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"6. That gentleman crowding before the ladies at the ball show ill manners; and that none do so for the future-except such as respect nobody but themselves.
"7. That no gentleman or lady takes it ill that another dances before them-except such as have no pretense to dance at all.
"8. That the elder ladies and children be content with a second bench at the ball, as being past, or not come to perfection.
9. That the younger ladies take notice how many eyes observe them.
"N. B. This does not extend to Have-atalls.
"10. That all whisperers of lies and scandal be taken for their authors.
"11. That all reporters of such lies and scandal be shunned by all company-except such as have been guilty of the same crime.
"N. B. Several men of no character, old women, and young ones of questioned reputation, are great authors of lies in these places, being of the sect of Levelers."
ready in their behalf. Still this goodness was more the result of constitution than of principle.
When Bath, on the occasion of the visit of Queen Anne, first emerged somewhat from the ruralities of a hop to a fiddle on the bowling-green, to a subscription dance at the town-hall, a certain Captain Webster, a gamester, undertook to produce some sort of order in the arrangements. This master of the ceremonies was the incipient king of Bath; he laid the foundations of its future splendid royalty. But that its internal jurisdiction remained very imperfect, notwithstanding the improvements which he introduced, may be gathered from the circumstances referred to above, that the ladies went to the balls in hoods and aprons, and gentlemen in boots; that smoking throughout the evening was usual; and that, at the card-tables, those who were unlucky compelled their antagonists (if it so pleased themselves) to play all night, to give them the chance of recovering their losses. And of the domestic regulations generally, some idea may be formed from the circumstance, that the floors of the best lodging-houses, all uncarpeted, were washed with a mixture of soot and small beer, which rendered them of so dark a hue that modern accumulations of dirt were not perceptible.
But we must not suffer our interest in the internal affairs of his kingdom to withdraw our attention entirely from the king himself, and as, though a chosen, he was not an anointed monarch, we hope it will not be constructed into lésemajesté, if we descant somewhat more freely on his character than it is considered safe to do with regard to sovereigns generally.
Beau Nash had the unusual good fortune to be thrown by circumstances into the very position in which he was qualified to shine. Up to the time of his arrival at Bath, his character was scarcely respectable. He had tried the law and the army, and had succeeded in neither; and, at thirty years old, he was a gamester by profession, and looked to that pursuit alone for the means of subsistence. London offered no harvest to his fraternity, save during the winter months, and the summer ones were passed at continental watering-places; but a visit of Queen Anne to Bath, in 1703, changed the destinies of that place, made it a resort of fashion, and consequently a home for gamblers. Thither as a gamester Nash went, and his resources through life were procured by those means; but the vice in him was ameliorated in some degree by his constant, undeviating fairness, and the uprightness (so to speak) of his play, when strict honor in the use of the dice was by no means a general attribute of gamesters. What he won easily he gave away freely; his generosity was great, though indiscriminating, his sympathy with the distressed never palled, his money, his time, and his earnest exertions were always
At this period, Beau Nash, then about thirty years of age, visited Bath. His fame had preceded him; for he had acquired much celebrity by the admirable manner in which a masque, entirely under his superintendence, had been "got up" in honor of King William, who offered the young Templar knighthood, an unsubstantial honor, which he declined. Mr. Nash was also known to be an adept in the difficult science of etiquette, to understand rank and precedence to the very minutest punctilio, and to be in himself a perfect pattern of the most recherché and gentlemanly fashion of the day. These circumstances and qualifications pointed him out to the inhabitants of Bath (who had already felt the good effects even of Captain Webster's imperfect rule) as a proper successor to that gentleman, and he was requested to take upon himself the superintendence and arrangement of the amusements of Bath. He accepted the office; and with such skill, propriety, and energy did he address
himself to his task, that the leading inhabitants of the place found it their own interest to support him in everything. They did so; the crowds of visitors had no alternative but to follow the example, and thus Nash's rule became absolute, and he was in act and in reality, what he was universally called -the King of Bath.
His first endeavors were directed to the improvement of the baths, and the various accommodations pertaining to them: he had a new and handsome pump-room built; new assembly-rooms were erected; emulation was excited in various ways; new streets of commodious houses were built; handsome squares laid out; the roads widened and improved; and in a very few years, from an insignificant and muddling little place, Bath became a populous, flourishing, and most elegant city.
Amid a mass of frivolity, and trifling profusion, and petty parade, many are the anecdotes recorded of Nash which would confer lustre on any man. He was a most shrewd and inveterate censor of slander and calumny; this qualification was an invaluable one to the master of the ceremonies at a fashionable and frivolous watering-place. His
heart was most kind, his generosity great; and, though himself a professed gamester, he was never-wearying in his endeavors to prevent the young and inexperienced from gaining the habit, or from being the dupes of another. To the young of both sexes, but to the fair especially, he was at all times a kind, a cautious, and a disinterested adviser; and the grave was not closer than himself on any domestic secret committed to his keeping. These were great points.
The beneficent institution, the hospital at Bath, free to the poor of all England who required the waters, owed its erection entirely to his unremitting exertions.
THOUGHT rules the world.
Old dynasties have gone out, one after another. That of commerce is uncrowned by literature, which is the growing power; and in the kingdom of literature, the third estate is represented by a multitude of novels. These have not the patrician elegance, or the old renown and lofty pretensions, of the poem, but find compensation in a firmer hold upon a greater number of minds. We must go quite out of our way to meet the poet. The novelist comes to seek us. With the poet we must fly on unaccustomed wings of music and enthusiasm. The novelist will walk with us in daily paths, and we are astonished to find that, after so easy an ascent by
IDEALS IN MODERN FICTION.t
his side, we are standing on the same eminence to which the poet was wont to drag us, dizzy and gasping, through the air. We are never quite comfortable in our relation to these winged thinkers. They carry us as a kite carries a hare, but do not often enable us to fly. Sometimes they even drop and abandon us in mid-career, and, in general, we find their ascension by rhythms and rhymes, by circumlocution and gyration, to be a little tedious-to be a labor rather than a festival or refreshment.
Our fine arts are too fine. Our poems do not lead us gently from the hearth, but jerk us suddenly to the remotest corners of the earth, or beyond
He died the 3rd of February, 1761, aged eighty-seven years.
The views of this writer differ from those entertained, and sometimes expressed, by the Monthly; but the article is quite able to stand by itself. -ED.
the limits of the visible mundane sphere. Milton transports his reader as far as the kingdom of Chaos and old Night. Dante hurries him away from the green earth, from the blue heaven, to walk among the damned, among the purified. The shock is almost too great for healthy nerves. The poet tears me from my seat by the fire, from the bright circle of home, from the interests of my estate, my neighborhood, my culture. Out of every liberal enterprise, he snatches me and whirls me away as far as Purgatory, as far as Paradise, before he will drop me a word of wisdom, and when he speaks, all his music and eloquence cannot quite overcome a lingering homesickness which half occupies my mind. I shall not do the work or reap the pleasure of to-morrow in Hades or in Heaven, but here in the midst of my friends and neighbors, in the studies, endeavors, and relations which surround me. I am building a house, planting a garden, striving to organize a reading club, a musical society, a lyceum, to elevate the tone of my own circle, to carry forward the civilization of our parish. Such an undertaking demands every faculty, engrosses my time and attention, involves the solution of every moral problem, the application of all spiritual laws to the affairs of life, and I cannot afford to be spirited away from it into the upper or the nether deep, to grope my way, among conditions which do not belong to me-to ends remote from the purpose of my working day.
But the novelist comes to my hearthstone; with him I am at home. Instead of the "cherubic host in thousand choirs," and the "loud uplifted angel trumpets," he gives me a comfortable concert, such as I may hope and live to hear. He gives me music of Mozart and Beethoven, or the joyful, earnest vocal harmony of the German four-part song, which lifts me as high as I am capable of mounting honestly, upon wings of my own emotion. The novelist represents a healthy naturalism, a return from the lawless excursions of barbaric fancy to the plain level of facts and forces, out of which our ideal world is to be fashioned by practical endeavor. The poets have rather separated than joined the ideal and actual. They should have bridged the chasm and offered us hope and encouragement. The novelists push them aside, and
show that to all we dream and desire, to fair relations, cheerful influences, and worthy opportunity, we may find or make a way, not through chaos, or the seven heavens, or the siege of Troy, or the court of King Arthur, but through the very conditions and circumstances in which we find ourselves engaged.
The poets must share this tendency. They must learn to walk upon firmer ground, and to commend the highest, by ability to speak the lowest truth. So much common-sense as a man has, so much currency he can give to his superior sense. The poets have lost power by every liberty they have taken with the facts of nature and history. Could they not see the significance of ordinary events of experience common to all. These alone are great. Birth, death, love, marriage, the home circle, the struggle for a livelihood, the search after truth in a world full of rumors and traditions, have these no interest that I must busy myself with dragons and enchanters, with vagabond knightserrant, with dwarfs, and giants, and genii, and the thousand children of a fancy which builds castles in the clouds and dodges the work of the world? The wise heart finds more beauty and promise in the humblest history, than in all these nebulous splendors. The little black boy at my foot, if the meaning of his poor obstructed life could be shown, is more worthy of attention than all the angels and archangels of song. No destiny can be higher than that of the little black boy. He will not have wings in a hurry, he will not be like the black ginn who takes the fancy of children by his stature and his flight through the darkness, bearing beautiful princes in his arms, but he will be a man. Who can tell us what it is to be a man, even the most unfortunate; a man in ordinary circumstances, with ordinary advantages? Who has tried? Hardly the poet. He is even now addressing himself to the task. In England, the noblest of the nobility are endeavoring to take up new and democratic honors before the old hereditary dignity falls quite away,
A lord is lecturing, a thousand men of rank are busy with problems of labor and education. So the poets are obliged to abandon their old privilege of playing in the air to show like eagles
their spread of wings and majesty of motion.
They must help us to lift what we are obliged to carry. We will not set noblemen or poets any longer on high, to be idle and admired, as early ages were content to do. They must help directly, or we turn to men who will help, and leave them, where they can neither shine nor sing, in a vacuum of neglect.
The novelists have made an honest effort. They have told such truth as they found to tell. We take occasion, first to thank them heartily for good service rendered, and then to inquire whether, on the whole, they have been large-minded enough to give us a fair and just picture of life in this planet. I have been born into certain stubborn conditions. My parents are moderately stupid, or narrow, or violent, and they stand in the way of my growth. My companions are busy, or greedy, or hard-natured, and do not understand my aims. I must get bread and shelter. I must establish a moral relation to my fellows, must stand for something and be a centre of influence, better or worse. The books, the newspaper, the preachers hinder and help. Sometimes I think my labor would be lighter, if no man had ever thought, or offered explanation which needs again to be explained.
The attempt to dispose orderly of stories, rumors, traditions, and theories afloat in the air, is like the first organization of chaos. Yet the creative impulse is strong in every child. He must struggle in his lot to conform the disorder of the actual to the order of the mind. This effort of the soul to find expansion, to find a field for free activity for expression, and reinforce ment, we name the ideal tendency, and the object of our poetry and novel writing is to show the certain, though arduous, victory of the spirit over all obstructions. If, in any work, the soul appears superior to matter, able to overrule conditions, and make where it cannot find an opportunity to do its work, and take its joy in living-that work is ideal.
more or less obstinate resistance to it by fate and society-the strength of supernatural, and the impediment of natural laws. The balance between these old antagonists makes either a hard and well won, or an easy and cheerful, victory. The work, which shows a desperate struggle, is helpful to every reader whose life is yet a battle. That which represents a large success, is dear to all who have secured the ordinary advantages of fortunewho have comfort and culture, and are masters of leisure and of society. For this last class few books are written. We put in a petition for them. They are very much in need of help. Their enemies are ennui and luxury. They have no longer the stimulus of poverty and contempt. They are housed, and fed, and flattered, and too well content. These democrats, the novelists, are thoughtful first of their own order, and they are not yet ready to remember the poor rich man, the poor pedant, the poor doctors of law and medicine and divinity, the poor professors of logic and anatomy. The learned, who feed laboriously upon saw-dust, are as grateful as the ignorant hungry for a draught from the bottle of the idealist, who proposes to break up ail routine-to burst every barrier which confines the fermenting liquor of life.
Look at all the novels, and consider how many are directly helpful to the readers of this article.
We find only "Wilhelm Meister” and "The Elective Affinities" distinctly addressed to the cultivated mind. When the warm-hearted Novalis read Meister for the first time, he declared it a thoroughly prosaic work. But we learn that, being drawn to take up the book again, he continued, during his life, to read it regularly twice a year. He was at first repelled by the coldness and simplicity of diction, the absence of sentimentality, and the common-place character of many scenes, actors, and motives in the plot. Students, making a just demand, continue to complain that the most earnest desires of the race are not represented in the book; that the religion of a "fair saint" is exhibited from an intellectual and exterior, not a vital point of sight, and that, excepting Mignon, who is dear even to the cold heart of criticism, there is no character to be loved in all the brilliant company. Still the idealism of the
Ideality is manifested not in avoiding inevitable laws, but in revealing a force able to control them and make them servants of thought and affection.
There are two elements to be considered in our review of a work of art: the positive force exhibited, and the
work is not to be denied. We have here displayed the effort of a young man to find culture and exercise for his artistic faculties; and though he falls into the society of mountebanks and harlequins, he also draws to himself many noble hearts. He establishes relations with men of widely-different pursuits, engages the interest of a society whose object is a liberal culture and coöperation, and the whole atmosphere of the book is that of intellectual and æsthetic activity. Since Wilhelm Meister was published, the world has been flooded with novels. But they offer no picture or suggestion of a society which we can freely enjoy. And yet, the novel, like poetry, should submit the 66 shows of things to the desires of the mind," and give us some hint of the manners and enterprises which ought to fill our tedious days.
From the satirist, or critic in fiction, we do not expect poetry.
Dickens attacks abuses, unroofs the debtor's prison, crucifies the Barnacle family, astonishes the Circumlocution Office, petrifies bigotry, and fills the margin of his picture with specimens of petty knavery and very exasperated snobbery in high and low life. Among some thirty characters, he gives us, perhaps, five, with whom we should not, decidedly, object to associate, although, it must be confessed, their company is a little dull. The knaves and fools give animation to the work. They are only tedious because they fill so many pages, and have everything so entirely their own way. The highest ideal in the book is that of common honesty and common kindness an affectionate daughter, an affectionate father, a friendly, considerate young man, are given us to admire, and they are approachable only through the crowd of ignorant, selfish, vulgar semi-savages. The hero of Dickens is like that temperance lecturer, whose drunken brother accompanied him, to serve as a shocking example, and persisted in occupying more than his share of the attention of the audience.
But from Dickens, from Thackeray, we do not demand ideality. If they give us a little sentiment, we receive it thankfully as a gratuity-as a dish not promised in the bill of fare. From these men we look for exploration of dark corners, and we are glad to see their wretched inhabitants lighted by
the sunshine of sympathy, not scorched with a flame of reprobation.
The French novels are also critical, not ideal. They expose an abyss of sensuality and ferocity, so that reading the "Mysteries of Paris" is like looking into a den of fierce and filthy beasts, rendered more horrible by the transparent human faces which express their lusts and passions. We do not laugh over these scenes. We hardly expend even pity on the characters we meet in them. They corrupt their readers into a frantic excitement and degraded sympathy, or repel him into healthy disgust. They show the somewhat extravagant virtue of one or two favorite characters struggling for self-p f-preservation in an ocean of corruption. The young heart-the best heart-is almost drowned in this whirlpool. Madame Sand can with difficulty keep her "Consuelo" pure. She is obliged to confess that youth, health, and opportunity, conspiring with the ardor of a lover, are enemies to virtue almost irresistible. This child, though blessed with the coldest temperament and a strong ideal tendency, conquers with difficulty, and after a doubtful struggle with the fire of temptation in her blood and in her thought.
It is well that every ulcer should be probed. But our interest in the operation shows how little we expect from life. The basest activity is more entertaining than our own enterprises. So we read Balzac and Eugene Sue, and are surprised to learn how much there is, after all, to admire and enjoy in a life of sentimental beastliness. French novels are like brandy and water and cigars. They reach and irritate a brain which is impervious to finer influences.
But George Sand, in "Consuelo," has offered us a distinct ideal. The elevating, purifying influence of the art impulse she has felt. She knows that it is no mere self-indulgence, or seeking after beauty and pleasure, which makes the artistic temperament, but a sense of the Infinite-a haunting presence of perfection which, in proportion to its power, subordinates the senses and delivers man to a life that is not only beautiful, but good. Still her artist is alone in the world, thwarted, misunderstood, suspected, imprisoned, and hated; is taken for a lunatic or a fool. Neither Albert nor Consuelo have their natural influence. They do not control circum