in a note, “In this association of the Eusebian with the eclectic temper it must not be forgotten that Julian the Apostate was the pupil.of Eusebius