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our animal tissues.
One trifling example is often given. The material image by which the Southern nations instinctively represent the penalties of a future world is that of intense heat. The Esquimaux, on the other hand, consider hell to be a region of bitter and never-ceasing cold. In our normally changeable climate, the more appropriate conception seems to be that in Paradise Lost, where the damned are carried by sudden changes from one extreme to the other. Just now it is impossible for any person of average constitution to dissociate the ideas of cold and comfort. Though we cannot quite console ourselves by thinking on the frosty Caucasus, we can derive some pleasure from the thoughts of American cooling drinks; there is a music about the very sound of smashers and cobblers and cocktails. And in the opposite direction, our ideas of the infernal regions conform with singular accuracy to the ordinary images derived from Oriental sources. We have simply to fancy ourselves pacing Pall Mall for ever under the heat of a London July. But in more important matters than the concrete symbols by which we choose to interpret theological doctrines, the disintegration of our national creeds is beginning to manifest itself. Take, for example, the British Constitution, that palladium of our liberties, the British jury, the glorious system of party government, or any other topic of English complacency. We have been accustomed to speak of them as eternal and immutable, founded upon the solid rock of human nature; and yet it is becoming manifest that in our exultation we have forgotten the necessary proviso that the thermometer should not habitually exceed (say) 80°. When it rises distinctly above that limit party government becomes a mockery. The House of Commons is a purgatory to which no patriotism could reconcile a man for more than a limited period. The few heroic persons who adhere to their benches become as languid as an Oriental council, with occasional outbursts of intense irritability. Absolute submission is possible under such circumstances, or a fierce quarrel, succeeded by utter prostration; but that which is not possible is a spirited and long-continued contest, in which a succession of combatants comes up fresh and smiling, each man hitting his hardest, and yet never losing his temper. To maintain a vigorous struggle the constitution must be elastic, and the muscles braced. The temperature must be such as to allow of persistent effort; a certain temperate heat is necessary for a party fight as for an athletic performance, for it makes at least an equal drain on the consti
tution. If the present heat were to continue, half the members would be panting like wearied dogs, and the other half snapping like the same animals in incipient hydrophobia. The dignity of the assembly would disappear: the Speaker must abandon his wig; the Ministers must take off their coats; messengers must be admitted with cooling drinks; and irritable tempers would find the ordinary modes of warfare insufficient, and take to the bowie-knife and revolver as a more emphatic relief to their feelings. If a nearer approximation has not been made to this state of things, it is partly because many members have fled, and because the remainder are too much jaded to be capable of any vigorous action. They snap, but they have not enough energy to bite. The House of Commons, in short, is an assembly emphatically suited to moderate degrees of heat. A great statistician proved that a certain flower blossomed when the sum of the squares of the mean daily temperatures was equal to a given quantity. Some similar law may probably be discovered showing at what moment the bands of party restraint would infallibly burst, and Parliament dissolve into an incoherent mass of demoralized units rising only to spasmodic quarrels. The same causes affect even more deeply the national spirit from which even Parliament derives its authority. What is the sacred institution whose peril would rouse us to descend into the streets at midday? Could Mr. Beales collect a public meeting under this sun to vindicate a great constitutional principle? The very odour of a collected mob would drive off all persons possessed of olfactory organs, and the orator could hardly find voice to speak, or the masses to raise a languid cheer. Nay, if a French despot were to land upon our shores, and propose to relieve us of all the bother of governing the country, we could almost find it in our hearts to bless him for his benevolence and public spirit. In spite of enthusiasts at Wimbledon, patriotism is too exciting a passion to be welcome at a temperature of over 80°.
The morality which has for its object the social relations is, if possible, a still more irksome burden. During the hot hours of the day one feels that the duty of Christian charity should be to a certain extent relaxed. One ought of course to love one's neighbour as oneself; but then it must be admitted that " oneself" is anything but an object of unqualified affection. So far as a man's body is concerned, he is a nuisance to himself and to all his neighbours. He is simply a moist mass of unpleasant matter,
absorbing a considerable share of a limited the noblest people on the face of the earth, atmosphere, and certainly giving out noth- and the English climate, in spite of vain ing agreeable to make up for it. We can- objectors, the most admirable climate; not not follow Sydney Smith's advice of taking indeed that Englishmen have not their off our flesh and sitting in our bones; but faults, and that even our climate is not ocwe become vividly sensible that flesh is on casionally distressing in its more normal the whole a mistake. A fat man becomes manifestations. But the climate has, until ipso facto a criminal; a certain fiendlike 1868, always enjoyed this undeniable praise, consolation may be derived from the spec- that it is moderate enough to admit on every tacle of his sufferings by those who can day of healthy exercise. It is singularly complacently give thanks that they are not favourable, so far, to physical energy. For even as this sinner; but the pleasure is cer- once it has signally broken down, and we tainly immoral. The duty which a fat man may now judge for ourselves how much the owes to society at the present moment is to excellence of the climate is a necessary retire to some cool cellar, and there hide condition of some of the political and moral his sufferings from mankind until the re- advantages on which we pride ourselves. turn of frost gives an undeniable advantage The Americans, as it is often remarked, to the oleaginous compounds of humanity. have developed a new type of character The spiritual part of our nature is not so with singular rapidity. For the particular directly interested; some of the virtues may direction which the change has taken we be considered to retain their obligation even may be unable to account; but it is easy to when an unprincipled thermometer rises to imagine that if we were to take a hundred 100° in the shade. But a large number of average Englishmen, to broil them all the the moral commands become ambiguous. summer and freeze them all the winter, All that collection of axioms about procras- some decided modifications would be protination being the thief of time, and its con- duced in a generation or two. When in geners, should be temporarily repealed. future we see the long sallow Yankee, we Busy men are a nuisance. We ought to do should remember to what a process he and nothing that can be put off till to-morrow. his forefathers have been subjected; a proInstead of snatching the fleeting moments cess of natural selection has altered his as they pass, we should be thankful that one whole physiognomy. We may reflect how more day has passed with no work of any completely the fresh-coloured, succulent, kind accomplished. How sweet it is to juicy Englishman is a product of the clipause, to make an end, to rest unburnished, mate. In one where the extremes were not to shine in use, as though to breathe greater he would not only be directly modiwere not life enough for any reasonable hu- fied, as if he were kept at one time in an man being! Utter and complete laziness oven and at another in an ice-house, but he should be the ideal of reasonable men, and would actually tend to die out. He would the only permissible work that which pre- be at a disadvantage in contending against vents some other person from doing more. the influences of the climate, and his less sanguine relatives would become the ances tors of the next generation. This type of constitution has undoubtedly its defects, even in England; but it is a most essential element in our political institutions. The compromises on which we pride ourselves do not really rest upon the system of checks and balances described by judicious writers, but on the honest, burly, thickheaded, and unexcitable race who work them. If it were possible to suppose that a permanent change was taking place in our climate of which the present summer is the commencement, we should be compelled to anticipate a corresponding extinction of the good old English Tory. The thin, eager race of democrats and revolutionary characters would increase and multiply, and we should lose an element of steadiness which no constitution-monger could replace. Let us be thankful for the national fog, and pity rather than condemn those who have
It must be admitted that some of these remarks have a superficially immoral sound. They are contrary to accepted doctrines, and tend to sanction that weakness of the flesh by which we are sufficiently liable to be conquered. The effort of discovering the deeper ground which would reconcile them to the ordinary exhortations is too great for the weather. Metaphysical inquiries, at least, may be suspended until a more moderate temperature sets in. We will only remark that when the laws of nature undergo so strange an alteration, it would be pedantic to suppose that the laws of morality should not show a certain capacity of adapting themselves to the condition of the world. Meanwhile we may endeavour to draw one or two conclusions more in harmony with accepted theories. The most obvious is the necessity of a large allowance of human charity. The English people, we are accustomed to remark, is
to conduct their affairs without its softening | pared in this as in some other contingencies. influence. No wonder if under the unceas-A bright summer comes upon us as though ing glare they become restless, impatient we had never heard of sunshine. We feel of compromises, and disposed to settle it trebly because we have none of the matters by sharp and decisive measures.
proper appliances. Old Indians complain that they are hotter in England than in the tropics, because neither houses nor style of living are adapted to meet so rare an enemy as the English sun. It would be some gain if we had learnt some humble lessons which are familiar in countries of no greater aver
We are going perhaps a little too fast. Perhaps by the time this is before our readers the glorious uncertainty of the British climate may have once more vindicated itself. The Gulf Stream, of which scientific persons are disposed to make an intolerable bore, may have brought back our be-age heat than our own, as, for example, the loved mists. We may feel like owls retiring from the uncongenial glare of day to their habitual twilight. And perhaps the most practical moral we can take with us is the singular extent to which we are unpre
real value of ice. It has made its appearance more frequently than of old upon our tables, but we still scarcely appreciate the amount of luxury to be derived from ice even in moderate weather.
From Macmillan's Magazine.
A DEAD LETTER.
"A cœur blessé l'ombre et le silence."-H. DE BALZAC.
I DREW it from its china tomb;
With some thin ghost of past perfume
An old, stained letter,-folded still!
That, glimmering in the sultry haze,
Slumbered, like Goldsmith's Madam Blaize,
A queer old place! You'd surely say
Had planned it in Dutch William's day
So trim it was. The yew-trees still,
Grew in the same grim shapes; and still
Still in his wonted state abode
The broken-nosed Apollo;
And tossed beside the Guelder rose
"A place to love in, - live, for aye,
"But now by steam we run the race
"The time is out of joint.' Who will,
I need not search too much too find
Soft hand of her who penned it;
And see, through two-score years of smoke,
The pale, smooth forehead, silver-tressed;
I kneel to you! Of those you were
Whom some old store of garnered grief, Their placid temples shading,
Crowns like a wreath of autumn leaf With tender tints of fading.
Peace to your soul! You died unwed Despite this loving letter.
And what of John? Of John be said The less, I think, the better.
From Good Words.
A LOVE MATCH.
I AM happy I do not show it,
Once I set my face as a flint,
Once I sharpened my tongue like a sword; Then I battled and did not stint,
Now, now I have my reward
In the peace that has nothing to tell,
We know one another so well,
Or to do? is it rapture you miss?
A hush more sweet than I sought
No, why should I wish it to be?
For the stormy glimpses of morn, And the height of the level highway
For steep thickets of flowering thorn? Though the flowers unplucked lie behind, The white sun goes shining before, Where we follow and drink up the wind That pants to a far-away shore.
But you think we shall weary too,
When the weary sun sinks from the skies; But the twilight will come, and the dew Will fall like a seal on our eyes.
Do not think that I find it lonely
In the hush of the hot sunbeam; Though the child at my breast seems only A dream growing out of a dream.
G. A. SIMCOX.
PAUL ON MARS HILL, by Alfred B. Street, 578 THE NEW SONG,
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