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four years of faithful friendship through the records of simple journeyings taken thick and thin."
as the guide and leader of such enthuMrs. Craik's marriage took place in siastic and cheerful groups. She was 1865, and rendered her completely surrounded by her bevy of maidens in happy. It was the fashion of our Cornwall, in the house-boat on the generation - a fashion perhaps not Thames in which so many pleasant without drawbacks, though we have days were passed, and still more lately been unanimous in it—that whatever in Ireland, where the gentle company our work for the public might be, our travelled, like a mother with her own homes and personal lives were to daughters. On the occasion to which be strictly and jealously private, and I have referred, my last meeting with our pride to consist, not in our lite her in the Lake country, she and her rary reputation, which was a thing husband had the unfailing attendance apart, but in the household duties of two of these voluntary maids of and domestic occupations which are honour. the rule of life for most women. During these latter years she has Perhaps there was a little innocent not written very much, not at least affectation in this studious avoid with the constant strain of some of ance of all publicity. It is not the her contemporaries whose lot has fallen weakness of this day; but we who are in less pleasant places, but yet has now the seniors still prefer it to the never relinquished the labour she banal confidences now so often made to loved. In earlier days she received public curiosity in newspapers and from the Queen that only mark of elsewhere. No such invasion of public approval which is possible to her privacy was ever permitted by the professors of literature—a small Mrs. Craik. Her life became larger pension, about which there is a little and fuller after her marriage, as was explanation to make. It has been meet and natural. The days of the remarked by at least one ungracious little houses at Camden Town commentator that the pension granted Hampstead were over; but not the to Miss Mulock was unsuitable, being friends, who moved with her wherever quite unnecessary, to Mrs. Craik. For she moved, always surrounding her
my own part I should think it needwith faithful admiration and regard. less to reply to this, for the reason Not even the closer ties of a home in above said, that it is according to our which she filled the place of wife and traditions the only recognition ever mother disturbed these earlier bonds. given to a writer. But I am asked to She became known in her own locality say that though Mrs. Craik, when her as a new centre of pleasant society and husband suggested the relinquishment life, always hospitable, kind, full of of this small pension, preferred to schemes to give pleasure to the young retain it for this and other reasonspeople who were her perennial in it was, from the period of her marterest, and always fondly attached to riage, religiously set aside for those the old who had been the companions in her own walk of literature who of her life. Her interest in youth no needed it more than herself. Her doubt blossomed all the more in the Majesty has no star or order with much-cared for development of her which to decorate the writers she Dorothy, the adopted daughter on approves. It is the only symbol by whom she lavished the abundance which it may be divined that literature of her heart; but the instinct was is of any value in the eyes of the always strong in her, making her State. the natural confidant, adviser, patron
There remains little more to say, saint of girls, from the time when she unless indeed I were at liberty to was little older than her devotees. enter much more fully into a beautiful Her more recent writings have been and harmonious life. For some time
past Mrs. Craik had been subject to cheerful home, the sight of the doctor's attacks, not sufficient to alarm her carriage at the door, and the coachfamily, who had been accustomed to man's incautious explanation that the habitual delicacy of health, which “the lady was dying," were the only was yet combined with much elasticity preparations he had for the great and of constitution and power of shaking solemn event which had already taken off complaints even when they seemed place. He found her in her own more serious. Her medical advisers room, lying on her sofa, with an awehad enjoined a great deal of rest, with stricken group standing round-dead. which the pleasant cares of an approach She had entertained various visitors ing marriage in the family, and all in the afternoon. Some time after the necessary arrangements to make they were gone, she had rung her bell, the outset of her adopted daughter in saying she felt ill: the servants alarmed life as bright and delightful as possi- called for assistance, and she was laid ble, considerably interfered. In one upon the sofa. A few minutes' struggle attack of breathlessness and faintness for breath, a murmur, “Oh, if I could some short time before, she had mur live four weeks longer: but no mattermured forth an entreaty that the no matter !” and all was over. Thus marriage should not be delayed by she died as she had lived-her last anything that could happen to her. thought for others, for the bride But even this did not frighten the whose festival day must be overfond and cheerful circle, which was used shadowed by so heavy a cloud, yet to nothing but happiness. On the of content and acquiescence in whatmorning of the twelfth of October, her ever the supreme Arbiter of events husband, before going off to his busi thought right. An ideal ending such ness, took a loving leave of her, almost as God grant us all, when our day more loving than his wont, though without any presentiment,--provoking Her fame may well be left to the a laughing remark from their daughter, decision of posterity, which takes so to which Mrs. Craik answered that little thought of contemporary judgthough so long married, they were ments. It is for us the sweet and still lovers. These were the last spotless fame of a good and pure words he heard from her lips, and no woman full of all tenderness and man could have a more sweet assurance kindness, very loving and much beof the happiness his tender care had loved. The angels of God could not procured. When he came home cheer
have more. fully in the afternoon to his always
M. O. W. O.
THE LIFE OF EMERSON.1
MR. Elliot Cabot has made a very from the moral complexion of his interesting contribution to a class of subject, but mainly from the vacancy books of which our literature, more of the page itself. That of Emerson's than any other, offers admirable ex personal history is condensed into the amples : he has given us a biography single word Concord, and all the conintelligently and carefully composed. densation in the world will not make These two volumes are a model of it look rich. It presents a most unresponsible editing-I use that term broken surface. Mr. Matthew Arnold, because they consist largely of letters in his Discourses in America, contests and extracts from letters : nothing Emerson's complete right to the title could resemble less the manner in of a man of letters; yet letters surely which the mere bookmaker strings were the very texture of bis history. together his frequently questionable Passions, alternations, affairs, advenpearls and shovels the heap into the tures, had absolutely no part in it. presence of the public. Mr. Cabot It stretched itself out in enviable has selected, compared, discriminat quiet-a quiet in which we hear the ed, steered an even course between jotting of the pencil in the note-book. meagreness and redundancy, and man It is the very life for literature (I aged to be constantly and happily mean for one's own, not that of illustrative. And his work moreover another) : fifty years of residence in strikes us as the better done, from the home of one's forefathers, perthe fact that it stands for one of the vaded by reading, by walking in the two things that make an absorbing woods, and the daily addition of memoir a good deal more than for sentence to sentence. the other. If these two things be If the interest of Mr. Cabot's penthe conscience of the writer and the cilled portrait is incontestable, and career of his hero, it is not difficult yet does not spring from variety, it to see on which side the biographer of owes nothing either to a source from Emerson has found himself strongest. which it might have borrowed much, Ralph Waldo Emerson was a man of and which it is impossible not to regret genius, but he led, for nearly eighty a little that he has so completely years, a life in which the sequence of neglected : I mean a greater reference events had little of the rapidity, or to the social conditions in which the complexity, that a spectator loves. Emerson moved, the company he lived There is something we miss very much in, the moral air he breathed. If his as we turn these pages-something biographer had allowed himself a little that has a kind of accidental, inevit more of the ironic touch, had put himable presence in almost any personal self, once in a way, under the prorecord-something that may be most tection of Sainte-Beuve, and had definitely indicated under the name of attempted something of a general colour. We lay down the book with picture, we should have felt that he a singular impression of paleness-an only went with the occasion. I may impression that comes partly from the overestimate the latent treasures of tone of the biographer, and partly the field, but it seems to me there was 1 A Memoir of Ralph Waldo Emerson ; by
distinctly an opportunity-an opporJames Elliot Cabot. Two volumes : London,
portunity to make up moreover, in 1887.
some degree, for the white tint of
Emerson's career considered simply in and clerical in the Puritan sense. itself. We know a man imperfectly His ancestors had lived long (for until we know his society, and we but nearly two centuries) in the same half know a society until we know its corner of New England, and during manners. This is especially true of a that period had preached and studied man of letters, for manners lie very and prayed and practised. It is imclose to literature. From those of the possible to imagine a spirit better New England world in which Emer prepared in advance to be exactly son's character formed itself, Mr. what it was-better educated for its Cabot almost averts his lantern, office in its far-away unconscious bethough we feel sure that there would ginnings. There is an inner satisfachave been delightful glimpses to be tion in seeing so straight, although so had and that he would have been in patient, a connection between the a position that is, that he has all
stem and the flower, and such the knowledge that would enable him proof that when life wishes to produce —to help us to them. It is as if he something exquisite in quality she could not trust himself, knowing the takes her measures many years in subject only too well. This adds to advance. A conscience like Emerthe effect of extreme discretion that son's could not have been turned off, we find in his volumes, but it is the as it were, from one generation to cause of our not finding certain things, another: a succession of attempts, certain figures and scenes, evoked. a long process of refining, was What is evoked is Emerson's pure quired. His perfection, in his own spirit, by a copious, sifted series of
line, comes largely from the non-intercitations and comments. But we must ruption of the process. read as much as possible between the As most of us are made up of illlines, and the picture of the trans assorted pieces, his reader (and Mr. cendental time (to mention simply one Cabot's) envies him this transmitted corner) has yet to be painted--the lines unity, in which there was no mutual have yet to be bitten in. Meanwhile hustling or crowding of elements. It we are held and charmed by the image must have been a kind of luxury to of Emerson's mind, and the extreme be—that is to feel so homogeneous, appeal which his physiognomy makes and it helps to account for his serenity, to our powers of discrimination. It is his power of acceptance, and that so fair, so uniform and impersonal, that absence of personal passion which its features are simply fine shades, the makes his private correspondence read gradations of tone of a surface whose like a series of beautiful circulars or proper quality was of the smoothest
expanded cards pour prendre congé. and on which nothing was reflected He had the equanimity of a result: with violence. It is a pleasure of Nature had taken care of him, and he the critical sense to find, with Mr. had only to speak. He accepted himCabot's extremely intelligent help, a self as he accepted others, accepted notation for such delicacies.
everything; and his absence of eagerWe seem to see the circumstances ness, or in other words, his modesty, of our author's origin, immediate and was that of a man with whom it is remote, in a kind of high, vertical not a question of success, who has moral light, the brightness of a society nothing invested or at stake. The at once very simple and very respon investment, the stake, was that of the sible. The rare singleness that was in race, of all the past Emersons and his nature (so that he was all the Bulkeleys and Waldos. There is warning moral voice, without dis much that makes us smile, to-day, in traction or counter-solicitation), was the commotion produced by his secesalso in the stock he sprang from, sion from the mild Unitarian pulpit : clerical for generations, on both sides, we wonder at a condition of opinion in
which any utterance of his should least, the things of the mind did get appear to be wanting in superior piety themselves admirably well considered. -in the essence of good instruction. If it be his great distinction and his All that is changed: the great differ- special sign that he had a more vivid ence has become the infinitely small, conception of the moral life than any and we admire a state of society in one else, it is probably not fanciful which scandal and schism took on no to say that he owed it in part to the darker hue; but there is even yet limited way in which he saw a sort of drollery in the spectacle of capacity for living illustrated. The a body of people among whom the plain God-fearing, practical society author of The American Scholar and which surrounded him was not fertile of the Address of 1838 at the Harvard in variations: it had great intelliDivinity College passed for profane, gence and energy, but it moved altoand who failed to see that he only gether in the straightforward direction. gave his plea for the spiritual life On three occasions later--three jourthe advantage of a brilliant
expres neys to Europe-he was introduced to sion. They were so provincial as to a more complicated world; but bis think that brilliancy came ill-recom spirit, his moral taste, as it were, mended, and they were shocked at abode always within the undecorated his ceasing to care for the prayer and walls of his youth. There he could the sermon. They might have per dwell with that ripe unconsciousness ceived that he was the prayer and the of evil which is one of the most sermon : not in the least a secularizer, beautiful signs by which we know but, in his own subtle, insinuating way, him. His early writings are full of a sanctifier.
quaint animadversion upon the vices Of the three periods into which his of the place and time, but there is life divides itself, the first was (as in something charmingly rague, light the case of most men) that of move and general in the arraignment. ment, experiment and selection—that Almost the worst he can say is that of effort, ton, and painful probation. these vices are negative and that his Emerson had his message, but he was fellow-townsmen are not heroic. We a good while looking for his form feel that his first impressions were the form which, as he himself would gathered in a community from which have said, he never completely found, misery and extravagance, and either and of which it was rather charac extreme, of any sort, were equally teristic of him that his later years absent. What the life of New Eng(with their growing refusal to give land fifty years ago offered to the obhim the word), wishing to attack him server was the common lot, in a kind in his most vulnerable point where of achromatic picture, without partihis tenure was least complete, had in cular intensifications. It was from this some degree the effect of despoiling table of the usual, the merely typical, him.
It all sounds rather bare and joys and sorrows, that he proceeded to stern, Mr. Cabot's account of his generalise—a fact that accounts in youth and early manhood, and we get some degree for a certain inadequacy an impression of a terrible paucity of and thinness in his enumerations. But alternatives. If he would be neither a it helps to account also for his direct, farmer nor a trader he could “ teach intimate vision of the soul itself-not school ;” that was the main resource, in its emotions, its contortions and and a part of the general educative perversions, but in its passive, exposed, process, of the young New Englander yet healthy form. He knows the who proposed to devote himself to the nature of man and the long tradition things of the mind. There was an of its dangers; but we feel that advantage in the nudity, however, whereas he can put his finger on the which was that, in Emerson's case at remedies, lying for the most part, as