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difficulty in realizing that he was him- stinctively cuddling his chin into the self intimately connected with it; stock in search of an easy position. somehow he felt something of the “Deux !" He glanced along the dully aloofness of a mere spectator, .un- glinting barrel, and saw at an enorthrilled by excitement, though all the mous distance, so it seemed, a shining while he was conscious of the fact that silver ring suspended in mid-air, enhe was in the grip of a mortal fear. circling a spot of inky blackness. The
His perceptions were sharpened won- ring danced this way and that, up and derfully. Every Object within view down and from side to side, in a man. was seen with a distinctness of detail ner which made Stevenson dizzy to which was abnormal, and each one of watch. The big bruised face of the them seemed to possess a peculiar and German, contorted by spasms, leered insistent interest for him. He noted above it with wide open jaw, as thougb every stain on the canvas fatigue-kit he were trying to catch that circle of of his enemy, and caught himself won- metal in his teeth. dering how and by what each one of “Trois !” What immense pauses octhem had been caused; he spied a curred between each word! The ring mole with coarse hairs sprouting from was revolving madly now, whirling it on the man's left cheek, and mar- round and round and shooting forth velled that the man did not pluck long rays of light of all the colors of them out instead of leaving such un- the prism, and in that whirling auresightly things to offend the eye; and ola the face of the German was seen then he noticed, this time with a shock monstrous and grimacing, and sudof astonishment, that the fellow's denly grey beneath the purple patches hands were shaking. Till then Steven- of bruise. Stevenson, in a condition son, inconsequently enough, bad felt bordering on a hypnotic trance, kept convinced that he alone was afraid: his eyes fixed upon that wheel of blaznow it occurred to him suddenly that ing flames, the core of which was the the German was in no better case. tiny silver circle, and almost lost the The discovery elated him in an ex- sense of his own identity. He seemed traordinary fashion. At once he cocked to be floating in space, drawn irresisthis head, threw back his shoulders, ibly towards that point of dazzling and tried to smile. Regarded as a light, while something throbbed and smile it was a deplorable failure, for pulsed, like the engine of a motor-car, the muscles of his face were very stiff filling the world with a great din. It in the sockets, but in the circum- was the sound of his own heart-beats stances it was not discreditable, and it that deafened him. obviously discomposed the German. “Feu!"
"Etes-vous prêts ?" rasped out the At last the long torture was ended, voice of the non-commissioned officer. the supreme moment had come. Yet Stevenson, made aware suddenly of for an instant nothing happened. Then the intense preoccupation in which he the heavens rocked to the roar of a had been sunk,
started violently, mighty detonation. Stevenson heard nearly dropping his rifle, as he mum- something scream in his ear, and felt bled an unintelligible assent. The, a cold breath upon his cheek. He had German jerked a sound out of himself, shut his eyes, and dropped his finger half pant, half grunt.
from the trigger. Now he opened “Un!” cried the voice again. The them, and dropped his rifle to the men raised their rifles to their shoul- ready. He looked for the German, and ders, and Stevenson found himself in- for a minute failed to find him. The silver ring with its circle of gyrating opened the breech and jerked the loadflames had vanished. A fat ungainly ed cartridge on to the grass at his feet. figure was kneeling on the ground "And that was the end of my duel shouting for mercy, its useless rifle with the German in the Legion of thrown aside.
Strangers, sir,” he said to me. “And Then at last Stevenson arrived at an though we were neither of us hurt, I understanding of what had happened. had had more than I wanted. I deThe German had fired and had missed serted soon after, and gave myself up bis aim. He was now completely at to my old Battery, and my major the mercy of the Englishman. For the treated me real well, so I'm like to get life of him Stevenson, his calm and my stripes before long. You take it his self-confidence miraculously re- from me, sir, there are worse places stored, could not forbear to raise his than a barrack-room of the British rifle, and take deliberate aim at the Army. I don't hold with having too squirming wretch before him. But much truck with foreigners, a man the agony which he caused made him don't know where to have 'em, not convict himself of brutality, and he after what I have gone through in presently dropped his rifle to the carry, 'The Legion of Strangers'!"
Hugh Clifford, C.M.G. Temple Bar.
JANE AUSTEN’S NOVELS.
Miss Austen's fame is great, her Are there any two qualities more enadorers are many. It is three-quarters tirely lacking to Miss Austen? She of a century since she died, and still was essentially human, with a graceful the incense hides the altar. The dev- realism; wholly ladylike and reserved otees,
numerous with every in her treatment of life; a patient and year that passes by, stand round with accurate observer of what facts lay drawn swords and compel our hom- around her in one iny circle. She age. Fifty years ago Lord Macaulay a stranger to the Alps and torrents of acclaimed her “Shakespearean," it is Shakespearean English. In Miss Ausbut the other day that Mr. Howells ten's landscape there are pleasant called her “divine.” The generous en- grass plots, well trimmed lawns, and thusiasm of Macaulay compels us to neatly planned hedgerows. There are listen to all that he says. As for Mr. no acclivities
more alarming than Howells, it must be admitted that The those which our grandmothers were Rise of Silas Lapham is as good work wont to tend as "rockeries." Exteras the best of Jane Austen's. So that nals count for much with her. The when a great master accords divine rush and riot of Shakespearean life, honors to an authoress (sprung from a its tumultous passious, its hell-black race that he cordially despises) we tragedies, and its glimpses of heavens must perforce take note of his esti- undreamed of—I do protest that all mate.
these things would be vastly improper But really: Shakespearean? Divine? in Miss Austen's world, 1 In "Cuticism and Fiction."
What was Miss Austen's world? Take the world of to-day and elimi. corner of the world of to-day Miss nate Japan; eliminate China and the Austeu's characters lived and moved South Seas—all Asia, in fact, except and had their being. What were India. In Europe eliminate every- Miss Austen's characters? The anthing except France. For purposes of swer is easy-they were ladies and polite conversation you may include gentlemen. She herself was a lady, the Rbine. If you have been to and she wrote like a lady. She saw Vienna you have travelled. Berlin nothing that a lady might not see; she was a provincial town; there was heard nothing that a lady might not nothing to see in Russia except the hear; she recorded nothing that a lady Court and the British Embassy. The might not record. There are little unchief wonder about Russia was wbeth- conscious touches here and there that er the traditions of Peter the Great show how charmingly and winningly would be strong enough to enable the ignorant she was of what was really Czar to hold together his hordes of going on around her. These add a barbarians long enough for them to zest to what she actually records, for become a nation. Europe, then, con- we may be sure that she wrote of sisted of France (the home of the most nothing that she could not treat with dangerous principles and the most knowledge. There are no attempts to abominable innovations) and England describe, from hearsay, debaucheries (called by Providence to keep France with which she was totally unacin order). If you could allude to a quainted. There is no low life; there fever caught at Ancona, you showed is no high life; there are no fatiguing that you had been in Italy and were passages in dialect. probably conversant with the Fine A word on Miss Austen's realism. Arts; but socially and politically Italy It is genuine realism; not the bastard was dead.
realism of later days. According to Socially and politically the United the school to which we have grown States were in puling infancy. South accustomed to allow the monopoly of America was a wilderness, Africa and “realism,” nothing exists that is not Australia unexplored and in great part disgusting. Miss Austen saw more undiscovered. Such was Miss Aus- sanely. There were dreadful things in ten's world considered from the geo- her world, it is true: putrid sore: grapbical point of view-England and throats, for example. But also there France; it is permissible to include the were many pleasant things. Perhaps: West Indies, which formed a powerful she did not take a very wide view of interest at that time. It is very im- life; but as far as her observation portant to remember how small Miss went she saw evenly and recorded Austen's world was. We are thus fairly. saved the annoyance and surprise at As to her characters, they all came finding ourselves called upon to con- from one class—the class of gentry, i.e. sider seriously the doings of children people entitled to bear coat-armor. of seventeen who have never been out- In the England of to-day, this definiside their village. Considering the tion is not precise. There are many size of the world at that time, this gentlemen who are not entitled to bear amounted to experience of the world; coat-armor, and vice versa. But it while a man who had nearly taken his really was a social guide in Miss Ausdegree bad really done a good deal of ten's day. First and foremost in the what there was for him to do in life. land were the landed gentry, of In this thinly populated and obscure which class it might be said with justice that even the peers were no more the coronation of Louis the Sixteenth than its most conspicuous members. was a recent event, and she died two This class, so powerful once, of so lit- years after the battle of Waterloo. tle account now, settled all social ques- She was, therefore, thirty years old tions. Either you were one of the A's when the news of Trafalgar reached of B-shire, or else your existence England, and forty when Napoleon required explaining and justifying. was overthrown. There are a few refYou might belong to the professional erences to "the war” in her novels, but classes-a very much smaller body of you would never suppose that she was men than the same people nowadays. referring to a death-struggle between There was the Church, of course—that England and France. Although the was highly respectable and there was rivalry of six hundred years culmithe Bar. But attorneys, surgeons, and nated in twenty years of conflict corCity people were quite impossible. responding to the twenty years of Physicians, with some reservations, Miss us n's literary life, it would could be known, and the Army would appear as if "the war" was of no do if you were in the Guards; but the greater national importance than a Navy was on a different footing: all war with Ashanti. Were there no ilsorts of queer people went into the luminations for Camperdown, for the Navy.
Nile, for St. Vincent, for Trafalgar, These considerations really guided for Waterloo? Apparently not. Also the actions of the people who inhab- apparently Miss Austen never saw an ited Miss Austen's world; and Miss invalid or a pensioner, or met anyone Austen herself recognized the pro- in mourning for a relative who hadi priety of respecting them. She writes fallen in the service of his country. of them as natural and convenient dis- Also, apparently, nobody ever tinctions, and shows no desire to por- grumbled at the taxes, although they tray ardent human nature struggling must have been appallingly heavy, against the bonds of convention. On and were borne by the very class the contrary, Emma is the careful which was the object of her studies. study of a young lady who presumes The Napoleonic wars would appear to suppose that the natural distinction to have been fought for the purpose existing between ladies and people of giving young gentlemen in the arwho are not ladies, can be treated my an opportunity for displaying their lightly or, perhaps, ignored. There is gay clothes. Also they were useful in no passion in her books, it would not enabling young officers of the Navy to be ladylike, and when we admire the gain prize-money, so that they might felicity of her language and the deli- marry pretty girls and settle down cacy of her work, we must recollect respectably in England. The that what action there may be moves and joys (if these are not too violent in a very narrow arena, and that the expressions for the emotions of Charincidents are trivial and superficial. lottes and Carolines) of very young
Miss Austen's work is eighteenth lovers and very young married people century in its subject-matter and are all that Miss Austen has to write treatment. She never saw a railway- about. The elders form an agreeable train; and, although much of her life background, now thwarting, now symwas passed in the nineteenth century, pathizing, encouraging, interfering there is not in her pages the faintest with, or soothing the young people. echo of its busy and distracted life. But we know that, in point of fact, She was born in the year 1775, when whatever Miss Austen may
have ECLECTIC. VOL. LXXVII 450
found interesting or the reverse, Eng. some habit of appealing to the sensaland was stirred to its depths by the tional and the melodramatic, and that war. Tribulation and mourning were she did so by showing how really inheard throughout the land. The na- teresting the common events of everytion was shaken with the sensations of day life might be made to appear. terrible triumphs and terrible disas
so, and it may be that this ters. Never was there a more Shake- is to her credit. But, after all, what is spearean time: not even Shakespeare's Hamlet but a yarn about a ghost and own. It is not Miss Austen's fault a murder and a haunted castle? And that she is so very un-Shakespearean. if it comes to reproaching the sensaShe herself would have been much tionalists with too la vish introduction chagrined had anyone ventured
of incident, how does Hamlet stand ? such a comparison in her presence. We have poison, steel, suicide, madOr, if she had been in merry mood, ness, murder, the wrecking of great she would have “vowed that you were kingdoms, battle, and sudden death all the very drollest creature" or a “shock- in five acts. The play streams with ing quiz.”
gore. No imitator of Shakespeare was In fact, if she ever thought of her- ever so lavish with incident as Shake. self and Shakespeare in the same
It is not that the minute she must have concluded that school of writing bad that insists her only chance of success was to aim on a plot with incidents. Mr. Howells at being as unlike him as possible. would have us believe that it is. NevShe called herself, modestly, a minia- ertheless, the Mysteries of Udolpho is turist, and she is credited, as one of only indifferent work in the school of her many triumphs, with having de- Shakespeare, and the school which stroyed the school of the Mysteries of Miss Austen founded the school of Udolpho.
analysis and introspection—is capable That novel, no longer read, depends of producing just as tedious work in much upon incident. The incidents its way as the Mysteries of Udolpho. are all unusual and exciting. The But the people who decry the Mysscene is continually changed, and teries have perhaps not read that disthere are murders amid gloomy sur- mal composition. When they have roundings. It had an immense vogue read it they will allow that it is teand was much imitated by writers dious, not because of the fatiguing frewho thought that with a ghost and a quency of improbable incidents, but murder and a haunted castle they because of its sentimental tone and could make a story. A great many wearisome style, In effect the inci. bad stories of this kind were pro- dents are few, when the vast length of duced, and it certainly was unfortu- the story is considered. The real sunate that young ladies' heads should periority of Jane Austen's work lies in be so turned by this tinsel tragedy her admirable style; the real drawthat they could not stay in a country back to enjoying her work is that it house without imagining that some is about nothing at all. Whereas the disreputable secret haunted the fam- school of the Mysteries held that startlily. Northanger Abbey pokes gentle fun ing incidents (as unlikely as possible) at this school of mock romance, al- were what a story chiefly needed, and though it would perhaps be too much that style and truthfulness signified to say that it “destroyed" the school. nothing, Miss Austen, on the contrary,
But the claim is that Miss Austen put style and truthfulness first and destroyed this school with its unwhole- avoided romance like the plague.