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all nervous, sensitive people, our au- but impressive. When I happened to call, thor cherishes a distinct preference for the cheerful daylight mind; he owns the ability of Rossetti's extraordinary and morbid work, but the morbidness repels' him more than the ability attracts. Dickens at their first meeting struck him as possessing "the most animated countenance he had ever seen."
He gives a delightful picture of Anthony Trollope, "hirsute and taurine of aspect, glaring at you from behind fierce spectacles," with his tremendous voice, his bluff, abrupt, but cordial ways, his generous and unselfish nature. There is a bright vignette of Leigh Hunt in his old age, discursive and amiable, fantastically arrayed in a sacerdotal-looking garment with a bright-eyed, untidy little daughter, rejoicing in the name of "Jacintha," to pour out tea for him. The chronicler regrets Hunt's "incapacity for dealing with the ordinary affairs of existence, such as arithmetic and matrimony." He has some interesting recollections of Carlyle; and his daughter Eleanor. now Mrs. Augustine Birrell, was present when the Sage of Chelsea was presented to her Majesty, and forthwith, to the astonishment of all the seasoned courtiers present, drew himself a chair with the remark, "I am an old man, and, with your Majesty's leave, I will sit down." His notices of George Eliot illustrate in a delightful manner the sympathetic fibre in his nature that attracted to him people so different as Lord Houghton and Erskine of Linlathen, Gibbs, the eccentric print-seller in Newport street, Leicester Square, and a grande dame like Lady William Russell.
Nature had disguised George Eliot's apparently stoical, yet really vehement and sensitive spirit, and her soaring genius, in a homely and insignificant form. Her countenance was equine-she was rather like a horse—and her head had been intended for a much longer body. She wore her hair in not pleasing out-of-fashion loops, coming down on either side of her face, so hiding her ears; and her garments concealed her outline-they gave her a waist like a milestone. . . . She had a measured way of conversing, constrained
she was nearly always seated in the chimney corner on a low chair, and she bent forward when she spoke. Her sentences unwound themselves very neatly and completely, giving the impression of past reflection and present readiness; she spoke exceedingly well, but not with the simplicity and verve, the happy abandon of certain practised women of the world. I have been told she was most agreeable en tête-à-tête; that when surrounded by admirers she was apt to become oratorical-a different woman. . . . She did not strike me as witty or markedly humorous, she was too much in earnest; she spoke with a sense of responsibility, and one cannot be exactly captivating when one is doing that..
I am sure that she was very sensitive, and must have had many a painful halfhour as the helpmate of Mr. Lewes. By accepting the position she had placed herself in opposition to the moral instincts of most of those whom she held dear. Though intellectually self-contained, I believe she was singularly dependent on the emotional side of her nature. Though her conduct socially indefensible, it would have been cruel, it would have been stupid, to judge her exactly as one would judge an ordinary offender. What a genius she must have had to be able to draw so many highminded people to her! I have an impression that she felt her position acutely and was unhappy. . . . She was much to be pitied. I think she knew that I felt for her and would have been glad to do her a good turn; for more than once, when I was taking leave, she said, "Come and see me soon, Mr. Locker, don't lose sight of us." And this to an outsider, a nobody, and not in her set.
One of the most delightful of the many delightful sketches in this volume is that of Dean Stanley. The small, alert figure, the sensitive, refined face, the "eager sweetness" of address-all these traits bear out the inpression of singular attractiveness that Stanley made on his contemporaries. Mr. Locker gives a humorous account of an expedition to Fairlight, near Hastings, in company with the dean and Lord Arthur Russell.
Augusta [he says] used always to keep her husband very neat and trim, his black
suit and boots being always carefully brushed.... That day at Fairlight it happened to be particularly wet and slippery. We had not got far before poor Arthur slid gently down on the flat of his back. Not long afterwards he again slipped and fell, this time face foremost. Then his goloshes got unfastened, and full of clay and water, and, as he was rather helpless, we aided in taking them off. All these misfortunes did not in the least impair Arthur Stanley's serenity, and hardly interrupted the flow of his delightful conversation. However, the figure he cut was indescribably funny.
He was a bright brown from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet, but it did not discompose him at all. He walked complacently between Russell and myself, each of us carrying a golosh, which, with its mud, was a considerable weight.
Lady Augusta's emotions on welcoming her dean home again in this dis guise may be conceived.
Lady Charlotte Locker died in 1872, and about two years afterwards Mr. Locker married the daughter of Sir Curtis Lampson and assumed the name of Lampson in addition to his patronymic. At Rowfant, his wife's home and afterwards his own, he collected round him a charming and varied circle of friends, and was free to indulge the elegant hobby of book-collecting. His celebrated little volume of "London Lyrics," published in 1857, had given him the entrée to the best magazines, such as Macmillan's and the Cornhill, but only the spur of necessity could ever have made him a prolific writer. He died at Rowfant in the spring of 1895. "Children, love one another," he wrote, "that will be your best remembrance of me." The recommendation is characteristic. Urbanity and a certain pensive grace characterize these memoirs, as they do everything else that he wrote. One feels that had he been a man of robuster fibre, he might have made a more decided mark upon his age, but his work would have lost its peculiar cachet of delicacy and thoughtful charm, the mood-half smiling, half serious-of a looker on at the game of life.
There is much literary criticism, unpretentious but admirable for delicacy and discrimination, scattered through these pages. Mr. Locker was, one need hardly say, a great admirer of Jane Austen, and recommends his children to read the story of Anne Elliott, in "Persuasion," if they wish to realize the perfection of her art. "Lycidas," with its surpassing melody and unapproachable distinction, he considers as in some respects the finest poem in the language, though he somewhat demurs to the "Pilot of the Galilean Lake." "Cowper," he says, summing up in a phrase one of the essential elements in the poet's nature, "writes so He is "envery like a gentleman.” thralled by Wordsworth's rapture, spiritual passion, sane imagination and serenity, and his power of bringing the infinite into every-day life." But, as becomes a "society poet," he gives Pope ciates Browning's "intellectual momena very high place. He greatly appretum" and subtle and spiritual energy; he is hopeful and makes others hope, but "he makes too great a demand on the intellectual vigor of the reader." Locker had much in common with Thackeray, and speaks of him with peculiar sympathy:
Thackeray [he reminds us] was a good man. He had a strong sense of religion; he recognizes that the human soul requires such a sanctuary and would starve without it. It was Thackeray who spoke sorrowfully of his little Ethel Newcome as going prayerless to bed.
Many people will have been led through these delightful reminiscences to revive their recollections of Mr. Locker's poetry. It belongs essentially to the genus of the "Lyra Elegantiarum," to the class represented by Suckling and Herrick, by Prior and Gay, by Praed and Thackeray, and Austin Dobson. This class includes the fanciful gallantry of
When as in silks my Julia goes, no less than the chivalrous appeal of Lovelace,
I could not love thee, dear, so much
Swift in his savage, and Pope in his venomed, moods are outside the range of it; but when the terrible dean allows his mood to soften into the delightful, playful tenderness of his birthday odes to Stella, he vindicates his right to a place in the band as truly as Pope in the famous stanza:
Happy the man whose wish and care
It admits the rollicking fun of Canning's Song from the Anti-Jacobin, and the rather more subdued satire of Praed's "Sleep, Mr. Speaker, sleep while you may," or "The Letter of Advice," surely one of the most perfect things of its kind ever written:
Miss Lane, at her Temple of Fashion, Taught us both how to sing and to speak,
And we loved one another with passion,
Before we had been there a week;
I gave you a chain-is it broken?
This is not much in the vein of the modern débutante; and still less the catalogue of desiderata that follows:If he speaks of a tax or a duty
If he does not look grand on his knees; If he's blind to a landscape of beauty, Hills, valleys, rocks, waters, and trees; If he dotes not on desolate towers,
If he likes not to hear the blast blow; If he knows not the language of flowers, My own Araminta, say no.
The heroines of "Sense and Sensibility," or "Northanger Abbey" might have discussed the "not impossible he" much in these terms. Still, in spite of the change in taste, one cannot but admire the delicate light touch of the poet, and the certainty and grace of his handling.
But the most exquisite work done in this genre does not depend for its effect on buoyancy and brilliancy alone. All poetry worthy of the name must stir a keener emotion than the surface sense of the ridiculous, must strike a deeper note than that of conventional
compliment or social satire. The great humorists-and this is the secret of their power-have this of the poet in them, that they are dominated by a sense of the contrasts of life; its trivialities and its mysteries, its absurdity and pathos, lie very close together in their minds. They are beset with the thought of man's fragility in the grip of the awful unknown powers which shape his destiny; his efforts, which seem so futile; his schemes, woven with patient care, only to be brushed away, like a spider's web, by the terrible silent irony of events; his desires, so blindly placed; his labor for that which satisfieth not-all these elements in the human tragi-comedy win them to the smile that is sadder than tears. So Thackeray, before his bowl of bouillabaisse, in "The New Street of the Little Fields," sees at the board about him the ghosts of his old companions, pictures in the seat at his side the form of the one taken from him by affliction worse than death, leaving him to his widowed hearth, and the cup that henceforth there is none to share.
We bow to Heaven that willed it so.
It is well, we know, for those who can say those words in sincerity-and yet the wonder and the pity of it!
Why do our joys depart
I see, and know not why
Thorns live and roses die.
This is the characteristic note of the poetry that we are particularly considering; this quick and delicate sense of the outward; this brilliant reflection of the movement and tone of social life; and yet, as a constant undertone, "the sense of tears in mortal things," reminding one of the poignant sadness underlying the airy capricious harmonies of Chopin's waltz music. the outcome of a nature, constitutionally sensitive, prone to melancholy; tried by domestic reverses, by bereavement, or else by that natural deficiency of animal spirits, that inborn lack of joy, which is the heritage of anæmic and ner
The first was Thackeray's case, the latter is more like the case of Frederick Locker. As a child, he was a creature of strange, morbid moods; and though he seems to have outgrown his tendency to hypochondria, yet his nerves were always too much "on the surface" for his own comfort; and, like the fairy prince who could hear the grass grow, the inevitable miseries of life pressed on him all through what most people would have called a fortunate existence. The gentle gaiety which charms one as well in his poems as in these reminiscences, gleams on an “arrière fond" of pensive reflection.
The sum of work which he has left to the judgment of posterity is not considerable, and it is hardly possible yet to decide how much even of that small amount will live. But the writers of delicate and fanciful "society verse" in English are not so many that the reader can ever, we think, afford quite to forget him. Mr. Austin Dobson himself would find it difficult to surpass the airy grace of pieces like "Geraldine and I," or the charming stanzas on “Gerty's Glove." The dainty sportiveness of these trifles is slightly tinged with a delicate pensiveness, not sufficiently profound to spoil the "Dresden china" effect-with a touch of tender sentiment like the scent of pot-pourri in an old-fashioned drawing-room, where spindle-legged tables encumber your progress, and the sampler-worked shepherdess of a hundred years ago smiles down at you with the roses scarcely faded on her worsted cheeks. Witty to any marked degree, our poet is not; but he abounds in a humor that reminds one of Thackeray's, only that it is less piercing and poignant, more allied to the sentiment and less to the tragedy of life. You can see the twinkle in his eye, as in his "Lines on a Skull" he couples the whimsically discordant names of this audacious stanza:
The wits of Nelly Gwyn or Dr. Watts, Two noted bards, two philanthropic sirens;
and the demure air with which he introduces each to its ill-assorted partner. There is another poem of his in which he narrates how
As I walked to the club and was deep in a strophe,
Which turned upon all that's delightful in Sophy,
he was accosted by a mendicant, and then follows an amusing picture of the most tender-hearted of bards emitting the severe, if salutary, sentiments of a member of the Charity Organization Society, and winding up with the reflec
Always one's heart to be hardening thus, If wholesome for beggars, is harmful for
But perhaps after all the pieces in which he appears to the greatest advantage are those in which the graver tone predominates over the gay-in such a one, for instance, as the little poem called "It might have been."
Again I read your letter through,
"How wonderful is fate's decree, How sweet is all your life to you, And oh, how sad is mine to me."
I know your wail: who knows it not? He gave: He taketh that He gave. Yours is the lot: the common lot,
To go down weeping to the grave.
Dear bird, blithe bird, that singst in frost,
He mourns what he has only lost,
One might almost assert on the bare authority of those two last lines that Locker had the gifts of insight and expression that make the poet. But the volume that we have just laid down shows us that he had more than that. It is no small power to have been able to attach to yourself a character so pure as Arthur Stanley's, or personalities so marked in diverse ways as those of Marian Evans, Robert Browning, Al
fred Tennyson. That he had the virtue and the charm to do this was his gain while he lived; it is our gain now that he is gone. Surely we owe a debt of no small gratitude to this charming writer and kindly-spirited gentleman, for that before he passed forever from the stage of this life, he left this legacy of pleasant and helpful memories for his descendants and for us.
A PERSIAN MIRACLE PLAY. Mahomed Abdullah, my moonshee, sat waiting in the verandah telling his beads and stroking his long beard, which, newly dyed with hennah that morning, glowed a brilliant orange and gave him a decidedly startling appearance. As I came out of my room he
salaamed, he had a favor to ask-would the sahib graciously grant it him?
"To-morrow, as the sahib knows, is to be acted the tragedy of the blessed martyrs Hassan and Husain. things are all prepared-actors, dresses, and camels having come from a long distance, but one thing lacks-a horse for the blessed saint to ride upon. The
sahib knows there are no horses in the village except the one belonging to the sahib. Will the sahib lend it for the three days' acting and confer an eternal favor on his servant?"
I am graciously pleased to lend my small, weedy Persian pony, which, as Mahomed remarks, is the only specimen of his kind within a radius of several miles. It would indeed be deplorable if the sainted martyr could find no better mount than the ordinary village camel. With profuse thanks the old man bowed himself out, but stopped when he reached the steps. "Perhaps also the protector of the poor would lend the light of his presence to the play and deign to observe the acting of his moonshee, who is to take the part of Zeinat, sister to the blessed martyr." And this favor was granted too.
The next morning the village was made hideous by the beating of tom
toms, blowing of horns, shrieks and cries, all in honor of the first day of the Moharram, the day on which all true believers (Shiahs, bien entendu, not those dogs of Sunnis) commemorate the tragic death of their greatest saint, Husain, son of the Khalifa All and grandson to the Prophet himself.
Office duties over, I made my way to the scene of action. The play takes place in the open air and there is no stage, but carpets are spread and a species of throne erected, whereon sits the cruel tyrant Yezid, surrounded by his court. Exactly opposite are the best seats, reserved for the Persian governor and his suite, and into one of these I am shown. The rest of the spectators sit huddled together either side, the women in a corner by
themselves. The audience is great, as from far and near every one who is able to walk, crawl, or be carried, has
come to see the death of their beloved Husain.
The Sunnis, who form the larger portion of Mahomedans, like Gallio, care for none of these things. Like the Shiahs they keep the tenth day of the Moharram sacred, as a solemn fast, but only because on that day Allah created Adam. The history of the play
On his death-bed the prophet Mahomed was asked to appoint a successor, and he replied it should be the person nearest him. One party (the Shiahs) took this to mean his cousin and husband of his daughter Fatimeh, All, his nearest of kin. The other faction (Sunnis), however, interpreted this as meaning the person nearest him at the time of his death, Alm Bakr.
From this the strife began which split Islam into two hostile factions and exists till the present day, and never did Catholic and Protestant hate each other more bitterly in the Middle Ages than do Shiah and Sunni.
The Shiahs made Ali khalifa, but the opposing faction refused to acknowledge him and elected Alm Bakr and after him Oman and Osman.
A plot formed to murder Ali, and being successful, his son All Hassan, a