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I ask, is the hope of preserving the remainder from the barbarian hosts of self. ishness and passion any the better? Is it more easy to make men philanthropists when we have given up the effort to make them saints? Surely it is nothing of the kind. Even for our neighbor's own sake there is nothing we can ever do for him half so useful as to be ourselves the very noblest, purest, holiest men and women we know how. The recognition of the supremacy of personal duties appears to be the first step towards the right performance of the highest social duties.
Deprived of two-thirds of its original empire and dethroned from its high seat of judgment, does there yet perchance remain for duty, as understood by the Agnostic, some special sanctions, some more close and tender, if not equally lofty and solemn claims, than those which belonged to it under the older theistic schemes? Such would seem to be the persuasion of many amongst those who have felt "the responsibilities of unbelief," perhaps of all the best minds amongst them - Mr. Morley, Mr. Harrison, George Eliot, and now, obviously, of Vernon Lee. This thoughtful writer is actually of opinion that the belief in an immortal life is an "enervating" one, and that there is a "moral tonic" in believing that "there is no place beyond the grave where folly and selfishness may be expiated and retrieved, and that, whatever good may be done, must be done in this world." It is hard to realize the mental conditions out of which such a judgment as this can have arisen. It is true that an immeasurable pity, an almost limitless indulgence, seems the natural sentiment which should flood the heart of one who looks on his brother men, and thinks that all their pains and sorrows are to lead only to the grave; that all their aspirations and struggles and prayers are destined to eternal disappointment; that all the love of which their hearts are full is ready to be spilled, like precious wine, in the dust. But these mournful feelings are assuredly the "enervating" ones, for nothing can be so enervating as despair. What "moral tonic" can there be in the conviction that, whether we labor or sit still, sacrifice our life-blood for our brother, or sacrifice him to our selfishness, it will soon be all one to him and to us?
We are so constituted that it is impossible for us to exercise charity persistently without both faith and hope, like Aaron and Hur, to sustain our sinking arms. Without faith in the divine germ of goodness buried in every human breast, we cannot labor for the higher welfare of our brother, or afford him that nobler sympa thy, without which to give all our goods to feed him profiteth nothing. And without hope in a future, stretching out before him in infinite vistas of joy and holiness, we cannot attach due importance to his moral welfare; we cannot measure the sin of misguiding and corrupting him, or the glory of leading him to virtue. Nay, in a larger sense, philanthropy and the enthusiasm of humanity, the very flowers of Agnosticism, must wither, if unwatered by hope. We must needs work on one hypothesis or the other. Either all men are destined to an immortal existence, or else they will perish at death, and the earth itself will grow old and sustain life no longer on its barren breast, and then all the hopes and virtues and triumphs of the human race will be buried in oblivion, no conscious mind in all the hollow universe remembering that man ever had existence.
Is it not a paradox to say that the former idea is "enervating," and the latter a "moral tonic"? A moral curare, I should take it to be, paralyzing will and motion.* But if Agnostic ethics be thus miserably defective if they be narrow in their scope and poor in their aim of conferring transitory happiness on a perishing race if they have no basis in a pure reason or a divinely taught conscience, but appeal only to a shifting and semi-barbarous prejudice — if, even from the point of view of sentiment, they lack the motives which are best calculated to inspire zeal
Darwinism, that Man in some generations to come, We are now told, as the latest grand discovery of will be "a toothless, hairless, slow-limbed animal, incapable of extended locomotion. His feet will have no division of toes, and he will be very averse to fighting." (See. Nineteenth Century, May, 1883, p. 759.) I congratulate those who think it sufficient reward to antici
the future!" "posthumous activities"
among these "
men of Even as I write this page a profound remark on the heart-paralyzing effects of Agnostic hopelessness on a very noble intellect has come to my hand. In a letter in the Spectator, May 12, 1883, Mr. Eubule Evans, writing of George Eliot, says: "Whoever holds that human life is little better than a vast waste-heap of blighted possibilities will, however tender he may be towards the objects of specialized affection, yet naturally fail in that keenness of love towards all living, which is the only safeguard against the subtler feminine when stirred to tenderness towards the indiprocess of cruelty. Beneath her philosophy lay a heart ofvidual, but hopeless, and therefore in a way merciless, leaden atmosphere of fate in which human frailty meets The atmosphere of the worker is the no mercy, and human louging can find no hope."
We have all heard much from pulpits of the virtue of faith and the virtue of charity; but I think we hear too little the virtue of hope, which completes the trinity, and is an indivisible part of it.
towards the race.
and self-sacrifice; then it is surely time for high-minded Agnostics to recognize that their laudable efforts to construct a morality on the ruins of religion has failed, and must ever fail. The dilemma is more terrible than they have yet contemplated. They have imagined that they had merely to choose between morality with religion, or morality without religion. But the only choice for them is between morality and religion together, or the relinquish ment both of morality and religion. They were sanguine enough to think they could rescue the compass of duty from the wreck of faith; but their hope was vain, and the well-meaning divers among them who have gone in search of it have come up with a handful of sea-tangle.
may easily read between the lines of his dialogue, that it was the first shock of this tremendous, this unendurable thought which drove Vernon Lee out of the "Palace of Art," to seek, if it might be found, the solution of the "riddle of the painful earth." Alas! that so noble an intellect, destined, I cannot doubt, to exercise wide influence in the coming years, should have found no better explanation of that enigma than the wretched doctrine of hereditary conscience, and the supposed discovery that nature contains no moral elements, and has no moral power behind it! A happier conclusion might surely have been reached by the mind which penned the burst of eloquence placed in the mouth of the speaker Vere: "It is love which has taught the world for its happiness that what has been begun here, will not forever be interrupted, nor what has been ill done forever remain unatoned, that the affection once kindled will never cease, that the sin committed can be wiped out, and the good conceived can be achieved that all within which is good and happy, and forever struggling here, virtue, genius, will be free to act here. after, that the creatures thrust asunder in the world, vainly trying to clasp one another in the crowd, may unite forever." That love which invents immortality, is itself, I think, the pledge and witness of immortality. It is the Infinite stirring within the finite breast.
Much false lustre has, I think, been cast over a creed which is in truth the City of Dreadful Night," by the high altruistic sentiments and hopes of certain illustrious Agnostics. George Eliot's aspiration to join the "choir invisible," whose voices are "the music of the world; " Mr. Frederic Harrison's generous desire for "posthumous beneficent activity," have thrown, for a time, over it a light as from a sun which has set. For myself, I confess there seems to me some thing infinitely pathetic in these longings of men and women, who once hoped for a "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," amid "the spirits of the just made perfect," but who are fain now to be content with such ghosts of hope as these. The millennium of Darwinism for the "surviving fittest" of the human race those toothless, hairless, slow-moving creatures, with all peaceful sentiments bred in, and all combative ones bred out — is, after all, no such vision of paradise as that even the purest altruist can find BY LADY LYTTON BULWER (LATE DOWAGER
in it compensation for the belief that all the men and women whom he has ever known or loved, are doomed to annihilation long before that new race - - such as it will be can arise.
From Tinsley's Magazine. REMINISCENCES OF WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.
"Every man his own judgment of Paris."
MANY years ago, when Walter Savage Landor lived at Bath, the present writer was also living in that most livable and The misery of his hopeless creed has exquisitely beautiful of English provin been felt, I cannot doubt, in all its bitter- cial cities. Ah, had we to travel thouness by the writer of this eloquent paper. sands of miles in a foreign land to come No more affecting words have been upon such exquisite natural beauties as penned for many a day than those in that Vale of Somerset abounds in, diawhich he makes one of his speakers ex-demed by such a city as Bath — O, how claim: "The worst of death is not the annihilation of ourselves. Oh no, that is nothing." The intolerable agony he has truly felt to be the apprehension of the hour when the soul we love will not merely depart and leave us lonely on the shore, but be itself lost drowned in the ocean of existence never to live again.
we should rave about it! Then, too, the people are so civilized, so obliging, so facile à vivre-in short, so unlike Somersetshire boors in particular, and AngloSaxon bears in general, that the natives, sensible of, and grateful as it were for, the prodigal gifts both nature and art have bestowed upon them, combine to make it
a most delightful city of refuge; for, as | be, or not to be? that is the question." poor Mr. Landor, the hero of this paper, And if the sense of the house could have used to say, in his peculiar way of pro- been taken (that being an attribute with nouncing the word “wonderful," which he which Fred had nothing to do), not to be always called woonderful—it is the most would have been carried nem. con.; for a "woonderfully beautiful city in the world; hundred ducats would not have repaired Bath and Florence are the only two places the damage done to the dining room where I can live." Well, when he did live chairs, walls, and curtains in thrusting at there, he was an habitué of my house, and the mythological rat that was "dead for a also at that of a lady whom I shall call ducat." Nor did poor Mrs. Avenel feel Mrs. Avenel, who had two beautiful at all compensated when one evening (the daughters, and a hobbledehoy of a son, first of many) the volunteer and supernuwho had come in for no share of the fam- merary Hamlet burst upon her and his ily beauty, but who, being not a little con- sisters in the drawing-room, en route for ceited, and by no means good-tempered, a fancy ball, in all the black and purple, did very well as a butt for Mr. Landor, as jet and feathered glories of the Prince of a sort of background to the complimen- Denmark, announcing that he thought he tary poetical gems he was always writing looked the image of Charles Kean! upon his two beautiful sisters. But Mr. Landor's chief butt was an elongated, moth-eaten-looking individual, whom I shall call Q., but who called himself "the Poet Q." He had written a bulky quar-philosophic Dane, with a withering sneer, to, which he called an epic poem; but, alas, one of the very first critiques upon it, in a leading literary slaughter-house of a review, had been,
An epic poem should be sweet as manna;
a critique which Mr. Landor, with one of his stentorian roars, was never tired of repeating. Nor did he even let the unfortunate in the corner (where the latter always sat in the presence of the woonderful man) off with that; for the Poet Q. had also written another epic-let us name it "The Falls of Niagara which he called "his great work," saying it had taken him twenty years to conceive; and upon a young lady one evening saying, "Dear me, Mr. Q. is wofully stupid!" the remorseless Landor, exploding as usual into one of his roars at the mention of Q.'s. name, said, "God bless my soul, you'd be stupid if you had had water on the brain for twenty years, like the Poet Q.!"
"And the fine dark eyes, Fred, and the beautiful glossy curly dark hair, where are they?" asked his younger sister.
"Girls are such fools!" muttered the
as he strode out of the room to where, it was to be hoped, he found more appreciative spectators. There was no harm in Sophy Avenel's query about the eyes -ça ne tirait pas à conséquence — but that about the hair was fatal; for three days after, when some amateur theatricals were to be graced by this new Hamlet, lo! the straight, obstinate, vermilion locks were transformed into a dark and highly frizzled mass, which was a perfect facsimile of fried parsley.
Mr. Landor and I both dined at Mrs. Avenel's on that day, and had been duly warned by her, so as to break the shock, and not let our mirth mar our manners when Fred, prior to his departure for the scene of action, should make his triumphant entry, dressed for the part. He did so, just after the coffee, and stood, with folded arms, in a fine contemplative pose, just under the treacherous chandelier, the light of which converted the fried parsley into little inch-square cheques of red, green, and purple. Still, with the aid of our pocket-handkerchiefs we all behaved extremely well, including Mr. Landor. But his good behavior was only the lion's pause before the spring; for, striding up to Hamlet with a most solemn face and his hands behind his back, he accosted him with "God bless my soul, Fred, I'm sorry to see you are in such a bad way!"
Nor did Frederick Avenel, whose overweening conceit certainly made him fair game, fare any better at his hands. Charles Kean was at that time playing "Hamlet to crowded houses at Bath. Fred Avenel, a lanky youth of eighteen, crowned with very red hair, and having pale greenish eyes and an excelsior nose, always aspiring upwards, was seized with the unaccountable mania that he embod- "Bad way! what do you mean, Mr. ied the true type of what had been Shake- Landor?" asked the irate "noble Dane," speare's ideal of the Dane; the conse-knitting his brows, and champing his unquence was that poor Mrs. Avenel's house der lip, in the impression that "that old reechoed from morning to night with "To bear," as he irreverently always called the
illustrious author of "Pericles and Aspa- | old brown coat, sufficient to excite that sia," was going to read him a lecture upon quintessence of faith, the evidence of his dissipated habits and histrionic mania. things not seen. "Bad way! what do you mean, Mr. Landor?"
Why, my dear fellow, every one can see that you are dying by inches."
The indignant sibilant squeak of Fred's indignation, as he rushed from the room, was quite lost in Mr. Landor's loud and reiterated roars of laughter, for no one ever appreciated so fully either his jests or his bon-mots as he did himself; at all events, it would have been impossible for them to do so as loudly, at least, where his two pet targets, Fred Avenel and the Poet Q., were concerned. But then all Landor did was fortissimo, incisive, trenchant, and decisive none of your happy mediums, or suaviter in modo's, with even a fortiter in re at the end of them. When he gave (and though by no means rich he gave often) it was always fully, freely, thoroughly; for despite his old gabardine of a brown surtout, shining at the seams, and often minus some but tons, made more conspicuous by their absence a garment in which no Israelite could have detected sufficient regenerative capabilities to have invested half-acrown-yet was the lining, that is, the man, thoroughly grand seigneur, of the days when that now nearly extinct race existed as the rule and not as the exception; of the days, in fact, before this thoroughly radical era of adhesive envelopes (those insulting exaggerations of the old tabooed wafer), halfpenny postage cards, and all the abominations of a similar stamp. Yet no butterfly emerged from its chrysalis state into its purple, gold, and winged glories could be more different than the matutinal Walter Savage Landor in the aforesaid old brown surtout, and the thoroughbred, noble-headed, distinguished-looking man who bore that name when dressed for dinner. If his laughter was muscular and stentorian, the thews and sinews of his vituperation or his indignation, even with regard to his historical or archæological feuds, was equally athletic, of which I shall give an instance presently. It happened that there was at that time in Bath a young artist, a portrait-painter in oils, whom Mr. Landor patronized no, not patronized, for that was not his way; but whom he tried to serve. He had sat to him for his portrait en buste, which he gave me, a perfect replica of the magnificent head, and admirable as to tone and pose, with just the faintest soupçon of the immortal
Mr. Landor insisted that I should sit for my picture to his protégé. I consented, upon the express proviso that he (Landor) should always be there at the sittings, so that I might either listen or talk during the penance, and not die of ennui. Some time before this he had promised to send me his "Pericles and Aspasia," but was so long in doing it that I thought he had forgotten all about it. But not so. One morning a long deal case, looking more like a case of champagne than anything else, arrived. It contained not only "Pericles and Aspasia," but "Imaginary Conversations," and all his other works, quarto editions, splendidly bound in Russia, and lined with blue moire, as if they had been for royal presentations; so I determined that these magnificent and beautiful volumes should lie on a table, covered with a Persian carpet, and, with a Greek vase filled with flowers, form part of what painters call the ordonnance of the picture. During one of these sittings the artist happened to speak enthusiastically about some lines of Ben Jonson; whereupon Mr. Landor, who was seated at the time, bounded from his chair, began pacing the room and shaking his tightly clenched hands, as he thundered out,
"Ben Jonson! not another word about him! It makes my blood boil! I haven't patience to hear the fellow's name! A pigmy! an upstart! a presumptuous var let! WHO DARED to be thought more of than Shakespeare was in his day!"
"Well, but surely," ventured the artist, so soon as he could speak for suppressed laughter, "that was not poor Ben Jonson's fault, but the fault of the undis. criminating generation in which they both lived."
"Not at all!" roared Landor, his eyeballs becoming bloodshot, and his nos. trils dilating, "not at all! The fellow should have walled himself up in his own brick and mortar before he had connived at and allowed such sacrilege."
"But," said I, for the painter could not speak for laughter, "even if Ben Jonson had been able to achieve such a tour de force as this architectural suicide would have been, I am very certain, Mr. Landor, that, taking 'Every Man in his Humor,' Shakespeare would have been the very first to pull down his friend's handiwork, and restore him to the world."
"No such thing!" rejoined Mr. Lan
dor, turning fiercely upon me. "Shake was examining my eyes I had my pocket speare never wasted his time; and with picked." his woonderful imagination he'd have known he could have created fifty better."
It would take up too much space to reproduce the whole of this extraordinary, not to say unique, onslaught upon Ben Jonson; but there can be no doubt that if he saw and heard it from the shadowy land, he must have been greatly amused; and from the bloodshot eyes, and pugilistically doubled and shaken fists, that "suited the action to the word," must have sung instead of
Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I'll not wish you here!
At another sitting we had an equally ludicrous, because equally vehement, scene, though from a very different cause. I happened to say to the artist, "Come now, Mr., although Mrs. Primrose did wish as many jewels in her picture as the limber could throw in for nothing, yet I really must protest against your giving me as much flattery on the same terms. It is all very well for people to call my eyes violet by courtesy; but if they are, they must be the leaves of the violet that is meant. As to tell truth and shame the devil, I'm sorry to say that the said eyes are tout bonnement green." The last word was no sooner out of my mouth than Mr. Landor was on his legs that is, was shot from his seat, as if he had been a twelve-pounder projected from a can
"God bless my soul! green eyes are the most woonderfully beautiful eyes in the whole (which he pronounced wool) "world. It so happened," he continued, speaking, as was his wont, with such express-train rapidity that every now and then he made a sort of snap at his under lip with his upper teeth, as if to prevent all the words rolling down pell-mell on the floor" it so happened that when I was a young man at Venice, I was standing in the doorway of the Café Florian one day, watching the pigeons on the Piazza San Marco, when an old gentleman rushed up to me, and said, ‘Pardon me, sir, but will you allow me to look into your eyes? Ah, I thought so! Sir, you have green eyes! I never saw but one pair before, and they belonged to the late empress Catherine of Russia; they were the most woonderfully beautiful eyes in the world.' I have reason," continued Mr. Landor, "to remember this, for while the old gentleman
"No doubt," said the artist, convulsed with laughter, "the old gentleman saw something green in your eye, sir."
I generally came to these sittings in a sedan-chair, being in evening costume; but on that day, as the painter had only something to do to the head, I had arranged to take a walk with Mr. Landor on Lansdown after.
"I fear," said I, as we were preparing to go, "that the clouds look rather threatening for our walk."
"O, that is no matter," he replied, "for I have an umbrella a woonderfully good large serviceable one, and I'll get it as we pass my house."
And so he did, and pounding it sonorously on the pavement as we went, we trudged on. But how describe that extraordinary machine? for from its bulk, complications, and unwieldiness, it was fully entitled to that name. It had a thick yellow stick with a crook - a short and stunted one at the end of it. But the color - or rather the remains of the color- how even attempt to describe that? Professor Tyndall himself would have been puzzled by any retrospective process of analyzation to have decided upon its correct classification; for though nominally cotton, it appeared a sort of excep tional fabric, woven as to color out of faded showers and archæological whirlwinds, woofed with dust, while the differ ent compartments forming the circle were so leathern and bulky that they gave one the idea of being made out of the wings of Brobdingnag bats; for of course in Brob. dingnag the bats were as big in proportion as the people. When the machine was closed all these flapping bats' wings were kept together by tape-strings, in color, width, and texture being an admirable imitation of strips of seaweed, as they were of that dark, dingy, dull bronze green which the French call glauque. However strenuously the old brown surtout might have disowned "the soft impeachment," this umbrella was evidently one of its collateral relations. But the most extraordinary thing about it remains to be told, which is, that its owner was actually proud of it, not to say vainglorious about it!
"Ah!" said he, seeing my eyes fixed on this meteorological problem-"ah! this has been a woonderfully serviceable umbrella. It has been all over the world with me. People are always complaining of their umbrellas being stolen from them;