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could not tell how, the end of the evening was depressing and discouraging, and the pleasure went all out of it when Rollo whispered to her in passing, " Take care, for heaven's sake, or Augusta will find us out!” Why should it matter so much to him that Augusta should find it out ? Was not she more to him than Augusta? Lottie shrank within herself and trembled with a nervous chill. She was half grateful to, half angry with even Mr. Ashford. Why should be be so much more kind to her, 80 much more careful of her than the man who had promised her his love and perpetual care?
But even now when she stole in, shivering with the cold of disappointment and discouragement, through the dark house to her room Lottie did not know all that this evening had wrought. And she scarcely noticed the gloom on Polly's face, nor the strain of angry monologue which her father's wife gave vent to, next morning. Polly wondered what was the good of being a married lady, when a young unmarried girl that was nobody, was took such notice of, and her betters left at 'ome? Did people know no manners ? gentlefolks! they called themselves gentlefolks, and behaved like that? If that was politeness, Polly thanked heaven it was not the kind as she had been taught. But the outburst came when Lottie, taking no notice, scarcely even hearing what was said, showed herself with her music in her hands going out to her lesson. Polly came out of her husband's room and planted herself defiantly in Lottie's way. “ Where are you going again,” she said, " Miss? where are you going again ? is this to be always the way of it? Do you mean never to stay at home nor do anything to help nor make yourself agreeable ? I declare it is enough to put a saint in a passion. But I won't put up with it, I can tell you. I did not come here to be treated like this, like the dirt under your
feet.” Lottie was almost too much taken by surprise to speak. It was the first absolute shock of collision. "I am going for my lesson,” she said.
“Your lesson," cried Polly. "Oh my patience, oh my poor 'usband ! that is the way his money goes—essons for you and lessons for Law, and I don't know what ! You onght to be ashamed of yourselves, you two. You ought to be making your living both of you, if you were honest, instead of living on your father as wants all he's got for himself. But you shan't go any lesson if I can help it," she cried.
"You'll stay at home and try and be of a little use, or you'll march off this very day, and find some one else to put up with you and your lessons. It shan't be me. I won't stand by and see my 'usband wronged. You'll ruin him between you, that's what you'll do ; go back, Miss, and put down them books this moment. I won't have it, I tell you. I'll not see my 'usband eaten up by the likes of you."
Polly's diction suffered from her passion, and so did her appearance. Her face grew scarlet, her eyes flashed with fury. She put out her hand to push Lottie back, who shrank from her with a cry of dismay—
"Let me pass, please," said Lottie piteously. She could not quarrel VOL. XXXVIII.-NO. 228.
with this woman, she could not even enter so much into conflict with her as to brush past her, and thus escape. She shrank with pain and horror from the excited creature in her way.
“It's you that will have to go back," said Polly, "not me. I'm the mistress of this house, you'll please to recollect, Miss Lottie. Your father's been a deal too good, he's let you do just what you pleased, but that's not my style. I begins as I mean to end. You shan't stay here, I tell you, whatever you may think, if you want to trample upon me, and eat up every penny he has. Go and take off your things this moment, and
you can't be a little use in the house.'
Lottie was struck dumb and could not tell what to say. She had not been cared for much in her life, but she had never been restrained, and the sensation was new to her. She did not know how to reply. "I do not wish to be in your way,” she cried. “I shall not stay long nor trouble you long, but please do not interfere with me while I am here. I must go."
“ And I say you shan't go !” said Polly, raising her voice after the manner of her kind, and stamping her foot on the floor. “If you disobey me, I won't have you here not another day. I'll turn you out if it was twelve o'clock at night. I'll show you that I am mistress in my own house. Do you think I'm going to be outfaced by you, and treated like the dirt below your feet? Go and take off your things this moment, and try if you can't settle to a bit of work. Out of this house you shan't go, not a single step."
“I say, stand out of the way,” said Law; he had come out of the dining-room with his hands in his pockets, having just finished his dinner. Law was not easily moved, but he had now made up his mind that he was on Lottie's side.
“Don't give yourself airs to her. She is not of “ The governor may you
do not bully her. Look here, Polly, you'd better stand out of her way."
“And who are you, you lazy useless lout, that dares to call me Polly ?" she cried. "Polly, indeed ! your father's wife, and far better than you. I'll make him put you to the door, too, you idle low fellow, spending your time with a pack of silly, dressing, useless girls—
" I say, stop that,” cried Law, growing red and seizing her suddenly by the arm ; he stood upon no ceremony with Polly, though she was his father's wife ; but he gave an uneasy alarmed glance at Lottie. “There's some one waiting for you outside,” he cried.
“ Lottie, go." She did not wait for any more. Trembling and horrifiod, she ran past and got out breathless, hastily closing the door behind her. The door had been open, and Mrs. O'Shaughnessy outside-drawing her skirta round her, physically and metaphorically, so as to avoid all pollution, yet listening to everything she could hear, was walking up and down the pavement. Me poor child !" the good Irishwoman said, half sorry, half delighted to hear the first of the scandal. “Already ! has it come to this? Me heart is sore for ye, Lottie me dear !"
your sort,” he said.
many things, but
ours in a Library.
No. XIX.-LANDOR'S IMAGINARY CONVERSATIONS.
WHEN Mr. Forster brought out the collected edition of Landor's works, the critics were generally embarrassed. They evaded for the most part any committal of themselves to an estimate of their author's merits, and were generally content to say that we might now look forward to a definitive judgment in the ultimate court of literary appeal. Such an attitude of suspense was natural enough. Landor is perhaps the most striking instance in modern literature of a radical divergence of opinion between the connoisseurs and the mass of readers. The general public have never been induced to read him, in spite of the lavish applauses of some self-constituted authorities. One may go further. It is doubtful whether those who aspire to a finer literary palate than is possessed by the vulgar herd are really so keenly appreciative as the innocent reader of published remarks might suppose. Hypocrisy in matters of taste-whether of the literal or metaphorical kind—is the commonest of vices. There are vintages, both material and intellectual, which are more frequently praised than heartily enjoyed. I have heard very good judges whisper in private that they have found Landor dull; and the rare citations made from his works often betray a very perfunctory study of them. Not long ago, for example, an able critic quoted a passage from one of the Imaginary Conversations to prove that Landor admired Milton's prose, adding the remark that it might probably be taken as an expression of his real sentiments, although put in the mouth of a dramatic person. To any one who has read Landor with ordinary attention, it seems as absurd to speak in this hypothetical manner as it would be to infer from some incidental allusion that Mr. Ruskin admires Turner. Landor's adoration for Milton is one of the most conspicuous of his critical propensities. There are, of course, many eulogies upon Landor of undeniable weight. They are hearty, genuine, and from competent judges. Yet the enthusiasm of such admirable critics as Mr. Emerson and Mr. Lowell may be carped at by some who fancy that every American enjoys a peculiar sense of complacency when rescuing an English genius from the neglect of his own countrymen. If Mr. Browning and Mr. Swinburne have been conspicuous in their admiration, it might be urged that neither of them has too strong desire to keep to that beaten high road of the commonplace, beyond which even the best guides meet with pitfalls. Southey's praises of Landor were sincere and emphatic; may
but it must be added that they provoke a recollection of one of Johnson's shrewd remarks. “The reciprocal civility of authors,” says the Doctor, " is one of the most risible scenes in the farce of life.” One forgives poor Southey indeed for the vanity which enabled him to bear up so bravely against anxiety and repeated disappointment; and if both he and Landor found that "reciprocal civility” helped them to bear the disregard of contemporaries, one would not judge them harshly. It was simply a tacit agreement to throw their harmless vanity into a common stock. Of Mr. Forster, Landor's faithful friend and admirer, one can only say that in his writing about Landor, as upon other topics, we are distracted between the respect due to his strong feeling for the excellent in literature, and the undeniable fact that his criticisms have a very blunt edge, and that his eulogies are apt to be indiscriminate.
Southey and Wordsworth had a simple method of ex pla ning the neglect of a great author. According to them contemporary neglect affords & negative presumption in favour of permanent reputation. No lofty poet bag honour in his own generation. Southey's conviction that his ponderous epics would make the fortune of his children is a pleasant instance of self-delusion. But the theory is generally admitted in regard to Wordsworth; and Landor accepted and defended it with characteristic vigour. “I have published," !, says in the conversation with Hare, “ five volumes of Imaginary Conversations : cut the worst of them through the middle, and there will remain in the decimal fraction enough to satisfy my appetite for fame. I shall dine late; but the dining-room will be well-lighted, the guests few and select.” He recurs frequently to the doctrine. “Be patient!” he says, in another character. “From the higher heavens of poetry, it is long before the radiance of the brightest star can reach the world below. We hear that one man finds out one beauty, another man finds out another, placing his observatory and instruments on the poet's grave. The worms must have eaten us before we rightly know what we are. It is only when we are skeletons that we are boxed and ticketed and prized and shown. Be it so ! I shall not be tired of waiting.” Conscious, as he says in his own person,
that in 2,000 years there have not been five volumes of prose (the work of one author) equal to his Conversations, he could indeed afford to wait: if conscious of earthly things, he must be waiting still.
This superlative self-esteem strikes one, to say the truth, as part of Landor's abiding boyishness. It is only in schoolboy themes that wo are still inclined to talk about the devouring love of fame. Grown-up men look rightly with some contempt upon such aspirations. What work a man does is really done in, or at least througb, his own generation ; and the posthumous fame which poets affect to value means, for the most part, being known by name to a few antiquarians, schoolmasters, or secluded students. When the poet, to adopt Landor's metaphor, has become a luminous star, his superiority to those which have grown dim by distance is for the first time clearly demonstrated. We can still see
him, though other bodies of his system have vanished into the infinite depths of oblivion. But he has also ceased to give appreciable warmth or light to ordinary human beings. He is a splendid name, but not a living influence. There are, of course, exceptions and qualifications to any such statements, but I have a suspicion that even Shakspeare's chief work have been done in the Globe Theatre, to living audiences, who felt what they never thought of criticising, and were quite unable to measure; and that spite of all æsthetic philosophers and minute antiquarians and judicious revivals, his real influence upon men's minds has been for the most part declining as his fame has been spreading. To defend or fully expound this heretical dogma would take too much space. The "late-dinner" theory, however, as held by Wordsworth and Landor, is subject to one less questionable qualification. It is an utterly untenable proposition that great men bave been generally overlooked in their own day.
If we run over the chief names of our literature, it would be hard to point to one which was not honoured, and sometimes honoured to excess, during its proprietor's lifetime. It is, indeed, true that much ephemeral underwood has often bidden in part the majestic forms which now stand out as sole relics of the forest. It is true also that the petty spite and jealousy of contemporaries, especially of their ablest contemporaries, has often prevented the full recognition of great men.
And there have been some whose fame, like that of Bunyan and Defoe, has extended amongst the lower sphere of readers before receiving the ratification of constituted judges. But such irregularities in the distribution of fame do not quite meet the point. I doubt whether one could mention a single case in which an author, overlooked at the time, both by the critics and the mass, has afterwards become famous; and + 3 cases are very rare in which a reputation once decayed has again taken root and shown real vitality. The experiment of resuscitation has been tried of late years with great pertinacity. The forgotten images of our seventeenth-century ancestors have been brought out of the lumber-room amidst immense flourishes of trumpets, but they are terribly worm-eaten; and all efforts to make their statues once more stand firmly on their pedestals have generally failed. Landor himself refused to see the merits of the mere “mushrooms," as he somewhere called them, which grew beneath the Shakspearian oak ; and though such men as Chapman, Webster, and Ford have received the warmest eulogies of Lamb and other able successors, their vitality is spasmodic and uncertain. We read them, if we read them, at the point of the critic's bayonet.
The case of Wordsworth is no precedent for Landor. Wordsworth's fame was for a long time confined to a narrow sect, and he did all in his power to hinder its spread by wilful disregard of the established canonseven when founded in reason. A reformer who will not court the prejudices even of his friends is likely to be slow in making converts. But it is one thing to be slow in getting a hearing, and another ip attracting men