Abbildungen der Seite


of the snipe are the lapwing and wild were not always so wary. For Longduck.” Now that the eggs fetch fancy parish House was the residence of the prices no bird in the nesting season is sporting Colonel Hawker, who in his more persecuted than the lapwing, yet "Diary” makes constant mention of the we doubt whether it is much less abun- river and the water-meadows. Sir dant than formerly, and assuredly Ralph Payne-Gallwey remarks, in the there is no prospect of its being extir- introduction to the last edition, “In the pated. It is true that the unprotected Test he caught literally thousands of colonies have been broken up, where trout, when trout could be caught withthey used to congregate in certain fa- out first crawling for them like vored localities in rushy pastures almost stalking a stag and then throwing a as thickly as the black-headed gulls; floating fly." but they have been dispersed over the Mr. Gibbs's “Cotswold Village" is a length and breadth of the land, and fertile oasis in a bleaker district. But there is scarcely a fallow or a bit of Shakespeare has thrown his charm waste without at least a pair of these over the Cotswolds: Justice Shallow querulous denizens of solitude. But the had his hospitable hall in Gloucesterborders of well protected streams like shire, and Will Squele was “a Cotswold Test and Itchen invaluable as man," Mr. Gibbs was a devout adbreeding places for the kingfisher, mirer of the poet, and cherished the which Mr. Gibbs describes as

memory of the Justice; but it was not

Shakespeare or Shallow who tempted clothed in priceless jewellery, spark- him to rent his old Manor House. It ling in the sun; sapphire and amethyst

was a case of love at first sight, and in his bright blue back, rubies on his

affection soon warmed into passion. ruddy breast, and diamonds round his princely neck;

We know how much there is in pi

quancy of expression; it can give charm and on these Hampshire rivers the

to features that are plain or even posikingfisher has still free right of fishing,

tively ugly. Mr. Gibbs admits that to while his mate can hatch her brood in

a superficial observer his surroundings tranquillity in the badger-like burrow might seem almost forbidding. “On beneath the bank.

the wolds all is bleak, dull and uninterMr. Dewar is skilled in the subtleties

esting; the air is ever chill; walls of of fine fishing in limpid chalk streams.

loose stone divide field from field, and He says "the Test trout are very diffi

few houses are to be seen." At first he. cult to deceive," and no one who has

was inclined to say with Shallow that tried the stream will dispute it.

all was barren. But when he caught

sight of the little hamlet, sheltering unWhitchurch, Longparish, Bransbury, der its stately trees, on the copse. Wherwell, Chilbolton-what enticing fringed banks of the pellucid Colne, a sounds these names have for the trout change came his spirit. The fisherman about the time when the yel- sharpness of the contrasts had an irrelow of palm and primrose begins to

sistible fascination, and the vision of appear in the hazel coppices, and the

beauty decided his fate. The first view note of the chiff-chaff is heard from oak and elm.

of his village impressed itself indelibly

on his memory and affections:But the mention of Longparish and its

Suddenly, as I was pondering how water-meadows reminds us of the

among these never-ending hills there changes that have come about in the

could be such a place as I had been course of the century. The Test trout

told existed, I beheld it at my feet, sur



passing beautiful! Below me was the night cometh" for his motto, and he set small village, nestling amid a wealth of himself, in the highest sense, to make stately trees. The hand of man seemed

the best of the passing world. He was in some by-gone time to have done all

not righteous over-much, and there that was necessary to render the place

was nothing in him of the Puritan or habitable, but no more. There were

the sentimentalist; rather was he the cottages, bridges, and farm buildings, but all were ivy-clad and time-worn.

lay counterpart of Charles Kingsley. The very trees themselves appeared to

Devoted to all manner of sport, he was be laden with a mantle of ivy that was as patient an angler as Mr. Dewar, and more than they could bear. Many a tall as pleased with a wild bag picked up fir, from base to topmost bough, was by hard walking. No

went completely robed with the smooth five

straighter when hounds were carrying pointed leaves of this rapacious ever

a scent breast-high; he complains that green. Through the thick foliage of elm

the stone walls on the wolds were not and ash and beech I could just see an old manor house; and round about it, as

stiff enough; and his recollections of if for protection, were clustered some

good days remind us of runs by Whytethirty cottages. A running of waters Melville in “Market Harborough" or filled my ears, and on descending the “Kate Coventry.” But there is a serihill I came upon a silvery trout stream. ous undercurrent in his lighter vein,

though it may sink out of sight in an In the "five-pointed" leaves of the ivy occasional chapter, as the Colne disapwe note the exactness of knowledge pears for a space beneath its chalk which gives vraisemblance to the work bed, the fact being that he took his of great poets and artists—vraisem- responsibilities seriously, spending blance gave their cachet to the land- means and talents for the good of his scapes of Millais, for Millais passed neighbors. His system may be summed half the year in the country. So old Mr. up in his relations with his headHolbrook in Mrs. Gaskell's “Cranford" keeper, the son of a venerable tenant, appreciates the poetry of Tennyson, and one of a family long settled on the because the young poet had written of land. As Scott had his Tom Purdie, so the black ash-buds in Marchi; and so Gibbs had his Tom Peregrine, and he Scott explained from the artistic point made the most of him. Tom may have of view the value of the minuteness of been embellished by an indulgent truth, when he was gathering the wild fancy, but in essentials he is evidently flowers that grew on the banks of the true to the life. An incarnation of Greta.

sylvan knowledge and rural lore, he Mr. Gibbs's decision to settle in his was exploited by his friend and master Cotswold village was a fortunate one to their mutual advantage. Tom was for the natives. He took up his abode the Leather-Stocking of Gibbs's old in the Manor House and became the English scenes:Providence of the parish. In his book there is nothing of egoism, but it is I liked the man; he was so delightfulfull of personal experiences and fond

ly mysterious. And the place would reminiscences, and it brings us into the

never have been the same without him; closest touch with the writer. In the

for he became part and parcel with the

trees and the fields and every living overflow of irrepressible feeling it is

thing. Nor would the woods and the the frank revelation of a beautiful life,

path by the brook and the breezy wolds and yet the shadow of a premature ever have been quite the same if his death seems to darken the brightest quaint figure had not appeared sudden. pages. Gibbs might have taken "the ly there. Many a time was I startled

by the sudden appearance of Tom Pere- themselves beneath the snow, only grine, when out shooting on the hill: he leaving scarcely perceptible breathing seemed to spring up from the ground holes. Naturally he enjoyed the counlike Herne the Hunter. ...The dog

try most when woods and fields were was almost as mysterious as the man

most luxuriant. His angling rambles himself. When in the woods, Tom's at

down his river, from its sources to his titude and gait would at times resemble the movements of a cock-peasant: now

own village, will be another revelation, stealing along for a few yards, listen

for the district has no great notoriety, ing for the slightest sound of any ani. and is beyond the range of the tourist. mal stirring in the underwood: now He is never more sympathetically standing for a time with bated breath.

poetical than when dilating on the Did a blackbird—that dusky sentinel of

beauties of his own special oasis, when the woods-utter her characteristic note

the sun is sloping to the west in the of warning, he would whisper, “Hark!"

flush of a September evening, or when Then, after due deliberation, he would add, “ 'Tis a fox!” or, “There's a fox in

the moonbeams fall glimmering through the grove"; and then he would steal the lattice-work of the ash boughs. In gently up to try to get a glimpse of his sympathy with animal nature, he Reynard.

is the rival of Jefferies, the disciple of

White. He identifies himself with the Mr. Gibbs was happy in the God

shrewd strategy of the crafty old doggiven gift of mingling with the under

fox who laughed all the packs in the educated or ignorant without a suspi

neighborhood to scorn; and he makes cion of condescension. His was the

himself at home with the house-parties familiarity of patriarchal chief

on his lawn in the autumn, when swans with vassals who were bound to him

and ducks waddled up to the banquet by a thousand kind offices. It need

to meet hand-bred pheasants and the hardly be said that with such a man no

songsters of the bushes. We said that day was ever too long, and no month

the shadow of the future falls on the was ever dreary. When not actively

pages, and, strangely enough, on the amusing himself he was doing some

last of them-with speculation on the thing for others, and he could possess

future of the soul-is a solemn word of himself in patience with his pen among

affectionate warning to the reader:his books till rain-bursts snowstorms had blown over. Not that he

When the sun goes down, if you will shrank from facing the elements. Some

turn for a little while from the noise of his sharpest cameos are cut from

and clamor of the busy world, you the desolation of the downs in winter, shall list to those voices ringing in your when crows, magpies and green plover ears. Words of comfort shall you hear had been driven to shelter on the Colne at eventide, and "sorrow and sadness banks, and when the hares had buried shall be no more."



The Quarterly Reriew.




My prescribed theme is "the 19th be, Chateaubriand's "Génie du Chriscentury.” What is the 19th century? I tianisme" in 1802 for the beginning in do not mean to raise the controversy as

France. Science is cosmopolitan, aud to when the 19th century ends and the in dealing with it we may eliminate 20th begins-a question the eager dis- the particularities of race and lancussion of which affords a striking guage. But, even in the case of science, proof of the aphorism that the pleas- the different centuries, if they are to ures of investigation do not lie so much be spoken of as separate entities, must in the acquisition of truth as in its pur- not be too rigidly defined. Some gentle suit. My inquiry aims at a different violence must be done to chronology if mark, and, somewhat expanded, it epochs

to be profitably distin. comes to this. When we mark off a guished; and I imagine that those who century for particular consideration, are qualified to speak on such subjects what kind of period have we in our -which I am not-would regard Laminds? The negative answer at all place's "Mécanique Céleste" (though events seems plain. It is seldom, ex- not completed till 1825) as the culminatcept by accident, exactly a hundred ing performance of the old century, years. Moreover, it is seldom, except the theories of Young and Dalton as by accident, precisely the same period belonging essentially to the for two aspects of what we loosely but Granting that a procedure of this kind conveniently call the same century. Na- is desirable if we are usefully to sum ture does not exhibit her uniformity by

up the achievements of a particular any pedantic adherence to the decimal epoch, it nevertheless remains true that system, and if we insist upon substitu- mere process of summation ting rigid and arbitrary divisions of his- quite explain the impression which torical time for natural ones half the different epochs produce on us. significance of history will be lost for We cannot, by cataloguing mental For example, if we had to put

characteristics or describing fact and finger on the date which, in matters figure, convey the impression of political, divided the last century from

human personality. Neither can we, by the present, we might for England

a parallel process, justify our sentichoose the declaration of war with

ments about a century, yet most of us France in the last days of 1793; for have them—“the reason why we can. France the assembling of the States

not tell, but only this we know full General in 1789; for the United States

well," some centuries please us and of America the Declaration of Inde

some do not. It so happens, for expendence, or the Peace of Versailles. ample, that I dislike the 17th century For the corresponding event in literary

and like the 18th. I do not pretend to history we might perhaps fix the publi- justify my taste. Perhaps it is that cation of "Lyrical Ballads," in 1798 as there is a kind of unity and finish about the dawn of the new period for the

the 18th century wanting to its predeEnglish-speaking people, and, it may

cessor. Perhaps I prejudiced

against the latter by my dislike of its * An Address by the Right Hon. Arthur J. Balfour, before the University Extension Stu

religious wars, which were more than dents at Cambridge, Aug. 2, 1900.

half political, and its political wars,








which were more than half religious. In any case the matter is quite unimportant. What is more to our present purpose is to ask whether the 19th century yet presents itself to any of us sufficiently as a whole to suggest any sentiment of the kind I have just illustrated. I confess that, for my own part, it does not. Of that portion of it with which most of us are alone immediately acquainted, say the last third, I feel I can in this connection say nothing. We are too much of it to judge it. The two remaining thirds, on the other hand, seem to me so different that I cannot criticise them together, and, if I am to criticise them separately I acknowledge at once that it is the first third and not the second that engages my sympathies. There are those, I am aware, who think that the great Reform Bill was the beginning of wisdom. Very likely they are right. But this is not a question of right, but

question of personal predilection, and from that point of view the middle third of the 19th century does not, I acknowledge, appeal to me. It is probably due to the natural ingratitude which we are apt to feel towards our immediate predecessors. But I justify it to myself by saying that it reminds me too much of Landseer's pictures and the revival of Gothic art, that I feel no sentiment of allegiance towards any of the intellectual dynasties which then held sway, that neither the thin lucidity of Mill nor the turbid prophesy. ings of Carlyle, neither Comte nor yet Newman were ever able to arouse in me the enthusiasm of a disciple, and that I turn with pleasure from the Corn Laws to the great war, from Thackeray and Dickens to Scott and Miss Austen, even from Tennyson and Browning to Keats, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Shelley. Observations like these, however, are rather in the nature of individual fancies than inipersonal criticisms; and I hasten to con

sider whether, apart altogether from likes and dislikes, there is any characteristic note which distinguishes this century from any that has gone before it.

On this point I range myself with those who find this characteristic note in the growth of science. In the last 100 years the world has seen great wars, great national and social upheavals, great religious movements, great economic changes. Literature and art have had their triumphs and have permanently enriched the intellectual inheritance of our race. Yet, large as is the space which subjects like these legitimately fill in our thoughts, much as they will occupy the future historian, it is not among these that I seek for the most important and the most fun. damental differences which separate the present from preceding ages. Rather is this to be found in the cumulative products scientific research, to which no other period offers a precedent or a parallel. No single discovery, it may be, can be compared in its re. sults to that of Copernicus; no single discoverer can be compared in genius to Newton; but, in their total effects, the advances made by the 19th cen. tury are not to be matched. Not only is the surprising increase of knowledge new, but the use to which it has been put is new also. The growth of industrial invention is not a fact we are permitted to forget. We do, however, sometimes forget how much of it is due to a close connection between theoretic knowledge and its utilitarian application which, in its degree, is altogether unexampled in the history of mankind. I suppose that, at this moment, if we were allowed a vision of the embryonic forces which are predestined most potently to affect the future of mankind, we should have to look for them not in the Legislature, nor in the Press, nor on the platform, nor in the schemes of practical statesmen, nor the dreams of

« ZurückWeiter »