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who is responsible for the price of the book, particularly if it be large. We do not think the plan would result in the increase of the cost of books to the public, except in instances where it ought to be increased. This, or something equivalent to this, will come when we get the international copyright. It may take the form that it does in England, where a publisher buys a manuscript outright, and sells his volumes at a price based mainly on the cost of it. In some way, the quality of literary work must be recognized in the price of a book; in some way a literary man's well-earned reputation must be taken into account in the sale of his productions, or authorship must suffer a constant and most discouraging wrong. We shall have the matter all adjusted, by and by.
The Cure for Gossip.
EVERYBODY must talk about something. The poor fellow who was told not to talk for the fear that people would find out that he was a fool, made nothing by the experiment. He was considered a fool because he did not talk. On some subject or another, everybody must have something to say, or give up society. Of course, the topics of conversation will relate to the subjects of knowledge. If a man is interested in science, he will talk about science. If he is an enthusiast in art, he will talk about art. If he is familiar with literature, and is an intelligent and persistent reader, he will naturally put forward literary topics in his conversation. So with social questions, political questions, religious questions. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. That of which the mind is full-that with which it is furnished--will come out in expression.
The very simple reason why the world is full of gossip, is, that those who indulge in it have nothing else in them. They must interest themselves in something. They know nothing but what they learn from day to day, in intercourse with, and observation of, their neighbors. What these neighbors do,-what they say,-what happens to them in their social and business affairs,--what they wear, -these become the questions of supreme interest. The personal and social life around them-this is the book under constant perusal, and out of this comes that pestiferous conversation which we call gossip. The world is full of it; and in a million houses, all over this country, nothing is talked of but the personal affairs of neighbors. All personal and social movements and concerns are arraigned before this high court of gossip, are retailed at every fireside, are sweetened with approval or embittered by spite, and are gathered up as the common stock of conversation by the bankrupt brains that have nothing to busy themselves with but tittle-tattle.
The moral aspects of gossip are bad enough. It is a constant infraction of the Golden Rule; it is full of all uncharitableness. No man or woman of sensibility likes to have his or her personal concerns hawked about and talked about; and those who engage in this work are meddlers and busybodies who are not only doing damage to others
are not only engaged in a most unneighborly office but are inflicting a great damage upon themselves. They sow the seeds of anger and animosity and social discord. Not one good moral result ever comes out of it. It is a thoroughly immoral practice, and what is worst and most hopeless about it is, that those who are engaged in it do not see that it is immoral and detestable. To go into a man's house, stealthily, when he is away from home, and overhaul his papers, or into a lady's wardrobe and examine her dresses, would be deemed a very dishonorable thing; but to take up a man's or a woman's name, and smutch it all over with gossipto handle the private affairs of a neighbor around a hundred firesides-why this is nothing! It makes conversation. It furnishes a topic. It keeps the wheels of society going.
Unhappily for public morals, the greed for personal gossip has been seized upon as the basis of a thrifty traffic. There are newspapers that spring to meet every popular demand. We have agricultural papers, scientific papers, literary papers, sporting papers, religious papers, political papers, and papers devoted to every special interest, great and small, that can be named, and, among them, papers devoted to personal gossip. The way in which the names of private men and women are handled by caterers for the public press, the way in which their movements and affairs are heralded and discussed, would be supremely disgusting were it not more disgusting that these papers find greedy readers enough to make the traffic profitable. The redeeming thing about these papers is, that they are rarely malicious except when they are very low down-that they season their doses with flattery. They find their reward in ministering to personal vanity.
What is the cure for gossip? Simply, culture. There is a great deal of gossip that has no malignity in it. Good-natured people talk about their neighbors because, and only because, they have nothing else to talk about. As we write, there comes to us the picture of a family of young ladies. We have seen them at home, we have met them in galleries of art, we have caught glimpses of them going from a bookstore, or a library, with a fresh volume in their hands. When we meet them, they are full of what they have seen and read. They are brimming with questions. One topic of conversation is dropped only to give place to another, in which they are interested. We have left them, after a delightful hour, stimulated and refreshed; and during the whole hour not a neighbor's garment was soiled by so much as a touch. They had something to talk about. They knew something, and wanted to know more. They could listen as well as they could talk. To speak freely of a neighbor's doings and belongings would have seemed an impertinence to them, and, of course, an impropriety. They had no temptation to gossip, because the doings of their neighbors formed a subject very much less interesting than those which grew out of their knowledge and their culture.
And this tells the whole story. The confirmed gossip is always either malicious or ignorant. The
one variety needs a change of heart and the other a change of pasture. Gossip is always a personal confession either of malice or imbecility, and the young should not only shun it, but by the most thorough culture relieve themselves from all temptation to indulge in it. It is a low, frivolous, and too often a
dirty business. There are country neighborhoods in which it rages like a pest. Churches are split in pieces by it. Neighbors are made enemies by it for life. In many persons it degenerates into a chronic disease, which is practically incurable. Let the young cure it while they may.
THE OLD CABINET.
THERE is something to be said in favor of the sentimentalist, after all. In life and in literature the sentimentalist is hardly as unpleasant as the cynic. It would be well for every man and woman to cultivate an antipathy to cynicism, for it is the state into which we are most likely to fall as life leads us on, and we meet the inevitable disappointments. It is a fate to which even the sentimentalist is liable. Indeed, it is a well-worn proverb that the sweetest wine makes the sourest vinegar.
That the sentimentalist is not always despicable, you may learn from Thackeray's worldly-wise pages. In what a fatherly way he pats the little creatures' heads, and chuckles them under their chins. Dickens, too, would hardly be Dickens should you leave out of his books those tenderly amusing touches in which he shows what a charm there is for him in the gushing sentimentalist, young or old. The fact is all the more interesting when one considers that, although Dickens can easily patronize a sentimentalist, he is a good deal of a sentimentalist himself.
How can we be hard upon sentimentalism when we look into our own hearts? Few of us who cannot find a corner there where that visitor is not at home! The danger is, that if we turn him out into the cold, there will be an empty and a dreary place, or, worse still, some fellow of the baser sort may enter and occupy.
Supposing ourselves to be of the most refined and sensitive type, utterly unable to endure the young woman of the autograph collection, or the young man at the Von Bülow concert whose hair frowzles down over his eyes, and who regards the pensivebrowed girl of his choice with too evident adoration (it is the autograph girl herself, by the way); supposing ourselves perfectly hard and unsympathetic in our attitude toward every grade of sentimentality, it cannot be denied that there is one satisfaction in contemplating a case of this kind-he or she, at least, is happy. Ah! thou cynic, what wouldst thou not give to have the freshness, the enthusiasm, the joyful egotism of that young man and that young woman! These have all gone from thee forever: and what hast thou in their stead?good taste, propriety, a slow pulse and a dull time. Thy conceit, even, is not a conceit that brings content. It is a little conceit,-a bothering, dilettante, self-conscious, shifting conceit; not the kind that puts a spirit of youth in everything.
It is often very hard to draw the line between
sentimentality and true sentiment. But it is very hard to draw the line in the case of other qualities that lie close together, and almost intermix. In a dramatic poem by a great writer, in which occur humorous passages, bits of folk-talk and the like, most of the readers take the humor as the author intended it should be taken.-they are amused, and cry, "Well done!" But along comes a man, himself perhaps an undoubted master in that very line, lays his finger on these passages, and says, to your astonishment, “This is not genuine."
Or you go to see Hans Makart's decorations, "The Abundance of the Land," "The Abundance of the Sea," and, for all the obvious carelessness in drawing, and the still worse sentimentality in expression, you are carried captive by the dash and splendor of his color. Then comes a real master of color, and tells you that it is well enough to be delighted, to be enthusiastic even. Here is power without doubt; here is magnificence,—but it is not the deep and lasting thing. There can be nothing better of the kind; it is the highest result of teaching; but it is not the highest kind, it is not the thing that cannot be taught.
Or who is there so knowing of the unseen moods, the inexplicable processes of the poet's mind, that he can tell you, "this is a conceit, a pretty piece of intellectual manufacture," and "this is an imagination, a genuine creation"? The critic can tell you, however, how it impresses him. Let us be thankful when he does so honestly, and without impertinence or assumption.
In a given work of art, sentimentality may so verge upon true sentiment that the critic is deceived. The perfect critic, of course, would not be deceived in any instance. But the world has been for many centuries, and still is, in search of the perfect critic, and will never find him-never, at least, this side of Doomsday; then he will be revealed in power, and will be welcomed by but few. This is doubtless, altogether, the best arrangement—for the criticism of Doomsday, which is the only true criticism, is imperative both in its awards and in its punishments; whereas few of us are yet ripe for heaven or ready for the other place.
WE wonder whether it is possible to get from a pianist both original fire and what is called good interpretation. Objections were sometimes made to Rubinstein as an interpreter of the music of other composers; and it is now said that Von Bülow is a
But we would much rather hear
good interpreter. Rubinstein play. He played like a genius; Von Bülow plays like a man of extraordinary talent. With Rubinstein you forgot that he was playing; with Von Bülow you think how wonderfully he plays. Von Bülow charms, refreshes you; Rubinstein thrilled and exhausted you. Von Bülow is said to be perfectly correct; Rubinstein is said to have struck false notes, occasionally. But suppose that in pianoplaying you prefer imaginative passion to elegant propriety.
Salvini's interpretations of Shakespeare constantly offended the critics. Salvini's Othello, for instance, outraged the sensibilities of many persons whose spiritual perceptions were of a rare and subtile order. It was called a libel upon the poet. But supposing it to have been, in very fact, not Shakespeare's, but Salvini's Othello-it was still a powerful and moving spectacle.
We are inclined to the belief, in the first place, that an artist of strong and original genius cannot be a good interpreter, in the popular sense; and, in the second place, that you get more of the grandeur of a great work of art by means of an artist who himself is a genius, and who cannot be bound by the letter, or even by the prevailing spirit of the work which he interprets. It may be answered that Salvini is not Shakespeare, and that it is Shakespeare we want, and not Salvini. To which we reply that Shakespeare includes Salvini, and, therefore, the more you get of Salvini's genius, the more you have of Shakespeare's. The world will never produce a single actor who can present with Shakespearean force all the sides of any one of Shakespeare's great characters; it would take half a dozen men, and a woman or two into the bargain, each one as strong in his or her way as Salvini, to give us a panoramic view of Shakespeare's one Othello. What nonsense it is to imagine that any single piano-player can interpret any single great work of Beethoven ! It would be as impossible as it is for all the poets of the world to interpret the winds and the seas.
WE should imagine that any person who has had much to do with the writing or the reading of criticism would be glad to go to heaven. If it is not one of the good points of that place of the desire of hearts, that it is exempt from the mortal necessity of forming an instant opinion upon every subject in nature and art, then it is not what it has been represented to be. The necessity of decision as to the intrinsic and relative merits of all things under and above the sun is not a necessity felt only by those who are associated as critics or creators with matters of art; the taint is in the atmosphere. People in or near the cities, at least, do not enjoy pictures or books any more; they form an opinion about them. The main thought in the mind of even a young person when you put a book into his hands is not, Is it interesting and enjoyable? but, What ought, could, would or should I think about it?
Let us hope that somewhere on the Western prairies, or down among the Virginia mountains, or
among the New Jersey pines, there are people who can read books and look at pictures like human beings.
IN MR. GEORGE P. LATHROP's book, just published, we find a poem which had a great charm for us when we first came upon it, a few years ago. It is an exquisite poem. Keats might have written it:
Glimmers the leafless thicket
Who, with meekly folded wing,
The bare branches in between,
Once, I know, there was a nest,
Held there by the sideward thrust Of those twigs that touch his breast; Though 't is gone now. Some rude gust Caught it, over-full of snow,Bent the bush,-and robbed it so.
Thus our highest holds are lost,
By the ruthless winter's wind,
Can we do a better thing
Oh, my sparrow, thou dost breed
Thought in me beyond all telling:
Gurgling ever from thy breast!
And thy breezy carol spurs
Vital motion in my blood, Such as in the sapwood stirs, Swells and shapes the pointed bud Of the lilac: and besets
The hollows thick with violets.
Yet I know not any charm
And my yearning rhythmic word
So, however thou hast wrought
Take thou up the song again:
On the tide that swells thy throat!''
In this collection is another poem which has the same bird-like, pathetic quality. It is called "The Singing Wire." We do not quote it here because, not long ago, most of its stanzas were given in these pages.
These two poems alone would be enough to give interest to Mr. Lathrop's book. But it is inter
* Rose and Roof-Tree. Poems by George Parsons Lathrop. (With frontispiece, illustrating "Jessamine," drawn by John La Farge.) Boston: James R. Osgood & Co.
esting on account of the impression that one gets from it of a new and distinct poetic individuality. The feeling for nature throughout these poems is delicate and penetrating. In turning the pages there is a sense of rains, and mists, and winds; of things that grow in the sunlight, or under the shadow of leaves.
But the human feeling is strong also, and the poems most characteristic and most successful seem to be those in which the natural and the human are interblended, as in "The Song-Sparrow," "The Singing Wire," "Jessamine," The Lily-Pond," and others. The following stanzas are from the last-named poem:
"How came we through the yielding wood, That day, to this sweet-rustling shore?
Oh, there together while we stood,
In sleepy light; and even now
His glimmering beauty doth return
Upon me, when the soft winds blow,
And lilies toward the sunlight yearn."
Here, however, is a bit of character-painting, done with a firm hand, and with very little allusion
A budding mouth and warm blue eyes;
From off that forehead fair;
Frank fervor in whate'er she said, And a shy grace when she was still; A bright, elastic tread; Enthusiastic will;
These wrought the magic of a maid
Her joyousness to sing.
What weighs the unworthiness of earth
orable. The sonnet first appeared in this magazine under the title of "Immanent Imperfection." It is now called
"O WHOLESOME DEATH.'
O wholesome Death, thy somber funeral-car
Mastering the eye, has wrapped the brain in sleep.
Above my grave, still let my spirit keep
Sometimes its vigil of divine remorse,
'Midst pity, praise, or blame heaped o'er my corse!"
The sonnets entitled "Moods of Love" have great sweetness and thoughtfulness.
"The Silent Tide," a story in blank verse, covering twenty-three pages, is the most ambitious piece in the book. The story itself is a very touching one, and the tone is well preserved throughout. It was a difficult undertaking-somewhat in the manbut not imitative, of " Enoch Arden "—and has been accomplished with a fair degree of success. Those who have stayed by the sea-side will find many familiar touches; and here is an old simile strikingly reset:
"As when that frosty fern-work and those palms Of visionary leaf, and trailing vines,
Quaint-chased by night-winds on the pane, melt off, And naked earth, stone-stiff, with bristling trees, Stares in the winter sunlight coldly through.'
"The Silent Tide" has a fault, we think, which appears elsewhere in the book, namely, an attempt to give color by a crowd of thought-out adjectives, rather than by a reliance upon epithets that come naturally with a strong poetic mood. But this is a fault which acknowledged masters do not escape, and may be readily forgiven in a first book. After saying this much in dispraise, and expressing a regret that the author did not omit altogether from the collection his cruder work (of which we find too much here), we beg leave to commend "Rose and Roof-Tree" to the good graces of all lovers of poetry. No words could praise too much the tone of this book; it is high, thoughtful, pure, and alto
The book throughout gives evidence of a fertile and beautiful fancy, the verse rising now and then into the region of imagination. "Helen at the Loom" is a rapid, graceful, and suggestive sketch; but the sonnet which follows it has, in spite of what we feel to be imperfection in expression, an imaginative grasp and a depth of thought that make it mem-gether admirable.
On Founding a Home.
HOME AND SOCIETY.
FIRST secure a home, which is, a house to live in, and the proper people in it to compose the foundations of home life. Directions as to house decoration or skillful cookery, or the control of cook or chambermaid, are of very little account, if the people who sit down in the pretty rooms day by day find their hearts torn by jealousy, or their brains
rasped by nervous irritation. Let Tom and Amelia turn from the altar, resolving to start fair and give themselves the largest chance of a clear understanding of each other, and, in consequence, of future happiness. Let them turn their backs on boardinghouses, shut their eyes to all considerations of style, be deaf to all hints of Mrs. Grundy's expectations, and buy or rent a house within their means. If they are too poor for a house, then a flat; if not a
flat, a room; or, if the worst comes to the worst, let them hire, like our friends at Rudder Grange, a canal-boat; only let them go to housekeeping, and go to it alone. Comfortable quarters, perhaps, are offered them in the house of one of their parents, who very naturally try to keep the young birds, just mated, a little longer in the old nest, especially if they are well-to-do people, to whom the addition to the family will be only a pleasure and no burden. Amelia's husband not being able to support her in the style to which she is accustomed, what can be more proper than that they should occupy part of her father's mansion, and reap the benefit of welltrained servants, carriages, and sumptuous fare? Or some other motive of economy or affection dictates their plans. Amelia's mamma being a widow, and devoted to her child, why should she live alone in her house, peopled for her, perhaps, by ghosts of the beloved dead? Why not take the spare room in the young people's house and make a part of their new life? Or it may be Tom's unmarried sister or bachelor uncle who comes in to make a third in the partnership just begun. Now this newcomer may be the most clever, amiable, dearest soul in the world, and the arrangement one dictated by prudential motives and affection; but ninety times in a hundred it is destructive of the fine tone and temper of the newly formed household. The first year of married life is a passage, at the best, over dangerous quicksands; no matter how intimate their knowledge of each other was before marriage, husband and wife have now to find each other out in a thousand new and unexpected phases, and to adjust themselves each to the other in the habits, tastes, even language of every day. It will require all the tact and the patience which love gives to enable them to do this, and the interference, even the presence, of a third party, is always a disturbing element. The more dear and near the relations of this third party, the more apt are they to come between the wife and husband. Unfortunately, too, the whole tone of wedded life usually receives its key-note from this first year; and so invariably damaging is the influence of outsiders upon it, that the best receipt, probably, to insure a happy marriage, would be to make a holocaust of all kinsfolk on the wedding day. As that is not practicable, let Amelia and Tom live as much apart as is possible for at least twelve months, selfish as such reserve may appear to their families. It is a duty which they owe to each other. After they have become in a measure one, and the uncertainty and disquietude of the storms and sunshine of early marriage have given place to a settled home atmosphere, the occasional presence of strangers has usually a wholesome influence. With the companionship of a guest now and then, Tom and Amelia are less likely to find their thoughts and opinions grow stale and tedious. Charity, too, assumes no more beautiful form than in a gracious hospitality, especially to those who are needy in body or mind. We know certain households where there is always to be found an orphan girl going to school with the other children, or a helpless old black "Aunty" in her chair by the kitchen fire, or
some other waif warmed and sheltered from the cold without. We remember a certain young girl to whom books were a hopeless mystery, but who, like most Virginian women, was skilled in housewifery, who took into her father's house, one after another, girls of fourteen from an adjoining mill, and trained them herself as seamstresses and cooks, teaching them to read and write at the same time. Before and after her marriage she fitted and placed eight women in useful, honorable careers of life. The home, when founded, should always be large enough to give place to some creature needing help, or it may be too small for any blessing to rest upon, which falls like dew from above.
VERY few city housekeepers have found themselves possessed of a dozen square feet of back yard, or a window opening to the south, who have not tried gardening in one or both, usually with most impotent conclusions. They had some paradisiacal vision before them of the beds of sweetness and color, the dusky alleys and nests of greenery, about some friend's country-seat. They attempted the same in miniature, only to find their tiny grass plat dusty and dock-grown, their vines barren stems, their hardy climbers "warranted to run up twenty feet the first season," stopping short to die in as many inches. This, in spite of all scientific appliance, manuring, mulching, and leaf mold, or untiring practice with patent syringes or scissors. The very flowers which creep from one village garden to another, bold invaders to be drawn out with hoe and rake, dwindle into pale leafless stalks in the artistic jardinière, and will not be coaxed into life by tenderest care. The first mistake made by our amateur city gardener is to ignore the poisonous air in which she essays to rear her frail charges. No tender or half-hardy plant will survive two weeks' confinement in rooms heated by furnaces and lighted by gas. If there be an open fire-place in the house, it would be wise to keep this class of plants solely in this apartment. If there be no open fire-place, we earnestly advise our householder to purchase one. It will cost her less than a good engraving, and will not only fill the room with pictures, but help the little ones to rosy cheeks. If we could sketch for her a certain cozy sitting-room, it would convert her more surely than any argument. There is a big fire in the recesses of a quaint-carved wooden fire-place; bear skins, on which the dog and boys romp or sleep together; and glass-doors open into a little chamber filled with ferns, ivy, and all wood growths. The air of this chamber is warmed from the inner room; the outer walls, of course, are glass. On a winter's day there are glimpses, through the mosses and vines, of the snow outside. A woman who cannot afford a Meissonier can compass this, and so bring a great pleasure and brightness into her children's memory of home.
If the open fire, however, be unattainable, she must limit her attempt at gardening to the hardiest of plants. Ivy, that is, the English varieties, will