« AnteriorContinuar »
Now, Miss Martineau is clearly an cating the question. But we can give earnest and sincere religious believer, no such praise to Miss Martineau's -nay, she is a believer in the plain American luminaries. and ordinary sense of the term, and if We fear that the genius of Mr Carshe were not, we should have neither lyle must be responsible for having faright nor inclination to criticise her miliarized the minds of the American opinions. There is certainly a danger public with a phraseology, belonging in adhering too exclusively to the facts to systems which the more flippant and connected with religion, and neglect- shallow amongst them were certain to ing the idea which they embody; and misunderstand and misuse. The Coryif her endeavours had been simply di. phæus of this set must, we should rected to the object of exalting and suppose, be one Mr Orlando E. bringing out the purely spiritual ele- Brownson, a preacher of the tenets ment of Christianity, we should admit which Miss Martineau approves, in lanthat her labours were directed to a guage which she has thought it worth worthy end: but when she adopts as her while to report and eulogize. A her means of attaining it a popular more empty specimen of inflated rheand declamatory tone-when she toric, more servile docility to the auquotes with applause still shallower thors of the few thoughts he expresses, appeals to the people when she even with more elaborate ostentation of orirejoices in the prospect of free discus. ginality in discovering them, we sion, which is to take place in a hall should seek in vain elsewhere. Truth to be built for the purpose at Boston, itself would come injured from such a among persons of all denominations tongue. It is not by clouds of words or of none, we cannot but deeply re- that earnest belief is expressed and gret that her own earnest convictions propagated. Simplicity, directness, should be allowed to serve as a sup- and point may be attached to falseport to the frivolity, vanity, and vice hood, but they must accompany truth. of vulgar unbelief. Grapes shall We hope that Miss Martineau's grow on thorns, and 'figs on thistles, better taste has only been tempted inbefore spiritual religion or wisdom to the admiration of this and similar arises from the passionate emptiness declaimers, by their casual agreement of a popular debate. Let us first try in an error which we think pervades the experiment of referring a chancery her views of politics, as well as of resuit, or a disputed surgical question, ligion. She takes the world for a to the wisdom of a public meeting. tabula rasa, or perhaps for a tabula ra
The real object at which we ben denda till the blots which disfigure it lieve she is aiming, is not new, or pe- are removed. History is the standing culiar to America. From the decline protest against her views, and history of the French school of infidelity to she rever regards.
It would be easy the present day, the great philosophers to form smooth and regular prospects and critics of Germany have been for the future, if the past were not so employed in bringing out the true re. rugged and complicated. We do not, lations between historical fact and indeed, look on the course of the world essential truth ; one class by analysis as a series of recurring parallels, and of the abstract notions, the other by we deny that it contains fewer warn. laborious investigation of authorities ings than examples. Still we are and rules of evidence. But they all bound either to regard experience, or agree in the opinion, that the un- to explain it away; and if we find that learned cannot rightly apprehend the democracy has not produced liberty results at which they arrive ; and, like without the accompaniment of a strong chemists dealing with poisons, they government, or that the spirit of rebave covered their dogmas, either with ligion has declined when facts and the obscurity of a learned language, symbols have been disregarded, we or the stronger safeguard of a ratio must reconcile the phenomena with cinative and abstruse style. However our visions of improvement before we much we may regret or differ from can fitly proceed to realize them. If some of their doctrines, we hold that Miss Martineau would impose on herSchleiermacher, Paulus, and Strauss, self the golden rule of Coleridge, to have pursued a fitting object of enquiry understand her adversary's ignorance in a worthy manner, appealing only or to presume herself ignorant of his to the learned, and withholding from understanding, she might sometimes the world the opportunity of prejudi- have the positiveness of her own con
victions shaken, by finding men op- society of men over that of their best posed to revolution, who neither love friends, who care too much for them nor admire aristocracy, whose ambi- to laugh at them. Where, as in the tion might be gratified by change, present case, the masculine attribute and whose sympathies are all in favour of humour is added to the sympathy of the people whose restlessness they of woman, we must give up all hopes counteract: she might then think of rivalry; and that not merely with them wrong, but she would respect reference to children, but in the power their opinions—at present she has no of observing and describing the delirespect for opposite views. We cate shades of manners, the little pleamight forgive her intolerance, for it sures of domestic life, and all the traits is a lady-like failing, and it involves which individualize and mark the orno uncharitable feeling to the indivi. dinary characters of society. In this dual—for her spirit is always that of peculiar power no one has, we think, a kind and generous woman ; but she yet equalled Miss Austin ; but Miss will accept of no allowance on account Martineau in her late novel, Deerbrook,
She claims equality in all has nearly approached her, and has things--not contented that to the added to her graphic and happy complete human being the left side sketches of society, an analysis of the should be as vital and essential as the affections worthy of Madame De Staël, right, she would have it ambidexter; with a picture of female purity and and she must take the consequent re- goodness far nobler and simpler than sponsibility. It is not enough to ad- Corinne. mit that an adversary is right at The everyday life of the village of heart; he may claim, till he is an- Deerbrook, with the loves, likings, and swered, to be considered as possibly dislikings of its inhabitants, supply the right also in his opinions. While we plot, which is well contrived, simple, make this demand, we retain a right and, with one or two exceptions which in our own minds to make excuses we shall notice, probable. In the for this fault of intolerance, though first chapter remarkable skill is diswe may disclaim them in public, as we played in making us acquainted with find that they would be unacceptable the circumstances and general charac. to their object.
ter of the dramatis persone. In the But if we suppress our opinion that drawing-room of the prettiest house the defects of one-sidedness and dog- in the village, ornamented by a garden matism may peculiarly characterise the and shrubbery which conceal the timpolemics of a lady, no restraint of ber and coal yards stretching down to politeness shall prevent us from re- the river side, we find Mrs Grey and marking on the far more numerous her eldest daughter Sophia, sitting in beauties which we think equally char- expectation of their cousins the Misses acteristic. Miss Martineau's genius is Ibbotson, who had been invited from essentially feminine, though its vigour Birmingham to stay at Deerbrook, and reach are those of a man; femi- till the affairs of their father, who had nine in its earnestness, in its purity, lately died, should be in some degree and in the hearty homely interest which settled. When they arrive, Sophia it spreads around the small events of points out to them the view from their daily life. No man ever observed and window. 6. That is Mr Rowland's understood children so accurately, and house, papa's partner you know. Isn't few women
can contemplate them it an ugly house, with that ridiculous with the same intelligent and playful porch to it?
That house opequanimity; for while to us they are posite is Mrs Enderby's, Mrs Rowgenerally playthings, in the minds of land's mother's. So near as she lives women they have too real and living to the Rowlands, it is shocking how an interest to make their mistakes and they neglect her,” &c.
Mean time evil doings matters of calm speculation. Mrs Grey is exulting in the beauty of Hence we see that, in the lower classes, Hester Ibbotson the eldest, and as to mothers seldom speak to their children Margaret, “ Mrs Rowland will say but in a tone of scolding; and, among she is plain; but in my opinion Marthe more refined, it is very common to garet is better-looking than any of the remonstrate and argue with them as Rowlands are ever.likely to be ... with responsible equals ; from which “ We have a pretty good neighbourproceeds the very undeserved prefer- hood," she tells them. "I think, Sophia, ence which children display for the the Levitts will certainly call."
yes, mama! to-morrow I have no severing malignity on the part of Mrs doubt"-" Dr Levitt is our rector ; we Rowland ; and Mr Rowland, a wellare, as you know, Dissenters, and Mrs meaning easy man, is unable to counRowland is very much scandalized at
teract her energy:
One very interest it . ...; but the Levitts' conducting character is added in Maria, might teach her better.” Next it ap- Young, the governess of the Grey and pears that Mr Philip Enderby, Mrs Rowland children. Poor and crippled, Rowland's brother, is staying with she suppresses an attachment for En the Rowlands, and Sophia and Mrs derby, which she had cherished in Grey complain that he is very high. more prosperous days, an consoles “I don't think he can help being so herself by observing and wishing well tall,” says Sydney-a fine manly boy of to all, and by deep and religious rethirteen, who is throughout the book signation. In her person, standing a good specimen of the way in which apart as she does from the direct acMiss Martineau understands and ap- tion of the story, Miss Martineau appreciates his “order.” Sophia an. propriately expresses the reflections swers that “ he buttons up and makes which appear to us more peculiarly the most of it, and stalks in like a Po- her own; precepts of duty and rules lish count.” Soon afterwards Mr of happiness which are always wise Grey appears, and in a few words and sound, and subtle delineations shows himself a sensible good-natured of feeling, which well deserve the
Then Mr Hope is announced, attention of the experimental philoso. and the twin little girls, Fanny and pher; for the true service of art to Mary, beg to be allowed to sit up a science, consists in its presenting facts little longer to see Mr Hope. Mrs in bolder relief for inspection. The Grey explains that he is a great fa- systematic psychologist is more fitly vourite with every body, and that they employed in classifying and explainhave the greatest confidence in him as ing the varieties of character and cona medical man. “ He was not hand- duct, than in collecting them by obsome, but there was a gaiety of coun- servation-a task for which the novel. tenance and manner in him, under ist ought to be far better qualified. which the very lamp seemed to burn All good fiction is an interpretation brighter." When he departs, Mrs of nature, and it is likely that the artGrey asks her husband, “ looking at ist will see many isolated truths behim over her spectacles," if he does sides those which he embodies in the not think Hester very handsome; and agents of his drama ; therefore he inif he does not think that Mr Hope troduces a passive representative of thinks so too. “ He did not speak on himself, a chorus, or à Miss Young, the subject, my dear, as he mounted his that the fragments of his wisdom may horse."_" It would have been strange not be lost-a supplement of art which if he had then, before Sydney and the is allowable as long as the truths thus servants.”—“Very strange indeed !” preserved are really separate intuiBut Mrs Grey cannot help specula- tions; as soon as they are combined ting on what Mrs Rowland would think into a system, they belong to the proof Mr Hope's marrying into their con- vince of the objective, and violate nexion so decidedly, and wonders why dramatic propriety. Mr Grey cautions her to be silent on The characters of the sisters are well the subject, and makes such a serious drawn and strongly contrasted. They matter of a word or two. “ Because have both cultivated minds and genera good many ideas belong to that word ous dispositions, and they both shrink or two, my dear."
from the gossip and petty quarrels of Nevertheless, Mrs Grey was only Deerbrook ; but Hester is of a jealous wrong inasmuch as she left two ele- and unhappy temper, always craving ments of the problem out of considera. for displays of affection, and persuadtion,– Margaret and Mr Enderby. ing herself that she doubts it from a The acuter reader will have rightly morbid anxiety to have her certainty conjectured, that the loves of these four made doubly sure. She knows herform the main current of the story; self to be the chief object of her sister's and even from our meagre abridge. thoughts; but, partly from a sense of ment he may have derived a sufficient- her own unworthiness, and still more ly accurate notion of the rest of the from the impossibility of a practical society of Deerbrook. The gossiping faith in the harmonious uniformity of jealousy of Mrs Grey is repaid by pere feeling, which she has never realized in herself, she fears every transient we have to boast of, that some of us begin competition, and feels every interval to suspect that Deerbrook is not the which interrupts exclusive interest as Athens and Arcadia united that we have an infringement on the claims which been accustomed to believe it... her own love compels her to make. The truth is, these girls have brought in a No selfishness causes so much pain as new life among us, and there is not one of that which requires the outward signs us, except the children, that is not some of affection as well as the reality. years younger for their presence. Mr The desire of sympathy once felt and Grey deserts his business for them like encouraged may be forcibly suppress
a schoolboy, and Mr Rowland watches
his opportunity to play truant in turn. ed, may sometimes even be satisfied ;
Mrs Enderby gives dances, and looks but it can rarely be kept under com
Dr mand, of contented with mere proba- quite disposed to lead off in person. bilities. Faith in mankind is reason
Levitt is preaching his old sermons. Mrs
Grey is wellnigh intoxicated with being able ; for we know that the better parts the hostess of these ladies, and has even of our nature exist in all, and with reached the point of allowing her drawingdue cultivation may prevail over evil. room to be used every afternoon. Enderhy Faith in friends is easier still, so far is a fixture while they are so. Neither as it extends to their principles, their mother, sister, friend, nor frolic, ever devirtues, and their capabilities of dis- tained him here before for a month tointerested affection ; for it is scarcely gether. He was going away in a fortnight possible to become closely acquainted when these ladies came: they have been with any one without thinking better of here six weeks, and Enderby has dropped human nature; men's faults appear all mention of the external world. greatest at a distance, and chiefly con. But who are they? you want to know cern their dealings with strangers. they are distant cousins of Mr Grey's, just But a belief that a given individual over twenty, and their name is Ibbotson. will feel an affection for a definite ob- ' Are they handsome?' is your next ject, though it may be desirable if it is question. The eldest, Hester, is beautiful necessary to our happiness, can never as the evening star. Margaret is very be a postulate of reason, or a duty; it different. It does not matter what she is as is not faith but opinion, and must rest
to beauty, for the question seems never upon outward facts, unless it can be to have entered her own mind. I doubt
whether it has often occurred to her, whechanged into conviction by the consciously reciprocal magnetism of love, ther she can be this, or that, or the other
she is, and there is an end of the matter. or in a smaller degree by the freemasonry of friendship.
Such pure existence without question,
without introspection, without hesitation happy, who in the completeness of
or consciousness, I never saw in any one their being can dispense with all above eight years old. Yet she is wise ; it proofs of returned affection, and be
becomes not me to estimate how wise. contented with loving, while they are You will ask how I know this already. I always the most beloved.
knew it the first day I saw them; I knew of such a character is Margaret it by her infinite simplicity, from which all Ibbotson ; devoted to all around her selfishness is discharged, and into which without a thought of self, and uncon- no folly can enter. .
Her afsciously receiving her reward in the fection for her sister is a sort of passion. affection which she universally in. It has some of the features of the serene spires. She has all the courage, and guardianship of one from on high; but it firmness, and practical wisdom which is yet more like the passionate servitude in man or woman accompany single of the benefited to a benefactor for inmindedness.
stance—which is perhaps the most graceful A quiet mind, a patient mood,
attitude in which our humanity appears. And not disdaining any;
I go, grave and longing to Not gibing, gadding, gaudy, and
listen. I come away, and find I have been Sweet faculties had many.
talking more than any one; revealing, disIt is not wonderful that both Hope the learner ;-you will say the worshipper.
cussing, as if I were the teacher, and not and Enderby fall in love with her, before she has been at Deerbrook for
Say it if you will. Our whole little world We will borrow Mr also well worthy of worship. If there
worships the one or the other. Hester is Hope's account of her in a letter to a
were nothing but her beauty, she would brother in India.
have a wider world than ours of Deer« There are two ladies here from Bir- brook at her feet. But she has much mingham, so far beyond any ladies that more. She is what you would call a true
She has a generous soul, strong some information which you alone can give affections, and a susceptibility which inter: What I have to say relates to your feres with her sérenity.
She sister.' Margaret's extasy of hope was will be a devoted wife; but Margaret doés scarcely controllable. For her sister's sake not wait to be a wife to be devoted. Her she hung her head upon her bosom, the life has been devotedness, and will be to better to conceal her joy. It was a bitter the end. If she were left the last of her moment for him, who could not but note, race, she would spend her life in worship and rightly interpret the change in her ping the unseen that lay about her, and countenance and manner. 'I wish to know, would be as unaware of herself as now, if you have no objection to tell me, whe
The homage to Hester is visible ther your sister is disengaged.' I have no enough. But I also see Sydney Grey objection to say,' declared Margaret, lookgrowing manly, and his sisters amiable, ing up cheerfully, 'that my sister is not under Margaret's eye. There is no engaged.'
She looked at him one of us so worthy of her, so capable of with the bright expression of sincerity appreciating her, as Maria Young; they are and regard, which had touched his heart friends, and Maria Young is becoming a oftener and more deeply than all Hester's new creature. Health and spirit are return- beauty. He could not have offered to ing to that poor girl's countenance; there shake hands at the moment, but she held is absolutely a new tone in her voice, and out hers, and he could not but take it. a joyous strain in her sparing conversation, The door burst open at the same instant, which I for one never recognised before. and Mr Enderby entered. Both let drop It is a sight on which angels might look the hand they held, and looked extremely down, to see Margaret with her earnest awkward and grave. A single glance was face, listening humbly, and lovingly serving enough to send Mr Enderby away, without the infirm and much-tried friend, whom having spoken his errand, which was to she herself is daily lifting up into life and summon Margaret to the orchard for the gladness. . ."
final shake of the apple-tree. When he But in the mean time Hester has
was gone, each saw that the face of the given all her affections to Hope. He
other was crimson : but while Hope had a is described as the favourite of all the
look of distress which Margaret wondered inhabitants of Deerbrook: his influ
at, remembering how soon Mr Enderby ence extends to all ; even the Grey view, she was struggling to restrain à
would understand the nature of the interand Rowland ladies keep their jealousies quiet in his presence.
Yet his character is far from being as mark
The marriage takes place, and ed as that of Margaret ; whether it be Margaret goes to live with her sister that a faultless man is less easy to ima
and brother in law, enjoying the gine than a perfect woman, or, as we
brightest anticipations. But the old incline to think, that in this case the
nurse and servant, Morris, who had authoress is less at home, while our
accompanied the sisters from Birmingcriticism is more exacting.
A dan ham, has discovered the secret of Mr gerous illness, resulting from an Hope's real feelings, and warns her accident which he meets with, be
not to be too sanguine. "We never trays Hester's feelings to Mrs Grey; know, Miss Margaret, my dear, how and she, in her womanly zeal to prove
things will turn out. Do you rememthat she had been right from the first, ber Miss Stevenson, that married a and in her regard for her young rela- gentleman her family all thought a tive, persuades Hope that he is bound great deal of, and he turned out a in honour to return her affection, and swindler ; and The girls burst ask her hand. He seeks an interview
out a-laughing, and Maria assured with Margaret.
Morris that she could answer for no
accident of that kind happening with “I hear that you are already thinking of returning to Birmingham. Is this true regard to Mr Hope. Morris laughed · Yes : we shall go home in a few days.' but only that she never saw añy body
too, and said she did not mean that, Then, before you leave us, will you allow me to ask your advice ?' At the word
more confident of every thing going 'advice,' a glow of pleasure passed over
right than Miss Stevenson and all her Margaret's face, and she could not quite family; and within a month after the suppress a sigh of relief. She now looked wedding they were in the deepest disup, freely and fearlessly.
All this was
tress. That was what she meant; good for Mr Hope; but it went to his
but there were many other ways of heart, and for a moment checked his distress happening. There is death, speech. Hè soon proceeded, however
she said ; I remember . I want your advice as a friend, and also death, Miss Margaret.'