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Supper of the Lord. He also desired that the organist should relinquish the old and pernicious habit of preluding with triumphal marches, and running his fingers at random over the keys of his instrument, playing scraps of secu lar music very slowly to make them sacred, and substitute instead some of the beautiful
to cease, but only to disappear in the greater tide, and flow unseen beneath it? Yet so it was; and this stronger yearning-this unappeasable desire for her friend--was only the tumultuous swelling of a heart, that as yet knows not its own secret.'
symphonies of Pergolesi, Palestrina, and Sebas-consciously unfolds the flower of her affecAnother young lady more actively and
"He held that sacred melodies were becoming to sacred themes; and did not wish, that, in his church, as in some of the French Canadian churches, the holy profession of religion should be sung to the air of 'When one is
tions. Miss Amelia Hawkins becomes suddenly captivating and devout; and takes interest in Sabbath-schools, as well as in a portrait for which the young clerdead 'tis for a long time'-the command-gyman submits to sit at the request of his ments, aspirations for heaven, and the necesparishioners. The portrait is described sity of thinking of one's salvation, to The Follies of Spain,' Louisa was sleeping in a grove,' or a grand March of the French Cavalry.'"
He soon became popular, especially with the ladies, one of whom declared on his first appearance that he was "not a man, but a Thaddeus of Warsaw." Alice Archer, a thoughtful, silent, susceptible girl, whose dark eyes, fixed upon him "with unflagging interest and attention," cheered and consoled him through the discouragements of his first discourse, becomes enamored of his eloquence and of himself. The first suggestions of her passion are delicately introduced in a conversation with her friend, Cecilia Vaughan.
"I have just been writing to you,' said Alice; I wanted so much to see you this morning!'
"Why this morning in particular? any thing happened?'
Nothing, only I had such a longing to see you!'
"And, seating herself in a low chair by Cecilia's side, she laid her head upon the shoulder of her friend, who, taking one of her pale, thin hands in both her own, silently kissed her forehead again and again.
"Alice was not aware, that, in the words she uttered, there was the slightest shadow of untruth. And yet had nothing happened? Was it nothing, that among her thoughts a new thought had risen, like a star, whose pale effulgence, mingled with the common daylight, was not yet distinctly visible even to herself, but would grow brighter as the sun grew lower, and the rosy twilight darker? Was it nothing, that a new fountain of affection had suddenly sprung up within her, which she mistook for the freshening and overflowing of the old fountain of friendship, that hitherto had kept the lowland landscape of her life so green, but now, being flooded by more affection, was not
"The parish showed their grateful acknowledgment of his zeal and sympathy, by requesting him to sit for his portrait to a great artist months in the village for recreation, using his from the city, who was passing the summer pencil only on rarest occasions and as a particular favor. To this martyrdom the meek Kavanagh submitted without a murmur. During the progress of this work of art, he was seldom left alone; some one of his parishioners was there to enliven him; and most frequently
it was Miss Martha Amelia Hawkins. *
She took a very lively interest in the portrait, and favored with many suggestions the distinguished artist, who found it difficult to obtain an expression which would satisfy the parish, some wishing to have it grave, if not severe, and others with "Mr. Kavanagh's peculiar smile." Kavanagh himself was quite indifferent about the matter, and met his fate with Christian fortitude, in a white cravat and sacer'dotal robes, with one hand hanging down from the back of his chair, and the other holding a large book, with the fore-finger between its leaves, reminding Mr. Churchill of Milo with his fingers in the oak. The expression of the face was exceedingly bland and resigned; perhaps a little wanting in strength, but on the whole satisfactory to the parish. So was the artist's price; nay, it was even held by some persons to be cheap, considering the quantity of background he had put in.”
The following is equally felicitous:
"Mr. Churchill, also, had had his profile, and those of his wife and children, taken, in a very humble style, by Mr. Bantam, whose advertisement he had noticed on his way to school nearly a year before. His own was considered the best, as a work of art. The face was cut out entirely; the collar of the coat velvet; the shirt-collar very high and white; and the top of his head ornamented with a crest of hair turning up in front, though his own turned down-which slight deviation from nature was
explained and justified by the painter as a license allowable in art."
Ignorant of the timid but deep-seated love of Alice, and annoyed by the vulgar assiduities of Miss Hawkins, Kavanagh bestows his affections on the beautiful Cecilia Vaughan; and after a short and not very romantic wooing, they are united and go to Italy.
Churchill, meanwhile, with his cheerful, blue-eyed wife, moves on the even tenor of his way, which is unbroken by a single incident, except the absconding and subsequent death of their pretty serving-maid, Lucy; who, after eloping with "The Briareus of boots," returns "forlorn and forsaken," wishes she were only a Christian that she might destroy her life, and shortly afterward, under the exciting influences of a Millerite camp-meeting, drowns herself in the river. It is the only impressive incident that occurs, and is alluded to with just sufficient detail and remark to produce the strongest effect.
"Kavanagh and Mr. Churchill took a stroll together across the fields, and down green lanes, walking all the bright, brief afternoon. From the summit of the hill, beside the old windmill, they saw the sun set; and, opposite, the full moon rise, dewy, large, and red. As they descended, they felt the heavy dampness of the air, like water, rising to meet thembathing with coolness first their feet, then their hands, then their faces, till they were submerged in that sea of dew. As they skirted the woodland on their homeward way, trampling the golden leaves under foot, they heard voices at a distance, singing; and then saw the lights of the camp-meeting gleaming through the trees, and, drawing nearer, distinguished a portion of the hymn:
'Don't you hear the Lord a-coming
"These words, at once awful and ludicrous, rose on the still twilight air from a hundred voices, thrilling with emotion, and from as many beating, fluttering, struggling hearts. High above them all was heard one voice,
clear and musical as a clarion.
I know that voice,' said Mr. Churchill; it
is Elder Evans's.'
"Ah!' exclaimed Kavanagh-for only the impression of awe was upon him-' he never
acted in a deeper tragedy than this! How terrible it is! Let us pass on,'
"They hurried away, Kavanagh trembling in every fibre. Silently they walked, the music fading into softest vibrations behind them.
"How strange is this fanaticism!' at length said Mr. Churchill, rather as a relief to his own thoughts, than for the purpose of reviving the conversation. These people really believe that the end of the world is close at hand.'
"And to thousands,' answered Kavanagh, this is no fiction-no illusion of an overheated imagination. To-day, to-morrow, every day, to thousands, the end of the world is close at hand. And why should we fear it? We. walk here, as it were, in the crypts of life; at times, from the great cathedral above us, we can hear the organ and the chanting of the choir; we see the light stream through the open door, when some friend goes up before us; and shall we fear to mount the narrow staircase of the grave, that leads us out of this the life eternal?' uncertain twilight into the serene mansions of
"They reached the wooden bridge over the river, which the moonlight converted into a river of light. Their footsteps sounded on the planks; they passed without perceiving a female figure that stood in the shadow below on the brink of the stream, watching wistfully the flow of the current. It was Lucy! Her bonnet and shawl were lying at her feet; and when they had passed, she waded far out into in its deeper waves, and floated slowly away the shallow stream, laid herself gently down that were faded and fallen like herself-among into the moonlight, among the golden leaves the water-lilies, whose fragrant white blossoms had been broken off and polluted long ago. sound, she floated downward, downward, and Without a struggle, without a sigh, without a silently sank into the silent river. Far off, faint, and indistinct, was heard the startling hymn, with its wild and peculiar melody :
'O, there will be mourning, mourning, mourning, mourning
O, there will be mourning, at the judgment-seat of Christ!'"
This beautiful passage is like that in which Evangeline unknowingly passes her lover on the Mississippi. The unaccustomed sadness that comes over Kavanagh and his friend, as they pass the wooden bridge, is like the spirit-presence of Gabriel on the heart of that wandering maiden; and the one as strikingly illustrates our death, as in the other we see how the often unconscious nearness to calamity and objects of most ardent aspirations sometimes approach so as to be grasped, had
we but a distincter sense of their proximity.
After three years' absence, Kavanagh and Cecilia return to Fairmeadow, which, by the addition of a railroad, had grown, according to some of the ladies, "quite metropolitan," and was thought "likely soon to become a sea-port," having already "grown from a simple village to a very precocious town." Kavanagh, wandering about, the morning after his return, finds not the Fairmeadow of his memory: his first familiar recognition is of Miss Manchester, on a ladder, painting her own cottage.
Churchill is found still brooding over his long-cherished, darling contemplation, his still unwritten romance. It is on the character of Churchill that our author has expended his strongest effort. He is a man of a naturally powerful and expansive intellect, constantly obstructed by the actual in search of the sublime. A man of feeble passions, possessing no ambition, unless it be a vague sort of literary ambition, he moves in a kind of trance, and, always procrastinating, passes his life with scarcely an effort at accomplishing its dearest hope. The Monday morning that calls him from his day-dreams to his duties, is "a dark hand placed between him and the light;" and he is thrown from his equanimity by the appearance of a butcher's cart at his door. Utterly deficient in humor, he has therefore no tolerance of the little practical items of daily life, and exaggerates trivial and ridiculous annoy
|ances into serious misfortunes. The basis of his character is weakness; he is too amiable to resist, too inefficient to perform. The scope of his intellect is narrowed by the exclusiveness with which he cherishes one darling aspiration; and his whole character becomes "sicklied o'er" by his "pale cast of thought." Beneath the actual life he bends as with a burthen, stumbling as he goes; while in the world of imagination he walks erect with his head in the clouds, and half blinded by their vapor. Such a man has no station, no identity; he is shadowy, and makes no lasting impression. Our author compares him to the sea, "that plays with the pebbles on its beach; but under the inspiration of the wind might lift great navies on its outstretched palms, and toss them into the air as playthings." Beyond this assertion, we have no evidence of such power to play with mighty things; and, far from playing with the pebbles of life, he continually frets himself against them, and magnifies them into great rocks.
The delineation of Cecilia Vaughan, if less elaborated, is scarcely less unreal. Here the character and the situation are not in keeping. No such girls are found in a New England village. In no such village could Miss Vaughan, there born and bred, have preserved that aristocratic exclusiveness which limited her acquaintance to Alice Archer, and held her at such awful, unapproachable distance above the unfortunate aspirations of Mr. Adolphus Hawkins.
Alice Archer is more true to nature. Her early love, crossed by that of her friend, and ending in death, constitutes the romance proper of the tale; but her death, instead of being reserved for the dénouement, occurring as it does in the middle of the book, and at a time when other interests are paramount, the little sympathy which her ill-fated passion has excited is lost, and she forgotten. The practical morality squeezed from her story, and thrown, as it were, in the teeth of poor, innocent Mr. Churchill, is so wide as to be ridiculous, and makes one laugh as if at the wrong time, and feel like a child who has behaved with indecorum at a prayer-meeting.
"All day long, all night long, the snow fell
on the village and on the church-yard; on the happy home of Cecilia Vaughan, on the lonely grave of Alice Archer! Yes; for before the winter came she had gone to that land where winter never comes. Her long domestic tragedy was ended. She was dead; and with her had died her secret sorrow and her secret love. Kavanagh never knew what wealth of affection for him faded from the world when she departed; Cecilia never knew what fidelity of friendship, what delicate regard, what gentle magnanimity, what angelic patience had gone with her into the grave; Mr. Churchill never knew, that, while he was exploring the Past for records of obscure and unknown martyrs, in his own village, near his own door, before his own eyes, one of that silent sisterhood had passed away into oblivion, unnoticed and unknown.
How often, ah, how often, between the desire of the heart and its fulfilment, lies only the briefest space of time and distance, and yet the desire remains forever unfulfilled! It is so near that we can touch it with the hand, and yet so far away that the eye cannot perceive it. What Mr. Churchill most desired was before him. The romance he was longing to find and record had really occurred in his neighborhood, among his own friends. It had been set like a picture into the framework of his life, inclosed within his own experience. But he could not see it as an object apart from himself; and as he was gazing at what was remote and strange and indistinct, the nearer incidents of aspiration, love, and death, escaped him. They were too near to be clothed by the imagination with the golden vapors of romance; for the familiar seems trivial, and only the distant and unknown completely fill and satisfy
Viola says, "she never told her love," &c., and knowing that she speaks of herself, we are touched with a feeling of her truth and delicacy; but how, if Alice "never unclasped the book of her secret soul," is Mr. Longfellew supposed to have divined it? The artist should know that the charm of his picture is to be life-like. We voluntarily give ourselves to the perusal of a fiction, and losing that consciousness as we proceed, should never be per
mitted for a moment to recall it: for the time the imaginary must stand for the real, and no inconsiderate assertion of the author should dispel the illusion. Why should Mr. Churchill be reproached for "ransacking the records of obscure martyrs," instead of chronicling the passage of this remarkable romance which he knew nothing about? while we are informed, on the same page, that it was "enclosed
in his experience," and that he "never knew it." It was not so much the young lady's death as its cause, on which, could he have been content with so meagre a subject, he might have constructed the long contemplated romance, and that cause, we are told, died with her. What then have we to do with these impertinent moralities, and why is Mr. Churchill's inevitable ignorance of the affair passed over, and the "nearness" of the event commented upon as preventing its being clothed and suited to his purpose-its "familiarity," withal, rendering it too "trivial" to satisfy him. This is absolute "gassing." It reminds us of Joseph Surface's eternal "For the man who-;" and with Sir Peter, we are ready to exclaim, "Oh, curse your sentiment!"
The displayful morality of Mr. Longfellow's poetry has frequently been noticed. In most of his minor poems-in "The Voices of the Night" particularly, the beautiful moral so characteristically involved and interwoven with the theme, instead of being left to diffuse its own influence over the mind of the reader, is drawn out separately, and suspended like a label indicating the nature of that which in its own exquisite flavor and coloring sufficiently declares itself. In Churchill's private meditations we notice the same laconics in the thirteenth chapter. They error of judgment. We allude to the are well worth preserving, and we have a fancy that they have been preserved a long while; just as ladies lay aside exquisite old needlework till it is in danger of wearing out from disuse, and then fabricate agreeable lounges and cushions on which to display it; no one ever suspecting (unless it be some prying, inquisitive sister who, ten to one, has used the same innocent artifice herself) that the lounge was made for the embroidery, instead of the embroidery for the lounge.
have run, but without any observation of the heavenly bodies.
"Many readers judge of the power of a book by the shock it gives their feelings-as some savage tribes determine the power of muskets by their recoil; that being considered the best which fairly prostrates the purchaser.
"Men of genius are often dull and inert in society; as the blazing meteor, when it descends to earth, is only a stone.
"With many readers, brilliancy of style passes for affluence of thought; they mistake buttercups in the grass for immeasurable gold mines under ground.
"The motives and purposes of authors are not always so pure and high, as, in the enthusiasm of youth, we sometimes imagine. To many the trumpet of fame is nothing but a tin horn to call them home, like laborers from the field, at dinner-time; and they think themselves lucky to get the dinner.
much larger than the book itself; as Sancho Panza, with his eyes blinded, beheld from his wooden horse the earth no larger than a grain of mustard-seed, and the men and women on it as large as hazel-nuts.
"Like an inundation of the Indus is the course of Time. We look for the homes of our childhood, they are gone; for the friends of our childhood, they are gone. The loves and animosities of youth, where are they? Swept away like the camps that had been pitched in the sandy bed of the river.
"As no saint can be canonized until the Devil's Advocate has exposed all his evil deeds, and showed why he should not be made a saint, so no poet can take his station among the gods until the critics have said all that can be said against him."
Mr. Churchill's use of the old church "The rays of happiness, like those of light, its dimensions may reasonably be supposed pulpit is preposterously improbable, since
are colorless when unbroken.
"Critics are sentinels in the grand army of letters, stationed at the corners of newspapers and reviews, to challenge every new author. "The country is lyric-the town dramatic. When mingled, they make the most perfect musical drama.
"The natural alone is permanent. Fantastic idols may be worshipped for a while; but at length they are overturned by the continual and silent progress of Truth, as the grim statues of Copan have been pushed from their pedestals by the growth of forest-tress, whose seeds were sown by the wind in the ruined walls.
"The every-day cares and duties, which men call drudgery, are the weights and counterpoises of the clock of time, giving its pendulum a true vibration, and its hands a regular motion; and when they cease to hang upon the wheels, the pendulum no longer swings, the hands no longer move, the clock stands still.
"The same object, seen from the three different points of view-the Past, the Present, and the Future—often exhibits three different faces to us; like those sign-boards over shop doors, which represent the face of a lion as we approach, of a man when we are in front, and of an ass when we have passed.
"In character, in manners, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.
"Some critics have the habit of rowing up the Heliconian rivers with their backs turned, so as to see the landscape precisely as the poet did not see it. Others see faults in a book
to have equalled the capacity of his study to receive it, and greatly to have exceeded the width of an inner door. It is laughable to observe with what forethought and labor it is brought up, and made to serve in presenting with an easy, natural air these meditations, which, after all, we read with little interest, because however beautiful or brilliant in themselves, they stand separate and disconnected. Brought in as illustrations, such things possess a charm which is lost when we see them alone. Forced upon us without propriety they become wearisome. Scattered pearls are of less value than when drawn together by the thread of connection, their beauty being enhanced by the union of a purpose. Another ob jection might be offered to this "pulpit eloquence" as it is facetiously termed, in that it draws attention from the story and fore us in their stead, which, however its personages, and brings the author beagreeable to us, might not, on the present occasion, be convenient to himself. Mr. Churchill never commences his romance; but we catch a glimpse of Mr. Longfellow, seated in Mr. Churchill's study, extracting from his common-place book material for the pages of his own.
The sentimentality of our principal dramatis person is exhibited in a rather spiritless pic-nic held at the "Roaring Brook," in the neighboring town of West