페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

of that tender heart of yours, or you'll make us both miserable."

She took his hand between hers, kissed it, and then laid her face on it.

"But, Paul, can one be jealous without knowing it? If I were jealous in that way, you would not despise me for it, would you ? '*

"I don't know," Paul spoke gravely. "I have always shrunk from jealousy ; my mother said no true woman could be jealous." Nuna shivered. "Come, little woman "—Paul smiled at her—" I want a a song."

"Yes, in a minute, darling ; only I must ask one more question." This was the talk she wanted, and she was hungry to go on with it; she could not bear to leave off, just when a few moments more would lay all her haunting ghosts.

"Not half a syllable;" he broke away from her and went up to the piano, which stood now opposite to the window, between the dressing-room door and that leading to the staircase. "I've been working hard all day and I'm too tired to argue, I want nothing but rest. I've no doubt you'll sing me to sleep."

She went at once and sang him one song after another. She had a sweet, rich voice, and it had been carefully trained—trained to that exquisite simplicity which marks out the true musician from the pretender, if, indeed, simplicity is not always the badge of true merit.

While Nuna was singing the servant came in with a note.

Paul took it, but he did not open it; he was listening to Nuna. She was singing the same ballad which had so charmed

him the night he dined at the parsonage, the night which had revealed Nuna to him in a new character. Then there had been an intensity of feeling which had thrilled through him while he listened, but now it seemed to him there was a passionate significance in the mournful words as she breathed them.

"Come here, darling."

He took her in his arms and thanked her fondly for the pleasure she had given him. Nuna was too happy to speak, too happy for anything that might disturb this delight. She had Paul all to herself again, to worship and make an idol of to her heart's content.

It seemed to her as if the evening had flown when she found how late it was.

As soon as she left the room Paul sat down to write letters, and in clearing the table to make room for this he came upon the note he had thrown aside and forgotten.

He opened it, read it, and then flung it into the grate, after noting down the address.

It was merely a commission to paint aportrait, a lady's portrait, Mrs. Downes of Park Lane.

"Downes—never heard of her. There was a Lady Uownes, I remember—never mind, she is some swell or other, no doubt."

He went on with his work; the only comment he made on the note was:

"I hope it is an old woman; they sit the best; the young ones haven't a notion of keeping still."

(To be continued.)

Fraser's Magazine.

ENGLISH REPUBLICANISM. BY A WORKING MAN.

[Half the world is said to know nothing of the feelings and thoughts of the other half. We insert this article as an assistance towards removing so peculiar and dangerous a form of ignorance.— Ed. FM.\

On March 24 Mr. Gladstone was asked, in his place in the House of Commons, whether his attention had been called to the report of a meeting at which a resolution, declaring that "a Republican form of government was the only one capable

of developing the great resources of the country, and worthy of the confidence and support of all true democrats, was reported to have been carried by acclamation; whether, if the report was correct, it was his intention to ascertain whether, in the opinion of the law officers of the Crown, such language was of a treasonable or seditious character; and whether, in the event of such being the opinion of the law officers, the Government was prepared to take any steps for dealing bt law with those who held this language."

Mr. Gladstone replied that his knowledge of the subject was confined to the matter of the resolution as quoted by the member asking the question; that, whether the report was correct or not, it was not the intention of Government to take any steps whatever in the matter; that such opinions as those embodied in the resolution were "wrong and foolish," and needed but to be left unnoticed to sink into "that oblivion which was their destined and their proper portion."

As during the portion of the session that had elapsed up to that date Mr. Gladstone had evinced a decided inclination to verbal quibbling, it is, perhaps, not going too "far to suggest that possibly he took advantage of the word "only" in the resolution referred to. To assert that onlv under any one form of government can the resources of this country be fully developed is an assumption of final knowledge in politics not only presumptuous, but wrong and foolish, and it must have been to that view of the case, we take it, that Mr. Gladstone applied those epithets. At any rate, it is scarcely possible to conceive that any one. with even i tithe of his claims to be considered a statesman, would stigmatize as wrong and foolish the abstract proposition that a Republic is the best of known forms of government. That surely is a fairly debatable question, as it is undoubtedly one on the affirmative side of which weighty arguments can be adduced.

That in its theory and possibilities a Republic is a better form of government for the working population of a country than either a monarchical or autocratic one may be taken as an admitted truism; and as a natural consequence there has, m England, always been a considerable degree of instinctive Republican feeling among the working classes, and a certain measure of philosophical Republicanism among scholarly and speculative politicians untrammelled by the exigencies of practitical statesmanship. The latter phase of this feeling was, however, regarded as nothing more than a political dilettanteism, while with the working classes the feeling was known to be merely latent under ordinary circumstances, and blind, passionate, and self-harmful whenever under the prompting of political or social excite

ment it attempted to assert itself. The possibility of a Republican party in English politics having practical power to enforce concessions to their views would have been regarded as an absurdity. These are still pretty much the ideas entertained in upper and middle class circles with regard to Republicanism in this country, and until very recently they were substantially correct. At the present time, however, such views are a dangerous mistake. Republicanism has reached anew, an advanced and advancing stage—has become an important though a little recognized or understood actuality of practical politics. For years past Republicanism has been spreading among the working classes doctrinally to such a degree that now it may be safely said that it is—in some more or less modified form —the political creed of ninety-nine working men in a hundred, having any political feeling or belief at all. The last extension of the franchise made the practical assertion of this creed a possibility, and the tone of recent legislation has given a start to the one thing needful for the realization of that possibility—organization.

The fact of such a meeting having been held as that at w hich the resolution already quoted was passed, need not in itself have been taken as a material evidence of a Republican feeling among the working classes at large. Any petty, notorietyseeking agitator can get up a meeting to pass resolutions upon almost any conceivable subject, and newspapers making an unthinking use of a stock heading will report it as a meeting of the working classes, though more frequently than not it has about as much title to be so described as a gathering of a dozen discontented soldiers would have to be cited as a meeting of the British army. Though, however, the particular meeting referred to was in no way an authorized representation of the general body of the working classes, the resolution carried at it was, as it happened, in full accord with the prevailing opinion of those classes. The few avowedly Republican meetings held in the Metropolis of which notices have got into the papers are not the only or most important ones that have taken place. There have been many such, and a considerable number of Republican associations have been formed, and are increasing in extent. More significant still, similar meetings have been held and societies formed in the large manufacturing towns of the provinces, where such things when they do occur have a graver meaning, and indicate a more deep-rooted conviction, and greater firmness and tenacity of purpose, than they do among the (comparatively) mercurial Londoners. These clubs make only a small fraction of the numerical strength of the working classes, but they embrace a large percentage of the actively political, while the latent sympathies of the bulk are with them. In short, whether right or wrong, foolish or wise, English Republicanism has grown to be a great political fact—a thing that will not only not sink into oblivion by being left unnoticed, but will be increased in extent and embittered in quality by any high-toned affectation of ignoring its existence. It is a thing for statesmen to grapple with, and certainly a thing the causes, character, aims, and alleged justification of which are worth being looked into.

Republicanism as it now exists in England is founded less on pure admiration of its own professed principles than upon hatred and contempt for royalty and its concomitants. It has been selected as a creed rather as the broad antithesis to monarchy than from any immediate reference to or detailed knowledge of its working. "Take away the baubles" is a cry that sums up the political aspirations of the working classes; that would have summed them up at any time for many years past; and in their opinion our royalty is not only a bauble in itself, but the prime cause and support of the great amount of injurious baubleism that characterizes the Government of the country throughout—of an hereditary legislature, a State church, an unfairly privileged aristocracy, and a gross system of sinecurism. They regard the royal office as worse than useless, believing that its formalities impede the work of legislation, that its costliness tends to impoverish the nation, and its very existence to degrade true self-respect by making "loyalty" consist —in language at least—in fulsome adulation. To their thinking the Sovereign is the mere cipher of an unnecessary function, or at the best an ornamental official whose services judged on the most liberal scale would be amply paid by the salary of a master of the ceremonies.

These'views and the feelings arising out of them were entertained by the present generation of working men with respect to royalty when it had to be considered in the person of the Sovereign only; but as demand after demand came to be made upon the public purse on behalf of the royal family, the ill-feeling was more and more intensified, until at last over the question of the dowry to the Princess Louise it broke out in bitter protest and reviling, and assumed the shape of an organized and formidable opposition. For though the formal opposition to it in Parliament appeared a fiasco, the opposition in the country icias formidable. Though neither those who had to combat and overcome this opposition, nor any save those inside the working classes, could be fully aware of the extent and intensity of the feeling of which it was the outcome, it is tolerably evident that they knew the matter to be much more serious than they cared to admit. When, in asking the Parliament to vote the dowry, the Prime Minister spoke of the opponents to it in the country as " rare exceptions," he was rather arrogant than ignorant: he would not have adopted the defensive and explanatory tone he did, had he really believed that the anti-dowry party had been rare exceptions. The attitude of the leading newspapers upon the question was in close keeping with that of the first Minister. They, too, affected to believe that the objectors to the dowry were a singular few; but side by side with rhapsodical leaders setting forth the overflowing and unanimous delight that the nation would feel in granting the dowry, were notices of anti-dowry meetings, and of members of Parliament having been put to the question of the subject by their constituents. These papers must have known from details in the provincial journals that the meetings to protest against the dowry were of a more important character than would fairly be gathered from their brief intimations that-such meetings had been held ; and while they eagerly seized upon the slightest opportunity for making the opposition appear weak or divided, they persistently declined to insert letters explaining or defending its views. This mode of procedure upon the part of the monarchical portion of the press has, however, been chiefly detrimental to the cause of monarchy.

It is these papers that have been mainly instrumental in giving rise to the existing Republican movement. They stung latent feeling into passionate activity, furnished Republican journals and speakers with the best "points" they could possibly have for purposes of agitation; and by the diversity of their justifications of the dowry, made palpable the weakness of the case for the defence. Some of them based their support of the dowry simply on sentimental grounds: the Princess was young, amiable, pretty, and was making a love match; therefore to grumble at her being dowered by the country was unchivalrous. Others pleaded precedent: her sisters had received dowries, then why should she be refused one? The objection in her case would look like a desire to punish her for marrying the man of her heart. Others, again, taking a bolder tone, said that to object to the dowry was nothing more or less than dishonest, since its payment would only be the stipulated fulfilment of the terms of a contract between the country and 'the Crown. This being to many people an astonishing statement, inquiries naturally began to be made as to where the writings of the contract were to be seen. Such inquiries were doubtless considered " too blessed particular," but they had to be answered in some fashion; and so these papers, modifying their tone, said: "Well, the writings were not to be seen at all; the contract was not a written, but an implied one"—though the alleged implication was certainly not self-evident. The straits to which the defending journals were driven by the inherent weakness of their case are perhaps, however, most strikingly exemplified by a statement in the Pall Mall Gazette for December 10, 1870. All the other papers taking the same side on the dowry question were at one with each other and the anti-dowerists in taking it for granted that the 30,000/. wedding portion and 6,000/. a year asked for were regarded as a substantial matter by all parties concerned; that the income was to be granted as an income, on the understanding that it was required for the usual purpose of an income—the support of those drawing it. But according to the Pall Mall Gazette this was not only a mistaken and unworthy view of the case, but the working classes in particular were aware that it was so. Speaking of a res

olution of the Land and Labor League, the Pall Mall observed that the working classes " know that the dowry to a royal Princess on her marriage is neither given nor accepted on account of its money's worth, but rather as a tribute of respect and affection to the family of the Sovereign." To point out that this is sheer nonsense would be a work of supererogation. That any person writing in a highclass journal like the Pall Mall Gazette could have really entertained such a belief is not for a moment to be credited. Many assertions and arguments of this kind were palpably aimed at the working classes, and in some cases, as for instance that just cited, "fathered" upon them; and it should therefore be no matter for wonder that the fact of their finding themselves considered to be so easily gullible by selfevident nonsense should have aroused in them a strong feeling of antagonism.

The simulated ecstasy, slavish tone, and meaningless, unmanly drivelling of the daily papers in reporting the Lome marriage, upon which the Saturday Review commented with such contemptuous scorn at the time, need not be dwelt upon here; but it may be mentioned that these "gushing" articles were especially effective in intensifying the ill-feeling towards royalty. "To-day," said the Times on the morning of the wedding, "a ray of sunshine will gladden every habitation in this island, and force its way even where uninvited. A daughter of the people in the truest sense of the word is to be married to one of ourselves. The mother is ours, and the daughter is ours. We honor and obey the Queen; we crown her and do her homage, we pray for her, and work for her, and fight for her; we accept her as the despenser of blessings and favors, dignity and honors ; we share her joys and are cheered by her consolations." Now, the assumption of the universality of such a tone of feeling as that embodied in the above " loyal" outburst was not justifiable by even the most liberal interpretation of literary licence. The assertions were untrue not only in the letter, but in the spirit. In hundreds of thousands of "habitations in this island" the marriage was regarded as a gloomy, not a sunshiny matter, so far as it concerned the dwellers in the habitations—a thing which saddled the country with a further large payment to the idle rich, though millions of the industrious poor were in a state of semistarvation. By the working-class section of" the people," the Princess was not held to be in any sense their daughter, but rather a daughter of the horse leech, of whom they had chiefly heard in association with a cry of "give, give," and they certainly looked upon her husband more in the light of a vampyre fastened upon them than as one of themselves. Being unused to making fine distinctions, they connect the office-holder with the office; and speaking in this sense they do not honor and do not pray for the Queen; and though they do work for her and hers, they are very decidedly of opinion that it is more the pity that they should have to do so. And however unorthodox the belief may be, their idea is that not she, but a higher, is the "dispenser of blessings."

These were the real feelings of the working classes with regard to the marriage and royalty generally. By means of meetings, protests, and such press organs as would make known their views, they had given expression to those feelings; and that after this they should find themselves represented as going into ecstasies of joy over the event naturally enraged them. To them such misrepresentation seemed a scornful challenge, and the answer to it has been the organization of a Republican movement, which, however much poohpooh'd in its earlier stages, will ultimately make itself felt. Taking the dowry question in the light of a political contest, the technical victory of the monarchical party was one of the kind that are more disastrous than defeat. If, when it became evident that there was a strong feeling in the country against granting the dowry, the demand for it had been withdrawn, that, combined with the fact that the marriage was one in which natural affection had been allowed to over-ride the unnatural Royal Marriage Act, would have made royalty more popular with the working classes than it had been for many years; now it is infinitely more unpopular than it has everbeen before, with the present generation. Those immediately concerned in the dowry business were not well served. Had they been allowed to know the extent of even the public opposition, it is only fair to them to take it for granted that they would themselves have insisted upon the withdrawal of the claim made

upon their behalf; while, could they have known how they were talked about in thousands of workshops and by tens of thousands of firesides, they would have shrunk from touching a penny of the money as though it had been the price of blood. Curses both loud and deep were heaped upon them as callous despoilers of the poor. "The rattle of the royal begging-box," "Out-door relief." "Ablebodied paupers," "Royal leeches," "Royal spongers," were the mildest terms of contempt employed in speaking of the subject. It became a stock workshop joke to speak of setting up the Marquis of Lome as a greengrocer, or teaching him this or that handicraft to enable him to earn an honest living for himself and wife without coming upon the public. Men—decent, steady artisans, and not at all the fearsome kind of creatures whom it pleased "loyal" caricaturists to depict as the only objectors to the dowry—speaking amid applauding circles of shopmates, wished that "the whole tribe of royalty were under the sod," while women, mothers themselves, prayed that its women might be made unfruitful, so that the race of royal paupers might not be increased. All this may seem both very trivial and very coarse, but it is both broadly and literally true; and though the task of telling it is an ungrateful one, we think it is a state of things which should be made known and faced, not slurred over. The spirit that prompts such ill wishes may be an evil one, but, bad or good, it is the one that is broad among the working classes. With them, at any rate, the name and fame of the country's royalty has become a thing of scorn. Nor does the feeling end at that point. In connection with the subject of the dowry the question passed from mouth to mouth, "Why should we, who can scarcely find bread for ourselves, be forced to contribute, in however small a degree, to the sumptuous maintenance of others whom we have never seen, and who are not doing and have never done us or the State any service?" As might have been expected, such questioning, once started, soon went beyond the point out of which it had immediately arisen. "Why," working men went on to ask themselves and each other, "should they be forced to contribute to the support of royalty at all? What use was it? what return did it make to the country for the money it drew from it?

« 이전계속 »