Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

strong opinions as to what was due by the govern- personage; but after the first chapter, in which he is ment to men of letters :

outlined for us, we catch no further glimpse of TheoIn 1850 he wrote a letter to “The Morning phrastus Such, and he simply takes his place in the Chronicle," which has since been republished, in gallery of character-types which the author has enwhich he alludes to certain opinions which had been deavored to portray for us. In the later essays, in put forth in “The Examiner.” “I don't see,” he says, particular, the standpoint is frankly and undisguised

why men of letters should not very cheerfully coin- ly that of a woman and of George Eliot, and we are cide with Mr. Examiner in accepting all the honors, under no obligation to distinguish between what she places, and prizes which they can get. The amount herself really thinks and feels and what she imagines of such as will be awarded to them will not, we may be pretty sure, impoverish the country much; and if that a given character under certain circumstances it is the custom of the state to reward by money, or would think and feel. The opinions and the mental titles of honor, or stars and garters of any sort, in- attitude are those of George Eliot in propria persona, dividuals who do the country service--and if indi: and for this reason the book will probably have a viduals are gratified at having 'Sir' or ‘My Lord' appended to their names, or stars and ribbons hooked greater biographical value than any other of her on to their coats and waistcoats, as men most un

works. doubtedly are, and as their wives, famil and rela. In attempting to define the character of the work tions are—there can be no reason why men of letters we can get some help, perhaps, by borrowing a fashould not have the chance, as well as men of the miliar analogy from another art. Our idea is, that robe or the sword ; or why, if honor and money are

these detached and independent essays are substangood for one profession, they should not be good for another. No man in other callings thinks himself tially identical with the sketches or “studies” which degraded by receiving a reward from his Govern- painters make as memoranda of passing impressions ment; nor, surely, need the literary man be more or scenic effects, with the design at some time of squeamish about pensions, and ribbons, and titles, using them as material for a picture. In other words, than the ambassador, or general, or judge. Every we have here some neat and finished specimens of European state but ours rewards its men of letters. The American Government gives them their full the raw material out of which George Eliot constructs share of its small patronage; and if Americans, why her novels; and it is difficult to avoid the feeling in not Englishmen? ”

contemplating them that it was either the original In this a great subject is discussed which would design to present them to us in quite another stage be too long for these pages; but I think that there of elaboration and development, or that they are now exists a feeling that literature can herself, for what the scientists would call “arrested growths"herself, produce a rank as effective as any that a Queen's minister can bestow. Surely it would be a types which were not found adapted for working into repainting of the lily, an adding a flavor to the a general scheme of life, but which are worth study rose, a gilding of refined gold to create to-morrow a. as isolated phenomena. They are the better worth Lord Viscount Tennyson, a Baron Carlyle, or a Right attention, moreover, because there are unmistakable Honorable Sir Robert Browning. And as for pay and pension, the less the better of it for any profes. signs that the “studies" are from nature—that the sion, unless so far as it may be payment made for sketches are really portraits, and not merely the creawork done. Then the higher the payment the bet- tures of the author's imagination. The several charter, in literature as in all other trades. . It may be acters portrayed with such keenness and penetration doubted even whether a special rank of its own be good for literature, such as that which is achieved by number of individuals, but because each is repre

are typical not because they are generalized from a the happy possessors of the forty chairs of the Academy in France. Even though they had an angel to sentative of an entire class and represents it so accumake the choice—which they have not—that angel rately that to describe an individual is to describe would do more harm to the excluded than good to the class. the selected.-(Page 36.)

The relation which these sketches bear to the auWe have already spoken of the felicity and ani- thor's more customary work is curiously exemplified, mation of Mr. Trollope's style, but it would be less

we think, in the chapter entitled “ The Modern than justice not to call attention in closing to the Hep! Hep! Hep!” This, the longest, most earreadableness of the book, apart from its interest in nest, and most labored essay in the book, simply other respects. Though composed chiefly of literary presents argumentatively the proposition which was criticism, the effort of reading it is as that involved worked out dramatically in the Jewish sections of in what the scientists have agreed to call

“ Daniel Deronda"; it is the rationale, so to speak, scious cerebration."

of the seer, poet, and enthusiast, Mordecai. Both the essay and the novel are an attempt to discredit

the hereditary and wellnigh universal antipathy to The characteristic which is most likely to im- domestic life; and to show that they have exhibited

Jews; to vindicate them on the side of history and press one in reading the “Impressions of Theo- through long ages of contumely and persecution phrastus Such "* is its complete dissimilarity to

those very qualities—patriotism, pride of race, and anything that George Eliot has previously written. A thin veil of fiction is attempted to be thrown over

persistent memory of a glorious past—which distinit by attributing the lucubrations to an imaginary The idea of a restored Jewish nationality—a reëse

guish all the most advanced peoples of the world, Impressions of Theophrastus Such. By George tablished Judea-pervades the essay as well as the Eliot. New York: Harper & Brothers. iómo. Pp. 234. novel ; and it is evident that the conception is one

uncon

*

which was not used dramatically to give a touch of and painting, so that he is more successful than a ideal completeness to the imaginary figure of a Jew- mere scientist would be in endeavoring to present in ish enthusiast, but has really taken vital hold upon a simple and comprehensible manner the underlying George Eliot's own sympathies. Whether the essay facts upon which the artistic use of color necessarily or the novel was written first, the relation between depends. “ The possession of these facts,” he says, the two is unmistakable; and this, we think, throws “will not enable people to become artists; but it light upon the original intent or purpose of the other may to some extent prevent ordinary persons, critics, essays.

and even painters, from talking and writing about It is probably superfluous to say that even in these color in a loose, inaccurate, and not always rational sketches George Eliot does not content herself with manner.” It would be difficult, indeed, to say to surface traits and resemblances, but penetrates very which class the treatise will be most useful : it will deeply into the innermost recesses of character, par- be very near the truth, perhaps, to say that it conticularly when she is tracing out some elusive and tains about as much science as the art-student will chameleon-like vice or frailty. Indeed, there would find serviceable, and about as much art as will enable be something terrible and repellent in the relentless- the student of science to appreciate the full meaning ness of her analysis were it not for a certain large- of the facts with which he deals. ness of vision which enables her to “see life steadily One chapter of Professor Rood's work is devoted and see it whole," and thus seeing it to perceive that to the abnormal perception of color, or “ Color-Blindman, as Sir Thomas Browne said, is a bundle of con- ness," and this forms the subject of a somewhat elabtradictions, and that a man with a bad quality, how- orate volume by Dr. B. Joy Jeffries, of Boston.* The ever obtrusive and offensive, is not necessarily a bad subject has only very recently attained prominence, man. “None all good, but good in all," may be Dr. Jeffries's being the third monograph upon it yet said to be the moral and summary of the “Impressions published ; but its importance may be realized when of Theophrastus Such," and one who looks out upon it is stated that experiments made on a large scale the world around him with a like keenness of penc- in three or four of the leading countries of Europe, tration will be apt to find ample confirmation of it. and confirmed by the investigations of Dr. Jeffries in

America, show that about one person in every twenty

five is partially or completely color-blind. The obTwo books on color appear upon our table this vious and great dangers arising from the defect in month, and may conveniently be noticed together, railway employees, pilots, mariners, etc., where the though in aim and method of treatment they are safety of human life depends upon their correct inquite distinct. Professor Ogden Rood's “Modern terpretation of colored signals, are what give the Chromatics "* is a contribution to the International matter its practical importance; and these dangers Scientific Series , and attempts to present in a pop the community. Dr. Jeffries thinks that many rail

are so great as to demand the immediate attention of ular and easily intelligible but strictly scientific manner the fundamental facts connected with our way and marine accidents, otherwise inexplicable, perception of color. The nature of light is first

are to be referred to color-blindness; and as the carefully explained ; then the different methods of defect, if congenital (as it usually is), is incurable, its reflection and transmission ; then the way in there is no adequate protection but “the elimination which it is broken up or subdivided in the spectrum;

from the personnel of railways and vessels of all perand, finally, the manner in which it acts upon the

sons whose position requires perfect color-perception, eye so as to produce the sensation of color. Many

and who fail to possess this." He urges, therefore, curious facts discovered by other observers are brought that, “through a law of the Legislature, orders from out, and a degree of exactness not previously attained State railroad commissioners, or by the rules and has been secured by numerous and careful experi- regulations of the railroad corporations themselves, ments devised and conducted by the author himself

. each and every employee should be carefully tested The more important of these experiments are de- for color-blindness by an expert competent to detect scribed in such detail and illustrated so copiously be uniform. all deficient should be removed from

it. The test and the inethod of application should with charts and diagrams that they can easily be repeated or verified by those possessed of the neces

their posts of danger. Every person offering himsary apparatus. But the most distinctive feature of self as an employee should be tested for color-blindthe book is, that the author has not confined himself ness and refused if he has it. Every employee who to the scientific aspects of his subject, but devotes a

has had any severe illness, or who has been injured, large share of his attention to its ästhetic or artistic should be tested again for color-blindness before he side. For more than twenty years Professor Rood is allowed to resume his duties. Periodic examinahas enjoyed the privilege of familiar intercourse with tions of the whole personnel should also be required.” artists, and during that period has devoted a good

Dr. Jeffries's treatise is detailed and exhaustive, deal of leisure time to the practical study of drawing explaining (as does Professor Rood) the nature of

a

our color-perception, pointing out the apparent cause # Modern Chromatics, with Applications to Art and Industry. By Professor Ogden N. Rood. International * Color-Blindness : Its Dangers and its Detection. Scientific Series. Volume xxvi. New York: D. Apple- By B. Joy Jeffries, A. M., M. D. Boston: Houghton, ton & Co. 12mo, pp. 329.

Osgood & Co. 12mo, pp. 312,

1

.6

[ocr errors]

of color-blindness and the different forms which it nothing that is good, that he fatigues by his diffusetakes—commonly red-blindness or green-blindness, ness; Mr. Russell is well aware that he can not more rarely violet-blindness—discussing the various include all, and so contents himself with taking the methods which have been devised for its detection, kernel. and furnishing a series of tests which are at once Aside from its readableness, “Library Notes " is simple and conclusive. A considerable portion of a very convenient book to have at hand when the his book is a translation from the work of Professor delinquent memory refuses to yield up those neat Holmgren, whose theory and system he adopts; but quotations or illustrative anecdotes which may be he has summarized all the facts gathered by all pre- introduced so happily in writing or conversation. vious investigators, and has added to them the re- There is scarcely a conceivable topic about which sults of some twelve thousand independent examina- there are not one or more passages, and what there tions of his own. His book, in fact, is a complete is, is certain to be pointed, apposite, and suggestive. recensus of the existing knowledge of its subject; A copious analytical index furnishes an easy key to and, as the subject concerns wellnigh every one, so the treasures of the volume. the style of treating it is such as to make the book attractive to the general reader.

PROFESSOR HAECKEL, perhaps the most eminent among living German biologists, has set himself the

difficult and important task of rendering the elementThe plan upon which Mr. Russell has constructed ary principles and facts of evolution intelligible, not his “ Library Notes "* is very simple, and, in view merely to special students of science, but to that wider of its somewhat daring simplicity, the result is sur- circle of educated readers who, without any special prisingly good. He is apparently an omnivorous read- training or acquirements, yet feel an enlightened iner, and he has had the patience to copy out or note terest in the vital questions of the time. In his “ Natudown all the passages which for any reason struck ral History of Creation,” published several years ago him as being impressive. These passages, touching and recently reproduced in English, he traces in upon an infinite variety of subjects, he has strung broad, general outlines the developm of the whole together, sometimes upon a very tenuous conn

nnecting animal and vegetable kingdom. In the “ Evolution thread, and sometimes with no connecting thread of Man," * which he describes as a second and more at all that can be discovered by the casual reader. detailed part of the previous work, he attempts to There is an attempt at classification, it is true; but render in a like degree intelligible the entire histhe several heads selected—Insufficiency, Extremes, tory of man's development, both as an individual Disguises, Standards, Rewards, Limits, Incongruity, from the parental germ, and as an animal species (or Mutations, Paradoxes, Contrasts, Types, Conduct, “tribe," as he calls it) from the most rudimentary Religion-show that the compiler adopted them for form of animal life. This stupendous pedigree, Prothe special purpose of avoiding the limitations of any fessor Haeckel claims, can now be traced out by scidefinitive theme. The chapters on Mutations, Par- ence with a degree of probability which amounts to adoxes, and Religion, are fairly homogeneous and substantial certainty; and he attempts to make each systematic; but the remainder are, as we liave said, of its successive stages intelligible to the non-scienlittle more than an aggregation of passages from tific reader, together with the double evidence in various sources which the compiler considered for support of it drawn from the study of man's develone or another reason noteworthy.

opment as an individual (anthropogeny) and as a Such being the case, the question naturally arises, race or “tribe” (phylogeny). The difficulty of such How comes it that the book is so readable ? As a

a task, as he admits, is very great, “because the de. general thing, nothing could be more drcary than fective natural scientific instruction in our schools, collections of “ elegant extracts”; yet Mr. Russell's

even in the present day, leaves educated men quite book, though even more heterogeneous and helter.

or nearly ignorant of the structure and arrangement skelter than usual, is in a remarkable degree readable of their bodies"; but there are few obstacles which and appetizing. The reason is not obvious, but it attentive reading will not surmount, and of the work is to be found, we think, in the fact that Mr. Rus

as a whole, Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace says, “ There sell's taste is at once catholic and cultivated, that he is probably no book in any language which gives so knows just where to begin and where to end his full

, so clear, and so perfectly intelligible an account quotations, and that he obtrudes himself upon the of the earlier stages of the development of animals.” reader's attention no more than is absolutely neces

The present translation is from the third German sary. We have found scarcely a single one among edition, which has been carefully revised by the the thousands of excerpts in his book which is not author, and provided with a preface in which he really worth preservation, and there are a neatness

meets the objections of various critics. and precision about them which are very exceptional in such compilations. Disraeli is so anxious to lose * The Evolution of Man : A Popular Exposition of

the Principal Points of Human Ontogeny and Phylogeny. * Library Notes. By A. P. Russell. New edition, From the German of Professor Ernst Haeckel. In Two revised and enlarged. Boston: Houghton, Osgood & Volumes. With Illustrations. New York : D. AppleCo. 12mo, pp. 402.

ton & Co. 12mo, pp. 467, 504.

[blocks in formation]

a

“I don't know a word more of Euclid than CHAPTER I.

when I first began it, sir." As she makes the THE STUDY OF EUCLID.

confession, Jeanne picks up her lesson-book, Eu

clid's “ Elements," from the ground. “. Proposi“HE

E loves me," murmurs Jeanne—"a little tion XV. Theorem: If two straight lines cut —not at all. He loves me."

one another, the vertical or opposite angles shall The sun's rays, setting, transmute the dusk be equal.' Then why try to prove it? Why expanses of the Schwarzwald into gold; they need we go on with these hideous angles and turn to fire the pointed roofs and lozenged win- right angles? Why do you insist-yes, Mr. dows of Schloss Egmont; they kiss with softest Wolfgang, insist—on teaching me things that bronze the head of Jeanne Dempster, as she have no use and no beauty ?” stands, idly dreaming the dreams of seventeen, “For the same reason that, were I Mamselle in one of the rose-shadowed, weed-grown ter- Ange, I would insist upon your learning to ride races of the old Schloss garden.

or dance,” says Wolfgang coolly; “to promote A half-demolished daisy is between the little the growth of muscle—mental muscle in the maid's fingers; a lesson-book, face downward, case of Euclid. If all girls were taught mathelies on the gravel at her feet.

matics—" “Er liebt mich.” Despite her English birth, “They would turn out beings as superior as Jeanne speaks German like a true child of the all men ?" interrupts Jeanne, lifting her dark eyes Wald—sweet, incorrect, rippling German, de- to the master's face. “The thought encourages liciously unlike the classic Hanoverian dialect of me, Mr. Wolfgang. I will try my best to see the suburban boarding-schools. “Ein wenig-nicht. meaning of Proposition XV., theorem and all, by Er liebt mich"

next lesson." “ Deep, as usual, in Euclid !” says a man's A smile, quickly suppressed, comes round the voice, close behind her shoulder. Neither master's lips. Mamselle Ange nor Fräulein Jeanne being visi- “The sarcasm, Miss Dempster, is somewhat ble, I have brought the implements of study out personal, considering that I am the only man of of doors. But I would on no account disturb education higher than a woodcutter's who as yet you. It were pity to break the thread of mathe- has crossed your path.” matical calculation so profound. Choose your “The only man higher than a woodcutter? own time to begin."

Du lieber, and what kind of life do you suppose And, depositing three or four dingy-looking that we have led, then, Ange and I? We spend schoolbooks, a pewter inkstand, some quill pens, a week in Freiburg every summer, sir, and we and a sand-box upon the balustrade of the ter- have gone through the Kur at Autogast; and once race, Jeanne's master takes his place on the stone we went to Baden-Baden and saw the Emperor bench beside which the girl is standing, and pro- start for the Oos races—four black horses he had, ceeds quietly to light his meerschaum.

and outriders. And I was so near, his Majesty VOL. VII.-13

[ocr errors]

rens,

ment.

man.

took off his hat to me! And we went to hear Jeanne Dempster.” And then they hazard a * Faust' in the evening, among a crowd of bold review of it from the standpoint of Teutonic princes and royal dukes and Hochwohlgebo-criticism, Mr Wolfgang's memory supplying the

Mamselle Ange says I shall be taken to a text of all the notablest translations into German. ball at the Residenz next year; and we know old An Englishman who does not understand Baron von Katzenellenbogen, and—and the Eng- our language can never appreciate Shakespeare,” lish chaplain's son at Freiburg," cries Jeanne, he observes, with intentional arrogance. “Hear desperately seeking to swell the list of her male Heine's rendering of 'She never told her love,' acquaintance by every available item that mem- and say if it be not stronger, sweeter, more musiory or imagination can supply.

cal, than the original : “Emperors, royal dukes, Hochwohlgeborens, and the English chaplain's son at Freiburg !" re

Sie sagte ihre Liebe nie, peats Wolfgang gravely. “I retract my obser- Und liess Verheimlichung, wie in der Knospe vation. Your experience of life and of men has Den Wurm, an ihrer Purpur-wange nagen.'”. been vastly wider than I gave you credit for, especially in matters operatic." He glances with "No, it is not sweeter,” cries little Jeanne meaning at the petals that strew the terrace pave- stoutly. “• Purpur-wange' is hideous, positively

"You were rehearsing Marguerite's so- hideous, to my ears. You pronounce English liloquy when I interrupted you just now—satis- better than I do, sir-except the b's and p's. factorily, I hope ?"

But, for all that, you are German at heart. You His tone is one of banter, and the quick blood have not the English instinct as I have.” springs to little Jeanne's cheek.

“English instinct! Shakespeare was only “I was rehearsing it, most satisfactorily," she first unearthed, dug up out of the mold of British answers with all the steadiness she has at com- indifference by Lessing. Without Wieland, Hermand. “Er liebt mich.' Words that in Eng- der, Goethe, what would the world know of Shakelish would scorch her lips, flow from them with- speare? Why, this very play, this character of out constraint in the familiar homeliness of Ger- Viola, were never so divinely interpreted as in

“ Ein wenig-nicht.' I had just got to our own century, by Heine." • Er liebt mich' for the third time—think of that, For a minute or more Jeanne is silent; her the third time, Mr. Wolfgang—when I heard delicate, grave face rapt in thought, her eyes fixed

on the cloudlets of amethyst and gold that float, “Horrible disillusionment ! To bring you like seraph-heads, above the gradually darkening still more thoroughly from pleasant dreams to Wald. distasteful reality, and, as this is the last lesson “In real life Viola would be a poor kind of you will have for a week to come, suppose we creature,” she remarks with an air of conviction. proceed to serious work. You are not in a "No girl with a grain of sense in her head would humor for Euclid, it seems, so I will begin by fall in love with a man, duke or no duke, unless correcting your Latin exercise. 'Est finctimus he asked her to marry him first." oritoris poëta'"-opening the page at which, Exactly the criticism I should expect to hear with all the conscientiousness that is in her, his from you," says Wolfgang. “Girls of seventeen pupil has been working. “Oritoris !' An error are simply the most prosaic, heartless, matter-ofof the gravest nature at starting. Perhaps you fact section of humanity. Talk of youthful imawill give me your attention while I try, once gination, fine feeling, the age of romance! Not more, to explain the use of the dative case after one woman in a hundred has a spark of romance the adjective."

belonging to her under thirty! Why, Mamselle The “serious work" proceeds upon its usual Ange–laugh at me as you like, I mean what I pattern. After an hour's torture over Latin and say—Mamselle Ange would be a thousand times mathematics, the master produces a well-used more alive to the pathos of Viola's character than volume from his pocket, and begins to read you are." aloud. Is not English elocution included among "Remember the narrowness of my experithe arts which he has engaged himself (at one ence, sir. You told me, a minute ago, that I had mark seventy-five pfennigs the lesson) to teach? never known a man better educated than a woodThe book chosen to-night is Shakespeare; the cutter, save yourself.” play, "Twelfth Night"; and Jeanne, hopelessly A just perceptible shade of red crosses Wolfobtuse in the higher sciences, is moved to sighs, gang's dark cheek. tears, laughter, at the reader's will. By and by “That puts every question of romance it pleases Wolfgang to hear such crude judg- sentiment on one side, does it not? But your ments as the girl can offer upon the play- experience is soon to be widened. Paul von Eg“Shakespeare," as he says, “annotated by Miss mont and his sister, I hear, after a dozen years'

your voice.”

a

a

[ocr errors]

or

« AnkstesnisTęsti »