Abbildungen der Seite


nor diplomacy, nor sound statesman- regions are becoming like wastes and ship, nor religion can resist. They are commons, which, in the interests of all due fundamentally to that astonishing classes, must sooner or later be enand inexorable process—the growth of closed, and the non-progressive and population amongst all progressive semi-civilized nations are coming to ocraces-and behind this process lies an- cupy the position of a half-educated other which preceded, and which also lower class, which the progressive naaccompanies it-the development of the tions, alike in its interest and their mechanical arts, of the means of trav. own, must gradually educate and subelling, of transmitting news, of diffus- ject to the laws of progress, and coming education, and of stimulating pel to bear its part in the maintenance thought. Owing to these causes, the of a common life. In other words the progressive races of the world are no progress of the progressive nations is longer merely progressive, but they becoming increasingly identified with have come inevitably to be expansive. the civilization of the semi-civilized naTake the case of our own country. Not tions a process which, whatever it only has the growth of population in may be else, is on its material side in. these islands resulted in a constant variably economic and commercial. overflow of emigrants to other portions Thus the impact of the progressive naof the world, but the bulk of the popu- tions on the unprogressive and the lation which still remains at home has semi-civilized and their constant become notoriously and increasingly deavor to force themselves into dependent for the means of subsistence sparsely populated countries, which of on other, and on distant countries; and late have been the main cause of war the significance of this fact is in- and international complications, are, creased when we remember that by the we repeat, not causes of a transitory word "subsistence,” all political think- accidental character. They are ers agree to include, on behalf of even causes which are world-wide in their the poorest classes, not merely the operation, inexorable in their tendency, necessaries of life but a growing por- and must necessarily continue to influ. tion of its luxuries. However much ence the destinies of the human race some people may try to shut their eyes beyond the farthest horizon of time to the fact, the corporate income of which can be reached by reasonable any closely populated country, the pop- calculation. This process, however, ulation of which is advancing at once though its proximate origin is ecoin numbers and in its standard of liv- nomic, is not one which will be only ing, can only keep pace with their na. or even mainly economic in its results. tional requirements by a correspond. Economic

processes, with military ing growth in the volume of commod. force subserving them, are the physical ities for which other countries will basis of civilization, just as the brain give it their own products in exchange, is the physical basis of thought; but or by the establishment in other coun- they are not civilization itself. They tries of a certain proportion of its citi. carry with them the civilization of art,

of politics, of philosophy and of reliThe inevitable tendency of progress gion-the civilization which centres itamongst the progressive nations is to self in the idea of what man is and make the entire world economically one what is the meaning of his existence; single country, whose various districts and together with the material impact are becoming more closely dependent of the progressive nations on the nonon one another. The sparsely occupied progressive will come the collision be



tween Western thought and Orientalbetween the religious ideas of the Buddhist and the Mahommedan and the religious ideas of the nations which have risen under the influence of Christianity. What will be the result when Eastern thought and Western meet in this intimate manner on a ground that will be common to both, it is not possible to say. The present religion of The Saturday Review.

the West had its origin in the East; and just as conquered Greece gave conquering Rome its art, so once more may the spiritual ideas of the East have some unconjecturable effect on the spiritual ideas of Europe. But whatever may be the result, we may assure ourselves that we are now at last listening to the overture to a new act in the drama of human history.


It was a child who said of a neglected heap of latter-day nurserybooks—which to the grown-up mind looked attractive enough to please any child's fancy—“They are very nice, only I don't want to read them. · Everything is all right, except the story." And then, struck with a sudden inspiration, added: "Couldn't you make up

a proper story about the pictures?"

Child-like, she had gone straight to the point, and had put her finger on the spot of failure when she said: Everything is all right but the story." It is the story that fails. It has lost the art of holding the children's attention, because it is, for the most part, above their heads. The truth is that the author of to-day, however clever he may be, and however good his intention of amusing the youngsters, will never gain their affections until he has lost the trick he has fallen into of keeping his eye on the grown-up audience while he is telling the children stories. They must have his whole attention or he will lose theirs. If he would succeed in his task he must give himself up unreseryedly to his legitimate audience, and enter into their world and their moods.

By doing so he will find that his task becomes far easier of.accomplishment. He will not be handicapped by all those many things which prevented him letting his imagination have full play while his eyes rested upon the critical grown-up audience.

Think what "Alice in Wonderland" and "Alice Through the LookingGlass" would have lost had their author kept his eye upon the grown-up audience, instead of giving himself to a world peopled by little folk. who saw nothing strange in rabbits talking, mock-turtles weeping, and pigs turning into babies, and who accepted strange creatures like the Jabberwock as calmly as they did the imperiousness of a Queen who ordered massa

with Royal indifference as to whether they were carried out or not. It was an ideal audience and one to inspire an author. For, even if the children saw nothing of the whimsical adherence to the forms of logic in the stories of Alice's Adventures, they nevertheless revelled in the quaint mixture of sense and nonsense which so exactly hit their childish level and caught their fancy, holding them entranced with its dreamlibe unity. The stories possess very much the same at.


traction that the old fairy stories have wonderment of the new idea stupefies always had for children. For all their them. They prefer to play their stotopsyturvydom they are simple, and ries among the scenes with which deal with life as they themselves view they are familiar, to groping in their it.

half-furnished minds after those And simplicity has always attracted strange mis-shapen ideas, high and children. It was no gorgeous descrip- fantastical with which the grown tion that attracted them to the house- mind amuses itself. hold tales of the Brothers Grimm, and If a topic or conception be in essence afterwards to Andersen's legends. It above a child's range, no amount of is the simplicity of the tales that simplicity in the treatment will make charms them, they feel that they are it interesting to him. Children also the real thing and they instinctively like plenty of action in their stories. know that there is nothing stagey or They are such restless beings, they affected about them. They are intel- must be up and doing; they love legible and easy of comprehension by to hear of fighting dragons, rescuthe child-mind. The stories enter on ing princesses, and-with the excepno wild flights of romance, but run tion of high-strung nervous children, easily and smoothly among everyday they revel in "bluggy stories," as did paths of life, so that it requires no the little hero in "Helen's Babies." great imagination to follow them. Stories of giants who would make their They are the tales of the common meals of the favorite hero (who, in folk handed down from a period long spite of his undoubted superiority of before the dawn of history, easily wit and wisdom, his manly beauty and understood by man and child alike. his somewhat ostentatious virtues, is Moreover, they are not extravagant or invariably despised by his family, and out of proportion, and this is a point sent to seek his fortune as best he can), that children appreciate, for they have have always and will always attract a larger sense of proportion than the infant mind; while of Biblical sto"children's writers" suppose.

ries nothing appeals as strongly to the Most children infinitely prefer juvenile taste and imagination as the Grimm's stories of the Geese Maidens story of David and Goliath, except, and the shepherd lads set in their na- perhaps, the slaying of Abel by his tive surroundings to all the glories of brother Cain. How many times these gilded palaces and the Eastern gor- scenes have been acted in nursery thegeousness of the “Arabian Nights”: in atricals will never be known. very much the same way that we pre- Perhaps one of the strongest tests of fer the Mab and Puck of Shakespeare popularity that can be applied to a in their woodland homes to Herrick's storybook is whether it is considered fairies, for all the glories of Oberon's sufficiently interesting to be acted in palace, or his Temple "enchassed with the nursery. "A good acting book is glass and beads."

worth all the others put together," For children lack imagination pure was the verdict of a schoolroom critic and simple. They can elaborate any- who had views upon the subject of thing they have seen or beard mi- juvenile fiction. Certainly, this love nutely described until it is well-nigh of mimicry in children should not be unrecognizable, but the power of crea- overlooked by the stormers of the tion or grasping anything to which nursery library. And here, again, the they possess no former clue is a flight grown-up audience will have to be en. to which they do not easily rise. The tirely put aside, and the author be SINCE WE SHOULD PART.

prepared to give explicit details as to how everything is done.

Half the popularity of "Robinson Crusoe" is due to the fact that there is so much doing in the book, and such minute details are given as to how everything was accomplished. Had the author kept his eye on the grownup audience wbile he wrote, he might, and very probably would, have left out the greater part of the book—the very part that makes it intelligible to children leaving it to the imagination of his readers. But, fortunately, he realized that the child's experience was too incomplete to supply the in. The Academy.

formation, and that it was beyond tbe scope of childhood to imagine all the resources open to Crusoe. It is this art of getting in touch with children that writers of to-day lack. The adults will keep coming between the story-teller and his audience and spoiling the tale for both.

Let him who would write for Youth go to the old authors, and try and discover the secret of holding the child's fancy. Else, for all the attention of the best authors of to-day, the art of simple story-telling, wbich is the attraction of men and children alike, will soon be lost.

(Founded upon an old Gaelic Love Song, and to an air in the

Petrie Collection.)

Since we should part, since we should part,
The weariness and lonesome smart
Are going greatly through my heart.
Upon my pillow, ere I sleep,
The full of my two shoes I weep,
And like a ghost all day I creep.

'Tis what you said you'd never change,
Or with another ever range,
Now even the Church is cold and strange.
Together there our seats we took,
Together read from the one book;
But with another now you look.

And when the service it was o'er,
We'd walk and walk the flowery floor,
As we shall walk and walk no more.
For now beneath the starry glow,
While ye step laughing light and low,
A shade among the shades I go.

Alfred Perceval Graves. The Spectator.

[blocks in formation]


It is sometimes said that the Irish

tered-in some respects for the better, character has been profoundly altered in other relations for the worse-yet, during the past half century. In the despite these changes, which the Dublin Press may occasionally be read spread of education, the almost univerappeals in support of this movement or sal reading of newspapers and periodi. that movement-the Irish Literary cals, the penny post, the cheapness and Theatre, it may be, or the Gaelic facility of travelling, inevitably bring League-as a means of resisting what in their train; and despite, also, the in. is called the “denationalization" or the crease in the influence of English “Anglicization" of the Irish race, or, in opinions and English habits in Ireland, other words, the wide-spread assimila- the Irish peasant of to-day is in nature tion of English habits and English and temperament, in thoughts, feel. ideas by the people of Ireland. These ings and aspirations—in every racial generalizations appear to me to be characteristic in fact-fashioned in the founded superficial observation, same mould as his grandfather. Some idea of the nature of the evidence First among the changes noticeable OD which they are often based is on the surface of things in Ireland is afforded by a letter which appeared in the gradual disappearance of the old a Dublin newspaper a short time ago. mud-wall cabin. The dwellings of the The writer bewailed that the country people are divided in the Irish Census was becoming completely Cockneyfied returns into four classes. The fourth because he had heard "Ta-ra-ra-Boom- class comprises mud cabins, or cabins de-ay" (a tune which in its inevitable built of perishable material, having course round the British Empire took only one room and one window. In a couple of years to reach the remote 1841, the year in which dwellings were parts of Ireland) whistled by a small first included in the Census returns, boy in a village. What nonsense! For there were as many as 491,278 of my part after some years' experience these cabins in Ireland. In 1891–the of other peoples, every return visit I pay last return available the number had to Ireland more and more convinces fallen to 20,617. Unhappily, these figme that the Irish are still intensely ures are not to be accepted solely as Irish. I know from personal observa- an indication of a vast and gratifying tion that even during the past twenty improvement in the dwellings of the five years the outward aspect of many Irish peasantry during the past half things in Ireland has undoubtedly al- century. There is a dismal side as well

« ZurückWeiter »