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He was unfortunate, too, in a few personal experiences. imaginary poverty, the feminine Perseus who was to come He was a fairly well-intentioned young man, and, going in a blaze of jewels and gold to the rescue, still remained home one night, was moved to pity by the sobbing and afar off, until Andromeda got a little tired. exclamations of a little girl of twelve, whose mother was And so it was with Mr. Richard Roscorla. He lounged drunk and tumbling about the pavement. The child could about his club, and had nice little dinners; he went to not get her mother to go home, and it was now past mid- other people's houses, and dined there; with his crush-hat night. Richard Roscorla thought he would interfere, and under his arm he went to many a dance, and made such went over the way and belped the woman to her feet. He acquaintances as he might; but somehow that one supreme had scarcely done so when the virago turned on him, chance invariably missed. He did not notice it; any more shouted for help, accused him of assaulting her, and finally than his fellows. If you had asked any of them, they hit bim straight between the eyes, nearly blinding him, would still have given you those devil-may-care opinions and causing him to keep his chambers for three weeks. about women, and those shrewd estimates of what was After that he gave up the lower classes.
worth living for in the world. They did not seem to be Then a gentleman who had been his bosom friend at aware that year after year was going by, and that a new Eton, and who had carried away with him so little of the race of younger men were coming to the front, eager for atmosphere of that institution that he by and by aban- all sorts of pastimes, ready to dance till daybreak, and doned himself to trade, renewed his acquaintance with Mr. defying with their splendid constitutions the worst chamRoscorla, and besought him to join bim in a little business pagne a confectioner ever brewed. A man who takes transaction. He only wanted a few thousand pounds to good care of himself is slow to believe that he is growing secure the success of a venture that would make both their middle-aged. If the sitting up all night to play loo does fortunes. Young Roscorla hesitated. Then his friend him an injury such as he would not have experienced a sent his wife, an exceedingly pretty woman, and she few years before, he lays the blame of it on the brandypleaded with such sweetness and pathos that she actually and-soda. When two or three hours over wet turnips carried away a cheque for the amount in her beautiful make his knees feel queer, he vows that he is in bad conlittle purse. A couple of days after, Mr. Roscorla discov- dition, but that a few days' exercise will set him right. ered that his friend had suddenly left the country; that it was a long time before Mr. Richard Roscorla would adhe had induced a good many people to lend him money to mit to himself that his hair was 'growing gray. By this start his new enterprise; and that the beautiful lady whom time many of his old friends and associates had left the he had sent to plead his cause was a wife certainly, but club. Some had died; some had made the best of a bad not his wife. She was, in fact, the wife of one of the bargain, and married a plain country cousin ; none, to tell swindled creditors, who bore her loss with greater equa- the truth, had been rescued by the beautiful heiress for whom nimity than he showed in speaking of his departed money. they had all been previously waiting. And while these Young Roscorla laughed, and said to himself that a man men went away, and while new men came into the club who wished to have any knowledge of the world must be young fellows with fresh complexions, abundant spirits, a prepared to pay for it.
lavish disregard of money, and an amazing enjoyment in The loss of the money, though it pressed him hardly for drinking any sort of wine — another set of circumstances a few years, and gave a fright to his father's executors, came into play which rendered it more and more necesdid not trouble him much ; for, in company with a good sary for Mr. Roscorla to change his ways of life. many of the young fellows about, he had given bimself up He was now over forty ; his hair was gray; his comto one of the most pleasing delusions which even club-life panions were mostly older men than himself; and he began has fostered. It was the belief of those young men that in to be rather pressed for morey. The merchants in London England there are a vast number of young ladies of fort- who sold for his agents in Jamaica those consignments of une who are so exceedingly anxious to get married, that sugar and rum sent him every few months statements any decent young fellow of fair appearance and good man- which showed that either the estates were yielding less, Ders has only to bide his time in order to be provided for or the markets had fallen, or labor had risen - whatever for life. Accordingly, Mr. Roscorla and others of his par- it might be, his annual income was very seriously imticular set were in no hurry to take a wife. They waited paired. He could no longer afford to play half crown to see who would bid most for them. They were not in points at whist; even sixpenny pool was dangerous; and want; they could have maintained a wife in a certain those boxes and stalls which it was once his privilege to fashion ; but that was not the fashion in which they hoped take for dowagers gifted with daughters, were altogether to spend the rest of their days, when they consented to out of the question. The rent of his rooms in Jermyn relinquish the joys and freedom of bachelorhood. Most of Street was a serious matter; all his little economies at the them, indeed, had so thoroughly settled in their own mind club were of little avail; at last be resolved to leave Lonthe sort of existence to which they were entitled — the don. And then it was that he bethought him of living house, and horses, and shooting necessary to them - that permanently at this cottage at Eglosilyan, which had beit was impossible for them to consider any lesser offer; longed to his grandfather, and which he had visited from and so they waited from year to year, guarding themselves | time to time during the summer months. He would conagainst temptation, cultivating an excellent taste in vari- tinue his club-subscription ; he would still correspond with ous sorts of luxuries, and reserving themselves for the certain of his friends; he would occasionally pay a flying grand coup, which was to make their fortune. In many visit to London; and down here by the Cornish coast be cases they looked upon themselves as the victims of the would live a healthy, economical, contented life. world. They had been deceived by this or the other So he came to Eglosilyan, and took up his abode in the woman; but now they had done with the fatal passion of plain white cottage placed amid birch-trees on the side of love, its dangerous perplexities and insincere romance;
ihe hill, and set about providing himself with amusement. were resolved to take a sound, common-sense view of life. He had a good many books, and he read at night over bis So they waited carelessly, and enjoyed their time, growing final pipe ; he made friends with the fishermen, and often in wisdom of a certain sort. They were gentlemanly went out with them; he took a little interest in wild young fellows enough; they would not have done a dis- plants; and he rode a sturdy little pony by way of exerhonorable action for the world; they were well-bred, and cise. He was known to the Trelyons, to the clergymen would have said no discourteous thing to the woman they of the neighborhood, and to one or two families living married, even though they bated her; they had their cold farther off; but he did not dine out much, for he could bath every morning; they lived soberly, if not very right- not well invite his host to dinner in return. His chief eously; and would not have asked ten points at billiards friends, indeed, were the Rosewarnes; and scarcely a day if they fairly thought they could have played even. The passed that he did not call at the inn and have a chat with only thing was that they had changed their sex. They George Rose warne, or with his wife and daughters. For were not Perseus, but Andromeda; and while this poor the rest, Mr. Roscorla was a small man, sparely built, with masculine Andromeda remained chained to the rock of an somewhat fresh complexion, close-cropped gray hair and
iron-gray whiskers. He dressed very neatly and method- | by a gasp or two, " of course
- Miss Wenna - of course ically ; he was fairly light and active in his walk; and he you were surprised to get my letter - a letter containing had a grave, good-natured smile. He was much improved an offer of marriage, and almost nothing about affection in in constitution, since he came to Eglosilyan; for that was it. Well, there are some things one can neither write nor not a place to let any one die of languor, or to encourage say; they have so often been the subject of good-natured complexions of the color of apple-pudding. Mr. Roscorla, ridicule that, that" indeed, had the appearance of a pleasant little country “ I think one forgets that,” Wenna said timidly, “if one lawyer, somewhat finical in dress and grave in manner is in earnest about anything." and occasionally just a trifle supercilious and cutting in his speech
and conscious that he was becoming more and more comHe had received Wenna Rosewarne's brief and monplace. Oh! for one happy inspiration from some hurriedly-written note; and if accident had not thrown half-remembered drama - a mere line of poetry even! her in his way, he would doubtless have granted her that He felt as if he were in court opening a dreary case, uncertime for reflection which she demanded. But happening tain as to the points of his brief, and fearing that the judge to be out, he saw her go down towards the rocks beyond was beginning to show impatience. the harbor. She had a pretty figure, and she walked “Miss Wenna,” he said, “ you know I find it diffigracefully; when he saw her at a distance some little flut- cult to say what I should like to say: That letter did not er of anxiety disturbed his heart. That glimpse of her - tell you half - probably you thought it too dry and busi
he possibility of securing as his constant companion a girl ness-like. But at all events you were not offended ?” who walked so daintily and dressed so neatly — added “Oh, no," she said, wondering how she could get away, some little warmth of feeling to the wish he had carefully and whether a precipitate plunge into the sea below her reasoned out and expressed. For the offer he had sent to would not be the simplest plan. Her head, she felt, was Miss Wenna was the result of much calculation. He was growing giddy, and she began to hear snatches of " Waphalf aware that he had let bis youth slip by and idled away ping Old Stairs ” in the roar of the waves around her. ¡bis opportunities; there was now no chance of his engag. “ And of course you will think me unfair and precipitate ing in any profession or pursuit; there was little chance in not giving you more time — if I ask you just now whether of his bettering his condition by a rich marriage. What I may hope that your answer will be favorable. You must
ould he now offer to a beautiful young creature possessed put it down to my anxiety; and although you may be inof fortune such as he had often looked out for, in return clined to laugh at that" for herself and her money? Not his gray hairs, and his " Oh, no, Mr. Roscorla," she said, with her eyes still asthmatic evenings in winter, and the fixed, and narrow, looking down. and oftentimes selfish habits and opinions begotten of a “ Well, at all events, you won't think that I was saying solitary life. Here, on the other hand, was a young lady anything I did n't believe, merely to back up any case in of pleasing manners and honest nature, and of humble that letter. I do believe it - I wish I could convince you wishes as became her station, whom he might induce to as I certainly know time would convince you. I have seen marry him. She had scarcely ever moved out of the small a great deal of that wild passion which romance-writers circle around her; and in it were no possible lovers for talk about as a fine thing; I have seen a great deal of it her. If he did not marry her, she might drift into as hope in circles where it got full play, because the people were less a position as his own. If she consented to marry him, not restrained by the bard exigencies of life, and had little would they not be able to live in a friendly way together, else to tbink about than falling in love and getting out of gradually winning each other's sympathy, and making the it again. I would not sadden you by telling you what I world a little more sociable and comfortable for both? There have seen as the general and principal results. The tragewas no chance of his going back to the brilliant society in dies I have witnessed of the young fellows.whose lives have which he had once moved; for there was no one whom he been ruined – the women who have been disgraced and could expect to die and leave him any money. When he turned out into the world broken-hearted — why, I dare went up to town and spent an evening or two at his club, not sully your imagination with such stories; but one who he found himself among strangers; and he could not get has had experience of men and women, and knows the that satisfaction out of a solitary dinner that once was his. histories of a few families, would corroborate me.” He returned to his cottage at Eglosilyan with some degree He spoke earnestly ; he really believed what he said. of resignation ; and fancied he could live well enough But he did not explain to her that his knowledge of life was there if Wenna Rosewarne would only come to relieve chiefly derived from the confidences of a few young men of him from its frightful loneliness.
indifferent morals, small brains, and abundant money. He He blushed when he went forward to her on these rocks, had himself, by the way, been hit. For one brief year of and was exceedingly embarrassed, and could scarcely look madness he had given himself up to an infatuation for someher in the face as he begged her pardon for intruding on body or other, until his eyes were opened to his folly, and her, and hoped she would resume her seat. She was a
he awoke to find hiinself a sufferer in health and purse, little pale, and would have liked to get away, but was and the object of the laughter of his friends. But all that probably so frightened that she did not know how to take was an addition to his stock of knowledge of the world. the step. Without a word, she sat down again, her heart He grew more and more wise ; and was content to have beating as if it would suffocate her. Then there was a ter- paid for his wisdom.
“My knowledge of these things may have made me susMr. Roscorla discovered at this moment - and the shock picious," he continued, “and very often I have seen that almost bewildered him — that he would have to play the you considered me unjust to people whom you knew. Well, part of a lover. He had left that out of the question. He you like missionary work, Miss Wenna, and I am anxious had found it easy to dissociate love from marriage in writ- to be converted. No-no; don't imagine I press you for ing a letter; in fact he had written it mainly to get over an answer just now, I am merely adding a little to my the necessity of shamming sentiment, but here was a young letter." and sensitive girl, probably with a goo 1 deal of romantic “ But you know, Mr. Roscorla,” the girl said, with a nonsense in her head, and he was going to ask her to marry meekness that seemed to have no sarcasm in it — “ you him. And just at this moment, also, a terrible recollection know you have often remonstrated with me about my misflashed in on his mind of Wenna Rose warne's liking for sionary work. You have tried to make me believe that I humor, and of the merry light he had often seen in her was doing wrongly in giving away little charities that I eyes, however demure her manner might be; and then it could afford. Also, that I had a 'superstition about selfoccurred to him that if he did play the lover, she would sacrifice — although I am sure I don't consider myself know that he knew he was making a fool of himself, and sacrificed.” laugh at him in the safe concealment of her own room. He was a little embarrassed, but he said in an off-hand
“Of course,” he said, making a sudden plunge, followed way:
“Well, speaking generally, that is what I think. I think think I should readily forget what I owe you for taking pity you should consider yourself a little bit. Your health and on a solitary old fellow like myself, if I can only persuade comfort are of as great importance as anybody's in Eglosil- you to do that, and for being content to live a humdrum yan; and all that teaching and nursing — why don't the life up in that small cottage. By the way, do you like ridpeople do it for themselves ? But then, don't you see, Miss ing, Wenna? Has your father got a lady's saddle ?" Wenna, I am willing to be converted on all these points ? ' The question startled her so that the blood rushed to her
It occurred to Wenna Rosewarne at this moment that a face in a moment, and she could not answer. Was it not barsh person might think that Mr. Roscorla only wanted that very morning that she had been asked almost the her to give up sacrificing herself to the people of Eglosilyan, same question by Mr. Trelyon? And while she was that she might sacrifice herself to him. And somehow dreamily looking at an imaginative picture of her future there floated into her mind a suggestion of Molly's duties - life, calm and placid and commonplace, the sudden introof the wasbing of clothes and the mixing of grog — and for duction into it of Harry Trelyon almost frightened her. the life of her she could not repress a smile. And then The mere recalling of his name, indeed, shattered that she grew embarrassed ; for Mr. Roscorla had perceived that magic-lantern slide, and took her back to their parting of smile, and she fancied he might be hurt, and with that she the forenoon, when he left her in something of an angry proceeded to assure him with much earnestness that doing fashion; or rather it took her still further back - to one good to others, in as far as she could, was in her case really bright summer morning on which she had met young and truly the blackest form of selfishness, that she did it Trelyon riding over the downs to St. Gennis. We all of only to please herself, and that the praises in his letter to us know how apt the mind is to retain one particular iinher, and his notions as to what the people thought of her, pression of a friend's appearance, sometimes even in the matwere altogether uncalled-for and wrong.
ter of dress and occupation. When we recall such and But here Mr. Roscorla got an opening, and made use of such a person, we think of a particular smile, a particular it dexterously. For Miss Wenna's weak side was a great look; perhaps one particular incident of his or her life. distrust of herself, and a longing to be assured that she was Whenever Wenna Rosewarne thought of Mr. Trelyon, she cared for by anybody, and of some little account in the thought of him as she saw him on that one morning. She world. To tell her that the people of Eglosilyan were with- was coming along the rough path that crosses the bare upout exception fond of her, and ready at all moments to say | lands by the sea; he was riding by another path some little kind things of her, was the sweetest flattery to her ears. distance off, and did not notice her. The boy was riding Mr. Roscorla easily perceived this, and made excellent use hard; the sunlight was on his face. He was singing aloud of his discovery. If she did not quite believe all that she some song about the Cavaliers and King Charles. Two or heard, she was secretly delighted to hear it. It hinted at three years had come and gone since then. She had seen the possible realization of all her dreams, even though she Master Harry in many a mood, and not unfrequently illcould never be beautiful, rich, and of noble presence. tempered and sulky; but whenever she thought of him sudWenna's heart rather inclined to her companion just then. denly, her memory presented her with that picture; and it He seemed to ber to be a connecting link between her and was a picture of a handsome English lad riding by on a her manifold friends in Eglosilyan; for how had he heard summer morning, singing a brave song, and with all the those things, which she had not heard, if he were not in light of youth, and hope, and courage shining on his face. general communication with them? He seemed to her, She rose quickly, and with a sigh, as if she had been too, a friendly counsellor on whom she could rely; he was dreaming for a time, and forgetting for a moment the sadthe very first, indeed, who had ever offered to help her in ness of the world. her work.
“Oh, you asked about a saddle,” she said in a matter-ofMr. Roscorla, glad to see that he was getting on so well, fact way. “ Yes, I think my father has one. I think I grew reckless somewhat and fell into a grievous blunder. must be going home now, Mr. Roscorla." He fancied that a subtle sort of flattery to her would be “ No, not yet,” he said in a pleading way.
" Give me a conveyed by some binted depreciation of her sister Mabyn. few more minutes. I may n't bave another chance before Alas! at the first suggestion of it, all the pleased friendli- you make up your mind; and then, when that is done, I dess of her face instantly vanished, and she looked at him suppose it is all over, so far as persuasion goes. What I only with a stare of surprise. He saw bis error.
am most anxious about is that you should believe there is treated from that dangerous ground precipitately; but it more affection in my offer than I have actually conveyed in needed a good deal of assiduous labor before he had talked words. Don't imagine it is merely a commonplace bargain ber into a good humor again.
I want you to enter into. I hope, indeed, that in time I He did not urge his suit in direct terms. But surely, he shall win from you something warmer than affection, if said to himself, it means much if a girl allows you to talk only you give me the chance. Now, Wenna, won't you in the most roundabout way of a proposal of marriage give me some word of assurance some hint that it
may which you bave made to her, without sending you off point- come all right ?” blank. Surely she was at least willing to be convinced or She stood before him, with her eyes cast down, and repersuaded. Certainly, Miss Wenna could not very well mained silent for what seemed to bim a strangely long get away without appearing to be rude ; but at the same time. Was she bidding good-by to all the romantic dreams time she showed no wish to get away. On the contrary, of her youth — to that craving in a girl's heart for some she talked with him in a desultory and timid fashion, her firm and sure ideal of manly love, and courage, and devoeyes cast down, and her fingers twisting bits of sea-pink, tion to which she can cling through good report and bad and she listened with much attention to all bis descriptions report? Was she reconciling herself to the plain and comof the happy life led by people who knew how to be good mon ways of the married life placed before her? She said
at length, in a low voice : " It is far more a matter of intention than of temper,” he “ You won't ask me to leave Eglosilyan?” said. “When once two people find out the good qualities “ Certainly not,” he said, eagerly. “ And you will see in each other, they should fix their faith on those, and let how I will try to join you in all your work there, and how the others be overlooked as much as possible. With a lit- much easier and pleasanter it will be for you, and how tle consideration, the worst of tempers can be managed; much more satisfactory for all the people around you.” but to meet temper with temper -! And then each of She put out her hand timidly, her eyes still cast down. then should remember, supposing that the other is mani- “You will be my wife, Wenna ?” festly wrong at this particular moment, that he or she is “ Yes," she said. likely to be wrong at some other time. But I don't think Mr. Roscorla was conscious that he ought at this supreme there is much to be feared from your temper, Miss Wenna; moment in a man's life to experience a strange thrill
of and as for mine — I suppose I get vexed sometimes, like happiness. He almost waited for it; but he fele instead a other people, but I don't think i am bad-tempered, and I very distinct sense of embarrassment in not knowing what am sure I should never be bad-tempered to you. I don't to do or say next. He supposed that he ought to kiss her,
but he dared not. As he himself had said, Wenna Rose- I admire his Biglow Papers' so much.” It being exwarne was so fine and shy that be shrank from wounding plained to him that Mr. Bigelow and the author of the her extreme sensitiveness, and to step forward and kiss Biglow Papers" were not identical
, the other M. P. frankly this small and gentle creature, who stood there with her declared that he never could have made the mistake, pale face faintly flushed and her eyes averted – why, it for the good reason that he had never heard of Author or was impossible. He had heard of girls, in wild moments Papers before. This was, doubtless, a singular chance, and of pleasure and persuasion, suddenly raising their tear-filled | it is not likely that many members of Parliament were even eyes to their lover's face, and signing away their whole then in the same condition of hazy half knowledge, or existence with one full, passionate, and yearning kiss. But blank ignorance, about the “ Biglow Papers ;” and since to steal a kiss from this calm little girl!' He felt he should then both our great Universities have, so to speak, put the be acting the part of a jocular ploughboy.
customs’-mark of British recognition on the author of the “Wenna,” he said at length, "you have made me very | Papers, and thus given him permission to be received and happy. I am sure you will never repent your decision ; at circulated among us, along with our own. But even despite least I shall do my best to make you think you have done the University mark and the decided popularity which the right. And, Wenna, I have to dine with the Trelyons on Biglow Papers" made for themselves, and the "complete Friday evening; would you allow me to tell them some- editions " of the author's Poems which have lately been isthing of what has happened ? ”
sued, it may be doubted whether Mr. James Russell Lowell “ The Trelyons!” she repeated, looking up in a startled obtains in England anything like the recognition which be way.
has everywhere among his own countrymen, and to which It was of evil omen for this man's happiness that the he is fairly entitled. In popular estimation here. he is remere mention of that word turned this girl, who had just garded as the author of some comic poems, in New Engbeen yielding up her life to him, into a woman as obdurate land dialect, and is hashed-up, in some people's recollection, and unimpressionable as a piece of marble.
with Artemus Ward and Mark Twain. . Those who get “Mr. Roscorla,” she said, with a certain hard decision of beyond that stage, understand that there were some povoice, “ I must ask you to give me back that promise I litical meanings in his poems which were of significance made. I forgot — it was too hurried; why would you not and efficacy in their day, but have since faded almost into wait?”
unintelligibility. Then, of course, there are readers who He was fairly stupefied.
know him as a poet of graver verses than the “ Biglow “Mr. Roscorla,” she said, with almost something of petu- Papers,” and as a scholar and essayist besides; and there lent impatience in her voice," you must let me go now; I are the selecter few who know all about him. But it is am quite tired out. I will write to you to-morrow or next certain that for one Englishman who is familiar with what day, as I promised."
Lowell has written, thousands are familiar with LongShe passed him and went on, leaving him unable to fellow and Mrs. Stowe. utter a word of protest. But she had only gone a few steps Yet there is much in Lowell which one might have when she returned, and held out her hand, and said : thought well qualified to domesticate his works in English
“I bope I have not offended you ? It seems that I must literature. There is something very English-looking in offend everybody now; but I'am a little tired, Mr. Ros- Lowell himself; he has nothing of what we in this country corla."
regard as the American type about him.
His strong There was just the least quiver about her lips; and as square form, his massive head, with the bright cheery exall this was a profound mystery to him, he fancied he must pression, and the quiet, good-humored eyes, are almost exhave tired ber out, and he inwardly called himself a brute. actly what people think a genuine Briton ought to have.
“ My dear Wenna,” he said, " you have not offended me His appearance naturally surprises, at first, those who had - you have not really. It is I who must apologize to you. known him beforehand only through his books. There is I am so sorry I should have worried you; it was very incon- so much delicacy and subtleness in his graver poems and siderate. Pray take your own time about that letter.” bis essays; his criticisms and his thoughts are alike so
So she went away, and passed round to the other side finely traced out, that we are not prepared for so robust of the rocks, and came in view of the small winding harbor, and vigorous a type of man. We had formed in our minds and the mill, and the inn. Far away up there, over the the idea, perhaps, of a pale and deep-eyed scholar, and we cliffs, were the downs on which she had met Harry Trel- see a broad-shouldered, full-bearded, strong and cheery yon that summer morning, as he rode by, singing in the Anglo-Saxon. Yet, after a while, the idea begins somehow mere joyousness of youth, and happy and pleased with all to restore and reassert itself. There is a certain suggesthe world. She could hear the song he was singing then; tion of easy and meditative indecision about the eyes and she could see the sunlight that was shining on his face. It mouth of the strongly built scholar which helps us to recappeared to her to be long ago. This girl was but eighteen ognize the author of the over-thoughtful poems, and the years
of age, and yet, as she walked down towards Eglo- exquisitely poetic essays. In the course of a rather prosilyan, there was a weight on her heart that seemed to tell tracted trial, about which people in this country were in her she was growing old.
the habit of talking a little lately, a lady called as a witness And now the western sky was red with the sunset, and to identity observed that she did not at first exactly recthe rich light burned along the crests of the hills, on the ognize the rightful heir in the stout personage who stood golden furze, the purple heather, and the deep-colored before her, but that she seemed to see the rightful heir somerocks. The world seemed all ablaze up there; but down how hovering about him. One who first sees Lowell is perhere, as she went by the harbor and crossed over the bridge baps in a somewbat similar condition ; there before you is by the mill, Eglosilyan lay pale and gray in the hollow; the author of the “Biglow Papers" plainly enough – stout, and even the great black wheel was silent.
strong, and ready to light against any manner of sham
poetic essays ? But when he speaks, and the light of JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
varying expression passes over his face, one begins to see the poet and the scholar hovering about Hosea Biglow
One soon learns to understand how it was that
Hosea Biglow had so much fancy and poetry in his fibrous Two or three years ago, the writer of this paper hap- nature, and how the enthusiast of the Commemoration pened to have a seat at a public dinner in London between Ode” could sometimes stop to think, amid the fervor of all two members of Parliament.
One of the toasts brought his patriotic emotion. up Mr. John Bigelow of New York, lately American I know Mr. Lowell's age without consulting the useful Minister in Paris. When his name was announced, one of “Men of the Time," for I was in the United States when the members of Parliament said, “I am so glad to see him; l he gathered a select circle of his friends around him to
BY JUSTIN MCCARTHY.
celebrate his fiftieth birthday. The celebration took place “ As if a lark should suddenly drop dead, at Lowell's house, Elmwood, near Cambridge, Massachu
While the blue air yet trembled with its song, setts. The New York Galaxy had a pretty poem on the
So snapped at once that music's golden thread event by one of his friends, Mr. Cranch, in which, with a
Struck by a nameless fear that leapt along literal truth not always to be found in poetic compliment,
From heart to heart, and like a shadow spread Mr. Lowell is described as —
With instantaneous shiver through the throng,
So that some glanced behind, as half aware,
A hideous shape of dread were standing there.
"As when a crowd of pale men gather round,
Watching an eddy in the leaden deep, The poet and scholar is now in his fifty-sixth year, but From which they deem the body of one drowned would be set down by any stranger for at least ten years
Will be cast forth, from face to face doth creep younger. There is not a great deal to be said about the An eager dread that holds all tongues fast bound, history of his quiet life. He was born in 1819, and be
Until the horror, with a ghastly leap, comes of a family distinguished in Massachusetts. His Starts up, its dead blue arms stretched aimlessly,
Heaved with the swinging of the careless sea. father was eminent as a divine. One of the family founded the thriving city of Lowell ; another founded the Lowell But in truth the political emotions of the time when Institute at Boston. One of James Russell Lowell's Lowell was young had a good deal to do with the lack of pephews, a young officer of great promise, was killed when genuine inspiration of a poetic kind which is to be observed leading a charge of cavalry against the Southern Seces. in many or most of these earlier productions. It is to the sionists in 1864: I believe, indeed, that a second nephew of unfading honor, however, of Lowell's character that the Lowell's also lost his life in the war; and I cannot forget slavery struggle filled his soul too much to allow him to be having heard Mr. Lowell speak more in melancholy than a mere poet. Instead of poetry he threw off passionate in actual bitterness, of the feelinus awakened within him leading articles in verse. What Wendell Phillips would when, immediately after he had learnt what his family had have spoken with that marvellous voice, ranging over all sacrificed to the country, he received an English paper the moods of pathos, scorn, pity, and anger, from the with a leading article informing its readers that the men of platform of Faneuil Hall; what Theodore Parker would the Northern States kept back from the war themselves, have preached from his pulpit, that Lowell put into verse. and had all the fighting done for them by " the scum of Indignation against slavery made verse for him, but someEurope." Mr. Lowell graduated at Harvard and was times unmade poetry: “Weary on the war!” says the admitted to the bar, but very soon renounced law and good dame in • Old Mortality; many's the fair cheek published his first collection of poems in 1844. This it has spoiled.” Weary on slavery, we might say, were it volume contains several poems of a considerably older for nothing but the fair poetic fancies it must have spoiled. date, and most of them have to be regarded as the work It seems terrible and cruel waste now, that burning-up of of a very young man. Mr. Lowell's maturer writings so much precious poetic material to make the fire of popuhis poems composed when he was fifty years old - have lar indignation blaze against that national sin. The Carnot only far greater grace and strength, but even, as it thaginian girl lending her hair to make bowstrings with, seems to me, a much deeper poetic feeling and a richer does not seem to have sacrificed so much to her cause as the fancy than the products of his youth. Readers, especially poet who, in his youth, gives out his inspirations to be cut in this country, have often asked whether Lowell is in very up into lengths of rhythmic leading articles. truth a poet, or only a man of high thought and exquisite Lowell, however, did not believe he was making any culture, moulding his sentiments into verse. I certainly sacrifice, and even if he did, would never have heeded it. should be disposed to declare him a genuine poet on the He lent all his energy and his anger to the cause. He strength of his later productions only. There is a great turned away from law, and practically even from literature, deal of original thought, for instance, in the “Prometheus," and became one of the agitators of the great new movewhich bears date 1843, and considering what men had ment. In fact, Lowell began his career in active life — if already dealt with that eternal theme, it was a remarkable such a life as his can properly be called active — as an feat to give it novelty and freshness once more. It is anti-slavery politician. There is a curious notion accepted curious how poor Prometheus on his rock has been grad in this country about the cultivated intellect of America ually changing and modernizing with the poets who take keeping always aloof from politics. I suppose the meaning up
The Prometheus of Æschylus would not is that highly educated Americans do not often go into know himself in the passionate young iconoclast and dev- | Congress. That is true to a great extent, though not to otee of modern Liberty whom Shelley pictured. “I anything like the extent that people here commonly beerence thee?” says Goethe's Prometheus indignantly ad- lieve. But that highly-educated Americans keep away dressing Zeus, . Wherefore ? Hast thou ever lightened from participation in political life because they are highly the load of the heavily-laden, or dried the tears of the educated is not true; is, indeed, as Carlyle would say, anguished ?”. There we have a Prometheus after Goethe's curiously the reverse of the truth. I presume a man can own heart and out of Goethe's own head; a Prometheus who bardly be said to hold aloof from pulitics who conducts a troubles himself little about the grand words of Liberty and political journal and takes part in the political organizaHumanity, and the scorn of priestcraft and tyranny, wbich tion of his party. I suppose a man who for years and soothe the monotony and bondage of Shelley's Titan, and years is an incessant writer of political articles will hardly is only concerned about man's peace, happiness, and cult- be said to keep aloof from politics. Congress does not ure. But Lowell's Prometheus is a Boston transcenden- constitute the great political platform of the United States talist
, and an out-and-out abolitionist. He has evidently to anything like the degree that Parliament constitutes beard Theodore Parker and Emerson. He talks of the
the great political platform of this country. But I am intrue, and the sure supremeness of the beautiful,” and clined to think that if on the one hand there is, or lately proclaims that tyranny is always weakness. “ Thou and was, a greater proportion of highly-educated men in Parall strength shall crumble except Love,” is a fine line, with liament than in Congress, on the other hand, there is a a really poetic ring in it; but we seem to lose the Titan larger proportion of highly-educated Americans engaged and come back to Boston, where we find Prometheus in politics outside Congress
, than of highly-educated Engclaiming to be
lishmen similarly engaged outside Parliament. I do not A great voice,
suppose there is in America any culture bigher than that Heard in the breathless pauses of the fight
represented by Mr. Bryant, Mr. George William Curtis, By Truth and Freedom ever waged with wrong."
Mr. Bayard Taylor, Mr. Parke Godwin, and other political There is more genuine poetry, perhaps, in the “Legend journalists and writers of New York; or that represented of Brittany,” published at the same time. These two by Mr. Motley, Mr. Wendell Phillips, and the late Mr. verses, for example, are surely poetry :
Charles Sumner of Boston, or Mr. Wentworth Higginson of