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iiki- even to think of it. It is like a nightmare,' she added, trying to shut it out with her hands. 'As for putting herself forward in the matter — no,' she said, shaking her head calmly. 'I must try and wipe it out. It is a hideous page in my life. Good-bye, Mr. Bird. / do indeed forgive you — don't let thai disturb you — and wish yon everything — everything.'"
To win her game it is only necessary to separate a worthy gentleman who has befriended, her from all his friends, to make him ^distrust his daughters' affection, and to
'induce him to marry herself, while she is in the act of proposing to another man; and she does it, would have tlone it, had the doing involved breaking the hearts of all she was pretending to love, with as soft and resistless a pat as she crushed the innkeeper withal Her stealthy manoeuvres through the jungle 'till she springs upon her prey have of course their interest — most of us would like to watch a tigress on her path — but it is the interest of watchfulness alone.
So it is in Mr. Yates' novel Land at Last, an exceedingly clever story of Bohemian life, with artists for actors, and a woman supposed all through to belong to the demimonde for heroine. Mr. Yates has evidently tried hard to combine the realistic novel •which he would write if left alone to follow his own bent, with the kind of interest now demanded by the public, and he has no doubt in a measure succeeded. His story is interesting enough, and the lesser figures,
, Geoffrey Ludlow, the patient, slow, strong artist, with genius in him which does not emerge except in his pictures, and is wholly absent from his conversation, unselfish, and with a trace of romance, is admirably drawn. So is Lord Caterham — sketched, we fancy, like the hero of A Noble Life, from the late Mr. Smedley — and so is, in all but some external peculiarities, which if real pall as they would do in real life, William Bowker, the old wise artist, of broken heart and lost reputation, whose heart is as warm as ever but needs wine, and whose brain is as keen as ever but useless to himself. But all the figures in the book are dimmed to a degree Air. YaHs probably does not himself perceive by the blazing figure of the tigress, with dead white lace, and violet eyes "set in that deep deadgold frame of hair." The quality of the tigress in this case is an absorbing love for her mate, which swallows up every vestige of feeling. She has married and been deserted by an aristocratic cadet, who has persuaded her to call herself his mistress. During their amour she has
lived the fast life of the demi-monde, eaten dinners at Richmond with lively men and livelier women, sat on the box of a drag loaded with men about town, been pelted with half real, half impure, and, as she thinks it, wholly pleasant, worship. Deserted, she starves, and is rescued from immediate death of cold and hunger by an artist, Geoffrey Ludlow. To him she tells her story as if she had been her seducer's mistress, and he, besotted with her violet eyes and dead-gold hair, marries her. For a time immunity from cold and hunger makes her grateful, but her heart is still burning for her husband; and the respectable comfortable life, the kindly but vacillating companion, the prosy surroundings of her home, fill her with unspeakable weariness. She cannot care for Geoffrey, or the child she brings him, or his art, or her daily existence, and the crave for the old free life, bad, but full of motion, slowly fills up her heart. At last her husband returns, and in a scene of high though, strained dramatic power she tells Geoffrey Ludlow that she never loved him or her child, that the boy is a bastard, and she will return to her husband. She is tigress in fact, with her love for her mate as a predominant motive power. Natural of course she is not; the cat who became a lady, but yet sprang after the mouse, never can have been quite natural — say when rats were scratching at the wood-work; and these tigresses always wear the human skin very loosely; but she is worth watching in her- couchant weariness, with the, fiery eyes always watching for the impulse which is to bid her resume her form, worth watching as she waits for "her husband's guests," and thinking of the past-away life m the jungle; —
"A great weariness was on Margaret that day; she had tried to rouse herself, but found it impossible, so had sat all through the morning staring vacantly before her, busy with old memories. Between her past and her present life there was so little in common, that these memories were seldom roused by associations. The dull, never changing domestic day, and the pretty respectability of Elm Lodge, did not recall the wild Parisian revels, the rough pleasant Bohemianism of garrison lodgings, the sumptuous* luxury of the Florentine villa. But there was something in the weather to-dny — in the bright fierce glare of the, sun, in the solemn, utterly unbroken stillness — which brought back to her mind one when she and Leonard and some others were cruising off the Devonshire coast in Tom Marshall's yacht — a day on which, with scarcely a breath of air to be felt, they lay becalmed in Babbicombe Bay; under an awning, of course, over which the men from time to time worked the fire-hose; and how absurdly fanny Tom Marshall was when the ice ran short. Leonard said — The gate-bell rang, and her husband's roice was heard in hearty welcome to
his friends And she mast listen to
the old lady's praises of Geoff., and how she thought it not improbable, if things went on as they were going, that the happiest dream of her lifo would bo fulfilled — that she should ride in her son's carriage. 'It would be yours, of course, my dear; I know that well enough; but you'd let me ride in it sometimes, just for the honour and the glory of the thing.' And they talked like this to her; the old lady of the glory of a carriage; Matilda of some hawbuck wretch for whom she had a liking ; — to her I who had eat on the box-seat of a drag a score of times, with half-a-M- Ik- of the best men in England sitting behind her, all eager for a word or a smile."
It is hard to read of this woman, utterly bad except in her mad, tigress-like love for her first husband, adulteress and traitress in her adultery, faithless wife, cold mother, and cruel friend, without an interest,* and harder to explain whence the 'general interest arises. For the moment it is general — such a woman sells any book — and we want to know whence it comes. It is not from the naturalness of the character. There have been such people in real life perhaps. Marguerite do Valois, as described by history and not by Dumas, was such a woman, and so was Mary Stuart, but nobody believes the genuine tigress frequent in English life. Bad women are common no doubt, and women who are bad in other respects than cruelty, but they are almost invariably small women, given to petty plot and small wile, with purposes liable to be turned by conventional obstacles, and when free from stain remarkably solicitous for their reputation. The woman who is capable of inventing a false story of her own seduction, for instance, without motive — for a hundred stories would have been as probable, and a dead husband would have been most vraisemblant of all — has probably among English women yet to be created. The real hard, English girl would avoid just that, press to her object by any means save that — lie, deceive, and simulate to avoid precisely that imputation. Nor though women often plot, do they often plan, plan deeply, with a resolution to sweep away any obstacle in their path. Becky
Sharp is the true representation of the British adventuress — Becky Sharp, who amidst her intrigues sighs for respectability, and only loves her husband in the one moment when his just wrath has crushed her schemes to powder. The tigress is not real, — but if but if not real, where is her charm? The true explanation is, we take it, not very creditable to the dignity of the novel-reading public. They like such stories, just as children like stories qf savage and wild adventure, incidents of hunting, dangers by flood and field. They read, especially women, of Margaret Dacre as boys read of Captain Kidd, forgetting the criminality of the deed in the excitement of the danger. They watch her stalking her prey as we have all watched the Forest Ranger, admire a bold leap through the safeguard_s of society as we admire a leap across some impossible chasm, read of social obstacles as formerly of rocks and ravines, note the defeat of the bad man as boys record the lucky shot which kills the buffalo in the path of some mighty hunter, and are as callous to the agony of the victim as children are to that of the elephant some heroic sportsman has brought down. It is the hunting instinct to w.hich these books appeal, though the game is human, the weapon an unscrupulous use of beauty, and the jungle London society, with its dense foliage, and grassy glades, and hidden beasts and reptiles. The taste for such literature passes away very speedily, and we doubt if while it endures it is much more injurious than the stories of pirates and highwaymen, while, though more artistic, it is certainly not more beneficial. We prefer analyses of men and women, but if readers really enjoy sketches of tigresses in human form, they may as well buy sketches as careful and, despite the subject, us pure in idea as Mr. Yates'. They are at all events artistically better than the really astounding one of a monster of selfwill and bad temper upon whom Mr. Mark Lemon, in Falkner L-yle, has chosen to waste his powers. The tigresses are bad enough to us, but this woman, Bertha, whose infamous temper gives occasion for three volumes of misery and complications, is a shade wcrile. She is as insufferable in a book as she would be in real life — a purposeless, charmless, vicious-tempered bore, who ruins what might otherwise have been a readable novel
No. 1142. Fourth Series, No. 3. 21 April, 1866.
1. The Poetry of James Russell Lowell
2. The Fiery Fountain in the Sandwich Islands .
3. Percy Bysshe Shelley. His Life and Character
4. Old Sir Douglas. Part 3 ....
5. Maritime Capture
6. A Royal Skeleton
8. Turner's Richmondshire in Photograph .
9. Buddhism .......
10. The French Chamber
11. How to Pacify Ireland
12. Happy Families
13. Mr. Pcabody's great benefaction to London
14. Lord Wm. Lennox's "Draft on my Memory"
15. Madness in Novels ......
16. The Master of Trinity. Dr. Whewell .
17. Brick Architecture in Lower Saxony
18. The Anglo-Saxon let loose ....
19. The Conflict at Washington ....
20. The Coming Storm in Europe
21. Buried Alive
23. The Realism of Desert Islands
24. The Scenery of The Skies ....
Poetry: A Thanksgiving, 206. Shutting np the Prussian Congress, 207. I am the Family Cat, 207. Learning to Walk, 208. Baby looking out for me, 208.
Shout Article: Poetry by Weight, 160
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We used to pay twelve cents a pound for paper. During the war, it advanced to thirty cents. Last year, at one time, it fell to sixteen cents; and we joyfully prepared to increase the pages of the Living Age for 1866, in full proportion.
We were uncomfortably checked by a fresh advance of the price of paper to twenty-four cents. But as the sale of the Living Age goes on increasing, notwithstanding the competition of several new compilations; and as we have been greatly encouraged by the interest which our old subscribers have taken in adding new names to our list; and by the kind letters received from all parts of the country, including old friends long shut up in the South, — our enlargement will be continued; and we shall spare no pains or expense to deserve the favorable opinion which has been shown to the work for eighty-eight volumes.
It has been necessary to reprint a large part of the first volume of 1866. This completed the Third Series; and we are prepared to furnish complete sets up to the end of March, 1866. But it maybe well for booksellers and others to take notice that, making so many pages a week as the work now contains, we cannot afford to stereotype them, and cannot long supply orders for back numbers of the Fourth Series. A time will very soon come when all subscriptions must begin with the current number. We are sorry that the good things which we gather should not always be accessible; but, as we grow older, we must work more from day to day, and not look too far ahead.
This number contains an unusual variety. 'Several articles which have been in type for some weeks are included. Asil Friends" say "we feel great enlargement." The only " piece de resistance " is that on Shelley, whose life and character are very clearly shown.
It was a puzzle to Americans that England so lonft failed to see her interest about Maritime Law. The American GoverniniMii went very far, — too far, — when it proposed to exempt private property at sea from capture; and it did well in with-: drawing the offer. We desire to lessen the j .evils of war; but, until we can do without j
it altogether, it is well to suffer some inconveniences to remain, so as to help keep the peace.
Notwithstanding their signal and acknowledged failure to understand American affairs during the war, the English papers with undiminished confidence discuss the process of Reconstruction. The Times, the Saturday Review, and, in general, the papers which then took part against the United States, now write against the course of Congress. Our old ally, the Spectator, continues its friendly interest.
"The Anglo-Saxon let loose," seems intended to show that irresponsible power cannot safely be intrusted even to this masterful race.
The Coming Storm in Europe is not likely to make us desire the importation of the "balance of power" into our politics. We have had enough of war to satisfy even fighting men; and what we have now to pray for are ploughs and pruning-hooks, and that every man may pursue his industrious calling, with none to molest, or make him afraid.
Turner Photographed is one of the books one longs for. There are thousands of such beautiful collections published in London.
The movement toward freedom in the French Chamber will probably prove to be only the beginning of great changes there.
How to pacify Ireland is a duty which English statesmen must study; whether it can be done we can only learn hereafter.
Mr. Peabody's great benefaction to London ought to give encouragement to similar enterprises in his own country.
Most sensations seem to have been used for novel purposes. The article on Madness is apropos.
"Breakfast" will be studied by all who wish to begin the day well.
A Desert Island does not seem so purely sentimental or romantic after all.
From The London Review THE POETRY OF .TAMES RUSSELL LOW
Hardly less famous in England than in America as are the "Biglow Papers," but few readers on this side of the Atlantic know anything of the serious poetry of Mr. J. R. Lowell. It is true that, in a certain sense, and the very best sense too, the " Biglow Papers" themselves are serious, because they embody principles of the gravest kind, and are penetrated throughout with the burning and quivering fire of the writer's devotion to what he regards as truth and justice. But they take a colloquial and ludicrous form, and it is not improbable that many readers, especially in the Old World, see the fuu to the exclusion of the deeper thought. Mr. Lowell, however, is not simply a humourist, nor even chiefly a humourist. He has undoubtedly a comic and satiric vein, of a very genuine kind; his rough, dry, somewhat grim New England drollery is a strange admixture of Puritan force with Yankee shrewdness and oddity; but the Puritan element is the stronger of the two, though the less superficially obvious, and it overshadows the buffoonery with a weight of thought and of passion ate conviction, such as render the wildest utterances of Hosea Biglow, Birdofredom Sawin, Parson Wilbur, and the rest of them, anything but flippant. The man who could write the "Biglow Papers " must be a man of a nature certainly capable of seriou* impressions, and probably capable of writing poetry in its more dignified and lovely forms. In the second series, indeed, a passage occurs which is in itself poetry of no mean order, though half-disguised in uncouth New England phraseology. It is. an address to the Gjniiis of America, and was quoted by us in noticing the work in which it occurs (london Review, September 17th, 1864). That passage had in it the true ring and accent of' imaginative thought and speech — emotion trembling at itself, passion soaring on its own wings into th« heaven of beauty and of power. But, ordinarily, whatever poetry there may be in the "Biglow Papers" is simply that which earnestness and uenim always imply when they select a rhythmical form, however coarse and grotesque. The thoughtful and sensitive respond to it at once; but careless readers may not perceive that it is there, and
* The Poetical Works of .Tamei Russell Lowell, Author of the "Biglow Papers." Including " A Fable for the Critics." London : S,/). Ueeton.
may set down the author as merely a facetious gentleman. For these reasons we are glad to see an English edition of the avowedly serious poems of James Russell Lowell given to the English public, and to have this opportunity of enlarging our own acquaintance with a writer who has unquestionably done honor to American literature both in poetry and prose.
Nevertheless, we are not prepared to place Mr. Lowell in the first rank even of American poets. He is certainly not the equal of Longfellow or Whittier, nor has he anything like the wild invention and goblin phantasy of Edgar A. Poe. Somewhat he seems to halt in his poetical paces — to flag in his rhythmical ascent. He is not thoroughly inspired, and constantly suggests a faltering toward something prosaic. We suspect the truth to be that the character of his mind is too analytical to be poetic in the highest sense. He is a man of strong convictions on a good many subjects, political and otherwise, and he uses his poetry as a means of explaining and enforcing his views. This not unfrequenlly gives to his verse the appearance of having been consciously and artificially elaborated with an eye to some collateral object, instead of arising simply out of the poet's impulse to sing. We arc afraid it must be said of him that he has too great a tendency to lecture us; and, though his lectures are always directed towards noble ends, and are instinct with the loftiest spirit of belief in Eternal Wisdom and Justice, we are sometimes disappointed at finding the professor in his cap where we expected to see the poet in his robes. He seems himself to be aware of this defect, for, in his charming and witty poem, "A Fable for Critics," he makes Apollo say: —
"There's Lowell, who's striving Parnassus to
climb, With a whole bale of isms tied together with
rhyme, He might get on alone, spite of brambles and
boulders, But he can't with that bundle he has on his
shoulders. The top of the hill he will ne'er come nigh
reaching Till he learns the distinction 'twixt singing
and preaching. His lyre has some chords that would ring
pretty well, But he'd rather by half make a dram of the
And rattle away till he's old as Methusalem, At the head of a march to the last new Jerusalem."