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or not at all from his neighbor's story, and then
comes the unwise critic with his charge of larceny.

As for actual borrowing, the "assimilating power"
of original minds, the final word on this subject
seems to have been said, cither originally or by quo-
tation, in Emerson's late essay on " Quotation and
Originality," although Emerson and Lowell had each
already nearly covered the groimd Doubtless the
commentator's business of finding the original sug-
gestion for every passage in the most famous books
has been overdone. It seems to be true, however,
that the greatest writers have been the most gigan-
tic borrowers. But says Emerson, " Genius borrows
nobly." He quotes Marmontel's "I pounce on

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what is mine, wherever I find it," and Bacon's " I
take all knowledge to be my province," and Landor's
retort that Shakespeare was " more original than bis
originals." Says Lowell: "Chaucer, like Shake-
speare, invented almost nothing. Wherever he
found anything directed to Geoffrey^ Chaucer, he
took it and made the most of it." The question,
according to Lowell, is whether an author have
original force enough to assimilate all he has
acquired, or that be so over-mastering as to assimi-
late him, " If the poet turn out the stronger, we
allow him to help himself from other people with
wonderful equanimity." That is the point. Let your
little man try this game, and see what will come of it !

Now as to the matter of form. There are two
kinds of imitation in art — one the habit of small and
superficial minds, the other of profound and poetic
natures. It is not very difficult to tell which is
which. The shallow critic is shown as often by his
mistaking the natural imitation of an original mind
for empty echo, as he is in mistaking pretentious
copies for great originals. But on this subject Shel-
ley has expressed the exact thought of all persons of
experience and insight with regard to the special art
of whidi he was a great master, and therefore a
great critic "As to imitation," he says, " poetry is
a mimetic art It creates, but it creates by combi-
nation and representation. • * • • One great
poet is a masterpiece of nature, which another not
only ought to study, but must study. • • » •
A poet is the combined product of such internal
powers as modify the nature of others ; and of such
external influences as excite and sustain these
powers; he is not one, but both. Every man's
mind is, in this respect, modified by all the objects
of nature and art ; by every word and every sugges-
tion which he ever admitted to act upon his con-
sciousness ; it is the mirror upon which all forms are
reflected, and in which they compose one form.
Poets, not otherwise than philo^phers, painters,
sculptors, and musicians, ' are, in one sense, the
creators, and in another, the creations, of their age.
From this subjection the loftiest do not escape."

While the greatest writers are, in a certain fine
sense, imitative, they are especially so in the earliest
and most impressible stages of their development —
when the imitation is sometimes of set purpose, and
sometimes totally unconscious. An interesting and
generally unsuspected case of youthful imitation may
be found among the early poems of Longfellow,
apparently written under the influence of Thanatop-
sis — ^a poem which appears in that remarkable first
book of Bryant's. This volume contains also ** The
Water- Fowl" and a number of Bryant's most cele-
brated poems. The author's copyright, it has been
said, brought him, all told, about the sum of $8.

— I HAVE thought an interesting and instructive
essay might be written on the defects in thepelebrated
works of genius. Not for the mere purpose of
pointing them out, — Heaven forbid ! — but to show
of how little consequence they are. One might
think such a lesson altogether trite and unne-
cessary; but every once in a while the commu-
x^ty is subject to the disturbance of some noisy

tyro who has found " defects " in Dante, or
Shakespeare, or Milton, or Michael Angelo, or
Raphael, or some other man not so famous, but
whose artistic personality the world likes, and likes
for good reasons. The fact is, that there are few or
no perfect works of art ; and the grander the work
in physical and spiritual dimensions, and in its
impression upon mankind, the more apt are defects
to show themselves. In a sense, surely, the
mightiest creation we know an3rthing about — the
thing that we call Creation itself— is fidl of and loaded
down with defects. Minds that dwell unduly upon
the defects, great or small, in works of art, betray
thereby their own narrowness and lack of power.
The successive generations of gentle and discrimi-
native souls that we call "the world" find no
stumbling-block in the defects of genius, and take
no interest in those of mediocrity.

In the new book about and by the English painter
Haydon, just now attracting attention, is a remark
on this subject which is to the point Haydon 's
son and biographer asks what painter's works are
without imperfections: Titian, Carlo Dold, Raph-
ael, Michael Angelo, Rubens, Guido, The Caracd*
Velasquez, Murillo, Correggio, Reynolds ? "AU the
painted works that ever were are more or less
imperfect There is only a portion of excellence in
the finest of them, and that is what we have to search
out and study. Having once traced that, we may
look for defects if we please. That is the lowest
step, not the first in criticism."

The career of Haydon affords encouragement to
those interested in art in this country. If no^ as
great a painter as Wordsworth and odiers thought
him, he doubtless had more force and originality
than those by whom he was opposed, and had cer-
tainly better views on art than most Englishmen of
his time.* He did more than any other man to
secure the Elgin marbles to the nation, and to estab-
lish their position in the estimation of the world.
He advocated and put in practice correct principles
of art instruction, making the human figure the basis
of study; he urged the establishment of public
schools of design on the principle of goyemmental
aid, but not direction ; and in season and out of sea-
son he took the side of high, imaginative art in
opposition to mere portrait painting and pot-boiling.
It should be added that he was an enthusiast, and
had a most galling and indiscreet way of telling the
truth. Such poets as Wordsworth, Keats, and Mrs,
Browning wrote sonnets to him ; the nobility and
"art patrons" of that day neglected him; the
Academy not only had no room for him in its ranks,
but fought him tooth and nail ; and, finally, driven
to the wall, beaten, disheartened, perplexed, he
ended a generous and earnest life by his own des-
perate hand.

* It is to be hoped that some competent critic will give us a
firesh estimate of Haydon 's qualities as a painter. The sketdies
that his son has Had reprcxiuced io the present volmnet are,
most of them, singularly disappointing, and the same may be
said in gen«nl of those engravmgs from his works with Wlkich
wc are familiar in this country. The English editioD n impocted
by Scribner, Welford & Armstrong.

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But it is evident enough that the part which the
Academy played in this tragedy was not an abnor-
mal one.

It would be strange indeed if in every Academy of
Art there were not wise and liberal men ; and these
may even constitute a numerical majority. But the
tendency of Academies as institutions,— the influ-
ence of the class of artists who give the tone to the
official action, — seems to be inevitably in the direc-
tion of monopoly and obstruction.

Human nature is the same in London, Paris, and
New York. The new man, if he is subservient to
the reigning influences, need not be kept down.
The new man, with his own strong, creative individ-
uality, is an ofiense in the nostrils. And he may
well be an ofl^se, — for his success means death to
the powers that be. Between Academic precedent
and stupidity and error, and young originality, and
genius and truth, there can be no compromise.

Or, to put it in another way, — for the new men
are not always men of talent, nor are all the obstruc-
tionists by any means dull, — the supremacy of new
and strange methods (strange to the Academy if not
to art) is by no means an issue to be calmly awaited
by those who have led, and are leading, the vogue.
It is a question, not of prestige only, but of dollars
and cents.

I have said that the new man, subservient to the
reigning influences, need not be kept down; but
there is still another motive which, sometimes uncon-
sciously, and sometimes avowedly, leads to unfriend-
liness, and even to direct opposition. It is the same
motive that in former times restricted the number
of apprentices in the trades. " Why," it is asked,
'' should we educate a lot of young people to take the
bread out of our mouths ? "

The English Academy knew what it was about
when it fought Haydon and his revolutionary prin-

The French Academy knew what it was about
when for years it kept Rousseau away from the
sight and i^preciation of its own public, — Rousseau,
with his deep and tender sense of the nature that
one sees out of doors, instead of the faded and
garish creature of the ateliers.

The spectacle presented to-day in New York of
an Academy which has succeeded in driving its
pupils away from its own well-equipped galleries to
seek at oppressive cost a bare but hospitable asylum
in a deserted photogr^h gallery,^such a spectacle
would be discouraging, indeed, had not experience
proved that from institutions such as the National
Academy of Design the young art of a nation cannot
hope for generous and intelligent support


Rural Topics.


On my way to town one rooming a few weeks
ago, I happened to come across an old friend, of
whom I had lost sight for several years. Our acci-
dental m^eeting after so long a separation brought
back to both of us numerous incidents of our early
friendship ; and, in comparing notes of the singular
changes that have taken place, I learned, to my sur-
prise, that my friend was a married man, living in
easy circumstances — ^having, as he expressed it, a
treasure of a wife and four children, and all of them
highly delighted at the prospect of moving to the
country in the spring. He then informed me that
he had leased a place for five years, with the privi-
lege of buying at a fixed price at the termination of
the lease. This country home contained one acre
of ground, with a new cottage and bam upon it,
situated upon the line of the New Jersey Central
Railroad, and just forty minutes by steam from New
York. My friend's plans were to move out to his
new home in the spring, and he was fully bent on
making it his permanent place of residence, pro-
vided that the place and surrolmdings suited his
fancy, and the locality was not infested with mos-
quitoes, or fever and ague. He said, in response to
a question, that there wasn't a stick or a stone laid
down on the place in the way of improvement, out-
side of good substantial board fences on two'sides

and the rear of the lot, with a neat picket fence in
front of the house, the latter standing back one hun-
dred and twenty feet from the sidewalk. "Now that
I am really going there," said my friend, *'I want to
tum every foot of the ground to the best advantage,
and, if possible, make it attractive as well as pro-
ductive — if I can do so without spending a fortune
in the attempt, and without leaming, when it is too
late, that my strawberries and green peas will cost
me four times the price that I could buy them for in
the neighboring market" In making some farther
inquiry about what he had mapped out, I found that
his idea was, in a general way, to have the ground
in front of and around the house laid down to grass ;
&rther back between the house and bam (the latter
stands in the rear of the lot), to lay out a good-sized
vegetable and fruit garden, especially for small
fruits ; for, said he, " in their season I want plenty
of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cur-
rants, on the table three times a day. If with these,
when the ground is enriched and properly prepared,
I can grow apples, pears, peaches, and cherries,
besides having the luxury of pure fresh milk and
eggs daily, it will be an achievement that I will feel
proud of, I can assure you. However, besides these
useful products, and my enthusiasm in the endeavor
to produce them, I must not forget the promise I
made my wife, that she should have good, dry, and
serviceable walks around the house and bam, and
also a spot here and there in the grass-plat for her

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special purpose, where she can * potter' with her
heart's content with some flowering shrubs, annuals,
and things that will grow and bloom through the
fine weather. Some such things as these, with a
few vines and climbing-roses to plant in front of the
piazza, will more than satisfy her. Now," said the
novice, " I have given you a brief outline of what I
think I want, and in return I want you, as an old
friend who imderstands these matters about garden-
ing and fruit-growing and their practical workings,
to tell me just how to begin, without spending too
much money or spending it foolishly. However, I
want the work done in such a way that when it is
finished it will be thorough and lasting. This infor-
mation you can give me verbally, or else write it out
and let it come through Scribner's Monthly.
Coming through this channel, hundreds of novices
will be benefited as well as myself, by such practical
suggestions about laying out and planting the ground
around suburban homes."

With the view of presenting some useful hints
on practical gardening to beginners situated as
my friend is, I propose to give from time to time
in the Monthly, seasonable directions about firuit
and flower-growing, oflering in advance of plant-
ing time approved lists of large and small fruits,
flowers, and vegetables, with such other matter as
may seem desirable.

Garden Walks. — In starting to lay out and put
to rights a new place, either in the town or country,
one of the first steps to be taken is to plan for ser-
viceable garden walks. These should be constructed
in such a way that they are always firee fix>m mud or
stagnant water, no matter how much rain may fall
in a given time, or what the condition df the weather
may be at any season of the year. To attain these
ends, thorough drainage is imperative. The cheapest
and best way to do this is to dig out the soil the
width of the walk, and to a depth of about two and
a half feet At this depth begin by la3ang a foun-
dation layer of large stones, fitted dosely together.
A second layer, smaller in size, should follow the
first, and so on, having each succeeding layer of
stones smaller in size than the preceding one, until
the space is filled nearly level with the surrounding
surface. A top coating of coarse cinders, and these
covered with a few inches in depth of gravel and
fine sand, will complete the job, and will give a sub-
stantial walk, that will always be dry underfoot It
will improve the walk and the appearance at the
same time, if the clinkers and the sand on the top
are rolled down firmly ( and in the course of a week
or two, when the material settles, it may be found
necessary to add some more gravel and sand, to even
the surface.

Draining. — Gardening is a simple art, if the con-
ditions are just right These are, in general terms,
thorough drainage (natural or artificial), deep cul-
ture, and heavy manuring. With these right to
start, and with good seeds and ordinary culture, the
results are usually satisfactory. But, if one or more
of these conditions is neglected, the crops are dis-
couragingly uncertain. When the soil is of a sandy
loam, with a gravelly or open subsoil, artificial

drainage will be an unnecessary expense; bat, if
you have a clay loam, with a tenacious subsoil
retentive of water, underdrain by all means, before
starting, either to lay down a grass-plat, or prepare
for a vegetable or fruit garden. Underdraining has
of late years become so general in almost every section
of the country, that it would seem superfluous to
give minute details for this kind of work. It may
be well, however, to state that for ordinary pur-
poses, when there is sufficient fall to carry the water
ofi*, two-inch sole or round pipe tiles are considered
the best for garden or field use. Next to these,
common hemlock boards "ripped" through the
center, and then nailed together in the form of the
letter A, will answer any purpose. The distance
apart, and the depth at which underdrains should
be made, depend on the character of the soiL
On ordinary clay soils, thirty feet between 4hc
drains and two and a half feet deep will be just
about right

The important points in laying drain-pipes are,
1st, to have a solid and levd bottom to lay the
pipes or boards upon, with suflicient £U1 to carry
off" the water; an<C 2d, to cover over securely the
"joints " of the pipes, by an inverted sod or other
material, before filling in the soil, so as to prevent
the fine silt fi-om working into the drain and ob-
structing the passage of water.

How TO MAKE A Lawn.— There is nothing that
Drill add so much to the general attractiveness of a
town or country home, as a properly kept plat of
grass. It makes no matter how small in size it may
be; if kept cut often enough, it becomes a constant
source of pleasure to the owner. In la3ring out new
suburban places, the grass-plat around the house is
usually made up by sodding. This is not by any
means the cheapest or best way to get a stand of
grass for garden decoration. Sods for this purpose
are, as a rule, cut fix)m some worn-out pasture, neg-
lected public "common," or may be the roadside —
places where the finer qualities of grasses have, per-
haps, long since been crowded out by the rank growth
of the coarser sorts — grasses wholly unfitted for lawn
purposes. The surest way, although it may take a
longer time, is to sow the seed of an approved selec-
tion of grasses that are known to make a good turi;
and that will, if frequently cut, give that velvety sur-
face for which English lawns are noted. It should
be clearly understood that these finer qualities of
grasses will only thrive on soil in good heart It
will be time and money thrown away to sow these
grasses on poor soil. The soil should be made deep,
mellow, and rich, by frequent stirrings and liberal
applications of well-rotted yard manure, bone-dust,
or superphosphate of lime. These fertilizers should
be thoroughly mixed in with the sur&ce soil before
the grass seed is sown. This can readily be done
while smoothing and leveling the top of the ground,
and then may be sown thickly the following list of
grasses: Kentucky Blue Grass (PoapraUnsis), Red
Top Grass (Agrostis vw/^w^, Sweet-Scented Vernal
(Antkoxanthum odoratum), and Creeping Bent Grass
{Agrostis stolonifcra). These should be mixed in
about equal parts, smd sowed broadcast and raked in

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with common wooden rakes. At the same time of
sowing these, sow with them a small quantity of Red
Clover seed, and scatter some common oais over the
ground ; then roll the surface and remove any stones
or other obstructions. The oats will germinate in a
week or ten days, and if kept cut back will keep the
snr&ce green the early port of the first summer.
The Red Clover wUl take its place in the &11, and
will keep the lawn green and fresh-looking, until
the grass seed txUces root and begins to tiller.

How TO Manage Grass Plai3.— During the
first and second season, the grass plat, by the kind
of care it receives, may be made an eye-sore, or a
spot of beauty. Frequent cutting and winter pro-
tection are absolutely necessary. The lawn-mowers,
now within the reach of every one, make grass cut-
ting on the lawn anything but hard work. During
the first growing season, one should go over the
young grass with the mower at least once in every
ten days. Later in the summer, in spots where the
grass is coming in sparsely, a forkful of yard manure
should be scattered. Cut at intervals of ten days ;
it is policy to leave the cut grass on the surfiice as a
muldi. Later in the fiUl, before cold weather sets
in, the grass plat may be covered over with horse or
yard numure, the coating to be left on until the fol-
lowing spring, when the coarser part may be re-
moved by the rake. This will leave the ground in
•excellent condition for the next year's growth.

P. T. Q.

A Family Journal.

In a certain farm-house twenty years ago a great
blank-book was kept, and labeled Home JoumaL
Every night somebody made an entry in it Father
set down the sale of the calves, or mother the cutting
-of the baby's eye-tooth ; or, perh^M, Jenny wrote
a full account of the sleighing party Lut ni^t ; or
Bob the proceedings of the Phi BeU Club ; or Tcmi
scrawled ** Tried my new gun. Bully. Shot into
the fence and Johnson's old cat"

On toward the middle of the book there was an
•entry of Jenny's marriage, and one of the younger
SJrls had added a description of the brides-maids'
•dresses, and k>ng afterward there was written, "This
day father died," in Bob's trembling hand. There
was a blank of many months after that

But nothing could have served better to bind that
fiunily of headstrong boys and girls together than
the keeping of this book. They come back to the
•old homestead now, men and women with grizsled
hair, to see their mother who is still living, and turn
over its pages reverently with many a hearty laugh,
or the tears coming into their eyes. It is tl^
childhood come back again in visible shape.

There are many other practical ways m which
home ties can be strengthened and made more
enduring for children, and surely this is as necessary
and important a matter in the management of a
household as the furnishing of the library or diam-
hers in good taste, or the accumulation of bric^ii-brac
One most direct way is the keeping of anniversaries ;
not Christmas, Easter, nor the Fourth of July alone,
but those which belong to that one home alone.
Vou XL— 4S.

The .chOdren's birthdays, their mother's wedding
day, the day when they all came into the new home.
There are a hundred cheerful, happy little events
which some cheerful and happy little ceremony
will make a lifie-long {Measure. The Germans
keep alive their strong domestic attachments by
just such means as these: it seems natural and
right to their children that all the house should be
turned topsy-turvy with joy at Vater or Mutter's
Gebnrtstag; while to the American boy or girl it
is a matter of indifierence when his father and mother
were bom. We know a house in which it is
the habit to give to each servant a trifling gift on
the anniversary of their coming into the family;
and, as might be expected, these anniversaries return
for many years. Much of the same softening, human-
iung effect may be produced by remembering and
humoring the innocent whims and peculiarities of
children. Among hard-working people it is the
custom too often to bring up a whole family in
platoons and to marshal them through childhood by
the same general, inflexible rules. They must eat
the same dishes, wear the same dothes, work, play,
talk, according to the prescribed notions of fiuher or
moUier. When right or wrong is concerned, let
the rule be inexorable; but when taste, character,
or 'stomach only is involved, humor the boy. Be to
Tom's red cravat a little bl^d ; make Will the pud-
ding that he likes, while the others choose pie.
They will be surer of your affection than if you sen-
timentalized about a mother 's love for an hour.
Furthermore, do not grow old yourself too soon.
Buy chess-boards, dominoes, bagatelle; learn to
play games with the boys and girls ; encourage them
to ask their friends to dinner and tea, and tidce care
that your dress and the table be iptjAtf and attract-
ive, that Uie children may be ashamed of neither.
** Why should I stay at home in the evening? "
said a lad the other day. '* Mother sits and dams
stockings or reads Jay's Devotions ; father dozes,
and Maggy writes to her lover. I'll go where I can
have fun." Meanwhile father and mother were

Online LibraryFrancis HallThe Century, Volume 11 → online text (page 131 of 163)