« AnteriorContinuar »
faith-with such firmness in holding on to the terness of a maniac. A more fearless things that they believed; in saying and doing and unselfish man one rarely finds. only what they thought was right; in seeing and hating the thing they felt to be wrong-I
Much of the good and the evil in Carshould have far more hope for this British lyle's writings is directly or remotely nation, and indeed for the world at large." derived from Germany. No Briton has
It was natural that such a father and ever mastered German thought as be. In such a pastor should desire young Tho- early life he became an enthusiastic stumas Carlyle to become a minister of the dent of German literature and philosoKirk of Scotland. Indeed from a child phy. He wrought this mass of good and the former had “destined " bis son for evil over in his strong active mind, assithis office. As a youth, he seems not to milating, reproducing and making it his have been averse to his father's choice own. He left the beaten paths of literafor him. But then already his rugged ture, and cut out a highway for himself. mind refused to run in paths others had He corresponded with some of the first trod, or work in grooves that others German writers,-among others, with made. Speaking of this, when old, he Gæthe. Whether he ever set foot on said: “Now that I had gained the years German soil is uncertain-albeit, in his of man's estate, I was not sure that I Life of Frederick the Great, he shows believed the doctrines of my father's an accuracy and extent of information kirk; and it was needful that I should concerning the life, habits and localities now settle it. And so I entered into my of Germany which, without a personal chamber and closed the door.” Here visit and intercourse with the people, he seems to have fasted, meditated, and would seem like a marvel in authorship. wrestled for days. Indeed he says for There is a saying that he once set out to weeks. “Whether I ate I know not; visit Prussia, in order to collect material whether I drank I know not; whether for this great work; but that on the I slept I know not. But I only know first night he spent on the continent he tliat when I came forth again beneath was half-suffocated under the high-piled tbe glimpses of the moon, it was with feathers of a German bed, which so disthe direful persuasion that I was the gusted him that he returned to London miserable owner of a diabolical appara- the next day. tus called a stomach. And I never have Besides his pastor, another ministerial been free from that knowledge from that friend of his early years greatly imhour to this, and I suppose that I never pressed Carlyle. Already, at school, shall be until I am laid away in the Thomas Carlyle and Edward Irving grave.” And all this happened to the became bosom friends. The former was vigorous, hardy son of a hard working then fourteen, the latter sixteen years of healthy Scotch farmer, who was the age. After their university course they descendant of a long line of such men taught a school at Kirkaldy, where," by that had tilled their paternal acres, and virtue of birch and book,"they wrought gained their seventy or eighty years, and together for a season. Then Irving enhad gone to their graves blissfully igno-tered the ministry; for a few years berant of a dyspeptic stomach.
came one of the most gifted preachers During his whole adult life he fought in England ; "he blew such a blast that a legion of foes,-among others the dys-, men started in strange surprise and said pepsia. All his abstemiousness in eating that the like had not been heard since and drinking; his daily walks, regardless the days of the Covenant itself.” Carof cold and rain, and spending much in lyle says: “But for Irving, I had never feeing physicians could not remove his known what the communiou of man with bodily infirmities. He rarely traveled, man means. His was the freest, brobut rode a-horseback, “in the teeth of therliest, bravest human soul mine ever the wind, within this smoky London." came in contact with; I call him on the What a prodigious worker he was-wad- whole the best man I have ever found in ing through what piles of documents con- this world, or now hope to find.” This fused and dull, to find the wherewith to testimony of a grateful, friendly heart, write his works. What a mawler of was given at a time when Irving was sham he was, bating dissemblance, hy- by many looked upon as a wild fanatic, pocrisy and trickery with almost the bit- | if not a religious impostor, by reason of
his singular notions, which resulted in had few external attractions. To him it the sect called the Irringites.
was a quiet, home-like home. All day Carlyle, like Thomas Benton, Momm- long was his time to work, when he had een and other noted writers, had one of no leisure for visitors. He used to tell his volumes burnt in manuscript, just as how-a certain “blatherskite American it was ready for the press. A friend traveler” once came at ten in the mornborrowed it to read. "Greatly pleased, ling with a letter of introduction, and he loaned it to another friend. In the stayed for hours, "robbing me of a whole morning, the housemaid found what she working-day, which I shall never get took to be a confused heap of useless old back again to all eternity." And yet, papers on the table. In need of kindling- at the proper hour, he was pleased with paper, she threw the whole into the the society of such people as he might grate, held a lighted match to it, and select. The time for such little social the French Revolution went up the gatherings was at tea, at six o'clock. chimney with a roar in a column of This was literally what its name imsmoke. How did this affect the growl. plied, consisting of bread and butter and a ing dyspeptic ?
cup of tea. If in summer time he invited “I was as a man beside myself, for there his guests into the garden, a narrow plot was scarcely a page of the manuscript left. Iof ground, the breadth of the house, one sat down at the table, and strove to commence hundred feet deep, with a grass-plot in my work again. I filled page after page, but the cont ran the pen over every line after the page was
the center, having a tree at each of the finished. Thus was it, for many a weary day,
four corners. An awning was suspended until at length, as I sat by the window, half from the trees, under which was a pine hearted and dejected, my eye wandering along table and a few chairs. Upon the table over acres of roofs, I saw a man standing on a
was a canister of Virginia tobacco and scaffold, engaged in building a wall—the wall of a house. With his trowel he'd lay a great
several clay pipes, with their long stems splash of mortar upon the last layer, and then
tipped with sealing-wax. Then he brick after brick would he deposit, upon this, would entertain his guests with his marstriking each with the butt of his trowel, as if vellous conversations,-his broad Scotch
and all brogue adding interest to his unique the while singing or whistling as blithe as a lark. And in my spleen I said within myself: say
sayings. Now his face would frown · Poor fool ! how canst thou be so merry under with wrath at some becudgelled wrong, such a hell-spotted atmosphere as this, and then an odd conceit would provoke everything rushing into the regions of the him to boisterous laughter. Glad, too, inane? And then I bethought me, and I said he was, in attentive silence. to listen to to myself: • Poor fool thou, rather, that sittest here by the window whining and complaining !
others, provided they had something to Up then at thy work and be cheerful !' So I say worth listening to. He lived very arose and washed my face, and felt that my head plainly, indeed had to, for his celebrated was anointed, and gave myself to relaxation- writings yielded him comparatively but to what they call Light Literature.' I read
a small income. He wrote nearly fifty nothing but novels for weeks. I was surrounded with heaps of rubbish and chaff; and thus
us volumes. With his interest in these, his refreshed, I took heart of grace again, applied estate is said to be worth about $25,000. me to my work, and in course of time · The A Scottish newspaper described him French Revolution' got finished, as all things as he looked twenty-five years ago :must sooner or later.'
“ The long, tall, spare figure is before The first years of his married life Car-me-wiry, though and elastic, stretched lyle spent in a dreary country home at careless, homely ease in his elbowin Scotland, chiefly supported by the chair, yet ever with strong, natural momeans of his wife " in a wilderness of tions and starts as the inward spirit heather and rock," with his little libra- stirs. The face is long and thin, with a ry-table groaning under“ a whole cart- certain tinge of paleness, but no sickness load of French, German, American and or attenuation; pensive, almost solemn, English periodicals, whatever they may yet open and cordial, and tender-very be worth."
tender. The eye, not easy to describe, Nearly fifty years of his later life, he but felt ever after one has looked therelived at Chelsea, London. On a quiet on and therein. It is dark and full, street, among the plain brick houses of the shadowed over by a compact and protown, stood the small old brick dwelling minent forehead. The expression is, so of the great man, which, like himself, to speak, heavy-laden, as if betokening untold burdens of thought, and long, opinion. When a young exile in Lonfiery struggles, resolutely endured--endon, he used to call on Carlyle, and talk dured until they had been in some prac. about “The Spirit of the Age, the tical manner overcome.”
Democratic Spirit, and the Progress of · Another one describes him in his old the Species ; but for my own part, it age as "a tall, gaunt man, with stoop- seemed that the only progress the speing shoulders, as though he had spent cies was making was backward. We dis. much time bending over his desk." covered that we didn't understand each “His face was rugged and sombre, set other's language; that we had no key in in a bush of gray-white hair and beard. common for our dialects. And we partBeneath the heavy brows, within deep ed asunder as mayhap did Abraham hollows, livid and worn, shone dull the and Lot before, each going his own way, bluish-gray eyes. . His nose was a hand- It looked very much as if his way led some Scotch nose, straight, fine and bold.” him to London. Afterwards I used to
Dr. Cuyler says, forty years ago Car- see him in this neighborhood, (I think lyle looked like a sturdy country deacon he had lodgings somewhere in this part dressed up for church, with his stiff iron- of the town,) with his hands folded gray hair brushed up from his large across his breast, and his eyes fixed with forehead. Thirty years later, a long a melancholy stare upon the ground; blue flannel gown hung around his and he looked to me all the world like stooping figure, and his gray hair was a poor opera-singer in search of an enunkempt.
gagement. God knows he has succeeded For more than half a century this in finding an engagement upon a stage man has scourged the insincerities and sufficiently vast, before an audience amehams of British diplomacy-indeed, of ple enough for any man, and the whole the whole civilized world. A sharp thorn thing got up regardless of expense. But in the flesh of many an English states I certainly expect that the day will man has he been. No matter whether come when the blue sulphureous flames it was popular or not to say certain will dart from behind the scenes and things; if they needed saying, Carlyle consume the pile, with all that are in was not afraid to speak out. He aspired it; or that the edifice will give way in a not to a peerage, the woolsack, or to a crash of ruin, and the whole-singers, grave in Westminster Abbey. Although audience and all-will sink into netherit has been reported that the Dean of most depth of abysmal perdition, where Westminster, despite the literary cow it seems to me they certainly belong." hidings he had given the British govern- This prophecy, uttered when Louis ment, offered his dust a place in this ve- Napoleon was in his prime as Emperor nerable mausoleum of the great. of France, now reads almost like a his
He seemed to delight in defending a toric description of the fall of the French weak and unpopular side, if it was in Emperor. Thus, with his hard Scotch the right. He was a great friend of sin- sense, he saw the vapory emptiness of cere heathens and of heretics. A hater things, and with grim delight thrust his of cant and of flatulent verbose oratory, pen through the pretentious bubbles a lover of truth and goodness, which he that were evermore deceiving his fellows. loved all the more tenderly and defend-Blustering oratory, whether on the stump ed the more valiantly for being found in or elsewhere, was to him one of the great dark and unexpected places. A great curses of the century. Men who hoped friend of the German land and charac- to save the world with their volubility ter, whose “ Alte Fritz” he hung up in and eloquent speech, he scourged withhis history as a hero to be looked at and out mercy. And the British nation, he admired in all coming time.
held, was sadly pre-eminent in demaFor the Napoleons he had great con gogy, blustering, vain-glorious, hollow, tempt. The first one he calls "the great far-sounding, unmeaning talk, only highwayman of history, whose habit was equalled by our own oratorical nation. to clutch king and kaiser by the throat He is convinced that the verdict of the and swear: If you don't stand and de- jury that shall sit upon the corpse of liver, I'll blow your brains out." | American civilization will be, “Suicide
Of Louis Napoleon he had no better I by an overdose of oratory."
With the results of his work Carlyle
Easter Observances felt not very sanguine. Doubtless, bis peevish stomach had much to do with
BY GODFREY A. HUDSON. bis unsatisfied frame of mind. He saw how much ought to be remedied, and kept | Easter is the name given in English tearing down popular altars like an an- to the festival which the Christian cient iconoclast, without putting a di- | Church in nearly all its branches celeviaer altar in their place. He tore brates in commemoration of the Resurdown falsehood and unreality, per- rection of our Saviour on the third haps often more than he built up truth. morning after His crucifixion. Perhaps he felt this. His early pastor There is some question as to the orifirst taught bim Latin, of whom he says: Igin of our word “Easter.” Some will “I am not sure that he laid a great | bave it that it comes from the old curse on me by so doing. Ab, sir, this Northern Eostre, the goddess of Love, learning of reading and writing! Wbat in whose honor a festival was celebratrouble and suffering it entails upon usted in the month of April, which was poor human creatures ! He that in thence styled Eostremonath, “Eostre's creaseth in knowledge increaseth sorrow; month," and some fanciful writers have and much study is a weariness to the tried to identify this goddess with the flesh! I am not sure but that we should Phænician Astarte, and the Cyprian all be the happier and the better too Venus. But in the judgment of the without what is called the Improvements soundest authorities our Easter, and the of the Modern Ages! For mine own corresponding German Ostern, are part I think it likely that I should have simply the old Saxon Oster, from the been a wiser man, and certainly a god- verb osten, “ to rise," meaning simply lier, if I bad followed in my father's the “rising," that is, of our Saviour steps, and left Latin and Greek to the from the tomb. fools that wanted them.”
This sacred festival, called by old Certainly, Thomas Carlyle might writers, “the queen of festivals," has have been a happier, if a less noted, been observed from a very early period man as elder in the kirk of Ecclesfechan | -- indeed, we cannot go back to a time than as a great power in English litera- | in Cbristian history, when its observance ture. In the closing years of his life bis was not general among believers. There longing, home-sick heart turns to the were, however, many long and bitter faith and piety of his childhood. Writ controversies as to the proper day. One ing to a friend, he said:
party, holding that like the Passover, it ""Our Father which art in Heaven, hal
should be observed on the 14th day of lowed be Thy name; Thy will be done.'
the first Jewish month, that is, of that What else can we say? The other night, in lunar month, the 14th day of which my sleepless tossings which were growing either falls on or next after the vernal more and more miserable, these words, that equipox. The adherents of this doctrine brief and grand prayer, came strangely into were styled Ouartodecimans or " fourmy mind with an altogether new emphasis ; as if written and shining for me in mild, pure
teenth-day men,” or sometimes “Judasplendor on the black bosom of the night izing Christians.” The great majority there, when I, as it were, read them word by came in time to hold that the “Chrisword, with a sudden check to my imperfect tian Passover" was in commemoration wanderings, with a sudden softness of composure which was most unexpected. Not per
of the Resurrection of the Saviour, and haps for thirty or forty years had I once for
should therefore be celebrated on the mally repeated that prayer-nay, I never felt / Sunday next following the Hebrew before how intensely the voice of man's soul it Passover. The controversy was long js, the utmost aspiration of all that is high and
and bitter. Councils were held; but pious in poor human nature, right worthy to be recommended with an 'after this manner
the matter remained an open question pray ye.'”
until 325 A. D., when the Council of
Nice formally decided it by directing CHRIST is the centre of perfection, that the observance should be on the the source of blessedness, and the cir- Sunday following the full moon which cumference of excellency: do you really happens upon or next after March 21st; love Him?
but if the full moon happened on Sunday, then the next Sunday was to be of Easter game was practiced hy childobserved. Thus Easter Day may fall ren, consisting in testing the strength of upon any Sunday between March_22d, the shells of their respective eggs by and April 25th, both inclusive. There striking them together. In some parts are rules, somewhat complicated, by of Ireland there is a superstition that which Easter Day for any year may be the sun dances in the sky on Easter ascertained; but we imagine that most morning. This belief was once prevapersons do not take the trouble to make lent in England; so much so tbat Sir the calculation for themselves, but are Thomas Browne, in his famous “Incontent year by year to find out by the quiry into Vulgar Errors" (about 1650) Almanac, or by the tables in the Prayer- thought it worth while to say gravely Book, on what day Easter falls, and that this belief rested on no valid consequently all the other movable feasts grounds. In some of the northern and fasts, whose time is regulated by counties of England a custom still that of Easter. It should be borne in exists, in virtue of which the men pamind that after an interval of thirty- rade the streets on Easter morning, and eight years, or two full Metonic cycles claim the right of lifting every woman of the moon, the day comes back to three times from the ground, and rewhat it was at the beginning of the pe-ceiving in guerdon a kiss or a silver riod, except as it is modified by omit- sixpence. On the next day the same ting to insert an additional day into privilege is claimed by the women from certain years, which would be leap years the men. We imagine that in either according to the general law that every case the alternative money fine is year the number of which is divisible rarely paid. A few out of-the-way by 4, without a remainder, is a leap- Easter observances deserve special menyear. This is done in order that the tion, on account of their oddity. entire accumulation of errors in the At Noble, a considerable town in common calendar shall never exceed an Southern Africa, sometimes styled "the entire day.
African Rome,” ceremonies are perIn nearly all the countries of Christ- formed, in which Christian ideas are endom the recurrence of Easter has been strangely commingled with vestiges of from time immemorial celebrated by the old heathen superstitions. Here on religious ceremonies and popular sports Easter morning is celebrated the Festa and observances. It is not necessary del Senor de los Temblores, the “Festival here to describe the strictly religious of the Lord of Earthquakes.” The observances of the day as practiced public plaza before the cathedral is among us by those which, by way of hung with garlands and festoons, and distinction, we may denominate "ritual- all the bells ring out their loudest peals. istic” denominations, and measurably, The images of the saints, freshly robed and we tbink increasingly by others. and decorated, are brought from their “Easter flowers," and “Easter eggs," shrines. Those of the Madonna, of San are familiar to us all. But there are Christoval, and of San Jose are espenumerous curious popular observances cially honored by all the Marias, Christand customs, which have in various opbers and Josephs, who are named countries sprung up in relation to this after them. But on this occasion all day.
others are cast into the shade by the Among the most general of these pop miraculous crucifix of “the Lord of ular observances is that of making pres- Earthquakes,” which is supposed to ents of eggs, colored and otherwise orpa have the power of protecting the town mented, on this day. In a royal roll from this fearful disaster. This miracof the time of Edward I. of England ulous image is borne in long procession (about 1300) is an entry of eighteen through all the main streets; and after pence for the purchase of four hundred it has thus been duly honored, the partieggs to be used for that purpose. This colored devotees rest assured that they entry is of no little historical value, as are for the rest of the year tolerably giving some clear indication of the rela- safe from having their houses tumbled tive value of money in that and the about their ears. And as even in that present time. Long ago, as now, a sort | sbaky region earthquakes are not of