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our story-tellers descends to "Summer in meretricious arts. Far otherwise. in Arcady." It may be too much to look for cleanliness on the professional stage; but surely it is beyond pardon that anybody bearing the name of a Church of Jesus, the undefiled Nazarene, should, by a doubtful exhibition, sully the mind of any pure lad or tender maiden committed to its care.
If there is anywhere any witness for innocence, any illustration of the seriousness, nobility, and dignity of life; if there is anywhere any institution to preserve faith in the world, to administer the Sacraments-that one which has taught former generations as nothing else ever could have taught, or ever can teach, the essential brotherhood of men, and that other which preaches the real presence of God in his world; any power to maintain, against the attacks of the foes of order, the sanctity of marriage; if there is anywhere any organ of God to set right the judgments of society, to absolve whom he has absolved, but to whom men refuse pardon; anywhere any authority also to declare the eternal righteousness, to thunder the demands of justice, and make plain the practical duties of honesty, chastity, and mercy; anywhere, in this time of social travail, any witness to the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven, bold to demand that it be set up in very truth upon this soil of earth; any corporate love to search out the poor, and minister to the sick, to pour upon the wounds of the victims of our social injustice the compassionate healings of its sympathy, it is not easy to recognize it in an agglomeration of enfeebled sects which eke out miserable existence by pitifully entertaining a world which the Church is intended to minister to, to lead, to teach, and to
Christianity is not stronger to do its work because, in the churches of its professors, there is being substituted for the incense of prayer, the aroma of the bean supper and the oyster stew. It is not more beautiful and winning because the congregations of its competing sects are growing adept
The divided Church is in humiliation and disgrace. Its impotence is perceived; it is despised. This is because it is trying to live in violation of its constitution. The Church is constituted in Unity, not in division; in Holiness, not in desecration, immodesty, vulgarity, and sensationalism; in Catholicity, not in the spirit of sectarianism. The Church will again wield its ancient sway over the hearts of men when, returning from its apostasy, absolved and regenerate, it again appears-One, Holy, and Catholic. From "Another Year of Church Entertainments." By William Bayard Hale.
From The Bookman.
THE PRESENT STATE OF LITERATURE. I observe that with us even more than with you all other forms of literature are gradually being ousted by fiction and journalism. Not so very many years ago-let us say in the times of Fielding-no forms of literature were more despised than these; and now they have acquired an almost exclusive and a singularly intolerant predominance. I should be the last man to say anything against the noble art of fiction, and especially to say it in the presence of so many recognized masters of the craft. But I cannot help thinking that it is much to be regretted that poetry, for example, has so largely lost its hold. Poetry is even a more noble and enduring form of literature than fiction; and great as has been the influence of many of the prose writers in the last generation, I do not think that their power can be compared with that of the poets Tennyson and Longfellow and Bryant. It is also much to be deplored that criticism has suffered so serious a decline. The descent from Hazlitt and Coleridge to Matthew Arnold seems to me great, and the descent from Arnold to our present critics is, I am afraid, greater still. Then we seem to miss now the enduring and monumental works of history.
We do not find instances of such consecration as that of your own illustrious Francis Parkman or of Prescott or of Motley. Many clever and scholarly little books of history are being written, but they are mostly designed for use in schools and colleges. might persevere in this line, but it is not necessary; enough has been said to illustrate my point. The pecuniary rewards of the other forms of literature cannot compare with those of fiction, and I contend that we should do what we can to equalize the other recognitions.
I say it with great diffidence, but I am persuaded that the machinery at present in work for the introduction of American authors to the English public is very seriously defective. It is my business to keep a close watch on American literary periodicals and new books, but since coming to this country I have been amazed to find how much excellent work has escaped my observation. This may be in part the fault of the critics. There are two kinds of criticism, each necessary and useful in its way. There is the criticism which guards the doors of fame, which applies catholic and permanent standards, which refuses to be carried away by the clamor of the hour. We need such criticism, and are prepared to honor it. One great English literary journal, in the course of its long and honorable career, has steadily pursued this policy of scrutiny It has discouraged many young authors who deserved to be discouraged and many who did not deserve to be discouraged; but so far as I know it has never, in all its history, brought prominently and generously before the public a new writer who could afterward look back and say that the paper had been the making of him. I do, indeed, recall one instance in which a new American writer received from it an almost extravagant generosity of praise-I refer
to Dr. W. S. Mayo. There is another kind of criticism which watches eagerly for signs and tokens of promise, and which is never afraid of falling into extravagance in hailing them. I shall be glad to see this kind of criticism much more practised. I do not believe in slating new authors. It appears that a fine of sixty pounds for the heinous crime of producing a bad book is a sufficient punishment, and as a rule it is mercilessly exacted. I abhor the insolence of those critics who ordered poor Keats "back to the gallipots." You may say that everything finds its level; that good work is sure sooner or later to be recognized, and that writers with genuine stuff in them will not be discouraged by attacks. I do know that genius is a very rare and delicate product. I happened to discover recently that one of the great world writers of fiction published anonymously a three-volume novel before his literary career, as it is known to the public, began. The novel, as will be seen, when I publish it, as I may, is fit to rank with his other works, but it received no recognition at the time. If this hint had been taken-and it very nearly was taken-the whole world would have been measurably the poorer; and I am convinced that many writers who have it in them to do great things are discouraged by the coldness with which their beginning is received and go no further. Besides, while a work of poetry may not receive recognition in the author's lifetime and yet be quickly received afterward-Shelley, I believe, never received sixpence for his literary work, and is now recognized as the greatest poet of the century-I know very few instances where a novel, neg. lected at first, has ultimately made its way. There are a few, but they may almost be counted on the fingers. Address by W. Robertson Nicoll, LL.D., M.A., before the Aldine Club.
A GLIMPSE OF THE BRONTE SISTERS.
When "Jane Eyre" was performed at a London Theatre-and it has been more than once adapted for the stage, and performed many hundreds of times in England and America-Charlotte Brontë wrote to her friend, Mr. Williams, as follows:
To W. S. Williams.
"February 5, 1848.
"Dear Sir.-A representation of 'Jane Eyre' at a minor theatre would doubt be a rather afflicting spectacle to the author of that work. I suppose all would be wofully exaggerated and painfully vulgarized by the actors and actresses on such a stage. What, I cannot help asking myself, would they make of Mr. Rochester? And the pic ture my fancy conjures up by way of reply is a somewhat humiliating one. What would they make of Jane Eyre? I see something very pert and very affected as an answer to that query. "Still, were it in my power, I should certainly make a point of being myself a witness of the exhibition. Could I go quietly and alone, I undoubtedly should go; I should endeavor to endure both rant and whine, strut and grimace, for the sake of the useful observations to be collected in such a scene.
"As to whether I wish you to go, that is another question. I am afraid I have hardly fortitude enough really to wish it. One can endure being disgusted with one's own work, but that a friend should share the repugnance is unpleasant. Still, I know it would interest me to hear both your account of the exhibition and any ideas which the effect of the various parts on the spectators might suggest to you. In short, I should like to know what you would think, and to hear what you would say on the subject.
"February 15, 1848. "Dear Sir.-Your letter, as you may fancy, has given me something to think about. It has presented to my mind a curious picture, for the description you give is so vivid, I seem to realize it all. I wanted information and I have got it. You have raised the veil from a corner of your great world-your London-and have shown me a glimpse of what I might call loathsome, but which I prefer calling strange. Such, then, is a sample of what amuses the metropolitan populace! Such is a view of one of their haunts!
"Did I not say that I would have gone to this theatre and witnessed this exhibition if it had been in my power? What absurdities people utter when they speak of they know not what!
"You must try now to forget entirely what you saw.
"As to my next book, I suppose it will grow to maturity in time, as grass grows or corn ripens; but I cannot force it. It makes slow progress thus far; it is not every day, nor even every week that I can write what is worth reading; but I shall (if not hindered by other matters) be industrious when the humor comes, and in due time I hope to see such a result as I shall not be ashamed to offer you, my publishers, and the public.
"Have you not two classes of writers -the author and the bookmaker? And is not the latter more prolific than the former? Is he not, indeed, wonderfully fertile; but does the public, or the publisher even, make much account of his productions? Do not both tire of him in time?
"Is it not because authors aim at a style of living better suited to merchants, professed gain-seekers, that they are often compelled to degenerate into mere bookmakers, and to find the great stimulus of their pen in the necessity of earning money? If they were not ashamed to be frugal, might they not be more independent?
"I should much-very much-like to take that quiet view of the 'great world' you allude to, but I have as yet won no right to give myself such a treat; it must be for some future day when, I don't know. Ellis, I imagine, would soon turn aside from the spectacle in disgust. I do not think he admits it as his creed that 'the proper study of mankind is man'-at least not the artificial man of cities. In some points I consider Ellis somewhat of a theorist; now and then he broaches ideas which strike my sense as much more daring and original than practical; his reason may be in advance of mine, but certainly it travels a different road. I should say Ellis will not be seen in his full strength till he is seen as an essayist.
"I return to you the note inclosed under your cover, it is from the editor of the Berwick Warder; he wants a copy of 'Jane Eyre' to review.
"With renewed thanks for your continued goodness to me, I remain, my dear sir, yours faithfully,
Smith in attracting public attention to the volume. As critiques, I should have thought more of them had they fully recognized Ellis Bell's merits; but the lovers of abstract poetry are few in number.
"Your last letter was very welcome, it was written with so kind an intention; you made it so interesting in order to divert my mind. I should have thanked you for it before now, only that I kept waiting for a cheerful day and mood in which to address you, and I grieve to say the shadow which has fallen on our quiet home still lingers round it. I am better, but others are ill now. Papa is not well, my sister Emily has something like a slow inflammation of the lungs, and even our old servant, who has lived with us nearly a quarter of a century, is suffering under serious indisposition.
"I would fain hope that Emily is a little better this evening, but it is difficult to ascertain this. She is a real stoic in illness; she neither seeks nor will accept sympathy. To put any questions, to offer any aid, is to annoy; she will not yield a step before pain or sickness till forced; not one of her ordinary associations will she voluntarily renounce. You must look on and see her do what she is unfit to do, and not dare to say a word-a painful necessity for those to whom her health and existence are as precious as the life in their veins. When she is ill there seems to be no sunshine in the world for me. The tie of sister is near and dear indeed, and I think a certain harshness in her powerful and peculiar character makes me cling to her more. But this is all family egotism (so to speak); excuse it, and, above all, never allude to it, or to the name Emily, when you write to me. I do not always show your letters, but I never withhold them when they are inquired for.
"I am sorry I cannot claim for the name Brontë the honor of being connected with the notice in the Bradford Observer. That paper is in the hands of dissenters, and I should think the
best articles are usually written by one or two intelligent dissenting ministers in the town. Alexander Harris is fortunate in your encouragement, as Currer Bell once was. He has not forgotten the first letter he received from you, declining indeed his manuscript of "The Professor,' put in terms so different from those in which the rejections of other publishers had been expressed-with so much more sense and kind feeling, it took away the sting of disappointment and kindled new hope in his mind.
"Currer Bell might expostulate with you again about thinking too well of him, but he refrains; he prefers acknowledging that the expression of a fellow creature's regard-even if more than he deserves-does him good; it gives him a sense of content. Whatever portion of the tribute is unmerited on his part, would, he is aware, if exposed to the test of daily acquaintance, disperse like a broken bubble, but he has confidence that a portion, however minute, of solid friendship would remain behind, and that portion he reckons among his treasures.
"I am glad, by-the-bye, to hear that 'Madeline' is come out at last, and was happy to see a favorable notice of that work and of "The Three Paths' in the Morning Herald. I wish Miss Kavanagh all success.
"Trusting that Mrs. Williams's health continues strong, and that your own and that of all your children is satisfactory, for without health there is little comfort,-I am, my dear sir, C. Brontë." yours sincerely,
The next letter gives, perhaps, the most interesting glimpse of Emily that
has been afforded us. To W. S. Williams.
"November 22, 1848,
"My dear Sir.-I put your most friendly letter into Emily's hands as soon as I had myself perused it, taking care, however. not to say a word in favor of homœopathy-that would not have answered. It is best usually to leave her to form her own judgment,
and especially not to advocate the side you wish her to favor; if you do, she is sure to lean in the opposite direction, and ten to one she will argue herself into non-compliance. Hitherto she has refused medicine, rejected medical advice; no reasoning, no entreaty, has availed to induce her to see, a physician. After reading your letter she said, 'Mr. Williams's intention was kind and good, but he was under a delusion. Homœopathy was only another form of quackery.' Yet she may reconsider this opinion and come to a different conclusion; her second thoughts are often the best.
"The North American Review is worth reading; there is no mincing the matter there. What a bad set the Bells must be! What appalling books they write! To-day, as Emily appeared a little easier, I thought the Review might amuse her, so I read it aloud to her and Anne. As I sat between them at our quiet but now somewhat melancholy fireside, I studied the two ferocious authors. Ellis. the 'man of uncommon talents, but dogged, brutal, and morose,' sat leaning back in his easy-chair drawing his impeded breath as he best could, and looking, alas! piteously pale and wasted; it is not his wont to laugh, but he smiled half-amused and half in scorn as he listened. Acton was serving, no emotion ever stirs him to loquacity, so he only smiled, too, dropping at the same time a single word of calm amazement to hear his character so darkly portrayed. I wonder what the reviewer would have thought of his own sagacity could he have beheld the pair as I did. Vainly, too, might he have looked for the mascu
line partner in the firm of 'Bell & Co.' How I laugh in my sleeve when I read the solemn assertions that 'Jane Eyre' was written in partnership, and that it 'bears the marks of more than one mind and one sex.'
"The wise critics would certainly sink a degree in their own estimation if they knew that yours or Mr. Smith's was the first masculine hand that touched the manuscript of 'Jane Eyre,'