페이지 이미지

Eugenio's friends.” If you are ac- | presence, and informed with life, grace, quainted with the history of those beauty, infinite friendly mirth and times, you have read how Cadogan wondrous naturalness of expression, had his feuds and hatreds too, as the people of whom his dear books told

Tickell's patron had his, as Cadogan's him the stories, - his Shakspeare, his great chief had his.

“ The Duke of Cervantes, his Molière, his Le Sage. Marlborough's character has been There was his last work on the easel so variously drawn” (writes a famous - a beautiful, fresh, smiling shape of contemporary of the duke's), “that Titania, such as his sweet guiseless it is hard to pronounce on either side fancy imagined “The Midsummer without the suspicion of flattery or Night's ” queen to be. Gracious, and detraction. I shall say nothing of his pure, and bright, the sweet smilmilitary accomplishments, which the ing image glimmers on the can. opposite reports of his friends and vas. Fairy elves, no doubt, were to enemies among the soldiers have have been grouped around their misrendered problematical. Those ma- tress in laughing clusters. Honest ligners who deny him personal valor Bottom's grotesque head and form are seem not to consider that this accu- indicated as reposing by the side of sation is charged at a venture, since the consummate beauty. The dark. the person of a general is too seldom ling forest would have grown around exposed, and that fear which is said them, with the stars glittering from sometimes to have disconcerted him the midsummer sky: the Howers before action might probably be more at the queen's feet, and the boughs for his army than himself.” If Swift and foliage about her, would have could hint a doubt of Marlborough's been peopled with gambolling sprites courage, what wonder that a nameless and fays. They were dwelling in scribe of our day should question the the artist's mind no doubt, and would honor of Clyde ?

have been developed by that patient, faithful, admirable genius; but the busy brain stopped working, the

skilful hand fell lifeless, the loving, THE LAST SKETCH.

honest heart ceased to beat. What

was she to have been that fair Not many days since I went to Titania –when perfected by the pavisit a house where in former years I tient skill of the poet, who in imagihad received many a friendly welcome. nation saw the sweet innocent figure, We went into the owner's an art and with tender courtesy and caresses, ist's studio. Prints, pictures, and as it were, posed and shaped and sketches hung on the walls as I had traced the fair form? Is there record last seen and remembered them. The kept anywhere of fancies conceived, implements of the painter's art were beautiful, unborn? Some day will there. The light which had shone they assume form in some yet undeupon so many, many hours of patient veloped light? If our bad unspoken and cheerful toil, poured through the thoughts are registered against us, northern window upon print and bust, and are written in the awful account, lay figure and sketch, and upon the will not the good thoughts unspoken, easel before which the good, the gen- the love and tenderness, the pity, tle, the beloved Leslie labored. In beauty, charity, which pass through this room the busy brain had devised, the breast, and cause the heart to and the skilful hand executed, I know throb with silent good, find a rememnot how many of the noble works brance too? A few weeks more, and which have delighted the world with this lovely offspring of the poet's their beauty and charming humor. conception would have been completo Here the poet called up into pictorial to charm the world with its beau


tiful mirth. May there not be some she suddenly said to her husband, sphere unknown to us where it may “ If you had not been with me, I must have an existence? They say our have been writing now. She then words, once out of our lips, go travel- ran up stairs, and brought down, and ling in omne ævum, reverberating for read aloud, the beginning of a new ever and ever. If our words, why tale. When she had finished, her not our thoughts? If the Has Been, husband remarked, “ The critics will why not the Might Have Been ? accuse you of repetition.” She re

ome day our spirits may be per- plied, “Oh! I shall alter that. I mitted to walk in galleries of fancies always begin two or three times before more wondrous and beautiful than I can please myself.” But it was not any achieved works which at present to be. The trembling little hand was we see, and our minds to behold and to write no more. The heart newly delight in masterpieces which poets' awakened to love and happiness, and and artists' minds have fathered and throbbing with maternal hope, wase conceived only.

soon to cease to beat; that intrepid With a feeling much akin to that outspeaker and champion of truth, with which I looked upon the friend's that eager, impetuous redresser of

the admirable artist's - unfinished wrong, was to be called out of the work, I can fancy many readers turn- world's fight and struggle, to lay ing to the last pages which were down the shining arms, and to be retraced by Charlotte Brontë's hand. moved to a sphere where even a noble Of the multitude that have read her indignation cor ulterius nequit lacerare, books, who has not known and de- and where truth complete, and right plored the tragedy of her family, her triumphant, no longer need to wage own most sad and untimely fate ? war. Which of her readers has not become I can only say of this lady, vidi tanher friend? Who that has known tum. I saw her first just as I rose out her books has not admired the artist's of an illness from which I had never noble English, the burning love of thought to recover. I remember the truth, the bravery, the simplicity, the trembling little frame, the little hand, indignation at wrong, the eager sym- the great honest eyes. An impetuous pathy, the pious love and reverence, honesty seemed to me to characterize the passionate honor, so to speak, of the woman. Twice I recollect she the woman? What a story is that took me to task for what she held to of that family of poets in their soli- be errors in doctrine. Once about tude yonder on the gloomy northern Fielding we had a disputation. She moors! At nine o'clock at night, spoke her. mind out. She jumped too Mrs. Gaskell tells, after evening pray- rapidly to conclusions. (I have ers, when their guardian and relative smiled at one or two passages in the had gone to bed, the three poetesses Biography,” in which my own dis

- the three maidens, Charlotte, and position or behavior forms the subject Emily, and Anne- Charlotte being of talk.). She formed conclusions the “motherly friend and guardian that might be wrong, and built up to the other two “ began, like whole theories of character upon restless wild animals, to pace up and them. New to the London world, down their parlor, ‘making out' their she entered it with an independent, wonderful stories, talking over plans indomitable spirit of her own; and and projects, and thoughts of what judged of contemporaries, and espewas to be their future life.”

cially spied out arrogance or affectaOne evening, at the close of 1854, tion, with extraordinary keenness of as Charlotte Nicholls sat with her viston. She was angry with her fahusband by the fire, listening to the vorites if their conduct or conversahowling of the wind about the house, I tion fell below her ideal. Often she

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

seemed to me to be judging the Lon- seen shall be clear! As I read this don folk prematurely ; but perhaps little fragmentary sketch, I think of the city is rather angry at being the rest. Is it? And where is it? judged. I fancied an austere little Will not the leaf be turned some day, Joan of Arc marching in upon us, and and the story be told ? Shall the derebuking our easy lives, our easy mor- viser of the tale somewhere perfect als. She gave me the impression of the history of little Emma's griefs and being a very pure, and lofty, and high- troubles ? Shall TITANIA come forth minded person. A great and holy complete with her sportive court, with reverence of right and truth seemed to the flowers at her feet, the forest be with her always. Such, in our around her, and all the stars of sumbrief interview, she appeared to me. mer glittering overhead ? As one thinks of that life so noble, so How well I remember the delight, lonely — of that passion for truth - and wonder, and pleasure with which of those nights and nights of eager I read “ Jane Eyre,” · sent to me by study, swarming fancies, invention, an author whose name and sex were depression, elation, prayer; as one then alike unknown to me; the reads the necessarily incomplete, strange fascinations of the book; and though most touching and admirable how with my own work pressing upon history of the heart that throbbed in me, I could not, having taken the volthis one little frame of this one umes up, lay them down until they amongst the myriads of souls that were read through! Hundreds of have lived and died on this great earth those who, like myself, recognized and

- this great earth? — this little speck admired that master-work of a great in the infinite universe of God, genius, will look with a mournful inwith what wonder do we think of to- terest and regard and curiosity upon day, with what awe await to-morrow, the last fragmentary sketch from the when that which is now but darkly noble hand which wrote “Jane Eyre."




[ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »