« VorigeDoorgaan »
get about to recover his property in Har- must have been very difficult to preserve. ris's hands, a portion of which it is satis- We shall probably never know the exact factory to know the prophet was compelled truth regarding the relations of Harris piecemeal to disgorge.' In a letter to the with Laurence Oliphant ; but should it i. Standard” of June 8, Mr. J. D. Walker, ever come out, it will, we believe, he. a Californian friend of Laurence Oliphant, found that Mrs. Oliphant has penetrated who was of great assistance in disentangling into its essence, and done substantial jushis peenniary relations with Harris, tice to all parties. writes :
In 1882, Laurence Oliphant settled at "On the plea that the money placed by the
the little town of Haifa on the Bay of Oliphants with Mr. Harris was placed subject Acre, and there and in his mountain home to withdrawal by them, should they at any on Carmel, at the Druse village of Dalieh, time sever their connection with him, I in
the remainder of his life was spent, varied sisted on Mr. Harris making restitution. After considerable correspondence, a personal visit
with occasional trips to England. There from my lawyer, and threats of legal proceed.
can be no doubt that these years in Palesings, Mr. Harris deeded to Oliphant the Broc. tine were the best and happiest of his life. ton property ; this, Oliphant informed me, They were full of literary activity. Con represented some fifteen thousand pounds, tributions came steadily pouring into placed with Mr. Harris by him and his wife. The property has been sold within the past
Maga” upon all sorts of topics, and all few monihs for some eight thousand pounds, characterized by Oliphant's peculiar vi. and the proceeds distributed in terms of Oli- vacity and power. It was there that phant's will, so that they are still large con. " Altiora Peto" and “Masollam'' were tributors to the Harris community."
written, and later on the two works In spite of all they had suffered at the Sympneumata” and “Scientific Re-. hands of Harris, and of the active hos- ligion, which embodied the peculiar tility which they had good reason to be views of his mature years. The life which lieve their revolt had brought upon them, was lived at Ilaifa was at least free fro it is remarkable that the Oliphants ever the degrading and objectionable features afterward continued to speak of him with of the Brocton usage ; and, as far as Olirespect, and to extenuate any charges that phant and his wife were concerned, it were brought against him and his system. scems to have been one of active benevoEven in discussing matters which had lence and practical philanthropy. Into directly affected themselves, and regard- the religious principles which regulated ing wbich an expression of resentment the little family at Haifa, whither some would have been both justifiable and ex- few of the remaining members of the Brocpected, Laurence Oliphant was wont, if he ton community were soon attracted, we do did not take the blame wholly to himself, not choose to enter. England too conat least to find plausible excuses for the tributed a small band of inquirers, the prophet's share of the transaction. Har- most distinguished of whom was ris unquestionably did supply some traits Haskett Smith, an author and clergyman for the character of Masollam, but we of the Church of England, who becamo have good reason to believe that Laurence Oliphant's right-hand man in his work. Oliphant did not intend Masollam to be The Haifa community never got beyond received as either a caricature or a likeness the experimental stage, and Laurence Oliof the Brocton Propbet.
phant was still obviously feeling his way Before finally quitting the Brocton epi- toward a faith when his career was cut sode, we must congratulate Mrs. Oliphant short : whether or not, had he been spared upon the skill with which she has traversed to perfect his views, they would have made this delicate and complicated episode of a wider impression upon thinkers, it is Laurence Oliphant's life. She has pre- impossible to say. To us both “Symserved a rare moderation when dealing pneumata” and “Scientific Religion' are with passages which must have prompted as upintelligible in their teaching as they the indignation of any author; she has are mysterious in their ascribed origin; spared no pains to get at the truth, and and it would be of little profit to discuss has had scruples in telling it ; and she has speculations which had no better foundaapplied her unrivalled power of mental tion than an individual inagination, and analysis to lay bare the aims and motives which never got farther than the rudion both sides with an impartiality that it mentary stage. The death of his wife
undoubtedly affected Laurence Oliphant's which he had little more than begun when view of things spiritual in a very marked he was called away. If literary fame be a manner, and induced him to translate legitimate aim in life, he certainly earned dreams into actual experiences ; but it a fair share of it. If active goodness also deepened the seriousness of his views within one's own sphere and possibilities of life, as well as led him to indulge in be a duty to the world, then Oliphant duly wilder conjectures regarding futurity and discharged his part. If social distinction the unseen. Yet the old fire of genius be an honor worth striving for, then Oliburned brightly, and Oliphant was proba- phant with slender advantages outstripped bly never more his natural self than when most of his equals in the race. If self. penning those records of his eventiul sacrifice confers a title to public respect, career which appeared in the Magazine then comparatively few can boast of havunder the title of “Moss from a Rolling ing surrendered more than Laurence OliStone."
phant did. And if we believe that his He paid a final visit to America in the views were mistaken, that he himself was spring of 1888, and, to the astonishinent the victim of a delusion, it detracts nothof his friends, returned to be married to ing from the generous nobility of his charMiss Rosamond Dale Owen. But the acter. He was a man who well deserved hand of death was upon him. The “ loss so admirable a memorial as these volumes of spiritual influx," of which he had for supply ; and there is no one who ever some time complained since the death of met him who will not beartily endorse the his first wife, was really the loss of vital eloquent words with which Mrs. Oliphant power under an internal malady. A few lays down her pen :days after his marriage he was struck down with illness, and though he rallied
“The generation, not only of his contemrepeatedly, he was never able to shake off poraries but of their children, must be ex.
hausted, indeed, before the name of Laurence his mortal disorder. “ His last conscious Oliphant will cease to conjure up memories of moment on Sunday,”
all that was most brilliant in intellect, most one of hope and effort lifeward. He tender in heart, most trenchant in attack, passed away as into a tranquil sleep, and most enger to succor in life. There has been
no such bold satirist, no such cynic philosowoke four hours after in another world, or
pher, no such devoted enthusiast, no ad. rather under another form, without having venturer so daring and gay, no religious tasted death either physically or spiritu- teacher so absolute and visionary, in this ally.”
Victorian age, now beginning to round toward Was Laurence Oliphant's a wasted life?
its end, and which holds in its brilliant roll no
more attractive and interesting name."
- Blackwood's Magazine. which he specially devoted himself, and
FRANCESCA DA RIMINI,
BY MAXWELL GRAY.
ior dolore Che ricordarsi del tempo felice Nella miseria.”—Inferno.
Well might the memory of the “happy sighs,"
And well might gentle Dante swoon with ruth
Hath noon less glory mused upon by night?
THE EVE OF ST. JOHN IN A DESERTED CHÂLET.
BY FRANK COW PER.
It was a beautiful day. A gray mist pictures of the past. All other costumes curled up from the lake and clung to the change. If I were intimately acquainted dark ravines of the mountains. As the with the cut of the friar's dress in past sun grew warmer, a gentle breeze fanned ages, perhaps I should notice slight differthe still water, and the mists rolled up to ences ; but in the main the clothes they the mountain-tops. A few lazy patches wore when the monks tore Hypatia to lingered behind, lost in the deep gorges of pieces, when Peter the Hermit preached, the hills, where, blindly rubbing against when Bernard and Abelard ruled their the dark pines, they gradually melted be monasteries, when Chaucer wrote, when fore the mid-day heat, as luckless jelly-fish the fires of Smithfield blazed and the Instranded on a sandy beach slowly evaporato quisition terrified, are much the same under the fierce sun.
clothes they wear now.
The color may The steamer was crowded with tourists, be different ; but black, brown, or gray, -girl-schools, spectacled Germans, smart a friar centuries ago would be a friar now. young Frenchmen, the usual sprinkling of They are no anachronism but a reality. English, the inevitable curate or country I could not help being struck at the conrector, two friars, and one Swiss pusteur. trast they afforded, those men apart, with This latter was a curious fossil. He was their bleared eyes, sensual lips, dirty short, wizened, and decrepit. He wore a beards, as they came on board amid a tall bat on the back of his head like the crowd of simple school-girls and startled hatter in " Alice's Adventures in Won- English matrons. Living assertors of derland ;" his coat was long, his waist- eighteen centuries of celibacy, they moved coat low, and his necktie meagre and not about amid that ship-load of nineteenthclean. It was difficult to look at him and century frivolity. Their power was gone, then at the friars without thinking of his. but their picturesqueness remained. tory. I never can see a friar, with his And that insignificant comic little figure corded frock, sandalled feet, and bare was the representative of the power that head, without seeming to see romantic had supplanted them. How ell he seemed to typify the dry syllogisms of It was hot. The mountain road wound that dreary controversy of Predestination up and up. No breath of air seemed able and Free-will ! Could any spark of poetic to penetrate those thick chestnut-woods. fire come from so wizened and matter- The grass under the trees was a perfect of-fact a being ? Vates and Sacerdos are carpet of wild loveliness. Flowers of near akin, and those poetic souls who like every kind grew thick all round-the mystery in their religion will always prefer stately mountain-lily, bluebells, and yela priesthood whose garb is poetic. And low cowslips. Red, white, purple, and those who think a religion cannot be typi- blue ; yellow, green, mauve, and carmine : fied by a garb will prefer the dull prose of all the colors and blendings possible were coinmon dress.
spread everywhere. Delicate, dainty, At the end of the lake I left the steamer. mossy lawns, where the grass had just I intended to walk over the mountains by been cut, alternated with the rich wealth a little path marked in the Swiss Ordnance of unkempt pasture. The sunlight fell in Survey, and which would lead me across brilliant patches across the twisting chestthe frontier into Savoy. The girl-school nut-boles, and on the cut and uncut grass. landed also. It is curious the way moth. Bees hummed and flies persecuted, and all ers dress their fair daughters abroad. the while I trudged over ruthless stones Many of these girls were undoubtedly upward and ever upward. It was hot ! English. Fortunately they disguised the I could hear down below the merry fact very well.
laughter of the girls. A church clock What shapeless frocks, what marvellous struck the hour, and the thud, thud, thud colors, these nymphs were clothed in! of a distant steamer palpitated on the Were there girl-schools at Lausanne, I drowsy silence. The air quivered in the wonder, when Byron moped away his heat, a gray-green gloom shimmered under time at Meillerie opposite ; and did he the fantastic chestnut-trees, velvety moss write that they always smelled of bread- spread temptingly over shady banks. and-butter"—the fair, innocent ones ! - What a home for fairies ! I sat down. in bitter disappointment because they But it would never do to waste time in offered no other attractions ? However, dull sloth. I had many miles to go, and in spite of their chaotic clothes, these sim- some fairly stiff climbing before me. ple maidens seemed to enjoy themselves. There were awkward precipices to be They trooped up the road, under the chest- faced, and Swiss weather is never certain. nut and walnut trees, and laughed and Up and up I trudged. The stony road chattered, and picked flowers, and ate bis- had changed to a still more stony path. cuits and sandwiches, as healthy whole- The chestnut-trees had given place to some girls should. There were two girls brushwood, where the hornbeam and who were really pretty, and with a flush mountain-ash reigned instead of the chestof pride I was glad to recognize they were nut and walnut ; a gentle breeze stirred English. And not only were they pretty, the ferns, and the gray weather-worn sides but they were well dressed : and, if the of a few snow-streaked peaks rose above dress be an index of the mind, then these the foliage. How scarred and furrowed young ladies were indeed perfect ; but those solemn rocks looked ! Snow still perhaps their mother dressed them. How lay in the crevices, and little silver streaks ever, I soon left these fair sirens behind, trickled down their rugged faces. My and, like the hero of “Excelsior," I object was to find the path which led up steeled my heart against all softer feel- over these cliffs, across the neck which ings. I don't know how it would bave united them to the highest point, and so been, however, had these young ladies down into a deep valley where France and gone so far as the strange young person Switzerland joined hands across a foaming in that incoherent poem. They didn't. torrent. Instead of any tender invitation, expressed I had been warned the path was dangerverbally or ocularly, they only ate wild ous. Only a week ago a hapless professor strawberries, and made remarks sotto voce, from Vevey had fallen over a precipice which, as laughter was the result, caused and been killed. His body was brought me, with that self-consciousness of a true over the day before I started.
He was Briton, to feel a twitching in the back as actually in the right path, and his death I walked on.
had been the result of a slip. A mountaineer whom I met told me it was because posite Montreux. I knew the snow would he wore Oxford shoes, and bad no pails present obstacles which might be very in them. I thanked Providence I had a dangerous ; but I calculated that a cliff in heavy pair of stout boots, and, what ap- Switzerland_must be very like a cliff in peared to me as I walked, a ton of nails in England. There was little or no snow the soles.
here. There were only cliffs. But when Up and up I clambered. The stony I looked at them I could not help thinkpath had changed to a vague rut in the ing, “ But what cliffs !!! close herbage. The brushwood had yield- The track I had been doubtfully followed to a few straggling bushes, with here ing led to the very base of an over hanging and there a clump of fir. Their sombre precipice, and there ended. I looked up foliage and fragrant odor invited me to at the gray height above me. Sheer walls rest. The dry red cones lay all about of rock looked down at me. There was a under the solemn shade. No sound sinister expression about the sharp lines reached me now. The breeze fitfully which furrowed the face of the cliff. whispered among the pine-plumes, but the They went zigzag down the surface like stately trees disdained to break the brood- the grim sneer on the face of some coldly ing stillness. Far, far down below lay the sarcastic man, The silent gloom of the blue lake. The basement of the peak overshadowing rock chilled ine. A little whereon I sat was entirely hidden. The jet of water spouted over a black ledge flowers and lower pine-trees seemed to above, and splashed into an old patch of spring at once from the small blue patch snow below—so dirty and stone-covered a below. On the other side rose tier upon patch that at first I took it only for the tier of jagged rocks. Range on range of brown soil of the mountain. It was tough precipitous peaks tossed themselves aloft, and hard to tread on. I could hardly while above all, against the blue sky, realize such a substance could inelt. soared the white billows of the Oberland Clearly I had missed the path. Not of Berne, where the everlasting snows even a goat could climb up there. Howpiled themselves along the horizon. How ever, climbing had to be done ; it was strange the contrast seems from the busy getting late in the afternoon, and I had every-day life of that blue lake, with its yet far to go. Without wasting time in fashionable hotels, tennis-lawns, and arti. going back to look for the path, I deterficial society, to the unknown solitude of mined to get up this wall somehow. Το that arctic region ! In that white mys- my left was a dark gully, black and fortery before me, so near and yet so far, lay bidding. I instinctively felt I could never spots as untrodden by man as any soli. get up that. To my right a few pines tudes in Spitzbergen or Enderby land. grew, 'stunted and wind-torn, and above There is no spot in the world which brings them was a ledge which I felt I might into such striking proximity the primeval reach. After a difficult climb, and sevand the ephemeral as Switzerland. eral narrow slips, I reached the ledge.
Up and up I trudged. It was no longer How magnificent was the view! But I felt sultry. The sun scorched, but the air was if I looked long I should grow giddy. I keen. I had passed all shade, except could no longer see any grass slope below. where the precipitous cliff flung its cool Not even the top of the last pine-tree was shadow over the deep ravine. The track visible, although only a few feet beneath. was becoming difficult to find. I was There seemed nothing between me and climbing a steep slope of coarse grass lit- that small blue patch, some five thousand tered with huge boulders. The path had fect below. I turned to look at the wall dwindled to countless holes made by the behind. hoofs of the goats who alone could browse It was not encouraging. By clinging up here. It was impossible to find any to my ledge I hoped I might reach a rift real track.
in the rock which seemed to present an And now my difficulties began. I was easier foothold, as seen from below. But a novice in Alpine climbing. Counting on I could not disguise from myself the diffibeing what is usually called a good crags- culty of the attempt. I had begun to man where crags are not frequent, I had realize that what looks only a little way anticipated little difficulty in surmounting up, seems a horrible distance down. It the rugged cliffs which towered up op- was no longer warm. The sun was be