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and then. The tea is forthcoming, the spoons tinkle in the cups, gently, for it is midnight tea-the sweet incense goes up, and there is calm and cheer in that retreat, for a time. Even if the tea-takers were not weary, it is not a time for chat; but there is a hopeful sense of being refreshed and soothed, and a feeling of quiet triumph in human resource. Pain and exhaustion are quite bad enough; but yet, behold, without artifice or effort, how a little festival of alleviation, repose, tenderness, and cheerfulness arises at dead of night, out of their terrible pranks with "the finely-fibred human frame." Of course, everywhere tea is soothing to pain and enlivening to weariness. What is the bedside of the sick without tea? But tea at dead of night, as an amiable institution, a genial parenthesis of homely light in the long tract of the dark hours, and the worst of them is quite another thing.

At first it is, no doubt, extemporized, and of course it is not rigidly held to, like dinner or breakfast, by the healthy, because the occasion comes, and goes, and varies; but it can stand on its own feet, and make its own ceremonies and laws. Of course it implies a half-toilet, as probably the occasions which bring it about do. But the great thing is silence,

Still-born silence, thou that art

Floodgate of the deeper heart;

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that is to say, very little speech. One of the friends is weary with suffering, and the other with nursing; the talk, if any, is very homely, and the "cleverness confined to allusive phrases with light and life in them. It does not matter whether the rain beats on the roof or not, or what footsteps, if any, are to be heard outside. There are the faces in the fire to make out, most likely there is a railway whistle once in the course of an hour, some piece of furniture is sure to creak, and a familiar picture or dress hanging up will take on some new appearance. But incidents like these are not peculiar to midnight tea, half the pleasure of which lies in the gentle intimacy of the festivity, and part, though but little, in what some people would call its irrationality. As for taking trouble, when you have a fire, with hot water, where is the trouble in making it? Tea is the final cause of such things. And in all the whole realm of fairy land, there is nothing less pleasing than those wonderful feasts which come of themselves. They are irrational, if you please; but "making" tea is both rational

and delightful. There could be no poetry and no refreshment of the higher order in tea turned on from a hose, or served up by the Wizard of the North out of inexhaustible taps, or by Mephistopheles in Auerbach's cellar.

The tea that is used at midnight tea must not be too strong, nor must it be of such a refined order as to awaken the palate. Not too strong, certainly, or it might drive away the wished-for sleep, and yet it must not be weak. What is the good of weak tea, however, or indeed of weak anything? Nobody advises you to eat weak raspberries or greengages, and tea ought to be normally, reasonably strong. The tea for midnight, tea might be indicated as a cottage tea, not washerwoman's rasping bohea, of course, nor Lady Dedlock's pale, straw-colored infusion; but just a nice, homely liquor, that will refresh, and then leave the system at peace.

In the institution of midnight tea, breadand-butter is not contemplated. It is not a meal, it is a soft, soothing refreshment, that somehow gets mixed up with weary and painful nights, and is not a hard-andfast item in the programme of the twentyfour hours. It is very far indeed from being like a fairy festivity, for fairies have neither suffering nor sympathy, and this grows out of both,

Forsan et hæc olim meminisse juvabit. Much amusement was caused some years ago, when a judge of the Divorce Court, refusing to grant the separation sought by the parties, made this pleasant remark, upon certain ugly incidents in the case, which would have taxed the ingenious amenity of Lord Stowell himself. How much there is in the experience of the sick-room, especially in mixed and chronic cases, which is of this character! But there can be no question of the wisdom or felicity of diluting such experience with what may certainly be remembered with pleasure some day. Only midnight tea is rather the sort of thing that steals into the painful, weary hours like a dream, than a thing to be arranged and pre-determined. Some may not like the idea. But those who do will always have a euphemism for some of their worst times. "In the days when we had midnight tea," will be a pleasanter thing to say than, "In the days when the nights were almost unbearable; " and pleasanter than all will be the recollection of the last time when the spoons tinkled in the cups, if that was the last night of the weariness, or the pain.

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Fortnightly Review,

II. LADY JANE. By Mrs. Oliphant. Part III., Good Words,
III. QUEEN ELIZABETH AT HATFIELD,

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Macmillan's Magazine,
Sunday Magazine,

Temple Bar,
Nineteenth Century,

Macmillan's Magazine,

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131

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TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION.

For EIGHT DOLLARS, remitted directly to the Publishers, the LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of p Remittances shostage. 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.

130

THE SLEEPER.

I.

THE fire is in a steadfast glow,
The curtains drawn against the night;
Upon the red couch soft and low,

Between the fire and lamp alight,
She rests half-sitting, half-reclining,
Encompassed by the cosy shining,

Her ruby dress with lace trimmed white.

II.

Her left hand shades her drooping eyes
Against the fervor of the fire,
The right upon her cincture lies

In languid grace beyond desire,
A lily fallen among roses;
So placidly her form reposes,

It scarcely seemeth to respire.

III.

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.

IV.

The side-neck gleams so pure beneath
The underfringe of gossamer,
The tendrils of whose faery wreath

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.

V.

The contour of her check and chin
Is curved in one delicious line,
Pure as a vase of porcelain thin

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.

VI.

The ear is burning crimson fire,
The flush is brightening on the face,
The lips are parted to suspire,

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.

VII.

The hand slides softly to caress,
Unconscious, that fine pencilled curve
"Her lip's contour and downiness,"
Unbending with a sweet reserve;
A tender darkness that abashes
Steals out beneath the long dark lashes,

Whose sightless eyes make eyesight swerve.

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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 commend

Great thoughts, grave thoughts, thoughts lasting to the end.

AUBREY DE Vere.

From The Fortnightly Review.
ITALY AS IT IS.

Italy now contains about twenty-eight millions of people, one million or so less ANY one who writes an account of a than Great Britain. The extent of survisit 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- fluence 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 present times.

66

That the old Romans were well advanced in the knowledge of the methods of culture which enabled them to grow much produce is apparent from their writings, and their maxims show their practice was intelligent, though occasional references are made to superstitious customs, oftener quaint. Columella, in addressing landlords, advises them to be more rigorous in exacting good cultivation than rent, as this for the most part brings profit;" and "except in the case of storms, the farmer cannot ask ease of rent; " and further, "The land ought to be weaker than the husbandman." Their systems of manuring, draining, liming, top-dressing, composting, and irrigation showed the progress they had made in a knowledge of the essentials to success in agriculture. Many of the practices at present followed in Italy seem to have been handed down from those remote times with little change, and several even of the implements now in use in the south answer the description of those used by the Romans.

The extent of productive land is estimated at about fifty-seven millions of acres, equalling the whole of Great Britain. Of this, twenty-seven millions are arable, twelve and one-half millions pasture, three millions are meadow land, half a million rice-ground, olive and chestnut plantations cover about one and onehalf millions each, and woods and forests are put down at ten and one-half millions. The yield of wheat is over twelve millions of quarters, maize six millions of quarters, barley, oats, rye, rice, and millet about six millions of quarters, lupines and beans about one and one-half millions of quarters, chestnuts two millions, and potatoes four millions of quarters. The wine made affords eighteen to twenty gallons for each of the population; very little is exported save from Sicily, which province contrib utes nearly a third of the whole make, and is followed at a great distance by Piedmont and Romagna. Silk culture is still very considerable, but has been stagnant for years.

It is shown that nine millions of men and women find employment on the land, and one-seventeenth of the grown popu

great displays in her fountains, it is by no means universally diffused. Much manurial matter is retained for field or garden use. In Genoa, one of the most cleanlykept cities, refuse is carried from the streets outwards on the backs of ponies and mules, and women do much of the scavenger work. In general all town refuse is most cared for where the best farming prevails in the adjoining country.

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 messadri, or occupiers who cultivate the land they hold for proprietors, retaining half the produce or thereabouts as their share; and in addition there are upwards of three hundred thousand tenant farmers paying rent, a portion of whom are females. Under the head coloni there seems a further number of very small holdings, amounting to between three and four hundred thousand; while onethird of the whole agricultural population belongs to the day-laborer class without any land.

Italy, therefore, depends largely on the cultivation of the soil. This is very evident to a visitor from England, accustomed to see the rapid succession of mineral and goods trains on the railways of Great Britain, there being no similar stir on the Italian lines. About Turin there is a little bustle; one hears the sound of the hammer, and smoke arises from some few factories, but in general there is an entire absence of such signs of mechanical industry from all the towns; and when a visitor ascends the campanile or cathedral towers, the view of the surrounding country is never interrupted from this cause. In the streets of all the chief towns few loaded wagons are to be seen, and the horses which draw such as are met are light of build, while the most conspicuous are long, narrow carts (laden with hay or other fodder), set on a couple of wheels of considerable height, and of the same form, but of much less substantial construction, than those of France.

The traffic of the streets of Glasgow, or even of Edinburgh, would soon grind down the best-formed roadways in the Italian towns, and the little that can be said of their cleanness would be changed to complaint of mud in wet and dust in dry weather, were such heavy loads as ours to pass along them.

SOIL.

THE Soils of Italy are of the most varied character. For all the purposes of cultivation I have seen no finer in any country than those found around Capua and the plain of the Volturno onward to Naples and the sea. They are deep, friable, and of a dull color, changing into richer brown all the more striking from the bald, bare, stony-looking hills which form their boundary inwards. Much of the soil of other districts rests on stiff, tenacious clay, the remains of what I am inclined to believe is the débris produced by the icesheet, which, originating in the mountains and extending to the sea, left the spoils of the high land on the flats.

The subsoil is in many cases akin to the boulder clays of England and Scotland, at least so far as the dissimilar rocks from which it was formed could produce it; and it is impervious to moisture. Much of it has a covering of stiff soil of good depth, which is still kept in those narrow ridges formed by a couple of turns of the plough or more, as directed by Palladius. These are perhaps not over two feet wide where the soil is wettest, but three, four, or five feet where it is drier, with deep furrows between them for drainage.

On the subsoils corresponding to the upper drift of Scotland the soils are more friable, are naturally dry, and carry more luxuriant crops; while on the traps, or volcanic rocks, their constant decay leaves, as in Scotland, a soil fit for carry

The fuel of the country being wood, coal 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

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