« 이전계속 »
can follow it all as if one had been present, and would dearly like to make one in the circle of white-faced men and women, who stood round clapping as if they were at a theatre, when Edith dropped from her horse into her lover's arms. But even then you wonder what became of Maud Copleigh, without help or hope in her thrice bitter pain. The man from India has a trick of leaving his women stories off in the middle. What did Georgina do when she had cried till she could cry no more? Did she kill herself-or Georgie Porgie ? Did she get back to Burmah? Did she by any chain of events come to speech of the Bride ? I am entirely unable to settle these questions. Had little Bisesa to drag out a lifetime in mutilation? Did the miserable heroine of "The Hill of Illusion,” verily, go into outer darkness, knowing the horror of night? What of Harriet Heriot's ruined life? Must Maisie go all her days with no friend at all, except the red-haired girl? Cholera of course arranged matters finally for Ameera ; but the pretence made at ending leaves Emma Boulte's ultimate action more indecisive than ever. Did she never come very certainly to the conclusion that her existence was unendurable ? Did Mrs. Vansuythen never cry out to her husband to take her away? She should become immortal, should that soundhearted beauty ; for she has endowed her language with a brand new epithet, containing the essence of several volumes. It is remarkably simply and remarkably effective.
“Well !” said Kurrell, brutally, “it seems to me Mrs. Boulte had better be fond of her husband first."
“Stop!” said Mrs. Vansuythen, “ hear me first. I don't know. I don't want to know anything about you and Mrs. Boulte ; but I want you to know that I hate you, that I think you're a cur, and that I'll never, never speak to you again. Oh, I don't dare to say what I think of you, you--man!"
Remains Lucy Hauksbee. It is not of the slightest use to argue about the "little thin, brown, almost skinny woman, with big violet eyes, and the sweetest manners in the world.” She is bound to impress you very strongly in one of two ways. You must either fall down and worship, or stand aloof in staggered disapprobation, not unmixed with fear. If in the latter frame of mind, you will call her vulgar, fast, frisky, and cartloads of other pretty names ; if in the former you will say with the Hawley Boy, “God save her Imperial Majesty!” My sentiments.
Good wine needs no bush, and “Soldiers Three" no advertisement. The miraculous grasp of character evinced in Kipling's studies of Thomas Atkins, private of the line, calls forth admiration,
will or no. Andrew Lang put the case in a nutshell when he remarked that nobody ever thought of telling us these things before. It is all so completely new, so well told, so strange, and so life-like. In men of war Rudyard Kipling finds most congenial matter, even when he is not talking of the three musketeers. He and Mulvaney are in their element when war legends come to the fore ; witness the square in the desert, the scrimmage in the blocked gorge, the terrible history of how the Fore and Fit became the Fore and Aft. The soldier songs are delightful. They all possess an inimitable flavour which does not appear everywhere in our author's verse. It is all as good as it can be, but it is not all Kipling. Oh, that he would complete those delicious, aggravating morsels which precede the short stories ! It is dreadful to read three or four lines, just enough to set one agog for the whole poem, and then alas !-to find there is no more. Divers among his finished pieces are not so precious as these irritating scraps. But one and all own the merits of perfect music and polish, and as much force as can be crammed into them. This perhaps was to be expected from a man who can write blank verse in a style of his own. Every word tells. It would be impossible to excel the grace of such poems as “The Plea of the Simla Dancers,” “Christmas in India," the Envoi to “Life's Handicap,” and “The Song of the Women,” the only laudatory poem ever written during its addressee's lifetime which is worth anything whatever. In the works of what Old Master will you find nineteen words more skilfully chosen and more quietly effective than these?
Say that we be a feeble folk who greet her,
But old in grief and very wise in tears.
It is hard to say whether the curt grim power of such phrases shows best in his prose or his verse. “ The Story of Uriah ” stands almost unrivalled in its terse significance, even by its own author ; but that is a short story in rhyme and belongs to both divisions. Pray you, list to the last two of its five verses :
Jack Barrett's bones at Quetta
Enjoy profound repose,
If now his spirit knows
From the Himalayan snows.
Adown the Hurnai throbs,
In the big black Book of Jobs,
And Quetta graveyards give again
Their victims to the air,
Who sent Jack Barrett there., But the man from India does not keep all his poetry for verse. The sense of the sea's shuddering possibilities which darkens his plesiosaurus tale, makes first-class poetry of it. In an entirely different line, it is equalled by the incisive, lurid tragedy of the "one weak man.” “The Finest Story in the World”—a romance for sheer photographic realisation bad to beat-contains in its superb gruesomeness a great deal of poetry extra to the awful song with the burden, “Will you never let us go ?” The now famous “Ballad of East and West”! is distanced by that glorious masterpiece, “The Man who Was," whose sixteen pages make up one of the bonnes bouches of our literature. It is a solidified echo of the clashing clank and the swinging thunder of cavalry. It warms the blood like an inspection of Dick's “beautiful men.” No finer situation was ever devised than the gradual discovery of Lieutenant Austin Limmason in the dazed abject scarecrow, standing in ghastly contrast to the brilliant life of his own old mess, and grovelling before a man whom it was his business to defy. The feline Dirkovitch cuts a most telling figure in his naturally trying position of a cat watching an escaped mouse. He makes exactly the same impression as a cat, with his suave sweetness and his onyx eyes, dilating at the sight of the knout scars, visible signs as he was visible representative of his nation in the stronghold of the hereditary foe. The fierce smothered antagonism between Russian and English fills the reader with angry joy. One shares the White Hussars' delight, that after all Limmason did not apologise. The verse Mildred hummed tastes good in the mouth. So say all of us.
We're sorry for Mr. Bluebeard,
We're sorry to cause him pain ;
When he comes back again. Rudyard Kipling can pass a highly creditable examination on children and dogs, who collectively form an excellent test of an author's insight. His Majesty and poor Black Sheep (I will bet ten to one on the identity of Biack Sheep with the man who has described his troubles) accomplish the well-nigh impossible feat of being really pathetic children. Tietjens and Mr. Wardle are even better creations. Mr. Wardle's fixed belief that his master was incapable of existing without his countenance and protection, hits
" Barrack Room Ballads, &c. London : Methuen & Co
off the average canine to the life. Mian Mittu and Amomma are respectively a bird and beast, whose acquaintance one should be most happy to make.
This is an illegal stoppage. But the finish must arrive some time, even if no peroration comes handy. May the Presence, having read me without skipping, live a thousand years !
BROTHER, PALADIN, AND LOVER.
Saluons, c'est Marceau ! L'honorer m'est permis,
Eugène Quiettant's translation of Byron. “ COLDIER at sixteen, General at twenty-three, killed at twenty
seven.” Thus is summed up the life of François-Severin Marceau, on the pedestal of the statue erected to him in his native town of Chartres; and English subalterns, living in dread of being superseded for failing to obtain promotion, have sighed for glory so quickly won and so soon secured past losing. Byron's poem and Barbier's picture have kept before us the image of the dying hero, lamented by friend and foe, “that bright spot in the dark annals of grim-visaged war” (Major Griffiths); and while military historians marvel at the brilliant operations directed by so young a head, the civilian turns with satisfaction to the testimony of the Coblentz magistrates that the victor was as generous as the assailant was intrepid. Closer examination into the life of the young warrior discloses new subjects for admiration, but it discloses also, as a compensation for folk who are less outwardly favoured by Fortune, that a glorious public career can be chequered by bitter disappointments in private life, and that even a general of twenty-three may have occasion for tears as well as for smiles.
François-Severin Marceau-Desgraviers was born at Chartres, March 1, 1769, son of the local procureur au bailliage Desgraviers, who had already four children by a former wife. The new-comer was not particularly welcomed, even by the mother of whom he was the first-born ; and he was not only put out to nurse in the country at once, but was left there for full ten years, receiving, happiiy, maternal affection from his foster-mother, a vine-dresser's wife, the bonne femme Francæur of the General's subsequent recollections. When it became absolutely necessary to think about him, he was sent to the local college, where he learned nothing. “When he was