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rising high above the howling of the wind, the booming of the pines, and the roar of the mountain stream, swollen to a torrent nowstartling the freebooters, still deep in carouse, though they were little apt to disquiet themselves at sound of distress or pain. And then the voice of the storm broke out more savagely than ever, like that of a wild beast rejoicing over a dainty morsel just cast into its den.
Even Ralph Brakespeare's blood-heated by divers evil passions— was chilled and checked as he listened; but it rose again quickly to fever heat as he closed the casement, and turned inwards again towards the estrade, where Bertha de La Roche D'Agon lay.
She did not attempt to upbraid him, or affect regret for the deed just wrought; but rather seemed anxious to make herself accessary thereto; for her tongue neither spared endearments, nor her eyes promises, as she bound his arm with her own waist-scarf. Then the intercepted caress was renewed, and followed by many another; and then-on those two fell the rosy cloud, the uttermost skirts whereof are dark with sin. Soon the green wound began to tingle; but the knight felt it no more, than did Lancelot the smart of his gashed hand, after the grating was once wrenched away that barred him from Queen Guenever's bower.
Then, and for many a day after, his better angel gave place to Belial: yet Ralph did experience one brief pang of remorse and shame, when he marked the fragment of a thin gold chain hanging to his doublet collar, and wist that Marguerite de Hacquemont's cross was either lost in the black ravine, or locked in the stiffened fingers of the murdered man.
BY HENRY SEDLEY,
Editor of the "New York Round Table."
WHEN two such authorities as Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli have so lately taken upon themselves the office of expounding the functions and eulogizing the performances of the British press, it may appear presumptuous in an obscure and comparatively ill-instructed foreigner to advance any opinions on the subject; yet since, as the former gentleman with alliterative emphasis observes, "the press, which was formerly the privilege of the educated class, has become the patrimony of the people," and since there will be no attempt in this paper to controvert Mr. Disraeli's statement that the press of his country, “for energy, general intelligence, information, and moral feeling, cannot be excelled," even an imperfect survey taken by a bird of passage, and from an American point of view, may be indulgently received. The fact that these two distinguished statesmen and rivals are found almost at the same moment competing with each other in pointed laudation of the merits and unreserved acknowledgment of the power of the press, is in itself a remarkably significant one, and, in its obvious connection with recent political developments, is scarcely more interesting to observers on the eastern side of the Atlantic than the other.
It seems to be generally agreed-in America the proposition is axiomatic-that the more democratic a country becomes, the stronger must be its newspaper press. In other words, the wider the distribution of political power, the greater the influence of an engine whose force is exerted upon an increasing number of individuals. From this flows the corollary that the largest circulation must carry the most weight; that national convictions are no longer to be established by percolation, as it were, from an audience "fit, though few;" and that the journal which hits the taste or prejudices of the majority must henceforward and naturally be a greater power in the state than the one which appeals to a smaller and more fastidious clientage. This conclusion, which can scarcely be gratifying to most educated Englishmen, seems, however, to be implicitly accepted by the two eminent publicists quoted above, and-be it said with much deference and every willingness to submit to correction-the progressive tone of London journalism during the past ten years appears to me to substantiate and confirm it. When a stranger ventures to offer opinions
upon the institutions of a country, it is reasonable to inquire into his experience and facilities for observation, and this may excuse the egotism of a few words of personal explanation.
I left England in 1858, after a first visit of some eighteen months, and returned to it in 1865 for a sojourn of about the same duration. The changes which had taken place in these seven years struck me very forcibly; the first which attracted my attention lay in the manners of what, for the sake of being intelligible, must be called the common people. I do not mean to put myself in the delicate situation of avowing whether I thought the change for the better or worse, but a great change there certainly appeared to be, and it was one that required no conservance with current affairs to understand. It will suffice to say it was perfectly obvious that in seven years democratic principles had made great progress in the community: an explanation which will enable the reader, of whatever convictions, to draw his own inference. The rapid mutations that occur in America are proverbial; but, after an absence from the United States upon one occasion as long as the noted one from England, I saw no such alteration as this in the manners or bearing of my countrymen. Naturally enough the phenomenon did not seem to strike average English people whom I encountered, although here and there individuals were keenly sensible of it. Now the London newspapers, of which I was always, when in England, an omnivorous reader, impressed me in very much the same way. I hope the frankness will be pardoned which leads me to admit that the element ad captandum vulgus appeared to me to have greatly increased, and to be rankly flourishing. It is one thing to say this and another to reprobate it. Who live to please must presumably please to live; and perhaps a journal must needs be only an exponent even when it most affects to be a leader of its community. Journalists are like politicians in being able to maintain their place only by keeping a finger on the public pulse, and studying the caprices of popular humour. It is easy for the inexperienced, or for those whose knowledge is confined to special circles, to censure the varying tone, the apparent blemishes of taste or defects of judgment, which they may detect in a given journal; but toleration usually comes with wider knowledge in this as well as in other fields of human achievement. There are newspapers successfully published in London which would inevitably fail in New York, and, as some of my English friends need hardly be told, vice versa. Possibly when democracy has gone in England a little further, thinking Englishmen will not be quite so
ready as they sometimes have been to regard a certain style of American journalism as fairly representative of the best thought or culture of the country, any more than they will be to blame us all for the occasionally intemperate and bizarre exhibitions on the floor of Congress.
It will be curious to observe, as the London press grows more democratic, whether that of America will continue to hold it in the same regard as at present, or whether the existing estimation shall prove to be modified. At present the feeling is a rather singular and mixed one. Most of our American journals affect to hold English ones in little esteem; yet anything which favours their own side is eagerly copied by political papers, and anything disapprobatory of our institutions or prominent men, obtains enormous American circulation. If an American artist or book appears in London, the criticisms of the local press are widely quoted by our own, and our publishers in their advertisements almost invariably append English endorsements of works reproduced by them in preference to American ones. An apropos habit of American newspapers is frequently noticeable. If an article originally printed at home happens to be copied by a London journal of standing, it is often recopied in full from the latter by our own prints, although it had been quite unnoticed by them on its first appearance. The inference is certainly not complimentary to the discernment of our own editors, whatever it may be to their appreciation of that of their English brethren. All these things are intelligible enough, if seemingly anomalous. The problem is as to whether they will still present themselves, when the American press becomes more cosmopolitan and the English press more democratic. Let us, however, refrain from comparisons which, either for conviction's sake or for that of good feeling, are little likely to be profitable.
Apart from the abstract or analogical consideration of tendencies, I make bold, as an humble American observer, to say that Mr. Disraeli's strong eulogy on the press of his country is still richly deserved. Its energy, courage, and scholarship must in all fairness be admitted; and although its moral feeling is often impugned in the United States in connection with our unhappy civil war, the fact that if it erred it did so with a great number of Americans themselves, including not a few of their journalists and some of their ablest thinkers, is daily becoming more fully understood and appreciated. The generosity with which London journalists take up and encourage ability or desert, when they find it with utter disregard of origin or previous obscurity, is worthy of highest praise. There may be discreditable exceptions, but as a class