Puslapio vaizdai

Ipswich and going north, my whole body, quite suddenly, became a deadweight. It was extraordinarily sudden, that change; it occurred within a space of about two hundred yards. One moment I was thrusting along with a sense of weight overcome, and a few minutes later my muscles, with one accord, struck. I did not even attempt a struggle. It was as though a vast weight from somewhere had suddenly and quietly settled on my shoulders. I had to dismount, because the machine stopped. I walked straight to the side of the road, propped up the useless bicycle, and sat down in the hedge, surprised and disgusted.

"If I had not been out of condition the thing would not have happened like that. It was the first ride of my vacation. But there it was; and for half an hour I sat in the hedge, and for half that time I felt quite beaten, and decided to go lamely back into Ipswich.

"But I revived and revolted. Only thirty miles more, and perhaps not so much! It would never do to make my day meaningless by surrender to mere weariness. Since the flesh was weak, the spirit must be the more willing. I felt an immense distaste for my bicycle; I hated the thought of the road ahead; I told myself that it did not matter in the least where I got to, since I had to stop somewhere. But I knew better. These things, I felt, were an allegory.

"I remounted at last and went on to the end. It was rather painful. I remember that I made every little upward slope an excuse for walking. The milestones got further and further apart, so that I felt like Sisyphus. Ten miles from home a steady pouring of rain began, and again I was sorely tempted. But I kept on. Through the darkness-for it had grown late-I pushed and plashed and stumbled to my haven of rest. And what a delicious drowsiness, what a fine, dreamy sense of insuperable obstacles overcome, rewarded by labor! 'Home was the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter home from the hill!' The analogy of a well-spent life occurred to

me; but, indeed, no life is well spent, though here and there, a day may be."

These, of course, are mere scraps, and give a very imperfect idea of Mr. Allen's complete panoply. Two of his papers are capital stories: one embodies a rencontre with a ghost, the other with a more interesting personage-a nature worshipper, who uses the cycle as a praying-wheel, who rambled away from home on a cycling tour of discovery, and never came back. Two are mainly typographical. A third discourses eloquently of the strong appeal that medieval art still makes to the wayfarer through the great monuments which have survived the cupidity, the fanaticism, and the ignorance of intervening ages. Two of the best-"A Dull Afternoon" and "By the Fire"are rather metaphysical; but all alike reveal an essayist of genuine power and distinctive charm, who writes always because he has something to say, never for the mere sake of writing. I cannot allow the book to suffer any detraction in my regard from the fact that it is dedicated to me-in unduly flattering terms. I have known the author since he was in short clothes, and, as Mr. Micawber said of his playfellow

"We twa hae run about the braes,

And pu'd the gowans fine."

We were always convinced at school that Allen would "do something," as a good Englishman should. First as a bowler: for as a bowler he had a remarkable leg-break and a formal, administrative manner of delivery that disconcerted the gravest batsman. And then as an historian. In this field he has already distinguished himself an accumulation of knowledge by which puts most of the professors to shame; and by his recent book on "The

Place of History in Education," which no one who takes an interest, whether professional or general, in the science and art of history and historical teaching can possibly afford to neglect, and which deserves a disquisition to itself. Or rather several disquisitions; for it is controversial at many points, and must be regarded from as many points of view as there are separate schools of thought on the subject. In such a book, as was indispensable, the dyer's hand was in evidence and not to be concealed. "Wheel Magic" is pure relaxation, but the relaxation of an historian and of a philosopher. Of such books is good reading made. The material was intractable enough. Few men could build a volume from the dreams of a velocipedist. Discover for yourself by experiment how hard it is to disengage a philosophy of pure literary charm from such a volatile essence as these impressions and reminiscences as the wheel runs round; and then estimate what Mr. J. W. Allen has "done."


I may be prejudiced, of course. is nice to be the object of a dedicatory letter so well written and expressive as that prefixed to "Wheel Magic." It is nice to an extent, the greatness of which a younger essayist for all his cunning can perhaps hardly conceive, to be called by one's Christian name by a duly authorized person. Days there were when grown men were chiefly interested in one on account of one's grandfather. It is appalling now to think how few people there are who really knew one's father. And the third stage is defined for all time by Charles Lamb's hungry lament"There is no one left to call me Charlie now." But no, I am not to be demoralized by a caress, and I do not think I am unduly prejudiced; for if I know,

2 The Place of History in Education. By J. W. Allen, formerly Brakenbury Exhibitioner' Balliol College, Oxford; Hulsean Professor of Modern History at Bedford College. University of London. W. Blackwood & Sons.

to my cost, how difficult the subject is, I know also what a very real thing is Wheel Magic. There is a magic power about the wheel, to be sure, and to prove it I will instance no more than the transformation it can effect in the faculties of an average townsman,-how during the space of one brief year, in a being who knows only streets, suburbs, and railway stations. it will engender a knowing interest in the country-side, in natural objects, in rural beauties, and in the arterial network of roads that connect the whole, -no rigid iron framework to lacerate the landscape on which it is geometrically superimposed, but roads that have grown up and into the landscape and made it what it is. Boats, camps, links, moors, river-beds will effect as much, and more, no doubt, upon a suitable soil; but their operation is slower and more costly, they take time and money. As soon as the cyclist realizes that the Chilterns and the Downs, with their whale-backs and the mamelons, their subtle suggestion of mountain and their distant peep of plain, are within easy striking distance, he is as good as saved. The magic of the wheel will enter into his being, and the throng of associations, the train of observations proper and peculiar to the wheelman, will become a part of his consciousness. The dive into the dusky shadow of the wood as twilight approaches the wan atmospheric effect over bare hills to the north-westthe mysterious reservoirs of warm and often hay-laden air that one passes through in the all-day-long days of summer-the unwary confidences of small mammals and finches surprised in the gloaming-the apparition of girl cyclists in light blouses, like white moths in the hot dusk, converging upon some provincial city-the warm breath of west wind or spring rain on the face as one rounds a corner, breathing of the space beyond the town-the

lunge forward in the saddle, the swerves of machines avoiding the traffic the vibrating disk of light that one's lamp lets down in front-the hammer-tick of the motor-cycle-the concentric rings of electric light on the expanse of wood pavement-the stealthy approach of the trolley-carthe click-click of the free-wheel movement-cyclists pedalling rapidly along the transverse street-the effort of the ankles as a road ascends sharply over

bridge-old faces peering at the sailer-by over a blind-young girls in their best clothes racing home as the clock strikes ten-the glances of young men as they cross the street-the hesitation of groups with children preparing to plunge across the road Here are a few beats of the ceaseless tide of impressions that fit through the brain of the least heedful of cyclists whose mind is attuned to the hum of the wheel.


The historic destinies of the bicycle would have been more interesting had it developed contemporaneously with the roads that prepared the way for it and made it possible. Had it preceded railways, for instance, or been used in the Napoleonic wars, or even had it been grafted immediately upon the caprice of the hobby-horse from which it derived, its annals, perchance, had been more illustrious. Lord Sherbrooke, it is said, once cast a blighting eye upon it in its infancy as a possible source of revenue. Society played with it for a season in Battersea Park. But, like the warship Shannon, it has always been an unassuming vehicle-the Cinderella of the sports family. It has the distinction, indeed, of being a wholly popular and democratic invention. Machinery has nearly always been the rich man's prescription, imposed from above. The bicycle, con

Blackwood's Magazine.

trariwise, has asserted itself and reasserted itself persistently from below; and though I do not think that it is assigned a place of any importance in Mr. Wallace's "Wonderful Century," it seems to me unmistakably the most benevolent mechanical invention of the Industrial Era. If you wander through the sheds that contain the admirable science collections at Kensington, you can trace with infallible accuracy the development of the steam-engine, of locomotive and postal machinery, of the marine engines that you watch so intently during a stormy channel crossing, of the motor-car, the typewriter, the telephone, the pile-driver, the spinning-jenny, et id genus omne. Trains and steamers between them have spoiled travel. The Post Office has destroyed letter-writing. The motor-car and the telephone between them have tainted life whole-at its source. Such inventions could only come from above. The one unmixed benefactor to mankind is that machine of which you will hardly discern specimens dangling in chains from the roof like condemned felons. Suspercollated placards describe the historical development of the pendant machines-hoary bicycles of the early 'Seventies. Montaigne once said that he would like to die travelling-on horseback. Charles Lamb once expressed a desire that his last breath might be drawn through a pipe; a better ending than either, in my opinion, was that of Edward Bowen, who "died in a moment, while mounting his bicycle after a long ascent, among the lonely forests of Burgundy, then bursting into leaf under an April sun." "His foot was on his bicycle step; and then in one brief moment-as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west-all was over."

Thomas Seccombe.


This memorial volume, which can be procured in England from Messrs. A. Constable & Co., gives a modest and pleasant picture of a man who did, much for good journalism and good criticism in the United States. "Bene latuit, bene vixit," might be the summary of Wendell Garrison's life and work; and the form of the comment would have appealed to a scholar whose career comes as somewhat of a surprise in these days of a gaudy, blabbing, and remorseless press. The mere idea of a man working for his paper in impersonal seclusion-unparagraphed, unknown, uninterviewed-is repugnant alike to the young lions of to-day and a public which believes chiefly in names or noise.

The twentieth century is seeing great changes in the conditions of literature and jourualism. "Experts" arise in a single night, cry down long experience, and make "great papers" greater. Consistency is clearly, as Bagehot said, the bugbear of small minds; eminent penmen appear in this paper to-day and that to-morrow, turned out and turned on with kaleidoscopic rapidity, but supplying somewhere a flood of tolerable matter with the regularity of the Metropolitan Water Board. The advertiser and the man who persuades him to advertise are in command: sometimes the manager calls himself the editor; at other times the editor is a clever clerk who has not the disqualification of literary taste. It is a desperate commercial game which appeals to a nation of shopkeeperswhich declares the grand and progressive qualities of national enterprise, and the uselessness of everything which "does not pay."

*"Letters and Memorials of Wendell Phillips Garrison, Literary Editor of The Nation,' 1865-1906." (Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company.)

Boswell, who was "sometimes obliged to run half across London in order to fix a date correctly,” would nowadays be self-convicted by that confession as an absurdly meticulous and incapable writer. Such leisurely and conscientious proceedings make "a back number," as the vivid phrase of to-day goes. "Proofs" at present are a luxury; printers are left to look af ter punctuation, and "readers" to secure a minimum of grammar which is probably more than the public wants. Horace's fluent satirist who could dictate two hundred verses an hour, standing on one leg, and the illiterate rag-dealer in Petronius who explained that "Letters is a bonanza,” would be more in the movement. But Horace hated the profane mob, and was hampered by academic education: while Petronius lounged into a reputation, and wrote nothing concerning his experiences as a vigorous colonial governor in Africa. They are obviously not model writers for to-day. They were not in a hurry; they were artists; and they were too humorous to pelt the reading public of Rome with daily or weekly demands for rec ognition.

In spite of all the wonderful advances of this present century, we confess to a sneaking fondness for the ideal of restraint and scholarship so well represented by Garrison. From the modern point of view such an ideal is something of an ordeal. It means incessant work, and a perpetual sinking of self in distracting duties which no single man can realize of those whose work is received, corrected, and sometimes rejected with an eye to the welfare of a whole paper. The weekly symphony needs a conductor who seems often unjust to individual members of the orchestra. Garrison helped

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to found The Nation, on the model of our own Spectator, in conjunction with E. L. Godkin. The two worked together with a harmony which no differences could sever, and Garrison gave "forty-one years of unremitting labor" to his task. Never was testimonial better deserved than the silver vase which more than two hundred of The Nation's staff presented to him in 1905. He retired from work in 1906, but he was worn out with his labors, and died the next year, when he might well have looked forward to an Indian summer of scholarly leisure.

The Introduction gives us a good idea of his self-effacement and his remarkable flair for the right men:-

In fact, Mr. Garrison, at times, could persuade men to write for him who would write for no one else. Moreover, he used to detect, here and there, some remote personage-not necessarily decorated in "Who's Who" or in the pages of "Minerva" who could serve his purpose exactly, and could furnish what he needed in precisely the form and finish which his exacting taste demanded. For such shy cattle he had a sure and trained instinct-the scent of the Laconian hound.

He went further; he made friends of all his contributors by means of letters in his own hand.

At least one half of his contributors had never seen his face and knew him only by his editorial correspondence. But hardly a letter or a post-card left his hand which did not contain some kindly or considerate message-something personal, whimsical, or humorous, which drew his correspondents into the circle of his friends.

Some accomplished sonnets of his are reprinted here, mainly inspired by Italian sources, for he was always a lover of Petrarch and Dante.

The letters given show how far his considerateness, careful attention to human feelings, and zeal for detail

went, but they are a little scanty and disappointing in humor, which rarely appears. He was always busy, and writes to W. R. Thayer that as editor of The Nation "I have to endure a mollusc's existence, and scarcely budge from my desk and bed-room." Attractive invitations had to be refused, and holidays were rare. Garrison even compiled himself the indexes to The Nation, a work from which most authors shrink in their own books, if they pay any attention to indexing at all.

Here is a letter to an unnamed correspondent whose work needed the blue pencil:

"My dear A.,-My function in this office as the Butcher is well established. I now submit my latest work, with which I am rather well pleased except as dismembering a friend. I return the ersecta for your possible use. You will see to what a length the whole would have gone. Now all is compact and will be read with pleasure."

Most of the letters refer to the later period of editorship, and we might well have been vouchsafed more details of Garrison's home life and interests. What is presented to us here is occasionally rather obscure for English readers. The text of a letter on p. 72 refers to the phrase "by how much the half is greater than the wholea love pat out of Hesiod (?) which I trust you will forgive like a good Grecist." We presume the writer did not for the moment recall whether the quotation was from Hesiod or not. It is derived from the "Works and Days," and is the best part of a hexameter line, which last word should clearly be read for "love."

In a letter to Prof. G. E. Woodberry there is an interesting reference to some lines in Gray's "Elegy" which have puzzled many:

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