« AnteriorContinuar »
faces. Mankind have been hoping the many purposes, and I am sure he will same thing for at least four thousand rise, as there is no service for which years. But when you find a brave, he will not exact full payment. He quiet, heroic man—who tells you of will coin his inmost heart to mud your faults not of your virtues, and where mud is the required currency.. makes no promises of doing good, But what can those who think of man but has already fought with reso- not of parties, of truth not of speeches, lute despair against powerful evil, in short, of hard rude realities, not of cling to him, help him, redden his fluent liquid dirt, what can such perflag with your heart's blood, if it be sons have to do with a thing like him? necessary, for if he renders you no Oh, my friend, whatever else you are, other service, he has at least given lord or bisliop, artist or slave, do not you the costliest of boons, truth, which give up being a man. Do not let your his future failures cannot deprive you manliood slip through your fingers of. But when you see bullies, syco- while you are plotting, voting, speechphants, flatterers, liars, spaniels, apes, making, working. A stage hero, peacocks, jewel-snouted swine,--men who pretends to be what he is not, is who gorge themselves with garbage, but like the snuff of a candle compared and bribe you with the remains of it, with the stage candle-snuffer, who -do not ask what party they are of; wears no tinsel armour, and mouthis be sure that they are of the devil's no blank verse, but honestly earns the family, and so certain of his help as to bread he eats by making the tallowstand in little need of yours. Then candles burn. A mere scheming as to this Mr Everard. Let him eat statesman is but a white paper, full of his mess as he can out of a gilded, mire, tied up with a red tape, and perhaps one day a coronetted trough, sealed with the king's seal. but do you neither wreath the vessel with all other trades and pretensions. with flowers, nor throw in your child. Have nothing to do with them. Stand ren's food to swell the swinish meal. up openly for truth, and all true men; I will tell you something of him. He and let this, and this only, be your is well-spoken, civil, lively, or at least creed and your party,
Though you was so before he became a great man. will often be trampled on, and will be There was then a thin plating of sym- ground at last, as we must all be, to pathy on the surface of the mass of lead that dust which the strong wind of and copper, which the world has, I sup- time blows away before it, you will pose, by this time worn away. A man at least not be the dupe of others, whom I know, knew him in the youth and, best of all, you will not dupe of both, and became intimate with him. yourself.” Everard's father possessed a large in- 66 But is there no party which hocome, and brought up his son expennestly seeks what is right?" sively, but died and left him without “ I do not know. But I shall believe a farthing. His friend had about there is, I shall believe there is some £400 a year of his own, and, with the conscience and heart under all the careless profusion of his age, at once trash and parade of laws and govern
ettled half of this on Everard, who ment, when I see any body of men sold the annuity, and began to push not slightly and occasionally, but with his fortune with the capital thus ob. their whole souls and sinews, standing tained. Soon afterwards his benefac- up for the necessity of educating the tor was ruined by the failure of a com- people. If any one of these men mercial house, and left penniless. found a son who had been stolen away Everard was certainly not bound to in infancy, and had grown up among refund the money, which, indeed, he beggars and thieves, knowing and could not; but his friend might have caring for nothing but gluttony and expected kindness and consolation drunkenness, the first thing he would from bim, and met instead with cold. do would be to put him in the hands ness and neglect, and at last was com- of some one who would cultivate the pelled to turn his back, and vow he man, which lurks, however closely, never again would seek an interview within the human beast, and so, in the with a spirit so akin to the dirtiest of phrase of society, to fit him for his kennels. Now I do not say that such station in the world. That is what I a man may not be useful to a political want-to have every man fitted as party ; on the contrary, I think him well as art, and pains, and money, and likely to be specially serviceable for energy, and conscience can do it, for his station in the world. But what is man who is to carry on this work-love, the station? It is that of a being at intelligence, energetic will—and, bethe very summit of nature, and look- side these, practical skill and expeing up from thence, however dimly, rience. When I see men possessed to some God who embodies, though of these qualities sought for by a goperhaps vaguely and weakly, all of vernment more earnestly than men highest conception man can know. seek for diamonds, wooed more fondly This is the station not of Reginald than boys woo their sweethearts, reand Marmaduke, not of Jack and Tom, warded more munificently than rich not of the prince and the baron, or men pay the physician who prolongs the ploughman, the blacksmith, and their lives, and keeps them from Satan the parish-foundling, but of every hu- for another week; when I see such man creature; and it is for this station men found, for found they will be if that he ought to be trained. To train they are sought, and appointed as the him for this is in truth the only busi- friends, and guides, and wiser parents ness, and not merely the chief one, of of every poor man's child in the counall laws, and all society, and yet it is try,--I shall think a new age is begun the one which is the least earnestly for England, and that new hopes have thought of. Fleets, armies, tribunals, dawned upon us. Make earnestness parliaments, sove
vereignties, palaces, on this point your test of every politiand gaols, are but the rude frame- cian who falls in your way, and you work round the space in which this will not go far wrong.
It is mere · work is to be carried on. But it is cowardly falsehood to pretend that not to be done by drilling, and com- doubt of the amount of good thus atpressing, and carving, and stamping tainable is a reason against trying, for words upon the living, fervent, sensi- it is the only way to do any good at tive-oh, how keenly sensitive !-spi- all. A man's whole business on earth rit, as if it were a plate of metal on a as to his own existence is to cultivate death-coffin, and not the subtle blazing himself, and his whole business as to life, likest of all things in this vast others is to cultivate them." universe to the God whom these vile “ I fear,” said Andrews, with a smile, tinkers of the soul profess to worship. “Mr Everard is not our man. There are three things requisite in every
A day had passed after the depar- of fixing myself in some solitude in ture of Andrews, when Collins went the country, I believe I was led to on one of his long walking expedi- choose these heathy bills and retired tions about the hills, and on his re- valleys from the remembrance of the turn, towards evening, found himself way in which your mother used to near the Mount, which was the name describe them to me. Such seemingly of the house occupied by Mr and Mrs slender links bind indissolubly toNugent. As he passed under the gether the past and the future-and I pailing of a small wood, which lay at do not regret that I have come here. the back of the gardens, Maria was If it were only that I so keep fresh my entering a little gate into the enclo- image of her, I should be much the sure, and, after their first greetings, gainer. No one can again be to me she asked Collins to accompany her. what she was, for the benefits she renHe complied, and they walked side dered me can no more be repeated by side on the path which wound than the restoration to sight of a blind among the trees. For a long time man, which is done once and for ever. he looked about him with rather an I was young, ignorant of all but a few eager and anxious expression of coun. books and a few men, and my own pastenance, and at last he said_" How sions and conceits, and had no opporstrange it seems to me that I am in tunity of familiarizing myself with this place! Your mother used to human existence in any wide field. I speak to me of it as furnishing some well recall the arrogant reliance on of the pleasantest recollections of her my own infallibility, which was minchildhood. And now, after many gled in me with the weakest bashful. years, I am walking in it with you, ness, and secret dread of every one her daughter. When I first thought knowing more of the world, and have
I kept my
ing more of its manners, than I. But romance of life.' Partly circumstanI became acquainted with your mo- ces, but partly, I hope, also this adther, and I shall never forget the im- vice, saved me from the danger. And pression made on me by her composed it was at the hour when I heard of self-possessed benignity. At her house my adviser's death that I vowed never I saw not, perhaps, much of society, again to meet my siren, at least till but far more than I have ever seen years and events should have altered elsewhere; and little by little I learned our relative positions. to suppress something of my self-con- vow. It was but one of many services ceit, and at the same time to take an that your mother rendered me at a easy footing among others. I found, time when most of my acquaintances indeed, little that I could fully and were only staring at me, or shrinking deeply reverence, and the more I from me. They had, in general, no lived the more strongly I felt that she more feeling for me as a living sufferwas a really noble, generous, true ing human heart, sutiering from its spirit, cramped and dimmed in an un- own confusions, more bitterly than genial sphere. But yet she kept her any of those whom I annoyed,-no heart alive, and wakened and warmed more, I say, than if I had been a thing the hearts of others, so far as they had painted on canvass only to be gazed any relics or germs in them suscep- at. And a very unattractive sign it tible of the process. I remember as would have been in the eyes of most if it were but this morning, that nearly people for any tavern in London, the last time I saw her, and when she though not quite so obnoxious as I. was very weak and ill, but with an should be now where I am known. expression of divine calm and clear- But if you consider how I must feel ness, she questioned me about an ac- as to your mother, you will not wonquaintance of her's and mine—a wo. der that I have been speaking in this man. This was a person of great way to you, her daughter, as if I had talents and brilliant eloquence, and a a right to receive your confidence, or kind of large and glowing Italian at least to give you mine." beauty, with whom I had become in- Maria listened with deep interest to timate. She had restless feelings, this remarkable discourse, and only always craving more and more excite- started and coloured a little at the ment, insatiable vanity, ready and mention of Walsingham, the allusion warm sympathy, and an imaginative to whom she could not misunderstand. delight in nature, the fine arts, and Indeed, she even fancied that Collins's all the more graceful and the bolder whole object had perhaps been to forms of human character. Her pre- suggest to her his view of the poet's sence and conversation wrought on character, and of the danger to be me like a sweet intoxicating odour- apprehended from him. But she formuch as I can conceive the influence gave him the more readily because sho of Walsingham might on a woman- felt herself secure. At the same time, young and susceptible as I then was. as Collins went on to speak of her Your mother saw through all this, mcther, her eyes filled slowly with warned me, said—' That way lies silent tears, one of which, as she turnguilt, shame, weakness, remorse, self- ed and looked earnestly at him, fell contempt. At the very best,' she con- upon his hand. He, too, looked at tinued, go live and grow in that her, and his voice softened and falluscious hot-house air, and although tered before he made an end of speakyour leaves may spread for a time ing. more richly, and your fruit appear to Maria said, after some moments, ripen faster, how will you be fit to « I am very much obliged to you for meet the storms, the cold, the changes speaking to me as you have done. My of hardy and austere nature ? Draw -my dear mother, I am sure, loved back in time. Perhaps she does not you, and it would be a great happimean to dupe you ; but if so, yet as. ness to me to believe that you give me suredly, with your help, she will dupe any portion of the regard which you both herself and you.
Your fresh felt for her.” high heart, and daring will, and pic- - You cannot be to me what your torial fancy, are too new and shining mother was. I cannot feel as I did realities not to win and command her. then. If I told you otherwise I should But do not waste yourself in adding be lying, for compliments are only another chapter to her overstrained lies in court-clothes. I would as lief see the patients of an hospital, with all dress a portion of the evil. I had their haggardness, tricked out in gala been left penniless, and was obliged to dresses from Monmouth Street, But work for bread. He offered me half if you will look on me as a true friend, his income, as I had done to another; believe me I am one—and shall be so but that experiment had been too unwhile I live."
fortunate, and I would not accept his “ Thank you!" And she gave him bounty. Our friendship, however, still her hand, which he received cordi- continued. I urged him into practical ally. “ Now,” she said, “ I will ven- political life, for which he had many ture to ask you a question which has qualifications and some outward helps, very often occurred to me, but I never although but little inclination. There could venture on it before. You have was a large town for which I was spoken almost as often as I have seen anxious that he should be representa. you with bitter contempt of indolence tive, and I persuaded him to plunge and self-indulgence. I know how into the schemes and confusions of its deeply and writhingly you feel the parties. On his first electioneering existence of so much misery in the attempt he failed. But, at another, I world, and that you believe much may furnished him with proofs of the utter be done to remedy it. What I want public and private baseness of his chief you to tell me is this, Why, with such opponent. These he published, and views, you spend your life as you now chased the culprit from the field. But do, with no apparent occupation be- the exasperation of this man's partisans yond the skill of a peasant. Often impelled one of them, a gentleman by when I have heard you speak, I have station, to seek a quarrel with him, fancied that, if you would only try, and challenge him. I was a hundred you would make others hear, under- miles away at the time, but hastened stand, feel, and act."
to the place, and found him a corpse. “ I told you that you would find me He had been shot by the pistol of a your sincere friend, and so you shall, bullying sycophant, which I felt as if for I will tell you something of my I had loaded and pointed at his heart. story, which, perhaps, will diminish But the ball pierced mine too, and I your surprise. But to no one have I was an utterly miserable man. You ever spoken of the matter before, and cannot conceive what I then felt-at when you hear it, you will not won- least I trust you cannot-and it would der at my reserve. I have had two be useless to describe it. This was male friends in my life, or those whom three years ago. The shock turned the world would call so. One of them, my hair grey, and drove me from the early friend, united to me by youth among mankind. The time which and circumstances, has turned out alto. has since passed has not been more gether worthless. Where I thought than enough to restore me to a spe. I had a diamond dew.drop, I found a cious outward tranquillity ;-inward stain of the commonest ditch-water. peace, even of the hollow fretful kind The other was the friend of my which I before enjoyed, it has not commencing manhood, ardent, sym- brought me. Nor will a thousand pathetic, graceful, expansive, clear years do that. You do not knowof head, and vigorous of heart. He may you never learn!—the continual had fortune and appearance in his subdued horror of remembering how favour, as well as useful family con- the whole existence of another, and nexions; and, while I was in the him one who relied on you, was overeyes of men an uncouth contentious thrown and irreparably crushed under reprobate, he was regarded with gene- a weight first loosened by your hand; ral favour and applause. He took I once thought it resembled a perpetual many of his opinions from me, and my burning alive on the unquenchable influence modified all his pursuits and funeral pile of another's corpse. The aims. His taste led him strongly pain, however, of this mortal ulcer in towards li'erature. He was ambitious my heart has grown comparatively of fame, and, as a thinker and creative dull and chronic, and I am regaining artist, would perhaps have obtained it. the command of my faculties. How, But I felt harshly and fiercely the ex- hereafter, I shall exert them, I know tent of wrong and grief on earth, and not, but probably by speech and wriwould have cheerfully spent my life ting for humane and moral purposes, blood, and that of my friend, to re- rather than by any interference in what is called politics. I see too many dently of party, in purity of heart, and sticking up to their necks in that with quiet consideration of the case slough and calling for help, to believe and circumstances, which have not that it would yield me stable footing. more than fulfilled the hopes of the But I have never heard of any at- man." tempts at good, undertaken indepen.
“ It comes on me," said Maria, or friends, or settled means of subsist" like a heavy blow, when I hear any ence, and yet, by dint of reliance on a one despair of full and tranquil hap- good Power protecting and guiding piness. I am sure it is to be found by him, he is full of cheerfulness and those who seek it; and although there hope. I wish you would go and see is something grandly heroic in the him, and make acquaintance with struggle that is carried on under the him." certainty of never attaining this good, “ I will. But both for you and him I cannot but believe that the possession the day will inevitably come of awa. of it would add to all our efforts a kening to a higher and larger selfsober strength which they must other- consciousness, and a sadder knowwise want."
ledge of our destination.” Collins smiled, half sadly, half scoru- “God forbid !-- And, my dear Mr fully, and shook his head. “ It is Des- Collins, you must not forget that I tiny, not I, that will deprive you one have been, in former times, when I day of that faith."
was about sixteen, as perfectly wretch* I do not know what Destiny ed as I can imagine any one ; so that means; but I trust in God.”
mine is not the mere unreflecting con“ Take what name you will for the tentment of a child. I was then beruling Power of all things. God can- ginning to think a little for myself, not perform impossibilities."
and I found my own heart and life so “Yes; but for Him no good is far from what I saw they ought to be, impossible.”
that I was almost in despair. Had I “ It may be--nay, I feel it is so- been a Romanist, I might then have that for a reasonable voluntary being, been tempted to turn nun." learning as only he can learn by ex- “ What changed your views ?" perience, there will always be errors “ I will tell you. I was taken, for behind to mourn over, and a vista of the first time, to a great party in Lonunattainable good before, which inevi- don, and was thoroughly dazzled and tably lengthens as we advance. It confused by all I saw, and by the exonly remains for us to grieve without citement of the music and dancing affectation or imbecility, aud to jour- round me. I remember that it seemed ney on without turning aside or stop- to me as if every thing in the world ping.'
was successively rolling out of its stead“ For all the ills you speak of there fastness, and wheeling away in tangled is, I am sure, a remedy, if I could but curves to the sound of necromantic make you understand me. I have music. I said to myself, Where am learned to call it Faith, but I know that I? What am I? Is every thing a it is Blessedness. Now, it would seem, dream?'- In the midst of this amazeof course, that you must know better ment of mine, a famous singer came than I; but, at least, I have, for the forward ; silence was obtained, and present, the advantage of you, in my she sang with such impassioned ramore hopeful creed and happier mind. vishing melody, that I thought my By the way, have you ever seen a soul would have flown away upon her poor man who lives in this neighbour. aërial warbling. The applause as she hood, of the name of Fowler? I have ended called off my attention ; but several times visited him, and he seems then I saw a crowd of faces turned to me a beautiful example of peace towards her in enthusiastic delight, and joy in circumstances which would and deep homage expressed in the naturally produce despair, and might eyes and manner of some of the men almost seem to justify it. He is a and women whom I had always heard crippled basketmaker, without family of as the most to be admired and re