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and Mrs. Clavering and Mary on the other. "Upon my word," said the Rector, "I think it was very impertinPnt." Fanny would not have liked to use that word herself, but she loved her father for using it.
"I do not sec that," said Mrs. Clavering. "He could not know what Fanny's views in life might be. Curates very often marry out of the houses of the clergymen with whom they are placed, and I do not see why Mr. Saul should be debarred from the privilege of trying."
"If he had got to like, Fanny what else was he to do? said Mary.
•' Oh, Mary, don't talk such nonsense," said Fanny. '• Got to like! People shouldn't get to like people unless there's some reason for it."
"What on earth did he intend to live on?" demanded the Rector.
"Edward had nothing to live on, when you first allowed him to come here," said Marv.
"But Edward had prospects, and Saul, as far as I know, has none. He had given no one the slightest notice. If the man in the moon had come to Fanny I don't suppose she would have been more surprised."
"Not half so much, papa."
Then it was that Mrs. Clavering had declared th:H she was not surprised, — that she had suspected it, and had almost made Fanny angry by saying so. When Harry came ba-k two clays afterwards, the family news was imparted to him, and he immediately ranged himself on his father's side. "Up in my word I think that he ought to be forbidden the house," said Harry. "He has forgotten himself in making such a proposition."
"That's nonsense, Harry," said his mother. •' If he can be comfortable coining here, there can be no reason why he should be uncomfortable. It would be an injustice to him to ask him to go, and a great trouble to your father to find another curate that would suit him so well." There could be no doubt whatever as to the latter proposition, and therefore it was quietly argued that Mr. Saul's fault, if then; had been a fault, should be condoned. On the next day he came to the rectory, and they were all astonished at the ease with which he bore himself. It was not that he affected any special freedom of manner, or that he altogether avoided any change in his mode of speaking to them. A slight blush came upon his sallow face as h ■ first spoke to Mrs. Clavering, and he hardly did more than say a single word to Fauiiy. But he carried
himself as though conscious of what he had done, but in no degree ashamed of the doing it. The Rector's manner to him wag stiff and formal; — seeing which Mrs. Clavering spoke to him gently, and with a smile. "I saw you were a little hard on him, and therefore I tried to make up for it," said she afterwards. "You were quite right," said the husband. "You always are. But I wish he had not made such a fool of himself. It will never be the same thing with him again." Harry hardly spoke to Mr. Saul the first time he met him, all of which Mr. Saul understood perfectly.
"Clavering," he said to Harry, a day or two after this, " I hope there is to be no difference between you ami me."
"Difference! I don't know what you mean by difference."
"We were good friends, and I hope that we are to remain so. No doubt vou know what has taken place between me and your sister."
"Oh, yes; — I have been told, of course."
"What I mean is, that I hope you are not goingto quarrel with me on that account? What I did, is it not what you would have done in my position ? — only you would have done it successfully?"
"I think a fellow should have some income, you know."
"Can you say that you would have waited for income before you spoke of marriage?"
"I think it might have been better that you should have gone to my father."
"It may be that that is the rule in such things, but if so I do not know it. Would she have liked that better?"
"Well; — I can't say."
"You are engaged? Did you go to the young lady's family first?"
"I can't say I did; but I think I had given them some ground to expect it. I fancy they all knew what I was about. But it's over now. and I.don't know that we need say anything more about it."
"Certainly not. Nothing can be said that would be of any use; but I do not think I have done anything that you should resent."
"Resent is a strong word. I don't resent it, or, at any rate, I won't; and there may l>e an end of it." After this, Harry was more gracious with Mr. Saul, having an idea that the curate had made somi; sort, of apology for what he had done. But that, I fancy, was by no means Mr. Saul's view of the case. Had he offered to marry the daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury, instead of the daughter of the Rector of Clavering, he would not have imagined that his doing so needed an apology.
The day after his return from London Lady Clavering sent for Harry up to the house. "So you saw my sister in London?" she said.
"Yes," said Harry blushing; "as I was in town I might as well meet her. But, as you said, Lady Ongar is able to do without much assistance of that kind. I only just saw her."
"Julia took it so kindly of you; but she seems surprised that you did not come to her the following day. She thought you would have called."
"Oh, dear, no. I fancied that she would be too tired and too busy to wish to see any mere acquaintance."
"Ah, Harry, I see that she has angered you," said Lady Clavering; "otherwise you would not talk about mere acquaintance."
"Not in the least. Angered me! How could she anger me? What I meant was at such a time she would probably wish to see no one but people on business, — unless it was some one near to her, like yourself or Hugh."
"Hugh will not go to her."
"But you will do so; will you not?"
"Before long I will. You don't seem to understand, Harry, — and, perhaps, it would be odd if you did, — that I cau't run up to town and back as I please. I ought not to tell you this, I dare say, but one feels as though one wanted to talk to some one about one's affairs. At the present moment, I have not the money to go, — even if there were no other reason." These last
words she said almost in a whisper, and then she looked up into the young man's face, to see what he thought of the communication she had made him.
"Oh, money 1" he said. "You could soon get money. But I hope it won't be long before you go."
On the next morning but one a letter came by the post for him from Lady Ongar. When he saw the handwriting, which he knew, his heart was at once in his mouth, and he hesitated to open his letter at the breakfast-table. He did open it and read it, but, in truth, he hardly understood it or digested it till he had taken it away with him up to his own room. The letter, which was very short, was as follows: —
I Felt your kindness in coming to me at the station so much! — the more, perhaps, because others, who owed me more kindness, have paid me less. Don't suppose that I allude to poor Hermione, for, in truth, I have no intention to complain of her. I thought, perhaps, you would have come to see me before you left London; but I suppose you were hurried. I hear from Clavering that you are to be up about your new profession in a day or two. Pray come and see me before you have been many days in London. I shall have so much to say to you! The rooms you hare taken are everything that I wanted, and I am so grateful! Yours ever,
When Harry had read and had digested this, he became aware that he was again fluttered. "Poor creature!" he said to himself; "it is sad to think how much she is in want of a friend."
Because one loves you, Helen Gray,
And frown, and say your shrewish say?
Don't strain the cord until it snaps,
Of your keen wit; you may, perhaps.
Because you're handsome, Helen Gray,
Your steps go mincing on their way;
But so you miss that modest charm
Which is the surest charm of all:
Stoop from your cold height, Helen Grey,
Come down you must perforce some day:
For years cannot be kept at bay,
When you yourself are nipped and grey.
Christina G. Rossetti. — MaanHlan's Magazine.
From the Argosy.
ON BEING SENTIMENTAL.
"it would be amusing to trace the steps by which the words sentiments and senti
mental, once words of praise, have come to
What our forefathers meant by sentiments was what we now call maxims —
•This heading covers, In my edition, the "Ode to Duty," the "Happy Warrior," "Dion," and "Ljcoris."
moral deliverances such as we have seen in copy-book slips, as —" Reason should ever control passion," — " Fidelity in friendship is beautilul," — " Benevolence is a virtue," —" Truth is ever victorious over error,TM — and the like. Or, again, they meant what some people still call" sentiments;" though others simply classify them as wishes, or aspirations. As —" May the wing of friendship never moult a feaiher !" —" May we ne'er want a friend, or a bottle to give him!" — "My charming girl, my friend, and pitcher!"— and the like. Sometimes, at a " serious" festival, you may have heard the chairman say, — "Mr. So-and-so will now speak to the following sentiment — 'The cause of civil and religious liberty all over the world !'" And then Mr. So-andso rises, with a slip of paper in his hand, supposed to contain a copy of this sentiment in MS., and he speaks to it.
It is difficult to picture to one's self a race of creatures going about in drawingrooms and dining-rooms, parlours and shops, streets and market-places, and discharging sentiments at the rest of mankind. TJut evidently the conception was not so difficult to our grandfathers as it is to ourselves. Take up an oldish copy of Thomson or Gray, or Elegant Extracts. Here is a steel engraving, and a good one too. On a mossy bank, by the side of a brawling rivulet, whose rapid passage over the pebbly_ shallows is supposed to be suggestive, is reclined a handsome young man — such a one as Fielding drew in Joseph Andrews, where you may read his portrait in pen and ink. But he is attired in the costume of a later period — pumps, silk-stockings, cutaway coat, frilled shirt, long kerseymere vest, with angular tippety collar. Over his shoulders broad are his hvacinthine locks, and he has no hat on. His face is towards the spectator of the picture, and he is raising both hands, with the palms turned outwards. He might be saying, "Dear me, now!" but a reference below the picture, to " p. 91," instructs you better. You there find that he is presumed to be composing a poem, and uttering, at the moment of sight, the words: —
Health is at best a vain precarious thine
Now this is a sentiment. The youth might
pieces," those little classic bits which we now call tfelectus quotations; such as Nemo mortalium omnibus boris sapit, —'Ingenuas didicisse jideliter artes, &c. — Sic vos non vobis, &c — and all the rest of them. If Colonel Newcome had met him, he would have broken out directly," Emollunl mores," — and if Clive (who, by-the-by, was not born) or any one else had pulled his coattail, it would have been because of the bad syntax, and not because it was mauvais ton to be sentimental. Now-a-days it would be mauvais ton. If a young man, ever so well dressed, were to go about saying, as opportunity offered, " Virtue rewards her followers," or " Ingratitude to parents is base," he would not be thought a prize by affectionate mothers with marriageable daughters. But in the days when Lindley Murray wrote his Grammar, it seems to have been a proper part of a polite education to instil into the minds of youth at every chance, — by way of "example" in grammar for instance — maxims in morals or theology. As — " The sun that rolls over our heads, the food that we eat, and the rest that we enjoy, daily admonish us of a benevolent, superintending power!" (is that correctly quoted, young shaver ?) To such a length, indeed, was the taste for these little statements of opinion carried, that almost anything, however obvious, was made to fall into the mode of the Sentiment proper, and do duty for it. As —" Gold is corrupting; the sea is green; a lion is bold," — which is also in Murray's grammar.
In modern times we have changed all that. If a person were to contribute to a conversation the sentiment, "We should ever heed the voice of nature," he would be thought as much out of order as Mr. F.'s aunt — "There's milestones on the Dover road." We learn now to epigram and banter rather than to sentiment and maxim. In point of fact, we have no means of telling whether there ever really was any considerable number of people who went about in society saying fine things, but who" never did them; or whether, on the other hand, there ever was a large class of listeners who were predisposed to believe in the goodness of the people who went about uttering the maxims. But we must bear in mind that there was scarcely any popular literature in those days, and comparatively very little associated effort. At present the public hires and fees a class—the literary class — to do the sentiment for it, as much as it wants done; and, besides, there are so many opportunities for " sentimental" ac
tivity, that the excuse for mere talk is less. It is difficult not to believe, reading oldfashioned books, and looking at old-fashioned prints, that there was a real difference. There is a particular print, now in my mind, which I once saw at a broker's shop in a back street It belongs to about the first days of the Regency, or a few years before; just about when Dr. Buchan was writing his Domestic Medicine, I should say. It is dedicated to the President or something of the Royal Humane Society, and represents a young man who had been half drowned restored to his friends, alive. Of course there is a "scene." All the female figures have short-waisted frocks; all the males have knee-breeches, and long hair — except those who have wigs. And they have all, I think, their hands upraised and their mouths open. They are all uttering sentiments, I presume — which, now-a-days, a newspaper paragraph would probably have uttered for them. Indeed, everybody must have noticed that in the caricatures of those days, and even so recently as those of H. B., sentiments were openly put into the mouths of the people represented in pictures. You see a bladder-shaped scroll issuing from the mouth, and the speech is written inside the scroll. When ice make a caricature, we put the speeches at the bottom, if anywhere, like scraps of comedy dialogue. But in the majority of cases there is so complete an under-current of intelligence on the spectator's part presupposed that no sentiment at all is expressed. It is the same in social intercourse. We no more want a man to tell us that Virtue rewards her followers than that Queen Anne is dead. Three-fourths, perhaps, of every company do not believe Virtue does reward her followers; those who do believe it take a mutual understanding for granted.
The established use of the word Sentimental as a term of reproach in our own days deserves a little serious attention.
There are certain currents of sensation which have their origin in the strongest and deepest emotions of which we are capable. The symmetrical play of these currents connects itself with the highest forms of beauty and sublimity. The most momentous of moral truths — namely, that through suffering we may reach the highest pinnacles of Life — shines, reflected like a star, in all these currents. When they flow forth to actior^ obedient to the voice of God, men and angels desire to look into these things. But a certain facility in the nervous and glandular systems of some people permits the
voluntary self-conscious awakening of these 'currents at points far distant from their deeper sources, and distant, too, from any possible ends of noble action. To wake them up by artificial excitement becomes a sort of depraved pleasure to weak, thin natures, which shun the test of duty. They may do it by talking, by reading, by reverie, by drinking, by music, by trivial, petty philanthropisings, by the abuse of "religious" services, and in other ways. When this happens we are offended, and justly offended. It is self-injury, sacrilege, and insult all at once. It is, at best, a voluptuous indecency. Could a poet translate the crime into images of thought? Yes; but nobody could bear to hear him recite them.
A person, then, who is " sentimental " in this way is a proper object of disapprobation; perhaps dislike. He not only lowers himself; he does what he can to lessen the grounds of our reliance in the most desperate situations of humanity. Relaxing his own character, he sets a bud example, too; and, worse still, makes liable to the ridicule of the sons of Belial whatever an oath can be sworn by in the heavens above or in the earth beneath.
What, then, in the just and noble meaning, is Sentiment? It is the backwater of mighty feeling. It is what is left behind by the high tides of the great primitive emotions. It is the memory of passion. It is the ingrained colouring of thought. To discharge thought of that colouring ia impossible; but a good many people who abuse "Sentimentahsm" seem as if they would like to do just that impossible thing. Thus, they have a cold sneer ready for us if wo speak of the sacredness of life, the majesty of human nature, the beauty of a minister's love, or the innocence of childhood. Thus, Jeremy Bentham, mentioning that Constantine forbade the branding of criminals on the face because it was a violation of the law of nature to disfigure the majesty of the human countenance, exclaims, with disgust, " The majesty of the face of a scoundrel I" But Benthan mistook; and so do other writers of his school. If there was no "majesty " of which a scoundrel was capable, then there was nothing to make it worth our while to discipline him. If there was, it was our duty to create or to increase any degree of incapacity on his part, or anybody else's part. You shall not, said the Hebrew code, give more than forty blows in punishment, lest thy brother seem vile unto thee." And here is a short passage, not uninstructive, from another tale by Mary Wollstone
craft Godwin*: "After a violent debauch he would let his beard grow, and the sadness that reigned in the house I snail never forget: he was ashamed to meet even .the eyes of his children. This is so contrary to the nature of things that it gave me exquisite pain; I used at those times to show him extreme respect." An amusing idea, is it not, to show "extreme respect" to a wrongdoer? to show all the more because of his wrong-doing, our grief that an Unseen Majesty should be wronged? As amusing as the idea of a child, for example, who has never been addressed with an overbearing word, whose body has never been touched, or even approached, except with respectful tenderness! But I must not allow a passing illustration to carry me out of the direct line of what I was saying. There is no guidance to anything but death, decay, and rotteness, for cither individuals or nations, in thought which pretends to have discharged itself of the colouring-matter of Sentiment. If once »we have really ceased to hear the murmur of the infinite, beautiful ocean in the shell, we soon fling the shell away, and it is trodden underfoot of men. There is not an act of our lives—no, not one — into which it is not the interest of every human being to import as much as possible of that diffused sense of Terror, Mystery, Beauty, and Tenderness, which ia the nature of true Sentiment.
To suppose that this diffused sense of whatever makes our little lives worth while, implies any mean flinching from pain — our own, or that of others — is a great mistake. The Aristotelian virtue of Tragedy — the im^ijjiaTuv mHapaiv — assuredly contemplated nothing so weak. It is well known, as a matter of fact, that the highest tragedy, deeply as it moves one, does not move to tears; which are always a relief, sometimes a positive pleasure. What Englishman or Englishwoman cries at Lear, at Macbeth, or at Hamlet t When did the reading or the representation of them ever enfeeble for action or dispose to anything that was bad? The rule by the observance of which Art, in all its kind, must escape false Sentiment, will present itself in another Essay. For this time, it will be enough to say that Sentiment is the diffused sense which makes it possible for Art to address us at all;
* This writer is appropriately quoted here, because, though she belonged to the time when the word " sentimental" was respectable, and uses it as a term of praise, she was, in met, what many people would now call an anti-sentimentalist; ana she hits hard too.