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a true Caledonian is constituted upon quite a different plan. You cannot cry halves to anything that he finds. You must speak upon the square with him. He stops a metaphor like a suspected person in an enemy's country. I was present not long since, at a party of North Britons, where a son of Burns was expected, and happened to drop a silly expression, that I wished it were the father instead of the son, when four of them started up at once to inform me that that was impossible, because he was dead.-Lamb's “ Essays of Elia.”
There are two opposite ways by which some men make a figure in the world; one, by talking faster than they think, and the other, by holding their tongues and not thinking at all. By the first, many a smatterer acquires the reputation of a man of quick parts; by the other, many a dunderpate like the owl, comes to be considered the very type of wisdom. This, by-the-way, is a casual remark which I would not for the universe have it thought I apply to Governor Van Twiller. It is true he was a man shut up within himself, like an oyster, and rarely spoke except in monosyllables. If a joke were uttered in his presence, it was observed to throw him into a state of perplexity. When, after much explanation, the joke was made as plain as a pikestaff, he would exclaim, “Well, I see nothing in all that to laugh about.” He was exactly five feet six inches in height and six feet five inches in circumfer
His body was oblong and particularly capacious at bottom. His face presented a vast expanse, unsurrowed hy any of those lines and angles which disfigure the countenance with what is termed expression.— Irving's " Knickerbocker."
The opinion of these other branches of my family," pursued Mrs. Micawber, “ is, that Mr. Micawber should immediately turn his attention to coal.” “To what, ma'am ?” “To coal,” said Mrs. Micawber. “To the coal trade. Mr. Micawber was induced to think, on inquiry, that there might be an opening for a man of his talent in the Medway Coal Trade.
Then, as Mr. Micawber very properly said, the first step to be taken clearly was, to come and see the Medway. Which we came and saw. I say, we, Master Copperfield; for I never will,” said Mrs. Micawber with emotion, I never will desert Mr. Micawber." I murmured my admiration and approbation. “We came," repeated Mrs. Micawber, “and saw the Medway. My opinion of the coal trade on that river is, that it may require talent, but that it certainly requires capital. Talent, Mr. Micawber has; capital, Mr. Micawber has not.-Dickens' " David Copperfield."
MATTHEW ARNOLD'S ENGLISH STYLE.*
WHATEVER independent conclusions any one may have reached as to the writings and style of Matthew Arnold, it must be conceded that he is a commanding presence in English Letters. A poet of no inferior mould; a painstaking observer of the methods of modern education; a literary critic of acknowledged ability, and a writer of English prose as prominent, at present, as any of his English or American contemporaries, his work as an author demands examination, and will well repay any conscientious study that may be given it. In the chapter before us, it is with Mr. Arnold exclusively as a prose writer that we have to do, while, within the province of prose itself, we are to confine attention to the question of style, as distinct from any related question of personal character or opinion. It is not with our author's religious views as sound or unsound; nor with his views of education, politics, and social economy, that we are to deal; but with Mr. Arnold the man of letters. As far as the different divisions of his prose are concerned, they may be said to be theological, as seen in “St. Paul and Protestantism," “God and the Bible," "Literature and Dogma,"
* In connection with the English Style of Mr. Arnold and Mr. Emerson as here presented, the reader is referred to the author's “ English Prose and Prose Writers," to such examples as Bacon, De Quincey, Burke and Lamb for pertinent illustrations of the various types of style under discussion.
· “Last Essays on the Church and Religion;" educational, as seen in “Schools and Universities of the Continent,” “ Higher Schools and Universities in Germany," “ Popular Education in France;" literary, as seen in “Essays in Criticism," “ Culture
“ and Anarchy," “ Study of Celtic Literature," and " Addresses in America." These various discussions, shorter or longer, make up, with slight exceptions, the body of his published prose, and afford us an inviting field for the special survey of his work as a writer.
I. We note, at the outset, its classical character. The term classical, in this connection, may be used either in its more specific, technical sense, or in its more enlarged and current sense. If by it we mean the style of the old pagan authors in the best days of Greek and Roman letters, the word is eminently applicable to Mr. Arnold's writings. Most especially, it applies, in his case, to Grecian letters. In such an essay as
“ Literature and Science,” we can clearly see the profound attach
ment of the author to anything Athenian, to the Attic order of expression, and to this, mainly, because of its beauty and grace. It has that "high symmetry” of form and method to which all later nations, as he argues, can hope but to approximate. That “instinct for beauty” which is common to the race will not only hold, as he affirms, the Greek language and literature in its historic place of prominence among liberal studies, but will make the imitation of its models an essential study with every patron of humane letters and verbal express sion. It is a pleasing incident to note, that an edition of “ Thucydides,” by Dr. Thomas Arnold, evinces this same devotedness to the Greek, and thereby connects the scholarly instincts of the son with those of the father. Mr. Arnold thus insists in referring himself and his readers to the authors of antiquity. He is content to apply to prose what he has so emphatically applied to poetry, as he says: “In the sincere endeavor to learn and practise what is sound and true in poetical art, I seemed to myself to find the only sure guidance among the ancients." So conspicuons is this element of ancientness in his prose style, that it is only the reader of classical training and tastes who can best appreciate its meaning.
If we accept the word classical in its wider sense of standard, it is still, to a good degree, applicable to the prose before us. In his essay on “The Literary Influence of Academies," the author himself constantly employs the word in this generally