Henry Cabot Lodge.

The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. X (of X) - America - II, Index online

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then people began to think, as they are apt to, that he had never been
anything else. But the settlement of Smith's Pocket, like that of most
discoveries, was happily not dependent on the fortune of its pioneer,
and other parties projected tunnels and found pockets. So Smith's
pocket became a settlement with its two fancy stores, its two hotels,
its one express office, and its two first families. Occasionally its
one long straggling street was overawed by the assumption of the
latest San Francisco fashions, imported per express, exclusively to
the first families; making outraged Nature, in the ragged outline of
her furrowed surface, look still more homely, and putting personal
insult on that greater portion of the population to whom the Sabbath,
with a change of linen, brought merely the necessity of cleanliness,
without the luxury of adornment. Then there was a Methodist church,
and hard by a Monte bank, and a little beyond, on the mountain-side, a
graveyard; and then a little schoolhouse.

"The Master," as he was known to his little flock, sat alone one night
in the schoolhouse, with some open copy-books before him, carefully
making those bold and full characters which are supposed to combine
the extremes of chirographical and moral excellence, and had got as
far as "Riches are deceitful," and was elaborating the noun with an
insincerity of flourish that was quite in the spirit of his text, when
he heard a gentle tapping. The woodpeckers had been busy about the
roof during the day, and the noise did not disturb his work. But the
opening of the door, and the tapping continuing from the inside,
caused him to look up. He was slightly startled by the figure of a
young girl, dirty and shabbily clad. Still her great black eyes, her
coarse, uncombed, lusterless black hair falling over her sun-burned
face, her red arms and feet streaked with the red soil, were all
familiar to him. It was Melissa Smith - Smith's motherless child.

"What can she want here?" thought the master. Everybody knew "M'liss,"
as she was called, throughout the length and height of Red Mountain.
Everybody knew her as an incorrigible girl. Her fierce, ungovernable
disposition, her mad freaks and lawless character were in their way as
proverbial as the story of her father's weaknesses, and as
philosophically accepted by the townsfolk. She wrangled with and
fought the schoolboys with keener invective and quite as powerful arm.
She followed the trails with a woodman's craft, and the master had met
her before, miles away, shoeless, stockingless, and bareheaded, on the
mountain road. The miners' camps along the stream supplied her with
subsistence during these voluntary pilgrimages, in freely offered
alms. Not but that a larger protection had been previously extended to
M'liss. The Rev. Joshua McSnagley, "stated" preacher, had placed her
in the hotel as servant, by way of preliminary refinement, and had
introduced her to his scholars at Sunday school. But she threw plates
occasionally at the landlord, and quickly retorted to the cheap
witticisms of the guests, and created in the Sabbath school a
sensation that was so inimical to the orthodox dulness and placidity
of that institution, that, with a decent regard for the starched
frocks and unblemished morals of the two pink-and-white-faced children
of the first families, the reverend gentleman had her ignominiously
expelled. Such were the antecedents, and such the character of M'liss,
as she stood before the master. It was shown in the ragged dress, the
unkempt hair, and bleeding feet, and asked his pity. It flashed from
her black, fearless eyes, and commanded his respect.

"I come here to-night," she said rapidly and boldly, keeping her hard
glance on his, "because I knew you was alone. I wouldn't come here
when them gals was here. I hate 'em and they hates me. That's why. You
keep school, don't you? I want to be teached!"

If to the shabbiness of her apparel and uncomeliness of her tangled
hair and dirty face she had added the humility of tears, the master
would have extended to her the usual moiety of pity, and nothing more.
But with the natural, tho illogical instincts of his species, her
boldness awakened in him something of that respect which all original
natures pay unconsciously to one another in any grade. And he gazed at
her the more fixedly as she went on still rapidly, her hand on that
door-latch and her eyes on his:

"My name's M'liss - M'liss Smith! You can bet your life on that. My
father's Old Smith - Old Bummer Smith - that's what's the matter with
him. M'liss Smith - and I'm coming to school!"

"Well?" said the master.

Accustomed to be thwarted and opposed, often wantonly and cruelly, for
no other purpose than to excite the violent impulses of her nature,
the master's phlegm evidently took her by surprize. She stopt; she
began to twist a lock of her hair between her fingers; and the rigid
line of upper lip, drawn over the wicked little teeth, relaxed and
quivered slightly. Then her eyes dropt, and something like a blush
struggled up to her cheek, and tried to assert itself through the
splashes of redder soil, and the sunburn of years. Suddenly she threw
herself forward, calling on God to strike her dead, and fell quite
weak and helpless, with her face on the master's desk, crying and
sobbing as if her heart would break.




HENRY JAMES

Born in 1843; son of the elder Henry James; educated in
Europe; studied law at Harvard; began to write for
periodicals in 1866; has lived mostly in England since 1869;
"A Passionate Pilgrim" published in 1875, "The American" in
1877, "French Poets and Novelists" in 1878, "Daisy Miller"
in 1878, "Life of Hawthorne" in 1879, "Portrait of a Lady"
in 1881, "A Little Tour in France" in 1884, "The Bostonians"
in 1886, "What Maisie Knew" in 1897, "The Awkward Age" in
1899, "The Sacred Fount" in 1901.




I

AMONG THE MALVERN HILLS[66]


Between the fair boundaries of the counties of Hereford and Worcester
rise in a long undulation the sloping pastures of the Malvern Hills.
Consulting a big red book on the castles and manors of England, we
found Lockley Park to be seated near the base of this grassy range,
tho in which county I forget. In the pages of this genial volume
Lockley Park and its appurtenances made a very handsome figure. We
took up our abode at a certain little wayside inn, at which in the
days of leisure the coach must have stopt for lunch, and burnished
pewters of rustic ale been tenderly exalted to "outsides" athirst with
breezy progression. Here we stopt, for sheer admiration of its steep
thatched roof, its latticed windows, and its homely porch. We allowed
a couple of days to elapse in vague undirected strolls and sweet
sentimental observance of the land, before we prepared to execute the
especial purpose of our journey. This admirable region is a compendium
of the general physiognomy of England. The noble friendliness of the
scenery, its subtle old friendliness, the magical familiarity of
multitudinous details, appealed to us at every step and at every
glance. Deep in our souls a natural affection answered. The whole
land, in the full, warm rains of the last of April, had burst into
sudden perfect spring. The dark walls of the hedge-rows had turned
into blooming screens; the sodden verdure of lawn and meadow was
streaked with a ranker freshness. We went forth without loss of time
for a long walk on the hills. Reaching their summits, you find half
England unrolled at your feet. A dozen broad counties, within the vast
range of your vision, commingle their green exhalations. Closely
beneath us lay the dark, rich flats of hedgy Worcestershire and the
copse-checkered slopes of rolling Hereford, white with the blossom of
apples. At widely opposite points of the large expanse two great
cathedral towers rise sharply, taking the light, from the settled
shadow of the circling towns - the light, the ineffable English light!
"Out of England," cried Searle, "it's but a garish world!"

[Footnote 66: From "A Passionate Pilgrim and Other Tales." Copyright,
1875. Houghton, Mifflin Company.]

The whole vast sweep of our surrounding prospect lay answering in a
myriad fleeting shades the cloudy process of the tremendous sky. The
English heaven is a fit antithesis to the complex English earth. We
possess in America the infinite beauty of the blue; England possesses
the splendor of combined and animated clouds. Over against us, from
our station on the hills, we saw them piled and dissolved, compacted
and shifted, blotting the azure with sullen rain-spots, stretching,
breeze-fretted, into dappled fields of gray, bursting into a storm of
light or melting into a drizzle of silver. We made our way along the
rounded summits of these well-grazed heights - mild, breezy inland
downs - and descended through long-drawn slopes of fields, green to
cottage doors, to where a rural village beckoned us from its seat
among the meadows. Close beside it, I admit, the railway shoots
fiercely from its tunnel in the hills; and yet there broods upon this
charming hamlet an old-time quietude and privacy, which seems to make
it a violation of confidence to tell its name so far away. We struck
through a narrow lane, a green lane, dim with its height of hedges; it
led us to a superb old farm-house, now jostled by the multiplied lanes
and roads which have curtailed its ancient appanage. It stands in
stubborn picturesqueness, at the receipt of sad-eyed contemplation and
the sufferance of "sketches." I doubt whether out of Nuremberg - or
Pompeii! - you may find so forcible an image of the domiciliary genius
of the past. It is cruelly complete; its bended beams and joists,
beneath the burden of its gables, seem to ache and groan with memories
and regrets. The short, low windows, where lead and glass combine in
equal proportions to hint to the wondering stranger of the medieval
gloom within, still prefer their darksome office to the grace of
modern day.

Such an old house fills an American with an indefinable feeling of
respect. So propt and patched and tinkered with clumsy tenderness,
clustered so richly about its central English sturdiness, its oaken
vertebrations, so humanized with ages of use and touches of beneficent
affection, it seemed to offer to our grateful eyes a small, rude
synthesis of the great English social order. Passing out upon the
highroad, we came to the common browsing-patch, the "village green" of
the tales of our youth. Nothing was wanting; the shaggy, mouse-colored
donkey, nosing the turf with his mild and huge proboscis, the geese,
the old woman - the old woman, in person, with her red cloak and black
bonnet, frilled about the face and double-frilled beside her decent,
placid cheeks - the towering plowman with his white smock-frock,
puckered on chest and back, his short corduroys, his mighty calves,
his big, red, rural face. We greeted these things as children greet
the loved pictures in a story book, lost and mourned and found again.
It was marvelous how well we knew them. Beside the road we saw a
plow-boy straddle, whistling on a stile. Gainsborough might have
painted him. Beyond the stile, across the level velvet of a meadow, a
footpath lay, like a thread of darker woof. We followed it from field
to field and from stile to stile. It was the way to church. At the
church we finally arrived, lost in its rook-haunted churchyard, hidden
from the work-day world by the broad stillness of pastures - a gray,
gray tower, a huge black yew, a cluster of village graves, with
crooked headstones, in grassy, low relief. The whole scene was deeply
ecclesiastical. My companion was overcome.

"You must bury me here," he cried. "It's the first church I have seen
in my life. How it makes a Sunday where it stands!"

The next day we saw a church of statelier proportions. We walked over
to Worcester, through such a mist of local color that I felt like one
of Smollett's pedestrian heroes, faring tavern-ward for a night of
adventures. As we neared the provincial city we saw the steepled mass
of the cathedral, long and high, rise far into the cloud-freckled
blue. And as we came nearer still, we stopt on the bridge and viewed
the solid minster reflected in the yellow Severn. And going farther
yet we entered the town - where surely Miss Austen's heroines, in
chariots and curricles, must often have come a-shopping for
swan's-down boas and high lace mittens; we lounged about the gentle
close and gazed insatiably at that most soul-soothing sight, the
waning, wasting afternoon light, the visible ether which feels the
voices of the chimes, far aloft on the broad perpendicular field of
the cathedral tower; saw it linger and nestle and abide, as it loves
to do on all bold architectural spaces, converting them graciously
into registers and witnesses of nature; tasted, too, as deeply of the
peculiar stillness of this clerical precinct; saw a rosy English lad
come forth and lock the door of the old foundation school, which
marries its hoary basement to the soaring Gothic of the church, and
carry his big responsible key into one of the quiet canonical houses;
and then stood musing together on the effect on one's mind of having
in one's boyhood haunted such cathedral shades as a King's scholar,
and yet kept ruddy with much cricket in misty meadows by the Severn.
On the third morning we betook ourselves to Lockley Park, having
learned that the greater part of it was open to visitors, and that,
indeed, on application, the house was occasionally shown.

Within its broad enclosure many a declining spur of the great hills
melted into parklike slopes and dells. A long avenue wound and circled
from the outermost gate through an untrimmed woodland, whence you
glanced at further slopes and glades and copses and bosky recesses - at
everything except the limits of the place. It was as free and wild and
untended as the villa of an Italian prince; and I have never seen the
stern English fact of property put on such an air of innocence. The
weather had just become perfect; it was one of the dozen exquisite
days of the English year - days stamped with a refinement of purity
unknown in more liberal climes. It was as if the mellow brightness, as
tender as that of the primroses which starred the dark waysides like
petals wind-scattered over beds of moss, had been meted out to us by
the cubic foot - tempered, refined, recorded!




II

TURGENEFF'S WORLD[67]


We hold to the good old belief that the presumption, in life, is in
favor of the brighter side, and we deem it, in art, an indispensable
condition of our interest in a deprest observer that he should have at
least tried his best to be cheerful. The truth, we take it, lies for
the pathetic in poetry and romance very much where it lies for the
"immoral." Morbid pathos is reflective pathos; ingenious pathos,
pathos not freshly born of the occasion; noxious immorality is
superficial immorality, immorality without natural roots in the
subject. We value most the "realists" who have an ideal of delicacy
and the elegiasts who have an ideal of joy.

[Footnote 67: From "French Poets and Novelists," published by
Macmillan & Company, of London.]

"Picturesque gloom, possibly," a thick and thin admirer of M.
Turgeneff's may say to us, "at least you will admit that it is
picturesque." This we heartily concede, and, recalled to a sense of
our author's brilliant diversity and ingenuity, we bring our
restrictions to a close. To the broadly generous side of his
imagination it is impossible to pay exaggerated homage, or, indeed,
for that matter, to its simple intensity and fecundity. No romancer
has created a greater number of the figures that breathe and move and
speak, in their habits as they might have lived; none, on the whole,
seems to us to have had such a masterly touch in portraiture, none
has mingled so much ideal beauty with so much unsparing reality. His
sadness has its element of error, but it has also its larger element
of wisdom. Life is, in fact, a battle. On this point optimists and
pessimists agree. Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting but
rare; goodness very apt to be weak; folly very apt to be defiant;
wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places, people
of sense in small, and mankind generally, unhappy. But the world as it
stands is no illusion, no fantasm, no evil dream of a night; we wake
up to it again for ever and ever; we can neither forget it nor deny it
nor dispense with it. We can welcome experience as it comes, and give
it what it demands, in exchange for something which it is idle to
pause to call much or little so long as it contributes to swell the
volume of consciousness. In this there is mingled pain and delight,
but over the mysterious mixture there hovers a visible rule, that bids
us learn to will and seek to understand.

So much as this we seem to decipher between the lines of M.
Turgeneff's minutely written chronicle. He himself has sought to
understand as zealously as his most eminent competitors. He gives, at
least, no meager account of life, and he has done liberal justice to
its infinite variety. This is his great merit; his great defect,
roughly stated, is a tendency to the abuse of irony. He remains,
nevertheless, to our sense, a very welcome mediator between the world
and our curiosity. If we had space, we should like to set forth that
he is by no means our ideal story-teller - this honorable genius
possessing, attributively, a rarer skill than the finest required for
producing an artful _réchauffé_ of the actual. But even for better
romancers we must wait for a better world. Whether the world in its
higher state of perfection will occasionally offer color to scandal,
we hesitate to pronounce; but we are prone to conceive of the ultimate
novelist as a personage altogether purged of sarcasm. The imaginative
force now expended in this direction he will devote to describing
cities of gold and heavens of sapphire. But, for the present, we
gratefully accept M. Turgeneff, and reflect that his manner suits the
most frequent mood of the greater number of readers. If he were a
dogmatic optimist we suspect that, as things go, we should long ago
have ceased to miss him from our library. The personal optimism of
most of us no romancer can confirm or dissipate, and our personal
troubles, generally, place fictions of all kinds in an impertinent
light. To our usual working mood the world is apt to seem M.
Turgeneff's hard world, and when, at moments, the strain and the
pressure deepen, the ironical element figures not a little in our form
of address to those short-sighted friends who have whispered that it
is an easy one.


END OF VOL. X




INDEX TO THE TEN VOLUMES

[Roman numerals indicate volumes, Arabic numerals indicate pages]


Adams, Henry;
biographical note on, X, 219;
Jefferson's retirement, 219.

Adams, John;
biographical note on, IX, 87;
articles by - on his nomination of Washington to be
commander-in-chief, 87;
an estimate of Franklin, 90.

Adams, John Quincy;
biographical note on, IX, 133;
articles by - of his mother, 133;
the moral taint inherent in slavery, 135.

Addison, Joseph;
biographical note on, III, 236;
articles by - in Westminster Abbey, 236;
Will Honeycomb and his marriage, 240;
on pride of birth, 246;
Sir Roger and his home, 251.

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey;
biographical note on, X, 195;
articles by - a sunrise in Stillwater, 195;
the fight at Slatter's Hill, 198;
on returning from Europe, 204.

Andersen, Hans Christian;
biographical note on, VIII, 231;
the Emperor's new clothes, 231.

Aquinas, St. Thomas;
biographical note on, VII, 12;
a definition of happiness, 12.

Aristotle;
biographical note on, I, 149;
articles by - what things are pleasant, 149;
the lite most desirable, 155;
ideal husbands and wives, 158;
happiness as an end of human action, 165.

Arnold, Matthew;
biographical note on, VI, 208;
on the motive for culture, 208.

Ascham, Roger;
biographical note on, III, 40;
article by - on gentle methods in teaching, 40.

Aucassin and Nicolette;
note on the authorship of the work bearing that name, VII, 30;
a passage from the book, 30.

Audubon, John James;
biographical note on, IX, 144;
where the mocking-bird dwells, 144.

Augustine, Aurelius St.;
biographical note on, VII, 3;
on imperial power for good and bad men 3.


Bacon, Francis;
biographical note on, III, 53;
essays by - of travel, 53;
of riches, 56;
of youth and age, 60;
of revenge, 63;
of marriage and single life, 65;
of envy, 67;
of goodness and goodness of nature, 74;
of studies, 77;
of regiment of health, 79.

Balzac, Honoré de;
biographical note on, VII, 210;
articles by - the death of Père Goriot, 210;
Birotteau's early married life, 215.

Bancroft, George;
biographical note on, IX, 217;
the fate of Evangeline's countrymen, 217.

Beaconsfield, Lord;
biographical note on, VI, 31;
on Jerusalem by moonlight, 31.

Bellay, Joachim du;
biographical note on, VII, 87;
why old French was not as rich as Greek and Latin, 87.

Blackstone, Sir William;
biographical note on, IV, 169;
on professional soldiers in free countries, 169.

Boccaccio, Giovanni;
biographical note on, VIII, 167;
the patient Griselda, 167.

Boethius, Anicius;
biographical note on, VII, 6;
on the highest happiness, 6.

Bolingbroke, Lord;
biographical note on, IV, 32;
articles by - of the shortness of human life, 32;
rules for the study of history, 36.

Boswell, James;
biographical note on V, 3;
articles by - Boswell's introduction to Dr. Johnson, 3;
Johnson's audience with George III, 8;
the meeting of Johnson and John Wilkes, 15;
Johnson's wedding-day, 21.

Bradford, William;
biographical note on, IX, 11;
his account of the landing of the Pilgrims, 11.

Bronté, Charlotte;
biographical note on, VI, 119;
of the author of "Vanity Fair," 119.

Brown, John;
biographical note on, VI, 56;
of Rab and the game chicken, 56.

Browne, Sir Thomas;
biographical note on, III, 114;
articles by - of charity in judgments, 114;
nothing strictly immortal, 116.

Bryant, William Cullen;
biographical note on, IX, 194;
an October day in Florence, 194.

Buckle, Henry Thomas;
biographical note on, VI, 198;
articles by - the isolation of Spain, 198;
George III and the elder Pitt, 204.

Bunyan, John;
biographical note on, III, 165;
articles by - a dream of the Celestial City, 165;
the death of Valiant-for-truth and of Stand-fast, 169;
ancient Vanity Fair, 172.

Burke, Edmund;
biographical note on, IV, 194;
articles by - the principles of good taste, 194;
a letter to a noble lord, 207;
on the death of his son, 212;
Marie Antoinette, 214.

Burnet, Gilbert;
biographical note on, III, 195;
on Charles II, 195.

Bury, Richard de;
biographical note on, III, 3;
in praise of books, 3.

Byrd, William;
biographical note on, IX, 38;
at the home of Colonel Spotswood, 38.

Byron, Lord;
biographical note on, V, 134;
articles by - his mother's treatment of him, 134;
to his wife after the separation, 138;
to Sir Walter Scott, 140;
of art and nature as poetical subjects, 143.


Cæsar, Julius;
biographical note on, II, 61;
articles by - the building of the bridge across the Rhine, 61;
the invasion of Britain, 64;
overcoming the Nervii, 71;
the Battle of Pharsalia and the death of Pompey, 78.

Calvin, John;
biographical note on, VII, 84;
of freedom for the will, 84.

Carlyle, Thomas;
biographical note on, V, 179;
articles by - Charlotte Corday, 179;
the blessedness of work, 187;
Cromwell, 190;
in praise of those who toil, 201;
the certainty of justice, 202;
the greatness of Scott, 206;
Boswell and his book, 214;
might Burns have been saved, 223.

Casanova, Jacques (Chevalier de Seingalt);
biographical note on, VIII, 200;
an interview with Frederick the Great, 200.

Cato, the Censor;
biographical note on, II, 3;
on work on a Roman Farm, 3.

Caxton, William;
biographical note on, III, 22;
on true nobility and chivalry, 22.

Cellini, Benvenuto;
biographical note on, VIII, 182;
the casting of his Perseus and Medusa, 182.

Cervantes, Miguel de;
biographical note on, VIII, 218;
articles by - the beginnings of Don Quixote's Career, 218;
how Don Quixote died, 224.

Channing, William E.;
biographical note on, IX, 139;
of greatness in Napoleon, 139.


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