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the vast rooms of the grand old house with saintly and angelic company. Anon the child's brain exercised itself over “ The Whole Duty of Man," — not just the sort of food a child's brain generally needs, but in this case not failing of digestion; mak. ing some nutriment that did not come amiss in after years, when from that brain another and far better theory of duty. sprang, full armed. Doubts, too, she had — what child that thinks at all does not have them ? — about the miracles: the feeding of the five thousand, and subsequent filling of the baskets, was especially a nut that she desired to crack, but could not, and only hurt herself in trying. The reader may have noticed, that no nuts are so hard to crack as those which have nothing in them.
Miss Cobbe is sometimes spoken of as if she were merely a follower of Theodore Parker, - a sort of spiritual valet to that hero in the lists of thought. But, had this been her relation to him, she would not have understood him, — would not have been, as she has been thus far, the best of his interpreters. For, as Hegel has well told us, it is not the hero's but the valet's fault that the former does not seem heroic to the latter. It takes a hero to comprehend a hero. Miss Cobbe is not a mere follower of Parker, but a contemporary growth, and for this very reason she has comprehended him so well, or rather apprehended him; for who, as yet, has comprehended the breadth and altitude of that great-hearted man? Miss Cobbe became a Theist, before knowing any thing of Parker's views, - in fact, before they had been definitely shaped in his own mind. Four years of alternate scepticism and violent returns to Christianity had left her terribly exhausted by the struggle, when, one day in spring, as she was dreaming over her favorite Shelley, it came into her to say to herself, that, though she knew nothing of God or heaven, or any law beyond that of her own soul, she would be true to that, she would deserve her own esteem; and this resolution brought, almost immediately, by its own power as it were, a fresh kind of faith in God, - a sense that, somehow, such an effort must be pleasing to her Creator, who had given that inner law. From that hour she was a Theist; though, at the time, she felt her.
self alone in all the world. But no one likes to be the sole possessor of a glorious thought; and so she went about among the Deists of the eighteenth century,—Tindal, Collins, Gibbon, Hume, Voltaire (writers with whom Dr. Miner, in his recent bull against all heretics, delights to class the Theists of today), - but of course discovered that Deism and Theism are two very different things; as different as levelling down and levelling up. But in the “Life of Blanco White” she found a spirit kindred with her own; and, best of all, reading in the " Athenæum” a critique on Parker's “Discourse," she sent for it and read it, with what joy need not be told. It was not long after that her mother's death opened up to her, in all its depth, the question of the future life; and she wrote to Parker, asking him why he believed in immortality. His “Sermon of the Immortal Life,” which has been food to many a hungry soul, was his reply; written, no doubt, as the best sermons always are, in answer to some crying need.
The ten years after her mother's death were years of solitary work. How wide her reading must have been during these years, her books bear witness, especially the richly-laden notes that crowd the foot of almost every page. In these years, “Intuitive Morals” and “Religious Duty" were both written, though not published at once. Meanwhile, her definite rupture with the Church had taken place; and how hard it must have been for her and all concerned, the readers of her article in the July “Examiner” can imagine for themselves. Of the mantle of charity which she there so generously spreads over the conduct of others, she needs no corner for herself. She chose at once the most direct and obvious method of delivering her own soul from the net of a most difficult and complicated position. But it was not as if she could not feel as well as think. The grand old Church that cherished her ancestors' names and virtues on its walls, their sacred dust in its mysterious vaults, must have possessed strange charms for one so sensitive to such impressions. But they were not strong enough to shake the steadfast purpose of ber soul.
About ten years ago, her father died; and soon after, bidding farewell to her old home, she went to Italy, and remained there several months. The best result of this visit, and of one subsequent, -after her own mental growth and spiritual rejuvenation, — was her “ Italics ;” a most delightful and instructive book, which has never been republished in America, and is but little known here, except by her best friends. The time for its republication is now past; for it was largely occasioned by the events current at the time when it was written. Much that was then prophetic is now sober fact. Venice has already freed herself from the iron clutch of her oppressor, and the days of the Pope's temporal jurisdiction are much fewer and feebler than they were then; but the book is still worth perusing, if any one can get it in its handsome English dress. The last chapters, especially, are a better revelation of Miss Cobbe, upon her social side, than can be elsewhere found in any of her books. Here, too, we find a fondness for statistics, that reminds one of the passion Parker had in the same line. The practical turn of mind, which, in the life she had been living, had been able to assert itself only in very limited ways, such as housekeeping and visits to the poor and sick, now found an ample field in an attempt to estimate the various forces that were so thoroughly at work in the regeneration of Italy. We took great pleasure in the book; and regret sincerely that it is not now at hand, that we might indicate more carefully the scope and style of its contents.
Returning from Italy, Miss Cobbe became a fellow-laborer with Mary Carpenter, in her self-sacrificing efforts to save the characters of young outcast girls, in the Red-House-Lodge · Reformatory, and remained there a year. An accident, resulting in a serious and painful lameness, terminated this connection. But, even without this decided hint, it is more than probable that she would not have remained there very long. For, with all honor to her earnestness and devotion, it can scarcely be denied, that, for once, she was upon a false scent, – that slie was working in a direction parallel to her genius, not in the very line of it. Non omnia possumus omnes, the Latin poet says; and it is no discredit to us, if we can do one thing well, that we cannot do another. Who thinks any less of Hazliit because he could not paint, seeing that he could write
so gracefully; or of Goethe, because, with all his trying, he could do nothing creditable in plastic art? But as neither Hazlitt's effort nor Goethe's was by any means wasted, but furthered their self-knowledge and their growth, so with Miss Cobbe's attempt at practical philanthropy. It was not much of a success. Though not without executive ability, she had not exactly the right sort to fit her for the work which came so natural to Mary Carpenter. The spirit was willing, but the nerves were rather weak. We do not regret it. There is enough for her to do, without trying doubtful ventures. But the pain which those poor girls occasioned her, by their coarse and brutal ways, turned into inspiration when she took her pen and tried to rouse her fellow-countrymen to a sense of their most pressing duty to the poor and lost. Had she remained in the school at Bristol a dozen years, she would have accomplished less than she has since achieved through her various writings on subjects growing out of her experience while there. The most influential of these writings was her pamphlet on “ Friendless Girls," on the spur of which several new missions were established. But the leading idea of this pamphlet is credited by Miss Cobbe to a Miss Stephens. Her article on “ The Philosophy of the Poor Laws,” published in "Fraser," September, 1864, and now in the volume of collected articles entitled “Studies, Ethical and Social,” is a fearful commentary on the workhouse system, as it exists in England at the present time, – the jumbling together of men and women, young and old, crazy and sane, sick and well, deaf, dumb, and blind, pure and debauched. For all these terrible mistakes, that convert what should be nurseries of health and comfort into dens of misery and sin, her quick eye sees the remedy, and her voice is eloquent to plead for the destruction of the long abuse. Her other papers of like import are “ The Sick in Workhouses," “ The Workhouse as a Hospital,” — two papers that record the results of her own observations, and a paper on “The Indigent Classes," which the reader will find in her last volume of collected articles, entitled “Hours of Work and Play.” The limitation of this article is, that it is too patronizing in its tone, speaking too much of how we shall work for the indigent, and not enough of how we may work with them. Better than to spend all our time in finding out how poverty and its attendant evils can be cured, is it to spend a part of it in asking what will prevent these curses and these crimes. Five minutes spent in hacking at the root of a great evil avails more than sixty spent in tearing off its branches and its poisoned fruits. Let us first see to it, that the laboring man has a fair chance, and incidentally we shall nip in the bud a thousand of the evils that attend him. Not patronage, but justice, is the word which shall exorcise from the weary soul of labor the many devils that possess it. But, until justice is attained, honor, thrice honor, to those who do their best to cure the evils that ought never to exist!
During the spring of 1860, Miss Cobbe was again in Italy, and arrived at Florence just in time to see Theodore Parker slipping his earthly moorings, and launching out into that deep which had for him no fears. It must have been a real pleasure to the dying man to meet thus, even at the parting of the ways, the woman who had watched his star in the East so long, and now had come to worship him. Very faithfully had it pointed to the Christ-child in her heart; and, since it lost itself in heaven, very faithfully has she kept the altar of his memory aflame. Her edition of his works is much better than any published in America, — to the shame of somebody be it said; and doubtless it would have been still better, had she received all the help that she had a right to expect from those best able to assist her. Since Parker's death, no one has done more to perpetuate his influence and increase his fame.
It was during her first absence from England, that Miss Cobbe's travels were extended to the East, enabling her to write one of the most charming books of travel that it has ever been our lot to read. We refer to her “Cities of the Past." These cities of the past are Baalbec, Cairo, Rome, Jericho, Athens, and Jerusalem. It seems to us that these chapters contain a more complete report of Miss Cobbe's whole nature, body and soul, than any single book that she