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Tragedians, and, while we only imperfectly appreciate their grandeur, can wholly recognise and regret our incapacity to give a rendering of them in English at all worthy of the original.

Finally, even to our untutored ears, a speech of Pericles in Thucydides, or a Philippic of Demosthenes or of Cicero, seems to have about it a ring and a power which a Burke or a Sheridan or a Magee may have rivalled, but which contrasts very favourably with the 'Times' - reported oratory of the modern politician.

And yet with all our shortcomings in respect to the Classics, we may lay claim to having to a limited extent inherited a fondness for books. But the volumes, we are fain to confess, with which our own modest library is replete are the writings of the English novelists of the earlier half of the century Scott, Dickens, and Thackeray. These we loved dearly in the past; as we gaze on the old familiar titles our thoughts wander back over many happy hours spent in their society: our only grievance against them in the present is that, as we take down one of our favourites from its place in the shelf and open it at haphazard, we feel that we shall know exactly what came on the preceding, and what will be told us in the next, page.

"Ye come again! Dim visions of the past!

That charmed in life's young morn

these weary eyes. Shall I essay this time to hold ye fast? Still clings my heart to empty fantasies? Ye throng around! Well! Be your glamour cast Upon me, as from shadowy mist ye rise!

Youth trembles through me, while I breathe again The magic airs that whisper round your


Ye bring with ye the forms of happier days,

And many dearest shadows rise to view;

Like tones of old and half-remembered lays,

Come early Love and Friendship tried and true:

Thought wanders back through Life's bewildering maze."


If such epithets as "dim" and "shadowy" can hardly be said to apply to our recollections of the books of the three great authors we have mentioned, it is because we have from time to time, we might almost say from year to year, refreshed our memory. much at any rate of an old friend's apt rendering of Goethe's introduction to Faust' seems to describe the feelings we cherish for their works. As we look back to the many pleasant hours spent in the company of Esmond, David Copperfield, Ivanhoe, Quentin Durward, and other favourite heroes, we can readily understand that an enthusiast like Mrs Fenwick Miller found in books a comfort and an interest that have never failed. Some of our best loved authors' works we naturally have found more interesting than others, but a reperusal of many that we have once hastily condemned has not unfrequently brought about a reversal of judgment, and though we have criticised 'Bleak House' as too long, 'Pendennis' as dull in parts, 'St Ronan's Well' as tame by comparison with Sir Walter's best work, we still feel that if we were condemned to a week's solitary confinement, we would choose any one of the three to while away the hours in preference to Mudie's box full of modern three-volume novels. Every detail of Ivanhoe,' and of many others of the Waverley novels, we had at our fingers' ends long before most boys leave

a preparatory school; but while we can envy young and lucky people who still have these books to read for the first time, we console ourselves with the thought that they are there on the shelf ready at hand for us to read again when we will. But we hear on all sides now that the time is out of joint with the Waverley novels, and we have been told in these latter years that the Wizard of the North has no longer the power to interest the rising generation, that his work is too dry and too old fashioned, and that the young brain requires a more invigorating and more satisfying food, that the children's teeth are set on edge by the sour grapes which their forefathers were perforce contented to devour. On one side a mother complains to us of the hard measure meted out to her boy of twelve on whom the penance of reading such a dull book as 'Ivanhoe' has been imposed as a holiday task. "So very much beyond the poor boy, and so very uninteresting and old-fashioned for a really clever child!" and then the good lady goes on to inform us that schoolmasters as a class are really so extremely groovy (an opinion, by the way, which we cordially endorse) that they expect other people to be as narrow-minded as themselves. We assent to the double proposition that schoolmasters are impossible themselves and expect impossibilities from others. Fortified by our complaisance, and sure of our sympathy, she continues: "Well, what I have done is just this. I have picked out a nice book myself for him to read, a really good modern book, and at the end of the holidays I shall just write and say that I am the best judge of his holiday reading." And she leaves us reflecting on the reasonableness

of mothers and the corresponding unreasonableness of schoolmasters, and wondering whether by any chance that "really good modern book" will be 'Trilby' or 'The Sorrows of Satan.'

On another occasion we are staying in a country-house, and our hostess, who has noticed that we spend a good deal of our time in the library, informs us one night that we are to take Miss down to dinner. "I am sure that you will get on capitally with her; she is so fond of books and so very well-read."

Possibly our hostess gave our fair companion the cue, or was it out of deference to our grey hairs and general fogeyism that she forbore to discourse on balls, matinees, and other social subjects, and did not profess anxiety to know whether we danced, or hunted, or played golf, or were fond of music? No, our fair blue-stocking-for if she did not look the part she made a laudable attempt to play it-inaugurated a conversation by a reference to the literature of the day.

"You are very fond of reading, are you not?"

"I read a little sometimes."

"Well, I read a very great deal. I am devoted to books. I have just finished "—here she mentioned one of our three-volume enemies. "Is it not awfully clever?"

Fortunately we had dived into the book sufficiently to gather that it dealt of matters beyond our ken, and fortunately, too, our very superficial knowledge of the contents was good enough for the occasion. But we were not sorry when she showed an inclination to carry the war into our own territory.

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Now, do tell me what you have been reading lately.” "Woodstock.'"



"Woodstock!' I never heard and the names-initials and all

of it. What a pretty name. Who is it by? Do tell me all about it." "Well, it was written by one Walter Scott."

"Oh, indeed! Is it one of those what funny name did he call his books by?"

"The Waverley Novels. Have you never read any of them?”

"Well, yes, I think I have read some, or tried to read them. But I am afraid that I skipped rather. They were so dreadfullywhat shall I call it ?-prosy, and so unlike anything one reads now."

So unlike indeed!

And once again—we knew a boy in the flesh not so many years ago, one of the most industrious, honest, and healthy little fellows we ever met in a fairly wide experience of that ubiquitous article, the British schoolboy. At the age of thirteen he had many virtues, but at the same time a most profound antipathy for reading or any sedentary occupation whatever excepting that of biting his nails. Whether the antipathy to reading was innate or the result of deficient home-training-whether, in fact, he was the sinner or his parents-it would perhaps be impertinent to inquire. He was very conscientious, good-tempered, and obedient, and what we may call the mechanical side of the intellect was fully developed. But he was wholly devoid of any literary taste whatsoever. He would learn with ease and repeat accurately whole columns of irregular verbs or nouns, could rattle off the names and dates of kings and queens, of battles and treaties, and work through a page of examples in arithmetic without making a single mistake. But he never opened a book out of school - hours except under dire compulsion, and, save only the results of cricket-matches VOL. CLX.-NO. DCCCCLXIX.

of prominent cricketers, knew ab-
solutely nothing of what went on
in the world beyond what came
in the ordinary course of school-
teaching. He might almost be
said to have had the capacity of
locking up the door of his intellect,
and keeping it locked until the
sense of duty required that it
should be opened. It was probably
a sense of duty also which induced
him to adopt a hoarse whisper
by way of a voice in school-hours,
and to reserve his natural intona-
tion, which the Boanerges might
have envied, for the play-ground
or conversation with his school-
fellows. Once the experiment
was tried-an experiment which
answers well in many cases-of
setting him down to read a sen-
sible book. Amenable as at all
times to discipline, but wearing
at the same a ludicrously dejected
look, he undertook to do his best.
He was taken to the library and
asked what sort of story he would
like. But he was diffident of ex-
pressing an opinion and invited
suggestions, and it was difficult
to suggest when the only answers
to be arrived at, given of course
in the hoarse whisper,
"Pretty well," or "I don't know."
So at last we started him off
with 'Ivanhoe,' and he was gra-
ciously pleased to volunteer his
opinion that it was a funny name.
And for a whole month he devoted
himself for perhaps two hours a
week to 'Ivanhoe'; and such was
his conscientiousness that we fully
believe he never skipped a word,
and so great his sense of the injury
which the great intellectual effort
was inflicting on his leisure that
he never took a single word in.


"Well, old fellow, how is 'Ivanhoe' getting on?"

"Pretty well, thank you."
"How far have you got?"


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"Oh, I've nearly read"-and he consults the top of the pageone hundred and twenty pages." "And whom do you like best?" A hasty glance at the page to see what name came handiest.

"Oh, Wamba!"

He looks so extremely woebegone over our cross-questioning that we make a feeble attempt at a joke.

mankind there has been born into the world, even among the so-called educated class, a certain proportion of boys to whom nothing verging on the intellectual is in any way a recreation, who feel with the Preacher that "he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." Unfortunately the prominence conferred in these latter days on athleticism has a tendency to

"A little fellow-feeling - eh, accentuate the mischief. Each

my boy?"

Blank gaze.

"You don't know what I mean, I suppose?"


"Well, you know what Wamba was?"

"Yes," rather dubiously.

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Well, what?"

"One of the chaps in the book." A week later we made one more attempt to find out whether the story had in any way appealed to him.

year seems to add its quotum to the number of boys who regard each hour of play-time not devoted to some active exercise as so much time misspent or wasted. So long as they are out of doors this is a spirit to be encouraged. But we draw the line strongly at the youth who in the house can provide himself with no more intellectual occupation than talking cricket shop or studying the pages of an old Lilly white's guide. When the cakes and ale lose their

friends in
"Do you mean to say that you
never heard of any of the people

found any old charm, when stiffened limbs and


unpliant muscles forbid violent exercise, when custom, if not fatigue, compels a certain amount of sedentary leisure, what will be the end of these boys and men? Unless they mend their ways and

"Well, you know King Rich- force themselves, or are forced by


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others, to employ the talent which they are now content to wrap up in a napkin or to bury, they will become time-killers, club-loafers, unintellectual bores; or, as nature abhors a vacuum, less kindly spirits than Calliope, Clio, or their sister Muses will possess their minds, "an empty void though tenanted." To such as these old age will indeed be "pleasureless decay."

It is to this day a sort of comforting reflection, as we look back on our own boyhood through a long vista of years, that we were always employed in one way or anotherin mischief often, in downright hard

work on rare occasions, in active exercise on every possible opportunity, in condoning the effects of past misdemeanours by writing impositions not unfrequently, in quarrelling at times, in rat-hunting or rabbit-ferreting or throwing stones at squirrels whenever kindly fortune sent such vermin in our way. And when at enforced intervals a somewhat over-restless nature was coerced into bodily inactivity, the brain was called into play, and we simply devoured books, those books we have round us now, while the amount of castles that we built in the air, peopled by imaginary heroes, during the progress of a long sermon or lecture was something prodigious. We

by no means commend ourselves as an example for imitation except in so far that we were always occupied, for ours was by no means a model boyhood; but we do take some honest pride in the fact that, for good or bad, we lived and moved as well as had our being in every waking minute, and were either pursued by vivid dreams at night, or, if we could, lay awake and thought to the music of other boys' snoring.

It is an old proverb that "Little boys should be seen and not heard," and it is, alas! many years since we heard it frequently applied to ourselves. It was invented, we cannot help thinking, by some spinster aunt who, never having had any little boys of her own, and not having had the luck to be a little boy herself, knew nothing what ever of the feelings, character, or habits of the boy tribe. As we never ourselves had a spinster aunt, our remark is without prejudice. The boy, we hold, who does not on occasion make good row and chatter consumedly, IS either an unnatural being or is bottling up his energies


for some less legitimate purpose. In either case he is to be labelled as a suspicious character. As we bethink us of that other proverb, "The devil finds work for idle hands to do," we instinctively find ourselves sympathising with his satanic majesty as being a heavily taxed individual, especially in a populous and prosperous country in which boys are born at the rate of some thousands a day. But the moral of the two proverbs is that boys are not meant to live a vapid and unintellectual existence, but should occasionally spend some time, even out of school-hours, in sensible reading. What better reading can be found for them than Walter Scott, what more fascinating text-book than Ivanhoe'? Mrs De Winton, in her papers in 'Mothers in Council,' mentions Scott as the author chosen to read aloud to her children, and the 'Talisman' was a favourite of Charlotte Yonge's childhood. But on the whole we are inclined to give the preference to 'Ivanhoe,' partly no doubt for old associations' sake, but chiefly because it seems to combine more, than any even of the Master's works, points of interest to a healthy-minded boy. There is abundance of incident, not too much love-making or sentimentality, and above all a goodly coterie of characters of varied personality who each play a prominent and distinctive part in the development of the story. There is a somebody and a something to appeal to most minds, whether it be the hero himself or the wandering king, surly but faithful Gurth or quaint and loyal Wamba, the sturdy and independent Cedric or the bold outlaw, the greenwood tree or the halls of Rotherwood. Even the villains of the piece have the merit of personal courage, and are quite as ready to exchange hard

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