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selves. Verily, I think we are much indebted to nances ?" An alderman “makes you drunk with the men who introduced foreign manners and lees of sack before dinner to take away your modes of thought to displace our native ferocity. stomach; and there you must call usury and ex
The Widow Blackacre is considered to be the tortion God's blessing, or the honest turning of offspring, not of Wycherley's brain, but of Ra- the penny.” A fellow, whose trade is taking cine's La Comtesse in “Les Plaideurs," yet sure- false oaths, complains of being “ bilked by a revly a litigious female was not such a novelty that erend divine, that preaches twice on Sunday and the character might not have occurred to two prays half an hour still before his dinner.” To men without the one copying the other. Be that which the widow replies: "How! a conscienas it may, however, the widow is an exquisitely tious divine, and not pay people for damning humorous creation, and is true, coarse, homely themselves ! Sure, then, for all his talking, he English, without a flavor of foreign adulteration. does not believe in damnation.” As to the feThe originality of her son Jerry can not be dis- male sex, the language used against them is too puted, and in that Wycherley was thereafter to gross to be quoted, and the dedication of the have an illustrious imitator, for it can not be play to a woman of ill-fame is the crowning indoubted that Goldsmith had a memory of this sult. booby when he drew Tony Lumpkin; both are Goldsmith was not the only succeeding dramadmirably drawn, but I think the palm must be atist who condescended to draw material from given to the elder dramatist. The base, censo- this comedy. The scene between Olivia, Novel, rious Olivia, who pretends an aversion to all and Lord Plausible, originally it can not be doubtmankind only to mask her evil passions, is a ed suggested by the well-known one in “ Le powerful picture, but not at all like Molière's Ce- Misanthrope" (5th of Act II.), was largely aplimène, except in her scandalizing propensities. propriated by Sheridan in “The School for ScanNovel, Oldfox, Freeman, Plausible, are all well- dal.” Those who will take the trouble to comdefined portraitures; Fidelia, who in the disguise pare the following specimens with some of the of a boy follows the man she loves, is a charac- speeches in the scandal-scenes will find an exter borrowed from the Elizabethan drama; but traordinary resemblance even in the turns of exit has not improved in Wycherley's hands. Her pression, although the younger author is more connivance at his hideous revenge, so revolting to polished and artificial. A “nauseous" old woany person possessed of the least delicacy-and man at the upper end of a table, it is said, “rehow much more would it have been so to a wo- vives the old Grecian custom of serving in a man who loved him nay, even the fact of her death's head with their banquets." She looks being enamored of such a brute, sadly tarnish all like an old coach new painted; affecting an unthat is agreeable in the picture.
seemly smugness, while she is ready to drop to “The Country Wife" was too strong even pieces.” Of her daughter it is said, she is “the for the stomachs of a Restoration audience, even very disgrace of good clothes, which she always for the vizard-wearers, and brought down a storm wears to heighten her deformity, not mend it; of well-deserved censure which the author ani- for she is still most splendidly, gallantly ugly, madverts upon in a scene between Olivia and and looks like an ill piece of daubing in a rich Eliza in Act II. of “ The Plain Dealer," in which frame. . . . Then she bestows as unfortunately the play is censured by the bad woman and de- on her face all the graces in fashion, as the lanfended by the modest, on the motto of “ Honi guishing eye, the hanging or pouting lip. But, soit qui mal y pense.” But such a defense is as the fool is never more provoking than when quite inadmissible, since nothing is left to the he aims at wit, the ill-favored of our sex are thought of the spectator. In revenge, however, never more nauseous than when they would be the author has, in the last-named comedy, at- beauties, adding to their natural deformity the tacked every section of society with the most artificial ugliness of affectation.” Of another savage malignancy. A lord is “a leaden shil- lady it is said, “ she is as silent in conversation ling which you bend every way, and debases the as a country lover, and no better company than stamp he bears, instead of being raised by it.” a clock, or a weather-glass, for if she sounds, “ Have you seen,” says Manly, “a bishop bowing 'tis but once an hour to put you in mind of the low to a gaudy atheist ; a judge to a doorkeep- time of day, or to tell you 'twill be cold or hot, er; a great lord to a fishmonger, or a scrivener rain or snow." with a jack-chain round his neck; a lawyer to a Etherege and Wycherley were the true foundsergeant-at-arms; a velvet physician to a thread- ers of that school of comedy which attained such bare chemist; and a supple gentleman-usher to a perfection in the next generation, and which, surly beefeater—and so tread round in a prepos- notwithstanding its licentiousness and artificiality, terous huddle of ceremony to each other, while must ever be considered to have produced our they can hardly hold their solemn false counte- finest models in that department of literature.
Wycherley, however, although he borrowed much who soon succeeded in convincing the King that, from the French, surpassed Etherege in the pow- as the poet had contracted a marriage without er of transmuting his stolen goods, which, like taking royalty into his confidence, it was an act gold and silver trinkets thrown into a melting- of contumacy which must be punished by the pot, while losing their original form, retained all withdrawal of the royal favor. The union was their essential qualities; from whatever source a very unhappy one; the lady was of a violent derived, he always made his characters thorough- temper and very jealous; she took good care that ly English, and, if his plots were borrowed, the her husband should not appear at court, for fear manners and vices depicted were those of his he might renew his old liaison, and even when age and country. Yet, although the founder of he paid a visit to his favorite Bow Street tavern, the school, Wycherley has little affinity with the which stood opposite his house, he was obliged good-natured, rattling, pleasant Farquhar, or the to sit at the open window in order that his cara highly polished and refined Congreve; Vanbrugh sposa might be convinced that there was no lady alone approaches him in coarseness. There is a with him. Not without reason we may well beferocity in Wycherley's satire which can be par- lieve were these suspicions. When she died, alleled only in Swift's writings. Mrs. Flippant however, she left him all her fortune. But this is worthy of a place among the Yahoos, and the proved a curse instead of a blessing to him, for female bevy of “The Country Wife" would not her family disputed the will and got the day, have found themselves out of place there. The while the unfortunate widower was consigned to drinking-scene at Horner's lodgings (Act V., prison for the law expenses. In the Fleet he reScene 4) is a horrible lampoon upon the entire mained seven years. He had offended the King's sex. Lady Fidget says: “Lord, why should you mistress by his marriage, and the King by his atnot think that we women make use of our repu- tachment to Buckingham, whose cause, in his tation as you men of yours, only to deceive the evil days, he defended with a boldness and sinworld with less suspicion ? Our virtue is like cerity which shows that he was not undeserving the statesman's religion, the Quaker's word, the of the epithet of “Manly Wycherley,” which his gamester's oath, and the great man's honor; but contemporaries bestowed upon him. But Johnto cheat those that trust us. ... Our bashful- son's observation upon the value of the literary ness is only the reflection of the men's. We patronage of the time, which I have before quoted blush when they are shamefaced.”
in my article on Otway,* was well exemplified in A few more facts of our author's life have his case, namely, that men of wit received no still to be related. Some little time after the ap- favor from the great but to share their riots; pearance of his last comedy he married, and it from which they were dismissed again to their was the comedy that brought about that event. own narrow circumstances. And poor WycherOne day, while he and a friend were in a book- ley might have died in the Fleet for all his arisseller's shop at Tunbridge Wells, the Countess tocratic friends would do to help him, had not of Drogheda, a young, rich, handsome widow, James II., who had by this time succeeded to came into the shop and inquired for “The Plain the throne, been so struck, at a representation of Dealer.” “Madam," said the friend, one Mr. “The Plain Dealer,” by the virtues (!) of Manly, Fairbeard, pushing Wycherley forward, "since that he there and then resolved to pay off his you are for the Plain Dealer, there he is for you.” debts and settle a pension of two hundred a year “Yes,” added Wycherley, “ this lady can bear upon him. It seems strange that Wycherley did plain dealing, for she appears to be so accom- not resort to his pen to assist him in his extremity, plished, that what would be compliments ad- and that he should have renounced authorship in dressed to others would be plain dealing ad- the very maturity of his powers. But his troubles dressed to her.” “No, truly sir," replied the were only to cease with his life. It would appear Countess, not behind in repartee, “I am not that his debts were so considerable that he did without
faults any more than the rest of my not like to own the full amount to Lord Mulsex, and yet I love plain dealing, and am never grave, to whom the King had confided the execumore fond of it than when it tells me of my tion of his beneficent intentions, so that what faults." Then, madam," again interposed the must have been a large sum remained unpaid. friend, " you and the Plain Dealer seem designed And when at his father's death he succeeded to by Heaven for each other.” Such is the story the family estate, being only a tenant for life, he told by Dennis. This was the commencement could not mortgage it for sufficient money to of an acquaintance which ended in matrimony. clear himself of liabilities. Probably the old ones Wycherley, on account of another countess, was received some additions after his release from desirous that his marriage should be kept secret; prison. but it soon came to the knowledge of the lady whom he most desired to keep in ignorance, and *“Appletons' Journal," November, 1879.
In his sixty-fourth year he published a volume sentment of youth, and many were the sighs it of erotic poems—why was it not another comedy? evoked, and underneath he had written the VirIn the same year Pope published his “ Pastorals,” gilian motto, “ Quantum mutatus ab illo !” The and the simultaneous appearance of the two books old spirit of the Carolian time was still strong in some way brought about an acquaintance be- within him. He used often to declare that he tween the two authors. The letters that passed was resolved to die married, although his first between them will be found in Pope's correspon- experience of that blessed state rendered him dence, but they are not very amusing. By and very averse to living in it again. Only eleven by the elder poet wrote some more verses--and days before his death, in the year 1715, in the very bad ones they were—and made the extraor- hope of disinheriting an obnoxious nephew, he dinary proposition that his young friend should espoused a young woman who was supposed to correct them. Pope, like a second Gil Blas, ac- have a fortune of fifteen hundred pounds a year, cepted the task in all sincerity, and his candid but who turned out afterward to be an impostor criticisms were received in much the same spirit and to be married to another man. Ignorant of as were those of the Spanish valet of immortal this fact, however, upon his death-bed he called memory; Wycherley was disgusted at the nu- her to him, and, having made her promise to merous faults found with his compositions, and grant him the request he was about to make, the friendship came to an end.
said with a sly twinkle in his eye: “My dear, it He appears to have retained much of his is only this—that you will never marry an old handsome and distinguished appearance to the man again." Like Mercutio, a humorist to the last. There is a picture of him at the age of last! He was buried in a vault in St. Paul's, twenty-eight, by Sir Peter Lely, which represents Covent Garden. He is said to have changed his a face of fine animal beauty, well set off by the religion once more, a little previously, back to flowing periwig of the period; many were the the Romish faith, regretful glances he would cast upon this pre
MIRACLES, PRAYER, AND LAW. IN the following remarks I assume the existence have studied the Book of Nature, and perhaps
of of a spirit in men which is not matter. I do not some of its pages, is that the two revelations are say that either is demonstrated or can be demon- irreconcilable. The immutability of nature's laws strated, still less do I presume to define either, is to them a gospel taught by every stone, by but I address only those who already assent to every plant, by every animated being. All that both.
they have learned to know of matter rests on the Many, however, of those who give such as assurance that its properties are absolutely fixed. sent are troubled about the ways of God and the The progress of science, of art, of civilization, of nature of man's relation to him. On the one the human race, depends on the fact that what hand is the Bible, which declares that all things has been found to be true will be always true, on earth as well as in ven are regulated by that there is an ordered sequence of events which divine will at every moment, which records fre- may be trusted to be invariable, to which we quent miracles, and which bids men ask from must conform our lives if we would be happy, him whatsoever they would, in absolute confi- and which, if we cross it in ignorance or defiance, dence that they shall have their desires. On the will revenge the outrage by inevitable penalties. other hand stands the Book of Nature, as divine Those laws, which some call of matter, may by as that of Revelation, being in fact another rev- others be called laws of God, and the most deelation of God, which tells of an unchanging vout minds find in their fixity only a confirmation sequence of events, of laws incapable of modific of their faith in his unchanging promises. But, cation by isolated acts of will—laws which, in- if thus fixed, it seems to many who are devout as deed, if subject to such modification, would fall well as to many who are skeptical, that it beinto disorder. Which of these revelations shall comes impossible to believe that their Author they believe? Or can they be reconciled so that should ever set them aside by what are called both are credible?
miracles; still less that he should bid men pray The tendency of recent belief in those who for events which are, in fact, not regulated by
wish or will, but by what has gone before up to phorus, the forms of sulphur as modified by heat, the beginning of time. To meet this dilemma and a considerable number of organic compounds, there seem to such minds only two courses, either and we can by certain arrangements turn the one to believe that Scripture is not the word of a God into the other. But when we ask what allotroat all, or to give to its language an interpretation pism is, we find that it is itself one of the properwhich is not the natural sense of the words, and ties (however obscure to us) of the matter we which was certainly not meant or understood by deal with. Oxygen would not be oxygen, but those who first wrote or first heard it.
something else, if it had not the inherent propYet it is not possible to abandon the convic- erty of becoming ozone under certain conditions. tion that the words and the acts of God can not Given these conditions, and there is nothing we really be at variance. Before surrendering his can do which will prevent the change occurring. words contained in the Scripture, as either spuri- If, as chemists believe, allotropism depends on ous or misunderstood, no effort can be too often the different arrangement of the ultimate atoms reiterated to show them to be compatible with of matter, then the capacity of assuming two arwhat we have learned of his works. I propose rangements in its atoms is clearly one of the ultito make one more such effort, based on the mate properties of that species of matter. closest examination of what both really tell, or It follows, then, that if a miracle were really imply.
a suspension of a physical law, or a change, temLet us first understand accurately what it is porary or permanent, of any property of matter, we are to deal with, both as facts and as ex- it would really be an act of creation—the crepressed in language. The inquiry is to be limited ation of something having different properties (with exceptions which will be noted as they oc- from any matter that before existed. If iron cur) to the laws of matter. It will be assumed were to float on water by suspension of the law that matter exists as our ordinary perceptions in- of gravity, it would be in fact the creation of form us, but if it shall hereafter be proved to be something having (at least for the time required) only a form of motion, or of force, the arguments the physical and chemical properties of iron, but will still be applicable. By laws, we shall under- with a specific gravity less than water - and stand what in a different expression we call the therefore something not iron. properties of matter. The advantage of thus ex But, without creation, man has enormous plaining law is that it excludes some other senses power over nature. He can, and daily does, of a vague and misleading character, while it in- overpower her laws, or seemingly make them cludes the sense in which alone law can properly work as he pleases. Despite the law of gravity, be applied to physical nature. Thus, the law of he ascends to the sky in a balloon; he makes gravity is the same thing as the property of mat- water spring up in fountains; he makes vessels, ter which we call weight, and, if there be any weighing thousands of tons, float on the seas. matter or ether which is imponderable, then the Despite cohesion, he grinds rocks to powder; law of gravity does not apply to it. So the law despite chemical affinity, he transmutes into of attraction, in its different forms, expresses the myriads of different forms the few elements of property of cohesion, and of capillary ascent, and which all matter consists; despite the resistless so on; the law of chemical affinities expresses power of the thunderbolt, he tames electricity to the property of the combination of one species of be his servant or his harmless toy. With water matter with another in definite proportions; the and fire he molds into shape mighty masses of laws of sound, light, or electricity, express the metal; he shoots, at a sustained speed beyond properties of vibrations, either of air or of sub- that of birds, across valleys and through mountiler forms of matter, as they affect our senses. tain-ranges; be unites seas which continents had In thus limiting the meaning of law, it is there- separated; there is nothing in the whole earth fore obvious that we embrace all which the ma- which he has not subdued, or does not hope to terialist can desire to include when he insists that subdue, to his use. There is hardly a physical law is permanent and unchangeable.
miracle which he does not feel he can, or may This, in fact, is the first proposition which we yet, perform. must all accept. No human being can add to or But all this wonderful, this boundless power subtract a single property of any species of mat- over material laws is gained by these laws. He ter. To do so were, indeed, to create. For alters no property of matter, but he uses one matter is an aggregate of properties; each spe- property or another as he needs, and he uses one cies of matter is differentiated only by its proper- property to overpower another. It is by knowties, and could we alter one of these we should ing that gravity is more powerful in the case of really turn it into different matter. It is true air than in the case of hydrogen gas, that he there are what are called allotropic forms, such makes air sustain him as he floats, beneath a bag as oxygen and ozone, the yellow and red phos- of hydrogen, above the earth; it is by knowing
that it is more powerful in water than in air that guides them. Meantime he has learned that he sails in iron ships; it is by knowing chemical clay, when heated, becomes hard as stone, and affinity or repulsion that he makes the compounds the arts of pottery take their rise ; while glassor extracts the simple elements he desires; it is making follows on the discovery that ashes and by knowing that affinity is force, and that force sand fuse into a transparent mass. Yet, whether is transmutable into electricity, that he makes a in their rude beginning or finished elegance, man messenger of the obedient lightning-shock; it is in these arts does no more than bring together by knowing that heat, itself unknown, causes the rough materials and apply to them heat, then gases to expand, that he makes machines of their own inherent properties effect the result. senseless iron do the work of intelligent giants. Science—that is, knowledge of natural laws of He subdues nature by understanding nature, matter-guides his hand, but his hand only moves He creates no property; he therefore performs matter; it gives no property and takes away none; no miracle, though he does marvels.
it does not even enable one property to work; it By what means, then, does man bring one does absolutely nothing except to place matter property, or law, into play instead of, or against, where its own laws work, to bring or to remove another? By one means only, that of changing matter which is needed, or to remove matter the position of matter.
which is superfluous. Let us analyze every comThis is Bacon's aphorism (“Novum Orga- plicated triumph of human knowledge and skill, num," book i., 4): “Man contributes nothing to and we shall find it all reduced to the knowledge operations except the applying or withdrawing of what the properties of matter are, and the of natural bodies: Nature, internally, performs skill which imparts to it motion just sufficient to the rest."
permit these properties to operate. Man's powIn order to trace and recognize the truth of er over nature is therefore limited to the power this fact, let us follow in rough and rapid outline of giving motion to matter, or of stopping or rethe operations by which ma effects his purposes. sisting motion in matter. We will begin at the beginning, and suppose him Now, to give motion or to resist motion is itto have only reached the stage when a knowl- self either a breach or a use of a law of nature, edge of the effects of fire enables him to work according as we express that law. The law is with metals. He produces fire by friction—that (as usually expressed), that matter at rest reis, by bringing one piece of wood to another, mains at rest till moved by a force, and that matand rapidly moving the one on the other; or else ter in motion continues in motion till stayed by a by striking two flints on each other, which also force. This is the law of inertia. If we conis merely rapid motion and shock. He carries sider that rest or motion when once established the wood to a hearth, he brings to it the lump of is the normal state of matter, then the force crude metal or the ore; he urges the fire by a which causes a change causes a breach of the blast of air-still his acts are only those of im- law of inertia. But if we consider that the liaparting motion. Then the fire acts on the met- bility to be moved, or to have motion stopped by al, it excites some affinities and enfeebles other force, is itself a property of matter, then the apaffinities, which result in removing impurities; plication of force with such result is merely it softens the purified metal. Then the work- calling into operation the law of inertia. It man lifts it on a stone, and by beating it with really does not signify which view we take, so another stone-still motion-he moves its par- long as we recognize that such are the facts. ticles so that it assumes the form of a hammer, But since it is more familiar to associate rest with an axe, a chisel, or a file. Then by rubbing with inertia, it will perhaps be most convenient and a rough stone---still motion-he moves away simple to consider rest and motion as the laws some particles from the edge, and makes it sharp of matter, till the law is interfered with. Thereand fit for cutting. By plunging it in water when fore in what follows we shall say that, when mathot-still only motion—he tempers it to hardness. ter at rest is moved, or when matter in motion is With the edge thus obtained, he cuts wood into stayed, or its movement by a natural force is prethe forms he requires for various purposes, and vented, a breach of the law of inertia is comby degrees he learns how to fashion other pieces mitted. of metal into other and more elaborate tools. We come, then, to these propositions : 1. That Yet all this is done by no other means than giv- human power is utterly unable to break any law ing motion to the material on which, or by which, of matter except the law of inertia. 2. That he works. From tools he advances to machines, when, by breaking only the law of inertia-i. e., by which his power of giving motion is increased, by moving or by resisting the motion of matter and as he learns more of the properties of mat- -any operation is accomplished, no other law of ter he constructs engines, by which these proper- matter is broken. 3. That to break the law of ties work for him in the directions in which he inertia by force, directed by will, is no inter