« AnteriorContinuar »
"The old beast is "She would have made a perfect gendead!" she writes jubilantly, in April, | tleman," observes St. Simon, which 1719; adding, "I feel sure that the probably expresses well her courage, things she most regretted leaving be- strength, benevolence, and fair dealhind her were my son and myself in ing; while womanly graces were wantgood health." "I fear," she says in iug. Brusque, startlingly outspoken, another letter, "that the Maintenon's an unsparing enemy, and a faithful death will turn out to resemble that of the Gorgons- many serpents will continue to appear. If she had died thirty years ago, all the poor Huguenots would be still in France, and their Charenton chapel would still be standing."
Madame had the high-bred instinct of courtesy to her inferiors. It was to her equals that her unsparing vigor of speech was exhibited. Her love for dogs was passionate. She had them constantly with her. "You
not," she writes to her sister, "read
friend, she should not be forgotten or obscured by all the brilliance and beauty of her time brilliance which probably hid not one tithe of her rough but sterling worth.
From The Strand Magazine.
COURT DRESS AND THE SPEAKER'S
THERE was a report current at the could beginning of the present Parliament that the speaker, commiserating the lot of members who for various reasons were not disposed to endow themselves with court dress, proposed to give a series of supplementary feasts at which ordinary dinner dress would serve. The rumor may be dismissed without a moment's consideration. The speaker is not likely, voluntarily, to divest himself of one of the conditions which temper his official hospitality. It suffices to be bound to invite in turn six hundred and seventy gentlemen to dinner, without going out of the way to remove a possible obstacle to the invitation being universally accepted. Accordingly, this session, as from time immemorial, members dining with the speaker have been required to don court dress and carry a sword by their side, when it is not between somebody else's legs.
Madame died December 8th, 1722, in her son's arms. She had been ailing for long, and faced death with characteristic courage. Many doctors came So inexorable is this law, that last to her bedside, but she said they were session it operated to the extent of all quacks, and that she was content to banishing the seconder of the address die. Her life had been a rather dreary from the speaker's table. It is the one. Possibly she was not sorry that invariable custom that the mover and the curtain was falling. "You can seconder of the address shall be inembrace me if you like," she said to vited to the dinner to her Majesty's one of her ladies, who kissed her hand, | ministers with which the speaker hos"for I am going to a land where all pitably opens the session. Last year will be equal in the sight of God." Mr. Fenwick, whose honorable boast "We are about to lose a good prin- it is that he commenced his career as cess," said Marais in his journal; "a a working collier, seconded the adrare and precious thing in these times." dress. He undertook the duty only
upon condition that he should not be
seemed too much, even as a preliminary condition of being enabled to serve his country. But the uniform is The imperatively necessary in connection with court duties inseparable from ministerial office. On visits to the queen, attendance at the Prince of Wales's levees, and at the ministerial dinners in Speaker's Court, the integrity of the British constitution demands a certain strictly ordered uniform. After some protest, Mr. Bright gave in in the matters of coat and trousers, even of plumed hat. But he drew the line at the sword. Finally, concession was made on this point, he alone of all her Majesty's ministers appearing on ceremonial occasions unembarrassed by a sword.
the sanctity of their Chamber. Both Houses have staffs of messengers, chiefly responsible as media of communication between members and the outer world. But whilst messengers in the Lords, charged with a letter, a card,
From their earliest departure on the war-path the Irish members have made a point of standing aloof from the speaker's dinner parties. There is, One peculiar distinction between the indeed, a story of the late Mr. Joseph | Lords and Commons is the greater Gillis Biggar having been encountered jealousy with which the latter guard on the top of a Clapham 'bus with velvet coat on his back, ruffles at his wrist, black stockings coyly hiding his shapely legs, silver buckles on his shoes, and sword in dainty scabbard hanging within easy reach of his right hand. Questioned as to the occasion or a ministerial box, may approach the for this disguise, he airily replied, "I've been dining with Mr. Speaker." This is, however, only one of the many myths that linger round the memory of honest Joseph Gillis. As upon another apocryphal occasion it was announced that "the Tenth never dance," so it remains true to this day that the Irish members never dine - at least, not with the speaker.
person addressed and achieve his errand, a messenger in the House of Commons may not approach beyond the bar at one end, or proceed further than the steps of the speaker's chair at the other. The consequences are inconvenient and sometimes ludicrous. What happens is that the messenger, standing by the cross benches, hands to the nearest member the message or Shortly after Mr. Bright, in 1868, card with which he is charged, and it joined the ministry as president of the is slowly passed along the line till it Board of Trade, the clothes difficulty reaches its destination; each member presented itself. His Quaker con- in turn thinking it is meant for him, science revolted against the necessity occasionally an absent-minded statesof assuming the semi-warlike costume man opening a letter not addressed to which forms the full dress of her Maj- him. This is a matter in which the esty's ministers. To prance around in Lords are certainly more up to date, scarlet coat, with gold lace down his and the Commons might well take a trousers and a plumed cocked hat leaf out of their ordinarily despised under his arm, was a sacrifice that book.
HENRY W. LUCY.
For EIGHT DOLLARS remitted directly to the Publishers, the LIVING AGE will be punetually forwarded for a year, free of postage.
Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, or by post-office money-order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks, and money-orders should be made payable to the order of LITTELL & CO.
Single copies of the LIVING AGE, 18 cents.
SHE seemed a wild bird caged on earth,
A wild bird brought from heaven's
Still unforgetful of her birth;
And while she gazed out on the stars
Now thro' the midnight gloom I gaze,
And should my wistful eyes once see
ARTHUR J. STRINGER.
From The Quarterly Review. THE WAVERLEY NOVELS.1
It is now just eighty-one years since the publication of "Waverley," and nearly sixty-three since the author was laid among the dust of his ancestors in the Abbey of Dryburgh. During Scott's lifetime his novels on the whole suffered no loss of popularity, though the last were less admired than the first. After a time they very naturally ceased to be so much talked of, and, as new writers appeared upon the scene, ceased perhaps to be so much read. But that has only been the fate of all our great classics, — Shakespeare and Dryden, Pope and Addison, Fielding and Smollett, Dickens and Thackeray. Nobody thinks the fact any proof that they were overrated in their own day, or that they do not still deserve all that their contemporaries thought of them. So with the Waverleys. There they still stand, as distinct a land-mark in our literary history as the Shakespearian dramas; like these, without an equal; and, like these, never to be repeated.
The measure of their power and their beauty may be found in the severity of the criticism, which they have not only survived, but survived without the slightest depreciation. Inconsistencies, repetitions, gross improbabilities, tedious introductions, hurried and perplexed conclusions, faults of construction, neglect of facts, historical mistakes, false archæology, have all been proved against the author of "Waverley," and have left him exactly where he was. The only two books in the English language which have resisted similar attacks are the
Bible and Shakespeare. Against all three the keenest intellects and most learned commentators have dashed themselves in vain. There is a power in all three of them from which these attacks rebound harmlessly, like the arrows from De Bracy's helmet on the ramparts of Torquilstone. Scott was 1 The Border Edition of the Waverley Novels. With Introductory Essays and Notes by Andrew Lang, supplementing those of the author. Illustrated by more than Two Hundred and Fifty new and original Etchings by eminent Artists. London, 1892-94.
not called the Wizard of the North for nothing; and the publication of a new edition of the novels in some fifty handsome volumes, enriched with introductory essays by Mr. Andrew Lang, shows conclusively that their reputation is not upon the wane.
The completion of the Border edition affords a convenient opportunity for indulging in some further speculations on the character of the spell which has thus defied the whole armory of wit. After the lapse of many years, when we stand far enough off from the Waverleys to see them in perspective and in their relation to other works of kindred genius, we hope to escape the charge of repeating only a thrice-told tale. Mr. Lang strikes the right note in his frequent comparisons between Scott and Shakespeare, and in his brief reference to the significance of the fact dwelt on at greater length by Professor Masson, that Scott was the first novelist who was a poet. But neither seems to see quite all that it implies, or its bearing on the great work which Scott was appointed to perform. Mr. Lang has had access to the manuscripts and other material now preserved at Abbotsford; but they have not yielded much in the way of novelty. They have enabled him to correct a mistake made by Lockhart in reference to "St. Ronan's Well." With this exception we have not observed any important additions which he has made to our knowledge of the history and progress of the Waverleys. Still the essays are very interesting, and we only wish the illustrations were half as good.
Before proceeding to the main object of this paper, it will be necessary to take into account the circumstances which were in Scott's favor when the publication of the Waverleys began. At the commencement of the present century the novel had by no means attained that high rank in our literature which it holds at the present day. The historical novel was hardly known at all, or known only through writers of a very inferior order, who seldom satisfied the demands of good sense and good taste. Throughout the eigh