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ality horrible. It needed an imagina objects, a curiosity shop, a sign-pist, a tion like his, irregular, excessive, capa town-crier. He has vigor, he does not ble of fixed ideas, to exhibit the de-attain beauty. His instrument prorangements of reason. Two especially duces vibrating, but not harmonious there are, which make us laugh, and sounds. If he is describing a house, he which make us shudder. Augustus, a will draw it with geometrical clearness; gloomy maniac, who is on the point of he will put all its colors in relief, dismarrying Miss Pecksniff ; and poor cover a face and thought in the shutters Mr. Dick, partly an idiot, partly a and the spouts ; he will make a sort of monomaniac, who lives with Miss Trot- human being out of the house, grimacwood. To understand these exalta. ing and forcible, which attracts our tions, these unforeseen gloominesses, attention, and which we shall never these incredible summersaults of per- forget; but he will not see the grandeur rerted sensitiveness; to reproduce of the long monumental lines, the calm these hiatuses of thought, these inter- majesty of the broad shadows boldly ruptions of reasoning, this recurrence divided by the white plaster; the cheerof a word, always the same, which fulness of the light which covers them, breaks in upon a phrase attempted and and becomes palpable in the black nichoverturns renascent reason ; to see the es in which it dives as though to rest stupid smile, the vacant look, the fool and to sleep. If he is painting a landish and uneasy, physiognomy of these scape, he will perceive the haws which haggard old children who painfully dot with their red fruit the leafless grope about from one idea to another, hedges, the thin vapor steaming from a and stumble at every step on the thres- distant stream, the motions of an insect hold of the truth which they cannot in the grass ; but the deep poetry attain, is a faculty which Hoffmann which the author of Valentine and alone has possessed in an equal degree André* would have felt, will escape with Dickens. The play of these him. He will be lost, like the painters shattered reasons is like the creaking of his country, in the minute and im of a door on its rusty hinges ; it makes passioned observation of small things ; one sick to hear it. We find in it, if he will have no love of beautiful forms we like, a discordant burst of laughter, and fine colors. He will not perceive but we discover still more easily a that the blue and the red, the straight groan and a lamentation, and we are line and the curve, are enough to conterrified to gauge the lucidity, strange pose vast concerts, which amidst so ness, exaltation, violence of imagination many various expressions maintain a which has produced such creations, grand serenity, and open up in the which has carried them on and sus- depths of the soul a spring of health tained them unbendingly to the end, and happiness. Happiness is lacking and which found itself in its proper in him; his inspiration is a feverish sphere in imitating and producing their rapture, which does not select its obirrationality.
jects, which animates promiscuously III.
the ugly, the vulgar, the ridiculous, and
which communicating to his creations To what can this force be applied ? an indescribable jerkiness and violence, Imaginations differ not only in their deprives them of the delight and har. nature, but also in their object; after mony which in other hands they inight having guaged their energy, we must have retained. Miss Ruth is a very lefine their domain ; in the wide world pretty housekeeper ; she puts on her the artist makes a world for himself; apron; what a treasure this apron is ! involuntarily he chooses a class of ob Dickens turns it over and over, like a jects which he prefers; others do not milliner's shopman who wants to sell warm his genius, and he does not per- it. She holds it in her hands, then she ceive them. Dickens does not perceive puts it round her waist, ties the strings, great things this is the second feature spreads it out, smoothes it that it may of his imagination. Enthusiasm seizes fall well. What does she not do with him in connection with every thing, her apron ? And how delighed is especially in connection with vulgar
* Novels of George Sand.
Dickens during these innocent occupa- “Yohg, behind there, stop that bugle for a tions ? He utters little exclamations moment! Come cree ping over to the front of joyous fun. “Oh heaven, what a
along the coach-roof, guard, and make one a:
this basket! Not that we slacken in our pe ce wicked little stomacher !” He apos- the while, not we: we rather put the bits of trophizes a ring, he sports round Ruth, blood upon their mettle, for the greater glory he is so delighted that he claps his of the snack. Ah! It is long since this bottle hands. It is much worse when she is mellow breath of night, you may depend, and
of old wine was brought into contact with the making the pudding ; there is a whole rare good stuff it is to wet a bugler's whistle scene, dramatic and lyric, with exclama with. Only try it. Don't be afraid of turning tions, protasis, sudden inversions as
up your finger, Bill, another pull! Now, take complete as a Greek tragedy. These your breath, and try the bugle, Bill. There's
Over the billa kitchen refinements and this waggery of and far away,” indeed, Yoho! The skittish imagination make us think, by way of mare is all alive to-night. Yoho! Yoho ! contrast, of the household pictures of know it ; making the earth redect the objects
“ See the bright moon; high up before we George Sand, of the room of Geneviève on its breast like water. Hedges, trees, low the flower-girl. She, like Ruth, is cottages, church steeples, plighted stumps and making a useful object, very useful, flourishing young slips, have all grown vain since she will sell it to-morrow for ten
upon the sudden, and mean to contemplate
their own fair images till morning. The poppence; but this object is a full-blown lars yonder rustle, that their quivering leaves rose, whose fragile petals are moulded may see themselves upon the ground. Not so by her fingers as by the fingers of a
the oak; trembling does not become him:
and he watches himself in his stout old burly fairy, whose fresh corolla is purpled steadfastness, without the motion of a twig with a vermilion as tender as that of The moss-grown gate, ill poised upon its creak her cheeks ; a fragile masterpiece ing hinges, crippled and decayed, swings to which bloomed on an evening of poetic dowager ; while our own ghostly likenes
and fro before its glass like some fantasti: emotion, whilst from her window she
travels on, Yoho! Yoho! through ditch and beheld in the sky the piercing and brake, upon the ploughed land and the smooth divine eyes of the stars, and in the along the steep hill-side and steeper wall, as i depths of her virgin heart murmured
it were a phantom-Hunter. the first breath of love. Dickens does low! Not a dull fog that hides it, but a light,
"Clouds too! And a mist upon the Hol not need such a sight for his transports ; airy, gauze-like mist, which in our eyes d a stage-coach throws him into dithy- modest admiration gives a new charm to the rambs; the wheels, the splashing, the done ere now, and would again, so please you
beauties it is spread before: as real gauze ha; cracking whip, the clatter of the horses, though we were the Pope. "Yoho! Why, nov harness, the vehicle; here is enough to we travel like the Moon herself. Hiding this transport him. He feels sympathetic minute in a grove of trees, next minute in a ally the motion of the coach ; it bears broad, clear course, withdrawing now, but al.
patch of vapour, emerging now upon our him along with it; he hears the ways dashing on, our journey is a counterpart gallop of the horses in his brain, and of hers. Yoho! A match against the Moon ! goes off, uttering this ode, which seems
“ The beauty of the night is hardly felt
when Day comes leaping up. Yoho! Two to proceed from the guard's horn:
stages, and the country roads are almost “Yoho, among the gathering shades ; mak- changed to a continuous street. Yoho, pact ing of po account the deep reflections of the
market gardens, rows of houses, villas, crestrees, but scampering on through light and cents, terraces, and squares; past waggons, darkness, all the same, as if the light
of Lon- coaches, carts ; past early workmen, late strag don, fifty miles away, were quite enough to glers, drunken men, and sober carriers os travel by, and some to spare. Yoho, beside loads ; past brick and mortar in its every the village green, where cricket-players linger shape ; and in among the rattling panaments yet, and every little indent. tion made in the where a jaunty-seat upon a coach is not so easy Iresh grass by bat or wickel, ball or player's to preserve ! Yoho, down countless turnings foot, sheds out its perfume on the night. and through countless mazy ways, until an old Away with four fresh horses from the Bald- Inn-yard is gained, and Tom Pinch, getting faced Stag, where topers congregate about the downs, quite stunned and giddy, is in Londoor admiring ; and the last team, with traces banging loose, go roaming off towards the
All this to tell us that Tom Pinch is pond, until observed and shouted after by a dozen throats, while volunteering boys pursue
This fit of lyric them. Now, with a clattering of hoofs and poetry, in which the most poetic ex striking out of fiery sparks, across the old stone travagances spring from the most vul bridge, and down again into the shadowy road, ined through the open gate, and far away, away gar commonplaces, like sickly flowers into wold
come to London !
* Martin Chwalowit, ch. suri.
growing in a troken old flower-pot, dis- violence to the mind, which carries it plays in its natural and quaint contrasts away in digressions and falls, and only all the sides of Dickens' imagination. casts it on the bank enchanted and ex We shall have his portrait if we picture hausted. It is an intoxication, and on to ourselves a man who, with a stewpan a delicate soul the effect would be too in one hand and
postillion's whip in forcible; but it suits the English pub the other, took to making prophecies. lic, and that public has justified it.
This sensibility can hardly have IV.
more than two issues laughter and
tears. There are others, but they are The reader already foresees what only reached by lofty eloquence ; they vehement emotions this species of are the path to sublimity, and we have imagination will produce. The mode of seen that for Dickens this path is cut conception in a man governs the mode off. Yet there is no writer who knows of thought. When the mind, barely better how to touch and melt; he atentive, follows the indistinct outlines makes us weep, absolutely shed tears of a rough sketched image, joy and before reading him we did not know grief glide past him with insensible there was so much pity in the heart. touch. When the mind, with rapt at The grief of a child, who wishes to be tention, penetrates the minute details loved by his father, and whom his of a precise image, joy and grief shake father does not love ; the despairing the whole man.
love and slow death of a poor half-imDickens has this attention, and sees becile young man ; all these pictures of these details: this is why he meets secret grief leav an ineffaceable imeverywhere with objects of exaltation. pression. The tears which he sheds He never abandons his impassioned are genuine, and compassion is their tone; he never rests in a natural style only source. Balzac, George Sand, and in simple narrative; he only rails Stendhal have also recorded human or weeps ; he writes but satires or miseries ; is it possible to write withelegies. He has the feverish sensibility out recording them? But they do not of a woman who laughs loudly, or melts seek them out, they hit upon them; into tears at the sudden shock of the they do not dream of displaying them slightest occurrence. This impassioned to us; they were going elsewhere, and style is extremely potent, and to it may met them on their way. They love art be attributed half the glory of Dickens. better than men. They delight only in
The majority of men have only weak setting in motion the springs of pas. enotions. We labor mechanically, and sions, in combining large systems of yawn much; three-fourths of things events, in constructing, powerful charleave us cold; we go to sleep by habit, acters: they do not write from sympa. and we no longer remark the household thy with the wretched, but from love of scenes, petty details, stale adventures, beauty. When we
have finished which are the basis of our existence. A George Sand's Mauprat, our emotion man comes, who suddenly renders them is not pure syinpathy; we feel, in interesting ; nay, who makes them dra. addition, a deep admiration for the matic. changes them into objects of greatness and the generosity of love. admiration, tenderness and dread. When we have come to the end of Without leaving the fireside or the Balzac's Le Père Goriot, our heart is omnibus, we are trembling, our eyes pained by the tortures of that anguish; full of tears, or shaken by fits of inex- but the astonishing inventiveness, the tinguishable laughter. We are trans- accumulation of facts, the abundance of formed, our life is doubled; our soul general ideas, the force of analysis, had been vegetating; now it feels, transport us into the world of science, suffers, loves. The contrast, the rapid and our painful sympathy is calmed by succession, the number of the senti. the spectacle of this physiology of tho ments, add further to its trouble; we heart. Dickens never calms our symare immersed for two hundred pages in pathy; he selects subjects in which it a torrent of new emotions, contrary and alone, and more than elsewhere, is un. increasing, which communicates its | folded : the long oppression of caidren
persecuted and starved by their school- “It wa’ shined upon me,' he said reier master; the life of the factory-hand ently,.'in my pain and trouble down below. I! Stephen, robbed and degraded by his thowt o' thee, Rachael, till the muddle in my
ha' shined into my mind. I ha' lookn at't and wife, driven away by his fellow-work- mind have cleared awa, above a bit, I hope. I! men, accused of theft, lingering, six soom ha' been wantin’in vanerstan'in mo days at the bottom of a pit into which better, I, too, ha' been wantin' in unnerstan'in he has fallen, maimed, consumed by fever, and dying when he is at length der, -wi' it shinin' on me.--I ha' seen more
“In my pain an' trouble, lookin' up yordiscovered. Rachael, his only friend, clear, and ha' made it my dyin' prayer that a is there; and his delirium, his cries, th' world may on'y coom toogether more, a the storm of despair in which Dickens when I were in't my own weak seln.
get a better unnerstan'in' o' one another, th: envelopes his characters, have prepared 5. Often as I coom to myseln, and found it the way for the painful picture of this shinin' on me down there in my trouble, i resigned death. The bucket brings up, iour's home. I awmust think it be the vers
thowt it were the star as guided to Our Sar a poor, crushed human creature, and star!
“the pale, worn, patient face “They carried him very gently along the looking up to the sky, whilst the right fields, and down the lanes, and over the vide hand, shattered and hanging down, in hers. Very few whispers broke the moun.
landscape ; Rachael always holding the hind seems as if waiting to be taken by an- fui silence. It was soon a funeral processon. other hand.” Yet he smiles, and feebly The star had shown him where to find the Goa said “Rachael !” She stooped down, of the poor ; and through humility, and sr. and bent over him until her eyes were
row, and forgiveness, he had gone to his le
deemer's rest." # between his and the sky, for he could not so much as turn them to look at
This same writer is the most railing her. Then in broken words he tells the most comic, the most jocose of her of his long agony. Ever since he English authors. And it is moreover was born he has met with nothing but a singular gayety! It is the only knd misery and injustice; it is the rule the which would harmonize with this in. weak suffer, and are made to suffer. passioned sensibility. There a laugh. This pit into which he had fallen “has ter akin to tears. Satire is the siser cost hundreds and hundreds o'men's of elegy: if the second pleads for the lives—fathers, sons, brothers, dear to oppressed, the first combats the opthousands an' thousands, an” keeping pressors,
Feeling painfully all the 'em fro’ want and hunger. . The wrongs that are committed, and the men that works in pits .
vices that are practised, Dickens an' pray'n the lawmakers for Christ's avenges himself by ridicule. He des sake not to let their work be murder to
not paint, he punishes. Nothing could 'em, but to spare 'em for th' wives and be more damaging than those long children, that they loves as well as chapters of sustained irony, in which gentlefok loves theirs ;” all in vain. the sarcasm is pressed, line after lin,
When the pit was in work, it killed more sanguinary and piercing in the wi’out need ; when 't is let alone, it chosen adversary. There are five o kills wi’out need.”. Stephen says this six against the Americans,—their vena. without anger, quietly, merely as the newspapers, their drunken journalists, truth. He has his caluminator before their cheating speculators, their womer him; he does not get angry, accuses no
authors, their coarseness, their famil. one; he oniy charges old Gradgrind to iarity, their insolence, their brutality, clear him and make his name good enough to captivate an absolutist, and to with all men as soon as he shall be justify the French Liberal who, returndead. His heart is up there in heaven, ing from New York, embraced with where he has seen a star shining. In
tears in his eyes the first gendarme his agony, on his bed of stones, he has whom he saw on landing at Havre gazed upon it, and the tender and Starting of commercial companies, intouching glance of the divine star has terviews between a member of Parlia calmed, by its mystical serenity, the ment and his constituents, instructions anguish of mind and body.
of a member of the House of Com.
mons to his secretary, the nutward die • Hard Times, bk. 2 ch. vi.
play of great banking-houses, the lay- shows us, he dazzles the reader's eyes ing of the first stone of a public build- with it; but the reader is amused by ing, every kind of ceremony and lie of this irregular fancy : the fire of the ex English society are depicted with the ecution makes him forget that the fire and bitterness of Hogarth. There scene is improbable, and he laughs are parts where the comic element is heartily as he listens to the uncerta so vìlent, that it has the semblance of ker, Mould, enumerating the consola. yengeance, as the story of Jonas tions which filial piety, well backed by Chuzzlewit. "The very first word money, may find in his shop. What which this excellent boy learnt to spell grief could not be softened by was gain, and the second (when he came into two syllables) was money.”. This wrappings... drivers in cloth cloaks and top
" "Four horses to each vehicle ... velvet fine education had unfortunately pro- boots the plumage of the ostrich, dyed duced two results : first, that, “ having black : any number of walking
attendants been long taught by his father to over
dressed in the first style of funeral fashion, and reach everybody, he had imperceptibly in Westminster Abbey itself, if he choose to
carrying batons tipped with brass
. : a place acquired a love of overreaching that invest it in such a purchase. Oh! do not let venerable monitor himself ; " secondly, us say that gold is dross, when it can buy such that being taught to regard every thing things as these.Ay. Mrs. Gamp, you are iw a matter of property," he had gradu- be an honoured calling.
right,' rejoined the undertaker. We should
We do good by ally come to look with impatience on stealth, and blush to have it mentioned in our his parent as a certain amount of per- little bills. How much consolation may 1-, Bonal estate,” who would be very well even 1, cried Mr. Mould, have diffused “ secured,” in that particular descrip- four long-tailed prancers, never harnessed un
among my fellow-creatures by means of my tion of strong-box which is commonly der ten pund ten!""* called a coffin, and banked in the grave.* “Is that my father snoring,
Usually Dickens remains grave Pecksniff ?” asked Jonas ; “ tread upon lish wit consists in saying very jocular
whilst drawing his caricatures. Eng. his foot ; will you be so good ? The foot next you is the gouty one.”+ things in a solemn manner. Tone and Young Chuzzlewit is introduced to us
ideas are then in contrast; every conwith this mark of attention; we may
trast makes a strong impression. Dickjudge by this of his other feelings. In ens loves to produce them, and his reality, Dickens is gloomy, like Ho- public to hear them. garth ; but, like Hogarth, he makes us
If at times he forgets to castigate burst with laughter by the buffoonery his neighbor, if he tries to sport, to of his invention and the violence of his amuse himself, he is not the more hap. caricatures. He pushes his characters py for all that. The chief element of to absurdity with unwonted boldness. the English character is its want of Pecksniff híts off moral phrases and sen- happiness. The ardent and tenacious timental actions in so grotesque a man- imagination of Dickens is impressed ner, that they make him extravagant. with things too firmly, to pass lightly and Never were heard such monstrous ora gayly over the surface. He leans too torical displays. Sheridan had already heavily on them, he penetrates, works painted an English hypocrite, Joseph into, hollows them out; all these vio Surface ; but he differs from Pecksniff lent actions are efforts, and all efforts as much as a portrait of the eighteenth
are sufferings. To be happy, a man century differs from a cartoon of Punch. must be light-minded, as a Frenchman Dickens makes hypocrisy so deformed of the eighteenth century, or sensuas, and monstrous, that his hypocrite as an Italian of the sixteenth ; a man ceases to resemble a man; we would must not get anxious about things, if call him one of those fantastic figures he wishes to enjoy them. Dickens does whose nose is greater than his body. get anxious, and does not enjoy. Let This exaggerated comicality springs
us take a little comical accident, such from excess of imagination. Dickens as we meet with in the street-a gust uses the same spring throughout. The of wind which blows about the garbetter to make us see the object he ments of a street-porter. Scaram sucho • Martin Chusslawit, ch. viii. | Ibis
• Ibid. ch. is.