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shrinking from him; then she turned to minute. I think you ought to marry wards him again with sudden compunction. her "You must not suppose it is unkindness; “Oh, there would be no hindrance but think, — two people who have been there," said Millefleurs; "that was quite like brother and sister.”
unsuitable. I don't suppose it could ever “The only time,” said Millefleurs, still have been. But with you," he said, turnmore seriously, "that I ever stood in this ing to take her hand again, “dear Edith! position before, it was the relationship of everything is as it should be - it pleases mother and son that was suggested to me your people, and it will delight mine.
with equal futility, if you will permit They will all love you; and for my part, I me to say so; brother and sister means am almost as fond of dear Lady Lindores little. So many people think they feel so, as I am of you. Nothing could be more till some moment undeceives them. I jolly (to use a vulgar word — for I hate think I may safely say that my feelings slang) than the life we should lead. I have never — except, perhaps, at the very should take you over there, don't you first been those of a brother, any know? and show you everything, as far more," he added in a parenthesis, “than as San Francisco if you like. I know it they were ever those of a son."
all. And you would form my opinions, What Edith said in reply was the most and make me good for something when curious request ever made perhaps by a we came back. Come ! let it be settled girl to the man who had just asked her to so," said Millefleurs, laying his other marry him. She laid her hand upon his hand on Edith's, and patting it softly. It arm, and said softly, “ Tell me about was the gentlest, fraternal, affectionate ber!” in a voice of mild coaxing, just clasp. The bands lay within each other tempered with laughter. Millefleurs shook without a thrill in them the young man his head, and relieved his plump bosom kind as any brother, the girl in no wise with a little sigh.
afraid. “Not at this moment, dear Edith. “Do you think,” said Edith, with a This affair must first be arranged between little solemnity, from which it cost her
You do not mean to refuse me? Re- some trouble to keep out a laugh, “that flect a moment. I spoke to your father if I could consent (which I cannot: it is more than a week ago. It was the day impossible), do you think it would not be before the death of poor Mr. Torrance. a surprise, and perhaps a painful one, to Since then I have waited, hung up, don't - the other lady--if she heard you were you know ? like Mahomet's coffin. When coming to America so?” such a delay does occur, it is generally
Lord Millefleurs raised his eyes for a understood in one way. When a lady moment to the ceiling, and he sighed. It means to say no, it is only just to say it was a tribute due to other days and other at once — not to permit a man to cominit hopes. “I think not,” he said. himself, and leave him, don't you know? was very disinterested. Indeed she would hanging on."
not hear of it. She said she regarded me “Dear Lord Milleneurs
as a mother, don't you know? There is "My name is Wilfrid,” he said, with a something very strange in these things," little pathos; “no one ever calls me by he added, quickly forgetting (as appeared) it: in this country not even my mother - his position as lover, and putting Edith's calls me by my name.”
band unconsciously out of his.
6. There “In America," said Edith boldly, “ you was not, you would have supposed, any were called so by — the other lady chance of such feelings arising. And in
He waved his hand. “By many peo. point of fact it was not suitable at all. ple,” he said; "but never mind. Never Still, had she not seen so very clearly by any one here. Call me Wilfrid, and I what was my duty: shall feel happier
“I know now,” said Edith; "it was "I was going to say that if you had the lady who — advised you to spoken to me, I should have told you at home." once," Edith said. “When you under. He did not reply directly. “ There stand me quite, then we shall call each never was anybody with such a keen eye other anything you please. But that for duty," he said, “when she found out cannot be, Lord Millefleurs. Indeed you I hadn't written to my mother, don't you must understand me. I like you very know? that was when she pulled me up. much. I should be dreadfully sorry if I Don't speak to me,' she said. She would thought what I am saying would really not hear a word. I was just obliged to hurt you — but it will not after the first pack up. But it was perfectly unsuit
able. I never could help acknowledging gentleman he was. The discovery was that."
not entirely agreeable to his amour-proWilfrid,” said Edith, half in real, half pre, and wounded his pride a little; but in fictitious enthusiasm, - for it served in the mean time the necessary thing was her purpose so admirably that it was diffi- to set Edith at her ease so far as was cult not to assume a little more than she possible, and make her forget that she felt, “how can you stand there and tell had in any way committed herself. What me that there was anything unsuitable in he did was to set a chair for her, with her a girl who could behave so finely as that. back to the lamp, so that her countenance Is it because she had no stupid little title need not be revealed for the moment, and in her family, for example? You have to sit down by her side with confidential titles enough for half a dozen, I hope. calmness. "Since you wish it,” he said, Are you not ashamed to speak to one girl and are so kind as to take an interest in of another like that
her, there is nothing I should like so “Thank you," said Millefleurs softly, much as to tell you about my dear Miss
“thank you; you are a darling. All Nelly Field. I should like you to be you say is quite true. But she is not - friends." exactly a girl. The fact is she is older Would it were possible to describe the than my people would have liked. Of silent hush of the house while these two course that was a matter of complete in- talked in this preposterous manner in the difference to ine."
solitude so carefully prepared for them! “O - oh! of course," said Edith Lord Lindores sat breathless in his library faintly: this is a point on which girls are listening for every sound, fixing his eyes not sympathetic. She was very much upon his door, feeling it inconceivable taken aback by the intimation. But she that such a simple matter should take so recovered her courage, and said with a long a time to accomplish. Lady Lingreat deal of interest, “ Tell me all about dores in her chamber, still more anxious, her now."
foreseeing endless struggles with her hus. " Are you quite decided ?” he said sol- band if Millefleurs persevered, and almost emnly. Edith, — let us pause a little; worse, his tragical wrath and displeasure don't condemn me, don't you know? to if Millefleurs (as was almost certain) acdisappointment and heartbreak, and all cepted at once Edith's refusal, sat by her that, without sufficient cause. I feel sure fire in the dark, and cried a little, and we should be happy together. I for one prayed, almost without knowing what it would be the happiest man
was that she asked of God. Not, surely, “I could not, I could not,” she cried, that Edith should sacrifice herself? Oh with a sudden little effusion of feeling, no; but that all might go well — that there quite unintentional. A flush of hot color might be peace and content. She did not ran over her, her eyes filled with tears. dictate how that was to be. After a while She looked at him involuntarily, almost both father and mother began to raise unconscious, with a certain appeal, which their heads, to say to themselves that unshe herself only half understood, in her less he had been well received, Millefleurs eyes. But Millefleurs understood, not at would not have remained so long oblivious the half word, as the French say, but at of the passage of time. This brought a the half thought which he discovered in smile upon Lord Lindores's face. It dried the delicate, transparent soul looking at his wife's eyes, and made her cease prayhim through those two involuntary tears. ing. Was it possible? Could Edith, He gazed at her for a moment with a sud- after all, have yielded to the seductions of den startled enlargement of his own keen the dukedom? Her mother felt herself little eyes. “To be sure!” he cried. struck to the heart by the thought, as if “How was it I never thought of that be an arrow had gone into her. Was not she fore?
pleased? It would delight her husband, Edith felt as if she had made some it would secure family peace, it would give great confession, some cruel admission, Edith such a position, such prospects, as she did not know what. She turned away far exceeded the utmost hopes that could from himn trembling. This half comic have been formed for her. Somehow, interview suddenly turned in a moment however, the first sensation of which Lady to one of intense and overwhelming, al. Lindores was conscious was a humiliation most guilty emotion. What had she deep and bitter. Edith, too ! she said to owned to? What was it he made so sure herself, with a quivering smile upon her of? She could not tell. But now it was lips, a sense of heart-sickness and down. that Millefleurs showed the perfect little fall within her. She had wished it surely
– she had felt that to see her child a | lect "to roll joyously about on a dungduchess would be a fine thing, a thing hill
, thinking no evil”? as was said of worth making a certain sacrifice for; and Rabelais. Is all consciousness and inMillefleurs had nothing in him to make a tention fatal to the highest literature ? woman fear for her daughter's happiness. and is design, driven from theology, to be But women, everybody knows, are inac- allowed no resting place in letters either ? cessible to reason. It is to be doubted Is the quality we call humor the only salt whether Lady Lindores had ever in her that will keep the memory of a writer fresh life received a blow more keen than when for centuries? and, if so, what are the she made up her mind that Edith was essentials of this surprising quality ? going to do the right thing, the prudent, Who are the masters in the science of it? wise thing, which would secure family Who is the chief priest of its ritual? Is peace to her mother, and the most dazzling it another name for human life, or is it future to herself.
something apart and partial? Is it a When a still longer interval had elapsed, modern faculty and of recent birth, or has and no one came to tell her of the great mankind always possessed and valued it? decision, which evidently must have been Had Shakespeare humor? What was the made, Lady Lindores thought it best to go origin of the word ? Did it originate with back to the drawing-room, in which she the surgeons? Did ... but Have had left Edith and her lover. To think you any more questions? the startled that Edith should have found the love-talk reader may reasonably ask; and seeing of Millefleurs so delightful after all, as to that we may never be able to answer bave forgotten how time passed, and those already propounded, it may be as everything but him and his conversation, well, at least for the present, not to ask made her mother smile once more, but not any more. very happily. When she entered the Some people probably would make very drawing-room she saw the pair at the short work of some of these questions. It other end of it, by the fire, seated close is not the highest result of the intellect to together, he bending forward talking roll about on a dung hill, joyously or eagerly, she leaning towards him, her face otherwise. Humor is not human lise, but full of smiles and interest. They did not only a certain aspect of it, and that not a draw back, or change their position, as very elevated one. If I believed this last lovers do, till Lady Lindores, much mar- assertion I should not go on with this velling, came close up to them, when paper, but if the sources of this word lie Millefleurs, still talking, jumped up to so deep in the realities of life that the find a chair for her. “And that was the highest genius cannot exist without the last time we met,” Millefleurs was saying, recognition of its meaning; if, as the race too much absorbed in his narrative to give grows more intellectual, it may be exit up. “ An idea of duty like that, don't pected to grow more sensitive to the influyou know? leaves nothing to be said.” ence of this quality, though its power of
Lady Lindores sat down, and Mille- achieving it may possibly become less, fleurs stood in front of the two ladies, then it may be worth while to try to clear with his back to the fire, as Englishmen our minds a little concerning this word, love to stand. There was a pause
of and to settle to our own satisfaction, if extreme bewilderment on the part of the possible, what we mean by it.
Then Millefleurs said, in his For it would seem that beneath the round little mellifluous voice, folding his masque of the comic actor lie the issues bands, “I have been telling dear Edith of great controversies, and that the oppo. of a very great crisis in my life. She un- nents have recognized in the jester's derstands me perfectly, dear Lady Lin. laugh the truest test of what lies at the dores. I am very sorry to tell you that root of human existence. On the one she will not marry me; but we are friends hand we are asked lugubriously“ whether for life."
the greatest men,” those of deepest and widest outlook Sophocles, Dante, Shakespeare, Beethoven - have found
the world a merry place, or “bave been From Macmillan's Magazine.
much pleased with life." No one is so, we are charitably informed, but “chil.
dren and grown-up children, some of the BY THE AUTHOR OF “JOHN INGLESANT.”
selfish rich, and a few peculiarly happy WAS Hamlet a fluke? Is the highest natures.” On the other hand we hear, a:taioment possible to the human intelo |“ If the great humorist Circumstance
THE HUMOROUS IN LITERATURE.
proves to be so fond of fun, he must be a If this be so, then the paltriest fact of benevolent king, and therefore all is human existence, the stupidest life of the well;” we have nothing to do but roll veriest clown, is more pregnant of truth, joyously about upon our dung-bill. Can it more full of teaching, than the maturest be that' Touchstone's motley garb is the thought of the greatest genius, and we emblem of a solution which will deliver cannot shrink from the climax reached in us from these extremes — for extremes the modern paradox — that the humor of are always wrong?
Cervantes, which has to do largely with Have men always possessed and valued the unseen and the divine, is terrene, the quality of humor, and how long have while that of Sterne, which never recog. they called it by this word ? I have some nizes aught save the exigences of the difficulty in deciding which of these ques. moment including an insistent exigence tions to take first, they are both so impor- called death – is derived from the etertant. The word is yet scarcely fitted to nal order of things. the quality, yet if the latter be such as we But may we not oppose to this brilliant believe it to be, it must have been the theory, with some show of reason, that inmost ancient possession of the race. I tention is necessary to art; that if life be think we shall find it such, for the humor a lesson so easily read by him that runs, of Aristophanes is as pure as that of later wherein is the advantage of letters at all? days, and runs upon the same lines The careless do not read the lesson of man's folly and far-reaching thought, his life; it is the function of the true artist, littleness and his lofty dreams, his weak. whom we take to be the humorist, to point ness and his power. In the “ Plutus" is the moral, and we say that by the manner the germ of Don Quixote and Sancho. in which he does so he shows his skill. In the“ Birds " and "Frogs," human life The greatest genius, qua genius, that is played with, amid graceful rhythm and ever wrote, undoubtedly lends a vast supmusic, with as delicate and genial a touch port to the theory which I am opposing. as Addison's, and with a melody as per. Indeed it would probably never have been fect as Mr. Matthew Arnold's. Much the propounded had Shakespeare never lived; same may be said for Terence, but the for in Shakespeare we find neither con. distinguishing quality is not so marked ; sciousness nor intention, nothing but life it is more of the unconscious sort; nor is in infinite variety, fed from the wellthe medium so delicate and graceful; for springs of human feeling, and ruled by it does not follow that because man had the inevitable forces that keep the issues not yet learned to use the word, that there of life and death. That, when he began were not even then conscious and uncon. “Hamlet,” Shakespeare had no intention scious humor.
of doing more than dramatizing a bald Now, I think, we must go back again to story out of Saxo Grammaticus, is probaour first question, Was Hamlet a fluke? bly true; but it surely is a poor compli. for this brings us at once face to face with ment to creative genius to assert that it is a question which we must answer, Is gen. too stupid to understand a character as it ius conscious or unconscious ? Speak- grows under its touch. It will be ading of “ Werther," Goethe said that there mitted, I think, by those who have atwas an old prejudice that a book must tempted such
that the most de. have a didactic purpose; "a true exbibi- lightful part of their experience is the tion of life," he says, “has no such pur way in which characters do grow and de. pose. It neither justifies nor blames, but velop, as it seems, independently of the unfolds ideas and actions in their rela- author. They form their own story, and tions, and thereby reaches and enlight- pursue their own course; but is the ens.” In other words, is genius so infi. author the only person concerned who is nite that intention is contrary to its na- not allowed to see this? “Hamlet” beture and shows that it is not genius? or, came a lesson for all time because Shaketo put it another way, human life is so in speare, having set himself to write a story finite in its incongruities, in its pathos, in with a tragic ending, had the sense to let its meanings, and its hopes, that to de- his character work itself out upon those scribe it with the intention and puny lines, and those alone, which lead to tragic vision of a finite being is to destroy its issues. “It is a text,” says Dr. Gervinus, infiniteness and to confuse its delicate " from true life, and therefore a mine of lines; whereas, if the artist copies un. the profoundest wisdom.” That Shake. consciously the life which is about and speare understood the character of Hambefore him, he cannot err — the lesson let, and also that such meaning grew upon must be read aright.
him, we seem to have positive proof, from
the additions which he afterwards made intended to point out the incongruity of to the first cast of the play; every one of human existence, the contrast of man's which, as Dr. Gervinus also says, “ assist highest aspirations with his possibilities, to a more true understanding of the and not, as has been asserted, his “ludipiece."
crous futility in his relations to his fellowBut whatever we may say of “Hamlet,” man.” Man is not futile in such relait is certain that the “Quixote" was not tions; he is most helpful and competent. ' a fuke. The one thing which in this, the It is when he comes into contact with great masterpiece of humor, is kept be- the “universal harmony" that the futilfore the reader from the first page to the ity manifests itself. From the first the last, is the nobility of this crazed Spanish Quixote” has been read from these difgentleman, and, what is more, the humor ferent points of view; is it possible that is not only recognized by the author, it is some inquiry into the origin of the facperceived by the characters themselves, ulty of humor will enable us to reconcile as, in real life, people understand the hu- them? mor of the situation. With an exquisite The word must have had its birth in truth all the gentlemen are made to recog. Europe, for we have seen that Cervantes nize it. There is not a gentleman in the uses it in precisely the same sense that book, but, the moment he comes across Ben Jonson understands by it. Don Quixote, recognizes not only his What does the author of “Every Man worth but the humor of his craze. “Para out of his Humor” say? aquellos que la tenian del humor de Don Why, Humour ... we thus define it Quixote era todo esto materia de grandis. To be a quality of ayre or water sima risa.” “For all those who under-| And in itself holds these two qualities stood the humor of Don Quixote all this Moisture and Auxure : as, for demonstration, was a matter of infinite laughter.” And Powre water on this foor, 't will wet and run even those who were not gentlemen, but Likewise the ayre (forc't through a horn, or who as servants were accustomed to asso
trumpet) ciate with gentlemen, saw it. “If this be Flowes instantly away, and leaves behind not a concerted jest,” said one of the ser. A kind of dew; and hence we may conclude vants of Don Lewis, "I cannot persuade As wanting power to contain itself
That whatsoe'er hath Auxure, and humiditie, myself that men of such good under. Is Humour.' So in every humane body, standing as all these are or seem to be, The Choller, melancholy, flegme, and blood, can venture to affirm” such things. The By reason that they flow continually crass stupidity which talked of “laughing In some one part, and are not continent, Spain's chivalry away,” has been, I should Receive the name of humours. Now thus far hope, sufficiently exposed. On the con. It may, by metaphor, apply itself trary, “most of his hearers being gentle.Unto the general disposition : men, to whom the use of arms properly As when some one peculiar quality belongs, they listened to him gladly. All his affects, his spirits, and his powers,
1. Doth so possess a man, that it doth draw "Antes como todos los mas eran caval. In their confluctions, all to run one way, leros, á quien son anexas las armas, le This may be truly said to be a Humour. escuchiavan de muy buena gana."
I do not contend that Cervantes realized No inkling of the modern sense bere. the full extent of his conception, to do so Asper, further on, says, – would have been to limit its applicability. He could not, for instance, see the force To turn an actor, and a Humorist; of the allegory, which grows in import and truth as the years go on, which un
but he means nothing more than that he derlies the story of the liberation of the will represent the humors of other men. galley, slaves, and it is possible that he He charges indeed may have been unaware of the perfect these ignorant well-spoken days ending of the whole matter which his
with genius led him to adopt. He may have pandered to what he supposed was the
abuse of this word Humour; popular opinion of his hero by making him
die repentant and false to the ideal of bis life; but by doing so he did but point
if an Idiot with supreme force the allegory and les
Have but an apish, or phantastic strain,
It is his Humour. son of his wonderful book: Whatever Cervantes may not have intended, or have And it may be possible to find a germ of been conscious of, it is certain that he future growth in these last words, for