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taking as much care as the parson with his sermon,—when it took twenty days to carry them a distance of a hundred miles, and when to receive them was at once to give character and dignity to the recipient! Oh, the tender farewells with which friends and relatives parted when setting out on their romantic and hazardous journeys of a few miles on the country road,-the strange elopements, pursuits, captures and villainies incidental to that mode of travelling! But Fielding and Smollett are now out of date, and even the great Thackeray, who loved these good old times, is but little read, except by "old fogies.
One by one we overtake the merry, lazy farmers, who extend a cordial greeting as we pass, and we know that they are following their fat beasts, already miles ahead, and carry in their pockets samples of corn and barley they are ready to bring home again if the bids are not high enough, -in which case their wives and children will fare badly for a Christmas box.
Here, after five or six miles, is a broad Perpendicular church, with at stout, grave spire to the right; the little town, climbing on the left near the top of the hill, and descending to the prosperous, brimming stream that moves silently down the centre of the valley. It does not look as if it would yield many memories to take away, this little town; but to one traveller it recalls a thousand incidents of the past, the cricket and football matches we played in our boyhood, and the journeys across green fields to see the hounds meet before run ning the fox from his cover. There is the village green on which many a "Queen of the May" has been crowned surrounded by the selfsame cottages with thatched roofing, and windows with diamond panes; and there, close by the pump, the old stocks, in which the feet of many a drunken brawler have been locked,
to the merriment of the bystanders. There, too, is the modest rectory, prim and neat; and we recall the time when the incumbent was as fond of a gallop across country as the gentry. And there is the magnificent Elizabethan mansion, with a huge flight of steps up to the door, heavy frowning cornices and massive balustrades, and its faint suggestion of oaken paneling within, looking dreary and desolate enough in the snow. Behind it, in among the white houses and up along the hill, lies a garden with its high wall, with cedars and cypresses peeping over in sombre curiosity, and huge chestnut-trees, noisy in the summer with the cawing of the rooks. There is a romance, of course, attached to that house, for it is the habitation of an ancient race of petty squires, justices of the peace, fresh-faced gentlemen, such as we see in old sporting pictures, wearing perukes, dressed in knee-breeches and silk stockings, hunting the fox three days a week during the season, and dividing the time otherwise between the petty sessions, fashionable race meetings, gambling at cards, and imbibing rusty port, with plenty of local talk.
Leaving the old village, retired enough now, we reach four cross roads, the scene of many a tale in legendary lore,-roads which were dreaded by travellers in the days when highwaymen were frequent,and, in the hazy distance, the three towers of Lincoln minster are just discernible. Closer and closer, as we approach the city, the farmers' wagons and carriers' carts, laden with fat pigs and poultry, become thicker, and the roadside inns, at which it is an unpardonable offence not to call either going or returning, better patronized. The farmer scorns the man who refuses to drink his "yaale" at the public inn quite as heartily as he does an infidel; he has a strange fondness for the "beer and Bible" theory, imagining that reverence for
the latter condones all the shortcomings arising from the former.
At shorter intervals now we leave village after village behind, and begin to overtake the fat beeves and sheep driven to market,—for it is yet early. Occasionally a shepherd, or a farmer in a small way, is to be seen in the curious old-fashioned smock frock of honey-combed pattern now almost out of date, which has to be lifted over the girths before the wearer can get at his watch or his old leathern purse, both probably heirlooms deeply cherished. This style of dress was considered an element of safety against pickpockets and sharpers in the public fairs half a century ago.
One or two more mileposts to pass, the cathedral all the while growing larger and more distinct, and we drive under the Newport Arch, through which the Roman legions entered the city nineteen centuries ago, and which then formed its northern gateway. Part of the old wall which then encircled the capital still mains, in a pasture close by, a hoary
monument, desolate and forlorn,
against which the cattle rub their horns and browse in comfortable indifference. What a strange procession that would be, which should include a few individuals from the successive centuries, out of the course that old archway has frowned upon,-what strange jargon in the gradual formation of our language, what costumes, what habits! Few of the citizens take note of that weatherbeaten relic, but Lincoln would not be what she is without it, for it is one of the few monuments of her old-time greatness.
The rst words to attract our attention as we enter the city are those of two neighbors greeting each other on the doorsteps of their cottages with questions bearing on the all-important Christmas plum pudding, and the mournful declaration of one that hers
ought to have been made a month earlier.
Suddenly the sun bursts forth, and there on the brow of the hill just before us the stupendous cathedral, high over all, like some monarch, erect, immovable, shoots its three massive towers into the sky, revealing its fine proportions in the morning light, which sparkles on the windows and weathercocks, and throws out sombre shadows from its buttresses.
To narrate the incidents of national importance connected with the history of Lincoln would be a task from which any student might well shrink. In this ancient city is wrapt up a great part of the history of England from earliest times. Roman columns, tessellated pavements, and rare coins, some recently unearthed, bespeak its antiquity. Dark, ominous, and threatening, the old Norman castle on the west side of the cathedral, once a royal demesne, with its embattled walls, its keep, and its Lucy tower, where more than one royal prisoner was detained, marks the scene of many a bloody conflict dur ing the reigns of Stephen and John. Among the walls crop up quaint hood-mouldings and corbels, mullioned windows, old archways filled with wrinkled oaken doors, grotesque heads of kings and devils extruded from mouldering eaves, the whole covered with ivy and cypresstrees, and partly surrounded on the south and west, facing the town below, with tall poplars and pines thickly studded along the embankment, in which the antiquated crows build their nests and rear their young. Up that steep, narrow hill, on which old-fashioed dwellings lean, like palsied people huddled together for warmth, we fancy we see the pilgrims, at least seven centuries ago, dressed in the self-same costumes described in the "Canterbury Tales,' wending their way to the shrine of St. Hugh in the minster; while a
glance to the east shows us the ruins of the old palace in which King Henry VIII. quarrelled with a cardinal on the legality of divorce. On the opposite hill, Cromwell, with his broad, red face, held the citizens in terror for several days, while in pursuit of the rebel army, tying up his horses in the nave of the minster.
In the evening the cathedral looks like one huge lantern, it being lighted up for special service, at which the first part of Handel's "Messiah" is sung by a trained choir of voices selected from all the churches. This
is a great event, and the grand old building is packed to excess by the townsfolk and neighboring gentry. There is something subduing in the lofty cathedral, with its
"Storied windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light," its solemn grandeur, its atmosphere; and when its mighty walls echo with the tremendous outburst of triumphant praise in the Hallelujah Chorus, Carlyle's description of standing at the gate of heaven and hearing "the voice of the obedience of angels" would be no exaggerated account.
ST. GEORGE OF ENGLAND
Not by thy weapon was the dragon
Servant of God, though wounded grievously,
Wherefore in these late days he draweth nigh
No longer fierce and ravening, but vain
With gilded scales, and silver, and again
He seeks the souls of men, but subtlely,
Luring them, covetous, until they lie
Won, in the glory of his golden reign.
Save us, St. George of England, 'ere we die!
Unsheath thy sword and fight for
us once more,
Smite thou the golden dragon in thy
For we fall down before him help-
The curse is on us and we may not
Margaret Deland's Old Chester books are like a chamber in an ancient inn, a far off corner of the world discovered by ourselves alone, whose intimacies can ever be vulgarized by unholy intrusions, where living is washed from the dust of over-modernity, becoming simply human, and in whose atmosphere, laden with the fragrance of the flowers whose names are memories, spiritual forces become very rea!.
Mrs. Deland takes us one by one into poor little sanctuaries of souls, troubled and untroubled, and we are
* Published by Harper and Brothers.
never led to laugh at the wrong time. Her reverence for life amounts to a perfect taste against which she never oends. This is a moral quality of her own personality, and at the same time, it is an artistic achievement.
She ridicules. She is caustic. But her ridicule vields a more gentle courtesy, and her acids are wonderfully sympathetic. The light which her intellectual acumen sheds on the foibles and follies and self-deceits of humanity never fails, at the same time, to color and warm with the
whole broad spectrum of love. She is most merciless toward the badness of so-called “good” women, and most bantering in her revelations of the weaknesses of masculine vanity. It is not, however, these individual traits, these separate qualities, that lend to her work a certain distinction, so much as it is her emphasis of conscience and its problems. Although not a New England woman by birth, Mrs. Deland is a New Englander by spiritual inheritance, as well as by domestic adoption. Upon her shoulders seems to have fallen the mantle of the older prophets and to her is committed much of the task of carrying on the tradition of New England ideality. Note the titles of her books-does not each of them bring to mind the posing of moral problems, the probing of consciences, the stripping of illusions? "The Hands of Esau," "Good for the Soul," "Dr. Lavender's People," "Helena Ritchie," "The Common Way," "The Iron Woman," "The Voice." "The Way to Peace," "Where the Laborers Are Few," "Old Chester Tales," and now this latest volume, "Around Old Chester" are they not taking up something of the work that Hawthorne laid down? Mrs. Deland ridicules the vagaries of conscience, and at the same time champions its supremасу; se lays bare illusions to strengthen, not to destroy, the ideality of life, and that, I take it, is the New England flavor. In an ultimate. grouping, Mrs. Deland, the Pennsylvanian, will, in any ultimate classification of American literature, be included in the New England school, just as certainly as Titian, Tyrolean bred, is none the less a Venetian. Indeed, I believe that many, if not most, of Mrs. Deland's readers believe "Old Chester" to be somewhere in New England in spite of and social activities of the most advanced type.
It is difficult to live in New Eng
its local color and geographic and historic landmarks. If a man were to close his eyes and follow subjective leadings, in shelving his books, he would find himself placing "Around Old Chester," in a contented niche beside "The House of Seven Gables," and he would never feel that the arrangement jarred his literary sensibilities.
Having thus placed Margaret Deland definitely in the New England school, let us next inquire where she stands in relation to modern movements. As a woman writer, we naturally inquire into her attitude toward modern feminism.
Mrs. Deland regards the feministic movement as a symptom of something more vital than itselfa symptom of the unrest produced by a century of materialistic development. I do not gather that she is particularly partisan in her feeling on the issue of woman suffrage. She regards it, I think, as somewhat unessential, and dangerous, not so much in itself, as because of that of which it is a symptom, to her mind. Mrs. Deland is too penetrating a moralist to be deceived by the superficial goodnesses of her own sex. No one better than she "sees
through" women. She appreciates the selfishness and mental and moral littleness of the average "good" woman, and is not enormously impressed with the social benefit of throwing this additional element into the arithmetic of voting. I think that I may safely say that while Mrs. Deland does not in any sense rank as a conservative, there is more that she deplores in feminism than there is that she admires. On the other hand, Mrs. Deland is herself an ardent worker for women with women. She lends her influence freely and broadly to movements of the day, and gives much of her precious time to civic land, and not become something of a mystic. It is in the air. Only the
most hopeless materialism can stand out against it. But in connecting the word mysticism with the name of Margaret Deland, one must qualify. I see no European mysticism in her work-not unless one calls Plato European. The hard common sense of New England is a poor soil for either Mediaeval or Maeterlinckian mysticism. Nevertheless. I believe (without warrant. I admit) that to Margaret Deland love is capable of a spelling with an illuminated initial and every true love story is a missal.
Religion, also, is to her a world of which dogmas are either symbols or nothing at all. In other words, in our modern thought, she is one of those who are hastening the swing
of the pendulum away from the barren materialism of the last century.
But all this is a digression. We began to speak of a new volume, "Around Old Chester," published by Harper Brothers, and containing seven of Mrs. Deland's shorter stories. And yet what we would like to say of this book is to be gathered from the more general remarks above.
"Around Old Chester," renews our acquaintance with Old Chester people, including Dr. Lavender, and recreates the charming atmosphere of that haven of rest. I cannot think of a more delightful holiday remembrance.