« ZurückWeiter »
to transfer their consequences to the mention of their articles and their political domain. If the correct atti- names. We, too, shall soon forget the tude of the German Government, and names and articles of the men who the cordial relations existing between were and are now in the act of causthe German Emperor and the ruler of us serious international difficulties, Austro-Hungary, have hitherto blunted and in a short time the grass will have the point of the agitation of the "all. grown over their printers' ink; but who deutschen” party organs in favor of the knows whether the son of many a German opposition in Austria, this does mother will not have to suffer for the not exclude the possibility that from mischief they have wrought, and other directions, for instance, not only which, perhaps, might have been prefrom French, but also from internal vented if the more sensible portion of Austrian sources, the alleged desires of the press bad exerted its influence more Germany-in case of the opening of a energetically and permanently? True, question of succession in Austria-may this requires that it shall clearly underbe drawn into the circle of discussion stand the consequences of the policy it and made the cause of suspicion. That advocates, and take the trouble to rethis is possible, in spite of the absence flect upon the thoughts which daily of any real foundation for it, Germany events inspire, instead of merely letowes to the foolish course of some of ting them effervesce. That the latter her press organs, which, though they occurs far too often, the events of the are in the habit of assailing their own last year or two have furnished striking government just as vehemently as proof. they attack foreign countries, are repre- The press, too, has a right to demand sented by English and French publica- something, and that is, that competent tions as official or semi-official govern- authority shall give it the necessary ment organs.
suggestions for what appears to be The seventh great Power, for as such requisite in the interests of the we must probably estimate the press foreign relations of the empire, and this since Italy has taken the sixth place, is not restricted to political questions. has this one thing in common with the That this is done to a certain extent is ruler of a constitutional government, probably undeniable, but we need only that both, in theory, can do no wrong. turn the pages of one of the larger poBut in one respect it is more fortunate litical papers for the last year, to conthan such a ruler by the grace of God; vince ourselves how contradictory is its ministers and councillors, the edi. the information received at different tors and publishers, are not responsible
times from one or another official before the judgment seat of history, source. Baron Louis, the French Minthough they may often fall into the ister of Finance, used to say: "Give hands of other and lower courts of jus- good politics and I will give you good tice. Charles X, Louis Philippe, Napo- finances,” and an impertinent journal. leon III, to say nothing of others, were ist—there are such fellows-might parobliged to atone, by dethronement and ody the phrase by the statement that a exile, for the stupidity of the press of plainly understood system of politics their times and countries, while the
was the first condition of a good politijournalists who worked diligently at
But even this beautiful the causes of the various down. world of ours is said to have arisen falls, died quietly in their beds,
from chaos. and works of history make
M. von Brandt. The Deutsche Revue.
THE ELDERS OF ARCADY.
Ever since I can remember anything opinion firmly and obstinately until, old people—very old people—their ways until-until in fact I gave it up-under and their talk, have exercised a strong compulsion. fascination over me. of late years I The most remarkable instance I ever find that children-if they are good- knew of what I may call cumulative have begun to master my heart as they longevity was that of a friend of mine never did in my younger time. But in Norwich, who died, I think, at sevthis is partly because children are so enty-five, and who used to tell me that much better and sweeter than they used his grandfather, when a child, had to be, and partly because there are so been held up to look at Charles the Secmany fewer old people nowadays than ond at the King's restoration in 1660. when I was in my prime. For when My friend was a highly respected and men and women are only ten or twenty influential solicitor in Norwich, Freeyears older than you are they are not stone by name, and at his death in, I nearly as interesting as they must think, 1865 or thereabouts, he left an needs be when they are twice or thrice estate in Norfolk to his nephew, Mr. or four times your own age.
Justice Lindley, now Master of the I used to be a good deal laughed at Rolls. and teased in my childhood and my John Freestone, the grandfather, boyhood for this taste for old people, lived as a bachelor till his seventy-secand a wicked young uncle, who never ond year, and then he married and had lived to grow old himself, prophesied a son, John the Second. This gentlethat I should end by marrying my man did as his father did; he lived a great-grandmother. “You know, boy," jovial life till he was seventy-two, and he used to say, “there's nothing against then he married and had a son, John it; for a great-grandmother is not the Third, my friend, who, living till among the prohibited degrees!" That seventy-five, died 218 years after his uncle was a bad man, and when I grandfather was born, and some 205 gravely replied that it did not follow after that grandfather was held up to because you were very fond of a dear stare at Charles the Second: That is, old lady that therefore
the grandfather must then have been marry her, that bad uncle only laughed a boy of eleven or twelve! the more at me, and made other people It would be hard to beat that record. laugh, too.
And yet, when one comes to think Never spend your cheap derision upon about it, John the Third could never a child, my masters! You never can have known much about his father. tell how much bitter pain you give by None of the race, I believe, lived to ridiculing a little boy or a little gir ghty, and one generation had no rem
As I grew older myself I provoked iniscences of the previous generation my friends-especially those of them to hand down to the succeeding one. It who were in the spooning stage—by has been very different with me. The frequently insisting that, as a rule, a first man that called on me here twenty woman of forty was a great deal more years ago was an old gentleman of beautiful and wiser, and generally a ninety-two, who had lived within three great deal more worth marrying, than miles of this door all his life, and was any chit of a girl; and I held to that born in the parish. There never was a more gifted master of delightful gos- senseless. There was a great alarm, sip, as distinguished from scandal, than and Brett called for water and rushed Mr. Barry Girling. No, never! He out to fetch some himself. Another distinctly remembered the poet Cow- boy named North came in first, bringper's burial at Dereham, on the 2nd of ing a cup of water, and Thurlow May, 1800, and had a story to tell of bawled out to North, “Let him alone! every house in the town of Dereham, let him alone! you young fool. Let and of every family, high or low, within him die, and then old Brett will be ten miles of his own birth-place. More- hanged. Let him die!" This Charles over, he was a born antiquary and col- North was the eldest grandson of lector, and he began to write a minute Roger North of Rougham; he was born history of the Scarning School as far in 1735, and was alive in 1760; but back as 1819, and continued to make what became of him I cannot tell, but additions to it from time to time till tradition says that he twice deliberately his death in 1881. Scarning School has set fire to Scarning School. But Mr. a history. For well-nigh 200 years it Elwin's story, which he heard from his was a flourishing and famous County grandfather, exactly corroborates the Grammar School, at which the sons of other story of Thurlow's life-long hathe Norfolk gentry received their edu- tred of his first schoolmaster. cation, and that a very good education, A few weeks after I became actoo, under a succession of Masters of quainted with Mr. Girling, I was honsome eminence in their day. Mr. Gir- ored by a call from the Rev. Bartle ling fished up a register of the scholars Edwards, who died nine days short of admitted betwen the years 1733 and 100 in 1889. Elsewhere I have called 1750, and a very curious register it is. him Nestor. He held the living of In those seventeen years no fewer than Ashill for seventy-seven years, and he six boys were admitted to the school told me once that not a man, woman or who afterwards became High Sheriff's child had been buried in the parish of Norfolk, and on the 11th of April, during the whole of his incumbency by 1743, Edward Thurlow, afterwards any one but himself. "I have buried Lord High Chancellor of England, was three generations of them," he said. He entered at the school, he being then actually continued to write fresh sereleven years of age.
mons till within a year of his death, Lord Thurlow's biographers agree in and I believe he preached in a black saying that he was a violent and un- gown till the end. I had the honor of governable boy, and that he had a life- wearing that gown at his funeral; it long hatred of Brett, his Scarning must have been quite fifty years old, schoolmaster; for Brett was, by all ac- and I shall never cease regretting that counts, a very fierce and cruel peda- I did not steal that gown and run away gogue. Among Thurlow's schoolfel- with it, as I might have done so easily. lows, though two years his junior, was Nestor was, in his whole cast of mind, Thomas Elwin, of Booton Hall-grand- as different a man as could well be father of the Rev. Whitwell Elwin, imagined from Mr. Barry Girling. for seven years editor of the Quarterly
I never knew any
one who was Review, who died a few months ago at less of a gossip or who lived less' the ripe age of eighty-seven. Mr. El- in the past. He
was not only a win told me that his grandfather was faithful parish priest first and forepresent one day when Brett threw a most; it might almost be said of him ruler at a small boy named Buck, with that he was a parish priest first and last. such force that it knocked him down I went to see him once by appointment,
to get, if it were possible, some in- nine days before completing his 100th formation from him as to the way in year. But I number among my friends which his tithes were collected in the who are still alive an old worthy who days when they were paid in kind. is some months over 100. I first beHe had nothing, absolutely nothing, to came acquainted with him about three tell me. "I have been trying to re- years ago, when he used to be up to a member something for you," he said, five miles walk without fatigue; he "but it's so long ago that I can't recol- was then in possession of all his facullect.” He never thought of anything ties, except that he was a little deaf, so far back. His memory began at a and he more than once asured me that point where the reminiscences of men if he survived until 1900 he should be of fifty begin. All before that was a able to boast that he had lived in three blank; but of the last fifty years of centuries. Recently, however, they had his life he could talk as simply and as found that he was baptized on the 12th accurately as I could, so much and no of February, 1800, and he now calls more. There seemed to have been that his birthday, though the probabilonly two incidents in his boyhood that ity is that he was right at first when he habitually recurred to. The first was he assumed or asserted that he was when he was about fourteen years old. born in 1799. Mr. Lewis Barton, for He had somehow played truant, and he that is the old man's name, was a shoefound himself at Epsom on the Derby maker at Dereham for sixty or seventy day [?]. There was a great crowd and years, and saved a modest competency the lad was very nearly ridden over by by his own industry and thrift. In the Prince Regent. "I got somehow early life he used to travel on his own between the horse's front legs, and I account for orders, and he had journey. looked up and saw his Royal Highness men working for him in the villages towering over me." This must have round. When the railroad came he saw been in 1804, for Mr. Edwards was that this peripatetic looking about for born in 1789.
customers would not pay, and he stayed The other incident which had made at home and his old customers came an indelible impression upon him was to him instead of his going to them, when he was a pupil with Forby, the and he was the gainer. All through author of the valuable "Vocabulary of life he has been a most pronounced and East Anglia," at Fincham, of which loyal Churchman, and, when both eyeplace Forby became rector in 1801. sight and hearing failed him, he worHere, again, he had nothing to tell me ried himself a good deal because, as of Forby, except that “he was a rare he said to me, “I find it hard, sir, that flogger and gave Pillans a cruel ilog- I can't make my early Communion now, ging the very day he was going to as I used to do!” The worthy Vicar leave him." Who "Pillans" was I did of Dereham met that difficulty easily, not ask and I do not know. “Do you and on his birthday (or it may be only remember William Girling, sir, who his baptismal day) he administered the was at Forby's with you?” “Was he? Blessed Sacrament to the old gentleNo, I don't remember that-it's so long man and a small congregation of his ago. Of course I knew Mr. Girling friends in the room where now almost very well when he lived at Scarning." all his time is passed. Old Barton is That is after Mr. Edwards had become wonderfully vigorous in mind even rector of Ashill. Everything before now; he used to be a great reader, and that had passed from his memory. as long as he could he read the Psalms
As I have said, Mr. Edwards died daily. The loss of his sight, which
came on quite suddenly, was a terrible This is my experience of life among the blow to him. It was pitiful to see him elders of Arcady. wave his hand to the bookshelves be- To the honor of the guardians of this hind his chair, saying, "Ah, I shall Poor Law Union be it written that never read them any more. They're they have more than once been cenall dumb or asleep to me now, sir. But sured by the officials in high places yet, you see, they're not all dead and for not too rigidly forcing the aged poor forgotten. There's old Shakespeare among us into "the house." The result still comes back upon me. I used to is that in this parish there have been read old Shakespeare almost every for some time past an extraordinary week seventy or eighty years ago. number of aged folk who have been Don't you think he was a wonder, sir?" allowed to live on undisturbed in One day, not so very long ago, he be- their birthplace for eighty or ninety gan abruptly to recite the famous so- years, some of them subsisting for ten liloquy of Hamlet:
or fifteen years on the niggardly pit
tance allowed them as "out-door relief." To be, or not to be: that is the ques- Of course, when a lonely old man has tion;
no one to look after him and begins to
mumble querulously and to get into He got as far as
dirty habits, such a one is best sent to There's the respect
the workhouse, where he gets fairly That makes calamity of so long life.
well attended to, and he usually ends
by growing silly. He is friendless and Then he paused with a curious fixed has nothing to live for, and forgets all set in the blind eyes, turned my way. that is worth remembering. It is, how. “Ah! sir, I do pray God to de- ever, very different with the old people liver me from that — that tempta- who have never been uprooted from tion of getting tired of this life the old belongings. On a single page now... What more he added i of our parish register, which covers a may not and I will not repeat. I am period of less than thirteen months, i.e., persuaded that if I had known old Bar- from the 25th of March, 1877, to the ton a year or two before his deafness 20th of April, 1878, I find that ive had become a bar to any continuous persons were buried whose united ages conversation, I should have gathered amounted to 425 years. The youngest a volume of curious and interesting of them died at eighty-two, the eldest reminiscences, which now have passed at ninety-two. Now, I have never but away and can never be recovered. twice in my Arcadian experience Thus it is that we miss our chances, known of an aged man or woman who and once missed, they never return. “lost their memory," as the phrase is.
I cannot, however, reproach myself They can always tell you something for neglecting any opportunities of about the long past. They can do picking up those fragmentary records more than that; they love nothing betof the past which the elders of Arcady ter than to talk of what their fathers have handed down to me from their and grandfathers did and said. This sometimes well-stored memories. The is to me the most precious kind of folkolder I grow the more do I believe in lore. But how few people have ever traditions. Old people never invent, considered how far back the “living they do not much exaggerate, and the memory” of a man can carry us. Let more ignorant they are, the more accu- me illustrate this by an example. rately do they tell their old stories. Joseph Barker died in April, 1883, in