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why. For my own part, she always reminded me not so much of a garden rose in its glory, as of a bunch of wild roses, all blooming and smiling from the bough-here pink, here white, here with
a dozen ineffable tints. In all her life she had never had occasion to ask herself was she happy. Of course she was happy! Did she not live, and was not that enough?
EDWARD IRVING. FROM A LITERARY HISTORY OF ENGLAND.”
HALMERS and Irving were, with the ex
ception of Robert Hall, the two greatest preachers of their day. Irving had passed a year or two as Chalmers' assistant at Glasgow before he went to London, in 1822, and where the world found him out, and in his obscure chapel he became almost the most noted of all the notabilities of town. Even now, when his story is well known, and his own journals and letters have proved the nobleness and sincerity of the man, it is difficult for the world to forget that it once believed him after having followed and stared at him as a prodigy-an impostor or a madman. And it is well known that the too lofty and unworldly strain of his great mind separated him from that homely standing-ground of fact upon which alone our mortal footsteps are safe; and from the very exaltation of his aspiring soul brought him down into humiliation, subjection to pettier minds, and to the domination of a sect created by his impulse, yet reigning over
The eloquence of Irving was like nothing else known in his day. Something of the lofty parallelism of the Hebrew, something of the noble English of our Bible, along with that solemn. national form of poetic phraseology, "such as grave lovers do in Scotland use," composed the altogether individual style in which he wrote and spoke. It was no assumed or elaborated style, but the natural utterance of a mind cast in other moulds than those common to the men of the nineteenth century, and in himself at once a primitive prophet, a medieval leader, and a Scotch Borderer, who had never been subject to the trimming and chopping influence of society. It is said that a recent publication of his sermons has
failed to attract the public; and this is comprehensible enough, for large volumes of sermons are not popular literature. But the reader who takes the trouble to overcome the disinclination which is so apt to arrest us on the threshold of such a study, will find himself carried along by such a lofty simplicity, by such a large and noble manliness of tone, by the originality of a mind incapable of doubt taking God at His word, instinct with that natural faith in all things divine which is, we think, in its essence, one of the many inheritances of genius-though sometimes rejected and disowned-that he will not grudge the pains. He who held open before the orphan that grand refuge of the "fatherhood of God," which struck the listening statesman with wondering admiration; he who, in intimating a death, "made known to them the good intelligence that our brother has had a good voyage, so far as we could follow him or hear tidings of him," saw everything around him with magnified and ennobled vision, and spoke of what he saw with the grandeur yet simplicity of a seer-telling his arguments and his reasonings as if they had been a narrative, and making a great poetic story of the workings of the mind and its labors and consolations.
In the most abstruse of his subjects this method continues to be always apparent. The sermon is like a sustained and breathless tale, with an affinity to the minute narrative of Defoe or of the primitive historians. The pauses are brief, the sentences long, but the interest does not flag. Once afloat upon the stream, the reader-and in his day how much more the hearer !-finds it difficult to release himself from the full-flowing tide of interest in which he looks for the accustomed breaks and breathing-places in vain.
MRS. HUMPHRY WARD.
THE MOST DISTINGUISHED LIVING WRITER OF ENGLISH NOVELS.
ARY Augusta Arnold was born in Tasmania in 1851. Her father was a younger brother of Matthew Arnold, the distinguished critic and man of letters, and filled the station of a government officer in Tasmania. He afterward became a professor in the Roman Catholic University of Dublin, but because of a change of faith he left it and settled at Oxford, devoting himself to literary work. His daughter married Mr. Humphry Ward, author of a number of biographical and historical books.
Mrs. Ward has written several articles in Macmillan's Magazine over the signature "M. A. W."; but she is best known by the name of her husband, signing herself in her principal books "Mrs. Humphry Ward." Her earlier works, "Millie and Ollie," "Miss Bretherton," and a translation of "Amiel's Journal," gained her considerable reputation, but it is to the novel, "Robert Elsmere," published in 1888, that she owes her greatest fame. The book well deserves the reputation it immediately gained. It is a powerfully drawn picture of the intellectual life of a scholarly young Englishman, who gradually finds himself swept away from his orthodox beliefs, and compelled by his unflinching integrity to resign his position as rector in an English parish where he is doing a noble work, and to take up the struggle of life amid new surroundings. The great majority of Christian people will not agree with Robert Elsmere's later views; but it is to be conceded that the character is a noble one, and that, as a piece of artistic work, the book has few equals among our English novels. Mrs. Ward's latest work is "The Story of Sir George Trassady," which, in dramatic power and the delineation of character, stands only second to her former great book.
FROM "MISS BRETHERTON."
HE weather was all that the heart of man could desire, and the party met on Paddington platform with every prospect of another successful day. Forbes turned up punc
tual to the moment, and radiant under the combined influence of the sunshine and of Miss Bretherton's presence; Wallace had made all the arrangements perfectly, and the six friends found
themselves presently journeying along to Oxford. At last the " dreaming spires" of Oxford rose from the green, river-threaded plain, and they were at their journey's end. A few more minutes saw them alighting at the gate of the new Balliol, where stood Herbert Sartoris looking out for them. He was a young don with a classical edition on hand which kept him working up after term, within reach of the libraries, and he led the way to some pleasant rooms overlooking the inner quadrangle of Balliol, showing in his well-bred look and manner an abundant consciousness of the enormous good fortune which had sent him Isabel Bretherton for a guest. For at that time it was almost as difficult to obtain the presence of Miss Bretherton at any social festivity as it was to obtain that of royalty. Her Sundays were the objects of conspiracies for weeks beforehand on the part of those persons in London society who were least accustomed to have their invitations refused, and to have and to hold the famous beauty for more than an hour in his own rooms, and then to enjoy the privilege of spending five or six long. hours on the river with her, were delights which, as the happy young man felt, would render him the object of envy to all at least of his fellow-dons below forty.
In streamed the party, filling up the book-lined rooms and startling the two old scouts in attendance into unwonted rapidity of action. Miss Bretherton wandered around, surveyed the familiar Oxford luncheon-table, groaning under the timehonored summer fare, the books, the engravings, and the sunny, irregular, quadrangle outside, with its rich adornings of green, and threw herself down at last on to the low window seat with a sigh of satisfaction.
ever, what he was saying, so lost was he in admiration of that marvelous changing face. "The vacation is the time they show themselves; it's like owls coming out at night. You see, Miss Bretherton, we don't keep many of them; they are in the way in term time. But in vacation they have the colleges and the parks and the Bodleian to themselves, and their umbrellas, under the most favorable conditions."
"How quiet you are! how peaceful! how delightful it must be to live here! It seems as if one were in another world from London. Tell me what that building is over there; it's too new, it ought to be old and gray like the colleges we saw coming up here. Is everybody gone away'gone down' you say? I should like to see all the learned people walking about for once.'
"I could show you a good many if there were time," said young Sartoris, hardly knowing, how
"Oh, yes," said Miss Bretherton, with a little scorn, "people always make fun of what they are proud of. But I mean to believe that you are all learned, and that everybody here works himself to death, and that Oxford is quite, quite perfect!"
"Did you hear what Miss Bretherton was saying, Mrs. Stuart," said Forbes, when they were seated at luncheon. "Oxford is perfect, she declares already; I don't think I quite like it; it's too hot to last."
"Am I such a changeable creature, then ?” said Miss Bretherton, smiling at him. "Do you generally find my enthusiasms cool down?"
"You are as constant as you are kind," said Forbes, bowing to her. "Oh! the good times I've had up here—much better than he ever had"—nodding across at Kendal, who was listening. "He was too proper behaved to enjoy himself; he got all the right things, all the proper first-classes and prizes, poor fellow! But, as for used to scribble over my note-books all lecture-time, and amuse myself the rest of the day. And then, you see, I was up twenty years earlier than he was, and the world was not as virtuous then as it is now, by a long way."
Kendal was interrupting, when Forbes, who was in one of his maddest moods, turned around upon his chair to watch a figure passing along the quadrangle in front of the bay-window.
"I say, Sartoris, is n't that Camden, the tutor who was turned out of Magdalen a year or two ago for that atheistical book of his, and whom you took in, as you do all the disreputables? Ah, I knew it!
By the pricking of my thumbs Something wicked this way comes.' That's not mine, my dear Miss Bretherton, it's
Shakespeare's first, Charles Lamb's afterward. But look at him well-he's a heretic, a real, genuine heretic. Twenty years ago it would have been a thrilling sight; but now, alas! it's so common that it's not the victim but the persecutors who are the curiosity."
"I don't know that," said young Sartoris. "We liberals are by no means the cocks of the walk that we were a few years ago. You see, now we have got nothing to pull against, as it were. So long as we had two or three good grievances, we could keep the party together, and attract all the young men. We were Israel going up against the Philistines, who had us in their grip. But now, things are changed; we've got our way all round, and it's the Church party who have the grievances and the cry. It is we who are the Philistines, and the oppressors in our turn, and, of course, the young men as they grow up are going into the opposition."
"And a very good thing, too!" said Forbes. "It's the only thing that prevents Oxford becoming as dull as the rest of the world. All your picturesqueness, so to speak, has been struck out of the struggle between the two forces. The Church force is the one that has given you all your buildings and your beauty, while, as for you liberals, who will know such a lot of things that you're none the happier for knowing-well, I suppose you keep the place habitable for the plain man who does n't want to be bullied. But it's a very good thing the other side are strong enough to keep you in order.”
Then they strolled into the quiet cathedral,
delighted themselves with its irregular bizarre beauty, its unexpected turns and corners, which gave it a capricious fanciful air for all the solidity and business-like strength of its Norman framework, and as they rambled out again Forbes made them pause over a window in the northern aisle a window by some Flemish artist of the fifteenth century, who seems to have embodied in it at once all his knowledge and all his dreams. In front sat Jonah under his golden-tinted gourd -an ill-tempered Flemish peasant-while behind. him the indented roofs of the Flemish town climbed the whole height of the background. It was probably the artist's native town; some roof among those carefully-outlined gables sheltered his household Lares. But the hill on which the town stood, and the mountainous background and the purple sea, where the hills and the sea not of Belgium, but of a dream-country-of Italy, perhaps, the medieval artist's paradise.
"Happy man!" said Forbes, turning to Miss Bretherton; "look, he put it together four centuries ago, all he knew and all he dreamt of. And there it is to this day, and beyond the spirit of that window there is no getting. For all our work, if we do it honestly, is a compound of what we know and what we dream."
They passed out into the cool and darkness of the cloisters, and through the new buildings, and soon they were in the broad walk, trees as old as the commonwealth bending overhead, and in front the dazzling green of the June meadows, the shining river in the distance, and the sweep of cloudflecked blue arching in the whole.
LYRICAL POET AND NOVELIST.
HEN at the death of Tennyson it was necessary to seek a successor in the office of Poet Laureate, it was the feeling of a very large portion of the English public that the place should be filled by this sweet and noble woman who for nearly forty years had held so large a place in the heart of every lover of beautiful poetry.
Jean Ingelow was a native of the old English town of Boston. Her father was a banker, and she was a member of a large family. She was not thought the brightest of the eleven children, and received her entire education under her father's roof.
'My favorite retreat," says she, "was a lofty room in the old house where there was a low window which overlooked the river. The windows had the good old-fashioned shutters which folded back against the walls. I would open these shutters, write my verses and songs on them, and fold them back again. My mother came in one day and discovered them; many of them were transmitted to paper and preserved."
Her first volume of poems, "Tales of Orris," was published in 1860, when Miss Ingelow was thirty years old. It was so popular that it passed through four editions in the first year, and has now attained its twenty-sixth. Three years later she published another volume of poems, and continued to write until near the close of her life in June, 1897. Her most famous poem is "The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire." In 1873 she published "Off the Skellings," a novel whose merits would have attracted attention had the fame of its author not insured it a hearing. "Fated to be Free"; "Mopsa the Fairy," a story for children; "Sarah de Berenger," and "Don John" are her other most successful novels. This last was published in 1881.
Miss Ingelow lived during her closing years in Kensington, London, although her health compelled her to pass the winters in the south of France. Her life was simple and uneventful, and the line from her most famous poem may well be applied to herself:
"Sweeter woman ne'er drew breath."