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They had a natural love of the pulpit, and they showed a steady determination to bring round their readers to their own way of thinking. The historians one and all wrote to a thesis. Huxley and Tyndall would have been divines had they not strayed into science. The great Matthew Arnold himself was “delivering addresses" of improvement even when theology was not his topic. The novelists one and all were noisily grinding their axes in the very act to amuse their readers. And yet let us not be too sure that the habit of the pulpit was exclusively the vice of the Victorian age. It would not be difficult to show that it has been the vice of the English throughout the ages. When Lamb retorted upon Coleridge, who asked him if he would like to hear him preach, that he had never heard him do anything else, he made a joke of general application. We can look into the past and find a hundred artists who were preachers in their hours, and perhaps it were fair to say that the Victorian did but intensify a national habit. But if they were preachers, they were, many of them, artists also. The age which called Dickens its master need not fear any reproach. Dickens preached incessantly to be sure; but what does it matter, when he created a world of wit and humour all his own,
when he invented harmonies of prose new to our English speech There is not one of his books which is not packed with living persons, speaking each of them in the authentic language of his or of her own. Of all the writers who have been born in England, he most nearly resembles Shakespeare in his universality and his good humour. The resources of our tongue cannot be carried further than they are carried, for instance, in “Great Expectations,’ from whose opening chapters the whole art of fiction might be reinvented, were all lost but that.
All those doubters, therefore, who pretend to see in the Victorian age little else than a hypocritical and interested Philistinism, we advise to read Professor Elton’s volumes. On many a page they will find opinions which they would like to controvert. They will find also a highly laudable faculty of appreciation, strained rather too far (we think) for Carlyle and Ruskin and some others. But the mere unfolding of the panorama is enough for conviction. Truly the age which produced these masters of verse and prose need not fear the competition of the past, and may even make a light burden of the dissidence of dissent and the hot gospel of free trade, which it is doomed to carry upon its back through all time.
Entered as second-class matter, July 3, 1917. at the post office at New York, N. Y., under
the act of March 3, 1879 $5.00 Per Year.
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fictitaneless mes 5inhabit
FANELESS is a small town in tact, and during the period of the West of Ireland. Until comparative tranquillity which a few months ago it enjoyed followed the Catholic Emancithe blessings of peace com- pation, it had not only been bined with obscurity. Now it restored by the munificence of is almost as famous as Lourdes, private donors, but also conthough posterity must be left siderably enlarged and beauto decide whether its fame tified. is fully merited or merely Amongst the many treasures
that were collected from various Faneless possessed from very parts of the country and reancient times two features established in the place, whence of which its inhabitants they were believed to have were justly proud, although been removed by the faithful these did not enjoy any ex- and devoted adherents of the ceptional degree of renown ancient Church into places of save in its immediate vicin- safety, or in a few rare cases ity. The first of them was its torn by impious hands to adorn church. It was of great an- museums and collections of tiquity; and though a part of curios, were a statue of Our it had been destroyed by fire Lady and others of some of in the troublous times of the those saints who at one time seventeenth century, more than shed lustre on the Irish race, half had remained almost inand to whom that country
VOL. CCIX.-NO. MCCLXV.
owed the name by which it was known throughout the whole of civilised Europe. But although these statues were revered by the parishioners of Faneless, and admired by lovers of art who came from long distances to see them, until a few months ago they were not generally famous. And then there is the river : call it a stream if you will ; for, after all, it is only a tributary flowing into a greater flood that bears its pure waters to the sea. But its ripples are clearer and more limpid than those of other streams : it rushes through the ancient town fresh from the mists and Snows of the mountains ; it dashes on its bright and brilliant way as if eager to perform its task of journeying to the ocean; at every twist and winding its youth is renewed as the eagle's that soared above the heights that it has left behind, and falls suddenly into the larger, calmer, darker, and more sluggish stream almost as if with regret that it had run its course so fast. It is more than probable— it is even certain—that from time immemorial the waters of this stream possessed healing properties of exceptional value; but as Faneless was far away from the highroads and beaten tracks, no fashionable physician had ever discovered its virtues, and no crowds of wealthy invalids had conspired to disturb its primeval peace, or to exalt the sleepy township into a rival of Harrogate or Bath.
Such was the situation at the date when an unforeseer event raised Faneless to pinnacle of fame, and produc the series of strange incide: which will hereafter be de scribed. Heretofore its inhabitants had been as little influenced by the feverish clamour . politics and the jarring clash of factions as they were undisturbed by the restless interests of the outer world. The peasantry respected and revered the neighbouring gentry, whose associations with the lands of their ancestors were so ancient that even in this country of long memories all trace of their origin was lost in the mists of the past. As friendly an understanding as could be desired obtained between all classes of the community, while Catholic tenant and Protestant landlord lived side by side on terms of the surest goodwill. Then one day, in the middle of the hottest month of the summer, town and neighbourhood were electrified by the news of a murder in their midst. The murdered man was a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and the indignation of the people was intensified by the fact that in his lifetime he had never held or paraded any violent political opinions, while in his dealings with them he had never been guilty of any injustice or severity. The crime was accompanied by circumstances of unusual mystery. The constable's body