Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

me.

ever the well-known waltz, “The Blue than I find myself in the very heart of the Danube,” may say to the contrary, the struggle of nationalities, just as I was river is not blue at all. Its waters are sixteen years previously, only that the yellow-green, like the Rhine, but how infi- strife is no looger, as it then was, between nitely more picturesque is the Donau! Magyars and Germaps. The Deak dual No vineyards, no factories, and very few compromise created a modus vivendi, steamers. I saw but one, making its which is still in force. The dispute is way with difficulty against the rapid cur- now between Tchecks and Germans on rent. The hills on either side are cov. the one hand, and between Magyars and ered with forests and green meadows, and Croatians on the other. The minister the branches of the willow-trees sweep Taaffe has decided to dissolve the Bothe water. The farmhouses, very far hemian Parliament, and there will be apart, have a rustic and mountain.like ap- fresh elections. The national and feudal pearance. There is very little movement, Tchecks banding together will overthrow very little trade; the peasant is still the the Germans, who will no longer possess chief producer of riches. On this lovely more than a third of the votes in the Diet. summer morning the sweet repose of this The Freie Presse is perfectly disconsolate peaceful existence seduces and penetrates at this, and foresees the most terrible dis.

How delightful it would be to live asters in consequence: if not the end of quietly here, near these pine forests and the world, at least the upset of the mon. these beautiful meadows, where the cattle archy. On account of these warnings, are at pasture! But on the other side of the numbers are seized by government the river, where there is no railway! There order three or four times a month, even are several reasons for this great contrast although it be the organ of the Ausbetween the Rhine and the Danube. The trian bourgeoisie. It is Liberal

, but very Rhine flow's towards Holland and En- moderate, like the Débats and the Temps gland, two markets that have been well in France. After two or three months established for upwards of three hundred have elapsed, the numbers seized are reyears, and ready to pay a high price for turned to the editor, only fit for the wasteall the river brings them. The Danube paper basket. These confiscations (for flows towards the Black Sea, where the ihey are, in fact, nothing more nor less, population is exceedingly poor, and can although effected through the administrascarcely afford to purchase what we should tion) are absolutely contrary to the law, call here the necessaries of life. The as is proved by the reiterated acquittals. produce of Hungary, even live cattle, is Their constant recurrence reminds one of taken westward by rail to London. The the worst periods of the French empire. transport by water is too long. Secondly, Applied to newspaper that defends Auscoal, the indispensable fuel of all modern trian interests with so much skill as the industry, is cheaper on the Rhine than Freie Presse, they are more than surpris. anywhere else. And thirdly, the Rhine, ing. If my friend Eugène Pelletan were ever since the Roman conquest and at aware of this, he would no longer claim the earliest period of the Middle Ages, for France "liberty as in Austria," for has been a centre of civilization, whereas which saying he suffered at the time three that portion of the Danube the most valu. months' impris nent. It is said that able for traffic was, until yesterday, in the the influence of the Tchecks dictates these hands of the Turks.

confiscations, and this alone is sufficient At the Amstett station I purchased the to show the violence of the enmity beVienna Neue Freie Presse, which is, I tween the races. The Viennese with think, with the Pester Lloyd, the best whom I travel declare that this enmity is edited and the pleasantest paper to read far less bitter than it was fifteen years in the German language. The Kölnische ago. At that period, I tell them, I travZeitung is exceedingly well-informed, and elled across the country without meeting the Allgemeine Zeitung is also as complete a single Austrian. I met with Magyars, and interesting as possible; but it is a Croatians, Saxons, Tchecks, Tyrolians, terrible pellmell of subjects, a dreadful Poles, Ruthenians, Dalmatians, but never muddle, where, for instance, many little with Austrians. The common country paragraphs from France or Paris are disc was ignored, the race was all in all. At seminated haphazard in the six sheets. the present day, my fellow-travellers tell I would rather read three Times than one me this is very much subdued. You will Kölnische, in spite of the respect with find plenty of excellent Austrians, they which that paper inspires me. I have say, to-uay amongst the Magyars, and toscarcely unfolded my Neue Freie Presse | morrow amongst the Tchecks.

a

The reader will permit a short digres. administered? You cannot judge a man sion here touching this nationality ques. in a foreign language. You wish to rep: tion. You meet with it everywhere in the resent him in Parliament, and ask for bis dual empire. It is the great preoccupa- votes; the least he can claim in return tion of the present, and it will be in fact is that he may understand what you say. the chief agent in determining the future And thus by degrees the language of the of the population of the banks of the multitude gaios ground and is adopted Danube and the Balkan peninsula. You in Parliament, law courts, and schools of Englishmen cannot well understand the every degree. In Finland, for instance, full force of this feeling which is so strong the struggle is between the Swedes, who in eastern countries. England is for you form the well-to-do classes and live in your country, for which you live and for the towns on the coast, and the rural wbich, if needs, you die. This love of population who are Finns. When visit. country is a religion which survives evening the country with the son of the emi. when all other faith or religion bas ceased nent linguist, Castrén, who died while in to exist. It is the same in France. M. Asia seeking out the origin of the Finn Thiers, who, as a rule, so thoroughly language, I found that the latter was more grasped situations, never realized the im. spoken than Swedish, even in the suburbs mense force of these aspirations of races, of large towns such as Abö and Helsing. which completely rearranged, before his fors. All official inscriptions are in the eyes, the map of Europe on the nationality two languages. The instruction in the footing. Cavour and Bismarck were, how communal schools is almost entirely in ever, well aware of this, and knew how to the Finn tongue. There are Finn gymnatake advantage of this sentiment, in creat. siums, and even at the university, lectures ing the unity of Italy and of Germany. in this language. There is also a national

One evening, Jules Simon took me to theatre, where I heard “ Martha" sung in call on M. Thiers, in Rue St. Honoré, who Finn. In Galicia, Polish has completely asked me to explain the Flemish move- ! replaced German; but the Ruthenians ment in Belgium. I did so, and he seemed | have also put in a claim for their idiom. to coosider the question as most unimpor. In Bohemia the Tcheck dialect triumphs tant, quite childish in fact, and very much so completely that German is in danger behind the age. He was at once both of being wholly cast aside. At the openright and wrong. He was right because ing of the Bohemian Diet, the governor true union is one of minds, not of blood. made a speech in Tcheck and one in GerChrist's saying is here admirably appli. man. At Prague a Tcheck university has cable : “Whosoever shall do the will of recently been opened next to the German God the same is my my brother and sister one. The clergy, the feudals, and the and mother” (St. Mark iii. 35).

population are strongly in favor of this I grant that mixed nationalities which, national inovement. The Archbishop of without consideration of diversity of lan- Prague, the Prince of Schwarzenberg, alguage and race, rest, as in Switzerland, on though himself a German, appoints none an identity of historical reminiscences, of but Tcheck priests, even in the north of civilization and liberty, are of a superior Bohemia, where Germans dominate. order; they are types and fore anners of It is certain that in countries where two the final fusion when all mankind will be races are thus intermingled, this growing but one great family, or rather a federa. feeling must occasion endless dissensions, tion. But M, Thiers, being idealistic, like and almost insurmountable difficulties. It a true son of the French Revolution, was is a disadvantage to speak the idiom of a wrong in not taking into account things sinall number, for it is a cause of isolation. as they actually are, and the exigencies of It would certainly be far better if but three the transitory situation.

or four languages were spoken in Europe, This awakening of nationalities is the and better still it but one were generally inevitable outcome of the development of adopted; but, until this acme of unity be democracy, of the press, and of literary attained, every free people called upon to culture. An autocrat may govern twenty establish self-government, will claim rights different peoples without in the least trou. for its mother tongue, and will try to unite bling himself as to their language or race; itself with those who speak it, unless the but it once assemblies be introduced, nation be already fully satisfied with its everything is changed. Speech governs. mixed but historical nationality, like SwitzThen what language is to be spoken ? Ierland and Belgium. Austria and the That of the people, of course. Will you Balkan peninsula are now agitated with educate the young? It must be done in these claims for the use of the national their mother tongue. Is justice to be tongue, and with aspirations for the for. mation of States based on the ethnic, reserve, which still forms part of the Con. groups.

tinental idea of the typical Englishman As we

near Vienna the train runs have been so rapidly swept away during through the most lovely country. A suc. the last generation, that it would be abcession of small valleys, with little stream- surd nowadays to expect of any inheritor lets rippling through them, and on either of a great writer's correspondence that he side green lawns between the hills covered should form the same sort of strict judg. with woods, chiefly firs and oaks. One ment on its claims to publication which might imagine oneself in Styria or in up. would have been natural and possible a per Bavaria. Soon, however, houses make hundred or even fifty years ago. Taste is their appearance, often charming chalets laxer, the public easier to please, and buried in creeping plants, Gloire de Dijon book-making more profitabie. A modern roses, or jessamine and clematis. These editor of unpublished documents, by the become more and more frequent, and near nature of things, approaches bis task in a the suburban stations, there are quite little more prodigal frame of mind. The whole hamlets of villas. I know of no capital mood of the present day is one of greater with such beautiful suburbs, save per indulgence towards what may be called haps Stockholm. Nothing could be more the personal side of letters than used to delightful than Baden, Möoling, Brühl, be the case with our grandfathers; and Schönbrun, and all those little rustic nooks the seven volumes which Mr. Froude has south of Vienna, on the road to the Sömer- devoted to the Carlyles, and which, under ing. EMILE DE LAVELEYE. all the circumstances, would have been a

scandal in the days of Southey and Scott, will perhaps be accepted later on as mark. ing the highest point of a tendency which

has been long gathering strength and may From Macmillan's Magazine.

not improbably soon have to fight against STYLE AND MISS AUSTEN.

reaction. By this publication of a newly discov- Lord Brabourne, then, hardly deserves ered collection of Miss Austen's letters, serious blame for not deciding as Mr. Miss Austen's great-nephew has done her | Austen Leigh would have probably de. as ill a turn as it is in anybody's power to cided twenty years ago, that the newly do to the author of “Pride and Prejudice.” discovered correspondence threw prac. The name of one of the nimblest, quick. tically no fresh light on Miss Austen's est, and least tiresome of mortals has been personality, and, with half-a-dozen excepperforce associated with two volumes of tions, which might have seen the light in half-edited matter, with letters of which a review, had therefore better be reserved she herself would never have authorized for that family use for which it was orig. the publication, with family pedigrees of inally intended; but he might at least which she would have been the first person have set some bounds to his confidence to feel the boredom and the incongruity, in the public. One sınall volume of these and literary criticisms of a kind to have letters, carefully chosen and skilfully set that keen wit of hers moving in its edited, would have been pleasant reading most trenchant fashion. When Lord Bra. enough. They might have been used as bourne came into possession of those illustrations of the novels, of the country bundles of his great-aunt's letters which society or the class relations of eighty Mr. Austen Leigh, her first biographer, years ago, and a few short explanations believed to have been lost, the temptation of the identity of the persons most fre. to make use of them in some way was no quently mentioned in them would have doubt irresistible. The virtue of literary made them sufficiently intelligible to the reticence is fast becoming extinct; we general reader. As it is, the letters of have almost indeed forgotten that it is a the last fifteen years of Jane Austen's life virtue at all. To be able to persuade dull the edge of whatever gentle enjoy. oneself that the world could possibly do ment the reader may have derived from without information which it is in one's the sprightliness of the earlier ones, while power to give it, implies now a strength of the one literary merit which the collection mind so abnormal and so rare, that a mod. possesses, its lightness and airiness of ern instance of it is scarcely to be found. tone, is lost in the ponderous effect of the And the old distinction between public and introductory chapters, with their endless private life, which still held firmly in the strings of names and wandering criticisms days when Jane Austen and Miss Ferrier on the novels. Such editorial perforın. refused to give their names to any pro: ance as this makes one sigh once inore for duction of their pens - the old personal | a more peremptory critical standard iban

[ocr errors]

"

apy we possess in England. What En- her Henry, will feel that in one or two of glish belles-lettres of the present day want these newly printed letters he comes very more ihan anything else is a more widely near to the secret of Catherine's manufac. diffused sense of obligation among the ture. cultivators of them - obligation, if one Here, for instance, is a picture, pieced must put it pedantically, to do the best a together from passages of different dates, man can with his material, and to work in of Jane Austen in a frame of mind which the presence of the highest ideals and has something of Catherine Morland and achievements of his profession.

something of Elizabeth Bennett in it, There are, however, in these volumes a though it is a little too satirical and confew letters which were worth printing, and scious for the one, and perhaps a trifle too which do help to complete the picture al. frivolous for the other. Tom Lefroy, the ready existing of Jane Austen. These are hero of the little episode, lived to be chief the letters written between 1796 and 1799, justice of Ireland, and only died in 1854. that is to say, during the period which The first extract occurs in a letter writ. witnessed the composition of “Pride and ten from Steventon in January, 1796:Prejudice," " Sense and Sensibility," and " You scold me so much in the nice “Northanger Abbey.” Jane Austen at the long letter which I have this moment re. time was a pretty, lively girl, very fond of ceived from you, that I am almost afraid dancing, deeply interested in dress, and to tell you how my Irish friend and I be. full of the same naif interest in the other have. Imagine to yourself everything sex with which Catherine Morland started most profligate and shocking in the way on her Bath travels. The whole tone in- of dancing and sitting down together. I deed of this early correspondence with can expose myself, however, only once her sister reminds one of an older and more, because he leaves the country soon shrewder Catherine, and the ways of see. after next Friday, on which day we are to ing and describing to which they bear have a dance at Ashe after all. He is a witness are exactly those to which we owe very gentlemanly, good-looking, pleasant the unflagging liveliness and gaiety of the young man, I assure you. But as to our two famous books in which the adventures having ever met, except at the three last of Catherine and of Elizabeth Bennett are balls, I cannot say much; for he is so set forth. “ Northanger Abbey espe excessively laughed at about me at Ashe, cially, gay, sparkling, and rapid as it is from that he is ashained of coming to Steven. beginning to eod, is the book in which ton, and ran away when we called on Mrs. the bright energy of Jane Austen's youth Lefroy a few days ago. finds its gayest and freshest expression. " After I had written the above, we “Pride and Prejudice " is witty and spark- received a visit from Mr. Tom Lefroy ling too, but it probably went through and his cousin George. The latter is many a heightening and polishing process really very well-behaved now; and as for during the fifteen years which elapsed be the other he has but one fault, which time tween the time when it was written and will, I trust, entirely remove – it is that the time wben it appeared in print; and his morning coat is a great deal too light. although a great deal of it may represent He is a very great admirer of Tom Jones, the young Jane Austen, the style as a and therefore wears the same colored whole bears marks certainly of a fuller clothes, I imagine, which he did when he maturity than had been reached by the was wounded. Our party to Ashe towriter of “ Northanger Abbey.". It is in morrow night will consist of Edward the story of Catherine Morland that we Cooper, James (for a ball is nothing with. get the inimitable literary expression of out him), Buller, who is now staying with that exuberant girlish wit, which ex- us, and I. I look forward with great impressed itself in letters and talk and patience to it, as I rather expect to receive liarmless flirtations before it took to itself an offer from my friend in the course of literary shape, and it is pleasant to turn the evening. from the high spirits of that delightful “I shall refuse him, however, unless book to some of the first letters in this he promises to give away his white coat. collection, and so to realize afresh, by : . Tell Mary that I make over Mr. means of such records of the woman, the Heartley and all his estate to her for her perfect spontaneity of the writer. Any sole use and benefit in future, and not one who has ever interested himself in only him, but all my other admirers into the impulsive little heroine, who was as the bargain, wherever she can find them, nearly plain as any heroine dared to be even the kiss which C. Powlett wanted to before Jane Eyre, but whose perfect good give me, as I mean to confine myself in bumor and frankness won the heart of future to Mr. Tom Lefroy, for whom I

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66

seems

a

don't care sixpence. Assure her also as to her about. By everybody, I suppose a last and indubitable proof of Warren's Miss Fletcher means that a new set of indifference to me that he actually drew officers has arrived there. But this is a that gentleman's picture for me, and delive note of my own.' Or again, with mockered it to me without a sigh!

ing reference to some of those pomposi. Friday (the day of the Ashe ball): ties of authorship which she ridicules in At length the day has come on which I Northanger Abbey" — "I am very much am to firt my last with Tom Lefroy, and flattered by your commendation of my last when you receive this it will be over. letter, for I write only for fame, and with. My tears flow as I write at the melancholy out any view to pecuniary emolument.” idea."

Her lively pen touches everybody in turn. Slight, however, as the relation was, it One feels there may have been something

to have been more durable than formidable in a daughter who could put the signs of frail vitality about it would together with a few strokes so suggestive have led one to expect. It is not till two | antoutline as this : “My mother continues years later that Jane Austen herself gives hearty; her appetite and nights are very it its coup de grace in her light character- good, but she sometimes complains of an istic way. She describes a visit paid by asthina, a dropsy, water in her chest, and Tom Lefroy's aunt to Steventon, in which a liver disorder." And it is characteristic the nephew's name was never once men- that even her letters of grief, after the tioned to Jane herself, “and I was too death of a favorite sister-in law, are broken proud to make any inquiries; but on my within the first fortnight by some flashes father's asking where he was, I learnt that of terse satire on the affairs of the neighhe was gone back to London, on his way borhood. to Ireland, where he is called to the bar, Some little pleasure and entertainment and means

to practise.” And then then may be gleaned, by those who already alas ! for the faithfulness of woman - she know their Miss Ausien, from the first flies off to describe the position in which dozen letters or so of this collection. things are with regard to an unnamed They fill up a gap in Mr. Austen Leigh's friend of Mr. Lefroy's, who had evidently book. The turn of phrase is generally taken his place in her thoughts, and was light and happy; and they enable us to rapidly succeeding to that full measure of realize something of that buoyant and yet indifference which appears to have been critical enjoyment of life, of which the six the ultimate portion of all Jane's admirers. novels were the direct outcome. But “There is less love and more sense in it after all, there is very little personal or than sometimes appeared before," she literary distinction in them; the judgment says provokingly, describing a letter from of an unfriendly Frenchman would proba. this unknown aspirant - "and I am very bly find that note of “ commonness well satisfied. It will all go on exceed them which Madame de Staël insisted in ingly well, and decline away in a very attributing to “ Pride and Prejudice.” reasonable manner."

And commonness indeed there is, using There are a good many other touches in the word, that is to say, not in any strong these girlish leiters that give one glimpses, or disagreeable sense, but simply as opas it were, into the workshop which pro- posed to distinction, charm, aroma, or any duced the novels. “Mr. Richard Harvey,” of those various words by which one tries she says on one occasion, "is going to be to express that magical personal quality married; but as it is a great secret, and of which Madame de Sévigné is the typi. only known to half the neighborhood, you cal representative in literature. And must not mention it. The lady's name is even the gaiety and moderate felicity of Musgrave.” Again,“ We have been very phrase which beguiled one through the gay since I wrote last, dining at Hacking earlier letters disappears from the later ton, returning by moonlight and every correspondence. The writer of it indeed thing quite in style, including Mr. Clar. is the same kindly, blameless, and gentle ingbould's funeral which we saw go by on humorous person as the Jane Austen of Sunday.” Or, “ If you should ever see 1796, but whereas at twenty-one Jane Lucy, you may tell her that I scolded Miss Austen's letters were like her novels, and Fleicher for her negligence in writing, as therefore may be said to possess some she desired me to do, but without being slight claim to belong to literature, by able to bring her to any proper sense of thirty-one they had become the mere ordishame; that Miss Fletcher says in her nary chit-chat of the ordinary gentlewomdefence, that as everybody whom Lucy an, with no claims whatever to publication knew when she was in Canterbury has or remembrance beyond the family circle. now left it, she has nothing at all to write Lord Brabourne's book indeed only im.

[ocr errors]

o in

« ElőzőTovább »