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had a genius for coming up to the scratch, "And that is why you would put tables wherever and whatever it was, and proving and chairs upon them, and have people walkhimself an ugly customer. lle was certain to ing over them with heavy boots ?' knock the wind out of common-sense, and *** It wouldn't hurt them, sir. They would render that unlucky adversary deaf to the be the pictures of what was very pretty and call of time. And he had it in charge from pleasant, and I would fancy high authority to bring about the great pub “Ay, ay, ay! but you mustn't fancy!' lic office millennium when commissioners cried the gentleman, quite elated by her comshould reign on earth.
ing so happily to his point. “That's it. You * Very well,' said this gentleman briskly, are never to fancy.' smiling and folding his arms. “That's a " • You are not, Cecilia Jupe,' Thomas horse. Now let me ask you, girls and boys, Gradgrind solemnly repeated, “to do anything would you paper a room with representations of the kind.' of horses?
"You are to be in all things regulated and “ After a pause, one half the children governed,' said the gentleman, 'by fact. We cried in chorus, Yes, sir.' Upon which | hope to have before long a board of fact, comthe other half, seeing in the gentleman's face posed of commissioners of fact, who will that 'Yes' was wrong, cried out in chorus force the people to be a people of fact, and of "No, sir
-as the custom is in these cxamina- nothing but fact. You must discard the tions.
word fancy altogether. You have nothing to "Of course, no. Why wouldn't you?' do with it. You are not to have in any ob
One corpulent slow boy, with ject of use or ornament what would be a cona wheczy manner of breathing, ventured the tradiction in fact. You don't walk upon answer— Because he wouldn't paper a room flowers in fact, and you cannot be allowed to at all, but would paint it.
walk upon flowers in carpets. You don't find “ You must paper it,' said the gentleman that foreign birds and butterflies come and rather warmly.
perch upon your crockery; you cannot be “You must paper it,' said Thomas Grad- permitted to paint foreign birds and butgrind, whether you like it or not. Don't terflies upon your crockery. You never tell us you wouldn't paper it. What do you meet with quadrupeds going up and down mean, boy?'
walls; you must not have quadrupeds repre" I'll explain to you, then,' said the gen- sented upon walls. You must use,' said the tleman, after another and a dismal pause, gentleman, 'for all these purposes, combina'why you wouldn't paper a room with repre- tions and modifications (in primary colors) of sentations of liorses. Do you ever see horses mathematical figures which are susceptible of walking up and down the sides of rooms in proof and demonstration. This is the new reality-in fact? Do you?'
discovery. This is fact. This is taste.' “Yes, sir,' from one half, “No, sir,' from the other.
This passage is in Mr. Dickens's best “Of course, No,' said the gentleman, with manner, and is undoubtedly very clever an indignant look at the wrong half. "Why, and entertaining. It is not at all true; then, you are not to see anywhere what you although, as a mere question of probadon't see in fact ; you are not to have any; bility, the speech of the school inspector where what you don't have in fact. What is much more in place than Miss Monis called taste is only another naine for fact.'
"Thomas Gradgrind nodded his approba- flathers' tirade. But an attentive reader tion.
would be very differently influenced by * * This is a new principle, a discovery, a
the two scenes ;
he would be more great discovery,' said the gentleman. Now, struck with the exaggeration of the latI'll try you again. Suppose you were going ter than with that of the former. Grantto carpet a room. Would you use a carpet ing an imaginative treatment, there is having a representation of flowers upon it?' “There being a general conviction by this
no particular reason why Miss Montime that 'No, sir,' was always the right an
flathers should not talk nonsense and swer to this gentleman, the chorus of No was misrepresent the teaching of a certain very strong. Only a few feeble stragglers school, for the simple reason that her said Yes; among them Sissy Jupe.
remarks are wholly unconnected with "Girl No. 20,' said the gentleman, smiling the purpose of the story into which they in the calm strength of knowledge. Sissy are dovetailed. But İları Times problushed and stood up.
fesses to be a treatise on education, and “So you would carpet your room with representations of flowers, would you?" said it is essential that the system to which, the gentleman. Why would you ?'
in its moral, it supplies the antidote, "If you please, sir, I am very fond of should be impartially set out. If Mr. flowers,' returned the girl.
Dickens's fancy bad not run away with
him, he would never bave commenced from the ivy-shaded window such gleans of what is, after all, a very serious and ad. light shone back upon the glowing sky, that mirable work by striking a note which it seemed as if the quiet buildings were the everybody knows to be false.
hoarding-place of twenty summers, and all It is the tendency of an active im- their ryddiness and warmth were stored
within." agination to mistake thoughts for objects. The ideas which it presents are Sir Walter Scott would have given us clothed with so much circumstance, a map of the country, with the heights and have such a real existence within and bearings of all the mountains; we the mind, that it seems superfluous to get from Mr. Dickens a rhapsody on the inquire whether they do or do not beauty of the scene, with a few disjointcorrespond with anything without it. ed sketches of some of the principal obThis confusion is very observable injects. But these sketches are elaborate Mr. Dickens, but nowhere more than and minute — often to a fault. Almost in his mode of describing Nature. His immediately following the passage just language takes us quite back to the quoted, is a description of a churchold poetic days of Dryads and river- tower. Not one of the infinite variety gods :
of shades and tints the form of no “The intelligible forms of ancient poets, single stone, has escaped the watchful The fair humanities of old religion,
eye of the artist. He concentrates his The power, the beauty, and the majesty whole attention on it; he sees each the That' had their haunt in dale or piny moun- minutest detail, and for the moment he tain,
sees nothing else. The style is exactly Or forest by slow stream, or pebbly brook,” | tbat of Mr. Hunt. The leaders of the live again in his pages: the trees, the pre-Raphaelite school are, like Mr. Dickleaves, and the streams of his pictures ens, men of great imaginative power, are endowed with a distinct personal. and with a fine instinct. They protest ity; they act, think, and suffer; and it against the conventionalism of art, as he is in the description of the imaginary protests against the conventionalism of relations which subsist between them— society, with the same view of showing in the transference to them of the wri- that beauty and worth are universal, and ter's own thoughts and emotions, that may be found everywhere, if only we his landscape painting essentially con- have eyes to see them. But though all sists. Its aim is not so much to deline things may be beautiful, all things are ate the scene of action, as to excité in not equally so, and their grades and rethe reader a state of mind in harmony lations have been somewhat lost sight with the action itself. For example :
of. The realism of certain artists recoils " It was pretty late in the autumn of the
with horror from the loose, suggestive year when the declining sun, struggling way in which fore-grounds are often through the mists which had obscured it all treated; so the daisies and dandelions, day, looked brightly down upon a little Wilt- and the ears of corn and blades of grass, shire village, within an easy journey of the fair are painted with as mạch care as if each old town of Salisbury. Like a sudden flash were a separate centre of interest, the of memory or spirit kindling up the mind of focus of a distinct picture. And the rean old man, it shed a glory on the scene in sult is, that we get a gallery of photowhich its youth and freshness seemed to live again. The wet grass sparkled in the light;
graphs, but no landscape. the scanty patches of verdure in the hedges
Just so with Mr. Dickens. His genesis where a few green twigs yet stood together of character, like bis description of Nabravely, resisting to the last the tyranny of ture, is exactly what might be expected nipping winds and early frosts took heart in a writer of his peculiar endowments. and brightened up; the stream, which had It is imaginative, brilliant, effective; but been dull and sullen all day, broke out into a it is altogether wanting in analytical cheerful smile; the birds began to chirp and depth, and has, at least, an air of half twitter on the naked boughs, as though the truth about it. He rarely shows us any hopeful creatures half believed that winter had gone by, and that spring had come al- of the more delicate springs of action. ready. The vane upon the tapering spire of There is too much consistency for life, the old church glistened from its lofty station and too much violent contrast for art. in sympathy with the general gladness, and The gradations, the shading, the second
NEW SERIES_Vol. I., No. 1.
ary lights are wanting. 'It always re The principle of describing men under minds one of Martin's pictures, in which the influence of a leading babit or pasthe world is tumbling about in the pression is carried out into the subordinate ence of a mixed assembly of demons traits of character. Some very ordinary and angels. He paints his scenes mi. and superficial peculiarity is seized and nutely. He conceives his characters kept constantly before us. At one time strongly. But he works at them as if it is the repetition of a phrase; at aneach, like the alligator, were itself an other, it is some trick of manner or of epic self contained. They stare at you gesture. No one objects to the fat boy out of his canvas with an oppressive in going to sleep, to Barkis being willing, dividuality like the generals in the pic- to Traddle drawing skeletons, to Carker ture of the Waterloo banquet. But showing his teeth, to Mark Tapley being there is neither harmony of conception jolly, to Dick Swiveller quoting scraps nor unity of design.
of songs - occasionally.
occasionally. But we are In Martin Chuzzlerit, for example, treated to this as if for the most part we the writer's design was, we are told, to were capable of nothing but inexplicable exbibit selfishness in various forms, and dumb show and noise. On the stage the to trace out its consequences. To this artifice is common and allowable; the end several very selfish people are de- novelist, however, bas opportunities of scribed : Martin Chuzzlewit the elder developing character which are denied and Martin Chuzzlewit the younger; to the playwright. The impression left Antony Chuzzlewit and his son Jonas. by this posture-making is, that the men The incidents are carefully arranged, so and women we meet are acting their as to give the vice in question plenty of parts, and not acting them particularly room in which to display itself. Each well either. To represent Daniel Quilp of the leading personages is set off by a eating hard-boiled eggs, shells and all, contrast; old Martin is attended by his drinking boiling spirits and tea without niece Mary, young Martin by Mark winking, and biting his spoon and fork Tapley, Antony Chuzzlewit by Chuffey: till they bend, is mere burlesque. and Jonas is relieved by his wife. We The want of analytical power with need not stay to inquire how far the which we are disposed to charge Mr. novelist has succeeded in doing what Dickens is in certain directions compenwas proposed, for we can scarcely imag- sated by his extraordinary delicacy of ine anything more certain to give a dis- observation. Outward peculiarities — torted view of life and character than the details of manner, speech, and apthe fact of his success. The most selfish pearance, are at best but an imperfect men are not all selfish. Even when they index of character. But they are alare inclined to be so, events are constant ways worth something, and there are ly compelling them to act with reference cases in which they tell us all that we to others. IIere we have a number of care about, or indeed, are able to know.* self-seeking people brought together The moral and intellectual peculiarities with exceptional means of studying of animals, for example, are sufficiently their own ease and convenience, and with a self-denying friend always at within ourselves," observed the Major. “Shall hand to bring out their idiosyncrasies we drink a bitter afore dinner, Colonel ?"
* Pages of analysis would not give us more inas strongly as possible. On the whole
sight into Doctor Blimber's character than the Martin Chuzzlevit, considered as a following short description of his manner of treatise on moral philosophy, rather walking: “The doctor's walk was stately, and overshoots its mark. Mr. Dickens calculated to impress the juvenile mind with makes in it exactly the same mistake as when the doctor put out his right foot, he gravely
solemn feelings. It was a sort of march. But was committed by Major Pawkins. He turned upon his axis with a semicircular sweep gives an unnecessary stimulus to his own towards the left; and when he put out his left vigor.*
foot, he turned in the same manner towards the
right. So that he seemed, at every stride he *“We are an elastic country,” said the Rowdy took, to look about him as though he were saying, Journal.
Can anybody have the goodness to indicate any * We are a young lion,” said Mr. Jefferson subject, in any direction, on which I am unin. Brick.
formed ? I rather think not.'" -Dombey and “We have revivifying and vigorous principles Son, vol. i. p. 160.
described, when we are told how they look and behave. Mad, half-witted,
"• Is he old ? said Edward. weak, and simple people, again, are
“A mere boy, sir,' replied the locksmith. adequately represented by their obvious A hundred and twenty or thereabouts.
, and external qualities; for, as regards
**Call him !' echoed Barnaby, but who the former class, inasmuch as we cannot
can make him come? He calls me, and rely on inferences from the ordinary laws makes me go where he will. He goes on beof mind, there is nothing but manner to fore, and I follow. ... I make him come! losk to; and as regards the latter class Ha! ha! ha!' there is a tolerably constant relation be "On second thoughts, the bird appeared distwen what they think and what they say of the ground, and a few side-long looks at
posed to come of itself.
After a short survey and do. In noting these surface attri. butes, Mr. Dickens has showu an exquisite he fluttered to the floor, and went to Barnaby
the ceiling, and at everybody present in turn, tact. Accordingly in his sketches of
—not in a hop, or walk, or run, but in a pace animal life, in his description of madness, like that of a very particular gentleman with and in the working out of such charac- exceedingly tight boots on, trying to walk fast ters as Tom Pinch, Dora Spenloir, Esther over loose pebbles. Then stepping into his Summerson, Toots, Smike, and Joe Gar- extended hand, and condescending to be held
out at arm's length, he gave vent to a succesgery he is perfectly satisfactory. Mr. Sleary's reflections on the instinct of sion of sounds, not unlike the drawing of
some eight or ten dozen of long corks, and dogs * are alone sufficient to prove how again asserted his brimstone birth and paraccurately their habits must have been entage with great distinctness.” * observed. Very excellent, too, is Mr. Garland's pony, Whisker, and the per For the same reason Mr. Dickens deforining dogs in the old Curiosity scribes children singularly well. But he Shop. But the best thing of the kind always appears anxious to make too is, without doubt, the raven in Barnaby much of them, giving them a promi. Rudge.
nence in the story which throws an air of
unreality over it. Prodigies like Paul “ " Halloa !' cried a hoarse voice in his
ear. Dombey, or girls with the sagacity and * Halloa ! halloa! halloa ! Bow wow wow, heroism of Eleanor Trench, are not what's the matter here? Hal-loa !”
“ The speaker — who made the locksmith children at all; they are formed characstart, as if he had seen some supernatural ters who talk philosophy and happen ac. agent was a large raven, who had perched cidentally to be small and young. But upon the top of the easy-chair
, unseen by him Pip, and David Copperfield (when he is and Edvard, and listened with a polite atten- not too conscious in his simplicity), and tion and a most extraordinary appearance of Sissy Jupe, and little Jacob, are what comprehending every word, to all they had they profess to be, and are created and said up to this point; turning his head from carried out with unusual skill. Oliver one to the other, as it his office were to judge Twist is merely a lay figure, like one of between them and it were of the very last importance that he should not lose a word.
those in Mrs. Jarley's Waxworks, who "Look at him,' said Varden, divided be are so well described as “standing more tween admiration of the bird and a kind of or less unsteadily upon their legs, with fear of him. Was there ever such a know their eyes very wide open, and their nosing imp as that? Oh, he's a dreadful fel. trils very much inflated, and the muscles low!'
of their legs and arms very much de* The raven with his head very much on one side, and his bright eye shining like a diamond, veloped, and all their countenances expreserved a thoughtful silence for a few sec pressing great surprise.” Up to a ceronds, and then replied in a voice so hoarse and tain point Paul Dombey himself is natdistant, that it seemed to come through his ural and delightful. Abstraction made thick feathers, rather than out of his mouth. of what the waves were always saying
* Halloa ! halloa! halloa ! What's the there is a duet about these waves of matter here ? Keep up your spirits.. Never which it is impossible to think without a say die. Bow wow wow. I'm a devil, I'm a shudder-his thoughts are such as might devil, I'm a devil. Hurrah!' And then, as if exulting in his infernal character, he began well occur to a child under peculiar cir
cumstances, to whistle.
The episode of Doctor
Hard Times, p. 344.
* Barnaby Rudge, vol. i. pp. 54, 5.
Blimber's Academy-the solemn polite- the feclings for my money, though he mayn't ness, pretension, and weariness of that look it.' establishment—is nearly as good as any the name of Jerry—you know Jerry, Thomas?
""Stay a minute,' said Short. "A man of thing in the whole of these volumes.
** Oh, don't talk to me of Jerrys,' replied No one can help remembering the
Mr. Codlin. “How can I care a pinch of snuff “round of bread, genteelly served on a for Jerrys, when I think of that 'ere darling plate and napkin, and with a silver fork child ? ? Codlin's my friend,” she says, “dear, Îying crosswise on the top of it,” which good, kind Codlin, as is always a devisin' pleaswas to serve for dinner to the disgraced ures for me! I don't object to Short,” she says, Briggs — nor the butler “who gave “but I cotton to Codlin.” Once,' said that quite a winey flavor to the table beer; gentleman reflectively, “she called me Father he poured it out so superbly;” nor even
Codlin. I thought I should have bust!'"* the fact that Dr. Blimber's young gen But when Mr. Dickens writes on printlemen did not “ break up,” but oozed ciple, with an object before him, and, away semi-annually to their own homes. above all, when he tries to enlist our It is by the finish of these lighter touches sympathy or dislike, he signally fails. that Mr. Dickens has won the high posi- We search in vain throughout these sixtion he occupies. His minor characters teen novels for any one man or woman are generally good. Mr. Littimer, for whom we really admire, really fear, or example, is only a sketch—but it is a whom we should at all desire to imitate. sketch which leaves a far more vivid If the figures in a tailor's shop were to impression behind than the comparative become suddenly animated they would ly labored portrait of Steerforth.
So be exceedingly like Mr. Dickens's heroes. with Mr. Vincent Crummles, young Compare Rochester, or Louis Moore, or Bailey, Mrs. Skewton, Captain Cuttle, the Professor, with John Westlock, Nichand Mr. Buckett-they are among the olas Nickleby, or Walter Gay. While happiest things in his books.
no one reads Miss Brontë's works withillustration of selfishness, we far prefer out a marked feeling one way or other the few pages in the old Curiosity for the principal actors, there is a very Shop, which describe Messrs. Short general impression that if Mr. Dickens's and Codlin, to the heavy melodramatic young men could be got rid of altogether business in Martin Chuzzlerit. It is his novels would be greatly improved. more natural
, more humorous, and, we They have an admirable choice of words, think, more true. The cautious surliness and express the most unexceptionable of Codlin in the first instance, when he opinions in the most correct language, is not clear what to make of his fellow- but there is a premature goodness and travellers; bis awkward attempts to in- an odious prosy morality about them gratiate himself when he suspects money which are quite insufferable. Those litmay be made out of them; and the tle angularities by which character is discharacteristic manner in which he finally tinguished are nearly altogether wanting. takes credit for everything that he had Nicholas Nickleby, Frank Cheeryble, not done, when he is clear that money and John Westlock are each represented is to be made, contrast admirably with under the influence of a strong passion; the simple good-nature of his partner but they might be shaken up in a bag Short:
with Madeleine Bray, Kate Nickleby,
and Ruth Pinch, and it would make very “Did I always say, Thomas,' cried Short, turning with a look of amazement to his friend, little difference either to themselves or that there was sure to be an inquiry after the story how the couples were taken them two travellers ?'
out. Whereas Shirley would be quite *** You said !' returned Mr. Codlin. "Did I another book if Rochester had to be subalways say that that 'ere blessed child was the stituted for Louis Moore. The reason most interesting I ever see? Did I always say of this is that Mr. Dickens has trusted I loved her, and doated on her ? Pretty creetur, not to his observation, but to his imagiI think I hear her now. she says with a tear of gratitude a tricklin
' nation, and he has exercised his imaginadown her little eye; “Codlin's my friend," she tion on a subject of wbich he has no spesays, “not Short Short's very well," she cial knowledge. There is just one exBays; “I've no quarrel with Short; he means kind, I dare say; but Codlin," she says, "has * Old Curiosity Shop, vol. i. pp. 292, 3.