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"lecture system" has always been, can mend all
this, if they consider it worth the pains. Certainly,
the coming into contact with a thoroughly vitalized
man of brains is a very stimulating experience.
The privilege of doing so should not be lightly
relinquished ; and, whenever a course of lectures is
well conducted, it ought to meet with a generous
patronage from all who have young people on their
hands to be entertained and improved.

But even the lecture, desirable as it is, is not
necessary. In a dty like New York, there ou^t
to be 6ve hundred clubs of young people established
this very winter, for the purposes of social and intel-
lectual amusement, with culture in view as the great
ultimate end. The exercises may take a great many
forms which it is not necessary for us even to suggest
Books may be read, original papers may be pre-
sented, musical rehearsals may form a part of the
entertainment, products of art may be exhibited,
there may be dramatic and conversational practice,
and practice in French and German. There is no
limit to the variety of exercises that may be profit-
ably entered upon. And what is good for the young
people of the great cities will be just as good for
young people everywhere.

The Way we Waste.

One of the fiu:ts brought prominently before the
world during the last few years is, that France is
rich. The ease with whidi she has recovered from
the disastrous war with Prussia, and the prompt-
ness with which she has met, not only her own, but
Prussia's enormous expenses in that war, have sur-
prised all her sister nations. Every poor man had
his hoard of ready money, which he was anxious to
lend to the State. How did he get it ? How did he
save it? Why is it that, in. a country like ours,
where wages are high and the opportunities for
making money exceptionally good, such wealth and
prosperity do not exist ? These are important ques-
tions at this time with. all of us. Business is low,
industry is paralyzed, and the question of bread
stares multitudes in the face.

Well, France is an industrious nation, it is said.
But is not ours an industrious nation too? Is it
not, indeed, one of the most hard-working and ener-
getic nations in the world ? We believe it to be a
harder-working nation than the French, with not
only fewer holidays, but no holidays at all, and with
not only less play, but almost no play at alL It is
said, too, that France is a frug^ nation. They
probably have the advantage of us in this, yet to
feed a laboring man and to clothe a laboring man
and his £unily there must be a definite, necessary
expenditure in both countries. The dilierence in
wages ought to cover the difference in expenses,
:and probably does. If the American laborer spends



twice as much, or three times as much, as the
French, he earns twice or three times as much ; yet
the American laborer lays up nothing, while the
French laborer and small &rmer have money to
lend to their Government Their old stockings are
long and are full. The wine and the silk which the
French raise for other countries must be more than
counterbalanced by our exported gold, cotton, and
breadstuffs, so that they do not have any advantage
over us, as a nation, in what they sell to other
nations ? We shall have to look fiirther than this
for the secret we are after.

There lies a book before us written by Dr. William
Hargreaves, entitled, **Our Wasted Resources."
We wish that the politicians and political economists
of this country could read this book, and ponder
well its shocking revelations. They are revelations
of criminal waste — the expenditure of almost incal-
culable resources for that which brings nothing,
worse than nothing, in return. There are multitudes
of people who regard the temperance question as
one of morals alone. The men who drink say
simply, "We will drink what we please, and it's
nobody's business. You temperance men are pesti-
lent fellows, meddlesome fellows, who obtrude your
tuppenny standard of morality upon us, and we do
not want it, and will not accept it Because you are
virtuous, shall there be no more cakes and ale?"
Very well, let us drop it as a question of morality.
You will surely look at it with us as a question of
national economy and prosperity; else, you can
hardly regard yourselves as patriots. We have a
common interest in the national prosperity, and we
can discuss amicably any subject on this common
ground.

France produces its own wine, and drinks mainly
cheap wine. It is a drink which, while it does them
no good, according to the showing of their own phy-
sicians, does not do them harm enough to interfere
with their industry. Their drinking wastes neither
life nor money as ours does, and they sell in value
to other countries more than they drink themselves.
During the year 1870, in our own State of New
York, there were expended by consumers for liquor
more than one hundred and six millions of dollars,
a sum which amounted to nearly two-thirds of all
the wages paid to laborers in agriculture and manu-
factures, and to nearly twice as much as the receipts
of all the railroads in the State, the sum of the latter
being between sixty-eight and sixty-nine millions.
The money of our people goes across the bar all the
time faster than it is crowded into the wickets of all
the railroad stations of the State, and where does it
go ? What is the return for it ? Diseased stomachs,
aching heads, discouraged and slatternly homes,
idleness, gout, crime, degradation, death. These,
in various measures, are exactly what we get for it
We gain of that which is good, nothing — ^no uplift
in morality, no increase of industry, no accession to
health, no growth of prosperity. Our State is full
of tramps, and every one is a drunkard. There is
demoralization everywhere, in consequence of this
wasteful stream of fiery fluid that constantly flows
down the open gullet of the State.



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«83



Bat our State b not alone. The liquor bill of
Pennsylvania during 1870 was more than sixty-five
millions of dollars, a sum equal to one-third of the
entire agricultural product of the State. Illinois
paid more than forty-two millions, and Ohio more
than fifty-eight millions. Massachusetts paid more
than twenty-five millions, a sum equal to five-sixths
of her agricultural products, while the liquor bill of
Maine was only about four millions and a quarter.
Mr. Hargreaves takes the figures of Massachusetts
and Maine to show bow a prohibitory law does,
after all, reduce the drinking; but it is not our pur-
pose to argue this question.

What we desire to show is, that, with an annual
expenditure of $600,000,000 for liquors in the
United States — and all the figures we give are
based upon official statistics — it is not to be won-
dered at that the times are hard and people poor.
Not only this vast sum is wasted ; not only the cap-
ital invested is diverted from good uses, and all the
industry involved in production taken from benefit
cent pursuits, but health, morality, respectability,
industry, and life are destroyed. Sixty thousand
Americans annually Ue down in a drunkard's grave.
It were better to bring into the field and shoot down



sixty thousand of our young men every year, than
to have them go through all the processes of disease,
degradation, crime, and despair through which they
inevitably pass.

With six hundred millions of dollars saved to the
country annually, how long would it take to make
these United States ridi not only, but able to meet,
without disturbance and distress, the revulsions in
business to which all nations are liable ? Here is
a question for the statesman and the politician.
Twenty-five years of absolute abstinence from the
consumption of useless, and worse than useless,
liquors, would save to the country fifteen billions of
dollars, and make us the richest nation on the fiiee
of the globe. Not only this sum— beyond the imag-
ination to comprehend— would be saved, but all the
abominable consequences of misery, disease, dis-
grace, crime, and death, that would flow from the
consumption of such an enormous amount of poi-
sonous fluids, would be saved. And yet temperance
men are looked upon as disturbers and fanatics ! And
we are adjured not to bring temperance into politics !
And this great transcendent question of economy gets
the go l>y, while we hug our little issues for the sake
of party and of office I Do we not deserve adversity ?



THE OLD CABINET.



Age, doubtless, brings many states of txxly and
of mind which are unexpectedly unpleasant Among
the unfortunate experiences of old age, a popular
writer has mentioned the conviction that your mid-
dle-aged children are an irredaimably stupid set
of people. This is probably worse than a shnilar
conviction with relation to your progenitors, for the
sense of responsibility is greater in the former case.
We think that there must be disappointments which
are nearly as harassing as this, but of which it is
almost impossible to complain, owing to their appar-
ently trivial character, and owing, too, to the fatality
of tiieir having a ridiculous suggestion for others.
We all know that the troubles of this life are not alwa3rs
of the heroic order. There was a man who was
haunted by a suspicion that he had an unbeautifid
profile. We positively Icnow that he went through
a large part of his earthly existence trying to hide
his side-face from his fellow-mortals. Now, imag-
ine a person who has always cherished an aversion
to a certain kind of baldness, for instance, and then
imagine this person gradually awakening to the &ct
that this very fate is in slow but unrelenting pur-
suit of him.

We have no inclination to dwell upon the mis-
fortunes which accumulating years bring upon man-
kind ; but rather upon the other side of the picture.
Something goes with youth that "never comes
again,*' but something comes with age that youth
could not bring us.

We speak of the disillusions of advanchig years,



as if such experiences were alwa3rs unfortunate. But
certainly there are disillusions which are most for-
tunate and comforting. To chOdhood of a rever-
ential sort there is a glamour, an air of superiority
about every grown-up person, good or bad. Of
course, drunken men, tjiieves, murderers, and the
like are understood to be ''bad." Although there
is still an indefinable reverence on the part of the
diild for even these — ^yet, on the whole, diey do not
greatly trouble him. It is from another source that
a thousand vague perplexities and alarms invade
the young and sensitive soul ; it is his natural and
inculcated reverence for grown-up persons who are
intensely disagreeable to him that gives him such
warring emotions — such terrible mental distress.
You cannot easily tell a little child that his instincts
are correct,— that your neighbor, his godfather per-
haps, to all outward appearance a pious and praisewor-
thy member of the community, has, in fiurt, a warped
and bitter, a sordid and selfish, a vulgar and de-
ceptive moral nature. Perhaps, you yourself, have
only lately come into this knowledge — wise and
wily and f^ of years though you are, yet still with
that lurking fetichism of childhood. Perhaps only
now, after many bitter and remorseful and melan-
choly experiences, ** that tyranny is past" for you.

So, in this sense, it is true that among the satis-
fiM:tions of age are certain of its disillusions. It may
be said that it is a poor outcome of the law of com-
pensation, namely, the discovery of more evil in the
world than we hud imagined. But, '^ "^' - *>«.



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284



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and if it must be discovered in unexpected places,
how much better that we should find it where we
have all along vaguely felt its presence !



Those of our readers who care to follow the case
of ** Bacon versus Shakespeare," will be interested
in the little book written by Thomas D. King, of
Montreal, and put forth as " a plea for the defend-
ant." The author is just a little more rampant,
perhaps, than is necessary, considering that he is
on the winning side ; but he is very amusing, very
interesting, and right loyal to the majesty of Shake-
speare. It may be that he is a trifle ina^predative
of certain excdlences of Bacon's versification of
some of the psalms, — although we should think that
most readers would agree with Mr. King as to the im-
probability of their emanating firom the same mind as
that which gave birth to ** Hamlet " and the Sonnets.
Mr. King groups effectively the allusions to Shake-
speare by his contemporaries, and does not fidl to
lay stress upon the testimony of Milton. As an
o&et to the parallel passages firom Shakespeare and
Bacon, he gives characteristic passages firom Shake-
speare on fundamental subjects, fi>r which no paral-
lels, he claims, can be found in Bacon, and the tone
of which, he holds, is not consistent with what is
known of Bacon's personal character.

As the controversy, if controversy it can be called,
may be supposed to have permanent importance for
the light incidentally thrown upon the genius of
Shakespeare, as well as upon that of Bacon, the
present book is especially interesting, on account
of the author's direct testimony upon a point which
sometimes esa^s notice. ''The first translation
of the Bible into the vernacular," Mr. King writes,
" was that by William Tyndale, a Glostershire man,
who considered his native vocabulary more signifi-
cant and equally as elegant as those polysyllabic
expressions derived firom the language of Ancient
Rome. The Tyndale and Coverdale Bible of 1535,
which our forefathers welcomed so warmly, and
suffered so much for, is the basis of the 161 1 edition
now in common use. The vernacular dialect of the
Cotswold district of Glostershire, and that of the
Stratford district of Warwickshire is very similar ;
any one familiar with it and with his Bible and his
Shakspere must have noticed how many words
and expressions used by Tyndale in his translation,
and by our poet in his plays, are to this day com-
monly used by the peasantry of Gloster and War-
wick Shires, some of whom have never read a line
of Shakspere, and are only fiuniliar with the Bible
through the services of that Church, where the Daily
Lessons and the Psalms are read in pure English.
This I can testify firom having been partially edu-
cated in the village upon whose 'knowl' stands a
monument erected, since my school days, to the
memory of the martyr who, on the 6th day of Octo-
ber, 1536, perished at the stake for translating that
edition of the New Testament which he had prom-
ised to give to the ploughboys of Glostershire."

The London correspondent of "Appleton's Jour-
nal" quotes firom an anonymous critic, who not only



expresses his conviction that Shakespeare did not
write half the plays with which he is credited, but
who attacks the poet's character. "There is scarcely
a phase in his checkered life," the critic declares,
"that would attach to his character the slightest
impress of honor. In youth, he was a dissipated
scamp, and flourished in the lowest company to be
found; " and so he went on through his disgraceful
career, a thief, a S3rcophant, a ''griping, greedy
worldling."

Whether this is the firank opinion of the unknown
writer, or a sorry burlesque, in either case it illus-
trates the well-known fact that there is a sordid view
to be taken, honestly or dishonestly, of every sub-
ject under the sun. The newspaper upon which
our eyes just happened to fall, contains this state-
ment:

"M. Guillemin calls tomets 'the vagabonds of
the heavens.'"

There is a way then of looking at the heavens
which makes a comet appear a very disreputable
member of the celestial conmiunity. The ancients,
on the other hand, regarded sudi a phenomenon in
a very difierent light, and there are poets, if we mis-
take not, to whom it has suggested some very fine
thoughts. Perhaps, however, it is not a matter of
great concern, one way or the other, to the comet.

It takes a mind like that of Hawthorne to see the
sordid side of a great nature in its proper relation.
A passage fitnn " Our Old Home" will at once recur
to the mind of the reader: "It is for the high
interests of the world not to insist upon finding out
that its greatest men are, in a certain lower sense,
very much the same kind of men as the rest of us,
and often a little worse ; because a common mind
cannot properly digest such a discovery, nor ever
know the true proportion of the great man's good
and evil, nor how small a part of him it was that
touched our muddy or dusty earth. Thence comes
moral bewilderment, and even intellectual loss, in
regard to what is best of him. When Shakespeare
invoked a curse on the man who should stir his
bones, he perhaps meant the larger share of it for
him or them who should pry into his perishing
earthliness, the defects, or even the merits of the
character that he wore in Stratford, when he had
left mankind so much to muse upon that was im-
perishable and divine."

Perhaps the attacks upolk the literary and moral
records of Shakespeare are partly owing to a sense
of oppression sufiiered by mankind under the weight
of so tremendous an intellect It is an unendurable
tyranny. There is no escape from it No matter
in what new direction a new writer sallies forth,
almost alwajTS he discovers that this indomitable
mind has pushed its way before him. Imagine, for
instance, the effect of a consciousness of this upon our
nineteenth-century writers of tragedies. Tennyson
knew well, before essaying his latest work, that the
highest praise he could hope to win was the praise
of even remote association with "that high and
sacred name." A critic dares to suggest such an
association, and the world rises up in rebuke. In



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vain •* The Spectator " reviews one of Shakespeare's
tragedies, points out its weaknesses, and shows how
much more severe we are upon the contemporary
poet, than upon the author of Henry VIII. What
does the world care for Shakespeare's faults ? It is
Shakespeare that it wants.



"Mabel Maktin, A Harvest Idyl," by John
Greenleaf Whittier, is brought out this year as a
holiday book by Messrs. James R. Osgood & Co.,
in the style of Longfellow's "Hanging of the
Crane." The substance of the poem, under the
name of "The Witch's Daughter," was published
some years ago in " Home Ballads." The story is
itself a very simple one, and is told with all of
Whittier's quiet and directness, with his gentle but
genuine pathos, and with the nameless charm
which belongs both to the author's character and
an.

It may be considered one of the advantages of the
New England poets that they have a country. The
various and varying communities, the widely differ-
ing climates and landscapes which we call the United
States, or America, hardly answer the purposes of a
countryy—in the view of the household poet, at least
It requires a pretty high pressure to reach an alti-
tude where a poet can embrace in his ken the entire
continent The heroic poet, or a poet in the heroic
mood, can do this. There are also, of course, rela-
tions, emotions, common to all mankind ; and there
is a landscape of the mind. But he who would
move men in a deep and tender way, by the sugges-
tion of familiar scenes and images, must have an
audience to whom he can appeal with surety. In
New England, we repeat, the poet has a country, he
has fellow-countrymen, prevalent customs, cherished
and familiar legends, a people grounded in the soiL
He has an audience to which such a passage as this
makes a close and touching appeal :

" It was die pfeaiant harvet^tiIne,

When celkr-buw are closely stowed.
And ganets bend beneath their load,

"And the old swaDow-haunted banis,~

Brown-gabled, long, and fuD of aeans
Throui^ which the moted sunlight streams,

"And winds blow freshhr in, to shake

The red plumes of the rooMed cocks,
And the loose hay-mow's scented looks,^

"Are filled with summer's ripened stores,
Its odorous grass and oarley sheaves,
From their low scaffolds to their eaves.

"On Eiek Harden's oaken floor.

With many an autumn threshing woro,
Lay the heaped ears of unhusked com.

"And thither came yoimg men and maids,
Beneath a moon dnt large and low,
Lit that sweet eve of long aga

"They took their pUces; some by chance,
And others by a meny voice
Or sweet smile guidea to thdr choice.

"How pleasantly the rising moon,

Bietween the shadow of the mows,

Looked on them through the great elm-boughs I

"On sturdy boyhood, sun-embrowned.
On girihood with its soBd curves
Of healthful strength and painless nerves !



"And jests went round
The house-dog aj
And kept astir tl

" And qtudnt old songs
In Derby dales a
Ere Nonnan WUJ

We are well aware ths
racy of the soil, sweet an
distant, will always touch
the attraction in such a c
local one of whidi we hav

We think that the illust
lock and by Mr. Moran a]
<< Mabel Martin" than i
Crane." (They are cert
is well known to those
drawings on the wood, bef
his work, that it is a mo!
the impression from the
of the original design,
have just that delicate qui
somewhere among the p
trotyping, and printing,
never so commonplace as
Martin'* i^pear to have
they always show a refinei
have seldom seen any en^
In this series, the grace c
times degenerated into mei
ing, but sometimes, too,
Mr. Anthony (who standi
his profession) has evid<
under his charge, is rewi
beautiful results. The lii

'*Sinall leism« have

is accompanied by a litt'
design, and of which the
landscape, has been well
true suggestion of moonlj
and a sense of dignity ani
page 39, of Mabel kne
and clasped hands, in h
communicates at once th<
poem, — the sadness of pa
On page 51 the story of
design with firmness and 1
the teller and of the listen
scene of the execution on
tion of a kind of strength
suspected by those who ]
lock's illustrative design:
smoothing out in the cuttii
Some of the cuts not men
more skillful, from a ted
some that are mentionec
mere technical criticism ol
ture to give our impressio:
the designs of an artist
drawn on the wood are, \
best that are now being m
Moran' s pictures show his
the one most successful



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286



HOME AND SOCIETY,



40th page. This design appears to be more carefully
and sympathetically thought out than much of his
work in this book. But both artists have evidently
been hampered by the supposed laws of illustrated
book-making.

Are we ever to have " gift books " illustrated, or
decorated, by a sort of natural outgrowth ? Is it
true that ''the public" only want things that are
like something else with which they are familiar ?
We suspect that there is not that invincible detesta-
tion of originality and freshness on the part of the
people which many suppose. The failures possibly
are owing to the fiEu;t that appeal is made to the public
in behalf of new things which are not thoroughly
good of their kind. If a thing is good, and also
new, so much the better.



H. W. L.*s " Book of Sonnets.'*

Last Sunday evening as I wandered down
The busiest street of all this busy place,
I felt a strange, sweet stillness, — not a trace
Of Saturday's wild turmoil in the town :

Then as a genUe breeze doth move a gown.
Still almost motionless, or as the face
Of silence smiles, I heard the chimes df Grace
Sound murmuring through the Autumn eve-
ning's brown.

To-day again I passed along Broadway

In the harsh tumult and mid-noise of noon.
While 'neath my feet the solid pavement shook ;

When lo! it seemed that bells began to play,
Upon a Sabbath eve, a silver tune, —
For as I walked I read the poet's book.



HOME AND SOCIETY.



Christmaa Gifts.



There are very few readers of Scribner who
just now are not contemplating the approach of
Christmas and New Year's with a good deal of
secret alarm under the usual pleasure. They always
have made gifts in the genial gift-giving season;
they mean to do it again; they never, somehow,
knew half so many people to whom gifts would be
acceptable, but — • The dull counters of half the
business houses in the cities throughout the fall and
winter fully explain that "but," its cause and its
effects.

The only way to solve the difficulty is to meet it
face to face. It is necessary for all of us to econo-
mize ; but let the economy first be seen in the cur-
tailment of our selfish gratifications — not in the ex-



Online LibraryFrancis HallThe Century, Volume 11 → online text (page 48 of 163)