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knew both the men and the times the ex-Premier writes about. He objects strongly to the savage caricature of Thackeray as St. Barbe. Thackeray was a gentleman of good birth, good education, good manners; and, says Lord Houghton, these three qualifications would have "saved hini from any similitude to the impersonation of bad taste and temper which disfigures these volumes.” The final verdict on the novel is that its author is the artist merely, not the political philosopher.
Professor Pole goes thoroughly into the whole subject of " Aerial Navigation,” giving a history of the various advances in ballooning, from Mongolfier's time down to the last Arctic expedition. The paper may be read in connexion with Captain Elsdale's delightful narrative in the Nineteenth Century. The Professor is strictly scientific and practical, and his essay is rather dry, but the topic is one of real interest. We have got the length of navigable balloons; a flying machine is a clear possibility; and “if any mechanic can invent a motor, at once so powerful and so light as to be able to raise itself in the air, the thing is done.” We shall venture to predict that some active-brained American genius will announce the discovery of such a motor some of these days. Edison himself is quite equal to such an achievement.
County Boards” is a topic of no imaginable interest to anybody but an English country gentleman. The pages containing it may be left uncut. It seems out of place in such a magazine as the Fortnightly.
George Meredith's story of the “ Tragic Comedians,” is continued. The writer's style is so peculiar as to be unique, and he is quite unreadable by anybody who has not acquired the taste for it. French it is not, neither is it English. Thus, Mr. Meredith puts into a single line the phrases “ That was all,” “ the Colonel bowed stiffly ; Keep so, said the Baroness;"' and the like. That is to say, the most trifling expressions or gestures are emphasised as if they were important actions or leading incidents in the story. This is not the manner of George Eliot, nor of Victor Cherbuliez, -those perfect masters of style in fictitious narrative.
The editor, in his summary of Home and Foreign Affairs for the month, rather leans to the side of the Irish Land Leaguers; and he is very
wrathful against the upholders of the present policy in relation to the savage tribes of South Africa.
“Old Ebony" begins the New Year excellently well, with a fine analytical review of the autobiography of that prince of egotists, Benvenuto Cellini, prefaced with a short dissertation on autobiography in general
. No reading is more delightful, when all is said.
The men who give us their frank personal confessions and self-revelations beat even the novelists in attractive power.
Pepys, Montaigne, St. Augustine, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Lackington, even Colley Cibber and John Hardy Vaux; how infinitely amusing they all are !
The gem of the number, however, is Helen Faucitt's (Martin) essay on the character of Ophelia, as she conceived it, and acted it to delighted thousands of highly-cultured spectators. The paper is the first of a series, the value of which cannot be overrated. Nothing—not even Mrs. Jameson's exquisite criticisms—can exceed in grace, pure feminine feeling, delicate perception of the finest shades of female character, and intellectual appreciation of the Great Master's genius, this essay on the “poor Ophelia." It is a true larly who writes of a true lady, whose existence is as real in the imaginations of all cultured intellects as is that of their own personal rela
tions. At every point of her analysis Helen Faucitt is accurate; as how could she be otherwise? Only a woman, after all, can read the heart of a woman. There are depths and folds in the last recesses of the female mind which no masculine intelligence ever sounded.
A weird tale from the powerful pen of Rudolph Lindau will fascinate the most casual reader, i The Seer” is a strange, but masterly, psychological study.
“ The Bishop Astray,” is a most diverting sketch of an entirely original kind. The writer may work a good mine in this same direction.
The prevalence of bribery in England, even under the ballot, is most caustically exhibited, in a style, too, of such genuine humour that the materials of a good farce might be picked out of the facts here detailed. The ballot, in fact, has stimulated bribery and corruption, not extinguished these infamous practices.
Laurence Oliphant's new book on the “Land of Gilead” is reviewed by a hand that knows a good deal about the condition and prospects of Syria and the East generally. There seems to be little doubt that some project for the restoration of the Holy Land, if not to its original owners, at least to civilisation, will be ere long carried into execution.
Some well-written sonnets give variety to the number; the capital military story of the “Private Secretary” is continued, and the Gladstone Cabinet is pilloried under the designation of the “Ministry of Misery.”
THE CORNHILL MAGAZINE. The Cornhill "goes in” for fiction, almost to the exclusion of every other department of literature. Mr. James Payn leads off with the first instalment of a tale, entitled “A Grape from a Thorn;" and at once introduces his readers to a select society at a fashionable English watering-place, with its mixed assemblage of really cultivated and odiously vulgar people. The writing is smart, and the incidents amusing; but Dickens, we think, would have made more of the same materials.
A second story, entitled “ Love the Debt," is also commenced. It is a tale of country-town life, and has a good deal of Anthony Trollope's style in it. Here may be mentioned the fact that our guess as to the authorship of “ Dr. Wortle's School” in Blackwood was correct. It is announced as Anthony Trollope's.
The third serial story, " Fina's Aunt,” is carried through another stage. The descriptive writing in this tale is very finely done, showing a practised hand.
A literary essay on “ The Moral Element in Literature is excellently written, and is probably from the pen of the editor.
Two lighter and cognate essays on “ Vagabondage and Pedestrianism,” and on rambling in the Scottish Highlands, make up the balance of the number. The first is certainly from the pen of Robert Leslie Stephenson, although not marked with his well-known initials. The style betrays him.
FRASER'S MAGAZINE. Whosoever loves a first-rate ghost story will read Vernon Lee's tale, which opens this number of Fraser. Nothing better in the ghostly line can be desired.
The Russian lady who, under the signature of “O.K." writes so very ably in defence of her nation and Government, contributes an account of
the reign of the late Emperor Alexander and of the reforms he accomplished or tried to accomplish. No more efficient female agent has even Russia ever had in a foreign country.
Professor Shairp gives the substance of a lecture on "The Prophetic Power of Poetry," which, however, hardly bears out its title. It is rather another essay on the Wordsworthian theory of poetry than a dissertation on the faculty of the seer in poetical natures. Yet it is, like all the Professor's writings, a charming piece of literary analysis and appreciation.
A recent gathering of savans in Prehistoric Anthropology and Archæology, at Lisbon, is made the basis of a paper at once lively and scientific. It was what the Americans call a "good time" for those savans of all nations.
The life of the late Admiral Codrington, who died in 1877, is narrated from his recently-published correspondence. To naval readers this paper will be of interest.
“Folk Lullabies" is the title of a very interesting and readable essay on the cradle songs of all nations.
“ The Last (meaning the latest) Chapter of Irish History,” is reviewed by the Hon. G. L. Brodrick.
Lady Violet Greville contributes a young lady's essay on Our Ideals." The paper would probably win the prize at a competitive examination in a ladies' college. But it is not literature—at least not literature worthy of Fraser's Magazine.
An Oxford Tutor puts in a plea for dull boys, founded on the old suggestion that all boys are not bound to be adepts at making Greek and Latin verses, or skilled in the art of digging amongst Hebrew roots. The practical difficulty, however, is to discover this defect in a boy prior to trial. Many boys, who were by no means brilliant in competitive examinations, have risen to great eminence as statesmen, lawyers, artists, preachers, even authors in after life. But, for all that, the sufficient grounds for taking a boy from school before he has completed his education, and setting him to a manual occupation, have yet to be shown. What father will be willing to admit, before full trial made, that his son Jack is a hopelessly dull boy?
The political article in the number is already obsolete.
This is the London issue of Harper, and is simply the American issue in a new cover, by no means so handsome. Australian readers will take the American issue in preference, however. It arrives here sooner, and is nearly equally cheap, if not quite. The contents of this number are very varied, and include the first part of a new novel by Thomas Hardy, entitled "The Laodicean," which promises well.
Mr. Conway's anecdotical tour of the English lake district is excellent reading, and is well illustrated. Original anecdotes are given of Wordsworth, Hartley Coleridge and Dr. Arnold.
A boat voyage on the Thames is similarly well-written and illustrated.
A biography of James Russell Lowell is of unusual interest, and is from the pen of one who knows the American ambassador well.
An article on “Old Violins” is very amusing reading.
EDITED BY H. MORTIMER FRANKLYN.
I. Annus Mirabilis : 1880. By CHARLES Hastings BARTON
653 II. Proportional Representation.' By G. LACY (Sydney)
V. Ireland and Historical Comparisons. By J. Crozier (New Zealand). 698
715 VIII. Why there are no Gipsies in Australia. »By John PLUMMER (Sydney). 728 IX. Immigration : Australia's Great Want. By JAMES ALLEN
735 X. Horticultural Shows. By David A. CRICHTON
747 XI. The Political Situation in South Australia. By a Correspondent 753 XII. The Crisis in Russia. By JAMES SMITH
763 XIII. The Contemporary Thought of Great Britain, Europe, and the United States
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