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nature, the joy offered to us in the simple, ele- Inheritest the lion's den ;
An incommunicable sleep. share it."
“ I look for ghosts; but none will force We should attempt to popularize Wordsworth,
Their way to me: 'tis falsely said so far as he can be popularized, by first present- That there was ever intercourse ing to the uninitiated some of those pure and Between the living and the dead ; lucid pictures of simple beauty in which, though For, surely, then I should have sight they, too, embody the “lonely rapture of lonely Of him I wait for day and night, minds,” everybody may take some delight, if only With love and longings infinite. . for the color and the animation with which the
"My apprehensions come in crowds ; poet's buoyant mind has invested them. Where,
I dread the rustling of the grass ; for instance, is there a lover of poetry of any
The very shadows of the clouds kind who could not enter into the vivacity of
Have power to shake me as they pass : such a poem as this ?
I question things, and do not find " THE DAFFODILS.
One that will answer to my mind;
And all the world appears unkind.
"Beyond participation lie
My troubles, and beyond relief;
If any chance to heave a sigh,
They pity me, and not my grief.
Then come to me, my son, or send
Some tidings that my woes may end ; “Continuous as the stars that shine
I have no ot!
earthly friend !”
The intensity of maternal passion, as it is re-
flected in the lonely musings of one who can Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
concentrate as well as understand it, was never Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. more powerfully translated into human speech.
After this, we would place before the reader “The waves beside them danced; but they Outdid the sparkling waves in glee :
some of the many poems in which Wordsworth's A poet could not but be gay,
feeling for the purest grace and beauty of human In such a jocund company:
life, and his fine sense of the analogy between I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
the beauty of nature and the beauty of human What wealth the show to me had brought
loveliness, are most exquisitely expressed-as, for
example, the lovely sonnet to a lady beautiful in “For oft, when on my couch I lie
her old age :
“Such age how beautiful! O lady bright,
Whose mortal lineaments seem all refined
By favoring nature and a saintly mind
To something purer and more exquisite
Than flesh and blood; whene'er thou meet'st my The color, the life, the motion in that exquisite
sight, picture will reconcile many to the significance of When I behold thy blanched unwithered cheek, the last verse, who would fail, at first at least, to
Thy temples fringed with locks of gleaming white, see that in the last verse lies the real pith and And head that droops because the soul is meek, power of the poem. Next, we should go on to Thee with the welcome snowdrop I compare ; point out the fidelity and strength with which That child of winter, prompting thoughts that Wordsworth can take up into his musing imagi
climb nation, and isolate there, the simplest and most
From desolation toward the genial prime; permanent of the human passions, as, for ex
Or with the moon conquering earth's misty air, ample, in the noble poem called “The Affliction And filling more and more with crystal light of Margaret,” in which a bereaved mother, who
As pensive Evening deepens into night." waits in vain to learn her long-lost son's fate, And then, rising a little higher, we would enpours forth her heart's yearnings :
treat the reader to let the perfect melody of "Perhaps some dungeon hears thee groan,
“The Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle • Maimed, mangled by inhuman men ; sink gradually into him, observing especially the Or thou upon a desert thrown
remarkable contrast between the calm, sweet VOL. VII.-15
' Again he wanders forth at will,
eagle, lord of land and sea,
If, after such an initiation as this, any average cultivated man were not convinced that Wordsworth at his best was a great poet, we should almost despair of any large measure of popularity for Wordsworth. But with such an initiation, we think almost any cultivated man might be convinced that in Wordsworth there was indeed a great poet, however much also that was not great poetry, might have come out of him. And then, perhaps, we might go a little further, and the reader who had appreciated Wordsworth thus far, might by this time learn to understand the mystical grandeur of the “Ode to Duty”; the meditative passion which, like a river which sometimes runs above and sometimes underground, makes of “The Prelude,” in spite of considerable intervals of prose, so magnificent a poem; the subtile splendor of the three poems on Yarrow; and this latest of all the really great poems of Wordsworth, his spiritual "Skylark" (written in 1825), in which the genius of the man may be said to be almost perfectly embodied :
“ Ethereal minstrel ! pilgrim of the sky!
Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound?
To the last point of vision, and beyond,
“ Leave to the nightingale her shady wood;
A privacy of glorious light is thine ;
“ Alas! the impassioned minstrel did not know How, by Heaven's grace, this Clifford's heart was
framed ; How he, long forced in humble walks to go,
Was softened into feeling, soothed and tamed. “ Love had he found in huts where poor men lie ;
His daily teachers had been woods and rills,
Any one who had really learned to love this poem as it deserves, would hardly fail to love, in time, all that is great in Wordsworth-and is it not nearly half of all that he has written?
AND DID NOT GET IT.
and prepared him for opposition and indignaCHAPTER XIII.
He tried to shake off the impression pro
duced by this contempt and wrath. It was useHOW STEPHEN ASKED FOR BARE JUSTICE,
less. An hour before he had been a strong man, walking with the firm tread of strength. Now
he felt small and weak; he walked, or thought THE HE die was cast, then. Stephen had com- he walked, with bent knees; he seemed to trem
mitted all his fortunes to one hazard, the ble as he stood; and when he looked at his chance of his being right.
mother's portrait, her eyes, which to him had The great, quiet house—his own, he said to always been so full of pity and of love, were himself-became almost intolerable to him. The turned, like those of Alison, into loathing. One face of the indignant girl, so like, so reproach- never, you see, estimates quite justly beforehand fully like his mother, haunted him, and remained the consequences of one's actions. with him. Above the mantel-shelf, the Señora But he had done it. It was too late to go gazed down upon him with sorrowful eyes of back. deep black, like Alison's, which followed him No future words of his could ever destroy wherever he moved. The girl's very gestures those which had passed between himself and recalled to his mind his mother, her Spanish his niece. They could never be recalled. There blood, and her Spanish ways. It was not pleas- could be, he said, no reconciliation for himself and ant, again, to feel that somewhere the two Alison; there could be nothing between them ladies were conversing together, indignant and for the future but a duel d outrance. On her humiliated, in wrath, shame, and misery; it was side would be his cousins, all the family. On not an agreeable reflection that not only then, his own, the mystery—the impenetrable mystery but ever afterward, he would be regarded as the of her birth. author of all the sorrow. One may be an im- The battle was inevitable: the victory, he penitent spendthrift; one may be the black sheep tried to persuade himself, was certain. Yet he of the family; but one never likes to be thought hesitated. He wished he had been more gentle : the cause and origin of trouble, and this Stephen he wished he had kept his temper; he wished he had brought upon his own back. Besides, he had weighed his words. One thing he could do: would have been the blackest of villains, indeed, he would leave the house. There was no neceshad he been able altogether to forget Anthony, sity for him to continue under the same roof with the generous brother who had maintained him his brother's daughter; he could hardly turn her in luxury for so many years, and whom he was out: he would leave it himself, at all events for going to repay in this—this very disagreeable a time, until the first shock of the row should way, so very disagreeably put by Anthony's wear off a little. daughter. People do not so much mind the sin His nerves were shaken, and he was glad to of ingratitude as being reminded of it.
find an excuse for getting out of the place. The Stephen took no notice whatever of the issue was so important, the stake so great, the boy's impertinence : that was nothing : he hardly associations of the house so strong, that he wantheard it; for the moment he was wholly over- ed the solitude of his own chambers. He told powered by a sense of his own audacity. His the footman that he should not be back for a mother, from her picture; his brother, from day or two, and left the house. In reality, he every corner of the room, from every trifle about ran away from Alison, whom he feared to meet it, from every book, from every chair—for all was again. full of his memory ; his brother's daughter, with Alison, for her part, outraged and stricken her gestures of surprise, contempt, and loath- down by this cruel and wholly unexpected blow, ing; his cousin, timid and gentle enough as a took refuge in her own room, trying to understand rule, with her tearful face of sorrow and disgust it, if she might. She was too wretched for tears. -these, separately and together, reminded Ste- She threw herself upon the bed and buried her phen that he had staked his all upon one event, face in her hands, moaning with agony and
shame. Everything was torn away at once; the He begged his mother to remember that for the dream of a fond and worthy mother, the belief in future. a noble and honorable father.
“Fig pudding, old lady!" he cried presently, Had Anthony Hamblin foreseen this sorrow ? with beaming eyes, having the dish set well beHad there been no middle way possible, by which fore him. “Figs made into pudding are recomthe girl could have been spared at once the mended by doctors. They are said to be comshame of her father's sin, and the agony of her forting after trouble.” He cut a slice for his mother's dishonor ?
mother, and then placed a very large one on his “Grief,” said young Nick, when the clock own plate. “This,” he said, with a sigh, “is for pointed to half-past one, which was dinner-time Alison, poor girl! She can't eat any. This " (he
'grief, with waxiness, makes a man hungry. added another massive lump) “is for myself. I Call down Alison, mother. Dinner will be on will do the best I can and eat up her slice for the table in a minute or two. As for the first her. She must not be allowed to lower the syscousin once removed, he's gone. I saw him out tem.” His white eyebrows glittered like a diaof the house myself ten minutes ago."
mond-spray as he rapturously contemplated the Mrs. Cridland went to call her niece. She double ration. returned after a few minutes, her eyes heavy with As for Stephen, he was driving to town in a tears. Alison would not come down at all. cab.
Young Nick shook his head sagaciously. As he had been so hasty, as the thing had
Girls,” he said, “are good at a slanging been told, as the cousins would most certainly match. Their tongues hang free, and their cac- hear of it immediately, it was far better, he kle is continuous. Men are nowhere. Still, men thought, to go to them himself and tell the story don't shirk their grub because they've had a first. At present, too, he had accepted the post fight. None such fools. It's only girls who of guardian, and thereby put himself in a false don't see when it comes to keeping up the peck- position. He ought not to have taken it; he er, that the pecker must be kept up by more than ought to have asserted his claim from the beginthe usual amount of grub, and break down. ning, in a modest but firm way; he should have One short burst, good enough while it lasts, is communicated his suspicions. But then Stephen the most they can manage. Then it is all over.” could never run straight. Meantime he must go
When dinner was served, he took Alison's and tell his story, whatever the result. place at the head of the table and assumed the The result? Outside the house he began to carving-knife and fork with considerable increase shake off some of the whipped-hound feeling of dignity. Whatever might happen, he had which oppressed him beneath the triple influence covered himself with glory as the defier of vil- . of which I have spoken. The result? What lainy. Besides, it is not every day that a boy of result could there be ? His brother had never fourteen is trusted to carve.
married. Why, justice was on his side; he “ Boiled rabbit, mother"-he brandished the asked for nothing but plain and simple justice : carving-knife with ostentatious dexterity--"boiled let bare justice be done to every man alike. What rabbit, smothered in onions, and a little piece of could his cousins, what could the world, object pickled pig. Ah! and a very fair notion of a to in his claim for simple justice? simple dinner, too; what we may call a reason
Yet there was once a man, a younger son, able tuck-in for a hungry man : not a blow-out, who laid a claim to a great title and great estate, like the Hamblin Dinner; but a dinner that a held by his elder brother, on much the same man can do justice to, particularly if there's no grounds as he was about to advance. And falling off when the pudding comes. Let me though he had justice on his side, though it was give you a slice off the back. I say, mother" - clearly proved that he was the heir, the world there was a twinkle in his eye as he stuck the condemned that man for raking up old scandals, carving-knife into the vertebræ—“I say, I wish for dishonoring the name of his mother, and the the bunny's back was Uncle Stephen's, and my credit of his father. Stephen thought of that knife was in it. Wouldn't I twist it? And sup- case, but he hardened his heart. Besides, he pose we had him before us actually smothered in said it was done now; he had spoken the fatal onions!”
words, he must go on. To tell Alison, for inHe took a more than ample meal, because, as stance, that he intended to let her hold the eshe explained, he had now hurled defiance at his tates by his gracious favor would never console uncle, and a gentleman's glove once thrown down her for the trouble he had brought upon her, had to be fought for; therefore he must hasten would never heal the wound he had inflicted, to grow and get strong. With which object he would never lead her to forgive him who had must eat much more meat than was heretofore cast a blot upon the fair name of her father. thought prudent, and a great deal more pudding. And, again, it was absurd to suppose that he was
going to let her hold the estates when they were a cigar between their lips—and smoking, espehis own.
cially in the daytime, was always an abomination If no man suddenly becomes the basest of to Augustus Hamblin. Lastly, Stephen's cousin men, it is also true that no man, brought up as noticed that his cheek was twitching-a sign of Stephen Hamblin was brought up, can at any nervousness—and that his hands shook, which time, after however long a course of selfish pam- might be the effect of villainous intention, or of pering to his own appetites, contemplate an ac- late hours, or it might be drink. It must be untion of the basest kind without some sort of hes- derstood that Augustus put none of these obitation. No one would deny that this man was servations into words. They remained unarticuone eminently untrustworthy. Most of those lated thoughts. who knew him best trusted him least. There “You here, Stephen ?" he asked, not very was, in the opinion of his cousins, no wickedness cordially. “Is anything wrong with your ward ?” of which he was not capable. They would not, “Nothing is wrong with my ward," replied for instance, have believed that this deed, perpe- Stephen. “ It is not about her, or at least only trated with such apparent calm deliberation, could indirectly, that I have come to see you." have cost him so much hesitation and self-abase- “Is it on business? Then we will ask my ment. When we plan out a line of action for a partner to be present. Two heads are better knave, we are generally right, but we forget how than one, or three better than two." much battling with his knavish conscience it He whistled down a tube and sent his mescosts him.
sage. In truth, Stephen, by much brooding over the Augustus Hamblin spoke cheerfully, but he thing, had got to the level of hallucinations, a remembered what Alderney Codd had told him, very common level with all sorts of people whom and he felt uneasy. William the Silent presently the world condemns.
came, and nodded to Stephen ; but he, too, looked He thought people would sympathize with meaningly toward his partner. The two sat like him. In imagination, he took up the attitude of a judicial bench behind the table. Stephen, like one who calmly, firmly, and without heat or pas- a criminal, stood before them. He laid down sion, claims his own, standing out for the simple, the cigar, and looked from one to the other with the barest justice.
a certain embarrassment. Alison showed him, with her swift contempt, “You will remember,” he said presently, prohow the world would really regard his action, ducing a pocket-book full of papers—but this was what he would really seem. With her spear of only a pretense—“you will remember that when Ithuriel she changed him from the upright figure I was here last, Augustus, I asked you
what of a wronged and injured man to a crawling, knew about my brother Anthony's marriage.” sneaking spy, who had crept into the house un- "Certainly." der false pretenses, and made use of his oppor- “Since then I have been employing myself, in tunities to pry into the secrets of his brother, Alison's interests, in trying to clear up the mysdiscover the weak points and nakedness of the tery.” land, and, in his own interests, search into all the “Yes, though you might as well have left it secret documents.
alone." This view of the matter was not so pleasant "I might as well, so far as her interests go, to contemplate, and Stephen put it behind him as it seems,” said Stephen, clearing his throat. as much as possible.
His face was pale now, but his attitude was firm He deposited his bag in his chambers at Pall and erect. He was about to fire the fatal shot. Mall, took a late lunch, with a single pint of “I might as well, because I have made—a rechampagne, at his club, and then drove into the markable discovery among Anthony's papers-a City. Since the thing had to be done, let it be most surprising discovery-a thing which alters done quickly.
the whole complexion of affairs, and puts me in He presented himself at his cousin's private a most awkward position.” office with an air which struck Augustus Ham- One of Stephen's least pleasant traits was a blin as of ill omen. His dark eyes were blood- certain liability to inspiration of sudden falseshot and more shifty than usual. They were hood, just as some men are apt to be inspired by ringed with black, the result of midnight pota- sudden bursts of generosity and lofty purpose. tions, not of villainy, and they seemed more It would have been better for him had he stated crow's-footed than usual ; his dress, which was the truth, that he suspected no marriage, and that of a young man of five-and-twenty, seemed found in the papers no proof of marriage. But more than usually incongruous; he held between it occurred to him at the moment that he would his lips the remaining half of a great cigar-men strengthen his case if he asserted that he had of Stephen Hamblin's stamp are seldom without found proof of no marriage—a very different thing.