Paulist Fathers.

The Century, Volume 21 online

. (page 33 of 78)
Online LibraryPaulist FathersThe Century, Volume 21 → online text (page 33 of 78)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


was not only interested hut possessed imag-
ination. '^ It is from this point we are to
expect the Prussians."

Cousin Jack ohserved that the captain
here picked up a stone and placed it in the
grass with a mysterious air.

"Here at Hougomont," he went on,
"the hattle hegan. It was Jerome who
made the attack. He took the forest; hut
the castle was defended b^ Wellington's best
troops. In the meanwhile Napoleon, who
was still at Belle-Alliance, was about to
issue orders to Marshal Ne^ to commence
the grand attack on Wellmgton's center,
when he discovered troops approaching
from the east — ^from behind the bench here
—from this tree."

Cousin Jack looked behind him with

some uneasiness ; was it possible that Bliicher

was on the march aheady ?

"Blu — BIQ — " he murmured, tentatively.

" It was Billow," the captain fortunately

fell in, " who was approaching with 30,000

Prussians. Napoleon hastily made his

preparations to meet this new enemy,

having no doubt but that Grouchy, at all

events, followed close on the heels of the

Prussians. For the Emperor had on the

previous day dispatched Marshal Grouchy,

with the whole right wing of the army,

ahout 50,000 men, to meet Bliicher and

Bulow; but Grouchy — but all that you

know firom your history," interrupted the

captain.

Cousin Jack gave an affirmative nod.

"Ney commenced the attack with his

nsual intrepidity. But the English cavahy

Wl upon the French, broke their ranks, and

forced them back, with a loss of two eagles

^ several cannon. Milhaud hastened to

the rescue, and the Emperor himself, who

uw the danger, plunged the spurs into his

horee and n^ea down the slope from Belle-

Afliancc."



The captain hurried away, with a little
sidelong jump like a cantering horse, de-
scribing all the while how the Emperor was
galloping along through thick and thin, how
he forced Ney's troops back into line, and
dispatched them for a fresh attack. It
may have been because Cousin Jack had a
poetic vein, or it may have been because
the captain's description was so vivid, or it
may Tand this I am perfectly sure of) have
been oecause he loved the captain's daugh-
ter, — one thing, at all events, is certain:
Cousin Jack was completely carried away.
He saw no more a funny old man who
jumped sideways; he caught a gleam
through the smoke of battle of the Emperor
himself, with his black eyes, sitting upon a
snow-white steed, just as we see him in the
pictures. He gaJloped away over ditches
and fences, through fields and gardens,
followed by his suite. Calm and cold he
was, and firmly he sat in the saddle, with
the half-unbuttoned gray coat, the white
breeches, and the little cocked hat His
featiures expressed neither weariness nor
agitation ; smooth and pale as marble,
they imparted to his whole form, clad in
the plam uniform, and seated upon the
white steed, an air of something exalted,
and almost unearthly. Thus he rushed
away, this bloody Httle monster, who in
three days fought three battles. Everything
gave way before him, — fleeing peasants,
troops retreating or advancing, — ^nay, even
the half-dead and the wounded crawled or
pushed themselves aside and gazed at him
with a mingling of terror and admiration,
as he broke across their vision like a cold
flash of lightning. He hardly needed to
show himself to the soldiers, and chaos of
its own accord reduced itself to order ; and
a moment later the indomitable Ney swung
himself into the saddle and renewed the
attack. And this time he forced the Eng-
lish back, and took possession of the farm La
Haie-Sainte.

Again Napoleon halted at Belle-Alliance.

" Now, then, Biilow is coming from the
east — here from under the bench ; the Em-
peror sends Mouton to meet him. At half-
past five o'clock (the battle had commenced
at one), Wellington tries to drive Ney from
La Haie-Sainte. But the latter was con-
vinced that everything depended upon his
taking possession of the territory in front of
the forest — here, in the gravel, at the grass
border." (The captain flung down his
glove to indicate this spot.) " Ney accord-
ingly summons a brigade of cuirassiers from



Digitized by V^OOQlC



Digitized by



Googit



THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO ENCORED.



463



d other small objects which, in the heat of
\ battle^ be had scattered around the field,
order to mark the different positions, his
s fell upon old Bliicher. He took him
and regarded him attentively. It was a
ce of hard granite, with rough points
d angles like rock-candy. It bore a cer-
Q resemblance to " Field-marshal Vor-
rts." Jack turned to the captain with a
lite bow.

^ Allow me. Captain, to keep this stone,
will serve to recall to my memory this
cresting and instructive entertainment,
which I thank you most heartily."
So sayingy he put Bliicher into the back
cket of lus coat.

The captain assured him that it had been
great pleasure to him to observe the inter-
t with which his yoimg fiiend had followed
\ discourse. And it is no exaggeradon
say that he was positively charmed with
Hisin Jack.

•^But sit down, young man," he said,
liling. " We have need of rest after ten
rars' fighting."

jack sat down on the bench, and felt his
^. At noon he had put on the most
ductive one he possessed. Happily it was
5t erect; but he realized the truth of Wel-
agton's words — '' The night or Bliicher 1 "
-Cor it would not sustain itself much longer.
^ was also fortunate that the warm after-
30Q son kept promenaders away from the
oulcvard. Otherwise a considerable public
ould have gathered about these two gen-
emcD, who were fighting with armies and
'lu) jumped about sideways. They had had,
owevcr, but one spectator, viz., the sentry,
'ho stood at the comer of the gymnasium,
Dd who, firom curiosity, had walked an un-
wrantable distance firom his post, marching
^€ariy a mile and a half down the chaussie
wmi Brussels to Waterioo. The captain
rould have given him a military reprimand
f he had not been of great strategic impor-
^cc, for he represented, where he stood,
he whole of Wellington's reserves. And
1^^, when the battie was at an end, he
retired in good order toward Brussels, and
fesumed his post at the comer of the
Synmasium.



in.



"Wont you walk home with me and
Ifw * ^%^ supper ? " said the captain.

My house, to be sure, is a very quiet one,
^ I suppose a young man of your charac-



ter will have no objection to spending an
evening in a quiet family."

Cousin Jack's heart gave a joyous leap ;
he accepted the invitation in his pecul-
iarly mcHdest manner, and soon they were
on the way to No. 34. The nearer they
approached that blessed spot, the more
vividly did the enchanring picture of Miss
Schrappe rise up before his fancy — the
blonde fiizzed hair down over her forehead,
the dainty waist, and the roguish, light-blue
eyes. His heart beat so that he could
scarcely speak, and as they were going up-
stairs he had to seize hold of the banister
for support : his happiness made him almost
dizzy.

In the parlor, which was a large comer
room, they found no one. The captain
went out to call his daughter, and Jack
heard him cry :

" Betty ! "

Betty ! What a charming name, and how
admirably it fitted the charming creature!
The happy lover imagined already how
delightfiil It would be, when he retumed
fi'om his work at noon, to be able to call
out into the kitchen: "Betty, is diimer
ready ? "

Just at that moment the captain entered
with Miss Betty. She went straight up to
Cousin Jack, shook his hand, and bade him
welcome.

"But," she added, "you must really
excuse my nmning away firom you imme-
diately; for to tell the truth I was just
scrambling some eggs, and that is no joke,
you may believe."

Thus speaking she vanished ; the captain
also retired in order to arrange his toilet,
and Cousin Jack was once more left alone.
The whole interview had only lasted a
couple of seconds, and yet it seemed to
Jack as if these moments had plunged
him, from led^e to ledge, fathoms and
fathoms down mto a deep, dark hole. He
had seized hold, with both his hands, of
an old high-backed easy-chair; he neither
heard, nor sa?;, nor thought; but half me-
chanically he kept repeating to himself:

" It was not she — it was not she ! "

No, it was not she. The lady he had
just seen, and who was evidendy the real
Miss Schrappe, did not at all have blonde
fiizzed hair down over her forehead. She
had, on the contrary, dark hair, which was
smoothed down on both sides. Her eyes
were neither light blue nor ro|;uish, but grave
and of a dark gray color, — ^in fact, she was
as unlike the beloved one as possible.



Digitized by



Googit



Digitized by



Googit



Digitized by



Googit



Digitized by



Googit



TOPICS OF THE TIME,



467



TOPICS OF THE TIME.



The Sotting uid th« Rising Sun.

As THX administration of President Hayes draws
toward a dose, it is pleasant to review it, in the light
of memorj and history, as one of the purest and best
die ocnmtry has ever known. The President and his
wife have shown themselves to be quiet and good
peo;^ who have tried to do their duty both in
poUic and in social life. Whatever measure of in-
floenoe diey have exercised has always been given to
morality and propriety. The atmosphere of the
White Hoose has not, since President Hayes has
occopi e d it, been attractive to unprincipled political
adrentorers, to wine-bibbers, or to loafers of any
sort No vioea have found a home there that needed
ministry from self-seeking or office-seeking men,
and no dirt has been deposited there in which scan-
(kl ooold find a foot-hold. We believe that when the
President shall step down and out, at the expiration
of his term of office, — a term limited beyond the
possibility of extension by his own voluntary act, —
he win carry with him into retirement the respect
of the entire American people, having fiurly earned
Ibe title of ** Rutherford the Good." There are
men who can sneer at goodness in public life, and
who can look with contempt upon whsU are called
the homely virtues of temperance, chastity, and neigh-
borly kindness, but these virtues are not so £Eur gone
oat of 6ishion that those in high life who exemplify
diem fiul of wide and lasting honor.

The man who is to succeed President Hayes will
oome to his office with greater prestige than his pre-
decessor, and will be followed to his chair with
Hvelier expectations. Never within our memory
his so brUliant a man as General Garfield been
hoDored with the presidential office. A man of
splendid gifts, of thorough education, of wide and
long femiliarity with public life, of intimate practical
ioqattntanoe with the public business, of first-dass
oratorical power, he is altogether an exceptional
nuuL Of die long list of Presidents since John
QoiDcy Adams, no man but Martin Van Buren could
be compared with General Garfield in native gifb
and public culture. As a scholar and an orator, he
is mudi above what Lincoln was at his best, and
modi above Hayes. A genial man, a manly man,
t courageous man, who is used to meeting and act-
ing upon men, who, through a legislative experience
of miny years, has become fiimiliar with aU public
business, and whose halnt during all this period has
been that of battling for the ri^t, as he in judgment
and conscience af^ehended it^-A man equipped
with talent of the best order, with wide learning
bdd safely and serviceably in a marvelous mem-
ory, and with oratorical powers of great readiness
tad brilliancy, this is Garfield, the President-elect

Aft a man of ideas, rather than as a party man, we
expect him to act in hit exalted office, llie people
^ not be content with simply a quiet and respect-
•^ administration. We shall look to President



Garfield for progress. He is wise enough to con-
ceive and plan it, and bold and influential enough to
inaugurate and lead it In his hands, and by his de-
termined influence, the cause of civil-service reform
ought to receive a great and decisive impetus. We
feel sure that his instincts are on the side of pure
politics, and he is not blind. He must see that the
purification of politics will be impossible without a
reform in the civil service. So long as office is the
reward of party work, and the "spoils" doctrine
prevails, just so long bad and incompetent men will
lead in politics, and good men will^ as a rule,
let politics alone. The time is come when the
shameful practice of assessing poorly paid Govern-
ment clerks for party expenses at elections should
be stopped. It is a hardship and a nuisance. This
resort for political funds is as base as it can be. To
stand before a Government employ^ with a party
subscription paper, and the power to effect his re-
moval, and to deprive him thereby of his bread and
butter, is little different in principle from confront-
ing him in the highway with a revolver, and de-
manding his money. We are ashamed to say that
this has been done to assist in electing General
Garfield himself, and is always done in all elections
by the party in power. The present system is bad
in every respect, and the abuses of it — the oppres-
sions and extortions and temptations that go with it
— make the bad almost infinitely worse. If General
Garfield can lead us out of this quagmire of corrup-
tion and corrupting influences, he will do that which
will bring him everlasting honor.

One of the influences which greatly favored his
election was the extraordinary outcry raised in the
middle of the canvass on the tariff question. Now
General Garfield must know that the tendency of the
times is, or should be, away from protection. His
opponents were scared by the outcry into the aban-
donment of their own free-trade traditions, and the
free-trade plank in their platform. America is no
longer in leading-strings. She is not a baby in a
go-cart He must know that the party cry of bring-
ing American labor to the basis of foreign prices by
a free-trade policy is nonsense. If high-priced
labor could buy the necessaries of life in a low-
priced country, then labor mig^t be helped by pro-
tection ; but high-priced labor, engaged in the manu-
fiBcture of protected articles, under a policy of general
protection gets no advantage, because every neces-
sary of life is raised to match the price of labor. A
man who earns two dollars a day, and pays two
dollars for a yard of cloth, is no better off than he
would be if he earned one dollar a day in a country
where his yard of cloth would cost only a dollar.
However, we don't propose to argue the question.
We only wish to say that, while we do not expect or
desire an immediate jump into a fiee-trade policy,
we have a right to expect a radical revision of the
present cumbrous tarifl^ in the direction of a tariff
for revenue mainly. If, at this stage of her history,



Digitized by V^OOQlC



Digitized by



Googit



TOPICS OF THE TIME.



469



a rtamblfng'block in the way of the prosperity of his
party. A¥e do not diink the schods have anything to
fear from him. Neither he nor Mr. Kelly can afford
to force the religioas- question into dty politics, —
whkfa they would do at once by attacking the
schools,— OS that would mean political suidde for
both and destruction for their party.

Nor do we think that Protestantism wonld be
aJone in its resistance to any violence to our time-
hoiKM'ed system of public education. A great many
Catholics in New York love her public schools and
the freedom from priestly domination which they
andoobcedly engender. Freedom of thought and
act becomes as dear to a Catholic as to a Protestant
Intelligent manhood, bred in non-sectarian schools,
has its attractions to all sects alike, and woald find its
defenders and upholders among Catholics as well as
Protestants of every denomination.

Character, and what Comae of It.

Abovi all other things in the world, character
has sapreme value. A man can never be more than
what his character — intellectual, moral, spiritual —
makes him. A man can never do more, or better,
than deliver, or embody, that which is characteristic
of himsel£ All masquerading and make-believe
produce litde impression, and, in their products and
results, die early. Nothing valuable can come out
of a man that is not in him, embodied in his charac-
ter. Nothing can be more unphilosophical than the
idea that a man who stands upon a low moral and
spiritual plane can produce, in literature or art, any-
thing valuable. He may do that which dazzles or
exdtes wonder or admiration, but he can produce
nothing that has genuine value, for, after all,
value must be measured by the power to enrich,
ezalt, and purify life. If art were an end, in itself, —
if there were any meaning in the phrase "Art for
art's sake,** — then what we say about character would
QOt, or need not, be true ; but art is not an end in
itself any more than milk, or flannel, or tilth, or
harvest The further art is removed from ministry,
the more it is divorced from it, the more illegitimate
docs it become. Pyrotechny attracts many eyes,
lad may excite a great deal of wonder and admira-
tioii, but when we talk about the value of fire, we
only think of its service in the furnace and on the
hearth.

It is claimed by a certain class of critics that we
have nothing to do with the character of an artist
or a writer. They forget that a knowledge of a
man's character b a short cut to a correct judg-
ment of his work. It is only necessary to know
of Edgar A. Poe that he was a man of weak
wiU, without the mastery of himself,— a dissipated
man— a man of morbid fieeling — a self-loving man,
without the wish or purpose to serve his fel-
low% — to know that he could never write a poem
that would help anybody, or write a poem that
pouessed any intrinsic value whatever. His charac-
ter was without value, and, for that reason, he was
wbhoot the power of ministry. His character was
wtthoDt Talae» and nothing of value could come out



of it His poems are one continued, selfish wail
over lost life and lost love. The form of his art was
striking, but the material was wretchedly poor in
everything of value to human life. No human soul
ever quotes his words for comfort or for inspiration.
Bjrron is a more conspicuous example of the effect
of poor or bad character upon art than Poe. He
was immensely greater than Poe in genius, stronger
in fiber, broader in culture, and bolder in his
vices. He embodies his character in his verse, with
great subdety and great ingenuity. Fifty years
ago, he was read more than any other poet Young
men drank the poison of his Don Juan with feverish
lips, but, the draught over, the book never was taken
up again. He wrote wonderful verses, and some of
them, written under certain pure and high inspira-
tions, assert his daim to greatness ; but, as a whole,
the works of Byron have gone out, and are hardly
read at all in these days.

Our own Bryant, and Longfellow, and Whittier,
and Holmes, and Lowell are all men of character,
and the outcome of their art is as hearty and healthy
as a mountain wind. Knowing any one of these
men is to know that their work is good. There is
more of the element of ministry in Longfellow's
'< Psalm of Life " than in all that Byron and Poe
ever wrote. Value in character makes value in
verse. Value in character makes value in pictures,
in sculptures, in all embodiments of art It is vain
to talk about equaling what we call " The Old Mas-
ters *' in art, until we can equal the old masters in
character. When we have a race of artists who are
as religious, as self-devoted, as high-minded, and as
fully surrendered to the divinest inspiradons as the old
masters were, we shall have young masters who will
be quite their equals. Petty paindng is the offspring
of petty character. Artists cannot lift their work
without first lifting themselves. It is impossible that
a thoroughly bad man should be a good artist of any
sort, for let it be remembered, we repeat, that the
values of art all rest, and alwa3rs rest, upon its power
of ministry. Art is simply a vehicle for conveying
the values of character to the lives of men, and when
there are no values of character, there is nothing to
be conveyed, no matter how beautiful or noteworthy
the vehide may be. Great moral harm is often done
by studied and systematic dissociation of an author
or an artist with his work. We are told that we
have nothing whatever to do with the writer or the
painter ; we have only to do with what he produces.
This may be true and right to a certain extent, but
what if a writer or painter be notoriously immoral
and dissolute ? Suppose an actress, with exceptional
powers upon the stage, but with a reputation stamed
all over with scandal, whose sins against social
purity are patent, notorious, undisputed, — ^presents
herself for our suffrage and patronage— what shall
we do with her ? Shall we send our sons to con-
template her charms, and review her base career ?
Shall we visit her with our wives and daughters,
and honor her with our dollars and our courtesies ?
Shall we do what we can to obliterate in her mind,
as well as our own, all sense of moral distinctions ?
We are told that we have nothing to do with the



Digitized by V^OOQlC



470



HOME AND SOCIETY.



woman. We have only to do with the actress. So
we have nothing to do widi a preacher, we suppose, —
only with the sermon. People generally think they
have a great deal to do with the preacher, and that
the sermon is of very little conseqaence when it is
not the sincere product of a good character.

Character must stand behind and back up every-
thing — ^the sermon, the poem, the picture, the play.
None of them is worth a straw without it Thirty
years ago Jenny Lind was with us, and with her
marvelous (^ of song, she brought to us an unsul-



lied character. It was an honor to toud her hand,
and she went about the land as a mxssiooary of
womanly purity. All men and all women haDor&i
her with a higher admiration than her marvdov
art could inspire. The noble womanhood whid
stood behind her voice was an uplifting inflneooe,
wherever that voice was heard ; and tiie prostituted
womanhood that stands bdiind other voices that ve
know, taints every ear that hears, and degrades every
heart and life that consents to tolerate it so £nr as t?
sit in its presence.



HOME AND SOCIETY.



NunMry Decoration and Hygiene.

«' My idea of a model nursery," said a fine lady,
not long ago, ** is a padded room, with barred win-
dows, and everything in it, when not in use, hung
out of reach upon the walls. Then, one might sit
down-stairs in the drawing-room, and read, or
practice, or receive, with a mind at rest" But what
of the melancholy little starlings caged above, piping
their wofol plaint, «* I can't get out " ? And, in many
cases, it is no wonder they should want to get out

To the nursery are generally consigned, year
after year, all the faded fineries from down-stairs,
the worn carpets, the slightly soiled chintz, the
decrepit tables and chairs. It is a Ildtel des In-
valuUs for retired furniture. This, of course, does
not apply to the first nursery, fitted up with float-
ing draperies of pink and blue, with fine embroid-
ery and cobweb lace, with costly cradle and dainty
basket, for the installation ,of that unparalleled
wonder — His Serene Highness, Baby Number One —
¥rith a prime minister in attendance, to whom all
this magnificence appears but dross, whose manner
is of the mildly enduring sort, as becomes one who
has been used to better things, but, in spite of all,
condescends to exalt, with her presence, for a space,
these humble scenes !

During a little while Baby reclines at ease amid
his princely surroundings, but, by and by, when
abandoned by his prime minister, the natural self-
assertion of man takes possession of him. He kicks
over the bassinet, rends his filmy envelope of silk
and lawn, makes ducks and drakes of the interior of
his dressing-basket, sets the ivory brushes afloat in
his bath-tub, and cuts his teeth upon any object
within reach, other than the coral and bells provided
for the purpose by an in&tuated godficUher.

Then, at last, does an indignant and long-suffering
household turn upon this aggressive ruler, and send
him into banishment An usurper sits upon his
throne, who is, in turn, displaced, and goes to join his
hapless comrade condemned to hard labor in the
third-story Siberia; and so until the ranks are full,
till the pink and blue has fiuled out of the draperies,



Online LibraryPaulist FathersThe Century, Volume 21 → online text (page 33 of 78)