« PreviousContinue »
Τ Η Ε
H IN DU'S
R E WARD.
'I HAVE HEARD OF FEW THINGS MORE TOUCHING THAN THE REPLY OF A RYOT WHO BROUOHT AN ENGLISH BABE TO THE FORT. REWARDS WERE PRESSED ON HIM, BUT HE REFUSED THEM ALL, SAYING : 'IP I HAVE DONE RIGHTLY, DIG A WELL TO MY MEMORY.''
LETTER FROM INDIA,
The fort is strong and the night is still,
What do the watchers fear?
But a foot-fall that they hear :
And grow in danger strong;'
From worse than deadly wrong!
Each hand on the trigger falls,
Who watch without the walls.
Some leader whom they wait ?
And on to the very gate :
A message of joy or wo ?
Or the gathering of the foe?
Though he spoke the English tongue;
And the heavy gate back swung,
With lips that sleeping smiled,
Was the face of the English child.
And a rain of woman's tears ;
With newer, wilder fears.
*Peace,' said the Hindu, ‘my story hear:
In vain, for her feverish strength was gone,
• The sun-rise broke o'er the mountain's steep,
"Take back your treasures : it may not be :
But to coming ages good may be done.'
M. L. E.
REFINEMENT IN MANNER AND CONVERSATION.
BIBB BRADLEY, A.M.
Nemo adeo ferus est ut non mitescere possit,
The value of a graceful address and refined manner cannot be over-rated. However commanding their intellectual characters may be, men are oftentimes judged by their outward appearances. On account of this estimate, many learned men have been unappreciated in certain circles of society. A consciousness of his inability to glide with unruffled ease upon the stream of etiquette, caused sagacious Thomas Baker to refuse an introduction to the Earl of Oxford and the men of his set.' Devoting their whole lives to the cultivation of the mind; toiling assiduously for the food that does not perish,' men of letters generally have neglected the acquisition of bodily graces. When they emerge from their studious retirement, they find themselves unfitted for the ways of the world. Entering mixed assemblies, they become useless burdens. Goldsmith was peculiarly unhappy in this respect : the current of his genial humor was congealed by the cold conventionalities of life. His plastic temper could ill brook the stately pomposity of the fashionable dignitaries of the day; and, in consequence of this, those dignitaries often depreciated his genuine abilities. Men of letters cannot smooth the furrows of thought upon their brows with as much facility as they can arrange the pages of a manuscript for publication. They cannot wreathe their lips into suitable smiles with as much precision as they can elaborate a profound argument. To them Venus is not the most adorable divinity upon Olympus; nor do they study with intensest application the graceful qualities displayed by the courtly shepherd of Mount Ida. Their forms, bent with severe study, they cannot in the twinkling of an eye erect into presentable shape. Elegance of attitude is not assumed with dexterity by them; nor are they at all expert in the beatitudes of posture. In voices, earnest, eloquent, and
Mild, as when ZEPHYRUS on Flora breathes,' they cannot, or will not, frame honeyed sentences for fashionable assemblies. They feign no eagerness which they do not feel; they endeavor to conceal no aversion really felt; when
weary they are prone to yawning, and when exhausted, they permit nature to make apparent her wants. Unaccustomed to the demands of polite society, they cannot adopt themselves to its manifold requirements. In the entangling mazes of ceremony, they would be more hopelessly lost than in the labyrinth of Minos. The silliest coxcomb, with the most lamentable deficiency of brains, will generally
surpass men of letters in being agreeable.' He will skip, with unexampled ease, into the drawing-room; while they, in the abstractions of thought, are unmindful of the necessity of skipping. He, by his ready tact, becomes charming,' while they, by their superior knowledge, are rendering themselves “highly disagreeable. He is able, without a single clearly-defined idea, to glide with grace into the current of conversation; while they, by the multitude of their thoughts, are unable to utter one word. Upon the stream of small talk the fop floats as a flower; while the man of intellect, from the very weight of his knowledge, ingloriously flounders, and sinks to the bottom. Thus scholars often retire from social amusements, disgusted with themselves and averse to society. They are thus, by fashionable men and women, voted outrageous bores;' and, to revenge themselves, they return the compliment, by altogether despising the bestowers of the ungracious epithet. Hurrying to their studious pursuits with renewed zeal, in order to forget their mortification, they resolve never more to leave their retirement. Regardless of social pleasures, they determine for the future to find true enjoyment in the domains of thought. Thus have some of the profoundest minds been deprived of needful relaxation and exquisite pleasure.
Against this tendency to become veritable hermits, men of letters should always struggle. Their studious habits are too apt to indulge and engender this feeling; and unless suitable means are brought to counteract it, it will certainly increase, and have unlimited sway over them. They should endeavor to estimate refinement of manner at its proper value; and neither above nor below that value. For sentimentalism and prating effeminacy, they must, from the nature of things, always entertain a wholesome contempt. Certainly, in the wide world, we find not a more contemptible animal than the sleek fop, whose sole aim in existence is to live like Alcinous, and to render himself 'interesting to the ladies. As in valiant Hotspur, it may well engender contempt in any man of lordly stamp to look upon one of these animals, clad in fashionable garments, and
• To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,
And talk so like a waiting gentle-woman.' In venting this contempt, however, upon pertness and coxcombry, they should not under-rate true dignity and elegance of manners. A graceful exterior will always favorably impress strangers. It is,
, in itself, a more admirable letter of recommendation than Onesimus ever received from Paul, or Septinicus from his poet-friend. To be dignified without reserve; affable without forwardness; communicative without loquacity; polished without conceit; and at all times obliging — is, indeed, difficult; but to conquer the difficulty is to possess many of the qualities of the true gentleman. The man of refinement finds ready welcome in all circles of society; in every
situation of life, his refinement will commend him to men. There is real enjoyment in the refined gentleman's presence.
Even under circumstances calculated to render him irritable, his courtesy never deserts him. Like the lance of Chevalier Bayard, · Sans peur et sans reproche,' his politeness abandons not the true gentleman in his utmost hour of need. He is at all times gracious, and ever prepared to contribute his share to the enjoyment of the company in which he may be placed. He never condescends to any artifice in order to accomplish his wishes; never resorts to base means in order to achieve his designs. He proceeds, in direct, manly, and dignified manner, to the furtherance of his purposes. Having nothing to conceal, he does not fear investigation; having honesty in his heart, he does not dread censure; having faith in himself, he can repose confidence in others. He courts the open light of day — hating darkness, which hides evil deeds.
The true gentleman by no means adopts Lord Chesterfield as a proper el. He does not endeavor to regulate his outward actions, or his inward emotions, by the noble Lord's precepts; but rather by the prompting of an honest heart, loving man, and aware that the God of the heavens beholds his every action. Many, indeed most, of the maxims and counsels of the unctuous Lord were heartless and hollow in the extreme. His entire life was fraught with deceit and hypocrisy. He did not scruple to abuse the confidence of his best friends, or to violate any law of honorable duty. His advice, if followed, will indeed render a man outwardly as a stately pillar - but as one rotten and worm-consumed within, and resting upon an unsafe foundation. A disciple of Chesterfield would not hesitate to commit a dishonest act, if he could do so under the semblance of honesty; nor shrink from lowering himself to the level of meanness, if thus he could gain an apparent elevation. With softest plausibility, his tongue distils honeyed deceit; and with politest glance of the eye, his mouth emits a falsehood. With affected purity of language and unruffled evenness of manner, he proceeds deliberately to the commission of a base deed. With the apparent innocence of the dove, and the visible mildness of the lamb, he nevertheless, like the serpent, inflicts an unseemly wound, and leaves filthy slime upon his deluded victim. With energetic ardor, he applies himself to learn cozening hypocrisy as a science, whereby he may mislead the unsuspecting, and accomplish his purposes. He is the veritable Belial of John Milton :
Thus vile, and indeed viler, is the pupil of the urbane Lord, albeit he assumes angelic guise. If divested of his superficial graces, disrobed of his artful smoothness and crafty refinement, like the mummy of Egypt stripped of its attractive cerements, the filthy