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artistic intention of faithfulness to the features and of truth to the beautiful or grand spirit of the scenes delineated.
Whatever room for adverse criticism may appear in the handsome costume and ornament of the book, yet we should fear being thought somewhat over-critical, to find reasons for fault-finding in its substance of narrative and description, and of thought and sentiment. And we do not care to resist the present impulse to admiration of a truly admirable book.
It is a large range and fine concourse of qualities which go to its making. A keen eye for the beauty and awe of nature, cultured to delicate apprehension by long knowledge of the whole region of the Hills, and by familiarity, in all their localities, with their manifold moods and aspects; a quick-darting and versatile fancy, brightening with color and infusing with vivacity a style of writing to which good taste gives purity and strength, and a nice ear brings rythmical How and harmony; a genial and wholesome enthusiasm, to which the usual shows of mountain-landscape never grow common, but are full of daily wonders, with a power to take these fine surprises of the eye and add to them the finer interpretation, by the mind, of thoughtful suggestion or high imagining ; a temper always reverent to the thoughts of God which are ever made plain, but only to the reverent, in all His works, yet never so plain as among the hills, where He places side by side the grand inscriptions of his law and the sweet messages and comfort of his love ;-a book with these qualities to its making is worthily equipped to serve worthily so great a theme as “ The White Hills, their legend, landscape, and poetry.”
But its manner is so without effort, so fresh and spontaneous, that the book runs the risk of not being appreciated at its true cost, for the wealthy combination of material, ability, and purpose, which have met to its plan and construction. What a compass of good things it includes, from the veriest details for convenient and pleasant travel, the mapping out of ways, and indicating points of familiar interest or new attraction, to suggestions of highest thought and feeling; conceits, dainty, gorgeous, weird, or humorous,—of unceasingly active and fruitfulest fancy; noble conceptions of sedate imagination, inspirations of deep religious faith, and visions of genuine spiritual insight. It will not be thought too bold a word to say, that, in its various use, whether of guidance to the traveller's feet, of instruction to his eye, of impulse to his mind, stir to his heart, or persuasion to his spirit, the book fits its subject. It answers with no meagre response, but with some correspondent fullness, the requisition, at once invitation and demand, which is made by the legendary interest, the landscape beauty and grandeur, and the poetic suggestiveness of the Hills. They have been most hospitable and friendly to the author, but only as he has held himself truthful, reverent, and glad toward them. In all her gracious giving, nature still keeps an even-handed justice, and her great recompense, displayed through these pages, of enjoyment and help to their writer, proves only how hearty his service has been and how honest his love.
If out of the good elements of this book we were to select what is perhaps of most value and worthiest of praise, we would point to its truthfulness. This we might call, indeed, the prime quality, which is the ground and condition of its many other and varied excellences. And however essential it may be thought, it is the very thing likely to
come tardy off” in a work to whose production a certain pictorial ability is needed. We know how this ability gives itself to untruth when the artist's hand is its instrument. It is not less in danger of slipping from the truth when it uses the author's pen. The painter, we know by many an ugly experience in pictures, may falsify nature, and, by exaggeration of some of her features, and by exclusion or vulgarizing of others, hardly catch a hint or reproduce a glimpse of what is so delightful and inspiring in her beautiful or sublime scenes. A like temptation besets the writer to let careless sight and vaguely general feeling or conventional and ungenuine admiration take the place of careful notice or loving observation, and of that honest enthusiasm which finds satisfaction in the reality, not the reputation, of natural loveliness and grandeur.
We find Mr. King always most careful, conscientious to keep to the simple truth, whether in his description of what he has seen or in his story of what he has thought and felt. His description is, to be sure, exceedingly vivid, full of action and glow and bright color, and not seldom setting forth some experience of splendor or terror in mountain landscape quite exceptional, granted, perhaps, out of special friendship, and as a singular reward to his devotion. The story, too, of the suggestions to his mind, of the sights the hills offered to its eye, often takes a high flight of fancy and moves on upper ranges of reflection or imagination. But it is very rare that suspicion is given of an exaggeration ; never, we may truly say, save where the perilous ease of a singularly rapid and mobile fancy moves a little wildly and fantastically,—a pardonable offence, certainly, in consideration of the pleasant freshness and vivacity this brisk faculty imparts throughout.
The chapter on Lake Winnipiseogee and that on the ascent of Mt. Washington may mark the range taken, in the observation of the scenery of the hills, from the soft and delicate beauty of color and form in the lake region, to the magnificence and grim or stately ruggedness of tint and line in the high plateaus and summits. But the portrayal of both is notable for correctness, although the attempt is that in which exaggeration and a false presentment might seem most easy, viz., to set down in words something of the lofty grandeur of the one, where the sublime attributes of the hills seem to crowd together and culminate, and of the exquisite loveliness of the other, where seem to gather into one representative and type all their dreamy charm, grace of tenderness, and wondrous magic of never-resting change. And faithfulness in description is but matched and complemented by truth of feeling. Never an effort to make a fine piece of writing, but hearty enjoyment, sincere reverence, real insight, or genuine love telling its story after its spontaneous and genial way, if also in an exalted and eloquent strain, and with subtle leadings and fine implications. The truthfulness, then, which we praise, is not superficial, but profound and penetrative of the substance of the book. For this we have to praise it highly. A mincing nicety and Pre-Raphaelite accuracy were hardly worth while in comparison with that impulse to truth which takes up what, in externals, is essential to the charm or the impressiveness of a landscape or locality, and does not miss its intrinsic analogical suitableness with some lofty mood of mind, its apt incitement
to some gentle sentiment of the heart, or its sympathetic stir to some motion of the deeper spirit of religious awe and faith.
When we have said that a book is true, we have said the best thing about it, and, perhaps, need say but little
Only we must repeat, for on this we rest the praise, not too high, which we give here, that the truth of this admirable book is not simply of the outside, in narrative and description, but is of the veracity of insight. It is the issue of the imagination-a faculty long described as dealing only with the visionary and false, but which is really the great truth-teller of our reasonable nature and a friendly ally, if not of closer and dearer kin, to faith ; and in comparison with whose testimony, to borrow Mr. Ruskin's words, "all mathematical, and arithmetical, and generally scientific truth is of the husk and surface, hard and shallow,-only the imaginative truth is precious.
As we open it again, in bringing our article to its close, it shows many things over which we meant and would be well pleased to linger. But we remember that we are not to tell all we know of its treasury of beauty and use. Many readers have found out how rich it is. Many will still enjoy its abundance and rejoice in its precious and helpful gifts of pleasure, instruction, and incitement to the culture of what is finest in them of thought, sentiment, and aspiration.
We close it now, (and somehow, book and writer come together here, and farewell to the one mingles with goodbye to the other in our mind,) with a feeling akin to that with which, upon departing from the White Hills by one of the great valleys, we have looked back, and seen their grand forms decorated by sun and cloud, with bright splendor of the light and tender softness of shade crossing and re-crossing as with rich harmonies and in mystic dance of solemn stateliness and seductive beauty,—a feeling regretful of their visible sight fading away, but thankful for their recreation to tired body and brain, most thankful for the help they gave, and which their inspiring remembrance must still give to the religious uplifting of the soul seeking Him whose “ righteousness is like the strong mountains.
L. G. W.
Dr. Huntington's Argument for the Trinity.
Christian Believing and Living. Sermons by F. D. Huntington, D. D. Boston: Crosby, Nichols, and Company. 1860.
The circumstance that a once prominent minister of the Unitarian faith, having gradually taken several steps of departure from the creed of his sect, has finally made an unequivocal declaration of belief in the doctrine of the trinity, -connecting himself indeed with the church, which, more than other, makes this doctrine the central principle of faith, --has created an unusual sensation in the theological circles of our community. His late ecclesiastical associates feel called
upon to account for the change ; to notice the event with much sharpness of comment; and to review the arguments put forth by the new convert to the trinity, with especial minuteness and care. It is evident that Unitarians look upon the doctrinal defection of Dr. Huntington as more serious in its consequences than is usually the case when even influential men avow a change of religious conviction. On the other hand, the new convert meets with a cordiality of reception at the hands of his new friends, which plainly shows that they deem the acquisition of unusual importance. Indeed, we could hardly have deemed the quiet gravity of our Episcopalian friends capable of giving way to such a paroxysm of joy as that which hails the advent of Dr. Huntington into their ranks. It is clear that they calculate on extraordinary results from the efficiency of their new co-laborer. Let us add the further fact, that the religious community is strangely affected by the theological change. No hall is large enough to contain “ the crowd,” that, on public occasion, seems impatient to see and hear the individual, whose change of creed and position so evidently annoys the Unitarians, and not less evidently rejoices the Episcopalians.
The extraordinary expression of feeling which has attended the course of Dr. Huntington is somewhat inexplicable. It has never been in our way to have any personal acquaint