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