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Let him note the tact and skill and force, and ardor, were enveloped in with which the story is gradually pre an atmosphere essentially false in tone. pared to receive the great thunder- No such fault can be found with "Two stroke of the judgment-day of "Two Years Ago.” The atmosphere of “AlYears Ago"-how that stroke falls on ton Locko" was the breath of convicthe family of the Viscount, when the tions by no means common to all thinkyoung lord is best prepared by the dis- ing Englishmen; convictions, indeed, appointment of his first nuble passion, 80 far from being common, that half the for the solemn discipline of patriotic critics in England at once cried out duty, and when Valencia has been upon the book as possessed with a spirit melted, by her sister's misery and her of Socialism, which was as sensible and lover's truth, into the mood of true wo rational a cry as it would have been for manhood—how Elsley, the wretched them to exclaim against it on the score self-tormented madman, who had so of its pervading Mahometanism, or Morsedulously unfitted himself for the life monism, or Paganism. That the sense of reality, vanishes away in the terrible of the condition of the working-classes, light of the crisis, making the lesson of and, above all, of the working-classes hope more solemn by a contrasted warn exposed to quasi-intellectual influences, ing, of despair-how Tom Thurnall and the perception of the possibilities rushes exultingly forth in the pride of involved in their condition, which found his own strength, and pluck, and keen expression in “Alton Locke,” should wits, to the conflict, there to gain, for ever have been mistaken by Englishthe first time, the higher lessons of men of decent intelligence, and a comGod's sovereignty and God's will—and petent acquaintance with the French how Grace Harvey, the sweet fanatic grammar, for Socialism, was a blunder of Methodism, learns, in the anguish, 80 outrageously ridiculous, an imbecility and the humiliations, and the anxieties so simply ludicrous, that it could never of a true passion in her own heart, such have been perpetrated, had not the new teachings of the Father, whom she masses of educated Englishmen at that had ignorantly worshiped—how Frank time been grossly ignorant of the state Headley confirms, in the stern experience of England, and culpably unfamiliar of the Crimea, the manly wisdom to with the needs of their country, and the which the trials of his afficted parish duties of their own station. It was to and the unconquerable emotions of his be expected, therefore, that the author own love-stricken nature had brought of “Alton Locke" should deal with his him. Upon the secondary characters, subject in an exaggerated and overand the incidental figures, even, of the wrought way. In "Two Years Ago," scene, the light of the author's central on the contrary, Kingsley is speaking idea falls and glows. It kindles a the experience of all England, and deeper fire in the forvid eyes of the simply talking home to the hearts of American Stangrave, when he takes up the vast majority of his countrymen and the cross of a noble and serious pur countrywomen. While it was almost pose, at the feet of the woman whom he true, in a certain sense, of "Alton loves with heart and soul, as a man Locke," that it was worthless as a should; it throws a soft, mild splendor whole, and wonderful in details ; that its upon the sweet old face and sightless episodes were hurried, crowded, and ineyes of the aged father, who waits so félicitously placed, while they were yet long for his far-away wandering son 80 moving, 80 poignant with truth, and Tom; it touches into a healthy day the 80 superbly dithyrambic, that you would dimmed and blood-shot gaze of the Corn. not willingly have spared one of them wall Squire Trebooze, and it lends one all, it is true more absolutely of “Two brief moment of beauty to the wan Years Ago," that the astonishing glow and haggard faces that flaunt in the and wealth of its details are fully rigaslight of the thronged and steaming valed by the completeness and picturStrand.
esque ensemble of the composition. It was the leading fault of "Alton There will, doubtless, be people found, Locke,” that the fictitious element in who will complain of the multitude of that book, the idea of the author, was interests and the complication of incinot welded in naturally and simply with dents presented to thom in this book, the real substance of the story. Char as there are people who quarrel with acters drawn with unsurpassed truth, the “Paradise” of Tintoretto on the
sarne ground; but the only answer to is not diminished, has been the develbe made in the one case as in the other opment of modern egotism in America. (and we are sorry there is no more con In no country under heaven have the solatory reply to be found) must be, doctrines of laissez faire been pushed that neither the “ Paradise" nor “ Two to such an extreme as among ourselves. Years Ago” was composed excepting This is so true, that it may almost be for those who have eyes to see and said that the only passion and the only hearts to understand.
purpose, sufficiently organized and suffiTo such persons as these latter it ciently developed in America to deserve will seem, we hope, a superfluous task the name of a national passion and a for us to point out the relation which national purpose, have been the passion the American Stangrave and the great and the purpose of Slavery Extension. issue of our own politics bear to the The Free States have left Liberty to theme of Kingsley's book. But parti- take care of itself. The Slave States san declamations and vulgar prejudices have taken care of Slavery, and that have done so much to cloud and con with all their might. The American fuse the natural faces of England and citizen of the Free States, not absorbed America in each other's sight, that it is in his own business and family purreally worth while for us to seize this poses, has been really at a loss, for opportunity of vindicating with a word years, in which direction to look for a the noble attempt of an Englishman great national object worthy the devoof genius, and liberal faith and generous tion of a man. Unless he was willing sympathies, to make matters plainer to be a traitor to the principles of the between us, though it is indeed a Revolution - the immortalities of Law shame to any American if he needs and Liberty-he could not throw himKingsley's word, or the word of any self into a political career in which his other man, to show him how truly we, sagacity and his instincts must soon too, as well as our British cousins, teach him that he had only a subordi, needed and need a profound spiritual nate part to play, so long as he refused awakening out of our dull devotion to to acquiesce in the growing tendencies material interests, and our preposterous of the ruling powers in the Union notion that the world is driving on, hit toward the extension and establishment or miss, right or wrong, to some cer of slavery. He could not give himself tainty, at least, of bread and butter, heartily to the party of the abolitionand general gross content, fatness, and ists, because he could not help seeing plenty.
that their aims were narrow and their This is not the place for us to enter spirit intolerant and bitter. What, upon a political declamation against this then, was he to do? And what has he party or that, and, if it were, we should done ! have no such declamation to enter upon. Let the gradual decline of statesFor, neither by one party, por by an manlike ability, the gradual abdication other, nor by one section nor by another, of high political thinking at the North, have we in America been blinded and and the gradual victories of the exbewildered so as to make the sublime and treme Southern party, give the melanenduring interests of liberty, and rea choly answer! sonable progress, and Christian civiliza Do we suppose that all this while our tion subordinate to the fleeting interests history has been acted in a corner ? of trade and enterprise, and to thrust the that nobody has cared enough about sovereign beneath the throne which he us, or watched us closely enough, to should fill. The canker of our national see how things were going in those character has been the canker of the United States ? On the contrary! we age — the frightful egotism which de- have been shouting aloud to the whole stroys the individual only to spread over world that we were the altogether most the community to which he belongs, and interesting people on earth, and the eats out at once the happiness of private worthiest to be studied. When Europe homes and the righteousness of the pub- shook with revolution, we called upon lic weal. And, just in proportion to the all the trembling aristocracies and all opportunities of egotism afforded by a the struggling democracies of men to state of things in which the chances of cross the Atlantic and learn how men individual success are greatly multiplied should be governed, and what men while the necessity of individual success could mi ke of themselves. We have
If we go
clamored for admiration ; and to de- portraiture of Stangrave. No words of mand admiration is to challenge criti. ours could do such justice to the single cisin. Above all, does such a demand ness, and sincerity, and good-sense of challenge criticism from those who really this impulso, as his own. And here desire to love us, and to admire us, and they are :to get some help and good from us.
DEAR The liberals of Europe cannot but be passionately interested in us.
I have spoken, en passant, in “Two Years right, their going right is thereby more
Ago," not only my mind, but tho mind, I be
lieve, of the whole Englisb people, on tho solidly assured. If we go wrong, the present crisis in America. My conviction is, whole work to be done for mankind is that there is not a man in England who is made a hundredfold harder. And so worth listening to, from the highest to the the liberals of Europe bave watched lowest, who was not in favor of Frémont.
The feeling for him was the most unanimous us very closely - those of them most
which I have ever witnessed in this country. closely, who, loving us best, and loving Of course, the result of any future election, best the liberty of which we make our
like the result of this last, is no concern of boast, are most anxious to be sure that
ours. We respect the deliberate conclusion
of a great nation, and treat her government they are not deceived in their estimate with all the honor due to her. We are no of us, and are weaving no ropes of sand fanatics; we are ready to accept a less evil in the ties they seek to attach us by. instead of a positive good. Bat, lot no man The criticism of these men is not lightly anything but an evil; that any Englishman, passed; their doubts of us, if doubts who would be listened to patiently across a they bave, are little less than agonizing. dinner-table, believes that slavery can be Here is the explanation, and in that
anything, but a misery and a curse to the
slaveholders. explanation the justification, of Kings
Now there is, in England, a very strong ley's introduction into his story of Two feeling-I may say, affection—for the slaveYears Ago" of the American episode of holders, as being, for the most part, gentlemen Stangrave and the slave girl whom he
of the best English blood; and, therefore, the loves--for Marie Cordifiamma is an es
longing of England is, not to see them crushed,
but delivered. We look upon them as men caped slave, the daughter of a quadroon hampered in a fearful spare-not spread by mother and of a white father.
themselves, or by their fathers either-and He has remembered that two years
we desire to see them freed, that they may
become worthy of themselves, of their nation, ago the crisis of the great trial came
and of their English parentage. upon America in the shape of that Re But, let neither them, nor any man, deceivo peal of the Missouri Compromise which himself with the notion that the peculiar was the worst act of flagrant outrage institution” is looked on in England with any.
thing but simple abhorrence. upon the sanctities of freedom then per
Mind, we are no abolitionist fanatics. We petrated by the Slave Power; and he has shall be happy to see slavery pass into the done well, therefore, to bring his young
same quiet euthanasia, through which it has American-his cultivated, elegant, self
vanished from our own colonies. It is a very
ancient evil, and, therefore, to be buried, when seeking, worldly Northerner-into con it dies, peaceably, if not honorably, as polytact then with the realities of passion gamy got buried fifteen hundred years ago, both private and public, and the solem throughout Christendom. But we do regard nities of the highest duty, that so, from
it as no less unworthy of civilized Christian
men in the nineteenth century, than polyga. the stormy text of "Two Years Ago," my itself is ; and we do hope to see, at least, he might read a lesson for us who are his a cordon sanitaire drawn round it, which shall kindred, by our English blood and our prevent its spreading, and leave it to die as free laws, beyond the seas. Of the temper quietly as it can.
Any man, who will draw that cordon sani. in which he has done this, the book itself
taire-who will open the eyes of the slavehold. will be the sufficient argument, to all who ers to see that in that limitation of their own read it with clear and righteous eyes; principle lies their only hope of safety from
the horrors of a servile war, or the worse hor. but we are not sorry to have in our
rors of unbridled patrician despotism any possession, and to be able here to use a man who will show them that in extending private note from himself, in fuller ex. slavery, they are fighting, not only against planation of the feeling which moved all
the conscience of the nineteenth century, and
God, who has inspired that conscience, bat England to take an interest so warm and
against the whole tendency of the emigrants so intelligent in the result of our last from the old world, which must be ultimately presidential election, as it impelled him- in favor of free soil principles ; any man who self to touch upon the question of the
will devise a method of terminating slavery American character and its relations to
after a certain period, without convulsing tho
South by interfering with vested rights public life at home and abroad, in the mothod by which we English have abolished,
When you that man!
of late years, our worst abuses without blood. simple reality-"Two Years Ago" is sbed, almost without quarrel-that man, my
80 admirably abundant in attractions, dear
will be the saviour of his country; he will be greater even than your great that many a man will never think of its Washington, because a domestic sin is always meaning till long after he has filled more difficult to face than a foreign wrong; himself with the power of its pictures he will be welcomed and trusted, I must be and its poetry.
The men and women, lieve, by all who are truly noble, both in South and North ; and here in England he through whom Kingsley utters his leswill be looked on as a hero, who has saved son, are not mere types and names, but from ruin-for I must use the word—a daugh: most fresh, and quick, and positive ter of whom England is at heart more proud creations. than of her Pacific Colonies or her Indian
It is long since we have Empire—the noblest daughter which a mother
fallen in with a book so crowded with country ever brought into the world. May characters-euch of whom, however God send
quickly he may come and go, leaves say this, I believe I speak the thoughts of all ranks of Englishmen. Re
with you a memory of himself, as of a move but wisely and well that one fault of person whom you mot, you know not Blavery, which makes the real and only bar where, but never can confound, thenceof disunion between us; and see whether & forth and forever, with any other image grudge remains on this side the Atlantic, at the triumphs and glories of the United States.
in your mind. C. K.
The old naturalist, Dr. Thurnall,
with his wise, sweet, patient heart, and So much for the motive of the Ameri- that light within which blindness cannot can episode. Of the skill with which quench; the banker, Armsworth, just a it is handled, we cannot speak quite so shade conventional, perhaps, but racy highly; for, although the character of
and real, too, vociferous, dogmatic, just, Stangrave is admirably sketched and and generous; the mean, dismal village treated, and although his relations to apothecary, Hale, with his sbattored, the main actors of the story are plausi- dowdy, opium-eating, vulgar wife, and bly enough described, the conception his petulant, luxurious, gossiping, un of Mario's career is a trifle too vivid easy daughter; the magnificent Cornish and melo-dramatic to consist with the
seamen, equally ready to duck a ranter, tone of the rest of the work. As a snub a parson, and leap into the boiling type, she is wonderfully well drawn- pit of the waters to save a sailor or a the idiosyncrasies of the mixed blood ship; the west-country squireen, Trebeing seized with an insight quite booze, and his domestic angel in & amazing, and painted with a minute housemaid's shape ;". the glorious old ness and reality worthy of Balzac. Major Campbell, with his buried pas. Whatever may be thought of the prob- sion in his heart, and its immortal ability of Marie's theatrical history, beauty in his soul; these are all living every man at all familiar with the char- and roal personages, and personages so acter and temperament of the mixed various in origin, station, and character, races will recognize the hand of a mas that the fidelity and force with which tor in Mario's intercourse with her lover, they are drawn argue in the author an and with Sabina Mellot. You need not experience as extensive as his faculty look for the pink-purple of the finger- of observation is refined and vigorous. nails after listening to the confession That a man should know his fellow-men, which the poor, proud, passionate girl of all sorts and kinds, so well as Kingspours out to her sweet and sagacious ley proves himself to know them, is a friend while the small white hand of the splendid testimony to the warmth of his artist's wife plays with her glossy black heart, as well as to the strength of his curls.
intellect, for no man can understand the We have dwelt mainly on the con motives and the ways of human creaception of this new novel, because we tures who does not sympathize with huhold it best that whoever wishes to enter man creatures truly, in all their sorrows, upon and enjoy so rich a roalm should not joys, and sins. wander into it as into a fool's paradise. How much criticism of the style and Nor can we think that all our preaching literary execution of this novel has been will seem superfluous, even to those who implied in what we have said we must read the book with understanding hearts. leave our readers to estimate for themFor, just as a novel—as a story of hu- selves, when the subsiding glow of their man lives, and thoughts, and troubles, interest in the thing done sball leave and happiness, made interesting by its them at leisure to speculate on the way
of its doing. But we suppose that a spirits of Salvator and of Turner sball critic's duty must be discharged in the bo mingled in one mortal man. forms, if he does not wish to leave him The love-scenes of this novel are self open to those charges of obscurity certainly not less wonderful than its or uncertainty which are the easy ro- graphic landscapes, and its painting of sorts of indolence or indifference ; and masculine strength or weakness. The we must say our say, as briefly, there- interview in which Frank Headley first fore, as we may, upon these heads. moves the heart of Valencia St. Just, Briefly, then, “Two Years Ago" seems and that in which he wins ber hand, to us to be as much the best of Charles would suffice, of themselves, to prove Kingsley's books, in point of style and Kingsley a closer and keener student execution, as it is in respect of dra- of the heart of woman than any Engmatic life and systematic purpose. He lish novelist of the day. We must pass has achieved in it the difficult problem into the company of the poets to find of treating a theme at once largely and any rival for him in his knowledge of closely. Every touch is as clear and the wayward, subtle, delicious, and positive as the whole result is compro- noble attributes of womanhood, or in hensive and solenın. His old, warm his mastery over the springs of feeling sympathy with the moods of nature as and of action in the womanly nature. If well as with the minds of men-his racy, any man can remove the reproach genial humor-his poetic perception of which has rested, and justly rested, beauty in sound and sight-his worship upon English fiction, of extreme poverty of woman, in nowiso blind or senti. in all that relates to the treatment and mental, but clear, and manly, and pas- development of female character, the sionate, all have been with him in this author of the “ Saint's Tragedy" should work, and the glow, and strength, and be that man; and we look to see him grace of them are in his language, and achieve the work. But we will no longer the music of them is in the rhythm of detain the reader from a book so much his periods and his sentences. The better worth the reading than any novel tendency to poetic modulation in prose which has been published in a long composition, which is as conspicuous in time. Leave here our critic pages, his writings as it is in those of all men good friend, and make baste to take up who feel deeply while they think strong the poetio pages which have provoked ly, was never more conspicuous than in them. • Two Years Ago.” The opening son And then join with us in our thanktences of the book pass easily into a fulness. that even in these days, kind of Scandinavian chant, and this reputed unheroic, God bas witnesses without the least affectation of such an on earth to plead for manhood and effect, for nothing could be more natural for womanhood, with words of cunthan the disposition of the words. ning and with souls of fire ; that the
The same thing is true of many another magic of passion, and the grace of passage, which we have no space to tenderness, and the power of will, and quote and no disposition to descant the beauty of wisdom, are not denied upon without quoting. The amateur even to an age of stocks and steamof word-painting, who has accustomed engines, railway manias, and California bimself to look to the author of "Yeast," fevers; but, that to them who will open and “ Amyas Leigh,” and “Hypatia,” their eyes to see, and open their hearts for magnificent pictures of human pas- to understand, life, rich, glorious, beausion and of natural beauty, will not be dis- tiful life, is still to be wooed and still to appointed of his pleasure in “Two be won in the noble love of noble woYears Ago." The account of the men, in the true service of righteouswreck of the Hesperus, in the opening ness, in honesty and courage, and devoof the book, is one of the finest descrip- tion and simplicity, and heroic belief; tions ever written of a storm off shore, and do honor with us to all men who, and the tempest of thunder and rain, like Charles Kingsley, have come to through which the mad poet Elsley is know these things, and, knowing them, hunted over the mountains of Wales, have the gift from Heaven to speak them will never be rivaled on canvas till the wisely and witchingly to the world!