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French epithet scabreux. It would be land back upon a sense of her own indifficult for what is called realism to sular solidity, and made her for the go further than in the adoption of a time doubly, brutally, morbidly English. heroine stained with the vice of in- Perhaps the best pages in the work are temperance. The theme is unpleas- the first thirty, telling the story of poor ant; the author chose it at her peril. Marner's disappointments in friendship It must be added, however, that Ja- and in love, his unmerited disgrace, and net Dempster has many provocations. his long, lonely twilight-life at Raveloe, Married to a brutal drunkard, she with the sole companionship of his takes refuge in drink against his ille loom, in which his muscles moved usage ; and the story deals less with " with such even repetition, that their her lapse into disgrace than with her pause seemed almost as much a conredemption, through the kind offices straint as the holding of his breath." of the Reverend Edgar Tryan, — by Here, as in all George Eliot's books, virtue of which, indeed, it takes its there is a middle life and a low life ; place in the clerical series. I cannot and here, as usual, I prefer the low help thinking that the stern and tragi- life. In “Silas Marner,” in my opinion, cal character of the subject has been she has come nearest the mildly rich enfeebled by the over-diffuseness of tints of brown and gray, the mellow the narrative and the excess of local lights and the undreadful corner-shadtouches. The abundance of the au- ows of the Dutch masters whom she thor's recollections and observations emulates. One of the chapters conof village life clogs the dramatic move- tains a scene in a pot-house, which ment, over which she has as yet a com- frequent reference has made famous. paratively slight control. In her subse- Never was a group of honest, garrulous quent works the stouter fabric of the village simpletons more kindly and hustory is better able to support this manely handled. After a long and heavy drapery of humor and digres- somewhat chilling silence, amid the sion.

pipes and beer, the landlord opens the To a certain extent, I think “Silas conversation “ by saying in a doubtful Marner” holds a higher place than any tone to his cousin the butcher:of the author's works. It is more “Some folks 'ud say that was a fine nearly a masterpiece ; it has more of beast you druv in yesterday, Bob ?' that simple, rounded, consummate as- “The butcher, a jolly, smiling, reapect, that absence of loose ends and haired man, was not disposed to angaping issues, which marks a classical swer rashly. He gave a few puffs bework. What was attempted in it, in- fore he spat, and replied, “And they deed, was within more immediate reach would n't be fur wrong, John.' than the heart-trials of Adam Bede and “After this feeble, delusive thaw, Maggie Tulliver. A poor, dull-witted, silence set in as severely as before. disappointed Methodist cloth-weaver ; “ “ Was it a red Durham ? ' said the a little golden-haired foundling child; a farrier, taking up the thread of diswell-meaning, irresolute country squire, course after the lapse of a few minutes. and his patient, childless wife ; – these, “ The farrier looked at the landlord, with a chorus of simple, beer-loving vil- and the landlord looked at the butcher, lagers, make up the dramatis persona. as the person who must take the reMore than any of its brother-works, sponsibility of answering: "Silas Marner," I think, leaves upon the **Red it was,' said the butcher, in mind a deep impression of the grossly his good-humored husky treble, — “and material life of agricultural England in a Durham it was.' the last days of the old régime, – the "• Then you need n't tell me who days of full-orbed Toryism, of Trafalgar you bought it of,' said the farrier, lookand of Waterloo, when the invasive ing round with some triumph ; :1 kBow spirit of French domination threw Eng- who it is has got the red Durbanis o’ this country-side. And she 'd a white ay; I know, I know: but I let other star on her brow, I 'll bet a penny?' folks talk. I've laid by now, and gev

“Well; yes - she might,' said the up to the young uns. Ask them as butcher, slowly, considering that he have been to school at Tarley: they was giving a decided affirmation. "I 've learn't pernouncing; that 's came don't say contrairy.'

up since my day.'” “I knew that very well,' said the Mr. Macey is nevertheless persuaded farrier, throwing himself back defiantly ; to dribble out his narrative; proceed'if I don't know Mr. Lammeter's cows, ing by instalments, and questioned from I should like to know who does, - point to point, in a kind of Socratic that's all. And as for the cow you manner, by the landlord. He at last bought, bargain or no bargain, I've arrives at Mr. Lammeter's marriage, been at the drenching of her, contra- and how the clergyman, when he came dick me who will.'

to put the questions, inadvertently trans“ The farrier looked fierce, and the posed the position of the two essential mild butcher's conversational spirit was names, and asked, “Wilt thou have this roused a little.

man to be thy wedded wife ?” etc. “I'm not for contradicking no man,'

6. But the partic'larest thing of all,'. he said; I'm for peace and quietness. pursues Mr. Macey, “is, as nobody took Some are for cutting long ribs. I I'm any notice on it but me, and they anfor cutting 'em short myself; but I swered straight off “ Yes,” like as if it don't quarrel with 'em. All I say is, had been me saying “ Amen j' the its a lovely carkiss, – and anybody as right place, without listening to what was reasonable, it ’ud bring tears into went before.' their eyes to look at it.'

• But you knew what was going on “ “Well, its the cow as I drenched, well enough, did n't you, Mr. Macey ? whatever it is,' pursued the farrier, an- You were live enough, eh ?' said the grily; and it was Mr. Lammeter's cow, butcher. else you told a lie when you said it was “• Yes, bless you !' said Mr. Macey, a red Durham.'

pausing, and smiling in pity at the im“I tell no lies,' said the butcher, patience of his hearer's imagination, with the same mild huskiness as be- why, I was all of a tremble ; it was as fore ; "and I contradick none,

not it

if I'd been a coat pulled by two tails, was to swear himself black; like; for I could n't stop the parson, he 's no meat of mine, nor none of my I could n't take upon me to do that; bargains. All I say is, its a lovely car- and yet I said to myself, I says, “ Supkiss. And what I say I 'll stick to; pose they should n't be fast married,” but I 'll quarrel wi' no man.'

'cause the words are contrairy, and my “No, said the farrier, with bitter head went working like a mill, for I sarcasm, looking at the company gen- was always uncommon for turning erally ; •and p'rhaps you did n't say the things over and seeing all round 'em; cow was a red Durham; and p’rhaps and I says to myself, “Is 't the you did n't say she'd got a star on meaning or the words as makes folks her brow, - stick to that, now you are fast i wedlock?"

For the parson at it.'"

meant right, and the bride and brideMatters having come to this point, groom meant right. But then, when I the landlord interferes ex officio to pre- came to think on it, meaning goes but a serve order. The Lammeter family little way i' most things, for you may having come up, he discreetly invites mean to stick things together and your Mr. Macey, the parish clerk and tailor, glue may be bad, and then where are to favor the company with his recollections on the subject. Mr. Macey, how- Mr. Macey's doubts, however, are ever, “smiled pityingly in answer to set at rest by the parson after the the landlord's appeal, and said : 'Ay, service, who assures him that what

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does the business is neither the mean- nor breeches; you can't make much ing nor the words, but the register. qut o' their shapes !"" Mr. Macey then arrives at the chapter Mrs. Winthrop, the wheelwright's

or rather is gently inducted there wife who, out of the fulness of her unto by his hearers — of the ghosts charity, comes to comfort Silas in the who frequent certain of the Lammeter season of his distress, is in her way stables. But ghosts threatening to one of the most truthfully sketched of prove as pregnant a theme of conten- the author's figures. “ She was in all tion as Durliam cows, the landlord respects a woman of scrupulous conagain meditates: “There's folks i’ science, so eager for duties that life my opinion, they can't see ghos’es, seemed to offer them too scantily unnot if they stood as plain as a pike less she rose at half past four, though staff before 'em. And there 's reason this threw a scarcity of work over the i' that. For there's my wife, now, more advanced hours of the morning, can't smell, not if she'd the strongest which it was a constant problem for o' cheese under her nose.

I never her to remove. .... She was a very seed a ghost myself, but then I says mild, patient woman, whose nature it to myself, “Very like I have n't the was to seek out all the sadder and smell for 'em." I mean, putting a

serious elements of life and ghost for a smell or else contrairi- pasture her mind upon them.” She ways. And so I’m for holding with stamps I. H. S. on her cakes and both sides.

For the smell 's loaves without knowing what the letwhat I go by.'”

ters mean, or indeed without knowThe best drawn of the village wor- ing that they are letters, being very thies in “Silas Marner” are Mr. Macey, much surprised that Marner can “read of the scene just quoted, and good 'em off,” – chiefly because they are Dolly Winthrop, Marner's kindly pa- on the pulpit cloth at church. She troness. I have room for only one more touches upon religious themes in a specimen of Mr. Macey. He is look- manner to make the superficial reader ing on at a New Year's dance at Squire apprehend that she cultivates some Caso's, beside Ben Winthrop, Dolly's polytheistic form of faith, - extremes busband.

She urges Marner to go to ““The Squire's pretty springy, con- church, and describes the satisfaction sidering his weight,' said Mr. Macey, which she herself derives from the and he stamps uncommon well. But performance of her religious duties. Mr. Lammeter beats 'em all for shapes; “ If you ’ve niver had no church, you see he holds his head like a sodger, there's no telling what good it 'll do and he is n't so cushiony as most o' the you. For I feel as set up and comfortoldish gentlefolks,

they run fat in able as niver was, when I 've been and gineral ; - and he's got a fine leg. The heard the prayers and the singing to parson 's nimble enough, but he has n't the praise and glory o God, as Mr. got much of a leg: it's a bit too thick Macey gives out, — and Mr. Crackendownward, and his knees might be a thorp saying good words and more bit nearer without damage ; but he partic'lar on Sacramen' day; and it a might do worse, he might do worse. bit o' trouble comes, I feel as I can Though he has n't that grand way o' put up wi' it, for l’ve looked for help waving his hand as the Squire has.' i' the right quarter, and giv myself

“* Talk o nimbleness, look at Mrs up to Them as we must all give ourOsgood,' said Ben Winthrop.

selves up to at the last: and if we 've 'She's the finest made woman as is, done our part, it is n't to be believed let the next be where she will.'

as Them as are above us 'ud be worse «« I don't heed how the women are nor we are, and come short o' Theirn." made,' said Mr. Macey, with some “ The plural pronoun,” says the aucontempt. “They wear nayther coat thor, “was no heresy of Dolly's, but


only her way of avoiding a presumptu- mit; but that was matter for a new stoous familiarity." I imagine that there ry. This point illustrates, I think, the is in no other English novel a figure so great advantage of the much-censured simple in its elements as this of Dolly method, introduced by Balzac, of conWinthrop, which is so real without be- tinuing his heroes' adventures from tale ing contemptible, and so quaint with- to tale. Or, admitting that the author out being ridiculous.

was indisposed to undertake, or even In all those of our author's books to conceive, in its completeness, a new which have borne the name of the hero tale, in which Adam, healed of his wound or heroine, “ Adam Bede,” “Silas by time, should address himself to anMarner,” “Romola,” and “Felix Holt,” other woman, I yet hold that it would — the person so put forward has really be possible tacitly to foreshadow some played a subordinate part. The author such event at the close of the tale which may have set out with the intention of we are supposing to end with Hetty's maintaining him supreme ; but her ma- death, to make it the logical conseterial has become rebellious in her quence of Adam's final state of mind. hands, and the technical hero has been Of course circumstances would have eclipsed by the real one. Tito is the much to do with bringing it to pass, leading figure in “Romola." The story and these circumstances could not be deals predominantly, not with Romola foreshadowed; but apart from the acas affected by Tito's faults, but with tion of circumstances would stand the Tito's faults as affecting first himself, fact that, to begin with, the event was and incidentally his wife. Godfrey possible. The assurance of this possiCass, with his lifelong secret, is bybility is what I should have desired the right the hero of “Silas Marner.” Fe- author to place the sympathetic reader lix Holt, in the work which bears his at a stand-point to deduce for himself. name, is little more than an occasional In every novel the work is divided beapparition; and indeed the novel has tween the writer and the reader ; but no hero, but only a heroine. The same the writer makes the reader very much remark applies to “ Adam Bede," as the as he makes his characters. When he work stands. The central figure of the makes him ill, that is, makes him indifbook, by virtue of her great misfortune, ferent, he does no work; the writer does is Hetty Sorrel. In the presence of all. When he makes him well, that is, that misfortune no one else, assuredly, makes him interested, then the reader has a right to claim dramatic pre-emi- does quite half the labor. in making

The one person for whom an such a deduction as I have just indiapproach to equality may be claimed cated, the reader would be doing but is, not Adam Bede, but Arthur Donni- his share of the task; the grand point thorne. If the story had ended, as I is to get him to make it. I hold that should have infinitely preferred to see it there is a way. It is perhaps a secret; end, with Hetty's execution, or even but until it is found out, I think that the with her reprieve, and if Adam had art of story-telling cannot be said to been left to his grief, and Dinah Mor- have approached perfection. ris to the enjoyment of that distin- When you re-read coldly and critiguished celibacy for which she was so cally a book which in former years you well suited, then I think Adam might have read warmly and carelessly, you have shared the honors of pre-eminence are surprised to see how it changes its with his hapless sweetheart. But as it proportions. It falls away in those parts is, the continuance of the book in his which have been pre-eminent in your interest is fatal to him. His sorrow at memory, and it increases in the small Hetty's misfortune is not a sufficient portions. Until I lately read “ Adam sorrow for the situation. That his mar- Bede" for a second time, Mrs. Poyser riage at some future time was quite was in my mind its representative figpossible, and even natural, I readily ad- ure ; for I remembered a number of her epigrammatic sallies. But now, after a ness of color ; the constant sense, namesecond reading, Mrs. Poyser is the lastly, of a sụperincumbent layer of “ genfigure I think of, and a fresh perusal of her tlefolks,” whom she and her companwitticisms has considerably diminished ions can never raise their heads unduly their classical flavor. And if I must without hitting. tell the truth, Adam himself is next to My chief complaint with Adam Bede the last, and sweet Dinah Morris third himself is that he is too good. He is from the last.



person immediately meant, I conceive, to be every inch a evoked by the title of the work is poor man ; but, to my mind, there are several Hetty Sorrel. Mrs. Poyser is too epi- inches wanting. He lacks spontaneity grammatic; her wisdom smells of the and sensibility, he is too stiff-backed. lamp. I do not mean to say that she He lacks that supreme quality without is not natural, and that women of her which a man can never be interesting class are not often gifted with her home- to men, — the capacity to be tempted. ly fluency, her penetration, and her turn His nature is without richness or refor forcible analogies. But she is too sponsiveness. I doubt not that such sustained ; her morality is too shrill, men as he exist, especially in the autoo much in staccato; she too seldom thor's thrice-English Loamshire ; she subsides into the commonplace. Yet has partially described them as a class, it cannot be denied that she puts things with a felicity which carries conviction. very happily. Remonstrating with Di- She claims for her hero that, although nah Morris on the undue disinterested- a plain man, he was as little an ordiness of her religious notions, “ But for nary man as he was a genius. the matter o’that,” she cries, “if every- V“He was not an average man. Yet body was to do like you, the world must such men as he are reared here and come to a stand-still ; for if everybody there in every generation of our peastried to do without house and home and ant artisans, with an inheritance of afeating and drinking, and was always fections nurtured by a simple family talking as we must despise the things life of common need and common ino' the world, as you say, I should like dustry, and an inheritance of faculties to know where the pick of the stock, trained in skilful, courageous labor ; and the corn, and the best new milk- they make their way upward, rarely cheeses 'ud have to go ? Everybody as geniuses, most commonly as painsud be wanting to make bread o' tail taking, honest men, with the skill and ends, and everybody 'ud be running conscience to do well the tasks that after everybody else to preach to 'em, lie before them. Their lives have no i'stead o' bringing up their families and discernible echo beyond the neighborlaying by against a bad harvest.” And hood where they dwelt; but you are when Hetty comes home late from almost sure to find there some good the Chase, and alleges in excuse that piece of road, some building, some the clock at home is so much earlier application of mineral produce, some than the clock at the great house: improvement in farming practice, some

What, you 'd be wanting the clock reform of parish abuses, with which set by gentlefolks' time, would you ? their names are associated by one or an’ sit up burning candle, and lie a-bed two generations after them. Their emwi' the sun a-bakin' you, like a cow- ployers were the richer for them; the cumber i’ the frame ? " Mrs. Poyser work of their hands has worn well, and has something almost of Yankee shrewd- the work of their brains has guided well ness and angularity; but the figure of the hands of other men.” a New England rural housewife would One cannot help feeling thankful to the lack a whole range of Mrs. Poyser's kindly writer who attempts to perpetufeelings, which, whatever may be its ate their memories beyond the generaeffect in real life, gives its subject in a tions which profit immediately by their novel at least a very picturesque rich- toil. If she is not a great dramatist,

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