Puslapio vaizdai

lighted. It was clear that he had never been lectured before on political economy.

We talked on many matters. At last I thought of questioning the farmer on a subject which has always had a great interest for me -the superstitious beliefs and tales of the peasantry.

twenty years ago; and, moreover, I was myself a witness of what I am going to relate, for I was then a young man living at a farm near Cabrasam, among the mountains of the Estrica, which is, as you know, as wild a country as any in Portugal."

The farmer filled up his own and my glass, and his wife and children and the servants gathered round us, and stood with solemn faces to listen to a tale which they had proba

I have long held a theory that, wherever the Romans have left permanent marks of their stay, there the superstitions have the peculiar gloomy stamp of the legendary myste-bly already heard more than once: ries of ancient Italy. If this is true anywhere, it must be true in Portugal, where these people have left their vestiges not only in the language, which is nearer to Latin than any other known tongue, but even in the manner of cultivating the soil, which, to this day, is done in accordance with the precepts of Cato and Columella.

The type of Latin legend to which I refer is that well-known and most grizzly and hideous of all ghost-stories, the tale of the soldier in Petronius Arbiter. Now, the belief in the lobis-homen is very prevalent in parts of Northern Portugal. It is the legend of the loupgarou-the were-wolf-the periodical transfor-. mation of human beings into wolves, with all the savage instincts of that animal. It is a superstition whose existence in many countries has been too well investigated to need further description from me; suffice it to say, that nowhere is this belief invested with so many peculiar and gloomy circumstances as in Portugal.

I began to sound the farmer on the subject of folk-lore and popular superstitions rather cautiously, for people are apt to be reticent in talking of these matters to strangers, but the farmer was not shy at all.

"Yes," he said; "he had known some strange things to happen, and in that very neighborhood, too!"

"Would he tell me what?"

"Well, he would," he said, "and with great pleasure; he would tell me one of the most singular things he ever heard of; but" -looking at me doubtfully-" you will hardly bring yourself to believe it; and, to tell the truth, no more should I, if it had not been related to me by one who saw it—no other than my own brother's son.

"You must know," said the farmer, with a grave air," that not many miles from this is a river in which are vast quantities of fish. Now, every year there comes a stranger to this river; he stands upon the bank, and, holding in his hand a magical fly (uma mosca encantada) tied to the end of a very long thread, he blows the fly away from him as far as a man can throw a stone: it falls upon the water, and no sooner does it touch the surface than a fish seizes it, and the stranger draws both fly and fish ashore by the thread which he holds in his hand. Now, what do you think of that?"

My host had given me this fancy description of fly-fishing with so very serious a face, that I was almost afraid to laugh, till I observed a sympathetic twinkle in his own eyes; but he nodded toward his servants as if to hint that I was not to betray the secret of the mysterious fisherman to them.

Then the farmer, perceiving that I was an attentive and by no means a captious listener, began another story.

"We are all good Christians here, and ought not to fear the malice of the evil spirit; nevertheless, we know that power is given him sometimes to work mischief in some mysterious manner which all the priests put together do not understand. In proof of this I will tell you of an event that happened not

"The farmer with whom I served was a young man, and his wife a young woman. He had just come on to the farm. Two or three other men besides myself worked with him, but there was no other woman in the place than his wife. Now she, being about to give birth to a child, desired to get another woman into the house to do such work as she would shortly not be able to perform herself. So the master went about the country to engage a wombut, for some reason or other, he could not succeed. As time passed, he sent me to the nearest town, Ponte de Lima, with directions to inquire along the way, and engage the very first likely-looking young woman I should meet with.


"I started next morning before daylight, and I had not gone more than a mile on the road before I saw, sitting by the wayside, one of the queerest-looking girls my eyes ever fell on. She was wrapped up, head and all, in a brown cloak, such as we never see in this part of the country. The sun had just risen, and she was stretching out her hands as if to warm them in its rays. The oddest thing about her was that her hair was cut close to her head, like a man's. Now, this is common enough with our women when they get old and do not care to be troubled with long hair; but for a young and handsome girl like her to be 'chamorra (crop-haired), was a thing I have never seen before or since. So I stood still and stared at her like a fool as I was.

[ocr errors]

"Well, Santinho,' said the girl, you are wondering to see me warm my hands in the sunbeams?'

"I think you would get warm quicker,' I answered, if you went on your way, instead of sitting still in this cold wind.'

"And what if I am tired as well as cold?' she said, sharply.

"Have you been traveling all the night?' "Indeed I have,' said the girl,' and many a one before that.'

"Then you come from a long way off?' "I come from Tarouca, in the mountains of Beira, and that is a long journey from here.' 'And, if it is not a secret, what have you come so far from home for?'

[ocr errors]

"No secret at all,' she replied. 'My name is Joana, and I am looking for a place as servant at a farm. Do you know any one who requires one??

"" Now, it struck me here was the very thing I was looking for- -a strong, heartylooking girl who wished to be a servant; so I told her I was out with the object of engaging such a person as herself, and, if she would come with me to my master's, she might find the place she wanted. She girl expressed her readiness, and we started homeward.

"I left her outside the house while I went in. The farmer did not much like the idea of having so strange a being for a servant; but his wife, hearing that she was a chamorra, insisted upon engaging her; for we have a saying that chamorras make the best of workers.

*Literally, "Little Saint"-a common form of address, among the peasantry, from one stranger to another.

"Very soon after this the child was born, and the new girl took the mistress's place-cooked for us, and so forth.

"Now, the newly- born infant was a remarkably fine and healthy one. Everybody said so, except one old woman, a neighbor, who was thought to be a 'wise woman.' This person looked rather put out the moment she saw the child, and said it was bewitched. The father and mother laughed heartily at this, seeing how well the child looked. Then the woman said she was mistaken if the child had not the devil's mark somewhere on its skin; and, sure enough, so it had a mark on its shoulder, exactly as if the pattern of a small crescent or half-moon had been pricked upon the skin with a pin. Then we all began to get frightened, but the woman said there was no cause for alarm except during the time of the new moon, and then the child must be watched all the night through.

"When the old woman passed out of the house, the new servant was sitting on the floor with her brown cloak pulled right over her face, and, though the old woman spoke to her, she made her no answer, pretending to be asleep.

"Nothing particular occurred for some months. The servant Joana was very useful in the house, and both master and mistress congratulated themselves on having engaged a chamorra to work. However, we, her fellowservants, did not much like her. She was very sharp in her speech, and, whenever she was angry, her eyes, which were long and narrow in shape, seemed almost to emit fire and gave her a terribly savage aspect. However, when not out of temper, she was a handsome girl. She seldom spoke much, but she very soon got into the confidence of her master and mistress; and, one day, when the latter mentioned to her what had been told her by the old woman, she said:

"Al, yes! I have known it a long time, but I was afraid to tell you. Children with that mark grow into lobis-homems before they get to be sixteen, unless something is done to stop it.'

"And what can be done?' said my mis


"You must cover the evil mark with the blood of a white pigeon, strip the child naked, and lay it on a blanket on the mountain-side the very first time the moon rises in the heavens after midnight. Then the moon will draw the mark up through the blood, just as sho draws the waters of the sea up at full tide, and the child will be saved.'

"The farmer and his wife agreed to do this, to save their child from becoming a lobishomem, and, it happening to be a new moon late in the night a day or two afterward, the needful preparations were made, and when the night came the child was laid on the mountain-side, near the house, while the moon was still below the horizon. This done, we all returned to the house, for it was essential that no eye should be upon the child until the moon had risen. The farmer began to be uneasy, thinking that there might be wolves near, but the men reassured him, saying that a wolf had not been seen in the neighborhood for many years. Nevertheless, he loaded his gun, putting into it, for want of other ammunition, five or six rusty nails.

"He had hardly done so when, to our horror, we heard the most piercing screams from where the child was lying. In an instant we had all rushed out-the screams increasing as we neared the spot. At this very instant the moon rose, and we saw a huge brown wolf standing over the body of the child, his fangs


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

bloody, and his eyes looking like fire. Seeing us come up he slunk off, but the farmer fired at him before he could reach the wood close by, and he fell and rolled over. I ran up to finish him with the heavy stick which I had in my hand, but I could only give him one stroke before he rose to his feet and made off. The blow was a heavy one, and struck him on the fore-leg, and he went off into the wood howling and limping.

"We found the poor child quite dead; its throat was frightfully torn by the wolf's teeth, and the blanket was soaked with blood.

པ་ Now, it was noticed almost immediately that the girl Joana had not been seen since the child had been put out, nor was she in the house when we got back. Then for the first time did the truth flash upon us-the woman had been an accursed lobis-homem, and had murdered the child; and, in wounding the wolf, we had in truth wounded the girl, who had assumed his form. The next morning we followed the traces of the wounded wolf, and, inside the wood, not ten paces from where he had been seen to enter it, we found Joana lying on the ground covered with blood. She immediately began to explain to us that she had crept into the wood when we had left the child, fearing that some mischief might happen to him; that she had heard screams, and had run toward the child in the darkness; that just as she was getting to the outside of the wood the moon rose, she saw us coming, saw the wolf run toward her, heard the gun fired, immediately felt herself to be wounded in the side, and fell to the ground, where she had lain ever since.

"Of course, we knew that these were lies suggested by the devil, so we sent for the priest, but before he came she had died. They buried her where she lay, and the 'wise woman,' who came to look at her, said she had the mark of the lobis-homem on her breast quite plain, and was evidently a servant of the Evil One. The woman said that if she had seen the girl's eyes she could have told at once what she was, for the lobis-homems all get to have the long, narrow eyes and savage look of the wolf. She also explained to us that if a lobis-homem can murder and drink the blood of a newly-born child the enchantment ceases, and they are lobis-homems no longer."

"And what did the priest say?" I asked. "He said," replied the farmer, "that we were fools to have any thing to do with a woman from Tarouca, for it was a nest of witches and warlocks."

"And you are quite sure this girl was a real Zobis-homem ?"

"I never doubted it for a moment. Did I not see Joana's own eyes in the wolf as he turned round when I struck him? How can I doubt? Besides," said the farmer, after a pause, "there was the mark of a heavy blow on her right arm-exactly where I struck the wolf. She never accounted for that."

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

And trembled, but no word he said.
His thought was something more than pain;
Upon the seas, upon the land,

He knew he should not rest again.

He turned to her; but then once more
Quick turned, and through the oaken door
He sudden pointed to the west.
His eye resumed its old command,
The conversation of his hand,
It was enough: she knew the rest.

He turned, he stooped, he smoothed her hair, As if to smooth away the care

From his great heart, with his left hand.
His right hand hitched the pistol round
That dangled at his belt.


The sound

Of steel to him was melody
More sweet than any song of sea.

He touched his pistol, pressed his lips,
Then tapped it with his finger-tips,
And toyed with it as harper's hand
Seeks out the chords when he is sad
And purposeless.

At last he had
Resolved. In haste he touched her hair,
Made sign she should arise-prepare
For some long journey, then again
He looked a-west toward the plain-

Toward the land of dreams and space,
The land of silences, the land
Of shoreless deserts sown with sand,
Where desolation's dwelling is,
The land where, wondering, you say,
"What dried-up shoreless sea is this?"
Where, wandering, from day to day
You say, "" To-morrow sure we come
To rest in some cool resting-place;"
And yet you journey on through space
While seasons pass, and are struck dumb
With marvel at the distances.

Yea, he would go. Go utterly
Away, and from all living kind,
Pierce through the distances, and find
New lands. He had outlived his race.
He stood like some eternal tree
That tops remote Yosemite,
And cannot fall. He turned his face
Again and contemplated space.

And then he raised his hand to vex
His beard, stood still, and there fell down
Great drops from some unfrequent spring,
And streaked his channeled cheeks so brown,
And ran unchecked, as one who recks
Nor joy, nor tears, nor any thing.

And then, his broad breast heaving deep
Like some dark sea in troubled sleep,
Blown round with groaning ships and wrecks,
He sudden roused himself, and stood
With all the strength of his stern mood,
Then called his men, and bade them go
And bring black steeds with bannered necks,
And strong like burly buffalo.

The sassafras took leaf, and men
Pushed west in hosts, and black men drew
Their black-maned horses silent through
The solemn woods.

One midnight when
The curled moon tipped her horn, and threw
A black oak's shadow slant across
A low mound hid in leaves and moss,
Old Morgan cautious came and drew
From out the ground, as from a grave,
A great box, iron-bound and old,
And filled, men say, with pirates' gold,
And then they, silent as a dream,
In long black shadows crossed the stream.



RECENT English case of extreme cruelty, passing under the guise of justice, has been much commented on in the papers on both sides of the Atlantic. There seemed to be something peculiarly revolting in the circumstance that a little girl of thirteen, who had plucked a geranium-bud in an almshouse garden, should be sentenced to imprisonment for a fortnight in jail, and for four years longer in a penal institution all too mildly termed "reformatory." But, as a matter of fact, severe sentences such as this are by no means rarely pronounced from the benches occupied by the "unpaid magistracy" of England. Justice, in the hands of the gentlemen who are called upon to administer punishment to petty offenders in the English rural districts, is especially stern with those who in any way invade the sacred rights of "property." Theft or trespass, in their eyes, is too apt to be regarded as worse than wife-beating or slander, than perjury or murderous assault. Such sentences as that accorded to poor little Sarah Chandler are far from being as uncommon as the conspicuousness of her case would imply. The very same clergyman who sought, in his capacity as a magistrate, to brand her for life as a "jail. bird," because she plucked a flower, sentenced, not long ago, a small boy scarcely out of his pinafores to prison for a month, because he scraped the leavings of a discarded tobacco-cask, and sold his scraps for a half-penny; and condemned a young servantgirl to six weeks in jail for putting some photographs, which she found in a waste-paper basket in the bouse where she served, into her pocket to show to some friends. Not long ago sixteen fishermen and women, living on the Northumbrian coast, were cast into jail for a month for picking up mussels on the shore, with which to bait their hooks. It was an audacious assault upon the property rights of the squire whose estates ran to the water's edge; and the clergymen and squires who administered the law without pay in that region could not let the flagrant defiance of the rights of property pass. In Essex three very reputable and not disorderly lads, aged about sixteen, sallied out for an afternoon walk. In crossing the fields they came to a brook; a grassy knoll on its banks tempted them, and they threw themselves upon it and began to read some books they had brought with them. Suddenly up rode the owner of the field on horseback, and roughly demanded their names. Soon after they had returned home they were taken in charge by a policeman, brought before the magistrates, accused of trespass, and heavily fined. A little girl of thirteen was recently

[ocr errors]

condemned at Dorchester to twenty-one days' imprisonment at "hard labor," and five years in a reformatory, for stealing an earthen milk-jug. It turned out that the jug, which was cracked, had been given to the girl without authority by a servant. The supposed thief, too, was ascertained to have the best character for honesty.

These are but a few illustrations of cases of judicial cruelty that are constantly being reported in England. All of them indicate that with the English country magistrate "property" is still a kind of fetich, which it is as horrible to desecrate as it is, in the eyes of a Parsee, to enter a fire-temple with shoes on. It is no wonder that a loud cry is every now and then raised by civilized and humane Englishmen for the abolition of the system of unpaid magistrates. The trouble is that this system is an ancient and therefore supposably a venerable one. It is derived from the feudal times when the lord of the manor was the despotic head of the community-its judge as well as military and civil chief. The magistrates are for the most part country squires and country rectors, with little knowledge of the law, and, as would appear, not always with an enlightened sense of justice. They are appointed by the lords-lieutenants of the counties, are removable by the Lord - Chancellor, and the sentences they give may be reversed by the Home Secretary, in whom rests the pardoning power. It is an obvious disadvantage that the owners of property and the clergy who serve as magistrates should reside in the neighborhood where the misdemeanors are committed and over which they have jurisdiction; they are very apt to base their judgment, not on the particular offense, but upon the character of the person charged as they know it to be. Offenses against property are visited with peculiar severity, because the magistrates are property owners, and, while professing to deal out justice, are intent on the protection of their own acres. The tyrannical game-laws, also a relic of feudalism, are executed with extreme severity by these unpaid magistrates. The time is no doubt not far distant when there must be a thorough reform in the system of the rural magistracy of England, and in the old laws which bedge about property with so many bristling defenses. It is becoming clearly evident that clergymen are least of all fitted to sit in judgment upon the petty offenders of the shires. They lack the judicial temperament, which, when they are confined to their proper sphere, may be a virtue rather than a failing; and experience has shown that, although the messengers of "peace on earth, good-will to men," they are generally inclined to deaf with small offenses against property with even greater severity

than the squires themselves. That a country squire, who has never opened Blackstone, and who has been brought up with a dominant idea of the sacredness of property, and the worthlessness of the lives and liberties of the poor folk who now and then, wittingly or unwittingly, invade it, is the proper person to deal out justice upon them, seems absurd enough to us in these modern times; and it is to be hoped that legislation will ere long abolish the anomaly.

[ocr errors]

OUR Paris correspondent writes of drenching rains and chilling winds that are sending back to Paris disappointed sea side and mountain sojourners by the thousand. Our own July and early August were not free from similar unseasonable and altogether unreasonable manifestations of weather. Long, cold rain-storms in summer are really something more than ordinary human nature endures with patience. To the busy townworker who has anticipated for months his vacation among the hills; to the young ladies who have calculated with so much longing upon their summer boatings and picnics; to those who delight in the gay animation of watering-place hotels; to my lady whose fine country villa is lonely without summer guests -to everybody, in truth, who with summer days associates skies of gentle blue, winds that fan the willing cheek with soft airs, hills in shadow and sunshine that seem to sleep in dreams of beauty, transparent lakes that mirror the lazy oar, forests where murmuring boughs and glancing lights charm both eye and ear, meadows that lie under yellow suns and passing clouds - to everybody whose summer memories bring up pictures like these, the winds and rains that usurp their place seem like very cruel manifestations of power.

But these, after all, are but minor instances of our contest with conditions that continually subdue us. Must mankind, we may venture to ask, be always at the mercy of elementary forces? Must floods drown, winds overwhelm, suns scorch, and life continue at every turn a fierce struggle with our environment? Are we really prostrate and powerless in this matter? History and current experience declare emphatically that we are; but here and there a wild thinker is prone to utter a belief that the weather bears an ascertainable relation to man, and that it is competent for the united efforts of the race, under wise direction, to do something toward modifying the irregularities of the seasons. Inasmuch as forests influence rainfalls, electrical currents follow the iron track of the railway, and rain comes to arid regions where man has carried his civilization, it is believed by these dreamers that these facts are the prologue of a vast science which is not only

to formulate the laws of the winds and the clouds, but to show how their coming and going may be modified, and perhaps directed. At first glance it would seem as if it were a consummation devoutly to be wished. One may permit himself to fancy some of the changes that would be desirable to bring about under this new weather dispensationas, for instance, that there should be no rainy days during all the long summer, but only a nightly shower to refresh vegetation and lay the dust; that during the rest of the year the rain should fall decimally—that is, every tenth day, so that our storms should periodically recur like our Sundays. There is no difficulty in imagining many fine things as coming from the new order, but, unless the science should also teach how to modify human nature, we fear there would be some difficulty in getting a general concurrence in any fixed plan. There are some who would. banish the "beautiful snow," and others who would have more of it; some who would have all our winds summer zephyrs, and others who like the briskness of a gale; and in all other details opinions would be almost as various as the people.

Perhaps, after all, the best science for the weather is a little philosophy-that sort of mental condition that enables one to adapt his pleasures and his occupations to his external conditions, and, instead of fretting over a rain-storm, goes to work to extract entertainment from it. It is tolerably certain, moreover, that this is the only science that will ever successfully manage the weather.

SOME recent utterances by Charles Francis Adams, in regard to the need of a more fervent style of preaching, have been quoted in defense of certain pulpit exaggerations recently characterized as the "gospel of gush." Mr. Adams thinks that "the demand at the present time is for sympathy, bordering, it may be, upon passion. While," he says, "I fully believe that in no country are to be found a greater proportionate number of pious, learned, faithful, and assiduous ser vants in the Church, I trust it will be no disparagement to them if I frankly confess a craving of many years for a warmer, a more effective, and a more sympathetic manner of communicating their valuable lessons both of law and love." All this may be heartily sanctioned without approving of the excesses of manner and extravagances of sentiment which have recently called down the censure of the world. Our preachers are very apt to be either cold and stolid, or declamatory, sensational, and hysterical. What we suppose Mr. Adams to ask for is genuine earnestness -a warm, impressive manner, a sympathetic and heart-felt utterance of the great lessons of "law and love." True earnestness never

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

transfer. The book is sold for a certain definite and obviously limited purpose, and the republication is upon the face an appropriation of a right not conferred by the sale. It may be assumed that a man once purchasing a book has, in the absence of a special law limiting the use to which he may put it, a right to make any disposal of it he pleases. If he chooses to duplicate copies; he is fully

offends the most captious listener; but just as there is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous, so there is but a narrow line between true and false eloquence-between that simple and fervid intensity that sweeps over the hearts of men and those gushings that are made up of attitude and affectation. A preacher may be very earnest and very affectionate, and yet full of manliness and simplicity; his sermons may be entirely free of mawk-privileged to do so. The book has become ish sensibility, and yet possess an abundance of "sympathy bordering on passion." It is just this distinction between noise and earnestness, between affectation and genuine sympathy, that needs to be established. It is not to be assumed, because one deprecates the high coloring of many pulpit utterances, that he is thereby wedded to cold and exclusively argumentative sermons. Everybody likes spirit, movement, and glow, in literary style, but no reader of taste likes strained excess in piled-up adjectives as a substitute for these qualities; and a similar distinotion exists in the liking of cultivated people for oratory, whether of the pulpit or not. We may be sure that Mr. Adams, in view of his culture and his temperament, had no thought of sauctioning the noisy and convulsive methods that here and there are exhibited in the pulpit. A man that storms up and down a platform-tossing his arms in the air, uttering platitudes in tones of thunder, now shedding tears at his manufactured pathos, and now exploiting some sensational irreverence-may imagine these displays to be the sort of thing Mr. Adams and the rest of us spiritually crave, but the mistake is a woful one. Simple fervor subdues and captivates all hearts, but would-be eloquence that accumulates upon wretched matter the affectations of a bad bistrionic manner, is about as offensive a thing as man or woman can listen to.

In the general assumption that proprietorship in literary property can only be secured by special statute, the common law of property failing to cover it, have all the facts been fully considered? The common law of property covers, it is conceded, an author's manuscript; but, once the manuscript is printed and published, then the book becomes the property of the public, unless protected by a special enactment. Let us see for a moment how the operation would be, supposing there were no law of copyright. A book is published, let us assume, which sells for two dollars per copy. What is it that the publisher sells for two dollars? Is it not simply the pages of printed matter and the binding thereof for such ordinary use as pertains to a book—that is, for its perusal ind study? If the purchaser reprints the

book, it is obvious at once that he is putting egis purchase to a use not designed in the


his property, and his control over it is absolute. To this it can be replied that the rights involved in a purchase are limited by the clear, obvious intent of the seller, and that this intent can commonly be ascertained by the terms and conditions of the sale. In a dispute pertaining to any kind of property between seller and buyer as regards what has been sold and bought, the price is a very important and often conclusive witness as to the fact. If A declares that it was the saddle alone that he was selling, and B asserts that the bargain was for both saddle and horse, the price given in such a case unmistakably indicates what the intentions of the seller were, and the true nature of the bargain. The law of equity is competent in cases of this kind to decide what it is that the purchaser has bought. In like manner, a layman might venture to suppose it would be competent to decide what it is that the buyer of a book has possessed himself of by his purchase. It would be very clear that the two dollars transferred in such a case could not give the purchaser a right worth perhaps a thousand times this sum. Hence if a publisher find his right of printing and publishing a book infringed, why would not a suit at common law establish not only his claim but the legal limitation of use pertaining to a book procured in the way we have described? If this is bad law it is scarcely bad common-sense.

A CORRESPONDENT, who signs bis communication "Country Doctor," calls in question the accuracy of a recent paper in this JOURNAL, in terms as follows:

"In an article which appears in your issue of July 17th, I notice some assertions which, for the honor of the profession which is the subject of attack, it will be well enough to correct. The writer asserts that a man in the last stages of consumption, etc., and then concludes this 'first count' by saying: 'The result was that he returned or went to Aiken, South Carolina, "with consumption fastened upon him.", It seems to me that he need not have even gone to Florida to have had his disease fastened upon him, since he had the disease in its last stages when he applied to the Boston doctor. It certainly must have been securely fastened when the doctor tapped upon his chest with the tips of his fingers as described, and no doubt the few taps which the doctor gave, and the few questions asked, were quite sufficient to establish the diagnosis 'phthisis pulmonalis,' and the prognosis

[ocr errors]

arm him


'death. Can such a patient, by any amount of cautious alarming, be induced to self against death with some effect?' "Does the writer know that such patients will not believe the doctor when he says, 'You have lung-trouble, and if you do not do so and so you will die of consumption?' he read Dr. Austin Flint's article on the disease in his 'Practice of Medicine,' where he describes the mental condition of such patients as amounting to insane delusions when talking of their condition - how they are continually forming plans for the future when, as Dr. Flint remarks, 'it is obvious to any observer that they are on the verge of the grave?' No doubt he has read some 6 sure-cure' advertisement when he says that the disease is open to attack and defeat, and can be ' expurgated' and seized' after it has fastened its hold securely upon the human system. I for one would be glad to welcome any plan of treatment which promises success in one of nine cases of consumption.

"But it is, unfortunately, not so easily seized and expurgated; no matter how simple and few remedies we employ, no matter to what climates we send our patients, no matter to what diet we restrict them, this lurking, insidious enemy to our race works on and eventually carries its victim to the grave.

"This is the experience of every physician, whether of the 'vulgar herd' or the 'first Where one case cured is rephysicians.'

ported, ninety-and-nine cases go to the grave unreported. So few, indeed, are the cases cured, that it always raises a doubt in my mind when I read of them, whether the physician who reports the case may not have made a mistake in diagnosis. It is a notorious fact, also, that a phthisical patient seldom applies for medical advice until he has his enemy securely fastened upon him. I believe that, if we have our ears so nicely educated as to detect the approach of this disease before it becomes firmly seated, we could keep it in check and cure it. But surely a physician is not to be arraigned and tried as a criminal if his ear is not susceptible of such fine education. I sincerely hope that your columns may contain an answer to this 'Mismanagement by Physicians,' which will convince Mr. Wthat it is better to let things alone which he knows so little of. The most charitable construction I can put upon his uncalled-for and ill-chosen attack upon the medical fraternity is, that he was 'hard up' for a subject for an article in your JOURNAL for that number, and, meeting with a poor patient with consumption, listened to his plaint, and Quixotic-like has charged the wind-mill."

[ocr errors]

The opinion of "Country Doctor" that the article which he criticises was written because the writer was hard up for a subject for an article," is very wide of the mark. Articles written for this reason are not apt to find their way into the columns of the JOURNAL. The facts related in "Mismanagement by Physicians" were derived in part from the writer's personal experience, and in part from testimony gathered during a two months' sojourn in Aiken, South Carolina; and from the character of the writer, as well as from the opportunities he possessed for arriving at the truth, they may, we think, be relied upon. But the article needs to be read with care, which "Country Doctor" has not done. If this critic will return to the ar

ticle, he will see that there is no authority for his statement that the person spoken of in the "first count" had the disease in the last

stages when he applied to the Boston physician; he was in the "last stages" when he related his experience, not when he applied for medical advice. And if the doctor's few questions were, as our correspondent affirms, "sufficient to establish the diagnosis 'phthisis pulmonalis,' with the prognosis 'death,'" how, then, came this man of medicine to tell his patient, "There is nothing the matter?" Does not our correspondent herein quite confirm the allegation of our contributor? In regard to the opinion that consumption may be cured, it is quite likely that "Country Doctor" is right, and the author of the article wrong; but as to the allegations he makes, the writer assures us that they fall short of rather than exceed the truth.


HISTORICAL fiction sble attraction for

picted with care and skill; and yet, in following his pathway through the story, we seem to be pursuing the phantom of a person once well known to us-with whom, in fact, we have set out many a séance of the Literary

Club, and dined times without number. Even Angelica Kauffmann (for she it is whom Miss Thackeray calls Miss Angel) seems to lose her already feeble hold on our memory; she is transformed before our very eyes into an ideal and fictitious creation, and by the time the story is finished we are prepared to avow our belief that such a person never existed.

Now, the prime condition of success in an historical novel is that it shall translate names into persons for us, and deepen mere impressions into at least the semblance of intimate personal knowledge. Lacking this realistic element, historical fiction is but a more or less ingenious literary mechanism; and it is precisely on this ground that "Miss Angel" must be pronounced a failure.

Few literary writers, however, have a more perfect mastery of literary art than Miss Thackeray, and it is certainly true that a story radically defective in structure was never more perfectly finished in its details. The opening scenes are laid in Venice, and these are simply delightful permeated through and through with "the very aroma of art and of Italy." Nearly every page gives us a paragraph, a sentence, or a phrase, which the mind takes in with a sort of lin

[ocr errors]

the eighteenth century becomes a majestic reality to our imaginations. Read this as an illustration, which, though quotable, is by no means the best:

an almost irresistible attraction for all novelists above a certain grade. There are extremely few of them who have not made at least one or more attempts at it; and yet, when we have counted off Thacke-gering, epicurean relish; and the Venice of ray's "Henry Esmond" and "The Virginians," Kingsley's "Hypatia," George Eliot's "Romola," and a few of Scott's and Bulwer's novels, we have about completed the list of what can be regarded as genuine successes in this field. Miss Thackeray has almost an hereditary right to achieve success in this as in other departments of fic tion, and "Miss Angel" is so charming a book in many ways that we are tempted to forego criticism and say that she has really done so; but candor compels us to confess that the glamour which her literary art enables her to throw over us is illusory, and that the application of a very few tests suffices to relegate "Miss Angel" to the multitudinous rank of books which ought to have attained success, but which somehow failed of reaching it. For example, burly Dr. Johnson figures among the historical personages whom Miss Thackeray has woven into the framework of her story, and we have only to read the chapters and paragraphs in which he is introduced, and then open Boswell for a page or two, in order to see how defective is Miss Thackeray's characterization.

In the one case, we are confronted by a man who repels or attracts, as the case may be, but whose personality cannot be denied; in the other, we hear a voice which seems to speak in familiar accents, but which, after all, is but the faintest echo of its great original. So of Sir Joshua Reynolds, who plays one of the most important roles in the little drama. The dignified courtesy, the graceful accomplishments, the magnanimity and placidity of mind of that most respectable of painters, are all de

Miss Angel. A Novel. By Miss Thackeray. New York: Harper & Brothers.

"Are they falling into ruin, those old Italian churches? Are the pictures fading from their canvas in the darkened corners? I think they have only walked away from their niches in the chapels into the grass-grown piazzas outside. There is the broad back of Tintoretto's Virgin in that sunny corner; her pretty, abundant train of angels are at play upon the grass. There is Joseph standing in the shadow with folded arms. Is that a bronze - that dark, lissome figure lying motionless on the marble step that leads to the great entrance? The bronze turns in its sleep. A white dove comes flying out of the picture by the high altar with sacred lights illumined. Is it only one of the old sacristau's pigeons coming to be fed? By the water-beaten steps a fisherman is mooring his craft. St. John and St. James are piling up their store of fagots. In this wondrous vision of Italy, when the churchdoors open wide, the saints and miracles come streaming out into the world."

Moreover, though the principal figures in Miss Thackeray's work may be defective in historical vraisemblance, their surroundings, accessions, trappings, so to call them, are made out with truly striking effect. Here is an instance of this, which might have come from the pen of the Thackeray. It refers to the period (1766) of Angelica Kauffmann's arrival in England:

"To read of the times when Miss Angel came to take up her abode among us, is like reading the description of a sort of stately ballet or court-dance. Good manners had to be performed in those days with deliberate dignity. There is a great deal of saluting and

| snuff-taking, complimenting and exclaiming; people advanced and retreated, bowing to the ground and balancing themselves on their high heels.

"With all their dignity, there is also a great deal of noise, shouting, and chattering. There are runners with torches, splendid footmen in green and golden liveries surrounding my lady's chair.

"The King of Denmark is entertained in splendid fashion. The Princess of Brunswick visits England. Cornelly lights up Soho Square with wax-candles, while highwaymen hang in chains upon the gallows in distant dark country-roads. Our young King George is a bridegroom, lately crowned, with this powdered and lively kingdom to rule, and Charlotte Regina to help him.

“There are great, big coaches in the street, and Mr. Reynolds's is remarked upon with all its fine panels; but Cecilia can still send for a chair when she wishes to be carried to Baker Street. Vauxhall is in its glory, and lights up its bowers. Dr. Burney gives musical parties. The cards fly in circling packs; the powderpuffs rise in clouds; bubbles burst. The vast company journeys on its way. In and out of society golden idols are raised; some fall down and worship, others burst out laughing. Some lie resting in their tents, others are weeping in the desert. Preeminent among the throngs one mighty shade passes on its way. Is it a pillar of cloud sent to guide the struggling feet of the weary? From the gloom flash rays of light, of human sympathy not unspoken. How many of us, still wandering impatient, might follow that noble hypochondriac, nor be ashamed of our leader! He walks along, uncertain in his gait, striking alternate lampposts, an uncouth figure in soiled clothes, splendid-hearted, with generous help for more than one unhappy traveler lying wounded by the roadside. Do we not read how noble Johnson stoops and raises the prostrate form upon his shoulders, and staggers home to his own house? He has not even an ass to help him bear the burden."

And, if a story must have a moral, could it be less commonplace than this?

"One day not long ago a little boy, in a passion of tears, asked for a pencil and paper to draw something that he longed for and could not get. The truth of that baby's phi losophy is one which strikes us more and more as we travel on upon our different ways. How many of us must have dreamed of thing along the road, sympathies and experience that may become us some day, not ours-in ward grace of love, perhaps, not outward sig of it. This spiritual blessing of sentiment n realization, no fulfillment alone can bring us; it is the secret, intangible gift that belong to the mystery of life, the divine soul tha touches us and shows us a home in the dest late places, a silence in the midst of the storm.

For the rest, the book has some sligh biographical value. The character and a tistic career of Angelica Kauffmann are mad more clear to us; and her relations with th Count de Horn, which heretofore have bee so obscure as to have been overlooked b most biographers, are shown to have const tuted the crucial episode in her life.

In "Ward or Wife ?" (New York: Ha per & Brothers) we find a story, rather plea ing in itself, and told not without a certa animation, utterly and irredeemably spoile by an almost incredible vulgarity of sty

« AnkstesnisTęsti »