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their Parliament, meetings, associa- Mr. Murdstone and his sister, Boun. tions, public ceremonies, have learned derby, Gradgrind : we can find them the oratorical phraseology, the abstract in all his novels. Some are so by terms, the style of political economy, education, others by nature ; but all of the newspaper and the prospectus. are odious, for they all rail at and de Pecksniff talks like a prospectus. He stroy kindness, sympathy, compassion, possesses its obscurity, its wordiness, disinterested affections, religious emoin its emphasis. He seems to soar tions, a fanciful enthusiasm, all that is above the earth, in the region of pure lovely in man. They oppress children. isleas, in the bosom of truth. He re- strike women, starve the poor, insult sembles an apostle, brought up in the the wretched.' The best are machines Times office. He spouts general ideas of polished steel, methodically per: in every occasion. He finds a moral forming their fficial duties, and not lesson ir. the ham and eggs he has just knowing that they make others suffer, eaten. As he folds his napkin, he These kinds of men are not found in rises to lofty contemplations : France. Their rigidity is not in the
“Even the worldly goods of which we have French character. They are produced just disposed, even they have their moral. See in England by a school which has its how they come and go. Every pleasure is philosophy, its great men, its glory, transitory.” *
and which has never been established “The process of digestion, as I have been informed by anatomical friends, is one of the amongst the French. More than once, most wonderful works of nature. I do not it is true, French writers have depictknow how it may be with others, but it is a ed avaricious men, men of business, great satisfaction to me to know, when regal- and shopkeepers : Balzac is full of ing on my humble fare, that I am putting in motion the most beautiful machinery with which them; but he explains them by their we have any acquaintance. I really feel at such imbecility, or makes them monsters, times as if I was doing a public service. When like Grandet and Gobseck. Those of I have wound myself up, if I may employ such Dickens constitute a real class, and a term,' said Mr. Pecksniff with exquisite tenderness, “and know that I am Going, I feel that represent a national vice. Read this in the lesson afforded by the works within me, passage of Hard Times, and see if, I am a Benefactor to my Kind!'”
body and soul, Mr. Gradgrind is not We recognize a new species of hypoc- wholly English: risy. Vices, like virtues, change in
"Now what I want is Facts. Teach these every age.
boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone The practical, as well as the moral are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root spirit, is English ; by commerce, labor, out everything else. You can only form the and government, this people has ac ing else will ever be of any service to them.
minds of reasoning animals upon Facts ; nothquired the taste and talent for busi- This is the principle on which I bring up, my ness; this is why they regard the own children, and this is the principle on which French as children and madmen. The I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir ! excess of this disposition is the de- vault of a schoolroom, and the speaker's square
"The scene was a plain, bare, monotonous struction of imagination and sensibil- forefinger emphasised his observations by unity. Man becomes a speculative ma- derscoring every sentence with a line on the chine, in which figures and facts are helped by the speaker's square wall of a fore
schoolmaster's sleeve. The emphasis was Bet in array; he denies the life of the head, which had his eyebrows for its base, mind, and the joys of the heart; he while his eyes found commodious cellarag in sees in the world nothing but loss and two dark caves, overshadowed by the wall
. gain ; he becomes hard, harsh, geedy, mouth, which was wide, thin, and hard set. The
The emphasis was helped by the speaker's and avaicious; he treats men as ma- emphasis was helped by the speaker's voice, chinery; on a certain day he finds which was inflexible, dry and dictatorial. The himself simply a merchant, banker, emphasis was helped by the speaker's hair, statistician; he has ceased to be a plantation of firs to keep the wind from its
which bristled on the skirts of his bald head, s Dickens has multiplied por shining surface, all covered with knobs, like traits of the positive man - Ralph the crust of a plum-pie, as if the head had Nickleby, Scrooge, Anthony Chuzzle. scarcely, warehouse-room for the hard facts vit, Jonas Chuzzlewit, Alderman Cute, riage, square coat, square legs, square shoul.
stored inside. The speaker's obstinate care * Martin Chusslewit, ch. ii.
ders-nay, his very neckcloth, trained to take Ibid. ch. viii.
him by the throat with an unacoommolating
grasp, like a stubborn fact, as it was-all is the portrait of London merchant helped emphasis.
Mr. Dombey. 4. In this life we want nothing but Facts, sirii pe speaker, and the schoolmaster
, and the types among the merchants, but they nothing but Facts!'
fo third grown person present, all backed a little are found among that class in England, and swept with their eyes the inclined plane of little vessels then and there arranged in order,
as forcible as in the proudest châteaux ready to have imperial gallons of facts poured Mr. Dombey loves his house as if he into them until they were full to the brim. were a nobleman, as much as himself
"THOMAS GRADGRIND, sir! A man of real- If he neglects his daughter and longs ties. A man of facts and calculations. A man for a son, it is to perpetuate the old who proceeds upon the principie that two and two Rre four, and nothing over, and who is not to be name of his bank. He has his ances talked into allowing for anything over. Thomas tors in commerce, and he likes to have Gradgrind, sir-peremptorily Thomas-Thomas his descendants in the same branch of Gradgrind. With a rule and a pair of scales, business. He maintains traditicas, and the multiplication table always in his pocket, sir, ready to weigh and measure any and continues a power. At this height parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly of opulence, and with this scope of what it comes to. It is a mere question of action, he is a prince, and with a figures, a case of sinple arithmetic. might hope to get some other nonsensical be prince's position he has his feelings. lief into the head of George Gradgrind, or We see there a character which could Augustus Gradgrind, or John Gradgrind, or only be produced in a country whose Joseph Gradgrind (all supposititious, non-existe ent persons), but into the head of Thomas commerce embraces the globe, where Gradgrindano, sir!
merchants are potentates, where a “ In such terms Mr. Gradgrind always ment company of merchants has trafficked in ally introduced himself, whether to his private continents, maintained wars, destroyed circle of acquaintance, or to the public ingen kingdoms, founded an empire of a hun eral. In such terms, no doubt, substituting the words "boys and girls'
for 'sir, Thomas dred million men. The pride of such Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind a man is not petty, but terrible; it is to the little pitchers before him, who were to
so calm and high, that to find a parallel be filled so full of facts." +
we must read again the Mémoires of the Another fault arising from the habit Duke of Saint Simon. Mr. Dombey of commanding and striving is pride. has always commanded, and it does It abounds in an aristocratic 'country, not enter his mind that he could yield to and no one has more soundly rated any one or any thing. He receives flataristocracy than Dickens ; all his por- tery as a tribute to which he has a right, traits are sarcasms. James Harthouse, and sees men beneath him, at a vast a dandy disgusted with every thing, distance, as beings made to beseech chiefly with himself, and rightly so; and obey him. His second wife, proud Lord Frederick Verisopht, a poor Eaith Skewton, resists and scorns him; duped idiot, brutalized with drink, the pride of the merchant is pitted whose wit consists in staring at men against the pride of the high-born and sucking his cane ; Lord Feenix, a woman, and the restrained outbursts of sort of mechanism of parliamentary this growing opposition reveal an in. phrases, out of order, and hardly able to tensity of passion, which souls thus finish the ridiculous periods into which born and bred alone can feel. Edith, he always takes care to lapse ; Mrs. to avenge herself, flees on the anniver: Skewton, a hideous old ruin, a coquette sary of her marriage, and gives her to the last, demanding rose-colored self i be appearance of being an adult curtains for her death-bed, and parad. eress. It is then that his inflexible ing her daughter through all the draw. pride asserts itself in all its rigidity. ing-rooms of England in order to sell He has driven out of the house his her to some vain husband; Sir John daughter, whom he believes the acChester, a wretch of high society, who, complice of his wife; he forbids for fear of compromising himself, re- the one or the other to be recalled to fuses to save his natural son, and re- his memory; he commands his sister fuses it with all kinds of airs, as he and his friends to be silent; he re finishes his chocolate. But the most ceives guests with the same tone anc English picture of the aristocratic spiri: the same coldness. With despair in
• Hard Times, book i. ch. i. t Ibid. ch. i. his heart, and feeling bitterly the in
sult offered to him by his wife, the con- I have played all day on the lawn. The scientiousness of his failure, and the fire-side by which they will pass the idea of public ridicule, he remains as evening is a sanctuary, and domestic firm, as haughty, as calm as ever. He tenderness is the only poetry they need. launches out more recklessly in specu- A child deprived of these affections lations, and is ruined; he is on the and this happiness seems to be de point of suicide. Hitherto all was prived of the air we breathe, and the well : the bronze column continued novelist does not find a volume too whole and unbroken ; but the exigen. much to explain its unhappiness. Dick: cies of public morality mar the idea of ens has recorded it in ten volumes, and the book. His daughter arrives in the at last he has written the history of nick of time. She entreats him ; his David Copperfield. David is loved ty feelings get the better of him, she his mother, and by an honest servant carries him off; he becomes the best girl, Peggotty; he plays with her in of fathers, and spoils a fine novel. the garden; he watches her sew; he
reads to her the natural history of croc. III.
odiles; he fears the hens and geese,
which strut in a menacing and ferocious Let us look at some different per. manner in the yard; he is perfectly sonages. In contrast with these bad happy. His mother marries again, and factitious characters, produced by and all changes. The father-in-law national institutions, we find good Mr. Murdstone, and his sister Jane, creatures such as nature made them; are harsh, methodical, cold beings. and first, children.
Poor little David is every moment We have none in French literature. wounded by harsh words. He dare Racine's little Joas could only exist in not speak or move; he is afraid to kiss a piece composed for the ladies' col- his mother; he feels himself weighed lege of Saint Cyr; the little child down, as by a leaden cloak, by the speaks like a prince's son, with noble cold looks of the new master and misand acquired phrases, as if repeating tress. He falls back on himself ; his catechism. Nowadays these por- mechanically studies the lessons astraits are only seen in France in New- signed him; cannot learn them so great year's books, written as models for is his dread of not knowing them. He good children. Dickens painted his is whipped, shut up with bread and with special gratification; he did not water in a lonely room. He is terrified think of edifying the public, and he has by night, and fears himself. He asks charmed it. All his children are of himself whether in fact he is not bad extreme sensibility; they love much, or wicked, and weeps. This incessant and they crave to be loved. To under terror, hopeless and issueless, the specstand this gratification of the painter, tacle of this wounded sensibility and and this choice of characters, we must stupefied intelligence, the long anxieties' think of their physical type. English the sleepless nights, the solitude of the children have a color so fresh, a com- poor imprisoned child, his passionate plexion so delicate, a skin so transpa- desire to kiss his mother or to weep on rent, eyes so blue and pure, that they the breast of his nurse,-all this is sad are like beautiful flowers. No wonder to see. These children's griefs are as it a novelist loves them, lends to their heart-felt as the sorrows of a man. It soul a sensibility and innocence which is the history of a frail plant, which shine forth from their looks, if he thinks was flourishing in a warm air, beneata that these frail and charming roses are a mild sun, and which, suddenly transcrushed by the coarse hands which planted to the snow, sheds its leaves try to bend them. We must also and withers. imagine to ourselves the households in The working-classes are like children, which they grow up. When at five dependent, not very cultivated, akin to o'clock the merchant and the clerk nature, and liable to opp.cssion. And leave their office and their business, so Dickens extols them. That is not hey return as quickly as possible to new in France ; the novels of Eugène che pretty cottage, where their children Sue have given us more than one ex
ample, and the theme is as old as Rous- | on humble wretchedness; the smallest seau; but in the hands of the English and most despised being may in him. writer it has acquired a singular force. self be worth as much as thousands of His heroes possess feelings so delicate, the powerful and the proud. Take and are so self-sacrificing, that we can- care not to bruise the delicate souls not admire them sufficiently. They have which flourish in all conditions, under nothing vulgar but their pronunciation; all costumes, in all ages. Believe that the rest is but nobility and generosity. humanity, pity, forgiveness, are the We see a mountebank abandon his finest things in man; believe that in daughter, his only joy, for fear of in- timacy, expansion, tenderness, tears juring her in any way. A young wom- are the sweetest things in the world an devotes herself to save the unwor. To live is nothing; to be powerful thy wife of a man who loves her, and learned, illustrious, is little ; to be use whom she loves; the man dies; she ful is not enough. He alone has lived continues, from pure 'self-sacrifice, to and is a man who has wept at the care for the degraded creature. A remembrance of a kind action which he poor wagoner, who thinks his wife un- himself has performed or received. faithful, loudly pronounces her inno cent, and all his vengeance is to think
IV. only of loading her with tenderness and kindness. None, according to We do not believe that this contrast Dickens, feel so strongly as they do the between the weak and the strong, or happiness of loving and being loved this outcry against society in favor the pure joys of domestic life. None nature, are the caprice of an artist or have so much compassion for those poor the chance of the moment. When we deformed and infirm creatures whom penetrate deeply into the history of they so often bring into the world, and English genius, we find that its primiwho seem only born to die. None have tive foundation was impassioned sensia juster and more inflexible moral bility, and that its natural expression sense. I confess even that Dickens' was lyrical exaltation.
Both were heroes unfortunately resemble the in- brought from Germany, and make up dignant fathers of French melodramas. the literature existing before the Con. When old Peggotty learns that his niece quest. After an interval you find them is seduced, he sets off, stick in hand, again in the sixteenth century, when and walks over France, Germany, and the French literature, introduced from Italy, to find her and bring her back to Normandy, had passed away: they are duty. But above all, they have an the very soul of the nation. But the English sentiment, which fails in education of this soul was opposite to Frenchmen : they are Christians. It its genius ; its history contradicted its is not only women, as in France, who nature; and its primitive inclination take refuge in the idea of another has clashed with all the great events world; men turn also their thoughts which it has created or suffered. The towards it. In England, where there chance of a victorious invasion and an
many sects, and every one imposed aristocracy, whilst establishing chooses his own, each one believes in the enjoyment of political liberty, has the religion he has made for himself; impressed on the character habits of ar.. this noble sentiment raises still strife and pride. The chance of an bigaer the throne upon which the up-insular position, the necessity of comrightness of their resolution and the merce, the abundant possession of the delicacy of their heart has placed first materials for industry, have de them.
veloped the practical faculties and the In reality, the novels of Dickens can positive mind. The acquisition of these all be reduced to one phrase, to wit: habits, faculties, and mind, to which Be good, and love : there is genuine must be added former hostile feelings joy only in the emotions of the heart ; to Rome, and an inveterate hatred sers:bility is the whole man. Leave against an oppressive church, has given science to the wise, pride to the nobles, birth to a proud and reasoning religion, 'uxury to the rich ; have compassion replacing submission by indeperdence
poetic theology by practical morality, \ up a career to the precise and moral and faith by discussion. Politics, mind. The critic thus is, as it were, business, and religion, like three pow. swamped in this copiousness; he must erful machines, have created a new select in order to grasp the whole, and man abuve the old. Stern dignity, confine himself to a few in order to self-command, the need of authority, embrace all. severity in its exercise, strict morality, In this crowd two men have ap without compromise or pity, a taste for peared of superior talent, original and figures and dry calculation, a dislike of contrasted, popular the facts not palpable and ideas not useful, grounds, ministers to the same cause ignorance of the invisible world, scorn moralists in comedy and drama, de of the weaknesses and tendernesses of fenders of natural sentiments against the heart, such are the dispositions social institutions; who by the prewhich the stream of facts and the cision of their pictures, the depth of ascendency of institutions tend to con- their observations, the succession and firm in their souls. But poetry and bitterness of their attacks, have redomestic life prove that they have only newed, with other views and in another half succeeded. The old sensibility, style, the old combative spirit of Swift oppressed and perverted, still lives and and Fielding. works. The poet subsists under the One, more ardent, more expansive, Puritan, the trader, the statesman. wholly given up to rapture, an impasThe social man has not destroyed the sioned painter of crude and dazzling natural man. This frozen crust, this pictures, a lyric prose-writer, omnipounsociable pride, this rigid attitude, tent in laughter and tears, plunged into often cover a good and tender nature. fantastic invention, painful sensibility, It is the English mask of a German vehement buffoonery; and by the bold. head; and when a talented writer, ness of his style, the excess of his emo often a writer of genius, reaches the tions, the grotesque familiarity of his sensibility which is bruised or buried caricatures, he has displayed all the by education and national institutions, forces and weaknesses of an artist, all he moves his reader in the most inner the audacities, all the successes, and depths, and becomes the master of all all the oddities of the imagination. hearts.
The other, more contained, better informed and stronger, a lover of moral dissertations, a counsellor of the pub lic, a sort of lay preacher, less bent on
defending the poor, more bent on cenCHAPTER II.
suring man, has brought to the aid of
satire a sustained common sense, a The Nobel continued—Thackeray. great knowledge of the heart, consum
mate cleverness, powerful reasoning, a 1.
treasure of meditated hatred, and has
persecuted vice with all the weapons THE novel of manners in England of reflection. By this contrast the one multiplies, and for this there are several completes the other; and we may form, reasons: first, it is born there, and an exact idea of English taste, by plac every plant thrives well in its owning the portrait of William Makepeace soil ; secondly, it is a natural outlet: Thackeray by the side of that of there is no music in England as in Charles Dickens. Germany, or conversation as in France; and men who must think and feel find
$ 1.—THE SATIRIST. in it a means of feeling and thinking.
II. On the other hand, women take part in it with eagerness; amidst the stagna- No wonder if in England a novelist tion of gallantry and the coldness of writes satires. A gloomy and redec religion, it gives scope for imagination tive man is impelled to it by his char and dreams. Finally, by its minute acter; he is still fu·ther impelled by details and practical counsels, it opens the surrounding mai.ners. He is not