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to the true wizards, who compel you to they hunger for another. The drambelieve in goodness, even though you drinker can do no more. Novel-drinkhave met it so rarely; to love nobleness,' ing is not so expensive, so outwardly even though your own few noble actions repulsive, nor can it be said that it brings have been ignobly rewarded; to place the same ruin and disgrace upon families. the spirit above matter, virtue above in. But the individual is as surely enfeebled terest, and to prefer martyrdom to any by it, his taste corrupted, his will untriumph attained unworthily.
understanding soddened. It has often been urged that works of And this habit of reading novel upon imagination, such as we here describe, novel for reading's sake is the principal have a dangerous tendency: since they cause of the general Vice of Reading of encourage hopes which are never fulfilled, which we complain. If people cannot pourish nothing but illusions, and by get novels, they will read anything rather bringing into yet more definite contrast than not read at all ; just as the confirmed what might be and ought to be, and what drunkard will drink spirits of wine, ink, is, engender a discontent with life as it or even water, rather than not drink. exists. But it is the very business of Provided he feels a bottle or a tumbler at imagination, rightly directed, to generate his lips, it is something. It is better than a discontent with life as it exists: since nothing. See people get into railway life as it exists requires much changing, carriages. They are going to travel or at least much modification ; and pro- through a delightful country, clad in all vided the discontent, which is in itself the witching garb of vernal beauty, in just and elevated, be not in its effects summer's magnificent array, in autumn's barren, do not become moody, misan- almost tropical gorgeousness, or in the thropical, and indifferent to the welfare weird and solemn but deeply interesting of mankind, it is highly desirable that it and suggestive aspect of winter. They should be felt. It is the placid satisfac- | buy a wretched volume of what is called tion with the most unsatisfactory arrange- " American humour,” or, oh! ye gods! a ments, which the absence of imagination newspaper: a newspaper that contains and what is called the practical tempera- nothing new, and is probably only anment beget, that is our real danger and other version of one they have already bane. Hence, no matter how much clev- perused, or an evening rechauffé of the erness of the beaverish sort, - to bor-two. That they should contemplate the row, with a fresh adaptation, an excellent divine face of Nature, that they should phrase of Mr. Carlyle, — may have gone rejoice in the flowery tracery of the hedgeinto what is called a “realistic" novel, rows, in the reedy, sedgy pools, in the if the w.iter remains satisfied with por- swaying corn, in the undulations caused traying things just as they are, still more, by rise and dip and hollow, all with their if he portrays the mean and more con- special lights and shades; in the halftemptible phenomena of life, leaving it darkness of bits of well-grown wood ; in to the reader to conclude that so it is the growing thickness of young plantaand it can't be helped or mended, his book tions which catch the sunbeams and keep can certainly be an assistance to no one. them in a net of half-invisible green and It cannot be described as instructive, gold, — never seems to occur to them. since its very merit consists in its accu- They ensconce themselves as deep as rate representation of something, already they can in their stuffy cushions, try to known, being recognized by the reader; persuade themselves that they are inand it obviously is not elevating. It may doors, pull out their paper-cutters, draw possibly prove a recreation ; and so long their hats over their brows, and imbibe as the style of fiction was produced spar- their newspaper or their meaningless ingly and read sparingly, it might possibly book of jokes. If it be late evening or escape condemnation.
night, they light a reading-lamp, and conBut the mischief is, it is produced in tinue the enervating pursuit. As for the most prolific manner, and it is not thinking, by way of a change, that is out read merely, it is devoured. People do of the question. When they do not read, not wait to read it until they are tired, they sleep ; or if they neither read nor overworked, and jaded, or till holiday time sleep, they try to talk. Railway trave!ling comes round. They rush to the circu- is well calculated to lower considerably lating libraries for it the moment it is an- one's estimate of one's species. nounced, apply for it, clamour for it, and The modern newspaper is to the full as never rest unul they are devoting them- noxious as the modern novel; but it, too, selves to its perusal. Having finished it,' is ubiquitous and universal. How many times a-year does there occur anything exact, the conditions under which they which can really be called news? Fifty write forbidding such a result; and it times? We doubt it. Yet more than is impossible for readers who red newssix times fifty times do newspapers make papers and “current literature” to be their appearance in the course of the full, since what they read there is empyear. Every day, -- nay, every night and tier than the wind. every morning, — has its "latest intelli- Is it any wonder that people can no gence;" and every night and every morn- longer converse ? Conversation implies ing a dozen subjects supposed to be of prior consideration, or the genius which the first importance are what is called strikes out thought spontaneously. With “discussed.” One would suppose that the last we need not concern ourselves; so much discussion would settle the vari- and the first is not to be provided by ous questions thus treated. Not at all. desultory reading. “Have you read," or They crop up again week after week, , "Have you seen,” is the opening phrase month after month, year after year, of nearly all modern talk. If in reply to "damnably reiterated.” The fact is, the inquiry, “ Did you read that article there is no desire to settle them. News in the Standard?" you say, “I never papers are financial speculations, and are read a newspaper,” you are either not written, not with the object of settling believed or are supposed to be wishing anything, or of doing good to any human to be rude. If, in answer to an interbeing, save their proprietors, but in order rogatory whether you have seen the nothat they may be bought. No blame to tice of the pictures in the Royal Academy those who own, and very little to those in the Athenæum, you observe that you who write them. But what fools people rarely if ever go to the Academy, but that if must be who read them! Some persons you did you should certainly never dream accept the facts asserted in them for facts, of seeing what was written about them and the opinions as sound opinions : -an in the Athenæum or elsewhere, you are unmixed mischief; since it is never desir- set down as peculiar or conceited. Yet able to get into the habit of accepting facts why should you waste your time over the on insufficient evidence, and it is fatal to latter operation ? Opinion is — well, a allow one's self to be inoculated passively matter of opinion; and you can only venwith another person's opinion, be he who tilate your own by discussing its value he may. Yet you will see a roomful of with some other intelligent person or people set in a flutter by the arrival of persons. To talk about pictures, if they the newspaper, and they pounce upon it happen to be pictures worth_talking with all the eagerness — we must again about, is sensible enough. To read use the only analogy that fitly represents about them, whether you have seen them the case of confirmed drunkards. or whether you have not, is childish.
We do not affirm that it would be a Yet to return for a moment to novels, good thing if a stop could be put to the people are not satisfied even with reading issuing of novels and newspapers, much worthless novels; they must then read less of all printed matter, but we do un- still more worthless notices of them in hesitatingly assert that it would be an the papers. It is the drunkard, not exceedingly good thing if all printed mat- only draining his glass, but licking it out. ter could be withdrawn from the hands We believe that boredom is a word of of grown-up people for ten years, if the modern origin. Certainly the thing is. only alternative be that this superabun- People used to be wearied, to be lonely. dance of it is to continue. The com- But just think what this last word must plaint is an old one, that conversation is have meant in days when habitations a lost art. It is the art of printing that were placed aloof from each other, far killed it; and the art of printing is rapidly and wide, when roads were few and bad, killing something even more precious books unknown, and letters never writthan good conversation,- namely, think- ten! People were not lonely then for ing. When Bacon said that reading the same causes as we are lonely now, made a full man and writing an exact They were lonely if they were not loved. man, reading and writing were in their They were lonely if they were shut up in infancy. If he had lived to these days, prisons, and not allowed to do anything. and could have seen how inexact are They were not lonely, much less bored, nearly all writers, and how empty nearly as long as they were allowed the free use all readers, he would have cancelled one of their eyes, hands, and legs, as long as of his most celebrated aphorisms. It is they could gaze upon the landscape, impossible for newspaper-writers to be could walk, dig, ride, shoot, and wrestle
with the first physical obstacle that came And bring no book : for this one day
We do not think there has ever been People are bored because what they do
a man of the first rank who was what is not worth doing, is not really either would now be called a great reader. Only profitable or amusing, whilst the habitual second-rate men are that. To be a welldoing of it has incapacitated them from read person is one thing, to be a great turning to other and better occupations. reader another ; and it is pretty certain Their minds, their whole natures, have, that the two never go together. become subdued to what they work in.
We should be glad to think that our They have become of the books, booky. observations had led even one person to
They find no books in the running pause and consider, and had acted as a brooks, no sermons in stones, no good in note of warning to him. So surely as he anything
surrenders bimself to mere printed matAnd as their minds, so their bodies. ter, to mere books and newspapers, so We do not forget that the present gener: his neighbours, a poor creature, with a
surely will he end by being, like most of ation has invented croquet, and this admirable game has been the saving of flabby, flaccid, aqueous, unstable sort of many women. Still, books are used as
a brain ; - a mere copy of somebody an excuse for coddling and laziness, else, such as our truly Chinese civilizawhen the weather is not propitious or it tion occupies itself with producing. Let is not summer; and women who would him not fear to say that he has not read take a good long walk on a winter's day, such and such a book, though the whole grub in their gardens, plant their own that he has never seen more than the
world ” may be chattering about it; and bulbs, take a turn at their own greenhouse, or weed their own gravel-walks, if outside of such and such a journal, though there were nothing else they could do, it lies on everybody's table. Let reading do none of these things because they continue to be a part of his life, but à can sit over the fire and read a new novel subsidiary part to thinking, seeing, ob
We do not or pore over a dreary journal. Thus serving, and energizing. they are defrauded of their proper expect to change the general current, for amount of exercise, get their muscles re
no individual can do that. But that such laxed and their health out of gear, and reading as at present prevails has, by lose golden opportunities of watching led to a deterioration of the human spe
reason both of its quality and quantity, nature in her endless aspects, the sight of which is a joy in itself, a subtle train-cies, physically, mentally, and morally, ing towards the love of pobleness, the we entertain no doubt; nor do we see greatest
, the truest, the most profitable how, unless the vicious habit be someof tutors. They bend over vapid pages
how corrected, the race can escape from till everything in the world seems stale, being ultimately divided into two sections, flat, and unprofitable, and till, in the cur” the members of one of which will be little rent language, they are bored out of their removed from invalids, and the members lives. li they could have had but a
of the other scarcely distinguishable from Wordsworth at their side to call them
Than years of toiling reason :
From All The Year Round. The spirit of the season.
CHINESE PROVERBS. Some silent laws our hearts will make, The excellence of aphorisms has been Which they shall long obey:
said to consist chiefly in the comprehenWe for the year to come may take
sion of some obvious and useful truth in Our temper from to-day.
a few words; and if this be the case, the
Chinese language is peculiarly adapted And from the blessed power that rolls
for the production of proverbs, for it About, below, above, We'll frame the measure of our souls :
possesses, from its peculiar structure, a They shall be tuned to love.
beauty and pointedness of expression,
which, however, no degree of care or Then come, my sister, come, I pray, pains can adequately convey into a trans
With speed put on your woodland dress; lation.
Let us cite from various sources a few cannot discern the errors of his own acof the numerous aphorisms, maxims, and tions. proverbs current among the Chinese, The evidence of others is not compamany of which will suggest parallel senti- rable to personal experience; nor is “I ments in our own and other languages. heard " as good as “ I saw."
By a long journey we know à horse's The three great misfortunes in life strength; só length of days shows a are :-- In youth to bury one's father, in man's heart.
middle-age to lose one's wife, and being In the days of affluence always think old to have no son. of poverty; do not let want come upon A virtuous woman is a source of honyou and make you remember with re- our to her husband; a vicious one causes gret the time of plenty. In contradis-him disgrace. tinction to this sentiment is another : The strong feeling existing among the Let us get drunk to-day, while we have Chinese against a widow's marrying a wine ; the sorrows of to-morrow may be second husband is clearly seen in the borne to-morrow.
following: - It being asked, “Supposing To correct an evil which already exists, a widowed woman to be very poor and is not so well as to foresee and prevent it. destitute, might she in such a case take a
Wine and good dinners make abun- second husband ?" It was answered, dance of friends, but in the time of adver- "This question arises merely from the sity not one is to be found.
fear of cold and hunger ; but to be Cautious conduct under circumstances starved to death is a very small matter, of suspicion is inculcated somewhat oddly compared with the loss of her respectby the following: In a field of melons do ability !” The Chinese, be it observed, not pull up your shoe ; under a plum- are great sticklers for propriety and retree do not adjust your cap.
spectability, and are very much afraid of “ Tempus fugit” becomes in Chinese, what they term “losing face.” “ Time Aies like an arrow; days and He who at once knows himself and months like a weaver's shuttle.”
knows others, will triumph as often as he Do not anxiously expect what is not contends. yet come; do not vainly regret what is It is too late to pull the rein when the already past.
horse has gained the brink of the preciThe Chinese evidently agree with Sol- pice; the time for stopping the leak is omon's well-known advice to a parent, past, when the vessel is in the midst of for they say: “ If you love your son be ihe river. liberal'in punishment; if you hate your It is easy to convince a wise man, but son, accustom him to dainties."
to reason with a fool is a difficult underIf you would understand the character taking. of the prince, examine his ministers; if To meet with an old friend in a distant you would understand the disposition of country may be compared to the delightany man, look at his companions ; if you fulness of rain after a long drought. would know that of a father, observe his To the contented, even poverty and son.
obscurity bring happiness ; while to the Man is born without knowledge, and ambitious, wealth and honours themwhen he has obtained it, very soon be- selves are productive of misery. comes old ; when his experience is ripe, The truth of the following sentiment death suddenly seizes him.
is, we all know, not confined to China : The fame of men's good actions sel. Though a poor man should live in the dom goes beyond their own doors; but midst of a noisy market, no one will ask their evil deeds are carried to the dis- about him ; though a rich man should tance of a thousand miles.
bury himself among the mountains, his Though powerful medicines are nau- relations will come to him from afar. seous to the taste, they are good for the A single hair of silk does not make a disease; though candid advice is un-thread; one tree does not make a grove. pleasant to the ear, it is profitable for the A single conversation across the table conduct.
with a wise man is better than ten years' From the following simile, looking- mere study of books. glasses are evidently appreciated by If a man has plenty of money but no Chinese ladies : Without a clear mirror, child, he cannot be reckoned rích ; if a a woman cannot know the state of her man has children but no money, he canown face; without a true friend, a man not be considered poor.
If a man does good, Heaven will be their dislike of foreigners, and the latter stow on him a hundred blessings, against polytheism.
Great goodness and great wickedness, The following proverb is applied as an sooner or later, are sure to be rewarded. answer to those who foolishly murmur
Of a hundred virtues, filial piety is the against the daily appointments of nature first.
and the changes of the seasons : True gold fears not the fire. Inconstancy is expressed by the adage :
No day, no night,
No harvest bright; Tsao san, mu sze, i.e. “In the morning
No cold, no heat, three, at night four."
No rice to eat. The French “ Donner un cuf pour un bæuf," in Chinese is “ To give a sheep for
There is one proverb which requires a an ox."
distinct and separate notice. It is as “To look for a needle in a bundle of follows :hay” is with us expressive of trying to You're old and ought to die by right; do an impossibility; the Chinese say You eat our rice from morn till night. “To feel for a needle at the bottom of the ocean" and "To turn a somersault We give Mr. Moule's explanation of this in an oyster shell."
in extenso : — “Considering the fact that “ To be bold enough to strike the the Chinese are remarkable for filial duty, tiger's beard expresses great courage the proverb would, at first sight, seem to and daring.
present an instance of the extremely rare An ox with a ring in his nose, i.e. A phenomenon of a national saying springman who has his passions under proper ing from the immoral and not from the control.
moral side of a people's thoughts. There Where there is musk, there will of is always, however, a strong presumption course be perfume ; it will not be neces- against such an origin for any maxim sary to stand in the wind (i.e. Talent and that lias fairly passed into popular use; real worth will make themselves mani- and it is a suggestion worth making that fest without the aid of trickery).
this proverb in particular may be an in“A basket of grain producing only a stance of the ironical humour of the Chipound of chicken meat" is symbolical of nese, rather than of heartlessness. It a losing business.
appears not improbable that it took its “A toad in a well cannot behold the rise in the grim realities of some period whole heavens” is used in reference to of famine ; it would then be perpetuated contracted ideas.
in an ironical sense, and would be used “ Climbing a tree to hunt for fish" ex- humorously with what has well been presses looking for things where they called the irony of affection, even by the cannot possibly be found.
most filial and dutiful lips. At the same To covet another man's house and lose time, as it is always liable to the charge one's own ox (i.e. To lose what property of a literal interpretation, it is not surone already has in effort to acquire more). prising that many Chinese will often
“ To grind down an iron pesile to make express strong dissent from this proverb a needle” is a Chinese way of expressing and dissatisfaction at its place among indomitable perseverance.
their popular sayings." When you converse in the road, re- There is another proverb of a similar member that there are men in the grass. nature, and capable, perhaps, of a like
The neighbouring walls have ears. explanation, which does not, at first sight, Correct yourself, then correct others. seem to speak well for the courage and Among * the sayings on the border-land conjugal affection of the Chinese : of apophthegms and proverbs are such
Man and wife sentences as “ Within the four seas all
In tranquil life are brethren;" and Tien wu êrh jib, min Sit like birds upon one bough; wu êrh huang (Heaven has not two suns,
Trouble comes the people have not two Emperors); both
They shake their plumes, of which are very effective proverbs, if
“ Sauve qui peut," their language now. adroitly used, the former against the ex
One fites west, clusiveness of Chinese politicians and
As he thinks best ;
One flies east, For much of the substance of the remainder of this
Where trouble's least. article we are indebted to Mr. Moule's Chapters on China and the Chinese ; the metrical renderings are by
The Chinese have one proverb, which, that gentleman's brother.
at any rate, breathes the spirit of true