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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
existence, because a bachelor has less trouble and less anxiety. To be thoroughly selfish, to indulge in every luxury, to be contented if one's wife (if one indulges in the luxury) has sufficient money to keep one without exertion, and to rest ingloriously without action, aim, or ambition; such is the professed policy of many, if not of the majority, of the present day. So utterly vicious is the practice that it has even taken away from the upper classes any desire for better teaching and example. There is no noble ideal set before the young man. At the Haymarket Theatre for hundreds of nights a foolish, silly nobleman was, and will be again, pourtrayed, not to excite contempt, but admiration; in the continuation of the piece, "Brother Sam," Mr. Sothern exhibits a yet more selfish and detestable type of young man, and the delineation, wonderfully skilful as it is, does not excite disgust. His foppery, roguery, lying, laziness, want of truth and honour, are all condoned by the audience, and they rejoice at his marriage with a pretty devoted girl, and at the success of his ignoble schemes. So the swells and fine ladies of the late Mr. Leech did not excite hatred nor disgust, although their conduct was often made silly and heartless; people admired the well-dressed, rich and handsome barbers' dummies which the caricaturist had pencilled, and young ladies and gentlemen dressed after them.
In the church this gradual corruption has produced a marked effect. It is difficult to find earnest young men to fill the obscure and moderately-paid curacies, unless you bait with an exciting Ritualism. The cry of the curates is for pay, place, position, and promotion. A man if he has talents wants to bring them to the best market. Clergymen leave their cures and try to enter the bar; barristers go into trade, or if briefless become agitators, as is sadly notorious enough. In the ranks of Dissent they have the same difficulty of procuring earnest young men, and although almost universally discipline is relaxed.
It will be well as far as we can to compare such young men as we have slightly sketched with those of a century or a hundred and fifty years ago. Money-lovers there were as all comedies and novels show, but many, very many hundreds of poor clergy, and men of other professions, were contented to be and remain pure, so long as they could do their duty towards God and man. Goldsmith draws a picture of one, his own brother, a parson rich on forty pounds a year; Fielding sketches also one from the life-Parson Adams, whilst, to-day we gather our pictures of the clergy from the grasping, selfish men of the world, pourtrayed by Mr. Anthony Trollope, who also paints from the life.
Amongst Nonconformists do we now meet with such purity as was found among the followers of Whitefield and Wesley? Do we find such men as those preachers, who walked hundreds of miles, preached day by day and night by night, in poverty, in hunger, in disgrace, imprisoned by obstinate magistrates; torn, beaten and bleeding, from the violence of brutal mobs ? Have we many who would devote themselves to such a life and subscribe to the twelve golden rules of Saint John Wesley? So many young men will be astonished at the simplicity of these rules that we will put them before them. A young Wesleyan was enjoined―(1.) To be diligent; never to be unemployed a moment; never to be triflingly employed; never to while away time; never to spend any more time at any place than is necessary. (2.) Be serious; let your motto be holiness to the Lord; avoid jesting. (3.) Converse sparingly and cautiously with women, particularly with young women in private. (This maxim Wesley took from Thomas a-Kempis, whose book he translated.) (4). Believe evil of no one; unless you see it done, take heed how you credit it; put the best construction on everything—you know the judge is always on the prisoner's side. (5.) Speak evil of no one. (6.) Tell everyone what you think wrong in time, and then plainly. (7.) Do not affect the gentleman, you have no more to do with that character than with that of a dancing-master; a preacher of the gospel should be the servant of all. (8.) Be ashamed of nothing but sin; not of fetching wood nor of drawing water; not of cleaning your own shoes or your neighbours'. (11.) You have but to save souls, therefore spend and be spent in this work, and go always, not only to those who want you, but to those who want you more.
These rules are, indeed, apostolically golden; and if anyone could have founded an order like those of the Church of Rome, professing such rules, John Wesley was surely the man for the work. The twelfth, here omitted with others, referred to obedience, which is another stumbling-block to our young men either in the Church or out of it; from Father (?) Ignatius to Bishop Colenso our parsons cease to act as the Church directs, but love to take bye-ways and queer paths, so that they lead to notoriety.
How strange and queer some of these rules which apply to all men must seem to our young fellows of to-day; men who delight in the bitter stings of the "Club Whisperer." Even to those spotless children of Bond Street, who read the "Piccadilly Gazette," certain behests will appear mad. What an old pump, to be sure, to tell us not to affect the fine gentleman! He will be telling us to be natural, and after that
maybe he will tell us to marry, and to give up those visits to our little friend at St. John's Wood, who-but here we will draw a veil on the matter. Such things are debated at dinner-tables, but should not, perhaps, be shouted out in THE BROADWAY.
To be triflingly employed, or to work spasmodically like a horse for some selfish end, to smatter about accomplishments, about opera and art; to drawl and to be silly, but often to look very nice, neat, and manly; to look upon those you do know-of your sex-as "awfully jolly" fellows, and those whom you don't know as cads"; to jest at learning and to be bored with thinking; to pretend to be sick at tragedy, and to delight in the most silly farces; to be ashamed of work and to affect the fine gentleman; to repeat idle tales without ever caring about the truth; to think women bores, and a wife a clog upon enjoyment; never to tell any man the evil spoken of him, but carefully to spread it behind his back; to nurse self-indulgence till it destroys, and love of the world till it utterly corrupts-these, my younger brothers, upon whom the future of this glorious old nation rests, are said by some to be your characteristics. Shall I add my voice to theirs? 'Tis of little power, but it is honest; de profundis clamavit many a time and oft, and no one has listened to it. At any rate, he who owns it has told you your faults and to your faces, and has proclaimed to others your virtues. Liberavit animam, of some these strictures may be true. Other young men are simple, spirituels prayerful, and godly, and these shall have power, and the strength of one shall be as the strength of ten, because his heart is pure. But the youth of the multitude will form the nation, and that, it seems to me, will be colder, harder, fiercer, and more calculating, less ready to bear, more swift to strike, impatient of ideologues, quick, restless, and supersubtle: to match the colder and harder times that are coming on us fast.