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Jane finds a drop of dew,
Fan finds a stone;
I find the thimble,
Which is Mother's own!

"Run with it, fly with it-
Don't let it fall;

All did their best for it-
Mother thanks all.
Just as we give it her, -
Think what a shame!
Ned says he's sure

―――

That it isn't the same!"

That profound young sceptic "Ned," who suggests at the outset that no thimble has been lost at all, and at the close that the one which is found is not identical with that which was lost, if indeed any were lost, gives a thoroughly modern setting to all the nimble and fertile fancy of the poem. There you see the true new generation which raises the most fundamental doubts, both throwing water on adventurous zeal before it is kindled and analyzing away its achievements afterwards. There is something very happy in the contrast between the number of wild and fanciful suggestions offered as to the true fate of the thimble, and the contemptuous suggestion of the young cynic in limine that there was no problem to be solved, and in conclusion that none had been solved. Nor are the more nonsensical pieces of this little volume much, if at all, inferior in their kind, though it is of course a lower kind, to those of poetical playfulness. "Mother Tabbyskins" and "A Boy's Aspirations" are perfect models of their kind. The boy of four years old who manfully resolves that " when I'm old "

"I'll never go to bed till twelve o'clock, I'll make a mud pie in a clean frock;

I'll whip the naughty boys with a new birch, I'll take my guinea-pig always to church," -with many other resolves quite as brilliant and energetic, is a child whose character every one must honour, and whose acquaintance we should very much like to make, though we hardly covet the responsibilities of his parents and guardians. Equally good is the picture of old Tabbyskins, a genuine study of feline character, dashed on to the canvas with all the power of a literary Rembrandt.

We cannot conclude our notice of this fascinating little book without giving some specimen of the more genuine lyrics from which all fun, if not quite all playfulness, is absent, such as that called "Sunshine," or A Butterfly's Song," or "Once" (a love

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That must have been written in a different world, from the England we have been foolishly inhabiting for seven months back at least, perhaps during that shining summer of last year which we have been expiating during all these melancholy months, and in which the spirit has been slowly ebbing away from the heart of the nation. One of the great merits of this bright little volume is that it seems to have bottled the sunshine for us, and recalls the impression of the sun, physical and moral, in a wintry world which has almost forgotten its light and heat.

From The Spectator.
CONFESSION AND PENITENCE.

merely by courting the legal punishments of this. Now, what would a perfectly enSUPPOSE a crime, —like the Norwich lightened conscience decide as to the moral murder, for example, once committed quality of the former feeling? This is, we and irreparable, is there any true moral think, quite a different question from the foundation for the feeling which makes it a following, whether it is a new addition

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genuine relief to the conscience of the crim-
inal to come forward and confess his guilt
before society and incur the social and le-
gal penalties attaching to it? That a very
strong impulse indeed is found in many
minds, by no means of the highest and most
scrupulous stamp, to disburden themselves
of the secresy of the guilt, quite apart from
any reparation they may in this way be able
to make to others, the history of criminal
confessions seems to show. Sheward, the
self-accused murderer of Norwich, if indeed
he really committed the crime of which he
has been convicted, is a very striking illus-
tration of this feeling. The man had lived
on for seventeen or eighteen years without
any signs of remorse, — enough, at least,
to lead to suspicion. There had been no
one else suspected of the crime, to be
cleared. No good could result to any hu-
man being, except himself, by the
confession, and the good to himself was
nothing in the world but a moral relief to
his conscience; he had a wife and children
living who depended on him for support;
every motive we can conceive of except the
mere moral yearning to confess was in fa-
vour of letting the secret die with him, or,
if his religious fears would not admit of that,
of not confessing his guilt and asking abso-
lution till he saw death close at hand; the
active moral hypocrisies necessary to con-
ceal guilt while it is still fresh, and which
might well render concealment loathsome
to many a passionate murderer, must long
ago have ceased to be necessary; no new
act of dissimulation could have been neces-
sary for many years back; the man had
never touched the money which was soon
after his first wife's disappearance left to
her, and so had not to bear any of that
physical oppression of ill-got gain which
seems to haunt some natures more intolera-
bly than any amount of guilt which is not
pecuniarily profitable; in a word, if the story
be as Sheward at first told it and as the jury
believe it to be, the sole motive moving him
to confess was the inability to endure the
secret knowledge that he was a murderer
though no one suspected him, though he
knew that to all his acquaintances and the
world at large he seemed just like other
men of his stamp and class; unless, per-
haps, there was some very vulgar supersti-
tion that he should be purchasing immunity
from heavier punishments in the next world

of guilt to conceal one sin or crime by an other of less magnitude; whether, for instance, Sheward, supposing the verdict correct, was loading himself with new guilt when he told his wife's sister that he had done nothing with her sister, but that she had gone away and left him penniless. That is, of course, adding guilt to guilt. But what we want to determine is rather this, whether there is moral validity in the feeling which prompts men to confess a past crime, even though its concealment involves nothing more than mere silence, and does not demand any fresh hypocrisy or falsehood to support it. And if it is a true moral feeling, how far does it go? Would it be limited to confessing mere legal crime and bearing mere legal punishment? If there is any true moral authority in the feeling, would a man who had been guilty, not of a crime, but of a very mean and immoral action that was not criminal, but the general knowledge of which would rob him of the regard and respect of all for whom he most cared, be equally bound to declare himself what he was, and bear the disgust and condemnation he would be sure to meet? In a word, if confession be in any degree an act of reparation in itself, apart from any consequences which might ensue to others, where does the moral obligation stop? Is a man to be conscious of nothing for which he hates himself, and which yet he would not willingly let others know? If that would be a morbid and exaggerated view, where are we to draw the line? At the time of his confession Sheward was certainly inflicting no fresh injury on any human being by his silence as to his crime, and was likely to hurt his family's prospects by disclosing it. Where, then, should we find the precise stress of the moral obligation, if we admit it at all? Evidently the obligation we are discussing goes much farther than that which sacerdotal churches enforce as the condition of absolution, for that is a mere private confession, given under a seal so sacred that the priest is bound never to reveal it, and it is rendered obligatory apparently chiefly in order to give the priest full insight into the sinner's mind, so as to enable him to probe the sincerity of its penitence. That public confession which subjects a man to the full penalty and disgrace which, but for this, he would have escaped, is a very dif

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ferent matter. The severest priest would loved with all his heart, and to get him to hardly impose it as a penance on his peni- marry her instead. The deception rankles tent, even though the penitent himself sug-in him. He makes up his mind to kill his gested it, and expressed his desire to do wife, whom he hates, but to give himself up that or anything else which would best rather than let any one else suffer for the avail to purify his soul. Unless, of course, murder. He accomplishes his purpose with confession were necessary to clear another, the greatest coolness and science. The or at least-were essential to complete murderer is not discovered. He then offers restitution, no priest would, in all proba- to and marries the object of his love, but bility, counsel, much less impose it. Can shuts himself out from all society, discouragwe, then, assert that, supposing Sheward's ing anything like friendship from his county public confession to have been true, he was neighbours, and living wholly for his wife, in any sense morally bound to make it, and afterwards his daughter. He tries to that was the highest course open to him if expiate his deed by the most benevolent actruly penitent? that he could not have tivity during a fearful outbreak of cholera, shown true penitence in any equally efficient exposing his life in a hundred ways in order way? Is it not conceivable that a better to save the poor and alleviate the sufferings nature in the same position might have rea- of the victims. But he does not take the soned thus? It is true my mind is laden infection, and the one terrible suffering of with a burden of guilt which it might be his life is delineated as being, not remorse, some sort of physical relief to me to compel but the terrible feeling that his wife, and in the violated laws of the country to deal a less degree his daughter, who idolize him, with; I should find a certain weight of op- are loving, not himself, but an imaginary pression lifted off if everybody knew me husband and father, and that they would for what I am; my mind would be more at shrink from the real husband and father if ease; I should feel no longer the sense of they once knew his soul. When, at last, a hypocrisy, of acting, which I cannot help servant who had robbed his first wife of feeling while I am compelled to think of my- some trifling trinkets is accused of the murself so differently from what others think; der and convicted, Paul Ferroll gives himbut, in spite of all this, I have now taken self in charge for the crime, and appeals to new obligations on me, and this confession. evidence deposited by him in the coffin just if I make it, would be a blow to my wife before it was closed. The shock kills his and children such as they will scarcely ever wife; he escapes from jail, and with his get over; not only should I be unable to daughter flies to America, where he is desupport them, but their name will be blighted votedly tended by her, and he is supposed by association with my guilt; it would then to die penitent. But the author contributes be a life of truer penitence, if I were not to nothing to the decision whether or not Paul give myself this relief, but to bear about Ferrol's secrecy involved an increased and my dreadful secret to the grave, and in the prolonged guilt, before it endangered any mean time devote myself to any duties, other person, except only the delineation of however humiliating and painful, by which the constant and terrible sense of falsehood God may suggest to me to cleanse my soul which beset him in his relations with his from the stains it has incurred, and bring wife, and the sort of reaction which made me back to comparative peace.' That pen- him strive to throw himself passionately into itent criminals might feel this side of the momentary enjoyments of the beauty and case very strongly, few, we think, will fragrance of life, as it passed, without listendoubt. But which of the two would really ing to the inner doubts of his heart. Perrepresent the truer and more penitent con- haps the true decision as to such a case as dition of mind in the criminal, the resolve this imaginary one might be that he should to rid himself of the horrible secret and have confided the truth to his wife and seem to others once more what he was, or daughter, even at the certain cost of their the resolve to bear it for the sake of others, peace of mind if not of their health and life, and win forgiveness, if he could, by an in- rather than live with them the false life he ward change of life? did, while all their relations were grounded on the assumption of real, deep, inward knowledge of each other. Paul Ferroll

A modern author, in a tale of great power, Paul Ferroll, has put this moral problem with very great force, but has not offered might, no doubt, have argued that these delany solution. Some of our readers may re-icate women would have attached a perfectmember that Paul Ferroll has been deeply ly superstitious value to this one bloody act injured by the woman who becomes his wife, of an otherwise stainless life, and that they that she has cheated him in order to break would have known him less truly had he off his engagement with the woman he really confessed, than they did while he concealed

it. But that, of course, would have been pure sophistry. That a man who could put a faulty, or, if you please, guilty wife out of the way in this off-hand manner, was profoundly different from what his worshipping wife and daughter had conceived him, there was, we suppose, little doubt. He might have left to them to find out that such a deed was not inconsistent with all the tender nature they had given him credit for; and beneath whatever weight of suffering, they would have found it out. We feel sure that no man has a right to live in these innermost relations with any one, under a conscious disguise which he knows to be vital, and will not remove. But we do not feel clear that Paul Ferroll owed confession to any one outside that inmost circle,- though he was clearly bound to discourage, as he did, all those relations of intimacy which, if once they had grown up, would have put him in a false inward relation with others also. Living the life of isolation he did, we can only feel clear that the disguise from his wife and daughter must have been, if the story was true, a fresh daily addition of guilt to the old burden of guilt. In proportion as the relation of one person to another becomes truly intimate, approaches one of soul to soul, the guilt of suppressing a whole world of unacknowledged hidden life of the most material kind seems to us to become more and more clear.

of a secret crime, that guilt is clearly and greatly increased. If that sense does not make itself felt, as it hardly would in such a man as Paul Ferroll, except in the most intimate relations, then it is only in those intimate relations that such a one owes to his own conscience a confession to another,— except, of course, there is any danger of another's suffering for his guilt,-in which case the right course is clear beyond discussion. If, on the contrary, the sense of continuous treachery does oppress a man in his ordinary relations in respect to any concealment, whether of guilt or crime,— we do not think it possible for such a man to begin to live a higher life till he has cast that additional burden off his conscience and declared himself for what he is.

From The Saturday Review.

MR. WELLS' REPORT ON THE REVENUE.

How far considerations of this kind could apply to a case like Sheward's it is by no means easy to say. There are too many marriages which never involve any sort of intimate relation at all between husband and wife, plenty of families in which the relation of father to child is the most vulgar in the world. Nothing that has come out about Sheward, except his confession, would seem to give any indication of a vivid inward life at all. At the same time, it may be said that a commoner and less sensitive type of mind might attach as much importance to the falsehood of a mere external reputation as more sensitive minds would to the falsehood of an inward relation. To some extent it is true that those who realize fully how very little the ordinary world knows of any one, are less conscious of owing anything to the ordinary world than those who have never realized this adequately. A Paul Ferroll might feel quite easy as to hav- to the extreme protective policy and erratic ing a false reputation with the common financial legislation of Congress. world, knowing clearly, as he would, how fact is probably ascribable, not to the origivery ignorant it is of the heart of any man, nal selection of men of sound economical where a Sheward might feel guilty of real views for these situations, but to that practreachery in the matter. All that is easy to tical good sense and correct judgment which decide is this, that wherever the sense of office seems generally to develop in Americontinuous treachery is added to the guilt can statesmen, even when their language,

AMONG the most interesting American publications are the periodical Reports of the officers at the head of the great Financial Departments, which differ in many important respects from similar documents in this country, and owe their principal value to these particular characteristics. The exclusion of the Executive Departments from that direct relation with the Legislature which exists universally in the constitutional Governments of Europe obliges the administration to adopt a different mode of communicating its views and enforcing the results of its experience; and the Reports of the Secretary of the Treasury and his chief subordinates generally contain, not merely the dry statistics and detailed practical information to be found in our own departmental blue-books, but also an exposition of the views and policy of the department which fulfils, more or less imperfectly, the purpose of the annual Budget speech under a Parliamentary Government. It is worthy of remark that the officials, almost without exception, take a position perfectly independent, not only of the Legislature, but even of the President; and that their Reports are not less distinctly opposed to the recent Message in favour of virtual repudiation than

This

while filling what we should consider posi- | in working-class boarding-houses, has risen tions of almost equally grave responsibility more. A table comparing the earnings of in the Senate or the House, has been most families of various sizes with their expendiextreme and unwise. And indeed the prac- ture on rent and daily necessaries shows, tical consequences of the economic system as might have been expected, that married lately pursued in America, as they force men and fathers of families are the chief themselves upon the attention of the chiefs sufferers. The Report concludes that, on of the Revenue Departments, can hardly the whole, the unmarried skilled artisan is fail to bring home in the mind of an able not much worse off than he was ten years and intelligent administrator a strong con- ago. But a small family which in 1859 viction of its unsoundness and impolicy. would have had a surplus of six or seven Two Reports are now before us- that of dollars weekly to pay for clothing, schoolthe Special Commissioner of the Revenue* ing, and luxuries, has now but half a dollar and that of the Comptroller of the Cur- or a dollar, and the price of clothing and rency.† Both take a sound economical everything else has so increased that a surview of the situation of the country; plus of ten or twelve dollars would not purneither appears to be the work of a trained chase more than the six or seven used to do. and scientific economist. Facts, not prin- From the particular influence of recent ciples, have satisfied them of the importance financial policy on the working class, the of those economic laws which Congress Report proceeds to consider its general persistently ignores and defies. The Com-influence on production and commerce; missioner of the Revenue considers in de- and establishes, by crucial and various tail the influence of the legislation of the examples, two unquestionable facts, absolast six years on the condition of the peo- lutely condemnatory of the measures that ple, and brings out a series of practical have brought them about. In the first results sufficient, one would think, to con- place, the indiscriminate protection of all fute the subtlest advocate of Protection, manufactures involves the taxation of all; and to surprise even the staunchest believer for the finished product of one is the matein Free Trade. The direct and immediate rial of the other. The protection given to injuries inflicted on the consumer and on the lumberer has raised the price of timber the producer, on the people individually to a degree which causes all the trades deand on the State, by the ultra-protective pendent on timber ship-building, for extariff of the Radical party, are greater and ample to languish and drives them to more obvious than we should have ventured other countries where no such tax is levied to anticipate. It is proved beyond doubt on their raw material. The same result is that since the war, despite a large increase traced in other cases. The second fact is, in particular classes of manufactures, de- that American prices have been so enhanced spite the exorbitant bounties granted to as to drive the foreign customer to other "native industry," industry is worse off markets, to curtail most seriously the exthan it was in 1860 or before. The rate of port trades of the States, and to oblige them wages has risen by 60 per cent., the chief to pay for their foreign luxuries either in part of which of course represents the specie or in depreciated bonds. And finally depreciation of the currency; but all the it is shown that the very extravagance of commodities which the labourer has to pur- the tariff defeats its own object, both as rechase having risen in a greater ratio, the gards revenue and protection, by encouragincrease in his nominal earnings covers a ing an enormous amount of smuggling. real decrease in his practical remuneration. The quantity of cigars entered at the CusThe man whose week's earnings used to tom-house has fallen in eight years from purchase a barrel of flour now receives a 800,000,000 to 30,000,000, under the indollar where he formerly got sixty cents; fluence of a duty of 150 per cent. ; yet forbut at the end of the week he finds himself eign cigars are used as largely as ever. only able to purchase five-sixths of a bar- The inevitable conclusion is, that some rel. The comparison is carried out through 700,000,000 must be smuggled in one way a long series of articles of large consump- or another. Opium is taxed 100 per cent.; tion. House-rent has risen as much as and opium, we are told, is sold at a lower wages. The cost of a single man's board, price in currency than its market price, duty paid, in gold. That is, opium worth 100 dollars in gold, and paying a duty of 100 dollars also in gold, is sold for less than 200 dollars in currency, or 144 dollars in gold. Information like this, constantly repeated, can hardly fail at last to impress an Ameri

* Report of the Commissioner of the Revenue for the Year 1868. Washington: Government Printing

Office. London: Trubner & Co. 1868.

Report of the Comptroller of the Currency to the Third Session of the Fortieth Congress of the United States. December 7, 1868. Washington Printing Office. London: Trubner & Co. 1868.

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