« הקודםהמשך »
for careers in which they would compete with did not hurt him, as he said himself he throve on men. He made instinctively all the reserves for it. His superiority to his critics was too evident. which the orthodox are fighting more or less He was the lion of the literary season; he was hopefully now; he took over without discussion elected a member of the Athenæum, after some the sharp dualism between body and mind trans- ineffectual threats of clerical opposition; he lecmitted through Locke from Descartes. Even tured at the Royal Institution on the “Influence such a phrase as mental disease displeased him. of Women on the Progress of Knowledge,” and Disease could only consistently be thought of in Faraday, Owen, and Murchison severally thanked connection with a material organism. After this him for the great treat they had enjoyed. it is not surprising that he held that in another In the midst of his great success the great life there would be no difference between the ge- sorrow of his life came upon him; his mother's nius and the idiot of this : they differed because health had been failing since 1852, and in 1856 their brains differed. At the same time, the dif- she feared that she should not live to see the reference between learning and ignorance might be ception of his work, and the fame that her coun. more permanent, for it is by its own action that sel and sympathy had done so much to prepare. the mind acquires learning. He understood, and When at last her son showed her the first volume, was half inclined to adopt, Kant's distinction be- with its magnificent dedication, he was frightened tween transcendental freedom and empirical ne- at her agitation. On the urth of August, 1857, he cessity, although he was fully convinced by his writes: “ Month after month she is now altering statistical studies that any limited power of self- for the worse, at times slightly better, but percepdetermination the individual might imaginably tibly losing ground. Her mind is changed even possess could safely be neglected in the scien- since I was here last; she is unable to read; she tific study of masses. Most important of all, he confuses one idea with another; and nothing rerecognized as clearly as Pascal the logic of the mains of her as she once was, except her smile, heart. Instead of treating the convictions as a and the exquisite tenderness of her affections. I mere disturbing force warping the action of the while away my days here doing nothing, and carpure reason, he dwelt eloquently upon their char- ing for nothing, because I feel I have no future.” acter as an orderly independent factor in our “For the last six months of her life she was from deepest convictions. This combination of fun- time to time delirious, but such was her strength damental conservatism, with revolutionary energy of mind that always when her son entered the upon two or three large yet definite questions, is room she became perfectly rational.” He was not unlike Mr. Bright-a politician who is, or no longer able to write except after the stimulus was, unpopular with just the critics who depre- of conversation; and at last the sight of her ciated Buckle as a thinker.
“slowly but incessantly degenerating, mind and One can hardly think that the literary class body both going," brought his work to a standwere so much to blame for their hostility as Mr. still, and Mr. Capel suggested that he should try Huth supposes. They had emancipated them- the distraction of reviewing Mill's “Essay on selves as far as they cared to be emancipated; Liberty.” On the ist of April, 1859, he entered they held implicitly a great deal that Buckle pro- in his diary, “At 9.15 my angel mother died claimed emphatically; they held it with all sorts peacefully, without pain.” When all was over of qualifications which they felt not unreasona- he sat down, “ in the dull and dreary house, once bly it was easier to apply in practice than to for- so full of light and love," to write his proof of mulate beforehand; they found plenty of crudity the immortality of the soul. It is very like St. in Buckle's special theories, and were angry with Anselm's proof of the being of a God. It is a him for not advancing knowledge upon special weak feeling that can believe that it adds to or matters in the way in which Sainte-Beuve or even creates its object; a strong feeling is sure that Macaulay did. It was not their fault that in their its object is eternal. eyes individual facts, which Buckle made a point The next twelve days were spent upon his reof despising, were more interesting as well as view of Mill's “Liberty," which is still momoraless uncertain than the general facts, which no ble for the grotesque, pathetic, eloquent philippic doubt are more important. Besides, it was quite on Pooley's case. It is never clear what we are true, if not exactly relevant, that they might have to be indignant at; no doubt it was a miscarfound whatever they were inclined to accept in riage of justice that the judge did not find out Buckle, in Comte, or Quetelet before. Their jus- that Pooley was mad; perhaps the law under tification is complete when we remember that which he was sentenced was getting rather rusty; Buckle's method and generalizations have been still poachers are sentenced more severely, and quite unfruitful. Mr. Darwin and Mr. Herbert Pooley was as great a nuisance as a poacher in a Spencer and Sir H. S. Maine have had followers; respectable neighborhood. But Buckle was in a Buckle had only readers. At the time criticism state of exaltation where he had too little sense of the proportion of things to measure the per- better when they grew older; they were ashamed sonal responsibility of the judge, or the impor- of what they had done, and did so no more. tance of the case, but he saw correctly that while His growing friendship with the Huths was damaging his own position he was doing some the chief interest and consolation of his later thing to make further prosecutions for blasphemy years in spite of its rather unpromising comdifficult, and he had the sense to turn a deaf ear mencement, which we will leave Mrs. Huth to to the many letters from people with grievances describe : that poured in upon him.
It was in 1857 that we became acquainted with 'He said himself about this time, “ Only they
Henry Thomas Buckle. Long before, we had heard are wise who can harden their hearts." His health was failing. Even before his first volume
him talked of by an enthusiastic friend, who told us
that Buckle was then writing the “History of Civilappeared he fainted in crossing the park; though
ization.” Our friend Mr. Capel would not borrow his hours of work were not immoderate, seldom
te, SCICON a book from us to read without first asking “my exceeding eight a day, his recreations, chess and friend Buckle” whether it was worth reading, as he conversation, were equally exhausting. He was knew all books. If I praised a favorite author, I only able to work very fitfully upon his second was told that my admiration was misplaced, as “my volume, and before long he lost his nephew, a friend Buckle” saw imperfections in him. “But very promising boy, who could appreciate him, would not Mr. Huth like to call on my friend Bucsaying, “ When you talk to me, uncle, it is like kle?” Mr. Huth decidedly objected, saying that if being in a dream." Children were always fond that gentleman's library contained twenty-two thouof him. A little girl whom he met in his walks sand volumes, and he had read them all, as Mr. at Blackheath could conceive no consolation for Capel assured us, it would be an impertinence, for a his leaving except the hope of being “his little man who had not anything very extraordinary to girl.” His landlady, who read his works, took recomn
recommend him, to intrude upon him. I was very charge of some children from India, and one of
glad of this answer, for I hated that " friend Bucthese soon found what liberties she could take
kle," whose name was constantly in Mr. Capel's
mouth, and bored me intensely; who was always put with the philosopher.
forward to contradict me; who was said to know When he visited Mr. Capel's pupils at Car
• everything, and who had seemingly done nothing. shalton, he romped with them and got them holi- We were therefore considerably surprised when Mr. days; they followed him about like a pack of Capel came one day and said, “I have told my friend dogs, and wrote home, “ When he was here, he Buckle that you wish very much to make his acwas a jolly chap.” “He is a very nice fellow, quaintance, and he will be glad to see you if you and never talks philosophy to us." His theories like to call upon him.” My husband looked very of education were simple; he was very much black, but he had nothing for it but to go to 59 afraid of children being overworked, and thought Oxford Terrace, where he was told Mr. Buckle was that if moral suasion failed the cane was the not at home, and he left his card. Later, when our safest punishment; keeping children in only
dear friend made his last stay with us, I told him made them dull.
how we had been forced into our acquaintance with But his forbearance was inexhaustible. When
him ; and he explained that he had only agreed to
see us, as he thought it would be of advantage to he fainted, after a discussion on political economy with Mr. Huth, he went up stairs to try to his school. At that time he had never expected our
Mr. Capel, who was going to have a son of ours at sleep for two hours. At the end of the time Mr. acquaintance to develop into a friendship. Huth heard the landlady's children singing loudly and jumping violently as it seemed just over Mrs. Huth soon found there were two Mr. Mr. Buckle's room. He stopped the noise and Buckles, one who lived among cold abstractions, then went to inquire if he had slept. Mr. Buckle and took the highest and the widest view. “The said, “No, the noise had prevented it." Why Other Buckle was tender, and capable of feeling did he not ring the bell ? "Oh, no, poor little every vibration of a little child's heart; selfthings! it was their time for singing and jump- sacrificing, to a degree which he would have ing, not their sleeping-time.” When Mr. Huth's blamed in another, and habitually concentrating sons were traveling with Buckle in the peninsula his great intellect on the consequences of indiof Sinai they told him how they had been amus- vidual actions to the actor." His calm and ing themselves by knocking off the tails of liz- cheerfulness were but rarely interrupted. Once ards to see how these jumped, while the lizards Mr. Capel surprised him in a flood of tears. ran away as if nothing had happened. Mr. “You don't know how I miss my mother." He Glennie remarked that it was very cruel, and could never bear to go into his drawing-room ought to be put a stop to, which made the boys after her death. An old lady, neither handsome angry; Buckle quietly said that it was the nature nor clever, as she said herself, with neither rank of boys to be cruel, and that they would know nor title, “ bore witness to his great sympathy;
it was more than human, and imparted a more on the Nile were so high that his biographer than earthly soothing effect: he never forgot apologizes for sending a dull letter home on the that his mother had been fond of me!"
ground that Mr. Buckle will sing ri-too-rall-looWhen his second volume was finished he was rall-too, and so on. They both studied eagerly too weak to work or to meet Mr. Mill, whom he to please him, though it was necessary to take admired and greatly wished to know. He wan- away the Shakespeare to give Robinson's “Bibdered through Wales and Yorkshire, fraternizing lical Researches " a fair chance. Thanks to Mr. with policemen and village schoolmasters, who Buckle's good arrangements, his party was the surprised him by their interest in “ Essays and first for five years that had seen Petra leisurely Reviews," and "a still bolder man, Mr. Buckle.” by daylight. Unhappily, the rains at Jerusalem He roamed through the worst parts of Birming- interfered with Buckle's plans for camping out ham, keeping the middle of the road, and carry- during their stay there. The discomfort and bad ing a heavy stick. At last he set out for the food at the hotel brought on an illness which he East. He had long wished to see Egypt, but his could not throw off ; and though he was able to decision was almost a caprice; the sense of hav- push on to Nazareth, Beyrout, and Damascus, ing no future had made him capricious. At first and enjoy that magical city, unmistakable typhoid it seemed as if it was to be a happy caprice; he fever set in, and he sank under the lowering made every possible provision for the safety and treatment of the native doctor. His monument, comfort of himself and Mr. Huth's two boys, as massive as his works, erected by his only surthen fourteen and eleven, whom he took with viving sister, attests his faith in immortality. him : he was so anxious beforehand, that he had no need to be anxious afterward, and his spirits G. A. Simcox (Fortnightly Review).
THE NEW FICTION.
IT has been more than once remarked that perhaps, it may be added that the critics who 1 when history came to be properly written it cultivate this branch of work do not yet feel would eclipse in attractiveness all the fiction that themselves quite up to their work. In fact, the could be invented and put into books; and, in- New Fiction is a product for which the canons deed, there is some such saying to be found were not ready, and some of the best things said either in the writings or the reported words of about it and what it foretells are little better than Macaulay. That distinguished man and delight- self-conscious talk to fill up time. ful historian had his own reasons for knowing Of course the notion that the historian could that the biography of nations might be found ever supersede the novelist is absurd. However interesting even by readers outside the class of little short of chaotic our present criticism may students proper. But the day is yet far off when be in such matters, there can be no risk in laying the historian shall jostle the novelist out of his it down that the historic faculty and the poetic place. Within the last twenty years the novel faculty are two very different things. So much proper has undergone a development which may to begin with; and it carries us a long way. still be pronounced astonishing even by those Macaulay had poetic faculty, though it was very who have been accustomed to consider it, and narrow; but it is certain he would have made a has taken rank side by side—at no humiliating grotesque failure of a novel, if he had attempted distance, though, of course, not close—with poe- one. Lord Brougham did write a novel, but it try and philosophy, formally so entitled. It is was rather aborted than produced ; and those far otherwise than sarcastically true that "Ro- who have never seen it may be thankful for a mola” and “ Daniel Deronda" can not be called mercy not small-there are things one would light reading; and, passing away from fiction of much rather never have known. What sort of that graver sort, it is abundantly clear that not novel would Mr. Grote have written ? But noveleven yet has criticism done all the work which ists have written history, and Mr. Thackeray, the New Fiction has cut out for it in the way who contemplated writing it, would possibly have of widening its scope and improving the instru- succeeded. We say possibly; because his “Lecments by which it endeavors to trace the more tures on the Four Georges " and on “ The Husubtile affiliations of literature. It may almost be morists of the Eighteenth Century" do not ensaid that there is now a branch of criticism spe- courage one to dispense with phrases of conjecture cially, if not exclusively, applying to novels; and, in this matter. That George Eliot could write history is certain, and it would surprise no one if work of fiction avowedly founded on fact is one she were to leave some really monumental work of extreme delicacy. of that order behind her. Bulwer-Lytton did It is upon the point of filling up that we eawrite history, and not unsuccessfully. So did sily arrive at perhaps the most obvious difference the author of “Caleb Williams " and "St. Leon." between .novel and history. It is quite certain If Defoe could not have succeeded as an historian, that Napoleon dined; and that he had many it would only have been because he was such “a interestingly painful discussions with Josephine matter-of-lie man” (to quote Charles Lamb's before putting her away. In point of fact, our phrase) that he could never copy straight on. interest in Napoleon was so great that the driest “Is that all ? " asked the Scotch advocate, when and least expressive of historians gave us a good his client had apparently completed his statement deal of personal gossip about him, and, in proof his case—“is that all ?” And, the client re- portion as we come to feel intimate with a perplied: "Ou ay, mon; that's a' the truth; ye maun sonage, we excuse such writing. But to introput the lees till't yoursel." It is to be feared that duce it into history, if the scale of the writing be Defoe, while he was telling his true historical large, is a difficult task, and we are sure to be story, would, by the necessity of his nature, have sensible of a sort of jolt or jerk in passing from added “lees tillit” in abundance. And, as this one passage to another, unless the artist be one brings us up to a point, we may as well stop in of consummate skill. If a novelist had conan enumeration which might easily be carried onceived a Napoleon, and had introduced the reputo an indefinite length.
diation of Josephine and the marriage to Marie Let a man tell what story he will, he is sure Louise, he would have told the story by fixing to add “lees till't," though unconsciously. Lord on occasions and scenes unimportant in themMacaulay did it in his historical and biographical selves, and filling up till he interested us; at the writings, and no man has done it more than Mr. same time telling the story in the most complete Carlyle. The involuntary false touches come out manner conceivable. You would have been inof a writer's idiosyncrasy. But it is not here that troduced, perhaps, to the lady and the Little Corwe arrive at the essential difference between the poral taking coffee together—the most insignifigenius of the novelist and that of the historian. cant and domestic scene in the world—and then Even when the writer is fond of taking an his- you would have been told all the conversation : torical basis for his work-like Sir Walter Scott, how Napoleon knit his brow at a particular mofor example—his manner is obviously different. ment; how Josephine panted with suppressed Nor does mere excess of detail or picturesque- anger and suppressed affection, but put her hand ness make all the difference. It lies largely in to her left side and kept the tears down; how the filling up and in the pervading air of per- the coffee got cold; how the bread-and-butter sonal intimacy which belongs to the novel, as was left untasted; or how one little slice was distinguished from the history. You are sup- eaten as a feint. You would have had as much posed to know how the historian came by his of the humor and the pathos as the novelist's knowledge, and when he makes a fancy picture imagination of what passed (all in the most mihe tells you so, directly or indirectly. Not so the nute detail) could help you to; and by the time novelist. The novelist tells you with impossible you got to the end of the chapter you would find minuteness the most secret soliloquy of a man's you had passed a crisis of the story. Anybody mind; has unrestrained access to a lady's bou. who has never done such a thing before, but will doir, and will tell you all she did there at a given upon this hint examine the structure of a modern time, though the door was locked, and the cur- novel, will be struck, above all things, with the tains drawn. From end to end of his story he manner in which the main story is left to be does not give you his authority, and you are not gathered from details in themselves commonexpected to ask for it. On the contrary, that place. “Jane was giddy and Alfred was irriwould destroy the illusion. The whole of his table; they had a quarrel and parted last June.” work consists of digested and transformed ex- That would be in the manner of the historian, perience presented to you under arrangements and it would be sufficient for his purpose; but, new to himself. It is all true, except as to "the of course, the novelist would fill up that outline, way it is put," and you feel that it is true—that while the historian was off and away to someis, if the work be good of the kind; but you can thing else with which the quarrel between Jane not "condescend upon particulars " as to when and Alfred stood, we will suppose, in some large and where it all happened. Of course, we are relation. It is a pleasant exercise to analyze a now taking only a general view of the matter- good novel in this way—to take the chapters one there are plenty of books coming under the cate- by one, and note what they are made of; how gory of the novel which are more or less histori- little “incidertt" and how much story. We uncal; but it is admitted that the task of writing a dertake to affirm that the result of such an analysis will invariably be a surprise to the reader tinuity of narration has strained the genius of -it should, of course, be made after he has read the author of “The Shaving of Shagpat”-that the novel, and, if it is a familiar one, so much the very delightful book. But it would not be easy better.
to find a modern writer of fiction better entitled But let us listen to a few sentences from the than he is to express opinions like those we have prelude to Mr. George Meredith's last novel, quoted. At all events, that curious passage con“ The Egoist":
cerning the Book of Earth, which is “ full of the
world's wisdom," and the dictum that “the reThe world is possessed of a certain big book, the alistic method ... is mainly accountable for our biggest book on earth ; that might indeed be called present branfulness” and “the modern malady the Book of Earth ; whose title is the Book of Ego
of sameness," should be considered, though the ism, and it is a book full of the world's wisdom. So
present paper may be too small in compass to full of it, and of such dimensions is this book, in
take them in. Deferring that, however, we will which the generations have written ever since they took to writing, that to be profitable to us the book
glance at the more recent fortunes of the novel, needs a powerful compression. ... The realistic
especially with regard to the “religious classes." method of a conscientious transcription of all the
Even lately-within a month or two we have visible, and a repetition of all the audible, is mainly had intelligent men condemning novels as worthaccountable for our present branfulness, and that less, not to say mischievous reading; and it is prolongation of the vasty and the noisy, out of which, surely not more than seven or eight years ago as from an undrained fen, steams the malady of since the Archbishop of York caused some sursameness, our modern malady. ... We have the prise and a little downright wonder by admitting malady, whatever may be the cure, or the cause. in some public address of his that there were We drove in a body to Science the other day for an novels which might be read without harm, and antidote ; which was as if tired pedestrians should indeed with both pleasure and profit. The word mount the engir.e-box of headlong trains; and Sci. “ evangelical" has, like many other words, been ence introduced us to our o'er-hoary ancestry-them very much clipped as to its ordinary meaning, in the Oriental posture ; whereupon we set up a pri
and we do not know whether Dr. Thomson meval chattering to rival the Amazon forest nigh
would claim it as a descriptive adjective or not; nightfall, cured, we fancied. And before daybreak our disease was hanging on to us again, with the ex
but it is more than safe to say that among evantension of a tail. We had it fore and aft. We were gelical people in the old sense the novel has not the same, and animals into the bargain. That is all yet been naturalized, and never can be without a we got from Science,
breach of logical propriety. Nevertheless, novels Art is the specific. . . . In Comedy is the singu. go everywhere nowadays, leaving out of considlar scene of charity issuing out of disdain under the eration a few very “close" circles. The number stroke of honorable laughter; and Ariel released by of evangelical readers—using the word in its old Prospero's wand from the fetters of the damned with narrow sense-is larger than ever; but the inSycorax. And this laughter of reason refreshed is crease has been chiefly among the uneducated floriferous, like the magical great gale of the shifty classes. These, we need not say, have multispring deciding for summer. You hear it giving the plied enormously, and among them there is no delicate spirit his liberty. Listen, for comparison, intentional or conscious relaxation of the old to an unleavened society : a low as of the udderful strait
rul strait-laced notions of what is good for “saints" cow past milking-hour! O for a titled ecclesiastic
C to read. There is a considerable difference in to curse, to excommunication, that unholy thing!
the practice, but the theory is the same; the forSo far an enthusiast perhaps ; but he should have a hearing.
mal teaching is the same; and when the law is Concerning pathos, no ship can now set sail with. laid down it is laid down in the old terms-exout pathos, and we are not totally deficient of pa- actly, fully, and without abatement. As it hapthos.
pens, the questions thus arising lie at the root of
some that strongly interest us in this discussion ; Mr. George Meredith is an original writer of and, though we can not here push them to their fiction, who has never quite fallen into the ranks limits, we can not possibly omit them. of the order; indeed, he is perhaps more of a It is not more than thirty years—it is not poet, specifically, than of a novelist, and above twenty years since the condemnation of the all things capable of being a humorist of the novel, in what were known as the “religious cirShandean school. If “The Egoist " had been cles," was absolute and unreserved. How the written as a series of sketches or “magic change in practice and sentiment (we are careful lantern slides," to use Coleridge's phrase con- not to use the word opinion) came about is ancerning Goethe's “Faust," it would have been other matter-one that will fall to be considered more successful; but he was bound down to the by us almost immediately. But we might almost forms of the novel proper, and the need of con- say that it was brought about surreptitiously