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be done is to make the best of a bad job. And and may coexist with refinement in other things, here the decorator is placed in a dilemma, for he I believe that most of us, when we look round must never descend to the level of much that he our rooms, will find that this is the spirit that has can not remove, and much of his work is on this prevailed. I have tried to describe ways of decoaccount made to seem out of keeping, and to jar rating that shall not make show but beauty their with things that are near to it.
chief object. The result will often be simplicity Many who read this article will be inclined to verging on plainness. But if any will honestly resent the application of the term vulgar to their try to work in the line I have laid down, they will house-decoration. They will say that these things find that they have discovered for themselves new are matters of taste, and that they have as much interests and pleasures in life, which will perpeturight to call my recommendations vulgar as I ally surround them. And they will find, as time have their drawing-rooms. I attempted to prove goes on, that the pleasure is a growing one, and at the beginning that the essence of vulgarity in that, as we are able to buy new treasures out of people was the desire to get as much show, in- our savings, we shall not despise our earlier efdependent of beauty, for the sum of money they forts, and that the new picture or the new piece are prepared lay out. Though I believe this of china we have bought will add a luster to, vulgarity is often owing to long neglect of taste, without creating a discord in, the old room.
EUSTACE BALFOUR (Good Words).
FRA G M E N T S.
bers, and to take a rough estimate, one might DR. HILLEBRAND ON MODERN ENG
say that on every one of these dwellings comes a
yearly income of at least twelve hundred pounds; [In the October“ Nineteenth Century" Dr. Karl that is to say, double the average income of the Hillebrand begins a series of papers which he desig- same class of society in the richest country of nates “ Familiar Letters on Modern England," the the Continent (France), fourfold that of a Gerpurpose of which is to show Englishmen" how they man, eightfold that of an Italian family of the appear to foreign eyes." The first article exhibits same position ! Nay, the revenue of an Italian much acute and suggestive comment. We can not Minister himself-even since the radical friends find room for all of Dr. Hillebrand's “ Letter,” nor of the poor tax-payers on the day of their acceswould all its topics be of as much interest to Ameri- sion to office raised the salary by three hundred can as to English readers, but we select a few pas pounds-does not yet attain to two thirds of that sages which seem to us specially noteworthy.-EDI. TOR APPLETON'S JOURNAL.]
income which I suppose necessary for the main
tenance of an ordinary household in one of the THEI "HERE are two things which first strike the simpler abodes of the West End of London.
foreigner who wanders through the endless And all these well-to-do people are English. and perplexingly homonymous streets of west They are not like the rich of Paris and Rome, London, or lounges through the lanes of its in- the privileged few of every distant country flocknumerable suburbs, or the scarcely less numer- ing together in a Western capital, as in a great ous watering-places of England. These two pleasure-factory or round a curiosity-shop. All things are the immense wealth of this country the inmates of these houses wear the British and the apparent sameness of its domestic life. stamp as well as the houses they inhabit, and
If you chance to pass before these houses be- suggest at once the wealth of the whole higher tween one and two in the afternoon, the shining middle class in this country. silver and the shining linen of the luncheon-table will intrude themselves on your sight, even without It requires work, hard work, and well-paid your throwing an indiscreetly piercing eye through work, to allow a hundred thousand families to the large and well-polished glass pane of the thou- live as we see them live under so inclement a sands of ground-floors you pass by. Together with sky. More than that, it supposes that for longer the sight comes upon you the thought of the ex- than a century generations have worked equally pensiveness of the life which the inmates of these hard and been equally well paid, in order not thousands of identical three-windowed houses only to maintain such a life and to indulge in an lead. To speak the striking language of num- improvidence and a generosity likewise unknown
elsewhere, but also to accumulate enough that af- any twin-brothers can be; and not the outside ter their death thousands and thousands might still alone. You enter, and you find the disposition continue to live so on their fathers' work and with- the same everywhere ; the dining-room here, the out working themselves, or at least with a mar- drawing-room there, the bedrooms above. At gin of leisure which might allow the nation to the same hours the inmates sit down to the same maintain its high standard. It is this surplus of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At the same moleisure, indeed, which insures to England its ment the same roast-lamb is brought in with the grand position in modern civilization. The Eng- same mint-sauce ; at the same period of the dinlish gentleman has already for more than a cen- ner the same kind of glass is removed, to be retury found the time to cultivate athletic sports placed by the same set of new glasses. People without sacrificing his professional work, and, to rise at the same hour, go to business or to church put it in Mr. Bagehot's words, to “spend half of at the same hour, wear the same hats and caps, his day in washing the whole of his person”—a and read the same book. Why should they not, by no means unimportant start over the Conti- one is tempted to ask one's self, think the same nent, where such civilizatory habits could only be thoughts and feel the same feelings, from Regent introduced a very short time ago. But the Eng- Street to Kensington ? And so it is, to a certain lishman of business has not only time to devote degree. The more vigorous the inborn individuto his body, he has also leisure to cultivate his alism of the race, the stronger the fetters of conmind. England is the only country where peo- ventionalism which must be imposed upon them, ple read—where they read instructive books, I if they are to form a powerful society. Nowhere mean, not novels only. Next to England ranges is there greater individual liberty than in EngFrance, where the species of “general reader land, and nowhere do people renounce it more still exists, although it is on the wane, and people readily of their own accord. begin to put their Thierry and Guizot nicely bound on their book-shelves, convinced that they When I live among the English I always feel have in this way sufficiently proved their respect as if I were aboard ship, and every now and then for higher literature. As for the Italian, he seldom all the passengers at once rushed to starboard masters courage and perseverance enough to read when their attention was called to something on more than a newspaper article of one paragraph; that side, and again to larboard, with the same and the German, as everybody knows, reads a book awkward impetus, as soon as some authoritative only when he wants to write another book des- voice pointed out something there. Yesterday tined to supersede the one he is reading. The it was Fra Angelico who was the object of genEnglish alone find the leisure and the humor to eral worship; to-day it is Sandro Botticelliread works of a general but serious character. I don't forget the "Sandro," it gives more characdo not enter a sitting-room without finding some ter to the thing—and young ladies fresh from new volumes on the table; if expensive, coming school forthwith hunt through all Tuscany after from Mudie's or Smith's library-which always Botticellis, without giving even so much as a supposes that such a library purchases at once a glance to a Benozzo Gozzoli or a Masaccio, the hundred copies or more of a book-or, if cheap, Lippis or the Ghirlandajos, who might perchance bought at the next bookseller's shop. No won- have some of those qualities which the infallible der, when on opening one of these by no means art-critic has pointed out in Sandro Botticelli. “popular" works, you read “ seventh thousand” Years ago Lord Byron was the poet of poets; on the back of its title-page. On the Continent nowadays it has been discovered that Keats was such a thing happens only with books destined infinitely greater; and it becomes a sure sign of for amusement or for the flattering of vulgar inferior taste and being behind the times, a proof passions and vulgar curiosity, such as M. Tissot's of “philistinism " at least, to find that the singer and Herr Busch's twaddle. The leisure, coexist- of “Childe Harold” had a somewhat stronger ing with hard work, and the noble use made of breath than the poet of “ Endymion.” So mighty leisure, are perhaps the most remarkable results is the gregariousness that everybody blindly of the enormous wealth which first strikes the obeys the orders of the arbiter of taste as a regieye of the foreigner in England.
ment might those of its officers. When a for
eigner timidly suggests that there are perhaps There is, however, another feature of English two Byrons-the Byron who obeyed “ fashion life which a guest from the Continent can not and was " fashionable" then, and consequently fail to notice when he strolls for the first time has perished and deserved to perish, and the Bythrough the streets of London or a provincial ron who gave utterance to the most personal town, and this is the wonderful sameness of ex- feelings and thoughts in a most chastened istence. There you pass house after house for though apparently neglected form, he encounters miles and miles, and one is as like the other as the commiserating glances of his astonished
VOL. VII. -36
hearers, and never finds a single ally to remind unimportant technicalities. He who wishes his them that, if there is the Byron of “ Lara” and work not to be lost must rely upon himself “ The Corsair,” there is also such a thing as the alone: no help of fellow toilers will avail; no Byron of " Don Juan,” the stanzas for music or stream, however mighty, will carry him on to the verses to Augusta, which no Keats ever posterity. equaled in power and ease.
Fashions, however, are fashions, and you A rather narrow national exclusiveness was might as well try to demonstrate to a lady that characteristic of English thought and feeling ever crinolines are unnatural and ugly, as long as since the great French Revolution. A reaction fashion imposes them, as to endeavor to make a set in toward 1840, when it first became fashionfashionable public understand that fashionable able to depreciate English things; and, together poets are perhaps no poets at all.
with a strange infatuation for this our own ad
vanced time, to adopt a sort of severely censoArt—under whatever form it may be, poetry rious tone in speaking of England. Till then the and music, sculpture or painting—is the repro- idea an Englishman of average culture had of a duction (or the management) of what is eternal German, a Frenchman, and an Italian, did not in nature, man, and society. It may in its forms differ widely from the popular one of the uncouth submit with impunity to all the caprices of fash- pedant, the dapper dancing-master, and the darkion, be it the academical form of the classics or eyed bravo. They were altogether not taken au the Gothic of the romanticists; be it the conven- sérieux by the Englishman of 1830. Things tionalities of Racine's tragedy and Guarini's pas- have since been reversed by one of those violent torales, or even those, more open to censure, of reactions I spoke of a moment ago; for, when Victor Hugo's drama and George Sand's village- the English do a thing, they do not stop midway. story, provided its essence is eternally human and Just as Macaulay has in our own days become, true as it is in the former, instead of being arti- from an English Thucydides, a species of British ficial and false as in the latter two. For it will Capefigue, so did the awkward scholar of Jena be judged by posterity on this standard alone. or Heidelberg, who “ did not understand himWhen, consequently, art makes itself the expres- self,” change into a poetical dreamer, full of hidsion of transient feelings and thoughts, of feel- den treasures of thought; the flippant and frivoings and thoughts nobody will understand a hun- lous Parisian wit, half malicious monkey, half dred years hence, it will perish, whatever may be good-natured child, into the model of all radical the form in which it has produced itself. If and democratic virtues; the passionate plotter D'Urfé's novels were written in Pascal's French and schemer of Italy into the hero and martyr of —which they are not and which they could not patriotism. The great virtue of the Englishman be, Pascal's prose supposing Pascal's thought- home-confidence-was extended slowly to they would have died nevertheless, as have died the foreigner, who till then had been mostly those parts of “ Clarissa Harlowe" and the looked upon with quite different feelings; and, “ Nouvelle Héloise” which only expressed the as usual, the virtue was carried too far. All sothoughts and feelings of the time, as also will ciety rests on credit-not the state, if we may die most of the poems and pretentious novels, believe Hume, who would have it based on dislet me say of Germany, in order to hurt nobody trust. No social relations could indeed be posin this country—which have now il grido. “Wil- sible, any more than commercial, without credit. helm Meister," on the contrary, will be as eter- But credit supposes knowledge—if not scientific, nally young as “Don Quixote” and “Tom analytical knowledge, at least experimental or inJones," although its form is as exclusively of its tuitive knowledge of the persons you have to time and its country as that of Cervantes's and deal with. Now, Englishmen knew little of the Fielding's works; and it will be so because it foreigner whom they began thus to trust, and to paints human nature as it will be always and whom they lent all sorts of fine sentiments and everywhere, whereas certain novels of our day deep thoughts, until they seem to have come in are not likely to live a day longer than the con- our days to a rather extravagant estimate, which ventional feelings and thoughts they embody. It will lead, sooner or later I am afraid, to a reacis not so with science, although the object of sci- tion in favor of national exclusiveness. ence is likewise unchanging nature; because sci- Germany received the first caresses of this ence has not to reproduce or manage its object; strange xenomania from the hands of youthful it has to analyze it and to discover its laws. Sci- Carlyle and old Coleridge, but the friendship deence is a collective, and consequently a progres- veloped into fashion only half a generation later, sive work, to which every workman brings his in the days of Bunsen and Sir Cornewall Lewis, stone. Art is an individual concern, and conse- Liebig and Sir James Graham, Mrs. Austin and quenily not susceptible of progress, except in Felix Mendelssohn. It was Italy who succeeded
her in the favors of Britannia, and for ten years La Bruyère had been superseded for ever since there was no end to the admiration of the resurg- the summer of 1879. Had such English writers ing nation, who was to produce new Dantes and lived only for a short time in the French atmosGalileos by the score, and showed already politi- phere, the unseen degrees of literary, artistic, and cal aptitude of character and mind worthy of old social hierarchy would have forced themselves Rome. Since then it is France who has become naturally upon them, unless the characteristic the pet. People here have discovered that under rigidity of the strong English mind had not been the shiny surface of the Frenchman there lies too developed, as is often the case. many a good and sterling virtue-thrift, and so- It is strange, on the other side, how awkbriety, and taste, and common sense; that, be- wardly eminent English writers, who recommend sides the frivolous literature which they used to to their countrymen French models, often fail in take for the expression of French intellectual life, what they recommend so zealously—nuance and there was solid scientific work being done; that lightness of touch. I see an important review the uniformity of the modern democratic state say of Heine that “he is a German in nothing which the Revolution and the First Consul had but language"; I hear a well-known critic defounded, if it exposed the country to the surprises clare roundly that Englishmen ought to take of despotism, guaranteed it a system of adminis- method in Germany, but form in France, because tration, justice, finance, as well as a civil law, which there existed no such thing as a “well-written were not so easily to be found in freer countries. book” in Germany ; I read in a celebrated writThis led to a more attentive study of French laws er's warnings against metaphysics, that there is and literature, and, the natural and generous com- absolutely nothing to be learned from “ Kant, passion for the misfortunes of the hereditary ene- Strauss, and all the other Germans" (the copumy supervening, the fashion moreover helping, as lation “Kant-Strauss" is delightful); I discover in the days of Charles II., the consequence has in a fourth not less eminent author, that Macaubeen an overrating admiration, which scarcely lay is the “ King of Philistinism.” Now, to take admits any spots on the sun.
up only one of those instances of want of nuance
resulting from a misunderstanding of foreign From the seriousness of the contemporary Eng- words and ideas, the word philistine is a new lish mind—the contemporary, I say, for it was by expression, taken from the German, and if an no means so in former times—comes also the want Englishman uses it he is bound to use it in the of perspective, which is so perceptible in the Eng- German sense, or to declare that he gives it lish judgments on the Continent, as well as the another sense, else nobody will understand his absence of nuance in the English endeavors first meaning. But if there was ever a man who was to master, then to appropriate and assimilate to not a philistine in the German sense of the word, themselves foreign ideas and ways. You hear it was Macaulay. I do not attempt to write an people speak quietly of Mademoiselle Sarah Bern- apology of Macaulay. Few men have stronger hardt and Rachel, of Gambetta and M. Dufaure, than he the two qualities most antipathetic to the of G. Planche and Sainte-Beuve, of O. Feuillet and Germans, faithful to the creed of their fathers : Mérimée, without the slightest perception of the rhetoric and party spirit. Still he is not the least distance between such names and the very rela- a philistine for all that. A man who takes part tive consideration their bearers enjoy in their own in a great public life, who has breasted and country. And such jarring discords are by no breathed the storms of Westminster, who has means peculiar to second-rate hack-writers ; I seen the wonderland of India, and legislated for see also one of the foremost authors of the young- a hundred million British subjects; a man who er generation, and one who would occupy a still alternated in his readings between Alexandre Duhigher rank if he did not persist in giving to his mas and Thucydides, and could relish Charles admirable disquisitions on historical problems the II.'s mots and Peterborough's freaks without alname and the form of history—I see also a Mr. lowing his moral disapprobation to disturb his Lecky, sinning alike against proportion and accu- enjoyment-such a man is not a philistine, can racy, speak of “the class of (French) mind that not be a philistine. This word, indeed, has alonce followed Bossuet or Pascal” and “now fol- ways kept in the German mind something of its lows Voltaire or Comte," as one might speak of origin : the opposition to the liberty and Bohe“ Hume or Shadworth Hodgson.” Even when mian life of the student. What constitutes phithe discrepancy is less shocking, the nuance and listinism is pedantic regularity of habits, both in the taste are often wanting in the use made of for- life and thought, prosiness, want of enthusiasm, eign names. I am confident, for instance, that the narrowness of social and intellectual horizon, a illustrious author of “Theophrastus Such" would certain mild conventionalism and timid shrinking be the first to be disagreeably touched by the from paradox, noise, and phantasy. Never was over-zealous critic's pavé-like declaration, that there any man less philistine than the dashing, bustling, passionate Whig, whose ponderous rhet- lievers who have more of the saint of Cromwell's oric charmed the youth of our generation through- time than many a believer who would not miss out the civilized world.
his Sunday service for the world.
Frenchmen are particularly struck by the want No nation is absolutely devoid of the intellecof proportion in certain English books and essays, tual and moral qualities which are more characGermans by the subjective tone of many of them. teristic of their neighbors, and more frequent With the former the smallest essay has its regular among them. The thing Heine most wondered plan, with an introduction, well-balanced parts, at in history, after the fact that Jesus was a Jew, and a peroration. They never break up abruptly, was the circumstance of Shakespeare being an alleging want of space, never dwell disproportion- Englishman. Witty as this may be, it would ately on one argument or fact of their subject. I betray a very shallow view of national characterhave read English articles on M. Renan which neg. istics if we were to take it for more than a joke. lected the most elementary rules of composition There are many sides, assuredly, by which Shakein the very praise of the master in architectural speare is totally un-English, as Goethe is totally harmony. So it is with simplicity of language. un-German by many of his qualities. So was There are some modern English writers who Luther, so is Bismarck. Still, the one and the seem to have gone to school at Victor Hugo's other would only have been possible in England and T. Gautier's rather than at Musset's or Mé- and Germany. What they have over and above rimée's, who, in our century, represent the real the highest degree of national qualities is not tradition of France in poetical literature. Clear- French or Italian, but the highest expression of ness and fluency, once the characteristic sign of the human-it is genius. Obviously it would be English prose and verse, such as Addison and ridiculous to pretend that all the cultivated men Pope framed them, seem to be no longer consid- of a nation should be geniuses, and unite the best ered as virtues; at least the combination of both of national qualities with the noblest gifts of these qualities becomes rarer and rarer. And, humanity at large ; still, something of the kind as the sentences are often either hacked up and must be the ideal aim of a national culture if that minced, or intricate and involved, so the words culture is to be looked up to by the civilized world have a tendency to become more and more ab- as one of the highest expressions of human civilstract and pale, or of a coloring so loud and glar- ization. ing that the ordinary reader shuts his eyes after a few pages. This, however, is—as the afore- I have always thought that the true English said defects-not exclusively English : Germany, gentleman (I mean gentleman not in the modern France, Italy, are also having their “Venetian sense—for jampridem vera vocabula rerum amiwriters, after having had their “Giotteschi.” Nor simus—but in the good old sense of the word, is the extreme subjectivity of the modern Eng- because with a strong race like the Teutonic it lish writer, particularly the critics and literary requires the education of generations to refine the historians, more exclusively British. The person rough nature and bring out a higher type)—I of the modern author is everywhere nowadays have always been of opinion that the Englishman inclined to put himself unconsciously into the of good birth, well balanced in body and soul, a foreground. He is always present, even when master of manly sport, but fed with the classical he deprecates his presence, and precisely when education of an English university, accustomed he does so. He will never allow his subject to to liberty and public life, having seen the Conspeak for itself, never allow the reader the high- tinent and understood it, never shrinking from est pleasures of reading, viz., to draw his own responsibility, full of national pride, but putting conclusions, make his own observations, and con- truth higher than blind love of his country, and nect his own reminiscences. The writer seems having the courage to denounce his country's ever preoccupied to show his own wealth of ideas, shortcomings—that such an Englishman comes aperçus, and knowledge, lest the reader should nearer than any other national type of modern not know what a thoughtful and learned and times to the kalokagathia of the ancients. Doubtsuperior man the critic is. Nor can there be any- less he has not in a general way the artistic nor thing more un-English than the modern mania the speculative bent of mind which even the Doof generalizing and discovering historical laws rian possessed so eminently, but in amends he (instead of collecting facts), of which England has often an almost virginal delicacy of feeling, seems to have caught the infection from the Con- coming out in his family life as well as in his love tinent. What is perhaps more particularly char- and poetry, and which was utterly unknown to acteristic of the English writer is that he has the ancients. Doubtless this type of the Enggenerally his practical aim in writing. He likes lishman is here and there veiled, as it were, and to be a reformer. I might name English unbe- threatens to disappear altogether, be it before