ill-performed, though protected by a certain traditional respect from sharp criticism; that it means the effort to do what there is no longer the power to do well, and the secret mortification of feeling that it is not well done; that it means the keeping back of the competent to save the pride of the incompetent; and, worst of all, the keeping up of a sort of self-deception on the part of the old, in order that they may reconcile themselves to the part they are playing? No doubt it is true that when old men give up their accustomed tasks in later life, they may often lose health which they might have prolonged a little further into their age, and drop away. Well, is it not better so, if the only mode of retaining bodily health is to affect to do as in former times what men have lost the power to do well? There is no such deficiency in the stock of energy needing work, that those who have only the habit of work without the energy, should keep the work in their own hands. Probably the advice so often given to the old to stick to their work to the last is, in nine cases out of ten, bad advice, advice which takes into account a very small part of the case,namely, the convenience and habits of the old, and not the convenience and habits of the young; the pride of the old, and not the aspirations of the young; and, finally, the rigidity and inelasticity of the old, and not the pliancy and elasticity of the young.

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The truth is, we take it, that very little of our best literature is written for the benefit of old people, and that that which is, is not very likely to do them good. A good work on the best way of growing old is greatly wanted. The willingness to admit that certain portions of one's former work are beyond one is hardly ever pressed upon any one as a duty; yet a duty it undoubtedly is. The evil,—we think we may say the sin, -of deceiving ourselves, and trying to deceive others on the subject, is hardly ever insisted upon; and yet it is a great evil. Doubtless it is very difficult to recall as a practical truth that what we are apt to call the work of life is, and ought to be, the work of only a part of life, and that mortal men, if they live to old age at all, have to learn to die out of life well, by which, of course, we do

not mean to die physically, but to die to a great many of their former pursuits, with as much meekness and humility as we teach the young to display in their entrance into life. It is the greatest of mistakes to suppose that humility is a duty which belongs exclusively to the young. It is quite as needful to the old, and a great deal more difficult. Pride is a far greater temptation to the old than it is to the young, partly because it necessarily meets with much fewer rebukes, and partly because dignity is so often confounded with pride, while the old find it hard to maintain their dignity (as, however, they often do in the very highest sense) if they sacrifice their pride. Yet to make neither mistake to which pride prompts the old,-neither to hold fast to power which they have lost the art of exerting to the advantage of others, nor to throw up in mortification duties which they could do better than ever because they find that they cannot be successfully combined with other duties which they once discharged well,-is a matter. of no little difficulty, and one in which they are very little helped by the moral counsels of the best spiritual advisers. The latter part of the life of the old ought to be, even when it is not, a very gradual dying out of the active work of life, and ought to be a cheerful and serene process, not a gloomy and sullen one. But it is precisely here that men get so little help from the spiritual teachers who are so full of their counsels to the young. Old men hardly ever hear of the special difficulties and temptations of old age, of the duty of cultivating an ungrudging spirit while making this kind of retreat from active influence, of the plausibility of the selfdeception which represents a certain gloom or melancholy under such conditions as a perfectly right and natural attitude of mind springing solely from a noble yearning for the sphere of usefulness from which an active mind has been unwillingly driven. The truth, however, is that the self-sacrifice which in youth is oftenest represented by readiness to surrender pleasure for duty, is in age oftenest represented by readiness to surrender what was once duty but is duty no longer, into more vigorous though less practised guardianship.

Considering how carefully childhood and youth are usually made apprenticeships to the practical duties of middle life, nothing is more remarkable than the complete neglect of the hardly less clear duty of making middle life an apprenticeship to the duties of age; of preparing for the time of declining strength, for the time of life suitable to the advising rather than the executing mind, for the freedom and detachment of spirit appropriate to less exhausting labors, for the graceful but unexacting dependence which is quite willing to owe much to others, but is fully aware of the conditions under which alone it is possible to owe much to others with out being a heavy burden upon them. It seems to us that there is far too little of this kind of deliberate preparation for later years, that men at least, and often women, are far too tenacious of all the practical rights which they gain in middle life, and which, whatever they may say to the contrary, they evidently never dream of relaxing their hold upon, while they live. This is why old age, when it does at last compel them to give up their long-ago enfeebled grasp on their work, is so hopeless and intolerable. They have never prepared themselves for it. This may be excusable in the poor, who are forced to work up to the last limits of their ability, though even in the poor, as they are now educated, there might be much more preparation than there is for the last stage of life. But among the middle-classes nothing is less excusable or more melancholy than to see men jealously holding on to work which is no longer their fit work, and for which others who are far fitter are waiting, simply because they have no other interest in life than that of discharging mechanically duties which it was once their pride to have shown how to discharge with a certain originality. It is no paradox to say that there is an immense deal of youth in age, if people

would only study how to keep it, and not overburden it with a sort of strain for which the physical organization of the old has become unfit. There is no brighter hopefulness than the hopefulness of age,-personal hopefulness for the great change approaching to themselves,-hopefulness of vision for others,

hopefulness of insight for the world. It is only the outworn and the overburdened who have the hopefulness crushed out of them by the sense of a weight of responsibility for active duties which it is no longer possible to carry with ease. In order to bring out this hopefulness to its full brightness, there should be a serious moral preparation in middle life for the approach of the time of peace, a steady discouragement of that jealousy of the young which is so apt to creep on ambitious men, a steady fostering of those quieter and less exciting interests of life which grow in importance as the active strength declines, and a steady grasp on that spiritual life which waxes as the powers of administration wane. Wordsworth says that—

"the wiser mind Mourns less for what age takes away, Than what it leaves behind." And that is so, no doubt, when age leaves behind all the eager desire to control others which failing energy no longer enables men to gratify. But if we trained ourselves as we might, age would take away the desire as well as the power always to be meddling in the practical control of earth's affairs, and leave only the willingness to counsel others with that disinterested and dispassionate insight which carries the most weight. And if that were so, age would really gain in unobtrusive influence as much as it had lost in executive force. The dregs of a carnal hankering after controlling force, which age now so often leaves behind, is the legacy not of years merely, but of a jealous and unchastened middle life.-Spectator.


RUSSIA, gigantic Russia, superb and powerful though she be, nevertheless conceals beneath her gorgeous robes and

imperial grandeur an awful cancer that poisons the happiness, nay even threatens the very existence of the mighty

Empire. In this vast and magnificent country heroic self-devotion is closely allied to cowardly assassination. The friend we trust may to-morrow be the murderer destined to slay. The hand The hand that clasps yours in kindly pressure may erelong place the cruel dynamite that will not only destroy the enemies of the nation, but that may inflict infinite. suffering, if not death, on hundreds of innocent human beings.

To-day the savage cry for blood heeds not that multitudes must be sacrificed to insure the destruction of one, doomed to die by the decree of a secret and irresponsible tribunal.

No man now dare trust his fellow. And alas! for the country where such things can be, women as well as men are but too often the perpetrators of coldblooded and dastardly murders. Therefore it is that in this gigantic, refined, yet barbarous country, events are occurring day by day that offer the most startling contrasts.

In the following narrative the names of persons and places have been changed and the minor circumstances are fictitious, but the principal incidents are, I believe, true. The terrible details were related to me in Russia by a relative of the unhappy woman I call Countess Nariscka.

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Long residence with an uncle, who for many years was British Minister at one of the small European Courts, that of C (I purposely avoid giving the name), led to my acquaintance with numerous members of the principal families of Europe. One of my most intimate friends was a Countess Nadine Fedorovna Nariscka, a young Russian widow, rich, handsome, brilliant in conversation and accomplishments, but as peculiar and eccentric as she was handsome and accomplished.

I suppose the sympathy we mutually felt was produced by the complete contrast between us: I was fair, quiet, and, as Nadine said, wofully English in all my ways and ideas. My friend, on the contrary, was fiery, impetuous in speech and action, and changeable as the wind. Her moods were as various as her toilets. Her very beauty was eccentric. Not feature was regular nor indeed good, but the too great pallor of the creamy skin


seemed to enhance the dusky magnificence of the masses of dark hair coiled around her head, and when some eager thought, some eager word, sent the impetuous blood coursing through her veins, the deep-set eyes glowed with a light that was electric in its effect on those gazing into their sombre depths. But when annoyed or bored-a not unfrequent occurrence-then the mobile face expressed such scornful and mocking contempt, that all beauty in it seemed marred, and a slight cast outward of one of the eyes became distinctly visible, producing a most unpleasant, even sinister effect. But I loved her well, and even pitied her, for during her dark moods, religion became to her a very torture. At such times her mind seemed agonized by belief in every miserable superstition. She would inflict upon herself the severest penances, the longest and most distressing fasts prescribed by the Greek Church. A week later, and she would profess absolute scepticism. Then, intense as was her devotion to the Russian Imperial family, almost slavish indeed, she was almost a Nihilist in the political opinions she expressed. The violence of her language on many subjects frequently caused me cruel alarm on her account. I expostulated, but in vain. She laughed at my fears, and only sought occasion frighten me still more.


In truth she was a contradiction both in thought and action.

However, her wild, almost savage beauty, her tender, even caressing words, won all hearts. She reigned in our little world a queen. Even the women liked her. As for the men, they were her veriest slaves. The brightness of her words, the softness or the anger expressed in her eyes, were lures no man could resist; but apparently she laughed at all, and professed to despise them all.

A few weeks before the close of her stay at C, a man arrived who, though showing her almost exaggerated devotion, was-I am convinced-absolutely uninfluenced by her; while she, on her side, though she treated him with even greater rudeness and brusquerie than others, was in some strange fashion subservient to him, and showed a certain deference to his wishes.

He was a countryman of hers-a

Russian, a Count Xavier Perètekoff- C tall, handsome, smooth-faced, smoothtongued, and singularly accomplished. Though eminently courtly in manner, there was ever something in his flattering speeches and whispered words that inspired me with deep mistrust. I was nearly alone in this opinion, however, for he had wonderful success in our little society; nearly every one, from the Court downward, pronouncing him to be one of the most delightful visitors that had ever arrived at C. His stay, however, was not long. He came, he saw, and, I suppose, conquered. Then he went, and a few days after his departure Countess Nariscka left also. Nadine was very tearful and sorrowful when wishing me good-by.

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"You will forget me, my Lina," she said, with real feeling in her voice; your life is a happy one. You belong to a good country, to good people. You have a good heart, a good head; while I-' here she sighed deeply, but would tell me no more.

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'Free!" she exclaimed, with sombre bitterness; free! How little you know the realities of Russian life! Who among us is free? The veriest slave is not more bound-" Here she paused, cast a furtive glance around, and for some seconds was silent.

"But, Lina,'' she continued, "should you ever come to Russia, here are my directions both in Moscow and in the country. I give you both, though it is barely possible you should ever find yourself near so remote, so forlorn a spot, in the poorest and most thinly inhabited part of our wild country. But my lands are there, my people are there, and I must be there myself soon. Farewell, dear, sweet Lina. Do not forget your Nadine.

So my friend and I parted, and, as years rolled on, our severance became complete, and our friendship was but a name, a remembrance only of the past. These passing years brought many sad changes to me. My dear uncle died, and with him ended my happy life at

Then sorrows came fast and heavily, bringing bad health in their train. Thus it is that now in my declining years I am a constant wanderer, ever seeking health in change of place and scene. It so happened that having passed several months at Athens, and on the Bosphorus, I accompanied some Russian friends to Yalta, a charming little town on the Black Sea. I had intended going on with them to Moscow and St. Petersburg, but a few days before their departure I was seized with an attack of fever, so severe, that it not only prevented my travelling with them, but it would make it imprudent to move for at least ten days or a fortnight. This delay was vexatious, as I had hoped to arrive in Moscow in time for certain grand ceremonies; I had bethought me also of my old friend Countess Nariscka. It was now quite fifteen years since we had been together at C, and nearly ten since we had corresponded.

I had learned that she was still living, very rich and powerful by all accounts. My friends, who were Court people, and belonged to St. Petersburg, knew her only by name, as she never appeared at Court, and of late years had but rarely inhabited her magnificent palace in Moscow, residing almost entirely on her vast but remote country estate. However, I wrote to her, and hoped soon to hear from her. I was

Troubles never come alone. only beginning to recover from the attack of fever when my excellent servant, Giuseppe Moroni, my factotum and courier, received news compelling his instant departure for Italy.

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Long residence on the Continent had made the acquisition of languages comparatively easy, and I had mastered sufficient Russian for the purpose of travelling; but my good old Scotch maid, Sarah Mackay, once my nurse, but for many years my maid, remained angrily faithful to her own tongue. She was usually so indignant at any new foreigner entering our little establishment, that I much dreaded her resentment on this occasion; but affectionate anxiety for me qualified her disapprobation, so instead of being cross and sulky, she was gracious and condescending, smoothing away difficulties, making, as she said, the best of things.'

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I felt such recommendations from both my servants must be sufficient. The newcomer must be engaged.

He was speedily brought into my presence. Serge Kounoff by name, a Russian Tartar by birth. I asked him in Russian a few questions, to which he answered promptly and pleasantly. He knew the country well. Was accustomed to travel. Was convinced he could make her Excellency comfortable. His master, a General of Division, had a command in the Caucasus. He, Serge, had to go to Moscow, and was glad of employment, but was in no hurry if the gracious lady wished to travel slowly.

He was a good-natured-looking fellow. I should have thought his face vacant and rather silly, but for a remarkable pair of little Tartar eyes, so wonderfully sharp and piercing, that they seemed in an instant to have noted everything in the room. Every object, before, on either side, even behind him, had been embraced in a series of rapid and intelligent glances.

It was fortunate I could speak a little Russian, for his English was of the weakest description, and of French and German he professed to be absolutely ignorant. He was not, he said, a courier, only a private servant.

So the matter was arranged, and he entered my service at once. To my great relief Sarah really seemed to like him. Never before had she displayed such good-will toward any foreigner.

She understood his broken English, while he divined her queer Scottish phrases with equal readiness. So my good Giuseppe departed, and, thanks to his care, though I regretted him much, still as far as comfort was concerned I was as well attended to as when he was with me.

Days passed and I got better; but as my health improved, my anxiety to be gone also gained strength. All my friends had now left Yalta, and weakness and loneliness caused time to hang heavy on my hands. The fever I had had is also apt to produce depression, and a tendency to indulge in morbid fears and fancies.

Another reason, though one I scarcely acknowledged even to myself, was that I did not like my new servant (notwithstanding his many good qualities) as much as I had hoped to do. It seems a contradiction, but he was really too clever, too obliging. He seemed ever on the watch to obey my slightest behest. He was ubiquitous. He divined my wishes almost before they were uttered. He always saw everything. always heard everything. He always knew everything; and I began to feel worried, almost irritated, at such constant surveillance. Yet what could I do? How could I resent service that came from zeal, and from such eager desire to be useful and obliging?


At length, understanding my impatience, the doctor agreed that if I could get a comfortable carriage, and would make but short journeys, I might leave as soon as I pleased. The energetic Serge speedily found such a carriage, and I settled to go first to S, and there make a halt of some days.

The evening before my departure I went for the last time to a favorite spot commanding a superb view of sea and mountains.

For some time I sat there motionless, revelling in the perfect beauty and charm of the scene, then leaving my little carriage, I entered the garden of a villa, with whose owners I was acquainted. The family had returned to St. Petersburg, so the house was closed, and I believed empty. What was therefore my surprise to see Serge, whom I had left at home packing, descend the steps of the veranda in company with

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