Abbildungen der Seite

precedes her mamma in coming out of Stewart's, and jumps first into the carriage, is in a hurry to fulfil her destiny; the carriage was only set up last year, you see, and the next generation will be better taught.

Still further to seek divergencies, Broadway and Regent Street vary in some particulars which are typical, in each case, of nationality. The latter is very wide in proportion to its length; the former, despite its name, is the reverse. Regent Street, by reason of its paving, is comparatively quiet; Broadway is diabolically otherwise. Regent Street is compact, uniform, settled for life, and, in a word, finished; Broadway is irregular, diverse, subject to perpetual mutation, and exhibits, briefly, all the lusty irregularity of adolescence; and yet the streets, like the people which swarm in them, are substantially the same -alike in race, in literature, in speech, in garb, in religion, in pursuits, in ambitions, and, in a broad sense, regarding both as countries constitutionally governed by rulers popularly chosen, alike in political structure. Unlike the great streams of the West, which come together, but yet, in joining, still preserve their colour and individuality, these human streams have a common source. The rivers arose in regions

almost immeasurably remote from their junction and from each other. One has wound its way through vast strata of limestone, and its greenish hue is given by the mineral substances it has thus borrowed and kept in solution. The other has pierced through primeval forests of hemlock and of spruce, and is loaded with vegetable matter, which dye it purplish brown. Each has come from afar, loves best its own idiosyncracy, and hates change, as do the conventional races of men. They foam on sullenly side by side, defer intermixture as long as possible, and assent to it at last, as it were, under protest. The green and the red are as bitterly opposed as in the imagination of a Fenian, and even when that which gave them colour has been precipitated and left behind in their rapid swirl, the coalition is reluctant. But the two great branches of the Anglo-Saxon race sprang from the same fountain head. Their histories may vary from the point of separation, although in important respects they promise to be identical. However this may be, their history up to that point was, like their origin, the same. To perfect an analogy, therefore, between these branches and the uniting streams would be to invert the natural physical conditions, and to conceive of those branches as rising together from the sea, and ascending by a channel like that of the Mississippi, through a splendid and protracted experience, to divide at last to make the Ohio and Missouri at Cairo.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

THERE is a standing feud between the young man and the old man, there ever has been and always will be. We may remember, we whose reading is confined to Dickens and the railway novelists, that Mr. Ralphı Nickleby called his nephew, indignantly, "a boy;" as if that were something derogatory, also, as if it were open to him to be a boy at any time, but he wouldn't. Perhaps if he could have been he would not have hesitated, that grim old money-lender! But a very different man speaks in much the same strain. In Göthe's autobiography, he records-he, that bright-eyed, broad-shouldered, ever-young, all-seeing and all-loving poet-that he did not like the young men of his day. "They come to me," he said, "short-sighted, narrow-chested, pallid young men, with their eye-glasses and their doubts, and I say to them, Don't bring your doubts to me, I have enough of my own; bring me your convictions if you like." Truly this intellectual giant, who sowed more doubts than I hope any of our men will try to reap and harvest, might well be annoyed with the young students of his day who wandered in, each with his little armful of gleanings, to the greater Resolver-not an Angelic Doctor in that way by any means.


we realize the stern flash of his eye as he looks upon his visitants?

Like as the leaves come and go, so do the races of men: Göthe's young men, with their bent forms, pallid countenances and questioning looks have gone, their sons are old, have had their doubts and published them, written their " Tract Ninety," and other matters now celebrated. Our young men are the product of volunteering, gymnastic education, rowing, cricketing, and boys' magazines, externally a fine set of fellows enough. "You see, my friend," said a wicked, crooked old marquis, twinkling with his eyes at the fine footman who attended the ladies, straight-limbed and broad backed, "how fine we make ces gens la!" I will not repeat the last part of his story, but our fathers of families may often recal the first as they look on the young men of the day at Eton, Rugby, Wellington College-where I have a young friend who wins prizes at high jumps but does not seem to acquire much Greek—at Dr. Birch's academy at Clapham, Mr. Smithington's private tuition shop for the sons of gentlemen only, old Blimber's at Brighton, at the Blue Coat and other charity schools, yea, even in Messrs.

Swan and Edgar's shop, and behind the counter of Messrs. Sboolbred. Fine, tall, long, lithe of limb, broad of chest, thin of flank, flat in wrist, good biceps, firm throat, well set up, especially those who have joined the volunteers. Look! what young men should have they do not lack, externally, at least. Don't let us go only among the upper classes, as do some of my brethren of the pen and inkpot, but come into the places where they sell. Regard Patsey O'Connor there, born of Irish and English, who travels for a dry-goods house in the City, and at the age of five-and-twenty makes, by a glib tongue and consequent commissions, about as much as a colonial bishop; ay, half of those reverend fathers at the Pan-Anglican Synod do not make more. Is not Patsey a fine fellow ? a little coarse, yes-possibly a little too familiar; he does not understand the ne quid nimis, applied to assurance, but as an animal what a fine fellow it is. Brave? I believe you, he would fight anyone and anyhow, occasion being given. Come out into Holborn about 8.30 A.M., as they say in Bradshaw, you will see a whole army of his like pouring down that fast disappearing hill. The Holborn Valley viaduct. will be thronged with them. So it is in Liverpool, in Birmingham, in Canterbury, or in Edinburgh. At Manchester, they tell me they run rather shorter-and as we get lower down in the scale perhaps, the race is neither so well fed nor grown, but as a whole the upper class and middle class young men are externally those we may be proud of. I have seen many races of men, and many countries, and on the whole I agree with Emerson who in his English traits gives the palm to the English. "We have," he says, "the same distinct breed which was to be noticed in the Plantagenet kings-the long oval faces, the flat cheeks, the good foreheads-you may see them lying on their tombs in some of our old churches-true forefathers of the young Englishmen of to-day."

The Volunteer movement has done much for all classes-even for those who are not drilled nor set up. There has been everywhere a manliness infused, and an unconscious imitation has run up and down the social scale—for we yet have a scale, although some of our advanced thinkers (?) wish to do away with one. More open-air excrcise, less drinking, for which we have to thank our teetotal friends who are more often treated to banter than to argument; a better system of dress, and less preciseness, have given us greater freedom of muscular action. This has been purchased at a sacrifice of manner. "Formerly," says a French wit, "when anyone especially well-dressed, extremely gentlemanly in appearance entered the stalls of the opera or theatre, people

said at once 'It is an Englishman,'-now," says the wag, "it is the reverse. But we have discovered the reason why. Englishmen go abroad to wear out their old clothes." Of young men abroad one might have a page or two to say-out of collar the colts kick up their heels and make idiots of themselves-but we have enough to do at home. Nor are our young men so eccentric as they were. We have no Mohocks, no Bloods, no Beaux, no Dandies and Dandizettes now.

Even Dickens' early sketches, and Cruikshank's caricatures, having done their work well, are looked upon as monstrous exaggerations. Mr. Jingle, Mr. Weller, senior or junior, Sampson Brass, and dear Dick Swiveller-even the immortal Kenwigs, and that licenced family of theatrical eccentricities, of which the great Crummles was the head, who in their own day must have been young men of a curious order, have all died out. The novelist is reduced to a dead level for his characters. We have combed nature's hair. Dickens does not exaggerate so much as people think; he himself has more than once denied the charge; he paints people as he sees them, but his later stories show that he does not now see what he once saw. Even dear good Tom Pinch has died away from us, and our young men have grown to be Martin Chuzzlewits.

They are very proper, no doubt; no fools on the march-they learn to take care of themselves, or they like much better some one to take care of them. They don't overdress themselves, and submit with gladness to the rigorous propriety of tailors' books of costume. They put off even loud dresses, those wonderful patterns Swiveller would have delighted in, till they get to the sea-side. If ugliness and brightness is not to be worn there, they ask, where is it to be worn? They delight, too, in washing their dirty linen abroad, in the modern sense of that last word, for certainly at home a young man seldom makes such a fool of himself. They don't believe in poetry, nor in anything except a fortune and position. Twenty years ago we were all agog for teaching the working classes, and sang songs of liberty, equality, and fraternity. Our young men do not admire those principles-except when gilded. Davidge, the manager, refused to eat a performing pig which had died out of the bills, and in the hands of the butcher-unless salted. So unless we have plenty of money on a thing, young men refuse it. Success is the great object; the first question is, Does it pay?

By no other means is the young man more to be gauged and tested than by the songs of the day. We were sometimes soft and perhaps not very high in our poetry, We sang of "Marble Halls" and the

sons are taught.

"Ivy Green" fifteen years ago, as our fathers sang of "Love's Young Dream," the "Deep, Deep Sea," the "Isle of Beauty," and the "Pilgrim of Love," before us. Ah, what recollections do those old names call up! But our young men, what do they sing of. Go to a Music Hall-no, don't: peer into music windows and scan the titles of the clotted nonsense, which, adorned with clever lithographs by Mr. Concanen, now sell. "Champagne Charley," the "Galloping Snob," the "Sewing Machine," the "Sausage Machine," the "Dark Girl Dressed in Blue," and others with a sting in the tail of the verses, a scorpion suggestion of cunning, low passion and base desires. These, oh, my nation, are the ballads your What wonder if Shakspere's "wretched stuff” nauseates the critics, and burlesque runs riot for three hundred nights. I declare that we even owe a deep debt of gratitude to the Ethiopian serenaders, who at least have given us simple and pure doggerel. But this doggerel is often very filthy in its suggestions; always inartistic, ungrammatical, and imperfect in its rhymes. What wonder if our young men do not love poetry, and laugh at all deep expression of feeling, which is but prose poetry. Can we wonder that verse, except it has a reflected fame, falls a little dead-flutters like an autumn leaf to be trodden into dust? Can we wonder that very high art does not flourish even in pictures, where the matter is different, and fashion so rules there that ignorant buyers make indifferent artists rich.

Education-where it appeals to the head--is perhaps higher than it was; where it appeals to the heart, lower. We now judge by results, and results are measured by a golden rule. The nation is so much richer that it is perhaps not unnatural to suppose that it has grown more corrupt. To material comfort and sensuous enjoyment our young look. Also they cast their eyes pretty frequently to mere pleasure and excitement in life. Did they base this upon manly duty and its due performance, it would be all very well, but they don't. "Come and see So-and-So," says one; "he is a great fool or scamp, but he is so rich;" or, "A. has married B., such a catch, she had fifty thousand pounds." Moreover, the rich know the rich because they are rich; that is all. Few dare to be poor, for the penalties of poverty are non-recognition, obscurity, and want of weight in the world, all very much detested and shunned by a faithless and restless generation. Marriage is held to be unwise on the part of many young men, and children merely a trouble, expense, and undesirable nuisance. A comfortable but vicious bachelor life is deemed the most-to-be-wished-for

« ZurückWeiter »