Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

OXFORD, FROM MAGDALEN COLLEGE. ant as any in the world. The railway brings banqueting hall and ballroom, full of revelers down politicians and men of business as well brought together under pretense of seeing as men of letters, to pass the Sunday, and the honorary degrees conferred and hearing prize pedantic seclusion of Oxford and Cambridge poems recited. A guest at commemoration from the world is now a thing of the past. time may well fancy that student life at OxThere is no use in transcribing the guide- ford and Cambridge is fully portrayed by book. Cambridge, in the chapel of King's descriptions of the fast student, such as College, has a single glory which Oxford can- Verdant Green, or by the first plate of Frith's not match, and certainly nothing at Oxford series, “The Road to Ruin." There is too can charm more than the walk along the Cam much of this sort of thing in universities at the backs of the Cambridge colleges. But which are the resort of wealth and aristocOxford is a more academic city. It will be racy; but there are also hard study, high noted that the Gothic style lingered there with aspirations, ardent friendships, and all the other traces of the middle ages, to the time of romance which, especially among the cultured Charles I. The local stone, of which some of and active-minded, hovers about the portals the colleges are built, soon changes color of life. Of late, student tastes, like those of under the action of the weather. An Ameri- society in general, seem to have grown softer can visitor, pointing to a black-looking pile, and more refined. At many of the windows asked his host whether that building was not in the dark old quadrangle there are boxes of very old. “Oh, no!" was the reply, “its flowers, and from many rooms the sound of color deceives you ; it has not been built much the piano is heard. more than two hundred years." With this It is perhaps at Oxford or Cambridge in the may be coupled the story of a fellow of a col- summer term, when the boat-races and the lege, who, being asked how they managed to cricket-matches are going on, that English get such perfect sward in those Oxford lawns, athleticism can best be seen. A gay and anireplied, " It is the simplest thing in the world ; mating sight is a boat-race, while a cricketyou have only to mow and roll regularly for match is apt to be tedious to the uninitiated. about four hundred years." The recent re- Not to be omitted in taking even a bird'svival of the universities has caused large eye view of England are the public schools. modern additions to the buildings, of the taste To define a public school would perhaps be of which the visitor will judge.

difficult. If you make size or importance the Oxford should be visited in May or early in test, you cannot exclude Rugby or CheltenJune, when the place is at once in its full ham. If you make antiquity the test, you beauty and thoroughly academical. At com- can hardly include Harrow. But the three memoration time, which people are apt to schools which play in the public-school cricketchoose, Oxford is not a university, but a vast matches are Eton, Winchester, and Harrow

Harrow has practically taken the place of Winchester, which was long the most famous of the group, and in the last century sent forth a long line of worthies, but has recently been depressed by the disadvantage of a situation less healthy than historic. It is at the publicschool matches that the singular feeling connected with these institutions is displayed in its utmost intensity, and to attend one of them should therefore, if possible, be a part of the program. Nowhere else in the world, probably, can a great crowd of the governing classes be seen in a state of wild excitement over a boy's game. The chief claim of Winchester to be one of the privileged three is perhaps antiquity, in which it excels all the rest, having been the school founded by the great medieval restorer of education, William of Wykeham, beneath the shadow of his own most venerable cathedral, to supply scholars to the college which he founded at Oxford. Eton and Harrow, but especially Eton, are the schools of the aristocracy, and their peculiar character is, in fact, that of the class to which the boys belong. They are the special train. ing-places of the English “gentleman." The strong point of the English gentleman is not hard work, nor is hard work the strong point of Eton or Harrow, though the system of in

struction has been greatly improved of late, and it can no longer be said, as it might have been said fifty years ago, that the only things to be learned at Eton are a little Latin and Greek and a great deal of cricket and rowing. The strong points are the union of freedom with discipline, and the generous character of the social law which the boys uphold among themselves. Harrow is close to London, but there is nothing in the way of antiquities to see. Eton is within half-an-hour's run of London by rail, and may be taken in a day with Windsor; and at Eton there is a great deal in the way of antiquities, as well as in that of educational peculiarities, to be seen. That ancient quadrangle, with the great, gray chapel rising over its other buildings, and the statue of the Plantagenet founder in its center; the green expanse of the playground shaded by stately elms stretching beside it; and the castle palace of the English kings looking down on it from the other side of the Thames, is of all places of education about the most historic. The equipments of the great school· room would hardly satisfy a school board in these days of progress ; but on its rough panels are to be seen, carved by boyish hands, names which afterward became illustrious in the annals of England. - Trip to England.

W. E. GLADSTONE.

Born Dec. 29, 1809.

ELIZABETH H. FENN.

The year is full of days, and there are some to spare
When we would date the birth of men that are allowed to wear
A crown that is approved in earth and heaven, - a crown as thine so fair.

The multitude looks downward and not up.

No moral heat and light
Has it to risk in its own chilliness and night ;
Yet earth has heroes. Spirits choice, whom

God hath not forgot,
Walk daily into heaven, all crowned ; and still the world can name them, not.

They have the willing heart, and they are blest ;
In heaven alone find they a crown and rest;
For here they lack either a place, a time, prestige, or power;
But all of these are thine. With classic grace and courage each decisive hour
And in ascendant place, thou hast stood forth and given
All that thou hadst to teach mankind the law of heaven.

Cass City Circle.

WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE.

ELBERT HUBBARD.

GLADSTONE is England's glory. Yet there Now here is a combination of good things

is no English blood in his veins; his parents that would send most young men straight to were Scotch. Aside from Lord Brougham he perdition; not so Gladstone. He took the best is the only Scotchman who has ever taken a care of his health, systematized his time as a prominent part in British statecraft. The miser might, listened not to the flatterers, and name as we first find it is Gled-Stane, "gled " used his money only for good purposes. His being a hawk; literally, a hawk that lives intention was to enter the church, but his among the stones. Surely the hawk is fully father said, “Not yet," and half forced him as respectable a bird as the eagle, and a goodly into politics. So at this early age of twentyamount of granite in the clay that is used to two he ran for Parliament, was elected, and make a man is no disadvantage. The name practically has never been out of the shadow fits.

of Westminster Palace during these sixty odd There are deep-rooted theories in the minds years. At thirty-three he was a member of of many men (and still more women) that bad the Cabinet. At thirty-six his absolute honboys make good men, and that a dash of the esty compelled him for conscience' sake to pirate, even in a prel

resign from the Minate, does not dis

istry. His opponents qualify. But I wish

then said, “Gladstone to come to the de

is an extinct vol. fense of the Sunday

cano," and they have school story-books,

said this again and and show that their

again, but somehow very prominent moral

the volcano a lwa ys is right after all — it

breaks out in a new pays to be "good."

place, stronger and William Ewart

brighter than ever. Gladstone was sent to

It is difficult to subEton when twelve

due a volcano. years of age. From

When twenty-nine, the first his conduct

he married Catherwas a model of pro

ine Glynne, sister and priety. He attended

heir of Sir Stephen every chapel service,

Glynne, Bart. The and said his prayers

marriage was most in the morning and

fortunate in every before going to bed

way. For over fifty at night; he could

years this most excelrepeat the catechism

lent woman has been backward or forward,

his comrade, and recite more verses

WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE.

selor, consolation, of Scripture than any

friend - his wife. boy in school. His influence was for good, How can any adversity come to him who hath and Cardinal Manning has said that there a wife? said Chaucer. If this splendid woman was less wine drunk at Oxford during the had died, then his opponents might truthfully forties than would have been the case if have said, “Gladstone is an extinct volcano; Gladstone had not been there in the thirties. but she is still with him, and a short time ago, He graduated from Christchurch with the when he had to undergo an operation for highest possible honors the college could be- cataract, this woman of eighty was his only stow, and at twenty-two he seemed like one who had sprung into life full armed.

The influence of Gladstone has been of unAt that time he had magnificent health, a told value to England. His ideals for national fine form, vast and varied knowledge, and a action have been high. To the material proscommand of language so great that he was perity of the country he has added millions a master of forensics. His speeches were fully upon millions; he has made education popuequal to his later splendid efforts. In feature lar, and schooling easy ; his policy in the he was handsome; the face bold and mascu- main has been such as to command the adline; eyes of piercing luster; and hair that miration of the good and great. But there are he tossed when in debate, like a lion's mane. spots on the sun. On reading Mr. Gladstone's He could speak five languages, sing tenor, books, I find he has vigorously defended certain dance gracefully, and was on more than speak- measures that seem unworthy of his genius.

og terms with many of the best and greatest He has palliated human slå as a “necesmen in England. Besides all this, he was rich sary evil;" has maintained the visibility and in British gold.

divine authority of the church ; has asserted

[graphic]

coun

nurse.

man.

the mathematical certainty of the historic episcopate, the mystical efficacy of the sacraments, and has vindicted the Church of England as the God-appointed guardian of truth. He has fought bitterly any attempt to improve 'the divorce laws of England.

On all the questions I have named, from sla very to divorce, Mr. Gladstone has used the “ Bible argument.” But as the years have gone by, his mind has become liberalized, and on many points where he was before zealous, he is now silent. In 1811 he argued with much skill and ingenuity that Jews were not entitled to full rights of citizenship, but in 1847, acknowledging his error, he took the other side. During the War of Secession the sympathies of England's chancellor of the exchequer were with the South. Speaking at Newcastle, Oct. 9, 1862, he said: “Jefferson Davis has undoubtedly founded a new nation." But five years passed, and he publicly confessed that he was wrong.

Here is a man who, if he should err deeply, is yet so great, that, like Cotton Mather, he might not hesitate to stand uncovered on the street corners, and ask the forgiveness of mankind. Such men are saved by their enemies. Their own good and the good of humanity require that their balance of power shall not be too great. Had the North gone down, Gladstone might never have seen his mistake. In this instance and in many others he has not been the leader of progress, but its echo; truth has been forced upon him. His passionate earnestness, his intense volition, his insensi. bility to moral perspective, his blindness to the sense of proportion, might have led him into dangerous excess and frightful fanatical error, if it were not for the fact that such men create an opposition that is their salvation.

To analyze a character so complex as Mr. Gladstone's requires the grasp of genius. We speak of “the duality of the human mind,' but here are half a dozen spirits in one. They rule in turn, and occasionally several of them struggle for the mastery.

When the Fisk Jubilee Singers visited England, we find Gladstone dropping the affairs of state to hear their music. He invited them to Hawarden, where he sang with them. So impressed was he with the negro melodies that he anticipated that idea which has since been materialized – the founding of a national school of music that would seek to perfect in a scientific way these soul-stirring strains. He might have made a poet of no mean order; for his devotion to spiritual and physical beauty has made him a lifelong admirer of Homer and Dante. Those who have met him when the mood was upon him, have heard him recite by the hour from the “Iliad” in the original. And yet the theology of Homer belongs to the realm of natural religion with which Mr. Gladstone has little patience.

A prominent member of the House of Commons once said : “ The only two things that the prime minister really cares for are religion and finance." The statement comes near

truth; for the chief element in Mr. Gladstone's character is his devotion to religion ; and his signal successes have been in the line of economics. He believes in free trade as the gospel of social salvation. He revels in figures; he has price, value, consumption, distribution, import, export, fluctuation, all at his tongue's end, ready to hurl at any one who ventures on a hasty generalization.

Mr. Gladstone is grave, sober, earnest, proud, passionate, and at times romantic to a rare degree. He rebukes, refutes, contradicts, defies, and has a magnificent capacity for indignation. He will roar at you like a lion, his eyes will flash, and his clenched fist will shake as he denounces that which he believes to be error. And yet among inferiors he will consult, defer, inquire, and show a humility, a forced suavity that has given the caricaturist excuse. In his home he is gentle, amiable, always kind, social, and hospitable. He loves deeply, and his friends revere him to à point that is but little this side of idolatry. And surely their affection is not misplaced.

Some day a Plutarch, without a Plutarch's prejudice, will arise, and with malice toward none but charity for all, he will write the life of the statesman, Gladstone. Over against this he will write the life of an American states

The name he will choose will be that of one born in a log hut in the forest; who was rocked by the foot of a mother whose hands meanwhile were busy at her wheel: who had no schooling, no wise and influential friends; who had few books and little time to read; who knew no formal religion ; who never traveled out of his own country; who had no helpmeet, but who walked solitary – alone, a man of sorrows; down whose homely furrowed face the tears of pity often ran, and yet whose name, strange paradox! stands in many minds as a symbol of mirth. And when the master comes who has the power to portray with absolute fidelity the greatness of these two men, will it be to the disadvantage of the American?

The village of Hawarden is in Flintshire, North Wales. It is seven miles from Chester. I walked the distance one fine June morning, out across the battle-field where Cromwell's army crushed that of Charles, and on past old stone walls and stately elms. There had been a shower the night before, but the morning sun came out bright and warm and made the raindrops glisten like beads as they clung to each leaf and flower. Larks sang and soared, and great flocks of crows called and cawed as they few lazily across the sky. It was a time for silent peace, and quiet joy, and serene thankfulness for life and health.

I walked leisurely, and in a little over two hours reached Hawarden - a cluster of plain stone houses with climbing vines and flowers and gardens that told of homely thrift and simple tastes. I went straight to the old stone church, which is always open, and rested for half an hour listening to the organ on which a young girl was practising, instructed by a white-haired old gentleman. The church is

а

woman

as executioner. I looked in vain for stumps, and on inquiry was told that they were all dug out and the ground levelled so no trace was left of the offender.

The “lady of the house? at Hawarden is the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone. All accounts agree that she is a most capable and excellent woman. She is her father's “home secretary and confidante, and in his absence takes full charge of the mail and looks after im rortant business affairs. Her husband, the Rev. Harry Drew, is rector of Hawarden church. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Drew, and found him very cordial and perfectly willing to talk about the great man who is grandfather to his baby. We also talked of America, and I soon surmised that Mr. Drew's ideas of “the States" were largely derived from a visit to the Wild West Show. So I put the question to him direct :

Did you see Buffalo Bill ?”

“O yes.

dingy and stained inside and out by time. The pews are irregular, some curiously carved, and all stiff and uncomfortable. I walked around and read the inscriptions on the walls, and all the time the young girl played, and the old gentleman beat time, and neither noticed my presence. One brass tablet I saw was to a

“who for long years was a faithful servant at Hawarden Castle. Erected in gratitude by W. E. G." Near this was a memorial to W. H. Gladstone, son of the premier, who died in 1891. Then there were inscriptions to various Glynnes and several others whose names appear in English history. I stood at the reading-desk where the great man has so often read, and marked the spot where William Ewart Gladstone and Catherine Glynne knelt when they were married fifty-six years ago.

A short distance from the church is the entrance to Hawarden Park. This fine property was the inheritance of Mrs. Gladstone; the park itself seems to belong to the public. If Mr. Gladstone were a plain citizen, people of course would not come by hundreds and picnic on his preserve, but serving the state, he and his possessions belong to the people, and this democratic familiarity is rather pleasing than otherwise. So great has been the throng in times past, that an iron fence had to be placed about the ivy-covered ruins of the ancient castle, to protect it from those who threatened to carry it away by the pocketful. A wall has also been put around the present “castle" (more properly house). This was done some years ago, I was told by the butler, after a torchlight procession of a thousand enthusiastic admirers had come down from Liverpool and tramped Mrs. Gladstone's flowers into “smithereens." The park contains many hundred acres, and is as beautiful as an English park can be, and this is praise superlative. Flocks of sheep wander over the soft green turf, and beneath the spreading trees are sleek cows, with big, open eyes, that seem used to visitors, and come up to be petted.

Occasional signs are seen : “Please spare the trees.” Some people suppose that this is an injunction which Mr. Gladstone himself has never observed. But when in his tree-cutting days, no monarch of the forest was ever felled without its case being fully tried by the entire household. Ruskin, once visiting at Hawarden, sat as judge, and after listening to the evidence, gave sentence against several trees that were rotten at the core or overshadowing their betters. Then the prime minister shouldered his faithful “snickersee” and went forth

“And did Mr. Gladstone go?

“Not only once but three times, and he sheered as loudly as any boy."

The Gladstone residence is a great, rambling stone structure to which additions have been made from one generation to another. The towers and battlements are merely architectural appendiculæ, but the effect of the whole, when viewed from a distance, rising out of its wealth of green and backed by the forest, is very imposing. I entered only the spacious front hallway and one room — the library. Book-shelves and books and more books were everywhere; several desks of different designs, one an American roll-top, as if the owner transacted business at one, translated Homer at another, and wrote social letters from a third. Then there were several large Japanese vases, a tiger skin, beautiful rugs, a few large paintings, and in a rack a full dozen axes and twice as many “sticks.'

The whole place has an air of easy luxury that speaks of peace and plenty, of quiet and rest, of gentle thoughts and calm desires. As I walked across toward the village the church bell slowly pealed the hour; over the distant valley night hovered ; a streak of white mist, trailing like a thin veil, marked the passage of the murmuring brook. I thought of the grand old man over whose domain I was now treading, and my wonder was, not that one should live so long and still be vigorous, but that a man should live in such an idyllic spot, with love and books to keep him company, and yet grow old. — From Little Journeys."

WE scatter seeds with careless hand,
And dream we ne'er shall see them more;

But for a thousand years

Their fruit appears
In weeds that mar the land,

Or healthful store.

The deeds we do, the words we say -
Into still air they seem to fleet,

We count them ever past ;

But they shall last –
In the dread judgment they
And we shall meet.

John Keble,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »