Puslapio vaizdai

the tumult of his heart. He encounters Ophelia in one of his most despondent moods; he has been musing gloomily on death and the hereafter, but he greets her with courtesy; when straightway she offers to him remembrances she had "longed long to redeliver." In an instant there rushes upon him all the past: his love for her; her denial of his access to her presence; the apparent falsehood of all the world, and of one he loved most in the world. He is deeply stirred, profoundly agitated; wild and hysteric sentences break from his lips; he gives the rein to his feverish fancy; he riots, partly by unrestrainable impulse and partly by a forced assumption, in a whirl of words and bitter objurgations.

It is customary now on the stage to explain this scene by bringing the king and Polonius on as eaves-droppers, causing Hamlet to detect their presence. The fact that he is overheard, that he discovers how Ophelia has been set upon him to learn his secret, is made the reason for Hamlet's conduct toward her. There is evidence to support this view of the case. We know that Ophelia is but obeying the behests of her father; we know that the king and Polonius are listening; and there is one line in the text, "Where is your father?" which may be interpreted as evidence that Hamlet had detected the fact of the hidden listeners. But, while this situation would be certain to lead Hamlet into some kind of erratic conduct, it gives no explanation of the form his wildness here takes. is more consonant to the complex nature of his tried heart to believe that his conduct has no such simple and cheap explanation. Explanation! This is the thing so many commentators are wrecked upon. There are some things that cannot be explained, and this supreme fact is often conclusive evidence of their truthfulness. To force explanations upon us of Hamlet's conduct is to destroy its mystery, its illusive, fascinating undertouch —if we may so express it-its profound agitations that ascend from depths of feeling and suffering, which, while they perplex, are still recognized as genuine. There are many strange things in the philosophy of life that we must believe without hoping to explain.


Mr. Booth attempts in this scene to force the language into meanings not intended. He is resolved that Hamlet shall not be brutal toward Ophelia, that he shall evince tenderness, love, feeling, sympathy, with only enough wildness to mislead his covert listeners. "Go to a nunnery" is not with him a frenzied command, but tender, tearful advice. Where others storm, he remonstrates. "Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?" is urgent and affectionate solicitation for Ophelia to forego her hopes of marriage. "I am myself indifferent honest," and what follows, is an earnest desire to convince her that he and all men are unworthy of a woman's love. In acting out this view of the scene, Mr. Booth is compelled to gallop over many sentences with a total disregard of their meaning; but it must be conceded that he makes an effective scene, and succeeds in moving the sensibilities of his auditors. But he is rather the tender lover taking a last farewell of his mistress than Hamlet, with

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his wild brain, his torn heart, his terrible mystery, who, in pursuance of his vengeful purpose, has sworn to wipe all "fond records" from the tablet of his memory.

We like Mr. Booth's management of the play-scene. Whether because of his lame arm, or from deliberate choice, we do not know, but instead of the old business of crawling up to the feet of the seated king in order to watch his countenance-a movement that would have excited the suspicions of the king and the surprise of the whole court -Mr. Booth now remains in his place by the side of Ophelia, and thence launches his bitter sarcasms at his " uncle-father." The scene is well done, and so is the wild burst of hysteric mirth that escapes from him as the king, in guilty confusion, rushes from the stage. The outburst of convulsive feeling that occurs here is rarely sufficiently marked by Hamlets. It shows not only a rebound from Hamlet's strained tension, but is another proof that his wildness is not always assumed. This explosion has no witness but Horatio, is wholly without motive, and can only be understood as an impulsive outburst of uncontrollable feeling. Note the sudden rush from the whole scene, and the call for music-a wonderfully natural touch in a character like Hamlet's under a great strain; but how is it to be explained by those who will have explanation for every thing, and yet insist that "Hamlet is the sanest man about the court? ""

The scene with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and that with Polonius, which follows, exhibit a great deal of the actor's skill. There are actors who, in these scenes, lose all remembrance of the great revelation just made, and Hamlet's intense exultation at the success of his scheme; but with Mr. Booth clouds of the high-wrought passion drift across it, and one feels the lingering presence of the great event. It is perhaps

a question, however, whether Mr. Booth's interpretation of the situation is the right one. He exhibits anger, intense impatience. He can tolerate no longer the persecuting attention of the two spies, and resents their interference with bitterness; and toward Polonius he abandons himself to even more thau his wonted sarcasm and disdainful mirth. Might it not be supposed, rather, that Hamlet, in the exultation of success, feels no anger, but with flushed spirit gives vent to a kind of riotous impatience? They fool him to the top of his bent, and he plays with them to the extent of his impulse. He takes a fierce delight in perplexing, embarrassing, disconcerting them; he observes toward Rosencrantz and Guildenstern almost all his former show of courtesy; and he is determined that not even Polonius shall make aught of him in that moment of triumph.

The great scene with the queen is one that a skillful actor could scarcely go far wrong in, but Mr. Booth at the close of it manages to force a situation that completely reverses the meaning of the text. Altogether, we cannot complain of the acting of the scene, nor do we recall any signal error. For our part, we are never satisfied with any of the longer speeches delivered by Mr. Booth; as already explained, they seem to us to lack

light and shade, and commonly to be uttered in an off-hand dash that ignores all the shades of meaning. These defects mark the "Look here upon this picture, and on this," as they do other of his deliverances. The inteuse exultation he exhibits when, in slaying Poloni. us, he thinks he has killed the king, is pain. ful in suggesting a too great willingness on Hamlet's part to accomplish the death of Claudius by accident, and without personal risk; and the indifference manifested at the discovery that Polonius is the victim of his rash plunge behind the arras is fairly heartless. Hamlet scarcely killed men with the coolness of a bravado.

It is to be wished that in this scene the practice of bringing on the ghost were abandoned. The voice of the spirit floating in the air, coming none could tell whence, would be far more awful and impressive. This plan would, moreover, meet one difficulty. Hamlet sees his father in "his habit as he lived," but the ghost always comes in, as in the first scene, in armor. The ghost dressed so as to fail of recognition by the audience would be hurtful to the effect of the scene, and therefore the plain contradiction between the text and the fact is permitted. Let the ghost's voice be heard, his form visible only to Hamlet's distracted but preternaturally mental vision, and the effect of the scene would be enhanced.

The words addressed to the ghost here overflow with tenderness. In the hands of a great actor, Hamlet should melt every listener into tears:

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Lest, with this piteous action, you convert
My stern effects: then what I have to do
Will want true color; tears, perchance, for blood."
Does Mr. Booth read these lines with the

profound feeling they require? We think not. But in truth we do not know any Hamlet that does.

Mr. Booth makes a good point later in the scene when the queen extends her hands over his kneeling figure to bless him. He leaps up, catches her hands, saying

"When you are desirous to be blessed, I'll blessing heg of you; but he fails to convey the idea in Hamle's mind, which is that when the queen shall have confessed herself to Heaven, and has shown by her acts her desire to be blessed, then, and not until then, can he accept & blessing from her. Hamlet, refusing her ma ternal benediction, also rejects all proffers of affection from the now heart-broken woman. "Good-night," he says, and turns away ex claiming

"I must be cruel, only to be kind." But Mr. Booth is not cruel. He declines the blessing, but he folds his mother in his arms, weeps over her, utters the most tender "good-nights," and upon this picture the curtain falls, leaving all to wonder wherein Hamlet's cruelty exists. In attempting new line of "business" here, Mr. Booth has unmistakably done violence to the plain meaning of the text.

After closely watching a performance of "Hamlet" through three acts, very little remains to be commented upon, and nothing likely to throw any further light upon the subject. The actor has very little to do in the fourth act, and this little Mr. Booth does with an adequate mastery of the situation. Whether Hamlet here is really distraught, or only assuming madness, can scarcely affect the actor's rendition, for the seeming is as patent as reality. How merely assumed insanity could so readily fall into the purposes of the king is to us wholly inexplicable. It is true that Hamlet imagines that he comprehends the situation, and promises that the "engineer shall be hoist with his own petard;" but this is all wild talk; he has no plans in contemplation; and the fact that, after having fully fastened upon the king the guilt of his father's murder, he should at once abandon the field and hie away to England, seems to us proof conclusive of a disordered mind.

In the grave-scene, at the opening of the fifth act, Mr. Booth appears to advantage. His dress is picturesque; he looks more than at any other time the melancholy prince. There is too often in his personation a certain lack of dignity. We do not ask for a Hamlet that struts and carries his nose in the air, but sometimes Mr. Booth seems to us lacking somewhat in the presence and carriage that becomes a great prince. In the grave scene the gravity, dignity, presence, and manner, are all good. The encounter with Laertes is well managed, and the bit of


"And, if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart!"-

was uttered simply as rant, with unimpeachable discretion.

The fifth act, in fact, goes along prosperusly until the last scene, when occurs the encing-bout with Laertes. Here Mr. Booth eems to us wholly at fault. He introduces a leal of fantastic nonsense in the fencing busiless, and seems to forget that he is both a rince and Hamlet, about whose heart still lings an oppressive sadness. The childish day introduced here can hardly be witnessed ith patience. So unbecoming is it to the haracter of Hamlet, that we must urge Mr. looth to conduct the encounter with Laertes 1 some sort of accordance with likelihood nd reason.

It must be conceded that Mr. Booth has anished from his personation almost all aces of rant and false theatrical methods.

he could free himself from that inflexible ad unintelligent level delivery that he so equently falls into, and which we have reeatedly mentioned, his style would be quite are. Occasionally he permits his desire for aturalness to seduce him into undignified id familiar colloquialisms, but this fault may forgiven in one who has done so much to d his style of the strut, pomp, and sounddeclamation of the traditional stage.


One element in his performance occasionly reveals itself that is difficult to catch and fficult to describe. We think that he does t illuminate or throw fresh and suggestive Feaning into the language, but there are mo

ments when something like an inward light gleams through his face, and for an instant the true Hamlet stands transfigured before us. These flashes of feeling and expression are momentary, and they do not commonly come when the eager listener longs to see him break through a hard and uninspired delivery. These instances are all we can discern of that magnetism which so many people find in Mr. Booth's acting-people who as sert that his voice thrills and his passion completely dominates them. As a rule, we for our part feel no such fire; we catch from him but little inspiration, and are subdued by no divine rage.

And yet, with all the defects and deficiencies of Mr. Booth's Hamlet that we can enumerate, we must acknowledge that at present it is the best on the American if not on the whole English-speaking stage.


WHEN, about a month ago, the Boston

newspapers announced that Lord Houghton was the guest of Mr. Charles Eliot Norton in Cambridge, few persons seemed to be aware that Baron Houghton was the title of Richard Monckton Milnes;* and fewer still that Richard Monckton Milnes was one of the most delicate and humanly philosophical of England's poets. It is scarcely a solution of this enigma to say that Lord Houghton has written but little verse for the last dozen years or so, because we are at once confronted with the fact that, even at the date of his fullest poetic production, he was little known in this country. And yet there are lines of his that are familiar to most

readers of poetry. That most exquisite rendering of an almost universal belief in the value of love above every thing, which has been often quoted and has so familiar a ring that when we hear it we cannot remember the time when it first greeted us, is his:

"He who for Love has undergone
The worst that can befall,

Is happier thousand-fold than one
Who never loved at all;

A grace within his soul has reigned
Which nothing else can bring-
Thank God for all that I have gained
By that high offering!"

And, familiarly as this rings, I have never met but a few students of poetry who could give the author, when the lines were quoted. Perhaps it is too much to say that this verse is often quoted. It would fit the fact better to say that its sentiment is often quoted, with no real knowledge of its complete source. And this points to the special peculiarity of Monckton Milnes's verse. It leaves the haunting impression constantly that it is really a according to so high an authority as Mr. Emerpart of our own thought, which peculiarity is, son, one of the proofs of genius. Such philo

*It seems to us that our contributor underrates public intelligence in this matter. There are, it is true, an immense number of people who are never aware of any thing; but of those who are acquainted with the poetry of Richard Monckton Milnes are there any who do not know the poet's recent rank and title as Lord Houghton ?-ED. JOUR


sophical writers as W. R. Greg quote largely and with the familiarity of old acquaintance from Milnes, which shows that in England the poet is known and appreciated in the right direction. In Greg's "Enigmas of Life" we find Milnes well represented in the fine regions of speculative philosophy in such lines as these:

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Happy the man to whom life displays
Only the flaunting of its tulip-flower;
Whose minds have never bent to scrutinize
Into the maddening riddle of the root,
Shell within shell, dream folded over dream.

Then, again, Mr. Greg quotes this strong verse from Milnes's "Combat of Life: "Yet there are some to whom a strength is given, A will, a self-constraining energy,

A faith that feeds upon no earthly hope,
Which never thinks of victory, combating
Because it ought to combat,

And, conscious that to find in martyrdom
The stamp and signet of most perfect life
Is all the science that mankind can reach,
Rejoicing fights, and still rejoicing falls."

This is enough to show how valuable the poet is to the philosophers, and in what strain his mind is set. But there is also another side a side so sympathetically human that we might well wonder that he was not accounted by "the people" as their special singer, if we did not know that it is only the cultivated person who can thoroughly appreciate the healthy balance of expression, which is the medium through which the educated mind makes itself heard. And to the uncultivated this balance seems coldness, however sympathetic it may really be. Yet it is such thinkers as Richard Monckton Milnes who are the real friends of the poor and suffering. Let us look a moment at this great peer's history up to the present time, and see what claims he has, by something more than poetic expression, to be called a friend of humanity. "Born in the purple" as he was, he became at once, upon entering Parliament, an active worker and sympathizer with all the just and liberal measures of his day, often distancing his colleagues in these sympathies, and at one time hazarding his seat by the unflinching integrity of his purpose. The reform of England's penal institutions was one of the earliest objects of his interest and endeavor. In this he did great and praiseworthy service. He also, through these large human interests and sympathies, worked to such effect that he brought in the first bill for the establishment of juvenile reformatories, and is himself the president of the great reformatory establishment of that kind at Red Hill. It was amid such occupations that he learned to write poems, which contained such lines as these:

".... but when

The tortures of any brother men,
The famine of gray hairs,
The sick-beds of the poor,
Life's daily, stinging cares,
That crowd the proudest door,
The tombs of the long-loved,
The slowly broken heart,
Self-gloated power unmoved
By pity's tenderest art,
Come thronging thick about me,
Close in the world without me-
How should I not despond?"

In a poem called "The Curse of Life," we find with what pain this earnest spirit fed all

his sympathies. How little he shirked the darker paths of life, whose own path, by birthright, lay on the sunny uplands, he shows very clearly when he says"Knowledge worn by sadness

Grows too faint to riseAnguish fathers madness

Labor brutifies:

If high feelings live, the man a martyr dies." The tenderness and faith in his poem of "Sorrow," beginning—

"Sister Sorrow! sit beside me,

Or, if I must wander, guide me "—

is only another indication of his temper of thought. And in such verses as— "In the green bud's bosom

There is secret grain;

Bees to the same blossom
Come not back again-

Waters weep that seem to sing a happy strain "—

there is that haunting ring, both in thought and expression, I have spoken of before, and which marks his deep-veined humanity and sympathetic sense. So also in

"A man's best things are nearest him,
Lie close about his feet;

It is the distant and the dim

That we are sick to greet;
For flowers that grow our hands beneath
We struggle and aspire-

Our hearts must die, except they breathe
The air of fresh desire."

There is a certain Wordsworthian simplicity in some of these forms of expression, and, in comparison with Matthew Arnold's air of cold distinction, and the passionate fervor and grace of some other of our modern poets, they might seem at times commonplace. But, without going into the range of real criticism here, it will be enough to say that Monckton Milnes cultivates simplicity, and, with his natural tendencies in that direction, if he sometimes sacrifice grace and fervor, it is with no lack of knowledge or appreciation, or, in fact, of inherent poetic fire, but a matter of choice and taste, which chooses even severity of style to redundance.

Lord Houghton's latest book is a prose collection of reminiscences of famous people, called "Monographs, Personal and Social." This is much better known in this country than his poems, though of course it is mainly valuable for the accounts it gives of distinguished persons, as with great reserve and modesty the author keeps himself entirely in the background-so entirely that we perceive at once that the monographs are of less interest for that very reason. The almost af fectionate appreciation with which he tells the story of Suleiman Pasha's life shows how warm was his friendship for that most interesting of men, and how much we lose by the reserve which omits all personal history. And so, of Walter Savage Landor, we get such truthful glimpses in such even and just estimates that we regret there could not have been fuller revelation. The friend of Landor, of Sydney Smith, of Heinrich Heine, and Suleiman Pasha, Lord Houghton in these recollections of them evinces in what he has left unsaid the same peculiar delicacy and deference of mind which is perceivable in his verse. Our estimate of and respect for this deferential narrator are, of course, heightened by this, while at the same time we acknowledge

disappointment in the incompleteness of his


Lord Houghton is now sixty-six years of age, though those who saw the small, active man who was strolling about Cambridge a few weeks ago, with Longfellow and others of that circle, would not have guessed that be was beyond sixty, of the simplest and most unpretending manners and exterior, neither would the ordinary observer have guessed that this small, active man was of any distinction. As one catches a glance, however, from the fine, kindly eyes, which seem to lose nothing, one cannot help recalling Burns's famous line

"A chiel's amang ye takin' notes."

But we need have little fear of the nature of these "notes." The same just spirit which estimated that stormy riddle Landor with such clear accuracy will scarcely fail to do such justice, even in his own mind, as will hardly offend the most touchy and sensitive American. Lord Houghton very evidently comes to see, and not to be seen; but it is a great pity that the few who have known and appreciated his verse here could not more readily come in contact with him. In view of the many Englishmen, however, who have taken advantage of our lyceum field for their own purposes without regard to their own ability in that field, we have need to be grateful for this simple, and friendly, and respectful visit. NORA PERRY.

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ALATE number of the Academy contains

a communication on the subject of "Painting in America," in which is observable that splenetic determination to misrepresent which is so characteristic of English criticism of American affairs. This article deals mainly with the recent exhibitions of paintings and works of art in Chicago and Cincinnati. It begins by sneering at an American critic because he classified Corot, Coomans, Fortuny, Greuze, Bouguereau, Alma-Tadema, and Zamacoïs, among the great artists of the world-meaning, obviously, modern ar tists. If Corot, Fortuny, Alma-Tadema, and Zamacoïs, do not rank among the great ar tists of the period, one can but wonder who does. Is the Academy critic inflamed because the name of no English artist appears in this list? Or is he simply bound, rightly or wrongly, to imply ignorance to the American writer, and, in order to do go, forces the sentence quoted into a meaning not intended? Had it been claimed that the exhibitions described contained specimens of all the modern great artists, there would have been ground for censure. As it is, the sneer of the Englishman was wholly gratuitous.

Our English censor goes on to say that "good art, in spite of the many recent purchases by American gentlemen, is still very rarely seen in America." Now, it is true that we have few examples of the old masters, but our people have opportunities to see a great deal of the best current Continental art. There are not so many specimens here of current English work as we could wish; but every American at all studious in this direction, and not living too far from the great cities, may make himself acquainted with the productions of nearly ev ery great foreign artist of the period, and see besides something of the old art, by means of public collections and such private ones as are made accessible to students. There are not nearly so many pictures in America as in Europe; there is a great deal, indeed, to be seen in the churches and galleries abroad which must be studied by every one desirous of a thorough art-culture; but the extensive purchase abroad of works by modern artists for this country is proof that we are not nearly so much in the dark as is supposed.

But is it certain that we may not know something of good art without depending at all upon foreign productions? The Academy critic says it is astonishing how little is known of American art in England. Are we to assume that America is to blame for this? Has England exhibited the slightest interest in American art, or shown any disposition to

do justice to it? It has been pleased to stare with wonder at Bierstadt's huge canvases; but has it cared to enter into the spirit and study the methods of those of our landscapists who in truth are representatives of our genius? Has it given any heed to Inness, to Gifford, to Kensett, to McEntee, to these and others, who have gone reverently into our hills and our valleys, and striven to put themselves at one with Nature, to catch her spirit and reproduce her moods? Our critic declares that no American school of art has yet been formed. This is a mistake. In landscape-art American artists have founded a very great school-the school of Truth. They have learned something that noted schools and academies have to teach; but they have learned to reject the absolute tutelage of any faction, guild, or set, and to obey only the behests of the supreme master, Nature. The earnestness, the fidelity, the simplicity, the severe honesty, that are manifest in the better productions of American landscape - painters we claim nothing for our art in other directions-are such as to enable our people to see at least

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sistency that is the true jewel. Inconsisten-
cy, so called, gives freedom of soul, largeness
of taste and appreciation, breadth of sympa-
thy; it makes one, in fact, catholic and many-
sided. Consistency is plodding and dull,
while Inconsistency is bright, fanciful, in-
ventive, speculative, courageous, not afraid
to say yes to-day because it said no last week.

for his duties, and the right to occasions of undisturbed rest. We learn that Mr. Herbert Spencer has been compelled to announce, by a lithographic circular, that he is so deeply engaged in his special studies he can no longer answer inquiries, requests for autographs, and other demands of the kind made upon him. Mr. Beecher would be wise to follow this example; and it would be well if this circular gave a sharp lesson to those who know so little what is due to busy men.

While on this topic we may ask whether postal-cards have not now been long enough in use to admit of an inquiry as to the nature of the courtesies and social laws that do or should pertain to them? It may be asked whether people are under any obligations to

But, while uttering this defense of inconsistency, we are all the time virtuously conscious of committing no such captivating sin. The people have not taken up our notion of aërial gardens. No one in obedience to our proposal has inclosed his roof-top and converted this vacant space into blooming parterres; no vines cluster about our townchimneys, nor festoon the cornices of our buildings. Our suggestion fell upon a heed-respond to an open letter of the nature of a less world. Like many other great thoughts, it was ushered prematurely into being before the taste of the public. could aspire so high -ere aesthetic imagination is competent to reach an altitude so lofty. The people, cling-take of the fact that no stamp is inclosed ing to their dull experience, have refused to believe that one may enjoy his otium cum dignitale on the roof-top, amid flowers and under bowers, amid the vine and the pine, where airs are pure and cool, where dust comes not, where the sound of the hand-organ is

We have the following from a correspond- mellowed to strains of distant sweetness, ent at Baltimore:

"MR. EDITOR: I am one of your readers who smiled' when he read your article on the architectural elevation of the domestic kitchen, a recommendation which may by-and-by be adopted. By-and-by' is easily said, and, as you suggest, we will wait and see.' Meantime, permit me to explain why I smiled by propounding the following question: What is to become of those aerial gardens which you proposed some time ago should be adopted for the adornment of our house-tops if we are to reflect now upon elevating the culinary department, with Sarah, Sarah's young man,' and all, to the prophesied locality of the aerial garden? But, as Johnson tells us in his dictionary that the garret is the top room of a house, and that the cockloft is the room over the garret, perhaps we can have kitchen and garden on the house-top, and thus have both prophecies fulfilled. We will wait and see.' "C. H. M."

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This correspondent is too hard upon us. He is evidently one of those persons who think consistency a great virtue, and that no right-minded individual could possibly entertain two ideas apparently in conflict. But we, for our part, refuse to be bound down by any such narrow restrictions. If to-day we like the idea of aërial gardens, we mean to be true to our impressions of the moment, and advocate the construction of parterres of flowers on the roof-top; if to-morrow we become enamored of the notion of lifting the kitchen to the topmost story-where may the dishes have a true attic flavor-we shall not be restrained in our admiration of this idea by any thing said before. It is incon

and the cares and vexations of a wicked world
are put under our feet. Refusing to be thus
elevated into a region of æsthetic delight, the
next thing is to see whether their obstinate
natures are insensible to every wise and en-
nobling suggestion-whether they will con-
sent to remove the kitchen and its odors to
the regions above, and convert the desolate
premises which their rear-windows now dis-
mally survey, into places of charm and cle-
gance. While it may be true that a house-
holder cannot practically adopt both of our
suggestions, he can at least entertain one of
them; and no one ought to object because he
has the opportunity to choose one of two
good things.

MR. BEECHER takes up the question, in the Christian Union, whether he is bound " to answer, or not to answer," every idle query that idle persons may choose to ask-whether a man has no rights which letter-writers are bound to respect, or if his time and ink are at the absolute control of every man or child among forty millions of people who chooses to ask questions, beg favors, seek money, give advice?" Men of note are in truth so pestered with impudent and idle inquiries and requests, that it is practicably impossible to respond to them. A man cannot ignore the courtesies of life, but then he has a few rights which foolish people should not be permitted to deprive him of and among these is the right to his own time


postal - card? Could one acknowledge a postal-card us an "esteemed favor?" If the postal card be purely on the business of the writer, what notice must the recipient

for postage on the reply? One sees some really Napoleonic strokes of meanness as the outcome of the postal-card system. The audacity is sometimes superb. A writer saves a sheet of paper, an envelope, a stamp for postage, and also the usual stamp for return-postage-all by one dexterous postalcard. The spirit of economy could no farther go. But really, what rights in courtesy have letter-writers who do not consider their correspondents of importance enough to give their epistles to them the poor compliment of an inclosure? How is a communication to be entertained when the writer confesses by the postal-card that it isn't worth a sheet of paper and a postage-stamp? That the postal card is very useful for circular notes, for announcements, for communicating any simple fact that does not call for a response, no one can deny. But we submit that social custom ought to establish that a missive of this kind calling for a response, excepting on business matters concerning the recipient, is an impertinence; and that a postal - card, partaking of the nature of correspondence as ordinarily understood, is entitled to no respect or consideration whatsoever.

IT must be confessed that when Turkey repudiates her debts, and at the same time admits her inability to subdue the belligerent discontent of her Christian provinces, the situation in Europe has become grave. There is evidently a vague apprehension of war in the European courts. Mr. Disraeli rather emphasizes than dispels it by his Mansion House speech; while the danger is undoubtedly aggravated by the fact that every great power stands at this moment armed to the teeth, and ready to assume at once, or in a brief time, the full panoply of war. Yet we

cannot think that some of them at least will consent to enter upon a general and horrible conflict in their present situation. The idea

bowled down the Champs-Elysées in her carriage and span, as one who in her early days was one of the most artful mendicants of the


OAQUIN MILLER'S faults as an artist

of war can be agreeable neither to England, boulevards. Not long since an old beggar are so flagrant, and lie so near the sur

France, Austria, nor Italy. England has been trying for years to extricate herself from any involvement in Continental troubles, and to confine herself to the pursuit of commerce. That she will go to war the moment India is threatened by the attempted possession of Constantinople by Russia is highly probable; but she will first use every art of diplomacy to avert that evil. France does not want war; peace for years to come seems to be her only hope of resuming her former place among the powers. Austria is inveterately weak, for Francis Joseph rules over a polyglot and inharmonious empire, in which there are at least three races whose interests are in conflict-the Germans, the Slaves, and the Magyars. She is only solvent, and no more; and she dreads the power of Prussia with an almost superstitious terror. Italy would only enter upon hostilities under compulsion, nor could she gain from it any thing but an ephemeral alliance which the next crisis might dissolve and leave her helpless. Before there is a war, these powers will, without doubt, use every effort to avert it. Yet, if the military ambition of Russia and Germany insists upon solving the Turkish question in a sense favorable to themselves, it is difficult to see how the other powers can keep out, or how a general war can be prevented. Germany has no direct interest in the suggested partition of Turkey should Turkey collapse; but she is the close ally of Russia, and would be likely to derive from war some advantage in Northern Europe by the annexation of Holland, Belgium, or Denmark, or all three; for upon those countries she looks with covetous eyes.

TOURISTS from time immemorial have been in the habit of grumbling about the number and persistency of Paris beggars; and, indeed, one of the most striking contrasts between the Old World and the New consists in the mendicity of the former and the absence of it here. That the complaint has considerable basis may be known by the recent report of the Paris Prefect of Police, who, having counted the beggars who defy the Code Napoléon and the gendarmerie within his jurisdiction, finds that there are between sixty and seventy thousand of them. Beggary in Paris, too, is not a mere desperate makeshift for sheer existence; it is a craft, a profession, with its apprenticeships, its graduations, and its cunning and enterprising expedients. Only the other day a Paris beggar died at Passy worth a hundred thousand francs. Some years ago an elderly lady with gray curls, attired in silk and diamonds, was pointed out, as she

was caught flagrante delictu, upon whose ragged person was found a memorandum-book, in which were jotted down the days when it was most profitable to apply to certain persons-such as birthdays, rent-days, the occasion of a marriage in the family, the receipt of an unexpected legacy. The pretexts of the Paris beggar are innumerable. He sells matches, he waits on susceptible ladies in threadbare broadcloth, having seen "better days," or come to penury through disappointed love and consequent dissipation; he sits on curbstones groaning, with bandaged arm or head; while young girls use every art of feminine timidity aud beauty to compel the compassionate franc or two-sous piece. Hitherto even the well-executed laws of the Second Empire, followed by those of "the state of siege," have not even availed to decrease the army of beggardom; and we cannot wonder that M. le Préfet is in despair.

ST. PETERSBURG presents many anomalies in regard to its population. It appears by recent returns that the Russian capital has grown more rapidly than any other city in Europe. It is much younger than London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, or Constantinople; has grown up from a little provincial town in Peter the Great's time to be a city of rather more than seven hundred thousand inhabitants in less than two centuries. Singularly enough, the deaths in St. Petersburg exceed the births, which shows conclusively that its growth in population arises from the rapid aggregation of rustic Russians at the capital. Another curiosity of its census is, that the greatest mortality, excepting with young children, occurs at a period of life when there is least mortality in other cities-that is, between the ages of sixteen and thirty-five. St. Petersburg has a trying climate, and it seems to act most violently on adolescence and younger manhood. Otherwise, it is one of the least healthy and comfortable of cities for the poorer classes, who are jumbled together in damp and ill-ventilated houses, while a large proportion actually live in cellars reeking with damp and filth. One-fourth of all the children born in St. Petersburg are illegitimate; and something like one-half of these die in infancy. Thus, though the capital of the czars presents at first view the appearance of prosperity and growth, it is delusive; and, when we come to examine the condition of its population, we find them to be even worse than those of the much and justly decried slums of London, Paris, and Constantinople.

face, that it is not surprising that they have obscured his real merit and challenged the attention of the critics. Nevertheless, while the excuse is obvious, we think that Mr. Miller has received less than justice, especially among his own countrymen. For, in spite of all his faults, he possesses some genuine poetic qualities. For one thing, his voice is his own; his themes, thoughts, and illustra tions, are not echoes of a library, but are drawn from his own experience and observation; and his verse is no mere structure of rhythm and rhyme, but spontaneous, natural singing. Notwithstanding much that was false in sentiment, tawdry in conception, and crude in style, the " Songs of the Sierras " contained some true poetry, and poetry of an original and vigorous type. The “ Songs of the Sun-Lands" displayed the same qualities, and seemed to indicate that culture and wider experience were exercising their proper chastening influence upon the poet's art. We were among those who believed that Mr. Miller's merits were of a kind likely to be developed, and his faults of a kind likely to be outgrown; and we felt tolerably confident that he would in time produce work that would compel recognition. It is with no slight sense of disappointment, therefore, that we confess that his latest book, "The Ship in the Desert " (Boston: Roberts Bros.), is so distinctly inferior as almost to justify whatever has been said in his dispraise.

"The Ship in the Desert" sins in nearly every possible way. In the first place, the author proclaims at the start, with a sort of contemptuous candor, that it is not the kind of work he would be at, but was written merely as a concession to "the world," which, "like a spoiled child, demands a tale." So anxious is he to have this condescension understood that, after calling attention to it once in his preface, he goes out of his way to weave it into his verse, where it cannot be overlooked:

"The world's cold commerce of to-day
Demands some idle, flippant theme;
And I, your minstrel, must sit by
And harp along the edge of morn,
And sing and celebrate to please
The multitude, the mob, and these
They know not pearls from yellow corn.'

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Now, whatever Mr. Miller's real merits as a poet may be, he certainly has not attained a position which entitles him to look down, as from a lofty pedestal, upon a suppliant world craving the bounty of his speech. Waiving this point, however, and conceding that the world is listening, we are certainly entitled to assume that, if it demands a tale, it wants one which should at least be intelligible and interesting. If so, the demand has not yet been supplied. Mr. Miller's present tale reminds us of nothing so much as of the manuscript of a "novel" which once came under our notice. It was written by a miss, scarcely more than a child, and, while it contained some really felicitous bits, the young author had quite forgotten that men must

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