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Our guides were evidently afraid of them, guides, having first proved our sense of and we hurried on as well as we could, but their courage and careful attention by a there was a certain sort of excitement, as suitable recognition of their services, and they whirled past, probably like that felt then retired to the rest we had so hardly by soldiers in action when the bullets are earned. Next morning we'awoke thoroughheard flying past them. Schäff got a severely refreshed, and found ourselves in no way blow in the leg from a stone, and I was the worse for all the hardships we had struck by a small one in the back. Ortler endured. being exhausted at step-cutting, we tried to The
spot that we spent the night on was walk on the couloir without steps, but we about 11,000 feet above the level of the sea, had no sooner attempted it than J. (who as well as we could calculate. We could had lost one of his crampons) slipped on scarcely have lived through the night if the ice and was sliding away; but happily there had been any wind, unprovided as we I had my alpenstock well in at the time, were with suitable covering of any kind. and was enabled to hold him up.
We felt truly thankful to Providence for Afier three hours' hard work we reached our escape from such imminent peril, and some rocks, where we rested, and then we resolved never to risk our lives in a similar got quickly down the soft snow of the lower undertaking. Next morning we bid fareslope, at the foot of which we bade adieu well to quiet little Trafoi, and walked down to the regions of ice and snow, our way the valley to Prad, finding ourselves the lying now through a steep stony descent, objects of some curiosity to the inhabitants, where we met a man who had been de- who called us " the Ortler Herren," the spatched by our kind hostess with refresh- news of the ascent having quickly been ments for us. The heat was very great circulated through the neighbourhood. On by this time, and I could not take either our arrival at Prad, the curate and several meat or wine; my mouth and throat were of the townsfolk called to congratulate us literally dry as if they had been made of on our escape, and we had to submit to a parchment, in consequence of the long friendly catechizing on various points of abstinence.
interest connected with the ascent. They About noon we reached the woods, where told us that telescopes had been brought to unfortunately no water was to be had, and bear on us while we were on the mountain, my sufferings from thirst were so great that from various places in the surrounding I could scarcely drag myself along. At district, as far as Heiden in the upper valley two o'clock we reached the little chapel of the Adige. We could not help being where the three fountains are, and I rushed impressed by the simple, kindly maninto it and drank copiously of the delicio!is ners of the people in this portion of she water -- the first thing that I had tasted Tyrol, unspoiled as they are by that with the least benefit for the last thirty-six great influx of tourists, which in other parts hours. I was at once restored; the sense of the Continent has exercised such a preof fatigue vanished, and we walked on judicial effect upon the character of the rapidly to Trafoi, which we reached after inhabitants. an absence of thirty-six hours; twelve oc- Our experience of the conduct of the cupied in the ascent, five in descending to Austrian soldiery was far more favourable our night's resting-place, twelve on that than that of some other travellers, as we awful ledge, and seven in the final descent. found both the officers and privates cour
The inhabitants baď nearly all given us up teous in their bearing to us, and in different for lost, and the report of it was brought instances had reason to contrast their attenaway by some travellers leaving the place. tion and civility to strangers with the repelMr. H., one of the Alpine Club, who was ling hauteur assumed by certain youthtul staying at our hotel, felt confident, how- warriors nearer home; but it may bave ever, that we were safe. He and his wife been that we were also a little biased in had been watching us during the morning their favour by the fact that the ropes which making our way on the couloir, likes flies had served us so well on the mountain crawling down a wall, and on our arrival were kindly furnished from the fort in the be came forward to greet us most cordially. neighbourhood of Trafoi. After a light repast, we parted with our
From the Edinburgh Review. education a sufficient explanation of slug
gish understandings and of inconsecutive Felix Holt, the Radical. By GEORGE
arguments. With scarcely an exception ELIOT. 3 vols. post 8vo. London : her untaught or half-taught personages set 1866.
logic at defiance. Her zeal for the eleva
tion of the bumbler classes is the more • Felix Holt' has some of the defects laudable because she has an extraordinary of ordinary novels, but ordinary novels have relish for the picturesque results of satisfied none of the merits of. Felix Holt. The ignorance. In her fictions she always regreat writer who, like Madame Dudevant, curs by preference to the pre-scientific adopts the ungraceful disguise of a mascu- days, in which conscientious moral agriline pseudonym, bas, after an excursion into culturists had not yet learned the duty of a foreign country and a distant age, happily extirpating flowering weeds. returned to her own region of provincial In the difficult enterprise of a historical English life, in full possession of her former novel George Eliot has been less completely vigour, of her dramatic fidelity to nature, successful. In preparing to write · Romola,' and of her unrivalled humour. Few read- she had either read too much about Florers have any knowledge of a state of society ence, or had remembered too much of what which is apparently described from early she read. The admirable development of recollection, aided by local.trad but a two or three principal characters in the creative imagination spontaneously produces book is provokingly overlaid by a profureal and living beings. Some of the inhabi- sion of irrelevant learning. The judicious tants of Treby Magna and its neighbour- student, conscious of the limits of human hood are eccentric and even grotesque, but menory, resents the assumption that he is. their language and their modes of thought bound to care for the minute details of are so natural and credible that the per- Florentine life and history in the fifteenth sonages of the story seem to have a real century. It is possible that Bartolommeo existence. Some justly celebrated humour- Scala may have sat in his garden at the ists produce all their effects by the more or Porta di Ponte with a loose mantle over less delicate use of caricature. Wiltul ex- his tunic and with his too stately silk lucco aggeration of oddities may be a legitimate thrown aside, but it was not worth while comic method, but an engrained organic to devote half a dozen pages to an ironical absurdity furnishes deeper and more lasting analysis of his little scholastic squabble amusement. Mr's. Holt is not less illogical with the more celebrated Politian. * " That than Mrs. Nickleby, but she is not meant loud-barking bound of the Lord,” said merely to be laughed at. The puzzled Francesco Cei, the popular poet, “ is not in and unwilling submission of a commonplace Florence just now. He has taken Piero and conceited old woman to a son who de Medici's hint to carry his railing prophehas grown out of her comprehension, is not cies on a journey for a while."' It is necesa mere exercise of playful ingenuity, but an sary to explain in a note that Savonarola illustration of human experience. George and the Dominicans were facetiously deEliot takes almost excessive pleasure in scribed as Domini canes, and perhaps the recording the muddle-headed processes of information is less valueless than the diadull and uneducated understandings, but she logue which proceeds to explain that a always enters into the characters which she standard with a red eagle, a green dragon, reproduces, instead of contemplating them and a red lily was the gonfalon of the Guelf as subjects of farce or satire from without. party. Severe study is the worst possible The intelligent reader is conscious that if preparation for the production of an imaginature and circumstances had left his mind native work. The novelist and the poet a blank, he would have thouglit and talked ought to speak out of the fulness of the heart, like the collier at Sproxton, even if he had as George Eliot reveals without effort the not been obliged to give his wife a black odd mysteries of custom and character eye, to hinder her from going to the which grow up in some remote Midland preaching.' Miss Austen was as-fond as her village. The exquisite inaccuracy of Shaksmore ambitious and powerful successor of peare and of Scott belongs to the essence incoherent talkers, but, as all her charac- of historical fiction. Hector may quote Arters occupied the same level of cultivation, istotle, and the contemporaries of Cæur de she contented herself with studying various Lion may be soos of the companions of the forins of intellectual imbecility. Searching Conqueror, without disturbing the illusion deeper into the strata of society, George so harshly as when a tiresome extract from Eliot finds in the absence or narrowness of an obsolete Florentine chronicle is inserted in the dialogue of a novel. Notwithstand- error of exhibiting antiquarian knowledge. ing drawbacks which are by some tastes George Eliot, though far superior in genius regarded as attractions, “ Romola' is a won- to Manzoni, has not altogether avoided derful preformance. The whole force of the minute pedantry which disfigures the the writer's dramatic genius has been con- | Promessi Sposi.' Her brilliant expericentrated on the character of Tito. The ment ought to satisfy roving ambition, for, conventional villain of romance is coarse in like Wordsworth, whom she resembles in texture by the side of the easy, good-na- few of her qualities, she leads but an artitured, and graceful Greek adventurer, ficial life in an unfamiliar atmosphere. whose selfishness, untainted with malignity, passes gradually through meanness * Then back to Earth, the dear green Earth. into treachery and crime. The morbid Whole ages here if I should roam, pathology of symptoms which to a less sub- The world, for my remarks and me, tle observer would indicate perfect moral
Would ne'er a whit the wiser be; health, is painful in proportion to the accu- I've left my heart at home.' racy of the demonstration. Under the influence of fear, as in the careless pursuit of In Loamshire, and at Treby Magna, there pleasure, Tito illustrates with undeviating are no gorgeous processions, watched by consistency a theory which corresponds with spectators with historical names, requiring the theological doctrine of original sin, each a paragraph of description; but the except that it is not universally applicable. sporting rector in his velveteen shooting That an ignoble nature is incurable ap- jacket, the pompous butler in the steward's pears to be one of George Eliot's most room at the manor, the retired London habitual convictions ; and she delights to tradesman who tells his admiring neighbours dwell on the sufferings of women under un- pin the country stories about Mr. Pitt, require worthy masculine supremacy. The heroic no long explanation to make them intelligielevation of Romola herself supplies almost ble and pleasant. The preliminary chaptoo glaring a contrast to the pliant smooth- ter, which describes a day's journey on a. ness of her husband. Her gloomy history coach, has never been excelled as a sketch may suggest the thought which is expressed of the varieties of English town and counby Mrs. Transome in • Felix Holt,' ' I would try scenery, not lose the misery of being a woman, now George Eliot's power of constructing a I see what can be the baseness of a man.' fable is not equal to her skill in delineating The character of Savonarola is almost as character. Her shorter tales, as · Silas remarkable a specimen of psychological Marner,' and the Scenes of Clerical Life" analysis as the more difficult study of Tito, have more unity and rapidity of movement. but nine-tenths of the personages of the than the • Mill on the Floss,' or • Felix story are merely figures in a pageant; and Holt;' yet the celebrated public-house conthe best proof that indigenous humour de- versation in Silas Marner' has scarcely generates in a foreign soil is furnished by any connexion with the principal story. A the flashy and tiresome prattle of Nello the subtle perception of motives and peculiaricomic barber. The last feverish struggles ties perhaps tends to interrupt the continuof Florence for republican liberty, and the ous flow of narrative. Scott said that a fahalf-willing, martyrdom of Savonarola, re- vourite character, like Dugald Dalgetty, ran tain their historical and dramatic interest away with him, and in the most humorous after the lapse of centuries; but lively of fictions, the story of Tristram Shandy mannerism and the ready use of familiar never makes the smallest progress. By far allusions, although they are the necessary the best part of Adam Bede' consists in vehicles of social gaiety, are by their nature the proverb-like sayings of Mrs. Poyser, ephemeral and perishable. No bookish who has little or nothing to do with the plot. knowledge can supply the homely associa- It is not surprising that a writer who has tions which are indispensable to humorous the power of drawing a typical portrait in fiction. One sentence of Tommy Troun- a few strokes, is tempted to imitate the copisem's in Felix Holt'is well worth all the ous irregularity of Nature, instead of adherpages which are allotted to the Florentine ing with severe accuracy to a preconceived Figaro. Scott had forgotten all the dates design. Some of the episodes of • Felix and the particulars of Philipe de Comines's Holt,' after a laboured commencement, end history when he reproduced with admirable in nothing; and the legal complication which fidelity the central figure of Louis XI. His forms the frame work of the story is arbiimitators in England, in Germany, and trarily disregarded in the final solution. above all in Italy uniformly fall into the The doubtful title to the Transome estate, FOURTH SERIES. LIVING AGE.
although it is the subject of significant allu- | take effect for twenty-one years beyond a sion in the introductory chapter, and of in- life in being; and consequently, even if cessant anxiety and uncertainty through the Maurice Bycliffe, the father of Esther, was entire course of the narrative, exercises no the immediate successor of the original reeventual influence on the fortunes of the mainder-man, the effect of the limitation principal personages. One of the triumphs must bave expired long before 1832, Durof English jurisprudence consists in the ing the progress of the story, on the death mixed feeling of curiosity and 'awe with of Tommy Trounsem, the last descendant which it has impressed authors and more of Thomas Transome, Esther's claim is supespecially authoresses of fiction. The law posed to accrue. In the learned language supplies to modern novels the place of that of some former Attorney-General, Upon supernatural machinery which was once the decease of Thomas Transome, otherthought indispensable in epic composition. wise Trounsem, we are of opinion that the Like the gods of Olympus, or the Destiny right in remainder of the Bycliffe family of later times, some entail or settlement will arise, which right would not be barred operates in its relentless course, impenetra- by any statute of limitation. On the same ble, inexorable, and sovereignly unjust. principle an entail might tie up property The father of Mrs. Browning's Aurora for centuries, while an intermediate tenanLeigh was prevented by the will of a re- cy descended from generation to generation. mote ancestor from leaving not only bis The power of Thomas Transome when he landed estate but his large accumulations of was only heir in tail to cut off his own issue personalty to his only child. George Eliot by a sale which was inoperative against the is perhaps a better lawyer than Mrs. Brown- Bycliffes, is another illustration of Tommy's ing, but she appears to be almost equally proposition that you'd better not be medincapable of understanding that perpetuities dlin' wi' things belonging to the law, else are among the few anomalies which are you'll be catched up in a big wheel, and fly unknown to the law of England. “I saw to bits.' The puzzle is additionally compliclear enough,' says Tommy Trounsem, the cated by the threatened treachery of the poaching bill-sticker, 'as, if the law hadn't family solicitor, who bas the secret of Esbeen again' me, the Trounsem estate 'ud ha' ther's birth and of Tommy Trounsem's pedbeen mine.' Some such vague notion that igree. As Mr. Jermyn had contrived to the law is opposed to the right which it con- charge the estate with annuities and mortstitutes, underlies many ingenious fictions. gages in his own favour to the amount of The settlement of the Transome estates 3,000l. a year, he might have been trusted was made a hundred years ago by John to abstain from invalidating his own secuJustus Transome, entailing them, while in rity. his possession, on his son Thomas and his The alarm which may have been caused heirs male, with remainder to the Bycliffes by the description on the title-page of Felix in fee. Thomas had without the knowl. Holt as a Radical is relieved by the discor. edge of his father, the tenant in possession, ery that he is neither a popular speaker sold his own and his descendants' rights to nor primarily a politician, but a social rea lawyer-cousin, named Durfey. Therefore former. The determination of a clever and the title of the Durfey Transomes, in spite well-educated son of a tradesman to pass of that old Durfey's tricks to show the con- through life as a member of the workingtrary, depended solely on the purchase of class is justly regarded by his neighbours as the “ base fee” thus created by. Thomas a crotchet, although the authoress admires Transome; and the Bycliffes were the “re- his choice and the heroine rewards it with mainder-men," who might fairly oust the her heart and hand. Sympathy is perhaps Durfey Transomes, if the issue of the prod- less subtle than satirical intuition, for Felis igal Thomas went clean out of existence, Holt, though his conversation is manly, senand ceased to represent a right which he sible, and thoughtful, is a less masterly porhad bargained away. Base fees and re- trait than Tito Melema. The virtue of mainder-men produce a salutary feeling wearing a cap instead of a hat, and of disof respect, but the anxieties which disturbed pensing with a neckcloth, is rather ostentathe peaceful enjoyment of Transome Park tious than sublime. If a man who has the might bave been dissipated by careful ex- power of earning a comfortable income by the amination of the title. Esther Lyon or exercise of bis knowledge and ability, preBycliffe, represented as the rightful claim- fers a handicraft and weekly wages, his asant of the property, was the daughter of a ceticism is as unprofitable as if it were pracBycliffe who died as a young man in 1811 tised in a Trappist cell, and it involves the or 1812. The settlement of 1729 could only non-monastic disadvantage of enforcing
“ You are
useless hardships on the modern saint's wife attempts in vain a pretty and natural diverand children. By a happy instinct George sion. Eliot passes over the sordid incidents which constitute the real sting of poverty. Felix «« What is my horrible guilt,” she said, rising Holt converses in the tone of a gentleman and standing, as she was wont, with one foot on and philosopher with cultivated associates, the fender, and looking at the fire. If it had been and although he earns a bare livelihood as any one but Felix who was neur her, it might have a journeyman watchmaker, his time seems occurred to her that this attitude showed her to to be always at his own disposal. When advantage; but she had only a mortified sense his mother teazes him with her twaddle, he that he was quite indifferent to what others praised answers her with a joke about the Cicero- herfor. “Why do you read this mawkish stuffon nian antipbrasis ;' and except as a teacher René, and running his eyes over the pages.
a Sunday, for example ?” he said, snatching up or missionary, he seems to have no social re- “ You have no reason but idle fancy and selfish lations with his fellow-workmen or nominal inclination for shirking your father's teaching, equals. He says, indeed, that he has the and giving your soul up to trifles.” stomach of a rhinoceros, so that he can live kind enough to say so: but I am not aware that on porridge, and he even boasts that he is lever confided my reasons to you.” “Why, not a mouse to distinguish between a wax what worth calling a reason could make any and a tallow-candle ; but an artisan who mortal hang over this trash ? I liotic immoralcan amuse himself with Ciceronian figures doctrine tacked to it, like a hare's foot on a dish,
ity dressed up to look fine, with a little bit of of speech, resembles a workman as a shep- to make believe the mess is not cat’s flesh. herd at the opera or in Sèvres china is like Look here: 'Est ce ma faute, si je trouve para common farm servant. In one of her nov- tout des bornes, si ce qui est fini n'a pour moi els George Eliot compares a feeling of moral aucune valeur?' Yes, sir, distinctly your fault, repugnance to the dislike of a refined tem- because you're an ass. Your dunce, who can't perament for a coarse odour or a flaring do his sum, always has a taste for the intinite. light; yet Felix Holt's contempt for the Sir, do you know what a rhomboid is ? Ob no, wax-taper which was necessary to Esther's I don't believe these things with limits. Ce comfort is represented as a proof of supe- la vie, et si j'avais encore la folie de croire au
pendant, j'aime la monotonie des sentimens de riority.
bonheur'”“O pray, Mr. Holt, don't go on If unusual schemes of life are generally reading with that dreadful accent; it sets one's fantastic mistakes, self-sacrificing devotion teeth on edge.” Esther, smarting helplessly to the supposed good of the community is under the previous lashes, was relieved
this not the less a respectable rule of conduct. diversion of criticism. “ There it is,” said Esther Lyon, cultivating in a humble sphere Felix, throwing the book on the table, and getthe tastes of a fine lady, is at first shocked ting up to walk about.
“ You are only happy or startled by Felix's paradoxical bluntness, when you can spy a tag or tassel loose to turn and she has always felt a kindly contempt the tables, and get rid of any judgment that for the pious orthodoxy of the Independent
must carry your author after it.") Minister whom she believes to be her father. If the nature of women is truly delineated A lover's quarrel before the conscious beby writers of their own sex, an overbearing ginning of love has never been recorded spirit and a kind of masculine roughness with more delicate insight. The vigorous are the qualities which above all others en- and eager secutor, with reason and convicsure success in love. In ordinary practice tion on his side, finds himself constantly reproof and contradiction will be sparingly hampered by a cast of the net on the part employed by the judicious suitor; but in of his fugitive adversary. An argument novels the incivility of the hero rarely which includes a French quotation cannot fails of its desired effect. A sensible woman be more effectively parried, than by a commight indeed extract a kind of compliment plaint that that dreadful accent sets one's from the reproof which she has earned by teeth on edge. The loose tag or tassel some little burst of nonsense. When Felix serves for a moment the purpose of turning Holt reproached Esther for real or affected the tables, but after all the victory remains frivolity, she resented his speech, but dis- with the champion of the rightful cause. liked it less than many Felix had addressed The number of women who hinder men's to her. You have enough understand- lives from having any nobleness in them ing,' he said, 'to make it wicked that you would be incalculable, if potential nobleshould add one more to the women who ness were not almost proportionally rare. binder men's lives from having any noble- Men, however, have generally some emness in them.' In ber anger, slightly modi- ployment, if it is only selling tape or drawfied by a sense of gratification, Esther | ing pleadings, beyond the limits of home