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hand—“for example, look at my sister, whose | putting some dried peas into the pumps of Mr. unfortunate corpulence of person was produced entirely and solely because the very excellent governess, at whose seminary we received our education, allowed her freely to indulge her youthful appetite at table, a misfortune which, I regret to say, she has never been able to overcome or subdue."

Miss Margaret, who had listened to this exordium with evident annoyance, seemed to think it incumbent on her to reply; she accordingly observed that in her opinion portly people were invariably less consumers than lean and emaciated ones, the last two adjectives delivered in italics, as conveying a hidden reproach; and further she uttered a decided conviction that if at that moment she could become as thin as her sister, she would not do so on any account, an assertion at which the elder lady looked supremely incredulous, and the pupils tittered. This subject, I found afterwards, was a point on which Miss Margaret was extremely vulnerable, combining as she did, a romantic disposition, and a milk-and-waterish temperament, with a most unsentimental fulness of personal appearance. Miss Partridge herself braved all the perils of eating and drinking in the most heroic manner, helping herself plentifully, and more than once, to the viands on the table, and though every one else drank water, she kept by her side a bottle of stout, from which she poured out copious draughts. It is true, that she told us once or twice that her weakness was becoming alarming, and that Dr. Tolu said she was to take as much nourishment as possible, a prescription which she appeared to find little difficulty in following. Poor Miss Margaret, on the contrary, dined off a slender slice of lamb without vegetables, and drank water only. To which abstemious habits I found afterwards she always-at least in public


After the great pudding had been attacked, and finally vanquished, though an enemy of strong resisting powers, we all rose and retired, some to No. 3, others to rooms on the same floor, where we arranged our hair, washed our hands, and prepared for the afternoon studies.


This happened to be dancing-day, and there was a good deal of speculation afloat as to whether the master himself, Monsieur Albert à Plomb, would attend, or his apprentice, Mr. Mortimer Glissade. This apprentice was young gentleman who it seemed had unfortunately incurred Miss Partridge's displeasure by one day declining some pea-soup, for the making of which the establishment was famous. Some of the girls who appeared to admire Mr. Mortimer Glissade, said he had acted quite right. "It was quite enough," they observed, "for the old hen Partridge"-I blushed to hear this irreverent mention of so didactic a lady-"to force such stuff down their throats once a-week;" but to ask such a dear as that, to take it, was a little too bad.

There were a few suggestions during the progress of the toilette as to the possibility of

Albert à Plomb, who did not seem to be a favourite with his pupils, but this facetious little project fell to the ground through the remissness of the half-boarder, who was the customary caterer of forbidden luxuries to these youthful scions of aristocracy, such as jam tarts, homemade wines, French novels, et cetera, and who had forgotten to provide a stock of peas for such diversions. This young lady, ordinary in ber person, for she squinted, was marked with small-pox, and was somewhat awry, was still genteel in her connexions, being the tenth daughter of a curate, belonging to the Established church. She came in now for much censure, which she received from some with vulgar retorts, from others with fawning servility. It was ultimately proposed that M. à Plomb's cloth boots should be filled with cold water, previous to his departure, which it was thought would most likely give him a severe cold, and effectually prevent his appearance on the next dancing day, and this brilliant suggestion being seconded by Lady Laura who seemed universally looked up to by her admiring juniors, was unanimously carried, the execution of the exploit being entrusted to the experienced hands of Miss Bidkins, the half-boarder, who, having no means of obtaining the luxuries of schoollife, except by implicitly obeying the whims and behests of her patronesses, was obliged to promise obedience, for as one young lady sensibly remarked, if Bidkins was found out, she was accustomed to be punished, so it did not matter.


At this crisis I was seized on by two of the elder girls, and given to understand that if I dared tell tales, or refuse to join in these innocent pastimes, I should for the future be tormented perpetually with unknown punishments. course being frightened to death I promised strict secrecy, but begged mercy for M. à Piomb, whom I conceived to be an elderly grey-headed gentleman, hearing the term “old” à Plomb applied to him so frequently, for I ventured to suggest that being advanced in years, he might perhaps die, and then we should have his death on our consciences. My intercession was received with shouts of laughter, which created such an unladylike noise, that Miss Phitts came hurrying into No. 3, and angrily announced that M. à Plomb and his assistant were waiting for the ladies, whereupon we all hastened to the back drawing-room, which being a large apartment, and divested of furniture was converted twice a-week into a salle de danse, and where I was presently introduced by Miss Partridge, as a new pupil, to a very ill-tempered-looking middle-aged Frenchman, and a foppish youth, his apprentice.


The dancing-lesson occupied a couple of hours. Nothing particular occurred, except when the young ladies could not comprehend

the steps taught by Mr. à Plomb, who appeared to be a gentleman of irritable tendencies, and who at such times threw himself into a series of passions, more remarkable for the grotesque contortions they produced, and the ill-suppressed ridicule they caused, than for any effect they had over the evolutions of his pupils. I thought once or twice, but that might have been the perversity of my imagination, that the young ladies occasionally rendered themselves purposely stupid ;seeing that when his own patience was fairly exhausted, Mr. à Plomb, turned his refractory pupils over to the side tuition of Mr. Mortimer Glissade.

After the dancing-lesson, we had a light course of Calisthenics, during which Lady Laura, whose surname was Tarragon, hit Mr. à Plomb-accidentally of course-a blow so severe, with the end of her exercise pole, that its effects made the dancing-master more irritable, than ever, and becoming confused, he left the lesson entirely to Mr. Mortimer Glissade to finish, the poor gentleman being obliged to retire, and have his temples bathed with eau de Cologne, by the fair hand of Miss Margaret Partridge herself.

It was tea-time when the lesson was finished, and we partook of that meal in the school-room. It by no means made up for the paucity of the dinner; and our appetites, from previous exercise, being unromantically keen, we soon cleared the china-dish of thin bread and butter, which the pious young man, clad now in a pepper-andsalt livery, handed solemnly round to us, accompanied by cups of very weak tea. Over this repast the comfortable-looking Miss Margaret presided in sleepy silence, and as no talking was allowed during refections," as our meals were affectedly termed, we all became infected with her somnolency.


Tea over, we were desired to prepare our lessons, and as this was the sole time the teachers had for their own rest or recreation, Miss Liscombe, after setting me my tasks for the following day, retired with the other teachers.

Weary enough, doubtless, were those poor souls, with the contention and drudgery they had undergone from six in the morning till six at night, with twenty girls, full of health and vigorous spirits. Judging from what I saw of a school-teacher's life, in the. Miss Partridge's establishment, I should greatly prefer as an alternative that of a daily dress-maker, or even picking oakum, and breaking stones, to grinding accomplishments and the belles lettres into the dense brains of boarding-school misses.

When Miss Phitts left us to ourselves, she strictly enjoined Bidkins to mount guard during the absence of her seniors, and to report any indecorous behaviour. Perfectly oblivious, however, of the half-boarder, my new companions recreated themselves by romantic dissertations on Mr. Mortimer Glissade's numerous perfections, not the least of which appeared to be, an incipient black moustache, which had promised to adorn the young gentleman's upperlip,

and which, his superior, doubtless envious of, had ruthlessly caused to be shaved off. During the course of this conversation, I learned that the cold-water joke having been successfully practised, Mr. à Plomb, with wet feet and a wounded brow, had retired in excessive dudgeon, and that there was every probability that he would not be able to attend the dancing-lessons for a fortnight at least.

When it grew dark, the serious young man brought in candles, and then retiring, went to ring the bell for supper, which repast consisted of thin cheese sandwiches, and a large jug of toast and water, drunk out of our silver mugs. On the bell again ringing, there ensued a good deal of bustle, and Miss Partridge majestically sailing into the room, attended by her sister and a suite of teachers, took her place at the head of the table, on which the serious footman had previously placed a large volume covered with green baize, from whence Miss Partridge read prayers.

When we arose from these devotions, the tocsin sounded a curfew, and the teachers marshalled us in due form up stairs, some to No. 2, others to No. 3, in which latter room was appointed my own dormitory. Here Miss Liscombe conducted me to a very narrow bed, the young ladies having each a separate one, which appeared rather a necessity than a privilege, the couches so nearly resembling narrow planks with mattrass and pillow to match, that it was an obvious impossibility for even two of the smallest girls to sleep together.

After our private devotions were finished, the candles were taken away, Susan Liscombe comforting me with a kiss-then all was darkness. It was long, very long, ere I closed my eyes; the novelty of the scenes witnessed by one who for the first time mixed with companions of her own age-the apparent dislike and malice betrayed towards me, even on that first day, by the head girl of the school, the whisperings, continued long after the teachers had withdrawn, all conspired to keep me awake. I wept over my friendless condition, and when at length sleep overtook me, it was while gazing on a bright and placid star, which shone through a window opposite my bed. I had an unaccountable impression that this star was my mother's eye, looking down from heaven on her forlorn and disregarded child.



'Twas night-the clock had just struck ten,
When with a mighty din,
The stage-coach halted at the door
Of Smith's Hotel in Lynn;
An inside passenger got out,
Who straight went in the inn.

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age, dominated by the force of the creative energies which it has to criticise, is not unlikely to be especially appreciative.

Before we proceed further to elucidate this law of alternation it is necessary to arrive at some definite agreement as to what criticism is-or rather, ought to be in its ideal standard.

Last year's tercentenary celebration of Shake- | especially judicial. The criticism of the creative speare is fruitful of other suggestions besides those which relate solely to the poet. We do not purpose, in this paper, to treat of Shakespeare himself, but of a general tendency observable in the recent Shakespearian literature which that commemoration has called into notice. When the body of critics address themselves to one single point, it is possible to determine more accurately than at ordinary times the bias by which criticism is influenced in its manner of viewing literature at large. The books, old and new, which the tercentenary celebration has brought into prominence suggest to us a law of oscillation in criticism of which it seems worth while to make a passing note.

Thomas De Quincey, in his "Essay on Style," propounds a theory of the alternation of creative and reflective ages in literature. He instances, among the Greeks, the creative age of Pericles and the reflective age of Alexander; and, in our own literature, the creative age of Elizabeth, the reflective age of Anne, and again the creative age which followed the American War and the French Revolution. While he shrinks from enforcing his brilliant theory in too emphatic terms, he states it with sufficient clearness in the following passage:—

"Possibly it would seem an over-refinement if we were to suggest that the odd terms in the series indicate creative energies, and the even terms reflective energies; and we are far enough from affecting the honours of any puerile hypothesis. But, in a general way, seems plausible and reasonable that there will be alternating successions of power in the first place, and next of reaction upon that that first of all should blossom the energies of a creative power; and in the next era of the literature, when the consciousness has been brightened to its own agencies, will be likely to come forward the re-agencies of the national mind on what it has created. The period of meditation will succeed to the period of production...... Should a third period, after the swing of the pendulum through an arc of centuries, succeed for the manifestation of the national genius, it is possible that the long interval since the inaugural era of creative art will have so changed all the elements of society and the aspects of life, as to restore the mind to much of its infant freedom; it may no longer feel the captivity of an imitative spirit in dealing with the very same class of creations as exercised its earliest powers. The original national genius may now come forward in perfectly new forms without the sense of oppression from inimitable models...... And thus it might not be impossible that oscillations between the creative and reflective energies of the mind might go on through a cycle of many ages."

power from the reflective faculties. It does seem natural

Under the general law which De Quincey here suggests, our minor law applying to criticism alone undoubtedly ranges itself. The criticism of the creative age will differ from that of the reflective age, even as all other kinds of literature vary under the two eras. The criticism of the reflective age we may expect will be

We allow on all hands that the Poet must be born, and cannot be manufactured. Almost the same thing might be pronounced of the Critic; and, indeed, the assertion has been boldly uttered by Pope :

"In Poets as true genius is but rare,

True taste as seldom is the Critics' share; Both must alike from Heaven derive their lightThese born to judge, as well as those to write." Such a delicate equilibrium of opposite faculties is necessary to constitute the perfect critic, that education must vainly strive to regulate the exquisite balance unless the arch-mechanist, Nature, assist by her predisposition.

The poet is a poet by reason of his creative faculty. One of the chief requisites to the critic is that he should be utterly devoid of that faculty. While the poetic genius is in the highest degree creative, the critical genius must be in the highest degree receptive. He is, in this sense, a mere vessel to receive the poet's meaning.

But this receptivity is only one element of the critical genius: the other element is antagonistic to this. The critic has not only to receive the meaning of the poet, but he has also to judge of that meaning. While he feels and sympathizes most exquisitely through his emotional faculties, he must judge with a rigid and deliberate calmness through his intellectual faculties.

It is this exact equilibrium between feeling and judgment which constitutes the perfect critic. As, however, nothing is perfect in this world, we may allow at once that it is impossible to discover our perfect critic. In the first place, no man is ever absolutely devoid of the creative faculty; hence so much overstrained and far-fetched criticism. The modicum of Invention which our critic possesses shows itself now on the emotional, now on the intellectual side, or on both sides together. One critic is so super-sympathetic, that out of his own feelings, ostensibly excited by the subject before him, he calls up an original creation, quite different from the creation of his author. Another uses his text simply as one premiss to a foregone conclusion, which finds its other premisses in his own inventive intellect. While another brings overstrained logic to bear upon overstrained sympathy; and the product is an in

vention as distinct and original as the creation of which it purports to be a criticism. Among the Shakespeare Commentators we may easily find specimens of all these classes of inventive criticism.

In the second place (and this is our main point), the two elements which make up the critical genius are never in exact equilibrium. The scales are never balanced originally to a hair's-breadth nicety; and further, there are so many causes continually arising to disturb the balance, even did it originally exist. His own private feelings at the moment will disturb the critic's emotional element; his prejudices will disturb his intellectual element. From this imperfection in the critical genius, namely, this Jack of exact equilibrium, we may deduce the existence and the specialties of two distinct schools of critics. Firstly, there is the school in which the emotional element preponderates; secondly, there is the school in which the judicial or intellectual element predominates.

It will be seen that the specialty of each school founds itself upon a fault; and therefore, by as much as a critic of the one school approximates to the other school, by so much he approximates to the ideal and perfect critic who is the mean of these two extremes.

There being practically no perfect critic-no critic whose antagonistic elements are in exact equilibrium-it follows that all critics belong to either one of these two schools. Every critic has by nature and predisposition a leaning to one school or the other. In this man the emotional element naturally predominates; in that man the intellectual element. But men, in their mental as in their social qualifications, are gregarious. The peculiar tendency of the individual is overruled by the predominant spirit of the age. The man of greatest force draws to himself the crowd of lesser forces, and prescribes in what channel their energies shall be exerted. The individual bias, though never destroyed, succumbs to the prevalent bias of the time. Wind and tide influence and conquer the strongest sailors.

Fashion-that principle of imitation and emulation which shows itself so markedly in all human affairs-shows itself here also. Fashion is doubtless, here as elsewhere, only the visible effect of a deeper and occult cause. Doubtless the reason is discoverable why in one age emotional criticism, in another age intellectual criticism, should preponderate. It is sufficient for us, however, in this paper, to suggest the fact of this alternate predominance. Taking Shakepeare-criticism as a guide and index to general criticism, we do find these two schools, the emotional and the intellectual, alternating in a marked manner. The appreciative criticism of the poet's own time is succeeded by the judicial criticism of the age of Anne; and this, again, by the appreciative criticism of our era.

It is not our purpose to expatiate here on this Shakespeare-criticism, which has helped to suggest to us the law of critical oscillation. Nevertheless, of all standards by which we may judge

of the successive tendencies of criticism, it seems to us that Shakespeare is the best. He stands like some cyclopean pillar on the shore of the critical sea; and in each era, as the waters rise or fall, they leave their mark upon him.

The school of criticism now reigning is the emotional school. This has succeeded to the intellectual school, which culminated in the socalled Augustan age of Queen Anne. The contrast between the criticism of that age and of this is absolutely ludicrous. Then each subject was brought to the critical bar, and judged by a code of laws alike for all, and which did not pretend to have the remotest adaptation to the special culprit on trial. Now each subject is judged by its own internal law, which it is the first business of the critic to discover by reverent study.

No doubt revolt from the enormities of the one school helps to start the oscillation towards the other. Critics emulate each other: each pushes yet further on the road travelled by his predecessor, until an extreme is arrived at which betrays its own absurdity. Then there is a revolt-which may be slow or may be sudden. One can conceive of an instantaneous recoil from one extreme to the other, although retrogression step by step towards the mean, and so beyond it, seems to be the general rule. Transitory causes at work at the moment will help to regulate the pace of the recoil.

Of course the reigning school prides itself much on its own perfection, and points back with wonder and scorn to the school for the time defunct. At this present, we can hardly believe that the rule-and-measure criticisms of the last era were perpetrated in sober earnest: we look for an irony under the stolid and pompous gravity. We, who lap our poets in an Elysium of their own creating, cannot understand those tormentors who racked their victims up to or lopped them down to the dimensions of that rigid bed of Procrustes.

| But the tide will turn again, and some of our now much-belauded criticisms will be equally objects of scorn and wonder to an intellectual race succeeding. Pure sympathy is not criticism, any more than unsympathetic judgment is criticism. It is when we try the judicial critics at the bar of our feelings that their absurdity most appears. But equally will the absurdities of our emotional critics appear when tried at the bar of unemotional judgment.

Surely, a safe rule for our critics--for critics of any age-is to hang back from and fight against the prevalent tendency. Instead of emulating each other in the race down that steep place which has proved fatal to so many swine, let them stand aside from the crush, and remember that, though acclivities be hard and declivities easy, there is safety at the top of the hill and destruction at the bottom.

Recurring to our special instance of Shakespeare, I have not a doubt that in a succeeding age, when the tide again turns, much of our

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