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reason.

names.

and entire self-possession is this charming hussy! And how perfectly natural a product, as we hintei just now, of the Tozer genius, born into a world a few years older, and submitted to the influence of London culture in a West-end Dissenting community, instead of to that of a little country town, where a small cheesemonger is the Diotrephes of the church !

One of our reasons for our joy that the Carlingford series ends here is, indeed, that, as Tozer would say, “our Phoebe is not to be beat.” But there is another

Horace Northcote, the blazing young Liberationist of this story, marries Ursula May, clergyman's daughter, and retires from Carlingford :

“I'm one as is qualified to give what you may call a casting-vote,' said Tozer, being the oldest deacon in Salem, and one as has seen generations coming and going. And as for church and chapel, I've served 'em both, and seen the colour of their money, and there's them as has their obligations to me, though we needn't name no

But this I will say, as I'm cured of clever men and them as is thought superior. They ain't to be calculated upon. If any more o' them young intellectuals turns up at Carlingford, I'll tell him right out, “You ain't the man for my money.” I'll say to him as bold as brass, “ I've been young, and now I'm old, and it's my conviction as clever young men ain't the sort for Salem. We want them as is steadygoing, and them as is consistent; good strong opinions, and none o' your charity, that's what we wants here." ;

“Now Tozer had loved clever young men in his day more well than wisely, as everybody knew, and this deliverance carried all the more weight in consequence, and was echoed loudly by one general hum of content and applause.

“Northcote took this very quietly, but he retired, after he married Ursula, from the office of pastor, for which he was not fitted, and from the Liberation Society, and various other societies, coming to see that Disestablishment was not a panacea for national evils any more than other things. He was in the habit of quoting his brother-inlaw, Reginald May, as the best man he knew; but this did not make him a Church. man ; for naturally he could not say the same of other members of the same class and family. He was shaken out of his strong opinions ; but it is doubtful how far this was good for him, for he was a man of warlike disposition, and not to have something which he could think the devil's own stronghold to assail, was a drawback to him,'and cramped his mental development.”

As far as “society” is concerned, the long feud between Church and Dissent is thus “ made up” at the end of the Carlingford story. But, all the way through, the treatment of these topics from the society point of view has not been any more satisfactory to deeply serious readers than Northcote's secession from the post of fighting-man was to him. There has been something wanting all along; and though we cannot wish the Carlingford series unwritten,—while it would have been idle to wish the books different,

-We cannot help feeling that in no portion of that series has Mrs. Oliphant done full justice to her own deepest sense of that truth which we must all live and die by. We are not partisans; we represent neither Church nor Dissent; but it is plain that the political question between them is not solved by showing how Churchmen and Dissenters can be made to like each other in society, or by showing a fiery young Liberationist in the act of learning that Church has advantages, and Dissent disadvantages. In real life the fiery young Liberationist would not have talked to Reginald May, the Church-sinecurist, as Mrs. Oliphant makes him talk. He would have said, “ The inconveniences you allege in our economy are the incidents of human infirmity; but the wrong things we allege in yours are the inevitable result of your institutions."

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CRIPPS THE CARRIER.*

M

R. BLACKMORE has a place of his own among novelists, and he is certainly

not likely to lose it. You do not go to the author of "Lorna Doone" and

“Cradock Nowell” for anything bearing the least resemblance to what you expect elsewhere in the way of fiction. The story that you read may be called a novel—or, at least, it may rank for a time with the books of the season ; but you will put the book up on the shelves in choice company when you have gone through it, and you will carry away some unfadirg figures for the picture gallery of your mind. Nobody who reads the present story will ever forget Zachary Cripps the carrier, and his brother Tickuss, or Leviticus. Mr. Blackmore's rustics are wonderfully done. There is no reason why Cripps should almost fill the canvas; the part he plays in the narrative was quite consistent with his occupying a very subordinate place; but, in spite of the fact that he neither does nor suffers anything in particular, Cripps not only justifies the name of the story—he makes us feel that he is the medium through which we have to lay hold of it. The narrative itself is romantic enough-probably Mr. Blackmore will not be hurt if we say it is a tissue of improbabilities. In other hands it might be very pathetic ; but though the strong plot-interest carries us on to the end, we are not much moved by the sufferings of the old squire, who for a time loses his daughter. In the kind of pathos that belongs to such a situation, a simpler touch than Mr. Blackmore's is required. The author's manner is not so involved as that of Mr. George Meredith ; but still it is involved. It would be wrong to say that the thought sometimes looks far-fetched—but Mr. Blackmore makes you bide his time. There is a certain reserve about his humour ; a "crust” or shell to his thought, and it sometimes looks as if he took a sly pleasure in suddenly snapping a thread. You come upon an exquisite bit of natural beauty or something which promises a long stretch of humorous suggestion ; but the author is off and away to something else long before you are satisfied.

Cripps the Carrier” is none of your easy-going modern stories, in which the incidents reel themselves out, like parlour conversation. The plot opens upon you at the very first, and is wrought out by hundreds of minute touches. Mr. Blackmore belongs to the old school of novelists—if you are to get much pleasure out of him, you must give him the reins entirely—he is your master for the time being, and will let nothing happen but as he pleases. His tastes and culture look backward rather than forward. He would much rather quote Sophocles than write about a "dynamic smile.” Far away from those quaintly idyllic pages are the half-slipshod, half-pretentious mysteries of the modern dialect. You must really attend to Mr. Blackmore before you have hold of his best and choicest. There never were books that would less bear “sampling” than his, but we are tempted to extract a fragment or two of dialogue between Zachary Cripps the carrier, and his halfhonest brother Leviticus :

“What be the reason, then,' Zachary went on, still keeping his eyes on the face of Tickuss, 'that thou hast been keeping thyself and thy pigs out o' market, and even thy waife and children to home, same as if 'em had gotten the plague ? And what be the reason, Leviticus Cripps, that thou fearest to go to a wholesome publichouse, and have thy pint of ale, and see thy neighbours, as behooveth a God-fearing man ? To my mind, either thou art gone dait, and the woman should take the lead othee, or else thou art screwed out of honest ways.'

“The Carrier now looked at his brother, with more pity than suspicion. Leviticus saw his chance, and seized it.

Cripps the Carrier: A Woodland Tale. By Richard Doddridge Blackmore, Author of “Lorna Doone,"

,” “ Alice Lorraine," &c. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington.

VOL. XXIX.

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Consarning of goin' to public-house, I would never be too particular. A man may do it, or a man may not, according to manner of his things at home, or his own little brew, or the temper of his wife. I would not blame him, nor yet praise him, for things as he knoweth best about. To make light of a man for not going to public, is the same as to blame him for stopping from church. A man as careth for good opinion goeth to both, but a' cannot always do it. And I ain't a been in church now for more nor a week of Sundays.'

"The force of this reasoning came home to Cripps. If a man was unable to go to church, there was good room for arguing that his duty towards the public-house must not be too rigidly exacted.”

It is no common humourist who writes like this, and “ Cripps the Carrier" is no common book. We are glad to see it reproduced in one handsome volume.

EBENEZER ELLIOTT.*

W

E do not know what has prompted this new edition of the poems of the

“Corn Law Rhymer;" but it is beyond dispute that the poems ought to

have been accompanied by something in the shape of a biography, how. ever short. There is plenty of material-in print-and Ebenezer Elliott was a most picturesque and suggestive figure. Unless our memory fails us much, some poems are suppressed in this collection-perhaps because of their bitter personality; but the poet's sincerity of purpose, to say nothing of his simplicity, could have borne any burden that attached itself to his somewhat boyish heats of political passion. Some would say hatred, but we do not beliove in the man's hatreds. He was something like Landor in that respect; or at least like Dickens' copy of him, Boythorn in “Bleak House.” He was never wholly free from a poet's compunctions. If he “hated” Wellington, it was as a symbol; as “bread-tax winning Famineton," and not otherwise. In spite of his recorded “indignation ” when some one spoke of corn-law landlords as “amiable men,” he would have been the first to find them “amiable" in private intercourse.

We have spoken of Ebenezer Elliott's simplicity and of his heats as boyish, and in truth he was simple and boyish all his life. All his notions of himself are juvenile in tone, the writing of one who never stopped to think twice : who had a quick but not greedy eye to his own interests; with whom it would be a word and a blow; and forgiveness as quick as the anger. In Elliott's writings there is one striking mark of the boyish, crude enthusiast—he is for ever writing fresh native rhymes to heroes who strike his fancy. Now it is Brougham; now it is Bowring ; now it is Jeremy Bentham; now it is Charles Hindley ; now it is one of the great unknown. Yet we may easily be very sure that Elliott's opinion of Brougham or Bentham was not worth the paper on which it was written, and that it was liable to bitter reversal the next week. The man is all apostrophe. It is “Hail !” and “Oh thou !"-note of admiration after note of admiration; blessing and ban in rapid succession; and not too much to show for it after all.

It does not follow that Elliott was not a man of genius, and a good man too-he was both. But he was, boy and lad, of the genus dunce; was in maturity a tradesman and politician more than a poet; and he never conquered for himself a literary manner entirely his own. We have to read him carefully in order to get a firm hold of his best. If we read him harshly we are apt to say, “This is like Burns; and that is like Crabbe; here is Byron; and there is Landor: this is poetic rhetoric, and this

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The Poetical Works of Ebenezer Elliott. Edited by his Son, Edwin Elliott, Rector of St. John's, Antigua. A New and Revised Edition. Two Volumes. London: Henry S. King & Co.

is poetic epigram-but where is the simplicity of poetry?" Opening at random, we alight upon the closing lines of the “ Village Patriarch :”

“ The Patriarch died ! and they shall be no more.

Yes, and the sailless worlds which navigate
Th' unutterable deep that hath no shore,
Will lose their starry splendour, soon or late,
Like tapers, quenched by Him whose will is fate!
Yes, and the Angel of Eternity,
Who numbers worlds, and writes their names in light,
Ere long, O Earth, will look in vain for thee,
And start, and stop in his unerring flight,
And, with his wings of sorrow and affright,

Veil his impassion'd brow, and heav'nly tears !” Is this poetry? Hardly. True, it is as good as much of Campbell, and better. But, after all, it is rather the sort of thing that purveyors of “Elegant Extracts” and “Readings for Elocutionists” delight in, than what the lovers of poetry remember without an effort, and dwell upon when the tired soul seeks a resting-place.

But still there is force and fire enough in such writing as this to make a reader fresh to Elliott's work turn the page again; and the following is in a much better vein :

“ Ask not the unreplying tomb,

• Where are the dead ?'
But ask the hawthorn-bloom,

Returning still
To vale and hill ;
The verdure, spread
Wide as the seas;
The flowers, the trees,

The river's song;
The gain that laughs, the loss that weeps,

The strong deed of the strong,

That ever works, and never sleeps
Or ask the ever-taking, ever-giving,

Deep ocean, and blue sky;
And they will tell thee, that the dead are living

And cannot die.”
And so is the following wail:-

“ Child, is thy father dead ?

Father is gone!
Why did they tax his bread ?

God's will be done!
Mother has sold her bed ;
Better to die than wed!
Where shall she lay her head ?

Home we have none !

“Father clamm'd thrice a week,

God's will be done!
Long for work did he seek,

Work he found none.
Tears on his hollow cheek
Told what no tongue could speak;
Why did his master break?

God's will be done!”

This is pathetic; but it is well-nigh grotesque — there is a total want of the fluidity of good poetry, and there is not in the sixteen lines one that will bear isolation. There is even some obscurity in the construction. We may be sure that “Better to die than wed” means “To die is better for such poor people as we are than to get married as your father and I did”—but the bare words do not express that meaning. “Clammed” is a north-country word which means fasted, and nobody dreams of wishing it altered; but the line

“Why did his master break?

issuing after such utter commonplace as

“ Tears on his hollow cheek
Told what no tongue could speak,”

is in bad plight.

The following is a fair specimen of Eliott's manner in description :

“When daisies blush, and wild flowers, wet with dew;

When shady lanes with hyacinths are blue;
When the elm blossoms o'er the brooding bird,
And, wild and wide, the plover's wail is heard ;
Where melts the mist on mountains far away,
Till morn is kindled into brightest day;
No more the shouting youngsters shall convene,
To play at leap-frog on the village-green,
While lasses, ripening into love, admire,
And youth's first raptures cheer the gazing sire.
The Green is gone! and barren splendours gleam,
Where hiss'd the gander at the passing team,
And the gay traveller from the city praised

man's cow, and, weary, stopp'd and gazed.” This has not an intensely original ring; but it is good; and perhaps a third of these poems—not more—is up to the mark of our quotations.

The poor

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