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which had their followers everywhere. If the adept had the indiscretion to write sometimes in favour of an Utopian philosopher — of Fourier, for instance - Fourierism became the butt of the whole paper for the next week. It may be imagined how animated was the conversation of the young men, who carried into their loves and hatreds all the fire of their twenty years.
More than once all the staff came to blows, and the repaired chairs remained memorials of the ardour of the discussion. Mons. de Saint-Charmay, as an old Guardsman, encouraged this high tone, and contributed considerably to these literary hurricanes in spite of his sixty years.'
With all these shifts and troubles, the Scènes de la Vie de Bohème' do not leave upon the reader any very gloomy impression of the pains of poverty. Often, indeed, we are reminded of the maxim,
Il n'y a de nécessaire que le superflu,' and the remembrance of the days when the Bohemians seem to be dining all day, almost compensates for those when there is a general . relâche' of the dishes. The most philosophic treatment we know of the question, "What are really the necessities of man?' occurs in a little novel by Ludwig Tieck, translated by the accomplished Colonial Secretary of Ceylon, Sir Charles Macarthy, in Fraser's Magazine,' for 1842, under the title of the Superfluities of Life.' Two young people marry on nothing, and are determined to live on next to it. They take an apartment at the top of an old house, get a few common flowers for the window-sill, and an old woman to bring them bread and water every day; a store of potatoes and such luxuries is laid in, but soon exhausted. Winter sets in severely and enchants them by the study of the icicles on the glass, but annoys them by the suggestion that their stock of wood will soon be exhausted. They pass their days delightfully, reading, not books for they have sold all they had, but their thoughts, memories, and imaginations, to one another, and record immensely, without pen, ink, or paper. But the cold is an annoyance, and the fuel is all but gone :
* Dear wife,' says Henry, 'we live in a civilised age, in a wellgoverned land, not among heathens and cannibals; ways and means must present themselves. If we were in a desert, I would, of course, like Robinson Crusoe, fell some trees. Who knows whether there are not woods where one least expects them? Birnam-wood came, after all, to Macbeth—to his own destruction, to be sure. Islands have often emerged on a sudden from the ocean; in the midst of cliffs and desert rocks there often grows a palm-tree; the thorn robs the sheep and lambs of their wool when they come too near it, but the linnet carries off these spoils to his nest to make a warm bed with them for its tender young ones.' The next morning the young wife hears a noise as of workmen
about the place, and, on entering the room, finds her husband surrounded by the most beautiful logs of the driest wood. He had some time ago found an old saw, and now it has struck him that as nobody comes up their stairs but that one old woman and they never go down them, the massive oaken bannisters are indeed superfluity of life. There is warmth in the very process of destruction, and the household is again in a position that leaves nothing to be desired. Their nest is overlooked by no other house, and out of the window nothing is visible but the roofs and chimneys which their fancy transforms into rocks and ridges : for weeks one chimney-sweeper had alone disturbed the divine solitude. As the months wear on, Clara every day expects that the bannisters will be exhausted; but no, the store burns merrily; only the old servant comes in no longer: she sends the bread and water by some other hand. At length one morning a tremendous tumult is heard below; she rushes to the door; her husband follows, and catches her by the gown— For God's sake, take care, or you will fall down!' She gazes from the open portal, and, instead of the wide oak staircase, she beholds an abyss with half a dozen stairs suspended in the air—the rest had followed the bannisters. The quondam staircase had been, in fact, a sort of coal-mine, which yielded up its treasures, not without toil; Henry descending into the shaft, and continually depositing the extracted stair on the one that remained. The only painful moment had been when, on breaking off the third stair, he had held out his hand to the faithful old woman, and had bidden her an eternal farewell, though she continued afterwards to attach the daily bread to a rope he let down to her. Some Deus ex machinâ' appears to calm and compensate the indignant Philistine of a landlord, and to force back to the world of wealth and wants these happy eremites of this Bohemian solitudethis Egyptian · Laura.'
There is a considerable and somewhat painful transition from this anecdote of German Bohemia, with its bright ideal illustrations, to the stern realities of the • Buveurs d'Eau’of Mürger. These are a small monastic community of the devotees of art, bound by a rule as strict and a discipline as severe as ever Carmelites or Franciscans. Each member must contribute out of his own scanty means to a common fund, from which the poorest may be supplied with all that is requisite for the natural or intellectual development of his Art—a passionate desire, for instance, for the sight or study of any particular object being considered just as requisite for the artist's production of his idea as the pencil or the paint. No member of the society is permitted to degrade his art into decoration or furniture, or to use
it for the purposes of temporary excitement, whatever may be the inducement or the remuneration; every member must regard the fame or the profit of a colleague as his own, and as only subordinate to the absolute and ever-ruling principle of “Art for Art's sake,' to which they are to sacrifice even their purest affections. The results of this association
with general experience of over-strained theories. Shut up in his own self-consciousness and excluded from all open criticism, the artist degenerates into conceit and mannerism, and the man into
a selfishness reflected from many forms of self. The virtue of endurance is choked up with pride, and the dignity of independence is damaged by the very ostentation of penury. The passion of love itself becomes an instrument of art. Lazare, one of the brethren, who, at twenty-five, has so ripened his life that he looks on every hour given to love as stolen from the high purpose of existence, and who has kept off every sort of passion from his thoughts as he would the draught of wind that might scatter his papers over the room, falls at last under the influence he had so long resisted; but, unable from honourable motives to attempt to possess the original, he makes the execution of her portrait by memory the test of his affection, and, when his imagination fails to give the perfect representation, he resigns himself tranquilly to the extinction of his love. Antoine, the founder of the Order, remains uncontaminated by the moral disease engendered by this factitious mode of being, and continues worthy of the beautiful character of the grandmother, who, after a life of independence, accepts a servile position that she may earn for her artist-children enough to support them in their high ideal of existence, and of the girl who dries up her young blood in virile studies to screen the old age of her foolish father from the effects of the ruin his imprudence has brought upon his family.
Few readers, we believe, have laid down this volume without regret that the characters and incidents connected with this association have not been more fully produced to the public view. The principal characters of the Vie de Bohème' are said to represent real personages, who took no affront at the witty travestie under which they appear; but the graver tone of the • Buveurs d'Eau' is rather that of fiction founded on general observation than on the study of any personal idiosyncracies, and so rich a mine of human nature would have well borne a further search when it had been once made accessible by so acute and judicious an explorer. At the same time it is impossible to deny the signal inferiority of a pale representation of Bohemian student-life, which came from the pen of Mürger, under the title
of the Pays Latin,' and which, at any rate, should never be taken
after the two books we have noticed. Our English literature abounds with veridical and fictitious narratives of all kinds of Bohemian adventure, and the interest in the highwayman has almost survived the highway ; but in the Bohemia of literature and art it is rather the remarkable individual than any special association which is remembered. Otway choking with his crust-Savage and the biographer of Savagethe boy-clerk from Bristol poisoning himself in his smart clothes -Goldie cowering over his small modicum of coals—Hazlitt,
living to himself,' * in his hut on Winterslow Heath-Haydon seeing the taste and opportunities for historical painting rising at the very time he was conscious of the decay and waste of his own powers—such are the associations of this nature which the past suggests to us, rather than the wits in the coffee-house gathering to hear Mr. Dryden talk, or any fraternity in Grub-street, or the famous club of which Bozzy was a member, and which
ruined by the admission of Adam Smith, or even the Leigh-Huntian gatherings in the Vale of Health. The spirit of association is not rife even in Bohemian England: the independence of character, which isolates our countrymen in their pleasures and their sorrows, cannot be neutralized by any similarity of situation or even by any congeniality of pursuits. We have never had an Academy of Literature, and there have been always notable artists who have remained apart from the Academy of Arts. If Bohemia has its elements of attraction in the free sympathy and easy intercourse it encourages, it has also those of dissension in the supercilious temper it fosters and the self-consideration it enjoins. Our Pre-Rapbaelites are perhaps nearer the Buveurs d'Eau’ than other artists; but they get prices for their pictures which would enable them to drink the best vintages if they chose so to do, and what becomes of Bohemian fellowship, when Mr. Ruskin himself turns against them?
Yet there was much to expect from the title of • Friends of Bohemia' by the writer whose hard and vigorous portraits of what he calls the Governing Classes' had indeed caused the experienced reader to regret that they too often were founded on an imperfect knowledge of the conditions of the society he undertook to describe, but which were undeniably the freshest, and, in many ways, the justest of the political personalities of our time. But this book is disappointing, mainly because there are no 'Friends' in it, and very little · Bohemia,' in any sense in which
* Vide his delightful essay. On Living to Oneself,' written at Winterslow Hut, January 18th, 182). Vol. 103.-No. 206.
that word is more than a negative of what is established and respectable. There are but two scenes in the whole story in which the character of Bohemian conversation and manners is sustained; the rest is a mixture of dark improbable character and painful improbable fable. The hero is a spirited generous fellow, whose spirit gets him shot down in the fullness of his youth and prosperity by an unmitigated rascal, and whose generosity costs him nothing, because he is as monstrously and mysteriously wealthy as Monte Christo. He lives a roving sensual life, and acts as a sort of Wilhelm Meister to other personages, who abuse the present state of society, from the highest to the lowest, in a grim radical tone, betraying an anxiety for violent change, which is entirely at variance with the dignified indifference of true Bohemians to the rest of the world. By way of encouraging interest and care for the people, he objects to Sydenham and Hampton Court, and fresh air, because
• The multitude, after tasting paradise, doesn't like to go home to the lower regions, and John sees no resemblance to Jane in the statue of Venus Victrix, and Jane thinks of the flower-beds when she's scrubbing the dirty floor. If there are always to be masses—that's the phrasealways to be kept down, as a foundation for national greatness, why, better not give them a glimpse outwards. The masses always have toiled and been spent, and always will toil and be spent, and the aspiration that has sufficed to induce them to do this is that upwards-of another sphere, when the lunacy and horror of this have been done with. Education, indeed! If the whole adult male population could read and could understand the argument of an orator, do you think this sort of thing would go on?' And the indignant Bohemian points to a crowd of St. Giles's flock' warming their naked feet over a particular square yard of the pavement which covers a baker's cellar and ovens— if they could not have bread, they could have the heat used in making bread,'-a view of the effects of intellectual enlightenment which much resembles what we remember having heard a distinguished popular writer assert, viz., that the peace and safety of this great city were due, not to the sense of law and order, not to the comparative well-being of the majority, but to the habitual intoxication of the hungry and the hopeless, to whom gin supplied both food for the body and dreams for the mind-a dreary theory, which we will not investigate further than to say, that, if this be true, the hostility between Bohemia and civilization is only a matter of time, and the former must reign triumphant over ruin, like the Last Men on each side of Behring's Straits in Eugène Sue's novel, or the New Zealander on London Bridge in Lord Macaulay’s Essay-a consummation which a little observation of the ways of Provi