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some detail the early art of Egypt, Assyria, Sociology. Darkness and Daylight, or Chaldæa, Phænicia, with a view to deter- Lights and Shadows of New York Life, by mining the ideals and the first movements Mrs. Helen Campbell. (A. D. Worthingof early civilization ; for throughout the ton & Co., Hartford, Conn.) Mrs. Campvolume Mr. Conway regards art as a func- bell contributes the greater part of the tion of social and religious history. The material in this book, but there are also suggestions of the sketch are of most ser- two considerable sections by Colonel T. W. vice to those who have acquired unrelated Knox and Inspector Byrnes. The general knowledge in the specific directions fol- scheme is to lay bare the concealed side of lowed by the author.

city life, and that aspect of crime and povEducation. The Report of the Commis- erty which is not obvious to the casual obsioner of Education for the Year 1888-89 server. The lights in the picture are chief(Government Printing Office, Washington) ly the efforts made for regeneration by is contained in two octavo volumes. It is persons and organizations, though there is for the most part a mass of classified sta- comparatively slight reference to the notistics, but the commissioner has taken ad- ble work done specifically by the churches. vantage of the special reports to present The shades, however, form the principal some of the results in more general terms. elements in the picture of city life, and a What he has to say of the relations of the forlorn, miserable procession of rogues and schools to the colleges is guarded and judi- wretches passes before the eye of the readcious. His comments on the development The writers have used excellent judgof the university are much to the point. ment in keeping clear of the sensational, In Heath's Modern Language Series, Vic- and especially in the treatment of sensual tor Hugo's Hernani edited by John E. vice. The book ought to do something toMatzke. The introduction sketches rap- ward informing country people of the perils idly the French theatre of the eighteenth of the darker side of city life. It is such century and the Romantic drama, of which a survey as is likely to be read, for it is not Hugo is the great master, the versification, encumbered with statistics, and is plentifulthe story of Hernani, and the occasion of its ly lightened by anecdote. The book is very first representation, when it caused such a abundantly illustrated, and the reader recommotion among

the Classicists. – Burke's marks how inevitably art, even when phoSpeeches on the American War, and Letter tographic, manages to give a picturesque to the Sheriffs of Bristol, with Introduc- quality to the most squalid conditions, tion and Notes by A. J. George. (Heath.) except as connected with human faces. A convenient textbook. Mr. George's work Streets, buildings, ruins in the low quarters, is confined to excerpts from writers on all have a touch of interest and attractiveBurke, suggestions as to study, and brief ness ; the ruined faces of men and women notes.

alone are unrelieved by art.

er.

THE CONTRIBUTORS' CLUB.

ONE of the most familiar of fig- having little in the way of fact or criticism sion of Walt ures in print and picture, every- to add to this knowledge, and no claim Whitman.

An Impres.

where well known or easily taken either of literary authority or of personal for granted, Walt Whitman was also per- intimacy to pronounce his éloge. I saw sonally most accessible ; it was part of his him but twice or thrice ; on one occasion conception of the high office of poet to be spending a few hours in his company, in a 80; and there are many among us who have conversation that was impressive and memseen and spoken with him, many who have orable to me. But alas for the lacunes of had far greater opportunities than I of

memory

! I made no record of the talk, knowing and estimating him. In writing and much that he said has gone from me. these lines to the Club, I am conscious of The impression remains. Perhaps an at

W

tempt to define it may fit in with some twi- balance or provide a compensation in the light talk of the dead poet ; perhaps I may fact that many persons, physically defective slip my pebble between the larger stones of or suffering, had developed deep mental or his cairn.

spiritual insight, gaining through their very It was a warm Sunday noon, late in the loss, he replied : “ Yes, that is beautiful, summer of 1883, when two of us went to but it is only compensation for loss ; and dine at a suburban house where Walt Whit- after all, is anything so beautiful as a whole, man was a frequent guest, and was then complete life, lived after natural laws, and staying for a few days. Warmth and sun- preserving into old age its health and its shine were outside, shadow and coolness power ?” He went on to speak of the within, with perfect Sabbath quiet. The comparative rarity of a healthful, serene table was set for four, and I, the youngest old age, such as ought to be the crown of of the party and the sole representative of every life, and asked, “ How many exammy sex, had for my vis-à-vis the ample fig- ples do we see of it?” I mentioned a ure of the poet clad in light gray linen, his name that had more than once come to my wide rolling shirt collar and long white hair mind, as we talked, — Victor Hugo. He and beard framing the massive, kindly face. said, “ His is a fine old age,” but spoke He gave the keynote of the conversation, with little warmth, and added that it was bearing his full share therein, but never mo- a pity Victor Hugo was not truer and less nopolizing it ; talking with perfect courte- bombastic. ousness, and with a simplicity and sincerity The conversation turned on poetry. Walt which set his listeners at ease, and made Whitman said : “I envy Homer. I envy sincerity easy, and in fact the only attitude him that first strong impression of things. possible in the reply. What struck me, in To him it was a new heaven and a new his conversation, was first his readiness to earth. Every poet since Homer has been talk and to hear of everything, his wide ci- at a disadvantage, has had to see and feel riosity and sympathy ; and next, the flavor and describe what had all been seen and of it, the unity, which seemed to come, not felt and described before.” Every poet, he from a stock of opinions, but out of a na- went on to say, had to go back as nearly as ture harmoniously adjusted to limitations possible to that position, to see things at first which fitted it loosely and easily, as the am- hand ; that his greatness as a poet dependple linen suit fitted his large frame. ed on his power of thus going back to the

The conversation at first drifted back to great elements of life, of seeing the world war times, Whitman telling of some hos- as a new world, and recreating it in words pital experiences and interviews with Lin- that were true, fresh, and direct. He spoke coln ; the other gentlemen adding bits of of Wordsworth as a poet who had dealt reminiscence, and discussing with him va- too much with the secondary aspects, with rions incidents and accompaniments of the nature as viewed from the standpoint of a struggle. We talked, too, of the state of complicated human experience, and said, affairs in the South, and its regrettable but “ Bryant is one of my favorites ;” adding ever - lessening separation from the inter- that Bryant was never great, and was often ests and life of the rest of the country. Of monotonous, but that his way of looking at course we soon got upon the open-sea topic nature was simple and healthful, and more of human life, the puzzle and mystery of direct than Wordsworth’s. I could not it, the question what should be made of it. help thinking that his application of the The poet maintained that the physical life principle was defective in that the simpliwas nowadays too much neglected ; that be- city he cited was perhaps more or less of an tween au attention to material and extra- imitative character, while the poet to whom neous interests, on the one hand, and a con- he referred as subtle had struck deeper, ventional exaltation of the mental aspects, through whatever indirection, to the heart on the other, we were driving the physical of things. He spoke of the pleasure of to the wall ; as if life, this wonderful, mys- finding in Bryant allusions to those comterious life, were not primarily a physical mon objects of American landscape which phenomenon. To my objection that a per- we know and love. fect physical life was denied to many, and After dinner I was alone with Walt that nature seemed to bring about a sort of Whitman for a few moments on the piazza.

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He began to explain to me, kindly and man paused, sat silent a moment, then recarefully, as if fearful lest they should sumed the solemn lines on death. have been misunderstood, his remarks on We had a charming drive about the the relation of the physical and mental country, the poet now and then waving his life ; saying in substance that the life of hand, with a smile, to little children by the the soul was the highest end, but that to roadside; enjoying everything, interested in that end the most perfect equilibrium was the crops growing or gathered, and admiressential, the physical having its great part ing particularly some high stone walls built in the development of the ideal. There around large properties, for their evident had been no misunderstanding of his words strength, the gray color of the stone, and on my part, and no contradiction, save of their honest workmanship. When we bade the accidental kind which occurs in the farewell to our host and Walt Whitman, movement of conversation when we bring who left us at our own door, the latter inin facts or suggestions without measuring sisted upon alighting, though he was lame exactly their relation to wbat has preceded. from paralysis, and handing me out. He It was not a point to contradict. If the said to us, “It has been a pleasant day, physical is not with us in our higher aims, has it not?” My companion assented. I it is fearfully against us.

added, with enthusiasm, “ It has been a A drive was proposed for the late after- perfectly happy day to me, Mr. Whitman.” noon, and in the mean time Walt Whit- His face lit up cordially, and he said, “Has man disappeared for an hour to take a it so? I am glad. If there had been anynap. We sat on the piazza till he joined us thing the matter with it before, that would again, when he recurred to some talk that have made it all right.” we had had at dinner, apropos of optimism The next time I saw him, passing him and pessimism. He had affirmed the for- one day in the street, as he sat in a carmer creed, and I had protested against too riage beside the curbstone, he returned my entire an optimism, because of the possi- salutation evidently without recognizing bility it left open of sliding over things too me, but with his hearty manner, as of one easily, of ignoring the depths of human ex- glad to salute any fragment of humanity. perience. He now remarked, in his wise, Later I heard him read, before a large tranquil manner, “Optimism with a touch assembly, his poem on the mocking - bird of pessimism, – that is the right creed.” by the seashore, “Out of the cradle endAnd is not that the optimism of Leaves lessly rocking." His voice came across the of Grass, which makes its affirmation so crowded room as from some open, quiet strongly and ardently, without neglecting space without, its harmonies large and loose to take account of the contradictions and like those of the verse. And what a sugnegations ?

gestion of melody as well as harmony there

is in that song of the mocking-bird! How “ Roaring in thought over the Universe, I saw the little that is Good steadily hastening to

it brings up those night-notes that seem to wards immortality,

be thrown out upon the air and then reAnd the vast all that is called Evil I saw hastening to

called, gathered in for a pause and another merge itself and become lost and dead."

outpouring! Walt Whitman's reading of Our host asked the poet to read to us his verse established its right to be. He before we took our drive, and he consented. was really not a modern writer of poems, We hoped for something of his own, but but an ancient bard and reciter of them. he suggested Bryant, wishing to show us My last glimpse of him was in his house what he liked in him, and read Thanatopsis.' at Camden, when he was recovering from a To a seasoned Wordsworthian Thanatopsis Jong illness. He was in an upstairs room, is an echo, but it is a stately, pleasing sitting in an armchair, clad in a long blue poem for all that, dealing with things that dressing-gown, with the usual expanse of are true and dear to us, and, read as it was immaculate linen. In this costume he sat read on that quiet Sunday afternoon, it was serene and Jove-like amid an indescribaimpressive and beautiful. While the read- ble blending of bareness and confusion : a ing was going on we heard at intervals a room of the plainest sort, with an unmade distant thud, – the firing of a gun. Our bed, very little furniture besides, a fire in host said, “ It is a soldier's funeral.” Whit- a stove, on the floor a pile of wood, some

a

Battle of the
Babies.

stacks of books, and some huge baskets of the old savage strife ringing in his ears, filled with manuscripts, which overflowed and with the memories of the dour Scottish and lay round in little heaps. He was bogies and warlocks lingering in his heart, gracious and cordial, talked of his illness Mr. Lang could but indifferently sympathize and of the visits he had had, and showed us with those anxious parents who think the some French books that had been sent to stories of Bluebeard and Jack the Giant him. He spoke of the fact that no new Killer too shocking for infant ears to hear. generation of poets stood ready to take the Our grandmothers, he declared, were not place of that which had grown old and would ferocious old ladies, yet they told us these pass away with Tennyson, lamenting this tales and many more which we were none result of the utilitarian tendency of the the worse for hearing. “Not to know them age.

is to be sadly ignorant, and to miss that A warfare has been raging which all people have relished in all ages.”

in our midst, the echoes of which. Moreover, it is apparent to him, and indeed have hardly yet died sullenly away upon to most of us, that we cannot take even our either side of the Atlantic. It has been a earliest steps in the world of literature, or bloodless and un-Honieric strife, not with- in the shaded paths of knowledge, without out humorous side issues, as when Pistol encountering suffering and sin in some and Bardolph and Fluellen come to cheer shape ; while, as we advance a little furour anxious spirits at the siege of Harfleur. ther, these grisly forms fly ever on before. Its first guns were heard in New York, “Cain,” remarks Mr. Lang, “ killed Abel. where a modest periodical, devoted to the The flood drowned quite a number of pertraining of parents, opened fire upon those sons. David was not a stainless knight, time - honored nursery legends which are and Henry VIII. was nearly as bad as Bluepresumably dear to the hearts of all right- beard. Several deserving gentlemen were ly constituted babies. The leader of this killed at Marathon. Front de Bæuf came gallant foray protested vehemently against to an end shocking to sensibility and to Mr. all fairy tales of a mournful or sanguinary Ruskin.” The Arabian Nights, Pilgrim's cast, and her denunciation necessarily in- Progress, Paul and Virginia, all the dear cluded many stories which have for gener- old nursery favorites must, under the new ations been familiar to every little child. dispensation, be banished from our midst ; She rejected Red Riding Hood, because and the rising generation of prigs must be her own infancy was haunted and embit- nourished exclusively on Little Lord Faunttered by the evil behavior of the wolf ; she leroy and other carefully selected specimens would have none of Bluebeard, because he of milk-and-water diet. was a wholesale fiend and murderer ; she The prospect hardly seems inviting ; but would not even allow the pretty Babes in as the English guns rattled merrily away the Wood, because they tell a tale of cold- in behalf of English tradition, they were hearted cruelty and of helpless suffering ; promptly met by an answering roar from while all fierce narratives of giants and

this side of the water. A Boston paper ogres and magicians were to be banished rushed gallantly to the defense of the New ruthlessly from our shelves. Verily, read- York periodical, and gave Mr. Lang - to ing will be but gentle sport in the virtuous use a pet expression of his own — "his kail days to come.

through the reek.” American children, Now it chanced that this serious protest it appears, are too sensitively organized against nursery lore fell into the hands of to endure the unredeemed ferocity of the Mr. Andrew Lang, the most light - heart- old fairy stories. The British child may ed and conservative of critics, and partial sleep soundly in its little cot after hearing withal to tales of bloodshed and adventure. about the Babes in the Wood ; the Amer How could it be otherwise with one reared ican infant is prematurely saddened by such on the bleak border land, and familiar from unmerited misfortune. “If a consensus infancy with the wild border legends that of American mothers could be taken,” says Sir Walter knew and loved ; with stories of the Boston writer, “our English critic Thomas the Rhymer, and the plundering might be infinitely disgusted to know in Hardens, and the black witches of Loch how many nurseries these cruel tales must Awe! It was natural that with the echoes be changed, or not told at all to the chil

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dren of less savage generations. No mo- cents were not slaughtered until after the ther nowadays tells them in their unmiti- Magi had returned to the East. But no gated brutality."

child who had looked day after day upon Is this true, I wonder, and are our super

Ghirlandaio's lovely picture — more appealsensitive babies reared perforce on the op- ing in its pathos than Holman Hunt's briltimistic version of Red Riding Hood, where liant and jocund Triumph of the Innocents the wolf is cut open by the woodman, and - could desire to pluck “ in righteous rage the little girl and her grandmother jump that chapter from the Bible. He would out, safe and sound ? Their New England have at least some dim and imperfect champion speaks of the “intolerable mis- conception of the spiritual meaning, the ery” – a very strong phrase — which he spiritual joy, which underlie the pain and suffered in infancy from having his nurse horror of the story. tell him of the Babes in the Wood ; while This reflection will help us in some the Scriptural stories were apparently every measure to come to a decision, when we whit as unbearable and heart-breaking. “I return to the vexed problem of nursery remember,” he says, “two children, strong, tales and legends. I believe it is as well brave man and woman now, who in right to cultivate a child's emotions as to culeous rage plucked the Slaughter of the In- tivate his manners or his morals, and the nocents out from the family Bible.” This first step in such a direction is necessarily was a radical measure, to say the least, and taken through the stories told him in inif many little boys and girls started in to fancy. If a consensus of mothers would expurgate the Scriptures in such liberal reject the good old fairy tales “in their unfashion, the holy book would soon present mitigated brutality,” a consensus of men a sadly mutilated appearance. Moreover, of letters would render a different verdict ; it seems to me that such an anecdote, nar- and such men, who have been children in rated with admirable assurance, reveals their time, and who look back with wistvery painfully the lack of that fine and deli- ful delight upon the familiar figures who cate spirituality in the religious training were their earliest friends, are entitled to of children ; of that grace and distinction an opinion in the case. How admirable which are akin to saintship, and are united was the “righteous rage" of Charles Lamb, so charmingly in those to whom truth has when he wanted to buy some of these same been inseparably associated with beauty. brutal fairy stories for the little Coleridges, There is a painting by Ghirlandaio hang- and could find nothing but the correct and ing over the altar in the chapel of the commonplace literature which his whole Foundling Asylum in Florence. It repre- soul abhorred! “Mrs. Barbauld's and Mrs. sents the Adoration of the Magi, and kneel- Trimmer's nonsense lay in piles about,” he ing by the side of the Wise Men is a little wrote indignantly to papa Coleridge, “and group of the Holy Innocents, their tiny have banished all the old classics of the nurgarments stained with blood, their hands sery. Knowledge, insignificant and vapid clasped in prayer ; while the Divine Child as Mrs. Barbauld's books convey, must, turns from his mother's embraces and the it seems, come to a child in the shape of kings' rich gifts to greet the little compan- knowledge ; and his empty noddle must be ions who have yielded up their spotless

turned with conceit of his own powers, when lives for him. Now, surely those lean, he has learnt that a horse is an animal, and brown Florentine orphans, who have always that Billy is better than a horse, and such before their eyes this beautiful and tender like ; instead of that beautiful interest in picture, absorb through it alone a religious

wild tales which made the child a man, sentiment unfelt by American children while all the time he suspected himself to who are familiar only with the ugly and be no bigger than a child." inane prints of American Sunday-schools, in Just such a wild tale, fantastic rather which I have known the line “My soul doth than beautiful, haunted Châteaubriand all magnify the Lord” to be illustrated by a his life, the story of Count Combourg's man with a magnifying-glass in his hand. wooden leg, which, three hundred years Possibly our Sunday-school scholars, being after its owner's death, was seen at night more accurately instructed as to dates, could walking solemnly down the steep turret inform the little Florentines that the Inno- stairs, attended by a huge black cat. Not

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