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talk was often above my comprehension, still somehow I felt happier and better, and less of an infant, when I thought over it, and tried to puzzle out the meaning; for he had a way of suggesting, not teaching; putting things into my head, and then leaving them to work out their own problems. I remember a special instance with respect to that same flower-pot and geranium. Mr. Squills, who was a bachelor, and well to do in the world, often made me little presents. Not long after the event I have narrated, he gave me one far exceeding in value those usually bestowed on children; it was a beautiful large domino-box in cut ivory, painted and gilt. This domino-box, was my delight. I was never weary of playing at dominoes with Mrs. Primmins, and I slept with the box under my pillow.
"Ah," said my father, one day when he found me ranging the ivory parallelograms in the parlor -"ah, you like that better than all your playthings, eh?"
Oh, yes, papa."
"You would be very sorry if your mamma was to throw that box out of the window, and break it for fun?" I looked beseechingly at my father and made no answer.
But, perhaps, you would be very glad," he resumed, "if suddenly one of those good fairies you read of could change the domino-box into a beautiful geranium, in a beautiful blue-and-white flower-pot, and that you could have all the pleasure of putting it on your mamma's window-sill?"
Indeed I would!" said I, half crying. "My dear boy, I believe you; but good wishes don't mend bad actions; good actions mend bad actions."
So saying, he shut the door and went out. I cannot tell you how puzzled I was to make out what my father meant by his aphorism. But I know that I played at dominoes no more that day. The next morning my father found me seated by myself, under a tree in the garden; he paused and looked at me with his grave bright eyes very steadily.
Papa," said I by the way, "there are no fairies now."
"What then, my child?"
"Why, how then can my domino-box be changed into a geranium and a blue-and-white flower-pot ?"
My dear," said my father, leaning his hand on my shoulder, "everybody who is in earnest to be good, carries two fairies about with him; one here," and he touched my heart; "and one here," and he touched my forehead.
"I don't understand, papa."
"I can wait till you do, Pisistratus. What a
My father stopped at a nursery gardener's, and, after looking over the flowers, paused before a large double geranium.
Ah, this is finer than that which your mamma was so fond of. What is the cost, sir?"
Only 7s. 6d.," said the gardener.
On entering the town, we stopped again at a china-warehouse.
"Have you a flower-pot like that I bought some months ago? Ah, here is one marked 3s. 6d. Yes, that is the price. Well, when your mamma's birthday comes again, we must buy her another. That is some months to wait. And we can wait, Master Sisty. For truth, that blooms all the year round, is better than a poor geranium; and a word that is never broken is better than a piece of delf." My head, which had drooped before, rose again; but the rush of joy at my heart almost stifled me. I have called to pay your little bill," said my father, entering the shop of one of those fancy stationers common in country towns, and who sell all kinds of pretty toys and nicknacks; “and, by the way," he added, as the smiling shopman looked over his books for the entry, "I think my little boy here can show you a much handsomer specimen of French workmanship than that workbox which you enticed Mrs. Caxton into raffling for last winter. Show your domino-box, my dear."
I produced my treasure, and the shopman was liberal in his commendations. "It is always well, my boy, to know what a thing is worth, in case one wishes to part with it. If my young gentleman gets tired of his plaything, what will you give him for it?"
Why, sir," said the shopman, "I fear we could not afford to give more than eighteen shillings for it, unless the young gentleman took some of these pretty things in exchange."
"Eighteen shillings!" said my father. "You would give that? Well, my boy, whenever you do grow tired of your box, you have my leave to sell it."
My father paid his bill and went out. I lingered behind a few moments, and joined him at the end of the street.
Papa, papa!" I cried, clapping my hands, "we can buy the geranium-we can buy the flowerpot," and I pulled a handful of silver from my pockets.
"Did I not say right?" said my father, passing his handkerchief over his eyes. "You have found the two fairies!"
Oh, how proud, how overjoyed I was when, after placing vase and flower on the window-sill, I plucked my mother by the gown, and made her follow me to the spot!
"It is his doing and his money!" said my father; "good actions have mended the bad.”
My father buttoned up his pocket.
"Shall we buy it back, Pisistratus?" asked my father.
“Oh, no, no, no! it would spoil all!" I cried, burying my face on my father's breast.
"My wife," said my father, solemnly, "this is my first lesson to our child, the sanctity and the happiness of self-sacrifice; undo not what it should teach to his dying day."
And this is the history of the broken flower-pot.
"I can't afford it to-day," said he, gently, and gets vituperative, confesses to having read all
we walked out.
manner of objectionable books, which she usually
proscribes throughout Christendom.) “I read allwas the German's pis aller in youth, his idol in that; and it 's Tristram Shandy over again. Mr. old age. We in England have no notion what a Caxton is Mr. Shandy; Uncle Roland, Uncle learned man is. It was but the other day, in Toby ; Squills is Slop; Primmins is Susanna ; three* little tracts on Ethnology, read before the the story of Pisistratus' naming copied all but British Association, we found evidences of reword for word. I really got quite frightened, and search and thought, such as we would challenge thought we were going to have the window-scene any dozen Englishmen to equal, on subjects of next." So you had, my dear madam. You seem which we English know next to nothing: and of to recollect Sterne's. We had just given you Sir these three little gems of wisdom, one was writ E. B. Lytton's, or the outcome of it-rather an ten by the Prussian ambassador, with the cares of improvement, as we take it, even according to Europe on his shoulders ; and the other two, if Grundean canons.
we understand rightly, by men under thirty years Besides, madam, do you suppose that Sir E. B. of age. We felt " very small" after the perusal Lytton did not know that he was imitating ; and of that pamphlet; and we recommend it to Sir that you, or at least your father-confessors, the E. B. Lytton, if he wishes to produce on himself reviewers, would know it too? And do you sup- the same wholesome sensation. Not that we pose he meant nothing by imitating Sterne? | Englishmen need be so unspeakably learned ; we What he meant we cannot tell, and do not greatly have to do, rather than to read. Our best scholars, care, having several other more important matters such as they are, vanish into the bar, the senate, to get setiled. But we do think that an imitation or the ministry; and from amid the turmoil of is justifiable, exactly in proportion as it is bare- active life look back on “the crooked letters" as faced. Who complains of “ The Doctor" for bor- the preludia of their callow youth, to be classed in rowing from Rabelais? He takes care to let you the same category with pocket-money and boatknow his lender, and so does Sir E. B. L. If he races. The only thing on which Englishmen ever had stolen from Sterne, as Sterne is said to have become pedants is physical science ; and we will stolen from Montaigne- -as everybody who dared venture to say, that if Mr. Caxton had possessed a for three hundred years has been stealing from shell of substantial English flesh and blood, he Rabelais, just cause the poor dear physician would have been bothering his head, not with was
“ under a cloud" for loose conduct, and Procopius and Polyænus, but with Cuvier and therefore they fancied that they should not be Lyell, Owen and Faraday; he would have blown found out— why, then he would have been a rogue, hiinself up twice a week with his own retorts ; as Sterne and others are. But when, for instance, driven Primmins dyspeptic with fiendish smells ; he was writing that pretty scene between Pisistra- carried galvanic wires through his bedroom, like tus and the Savoyard among the graves, he in- Mr. Crosse, to the perpetual terror of Mrs. Caxton ; tended you to
see that he could out-write the known the taste of every inch of soil for miles Sentimental Journey, as he has done. Surely, if round, like the Dean of Westminster ; and earned a man may write ludicrous parodies, which are the reputation of a wizard from the country-people. worse than their antitypes, why not serious ones, As he stands, he is an exotic—a clothes-horse, which are better?
we are afraid, whereon Sir E. B. L. may display We don't deny that we have our own private certain rags of his own learning. protest to put in against this imitation of Sterne ; Rags? That is a hard word. But it was not but, as we said at the beginning of our review, if used merely for the sake of carrying out the figure. we grumble, Mrs. Grundy shan't. We ourselves in the first place, we hope, and are bound to cannot help thinking, that while Sir E. B. L. believe, that the learning of The Cartons are only was copying Sterne, he should not have copied the rags of Sir E. B. Lytton's reading—mere him in the character of Mr. Caxton. Whether shreds and tatters, road-sides and waste-corners, there were such men in Sterne's time or not, there compared with the vast continuous fields of science are none such now in England. Mr. C. is cer- and history which lie still behind in his intellectainly a far higher type of man than Mr. Shan-tual manors :--that is complimentary enough, we dy—a wise, noble-hearted gentleman, quiet and hope ! In the next plaee, there is something strong, lovable and admirable, profitable for these ragged, in a less complimentary sense, about The or any times.
But-but-"Non extat”-“Non Caxton quotations. “ He has been at the feast est istwentus," as Mr. Lively says, in somewhat of learning, and brought away the scraps." Bulwerean Latin. If ever he inhabited England, Doubtless Sir E. B. L. has read extensively, and he has become extinct, and retreated, like the digested more or less ; of which latter process spoonbill, to the interior of Germany. We do not there are more hopeful symptoms in the present breed pedants, or scholars either. Mr. Caxton is novel than in any former one, though Night and bona fide a German ideal, even to his contempla- Morning certainly showed signs of greater tive placidity-not an English one at all. Such pepsia." But in Harold, on the contrary, one men, we hear, do exist, and very noble specimens of the very latest, the indigestion was truly of them too, across the Rhine. They have time piteous. The author had, by his own confession to become book-eaters—they were forced to become such. Till the last year Germany offered
* Three Linguistic Dissertations. By Chevalier Bun.
sen, Dr. C. Meyer, and Dr. Max. Müller. 1848. Tay. no field in political or practical life. Learning ) lor, Fleet street.
There is no doubt, as we said before, that Sir E. B. Lytton is an extensive reader, and a vigorous and comprehensive thinker. But yet we do not like the general style of his quotations: they are dragged in ostentatiously, in great lumps and patches-too like the quotations in The Doctor; and what was allowable in a serio-comic cento like that book, is by no means so in a regularly plotted novel like The Caxtons. The erudition of the true scholar is assimilated to himself; it saturates, as it were, all his utterances, not merely running through them here and there as veins of
bined element, omnipresent yet invisible, only to be detected by analysis. The most learned man will, after all, be the simplest writer. He will make his reader feel the power, not see the glitter, of his treasures.
in the preface, been overgorging himself with Anglo-Saxon at some hospitable country-house; and then, without giving the crude elements time to get eliminated, or assimilated, or anything else, but mechanically bolted down, Harold was forthwith written off, and the Anglo-Saxon "egested," just as it had been swallowed, wighs, and thegns, and weregelds, and mancuses, and all, very much as the bird of Minerva casts sparrows' bones and field-mice, fur. There is one comfort-Sir E. B. L. must have felt so much better after it!"" And yet the Anglo-Saxon scholars say the book is full of mistakes! So many hard words-ore through rock, but like some chemically comand yet not right after all! Was it remorse for that frightful intellectual crapula which first inspired Sir E. B. L. with the notion of making The Caxtons' moral turn on the dangers of impatience? Yet of Harold, now that we are on it, we will say, that it was thoroughly worth reading. With How different the learning of Richter!-in more thought and less haste, it might have been many of whose works, page after page, you shall made a very valuable historical novel. Even in hardly find a sentence which does not give proof its present crude state, it gives a better account of his enormous information, coloring every of the causes which led to the Norman conquest thought at the bidding of a fancy unequalled, than any book we know—a brilliant dramatic perhaps, in analogic and suggestive fertility, picture of the way in which the sluggish property- except by Shakspeare and Rabelais. Why any worshipping Anglo-Saxon race was gradually man should imitate Sterne's method of quoting, exploité by the crafty and (strange as the asser- while Rabelais and Jean Paul exist, we cannot tion may appear) more democratic Norseman. conceive it is deliberately to give up the higher We recommend the book honestly to all light model for the lower one. readers, as a pleasant and lively page out of the philosophy of history, warning them, at the same time, that we consider it just the nastiest of all Sir E. B. L.'s books.
But we must return to learning and The Caxtons, especially as the Grundean taste by no means sympathizes in our disgust.
It is painful to have to say it, but we do not altogether share in that lady's admiration of Mr. Caxton's erudition. In the first place, he quotes suspiciously often from the same books as Mr. Shandy, and suspiciously often, too, from the same books as the author of The Anatomy of Melancholy. No doubt Sir E. B. L. has as good a right to the said books as either of those worthies; and no doubt, also, he has read a great many books beside Sterne and Burton, and meditated on them also, not altogether carelessly. We see traces of Jean Paul among other writers in The Caxtons; one passage especially, in the first volume, was quite worthy of a place among the lighter fancies of Levana.
But it is still more puzzling-and really the author, if he be guiltless, should justify himself in a fresh edition-to find, if not misquotations, still misspellings manifold of classic words. We take the correctness of his quotations for granted. We really have no time to verify extracts from Dummkopfius de Caudis Porcorum; we never saw Cardan, or wish to do so. But in the matter of spelling, if a man quotes Latin and Greek, let him quote it right, in the name of all reason. The benighted printer may be at fault-we have a hope that such is the case, because we found Ceprinidians" spelt rightly in another place, "Cyprinidians;" but the word is Cyprinidæ ; and how "idians" can be got out of "idæ," we do not see-" idæans," we should have written in the schools;" but that was a long time ago, and we may be wrong. Surely, too, the correction of proofs is a thing not impossible for Sir E. B. L. Why, then, does Mr. Caxton commit two barbarisms in one unnecessary scrap of Greek? —σε και ανθρωποφάγειν ! Who ever heard of But, alas! as his school increased in numbers, he do? We actually, unable to believe that an had proportionately recanted these honorable and absolute barbarism could have been committed, anti-birchen ideas. He had reluctantly, perhapshonestly, no doubt, but with full determination hunted Liddell and Scott, in hopes of finding the -come to the conclusion, that there are secret word after all; but no, non est ibi, as Sir E. B. L. springs which can only be detected by the twigs might say, for 't is n't there. And again in of the divining rod; and having discovered with Lucretia, Maxima reverentia, debet (debetur, we what comparative ease the whole mechanism of his opine) liberis! A misprint? Why, a scholar little government could be carried on by admission ought to have seen such a monster a mile off, of the birch-regulator, so, as he grew richer, and through the back of the page, as he ought also to `lazier, and fatter, the Philhellenic Institute spun along as glibly as a top kept in vivacious move- have seen a certain abomination which we found ment by the perpetual application of the lash.-in Lucretia (if we recollect rightly) the other day, Vol. i., p. 49. omphalos gaia!"-gaie? gaias, gas, gees, geese,
if y'u will, Sir E. B. L., but never that bar- things?" Oh, carnal-minded Grundy! the quesbar rus Greek-Latin hybrid! Why, too, are we tion is not what he would have said then, but what to hear that Vivian had “ of imagination not a he would say now. He did what seemed right to scintilla ? " " A spark of imagination," is good him according to those times; you, if you wish novel-English enough. Is scintilla to mean any really to honor him, must imitate, not his actions, thing but that? If so, we ought to have had but his spirit. In filial obedience, like everything news thereof; as it is, the reader is left to sup- else, "the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” pose that the metaphor is one originally borrowed Who really honors his Norman ancestors bestfrom the Latin—which it is not. “ A spark of our Carlisles, and Fortescues, and Ellesmeres ; or rebellion," wrath,” and such-like, is a classic the gentleman who resolutely plants himself waistexpression, the root-idea of something which will deep in the mud, and, refusing to move on, shrieks kindle a fire being carefully preserved ; but con- about “ ancestral rights” and “time-honored inceive Cicero indulging in such slip-slop as a stitutions ?" The oldest was new once. Your spark of imagination !”
William the Conquerors, Anselms, Magna Charta And all this ostentation of questionable classics Barons, Crusaders, Franciscans—what were they and second-hand Shandeeism is utterly unnecessary. but reformers ?-creators ? Read history and see. The book gains nothing by it. The second and The true spiritual children of the old Norsementhird volumes, as Sir E. B. L. condescends to be are they the Sir liles St. Johns, the Sedley Beaucome himself once more, and write as he only can Deserts, even the Roland Caxtons ?—the men who write, are excellent. Here and there still linger consider that their ancestors having done something, classical analogies and similes, generally hackneyed, is the very reason for their doing nothing ? Not often far-fetched, dragged in where Thackeray or they, but rather the Trevanions, the Pisistratus Dickens would have had a dozen better ones drawn Caxtons, who keep up the good old name, not by from modern sources. Why will men try to be sitting at home and Coningsbyizing, or weeping what they are not ? Why will not Sir E. B. L. over the bier of unreturning abuses, but by emigratcontent himself with weaving the most charming ing to Australia in search of capital, and bringing plots in the most charming English ; rather too it home to drain and till the old ancestral moors in surgary now and then, but still charming, with a the light and the spirit of the great New Time. perpetual variety of incident, motive, character, They are the men in whom the Norse blood comes knowledge of society and men, which never allows out, and they only. Take your pedigrees away, the attention to flag a moment? Why will he not lord duke! If you are a son of the vikings, be content to do that, instead of trying to be what prove it by daring, thrift, endurance, chivalry like he never will be, a great scholar, much less a theirs. “ Replenish the earth and subdue it!” great philosopher ?
For the children of Woden The Mover, the only
watch word is, “ Forwards !”
And Uncle Jack-glorious Uncle Jack ! Ear
nest, frivolous, practical, visionary, clever, insane And yet we live in glass-houses, Mrs. Grundy; Uncle Jack, never truly benevolent till you become we must throw no stones. What more common thoroughly selfish, honest-hearted as a chrisom than to see men throwing away the powers they child, and yet an abominable rogue-truly you are have in the vain attempt to shine where they were “ a man of the time!" Where have we seen such never meant to shine?
a character in print since Smollett and Fielding? Trouver son métier is the arch-problem, after You are living, personal, ideal. We have met all.
you in the streets a hundred times—not all of you, Uncle Roland is a noble character ; the imper- but scraps and bits of you, parcelled out into souls sonation of the old idea of family honor. The for fifty different human bodies. Like all true same idea is the ruling one of Sir Miles St. John ideals, the parts of you may be met anywhere, the in Lucretia, and a wonderful living sketch he is. whole of you nowhere. As somebody drew the But Roland rises higher than Sir Miles. He is Venus of somewhere from the combined beauties not the mere conservatist ; he is willing to go of five maidens, so Sir E. B. Lytton has drawn ahead ; to earn, as well as to preserve, honor for you from the combined beauties of fifty and five his race, though he sees no higher means of doing English speculators. it than the sword. He is, as he should be, a man But, alas! there is too little of you—you are, of the last generation ; Pisistratus, a man of the " like angels' visits, few and far between.” Had present. The age of the sword is not past, let such a hack-writer as Boz is become stumbled on Mr. Cobden say what he will. But men are you, he would have turned you into a stock charlearning that the triumphs of the producer are no- acter, made play with you through a dozen chapters bler than those of the destroyer, or even the con- of Dutch painting; as it is, you are soon found, servator. So it should be. We honor the true and soon, soon lost.” But still, little of you as pride of family, the sense of a debt owed to “the we see, you are consistent, self-developing, through good old name, as much as Mrs. Grundy herself. one glorious bubble after another, from the first We will say, “ Woe to the man who is not ashamed apple-orchard El Dorado down to the last exquisite to be less than his ancestors !” But we will not scene in Australia, which we must quote-for it make our canon of all right and wrong, " What is, as it were, your moral as well as pecuniary would my poor dear grandfather have said to such 'apotheosis :
Uncle Jack. Your mind's made up? Pisistratus. And my place in the ship taken. U. J. Then there's no more to be said (Hums, haws, and examines his nails. Then suddenly, and jerking up his head). That capitalist! It has been on my conscience, nephew, ever since; and, somehow or other, since I have abandoned the cause of my fellow-creatures, I think I have cared more for my relations.
Pisistratus (smiling, as he remembers his father's shrewd predictions thereon). Naturally, my dear uncle. Any child who throws a stone into a pond knows that a circle disappears as it widens.
his culmination, or his regeneration? We nave good hope that they are a sign of the latter. More than one of his later works has been announced as his last words. We look anxiously and yet hopefully for "more last words." his own sake we look for them. The man himself is a problem, for which we long for the solution. Here is an English gentleman who for twenty years has set himself, through evil report and good report, to face the questions of society as it exists-who has brought to the task a remarkU. J. Very true. I shall make a note on that, able knowledge of human nature, and of the rules applicable to my next speech in defence of what and means of art-a brilliant dramatic faculty, an they call the land monopoly." Thank you-inductive power, such as falls to the lot of not one stone-circle (jots down in his pocket-book). But, in a hundred, and an extraordinarily varied and to return to the point, I am well off now. I have elegant, though perhaps somewhat shallow, culneither wife nor child, and I feel that I ought to ture. With reverent self-restraint and accurate bear my share in your father's loss: it was our joint speculation. And your father, good dear thought, the man who could write Ernest MalAustin, paid my debts into the bargain! And how travers-above all, who could draw two such cheering the punch was that night, when your characters as Lumley Ferrers and Templeton the mother wanted to scold poor Jack! And the 3007. banker-might well have been expected to do Austin lent me when I left him : nephew, that was hereafter anything he liked. And yet, from a the re-making of me-the acorn of the oak I have hasty, shallow, inaccurate tone of thought, from a transplanted. So here they are (added Uncle Jack, fondness for the mere picturesque of theatrical with an heroical effort; and he extracted from the pocket-book bills to the amount of between three and slip-slop, and a morbidity of mind, the causes of four thousand pounds.) There, it is done, and I which a reviewer has a right to divine, but not to shall sleep better for it! suggest, the man has as yet done almost nothing; many people think worse than nothing. Though his influence is observable throughout all schools of modern novel-writers, yet it is an influence almost entirely confined to manner.
With that Uncle Jack got up, and bolted out of
Pisistratus has just time to make up his mind that he ought to take the money, when Uncle Jack pops his head into the room again.
"And, you see, you can double that money if you will just leave it in my hands for a couple of years -you have no notion what I shall make of the Tibbet's Wheal! Did I tell you? The German was quite right-I have been offered already seven times the sum which I gave for the land. But I am now looking out for a Company: let me put you down for shares to the amount at least of those trumpery bills. Cent per cent.-I guarantee cent per cent.! (And Uncle Jack stretches out those famous smooth hands of his, with a tremulous motion of the ten eloquent fingers.)
He has not
helped to make his pupils one whit wiser, more earnest, more thoughtful, than the old Minervapress twaddlers were. That they are more earnest and thoughtful is not owing to him. That improvement they derive from the general spirit of the age, while from him, we are afraid, they have derived the habit of expressing that earnestness and thoughtfulness only in washy and somewhat insincere blague. The truth is, Sir E. B. Lytton is not leading the novel-writers of the age, because he is behind the age himself. He has been talk
Pisistratus. Ah, my dear uncle, if you repenting about the great problems of the day, without U. J. Repent! when I offer you cent per cent. on my personal guarantee!
having had courage to sound and solve them. He has been dallying with an extinct, not to say imPisistratus (carefully putting the bills into his possible, ideal of humanity—a self-sustained, selfbreast coat-pocket). Then, if don't you repent, my dear uncle, allow me to shake you by the hand, and glorifying, hot-house-bred, flunkey, "Sedley-Beausay that I will not consent to lessen my esteem and Desert," ideal-such as this age will not and shall admiration for the high principle which prompts not endure. He has talked Radicalism and progthis restitution by confounding it with trading as-ress, while he has been at heart the veriest exsociations, of loans, interests, and copper-mines. clusive aristocrat. He has worshipped an aristooAnd you see, since this sum is paid to my father, I have no right to invest it without his permission. U. J. (with emotion). "Esteem, admiration, high principle!"—these are pleasant words from you, nephew. (Then shaking his head, and smiling.) You sly dog! you are quite right: get the bills cashed at once. And, hark ye, sir, just keep out of my way, will you? and don't let me coax you out of a farthing. (Uncle Jack slams the door and rushes out. Pisistratus draws the bills warily from his pocket, &c. &c.)
And now comes the final question, What are we to expect henceforth from Sir E. B. Lytton? Are The Cartons to be considered as his termination,
racy of culture, which would be just as tyrannous, if it got the upper hand, as any aristocracy of wealth or caste. Il a jambe de marquis, as the French say. Throughout The Cartons there runs an under-current of reactionary epicureanism, to us simply damnable. What is to become of this man?
Surely, surely, there is more in him than he has He must write again, more slowly, yet shown. more reverently, and in the fear of God. As for giving him detailed advice-before we advise we must understand; he is at once too large and too confused an object for our comprehension. But of