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ward upon his oars to gaze the better draw on our little store of smiles to at his fair companion, and she with welcome them; and they give a good down-drooped eyes, but a smile that report of us to our acquaintances proclaims her consciousness of his (“ bright and cheery as ever, I do asscrutiny, hangs one little band in the sure you "), and never guess that when water and watches it escape through they have gone the curtai falls, and her fingers. The time has come and our darkness is deeper tha', ever. yone long ago wherein we ought to These visits of our friends are at have been conteni“ to go wooing in our once the cause of our joy and of our boys ;” but that love-making by proxy, sorrow. It is sweet to be remembered with the fruition for others, was never, after social death. Our most tender as history tells us, a very welcome pro-reflection is the thought that when ceeding. And now, the remembrance nothing can be gained by it, not even of what was once so bright and sweet the reciprocity of geniality, these dear and fair, the parting and the meeting, kind folks leave their business or their the glance that was mirrored in a flash pleasure, and look in upon us, day after from loving eyes, the tell-tale pressure day. The Backwater is not a lively of the gentler hand, the stolen kiss so scene. It is always in the shadow tenderly forgiven, is of all remem- projected by the platform above the brances the most intolerable. Selfish ? Weir, and the noise of the falling Yes; do not suppose that self, though waters is very melancholy; yet these different indeed from what it used to good souls do not desert us. Nay, be, with no bravery of pretence about there is something in our condition that it, querulous, degraded, does not still touches them in quite a remarkable cling to us; it is ouly to be washed manner. Even those who, when we away by the cleansing waters of the were among them, were Weir. Yet, after all, we have no envy, quaintances develop the most friendly nor would we deprive our fellow- feeling, and make us ashamed of our creature of a single pleasure if we previous ignorance of its existence. To could. It is the mere sense of loss,“ kindly Nature,” as she is called by irremediable and complete, that causes those who have experienced only her our despair. It will be shocking to good offices, we have, to tell the honmany persons (who are still alive and est truth, but little to be thankful for; in the world, however, and can follow it is to men and women that our feebly the pursuits they love) to learn that beating hearts go forth in unspeakable such vicws are entertained by indi- gratitude. There is one viduals in our position. We are gener- solation in our miserable lot, that it has ally depicted as being philosophic or brought us face to face with the inresigned, just as the blind (God help measurable goodness of Humanity. them !) are always described as “cheer- Let the divines say what they will of ful;" I do not know on whose account those who have been made after the this hypocrisy is maintained.

image of their Creator ; let them heap

upon them all the faults of their fallen Alas ! we have nor hope nor health,

nature ; let the cynics aver that what Nor peace within nor calm around,

seems good in them is only another Nor that content surpassing wealth The sage in meditation found.

form of selfishness; we on the Back

water have good cause to know that But it is not to be wondered at that these traducers lie. Oh, Love that others should take a brighter view of cherishes its object when all that our condition. Just (again) as in the makes it lovely has departed, that precase of the blind, who are seen at their fers to possess it useless as a broken best in company, and strive to hide toy rather than to lose it, that slaves their sad deficiency from those who for it and sacrifices its all to give it visit them, so when our friends come daily comfort, that holds all menial ofto see us, we put on our best looks, and I fices as gracious opportunities for witi

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"on of discomfort and of pain ; we | With us on the Backwater it is not so ; kuow you now as we have never known there are only days that are less bad you before. Oh, Friendship, whose than the others. Wbat is worse than smile has been alway's dear to us, but all, some good folks think to raise our of the greatness of whose fond and spirits by the reflection that we may faithful heart we have never guessed, live for months, and even years, longer. forgive us for our former ignorance. Because they are in love with life If even there be no heaven hereafter, themselves, they think that, though in there are angels here. Alas! though some less degree perhaps, it is dear to our gratitude can be told, it cau never / us also; they cannot conceive a state be shown. There are two words that of existence in which one's chief hope ring in our ears far more sorrowfully and constant prayer are to get it ended. than the warning of the Weir : “Too Others, from equally kind motives, find late ! Too late!” We are as dead another ground of cougratulation in the men, though (thanks to these angelic fact that, though the nearness of the visitors) not “out of mind.” We Weir is evident, we are not moved by think, if a miracle were worked and it. They do not understand that one we could “get about again,” that we of the saddest conditions to which should spend the remainder of our lives the human mind can be reduced — not in striving to repay them, in doing the from faith, but from pain and wearilike kind offices we have received from ness is no longer to fear the Shadow them to others in the same sad case as feared of man. ourselves. There is no barm in having such thoughts, and, alas ! no good.

News is brought us of what is going on in the world – in politics, in litera

From The Spectator. ture, and in social life. It interests us

FACT AND FICTION. very much, but in quite a different THE world hears a great deal, from fashion from the old one. We are no the crities of fiction, about wild imaglonger actors but spectators, and, as it inings, impossible situations, stories seems to us, at an inmense distance that are spoiled by beings far remove i from the stage. The performances are, from the plane of human experience, as it were, in another planet. Our vis- and of plots so far-fetched and extrav. itors, with tender instinct, select only agant as to be utterly absurd. Yet, such topics as are agreeable to us, and strange as it sounds, we believe that strive to conceal from us the reason these complaints are usually ill-founded. that we are too weak for opposition. There are plenty of bad plots and But, alas ! we know the reason very foolish situations, but their badness well. A certain morbid sensitiveness and foolishness consist far less often in takes the place of intelligence with us, their impossibility than is popularly and on the other hand is unsuspected. imagined. A man may, of course, sit They are unaware — as, indeed, how down and concoct a monster, but as a could it be otherwise ? — that their rule the human imagination is singulightest remarks sometimes distress larly limited and confined. In the reus. They forget when they praise the gion of the human comedy, it seldom weather that we shall never more feel or never travels outside the region of the sunshine, nor breathe the fresh actual experience, while even in the air, por put foot to the ground again. romance of marvel and adventure, the Again, in their wish to cheer us, they novelist as often as not is only “ a little profess to see some improvement in previous,” – that is, he merely invents our condition, which in fact never and discovers quicker than the legititakes place. The best that happens is mate discoverer. For example, it often that the change for the worse, which happens that the analytical novelist is continuous, is imperceptible. Ordi- produces what he imagines to be a perpary invalids have their “good days.” | fectly new psychological situation ; but

the sun.

a week or two after publication, some the other way, when Edgar Allan Poe one sends him a cutting from a weekly thought he was inventing an impossible local newspaper, headed “Remarkable new gas which should enable Hans Suicide in Great Snaleby,” or “Strange Pfaall to float his balloon, he was Law Case in Hogton Magna,” in which merely roughly sketching out in adhis situation is parodied to the life. vance the work to be done in a London The weaver of romance finds it equally laboratory. The Lancet of last Saturhard to beat real life in the way of day quotes the passage from Edgar imagination. His villaiu's contrivance Allan Poe, in which Hans Pfaall defor getting the hero to dive off a spring- scribes how he produced his new gas, board in the dark into a marble swim- lighter than hydrogen. Here is the ming-bath which has been previously extract :emplied, turns out to have happened in I then took opportunities of conveying real life except for the villaiu, while by night, to a retired situation east of Rotthe plan of catching a hundred cobras terdam, five iron-bound casks, to contain and collecting their poison is showu to about fifty gallons each, and one of a larger be as old as Cæsar Borgia. In fact, size ; six tin tubes, three inches in diamthe novelists try to take a new path eter, properly shaped, and ten feet in which will lead to an undiscovered length ; a quantity of a particular metallic country where no one has ever pene

substance, or semi-metal, which I shall not trated before, but find in the end that name, and a dozen demijohns of a very

common acid. The gas to be formed from they are only making a circle, and that these latter materials is a gas never yet in reality there is nothing new under generated by any other person than myself,

– or at least never applied to any similar During the last week or two, there purpose. I can only venture to say here have been published a number of strik- that it is a constituent of azote, so long ing instances of the limitations of the considered irreducible, and that its density imagination. To begin with, there was is about 37•4 times less than that of hydrothe strange story told at the trial of gen. It is tasteless, but not odorless ; the probate action connected with the burns, when pure, with a greenish flame; estate of the late Mr. Theobald. It

and is instantaneously fatal to animal life.

Its full secret I would make no difficulty in appeared from the evidence that a very disclosing but that it of right belongs (as I unlikely and far-fetched incident intro- have before hinted) to a citizen of Nantz, duced by Mr. Hardy into his novel, in France, by whom it was conditionally “The Hand of Ethelberta,” had actu- communicated to myself. The same indially taken place in the house of a vidual submitted to me, without being at member of Parliament. Reality had all aware of my intentions, a method of followed ion, and a lady who had constructing balloons from the membrane bettered herself by marriage had actu- of a certain animal, through which subally taken her father and mother into stance any escape of gas was nearly an her house as servants, and apparently impossibility. I found it, however, altoin the same spirit of strictly regulated gether too expensive, and was not sure, affection which was portrayed in the upon the whole, whether cambric muslin novel. So much for the psychological equally as good.

with a coating of gum caoutchouc was not

I mention this circumpiagiarism of real life. A still more stance because I think it probable that remarkable instance of imagination hereafter the individual in question may being unable to overstep the bounds of attempt a balloon ascension with the novel the possible, or of reality being obliged gas and material I have spoken of, and I to follow fiction, is afforded by the do not wish to deprive him of the honor of discovery of helium. One might have a very singular invention. imagined that when Professor Ramsay It is curious to note that the italics are discovered a new element in the air, Poe's own. Yet as the Lancet rehe was out of reach of the novelist. marks, they might very well have been Not a bit of it. Edgar Allan Poe had theirs at the present juncture.” We been there before him. Or if we put it ' hope our readers will remark how very

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closely the manufacture of helium fol- | mode of sending gold abroad, and to lows Poe's receipt. To begin with, discontinue the use of tugs in its transhelium is prepared by pouring a very port.” In other words, a set of men common acid — i.e., sulphuric acid - -on of business came to the conclusion “a particular metallic substance or that unless they were careful, there semi-metal” — i.e., clèveite. Next, its might be another example of real life density is probably very much less than plagiarizing fiction. that of hydrogen. Azote is another A common way of explaining the name for nitrogen -a zõe, without life. anticipation of reality by fiction, is the Ilence, if Hans Pfaall's gas was not natural tendency of mankind to inhelium it was something very like it. itate what they see and hear. It is Curiously enough, the writer in the suggested that life follows fiction as Lancet suggests that helium will be trade the flag. For example, a lady used for the exact purpose for which who has married above her, reads in a its fictional inventor destined it. “If novel of a heroine who, placed much as

a helium could be obtained in tolerable she is, takes her father and mother into quantity, what an important bearing it her house as servants, and does the might have in aeronautics. Thus, if it same. Again, a clergyman, who has a be much lighter than hydrogen its lift- sceptical but devoted wife, thinks he is ing power would be much greater, and bound to separate himself from her the cumbersome and clumsy dimen- because he has read “ John Ward, sions of our present balloon, it is easy Preacher.” Lastly, a band of trainto see, could be reduced with very great robbers stop an express in the Far advantage.” Clearly Edgar Allan Poe West exactly in the way suggested in invented helium as much as Jules a Christmas Annual, because one of Verne invented the submarine boat. them has read a notice of the ChristAfter this one wonders how long it mas Annual in the Garfieldopolis Gawill be before a projectile is shot on to zette. According to this theory we the moon, or the centre of the earth may also suppose that Professor Ramreached by way of an extinct crater. say discovered helium by reading the A less exciting, but none the less re- tales of Edgar Allan Poe. Unfortumarkable, instance of the inter-pene- nately, however, this easy explanation tration of fiction and fact is to be found will not bear looking into. It is as in the circumstances recorded by often as not quite obvious from the Messrs. Cassell in a recent circular. facts that no sort of imitation was It appears that in his recent novel, possible in the cases of coincidence “The Sea Wolves,” Mr. Max Pem- between fact and fiction. We do not berton dealt with the transport of bul- believe either that Mrs. Theobald had lion on the Continent. After a careful read “ The Hand of Ethelberta," or study of the modes of transporting that Professor Ramsay used Poe as his gold to Russia, he conceived the idea scientific director. The real explanaof an immense amount of bullion tion is to be found much nearer at being stolen in the course of transit hand. Fiction is hardly ever wild from the tugs to the steamers, and enough to be beyond the possibility of worked out such a scheme in the finding a counterpart in reality, becourse of his novel. According to the cause the human imagination is, as we circular from which we quote, “Cer- have said, a very limited thing. Imagtain well-known firms of financiers ination in fiction, at any rate, is a mathave noted the story, and recently held ter of logical building up, not a flight in searching inquiry with a view to ascer- the blue. We start with a balloon, and taining whether the methods described then we want to find something which in • The Sea Wolves' were at all feas- will enable our hero's balloon to be ible of accomplishment. As a result less erratic and more generally useful it appears to have been decided to than the true balloon. This brings us make a fundamental change in the at once to a gas lighter than the gas

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ordinarily used by aeronauts. But if, fied by an occurrence reported from we are to have a new gas, let it be the the Soudan, the author is not to be lightest conceivable, something lighter thereby excused. For example, if a

. tban hydrogen. How are we lo make novelist made his heroine in the Crimea it ? Why, of course, by pouring acid write a love-letter, catch a crane on the on a metal. But a new gas demands point of migrating, and tie the letter a new metal. Here, then, we have under the bird's wing in the hope that arrived by a perfectly logical process it would be shot by her lover, a captive within measurable reach of helium. in Khartoum ; and if the lover had the The man of romance can indeed hardly bird brought to him three months after, avoid prophecy if he works in a field so and “pressed the scroll to his lips, fruitful of new discoveries as chemis- etc.,” we should say “ Fudge," and try. Suppose a novelist, quick at syllo- throw the book aside. Yet when Slatin gisms and with a reasonable amount of Pasha was a prisoner to the Mahdi, a judgment, and possessed of a smatter- crane was shot and a letter from south ing of natural science. Let him apply Russia found under its wing, and this these to the invention of a new ele- letter was brought to Slatin,

the only ment, aud in all probability he will be man in the Soudan who could read it. justified by a discovery twenty years This fact, however, would not have hence. The ordinary man is indeed so justified the novelist, or altered the bound by the syllogistic method of verdict of “ Fudge." We do not want thinking that if he writes sense and mere possibilities in fiction, but possigrammar, he will hardly be able to set bilities that look like possibilities. The forth an utterly impossible suggestion. novelists, again, must not think that Of course if he deals in mysteries life is imitating them, or that they are which are contradictions in terms, he prophets. They must instead rememmay soon break away into impossibili. ber with humility how circumscribed a ties. But if he is unmystical in the thing is the imagination, when it is not strict sense of the word, he may be as used by madmen and taken out of the extravagant as he likes, and yet be regions of sense and reason. The novonly heralding new discoveries or new elist can think of what man might b?, arrangements in the kaleidoscope of might do, and might say,– hardly of life. It is the same with the aualytical what he might not. At any rate, if he and psychological novelist. His busi- does, and imagines a man who is really ness is to arrange human character- and truly impossible, acting in an imistics and human actions into patterns. possible way amid impossible circumBut remember that there are some five stances, he is pretty sure to be dull. or six hundred million people who are Even the poets are dull when they daily arranged in patterns by Provi- become frankly impossible. dence. It is almost certain, then, that the novelist will fail to hit on a really new combination, and by no means unlikely that he will hit on one that

From Chambers' Journal. has been, or will be recorded. Sir Thomas Browne said it was too late to

CONSCIENCE MONEY. be ambitious. It is certainly too late to I feel within me a peace above all earthly dignibe origival in fiction. It must not be ties, a still, quiet conscience. — Henry VIII. supposed, however, that because we “ THE chancellor of the exchequer think it bardly possible for the novelist acknowledges the receipt of £- on who writes sense to beat fact, we con- account of income tax, from XYZ.” sider that every sort of extravagance is such an announcement as this is familtolerable in fiction. It is the business iar enough to most readers of the newsof fiction to please, and though an papers ; but few persons, perhaps, have "impossible” incident ten years after any notion as to the amount that is rethe date of composition may be justi-ceived in each year by the chancellor of

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