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would have settled the matter. The garments which he wore with the ease of long familiarity consisted of a cricketing shirt open at the throat, a pair of flannel trousers too short for him, and a flannel coat of a color that was no color but the accidental result of several. Upon his head was a white linen hat, whose brim, innocent of starch, flapped comically over a nose that had already been a little touched by the sun. The others might be described as variants of the same disreputable type, Talbot having a small advantage in an enormous gray felt hat, designed originally perhaps for some German professor, but in our unintellectual climate long since robbed of all shape and style, of everything indeed save color and size.
"You look unmitigated ruffians," pursued Charles frankly. "All right, don't throw," he added in haste as with one consent the others began to stoop.
"Take them off then," said Talbot, in the tone of one who dictates terms.
"I'm going to," conceded the weaker party. "I'm going in again before tea." Therewith he descended the companion-ladder and disappeared within the house-boat.
"Now for the kettle," said William, and they moved on again. A little higher up the bank stood a small white bell-tent, and at its door a long trestletable was set out with a bench on either side. A rude fire-place built of bricks with an iron grid above it served for the kitchen of the expedition, and William was soon coaxing the still smouldering embers into a flame with bits of dry stick, while the others produced food and crockery from the tent and laid them out on the table.
Talbot paused, with a loaf of bread hi one hand and a pot of marmalade in the other, and spoke solemnly. "They ought to be taken away from him."
The others nodded assent, and William putting the kettle on the now crackling lire rose to his feet. "Yes,"' he said, "it's a distinct breach of the agreement, that every man should only bring his oldest clothes."
"We should have people coming here to look at him," Talbot remarked.
"That's what he wants," said the Admiral unkindly. At this moment a loud splash announced that the object of discussion had "gone in again," and presently his head was apparent in the distance as he swam strongly down stream.
Talbot put down the loaf and the marmalade and walked swiftly to the house-boat, crossed the plank that joined it to the shore, and went inside. Presently he emerged carrying a fat Gladstone bag, with which he returned. "I've got them," he said; "half-a-dozen white linen shirts, if you please, and no end of collars and ties. I've left him his flannels on his locker."
"What are you going to do with the bag?" asked William.
"Hide it," returned Talbot briefly; "I know a place." And without more ado he went off in the direction of the osier-bed, from which they had originally come.
"Got the courage of his convictions. "Justum ac tenacem propositi virum." commented the Admiral when he had gone, as he ladled tea lavishly into the pot with a tablespoon.
The kettle had been boiling some time when Talbot returned, and he found the others already at tea. He nodded in answer to their questions and sat down. "No, I shan't say where I've put it," he said; "one of you might let It out by accident. He won't notice it at first probably, because he put the things back into it before he bathed and hid the bag in the kitchen. When he does, he'll be too slack to worry much. It's lucky there are no women anywhere round here." And wi£h this unchivalrous sentiment Talbot poured himself out some tea.
"Women are not unwelcome in their proper sphere," said the Admiral, as one who concedes a point generously; "but they would be impossible for camping-out. The modern woman wants such a lot of attention, and she would insist on our shaving. That's the worst of a person like Charles, whose instinct It is to shave every day, he encourages the sex in its tyranny." The Admiral (who, by the way, was so called, not from any nautical skill above the common, but because his name was Crichton) felt his chin as he spoke; but it was still beardless. Civilization had only released him early that morning.
Presently Charles approached. He looked somewhat languid after his swim, and even though he was now in flannels struck a note of elegance that was impressive amid these surroundings. "There's a jolly weir about a quarter of a mile down," he said. "I shall have the bottom boards out of the dinghy and toboggan down it."
"Did you see Majendie?" asked William.
Charles shook his head. "He took the boat through the lock," he replied, "and he hadn't come back, while I was in the water." He ate some bread and butter meditatively. "Isn't there a place called Handcote somewhere near here?" he asked after a pause.
"Yes," said William who knew the district. "Why?"
"I know some people who live there," Charles explained, "people called Grove. There are two nice girls. I must go over and call, and we could have them out to tea."
The others exchanged a glance, and Talbot expressed the common thought, with sarcastic emphasis. "My dear Charles, we have not come down here to mix in the world of fashion and beauty. You can go and call if you
LIVING AGE. VOL. XXXV. 1818
want to, though 1 should have thought that in your crowded life you would have enjoyed a fortnight of freedom. But we are not going to entertain young ladies here, are we, Admiral?"
"Certainly not," said the person addressed, with decision.
"Oh well," conceded Charles, "it doesn't matter. I don't know them very well. Here's Majendie," he added as the noise of oars reached them.
The approaching dinghy soon touched the bank, and the man in it jumped out and fastened the painter to a stake. Then he hurried towards them. "Tea? Excellent," he said briskly, "just what I was longing for. The chub are beginning to rise in the mill-pool," be added turning to Talbot, who nodded.
"I'll have a go for them after tea," he replied. "Have you been far?"
"About a mile below the lock," said Majendie, "and a bit of the way up the back-water. There are some more people camping out there," he announced us he stirred the sugar in bis tea. . , ,-,
"House-boat?" asked William.
"No, tents, three I think; I didn't go very close. They're well up the back-water on that little promontory below the weir-pool."
"Did you see any of the men?" asked the Admiral.
Majendie adjusted his eyeglasses. "No," he said slowly, "I didn't see any of the men, but I fancy I saw some parasols."
"Saw what?" said Talbot In rather a startled tone, and the others echoed the question.
"Parasols," repeated Majendie, not Ill-pleased with the sensation he had created; "two of them, a red one and a blue one; but it doesn't follow they belonged to the tents."
Talbot shook his head gloomily. "Sure to," he said. "Where else could they come from? It's miles from the nearest habitable place, isn't it, William?"
"Miles," agreed that gentleman. "There's only the farm, and i doubt if there's such a thing as a parasol there; the vicar's a bachelor. They might have come up in a boat, except that boats never get as high as this if they've got women on board."
"Damn," observed Talbot from the middle of his train of thought.
Charles who had been listening with a kindling eye made no attempt to disguise his satisfaction. "Quite a godsend,'' he remarked. "We must get to know them and have them to tea."
"Whom? The parasols?" asked the Admiral.
"Only a pretty girl would camp out with a parasol," pursued Charles ignoring him. Then a thought struck him and his eye involuntarily wandered towards the house-boat . it was a fortunate circumstance that he had brought that suit of clothes.
"They'll be an infernal nuisance," grumbled Talbot. "How can men be expected to camp out in comfort where there are a lot of women always about?"
"They're a good distance off, that's one comfort," said William.
"And on the further bank of the back-water," Majendle put in, "so we've got two streams between us and them."
"What's a mere river to a wilful woman?" asked Talbot indignantly.
"'Under the fountains and over the waves,'" quoted the Admiral. "But, seriously, as Talbot says, it will be a real inconvenience if they come wandering about much. it is not what we had a right to expect . What did you say it was the quietest bit of river in England for?" He looked accusingly at William.
"So it used to be," was the answer. "This is the fourth time i've been here,
and i've hardly seen a soul before except the rustics."
"Pity it's got so populous in the interval," said Talbot, whose temper was evidently seriously tried by the news.
"i'll tell you what we could do," suggested Majeudie, "if they make themselves too obnoxious: we could lhove our quarters. i found a creek a mile down stream which would do very well."
"There's a better one still, about two miles up," said William after a little thought. "The river divides in two there, and it's right in the woods."
Charles felt it his duty to comment on this proposal. "That's all very well," he said persuasively, "but where are you going to get your provisions from? Butter and milk don't grow in the woods, and here we've got them at our very door, so to speak, to say nothing of drinking-water. You don't want to walk a mile and a half carrying buckets every morning."
"A lot of water you drink," said Talbot with ferocity.
"i always take water with my whiskey," returned Charles with mild dignity.
"There's a good deal in what Charles says," admitted William. "At any rate i think we had better see what happens. Things may not be so bad after all, and we don't know for certain yet that the parasols do belong to the tents." The others, inclined to ease after a hard day, agreed that hasty action would be unwise, and Charles, now that his tongue had done its work, again fixed his eyes complacently on the house-boat .
Talbot caught the look and in a measure it helped to restore him to good humor. it was a fortunate circumstance that Charles no lenger had his suit of clothes. Then he rose. "Any of you fellows want the boat?" he asked, and the others shook their heads. "Let's go and put a fly over
The Longfellow centenary, celebrated in the United States February the 27th, is a notable event from more points of view than a merely literary one. As a direct literary influence Longfellow has practically ceased to exist at the present time—that is to say. he does not influence the men who write for writers. Modern journalists, of course, have no time to read anything but ephemeral literature: they are begining to discover a better trick than the study of Addison. Still, the bare idea of Mr. Chesterton, for example, settling down at his fireside to read "The Village Blacksmith" or "The Reaper and the Angel" is a little funnier, perhaps, than the supposition that he has really read the Brontes, in whom he so glibly discovers precisely the same "abysm" (colored red or blue to taste) as he finds in Dickens, Charles the Second, Max Beerbohm. "Paradise Regained," Mr. George Shaw (we absolutely refuse to call him Bernard), Little Tich, and the Fathers of the Church. Of course, he is quite right. Our point is, that it must save him and his like a good deal of unnecessary delving into Thomas Aquinas and Longfellow. To know Little Tich is to know all, from Homer —nay, from the Megatherinm—ouwards. Yet the name of Longfellow is one to be shunned in print by a modern critic who values his reputation. The abysms—to use an unusual collocation of words—in the case of Long
fellow will hardly suggest the requisite alibi. Hardly is it possible for the most epigrammatic of moderns to approach his name, even through the most careful series of paradoxes. To the merely aesthetic critic it is impossible. On almost any page of an Arthur Paul Pater or a William Butler Maeterlinck Moore the mere name of Longfellow would be worse than a loud and prolonged fit of sneezing by a very shy man's wife at a very solemn moment in a very silent and crowded church. Yet cowards die many times before their deaths: and, assuredly, Longfellow is very like Death. No one can escape him. You may read some decadent little volume and sally forth to taste Life at a London music-hall; but it is quite on the cards that the old mole will "work 1' the earth so fast" as to greet you from the stage. Some low comedian in enormous pantaloons will advance displaying his biceps and announcing, amid roars of laughter from the congregated "lesthetes and Loudon ulghters," that "under a spreading chestnut-tree the village smithy stands." Nor does the fact that Longfellow is the standing butt for the cheaper sort of parody mean that he is ceasing to be taken seriously. "Excelsior" and "The Wreck of the Hesperus" are recited to-day by "beautiful pink children" in thousands of schoolrooms. "The Courtship of Miles Standish" is delivered at hundreds of penny
readings. Illuminated by music, ''Hiawatha" and "The Golden Legend" attract enormous audiences at the Albert Hall, whence the sorrows of Elsie and Minnehaha are sent abroad anew into thousands of homes. Moreover, Longfellow more than holds his own with any drawing-room song-writer of the day, and his work is on a very much higher level than that of the troubadour who inspired maidens and matrons with a wild desire for antennae and six legs—we mean the famous author of "I'd be a butterfly!" Longfellow is the real origin and inspiration of the sentimental and often very pretty verses about scythes, arrows, and angels (considered In relation to snow, flowers, rain, clouds, and silver linings) which are to be found in the "cosy corners" of newspapers, parish magazines, home Journals, girls' gazettes, and even some quite superior periodicals at the present day. He is the first and only authority on the exact connection between the footprints of Time and the sands of the hour-glass; and be • alone knows the real necessity for always fighting bravely "in the bivouac of life" without even that previous application to the canteen which one would suppose to be the cause of so heroic a demonstration. He has introduced Heine to the burly bosom of the British matron, who now knows ail about the sea and Its pearls. He has guided the feet of the million into the Inferno of Dante, and prepared them not only for appreciating the illustrations of Gustave Dorfi, but also for relishing the hells of the Adelphi. He is represented in an enormously large proportion of self-respecting poetic almanacs, birthday books, Yuletide cards, funeral mementos, tombstones, and Christmas crackers. Charles Baudelaire—that supreme artist in words who seems to unite the gloomiest powers of John Ford with the gorgeous coloring of Keats in his odes and the
profundity and breadth of Wordsworth in his greatest sonnets—has plagiarized from Longfellow's most famous lyric, and, in order to make a complete poem of it, has coupled his booty with another little appropriation from Gray. Mr. Kipling has used him with great effect in some of his finest work; and, in spite of this unique record, it is as much as an English critic's reputation is worth to mention his name except as a cat-call! For Longfellow—alas!—has been branded with the word which, above all others, during the last twenty years has been "defamed by every charlatan, and soiled with all Ignoble use"—the grand old name of Philistine. Still, he was born a hundred years ago, and his hold on the public to-day is greater than ever. Let us briefly examine his case. He is not, of course, a great poet, nor to be compared for a moment with Wordsworth, Tennyson, or Swinburne. Yet the gulf between him and those great names is insignificant in comparison with the abyss between him and the latter-day English decadents, from whose "Celtic" or "Symbolistic" contempt hardly the greatest names of the nineteenth century have been safe. Longfellow was not, perhaps, a great man; he was only a noble-hearted man, and a sincere man. He was not a master of technique in poetry. He Is usually too easily sutisfied with a rough sketch of what he wanted to say. He is often, consequently, mixed in his metaphors, and crude in diction. He never wrote one of those great inevitable lines, like Shakespeare's—
In cradle of the rude imperious surge,
or like Wordsworth's marvellous lines on the skylarkLeave to the nightingale her shady
wood,— A privacy of glorious light is thine.
But, then, have our modern deca