תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

would probably have been eclipsed by the activ- brood over it. Disgust is usually the product of ity of the Spanish poet, Lope de Vega. It was leisure and reflection, and comes at a second calculated that twenty-one million three hundred stage. If the work be somewhat varied, the thousand of his lines were actually printed, and pleasure in connection with its completion is no less than eighteen hundred plays of his com- varied too. Hence, perhaps, is the reason why position acted upon the stage. “Were we to the total and sudden giving up of work is often give credit to such accounts," says Lord Holland, attended with evil results. The transition from " allowing him to begin his compositions at the a life full of activity and rich in the enjoyment age of thirteen, we must believe that on an aver- of successful labor to a life of absolute idleness age he wrote more than nine hundred lines a with no such vivid enjoyment has often proved day; a fertility of imagination and a celerity of fatal. There is too little activity in the new life, pen which, when we consider the occupations of and too little of the pleasure of activity. Idlehis life as a soldier, a secretary, a master of a ness, without the excitement and pleasure of family, and a priest, his acquirements in Latin, work, becomes depressing. The vital forces Italian, and Portuguese, and his reputation for droop and decay. On the other hand, to the erudition, become not only improbable, but ab- busy worker, rest and recreation have a double solutely, and one may say physically, impossi- relish. No holiday is so refreshing as that in ble.”

which he runs away from his labors, and enjoys With such cases before us, we come more himself in quite a different scene. Swiss mounreadily to understand the paradox that the busi- tains and Swiss air have then a double charm. est men are those who have most time, or at The interval is too short to produce the ennui least most capacity, for extra work. The medi- that attends permanent separation from active cal profession is full of instances. It is remark- pursuits. Few things live in the memory more able that the late Sir James Simpson, for instance, vividly than the first month in Switzerland in the in the midst of an unprecedented professional heart of a too busy life. practice should have been a keen antiquary, and Too much to do, besides its direct effect on should have found time to write so many anti- the busy worker, exposes him to certain inconquarian memoirs. It is said of the late Dr. Aber- veniences apt to escape the notice of others. One crombie, that his works on the “Intellectual and of these is the effect produced on his memory. Moral Powers of Man" were composed in his One who leads a rushing life, who has to hurry carriage, as he was driving to see his patients. from one thing to another, and from one person The instances of medical men in the height of to another without a moment's interval, can not practice writing papers for the medical journals, have a vivid remembrance of many things that or preparing professional works for the press, are happen in his experience. He is necessarily liavery numerous. The faculties of such men are ble to forget, in a way that another can not unso ready that in their moments of leisure they derstand. Many a busy physician has found can do more than many another man who has himself at times in serious trouble from this no stated work at all. Even ordinary men un- cause. He has made a promise to a patient, derstand quite well how irksome a very small bit but, before the promise had hardened in his memof work, like the writing of letters, is in a holiday- ory, some exciting case has hurried him away, time, when one is idle in the country; whereas, obliterated the impression, and the promise has in the height of one's activity, a dozen letters been forgotten. Authors' memories have been could be dashed off in an hour, and not even known from a similar cause to play them strange counted in the hard work of the day. An able tricks. We know an author who was engaged man, in the full swing of his manifold work, is in writing a book amid many other absorbing like a machine that by belts and wheels can do occupations. For some weeks the book had to all kinds of by-jobs, besides what engages the be laid aside. When leisure came, he resumed chief share of its activity.

it, as he thought, at the point where he had Nor is such a life necessarily so oppressive as broken it off, and got through a considerable is often thought. Our Maker has so ordered it chapter, when, to his mingled amazement and that one of our chief pleasures is derived from amusement, he found in his drawer another work successfully done. Labor ipse voluptas. manuscript, almost precisely similar, the existThere is always a gratification in “something ac-ence of which he had quite forgotten. So strange complished, something done.” Lope de Vega, and incredible are these tricks of memory that writing his play in a single day, as he often did sometimes the most honest of men, if examined had no doubt sufficient enjoyment in it to com- in a court of justice, would hardly be believed. pensate him for all the confinement and toil. The non mi ricordo would hardly be accepted Rapid workers have not time to get disgusted by those who have had little experience of the with their work, as those are apt to do who difficulty of carrying in the memory impressions

VOL. VIII.-18

which have not had time to photograph them- The owner was, of course, entitled to compensaselves on its tablets, or have been blurred by tion, but somehow it had not come. Going to other impressions following too quickly.

the President, he told him his story, and was If a busy man is guilty of some neglect, lei- rather chagrined to be told that it did not lie surely people are apt to fancy an intentional slight with him to pay the money. “Then,” says the where nothing of the kind was dreamed of. In farmer, “will you undertake to write to the Genthe case of such a man, there is a twofold reason eral, and see that the matter is settled properly?” for applying the rule which Elizabeth Barrett, in Poor Lincoln, who never wanted a story to help one of her letters to Mr. Horne, thus gracefully him in an emergency, was ready for his visitor, acknowledged: “In one letter was something “When I was a rail-splitter,” he said, “there about neglect; you told me never to fancy a si- lived near us a smart young fellow, the captain lence into a neglect. Was I likely to do it? of a Mississippi boat, who could steer a vessel Was there any room for even fancy to try? That over the rapids with wonderful skill, as hardly would be still more surprising than the fact of any one else could. One day, when he was graspyour making room for a thought of me in the ing the wheel with his utmost strength, at the multitude of your occupations."

most critical point of the rapids, a little boy came In the “Life of Charlotte Brontë,” if we re- running up to him in great excitement and said, member rightly, it is told how once, at the be- •Cap'n, stop your ship, my apple has fallen overginning of her literary life, she took it into her board !'” In the “ Life of Sir James Simpson " head that an eminent publisher was dissatisfied, there are some curious notices of the extraorbecause he did not at once acknowledge and an- dinary things that patients in the country would swer a letter accompanying a manuscript. At sometimes ask him to do. Once a gentleman Haworth it was not easy to understand the ways wrote to him asking him to send him a copy of of Cornhill or Paternoster Row. We can fancy the prescription which he had given him some the grim smile on the face of the publisher, over- years before, when the doctor could hardly rewhelmed in all likelihood with letters, manu- call the man, much less the prescription. Others scripts, proofs, books, bills, and business of every would ask him to go to Duncan and Flockhart's, sort, at the gentle impatience of the lady. Most and get them some particular medicine. A very publishers, and editors too, have doubtless had busy clergyman of our acquaintance, when over rather amusing experiences of the innocent im- head and ears with many things, once got a letpatience of correspondents. Letters to the edi- ter from a stranger in the United States, explaintor often run as if the poor man had nothing ing that more than a century ago some one of whatever to do from morn to dewy eve but at- the name of

G o wned a property near Edintend to their papers. He may be struggling, like burgh which was believed to have been destined a dray-horse in an overloaded wagon, to over- by will in a particular way, so that the relatives take the piles of crabbed handwriting in prose in America thought they had some claim to it. and verse that burden his table, ranging from He was requested to inquire into the matter, find essays in Chinese metaphysics to lines on a snow- out about the will, communicate with the present drop, and possibly, in regard to a given paper, owners of the property, and put everything in thinking of inserting it in the course of the sea- train for a just settlement of the claim. It would son, when down comes a thundering epistle de- have been reasonable for the writer to inclose a manding why it did not appear in the last num- bill for five hundred dollars, but that, unfortuber. Well, the impatience of correspondents is nately, he omitted to do. not always innocent. Some have a spiteful plea- Unreasonable though it be to plague oversure in stinging the editor for “rejecting" what worked men in this way, it is very interesting to the unhappy man never asked. If he had only find such men volunteering, in the midst of a time, he might explain things, and perhaps pacify hundred other things, to do some useful service them; but perhaps not. Editors, we suppose, to the friendless or the poor. Nothing could have must submit to be counted tyrants, and probably been kinder, for example, than the act of Sir fools to boot, by a large proportion of the ill-fated Walter Scott, writing out sermons for a young volunteers to whose surpassing merits they are aspirant to the Scottish ministry, whose state of so often inveterately blind.

nerves made him unable to grapple with the task, More amusing are the strange fancies that and satisfy his presbytery. Similar, though in a some persons have as to what overworked men quite different sphere, was the kindness shown may be asked to do for them. In the very thick by Vinet, at Lausanne, to a peasant-woman who of the American war, there came to President invaded his solitude one Sunday morning. OverLincoln an Illinois farmer, in a great state of ex- come by toil and illness, Vinet had been obliged citement about a pair of horses that one of Lin- to forbid the visits of strangers, and his family coln's generals had requisitioned for the war. were guarding him with all possible care. The

woman was an intelligent, God-fearing peasant, alone, through the whole of which he made sevwho had never succeeded in getting rest for her eral circuits, embraced, according to Josephus, spirit; but, having fallen in with one of Vinet's two hundred and four towns and villages ; and, books, she was persuaded that, if she could only besides Galilee, we read of his visiting the remote see him, he would be able to give her the needed north, at Cæsarea Philippi, the remote northguidance. With much difficulty, she got admis- west, in the coasts of Tyre and Sidon ; we know sion to his room. We can fancy the anxious of his passing through Samaria, of his being on relatives enjoining her to detain him as short a the east of Jordan, and of his being often in and time as possible. But Vinet, when he heard her near Jerusalem. Throughout every part of this story, was profoundly interested, and spent the wide district, he not only preached, taught, and whole day with her, up to the hour of the last healed, but he had numberless collisions with stage-coach. The account which the woman opponents; he lived under a constant apprehengave to her own pastor, on returning home, was sion of attack; he carried on the training of the interesting. “Well," said the pastor, “ have you apostles, and in their slowness of heart, forgetbeen able to see him?” “Yes,” she replied, fulness, want of faith, and personal strifes, he “and at last I have found one who has humbled encountered a serious addition to his burdens, me.” “Humbled you! M. Vinet is not the man although it would be harsh to suppose that on to humble any one." "Yes, humbled me, and the whole their company did not cheer and rehumbled me profoundly. In contact with his fresh him. The strain on the bodily energies in humility and goodness, I felt all my pride give a life involving so much physical movement and way." Then she told how thoroughly he compre- labor must have been very great ; the strain on hended her case, how patiently he spent the whole the nervous system where there was so much day with her, and all in such a homely way that excitement, and where such vital interests were she felt as if he was her brother. A few days at stake, must have been even greater. And yet after, Vinet sent her a book newly published, as he appears to have gone through all his labor if she had been one of his chosen friends. with marvelous calmness and self-possession.

The anxiety of busy men to make up for any From the narrative of his life, nothing is more little want of attention to persons whom they remote than the air of bustle or hurry; it has, ought to have known illustrates the same spirit indeed, quite a wonderful aspect as of Oriental of Christian chivalry. In the correspondence of calm and leisure. Owing to his systematic way Dr. Chalmers there is a characteristic letter to of working, he was always beforehand, always the daughter of the late Sir David Brewster, in ready. His discourses have a marvelously finthe following terms:

ished air, as if they had been all matured before

they were spoken. His very answers to casual “ 19 YORK PLACE, May 28, 1845. objectors were marvelously clean-cut and fin“MY DEAR MISS BREWSTER: I can imagine ished. He never found himself in a situation in nothing more monstrous than the stupidity into which he was disconcerted, or at a loss how to which I fear I must have fallen, if it was really act. And, in his mind, one thing was never alyou who sat near the moderator's chair this even- lowed to jostle another, however full it might be ing, and on whom I speculated in my own mind of projects, or however burdened with responsifor hours as one I ought to have known. It is bility. The last scenes of his life exemplify this far the most mortifying instance, though many orderliness and business-like composure of mind such have occurred, of my utter want of the or- in a wonderful way. And what we have already gan of individuality; but I never could have fan- adverted to as so chivalrous in busy men, when cied it possible that it ever could have happened turning aside to care for othersin the case of one in whom (forgive me for say

“ The mind at leisure from itself, ing it) I feel so much interest. It would comfort

To soothe and sympathize,” me effectually if you would have the goodness to let' me know where and when it is that I may was singularly beautiful in him. The farewell have the pleasure of waiting upon you. Ever discourse, the intercessory prayer, the healing of believe me, my dear madam, yours most affec- Malchus, the look turned on Peter, the word to tionately and truly,

the daughters of Jerusalem, the prayer for his “THOMAS CHALMERS." murderers, the promise to the thief, the com

mending of his mother to the beloved discipleOf all the instructive instances of busy lives what wonderful consideration for others did all we have, that of our Lord is far the most re- these imply, in the midst of his own great agony? markable. It is only when we pay minute atten- How well he knew how to conquer the snares tion to the notices of his labors that we can un- of overwork, and turn everything to the highest derstand what a crowded life he led. Galilee ends of life! How wonderfully the divine shines

through the human, without overlaying it in that before. It has its drawbacks and its dangers, unexampled career!

but is not without compensations, and even blessWe have glanced at some of the phenomena ings. of that busy mode of life which seems to be more common in this age than in most that have gone W. G. BLAIKIE (Macmillan's Magazine).

THE RESTORATION OF THE JEWS.

W e were told, a few days ago, that an old could, we doubt not, capitalize any revenue the

V project had recently been revived at Con- Porte receives from Palestine, and guarantee a stantinople, and that the Porte, despairing of yearly backsheesh besides, but it may be strongly raising money in any ordinary way, had offered doubted whether they would be willing to do to sell Palestine to the Jewish Alliance, of course anything of the kind. Their leaders are the Jews for cash down, and to allow the restoration of of the West, and the Jews of the West are not the Jews as a people to their own land. The very enthusiastic about anything but their own country would be declared a principality, with a social claims, and perhaps art, and would, we Jewish prince or president, guaranteed against believe, agree that the possession of their own interference so long as a fixed tribute was regu- country would be a great burden to them. They larly paid. We did not, and do not, believe the would at once become Judeans as well as Jewsstory, which would be most unacceptable to the that is, would be aliens in every other country in religious party among Mohammedans, and prob- the world, an immense loss to them, politically and ably owes its origin to the hopefulness of some socially. At present, though still singularly sepstudents of prophecy among ourselves; but it is arate in many of their feelings and ideas, they are constantly revived, and most Englishmen seem regarded as citizens by the country in which they unaware of the immense difficulties in the way happen to be born, and can and do rise high in of any such project. The Jews, it is said, are all departments of life; but with a separate navery rich; they have more than enough people tionality they would be regarded as foreigners, for so small a country; and they would, of course, and would in no long time be treated as such. be most delighted to recover their nationality, and There is little prejudice in England and France recommence in a revived temple the antique ritual against foreigners, Germans rising in the one of their worship. Why should they not buy Pale country and Italians in the other. But it would estine? We rather doubt, we may remark, en be difficult in England for a foreigner to enter passant, whether the Jews, as a people, are ex- the government, as Sir G. Jessel might now do; ceptionally rich; whether their six millions, as or to become a minister in France, as M. Crécompared with any other small nation of six mil- mieux or M. Fould did ; or to lead a great party lions or less-say, even the Irish or the Belgians in the state, as Herr Lasker has done for many - are not exceptionally poor. They own no years in Germany. The Jews would not be country, to begin with, and the fee-simple of a trusted as they are now, and their professions of country is worth many millions a year. Take patriotism, quite true in many countries, more that away from the English rich, and what pro- especially in France and Germany, instead of beportion of wealth would remain ? Half ? Then, ing reckoned in their favor, would be accounted though the Western Jews are well off and in slightly discreditable, as indicating want of proper many families of quite exceptional wealth, the feeling toward their own land, with its unique Jewish millions in Poland, Hungary, Russia, and history. People do not admire the Greeks very Southeastern Europe are very poor, own in purely much, but a Greek who hated Greece would be agricultural countries scarcely any land, and are detestable. The Jews even now feel the annoynot allowed to exercise their remarkable gifts for ance of their separateness, and always make it the smaller commerce, for shopkeeping, and for their first claim in any country to be treated as · money-dealing, with anything like sufficient free- citizens of that country, even submitting to the dom. There is hunger in Jewish Poland very conscription and accepting commissions without often. The average income of the Jews of the any obvious, or it may be any real, reluctance. world must be very small, and their savings wholly To lose this position would be a serious loss, esincommensurate with the popular notion in Eng. pecially in Eastern Europe, for it might involve land and France of their abounding wealth. We the loss of civil status altogether. The position may, however, let that pass. The richer Jews of the race in Eastern Europe, broadly stated, is this : that while the peoples are decidedly dis- from the heat. In the most wind-swept provposed to persecute the Jews, and the govern- inces of Russia there are Jews by thousands apments are more or less unfriendly, both are re- parently quite acclimatized, while Jewish families luctant, owing to the intellectual influence of the of Calcutta have resided there—that is, under West, to seem to persecute on religious grounds. extreme conditions of heat-for a hundred years, They prefer to say that the Jews would absorb and remain not only among the healthiest of the all national wealth. They could, however, and community, but exceptionally fair, far more fair wuuld, disable the Jews from sitting in the na- than the Jews of Western Europe, who have tional assemblies, from holding many offices, and grown darker and more sallow in the narrow and from entering some employments, on the ground squalid quarters to which persecution confined that they were foreigners; and the West, which them. still keeps up the exclusion of foreigners in theory, They would have little motive in going to though in practice, no doubt, the principle is Judea, where there are no cities, no business, and waived, could not even seriously remonstrate. no attraction of climate for them; and, even if a No country, it would be said, could be expected strong religious or historic impulse drew them to allow a third of its representation, or of its there, they would find endless difficulties. We military commissions, or of its magistracy, or suppose a government could be organized, though even of its public-houses, to be occupied by it is remarkable that the nation has no great famforeigners, belonging to a state which possibly ily in its midst universally accepted as its repremight be at war with them, or actively hostile to sentative house; and no aristocracy except the their policy. No doubt the anti-Jewish feeling reputed descendants of the active section of the might die away, but it also might not, and it is Levites. The two great houses of the Jews, in exceedingly probable that it would not. There the political sense, the house of David and the are signs abroad which suggest that the Jews Asmoneans, have perished utterly, the last Prince are by no means altogether safe. In America, of the Captivity, who was by universal tradition society has quite recently displayed a sort of Hebrew, and we think by evidence of the royal loathing for them. Eastern Europe bitterly re- line, dying at Cadiz in the sixteenth century, and sents their adhesion to the Mussulman, or rather persecution to a great extent wore down all disthe Asiatic, cause, and is inclined to rank them tinctions of grade, though Jewish families once rather with the oppressors who are falling, than great in Spain do, we believe, exist. Still a govwith the liberated classes who are rising into ernment could be formed, but the difficulty would power. Their success in commerce creates jeal- be a people. Judea is a country which might be ousy, and their habit in the East of acting on prosperous, beautiful, and fertile, if it were “imcertain occasions as corporations arouses both proved" for half a century—that is, if the hills dislike and dread, which, in some places, such as were replanted, if the water supply were renewed, Salonica, are not entirely unreasonable. To be- and if the soil were resolutely cultivated and come aliens-citizens of a state quite separate, manured ; but that is not work to which the yet not European, and not strong enough to ex- modern Jews are adapted. They must number tort redress by fleets and armies—would decid- in out-of-the-way places many tillers of the soil, edly not improve their position in the world. but they are not voluntarily peasants anywhere.

But they would depart for their own land? We do not know that their writers have ever exWe do not know why they should. They seem plained this remarkable change in the habits of a to like every country they enter, very rarely aban- purely agricultural people, but they acknowledge doning it, except under compulsion, and they are and lament it; and we suppose the truth to be apparently independent of climate. It is prob- this, that, having no special aptitude for agriculable that during the ages which the race has ture, and having a special aptitude for other ocpassed in Ghettos, Jewries, Jew quarters, and the cupations, they have by degrees come to dislike obscure parts of cities and villages, certain liabili- and abandon the one which, whatever we may ties to disease have been eliminated from the say of its attractions, has in every country and Jews, only the exceptionally strong families sur- every age fallen to the least intellectual and amviving chronic malaria. It is said they do not die bitious of the community. It is most honorable of cholera, and, though that is an illusion, they to plow, but all are more comfortable than the do live under circumstances in which healthy plowman. Be that as it may, the Jews would Yorkshire laborers would die like flies. At all find the greatest difficulty in becoming a nation events, they are more independent of climate than of cultivators, and would, we conceive, employ any other people, and can live and flourish in the other hands, possibly under some system of semivillages on the great Russian plain, which Scotch- slavery, under which there would, in Palestine, men find cold; and in the marshes of Bengal, be only room for a very small portion of their which many Asiatics pronounce unendurable numbers, not so many, probably, as there are

« הקודםהמשך »