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ceeded day, and still the unconscious invalid lossed “ Catherine, 1 fear this sick room is but a dull to and fro, every hour becoming weaker; yet the place for you. I shall tell my mother to invite fever did not abate.
M. Lubin to spend the evening here to cheer At last the night of the crisis came, Victor had you." fallen into a heavy sleep-that sleep which, when “Do not be cruel, Victor; M. Lubin is nothing ended, might reveal the worst. Catherine had re
Did he save my life ?" tired from the bed lest, on first waking, the sight
“And the fact of my having had that great of her might startle him; Jeannie knelt by her happiness is to weigh doirn the scale even against
As the morning dawned he opened his eyes, M. Lubin and all his advantages.” and said,
"Certainly, if the scale had not been weighed “ Mother, where am I?”
down long before by something else.” Oh! the joy of that voice; it was his own accent, though weak and trembling.
“And what was that something else ?” cried he, him some nourishment, and with a few loving
drawing her towards him, “what wonderful thing words he fell asleep again. The danger was passed could outbalance M. Lubin, -his fashion, bis for - her son was spared.
tume, his jewelry-the carriage he would provide Catherine continued in her office of nurse, for
you, the rich dresses you would be enabled to buy he was very much reduced, and required constant
—what was it ?” care, and though all excitement was strictly for
She looked into his eager face, her eyes were bidden, and he was scarcely allowed to speak,
filled with tears, and with a trembling voice, as it scemed to do him good to watch her as she she laid her head upon bis shoulder, she said moved lightly about the room.
“ Forgive all my folly, Victor, for it was— One aftercoon, when he had recovered a little Love." strength, he was sitting propped up by pillows. "My own Catherine," whispered he, "we have The window was open, and the fresh spring air been in great danger, and yet we have been spared was blowing in, while the warm sunshine illu- to each other. The rain has ceased from the earth, mined the room. Catberine was arranging a
and the clouds have passed away. Oh, let no bouquet of flowers which she had just brought more shadows ever come again between thee and in, when Victor called her to him, and said,
"Sir, we had talk."- Dr. Johnson.
“ The honourablest part of talk is to give the occasion; and then to moderate again, and pass to somewhat else." - Lord Lacon.
MRS. GASKELL'S LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE. There was, however, one small criticism, which It is possible that some of the readers of these Mrs. Gaskell's volumes clear up. After the gossipping papers may semember one in July, quotation of a verse of Currer Bell's to illustrate 1855, about « Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell," in an occasional want of literary congruity in her wbich the present writer—then a scribbler of a poetry, came two of Ellis Bell's, to illustrate a few months' standing--summarised, in a discur similar want in her's : sive, but neither careless nor aimless way, portions “It would not do ; the pillow glowed, of his information and speculations about the
And glowed both roof and floor, three sisters. It is due to such readers, who may
And birds sang loudly in the wood, not have an opportunity of seeing Mrs. Gaskell's
And fresh winds shook the door.
The curtains .waved; the wakened flies volumes, and it is due to the writer's own feelings
Were murmuring round my room, -keenly interested as they are in all that relates
Imprisoned there till I should rise, to Charlotte Brontë—to correct a mis-statement
And give them leave to roam. in that sketch, of which he cannot now remember It throws an interesting light upon the unconthe source, further than that it was something he sciousness with which this quaint passage evidently saw in a provincial newspaper. Mr. Brontë did slipped from Emily's pen, to learn, as now, that not, as then stated, marry his wife against the her love for “dumb animals” amounted to a positive wishes of her friends--there was no opposition. "passion,”—so strong a passion, that one who knew Neither was he living at Penzance; the young her could say, “She never loved human creature, lady, however, was of Cornish parentage. In -only dumb things"--an exaggeration, of course, other respects, the paper conveyed, as far as the for Emily was a woman of mighty affections, notwriter bas now the means of checking it, no erro. withstanding that fierce reticence of hers, which nous impressions.
whenever we think of it, reminds us of Lord
Bacon's essay beginning, “It were hard for him my head being too bad to allow of my reading it tbat spake it to have put more truth and untruth myself
. I was dreadfully "upset” by it, and so together in few words, than in that speech, "Who- was the reader, to whom it was also new. I soever is delighted in solitude is either a wild never doubted the author was a woman ; I was beast or a god.' However, a correction like this particularly struck by her minute choice of words; of a first and natural impression about another's I fancied her style would ultimately alter (as it in writing should make us careful in our criticisms. fact did) if she wrote more books ; I smiled at the It is not easy for you or me to think of getting crudeness of her phrenological comments, for out of bed to unfasten a door and let out a parcel crude they were—correct, but not such as would of buzzing flies, as poetic material; but to Emily have fallen from the pen of one familiar with Bronte a “ blue-fly singing i' the pane" was quite phrenology. I could not resist an impression, a different creature from what it is to you and founded on I know not what, that Currer Bell was me, and to her it did supply poetic material, be- a self-trained woman, looking at life from an inde- . cause it touched her heart. Do we not remember pendent point of view, and I was puzzled to reconia passage in which Christopher North suggests cile the (presumed) self-culture, and the gipsey that the blame is ours, not Homer's, if the com- freedom, with the lady like air which after all perparison of the land of the Phæacians looming vaded the book. I thought, however, that Mr. “ like a bull's bide” across the dark sea is not Rochester was made to address Jane in language found agreeable ? At all events there never was, no gentleman would use to a lady, especially in and never will be, poet or artist, capable of always the talk which ensued after she had refused to drawing the line between material which is uni. marry him. Years after I was to learn that others, versally poetic, and that which is only poetic not less gifted than Currer Bell, could fall into a relatively to his own idiosyncracy : such a consum- precisely similar error; anything more prepos. mation would clearly imply the destruction of terous than that conversation between Lancelot idiosyncracy altogether. We must take the light and Argemone in “Yeast," as they walked together that never was on sea or shore” as we can get it, in the dark, I can hardly remember. But nothing through the many-coloured glass of the individual struck me so forcibly in "Jane Eyre,” as the mind, tinged with its prepossessions, its special strong imprint upon every page of a thoroughly experiences, its likes and dislikes, all its little conscientious nature. It is the rarest of all mannerisms of thought and expression. Nor qualities in books, and I am not sure that I know should we fail to notice how any strong feeling or any writer, except Mrs. Gaskell, who put so much new association may list almost anything-perhaps of it into her writing as Charlotte Brontë. I anything, without reserve-into the sphere of have always held Mr. Bensou, in “Ruth," to poetry. I, for one, shall, in future, think of flies be the model of a conscientious man. with a somewhat different feeling. The buzzing “Jane Eyre," then, was the very first modern of an imprisoned blue-bottle will always suggest novel I ever read. If it had not been for its celcEmily Brontë.
brity, wbich made its name almost a houschold I must beg leave to have my gossip out, con. word, possibly I should never have read it. Some cerning this book, for my relations to “Jane time elapsed before I read another work of fiction, Eyre" are somewhat peculiar. When it was ”
-a year or more : when, being again ill, I read published in 1847, though a student in my way, Hawthorne’s “Scarlet Letter.” It was years and given to occasional verse making, such leisure before I could so far get clear of the shadow of as I had was devoted to languages, theology, and strict early habits as to look upon novel-reading metaphysics. I had read no recent poet, and in any other light than as an indulgence for sick knew nothing of recent literature. The habits of and incapable moments. If “Jane Eyre" had a stern Calvinistic training stayed with me, and been a feeble, foolish, or mischievous tale, the the only “story-books” I had ever seen were Charles probabilities are that I never should have got Lamb's "
Rosamund Gray," and St. Pierre's clear of that shadow. In truth, my obligations “ Paul and Virginia ;" which last I had, strangely to the book, direct and indirect, are great. Cerenough, happened to read first in Spanish: tainly, it never crossed my mind, when I made its “ Rosamund Gray” I had read by stealth in illness, acquaintance, that it would be crer mme to write hiding it under my pillow and producing a Cowper a word about its author. when any one was present (very naughty of me)! I may be allowed to add that, notwithstanding However, having eyes and a memory, I was aware my feeling that Mr. Rochester's expressions of the success of “ Jane Eyre,” just as I was of were occasionally broader than necessary, it never the current of theatrical matters, though I had for a moment crossed my mind that “Jane Eyre” never entered a theatre. “Jane Eyre,” by Currer could be, or could ever be, deemed a mischievous Bell, stood out in my thoughts as the novel of the book. I am quite sure that my tastes in the day, and I felt a desire to break the ice with direction in which the mischief of the story is (I regard to fictiou, and to break it at that point. believe) supposed by the slow-minded and weakBeing again unwell, I sent to a circulating hearted to lie, were quite exceptionably fastidious, library, for the first time in my life; the book i and that they took offence at nothing it contained. sent for was
Jane Eyre," and it was read to me, 1 Years after, I was infinitely an used at an inscrip:
tion in pencil, 'in a strong legal hand, which I | themselves — receiving such importance; but thought it might
make one on Recent Vorels." found in the title-page of the copy of " Shirley,” which I borrowed from Mudie's :-" Calculated to As things go, this concession was kindness on do young persons a greal deal of injury--all such Mr. Parker's part. The writer of these lines has (sic) persons should be transported for writing such been repeatedly refused leave to review books trash." These are the terms in which I now which pleased bim, even when he offered the reviews often characterise to my friends any very powerful for the mere pleasure of writing them, on account and truth.like work; if a book is better than of the "obscurity" of tlie authors. It certainly usual, and I am asked my opinion of it, I say, seems to me that whatever policy business exi“it is calculated to do young persons a great deal | gencies may force upon second-rate newspapers of injury-all such persons should be transported and reviews, journals of the stamp of Fraser for writing such trash.”
should be glad to seize opportunities of breaking in There are certain moral phenomena which, live upon the vulgar routine in this matter. The as long as one may, one can never hope altogether more so, because the work to be done in “bestow. to " stomach ;" and the existence of this class of ing enlightenment upon circulating library readers" moral censors is one of them. When “Ruth” | is so cuormous. “ Bestow enlightenment,” inappeared, the Leader mentioned in its Literature deed! The whole tone of feeling and thinking that a librarian had received back a copy half cut of the masses must be slowly modificd by circumfrom one of bis subscribers, who requested that no stances and influences of all sorts and sizes; their more books, so unfit for family reading, might be misappreciations bottom as much in what is sent to him!
morally as in what is intellectually bad. With tenCurious indices of popular taste are facts like derer hearts and keerer consciences they would these. In the correspondence of Charlotte Brontë turn loathingly from the vacuity of the popular with Mr. G. H. Lewes, published in Mrs. Gaskell's story books. Meanwhile, the light is breaking volumes, we get a very instructive passage con
over the cloud-lands of inanity and melodrama; cerning the popular love of " piled-up agony” in and thanks are due, first, to high class story. plot, and that sort of splashy writing wbich with tellers, who create the taste they are to supply; vulgar writers goes for "power.” Mr. Lewes had and secondly, to capable critics, who, in the exerhinted some friendly counsels against “ melodrama" cise of the pleasantest part of a critic's dutyin any future work. Charlotte replies :
exposition--teach the crowd to analyse, to know You warn me to beware of melodrama, and you exhort bands á touchstone which they may carry about
why they like a good book, and so put into their me to adhere to the real. When I first began to write, so impressed was I with the privciples you advocate, that I for application in less obvious and commanding determined to take Nature and Truth as my sole guides, and instances of merit than “ Jane Eyre” and “ Mary to follow in their very footprints; I restrained imagination, Barton.” eschewed romance, repressed excitement; over bright colonr
No doubt the great defect of the crowd of ing, too, I avoided, and sought to produce something which critics is lack of insight; but some amends would should be sost, grave, and true. My work, a tale in one volume, being completed, I offered it to a publisher. He be made for this, if they would take honest pains, * said it was original, faithful to vature, but he did not feel and not be so ready to throw aside any book that warranted in accepting it; such a work would not sell. I does not hit their fancy at a glance. The history tried six publishers in succession; they all told me it was of Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights," is to me deficient in “ startling incident,” and “thrilling excitement," deeply saddeving. The appreciation of the world --that it would never suit the circulating libraries, and as it was on these libraries the success of works of fiction
without did much to improve Charlotte Brontë; mainly depended, they could not undertake to publish what it might have done something to soften Emily. would be overlooked there. “ Jane Eyre” was rather ob- | But it did not come. “Critics failed to do jusjected to at first on the same grounds, but finally found ac- tice to the real but immature power displayed in ceptance. I mention this to you, not with a view of pleading
Wuthering Heights,' and Emily died before exemption from censure, but in order to direct your attention to the root of certain literary evils. If, in your forth Sydney Dobell came to the rescue in the 'Pallacoming article in Fraser, you would bestow a few words of dium'" (what was the “ Palladium"? and how enlightenment on the public who support the circulating came it to drop ? Why do not the originators libraries, you might, with your powers, do some good.
try again now ?). It was not till June, 1855, that This is a striking passage. I do not know what Mr. Lewes wrote in Fraser, for at that time * While I write, I get a newspaper in which it is said I never saw a magazine ; but I am bold to say for the admirable manner in which she has worked op such
that “ Mrs. Gaskell is entitled to more than ordinary praise that the labour of able and conscientious critics slender materials into so interesting a biography." lov is slowly infuencing the public mind in this very flattered Mrs. Gaskell must seel on learning that she departicular. They might do much more good if they serves “ more than ordinary praise !" Especially when she were bolder. Mr. Lewes says :
learns it from a writer who calls her materials “slender,"
and speaks of her“ working them up" into an "interesting When “ Jane Eyre" first appeared, the publishers courte- book! All things considered, the materials were extraordi. ously sent me a copy. The enthusiasm with which I rend narily full, though evidently gathered with pains; and never it, made me go down to Mr. Parker, and propose to write a was a book less “ worked up” than this. It is the simplest, review of it for Fraser's Magazine. lle could not consent most unadorned, most consecutive, most homely of life. to an unknown novel-for the papers had not yet declared | stories,
CHAPTER THE FIRST.
I read “ Wuthering Heights,” and I then formed
THE SECRET. the opinion which I still retain, that it displayed more dramatic power than Charlotte's novels. A dead silence had reigned in the Hone Oilice of VerdoCharlotte had more of the analytic power which polis for three hours on the morning of a fine summer's Mrs. Gaskell calls the "handmaid of genius ;” but day, interrupted only by such sounds as the scraping of a Emily, with a faculty of slower, less self-conscious, penknife, the dropping of a ruler, or an occcasional cough,
or, whispered now and then, some brief mandate, uttered by less amenable growth, held, it seems to me, a
the noble first secretary, in his commanding tones. At stronger peu than her sister. And, while she
length, that sublime personage, after completing some score lived, the only recognition of anything of the kind or so of despatches, addressing a small, slightly-built young as one discerning word in the Athenæum about gentleman who occupied the chief position among the her Poems!
clerks, said, “ Mr. Rylmer, will you be good enough to tell
me what o'clock it is?” Mrs. Gaskell introduces, on page 97, of Vol. I., prompt reply, as, springing from his seat, the ready under
“Certainly, my lord,” was the a poem from Charlotte's MSS., of which she
ling, instead of consulting his watch like other people, hassays, “it must have been written before 1833, tened to the window to mark the sun's situation. Having but how much earlier there are no means of de- made his observations, he answered, “'Tis twelve pre
Very well,” said the Marquis, “ you may termining.". I cannot forbear saying that this cisely, my lord.” poem falls familiarly on my own ear.
all give up then ; and see that all your desks are locked,
and that not a scrap of paper is left to litter the oflice. Mr. lotte ever have printed it? One of Anne's poems Rylmer, I shall expect you to take care that my directions seems to have appeared in Chambers's Journal. are fulfilled.” So saying, he assumed his hat and gloves, My impression of having seen the verses before is and, with a stately tread, was approaching the vestibule,
when a slight bustle and whispering among the clerks ar. so strong that I shall copy them here, for the sake
rested his steps. “ What is the matter ?” asked he turning of the chance that any of my readers may have
round, " I hope those are not sounds of contention I hear." seen them too, and may be glad to recognise them “ No," said a broad, carrotty.locked young man, of pugnain this connection:
cious aspect--"but-but--your lordship has forgotten that -that-"
“ That what P” asked the Marquis, rather imTHE WOUNDED STAG.
patiently. " Oh, merely that this afternoon is a half. Passing amid the deepest shade
holiday,_and—and—” "I understand,” replied his supeOf the wood's sombre heart,
rior, smiling; you need not task your modesty with further Last night I saw a wounded deer,
explanation, Flannagan; I suppose the truth is you want Laid lonely and apart.
your usual largess—I am obliged to you for reminding me
- will that do ?” he continued, as opening liis pocket book, Such light as pierced the crowded bouglis,
he took out a twenty pound bank bill, and laid it on the (Light scattered, seant, and dim,)
nearest desk. “My lord, you are too generous,” Flannagan Passed through the fern that formed his couchi (word illegible) but the Chief Secretary laughingly laid his And centred full on him.
gluved hand on his lip, and with a condescending nod to the Pain trembled in his weary limbs,
other clerks, sprang down the steps of the portico, and Pain filled his patient eye,
strode hastily away, in order to escape the noisy expressions Pain-crushed amid the shadowy fern,
of gratitude which now hailed his liberality, On the His branchy crown did lie.
opposite side of the long and wide street to that on which
the splendid Home Oflice stands rises the no less splendid Where were his comrades ? where luis mate?
Colonial Office, and just as Arthur Marquis of Douro* left All from his death-bed gone !
the former structure, Edward Stanley Sydney departed from And he, thus struck and desolate,
the latter. They inet in the centre of the street, Suffered and bled alone.
Ned,” said my brother, as they shook hands--" how are you Did he feel what a man miglit feel,
to-day? I should think this bright sun and sky ought to Friendless and sore distrest ?
enliven you, if anything can." Why my dear Douro," Did pain's keen dart, and grief's sharp sting,
replied Mr. Sydney, with a faint smile, “suchi lovely and Strive in his mangled breast ?
genial weather may, and I have no duubt does, elevate the
spirits of the free and healthy; but for me, whose mind and Did longing for affection lost
body are a continual prey to all the heaviest cares of public Barb every deadly dart ?
and private life, it siguifies little whether sun cheer or rain Love unrepaid, Faith betrayed,
damp the atmosphere.” “Fudge !” replied Arthur, his fea. Did these torment his heart?
tores at the same time assuming that disagreeable expression No! leave to man his proper doom !
which my landlord denominates by the term “scoruey,”These are the pangs tlunt rise
Now, don't begin to bore me, Ned, with trash of that Around the bed of state and gloom,
description. I'm tired of it, quite. Pray, have you recol. Where Adam's offspring dics!
lected that this is a half-holiday in all departments of the
Treasury ?” “Yes, and the circumstance has cost me somo Before I close the gossip in which I have in
money : these silly old customs ought to be abolished in my dulged myself about Charlotte Bronte, I propose opinion ; they are ruinous.” “Why, what have you given to supplement for my readers all the icviews they the poor fellows ?” “ Two sovereigus." An emphatic may have read of Mrs. Gaskell's book-- most pro
“hem ” formed Arthur's reply to this communication. They bably all, I mean. A fac-simile page is given in
liad now entered Hotel-street, and were proceeding in silence
pastthe line of magnificent shops which it contains, when the Vol. I., from “ The Secret," one of Charlotte's
sound of wheels was heard behind them, and a smooth-rollfery juvenile novels, written, says M:s. Gaskell, ing chariot dashed up and stopped just where they stood. in a hand which it is almost impossible to decipher One of the window.glasses now fell; a white hand was put without the aid of a magnifying glass.” Well, I out, and beckoned them to draw near, while a silvery voico jave interested myself in deciphering it, and pre
• Wellington is Charlotte's piece de resistance in all her jure. sent the result as a literary curiosity:
nile stories : she utterly uses him up.
said --"Mr. Sydney! Marquis of Douro! come loither a mo- for wanting the earrings,“ these are quite different"
not necd. Bnt I think, after a quiet smile at to the innates of the carriage, who were Lady Julia Sydney, this wonderful child's conception of the Treasury and Lady Maria Sneaky. “Our commands are principally Office, secretary, and clerks, and the manner of for your companion, my lord, not for you,” replied the daugh- "the quality," we may recognise something of ter of Alexander the First. “Now, Mr. Sydney,” she con
Currer Bell in this page. The opening—“A dead tinued, smiling on the Senator, “ you must promise not to be disobedieni." “Let me know first what I
silence had reigned, &c.”-is very like her trick quired to perform,” was thic cautious answer, accompanied of opening a story or a poem ; thic cpithets, by a fearful glance at the shops around. “ Nothing of much though commonplace, are not spriukled in anyhow, conseqnence, Edward,” snid liis wife, “ but I hope you'll not but set in their place; and last, not least, there refuse to oblige me this once, love; I only want a few is the rough strength of language, which some guineas to enable me to make out the price of a pair of carrings I have just seen in Mr. Lapis's shop." "Not"a bit readers of “ Jane Eyre” and its successors find of it,” anstrered lie, “and not a farthing will I give you ; unpleasing. Sidney is “a stingy little monkey," it is scarce three weeks since you received your quarter's and Flannagan is “carrotty-locked,” and the allowance, and if that is donc (gone ?) already, you may Marquis of Douro is unconventionally frank in his suffer for it." With this decisive reply
, he instinctively jocosity about a Turkish institution. There is,
This is the way he always treats me; but I'll make him see that wide, wide, and wondersul world, to
always so— bul, of course I shall not take advantage of it. No, po; I
Ein wandernd Leben can do witliout the earings--it is only a fancy; though to
Gefällt der freien Dichter brustbe sure I would rather liave them." "My pretty cousin," observed the Marquis, who till now had remained a quiet but partly wreak health, and partly duty, narrowed though much amused spectator of the whole scene, “ you are certainly one of the most extravagant young ladies I know.
the round in which Charlotte Broutë lived, and Why what on carth can you possibly want with these what she gave us she had to “make out,” as her trinkets? to my knowledge, you have had at least a dozen schoolfellows said, from what lay within that round. different sets of car ornaments." “ That is true, but then these are quite of another kind, and so pretty and uniqne better measure.
How much she gave us, another generation will
But a quick eye may frequently that I could not help ushishing (sic) for them." since your heart is so much set upon the trinkets, I will sce
find traces of her ivfluence upon the literature of whether my purse can compass their price, if you will allow the day. If "Ruth” and “Jane Eyre" had not me to accompany you to Mr. Lapis's." "O thank you. both been written, vc should liave had a great Arthur! you are very kind,” said Lady Julia, and bosh the
poem from Mrs. Browning, but " Aurora Leigli" endlics quickly made room for him as he sprang in and
would not have been what it is. scated himself between them. “I think," said Maria Sneaky who had a touch of the romp about her, “I think when I
I have not yet done with the author of “ Jane marry I'll have just such a husvand as yon my Lord Eyre.” Meanwhile, Mrs. Gaskellis memoirs of ber Marquis, one who won't deny me a pretty toy when I desire friend suggest two serious warnings. Ist. Let to possess it."
“Will you p' said Arthur, “I really think novel-readers see the risks they run in encouraging the Turks are more sensible people than ourselves." In a feir minutes they reached the jeweller's shop, Nr. Lapis melodrama and splash ; they nearly missed “ Jane received them with an obeseginous (sic) bow and proceeded to Eyre ;" how many good books may they get miss display his glittering stores. The pendants which had so by forcing publishers to measure Mss. by a false fascinated Lady Julia were in the form of two brilliant hum. standard ? 2ndly. Let wrong.deers see the risks mning birds whose jewelled plumage equalled if not surpassed they run! There are two pilloried in Mrs. Gaskell's the bright hues of nature. W'hilst she was conpleting her volumes, over and above those who, already expurchase a customer of a different calibre entered; this was a fall woman, attired in a rather faded silk dress, a large black posed in "Jane Eyre,” are now exposed afreshbonnet, and a double soil of black lace, which, as she lifted a very bad woman and a selfish and negligent it on entering the slop, discovered a countenance which publisher. Everybody knows who the publislier apparently had witnessed the vicissitudes of between thirty is ; the woman cannot long hide lier shame. and forty summers,
One word more :--the book, on the whole, This is certainly very curious writing, and truly shows literature and literary men and women in feminine,—not only in the lack of punctuation pleasing lights, and one trembles for its conse(which I have supplied in copying), but in the quences, (in the shape of packets of MS.) to such tone and treatment; eg., in the contempt for generous publishers as Messrs. Smitli, Elder, stingincss, and in thic reason put into Julia's mouth and Co.