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when the wealth of commoners was a not very imperfect measure of their aptitude for useful legislation; rightly then had the Lower House its property qualification : but can it be contended that we still live in those times? or that they last to eternity?
The Suffrage and the Ballot, the House of Lords and the Church, and all the mechanism of legislation and government, while, by their tangible forms and the clashing of interests in relation to them, they afford a field for the more overt mani. festations of the spirit of Reform, have, after all, more to do with the clearance of outward and gross impediments to human progress. than with the progress itself. Hence real Reformers are deeply interested in whatever belongs to science, art, education, and all the economy of life. They especially desire that the working classes should thoroughly understand their condition, and the means for its improvement. The popular tales of Miss Martineau on subjects which, not long since, no one would have dreamed of treating popularly, were amongst the many phenomena which illustrate our present subject. They were one of the currents of that mighty ocean whose billows are bearing us onward. The spirit of Reform has strongly impressed its image on literary criticism, at least so far as to the introduction of a severer logic and the more systematic application of general principles. It has created a new and a progressive power of critical appreciation. We have ceased to hear of the hard and barren doctrine of utility. The cultivation of a popular enjoyment and philosophy of Årt, is amongst the primary objects of real Reformers. They would instil into the people the reality of that taste, of which the semblance is affected as one of the perquisites of Aristocracy. They want not, in the multitude, a mass of brute agency to do their bidding, but men who not only know their rights, and knowing dare maintain,' but who also shall reason, and feel, and derive enjoyment from all those finer inlets which are the access of nature and genius to the human soul. Education is undergoing the process of Reform, and gaining a wiser, kindlier, and more efficient adaptation to its proper object of training the human being to the full expansion of his nature, and all the happiness thence arising. And theirs is the mission, abandoned to them by others, and joyfully accepted, of preparing the way of universal instruction, the first interest and first duty of a community.
Our readers must not accuse us of forgetting in the wideness of these speculations, the stirring topics, and pending conflict of the day. We have shown our interest in them elsewhere; and they have, in fact, led us, amid all the noise and bustle they produce, to the train of thought which is here hastily and very imperfectly traced. Reformers will not obey with less alacrity the call to be up and doing, for having snatched a few minutes' quiet meditation on the tendencies of society; and on the utter vanity, for their counteraction, of all the golden dreams or desperate efforts of the Soldier or the Sophist.
SECOND FANTASY PIECE AFTER HOFFMAN,
Maehrchen fur grosse und kleine Kinder !
CHAPTER I. - New Year's Day. On a certain New Year's Day the children of Dr. Smallhorse were expressly forbidden to enter the front drawing-room. When the evening closed in, Frederick and Mary sat, in the dark, in a corner of the little back room, and Frederick, speaking very low and mysteriously, informed Mary, his younger sister, who was nearly seven years old, that he had heard strange noises in the locked-up chamber, and that he had seen a little black man glide out from the door, who he believed was no other than godpapa Pivot. At this communication Mary, transported with joy, clapped her little hands together and cried : Oh! dear me! how I should like to know what pretty thing godpapa Pivot has got for us.'
Mr. Pivot, commissioner of something or other, was not a very handsome man; he was small and thin ; his face much wrinkled; the locality of his right eye covered with a great black patch; and, having no hair, he wore a splendid, patent, white periwig. But godpapa was a very ingenious man; he understood watchwork, and it was said could even make watches. Indeed when any of Dr. Smallhorse's pretty clocks were out of order, godpapa Pivot came, took off his periwig, put on a little cap, girded himself with an apron, and poked into their insides with pointed instruments, to the great apprehension of little Mary; but, certainly, they were all the better for the operation, and began again to tick, and strike, and play, to the satisfaction of every one. Whenever he visited Dr. Smallhorse, he had in his pocket some pretty thing for the children; sometimes a little man, who rolled his eyes, and made the finest bows possible ; sometimes a snuff-box, out of which popped a bird. But at the new year, Mr. Pivot always made for them something particularly fine and ingenious.
• How I should like to know what pretty thing godpapa Pivot has got for us,' said Mary. Frederick thought it would be a grand and imposing fortress, on which might be seen the soldiers guarding and exercising; afterwards the enemy would assault it, but the garrison would fire the cannon bravely, and kick up a devil of a row.
• No, no,' interrupted Mary, 'godpapa Pivot has spoken to me about a beautiful garden, with a piece of water, in which swim magnificent swans, which have gold collars, and sing pretty tunes; then comes a nice little girl who calls them to her, and feeds them with bonbons.'
• Swans don't eat bonbons,' said Frederick, rather impatiently, and I don't believe godpapa Pivot could make a garden; and, after all, I
like the presents of papa and mamma best, for we may do as we like with those, and we hardly dare touch his.'
As the children talked in this manner about what they expected, Mary found that Miss Gertrude, her largest doll, altered very much ; that she was awkwarder than ever; that she fell down continually, which caused dreadful bruises on her face; that, in short, further painstaking was quite useless. Frederick asserted that he required a fine pie-bald for his stables, and that his army was quite unprovided with cavalry-'as,' said he, “papa very well knows.'
Thus chattered Frederick and Mary, sitting half afraid in their corner; when, all of a sudden, the folding-doors opened, and a brilliant light dazzled the eyes of the children, who remained quiet, as if frozen with astonishment. Then did the father and mother take hold of their hands, saying, “ Come, dear children, come and see what the good new year has brought you.
Courteous reader, I beg of you to recall to your memory the sweet impression of pleasing gifts in childhood; if you can, you will be able to conceive easily the joy of these children. For a time they stood breathless--then cried Mary, 'Oh! how beautiful! oh! isn't it beauti. ful!' Frederick, after several astonishing capers, recovered himself marvellously. It might be supposed that they had been very good during the past year, for never had so many fine things been given to them. A large, flourishing tree bore a quantity of apples, oranges, bonbons, and sugared almonds of all colours. Upon its branches sparkled, like stars, scores of little wax-lights. What fine things were there, and how shall I describe them? Mary saw a doll, larger and prettier than you can possibly imagine, with a most splendid house, and the most precious furniture. Her frock was of silk, tied with variegated ribands, and her eyes turned on all sides. Mary exclaimed six times—Oh! beautiful ! beautiful! I never, never did see any thing so beautiful!' Frederick found a superb piebald horse, which he soon galloped three or four times round the table. On dismounting he observed the beast has been broken in badly, but that does not matter, I will quickly have him under command !' Then passed in review the squadron of hussars, in magnificent uniforms, covered with gold, with silver weapons, and upon horses of a most surpassing whiteness.
When the children became a little calmer, they perceived on another table what they guessed was the present of godpapa. We will endeavour to describe it. Upon a meadow, strewed with flowers, rose a superb castle, with golden turrets and casements. A little peal of bells was heard, the doors and the windows opened, and ladies and gentlemen, very small, but extremely spruce and gallant, were seen walking about the saloons. Their robes trailed behind them, and they had plumes of feathers on their heads. The middle saloon appeared all on fire, it was so brilliantly lighted by silver chandeliers, and there the company danced to the music of the little bells. One gentleman, in an emerald green cloak, now and then peeped out of window, made signs, and disappeared again. Godpapa Pivot was also there, about as big as my thumb; he came to the great gate of the castle, and then went in again. Frederick, with his elbows resting on the table, had contemplated, attentively, the castle and the little figures; at last he said— Godpapa Pivot, let me go into thy castle!' The commissioner observed, that it was im
possible. He was right, and certainly it was foolish of Frederick to wish to enter a castle which, with all its turrets of gold, was not so high as himself.
Soon afterwards the promenade and the dance were repeated in exactly the same manner; the man in the emerald green cloak looked out of the same window, and godpapa Pivot came to the same gate. Frederick cried out with impatience-Godpapa Pivot, I do wish you would go to the other gate!' • That cannot be, my dear Frederick,' answered the commissioner.
Well, then, tell that man in green not to look so often out of the window, but to go and walk with the others.'
• I cannot do it,' said the commissioner, 'as the mechanism is at first arranged so must it proceed.'
• Well, then I must tell you, godpapa Pivot' said Frederick, that if those good little people in the castle only do one thing continually, I don't think much of them. With my hussars it is quite different; they manæuvre as I wish; they advance, they retreat, they are not shut up in a house. So saying, he ran to the other table and put his squadron in motion. Mary also turned to go away, for she was tired of the eternal walking and dancing; but, being a very good little girl, she did not wish her godpapa to observe her ennui.
Mr. Pivot said to Dr. and Mrs. Smallhorse, in a discontented tone'I must take away my castle, the work is too ingenious to be understood by these little folks.' But Mrs. Smallhorse begged him to show the interior of it, and the wheels which put the puppets in motion.
CHAPTER II.-The Protégé. Mary still lingered by the table, and suddenly observed something new, for the hussars of Frederick, in making a grand charge, cleared every thing before them, and discovered, on their left flank, a little man who had not been seen until that very moment. He stood in a modest manner waiting patiently his turn.
There is a great deal to say about this little man. The lower part of his body, from his shoulders downwards, was not very well formed, and his head was extremely large; but this bad effect was somewhat diminished by his style of apparel, which indicated the man of quality. He wore a violet-coloured hussar jacket, plentifully covered with braids and buttons, red pantaloons, and the most beautiful boots-quite enviable; they looked as if they were painted. Mary, at first sight, thought the little man very ugly, but, afterwards, when she observed the expression of goodness in his face, became better pleased with him. Friendship and universal benevolence glowed in his large, grey, open eyes, and his red lips were curled into a sweet smile.
* Dear papa,' said Mary, 'tell me, do tell me, whom does this pretty little man belong to?'
• He must work for you all,' answered papa ; . it is his duty to break nuts, and Louisa (who was the elder sister) and Fred may use him.' So saying, papa put him with care upon the table, and, the cap being pushed, the little man opened his large mouth, within which was seen fine, white, and pointed teeth. At papa's bidding, Mary placed therein a nut, and-crack !--the little man bit it so hard that the shell flew away, and the kernel tumbled into her hand. So Mary learned that the little man was of the race of Nutcrackers, and that he followed the profession of his ancestors. Mary gave him more nuts, but little ones, that he might not have to open his mouth very wide, for that rather disfigured his countenance. Louisa took her turn, and the nutcracker lent his teeth with much good nature, always smiling pleasantly. Then came the turn of Frederick. After he had laughed very much at the personal appearance of the little man, he put into its mouth one of the largest nuts he could find : all at once was heard, crack! crack !-three teeth fell out of the mouth of the nutcracker, and the lower jaw appeared empty and broken.
Oh! my poor nutcracker!' cried Mary, taking it away from Fred.
• Your nutcracker is a fool,' said Fred; he knows nothing about his duty; he hasn't good teeth. Give it to me again Mary; he shall crack my nuts or else break his jaw quite.'
No, no,' said Mary, weeping, 'you shan't have my dear nutcracker! See how unhappy he looks with his little bruised mouth! You are a hard-hearted, wicked boy; you beat your horses, and you shoot your soldiers.'
. Well, so I am obliged to do; you know nothing of military affairs. Give me the nutcracker, Mary; it is as much mine as yours.'
Mary began crying bitterly, and wrapped up the nutcracker in her little pocket handkerchief. At the noise made, her father and mother came towards them, also godpapa Pivot, who took Frederick's part, to the great displeasure of Mary. The father said, ' I placed the nutcracker under the care of Mary, and, as I see she has taken a fancy to it, I give her full power over the little man; as for Fred, I am astonished that he should wish to press into his service an invalid. As a good officer he ought to know that a wounded soldier should not figure in the ranks.
Frederick felt rather ashamed, and stole away to the table where lay his hussars under arms, after having advanced their videttes. Mary tried to replace the teeth of the nutcracker, tied his jaws up with a bit of pretty white riband, and rocked him gently in her arms.
God. papa Pivot mocked her very much on the ugliness of her favourite, but she answered him: 'I wonder, dear godpapa, if you would look as well if you had such a coat and boots.'
Mary could not understand why her papa and mamma laughed at what she said; nor why the commissioner looked quite put out. I dare say they had their reasons.
CHAPTER III.Wonders. In that back drawing-room, at Dr. Smallhorse's, on the left, as you go in, may be seen a lofty cabinet, with glass doors. The children used it to preserve the fine presents which were given to them yearly. Dr. S. had it made by a skilful workman when Louisa was young; the fine clear panes of glass in front made every thing appear very brilliant. On the top division, which Mary and Fred could not reach, might be seen the wonderful things made by godpapa Pivot. Underneath was the shelf for picture books, and beneath that were two shelves, which Mary and Fred might use for their own will and pleasure. In this way it came about that Mary used the lowest shelf to lodge her dolls, and that Frederick used the one above to quarter his troops in.