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stinctive men and women as Bazaroff, Helene, Irene, or seeing his race with that clear vision with which Turgenieff saw Russia, or re-thinking all the moral and intellectual ideas of Europe with the swiftness and prolonged power of Balzac. Fettered in a tradition, bad as that which held opera back until Wagner broke it, Dickens could not look humanity full in the face and allow his soul to flow out upon the paper. The English law of fiction was that man had to be considered as a joke or a humdrum creature of habit. Dickens chose the former as Miss Austen had chosen the latter; Dickens could be incisive and poignant; he could even lift a fold of the veil, for “under the cover of laughter” half a truth may be allowed to pass, but if the instincts were forbidden, and if there were no prose examples showing how they might be utilized, landscape was free to his imagination, and it was in places that Dickens's genius found an outlet. He introduced the spiritual life of places into English fiction; Balzac had done this in “Seraphita," but in Balzac we find everything; in other writers we find this and that quality. All that is spiritual in London found expression in “Bleak House” and “The Old Curiosity Shop;” the sanctity of the English landscape rises up in the pages of “Barnaby Rudge.” Dickens was a great visionary, living in a time when the soul was in eclipse; living at almost any other time, his characters would have bulked up in the tragic masses of Rembrandt's imagination.
IV. A large part of English time is given up to the reading of novels, and the supply has always been found equal to the demand; in England novelists are as plentiful as the common rabbit, and nearly as prolific, so it will not be assumed that if I do not speak of all our distinguished writers I have not shown that English novels are made of violent and episodical incidents or of descriptions of the manners and customs of the different classes. Of Scott, Reade, Trollope and Stevenson, I do not propose to speak; I expect some assistance from my reader, who is probably acquainted with these writers better than I am; he has already run their works over in his mind, and has decided if among them there is to be found a tale symbolic of a moral idea. He has probably decided if a symbolical novel is to be found among women writers. He has decided, no doubt, wisely in his own mind, but on this point I will hazard a few remarks, for in æsthetics there are few points
more interesting to ponder than woman's inferiority to man. The average woman seems so much more intelligent than the average man. Her appreciations of a book, a picture, a symphony, are more interesting than his. The woman is at least alert and sympathetic, the man is stolidly indifferent. It is quite true that in the ordinary intercourse of life it is difficult to perceive man's superiority. It is not until the hand is laid to the work that it manifests itself. Only in the art of acting, and perhaps in that of singing, is woman the equal of man. Her poetry is as inferior to Shakespeare's or Shelley's as her music is to Beethoven, and it is as impossible to think of her writing, “The Human Comedy' as it is to think of her painting Michael Angelo's "Last Judgment” or carving the statue of Victory in the Louvre. Women have written charming poems, and painted some charming pictures, but none except perhaps Miss Austen has achieved an artistic personality; yes, and perhaps Mme. Morizot. In looking at a picture by Mme. Morizot I have often asked myself if it did not contain a grace more delicate and touching than the graces which abound in the pictures of her great brother-in-law, whose art she carried with many lovely modifications across her fan. Often I have asked myself if the poems of Christina Rossetti were not more sincere than her brother's, if the emotion in them did not come straighter from the heart than the emotions which writhe about the spiral staircases of "The House of Life." Possibly they do, but the fact remains that one achieved a poetic personality and the other did not.
It is with diffidence that I intervene in this discussion, which always provokes protest; were it possible I would write only upon subjects upon which all men are agreed, but to do so would be, to borrow a phrase from Matthew Arnold, “to lie with them in the clean straw of their intellectual habits.” It has been said that woman is inferior to man because man has oppressed her in the past; that now she is free and educated she will show that she is his equal in intelligence. Educated! Again the cloud, the illusion, the “Wild Duck," anything rather than courageous thought. The reason of man's oppression of woman in the past could only be because she was his natural inferior, and what has existed for a hundred thousand years will not be altered by any system of education, however carefully devised. The mare and the stallion are nearly equal in speed, in endurance, in courage; the dog and the bitch are equal; the bull is manifestly superior to the cow in all
these qualities, and the stag is still more manifestly superior to the hind. Why these things should be is Nature's secret; and possibly the stag and the hind present as exact an image as we shall find among animals of man's relation to woman.
It would be as vain to seek a symbolic novel among women as to seek a religion. Women occupy in art exactly the same place as they do in religion; they worship very prettily the gods that men create for them. They make very good saints, and they carry our ideas very gracefully across their fans. The Brontés wrote some admirable novels, melodramatic and social, but is it necessary to point out that “Jane Eyre” is not a symbol of a moral idea ? That “Villette” is charming, and that “Wuthering Heights” is melodramatic? George Eliot tried to think like a man, and produced admirable counterfeits of his thoughts in wax-work. So far her novels may be said to be symbolical. Are Adam Bede and Arthur and the facetious farmer's wife more living than the figures in any wax-work show? They are dumpty and doll-like, their eyes are fixed, and their skins are sallow and reddened. Maggie Tulliver seems for a moment like the embodiment of an ethical principle, but the story is interrupted by a flood, and the critic asks if the subject of the book is Maggie's temperament or the rising of the Floss. Even religion has not won the English novel from its original character; neither here nor in America has religion made a single convert from Fielding; none has had the strength to break away from the raking and hoeing in the beds of rural and urban manners and build again upon the passions. In the English novel religion is lost sight of in the desire to distinguish between Roman Catholics and Baptists, and in intention the religious novel is the same as the social novel. In England the intention is to distinguish between the baronet and the grocer; across the Atlantic to distinguish between Americans who have been to Paris and those who have stayed at home.
I stop without having said all. England has produced the richest poetical literature in the world, and in Shakespeare, in Milton, in Shelley, in Wordsworth she will find her true immortality. Her empire will pass away and be forgotten like the Babylonian and the Persian, for the heart only remembers ideas and dreams.
WHY BRITISH WORKMEN CONDEMN THE WAR.
BY F. MADDISON, M. P.
DURING the last few months, and especially in the course of the recent debate in the House of Commons, much has been said about the feeling of the British people with regard to the war now raging in South Africa. With the exception of Ireland, where open sympathy with the Boers has been expressed, and endorsed by the overwhelming majority of the Irish nation, it has been claimed by Ministers, and to some extent by the Opposition also, that the Empire is absolutely united in the determination to crush the two Dutch Republics. The supremacy of the Briton over the Boer is now presented as the one sole issue, and this policy, it is declared, unites every section and merges all parties into one patriotic whole. Newspapers support this view in leading articles written to suit the occasion, while column after column of descriptive accounts of “the call to arms” of the volunteers leaves the impression that in mansion and cottage alike the war is the one absorbing topic, and to go to the front the ruling passion. This is the picture painted by the Government and their allies in the press and elsewhere. Does it faithfully represent the factsis it true to life? The purpose of this article is to examine its accuracy so far as the work-people of the United Kingdom are concerned, and to see what is their attitude to the war and the ultimate settlement which will follow.
First, then, how has the terrible struggle in South Africa affected the masses of the people? This question may perhaps best be answered by saying that they have as yet barely realized the actual situation. When war was proclaimed it caused none of those sensations which the yellow press tried to work up, and even to-day there is an absence of anything approaching excitement. That natural calmness which has won the admiration of hostile Continental critics is displayed to the full by the work-people of the country, but candor compels me to say that it is due to some considerable extent to their slackness in following public events, never more marked than during this last five years. But, of course, the serious reverses to our arms have had the effect of quickening the interest in the war, and just in proportion as this awakening has developed, all traces of jingoism, which feeds on ignorance, have passed away. But, as a matter of fact, among what may be called the regular body of workers there has never existed anything which could fairly be termed enthusiasm, much less any mad frenzy for predominance and conquest. The Government apologists are on safe ground when they appeal to the workman's pride of race by eulogizing the dauntless bravery of his brothers who are fighting and dying for a cause he does not understand, but associates with his country. He will listen to nothing which seeks to weaken the military arm in its effort to strike a successful blow against an enemy in possession of British territory. However wrong Mr. Chamberlain's diplomacy may have been, and even if you convince him that President Krüger's ultimatum only forestalled our own by a few days, you will not shift the average British workman from his position—that so long as an inch of Natal or Cape Colony is held by the Boers there cannot and should not be peace. That this is the attitude of the working classes as a whole seems to me to be indisputable.
But even this resolute determination has not made the people jingoes, nor does it justify the assertion that the Government's policy finds universal endorsement. So far, even in free England, it has not been an easy matter to secure the opportunity to publicly examine the causes which led to the war. Under the plea of patriotism, the whole Tory and most of the Liberal press have held up criticism of the Government's diplomacy as only one remove from treason. To speak while negotiations were proceeding was characterized as playing into the hands of the Boers and embarrassing the Colonial Secretary, and to say that the war might have been avoided after it had begun is to be immediately dubbed a pro-Boer, while a reference to any other settlement than one of annexation pure and simple stamps you at once as an avowed enemy of your country. This is the kind of political atmosphere which has been created by the war party, and it is not one calculated to stimulate thought and inquiry. Under such circumstances, it is not to be wondered at that large numbers of