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are surely not. Art, to give its best pleasures, an earlier age, had a strange appearance in the must surely deal with beautiful materials, and exhibitions of those days; partly the technical work them up in beautiful combinations; and shortcomings which it at first undoubtedly prebeauty is precisely the element wanting in the sented; but most of all that which was its greatordinary aspect of modern London streets and est proof of power and originality, its strong inLondon skies. It is, of course, true that since dividual color-or what we have called personal the revolution, by which art in the seventeenth vividness of conception. The ideals of Mr. Burnecentury asserted its freedom, and made itself Jones, as we have said already, are ideals of delisecular instead of sacerdotal, artists have no cacy rather than of strength ; his types are types longer the privilege of dealing exclusively with of tenderness and wistfulness rather than of prowmaterials of beauty. That the images of art ess and joy; the eyes and mouths that he habitshould be beautiful, or at least that they should ually draws are sad rather than merry; his figaim at beauty, was natural in days when artists ures are tall and slender rather than sturdy or had no other business than to embody in forms exuberant. So has every imaginative painter in of visible perfection the imagined objects of a history been governed by ideals of a special cast, fervent and universal worship. Nowadays the and instinctively preferred and created one order business of art is extended to the whole world rather than another of permanent human types of life, humanity, and experience; and the in- and expressions. Within the range of his imagicreased range and variety of the reports which it native preferences, the art of Mr. Burne-Jones is thus enabled to yield us, may well make up for displays no languor or monotony, it is rather full some decline in their splendor and charm. More- of a fiery energy, and inexhaustible in combinaover, we may expect to find individual artists tions of various richness and grace. But to all whom temperament and predilection, instead of this a certain order of critics still show themusage and prescription, may still lead back into selves blind. These are the victims, not indeed the world of the past, or out into the world of of a reasoned polemical theory, but of a preposdreams-worlds which they are free to people session which is more fatal than any reasoned exclusively with shapes of beauty, and whence theory to the proper appreciation of the works they will bring us reports colored with the spe- of art. Their prepossession is this, that to be cial intensity of personal vision and special fer- healthy is the first and only duty of man. And vor of private emotion. Such temperaments are certainly to be healthy is an excellent and neceslikely, in the modern world, to be the exception; sary thing. But when healthiness is too suscepbut, if any such appear, let us be prepared to tible and too self-conscious, too eager to parade recognize them, to enter into their aims, and do itself and too anxious to detect the signs of maljustice to their performances.
ady in others, we can not help suspecting that A remarkable instance of such a tempera- there is something wrong. In private life we ment, and one to whose performances contem- are all acquainted with the feeble and diminutive porary criticism found itself at first quite unpre- type of personage who is always inviting us to pared to do justice, is that of our own country- test the condition of his biceps, and exhibiting man, Mr. Burne-Jones. As soon as this artist feats of prowess upon fire-irons or door-panels. began to exhibit, those most versed in the un- There is nothing that so much reminds us of this prejudiced study of art perceived that his work, personage as the critic who, seeing in the works with many shortcomings due to imperfect train- of a painter the characters of wistfulness and ing, combined in a very high degree some of the tenderness which I have described, but seeing qualities most rare in modern painting, as per- nothing more, is instantly on the alarm, and cries sonal vividness of imagination, beauty and rich- out in the name of health against what he imagness of linear design, splendor and harmony of ines to be signs of feebleness and debility. These coloring Nevertheless, it was received with are what I have called the morbidly robust critacrimonious derision by nearly all the newspaper ics. critics. This attitude was not due to the influ- "Perhaps," writes one such, with a fine irony, ence of any exclusive theory like that which has "there is something higher in art than the love at various times possessed the extreme partisans of beauty—the love of disease and languor and of modernism in France : matters of this kind despair." Let him reassure himself, there is are not debated with the same eager intelligence nothing higher in art than the love of beauty ; here as there, nor do sections frame and follow only, if he was more accustomed to study the up their war-cries with the same promptitude characters of art, and to fit expressions and acand passion. What people disliked in the work tions in a picture with their appropriate names, of Mr. Burne-Jones was partly its strangeness I think he would feel that the words disease, -any attempt at the more potent and enchant- languor, and despair were here in no sense to ing effects of painting, such as were common in the point. The most curious instance, however,
of the exaggerations of this temper is that which let it observe, and, if it thinks proper, deplore, I have already quoted from the “ Pall Mall Ga- the limitations of individual power; but in dezette.” Mr. Burne-Jones paints a picture of manding from the creative artist qualities the Venus touching into life the statue fashioned by reverse of what it happens to be his to give, Pygmalion, and the picture is one of very re- criticism simply wastes its breath. It is only in markable grace and beauty; the figures admi- contemporary criticism that writers fail to recogrably designed and drawn, their interlacing arms nize this truth. In historical criticism a writer and hands especially; a lovely expression of would gain small attention who should spend his dawning consciousness, awe, surprise, and ten- time in deploring that Perugino had not the light der appeal in the countenance of the awakened and shade of Rembrandt, or that the Venetians statue; the color fair and pale, but as full as an did not draw with the chastened outline of Raopal of variety and play. But alarmed robust- phael. There has been one painter of genius ness has no eye for these things, and can only whose canvases, whatever their subject, exhibit declare, in its heated language, that the feet of always a prodigal and splendidly ordered riot of Venus are revoltingly ill-drawn, with a great toe the limbs and countenances of exuberant women like a tinker's thumb; that she is a hollow-eyed and athletic men, a redundance of physical enpoor creature, wearing an expression of dolorous ergy and joy. There may be such a painter commiseration merely absurd considering the again, and, if he appears, let us hope he will reoccasion—and so forth ; expressions which, their ceive as ready a welcome from the critics of the style apart, describe nothing really to be seen in robust school as he certainly will from the supthe work in question. Another picture of Mr. posed admirers of disease and despair in the Burne-Jones's this year was an Annunciation, works of Mr. Burne-Jones—I mean, of course, the power and complete accomplishment of Rubens. In the gallery at Dresden two pictures which has been acknowledged by artists of of Rubens are placed side by side-a Bacchus schools, aims, and tendencies the most opposite with his tiger, and Jerome doing penance in to his own. This time our critic was not con- the wilderness. The subjects are the most optent with fanciful descriptions of the action and posite in the world ; but Rubens, with his genius expression of the figures, but propounded a new for the painting of mighty thews and sinews, for theory of the Annunciation to suit his purpose. rich carnations and the riot of life, and with his He was scandalized at finding the Annunciation total disinclination for all that is ascetic or emarepresented as what he called a “deplorableciated, has painted his Bacchus and his Jerome business,” or “sad event" - meaning thereby as though from the same brawny model, and that the Virgin was pale, with looks of rapt and with an equal strength of frame and splendor of humble expectancy, not unmixed with a forebod- bronzed and glowing flesh-color. A critic of ing dread—and evidently thought it inconsistent Rubens would never trouble himself to point out with robust art to take any but a jovial view of or to condemn this, because for the reader who the occasion. In happy ignorance of the whole knew anything of the master it would be a matmass of Christian sentiment and tradition of ter of course, but would dwell on the special Christian art in the conception of this subject, he faults or excellences of the two pieces taken as ventured to refer in his support to the first chap- examples of the master's genius working within ter of St. Luke-to which, however, if he had its known limits. To do the same is an obvious taken the pains to turn, he would have found at rule for contemporary criticism also. the point in question the words, “ And when she To inquire into the springs and connections saw him, she was troubled at his saying." of any vein of sentiment in art is always an in
When criticism is betrayed into extravagances teresting, though usually a very difficult, thing. of this kind, it is the sign not merely of picture. It will some day be a task for criticism to trace blindness and prepossession, but of that mistake and analyze, if it can, the reason why the best of criticism as to its own true office and powers reports brought in our own time from the world of to which I have above adverted—the mistake, the past and the world of dreams are tinged, over namely, of supposing that it is the mission of a all their beauty, with a shade of unsatisfied decritic to dictate to the artist how his work ought sire and sadness. In the mean time, to denounce or ought not to be conceived. Criticism ad- them as unhealthy and describe them amiss does dresses itself to the public, and defines and no good to any one. The signs of real uncharacterizes the objects submitted to it; but to healthiness in painting are flaccid design, livid instruct and put right the artist, imposing upon color, deadness to the loveliness of the world; him aims and ideals other than his own, is a and the work of Mr. Burne-Jones exhibits qualitask beyond its scope. By all means let criti- ties the very reverse of these. Besides, controcism note and analyze the special characters pre- versy breeds controversy, and those who see the sented by the work of any master or any school; beauty of the thing denounced are sometimes
tempted to speak wildly in their turn. For in- cere and whatever is well done along the whole stance, I think it does harm—more harm, per- range of the efforts of the artistic spirit. The haps, than nonsense about tinkers' thumbs and ordinary critic, as it seems to me, can only jusdeplorable events—when a writer in “ The Spec- tify his existence-he can only fulfill his true tator," in praising the Annunciation, speaks of function of helping people to receive from the his “intense disinclination to dwell upon its works of art the best they are capable of giving merits in detail,” and says of certain strictures, if he follows the lines and keeps clear of the “It may well be that these things are true, but temptations of which we have spoken. Having for us there only exists the poem, which made first taken due precautions against picture-blindour heart beat and our eyes moist—" This may ness, let him next, without neglecting the ideas show that the writer has felt the power of the or story embodied in a picture, yet dwell above work before him, but it is certainly not criticism. all upon what are not nearly so agreeable to
In pausing thus over the pictures of M. de dwell upon—the qualities of their embodiment; Nittis and those of Mr. Burne-Jones, we chose let him keep his sympathies open to excellence our instances at the two opposite extremes of of all kinds ; let him seek, not to dictate aims contemporary painting - the extreme of literal and conceptions to the artist, but to characterize modernism and the extreme of visionary and po- with precision the aim and conception of the aretical invention. Between these two extremes tist himself, to recite clearly and without exagthe great majority of painters move in fields in geration what he thinks good and what less which the principle of representing natural facts good, to make a picture live to the mind of the as they are is blended in various degrees with the reader both in its intellectual and its material principle of selecting and enhancing them, of in- qualities, and to put it in its proper place with vesting them in the colors of the imagination or reference to others with which it comes into of history. It is the business of criticism to comparison. study and define with sympathy whatever is sin
SIDNEY COLVIN, in The Fortnightly Review.·
The first moral is that everything is possible CHAPTER XVI.
to him who dares.
The second, that the world at large, and esHOW A YOUNG MAN MAY PROSPER. pecially the genial and confiding manager of your
bank, is ready to meet you half way in taking [ENTION has been made of one Jack Ba- you at your own estimate.
The third, that in this world you only have to private friend of Stephen Hamblin, envied and help yourself. Piles of money are lying about ; admired by the coterie of the Birch-Tree Tavern. the man who makes his own pile is invariably In the capacity of Stephen's adviser and confi- succeeded by a fool who asks for nothing but a dant, he has something to do with this story, certain originality of audacity in the adventurer which is an excuse for relating the history of his who deprives him of his share. rise and greatness. Another excuse is that it is The fourth, that the proverb ex nihilo nihil a most instructive history. Marmontel was no- fit only applies to natural philosophy, the propwhere more moral. It is so moral that it has erties of matter, and so forth. It has nothing half a dozen morals. And, as I have ever held whatever to do with credit. The man who wants it a great mistake to put the moral at the end most gets most. It is the bold pauper who beinstead of the beginning, I append all six morals comes rich, if he begins early. Further proof of in this place so that my readers may see how this axiom may be sought in the chronicles of beautifully this Jack, who killed the monstrous the City. giant of poverty and servitude, may be moralized The fifth, that smartness still lingers among to suit the special difficulties of these latter days. the English, and still commands success.
There is a sixth which we reserve for the enjoyment as could well be got out of so limited sequel. It is left for the readers of the Higher an income. He did not waste his money in joinThought, as Paul Rondelet says, to find out for ing any young men's improvement society, nor themselves.
his time in following any line of study, and he Jack Baker was at this time about two-and- cared nothing at all for lectures, scientific, literthirty years of age, a good dozen years younger ary, political, or musical. His tastes lay in quite than Stephen Hamblin. His father began and a contrary direction. He knew many barmaids, ended as an employee in a great City house. He haunted many billiard-rooms, was frequently seen was a model clerk; he possessed all the clerical at music-halls, and smoked a meerschaum pipe virtues : he was respectful, punctual, obedient, all the evening. This was the kind of life he honest, trustworthy; as he was never called upon liked after office-hours. It did him no harm, beto take any serious responsibility, he was never cause in these places he was on his natural level, troubled with ideas; yet his talk was entirely higher than which he never cared to rise; and about money, and he admired financial coups because, being a young man of no imagination, much as a stage-carpenter admires a play, being strong common sense, and rather a cold temperperfectly ignorant how they were designed and ament, he never exceeded and never committed carried through. He brought up his only son- any of those follies which cling to a man's repumost City clerks have at least a dozen sons—to tation, are not easily shaken off, and sometimes regard the City as the only arena profitable for drag him down in the long run. Topsy at the English youth. The professions, the army, the Green Dragon, or Polly at Quelch's, or Lotty at navy, the colonies, had no attraction for young the Princely, sometimes thought, no doubt, that Jack Baker : he was "to go into the City,” for Jack Baker was so carried away by admiration that he was specially set apart in infancy; he as to be ready to make a serious offer. But the had no sympathy for deeds of daring adventure young lady was greatly mistaken, for Jack was and heroism ; his heart never warmed for self- not such a fool. At the same time the society sacrifice or patriotism; as a child he turned aside of Topsy, Polly, or Lotty, always, of course, with from St. George and the Dragon, and loved to the bar between them, was pleasant to this young hear of Dick Whittington. When he grew older man of the City, and supplied the place of ladies' his favorite reading was of men who have made society. For with ladies Jack was not at his their fortunes in the City from small beginnings. ease. And when he was old enough to understand Moreover, he nourished ambitions, which was things better, he recognized the fact that the another reason why he should not commit the Lord Mayor was a poor creature, stripped of his usual clerkly error of an early marriage. civic robes of office, compared with such a man His father was old; there was a good sum as Mr. Anthony Hamblin, whose house on Clap- put by; with that sum he would perhaps be ham Common he saw every half-holiday, when able to start for himself, if only in a small way. he played upon that hospitable heath.
Meantime he was rising in the firm; he knew When Jack was fifteen, and was a tolerable the country customers; he knew the travelers proficient in arithmetic, commercial English, and and the commission agents; he was known to clerkly handwriting, he fulfilled the purposes of the merchants of Shanghai and their clerks; he his birth and existence by entering, as a junior knew men who could introduce business, and he clerk, the house of Sandal, Wood & Company, had the sense to hold his tongue and keep his silk-merchants.
own counsel. For twelve years he remained a clerk in this When Jack was twenty-seven or so, his faestablishment. His life during this period re- ther died, leaving him the sole heir of his little sembled that of most other City clerks, except savings. · These he found, all charges deductthat he indulged in no wild courses : did not bet, ed, to amount to the sum of £3,142 6s. 10d., did not drink, did not scatter and lavish his little which he placed, at first, on deposit account in income, did not fall into debt, did not acquire a the London, Southwark & Stepney Joint Stock bad reputation ; on the contrary, his reputation Bank. He then resigned his post in Sandal, steadily grew in the house and out of it: he Wood & Co., and taking a small office in a became known for a shrewd, trustworthy young court leading out of Eastcheap, started for himfellow, who could manage a thing without mak- self as a silk-merchant. He passed a very acing himself a fool over it; and he was unlike tive first year: he ran about asking for orders many of his fellows in this respect, that he did like an advertising tout; he hunted up the counnot marry when his salary reached the magnifi- try customers whom he had met at Sandal & cent sum of a hundred and fifty pounds a year. Wood's; he remembered that an old schoolfelAs regards his manner of living it was necessa- low was a clerk in Shanghai and wrote to him; rily simple, yet he managed to secure as much he lived with the greatest frugality; and, though he did very little business, he was cheerful, re- gals in prose, those quips and merry jests which lied on promises, and hoped for better times. constitute the charm and poetry of barmaid con
After a year he made up his books and found versation. Then he went home and retired to that he had lost a little by the first twelve months. bed and to sleep. It was not unusual with him This was discouraging.
to go to sleep, but in this case it led to important In those days he used to go to the Birch- results. Tree Tavern for early dinner, and there made At two o'clock he sat up with a start, and acquaintance with Alderney Codd and his friends. looked about the dark room half frightened. He He greatly admired their ingenuity, and puzzled had been awakened by a dream. He dreamed himself to discover why it was that with so much that the man who looked like a sailor had come talent there was not a decent hat among them all the way from the Birch-Tree Tavern to his all, nor a shirt-collar whose edges were not bedside in order to repeat to him, with warning frayed.
finger, “Whether you want to be President of They were undoubtedly clever, these inge- Bolivia, or a great and successful merchant, all nious contrivers of schemes and companies. He you want is—pluck!” used to sit silent among them, listening. No- He rubbed his eyes and stared in the darkthing, however, was ever let fall by any of them ness. He could see nothing but the dim outwhich could be of practical benefit to himself in lines of furniture. The man who looked like a the silk-trade. Unluckily, no one of the whole sailor was not there. No one was there ; but the set had ever turned his attention to silk.
voice of his dreaming still rang in Jack's ear. One afternoon, however, the man who looked He slept no more. At six he rose, feverish and like a sailor propounded sententiously a general dazzled. He had been “alone with his thought " proposition. He said:
for four hours; it was too much for him. He “Whoever wishes, in this world, to succeed was not an imaginative young man, and yet perwants only one thing." He looked round to see haps for that very reason, because he had so selif any were rash enough to disagree with him. dom contemplated anything beyond the present, “ If it is to be president of a South American the prospect dazzled him. republic, which is open to any man with cheek At half-past ten, with cheeks a little white, enough to bowl over the man in the chair and but with assured and confident bearing, Jack sit in it himself, or to become a great merchant, walked boldly through the outer office of the or to be thought a great financier, it's the same bank into the manager's room. Yesterday he thing that is wanted, and that is—pluck." had, so to speak, sneaked in with his country
Jack received this theory without criticising draper's little bill at three months. it, and went back to his office.
"I want," he began, in a clear, ringing voice, Among his papers was a three-months' ac- very different from the groveling hesitation of a ceptance that morning received from a country man who presents a doubtful little bill for disdraper. He took this to the bank and asked to count, “I want a credit of twenty thousand have it discounted.
pounds. I am shipping silk at Shanghai." “ You may leave it,” said the manager, dubi- “Sit down, Mr. Baker," said the manager ously. “I will tell you to-morrow. But it can't blandly. “Yes—you are shipping silk. Yes, be done under four and a half.
our terms are eight per cent.” The bank rate was three and a half.
That was all. In one moment, without hesiJack had still on deposit most of his three tation or questions, the business was as good as thousand pounds. He concluded, therefore, to concluded. Jack walked out of the bank with let the bill wait.
reddened cheek and brightened eye. He wantWhen he got home he found an answer to ed to get into his own office, and sit down to his letter to the old friend at Shanghai. Friend realize that his fortune was made or marred by had gone into business as a broker on his own this bold venture. account. He wrote facetiously, regretting that The nature of the transaction was simple. Jack was not in a position to back him; if so, Jack did not borrow twenty thousand pounds at what a game they could have on, they two to- eight per cent. Not at all; no money was exgether; he at Shanghai and Jack in London! changed; he borrowed credit at that rate; he That silk was going up for a certainty, and now bought and shipped to England silk to the was the time—and so on.
amount of twenty thousand pounds in his own Jack read the letter, put it down with a sigh, name: if silk went up, there would be a profit; if and spent his usual evening with Lotty and Polly silk went down, there would be a loss; if the and Topsy, who served him his moderate pota- former, he would pay the bank sixteen hundred tions, and exchanged with him those epigrams, pounds and pocket the rest; if the latter, he those quaint and original conceits, those madri- would pay the differences and the sixteen hun