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What, do you admire this opus Thompsonianum, then ?" asked one.
"I know nothing about it. I have not been at the exhibition this morning long enough to see above half a dozen_pictures, but I object to the whole system. It's a disgrace to the age. Critics, if allowed at all, ought to be trained to their work, pass an examination "
"Take out a license, perhaps, wear a badge - Licensed to cut up young artists!" "
They ought to be educated for their work at least. Very likely the picture they treat in this flippant manner has cost time and labor, such as they are incapable even of understanding."
"A splendid burst of eloquence, Clive! He'll have you in his next novel, Harris!" "I repeat, it's a disgrace to the age," Clive went on. "And the provoking thing is, that the public is led by these absurd dogmas like a flock of sheep. I see by the Midas that such a picture is excessively bad!' says one; and that such a picture is full of affectation,' says another; when all the time the Midas has nothing to do with it, but only some individual who sets up as critic, without knowing more of art than a baby. We, indeed!"
the stairs; but Harris, busy in dismissing his company, observed nothing, and they were soon in the street. Harris could scarcely keep up with the pace at which his companion strode along, and as to conversation, it was impossible, so after a gasp or two, he gave it up.
They found Helen and Mary in the little sitting-room, which was decorated with flowers, and had a sort of gala air. A letter in Sir Jasper's hand lay on the table. Helen's eyes beamed as she gave it to James, and it seemed to her that she heard their marriage-bells ringing, for there was the price of his "first exhibition picture." But no answering look met hers. His eyes were fixed on Harris with a look of scorn, his face deadly pale, and his lips firmly closed. He opened the letter, looked at it, and crushed it in his hand. An ominous silence and a strange, confused dread fell over them.
Harris tried to rally, and turned aside to look at two small cabinet pictures.
"Pretty things these," he said. "Specimens of modern Italian art, I suppose, picked up when you visited Rome, as I heard you mention this evening. Strange how Italy has degenerated since its great days."
Only a Rubens and a Vandyck. They belong to a baronet, for whom I chose them in Antwerp. Admirable art-critic!"
Mary was shocked. She had never seen her brother rude before.
"Come up to my room, will you?" said James, and there was something so imperious in his tone, that Harris mechanically obeyed. Helen followed, beckoning to Mary to accompany her, which she did.
As they reached the open door of the studio, they saw Harris, who had just entered it, turn ghastly pale, and visibly tremble. His first glance had told him that his old friend was an artist, of which he had no idea; his first thought had reminded him of his criticism. He tried to speak, to excuse himself, to declare what he had written was in ignorance; but his voice died away in indistinct mutterings.
"No more words," said James in a suppressed voice, but speaking distinctly. "Here is a letter for you to read—to read aloud."
It might have been thought that James would sympathize with Clive, and second his indignant appeal; but the fact was, he had not heard a word of this hurried dialogue. His inward rage so possessed him, that the room and the men in it seemed to whirl before his eyes, and their voices to sound only as a distant murmur. The insults heaped on his work were the more stinging because they came from his early friend, to whom his heart had just opened so warmly; and, moreover, he was at this moment less able than usual to bear any kind of provocation. Every faculty of his being was therefore engaged in preserving an outward calm, and he succeeded so perfectly that no one had the slightest suspicion that he was feeling any thing at all. "Sir Jasper Langley feels confident that after The reading that had been interrupted article in the Midas, Mr. Thompson will not exthe opinion of the press, as expressed in the was not resumed, and the party broke up pect him to complete the arrangement for his soon afterwards. "I am to walk home with picture. Sir Jasper Langley much regrets this you, Thompson, you know; stop a moment," contre-temps, and hopes on some future occasion cried Harris.
Harris took the letter and read it, but not aloud. It dropped from his hand on the floor, and Helen snatched it up and read:
to be more fortunate in a selection of some work
James did not answer. He was already on ❘ of Mr. Thompson's."
Helen tried, as she finished, to catch James' hand, to speak to him, to make him hear her, but in vain. He passed her, and went close up to Harris, as if to strike him, but by a violent effort mastered the impulse. "Vain, ignorant, presumptuous fool!" he said in a voice almost choked by the burning passion he held down. "The picture you have ruined was the hard and earnest work of a whole year-the result of the study and thought of four years. Leave my house! Take yourself out of my sight, or I shall forget my own dignity, and lose all command of myself!"
Harris bowed his head, and held out his hands, in a deprecating manner, but did not move; and James seeing him still there, rushed down-stairs and out of the house, as if he had no other means of controlling his own violence.
"I have learned my lesson," said Harris, looking at Helen, who stood upright before him. "Never-never while I live shall I forget it. If he had stabbed me, I deserved it."
No one answered. Mary had nearly fainted. Helen stood immovable and silent. "Can you forgive me?" said Harris. "Miss Thompson! Mary! you know I did not mean this."
Helen only moved her hand in the direction of the door, as if to ask him to leave them; Mary hid her face in her hands.
Only hear me before I go. Tell him I meant no harm to him; that I had no idea he was an artist, not the remotest idea he painted that picture. I was obliged to give some lightness to my article, and by evil fortune I fixed on his to abuse."
Helen started, and turned away in disgust. "Hear me yet! I see my wretched error -my crime. Tell him I will never write another criticism; that I would right him now at any cost or humiliation to myself; but it is too late!" and so saying, he went slowly away.
It was long before they moved. It had grown quite dark when they went down to the sitting-room. They lighted a solitary candle, and it showed them the flowers they had arranged so gayly for James. They went into the bedroom, and there were the travelling-bags packed ready for the morning. Where were their hopes now? The marriage-bells had become a death-knell. They sat quite still, holding each other by the hand, and listening anxiously for James' return. There was a knock at the door. They both started up, and ran down-stairs, longing to give sympathy and comfort.
"What a blank, dreary feeling it was when the door opened to see, not James, but a boy with a note from him. Helen seized
it, and ran to the lamp on the stairs to read it, while Mary tried in vain with her shaking hand to find her purse, and pay the boy, who asked for a shilling, for his message. At last she had done, the door was shut, and she was able to hear the few words written in pencil :
Forgive me for leaving you; but I cannot trust myself within reach of that insolent upstart hardly could bear even you near me. train is starting, and I am going off towards the north. I will write from wherever I stop. I must accustom myself to loneliness."
They went up slowly together. Mary sank into a chair; Helen stood in the middle of the room with a face of anguish. She tried to speak, but heavy moans came from her aching heart, and Mary was roused from her own sorrow to go and clasp her closely, try to comfort her, try to tell her he would return, that they should be happy still, that patience was all they wanted.
Mary, Mary!" the voice came at last choked with sobs," you say words only, idle words. His is not a nature to bear shocks like these; he is too nervous, too excitable; and he was ill before-quite overwrought! He ought to have had rest ever since he sent in that grand work, that used up his very life to finish, and that has been so foully used." Her voice failed, and her indignation seemed to shake her whole frame.
"If I am in life," she went on presently, "I will go to him the moment we know where he is; and you too, Mary; we will both go. No wonder you are able to bear this better than I; you who have been his comforter, his help throughout all his trials, while I- This shall not go on! I must make my father see it. Yes, my dear father will see it. I must have a wife's right to be his soother and helper-to share his joys, and sorrows, and toils, and lighten them as only a true wife can. What matters selling pictures? I can work. Thank Heaven, I can work too. We can all work. This shall not go on!"
Mary only answered with a fervent embrace. To go to James was all she longed for; but three days passed without a word from him. These days would have been insupportable but for the amount that had to be done in them. Mary had to prepare every thing for an indefinite absence from home; Helen to prepare Lucy, her mother, and father, to part with her from home forever. With the first two, her task was casy, except for the sorrow that will cling round that trying separation; but with her father, it was a hard struggle; he did, however, give a reluctant consent at last. She spent her nights with Mary always. It was at night the heavy trial had to be borne: then came mis
erable fears, dreadful images before her, and she could not sleep. Often she was aware that Mary, too, was awake and crying bitterly. Mary is too gentle, too sensitive for her stormy life," would Helen say to herself; "she needs a sister's love and sympathy. Oh, only let us find him; then all shall be right!"
The postman's knock was always startling, and hitherto always disappointing. Two letters came for James on the fourth morning: none from him yet. Mary was authorized to open all that came for him, and when the bitter disappointment had been so far recovered as to let her think of any thing she opened these. Her exclamation over the first brought Helen to her side. Sir Jasper Langley had written to commission another picture Mr Thompson to fix on his subject and name his price. The second letter explained the meaning of the first-it was from the Royal Academy: his picture there was sold to another puachaser.
Joy and exultation took possession of them at first; but then came unbearable impatience to take this news to James. Helen could not sit still; she roamed through the two rooms revolving impracticable schemes of setting off in search of him, and always ending with the conviction that she must wait. Several cards were left for him in the course of the morning-one had "Mr Clive" on it; the others had names of well-known artists.
At last came the letter so longed for; the direction had been so illegible that it had been missent. It realized some of their worst fears. It was evident James was ill-very ill; that his mind was confused and wandering. Many of the words could not be read; but the date was there they knew where to find him -Brodick in the Island of Arran.
Neither spoke. There was not a moment | to lose, for evening was drawing on, and there was but one thought and one wish in either heart. They succeeded in getting away; and before the moon rose that night, they had left London fifty miles behind.
among the clouds, and over the sea. Then followed an unintelligible description of wild, fantastic forms that pursued him wherever he went, and to avoid which, he was going out in a boat.
"He is very ill; perhaps in danger. Oh, that we were with him! We shall restore him with our love and our news, if we are in time-yes, if we are in time!" she would inwardly exclaim, and starting up to see what progress they were making, would see Mary's eyes fixed on her, full of anxious love.
By seven in the evening, they were nearing the wild peaks of Arran. It was a lovely night when they swept into the beautiful bay of Brodick-a more beautiful is nowhere to be found on the coasts of Britain. The sun, getting low, was lighting up the lofty peak of Goatfell, and innumerable other peaks and craggy heights caught the glow. The woods of the lordly castle lay in deep gloom down to the water's edge. Helen and Mary stood side by side ready to land.
"Helen, it is the tenth of May-it is the day of your marriage. It is a good omen."
Helen's face became deadly pale. They were very near the little wooden pier, and were straining their eyes to try to catch a glimpse of the one form in all the world they longed to see; but among the few people who had collected in that quiet place to see the steamer land its passengers, he was not to be seen. They stepped ashore the moment it stopped; only one other passenger landed, who took his way up the steep road directly.
They looked round for guidance, for they had no direction, and applied to a man who seemed to be pier-keeper, to know if he could direct them to any lodging where a young English gentleman might be. He examined their faces inquiringly, and with a kind expression on his face.
"Ye'll be frae Glasgy, this morning?" was his characteristic reply.
"Yes, oh, yes; and we are urgently anxious-very anxious to lose no time," said Helen.
ye cam frae Lunnon?”
"Yes. You know where he is. Take us there!" She had a trembling dread of asking a question, and began to walk hurriedly up the road. Mary shook so terribly that the kind-looking man made her take his arm, and followed, and soon overtook Helen.
They were in Glasglow early in the morning, and on the Clyde early next day. Now there was time to breathe, time to think. The beautiful scenery around them they saw nothing of. Helen shut her eyes, that she might not see it, so miserable was the contrast with her inward struggle. There was something so strange, wild, unlike himself in James' letter; no word of affection, no wish for them. He spoke of spending a whole day and night on the mountains; of his loathing at his own weakness, because, hating the very idea of ever painting again, "Feared!" Helen said no more, and her he was always seeing pictures everywhere-tone made the guide walk faster and faster. in the gloomy glens, on the granite peaks, "He's had a guid doctor and a kind nurse,"
"He is ill?" she said soon, in a hoarse, suppressed voice.
"Ou ay, ou ay! puir lad! he is that. It's the brain-fever, they say. Ye'll maybe be feared to gang in ?"
"Mrs. Andrew Hamilton-we're and distraction began to smooth away; the a' Hamiltons here, ye see-she's been aye parched lips unclosed. Some kind hand beside him. He's cried aye upon twa names; placed in Helen's a glass containing the I'm thinkin' it's just yoursels. But he was strong stimulant that the medical man had very quiet when I cam doon to the pier. I left for him; she moistened the lips with it, stopped to hear news o' him." then tried, and succeeded in getting some into the mouth.
Should they never reach the lodgings? They pressed on faster and faster. At last they turned aside by a jutting rock under some trees, and stopped at a cottage. A young man dressed in black came to the door instantly with a gesture that was meant prevent their entrance, but at a word from e guide, he made way for them. The door pened at once into the room.
Was that James they saw, with ghastly pale face, eyes unnaturally large and dilated, tight, compressed lips, and rigid arms that lay outside the bed? Mary had flung herself on her knees beside him, and pressed her warm hand on his heart, to feel if it beat. Helen, with face as white as his, fixed her eyes on his, then laid her cheek to his. James, my own love!" she whispered in his ear. 66 Mary is here; Helen is here; Helen your wife-your own! Look at her!" and then again she raised her head, and tried to fix his wild, distracted eyes.
It beats!" It was Mary that spoke. "Air! air!" gasped Helen, making an earnest gesture with her hand.
"James, it is our marriage-day."
The eyes gently closed, the lips visibly smiled, the breathing became soft and regular. He was asleep. They had sank on their knees beside the bed. The ministerfor he it was who was present-laid a hand on each head, and said, softly "Send up praise to Him who has given the blessing! Then there was a hushed silence for hours.
When morning broke, James still slept, and Helen still watched. Her soul was absorbed in him. She watched that there might be no sound to disturb, that warmth and air might be about him, that she might be ready to give support when he awoke. Mary, utterly exhausted, lay on the floor, wrapped in a cloak, with her head on a pillow, and slept too. It was not till more than twelve hours had so passed that he awoke, so weak, he could scarcely move his hand, but restored to consciousness and affection, and able to understand his happiness.
Need we describe the joy and peace of that recovery to life and health; or the marSome one opened the window, and a bright riage-day that followed; or the weeks of ray of the setting sun, and a sweet scent of happiness passed in that wild and beautiful the evening air, fell upon them all three. Island of Arran; or the enthusiasm with The lids began to close a little over the eyes; which the artist returned to his work? It the white rings seen all round the iris before, is sufficient to say that in the days of his sucwere no longer visible; a ray of conscious-cess he forgot past injuries, and that when ness came into the eyes; they brightened, he found the early love had revived, he was they looked into Helen's. The lines of pain able to take Harris to his heart as a brother.
CARS IN THE DESERT.-Mr. Russell, the wellknown Crimcan reporter of the London Times, gives a most interesting sketch of a run through a portion of the Arabian desert by the new railway route. We subjoin an extract :
country, which have to carry their own fodder, and diminish the public burdens.
"These stations are helpless, hot, oven-like erections, generally eked out by old Crimean wooden huts, within the shade of which may be "Blanched bones of camels lie in dull white- scen an undoubted Englishman, smoking his ness on tho sands. Not a bird fans the hot, si- pipe. At the twelfth station we coaled; the lent air. Stones and sand, and sand and stones, train ended in the desert here; but at long inare all, and everywhere stretched out dead and tervals, for miles in advance, we could see the hard under the blue sky and the relentless sun. encampments of Arabs, who, for the time, had The rail which conveys us through this desola- become navvies, and were engaged in picking tion is single, and the line is said by English en- and burrowing and blasting through the rocks a gineers to be very badly made, as the French way for the iron horse. In a long wooden shed engineers who laid it out took it over a ridge-the centre of a group of tents-were laid out eleven hundred feet high, instead of following a long tables, covered with hot joints of recondite low level near the river, which would have animals, papier-mache chickens, and lignite vegegreatly diminished expense and cost of working. tables. This was our dinner-it had come all The water and coal for the engines are to be the way from Cairo-so had the wine, the beer, carried by the trains out to the various stations. and spirits. If manna and quails were at all So they are like commissariat animals in a barren eatable, we had envied the food of the Israelites."
From The Saturday Review.
A GREAT part of the most important business of life is transacted imperceptibly, and through the unconscious agency of innumerable persons who contribute, by their choice of phrases to the gradual modification of language. Words come to bear a totally different meaning in different generations, and, in the course of the process, influence, in no small degree, the nature of the modifications which they record. The invention of the name "Whig" for a particular political party had no small historical importance, for it led people to ask what they meant by it, and at the same time gave them considerable facilities in conducting the inquiry. A more or less conscious and explicit sentiment informed those who originated the nickname that particular people had a sufficient number of points of resemblance to render them capable of being described by a common mark; and when the mark was once affixed, an inquiry into the nature and causes of the peculiarities denoted by it was natural, and, indeed, almost inevitable.
of property and no official or professional position universally implies personal superiority, there is a constant tacit revolt against this use of the word, and a corresponding endeavor to apply it to the possession of those qualities by which property and rank ought to be accompanied. Thus, a meritorious story was called "John Halifax, Gentleman," the point of the title being that the hero was not a gentleman really, but only morally. Between the exclusively technical and the exclusively moral view of the word, the usage of society has struck a sort of balance, so that when we speak of a gentleman " in the present day, we virtually assert that certain merits go together—that they usually belong to the members of certain classes-and that the person to whom the name is applied is both a member of the class and a possessor of the merits in question.
What these merits are, and how far they really do belong to a few classes of society, are curious questions. The first can be answered only by attention to the common use of language; and this gives a strange result. This is a fair illustration of the process by Some of the acts which are considered as which most of the transient phases of society ungentleman-like belong to the greater and are at once described and recorded, and it is others to the lesser morals; but though constantly being applied to almost every sub- many well-meaning persons like to make out ject which is at once interesting and indefi- that whatever is wrong is also vulgar, the nite. Dean Trench's well-known volume common use of language does not warrant about Words abounds in curious instances of them in thinking so. To tell a wilful lie is it. Most of us know how "Pagan" meant, at once very wicked and very ungentlemanfirst, a countryman-then a countryman who like, and the same might probably be said of still retained the idolatry which had been most forms of stealing; but no one would banished from the towns-and, lastly, an say that there was any thing particularly reidolator without reference to his local habita- pugnant to the character of a gentleman in tion. Curious as such words are in a literary arson, or murder, or cruelty to animals. and historical point of view, it is still more Adultery and seduction would certainly be curious to watch and to try to understand ungentleman-like in so far as they involved the changes which are actually in progress either breach of special confidence or gross under our own eyes, and to attempt to ascer-specific fraud or falsehood, but not otherwise, tain the point in their history which particular words in general use and of wide application have actually reached. Hardly any word affords so good an example of this as the word "gentleman" as it is now used. In its infancy, as every one knows, it meant merely to affirm of the person to whom it was applied the possession of a particular pedigree. At present it is used in what may almost be called a miscellaneous manner, for it bears at once several different meanings, each of which is more or less connected with its original signification. Its most cbvious meaning is still that which makes it a mere term of dignity. In this sense, a man is a gentleman who has either a certain amount of independent property or who holds a certain official or professional rank; but, inasmuch as the word is felt to imply personal superiority, and inasmuch as no amount
notwithstanding their moral enormity. Perhaps the most singular illustration arises in the case of offences in the use of language. It is one of the most common of all arguments against profane swearing that, besides being wrong, it is very vulgar; but though there is a certain degree of truth in this, it is only true under a very important limitation. If a man were, on all occasions and in all societies, to interlard his conversation with profane oaths, he would certainly act in a very vulgar way; but it is not vulgar, though it is certainly wrong, to swear upon provocation, in moderation, and in the society of those who are not likely to be annoyed by it. In the minor morals there is the same kind of apparent confusion. There is nothing ungentleman-like in ill-nature or selfishness, carried to the utmost length and persisted in with the utmost virulence, though