« VorigeDoorgaan »
and then. The tea is forthcoming, the and delightful. There could be no poetry spoons tinkle in the cups, – gently, for it and no refreshment of the higher order in is midnight tea — the sweet incense goes tea turned on from a hose, or served up up, and there is calm and cheer in that by the Wizard of the North out of inexretreat, for a time. Even if the tea-lakers baustible taps, or by Mephistopheles in were not weary, it is not a time for chat; Auerbach's cellar. but there is a hopeful sense of being re- The tea that is used at midnight tea freshed and soothed, and a feeling of must not be too strong, nor must it be of quiet triumph in human resource. Pain such a refined order as to awaken the and exhaustion are quite bad enough; but palate. Not too strong, certainly, or it yet, behold, without artifice or effort, how might drive away the wished-for sleep, a little festival of alleviation, repose, ten and yet it must not be weak. What is derness, and cheerfulness arises at dead the good of weak tea, however, or indeed of night, out of their terrible pranks with of weak anything? Nobody advises you “the finely-fibred human frame.” Of to eat weak raspberries or greengages, course, everywhere tea is soothing to pain and tea ought to be normally, reasonably and enlivening to weariness. What is the strong: The tea for midnight tea might bedside of the sick without tea? But tea be.indicated as a cottage tea, not washerat dead of night, as an amiable insti- woman's rasping bohea, of course, nor tution, a genial parenthesis of homely Lady Dedlock's pale, straw-colored infulight in the long tract of the dark hours, sion'; but just a nice, homely liquor, that and the worst of them is quite another will refresh, and then leave the system at thing.
peace. At first it is, no doubt, extemporized, In the institution of midnight tea, bread. and of course it is not rigidly held to, and-butter is not contemplated. It is not like dinner or breakfast, by the healthy, a meal, it is a soft, soothing refreshment, because the occasion comes, and goes, that somehow gets mixed up with weary and varies; but it can stand on its own and painful nights, and is not a hard-andfeet, and make its own ceremonies and fast item in the programme of the twentylaws. Of course it implies a half-toilet, four hours. It is very far indeed from as probably the occasions which bring being like a fairy festivity, for fairies have it about do. But the great thing is si- neither suffering nor sympathy, and this lence,
grows out of both, Still-born silence, thou that art
Forsan et hæc olim meminisse juvabit. Floodgate of the deeper heart;
Much amusement was caused some years that is to say, very little speech. One of ago, when a judge of the Divorce Court, the friends is weary with suffering, and refusing to grant the separation sought the other with nursing; the talk, if any, is by the parties, made this pleasant remark, very homely, and the “ cleverness"
con upon certain ugly incidents in the case, fined to allusive phrases with light and which would have taxed the ingenious life in them. It does not matter whether amenity of Lord Stowell himself. How the rain beats on the roof or not, or what much there is in the experience of the footsteps, if any, are to be heard outside. sick-room, especially in mixed and chronic There are the faces in the fire to make cases, which is of this character! But out, most likely there is a railway whistle there can be no question of tlie wisdom once in the course of an hour, some or felicity of diluting such experience piece of furniture is sure to creak, and with what may certainly be remembered a familiar picture or dress hanging up with pleasure some day. Only midnight will take on some new appearance. But tea is rather the sort of thing that steals incidents like these are not peculiar to into the painful, weary hours like a dream, midnight tea, half the pleasure of which than a thing to be arranged and pre-delies in the gentle intimacy of the festivity, termined. Some may not like the idea. and part, though but little, in whát some But those who do will always have a people would call its irrationality. As euphemism for some of their worst times. for taking trouble, when you have a fire, In the days when we had midnight tea,” with hot water, where is the trouble in will be a pleasanter thing to say than, making it? Tea is the final cause of such “ In the days when the nights were almost things. And in all the whole realm of unbearable ;” and pleasanter than all will fairyland, there is nothing less pleasing be the recollection of the last time when than those wonderful feasts which come of the spoons tinkled in the cups, – if that themselves. They are irrational, if you was the last night of the weariness, or please ; but “making "tea is both rational the pain.
Fifth Series, Volume XXXVIII,
No. 1974. – April 22, 1882.
| From Beginning,
Sunday Magazine, V. Robin. By Mrs. Parr, author of “ Adam and Eve." Part VI.,
PUBLISHED EVERY SATURDAY BY
LITTELL & CO., BOSTON.
TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION. For Eight Dollars, remitted directly to the Publishers, the LiviNG AGB will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage.
Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, or by post-office money-order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks and money-orders should be made payable to the order of LITTELL & Co.
Single Numbers of The LIVING AGE, 18 cents.
Then softly, softly on her breast;
And stirs the eyelids in their rest,
So clearly written in her smile;
A little love, a little guile;
I have no right to hear the while.
Her left hand shades her drooping eyes
Against the fervor of the fire,
In languid grace beyond desire,
It scarcely seemeth to respire.
X. The dream has passed without a word
Of all that hovered finely traced : The hand has slipt down, gently stirred
To join the other at her waist ; Her breath from that light, agitation Has settled to its slow pulsation;
She is by deep sleep re-embraced.
She is not surely all awake,
As yet she is not all asleep; The eyes with lids half open take
A startled deprecating peep Of quivering drowsiness, then slowly The lids sink back, before she wholly
Resigns herself to slumber deep.
The underfringe of gossamer,
The softest sigh suppressed would stir. The little pink-shell ear-rim flushes With her young blood's translucent blushes,
Nestling in tresses warm as fur.
So helpless, yet so awful too;
As ever sweetest voice could do ; Whose trancèd eyes, unseen, unseeing, Shadowed by pure love, thrill our being
With tender yearnings through and through.
Is curved in one delicious line,
Through which a tender light may shine; Her brow and blue-veined temple gleaming Beneath the dusk of hair back-streaming
Are as a virgin's marble shrine.
The solemn sanctity of death,
Eternal peace in mortal breath :
New strength, new hope, new love, new faith.
The flush is brightening on the face,
The hair grows restless in its place As if itself new tangles wreathing, The bosom with her deeper breathing
Swells and subsides with ravishing grace.
Count each affliction, whether light or grave,
God's messenger sent down to thee; do thou
With.courtesy receive him ; rise and bow And, ere his shadow pass thy threshold, crave Permission first his heavenly feet to lave;
Then lay before him all thou hast; allow
No cloud of passion to usurp thy brow, Or mar thy hospitality; no wave Of mortal tumult to obliterate The soul's marmoreal calmness : grief should
be Like joy, majestic, equable, sedate;
Confirming, cleansing, raising, making free; Strong to consume small troubles; to com
mend Great thoughts, grave thoughts, thoughts last. ing to the end.
AUBREY DE VERE.
Unconscious, that fine pencilled curve “Her lip's contour and downiness,"
Unbending with a sweet reserve;
Whose sightless eyes make eyesight swerve.
From The Fortnightly Review. Italy now contains about twenty-eight ITALY AS IT IS.
millions of people, one million or so less Any one who writes an account of a than Great Britain. The extent of sur. visit to Italy generally begins by saying face (or area), including the islands, is that his going there had been looked for about one hundred and twenty thousand ward to during his previous life with great square miles, or seventy-seven millions of expectation. I may say the same of a acres. Bounded on the north by the visit recently paid to that country. The Alps, and divided along the centre by the reasons in my case, however, were widely Apennines, while washed by the sea on different from those which generally lead its other boundaries, produces considerpeople to go there. While enjoying the able variety in the climate, though even country, the cities familiar from history, far up the mountains, on the sunny side, and the works of art with which they from the intense heat, vines flourish, and abound, it was the state of agriculture I fruit, besides many other plants or shrubs longed to see; the rich plains from Capua which would not thrive in England. To to the sea, where, from the time of Han- a visitor from our northern clime this innibal to the present day, with little cessa- Aluence of the sun on the lofty mountain tion, luxuriant crops have been grown; range is most remarkable, since where the plains of Lombardy, of more recent deep snow lies throughout the winter fame, but still old in high farming com- months, grapes are gathered in the aupared with the Lothians; the dreary, tumn. Another very noticeable fact is fever-stricken Maremma, with the slightly the great extent of land in the plains rolling and undulating lands of the Cam. upon which wheat is cultivated, and in pagna, leading down to the Pontine some districts grain crops, trees, and Marshes, which have been subjects of vines are all to be seen growing in close interest to every one acquainted with the proximity. history of agriculture both in past and The extent of productive land is estipresent times.
mated at about fifty-seven millions of That the old Romans were well ad- acres, equalling the whole of Great vanced in the knowledge of the methods Britain. Of this, twenty-seven millions of culture which enabled them to grow are arable, twelve and one-half millions much produce is apparent from their pasture, three millions are meadow land, writings, and their maxims show their half a million rice-ground, olive and chestpractice was intelligent, though occasional nut plantations cover about one and onereferences are made to superstitious cus- half millions each, and woods and forests toms, oftener quaint. Columella, in ad- are put down at ten and one-half millions. dressing landlords, advises them to be The yield of wheat is over twelve millions
more rigorous in exacting good cultiva. of quarters, maize six millions of quarters, tion than rent, as this for the most part barley, oats, rye, rice, and millet about six brings profit;” and “except in the case millions of quarters, lupines and beans of storms, tlie farmer cannot ask ease of about one and one-half millions of quarrent;
” and further, “The land ought to ters, chestnuts two millions, and potatoes be weaker than the husbandman." Their four millions of quarters. The wine made systems of manuring, draining, liming, affords eighteen to twenty gallons for each top-dressing, composting, and irrigation of the population; very little is exported showed the progress they had made in a save from Sicily, which province contrib. knowledge of the essentials to success in utes nearly a third of the whole make, and agriculture. Many of the practices at is followed at a great distance by Piedmont present followed in Italy seem to have and Romagna. Silk culture is still very been handed down from those remote considerable, but has been stagnant for times with little change, and several even years. of the implements now in use in the It is shown that nine millions of men south answer the description of those and women find employment on the land, used by the Romans.
and one-seventeenth of the grown popu
lation, males and females, are small pro- , water supply of towns such as Turin is prietors, who cultivate their own land. defective, and though as of old Rome has There is nearly an equal proportion of great displays in her fountains, it is by no messadri, or occupiers who cultivate the means universally diffused. Much manuland they hold for proprietors, retaining rial matter is retained for field or garden half the produce or thereabouts as their use. In Genoa, one of the most cleanlyshare; and in addition there are upwards kept cities, refuse is carried from the of three hundred thousand tenant farmers streets outwards on the backs of ponies paying rent, a portion of whom are fe- and mules, and women do much of the males. Under the head coloni there scavenger work. In general all town seems a further number of very small refuse is most cared for where the best holdings, amounting to between three farming prevails in the adjoining country. and four hundred thousand; while onethird of the whole agricultural population belongs to the day-laborer class without The soils of Italy are of the most varied
character. For all the purposes of cultiItaly, therefore, depends largely on the vation I have seen no finer in any country cultivation of the soil. This is very evi- than those found around Capua and the dent to a visitor from England, accus. plain of the Volturno onward to Naples tomed to see the rapid succession of and the sea. They are deep, friable, and mineral and goods trains on the railways of a dull color, changing into richer brown of Great Britain, there being no similar all the more striking from the bald, bare, stir on the Italian lines. About Turin stony - looking hills which form their there is a little bustle; one hears the boundary inwards. Much of the soil of sound of the hammer, and smoke arises other districts rests on stiff, tenacious from some few factories, but in general clay, the remains of what I am inclined to there is an entire absence of such signs believe is the débris produced by the iceof mechanical industry from all the sheet, which, originating in the mountains towns; and when a visitor ascends the and extending to the sea, left the spoils of campanile or cathedral towers, the view the high land on the flats. of the surrounding country is never in. The subsoil is in many cases akin to terrupted from this cause. In the streets the boulder clays of England and Scotof all the chief towns few loaded wagons land, at least so far as the dissimilar rocks are to be seen, and the horses which draw from which it was formed could produce such as are met are light of build, while it; and it is impervious to moisture. the most conspicuous are long, narrow Much of it has a covering of stiff soil of carts laden with hay or other fodder), set good depth, which is still kept in those
a couple of wheels of considerable narrow ridges formed by a couple of turns height, and of the same form, but of much of the plough or more, as directed by Palless substantial construction, than those ladius. These are perhaps not over two of France.
feet wide where the soil is wettest, but The traffic of the streets of Glasgow, or three, four, or five feet where it is drier, even of Edinburgh, would soon grind with deep furrows between them for down the best-sormed roadways in the drainage. Italian towns, and the little that can be On the subsoils corresponding to the said of their cleanness would be changed upper drift of Scotland the soils are more to complaint of mud in wet and dust in friable, are naturally dry, and carry more dry weather, were such heavy loads as luxuriant crops; while on the traps, or ours to pass along them.
volcanic rocks, their constant decay The fuel of the country being wood, leaves, as in Scotland, a soil fit for carrycoal traffic scarcely exists, and the conse- ing all kinds of crops. quent back cartage of ash, so overpower- The river flats on the plains of Loming to the municipal authorities of our bardy and the banks of the Arno and northern towns, is unnecessary. The Volturno consist of alluvial deposits from