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was allowed to take, or who town or court.
I have stated the problem, but I do not pretend to solve it. I remember no Jeremy Collier, and no Addison, who set about reforming the coarseness of taste, just after Smollett's day; and it does not seem that Jeremy or Addison, when they tried, really produced much effect. The Spectator,' in Lamb's situation on Primrose Hill, might, indeed, have proved as embarrassing as did Pamela' herself. Nor did foreign influences produce the revolution, for France was then hurrying into what had been the English extreme.
If I must make a guess, I would hazard the theory that the change was caused by the rise of a larger reading middle class, especially by the increase in the numbers of women of the middle classes, and in the country, who read books. They had not hitherto been literary: they had simply been housewives and stitchers; good mothers, not bookish. At no time had their class been so free, in conduct or conversation, as the women in "Society" and in London. What they avoided in life, they disliked in literature. They now began to get into contact with literature through book clubs. There were regular societies of provincial Blues, not spotted by
must probably allow a good deal for the many and farreaching influences of the Wesleyan movement, and of the Anglican Church as affected thereby. The red-faced parsons, absorbent of port and of ale, the Parson Trullibers, died out. What can Mrs Trulliber have read? Nothing, probably; but the wives of the Henry Tilneys did read, and doted on Cowper as well as on Clara Reeve and Mrs Radcliffe. Moreover, even Sterne, with his "sentiment," made people desire fiction which could touch the heart as well as amuse, and they got it, in Mackenzie's 'Man of Feeling' and Julia de Roubigné.' Shelley, in boyhood, tried to set the example of didactic novels, meant, he says, to inculcate his metaphysics and morals. When once sentiment, and didacticism, and romance, and terror (as in Mrs Radcliffe and other favourites of Miss Catherine Morland) came in, and were found delightful, humour and libertinism went out. Broad farce was not in harmony (despite Dickens) with sentiment and the wilfully didactic, nor with "the horrid," with spectral castles, and inquisitorial dungeons. Smollett had thought such attractions dead for ever, but he was wrong. They revived, they were hugely popular, they held the field, and horseplay went out. Miss Burney, again, could not be expected to sin in the direction of Astræa, yet she could interest and amuse without
such gambols. There were no humorous novelists, or none who are now remembered as authors of stories, between the days of Smollett and Miss Edgeworth. There arose a forgotten school of historical novelists. So nobody was tempted to use the old, simple, animal expedients for getting a laugh. Thus the new and great generation of Scott and Miss Austen had no temptations to coarseness or licentiousness, even a moderate freedom would have been fatal, and modern critics may think Scott and Miss Austen "senselessly decent."
On the whole, the most obvious and probable cause of the sharp and sudden revolution of taste was probably what we may may call the Wesleyan Reformation acting on the middle classes far beyond the bounds of the Wesleyan communion. Wesley's movement was really (though he did not know it) part of the Romantic movement: it began in an asceticism, and in an emotion, and in 66 'supernormal experiences "after the model of the ideals of the medieval Church. Romanticism itself (in spite of some old French romances) is, in essence, a delicate thing"; knights amorous and errant are all unlike the festive wanderers of Fielding and Smollett. The squires of romantic lovers are no Straps nor Partridges, and the knights understand "the maiden passion for a maid," in a sense unknown to the lovers of Sophia, Emilia, and Narcissa. The new middleclass lady novel - reader could
VOL. CLXVII.-NO. MXIII.
not put up with the infidelities of Tom Jones, Roderick Random, and Peregrine Pickle. She felt personally insulted (and no wonder) by their behaviour. From all these influences, one ventures to conjecture, the singular and rapid change in taste, and the decent limitations on literary art (limitations hitherto conspicuously absent from English fiction), drew their origin. That the once Puritan middle classes deserve most of the praise is a theory strengthened by the example of America, where prudery as to the
even of simple harmless phrases (for example, you "retire," in America: you never go to bed) irritated Dr Oliver Wendell Holmes. American literature is assuredly neither licentious nor coarse. But these hypotheses may be inadequate or erroneous, in which case the problem becomes vastly more curious and interesting. A problem it is: the generation of Scott's father saw nothing out of the way or reprehensible in literary forms which the authors of Scott's generation might, and, of course, did enjoy, but dared not, and cared not to follow. Sir Walter himself was an ardent admirer of Smollett, whom at one time he was constantly quoting. But Scott's own heroes never once wander from the strict path of a solitary virtuous attachment. His one heroine who, in fact, had transgressed from the path of Dian, was, if I may say so, violently shunted back into it, owing to the prudery of Ballantyne, some of whose MS.
notes on Scott's proof - sheets prove him to have possessed "a nice morality." Henceforward every hero was a Galahad, till Mr Rochester broke away from the rule and Richard Feverel fell into the ancient errors of Captain Booth. Even now a hero's confessions are less startlingly explicit than those of Roderick Random; and nobody would pretend to interest us in a Peregrine Pickle, or even in a Pamela. The change, which was born full grown, has lasted for a century in England, which had previously set the very opposite example. It was a change due not merely to the moral revolu
tion that sprang from the Wesleys, but to a general revolt, all along the line, in favour of the ideal and the spiritual, and against the godless commonplace and brutality of the early Hanoverian time. The new materialism of science has probably fostered the new "emancipated" literature of the strugforlifeur of M. Daudet. Thus reactions succeed each other; but on the whole, in fiction, and not looking at the worse than Smollettian vulgarity of such plays as "Lord Quex," the tendency to a new licence seems to have expended itself.
THE ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS.
OUR army as a whole, and in each of its branches, has been severely tested for several months. There have been many details of command and administration which apparently deserve to be criticised, though it is possible that, when the whole truth is eventually published, it may be found that the present weight of criticism may have to be readjusted or even removed altogether. Circumstances are sometimes stronger than organisation however perfect, or plans of action however well conceived. But there is one military department which has proved itself quite equal to the work that it has undertaken, in whose operations it has been impossible to detect the slightest flaw, and in which there has never been any friction or shortcoming. The medical service of the army has attracted the cordial admiration of Continental, and particularly Russian, military surgeons by its performance of duty in the field and the completeness of its arrangements, and this means a great deal, as almost every other branch of the army is, whether rightly or not, judged unfavourably. It is a good thing when others see us as we would wish to be seen, and Maga' most cordially joins in the chorus of foreign approval, and wishes to direct attention to noble work nobly done. It is in the highest degree satisfactory
to see a perfect organisation perfectly successful in the ends for which it has been framed, and those who are responsible for it ought not to lack their meed of public appreciation.
There is no question but that the Royal Army Medical Corps (the department of which we speak) is animated just now by a very special desire to deserve well of England. Some years ago, and for a long time previously, the Army Medical Department, admirable and deserving as it had always proved itself, had been left by the country's Government in a most anomalous condition both as regards rank and privilege. It had been systematically snubbed and its professional and military pride had been gravely injured, Its officers were justifiably disheartened, and the service had lost its attraction for the best young men from the medical schools. In December 1896 'Maga' took up the cudgels in its behalf, and summed up the subject in a manner which, she is proud to believe, gained the gratitude of the department, and had some influence in moving the authorities to make necessary reforms. A due military rank was subsequently granted to the medical officers, and they with their men were formed into a special corps bearing the proud distinction of
mains much to be done, it has given the highest satisfaction to our army surgeons, and, in order to show themselves worthy of honour, they are, if it were possible, more anxious than ever before to strain every nerve in the performance of duty. They can never have to submit to a higher trial than that which is being given to them by the present war.
Few people realise completely what is the work that the Royal Army Medical Corps has to do, how vast are the responsibilities committed to it. Let it then be understood that, from the time when a severe campaign is in full swing, the most moderate estimate of the number of the sick and wounded to be dealt with is ten per cent of the total forces employed. If we have 100,000 men in the field, there will at any given time be about 10,000 in the care of the R.A.M.C. While soldiers are effective for fighting purposes they are distributed in regiments, battalions, and batteries; in brigades, divisions, and armies. The moment that they are stricken by disease or become victims to the enemy's weapons, they pass into another organisation. They become medical or surgical cases, and are on the strength of one or other of the established posts over which floats the redcross flag. Every one of these posts has its special object, from the hurried relief on the battlefield itself, the careful examination and treatment at some neighbouring spot, more or less sheltered from the
enemy's bullets, up to the completely fitted field hospital and the still more elaborate hospital at the base of operations. It is worth while to examine all of these, and to see what share each takes in the saving of life, the mitigation of suffering, and the possible restoration of a soldier to his place in the fighting-line.
First, for the battlefield every unit (regiment, battalion, or brigade division of artillery) has attached to it an officer of the R.A.M.C., who accompanies it wherever it goes, and is ever at hand to give instant attention when casualties occur. These gallant gentlemen are as much exposed to the enemy's fire as any of the combatants, and they practise their profession coolly and deliberately under circumstances the most trying to nerve and mental equilibrium that can well be conceived. To their valour is often due the preservation of a life that is ebbing away or the saving of a limb that would otherwise be lost. Even if the case is beyond the aid of science, who can gauge the great reduction of mortal agony that may be the work of their tender and skilful hands? After the first attention has been paid to the wounded, they are removed by the regimental stretcher - bearers to the "collecting station," a spot as near the fighting - line as possible, but to a certain extent sheltered from the enemy's fire. No surgical work is done here; but the first line of ambulances is in waiting, and receives the victims of war for carriage to the "dressing station." And