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on his father's shoulder, and says in a low tone, "I will;" and then to see the half-awestruck, half-wondering one seems boyish face, and hear the childish treble -adds: "But what are they going to do with you, father?" When the final scene comes, and the father awaits his doom, little Willy, standing once more between the officers and marines in the after part of the deck and the ship's company forward"as if he had been a little spirit of good, waving his fairy talisman; evil passions, which in the former scene were let loose, had retired to their darkest recesses, and all the better feelings of humanity were called forth is the first to break the silence with the simplest and most natural question possible for a child: 'Where are you going, father, and why do you wear that night-cap?'' site art in the whole picture. The childish There is exquifigure relieves what would otherwise have been too dark a scene. As the story progresses, Willy still fills a large space in it, and is as manly, brave, and fine a lad as the child of such a father and mother was sure to be. Nor is he the only child in the book. Emily Rainscourt, the daughter of "the handsomest man in Dublin," who had made a bet that he would marry the reigning belle of that lively city within a certain time, does not appear many times while still a child, but is always natural, and shows how well Captain Marryat understood child-nature. Every one knows his "middies." They are but boys, and act like boys. Their rollicking fun, their practical jokes, their courage and devotion to duty when danger threatens, their very tenderness when the thought of faraway homes is brought vividly before them, are all intensely true.
had already written "Oliver Twist." It ture. "Oliver Twist" dealt largely with may be called the "Street Arab" literathe criminal classes. takes us among the children who are on the "Paved with Gold' border-land between honesty and crime. Oliver Twist, the hero of Dickens's book, is never more than an unwilling dweller in the haunts of vice. He abhors Fagin's den. The humors of Charley Bates and the Artful Dodger never amuse him. He lives an untainted life amidst the most loathsome conditions. So far as his childlife is concerned, its environment is always out of harmony with his inner feelings, except during the happy time when he is at kind Mr. Brownlow's.
workhouse. Phil, like Oliver, is brought up in a moral effect on him is that he regards the particular abhorrence of the place. Its Unlike Oliver, he feels no whole world as being a big union workhouse divided into two classes — paupers and guardians. Children brought up in a home where there is a fierce fight for food, fire, clothing, and rent, learn from their earliest years how the battle of life is fought by the poor. Phil, on the contrary, never hears the clink of coin, knows not how his bread and gruel are provided, has no idea of the necessity of working in order to live.
that the boys in the Industrial School It strikes me as peculiarly true to nature who, just like boys at any other school, pounce upon a new-comer and overwhelm him with questions, should begin by asking Phil, "What's your parish?" and then be anxious to know whether he is a foundling. When Phil shows no inclination to answer, Come, don't sulk," cried one of the boys, "Masterman Ready" and the "Chil-"This chap here was tied in a fish-basket and pointing to another, he continued: dren of the New Forest," full of improbabilities as they are, still delight both young and old. I find that they are in brisk demand at a library where plenty of new books are to be had, and that they are read as much as Marryat's other books. Nor do I wonder at it. The island on which Masterman Ready and his young friends are wrecked is not to be found in any modern map; but the children who met with such wonders upon it are to be seen every day of our lives. The mixture of romance and reality must always have a charm for children, and characters like Master Tommy cannot fail to amuse both young and old.
Augustus Mayhew's "Paved with Gold" introduces a class of literature which was not indeed wholly new, because Dickens
to the relieving officer's knocker." "No, I wasn't," retorted the other, in the midst of the laughter. "My mother's a washer. woman, and has two and sixpence a week and two loaves out-door relief on account of her rheumatics."
parents, and that those parents - one
about London "Street Arabs"
first child in secular literature intended for grown-up people who is made thoroughly interesting.
of this article, however, as being about the first of a class of boys of whom we have read much of late years. Such books have answered a good purpose: they have "Jane Eyre was not published till drawn attention to the miseries of child- nearly ten years later, and the interest life in large towns, and when, as in the which one cannot fail to feel in Jane as a case with "Paved with Gold," they are child is rather of a melancholy sort. Dickvivid pictures of boy-life free from mawk- ens was never more successful in painting ish sentiment, true to nature, they are not a child than in "David Copperfield; " but only deeply interesting, but set men's David is not a specimen of commonplace ninds to work to see how the evils indi- childhood. It is needful to remember this cated may be diminished, if they cannot if we are to appreciate him properly. be wholly eradicated. Dickens has done From the very first he has about him the something in the same direction. He holds air of genius. All children, unless they a high place among writers of this century be abnormally dull and stupid, are full of who have made child-life attractive. He fancies. They breathe the atmosphere of has given us pictures of the home-life of poetry. They see wonders in the heavens the poor, which are in some degree true; above and the earth beneath. Tragedy but he never quite ceases to be either a and comedy are ever chasing one another Icaricaturist or a sentimentalist. Tiny over the stage of their existence. Now Tim is delightful, but not very true to life. they are in the depths of despair; now it There is one fatal biot in his children, a would seem as if they and joy were insepfault which they have in common with arable companions. Yet I venture to Miss Edgeworth's, and those of not a few think that such a child as David Copperother writers. They are good without field is rare. The majority are made of adequate reason. It is neither theologi- more commonplace material. They would cally, nor as a matter of daily experience, know better how to get on with Mr. and true that a child will become a model of Miss Murdstone. Very few boys, now. virtue if it is brought up amid circum-adays at any rate, would, even at eight or stances little favorable to goodness. nine years of age, be quite so easily im
Little Nell is a charming child; but posed on by a waiter as to allow him to eat little Nell is utterly unlike ordinary chil-their dinner without uttering a word of dren. I admit the beauty and the pathos protest. I am very doubtful, too, whether of the picture; but I cannot admit that it many boys would have been quite so loveris lifelike. like to Little Emily, and have found such So, again, with regard to Paul and Flor-intense delight in Mr. Pegotty's wonderful ence Dombey. Paul is perfectly delicious; but he is weird and unearthly. The only thing which gives reality to him is the fact of his bodily weakness. With an ordinarily healthy body such a child would be an impossibility.
It seems to me that writers who leave religion out of account in its bearing on the life of a child are bound to be unreal. I quite agree with Archbishop Whately that "any direct attempt at moral teaching in a fictitious narrative will, unless managed with the utmost discretion, interfere with what, after all, is the main object of the writer of fiction, as of the poet, to please. If instruction do not join as a volunteer, she will do no good service." But to give us a character pure, noble, good, where there is no reference to principles of religion, is false to fact. Oliver Twist is a case in point. He is from an early age surrounded by evil. He is never brought under religious teaching, or religious influence; yet he is represented as the very incarnation of virtue. We owe him a debt of gratitude; he is almost the
house by the sea at Yarmouth. Still, one feels that David is real and from first to last consistent with himself, which, by the way, is more than can be said for all Dickens's characters - Ham Pegotty to wit, who, when we are first introduced to him, is little more than a half-witted, blun dering lout, but becomes before the end of the story a really magnificent fellow.
Every one will call to mind many other child-characters in the writings of Dickens. No other male writer has given us so many. In my judgment none of his children can compare with those of certain female writers of whom I must speak. I have, however, drawn attention to the prominence of children in Dickens not so much in order to discuss his success or failure in this department, as to emphasize the fact that he was one of the first of the great writers of fiction who recognized the charm and interest which children give to a book.
Thackeray has given us a few incidental touches which show how well he could have succeeded had he wished to depict
her match in other departments of fiction, whilst I do not know one who can compare with her in the absolute truth and reality of her children.
child-life. A little later Henry Kingsley, in "Ravenshoe" and "Silcote of Silcote," and still more emphatically George Mac donald, lighten their pages by delicious pictures of youthful existence; but I think Where else in literature can you find that there can be no reasonable doubt that four children each so lifelike as Tom and it is women writers who have assured the Maggie Tulliver, Lucy Deane, and poor popularity of children in fiction. I have Bob, Tom's humble friend? They stand already said that children are prominent out as clearly as trees against a golden in modern literature. It may with equal sunset. They are as real as the children certainty be affirmed that their prominence you see every day of your life. Maggie is very welcome to a large class of read- is, of course, of a type rare and seldom It is not wonderful that in this line seen, because she is gifted with genius. women should have been highly success- But compare her with David Copperfield. ful. As it is only within the present cen- He, too, was meant to be exceptionally tury, and indeed in the latter half of the gifted; but, so far as I can see, he is century, that women have themselves shadowy and unreal when brought into taken a prominent position in literature, it comparison with the absolute flesh and seems a fair inference that to them may blood of Maggie. Every throb of her be due more than to any other cause the passionate heart, every word of her often change we have noted. But I doubt unwise tongue, every deed of her erratic whether they could, without the aid of life, is true to nature. Her longing to other influences, have absolutely produced be like Lucy-fair and blue-eyed, clearthe change of feeling with regard to chil-skinned, neat and tidy, always admired, dren which has rendered their introduction never doing wrong, and yet to be herself into books popular. They may have given force and direction to the tide; they could hardly have turned it themselves. That they should succeed better than men was only natural. Close observation of childlife and memory of one's own childhood are both essential to success in producing a lifelike picture of children.
As a rule girls are more introspective than boys. They may not remember facts better; but they do remember modes of feeling more accurately. They have, or till very recently used to have, much less to distract attention from self than is the case with boys. Here and there one may meet with a quiet, thoughtful, self-questioning boy; but he is a rara avis indeed. Because she took more note of her own feelings when a child, because her memory dwells more constantly on past joys and sorrows, because she is naturally more drawn to note carefully the characteristics of children, and has more opportunity for such observation than is generally the case with men, a woman, if she does but possess that power of imagination without which observation can do little or nothing, is almost certain to realize to herself, and therefore to depict for her readers, the lives of children much better than a man. Modern literature proves that what we should à priori expect is actually the case. It is, perhaps, hardly fair to bring forward George Eliot as a proof. She was a woman of masculine mind. She had an insight into human nature given to few. Yet I think that we can find men who are fully
is essentially lifelike. She longs to be queen in the world of delight which she conjures up for herself, where love and kindness shall ever surround her, scolding, hardness, and misapprehension be unknown, but to be queen under Lucy's form. Both the vanity and the self-depreciation of such a character are absolutely true. How well, too, she is contrasted with Tom! Her impetuosity and apparent force are mere waves of the sea, which are broken by the immovable stolidity of Tom. He always knows his own mind. When he does wrong he has no violent fits of repentance. He has only done what he would do again. He knows nothing of that agonizing sense of doubt which is ever one of the trials of the imaginative nature.
What boy who has been brought up in the country does not know the charm which a lad like Bob would possess for another boy in a rather better position of life? Bob's knowledge of birds and their ways, of fishes, rats, weasels, stoats, and ferrets, his contempt for a dog that dare not tackle a rat together with his early cunning as to the ways of mankind, were sure to have a charm for a regular English boy like Tom Tulliver. Those boys may be met to-day in any English county. Even lads like poor Bob have not yet been improved off the face of the earth by School Boards and compulsory education.
Tom has a fine sense of honor. It will not permit him to allow Bob to rob him of a half-penny, though he cares nothing
for the money, any more than it will let him take the biggest bit of puff when that has fairly fallen to Maggie by the rule of "Choose with your eyes shut." Pretty, empty-headed Lucys still walk the earth girls so good that Mrs. Tulliver, with a sense of the wrong done her in having a very different sort of child in Maggie, says pathetically, "Lucy Dean's such a good child, you may set her on a stool and there she'll sit for an hour together, and never offer to get off." All these children think, speak, move, act like children.
I am not sure, however, that the greatest triumph of all is not the picture of the little one in "Silas Marner." Who but a woman would have drawn the picture of Effie when her mother, the victim of opium, has fallen on the snow into a sleep which shall pass into the long sleep of death? I must quote the passage verbatim:
The complete torpor came at last; the fingers lost their tension, the arms unbent, then the little head fell away from the bosom and the blue eyes opened wide on the cold starlight. At first there was a little peevish cry of Mammy," and an effort to regain the pillowing arm and bosom; but mammy's ear was deaf, and the pillow seemed to be slipping away backward. Suddenly, as the child rolled downward on its mother's knees, all wet with snow, its eyes were caught by a bright dancing light on the white ground, and, with the ready transition of infancy, it was immediately absorbed in watching the bright living thing running towards it, yet never arriving. That bright living thing must be caught; and in an instant the child had slipped on all fours, and held out one little hand to catch the gleam. But the gleam would not be caught in that way, and now the head was held up to see where the cunning gleam came from. It came from a very bright place, and the little one, rising on its legs, toddled through the snow, the old grimy shawl in which it was wrapped trailing behind it, and the queer little bonnet dangling at its back, - toddled on to the open door of Silas Marner's cottage and right up to the warm hearth, where there was a bright fire of logs and sticks, which had thoroughly warmed the old sack (Silas's great-coat) spread out on the bricks to dry. The little one, accustomed to be left to itself for long hours without notice from its mother, squatted down on the sack and spread its tiny hands towards the blaze in perfect contentment, gurgling and making many inarticulate communications to the cheerful fire, like a new hatched gosling beginning to find itself comfortable. But presently the warmth had a lulling effect, and the little golden head sank down on the old sack, and the blue eyes were veiled by their delicate half-transparent lids.
Could any man have painted that pic
ture? If he had the artistic faculty of observation so developed as to have been able to give us the picture of the child slipping from the arms of the opium-overcome mother on to the snow, and of the dancing firelight, as it gleamed through the open door of Silas Marner's house, would a man have ever thought how a child would seek to grasp what looked like a living thing, and then follow it into the place from which it came?
It would be beside my purpose to do more than remind my readers how Silas Marner, when he first sees the golden head as it lies on the floor in front of his fire, fancies that at last his lost gold has been restored; how he finds that something better than gold has come to his hearth, his home, his heart. It is in her insight into the moral influence of children on their elders, no less than in the minute touches which render her pictures of childlife so perfect, that we see the supreme excellence of George Eliot when she deals with children.
It is not possible now to pass in review the many writers who have made children the centre of attraction in their books. This I hope to do in a future article. One the cause or causes which have led up to point has been made clear. Whatscever the result, children play a much more important part in the literature of the nineteenth century than they have ever played in literature before. Whether this is due to the fact that they themselves are no longer repressed, brow-beaten, kept in the background, or whether their much happier lives at home and at school are due
to the fact that their cause has been well lic mind, may be matter of question. The pleaded by writers who influence the pubtendency of the age is towards gentleness, kindly consideration for the weak, liberty. Children have had their share in the happiness which that tendency fosters. Their elders have benefited by it in the closer friendship which exists between parents and children, in the removal from many a home of that stern discipline which divided the young from the old, in the happy consciousness that children regard them as friends, not tyrants. If the literature of our time, as can hardly be doubted, has done something to bring about such results, it has been a boon to both young and old. How large a part women have taken in the matter will be apparent when we deal with the books which have won wide popularity because they give more or less perfect pictures of child-life.
From Temple Bar.
A LONG, dull road or street, a statue of the navigator La Perouse, a bandstand with a few trees about it, and plain, modern buildings without character, some larger and more pretentious than others, but all uninteresting. Is this Albi? No, but it is what appears to be so to the stranger who enters the place from the railway station. The ugly sameness is what the improving spirit of our own times has done to make the ancient town decent and fit to be inhabited by folk who have seen something of the world north of Languedoc and who have learnt to talk of "le comfortable." The improvement is undoubted, but so is the absolute lack of interest and charm; at least, to those who are outside of the persiennes so uniformly closed against the summer sun.
Albi, the veritable historic Albi, lies almost hidden upon a slope that leads down to the Tarn. Here is the marvel. lous cathedral built in the thirteenth century, after the long wars with the Albigenses; here is the archbishop's fortified palace, still capable of withstanding a siege if there were no artillery; here are the old houses, one of pre-Gothic construction with very broad Romanesque window, slender columns and storied capitals, billet and arabesque mouldings, another of the sixteenth century quite encrusted with carved wood; and here are the dirty little streets like crooked lanes, where old women, who all through the summer months, Sundays excepted, give their feet an air-bath, may be seen sitting on the doorsteps clutching with one bony hand the distaff, and drowsily turning the spindle with the other.
no redder now for the torrents of blood that flowed into it.
Notwithstanding that the name Albigenses was given after the Council of Lombers to the new Manichæans, Albi was less identified with the great religious and political struggle of southern Gaul in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries than were Castres and other neighboring towns. If, however, it was comparatively fortunate as regards the horrors of that ferocious war, it was severely scourged by the most appalling epidemics of the Middle Ages. Leprosy and the pest had terrors greater even than those of battle. The cruelty of those feudal ages finds one of its innumerable records in the treatment of the miserable lepers at Albi. Having taken the disease which the crusaders brought back from the East, they were favored with a religious ceremony distressingly similar to the office for the dead. A black pall was thrown over them while they knelt at the altar steps. At the close of the service a priest sprinkled some earth on the condemned wretches, and then they were led to the leper-house, where each was shut up in a cell from which he never came out alive. The black pall and the sprinkled earth were symbols which every patient understood but too well.
In nothing is the stern spirit of those ages expressed more forcibly than in the religious buildings of Languedoc. The cathedral of St. Cecilia at Albi is the grandest of all the fortified churches of southern France, although in many others the defensive purpose has made less concession to beauty. Looking at it for the first time, the eye is wonder-struck by its originality, the nobleness of its design, and the grandeur of its mass. The plan being To live in one of these streets might that of a vast vaulted basilica without disgust the unseasoned stranger forever aisles, the walls of the nave rise sheer with southern life; but to roam through from the ground to above the roof, and are them in the early twilight is the way to pierced at intervals with lofty but very nar find the spirit of the past without search-row windows, the arches slightly pointed ing. Effort spoils the spell. Strange, indeed, must have been the procession of races, parties, and factions that passed along here between these very houses, or others which stood before them. Romans, Romanized Gauls, Visigoths, Saracens, in diminishing stages to the height of two and English; the Raymonds with their hundred and sixty feet and there ends in Albigenses, the Montforts with their cru- an embattled platform, account for the saders from the north, the wild and singularly feudal and fortress-like characsanguinary pastoureux and the lawless ter of the building. The outline of the routiers, the religious fanatics, Huguenots, buttresses being that of a semi-ellipse, and Catholics of the sixteenth century, and the Revolutionists of the eighteenth. All passed on their way, and the Tarn is
and containing simple tracery. The buttresses which help the walls to support the vaulting of the nave and choir are the most remarkable feature of the design, and, together with the tower, which rises
they look like turrets carried up the entire face of the wall. The floor of the church is many feet above the ground, and the